Omg omg omg!! After 2 episodes of boring disappointing lack of awesomeness/action, the animation team actually comes back from the new year with such an epic episode of massive proportions! It's almost hard to believe!
Okay, so, it starts off with Ichigo calling out Byakuya's name--like he's been doing since the start of the series, and Rukia going "Nii-sama!" which figures, because Ichigo can't be the ONLY person to state the obvious.
And then, Kouga gives a detailed description of Byakuya's accessories.
"That silvery-white windflower scarf...and those kenseikan"
Ahahahahahahahaha! Omg, I bet you five bucks Kouga was jealous that he didn't get to wear a scarf like Ginrei's!! Why else would he give three different adjectives about it?!
Ginrei: ..And now, as a part of the Kuchiki-clan, we will present you with the official Kuchiki scarf.
Kouga: *thinking* O EM GEE! I finally get to wear the scarf that costs ten houses! I finally get to put it on! This is what I've been waiting for!!
*finally gets scarf*
Kouga: WHAT?! It's RED?! Wh-where's the silvery-white windflower one?!
Ginrei: *laughs* that's for born and bred Kuchiki's ONLY. Did you honestly think we were going to let you wear THAT one?
Kouga's self-esteem: *shatters*
And there you go. The REAL reason why he rebelled.
So Byakuya introduces himself as the 28th head of the Kuchiki clan, and his hair decides to introduce itself as well by blowing out. And Kouga kind of realizes that A LARGE AMOUNT OF UNSPECIFIED YEARS have passed, even though in the flashbacks Ginrei doesn't look a day younger than what he looked like in TBTP. Ah, plotholes <3
But Kouga's a good son-in-law, and makes sure to ask about his old man and, you know, how DEAD he actually is. Byakuya is not pleased about hearing such inquiries about his grandpappy, and tells Kouga as much. Kouga is not pleased to hear that Ginrei might still be living.
OH HELLO THAR SENBONZAKURA!!!
So Sen is here to be a good boy and actually fill in all the blanks SINCE THE FIRST EPISODE.
So you know the whole dramatic scene where Byakuya gets swallowed by the pretty pink petals of d00m?! Turns out they continued their fight in whatever dimly lit place they were fighting in. There's a few scenes where it looks like they're fighting with lightsabers, and then Byakuya shoots a kido blast at Senbonzakura breaking a teeny bit of his mask and that causes him to come out of Muramasa's spell.
Okay, so wait, EVERYONE ELSE had to bare their souls to their zanpakuto and some had to actually stab them in order to get them back, but Byakuya only has to break a little bit of Senbonzakura's mask, and suddenly he wakes up?! What a cheap copout!
But Senbonzakura calls Byakuya 'master' <33 aww, I liked that. And their dialogue was awesome! Byakuya actually asked him 'what happened to you' as though it honestly shook him up that his own Zanpakuto rebelled against him!!
And then Senbonzakura tells him all about following his instincts, and Byakuya's like, "I thought so!"
So then we get another flashback during the time when Ginrei was still head of the 6th and Byakuya was all grown up, telling him that it's his sacred duty to kill Kouga should the seal ever be broken. Byakuya, being the cautious man that he is, decides NOT to take his wise-old grandfather's word for it, for fear that Ginrei might be going senile, and instead decides to check out the library. Except Byakuya remembered that he forgot to return a book he borrowed once, so instead had to go to all the trouble of knocking out the guards to sneak in.
Learn from Byakuya kids: Never forget to return a library book.
Rukia: *is in shock*
Ichigo: *is not buying it*
So Ichi says something like, BUT YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO KEEP IT A SECRET D:!! Poor Ichigo felt bad cause he was left out of the party.
So Senbonzakura tells him that HAD to keep it a secret, because killing Muramasa would've been absolutely pointless. I mean, after all, killing the thing that started this whole rebellion thereby freeing the Zanpakuto from Muramasa's control and letting everyone go back to their happy, normal, everyday lives is just RIDICULOUS. This matter has to be handled Kuchiki Style.
