Ichigo is in the forest, unsteady on his feet. He prays that his Reiatsu is enough for just one attack. Nozomi Kujō walks through the forest nearby, only to run into Kagerōza Inaba. Elsewhere, Kon manages to rip the rock from the ground and then proceeds to run back the way they came, carrying the rock on his back. Ichigo shouts for Nozomi to get down, and Inaba attempts to use Raikū, but finds that it has vanished. Nozomi gets down and covers her head with her arms, and Ichigo unleashes all his Reiatsu in a powerful Getsuga Tenshō that completely obliterates Inaba. Nozomi gets up and rushes over to where Ichigo is, to which Ichigo tells her that he's alright. He begins to tell her to come with him, but suddenly Inaba finishes with "to where we belong." Both people spin around to see Inaba laughing, and Nozomi wonders how he survived.
Inaba reveals that back when the slope crumbled under his feet, he took a small precaution: Raikū can even copy Inaba himself. He created a decoy to ensure that they would waste their time with the decoy. He bids farewell to Ichigo and defeats the Substitute Shinigami with a single strike. Ichigo falls face-first into the ground, completely unconscious. Nozomi calls Ichigo's name before Inaba hand-knifes her in the back of the neck, knocking her unconscious as well. Inaba picks up Nozomi and opens up a time-space portal with Raikū, Kon races onto the scene and jumps at the portal just after it closes up and falls to the ground, shouting Nozomi's name in anguish. Meanwhile, Ichigo's shihakushō turns white, his powers now gone.
Recovery & Lost Hope
Ichigo lies helplessly in the rain as Inaba takes Nozomi away. He blacks out soon after. He later awakens at the Urahara Shop, Kisuke Urahara having brought him there. Urahara reassures him that he hasn't been out that long; maybe half a day after he had passed out. Ichigo asks how the others are doing, to which Urahara responds that they have not fully recovered just yet, but are getting better slowly thanks to the efforts of Orihime Inoue. Urahara then asks Ichigo to focus on making a full recovery and begins to leave the room to make Ichigo some tea. Ichigo stops him to ask if he had lost all of his Reiatsu, to which Urahara solemnly replies that he did. Ichigo then asks if that means he is now incapable of helping Nozomi, to which Urahara responds that he really couldn't say.
Elsewhere, Rukia Kuchiki and Lieutenant Renji Abarai find out from Captain Retsu Unohana that Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto is past the worst of his injuries, but that he won't be returning to battle any time soon. They also find out that 3rd Seat Ikkaku Madarame and 5th Seat Yumichika Ayasegawa are showing no signs of recovering from their severe injuries. Renji resolves to go after Inaba, but Unohana tells him that while she also wants to save Nozomi, the best thing they can do is wait.
Back at Urahara's shop, Ichigo is now dressed and preparing to leave. He tells Urahara that he can't help anyone just sitting there. Urahara then smiles and asks Ichigo to take a walk with him. During their walk, they bump into Yasutora Sado, Uryū Ishida, and Orihime. Ichigo notices the solemn looks on their face, and tells them not to worry about his lost Reiryoku, and that, even if he can't fight, he will still help them in any way he can. Rukia and Renji then arrive in Gigai, allowing Ichigo to see them. Renji explains that they came to see how he was doing, but that he looked just fine. Ichigo apologizes and says that even though he no longer has his spiritual energy, he still has his soul and that he hasn't given up. Renji calls him an idiot, and Rukia kicks him while Urahara, Chad, Orihime, and Uryū look on with a smile.
Return to the Precipice World
In Soul Society, Inaba is still badly wounded from his fights with Ichigo and Yamamoto. Reigai-Nanao Ise suggests Inaba get treated, but he shoves her away in anger; insisting that he start the fusion between Nozomi and himself immediately, commanding her to make the preparations.
Back at the Urahara Shop, Uryū tells the group that they need to break into Soul Society while Inaba is more focused on Nozomi, rather than them. Renji tells Ichigo that with or without him, they are still at a disadvantage and not to worry. Ishida, however, points out that they cannot totally disregard Ichigo's absence; as Inaba is wary of Ichigo. Urahara explains that the reason Inaba was wary of Ichigo, was due to his Hollow powers, as he could not make a Reigai of Ichigo because of them. He further explains that that is why Inaba resorted to using the Kōtotsu to attack Ichigo.
Urahara then reveals that he may know a way to restore Ichigo's Reiatsu, by using the Reishi the Kōtotsu took from Ichigo and reversing Inaba's Reigai creation technique to make more of Ichigo's Reiryoku, thus restoring his powers. He also says that since Ichigo has no Reiatsu, he is the only one who can enter the Kōtotsu and live. Ichigo responds that since he is unable to think of any other way to save Nozomi, he is willing to take the risk.
In Urahara's underground training room, Urahara separates Ichigo's soul from his body and gives him a communication device in case of emergencies as well as a device to detect his Reishi. Kon arrives, upset that he is powerless to protect anyone, and that he always has to rely on Ichigo to fight for him. Ichigo tells Kon that none of this was his fault and promises him that he will return. Kon gives Ichigo Nozomi's good luck charm, to which Ichigo thanks him and then leaves for the Dangai.
The Kōtotsu arrives soon after Ichigo's arrival in the Dangai, and swallows him up. He navigates through the Kōtotsu's interior, confirming that Urahara's device works. Soon after, however, the Kōtotsu begins trying to expel Ichigo, and Urahara tells him to abandon the mission. Ichigo resolves to finish it, but almost loses the Reishi-tracking device. At last, Ichigo finds his Reishi and absorbs it into the machine. As he is about to flee the Kōtotsu, he notices "another him" inside of it and decides to rescue it at the last minute.
When Ichigo returns to the Human World, Urahara expresses his relief and takes the machine from Ichigo to begin the process of restoring his powers. Ichigo explains to the group about the "other him", to which Urahara surmises that the Ichigo he saw was the one from the past, when Ichigo first had gotten swallowed by the Kōtotsu. As they begin to head back to the shop, Ichigo thanks Kon for the good luck charm.
Meanwhile, in Soul Society, Nozomi is put into a glass chamber, which is then filled with pink fluid. Inaba says that "both space and time are right" and that it is time to begin.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Bleach anime; Episode 334
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Bleach anime; Episode 335