Ichigo Kurosaki & Hollow Ichigo vs. Zangetsu & Muramasa is a battle in the Zanpakutō Rebellion where Muramasa releases the spirit of Zangetsu in order to fight Ichigo Kurosaki. Having lost access to his Shinigami abilities, Ichigo draws on his Hollow powers to fight.
After Rukia Kuchiki finishes her fight with Sode no Shirayuki, Ichigo is confronted by Muramasa, who reveals himself to be a Zanpakutō Spirit. When a surprised Ichigo asks Muramasa if he said he was a Zanpakutō Spirit, Muramasa, confirming this, tells Sode no Shirayuki she should leave for now and leave this to him. Thanking him, Sode no Shirayuki moves away. Running forward, Ichigo tells her 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. When Muramasa states this is not important right now, Ichigo expresses confusion and asks Muramasa what he is up to. When Muramasa reveals he wishes to release all Zanpakutō from the Shinigami, Ichigo says Muramasa is the one behind all of this.
As Ichigo states Muramasa knows how Rukia can get her Zanpakutō and tells him to start talking, Muramasa asks Ichigo what a Zanpakutō is. As Ichigo expresses surprise, Muramasa explains how Zanpakutō are individual souls which are born in the hearts of Shinigami, draw their power from the same place as their Shinigami, 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. Saying certain Shinigami can gain even more power by manifesting an incarnation of their Zanpakutō and controlling it, Muramasa states they wield the mighty Bankai. Saying Ichigo and the captains have done this, Muramasa states living alongside Shinigami is not the only way for a Zanpakutō to exist. When Ichigo asks Muramasa what he is talking about, Muramasa reveals every Zanpakutō has its own free will like Ichigo does.
When Ichigo expresses confusion, Muramasa confirms this and says Zanpakutō are not dependent on Shinigami. Stating they are two distinct and equal beings, Muramasa asks if this is so hard to believe and proclaims it is more proof of how arrogant Shinigami are. When Ichigo says this is not true, Muramasa proclaims the blindness of the Shinigami is why he is here and reveals he understands how the Zanpakutō thinks, sees into their souls, and grants physical form to those who join him. As Ichigo states this is impossible, Muramasa reveals any Zanpakutō who answers his call will become liberated from their Shinigami and manifest in the real world as their true form, and this power is the gift which he alone possesses. When Ichigo asks why the Zanpakutō 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 saying is not the truth.
Stating she has never looked down on Sode no Shirayuki as her inferior, Rukia collapses as Ichigo calls out to her. Saying Rukia's Zanpakutō does not share her opinion, Muramasa states 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. When Rukia asks what he means, Muramasa asks if she truly believed she was able to escape to the Human World on her own. As Rukia expresses surprise, Muramasa reiterates his objective of freeing all Zanpakutō from their Shinigami and states 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 him, Ichigo proclaims there is no way he will get away with this.
When he states they should take this elsewhere, Muramasa agrees, and the two move away as Rukia calls after Ichigo. As Muramasa appears on a roof, Ichigo falls towards him and prepares to attack. Manifesting his Zanpakutō in his hand, Muramasa blocks Ichigo's attack and pushes him away. Landing 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. Landing on the ground, Muramasa pushes Ichigo's blade away and leaps back as 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 blast separates into three streams of Reiatsu upon hitting his hand. As the dust clears, Ichigo sees Muramasa has vanished and wonders where he is. As Ichigo looks around, the world around him begins to distort.
When Ichigo raises his blade, Muramasa tells him to put down his sword. Cursing, Ichigo slashes the air as the world around him begins to spin. Spinning in the opposite direction, Ichigo is lifted into the air before falling to the ground. As Ichigo leaps up, Muramasa says this is useless as Ichigo is yanked forward. Lying on the ground, Ichigo struggles to get up and wonders what is happening. As Muramasa walks towards him, Ichigo curses and demands to know what Muramasa did to him. When Muramasa stomps on his foot, sending the blade of Tensa Zangetsu flying away, Ichigo curses as a perpendicular Muramasa hovers over him. 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 under Ichigo, who screams in pain. Ichigo's body rotates to parallel Muramasa, who tells them to discard their fear, look ahead, go forth, and not stop.
As red mist emanated from Ichigo, Muramasa states they will age if they turn back and will die if they hesitate and reaches 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. As the dust clears, Ichigo lies in a small crater with Zangetsu in front of him. As he 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, Zangetsu assumes a battle stance and charges at Ichigo, who grabs his blade and gets to his feet just in time to block the attack. As he is pushed back a few feet, Ichigo demands to know why Zangetsu is doing this. As he asks what happened to the two of them being one mind and one body, Zangetsu pushes him back further.
