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Renji, Oath of the Soul! Death Match with Byakuya
Ep52TitleCard
Kanji 恋次、魂の誓い! 白哉との死闘
Romanji Renji, tamashii no chikai! Byakuya to no shitō
Episode Number 52
Manga Chapters Chapter 140, Chapter 141, Chapter 142, Chapter 143, Chapter 144
Arc Soul Society: The Rescue arc
Chronology
Previous Episode Morning of the Sentence
Next Episode Gin Ichimaru's Temptation, Resolution Shattered
Airdate
Japanese October 4, 2005
English October 13, 2007
Theme Music
Opening Ichirin No Hana
Ending Life
Episode 52 Screenshots

Renji, Oath of the Soul! Death Match with Byakuya is the fifty-second episode of the Bleach anime.

6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai battles his captain, Byakuya Kuchiki.

Summary

Ep52IchigoZangetsuFight

Ichigo Kurosaki fends off Zangetsu and his clones.

Within the Study Chamber inside Sōkyoku Hill, Ichigo Kurosaki runs parallel to several clones of Zangetsu, who pursue him along the ground and the nearby cliffs. Upon seeing one of them approaching him, Ichigo stops and fends off two of the clones with his jagged sword before blocking the strike of a third from behind, only for that Zangetsu's subsequent attack to shatter his sword, sending Ichigo skidding back along the ground, where he falls to one knee and pants heavily.

Ep52IchigoRefusesConcede

Ichigo refuses to give up despite his opposition.

As Yoruichi Shihōin watches from above, Zangetsu and his clones assert that even though it is admirable to remain standing after fighting this much, Ichigo has yet to attain Bankai, which leads them to question if he wants to continue. Despite this, Ichigo merely claims that there is no point in asking such a question and grabs another sword while demanding that Zangetsu come at him with everything he has got due to their lack of time, and with Zangetsu agreeing to this, Ichigo rushes forward and attacks.

Ep52RenjiDefeatsShinigami

Renji Abarai defeats several unseated Shinigami.

Elsewhere in the Seireitei, 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai cuts through the blade of another Shinigami's Zanpakutō with his own, sending it flying into the air. With his comrades lying incapacitated on the ground nearby with their own Zanpakutō broken as well, the frightened Shinigami begs Renji to stop and cowers in fear when Renji levels his blade, only for the latter to leap over him and onto a nearby rooftop before departing, leaving the Shinigami to collapse while a defeated Rikichi Yuki wonders why Renji is doing this to them. Nearby, Renji runs toward the Senzaikyū and notes that it is only a little farther as he recalls his past with Rukia Kuchiki.

Ep52ByakuyaConfronts

Byakuya Kuchiki confronts Renji on his way to Senzaikyū.

Concluding that he will be able to save her soon, Renji mentally refuses to let Rukia be executed and runs through an arch onto a bridge, where he suddenly stops in place upon experiencing an intense Reiatsu bearing down on him. 6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki stands atop one of the towers connected to the gate and asks a stunned Renji where he is going. When Renji clenches his fist in determination and declares that he is going to save Rukia, Byakuya denies this, prompting Renji to reiterate his declaration and inquire if Byakuya refuses to let him pass no matter what, only for Byakuya to state that he does not intend to repeat himself.

Ep52RenjiFightsByakuya

Renji intercepts Byakuya's attempt to use Senka on him.

Upon seeing Byakuya disappear with Shunpo, Renji realizes he is coming, and when Byakuya appears behind him and attempts to stab him in the back, Renji turns around and intercepts Byakuya's Zanpakutō with his own, surprising Byakuya, who is forced back by a yelling Renji. As Byakuya lands, Renji identifies this technique as Senka and details how it consists of performing Shunpo with a spin that allows the practitioner to move behind their opponent and destroy their Saketsu and Hakusui in a single strike each, which he asserts is Byakuya's favorite maneuver and one that he has seen countless times, to the point of knowing Byakuya's moves logically.

Ep52ByakuyaInterrupted

Byakuya's attempt to release his Shikai is interrupted by Renji.

After concluding that his body is now fast enough to keep up with Byakuya, Renji proclaims that Byakuya's sword can no longer kill him. However, Byakuya merely notes that Renji talks a lot and questions why he is so confident that he countered Byakuya's sword with that level of skill before holding up his Zanpakutō and attempting to release his Shikai, Senbonzakura, only for an alerted to wordlessly release his own Shikai, Zabimaru, and extend it to impact Byakuya's Zanpakutō before he can complete his release, shocking Byakuya. Renji reiterates that Byakuya cannot kill him with his sword anymore and retracts Zabimaru back to its normal state.

Ep52IchigoSwordShattered

Ichigo has his sword shattered by Zangetsu.

