101. Split Under The Red Stalk
102. Nobody Beats
104. The Undead
105. Spring, Spring, Meets The Tiger
106. Cause For Confront
107. Heat In Trust
0.8. a wonderful error
099. Dead Black War Cloud
100. Flower on the Precipice
101. Split Under the Red Stalk
102. Nobody Beats
104. The Undead
105. Spring, Spring, Meets the Tiger
106. Cause to Confront
107. Heat In Trust
0.8. a wonderful error
FLOWER ON THE PRECIPICE is the twelfth volume of the Bleach manga series.
Clutching a bloodied and injured Ichigo Kurosaki by the collar, a grievously wounded 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai collapses, and as he stares down at Renji solemnly, Ichigo collapses as well, prompting Ganju Shiba to call out to him in concern while running to Ichigo's side alongside 4th Division 7th Seat Hanatarō Yamada. As Ganju frantically asks Ichigo if he is okay, Hanatarō mentally expresses amazement at Ichigo defeating a lieutenant and wonders who exactly he is. Suddenly, Hanatarō notices multiple Shinigami approaching and relays this to Ganju, who hoists Ichigo over his shoulder and declares that they do not need company right now before instructing Hanatarō to take them somewhere quiet.
Shortly afterward, 3rd Division Lieutenant Izuru Kira arrives alongside three subordinates, all of whom are shocked by Renji's condition. While two of the other Shinigami rush over to Renji's side, Izuru expresses disbelief at Renji having been defeated and watches the two Shinigami pick up Renji so they can move him elsewhere. Upon being asked by the third Shinigami if they should chase after the ones who defeated Renji because they seem to have fled, Izuru denies this because saving Renji is their top priority at the moment. Meanwhile, in the canal network underneath the Seireitei, Ganju waits outside a doorway leading to a room within one of the walls, where an unconscious Ichigo lies on the ground, and expresses surprise at Hanatarō having healing powers because he was under the impression that the Fourth Division uses medicine, prompting Hanatarō to explain that Shinigami of the Fourth Division can uniquely use their Reiryoku for healing while the other Shinigami can use it solely for combat, which he notes is basically their only power. When Ganju inquires how bad Ichigo's condition is, Hanatarō admits that it is bad, but asserts that he will be able to fully heal Ichigo in one night.
Elsewhere, 5th Division Lieutenant Momo Hinamori is left horrified by an unconscious Renji's condition as she stands over him with Izuru inside a small waiting room. Though Izuru apologizes for Renji's injuries likely resulting from him not reaching Renji sooner, Hinamori assures him that it is not his fault. However, as Izuru promises to contact the Fourth Division and have them send a high-level healing unit to tend to Renji, 6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki appears behind Hinamori and states that this will not be necessary before coldly ordering them to throw Renji into a cell. A stunned Hinamori attempts to point out how Renji fought the Ryoka by himself, only for Byakuya to dismiss this on the grounds of Renji not being allowed to lose after choosing to fight alone. With Byakuya claiming that they do not have any need for beaten fools and reiterating his command for them to take Renji away while preparing to depart, an angered Hinamori protests how he is speaking of his lieutenant, leading Izuru to frantically tell her to shut up. As Byakuya looks back at them from the other doorway, Izuru bows and apologizes, with Hinamori reluctantly following suit while Byakuya walks away.
Suddenly, 3rd Division Captain Gin Ichimaru comments on how scary Byakuya is, surprising Hinamori, and as Izuru addresses him, Gin observes that Byakuya is always like this before assuring the two of them to not worry because he will contact the Fourth Division. When Gin tells Izuru to come with him and walks away, Izuru complies, leaving a flustered Hinamori to bow while thanking Gin. As Hinamori solemnly looks down, 10th Division Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya appears behind her and bluntly notes that Renji has been severely beaten up, prompting a shocked Hinamori to yell his name in irritation. Though Hitsugaya insists that she address him by his title because he is a captain now, Hinamori berates him for being another captain who sneaks up on people and questions what he is doing here without his lieutenant. Hitsugaya reveals that he has come here to warn Hinamori to beware the Third Division, especially Gin, and admits that he is not sure about Izuru before elaborating further to a speechless Hinamori.
Meanwhile, in the captains' assembly hall in the First Division barracks, Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto stands before the assembled captains and proclaims that the situation is dire because they have lost a lieutenant of the Gotei 13, making this a matter for their best people. After noting that he will overlook Gin's earlier actions, to the latter's gratitude, Yamamoto details how he is permitting all high-ranking Shinigami, including lieutenants, to be armed with their Zanpakutō and use full wartime powers within the Seireitei before sternly concluding that they will declare all-out war on the Ryoka.
