Welcome to the Bleach 2020, Episode 45 Recap! While Ichigo’s Bankai training begins in this episode, most of its running time is expository in nature, following the current situations of several of both the main and background characters, serving as a break in the action after a stretch of battle-heavy episodes.
The last we saw Uryu, he had the unfortunate luck of running into Captain Tosen. We don’t get much answers as to what his zanpakuto’s powers are, but he has only to partly draw his sword from its hilt in order for the release’s effects to completely incapacitate Uryu.
Ichigo’s Three Day Challenge
We then cut to Ichigo and Yoruichi, where training is about to begin in earnest. After several instances of being drawn into his inner world, where his zanpakuto Zangetsu dwells, Ichigo is told that he will now do the opposite and cause Zangetsu to materialise into the outer world. In order to induce this summoning, Yoruichi produces a strange life-sized training doll, and tells Ichigo to stab it with his zanpakuto. Ichigo does so without any hesitation whatsoever.
He remembers that Zangetsu’s materialisation actually had happened before, during his battle with Kenpachi, but this happened unexpectedly, and outside of his control, without him intending it. Yoruichi further explains that when Zangetsu materialises, he will have a three-day window in which to defeat him and force him into submission, after which Bankai will be acheived. In other words, time is of the essence.
Zangetsu, when summoned, gets right down to business; he summons hundreds of zanpakuto from the ground, littered all over the barren landscape, as far as the eye can see, but states that only one of them is the real zanpakuto, the only one that will be able to defeat him.
Having the rules explained to him, Ichigo begins the battle almost immediately, grabbing the first available zanpakuto he is able to.
The Shinigami – An Organisation in Crisis
We are then shown several instances of the consequences of the Ryoka’s invasion of the Seireitei, and the devastating effect it has had on the inner workings and routines of the Shinigami, which, among other things, led to several high-ranking shinigami being detained for varying offences.
Squad 4, The Medical Division
The Seireitei’s medical facilities are currently bustling, as dozens of Squad 11 members have been hospitalised, and this is keeping Squad 4 members like Yasochika Iemura pretty busy. An unexpected patient, Chad, is seen being rushed down a corridor for treatment, and Yasochika is concerned as to why time and resources are being spent to heal an enemy, especially at a time like this.
Hanataro’s disciplinary hearing
Proceedings have begun into Hanataro’s alleged kidnapping, and subsequent aiding of the Ryoka. Sentaro and Kiyone, who have accompanied him to this solemn hearing, try their best to defend his actions, but Captain Unohana, who is conducting the proceedings, still looks quite cross and unmoved about the whole thing. It looks like he won’t be getting out of this one unpunished.
Meanwhile, things are still weighing heavily on Renji’s mind as he sits in his cell, after having been defeated by Ichigo, his thoughts dwelling on Rukia in particular. He decides to break out of his cell, knocking out his guard in the process. What he plans on doing next is anyone’s guess.
Also reflecting while in a prison cell, Izura Kira finds himself deeply regretful that he drew his sword on Momo Hinamori, a fellow shinigami. Gin Ichimaru appears unexpectedly, and offers to help him get out of detention.
Makizo Aramaki, the inebriated shinigami who was last seen carrying Orihime, and fleeing the battle between Uryu and Mayuri, gets caught by Yachiru, who wants to know why he is suspiciously carrying around an unconscious Ryoka on his back late at night. His explanation is a transparently dishonest lie, but it’s silly enough for Yachiru to actually fall for it.
They are next all seen hanging out with recovering shingami, Ikkaku, Yumichika and Kenpachi. Speaking with Orihime, they’re all pre-occupied with the fate of Ichigo, and whether he’s alive or not.
The fate of the Ryoka
Uryu wakes up to find himself in a prison cell, his injuries treated, with Ganju and Chad recovering next to him. He wonders aloud why the enemy would do such a thing. Chad, having overheard a guard, informs them that it may have to do with the mysterious assassination of a Shinigami Captain, and that they are most likely being kept alive to be interrogated as suspects. Chad expresses his faith that Ichigo will arrive and free them eventually.
The Search for the True Zanpakuto
Back to Ichigo’s training, where he is seen having a rough time of it, getting his ass handed to him by Zangetsu. So far, he as had no luck in finding the real zanpakuto. Yoruichi, watching from the sidelines, shows no sympathy, telling him to hurry up and get the job done.
Zangetsu tells Ichigo that all the fake swords are representations of his numerous weaknesses, and therefore will be utterly ineffectual in countering him. This isn’t exactly encouraging for Ichigo, but he’s never been known to give up easily, or back down from a challenge before.
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking…