Ichigo Kurosaki & Hollow Ichigo vs. Zangetsu & Muramasa is a battle which takes place during the Zanpakutō Rebellion. It focuses on Ichigo Kurosaki and his inner Hollow's battle against Muramasa and Zangetsu after the former loses access to the latter's power.
A surprised Ichigo asks Muramasa if he said he was a Zanpakutō Spirit. Confirming this, Muramasa tells Sode no Shirayuki she should leave for now and leave this to him, prompting Sode no Shirayuki to thank him before moving away. Running forward, Ichigo tells Sode no Shirayuki to wait, prompting Muramasa to ask him if he is going somewhere. When Muramasa refers to him by his full name, Ichigo stops and asks Muramasa how he knows his name, only for Muramasa to state this is not important right now. Confused by this, Ichigo asks Muramasa what he is up to.
When Muramasa reveals he wishes to release all Zanpakutō Spirits from the Shinigami, Ichigo angrily proclaims Muramasa is the one behind all of this. Ichigo states Muramasa knows how Rukia Kuchiki can get her Zanpakutō Spirit back and tells him to start talking, only for Muramasa to ask Ichigo what a Zanpakutō Spirit is. As Ichigo expresses surprise, Muramasa explains how Zanpakutō Spirits are individual souls which are born in the hearts of Shinigami, draw their power from the same place as their Shinigami master, and are intertwined with their master's soul.
Saying a Shinigami must reach deep into themselves to find the power hidden within, Muramasa states they commune with their Zanpakutō, bond together, and harness their power by learning their names. Muramasa notes certain Shinigami can gain even more power by manifesting an incarnation of their Zanpakutō and controlling it before stating that they wield the mighty Bankai. Pointing out how Ichigo and the captains have done this, Muramasa states living alongside Shinigami is not the only way for a Zanpakutō Spirit to exist. When Ichigo asks Muramasa what he is talking about, Muramasa reveals every Zanpakutō Spirit has its own free will like Ichigo does.
As Ichigo expresses confusion, Muramasa claims Zanpakutō Spirits are not dependent on Shinigami and states that they are two distinct and equal beings before asking Ichigo if this is so hard to believe. Muramasa proclaims this is more proof of how arrogant Shinigami are, prompting Ichigo to say this is not true. Claiming the blindness of the Shinigami is why he is here, Muramasa reveals he understands how the Zanpakutō Spirits think, sees into their souls, and grants physical form to those who join him, causing Ichigo to state this is impossible.
Muramasa reveals any Zanpakutō Spirit who answers his call will become liberated from their Shinigami and manifest in the real world as their true form before stating that this power is the gift which he alone possesses. When Ichigo asks him why the Zanpakutō Spirits would listen to him, Muramasa says they do so because ignorant people like Ichigo have oppressed them for so long. Stating Muramasa is wrong, Rukia says what he is claiming is not the truth and states that she has never looked down on Sode no Shirayuki as her inferior before collapsing as Ichigo calls out to her. However, Muramasa says Rukia's Zanpakutō Spirit does not share her opinion before stating Sode no Shirayuki has confirmed what he is saying.
When Rukia attempts to get up, Muramasa tells her there is no need to push herself and says Rukia has served her purpose well before asking her if she truly believed she was able to escape to the Human World on her own. Rukia expresses surprise as Muramasa reiterates his objective of freeing all Zanpakutō Spirits from their Shinigami before stating there are no exceptions. When Muramasa says he needed Ichigo to find his way here in order to accomplish this, Ichigo realizes Muramasa used Rukia for his plan as Muramasa welcomes Ichigo to his world. Rukia calls out to Ichigo, who tells her to stay there and rest while he handles Muramasa. Turning to Muramasa, Ichigo proclaims there is no way he will get away with this before stating they should take this elsewhere. Muramasa agrees, and the two move away.
Muramasa appears on a roof as Ichigo falls towards him and prepares to attack. Manifesting his Zanpakutō form in his hand, Muramasa blocks Ichigo's attack and pushes him away. As he lands on top of a wall, Ichigo leaps towards Muramasa and attacks him once more. Blocking, Muramasa is forced back and blocks once more as Ichigo pushes him towards the ground. Muramasa lands on the ground and pushes Ichigo's blade away before leaping back when Ichigo slashes at him. As Muramasa extends his hand, the air around him distorts, prompting Ichigo to fire a Getsuga Tenshō at him.