Cursing, Ichigo pushes Zangetsu several feet back. Landing, Zangetsu vanishes and appears next to Ichigo before slashing at him. Blocking, Ichigo is thrown against a wall. As Ichigo falls to the ground, 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 Ichigo can still move, but it is over for him. Getting up, Ichigo pants as Zangetsu assumes a battle stance once more. Saying he does not understand, Ichigo asks Zangetsu if he is allied with Muramasa now. As Ichigo curses, Zangetsu raises Zangetsu above his head as blue Reiatsu gathers around the blade. As Ichigo expresses surprise, Zangetsu fires another Getsuga Tenshō.
As dust billows from the hole in the wall in front of Zangetsu and Muramasa, Zangetsu expresses surprise as the dust clears to reveal a grinning Ichigo with his Hollow mask covering half of his face. As a surprised Muramasa asks what this is, Ichigo looks up and attacks Zangetsu, knocking him into a wall, before stabbing at him. As Zangetsu dodges, Ichigo stabs his blade into the wall. Pulling it out, he attacks Zangetsu once more, knocking him back. As Ichigo runs after him, Zangetsu points his blade at him. Moving to the side with Shunpo, Ichigo grabs Zangetsu by the head and throws him into a wall. As Muramasa asks who he is, Ichigo turns to face him. When Muramasa states he is not Ichigo, Zangetsu appears behind him and says he is seeing the other soul which lives within Ichigo's body. Turning to face him, 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. When Zangetsu fires a Getsuga Tenshō, Ichigo fires 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. As Zangetsu lands on top of a tower and moves away, Ichigo attacks the area where he was standing and cuts into the top of the tower. As Zangetsu appears on a bridge, Ichigo appears behind him and runs towards him. Leaping into the air, Ichigo slashes at Zangetsu, who dodges, and continues to attack him as he evades. 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. When it dissipates, 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 relaxed, 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. As he lands, the worm crashes into him and eats him. As the worm slides for several feet, 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. As Muramasa expresses surprise, 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. As the dust settles, Ichigo stands 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 as Ichigo's blade sinks into the ground. As Zangetsu lands, Ichigo emerges from the dust and slashes at him, forcing him to block. Forcing Zangetsu back while continuing to attack him, Ichigo cuts Zangetsu's arm. As Zangetsu expresses surprise, Ichigo continues to slash at him before headbutting him, sending him flying back. Extending his hand, Ichigo charges a red Cero in his palm. As Zangetsu expresses surprise, Ichigo fires the Cero. As Zangetsu fires a Getsuga Tenshō in response, the two attacks collide as the Cero overwhelms the Getsuga Tenshō and pushes Zangetsu back, sending 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.
When the wound is healed by the white substance, Muramasa expresses surprise as Ichigo turns and slashes at him. Blocking, Muramasa is sent flying back several feet. Landing, he assumes a battle stance and states this confirms what he thought. Walking towards him, Ichigo stops and makes 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. As Ichigo says he is not giving this power to his inner Hollow, he 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. Continuing to yell, Ichigo slashes through his mask as the black-red and white-blue Reiatsu surges skyward in columns before combining and exploding, destroying several columns nearby.
As the dust settles, Ichigo's Hollow form breaks apart around him, leaving Ichigo standing in his normal body. As the pieces hit the ground and fade away, Ichigo's pupils dilate as he says Zangetsu's name and takes a step forward. Reaching out, he says Zangetsu's name once more before falling over. Standing over his body, Muramasa looks at him and wonders who he is. Ichigo lies on a skyscraper in his inner world. Waking up, he turns over and notes he is in his inner world again. Wondering why this is so, he recalls having Muramasa pull a ribbon of Reiatsu out of him and waking up to see Zangetsu in the real world. Wondering why he is here, Ichigo recalls fighting with Zangetsu and stands up. Calling out to Zangetsu, he wonders where he is. Looking at his hand, he realizes everything Muramasa said about Zangetsu leaving his body was true, prompting Muramasa to say he is correct. Looking up, a surprised Ichigo sees Muramasa standing before him and wonders how this is possible. Stating it seems Ichigo finally understands, Muramasa begins walking towards him.
