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End of hypnosis
MangaVolume20Cover
Poem
"Those who do not know what love is
liken it to beauty.
Those who claim to know what love is
liken it to ugliness."
Cover Gin Ichimaru
Volume 20
Pages 224
Anime Episodes 60 - 62
Release Data
Print (J) December 2, 2005
ISBN (J) 4-08-873883-7[1]
Print (US) August 7, 2007
ISBN (US) 1-4215-1044-8[2]
Chapter List
Shueisha -12.5. 寒月に咲く[3]

169. end of hypnosis
170. end of hypnosis2 [the Galvanizer]
171. end of hypnosis3 [the Blue Fog]
172. end of hypnosis4 [Prisoners in Paradise]
173. end of hypnosis5 [Standing to Defend You]
174. end of hypnosis6 [The United Front]
175. end of hypnosis7 [Truth Under My Strings]
176. end of hypnosis8 [the Transfixion]
177. end of hypnosis9 [Completely Encompass]
178. end of hypnosis10 [No One Stand On the Sky]

Viz Media -12.5. Blooming Under a Cold Moon

169. End of Hypnosis
170. end of hypnosis2 (the Galvanizer)
171. end of hypnosis3 (the Blue Fog)
172. end of hypnosis4 (Prisoners in Paradise)
173. end of hypnosis5 (Standing to Defend You)
174. end of hypnosis6 (The United Front)
175. end of hypnosis7 (Truth Under My Strings)
176. end of hypnosis8 (the Transfixion)
177. end of hypnosis9 (Completely Encompass)
178. end of hypnosis10 (No One Stand On the Sky)

end of hypnosis is the twentieth volume of the Bleach manga series.

Publisher's summary

The shocking truth behind the collapse of Soul Society is finally revealed! The magnitude of the conspiracy is far-reaching, and the perpetrators wield staggering power. Is this the end of Soul Society?

Bleach All Stars

All-Stars
狛村 左陣
Sajin Komamura
Ep38TosenCharaPic 藍染 惣右介
Sōsuke Aizen
Ep215KomamuraCharaPic 東仙 要
Kaname Tōsen
Ep61AizenCharaPic

Ep262RangikuCharaPic 市丸 ギン
Gin Ichimaru
Ep216IchigoCharaPic2
松本 乱菊
Rangiku Matsumoto
Ep153GinCharaPic 黒崎 一護
Ichigo Kurosaki



Chapters

-12.5. 寒月に咲く

On his birthday, 10th Division Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya is invited to watch fireworks.

Summary:

-12.5Cover

The cover page of -12.5. 寒月に咲く.く[3]

In the Tenth Division barracks, as she eats from a bowl of cookies, Lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto is surprised by 5th Division Lieutenant Momo Hinamori's mention of a birthday and assumes that the gift which the latter is holding is for her, only for Hinamori to yank it away from Rangiku while reminding her that her birthday is in September and they just celebrated it. Upon being told that the gift is for her captain, Tōshirō Hitsugaya, Rangiku expresses confusion, prompting an exasperated Hinamori to question if she did not get anything for Hitsugaya.

Some time later, Hitsugaya finds a note from Rangiku telling him to come to the west barracks training facility that night at 9 P.M., leaving him perplexed and irritated that she abandoned her paperwork. That night, Hitsugaya arrives on the roof of the training facility, where he finds Rangiku and Hinamori sitting with the latter's captain, Sōsuke Aizen. When Hitsugaya inquires why Hinamori and Aizen are here, Hinamori admonishes him for referring to Aizen informally, but Hitsugaya counters by pointing out how she never addresses him formally. With Hitsugaya questioning why she called him up here, Rangiku asserts that it is his birthday regardless of how coy he is acting and draws his attention to the sky, where a large firework goes off. Rangiku comments on how nice it is to see fireworks in winter, and when she notes that it would be even better if it were snowing, Hitsugaya states that it would be freezing if that were the case.

As Aizen wishes him a happy birthday, Hitsugaya explains that birthdays do not mean much to those who grew up in the Rukongai because they were not born here like those from the Noble Houses and thus do not really remember the day they were born, meaning that they have to trust one another's word on the matter. Hearing this, Rangiku recalls being asked about her birthday by Gin Ichimaru when they were children, where she admits that she does not know because such things held no meaning for her before she met him, prompting Gin to decide that the day they met is her birthday. Despite this, Aizen states that it does not matter whether it is accurate since he believes just having a birthday makes one happy. While he continues to watch the fireworks, Hitsugaya internally asserts that they are like fireworks in how they rise, shine, scatter, and fade, meaning that they should sparkle brightly until they vanish like fireworks, before thanking Aizen, Hinamori, and Rangiku for this.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


169. end of hypnosis

While 10th Division Lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto begins fighting 3rd Division Lieutenant Izuru Kira, 5th Division Lieutenant Momo Hinamori is reunited with her captain, Sōsuke Aizen.

Summary:

169Cover

The cover page of 169. end of hypnosis.

