Hitsugaya Strikes! Slice the Enemy in the Middle of the Forest
Kanji 日番谷出撃!森の中の敵を斬れ
Romanji Hitsugaya Shutsugeki! Mori no naka no teki o kire!
Episode Number 97
Manga Chapters None
Arc Bount Assault on Soul Society arc
Previous Episode Ichigo・Byakuya・Kariya, The Battle of the Three Extremes!
Next Episode Clash! Kenpachi Zaraki vs. Maki Ichinose
Japanese September 19, 2006
English January 17, 2009
Theme Music
Opening Tonight, Tonight, Tonight
Ending Movin!!
Episode 97 Screenshots

Hitsugaya Strikes! Slice the Enemy in the Middle of the Forest is the ninety-seventh episode of the Bleach anime.

Ran'Tao reveals the reason for her resemblance to Yoshino Sōma as Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya faces off against Maki Ichinose.



The group discusses the situation with Daiji.

The leader of the Kusajishi Bulls, Daiji Hirasago, tells Ganju Shiba and the others Jin Kariya has already gathered a large amount of people, but Ganju, stating numbers alone will not defeat the Shinigami, says he will fight against the people of Kusajishi to make it easier for the Shinigami to fight, since they might hold back against people from Rukongai. Telling Daiji he will need his help for this, he asks him to gather up some comrades, but Daiji wonders why he wants to stop the Bounts. When Ganju states it is to help out a friend, Daiji says he will help him out. As Daiji introduces himself to the others, Yasutora Sado asks why he uses the nickname Kusajishi Bull. Daiji, saying he uses it because it sounds cool, calls his subordinates Ellie, Komae, and Max, telling them to gather as many people as possible.


The captains discuss Jin Kariya's motives over the explosions.

In Seireitei, Captain Shunsui Kyōraku, Captain Jūshirō Ukitake, and Lieutenant Nanao Ise watch over the reconstruction of a part of Seireitei. As Ukitake wonders why this part of Seireitei was destroyed, Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi and Lieutenant Nemu Kurotsuchi appear, Mayuri explaining it was probably destroyed so the Bounts could establish their presence in Soul Society. When Shunsui states if they simply fix this, the Bounts will not have accomplished anything, Mayuri, explaining this symbol of Seireitei's destruction can influence peoples' mentality whether it is fixed or not, realizes something and heads somewhere with Nemu.


Ran'tao explains things to Ichigo, Uryū and Ririn.

Ichigo Kurosaki, waking up screaming in Ran'Tao's house, stops when he notices some food in front of him. When Ririn asks Ichigo what he was dreaming about, Ran'Tao, entering the room, decides they should now eat. After eating, Uryū Ishida asks Ran'Tao about her face, revealing he knew a Bount named Yoshino who looked just like her, and Ran'Tao states Yoshino was probably a copy of her. When the others are confused, Ran'Tao reveals in her experiments, she and her group used their own souls to create artificial souls for the experiment, since they could not just use a real person. In the accident, the Artificial Souls were mixed with Human souls, creating the Bounts. She states since the Bounts had Shinigami souls in them, it is only natural for them to have such vast power. Uryū states this must be the reason why Bounts use Dolls in the same way Shinigami use Zanpakutō.


Kenpachi Zaraki moves out to confront Ichinose.

Continuing, Ran'Tao says their research of the artificial souls led to the discoveries of the false soul and the Kaizō Konpaku. When Ririn states the Bounts are her ancestors in a way, Ichigo realizes this must be why Ririn can sense the Bounts. When Ran'Tao asks Uryū where Yoshino is right now, Uryū tells her she was killed by Kariya. After a moment of silence, Ichigo states either way, they have to stop the Bounts. Meanwhile, at the 11th Division, Lieutenant Yachiru Kusajishi and Captain Kenpachi Zaraki leave to find Ichinose.

As the people from Kusajishi cut down trees and begin dragging them somewhere, Kariya tells them to rest for a while and listen to what he has to say. Kariya, saying he is impressed with the courage the people of Kusajishi have and they are now free from Soul Society, states they will take over Seireitei, but he needs their strength for it to work, and he prays for their safety in battle.


Ichinose on surveillance.

