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ROSA RUBICUNDIOR, LILIO CANDIDIOR is the seventeenth volume of the Bleach manga series.

Publisher's summary

The rebellion within the Soul Society grows as doubts spread about the death sentence of ex-Shinigami Rukia Kuchiki. Determined to save her, Rukia's childhood friend, Renji Abarai, vows to cut down the captain of his own division, unaware of the terrifying fate that awaits him.

Bleach All Stars

東仙 要
Kaname Tōsen
Ep199KenpachiCharaPic.png 市丸 ギン
Gin Ichimaru
Ep38TosenCharaPic.png 更木 剣八
Kenpachi Zaraki

Ep320RukiaCharaPic.png 朽木 白哉
Byakuya Kuchiki
朽木 ルキア
Rukia Kuchiki
Ep286ByakuyaCharaPic.png 阿散井 恋次
Renji Abarai


140. Bite at the Moon

Confronted by his captain, Byakuya Kuchiki, during his attempt to free Rukia Kuchiki from Senzaikyū, 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai demonstrates his unique knowledge of Byakuya's fighting style.


The cover spread of 140. Bite at the Moon.

As he thinks of his captain, Byakuya Kuchiki, 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai admits that he was afraid to even step on the latter's shadow while he was pretending to give chase and sharpen his fangs. Approaching Senzaikyū through the Sixth Division compound, Renji defeats multiple Shinigami in a row, including Rikichi Yuki, by cutting through their Zanpakutō with his own and sending them flying with blows that leave them incapacitated on the ground. While he watches Renji leap over a nearby wall, Rikichi wonders why he is doing this. Renji continues running toward Senzaikyū and mentally promises Rukia Kuchiki that he will have her out of there soon before asserting that he will not let them execute her as he recalls their childhood together.

Suddenly, upon passing through an arch, Renji experiences an intense Reiatsu bearing down on him from above, and as he begins sweating profusely, Renji looks up to see Byakuya standing on the roof of one of the towers connected to the arch far above him. With Byakuya inquiring where he is going, Renji declares that he is going to save Rukia, but Byakuya simply states that he will not. Renji reiterates his goal and questions if there is no way that Byakuya will let him pass, prompting Byakuya to conclude that he will not repeat himself before disappearing from the rooftop with Shunpo, causing Renji to realize that he is approaching. However, when Byakuya appears behind him and attempts to perform Senka, Renji turns and intercepts Byakuya's Zanpakutō with his own, which leaves Byakuya shocked as their clash produces a shockwave of force around them.

After identifying the move, Renji details how Senka consists of striking the enemy from behind to destroy their Saketsu and Hakusui in one strike each, making it Byakuya's best move, and describes how he has seen it many times in his mind, allowing him to use logic to foresee Byakuya's moves, before proclaiming that Byakuya's blade can no longer kill him because he can finally follow all of Byakuya's moves. Despite this, Byakuya merely notes that Renji is very talkative and decries him for thinking he could surpass Byakuya's blade with just that as he releases his Shikai, Senbonzakura, only to find Renji's own Shikai, Zabimaru, wrapping itself around the blade of his Zanpakutō before it can complete its release, further shocking him. Renji reiterates that Byakuya's blade cannot kill him and clarifies that this is not due to him becoming a lieutenant, but because he has dreamed of surpassing Byakuya long before he ever joined the Gotei 13. With a stunned Byakuya realizing what Renji being able to release his Zanpakutō without calling its name means, Renji concludes that he will surpass Byakuya now and retracts Zabimaru before activating his Bankai.

Characters in order of appearance:

  1. Byakuya Kuchiki
  2. Renji Abarai
  3. Rikichi Yuki
  4. Rukia Kuchiki (flashback)
  5. Fujimaru (flashback)

Episodes adapted from this chapter:

141. Kneel to The Baboon King

6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai reveals his Bankai, Hihiō Zabimaru, and stuns his captain, Byakuya Kuchiki, with its capabilities.


The cover page of 141. Kneel to The Baboon King.

Declaring that he will now surpass his captain, Byakuya Kuchiki, 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai holds out his Shikai, Zabimaru, and activates his Bankai, releasing a torrent of Reiatsu from Zabimaru that surges through the surrounding area. With Byakuya watching impassively, the resulting swirling dust cloud clears to reveal Renji standing with his Bankai, Hihiō Zabimaru, an enormous skeletal snake with a large mane of fur around its skull, while wearing furred pauldrons with a baboon skull on his left shoulder and a tooth necklace connecting the two, with the end of the snake's tail in his hand. When Byakuya admits that he did not know Renji had achieved Bankai, Renji questions how he could have known because he does not pay any heed to what is beneath him and reiterates that he is going to save Rukia Kuchiki, but Byakuya simply states that he will not repeat himself, prompting Renji to promise to kill Byakuya if he does not let Renji pass.

