Bleach Episode #294 Anime Review

When dealing with a villain whose big ability is that of hypnosis, something that everyone seems to forget at times even after Aizen talks about it pretty often, everything you see is suspect. So when we see him getting a sword through his chest, the first instinct is to actually be thrilled that they got close enough to finally do him some damage. The second instinct is to panic over whether it's really true. What makes it worse is that Ichigo is the one who sees the reality of the situation and can't believe his eyes as Hitsugaya has thrust his sword right through Hinamori's chest, potentially mortally wounding her. Not that I give too much credence to anyone really dying in this series, though I always hope to be surprised.

While Bleach has built up some epic moments before and forced a number of them through the use of music and imagery where it didn't really have that kind of impact, the first few minutes of this episode are some of the best we've seen in this arc so far I think. Aizen has been hands off for so long until Ichigo really got on the scene and yet even when he does dirty his hands, he does it in a way that keeps him aloof and away from it. And even as Yamamoto takes Aizen on directly, essentially sacrificing many of the captains and other soul reapers in order to gain an advantage, Ichigo watches on as he seems to be frozen. Yamamoto's fight is certainly decent, though Aizen throws in a bit of a curve with his Wonderweiss creation, but it feels like more of a distraction than anything real. At a time when Yamamoto and Aizen are dealing directly with each other, it doesn't fit since you have Aizen saying ending Yamamoto will end all of the things he really has issue with. And even as aloof as he is, it's something you can see him dealing with personally.

Yamamoto's fight with Wonderweiss ends up proving more of a distraction than anything meaningful, which ends up detracting from an otherwise very engaging episode. It does allow Yamamoto to beef himself up again and dole out some justice as he views it, but in the end all it does is stretch things out a bit more and allows the focus to be taken off of Aizen. And with his hypnosis ability, that's a fatal move. The points Aizen tries to score here against Yamamoto end up feeling cheap, though not terribly out of line as Aizen is intent on destroying him and all he represents. There are several ways to do that and he's used a bit of straightforward attacks on him, but he's also using the psychological side as well and that provides the right kind of chink in Yamamoto's armor of the mind that can open him up to a whole lot more trouble.

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