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|Serialized in||Weekly Shonen Jump|
|Original run||August 2001 – ongoing|
Bleach (ブリーチ, Buriichi) is a widely popular anime and manga series created by manga-ka Kubo Tite. Originally produced in manga form, the series has been ongoing since August of 2001, now containing 31 published volumes consisting of the first 278 chapters, with 305 chapters having been published in the Japanese editions of the Shounen Jump Weekly Magazine.
Bleach follows the life of high school student Kurosaki Ichigo, who has the ability to see spirits. Ichigo's life is dramatically changed with the introduction of Kuchiki Rukia, a Shinigami (or "Death God"), who enters Kurosaki's bedroom to send a spirit to Soul Society, a world where good souls are sent after death. Surprised by Ichigo's ability to see her, she explains to Ichigo that her job as a Shinigami is to send good souls, "pluses", to Soul Society, and to vanquish evil souls, "Hollows".
Soon after, a Hollow appears at Ichigo's home and begins a rampage. Rukia does not notice the Hollow at first, but it is soon brought to her attention that Ichigo's abnormally larger reiatsu, or spiritual power, had blinded her senses. A confrontation ensues, resulting in a serious injury to Rukia. With Ichigo's family in danger, she offers to give Ichigo a small portion of her Shinigami powers by impaling him with her zanpakutou, a spiritual sword. But as a result, her powers become infused within Ichigo, resulting in him taking the vast majority of her power. Ichigo then appears in Shinigami garb with a very large zanpakutou and slays the Hollow.
There are a wide array of characters in the Bleach series. This list contains primary characters who have played an important role throughout the series. Shinigami, Hollows, Arrancar, and Vizard characters will be listed in their respective catagories.
Shinigami are the souls of the dead who have high reiatsu, and have passed on to Soul Society. Shinigami are physically stronger, more agile, and age slower than normal humans. This is partially due to their ability to manipulate their own reiatsu. Typical Shinigami garb consists of a large, black kimono and hakuma, with a white belt, white under clothing, and straw sandals. Each Shinigami also wields a zanpakutou, the shape and size of which depends solely on the reiatsu of the individual Shinigami. All zanpakutous have a sprit inside of them, of which can vary from an animal to a human, such as Kurosaki Ichigo's 'Zangetsu', and Abarai Renji's 'Zabimaru'. Aside from using the zanpakutou as a weapon, Shinigami also have the use of Kidou, "demon arts", hadou, bakutou which are a style of spiritual combat using reiatsu as the primary weapon. They range from simple binding techniques to powerful attacks of reiatsu.
Hollows are hunted by Shinigami in order to protect the living and the whole souls of the dead. When a Hollow is defeated, the soul of the Hollow may be sent to the Soul Society only if they did good in their life, if they did bad things while they were living then they get sent to hell, a monstrous place of regret, remorse, pain, and hatred.
The only way for a Shinigami to defeat a Hollow is to deliver a blow to the head using a zanpakutou or kido that is strong enough to slice through the mask. However, a hollows mask can be shattered, revealing their Identity, so the shinigami usually attack from the back so they won't see the hollow's face
The Quincy are a race of humans who have gained spiritual power in order to combat and kill Hollows. The hollows they killed were not sent to soul society. They lived in the Material World, amongst other people. The clan was large in number originally, but dwindles in the storyline of Bleach. The Quincy were killed by the shinigami, whom killed the quincy because they were bringing unbalance to the worlds.
200 years before the storyline of Bleach, a war broke out between the Shinigami and the Quincy, spurred by the unbalance caused by the Quincy when they would actually kill the Hollow, soul and all. Shinigami would kill the Hollow, purifying its soul, and then send it to Soul Society. Quincy on the other hand, would destroy the soul, creating an unbalance between the world of the living and the world of the dead. As such, the Shinigami began to hunt down and kill the Quincy in order to regain the stability of the spiritual world. As a result, the Quincy were nearly wiped out.
The primary weapon of the Quincy is a bow of reiatsu, which fires arrows of the reiatsu. The stronger the reiatsu, the stronger the arrows which are fired. It is also possible to fire multiple arrows at once. The over-use of this ability will often lead to bruised and blistered fingers.
The Quincy can also strengthen their attacks using Quincy Gloves, white gloves with a blue cross and metal tab on them. The tap, if broken, releases all of the Quincy's reiatsu at once, generating an enormous strength for a short period of time. The side effect of this however, is the loss of Quincy powers.
