When Yukio Hans Vorarlberna uses his Fullbring to split everyone up into individual rooms, Ichigo finds himself facing Kūgo in a replica of Karakura Town. When Kūgo says he picked the environment so Ichigo can fight easier, and they can go one-on-one, Uryū, stepping out, declares their fight to be two-on-one. When Ichigo asks if he is hurt, Uryū, saying Rukia Kuchiki healed him, apologizes to Ichigo, saying when he first saw the Substitute Badge, he had thought there were other Substitutes before him. He thought if the previous one was alive, they would have told Ichigo, and if he was dead, they would have said why, leading Uryū to believe Soul Society did not know. Kicking Uryū, Ichigo tells him it does not matter, as they could not have done anything anyhow, and he would have forgotten in a few days. He tells Uryū to stop worrying all the time. The two friends insult each other before Ichigo tells Uryū to clean his glasses as they prepare to face Kūgo.
While Ichigo and Uryū fight Kūgo, they begin hiding from him. Using his attacks to create some destruction in the surrounding areas, Kūgo, calling out to the two high school students, asks them what was wrong, saying they are taking an awfully long time just to warm up for battle. Observing him from his hiding spot, Uryū realizes Kūgo has done more than just absorb Ichigo's Fullbring powers; he has infused his Reiatsu into his own. Appearing, Ichigo asks Uryū if he has a plan. Telling him he was not trying to come up with a plan, Uryū explains he was observing Kūgo's Reiatsu. Realizing Uryū is not trying to come up with a plan, Ichigo confronts Kūgo, who was thinking they were trying to come up with a plan as well, which Ichigo denies was the case.
As Uryū tries to warn his friend not to attack, Ichigo begins charging a Getsuga Tenshō anyway. Recognizing his actions, Kūgo, daring Ichigo to attack him with it, states since the last attack almost killed him, it really is the only chance Ichigo has of defeating him. Screaming for him to stop, Uryū insists Kūgo is baiting him, but Ichigo fires the Getsuga Tenshō at Kūgo anyway. Cutting through the attack with his sword, Kūgo fires a Getsuga Tenshō as well, surprising and mildly injuring Ichigo.
Appearing, Uryū fires a barrage of ranged attacks at Kūgo. As the leader of Xcution dodges these attack, Ichigo regroups with Uryū in the meantime. As Uryū berates Ichigo for not listening to him in the first place, Ichigo tells him to shut up, which makes Uryū even angrier about the situation. He asserts Ichigo should have listened to his explanation before attacking, but Ichigo disagrees, as regardless of whether he knew or not, it would not have made Kūgo weaker anyway. Stating they at least could have prepared more effectively to battle Kūgo, Uryū, warning Ichigo to be careful, concludes Kūgo, in addition to taking his Fullbring and Reiatsu, took Ichigo's abilities as well.
Continuing to fight each other, Kūgo and Ichigo counter each other with their respective Getsuga Tenshō. When Kūgo states Ichigo is fighting well, but it looks like he does not care what happens to himself, Ichigo disagrees with him. Kūgo asks him what he is fighting for, which confuses Ichigo. Revealing he can sense Tsukishima is dead, Kūgo states he is not dead yet, but his Reiatsu is nearly gone, so he gives him 10 seconds at best. He reveals if a Fullbringer dies, all traces of their ability disappears. If Tsukishima dies, the pasts he modified will return to normal. He asks Ichigo again what he is fighting for, but when Ichigo does not answer him, Kūgo informs him of an enemy he should be fighting.
As Ichigo dismisses this as an attempt to shake his resolve, Uryū, appearing behind Kūgo, agrees with this sentiment, stating since the battle is now in their favor, Kūgo hopes Ichigo will fall prey to his words and join his side instead by twisting some truths to benefit his cause. Dismissing this claim, Kūgo, taunting the both of them, states he can easily wipe the floor with both of them right now. Urging Uryū to try and shoot him, he asserts he would simply knock away every single one of his attacks and still keep talking as if nothing happened. Turning his back on Uryū, he begins addressing Ichigo again.
