081. Twelve Tone Rendezvous
082. Conflictable Composition
083. COME WITH ME
084. The Shooting Star Project 2 [Tattoo On The Sky]
085. INTRUDERZ2 [Breakthrough the roof mix]
086. Making Good Relations,OK?
087. Dancing With Spears
088. SO UNLUCKY WE ARE
088.5. KARAKURA SUPER HEROES
080. The Shooting Star Project
081. Twelve-Tone Rendezvous
082. Conflictable Composition
083. COME WITH ME
084. The Shooting Star Project 2 (Tattoo on the Sky)
085. INTRUDERZ 2 (Breakthrough the Roof Mix)
086. Making Good Relations, OK?
087. Dancing With Spears
088. SO UNLUCKY WE ARE
088.5. KARAKURA SUPER HEROES
TATTOO ON THE SKY is the tenth volume of the Bleach manga series.
With the help of Kūkaku Shiba, a one-armed explosives expert and old friend of the mysterious talking cat Yoruichi Shihōin -- Ichigo Kurosaki and crew are one step closer to infiltrating the Soul Society and rescuing their friend Rukia Kuchiki before she is executed. For Kūkaku's plan to work, Ichigo must control his enormous reservoir of spiritual energy -- and there's no telling how much collateral damage this will cause. Meanwhile, the Soul Society hasn't been twiddling their collective thumbs, and quickly dispatches a delegation of captains to give the unwanted visitors the rudest of welcomes imaginable.
Within the Kakaku Taihō chamber of the Shiba Clan household, Ichigo Kurosaki stands with Orihime Inoue, Yasutora Sado, and Uryū Ishida as he expresses shock at the idea of Kūkaku Shiba being a fireworks expert. Affirming her statement, Kūkaku looks upward and commands Koganehiko and Shiroganehiko to do it, prompting them to begin rapidly turning a crank next to the smokestack outside. As the floor Ichigo and his friends are standing on begins to rumble and rise up, to their surprise, the smokestack above them crumbles to reveal the Kakaku Taihō, which emerges from the remnants as they fall to the ground below. With the ceiling above the chamber pulling apart to reveal a circular opening, Koganehiko and Shiroganehiko finish turning the crank, causing the Kakaku Taihō to come to a halt fully raised about the ground. Kūkaku asks the Ryoka if this scared them and declares that this is her personal fireworks launch pad, and when Ganju Shiba excitedly reveals that it is called the Kakaku Taihō, Kūkaku angrily kicks him in the face for joining her on the pedestal.
However, Uryū assumes that Kūkaku is joking and asserts that there is no way to launch them into the Seireitei with such a thing without killing them, only to be interrupted when Kūkaku throws a Reishūkaku that hits him in the face before landing in Ichigo's hands. Upon being asked what it is by him, Kūkaku explains that the Reishūkaku can be filled with Reiryoku when someone presses their palm against it, but Ichigo expresses confusion at this concept, leading a surprised Kūkaku to clarify that all he has to do is channel power into his hands like when he uses Kidō as she forms a small swirl of energy in her palm to demonstrate. Yoruichi bashfully admits reminds Kūkaku that Ichigo is something of a makeshift Shinigami who cannot use Kidō, and after expressing her astonishment at this, Kūkaku tells Ganju to demonstrate this for Ichigo, which he agrees to do. Despite this, Ichigo refuses to hand the Reishūkaku over to Ganju, and as the two prepare to fight, with Ichigo claiming that he would rather die than be taught by Ganju, an irritated Kūkaku punches them both in the head as punishment, leading them to meekly apologize to her while lying on the ground.
After getting up, Ganju channels his Reiryoku into the Reishūkaku and creates a spherical barrier around himself, to the amazement of Ichigo and his friends, which Kūkaku refers to as the cannonball before detailing how the wall surrounding the Seireitei is not the only thing protecting it, as it is made from a rare material called Sekkiseki that completely blocks Reiryoku and cannot be damaged by attacks infused with it, leading Ichigo and Uryū to realize that this is why there were no guards other than Jidanbō Ikkanzaka. Kūkaku goes on to reveal that Sekkiseki emits waves which break down Reiryoku and form a sphere known as the Shakonmaku around the Seireitei, extending high into the sky and deep underground to create complete coverage. Admitting that flying into the Shakonmaku would ordinarily lead to disintegration for Souls made of Reishi, Kūkaku proclaims that this is where the Reishūkaku comes in as she thumps a visibly fatigued Ganju's barrier. As she brushes off Ganju's pleas to end the demonstration due to his dwindling Reiryoku, Kūkaku elaborates that Ichigo and his friends infusing their combined Reiryoku into the Reishūkaku will create a cannonball that can punch through the Shakonmaku after being fired from the Kakaku Taihō, which she acknowledges will be a rough ride before asserting that there is no other way.
With Ichigo and his friends too stunned to ask any questions, Kūkaku has Koganehiko and Shiroganehiko grab Ichigo and his friends so they can begin training with the Reishūkaku in the dojo, and when she reveals that they should train hard because losing focus while channeling Reiryoku into the Reishūkaku will create an explosion, a shocked Ichigo points out that she should have told them this earlier before being carried off. As Ganju stops maintaining the barrier, Kūkaku tells him to take the Reishūkaku downstairs and help the others practice, but when Ganju inquires if she is really going to help them and wonders what he is supposed to tell their older brother, Kaien Shiba, if they help a Shinigami, Kūkaku coldly reiterates that she told him to never speak of that and orders him to never let them see him with such a sorrowful expression, prompting Ganju to silently run off while Kūkaku stares into the distance.