With Renji explaining that he has always wanted to surpass Byakuya since long before he joined the Gotei 13 and became a lieutenant, Byakuya observes that he released his Zanpakutō without calling its name and realizes what this means while Renji holds up his Zanpakutō, which glows with red Reiatsu, and promises to surpass Byakuya now. Back in the Study Chamber, Ichigo shatters the hooked sword of one of Zangetsu's clones with his own straight sword, but upon seeing another Zangetsu approaching him in the reflection of his sword, Ichigo has his sword shattered when he attempts to block Zangetsu's subsequent attack and receives two cuts on his right shoulder.

Ep52HihiōZabimaru

Renji activates his Bankai, Hihiō Zabimaru.

As Ichigo falls to his knees, Zangetsu points out how they have no more time and Ichigo's body has reached its limit before asserting that Ichigo may die before achieving Bankai if he continues, which leads him to question if Ichigo wants to continue. Back on the bridge, Renji activates his Bankai, releasing a torrent of red Reiatsu that surges throughout the bridge while a spiraling vortex of smoke forms around Renji, with Byakuya watching intently. The smoke clears to reveal Renji standing with his Bankai, Hihiō Zabimaru, consisting of a large, skeletal snake attached to a handle in Renji's hand and a furred cowl with a baboon skull on his shoulders.

Ep52RenjiSendsHihioZabimaru

Renji sends Hihiō Zabimaru hurtling toward Byakuya.

When a stunned Byakuya wonders when he achieved Bankai, Renji declares that Byakuya would never have noticed because he never pays attention to anyone beneath him, and as Renji reiterates his intention to save Rukia once more, Byakuya reminds Renji that he does not intend to repeat himself. With the segments of Hihiō Zabimaru separating to reveal bands of red Reiatsu between them, Renji decides that he will have to kill Byakuya and keep moving, which leads Byakuya to claim that Renji could not even make him fall to one knee. Angered by this, Renji sends Hihiō Zabimaru hurtling toward Byakuya, who disappears with Shunpo.

Ep52ByakuyaBlocksHihioZabimaru

Byakuya blocks the fangs of Hihiō Zabimaru with his Zanpakutō.

While Hihiō Zabimaru tears through the bridge below, leaving billowing clouds of dust in its wake, Byakuya reappears on a different part of the bridge and vanishes again when Renji has Hihiō Zabimaru crash into the area where he was standing. Upon seeing Byakuya standing atop one of the towers lining the bridge, Renji sends Hihiō Zabimaru smashing through several of the towers next to it on its way to Byakuya, who leaps into the air just as it reaches him. Hihiō Zabimaru pursues Byakuya high into the air, where Byakuya draws his Zanpakutō once more and blocks the fangs of Hihiō Zabimaru while it crashes into him and pushes him back toward the ground.

Ep52ByakuyaRenjisBankai

Byakuya constricts Hihiō Zabimaru with Senbonzakura.

Though he admits that the power of Hihiō Zabimaru is at the level of Bankai, Byakuya asserts that this is not enough and releases his Shikai, Senbonzakura, entwining Hihiō Zabimaru with a helix of blade petals that constricts and seemingly breaks apart Hihiō Zabimaru. With the bone segments falling out of the sky and crashing into the bridge, Byakuya lands in front of the dust cloud, only to be astonished when the bone segments fly out and reattach to one another, leaving Hihiō Zabimaru reformed around Renji, who describes Senbonzakura as a thousand blades too small for the eye to see which reflect the sunlight as they rise to resemble flower petals.

Ep52ByakuyaOneKnee

Byakuya is forced to one knee by Renji despite his claim.

Renji reveals that the bone segments of Hihiō Zabimaru are connected by his Reiatsu and that he purposely disconnected the joints when Byakuya attacked in order to counter Senbonzakura by letting the blade petals pass through harmlessly. With Byakuya visibly shocked by this, Renji questions his disbelief and asserts that he is simply saying he can see Byakuya's sword as two more bone segments suddenly break through the ground underneath Byakuya's feet, forcing him to leap back, where he lands on one knee and braces himself with his hand. Pointing out how he made Byakuya fall to one knee after all, Renji proclaims that he will bring down the curtain on this battle.

Ep52Sōkatsui

Byakuya unleashes Hadō #33. Sōkatsui against Hihiō Zabimaru.

As he picks up on Renji's mention of bringing down the curtain, Byakuya stands up and asserts that he shall do this with his own sword, prompting an angered Renji to reiterate that he will do it himself while sending Hihiō Zabimaru hurtling toward Byakuya once more. However, Byakuya merely raises his hand and uses Hadō #33. Sōkatsui, unleashing a massive blast of blue energy that surges along the bridge and reaches above the towers. With Hihiō Zabimaru writhing as it protects him from the blast, Renji is left in disbelief that Byakuya could do this much damage even while forgoing the incantation of Hadō #33. Sōkatsui with Eishōhaki.

