Yoruichi has an idea of where Yamamoto is, so Zaraki, Yachiru, Kyouraku, Ukitake, and Ichigo accompany her to find him. They arrive in the woods to one opening to an underground area, and the three captains and Yachiru take that one while Yoruichi and Ichigo head in through another entrance. Along the way, Yoruichi gets attacked by Tobiume and Haineko, and since she can handle both of them by herself, she sends Ichigo on ahead. Kyouraku and Ukitake meanwhile run into their own respective Zanpakutou, and both Katen Kyoukotsu and Sougyo no Kotowari are actually two entities. Elsewhere in the maze of tunnels, Zaraki and Yachiru run into Gonryoumaru and Tenken. By now, Ichigo has also run into a Zanpakutou, and in his case, it’s Minazuki. Minazuki, however, does not attack and instead leads Ichigo down a tunnel to where Kazeshini is waiting. Ichigo is able to beat Kazeshini by using his bankai and Getsuga Tenshou, and afterward, he continues on to cavern where Yamamoto is being kept.
Well, Kazeshini was kind of pathetic in that fight, but I guess he wasn’t at 100%, and he was fighting the main character of the series. Still, it would have been more appropriate if Kira had just finished him off in the previous battle instead of Ichigo here. I am curious though why Minazuki didn’t do anything except lead Ichigo forward. Since Unohana didn’t come with the other captains, I guess this probably means that we won’t see Minazuki fight this time (and in fact I have a sneaking suspicion that Minazuki might not ever fight in this arc). On that note, I wish that we got to see Yoruichi’s Zanpakutou in this mix too since this would be an ideal place to develop that story, but it doesn’t look like they’re going to introduce anything that’ll limit what Kubo Tite can draw in the manga in the future. I do wonder though if there’ll be hints or references to Katen Kyoukotsu’s abilities since those have now been shown in the manga. It’s definitely something to look for in the next episode, though the future episode titles seem to indicate that the story might take a different turn soon. Ichigo might not want to release Yamamoto here…