The unwarranted and unexplained interference of the Mod-Soul trio continues to escalate, now beyond just Ichigo and his friends, to include other unrelated people, and potentially the entirety of Karakura Town, making them appear more dangerous with each passing episode.
Ichigo and his friends have no idea what their next move is, and are sitting on a riverbank trying to figure things out, when a fireworks display suddenly begins before them. A hand-written note floats down from the sky, signed by Ririn: “Destroy the gate within thirty minutes.”
As if on cue, the hellish gate, now impossibly massive in size, appears and begins descending from the sky. Acting like a city-sized vacuum, it threatens to suck in everything within its path. Ririn, Kurodo and Noba are seen unconcernedly standing on the gate’s edge.
They demand Ichigo’s surrender, but he refuses. Ririn then produces a hat that looks identical to the one Urahara wears, prompting Ichigo’s fear that they might have managed to capture him as well. Things are not looking good, as each of Ichigo’s friends get sucked into the gate one by one.
Seeing no other option, Ichigo decided to activate his Bankai, but before he can, he and everyone else are sucked into the gate, towards an unknown fate…
Meanwhile, Yoruichi and Sui-Feng are continuing their investigations in the World of the Living, when they find a piece of clothing with Reishi residue on it. Investigations are also being done concurrently in the Soul Society, involving Captains Ukitake, Hitsuguya and Shunsui, who are monitoring their progress.
When Ichigo and the others come to, they find themselves in a barren, misty landscape. Once again, they are interrupted by Ririn’s infernal giggling. They all turn around to find the trio looking down on them, and behind them is Chad, tied to a stake. A giant hourglass descends and encases Chad within it. Sand from the top half begins to fall, landing on Chad who is tied at the bottom. Once again, a deadline has been set for them to save their friend; another of Ririn’s life-threatening challenges.
The first to respond and attack is Ichigo. Kurodo morphs into an Ichigo doppelgänger, and the two begin fighting. Renji joins the fray, and begins attacking Noba, but Noba’s specialty is creating wormholes in space, which directs Renji’s zanpakuto back at him, and gives him an uncanny ability to evade his attacks.
Back in Karakura Town, Yoruichi and Sui-Feng begin hearing a woman’s voice singing serenely. When Yoruichi finds the woman in a train yard, she sees her entrancing a man, who is obliviously walking towards her. Anticipating that she is attempting to suck out the man’s soul, Yoruichi decides to intervene in this suspicious encounter. The woman doubles back and flees, and Yoruichi, instead of giving chase, asks Sui-Feng to report the incident back to the Soul Society. Ukitake ends the investigation and orders the Senkaimon barrier to be removed, at least for now…
The battle continues between the trio and Ichigo’s team. Ririn initiates the final attack, summoning yet another portal that threatens to suck them in. In a last-ditch effort, Ichigo tries to summon his Bankai in order to free Chad, but his power is unexpectedly drained away, just as the giant hourglass shatters on its own, freeing Chad who is able to unbind himself from the ropes restraining him.
The trio has disappeared yet again, but Ririn has left behind Urahara’s hat. Ichigo begins to suspect Urahara, and yells for him to show himself, wherever he is…
Urahara emerges, applauding Ichigo for figuring out his ruse. He reveals that it was all a test, and the test has hereby revealed that Ichigo is unable to use his Bankai outside of the Soul Society. This concerns Urahara, as he will require Ichigo’s powers while the Shinigami are busy dealing with Aizen, and on top of that, other threats have arisen, explaining why Yoruichi’s is currently in the living world. He’s somewhat critical of Ichigo after the test though, stating that he has a tendency to get strung along by his opponents. Actually, if there’s anyone he’s been impressed by, it’s Ishida, and his calm analytical skills, even under fire. Oh…and he also lets it slip that Ishida’s lost his powers, which naturally begins to concern the rest of the group.
So, there you have it; the entire thing was one big facade, aided by the Mod-Souls’ talent for creating hallucinations. The town was never in any danger, nor were any of its occupants. The disappeared students from last episode are seen waking up under starlight in the middle of a field, completely unharmed.
As the episode ends, Yoruichi suddenly appears before Urahara, Ichigo and the others, and, with a hint of alarm, proclaims that a ‘Bount’ has appeared. What exactly are these entities, that this entire arc has incidentally been named after? Answers are incoming…