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NIGHT OF WIJNRUIT
MangaVolume16Cover
Poem
"The mane of the sun pouring down
Erases the footprints on thin ice
Do not fear deception
The world already lies atop deception."
Cover Tōshirō Hitsugaya
Volume 16
Pages 192
Anime Episodes 47 - 49 & 51
Release Data
Print (J) March 4, 2005
ISBN (J) 4-08-873777-6[1]
Print (US) December 5, 2006
ISBN (US) 1-4215-0614-9[2]
Chapter List
Shueisha 131. The True Will

132. Creeping Limit
133. memories in the rain2 "the nocturne"
134. memories in the rain2 op.2 "Longing For Sanctuary"
135. memories in the rain2 op.3 "Affected By the Night"[3]
136. memories in the rain2 op.4 "night of wijnruit"
137. Surrounding Clutch
138. Individual Thoughts
139. Drowsy, Bloody, Crazy

Viz Media 131. The True Will

132. Creeping Limit
133. memories in the rain 2: Nocturne
134. memories in the rain 2, op.2: Longing for Sanctuary
135. memories in the rain 2, op.3: Affected by the Night
136. memories in the rain 2, op.4: night of Wijnruit
137. Surrounding Clutch
138. Private Thoughts
139. Drowsy, Bloody, Crazy

NIGHT OF WIJNRUIT is the sixteenth volume of the Bleach manga series.

Publisher's summary

The scheduled execution of former Shinigami Rukia Kuchiki has been moved up and is now just hours away. Meanwhile, Soul Society is in chaos, with Shinigami drawing swords against one other. Something is rotting at the core of Soul Society, but who, or what, could be behind it?

Bleach All Stars

All-Stars
浮竹 十四郎
Jūshirō Ukitake
Ep153GinCharaPic 雛森 桃
Momo Hinamori
Ep227UkitakeCharaPic 市丸 ギン
Gin Ichimaru
Ep265MomoCharaPic

Ep257HitsugayaCharaPic 朽木 ルキア
Rukia Kuchiki
Ep216IchigoCharaPic2
日番谷 冬獅郎
Tōshirō Hitsugaya
Ep320RukiaCharaPic 黒崎 一護
Ichigo Kurosaki



Chapters

131. The True Will

10th Division Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya is forced to defend himself from 5th Division Lieutenant Momo Hinamori after the latter reveal that he was implicated in the letter left by her captain, Sōsuke Aizen.

Summary:

131Cover

The cover page of 131. The True Will.

Sōsuke Aizen's letter recounts his findings: believing that he is most likely dead if this is being read, Aizen entrusts the truth of what he has discovered to the one whom he trusts the most, his lieutenant, Momo Hinamori, and reveals that his investigation led him to conclude that the goal of Rukia Kuchiki's execution and its constantly-changing date is not to kill Rukia herself, but instead to steal the Sōkyoku, whose seal is only removed for executions and which has the power of one million Zanpakutō in its blade, while the execution stand itself has the power to withstand an equal number of Zanpakutō. Noting that the power of the Sōkyoku momentarily increases by several dozen times when executing a Shinigami, Aizen's letter asserts that the one who plotted Rukia's execution intends to destroy the entirety of Soul Society in addition to the Seireitei with the Sōkyoku and that this person is 10th Division Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya.

As a tearful Hinamori levels her blade at his face and finishes recounting this, Hitsugaya is left stunned by Aizen's letter saying this, and after affirming this, Hinamori elaborates that Aizen also said he called Hitsugaya out to the East Holy Wall that night in an effort to foil his plans and that he was prepared to cross blades with Hitsugaya if he did not back down, but requested that Hinamori kill Hitsugaya in his stead if he should be killed. A trembling Hinamori concludes that this was Aizen's last wish, asked of her as a man rather than her captain, and screams as she attacks Hitsugaya, creating a large explosion of force on impact. Sent skidding back by this, Hitsugaya questions if Hinamori is crazy and points out how Aizen was not the type of man to start a fight he could not win or the sort of coward who would make his subordinates clean up his mess. Despite this, Hinamori declares that this is what the letter said and that she did not misread it before slashing at Hitsugaya while clarifying that the letter was written in Aizen's handwriting, further stunning him as he narrowly dodges.

Continuing to attack Hitsugaya, Hinamori promises that she did not want to believe this and had no choice because it was Aizen's last wish, only to admit that she does not know what to think anymore while openly weeping, to Hitsugaya's astonishment. After leaping into the air to avoid Hinamori's subsequent attack that craters the ground where he was standing, Hitsugaya observes that she is too upset to think straight and concludes that someone must have forged the letter so he and Hinamori would kill each other because Aizen would never write it. Upon looking down to see 3rd Division Captain Gin Ichimaru grinning up at him, Hitsugaya angrily accuses him of engineering this as well and falls toward him while preparing to draw his Zanpakutō, but finds himself confronted by Hinamori in midair. With Hinamori stabbing at him, Hitsugaya realizes that he cannot dodge her in midair and is forced to knock her out with a blow to the head, leaving her to slam into the platform below.