Upon regaining consciousness, Ichigo Kurosaki is greeted by 4th Division 7th Seat Hanatarō Yamada, who instructs him to not move because his wounds have not closed yet while treating his injuries. Recalling how he fought 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai, Ichigo suddenly sits up, and despite Hanatarō's protests over him moving, Ichigo asserts that he is alright and that he has to go. However, when Ichigo attempts to walk out the nearby doorway, Ganju Shiba punches him in the face, knocking him out and sending him crashing to the ground. Ganju observes that Ichigo is not alright if he can be knocked out by Ganju so easily and orders him to sleep until his wounds heal. Dragging Ichigo back, Hanatarō bemoans the addition of another wound and tells Ganju that he is too rough, though Ganju questions what he was supposed to do and declares that he got the job done in stopping him. As he looks at the wound on Ichigo's chest, Hanatarō mentally notes that it is shallow despite extending from his shoulder to his chest and admits that he thought it would be fatal before looking over at a Hollow-like mask he had found in Ichigo's pocket, which he concludes saved Ichigo from being killed by that attack. Hanatarō wonders what the mask could be made of to stop Renji's Shikai, Zabimaru, why it looks like the mask of a Hollow, and what Ichigo could be doing with it.
Elsewhere, in a cell, a 4th Division Shinigami finishes his treatment of an unconscious Renji for the day and leaves him lying chained to his bed and handcuffed while the guard unlocks the cell door for him. Meanwhile, in the Fifth Division barracks, several Shinigami relay the announcement of the wartime exception to the Gotei 13. Informing Lieutenant Momo Hinamori of this in her room, one of the Shinigami elaborates that this means all high-ranking Shinigami, including lieutenants, are permitted to carry their Zanpakutō within the court and full wartime usage of them is permitted by Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto himself, leading him to request that Hinamori be on her guard because the Ryoka could attack the barracks at any time after defeating Renji even though they have tightened their defenses, which she acknowledges. After the Shinigami departs, Hinamori remains kneeling in her room and wonders how the situation could have escalated to the point of them needing to carry their Zanpakutō. As she recalls 10th Division Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya's warning to not trust the Third Division, Hinamori tells her captain, Sōsuke Aizen, that she does not want to fight.
That night, as he writes a letter in his own room, Aizen notices Hinamori standing outside the sliding doors to his room and inquires if something is wrong. Apologizing as she enters Aizen's room, Hinamori requests a moment to speak with Aizen and acknowledges how rude it is of her to do so at such a late hour before bashfully promising to not fall asleep in front of Aizen, who merely covers her with his robe while questioning if she really thought he would cold-heartedly send her away for being rude and inviting Hinamori to come inside and stay until she calms down because she must have had a difficult day. Shortly afterward, Hinamori sits behind Aizen, and when the latter observes that he heard Renji is going to live, Hinamori expresses relief, prompting Aizen to detail how 6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki was met with opposition when he called for Renji to be discharged. While Aizen concludes that Renji will be able to rejoin the Gotei 13 once his wounds heal, Hinamori asks him if he was part of this opposition, only for a smiling Aizen to clarify that no one in the Gotei 13 wants to see him discharged because he is a strong fighter and well-liked by everyone. Hinamori mentally notes that everything about Aizen soothes her fears and expresses her happiness at having come here tonight and for being able to work under Aizen.
Later that night, with Hinamori sleeping in his bed, Aizen steps outside, closes the doors behind him, and silently begins walking away, only to stop when someone steps out behind him. The next morning, Hinamori bolts awake and apologizes for dozing off, only to find that Aizen is gone. When her alarm goes off, Hinamori expresses shock at the time and gets dressed before running out as she questions why Aizen did not wake her up if he woke up before she did and expresses uncertainty if she will make it to the assembly on time. Upon encountering a roadblock on the walkway, Hinamori jumps over it to take a shortcut and confidently declares that she will make it to assembly on time, but stops in her tracks and screams loudly upon seeing something ahead. Alerted upon hearing this, 9th Division Lieutenant Shūhei Hisagi, 10th Division Lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto, 3rd Division Lieutenant Izuru Kira, and 7th Division Lieutenant Tetsuzaemon Iba rush over to the East Holy Wall where they heard the scream emanate from as a concerned Izuru identifies it as Hinamori's voice. However, upon reaching a stunned and tearful Hinamori while inquiring what happened, the lieutenants are shocked to find her staring up at Aizen, who has been impaled through the chest to the top of the East Holy Wall with his own Zanpakutō and looks down at them with dead eyes.
A furious Hinamori exerts her Reiatsu and accuses Gin of having done this before leaping toward him and attempting to slash at Gin with her Zanpakutō, only for Izuru to intercept her at the last second by blocking her strike with his own Zanpakutō. When Hinamori questions why he has done this, Izuru asserts that he cannot allow anyone to draw a sword against his captain for any reason as the 3rd Division Lieutenant, and though Hinamori tearfully begs him to move aside twice, Izuru staunchly refuses both times, prompting an enraged Hinamori to demand that he move while Izuru emphatically refuses once more. Releasing her Shikai, Tobiume, Hinamori unleashes a fireball that creates a large explosion, knocking a shocked Izuru back while she assumes a battle stance. Though Izuru criticizes her releasing her Zanpakutō here and asserts that this is no place to resolve personal matters, Hinamori does not respond and launches another fireball at him, which Izuru dodges before noting that he now has no choice but to treat Hinamori like an enemy.
