Zanpakutō: The Alternate Tale arc

  • Episodes: 36
  • 230 – 265
  • Original run: July 28, 2009 – April 6, 2010


This arc starts with a mysterious group in a cave. It is clear that they are waiting for more members to join them. Their mission is unclear. At the same time it is becoming clear that the shinigami are having difficulties with their zanpakutō.  The group challenge the shinigami making it clear that the zanpakutō have taken on physical forms to free themselves from their shinigami ‘masters’. The group are led by a mysterious man with ridiculously long nails called Muramasa. During the confrontation Muramasa informs the shinigami that their commander Yamamoto Genryuusai, has been sealed because his zanpakutō, Ryuujin Jakka was unwilling to join them. Since their zanpakutō have taken on physical form the shingami are no longer able to ‘release’ their swords.


Rukia just manages to escape to the real world after being attacked by her own zanpakutō, Sode no Shirayuki. Once in the real world she is helped by Ichigo. Once Rukia has regained consciousness we learn that Seireitei was damaged but after all the damage that the zanpakutō did they disappeared. Plus Byakuya has gone missing during the fight with his zanpakutō.  Ichigo quickly makes up his mind to go back to Soul Society with Rukia and Yoruichi. Once in Soul Society however, Ichigo also loses his zanpakutō as Zangetsu also decides to go against his Shinigami. Forcing a fight between Zangetsu and Ichigo.


While the zanpakutō are causing chaos Muramasa is working in the background with an alternative scheme. What could his other motive be?


On the whole I did enjoy the arc but I consider it as more of an extended OVA than anything else. It is amusing and there is not much to the story. I found it amusing how Kenpachi just happened to be out of town for this arc. Can you imagine if his zanpakutō had gotten loose? (At this point in the anime Kenpachi still doesn’t have a clue as to the name of his zanpakutō, if you wanna know, read the manga! It is awesome! Yes he gets his bankai). Back to the arc, here are a few pro’s and con’s:


  • There are some decent fight scenes.
  • The way the zanpakutō take on physical form is interesting.
  • It gave Ichigo a chance to ‘power-up’ once again.
  • It gave a brief glimpse into the way soul society works together


  • The arc had a weak story.
  • It is pure filler.
  • Ichigo to the rescue (seriously, this just makes it seem like they can’t do anything without him).
  • Byakuya as the bad guy, with his pride and honour are you kidding me?
  • The ending was half hearted and kinda meh. To me it felt like they tried too hard to make it emotional.

With that the con’s outweighed the pros but I would still advise watching it and forming your own opinion. Just don’t expect too much from this arc.

This arc uses five theme songs. There are two opening songs and three closing. The first opening song is, “Shōjo S” by Scandal. The second opening song is , “Anima Rossa” by Porno Graffitti. The first of the three end songs is “Mad Surfer” by Kenichi Asai and it is used for episodes 230 to 242. The second end song is, “Sakurabito” by SunSet Swish and it is used from episode 243 to 255. The third end song is “TabidatsuKimi e”  by RSP  and it is used for episodes 256 to 265.

Have you watched this arc? What did you think of it?


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