Hurtling towards Muramasa, the Getsuga Tenshō separates into three streams of Reiatsu upon hitting his hand. As the dust clears, Ichigo sees Muramasa has vanished and wonders where he is. Ichigo looks around as the world around him begins to distort. When Ichigo raises Zangetsu Muramasa tells him to put down his sword. Cursing, Ichigo slashes the air as the world around him begins to spin. Ichigo begins to spin in the opposite direction and is lifted into the air before falling to the ground. As Ichigo leaps up, Muramasa says this is useless as Ichigo is yanked forward.
Ichigo lies on the ground and struggles to get up while wondering what is happening. As Muramasa walks towards him, Ichigo curses and demands to know what Muramasa did to him. Muramasa stomps on Ichigo's hand, sending the sword of Tensa Zangetsu flying away, and Ichigo curses as Muramasa hovers over him while perpendicular to his body. Extending his hand, Muramasa tells someone to hear his voice, follow their instincts, and release their soul from Ichigo's body. As Muramasa gestures with his hand, a swirling black-red portal opens underneath Ichigo, who screams in pain.
As Ichigo's body rotates to parallel his own, Muramasa tells someone to discard their fear, look ahead, go forth, and not stop. Red mist emanates from Ichigo as Muramasa states they will age if they turn back and will die if they hesitate before reaching into Ichigo's chest, causing him to scream in pain. Saying he knows their name, Muramasa says Zangetsu's name and pulls out a ribbon of red-black Reiatsu as the portal explodes. The dust clears as Ichigo lies in a small crater with Zangetsu in front of him. As Ichigo wonders what happened, Zangetsu calls out to him.
Looking up, Ichigo sees Zangetsu, with Zangetsu in hand, standing next to Muramasa. When a shocked Ichigo asks Zangetsu how he can be here in the real world, Zangetsu assumes a battle stance and charges at Ichigo, who grabs his own Zangetsu and gets to his feet just in time to block the attack. Pushed back a few feet by the force of Zangetsu's attack, Ichigo demands to know why Zangetsu is doing this before asking Zangetsu what happened to the two of them being one mind and one body, only for Zangetsu to respond by pushing him back even farther.
Ichigo curses before pushing Zangetsu several feet back. Landing, Zangetsu vanishes and appears next to Ichigo before slashing at him. Ichigo blocks, but is thrown against a wall and falls to the ground as Zangetsu fires a Getsuga Tenshō at him, destroying the wall behind him. Walking up to Zangetsu, Muramasa looks at the wall as the dust clears to see Ichigo lying on the other side. When Ichigo looks at them, Muramasa states he is impressed that Ichigo can still move before claiming it is over for him. A panting Ichigo gets up as Zangetsu assumes a battle stance once more.
Saying he does not understand, Ichigo asks Zangetsu if he is allied with Muramasa now and curses. Zangetsu raises Zangetsu above his head as blue Reiatsu gathers around the blade, surprising Ichigo, before firing another Getsuga Tenshō at him. Meanwhile, as dust billows from the hole in the wall in front of Zangetsu and Muramasa, Zangetsu expresses surprise when the dust clears to reveal a grinning Ichigo with his Hollow mask beginning to form and covering half of his face. A surprised Muramasa wonders what this is as Ichigo looks up and attacks Zangetsu.
Ichigo knocks Zangetsu into a wall before stabbing at him. As Zangetsu dodges, Ichigo stabs his blade into the wall and pulls it out before attacking Zangetsu once more, knocking him back. Ichigo runs after Zangetsu, who points his blade at him. Moving to the side with Shunpo, Ichigo grabs Zangetsu by the head and throws him into a wall. When Muramasa asks him who he is, Ichigo turns to face him as Muramasa states he is not Ichigo. Zangetsu appears behind Muramasa and says he is seeing the other soul which lives within Ichigo's body. Turning to face Zangetsu, Muramasa expresses confusion at there being another soul within Ichigo's body as Ichigo turns to face them.
