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HOWLING is the thirty-second volume of the Bleach manga series.

Publisher's summary

Healing Ichigo Kurosaki's terrible wounds so that he can face the diabolic Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez at full strength, Orihime Inoue must watch from the sidelines as the two battle. Orihime tries to convince herself that Ichigo will be all right, but she can't help but be worried about him. And when Grimmjow taunts Ichigo into releasing his Hollow self, her confidence in her friend begins to waver. Has their time in the realm of the Hollows changed them both too much?

Bleach All Stars

All-Stars
グリムジョー<
Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez
Ep216IchigoCharaPic2.png
Ep138GrimmjowCharaPic2.png 黒崎 一護
Ichigo Kurosaki

ネル・トゥ
Nel Tu
Ep215OrihimeCharaPic.png
Ep146NelCharaPic.png 井上 織姫
Orihime Inoue



Chapters

279. Jugulators

Ichigo Kurosaki and Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez begin their final battle.

Summary:

The cover page of 279. Jugulators.

With Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez's arm being healed by Sōten Kisshun, Ichigo Kurosaki kneels in front of a tearful Nel Tu, whom he comforts and assures alongside Orihime Inoue that he is going to win. Turning to Grimmjow, Ichigo requests that they go somewhere else and leaps off the tower into the air alongside Grimmjow, blowing back Orihime and Nel with the resulting wind force, before holding out his Shikai, Zangetsu, and activating his Bankai, Tensa Zangetsu, causing him to land atop a taller tower below with enough force to crater and shatter it upon impact. Standing on top of an even taller tower above Ichigo, a grinning Grimmjow glares down at him with his Zanpakutō drawn and their respective Reiatsu surging in intensity before leaping down to meet Ichigo in midair for a fierce clash.

As she watches Ichigo and Grimmjow battle from afar, Nel cringes and expresses concern for Ichigo, but Orihime kneels down, pats Nel's head, and promises her that Ichigo is going to win, and when Nel questions how she knows, Orihime simply reminds her that Ichigo said he would win. Nel counters that Ichigo is scared and that scared people always speak overconfidently, Orihime asserts that Ichigo is not like this and only says he will win if he means it because he is a good guy who says such things as a promise. After theorizing that Ichigo has made this promise to himself, Orihime concludes that he is solidifying his resolve and cheerfully reiterates that Ichigo will win if he says that he will. Despite this, a perturbed Nel notices Orihime's hand clenching and sweating while she claims that they need to have faith and wait.

Back at the towers, Ichigo and Grimmjow engage in a ground-shattering blade lock, where Grimmjow attempts to fire a Cero at Ichigo with his left hand upon being repelled by the latter. However, when Ichigo moves forward to intercept the Cero at Grimmjow's palm with his sword and prepares to fire a Getsuga Tenshō, a manically grinning Grimmjow simply tosses his Zanpakutō away and charges a Cero in his right hand that he aims at Ichigo's head. With the Getsuga Tenshō and Cero bursting off the tower in opposite directions, a laughing Grimmjow declares that he has been waiting to crush Ichigo with everything he has got and questions if a slightly burnt Ichigo does not feel the same. Though Ichigo denies having come here to kill him, Grimmjow asserts that he is lying and that Ichigo wanting to rip him apart is understandable when he hurt Ichigo's friends. After wondering if Ichigo knows why he kept the scar across his chest from their first battle, Grimmjow promises to slit Ichigo's throat and prove who is stronger between them.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


280. Jugulators2

Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez continues his battle with Ichigo Kurosaki and pressures him to fight lethally.

Summary:

The cover page of 280. Jugulators2.

Grabbing his Zanpakutō that he had left embedded in the side of the tower behind him, Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez leaps up to the top of the tower to face down Ichigo Kurosaki, who remains on the lower tower and looks at him silently. Upon seeing this, Grimmjow questions what Ichigo is thinking and calls the latter pathetic for not actually wanting to kill him, to Ichigo's confusion, before moving behind Ichigo with Sonído and striking at the ground where he is standing, forcing Ichigo to leap away at the last second. When Grimmjow slashes at him in midair, Ichigo blocks with the sword of his Bankai, Tensa Zangetsu, while still upside-down, and the two begin rapidly clashing and moving back through the air.

