Yoruichi’s revelation about the Bounts seems to have gone over like a ton of bricks. As the episode opens, everyone is seen at Urahara’s sitting around silently, as a palpable tension fills the air. While most of them have little information on what the Bounts even are, it’s clear from the reactions of Urahara and Yoruichi that this situation is of a particularly serious nature.
Urahara eventually gets around to explaining the definition of a Bount, and what he knows about them. Much like the Quincys, the Bounts are a tribe of humans with a special ability; in this case, the ability to absorb other human souls, which would potentially allow them to live for an infinite amount of time; they are perhaps more widely known by another popular terminology used to describe them: Vampires.
Always the guy with the plan, Urahara decides to pair off each of the Mod Souls with a human counterpart; this is because he has given them the ability to detect Reishi, and therefore the imminent presence of Bounts, who may be particularly attracted to Ichigo, Orihime and Chad, because of their extraordinary powers (sorry, Uryu…).
On the direction of Urahara, Kurodo is to be paired off with Orihime (he seems a tad bit too happy about this), Noba with Chad, and Ririn with Ichigo. They would be required to disguise themselves as stuffed animals, just as Kon did.
Everyone goes off to acclimate themselves to their new situations. Chad and Noba, both the quiet types, are so silent together, Kon makes a fourth-wall breaking joke about the viewers mistaking it for technical difficulties. Ririn is being picky about her choice of what form she wants to take, with only Karin’s and Yuzu’s old stuffed toys lying around. Fate makes the choice for her, when she accidentally steps on Ichigo’s substitute pass, and her ‘soul candy’ falls into the nearby mouth of a stuffed….. bird?
Meanwhile, Kon has fled Ichigo’s home, not being able to handle Ririn’s pushy, overbearing attitude. It goes without saying that she and Kon probably won’t get along, so he’s decided to crash at Chad’s for the time being. But Kon is also concerned about Orihime being left alone with Kurodo (or so he says), so he makes it an excuse to sneak off to her place. Chad is astute enough to know he shouldn’t allow a lecher like Kon to go there alone…
It just so happens that when they find Orihime, she is delighted by her choice of Kurodo’s new stuffed-toy form. But the light mood is soon changed when the Mod-Souls all detect the nearby presence of a Bount…
It happens to be the same woman from the last episode, who uses her singing to hypnotise and entrance regular humans, and she’s back to her modus operandi. This time the would-be victim is an unassuming woman, who is led into a dark secluded alley into the Bount’s open embrace…
Before she can finish sucking the soul out of her victim, Ichigo interrupts. Once again, the woman flees, this time with Ichigo in pursuit. She finally gets cornered, and it’s then we get a first inkling of a Bount’s powers; she casts a spell, which summons a fiery entity, ‘Goethe’, which she refers to as her doll. Goethe, at her bidding, begins to launch fiery attacks at Ichigo, which he barely avoids. Ichigo manages to cut off one of its arms, but to his alarm, the arm merely re-attaches itself.
Meanwhile, Chad, Orihime and the other Mod Souls are out looking for the Bount as well. Noba finds the lifeless body of a man, that turns into dust before their eyes. Is this what happens in the aftermath of a Bount’s attack? The perpetrator then makes his appearance before them, a tall, dark, well-dressed gentleman who is surprisingly polite:
‘I’m always deeply grateful to my food and pay my respects.’
Declaring that he’s already full, and therefore has no interest in eating them, he disappears. It then dawns on them that the Bount that Yoruichi encountered was a woman, meaning that there is more than one Bount roaming the town, and the situation is worse than they initially thought.
Back to Ichigo’s fight with Goethe, in which he’s still made no progress. Ririn urges him to remember Urahara’s advice: try to calmly analyse the situation and his opponent before attacking, methodically looking for any weakness it may have.
Eventually Ichigo manages to find a weak spot, the heart area, and impales Goethe, after which he dissipates into flames, but he just reassembles himself like it was nothing. Goethe aims two fireballs at Ichigo and Ririn, but this attack is intercepted by a sudden unexpected bolt of lightning from above…
A familiar face then appears… the person who just saved Ichigo’s skin is none other than… Rukia Kuchiki, here to return the favour, apparently.
Well, it was only a matter of time that she would eventually return. Does her presence illustrate the extent of the Shinigami’s concerns about the Bounts, or did she come here of her own accord?
Overall, this was an eventful episode, with the Mod-Souls now assuming their stuffed toy appearances, which is how they’ll mostly be portrayed for the rest of the series, and shedding some light for first-time viewers who may have been confused up to now about those weird end credits. In addition, the action seems to have ramped up, as we now first get to see the Bounts in battle; it will be interesting to find out just how dangerous and powerful they really are…