Ichigo Kurosaki and the Shinigami wage a furious battle against the Arrancar, who are attacking Karakura Town. But this enemy is unlike anything they have ever fought before, and these aren't even the strongest of the Arrancar! If Ichigo and his friends can barely face them, how can they hope to fight off the elite Arrancar warriors, the dreaded Espada?
The smoke clears to reveal Ikkaku, holding the broken bits of his Bankai, coughing up blood and plummeting to the ground. Edrad, repeating Ikkaku's name, states it is a good thing Ikkaku gave him his name as the smoke, clearing further, reveals that Edrad's left arm and a portion of his torso have been destroyed. Edrad plummets to the ground as well.
Lying on the ground, Ikkaku recalls the day he was defeated by Kenpachi. When Ikkaku tells Kenpachi to kill him, Kenpachi, refusing, tells Ikkaku if he loved fighting so much, he should stop begging for death. Kenpachi says Ikkaku should not accept defeat until he is dead, saying if he is defeated and lives, he was just lucky. Instead, he should get stronger and dedicate himself to kill the person who could not kill him. His statement impacts both Ikkaku and Yumichika, who had been watching the fight. As Kenpachi walks away, he tells Ikkaku he was not holding back, and Ikkaku should live and try and kill Kenpachi another day.
Ikkaku flashes forwards to the recent past, where Renji begs Ikkaku to reveal his Bankai and assume control of one of the vacant captain's seats following the defection of Aizen. Ikkaku, cutting Renji off, says while Renji's dream is to surpass Byakuya, his dream is to simply fight and die as the subordinate of Captain Kenpachi. This is why he has no desire to reveal his Bankai to anyone besides Renji and Yumichika, since if word went out that he knows Bankai, more people would ask him to become captain. He tells Renji to never make such a request of him ever again. Left with no choice, Renji agrees.
Back in the present, when Yumichika, coming up to Ikkaku, happily states he knew Ikkaku was not dead, Ikkaku says he was lucky.
Elsewhere, Renji and Hitsugaya struggle against their respective opponents Yylfordt and Shawlong.
Ururu fights Yylfordt, forcing him into his Resurrección.
Watching the battles Rangiku and Hitsugaya are in, Orihime worries for them.
Breathing heavily, Hitsugaya looks down to see Rangiku about to be killed by the Arrancar she is fighting. Mockingly asking Hitsugaya if this is all there is to a captain's Bankai, Shawlong tells him he was wrong about him.
When Renji sends his Bankai at the Arrancar, he, holding it down, appears right in front of Renji. When he makes a cut across his chest, Renji retreats back. Laughing, the Arrancar mocks Renji's Bankai and questions if he is really a lieutenant.
Watching Renji's battle from a rooftop, Jinta notes Renji is going to lose. When Ururu appears behind him, Jinta tells her she was already told to go to sleep. He then realizes Ururu is reacting to the Arrancar's Reiatsu and is going into genocide mode. As Ururu heads straight towards the Arrancar, Jinta tells her to stop.
As the Arrancar decides to put an end to this battle, Ururu, appearing behind him, kicks him in the face, sending him flying a good distance away. The Arrancar asks what Ururu is. Ururu begins to choke the Arrancar and calls him a danger. Stating enemies are executed, she severely injures him. While Renji wonders what Ururu is, the Arrancar, punching Ururu away, tells Ururu he is going to murder her and goes into his Resurrección. Impaling her through the chest with his horn, he forces her out of the battle. As Renji looks on in shock at his new form, the Arrancar explains this is how Arrancar release their Zanpakutō.
Renji and Hitsugaya are overwhelmed by their opponents.
Telling Renji this is how an Arrancar releases their Zanpakutō, the Arrancar throws the impaled Ururu from his left horn into the city below. Jinta catches her and then smashes his Kanabō into the Arrancar's head, which does nothing to him. As he attempts to impale Jinta with his horn as well, he ends up impaling the middle of Renji's Bankai. As Renji tells Jinta to run away, the Arrancar, mocking Renji's attempt to block his horn, breaks through the Bankai, impaling Renji. The Arrancar laughs and tells Renji this is his last moments, and introduces himself as Yylfordt Granz.
Realizing Yylfordt went into his Resurrección, Shawlong wonders if he is in trouble or wants to finish things quickly. As he concludes that cannot be it, he is interrupted by Hitsugaya, who attacks him. When he, blocking the attack easily, says it is useless, Shawlong is attacked from behind by the tail of Hitsugaya's Bankai. As the dust clears, Shawlong, stating he risked his life by attacking him with his tail yet accomplished so little, notes the ice flowers behind Hitsugaya's Bankai are disappearing, asking if it is a countdown for how long the Bankai can last. Noting the ice flowers are there because his Bankai is still incomplete, Shawlong says that it will be easy to kill him once the Bankai disappears. Shawlong decides that before he dies, he will show him his greatest fighting ability. He activates his Resurrección and heavily injures Hitsugaya's body. Shawlong tells him before he dies, he will introduce himself fully as Shawlong Koufang.