Facing down 10th Division Lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto on a rooftop, 3rd Division Lieutenant Izuru Kira holds his Reiatsu-emitting Shikai, Wabisuke, and inquires if Rangiku does not know what it can do, prompting Rangiku to confirm that she does not and question if anybody does because Izuru is not the type to divulge such things. After noting that 5th Division Lieutenant Momo Hinamori and 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai probably know, Izuru decides to show Rangiku as well and moves to her side before slashing at Rangiku, who draws her Zanpakutō just in time to block. With Rangiku forced back by the force of their clash, Izuru praises her reactions, though Rangiku demands that he not talk down to her, and the two cross blades several more times. Suddenly, Izuru asks Rangiku how many times she blocked his sword, and as she expresses confusion, Rangiku is pulled down by her Zanpakutō, which shatters a roof tile as it lands on the ground.

Izuru explains that Wabisuke doubles the weight of whatever it strikes and continues doing so with each successive strike until the defender can bear the weight no more and grovels on the ground with their head bowed as if in penitence, per the name. As he observes that Rangiku blocked seven of his blows with Wabisuke, Izuru assumes that an average sword weighs close to 2 lbs and concludes that, after being doubled seven times, Rangiku's Zanpakutō now weighs 225 lbs, which he does not consider a nimble weight. Despite this, Rangiku merely asserts that she intends to hit Gin with her Zanpakutō rather than twirl it like a baton and releases her Shikai, Haineko, transforming the blade of her Zanpakutō into a cloud of ash, as she wonders what 3rd Division Captain Gin Ichimaru has done to Izuru, what he wants with her, and where he intends to go while recalling Gin leaving her when they were children.

Meanwhile, within the Central 46 Compound, Hinamori follows Gin to the Seijōtōkyorin, the quarters of the Central 46, and inquires why Gin has brought her here. Upon being asked by Gin if she has ever been here before, Hinamori denies having even seen it prior because it is off-limits. However, while entering a dark room, Gin reveals that there is someone he wants Hinamori to see and instructs her to look at the doorway behind her, where Hinamori is stunned to see her captain, Sōsuke Aizen, standing calmly. With Aizen asking her how she has been, Hinamori expresses disbelief at seeing him again after thinking he was dead, but Aizen simply notes that he is clearly alive. Walking up to Aizen, Hinamori grasps his haori and begins to tear up, leading Aizen to apologize for how heartbroken she must have felt as he caresses her head. Internally, Hinamori details how his hand heals her heart as it did the night before his supposed death and realizes by smell that it really is Aizen, causing her to begin sobbing.

Startled, Aizen hugs Hinamori and observes that she has lost weight before claiming to have no idea how badly he had hurt her. As Aizen explains that it had to be her and that he had to stay hidden to do something, which is why he faked his death and had her receive his letter, Hinamori assures him that it is alright and that knowing he is alive is enough for her. Aizen tells Hinamori that their time together was a joy to him and thanks her, only to bid her farewell as he shoves his Zanpakutō through her chest. Left speechless by this, Hinamori looks up at Aizen, who merely stares coldly at her and pulls his Zanpakutō out, leaving Hinamori to collapse, before departing alongside Gin.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


170. end of hypnosis2 [the Galvanizer]

Having revealed his true nature, 5th Division Captain Sōsuke Aizen is confronted by 10th Division Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya.

Summary:

170Cover

The cover spread of 170. end of hypnosis2 [the Galvanizer].

Walking out of the room alongside 3rd Division Captain Gin Ichimaru, 5th Division Captain Sōsuke Aizen smiles maliciously as he leaves his lieutenant, Momo Hinamori, lying unconscious and gravely wounded on the floor in a pool of blood. Suddenly, 10th Division Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya arrives and is shocked to see Aizen standing alongside Gin. While Aizen greets him, Hitsugaya questions if it is really him, prompting Aizen to assure him that he is here in the flesh before noting to Gin that Hitsugaya is back sooner than expected. With Gin apologizing and assuming that his lieutenant, Izuru Kira, must have failed, a confused Hitsugaya wonders what they are talking about, which leads Aizen to reveal that he is referring to the tactic of dividing and conquering, the most basic way of weakening an enemy. Perplexed by being referred to as the enemy, Hitsugaya demands to know where Hinamori is, and as Aizen points out that he should already know, Hitsugaya angrily rushes past him and Gin to the dark room, where he discovers Hinamori lying on the ground.

Aizen expresses embarrassment at Hitsugaya having found her and apologizes for him finding out like this before suggesting that he should have chopped up Hinamori and hidden the pieces. Stunned by this, Hitsugaya asks Aizen and Gin how long they have been conspiring together. When Aizen answers that they have done so from the beginning, Hitsugaya assumes that he is referring to the period before he faked his death, but Aizen clarifies that he has never considered anyone but Gin to be his lieutenant ever since he became a captain. With Hitsugaya accusing him of having deceived Hinamori and the other Shinigami this whole time, Aizen claims that he never thought of it like this and that he perceived it as none of the other Shinigami recognizing his true identity. Demanding to know how Aizen could blame them and be so cruel, Hitsugaya reminds him that Hinamori joined the Gotei 13 and worked hard just to be at his side, only for Aizen to acknowledge this as making her very easy to manipulate and pointing to this as the reason he requested her to join his division. As Hitsugaya stares at him in astonishment, Aizen instructs him to remember that admiration is the state furthest from understanding.

