The Battle against Hō & Ban is a battle which initially takes place in Karakura Hospital, but eventually goes out into the streets of Karakura Town. It is the first true victory Ichigo Kurosaki and the others gain over the Bounts.
Ichigo Kurosaki and his friends go to see Uryū Ishida in the hospital, where he tells them about Yoshino Sōma and how it is forbidden for a Bount to consume a Human soul because of the imbalance in power it would create. Despite this, a Bount named Jin Kariya is trying to do just that, and Yoshino wants to stop him. Uryū, as a Quincy, is the key to Kariya's plan, and must be protected at all times, although he is not sure why they need him. When Ichigo wonders if they can trust her, Uryū reminds him she rescued and returned him safely. Kisuke Urahara decides to come up with a plan and the others go to see him off. While alone, Uryū thinks of how Yoshino's saddened eyes were like his mother's. Meanwhile, Ryō Utagawa asks Kariya if it is really all right to leave Yoshino alone, stating they have a deal and she will not leave him. Two young Bounts are in the room as well.
In hospital, a nurse, helping Uryū, tells him he is the only patient on this floor. When she gives him something to call her attention with, Uryū explains he is the only patient because his father owns the hospital. The others tell Uryū to get some rest. Later, Yasutora Sado wonders why the Bounts need a Quincy, creating some arguments between Ririn and Kon. Meanwhile, Hanatarō Yamada, having a job at a store, is amazed at how the Human World works. Hanatarō, sent to investigate a crash outside, finds Ganju Shiba, who has scared people off. Surprised, Hanatarō takes Ganju away before the police arrive.
With no enemies at the hospital, the group wonders if they should stay. The two young Bounts observe the lack of power their enemies have and the amount of resistance they will show. After a short argument between Rukia Kuchiki and Ichigo, Rukia notices a constant drip from a tap. As her attempts to stop it cause more water to flow from the sink, Lieutenant Renji Abarai and Orihime Inoue bring buckets to stop the water from the sink.
Orihime, noting the water, at its current rate, will overflow, suggests she gets a nurse. Orihime, hearing a noise coming from a room, opens the door for it, only for water to flow out everywhere from it. When Uryū suddenly wakes up, Ichigo tells him to just focus on sleeping. The Mod-Souls sense a Bount in the area, and Noba states there is a Doll. The overflowing water, taking on a mind of its own, begins attacking the group.
As Uryū, encased in the water, begins drowning, Sado tries to save him, but he is unable to get rid of the water with just his hands, so Ichigo frees him with his Zanpakutō. As the water continues to attack them, they run and try to use a towel to stop the water from coming under the door. The young Bounts state they should reveal themselves to their opponents soon. As the group runs away, more water confronts them. When Renji slashes it and it recedes, Orihime wonders if the water is some sort of Bount Doll. They decide to head downstairs.
When they are attacked by more water downstairs, Uryū states the Bounts must be controlling the water. As Ichigo attacks the water, Sado and Uryū, encased in water, begin drowning. Renji gets rid of the water, but they are quickly encased again. Warning everyone, Rukia fires a Hadō #31. Shakkahō at the water, successfully saving the two of them. As the group runs away, the Bounts state the Shinigami are making their task troublesome.
As the group checks a map to see where they can go, Uryū insists nobody else is being attacked because the Bounts are after him. When they decide to take the elevator, the Bounts decide to finish this soon. As Ichigo gets angry over the group hitting a dead end, they turn another way. When the group reaches a door guarded by Hō and Ban, the hallways grow dark. The Bounts summon their Dolls, Guhl and Günther, which prompts the group to escape.
Kurōdo reveals Noba's powers are limited while in plushie form, so he cannot get data on the Bounts. When the group comes to the elevators, water starts pouring out of them, forcing them to retreat. Renji and Rukia use Hadō #31. Shakkahō; however, they are not strong enough, so Ichigo uses a lighter and gas tank to destroy the water. As water is forced from the surrounding rooms, Renji and Ichigo stay behind to fight the water as the others head into the elevator to escape, encouraged to do so by Ichigo.
As the elevator descends, Ichigo and Renji continue to battle the Dolls, with Renji eventually releasing his Zanpakutō to keep up with the battle, but their efforts still fall short. When the elevator arrives at the bottom, Ichigo breaks the doors and the two of them jump down the shaft to escape. Reuniting with the others, they are stunned to see it is raining outside. Hō and Ban, reappearing, continue their assault on the group, combining their Dolls to finish their opponents. As the others begin to fight again, Ichigo demands Sado, Orihime, and Uryū escape.
Renji attacks with Zabimaru and Rukia fires Shakkahō, but they make little impact on the Water Dolls. As the water envelopes Ichigo and Renji, causing them to begin drowning, Sado and Orihime stop running and Rukia is encased. When Uryū insists they give him up, as he is becoming a burden to them, Ichigo, silencing him, demands the three of them escape as the Shinigami fight the Dolls. Orihime tries to object, but Sado convinces her otherwise, as they should protect Uryū, and they run away.