Zangetsu raises his blade, prompting Ichigo to do the same, and fires a Getsuga Tenshō, prompting Ichigo to fire a black Getsuga Tenshō in response. As the two blasts meet and create a large explosion, Zangetsu appears on top of a nearby wall and disappears as Ichigo does the same. Zangetsu lands on top of a tower and moves away as Ichigo attacks the area where he was standing and cuts into the top of the tower. When Zangetsu appears on a bridge, Ichigo appears behind him and runs towards him before leaping into the air and slashing at Zangetsu, who dodges and continues to evade as Ichigo continues to attack him. Appearing behind them, Muramasa watches impassively. When Zangetsu slashes at Ichigo and cuts his chest, Ichigo moves back as a white substance covers his wound.
The white substance dissipates, revealing that the cut has been healed. Noting this is High-Speed Regeneration, Zangetsu appears behind Ichigo with his sword raised. When his shoulder is slashed and spurts blood, Ichigo falls down and writhes on the ground. As Zangetsu relaxes, more of the white substance appears on Ichigo's body, alerting Zangetsu and Muramasa, as a large worm-like creature bursts from his body and attacks Zangetsu, who leaps away and lands, only for the worm to crash into him and eat him. The worm slides along the ground for several feet before a Getsuga Tenshō bursts out of its head, causing it to explode.
As the smoke clears to reveal Zangetsu, Ichigo stands with a partially Hollowfied body, surprising Muramasa. Ichigo yells as a torrent of black-red Reiatsu surrounds him. As Zangetsu steps back, the Reiatsu covers Ichigo, resulting in an expanding orb of bright blue Reiatsu engulfing a large part of the bridge. The dust settles to reveal Ichigo standing in his Hollow form as black-red Reiatsu emanates from his body and strands of black-red Reiatsu fly overhead. As Muramasa expresses surprise at Ichigo's Reiatsu, Ichigo leaps into the air and attacks Zangetsu, who leaps away.
Ichigo's blade sinks into the ground as Zangetsu lands, prompting Ichigo to emerge from the dust and slash at him. Forced to block, Zangetsu is pushed back as Ichigo continues to attack him before succeeding in cutting Zangetsu's arm, surprising him. Ichigo continues to slash at Zangetsu before headbutting him, sending Zangetsu flying back. Extending his hand, Ichigo charges a red Cero in his palm, surprising Zangetsu, before firing it at him. Zangetsu fires a Getsuga Tenshō in response as the two attacks collide, with the Cero overwhelming the Getsuga Tenshō.
The Cero pushes Zangetsu back and sends him flying into a column, which is knocked over by the impact. As the energy around Ichigo's hand dissipates, Muramasa appears behind him and slashes his back. The wound is healed by the white substance, surprising Muramasa, as Ichigo turns and slashes at him. Blocking, Muramasa is sent flying back several feet and lands before assuming a battle stance before stating this confirms what he thought. Ichigo walks toward him before stopping and making a choking noise. As Muramasa expresses confusion, Ichigo roars and falls to his knees as his mask begins to crack.
As Muramasa wonders what is happening, the mask continues to crack. Ichigo says he is not giving this power to his inner Hollow and continues to roar as he proclaims he will not let his inner Hollow steal what belongs to him. Putting his hand up to his face and grabbing his mask, Ichigo yells as black-red and white-blue Reiatsu emanates from his body. Ichigo continues to yell as slashes through his mask, causing the black-red and white-blue Reiatsu surges skyward in columns. The columns of black-red and blue-white Reiatsu combine and explode, destroying several columns nearby.
As the dust settles, Ichigo's Hollow form breaks apart around him, leaving Ichigo standing in his normal body. The pieces of Ichigo's Hollow form hit the ground and fade away as Ichigo's pupils dilate. Saying Zangetsu's name, Ichigo takes a step forward and reaches out before he saying Zangetsu's name once more and falling over. Muramasa stands over Ichigo's body and looks at him before wondering who he is. Soon afterward, Ichigo lies on a skyscraper in his inner world. Waking up, he turns over and notes he is in his inner world again. Ichigo wonders why this is so before recalling how Muramasa pulled a ribbon of Reiatsu out of him and how he woke up to see Zangetsu in the real world.
