‘Because of you the rain has finally stopped.’Ichigo Kurosaki
This is more or less a transitional episode, tying up some loose ends as the Soul Society Arc finally draws to a close. A week after Aizen’s escape, things seem to have settled down a bit in the Seireitei, as various individuals have started patching up their differences. Much of the episode consists of jumping from various characters to others in a series of brief vignettes.
Unohana, who has mastered the art of extremely polite intimidation, has no problem dealing with belligerent patients at her medical compound, who she unintentionally scares the living hell out of.
Ichigo and Ikkaku are seen having a friendly sparring match (or as friendly as these guys can get with each other); it seems a lot of the Shinigami Ichigo defeated in the recent spate of showdowns want a second round, especially Kenpachi, but Ichigo is understandably avoidant and skeptical of that particular rematch.
Komamura is seen at the grave of Tosen’s unnamed friend, the one whose death spurred Tosen into choosing the life of a Shinigami. ‘What would you have said to stop Tosen?’, he asks the the tombstone plaintively. It’s clear that Komamura still has a lingering hope that he can bring his longtime friend back to his senses.
Rangiku and Izuru try to resolve their recent misunderstandings over some sake (you can guess the turn this takes).
Meanwhile Toshiro is much more concerned for the wellbeing of Momo, who is still unconscious and in critical condition, after being stabbed by Aizen (and the coming emotional damage may be even worse). Unohana encourages Toshiro to stay by her side and talk to her. Byakuya is also seen hospitalised as well, with his lieutenant Renji at his bedside for moral support; it looks like these two have buried the hatchet somewhat, after their recent brutal clash.
Ishida has decided to sew a new set of clothes for his friends Orihime, Chad… and then there’s Rukia, who is really the main focus of this episode. Orihime, concerned with how depressed she’s been looking lately, runs off to find her, with Uryu’s newly sewn dress in hand, intended for Rukia.
Rukia, in turn, has gone off to find Ganju and Kukaku in order to finally apologise for killing their brother, Kaien, and she eventually finds them in a field horsing around and fighting. The apology does not go quite as expected; Kukaku quickly accepts the sentiment in typically gruff fashion. She then tells Rukia that she’s known what transpired for a very long time, so she told herself to accept the very first word of apology offered without hesitation, knowing Rukia to be wracked with guilt over the matter. But it doesn’t mean the drawn out apologetics didn’t start to annoy her though, and she lets Rukia know as much…
When Ichigo and Orihime eventually find Rukia, she breaks the news that she intends to stay behind in the Soul Society. Surprisingly, Ichigo accepts her decision without much fret. (Something tells me she’ll eventually be back though). Kukaku invites Ichigo for dinner at her house, but her impatience flares up once again, when Ichigo takes too long to answer… jeez, Kukaku sure likes punching people.
The following day, the Ryoka are given an ‘official’ sendoff, this time with a ‘proper’ Senkaimon portal to transport them back to their world. Ichigo receives an official Substitute Shinigami Combat Pass from Ukitake, usually given to a substitute that is deemed useful to the Soul Society, and which will grant him Shinigami powers at will. Rukia says her somewhat emotional goodbyes to Ichigo and the others, after which they disappear through the Senkaimon, and back to the World of the Living.
Unfortunately, their experience getting back to the World of the Living is a little too similar to their bumpy arrival into the Soul Society. They find themselves once again begin chased by the Cleaner, and barely avoid a catastrophic crash landing on the other side, with an assist from Urahara, Jinta, Tessai, Ururu and Ururu’s bazooka.
Knowing that Ichigo must’ve found out about his past misdeeds regarding Rukia and the Hogyoku, Urahara begs Ichigo’s forgiveness. Ichigo, who has really calmed down lately, is not that upset about it, but he does express the sentiment that Rukia is the one who really deserves the apology.
Everyone eventually says their goodbyes as Urahara’s flying platform drops everyone off at their respective houses. The last to leave is Ichigo, who instead of going straight home, asks to be dropped off at the river where tragedy struck his family so many years ago. He stares intently into the distance for a while, then makes his way back to his house.
… and so ends the celebrated Soul Society arc. Up next is the somewhat divisive Bount Arc, which I’ll be sure to give my thoughts on… see you then!