Meanwhile, in the Seireitei, 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai walks briskly along a corridor and attaches his lieutenant's badge to his left shoulder as he notes that this is the first time he has gotten to wear it, which leads 7th Division Lieutenant Tetsuzaemon Iba to observe that this is also the first time he himself has been forced to wear one. With Iba recalling the order for lieutenants to don their badges and stand by in the second conference room as he and Renji reach the doorway, 5th Division Lieutenant Momo Hinamori greets them, and when Renji inquires if she is the only one here, Hinamori confirms this. As she walks in behind them, 10th Division Lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto claims that it could take half a day for all the lieutenants to arrive because they are managing Soul Society alongside the captains. Rangiku mentions that she has been unable to reach her captain, which Iba notes to Renji is Tōshirō Hitsugaya, and while Renji recognizes him as being the famous boy genius, Hinamori asks him if he has seen her captain, Sōsuke Aizen, which Renji denies after recalling their earlier conversation. Tearfully explaining that Aizen has been acting strange all morning and would not tell her why, Hinamori admits that she does not know what to do. As he assures her that it is probably nothing and they will likely cancel the order any minute, Renji mentally wonders what is going on.
Back at the Shiba Clan household, inside the dojo, Koganehiko and Shiroganehiko instruct Ichigo on how to use the Reishūkaku, and while Ganju walks in with an exasperated expression, Ichigo continues to fail at channeling his Reiryoku and asserts that Koganehiko and Shiroganehiko need to explain the process better. Outside, with night approaching, Kūkaku drinks a cup of sake and asks Kaien to forgive her for helping Shinigami when they are the ones who killed him, though she notes that he would scold her if he were alive and she did not help them because he loved Shinigami and died as one.
In the dojo within the Shiba Clan household, under the supervision of Koganehiko and Shiroganehiko, the Ryoka practice creating a barrier around themselves by infusing the Reishūkaku with their Reiryoku: Orihime Inoue easily creates a perfectly spherical barrier, Uryū Ishida creates a narrow and nearly perfect barrier that Koganehiko and Shiroganehiko assume reflects his body shape, and Yasutora Sado creates a slightly unstable yet strong barrier, but Ichigo Kurosaki struggles to create a complete barrier at all. When Koganehiko and Shiroganehiko repeatedly criticize his lack of skill in channeling his Reiryoku, an irate Ichigo hits Koganehiko in the face with the Reishūkaku and demands that they give him better instructions as Ganju Shiba sits in the corner and scratches his nose.
With night arriving, a visibly exhausted Ichigo remains unable to create a barrier. Poking his head into the room, Taichi Miyamoto informs Ganju that dinner is ready before noting that he seems busy. Ganju tells Ichigo and his friends to go eat because they must be hungry, and as Uryū realizes that he is right, Ganju observes that the villagers in Rukongai did not feed them because they do not get hungry due to not using any spiritual powers. When Uryū expresses concern over leaving him behind, Ichigo tells him to go and promises that he will join them once he succeeds in creating a barrier. Upon being asked if she is coming, Orihime claims that she will wait for Ichigo because she is not that hungry, only for her growling stomach to immediately disprove this. As Orihime asserts that her stomach is exaggerating and she really is not hungry, Ichigo requests that she go because he will be fine, and though Orihime insists that she wants to get some more practice in, Ichigo solemnly reiterates his request, prompting a concerned Orihime to agree to do so and push Uryū and Sado out of the room while declaring that she will see Ichigo there, with Ganju staying behind.
Some time later, as an exhausted Ichigo continues to attempt to create a barrier, Ganju lies on his side and stares at him with a bored expression. When an annoyed Ichigo asks him what he is looking at, Ganju questions why he cares, and upon being told to leave because he is distracting, Ganju refuses and continues to watch Ichigo's failed attempts, eventually sitting up, laughing while reading a book, and practicing swings with a tennis racket, the last of which prompts Ichigo to throw the Reishūkaku at him in anger. Dodging, Ganju grabs the Reishūkaku and begins spinning it on his finger while observing that Ichigo is clearly pushing himself before inquiring if it is really so important for him to save Rukia Kuchiki. However, Ichigo denies this, to Ganju's surprise, and grabs the Reishūkaku back from him as Ganju wonders if Ichigo promised to save her. As Ichigo denies this as well, Ganju assumes that Ichigo is getting paid to save her, but an irritated Ichigo points out that Soul Society's money is no good in the Human World. With a confused Ganju demanding to know why he is trying so hard, Ichigo reveals that he owes Rukia because she saved his life, which he has not repaid her for yet, and explains how she lent him her powers so he could save his family, which he elaborates is the reason why she is currently facing execution.
