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Bount Invasion
Ep91BountInvasion.png
Beginning:

Mod Soul Training

End:

Ichigo Kurosaki vs. Jin Kariya: Final Fight

Place:

Karakura Town, Human World & Rukongai, Seireitei, Soul Society

Outcome
  • Ichigo Kurosaki and his friends are put through an unexpected training mission by Kisuke Urahara and the Modified Souls.
  • Ichigo and his friends learn of the Bount.
  • Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi discovers that data he has on the Bount has been erased from his files.
  • Captain Kenpachi Zaraki realizes that Maki Ichinose, a former member of his division, is still alive.
  • Jin Kariya, the leader of the Bount, kills Yoshino Sōma in order to create the Bitto.
  • The Bount have their abilities greatly strengthened by the Bitto and test them by attacking Ichigo and his friends across Karakura Town.
  • The Gotei 13 dispatches a strike force to track down and combat the Bount.
  • The Bount manipulate Mayuri into restoring Uryū Ishida's Quincy powers.
  • Ichigo regains the ability to use his Bankai.
  • Uryū decides to help the Bount enter Soul Society so he and his friends can properly fight them.
  • After invading Soul Society, the Bount rally support from the residents of Kusajishi with the promise of bringing down the Seireitei.
  • Ran'Tao, the creator of the Bount, resurfaces and reveals the truth behind their creation.
  • Upon gaining access to the Seireitei, the Bount engage the Gotei 13 directly, only to be defeated one by one.
  • Kariya absorbs the power of a Jōkaishō and promises to obliterate the Seireitei with it, but is killed by Ichigo before he can do so.
  • Learning that he is the last of his kind, Gō Koga accepts this fate and tells his story to Ran'Tao.
Major Battles

Mod Soul Training, Ichigo Kurosaki vs. Yoshino Sōma, Battle against Ryō Utagawa, Battle against Hō & Ban, Bount and Quincy, Ichigo Kurosaki vs. Ryō Utagawa, Ichigo Kurosaki vs. Maki Ichinose & Jin Kariya, The Fall of Yoshino Sōma, The Bount Rise, Rukia Kuchiki & Orihime Inoue vs. Yoshi, Ichigo Kurosaki & Izuru Kira vs. Gō Koga, Orihime Inoue & Shūhei Hisagi vs. Mabashi & Rukia Kuchiki, Rangiku Matsumoto & Yasutora Sado vs. Sawatari, Shinigami Task Force vs. Ugaki, Ichigo Kurosaki vs. Jin Kariya: Rematch, Invasion of the Shinigami World, Rukia Kuchiki vs. Yoshi: Rematch, Byakuya Kuchiki & Ichigo Kurosaki vs. Jin Kariya, Kenpachi Zaraki vs. Maki Ichinose, The Seireitei Siege, Suì-Fēng vs. Mabashi, Mayuri Kurotsuchi vs. Sawatari, Uryū Ishida vs. Yoshi, Bount Empowered, Tōshirō Hitsugaya vs. Gō Koga, Uryū Ishida vs. Jin Kariya, Ichigo Kurosaki vs. Jin Kariya: Final Fight

Combatants
Commanders

The Bount Invasion is a major conflict revolving around the remnants of the Bount waging war against Soul Society as retribution for the centuries of suffering they have endured, with Jin Kariya leading the assault for his own ends.

The conflict begins after Ichigo Kurosaki and his friends return from their rescuing of Rukia Kuchiki in Soul Society and start their new school year, where they are accosted by three mysterious Modified Souls and forced to participate in a series of games as several of their friends are abducted and held hostage. Eventually, the group learns that this was orchestrated by Kisuke Urahara so he could prepare them to face a new enemy: the Bount.

With the Bount making their presence known in Karakura Town by kidnapping Uryū Ishida, Ichigo breaks into their mansion alongside his friends, but discovers that he is far outclassed by Kariya, who proceeds to sacrifice Yoshino Sōma in order to create the Bitto, a unique form of Doll which begin draining the Souls of living Humans and concentrating them for the Bount to consume, granting them a great boost in power and the ability to manipulate space. Simultaneously, Uryū is given the Quincy Bangle to temporarily restore his Quincy powers, which he uses to help the Bount enter Soul Society so that he and his friends have a fighting chance against them.

The conflict ends a few days after the Bount enter Soul Society; though further strengthened by their ability to heal and empower themselves with Reishi from the rich atmosphere of Soul Society, the Bount find themselves outmatched after invading the Seireitei and are killed one by one by the Gotei 13 captains and Uryū Ishida. During this, Kariya enacts his endgame by absorbing the power of a Jōkaishō, one of the generators used to create the Bount, and promises to use it to obliterate Soul Society, but Ichigo duels him on Sōkyoku Hill and kills Kariya before he can do so, leaving Gō Koga as the sole survivor of the Bount.

Prelude

Renji Abarai poses as a student of Karakura High School.

After returning to the Human World alongside his friends, Ichigo Kurosaki finds his life returning to normal by getting into a brawl with Isshin Kurosaki in the morning. However, once they begin the new school year at Karakura High School, Ichigo and his friends are shocked when 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai shows up pretending to be a student, where he reveals that he has been assigned to patrol Karakura Town due to Ichigo's poor Reiryoku control attracting Hollows to his location.[1]

Orihime Inoue and Yasutora Sado discuss their powers.

With Ichigo purifying a Hollow that suddenly appears outside the school, Orihime sits down with Tatsuki Arisawa at lunch, and though she does not learn about Orihime's adventure in Soul Society, Tatsuki assures her that she did her best by coming home safely. That evening, with Renji staying at the Urahara Shop, Orihime trains with her Shun Shun Rikka in an abandoned factory to the point of exhaustion and is joined by Yasutora Sado, whom she discusses their need for training their powers with.[1]

Orihime is abducted by the Modified Souls.

Later that night, Orihime has a dream about her brother, Sora Inoue, and is astonished to find him outside her front door. While Orihime invites Sora in for tea, Renji is awoken by a strange message received on his Denreishinki and runs over to a sleeping Ichigo's house for his assistance. Though Ichigo is initially irritated to have been awoken, he senses a strange Reiatsu in the town and rushes to Orihime's apartment, where gates resembling those of Hell appear outside her window and suck her into an alternate dimension with powerful winds as Ririn, Kurōdo, and Noba watch from afar.[1]

Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto holds a captains meeting.

The next day, in the Seireitei, Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto holds a captains meeting to address the recent betrayal of Sōsuke Aizen, Gin Ichimaru, and Kaname Tōsen, as well as the threat they pose. Back in Karakura Town, Ichigo and his friends learn that no one at Karakura High School remembers who Orihime is anymore, similar to what happened when Rukia Kuchiki was taken back to Soul Society, and resolve to investigate her home for clues as to what happened last night.[2]

Ichigo and his friends search for ringing phones.

Suddenly, while they are looking through the apartment, Ichigo and his friends are called by Ririn, who threatens to harm Orihime if they do not reach a nearby park within the next three minutes. Ichigo's group proceeds to run all over Karakura Town searching for ringing phones that Ririn is calling on strict time limits, eventually ending up at the Urahara Shop, where Urahara records Ichigo's subsequent conversation with Ririn and expresses uncertainty about what Ririn actually is. Following this, Ichigo and his friends return to Orihime's apartment at 8 P.M. that night.[2]

Kurōdo reveals himself to have been impersonating Orihime.

To the surprise of Ichigo and his friends, Orihime herself opens the door to her apartment and is confused by their concern for her as she recounts the events of yesterday, which she believes to have happened today. After deducing that her memory of the abduction has been erased, Ichigo and his friends decide to keep watch at her apartment for a while. Simultaneously, a strange black tornado forms in the sky above Karakura Town and moves toward Orihime's apartment to engulf it, alarming Ichigo and his friends before their attention turns to Orihime, who restrains Sado in a chokehold and is revealed to be Kurōdo in disguise as Sado is pulled into the same gates as Orihime was.[2]

Ichigo leaves his body at the Urahara Shop for safekeeping.

Having been unable to confront Ririn, Kurōdo, and Noba during Sado's abduction, Ichigo and his friends decide to leave his body at the Urahara Shop for safekeeping and discuss the possibility of Aizen's involvement in the situation, as well as how Ririn is evidently not a Human or Shinigami due to her voice lacking a Reimon and how they will fight her and the others without causing too much collateral damage. However, this is interrupted when Ririn calls the Urahara Shop and instructs Ichigo and his friends to continue the game at Karakura Museum, which they depart for alongside Kon, whom Uryū Ishida has modified to hold sewing materials inside his plushie's stomach.[3]

Ichigo and his friends find themselves in a labyrinth.

Upon reaching the museum, Ichigo and Renji are forced to leave their weapons in mislabeled cases in the main hall and walk into an adjacent room while Kon informs Uryū that he has been sensing strange Reiatsu ever since they arrived. Past the doorway, the group finds themselves in a tiled room that seems to repeat indefinitely in each of the four directions visible through its doorways, forming a labyrinth. After his suggestion of escaping by returning to the main hall through right turns fails due to another room being there when they arrive, Uryū deduces that they will have to solve some sort of puzzle in order to escape as the group enters a room without any lights on.[3]

Ichigo and his friends escape the labyrinth illusion.

Suddenly, Ichigo and his friends find themselves seemingly trapped in glass display cases alongside Orihime and Sado, but are quickly woken up by Kon and realize that it was some kind of illusion. Once they find a cavernous pit in the next room they try to enter, the group discovers that the red yarn that they tied to a pole in a previous room and that Kon had been unspooling was visible in an adjacent room, meaning that they are trapped in a Möbius strip. Realizing the trick of the labyrinth, Uryū leads his friends to escape by running through three rooms in a row, ignoring Ririn's illusions in the process, and exposes Noba as a Modified Soul with Ichigo's Substitute Shinigami Badge.[3]

Ririn gives Ichigo and his friends a time limit.

With Ririn, Kurōdo, and Noba escaping from the museum, Ichigo and his friends rush to Karakura High School, where they are startled to find Ichigo's body and Renji's Gigai lying outside. As Ichigo and Renji return to their bodies, Ririn appears alongside Noba and reveals that a member of their group is an imposter whom they must find before the clock strikes twelve and all their classmates disappear. Though Ichigo is incredulous that they can abduct so many people at once, Uryū theorizes that the alternate dimension which they trapped Orihime and Sado in has no limit on how many people can be stored in it at once and that Ririn intends to kill the people she takes this time.[4]

Ichigo and his friends discover that Tatsuki Arisawa is missing.

Once the school day begins, Ichigo gets into a confrontation with Renji, who begins teasing and annoying him to the point that Ichigo considers the possibility of him being the imposter and demands that he remove his Gigai to prove otherwise. While Tatsuki is confronted and abducted in the girls' bathroom, 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake oversees the temporary closing of the central Senkaimon in the Seireitei as 2nd Division Captain Suì-Fēng runs through to the Human World. During P.E. at Karakura High School, Ririn informs Orihime that she has already made one of the students disappear, leading her and her friends to find Tatsuki's armband.[4]

Kurōdo reveals that he has been impersonating Yasutora Sado.

