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BE MY FAMILY OR NOT
Bleach cover 21
Poem
"Everything in this world
exists to wear you down."
Cover Shinji Hirako
Volume 21
Pages 192
Anime Episodes 62 - 63, 110 - 111
Release Data
Print (J) March 3, 2006
ISBN (J) 4-08-874027-0[1]
Print (US) October 2, 2007
ISBN (US) 1-4215-1165-7[2]
Chapter List
Shueisha 179. Confession in the Twilight

180. Something in The Aftermath
181. AND THE RAIN LEFT OFF
182. GET BACK FROM THE STORM [TRIGGER FOR A NEW CONCERTO]
183. eyes of the unknown
184. HUSH
185. BE MY FAMILY OR NOT
186. Tell Your Children The Truth
187. THE CIGAR BLUES PART TWO

Viz Media 179. Confession in the Twilight

180. Something in the Aftermath
181. AND THE RAIN LEFT OFF
182. GET BACK FROM THE STORM (TRIGGER FOR A NEW CONCERTO)
183. eyes of the unknown
184. HUSH
185. BE MY FAMILY OR NOT
186. Tell Your Children the Truth
187. THE CIGAR BLUES, PART TWO

BE MY FAMILY OR NOT is the twenty-first volume of the Bleach manga series.

Publisher's summary

Ichigo Kurosaki and his friends return to the World of the Living, where life goes on as usual. But the arrival of a new transfer student raises disturbing questions, for outside school he carries a Zanpakutō and wears the mask of a Hollow...

Bleach All Stars

All-Stars
平子 真子
Shinji Hirako
Ep269UryuCharaPic 茶渡 泰虎
Yasutora Sado
Ep278ShinjiCharaPic 石田 雨竜
Uryū Ishida
Ep158SadoCharaPic

Ep215OrihimeCharaPic 朽木 ルキア
Rukia Kuchiki
Ep216IchigoCharaPic2
井上 織姫
Orihime Inoue
Ep320RukiaCharaPic 黒崎 一護
Ichigo Kurosaki



Chapters

179. Confession in the Twilight

In the aftermath of Sōsuke Aizen's departure, the Fourth Division tends to the wounded while 6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki reveals the source of his previous inaction to Rukia Kuchiki.

Summary:

179Cover

The cover page of 179. Confession in the Twilight.

On Sōkyoku Hill, 4th Division 3rd Seat Yasochika Iemura directs his subordinates to tend to the wounded Shinigami present, with 6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki being seen to by the second and third squads, 7th Division Captain Sajin Komamura being treated by the seventh, tenth, eleventh, and thirteenth squads, and 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai being prepared for transport by the eighth and ninth squads after receiving sixth-stage treatment. With Iemura concluding that the severe injuries of all three combatants necessitates the creation of a chi-cleansing force field and transport to the Sōgō Kyūgo Tsumesho for eighth-stage treatment, Rukia Kuchiki is held back by one of the Shinigami and expresses concern for Byakuya, who lies on the ground in a healing field as several of the Fourth Division members tend to his injuries.

While Komamura refuses treatment for his injuries and tells those attempting to tend to him to see to the other wounded despite their protests, an unconscious Renji is lifted on a stretcher, and when the Shinigami who had tried to tend to Komamura ask him what they should do, Iemura instructs them to help the Ryoka. Despite the shock of the two Shinigami, Iemura bluntly asserts that the Ryoka saved Soul Society and orders them to move, prompting them to run off in compliance. Iemura turns to watch Orihime Inoue as she heals Ichigo Kurosaki with Sōten Kisshun, where he marvels at the sophistication and speed of her healing technique before admitting that she might even be healing faster than he or 4th Division Lieutenant Isane Kotetsu could. However, as Iemura observes that the sight of bloody flesh does not seem to faze Orihime and begins to ponder what might happen if they had someone of her caliber in the Fourth Division, 8th Seat Harunobu Ogidō claims that Iemura would use his position as 3rd Seat to take advantage of her, leading an annoyed Iemura to slash at Harunobu with his Zanpakutō while demanding that he do his job. After blocking Iemura's attack by clasping his hands around the blade, Harunobu calmly states that he did by contacting their captain, Retsu Unohana, before drawing Iemura's attention to the air, where Unohana arrives on the back of her Shikai, Minazuki.

Iemura asks Unohana how 10th Division Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya and 5th Division Lieutenant Momo Hinamori are doing, and after explaining that they are stable and being treated by Isane, Unohana inquires who is left to tend to here, which prompts Iemura to note that only Ichigo and Byakuya are left. Briefly shocked upon seeing Orihime tending to Ichigo, Unohana decides that the Ryoka do not need their help, to Iemura's surprise, and kneels beside Byakuya while gently admonishing him for being reckless. Suddenly, Byakuya says something to Unohana, who expresses astonishment before informing Rukia that Byakuya is asking for her. After Rukia walks over to him, Byakuya asks her if she is there, which she confirms, and reveals that there is something which he wants to tell her. Upon being told by Byakuya that he lost his wife fifty years ago on a spring morning before the first plum tree blossomed, Rukia expresses sorrow and identifies Byakuya's wife as Hisana Kuchiki as she recalls the Cleric of the Kuchiki House telling her that she was adopted into the Kuchiki Clan because she looked like Hisana.

However, Byakuya informs Rukia that he instructed everyone in the clan to lie to her and clarifies that Hisana was actually Rukia's older sister, shocking Rukia, before recounting how Hisana was sent to Inuzuri in the Rukongai alongside Rukia after she passed away in the Human World, where she found it hard to survive while caring for Rukia and eventually abandoned her. Recalling how Hisana never forgave herself for this, Byakuya recounts how Hisana searched for Rukia almost every day for the next five years after becoming his wife as he remembers the request she made in the spring of their fifth year together.

