|Bleach: The DiamondDust Rebellion|
|Execute Tōshirō Hitsugaya!|
|Romaji||Gekijōban Burīchi Za Daiyamondo Dasuto Reberion|
|Theme||Hikari no Rock|
|Romaji||Gekijōban Burīchi Za Daiyamondo Dasuto Reberion|
|Theatrical - Japan||December 22, 2007|
|DVD - Japan||September 6, 2008|
|Theatrical - US||August 18, 2009|
|DVD - US||September 8, 2009|
Bleach: The DiamondDust Rebellion (劇場版ブリーチザダイヤモンドダストレベリオンもう一つの氷輪丸, Gekijōban Burīchi Za Daiyamondo Dasuto Reberion Mō Hitotsu no Hyōrinmaru? (Bleach the Movie: The Diamond Dust Rebellion, Another Hyōrinmaru)) is the second animated film adaptation of the anime and manga series Bleach. The film is directed by Noriyuki Abe and co-written by Michiko Yokote and Masahiro Ōkubo. Its theatrical release was on December 22, 2007. The theme music for the movie is "Rock of Light" (光のロック, Hikari no Rock) by Sambomaster.
The film's tagline is Execute Tōshirō Hitsugaya! (日番谷冬獅郎を処刑せよ, Hitsugaya Tōshirō o shokeiseyo)
The film was released on September 8, 2009 in North America.
Attack on the Procession
As a large cloud moves across the sky of the Human World, a royal procession takes place inside, with guards walking next to carts and musicians playing instruments. While a carriage being carried by several men moves past, 10th Division Lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto appears before three unseated Shinigami and asks them for a status report. One of the Shinigami tells her that there has been nothing out of the ordinary, and Rangiku reminds them that they must stay alert because it is an important assignment. As the Shinigami affirm this, one of them asks Rangiku what the Ōin actually is.
Noting that all they know about the Ōin is their orders to guard it without being conspicuous, another Shinigami inquires whose authority this operation is under, prompting Rangiku to reveal that the orders come directly from the Royal Family and they only know the Ōin is a treasured artifact which only those within the Royal Family are permitted to see. As she admits that they do not know the extent of its power or how to use it, Rangiku explains that the Royal Family decides to change its location without warning once a decade before claiming that it has the power of magic. When the Shinigami express surprise, Rangiku teases them for being gullible.
Rangiku states that she does not know any more about the Ōin than they do and asserts that the 10th Division having been assigned to this event is the only thing which matters before telling the Shinigami to stay focused and moving away with Shunpo. As 10th Division Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya watches the cloud from the air nearby, Rangiku appears next to him and relays that all stations have reported everything being normal before observing that the procession is even more magnificent up close as Hitsugaya comments that there is always fanfare surrounding royalty. As Rangiku tells Hitsugaya that he will get in trouble for saying such things, the two suddenly sense something.
When a ball of lightning crashes into one of the carriages, Hitsugaya tells Rangiku to alert the 10th Division as they move away with Shunpo. Sinking into the cloud, the carriage bursts into flames as the ball of lightning emerges and splits into two balls, which move through the procession as they attack and electrocute the bannermen and carriage-bearers. The Shinigami emerge from the trees below and approach Rangiku, who tells them to attack the reformed ball. However, when the Shinigami move in to attack it, the ball reveals an electrified whip.
The ball uses the whip to electrocute the Shinigami, creating an explosion, before sending the whip towards Rangiku, who blocks with her Zanpakutō. While the whip wraps around the blade, the dust clears to reveal Yin, who bids Rangiku farewell before sending electricity down the whip towards her, prompting Rangiku to release her Shikai, Haineko, to counter it. Rangiku's counterattack creates an explosion as Yin dodges a subsequent attack from Rangiku. Meanwhile, as someone calls for the fire to be put out, a ball of fire emerges from the damaged carriage.
As the ball of fire proceeds to attack and incinerate the bannermen and carriage-bearers, Hitsugaya draws his Zanpakutō and attacks it. The smoke around the area clears as Yang blocks Hitsugaya's sword with her own, and as Hitsugaya tells her to identify herself, ice begins to cover her blade. Leaping back as the ice shatters, Yang runs away as Hitsugaya tells her to stop before running after her. Moving to the top of the damaged carriage, Hitsugaya looks for Yang. Feeling an immense amount of Reiatsu, he looks down to see he has been stabbed.
Hitsugaya leaps back as Sōjirō Kusaka emerges from the smoke while wearing a slatted mask to conceal his face. When Hitsugaya demands to know who he is, Kusaka draws his Zanpakutō and attacks him. Running up to the commotion, Rangiku asks the assembled Shinigami where the Ōin is, only to be informed that they do not know where it has gone. While Hitsugaya continues to fight with Kusaka, Rangiku calls out to him. When they cross blades, Kusaka tells Hitsugaya he has not changed at all, prompting a confused Hitsugaya to demand that Kusaka show his face.
As Hitsugaya attempts to take his mask off, Kusaka leaps away, leading Hitsugaya to tell him to stop and begin chasing him before Rangiku calls out to him. Looking at Rangiku with a sorrowful expression on his face, Hitsugaya moves away with Shunpo as Rangiku calls out to him once more. Suddenly, the carriage explodes, forcing those present to shield themselves. As a Shinigami orders the others to put the fire out, another Shinigami tells Rangiku the enemy has escaped and reveals that they have suffered severe casualties despite their best efforts. However, a stunned Rangiku does not respond, leading the Shinigami to ask her if she is alright.
Confinement of the Tenth Division
The next day, Ichigo Kurosaki moves through the clouds in his Shinigami form and appears in the area where the Shinigami were stationed. Looking around, Ichigo reaches out with his hand, which touches an invisible barrier in front of him. As he puts his other hand on the barrier, Ichigo wonders what is going on and notes that the last thing he needs is someone starting trouble close to his house before unsheathing Zangetsu and cutting out a section of the barrier. Ichigo walks inside the barrier, where he is shocked to see the aftermath of the attack on the procession.
As Ichigo wonders what happened, several Keigun appear around him and prepare to draw their blades, prompting Ichigo to tell them to calm down as he identifies himself as the local Substitute Shinigami. Despite this, the Keigun begin to advance, only to stop when 2nd Division Captain Suì-Fēng tells them to wait. While the Keigun part to form a path for her, Suì-Fēng walks up and states that she knows who Ichigo is but not why he is here. Ichigo recognizes Suì-Fēng as she asks him how he got through the barrier she put up. Asking Suì-Fēng what happened, Ichigo wonders what all of this is, indicating the dead Shinigami and bannermen. Outside the barrier, Uryū Ishida appears and notices the glow from the entrance Ichigo created as he adjusts his glasses.
Having been informed of what happened the previous day, an incredulous Ichigo asserts that he does not believe it while a Keigun approaches Suì-Fēng and leans down to tell her something. After listening to the Keigun, Suì-Fēng tells Ichigo that he is to notify her as soon as he discovers Hitsugaya's location and performs a series of hand movements as Ichigo tells her to wait. Suddenly, the barrier shatters as Suì-Fēng and her Keigun vanish, leaving Ichigo alone in the forest before Uryū approaches him, which prompts Ichigo to ask him what he is doing here.
Uryū reveals that he has known this area was sealed off and placed under a special barrier since yesterday before asking Ichigo what happened and if he has learned of anything. However, as Ichigo begins to tell Uryū what he learned, he notices snow falling around them, which Uryū takes note of as well before stating that Hitsugaya must have been concealing his Reiatsu. While a confused Ichigo asks Uryū what he means, Hitsugaya walks towards them before suddenly collapsing. Running over to Hitsugaya, Ichigo asks him what happened as Hitsugaya whispers Kusaka's name.
In Soul Society, as the doors to the Captain-Commander's office close, the captains and Rangiku gather before Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto. As Yamamoto asks Suì-Fēng if this is all she has to report, she confirms this and notes that she and her division were unable to find any trace of the Ōin even though they sealed off the area and covered every inch. Asserting that they believe whoever is responsible for the attack possesses the Ōin now, Suì-Fēng details how Hitsugaya pursued the attacker and is currently missing. When Suì-Fēng claims that Hitsugaya concealed his Reiatsu to avoid being found, Rangiku tells her to wait and points out how she is making it sound like Hitsugaya purposely abandoned his post.
Stating that this is the only possible explanation for Hitsugaya's actions, Suì-Fēng claims that he broke regulations and disobeyed his orders, prompting Rangiku to assert that he would never do this. Yamamoto tells them to stop and informs those present that the 10th Division is to be confined to their barracks until further notice before noting that he is prepared to shut down the 10th Division based on the outcome. Incredulous at Yamamoto being willing to disband the 10th Division because of this, Rangiku states that the members of the 10th Division have done nothing wrong.
When Rangiku asks him to let her accept the consequences in place of the 10th Division, Yamamoto states that this is enough and tells Rangiku is misjudging the magnitude of this situation before firmly ordering her to remember her place. As Rangiku resumes kneeling, Yamamoto tells the captains that their top priority is the retrieval of the Ōin before asserting that it is also critical to find Hitsugaya and take him into custody so they may assess his involvement in this incident. Yamamoto declares that this is to be considered an emergency order as Rangiku looks down somberly.
