Byakuya manages to win his showdown against Kouga, and as he struggles to keep standing, Kouga tries to call out to Muramasa. Muramasa, however, doesn’t respond, and Kouga falls into the lake. At that moment, Muramasa is undergoing a transformation, and his body turns into a vortex that starts sucking in all the Hollows that Ichigo and friends were trying to take care of. It results in Muramasa gaining an Arrancar body, granting him great speed and making him very tough to fight. Byakuya even has to step in to save Inoue and Rukia from a Cero. Inoue, however, thinks that Muramasa isn’t completely Hollow and tries to reason with him, but it’s ultimately no use, and Ichigo has to bring out his own mask to fight Muramasa. Ichigo is able to gain the upper hand, but after Muramasa falls, his body turns into a jelly-like substance that envelopes Ichigo and then takes the form of a giant dome-like creature. It starts spitting out Menos and causes a Garganta to open in the sky, and Rukia and Inoue are forced to run. Luckily for them, Sode no Shirayuki arrives to save them, but it’s not just her: it’s all of the Shinigami and their respective Zanpakutou.
Generally speaking, I wasn’t too impressed by this episode. The actual battle had its ups and downs, as did the animation quality, but I thought the conclusion to the Byakuya and Kouga part of the battle was understated given how important of a fight it was made to be last week, and it felt like the plot re-focused a little too fast on Muramasa. Of course, Kouga’s probably not entirely dead yet and might still come back, but part of the problem here was that the Muramasa half of the battle just wasn’t as interesting as the Kouga half because it came across as very generic with all the Menos, Hollow, and Arrancar powers that we’ve already seen. It doesn’t help either that they decided to have Inoue be the one who believed in Muramasa and cried for him, a scene which made me roll my eyes. Fortunately, the episode did get better at the end when Sode no Shirayuki made her nice entrance with the rest of the Shinigami. I don’t think it’ll take all of them to defeat the Hollows and Muramasa (theoretically it’d only take a couple of captains using their bankai), but I guess they want to show off all the Shinigami reunited with their Zanpakutou powers. Either way, the arc should be over in a couple of weeks.