Ichigo is continuing his search for his sisters, but the search is called off when he encounters Kon, who gives his assurances that they’re both safely at home. Somewhat relieved, Ichigo then decides to continue handling the current hollow infestation in his hometown. So, at least for the time being, the hollow-killing contest continues, at least according to Uryu, with both him and Ichigo having their hands full with hollows appearing in droves. We get a flashback of a young Uryu training with his sensei, and an explanation as to his driving ambition: this is all about vengeance.
Impending danger still looms over Karakura Town. Continuing from last episode, Orihime has detected the presence of the hollow at the schoolyard. Instead of panicking her friends Tatsuki and Chizuru, she makes a weak excuse for all of them to leave and go home immediately, citing a TV show as the reason.
But not before Chizuru falls victim from one of its attacks, getting it hit in the shoulder by some catapulted green slime. She plays it off until her body starts acting on its own, and she forcefully grabs Orihime’s arm.
Orihime is then alarmed to see an army of zombified fellow students heading towards them. Apparently, this particular hollow (the first female one we’ve seen?) like to keeps its hands (or tentacles) clean by letting its prey unwittingly fight among each other, using the manipulation technique that is currently being used on Chizuru.
Tatsuki suddenly swoops in, and with some handy martial arts, and takes out all the afflicted students. Unfortunately, a clearly afflicted Chizuru grabs her as well, her arm now all veiny as if from a nasty infection, and Tatsuki also gets hit with the green slime. The hollow tries to taunt her, but Tatsuki isn’t having it, straight up biting the hollow’s tentacle. The hollow is hilariously horrified.
It doesn’t do the situation much good though. Tatsuki gets hit with another salvo of green slime, and seems done in this time for certain.
Okay, so now we get an obligatory ‘Power of Friendship’ moment. Orihime reminisces about the time she cut her hair, and everyone gave her shit for it, except for the ever-supportive Tatsuki.
Orihime gives her a hug, and her hairpiece, the one elaborated on briefly in Episode 3, suddenly releases an explosion of energy, blowing away everyone, and surprising the hollow. Orihime now looks like she means business, and it’s the first time we’ve seen her like this.
It’s unclear as to what exact powers Orihime’s hairpiece has exactly, but things are getting weirder all the time. Six fairies, which have apparently made a home in the hairpiece, are released, and introduce themselves to her as the ‘Shunshun Rikka – The Six Princess-Shielding Flowers’. Orihime looks as confused as the audience is.
They don’t make it any better when they start bickering among one another about what to reveal to Orihime, but it does slip that her manifested powers have something to do with Ichigo. Then there’s something about manifesting ‘shield powers’, using her Kotodama Spirit Chant. The hollow, who has been politely waiting while these explanations took place, finally decides to rudely interrupt…
Orihime learns to manifest a shield by repeating the fairies’ names, Hinagiku, Baigon, and Lily.
Then she learns to reverse injuries by reciting the fairy names Shuno and Ayame along with the Kotodama “Soten Kishun! I reject!’” (prepare to hear this ALOT in the episodes from now on). This magic quickly heals Tatsuki, to Orihime’s relief.
The final fairy, Tsubaki, is the one with the powers of offence rather then defence (and the aggressive attitude to go along with it). On chanting his name, he flies towards the hollow and cuts it in half, defeating it handily.
Orihime collapses to the floor in exhaustion, and the fairies revert to their hairpiece form. Urahara then appears on the scene (why is this guy everywhere?), along with Tessai carrying an unconscious Chad on his back. Urahara takes both of them back to his shop to recover, and educates them about shinigami, hollows, and the present predicament they find themselves in. It seems that Ichigo’s spirit energy has also influenced the increased energy of those around him, including Chad and Orihime. A team of super-powered fighters is forming before our eyes…
Uryu is starting to get concerned about the sheer amount of hollows that are being lured by the small bit of bait he used. It just doesn’t add up unless something else has been luring them as well. Abandoning his former attitude, he decides to team up with Rukia and Ichigo to thwart a hollow invasion, which, from the looks of the sky above, is far from over…
So far, this arc has been ideal in giving all of the main characters an episode centered around them, where they have a chance to shine, and their special abilities are revealed. Where the last episode was centered around Chad, this one was largely about the hidden powers of Orihime. Who else in this diverse cast of characters may also have hidden abilities? Stay tunes to find out, Episode 14 looms ahead…