Saying this world is supposed to be within himself, Ichigo asks Muramasa how he can be here. When Muramasa states he can use his Zanpakutō powers to effortlessly enter the mind of a Shinigami at any time, Ichigo asks Muramasa what he 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, for he 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 and states he has taken an interest in Ichigo as a Shinigami. Recalling Ichigo's transformation into a Hollow, Muramasa asks what power Ichigo possesses which allows him to do so. As he asks what the source which changes Ichigo and gives him his power is, Ichigo says he will never tell Muramasa.
Stating Ichigo does not understand, Muramasa proclaims Ichigo's power is not even close to his own. As Muramasa says Ichigo's defiance is pointless and tells him to answer his question, Ichigo draws Zangetsu and assumes a battle stance. When he asks Muramasa what will happen if he refuses, Muramasa states he will die if he does so. Cursing, Ichigo runs at Muramasa, who holds his hand up as the area around it begins to distort and Zangetsu tells Ichigo to awaken. As Ichigo lies in a smoky void, Zangetsu tells him to awaken his instinct, which lies in the deepest part of him. Opening his eyes, Ichigo sees Zangetsu standing over him. When Zangetsu turns into Muramasa, Ichigo expresses shock as Muramasa tells him he is awake. As the smoke clears to reveal Ichigo's inner world has inverted colors, 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. As several long-nailed hands emerge from the hole, Ichigo screams in pain. As the hands begins to wrap around his body, Ichigo's left eye begins to turn black as a grinning Muramasa says it is coming. As Ichigo collapses in the illusion, a white substance drips out of him 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 wonders what kind of game Muramasa is playing.As Ichigo wonders why Hollow Ichigo is here, 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. Saying this is interesting, Muramasa states the power Ichigo demonstrated when they fought was the same as a Hollow's and says it makes sense now. When Muramasa states Hollow Ichigo is the source of this power, Hollow Ichigo laughs and says he cannot confirm this. Drawing Zangetsu and pointing it at Muramasa, Hollow Ichigo states it is his turn to ask Muramasa some questions. When he asks Muramasa who he is, Muramasa introduces himself and says he is here to free all Zanpakutō. Stating Zanpakutō respond to his voice, Muramasa says he awakens their true instincts, prompting Ichigo to realize this is why Zangetsu and Sode no Shirayuki turned against them. Stating he understands, Muramasa says if Hollow Ichigo possesses the power of a Hollow and is Ichigo's true instinct, he can utilize Muramasa's power to liberate the instinct living within him.
As Muramasa raises his hand, the air around him distorts as Hollow Ichigo grins. Stating it is done, Muramasa approaches Hollow Ichigo. Cackling, Hollow Ichigo rushes towards Muramasa, who expresses surprise, and attacks him. Grinning, Hollow Ichigo moves to Muramasa and slashes at him before attacking once more. Blocking, Muramasa thinks to himself this is impressive. Laughing, Hollow Ichigo pulls back before attacking Muramasa several times. Blocking each attack, Muramasa notes enlisting Hollow Ichigo will not be easy. When Hollow Ichigo raises his blade over his head to attack, Muramasa slashes at him and strikes his 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. As Muramasa tells him to not waste any more of his time, Hollow Ichigo says they will have some fun. Lying on the ground nearby, Ichigo curses and wonders why Hollow Ichigo and Muramasa have to fight in his inner world as Hollow Ichigo runs towards Muramasa and attacks him. As Muramasa blocks the attack, Hollow Ichigo kicks his blade away before slashing at his legs. When Muramasa jumps to avoid the slash, Hollow Ichigo attacks him again and knocks him several feet away. 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 and proclaims this feels good, for 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 there are no mistakes, Hollow Ichigo appears behind him before smashing Zangetsu into him. As Muramasa smashes into a skyscraper, Ichigo notes Hollow Ichigo is overpowering Muramasa. Telling Muramasa to come out, Hollow Ichigo states he knows there is more to Muramasa than this. Emerging from the dust, Muramasa says this is impressive and admits he did not expect Hollow Ichigo to be so capable. Stating Hollow Ichigo truly is a Hollow, Muramasa says Hollow Ichigo was able to control Ichigo because of Zangetsu's removal from his body. Stating this would explain the strange transformation Ichigo underwent during their battle, Muramasa asks 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 and Shinigami come together through communication and synergy. Stating he now knows there are exceptions to this like Hollow Ichigo, Muramasa says some forces must remain suppressed. When Muramasa states Hollow Ichigo is a very interesting subject, Hollow Ichigo expresses indignation and says 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. When Muramasa asks him if he is wrong, Hollow Ichigo confirms this, 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 and says Muramasa is interested in both of them. When Hollow Ichigo asks him what he is planning, Muramasa states he will know in time. Asking if this is so, Hollow Ichigo says he does not know or care what Muramasa is planning. Proclaiming Muramasa will not get his way while he is here, Hollow Ichigo points Zangetsu at him and states his true instinct is to devour Ichigo and take control of his body.