After landing, Hitsugaya calls out to Hinamori and is shocked upon seeing her unconscious body. When Gin approaches and admonishes him for hitting Hinamori so hard, Hitsugaya recalls the former's enigmatic exchange with Aizen after the intruder alarm was sounded and inquires what Gin is planning as he remembers Gin claiming that Aizen would not hear the ringing of the alarm ever again after that day. Hitsugaya asserts that Gin had to make Hinamori suffer because Aizen was not enough for him and points out how Hinamori's hands are bleeding from how hard she was gripping the handle of her Zanpakutō. Though Gin expresses confusion at what he is talking about, Hitsugaya reminds Gin of his promise to kill the latter if he ever made Hinamori bleed and furiously rips his Zanpakutō out of his sheath, prompting Gin to sigh and assert that he will be forced to stop Hitsugaya if he draws his blade here while gripping the handle of his own Zanpakutō.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


132. Creeping Limit

While the battle between 10th Division Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya and 3rd Division Captain Gin Ichimaru concludes, Yoruichi Shihōin questions whether she should extend Ichigo Kurosaki's Bankai training.

Summary:

132Cover

The cover page of 132. Creeping Limit.

With his captain, Gin Ichimaru, and 10th Division Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya facing each other while exerting their Reiatsu, 3rd Division Lieutenant Izuru Kira nervously addresses Gin, only for the latter to warn him to stay back if he does not want to die yet. Declaring that this is not good enough, Hitsugaya instructs a stunned Izuru to disappear and keep going even after he can no longer see them because there is no guarantee that Hitsugaya will not end up killing him if he is within three ri of the fight. After leaping into the air above Gin, Hitsugaya releases his Shikai, Hyōrinmaru, adding a long chain to his Zanpakutō's handle and creating a massive dragon out of water and ice that swirls around him as the moon is covered by storm clouds. As he watches this from below, Izuru notes with shock that this is his first time seeing Hitsugaya's Zanpakutō, which is considered the strongest water-ice-type Zanpakutō in all of Soul Society, and observes that it can even control the weather.

Hitsugaya sends the dragon crashing into Gin onto the platform below, causing it to burst into a torrent of water on impact, and as he leaps out of the splash radius while mentally admitting that he could not dodge it in time, Izuru is astonished to find his soaked arm freezing solid and screams in terror. Above, Gin moves to the roof of the nearby building and finds Hitsugaya sending another wave of ice toward him with a slash of Hyōrinmaru and slashes through the wave with his Zanpakutō, only to suddenly find his left arm frozen and bound by the chain on the end of Hyōrinmaru while Hitsugaya stands behind him. Though Hitsugaya declares that it is over, Gin releases his own Shikai, Shinsō, which extends through his haori toward Hitsugaya's eye. With Hitsugaya barely evading in time by falling onto his back, Gin questions if he really wishes to dodge it because 5th Division Lieutenant Momo Hinamori will die, leading Hitsugaya to realize that Shinsō is hurtling toward Hinamori's unconscious body nearby.

Suddenly, 10th Division Lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto appears in front of Hinamori and blocks Shinsō with the broad side of her Zanpakutō, shocking those present, before explaining that she came back after heading to the barracks because she sensed the Reiatsu of Hyōrinmaru. Upon being requested by Rangiku to withdraw his sword or deal with her directly, Gin merely smiles as his frozen arm begins to bleed.

As dawn breaks, Yoruichi Shihōin sits on the edge of Sōkyoku Hill and observes that they have two days left for Ichigo Kurosaki to achieve Bankai. Admitting that Ichigo has improved rapidly compared to the average Shinigami, Yoruichi mentally clarifies that this only applies to his combat skills and that his Reiryoku has not increased much at all while Ichigo finishes warming up in the Study Chamber below and looks around for Yoruichi so they can continue training. Unsure if Ichigo can truly achieve Bankai in just two more days, Yoruichi wonders if she should extend his training and recalls how they learned the delay for Rukia Kuchiki's execution was cut from thirty days to twenty-five, which would have left them with only one day to save Rukia after the three days of Bankai training had their encounter with the Kōtotsu in the Dangai not sent them back in time seven days when they arrived in Soul Society, giving them eight days to spare after the three days of training.

Despite extending Ichigo's training being more than possible, Yoruichi remains uncertain because no one other than Kisuke Urahara has achieved Bankai this way, with Urahara having developed the method and taking three days to achieve Bankai with it while believing that any longer would prove dangerous. Remembering Urahara assuring her that Ichigo's gifts are greater than his own are, Yoruichi admits that she is not sure if Ichigo's Soul can withstand the extra days of training and decides to risk it if there is no change in his Reiryoku after today's training.

Meanwhile, inside the Shishinrō within Senzaikyū, Rukia is stunned by the information she has just received, and as he stands before her with six of his comrades, a member of the Kidō Corps reiterates that her execution date has been changed once again to tomorrow.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


133. memories in the rain2 "the nocturne"

With others reacting to the change in her execution date, Rukia Kuchiki recalls the dream she had about the night she would never forget.

Summary:

133Cover

The cover page of 133. memories in the rain2 "the nocturne".

Standing alongside his lieutenant, Rangiku Matsumoto, in front of 5th Division Lieutenant Momo Hinamori as she lies unconscious in a bed with medical equipment hooked up to her in their barracks, 10th Division Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya thanks Rangiku for arriving when she did because Hinamori would be dead had she not, though Rangiku downplays this.

In the past, with Rangiku having blocked his attempted attack on Hinamori with her Zanpakutō, 3rd Division Captain Gin Ichimaru retracts his Shikai, Shinsō, leaving Rangiku trembling as she holds her cracked sword. When Gin prepares to leave, Hitsugaya demands that he stop, prompting Gin to assert that Hitsugaya should see to Hinamori rather than chase him before disappearing with Shunpo.

