The Soul Society arc has some of the best battles in the entire anime and this one is one of the best because it puts two powerful warriors against each other. Ichigo vs. Kenpachi!
Episode 39 – The Immortal Man
Episode 39 during the Soul Society arc puts Ichigo against the monster of Soul Society, Captain Zaraki Kenpachi of Squad 11, the toughest group of fighters in all of Soul Society. Kenpachi is known for having insane power and has a lust for blood and combat (just seeing him sends other shinigami running for their lives). So when he meets Ichigo, the two square off in a crazy battle where Ichigo is not able to cut Kenpachi at the beginning despite having openings all over the place. Kenpachi explains that Ichigo’s spirit doesn’t have the blood lust to pierce him. Ichigo finally comes to it and then is able to actually strike him, but Kenpachi cuts Ichigo down, sending our orange-haired hero into a physical manifestation of his soul.
What makes this episode so great is Ichigo, who has been struck down and appears to be dying, enters his soul world and confronts the spirit of his zanpakuto spirit, Zangetsu, who appears as an old man. Zangetsu explains to Ichigo that he is not battling by himself out there, he is battling beside him, lending him his power when needed. Ichigo realizes this after battling his hollow self, re-gaining his control while Zangetsu promises to help him, stating the two of them will beat Kenpachi together. It is also mentioned that Kenpachi can’t hear the name of his zanpakuto spirit, as it cries out in pain, which is sad to see in battle from a great warrior.
Ichigo rises up after being near death and with Zangetsu, strikes against Kenpachi as they two powerful blades hit their targets. It is a great scene as we see Kenpachi getting the battle he has always wanted and Ichigo taking another step forward with his powers, showing he will be able to save Rukia no matter who gets in his way.