At the 10th Division barracks, 1st Division Lieutenant Chōjirō Sasakibe tells the 10th Division members that they are to remain confined to these barracks until further notice on Yamamoto's orders. As the division members begin talking among themselves, Chōjirō reveals that they are all considered to be co-conspirators until Hitsugaya is apprehended and therefore are required to surrender their Zanpakutō. While the division members voice their dissent at this, Rukia Kuchiki and 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai approach the Shinigami in the barracks.
As Chōjirō affirms Yamamoto's orders stand, the division members ask Rangiku to say something, only for her to silently hold out her sheathed Zanpakutō, which another Shinigami takes from her. Rukia and Renji enter the building, and while the rest of the division members hand over their Zanpakutō as well, Rangiku tells Rukia and Renji that it is what it is. When Rukia notes that taking such drastic actions without any evidence seems very odd, Rangiku theorizes that the Ōin which was stolen must have been very important because they they would not be doing this otherwise.
Renji tells Rangiku that he is sure Hitsugaya will return soon and sort this mess out, leading Rangiku to admit that he is likely right before solemnly wondering why everyone left without saying a word. Hearing this, Renji assures Rangiku that Hitsugaya is nothing like Gin Ichimaru, Rangiku looks away, prompting Rukia to reprimand Renji. As a Shinigami informs him that all of the division members have surrendered their Zanpakutō and they will keep them in the stockade for safekeeping, Chōjirō tells the division members to return to their barracks and await their sentence.
Apologizing, a Shinigami tells Rukia and Renji that he has orders to lock down the barracks and everyone must be cleared from these quarter before asking them to leave. As Renji says he understands and they are leaving now, Rukia apologizes to Rangiku and begins to leave with him, but Rangiku grabs Renji's arm and tells him to wait. When Renji looks over his shoulder at her in surprise, Rangiku reveals that she wants him to check on something for her. As Rukia and Renji walk out of the barracks, Rangiku details how Hitsugaya was chasing a man on the night he disappeared and theorizes that they are connected because he would not have left his post otherwise.
In the past, a young Hitsugaya sits at a table and stares out of the window at the Shin'ō Academy. Approaching him, a young Kusaka notes that he must be Tōshirō Hitsugaya, the boy genius whom everyone has been talking about. While he and Kusaka clash, Hitsugaya asks the latter who he is and declares that plans to become a Shinigami and devote his life to Soul Society. When the scores for the students are posted, Kusaka observes that seeing Hitsugaya's score confirmed that he was a genius. Hitsugaya and Kusaka cut through dummies in combat training while Kusaka asserts that he is not going to let Hitsugaya beat him next time. As Kusaka asks him if they are friends, he is wounded, and as his Zanpakutō fades, Hitsugaya wakes up.
The Fugitive, Tōshirō Hitsugaya
Sitting up in his bed, Hitsugaya wonders where he is as the door opens and Ichigo greets him. Upon recognizing Ichigo, Hitsugaya asks him where he is, prompting Ichigo to reveal he is at his house because he found Hitsugaya unconscious by the side of the road and did not want to leave him lying there. While Hitsugaya apologizes for any trouble he has caused him, Ichigo sits down and asks Hitsugaya if he knows that he has the entire Onmitsukidō looking for him. Hitsugaya notes that he figured as much, prompting an annoyed Ichigo to ask him if this is all he can say.
Ichigo asks Hitsugaya why the Onmitsukidō is looking for him and asserts that the latter at least owes him this much, but when Hitsugaya merely tells him that he should forget about this because it does not concern him, an irritated Ichigo claims that he did not care anyway. When Hitsugaya declares that he will get "it" back, Ichigo expresses confusion, prompting Hitsugaya to reveal the Ōin was stolen before stating that it is far too complicated for a Substitute Shinigami to understand, which leads a further irritated Ichigo to comment that he cannot believe how obnoxious Hitsugaya is.
Suddenly, Hitsugaya begins shivering and sweating, prompting a concerned Ichigo to get up and ask him if he is alright. Claiming that it is nothing, Hitsugaya asserts that he will be fine if he can get some rest, so Ichigo decides to call Orihime Inoue in the morning and tells Hitsugaya to sleep until then before leaving. The following morning, Hitsugaya leaves the Kurosaki Clinic without letting Ichigo know, leaving his captain's haori on his desk, and stands outside the house wearing a tattered cloak before bowing toward the clinic in gratitude.
Hitsugaya begins to walk away, only to be stopped by Ichigo, who stands before him in his Shinigami form. Telling Hitsugaya that there is no need to sneak around, Ichigo wonders why Hitsugaya is skulking around in the shadows like he is ashamed of something instead of walking out the front door like a man. While Hitsugaya thanks him for his help and admits that he appreciates it, Ichigo asks him why he is trying to do this alone and what is bothering him. Hitsugaya claims to not know what he is talking about, but Ichigo asks him if this has anything to do with Kusaka, shocking Hitsugaya
Wondering who Kusaka is, Ichigo theorizes that he is the one who attacked Hitsugaya and took the Ōin, but Hitsugaya merely states that he is someone who was killed a long time ago. While Ichigo asks who killed him, Hitsugaya continues walking past him, prompting Ichigo to attempt to stop him. Suddenly, Hitsugaya draws his Zanpakutō and slashes at Ichigo, who jumps back and demands to know what is wrong with him, before telling him to not interfere. Ichigo asks Hitsugaya if he is supposed to leave him alone after finding him on the verge of death and asserts that he can either turn himself in or come back to his house. Staring at Ichigo, Hitsugaya sees a fireball hurtling towards them.
As Ichigo and Hitsugaya leap back from the fireball as it crashes into the ground and creates an explosion, Ichigo demands to know who did this before looking up at the sky, where he sees Yin and Yang. Yin tells Ichigo to hand over Hitsugaya if he does not want to get hurt while Yang declares that he will be eliminated if he gets in their way. When Ichigo asks Hitsugaya what is going on, Hitsugaya attacks him, forcing him to draw Zangetsu and block. Pushed back by Hitsugaya's attack, Ichigo wonders what is wrong with him, only to be surprised when Hitsugaya pleads that he let him go.
Pushing Zangetsu aside, Hitsugaya slashes at Ichigo, who is forced back before seeing Yang throw a fireball at him. As the fireball hits Ichigo and creates an explosion, Yin generates electricity along her whip and zaps Ichigo's location. The smoke clears to reveal Ichigo standing in the middle of a crater with blood running down the side of his face. Seeing this, Yin fires a ball of lightning and Yang combines it with two blasts of fire, creating a fireball crackling with electricity. As the attack hurtles towards him, Ichigo fires a Getsuga Tenshō, countering it, before firing another one through the smoke.
As the two Arrancar dodge the Getsuga Tenshō, Yin notes Ichigo that countered their attacks even after they combined them and wonders who he is before moving away with Sonído along with Yang. Hitsugaya begins to follow them, prompting Ichigo to tell him to wait as he falls to his knees. Pushing himself up with Zangetsu, Ichigo wonders what this was about and asks Hitsugaya where he is before collapsing as Hitsugaya moves away with Shunpo. Later, as Rukia tells Ichigo to wake up, Renji states he knows something which will rouse him and punches him in the face.
Investigating the Situation
Ichigo bolts up and clutches his face in pain while Renji triumphantly notes that he knows the fastest way to get his attention. When Ichigo angrily inquires why he hit him, Renji asserts that it is his own fault for lying in the middle of the street, leading Ichigo to decide that he should beat Renji up in return. Upon Rukia asking him what happened here, Ichigo looks around and curses as he clutches his head before asking how long he was unconscious and where Hitsugaya went. As Rukia and Renji express surprise at the mention of Hitsugaya, Renji asks Ichigo if he was here and Rukia asks him if he is serious.
When Renji asks him where Hitsugaya was and when he saw him, Ichigo notes that this must be serious. At the Kurosaki Clinic, Ichigo holds up Hitsugaya's haori, which Rukia notes is definitely Hitsugaya's. Renji grabs Ichigo by the shirt and demands to know why he let Hitsugaya leave, prompting Ichigo to tell him to back off before explaining how he tried to stop him but was impeded by Hitsugaya chasing after two girls, to Renji's surprise. Ichigo reveals that the girls looked like they were Visored or Arrancar, though he could not determine which.
As Rukia asks him if Hitsugaya talked about anything while he was here and if he can remember anything Hitsugaya said, Ichigo notes that he said something about getting the Ōin back and that he mentioned someone named Kusaka, to Rukia's confusion. Stating that Hitsugaya had said Kusaka was someone who had been killed, Ichigo recalls how Hitsugaya had a strange look in his eyes and how he attacked him as Rukia tells Renji to return to Soul Society and find out everything he can about Kusaka because it is possible he has something to do with the man Rangiku saw attacking Hitsugaya.
