Muramasa sends Sode no Shirayuki away, and Ichigo asks why he wanted the zanpakut? to gain independence over the shinigami. Although he does not give the reason, Muramasa replies that zanpakut... s can seperate themselves away regardless of being the soul of a shinigami, and he is a good example of one. Ichigo cannot accept this view and attacks him. Muramasa uses illusions to overwhelm Ichigo and pins him to the ground, where he proceeds to drag Zangetsu out of him. Once Zangetsu manifests, he immediately attacks Ichigo. Meanwhile, Mayuri begins experimenting on himself in order to research the zanpakut... s' manifestation. After Zangetsu seemingly defeats Ichigo, Ichigo transforms into his hollow form and strikes back. After a while, he transforms into his stronger form and easily beats down Zangetsu. Muramasa tries a sneak attack but Ichigo immediately regenerates and attacks him. Before the hollow form can do anything else, Ichigo manages to return to his shinigami form and falls unconscious at Muramasa's feet.
From creator Tite Kubo, comes the story of a world where death lurks impalpable to an everyday human's eyes. Ichigo Kurosaki helps run a local clinic with his family but Ichigo has the unusual ability to see poltergeists but rather than react with surprise he merely sees it as an annoyance. Ichigo helps those when he cares but can't bring himself to care enough... until one fateful day. A small, mysterious woman appears on duty inside his room, a Soul Reaper known as Rukia. Soon enough Ichigo and Rukia get formal in the oddest of ways and in such an untimely matter the losses begin. The Kurosaki family is soon attacked. This leads Ichigo on his first step to accepting the roles and responsibility's a Soul Reaper must uphold.