In the past, Hisana lies on a mat before a kneeling Byakuya and asks him to find Rukia, but not tell her that they are sisters and simply use his power to protect her because Hisana has no right to call Rukia sister after abandoning her, though she wants Byakuya to allow Rukia to call him brother. After apologizing for causing Byakuya trouble even now and being unable to repay the love he showed her, Hisana describes the five years she spent with Byakuya as being like a beautiful dream and passes away, leaving Byakuya holding her hand as he grieves.

In the present, Byakuya concludes that he found Rukia a year later and brought her into the Kuchiki Clan, but details how allowing someone from the Rukongai into the clan was against their laws and led to many in the clan resisting since they felt that it would sully the family's reputation. After noting that he had already broken the law when he took Hisana for his wife, Byakuya recalls how he swore at the graves of his parents to uphold the law and never break it again upon taking Rukia in. While the Ryoka listen to this somberly, Byakuya admits that he did not know what to do when Rukia was condemned because it left him caught between the oath he made to his parents and the promise he made to Hisana, and as he looks over at Ichigo, Byakuya thanks him and apologizes to Rukia as she holds his hand, leaving Rukia stunned.

That night, Isane bolts awake in her room after a strange dream, and though she is relieved that it was just a dream, Isane begins pacing around the room due to being afraid to go back to sleep. After considering going over to 13th Division 3rd Seat Kiyone Kotetsu's room and worrying that the latter will tell her to get lost, Isane decides to head outside to cool off, where she finds Unohana with her hair back gazing at the night sky as she kneels with a small array of sake. Upon being asked by Unohana if she had another bad dream, Isane frantically attempts to deny this, only to blush with embarrassment as she simply welcomes Unohana back. Smiling, Unohana assures Isane that everything will be alright now and observes that it was quite a day as the latter kneels next to her before instructing Isane to get some rest once she has calmed down, which Isane acknowledges.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


180. Something in The Aftermath

With a week having passed since Sōsuke Aizen's conspiracy came to light, individuals around the Seireitei begin moving forward with their lives.

Summary:

180Cover

The cover page of 180. Something in The Aftermath.

A week after Sōsuke Aizen's betrayal and departure from Soul Society, at the Sōgō Kyūgo Tsumesho, Goteitaishi and another member of the Eleventh Division are angered upon being told that they cannot leave yet. With the other Shinigami threatening to break the legs of the nurse talking to them if he does not stop, several other members of the Fourth Division watch the confrontation with apprehension from a nearby doorway before noticing someone approaching. As Goteitaishi begins to threaten the Shinigami further, 4th Division Captain Retsu Unohana places her hand on his shoulder and inquires if they are feeling better, causing them to sweat nervously at her presence, before menacingly requesting that they keep their voices down and remember that their lives are in the hands of the Fourth Division while under this roof, which prompts a visibly frightened Goteitaishi and his comrade to apologize. While her subordinates marvel at this, Unohana expresses delight at how nice it is outside and suggests that they open the windows.

Meanwhile, in a different part of the Seireitei, Uryū Ishida declares that it is finished and hands Yasutora Sado a shirt decorated with the Quincy cross as he explains that the Shinigami let him use their sewing room and that he has made clothes resembling the ones the Ryoka were wearing when they got here. Upon being asked what he thinks, a confused Sado observes that the pattern is different, leading Uryū to claim that he simply added his own touch before handing Orihime a variation of the shirt she was wearing prior, which has lace along one side and small rosettes at the bottom since Uryū did not have any dyes to work with. With Orihime admitting that it is cute, an encouraged Uryū reveals that he also made a sundress for Rukia Kuchiki to wear back to the Human World. While Sado notes that Uryū seems to be better at making women's clothing, Orihime decides to show the sundress to Rukia as Uryū praises Sado for looking manly like a Quincy after he puts on the shirt, though Sado remains embarrassed.

Elsewhere, 11th Division 3rd Seat Ikkaku Madarame sends the Shinigami he had been training with crashing through a nearby window as he demands to know who is next while wielding a wooden sword. With Ikkaku mocking the timid Shinigami watching this for not wanting to face him, Ichigo Kurosaki steps forward with his own wooden sword and proclaims that he will spar with Ikkaku, who expresses respect for Ichigo's courage before inquiring if he is sure about this since he has no intention of holding back despite Ichigo only just having finished convalescing. When Ichigo points out that Ikkaku did as well and that he was not convalescing because he was injured rather than sick, an annoyed Ikkaku claims that the word applies to either situation, but Ichigo denies this, which prompts Ikkaku to demand to know what the word for recovering from battle wounds is. After Ichigo admits that he does not know, Ikkaku berates him for not knowing Japanese, and as Ichigo counters by insulting his baldness, Ikkaku angrily declares that they will settle this with steel as Ichigo declares that Japanese is his best subject. Suddenly, while Ichigo and Ikkaku clash, 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki kicks open the door, causing the Shinigami present to quickly turn and greet him.

With his lieutenant, Yachiru Kusajishi, on his shoulder, Kenpachi observes that Ichigo is looking well and inquires if his wounds have healed. However, as Ichigo confirms this, he finds his wooden sword cut in two near the hilt as a grinning Kenpachi proclaims that this means he can fight Ichigo without holding back. Hearing this, Ichigo leaps out of the broken window with his footwear in hand and runs off while refusing to fight a surprised Kenpachi ever again as the latter demands that he come back and begins chasing him. While watching this, 11th Division 5th Seat Yumichika Ayasegawa notes that things are as rowdy as ever, which 7th Division Lieutenant Tetsuzaemon Iba concurs with as being especially true since Ichigo showed up, though he states that it is better to be rowdy than boring. Upon being asked by Yumichika why he is here with them rather than with his captain, Sajin Komamura, Iba admits that Komamura wanted to be alone for a while.