Another tool of the Quincy is the Quincy Cross, a pendant which resembles an asterisk. This pendant creates a bow which appears almost to be a spider's web, and releases devastating attacks.
The only known Quincy in the series are Ishida Uryuu and his father Ishida Ryuken. Ryuken, though having Quincy powers, does not recognize himself as a Quincy. As such, Uryuu is referred to as "the last Quincy".
Arrancar are the creations of Aizen Sousuke, a former captain of the Gotei 13. Using the Hougyoku, Aizen has gone to Hueco Mundo, the home world of Hollows, and begun using it to give Shinigami powers to Hollows. These Arrancar are not 50/50, but are considered to be about 60% Hollow, 40% Shinigami.
The difference between Hollows and Arrancar is great. Arrancar shed off a large portion of their mask, leaving only a segmented part of it. They take on a human form, as well as gain a zanpakutou, a symbol of the Shinigami powers they have obtained. Also, the hole that Hollows have in their chest moves to another part of the body, such as the throat or abdominal area. Arrancar are much more intelligent than their pure-blooded counterparts, and in all aspects think like a normal human. The power of the Arrancar is also greatly above that of a Hollow, though the power gaps amongst the Arrancar themselves are also very large.
The "Espada" are the top ten strongest Arrancar who serve directly under Aizen Sousuke, Kaname Tousen, and Ichimaru Gin. The Espada are incredibly strong. The Espada are numbered by their rank, the number one espada being the strongest. Many of the Espada are men, only two being girls.
Privaron Espada are Arrancar who were formerly ranked as Espada, but where surpassed in strength by their predecessors. These former Espada add 100 their former rank. For example, the former number 3 Espada would become 103, though this does not mean they are the 103rd strongest Arrancar.
Vizards are the anti-thesis of Arrancar. They are former Shinigami who have gained Hollow powers, a crime in Soul Society punishable by death. As such, they have fled from persecution to the Material World. They too are not a 50/50 crossbreed, but are guessed to be 60% Shinigami, 40% Hollow.
The distinguishing features are a Hollow's mask which can appear at the whim of the Vizard. They also have a zanpakutou, but the only Vizard to ever release their zanpakutou into its ShiKai or BanKai form has been Kurosaki Ichigo.
Vizards also have the ability to manipulate the power of the Hollow living inside of them, though they must suppress it at all times or it will take over, such as "Hichigo", in the case of Ichigo Kurosaki. Depending on how trained the Vizard is, they can stay in this Hollow-manipulative form for a longer period of time.
The Vizards have been living in the Material World for some time, but have only made their presence known to the audience after Ichigo & Co. made their return from Soul Society for the second time after defeating the Bounto. Little is known about their motives other than that they consider themselves to be enemies of Shinigami.
The zanpakutou is the standard weapon seen in use by most characters of Bleach, with the exception of human characters and Hollows.
A zanpakutou, in its initial form, is merely a katana, with its length and tsuba shape dependant on the reiatsu of the user. A zanpakutou in this state has no special abilities to it. Here is the List of zanpakutou.
ShiKai, or "initial release", is the form a zanpakutou takes once it reveals its name to its wielder. Each zanpakutou has its own name and releasing command, a word or phrase used to release the zanpakutou to ShiKai form.
ShiKai, in addition to a change in appearance, also gain abilities which may be physical or reiatsu-based. A physical ShiKai ability would be Abarai Renji's Zabimaru's ability to extend the blade in the same manner as a bow-staff. A reiatsu-based ability would be Kurosaki Ichigo's Zangetsu's Getsuga Tenshou, a blast of dense reiatsu unleashed by swinging the blade and shouting the command.
The Arrancar ShiKai is far more intricate than the Shinigami ShiKai. Rather than changing into a different form of sword, it becomes bodily armor with offensive features. This is most likely a result of the Hollow which makes up the majority of the Arrancar's reiatsu. Only the Espada and previous Espada are able to use this.
BanKai, or the "Final release", is the form after ShiKai, which usually takes around fifteen years of training to obtain and master. BanKai has incredible power, and is more than often very large in size. The size is in relation to the amount of reiatsu used to release the form. The only exception to this in the series has been that of Kurosaki Ichigo. BanKai is a technique difficult to master, but in return, delivers devastating results.