After coming to a halt, Grimmjow asks Ichigo what he came here for, and when Ichigo asserts that he did so to save Orihime Inoue, Grimmjow points out how his first action upon seeing her was not to get her to safety and mocks Ichigo for believing she was unharmed without perceiving what is happening to her internally. When an alarmed Ichigo demands to know if they did something to her, Grimmjow notes that this is the expression he likes and pushes Ichigo back prior to decrying Ichigo's claim of coming here to save Orihime because he actually came here to fight, since him being a Shinigami and Grimmjow being a Hollow made Ichigo's fighting instincts bring him here so they could battle to the death as has been done for a thousand years. Proclaiming that he does not need a better reason than this, Grimmjow concludes that whoever is left standing at the end gets to live and encourages Ichigo to continue fighting.

Once he clashes with Grimmjow several more times in the air, Ichigo is pushed back by Grimmjow and charges a Getsuga Tenshō as Grimmjow does the same with a Cero, with the two energy beams colliding in midair. However, the Cero manages to pierce through the Getsuga Tenshō and hurtles toward Ichigo, who narrowly dodges it by moving to the side just before Grimmjow appears behind him with Sonído and slashes at Ichigo, who is injured despite blocking this with his sword as well. Moving to the ground far below Ichigo, Grimmjow embeds his Zanpakutō in the sands and cuts his finger on its blade as he admits that Ichigo is doing well, only to assert that he is not yet the person that Grimmjow wants to fight. While aiming his bleeding hand up at Ichigo, Grimmjow declares that he is about to use the ultimate Cero available only to the Espada, and as Ichigo realizes that Orihime and Nel Tu are directly behind him and frantically tells him to wait, Grimmjow fires a massive Gran Rey Cero at Ichigo, leaving a massive gap in the sand in front of him and seemingly engulfing the upper half of the tower behind Ichigo. Suddenly, the dust clears to reveal Ichigo in front of an unharmed Orihime and Nel, having donned his Hollow mask to block the blast, and a smirking Grimmjow notes that his opponent is finally here.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


281. THE VULGARIAN NOISE

Elated at Ichigo Kurosaki donning his Hollow mask, Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez activates his Resurrección.

Summary:

The cover page of 281. THE VULGARIAN NOISE.

Having been protected from Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez's Gran Rey Cero by Ichigo Kurosaki, who has donned his Hollow mask in addition to activating his Bankai, Tensa Zangetsu, a confused and intimidated Orihime Inoue addresses Ichigo, who looks back at her. Upon seeing Orihime terrified by his appearance, Ichigo apologizes for scaring her and acknowledges how creepy he looks right now before promising to end this quickly. Down in the sands below, a maniacally laughing Grimmjow declares that this is what he has been waiting for and puts his hand against the flat side of his Zanpakutō, where he pulls his fingers along the blade in a clawing motion and activates his Resurrección, Pantera, in a massive surge of energy, prompting Ichigo to instruct Orihime to put up Santen Kesshun in front of herself and Nel Tu without lowering it for even a second while the sand clears to reveal Grimmjow having gained an armored, panther-like body with a long tail, a large mane of hair, talons, blades on his forearms, lengthened ears, and an overall feral appearance.

With an unnerved Ichigo raising his sword at this, Grimmjow roars loudly, creating a shockwave that slams into Ichigo and forces him to brace himself, prior to leaping up to Ichigo in seconds and hitting him with a powerful strike that knocks Ichigo out of the air, causing him to crash through two nearby towers in a row. After catching up to Ichigo mid-flight, Grimmjow delivers a brutal upward kick that sends Ichigo flying upward above another tower, then moves above him to swipe his hand down with a feral grin, resulting in Ichigo smashing vertically through the tower with enough force to destroy its far side. Despite this, Grimmjow tells Ichigo to come out of the resulting dust cloud since he knows the latter cannot be done yet, prompting Ichigo to appear behind him and fire a massive Getsuga Tenshō that engulfs Grimmjow, who simply cuts through it with his hand and remains unharmed while cackling and declaring that he cannot stand Ichigo's eyes.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


282. THE PRIMAL FEAR

Ichigo Kurosaki and Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez continue their fierce battle as their Reiatsu reverberates around Las Noches.

Summary:

The cover page of 282. THE PRIMAL FEAR.