However, as Izuru leaps into the air and releases his own Shikai, Wabisuke, while coming down onto Hinamori, their clash is interrupted by Hitsugaya, who blocks Izuru's subsequent strike and pins Tobiume to the floor with his foot as he tells both Izuru and Hinamori to not move. With Hinamori stunned by his arrival, Hitsugaya commands the other lieutenants to arrest her and Izuru, which they do, and declares that he will report this to Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto before ordering the lieutenants to take them away. While Hinamori and Izuru are taken away, Gin apologizes to Hitsugaya for Izuru troubling him, but Hitsugaya observes that Gin just tried to kill Hinamori, and though Gin denies knowing what he is talking about, Hitsugaya promises to kill him if he makes Hinamori bleed, prompting Gin to claim that Hitsugaya is scaring him before noting that he should keep an eye on Hinamori so no misfortune befalls her.
Meanwhile, in the canal network underneath the Seireitei, Ganju Shiba wakes up to find 4th Division 7th Seat Hanatarō Yamada drooling on his pant leg as he sleeps. Irritated by this, Ganju stands up and pushes Hanatarō away while berating him for sleeping on his lap and slobbering all over his best pair of pants. When Ichigo Kurosaki admonishes him for this because Hanatarō is exhausted and it is only a little drool, Ganju is astonished to see him standing fully healed nearby and questions if he is better already, leading Ichigo to confirm that this is true thanks to Hanatarō before observing that Ganju should be feeling better too because Hanatarō healed his wounds while he was still fatigued from healing Ichigo's. With Ganju looking at the still-sleeping Hanatarō in surprise, Ichigo proclaims that they are going to try to enter Senzaikyū one more time and that he will make it this time.
In the past, in Karakura Town in the Human World, a bloodied Ichigo Kurosaki lies on the ground in an alleyway and mistakes Yasutora Sado's name tag as reading "Chad", which the latter corrects. When Ichigo inquires if he is wearing a Karakura High School's uniform while observing his size and how they have never met before, Sado reveals that he transferred in today in class 2-F, shocking Ichigo with them being the same age and in the same class. As he gets to his feet, Ichigo thanks Sado for helping him, and when a surprised Sado questions if he should be standing up, Ichigo assures him that he is fine, though an unconvinced Sado points out how he is bleeding from his forehead. Ichigo acknowledges and declares that he would have won had they not used rocks.
Upon being asked by Sado if he provoked the boys lying unconscious around them because they are third year students, Ichigo denies this and explains that they ganged on him because he has strange hair and they hate anyone who stands out, which he notes must be the case for Sado as well due to him also standing out. Picking up his school bag, Ichigo tells Sado that they should get going and begins walking out of the alley while staggering, leading Sado to correct his usage of "Chad" as he points out Ichigo's unstable walking. As the two of them walk away, Ichigo asks Sado if he does not like the name "Chad" because it is a cool name like Dominic Chad, and when Sado admits that he has never heard of this man, a bemused Ichigo inquires if he knows Chad Smith, though Sado denies knowledge of him as well before mentioning that he does know Eugene Chadbourne, to Ichigo's confusion.
In the present in Soul Society, Sado opens his eyes and sits up on top of a stack of crates in a warehouse as he notes that it was just a dream about the past like that of an old man. Upon hearing voices of Shinigami outside preparing to search the warehouse he is in and seeing the barricaded door being banged against, Sado manifests his Fullbring, Brazo Derecha de Gigante, and observes that it is a good thing he woke up early because he would have had a bad day if the banging had woken him up.
Meanwhile, in the canal network underneath the Seireitei, Ichigo and Ganju Shiba are left perplexed by a pill adorned with a skull being held out by 4th Division 7th Seat Hanatarō Yamada, who explains that it is a special nutritional fortification pill supplied to everyone in the Fourth Division so they can continue working even when they are tired. Though Ichigo and Ganju express doubt over this due to the skull on the pill, Hanatarō swallows it nonetheless, only for nothing to happen as he gets to his feet and decides that they should get going. When Ichigo and Ganju point out that it clearly did not do anything, Hanatarō questions if he does not look to be in great health right now, prompting Ichigo to bluntly state that he looks worse than he did before as Ganju asks Hanatarō if this is some kind of joke.
Some time later, Ichigo, Ganju, and Hanatarō emerge from the canal network exit outside the stairs leading up to Senzaikyū and realize that no one is here. As Ichigo notes that it is strange for there to not be any guards here after his battle the previous day, Ganju theorizes that the Shinigami did not think their enemy would return so soon, which Ichigo acknowledges. Ganju wonders if Uryū Ishida and Orihime Inoue are okay, and after deducing who he is referring to from his descriptions of their appearances, Ichigo assures him that they are alright because they are both a hundred times smarter than Ichigo is and would never pick a fight with an enemy they have no hope of beating. With Ganju inquiring about Sado, Ichigo observes that there is even less reason to worry about him, and when a surprised Ganju claims that they do not even know if he is still alive, Ichigo reveals that Sado is still alive because he has felt the latter's Reiatsu ever since they got here before asserting that he cannot even imagine Sado losing.
