Within the Shinigami Research and Development Institute, the 12th Division discovers that Hollows are being destroyed without a trace in large groups, causing Mayuri Kurotsuchi to note that only one group could achieve this. Meanwhile, Ryūnosuke Yuki and Shino are assigned as the new Shinigami guardians of Karakura Town. However, when the two Shinigami are attacked and badly injured by large Hollows, Ichigo Kurosaki and his friends save them.
Two days later, after taking a bath in the Human World, Hiyori Sarugaki notices a strange fissure in the air nearby and wonders what it is. At the Kurosaki Clinic, Ichigo and his friends gather to eat bread from Orihime Inoue's new job with a recovering Yuki, who recalls what happened during his first mission two nights ago before reuniting with Shino. As Ikkaku Madarame and Yumichika Ayasegawa move to investigate a series of strange disappearances in Soul Society's Rukongai, a strange man suddenly appears on Ichigo's bed and introduces himself as Asguiaro Ebern, prompting Ichigo to demand that he get off immediately.
When Ebern refuses to get off his bed, Ichigo kicks him through the window and decides to deal with him outside as he exits in his Shinigami form. After convincing Ebern to follow him elsewhere, Ichigo asks him if he is an Arrancar, only for an angered Ebern to summon a Spirit Weapon. Meanwhile, in Soul Society, Ikkaku and Yumichika continue to investigate the disappearance of Rukongai denizens and eventually conclude that the villagers were kidnapped by each other. In the 1st Division barracks, as Yamamoto is being given a report from the other divisions, he is confronted by several masked men who reveal that they have come to declare war.
As he fends off Ebern's attacks, Ichigo wonders why Ebern is using a Quincy Cross and repeatedly provoking him before activating his Bankai, which Ebern responds to by activating a medallion; however, Ichigo dispels the medallion's strange effects and attacks a shocked Ebern. In Soul Society, Chōjirō Sasakibe is suddenly impaled in Yamamoto's office by an enormous javelin as one of the masked men declares that the Wandenreich will destroy Soul Society in five days.
After freeing Chōjirō, Yamamoto attacks the masked men as they disappear into shadows and is shocked when Chōjirō reveals that the masked men can do something to a Shinigami's Bankai. Meanwhile, in the Human World, a badly wounded Ebern frantically wonders while Ichigo's Bankai will not disappear, prompting Ichigo to decide to bring him back for questioning. However, Ebern disappears within another shadow, which Ichigo notes is not a Garganta. At Silbern, Luders and the other men appear along with Ebern, who begins bickering with Luders. Suddenly, Luders's right arm is blown off by Yhwach, who berates them for arguing in his presence before asking to hear Luders's report.
After threatening to blow off Luders's legs if he lies down while speaking to him, Yhwach orders Luders to relay his report. Back in the Human World, Ichigo returns to his house while Ryūnosuke is ordered to return to Soul Society for Chōjirō's funeral. Knowing that Ichigo is present while contacting Ryūnosuke, Akon details how a single intruder killed over a hundred members of the 1st Division while seven more confronted Yamamoto and departed through unknown means. Later, while patrolling Karakura Town, Ichigo is confronted by Nel Tu, who reveals that something has happened to Hueco Mundo. Meanwhile, as Luders concludes his report, Yhwach kills him for speaking of the future before decapitating Ebern as well. When another masked man asks him if it logical to kill naturally trained soldiers, Yhwach claims he can find some more Arrancar anytime he wants as he reveals an imprisoned Tier Harribel before stating that Hueco Mundo is his territory.
As a bewildered Ichigo asks Nel what she means, Pesche Guatiche crashes into the ground nearby with the same message. In Soul Society, Byakuya Kuchiki speaks of Chōjirō's unwavering dedication and loyalty to Yamamoto, who mourns as his funeral pyre is lit. Back at Ichigo's house, Pesche explains how Harribel ruled Hueco Mundo after Baraggan Louisenbairn's death before she was struck down by mysterious assailants, whom he reveals also took Dondochakka Birstanne. When Sado says they will help, Uryū reveals that he cannot accompany them as Kisuke Urahara appears with an offer to take them to Hueco Mundo. In the ice palace, Jugram Haschwalth realizes that Ebern's medallion could not capture Ichigo's Bankai, prompting Yhwach to order the Jagdarmee to round up some more Arrancar.
While the group moves through the Dangai, Urahara tells Ichigo that all the recent events connect to one thing as they emerge in the air above Hueco Mundo. After hiding from the nearby Wandenreich forces, Ichigo and his friends discuss the slaughter and routing of the native Arrancar, prompting Ichigo, Orihime, and Sado to move out in hopes of saving the prisoners. Elsewhere, as the captured Arrancar are lined up, Hunting Captain Quilge Opie begins attacking them under the pretense of determining which ones are strong enough to be recruited. When Loly Aivirrne and Menoly Mallia attempt to hold him hostage, Quilge swiftly incapacitates them and has his men beat them, but is suddenly confronted by the Tres Bestias.
As Franceska Mila Rose and Emilou Apacci begin bickering, Cyan Sung-Sun confronts Quilge, and the three begin fighting the Wandenreich, which causes Ichigo and Nel to feel their Reiatsu while approaching the battle. While Nel explains the Tres Bestias and their strength to Ichigo, the Tres Bestias effortlessly slaughter the Wandenreich officers, only stopping when Quilge suddenly kills an officer who requested a withdrawal order. Quilge implores that they surrender so they can serve Yhwach along with their beloved Harribel, but all three unanimously refuse, disappointing him. Meanwhile, in the 1st Division barracks, Akon concludes his report on the invasion to the captains as Mayuri confirms that the invading army is comprised of Quincies. Upon being told that they have not yet located the Wandenreich's base of operation, Yamamoto orders the captains to prepare for battle immediately. Back in Hueco Mundo, Ichigo and Nel discover that Quilge has defeated the Tres Bestias as Quilge notes their arrival.
While the lieutenants wait for the captains meeting to end, Izuru Kira brings up the disappearances in the Rukongai and confirms his theory that Shinigami were involved because the residents there were too poor to own sandals, which were found among the footprints. Back in Hueco Mundo, Quilge reveals that Ichigo has been classified as a top-priority threat by Yhwach and has his men surround Ichigo, who realizes they are using Hirenkyaku as the men attack him. As Quilge joins the assault, Yhwach is informed of his engagement with Ichigo in Hueco Mundo, prompting him to order the Sternritter to mobilize for the invasion of Soul Society. Meanwhile, in the 1st Division barracks, Mayuri tells Yamamoto that his failure to kill Yhwach 1,000 years ago caused this entire situation.
As they are informed of Quilge's skirmish with Ichigo in Hueco Mundo, the Sternritter equip themselves and assemble at the Gate of the Sun. Meanwhile, in Hueco Mundo, as his Heilig Pfeil enter the dust cloud around Ichigo, Quilge notes that all of his rounds his their mark, only to be surprised when Ichigo throws Zangetsu down before revealing that he caught all of Quilge's projectiles while noting that he thought Quincies only used bows and arrows. Throwing Quilge's Heilig Pfeil back at him, Ichigo gives Nel to Orihime before countering Quilge's subsequent volley with a Getsuga Tenshō. When Quilge admits that he is embarrassed of the power of his Heilig Pfeil, Ichigo claims that they are far stronger than Uryū's, leading a confused Quilge to note that this is not possible before musing that he will have much to report to Yhwach after this battle ends. Reminding Ichigo of the ultimate Quincy technique, Quincy: Letzt Stil, Quilge reveals a Sanrei Glove, which engulfs him in a pillar of light. As the light shatters to reveal he has taken on a winged form, Quilge reveals the true name of this form to be Quincy: Vollständig as Urahara and the other Arrancar rush toward the battle. Meanwhile, as Shinigami prepare for combat in Soul Society, someone stands in the air above them
With Orihime noting the strange lack of power emitted in his new form, Quilge appears behind Ichigo and proclaims that this is the power of the one who will punish him while attacking. Ichigo recalls Urahara's explanation of the Quincy: Letzt Stil, particularly its drawback of complete power loss for the user afterwards, prompting Quilge to reveal that the two are different and far apart in power as he repeatedly attacks Ichigo. However, Ichigo merely claims that he is glad Uryū would never take on such a creepy form before unleashing another Getsuga Tenshō on Quilge, who emerges unscathed with Zangetsu stopped by his neck. As Ichigo leaps back, Quilge begins gathering Reishi from his surroundings and attempts to attack Ichigo with it, only to be interrupted by an assault from Ayon as the Tres Bestias reveal that they can still fight.
As Apacci warns Ichigo and his friends that Ayon is powerful but indiscriminate, Quilge claims that Ayon cannot defeat the power of his Quincy: Vollständig, only for Ayon to hit him with a brutal punch. Meanwhile, in Soul Society, Ryūnosuke asks Shino why the Shinigami and Quincy are fighting each other if they both want to destroy Hollows, prompting Hidetomo Kajōmaru to explain how the two differ in their methods of destroying Hollows, with the Quincies endangering the balance of Souls by permanently destroying Hollows, which eventually lead to their extermination. As Hidetomo claims that wars like this take place because both sides are just, Ayon continues brutalizing Quilge, who is eventually left broken and pounded into the ground. However, as Apacci approaches him, Quilge stabs her and declares that he must kill them all.