Saying he understands, Muramasa states Hollow Ichigo intends to stand in his way. Raising his blade, Muramasa says he has no choice and proclaims he will completely destroy Hollow Ichigo, who grins. 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. As Hollow Ichigo and Muramasa continue to clash, Hollow Ichigo slashes Muramasa away. As Muramasa performs a handspring and lands on his feet, Hollow Ichigo asks what is wrong and if this is all Muramasa has got. Appearing behind him, Muramasa slashes at Hollow Ichigo, who leaps away.
Landing behind Muramasa, Hollow Ichigo throws 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. When Muramasa jumps to avoid the attack, Hollow Ichigo moves behind him and sends Zangetsu at him once more. When Muramasa bends over to avoid the attack, 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. As Hollow Ichigo expresses surprise, Muramasa extends his hand and uncurls his fingers. Moving away, Hollow Ichigo says 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. Walking towards him, Muramasa asks if this is all Hollow Ichigo has got. As Hollow Ichigo tells Muramasa to shut up, Ichigo notes this is what happened to him. Looking up, he sees 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. Saying Hollow Ichigo is nothing but a Hollow, Muramasa states Hollow Ichigo does not possess the power he is seeking. Raising his sword above his head, Muramasa proclaims Hollow Ichigo is expendable as a Getsuga Tenshō hurtles toward him. As Muramasa 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 and states he cannot let Muramasa take what he wishes. Looking at his hand, Muramasa notes Ichigo escaped his spell within a very short amount of time and wonders how it is possible. When Hollow Ichigo asks Ichigo why he is protecting him, Ichigo asks him if he really needs to ask. As Hollow Ichigo stands up, Ichigo says it is who he is, and Hollow Ichigo is a part of him. Rubbing his chin, Hollow Ichigo grins and states Ichigo is being arrogant again. Saying he does not know what Hollow Ichigo plans to do with him with Zangetsu gone, Ichigo admits 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.
Stating it does not matter if he is a Hollow, Ichigo says Hollow Ichigo is a part of him, and 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 and proclaims he is a Human. Running towards Muramasa, Ichigo attacks him. When Muramasa blocks with his sword, Ichigo yells as he glows with blue Reiatsu. Expressing surprise, Muramasa asks Ichigo if he intends to push him out of his inner world with his willpower. Saying Ichigo is unusual, Muramasa glows green before vanishing in a burst of green light. In the real world, Ichigo awakens and sees Muramasa standing in front of him. When Ichigo asks him where they were, Muramasa turns to face him.
Saying he will regain control, Ichigo proclaims he will find a way to reunite with Zangetsu even if he has to destroy him. Saying this is a choice which he has made, Ichigo states he cannot afford to lose and must win in order to achieve this goal. Pointing his blade at Muramasa, Ichigo tells him to come. Ichigo faces Muramasa, who says Ichigo continues to amuse him. When Muramasa states he never expected to become so invested in a single Shinigami when he began this mission, Ichigo says Muramasa talks a lot for a Zanpakutō and asks him if there is ever a point to his speeches. When Muramasa smiles, Ichigo states he has had enough of this small talk. Proclaiming 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. When Ichigo asks him if he is still working for Muramasa, Zangetsu pushes Ichigo's blade away before slashing at him.
Jumping back, Ichigo says he will fight to get Zangetsu back even if he has to fight Zangetsu himself. Stating he has made his decision, Ichigo asks Zangetsu what he will do. Pointing his sword towards Ichigo, Zangetsu says he must find out who is stronger between the two of them. As blue Reiatsu emanates from him, Zangetsu 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. 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. As Ichigo expresses surprise, 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. As Muramasa walks forward, Ichigo notes how strong the Getsuga Tenshō was and tells himself it was too close. Standing up, Zangetsu points his blade at Ichigo, who wonders if he was able to exert this much power. Telling Ichigo to get up, Zangetsu states he is not finished. Getting up, Ichigo says he will do so if this is what Zangetsu wants. Pointing his blade in front of him, Ichigo attempts 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.