Wondering why he is here, Ichigo recalls fighting with Zangetsu and stands up before calling out to Zangetsu. As he wonders where Zangetsu is, Ichigo looks at his hand and realizes everything Muramasa said about Zangetsu leaving his body was true, prompting Muramasa to say he is correct. A surprised Ichigo looks up to see Muramasa standing before him and wonders how this is possible. Stating it seems Ichigo finally understands, Muramasa begins walking towards him. Ichigo points out how this world is supposed to be within himself and asks Muramasa how he can be here.
Muramasa claims he can use his Zanpakutō powers to effortlessly enter the mind of a Shinigami at any time, prompting Ichigo to demands to know what Muramasa is planning, what he is trying to do here, what his master is thinking, and why he has put Muramasa up to this. Stopping, Muramasa reveals his master is gone because Muramasa eliminated him, prompting a shocked Ichigo to ask him what he is talking about. When Ichigo asks Muramasa how he was able to kill his master, Muramasa says it was very easy to eliminate his master because of his willpower before revealing he has taken an interest in Ichigo as a Shinigami.
Recalling Ichigo's transformation into a Hollow-like being, Muramasa asks Ichigo what power he possesses which allows him to do so. As Muramasa asks him what the source which changes Ichigo and gives him his power is, Ichigo says he will never tell Muramasa, who claims Ichigo does not understand before proclaiming that Ichigo's power is not even close to his own. Muramasa says Ichigo's defiance is pointless and tells him to answer his question, only for Ichigo to draw Zangetsu before assuming a battle stance. When Ichigo asks him what will happen if he refuses, Muramasa states he will die if he does so. Cursing, Ichigo runs toward Muramasa, who holds his hand up as the area around it begins to distort.
Soon afterward, Zangetsu tells Ichigo to awaken. As Ichigo lies in a smoky void, Zangetsu tells him to awaken the instinct which lies in the deepest part of him. Ichigo opens his eyes to see Zangetsu standing over him. When Zangetsu turns into Muramasa, Ichigo expresses shock as Muramasa tells him he is awake. The smoke clears to reveal Ichigo's inner world with inverted colors as Muramasa says they will go and states it is time to release the instinct within Ichigo, who notes he cannot move his body. As Muramasa tells Ichigo to manifest his instinct and let his inner self come out, a hole opens in Ichigo's chest, prompting several long-nailed hands to emerge from it.
Ichigo screams in pain as the hands begin to wrap around his body. As Ichigo's left eye begins to turn black, a grinning Muramasa notes it is coming. In his real inner world, Ichigo collapses as a white substance drips out of him in the illusion and seeps into the skyscraper before emerging as a black substance in the real inner world. As Ichigo and Muramasa look on, the black substance solidifies before crumbling away to reveal a grinning Hollow Ichigo]], who asks Muramasa if he called for him as Ichigo lies on the ground and wonders what kind of game Muramasa is playing.
Ichigo wonders why Hollow Ichigo is here as Muramasa says it is interesting to look into the inner world of a Shinigami and discover the other Ichigo emitting the Reiatsu of a Hollow. When Muramasa asks Hollow Ichigo what he is, Hollow Ichigo states he is Ichigo's real self and his true instinct. Muramasa states this is interesting and notes the power Ichigo demonstrated when they fought was the same as a Hollow's before saying it makes sense now. When Muramasa states Hollow Ichigo is the source of this power, Hollow Ichigo laughs and says he cannot confirm this before.
Drawing Zangetsu and pointing it at Muramasa, Hollow Ichigo states it is his turn to ask Muramasa some questions before demanding to know who Muramasa is, prompting Muramasa to introduce himself before claiming he is here to free all Zanpakutō Spirits. Muramasa states Zanpakutō Spirits respond to his voice before revealing how he awakens their true instincts. As Ichigo realizes this is why Zangetsu and Sode no Shirayuki turned against them, Muramasa states he understands and says Hollow Ichigo can utilize Muramasa's power to liberate the instinct living within him.