After learning that Urahara and Yoruichi Shihōin are not at the Urahara Shop and that Renji cannot contact Soul Society at the moment, Ichigo and his friends attempt to deduce the imposter's identity through intuition, only to all end up accusing different people as students outside begin vanishing from sight, to their horror. However, before the clock strikes twelve, Suì-Fēng and Yoruichi run toward the school and shatter a window, leaving Sado frightened and leading Ichigo to realize he is the imposter due to not knowing of Yoruichi's cat form. With Kurōdo confirming this and revealing himself, he joins Noba and Ririn outside, the latter of whom reminds Ichigo that they still have Sado.[4]

The gates appear in the center of Karakura Town.

That night, while Ichigo and his friends ruminate on what they should do next and Orihime confusing them with her recollection of there being tea and sweets during her capture, they see the Hell-like gates reappear in the center of Karakura Town, now much larger, and open to create a vortex that begins sucking in objects from the streets below. Upon reaching the gates, the group discovers that the Mod-Souls are behind this as well, with Ririn now in possession of Urahara's hat, and are eventually sucked into the portal when they lose their grip on objects in the street that were keeping them in place. Simultaneously, the SRDI receives a strange Reishi sample collected by Suì-Fēng.[5]

Yoruichi Shihōin finds and attacks Yoshino Sōma.

Within the area the gates transported them to, Ichigo and his friends discover Sado bound to a pole and covered by an hourglass that begins filling up with sand, with Ririn promising that it will completely cover and smother him in five minutes. Despite their attempts to reach and rescue Sado, Ichigo and Renji are rebuffed by the Shape-shifting and Wormholes powers of Kurōdo and Noba. During this, Yoruichi and Suì-Fēng track down Yoshino Sōma attempting to devour the Soul of a security guard and intervene to force her to retreat, with Yoruichi having Suì-Fēng return to Soul Society in the aftermath and admitting that she does not actually know who Yoshino is.[5]

Urahara reveals himself to be behind the Mod-Souls.

Back in the challenge area, Ririn initiates the final attack of the Mod-Souls and Ichigo attempts to activate his Bankai in order to counter it, but finds himself unable to do so. However, the hourglass covering Sado cracks and shatters on its own, and after Sado reunites with his friends, Ichigo deduces that Urahara himself has been behind, which Urahara confirms as he reveals himself and explains that the trials Ichigo and his friends went through were meant to build a sense of teamwork and other positive attributes between them because they will need to be prepared for a coming threat. Suddenly, Yoruichi joins the group and warns them that a Bount has appeared.[5]

Early Stages

Ichigo and his friends learn of the Bount and their abilities.

Shortly afterward, Ichigo and his friends gather with Urahara, Yoruichi, and the Mod-Souls in the central room of the Urahara Shop, where Urahara and Yoruichi detail how Bount are similar to Quincy, being a small tribe with spiritual powers, but that they consume Souls for nourishment and can live forever by doing so. Urahara reveals that Ririn, Kurōdo, and Noba also function as Bount sensors and assigns each of them to Ichigo, Orihime, and Sado respectively so they can begin patrolling Karakura Town for the Bount, with Uryū not being included due to the others knowing of his lost powers, which they all reluctantly agree to as Yoruichi accuses Urahara of having predicted the Bount would come.[6]

Jūshirō Ukitake and Tōshirō Hitsugaya search the records.

Meanwhile, in the Seireitei, Ukitake and 10th Division Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya look through the records in the Seireitei Library, but are shocked to find that the material they are looking for is missing and alert 8th Division Captain Shunsui Kyōraku of this. Back in Karakura Town, Ichigo, Orihime, and Sado find individual plushies for Ririn, Kurōdo, and Noba to inhabit before the Mod-Souls begin detecting Bount Reiatsu nearby, causing them to move out. While Orihime and Sado find Ryō Utagawa having just consumed a man's Soul in a warehouse, Ichigo encounters Yoshino luring a woman with her voice and prevents her from consuming the latter's Soul.[6]

Ichigo faces off against Yoshino's Doll, Goethe.

With Yoshino fleeing from this, Ichigo pursues her into a different and more isolated part of Karakura Town, where Yoshino encounters a dead end and decides to fight instead by summoning her Doll, Goethe, who begins to overwhelm Ichigo with his powerful flame attacks and ability to reconstitute himself from any injury that Ichigo inflicts. Though Ichigo manages to impale him through the heart with his Shikai, Zangetsu, Goethe simply fires his individual pieces at Ichigo to slam him into a wall and prepares to incinerate him. However, the subsequent flame blast is interrupted by a Hadō #33. Sōkatsui fired from above by Rukia Kuchiki.[6]

Ryō Utagawa's Doll, Fried, restrains Yoshino.

As Ichigo frees himself from the rubble, Goethe continues attacking him and Rukia prior to attempting to incinerate both of them with a massive fireball. Suddenly, Utagawa has his Doll, Fried, crush Goethe until he disappears and restrain Yoshino, whom he reprimands for moving without permission. Refusing to explain himself to Ichigo, Utagawa escapes with Yoshino, leaving Ichigo and Rukia to reunite with Orihime and Sado in a nearby park, where Rukia gets acquainted with the Mod-Souls and explains that she was suddenly tasked with purifying Hollows in the Human World once more despite her preference to continue training in Soul Society instead.[7]

Jin Kariya has Yoshino brought before him.

Meanwhile, Utagawa brings Yoshino to her former husband, Jin Kariya, in an abandoned skyscraper, where he expresses concern for her reckless behavior and decides to keep her locked in a storage room on the ground floor in order to prevent Yoshino from endangering herself. Following this, Ichigo has his friends return to the Kurosaki Clinic, telling Isshin that they are holding a late-night study session, and begin discussing the developing situation with the Bount, only for Renji to break in after learning that Rukia has come to the Human World as Rukia notes that she, Renji, and Ichigo have likely all been assigned to the same area as a direct response to the Bount.[7]

Ichigo and his friends confront Utagawa in a parking lot.

The next day, Rukia returns to Karakura High School as a student, where she is readily accepted by the other students due to her Kikanshinki Deluxe making them believe that she is a recent transfer student. During lunch, Ririn alerts Ichigo's group to a Bount's Reiatsu appearing nearby, leading them all to run off-campus and into Karakura Town to find Utagawa having consumed a man's Soul and preparing to do the same to a woman in a parking lot. Ichigo and his friends begin battling the snakes created by Fried, and while Utagawa realizes that Uryū is defenseless due to his lack of powers, Yoshino escapes from the storage room.[7]

Uryū is severely and sadistically wounded by Fried.

In response to Ichigo's group encircling him, Utagawa takes the unconscious woman hostage and threatens to maim her if they attack him, which prompts Uryū to offer himself as a replacement hostage in order to free her and give his friends time to form a plan. However, upon taking Uryū hostage, Utagawa has the snake restraining him slam his head into the ground, knocking Uryū out and severely injuring him, for his own sadistic amusement. Before he can do anything else, Yoshino arrives and distracts Utagawa with Goethe long enough to rescue Uryū and depart, leaving an irritated Utagawa to attack Ichigo and his friends with renewed fury before retreating when reinforcements arrive.[8]

Shunsui Kyōraku asks Mayuri Kurotsuchi for the Bount data.

Simultaneously, in the Shinigami Research and Development Institute, Shunsui attempts to covertly use one of the machines in 12th Division Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi's laboratory under the assumption that no one is there, but Mayuri reveals his presence and learns that Shunsui wants his data on the Bount, only to refuse to provide it since Shunsui is not going through the proper channels. After Shunsui disparages him and leaves, Mayuri attempts to delete the Bount data in retribution, but discovers that he has been locked out of his own system. Back in the Human World, Ichigo's group meets with Urahara, who warns them that the Bount could be planning to connect the Human World to Hueco Mundo.[8]

Ichigo's group decides to protect Uryū at the hospital.

Suddenly, Ichigo and his friends learn that Uryū has been brought to Karakura Hospital and visit him, where Uryū reveals that Yoshino took him not in order to consume his Soul, but instead to provide a warning about the evil ambition of Kariya and the necessity of Uryū's Quincy powers in his plan, after which she brought him to the hospital. Hearing this, Ichigo decides that they will need to stay at the hospital and protect Uryū if any other Bount come after him as Uryū reflects on how Yoshino reminded him of his mother. During this, Kariya learns of Yoshino's actions and remains unconcerned due to the precautions he has taken while Hō and Ban prepare to move out.[8]

Uryū is attacked by Hō and Ban's Dolls, Guhl and Günther.

With Ichigo's group stationing themselves within and outside Uryū's hospital room, 4th Division 7th Seat Hanatarō Yamada, who has been stationed in the Human World as well, reunites with Ganju Shiba when the latter crashes down next to the convenience store he has been working at. Back in Karakura Hospital, Ichigo and Rukia get into an argument over semantics, and when Rukia attempts to turn off the dripping faucet in the bathroom out of annoyance, the water instead comes out faster and the shower nearby floods, to the shock of her and her friends, before Hō and Ban's Dolls, Guhl and Günther, emerge and attempt to drown Uryū in their water.[9]

Hō and Ban confront Ichigo and his friend personally.

Ichigo manages to free Uryū with Zangetsu and begins running away from the room with his friends, but Guhl and Günther continue attacking them from nearby faucets and sinks without being impeded by Ichigo and Renji's attacks, though Rukia finds success in vaporizing their water with Hadō #31. Shakkahō. With the other residents of the hospital being evacuated by the nurses, Ichigo's group elects to find an elevator to use since the hospital's water systems are concentrated around the stairs. However, upon reaching an elevator, they are confronted personally by Hō and Ban, who resummon Guhl and Günther to resume their attack, forcing the group to flee once more.[9]

Ichigo has his friends escape through an elevator.

Soon afterward, Ichigo and his friends are met by a tidal wave of water cutting them off in one of the hallways. Seeing that Rukia and Renji's usage of Hadō #31. Shakkahō is not sufficient to vaporize the water, Ichigo finds a canister of compressed oxygen and ignites it with a lighter, creating a powerful explosion that buys them enough time to reach another elevator, which Ichigo has everyone but Renji use to reach the first floor while he and Renji stay behind to hold off Guhl and Günther. Once their friends reach the first floor, Ichigo and Renji leap down the elevator shaft to join them, only to be shocked and demoralized upon seeing that it is currently raining outside.[9]

Guhl and Günther merge and engulf Ichigo, Rukia, and Renji.

Empowered by the rainfall, Guhl and Günther merge into a single large waterspout, which Ichigo, Rukia, and Renji begin fighting, only for none of their attacks to incapacitate Guhl and Günther for long as the water proceeds to engulf and begin drowning them as Orihime and Sado run off with Uryū at Ichigo's insistence. During this, Utagawa is sent out by Kariya to retrieve Yoshino once more, but leaves her alone after finding her staring forlornly at an old doll in an antiques shop while Ganju and Hanatarō detect the Reiatsu from the fight nearby. Though Ichigo, Rukia, and Renji remain unable to free themselves, Hō and Ban decide to abandon the struggle in order to pursue Uryū.[10]

Hō and Ban's distance causes Guhl to collapse.