Byakuya asserts that this is impossible and that Renji could not even force him to one knee, and as Renji sends Hihiō Zabimaru hurtling toward him, Byakuya moves to the roof of one of the towers lining the bridge they are fighting on with Shunpo right before the fangs close in on him, leaving the impact to damage a large chunk of the bridge and kick up a cloud of dust. Upon seeing Byakuya, Renji swings Hihiō Zabimaru through several of the towers toward the one Byakuya is standing on, where it crashes headlong into the roof. While the broken towers fall to the ground below the bridge, Hihiō Zabimaru hurtles toward the ground with Byakuya blocking its front fangs with his Zanpakutō. Though he admits that Hihiō Zabimaru is worthy of being called a Bankai, Byakuya declares that this battle ends here and releases his Shikai, Senbonzakura, seemingly breaking apart the segments making up the skeletal snake with his blade petals and causing them to crash into the ground.

However, as Byakuya lands on the ground and looks back at the segments, he is astonished to see them moving and watches as the segments reassemble in bursts of Reiatsu into Hihiō Zabimaru, which coils itself around Renji. Detailing how Senbonzakura is comprised of a thousand slender shards too swift to be seen by the naked eye and resembling a mass of petals on the wind when they catch the light as they rise, Renji explains that the joints of Hihiō Zabimaru are held together by his Reiatsu, preventing Byakuya's blade from shattering it because he can simply separate the joints in order to evade Senbonzakura. With Renji concluding that he can see all the blade petals of Senbonzakura, two more segments of Hihiō Zabimaru break through the ground underneath Byakuya, who leaps back and skids along the ground on one knee. After appearing behind a stunned Byakuya, Renji observes that he is down on one knee and asserts that he will defeat Byakuya before declaring that it is time to draw the curtain on this duel.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:

142. 月を捉ものへ告ぐ

6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki turns the tables on his lieutenant, Renji Abarai, with his own Bankai, Senbonzakura Kageyoshi.


The cover page of 142. 月を捉ものへ告ぐ.

With his lieutenant, Renji Abarai, having declared that it is time to draw the curtain on their battle, 6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki stands up and promises to do so with his sword. Questioning if Byakuya already forgot what he said, Renji reiterates that he can see Byakuya's moves now and proclaims that his sword will draw the curtain as he sends his Bankai, Hihiō Zabimaru, hurtling toward Byakuya, who simply raises his left hand toward it and uses Hadō #33. Sōkatsui, leaving a shocked Renji to brace himself against a massive blast of energy that rips through the nearby buildings. While Renji expresses disbelief at Byakuya being able to unleash such powerful Kidō while forgoing incantations through Eishōhaki, Byakuya becomes visible in the gap between the segments of Hihiō Zabimaru encircling him, which prompts Renji to demand to know if Byakuya thought he could make Renji lose sight of him with that spell as he disperses the resulting dust cloud and sends Hihiō Zabimaru hurtling toward Byakuya once more.

Suddenly, one of the segments of Hihiō Zabimaru rises between the approaching snake and Byakuya, and as Hihiō Zabimaru crashes into that segment, shattering it on impact, Renji curses having missed Byakuya, who appears behind him and clarifies that he cast Hadō #33. Sōkatsui to disrupt Hihiō Zabimaru rather than to blind Renji himself. Byakuya explains that the central problem with Bankai is its size proportionate to its powerful Reiatsu, requiring one to train for an additional ten years after achieving Bankai in order to master all its movements, and asserts that Renji is not ready to use his Bankai in battle. Despite this, Renji claims that a missing segment will not make a difference since his Zanpakutō is tough and attacks Byakuya once more, but Byakuya casts Bakudō #61. Rikujōkōrō, restraining Renji with six tapered flat beams of light that slam into his waist.

After stating that Renji should have withdrawn his sword, Byakuya inquires if Renji really thought he could beat him and reminds Renji that he has also achieved Bankai before dropping his Zanpakutō, which sinks into the ground in front of him as though it were water, and activating his Bankai, Senbonzakura Kageyoshi, causing two long rows of giant swords to rise up on either side of him that separate into innumerable blade petals at his command. While watching this in shock, Renji finds his restraints and the upper half of the building behind him suddenly destroyed while the bandanna tying his hair is shredded and Renji himself is slashed on multiple areas of his body, leaving him to fall forward in a shower of blood. As he observes this, Byakuya decides to explain the difference between the two of them and approaches Renji, who is lying in a pool of his own blood, while stating that the difference lies in their class, which he compares to the tale of the monkey and the moon where that which shines in the eyes of the beast is just the reflection of the moon on the water. Concluding that Renji will only sink to the bottom if he tries to capture the moon, Byakuya asserts that Renji's fangs will never reach him and prepares to depart.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:

143. Blazing Souls

Though grievously wounded and left nearly dead by his captain, Byakuya Kuchiki, 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai finds the strength to keep fighting from Ichigo Kurosaki's ongoing struggle.


The cover spread of 143. Blazing Souls.

