As Mayuri showcases more of his inventions and Byakuya fights multiple enemies alone, the destructive battles between Gotei 13 against Sternritters get more heated with the arrival of zombie captains and the mind-controlling affection of Sternritter “L”.
Fiercer Extended Decisive Combat
One thing to immediately appreciate in this episode is how Pierrot takes the momentum of the battle to slip more action sequences that not only make the fights longer and more intriguing but more importantly, utilize the existing characters optimally and scale up the stakes for both conflicting sides.
Toshiro’s cold-blooded action to heavily injure Ikkaku, Yumichika, and even Mayuri is non-existent in the manga, and when the additional scenes are presented in the first act of the episode, it shows how powerful the 10th Division Squad Captain is, and how troublesome it can be when he sides with the enemy.
Another excellent addition is simple and short, yet pretty powerful and satisfying, especially for the long-time manga readers who have known that some Quincies are underused and wasted shamefully without proper conclusions. “Fodder” characters like Candice Catnipp, NaNaNa Najahkoop, and Robert Accutrone in particular are at least given brief spotlights in this episode to demonstrate their abilities and challenge Byakuya.
Controlling Sign of Love
Taking note of the design and lore of cupids, the episode also marks the debut of PePe Waccabrada, a Sternritter whose powers are pretty generic but quite becomes a scene-stealer due to his eccentric appearance and charm. Hooded with the label of “love”, this weird “old baby” man is capable of controlling and bending the mind of his targets to fall in love with him and do everything he commands.
The Ultimate Mad Scientist
As if the previous episode was not enough to solidify the brilliant and sinister mind of Mayuri Kurotsuchi, this episode gives us more proof of how slick, adaptive, and vigilant he is as the Head of the Research Unit. Not to forget his astute demeanor that allows him to fight back and overwhelm one of the most brilliant young captains in the history of Gotei 13.
His obsession with experiment and science has contributed massively to letting Gotei 13 overcome the most troublesome situation in the current battle and even turns the table around so living dead bodies can fight for him.
The main charms of Bleach for many people are the side characters who are extremely varied and its action sequences that are full of continuous back-and-forth counters. And that is exactly what is tremendously given in this episode, shifting focus for a while from the main characters, and solely exploring the deadly fights which involve a ton of side protagonists and antagonists that show their unique powers and abilities.