“The Bounts were created by… Soul Society!”Kariya
Having been thoroughly and humiliatingly defeated again by Kariya, Ichigo is now a captive audience, and this one revelatory statement immediately puts everything about this arc in a different context.
Kariya begins to elaborate on the Soul Society’s arguably irresponsible role in the Bounts’ creation, something that is turning out to be a bit of a disturbing pattern on their part. Much like the Mod Souls, the Bounts were a result of an experiment, this time on human beings, who were only thought of as mere test subjects by its perpetrators.
An out-of-control laboratory explosion unexpectedly caused the mutation of certain human souls. The abilities of these humans then began to manifest themselves in the real world, and so inevitably came the fear and persecution from other humans, usually expected towards those who have otherworldly and monstrous abilities.
The Soul Society, then detecting this new phenomenon, decided to intervene in what was taking place, and ‘help’ these newly gifted individuals, but this help, according to Kariya, was somehow a mere ruse, the true intentions of which are not fully explained. Kariya now plans the complete annihilation of the Soul Society.
Ichigo, hearing his long-winded, tragic historical perspective, still thinks there is no excuse for taking the lives of fellow humans. Tired of getting knocked around by Kariya, he unleashes his ultimate attack, Getsugatensho. But even this attempt is ineffective, and Kariya continues to repeatedly injure him and throw him across the room like a rag doll, separating him from his zanpakuto. Kariya then picks it up, and threatens to kill Ichigo with his own weapon. Quite unexpectedly, Ichigo then walks up to him, and impales himself on the blade, after which he disappears into his inner world, in front of Zangetsu.
Ichigo expresses his concern to Zangetsu that he may have been relying too much on him. Zangetsu spurs Ichigo to remind himself as to why he wants to continue to fight and become stronger. With Ichigo, there can only be one answer, of course, and that is to protect his friends and loved ones.
After this exchange, Ichigo reappears in the real world, Zangetsu now rightfully in his hand, and Kariya baffled as to what just happened. Ichigo goes into Bankai mode, and immediately the tide of the fight starts turning, with Ichigo’s attacks becoming faster and more powerful.
The battle becomes even more surprising when Ishida, of all people, makes a sudden appearance in full Quincy garb, followed by Rukia, Orihime and the rest of the gang. Ishida explains that his powers have returned partially, because of the device that Nemu lent him. He proceeds to directly engage Kariya.
Meanwhile, Ichinose and Koga have fully prepared the portal. Ishida aims an arrow at it, in what looks like an attempt to destroy it, but instead the arrow seems to fully open the portal, enabling the Bounts to now be able to pass through it. Ishida has seemingly done this on purpose, and Ichigo is perplexed as to why he would assist the Bounts.
Knowing that both the Bounts and the Quincy consider the Soul Society as enemies, Kariya asks Ishida to join him on his quest, but Ishida declines. Apparently, the Bounts aren’t the only ones with their minds set on vengeance; Ishida wants his own revenge on Kariya and the Bounts for Yoshino’s demise, and he intends the stage for this standoff to be the Soul Society itself.
Karıya and the Bounts escape into the portal, and it disappears. Yoruichi and Hisagi then appear on the scene, but it looks like they’re a bit too late. Yoruichi criticises Ishida’s rash decision to allow the Bounts into the Soul Society. Ishida explains that his current powers work by collecting Reishi, of which there is little in the living world, meaning that he would never be powerful enough to defeat Kariya in his current location; however, everything in the Soul Society is comprised of Reishi, and therefore when there, he would be given a considerable power-up in his abilities. But Yoruichi counter-argues that, once there, the Bounts would become more powerful as well, and that Ishida’s current method of accumulating power is unstable, something Ishida already knows.
In any case, things have now gotten infinitely more dangerous, with the fate of the entire Soul Society now hanging in the balance. This officially marks a change in the narrative of the Bount arc, as Yoruichi, Ichigo and the team make preparations to enter the Soul Society once again, the resident Shinigami begin to mobilise for an incoming aggressor, and the Bounts officially make their entry into the new setting for the story to come, the fabled Soul Society… the Bount Assault Arc begins!