While facing down 7th Division Captain Sajin Komamura and 9th Division Captain Kaname Tōsen as he tears the blades of Suzumushi Nishiki: Benihikō out of his body, 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki senses the Reiatsu generated by the battle between 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai and his captain, Byakuya Kuchiki, leading him to conclude that his is not the only fight occurring in the Seireitei right now, which he likes, before preparing to continue the fight as he declares that it is finally getting festive around here.

Meanwhile, on the bridge, Byakuya describes his Bankai, Senbonzakura Kageyoshi, as a thousand steel petals rising from his feet that separate into razor-like shards of a shattered blade too numerous to comprehend, track, or evade. Concluding that it is like watching the wind blow and that all which stands before them becomes dust, Byakuya tells a grievously wounded Renji to be proud of retaining his human form despite taking his blade while the latter lies behind him in a pool of blood surrounded by the shards of his Bankai, Hihiō Zabimaru. Upon noticing Renji's right hand twitch as it holds the handle of Hihiō Zabimaru, Byakuya notes that he is still alive, and when Renji begins dragging his fist through the ground and pushing himself up, Byakuya advises him to not move because it will only hasten his death. Suddenly, the remnants of Hihiō Zabimaru dissipate into Reiatsu and return to the hilt in Renji's hand, which reverts to the sealed form of his Zanpakutō while he asserts that it is not over and that he can still fight.

However, when Renji rushes at him, Byakuya reiterates his command to not move and forms thirteen blades with Senbonzakura Kageyoshi that embed themselves in the ground around Renji, two of which pierce his sword arm and pin it to the ground. Though he admits his respect for a screaming Renji still being able to breath after enduring Senbonzakura Kageyoshi, Byakuya refuses to hold back if Renji moves again and pulls one of the swords out of Renji's arm as he promises to turn the latter's body to dust. With Byakuya holding the sword near his head, Renji swallows in fear while Byakuya details how the disappearance of Renji's Bankai against his will means that he is near death. After observing that Renji is dying and that he will kill Renji anyway if he stands, Byakuya asks Renji if he still insists on rescuing Rukia Kuchiki.

Internally, Renji notes that he cannot breathe or even move a finger because it feels like Byakuya's Reiatsu is pulverizing him and curses how far beyond his reach Byakuya was, to the point of never having had a chance to defeat him. Suddenly, Renji envisions a wounded Ichigo Kurosaki kneeling before Zangetsu with a broken sword, and when Zangetsu questions if Ichigo is getting up again, the latter merely grins alongside Renji, who responds to Byakuya's inquiry by confirming that he is still intent on saving Rukia. When Ichigo and Renji assert in unison that they swore they would save Rukia, and when Byakuya inquires whom Renji swore this to, Ichigo and Renji declare that they swore on their own souls while Renji crushes the other sword pinning his arm with his free hand and throws the shattered remnants at a stunned Byakuya before rushing forward with his Zanpakutō, resulting in a spray of blood.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:

144. Rosa Rubicundior,Lilio Candidior

With 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai defeated by his captain, Byakuya Kuchiki, Rukia Kuchiki is approached by 3rd Division Captain Gin Ichimaru.


The cover page of 144. Rosa Rubicundior,Lilio Candidior.

With his grievously wounded lieutenant, Renji Abarai, rushing toward him with his Zanpakutō held out, 6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki can only stand still in shock as a large amount of blood spurts into the air behind Renji, who stands as the broken portion of his Zanpakutō's blade falls past his hand and embeds itself in the ground next to his feet. Having broken on contact with Byakuya, most of the remainder of Renji's blade shatters, and Renji himself begins bleeding profusely from his back and ankle before gripping the remainder of his Zanpakutō once more and swinging at Byakuya, only for the rest of the blade and the entirety of the hilt to crumble as well upon reaching Byakuya. Renji curses and collapses before Byakuya, who, having received a minor injury to his chest from Renji's final attack, removes his bloodied scarf and throws it onto Renji before congratulating Renji for reaching him with his fangs as he departs, leaving Renji to begin losing consciousness. Renji recalls 3rd Division Lieutenant Izuru Kira advising him to stay away from Rukia Kuchiki for the sake of both of them since she likely realizes that she is not like them, 11th Division 3rd Seat Ikkaku Madarame drinking sake and expressing surprise at Renji's difficult goal of surpassing Byakuya, and 11th Division 5th Seat Yumichika Ayasegawa commenting on how discouraging it is that tearing down is always easier than building up is, as well as how much more difficult it is to tie than it is to untie. With his last thought being of the day Rukia left him at the Shin'ō Academy, Renji loses consciousness.

Meanwhile, on the bridge leading to Sōkyoku Hill with four members of the Kidō Corps restraining and escorting her, Rukia is stunned upon sensing Renji's Reiatsu disappear, which she mentally admits she could not tell was his prior because it was so powerful, and begins demanding to know why Renji ended up in this situation, prompting the members of the Kidō Corps to hold her back with their hands. Suddenly, Rukia sees 3rd Division Captain Gin Ichimaru approaching her on the bridge as the latter greets her.

