Bleach Recap 2020, Episode 77: The Charming Wiles of Kariya

Kurodo and Noba are both left worse for the wear, after their unfortunate run-in with the powerful Shinigami, Ichinose, and both appear to be unconscious. Ririn is naturally distraught at the possible fate of her friends… that is, until she realises they’re just faking for attention….

On to more serious plot developments, like the battle between Ichigo and Ichinose. One of Ichinose’s advantages is clearly the speed of his attack, but his glowing zanpakuto Nijigasumi, besides being lightning fast, can also can also disorient its opponents with blinding light. Despite this, both Shinigami appear to be evenly matched, more or less. Ichinose notices that Ichigo has developed an instinct that enables him to dodge his lightning fast strikes, despite the fact that he may or may not be able to actually see them.

In the middle of this melee, the most unexpected thing then happens; Kariya steps in and stops the fight, then asks Ichigo to join them. This turn of events, familiar to Ichinose, causes him to reminisce about the first time he met, and was immediately charmed by Kariya…

The flashback begins where it all started: Kenpachi officially challenging the 11th Squad Captain in order to take his title. At the time, and probably still now, Kenpachi was considered a dangerous wild card, and not just by Ichinose; we witness a brief conversation before the battle, where both Tosen and Ichinose agree that this particular rule is both outdated and barbaric, especially for alleged peacekeepers, such as the Shinigami are supposed to be.  After his Captain’s defeat, Ichinose swears vengeance, and challenges Kenpachi to a duel. Kenpachi says that he will consider it if Ichinose is able to cut him even once. As you can guess, Ichinose was not able to do any such thing, and was instead completely outclassed, and cut by Kenpachi.

Humiliated, Ichinose then abandons the Soul Society. His wanderings eventually bring him to the World of the Living. Gradually wasting away while crossing a desert, he encounters souls fleeing a particularly large and nasty Hollow. Spurred to action, he manages to stop it in its tracks and save a young boy. But in his de-powered state, he has difficulty challenging the Hollow and it disarms him of his sword.

He is saved quite suddenly by the arrival of Kariya. who stops the Hollow with just a touch of his finger. Kariya is accompanied by another Bount, Koga. After the neutralised Hollow falls on its knees, Kariya returns Ichinose’s sword, telling him that this is his fight. With this, Ichinose finishes off the Hollow. However, Kariya, curious as to how a Shinigami got into such a weakened condition that he has difficulty killing a Hollow, then asks Ichinose to join him. Ichinose is immediately charmed by him, and accepts.

Kariya, who clearly has a charismatic way with people, is now trying to pull his same compelling magic on Ichigo. But of course, Ichigo violently refuses, and a very short fight ensues; it ends, once again, with a mere touch of the finger upon Ichigo’s forehead. In an instant, Ichigo feels his strength drained from him. Kariya flicks him effortlessly into a nearby wall, then changes his mind about his request, and walks away in disinterest. Ichinose really wants to finish him off though…

Before he can follow through, there is a sudden explosion from outside the mansion. Jinta and Ururu have arrived to shake things up, and Ururu has brought the necessary firepower. Then Yoruichi flash-steps into the scene, in front of Ichigo. The reinforcements have arrived…

Meanwhile, in all the commotion, Rukia and the Mod Souls finally find Ishida’s room. Ishida, sensing Yoshino’s presence nearby, breaks into her cell in order to rescue her. The others aren’t happy about rescuing a Bount, but Ishida insists that she is different from the others, and promises an explanation later. They begrudgingly agree, and using Noba’s teleportation powers, they exit the mansion.

When they reappear outside, they find Chad, Orihime and Kon waiting. Yoruichi also arrives, having rescued a slightly injured Ichigo. At least for now, the team have safely reunited.

Kariya’s mansion is now flaming rubble. Kariya and the other Bounts have escaped as well, but his plan hasn’t changed one iota. As always, his sights are still set on Ishida, and the task of recapturing him…

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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