Renji asks Rukia why she does not go, prompting Rukia to point out that they are far more likely to allow him to visit a lieutenant than they are to allow her. Taking Hitsugaya's haori from Ichigo, Rukia notes that this needs to be taken back and hands it to Renji, who admits that he is not looking forward to this. In the past, a young Hitsugaya stands before the Central 46, who declare that they have no need for two Shinigami. As a young Kusaka manifests his Zanpakutō, the Central 46 proclaims that they must decide because there can only be one Shinigami and one rightful owner.
When Hitsugaya asks them to let him abandon Hyōrinmaru and end this, the Central 46 asserts that it is not his choice and tells him to not question them before declaring that their decision is indisputable and absolute as Hitsugaya calls out to Kusaka while the latter's Zanpakutō fades. Waking up, Hitsugaya sees the moon through the window of an abandoned factory. As he attempts to get up, Hitsugaya falls over before getting to his feet and stumbling towards the exit. In Soul Society, Kusaka looks over the Seireitei as Yin and Yang kneel behind him.
When Kusaka asks the girls how Hitsugaya was, Yin reveals that they have been observing him and he has made no attempt to contact the Gotei 13. Yang asks Kusaka if he would like them to capture him before they take him into custody, but Kusaka declines and states he wishes to see how this all plays out before claiming that Hitsugaya will have no choice but to submit to his will because there is no place for him here as long as they wield the same power. At the Urahara Shop, Rukia tells Ichigo, Orihime, Uryū, Yasutora Sado, and Kisuke Urahara what she knows about Hitsugaya.
While Yoruichi Shihōin watches in her cat form, Rukia states that she knows Hitsugaya grew up with 5th Division Lieutenant Momo Hinamori and they are very close, leading Uryū to note that they should contact her and see if she knows anything. However, Rukia reveals that Hinamori is in the hospital right now and that she has told her that Hitsugaya does not like to talk about his past, meaning she would not be much help anyway. When Urahara states he especially does not like to talk about painful events, Rukia notes this is true and says this is just the kind of person he is.
When Orihime asks him if he believes that Hitsugaya is strong, Ichigo denies this and asserts that Hitsugaya would not hurt the people who really care about him if he had any strength. While Ichigo and his friends sit in silence over this claim, Urahara calmly pours some tea and drinks it as Yoruichi walks out of the room before noting that they will not find Hitsugaya by sitting around and talking. As he stands up, Urahara states that he will do some research on his own while Ichigo and his friends go out and search for Hitsugaya in the meantime.
In the 10th Division barracks in Soul Society, Rangiku looks at a rock garden through a slat in the wall, but is startled when she hears a guard telling someone that she is not allowed to have any visitors. As Rangiku whirls around upon hearing his voice, Renji assures the guard that he is only asking for a couple of minutes while 2nd Division Lieutenant Marechiyo Ōmaeda walks up to him and asserts that he has direct orders from Suì-Fēng and Yamamoto. Turning away, Renji claims that he used to think Marechiyo was a reasonable man.
Renji declares that he is actually just a pinhead, prompting Marechiyo to angrily demand to know what he just said as he puts his hand on his Zanpakutō and asks Renji if he insulted him. While Renji denies this, Marechiyo asserts that he just called him a pinhead, and the two continue to argue before being interrupted by the arrival of 8th Division Captain Shunsui Kyōraku, who asks them what all the shouting is about, and his lieutenant, Nanao Ise. Asking Marechiyo if it would be okay if he went in with Renji, Shunsui wonders if Marechiyo trusts him.
Inside the barracks shortly afterward, Rangiku reveals that she has not heard Hitsugaya mention the name Kusaka before. As Renji thanks her, Rangiku admits that she does not know much about Hitsugaya even though she is his lieutenant. Nanao notes that this leaves them with several mysteries to solve, namely how Hitsugaya is connected to Kusaka, who he is, and if he has anything to do with the theft of the Ōin, leading Shunsui to wonder if they are all connected. While Rangiku notes that they know very little, Nanao asserts that they will have to start looking.
When Renji asks her how they will do this, Nanao explains that the first thing Renji needs to understand is that it is impossible for one person to know everything about someone before noting that they must investigate in order to find the information they want even though it is not always easy. Shunsui chuckles at this, and when a confused Nanao asks him if she said something wrong, he merely states that she is dead-on and that they knew she could be counted on to figure this out, leaving Nanao staring at him in bewilderment while Renji bows his head and begs her to help them.
While Rangiku admits that this means a lot to her and thanks Nanao, Shunsui claims that he will drink to this and asks who is buying, only for Nanao to sternly asserts that she is sure he wants to help Rangiku as much as anyone and will be helping instead. When Shunsui asks her if she is referring to him, Nanao confirms this and stands in front of him with a stern expression on her face, causing the others to begins laughing, with Nanao eventually joining in.
An Increasingly Complicated Incident
As he notes that there is something else Rangiku should know, Renji brings out a package. Inside the house, Rangiku opens the package and lifts up Hitsugaya's haori while Renji notes that they thought she should have it because Ichigo said Hitsugaya left it at his house. Rangiku sees blood on the inside of the haori and realizes that Hitsugaya is hurt, prompting Renji to recall how Ichigo told him Hitsugaya was hurt very badly. Wondering why Hitsugaya disappeared and left this behind, Rangiku admits that she is not sure if she should be happy because he is alive or upset because he disappeared.
Observing that this is a mess, Shunsui notes Hitsugaya must know they are all worried about him and wonders what he is up to. In the past, in a snow-covered land, Hyōrinmaru lands before Kusaka and introduces himself before asking Kusaka if he believes that he is capable of mastering him. Kusaka affirms this and raises his hand as he commands Hyōrinmaru to obey him, causing him to be surrounded by snow as the sealed form of Hyōrinmaru appears in his hand. As the snow-covered landscape fades, leaving him in a cavern, Kusaka proclaims that he did it.
While Hitsugaya gets to his feet, Kusaka realizes that they both obtained the same power and excitedly claims that this is incredible. Waking up next to a stream, Hitsugaya pushes himself up with his Zanpakutō before walking on a bridge as a train speeds past, walking up a flight of stairs, and passing a villa as a plastic windmill spins. Meanwhile, in a library in Soul Society, Nanao notes that there is no listing for a division member named Kusaka even though she has searched through the last fifty years of the registry, prompting Shunsui to ask her if she went through the records for the Shin'ō Academy.
Nanao confirms this, but states that there is no record of a student with this name and notes that there is something unusual about the student registry for the year Hitsugaya graduated before revealing that it is missing a name of a student who appears to be from northern Rukongai. When Shunsui asks if she checked to see if there is anyone named Kusaka listed in this district, Nanao affirms that there is one named Sōjirō Kusaka. Looking at the registry, Shunsui notes that he is dead, and Nanao reveals he is not in the Shinigami registry as she wonders if this could have been a mistake.
However, Shunsui denies this and asserts that these kinds of mistakes do not happen, especially when someone is dead. When Nanao points out that they have at least disproved the theory of Kusaka having anything to do with the recent events, Shunsui crosses his arms and notes they cannot list a person as dead until it is confirmed their Reiatsu has been extinguished. Seeing Shunsui hesitating to decide that Kusaka must be dead, Nanao asks him what is wrong, but Shunsui merely gets up and claims that he is going for a walk as he asks Nanao to try to figure out the cause of death.
As Shunsui walks away from the library, Yin steps out behind him and begins to follow him as he continues walking. Noticing Yin, Shunsui runs into an alleyway as she runs after him, only to suddenly stop and put his hand on his Zanpakutō upon seeing snow falling. When Kusaka steps in view at the other end of the alleyway, Shunsui demands to know who he is, but Kusaka does not answer, leading Shunsui to claim that it is rude of Kusaka to not introduce himself. Identifying Shunsui by name, Kusaka observes that his cavalier attitude disguises his keen intellect and shrewd disposition.
When Kusaka notes that it is no wonder Shunsui was the first to figure it out because of his exceptionally sharp mind, Shunsui decides to take this as a compliment and asserts that Kusaka should talk more about himself since he seems to know a lot about him. Revealing his Zanpakutō, Kusaka proclaims that it would be a waste of time because Shunsui is about to be killed by Hitsugaya. Drawing his blade, Kusaka slashes the ground in front of him, generating an overflowing wave of ice which rushes at a surprised Shunsui. The ice pins Shunsui's kimono to the wall as he comments on the power Kusaka is using before clashing with him.
Knocking his mask off, Shunsui expresses shock upon seeing Kusaka's face. Meanwhile, at an abandoned shrine in the Human World, Hitsugaya wakes up and looks through the slats to see dozens of Shinigami surrounding the building. As they move into position, 3rd Division Lieutenant Izuru Kira and 9th Division Lieutenant Shūhei Hisagi appear, and the latter tells Hitsugaya that he has received an executive order to return to Soul Society immediately. Pushing the doors of the shrine open, Hitsugaya emerges and asserts that he has no intention of doing this as he puts his hand on his Zanpakutō and attacks Hisagi, who blocks with his half-sheathed blade.