While Ichigo asserts that he is not some loser who would let her die without a fight, a stunned Ganju approaches him and snatches the Reishūkaku out of his hands, and as a bewildered Ichigo demands that he give it back, Ganju claims that he has decided to practice as well and tells Ichigo to not listen to his explanation of his technique. Ganju details how he visualizes a dark and heavy circle in his mind that he imagines himself diving into, resulting in a spherical barrier forming around himself, and notes that this is the basic principle behind all Kidō spells, to Ichigo's astonishment. As he stops maintaining the barrier, Ganju declares that this is incredibly easy and tosses the Reishūkaku back to Ichigo while claiming that even he would be able to do this upon learning the secret, though a genius like Ganju would never need to be shown the secret. With Ganju going upstairs after mocking him as being unable to do it as well due to his lack of talent, an embarrassed Ichigo calls him a cocky idiot and prepares to use this technique.
Walking past the Gotei 13 captains gathered in the meeting room within the First Division barracks, 3rd Division Captain Gin Ichimaru questions what he was called here for and observes that all the captains have assembled just for him, only to notice that 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake is absent and inquire where he is. As Gin expresses sympathy upon being informed by 9th Division Captain Kaname Tōsen that Ukitake is sick once again, 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki informs Gin that they were not called here to discuss a sick captain and brings up Gin's confrontation with Ichigo Kurosaki the previous day before asserting that he let him get away even though a captain should be able to kill four or five Ryoka with ease. Gin merely expresses surprise to hear that Ichigo is not dead, and with Kenpachi shocked by this, Gin claims that he thought Ichigo was dead and wonders if his instincts have begun to fail him. However, 12th Division Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi admonishes Gin for pretending to not know and reminds him that captains can sense the disappearance of a being's Reiryoku, leading him to inquire if Gin was simply so negligent that he did not notice.
With 10th Division Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya annoyed to have to be around bickering old men again, Gin asks Mayuri if he believes Gin let Ichigo get away on purpose, and as Mayuri confirms this, Kenpachi tells him to be silent and threatens to cut Mayuri up if he does not stay out of it because Kenpachi is the one asking the questions. While 2nd Division Captain Suì-Fēng calls this conflict stupid, 8th Division Captain Shunsui Kyōraku expresses apprehension, and 6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki remains silent, Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto criticizes this conduct as disgraceful and tells Kenpachi and Mayuri to stand down, which they do, before noting that Gin should have some idea of why he was called here now. Yamamoto clarifies that he called this meeting because he wants to hear Gin's explanation for acting independently without orders and committing an error unworthy of his rank by allowing his target to get away, and as Yamamoto intensely demands that he explain himself, Gin remains silent.
Meanwhile, within the Shiba Clan household, as Yasutora Sado, Uryū Ishida, and Orihime Inoue eat dinner together, Uryū sets down his bowl alongside Sado as he expresses his thanks for the meal. After responding to Sado's observation that he eats slowly by claiming that this is how he was raised, Uryū notices that Orihime has not eaten much and asks her if she is full, only for Orihime's stomach to growl as she tries to affirm this. When Orihime punches her stomach in an attempt to silence it, an embarrassed Uryū promises that she does not have to do this because he and an equally embarrassed Sado will not say anything. Orihime explains that she wants to give her food to Ichigo, prompting Uryū to realize that he has not shown up yet even though it is past midnight. Suddenly, the three of them, Kūkaku Shiba, Koganehiko, and Shiroganehiko simultaneously feel an incredibly powerful Reiatsu permeating the area, and while Koganehiko and Shiroganehiko panic over one of the giant stone arms supporting the banner outside cracking apart due to the pressure, Orihime realizes that this Reiatsu is coming from Ichigo, which leads her and the others to check on him.
Angrily wondering what Ichigo is doing, Kūkaku rushes down to the dojo, where she finds Orihime, Sado, Uryū, and Ganju Shiba already standing outside. When Kūkaku demands to know what is happening, Ganju nervously explains that he just taught Ichigo a little trick to channel his power and admits that he did not think it would turn out like this. Upon opening the door to the dojo, Kūkaku is shocked to find Ichigo generating an incredibly large and intense barrier around himself with the Reishūkaku, prompting her to instruct him to solidify his Reiryoku right now. As he does so, a sweating Ichigo finds his barrier drastically reduced in size and intensity, and as he proclaims that he has done it, Orihime congratulates him. However, when Ichigo thanks her, Kūkaku berates him for breaking his concentration so suddenly as his barrier cracks and explodes outward. Afterward, with Sado having shielded his friends from the blast, Kūkaku admonishes an incapacitated Ichigo for not heeding her warning of an explosion occurring should any of them lose focus while using the Reishūkaku, which he meekly acknowledges, before turning her ire to Ganju when the latter attempts to pin the blame solely on Ichigo. Declaring that Ganju is equally guilty as she hits him, Kūkaku punishes him by withholding dinner for him, though she returns to hitting Ichigo when the latter mocks Ganju for this, as Orihime watches with a smile.
Back in the captains' assembly hall, Gin simply states that he does not have an explanation, to Yamamoto's surprise, and asserts that he was careless without an excuse before telling Yamamoto to punish him as he sees fit. However, as 5th Division Captain Sōsuke Aizen begins to speak up, an alarm goes off as an announcer informs the Gotei 13 that an intruder has been detected in the Seireitei, leading Kenpachi to wonder if it is the Ryoka.