Kidou is a form of combat used by Shinigami. The basis of kidou is to condense reiatsu into a physical form such that it may be used as an attack. Kido is basic knowledge of shinigami, and is one of the first arts to be practice during a soul's training to become a shinigami. There are both binding arts and attacking arts of kido.
Bleach is an on-going series, and as such, this will be updated weekly or bi-weekly.
The Hollow Arc is comprised of the first 21 episodes of the anime. It begins with Kurosaki Ichigo receiving Shinigami powers from Kuchiki Rukia. This is the introductory arc for Bleach, which introduces key characters and terms to the viewer.
During this arc, Ichigo spends most of his time purifying Hollows under the guide of Rukia, whom has lost her Shinigami powers to Ichigo. Ichigo originally does not wish to assist her, but after Rukia shows Ichigo a Hollow attacking the spirit of a small boy, he steps in and agrees to assist her, stating that he will not simply ignore someone in trouble right in front of him. He decides to do it out of his own accord, not out of any duty.
By means to take care of Ichigo's body as he enters Shinigami form, Rukia goes to the shop of Kisuke Urahara and orders a tube of artificial souls which possess Ichigo's body when he swallows it, forcing his Shinigami form out. She is mistakenly given the wrong package, which contains a Mod Soul, a soul created by Shinigami to inhabit the bodies of the dead, a tactic similar to guerrilla warfare. Do to ethics, the shinigami ordered all Mod Souls to be killed, but a few were left unscathed. The Mod Soul obtained by Rukia takes control of Ichigo's body, and goes on a rampage, only to be suppressed by Ichigo, and forced into a stuffed lion doll. This Mod Soul, named Kon, becomes Ichigo's permanent body transferring companion.
Several episodes later, the Kurosaki family goes to a cemetery on the anniversary of their mother's death. Ichigo becomes very angered when Rukia begins to question whether or now a Hollow killed his mother. Ichigo bursts out that it was he who had killed his mother, though she had died attempting to protect him. Ichigo, then a child, had seen a young girl he believed was falling into a fast-moving river, and ran over to help her. He ran over to her, thinking the girl was going to commit suicide. But, for a reason unknown to him his mother had tackled him to the ground, covering him with her body. A Shinigami approaches Rukia about her being a criminal, now that she has given her Shinigami powers to a human. The hollow takes hostages of Ichigo's sisters, using them as bait to lure out Ichigo. Both Ichigo and the Shinigami attack the Hollow. Early into the fight, the shinigami is knocked out and presumed dead my Rukia and Ichigo. During the fight, it is revealed that this Hollow goes by the name Grand Fisher, and has been a target of Soul Society for over 50 years. It is also revealed that Grand Fisher was in fact the Hollow who had killed Ichigo's mother. Ichigo, having been being beaten for most of the fight, delivered a blow to Grand Fisher, and the hollow fled.
Early on, we are introduced to Inoue Orihime as a classmate of Ichigo's, but she is brought into focus as her deceased brother reappears as a Hollow, mistakenly believing Orihime has forgotten about him, and begins to harm her, and then attempt to kill her. Ichigo comes in at the last moment to rescue Orihime, at which time we find out that she has the ability to see Ichigo in spirit form, and Arisawa Tatsuki has some ability to see him, but vaughly.
Next we are introduced to Sado (also known as Chad), who has come into possession of a cockatoo possessed by the spirit of a boy who was murdered. A Hollow stalks the bird, and Sado guards it with his better than average strength, and toleration to pain. Rukia originally tries to take on the hollow with the help of Sado, using Kido and Sado's monstrous strength, but Ichigo steps in and takes care of it. Ichigo has also had passed experiences with Sado, helping him out with some thugs who had been causing him trouble not too long before the start of the series, therefore becoming friends.
Another character, Uryuu Ishida, is then introduced, approaching Ichigo stating that he is an enemy of Shinigami. As things turn out, he is a Quincy, who carries much scorn for Shinigami for having wiped out his people. Ishida decides to have a contest with Ichigo, breaking a coin which turns out to be Hollow bait. The one to kill the most Hollows would be the winner. The situation gets out of hand the two rivals paired up to take down the Hollows. At this point, a Menos Grande tears through the sky, which Ichigo forces into retreat with a large slash of reiatsu from him zanpakutou. Uryuu then has to help Ichigo get rid of his extra reiatsu which could have killed Ichigo himself.