Ayon charges at Quilge, who completely absorb his body with Sklaverei before emerging in a grotesque new form. Grabbing Apacci, Mila Rose and Sung-Sun reach Orihime and Sado before concealing themselves with Muda. Sung-Sun explains that they will be moving to Ichigo's location because they are no match for Quilge right now. However, Quilge merely absorbs the barrier itself and begins tearing apart those within while telling them to die quickly. Suddenly, his Heiligenschein is destroyed by a Getsuga Tenshō from Ichigo, who attacks him with his Bankai activated. Meanwhile, in Soul Society, Hidetomo details how the Shinigami will know when the Wandenreich invade one of the four gates, but Yhwach appears above them as pillars of Reishi erupt throughout the Seireitei.
Noticing the pillars of Reishi, Rukia Kuchiki and other high-ranking Shinigami head toward their bases under the assumption that the primary combatants of the Wandenreich are there, and Yamamoto leaves the 1st Division barracks under the protection of Genshirō Okikiba. At one of the pillars, Izuru, Rikū Togakushi, Taketsuna Gori, and Asuka Katakura wait for an analysis of the Reishi while preparing to fight the enemy within, only for Bazz-B to blow a hole in Izuru's torso with a Heilig Pfeil before killing the three seated officers. As Haschwalth declares that the Sternritter will purge the Shinigami, Akon is informed that at least 16 Sternritter have appeared within the Seireitei and killed over 1,000 officers in seven minutes, leading him to believe that they cannot win as Ichigo continues to fight Quilge.
As Rōjūrō Ōtoribashi is notified of Izuru and the seated officers' vanishing Reiatsu, NaNaNa Najahkoop notes that Bazz-B was sent to that location and has failed if he did not take anyone out. However, Rose merely states that he and his guitar are already weeping for Izuru before warning NaNaNa to not think that he will leave the Seireitei alive. Meanwhile, Äs Nödt kills and instills fear into several Shinigami with his Spirit Weapon before being confronted by Renji Abarai. Elsewhere, as Bambietta Basterbine cuts through multiple Shinigami with her sword, Sajin Komamura stops her rampage while several other captains and lieutenants confront other Sternritter. While the various battles commence, Renji finds that his attacks are not affecting Äs and notices a pattern appearing on his skin whenever he is struck, but before he can speed up his attacks, Mask De Masculine attacks him. Suddenly, Byakuya appears and protects Renji from Mask's next attack before declaring that they cannot show mercy.
Haschwalth confronts Hidetomo and his 13th Division squadron, whom he tells to flee if they wish to do so before pointing out how Hidetomo has switched from life or death to restraining him; when a terrified Hidetomo tries to attack him, Haschwalth cuts him in half. Meanwhile, upon being told that their weapons cannot pierce Äs for some reason, Byakuya states that this is not possible as Senbonzakura lacerates Äs's hand in multiple places. After trapping Mask by destroying the ground beneath him, Byakuya tells Renji to defeat Äs with his Bankai if Senbonzakura Kageyoshi is sealed because the Sternritter are not opponents that can be defeated without Bankai. As Komamura tells Tetsuzaemon Iba to figure out how the Sternritter seal Bankai, Hitsugaya tells Rangiku Matsumoto to fight with him and find a way to break the seal, though Suì-Fēng notes to Marechiyo Ōmaeda that there is no need to worry about figuring out how to get their Bankai back if they defeat the Sternritter before their Bankai can be sealed. The four captains activate their respective Bankai, but the Sternritter facing them bring out and activate their Medallions, causing the Bankai to crumble and dissipate around their shocked owners. As he watches the aura of blackness concentrate itself around a smiling Äs, Byakuya realizes that the Bankai of the captains were not sealed, but rather stolen.
As the other captains realize what has happened, Hitsugaya has Rangiku contact the other captains and inform them that their Bankai will be stolen if they use them. Angered by the recklessness of his fellow captains, Mayuri wonders why they could not have waited until the 12th Division had finished its analysis. Meanwhile, Shunsui Kyōraku tells Robert Accutrone that this sacrifice was inevitable because Mayuri did not have enough information, only for Robert to attack him before activating his Quincy: Vollständig, Grimaniel, and shooting out Shunsui's right eye. While Haschwalth is told to spare the remaining 13th Division members if he thinks it right, Renji frantically asks Byakuya how they are supposed to win without Bankai. As the Shinigami are overwhelmed, Akon decides to take responsibility and contact Ichigo.
The 12th Division attempts to contact Ichigo through his Substitute Shinigami Badge, but finds that it is at the Urahara Shop and not on Ichigo's person. Realizing that Urahara is with Ichigo, Akon contacts him and is informed that Ichigo is currently fighting one of the Wandenreich in Hueco Mundo and winning. As Quilge discovers that his Medallion cannot steal Tensa Zangetsu, Ichigo continues to attack him while Urahara relays this to Akon before asking how the Shinigami are faring against the Wandenreich in the Seireitei. Meanwhile, as he overwhelms Quilge, Ichigo asks him if the Quincy are afraid of Bankai, giving Urahara an opening to shoot Quilge in the chest when he uses Blut Arterie before telling Ichigo to head to Soul Society through a Garganta as Akon begins informing him of the situation.
As Hiyosu orders the other researchers to notify the Shinigami of Ichigo coming to Soul Society, Urahara tells Sado and Orihime to bring him Quilge's Medallion. Meanwhile, as he moves through the Garganta, Ichigo is informed of the mass casualties that the Shinigami have suffered and the powerful Wandenreich combatants known as the Sternritter by Akon. After detailing the enemies' abilities of Quincy: Vollständig, Blut, and Bankai possession to Ichigo and Akon, Urahara reveals that he will be analyzing Quilge's medallion to determine how it steals Bankai. However, their communication is interrupted when Ichigo's path is blocked and he is sealed within a Reishi cage by Quilge, who injures Urahara, Sado, and Orihime by moving his body with Ransōtengai while declaring that he will keep Ichigo from reaching Soul Society even if it costs him his life.
The Riteitai of the Onmitsukidō set up dozens of Tsūdentō across the Seireitei, allowing Rin Tsubokura to inform the captains and lieutenants that Ichigo is on his way to Soul Society and cannot have his Bankai stolen, eliciting surprise and joy from most of those listening. However, Akon realizes that Ichigo's Reiatsu has vanished within the Garganta as Ichigo futilely attempts to break the cage trapping him. When Akon asks him what has happened, Ichigo attempts to explain the situation, but discovers that Akon cannot hear him as Jidanbō Ikkanzaka attacks the SRDI while under the effects of The Love. Hiyosu orders the others to run while he shuts down the SRDI with Kidō, but is stabbed by Rin, who is also affected by The Love, as Jidanbō continues to attack them. Ichigo's Denreishinki somehow connects to the Tsūdentō set up around the Seireitei, and Ichigo is forced to listen to the laments and suffering of the Shinigami waiting for him to help them. Meanwhile, in Hueco Mundo, Quilge decides to kill Ichigo's friends, but is suddenly cut in half as a shocked Urahara has a sword put to his head by Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez.
As Ichigo fails to break through the cage with a Getsuga Tenshō, Byakuya continues to fight Äs, who claims to have exposed him to the sensation of instinctive fear through his Spirit Weapon. Byakuya refuses to believe that he has never felt fear like this before, but suddenly envisions Rukia's rotting corpse, which gives Äs the opportunity to impale him with his hand while explaining how true fear has no cause and thus cannot be escaped from. Screaming, Byakuya attacks Äs, who merely leaps back before summoning Senbonzakura Kageyoshi and using it to mutilate Byakuya. As Rukia is cut down by her opponent, an angered Renji attacks Äs, but is pushed back by Senbonzakura. Seeing Byakuya can still stand, Äs begins shredding his body with Senbonzakura Kageyoshi repeatedly, and when Renji tries to stop him with his Bankai, Mask sends him flying across the Seireitei with Star Dropkick. As he stands in a crater caked with his own blood, Byakuya apologizes to Rukia and Renji before seemingly dying. Meanwhile, Kenpachi Zaraki confronts Royd Lloyd and Haschwalth with three dead Sternritter.
After explaining the powers of the three dead Sternritter and how he killed each of them, Kenpachi proclaims that he has come here for Royd, who has disguised himself as Yhwach using The Yourself, and attacks him. Elsewhere, Shūhei Hisagi is overwhelmed by Driscoll Berci, who reveals that he killed Chojiro earlier that day. Suddenly, Yamamoto arrives and protects Hisagi from Driscoll's subsequent attack, prompting an ecstatic Driscoll to proclaim that he will kill Yamamoto with Chōjirō's Bankai. As Driscoll begins attacking him with Kōkō Gonryō Rikyū, Yamamoto reminisces about his past with Chōjirō. Enraged by Driscoll mocking Chōjirō and using an inferior version of his Bankai, Yamamoto incinerates the Sternritter.
