Bleach Recap 2020, Episode 66: Escaping the Labyrinth

Episode 66 opens with Urahara and Tessai calmly having tea, when Ichigo barges in and asks for his body to be left in their care. Both Orihime and Chad have now been kidnapped, and Ichigo is understandably taking no chances, as he (now in shinigami form), Renji and Uryu try to find their friends, figure out who their mysterious new antagonists are, and what they might want.

Of course, Aizen is suspected; after all, deceptive hallucinatory tactics are right up his alley. When they begin discussing the situation among themselves and with Urahara, they begin to realise that these new enemies are unlike the Hollows or Shinigami they fought previously, seeing that they are evasive in nature, and deceptive and indirect in their tactics. Tessai hypothesises that they probably use Kido-derived powers.

Uryu rightfully states that typical brute force, zanpakuto for instance, would be useless against them; besides, Renji is not allowed to use his full powers in the living world, and Ichigo’s Bankai would be too powerful to be appropriate for the circumstances, and will likely cause damage to nearby property.

Looking for further options, they bring up relying on Ishida’s Quincy powers, which makes him visibly nervous and uncomfortable. After all, he may or may not have lost these abilities after the events in the Soul Society, something he hasn’t divulged to the rest of them.

Ichigo asks Urahara if he’s learned anything useful from his analysis of the recently acquired voice recordings. He replies that the voices were found to have no traces of Riemon, the spiritual equivalent of a voiceprint; this would mean they are probably neither humans nor shinigami, but some other as-yet-unidentified kind of being .

In the midst of the meeting, they get another phone call, and once again it’s Ririn with another one of her infernal ‘games’. This time they are asked to come to the museum, so they all head on out without hesitation. Ishida, carrying along Kon, has retrotfitted him with a pouch to store some handy tools, and some straps so he can be carried on his back; of course, Kon isn’t happy about this.

On entering the dark museum, they find a ‘special exhibit’ announcement, erected specifically for them, along with some insulting gags mocking them for good measure. The perpetually cheery voice of Ririn rings out again from out of nowhere and asks them to play a game of ‘hide-and-seek’.

While on their way down a hallway, Uryu and Kon start detecting strange spiritual pressure. They find themselves in a sparse room, only to look around and find that both the way forward and backward out of the room has disappeared, and the same room has perpetually repeated itself into eternity in all directions, essentially creating an inescapable labyrinth. Uryu, naturally, is the one that keeps his head, realising that they have to find some clues in order to solve this puzzle. He ties a thread to one of the room’s metal pole stands, and ties Kon to the other end, making a trail so they can backtrack just in case…

Another room finally appears, but it looks no more encouraging, as it’s dark and misty. On further investigation, they also find empty display cases with their names on them… and right next to them, two cases containing Orihime and Chad, rendered immobile as if frozen. Before they have time to react in horror, they suddenly find that they are now also entrapped in the display cases, and are now unable to move.

Ichigo has the sensation of Kon pummelling him, and it’s then he realises that it was just a hallucination. Kon tells Ichigo, Renji and Uryu that they all passed out suddenly, probably then succumbing to a hallucination brought about by the room’s misty atmosphere. They all decide it would be a better idea to double back to the previous room. 

As they make their way to leave and enter an adjoining room, they suddenly find a huge abyss in the floor that was not there previously. Uryu sketches out a diagram, so that the team can figure out a pattern, in order to identify the rooms that will likely have traps.

Frustration begins to set in as Renji and Ichigo start to bicker with each other, and it isn’t helped by Ririn’s annoying voice intervening with its occasional mocking. As usual, Uryu is the only one keeping a calm head, but as Renji and Ichigo start walking away from each other in different directions, he recognises an opportunity, and carries out a little directional experiment using Kon, and his attached string…

Uryu asks for Ichigo’s combat pass. As he begins to run from the room, the ground cracks and falls away beneath him, but he comes to the realisation that the pit is an illusion. Ichigo and Renji begin to follow him. At long last, they find a way out of the trap, to find Ririn looking down at them.

Uryu barely begins to explain how he cleverly solved the puzzle, when Noba suddenly appears behind him and restrains him. Uryu hits Noba with Ichigo’s borrowed combat pass, and a familiar-looking pill flies out of his mouth, before he falls to the floor, lifeless. Uryu, who is just on a roll in this episode, has figured out that their opponents were Mod-Souls all along. Kurudo suddenly appears to carry away Noba’s limp body, and all three flee the museum.

When Ichigo, Renji and Uryu start to pursue, they find Chad and Orihime waiting for them outside, both of them having no idea how they got there. The portal appears once again, with Ririn and Noba standing on top of it. Ririn explains that they decided to give them back their friends, seeing that they solved the puzzle and won the ‘game’. Once again, their tormentors disappear into the portal and escape, scot-free.

Well, that was a suitably bizarre Episode 66, and at least some insight was given into the nature of the mischief-makers, if not their actual motives. Only 300 more episodes to go, for the 300 more days of 2020 (‘only?’). Sounds like fun, right?

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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