Shawlong explains about the Arrancar's numbers, Ichigo begins his fight with Grimmjow, and the Shinigami release their limiters.
As Hitsugaya and Shawlong continue battling, Shawlong commends Hitsugaya for continuing to battle despite the huge difference in their strength. Ignoring his comment, Hitsugaya asks him if his number, eleven, means he is the eleventh strongest Arrancar. Shawlong denies this and states that their numbers are actually in order of when they were made, but that only applied to Arrancar with numbers from 11 and up. When Hollows are made into Arrancar via the Hōgyoku, they are given a number based on when they were born, but if they are strong enough, they are given a number 1 through 10, with 1 being the strongest. The ones lucky enough to be this strong are called the Espada, and have their number tattooed onto their flesh. The Espada rule over anyone with a number above ten, and the ones who are not Espada are called Números. Shawlong tells Hitsugaya that the Espada are on a different level than the Números, and that Grimmjow, the Sexta Espada, has come with them.
Easily overpowering Ichigo's attacks, Grimmjow asks if Ichigo is underestimating him, and says he won't kill him yet. He tells Ichigo to use his Bankai, or he will put a hole in him like he did to Rukia. When Ichigo does so, Grimmjow is not impressed.
As Hitsugaya and Rangiku think to themselves "they are late," a voice says their limit has been released. As the Arrancar fighting Rangiku attempts to stomp on her, she, easily blocking his foot, communicates with Hitsugaya and Renji, telling them the limit has been released. Rangiku, Hitsugaya, and Renji shout "limit release."
Shawlong, Yylfordt, and Nakeem are all cut down by the newly released power of their Shinigami opponents.
As Shawlong Koufang and Yylfordt Granz ask their Shinigami opponents what they mean by 'releasing their limiters', before a verbal reply is given, both Arrancar are attacked, much to their surprise. The nature of these attacks are revealed; Shawlong had his arm frozen, and Yylfordt had one of his horns severed.
Tōshirō Hitsugaya, Renji Abarai, and Rangiku Matsumoto begin to explain the 'Limit Release' to each of their respective opponents. The Shinigami reveal the limiters are applied to captains and lieutenants to seal about 80% of their Reiatsu when they are sent to the Human World. This process stops unnecessary ripples in the balance of the world. Rangiku explains the limiters are in the shape of the symbols representing their respective divisions.
This revelation comes as a great shock to the Arrancar. When Renji swings his Bankai, Hihiō Zabimaru, at Yylfordt, Yylfordt manages to get a hold of the jaws of the giant, snake-like Bankai, but Renji sends him flying.
Nakeem Grindina throws a punch at Rangiku, who blocks it and attempts to goad Nakeem into using Sonído again, which he does. As Nakeem appears behind the lieutenant, she, using Shunpo to get behind the large Arrancar, cuts vertically down her opponent's left-hand side.
As Tōshirō Hitsugaya informs Shawlong their fights are over, Rangiku releases her Zanpakutō, Haineko, while her captain uses Ryūsenka and Renji uses 'Hikotsu Taihō'. Shawlong orders a retreat, but all the Arrancar are cut down.
As Rangiku successfully defeats the Arrancar she is fighting, Hitsugaya, severely injured from his battle, falls onto the rooftop where Rangiku is. Rangiku calls for Orihime to come.
Thinking to himself if he were to have had his limit off from the start, he might not have won, Renji fears all the Arrancar are this powerful.
As Ichigo continues his battle with Grimmjow, he is continually overpowered by the Espada. Mocking Ichigo's Bankai, Grimmjow asks if the only thing it can do is increase his speed. Ichigo uses a Getsuga Tenshō, catching Grimmjow off guard, and creates a huge wound across Grimmjow's body, arms, and right thigh. Grimmjow, asking him what that attack was, says it was not in Ulquiorra's report. Ichigo asks if that ended his disappointment. Ichigo then is forced to keep his inner Hollow from taking over. A worried Tatsuki Arisawa watches him from the sidelines. Meanwhile, a Garganta appears and someone leaves it.