Back outside the warehouse, a Shinigami is launched high into the air and falls to the ground below alongside his defeated comrades, where he calls Sado a monster for beating them all. Grabbing the frightened Shinigami by his collar, Sado asks him where Senzaikyū is and explains that the last Shinigami he asked about Rukia Kuchiki's location said that word before he passed out. As he trembles in fear, the Shinigami points Sado to the white tower in the distance, prompting Sado to let go of him and politely thank the Shinigami. However, as Sado begins walking away, the sneering Shinigami mocks him for turning his back on the enemy and leaps forward as he attempts to slash at Sado, only for the latter to bend his Zanpakutō's blade mid-swing with his Brazo Derecha de Gigante hand. With the Shinigami shocked by this and begging Sado to not kill him, Sado merely instructs him to not do this again and runs off, leaving the Shinigami astonished that Sado is not going to kill him.
In 8th Division Captain Shunsui Kyōraku's office, his lieutenant, Nanao Ise, looks out the window and informs a resting Shunsui that Sado is approaching. Bemoaning Sado arriving already, Shunsui sits up and notes that they should get going, and when Nanao inquires if he is sure that he wants to go because she can handle one Ryoka, Shunsui asserts that he has to on Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto's orders and explains that he does not want anyone's reputation to be ruined due to Yamamoto thinking the captains cannot handle it before attempting to caress Nanao's face as he claims that he does not know what he would do if she were hurt in battle. When Nanao slaps his hand away with a closed fan and coldly rebuffs his flirting, Shunsui observes that she is in an especially lovely mood today and that this is what he loves about her, leading a flustered Nanao to demand that he go. As he complies, Shunsui assures Nanao that she does not have to worry because it is just fun and games which will be over soon.
Meanwhile, Ichigo, Ganju, and Hanatarō run up the steps to Senzaikyū while Ganju expresses frustration at how long the stairs go on for. Promising Ganju that they are almost at the top, Ichigo reaches the top of the steps, and as Ganju and Hanatarō catch their breath behind him, he notes that security seems to be lax here as well because no one is around before proclaiming that they are going all the way to the top. Suddenly, as Ichigo, Ganju, and Hanatarō resume running, the three of them stop in astonishment and fear upon feeling an incredibly intense Reiatsu pressing down on them, prompting Ichigo to wonder what is causing it while 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki grins nearby.
In the first Special Confinement Gaol within her division's barracks, 5th Division Lieutenant Momo Hinamori sits with bags under her eyes and looks up to see 10th Division Lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto approaching. As Hinamori wonders why she is here, Rangiku hands her a sealed letter and reveals that it was found in the room of Hinamori's captain, Sōsuke Aizen, and is addressed to Hinamori herself, to the latter's surprise. With Hinamori recalling Aizen writing a letter while they were speaking last night, Rangiku remarks that it is a good thing her captain, Tōshirō Hitsugaya, found it because anyone else would have submitted it as evidence and prevented Hinamori from receiving it. Admitting that she does not know what it says, Rangiku tells Hinamori that she should be honored her captain's last words were for her and should read the letter with appreciation before departing.
After tearfully thanking Rangiku for this, Hinamori unties the string binding the letter and opens it, where she finds Aizen stating that her reading this means that he was unable to return before apologizing for how much grief he has caused her, as he has no words to express his gratitude. Aizen's letter details how he never spoke to her about his concerns because he did not want her to get involved, and as he expresses hope that Hinamori will forgive him for involving her now, Aizen reveals all he has discovered so far in the letter to Hinamori, whom he trusts more than anyone else, because he is likely no longer alive, leaving Hinamori astonished and sweating in shock.
Meanwhile, in the pavilion outside Senzaikyū, Ichigo Kurosaki, Ganju Shiba, and 4th Division 7th Seat Hanatarō Yamada are left frightened and unable to move by the intense Reiatsu pressing down on them. While Ganju wonders what is causing it, Ichigo tells him and Hanatarō to run because they do not want to meet the source of this Reiatsu and need to cover some ground before they are found. With the three of them running off, 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki notes that the Ryoka he had been told about is finally here and questions which one of them it is. As he runs along, Ichigo observes that something is wrong because it does not feel like they have put any distance between themselves and the enemy despite how far they have run before concluding that it feels like he constantly has a sword at his throat. When Hanatarō collapses behind them and finds himself unable to keep moving, Ganju doubles back and hoists a surprised Hanatarō over his shoulders while bemoaning that it is like looking after a baby.
Kenpachi looks over each of them as Ganju rejoins Ichigo in running, and after dismissing Ganju and Hanatarō as not being the Ryoka he is looking for, Kenpachi sees Ichigo, who experiences the sensation of Kenpachi leaning over his shoulder and inquiring if he is the one. Severely unnerved by this, Ichigo turns around and looks up to see Kenpachi crouching on a rooftop above them. As Kenpachi questions if he is just going to stare, Ichigo envisions Kenpachi appearing behind him and impaling him through the chest with his Zanpakutō. Upon realizing that this has not actually happened, a heavily sweating Ichigo clutches his chest and questions if this was killing intent, though he dismisses this being the case because killing intent alone could not produce such an effect.
Suddenly, Kenpachi appears behind Ichigo and asks him if he is Ichigo Kurosaki. When Ichigo demands to know who he is and how he knows his name, Kenpachi notes that his 3rd Seat, Ikkaku Madarame, should have told Ichigo, who recalls Ikkaku describing Kenpachi as tough and someone Ichigo may not survive facing while Kenpachi introduces himself and declares that he is here to kill Ichigo or die.