Back in the assembly hall, Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto notes that it cannot be helped and declares this meeting adjourned for now, as he will issue Gin's punishment later, before ordering the assembled captains to get to their battle stations. While the captains move out, Aizen stands next to Gin and observes that this is a convenient time for an alarm to ring, and when Gin inquires what he could possibly mean by this, Aizen asserts that he cannot get away with it and warns Gin to not underestimate him as they walk away, leaving 10th Division Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya to watch them with interest.
Meanwhile, in the dojo within the Shiba Clan household, Ganju Shiba sits and concentrates as he reads a long scroll while mumbling to himself. Behind him, Ichigo Kurosaki sleeps as he lies stretched out on the floor with his right hand in a fist, only to suddenly bolt awake upon thinking of catnip. Ichigo asks Ganju what he was dreaming about, but an irritated Ganju points out that he has no way of knowing this, and when Ichigo comments on how deeply he slept and wonders why he was sleeping in here, Ganju asserts that he does not know this either. When Ganju refuses to tell him what he is doing, Ichigo is left annoyed as Uryū Ishida walks into the room and reveals that Yoruichi Shihōin is waiting for them upstairs because they are preparing to leave.
Shortly afterward, at the base of the Kakaku Taihō outside, Yoruichi greets Ichigo, Uryū, Orihime Inoue, and Yasutora Sado while sitting with a crooked tail in front of Kūkaku Shiba, Koganehiko, and Shiroganehiko. When Ichigo observes that Yoruichi's tail looks like a toothbrush and wonders what happened, to the shock of his friends, Yoruichi coldly demands to know if he has a problem with this, and as Ichigo meekly denies this, Uryū reveals that this is his fault because he grabbed Yoruichi's tail after falling asleep the previous night, forcing Uryū, Sado, and Orihime to pry him off while leaving Yoruichi's tail bent, which means Ichigo should not bring it up. While a stunned Ichigo agrees, Kūkaku asks him where Ganju is, prompting Ichigo to note that he was reading something downstairs.
Suddenly, Ganju tells everyone to stop and arrives while carrying the scroll and wearing a new outfit, and as he claims that heroes always arrive late, Ichigo questions why he is dressed like this, leading Ganju to explain that this is his custom-made battle costume which he will not allow Ichigo to borrow. As Ichigo brushes this off because he believes Ganju is just here to show off, a solemn Ganju jumps in front of him and reveals that his brother, Kaien Shiba, was killed by a Shinigami, to the shock of Ichigo and his friends. Though Kūkaku is angered by his mention of this, Ganju tells her to shut up and listen, to her surprise, and details how Kaien was special because he made it through the Shin'ō Academy on his first try despite being from the Rukongai and had spiritual powers strong enough to qualify him for the position of Lieutenant within the Gotei 13, which consisted of him finishing a six-year curriculum in two years and becoming a Lieutenant five years after that. However, Ganju asserts that he was betrayed and killed by the Shinigami whom he considered his friends, and with Ichigo listening silently, Ganju concedes that his being a child at the time prevents him from remembering all the details before recalling that the Shinigami who dragged his dying brother to their house had the face of the devil and Kaien himself looked happy when he thanked that Shinigami before dying.
Admitting that he does not know why Kaien did this, Ganju proclaims that he knows for certain Kaien never hated the Shinigami and that he wants to know why. With his gang peering around the side of the house at this, Ganju grabs Ichigo by the collar and declares that he does not believe Ichigo is like the other Shinigami, which leads him to believe that he can discover something if he joins the Ryoka, before revealing that he is going to be helping them because of this. As Ganju concludes that he is willing to go into the heart of enemy territory in order to learn what a Shinigami really is, Ichigo's friends are left in awe by his resolve while the members of his gang weep over his words and Koganehiko and Shiroganehiko tearfully assert that he has grown up to be a fine young man. Despite this, Kūkaku merely notes that it sounds like his mind is made up and warns Ganju to not come crying back to her because he should be ready to die if he enters the Seireitei, which Ganju claims he is. Freeing himself from Ganju's grasp, Ichigo grabs him by the collar and simply welcomes him aboard, prompting Ganju to grin while Kūkaku proclaims there is no turning back now before informing Ichigo and his friends that they are about to begin.
As he stands with his friends during the preparations for their launch into the Seireitei, Ichigo Kurosaki looks at the Reishūkaku and recalls how they all practiced extensively to make a cannonball with it, though Uryū Ishida points out that only Ichigo himself practiced extensively, before inquiring if Yoruichi Shihōin can use it properly. Asserting that this is a silly question, Yoruichi has Ichigo place the Reishūkaku on the ground and stands on top of it before quickly and effortlessly generating a perfect barrier, which Yoruichi claims is as easy as breathing. After letting the barrier dissipate, Yoruichi sees Ichigo on his hands and knees in embarrassment and taunts him over his inability to do this even remotely as easily. Nearby, Ganju Shiba runs up to his sister Kūkaku Shiba, and when the latter notes that she heard he was reading something downstairs and asks him if he mastered it, Ganju admits that this is only somewhat true. After acknowledging this, Kūkaku decides that they will use the Flower Crane Archery Second Style for the Kakaku Taihō, and with Ganju nervously agreeing, Kūkaku slams the side of the Kakaku Taihō with her hand, causing a spiral-shaped opening to appear, before telling Ichigo and his friends to get inside.