Then he tells them some stuff about how he pretended to still be brainwashed, and he wasn't succeeding in finding out where Kouga was so that's why Byakuya joined them despite how betrayed everyone wou--
Fangirls: WAIT A MINUTE. So you mean all that sexual tension between Byakuya and Senbonzakura was for FAKE?!?!?!
ahhh, there is justice in this world ♥
Anyway, so then Kouga and Byakuya exchange snippy remarks, in which Byakuya unceremoniously announces that he can't let Kouga live anymore, because he totally ruined their credit line and now they can't even apply for a mortgage so he can buy himself another silvery-white windflower scarf to have on hand in case his current one gets dirty and the 24 hour dry clean isn't open.
Kouga gets ticked off cause Byakuya keeps reminding him about how he only has a stupid red scarf, and tells him that he's going to fight him and claim HIS silvery-white windflower scarf for himself. And Byakuya's just kind of like, "BRING IT!"
And just when it looks like things are about to get heated, Muramasa interrupts by begging Kouga to use him so he'll have more screentime. And really, this is honestly starting to sound like a soap opera.
"Kouga, use me! My powers are always with you!" *sparklesparkleheartshearts*
Okay, starting to sound like a really BAD soap opera.
So Kouga does the unthinkable, and breaks his sword with his own hand. Everyone's in SHOCK.
Actually, I feel kind of bad for Muramasa at this point. He reminds me of Kira a little bit. Except Kira got burnt and learnt his lesson, but Muramasa didn't.
Anyway, then something funky happens with Muramasa, and for a minute you think he's either going to explode or turn into some grosteque sort of monster. Neither happens, instead it turns out he just had to retch, and threw up all the menos grande that he ate. Silly Muramasa. Menos Grande are for kids--I mean, arrancar...
So then Byakuya gets ready to show off HIS TRUE POWERS and goes to destroy the menos, except Ichigo goes and destroys them instead. Bya-bya's just like, "Ichigo!" and Ichi's like, "Look Byakuya, ever sine the start of this filler-arc, it's all been about YOU. Even Rukia's been too busy worrying about you to fret over me like she usually does! So just go and kill Kouga so that we can end this filler arc and get back to the show, and finally focus on what's important. Namely, ME."
Byakuya isn't too thrilled about being reminded that soon his Filler Arc of Glory was going to end, but then Rukia shows up! And awww! <33 Look at that smile she gave him, LOOK AT IT!! If I was a ByaRuki shipper, I'd be squeeing like no tomorrow. As I'm not...let's just move on.
Finally the action starts, and it's Byakuya vs. Kouga! [dingding]
Aaaaaaand we've got Byakuya in the left field, fighting against Kouga. Kouga's taken one of the swords used to imprison him, and he and Byakuya are going head to head! They fight! They cross swords and it looks like Byakuya has the advantage! He's coming in for the kill but---oooh, Kouga dodges at the last second! Looks like Kouga doesn't want to depart with his dearly beloved gag that makes it look like he's constantly being gassed. (srsly, why did he never bother taking the rest of it off? He looks like a clown!) And now it seems Kouga's more determined than ever to defeat Byakuya! It looks like he managed to catch his sword in the tsuba, he's swinging it around, and is he going to actually cut off Byakuya's hair?! No! Byakuya dodges at the last second, what a CLOSE AND NEEDLESSLY DRAMATIC CALL! But what's this? Kouga's decides to use kido! He attacks with some previously unkown never before heard of fireblast, but Byakuya counters with soukatsui! The attack is negated! But Kouga isn't giving up so easily, he's blasting some weird green lazer beams, but Byakuya dodges magnificently, even stopping long enough to strike a dramatic pose! Then he counters with white lightning! Kouga doesn't look to happy about this, and--he's attacking from behind! But Byakuya uses a binding kido to protect himself, thereby causing the ice storm to freeze everything BUT him.