Soon after, Rukia runs away late one night, leaving a note for Ichigo not to follow her. She is then seen walking down a street, cornered by Abarai Renji and her brother, Kuchiki Byakuya. The two tell her that she has committed the crime of giving her Shinigami powers to a human, and is sentenced to death in Soul Society. Abarai Renji attacks Rukia, which she avoids, though she knows he let her avoid it. Ishida then shows up, firing a reiatsu arrow at Renji, and attempts to protect Rukia. He is quickly subdued. Ichigo then shows up and makes his attempt to save Rukia. He fights with Renji, only to have a massive wound inflicted on his shoulder. He has what appears to be an adrenaline rush, and begins to lay waste to Renji, as Byakuya steps in at a speed undetectable by Ichigo, breaks his zanpakutou in two, and stabs him twice in the chest. Ichigo laid on the ground, slowly dying, as Rukia left with Renji and Byakuya back to Soul Society, telling Ichigo to not follow her or she will never forgive him.
Ichigo was saved by Kisuke Urahara, and awakes in his shop. Urahara trains Ichigo for several days. The primary test was for Ichigo to be thrown into a pit while binded with kido, where he had to climb out before he became a Hollow and Urahara would kill him. Ichigo, in the deep reaches of his mind, spoke with his zanpakutou in human form, and at the last moment, was about to get out of the hole. As he stood outside the hole, he wore Shinigami clothing, but had a Hollow mask over his face. He broke the mask with the hilt of his sword, as though everything was okay. The second test was for him to make a cut in Urahara's hat during a fight, but Ichigo's zanpakutou was still just a handle. He then remembered the name Zangetsu had told him, and Zangetsu gave him more power. Ichigo proceeded to pass this test, and trained to find te true form of his ShiKai. During this time, Urahara had also had his long time friend, Yoruichi, train with Sado, Orihime, and Ishida while in her cat form.
Soon after, the group would depart for Soul Society to save Rukia.
Soul Society Arc
This is currently a section in progress.
Ichigo, Sado, Ishida, Orihime, and Yoruichi all arrive in the outer reaches of Soul Society, Ryuutamashikai, where normal souls live, but are prevented from entering Sereitei, where Shinigami live. Standing guard over the gate is Jidanbou, who is promptly defeated by Ichigo. Jidanbou opens the gate, but is confronted by Ichimaru Gin, and has his left arm cruely chopped off, forcing him to drop the gate.
While in the house of a Ryuutamashikai elder, Shiba Ganju bursts in the door, picking a fight with Ichigo, as he is dressed as a Shinigami. Ganjyu flees after yelling about it being 9:00 and rides off on his boar, Bonnie. In the morning Ichigo and the rest go to find the house of Shiba Kuukaku, an acquaintance of Yoruichi. Kuukaku agrees to assist the group with their entrance to the home of the Shinigami, so long as her younger brother, who happens to be Ganju, travels with them. She reveals her method is to launch them through the sky like a firework. It is also revealed that the Shibas' older brother was killed by a Shinigami, explaining why Ganju is reluctant to assist Ichigo.
Meanwhile, Abarai Renji escorts Kuchiki Rukia to the Tower of Repentance, where she will remain for the following days before her execution. Afterward, Renji runs into Aizen Sousuke, who speaks of a possible conspiracy revolving around the unnecessarily harsh punishment and quick capture of Rukia.
Ichigo and the rest continue to get ready to enter the home of Shinigami, though Ichigo has difficulty manipulating his reiatsu so that he can enter through a shield of reiatsu placed around the city. After forming a cannonball of reiatsu, the group is fired into the air, and shot toward the city. After impacting the shield, the cannonball splits, and the group is split apart. Ichigo lands with Ganju, Orihime with Ishida, and both Sado and Yoruichi land on their own.
A meeting is called for the Gotei 13, the Shinigami captains of Soul Society, where it seems that only a few of them get alone. At this time, an alarm sounds as intruders break into the home of the Shinigami.
Ichigo and Ganju fight their way through lower class Shinigami as Ishida defends Orihime, and Sado wanders alone. Ichigo and Ganju end up taking a young medical shinigami as a less-than-successful hostage, only to recieve help from him as a guide through the sewers of the city. It seems this young Shinigami, Hanatarou Yamada, also wishes for Rukia's freedom.