In the present, Rangiku notes that Gin's bad habit of leaving without telling her where he is going has not changed from when he was a child and wonders where he is trying to go. Beside her, Hitsugaya ponders how much of 5th Division Captain Sōsuke Aizen's letter to Hinamori was fabricated and if the plot to destroy Soul Society with the released power of the Sōkyoku during Rukia Kuchiki's execution is actually Gin's plan. Suddenly, the two of them are approached by a Jigokuchō, which relays the Central 46's decision to make a final change to the date of Rukia's execution by having the sentence carried out twenty-nine hours from now with no further changes, to Hitsugaya and Rangiku's shock. Upon seeing Hitsugaya briskly walking off, Rangiku calls out to him, only to be informed that she and Hitsugaya are going to stop the execution because Gin cannot be allowed to succeed if the execution and the release of the Sōkyoku are part of his plan.

Meanwhile, 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai arrives at the base of Sōkyoku Hill and observes that it is definitely Ichigo Kurosaki's Reiatsu that he is sensing. Within the Study Chamber inside Sōkyoku Hill, Ichigo clashes fiercely with Zangetsu as he continues his Bankai training. Watching from afar, Yoruichi Shihōin questions why she feels so uneasy despite Ichigo's steady development, and as Ichigo continues to attack Zangetsu, Yoruichi describes the sensation she is experiencing as feeling like something ominous is approaching. However, Ichigo is visibly startled when the entrance at the top of the ladder leading into the Study Chamber is destroyed by an explosion of force. As he states that he was wondering what Ichigo was doing down here and inquires if Zangetsu is his Zanpakutō Spirit, Renji crashes down onto the ground near Ichigo and notes that Ichigo seems to be having fun training to achieve Bankai in secret before inquiring if he can join while holding his Shikai, Zabimaru, over his shoulder, surprising Ichigo with his presence.

Renji predicts that Ichigo is wondering why he is here and explains that he simply needs a place to focus on training now that there is not much time left. With Ichigo questioning what this means, Renji realizes that he should clarify this and reveals that the time of Rukia's execution has been changed once more to noon tomorrow, stunning those present. Admitting that he is not strong enough to save Rukia yet and this is why he is here, Renji walks to the other side of the Study Chamber and promises to not interfere with Ichigo's training because he already knows how to manifest his Zanpakutō Spirit before asserting that he will be training over here as Zabimaru appears next to him. Though Yoruichi nervously claims that there is no way Ichigo can master Bankai by noon tomorrow, she is interrupted by Ichigo smashing most of the sword he is holding and declaring that she does not get to give up when this training was her idea, and when Yoruichi attempts to remind him of what will happen should he not achieve Bankai by tomorrow, Ichigo states that he does not want to hear about what happens if he cannot and proclaims that tomorrow being the target date means he will just have to achieve Bankai today while smashing the remainder of the sword against his palm, to Renji's approval.

During this, in the Shishinrō within Senzaikyū, Rukia lies on the floor and stares at the ceiling as she decides to ask the Gotei 13 to return Ichigo and the others safely to the Human World before she is executed tomorrow since her being part of the Kuchiki Clan means they might honor her request. Recalling how she was shocked to learn of the changed date earlier, Rukia mentally notes that she was not sad and attributes this to the dream she had last night about the night she would never forget.

In the past, Rukia clutches a bleeding 13th Division Lieutenant Kaien Shiba and screams his name.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


134. memories in the rain2 op.2 "Longing For Sanctuary"

Having just joined the Thirteenth Division, Rukia Kuchiki is introduced to its lieutenant, Kaien Shiba, and begins bonding with him.

Summary:

134Cover

The cover page of 134. memories in the rain2 op.2 "Longing For Sanctuary".

As he runs up to 6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki on a walkway, 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake claims that they have a problem and attempts to inform him of the change in Rukia Kuchiki's execution date, only for Byakuya to inform Ukitake that he was informed of this by a Jigokuchō a short while ago. Though Ukitake is initially relieved by this, he is stunned when Byakuya questions why this matters and asserts that he accepts the decision to change the execution to tomorrow. With Byakuya instructing Ukitake to not bother him with such petty matters and attempting to walk away, Ukitake grabs him by the shoulder and angrily calls him heartless while demanding to know if his sister being executed tomorrow means anything to him, causing him to break into a coughing fit out of exertion. Telling Ukitake to calm down because he will shorten his lifespan, Byakuya asserts that two or three more of his subordinates dying should not make a difference after he let one of them die already and walks off while warning Ukitake to not do anything foolish because Rukia living or dying should not be his concern due to her being part of Byakuya's family. While watching Byakuya depart, Ukitake wonders what his former lieutenant, Kaien Shiba, would have done in this situation and questions if the latter would have kicked Byakuya a few times or tried to save Rukia even though the dissent of a single captain would not sway the Central 46. However, Ukitake concludes that Kaien would not have done either of these things since he always chose the path of greatest peril.

In the past, having joined the Thirteenth Division, Rukia stands in a room after being instructed to wait for the lieutenant to arrive shortly. Addressing a nearby Shinigami, who responds nervously, Rukia requests that he treat her just like anyone else because she is a new recruit, but the Shinigami mentally asserts that he would not dream of this as he pretends to comply. Watching from behind a nearby set of sliding doors, other Shinigami identify Rukia as a member of the Kuchiki Clan and scoff at her being a pet while dismissing her joining the division due to having been exempt from both the graduation and enlistment exams, to their chagrin. With a somber Rukia mentally observing that it is the same here after all, Kaien demands that the other Shinigami stop gawking and get back to their posts before opening the doors and firmly greeting Rukia, who is left slightly stunned by his arrival as she greets him in return.

