As Ichigo tries to chase after Byakuya, he passes through the forest where Tobiume and Haineko are wandering around. They decide to have some fun with him and start attacking him, but Ichigo isn’t really interested in fighting them. Fortunately for him, Rangiku and Hinamori are on patrol, and they step in to face their own Zanpakutou, allowing Ichigo to leave. Rangiku has no qualms about fighting Haineko due to their strained relationship, but Hinamori first tries to talk to Tobiume. Tobiume, however, thinks that Hinamori is weak, and she gets Hinamori angry by implying that it was her own fault that Aizen betrayed her. Ichigo meanwhile continues forward and senses someone nearby. When he goes to investigate though, he gets attacked by pillars of ice. His opponent is none other than Hyourinmaru, but Hyourinmaru loses interest once Ichigo initiates bankai. It turns out that Hyourinmaru doesn’t remember who his original owner was or his own name, and he had thought that it might have been Ichigo. Having overheard all this, Hitsugaya suddenly appears and tells Hyourinmaru who he is.
During all of this, Muramasa has been in the Menos Forest in Hueco Mundo. Despite his own weakened state, he’s able to take out everything that comes after him, including several Gillians.
None of the Tobiume and Haineko stuff this episode was really interesting for me. I think that’s partly because Rangiku and Hinamori haven’t been shown to be particularly powerful, and partly because so much time is spent on the two Zanpakutou spirits arguing instead of doing anything of note. The only real highlight in that battle was that Tobiume invoked the memories of Aizen, and it’s good to see that something like that riles Hinamori up. Of much more interest was Hyourinmaru and his apparent amnesia, and it makes me think that it’ll be fairly easy for Hitsugaya to get his Zanpakutou back. As for Muramasa, I still don’t know why he’s in Hueco Mundo, but I suspect it has something to do with understanding Hollows and the one inside of Ichigo.
Speaking of which, I was amused at the fact that Ichigo had initiated bankai at the end of last episode, yet went out of it to continue chasing Byakuya on foot. It makes no sense that he didn’t just stay in that form given how much faster he supposedly is in it, never mind the fact that he had to use it later anyway against Hyourinmaru.