Muramasa states Hollow Ichigo can do this if he possesses the power of a Hollow and is Ichigo's true instinct before raising his hand as the air around him distorts, prompting Hollow Ichigo to grin. After noting it is done, Muramasa begins to approach toward Hollow Ichigo. Cackling, Hollow Ichigo rushes towards Muramasa, who expresses surprise, and attacks him. Soon afterward, Hollow Ichigo points Zangetsu at Muramasa and grins before moving to Muramasa and slashing at him. When Muramasa blocks, Hollow Ichigo attacks him again.
Blocking once more, Muramasa notes that this is impressive as a laughing Hollow Ichigo pulls back before attacking Muramasa several times. Muramasa blocks each attack while noting that enlisting Hollow Ichigo will not be easy. When Hollow Ichigo raises his blade over his head to attack, Muramasa slashes at him. Muramasa strikes Hollow Ichigo's blade, sending Hollow Ichigo flying several feet back. When Hollow Ichigo proclaims Muramasa is not bad, Muramasa states he is not here to play with him and tells Hollow Ichigo to prove he is Ichigo's true power and to not waste any more of his time. Hollow Ichigo says they will have some fun as Ichigo lies on the ground nearby while cursing and wondering why Hollow Ichigo and Muramasa have to fight in his inner world.
Hollow Ichigo runs towards Muramasa and attacks him. When Muramasa blocks his attack, Hollow Ichigo kicks his blade away before slashing at Muramasa's legs, prompting Muramasa to jump in order to avoid the slash. Hollow Ichigo attacks Muramasa again and knocks him several feet back. As Muramasa lands and muses on Hollow Ichigo's speed, Hollow Ichigo leaps towards him and slashes at him again. Blocking, Muramasa thinks about Hollow Ichigo's power as Hollow Ichigo spins Zangetsu by the cloth while proclaiming that this feels good because it has been a long time since he has used his power without holding back.
As Muramasa notes Hollow Ichigo acts purely on instinct and that there are no mistakes, Hollow Ichigo appears behind him before smashing Zangetsu into him. Muramasa smashes into a skyscraper as Ichigo notes Hollow Ichigo is overpowering him. Telling Muramasa to come out, Hollow Ichigo states he knows there is more to Muramasa than this as Muramasa emerges from the dust. Muramasa says this is impressive and admits he did not expect Hollow Ichigo to be so capable before stating he truly is a Hollow and theorizing that Hollow Ichigo was able to control Ichigo because of Zangetsu's removal from his body.
Muramasa notes this would explain the strange transformation which Ichigo underwent during their battle before asking Hollow Ichigo if he is correct. As Hollow Ichigo says it does not matter if he is correct, Muramasa states there is no need for him to waste any more time because he knows the secret behind Hollow Ichigo's tricks. Leaping toward Hollow Ichigo, who prepares to fight, Muramasa lands in front of him and says Zanpakutō Spirits and Shinigami come together through communication and synergy before stating he now knows there are exceptions to this like Hollow Ichigo.
When Muramasa notes some forces must remain suppressed and states Hollow Ichigo is a very interesting subject, an indignant Hollow Ichigo claims Muramasa is putting him down after Hollow Ichigo allowed him to speak his mind. Pointing at Ichigo, Hollow Ichigo asks Muramasa if he said Ichigo was keeping him suppressed. Muramasa asks Hollow Ichigo if he is wrong, which Hollow Ichigo confirms, prompting Muramasa to ask Hollow Ichigo to explain it to him. Asking Muramasa why he should do this for him, Hollow Ichigo asks him why he is so interested in Ichigo before noting Muramasa is interested in both of them.
Hollow Ichigo asks Muramasa what he is planning, prompting Muramasa to state Hollow Ichigo will know in time. Asking Muramasa this is so, Hollow Ichigo says he does not know or care what Muramasa is planning before proclaiming Muramasa will not get his way while he is here. Hollow Ichigo points Zangetsu at Muramasa before proclaiming that his true instinct is to devour Ichigo and take control of his body. Saying he understands, Muramasa notes Hollow Ichigo intends to stand in his way and raising his sword before saying he has no choice and proclaiming that he will completely destroy Hollow Ichigo, who grins.