Having finally avenged Chōjirō, Yamamoto vows to slaughter the entire Wandenreich before taking off in a burst of fire. As Yamamoto rockets across the Seireitei, the beleaguered captains and lieutenants below are inspired to keep fighting their respective battles and defeat the Sternritter. Meanwhile, Royd holds a defeated Kenpachi aloft and declares that Soul Society is finished, but is suddenly confronted by Yamamoto. After dispatching three Sternritter, Yamamoto attacks Royd, who brings out Yhwach's signature sword. Seeing this, Yamamoto claims that he will crush Yhwach's flesh and sword before activating his Bankai, Zanka no Tachi.
As various captains around the Seireitei notice the water-evaporating effects of Zanka no Tachi being activated, Royd recalls Zanka no Tachi setting everything it touches on fire, but Yamamoto demonstrates that it has changed since he last fought Yhwach by completely erasing part of the ground when the tip of his sword touches it. Upon being told that this is Zanka no Tachi, Higashi: Kyokujitsujin, Royd tries to attack Yamamoto directly, but has his sword destroyed by Zanka no Tachi, Nishi: Zanjitsu Gokui. with his Heilig Pfeil proving ineffective, Royd attempts to protect himself by casting Kirchenlied: Sankt Zwinger; however, Yamamoto responds by summoning thousands of charred skeletons with Zanka no Tachi, Minami: Kaka Jūmanokushi Daisōjin.
As the skeletons destroy his protective barrier, Royd attempts to attack Yamamoto, but is stopped by the skeletons of Zeidritz, Algora, and Hubert - all of whom he knows due to having copied Yhwach's memory. Royd claims that this will not stop him, but Yamamoto notes that he can see his tears and proclaims that his suffering is nothing compared to what he has wrought on the Shinigami today before unleashing Zanka no Tachi, Kita: Tenchi Kaijin, which erases most of Royd's torso. Yamamoto deactivates his Bankai as Royd apologizes to the real Yhwach. Startled by this, Yamamoto demands to know who Royd really is, but is shocked when the 1st Division Barracks are suddenly attacked. Appearing behind Yamamoto, the real Yhwach praises Royd's performance before killing him. After revealing that he attempted to recruit Sōsuke Aizen, Yhwach steals Yamamoto's Bankai before summoning a broadsword and attacking him.
Recalling his past with Shunsui and his old persona, Yamamoto is cut in half by Yhwach's attack, which distracts Shunsui long enough for Robert to defeat him. When Yamamoto attempts to stop him from leaving, Yhwach cuts his arm off before criticizing how weak he has become since they last fought, which prevented Yamamoto from being listed as a Special War Power. After declaring that the Gotei 13 died 1,000 years ago, Yhwach vaporizes Yamamoto's body with a barrage of Heilig Pfeil before ordering the Sternritter to decimate Soul Society, which they accomplish by bringing in the Soldat to massacre the remaining Shinigami. As he watches the Seireitei fall, Yhwach decides to leave before the Royal Guard show up, but is surprised by an explosion above him.
Having finally freed Ichigo from the Dangai, Akon succumbs to his wounds from Shaz Domino, who is swiftly defeated by Ichigo as he bursts into Soul Society. With Shinigami and Quincy alike noticing his entrance around the Seireitei, Ichigo confirms that Rukia and Renji are alive before appearing before Byakuya, who tearfully begs Ichigo to protect Soul Society in his stead. Having recognized Ichigo's Reiatsu, Yhwach attempts to leave, but is confronted by Ichigo himself. As Byakuya succumbs to his extensive injuries, Ichigo learns that Yhwach is behind the destruction of the Seireitei and attacks him in a rage, only for Yhwach to swiftly overpower him. After stabbing Ichigo in the neck, Yhwach prepares to bring him back to Silbern and revive him there, but realizes Ichigo has blocked his strike with Blut Vene and is engulfed by his Reiatsu.
Yhwach withstands the blast and, after confirming that he has Blut Vene, reveals that Ichigo managed to escape The Jail because it cannot hold Quincies. When Ichigo expresses confusion about this, Yhwach realizes that he does not know the truth about his mother and attempts to force him into submission so he can return to Silbern and re-educate Ichigo there. However, as he prepares to deliver the finishing blow, Yhwach is stopped by mysterious shadows, prompting Haschwalth to reveal that they must return to the Schatten Bereich because they have spent too much time outside of it. Not willing to let them leave so easily, Ichigo tries to resume the battle, but Haschwalth cuts his sword in half as he and Yhwach step into a portal, with Yhwach promising to return for Ichigo.
As the 4th Division begins treating the injured, Isane Kotetsu questions why they did not leave the barracks during the battle in order to help the wounded earlier, but Retsu Unohana reminds her that not leaving the barracks was the last order that Yamamoto gave them. Meanwhile, Ichigo is informed that Orihime, Sado, and Urahara are safe in Hueco Mundo before Shinji Hirako takes him to Rukia and Renji, who are recovering in an intensive care unit. After Rukia and Shinji thank him for saving Soul Society, Ichigo is summoned by Mayuri to discuss his Zanpakutō as Rukia notes he is hiding something serious. Meanwhile, at the 1st Division barracks, several of the captains hold a funeral for Yamamoto as Ukitake reveals that only his sword could be retrieved. When a Riteitai reports that Kenpachi and Byakuya have fallen comatose and may never wake up, Suì-Fēng and Kensei begin arguing over each other's feelings about Yamamoto's death, only to be silenced by Komamura and Shunsui, the latter of whom reminds the captains that Yamamoto would not want them to mourn over his remnants because the Gotei 13 exists to protect Soul Society.
While the Royal Guard assemble in the Soul King Palace, Mayuri explains to Ichigo that broken Bankai can never be repaired. After his explanation is interrupted by a muscular Kon, Mayuri is informed that the Royal Guard is coming and has Ichigo accompany him to the captains assembled outside the Seireitei. As the Tenchūren lands before them and opens to reveal the Royal Guard, Shunsui reveals that the Royal Guard is comprised of five captains stronger than the entire Gotei 13. As the various Royal Guard members reunite with the captains, Ichibē Hyōsube notices Ichigo and reveals they will be taking him back to the Soul King Palace, but Suì-Fēng protests the Royal Guard only arriving after the destruction of the Seireitei. After Ichibē defuses the situation, Senjumaru Shutara appears with Rukia, Renji, Byakuya, and the broken sword of Tensa Zangetsu, whom she reveals will be taken back as well for healing. When Ichigo asks why he is being taken for recovery, Ichibē reveals that they are bringing him for a different reason, but the conversation is interrupted by Urahara contacting the group.
With Kon projecting the feed, Urahara reveals that he, Orihime, and Sado are alright, but is interrupted by Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez, whom he keeps out of sight. After telling Ichigo to do what is best for himself instead of worrying about them, Urahara reveals that he reached an agreement with Grimmjow before ending the transmission. When asked if the Royal Guard can repair Ichigo's Zanpakutō, Ichibē explains how they possess an advanced forging technique that will allow Tensa Zangetsu to be mostly repaired, which convinces Ichigo to accompany them. Soon afterward, Kūkaku Shiba launches the Royal Guard and Ichigo to the palace with her Kakaku Hō as her brother Ganju Shiba trains with the dead Fullbringers. Moments later, Ichigo and the Royal Guard arrive at the palace.
When Ichigo wonders how they entered the palace without an Ōken, Ichibē reveals that the Ōken is the bones of the Royal Guard themselves. After Hikifune explains the layout of the Royal Palace to Ichigo, Kirinji takes him to Hōōden, where he reveals his unique healing methods and begins treating Ichigo, Rukia, Renji, and Byakuya. Meanwhile, in the Greater Soul King Palace, the Soul King himself wakes up.
In the Seireitei, Nanao enters Shunsui's office and learns that he has been promoted to Captain-Commander. Back in Hōōden, Kirinji determines Ichigo and Renji are fully healed after they each survive a direct punch from him. As Ichigo and Renji are blasted to the next palace, Kirinji muses on Ichigo's power and the Soul King's interest in him. At the Underground Assembly Hall in the Central 46 Compound, Shunsui appoints Nanao and Genshirō as his lieutenants before revealing that he will have the first Kenpachi, Yachiru Unohana, train Kenpachi in the art of the sword. Upon arriving at Hikifune's Gatonden, Ichigo and Renji are treated to a feast of Reiatsu-enhancing food by Hikifune. Before she sends Ichigo and Renji to the next palace, Hikifune explains that the feast was meant to fortify them for the trials of Ōetsu Nimaiya, the inventor of the Zanpakutō.
When Ichigo, Renji, and Kon arrive at his palace, Nimaiya greets them in a flashy manner and introduces them to the female Zanpakutō working in the Galaxy Hōōden, only to be physically interrupted by Mera after he tricks Ichigo and Renji into humiliating themselves. Mera takes Ichigo and Renji to the real Hōōden, where they fall into a pit as Nimaiya berates them for mistreating their Zanpakutō before revealing that they will have to face the anger of the Zanpakutō around them in order to convince him to reforge their own Zanpakutō. As Nimaiya reveals they are Asauchi, the Zanpakutō attack Ichigo and Renji. Meanwhile, in Muken, Kenpachi confronts Unohana, who reveals her true, bloodthirsty personality and the scar Kenpachi gave her. While Shunsui notes only one of them will survive this battle, Kenpachi and Unohana begin fighting.
