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BARON'S LECTURE FULL-COURSE is the twenty-eighth volume of the Bleach manga series.

Publisher's summary

Ichigo Kurosaki, Yasutora Sado, and Uryū Ishida are determined to rescue Orihime Inoue from Sōsuke Aizen's vile machinations. But though the Arrancar's fortress is in sight, the would-be heroes must first pass Tres Cifras--the land of the disgraced Arrancar, who see destroying Ichigo and his friends as a way to redeem their honor!

Bleach All Stars

All-Stars
藍染 惣右介
Sōsuke Aizen
Ep215OrihimeCharaPic.png ウルキオラ・シファー
Ulquiorra Cifer
Ep279AizenCharaPic.png 井上 織姫
Orihime Inoue
Ep267UlquiorraCharaPic.png

Ep158SadoCharaPic.png 石田 雨竜
Uryū Ishida
Ep216IchigoCharaPic2.png
茶渡 泰虎
Yasutora Sado
Ep269UryuCharaPic.png 黒崎 一護
Ichigo Kurosaki



Chapters

243. The Knuckle & The Arrow

Uryū Ishida and Yasutora Sado display their new level of power to defeat Aisslinger Wernarr and Demoura Zodd.

Summary:

The cover page of 243. The Knuckle & The Arrow.

With Uryū Ishida summoning his new Heilig Bogen, Ginrei Kojaku, Ichigo Kurosaki is left shocked by its appearance and questions if it is really a bow, prompting Uryū to counter that he would not use any other type of weapon and rotate the bow to aim it at a stunned Aisslinger Wernarr before drawing back a Heilig Pfeil, naming Ginrei Kojaku, and firing the Heilig Pfeil in a powerful burst of energy.

Nearby, a wounded Demoura Zodd rears back and falls against a wall, cratering it upon impact, to pant heavily as Yasutora Sado muses that he should not have destroyed Demoura's mask since he looked better with it on. Angered by this, Demoura throws a punch at Sado, who effortlessly catches it with his Fullbring, Brazo Derecha de Gigante, and responds to Demoura struggling to overpower him by wondering if this is all the latter has got prior to grabbing hold with his other hand and flipping Demoura over to slam him into the ground with Grua Tirar.

Back in front of Uryū, a bleeding Aisslinger emerges from the cloud of dust kicked up by the impact of the Heilig Pfeil and curses Uryū as he begins to run away with Sonído, only for Uryū to easily catch up to him with Hirenkyaku and commend Sonído for being fairly fast upon seeing it for the first time. When Aisslinger is left aghast at a Human keeping up with Sonído, Uryū clarifies that he is a Quincy rather than an ordinary Human and explains that Hirenkyaku is another high-speed movement technique which he considers superior to both Shunpo and Sonído. However, Aisslinger declares that he has never heard of Quincy, leaving Uryū disappointed by his ignorance, before asserting that Uryū being able to keep up with his Sonído means nothing unless the latter can counter his Uña Tirotear while firing hundreds of small energy bullets at Uryū with his tendril fingers.

In turn, Uryū begins firing hundreds of Heilig Pfeil from Ginrei Kojaku at the approaching bullets, creating a cloud of colliding energy projectiles between the two of them. Seeing this, Aisslinger mocks this solution of shooting down all his bullets as something a child would think of and boasts that he can fire 108 bullets at once, but Uryū reveals that Ginrei Kojaku can fire 1,200 Heilig Pfeil at once, leaving Aisslinger in disbelief while a surge of Heilig Pfeil overcomes his bullets to converge on all sides and slam into Aisslinger simultaneously.

Meanwhile, a winded Demoura falls to his hands and knees in exhaustion, and as Sado approaches him, Demoura refuses to lose to a weakling like him and extends his tongue toward Sado with Lengua Tronco, only for the latter to stop it with Brazo Derecha de Gigante', causing it to bunch up on the floor in front of him, and point out to a shocked Demoura that this seeming to be a last-resort attack indicates that he is done fighting. With the red outer portions of the shoulder protrusion of Brazo Derecha de Gigante flaring open to expel a large amount of energy, Sado decides to take his turn and apologetically admits that he will have to finish off someone who has lost the will to fight even if he does not enjoy it because he cannot afford to be nice this time before punching Demoura hard in the stomach with El Directo.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


244. Born From The Fear

Ichigo Kurosaki, Yasutora Sado, and Uryū Ishida discover Las Noches as the Espada are alerted to the presence of intruders.

Summary:

The cover page of 244. Born From The Fear.

Having defeated Demoura Zodd with El Directo, Sado walks away from the former's collapsing body and notes that it is done while dispelling his Fullbring, Brazo Derecha de Gigante. Nearby, a heavily damaged Aisslinger Wernarr curses Uryū Ishida and attempts to raise one of his remaining tendril fingers to attack, only for Uryū to immediately destroy it with a Heilig Pfeil from his Heilig Bogen, Ginrei Kojaku, and correct Aisslinger calling him a Human once again before telling Aisslinger to warn Sōsuke Aizen that he should fear the Quincy who has come to Hueco Mundo instead of the Shinigami.

