Chain of Fate
The Chain of Fate is what binds a soul (plus) to a living body. If the Chain of Fate is broken, it will start to erode away. Once this erosion process starts it is the start of a gradual process in which a Plus becomes a Hollow. Another clear indication that a soul is becoming a Hollow is when the soul (plus) starts to feel hungry. This erosion can cause discomfort and pain to the soul, but the last link that erodes is the most painful and is commonly called "The Last Erosion". Ichigo Kurosaki was able to fight this Hollow transformation during Kisuke Urahara's obscure way to attain his Shinigami powers back, however he inadvertently gained both his Zanpakuto ( soul blade) and Hollow mask. If the Soul is still connected with it's body it can still feel that the chain is hurting them, as noted by Orihime Inoue when she received a fatal blow from Acidwire.
|For more information on the erosion of the Chain of Fate, see: Encroachment|
The Chain of Fate (or Saketsu) on a Shinigami is only as important as it is on a normal plus. Even though no chain is there, per se, the area in which the chain would be located is still as important. For Shinigami the Chain of Fate can act as a boost for Spiritual Power when used in conjunction with the Soul Sleep (or Hakusui) which is the source of a Shinigami's spiritual pressure. These two points are usually considered Pressure Points. If they are sealed up they can stop the use of Spiritual Energy and render a Shinigami completely vulnerable. Once these points are sealed up, they can never become a Shinigami again.
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