Having been confronted by 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki, an unnerved Ichigo Kurosaki mentally identifies Kenpachi and admits that he can tell Kenpachi is a captain because of his monstrous Reiatsu. As he inquires if something is wrong, Kenpachi reiterates that he is here to kill Ichigo or die and wonders if he should begin due to Ichigo seemingly having nothing to say, prompting Ichigo to grab the handle of his Shikai, Zangetsu, only to stop upon hearing a loud noise behind him. Ichigo turns to see Ganju Shiba kneeling and 4th Division 7th Seat Hanatarō Yamada lying on the ground completely unable to move, greatly concerning him. After assuring Ichigo that he and Hanatarō are fine and were merely knocked down by Kenpachi's Reiatsu, a sweating Ganju instructs him to keep his eyes on Kenpachi because the latter will kill Ichigo should he keep looking around.
Suddenly, 11th Division Lieutenant Yachiru Kusajishi pops out from behind Kenpachi's back and points out that Hanatarō is drooling, and as a stunned Ichigo turns back to face her, Yachiru leaps onto his shoulder while expressing sympathy for how scared Hanatarō must be. Startled by this, Ichigo throws Yachiru off, leading her to leap back to Kenpachi and note that Ichigo is mad at her, which Kenpachi affirms. As he draws Zangetsu, Ichigo orders Ganju to run away with Hanatarō and save Rukia Kuchiki while he takes care of Kenpachi. Though he is incredulous at Ichigo's uncertainty of how he will defeat Kenpachi, Ganju complies and runs away with Hanatarō over his shoulder. With Kenpachi and Yachiru merely staring at this, Ichigo expresses confusion at neither of them going after his friends even though their mission is to stop the Ryoka, prompting Kenpachi to remind Ichigo that he is here to kill Ichigo or die and has no interest in Ichigo's friends or Rukia, to Ichigo's relief.
In the Shishinrō within Senzaikyū, Rukia senses the intense Reiatsu outside and realizes that it must be incredibly strong if she can feel it from within the Sekkiseki building before wondering if there is a captain nearby. Recalling how she heard a deafening roar yesterday, Rukia mentally asks Ichigo if he is really here and where he is now.
Outside, Ichigo pants as he assumes a battle stance, leading Kenpachi to praise him as not bad for his strong Reiatsu despite how stiff and full of openings his guard is. When Kenpachi observes that Ichigo might be stronger than some lieutenants, which is likely why his 3rd Seat Ikkaku Madarame lost, Ichigo sarcastically thanks him, only for Kenpachi to conclude that Ichigo is still not his equal and decide to give him a handicap as he opens his haori before granting Ichigo the opportunity to perform the first strike by cutting wherever he likes. Astonished by this, Ichigo claims that he cannot cut someone who does not have their sword drawn and questions if Kenpachi is mocking him, but Kenpachi denies this and clarifies that it is a courtesy as he instructs Ichigo to save the admirable gesture of refraining from striking a defenseless enemy for another time. Asserting that they should take their time and enjoy this because the struggle of kill or be killed is something to be savored, to Ichigo's shock, Kenpachi details how Ichigo could cut him down with one blow by targeting his neck, stomach, or eyes.
With Kenpachi encouraging him to attack and not be a coward, Ichigo gives in and warns Kenpachi to not complain afterwards as he rushes forwards and slashes with Zangetsu. Elsewhere, Hanatarō regains consciousness while being carried by Ganju, but upon being informed by Ganju that Ichigo stayed behind to fight Kenpachi, Hanatarō begs him to go back because Ichigo has no chance of winning and will be killed. Hanatarō details how the title "Kenpachi" belongs to the one who loves to fight the most and has slain more foes than any other Shinigami, meaning that Kenpachi will never fall no matter how many times he is cut. Back at the fight, Yachiru sits against a wall with her hands on her cheeks and watches blood splatter on the ground. Having failed to even scratch Kenpachi with his attack and seeing Zangetsu resting against Kenpachi's skin, Ichigo expresses disbelief while his right hand bleeds. Disappointed at this being the best Ichigo can do, Kenpachi draws his own Zanpakutō, pushing Zangetsu aside in the process, and requests that Ichigo not die too quickly.
Restrained by Ganju Shiba, 4th Division 7th Seat Hanatarō Yamada begs the former to let him go because Ichigo Kurosaki will be in trouble if he does not help. However, Ganju points out that neither of them could do much good if they went back because they were paralyzed by 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki's Reiatsu alone and asserts that Ichigo is the only one of the three of them who has a chance of beating Kenpachi. Concluding that they have a job to do, Ganju reminds Hanatarō that Ichigo came to Soul Society in order to save Rukia Kuchiki and would save her himself if he could, but has handed it over to them and is staying behind in order to buy time for them to rescue Rukia by risking his life, meaning that he has entrusted them with the most important job of all and that they must save Rukia no matter what it takes because they will be throwing away everything that Ichigo has been fighting for if they do not keep going. With Hanatarō convinced by this, Ganju resumes running toward Senzaikyū with him and mentally tells Ichigo to not get killed before he gets back with Rukia due to him being able to at least help Ichigo get away.