Suddenly, the chamber they were fighting in begins rumbling, causing Sado to realize that it is going to collapse, and when an angered Ichigo Kurosaki reminds them that Uryū is the one who claimed they should be careful since the structure is underground, Aisslinger clarifies that the room is designed to self-destruct because he and Demoura are the guardians of the building who are tasked with eliminating anyone who tries to enter Las Noches by this route, meaning that they and the room crumble away if they lose. After Aisslinger concludes that this is the kind of enemy Ichigo and his friends are up against and that there is no victory where they are going with the battle only just beginning here, Ichigo, Sado, and Uryū hurry up the nearby set of stairs, with Uryū taking one last look at Aisslinger before leaving. Behind them, Aisslinger muses on Uryū's bold declaration that Aizen should fear him instead of the Shinigami and asserts that Aizen fears no one, which is why the Hollows flock to him since his path of fearlessness shimmers like moonlight to beings born from fear, before being buried by the falling rocks.

Shortly afterward, the passage leading down to the chamber from the surface of Hueco Mundo is filled with sand when the structure fully collapses, resulting in Ichigo, Sado, and Uryū bursting out of it seconds later and coughing up sand while Ichigo expresses relief at them making it out at all. With Uryū commenting on this being the world of the Hollows, Ichigo is surprised by the barren, desert-like area surrounding them and comments on how it is not very cheery with the near-completely white features. When Sado notices that all the trees seem to be dried up, Uryū breaks off a branch to inspect and deduces that they are instead made from a quartz-like substance. Suddenly, an alarmed Sado draws Ichigo and Uryū's attention to the horizon, where the massive palace of Las Noches looms in the distance.

Upon seeing it, a startled Uryū wonders if this is a palace or a fortress, deducing that it must be the location that Aisslinger was talking about, and Sado points out how the trees look like sticks next to it while admitting that its sheer size is messing up his sense of scale. Uryū observes that it is a good thing they got to see it from a distance so they could get a sense of the whole area, and as Ichigo questions how it helps them, Sado notes that it might be useful later and that this is better than not seeing it at all prior to assuming that Orihime Inoue is being held somewhere in there, which Uryū concurs with due to there not seeming to be anywhere else that the Arrancar could hide her in. With Ichigo suggesting that they start running since standing around just invites further attack, he, Sado, and Uryū begin approaching Las Noches while two figures watch them from atop a nearby ledge.

Meanwhile, within Las Noches, the Espada approach their meeting table and discuss the appearance of intruders, with Zommari Rureaux revealing that the twenty-second underground passage has self-destructed, Baraggan Louisenbairn expressing surprise at how far away the intruders entered the realm from, Szayelaporro Granz musing that it would have been fun if they had broken right into the throne room, Nnoitra Gilga cackling gleefully at the event, and Coyote Starrk telling Nnoitra to shut up so he can sleep as Tier Harribel, Aaroniero Arruruerie, Yammy Llargo, Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez, and Ulquiorra Cifer sit down silently alongside them. Walking into the room from the main entrance, Aizen approaches the table with Gin Ichimaru and Kaname Tōsen, where he greets the Espada and announces that they have been invaded prior to offering them tea.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


245. THE WAY WITHOUT ENEMIES

Sōsuke Aizen orders the Espada to prepare to confront Ichigo Kurosaki, Uryū Ishida, and Yasutora Sado.

Summary:

The cover page of 245. THE WAY WITHOUT ENEMIES.

Once all of the Espada at the table have been served tea, Sōsuke Aizen has Kaname Tōsen pull a lever to display an image of Ichigo Kurosaki, Yasutora Sado, and Uryū Ishida running across Hueco Mundo to himself and the Espada. When Aizen names each of them in turn, Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez is left alarmed by Ichigo's presence as Aaroniero Arruruerie muses on this being the enemy, Baraggan Louisenbairn expresses disappointment at the enemy raid being comprised of children, Szayelaporro Granz calls them boring, and Yammy Llargo looks away dismissively. In response, Aizen cautions the Espada to not underestimate them because Ichigo, Sado, and Uryū were among the Ryoka who invaded Soul Society and defied the Gotei 13.

When Zommari Rureaux questions who is missing from their group since there were four Ryoka who invaded Soul Society, Ulquiorra Cifer clarifies that it is Orihime Inoue, prompting Nnoitra Gilga to mockingly approve of them coming to rescue their friend, only to assert that they look weak. With Tier Harribel reminding him that he was just warned to not underestimate the group, an annoyed Nnoitra counters that he did not mean it like this and wonders if Harribel is afraid of them. Suddenly, Grimmjow stands up from his seat next to Aizen and begins walking away, and when Tōsen asks him where he is going, Grimmjow states that he is going to kill them since it is best to exterminate vermin as soon as possible. Though Tōsen points out that Aizen has not given him his orders yet, Grimmjow declares that he is going to kill the intruders for Aizen.