Izuru traps Hitsugaya's blade with his sealed Zanpakutō and begs him to not do this because it will lead to him being accused of treason. When Hitsugaya tells Izuru and Hisagi to back off, Hisagi apologizes and states that he has orders to take him into custody, but Hitsugaya asserts that he will die, which alarms the lieutenants, before kicking Hisagi away, disarming Izuru with a single slash, and attacking Hisagi again. As Hisagi blocks, the force of the attack creates a shockwave and sends him flying away. Regaining his footing, Hisagi moves to the top of the gate and uses Bakudō #62. Hyapporankan.
While Izuru clashes with Hitsugaya, Hisagi throws the rod formed by Bakudō #62. Hyapporankan, which splits into a hundred more. Upon seeing this, Hitsugaya moves away with Shunpo, but as the rods hit the ground leading to the shrine, one of them pierces Hitsugaya through the chest. Falling against a crate, Hitsugaya pulls the rod out of him, and though Izuru begs him to not resist any further, he activates his Bankai, Daiguren Hyōrinmaru. As Ichigo senses this occurring from far away, the ice dragon formed by Daiguren Hyōrinmaru attacks the assembled Shinigami.
Meanwhile, in the Sōgō Kyūgo Tsumesho in the Seireitei, as a badly wounded Shunsui breathes slowly, 4th Division Captain Retsu Unohana tells the nearby 4th Division members to set up the purification barrier and prepares to operate. In the hall outside, a sobbing Nanao claims that it is all her fault, but 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake assures her that it is not as he approaches with his 3rd Seat, Kiyone Kotetsu, and reminds Nanao that knows how strong Shunsui is, which means he was either caught completely by surprise or overpowered by someone much stronger.
When Ukitake asks her if he is correct, Nanao begins to blame herself again, prompting him to reiterate that she is not responsible and reveal that the 6th Division is investigating the scene right now before asserting that they will find who is responsible and capture them. At the scene of the attack, Renji picks up a frozen piece of Shunsui's kimono, which, to his surprise, crumbles away in his hand as 6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki notes that there is no doubt about it and states that this was the work of Hyōrinmaru. Back in the hallway, Ukitake asks the Riteitai relaying this if he is sure.
As Ukitake expresses doubt that it is the only news he has brought, the Riteitai kneels before him and reveals that Izuru and Hisagi tracked down Hitsugaya in the Human World, but were badly injured while trying to arrest him, shocking those present. At the shrine in the Human World, as another Riteitai vanishes after reporting to Rukia, Uryū expresses surprise at Hitsugaya being able to defeat all of them while a shaken Orihime admits that she cannot believe Hitsugaya would attack his own men. Noting that this is not all, Rukia reveals Shunsui was also injured.
While Sado wonders why this is happening, Rukia notes that everyone who tried to attack Hitsugaya was badly injured by Hyōrinmaru. When Ichigo asks Uryū if he can track Hitsugaya's Reiatsu, Uryū admits that he cannot do so at this point, causing Ichigo to curse as Orihime falls to her knees. Sado notes the sun is coming up, and Ichigo suggests that they all go home and get some sleep because they can meet up later this afternoon before helping Orihime to her feet. Though Orihime claims that they can keep looking because she is not tired, Rukia agrees with Ichigo and asserts that they will have a better chance of finding him after they rest.
Encounter with the Substitute Shinigami
In Soul Society, at another captains meeting, Yamamoto says they have evidence of Hitsugaya being guilty of treason before revealing that he is upgrading the priority of his capture to an execution order as such. When a surprised Unohana asks him if he really thinks the situation calls for such extreme measures, Yamamoto asserts that it has been decided and affirms that the search for the Ōin shall proceed uninterrupted as he proclaims that Hitsugaya's case will now be their top priority and that they must execute him by any means necessary.
In the Human World, as Ichigo's alarm clock beeps, Ichigo grabs it and turns it off. Hearing another beep, Ichigo turns as Rukia bursts out of his closet and reveals that Renji has told her of an execution order. When Ichigo asks her what she is talking about, Rukia reveals it means they have orders to execute Hitsugaya on sight, prompting an incredulous Ichigo to grab her by the shoulders and demand to know why they would do something like this. As Rukia claims that there was no time for anyone to argue the decision and the order cannot be revoked, Ichigo sits on his bed and asserts that this is crazy.
Attracting Rukia's attention on her Denreishinki, Renji reveals that they have learned who Kusaka is, and when Rukia asks him if he heard this, Ichigo confirms this and asks her to turn up the volume. As Rukia does so, Renji details that his name is Sōjirō Kusaka and he was one of Hitsugaya's classmates, but died shortly before Hitsugaya graduated from the Shin'ō Academy. Suddenly, the wall behind Ichigo is destroyed, sending debris flying into his room. Ichigo and Rukia emerge from the hole in their Shinigami forms and move to the sky, where they confront Yin and Yang.
As Ichigo recognizes them, Yin and Yang reiterate their previous statement of killing him if he got in the way before Kusaka approaches. While Ichigo demands to know who he is, Rukia notes that his Reiatsu is incredibly powerful. Chuckling, Kusaka draws his sword as its sheath dissipates, leading Rukia to recognize as Hyōrinmaru. In Soul Society, as Byakuya, Nanao, and Ukitake stand around the wounded Shunsui, Ukitake notes he is usually the one lying on a hospital bed surrounded by visitors before apologizing. However, Byakuya admits that there is something about this which bothers him.
Revealing that their forensics determined the time of the Hyōrinmaru attacks, Byakuya notes that they also know when the search party encountered Hitsugaya. As Nanao and Ukitake express surprise, Byakuya points out how the time between the attacks was insufficient to travel between the two worlds and begins to theorize how Hyōrinmaru could have been used in both attacks. Back in the Human World, Kusaka releases Hyōrinmaru as Yang attacks Rukia. While the ice dragon hurtles after them, Yin attacks Ichigo, who repels her with Zangetsu.
The chain of Hyōrinmaru wraps around Ichigo's wrist as the ice dragon turns to attack him. When Ichigo moves away with Shunpo, Kusaka yanks on the chain, pulling Ichigo towards him. As he hurtles towards Kusaka, Ichigo demands why he is doing this, leading Kusaka to proclaim that he is doing this because he is the master of Hyōrinmaru. As they clash, Ichigo sees a young Hitsugaya calling out to someone and pushes Kusaka's blade away as he wonders what happened. In Soul Society, 12th Division Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi asks Byakuya and Ukitake if they just mentioned twin Zanpakutō.
Reminding them that a Zanpakutō is born directly from the consciousness of the Shinigami, Mayuri asserts that the Shikai is like a binding contract between the two and claims it is impossible for a Zanpakutō to be tied to more than one Shinigami at a time, as it would not even be a Zanpakutō by definition. However, Ukitake asks him if he can verify for certain that something like this does not exist and absolutely prove there are not two Hyōrinmaru, surprising Mayuri. While Ukitake begins to theorize how it could have two owners, Mayuri realizes something and notes that he now understands why they are here.
Mayuri proclaims that they have come to the right place and turns to his computer while noting that sneaking into the inner recesses of the Daireishokairō archives is child's play to him. As he presses several keys, causing the Daireishokairō to light up, Ichigo slashes Yin away in the Human World before Rukia attacks her. Kusaka lunges at Ichigo, who is kicked from behind by Yang before moving away with Shunpo just as Kusaka stabs at him. Landing on a telephone tower, Ichigo demands to know who Kusaka is, prompting him to reveal that his name is Sōjirō Kusaka.
As Mayuri finds something, Kusaka asserts that he is the one who was forced to fight in the Central 46 assembly hall and murdered by Hitsugaya, shocking Ichigo, before explaining that Ichigo is the only obstacle left in his path because Hitsugaya no longer has a home to return to with Soul Society branding him a traitor. Proclaiming that he will die, Kusaka rushes at Ichigo, who leaps towards him, and the two fly toward each other before clashing in a flurry of sparks. In the past, Kusaka and Hitsugaya stand in a misty canyon next to a river, where they recognize each other.
The canyon fades to reveal the Central 46 assembly hall around them, where a voice states that the Central 46 has reached a decision and proclaims that two Shinigami are not allowed to wield the same Zanpakutō before revealing that Hitsugaya and Kusaka shall duel to determine the rightful master. When a stunned Hitsugaya asks them if they are saying the only way to settle this is to fight to the death, a man asserts that it is the council's decision and a woman claims that it is to see who is deserving. Describing Hyōrinmaru as strong and requiring such a test, another man tells them to consider it an honor.
When Hitsugaya says that he would rather surrender Hyōrinmaru than kill Kusaka, the Central 46 vehemently denies this possibility, and when he asks them why they cannot wield the same Zanpakutō, Hitsugaya is told that it is an ancient law which has been in place since the beginning of time and which he is not allowed to disobey. As the Central 46 tells them to fight, an ice-covered Kusaka stands before Hitsugaya and shrugs the ice off. Suddenly, several Keigun appear around them and begin walking towards Kusaka, who asks them why they are interfering.
One of the Keigun reveals that the council has decided Hitsugaya shall be the one master of Hyōrinmaru. Though Kusaka points out that the fight is not over and claims that he is the rightful master of Hyōrinmaru, the Keigun asserts that it is the decision of Central 46. As the Keigun raise their blades, Kusaka begs them to give him one more chance before being stabbed by several of them. Two more Keigun restrain Hitsugaya as he frantically calls out to Kusaka, who begs to know why they have done this and why he must die as another Keigun slashes him.