On a grassy hill, Komamura stands before Kakyō's grave and wonders what she would have said to stop Kaname Tōsen. 9th Division Lieutenant Shūhei Hisagi is startled to find Komamura present when he arrives, and after exchanging nods, Hisagi joins Komamura at the grave and asks him if he believes Tōsen will ever come back, prompting Komamura to assert that he will undoubtedly do so and that they will open Tōsen's eyes together at that point in time.

In the Tenth Division barracks, Lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto recalls Gin Ichimaru stating that he would not have minded being her prisoner for a while longer and apologizing prior to leaving alongside Aizen. As she claims to hate Gin and calls him stupid, Rangiku yelps in shock when her captain, Tōshirō Hitsugaya, appears behind her and requests context. With Rangiku noting that she almost popped out of her shihakushō in fright at this, Hitsugaya questions if this is her normal reaction to surprise and informs her that someone is here to see her. Upon seeing a nervous and apologetic 3rd Division Lieutenant Izuru Kira standing in the doorway, Rangiku smiles and inquires if he would like to eat some of the soba buns on the table next to her. Shortly afterward, an intoxicated Rangiku throws a jug of sake against the wall, where it shatters, and lambastes Gin as a pig with squinty eyes while an equally intoxicated Izuru agrees and expresses hope that Gin dies. Seeing this, an unnerved Hitsugaya leaves and tells Rangiku that he will be using the bathroom, leaving her to bid him farewell as Izuru claims that he will drink until he throws up. Hitsugaya makes his way to the room that 5th Division Lieutenant Momo Hinamori is hospitalized in, where he looks at her lying on a bed with a ventilator attached to her face and expresses sorrow over her present state.

Meanwhile, as she approaches Rukia's room, Orihime looks at the dress Uryū sewed for her and states that Rukia will love how cute it is, as it will lift her spirits after the moody period she has been going through recently. Wondering why Uryū would go to so much trouble, a stunned Orihime assumes that Uryū has romantic interest in Rukia and proclaims that she has had her first instance of woman's intuition at the age of 15. However, upon reaching Rukia's room and making her presence known, Orihime is confused by what she finds. In another area of the Seireitei, Ichigo complains about his aching legs and expresses disbelief at having actually beaten Kenpachi despite how intense the latter's Reiatsu is as he walks among some Shinigami through a street. With Ichigo realizing that he left his Shikai, Zangetsu, back there, Orihime frantically runs up to him, and as Ichigo wonders where she got her new shirt from, Orihime reveals that she cannot find Rukia anywhere in the Seireitei, alerting Ichigo.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


181. AND THE RAIN LEFT OFF

After finally apologizing to the Shiba Clan, Rukia Kuchiki decides to remain in Soul Society, and Ichigo Kurosaki and his friends head back to the Human World.

Summary:

181Cover

The cover page of 181. AND THE RAIN LEFT OFF.

In the Sixth Division barracks, as he lies on a bed near an open window, Captain Byakuya Kuchiki assumes that his lieutenant, Renji Abarai, is wondering why he is still alive, only for Renji to claim that he would have no one to compete with if Byakuya were dead. As Byakuya stares ahead silently, Renji begins to say something, but is interrupted when Ichigo Kurosaki sticks his head through the window and yells his name, startling Byakuya. Angrily telling Ichigo to shut up as he butts heads, Renji demands to know what Ichigo wants and reveals that he was about to say something heartfelt, leading Ichigo to apologize before inquiring if Renji knows where Rukia Kuchiki is. Confused by this, Renji inquires if something happened to Rukia, and as Ichigo nervously claims that he does not need to worry if he does not know anything, Orihime Inoue clambers up next to him and admonishes Ichigo for entering a building through the third-story window. After expressing shock at Orihime getting up here, Ichigo apologizes to Renji and Byakuya alongside her before returning to the ground and running off with Orihime, leaving Renji to wonder what that was about as Byakuya ponders Ichigo calling him by his first name.

Meanwhile, an intoxicated 10th Division Lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto leans out of a window and invites 9th Division Lieutenant Shūhei Hisagi to have a drink with her and 3rd Division Lieutenant Izuru Kira, and as Hisagi decides that this sounds good after Rangiku points out that he does not have anything better to do, 7th Division Captain Sajin Komamura politely declines when Rangiku invites him as well, prompting Rangiku to call him stiff and note that he is at least not wearing his helmet anymore while drinking sake. With Hisagi admitting that he is already getting used to seeing Komamura like this, Rangiku affirms this and states that she did not like the helmet very much because it felt like Komamura was hiding something from them. As Hisagi passes Rangiku and is shocked to see an intoxicated Izuru lying on the ground behind her, Rangiku sees Ichigo and Orihime passing by, leading her to invite them to drink with her as well, only for Ichigo to decline while Orihime asserts that they are underage. A disappointed Rangiku notes that she has tea as well, causing Hisagi to request that she give him some because Izuru is foaming at the mouth and only wearing a loincloth, and 8th Division Captain Shunsui Kyōraku requests to join as he approaches, only for Rangiku to decline because his lieutenant, Nanao Ise, will get mad at her if she lets Shunsui drink.

Outside the Seireitei, Orihime inquires if they should have asked Rangiku about Rukia, but Ichigo denies this since Renji not knowing where Rukia is means the others likely do not either before concluding that Rukia can only be in one place if Orihime's Shun Shun Rikka did not find her in the Seireitei. Outside the Shiba Clan household, Kūkaku Shiba forces Ganju Shiba to perform dozens of push-ups, and as Ganju claims that he cannot do any more, Kūkaku denies this and instructs him to give her a thousand more, though Ganju declares this impossible because he can only count to fifty and he cannot move no matter how much Kūkaku stomps on him. Telling Ganju to stop whining, Kūkaku reveals that she knows he barely helped out during the rescue of Rukia and promises that he will be a one-man army by the time she is done with him, prompting Ganju to warn her that there will not be a next time at this rate. Suddenly, Rukia approaches the two of them, shocking Kūkaku and Ganju with her presence, and looks down nervously as Kūkaku removes her foot from Ganju's back and demands to know what Rukia wants.