Characters in order of appearance:

  1. Renji Abarai
  2. Byakuya Kuchiki
  3. Rukia Kuchiki (recollection)
  4. Izuru Kira (recollection)
  5. Ikkaku Madarame (recollection)
  6. Yumichika Ayasegawa (recollection)
  7. Rangiku Matsumoto (recollection)
  8. Gin Ichimaru

Episodes adapted from this chapter:

145. Shaken

While 3rd Division Captain Gin Ichimaru breaking Rukia Kuchiki's resolve to face her execution with dignity, 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki proves to be more than a match for both 7th Division Captain Sajin Komamura and 9th Division Captain Kaname Tōsen.


The cover page of 145. Shaken.

Having been addressed informally by Rukia Kuchiki as he approaches her on the bridge leading to Sōkyoku Hill, 3rd Division Captain Gin Ichimaru scolds her for not addressing him as Captain Ichimaru and promises that her brother, Byakuya Kuchiki, will scold her if she keeps this up. Though an unnerved Rukia apologizes, Gin chuckles and reveals that he was not being serious, nor would he tell Byakuya, because they are friends. Upon being asked by Rukia what he is doing here, Gin claims that he just decided to take a walk and tease Rukia a bit.

Rukia mentally asserts that she has always hated Gin and recalls how Gin would come over to talk to Byakuya after they became captains of their respective divisions while Byakuya was walking with her, and though a casual observer would not have seen anything special in their meaningless conversations, she broke into a cold sweat the first time she saw Gin because every aspect of his body language felt like that of a hungry snake, to the point where it felt like his hands were around her throat and leaving her unable to blink even while he talked to Byakuya. As she remembers how Gin's venom seeped into the small cracks of everyday life and left her feeling intense fear around him, Rukia ruminates that something deep inside her was repulsed by everything about him, a feeling which never went away no matter how many times she talked to him and persists even now. When Gin asks her what is wrong and observes that she seems distracted, a sweating Rukia apologizes.

Suddenly, Gin notes that 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai is still alive, and when she looks in Renji's direction, a shocked Rukia realizes that she can sense Renji's Reiryoku if she focuses hard enough, but begins to note that he will die if he is left like that, only for Gin to finish her train of thought aloud. With Rukia glaring at him, Gin expresses sympathy for Renji due to him ending up in this situation because he was trying to save her, and when Rukia angrily accuses him of lying, Gin inquires if she is afraid. As Rukia questions what he means, Gin points out how she does not want Renji and the others to die before observing that the thought of death becomes much more terrifying when one fears for the lives of those they care about. Stunned by this, Rukia is astonished alongside the members of the Kidō Corps when Gin offers to help her. Gin elaborates that he could free Rukia right now and help her friends if he chose to do so, leading Rukia to wonder if he has gone mad and what he would gain by helping Ichigo Kurosaki and Renji.

However, just as Rukia begins to believe that he may be sincere, Gin reveals that he was just kidding, leaving Rukia speechless, and walks away while bidding her farewell and promising to see Rukia at the Sōkyoku. Internally, Rukia notes that she thought she had given up hope and lost all reason to live, with no regrets and no fear of death, but was shaken by having something like hope dangled in front of her, which made her want to live and made her resolve crumble, as she falls to her knees and screams in despair with Gin smiling behind her.

Meanwhile, at the rooftop pavilion, 7th Division Captain Sajin Komamura and 9th Division Captain Kaname Tōsen attack 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki in unison, only for him to effortlessly block both their strikes simultaneously with his Zanpakutō, to their surprise. Admonishing Tōsen for exposing his vulnerability by being fearful of every attack, Kenpachi kicks him in the chest, sending Tōsen crashing through the wall on the opposite end of the pavilion. With Komamura looking back and calling out to Tōsen in concern, Kenpachi asserts that this is true of him as well and grabs Komamura's sword arm at the wrist with his free hand before flipping Komamura onto his back, cratering the ground with the impact. After berating Komamura and Tōsen for calling themselves captains, Kenpachi demands that they at least act likes captains and show him their Bankai before they die, and though Komamura refuses to use Bankai against a traitor like Kenpachi, Tōsen decides that he will do so as his Zanpakutō begins glowing with Reiatsu.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:

146. Demon Loves the Dark

9th Division Lieutenant Kaname Tōsen activates his Bankai, Suzumushi Tsuishiki: Enma Kōrogi, against 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki while Rukia Kuchiki's execution commences.


The cover page of 146. Demon Loves the Dark.

