What They Say:
Returning to the World of the Living, Ichigo spends his days hunting down Hollows with what little Spirit Energy he has left. However, knowing that Ichigo cannot continue this much longer, Rukia soon realizes the time of their parting is fast approaching.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the conclusion of the previous summer season storyline, Ichigo has essentially managed to get back to where he started by being back in the World of the Living with less spirit energy than he’s had recently. It’s like a reset to zero with no real ramifications from the storyline, which was a given considering it was an original arc. He’s still doing what he’s always done, but it’s causing an amusing ripple as Imoyama complains loudly when Ichigo gets involved in taking down a Hollow with Rukia’s help. As she says, Imoyama is Rukia’s replacement and Ichigo wasn’t someone who was supposed to be involved to begin with.
Because of the way he’s losing spiritual power, his time with Rukia is rapidly coming to a close and that has the powers that be back in the Soul Society wanting her out of there so Imoyama can get on without any distractions that these two provide. It’s kind of harsh considering what he’s just been through but it fits in the with nature of the Soul Society as well. What it allows is for the show to take a quieter and more personal approach to let Rukia and Ichigo to spend some quality time together before she leaves, since he knows it’s happening and there’s nothing that can really be done about it. The two have been through a lot in the last 341 episodes, so having this kind of quasi-date piece where they hang out with their friends has a good, welcome feeling to it.
While the two do have a lot of this good quiet time together, it also turns pretty serious when a surprisingly large Hollow appears and starts to attack them. It’s a difficult situation, well handled, as Ichigo knows that he’s the weak link in things now and tries to get her to just do it herself since he doesn’t want to be a bother. But it works because the two have been together through so much that he won’t really abandon her and they’ll come up with a plan to make it work. While the action is decent, it’s the fallout from it that drives things home here as we see how events draw to a close for Ichigo and they hit all the right notes considering the past, the histories and the shared experiences and how Ichigo is prepared to handle it. His stoic and resigned by content portrayal is one of the better ways to deal with this.
Which is why I wish this episode came before the summer arc kicked off and that the series actually ended. It may go against things, but Bleach is a show that I wish had a larger, stronger narrative than it does as it keeps it from being a really strong show. I like it well enough, but it’s the kind of series that I think has really run its course and an episode like this shows just how smoothly and well done an ending can be. There’s some good character material to be had here but largely it’s all done without a lot of drama, being drawn out or any other negative. It’s quiet, simply happens and then Ichigo moves on. It’s really just the start of the next arc though and we’ll see Ichigo going before too long, but if anyone ever wanted a jumping off point, this is most definitely it.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
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