However, Aizen addresses Grimmjow directly and requests that he sit back down since Aizen is not done speaking even though his enthusiasm is appreciated. Upon seeing Grimmjow looking at him disdainfully, Aizen tells him to speak up and exerts his Reiatsu, forcing a startled Grimmjow to his knees with its intensity, before standing up and observing that they understand each other now. Turning back to the rest of the Espada, Aizen assures them that there is no need for excessive alarm even if they should not underestimate the enemy and instructs them to return to their palaces and conduct their usual business without being overconfident or reckless as he promises that no one can defeat the Espada as long as they are with him.

Outside, in the sands of Hueco Mundo, Ichigo falls on his back in exhaustion while Sado and Uryū rest alongside him. When Ichigo complains about how they do not seem to be getting any closer to Las Noches despite how much they have run and wonders if the palace is just a mirage, Uryū begins to explain that they could not be seeing a mirage here since those are created by heat, only for Ichigo to loudly decline to hear his explanation. Noticing a small, lizard-like Hollow that quickly burrows underground when it sees him looking at it, Ichigo muses that this world seems to have some wildlife in it even though he believed it was devoid of life, only to question what they sustain themselves on since Hollows feed on Human Souls. In response, Uryū theorizes that Hueco Mundo's atmosphere being so dense with Reishi means that the small Hollows can sustain themselves just by breathing, leaving Ichigo shocked by his knowing the Reishi density of the atmosphere while a pleased Uryū details how Quincy using ambient Reishi when they fight leads to their strength being proportionate to the Reishi density of the area.

With Uryū noting that he realized this during the fight earlier and concludes that he should be able to fight even better than he does in the Human World or Soul Society once he gets the hang of it, Ichigo dismissively observes that he gains nothing from this even though Uryū and the Hollows are improved by it, prompting a startled Uryū to assert that it should be the same for Shinigami since the Reishi in Soul Society allowed Rukia Kuchiki to regain her spiritual powers, though Ichigo claims that Rukia may simply be a unique case. As a perturbed Sado examines his left arm, Uryū warns Ichigo that the high concentration of Reishi here is an advantage for the Arrancar as well and muses that the Arrancar are sure to see him, Ichigo, and Sado as both enemies and food no matter how close Aizen is to turning Hollows into Arrancar, with any Hollows they meet likely being several times stronger than they appear to be. Despite Uryū concluding that they have much to be wary of, Ichigo simply declares that he talks too much and waves off Uryū's indignation at this while telling Sado to keep going with him.

Suddenly, Ichigo is interrupted by Bawabawa bursting out of the sand nearby and chasing after Nel Tu alongside Pesche Guatiche and Dondochakka Birstanne, who laugh as Nel cries in fear. With Uryū assuming Nel is Human and wondering how that could be possible here, Ichigo proclaims that they will figure it out later and must help her now.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


246. The Great Desert Bros.

Ichigo Kurosaki, Yasutora Sado, and Uryū Ishida meet Nel Tu and her Arrancar family.

Summary:

The cover page of 246. The Great Desert Bros.

With Nel Tu running from Pesche Guatiche, Dondochakka Birstanne, and Bawabawa, Ichigo Kurosaki suddenly appears and slams his sheathed Shikai, Zangetsu, into Dondochakka's face, sending the latter flying back, as Yasutora Sado leaps into the air with his Fullbring, Brazo Derecha de Gigante, forming and is joined by Uryū Ishida wielding his Heilig Bogen, Ginrei Kojaku, resulting in them crashing into a shocked Pesche and Bawabawa from above. As Ichigo stands over Dondochakka, Sado holds Bawabawa aloft, and Uryū aims a Heilig Pfeil at Pesche, who complains about the tip poking into and burning his forehead, Nel pulls down her hood and begs Ichigo and his friends to stop picking on them, leading a stunned Ichigo to notice the mask covering her head and wonder if she is a Hollow.

Shortly afterward, Nel, Dondochakka, Pesche, and Bawabawa bow and apologize for the misunderstanding, with Nel explaining that they were playing endless tag because there is not much to do for fun in Hueco Mundo. When Ichigo points out how there were tears in her eyes even though she claims that she was playing, Nel confirms this and notes that her masochistic nature means that it not fun for her unless she is chased so much that she cries, leading Ichigo to angrily punch the back of Dondochokka's head and demand to know what they have been teaching Nel. At Uryū's questioning, Nel introduces herself as an Arrancar, to Ichigo's surprise, and Pesche and Dondochakka identify themselves as her older brothers prior to declaring that Bawabawa is their pet, leading Ichigo to question if Arrancar can have families and pets. In turn, Nel calls him rude for assuming otherwise as Pesche and Dondochakka explain that they decided to be Nel's older brothers after encountering her one day and being enamored by her cuteness, only for Ichigo to bluntly state that this does not make them a family. However, when Nel, Pesche, and Dondochakka are left aghast by the implications of this, an unnerved Ichigo concedes that they are a family after all.