Though Ganju attempts to inform her that Rukia is the Shinigami whom Ichigo and the others fought to save, Kūkaku reveals that she knows this and that Rukia is the Shinigami who killed Kaien Shiba before reiterating her demand to know what Rukia wants. Bowing toward Kūkaku and Ganju, Rukia apologizes and explains that she has wanted to tell them something ever since that day, but calls herself a coward who could not face them and needed all that time to muster up the courage. However, Kūkaku interrupts her apology to claim that she can stop because it is alright, and as Rukia begins to protest, an irritated Kūkaku punches her in the back of the head and details how 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake told her how Rukia has been torturing herself this whole time despite Kaien's death not being her fault, which led her to decide a long time ago that she would forgive Rukia if the latter ever apologized. With Kūkaku concluding that it is alright, Rukia mentally asserts that she is not the one who has been suffering and thanks Kūkaku as she begins to apologize again, leading an annoyed Kūkaku to punch Rukia in the face and remind Rukia to stop apologizing.

Ichigo calls out to Rukia as she cleans her bloody nose and approaches with Orihime before suggesting that they go back if Rukia is done here, since Rukia will need to rest up for tomorrow when they open the Senkaimon back to the Human World. Acknowledging this, Rukia notes that there is something she needs to tell Ichigo and reveals that she has decided to stay in Soul Society. After staring in silence for a moment, Ichigo smiles and states that this is good if it is what Rukia wants. With Ichigo encouraging her to stay here if she really wants to do so, Rukia smiles and remembers why she wanted to save Ichigo so badly when she was brought back to Soul Society.

The next day, Ichigo and his friends stand before the central Senkaimon installation, where they are told that a Reishi Henkan-Ki has been installed just for them. As he draws Ichigo's attention, Ukitake hands him something, to Ichigo's surprise. Meanwhile, Rukia stands with the others and bids them farewell as Uryū Ishida tells her to take care. Upon realizing what she almost forgot, Orihime gives Rukia the sundress that Uryū sewed for her and quietly insists that she wear it, to a startled Rukia's confusion. Looking at Rukia, Ichigo promises to see her again, prompting Rukia to affirm this and thank Ichigo. While entering the Senkaimon alongside his friends as several members of the Gotei 13 watch from behind, Ichigo internally asserts that this is his line and thanks Rukia in turn because the rain has finally stopped due to her.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


182. GET BACK FROM THE STORM [TRIGGER FOR A NEW CONCERTO]

Ichigo Kurosaki and his friends return to their homes in the Human World with the help of Kisuke Urahara.

Summary:

182Cover

The cover spread of 182. GET BACK FROM THE STORM [TRIGGER FOR A NEW CONCERTO].

Running through the Dangai alongside his friends, Ichigo Kurosaki frantically questions why they had to come this way again when they used the central Senkaimon to enter and should thus have a safe route, prompting Yoruichi Shihōin, who has returned to her cat form, to explain that they would each need a Jigokuchō in order to take the safe route and only Shinigami are able to handle them. While Yoruichi tells him to stop complaining and look at the exit ahead, Ichigo emerges from the Dangai alongside the others, only to find himself in midair and scream in fright as they begin falling toward the ground. Suddenly, Ururu Tsumugiya fires a large cloth out of her Senren Bakusatsu Taihō that wraps itself around the group and forms a ball which hurtles through the air. As he leaps into the air with his Muteki Tekkon held high, Jinta Hanakari prepares to smack the group away with Jinta Home Run, startling them, but is interrupted when Tessai Tsukabishi appears behind him in midair and catches both Jinta and the group with Tessai Death Catch. With Ichigo claiming that he is going to throw up from all the spinning, Tessai brings the group to a flat, flying cloth being piloted by Kisuke Urahara, where Ururu lands and removes the cloth covering the group as Urahara greets them.

After Ichigo addresses him, Urahara assumes that Ichigo now knows who he is, which Ichigo confirms, and removes his hat before kneeling in front of Ichigo and apologizing, to the surprise of the latter and his friends. However, Ichigo assures Urahara that he is not mad because Urahara did not do anything wrong and provided crucial help despite his intentions, and as Urahara agrees to not apologize, Ichigo inquires if Urahara kept the truth from him because he believed Ichigo would quit if he knew. When Urahara cheerfully confirms this after putting his hat back on, an annoyed Ichigo elbows him in the face and sits back down while asserting that this is what makes him mad. With Urahara admitting that he did not see this coming as Ururu comforts him, Ichigo instructs him to apologize to Rukia Kuchiki as well even though she will likely tell him the same thing, prompting a smiling Urahara to agree to do so.

Uryū Ishida brings up 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake giving Ichigo something when they left, leading Ichigo to pull out the Substitute Shinigami Badge he was given. As Uryū questions what it is while crowding around Ichigo alongside Orihime Inoue and Yasutora Sado, Ichigo identifies it as a pass identifying him as a Substitute Shinigami and relays Ukitake's explanation that Soul Society acknowledges Substitute Shinigami with rules and gives them a pass when they have been of service, which will be useful in all kinds of situations. Seeing Uryū staring intently at the badge, Ichigo inquires if he is listening, prompting a startled Uryū to affirm this as he wonders if he is overthinking the meaning of those words. Upon examining the badge closely, Sado observes that it seems like a symbol banning Ichigo from being a deputy instead, to Ichigo's annoyance.