Guhl and Günther separate and leave the hospital parking lot to catch up to Orihime and Sado in an intersection. With Orihime's Santen Kesshun unable to withstand the water blasts of Günther, Sado manifests his Fullbring, Brazo Derecha de Gigante, and begins attacking Hō and Ban directly in addition to Guhl and Günther, resulting in Guhl collapsing when Hō and Ban move too far apart from each other while Orihime and Sado continue fleeing with Uryū. As Ichigo, Rukia, and Renji deduce in a different part of town that Hō and Ban must be together to control their powers, Gō Koga joins Maki Ichinose in waiting at the Bount Mansion.[10]

Hō and Ban die after their crests are burned by Ganju Shiba.

Having brought Uryū to an abandoned factory to hide, Orihime and Sado are confronted by Hō and Ban once again, and as Ichigo, Rukia, and Renji catch up to them, Hō and Ban take Uryū hostage with a tendril of water and have Guhl and Günther infiltrate the bodies of Ichigo and his friends with water in order to begin tearing them apart from the inside. Suddenly, Noba begins teleporting Ban away from Hō to weaken their control over Guhl and Günther until Hō is knocked out, leaving Ban to fight with Guhl alone. Once he and Hanatarō arrive, Ganju detonates a firework that burns the caps of Guhl and Günther, killing Hō and Ban in the process.[10]

The Eleventh Division learns of Ichinose's location.

With Ichigo and his friends frantically searching for him, Uryū loses consciousness after encountering Yoshino once more and wakes up in her apartment. While Yoshino reveals her desire to die after living for so long to Uryū, Kariya, having gathered all the remaining Bount in his mansion, declares that he will be leading them out of the shadows of history using Uryū's power. At the same time, the Eleventh Division learns that Ichinose has made his presence known in the Human World after vanishing for many years following Captain Kenpachi Zaraki's killing of Kenpachi Kiganjō, whom Ichinose idolized to the point of leaving the division after his death so he would not serve under Kenpachi.[11]

Yoshino recounts her history with Kariya to Uryū.

Back in her apartment, Yoshino explains to Uryū that Kariya saved her from committing suicide in the distant past after her lack of aging caused her to be branded a witch and persecuted, and that though they lived together happily as husband and wife for a time, she discovered his willingness to consume living Souls and abandoned him out of disgust. Yoshino elaborates that Kariya's likely intention is to gain limitless power and become a god by entering Hueco Mundo, and after she vows to stop his ambition using only the power she currently has without stooping to consuming living Souls, Uryū vows to help her however he can out of sympathy for the faint glimmer of hope he can see in her eyes.[11]

Gō Koga confronts Yoshino and Uryū to recapture them.

However, later that evening, Koga tracks down Yoshino and Uryū to the apartment and attacks them with his Doll, Dalk, who swiftly overwhelms them and Goethe with her rapid and powerful attacks. When Dalk incapacitates Yoshino and prepares to kill her, Uryū protects the latter with his own body, knowing that he is not to be harmed, and Koga takes them both back to the mansion. Soon afterward, Ichigo and his friends reach the roof of the apartment building where the fight had taken place, where Ririn, Kurōdo, and Noba frantically return to their Gigai bodies in order to begin tracking down Uryū upon realizing that he has been abducted.[12]

Mayuri informs the Gotei 13 of the tampering with his data.

Simultaneously, Mayuri gathers the captains and lieutenants to inform them that someone has been accessing and tampering with his database without permission, with him promising to excruciatingly torture the one responsible, and Kenpachi notes an uneasy feeling he has about this coinciding with Ichinose's rediscovery. Back in the Human World, Ichigo's group manages to locate the Bount Mansion and prepare to infiltrate while inside, Kariya learns of Uryū being brought to the mansion by Koga and decides to speak with him personally since Uryū is so crucial to his plan, snapping at Utagawa in the process when the latter questions why he is not moving forward faster with his plan.[12]

Kariya and the Bount meet with Uryū at the Bount Mansion.

Kariya sits down with Uryū in the main hall of the mansion once the other Bount gather and sympathizes with the Quincy having been persecuted by the Shinigami as well before offering to protect Uryū and restore his lost powers if he agrees to help the Bount, only for Uryū to decline, though Kariya does not mind waiting for him to reconsider and has him taken to a room to be held captive in. Outside, Ichigo and his friends begin encountering the Wächter, who chase them around the grounds of the mansion and eventually lead Ichigo, Rukia, and the Mod-Souls to run into the main hall, where Kariya greets them alongside the rest of the Bount.[12]

Ichinose confronts Rukia and the Mod-Souls.

Refusing to leave without Uryū despite Kariya's provocations, Ichigo has Rukia and the Mod-Souls run off to find him while he faces off against the Bount, intercepting an attack from Utagawa in the process. After deciding to handle Ichigo himself, Utagawa has Kariya lay down what Utagawa believes to be his crest in order to prove to Ichigo that none of the other Bount will interfere in their battle and begins his assault. At the same time, Rukia and the Mod-Souls encounter Ichinose, who rapidly dispatches each of the latter and emerges unscathed from Rukia's Hadō #33. Sōkatsui as he explains that he is helping Kariya due to feeling betrayed by Kenpachi's ascension to captainship.[13]

Ichigo struggles to fend off Utagawa's Snake Net.

Back in the main hall, Ichigo continues fighting Utagawa and eventually manages to outmaneuver him with Shunpo, but Utagawa simply uses the lacerations he left around the hall prior to activate Snake Net, which causes hordes of snakes to emerge and attack Ichigo wherever he moves or steps foot. When Ichigo is overwhelmed by one of the torrents, Utagawa presumes that he is dead and begins approaching Kariya, only for Ichigo to reveal that he protected himself from most of the damage by shielding his body with concentrated Reiatsu, and when Utagawa attacks him with another wave of snakes, Ichigo fires a Getsuga Tenshō that tears through them and the mansion.[13]

Ichinose executes Utagawa for his treachery toward Kariya.

In the aftermath, while Ichigo's friends recognize his attack from around the mansion grounds and Ichinose departs to help Kariya, Utagawa uses the distraction to steal the crest Kariya put down and attempt to wrest leadership of the Bount from Kariya, whom he believes to be powerless. However, Kariya remains unperturbed by this and eventually reveals that he did not hand his real crest over when he repels an attack from Fried with a barrier over his hand, something only a Doll can do. Suddenly, Ichinose enters the hall and executes Utagawa for his treachery, and after confirming that Kariya is unharmed, Ichinose prepares to fight Ichigo as well.[13]

Ichinose overwhelms Ichigo with the power of Nijigasumi.

With the Mod-Souls revealing that they have survived his attacks and resuming their search for Uryū, Ichinose begins attacking Ichigo and quickly overwhelms him with a rapid and varied assault using his Shikai, Nijigasumi, that Ichigo is forced to break himself out of by firing a Getsuga Tenshō through the floor. Before Ichinose can continue the battle, Kariya steps in to fight Ichigo instead, now intrigued by the latter's power, and Ichinose recalls leaving the Eleventh Division after failing to even scratch Kenpachi in an attempted duel, where he met Kariya in the Human World while protecting a young Soul from a Hollow and was entranced by his raw strength.[14]

Kariya overpowers Ichigo with his physical might.

Following Ichigo's refusal to meld his Soul with Kariya's and experience everlasting glory, Kariya proceeds to brutally dominate Ichigo by simply slapping him across the hallway and preventing him from moving with a finger to his forehead, leaving Kariya disappointed by the extent of his power as he leaves the rest to Ichinose. Suddenly, Ururu Tsumugiya begins attacking the mansion with her Senren Bakusatsu Taihō at Jinta Hanakari's direction, allowing Yoruichi to break in and rescue Ichigo while Noba teleports Uryū, his other friends, and Yoshino out of the mansion. Despite this, with the mansion burning down, Kariya assures the Bount that Uryū and Yoshino will return to him.[14]

Mayuri shares his data on the Bount with the captains.

While Ichigo and his friends bring Uryū and Yoshino to the Urahara Shop to rest and recover, Mayuri brings Shunsui, Ukitake, and Hitsugaya to his laboratory and reveals that he has managed to bypass the lock on the Bount data, which he shows to them along with footage of an ancient battle between them and the Quincy, whom they were targeting a specific member of, before concluding that the Bount tend to begin attacking living Humans for their Souls whenever they come together as a group and pursue a Quincy for their plans. Simultaneously, Ichigo ponders why Kariya wants to gain power from Hueco Mundo when he is already so strong, which his friends do not have an answer for.[15]

Ichigo is left depressed by his inability to fight Kariya.

Ganju suddenly crashes into the Urahara Shop on the back of a boar he took from a local zoo and details how he sensed a gloomy Reiatsu permeating the area, which the others realize is coming from Ichigo. Upon learning this, Ganju and Renji decide to break him out of this mood by taking him down to the Study Chamber beneath the Urahara Shop. As Kariya finds a broken grandfather clock in the wreckage of the mansion and searches for tools to fix it, Yoshino and Uryū discuss the latter's involvement in the plot of the Bount, with Yoshino calling herself despicable for having attacked living Souls and revealing to Uryū that the Bount are a sterile race whose numbers only decrease.[15]

Yoshino kisses a sleeping Uryū and bids him farewell.

Down in the Study Chamber, Ichigo begins sparring with Renji and Ganju, who overwhelms Ichigo with Seppa but is forced to leave early when Hanatarō urgently calls him back to the convenience store to deal with a rush of customers. Continuing to fight Ichigo, Renji criticizes him for being cowardly in the face of Kariya's power when he was fearless during his foray into Soul Society, and while Ichigo regains his resolve from this, Uryū explains the importance of pride to him as a Quincy to Yoshino, who muses that she may have some pride left and kisses a sleeping Uryū on the forehead before leaving the Urahara Shop, which Urahara and Yoruichi do not prevent her from doing.[15]

Kariya discusses the plight of the Bount with Koga and Ichinose.

The following morning, Ichigo and his friends wake up with the intention of asking Yoshino many questions about the Bount and Kariya's plan, though they sit down for breakfast first and relax for the first time in several days, leading Kurōdo and Noba to decide not to tell them about Yoshino's departure until later so they do not spoil the mood. Meanwhile, at the ruins of the Bount Mansion, Kariya repairs the grandfather clock and muses on the cursed, tragic existence of the Bount with Koga and Ichinose, who pledge that they will move time forward for the immortal Bount no matter how much Humans despise them for it as Kariya resolves to go through with his plan.[16]

Kariya begins fighting Yoshino and Goethe at the mansion.

With Uryū running out the back door of the Urahara Shop and taking Ririn with him to track Yoshino, Ichigo's group learns of Yoshino's departure and is joined by Urahara. At the mansion, Yoshino confronts Kariya over his plan moving faster than she was told it would and summons Goethe, who agrees to die alongside her today and begins attacking Kariya, only for the latter to easily evade his attacks while Uryū reaches the mansion behind them. Back at the Urahara Shop, Ichigo and his friends learn of Uryū's departure as well and form a plan to retrieve him from the mansion without a fight as Yoshino is left exhausted by the continued assault of Goethe against Kariya.[16]

Kariya sacrifices Yoshino to create the Bitto.

