From the back cover:
Orihime’s return from the Soul Society is interrupted by the Arrancar Ulquiorra, who has a different, terrifying path for her. Using duplicitous tactics, Ulquiorra convinces Orihime to accompany him to Hueco Mundo, which brands her as a traitor in the Soul Society’s eyes and therefore unworthy of rescue. Ichigo refuses to abandon his friend, and sets out to storm Hueco Mundo to set her free! But can he win when the entire world is against him?!
I can’t deny that on basic facts alone, the abduction of Orihime and the battle to get her back is very similar to the arc where Rukia was imprisoned in the Soul Society. That doesn’t stop it from being entertaining, though.
There are many, many cool things in this volume. Ulquiorra seems genuinely menacing for the first time as he orders Orihime to come with him: “Don’t say a word except yes. If you say anything else, I’ll kill. But not you.” Orihime comes off as terrifically valiant when she protects her Soul Reaper “guards.” Hitsugaya, Rukia, Chad, and Uryuu are also given the opportunity to show off their improved skills.
The real heart of the volume, though, is Orihime’s goodbye to Ichigo. Ulquiorra has given Orihime twelve hours before she must join him at a specified rendez-vous point. She can say goodbye to one person, but must wear a bracelet that renders her invisible to everyone but Arrancars, and chooses Ichigo, who is recovering from his injuries. In typical Orihime fashion, she tries to put an upbeat spin on things, which only serves to make it more touching.
Final, incredibly random note: the subtitle to this volume is “goodbye, halcyon days,” a phrase my brain has set to the tune of Elton John’s “Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road.”