After resurfacing, they are confronted by Abarai Renji, who Ichigo quickly engages in battle. After finding the weakness in Renji's attacks, Ichigo takes the upper hand and slashes through Zabimaru, delivering a deep wound to Renij's shoulder. In a flashback, it is explained how Renji and Rukia met in the outskirts of Soul Society, made their way to become Shinigami, and were separated by Rukia's adoption into the noble Kuchiki family. Ichigo then flees back to the sewers before they are seen.
Renji is carried away for treatment and Kuchiki Byakuya orders his imprisonment for losing the fight. Ichimaru Gin leaves with Kira Izuru, and Hitsugaya Toushiro enters to speak with Hinamori Momo. He tells her to keep an eye on the third division, especially Ichimaru Gin. In her anxiety she goes to her Division captain, Aizen Sousuke, seeking comfort from the one she admired. She falls asleep in his room, only to wake up, walk outside, and find his corpse pinned up on the side of a building. Other vice-captains assemble at the scene, and upon Ichimaru Gin's arrive, Hinamori remembers Hitsugaya's words and attacks Gin intending to kill him in her despretation to avenge the captainthat she admired so much. Kira, being Gin's vice-captain, steps in, only for their fight to be ceased by Hitsugaya, who makes a death threat to Gin.
Chad continues to make his way toward the Tower of Penitence as Ichigo, Ganjyu, and Hanatarou resurface from the sewers after some treating their injuries, and begin heading up the stairs Renji had come down. At the top of the stairs waits Zaraki Kenpachi, who overwhelms the group with his reiatsu. Ichigo attempts to fight Kenpachi, but is completely ineffective.
In a prison cell, Hinamori receives a letter which Aizen had written as she was sleeping in his office, which describes the events which had led to his murder. Hinamori reads it to herself, only to be shocked by what is written.
Chad is confronted by the the captain of the 8th Division, Kyouraku Shunsui. The two, though they appear to get along, have opposing goals, and thus begin to fight one another. Chad unleashes a mighty blow, but is struck down by the dual-sword wielding captain. Though he does not die, he is unconscious, and taken into Soul Society's custody.
Ichigo continues to viciously fight Kenpachi, but his efforts are in vain until Zangetsu is broken in half by Kenpachi and Ichigo is stabbed through the chest. Zangetsu appears before Ichigo and takes Ichigo to a physical manifestation of his own mind, where he must fight with an oppisite version of himself, who, though not stated, represents the Hollow portion of Ichigo. By beating this his clone, Ichigo is able to regain Zangetsu. He returns to the real world, and with re-amped power, continues to fight Kenpachi on an equal level. They finish in one attack, after which, Ichigo collapses. Kenpachi announces Ichigo the winner and collapses soon after. Yoruichi shows up and takes Ichigo away using shunpo, othrwise known as flash step, a fast transportation used by shinigami.
Meanwhile, Ganju and Hanatarou arrive at the Tower of Penitence. Upon arriving inside, Ganjyu recognizes Rukia as the Shinigami who had killed is brother. At that moment, Kuchiki Byakuya arrives. Ganjyu tells Hanatarou to run, as he attempts to fight Byakuya.
Ichigo wakes up with Yoruichi sitting next to him. He sits up and a large wound in his abdominal reigon opens, showing the extent of his injuries. Yoruichi said he may have died if it had not been for a mask which had been in his clothing. Strangely, it is the same mask from his fight with Renji, and from when he had come out of the hole during his training with Urahara Kisuke. Yuroichi explains that he carried Ichigo after returning to his original form. Yoruichi then displays that he is actually a she. At that moment, Ichigo feels Kuchiki Byakuya's reiatsu, and Ichigo runs out of the cavern Yoruichi had brought him to.
One the bridge to the Tower of Penitence, Ganjyu is just about torn apart by Byakuya's split-second attack. Byakuya goes for the finish, but is halted by the 13th Division captain, Jyuushiro Ukitate. Ichigo shows up in the nick of time, only to begin arguing with Rukia as they always had done in the past. Ukitate seems to recognize Ichigo, but Byakuya says that he is of no relation to the person whom Ukitate has recalled. Byakuya attack Ichigo, only to be blocked and pushed back. Byakuya then decides to release his ShiKai, but it is thwarted by Yoruichi, who ties up his zanpakutou. Yoruichi then declares she will make Ichigo stronger than Byakuya in only three days after knocking out Ichigo, and then leaves the scene. Byakuya leaves, stating that he has lost interest, leaving Rukia, Ganjyu, and Hanatarou to Captain Ukitate. It is revealed by two of Ukitate's division members that Ukitate also wishes to save Rukia by negotiating with the heads of Soul Society. Ukitate then states that he believes the Ryoka (intruders) to be innocent of killing Captain Aizen until they have been proven guilty, and he will not kill those who have tried to rescue his subordinate.