Upon noticing this, Kariya points out how Yoshino should not be able to summon or freely control a Doll in her current condition and reveals that her maternal Reiryoku has caused Goethe to feel love for her instead of subservience. When Uryū catches up to them, Kariya declares that he has no use for a Quincy without powers and crushes Yoshino's crest, causing Goethe to briefly go berserk before Yoshino's Reiryoku calms him down, allowing the two of them to merge so Yoshino can fight Kariya directly. Despite this, Kariya ends up killing her by shoving his hand through her torso and uses her maternal power to spawn the Bitto with a powerful spell.[16]

Middle Stages

A Bitto sucks out a living Human's Soul.

That night, the Bitto begin attacking Humans across Karakura Town and draining their Souls from their bodies, with the Keigun trying and failing to intercept one of them. The following day, Ichigo and his friends discuss the rise in disappearances around Karakura Town, which they attribute to the Bitto that Urahara is making a sensor for them to detect, and how Uryū has remained unresponsive since Yoshino's death. Meanwhile, in the cave system formerly inhabited by their tribe, Kariya and the Bount convene in the central chamber, where Kariya reveals that the Bitto will let them reach a new level of power by consuming the contents of the Bitto.[17]

Hitsugaya assembles a strike force of lieutenant-level Shinigami.

With Kariya detailing how the Souls collected by the Bitto are of an extremely high purity and demonstrating its effects by drinking some of the serum himself, most of the other Bount are enraptured by the idea of enhancing their powers, but Mabashi protests that this goes against the sole law of their tribe, prompting Kariya to brutally beat him down and proclaim that he is the new law of the Bount. Simultaneously, in Soul Society, Hitsugaya assembles a team of lieutenant-level Shinigami to respond to the actions of the Bount in Karakura Town. That night, in the Urahara Shop, Suì-Fēng delivers the Bitto sensors to Urahara, whom she warns against letting anything happen to Yoruichi.[17]

The Bount are empowered by the Bitto serum.

As Urahara has Jinta and Ururu run out to deliver the sensor, each of the Bount consume serum from the Bitto, with Kariya force-feeding it to a still-refusing Mabashi, and are extremely pleased by their power increase. Out in Karakura Town, Ichigo, Rukia, Orihime, and Sado patrol the streets with Ririn, Kurōdo, and Noba to search for the Bount, though they do not sense anything, and Renji encounters Kon as he walks through the town. Suddenly, Renji sees a young boy being attacked by the Bitto and furiously attacks them, and as Uryū leaves the Urahara Shop with the intention of somehow regaining his powers, Renji sees a massive swarm of Bitto approaching him and the boy.[17]

The Bount move out to attack Ichigo and his friends.

Upon being informed of Ichigo and his friends moving to attack the Bitto around Karakura Town by Ugaki, Kariya has all the Bount other than Mabashi move out to intercept them and test their newfound power. With Renji collapsing from exhaustion, Ichigo is alerted to the decrease in his Reiatsu and has the new sensor delivered to him by Jinta and Ururu, only to discover that it is the headband from his training with Urahara and is activated using the same phrase, which he reluctantly recites, causing the sensor to activate and pull him away toward the Bitto while Rukia promises to tend to Renji in his stead and enlists Jinta and Ururu in helping her track him down.[18]

Ichigo saves Keigo Asano from the Bitto attacking him.

Shortly afterward, Keigo Asano encounters a swarm of Bitto while walking home from the convenience store and is attacked by three of them at once near a construction site, where Ichigo finds him and destroys the Bitto prior to being attacked by Dalk, who has been empowered by the Bitto serum and gained a new form, once Koga arrives. While Ichigo is overpowered by Dalk to the point of his headband shattering, Rukia meets up with Orihime and Kurōdo to look for Renji, but Yoshi interrupts this by attacking them with her Doll, Nieder, leading Rukia to have Ururu go to Sado and Jinta find Sado as Orihime decides to stay behind and help her fight.[18]

Ichigo's inner Hollow gains the upper hand on Dalk.

With Sado, Ururu, and Noba being confronted by Sawatari in a park elsewhere in Karakura Town, Ichigo continues fighting Dalk and is quickly overwhelmed by her ranged and varying attacks, though he manages to briefly subdue her with a Getsuga Tenshō and escape from her and Koga's sight with the help of Ririn's Illusions. However, Dalk soon finds Ichigo again within the construction site and restrains him with a metal web before viciously whipping him with her arms. Before Dalk can kill Ichigo, his inner Hollow takes control of his body and proceeds to dominate Dalk with his increased strength and speed, though Ichigo regains control soon afterward and collapses.[18]

Kurōdo takes Renji's form to personally fight Yoshi.

Outside a set of warehouses, Yoshi continues fighting Rukia, Orihime, and Kurōdo, who struggle to adapt to her ranged attacks and close-quarters fighting style. Eventually, Kurōdo decides to transform into a copy of Renji in order to utilize the latter's strength and skill against Yoshi, who welcomes the challenge, while Rukia recites the full incantation for and fires a powerful Hadō #33. Sōkatsui, but Yoshi reveals that the fan of Nieder can be shifted into a powerful armored form that completely blocks the blast with a large shield, giving Yoshi the opportunity to incapacitate Kurōdo by slamming him into a shutter and stabbing her jian into his shoulder.[19]

Izuru Kira joins the battle against Koga and Dalk.

Back at the construction site, Koga sees Ichigo struggling to stay conscious and is reminded of Cain, whom he was tasked with raising into a proper Bount by Kariya centuries ago and developed a bond with by training him in the ways of maintaining the land and his own body, only for tragedy to strike when Cain witnessed Dalk in action while Koga was scaring off a mob of angry villagers and used the Zauberspruch für die Ladung to summon a Doll of his own without Koga present, resulting in his death when Waineton turned on him due to his weakness. However, 3rd Division Lieutenant Izuru Kira arrives and prevents Dalk from finishing off Ichigo.[19]

Nieder fails to harm Rukia and Orihime when thrown at them.

At the Urahara Shop, Tessai Tsukabishi brings Hanatarō in to tend to Renji and the young boy he was protecting using his Kaidō as Yoshi finds her attacks against Rukia and Orihime missing their marks. When told to meditate for a moment by Nieder, a belligerent Yoshi agrees to do so and poses with her eyes closed, giving Rukia, Orihime, and Kurōdo a chance to escape, and when alerted to this by Nieder, Yoshi throws both halves at the group, but they bounce off of Orihime without harming her. Suddenly, Mabashi arrives and declares that he will be taking the fight from here due to believing that Yoshi's age is preventing her from winning.[20]

Mabashi's Doll, Ritz, burrows into Rukia's chest.

Mabashi summons his Doll, Ritz, and has her attack Yoshi, who decides to leave and avoid further confrontation with Mabashi for now. Turning his attention to Rukia, Orihime, and Kurōdo, who are fearful of Ritz due to her being able to scare off Yoshi, Mabashi has Ritz demonstrate her speed and power by crashing through several of the nearby garage shutters at high speeds, and though Rukia manages to briefly down Ritz by striking her with a metal bar, Ritz recovers and proceeds to burrow into Rukia's chest and attach herself to Rukia's soul, taking completely control of her body in the process, to Mabashi's delight and amusement.[20]

Izuru incapacitates Dalk with his Shikai, Wabisuke.

Meanwhile, at the construction site, Izuru gives Ichigo a chance to recover and begins fighting Dalk, who is initially amused by his stoic attitude and fighting style, only to be startled when parts of her body struck by Izuru's Shikai, Wabisuke, become too heavy to move. During this, Koga demonstrates his superhuman physical strength by attacking Ichigo with a metal girder and almost kills him, only to be stricken by his resemblance to Cain once again and decides to end the fight when Izuru strikes Dalk so many times that she can no longer move her entire body, leading Koga to return her to her sealed state and leave so Ichigo can save Keigo.[20]

Orihime is forced to defend herself from a possessed Rukia.

In the cave system, Kariya learns of Mabashi slipping past Ichinose, but is unconcerned since he will grow stronger no matter what happens during his fight. Back at the warehouses, Mabashi explains that Rukia is now his loyal servant and has her begin attacking Orihime, who struggles to defend herself from Rukia's potent Kidō blasts while Rukia herself begins to show fatigue from the strain of repeated attacks. Upon noticing this, Mabashi has Ritz force Rukia's Soul out of her Gigai in order to access her full power, which Rukia proceeds to display with even stronger Kidō blasts and rapid strikes from her Zanpakutō that leave Orihime reeling.[21]

Shūhei Hisagi intervenes in the fight to protect Orihime.

Elsewhere in Karakura Town, Ichigo struggles to carry Keigo to the Urahara Shop to be healed, leading Izuru to offer to carry him instead and explain that he understand Ichigo's feelings due to having lost someone important to him as well. Soon afterward, the two of them reach the Urahara Shop with Keigo, where Hanatarō prepares to heal both Ichigo and Keigo. Simultaneously, Kurōdo comes up with a plan for Orihime to attack Mabashi with Koten Zanshun instead of Rukia so she does not have to hurt her friend, only for Rukia to intercept the projectile with her body before it can reach Mabashi. Suddenly, as Rukia attacks Orihime once more, 9th Division Lieutenant Shūhei Hisagi intercepts her.[21]

Orihime ejects Ritz from Rukia with Sōten Kisshun.

With Kariya deciding to rest and leaving Ichinose to oversee the ongoing battles in Karakura Town, Rukia manages to briefly regain control of her body and begs to be killed so she does not have to continue hurting her friends, which Hisagi accepts as her final wish. Despite this, Orihime refuses to let him do so and instead withstands Rukia's subsequent attacks with Santen Kesshun until she hugs Rukia and activates Sōten Kisshun, causing Ritz to be forcefully ejected from Rukia's body. Before Hisagi can attack a stunned Mabashi, Ichinose arrives, knocks out Mabashi while blocking Hisagi's strike, and departs with Mabashi, leaving Rukia to thank Orihime.[21]

Rangiku Matsumoto joins Sado, Ururu, and Noba in the park.

Meanwhile, as she runs through Karakura Town, 10th Division Lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto notices Sado, Ururu, and Noba being confronted by Sawatari and joins them in the park, where she is surprised that someone as elderly as Sawatari is a Bount, only for Sawatari to confirm it by having his Doll, Baura, emerge from the ground and begin attacking the group, surprising them with his ability to shift into an alternate dimension and forcing Noba to rescue Rangiku from his jaws by teleporting her away. Learning that the mouth of Baura is also connected to an alternate dimension, Rangiku contacts Soul Society and has them place a spatial freeze on the surrounding area.[22]

Ururu pushes Sado out of the path of Baura.

Baura proceeds to prove invulnerable to conventional attacks on his back and able to swallow Sado's energy blasts, but Ururu manages to temporarily incapacitate him by delivering a powerful kick to his underbelly, allowing her and her friends to escape to a nearby rooftop. As the group tries to plan around his spatial manipulation abilities, Baura emerges from the side of the adjacent building and bears down on Sado, who is pushed out of his path by Ururu, resulting in her being swallowed instead. After pursuing Sado, Rangiku, and Noba to another rooftop, Sawatari confirms that Ururu is still alive and warns them that she will soon be consumed down to her Soul by Baura.[22]

Noba is forced to release Baura from his Wormhole.