Annoyed by Rukia's meek response, Kaien grabs the top of her head and demands that she greet him more formally due to his rank of lieutenant, and after telling him her name, a startled Rukia sweats heavily as she properly greets him, leading Kaien to smile and declare that she is okay. While Kaien welcomes her to the Thirteenth Division and explains how it is fine to accidentally call him "Captain" because he oversees the officers due to their captain being in poor health, a frazzled Rukia promises to keep this in mind and notes that this kind of normal relationship between superior and subordinate was exactly what she was looking for. That night, Rukia kneels behind Byakuya in his chambers and reports that her entrance ceremony went smoothly. However, when Byakuya inquires what seated rank she acquired, Rukia nervously apologizes and begins to detail how her abilities were not sufficient enough for a seated rank, prompting Byakuya to acknowledge this and instruct her to leave.

Later, at a party for the division, Kaien leans over a sitting Rukia near a tree and questions why she looks so sad, startling her. After observing that she reacts with fright every time she sees him and claiming that this hurts his feelings, Kaien gives Rukia a canned drink and sits next to her as he drinks out of his own. As he notes that Rukia probably will not tell him what is bothering her, Kaien tells her to not forget that he is her friend for life as long as she is in the Thirteenth Division. Before a touched Rukia can respond, Sentarō Kotsubaki and Kiyone Kotetsu pop up behind her while visibly intoxicated and begin teasing her and Kaien for bonding like this, to Kaien's astonishment. With Sentarō encouraging Rukia to not worry about the other Shinigami giving her a hard time because they did the same to him when he joined due to being from the Rukongai, an irritated Kaien declares that the party is over and orders the Shinigami to begin preparing for their next mission, leaving Rukia to close her eyes and think about how nice it feels to be around Kaien.

Rukia details how Kaien had a wife who was wise, kind, and beautiful despite being powerful enough to hold the rank of 3rd Seat, and as she watches her and Kaien talk from afar, Rukia admits that she wanted to be just like Kaien's wife. Some time later, a mortified Kaien stands in front of his wife's remains lying on a bed while Ukitake informs him that her unit was annihilated. With a shocked Rukia standing behind Kaien, Ukitake explains that that they barely know anything about the Hollow who did this due to none of the Shinigami it attacked escaping and promises to go after it in two days once they have assembled a combat unit, only to be interrupted when Kaien attempts to depart. As Ukitake tells him to wait and reminds him that they do not know anything about the enemy, Kaien claims to know all that he needs to know and that he does not care about the Hollow's abilities before demanding to know if Ukitake expects him to sit here and do nothing while the combat unit handles this. Ukitake clarifies that they know the Hollow nests in one place to hunt for prey instead of migrating and that they know where the nest is.

That night, Rukia, Ukitake, and Kaien stand on a tree branch outside a cave, where Metastacia wanders out and asserts that he can smell prey before laughing wildly.

Characters in order of appearance:

  1. Byakuya Kuchiki
  2. Jūshirō Ukitake
  3. Kaien Shiba (recollection)
  4. Rukia Kuchiki (recollection)
  5. Kiyone Kotetsu (recollection)
  6. Sentarō Kotsubaki (recollection)
  7. Miyako Shiba (recollection)
  8. Metastacia (recollection)

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


135. memories in the rain2 op.3 "Affected By the Night"

13th Division Lieutenant Kaien Shiba battles Metastacia to avenge his dead wife while his captain, Jūshirō Ukitake, explains to Rukia Kuchiki why they should not interfere.

Summary:

135Cover

The cover page of 135. memories in the rain2 op.3 "Affected By the Night".

As she stands above Metastacia on a tree branch alongside her captain, Jūshirō Ukitake, and his lieutenant, Kaien Shiba, Rukia Kuchiki grips her Zanpakutō's handle and tells Kaien that she will go first, but Kaien requests that Ukitake let him go alone, to her shock. With Ukitake permitting this, Kaien leaps onto the ground in front of Metastacia, who expresses delight at him going first. Noting that he has to ask Metastacia something before they fight, Kaien inquires how many Shinigami he has eaten, and as Metastacia admits that he does not recall, Kaien questions if he has ever regretted it, prompting Metastacia to call this a stupid question and assert that he has feelings just like Kaien before claiming that there is not a single night where he does not regret eating Shinigami, only to clarify that right now he is regretting not eating the rest of the female Shinigami whom he fought last night while laughing maniacally.

Kaien solemnly acknowledges this and draws his Zanpakutō as he exerts his Reiatsu, leading Metastacia to mentally urge him to come over so he can eat Kaien as well. Suddenly, Metastacia finds two of his left arms severed in a spray of blood while Kaien grabs one of his tentacles and stands on his back. Though surprised by Kaien's speed, Metastacia gleefully observes that the former touched him. Attempting to release his Shikai, Nejibana, Kaien is shocked to find his Zanpakutō shattering while Metastacia reveals that the first Shinigami to touch his tentacles each night has their Zanpakutō destroyed. Stunned by this, Kaien is slashed by one of Metastacia's tentacles and wonders how he could have such a power before being sent hurtling away. Frantically calling out to Kaien, Rukia attempts to draw her Zanpakutō and leap down to help him, but is stopped by Ukitake. With Rukia telling him to let her go so they can save Kaien, Ukitake inquires what she thinks will happen to Kaien's pride if she does this and elaborates that aiding Kaien now will kill his pride forever even if they saved his life. Despite Rukia asserting that pride is meaningless compared to life as Metastacia continues to attack Kaien, Ukitake explains that there are two types of battles and one must know whether each battle they fight is one to protect life or to defend honor.