In response, Hitsugaya grasps his Zanpakutō and unleashes a surge of power that destroys the Seijōtōkyorin, leading Aizen and Gin to leap out to the ground outside, before activating his Bankai, Daiguren Hyōrinmaru, which grants him a large pair of ice wings, an ice dragon encasing his right arm and ice claws on his left hand, and twelve large ice petals comprising three lotuses floating in the air behind him. However, as Hitsugaya declares that he is going to kill Aizen, the latter simply admonishes Hitsugaya for making rash threats because it makes him seem weak and slashes Hitsugaya across the chest, leaving him to collapse in shock while bleeding heavily as Daiguren Hyōrinmaru breaks apart.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


171. end of hypnosis3 [the Blue Fog]

5th Division Captain Sōsuke Aizen is confronted by 4th Division Captain Retsu Unohana, where he reveals his effective method of deception.

Summary:

171Cover

The cover page of 171. end of hypnosis3 [the Blue Fog].

Having been cut down by 5th Division Captain Sōsuke Aizen while attempting to attack with his Bankai, Daiguren Hyōrinmaru, 10th Division Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya collapses in the ice-encrusted chamber within the Central 46 Compound. As he comments on how nice it is to see ice at this time of year despite it being the wrong season, Aizen suggests to 3rd Division Captain Gin Ichimaru that they depart, only to be confronted by 4th Division Captain Retsu Unohana and her lieutenant, Isane Kotetsu. Unohana asserts that she thought she would find Aizen here and corrects her addressing of him as Captain Aizen, since he is simply a traitor now. After greeting Unohana, Aizen inquires if it really took her this long to figure out where he was, and when Unohana details how the Seijōtōkyorin being the only absolutely off-limits area in the Seireitei makes it the perfect place to hide for someone who had elaborately faked his own death and made a corpse doll, Aizen admits that she is almost correct before clarifying that he did not come here to hide and that his fake body was not a doll as he holds it in his hand.

With a shocked Unohana and Isane wondering when he got his fake body, Aizen states that he had it in his hand the entire time, but simply did not allow them to see it until now. After promising that they will understand soon enough, Aizen releases his Shikai, Kyōka Suigetsu, causing the fake body in his hands to burst apart, revealing his Zanpakutō held upside-down in his hand. While Unohana and Isane stare in astonishment, Aizen lets go of his Zanpakutō, which embeds itself in the platform underneath his feet, and explains that its ability is complete hypnosis. Though Isane asserts that he brought the lieutenants together and showed them how Kyōka Suigetsu is a water-type Zanpakutō that uses reflections of fog and water to confuse enemies so they kill each other, Aizen merely smiles, leading Unohana to realize that this is when he hypnotized everyone. Confirming this, Aizen details how Kanzen Saimin disrupts all five senses of its victims and allows them to see whatever he wants, such as a fly as a dragon or a swamp as a flower garden. After noting that the spell is activated when a victim sees the release of Kyōka Suigetsu, Aizen elaborates that even seeing it once places victims underneath its hypnotic power and that the hypnotic control returns each time he releases Kyōka Suigetsu.

Suddenly, Unohana picks up on Aizen's mention of seeing the release and is mortified by the implication, prompting Aizen to deduce what has just occurred to her and affirm that the spell will not work against a blind person since it must be seen in order to function before concluding that 9th Division Captain Kaname Tōsen has been working for him from the very beginning. In a different part of the Seireitei, as 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai runs through the streets with Rukia Kuchiki in his arms, he is confronted by Tōsen, and as a surprised Renji questions what he is doing here, Tōsen begins spinning a long cloth around the three of them, to Renji's confusion. Back in the Central 46 Compound, Gin performs the same maneuver around himself and Aizen, who takes a moment to praise Unohana for examining his fake body far more thoroughly than anyone else did because feeling even a bit of suspicion while under the effects of Kanzen Saimin is most remarkable. With Aizen bidding them farewell and stating that he will likely never see them again while Isane attempts to attack, he and Gin vanish in a burst of light.

Renji finds himself kneeling with Rukia on Sōkyoku Hill after Tōsen stops spinning the cloth, and as he wonders what this is all about, Aizen appears behind Renji with Gin and welcomes him before instructing Renji to put Rukia down and leave.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


172. end of hypnosis4 [Prisoners in Paradise]

4th Division Lieutenant Isane Kotetsu informs the Gotei 13 and the Ryoka of 5th Division Captain Sōsuke Aizen's betrayal.

Summary:

172Cover

The cover page of 172. end of hypnosis4 [Prisoners in Paradise].

Confronted by 5th Division Captain Sōsuke Aizen on Sōkyoku Hill, 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai holds Rukia Kuchiki in his arms and begins to express his shock at seeing Aizen alive, only to decide against it and focus on the latter's request, which he does not understand. Asserting that Renji must have heard him and questioning if he must repeat himself as he stands with 3rd Division Captain Gin Ichimaru and 9th Division Captain Kaname Tōsen, Aizen reiterates his instructions for Renji to leave Rukia here and run away.