Some time later, Bawabawa slithers across the desert with Ichigo, Sado, Uryū, Nel, Pesche, and Dondochakka on his back, where Ichigo inquires about the latter three really being Arrancar. Sitting on Ichigo's lap, Nel reminds him of the cracked mask on her head, but when Ichigo clarifies that they are very different compared to the Arrancar he and his friends faced in the Human World, Nel reveals that those were Números and hops off of Ichigo's lap while detailing how these are high-ranking Arrancar assigned a double-digit number who serve under the direct command of the Espada, making them expert fighters unlike Nel, Pesche, and Dondochakka. As she points out how Ichigo, Sado, and Uryū look even less like Arrancar than they do due to lacking masks and Ichigo wearing a black robe, which makes him look more like a Shinigami, Nel has a realization and begins trembling as she asks them about what they actually are, prompting Ichigo to identify himself as a Substitute Shinigami, Uryū to introduce himself as a Quincy, and Sado to note that he is just a Human.

Terrified by this alongside Pesche and Dondochakka, Nel frantically calls them bad guys for being Shinigami, which leads Ichigo to question how she did not know what they were, and declares that Arrancar do not want to go to Las Noches prior to assuming that Ichigo is going to kill them, which Ichigo denies. Suddenly, Runuganga rises up in front of Bawabawa and promises to rip them all to pieces as the guardian of the white sand. With those present startled by this, Runuganga rebukes Nel, Pesche, and Dondochakka for helping the intruders he had just learned about and vows to turn them all into sand, but as Nel attempts to claim that this is not what it looks like, Ichigo tells her to move aside and fires a Getsuga Tenshō at Runuganga, who is sliced vertically in half from the chest up. Though Nel, Pesche, and Dondochakka accuse him of being a cheater for performing a surprise attack like this, Ichigo reminds them that he just save them and wonders where the surprise element was since he attacked Runuganga from the front.

However, Runuganga simply rejoins his split halves and proclaims that Ichigo attacking without warning or remorse is an even more heinous crime. When Ichigo demands to know how Runuganga did this, Nel casually informs him that Runuganga is made of sand, prompting Ichigo to warn her that Runuganga is targeting her group as well and that they cannot just stand around. With Runuganga punching the ground near Bawabawa, who narrowly evades him, Ichigo turns to Uryū and Sado for a plan, only for Uryū to observe that his Heilig Pfeil will not work on sand and Sado to offer to punch Runuganga if Ichigo wants. Ichigo concludes that they have to run away for now and form a plan later, and while Nel urges Bawabawa to turn around, Runuganga's mouth splits open to reach his chest and he refuses to let them escape prior to forming a massive antlion pit underneath Bawabawa and the group. Turned to by Ichigo for a weakness of Runuganga's, Nel is coerced when Ichigo points out how she is about to die and reveals that it is water, but Ichigo is left questioning where they will get that in a desert. Suddenly, Ichigo sees ice floating past his face and hears Tsugi no mai, Hakuren being performed, resulting in Runuganga being frozen solid and shattering into dozens of pieces upon falling over while Ichigo and his friends turn around to see Rukia Kuchiki and 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai standing atop a nearby dune with desert cloaks over their shihakushō.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


247. United On The Desert

Rukia Kuchiki and 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai join Ichigo Kurosaki and his friends on the journey to save Orihime Inoue.

Summary:

The cover spread of 247. United On The Desert.

In the Seireitei, Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto, 6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki, and 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake are informed by Riteitai of Rukia Kuchiki and 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai having disappeared from the barracks without any trace of their Reiatsu in the area. With the Onmitsukidō second squad patrol unit expanding its search to all of Soul Society, Yamamoto simply calls them foolish.

Meanwhile, in Hueco Mundo, Rukia and Renji stand atop a sand dune before Ichigo Kurosaki and his friends. As Ichigo expresses shock at their arrival, Rukia and Renji leap off the dune to the sand near Bawabawa, whom Ichigo drops off of as Nel Tu panics at the sight of more Shinigami, which Uryū Ishida tells her to stop worrying about. A smiling Ichigo runs over to Rukia and Renji while beginning to ask them why they are here, only to be interrupted when Rukia punches him upside the chin and tags in Renji, who punches a bewildered Ichigo in the side of the face, sending him crashing onto his back as Yasutora Sado and Uryū express concern for him. When Rukia demands to know why Ichigo left for Hueco Mundo instead of waiting for her and Renji to come back, Ichigo admits that he was not sure if they were going to come back, but Rukia counters that they would have come no matter what it took and that this was their intention from the beginning before questioning if she and Renji are not Ichigo's friends whom he can trust.

