While Kurotsuchi continues to try to figure out the Zanpakutou problem, Hinamori and Rangiku have their own Zanpakutou taken to the 4th Division. The two are now concerned about Hitsugaya, so they go looking for him, and by chance they run into Ichigo who tells them what happened. The three of them then happen to see Muramasa emerge from a rift, and he appears to be in bad shape. Muramasa reveals that Ichigo’s power is useful to him, but because of his own condition right now, he’s unable to use his powers effectively against these Shinigami. Fortunately for Muramasa, Senbonzakura appears and protects him. Knowing that he’s fighting Byakuya’s Zanpakutou, Ichigo initiates bankai, and he’s even forced to bring out his mask to break out of the sphere that Senbonzakura tries to trap him in. In their next clash, Ichigo is able to break off part of Senbonzakura’s mask, but after that, to everyone’s surprise, Byakuya himself appears and puts an end to the battle. They’re even more surprised when Byakuya attacks Ichigo with a spell to get him to back off and appears to be on Muramasa’s side. Byakuya claims that he’s doing this all on his own will, and he warns Ichigo not to interfere with Muramasa or else risk death. Ichigo thus can only watch in shock as Byakuya, Senbonzakura, and Muramasa then disappear in a pink wave.


Knowing about Byakuya’s betrayal from the episode title, I originally thought that they were doing this to be able to milk another long Byakuya vs. Ichigo battle. However we basically saw all the highlights of that in this episode, with Ichigo as the clear victor after a decent battle where he had to use his mask, and the way the episode ends seems to indicate that there’s actually something interesting about Byakuya switching sides. The stuff he said about pride felt cryptic, and he obviously knows something regarding Muramasa that hasn’t been revealed yet (unless he’s just bluffing to get Muramasa to trust him). I question though the scope of this so-called betrayal and how it relates to this arc as a whole. I find it hard to believe that they’d set up Byakuya as a semi-villain for more than a few episodes, and I suspect how long it lasts and what we learn from it will be a clue to how long this anime original arc will ultimately go. Regardless, it’d be great if Byakuya actually got some significant character development in the process, and I wonder what he’s doing attacking Sode no Shirayuki in the preview.


  1. I like this episode a lot, i thought Byakuya was brainwashed, but the whole thing with this arc is inner desire, so character development with other people’s inner desire. didn’t like part with Gegetsuburi, it was dragged out to long,

  2. Seeing Byakuya attack Sode no Shirayuki may have something to do with Rukia. He mostly do things to protect Rukia. Maybe she is the pride he is talking about. Maybe trying to convince Sode no Shirayuki to go back to Rukia.

  3. Returning Sode no Shirayuki to Rukia is protecting her? I think the other way around.

    If she doesn’t a zanpakuto she must stop being a shinigami and therefore be removed from the semingly constant danger she is in since meeting Ichigo.

  4. When I heard him say protecting his pride I immediately remembered that he said those lines before when fighting the 7th Arrancer.

    I think he found out Sode no Mae attacked Rukia and wants her blood now.

  5. Clearly he’s playing the betrayer to find Muramasa’s base of operations. Well, atleast that’s what I believe is happening.

    It isn’t like Ichigo needed to use his mask either, by doing so he just avoided taking any damage whatsoever. So this arc still has high levels of win.

  6. wow great episode, and looks like this CAN drag till another opening and maybe next year then we get to see original manga content again? Well all’s to wait…

    well if mayuri needs help, maybe I could help out… xD

  7. from the information they gave us, im guessing… muramasa took over yamamoto’s body (as he keep saying something about his body), and byakuya know this, and is trying to find ways to get muramasa out of his body. by being close to muramasa he would have more chance to find out how. Byakuya also mentioned pride, which simple put, if yamamoto/muramasa was to get killed by ichigo, the pride and stability of gotei 13 would be a mess…. thats jsut what im guessing XD

  8. Okay episode, but: why is Ichigo’s power so inconstant? He was already at captain level before he became a Vizard, so why does he barely beat Sebonzakura with his mask on? Why does he need to put on the mask at all, if he can repel all the blades just by using his bankai’s speed and strength? True, Ichigo’s supposedly vast power and its various failures to materialize for what it is are so common as to be considered themes in the show, but it’s still damn annoying that Ichigo, who ought to be one of or the strongest characters in the show, is portrayed as such a weakling. After all, if Byakuya is speaking the truth about being able to beat his zanpakutou easily (or not submitting to it, more specifically), and Byakuya has neither bankai nor vizard powers with which to defeat his zanpakutou, Ichigo ends up looking like an overdone weak moron by comparison.

    Compare this to his getsuga from a few episodes ago, which was so vastly powerful that Kira and Hisagi, who were outside Seireitei, looked around in awe. No consistency.

  9. @Calliope

    I completely agree with you, Ichigo’s power level is constantly fluctuating and inconsistent in this series. =/ It gets on my nerves a lot, but I’ve mostly come to ignore it.

  10. What could really have happened that would cause Byakuya to just change sides? He has never been known to fight others unless he deems them a danger to Soul Society or betray Soul Society.

    Matt Gross
  11. What did Muramasa mean by when he said, “I still haven’t adjusted to this body”? is something going on that only Byakuya knows about? Was it Byakuya who knocked out several of those Shinigamis awhile back?

    Matt Gross
  12. I think the reason why his power is inconsistent is because we don’t realize he’s supposed to be this 15 year old kid with a hell of a lot of power and a lot less training on how to control it than the captains. Ichigo is closest in controlling his bankai power with the likes of bankai Hitsugaya (Hitsu’s like 9 years old physically and somewhere about 50 years old in actual time). Hell, Ichigo can’t even use attacking and binding spells like Hitsuguya. His raw power itself is like Zaraki’s but Zaraki has a lot more fighting experience and control (or restraint, with the eyepatch). Also, we know he is sandbagging most of the time because he doesn’t intend to kill anyone at first.

  13. it’d be awesome if Kenpachi got back from his errand (see first ep) and beat the shats out of Muramasa.
    though the filler would be over too soon that way 😛

    i’m not sure about the Byakuya betrayal. it could be good, or Byakuya’s character could suffer. only time will tell, i guess…

  14. @heminder:
    Not only would the filler be over too quickly if Kenpachi came back, but very little has been revealed thus far about his Zanpakuto. Maybe Kubo intends to keep it a secret.
    And about Byakuya; I’m sure he has a good reason, as he never does anything without thinking it through. It still made me go “wtf,” though.
    “It could be good, or Byakuya’s character could suffer. Only time will tell, I guess.”
    I do hope it is the former, rather than the latter, since he’s my favorite character.


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