Though Sawatari believes that he has the group cornered, Rangiku uses her Shikai, Haineko, to bring a large billboard crashing down on top of him, which gives her, Sado, and Noba a chance to flee to an alleyway further away. Following their formulation of a plan to draw Baura into Noba's own alternate dimension and extinguish his enemy, Rangiku and Sado act as decoys in an open area to draw Baura out and throw him into one of Noba's Wormholes, with Baura eventually being absorbed after a struggle. However, Baura manages to free himself, injuring Noba in the process, and Sawatari declares that it is time to bring this fight to its natural conclusion.[22]

Noba teleports Sado and Rangiku away from Baura.

As Baura begins to encircle them within the ground, Sado and Rangiku debate on the best method of escape and whether any of them should stay behind as decoys, only for Baura to cut off their route when they attempt to flee. Suddenly, Noba teleports the three of them a considerable distance away from Baura into the city, leaving him weakened, and Sado suggests that they catch Baura so they can force him to cough up Ururu. Though Rangiku initially does not believe this is possible with Noba's current condition, after being informed that he is a Mod-Soul, Rangiku proposes that they combine his Bount-tracking capabilities with her Kidō.[23]

Sado delivers a powerful blow to the underbelly of Baura.

Rangiku uses a Gokon Tekkō to remove Noba's Gikongan from his Gigai and place it in his plushie body before the two of them synchronize their Reiatsu, allowing Rangiku to perform a Bakudō #58. Kakushitsuijaku that eventually succeeds in tracking Baura within his alternate dimension. Upon being told that Baura has reappeared above them, Sado leaps up and delivers a powerful energy-infused punch to the underbelly of Baura, incapacitating him, prior to firing an energy blast that hits Baura with enough force to cause him to spit up an unharmed Ururu. In the aftermath, Sawatari decides that he can no longer continue the fight and departs.[23]

Ichinose attacks several Shinigami in the Seireitei.

Meanwhile, at the Shinigami Research and Development Institute, Mayuri discovers the existence of the Quincy Bangle and decides to have it delivered to Uryū while 11th Division 3rd Seat Ikkaku Madarame and four of his subordinates find themselves suddenly attacked by an invisible Ichinose at a gate they are guarding. With the Gotei 13 being placed on high alert by the presence of an intruder in the Seireitei and 6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki receiving a summons from Yamamoto, Uryū recalls being trained in the creation and usage of a Heilig Bogen by Sōken Ishida, only to be left crying when he cannot maintain one.[23]

Ichigo's friends return to the Urahara Shop.

Back at the Urahara Shop, Ririn learns of Ichigo's recovery and is left crying in relief as Hanatarō announces that Keigo will be fine due to receiving Ichigo's Reishi and Ichigo's other friends arrive at the shop in varying states of injury. The next morning, Rangiku and Hisagi meet up with Izuru in the forest on the outskirts of Karakura Town and move to find 11th Division 5th Seat Yumichika Ayasegawa, who spent the previous night searching for the Bount hideout. Within the cave system, Kariya congratulates the other Bount on their performances the previous night, and after noticing the Shinigami approaching them, he has Ugaki move out to confront and kill them.[24]

Yamamoto asks Byakuya Kuchiki to check his family's records.

Simultaneously, Ichigo and his friends learn that the boy Renji saved is gradually weakening due to his injuries being greater than Keigo's, and though Renji blames himself for handling the Bitto attack improperly, Ichigo assures him that the boy will live with Hanatarō's help and reveals to Urahara that he is close to being able to use his Bankai once more. While Izuru, Hisagi, and Rangiku meet up with Yumichika outside the cave system entrance, Yamamoto calls Byakuya to his office in the First Division barracks and asks him to check his family's records of the history of Soul Society for any mention of the Bount, due to believing that there is a traitor among the Gotei 13.[24]

Ugaki's Doll, Gesell, overwhelms the strike force.

Outside the Urahara Shop, Ichigo's group prepares to head to the cave system as well with the Mod-Souls joining them. At the cave system, Ugaki summons his Doll, Gesell, and begins laying down cards on his summoning mat, forcing Izuru, Hisagi, Rangiku, and Yumichika to split up when the Wächter begin appearing. In short order, Rangiku is attacked by several spears, Izuru and Hisagi are caught in a cave-in created by the ceiling being crushed, and Yumichika is brutalized by the right arm of Gesell, leaving them all seemingly defeated. During this, 12th Division Lieutenant Nemu Kurotsuchi approaches a surprised Uryū on the riverbank where he has been training.[24]

Nemu Kurotsuchi tests Uryū's lack of power by attacking him.

Suddenly, Nemu begins attacking Uryū and completely overwhelms him, only to reveal that she was simply confirming his lack of power and hand him the Quincy Bangle when he expresses a desire to regain his power. During this, in the cave system, Ichigo and his friends walk through the caves, where they are noticed by Ugaki and attacked once more by the Wächter. Despite managing to defend themselves readily against the Wächter with their individual powers, Ichigo and the others are caught off-guard when the right arm of Gesell emerges from a shadow underneath Rukia and sends her flying with a punch that completely incapacitates her, though Renji successfully catches her.[25]

Orihime protects Ichigo from behind with Santen Kesshun.

Gesell begins transforming his limbs into different weapons to directly attack Ichigo and his friends, with Ichigo being forced to block a strike from a massive sword, leaving him defenseless to a buzzsaw approaching him from behind until Orihime steps in and intercepts it with Santen Kesshun. However, when Orihime attacks the base of the buzzsaw with Koten Zanshun, Ugaki simply dematerializes it and creates ropes to drag Ichigo and Orihime into the shadows instead, but Rangiku saves them with Haineko and instructs the group to destroy everything in the cave that can create a shadow so Gesell cannot manifest anymore, which they proceed to do.[25]

Izuru and Hisagi join the fight against Gesell.

Using the Wächter to speak to Ichigo and his friends directly, Ugaki attempts to garner their sympathy by explaining the plight of the Bount as a tribe whose numbers can never increase, only for Renji to counter that this does not justify them attacking innocents like the boy he saved before he and Ichigo run ahead to continue fighting Gesell, where they meet up with Izuru and Hisagi. Though Ugaki aims to overwhelm the group with different attacks from Gesell, Izuru manages to incapacitate one of the latter's arms by striking it repeatedly with Wabisuke while Hisagi holds it in place, which forces Ugaki to recall Gesell and relocate to escape its effects.[25]

Gesell manifests his true form into the world.

Up ahead, Ichigo and Renji encounter another swarm of Wächter, and as the two of them defend themselves, the Wächter create five large intersecting shadows using the surrounding pillars, allowing Gesell to manifest his true form. Upon seeing this, Renji decides to face Gesell alone so he can prove his strength of spirit and so Ichigo can save his strength for the other Bount and activates his Bankai, Hihiō Zabimaru, which proves able to outmaneuver the straightforward attacks of Gesell by separating its segments. Suddenly, Ugaki opts to begin attacking Renji directly instead, severely injuring him with bladed attacks from Gesell.[26]

Gesell is overwhelmed by the pain of Higa Zekkō.

Despite Ichigo's concern for him, Renji promises that he is going to turn this fight around, and as Ugaki relays Nemu approaching Uryū with the Quincy Bangle to Kariya, Renji attacks Gesell with Higa Zekkō, inflicting enough pain that Gesell goes completely berserk and turns on Ugaki, who is abandoned by Kariya and crushed in the hand of Gesell, killing them both. In the aftermath of the rampage of Gesell, the wall connecting to the central chamber collapses, allowing Ichigo to confront the remaining Bount alone while Kariya leaves the preparation of their Senkaimon to Koga so he can test his new level of power by fighting Ichigo.[26]

Kariya reveals that the Bount are going to Soul Society.

When they begin clashing, Ichigo is astonished by Kariya's strength and durability as the latter completely overpowers him, sending Ichigo flying across the chamber with simple physical blows and grievously injuring him by shoving his hand into Ichigo's torso. A disappointed Kariya lectures Ichigo for not living up to his expected level of power and requests that he use his Bankai so Kariya can truly test his power, but Ichigo is left unable to stand up, prompting Kariya to assume that this is the end of the battle. Despite the protests of the other Bount, Kariya decides that there is no harm in telling Ichigo the truth before he dies and reveals that the Bount will be entering Soul Society.[26]

Ichigo matches Kariya using his Bankai, Tensa Zangetsu.

After recounting how the Bount were created as a side-effect of an explosion that occurred during experiments to create immortal beings in Soul Society long ago, Kariya declares that they seek revenge on the Shinigami who created and oppressed them prior to brutalizing Ichigo further and threatening to kill him with his own partner, Zangetsu. However, Ichigo simply shoves Zangetsu into his own chest to commune with Zangetsu, who promises to lend him power once more, and succeeds in activating his Bankai, Tensa Zangetsu, the power boost from which allows him to fight Kariya evenly across the entire chamber and wound him for the first time.[27]

The Bount enter Soul Society through the Senkaimon.

Suddenly, Uryū arrives, having regained his Quincy powers with the Quincy Bangle and joined the others in the cave, and confronts Kariya alongside Ichigo, only to complete the ritual for the Bount Senkaimon by firing a Heilig Pfeil into it, granting the portal Reishi-converting properties. Assuming that Uryū has decided to side against the Shinigami with the Bount, Kariya offers to let him walk alongside them, but Uryū clarifies that he only did this so he could defeat Kariya in Soul Society instead. Amused by this, Kariya invites Ichigo and Uryū to join the Bount in Soul Society and passes through the Senkaimon with the Bount and Ichinose.[27]

Ichigo and his friends prepare to return to Soul Society.

When confronted by his friends over this decision, Uryū points out how they will have a better chance of defeating the Bount in Soul Society due to the realm's high concentration of Reishi, though he is surprised by Yoruichi's explanation of the Bount also being able to absorb Reishi and admits that the Quincy Bangle restoring his powers is not stable. Despite this, Ichigo simply invites Uryū to come with him and the others to Soul Society in order to settle this, and after Renji and the rest of the strike force confirm that they have all survived, Ichigo and his friends prepare to enter Soul Society once more as the Bount fly through the air above the Rukongai, where Kariya revels in the sensation.[27]

End Stages

Kariya and Koga are confronted by the Second Division.

With the intrusion of the Bount immediately detected and recognized by the Gotei 13, Yamamoto orders the captains to have their divisions assume second-class alert positions and tasks Hitsugaya with apprehending the Bount, as well as with keeping the other divisions informed of new developments. In the Rukongai, Kariya and Koga find themselves confronted by 2nd Division Lieutenant Marechiyo Ōmaeda, his subordinates, and 7th Division Lieutenant Tetsuzaemon Iba, where Koga demonstrates the enhanced ability of the Bount to absorb Reishi and swiftly incapacitates all the Shinigami present with Dalk in order to test his new level of power, to the approval of Kariya.[28]

Ichigo and his friends meet with Kūkaku Shiba.

Meanwhile, having entered Soul Society, Ichigo's group seeks out the home of Kūkaku Shiba, which has been relocated to the center of a lake, and are separated from Kon in the process, causing him to be accused by the villagers of the Rukongai to be responsible for the destruction caused by Kariya and Koga earlier. After sitting down with Kūkaku, Yoruichi requests permission for Ichigo and his friends to stay in her home since it will be easier to search the Rukongai with a base of operations therein, and as Kūkaku gets acquainted with the Mod-Souls, Yoruichi asks Ichigo and the others to search for Ran'Tao, the creator of the Bount, in addition to Kariya and his forces.[28]

Rukia finds herself confronted by Yoshi in the Rukongai.