Ichigo, Yoruichi, Ganju, Uryū, Orihime Inoue, and Yasutora Sado gather inside the Kakaku Taihō as Kūkaku paints a black circle around the cannon with a large brush and notes that the sun will be up soon, acting as their cue to begin the launch ceremony, before tossing the brush behind her. Inside the Kakaku Taihō, with Ichigo and his friends all holding up the Reishūkaku, Yoruichi stands on top of it and instructs them to stay close once they are inside the Seireitei. Asserting that they should flee immediately if any of them encounter a captain because their only objective is to rescue Rukia Kuchiki, Yoruichi requests that they do not take any unnecessary risks. Upon seeing the sun rise behind her, Kūkaku stabs her sword into the ground and kneels as she begins reciting the incantation, prompting Ichigo and his friends to pool their Reiryoku into the Reishūkaku and form a barrier around themselves at Yoruichi's behest, while Koganehiko and Shiroganehiko assist the spell from afar. As she rips the bandages off her hair and wraps them around her arm, which ignites, Kūkaku slams her flaming fist into the ground, sending a surge of fire up the side of the Kakaku Taihō, before completing the second launch method, Kagizaki, as the Kakaku Taihō fires the Ryoka within high into the sky. With Koganehiko and Shiroganehiko congratulating her on a successful launch, Kūkaku somberly looks up and tells Ganju to be careful.
Flying above the land below, a surprised Ichigo admits that he thought there would be a bigger jolt, only for Ganju to inform him that it is coming as the cannonball suddenly begins flying horizontally toward the Seireitei. While Ichigo and his friends scream in fright, Ganju unties the scroll he was reading prior, and when Ichigo questions what he is doing, Ganju explains that the second launch method of Kakaku Taihō is a two-part incantation, with part one launching and controlling the direction while part two controls the acceleration and trajectory, which he concludes offers precision guidance before telling Ichigo to not bother him if he wants to land in one piece. Ichigo acknowledges this as Ganju tells the others to listen and details how they will need to even out the discharge of their Reiryoku in order to adjust the cannonball's trajectory and land safely inside the Seireitei. After noting that he will not be able to monitor the discharge of their Reiryoku when he begins reading the second incantation, Ganju instructs Ichigo and his friends to adjust their Reiryoku output levels to match his own and assures them that they should be able to sense each others' level of Reiryoku by keeping their hands on the Reishūkaku, allowing them to adjust accordingly, before urging them to concentrate because they are all finished if they mess this up. With affirmation from the others, Ganju begins reading the second incantation from the scroll.
As the cannonball continues to hurtle through the air with Ganju proceeding through the incantation, Orihime meekly informs Ichigo that he is releasing too much Reiryoku, and though he apologizes for this and tries to adjust, Uryū tells him to lower it a little more, prompting a flustered Ichigo to claim that he is trying and has already lowered it by a lot. Though Sado merely says his name, Ichigo grows frustrated and frantically acknowledges Uryū's second request while continuing to try to lower his Reiryoku output. Distracted by this, Ganju accidentally reads the same line of the incantation twice and angrily accuses Ichigo of causing this, only for Ichigo to assert that he lost his concentration because of Ganju. While Orihime and Uryū admonish Ichigo and Ganju for arguing at such a time, Sado looks outside the cannonball and nervously draws his friends' attention there, causing them to realize that the Seireitei is in view. Down in the Seireitei, 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki expresses frustration due to not having found any intruders after searching all night, to his lieutenant Yachiru Kusajishi's disappointment, but as he tells two unseated Shinigami that they can go, Kenpachi hears the high-pitched sound of the cannonball hurtling toward the Seireitei and looks up at it. Elsewhere in the Seireitei, 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai stands with his captain, Byakuya Kuchiki, and is shocked at the sight of the cannonball while 5th Division Captain Sōsuke Aizen instructs his lieutenant, Momo Hinamori, to move everyone else back, which she acknowledges. With other Shinigami running away in fear, Yoruichi realizes that they are going to crash and tells the others to harden the cannonball as much as possible by infusing it with all the Reiryoku they can muster because they have no other option as the cannonball crashes into the Shakonmaku.
The Ryoka manage to break into the Seireitei, but are separated in the process.
Sitting in the Shishinrō in Senzaikyū within the Seireitei, Rukia Kuchiki looks out the narrow window and observes how narrow the patch of sky she can see is, only to be shocked when the sky begins to glow.
Elsewhere in the Seireitei, as they stare up at the cannonball containing the Ryoka, three unseated Shinigami observe that it crashed into the Shakonmaku and stopped while 5th Division Captain Sōsuke Aizen expresses disbelief at a spiritual entity being dense enough to not be destroyed by an impact against the Shakonmaku. In the air above, Ichigo Kurosaki, Orihime Inoue, Yasutora Sado, Uryū Ishida, Yoruichi Shihōin, and Ganju Shiba finds themselves stuck in the tangled remains of the cannonball barrier they created, and when Ichigo wonders why they are not falling even though they got through the shield, Yoruichi tells the others to stay together and explains that their cannonball melted when it hit the Shakonmaku, leaving them tangled in the wreckage, before warning them that it will soon start to swirl and disappear, which will hurl them in different directions if they are separated by that point. Suddenly, Ichigo and his friends are caught up in a swirling whirlwind of energy, prompting Yoruichi to declare that it has begun.