Surprised by this, Ichigo assures Rukia that they are and that she is right, leading a smiling Rukia to tell Ichigo to never make her ask that again and to get up so they can save Orihime Inoue, which Ichigo smiles at. Soon afterward, with the group riding on the back of Bawabawa, Ichigo inquires about the cloaks Rukia and Renji are wearing and if they were on sale, prompting a slightly embarrassed Rukia to reveal that they were told to bring the cloaks due to the sandstorms in Hueco Mundo by Byakuya, leaving Ichigo, Sado, and Uryū completely shocked by the idea of Byakuya sending them to Hueco Mundo. Renji clarifies that Kisuke Urahara is the one who opened the Garganta for them prior to Rukia recounting Byakuya informing them that his orders were to bring them back and not to stop them from going again, which allowed them to do as they liked after coming back to Soul Society.

Though Ichigo is bemused by Byakuya mellowing out like this, Rukia adds that he wanted Ichigo to run around Hueco Mundo for a while and let the Arrancar deal with his nuisance, leaving Ichigo aggravated while Rukia turns her attention to Nel, Pesche Guatiche, and Dondochakka Birstanne, whom she wonders about the identities of. In response, Nel, Pesche, and Dondochakka introduce themselves and attempt to call their group by three different names simultaneously, to Ichigo's confusion, which causes them to argue among themselves about which name they should be using as a nonplussed Ichigo tells Rukia that this is what Hollows are like. When Bawabawa begins crying at this, Nel, Pesche, and Dondochakka realize that they have left him out and attempt to name their group once more, but do so in three different ways yet again, to Ichigo's exasperation.

Simultaneously, in her room in Las Noches, Orihime stands before the window, having donned a white outfit given to her by the Arrancar to wear. From the doorway behind Orihime, Ulquiorra Cifer notes that she looks quite good in the outfit, and when a startled Orihime questions how long he has been there, an annoyed Ulquiorra states that he has only been here for a moment and tells her to stop overreacting. Stepping forward, Ulquiorra informs Orihime of her friends entering Hueco Mundo, leaving her astonished. Outside Las Noches, Bawabawa reaches the wall, allowing Ichigo and his friends to drop down to the sand, where Nel congratulates Bawabawa on doing so well while Rukia approaches the wall and wonders how they can get through it. When Rukia deduces that it is not made of Sekkiseki, Ichigo asserts that they can just break through it and draws his Shikai, Zangetsu, as he invites Renji to join him, to Renji's chagrin. With Ulquiorra revealing that Orihime's friends have come to rescue her, Renji releases his Shikai, Zabimaru, and attacks the wall alongside Ichigo in a powerful explosion of force.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


248. 再び生きて この場所へ

Ichigo Kurosaki and his friends reach a crossroads within Las Noches and choose to split up.

Summary:

The cover page of 248. 再び生きて この場所へ.

In her room in Las Noches, having just been informed by Ulquiorra Cifer of her friends entering Hueco Mundo to rescue her, Orihime Inoue is left shocked as Ulquiorra reminds her that this should mean nothing to her because she is now an Arrancar in body and spirit, which is what the outfit she is now wearing signifies. Affirming this, Orihime is coerced by Ulquiorra into declaring that her body and spirit are for Sōsuke Aizen and his desires.

Meanwhile, outside Las Noches, Ichigo Kurosaki and 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai successfully break down part of the outer wall with simultaneous attacks from their respective Shikai, Zangetsu and Zabimaru, prompting Renji to confirm to Ichigo that they got through because he feels a breeze now. When an aghast Nel Tu protests this since the actual gate to Las Noches is only a three-day walk from here, Ichigo points out that they cannot walk in through the front door since they are not just visiting a friend here and Renji asserts that they do not have three days. Thanking Nel for bringing them here, Ichigo cautions her that staying with them any longer will make the other Arrancar think she has betrayed them and bids her farewell prior to running into the hole in the wall with his friends, only for Nel to begin frantically running after him despite Pesche Guatiche and Dondochakka Birstanne's protests.