As a stunned Rukia sees him sweating in concern while Kaien rips off one of Metastacia's tentacles, Ukitake details how Kaien is fighting for the honor of his men, his wife, and himself above all else before concluding that Rukia should let him fight this battle alone even if she thinks of it as foolish pride, prompting a distressed Rukia to remove her hand from her Zanpakutō. Down on the ground, Metastacia praises Kaien for surviving this long without a Zanpakutō, and when Kaien asserts that his Kidō is more than sufficient for this fight, Metastacia criticizes him as arrogant and bemoans having to do this again today, only to claim that he has no choice with Kaien insulting him like this before discharging the tentacles on his back toward a shocked Kaien. While Rukia calls out to Kaien in concern, the tentacles enter Kaien's outstretched arm at the wrist and funnel into his veins, leaving the remainder of Metastacia's body to fall apart, and Metastacia assumes control of Kaien's body, causing his eyes to turn black, his skin to turn green, and his face to gain the markings of Metastacia's mask as Metastacia menacingly asks a frightened Rukia if she called his name.

Characters in order of appearance:

  1. Rukia Kuchiki (recollection)
  2. Jūshirō Ukitake (recollection)
  3. Kaien Shiba (recollection)
  4. Metastacia (recollection)

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


136. memories in the rain2 op.4 "night of wijnruit"

With Metastacia having become inseparable from 13th Division Lieutenant Kaien Shiba after fusing with him, Rukia Kuchiki is forced to kill him.

Summary:

136Cover

The cover page of 136. memories in the rain2 op.4 "night of wijnruit".

With Rukia Kuchiki nervously calling out to 13th Division Lieutenant Kaien Shiba, Metastacia, who has taken control of Kaien's body, questions why she keeps calling Kaien's name like this and inquires if she is worried about him because he is dear to her while looking at Rukia with his pitch-black eyes. As Rukia reels back in fright, Metastacia leaps up to her and declares that he will eat her first if this is the case, only for 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake to appear between them and intercept Metastacia's bite with his Zanpakutō. Upon being ordered by Ukitake to get out of here if she does not want to die, Rukia frantically leaps away from the tree branch and tearfully wonders why this is happening.

Behind her, Ukitake pursues Metastacia, who wonders why he is not attacking and theorizes that Ukitake is trying to think of a way to drag him out of Kaien's body, only to proclaim that this is pointless before revealing that, due to both him and Kaien being spiritual entities, this is a complete fusion and one they cannot be separated from, unlike Human possession. However, while Metastacia proclaims that he will spend all night devouring Kaien's Soul from the inside, he is interrupted when Ukitake slashes through the side of his neck, leaving him stunned. When Ukitake calmly asserts that he will simply kill Kaien along with Metastacia if this is true, Metastacia is shocked that he would kill his subordinate with his own hands, which Ukitake confirms as he declares that he will not allow Metastacia to have Kaien's body. Suddenly, Ukitake coughs up blood and curses this happening at such a time, prompting Metastacia to leap forward and attack him with tentacles emerging from Kaien's arm.

Despite this, Metastacia merely wounds Ukitake and leaps past him, leaving a confused Ukitake to see Rukia standing in the woods behind him and demand to know why she came back. With Rukia mentally admitting that she had no plan when she came back and simply knew that she could not run away without saving Kaien as Metastacia hurtles toward her, Ukitake orders her to kill him because he is not Kaien anymore, and as she sees tentacles emerging from Kaien's mouth and right eye, Rukia lifts up her Zanpakutō, causing Metastacia to impale himself on it. As rain begins to fall around them, Kaien regains control of his body and thanks Ukitake for letting him fight while the latter approaches from behind. When a stunned Rukia addresses him, Kaien apologizes for getting her into this mess and hugs her as he observes that she must have been scared. Kaien thanks Rukia for doing this so he can leave his heart behind, and as Kaien's hand falls from her back and begins to disintegrate, Rukia wails in sorrow and mentally asserts that there is nothing to thank her for, with her running away because she was afraid to fight him, coming back because she could not stand her own cowardice, and using her sword because she could not bear to see him suffer, concluding that she did it all for herself and that she is pathetic.

In the present, Rukia lies in the Shishinrō within Senzaikyū and somberly states that she is not worth saving or shedding blood over.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


137. Surrounding Clutch

As the day of Rukia Kuchiki's execution arrives, 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki breaks Yasutora Sado, Uryū Ishida, and Ganju Shiba out of prison while 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai concludes his training and Ichigo Kurosaki continues his own.

Summary:

137Cover

The cover spread of 137. Surrounding Clutch.

On the morning of Rukia Kuchiki's execution, 10th Division Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya and 3rd Division Captain Gin Ichimaru move out alongside their respective lieutenants, Rangiku Matsumoto and Izuru Kira, while four members of the Kidō Corps prepare to transport Rukia as she emerges from the Shishinrō within Senzaikyū.

