Everything is starting to look bleak for Ichigo as his chain of fate begins to eat itself, which may not be such a problem normally. Only in the Shattered Shaft a gas is slowly leaked into the hole which can lead to the encroachment completing itself in only three days.
Elsewhere Orihime succeeds in releasing her six fairies again only to get abused by Tsubaki for not having a reason to summon him. Chad has a harder time manifesting his Right Arm of the Giant as he has a mental block on what Karin looked like. He ends up picturing Ichigo with make- up and a black wig and makes himself sick.
Back at the underground bunker time is running out for Ichigo as he has lost most of his chain and endured the most obnoxious torture that the shop's kids put him through. At one point Ichigo jumps to his feet and runs about 10 feet up the wall, but only falls back down the wall. Jinta offers him food at one point too before trying top spit on him from the top of the hole. He informs Ichigo that hunger is the first sign that a person is turning Hollow.
Time eventually runs out for Ichigo as he begins to turn into his Hollow form, but in the few seconds that it takes for the white bone like mask to flow over his face Ichigo is pulled into his inner realm where he meets a strange man with dark hair, a long coat, and sunglasses. The man says he is disappointed that Ichigo has not yet learned his name and warns that he has to find him before his spirit world completely falls apart. As Ichigo sinks into the water at the bottom of his world he reaches out with his mind to find the right box by tracing it with it's spirit ribbon.
As Ichigo opens the box the strange man disappears from his inner world and lets Ichigo awaken back in the real world. As Ichigo seems to be giving in to his transformation Tessai tries to bind him and finish him off, but it proves too late as Ichigo's powers cause and explosion and he jumps from the Shattered Shaft and faces the Urahara Shoten shop's kids. They stare in bewilderment as Ichigo is now wearing a Soul Reaper's uniform and a Hollow's mask.
Suddenly Ichigo's hand shots up with his broken zanpaku- to and shatters the mask so he can breath. Urahara steps up to congratulate Ichigo and gets struck in his face which leads to Ichigo's next step in training for his battles to come. Urahara tells Ichigo that all he has to do is knock his hat off his head, which Ichigo nearly does as he listens to Urahara's rambling . Urahara begins to fight back chasing Ichigo with the sword he kept in his cane and reveals that it is in fact a zanpaku- to also. As Ichigo flees for his life to stay away from Urahara's flurry of attacks he loses what is left of his old Zanpaku-t o as Urahara whittles it down.
As Ichigo turns to flee once more he sees the strange man again, this time however tha man insist that Ichigo must turn and face his fears. He demands that Ichigo call his name and release him. With a strong roar Ichigo calls out for Zangetsu, his Zanpaku- to's real name.
Icihigo and Urahara finish their exercise as Ichigo sends a giant wave of energy at Kisuke. Kisuke barely manages to get a wall set up by Benihime (his zanpaku- to) to save himself, but the hat is finished. Urahara comments on the fact that Icihigo is actually a scary individual when he is fully released.
It also shows in this issue that the others are finishing up their training and have either obtained a new level of power or finally gotten control over their powers. With the team all powered up they take a much deserved break and wait for Kisuke to finish making the gate to the Soul Society.
With the threat of the Soul Society ahead and the satisfaction of having gained their new abilities the team takes a small break as they celebrate the coming festival by gathering with their closest class mates and heading for the fireworks. As they all catch up with what has happened in the recent weeks Ichigo sees that Mizuiro has a perfect tan, Keigo is still an impulsive nut case, and Tatsuki broke her arm and won runner up in the national martial arts tourney. The other are discussing where to sit to watch the fireworks when suddenly Issin and the sisters show up and pretty much mug Ichigo as he has finally returned home. After many greeting and odd tales they all decide to follow Issin to the great spots he has chosen for them.
Orihime and Tatsuki dawdle behind as they talk about how they know that Orihime is leaving and Tatsuki wants her to be careful. They talk about the last time they were down her and how Tatsuki knew that Orihime would return while she looked for the red eyed dragonfly and she knew she would come back again.
Later that nigt Ichigo opens his window at the decided time and suddenly a balloon shots through teh window and burst leaving a message on the wall to tell Ichigo that he is to meet now at the Shop and that he has no sense of humor if the message looks like psychopath's doing. As Ichigo sneaks out of his window he is almost caught off guard as father jumps off the roof to try and catch him. The attack fails though as Ichigo moves out of the way. After their brief exchange his father gives him a charm to wear to keep him safe, but he wants it back when Ichigo gets home.
As the team arrive at the shop they greet one another and then enter with Kisuke as he begins to explain what is about to happen. The team listens and sets off escorted by Yuroichi into the tunnel to the Soul Society.
- Chapter 62 - Lesson 2-2: Bad Ending in the Shaft
- Chapter 63 - Lesson 2-3: Inner Circle Breakdown
- Chapter 64 - BACK IN BLACK
- Chapter 65 - Collisions
- Chapter 66 - THE BLADE AND ME
- Chapter 67 - End of Lessons
- Chapter 68 - The Last Summer Vacation
- Chapter 69 - 25:00 gathering
- Chapter 70 - Where Hollows Fear To Tread