Unohana quickly proves that she is superior in both skill and power to Kenpachi, who expresses immense sadness at the idea of never defeating the woman he once admired for making him feel fear. Suddenly, Unohana stabs Kenpachi through the throat, but Kenpachi wakes up to find himself alive and still fighting as Unohana claims responsibility for his weakness. Kenpachi and Unohana recall their first encounter and battle hundreds of years ago as Unohana details how Kenpachi subconsciously restrained his own power to become weaker than her. As Unohana promises to kill and revive him as many times as it takes for his full power to resurface and for him to surpass her once more, Kenpachi slowly gains the upper hand in their battle before viciously attacking Unohana.
After healing herself with Kaidō, Unohana activates her Bankai, Minazuki, and strips away the remaining mental barriers restraining Kenpachi's power. As Unohana recalls predicting Kenpachi attaining his position and how he was the only man to ever make her happy, Kenpachi fatally impales her. Kenpachi mourns a blissful Unohana's passing, but suddenly makes contact with his Zanpakutō, Nozarashi. Meanwhile, in Hōōden, Nimaiya declares that Renji has passed the test while Ichigo has failed before sending the latter back to the Human World to learn about his past.
Ichigo finds himself in front of his house, but instead seeks out his former employer, Ikumi Unagiya, who takes him in despite not knowing what he is going through. However, Ichigo finds himself confronted by his father Isshin, who begins revealing the circumstances behind him meeting Masaki Kurosaki decades ago. Isshin explains how he met Masaki and, after fighting an unusual Hollow who wounded Masaki, ended up tying his soul to hers to prevent her death, thus giving Ichigo his inner Hollow whose awakening caused Isshin to regain his Shinigami powers. Isshin also reveals that Masaki only died while fighting Grand Fisher because Yhwach stole her Quincy powers with Auswählen. Meanwhile, Yhwach welcomes the latest Wandenreich recruit, Uryū.
Mera brings a newly resolved Ichigo back to Hōōden, where he selects an Asauchi to become his Zanpakutō. Meanwhile, in the Seireitei, Hitsugaya begins training in Zanjutsu to compensate for his stolen Bankai while Kensei starts Bankai training with Hisagi. Elsewhere, Komamura confronts his great-grandfather, the elder of his clan, in a cave. While Akon discovers that Mayuri is reviving Arrancar, Suì-Fēng performs strength training on a mountaintop. Meanwhile, Komamura begs his great-grandfather to teach him the secrets of their clan, only for the elder to challenge him to combat due to his apathy toward and hatred of the Shinigami and their society. Back in the Soul King Palace, Ichigo and Nimaiya enter the latter's forge within a waterfall, where Nimaiya reveals that Ichigo will be bidding farewell to Zangetsu.
As Nimaiya's five bodyguards arrive and set up the forge for him, Nimaiya starts forging Ichigo's Zanpakutō while explaining how White was made in a manner similar to how he makes Zanpakutō, which means Ichigo's inner Hollow is his Zanpakutō Spirit while Zangetsu actually represents his Quincy powers. Confronted with the knowledge that Zangetsu is Yhwach from 1,000 years ago, Ichigo demands to know why he has been lied to, prompting Zangetsu to explain how he initially tried to prevent Ichigo from becoming a Shinigami because he would have to kill him. After revealing that he later decided to support Ichigo because of his development, Zangetsu grants Ichigo access to his true Zanpakutō. Ichigo puts part of his soul into the Asauchi, resulting in him gaining two new swords for his Shikai that he realizes are representative of his Hollow and Quincy powers. As Ichigo reconciles the dual nature of his power, Yhwach gathers the Sternritter for an important announcement.
Yhwach reveals that Uryū shall be his successor, sparking confusion and outrage among the Sternritter. Soon afterward, Bazz-B tries to confront Yhwach for an explanation and comes into conflict with Haschwalth, whom he believes should have been chosen instead. While Askin Nakk Le Vaar interrupts their confrontation to prevent them from angering Yhwach, Uryū receives the same Schrift as Yhwach, A, from him. When Uryū questions his decision, Yhwach reveals that he chose Uryū because he is the only Quincy to survive his Auswählen. While Bambietta's group learns of her concerns about the future of the Wandenreich, Haschwalth explains to his assistant that Uryū's current position will force him to follow Yhwach due to the intense scrutiny of the Sternritter. Meanwhile, in Hueco Mundo, Urahara begins analyzing Quilge's Medallion.
In the Soul King Palace, Rukia and Renji train in Ichibē's palace and learn that Byakuya has fully recovered. As Ichibē appears and prepares to train the two personally, Shinji tasks Hiyori and the other Visored with fixing the distortions appearing in the Human World. Elsewhere, Tatsuki Arisawa, Keigo Asano, and Mizuiro Kojima are confronted by Shunsui, who reveals Ichigo may not be able to return to the Human World. Shunsui explains that Ichigo's new level of power may force him to stay in Soul Society, but gives his friends Soul Tickets so they can visit him if this occurs. In Hueco Mundo, Orihime admits that she wishes this period of recovery and training could last forever. Soon afterward, in Soul Society, as the Seireitei is suddenly enveloped in shadows and replaced by the ice-covered Wandenreich city, Yhwach reveals to Uryū that the Kaiser Gesang detailing his revival has an additional verse where he regains the world in nine days.
As the Seireitei is replaced with the Wandenreich city, the Shinigami react with confusion and terror. Watching from his office, Shunsui admits that he did not expect the Gotei 13 forces would lose their territorial advantage like this. While Ukitake initiates Kamikake in a shrine outside of the Seireitei, Hiyosu denies the idea that the Seireitei could be gone, only to accept it when the SRDI vanishes as well. Yhwach, Askin, and Haschwalth explain to the Shinigami nearby that the Quincies created a realm in the shadows of the Seireitei when they fled to Soul Society 1,000 years ago, which allowed them to observe the Gotei 13 and invade the Seireitei without passing through the Shakonmaku. However, Mayuri reveals that he deduced this and thus modified his clothing and laboratory to not produce any shadows while he performed his research. Elsewhere, Bazz-B is confronted by Hitsugaya and Rangiku, the former of whom protects some Shinigami from his flames.
While Marechiyo is confronted by BG9, Bazz-B takes on Hitsugaya, whom the nearby Shinigami realize is creating unusually thin ice. Suddenly, Rangiku uses her Shikai, Haineko, to form a mound that Hitsugaya encases in ice before recalling it, resulting in Shinkū Tasō Hyōheki, a wall of vacuum ice that Bazz-B's flames cannot fully melt. After explaining this, Hitsugaya pierces Bazz-B with Shinkū no Kōri no Yaiba. Meanwhile, BG9 overwhelms Marechiyo, who is unable to tell him where Suì-Fēng is. BG9 attempts to kill Marechiyo, but his weapon is broken by Suì-Fēng, who proceeds to unleash her perfected Shunkō, Mukyū Shunkō, and blast BG9 away. However, both Bazz-B and BG9 reveal that they are not defeated yet.
As Askin reveals that Yhwach predicted the Shinigami would train to compensate for their lack of Bankai, BG9 unveils an armory on his body that allows him to critically wound Suì-Fēng while Bazz-B details how his flames protected him from Yamamoto's during the first invasion before piercing Hitsugaya's ice with Burner Finger 1. Held at bay by Nanao's Hakudan Keppeki barrier, Haschwalth learns she did not teach the other Shinigami how to use it while Bazz-B continues to overwhelm Bazz-B, eventually incapacitating him with Burner Finger 2. As Cang Du prepares to finish off Hitsugaya, Mayuri is contacted by Urahara, who reveals that he has devised a way to regain the stolen Bankai. Urahara has all Bankai-wielding Shinigami across the city ingest Shin'eiyaku, pills that briefly Hollowfy the user, causing Cang to be injured by Daiguren Hyōrinmaru.
While Suì-Fēng regains her Bankai with Marechiyo's assistance and uses it to defeat BG9, Cang takes on Hitsugaya at close range after losing part of Daiguren Hyōrinmaru, which proves incapable of attacking itself, only to be encased in a large cross of ice once Hitsugaya fully regains his Bankai. As Yhwach admits to Uryū that he predicted the captains would regain their Bankai somehow, a rampaging Bambietta is confronted by Komamura, wearing new armor, and Shinji, who distorts her senses with Sakanade. However, she is saved when Yhwach remotely activates the Quincy: Vollständig of multiple Sternritter. Suddenly, Ichigo contacts Urahara.