Panting, Kusaka states he dedicated his life to Soul Society before staring in shock Hyōrinmaru fades from his hands. As Kusaka collapses, Hitsugaya screams his name while running to him. In the present, as Ichigo clashes with Kusaka and sees these events, Kusaka takes off his mask, revealing his eyes have turned red and he has gained a large scar. Repelling Ichigo, Kusaka generates a large amount of water, which freezes as it pushes Ichigo back. As Ichigo regains his footing and catches his breath, Kusaka lands before him and asserts that Hitsugaya will walk the same path he did.
As purple ice gathers around his blade, Kusaka releases Hyōrinmaru and creates a purple ice dragon, which flies towards Ichigo before attacking him. Rukia calls out to Ichigo as the dragon crashes into the ground, creating a large amount of purple ice, which Ichigo is left frozen inside of. While Rukia stares at this in shock, Kusaka notes his power is growing stronger and puts his mask back on before telling Yin and Yang that he will leave the rest to them as he departs. Rukia charges towards them, and Yang clashes with her while Yin slashes at her with her whip.
Dodging this with Shunpo, Rukia fires Hadō #33. Sōkatsui at Yin and Yang. While they continue to fight, Ichigo awakens in his inner world and sees Zangetsu standing on a post before him. Ichigo gets to his feet as Zangetsu notes that it has been quite a while since he last saw him. When Ichigo asks him if the events he saw were an illusion, Zangetsu explains that they are a resonance because Zanpakutō resonate with each other, allowing the past to be revealed. As Ichigo realizes what this means, Zangetsu asserts that what he saw is the indisputable truth.
Angrily noting that someone had to die just because Soul Society did not want two Hyōrinmaru, Ichigo asks Zangetsu why they would do this. Zangetsu simply states that this is the way it has always been and jumps down from his post as he observes that the preservation of balance is the most sacred and revered of all laws in Soul Society. When Ichigo asks him if the life of an individual means anything to Soul Society, Zangetsu wonders why he would ask this and claims that one's life becomes insignificant when placed against the fate of the world.
Zangetsu asks Ichigo if he thinks it is any different in the Human World and notes that his Human parts question themselves. When Zangetsu claims that they all become susceptible to fear and fall into the depths of evil in time, Ichigo declares that he is wrong and they are not this weak before asserting that Hitsugaya would never allow this to happen. Upon Zangetsu wondering what makes him so sure, Ichigo recalls his mother's death and admits that he looked at the world after his mother died in the same way Hitsugaya did after Kusaka's death.
Noting that he had many emotions locked up inside of him, Ichigo asserts that he did not want to burden anyone else because they were his feelings. As he recalls Yuzu Kurosaki, Karin Kurosaki, and Isshin Kurosaki approaching him, Ichigo claims that he was stupid and explains that he realized he was hurting not only himself, but those around him as well. Remembering how Hitsugaya had the same look as he did back then, Ichigo realizes that he is trying to bear the whole burden by himself and stands up while noting that he finally understands what Hitsugaya has been trying to do.
Ichigo thanks Zangetsu and jumps away, leading Zangetsu to urge him to not stray once he knows the truth as he returns to his sword form and tells Ichigo to go forth. In the real world, as Ichigo's eyes glow, Rukia continues to fight against Yin and Yang. While Rukia blocks an attack from Yang, the ice begins to glow, and red-black Reiatsu emanates from it as Ichigo yells. The ice around Ichigo shatters as he stands on the remnants in his Bankai, Tensa Zangetsu. Leaping towards them, Ichigo slashes at Yin, who dodges. When Rukia asks him if he is alright, Ichigo affirms this and asks her where Kusaka is.
When Rukia reveals he got away, Ichigo curses and notes that they should deal with the Arrancar girls before going after him as he reveals that he has finally figured out what Hitsugaya is doing. While Yin expresses her surprise at Ichigo still being alive, Yang sarcastically claims that he does not know how to roll over and die, leading Yin to state he might need some help. Turning into their ball forms, Yin and Yang rush at Ichigo and Rukia, who dodge. Declaring that there is no time to waste, Ichigo charges at Yin and Yang as he asserts that he has something which Hitsugaya needs to hear.
The Assault on Soul Society
Meanwhile, in an abandoned factory, Hitsugaya pushes a metal door open and leans against the wall. Tightening the fabric on his arm, he walks down the many flights of stairs and reaches the floor, where he steps in a puddle. As the sound echoes, Kusaka notes that Hitsugaya finally found him even though it took a while and asserts that he has been waiting for him as he removes his mask, causing Hitsugaya to recognize him. Explaining how he stabbed Hitsugaya with Hyōrinmaru to send a message, Kusaka rhetorically asks him what better way there is to prove he is alive and notes that life has led them on a strange journey to bring them to this point.
When Hitsugaya asks him what he means, Kusaka chuckles and brings up how Hitsugaya has stayed with the Gotei 13 despite knowing what they are like and having seen the kinds of things they are capable of before asking if he did so because of his childhood friend. Hitsugaya asserts that Momo has nothing to do with this and demands to know where the Ōin is, prompting Kusaka to hold up a glowing seal, which visibly shocks Hitsugaya, as he reveals that he is holding it in his hand and claims its power makes it the perfect tool to help them realize their dreams.
As the Ōin begins to glow even brighter, Hitsugaya demands to know how he knows about the power of the Ōin and what he plans to do with it, but Kusaka merely tells him to not get so excited before assuring Hitsugaya that he will know soon enough. Hitsugaya is physically drawn towards Kusaka, who holds up the Ōin and laughs as they are transported across space. Meanwhile, as Ichigo continues to fight Yang, he feels an intense Reiatsu and asks Rukia what it is. While Yin dodges her attack, Rukia admits that she does not know before noting that it is not a normal Reiatsu.
While Rukia explains that this Reiatsu is pure and powerful unlike anything she has ever felt, Yin and Yang laugh as Yin reveals it is the power of the Ōin and Yang claims that Kusaka and Hitsugaya have begun to take their revenge on the Seireitei, which Ichigo expresses disbelief at. Stating that Ichigo is a bothersome obstacle which must be eliminated, Yang summons hundreds of Hollows, which appear in the air behind her, while Yin asserts that they will not allow him to interfere with Kusaka's plans before the two Arrancar order the Hollows to attack.
In the Seireitei, as lightning crackles above Sōkyoku Hill, the Shinigami below wonder what is going on as they gather on the ground below. A Shinigami informs Rangiku of the Reiatsu of the Ōin appearing above Sōkyoku Hill, prompting her exit the room in order to see what is going on. As the rest of the 10th Division gathers outside, Marechiyo tries in vain to get them to return to their barracks, only to turn around in shock when they all gasp in unison as he wonders what is going on. While Rangiku realizes Hitsugaya has arrived, a Jigokuchō flies through the air.
An announcer informs all Shinigami of Hitsugaya and Kusaka appearing on Sōkyoku Hill before ordering them to prepare for battle. Across the Seireitei, Kiyone and 13th Division 3rd Seat Sentarō Kotsubaki stop fighting, Suì-Fēng and several Onmitsukidō members rush through the corridors, 11th Division Lieutenant Yachiru Kusajishi wakes and alerts 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki, and 7th Division Captain Sajin Komamura suits up. As Fourth Division Lieutenant Isane Kotetsu approaches, Unohana wonders how Hitsugaya and Kusaka could have penetrated their defenses so easily.
Theorizing that the enemy knew the forces of the Gotei 13 were short-handed, Isane admits that they must assume the worst and apologizes. On Sōkyoku Hill, as the lightning around Kusaka dissipates, Hitsugaya recognizes their location as Kusaka reveals they are at Sōkyoku Hill and claims that Hitsugaya is witnessing the incredible power of the Ōin. Kusaka explains that whoever masters the Ōin is empowered with the ability to transport any type of matter or attack to other dimensions, regardless of space and time, and that it allows him to reverse any of his wounds to a time before he was injured.
When Hitsugaya realizes that this is how he is still alive, Kusaka confirms this and reveals how his fading soul was bathed in the light of the Ōin, transporting it to Hueco Mundo and resurrecting him, and details how he has spent every waking day since in search of the Ōin before proclaiming that he will finally have his revenge on the Seireitei. Holding out the Ōin in front of him, Kusaka tells Hitsugaya to cut it in two because he knows Daiguren Hyōrinmaru has the power and when Hitsugaya asks why, Kusaka claims that everything will be purified once he cuts the Ōin.
As Kusaka laughs maniacally, Renji, 11th Division 3rd Seat Ikkaku Madarame, and 11th Division 5th Seat Yumichika Ayasegawa appear above Hitsugaya. Upon landing, Ikkaku notes that it appears they are the first ones to arrive, which Yumichika concurs with. Renji asks Hitsugaya what he is trying to prove, but Ikkaku asserts that it makes no difference, because they have an executive order from Yamamoto to arrest Hitsugaya and Kusaka. Identifying Ikkaku, Kusaka notes that his immense physical power and expert swordsmanship make him valuable to the Gotei 13.