Suddenly, Orihime points out Uryū's house below, and after telling Urahara that he can be dropped off here, Uryū prepares to hop off. When Ichigo invites him to go on another adventure sometime, Uryū coldly claims that they will be enemies the next time they meet due to their opposite natures and dramatically exits the cloth, to Ichigo's irritation. Despite this, Orihime assures Ichigo that Uryū was bluffing and admits that she likes this about him, which Sado concurs with, shocking Ichigo with their forgiving personalities. After Orihime and Sado are dropped off at their homes, Ichigo returns to the Kurosaki Clinic, where Kon is having a lewd dream while inhabiting Ichigo's body. Upon hearing a loud banging noise, Kon bolts awake and complains about being pulled out of his dream, only to surprised when he sees an annoyed Ichigo crouched outside his window. Pulling open the window, Kon enthusiastically welcomes Ichigo home because it means he can get out of this body, and as Kon realizes that Rukia is not here, Ichigo reveals that she stayed behind, prompting a startled Kon to demand to know what the point of him going to Soul Society was if this is the case. However, Ichigo responds by pressing his badge against Kon's forehead and is astonished when it knocks Kon's Gikongan out of his body, which leads him to deduce that it has the same powers as Rukia's Gokon Tekkō.

After reentering his body, Ichigo lies on his bed and observes that he is finally home after such a long time despite how fast it passed. Suddenly, as Ichigo hears footsteps approach, Isshin Kurosaki flies into the room with a dropkick that knocks the door off its hinges and slams into Ichigo as he bids him good morning, only for an exasperated Ichigo to intercept his kick by trapping Isshin's feet between his arms and note that nothing has changed around here before attacking Isshin in turn while the latter praises his block, causing Yuzu Kurosaki to plead with them to stop because they are attracting attention from the neighbors outside and beg her sister, Karin Kurosaki, to do something instead of just watch.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


183. eyes of the unknown

Ichigo Kurosaki and his friends resume their school life as Ichigo deals with a Hollow alert on his own for the first time.

Summary:

183Cover

The cover page of 183. eyes of the unknown.

At 7:34 AM on September 1st, a damaged Kon stands before Ichigo Kurosaki, who is left speechless, and swipes at him angrily for his lack of reaction before demanding that Ichigo fix him rather than stare at him in pity. After performing minor repairs, Ichigo promises to bring Uryū Ishida back to his house after school to fix Kon properly because Ichigo is not secretly a seamstress as he places his bag in his pocket, only to be surprised when the charm that Isshin Kurosaki gave him prior to departing for Soul Society falls onto the floor. Ichigo attempts to return it to Isshin as promised, only for Isshin to casually toss it away and declare that he does not want it as Ichigo questions why he still had it. With Ichigo shocked by this, Isshin ties it to Ichigo's uniform and claims that he does not need it anymore, and as Ichigo realizes that he cannot undo the knot, Yuzu Kurosaki warns him that he is going to miss the bus, prompting Ichigo to hurry off while accusing Isshin of lying to him about the charm being a precious belonging given to Isshin by Masaki Kurosaki and vowing to bust Isshin's jaw when he gets home.

At school, Keigo Asano attempts to enthusiastically tackle Ichigo, who clotheslines him with an outstretched arm while offhandedly greeting him. While Keigo wonders where both he and Ichigo have been, Mizuiro Kojima greets Ichigo, who returns the greeting, and stands on Keigo's head while bidding him good morning, to Keigo's chagrin. Ichigo is greeted by Orihime Inoue, Yasutora Sado, and Uryū Ishida, the latter of whom merely states that Ichigo's hair looks stupid. As Ichigo glares at Uryū, Keigo asks him why Orihime, Sado, and Uryū are hanging out despite not having been friends prior to the summer, leading him to wonder what could have happened to form such an alliance before tearfully demanding to know what Ichigo is doing with them when he walks over and tells Keigo to relax. With Keigo claiming that this is a tragic end to a beautiful friendship, Chizuru Honshō gropes Orihime's breasts from behind as she greets her, prompting Tatsuki Arisawa to send Chizuru flying with a kick to the face, and as she clutches her bleeding nose, Chizuru observes that Tatsuki's comedic timing is as sharp as ever despite the summer they spent apart, only for Tatsuki to declare that there is nothing comedic about it and admonish Chizuru for always being lecherous no matter the season, though Chizuru takes pride in this, to Tatsuki's irritation.

Watching this, Keigo claims to wish that he could be as uninhibited as Chizuru is and asks Mizuiro if he feels the same way, which Mizuiro denies. When Ichigo greets her, Tatsuki brings up how he was missing in action all summer and was never around when she stopped by the Kurosaki Clinic even though he apparently got back from vacation early before questioning what he was doing, only to notice something near Ichigo's waist and inquire about it. With Ichigo assuming that she is referring to the charm tied to his shirt, Tatsuki bluntly asserts that she can tell it just a joke gift from his dad since no one else would give him something like that and clarifies that she is referring to the Substitute Shinigami Badge hanging out of Ichigo's pocket. As he claims that he bought it at a shop, Ichigo expresses astonishment upon realizing that Tatsuki can see it, to her confusion.

However, before Tatsuki can inquire further, Misato Ochi slams open the door to the classroom and greets her students as she tells them to sit down. After everyone gets seated, Misato asks if everyone is here and dismisses Reiichi Ōshima and Keisuke Sorimachi's absences since they are hoodlums and will be fine, to her students' surprise, before announcing that they have a new student entering the class while Ichigo recalls 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake explaining that the badge is more powerful than it looks and would be dangerous in the hands of anyone other than a Shinigami, so it automatically creates a visual barrier to avoid being seen by humans. Suddenly, the badge begins loudly emitting a Hollow alarm, shocking Ichigo, who is asked by Mizuiro if he is okay. Claiming to have gotten a stomachache, Ichigo internally expresses relief that normal Humans cannot hear the badge either, and after confirming with Sado that a Hollow has been detected, Ichigo slips past Misato as she looks out into the hallway for the new student and runs off while telling her that he needs to use the bathroom.

