After Shuuhei gets severely injured, Kazeshini is ready to finish him off, but Kira steps in just in time to save him. Kira doesn't stick around to fight Kazeshini though and instead traps him with a kidou binding spell before escaping with Shuuhei to safety. Elsewhere in Soul Society, Renji is able to fight his Zanpakutou spirits more effectively now that he has the shikai form of his sword, but they respond by initiating bankai. This turns the tide of the battle back in their favor, and when it becomes clear that Renji is no match for this, they decide to leave him. Renji, however, decides to try to use some kidou spells against them. At first his blasts are ineffective and some even backfire, but he finally succeeds after he uses a spell to shatter his own sword and then combing the kidou with the sword pieces. Renji uses the Broken Baboon Fang to slash his Zanpakutou spirits from all directions. Their defeat results in them returning to their original sword form, and the entire fight has Renji vowing that he'll keep trying to get stronger.
Ichigo meanwhile finds himself fighting Zangetsu again, and Zangetsu claims to want to know which one of them is truly strong. To do this, Zangetsu initiates bankai and uses a much more powerful Getsuga Tenshou against Ichigo. Ichigo is unable to do the same, so he's forced to rely on his own abilities and the help of his Hollow side. Even though he doesn't bring out his mask, it is those Hollow powers that allow him to overcome Zangetsu's Getsuga Tenshou, and the defeat returns Zangetsu back to his sword form. Afterward, part of Muramasa's body starts to phase out, causing him to decide to retreat. With Muramasa gone, Zangetsu explains to Ichigo that Muramasa was brainwashing them and manipulating them through their instinct. Knowing this, Ichigo is still determined to go after him.