Watching Ichigo Kurosaki and Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez's fierce battle from their palace far away, Tier Harribel, Emilou Apacci, Franceska Mila Rose, and Cyan Sung-Sun notice the atmosphere distorting again, prompting Mila Rose to criticize Grimmjow for using Gran Rey Cero within the dome. In response, a scoffing Apacci wonders if Mila Rose is scared, and as Mila Rose claims that she can hear Apacci trembling, Sung-Sun tells them to stop bickering since it only makes them look weak, which leads both Apacci and Mila Rose to demand to know what a dismissive Sung-Sun said. Suddenly, a shockwave washes over the three Fracción, who brace themselves against it and are left sweating while Mila Rose observes that Grimmjow is getting carried away. However, Harribel assures them that it is understandable to be frightened since Grimmjow is using his Resurrección, Pantera, and they are feeling a primordial fear that they should relish, which Apacci, Mila Rose, and Sung-Sun accept, leaving Harribel to question if Ichigo is really Human because the volume, intensity, and sinister quality of his Reiatsu makes this battle feel like two Espada fighting each other.

Meanwhile, Grimmjow tackles Ichigo into the side of a tower and observes that he can maintain his Hollow mask longer than he could before, causing him to wonder if this is due to Ichigo training after their last battle or growing stronger from the battles he fought up until now before dismissing it as irrelevant since he is mainly glad that the battle has not been made boring by Ichigo's mask cracking and attempting to stab his hand at Ichigo. In response, Ichigo grabs Grimmjow's hand mid-strike and ridicules the idea of this battle becoming boring if his mask cracks prior to slashing a startled Grimmjow horizontally across the chest, causing a large amount of blood to spurt out, and asserting that this would be truly boring if Grimmjow were not in his Resurrección.

After ordering Grimmjow to stay that way, Ichigo lunges toward him in a burst of Reiatsu and brings his sword down in a powerful strike, forcing Grimmjow to block it with the blades on his left forearm. Pressured by the attack, Grimmjow kicks Ichigo in the side, leading Ichigo to elbow his foot away, and springs back to begin rapidly spinning in order to build up a strong downward kick. Though Ichigo dodges this and prepares to counterattack, Grimmjow uses the same momentum to bring his tail down onto Ichigo, striking him hard in the head and sending him crashing down into the sands below. When a grinning Grimmjow rushes down toward him, Ichigo swings his sword up out of the dust cloud, forcing Grimmjow to counter with a strike of his left hand that causes the blade to grind along his forearm. Once Grimmjow lands, he and Ichigo clash once more, creating a radial explosion of force that kicks up the sand around them.

With Orihime Inoue watching this from afar and wondering if that is really Ichigo fighting, Grimmjow fires five Garra de la Pantera at Ichigo, and as the latter dodges, he realizes that they are headed directly toward Orihime, forcing him to move in front of her and intercept the projectiles with his back. While Nel Tu calls out to him in concern and Orihime nervously addresses him, Ichigo looks up, startling Orihime once more with his masked appearance, and stares sorrowfully prior to leaping back down toward Grimmjow.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


283. You don't hurt anymore[2]

With Ichigo Kurosaki struggling against Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez, Orihime Inoue resolves to support him.

Summary:

The cover page of 283. You don't hurt anymore.

With Ichigo Kurosaki landing before him after having intercepted his Garra de la Pantera, Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez mockingly calls his desire to protect Orihime Inoue sweet and notices Ichigo panting, which he attributes to having withstood five Garra de la Pantera as he demonstrates their power by firing one at a tower behind him, causing its upper half to be blown apart by the impact. Though Grimmjow admits to being surprised at him still standing, he notices Ichigo's Hollow mask beginning to crack on its left side and deduces that it is at its limit, but Ichigo repairs the mask by swiping his hand over the cracks and denies this. In turn, an impressed Grimmjow commends Ichigo's toughness and assumes a battle stance, and when Ichigo notes that he seems to be hurting as well, Grimmjow refutes this and leaps forward to clash fiercely with Ichigo once more, creating a large explosion of force.

Watching Ichigo and Grimmjow rapidly trade blows and move across the desert from the tower above, Orihime Inoue tells herself that she cannot be afraid, only to ruminate on how thinking of Ichigo's blackened eyes when he is wearing his Hollow mask makes her feel like he is turning into someone or something that she does not know because she cannot see herself when she looks into them, which makes her think of Acidwire. Simultaneously, the side of Ichigo's head is wounded, taking off a chunk of his mask in the process, and Grimmjow's cheek is cut before the two engage in another blade lock. Having blocked Ichigo's sword with the blade on his left forearm, Grimmjow kicks Ichigo hard with his right leg, sending Ichigo flying back, and follows up with a spinning leg drop just as Ichigo regains his footing, resulting in the tower behind Ichigo being destroyed when it connects.