Ikkaku remarks that flattery will not save him, but Kusaka confidently states that Ikkaku is still no match for him. Leaping towards Kusaka, Ikkaku slashes at him, only to be intercepted by Hitsugaya. As they land, with Hitsugaya stumbling, Ikkaku notes that he must really want to save Kusaka if he is willing to protect him while wounded. While Renji demands to know what he was thinking, Hitsugaya claims that they are in his way as he begins to breathe heavily. In the Human World, as6 the Hollows rush towards him and Rukia, Ichigo notes that there are too many of them.
As the Hollows surround Ichigo and Rukia, Uryū calls out to Ichigo and destroys the Hollows around him with several Heilig Pfeil and reminds Ichigo that he said he would contact them if anything came up before firing fires a barrage of Heilig Pfeil, which destroy the other Hollows. Explaining how his Ginrei Kojaku fires 1200 arrows per second, Uryū asserts that regular Hollows are useless regardless of how many Yin and Yang summon. While Orihime asks him if he is alright, Ichigo berates Uryū for attacking while he was still standing there.
Uryū tells Ichigo that he would not make the mistake of hitting him as Yang generates a large fireball. As Uryū prepares to fire more Heilig Pfeil and Ichigo assures him that he has got this handled, Sado appears and uses El Directo, which destroys the fireball, before telling Ichigo to get going while Orihime tells him to hurry to Soul Society. While Uryū reveals that Urahara has set up a Senkaimon, Sado assures Ichigo that he can leave Yin and Yang to them, and Orihime claims that he has to save Hitsugaya. As Ichigo tells Rukia they will go, the two leap away.
Back in the Seireitei, hundreds of Shinigami and Keigun appear on Sōkyoku Hill behind Renji as he holds Zabimaru with the chain of Hyōrinmaru wrapped around it, and Suì-Fēng, approaching with Komamura and Byakuya, declares that this is far enough before ordering Hitsugaya to throw down his weapon as Komamura tells Kusaka to do the same, only for Kusaka to laugh this off as ridiculous. While Komamura asserts that he is under arrest, Kusaka asks Hitsugaya if he has endured enough and tells him to teach the Shinigami a lesson, which prompts them to draw their Zanpakutō.
Proclaiming that this is their revenge for all of the suffering they have endured, Kusaka raises the glowing Ōin above his head and tells Hitsugaya to cut it while Suì-Fēng orders the Shinigami and Keigun to seize them immediately. As the Shinigami and Keigun run toward Hitsugaya and Kusaka, Ichigo fires a Getsuga Tenshō that cuts through the ground in front of them, stopping them in their tracks. Byakuya wonders what is happening now as Ichigo lands in front of the Shinigami and demands that they stop before berating them for only knowing how to solve problems by fighting.
Ichigo asserts that none of them really want to kill Hitsugaya and that they should think twice before drawing their sword against a friend, even if it is an order. Telling him to stay out of this because it does not involve him, Suì-Fēng declares that they are under Yamamoto's orders and have sworn to carry out their superiors' orders because it is their duty as Shinigami. When Ichigo states that their orders do not make any sense, Suì-Fēng claims he is just wasting their time and will have to die as well if he continues to resist as the Shinigami and Keigun draw their blades.
Suddenly, Yamamoto commands them to halt, and as the Shinigami bow, Rukia notes his presence while Kusaka grins. As Yamamoto approaches with Rangiku and Nanao, who is supporting Shunsui, Ukitake notes Shunsui is back on his feet, prompting Shunsui to claim that he would not have been able to live with himself if he had let an innocent man be executed. While Yamamoto observes that he really is still alive, Kusaka asks him if he thought they had killed him off and sarcastically apologizes as Yamamoto theorizes the Ōin brought him back to life and gave him a second chance in Hueco Mundo.
Kusaka confirms this and reveals that he will use the Ōin to take his place as the king of Soul Society, and when Yamamoto calls him arrogant for wanting such a thing, Kusaka counters that he of all people would know about arrogance. Raising the Ōin above his head, Kusaka tells them to take this as a lesson as the Ōin glows. However, Hitsugaya suddenly leaps toward Kusaka and attacks him, forcing Kusaka to block with his Zanpakutō. As Kusaka forces Hitsugaya back, the other Shinigami express their surprise at this development while Rangiku runs towards him.
Telling Rangiku to stay back, Hitsugaya asserts that this is his fight while Kusaka demands to know what the meaning of this is and claims that the Shinigami are the ones Hitsugaya should fight. When Hitsugaya tells Kusaka that he is evil and it was never his intention to be on his side, Mayuri wonders why Hitsugaya deserted his post if he did not intend to betray the Gotei 13 and Suì-Fēng wonders why he attacked them when they tried to arrest Kusaka, who asks Hitsugaya if he wants to fight him and if killing him once was not enough for him.
As Hitsugaya states that he is just trying to make amends for the mistakes which he has made, Kusaka asks him what mistakes he is talking about and if he thinks killing him will purify his soul, only for Hitsugaya to attack him once more. While Hitsugaya and Kusaka clash, Rukia notes that she thinks she understands and recounts how Kusaka was once a noble man who swore his loyalty to Soul Society. Rukia asserts that he would have been a great Shinigami if it were not for the twin Zanpakutō, but because of his duel with Hitsugaya, he lost his honor and his life in addition to Hyōrinmaru.
Confirming this, Ichigo observes that Hitsugaya blames himself for everything which has happened and Rukia explains that Hitsugaya could not bear the thought of destroying him again because he had attained everything Kusaka wanted by becoming a Shinigami captain. While Rukia notes that it was too painful, Ichigo theorizes that seeing Kusaka again must have been devastating and Hitsugaya was so racked with guilt that he deserted his post and went after him in an attempt to settle things, knowing that he would be accused of treason and that it could cost him his life.
As Hitsugaya and Kusaka cross blades, Kusaka realizes that Hitsugaya knew all along it would come to this, which Hitsugaya confirms, and claims that he thought Hitsugaya was more intelligent than this before declaring that he was wrong. Forcing him back, Kusaka decides that he will just have to do this himself as the Ōin glows and Kusaka tells it to answer him. While Hitsugaya tells him to not do this, Kusaka explains that he was unable to open the power of the Ōin with his Bankai until now before claiming that this has changed and he can do it now. As Yamamoto expresses surprise, Kusaka tosses the Ōin in the air and cuts it in half, creating a column of yellow energy.
While Hitsugaya calls out to Kusaka, Ichigo appears before him and asserts that there is no need for him to suffer by himself anymore, but Hitsugaya merely tells him to move out of his way. Ichigo tells Hitsugaya that he has to let them help because he is not the only one affected by this, he is not the only one who has suffered, and he is not the only one who feels pain. When Hitsugaya says he is no longer a captain, Ichigo punches him in the face, knocking him down, and criticizes him for having tried to endure all of this alone and refusing to let his friends help.
Ichigo asks Hitsugaya if he has thought about how this makes them feel, and as Hitsugaya looks up, Ichigo admits that he also used to think he was being strong by refusing to depend on others like him once. In the past, as a young Ichigo asks Yuzu and Karin why they are so excited while standing on a riverbank, Yuzu begins to cry as Karin asks him why he is smiling and reveals that they were worried sick about him, leading Ichigo to wonder why. Crouching down, Isshin pats Yuzu and Karin on the head, prompting them to run and cry into his shirt, and assures Ichigo that he knows he is trying to be strong before explaining that sometimes he has to share his feelings with them.
As he puts a hand on Ichigo's shoulder, Isshin tells him to share the things which make him happy or sad with the ones he loves because they are not a family without this before he begins to cry. Tearing up as well, Ichigo hugs his father. In the present, Ichigo explains that he learned people just become weak if they keep their emotions inside of them. Getting to his feet, Hitsugaya wipes the blood off of his mouth and looks around before telling Ichigo to prepare to fight because he is coming. The tornado around Kusaka dissipates, revealing he has transformed into a humanoid dragon composed of purple ice.
Final Clash with a God
Kusaka revels in his new power as Kenpachi runs towards him while surrounded by yellow Reiatsu. As Ichigo calls after him, a laughing Kenpachi stabs Kusaka's midsection, destroying it, to the surprise of the other Shinigami. Disappointed, Kenpachi wonders if this is it before Kusaka grabs his Zanpakutō and generates a large amount of ice, which shatters as a cackling Kusaka flies off the edge of the hill, bringing Kenpachi with him. Kusaka asserts that Kenpachi's attacks have no effect on him and he is invincible, only for a chuckling Kenpachi to claim that he is starting to like him.
Declaring that they will have some fun, Kenpachi repeatedly attacks Kusaka while falling, but Kusaka slashes him across the chest, leaving Kenpachi to fall to the ground below. As he calls Kenpachi a nuisance, Kusaka fires a barrage of ice projectiles after him, which embed themselves in the ground below, and flies away while laughing. Kusaka lands on a post as the area underneath him is encased in purple ice, which grows larger, and his legs merge with the ice as his wings grow in length and size. While Kusaka proclaims that his power is incredible and unstoppable, a battered Yin and Yang appear.