It now seems that Ishida and Inoue have stolen Shinigami clothing and blended into the chaos of Soul Society.
Yoruichi has taken the unconscious Ichigo back to the cave where he originally recovered after fighting Zaraki Kenpachi. Ichigo is furious at Yoruichi for not taking Rukia with then, but Yoruichi tells him that no one there could have defeated Byakuya, although she does see the possibility that Ichigo may be able to do so. Yoruichi takes Ichigo to a large cavern which Urahara Kisuke had at one point created in Soul Society, and modeled the one below his shop in the material world after. Yoruichi reveals that all zanpakutou have a two released states they can obtain; the first being ShiKai, which Ichigo had already obtained with the help of Urahara, and the second being BanKai, the final release. She tells him that every captain, aside from Kenpachi, has achieved BanKai, and that it is practically an unwritten requirement of being a captain. Having BanKai will increase one's power ten fold, and normally requires fifteen years of training. Yoruichi tells him that using a special method, developed by Urahara, Ichigo will achieve BanKai in three days.
Ishida and Inoue are hiding out in a building as Tsubaki, one of Inoue's fairy-like creatures, is healed after being harmed earlier in the arc. The continue to move toward the Tower, and are confronted by a drunk who is suspicious of them. They are saved by a group of 12th divison Shinigami, who then explode as Mayuri, standing behind them, pushes a button on a device he has in his hand. Luckily Ishida had expected it to be a trap and escaped with Inoue. Mayuri executes the surviving Shinigami from his division. He and Ishida then begin to fight, and in an under-handed move, has his lieutenant grab on to Ishida as he slices through her to get to him. Mayuri reveals that the ability of his ShiKai is to cut off signals from the brain to the limbs, thereby causing paralysis. Through conversation it is revealed that Mayuri had studied Quincys in the past, the last of which was Ishida's grandfather. Enraged, Ishida stands up and begins fighting with Mayuri using a Quincy technique which allows one to control the body like a puppet with reiatsu. He removes a tab on his the wrist part of his 'Quincy Glove', and his reiatsu erupts. Ishida gains some bodily armor, and the matter which makes up the objects around him turns into reiatsu and gathers around him. Ishida proceeds to suppress Mayuri with incredibly speed until he released his BanKai, which Ishida also makes quick work of. Mayuri liquefies himself and retreats. Ishida's powers wear off, and he is left a normal human. He walks away powerless and runs into Captain Kaname Tousen who immediately releases his ShiKai. He knocks Ishida unconscious and imprisons him.
Yoruichi introduces Ichigo to his BanKai training, which consists of fighting a materialized version of Old Man Zangetsu. The materialized Zangetsu summons forth thousands of swords which all resemble the sword form of Zangetsu. Ichigo must fight with the materialized Zangetsu while trying to find the only "true" Zangestu sword which is able to defeat the materialized Zangetsu. At that time, Ichigo will be able to use BanKai.
In the meantime, Ichimaru Gin frees Vice-Captain Kira Izuru from his cell. At the same time, Orihime is able to befriend and bring to her side Vice-Captain Kusajika Yachiru and her captain, the one and only Zaraki Kenpachi. Ishida awakes in a prison cell also holding Sado and a throughly bandaged Ganju.
We get to see a flashback of many of the current Vice-Captain level Shinigami during their days in Shinigami School. Hinamori Momo and Kira are shown as adept users of Kido, whereas Renji utterly fails. Renji surpasses them both in swordsmanship. Kira and Renji acquaint themselves with one another, and are rushed off to see Captain Aizen Sousuke and his then Vice-Captain Ichimaru Gin walking into the school. It also appears to be that Hinamori was taking up residence with Hitsugaya Toushiro who was only a child at the time. The Shinigami-in-training go to the Material World to train with dummy-Hollows, when something goes wrong and several of the guards are killed. A huge Hollow appears and then student Hisagi Shuuhei attempt to fight it off, but gains assistance from Hinamori, Renji, and Kira. The four escape only to be cut off by numerous huge Hollows. Aizen and Ichimaru mysteriously show up and save the students, at which time Himamori becomes infatuated with Aizen. Back in the story, Hinamori breaks free from her cell. The letter she has received from Aizen explains to her the events of his death, and she runs off to find the killer. It is also announced that Renji managed to escape from his cell as well. Hinamori surprises Toushiro, announcing him as the killer. She reads that his plot is not to execute Rukia, but to wait for Soukyoku, the haliberd-like zanpakutou with the strength of over one million zanpakutou, used for executions. Toushiro's own thoughts reveal him as being innocent. Toushiro spots Ichimaru smirking at the two of them, and quickly subdues Hinamori as he prepares to attack Ichimaru.