Upon seeing this and even more of Ichigo's mask being shattered, Nel Tu realizes that Ichigo is losing even with his mask on despite it allowing him to overpower Dordoni Alessandro Del Socaccio and Ulquiorra Cifer like he was invincible. Noticing Orihime clutching herself and shutting her eyes, Nel cheers on Ichigo and tells Orihime that she has to do the same because he is fighting for her, only to deduce that she is afraid of Ichigo as well. Nel reminds Orihime that she said Ichigo is a good guy and agrees with this because of how he tore into Ulquiorra when he heard Orihime's name despite his nice demeanor before declaring that Ichigo is just a Human who is experiencing great pain even though he became a Shinigami and put on his mask to fight for Orihime's sake. With Nel demanding to know who will cheer for Ichigo if she does not, Orihime reflects on how she came to Hueco Mundo to protect her friends, yet was relieved to learn that they had come to save her. Though she was left uncertain if Ichigo had come here for her when she saw him wearing the mask, Orihime decides that this should not matter anyway and prepares to speak.

Back on the ground below, Ichigo crashes into the side of the tower that Orihime is standing on with the entire left half of his mask gone, where an approaching Grimmjow observes that he really is at his limit and proclaims that it is over. Suddenly, Orihime calls out to Ichigo from atop the tower and tells him to not die. When a stunned Ichigo looks up at her, Orihime assures him that he does not have to win or try so hard and tearfully begs him to not get hurt anymore, causing Ichigo to casually grab Grimmjow's jab aimed at his head and apologetically announce that he is not allowed to sustain another injury before slashing Grimmjow down his chest, which results in a huge amount of blood spurting into the air.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


284. Historia de Pantera y su Sombras

Remembering his past with his former Fracción, Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez overpowers Ichigo Kurosaki and prepares to finish their battle.

Summary:

The cover page of 284. Historia de Pantera y su Sombras.

Having slashed Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez down his torso with only part of his Hollow mask remaining, Ichigo Kurosaki mentally asserts that it is over, but Grimmjow grabs the sword of his Bankai, Tensa Zangetsu, by the blade and declares that it is not over before berating Ichigo for thinking that this would be enough to win and attacking once more.

A narrator establishes that there is no sense of self for Gillians because though they are supposedly born when hundreds of Hollows merge together, the truth is that Hollows consume Human Souls to fill the place of the heart that they lost and wash away the dryness of their own Souls, with extreme barrenness leading Hollows to thirst for the Souls of fellow Hollows and gather with others who feel the same before they all consume each other, blending their Souls together and losing their senses of self to become massive Gillians with tremendous Reiryoku. However, a Gillian can occasionally transform even further should the consciousness of one of the originally-consumed Hollows rise above the others, granting that Gillian a sense of self and leading it to consume its fellow Gillians, which will continue its evolution until it becomes an Adjuchas.

In the past, Grimmjow, an Adjuchas similar in appearance to a panther, is confronted by Di Roy Rinker, a massive worm-like Adjuchas who comments on how small Grimmjow is prior to apologetically stating that he must eat the latter. Due to Adjuchas being at risk of regressing to their Gillian states if they do not continue consuming Hollows, with this regression being permanent and their individuality never returning, Grimmjow leaps up to Di Roy's head and takes a large bite out of his head, landing before Shawlong Koufang, Edrad Liones, Yylfordt Granz, and Nakeem Grindina in their own Adjuchas forms with the piece still in his mouth as Di Roy screams in pain.

Noting Grimmjow's strength and exchanging names with him as the latter eats the meat in his mouth, Shawlong offers to let Grimmjow join their group, and when Grimmjow glares at him, Shawlong kneels before him alongside Edrad, Yylfordt, and Nakeem. When Grimmjow wonders what this means, Shawlong explains that they intend to become Vasto Lordes rather than remaining as Gillians or Adjuchas, which he believes they will need an immense power to guide them toward. After concluding that Grimmjow is this power, Shawlong proclaims that they shall walk together with Grimmjow as their king.