Nel tells Ichigo that they became traitors the moment Runuganga found them and that Aizen may have known even before that, meaning that either the latter will never forgive them or the Espada will not, such that they will be killed if Ichigo does not bring them along. With Nel threatening to cry if he does not take them and insulting several aspects of his person, an irritated Ichigo tells her to stop crying and contests her insults while his nonplussed friends watch. Shortly afterward, Ichigo runs through the makeshift passage with his friends and complains about the thickness of the wall making the tunnel so long and the darkness of the area preventing him from seeing anything, which prompts a smirking Renji to confidently declare that he will take care of this. Though Ichigo questions what he could do, Renji explains that Kidō can do some amazing things with a little creativity and uses Hadō #31. Shakkahō with the intention of creating a large light source, only to end up creating a tiny sphere of red light in his palm. With Uryū Ishida commenting on how Renji made an incredibly small and weak light source after acting like he was about to show off, Rukia berating him for attempting an Eishōhaki he has not mastered yet, and Ichigo claiming that Renji's red hair will light their way like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Renji angrily tells them all to shut up.

Some time later, the group exits the passageway into a room that is initially dark, only for five torches above five separate exits to suddenly light up, revealing the room to be a crossroads. After observing that it really is time to say goodbye to Nel, a sweating Ichigo warns her that she could not handle the Reiatsu beyond this point, to her concern. When Uryū assumes that they will try each path as a group, Rukia asserts that they should each take a different path, and when Ichigo contests the idea of dividing their forces because there is no guarantee that the Espada will come after them individually, Renji stands between them and explains to Ichigo that it is insulting to a warrior for someone to worry about their welfare. With Ichigo stunned by this, Rukia deduces that Ichigo wants them to stay together because he is worried about her and reminds him that he does not need to worry about her since she did not come here to be protected by him.

Once Ichigo accepts this and agrees that they should all take separate paths, Renji announces that they will perform a charm before they leave and details to a confused Ichigo how this is an old tradition which the Gotei 13 used to perform before major battles and which he feels is worth reviving now even though it is not a common practice anymore. Having everyone hold out their hands and chastising them for making him feel more embarrassed than he already was, Renji proclaims that their blades will not shatter and their hearts will not weaken as they approach the crucial battleground before concluding that their iron hearts will remain together though their paths diverge and that they will come back here alive even if the land itself should break asunder, prompting Ichigo, Rukia, Sado, Uryū, and Renji to split up into each of the five exits.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


249. Back to the Innocence

Ulquiorra Cifer reveals the mental trap Sōsuke Aizen placed Orihime Inoue in as the latter recalls Aizen showing her the Hōgyoku.

Summary:

The cover page of 249. Back to the Innocent.

With Ichigo Kurosaki, Rukia Kuchiki, Yasutora Sado, Uryū Ishida, and 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai having each run down separate hallways from the crossroads they found themselves in, Nel Tu, Pesche Guatiche, and Dondochakka Birstanne are left standing in the chamber behind them. As Pesche wonders what they should do next and Dondochakka observes that they are already in trouble no matter what, Nel runs toward the hallway that Ichigo entered, and when Pesche questions where she is going, Nel reveals that she is following Ichigo because she had a lot of fun coming here and wants to have more fun by staying with him before entering the hallway and leaving Pesche and Dondochakka to decide to follow her as well after a moment's hesitation, only to realize that they do not know which one she entered.

Meanwhile, in the hallway leading to Orihime Inoue's room, Ulquiorra Cifer steps out and recalls Orihime only hesitating for an instant prior to asserting that her heart and spirit are dedicated to Sōsuke Aizen without questioning the request, which he considers brave. Suddenly, a grinning Nnoitra Gilga leans against the wall behind Ulquiorra and inquires about how their pet is doing. After Nnoitra brings up Aizen putting him in charge of Orihime and suggests that Ulquiorra could have some fun with her, a disgusted Ulquiorra begins walking away, but Nnoitra moves in front of Ulquiorra with Sonído and slams his hand into the wall as he claims that he was not trying to anger Ulquiorra and simply wanted to know if things are going well. However, Ulquiorra wonders if he is curious or frightened, to Nnoitra's confusion, and moves past the latter while noting that Orihime was under Aizen's power long before she entered Las Noches.

When Nnoitra assumes Aizen used Kyōka Suigetsu, Ulquiorra asserts that there was no need for this and reveals that they put Orihime in a multi-layered mental cage upon ordering her to come to Las Noches by telling her that her friends would die if she resisted in any way, giving her a twelve-hour grace period, and permitting her to say a silent and invisible goodbye to just one of her friends. Though Nnoitra scoffs at the idea of this mentally entrapping Orihime, Ulquiorra elaborates that giving Orihime a reprieve when she was in a state of terror and letting her bid farewell to a friend led her to falsely believe that they were sympathetic to her, which weakened her will, with the grace period actually being a deception to confuse her faculties because allowing her to choose who to say goodbye to created the illusion that she was acting of her own free will instead of being abducted and letting her return to the rendezvous point on her own deeply ingrained the illusion in her mind, destroying her will to escape.

