The Soul Society: The Rescue arc is the third season of the Bleach anime series. In the English adaptation of the anime released by Viz Media, the title of the season is translated as The Rescue. The episodes are directed by Noriyuki Abe and produced by TV Tokyo, Dentsu, and Studio Pierrot. The episodes are based on Tite Kubo's Bleach manga series over twenty-two episodes. The episodes' plot centers on Ichigo Kurosaki's and his friends' efforts to save Soul Reaper Rukia Kuchiki from execution by her superiors in Soul Society.
The season initially ran from July 26, 2005, to January 10, 2006, in Japan on TV Tokyo. The English adaptation of the season began airing on July 21, 2007, on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming block. On October 14, 2007, the Bleach anime went on a hiatus; episodes resumed airing on March 2, 2008, and finished airing on May 11, 2008.
The episodes use four pieces of theme music: two opening themes and two ending themes. The opening theme for the first ten episodes is "D-TecnoLife" by Uverworld; the other episodes of the season use "Ichirin no Hana" by High and Mighty Color. The two ending themes are "HappyPeople" by Skoop on Somebody, used from episode 42 to 52, and Yui's "Life", which was used for the remainder of the episodes.
Orihime decides that the quickest way to get to Rukia is for she and Uryu to disguise themselves as Soul Reapers.
Orihime and Uryu, dressed as Soul Reapers, are offered help by Squad 12, but Uryu quickly realizes that the jig is up and the offer is a trap.
The captain decides that rather than kill Uryu, he wishes to capture him and study his distinctive abilities.
Yoruichi trains Ichigo in the finer points of using his zanpaku-to...
Momo recalls her days at the Soul Reaper Academy, where she met and trained in the World of the Living...
Momo, Renji and Kira have all escaped.
In her holding cell, Rukia has a dream that she believes is to help her prepare for the next day's events.
In her dream, Rukia recalls her time spent training under Lieutenant Kaien and Captain Ukitate.
In the world of the living, Don Kanonji tries to up the ratings of his television show by recruiting Kon as the mascot of his show.
Preparations are underway for Rukia's execution...
While Ichigo continues his Bankai training, Renji emerges from his to try and save Rukia.
As Rukia Kuchiki is being lead to her execution, she is stopped by the ever-devious Gin Ichimaru. Just when Rukia has prepared herself for death, her concentration is broken by Gin's offer to let her live...
Rukia stands on the Sokyoku at the brink of her execution, not knowing that help is on the way.
While Renji hurries to get Rukia out of harm's way, Ichigo stays behind to hold off Byakuya Kuchiki.
Captain Ukitake and Captain Kyoraku face the punishment meted out by Head Captain Yamamoto's Zanpakuto.
Fueled by anger and feelings of abandonment and betrayal, Soi Fon persists in her attempt to destroy her former master Yoruichi Shihouin, but her abilities may be hampered by her cocksure attitude.
The fierce battle between Ichigo and Captain Byakuya rages on. Ichigo taunts Byakuya and demands that he use his Bankai against him...
Byakuya Kuchiki may have been impressed by the power exerted by Ichigo, the substitute Soul Reaper, but he's not done fighting yet.
Central 46 is the highest judicial body in the Soul Society. After breaking into Central 46, Captain Hitsugaya and Rangiku discover that the forty Sages and six Judges were slaughtered days earlier.
After defeating Hitsugaya, Captain Aizen heads for the Execution Grounds. Renji is dumbfounded as he finds himself facing Captains Aizen, Ichimaru, and Tossen at Sokyoku hill...
Furious after hearing the news of the defection of three captains, Sajin Komamura arrives at the Sokyoku ready to beat the treachery out of Aizen and his lackeys.
Peace returns as the Soul Society recuperates from the deep wounds left by the treachery of Captain Aizen and his partners in crime. Captain Komamura and Lieutenant Hisagi visit the graves of fallen comrades...
Ichigo and his friends have returned from the Soul Society and are finally able to get back to their "normal" lives.
Ichigo and his friends meet at school and set out to look for Orihime the day after her disappearance.
After Chad's kidnapping, Ichigo and the others go to Urahara to explain their predicament.
Chad and Orihime are rescued, but when Lirin tells them that one of their friends has been replaced by an impostor, they realize that the game is not over.
Lirin sets in place a giant gate that begins to devour everything in Karakura Town. The only way to have Chad released and save the town is to destroy the gate.