As Ichigo says he can see this, 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 its wake. As Ichigo wonders how he will stand a chance against Zangetsu without using his Bankai, 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. Moving his hand away from his face, Ichigo fires a Getsuga Tenshō at Zangetsu's Getsuga Tenshō, creating a large explosion in midair as Muramasa looks on. As the smoke clears, Ichigo pants as Zangetsu stands before him. Raising his blade, Ichigo asks Zangetsu if finding out who is stronger is really so important to him.
When Zangetsu asks Ichigo why he is asking, Ichigo states severing their bond is not Zangetsu's main goal if this is so important. Saying his only goal is to make Ichigo more powerful, Zangetsu states Ichigo has surpassed his expectations and there is nothing left for him to teach. Saying Ichigo being able to defeat him in combat is up to Ichigo, Zangetsu states he would be content even if Ichigo died by his blade. When Ichigo asks if this is so, Zangetsu confirms this. When Ichigo says he has to give this fight everything he has inside of him and prove his strength with or without Zangetsu in order to regain Zangetsu's power, Zangetsu confirms this and tells Ichigo to not hold back. As he tells Ichigo to hit him with everything he has got, Ichigo looks at his blade as Hollow Ichigo tells Ichigo he is much more difficult to handle than Ichigo may think. Looking at Zangetsu, Ichigo states they will go.
Later, Ichigo crashes into the ground. Following him, 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. Running out of the dust, Ichigo attacks Zangetsu, who moves away. When Zangetsu appears behind him, Ichigo turns and slashes at Zangetsu, who blocks his attack with his blade. When Ichigo slashes at him once more, 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. Blocking, Ichigo is sent flying back into a chunk of rock as Zangetsu tells Ichigo he must attack him with everything he has got.
When Zangetsu proclaims Ichigo will not stand a chance against him otherwise, Ichigo stands up and says he knows this. As he assumes a battle stance, blue Reiatsu emanates from him. Closing his eyes, Ichigo feels Hollow Ichigo within him. As he opens his eyes, Zangetsu appears in front of him and slashes at him. When Ichigo blocks, Zangetsu expresses surprise. Stating he is getting the hang of it now, Ichigo pushes Zangetsu's blade away and attacks him, forcing Zangetsu to block. Clashing once more, Ichigo and Zangetsu are pushed away from each other by the force of the clash. Skidding to a halt, Zangetsu raises his blade, proclaims he has grown tired of this skirmish, and says they will settle this. When Ichigo states 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.
While Zangetsu fires a Getsuga Tenshō, Ichigo raises his blade over his head as his Reiatsu expands and takes on the form of a Hollow mask with glowing red eyes. When Ichigo fires a Getsuga Tenshō, the mask roars as the two attacks collide. 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, a shocked Zangetsu says this is impossible and notes Ichigo is not even using his Bankai. As Zangetsu notes how powerful Ichigo's attack is, 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 as 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. Smiling, Muramasa asks Ichigo if he had any misgivings about destroying his Zanpakutō. When Ichigo states he did not have any, Muramasa expresses shock. Clenching his fist, Ichigo says he knows Zangetsu better than anyone and knew Zangetsu would not run away from him. Stating 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.
When sections of Muramasa's body turn translucent, Ichigo expresses surprise and asks Muramasa what is happening. Saying 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. When Muramasa says it is best if he moves on, Ichigo demands to know what he is doing. As Muramasa bids Ichigo farewell, his body disperses into green energy. As Ichigo expresses surprise, the blade of Tensa Zangetsu transforms into a kneeling Zangetsu. When Ichigo asks Zangetsu if he is alright, Zangetsu stands up and confirms this. Stating he will be alright now, Zangetsu reveals Muramasa's mind control is broken, prompting Ichigo to express confusion.
Zangetsu reveals Muramasa was able to control the Zanpakutō Spirits by awakening their darkest instincts and bringing them to the surface of their minds. When Ichigo asks Zangetsu if he is saying all of the other Zanpakutō Spirits are under Muramasa's control, Zangetsu admits he cannot be sure, but it is very likely. As Ichigo looks down, Zangetsu says 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. Saying he will find Muramasa, Ichigo proclaims he will stop him, prompting Zangetsu to state he understands.
Meanwhile, a coughing Muramasa kneels as blood trickles from his eyes. Wiping some of it off, Muramasa looks at his hand, which is translucent, and says Ichigo may be the one.
- ↑ Bleach anime; Episode 232
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 Bleach anime; Episode 233
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Bleach anime; Episode 234
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 Bleach anime; Episode 235
- ↑ 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 Bleach anime; Episode 236