Finding himself being dragged away, Ganju begins frantically swimming in midair toward Ichigo, who angrily tells him to get away while Uryū questions what they are doing. When Yoruichi instructs them to grab someone close and not get separated, Ichigo reluctantly grabs Ganju, who notices his disapproval, and Sado grabs a surprised Orihime while Yoruichi leaps onto Ichigo's shoulder, to his confusion. Sado attempts to grab Uryū's hand, and upon missing, he propels himself away from Orihime and grabs Uryū's collar before throwing him back at Orihime. As she catches a screaming Uryū, Orihime calls out to Sado, who falls to the ground below in a torrent of energy, but when Ichigo expresses concern, Yoruichi assures him that Sado will be all right and points out that they need to think of a way to save themselves if they want to see Sado again. With Ichigo and Orihime reaching for each other while holding onto Ganju and Uryū, respectively, the remainder of the cannonball explodes, sending the Ryoka flying in four different directions while cloaked in energy.
Watching this from below, 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki realizes they are all headed in different directions and wonders which of them is the strongest. Upon seeing that he is hurtling toward a building, Sado manifests his Fullbring, Brazo Derecha de Gigante, and draws back his arm as he prepares to unleash an energy blast. As she and Uryū fall toward the ground, Orihime uses Santen Kesshun to cushion their impact. Yoruichi flies through the air alone and notes that this may prove to be more convenient, and after pushing Ichigo back, Ganju uses Seppa, turning the ground they hit into sand as the impact creates a large explosion of energy. After a moment, Ichigo and Ganju pop up out of the sand pit and begin spitting out sand, leading Ichigo to note that Ganju's strange spell saved them. As he expresses gratitude for this, Ichigo sees Ganju still coughing up sand and kicks him in the back to help the process while questioning how long his spell is supposed to make him cough, and when Ganju accuses him of being ungrateful for doing this, Ichigo explains that this is his way of saying thanks, which surprises Ganju.
Suddenly, 11th Division 3rd Seat Ikkaku Madarame appears beside 5th Seat Yumichika Ayasegawa on the rooftop behind Ichigo and declares that he is lucky before jumping down alongside Yumichika. Landing in front of Ichigo and Ganju, Ikkaku explains that they were hiding out here because they did not feel like being deployed and observes how the intruders fell into their laps regardless as he declares it is not a lucky day for Ichigo, who expresses confusion.
In the Seireitei, several unseated Shinigami discover a large impact crater in the ground, and after realizing that it must have been one of the Ryoka who did not die on impact, they spread out to begin searching. Sitting on a branch of a nearby tree, Yasutora Sado blows steam off his fist, which has his Fullbring, Brazo Derecha de Gigante, activated with a bird sitting on his shoulder protrusion, and wonders what he should do next.
Elsewhere, Yoruichi Shihōin hurtles toward the ground, where several other unseated Shinigami prepare to intercept, only to disappear before crashing into them. With the confused Shinigami deciding to search elsewhere, Yoruichi reappears on and walks along a nearby roof.
Meanwhile, upon envisioning Ichigo Kurosaki standing over her, Orihime Inoue bolts awake and bashfully declares that they are going to engage in close-quarters combat, but finds herself in pain when she strains her bandaged right arm in the process. Asking Orihime if she is alright, Uryū Ishida apologizes for not being Ichigo and explains that they got lucky by landing in an area that seems to have no one around. As she agrees that this is lucky, Orihime clutches her bandaged arm when it stings again, prompting Uryū to instruct her to be careful because she was injured in the crash and he could only bandage her wound because he did not bring any painkillers. Orihime thanks Uryū and expresses surprise at him carrying bandages around, and when Uryū apologizes for her getting hurt because it would not have happened if she did not need to use her powers to protect him, Orihime asserts that she would have gotten hurt anyway due to how clumsy she is. After getting to her feet, Orihime points out that no one would have been around to bandage her in this case, leading to her fainting of blood loss and dying, and tells Uryū that they should get moving before someone comes to investigate the noise generated by their crash, which he acknowledges. However, as the two run off, 7th Division 4th Seat Jirōbō Ikkanzaka steps out from behind some boards leaning against a nearby wall.
At Ichigo and Ganju Shiba's location, 11th Division 3rd Seat Ikkaku Madarame completes his Tsuki-Tsuki Dance as 5th Seat Yumichika Ayasegawa watches, and with Ichigo and Ganju remaining silent while standing in the sand pit, Ikkaku demands to know what they are waiting for before explaining that he was performing his dance in order to give them time to crawl out of there. While Ikkaku questions if they do not recognize generosity of spirit when they see it, a perplexed Ichigo wonders who he is. Drawing Ichigo's attention, Ganju suggests that they flee and responds to Ichigo's questioning of this plan by pointing out that Ikkaku and Yumichika have way too much Reiryoku for Ichigo to effectively fight them. As he wonders what they are talking about, Ikkaku tells Ichigo and Ganju that they can take as much time to argue as they like because it will not make them any luckier, but when Yumichika observes that waiting will force them to share credit with anyone else who shows up, Ikkaku realizes this is true and declares that they have until he finishes his Tsuki-Tsuki Dance to get out of the sand pit. However, Ganju proclaims that Ichigo can fight on his own if he wants to stay and gets out of the pit before running away from them, leading Ikkaku to inquire if they had a quarrel. With Ichigo semi-confirming this as he begins to exit the pit as well, Ikkaku has Yumichika begin chasing after Ganju, who curses his luck.