Later, Hollow Ichigo and Muramasa clash several times before crossing blades. As Muramasa steps to the side, Zangetsu crashes into the ground where he was standing. Hollow Ichigo and Muramasa continue to clash as Hollow Ichigo slashes Muramasa away. As Muramasa performs a handspring and lands on his feet, Hollow Ichigo asks him what is wrong and if this is all Muramasa has got. Appearing behind Hollow Ichigo, Muramasa slashes at him, prompting Hollow Ichigo to leap away before landing behind Muramasa and throwing Zangetsu at him.
When Muramasa deflects the attack, Hollow Ichigo runs towards him and rolls underneath a slash from Muramasa before leaping forward and attacking him once more. Muramasa jumps to avoid the attack, only for Hollow Ichigo to move behind him before throwing Zangetsu at him once more. Muramasa bends over to avoid the attack, but Hollow Ichigo slashes at him and knocks him several feet away. As Muramasa lands, Hollow Ichigo states Muramasa moving so slowly means he is less likely to get to him. Saying he is aware of this, Muramasa raises his sword and states he is not concerned as his blade dissipates, surprising Hollow Ichigo.
Muramasa extends his hand and uncurls his fingers, prompting Hollow Ichigo to move away while noting he is not sure what Muramasa is doing before stopping in midair. Wondering what is happening, Hollow Ichigo is slammed into the ground. As Ichigo expresses surprise, Hollow Ichigo struggles to get up and states he cannot move. Muramasa walks toward Hollow Ichigo while asking him if this is all that he has got, prompting Hollow Ichigo to tell him to shut up. Noting Ichigo notes this is what happened to him, Ichigo looks up to see dozens of tentacles constricting Hollow Ichigo in the reflection of the skyscraper above him and wonders what it is.
As Ichigo wonders if this is how Muramasa is restraining Hollow Ichigo, Muramasa manifests his sword and says Hollow Ichigo is nothing but a Hollow before noting Hollow Ichigo does not possess the power he is seeking. Raising his sword above his head, Muramasa proclaims Hollow Ichigo is expendable. However, Muramasa is interrupted when a Getsuga Tenshō hurtles toward Muramasa, who steps back to avoid it. The Getsuga Tenshō hurtles past Hollow Ichigo, who falls over and gasps for air. Panting, Hollow Ichigo curses Ichigo, who walks past him with Zangetsu over his shoulder.
Ichigo states he cannot let Muramasa take what he wishes as Muramasa looks at his hand and notes Ichigo escaped his spell within a very short amount of time before wondering how it is possible. When Hollow Ichigo asks Ichigo why he is protecting him, Ichigo asks him if he really needs to ask. Hollow Ichigo stands up as Ichigo says it is who he is before stating Hollow Ichigo is a part of him. Rubbing his chin, Hollow Ichigo grins and claims Ichigo is being arrogant again. Ichigo notes that he does not know what Hollow Ichigo plans to do with him with Zangetsu gone before admitting he does not know what to do with himself.
When Ichigo states there is one thing which must be done, Hollow Ichigo proclaims he is a pain. Noting this is an interesting sight, Muramasa says Ichigo is choosing to protect the Hollow, prompting Ichigo to ask him what is so strange about it. Ichigo states it does not matter if he is a Hollow and says Hollow Ichigo is a part of him before explaining how he is okay with this because he is the one in charge. When Ichigo states he does not intend to let Muramasa do what he pleases, Muramasa asks Ichigo what he is and says what Ichigo described is definitely not the relationship between a Shinigami and a Hollow.
Telling Muramasa he is wrong about one thing, Ichigo states Muramasa has been calling him a Shinigami before proclaiming he is a Human. Ichigo runs toward Muramasa and attacks him. When Muramasa blocks with his sword, Ichigo yells and begins to glow with blue Reiatsu. Expressing surprise, Muramasa asks Ichigo if he intends to push him out of his inner world with his willpower. Noting Ichigo is unusual, Muramasa glows green before vanishing in a burst of green light. Meanwhile, Ichigo awakens in the real world and sees Muramasa standing in front of him.