Meanwhile, Yoshino is at a store, where she is approached by Ryō Utagawa. He, requesting she return to Kariya, asks if she will deny the one she loves. Yoshino states love eventually grows old, especially when one is denied any sort of freedom. When Ryō hints Kariya is about to make his move, Yoshino is unconcerned, due to the self-reliant nature of the Bounts. When Ryō, wondering why Kariya tolerates her, says she seems unworthy, Yoshino, stating he is more naive than he looks, informs Ryō his lust for power will be his undoing.
Ganju is now working with Hanatarō, and they leave once their shift finishes, Ganju informs Hanatarō about Kūkaku Shiba sending him to investigate the strange presence in town. Hanatarō says Captain Retsu Unohana gave him the same order. Ganju senses a strange Reiatsu. Back at the hospital, Rukia frees everyone with another Shakkahō, but they are encased with water again. Ichigo is unsuccessful in using Zangetsu to free himself. They are freed when Hō and Ban decide to pursue Uryū instead of letting him get away.
As Sado and Orihime decide to get out of the rain and go to a nearby factory, a large ball of water arrives and attacks the three of them. When Sado drops Uryū during the battle, the water moves to attack him. Orihime uses Santen Kesshun, but the water eventually breaks through the shield. As Hō and Ban state they cannot escape, Sado, telling Noba and Kurōdo to protect Uryū, activates Brazo Derecha de Gigante and blasts the water, but is unable to do any damage to it. The Bounts, stating they cannot win in the rain, send their Dolls after them. Sado, trying over and over, is unable to destroy the water, so he attacks the Bounts who, evading the attack, state they have to stay together. Hō is hit by Sado which causes the water to stop and allows them to escape.
Meanwhile, the others run towards them, and Ichigo states the Bount twins will not attack them separately. He concludes they have to stay together to attack them, and if they want to win, they will have to separate them. At the Bount mansion, Maki Ichinose is shown reading a book as Gō Koga arrives, insisting it is too dark. As they disagree over this, Ichinose offers Koga tea, which he declines while asking where the others are. Ichinose reveals he is the first to show up.
When Sado's group arrives at the factory, Kurōdo points out it is leaking water. When Orihime notices Uryū's fever is worsening, Uryū states he does not want to be a burden to them anymore. Hō and Ban reappear and ask him to come with them. Sending their water Dolls in to grab Uryū, they begin strangling him to stop Sado from attacking them. Ichigo and the others, arriving, demand Uryū be released, but the Bounts state they should have left when they had the chance. They decide to show off their Dolls' true abilities.
A ball of water is sent towards Ichigo, but the Shinigami destroys it with a swing of his Zanpakutō. However, the bits of water, forming back together, coalesces on top of Ichigo's face. As the water does the same to everyone else, water goes into the mouths and noses of everyone. Hō and Ban reveal they can go into anywhere there is water, and that 70% of the Human body is water. As Hō and Ban order their Dolls to tear Ichigo and the others' bodies from the inside out, everyone begins suffering immense pain, and the mod-souls wonder what they should do. When Noba uses his powers to teleport Ban away from Hō, they try to get next to each other again, but Noba continues separating the two of them. This causes their Dolls' power to stop, and Ichigo and the others are saved from the water.
Ichigo realizes his deduction from earlier was correct, and they really do have to separate the two of them. Hō goes up to Ban, who is now unconscious due to falling a good distance because of Noba's teleportation, and tries to wake him up so they can continue the fight. As he does this, Ichigo, swinging his Zanpakutō at the water holding Uryū, saves the Quincy. Ichigo tells Hō he should just quit, since it is all over now, but Hō tries to fight by using his Doll alone. Rukia tries to dispatch the water with a Shakkahō, but her attack misses, and Hō uses the water to attack everyone. Rukia continues trying to attack the water with Shakkahō, but her attack is too weak and she is struck away by the water. Ganju breaks through a nearby wall with Seppa, and the sand from the wall, encasing the water, destroys it. When a shocked Ichigo sees Hanatarō is with him, he asks them what they are doing here. The water reforms to attack the group, but Ganju, throwing a firework at it, destroys the water.
As Hō and Ban grab onto their chests in pain, their bodies grow old and turn into dust, much to the shock of everyone else. Rukia states even though they looked like children, they were most likely very old and well past their limits; once their Dolls were lost, there was nothing left to hold them together, which is why they died. As Orihime realizes Uryū is missing, Uryū walks somewhere. At the Bount mansion, Ichinose and the rest of the Bount are together. As Kariya enters the room, Ichinose welcomes him back. Kariya, telling Ichinose he did a good job, asks Ryō where Hō and Ban are. When Ryō states they were most likely defeated, Kariya laughs.
- ↑ Bleach anime; Episode 71
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Bleach anime; Episode 72
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Bleach anime; Episode 73