While Ichigo and his friends leave for dinner, Kūkaku has Yoruichi stay behind and presses her for clarification as to why she is not asking the Seireitei for assistance, leading Yoruichi to reveal that Ichinose has already broken in repeatedly and manipulated Mayuri in order to restore Uryū's Quincy powers and allow the Bount to enter Soul Society, which has led her to choose Kūkaku's home since Ichinose cannot track her here. Though surprised by this, Kūkaku nonetheless agrees to help Yoruichi due to loving trouble. The next day, Ichigo's group splits up across the Rukongai to begin searching, but as Rukia enters one of the more destitute areas, she is confronted by Yoshi.[28]

Yoshi overpowers a weakened Rukia with brute strength.

Yoshi immediately begins attacking Rukia, who realizes that she did not bring her Zanpakutō along and is forced to defend herself with a cracked katana that she finds embedded in a nearby wall. With Yoshi easily overpowering Rukia due to her weakened state, Ririn reluctantly intervenes and disorients Yoshi with her illusions, allowing Rukia to blast her with Hadō #33. Sōkatsui. Despite this, Yoshi quickly heals her injuries by absorbing Reishi from her surroundings and resumes her assault, driving Rukia into an abandoned building where Ririn distracts Yoshi with an illusory Rukia while the real Rukia fires Hadō #4. Byakurai through Yoshi's shoulder, only for Yoshi to heal herself again.[29]

Rukia moves to protect two children from Yoshi's rampage.

Simultaneously, in the Seireitei, Yamamoto informs the captains of the experiment led by Ran'Tao that created the Bount over a thousand years ago, which was discovered by Byakuya in his family's archives, and that Ichigo has pursued the Bount to Soul Society prior to the captains being alerted to Rukia being detected fighting a Bount in the Rukongai, which the Thirteenth Division moves out to respond to. In the 43rd district of the Rukongai, Rukia continues to barely avoid and survive Yoshi's onslaught, eventually fleeing to a seemingly empty house to tend to her injuries. However, Rukia discovers a young girl protecting a baby within and realizes that Yoshi has found her.[29]

Byakuya saves a grievously injured Rukia from Yoshi.

Before Ririn can take the children to safety at Rukia's behest, Yoshi attacks through the wall behind Rukia and takes the young girl hostage, threatening to crush her skull if Rukia does not drop her weapon. With Rukia acquiescing, Yoshi ferociously and sadistically slashes and stabs her with Nieder several times, but before she can deliver the finishing blow, Byakuya arrives and incapacitates Yoshi with his Shikai, Senbonzakura, as he catches an unconscious Rukia, with Ichigo and Orihime reaching them seconds later and tending to Ririn. Suddenly, Yoshi reappears unharmed and reveals that she was just a diversion as bombs go off across the Senzaikyū compound.[29]

Byakuya brings Rukia to the Kuchiki Manor to be healed.

With Yamamoto and the other captains interpreting this destruction as a declaration of war, Byakuya has Rukia brought to the Kuchiki Manor to be healed by the Fourth Division and assures Ichigo that her life is not in danger even though her deep wounds will require extensive rest and recovery, only to refuse to assist Ichigo in his fight against the Bount, which Ichigo attributes to Byakuya still considering him an enemy for his actions during the Ryoka Invasion as he leaves with Orihime. Meanwhile, in the Kusajishi district of the Rukongai, Mitsuru Ishino and Taichi Miyamoto are startled when Kariya enters the gambling hall they are relaxing in.[30]

Kariya approaches Tōba with an offer to assist the Bount.

Intrigued by the game of cards being played at one of the tables, Kariya joins by betting his own life and wins, causing a fight to break out when his opponent refuses to accept that he won fairly and Kariya starts a brawl that Koga and Ichinose join in an attempt to protect the villagers from him. In the aftermath, Kariya approaches the bookie, Tōba, and offers to let him assist the Bount in turning Soul Society upside-down. As the sun begins to set, Ichigo and his friends return to Kūkaku's home, having not found any leads on the location of the Bount, but are alarmed when Taichi and Ishino inform them of Kariya's actions in Kusajishi, prompting Kūkaku to force Ganju to investigate the area.[30]

Ganju finds three of the men who met Kariya in Kusajishi.

As Byakuya leaves the Seireitei, Tōba sets up Kariya, Koga, and Ichinose in a cottage while he begins gathering able-bodied men for Kariya's plan. Noticing Ichinose's distracted demeanor that has been present since they entered Soul Society, Kariya admits that he is also in a different mood than normal due to how much fun he has been having and leaves to meet someone that is approaching them. Elsewhere, Ganju gets Ichigo's friends lost on their way to Kusajishi, only to come across three men who discuss their encounter with Kariya and decide to interrogate them. With night falling, Kariya confronts Byakuya in the western Fugai forest and grins maniacally at the prospect of fighting him.[30]

Byakuya begins fighting Kariya and proves his equal.

Byakuya begins battling Kariya with rapid clashes across the surrounding area using only his sealed Zanpakutō, leading Kariya to express gratitude for being able to fight someone so powerful and detail his plan to demoralize the Seireitei by defeating the most prominent captain of the Gotei 13, as well as confirm that he had Yoshi attack Rukia solely to provoke Byakuya, who responds by releasing Senbonzakura and enveloping Kariya with the blade petals. However, Kariya easily protects himself with a Wind Barrier and counters with his power over wind and air, eventually leaving the two of them at an impasse of having their respective weapons at each other's throats.[31]

Koga and Ichinose speak with the residents of Kusajishi.

Rather than risk attacking so close to each other, Byakuya and Kariya separate and continue fighting prior to activating Senbonzakura and Windestanz at the same time, causing the two techniques to merge and tear through the surrounding area before Ichigo intervenes with a Getsuga Tenshō. During this, Ganju confirms the Bount are operating out of Kusajishi and decides to seek the assistance of Daiji Hirasago, who is more familiar with the area than he is and can offer additional manpower, Koga and Ichinose sit down with Tōba and several dozen denizens of Kusajishi to enlist their support, where Koga claims the Bount will improve their lives.[31]

Ichigo joins Byakuya's fight against Kariya.

Though Tōba and the others are skeptical that they will be able to storm the Seireitei even with the help of the Bount, Koga demonstrates the healing power granted by their ability to absorb Reishi and vows that the residents of Kusajishi will have invincible warriors on their side. Back in the forest, Kariya absorbs Reishi to heal the wounds inflicted by Byakuya and eagerly begins fighting Ichigo, who matches him once more using Tensa Zangetsu and fights at such high speeds that Ririn loses track of him, but Byakuya activates his own Bankai, Senbonzakura Kageyoshi, and breaks up the clash with an explosive attack while promising to treat Ichigo like an enemy if he remains involved.[31]

Ran'Tao reveals herself to Kariya and the other combatants.

As he continues to battle Kariya across the forest alongside Byakuya without directly assisting the latter, Ichigo finds Kariya outmaneuvering him despite his speed and is left shocked when Kariya attributes this to his superior combat experience. When Kariya is wounded by Senbonzakura Kageyoshi despite proclaiming that his Wind Barrier is impenetrable, Byakuya proceeds to barrage Kariya with an onslaught of attacks in order to test his supposed immortality, wounding him considerably in the process. Suddenly, the conflict is interrupted when Ran'Tao appears between the combatants in a huge pillar of energy that separates them by several meters.[32]

Ran'Tao meets with Ichigo and Uryū to explain everything.

With Ran'Tao confirming her identity as the creator of the Bount and startling him with her resemblance to Yoshino, Kariya realizes that she is to blame for the centuries of suffering that the Bount have endured and promises to force her to watch the Seireitei's destruction prior to Koga and Dalk creating an opportunity for him to escape from the battlefield, leaving Byakuya to depart as Uryū catches up to Ichigo and is invited alongside him to Ran'Tao's dwelling. While Ganju finds Daiji and his gang, Ran'Tao heals Ichigo's injuries and begins recounting the history of the Bount following their accidental creation, including the battle between the Bount and the Quincy.[32]

Hundreds of Kusajishi residents assemble to assist the Bount.

Upon being demanded to explain what she was doing for so many centuries if she knew about the suffering of the Bount, Ran'Tao reveals that she was exiled and had her Shinigami powers sealed away as punishment for proposing that Soul Society publicize everything and accept the Bount instead of oppressing them. After apologizing to Uryū for the suffering she has caused him and warning him about the instability of the Quincy Bangle, Ran'Tao is forced to begin sleeping for twelve hours as a side-effect of the process she used to extend her lifespan, with Ichigo and Uryū deciding to stay until she awakens. Back in Kusajishi, Kariya returns with Koga and finds hundreds of villagers waiting for him.[32]

Ganju enlists the Kusajishi Bull's Gang in searching for the Bount.

As morning breaks, Hitsugaya learns of the residents of Kusajishi cutting down trees in the surrounding forest and decides to investigate this with Rangiku and Renji while Daiji informs Ganju of the large numbers of thugs being gathered in Kusajishi and agrees to round up his own fighters after Ganju explains that he is trying to help Ichigo combat the Bount as a favor. Meanwhile, in the Seireitei, Shunsui and Ukitake discuss the recent bombing of Senzaikyū and its reconstruction, and after casually suggesting that it may have been a diversion, Mayuri is shocked by the concept of a diversion in the Seireitei and rushes back to the Shinigami Research and Development Institute.[33]

Ran'Tao details the truth behind the creation of the Bount.

Back in Ran'Tao's dwelling, Ichigo and Uryū have lunch with her and listen as Ran'Tao explains that she bears a striking resemblance to Yoshino due to her research team using Gikon based on their own Souls instead of Human Souls as test subjects for their immortality experiments that were added to the cycle of Souls in the accident. From this, Uryū deduces that this is why the Bount can use Dolls like Shinigami use Zanpakutō and Ichigo points out how Ririn, Kurōdo, and Noba can detect Bount due to them being based on the same technology. That evening, Kenpachi decides to move out and confront Ichinose after learning of Hitsugaya locating him in the forest.[33]

Tōshirō Hitsugaya confronts Ichinose in the forest.

With Kariya overseeing the residents of Kusajishi assembling the cut trees into massive siege engines, Mayuri finds footage of Ichinose entering the Seireitei while invisible and is aghast to realize that the latter manipulated his actions by setting him up to find the data on the Quincy Bangle and have it delivered to Uryū so the Bount could enter Soul Society. Following Kariya permitting him to stay behind in the worker camp while the plan is put into motion, Ichinose confronts and clashes with Hitsugaya when the latter reaches the clearing, and as Ichinose declares that Ichigo's group is too late to stop Kariya, the residents of Kusajishi roll their siege engines to the Seireiheki gates.[33]

Kenpachi Zaraki confronts Ichinose so Ichigo's group can leave.

Ichinose refuses to let any of Ichigo and his friends leave to stop Kariya and traps them all in a Brilliant Void while he attempts to pick them off one at a time. Suddenly, Kenpachi intercepts Ichinose's attack against Sado and disperses the illusion with his Reiatsu, shocking those present. After catching up with Ichigo, Kenpachi turns to Ichinose and offers to either let him kill Ichigo and the others or fight Kenpachi himself depending on what he most desires, with Ichinose realizing that he cannot let go of his grudge against Kenpachi for killing Kiganjō and choosing to forgo Kariya's orders as Ichigo's group runs off to return to the Seireitei.[34]

Ichinose traps Kenpachi in Saigyoku Nijigasumi.