When Ichigo asks him where they were, Muramasa turns to face him. Ichigo says he will regain control and proclaims he will find a way to reunite with Zangetsu even if he has to destroy him. As Ichigo says this is a choice which he has made, Ichigo states he cannot afford to lose and must win in order to achieve this goal. Ichigo points his blade at Muramasa and tells him to come at him. Muramasa notes Ichigo continues to amuse him before admitting he never expected to become so invested in a single Shinigami when he began this mission. Ichigo states Muramasa talks a lot for a Zanpakutō Spirit before asking him if there is ever a point to his speeches. When Muramasa smiles, Ichigo states he has had enough of this small talk.
Proclaiming that it is time to settle this, Ichigo takes a step forward before leaping towards Muramasa, only for Zangetsu to appear in front of him and block his attack. As Ichigo asks him if he is still working for Muramasa, Zangetsu pushes Ichigo's blade away before slashing at him. Leaping back, Ichigo says he will fight to get Zangetsu back even if he has to fight Zangetsu himself and states he has made his decision before asking Zangetsu what he will do. Zangetsu points Zangetsu at Ichigo before saying he must find out who is stronger between the two of them.
Blue Reiatsu emanates from Zangetsu as states he is more than willing to cross blades with Ichigo in order to get his answer. In Ichigo's inner world, Hollow Ichigo says Ichigo will not be able to fight as hard as he normally can without Zangetsu's power fueling his blade before revealing he will lend Ichigo his own power for now. As Hollow Ichigo proclaims Ichigo will not be able to use his full power in exchange for his access to it, Ichigo assumes a battle stance as Zangetsu activates his Bankai, causing his Reiatsu to flare up around him.
Elsewhere, the smoke clears to reveal Zangetsu holding Tensa Zangetsu. Lifting his blade above his head, Zangetsu tells Ichigo he is coming as black-red Reiatsu swirls around his blade, surprising Ichigo. Zangetsu fires a Getsuga Tenshō at Ichigo, who is overwhelmed by the blast. As the Getsuga Tenshō travels along the corridor before dispersing, Muramasa looks on as the dust clears to reveal a panting Ichigo. Muramasa walks forward as Ichigo notes how strong the Getsuga Tenshō was before telling himself it was too close.
Standing up, Zangetsu points his blade at Ichigo, who wonders if he was able to exert this much power with his Bankai. Zangetsu tells Ichigo to get up before stating he is not finished. Getting up, Ichigo says he will do so if this is what Zangetsu wants and holds Zangetsu in front of him before attempting to activate his Bankai. When nothing happens, Ichigo expresses surprise as Zangetsu apologizes and states Ichigo will not be able to use his Bankai without Zangetsu's power. Ichigo says he can see this as Zangetsu fires another Getsuga Tenshō at him.
As Ichigo leaps into the air, the Getsuga Tenshō tears through the ground and leaves a fissure in the ground in its wake. Ichigo wonders how he will stand a chance against Zangetsu without using his Bankai as Zangetsu fires another Getsuga Tenshō at him. Preparing to don his Hollow mask, Ichigo remembers Hollow Ichigo stating Ichigo will not be able to use his mask in exchange for access to Hollow Ichigo's power and moves his hand away from his face before firing a Getsuga Tenshō at Zangetsu's Getsuga Tenshō, creating a large explosion in midair as Muramasa looks on.
Elsewhere, Ichigo crashes into the ground. Following Ichigo, Zangetsu reverses his grip on the handle of Tensa Zangetsu and crashes into Ichigo. As the dust clears, Zangetsu stands with his blade embedded in a small crater. Ichigo runs out of the dust before attacking Zangetsu, who moves away. When Zangetsu appears behind him, Ichigo turns and slashes at Zangetsu, who blocks his attack with Tensa Zangetsu. Ichigo slashes at Zangetsu once more, but Zangetsu moves to the side to avoid the attack. As Ichigo notes Zangetsu blocked him again, Zangetsu moves past him.
Speeding towards Ichigo, Zangetsu dodges an attack from him before attacking Ichigo, who blocks and is sent flying back into a chunk of rock. Zangetsu tells Ichigo he must attack him with everything he has got and proclaims Ichigo will not stand a chance against him otherwise, prompting Ichigo to say he knows this while standing up. As blue Reiatsu emanates from him, Ichigo assumes a battle stance and closes his eyes while feeling Hollow Ichigo within him. Ichigo opens his eyes as Zangetsu appears in front of him and slashes at him, only for Ichigo to block his attack.