At the 12th Division, Mayuri figures out the one who got into Seireitei and set up the explosions was Ichinose. Showing Nemu records of Ichinose going through the Senkai Gate, sneaking into Soul Society, and trying to destroy his data, Mayuri states Ichinose's Zanpakutō allows him to manipulate light waves and become invisible, and the Bounts have the ability to hide their Reiatsu. Mayuri, stating if he had those abilities, he would definitely use them, states everything which happened in Seireitei was all Ichinose's doing, and he might have snuck other databases as well. Checking on his computer to see if he did and confirming it, Mayuri is shocked when he notices the Quincy Bangle. Realizing Ichinose put that into his data so he would notice it and give it to Uryū so he could bring the Bounts to Soul Society, Mayuri, realizing he has been used by the Bounts, begins to get angered.


Scout group moves in the forest.

Hitsugaya is with Lieutenant Renji Abarai when Lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto, appearing, tells Hitsugaya she has found the Bounts, who are in the interior of the Kusajishi forest. Hitsugaya, deciding they should head there, warns the others to try their best not to hurt the people of Kusajishi, since they are still people of Rukongai. When Rangiku asks Renji if his Zanpakutō has been healed up from his battle in the Human World, Renji tells her it is all right, since he will not need to use his Shikai against the people of Kusajishi. When Hitsugaya asks what he is going to do if he is confronted by a Bount, he does not give an answer, and Rangiku suggests in that situation, he should act as a messenger and run back to Seireitei.


Ichigo and Uryū leave Ran'Tao.

Ichigo and Uryū, deciding to leave to fight the Bounts, tell Ran'Tao they were informed by Orihime Inoue's Shun Shun Rikka of where the Bounts are hiding. When Uryū asks Ran'Tao what she is going to do, she says she has to make a few preparations. Remembering something, Ichigo asks Ran'Tao how long Uryū's Quincy Bangle will last. Ran'Tao states she does not know, but should it discharge, it will blow away everything in a considerable radius, including the user. Uryū states there is nothing he can do about that, and the two of them head out into the Kusajishi forest.


Bounts continue preparations.

As Gō Koga tells Kariya the preparations for attacking Seireitei are coming along nicely, Ichinose, appearing, informs Kariya several captain-level Shinigami are heading towards them. When Ichinose requests he stay behind and finish them off, Kariya allows it, since things will be much easier if he took care of those Shinigami now. While this is happening, Rangiku knocks out a person from Kusajishi, and Hitsugaya states there is no mistaking the Bounts are up ahead. When Rangiku states there should be more people from Kusajishi, Hitsugaya decides they should split up.


Hitsugaya and Ichinose clash.

Arriving where the Bounts were, Hitsugaya is confronted by a lone Ichinose. When Hitsugaya asks him where the Bounts are, he does not answer, and the two of them prepare to battle. As they fight, Hitsugaya asks Ichinose why he is helping the Bounts when he is so skilled. As Ichinose states he saw justice in Kariya's beliefs, Ichigo, Uryū, Renji, Rangiku, Orihime, Sado, and Ganju, along with the Kusajishi Bulls, appear at the battle. As all of them talk with each other, Hitsugaya wonders why the Bounts are not here. As Sado states one of the Bounts has the ability to manipulate dimensions, Ichinose tells them they are too late, as Kariya and the others are already on their way to Seireitei.


The Invasion begins.

As this is happening, Yoshi and Mabashi confront the gate guarding Danzōmaru, while Koga confronts the Gatekeeper Jidanbō Ikkanzaka, summoning his Doll against him. Later, the people of Kusajishi, running towards Seireitei, use the trees they cut down as a way of opening the gates. As this happens, Kariya, standing in front of one of the gates, smiles.

Shinigami Illustrated Picture Book

At the Shinigami Women's Association, Rangiku hands out souvenirs from the Human World to everyone. When Nanao is handed a swimsuit, Rangiku explains Shunsui requested it, angering Nanao.

Characters in Order of Appearance



Powers and Techniques Used

Shinigami techniques:

Zanpakutō released:


Dolls Summoned:

  • Goethe (ゲーテ, Gēte) (flashback)
  • Baura (バウラ) (flashback)
  • Dalk (ダルク, Daruku)


Ichigo・Byakuya・Kariya, The Battle of the Three Extremes!Clash! Kenpachi Zaraki vs. Maki Ichinose