As he begins attacking Kenpachi, Ichinose is startled by the former withstanding and overcoming his invisibility, Blade of Light, and Blinding Light, with Kenpachi remaining unimpressed by how he has not grown much stronger since his departure from Soul Society. In response, Ichinose initiates Saigyoku Nijigasumi, boosting his Reiatsu to the point where he can clash evenly with and wound Kenpachi, whom he criticizes for remaining arrogant and being emblematic of the Gotei 13's corruption before trapping him in a massive dome of hard light that begins condensing around him while Ichinose assumes that he will soon be dead and prepares to leave.[34]

Kenpachi and Ichinose clash for the last time.

Despite being unable to damage the dome with his strikes, a grinning Kenpachi simply removes his eyepatch and unleashes the full power of his Reiatsu, smashing through Saigyoku Nijigasumi and freeing himself. Confronting a shocked Ichinose, Kenpachi criticizes his vaguely-defined ideals, and when Ichinose furiously accuses him of being responsible for the Bount attacking Soul Society in the first place, Kenpachi slashes him across the chest and points out how Ichinose still cannot stand on his own. When Ichinose decides to continue fighting Kenpachi regardless, the two of them clash in a surge of Reiatsu, with Kenpachi ultimately cutting down Ichinose and leaving alongside Yachiru.[34]

Kariya and the Bount enter the Seireitei.

Simultaneously, after Jidanbō Ikkanzaka and Danzōmaru are defeated by Koga, Yoshi, and Mabashi, the Kusajishi villagers use their siege engines to raise the White Road Gate and Blade Ridge Gate. Once inside and with the responding Shinigami incapacitated by his Doll, Messer, Kariya reveals that he has no further use for the thugs and tells them to leave before killing them as well when they try to swarm him in rage. Following his dismantling of the siege engine propping up the White Road Gate with Messer when Ichigo and his friends arrive, Kariya instructs Koga and Sawatari to begin defeating captains while he seeks out the Jōkaishō.[35]

Jidanbō Ikkanzaka lets Ichigo and his friends into the Seireitei.

Outside the Seireiheki, Orihime partially heals Jidanbō's shoulder wound, and after learning that it will take a considerable amount of time for the Gotei 13 to open the gate from within, Jidanbō agrees to open it himself and does so with considerable effort, though he is forced to drop it due to his injury after everyone other than Orihime, who stays behind to continue healing him, crosses under it. Once inside the Seireitei, Hitsugaya receives a Jigokuchō alerting him to a captains meeting, with Suì-Fēng receiving the same while she is directing the Keigun in searching for the Bount, and Ichigo and his friends begin searching different areas of the Seireitei.[35]

Mabashi possesses several Shinigami with copies of Ritz.

During this, Mabashi attacks a squad of Keigun and incapacitates several of them as he lures the rest elsewhere. At the captains meeting, Mayuri reprimands Hitsugaya for allowing the Bount to enter the Seireitei despite being tasked with intercepting them, only for Shunsui to question how the Quincy Bangle made it into Uryū's hands when the Shinigami Research and Development Institute was supposed to have it. Following this, an irritated Mayuri decides to hunt down the Bount himself as the Mod-Souls continue leading Ichigo's group through the Seireitei and Suì-Fēng meets with the Keigun in the northern streets of the Seireitei, where one possessed by Ritz stabs her with a Bitto.[35]

Ichigo is confronted by three possessed Shinigami.

With the possessed Keigun dying shortly afterward, Suì-Fēng recognizes this as the work of Mabashi's Ritz and is attacked by a second Keigun, prompting her other subordinates to have her leave and tend to her injuries. Across the Seireitei, possessed Shinigami begin attacking Ichigo, Renji, Sado, and each other in a mad frenzy under the influence of Ritz, with Hisagi informing 7th Division Captain Sajin Komamura of the situation and the difficulty in subduing Ritz without harming those she is possessing. Meanwhile, a weakened Suì-Fēng makes her way to a rooftop pavilion and muses that Ritz will cease her activities if Mabashi is killed.[36]

A weakened Suì-Fēng spars fiercely with Mabashi.

Suddenly, Mabashi arrives and reveals that Suì-Fēng has been poisoned with a Soul that was left to rot inside the Bitto that stabbed her, which he claims is lethal and that there is no antidote for. In response, Suì-Fēng begins attacking him with Hakuda, though Mabashi is able to match her due to her fatigue, and upon being reminded that the poison will spread faster if she moves, Suì-Fēng attempts to end the fight by releasing her Shikai, Suzumebachi, and stabbing Mabashi in the chest, though she collapses before she can perform the second strike. Recognizing the Nigeki Kessatsu technique, Mabashi decides to leave and watch her die from afar.[36]

Suì-Fēng stabs Mabashi again to initiate Nigeki Kessatsu.

As Unohana prepares to treat the unconscious possessed Shinigami being brought to the Sōgō Kyūgo Tsumesho, Suì-Fēng laments her helplessness and flickering vision, but realizes what she needs to do and stabs her shoulder with Suzumebachi. Elsewhere, Mabashi realizes the Shinigami possessed by his copies of Ritz are being incapacitated and decides to possess Suì-Fēng in order to hit the Gotei 13 something strong. However, when he finds Suì-Fēng lying in a pavilion and has her restrained by possessed Keigun, Suì-Fēng activates her Shunkō and stabs him in the chest a second time, killing him with Nigeki Kessatsu as Mayuri confronts Sawatari.[36]

Mayuri loses his left arm to an attack from Baura.

Claiming that he wanted to get revenge on Ichinose for manipulating him and that he will simply settle for Sawatari, Mayuri releases his Shikai, Ashisogi Jizō, and assumes that he will be able to predict where Baura emerges based on the data from his previous fight, only to be shocked when Baura displays the ability to enter and leave his alternate dimension in midair, resulting in him losing his left arm while evading an attack from Baura. With Sawatari detailing how the high Reishi concentration in the air of Soul Society allows Baura to do this, Mayuri regenerates his arm with a Hojiku-Zai and draws his ear kusarigama to continue the battle.[37]

Mayuri reveals that he has been tracking Sawatari.

While continuing to evade Baura, Mayuri notices that he engulfs everything around him whenever he emerges and detonates several small bombs on the ground to create a huge cloud of dust, allowing him to see Baura moving through the air and hook him with his kusarigama before reeling Baura in and stabbing Sawatari in the arm with Ashisogi Jizō. Though Sawatari manages to heal himself with Reishi, his arm remains immobile, and even after escaping with Baura to the base of the Senzaikyū pavilion far away, Sawatari is astonished when Mayuri immediately catches up to him and reveals that he has been tracking Sawatari the whole time.[37]

Sawatari begs Mayuri to spare his life.

After Mayuri explains that Sawatari's Soul-aged body makes him the most interesting research subject among the Bount, Sawatari refuses to give up and begins attacking Mayuri with Kidō blasts that Baura absorbed from the other Shinigami who attacked them. Once Baura consumes most of the left side of his torso, an enraged Mayuri activates his Bankai, Konjiki Ashisogi Jizō, and succeeds in poisoning Sawatari despite the latter's attempt to overpower Konjiki Ashisogi Jizō by infusing Baura with his Reiryoku, resulting in Sawatari turning to dust as he begs for Mayuri to spare his life. Meanwhile, Yoshi finds herself confronted by Uryū.[37]

Uryū begins facing off against Yoshi.

With Kariya breaking into the Shinigami Research and Development Institute with Messer, alerting Ichigo and Sado to his location, Uryū begins attacking Yoshi and intentionally lures her away from the pavilion they were fighting on to the rooftops nearby, where Yoshi is left confused by Uryū's declaration of wanting to end this meaningless battle and begins attacking him with the Happonjin form of Nieder. Though he manages to evade Yoshi's attacks, Uryū struggles to fire accurate Heilig Pfeil due to the instability of the Quincy Bangle causing his attacks' power to vary wildly and occasionally arc away from Yoshi once loosed from his Heilig Bogen, Kojaku.[38]

Yoshi grievously injures Uryū with Nieder.

Eventually, Uryū manages to hit Yoshi with a powerful Heilig Pfeil, but she simply shifts Nieder to its armored defensive form to completely block the blast and resumes her assault. After barely outrunning the blades fired by Yoshi's Happonjin form and returning fire with his own Heilig Pfeil, Uryū is caught in midair by Yoshi, who slashes through his shoulder with the string of blades and sends Uryū crashing into a pavilion below. During this, Kariya discusses his search for the Jōkaishō with an incapacitated Nemu at the Shinigami Research and Development Institute prior to being confronted by Ichigo and Sado, whom he escapes from.[38]

Kariya is empowered by absorbing the Jōkaishō.

While Nemu does not know where Kariya is headed, Ichigo and Sado track him down by having Noba follow his Reiatsu and battle Kariya in a seemingly nondescript room, where Ichigo's Getsuga Tenshō and Kariya's Wind Licht Schneide clashing create an explosion that destroys part of the floor to reveal the Jōkaishō below. Following his descent to the Jōkaishō, Kariya absorbs its power into his body with an incantation and proclaims that he can now destroy the entire Seireitei before departing after promising to give the Gotei 13 a one-day grace period to tremble in fear. Meanwhile, though she believes Uryū to be dead, Yoshi is shocked when he attacks her from behind.[38]

Kariya betrays Koga and leaves him for dead.

Yoshi blocks the Heilig Pfeil and joins an exhausted Uryū on the ground, where she details how she never wanted her battles to have any meaning and simply wants to run amok as she did in the old days while wounding Uryū further with slashes and kicks. Simultaneously, Yamamoto meets with Shunsui, Unohana, and Komamura to discuss recent events and order them to focus all efforts on tracking down Kariya now that he possesses such immense power. In an alleyway, Kariya tells Koga about his newfound power and intention to obliterate the Seireitei with it, and when Koga protests this course of action, Kariya grievously injures him and leaves.[39]

Uryū defeats Yoshi with a Heilig Pfeil through the chest.

Back in the courtyard, Uryū continues firing Heilig Pfeil at Yoshi, who struggles to deflect them with the Happonjin form of Nieder and is taken aback when a Heilig Pfeil fires on its own from the Quincy Bangle, nearly hitting her head in the process due to Yoshi having preemptively shifted back to her Happonjin form. Though Yoshi believes that Uryū can no longer control the Quincy Bangle and moves to attack him, Uryū exploits the short gap between the transformations of Nieder and fires a Heilig Pfeil through her chest at point-blank range, lethally wounding her. After admitting that her final battle was fun and thanking Uryū for this, Yoshi collapses and turns to ashes.[39]

Koga defeats the squad of Shinigami he encounters.

Shortly afterward, in the Seireitei Library, Ukitake informs Shunsui that Ran'Tao's information on the Jōkaishō is scattered among several books in the archives and that they will need to search through as many as they can before tomorrow. With the sun setting, Uryū encounters an apparition of Sōken Ishida who tells him to rest and is found by Ichigo and Sado, who inform him of Kariya's promise to destroy the Seireitei and urge Uryū to spend the night recovering from his injuries. That night, Koga finishes healing the wound left by Kariya and moves out to track him down, only to encounter a squad of Tenth Division Shinigami and incapacitate them all with Dalk.[39]

The Tenth Division begins searching for Koga.