In the present, Grimmjow stabs his hand into Ichigo's side, causing a great amount of blood to drip onto the sand, and leaps back to leave Ichigo clutching his side as more pieces of his mask break off. Despite this, Grimmjow becomes angered by Ichigo's gaze and claims that they are mocking him by conveying Ichigo's constant belief that he can beat Grimmjow and is superior to the latter no matter how badly he is beaten. Declaring that he cannot stand this, Grimmjow lunges forward and swipes at Ichigo's face, sending him flying several meters back, only for Ichigo to block Grimmjow's subsequent strike with his sword and laugh at the latter's hatred of a Human considering himself equal.

However, Grimmjow stabs his other hand into Ichigo's other side, causing the latter to cough up blood, and brings his leg up to kick Ichigo high into the air while he proclaims that anyone who looks down on him will be crushed whether they are a Human, Shinigami, or Arrancar. After following Ichigo into the air, Grimmjow moves above him with Sonído, concludes that he will start with Ichigo, and initiates Desgarrón, creating five large energy talons floating above each of his hands as he prepares to finish the fight.

Characters in order of appearance:

  1. Ichigo Kurosaki
  2. Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez
  3. Orihime Inoue
  4. Shawlong Koufang (Gillian) (flashback)
  5. Di Roy Rinker (Adjuchas) (flashback)
  6. Yylfordt Granz (Adjuchas) (flashback)
  7. Edrad Liones (Adjuchas) (flashback)
  8. Nakeem Grindina (Gillian) (flashback)

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


285. 肉喰みて, ひとり

Though initially overwhelmed by Desgarrón as Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez remembers his rise to power, Ichigo Kurosaki powers through it to defeat Grimmjow.

Summary:

The cover page of 285. 肉喰みて, ひとり.

As Ichigo Kurosaki stares in shock at his Desgarrón, Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez states its name and declares that it is his ultimate technique.

In the past, during their time as Adjuchas Hollows, Shawlong Koufang informs Grimmjow that he, Edrad Liones, Yylfordt Granz, Nakeem Grindina, and Di Roy Rinker have given up, with Yylfordt elaborating that they have realized they will never become Vasto Lordes because their powers have not increased since they consumed their thousandth Hollow and that today marks three thousand Hollows consumed each, with three thousand more not making a difference. In response, an unimpressed Grimmjow tells them to give up and die if they want because he intends to keep going, but Shawlong simply accepts this and requests that Grimmjow consume a portion of each of their bodies first since this will stop their evolution and prevent regression. After noting that Di Roy can never become a Vasto Lorde because of this and inferring that their evolution stops here, Shawlong details to Grimmjow how only some Adjuchas can evolve to the level of Vasto Lorde while others are simply not destined to do so, which they are aware of now, before concluding that while they were destined to be Adjuchas from the moment they became Hollows, Grimmjow is meant for something greater, which is why he should eat them.

In the present, Grimmjow brings the left half of Desgarrón down onto Ichigo, who frantically blocks it with the sword of his Bankai, Tensa Zangetsu. Pushed down to the desert below by the incredible force behind the talons, Ichigo is injured when they slip past his blade and has more of his Hollow mask broken as a laughing Grimmjow declares that it is over. With Orihime Inoue and Nel Tu watching in horror, Grimmjow recalls his consumption of the flesh of his Fracción and calls them cowards, though he accepts consuming them so they can become part of him and see what lies beyond because he is the king.

Suddenly, Ichigo regains his footing and begins dragging his sword through the length of one of the Desgarrón talons until it shatters into dozens of pieces, leaving Grimmjow stunned. With pieces falling around him, Ichigo asserts that Grimmjow is not the only one who wants to win and claims that he knows how Grimmjow feels when the latter says that Ichigo's gaze makes him murderous prior to lunging forward, prompting Grimmjow to send the right half of Desgarrón hurtling toward Ichigo. While the talons converge on him, Ichigo admits that Grimmjow was right about Ichigo coming here to fight and defeat him, and while cutting through another talon, which disintegrates in his wake, Ichigo declares that this is true for Ulquiorra Cifer and Sōsuke Aizen because he is taking Rukia Kuchiki, Yasutora Sado, Uryū Ishida, Renji Abarai, and Orihime back with him, which is why he cannot lose to Grimmjow. Left speechless by this, Grimmjow is impaled on Ichigo's sword.