Having donned Ōken clothing and trained with his true Shikai, Ichigo departs from the Soul King Palace and heads for Soul Society while learning of the situation from Urahara. Meanwhile, with her The Explode enhanced, Bambietta grievously injures Shinji with an explosion. As Bambietta attacks the surrounding area with explosive packets of Reishi, Momo Hinamori attempts to attack her, but Komamura stops her and attempts to deflect one of her attacks, only to have his gauntlet explode as Bambietta reveals her attacks turn whatever they hit into bombs. Bambietta unleashes a torrent of Reishi, but Komamura, having been taught the Humanization Technique of his clan by his great-grandfather, survives the barrage and activates Kokujō Tengen Myō'ō: Dangai Jōe. Attacking Bambietta, Komamura explains that his Bankai is now made of pure Reiatsu and thus cannot be harmed by Bambietta's attacks. After surviving a direct attack from Bambietta, Komamura reveals that he is currently immortal and continues attacking Bambietta, who frantically questions his decision to throw his life away for this fight. As Komamura declares that there is no reason for him to not stake his life when Yamamoto did the same, Kokujō Tengen Myō'ō slashes Bambietta, who is blown up by her own Reishi.
With Bambietta defeated, Komamura sets his sights on Silbern and defeating Yhwach, but suddenly collapses along with his Bankai as the Humanization Technique takes its toll. As his great-grandfather devours his heart, Komamura transforms into a wolf and thinks that he deserves this for selling his soul for revenge as Kaname Tōsen did, but Iba picks him up and assures Komamura that he did nothing wrong. Elsewhere, Bambietta is confronted and killed by Giselle Gewelle and her other companions. Meanwhile Haschwalth is forced to end his confrontation with Shunsui when he called back to Silbern, where he executes BG9 and Cang with the help of The Balance for failing to defeat their opponents. Elsewhere, after ambushing and defeating Hisagi, Ikkaku, and Yumichika, Mask witnesses Rukia and Renji arriving in the city.
Mask attempts to confront them, but is stopped by Kensei and Rose, the former of whom attacks and overwhelms him with his Bankai, Tekken Tachikaze. Seemingly defeated, Mask is revived and empowered by James triggering The Superstar. After Mask brutally defeats Kensei, Rose activates his Bankai, Kinshara Butōdan, which uses illusions produced by music to attack Mask. However, Mask protects himself from further harm by crushing his own eardrums and blasts a hole in Rose with Star Flash, but is confronted by Renji. After Rukia takes Kensei and Rose away, Mask has James heal his eardrums and attacks Renji, who effortlessly overpowers him. As an enraged Mask unleashes a barrage of Star Satsujin Punches, Renji cuts James to pieces to prevent him from aiding Mask before slashing through his stomach. However, Mask forces himself back together and James, who reforms in multiple copies of himself, cheers him on, resulting in Mask entering an empowered form. Demonstrating the power of this new form by blowing Renji away with Star Lariat, Mask kills the multiple James and seemingly Renji with Star Flash: Super Nova, but Renji, having gained his true Bankai by training with Ichibē, uses it to incinerate Mask.
As James's soul returns to Yhwach, Haschwalth explains Yhwach's past and powers to Uryū, who realizes he has a piece of Yhwach's soul within him that Yhwach can take back along with his life. The following day, while NaNaNa pursues Renji after observing him all night, Rukia is confronted by Äs after delivering Kensei and Rose to Isane for healing. Äs attacks Rukia and hits her with the fear-inducing liquid emanating from his Reishi thorns, but Rukia reveals that it has not affected her. Äs claims that no one can live without feeling fear, prompting Rukia to reveal that she is technically dead because she has frozen her body's molecular movements with the temperature-manipulating power of Sode no Shirayuki. After freezing some of Äs's blood and creating an icequake, Rukia reduces her temperature to absolute zero and freezes Äs solid. However, Äs thaws and reveals that he fears reprisal from Yhwach more than anything else before activating his Quincy: Vollständig, Tatarforas, allowing him to induce fear in Rukia through her optic nerves with a wall of eyes. Suddenly, Byakuya arrives and shreds Äs's wall of fear-inducing eyes with his Shikai, enraging Äs. While Äs enters a grotesque new form, Rukia activates her Bankai, Hakka no Togame.
Frozen completely solid by Hakka no Togame, Äs crumbles and shatters as Byakuya helps Rukia deactivate her Bankai safely before they move out to protect Soul Society. Meanwhile, as Isane continues healing Kensei and Rose, Yachiru returns with bedding for them to use. Suddenly, they are confronted by Guenael Lee, who uses the various versions of his Vanishing Point to repeatedly attack Yachiru while disappearing from the sight, memory, and mind of the two Shinigami. However, Yachiru keeps attacking him despite not knowing who he is and eventually brings out her Zanpakutō because Kenpachi is not around. Revealing that her Shikai, Sanpo Kenjū, allows her to attack with three separate but consecutive blades, Yachiru seemingly slices Guenael down the middle. Guenael manages to survive by using Vanishing Slider to dodge Yachiru's attack at the last second, but is suddenly and brutally killed by his creator, Gremmy Thoumeaux, who proceeds to kill Kensei and Rose before turning Yachiru's bones into cookies with The Visionary. However, he is interrupted by the arrival of Kenpachi.
Creating an enormous platform to fight Kenpachi on, Gremmy makes his body as hard as steel, but Kenpachi easily cuts through it before reminding Gremmy of who he is. After using The Visionary to heal his wounds, Gremmy traps him in the platform with water in an attempt to suffocate him. However, Kenpachi quickly bursts out of the structure with Yachiru before noting that Gremmy being distracted from her meant Yachiru's bones returned to normal. While Askin and PePe watch from afar, Kenpachi has Yachiru leave to be healed by Isane before challenging Gremmy to fight seriously. Realizing that he truly wishes to crush Kenpachi, Gremmy attacks with guns and missiles, which pleases Kenpachi. After Kenpachi saves him from inadvertently killing himself, Gremmy creates a clone of himself and uses his newly increased power of imagination to summon a meteor to defeat Kenpachi. Elated by this, Kenpachi leaps toward the meteor and uses his Shikai, Nozarashi, to destroy it.
With Kenpachi surviving the void of space and multiple powerful explosions, Gremmy attempts to make himself stronger than he is; however, because he cannot envision anything stronger than Kenpachi, Gremmy's body tears itself apart. As Gremmy's imagined body dissipates, a badly injured Kenpachi realizes Yachiru is missing as the female Sternritter confront him. While the female Sternritter slaughter his division members, Kenpachi attempts to stop them, but Candice Catnipp electrocutes him twice and Meninas McAllon punches him into the ground, leaving Kenpachi unable to move. Suddenly, the four Sternritter are distracted by Ichigo blowing through the Shakonmaku above them. Shinigami around the city recognize Ichigo's Reiatsu as he appears near Kenpachi and prepares to save him.
The female Sternritter attack Ichigo, who effortlessly repels them in rapid succession. As Liltotto Lamperd recognizes him as the highest-ranked Special War Potential, an enraged Candice attacks him with Galvano Blast, which merely destroys his Ōken clothing to reveal his new Shinigami robe underneath. Meanwhile, atop the tower behind Silbern, Yhwach makes preparations to enter the Soul King Palace while Askin wonders if he will be "selected". After the Sternritters Heilig Pfeil prove ineffective, Candice activates her Quincy: Vollständig and takes on Ichigo personally. When Ichigo neutralizes her Galvano Javelin with a Getsuga Tenshō, an angered Candice attacks him with Electrocution, which Ichigo counters with a new technique, Getsuga Jūjishō.
After Ichigo's attack destroys her arm, Candice has Giselle reform it using The Zombie and prepares to resume the battle, but is shot down by Bazz-B along with her companions as PePe, Robert, and NaNaNa arrive to fight Ichigo as well. As Ichigo prepares to take all of them on, a beam of light pierces the heavens behind him as Yhwach reveals that Ichigo wearing Ōken clothing while he fell from the Soul King Palace to the city broke the barriers between the two, allowing him to invade the palace. Ichigo attempts to stop Yhwach, but the Sternritter impede him; however, Ichigo is saved by Renji, who gives him the opportunity to confront Yhwach by confronting the Sternritter alongside several other powerful Shinigami.
As the Sternritter activate their Quincy: Vollständigs and attack the Shinigami, Ichigo reaches the tower behind Silbern', only to be attacked by Uryū, who refuses to tell Ichigo why he has joined Yhwach. As Orihime and Sado enter Soul Society through a Garganta, Yhwach, Haschwalth, and Uryū depart for the Soul King Palace, resulting in a massive explosion of energy that scatters the nearby combatants. Ichigo is left depressed by Uryū's actions, but Sado snaps him out of it and convinces him to follow Uryū to the Soul King Palace, prompting Urahara to begin making preparations to take them there. Meanwhile, Yhwach, Haschwalth, and Uryū enter the Soul King Palace.
With the Royal Guard noticing his arrival, Yhwach has Haschwalth summon several Soldat to invade the palace, but Kirinji appears and routs them with his Blood Pond Hell water before attacking Yhwach with his Shikai, Kinpika. Meanwhile, in the city, Giselle is confronted by Ikkaku and Yumichika, the latter of whom quickly deduces the mechanics of her The Zombie, prompting her to have a zombified Bambietta attack them. Below the 12th Division barracks, Ichigo and his friends sit in a replica of the Kakaku Hō, which Urahara explains will only launch once. As Yoruichi arrives with liquid energy to power the launch, Ikkaku and Yumichika are incapacitated by Bambietta, only to be saved by the arrival of Mayuri.