In one of the streets of the Seireitei, two Eleventh Division Shinigami holding brooms lean against opposite walls. When one of them bemoans how terrible he feels and assumes that this is the result of all the alcohol he drank last night, the other, older Shinigami asserts that it was actually all the tobacco he smoked that is causing this. Annoyed by this, the younger Shinigami warns the older one to not mess with him just because he was beaten yesterday, and when the younger Shinigami threatens to kill him, the older Shinigami tosses aside his broom and grips his Zanpakutō while promising to beat him before he cleans the street, prompting the younger Shinigami to grip his own Zanpakutō as he claims that sweeping is all the older Shinigami is good for. Suddenly, 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki makes a hard left turn into the street while carrying Orihime Inoue and his lieutenant, Yachiru Kusajishi, on his back, which leads the frightened Shinigami to frantically greet him and claim that it is an honor to be sweeping the street, only for Kenpachi to ignore them as he rushes by.

With 11th Division 3rd Seat Ikkaku Madarame lecturing them for not even looking like they are working, 5th Seat Yumichika Ayasegawa threatening to kill them if he finds even one speck of dust later, and Makizō Aramaki encouraging them to do their best as they all follow behind Kenpachi, the two Shinigami are left confused by what Aramaki is doing with Kenpachi and the two girls who were on Kenpachi's shoulders. Up ahead, Kenpachi asks Orihime which way they should go as he continues to run through the Seireitei, but when she attempts to direct him, Orihime is headbutted by Yachiru, who points in the opposite direction and asserts that they should go this way. With Orihime expressing pain at this and Yachiru claiming that Kenpachi thinks they should go that way as well, Ikkaku suggests that Yachiru let Orihime lead because her sense of direction is terrible, prompting Yachiru to spit on his head and tell him to shut up while making fun of his baldness. Seeing an angered Ikkaku unsheathing his Zanpakutō, Yumichika instructs him to put it away because he started the squabble while Kenpachi decides to trust his own instincts, to Yachiru's delight.

Meanwhile, within the 75th underground relief cell of the Sōgō Kyūgo Tsumesho, Uryū Ishida sees a white cabbage butterfly flutter into the room through the narrow slatted window and comments that it must be spring here, leading an embarrassed Ganju Shiba to observe that he must have cracked under the pressure of imprisonment if he is babbling about a butterfly and promises to not tell the others if Uryū decides to chase it. Snapping back to reality at this, Uryū questions why he would want to chase it and demands that Ganju address him more formally because they are not on a first-name basis, and when a startled Ganju asserts that he does not like Uryū either, Uryū reiterates that Ganju should not use his first name and claims that the latter has been rude ever since they first met. With Ganju declaring that being friendly is just a Shiba Clan custom and questioning if Uryū has a problem with it, Yasutora Sado instructs them to be quiet since he can hear something nearby, which Uryū and Ganju realize they can as well. Listening to several crashing sounds, Ganju notes that it is definitely getting closer, only to be surprised alongside Uryū when the noise stops altogether.

Suddenly, a large hole is busted in the ceiling of the cell from above, shocking those within, and Ganju is further mortified when Kenpachi leaps down into the cell, though Uryū and Sado are merely confused by his reaction. Upon seeing Ikkaku and Yumichika standing next to him, Ganju identifies Yumichika as the narcissist with the bowl cut hairdo, which leads an irritated Yumichika to inquire who Ganju is because he has a bad memory for ugly faces while holding up his Zanpakutō. As Ganju claims to have been told that he looks better with the bandages on and questions how Yumichika recognizes him, Uryū mentally observes that Ganju did not even deny that he is ugly. However, Uryū, Sado, and Ganju are all astonished when Orihime pops up from behind Kenpachi's shoulder and expresses relief that they are alright.

Down in the Study Chamber within Sōkyoku Hill, 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai sheathes his Zanpakutō, ties up his hair, and announces that he is leaving, prompting Ichigo Kurosaki to state that he will see Renji later while facing away from him with another sword in his hands. Passing Yoruichi Shihōin on his way to the exit, Renji asks her if she believes Ichigo will be ready in time, and as Yoruichi tells Renji to not worry, Ichigo stands with blood and sweat pouring down his face and neck. Renji clarifies that he is not inquiring if Ichigo will be killed because the latter has come a long way, but questions if Ichigo can really achieve Bankai. However, Yoruichi merely states that no one knows, to Renji's chagrin, and closes her eyes as Zangetsu asks Ichigo if he is ready. With several clones of himself standing on the rocks and cliffs surrounding Ichigo, each wielding Zangetsu, Zangetsu warns Ichigo that he will not hold back just because time is running out, only for Ichigo to assert that he knew this and would not let Zangetsu do so if he tried.

As she watches this, Yoruichi inquires if Renji remembers the first time he stood on his own two feet, which Renji denies, and explains that he was not aware of it when he did it before questioning what made him stand up. Detailing how people know how to walk, birds know how to fly, and fish know how to stand from birth, Yoruichi attributes this to instinct and asserts that this is what makes them strive to gain power. Yoruichi concludes that Ichigo's dedication looks like instinct to her and makes her believe that he knows he can master Bankai on an instinctual level as Ichigo resumes his attack on Zangetsu.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


138. Individual Thoughts

With the captains and lieutenants of the Gotei 13 preparing to head out for Rukia Kuchiki's execution, 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki leads the Ryoka and several of his subordinates through the Seireitei before being confronted.

Summary:

138Cover

The cover page of 138. Individual Thoughts.

