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Hell
Ep5GatesOfHell.png
Kanji 地獄
Government
First Appearance
Manga Debut Chapter 12
Anime Debut Episode 5

Hell (地獄, Jigoku; Viz "The Underworld") is the place where Souls such as Hollows and Arrancar are sent if they were wicked when they were Human.

Overview

The Zanpakutō of a Shinigami can only cleanse Souls of the sins they committed as Hollows. If the spirit committed heinous crimes as a Human, it will be sent through the Gates of Hell instead of Soul Society.[1]

When Ichigo Kurosaki defeated the Hollow Shrieker, he did so by slashing Shrieker's Hollow mask. The Gates appear to be formed from energy or light which emerges from the wound.[2] The Gates of Hell (地獄の門, Jigoku no Mon) are chained shut and adorned with the bandaged head and torso of a skeleton on each door. The arms of both skeletons are positioned at an angle to pull the gates open when it is summoned.

On the inside, the Gates appear to be prevented from opening fully by two thick ropes with charms attached to them. The face and left arm of a large demonic creature can be seen behind the Gates.[3] It has armor plating on its upper arm and it wields a blade. Its left arm and face are covered in tattoos resembling tribal markings. The demon skewers the Hollow entering Hell with its blade, and pulls it through the Gates, while laughing. The Gates then close and the entire structure cracks and crumbles into nothing.[4]

Szayelaporro Granz as the Jailer of Hell.

Hell uniquely affects any Arrancar cast into it after their death by moving their Hollow hole outside of their body and allowing them to gain new powers; the deceased Szayelaporro Granz had his appearance heavily altered by his consignment to Hell, including his Hollow hole becoming a ring behind his back, and gained the ability to manipulate pitch-black chains as well as a certain level of clairvoyance, which he attributes to his new role as the Jailer of Hell (地獄の獄吏, Jigoku no Gokuri; Viz "Gallows of Hell").[5]

Jūshirō Ukitake's Sōgyo no Kotowari becomes gigantic after he is cast into Hell.

Aside from being the final resting place of sinners, Hell's other primary function is to hold deceased captains of the Gotei 13, due to the Reishi comprising their bodies being too dense with Reiatsu to be reabsorbed by Soul Society and such powerful Reishi being too risky to allow to remain intact in the realm; this is accomplished by the performance of Konsō Reisai twelve years after a captain's death in battle, though until the usage of this ceremony for Jūshirō Ukitake, the captains and lieutenants of the Gotei 13 had no idea it would result in their former comrades being cast into Hell. Captains in Hell also gain epithets befitting their status in life: Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto is "Founder of the Gotei" (護廷開祖, Gotei Kaiso; Viz "Court Guard Founder"), Retsu Unohana is "Death Sword" (死剣, Shiken), and Ukitake is "Kamikake" (神掛, Divine Possession; Viz "God Sworn"). Additionally, Hell radically alters these captains just like Arrancar; when he intervened in Ichigo Kurosaki's fight against Szayelaporro by impaling the latter to pull him back into Hell, Ukitake's Shikai, Sōgyo no Kotowari, was several times larger than it was while he was alive.[6]

Jigoku no Rinki appears around Ukitake's grave as a result of the imbalance in Hell.

Similar to the balance of Souls between the Human World and Soul Society, Hell's integrity is maintained by a balance of Reiatsu between it and the combined realms of the Human World and Soul Society. According to Szayelaporro, the immense Reiatsu of Sōsuke Aizen and Yhwach were naturally holding the maw of Hell shut until they disappeared, which coincided with other immensely powerful beings like Yamamoto, Unohana, and Ukitake being sent to Hell, ultimately allowing those within Hell like himself to wrench open the maw and enter the Human World from the other side. During such an imbalance, performance of the Konsō Reisai is accompanied by the appearance of Jigoku no Rinki (地獄の燐気, Hellish Phosphorous Air; Viz "Phosphoplasm from Hell"), black blobs of a non-Reishi substance that float through the air of Soul Society around the grave of the deceased captain that the ceremony is being performed for[7] as well as in the air of the Human World where a denizen of Hell has entered the realm;[8] this substance is harmless when touched normally, but if a globule is cut in two by a Zanpakutō, its contents become acidic.[9] Individuals who enter the Human World from Hell by taking advantage of this imbalance do so using a portal resembling a circular Garganta lined with teeth,[10] though they can also be pulled back into Hell through the usual Gates.[11]

Jigoku no Gaki

Several Jigoku no Gaki confront the Gotei 13.

Jigoku no Gaki (地獄の餓鬼, Hell Preta; Viz "Beasts of Hell") are massive Hollows uniquely originating from Hell.[12] While their appearances vary wildly, common visual motifs between them include large rings protruding from or comprising parts of their bodies and thick chain patterns on their skin.[13] In addition to possessing great strength befitting their size, they do not emit any Reiatsu,[14] allowing them to sneak up on even spiritually-aware Shinigami.[15]

Notable Residents

Residents of Hell
Name Epithet Race Former Position
Szayelaporro Granz "Jailer of Hell" (地獄の獄吏, Jigoku no Gokuri) Arrancar Octava Espada
Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto "Founder of the Gotei" (護廷開祖, Gotei Kaiso) Soul Gotei 13 Captain-Commander
Retsu Unohana "Death Sword" (死剣, Shiken) Soul 4th Division Captain
Jūshirō Ukitake "Kamikake" (神掛, Divine Possession) Soul 13th Division Captain


Appearances in Other Media

References

  1. Bleach manga; Chapter 12, page 11
  2. Bleach manga; Chapter 12, pages 9-10
  3. Bleach manga; Chapter 12, page 14
  4. Bleach manga; Chapter 12, page 15
  5. Bleach manga; NO BREATHES FROM HELL, pages 52-57
  6. Bleach manga; NO BREATHES FROM HELL, pages 64-69
  7. Bleach manga; NO BREATHES FROM HELL, pages 60-61
  8. Bleach manga; NO BREATHES FROM HELL, page 67
  9. Bleach manga; NO BREATHES FROM HELL, pages 61-62
  10. Bleach manga; NO BREATHES FROM HELL, pages 40 & 51
  11. Bleach manga; NO BREATHES FROM HELL, pages 69-71
  12. Bleach manga; NO BREATHES FROM HELL, page 70
  13. Bleach manga; NO BREATHES FROM HELL, page 39
  14. Bleach manga; NO BREATHES FROM HELL, page 40
  15. Bleach manga; NO BREATHES FROM HELL, pages 34-36 & 38-39
  16. Bleach novel; Can't Fear Your Own World, Chapter 22

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