Now, I just want to say, I watched the raw first, and because I don't understand a stitch of Japanese, I had no clue what was going on. So when I saw everything turned to ice, for a minute I got REALLY REALLY excited and thought this meant that Sode no Shirayuki was back! And then when she didn't turn up after five minutes, I was crushed, because it looks like we won't be seeing her until the end of the filler arc.
Yeah, everything turns to ice, menos get destroyed on contact (who knew ice was there weakness), and bya-bya's shield cracks. So now, after freeing himself from the ice, Byakuya's just like, "your kido is no match for my Senbonzakura" and Kouga is not pleased with this.
So they fight a little more, and then suddenly Byakuya goes stiff, and it turns out that Kouga's got him trapped and bound with invisible strings that are only seen reflected in the ice. Like what Muramasa did to Shirosaki. So Kouga's all like, "Mwahahahahahaha! Now I've got you
Then Senbonzakura goes in for the kill, but Kouga uses his sword to stave him off, and then Byakuya comes from behind and BIFURCATES him, and I have to say, that was really kind of gross how they showed the two parts seperating with all the blood and gore.
But anyway, then, as Kouga is splitting into two, Byakuya catches sight of ANOTHER Kouga right in front of the bifurcated one! The bifurcated Kouga fades, and Byakuya's left with this BLANK look on his face ♥♥♥ omg, I've never seen him look so DUMBFOUNDED before!! ahahaha I love this filler arc <3
And then, AND THEN, Kouga comes from behind, AND HE SLASHES BYAKUYA. But wait, there's more! BYAKUYA ACTUALLY BLEEDS!!
Oh, happy day, happy day! I've been waiting for this to happen since the filler arc started!! Byakuya then STUMBLES and Kouga comes after him again! But once more, Byakuya slashes, and once more, Kouga fades away, only to STRIKE HIM AGAIN!
This totally makes up for the time Kenpachi struck him and he didn't bleed <33
So Byakuya's pretty ticked off now, because it looks like he got blood on his silvery-white windflower scarf, and Senbonzakura just informed him that the 24-hour dry cleaners shut down. He demands to know what's going on.
Kouga: Do you honestly think an anime filler arc will pass without the main villain revealing some sort of haxx0r ability? Fooooooolish Kuchiki Byakuya. I can control all your FIVE SENSES.
Byakuya: An illusion then.
Kouga: It's so much more than an illusion. But don't get this mixed up with Kyoka Suigetsu's ability. The animators are sooo not ripping off from a different villain's power.
Then to demonstrate, he throws whatever was left of the sword Senbonzakura shredded at Byakuya, who tries to block it. But of course he blocked an illusion, and the real one hit him. And I laughed. (if someone would icon for me that scene, I would like, love you forever~~~)
So then Kouga tells Byakuya that right now his depth perception doesn't match his reach with that sword, and now he can't fight anymore, and then there's a close up of Byakuya's face reflected in the ice, and he actually looks..kind of nervous. I wouldn't say scared per se, but I've never seen him with that expression before, like as if he's almost...helpless. ♥
But of course, next second, Byakuya gets a grip on himself, and slips back into his expressionless face, as Kouga continues on to describe his haxx ability. Then he says that if Byakuya had closed his heart like Ginrei and Yamaji (♥♥) did, he wouldn't've been able to control his senses like that.
Kouga: "You let your guard down because I broke Muramasa"
Byakuya: "No, I challenged you without closing my heart first so I could kill you."
Oooooooooooh, Kouga, you just got OWNED.
So Kouga, understandably, is very ticked off, and he picks up another sword that was used to seal him away and throws it at Byakuya, just as he prepares to release Senbonzakura. He manages to KNOCK Senbonzakura out of Byakuya's hands, while catching his left arm with the tsuba, and then Kouga throws another sword, catching his right arm with the tsuba, and then he does his 'ice storm' kido attack thing and even though Byakuya does his shield thing, because his senses are thrown off, he blocks the wrong way, and Kouga FREEZES him halfway. So while Kouga makes fun of bya-bya for not being able to do anything without his Zanpakuto, Byakuya STRUGGLES to get out, which is SO awesome to watch, I mean, seriously!!