Yin and Yang land on the ice platform as Kusaka asks them what is wrong with them before noting that it looks like they have taken a beating. When Yang begs for his forgiveness, Kusaka denies to grant it and encases them both in ice before glowing as he roars. While Ukitake notes that he is becoming even more powerful, the ice forms an enormous tree, the branches of which pierce the ground, and Yamamoto tells the Shinigami to stand their ground because they cannot retreat and Kusaka must be destroyed, prompting the assembled Shinigami to move forward with Shunpo.
When Byakuya releases his Zanpakutō, Senbonzakura, and attacks Kusaka, his attack is blocked by ice, prompting Renji to release his Zanpakutō, Zabimaru, and attack as well. Catching the blade segments, Kusaka pulls Renji to the ground. Several Shinigami, including Komamura, appear around Kusaka, prompting him to claim that they are in the way before releasing an omnidirectional energy blast, which repels the Shinigami away and cracks the ice tree. As the ice begins to shatter and fall apart, a dark orb with two intersecting band forms around Kusaka and begins to expand outward.
Wondering what is going on, Isane observes that the orb looks like it is taking over the Seireitei as 12th Division Lieutenant Nemu Kurotsuchi asks Mayuri if he thinks the Ōin has released all of its power. When Mayuri asserts that the power of the Ōin has in fact gone out of control, Ukitake asks him if he is sure, leading Mayuri to reveal they are witnessing the Reiatsu of the Ōin increase as it spreads out before explaining that if will engulf all of the Seireitei and destroy everything if it continues unchecked, which a stunned Shunsui claims is unbelievable.
Mayuri reveals the Reiatsu of the Ōin can influence time and space within a limited area upon being released into the atmosphere, such that every phenomenon of reality can be manipulated by it, and asserts that the wielder of the Ōin possesses the all-encompassing power of a god before noting that Kusaka is unable to access the full power of the Ōin or control it because he has not mastered the Bankai of Hyōrinmaru. Walking forward, Yamamoto states that this puts them in a grave situation. Inside of the orb, Rangiku pushes a large chunk of stone off of Hitsugaya.
As Rangiku assures him that she is alright, Hitsugaya gets up and pushes the stone over before asking her what she was doing, which prompts Rangiku to remind him that she was told it was a lieutenant's duty to protect their captain no matter what. Freeing Rukia, Ichigo asks her if she is okay, prompting her to assure him that she is fine. Ichigo notes that it looks like they are not the only ones because Hitsugaya and Rangiku survived as well. Calling out to Rukia and Ichigo, Renji appears before them, and when Rukia asks him what is wrong, Renji tells her to look around.
Looking up, Ichigo is shocked to see an enormous stone statue towering over the building as Renji notes that Kusaka seems to have built himself a castle before revealing that they are trapped in some sort of spiritual wall. When Ichigo asks him what they should do, Renji states he is asking the wrong guy as Yoruichi and Suì-Fēng appear with Sentan Hakuja. Asserting that there is not much time, Yoruichi tells the group that they need to work fast as Suì-Fēng reveals Yamamoto is doing everything he can to suppress the expansion and they have been sent with orders to find and eliminate Kusaka.
When Ichigo asks her how they can get to him, Yoruichi suggests they start climbing, to his confusion, and details how they will have to cut through the main tower when they reach the top and should attack as soon as possible since Kusaka has stopped moving temporarily. While Ichigo agrees, Ikkaku tells them to wait and jumps down from the roof of a nearby building as he notes that he did not get his invitation and hopes that they do not mind if he crashes this party, with Yumichika telling them to not forget about him either. Suddenly, the group hears a roar as Yoruichi realizes they have company.
The underside of the statue glows as hundreds of Hollows appear, but when Ichigo prepares to fight, Yoruichi tells him to forget about the Hollows and leaps towards them as Suì-Fēng discards her captain's haori and follows suit. Activating their Shunkō, Yoruichi and Suì-Fēng begin destroying the Hollows. As Ichigo observes that they have to go straight up to reach their goal, Rangiku approaches Hitsugaya and holds out his captain's haori, which he puts on after a moment's hesitation before telling Rangiku to watch his back as he throws his cloak away.
As they run toward the statue, Hitsugaya asserts that they will form two groups, which Ichigo confirms as he takes Rukia and Renji with him while Rangiku wonders why she always gets stuck with Ikkaku and Yumichika, only for Ikkaku to tell her to shut up. Ichigo, Rukia, and Renji leap over a pit before running up a narrow path. Seeing Yang, who has been transformed into a large Hollow, Ichigo wonders what it is. When Yang blasts a fireball at them, Renji tells them to leave it to him and leaps into the air, where he slices the fireball in half with Zabimaru.
Suddenly, the two halves of the fireball turn around and attack Renji, creating an explosion. As Ichigo and Rukia call out to him, Renji activates his Bankai, Hihiō Zabimaru, and embeds it into the side of the statue, creating a path. Asserting that it is time for them to quit messing around and get into this fight, Renji explains how they can use Hihiō Zabimaru to get to the top and runs up the skeletal snake with Ichigo and Rukia as Hitsugaya's group ascends the tower elsewhere. Moving behind them, Yin, also transformed into a large Hollow, fires two bolts of electricity at them.
Noticing this, Hitsugaya tells them to look out and releases Hyōrinmaru, which melts upon attacking the balls. Elsewhere, Yoruichi and Suì-Fēng run up Yang's side, destroying Hollows as they do. As Yang rapidly blasts fireballs at them, Yoruichi tells Suì-Fēng to do it now, and Suì-Fēng tells Yoruichi to leave it to her as she leaps up Yang's front and stabs it with Suzumebachi before stabbing it in the same place once more, activating Nigeki Kessatsu, which seemingly destroys Yang. While Yoruichi compliments her, Yang reforms behind Suì-Fēng and fires a Cero at them.
Moving in front of Suì-Fēng, Yoruichi blocks the blast with Shunkō and notes that Yang can use High-Speed Regeneration. Meanwhile, as Ikkaku cuts a ball of electricity in half with Hōzukimaru, it explodes, knocking Yumichika back and forcing Ikkaku to dodge with Shunpo. While Yin fires more electric blasts at them, Rangiku's footing is destroyed, causing her to fall down. While Hitsugaya moves to Rangiku's side, the group feels the statue shake as yellow Reiatsu surges up the side, which cracks from the power, and Rangiku wonders if the statue can move.
However, Ikkaku reveals that this Reiatsu belongs to someone else, and the statue's leg is pushed upward by the Reiatsu underneath, revealing a maniacally laughing Kenpachi without his eyepatch on. Proclaiming that this is fun, Kenpachi slashes at the statue, cutting the leg in half vertically, and when Ikkaku calls out to him, Kenpachi claims the former is in his way before slashing once more. Hitsugaya tells the others to get to the top, and the group moves away as the leg splits apart. Meanwhile, as the Hollow continues to fire Ceros at Yoruichi and Suì-Fēng, Yoruichi tells Suì-Fēng to do it now.
Elsewhere, as they run to the top of the statue, Ichigo and Rukia see Kusaka's tower surrounded by Gillians, leading Rukia to realize that they can summon Menos as well. The Gillians approach as one fires a Cero, and while the group dodges, another fires a Cero as well, prompting Hitsugaya to activate his Bankai, Daiguren Hyōrinmaru, to stop it. As Ikkaku and Yumichika cut through Hollows, a Hollow fires spikes at Rangiku, who releases Haineko and destroys it before noting that they are close. Elsewhere, Rukia is confronted by two Hollows.
One of the Hollows punches the ground as Rukia releases her Zanpakutō, Sode no Shirayuki, and uses Tsugi no mai, Hakuren, encasing the Hollows in front of her in ice, which shatters. When another Hollow appears near her, it is bifurcated by a Bankai-enhanced Getsuga Tenshō from Ichigo, but reforms afterwards. As they stand back to back, Rukia asks Ichigo if he sees the tower in front of her, and when he confirms this, Rukia asks him if he could use the speed granted to him by Tensa Zangetsu to get to the top if they opened a path.
As Hitsugaya expresses surprise, Rangiku notes that there is no other way and asserts that she, Ikkaku, and Yumichika should be able to create an opening if they pool their strength. Appearing behind them with Yumichika, Ikkaku states that it sounds like a great idea and Rangiku has got it right before claiming that he should be able to handle the opening by himself. Stating he would like to see this, Yumichika moves away as Ikkaku assumes a battle stance. Warning the others that they cannot tell anyone, Ikkaku activates his Bankai, Ryūmon Hōzukimaru, as Ichigo bifurcates Gillians with a Getsuga Tenshō.
Renji attacks dozens of Hollows with Hihiō Zabimaru while Rukia uses Some no mai, Tsukishiro, encasing several Hollows in a pillar of ice, which shatters, before dodging a Gillian's footsteps as several Hollows fire projectiles at Hihiō Zabimaru, which encircles Renji. As several Gillians fire their Ceros, the group is suddenly encircled by Byakuya's Senkei, shielding them from the blasts. Inside, Byakuya tells them to prepare themselves because Yamamoto and the others are all being pressured on the outside. Outside, Yamamoto has discarded his haori and released his Zanpakutō, Ryūjin Jakka.