Meanwhile, Ichigo stands with his Shikai, Zangetsu, pressed against Kenpachi's chest, which remains unharmed, as he observes with astonishment that he could not even scratch Kenpachi despite swinging as hard as he could before wondering why his hand is bleeding. Noting that Ichigo looks surprised, Kenpachi questions if it is really so strange that Zangetsu cannot cut his body as he begins drawing his own Zanpakutō, pushing Zangetsu away with his arm in the process. Shocked by this, Ichigo leaps several meters back and expresses disbelief at Kenpachi pushing Zangetsu back with his bare arm. Suddenly, 11th Division Lieutenant Yachiru Kusajishi appears in front of Ichigo and asserts that it is impossible for him to cut Kenpachi because it is almost like Zangetsu has no blade to him, to Ichigo's confusion. Kenpachi explains that two spiritual forces colliding results in the weaker of the two absorbing the impact, which means that the sword Ichigo has created by honing his Reiatsu to its limits is weaker than the Reiatsu leaking out of Kenpachi unconsciously. With Ichigo stunned by this, Kenpachi expresses disappointment at having waited all night for someone like him because this will not even make for a good anecdote and unsheathes his Zanpakutō, which he notes Ichigo can at least take the rust off of.
Elsewhere, near the Eighth Division barracks, Yasutora Sado blasts a hole in a wall with an energy blast from his Fullbring, Brazo Derecha de Gigante, instantly incapacitating multiple Shinigami on the other side in the process. As he looks at his steaming hand, Sado notes that he can now fire five or more shots without exhausting himself after having two shots per day as his limit when he first gained this power and acknowledges that he will have to thank Yoruichi Shihōin for training him. Stepping through the hole in the wall and running into the compound, Sado wonders if his friends are safe and hopes that none of them have been hurt, only to find himself confronted by 8th Division 3rd Seat Tatsufusa Enjōji, who orders him to halt and introduces himself before declaring that this road is a dead end for Sado with him here.
After drawing his Zanpakutō, Tatsufusa initiates Hōzan Kenbu by rapidly and repeatedly slashing in all directions around his body. As they watch this in amazement, two nearby Shinigami identify the technique and assume that Sado is standing still out of terror. However, with Tatsufusa goading Sado to make a move and not be timid just because his swordplay has never been beaten, Sado simply punches him in the face with his Brazo Derecha de Gigante fist, sending Tatsufusa flying back and crashing into a barricade that he flips over. While Sado apologizes and observes that Tatsufusa's defense was full of holes, the two Shinigami are left astonished by Tatsufusa being knocked out. Suddenly, 8th Division Captain Shunsui Kyōraku praises Sado's performance, and as the latter looks up in astonishment to see flower petals falling from above, Shunsui lands in front of him before introducing himself and politely greeting Sado.
Walking toward 8th Division Captain Shunsui Kyōraku, Yasutora Sado repeats his identification, and as Shunsui affirms this while politely greeting Sado, the flower petals falling around him grow denser in number, prompting Shunsui to ask his lieutenant, Nanao Ise, to stop throwing petals as she stands on the balcony above him with a large basket of petals in her hands. With Shunsui continuing to request this in a flirtatious manner, Nanao simply dumps the rest of the petals on top of Shunsui, who is buried underneath them, to Sado's confusion. Sado apologizes for not having time for Shunsui's comedy routine and states that he is just passing through, and when a disappointed Shunsui inquires if he cannot play a while longer because no one is any fun nowadays, Sado asserts that he is in a hurry and pleads with Shunsui to step aside because he seems like a nice guy and Sado does not want this to end in a fight. As he admits that he does not want to fight either, Shunsui notes that he cannot let Sado pass and suggests that he retreat, but Sado firmly denies being able to do this, prompting Shunsui to observe that it cannot be helped before sitting down, pulling out a jug of sake and two cups, and offering to drink with Sado like two old friends instead.
While Sado is left stunned by this, Shunsui explains that he can just stay here if he does not want to retreat because it will all be over soon anyway. When Shunsui reveals that the others are on the move now and this unpleasantness will be finished soon as a result, Sado picks up on his mention of others and deduces that his friends are being attacked by the other captains, which leads Shunsui to realize that he may have said too much. Asserting that this changes things, Sado asks Shunsui to move immediately, and when the latter inquires what will happen if he declines as he drinks some of the sake, Sado proclaims that he will move Shunsui before firing an energy blast at him with his Fullbring, Brazo Derecha de Gigante. However, with the blast hurtling toward him, Shunsui merely swipes his free hand through it, deflecting the energy blast before it can reach him, to Sado's astonishment, and notes that things are getting complicated.
Sado proceeds to fire three more energy blasts, all of which Shunsui dodges while declaring them missed as they shake the ground on impact, and begins panting and sweating as he fires another, which Shunsui nonchalantly dodges by leaning to the side before declaring it missed as well while it blows up a wall behind him. As he wonders how Shunsui is evading them, Sado mentally details how Shunsui deflected his first shot with one hand and has evaded every subsequent shot while observing that they are not even grazing Shunsui despite being powerful. Recalling 8th Division 3rd Seat Tatsufusa Enjōji being only two ranks below captain, Sado questions if two ranks can really make that much of a difference and if captains are really this powerful.