Then Kouga says how he's so awesome, he's going to steal Byakuya's silvery-white windflower scarf and the whole world will bow down to him. Byakuya is not pleased that his scarf is about to get stolen.
Kouga goes in for the kill with his sword, and really, you have to admire how Byakuya's not even flinching despite that he's about to have his right eye gouged out. (Just goes to show this is all fiction. No one in real life would ever be able to stand there so calmly just as they're about to lose an eyeball.) And then, and then, JUST as the sword is about to make contact with his cornea, IT'S SENBONZAKURA TO THE RESCUE!!
No, really, I absolutely adore this scene <33 Byakuya looks so shocked, he TOTALLY wasn't expecting Senbonzakura to come to his aid like that! That expression, and when he said "Senbonzakura" like he just couldn't believe it...awwww <33333 And the way he looks at Sen as he tells him he'll be his eyes and all that crap, omg, can someone icon that for me? Pretty please?? I'm all warm and fuzzy inside from that scene n.n
But that's not all that happens! Kouga's getting jealous of all the bonding that's going on, and says that he'll take control of Senbonzakura too! And Byakuya's all like, "I WON'T LET YOU!" and goes BANKAI!!
And you know, for a minute there, the swords actually look really imposing when they rise from the ground. But then a second later they turned pink, and that just took away any kind of intimidating effect they may have had. And then they scatter, but instead of attacking Kouga, they SURROUND him, and-can it be?! Is it really senken?! YES IT'S SENKEN!
Now, I have no problem with them making Byakuya go all-out, but honestly, I think they overdid it with introducing senken. WE KNOW WHAT IT MEANS WHEN HE RELEASES IT, YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE SO DRAMATIC!
Then Byakuya explains how this is Sen's true form blah blah blah, and then he says "...and focuses everything into defeating our enemy."
Anyway, so then Kouga's all like, "Your PINK swords don't scare me, I'll still defeat you and get your scarf" and then he starts to GLOW.
And then Byakuya raises one of his blades and HE starts to GLOW.
And I am seriously having a Star Wars moment here. It's not helping that their swords are GLOWING too, making them look like lightsabers.
And then, after a few seconds of just staring at each other, they START!
Bob: Wow, I've gotta say, they timed that perfectly!
Debra: They certainly did. Just look at that concentration! Did you see that double-axel they performed? I've never seen one pulled off so gracefully!
Bob: *chuckle* Guess they aren't Kuchiki's for nothing. I heard that the scarf's their secret, what do you have to say about it Debra?
Debra: *laughs* Scarf? Please. The Kuchiki's are well-known for their abilities and talents in just about any area. No way a mere scarf can give them the talent to succeed.
Bob: Oh? What's this? It looks like Kuchiki Byakuya froze momentarily.
Debra: Oh my, this can't be good. What happened? Do you think it's nerves?
Bob: No, wait, he's back in action again. The judges don't seem to happy though, let's hope Kuchiki Kouga can make up for his partner's slack.
Debra: Hm..they seem to be talking to each other. Oh, it looks like Kuchiki Byakuya just tried attacking his partner!
Bob: What the hell? Weapons aren't allowed in the Olympics! This is something that can get them disqualified!
Debra: It certainly can. Though, perhaps if they tried bribing the judges with one of their silvery-white windflower scarves, they might get away with it.
ON THE ICE.
So Kouga's getting pretty frustrated because it turns out Byakuya's more than he can chew, and says as much. Then he asks him WHY he's so powerful, and Senbonzakura answers it's because of TEAMWORK! DATTEBAYO!
