The game reaches the final stage as the *kaizou konpaku* summon a huge gate in the city, sucking Ichigo and co. into a rocky area where Chad is tied up to a big pole. The pole turns into and hourglass and the last game begins as a challenge between the 2 guys with Ichigo and Renji under a 5 minute timeframe. Ichigo tries to use his *Bankai* but fails and reaches the 5 minute limit when the hourglass breaks and everything returns normal.
Ichigo finally realises it’s Urahara’s doing and shouts his name out.He appears and explains it was done on purpose to test him. He also states that Ichigo can’t use his *Bankai* now as he did in Soul Society as he only managed to gain it because of his feelings to save Rukia. Yoruichi, who has been investigating a few things with Soi Fong, interrupts the discussion to bring bad news.
It turns out that people’s souls have been getting sucked away by Bounds, a clan of humans possesing special powers just like the Quincys. Unlike the Quincys, who use their power to kill Hollows, Bounds have the ability absorb human souls whose bodies have died and can continue to live on forever, much like vampires. There hasn’t been sightings of them as they’re in small numbers but it turns out that this time, it’s much more dangerous as they’re sucking souls from living people.
As Ichigo and co. have spirit powers, they’re highly attractive targets for the Bounds and to protect them, Urahara assigns Ichigo, Chad and Inoue a *kaizou konpaku* each, with Ichigo taking Lirin, Chad with Nova and Inoue with Claude, who each puts them in dolls that are seen at the new ED, with Lirin in the bird one, Claude in the rabbit and Nova in the green man one, as the *kaizou konpaku* have the ability to detect the Bound’s spiritual forces.
Their peace doesn’t last long as the *kaizou konpaku’s* soon detect the Bounds. Inoue and Chad are lead by Claude and Nova to a warehouse where they find a souless body crumbling into dust and meet a guy Bound who comments they’re delicious but lets them off as he’s full. Ichigo confronts a woman Bound in an alleyway, who unleashes a seemingly indestructible flame being on him. In the fight, Ichigo gets trapped by some debris, with the being delivering the final blow, but he’s saved by none other than Rukia, suprising Ichigo ^_^.
Wow, I’m actually liking the filler arc right now. They concluded the *kaizou konpaku* arc quite satisfyingly, with a good explanation too. It is quite true that Ichigo gained his *Bankai* in record time and that would really make him quite unable to control his powers that well.
The Bound arc now is also looking quite good, mostly because of the *kaizou konpaku* group joining them now. I particularly like Lirin now, especially in her bird doll which is quite *kawaii* and suits her well. Her chemistry with Ichigo is also quite instant and they both somewhat hit it off together quite well. Nova fits Chad well too, seeing that they both are silent types and as for Inoue and Claude…. well… hehe :). In fact, they could easily intergrate the three of them for the next major arc as well.
Undoubtably now, the return of Rukia will make things interesting as I quite miss her too. Her *zanpakutou* should prove to be very useful against the flame being summoned in this episode, and I really want to see her **Sodeno Shirayuki** animated :)…. oops, did I just gave out a spoiler :P.
This special 1 hour episode also had 2 little omake’s in the end, the first with Soi Fong and Yoruichi, with Soi Fong trying to give Yoruichi a box of chocolates, seemingly because it’s Valentine’s Day, but fails. Soi Fong seems to be thinking that Yoruichi is more of a masculine figure here XD. The second one involves Ukitake and Hitsugaya, with Ukitake giving Hitsugaya a big Christmas-themed box of candies, making Hitsugaya ask Ukitake why is he so good to him, to which he replies that because they both have white hair ^_^;;;;.
Overall, I quite enjoyed this episode, even if the earlier filler arc ones weren’t that all good. Humour was in full swing this episode and there was quite some action put in as well. The next episode will be the build-up of the Bound arc and about Rukia return to Karakura City.