Back in the Central 46 Compound, 4th Division Lieutenant Isane Kotetsu kneels before her captain, Retsu Unohana, and draws a seal on the ground before performing Bakudō #58. Kakushitsuijaku, allowing her to locate Aizen and the others on Sōkyoku Hill. Upon learning this, Unohana tells Isane to inform all captains and lieutenants of what they have learned about Aizen as well as his location, and after adding that she should inform the Ryoka as well, which Isane affirms, Unohana ascends the platform and states that she is counting on Isane to do this while she does her best to save 10th Division Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya and 5th Division Lieutenant Momo Hinamori as she prepares to draw her Zanpakutō. Behind Unohana, Isane draws angled patterns on her arms and hands before making several seals as she performs Bakudō #77. Tenteikūra, which connects her to the minds of Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto, 1st Division Lieutenant Chōjirō Sasakibe, 2nd Division Captain Suì-Fēng, Lieutenant Marechiyo Ōmaeda, 7th Division Captain Sajin Komamura, Lieutenant Tetsuzaemon Iba, 8th Division Captain Shunsui Kyōraku, Lieutenant Nanao Ise, 9th Division Lieutenant Shūhei Hisagi, 10th Division Lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto, 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki, Lieutenant Yachiru Kusajishi, 12th Division Lieutenant Nemu Kurotsuchi, 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake, 3rd Seats Sentarō Kotsubaki and Kiyone Kotetsu, Ichigo Kurosaki, Yasutora Sado, and Uryū Ishida in addition to the other captain- and lieutenant-level Shinigami around the Seireitei.

Addressing the combatants, Isane identifies herself and requests that they heed this urgent message from herself and Unohana before informing them of the situation. After Isane finishes, a bloodied Ukitake expresses disbelief at the news of Aizen's action as a lightly wounded Shunsui suggests that they and an unscathed Yamamoto not continue their fight any further. Elsewhere, Rangiku leaps across the rooftops and refuses to believe that Hitsugaya lost, leaving 3rd Division Lieutenant Izuru Kira to lean against a cratered wall and express shock at Gin going back on his word of not hurting Hinamori. While Iba and 11th Division 3rd Seat Ikkaku Madarame are stunned by the news of the Central 46 being murdered, Hisagi and Komamura are mortified by Tōsen betraying them. In the Shinigami Research and Development Institute, Nemu asks her captain, Mayuri Kurotsuchi, if he heard, leading Mayuri to confirm that he did, but when Nemu inquires what they will do, Mayuri bluntly states that the situation does not interest him.

Meanwhile, as he stands with his friends and Makizō Aramaki with the aid of Ganju Shiba, Ichigo wonders what this message about the Central 46 and hypnosis was about while Orihime Inoue notes that she did not hear anything. With Sado observing that Orihime not coming into direct contact with anyone from the Fourth Division means she probably could not attune to Isane's Reiatsu, Ichigo claims that captains killing captains is the Gotei 13's problem and remains uncertain of why he and his friends were informed, prompting Uryū to note that they must have thought it was important. Uryū details how the Central 46 is the supreme judicial body of the Seireitei and that Aizen wanted the other Shinigami to think they were obeying its orders when they were really obeying him. When Uryū asks them what Aizen wants, an unnerved Ganju assumes that it must be an execution, which Uryū confirms as he reminds the group that the date of Rukia's execution was moved forward when they got here and that they should have suspected something then before concluding that Aizen wants Rukia dead, prompting a shocked Ichigo to look up at Sōkyoku Hill nearby and realize Rukia is there.

Back on Sōkyoku Hill, Renji refuses to give Rukia over to Aizen, who acknowledges this. When Gin attempts to draw his Zanpakutō, Aizen tells him to wait and calls Renji stubborn for not giving him Rukia, only to promise that he will let Renji have his way by keeping Rukia in his arms while destroying the rest of him as he draws his Zanpakutō, intimidating Renji.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


173. end of hypnosis5 [Standing to Defend You]

6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai does his best to protect Rukia Kuchiki from 5th Division Captain Sōsuke Aizen, who explains his role in Renji's tenure in the Gotei 13.

Summary:

173Cover

The cover page of 173. end of hypnosis5 [Standing to Defend You].

As blood spatters on the ground, Rukia Kuchiki expresses concern for 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai, who stands with his right sleeve ripped open and his sword arm wounded as he holds Rukia in his left and points his Zanpakutō at 5th Division Captain Sōsuke Aizen while the latter praises the improvement in Renji's defensive skills. Despite being pleased with Renji's growth, Aizen states that Renji has chosen a bad time to be persistent because it is difficult for him to step on ants without crushing them and he would hate to see a former subordinate die. With Rukia still expressing concern for him, Renji tells her to shut up and demands to know why Aizen killed his lieutenant, Momo Hinamori, if he feels this way, prompting Aizen to deduce that the disruption of Reiatsu earlier must have been 4th Division Lieutenant Isane Kotetsu performing Bakudō #77. Tenteikūra before explaining that Hinamori's death was unavoidable due to her inability to live without him and her having fulfilled her purpose, which means that he was being compassionate.

Aizen elaborates that he never intended to kill Hinamori himself and tried to get 3rd Division Lieutenant Izuru Kira and 10th Division Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya to do the job for him, only for those attempts to not work out, leaving him to grudgingly do it himself. Hearing this, Renji notes that Aizen had both Izuru and Hinamori in the palm of his hand, and with Aizen asserting that Renji was in the palm of his hand as well, Renji declares that Aizen is not the captain he knew and is definitely not getting Rukia even if Renji does not know what his plan is. However, Aizen counters that he was never the captain Renji knew because that was an illusion, such that the Aizen which Renji knew never existed. Angered by this, Renji leaps high into the air and releases his Shikai, Zabimaru. As the segments of Zabimaru hurtle toward him, Aizen inquires if Shikai is the best that Renji can do with his injured arm and holds his Zanpakutō above his head, causing Zabimaru to deflect off of it into the ground nearby, startling Renji. With Aizen stating that he must know Shikai will not buy him any time at all, Renji retracts Zabimaru and proclaims that he does not know this before swinging Zabimaru at Aizen once more, only for Aizen to casually grab the end segment, stopping Zabimaru in its tracks and causing the remaining segments to bunch up in midair.