9th Division Captain Kaname Tōsen rapidly spins his Zanpakutō as he recounts the three methods for becoming a captain of the Gotei 13: passing the captain's exam in front of three or more captains, including the Captain-Commander; receiving recommendations from six or more captains and having three of the seven remaining captains approve it; and defeating a captain in the presence of no less than 200 members of their division. When 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki questions why this is relevant because he already knows, Tōsen explains that he has had a strong suspicion of Kenpachi ever since he became the captain of the Eleventh Division by killing Kenpachi Kiganjō, with him believing that Kenpachi is a monster spreading carnage and thirsting for blood who is not like them and cannot be allowed to stay because he will eventually destroy the peace of the Gotei 13. With Kenpachi remaining silent, Tōsen points out how he is currently bringing chaos by assisting the Ryoka and fighting against Tōsen and 7th Division Captain Sajin Komamura due to his hunger for bloodshed. Upon being asked if he is wrong, Kenpachi bluntly tells Tōsen to preach this to someone who cares and to simply state that he is the good guy while Kenpachi is the bad guy before encouraging Tōsen to use his Bankai if he hates him so much.

However, Tōsen clarifies that he does not hate Kenpachi and holds out his Zanpakutō while proclaiming that Kenpachi is beyond redemption through his breaking of the peace through word and deed, meaning that he must eliminate Kenpachi to restore the peace even though their feud is not personal. Realizing that Tōsen is serious, Komamura leaps onto the bridge on the other side of the chasm behind Kenpachi and expresses concern for Tōsen, who spins the ring on his Zanpakutō's hilt and drastically enlarges it to roughly his height before initiating his Bankai, Suzumushi Tsuishiki: Enma Kōrogi, causing the ring to split apart into ten rings that hurtle apart and surround the pavilion as they fill with light. Suddenly, a black dome anchored by the ten rings, which now each contain a different kanji, envelops the entirety of the pavilion, leaving Kenpachi stunned, and Tōsen reveals that the entire space within the dome is his Bankai. Asking Kenpachi what he thinks as he approaches, Tōsen asserts that even Kenpachi could not have imagined such a sight, only to note that he cannot see anything right now while walking past Kenpachi, who remains still and does not react.

Internally, Kenpachi wonders what is going on because he cannot see or hear anything. Suddenly, Tōsen slashes Kenpachi's left shoulder and inquires how it feels to be in a world without light or sound. As he assumes that it must be terrifying, Tōsen details how his Bankai deprives its inhabitants of sight, hearing, smell, and the ability to sense Reiatsu, drawing them into an empty black hell which only he is immune to as the one holding Suzumushi. When Kenpachi attempts to reach out to him, Tōsen slashes him across the back and declares that it is useless to attempt to capture him by guessing where he will strike from next. After elaborating that even the most skilled swordsman feels a twinge of fear in total darkness, which slows reactions, Tōsen begins to explain how being born into a world without light like he was removes this fear, but is interrupted when Kenpachi slams his Zanpakutō into the ground next to Tōsen, leaving him shocked. With Kenpachi grinning, Tōsen realizes that he really is a monster for being right at home in this black hell and never feeling a moment of fear, which leads Tōsen to proclaim that he will not waste any more time.

Meanwhile, on Sōkyoku Hill, Rukia Kuchiki is led to the execution platform and closes her eyes as Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto stands with his lieutenant, Chōjirō Sasakibe, and declares that the execution shall now begin.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:

147. Countdown to The End : 3 [Blind Light, Deaf Beat]

With the available captains and lieutenants assembling for Rukia Kuchiki's execution, 11th Division 5th Seat Yumichika Ayasegawa demonstrates his true power against 9th Division Lieutenant Shūhei Hisagi while his captain, Kenpachi Zaraki, turns the tables against Hisagi's captain, Kaname Tōsen.


The cover page of 147. Countdown to The End : 3 [Blind Light, Deaf Beat].

At the execution platform on Sōkyoku Hill, 2nd Division Captain Suì-Fēng stands with her lieutenant, Marechiyo Ōmaeda, and observes that the turnout is pretty measly, with only her, Marechiyo, 4th Division Captain Retsu Unohana, Lieutenant Isane Kotetsu, 8th Division Captain Shunsui Kyōraku, and Lieutenant Nanao Ise attending. As she admits that the Fifth Division, Eleventh Division, and Twelfth Division not being present makes sense, but wonders what the head Shinigami of the other divisions are thinking, Suì-Fēng is surprised when 6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki arrives, and when a stunned Rukia Kuchiki addresses him, Byakuya looks away and walks over to the rest of the captains, leaving Rukia to stand in silence before being asked by Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto if she has any last words. Looking down, Rukia confirms that she has only one thing to say.

