While the captains continue to fight the Zanpakutou, Ichigo has made his way to the cavern where Yamamoto appears to be held. He meets Muramasa there, Muramasa wants Ichigo to go all out against him, so Ichigo unleashes his full power in a Getsuga Tenshou. Kyouraku, Ukitake, and Yoruichi meanwhile have all realized that their Zanpakutou opponents are stalling for time, and because they suspect something is up, they proceed to the same cavern where Ichigo is. They arrive just as Muramasa uses Ichigo’s attack to destroy the barrier around Yamamoto, and Muramasa immediately approaches him. It turns out that the barrier had been put up by Yamamoto himself, and Muramasa has now accomplished his goal of intruding into Yamamoto’s own inner world. Everything that Muramasa has done thus far has been for this, and he now has control over Ryuujin Jakka. Yamamoto explains afterward that Muramasa is a Zanpakutou with tapeworm-like powers, and they need to stop him.
As Ichigo and the captains struggle to escape from Ryuujin Jakka’s flames, Yamamoto reveals that Muramasa’s real goal is to revive his Shinigami master Kouga who was sealed away in Karakura Town after causing a lot of trouble a long time ago. By now, Muramasa has already arrived in the real world with Byakuya and Senbonzakura, and he heads by himself to the right place. He runs into Inoue though, and after a brief battle, he’s overcome by his own weakness. Inoue decides to heal him because she doesn’t want to see him suffering, and Ishida and Sado then show up. Back in Soul Society, Ichigo and company are helped out by the arrival of Hitsugaya and Hyourinmaru, and their ice powers are enough to let Ichigo escape the flames to go stop Muramasa.
On the whole, I enjoyed episode 247 a bit more than 248. The former had much better battles and production quality, and it confirmed my suspicions that breaking the barrier around Yamamoto was not the best of ideas. Episode 248 moved the story forward by finally revealing what Muramasa’s real goal is, but I was flabbergasted by how Inoue healed the guy who just attacked her, and the end sequence with Ichigo escaping Ryuujin Jakka’s flames was really really cheesy (enough to make me laugh) thanks to how they played Number One over it.
I also don’t understand how exactly Hitsugaya and Hyourinmaru’s ice powers can freeze flames and why they decided to enter the flames in the first place. Oh and I’m not a big fan of the fact that Yoruichi and Zaraki are still fighting those battles against Zanpakutou since it seems pointless now that we know what Muramasa’s real goal is. Speaking of which, I assume that Muramasa going to succeed in freeing his old master – future episode titles seem to suggest this as well – and they’ve set it up now so that it’ll be Ichigo and friends who’ll have to defeat both of them. I am very curious though as to why Byakuya is still helping Muramasa…