With Nnoitra musing on this, Ulquiorra observes that a trace of Orihime's presence was left on the friend she said goodbye to and responds to Nnoitra presuming that this was a mistake by revealing that this trace proved she had freedom of movement and thought until her departure, which caused her actions to appear to be a voluntary betrayal of her friends. Admitting that he does not know if this was a complete success, Ulquiorra concludes that Soul Society has definitely abandoned Orihime by now. Nnoitra expresses admiration of Aizen's genius at undergoing such painstaking planning, but Ulquiorra counters that this was simply a game to Aizen and that it would not have mattered if the plan did not work prior to asserting that Orihime does not have the will to attempt an escape or even resent the Arrancar. Simultaneously, on the couch in her room, Orihime sits and recalls her prior meeting with Aizen.

In the past, Loly Aivirrne and Menoly Mallia bring Orihime before Aizen, who thanks her for coming since there is something he wants to show her. When Aizen tells them to leave, Loly and Menoly protest that they cannot leave him alone with Orihime, but frantically kneel and apologize upon seeing Aizen staring at them balefully and storm out past Ulquiorra in indignation. Once the door closes, Aizen raises a tall cylinder from the ground and has it open in segments to reveal the Hōgyoku within, leaving Orihime unnerved by the sensation of being close to it. Confirming to her that it is the Hōgyoku, Aizen explains that it is somewhat weak right now due to its slumber being disrupted multiple times, but assures her that it is making steady progress and will awaken soon and muses that neither the transformation of Hollows into proper Arrancar or the creation of the Ōken would be possible without it. Aizen asserts that he is showing Orihime this in order to prove that he trusts her, due to her power of rejecting and destroying phenomena being tremendously powerful, and requests that she use her power to help him, leaving Orihime sweating in fear.

In the present, Orihime dismisses the idea of Aizen showing her the Hōgyoku because he trusts her, only to note that she now knows where it is and what her powers are as she recalls Aizen describing it as a rejection of events and the complete destruction of phenomena. Thanking Ichigo for coming to save her, Orihime concludes that she has figured out what she has to do her and that it is something only she can do before resolving to use her powers to destroy the Hōgyoku. With Aizen smirking while sitting in a chair, Ichigo runs down a corridor as someone steps out behind him.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


250. Five Ways To Three Figures

Ichigo Kurosaki is confronted by Dordoni Alessandro Del Socaccio, one of the Privaron Espada.

Summary:

The cover page of 250. Five Ways To Three Figures.

In a long corridor filled with arches, a running Ichigo Kurosaki hears footsteps approaching him from behind and turns to see Nel Tu tearfully running after him, to his shock. With Nel not listening to him urging her to turn back, Ichigo prepares to forcibly send her back, only for Nel to initiate Chōkasoku and slam into his midsection, knocking a stunned Ichigo on his back and causing him to cough up blood as Nel claims that she missed him so much. Grudgingly accepting this, Ichigo questions where the others are, and when Nel explains that she left Bawabawa outside because he needs to constantly eat sand to live, Ichigo clarifies that he is referring to Pesche Guatiche and Dondochakka Birstanne, though he cannot remember the latter's name and mixes him up with Don Kanonji, whom Nel does not recognize. Upon attempting to point out Pesche and Dondochakka behind her, Nel realizes that they are not there and begins crying as she assumes that they got lost, with an unimpressed Ichigo observing that she seems to be the one who is lost.

Suddenly, Ichigo is alerted and looks up at the ceiling, and when Nel questions what is wrong, Ichigo tells her to be quiet and demands that whoever is hiding in the arches above show himself. In response, Dordoni Alessandro Del Socaccio breaks the top of one of the arches by leaping off of it and begins running along the others, prompting Ichigo to proclaim that the former cannot get away from him. However, Dordoni's attempt to deny running away is cut short when his foot slips off one of the arches upon landing, causing him to crash into the ground in front of Ichigo and Nel in an undignified manner. When Ichigo asks him if he is okay, Dordoni dramatically points at him from within the resulting dust cloud, startling Ichigo and Nel, and begins chanting in a rhythm to announce his arrival, but is reduced to coughing by the dust and leaves Ichigo and Nel completely unimpressed when he finally exits the cloud to reveal himself.

After a moment of silence, an aghast Dordoni berates Ichigo's bored expression as him feigning composure after witnessing this grand entrance, though Ichigo bluntly states that he is actually composed, and points out how Nel is not even looking at him due to her eyes being rolled up, only to conclude that this simply shows Ichigo has no appreciation for the finer things and does not matter because the latter is about to be demolished anyway. With Dordoni declaring that Arrancar #103. will crush him, Ichigo notes how high the number is and confirms with Nel that Arrancar usually have a two-digit number while the latter admits that she has never heard of one with three digits. Looking at Dordoni with pity, to the latter's indignation, Ichigo unsheathes his Shikai, Zangetsu, and informs Dordoni that he seems weak, leading the latter to furiously promise to show Ichigo weak and warn him to not cry about it later.