Appearing from the Garganta, Tōsen goes to where Grimmjow is. As Grimmjow, laughing hysterically, tells Ichigo he is finally worth killing, Ichigo realizes the Getsuga Tenshō barely did anything to him, and he can only use two to three more before his Hollow takes over. Grimmjow begins to draw his Zanpakutō. Suddenly, Tōsen appears and tells him to stop fighting. Grimmjow, asking him why he is here, is surprised he is even asking. Tōsen replies that he attacked the Human World for no reason, took five Arrancar, and got them killed, despite being ordered not to. Tōsen tells him Aizen is furious and his punishment will be held in Hueco Mundo. As Tōsen opens a Garganta, Ichigo, yelling at Grimmjow, asks where he is going. When Grimmjow tells him he has to go back to Hueco Mundo, Ichigo tells him he can't just come and go on a whim and states their battle is not over yet. Grimmjow counters by pointing out that he is alive because the battle is not over yet. He also makes note that Ichigo can only fire his Getsuga Tenshō a few more times, but states that even if he can use that technique without end, it still would not be able to beat his Resurrección. Grimmjow tells him to pray he never hears the name "Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez" again because the next time he does, he will be dead. As Tōsen and Grimmjow disappear through the Garganta, Renji, going up to Ichigo, asks if they went back to Hueco Mundo and if he won the battle. When Ichigo says he lost, Renji tells him since he is alive, he won. Stating if he were in his position he would say the same thing, Ichigo says he cannot protect anyone.
Per their deal, Keigo brings Ikkaku and Yumichika home and asks his elder sister if they can stay, hinting that he hopes she will say no. Enthralled by Ikkaku's shaved head, Mizuho readily agrees, much to Keigo's distress.
Back in the Urahara Shop, Tessai heals Ururu as Urahara comforts her, while a worried Jinta waits nearby. As Orihime heals Rukia, Renji, Ichigo, and Hitsugaya watch on.
Meanwhile, in Hueco Mundo, Tōsen brings Grimmjow to Aizen and orders him to apologize. Despite Grimmjow refusing, Aizen says it is all right and states he is not angry, as he is taking Grimmjow's actions as evidence of overzealous loyalty. At Aizen's prompt, Grimmjow readily agrees with him. Unsatisfied, Tōsen asks to execute Grimmjow. When Grimmjow asks if Tōsen has something personal against him, Tōsen states he merely believes anyone who disrupts the peace should be punished. When Grimmjow asks if that is for the sake of the organization, Tōsen says it is for Aizen's sake. Grimmjow accuses Tōsen of hiding behind the cause. Tōsen says it is about the cause and killing without purpose is murder, but killing with purpose is justice. He slices off Grimmjow's arm and incinerates it using Hadō #54: Haien. As Grimmjow moves to attack Tōsen, Aizen stops him by saying if he attacks Tōsen, Aizen will be unable to forgive him. Disgruntled, Grimmjow leaves.
As Aizen comes down from his throne room, Gin accuses him of being cruel and playing with his subordinates. Gin points out Aizen knew Tōsen would do that as soon as Aizen said what he did. Gin points out that they lost 5 Arrancar, but Aizen, stating it is of no concern since they were merely Gillians, says when they have assembled enough Vasto Lordes, the Espada will be complete, and no one will be able to stop them.
As he continues to dodge attacks from his father, Uryū senses the end of the battle between the Shinigami and Arrancar. When Ryūken asks if Uryū is worried about Shinigami, Uryū, stating the only thing he is worried about is continuing to dodge his father's arrows in the secret room of Reika silver, asks if Reika glass is going to return his powers. Stating it certainly will, but Uryū must first survive, Ryūken resumes his attack.
The next morning, Yuzu looks for Ichigo, but does not find him. Isshin is worried about Rukia, who wonders what is going on. Upon hearing Ichigo is missing, Rukia recalls what transpired the night before. Upon being healed by Orihime, Rukia, noticing Ichigo's sullen expression, berated him for feeling guilty about her injuries. She tells Ichigo she does not need him to protect her and suggests that if he is worried about the Hollow inside him, he should talk to Urahara. Ichigo declines, stating if Urahara knew a way he would have shared it with him already. Ichigo says he does not want to bother Urahara with any more of his problems.
As Rukia looks for Ichigo, Ichigo visits the crater where he fought Yammy and Ulquiorra. He recalls Grimmjow, saying he knows things cannot go on as they are, as his left eye starts to blacken.
Back in school, Ichigo's teacher is surprised to find Ichigo absent, and notes that while he skips class, he is rarely absent. She wonders what is going on when she notices Uryū's, Rukia's, Orihime's, and Chad's absence.
Meanwhile. Hitsugaya sends his report to Soul Society. Rangiku, teasing him, asks if he told them things were a breeze thanks to the limit release, but Hitsugaya tells her those Arrancar were mere foot soldiers, and, given how much trouble they had with them, they should not take the Arrancar lightly.
At Urahara's Shop, an excited Jinta encourages Ururu to be happy about being healed. As Urahara tries to control them, Sado comes and begs Urahara to train him.
In the meantime, Ichigo makes his way to a warehouse where the Visored are waiting, with Shinji asking if Ichigo has finally decided to join them.
There's a feature in the Bleach PSP game that lets you increase the trust between you and your partner character. I decided to build trust with Rangiku, but I soon found that I have no idea what she's thinking. It's scary how often she gets mad at me when I answer one of her questions. And I created her! -Tite Kubo