As Renji expresses shock at Aizen accomplishing this with his bare hand, Aizen observes that Renji was the most trouble of the three and cuts apart Zabimaru with a single slash of his Zanpakutō. After slashing Renji across the back, which causes him to fall to his knees, Aizen recalls how he felt sure that he could use Renji, Hinamori, and Izuru the first time they met, which is why he had the three of them assigned to the Fifth Division when they joined the Gotei 13 and made the two useful ones subordinates of himself and 3rd Division Captain Gin Ichimaru before sending Renji to another division since he was the problem child. Concluding that his instinct was correct, Aizen instructs Renji one last time to let go of Rukia and run. However, while Rukia attempts to plead with Aizen, Renji tells her to shut up once again and refuses to let go of her. Recalling his separation from Rukia at the Shin'ō Academy, Renji declares that he is not leaving Rukia, prompting Aizen to state that this is unfortunate and attack him. Suddenly, Aizen finds his Zanpakutō intercepted by Ichigo Kurosaki, who kneels between him and Renji with his Bankai, Tensa Zangetsu, active and his sword blocking Aizen's as he questions if Rukia is really heavy enough to make Renji kneels and claims that he came to give the latter a hand.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


174. end of hypnosis6 [The United Front]

Ichigo Kurosaki and 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai formulate a plan to defend Rukia Kuchiki from 5th Division Captain Sōsuke Aizen.

Summary:

174Cover

The cover page of 174. end of hypnosis6 [The United Front].

Forcing back 5th Division Captain Sōsuke Aizen's Zanpakutō, Ichigo Kurosaki stands in front of 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai and Rukia Kuchiki with his Bankai, Tensa Zangetsu, active. When Renji apologizes for forcing him to come to their aid, Ichigo claims that Renji looked exhausted from just carrying Rukia around and mockingly inquires if running away was too much for him. Irritated by this, Renji counters that Ichigo looks tired as well and suggests that he curl up in a blanket somewhere, and as Ichigo and Renji continue to bicker in annoyance, Rukia pushes herself away from Renji's chest and gasps for air. With a startled Ichigo and Renji asking her if she is alright, Rukia angrily punches Renji in the face for smothering her against his chest and crushing the wind out of her. Watching Rukia continue to berate Renji, 3rd Division Captain Gin Ichimaru apologizes to Aizen for letting Ichigo get by because he did not want to intrude, prompting Aizen to assure him that it is alright since Ichigo is just another ant to step on and makes no difference.

Alerted by this, Ichigo asks Renji if that is Aizen, which Renji confirms, and inquires if he can run. When Renji affirms that he can but will not do so, Ichigo begins to protest, but Renji explains that his Shikai, Zabimaru, still has some surprises left despite being broken and points out that they both know there is no point in running. Though he does not believe they can defeat Aizen, Gin, and 9th Division Captain Kaname Tōsen, Renji suggests that they might be able to stun the captains and walk out of here with some pride, leading Ichigo to declare that they are a team now. Placing his left hand on the hilt of Zabimaru, Renji notes that he can only use this move once and that there will be an opening if it works before warning Ichigo that he will only have an instant to make his attack because of how powerful Aizen is. After asking Zabimaru to endure the pain this will bring, Renji slams his broken Shikai into the ground and initiates Higa Zekkō, causing the broken segments of Zabimaru around Aizen to rise into the air and hurtle toward him while glowing with Reiatsu.

With Aizen engulfed in a cloud of dust by the impact of the segments, Ichigo seizes the opportunity and rushes forward as he swings his sword, only for a smiling Aizen to block it with his left index finger before slashing his Zanpakutō deeply through a shocked Ichigo's midsection. The lower half of Ichigo's body swings back as the deep cut begins gushing blood, and after observing that he must have miscalculated if Ichigo is not in two pieces, Aizen leaves Ichigo to fall to his knees and slashes Renji through the left side of his upper torso, causing him to collapse in disbelief as well, before approaching Rukia and grabbing her by the collar around her neck as he tells her to get up.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


175. end of hypnosis7 [Truth Under My Strings]

5th Division Captain Sōsuke Aizen reveals the catalyst behind his plan and the depth of Kisuke Urahara's machinations in Ichigo Kurosaki's journey.

Summary:

175Cover

The cover page of 175. end of hypnosis7 [Truth Under My Strings].

With Ichigo Kurosaki and 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai lying in pools of blood behind him, 5th Division Captain Sōsuke Aizen approaches Rukia Kuchiki near the broken scaffold and tells her to get up as he grabs her by the collar around her neck. Upon seeing Rukia unable to stand up, Aizen realizes that she is weak from the impact of his Reiatsu and assures her that this is no problem because it is simply easier for him if she can walk on her own two feet. Suddenly, Aizen notices Ichigo struggling to get up and expresses sympathy for him still being conscious. As a sweating Ichigo glares at him, Aizen notes that his will to live exceeds his skills and cautions Ichigo against pushing himself too hard because his spine is the only thing holding the two halves of him together, meaning that it is structurally impossible for him to make it to his feet no matter how much willpower he has. After instructing Ichigo to look on the bright side of him getting further than expected, Aizen tells him to rest for a while due to his part in all this being over.