Confused by this, Misato sees Orihime and Sado running after Ichigo as well and admonishes Orihime for running like this, only to relent when Orihime asserts that she is in pain before denying Keigo when he attempts to go as well. With Keigo bemoaning the favoritism that Misato shows to Ichigo and the others while Uryū remains seated, Tatsuki looks out the window, where she is shocked to see Ichigo running across the field in his Shinigami form. Shortly afterward, Ichigo blocks several projectiles from a Hollow with a pig-like mask and slashes through it vertically with his Shikai, Zangetsu, as he questions whether it is veal or pork. As the Hollow proclaims that it is pork while dissipating, Ichigo turns to Orihime and Sado as they approach and observes that they did not need to cut class since he was able to handle the Hollow by himself, leading Orihime to admit that she has always wanted to lie her way out of class while an unnerved Sado comments on her extreme honesty. When Ichigo wonders where Uryū is, which Sado takes as proof of his personality, Orihime informs Ichigo that Uryū has not been doing well since before they left Soul Society. Sado admits that he did not knows this upon being asked by Ichigo, and as Orihime explains that Uryū did not want them to know because he likes keeping things to himself, Ichigo points out that she should not have told them if this is true, which prompts Orihime to realize that he is right and begin worrying as Ichigo assures her that they will pretend to not know.

In the air above, Shinji Hirako stands upside-down with a bottle of water and observes Ichigo with a smile while identifying him.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


184. HUSH

Shinji Hirako joins Ichigo Kurosaki's class and confronts the latter as he continues to deal with his Hollow-slaying duties.

Summary:

184Cover

The cover page of 184. HUSH.

At the Kurosaki Clinic, Kon stands with his body repaired and a frilly bonnet added to his head, and when Uryū Ishida asserts that this is perfect, Kon angrily swipes his face and declares that it is perfectly lame before reminding Uryū that he did not ask for frills. When Uryū claims that he simply added his personal touch, Kon is further angered and points out how he is a lion rather than a Southern belle as Ichigo Kurosaki watches silently nearby and observes that Uryū added a Quincy cross to the back of Kon's head as well, though he decides to keep this to himself while Kon proclaims that his cuteness remains undiminished. After restoring Kon to his original appearance, Uryū prepares to leave, only for Ichigo to stop him. However, when Uryū inquires what he wants to talk about, Ichigo remembers Orihime Inoue mentioning that Uryū does not want them to know and nervously drops the subject, causing a confused Uryū to call him weird as he leaves. Watching Uryū walk across the street, Ichigo internally notes that he cannot detect Uryū's Reiatsu, meaning that he has lost his Quincy powers.

At school the next day, Shinji Hirako introduces himself to Ichigo's class by writing his name backwards on the chalkboard and giving context for each kanji before bowing. When a confused Misato Ochi points out how it is backwards, Shinji asserts that doing things in reverse is his specialty, prompting Misato to ask him to tell them a little about himself. While Shinji continues to introduce himself, Ichigo recalls 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake telling him that Uryū fought 12th Division Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi, which leads him to deduce that Uryū lost his Quincy powers from expending too much of his Reiryoku and thus sacrificed his powers to help them save Rukia Kuchiki. With Orihime looking at Ichigo in concern, Misato has Shinji take a seat in the back of the class, leading Shinji to take the seat next to Ichigo and express hope that they can be friends now that they are neighbors. However, before Ichigo can finish greeting Shinji, his Substitute Shinigami Badge alerts him to the presence of another Hollow, and while Ichigo runs out of the classroom with the excuse of needing to use the bathroom again, to Misato's disbelief, Yasutora Sado assures a staring Shinji that he does not need to take this personally because it is just how Ichigo is, only for Shinji to dismiss this due to Ichigo being exactly how he imagined, to Sado's puzzlement.

That night, at the Kurosaki Clinic, Ichigo reads a magazine on his bed as Kon declares that he does not want to live like this anymore due to his desire to go out and meet well-endowed young women. With Ichigo telling him to shut up because Karin Kurosaki and Yuzu Kurosaki will hear him, Kon refuses and threatens to sue Ichigo for cruelty toward stuffed animals before wishing that he was still inside Ichigo's body, as this allowed him to act pervertedly with only Ichigo's reputation being ruined. While a mortified Ichigo demands to know if he really did this, Kon proclaims that it was not so painful when Rukia was here and begs her to come back. When his badge alerts him to the presence of a Hollow once more, Ichigo notes that he is beginning to get used to it and uses the badge to enter his Shinigami form before removing Kon's Gikongan from the plushie and dropping it into his body. After instructing Kon to take care of things and stay quiet until he gets back, Ichigo leaps through the open window, leaving Kon to cheekily acknowledge this as he grins pervertedly.

Shortly afterward, Ichigo slashes through the targeted Hollow with his Shikai, Zangetsu, and stands on a rooftop while it dissipates behind him. As Ichigo observes that this should do it, Zennosuke Kurumadani calls out to him from a nearby rooftop and demands to know who Ichigo is, as well as why he is dressed like a Shinigami. Upon having the question turned back on him by Ichigo, a sweating Zennosuke identifies himself as the Shinigami assigned to this district in place of Rukia after she was jailed for a crime. However, when Ichigo holds up his badge and identifies himself as a Substitute Shinigami in turn, a confused Zennosuke declares that he has never heard of such a thing, prompting an annoyed Ichigo to assert that his badge is useless.