Now, I'm really, REALLY thrilled at all this bonding and stuff, but I'm just a liiiiiittle ticked off that it was Senbonzakura saying all the stuff about Shinigami and Zanpakuto being BFF's and all that. But I guess in a way it's poetic justice, because Kouga scorned his Zanpakuto, and now a Zanpakuto is the one to reproach him.
Then Kouga gets all emotional and starts saying how it isn't really HIS fault, it's because no one acknowledged him, blahblahblahblahblah, his low self-esteem, blahblahblahblahblah, how all he really wanted was for Ginrei to acknowledge him--and give him a silvery-white windflower scarf, blahblahblahblahblah. You know, I always have to marvel at what any of this kind of stuff HAS TO DO WITH ANYTHING and if it's REALLY GOING TO MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE AT THIS POINT.
Well, maybe to a sap like Ichigo it would, but not Byakuya ♥
And then Byakuya says something like, "You fail to see where true power lies" and for a minute I got SO excited, because I thought that we were about to hear him say something like, "true power lies in the bond you share with your Zanpakuto" or SOMETHING like that, but instead he says, and I quote:
"The power you needed...was the ability to communicate with others as well as your Zanpakuto."
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! [insert rofl icon here] Omg, RIGHT Byakuya, because you're SO GOOD AT COMMUNICATION that RUKIA didn't spend the last FORTY YEARS in your manor ALL BY HERSELF to and never had a CONVERSATION with her.
Oh my gd, I think I nearly busted a gut because I was laughing so hard.
ANYWAY, so then Kouga proves himself worthy of the Kuchiki name by saying he never needed to communicate with anyone, cause he's so *speshul* and all that. Then Byakuya says he's going to kill him, and he releases Senbonzakura's third form.
Bob: Would ya look at that, Debra! Looks like the Kuchiki's decided to add in some special effects!
Debra: No kidding! Kuchiki Byakuya looks like he has wings! What do you think they're going to do?
Bob: I don't know, but I have to wonder if Kuchiki Kouga is going to be able to top that!
Debra: It looks like he's starting! He's yelling and the ice is starting to break!
Bob: He sounds like he's constipated!
Debra: I think he's going Super Saiyin!
Bob: What the hell does any of this have to do with figure skating?!
Debra: I don't know, but they're going head to head now! Kuchiki Byakuya is flying!
Bob: It's good vs. evil!
Debra: So many things are hanging in the balance!
Bob: Will Kuchiki Byakuya win? Will peace finally be restored? Who will win this battle? Who will emerge victorious?
Debra: Most of all, who will end up with the silvery-white windflower scarf?!
Bob&Debra: Find out, next week!
Just two things (omg, I can't believe I've been typing this up for the last two hours >>):
The previews for the next episode was AWESSOOOOOME! No, I don't mean the actual preview itself, but the voice overlay. So Ginrei's all like, "I realize I was too strict with Kouga. With Byakuya I let him do whatever he wants, and look at how he turned out. It's tough raising them right"
So then Ichigo's like, "You know, there are books about how to raise kids in the human world."
And Byakuya's like, "DON'T PUT IDEAS INTO MY GRANDFATER'S HEAD!" D< D< D<
wahahahaha, that was just awesome.
And the Shinigami Golden Cup was hilarious. Basically Chad was thinking about materialized zanpakuto, and Ishida's like, 'don't feel too bad, I bet you can talk to your weapon too! Look, I can do it!' so Ichigo's behind Ishida, and he's talking in this deep voice (that makes him sound like Sandaime from the NAS) all about how he's right and that they can totally communicate, and Uryuu's all like, "SEE? ♥♥♥" and then Ichigo says, "You have another weapon, don't you? It also wants to talk to you!" And Ishida gets all excited because he thinks it might be the Seele Schnieder! And then Ichigo tries talking Chad into doing Seele Schnieder's voice, and Chad's just like, "No way man."
Oh, and I think I might have just started to like Byakuya's character a little bit.
if you REALLY read through all of this...um...*sparklesparkleheartshearts*