Talking about the Substitute Shinigami Badge, Kūgo, stating the badge is awarded whether the person is of benefit to Soul Society or not, says it carries no authority. As Ichigo remembers showing his badge to Zennosuke Kurumadani, who had no idea what it was, Kūgo says the badge's true purpose is to observe and restrict Ichigo as a Shinigami. He notes Ichigo's Reiatsu was always rampaging in Shinigami form, but completely calm while in Human form. When he first activated his Fullbring, Ichigo's Reiatsu came pouring out of the badge, and Ichigo's friends were heard through it. Kūgo says this whole scheme was designed by 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake to control Substitute Shinigami.
When Ichigo appears speechless, Kūgo asserts they were both conned and tricked by the most peaceful man in the Gotei 13. Observing the situation, Uryū recalls having already come to the same conclusion as Kūgo, but not having told Ichigo before. The Fullbringer insists Ukitake wanted to observe and keep control of them, which meant executing them should they ever rebel against the order of the Gotei 13. As Uryū yells for Ichigo not to listen, Kūgo says everyone in Soul Society was in on this. Yelling "shut up!", an enraged Ichigo activates his Bankai. The release of his Bankai shatters the pocket dimension.
Asking why he should remain silent, Kūgo, wondering if Ichigo plans on using his Bankai to shut him up, taunts him by asking if he, upon succeeding, will just run away from the truth again. Saying "shut up" once more, Ichigo states the first time was meant for Uryū because he wanted his friend to stop worrying about him. Dismissing Kūgo's words, he says he has had his suspicions about the Substitute Shinigami Badge all along, due to it not doing what Ukitake said it would do. Ichigo asserts Ukitake is a lot smarter than he, and he soon realized if he had really wanted to fool him, he would have gone to a lot more trouble and done it in a much more effective way. Therefore, he always knew Ukitake was not trying to mislead him.
Ichigo maintains Ukitake acted as he did, and allowed him to choose his own path. When Kūgo, scoffing at this, says Ichigo never really had a choice to begin with, Ichigo states he could choose - he chose to protect everyone around him, and everyone in Soul Society had always allowed him to do this: from the moment Rukia had first given him her powers, until he lost his own powers and everyone worked together to return his powers to him. As Ichigo insists he will defeat Kūgo to protect everyone, Kūgo, deciding negotiations are over, informs Ichigo he did not want to kill him in the first place. Ichigo looks on as Kūgo activates his Bankai.
As Ichigo remembers Kūgo is a former Substitute Shinigami, Kūgo reminds Ichigo he has some Hollow in him, and the pair clash. Blocking an energy blast from Kūgo, Ichigo slashes him across the chest. They clash again, resulting in Kūgo's sword breaking and him slumping to the ground, badly injured. As Tsukishima, appearing, attempts to attack Ichigo, Rukia steps between them, and Riruka Dokugamine, bursting forth from her chest, takes the attack instead. Catching Rukia, Ichigo looks on as the Fullbringers talk.
Sometime after the fighting ends, Ichigo is at Urahara's shop, waiting for Riruka to wake up so he can make sure she is okay. Telling Riruka none of the other Fullbringers have been found, he looks on as Orihime Inoue and Riruka converse.
Ichigo goes to Soul Society to ask for the return of Kūgo's body so he may bury it in the Human World. Upon arriving at the 1st Division HQ, he, finding the captains assembled before him, is told to go inside the building by the 9th Division Captain Kensei Muguruma. He is surprised to see Kensei in a captain's uniform. After informing Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto of his request, he is lectured about the issue by 2nd Division Captain Suì-Fēng and 5th Division Captain Shinji Hirako. Explaining his friends and family are back to normal, Ichigo calls Kūgo a "mere Substitute Shinigami". Yamamoto notes he must have thought carefully about using that phrase. Afterwards, Ichigo is asked about his badge, but he, stating he trusts them, keeps it.
- Bleach manga; Chapter 464, pages 4-10
- Bleach manga; Chapter 470, pages 8-15
- Bleach manga; Chapter 470, pages 8-16
- Bleach manga; Chapter 473, pages 12-19
- Bleach manga; Chapter 474, pages 5-7
- Bleach manga; Chapter 474, pages 8-15
- Bleach manga; Chapter 474, pages 15-18
- Bleach manga; Chapter 475, pages 4-8
- Bleach manga; Chapter 475, pages 9-12
- Bleach manga; Chapter 475, pages 13-19
- Bleach manga; Chapter 476, pages 1-5 & 13-19
- Bleach manga; Chapter 477, pages 4-17
- Bleach manga; chapter 478, pages 13-14
- Bleach manga; chapter 479, pages 7-17