Here we are at the 5th best episode of the series and it’s quite the battle. This was the episode when Ichigo goes all out to take on Byakuya. Time to go bankai!
Episode 58 – Unseal! The Black Blade, the Miraculous Power!
Episode 58 has Ichigo battling Byakuya and challenging him to use his bankai. The two of them represent two contrasting sides, Byukuya being the law and order of Soul Society while Ichigo represents a rebellion against the order (pushing for justice). Being pushed by Ichigo, Byakua goes into banki, using Senbonzakura Kageyoshi, which means 1000 cherry blossoms. Each one of the blossoms is a mini-blade that Byakuya can deploy with the movement of his hand, creating a devastating attack or can be used as a defensive weapon as well.
Ichigo struggles at first with this new attack, but as things begin look bad, Ichigo finally goes into his own bankai, which Byakuya can’t believe is even possible (its suppose to take years to learn it and then 10 more to master it). As the dust settles, Ichigo is standing with his new blade, Tensa Zangetsu, which is a slim black blade while Ichigo himself stands in a new black cloak. Byakuya can’t believe this is his bankai because it is such a small blade and no other great changes. Compared to other bankais it is quite small and not that dramatic (unlike others), but while its not as flashy as others, its speed and power set it apart. As Byakuya stands in disbelief, he attacks Ichigo with Senbonzakura, thinking it will defeat him easily, but Ichigo easily uses his speed to stop all 1000 blade and then comes right up to Byakuya, beating his perfect defense and nearly killing him. Ichigo steps back after stunning Byakuya, but the message is sent, Ichigo can truly see his moves.
The scene above it probably one of the best in the entire anime series. Ichigo, breaking through, with that determination while Byukuya and his beliefs being shattered, the unimaginable has become reality.