Elsewhere in the Seireitei, 9th Division Lieutenant Shūhei Hisagi sees that his captain, Kaname Tōsen, has activated his Bankai, Suzumushi Tsuishiki: Enma Kōrogi, meaning that he is in trouble or just wants to toy with his victim. With Hisagi deciding that he should go check either way, a wounded 11th Division 5th Seat Yumichika Ayasegawa questions where he is going because Hisagi has not beaten him yet while propping himself up on his Shikai, Fuji Kujaku. An incredulous Hisagi points out that Yumichika is finished, and when Yumichika states that losing means death to the Eleventh Division, Hisagi rebukes that the Ninth Division does not think this way, which Yumichika concedes is what he figured. When Yumichika claims that this is why he has been putting on a fight like this, a confused Hisagi asserts that this is all the more reason for Yumichika to sheathe his sword since a 5th Seat does not stand a chance against a lieutenant and dying in a fight would be shameful for a member of a division that loves to fight.

However, Yumichika clarifies that the Eleventh Division is made up of people who believe it is better to die fighting than to surrender before revealing that he is only a 5th Seat because he does not like how the kanji for "four" looks. As Hisagi expresses surprise at this, Yumichika elaborates that he considers the kanji for "three" to be the most beautiful character, but since Ikkaku Madarame is the 3rd Seat, he decided to go with "five" since it looks more like "three". After informing Hisagi that the Eleventh Division also has an unspoken rule of only using their Zanpakutō for melee attacks because they look down on Kidō-type Zanpakutō as men who live to fight, Yumichika fans out the blades of Fuji Kujaku and declares that he will show Hisagi his Zanpakutō's real power. With dozens of peacock-feathered vines suddenly flaring out from the hilt of his Zanpakutō in place of its curved blades, Yumichika requests that Hisagi not tell Ikkaku or his captain, Kenpachi Zaraki, since they will get mad at him if they find out, leaving Hisagi astonished and intimidated.

Meanwhile, within Suzumushi Tsuishiki: Enma Kōrogi, a panting Tōsen stands several feet back from a smiling Kenpachi and wonders how Kenpachi is evading him despite being unable to see, hear, smell, or sense Reiatsu as he rushes forward. When Kenpachi moves out of the way of Tōsen's subsequent slash, receiving only a moderate wound to his side, Tōsen is left incredulous at how he keeps barely missing Kenpachi's vital areas before narrowly evading a thrust of Kenpachi's Zanpakutō by leaning back, receiving a small cut on his left cheek, and repeatedly flipping backward to put distance between the two of them. Tōsen internally notes that Kenpachi is striking closer and closer each time he dodges one of Tōsen's attacks, leading Tōsen to assert that he truly is a monster.

As he holds up his Zanpakutō, Kenpachi observes that he got Tōsen that time even if it was only a small scratch and ruminates on the trouble this Bankai is giving him by preventing him from detecting Reiatsu, seeing, hearing, or even smelling, though he observes that retaining his sense of touch allows him to hold his sword and evade Tōsen's blade when he feels it cutting into his flesh. However, after noting that he is even starting to find Tōsen with his Zanpakutō, Kenpachi mentally admits that he will not beat Tōsen with just his reflexes and instincts because the latter is a captain as well, causing him to express frustration at not being able to cut into meat even though he considered this situation to be new and interesting at first.

Deducing that he has to home in on Tōsen's location in order to cut him, Kenpachi recounts that he cannot see or hear and was never any good at detecting Reiatsu while expressing his annoyance at having to think so hard during a fight rather than just getting to enjoy hacking each other to bits. Upon envisioning his lieutenant, Yachiru Kusajishi, suggesting that he take a wild swing, Kenpachi mentally states that he has been doing that, and when he envisions Ikkaku proposing that he use his mind's eye, Kenpachi bluntly asserts that Tōsen would be dead by now if he could do that. However, though he initially dismisses an envisioned Yumichika's suggestion to give up beautifully by telling him to die, Kenpachi realizes that this actually is the solution due to it presenting an easy way to figure out where Tōsen is.

While rushing toward Kenpachi, Tōsen notes that he is smiling again and wants to fight even while hopelessly outmatched, leading him to proclaim that Kenpachi is too much of a threat to them to be allowed to live. When Tōsen's blade pierces Kenpachi's torso and emerges from his back without any effort from Kenpachi to dodge, Tōsen assumes that his warped love of combat provided an opening, but Kenpachi suddenly grabs Tōsen's hand and the hilt of his Zanpakutō with his free hand, causing him to regain his senses. Inquiring where a shocked Tōsen has been, Kenpachi slashes him across the chest.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:

148. Countdown to The End : 2 [Lady Lennon~Frankenstein]

After recalling the tragic incident from his past that set him on his path of justice, 9th Division Captain Kaname Tōsen is grievously wounded by 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki, forcing 7th Division Captain Sajin Komamura to step in.


The cover page of 148. Countdown to The End : 2 [Lady Lennon~Frankenstein].

Having slashed 9th Division Captain Kaname Tōsen across the chest after regaining his senses, 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki grips Tōsen's sword hand and wonders if he can see and hear again because he caught Tōsen or because he is touching the latter's Zanpakutō, which he pulls out of his chest. As he dismisses this as irrelevant, Kenpachi encourages Tōsen to do it again since he has the hang of it now and promises to grab Tōsen's arm before his blade sinks into Kenpachi next time. With Kenpachi letting go of his hand and losing his senses once more, Tōsen backsteps and pants heavily as the severed portion of his haori falls off. Tōsen's perception of the world begins to skew due to his injury, and as he mentally declares that he will not lose to Kenpachi, Tōsen rushes forward.