While leaning against a nearby wall, Shunsui suggests that Sado give up because he should understand by now that, despite how hard and fast his considerably destructive attacks are for a Human, they cannot hit Shunsui and never will, which means that Sado should stop fighting and go home. A smiling Sado simply thanks him for the advice and declares that he cannot do this before firing another blast despite Shunsui cautioning him against it. Evading this as well, Shunsui moves behind Sado and details how there are two kinds of moves - those that cannot be performed at all once one's limit is reached, and those that can be performed beyond one's limit at the cost of one's life force, the latter category of which he concludes Sado's move is in as he presses two fingers against Sado's back and uses Tsukiyubi, sending him hurtling forward and crashing to the ground.
After pointing out that Sado is clearly way beyond his limit, Shunsui advises him to leave because he will die if he keeps this up, only for Sado to begin to get to his feet once more. As he sighs at this, Shunsui inquires why Sado insists on fighting and what purpose he came here to fulfill, prompting Sado to state that his purpose is to save Rukia Kuchiki. Confused by this, Shunsui observes that Sado could only have a thin friendship with Rukia at best after having known her for a few months with her going missing in the Human World in the spring, and Sado affirms Shunsui's conclusion that this is not something he would risk his life for before explaining that Ichigo Kurosaki wants to save her and is putting his own life on the line to do so, which is all the reason Sado needs to do the same. Shunsui acknowledges Sado's strong resolve and decides that it would be disrespectful to attempt to talk him out of this as he draws his twin Zanpakutō and concludes that he will have to kill Sado, who runs toward him and charges up one last energy blast while recalling his history with Ichigo.
In the past, a slightly battered Sado lies on a riverbank in Karakura Town and brushes his fingers against the coin attached to his necklace while Ichigo demands to know what that was about. When Sado merely corrects his usage of "Chad", an exasperated Ichigo points out how Sado would have been killed had he not shown up and questions why Sado does not defend himself despite how strong he is. Sitting up, Sado explains that he promised his abuelo to never use his fists for his own sake, and when Ichigo expresses confusion at what abuelo means, Sado clarifies that it means grandfather and identifies his abuelo as Oscar Joaquín de la Rosa, prompting Ichigo to wonder how many grandfathers Sado is referring to. Sado elaborates that Oscar was a Mexican and that he had lived in Mexico prior to moving to Karakura Town, but Ichigo reminds him that he said he was from Okinawa when they first met last month, which Sado is surprised by. With Ichigo declaring that Sado only talks nonsense and that he will not bail Sado out next time, Sado merely chuckles and holds his coin.
Upon noticing this, Ichigo notes that Sado always wears his coin and inquires if it is something important, which Sado affirms before describing it as being more important than his own life. Slightly stunned by this, Ichigo sits on the grass next to Sado and observes that it looks like it is from another country, with Sado informing him that it is from Mexico when he asks. When Sado stands up while stating that they should go because there is no bigger waste of time than two guys talking beside a river, Ichigo notices a cell phone, which has been maintaining a call for almost twenty-two minutes, hanging from the back of his pants and questions whose it is, leading Sado to guess that it belongs to one of the guys whom Ichigo beat up before deciding to give it back, only for Ichigo to kick it away, breaking it in half in the process, to Sado's surprise. Listening on the other end of the line as he sits on a set of stairs, around his defeated men, Yokochini stares at his own phone as it emits a dial tone.
The next day, Sado walks down the street and mentally notes that he had not lied about his past because he was born in Okinawa and moved to Mexico when he was eight due to his parents dying when he was young and him not having any other relatives. As he recalls how he used to be a bully who used his fists to beat down anyone he did not like until Oscar showed him the error of his ways and taught him how to be good, Sado is attacked from behind by three of Yokochini's men wielding tasers. Soon afterward, Sado is tied to a chair with a thick cable and beaten up by Yokochini's men underneath the Onose river bridge in Nishi-Toriya district two while Yokochini watches from a couch and smokes a cigarette. Though Sado mentally observes that he does not think he can break through the cable binding him, when Yokochini gloats about his situation and asks him if the pain makes him want to wet himself, Sado questions if people wet themselves from pain and apologizes for not feeling the urge.
Angered by this, Yokochini stands up and decides to take a different approach as he yanks Sado's coin off his neck and recounts Sado's description of it as a souvenir from Mexico that is more important than his own life. Concluding that Sado will die if he loses this coin, Yokochini holds a pair of pliers up to the coin and prepares to cut it up in front of Sado, only for Ichigo to suddenly kick him in the face, sending Yokochini skidding away and falling into the nearby river. When his shocked and concerned men call out to him, Yokochini berates them for calling him "Yokochin" before having his face stomped on by Ichigo, who swipes Sado's coin from his hand while sarcastically thanking him for being a good sport. As they identify Ichigo, who begins looking through Yokochini's pockets, Yokochini's men demand that he stop ignoring them and rifling through Yokochini's pockets. Upon finding Yokochini's cell phone, Ichigo contacts emergency services and requests an ambulance be sent to his location.
