Bleach episode 361 was brilliant, there is no other way of describing it. When Bleach is still pulling out episodes of this quality it makes the fact it is being cancelled soon even harder to accept. But regardless, on to the review itself!
Let me start by saying that I knew this episode would be great before I even watched it. Being a Manga reader I already knew what was coming, but this was still the part I was most looking forward to seeing being animated. As you can see, Rukia was sporting a new look in her return in this episode, and despite the return of the captains at the end being badass, at the end of the day I couldn’t resist using the Rukia pic what with her being one of my favourite characters from the series.
But yes, this episode was fantastic. After last week when it looked like all was lost, the way Rukia returned alongside the other Shinigami (as well as Isshin and Urahara finally showing what they have been doing in secret all this time) to help Ichigo regain his powers and fight the cunning Ginjo was brilliant. Ginjo plays the role of a villain very well, after stabbing Ichigo through the chest and stealing his Fullbring, he shows no sympathy or compassion for Ichigo who at first is left helpless on the ground crying in anguish over all his hard work and desire to protect his friends coming to nothing.
I love the scene with Ichigo clearly being emotionally overwhelmed at everything that has happened, and crying not through the pain of being slashed and stabbed by a giant sword, but instead crying over the anguish of not being able to protect those he cares for the most. That said, he does soon snap out of it, and despite being unarmed and having no powers, he still has the courage and determination to demand Ginjo give him his powers back. Obviously Ginjo doesn’t, but then when Ichigo is stabbed through the chest from behind by who he thinks is his father Isshin and Urahara, who he obviously assumes are betraying him too, it is such a damn brilliant moment when then he finds out that it is his old friend Rukia who has come and is actually helping him.
Then of course, Ichigo gets his powers back and also has a badass new look. In fact, most of the returning characters in this episode were looking a bit different to the last time we saw them. I personally love Rukia’s new look and hairstyle, but I know a lot of people didn’t when it was shown in the Manga, so feel free to leave a comment below on your thoughts on the new look characters.
I remember well the epic line Ichigo delivered in the Manga for this part too – “That wasn’t a Getsuga Tensho, that was a practice swing.”
In the Anime it was worded slightly different, but it was so damn amazing all the same. A mere swing of his sword hurt Ginjo a lot and looked impressive, but then when Ichigo actually uses Getsuga Tensho and slices the mansion in half (as well as slicing through all the clouds in the sky) was one of the most truly epic things ever seen in Bleach as a whole.
If you like Bleach, watch this episode. If you have only read the Manga version, watch this episode at the very least. And if you’re a fan of any of the Shinigami Captains, you have to watch this too. This was a truly fantastic episode and one of the best episodes in Bleach I can remember, so if you ever were (or still are) a fan of Bleach, or Shonen series as a whole for that matter, then do yourself a favour and check this episode out asap.