As Unohana, Kyouraku, and Ukitake review what’s going on, Shuuhei and Renji come face to face with their own Zanpakutou. Renji doesn’t even recognize his Zanpakutou at first due to how its human form has two halves, a baboon female and a snake child. They attack him because, as they explain, they heard a voice that told them to follow their instinct. Kazeshini tells Shuuhei the same thing, and he claims that Shuuhei doesn’t understand how he wants to reap lives. Ichigo meanwhile regains consciousness inside of his inner world, and to his surprise, Muramasa is there as well. Muramasa explains that he’s able to be there because he’s a Zanpakutou, and he goes on to reveal that he killed his former owner. He’s now interested in Ichigo’s Hollow powers, and when Ichigo tries to attack him, he easily stops Ichigo with a wave of the hand. He then uses his powers to summon Hollow Ichigo out of Ichigo. After figuring out that Hollow Ichigo was the source of Ichigo’s earlier power, Muramasa introduces himself again and reveals that his power is to awaken Zanpakutou instincts, and he wants to do the same again here. Hollow Ichigo, however, isn’t affected and attacks Muramasa.
I wouldn’t call this a slow or boring episode since it had a few decent action scenes that made up the start of some interesting showdowns, plus the introduction of Zabimaru’s human form, but I was hoping they’d make a little more progress than they actually did. As it stands, all this episode did was basically set up three fights and emphasize the whole instinct thing amid a lot of flashbacks and recap over what we already know. They ended the episode right as we were getting to the best part, so while I look forward to seeing what happens between Hollow Ichigo and Muramasa next week – and to a lesser degree, Renji and Shuuhei in their respective battles – this week was somewhat lacking. I do find it interesting though that Muramasa claims to have killed his former owner, and I’m still waiting for some plot twist revelation on who that owner was. I’m also curious about why the title of episode 236 in two weeks refers to some new Getsuga Tenshou.