Though Yokochini's men assume that he is calling an ambulance for Sado, who is stunned to see him, Ichigo turns around and counts up the five of Yokochini's men before concluding that this is how ambulances will need to be sent. Enraged by this, Yokochini's men rush toward Ichigo, who tosses away the cell phone and begins fighting them. After beating up all of Yokochini's men, Ichigo lies on his back in front of Sado and proposes that they fight for each other and for what each other wants to protect with their life so he does not have to violate his rule of not using his fists for himself, which Sado agrees to.
In the present, Sado recalls this promise and mentally proclaims that this is why he cannot lose as he prepares to unleash his energy blast onto Shunsui, only for Shunsui to cut him down in a single horizontal slash to the chest and apologize while a large quantity of blood spurts from Sado's wound.
On the first day of his high school term, Mizuiro Kojima stands in the apartment of his current girlfriend and listens to his mother, Nanako, berate him over the phone for calling her repeatedly despite knowing she would be with a gentleman tonight. With Nanako insisting that he put himself in her position for once, Mizuiro hangs up and puts his cell phone away, and when his girlfriend comments on how sweet it is for him to be calling his mother again, Mizuiro cheerfully states that he does not have a mother. Gently chiding him for saying such a thing, Mizuiro's girlfriend hands Mizuiro his coat and offers to drive him to Karakura High School for his first day there, which he thanks her for as he mentally notes that communication with the world has failed even though it is rotating properly, their cords are connected, and all his systems are green.
Soon afterward, as he walks toward the school with Keigo Asano, Mizuiro is surprised to learn that Ichigo Kurosaki and Yasutora Sado from Mashiba Middle School will be coming to their school, prompting Keigo to tearfully affirm that he is serious before responding to Mizuiro questioning why he is crying by proclaiming that Ichigo and Sado are hoodlum bullies from hell and are rumored to hang out with yakuza, smuggle drugs, and have once gone into a bookstore and looked at erotic magazines for five hours. Mizuiro points out how these are just rumors, and when Keigo claims that their reputations speak for themselves, Mizuiro merely observes that he does not know what they are like because he has never met them as Keigo asserts that Ichigo has orange fair, is a good fighter, and has been bleaching his hair since birth while Sado is a seven-foot giant who is a hundred times tougher than Ichigo, meaning that their high school days are ruined with them here.
Looking through the entrance booklet he received, Mizuiro goes over the procedures for the first day of school before seeing that their class lists are posted and that they are in class 1-3, surprising Keigo with his good eyesight. However, upon looking at the class list on the wall, Keigo is astonished and frightened to see that Ichigo and Sado are in their class. Suddenly, Ichigo and Sado burst through the wall, each respectively kicking and punching a different student, and sail over a stunned Keigo and Mizuiro before crashing into the ground behind them and sliding along it atop the students they attacked. With Keigo identifying them in terror, he, Mizuiro, Ichigo, and Sado are surrounded by more students, and while Keigo expresses frightened disbelief at the situation and Mizuiro tells him to calm down, Reiichi Ōshima approaches with Keisuke Sorimachi and mocks Ichigo and Sado for thinking they could get away.
When Keigo identifies Ōshima as being from Togata Middle School, Mizuiro wonders why he knows so much about hoodlums and notes that Ōshima's name was also on their class list. Upon being asked by Ōshima if they are friends of Ichigo's, Keigo frantically assures him that he has never seen Ichigo and Sado in his life, only to be stunned to see Mizuiro calmly introducing himself to Ichigo and Sado as a fellow classmate. Seeing an irritated Ōshima crack his knuckles and observe that Mizuiro is their friend now, Keigo claims that Mizuiro is innocent and begs Mizuiro to come back because he is not that kind of person. Meanwhile, Ichigo introduces himself and Sado to Mizuiro, whom he asks about Keigo as the latter is pinned down by Ōshima and tearfully calls out to Mizuiro. When Mizuiro describes Keigo as being very smart despite his poor grades and much nicer than Mizuiro himself, a surprised Ichigo notes that it is unusual for someone to praise their friend like this.
Ichigo asks Mizuiro if he is good at coming up with excuses, and when Mizuiro bluntly states that he is pathologically good at this, Ichigo commends this because he is going to need a really good excuse in about five minutes so he does not get suspended for saving Keigo before dashing toward Ōshima. After school that day, Keigo rides home on his bike with Mizuiro facing away from him on the back seat and admits that Ichigo and Sado were not what they expected, which Mizuiro affirms. With Mizuiro mentally detailing how he believes all Humans are connected to this world by countless cords like patients in the ICU and find it hard to reconnect any of those cords once they are severed, no matter how hard they try to prevent it from occurring in the first place, before observing that he still cannot do it, Keigo inquires if he is going to call Nanako today and is pleased when Mizuiro denies this. Mizuiro decides that he is happy to meet his new world, even though he does not know if his world is rotating properly, his cords are not connected, and all his systems are red because their communication is excellent.
Every year I participate in Shonen Jump's annual Jump Festa event. This year, after leaving the stage, I looked around the convention center for the first time. A lot of fans were cheering me on from behind, but it was kind of embarrassing so I didn't look back. I really feel bad about that. But what are you supposed to do in a situation like that? Should I have waved? That doesn't seem right either... Tite Kubo