Zangetsu expresses surprise as Ichigo notes he is getting the hang of it now and pushes Zangetsu's blade away before attacking him, forcing Zangetsu to block. Clashing once more, Ichigo and Zangetsu are pushed away from each other by the force of their clash. After skidding to a halt, Zangetsu raises his blade and proclaims that he has grown tired of this skirmish before saying they will settle this. When Ichigo states that he is ready when Zangetsu is, Zangetsu raises his blade above his head as black-red Reiatsu swirls around it. Assuming a battle stance, Ichigo yells as blue Reiatsu flares up around him.
As Zangetsu fires a Getsuga Tenshō at him, Ichigo raises his blade over his head as his Reiatsu expands and forms a Getsuga Tenshō with a Hollow mask with glowing red eyes inside it. Ichigo fires the Getsuga Tenshō, prompting the mask to roar as it collides with Zangetsu's Getsuga Tenshō. As Ichigo yells, Hollow Ichigo proclaims he cannot let his hopes die as red Reiatsu emanates from him. In the real world, red Reiatsu emanates from Ichigo and infuses itself into his Getsuga Tenshō. As Ichigo continues to yell, Zangetsu says this is impossible and notes Ichigo is not even using his Bankai.
Zangetsu notes how powerful Ichigo's Getsuga Tenshō is as Muramasa expresses surprise. As Ichigo and Hollow Ichigo yell in unison, the mask on Ichigo's Getsuga Tenshō opens its mouth and engulfs Zangetsu, who screams. A column of blue Reiatsu extends into the sky and expands outwards. As a panting Ichigo stands in the destroyed corridor, the blade of Tensa Zangetsu lies embedded in the ground. Looking up, Ichigo tells Muramasa he is next. When a smiling Muramasa asks him if he had any misgivings about destroying his Zanpakutō Spirit, Ichigo reveals he did not have any, shocking Muramasa.
Ichigo clenches his fist and says he knows Zangetsu better than anyone else does before stating he knew Zangetsu would not run away from him. Noting he knew Zangetsu would take his attack head-on, Ichigo proclaims this is why there was no way he could run away from a battle and turn his back on Zangetsu. When Ichigo says their bond is their strength, Muramasa states he understands before coughing violently. Sections of Muramasa's body turn translucent, surprising Ichigo, who asks Muramasa what is happening as Muramasa notes the bond between Ichigo and Zangetsu being the source of their strength is fascinating. Muramasa coughs again and states it seems he has toyed with Ichigo for too long before saying it is best if he moves on.
As Ichigo demands to know what he is doing, Muramasa bids Ichigo farewell as his body disperses into green energy. Ichigo expresses surprise as the blade of Tensa Zangetsu transforms into a kneeling Zangetsu, whom Ichigo asks if he is alright. Zangetsu stands up and confirms this before stating he will be alright now because Muramasa's mind control is broken, prompting Ichigo to express confusion as Zangetsu reveals Muramasa was able to control the Zanpakutō Spirits by awakening their darkest instincts and bringing them to the surface of their minds.
Ichigo asks Zangetsu if he is saying all of the other Zanpakutō Spirits are under Muramasa's control, only for Zangetsu to admit he cannot be sure before noting it is very likely. Ichigo looks down as Zangetsu notes Ichigo was the one who saved him this time, prompting Ichigo to put his hand up to his face and state he cannot take all of the credit. When Zangetsu asks Ichigo what he will do now, Ichigo asks him if it is not obvious and says he will find Muramasa before proclaiming that he will stop him, prompting Zangetsu to state he understands. Meanwhile, a coughing Muramasa kneels as blood trickles from his eyes. Wiping some of the blood off, Muramasa looks at his hand, which is translucent, and notes Ichigo may be the one.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 Bleach anime; Episode 233
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Bleach anime; Episode 234
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 Bleach anime; Episode 235
- ↑ 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 Bleach anime; Episode 236