Characters in order of appearance:

  1. Ichigo Kurosaki
  2. Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez
  3. Shawlong Koufang (Adjuchas) (flashback)
  4. Edrad Liones (Adjuchas) (flashback)
  5. Yylfordt Granz (Adjuchas) (flashback)
  6. Nakeem Grindina (Adjuchas) (flashback)
  7. Di Roy Rinker (Adjuchas) (flashback)
  8. Orihime Inoue
  9. Nelliel Tu Odelschwanck
  10. Rukia Kuchiki
  11. Yasutora Sado

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


286. Guillotine You Standing

Following his victory against Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez, Ichigo Kurosaki prepares to leave with Orihime Inoue and Nel Tu, but finds himself confronted once more.

Summary:

The cover spread of 286. Guillotine You Standing.

Having been impaled on the sword of Ichigo Kurosaki's Bankai, Tensa Zangetsu, a cursing Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez falls off the blade, only to be caught by a solemn Ichigo as the last of the latter's Hollow mask breaks off his face. After lowering Grimmjow to the sands below, Ichigo leaps up to the tower Orihime Inoue is located on, where he kindly asks her if she is okay, prompting Orihime to confirm this while internally expressing relief at him being her Ichigo again. Suddenly, Nel Tu slams into Ichigo's midsection, which makes him cough up blood and forces him several meters back from the tower's edge into the air with Hohō, and as Ichigo berates her for doing something so reckless since she could have fallen off, Nel buries her face in his chest and expresses gratitude at him being alive, which Ichigo smiles at and thanks her for.

With Ichigo expressing relief at her being okay as well, Orihime cheerfully claims that she is tough like a horse and rarely ever gets sick, only to be interrupted when Ichigo hoists her over his shoulder. Upon being asked why he is doing this, Ichigo nonchalantly points out how they have to get down and notes that floating will be faster than finding the stairs. Though Orihime covers her face in embarrassment at how heavy she is, Ichigo assures her that she is not as heavy as he expected her to be, prompting Nel to hit him in the crotch and assert that this is not how he should talk to a young lady since he should instead be telling her how light she is even if she is extremely dense, with Orihime admitting that this is not helping.

Upon landing on the sands below, Ichigo states that he is going to go help Yasutora Sado and Rukia Kuchiki now, and when Nel questions if he intends to leave them there, Ichigo clarifies that they will be coming with him due to it being too dangerous for them to stay here. However, Ichigo is interrupted when a heavily bloodied and panting Grimmjow appears behind him, to his, Orihime, and Nel's alarm. As Ichigo sets them down and grabs his sword, Grimmjow's Resurrección, Pantera, dissipates around his body and reseals itself into his Zanpakutō. Despite Grimmjow proclaiming that he is not giving up and that there is no way he would ever let Ichigo win while rushing toward the latter, Ichigo tosses away his sword, sidesteps Grimmjow's stab at his head, and grabs Grimmjow's sword wrist as he firmly states that Grimmjow has lost and needs to stop.

Ichigo brings up Grimmjow's apparent situation of eating everybody that he hates until he is alone as a king in Hueco Mundo and questions the point of this since it would be more satisfying for him to fight Ichigo over and over prior to insisting that Grimmjow let it go for now. Suddenly, when Grimmjow refuses to do so and breaks out of Ichigo's grip to attack him again, Nnoitra Gilga's Zanpakutō slams into his chest, causing him to collapse in pain while Nnoitra pulls his Zanpakutō back and tells Grimmjow to die already since Ichigo is now his prey.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


-16. 氷原に死す

A young Tōshirō Hitsugaya encounters both Rangiku Matsumoto and his Zanpakutō Spirit, Hyōrinmaru, for the first time.

Summary:

The cover page of -16. 氷原に死す.

In the past, a young Tōshirō Hitsugaya recalls how he dreams of an icy field, where the ice has a presence he can feel and a voice that echoes, crushes, envelops, and rumbles like thunder in the distance. Suddenly, Hitsugaya is woken up by Momo Hinamori, who cheerfully hovers over and greets him as an annoyed Hitsugaya tells her to back off. With Hitsugaya still ruminating on the voice he hears, Hinamori, who is dressed in her Shin'ō Academy robes, tells him to get up and eat breakfast so she is not late for her first day at the Academy and runs off to say goodbye to her friends, leaving Hitsugaya to express annoyance and get up.