In the past, a younger Tōsen sits with Kakyō, whom he notes was beautiful despite never seeing her face, and as she tells Tōsen that the stars are out, Kakyō states that she loves the night sky because it reminds her of the world, with tiny points of light scattered among the darkness that the clouds try to cover up. While Kakyō asserts that she wants to clear away those clouds so that not a single light is hidden and that she will do so, Tōsen merely responds that this is good as he notes that her voice saying his name over and over comforted him even though he could never bring himself to tell her that he liked the clouds. Some time later, Kakyō informs a surprised Tōsen that she is getting married to a Shinigami and will become a Shinigami as well now that she has received her acceptance letter from the Shin'ō Academy. With Kakyō detailing how she will bring peace by fighting Hollows and revealing that he was the first person whom she wanted to tell, Tōsen congratulates her and inquires if there is anything he can do to help, only for a smiling Kakyō to request that he simply stay the way he is while she comes back now and then to tell him her stories.

After concluding that this was a promise, Kakyō departs, but never comes back to Tōsen again due to having been killed by her husband after admonishing him for killing a comrade over a small matter. Visiting Kakyō's funeral, Tōsen recounts how Kakyō longed for peace more than anyone else and had a sense of justice stronger than that of anyone else, leading him to question what she was lacking that prevented her from getting a chance to fight for what she believed in. As he wishes for the power to impose peace, Tōsen takes the Zanpakutō out of Kakyō's coffin and proclaims that he will become justice incarnate if justice is lacking so all the evil in the world will be blown away like clouds, which he swears in the name of justice.

In the present, Kenpachi grabs Tōsen's sword hand before his Zanpakutō can cut into Kenpachi's shoulder, and as Tōsen struggles to break free, Kenpachi slashes him across the chest once more, wounding Tōsen to the point where he can no longer maintain his Bankai, Suzumushi Tsuishiki: Enma Kōrogi, which shatters and collapses around the pavilion. However, despite the concern of 7th Division Captain Sajin Komamura as the latter watches from the broken bridge nearby, a heavily bleeding Tōsen remains standing and refuses to give up as he grips his Zanpakutō with both hands. Looking at Tōsen, Kenpachi declares that he quits because he will not fight someone who is half-dead and bids Tōsen farewell. With Kenpachi remarking that dying is no fun since one cannot cut anybody after death, Tōsen rushes up to him and attempts to stab Kenpachi in the back, though his Zanpakutō fails to pierce Kenpachi's body, and asserts that he must stop Kenpachi in the name of justice. Annoyed by this, Kenpachi decides to kill Tōsen if he is this eager to die and swings his Zanpakutō at him, only for Komamura to appear between them and block Kenpachi's Zanpakutō with his left arm while pulling Tōsen back by his Zanpakutō with his right hand.

As a stunned Kenpachi's Zanpakutō cuts into Komamura's helmet, which begins to break apart, Komamura pushes it back and tells Tōsen that he has done enough because Kenpachi will never understand. Though Tōsen attempts to apologize for causing his helmet to break, Komamura assures him that it is fine, and with Kenpachi admitting his surprise at what Komamura really looks like, the rest of the helmet falls away to reveal Komamura as a humanoid wolf. When Komamura observes that he does not seem too surprised, Kenpachi simply states that looks counts for little in a fight and that it matters more if Komamura can fight like a beast than if he looks like one. However, Komamura asserts that Kenpachi's mistake lies in getting caught up in the the appearance of strength rather than seeing the true strength of his opponent and declares that he is not as nice as Tōsen is before activating his Bankai, Kokujō Tengen Myō'ō, bringing forth the entire giant, which leans over the side of the pavilion and rests its left hand on the ground while Komamura proclaims that it is time for the killing which Kenpachi loves so much.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:

149. Countdown to The End : 1 [Only Mercifully]

Rukia Kuchiki's execution ceremony commences, drawing the attention of various individuals around the Seireitei.


The cover page of 149. Countdown to The End : 1 [Only Mercifully].

With 7th Division Captain Sajin Komamura proclaiming that it is time for the killing which he loves so much after activating his Bankai, Kokujō Tengen Myō'ō, 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki laughs maniacally and declares that he loves Komamura's resolve before promising to not hold back if this is what the latter wants. Preparing to resume the fight, Kenpachi encourages Komamura to come back as a ghost if he dies so they can do this again. Suddenly, the two of them feel an immense amount of Reiatsu emanating from Sōkyoku Hill, and as they look toward it in unison, Kenpachi observes that the execution has begun while a circle of Kidō fire forms around the Sōkyoku.