Elsewhere, in a hidden room, Gin Ichimaru finds Kaname Tōsen surveilling the actions of Ichigo and his friends through controlled cameras, which he claims is not very nice, only for Tōsen to counter that Gin has come here to do the same. Assuring Tōsen that he was only kidding, Gin is stopped from entering the room by Wonderweiss Margela, who grabs his leg in annoyance. At Gin's behest, Tōsen has Wonderweiss let go of Gin and replies to the latter noting that Wonderweiss has taken a liking to Tōsen by explaining that the pure are drawn to each other even though he has yet to discover what Wonderweiss's purity is directed toward. With Gin observing that this explains why Wonderweiss does not like him, Tōsen asserts that any sane person would be wary of Gin and directs the latter's attention to Ichigo's group splitting up. While Tōsen agrees that they are foolish for dividing their forces like this, Gin notes with interest that they are currently passing through the lair of the Tres Cifras.

As Ichigo is suddenly slashed across his left shoulder by a passing Dordoni, whom he stares at in bewilderment while Nel calls out to him in concern, Tōsen realizes that Wonderweiss probably does not know about the Tres Cifras since he is new to Las Noches and decides to explain them to him. With Ichigo firing a Getsuga Tenshō at Dordoni, Tōsen details how three-digit numbers are a sign of demotion for former Espada and how those who have been demoted in this way are called Privaron Espada just before Dordoni splits the Getsuga Tenshō in two with Barón Puntapiés Alto, remaining undamaged by the blast in the process, and smugly tells Ichigo to not judge people by their appearances.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


251. Baron's Lecture 1st Period

Dordoni Alessandro Del Socaccio swiftly overwhelms Ichigo Kurosaki, who refuses to use his Bankai.

Summary:

The cover page of 251. Baron's Lecture 1st Period.

With Ichigo Kurosaki staring at him in disbelief, Dordoni Alessandro Del Socaccio reiterates that Arrancar with three-digit numbers are former Espada as Uryū Ishida is confronted by Cirucci Sanderwicci and Yasutora Sado stands before Gantenbainne Mosqueda. Dordoni immediately attacks Ichigo with a downward kick, forcing the latter to block with his Shikai, Zangetsu, while the ground ruptures beneath his feet, and springs backward off the blade prior to asking Ichigo what is wrong and leaping into the air, where he swings his foot up to tear through several more arches before slamming into Ichigo with enough force to send him crashing through the nearby wall into an adjoining room. Catching up to a stunned Ichigo in midair while the latter notices an exit at the end of the room beneath them, Dordoni asserts that Ichigo should not have to look to know where he is going to land and kicks him into one of the pillars lining the room with enough force to crater it.

Upon landing, Dordoni lambasts Ichigo's slow reflexes, porous defense, and pathetic spatial awareness as he questions why he is bothering to fight the latter. Suggesting that Ichigo use his Bankai, Dordoni bluntly states that he cannot win without it, but Ichigo refuses and confirms with a quizzical Dordoni that Privaron Espada are not really Espada prior to declaring that he cannot be wasting his Bankai on someone who is not even an Espada when he has to defeat every Espada in Hueco Mundo and rushing down toward Dordoni. However, while blocking Ichigo's subsequent slash of Zangetsu with his leg without injury, Dordoni expresses understanding of Ichigo's reasoning, only to grab Zangetsu by the blade and warn Ichigo to not underestimate him prior to activating his Resurrección, Giralda, with his still-sheathed Zanpakutō, creating a whirlwind that forces Ichigo back.

With Ichigo alarmed that Dordoni can do this without even drawing his Zanpakutō, Dordoni tells him to raise his sword just before Ichigo is attacked by a large, piercing strike, leaving him shocked while the wind clears to reveal Dordoni having gained horn-like protrusions on his shoulders and coiling armor on his legs with spouts near his ankles that are creating two large Cyclones, each creating an additional bird-like wind being with a large and pointed beak. After asking Giralda if it is ready, Dordoni aims a kick in the direction of Ichigo, who is flying through the air, causing one of the bird protrusions to slam him into the ground from above in response. As a bloodied Ichigo pants within the crater created by this attack, Nel Tu watches through the hole in the wall and tearfully worries that Ichigo is going to die as the left eye of her mask glows with a strange light.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


Author's Notes

Volume 28 Intro Image.png
I got a new cell phone, but the first name in my address book is still Asada.
Argh.

-Tite Kubo

References

  1. Bleach 28 (Japanese). Shueisha.
  2. Bleach Vol. 28. Viz Media.
  3. English translation: Still alive, to this place (Japanese romaji: Futatabi ikite, kono basho e)
  4. This chapter originally appears as "Back to the Innocent" in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine.

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goodbye, halcyon days. BARON'S LECTURE FULL-COURSE THE SLASHING OPERA

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