After Ichigo gets out of the pit, Ikkaku asks him why he did not run even though Ganju fled upon sensing his and Yumichika's considerable power, which he considers a wise decision. Ichigo states that it would be pointless to run because Ikkaku would catch him if he is more powerful than Ichigo, and as Ikkaku stares at him, Ichigo asserts that he just has to beat Ikkaku if the latter is weaker than him while gripping the handle of his Shikai, Zangetsu, prompting Ikkaku to call him a fool for thinking this before unsheathing his Zanpakutō with his left hand and slashing at Ichigo, who leaps back in surprise at the last second. Realizing that Ichigo dodged his attack and seeing him draw Zangetsu, Ikkaku mentally praises his skill as he intercepts Ichigo's slash by using his other hand to block with his scabbard at the base of the blade and handle of Zangetsu. Stunned by Ikkaku using his scabbard in such a way, Ichigo sees Ikkaku's Zanpakutō approaching his head and steps on top of Ikkaku's scabbard, allowing him to dodge by leaping high into the air, to Ikkaku's shock. With Ichigo spinning in midair and striking at him, a grinning Ikkaku merely responds in kind as the two of them cut each other's temples on opposite sides. Afterwards, Ikkaku decides to ask Ichigo for his name, and upon learning it, he comments that it is a good name, which Ichigo admits no one has ever told him before. Ikkaku explains that men whose names begin with the "Ichi" kanji are often good-looking and talented before revealing his own name and position, only for Ichigo to decline his offer to be friends due to their similar names.
As he runs away from 11th Division 5th Seat Yumichika Ayasegawa through the streets of the Seireitei, an unnerved Ganju Shiba questions how long Yumichika is going to keep pursuing him while the latter mocks his running form. Upon encountering a dead end, Ganju uses Seppa to create a hole in the wall, and while Yumichika realizes that this is what he used to create the sand pit he and Ichigo Kurosaki were found in, Ganju leaps through the hole and lands on the other side. However, Yumichika merely asserts that he should be careful as Ganju concludes that his strategy is not working before coming to an abrupt halt upon finding himself in front of a large and cavernous pit.
With Ganju in shock over how close he came to falling in, Yumichika appears behind him and explains that this is an old execution area where Hollows that were taken alive would be cast into the pits and forced to fight criminals, with the Shinigami watching from above on either side. When Ganju nervously claims that the Shinigami have a twisted sense of fun, Yumichika agrees while comparing it to the ugliness of his face before revealing that it is simply an ugly custom which is no longer practiced. Noting that Ganju must be tired of running and chatting, Yumichika unsheathes his Zanpakutō and informs Ganju that he must choose between being killed or falling to his death before requesting that he turn around while considering his choice despite the ugliness of his face because Yumichika likes to observe the faces of those who are confronted with such a choice, leading Ganju to state that this only reinforces his view of the Shinigami as being twisted.
Meanwhile, as he faces off against 11th Division 3rd Seat Ikkaku Madarame, Ichigo wipes the blood away from his eye and the cut above it with his hand, which prompts Ikkaku to admit that he does not understand this course of action because only a novice would remove a hand from the hilt of their sword at this range. As Ichigo asserts that he cannot fight with blood in his eyes and had to do something about it, Ikkaku details how even shallow wounds above the eyes will bleed profusely and concludes that it is better to apply a styptic than to wipe it away while uncapping the bottom of his Zanpakutō's hilt and scooping out a tan substance from within it that he spreads onto the cut over his own eye. Ichigo declares that it is unfair for him to be using something that stops the bleeding, but an irate Ikkaku claims that it is simply him being prepared and that Ichigo should be lauding his professionalism.
Telling Ichigo that he is a strange one, Ikkaku observes that he does not look or act like a proper warrior, yet has first-rate reactions, powerful swings, and movements close to Ikkaku's own in skill. With Ichigo confused by this, Ikkaku assures him that this is a compliment and clarifies that he is saying Ichigo is too good to be dismissed as a lucky battle-crazed novice before inquiring who his master is. When Ichigo admits that somebody did teach him how to fight even though he is not sure he should call him his master because their training only last for ten days, Ikkaku reiterates his desire to know who, only to be stunned when Ichigo reveals that it was Kisuke Urahara. After deciding that it would be disrespectful to kill Ichigo the easy way if Urahara was his master, Ikkaku releases his Shikai, Hōzukimaru, transforming his Zanpakutō and scabbard into a wooden spear, the end of which he jams into the ground, and proclaims that there is no time for Ichigo to be surprised before ripping the end of Hōzukimaru out of the ground as he tells Ichigo to not misjudge it.
Declaring that he will not, Ichigo narrowly dodges Ikkaku's subsequent thrust with Hōzukimaru and blocks the end of it with his Shikai, Zangetsu, only to find Ikkaku jabbing at him repeatedly with the tassel end of Hōzukimaru instead. As he blocks Ikkaku's attacks, a grinning Ichigo questions if Ikkaku thought he would misjudge the long reach of his spear, but Ikkaku denies this, to Ichigo's surprise, and slashes at him with the bladed end once more while gripping Hōzukimaru near its tassel. With Ichigo blocking Hōzukimaru near his hand on its wooden pole section, Ikkaku commands Hōzukimaru to split, causing it to separate into three segments connected by chain links and bend around the back of Ichigo's head at 90 degree angles as the bladed end hurtles toward his face.