Ichigo contines his training, and Yoruichi reveals that Urahara Kisuke was formerly the 12th Division Captain as well as the creator of the Technological Development Bureau, and Yoruichi was the former head of the S.M.C and former captain of the second division. Renji then appears and announces that the time of Rukia's execution has been moved to the following day, shortening Ichigo's time to train.
Rukia has a flashback of herself in her earlier years a Shinigami. At this time, she is training with her Vice-Captain, Shiba Kaien. A Hollow has come to Soul Society and Kaien's wife is sent to defeat it. She is returned dead, and Kaien rushes off with Captain Ukitake and Rukia following behind. Kaien fights with the Hollow, but is is taken over by it as a result of a body-snatching ability. He then attacks Rukia, who impales his heart with her zanpakutou. Rukia is next seen returning Kaien's body to his family, Kuukaku and Ganjyu.
Outside of the flashback, Ukitake then announces that Rukia's execution date has been moved up to the following day. Kenpachi frees Sado, Ganjyu, and Ishida from captivity, and Captains Tousen and Komamura, and Vice-Captains Hisagi Shuuhei and Iba Tetsuzaemon stand in their path. Kenpachi decides to fight the two captains on his own. Tetsuzaemon fights Ikkaku, and Shuuhei fights Yumichika.
Renji decides to free Rukia, and takes the initiative to fight Byakuya. He reveals that he has achieve BanKai, but is soon defeated by the far more experienced Byakuya. At this time, Ichimaru Gin confronts Rukia as she is lead away from the Tower of Penitence, and with his wicked words, destroys her convictions of facing death. Kenpachi defeats Kaname, and Byakuya arrives at the execution grounds.
The Soukyo is released into its real form, which is a giant phoenix. Right as it's about to kill Rukia, Ichigo shows up in a cloak given to him by Yoruichi, which lets him fly. Then two captains show up and destroy the Soukyo and flee, followed by "Old Man Yama". Ichigo gets Rukia down the hill, only to be followed by three lieutenants.
Without his zanpakutou, Ichigo shatters one of the lieutenants zanpakutou while its in its released form. He knocks the other two out and quickly begins a fight with Byakuya. Renji picks up Rukia and runs. Ichigo reveals to Byakuya the Getsuya ability while his zanpakutou is in its ShiKai form. Soon after he reveals his bankai, a normal sized sword that is completely black.
Ichigo appears to be winning, but soon enough Byakuya reveals the real form of his BanKai, many swords, and slowing Ichigo down. When Ichigo nears death, his hollow form takes over. A black getsuya tenshou comes from the sword, and Ichigo starts to win the fight. In the end, Ichigo puts all of his spirit energy in one blow, and Byakuya uses his final technique. Ichigo shatters Byakuya's sword, and Byakuya falls, defeated.
Bount Arc (anime only)
This section includes episodes starting at 64, the filler arc.
Ichigo is back from Soul Society after having successfully saved Kuchiki Rukia. He resumes his somewhat normal life with the new close group of friends, when one day Abarai Renji appears to track down a hollow that's been wild in the area. Somehow, it's presence is different. The group tracks down the power, and confronts a group of strange people.
As a result, Orihime and Chad are kidnapped, and they begin to receive eerie instruction from a little girl's voice through Renji's soul phone. They are forced to play a series of twisted games in order to find their friends. This includes a giant maze illusion, trying to find an imposter from within their group, and rescuing the kidnapped from giant hourglasses.
Ichigo fails to use his final release to save Chad, and Ishida is without Quincy power. In the end, all of them are unharmed as the final challenge ends, and Urahara makes an appearance. Ichigo then realizes that Urahara had created all of this to help the group come together and fight as one since Ichigo cannot simply rely on his final release all the time. Urahara also found it necessary to bring the group together since Ishida has lost his powers as a Quincy.