After Mayuri offhandedly insults her, Giselle has Bambietta attack him; however, Mayuri easily counters The Explode with Reishi Kotei Sōti that delay the explosions, grievously injuring Bambietta. When Giselle summons an army of 11th Division zombies, Mayuri brings out four resurrected Arrancar to fight them. As the zombies and Arrancar begin clashing, Charlotte Chuhlhourne confronts and disposes of Bambietta, prompting Giselle to summon her strongest zombie, Hitsugaya, who quickly cuts down Ikkaku, Yumichika, and Charlotte in rapid succession. After deducing that Giselle zombified Hitsugaya while the latter was still alive, Mayuri decides to test some new drugs on him.
Mayuri begins fighting Hitsugaya himself and is seemingly killed twice by Hitsugaya's Bankai, only to reappear unharmed each time before eventually revealing that Hitsugaya is experiencing the effects of his Postcognition Drug, which prevents him from killing Mayuri. As Hitsugaya collapses due to the strain on his hippocampus, Mayuri stabs him and releases Ashisogi Jizō, paralyzing Hitsugaya, before injecting him with another drug. When Hitsugaya's screams of pain summon the zombified Kensei, Rose, and Rangiku, Mayuri has the remaining Arrancar fight them and expose them to the Postcognition Drug as well. After injecting Kensei and Rose with the same drug, Mayuri reveals that this replaces the blood in their bodies with a substitute of his creation, allowing him to take control of them, before having Kensei stab Giselle in the heart.
Elsewhere, Byakuya defeats Candice, Robert, and NaNaNa before clashing with Hisagi, who has been stricken by PePe's The Love. After PePe takes control of Meninas and has her attack Liltotto, Byakuya incapacitates Hisagi, prompting PePe to take control of Senbonzakura before having Hisagi attack Byakuya with it. When The Love fails to affect Byakuya, PePe activates his Quincy: Vollständig, Gudoero, but is attacked by Kensei. After Kensei incapacitates Hisagi and returns Byakuya's Zanpakutō to him, PePe attempts to take control of him, but Mayuri reveals that his zombies cannot feel love as Kensei pummels PePe.
Shortly afterward, Liltotto confronts PePe and devours him as payback. Meanwhile, in the Soul King Palace, Kirinji finds himself unable to land a blow on Yhwach. Senjumaru appears with several Divine Soldiers, but they are also unable to harm Yhwach as Nianzol Weizol reveals himself to be the cause of this. Down in the city, Urahara prepares to launch Ichigo and his friends, but is interrupted by Ganju, who decides to join them with a map detailing the aerial route to the palace. Back in the palace, after Nianzol proves that his The Wind prevents all attacks he can react to from reaching him, Senjumaru impales him with dozens of spikes from his own robe.
As Nianzol dies, Yhwach brings out additional Soldat to combat the Divine Soldiers before summoning his Schutzstaffel to take on the Royal Guard themselves. After Gerard Valkyrie injures her, Senjumaru calls out a Second-Class Divine Soldier, but Pernida Parnkgjas warps it with The Compulsory before Lille Barro shoots Senjumaru in the head. Seemingly shooting down all the cities, Lille tells Yhwach that he may proceed. However, the surroundings begin to pull back in strips of fabric as the real Senjumaru reveals that Ichibē was hiding the real palace. As Hikifune surrounds the platform with a Cage of Life to prevent the Quincies from escaping, Nimaiya confronts them with Sayafushi and prepares to fight the Schutzstaffel.
Nimaiya quickly and effortlessly slaughters most of the Schutzstaffel, who are unable to protect themselves from his incredibly sharp sword. After seemingly killing Askin as well, Nimaiya prepares to take on Yhwach, but is suddenly incapacitated by Askin's The Deathdealing. Askin reveals that he has made Nimaiya's blood lethal to him, prompting Nimaiya to cut his own throat in order to let some out; however, Askin notes that he will have to lose a lethal amount in order to avoid being killed by it. Hearing this, Nimaiya has Kirinji use his Blood Pond Hell water to replace his blood before cutting down Askin and challenging Yhwach himself.
As Yhwach generates a bright light from his hands, Giselle, having survived her heart being stabbed, sucks her blood out of Bambietta to heal herself in the city below. After Liltotto meets up with her, she is confronted by Robert, who hysterically reveals that the Sternritter who were left behind in the city are fodder for Yhwach's Auswählen. Suddenly, beams of light envelop the Sternritter, killing Robert and draining Liltotto and Giselle's powers, as Yhwach revives his Schutzstaffel. While the Shinigami witness this and realize the Soul King Palace is in danger, Lille uses the true power of The X-Axis to critically wound Nimaiya. After Pernida shatters the Cage of Life, Yhwach confronts Ichibē, who prepares to fight him.
Down in the city, Shunsui meets with Ukitake, who has activated Kamikake, and reveals that he is going to speak with Central 46. Meanwhile, Ichibē begins his fight with Yhwach and decides to kill him after the latter counters his Name Curse. In the city, Urahara has the Visored and Yūshirō Shihōin come to his laboratory with special equipment. Meanwhile, having drawn his Zanpakutō, Ichibē clashes with Yhwach and manages to halve his power by erasing half of his name, but Yhwach manages to restore his power and protect himself from further assault with Blut Vene Anhaben. Seemingly destroying the barrier with Ura Hadō: Sannodō — Teppūsatsu, Ichibē is nearly consumed by it when he grabs Yhwach, but forces the barrier to injure Yhwach instead before releasing his Shikai, Ichimonji. Ichibē proceeds to removes the names of both Yhwach's sword and Yhwach himself with the ink of Ichimonji before activating his Shin'uchi, Shirafude Ichimonji, and giving Yhwach the name and power level of "Black Ant". As he is sent crashing through the floor toward Soul Society below, Yhwach's The Almighty finally activates, allowing him to nullify Ichibē's abilities and blow him to pieces. As Ichigo and his friends arrive and rush to confront him, Yhwach impales the Soul King.
In the city below, Urahara has the remaining captains and lieutenants gather at his laboratory, where he updates them on the status of the absent captains and lieutenants before revealing that they will be breaking into the Soul King Palace. After Ukitake finishes his medical treatment of the wounded, Kenpachi attempts to leave in order to track down Yachiru, but Nanao convinces him to let his division do so for him. Meanwhile, Ichigo and his friends confront Yhwach. While the Visored pour more liquid energy on the pedestal in his laboratory, Urahara explains that they will be constructing a gateway to the Royal Realm with their Reiatsu. Meanwhile, upon seeing the injured Soul King, Ichigo tries to pull Yhwach's sword out of it, but his Quincy blood forces him to cut the Soul King in half instead.
As the Human World begins to experience earthquakes, Yhwach explains what has happened to Ichigo, who attacks him as the city below begins to shake and crumble as well. With Urahara telling the other Shinigami that the Soul King has died, Yhwach reveals that Soul Society created the Soul King to stabilize the traffic of souls before declaring that all the realms will crumble without him. As Orihime's Sōten Kisshun fails to work on the Soul King, Ukitake completes Kamikake and reveals that it will allow him to replace and stabilize the Soul King. After detailing how Mimihagi, the Soul King's right hand, is resting within him, Ukitake unleashes it while Shunsui visits Aizen in Muken. Mimihagi envelops the Soul King, stopping the tremors, while the Visored and Mayuri assist the Shinigami in compensating for the loss of Ukitake's Reiatsu. Meanwhile, Shunsui unlocks one of Aizen's seals, only for Aizen to seemingly release the rest himself.
After revealing that the key to Muken itself has been embedded in his heart to prevent Aizen from killing him, Shunsui offers to bring Aizen to the surface and assist the Shinigami. Meanwhile, Yoruichi sets up a barrier around Mimihagi and the Soul King as Ichigo engages Yhwach directly. However, as Yhwach claims that everything Ichigo has done until now has been for his own benefit, Uryū appears and shoots Yoruichi, causing her barrier to collapse. After Pernida warps Yoruichi's arm, Yhwach blasts her off the palace before ripping Mimihagi off the Soul King as Ichigo confronts Uryū. Claiming that he has sided with Yhwach because he is a Quincy, Uryū destroys his friends' footing, leaving them to fall off the palace while Yhwach absorbs Mimihagi. However, Orihime manages to catch her friends with Santen Kesshun, with Yoruichi pulling them back up afterward.
In the city below, Ukitake is killed by Yhwach's absorption of Mimihagi as the area is covered with a dome of darkness, with Yhwach unleashing a torrent of the Soul King's power in the form of eyeball creatures. When Suì-Fēng is swarmed by the creatures as she attempts to destroy the dome, the other Shinigami attempt to fend them off, but are interrupted by Aizen crushing them with his Reiatsu. As the Shinigami protest Shunsui's decision, Aizen wipes out the remaining creatures with Hadō #90. Kurohitsugi and decides to shoot down the Soul King Palace with his Reiatsu, but his attempt is stopped by Mayuri's technology and NaNaNa incapacitates him with The Underbelly. However, Bazz-B takes out NaNaNa before revealing that he, Liltotto, and Giselle are willing to help the Shinigami reach the palace.