Some time later, Hinamori runs toward the gate of the Shin'ō Academy and promises to come back during the breaks since she will be living in the dorms, leaving Hitsugaya to call her a bed wetter and tell her to not bother. When his grandmother chastises him for this and questions if he will not miss Hinamori, Hitsugaya denies her departure being a big deal since summer break is only a few months away prior to noticing Hinamori's friends, Tatsukichi and Ayumi, nervously running away from him, which Hitsugaya attributes to them being afraid of him like everyone else is even though he has never done anything to them. As he notes that they live in Junrinan, the first district of West Rukongai, Hitsugaya observes that Hinamori and his grandmother are the only ones who are not afraid of him and that it might be his silver hair, blue-green eyes, or icy personality that drives people away, though he likes his grandmother because she does not mind any of it.

Five years later, Hinamori returns to Hitsugaya again and chats with him before leaving, where Hitsugaya notes that she does not spend much time here anymore since she now has a goal at the Shin'ō Academy and has slightly longer hair even though he has not grown an inch. Hopping down from the roof he was sitting on, Hitsugaya turns to look at his sitting grandmother, who has grown much smaller, and observes that she keeps losing weight. When his grandmother addresses him, Hitsugaya offers to go buy some sweet buns since they are out and travels to the candy store, where the clerk hands back his change. However, when Hitsugaya moves to pick it up, Rangiku Matsumoto demands to know if the clerk is not going to count it out and strides forward, causing her breasts to collide with Hitsugaya's head and send him crashing against the counter while she reprimands the clerk for treating his customers so poorly. Grabbing Hitsugaya by the collar and picking him up, Rangiku orders him to stop crying and be a man instead of letting the clerk push him around, but a tearful Hitsugaya denies the clerk being the one pushing him around or that he was crying prior to freeing himself from a perturbed Rangiku's grasp and running off, leaving her to call out after him.

That night, in his dreams, Hitsugaya hears the voice once more and stands before Hyōrinmaru, whom he is stunned by, and though Hyōrinmaru asks Hitsugaya if the latter is his master and introduces himself, Hitsugaya cannot fully hear him. Suddenly, Rangiku wakes him up, with Hitsugaya recognizing her from the candy store, and instructs him to turn down his Reiatsu when he sleeps since he is freezing his grandmother to death, causing Hitsugaya to look over and see his shivering grandmother partially encrusted in ice. While Hitsugaya stares in shock at this, Rangiku suggests that he become a Shinigami because strong kids like him need to learn how to control their powers and warns him that his power will eventually kill his grandmother if he stays here. Despite Hitsugaya's protests, Rangiku reveals that she knows he can hear a voice and details how he can learn to control his power by finding out where it is coming from, which is what it means to become a Shinigami.

The next day, Hitsugaya informs his grandmother that he is enrolling in the Shin'ō Academy, prompting his pleased grandmother to express delight at hearing of this and explain that he has been waiting too long since he believed that she would be lonely if he left, with this denial for her being the hardest thing for a grandmother to bear. After leaving his grandmother, Hitsugaya concludes that with the voice rumbling nearby and far away, he has decided to go forward in search of a place to belong even if it means that he dies on the icy field.

Characters in order of appearance:

  1. Tōshirō Hitsugaya
  2. Momo Hinamori
  3. Tōshirō's Grandmother
  4. Tatsukichi
  5. Ayumi
  6. Shopkeeper
  7. Rangiku Matsumoto
  8. Hyōrinmaru

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


Author's Notes

Volume 32 Intro Image.png
I put a short story in this volume about Hitsugaya that I wrote just before the movie was released, while memories of it were fresh in my mind. I was involved in creating the movie's original character Kusaka, right down to his psychological makeup, but because the idea came from the anime production side, I didn't put him in the short story.

The story is somewhat related to the movie and yet it's not, but if you read it carefully it kind of is. It's a bit strange that way.

I hope you enjoy this glimpse of Hitsugaya's past from a different perspective.

-Tite Kubo

References

  1. Bleach 32 (Japanese). Shueisha.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 This chapter originally appears as "You Don't Hurt Anymore"
  3. 3.0 3.1 translation "Story of the Panther and his Shadows"
  4. English translation: Devouring Alone (Japanese romaji: Shishi hamite, hitori)
  5. This chapter appear as '肉喰みて、ひとりー王の孤独 (Shishi hamite, hitori - ō no kodoku, Devouring Alone - Solitude of the King)' in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine
  6. 6.0 6.1 This chapter appears as 'Tooth and Nail' in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine
  7. English translation: Dying in the Ice Fields (Japanese romaji: Hyōgen ni shisu)
  8. This chapter appears as '-15. 氷原に死す in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine

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