The three that had caused all the trouble turn out to be mod souls designed by Urahra. One with the power to create portals into other dimensions, one with illusion type skills, and a shapeshifter. Much like Kon, they are put (reluctantly) into stuffed animals and accompany the group. They are the only ones able to track the Bount's unique energy.
At the Urahara shop, the bount are discussed more in depth. They are humans, but like the Quincy, they also have special powers. By absorbing human souls they can live forever, but these souls are usually already dead. When a bount eats a live soul, they gain extra power and leave the complete death of a soul without the chance of reincarnation. They use the power of seperate beings called "dolls" that are unique as the Bounts themselves, in order to do physical battle.
Ichigo and Ririn (one of the mod souls) go after the first bount (later called Yoshino), while Chad and Inoue find themselves facing a man who looks like a vampire (Udagawa). While Udagawa leaves before Inoue or Chad can do anything, Ichigo quickly chases Yoshino into a corner and faces off against her fiery doll, Geite.
Rukia makes her first appearance in the arc, saving Ichigo from an onslaught of fireballs. The celebration is short lived. Udagawa runs off with Yoshino.
The next day after school, the group is alarmed of a bount attack. Kariya has been rampaging through a shipping facility, eating almost all of the souls in the area. Calling forth his doll, Kariya uses his doll's true power, creating other snakes out of the things around him, such as broken concrete or rope. Kariya quickly finds Ishida as the weakest in the group and goes after him. Meanwhile, Yoshino has escaped again, despite being watched by Kariya, the leader of the Bounts.
Ishida becomes a target, and learns that the Bount are in need of a Quincy in order to gain access to the "world of the dead". Ishida, realizing by the battle that he is useless, and only slows his friends down, begins to blame himself for their problems.
As Ishida wanders aimlessly away from his friends, he runs into Yoshino again, who takes him back to her place and fixes him some coffee. Yoshino tells Ishida that sometimes when you live too long you'll start thinking crazy thoughts, and that sometimes, Bount like Kariya will enact on those thoughts. Meanwhile, Kariya has called all the remaining bount together. Informing them that he has found a Quincy, and that their time has come for them to start a new shining era. In Soul Society, the entire 11th division is excited about the sudden presence of a former member, Maki Ichinose. However Kenpachi Zaraki wants nothing to do with it, and tells everyone to just leave him alone. Kenpachi's thoughts flashback to when Ichinose once stood up against him when Kenpachi killed the former 11th Division captain in battle and was recognized as the new captain. Afterwards, Ichinose requested to leave the 11th Division as he no longer had a reason for being there, the only captain he would ever take orders from was gone. He now serves Jin Kariya unquestionably.
Using the modified soul's tracking abilities, Ichigo and the others find that the bount have taken Ishida to an exclusive large mansion, where Kariya is making his introduction. Kariya wants to borrow Ishida's powers when the time comes to make the world better for the bount and quincy. But Ishida is suspicious of Kariya, who believes that he simply wants to gain the power of the hollow world.
Ichigo and the group make their way into the mansion. Ichigo is left to face Kariya on his own, and tells the others to hunt down Ishida. The battle goes badly. Ichigo, even using Shunpo and Getsuga Tensho cannot scratch Kariya. Udagawa seeing Kariya somewhat distracted attempts to betray him and take over leadership. He is swiftly killed. Ichigo continues to be beaten mercilessly.
Just as the final blow is about to be struck, Yoruichi, Jinta and Ururu arrive, barraging the mansion with Ururu's bazooka while Yoruichi carries Ichigo away. Rukia and the modified souls also save Ishida and Yoshino and teleport outside to the other group. Yoruichi tells them its time to leave and they make their escape.
Fast forward a few episodes, Yoshino merges with her doll in order to fight Kariya, and end this madness with the taking of innocent souls. It serves to be useless, as Kariya destroys her with a single blow, leaving her to die in the hands of Ishida nearby, whom had grown close to the kind Bount. Through her death, Kariya is able to summon the Bitto.
In Karakura Town, humans are being attacked by the bitto, which suck out their souls and reduce their bodies into dust. They then return to the Bounts and provide them with purified souls to drink in order to increase their power. Members of Soifon's second division attack the bitto, but are ineffective against them. Hitsugaya orders more shinigami to enter the human world, noting that they cannot rely on Ichigo alone.
(Work in progress)