In the Sixth Division barracks five hours prior to Rukia Kuchiki's scheduled execution, Captain Byakuya Kuchiki stands before a shrine to Hisana Kuchiki, and upon being informed that it is time for him to travel to Sōkyoku Hill, Byakuya acknowledges this and closes the shrine while telling Hisana that he is departing.

Meanwhile, at the Seventh Division barracks, Lieutenant Tetsuzaemon Iba runs across the plaza, leaps into the air, tucks his knees underneath him, and holds his fists out as he lands on the deck and slides to a halt in front of his captain, Sajin Komamura, whom he apologizes to for delaying their departure by falling asleep on the toilet. However, as Iba promises to cut open his own stomach in order to atone for this, Komamura assures him that this is unnecessary because he is ready, which Iba nervously acknowledges. Komamura tells Iba that he did not need to concern himself, and when Iba claims to not know what he is referring to, Komamura instructs him to not lie and details how Iba tried to delay their departure so Komamura could have time to think due to believing the latter had doubts about the execution. With Iba admitting that this is true, Komamura asserts that he has no such doubts and declares that his only motivation is his debt of gratitude to Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto before elaborating that Yamamoto taking him in when he was shunned by all due to his appearance means that the least he can do is devote himself to repaying Yamamoto's kindness.

After concluding that he has no doubts and that he is ready to give his life should Yamamoto require it, Komamura asks 9th Division Captain Kaname Tōsen how he feels about this as the latter stands behind Iba with his lieutenant, Shūhei Hisagi. Tōsen states that he is doing fine and reminds Komamura that the only thing reflected in his blind eyes is the path of least bloodshed, which means that the path he travels is the same as Komamura's.

At the Second Division barracks, Lieutenant Marechiyo Ōmaeda walks behind his captain, Suì-Fēng, past several intimidated Shinigami and eats out of a bag of rice crackers as he complains about those arguing over whether the execution is right or wrong on top of the trouble stemming from the Ryoka and the murder of 5th Division Captain Sōsuke Aizen. With Marechiyo describing those who are complaining as idiots, Suì-Fēng asserts that right or wrong does not concern her and that all she cares about are her duties and honor as a captain of the Gotei 13 before concluding that anyone interfering with this is her enemy and she will simply kill all enemies. While Marechiyo acknowledges this, Suì-Fēng reminds him that this applies to him as well and warns him that he will become her enemy should he forget his place and get in her way, leaving him to promise to remember this in irritation as she walks away.

Elsewhere, 8th Division Captain Shunsui Kyōraku hums to himself as he lies on top of a roof with a blade of grass in his mouth. When his lieutenant, Nanao Ise, climbs up and demands to know what he is doing here because he needs to get ready, Shunsui inquires if he can tell her about a small problem he has, and when Nanao asks him about it, Shunsui explains that he put the blade of grass in his mouth due to thinking it would make him look cool but thinks it might be poisonous since the inside of his mouth is numb, prompting Nanao to angrily yank it out of his mouth while berating him for not doing this sooner. Upon being asked by Shunsui what he should do, Nanao questions why he is coming to her about this and points out how he will do what he wants regardless of what she says, but assures him that she will stay a few steps behind Shunsui regardless of what he does so she does not get caught up in the mess, leading Shunsui to note that he will be the only one getting scolded by Yamamoto once more, which Nanao smiles at.

While Yamamoto and his lieutenant, Chōjirō Sasakibe, move out, Orihime Inoue, Yasutora Sado, Uryū Ishida, and Ganju Shiba follow 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki, Lieutenant Yachiru Kusajishi, 3rd Seat Ikkaku Madarame, 5th Seat Yumichika Ayasegawa, and Makizō Aramaki to a large, empty pavilion atop a building, where Uryū nervously observes that finding the right street seems to take luck as Orihime affirms that ten or twenty dead-ends is not uncommon. With Yachiru irritated by this, Ikkaku points to this as proof of why he did not want her leading them, leading Yachiru to angrily bite his head in response. Suddenly, Yumichika senses an intense Reiatsu in front of them, and upon being alerted of this, Kenpachi criticizes such sneaking around and demands that they show themselves as he claims that captains should not be concealing their Reiatsu. Berating Kenpachi for his arrogance and questioning if he knows what he is doing, Tōsen appears on the rooftop in front of the group alongside Komamura, Iba, and Hisagi. As Tōsen inquires where Kenpachi is going with the Ryoka and if lost his honor when he was defeated, a terrified Aramaki identifies him, Komamura, Iba, and Hisagi while expressing disbelief at being confronted by four powerful opponents like this. However, though Yumichika assures Aramaki that they are outnumbered by the Ryoka's group and Aramaki asserts that it is not about numbers, Kenpachi tells them to be quiet and reminds Yumichika that he never said he would let the others fight before declaring that he will be fighting all four of the Shinigami at once, though he does not believe it will be enough to test his sword.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


139. Drowsy, Bloody, Crazy

11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki begins fighting 7th Division Captain Sajin Komamura and 9th Division Captain Kaname Tōsen while his 3rd and 5th Seats, Ikkaku Madarame and Yumichika Ayasegawa, take on his lieutenants.

Summary:

139Cover

The cover page of 139. Drowsy, Bloody, Crazy.