When Ichigo picks up on his phrasing, Aizen explains that he knew the Ryoka would be coming and would arrive in West Rukongai, which is why he posted surveillance there, lowered the Sekkiseki wall around the Seireitei after their arrival, and had 3rd Division Captain Gin Ichimaru drive Ichigo away personally, leaving Kūkaku Shiba's Kakaku Taihō as the only way to get in with all the captains roaming around behind the wall. Calling the Ryoka's arrival spectacular, Aizen details how his group outwitted and outfought even the captains, such that every Shinigami in the Seireitei was looking for them, and concludes that the excitement and engaging nature of it all meant even the murder of a captain received very little attention and made it easy for Aizen to carry out his plan.

A stunned Ichigo questions how he knew they would arrive in West Rukongai, and when Aizen asserts that it was obvious because that is Kisuke Urahara's base of operations and the only place the Ryoka could enter using a Senkaimon created by Urahara, Ichigo expresses shock, leading Aizen to point out that this should not surprise him since he works for Urahara before reminding Ichigo that he came to rescue Rukia on Urahara's orders. With Ichigo speechless at this, Aizen deduces that he does not know and decides to tell Ichigo now that it is all over as he approaches Ichigo with Rukia in tow. Aizen details how Shinigami have four basic combat methods known as Zankensoki, each of which require a certain level of power, but attempting to master those methods will invariably result in one eventually hitting a wall determined by their potential, where improvement stops. Asserting that all Shinigami have these limits, Aizen raises the question of the possibility of breaking through these limits and concludes that this can be done by only one means known as Hollowfication, causing Ichigo to recall briefly being taken over by his inner Hollow. Continuing that either Hollowfying a Shinigami or giving Shinigami powers to a Hollow allows them to reach new heights by removing the barrier between these opposing lifeforms, a theory which has been around for a while, Aizen recounts how he focused his efforts on Hollows and could eventually send out Hollows with abilities akin to those of Shinigami, like Hollows that could hide their Reiatsu and Hollows that could destroy Zanpakutō and fuse with Shinigami, which leads Rukia to remember the fate of Kaien Shiba.

Despite this, Aizen admits that none of them could truly be considered a new kind of being and others who delved into this field were hindered by ignorance and ethics, resulting in no one being successful until Urahara, who worked outside of Soul Society's scientific community to create a substance that could remove the barriers between Shinigami and Hollows in an instant. Referring to this substance as the Hōgyoku, Aizen recalls how Urahara considered it dangerous and tried to destroy it, but found that he could not and was eventually forced to reluctantly place a protective shell around the Hōgyoku that would allow it to be implanted deep within a Soul. Informing Rukia that she was the hiding place which Urahara chose, Aizen explains that she had already gone missing in the Human World by the time he learned this secret, though he instinctively knew that Urahara was behind it, and proceeds to detail how all Gigai are constructed of highly concentrated Reishi in order to compensate for the powers that a Shinigami loses when in that form, which also allows all the actions of a Gigai to be tracked from Soul Society and making it inconceivable for one to go missing. However, Aizen reveals that Urahara created a Gigai that contained no Reishi, leading to his banishment from Soul Society, and clarifies that the other reason for his banishment was the consequence of a Shinigami inhabiting that Gigai: their spiritual powers would continue to diminish while they were within the Gigai to the point of no longer being recoverable, and communications with the Gigai gradually slow down, eventually leading to the Soul losing all of its spiritual powers and becoming a normal Human.

With Aizen concluding that Urahara was turning her into a Human in order to conceal the Hōgyoku rather than help her, Rukia recalls Urahara approaching her after she transferred all her Shinigami powers to Ichigo and offering to let her borrow a Gigai. However, as Aizen begins recounting the actions he took after Rukia was discovered a few months later, 7th Division Captain Sajin Komamura lands behind him and furiously attacks Aizen with his Shikai, Tenken.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


176. end of hypnosis8 [the Transfixion]

After defeating 7th Division Captain Sajin Komamura, 5th Division Captain Sōsuke Aizen recounts the rest of his machinations and succeeds in extracting the Hōgyoku.

Summary:

176Cover

The cover page of 176. end of hypnosis8 [the Transfixion].

In the past, a young Kaname Tōsen bumps into a young Sajin Komamura and apologizes for not knowing he was there, only to be shocked when Komamura reveals that he is sitting behind Tōsen, who had been addressing empty air. Introducing himself, Tōsen praises Komamura's skill at hiding his presence due to Tōsen having never failed to sense another's presence before, prompting Komamura, who is wearing a cloth rather than a mask, to apologize and state that it is a bad habit of his. At a later point in time, after joining the Gotei 13, Tōsen and Komamura encounter one another once again, where Tōsen expresses joy at meeting his friend again and invites Komamura to join the Fifth Division so he can meet their lieutenant, whom he believes Komamura will like. Some time later, Komamura and Tōsen stand before Kakyō's grave as Komamura tells Tōsen how he became a Shinigami in order to repay a debt of gratitude to the one who saved his life. Commenting on this being very much like Komamura to do, Tōsen begins to tell Komamura why he became a Shinigami upon being asked. At a different point in time, Komamura meets 5th Division Lieutenant Sōsuke Aizen, who mentions that Tōsen told him about Komamura and politely greets him.