At the last second, Ichigo blocks the bladed end with his forearm, receiving a deep cut to it, and moves back as Ikkaku pulls Hōzukimaru back and bends it around his neck while noting that this is what he expected Ichigo to misjudge. Explaining that Hōzukimaru is a sansetsukon rather than a spear, Ikkaku observes that the pain Ichigo is feeling from his wound will probably prevent him from holding his sword with that arm and assures him that he would normally capture Ichigo so he can live because he is a man of generous spirit before concluding that he does not get credit unless he kills Ichigo. However, Ichigo merely wraps the cloth on the handle of Zangetsu around his bleeding arm and ties it up before slashing at Ikkaku, who leaps away as he sees Ichigo's attack destroying a large portion of the wall behind where he was standing. With Ikkaku shocked by this display of power, Ichigo asserts that this fight is not over because he has not yet shown Ikkaku what his own sword can do as he promises Ikkaku that he will soon be the one who cannot hold his weapon, leading Ikkaku to comment that he is very confident.
With Ichigo Kurosaki having destroyed a large chunk of a nearby wall with his last attack, 11th Division 3rd Seat Ikkaku Madarame notes that he is very confident to declare that Ikkaku will soon be unable to hold his weapon before inquiring what the basis of this confidence is as he jabs the bladed end of his Shikai, Hōzukimaru, at Ichigo, who narrowly blocks it with his own Shikai, Zangetsu. Noticing that Hōzukimaru is still in its split sansetsukon form, Ichigo looks forward to see Ikkaku leaping toward him with the tassel end of Hōzukimaru in hand. As he declares that Ichigo is too slow, Ikkaku smashes Hōzukimaru into Ichigo, who grabs at the tassel end with his free hand, and turns around as he lands just in time to block Ichigo's subsequent slash with Zangetsu using the chains connecting Hōzukimaru. Reconnecting the two segments on either side of Zangetsu in order to knock Ichigo off-balance, Ikkaku propels the remaining segment at Ichigo, sending him flying back with the force of the impact.
However, as Ikkaku spins the tassel segment of Hōzukimaru and wonders if Ichigo was all talk while noting that attacks with Hōzukimaru can confound a novice due to how difficult they are to read, Ichigo denies this and reveals that his eyes are already used to Ikkaku's attacks as he drops the remnants of the tassel of Hōzukimaru from his hands, leading Ikkaku to see that the tassel end of Hōzukimaru is broken and realize that Ichigo did this with his bare hand during their previous skirmish. With Ikkaku distracted, Ichigo leaps into the air above him, surprising Ikkaku with his speed, and reiterates his assertion that Ikkaku will soon no longer be able to hold his weapon before slashing into him with a small Getsuga Tenshō.
Blood spurts into the air and splatters on the ground as Ikkaku stands with a large cut in his chest, the tassel segment of Hōzukimaru having been cut cleanly in two by Ichigo's attack. Looking at Ichigo, who stands in front of him with Zangetsu held out to the side, Ikkaku questions if he is done already and declares that he can still hold his weapon as he begins spinning the bladed segment of Hōzukimaru above his head. As Ikkaku asserts that Ichigo will need to cut his arms off if he does not want Ikkaku to hold a weapon, Ichigo calmly tells him to put Hōzukimaru away, but Ikkaku refuses, and when Ichigo frantically tells him to put it away because he knows that he has lost this fight, Ikkaku simply tells him that a battle is only over when one of the combatants are dead before leaping toward Ichigo while proclaiming that he was not born a coward who would surrender in order to escape death. Reminded of his training with Kisuke Urahara by Ikkaku's approach, Ichigo claims that he is too slow by comparison and unleashes a second small Getsuga Tenshō upward, cutting Ikkaku's arm all the way up to his shoulder and shattering Hōzukimaru. Ikkaku praises Ichigo's skills and states that he himself is unlucky before collapsing, only for Ichigo to note that they are both unlucky.
Elsewhere in Karakura Town, as a Hollow roars, Don Kanonji and Karin Kurosaki run up to it before using Golden Kanonball and Karin-Style Death Shot, respectively, resulting in the Hollow being hit by two small spheres of energy and a soccer ball. With the Hollow sent flying toward him by this, Jinta Hanakari smashes his Muteki Tekkon into it for his Jinta Home-Run, allowing Ururu Tsumugiya to finish it off with a barrage from her Senren Bakusatsu Taihō. While the Karakura Superheroes celebrates another victory, Zennosuke watches from behind a nearby wall and is left stunned by the inhabitants of Karakura Town doing such things. Suddenly, as she walks by, Tatsuki Arisawa calls Zennosuke creepy for watching some kids playing, further shocking him with her ability to see him.
I've recently learned to tie almost perfect butterfly knots, something I've never been able to do and had almost given up on. Life is a daily learning process. So now, whenever someone asks me "What's your hobby?" it's my policy to respond: "Butterfly knots." This is a limited time offer, so act soon. Tite Kubo