Suddenly, Shinji appears in midair behind Ichigo with an unsheathed Zanpakutō and attacks, forcing a shocked Ichigo to block with Zangetsu. With Ichigo realizing that he is wielding a Zanpakutō and demanding to know who he is, Shinji simply holds a finger in front of his lips and advises Ichigo to not make so much noise because someone with his caliber of Reiatsu should not be so easily rattled. While Shinji claims that the noise Ichigo makes will echo around the world and cause others to feel his presence, Ichigo questions whom he is referring to, leading Shinji to wonder if he has to spell it out for Ichigo as The Menos Grande emerges from a Kūmon behind Uryū, who turns around in astonishment. Elsewhere, Kon hears a booming sound while standing in a street, and after confirming that it is not Ichigo coming after him, Kon runs off to enjoy what little time he has in Ichigo's body and wonders gleefully if he will be naughty. In the air above and behind Kon, Grand Fisher emerges from a Kūmon with a new, larger body as he mistakes Kon for Ichigo.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


185. BE MY FAMILY OR NOT

Grand Fisher confronts Kon, believing him to be Ichigo Kurosaki, as Uryū Ishida fends off The Menos Grande.

Summary:

185Cover

The cover page of 185. BE MY FAMILY OR NOT.

Having been confronted by The Menos Grande while walking through a park in Karakura Town at night, a shocked Uryū Ishida evades a strike from The Menos Grande's prehensile tongue and questions if it is a Menos Grande upon seeing it finish emerging from a Kūmon.

Elsewhere, Kon is sent flying back when something slams into the ground in front of him, and as he wonders why everybody gives him grief, Kon is mortified when the dust clears to reveal Grand Fisher, whom he recognizes.

At the Urahara Shop, Kisuke Urahara stands outside the front as Yoruichi Shihōin opens the door behind him while wearing a bathrobe and observes that she can sense something.

Meanwhile, on a rooftop in a different part of the city, Ichigo Kurosaki forces Shinji Hirako back into the air with his Shikai, Zangetsu, while Zennosuke Kurumadani cowers behind another building's ledge nearby and comments on their monstrous Reiatsu. As Shinji notes that it is here and points to this as proof of why Ichigo should have contained his Reiatsu, Ichigo demands to know who he is, leading Shinji to claim that Ichigo is a pain before instructing Ichigo to take a good look as he forms a pharaoh-like Hollow mask over part of his face and inquires if Ichigo recognizes it. With Ichigo realizing that it is a Hollow's mask, Shinji confirms this and describes himself as a Shinigami who crossed into the realm of Hollows as Ichigo recalls being briefly taken over by his inner Hollow prior. Revealing that he is part of the Visored, Shinji concludes that he is just like Ichigo and invites the latter to join them because he does not belong with the others.

Back in the park, Uryū runs from The Menos Grande and deduces its identity from its Reiatsu, only to mentally assert that he is prepared for a Hollow attack despite losing his Quincy powers and can still fight with what little Reiryoku he has left as he pulls multiple Gintō from his shirt pocket and throws them at The Menos Grande. While the Gintō bounce off The Menos Grande, Uryū initiates Heizen, creating a rectangular beam of energy that severs The Menos Grande's left arm. Internally, Uryū details how he filled the Gintō with Reiryoku when he was in training and may be able to discourage The Menos Grande with them even if he cannot kill it. However, The Menos Grande merely regrows its arm with High-Speed Regeneration, to Uryū's shock, and attacks with it, causing Uryū to leap back while its fist crashes into the ground and begin stringing the Silber Draht attached to his arm between two nearby trees, only to find that the top half of The Menos Grande has disappeared.

With the top half of The Menos Grande reappearing in the air above him, Uryū realizes that it and the bottom half were two separate Hollows to begin with as the top half prepares to strike with its tongue once again. Suddenly, The Menos Grande's tongue is severed by a large Heilig Pfeil that rips through it near the mouth, shattering part of its mask in a shower of blood, and Ryūken Ishida approaches while admonishing Uryū for his clumsiness, startling the latter.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


186. Tell Your Children The Truth

Ryūken Ishida demonstrates his own Quincy powers as Kon is saved from Grand Fisher by an unexpected ally.

Summary:

186Cover

The cover page of 186. Tell Your Children The Truth.

Approaching Uryū Ishida in the park after grievously wounded The Menos Grande with a Heilig Pfeil, Ryūken Ishida admonishes him for his clumsiness as a stunned Uryū identifies him. With Ryūken questioning Uryū's rude manner of addressing his father and claiming that the latter has not changed, The Menos Grande begins roaring as it regenerates its tongue, only for Ryūken to bluntly tell it to shut up and shoot it with another Heilig Pfeil that destroys its body above the Hollow hole. Ryūken asserts that High-Speed Regeneration is not a big deal if one simply destroys the enemy before they can use it, and when a confused Uryū questions why he has Quincy powers despite despising the Quincy, which led Uryū to believe that he had given up his powers a long time ago, Ryūken criticizes this line of thinking and reminds Uryū of his specific words on the matter: he has no interest, and Uryū has no talent.

After noting that his powers are harder to get rid of than Uryū's were, Ryūken describes himself as the sole heir to the powers and skills of the late Sōken Ishida whether he is interested or not, making him the last Quincy, as he pulls out his five-pointed Quincy Cross, which Uryū recognizes as belonging to Sōken when he was alive. Suddenly, the lower half of The Menos Grande attacks Uryū from behind, only to be shot with another Heilig Pfeil from Ryūken that destroys part of its body and kills it, causing it to dissipate into the air, as Ryūken berates Uryū for going to Soul Society before he was strong enough and losing the feeble powers he once had. However, Ryūken reveals that he can restore Uryū's power if he chooses to do so, and as Uryū expresses shock at this, Ryūken promises that he is telling the truth before asserting that Uryū must agree to the single condition of never involving himself with the Shinigami again.