While the Sternritter help the Shinigami charge the orbs with their Reiatsu, Ichigo regains consciousness in the Soul King Palace. After Orihime restores her arm, Yoruichi tells the group that they will be initiating their counterattack as Grimmjow emerges from a Garganta nearby. Grimmjow tries to start a fight with Ichigo, but is interrupted by Nelliel, who reveals that Urahara made her a device that allows her to switch between her child and adult forms at will. Suddenly, Riruka Dokugamine and Yukio Hans Vorarlberna appear in a modified Valley of Screams, which Yoruichi explains will allow them to travel to the Greater Soul King Palace undetected. Meanwhile, Yhwach completely absorbs the Soul King and its powers.
As Ichigo and his allies begin traveling to the palace, Yoruichi details where they are planning to arrive while Grimmjow reveals he is only joining them so he can fight Ichigo in Hueco Mundo once more. Meanwhile, Yhwach demonstrates his newfound power by destroying most of the central palace and transporting the Wandenreich city to the Royal Realm, where he fuses it with the remnants of the palace. Having completed the gateway to the Royal Realm, the Gotei 13 forces discover that they cannot use Shunpo due to Yhwach controlling all the Reishi in the area, and Yhwach creates a large fortress at the center of the city, which he labels Wahrwelt.
While the Gotei 13 forces move out, Mayuri appears in a different part of the city with Nemu to test the results of his research freely, but Kenpachi appears behind him with Ikkaku, Yumichika, and Hanatarō, having been left behind during the first entrance. As Ichigo and his friends are confronted by Askin, whom Grimmjow attacks, Bazz-B, Liltotto, and Giselle make their way to the top of Wahrwelt. With Grimmjow pursuing Askin, Haschwalth is confronted by Bazz-B, who intends to kill him while he wields The Almighty. Recalling his youth with Haschwalth as they battle, Bazz-B ultimately finds himself overpowered, mortally wounded, and defeated by his old friend.
As Yhwach defeats Liltotto and Giselle, Haschwalth gains The Almighty and Askin incapacitates Grimmjow with a Gift Ball. While Lille begins sniping the Gotei 13 members straying from their group, Pernida confronts Mayuri and Kenpachi, whose arm it damages and takes control of, forcing Kenpachi to rip it off. After Kenpachi attacks Pernida again and has his legs broken, Mayuri immobilizes him and exposes Pernida's nerves, causing it to shred its cloak and reveal itself to be the left hand of the Soul King. Pernida grows to its full height and attacks an ecstatic Mayuri by extending its nerves into the ground and buildings. With his Explosive Reactive Armor destroyed, Mayuri reveals that his shoes allow him to use Hirenkyaku and avoid touching Pernida's nerves on the ground, but Pernida infiltrates his right arm with The Compulsory, forcing Mayuri to reconfigure its musculature and nerves in order to prevent it from being controlled.
When Pernida clones itself with severed digits, Mayuri unleashes his modified Bankai, Konjiki Ashisogi Jizō: Matai Fukuin Shōtai, which produces a Konjiki Ashisogi Jizō with 70,000 skin layers that devours Pernida. However, Pernida blows apart the Konjiki Ashisogi Jizō from the inside and overwhelms Mayuri with Heilig Pfeil and The Compulsory, prompting Nemu to rescue him. Mayuri and Nemu work together to inject Pernida and its clones with a Nerve Freezing Agent, but Pernida overcomes its effects due to having replicated the skin layers of the Konjiki Ashisogi Jizō it killed, forcing Nemu to draw out her own raw power and save Mayuri before blowing apart Pernida and its clones.
Despite this, Pernida manages to tear Nemu to shreds, which drives Mayuri to despair. After a hallucination of Szayelaporro Granz berates him, however, Mayuri regains his composure and kills Pernida with the Involuntary Cell Division Accelerator within the remains of Nemu's body. With his legs broken by the last vestiges of The Compulsory, Mayuri has Yumichika and Ikkaku release Hitsugaya and Rangiku from their healing capsules before placing him and Kenpachi inside. Elsewhere, Shunsui deduces Lille's strategy of picking off the Shinigami and confronts him directly. After having Nanao tell the others to keep moving, Shunsui explains the rules of Daruma-san ga Koronda to Lille before demonstrating his prowess as Captain-Commander. Shunsui quickly overwhelms Lille with the various games of his Shikai, but Lille negates a fatal blow by opening his left eye and activating his Quincy: Vollständig, Jilliel.
Having been shot multiple times, Shunsui attacks Lille with Hadō #78. Zangerin. While Gerard confronts the remaining Gotei 13 forces, Shunsui moves far away from his comrades and activates his Bankai, Katen Kyōkotsu: Karamatsu Shinjū, as Ichigo is confronted by Askin. Appearing before Lille, Shunsui demonstrates the effects of the first, second, and third acts of his Bankai, grievously wounding the Sternritter, before blowing his head off with the final. However, as Shunsui relaxes with his Zanpakutō spirit, Lille bursts through his torso and takes on a new, eldritch form. Fleeing from Lille's explosive attack, Shunsui nearly passes out, but is woken by a frantic Nanao. After hiding himself and Nanao within Lille's shadow, Shunsui agrees to return her Zanpakutō.
Shunsui explains the history and unique god-slaying power of Nanao's Zanpakutō, Shinken Hakkyōken, before she leaps out of Lille's shadow to confront him with it. Initially perplexed by the sword's appearance, Lille discovers that it can harm him and resolves to obliterate Nanao before she can attack him again. However, in order to relieve the heavy burden placed on him by his deceased loved ones, Shunsui appears to support Nanao, who finds herself terrified by her first time fighting with a sword, only to be relieved by Shunsui's presence. As Lille unleashes Trompete, Nanao reflects some of the damage back at him with Shinken Hakkyōken, causing Lille to shatter into dozens of pieces. While Shunsui collapses, Lille's pieces rain down on the Seireitei below and reform as flamingo-like birds that begin wreaking havoc, only to be confronted by a revived Izuru. Meanwhile, Gerard finds himself overpowered by the Gotei 13 forces.
Byakuya blasts Gerard with Senbonzakura twice in order to finish him off, but this triggers The Miracle, causing Gerard to grow to gigantic proportions and allowing him to easily decimate the Gotei 13 captains and lieutenants with brute force. Observing this from afar, Askin details the structure of the Schutzstaffel and Pernida and Gerard's supposed status as body parts of the Soul King to an incapacitated Ichigo. Askin takes down Orihime and Sado with Gift Bad, but is confronted by Yoruichi, who attacks him with Shunkō: Raijin Senkei. After pulling Orihime out of the Gift Bad so she can tend to herself and her friends, Yoruichi reunites with Yūshirō, only for Askin to reveal he survived her attack. With Ichigo and his friends leaving to confront Yhwach, Yūshirō take on Askin directly and immolates him with Shunkō: Bakuen Musō, but Askin survives this as well and reminds the siblings that he he controls the lethal doses of any substance he takes in.
Revealing that he can heal his wounds by making himself immune to the attack that inflicted them, Askin negates Yūshirō's Shunkō attack before shooting him in the back with three Heilig Pfeil. Meanwhile, Gerard is confronted by the Visored from the Human World, who unleash several powerful attacks against him; however, Gerard withstands them and repels the Visored before attempting to destroy the entire area, only to be stopped by Hitsugaya, who activates his Bankai and envelops Gerard in ice. Within the fortress, Uryū is confronted by Haschwalth, who reveals his possession of The Almighty and his resulting knowledge of Uryū's placement of Demolishing Chips around Wahrwelt for an unknown purpose. After Haschwalth attacks him, Uryū is confronted by Ichigo.
As Orihime and Sado arrive, Haschwalth demands that Uryū proves his loyalty, prompting him to briefly clash with Ichigo in combat before destroying the floor beneath his friends, causing them to fall into a room below. Down there, Uryū provides his friends with a Sun Key so they can leave before explaining his plan to destroy Wahrwelt with Demolishing Chips, but Haschwalth confronts the group and reveals that he has already destroyed the Sun Gate connected to the Human World. Upon realizing that Haschwalth's possession of The Almighty means Yhwach is vulnerable, Uryū has his friends leave while he takes on Haschwalth himself. As they ascend the tower, Ichigo and his friends are attacked by giant stone statues, which Sado decides to take on while Ichigo and Orihime go ahead.
Elsewhere, having poisoned Yoruichi with a Hybrid Gift Ball, Askin claims she is finished, but Urahara arrives and injects her with an immunizing drug, allowing Yoruichi to regain her vitality. As Yoruichi abjectly refuses to use a certain power of hers to fight Askin, she finds herself easily incapacitated by a single punch from the Sternritter, so Urahara forces her to use Shunkō: Raiju Senkei: Shunryū Kokubyō Senkei. With Reiatsu that changes 48 times per second, Yoruichi quickly overwhelms Askin and sends him crashing into the ground. Deactivating the transformation after Yoruichi's immunization wears off, Urahara prepares to ensure Askin is dead, but finds himself enveloped in a Gift Ball Deluxe as Askin emerges in his Quincy: Vollständig, Hasshein. Askin surrounds the Gift Ball Deluxe with a Gift Bereich so Urahara cannot escape before revealing that he serves Yhwach so he can see the world he will create. After Urahara explains that scientists like himself and Mayuri would wish to create such worlds themselves, Askin destroys his eyes with a Gift Ring and prepares to use more of them, prompting Urahara to activate his Bankai, Kannonbiraki Benihime Aratame.