In the present, on Sōkyoku Hill, Aizen casually holds back Komamura's Zanpakutō with his left hand and notes that it has been a long time since he saw Komamura's face before inquiring what brought about the change. Angered by Aizen grinning at him like this, Komamura punches at him with his Shikai, Tenken, causing a giant fist to smash into the ground where they are standing, and as Aizen leaps unharmed out of the dust cloud, Komamura declares that he will pay for betraying and deceiving them all as he demands Aizen and Tōsen explain themselves if they can. With Tōsen remaining silent, Komamura assumes that he cannot do so and apologizes as he prepares to activate his Bankai, only for Aizen to suddenly appear in front of Komamura, who sees the Aizen next to Tōsen disappearing as the real Aizen casts Hadō #90. Kurohitsugi, creating a large black box around Komamura that is pierced by several spears. As he watches this, a stunned Ichigo Kurosaki wonders how two captain-class individuals could be so far apart in power while a grievously wounded Komamura falls behind Aizen.

While Aizen asserts that his Kanzen Saimin is flawless and cannot be evaded even if one knows it is coming, 3rd Division Captain Gin Ichimaru expresses amazement at him using a Hadō in the 90s range without an incantation and questions when Aizen achieved this, only for Aizen to downplay this feat since he was unable to summon even a third of the destructive potential of Kurohitsugi, a consequence of such high-level spells being unwieldy. Having been holding Rukia Kuchiki by the collar around her neck for the duration of this, Gin hands her back to Aizen, who resumes recounting his machinations by picking up with his elimination of the Central 46 after Rukia was discovered in the Human World. Seeing Rukia's shock at this, Aizen pulls her along and theorizes that 4th Division Lieutenant Isane Kotetsu told her he killed the Central 46 after faking his own death, only to clarify that he killed them shortly after she was discovered and used Kanzen Saimin on the council chamber to make it appear as though the Central 46 were alive and in session so anyone who entered the chamber would not notice anything unusual, though no captain would go in there without the Central 46's permission anyway.

Aizen proceeds to recall how he, Gin, and Tōsen hid themselves in the Central Underground Assembly Hall where they issued orders as though they were Central 46: sending 6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki and Lieutenant Renji Abarai to ensure Rukia's capture, ordering Rukia's Gigai be immediately returned for disposal to separate her from the Humans, and deciding to execute her with the Sōkyoku in order to evaporate her Soul and extract the Hōgyoku within, stunning Ichigo and Rukia. After noting that they only left the Central Underground Assembly Hall open for a few hours before and after the two captains' meetings, Aizen concludes that he faked his death and stayed inside after this while knowing that the Ryoka might come to save Rukia. Proceeding to detail the only two ways to remove a foreign object from a Soul - evaporating the Soul by a powerful thermal disruption like the Sōkyoku or tampering with the Soul's composition - Aizen notes that he needed a backup plan in case the execution failed and consulted the Daireishokairō, which contains all the knowledge and history of Soul Society, because he could study all of Urahara's research there and suspected that the secret to removing foreign objects implanted in Souls would be there since Urahara had developed the technology for implanting them to begin with.

After Aizen clicks a small capsule in his hand, six spear-like pillars rise out of the ground around him and Rukia while his right hand and arm are discolored and covered in lines, with his fingers becoming blade-like. Despite Ichigo's desperate protests, Aizen shoves his hand into Rukia's chest and retrieves the Hōgyoku from within. Letting Rukia fall, Aizen examines the Hōgyoku and comments on its small size as his hand and arm return to normal in a shedding process. As Ichigo sees that the hole in Rukia's chest is shrinking, Aizen observes that the Soul itself remains undamaged by this process and praises the technology involved, only to conclude that Rukia is no longer needed and hold her aloft by her collar as he orders Gin to kill her. Gin complies and releases his Shikai, Shinsō, causing the blade to extend toward Rukia's neck from behind, but those present are variously shocked and surprised when a still-bloodied Byakuya frees Rukia from Aizen's grasp and intercepts Shinsō with his body to protect her.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


177. end of hypnosis9 [Completely Encompass]

5th Division Captain Sōsuke Aizen and his cohorts are restrained and surrounded by the remaining able-bodied and willing captains and lieutenants of the Gotei 13.

Summary:

177Cover

The cover page of 177. end of hypnosis9 [Completely Encompass].

Having intercepted 3rd Division Captain Gin Ichimaru's Shikai, Shinsō, with his body to protect Rukia Kuchiki, 6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki lets go of the blade, which retracts in a snake-like fashion, before collapsing as a stunned Rukia expresses concern for him. With Rukia asking Byakuya why he did this and repeatedly calling his name, a smiling Aizen approaches her and prepares to draw his Zanpakutō while Rukia protectively clutches an unresponsive Byakuya's head to her chest. Suddenly, Yoruichi Shihōin and 2nd Division Captain Suì-Fēng appear next to Aizen, with Yoruichi clutching his Zanpakutō and Suì-Fēng holding her Zanpakutō to his neck, and as Aizen comments on having not seen her face in a long time, Yoruichi promises alongside Suì-Fēng that he will lose his head if he even twitches a finger, to Aizen's bemusement.