Elsewhere, Kon, having taken possession of Ichigo Kurosaki's body, runs up the side of a building and leaps into the air from the roof as he flees in terror from Grand Fisher, who smashes through the roof behind him as Kon frantically requests that they not fight in the street. Questioning why Ichigo runs, Grand Fisher demands that he enter his Shinigami form and destroys part of another building's roof after Kon leaps off of it. Internally, Kon bemoans how this always happens to him and declares that Grand Fisher will never believe that he is not Ichigo before wondering why the latter's mask is halfway off his face, which is partially exposed, which leads Kon to question if he is really a Hollow. Suddenly, Grand Fisher catches up to Kon and states that time is up since he is tired of waiting for Ichigo to enter his Shinigami form as he leaps down to the street below and slams Kon into the ground. With Kon coughing as the dust settles, Grand Fisher decides that Ichigo refusing to transform is fine because he will simply crush the latter's bones to dust while he is in his Human form and moves to slam his other hand into Kon, who realizes that he cannot move his legs.

Suddenly, a barrier of energy forms around Kon, protecting him from Grand Fisher's strike, and Kon realizes that it is emanating from the charm that had been tied to Ichigo's shirt. As he approaches the two of them and reiterates his instructions to always keep the charm handy, Isshin Kurosaki, now wearing a Shinigami uniform with a Zanpakutō on his hip, offers to fight Grand Fisher in Ichigo's stead since the latter is busy right now.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


187. THE CIGAR BLUES PART TWO

Isshin Kurosaki takes on Grand Fisher, who reveals himself to be an Arrancar.

Summary:

187Cover

The cover page of 187. THE CIGAR BLUES PART TWO.

When Grand Fisher demands to know who he is as the charm he gave to Ichigo Kurosaki protects Kon, Isshin Kurosaki, now in his Shinigami form, apologizes for not introducing himself and tells Grand Fisher his name.

Elsewhere, Ichigo Kurosaki and Shinji Hirako sense the intense Reiatsu of this confrontation, and as Ichigo wonders who they belong to and if one of them is that of a Hollow, Shinji is left aghast at him only just sensing the Hollow and observes that he does not recognize the Shinigami whom the other Reiatsu belongs to. Suddenly, Ichigo leaps away from Shinji, who demands to know where Ichigo is going because he is not done talking yet, and asserts that he does not care about what Shinji has to say despite the latter's protests. Refusing to join Shinji's group regardless of what he is, Ichigo declares that he is a Shinigami and not a Visored like Shinji before running off, leaving Shinji to comment on his attitude and pull a cell phone out of his pocket, which he uses to call Hiyori Sarugaki. After admitting that he failed, Shinji listens to Hiyori scream at him over the phone and states she does not have to yell as he assures her that it is only a matter of time, meaning that she needs to be patient.

Back on the street, Isshin confirms Grand Fisher's suspicion that he is Ichigo's father as he picks up the charm off the ground and tosses it to Kon, whom he notes it was made for anyway. Realizing that Isshin knows his name, Kon questions when he deduced that Kon was not Ichigo, prompting Isshin to reveal that he knew from the first time he saw Kon inside Ichigo's body at the graveyard and point out how he never once called Kon by Ichigo's name when he was inhabiting Ichigo's body. Suddenly, Grand Fisher slams his hand into the ground, rupturing it, and observes that Ichigo's father being a Shinigami means that Ichigo himself is a true blood, explaining why Grand Fisher lost to him, but asserts that he has no interest in Isshin himself since he came here tonight to kill Ichigo before demanding to know where Ichigo is due to a father likely knowing his son's whereabouts. However, Isshin merely claims that he does not know because Ichigo is not a kid anymore and he has always been relaxed with his children, though Kon interjects that he is strict with the girls, leading a flustered Isshin to claim that this is a different thing since Karin Kurosaki and Yuzu Kurosaki are special.

Turning back to Grand Fisher, Isshin declares that he came here to kill Grand Fisher and inquires if the latter is interested now. As he grins and laughs maniacally at this, Grand Fisher berates Isshin for thinking he is some ordinary Hollow who could be killed so easily and instructs Isshin to behold his true form as he transforms into a larger being with horns jutting from his body and less fur, shattering his mask in the process. When a stunned Kon wonders if he is a Menos Grande, Grand Fisher denies this and proclaims that he is an Arrancar, prompting Isshin to detail how this is a subsection of Hollows who take off their masks in order to gain Shinigami powers. After expressing mild surprise at Isshin knowing of them, Grand Fisher assumes that Isshin knows what the sword on his back is as he draws his Zanpakutō. With Kon astonished by the size of his Zanpakutō, Grand Fisher claims that the size of one's Zanpakutō reflects that of their Reiryoku and concludes that Isshin has no hope of slaying him with his normal-sized Zanpakutō. Despite this, Isshin grips the handle of his own Zanpakutō and cheerily suggests that they find out, leading Grand Fisher to assert that he is ignorant of the most basic Shinigami lore despite knowing a few things before attacking Isshin, who slashes at him in return.

In the aftermath, Isshin brings up Grand Fisher's mention of the basics and explains that captain-level Shinigami have to keep their Zanpakutō at a manageable size on purpose in order to avoid swinging around swords as big as buildings like the one Grand Fisher is holding. Instructing Grand Fisher to never judge an enemy's strength by the size of his Zanpakutō, Isshin criticizes Grand Fisher for speaking of Shinigami lore without even knowing that much as the latter is split apart vertically at the left shoulder behind him.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


Author's Notes

Volume 21 Intro Image
I went to a mid-season production party.

I drank surrounded by men like them. It was pretty intense, but it was fun.
-Tite Kubo

References

  1. Bleach 21 (Japanese). Shueisha.
  2. Bleach, Vol. 21. Viz Media.

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