Urahara's new power to restructure anything allows him to regain his eyes and overpower Askin with brute force, prompting Askin to increase the power of the Gift Ball Deluxe in an attempt to incapacitate him; however, Urahara uses his Bankai to create a path through the Gift Bereich, allowing an immunized Grimmjow to enter and rip out Askin's heart while in his Resurrección, Pantera, which gives him completely Hollow Reiatsu. With Askin managing to cling to life despite this, Urahara explains his methodology of preparing for thousands of different scenarios at once. However, Urahara and Grimmjow collapse and begin to die as Askin's Gift Ball Deluxe magnifies in power with his death, prompting Urahara to leave everything to Ichigo and Rukia. Elsewhere, as Byakuya rejoins the battle against Gerard, Kenpachi arrives and cuts off Gerard's arm.
When Gerard's arm regenerates, Byakuya explains the properties of The Miracle, which makes Kenpachi excited to take him on. After throwing Gerard back, Kenpachi finds himself unable to pierce his shield with his Zanpakutō, so he releases his Shikai and clashes with Gerard's Hoffnung, leaving him injured. Kenpachi continues to clash with Gerard, becoming further injured every time he nicks the blade of Hoffnung. As a surprise attack from Hitsugaya and Byakuya fails, Yachiru appears before Kenpachi and forcibly activates his Bankai, transforming him into a demon-like form that quickly overpowers Gerard before seemingly killing him.
However, The Miracle allows Gerard to survive bifurcation and activate his Quincy: Vollständig, Aschetonig. With Kenpachi's Bankai destroying his arm due to his body being incapable of handling its power, Hitsugaya's Bankai reaches its time limit, causing him to age to an adult form. Hitsugaya demonstrates his new power by flash-freezing Gerard and the surroundings with Shikai Hyōketsu. When Gerard withstands this, Kenpachi topples him with his remaining arm before Byakuya destroys his upper body with Ikka Senjinka. Despite this, Gerard revives for a second time in a monstrous form as dawn breaks, returning The Almighty to Yhwach, who is confronted by Ichigo and Orihime. Angered by Yhwach's claim of being his true parent, Ichigo attacks him, but Yhwach repels him with his Reiatsu alone and prepares to display his new power. While Byakuya sends Rukia and Renji to aid Ichigo, Isshin and Ryūken arrive in Wahrwelt.
As Haschwalth ominously hints at a more fearsome aspect of The Almighty, Ichigo finishes absorbing Yhwach's Quincy Reiatsu and enters a Merged Hollow Form with the help of Zangetsu. An empowered Ichigo destroys the remnants of Silbern and forces Yhwach to defend himself before seemingly wounding him with a Getsuga Tenshō fused with a Gran Rey Cero, but Yhwach repels the attack and activates The Almighty before injuring Ichigo with multiple traps of Reiatsu blades, prompting Ichigo to activate his true Bankai, Tensa Zangetsu. However, Yhwach immediately breaks Tensa Zangetsu and overwhelms Ichigo before revealing that The Almighty allows him to transform the future in addition to seeing it.
Meanwhile, Haschwalth explains The Balance to Uryū, who in turn reveals that his Antithesis can reverse the states of two targets by inflicting all of his own injures onto Haschwalth and healing himself. However, Haschwalth redirects all the damage back to Uryū and wounds him even further before preparing to kill him, but after breaking Ichigo's spirit, Yhwach absorbs his Hollow and Quincy powers before unleashing a third Auswählen that incapacitates Haschwalth and kills Gerard. As Rukia and Renji arrive, Yhwach leaves through a portal while Haschwalth transfers all of Uryū's wounds onto himself so the latter can help his friends. Though Orihime is unable to restore Tensa Zangetsu, Shūkurō Tsukishima appears and stabs Ichigo with Book of the End, creating a new past where Tensa Zangetsu was not broken so that Orihime can restore it.
As Yhwach arrives in Soul Society and is confronted by Aizen, Ryūken gives Uryū an arrow made of Still Silver from Kanae Katagiri's heart with which to briefly nullify Yhwach's powers. Within the Dangai, Renji helps Ichigo travel to Soul Society and explains why he is helping him instead of staying behind to be healed. Meanwhile, Aizen is freed from his restraints by Yhwach's attack and creates illusions of Ichigo and Renji attacking him. Variously perceiving Aizen as Renji, himself, and Ichigo, Yhwach seemingly defeats all his adversaries and prepares to destroy Soul Society, but Aizen reveals his deception as Ichigo cuts Yhwach in half with a Getsuga Tenshō. However, The Almighty allows Yhwach to reverse his own death and he nearly absorbs Ichigo, but Uryū shoots him with the Still Silver arrow, allowing Ichigo to cut a defenseless Yhwach in half, killing him.
10 years later, Shunsui visits Ukitake's grave and comments on the Seireitei finally being restored. In the SRDI, Mayuri prepares to inspect the new location of his surveillance network with Nemuri Hachigō. Elsewhere, Kenpachi moves out to attend the ceremony at the 1st Division Barracks with his lieutenant, Ikkaku, and his third seat, Yumichika. As 7th Division Captain Iba finishes training, Hitsugaya notes that the Gotei 13 has had ten years of peace. At the 1st Division Barracks, 4th Division Captain Isane defuses an argument between Kenpachi and Suì-Fēng as Rukia begins her ceremony to become the new captain of the 13th Division. Back at the SRDI, Akon notices Reiatsu almost identical to Yhwach's appearing around the Seireitei.
As several captains move out to investigate the mysterious Reiatsu, Rukia and Renji go to the Kurosaki Clinic to watch Sado's upcoming boxing match with Ichigo, Orihime, and their Human friends while Uryū watches on his phone from the hospital. As Rukia and Renji realize their daughter is absent, the Reiatsu in Soul Society flares up, only to suddenly disperse as Kazui Kurosaki, Ichigo and Orihime's son, touches it in his room. In Muken, Aizen recalls Yhwach's defeat and declares that the fear he was trying to eliminate is necessary because it generates courage in humans. In his room, Kazui is confronted by Ichika Abarai; when the latter identifies herself as a Shinigami apprentice, Kazui reveals that he also has Shinigami powers.
|Ichigo Kurosaki • Uryū Ishida • Yasutora Sado • Orihime Inoue • Kisuke Urahara • Isshin Kurosaki • Gotei 13 • Royal Guard • Visored • Tier Harribel • Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez • Wandenreich • Sternritter • Asguiaro Ebern|
|The New Shinigami Guardians & the Broken Balance • Ichigo Kurosaki vs. Asguiaro Ebern • Rise of the Wandenreich • Return to Hueco Mundo • Wandenreich vs. The Arrancar • Fall of the Seireitei • Ichigo Kurosaki vs. Quilge Opie • Ayon vs. Quilge Opie • Byakuya Kuchiki vs. Äs Nödt • Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto vs. Driscoll Berci • Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto vs. Royd Lloyd • Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto vs. Yhwach • Ichigo Kurosaki vs. Yhwach • The Royal Guard Arrive • Retsu Unohana vs. Kenpachi Zaraki • Royal Training • The Rise & Fall of Masaki Kurosaki • Isshin Shiba & Masaki Kurosaki vs. White • Soul Society: Battle Ready • Rise of Uryū Ishida • Tōshirō Hitsugaya & Rangiku Matsumoto vs. Bazz-B • Suì-Fēng vs. BG9 • Tōshirō Hitsugaya vs. Cang Du • Sajin Komamura vs. Bambietta Basterbine • Kensei Muguruma & Rōjūrō Ōtoribashi vs. Mask De Masculine • Renji Abarai vs. Mask De Masculine • Rukia Kuchiki vs. Äs Nödt • Yachiru Kusajishi vs. Guenael Lee • Kenpachi Zaraki vs. Gremmy Thoumeaux • Ichigo Kurosaki vs. Candice Catnipp • The Gotei 13 vs. The Sternritter • Battle of the Zombies • The Royal Guard vs. The Wandenreich • Ōetsu Nimaiya vs. the Elite Guard • Ichibē Hyōsube vs. Yhwach • Fall of the Soul King • Bazz-B vs. Jugram Haschwalth • Mayuri Kurotsuchi & Nemu Kurotsuchi vs. Pernida Parnkgjas • Shunsui Kyōraku vs. Lille Barro • The Gotei 13 & The Visored vs. Gerard Valkyrie • Nanao Ise vs. Lille Barro • Uryū Ishida vs. Jugram Haschwalth • Yoruichi Shihōin vs. Askin Nakk Le Vaar • Kisuke Urahara vs. Askin Nakk Le Vaar • Ichigo Kurosaki vs. Yhwach: Rematch • Ichigo Kurosaki vs. Yhwach: Final Fight|