The person who stabbed Starrk is indeed Shunsui who appears out of the shadow like a grim reaper. Injured, Lilynette convinces Starrk to finally become serious.

Shunsui explains he wasn’t trying to hide this ability of hiding in the shadows. It was just that Katen Kyoukotsu, his sword, didn’t feel like using Kageoni. He then goes on and explains that Katen Kyokotsu has the ability to turn children’s games into reality. Rules are decided by her (Katen Kyokotsu) and anyone who is in her domain has to play. In the previous game Takaoni, the person on higher ground wins, and now Kageoni, the person who gets his shadow stepped on loses. Winner lives, loser dies.

Shunsui attacks swiftly causing Starrk to fall back. He then asks if he killed the wolves will the damage go to him as they are a part of his soul, or will Lilynette disappear. Starrk doesn’t answer.

Lilynette comes up with a plan and asks Starrk to take the bait. He finally attacks, but using his games expertly Shunsui seems to have the upper hand, until Lilynette’s wolves step on his shadow and explode. Lilynette celebrates too soon as Shunsui appears above them and destroys the wolves and Lilynette.

As Shunsui and Starrk exchange blows Starrk thinks of his past and how he was jealous of the weak because they could stay in a group. But because of his strength, he was always alone, so alone that he split his soul into two to form Lilynette.

Finally thinking back on the fight, Starrk notices Shunsui’s movements are slower thanks to Lilynette’s attack. He also notices something’s wrong with the wound he received from a slash that was deep enough to slice through his arm. He is then able to work out the rules of this new game, Irooni. Cut the colour you have most of basically, I think anyway. Starrk starts with white and cuts Shunsui’s back. Shunsui comes back, takes off his haori and says, black. With a well-aimed high-damaging slash, Starrk falls.

We get a flashback of when Aizen invited Starrk to join him. And then we see Starrk falling and another flashback when he first sees Lilynette. And finally, Starrk hits the ground.

Finally, we move onto Halibel’s fight. Lisa releases her sword, Haguro Tonbo, a big spear from what I can gather. Hiyori releases her sword too, Kubikiri Orochi, a large saw-like cleaver. Outnumbered, Halibel is easily overpowered. Watching this, Aizen makes his move, and kills Halibel!

Hmm… I kinda felt Starrk was rather short-lived. For all that hype about being the top Espada he didn’t really impress me at all. His fight didn’t take as long as I thought, which is actually rather strange. I mean, I seem to remember it took a few chapters which I assumed that the anime would lengthen it a lot. His flashbacks seemed short too, thought it delivered the feelings it wanted to, at least I thought it did. It was kinda sad, not as sad as some other things, but pretty sad for an enemy death anyway. I get the feeling he wasn’t going all out, he was the top ranked Espada and he barely did much, I mean, alright so he injured two captain class soul reaper with hollow masks, but so what, Barragan seemed more powerful. Either the power system is screwed up like many say it is, or Starrk wasn’t going all out.

I’m presuming Starrk’s dead then? I really can’t tell since he just hit the ground like he did many a time before and his injury didn’t look that bad. Just sliced across the chest, I’m sure Kenpachi’s had much worse and still stood easily.

Also did anyone else notice how horrible the blood looked in this episode? Horrible as in it didn’t look like blood at all. Because all blood flies upwards in round drops and looks like maltesers…

So, an interesting episode then. Did not see that Aizen back-stabbing coming at all. He is a very unpredictable character, apart from him predicting everyone else. I also found Shunsui to be rather profound for once. Two arrancar deaths in one episode, now that’s rare. Guess it’s probably Halibel’s flashbacks next episode then we can get on with the Aizen fights. That’s if they don’t spring a filler, I’ll be really annoyed if they do.