Upon finding the defeated Shinigami, Hitsugaya borrows Kurōdo from Renji and begins having his subordinates track Koga by splitting into multiple squads, each with a Jigokuchō which Rangiku coordinates them through. Noticing the Shinigami searching for him in the streets, Koga decides to go underground and travels through the canal network with Dalk, whom he assures that he and Kariya did not get into a fight prior to asserting that they will not continue to hide and having Dalk begin attacking the Shinigami above. When cornered by one of the squads, Koga deduces that they are communicating through the Jigokuchō and orders Dalk to destroy them, which she does.[40]

Dalk clashes with Hitsugaya after he confronts Koga.

With the coordination between the squads cut off, Koga begins incapacitating them without inflicting lethal injuries, which prompts Hitsugaya to confront him personally after realizing that this is what Koga has been aiming for. Thanking Koga for not killing his subordinates, Hitsugaya begins battling Dalk, who is surprised when he manages to sever one of her arms and shocked when he releases his Shikai, Hyōrinmaru, which chills her metal body and makes it harder for her to move. Despite Koga urging her to fall back and thaw out, Dalk insists on proving that she can overpower Hyōrinmaru and is eventually shattered into hundreds of pieces.[40]

Hitsugaya defeats Koga in a single slash.

Following Dalk thanking him for being her master, Koga reveals that she is not yet dead and reshapes her remains into a massive battle axe to face Hitsugaya personally as he empowers himself by absorbing Reishi. In turn, Hitsugaya activates his Bankai, Daiguren Hyōrinmaru, and begins clashing with Koga, who begins to grow unstable as the fight continues due to his body not being able to handle the Reishi it has absorbed. When Koga refuses to give up, Hitsugaya defeats him with a single slash across the torso, and after admitting that he would not have been able to change anything even if he had caught up to Kariya, Koga collapses among the crumbling ice pillars.[40]

Ichigo and his friends gather in Hitsugaya's office.

After returning to his division's barracks and requesting that his subordinates find Koga's body in order to give it a proper burial, Hitsugaya discovers Ichigo's group in his office, having brought Uryū there to be healed. Though Uryū wishes to return to the fight as soon as possible, his friends convince him to rest for the night while the others search for the Bount. In the First Division barracks, Yamamoto is informed by 8th Division Lieutenant Nanao Ise that while Kariya was not lying about the explosive power of the Jōkaishō, he will need approximately a full day in order to draw out its full power, which is why he gave the Seireitei a grace period.[41]

Ran'Tao confronts Kariya and attempts to change his mind.

As morning dawns the next day, a relaxed Kariya is confronted by Ran'Tao, who injures him with her Kidō Gun in an attempt to kill him, exposing the Bount crest on his body. An astonished Ran'Tao realizes that Kariya is Eugene Currier, the Bount she gave a special amulet to awaken his powers when he was a young boy during the massacre of his tribe at the hands of the Shinigami, and attempts to convince him that the modern Gotei 13 does not remember the days of the Bount enough to continue oppressing them. However, Kariya refuses to even consider forgiving the Shinigami for the suffering he has endured and decides to kill Ran'Tao here and now for her role in it.[41]

Uryū confronts Kariya to save Ran'Tao.

Despite his desire to kill Ran'Tao, Kariya suddenly remembers his past as a Bount, where he inadvertently awakened his Bount powers during a Hollow attack and had his proposal to abandon Soul Society and the Shinigami rejected by his tribe, causing him to grow bitter and hateful toward the weaker Bount who perished over the years and formulate a plan to take revenge on the Seireitei with the Bount strong enough to stand by his side. Before he can kill Ran'Tao, Kariya is attacked by Uryū, who reveals that his battle with Yoshi showed him how to use the Quincy Bangle less stressfully and vows to stop Kariya due to Yoshino warning him that he intends to destroy the Bount as well as the Shinigami.[42]

Uryū decides to save Ran'Tao rather than kill Kariya.

Uryū proceeds to demonstrate his new level of control by rapidly attacking Kariya to the point of overwhelming his defense and wounding him several times, only for Kariya to heal himself with Reishi and exploit the growing instability of Uryū's attacks to brutally injure him. Suddenly, Ran'Tao uses a second Bount amulet to temporarily channel the power of the Jōkaishō in Kariya's body into her own and restrain him, giving Uryū an opportunity to fire a powerful Heilig Pfeil that he holds back on, leaving them both alive. However, Ran'Tao's uncontrollable Reiatsu threatens to destroy her, leading Uryū to use the last of his power to save her life while Ichigo confronts Kariya.[42]

Ichigo begins his final battle with Kariya.

Immediately activating Tensa Zangetsu, Ichigo begins clashing furiously across the surrounding buildings with Kariya, who briefly overwhelms him with powerful wind-infused strikes until Ichigo fires a Getsuga Tenshō at him, which results in them moving to the side of the Senzaikyū pavilion. During this, in the streets below, Uryū helps Ran'Tao move to safety and reunites with Orihime, Sado, and the Mod-Souls, where he explains that the Quincy Bangle did not explode when it finally broke due to being completely devoid of Reishi from his new method of using it. Upon being met by Hitsugaya and Rangiku, a startled Ran'Tao requests that they listen to her.[43]

Ran'Tao warns Hitsugaya about the remaining Jōkaishō.

After detailing how there are dozens of other Jōkaishō across the Seireitei that Kariya can now detonate due to their seals weakening over the past centuries, Ran'Tao gives Hitsugaya a map of their locations prior to passing out. With Ichinose confronting and attacking Ichigo after he and Kariya move their battle to the top of Sōkyoku Hill, Hitsugaya meets with Shunsui and Ukitake in the Seireitei Library and relays Ran'Tao's warning to them while Rangiku does the same with Yamamoto, who mobilizes the able-bodied remainder of the Gotei 13 to begin sealing all the Jōkaishō across the Seireitei and has Komamura assist him in coordinating the effort.[43]

Ichinose turns on Kariya for seeking revenge.

Back on Sōkyoku Hill, upon being told by Kariya that all of the other Bount are dead, Ichinose holds his Zanpakutō to Kariya's neck and reveals that his fight with Kenpachi has changed his perspective on seeking revenge against the Shinigami now that he has remembered the ideals which he and Kiganjō once strove for. However, Kariya declines to use the power of the Jōkaishō to rebuild the Seireitei and kills Ichinose, and when an infuriated Ichigo demands to know how he could do this to a comrade, Kariya bluntly admits that he only ever considered his allies to be pawns he could use and dispose of at will prior to fully summoning Messer to continue his battle with Ichigo.[43]

Kariya overwhelms Ichigo with his Lightning Blade.

Continuing to clash with Kariya, Ichigo deduces that his fighting style revolves around exploiting openings left by his opponents' attacks and begins attacking Kariya too rapidly for him to do so, but Kariya simply uses Ichigo's technique of protecting his body with concentrated Reiatsu and decides to display the true form of Messer by using his Lightning Blade technique to incapacitate Ichigo with electricity. Upon being asked by Ichigo why he intends to destroy everything, Kariya reveals his hatred of the Bount for letting the great power they were born with go to waste and of the Shinigami for exploiting his tribe, which has led him to desire to drag everything down with him.[44]

Kariya begins using the power of the Jōkaishō.

Though Kariya believes that Ichigo can no longer attack and moves to kill him, Ichigo's inner Hollow takes control of his body once more and hits Kariya with a point-blank Getsuga Tenshō. As Ichigo immediately regains control of his body, Kariya attempts to heal himself with Reishi, only to discover that an injury inflicted by Ran'Tao prior now prevents him from absorbing Reishi at all. With Ichigo taunting him about being on an even playing field, Kariya decides to detonate one of the Jōkaishō with his lightning, but Byakuya intercepts it with Senbonzakura Kageyoshi and Kariya realizes his Reiryoku is running low, prompting him to begin using the power of the Jōkaishō instead.[44]

Ichigo and Kariya clash for the final time.

While Byakuya and Yoruichi wait on the sidelines to intervene if necessary, Ichigo finds himself being overpowered by Kariya due to the Jōkaishō energy strengthening his attacks. Despite barely being able to move, Ichigo is saved from Kariya's lightning strike by Ichinose's Zanpakutō, which acts as a lightning rod and disintegrates in the process. Regaining his resolve from this, Ichigo concentrates his Reiatsu and leaps toward Kariya for a final clash, where the power of the Jōkaishō fully activates just as Ichigo delivers the killing blow to Kariya. In the aftermath, Kariya expresses disappointment at not seeing where Ichigo will go and dies as Ichigo admits that Kariya let him win.[44]

Aftermath

Ichigo, Rukia, and Renji ponder recent events.

The day after Kariya's defeat, Ichigo and Rukia reflect on recent events with their friends and recall the day before they met each other, with Rukia being assigned to the Human World for the first time and Ichigo feeling powerless to stop the sudden disappearances of Souls in Karakura Town. As Koga learns that he has been saved by Ran'Tao so he can share the story of the last Bount with her, Ichigo muses on Kariya's power consuming him in the end and discusses the latter's desire to break the vicious cycle of history through force with Ukitake. Once his friends join him in front of the Senkaimon, Ichigo returns to the Human World alongside them while the Gotei 13 watch.[45]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Bleach anime; Episode 64
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Bleach anime; Episode 65
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Bleach anime; Episode 66
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Bleach anime; Episode 67
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Bleach anime; Episode 68
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Bleach anime; Episode 69
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Bleach anime; Episode 70
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Bleach anime; Episode 71
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Bleach anime; Episode 72
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Bleach anime; Episode 73
  11. 11.0 11.1 Bleach anime; Episode 74
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Bleach anime; Episode 75
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Bleach anime; Episode 76
  14. 14.0 14.1 Bleach anime; Episode 77
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Bleach anime; Episode 78
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Bleach anime; Episode 79
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Bleach anime; Episode 81
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Bleach anime; Episode 82
  19. 19.0 19.1 Bleach anime; Episode 83
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Bleach anime; Episode 84
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Bleach anime; Episode 85
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Bleach anime; Episode 86
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Bleach anime; Episode 87
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 Bleach anime; Episode 88
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 Bleach anime; Episode 89
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 Bleach anime; Episode 90
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Bleach anime; Episode 91
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Bleach anime; Episode 92
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 Bleach anime; Episode 93
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 Bleach anime; Episode 94
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 Bleach anime; Episode 95
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 Bleach anime; Episode 96
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 Bleach anime; Episode 97
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 Bleach anime; Episode 98
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 Bleach anime; Episode 99
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 Bleach anime; Episode 100
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 Bleach anime; Episode 101
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 Bleach anime; Episode 102
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 Bleach anime; Episode 103
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 Bleach anime; Episode 104
  41. 41.0 41.1 Bleach anime; Episode 105
  42. 42.0 42.1 Bleach anime; Episode 106
  43. 43.0 43.1 43.2 Bleach anime; Episode 107
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 Bleach anime; Episode 108
  45. Bleach anime; Episode 109

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