However, they are interrupted when Kaiwan, Danzōmaru, and Higonyūdō crash down onto the buildings below Sōkyoku Hill, causing Yoruichi to express shock at Aizen managing to recruit them while Aizen questions what she will do since not even Yoruichi can restrain him while fighting them, only for Yoruichi to be alerted by a loud yelling as Jidanbō Ikkanzaka crashes into the ground in front of the three Gatekeepers with Kūkaku Shiba on his shoulder. With Yoruichi delighted by her arrival, Kūkaku claims that she came to watch the fun because she was bored and instructs Jidanbō to begin before firing Hadō #63. Raikōhō at Higonyūdō, who is knocked out. As he mentally observes that Kaiwan and Danzōmaru not reacting to this means something is not right, Jidanbō concludes that Aizen must have done something to them because they are friends and apologizes as he punches Danzōmaru in the face, knocking him out.

Watching this from above, Gin expresses sympathy for the pain this must have inflicted and wonders what he should do, only for 10th Division Captain Rangiku Matsumoto to appear behind him and grab his left hand by the wrist while holding her Zanpakutō to his neck and ordering him to not move. As Gin apologizes to Aizen for getting caught, Yoruichi tells him that it is over, and when Aizen expresses confusion, Yoruichi points out that he is surrounded while Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto, 1st Division Lieutenant Chōjirō Sasakibe, 2nd Division Lieutenant Marechiyo Ōmaeda, 7th Division Lieutenant Tetsuzaemon Iba, 8th Division Captain Shunsui Kyōraku, Lieutenant Nanao Ise, 9th Division Lieutenant Shūhei Hisagi, and 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake appear as well, with Hisagi holding his Zanpakutō to Tōsen's neck. Despite Jidanbō having defeated Kaiwan as well and Yoruichi asserting that it is over, Aizen merely smiles.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


178. end of hypnosis10 [No One Stand On the Sky]

5th Division Captain Sōsuke Aizen, 3rd Division Captain Gin Ichimaru, and 9th Division Captain Kaname Tōsen make their escape.

Summary:

178Cover

The cover page of 178. end of hypnosis10 [No One Stand On the Sky].

Seeing 5th Division Captain Sōsuke Aizen smile despite him, 3rd Division Captain Gin Ichimaru, and 9th Division Captain Kaname Tōsen being restrained and surrounded by several captains and lieutenants, Yoruichi Shihōin demands to know what he finds so funny, only to be shocked when Aizen merely notes that it is time, causing her to instruct 2nd Division Captain Suì-Fēng to leap back before accompanying her as a Negación beam envelops Aizen. As they look up, the other Shinigami are shocked to see several Menos Grande teeming behind a massive Kūmon in the sky above them. The Menos Grande begin pushing out of the Kūmon and separating, allowing a shocked 9th Division Lieutenant Shūhei Hisagi to see that there is something with a massive eye lurking behind them while 2nd Division Lieutenant Marechiyo Ōmaeda wonders how many there are.

Suddenly, two more Negación beams pierce the sky next to the Kūmon and envelop Tōsen, whom Hisagi leaps back from, and Gin, who frees himself from Rangiku's grasp and admits that he would not have minded being her prisoner for a while longer before apologizing. The patch of ground Aizen is standing on begins rising into the air, to the astonishment of those watching, and as 7th Division Lieutenant Tetsuzaemon Iba prepares to attack him, Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto stops him and explains that Negación is a light which Menos Grande used to rescue each other and which cannot be breached because its contents are in another world, meaning that Aizen was beyond their reach the moment it came down.

Despite his injuries, a bloodied 7th Division Captain Sajin Komamura forces himself up and demands to know where Tōsen's sense of justice has gone if he became a Shinigami for his dead friend and to uphold justice, only for Tōsen to remind Komamura that he walks the path of least bloodshed where justice is always present and conclude that the path he now walks is justice. Meanwhile, 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake stands before Aizen and inquires why he allied himself with the Menos Grande. When Aizen asserts that he did so to seek greater heights, Ukitake questions if he has fallen, but Aizen counters this by claiming that no has ever stood atop the heavens before, not him, Ukitake, or the gods. Slicking back his hair and removing his glasses, which he crushes, Aizen concludes that the unbearable vacancy of heaven's throne ends now because he will stand at the top from now on. As he bids farewell to the Shinigami and Ichigo Kurosaki, Aizen admits that he was interesting for a Human boy before being drawn fully into the Kūmon, which closes behind him.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


Author's Notes

Volume 20 Intro Image
Bleach is now a musical. I know it sounds weird, but I saw it and it was really cool. There was Ichigo, looking better than he does in the comic, and Rukia, looking exactly like she does in the comic, singing and dancing and fighting. I want people who aren't into musicals to check it out. I'm convinced it will change their minds. Why am I being so serious?
-Tite Kubo

References

  1. Bleach 20 (Japanese). Shueisha.
  2. Bleach, Vol. 20. Viz Media.
  3. 3.0 3.1 translation "Bloom to a Cold Moon"

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