Near Yamamoto, Komamura and Mayuri have activated their respective Bankai, Kokujō Tengen Myō'ō and Konjiki Ashisogi Jizō, all of which are holding back the expansion of the dome. As Byakuya tells him to hurry, Ichigo asks Renji if he is ready, which he confirms, and Byakuya envelops the surrounding Gillians in his Bankai. Meanwhile, Ikkaku spins his Bankai to build up power before attacking as Renji uses Hikotsu Taihō, sending a beam of energy through the crowd of Gillians. As Hitsugaya flies to the tower, Ichigo dons his Hollow mask and launches himself towards the tower as well.
Hitsugaya flies up the side of the wall as Ichigo joins him. Roaring, Kusaka fires multiple ice blasts shaped liked the ice dragon of Hyōrinmaru at them. While Ichigo dodges the dragons, Hitsugaya generates his own ice dragon, which collides with Kusaka's dragons in an explosion of ice. Reaching the top, Ichigo attacks Kusaka, who fires a powerful beam of yellow energy at him, stopping his attack. With Ichigo trying to push through the beam, Hitsugaya's ice dragon breaks through the ice platform and constricts Kusaka before biting deep into his neck.
As Kusaka's forehead glows, a rotating ring of symbols appears above him. Coming down on Kusaka, Ichigo impales his forehead with Tensa Zangetsu and fires a Getsuga Tenshō, which rockets through Kusaka's head and comes out the back as his wings shatter. Meanwhile, the Hollows on the ground stop moving as everyone looks at the tower. Standing in front of the headless Kusaka, Ichigo removes his Hollow mask and lowers himself to the ground as the ring fades.
A pillar of blue light extends from Kusaka's neck into the sky as the rest of his body shatters. As the blue light begins to erode the dome, Yoruichi realizes that Ichigo did it as Yang finally shatter. The surrounding Gillians dissolve while the ice tower begins to break apart. Moving to Ichigo, Hitsugaya deactivates his Bankai, and as the dust clears to reveal a panting Kusaka, Ichigo tells Hitsugaya to take it from here. Assuming a battle stance, Hitsugaya declares that it is over, prompting Kusaka to pull his Zanpakutō out of the ice before assuming a battle stance as well.
As Kusaka tells Hitsugaya that they will end it, he and Hitsugaya charge toward each other before stabbing at each other in unison. While their blades grind against one another, Kusaka recalls pulling out his Zanpakutō in the Central 46 chambers and telling Hitsugaya that Hyōrinmaru should belong to him. As Hitsugaya begged him to not do this, Kusaka charged at him, forcing him to pull out his own sword and block as an ice dragon emerged from the clash and froze Kusaka. In the present, as light begins to shine through the clouds, Kusaka's Zanpakutō falls to the ground and breaks.
Admitting that it is true, Kusaka asserts that Hitsugaya is the chosen one as blood stains the latter's haori and recalls how Hitsugaya was ordered to kill him once before noting that he succeeded again as he refuses to die easily because he will justify his existence. As Kusaka begins to disperse into blue energy due to having been impaled, Hitsugaya tells hims that they will always be friends, and Kusaka thanks him as he states that he needed to know this before dispersing completely. While Hitsugaya bids Kusaka farewell, the blue energy rises into the sky.
Byakuya notes that it is finally over as Yumichika asks Ikkaku who he thinks won, only for Rangiku to tell him to not be stupid before asking him if it is not obvious. With the blue energy ascending into the clouds, several streams of yellow energy converge at one point as the Ōin reforms and descends to the ground, where Ichigo picks it up and notes that it did all of this despite its size. Seeing Hitsugaya standing still, Ichigo walks over to him. When Hitsugaya thanks him for his help, Ichigo asserts that he does not think Kusaka has any regrets and tosses Hitsugaya the Ōin as he points out how he got a fair chance to settle things this time.
Noting that it sometimes seems like life is not giving someone a "fair shake", Ichigo claims that no one can tell them how to get beyond this and they must figure it out themselves. As Hitsugaya looks at the Ōin, Ichigo notes that Kusaka got a second chance and decided to come back here before observing that he wanted to settle this fight for himself rather than letting someone else do it for him. With light breaking through the clouds, Ichigo asserts that Kusaka stayed true to his feelings before noting that he put all of them through a lot of trouble, causing Hitsugaya to chuckle. When Ichigo tells him that they should head back, Hitsugaya agrees and looks at him before telling Ichigo to address him as Captain Hitsugaya.
After the Gotei 13 begins recovering and Urahara informs Ichigo's friends of his victory, Hitsugaya visits a gravestone with his bloodied cloak in front of it. Placing Kusaka's broken Zanpakutō in front of it, he bids Kusaka farewell and apologizes to Rangiku for putting her through all of this before thanking her, to Rangiku's surprise. When Hitsugaya notes that they should head back, Rangiku protests this and asks Hitsugaya if they can call it a day before revealing that she knows of a great hot spring nearby. Hitsugaya tells her that she can go alone, but Rangiku tells him to not be a "stick in the mud", prompting him to tell her to cut it out as they walk away.
Powers and Techniques
- Shunpo (瞬歩, Flash Steps)
- Getsuga Tenshō (月牙天衝, Moon Fang Heaven-Piercer)
- Nigeki Kessatsu (弐撃決殺, Death in Two Steps)
- Tsugi no mai, Hakuren (次の舞・白漣, Next Dance, White Ripple)
- Some no mai, Tsukishiro (初の舞・月白, First Dance, White Moon)
- Senkei (殲景, Slaughterscape)
- Hikotsu Taihō (狒骨大砲, Baboon Bone Cannon)
- Bakudō #62. Hyapporankan (百歩欄干, Hundred Steps Fence)
- Hadō #33. Sōkatsui (蒼火墜, Blue Fire, Crash Down)
- Sentan Hakuja (千反白蛇, Thousand-Coil White Snake)
- Shunkō (瞬閧, Flash War Cry)
- Sonído (響転 (ソニード), Sonīdo; Spanish for "Sound", Japanese for "Sound Ceremony")
- Cero (虚閃 (セロ), Sero; Spanish for "Zero", Japanese for "Hollow Flash")
- High-Speed Regeneration (超速再生, Chōsoku Saisei; lit. "Ultra-Fast Regeneration")
- Hirenkyaku (飛廉脚, Pure Flying Step)
- Haineko (灰猫, Ash Cat)
- Zangetsu (斬月, Slaying Moon)
- Hyōrinmaru (氷輪丸, Ice Ring)
- Zabimaru (蛇尾丸, Snake Tail)
- Hōzukimaru (鬼灯丸, Demon Light)
- Fuji Kujaku (藤孔雀, Wisteria Peacock)
- Senbonzakura (千本桜, Thousand Cherry Blossoms)
- Suzumebachi (雀蜂, Hornet)
- Sode no Shirayuki (袖白雪, Sleeved White Snow)
- Ryūjin Jakka (流刃若火, Flowing Blade-like Flame)
- Daiguren Hyōrinmaru (大紅蓮 氷輪丸, Mahāpadma Ice Ring)
- Tensa Zangetsu (天鎖斬月, Heaven Chain Slaying Moon)
- Hihiō Zabimaru (狒々王蛇尾丸, Baboon King Snake Tail)
- Ryūmon Hōzukimaru (龍紋鬼灯丸, Dragon Crest Demon Light)
- Kokujō Tengen Myō'ō (黒縄天譴明王, Vidyaraja of Kalasutra's Heavenly Punishment)
- Konjiki Ashisogi Jizō (金色疋殺地蔵, Golden Leg-Cutting Jizō)
- Senbonzakura Kageyoshi (千本桜景厳, Vibrant Display of a Thousand Cherry Blossoms)
- Ginrei Kojaku (銀嶺弧雀, Arc Sparrow of the Silver Peak)
- Brazo Derecha de Gigante (巨人の右腕 (ブラソ・デレチャ・デ・ヒガンテ), Buraso Derecha de Higante; Spanish and Japanese for "Right Arm of the Giant")
- El Directo (巨人の一撃 (エル・ディレクト), Eru Direkuto; Spanish for "The Direct", Japanese for "One Strike of the Giant")
- Hollowfication (虚(ホロウ)化, Horōka)
- In the English dub, Rukia Kuchiki mistakenly refers to Tensa Zangetsu as Tenshō Zangetsu.
|Manga Arcs||The Hollowfication Incident · The Rise & Fall of Masaki Kurosaki · The Death Trilogy Overture: Death & The Strawberry · Ryoka Invasion · Arrancar Invasion · Invasion of Hueco Mundo · White Invasion · Invasion of Soul Society · Tale of the Lost Agent · Quincy Blood War|
|Anime Arcs||Bount Invasion · Kasumiōji Conspiracy · Zanpakutō Rebellion · Tōjū Campaign · Reigai Uprising|
|OVAs||Memories in the Rain · The Sealed Sword Frenzy|
|Movies||Memories of Nobody · The DiamondDust Rebellion · Fade to Black · The Hell Verse · Bleach (live-action film)|
|One Shot||BURN THE WITCH|