It’s the following day at the Urahara residence, and it’s shaping up to be a pretty typical morning, or at least as typical as it can get with this unusual cast of characters. Ichigo seems to have put his humiliating defeat behind him, after sparring with Renji the entire night before; they’re now both wiped out, and being treated to a meal by host extraordinaire, Tessai. Renji has his first experience of coffee, and is revealed to have a bit of a sweet tooth.
In general, the mood has lightened a bit… well in the case of most people. Ishida is still visibly worried about the whereabouts of Yoshino, something even Orihime has noticed, and it’s a little strange to Ririn that he would show this level of concern for someone who could be considered an enemy. He eventually gets so worried that he grabs Ririn against her will and asks her to lead him to Yoshino using her detecting abilities.
Back at the ruins of his mansion, Kariya seems to have found the thing he was looking for, an old clock, and is repairing it. After doing so, he patiently waits for Yoshino, whom he knows will arrive eventually to confront him.
When she arrives, after an intense back-and-forth between her and Kariya, she wastes little time in summoning her Doll, Goethe, and they both make a pact to perish together, if that is what is necessary to take Kariya down…
Meanwhile Ichigo and the others have found out from Kurodo that Ishida and Ririn have run off, so they all unanimously decide to retrieve Ishida, before he habitually gets himself into more trouble again. Urahara senses the urgency of the situation they are about to run into, so he suggests that Ichigo and Renji run ahead, using their flash-step ability.
Eventually Ishida is led back to the ruins of the mansion, to find a battle in full swing between both Bounts. Before he can rush in, intending to help, Ririn has to remind him that he has no powers, and will likely just get in the way.
Kariya is effortlessly avoiding Goethe’s attacks, whose frustration eventually drives him into a fit of rage. He starts to attack recklessly, and one of his fireballs almost hits Yoshino accidentally, leaving her with some minor scrapes.
Kariya then drops a major bombshell, telling her that she is the only Bount to ever have maternal powers, thus explaining why Goethe is so dutiful beyond the loyalties of a normal Doll, and why Ishida is so drawn to her. At that very moment Kariya draws Yoshino’s attention to the fact that Ishida is present with them, and he reveals himself. With lightning speed, Kariya then restrains Yoshino from behind, and grabs the crest on her finger, rendering Goethe immobile.
He then tells her, to her disbelief, that she’s is about to become a mother, and give birth to new Dolls. He crushes her crest between his fingers, obliterating Goethe, to Yoshino’s horror. He then removes his shirt, revealing a large crest on his torso. This reveals to Yoshino that he has somehow managed to fuse with his own Doll.
On their way to the mansion, Ichigo and Renji get their paths blocked by Ichinose and Koga, who lets them know that a significant ritual is about to begin, one that cannot be allowed to be interfered with. Two face-offs then begin, with Koga summoning his Doll, Balk, against Renji’s Zabimaru, and Ichigo and Ichinose crossing swords once again.
In her final moments, Yoshino summons Goethe to her one final time, and cradles his dying embers in her arms. They then both fuse into one fiery being, taking Yoshino’s female form, and prepare for one last mid-air battle against Kariya.
This battle is short, though, as even in this new fused form, Yoshino is no match against Kariya’s formidable powers. Mortally injured, she falls to the ground. Ishida arrives and holds her, while she drifts away and disappears into the ether, dematerialising into green sparkles. Ishida begins to wail in anguished grief.
The green sparkles accumulate below the feet of a levitating Kariya, and the ritual begins, as a swarm of insectoid ‘Dolls’ are born, witnessed in awe by the other Bounts. Kariya begins to cackle maniacally.
It was sad to see Yoshino go out like this. Despite her status as an anime-only filler character, Yoshino was a standout in this arc and truly had a haunting air of tragic sadness that stayed with me. Also, it was nice to see the usually insular Ishida finally have a person he could relate to and vice versa, and a female no less… too bad it didn’t last.
Farewell, Yoshino… we barely knew ye.