For those who haven’t noticed, a basic formula has developed over the past couple of episodes.
Firstly, one of the groups of protagonists is out patrolling for Bounts; then, they inevitably find what they’re looking for, when a Bount arrives to confront them, usually completely overpowering them, and exposing their lack of preparation; and finally, an experienced Shinigami arrives to help them out; oh… and in many cases, the Bount leaves before the fight is over, thereby drawing out the conflict (and by extension, potentially the rest of the arc). This time it’s Rangiku’s turn…
Having just made her arrival into the World of the Living, it doesn’t take long for her to come across one of those aforementioned confrontations, in this case, Chad, Noba and Ururu being approached by an elderly-looking Bount by the name of Sawatari.
Rangiku enters with an inappropriately elated mood, giving her cheery introductions to everyone, until she realises they’re in the middle of a standoff with a Bount. Sawatari then summons his Doll, Baura. It isn’t immediately obvious what form this Doll takes, until the ground begins to ripple below them, and Sawatari disappears into it. A huge, whale-like form then springs out of the ground, taking Chad and the others by surprise. Rangiku is able to see its form, even while it’s roaming below the ground, but isn’t able to lock it down in order to attack it.
It emerges to swallow her, but she is saved at the last minute by Noba, who teleports her out of harm’s way. Emerging once again out of the ground astride Baura, Sawatari begins to explain his Doll’s powers of space manipulation, which are basically the same powers that Noba has; given the similar abilities to Noba, this battle does seem like a suitable matchup…
Rangiku begins to release her zanpakuto Heineko, dispersing like ashes, but she thinks the better of it, when Baura begins sucking it into its mouth.
Rangiku contacts Soul Society headquarters and asks them to initiate ‘soul protection’, both for herself and for the other lieutenants, which freezes everything within a 500 meter radius, so that there is no reason to hold back their attacks. On informing Chad of this, he brings out his armoured arm, and the battle amps up a notch. However, Chad’s energy blasts are having no effect, as they are just being swallowed by Baura’s cavernous mouth. It should be no surprise to anyone at this point, but the most forceful attack comes from Ururu, whose mere kick sends Baura crashing back to the ground. The group uses this opportunity to retreat to the shelter of a nearby building.
Noba hypothesises that Sawatari and Baura still may be able to track them, using an ability similar to sonar. Chad initially thinks that they can evade them if they stay on one of the building’s upper floors, but that theory is disproven when once again Baura attacks from above, headed directly for him, but Ururu knocks him out of the way and is swallowed, disappearing into wormhole that is Baura’s mouth.
Sawatari reappears once again to assure them that Ururu is perfectly safe within Baura’s mouth, which I guess is pretty nice of him, seeing that he’s a villain and all. Ururu herself doesn’t seem to mind, floating serenely through empty space.
Rangiku uses her zanpakuto to etch a hole in the floor below her, Noba and Chad, so that they can escape by falling to the floor below, and at the same time severing the upper supports of the building above, so that it falls on top of Sawatari; still riding atop Baura, he barely escapes.
Rangiku, Chad and Noba seek shelter in a narrow alley, where it would be difficult for Baura to use his teleportation powers. Upset that Ururu sacrificed herself for him, Chad is starting to second-guess his ability to protect others, as he has been aspiring to do. Chad wants to trade himself for her if he can, but Noba urges him to evaluate the situation calmly while he comes up with a plan… namely to swallow up Baura in his own spatial dimension. Rangiku agrees to be the decoy, once again against Chad’s wishes, admonishing Chad for taking her abilities so lightly.
They proceed with the plan, and Sawatari falls for the bait, going straight for Rangiku. She pries Baura’s mouth open with her sword, while Chad uses his monstrous strength to grab it by the tail and swing it around, and into Noba’s wormhole. Their plan has succeeded… or has it?
Noba’s wormhole isn’t powerful enough to contain Baura, who releases itself once again, doing considerable damage to Noba in the process.
Sawatari begins to gloat at the fact that they are unable to contain his power. Just when we thought this battle may be coming to an end, it looks like it may just be beginning…