After dismissing Sode no Shirayuki, Muramasa proceeds to lecture Ichigo on how Zanpakutou are souls born inside the heart of the Shinigami. Muramasa feels that the Zanpakutou aren’t part of the Shinigami though and are their own separate entities, and he also reveals that he used Rukia to lure Ichigo here. When Ichigo tries to fight him, Ichigo finds that he’s unable to land any hits, and Muramasa counterattacks by casting a disorienting spell. With Ichigo unable to do anything, Muramasa is able to separate Zangetsu from him, and Ichigo barely has any time to defend himself before Zangetsu attacks. Just as it looks like Ichigo is finished though, his Hollow side pops out and launches a furious assault. He’s able to match Zangetsu move for move, and when Zangetsu appears to hurt him, Ichigo just becomes even more Hollowfied. After Hollow Ichigo overwhelms Zangetsu with a cero blast, Muramasa re-enters the fight, but his attack is quickly healed up. Hollow Ichigo seems ready to take on Muramasa, however Ichigo refuses to give up his body to his Hollow side, and he fights to regain control of himself. He succeeds, but he’s too exhausted to fight afterward, and he collapses in front of Muramasa.
There was a considerable drop in animation quality in the middle of this episode (the scene between Nemu, Isane, and Unohana in particular looked horrible), but it didn’t bother me later on, and I have to say that I really enjoyed watching the Hollow Ichigo vs. Zangetsu fight. Admittedly, a lot of it is redux from the last time Ichigo became so Hollowfied, but that was so long ago and against different opponents, so this still felt fresh. It’s a damn shame though that Ichigo decided to regain control of himself before his Hollow side could take care of Muramasa. Without Zangetsu, it’s the only other thing he had going for him, and yet he throws away the advantage. It doesn’t look like Muramasa is going to kill him though. From the preview, it seems as if Muramasa is instead going to make an appeal to Hollow Ichigo or something inside Ichigo’s inner world.