Having confronted 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki in an empty pavilion alongside his lieutenant, Tetsuzaemon Iba, 9th Division Captain Kaname Tōsen, and Lieutenant Shūhei Hisagi, 7th Division Captain Sajin Komamura picks up on Kenpachi's comment of four against one not being enough to test his sword and inquires if the latter intends to fight all four of them at once. With Komamura asserting that he may be overrating himself despite his impressive skill, Kenpachi exerts his Reiatsu as he draws his Zanpakutō and demands that they fight instead of talking before advising them to attack from all sides at once so one of them might have a chance at cutting him. Behind Kenpachi, Makizō Aramaki questions what they should do, and when Kenpachi bluntly tells him to move because he is in the way, Aramaki is left dejected by him saying it like this. When 11th Division Lieutenant Yachiru Kusajishi addresses him as "Mustache Guy" while telling him they should go, Aramaki is incredulous at her giving him a new nickname as Yachiru clarifies that they should not get in Kenpachi's way while he is having fun.

After telling Kenpachi that they will look for Ichigo Kurosaki ahead and asking him to not take too long, which Kenpachi responds to by promising to be there soon, Yachiru pulls Orihime Inoue, Yasutora Sado, Uryū Ishida, Ganju Shiba, and Aramaki away while addressing them by their nicknames, with Uryū being insulted by the comment on his thin physique. As they run off, Tōsen notes Kenpachi's promise to catch up with the group quickly and questions if this was bluster or him being serious, only to conclude that Kenpachi has lost his sanity in addition to his honor either way. However, a grinning Kenpachi merely asserts that he has never had anything like sanity to begin with. Elsewhere, Orihime asks Yachiru if she is sure about leaving Kenpachi all alone while running behind her alongside her friends and Aramaki, prompting Yachiru to cheerfully claim that Kenpachi will not lose no matter whom he fights, to Orihime's concern. Left in disbelief by Orihime casually addressing Yachiru by her first name despite the latter being a lieutenant and noting that she has courage, Aramaki attempts to ask 11th Division 3rd Seat Ikkaku Madarame what he thinks about this, only to find him absent from the group.

Back at the pavilion, Iba and Hisagi approach Kenpachi as they request that their captains let them take care of this, and as a disappointed Kenpachi reminds them of his advice to attack him all at once, Ikkaku echoes his criticism and declares that he knew it would be like this before appearing in front of Kenpachi alongside 11th Division 5th Seat Yumichika Ayasegawa, who asserts that they will have to step in if this is how Iba and Hisagi want to do things. Though Kenpachi is confused as to why they are still here, Ikkaku berates Iba and Hisagi for thinking they would have the privilege to take on a captain despite being only lieutenants, and after Kenpachi realizes that they want to fight as well and orders them to do so somewhere else at risk of being killed if they get in his way, Ikkaku and Yumichika comply, prompting Iba to question when Ikkaku gained the right to speak to him like this. When Ikkaku claims that he does not need lessons on how to talk from a coward who left the Eleventh Division because he could not become the lieutenant, Iba is visibly irritated by this, but Ikkaku tells him to save this for later and to go somewhere else because he does not want Kenpachi to kill him, which Yumichika echoes. Upon being requested by Yumichika to go somewhere else with him, Hisagi asserts that it will not matter regardless of what he does.

Ikkaku, Iba, Yumichika, and Hisagi all disappear with Shunpo, leaving Kenpachi to observe that they can finally fight and claim that he could not refuse the wishes of his subordinates even if it meant halving the number of his opponents, though he believes this can at least be his morning workout. Commenting on Kenpachi's arrogance once more, Komamura draws his Zanpakutō, rupturing the ground in front of its blade in the process, and proclaims that this is why he thinks Kenpachi is overrating himself. With Kenpachi mildly impressed by his rupturing of the ground, Komamura inquires if the former is ready and releases his Shikai, Tenken, manifesting a large disembodied and armored hand wielding an equally massive sword that slams into a surprised Kenpachi, carving a large chasm into the ground and destroying the bridge leading to the pavilion behind him. As the dust settles, Tōsen tells Komamura to take two steps back because Kenpachi might still attack and asserts that he will crush the latter's limbs before using Suzumushi Nishiki: Benihikō, generating hundreds of thin blades in the arc of his Zanpakutō swing that rain down on the area where Kenpachi was standing, further damaging the building and causing part of it to collapse. However, though Komamura concludes that it is over because not even someone as powerful as Kenpachi could have survived this, the dust clears to reveal Kenpachi still standing with several of the blades embedded in his body, shocking Komamura and Tōsen. With Komamura in disbelief that he is still standing after a blow from Tenken and Suzumushi Nishiki: Benihikō, Kenpachi pulls one of the blades out of his left shoulder and retracts his comment about this making for a good workout because it will not even make him wake up before declaring that he is going to cut them in two and end this now.

Meanwhile, 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai runs toward Senzaikyū and mentally tells Rukia Kuchiki to hold on because he is coming to save her while his captain, Byakuya Kuchiki, watches him from a rooftop.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


Author's Notes

Volume 16 Intro Image
The new workspace I moved into last year is a bit small, but at dawn, when I open the front door after work, I can see the sunrise. The sky lights up like a fiery rainbow. Lately I've been working until sunrise just to catch the sky. It's not that I have to work all night because I sleep till noon every day. I mean, just look at that sunrise.
-Tite Kubo

References

  1. Bleach 16 (Japanese). Shueisha.
  2. Bleach, Vol. 16. Viz Media.
  3. This chapter originally appears as rain2 op.3 "Stepping Into Darkness" in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine.

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