Bleach Recap 2020, Day 23, Episode 23: The Enigmatic Kukaku Shiba

After the extremely strange encounter with the man calling himself Ganju, Orihime, Chad and Uryu are wondering aloud about this person by the name of Kukaku Shiba, who Yoruichi mentioned in regards to entering the Siereitei, and what this person might possibly look like (is he human, or even possibly a cat?) and what Yoruichi might possibly have up his furry sleeve.

Uryu goes looking for Ichigo, but finds him in not the best of moods, still salty that he wasn’t able to end his fight with Ganju. In fact he’s so set on pursuing Ganju, that Yoruichi has to get a little rough with him, and remind him what his purpose here is in the first place. It’s less than 14 days until Rukia’s execution, after all, and no time and effort should be wasted on anything else, especially something like a petty feud.

Meanwhile, the waiting game continues for Rukia, as she is informed by Renji of the chosen method for her execution, something called Sokyoku. She is also to be transferred to a place called the Repentance Cell, Shishinro.

Ichigo and the gang eventually set out to look for Kukaku. There’s the issue that this person changes residences constantly, and there’s minor squabbling within the group about whether they’re going in the right direction, and following the provided map properly. In the end, they find Kukaku’s house pretty easily, after all it’s pretty conspicuous, what with the huge banner with his name and all, held aloft by two giant hands.

Ichigo and Uryu are pretty embarassed to be walking into such a gaudy residence, but don’t have a choice in the matter. On the way there, Uryu notices the house’s oversized chimney, which has been sealed at the top. Just before entering they are stopped by two guards, giving Ichigo unpleasant flashbacks of the whole recent affair with Jidanbo and the gates of the Seireitei. Fortunately, they recognise Yoruichi (who has a lot of pull for a mere cat) and allowed to pass.

So it turns out Kukaku is a woman, to the surprise of everyone except Yoruichi, who retorts that he never said it was a man (a bit of foreshadowing here). 

Sokyoku, the site of Rukia’s impending execution.
Rukia in the Repentance Cell.

Back in the Seireitei, Shishinro is seen to be a sheer white tower, and the imprisoned Rukia is escorted there by armed guards. She is shown into a room with a narrow window, the view from which can be seen the Sokyoku, the site of her pending execution. The purpose of this, Renji explains, is for the convicted to gaze upon her demise and reflect on her transgressions (hence the name Repentance Cell). Before leaving her there, Renji goes off script, and tells her of the rumoured reports of the Ryoku infiltrating the Soul Society, one of them a shinigami with orange hair and a large sword. Rukia is shocked by this information.

Kukaku agrees to help Yoruichi with the mission, but distrustful of everyone else, calls upon her little brother to keep an eye on them. To everyone’s surprise/horror, her brother turns out to be that weirdo from earlier, Ganju. It’s a small world, even in the afterlife apparently…

The first appearance of Sosuke Aizen

Later on, a pre-occupied Renji is approached by one of the Captains, a bespectacled man by the name of Sosuke Aizen. Aizen, knowing Renji is close to Rukia, confides in him that something is off about the whole Rukia situation; the means, the harshness and the swiftness by which the sentence is being handled are all unusual, which Aizen theorises to be the work of one single conspirator in the shadows. Gee, this Aizen fellow seems like a pretty decent guy…

Ichimaru is seen eavesdropping on the conversation. Before Aizen can elaborate further, an emergency meeting of the captains is called.

Ichigo and Ganju continue their brawl from earlier, but Kukaku runs out of patience with it after her pipe is knocked from her hand and broken. With a fiery kido attack, she ends the nonsensical fight once and for all, knocking both Ichigo and Ganju flat, whilst also doing some significant damage to her own house. She looks like a pretty powerful fighter herself, if not also a little crazy.

Time to get down to business. Kukaku takes them down a long corridor, to the base of the gigantic chimney seen earlier. Only, it isn’t a chimney, it’s a damn giant cannon, and the (horrifying) plan is to shoot everyone out of it, into the Seireitei, in true ‘Wile E. Coyote’ fashion. The plan just might work, if they survive it. I suppose we’ll find out next episode…

Published by dirksblogposts

My name is Dirk O'Brien. I'm a graphic designer by profession, and have had a lifelong interest in comics and animation.

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