Around the Seireitei, 13th Division 3rd Seat Sentarō Kotsubaki, Orihime Inoue, Uryū Ishida, 10th Division Lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto, and a wounded 11th Division 3rd Seat Ikkaku Madarame look in shock at the execution commencement. After noting that it has begun, 10th Division Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya orders Rangiku to come with him, and the two of them depart for the Central 46 Compound while 5th Division Lieutenant Momo Hinamori lurks behind a nearby doorway.

Meanwhile, as he watches from a window in a different part of the Seireitei, Sentarō frantically asks his fellow 3rd Seat, Kiyone Kotetsu, where their captain, Jūshirō Ukitake, has gone, prompting an irritated Kiyone to berate him for being so loud before screaming out for Ukitake, leaving Sentarō unimpressed. Hurrying toward the doors that Ukitake entered, Kiyone asks him if he is ready because Rukia's execution has begun, only to be left speechless when the doors open and Ukitake emerges. After apologizing for keeping them waiting and explaining that he had trouble removing the seal, Ukitake declares that he is ready now and observes that this is the only method they have left with the Central 46 not listening to them before concluding that they are going to destroy the Sōkyoku as he carries the Shihōin Shield, prompting Sentarō and Kiyone to affirm this.

Near Sōkyoku Hill, 11th Division Lieutenant Yachiru Kusajishi runs with Orihime, Yasutora Sado, Uryū, Ganju Shiba, and Makizō Aramaki, and when Orihime wonders what the surge of energy on the hill is, Yachiru notes that the execution may have begun. With a startled Uryū asserting that they have to hurry, Yachiru decides to go on ahead, and when Orihime questions this, Yachiru admits that she does not care about the execution, but wants to help Ichigo Kurosaki if he is there. Though Orihime thanks her for this, Yachiru merely laughs at her thanks and points out that she has no reason to not help Ichigo because the latter is Kenpachi's friend, stunning Orihime, Uryū, and Sado, before requesting that they take care of the weaker enemies so she can deal with the stronger ones as she rushes ahead in a burst of speed that destroys the portion of the ground which she was standing on, leaving Uryū and Ganju astonished by her speed while Orihime thanks Yachiru once more.

On the bridge, 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai opens his eyes, and as he realizes that he is alive, Renji discovers that he is being healed by 4th Division 7th Seat Hanatarō Yamada, who timidly greets him. When Renji sits up and demands to know why Hanatarō is healing him after identifying the latter as one of Ichigo's companions, Rikichi Yuki reveals that he brought Hanatarō here as he stands nearby. With a stunned Renji wondering why, Rikichi details how he figured Hanatarō might treat someone who got hurt trying to save Rukia Kuchiki after he got thrown in jail for doing the same thing. Hanatarō explains that the Sōgō Kyūgo Tsumesho was destroyed by the Eleventh Division while the Fourth Division was out, allowing Rikichi to sneak in and open the lock to his cell, and a distressed Rikichi relays how he could not believe Renji lost to a Ryoka or escaped and started helping them, to the point of pointing his sword at his comrades for their sake.

However, Rikichi calms down and reveals that he remembered how he joined the Gotei 13 because of Renji while pointing to the tattoo above his left eyebrow, surprising Renji, and concludes that he wants Renji to live no matter what so he can fight the way he likes because Rikichi finds it cool, leaving Renji stunned. While Rikichi gives Renji a new shihakushō, towel, and headband to wear, Hanatarō admits that he did not want to get anyone else involved and was hoping he would find a way to save Rukia by himself, but observes that this seems to be beyond his abilities now. With a bowing Hanatarō asking him to save Rukia, a revitalized Renji declares that he will.

Back on Sōkyoku Hill, Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto promises Rukia that they will allow the Ryoka to leave unharmed after the execution, which Rukia thanks him for. Though 4th Division Lieutenant Isane Kotetsu considers this cruel because Yamamoto has no intention of letting the Ryoka live, her captain, Retsu Unohana, clarifies that Yamamoto was being compassionate since this will allow Rukia to die with some peace of mind and without worrying. With several members of the Kidō Corps assembled around the Sōkyoku, Yamamoto orders the commencement of the execution.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:

Author's Notes

Volume 17 Intro Image.png
The first ever Bleach game has been released (it's been out for a while) for the world's most anticipated console, the PSP (Playstation Portable)! I don't know what to say except that it's really cutting edge. This game is every boy's dream - a fighting game! Naturally, the first time you play, you've gotta be Ichigo. But on my very first go, I got my butt kicked by Orihime! C'mon, Ichigo, you can do better than that.
-Tite Kubo


  1. Bleach 17 (Japanese). Shueisha.
  2. Bleach, Vol. 17. Viz Media.
  3. English translation: To Those Capturing the Moon (Japanese romaji: Tsuki o Tsukamono e Tsugu)
  4. This chapter originally appears as Parthian Shaft in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Latin for "Redder than the rose, whiter than the lily".