Ep52HihioZabimaruCrashesSelf

Part of the body of Hihiō Zabimaru crashes into its skull.

Upon seeing Byakuya's shadow moving through the dust cloud, Renji berates him for thinking he could move out of Renji's sight with this maneuver and has Hihiō Zabimaru fly toward Byakuya, but part of the body of Hihiō Zabimaru crashes into its skull before it can reach Byakuya, sending it crashing into the towers lining the bridge and skidding along the ground before finally coming to a stop. Though Renji assumes that he simply lost control, Byakuya explains that he used Hadō #33. Sōkatsui to disrupt Hihiō Zabimaru rather than to obscure Renji's vision because the weakness of a Bankai lies in its sheer size reflecting the volume of its Reiatsu.

Ep52RenjiTrapped

Byakuya binds Renji with Bakudō #61. Rikujōkōrō.

Byakuya details how the size and shape of a Bankai that surpasses the size of a normal blade requires those who achieve it to train for an additional decade in order to completely master its movements. Despite Byakuya concluding that he is not ready to use Bankai yet, Renji dismisses this as information he was already aware of and asserts that losing a bone segment does not matter due to the toughness of Hihiō Zabimaru before attempting to resume his attack, only for Byakuya to immobilize him with Bakudō #61. Rikujōkōrō, pinning Renji in place with six wide and flat beams of light that slam into his waist from equidistant horizontal directions.

Ep52SenbonzakuraKageyoshi

Byakuya activates his Bankai, Senbonzakura Kageyoshi.

Admonishing Renji for not simply putting his sword down and questioning if he still believes that he can win, Byakuya draws his Zanpakutō and reminds Renji that he has also achieved Bankai. With Renji staring in shock and fear, Byakuya drops his Zanpakutō, which falls into the ground as though it were water, causing two rows of massive swords to rise up on either side of him while the surrounding area darkens, and activates his Bankai, Senbonzakura Kageyoshi, as the swords separate into innumerable blade petals around him. As Renji watches the blade petals swirl, his restraints and the arch behind him are suddenly destroyed while his hair flares out.

Ep52RenjiWounded

Renji is grievously wounded by Senbonzakura Kageyoshi.

While several trickles of blood begin streaming down the left side of his face, Renji is slashed in multiple areas of his body, causing a large quantity of blood to spurt into the air, and collapses. Byakuya looks over the devastation and describes his Bankai as a thousand blades that rise and split into infinitely more blade petals which can only be watched like the wind passing rather than predicted or avoided. Walking up to Renji, who lies surrounded by the shards of Hihiō Zabimaru, Byakuya concludes that its victims can only stand frozen and be swept away from this world before offering to tell Renji the difference between the two of them.

Ep52HihioZabimaruReverts

Hihiō Zabimaru reverts to the sealed form of Renji's Zanpakutō.

As he attributes the difference to class, Byakuya likens it to a beast seeing the reflection of the moon in the water and sinking when it attempts to catch the moon in its fangs, leading him to assert that Renji's fangs will never reach him while turning around to depart. After instructing Renji to be proud of retaining a human form even after being attacked with Senbonzakura Kageyoshi, Byakuya begins walking away, only to stop when Renji begins struggling to get up. With Renji pushing himself up on his bloody fists, Byakuya advises him against moving because it will only hasten his death as Hihiō Zabimaru reverts to the sealed form of Renji's Zanpakutō in his hand.

Ep52ByakuyaDefeatsRenji

Byakuya pins Renji to the ground with several swords.

Despite this, Renji pushes himself to his feet using his Zanpakutō as a crutch and declares that he is not done fighting yet before attempting to rush at Byakuya despite the latter reiterating his command for Renji to not move. Raising his hand, Byakuya generates several swords with Senbonzakura Kageyoshi that embed themselves in the ground around Renji, who has his sword arm pierced by two of them. With a screaming Renji falling to his hands and knees, Byakuya approaches him and commends Renji surviving after withstanding Senbonzakura Kageyoshi, but promises to not go easy on Renji if he moves again while pulling one of the swords out of the ground.

Ep52ByakuyaQuestionsResolve

Byakuya asks Renji if he still insists on saving Rukia.

Concluding that he will carve Renji into pieces with his sword, Byakuya points out how Hihiō Zabimaru has vanished and reveals that a Bankai disappearing against its owner's will means that its owner is near death. With Byakuya asserting that he will soon fade away and inquiring if he still insists on saving Rukia, Renji mentally notes that he cannot breathe or even move a finger because Byakuya's intense Reiatsu feels like it is tearing him to pieces. As he observes that he and Byakuya were too far apart after all, Renji suddenly envisions Ichigo kneeling before Zangetsu, to his shock, as the latter asks Ichigo if he will still stand despite his injuries.

Ep52RenjiShattersBlades

Renji shatters the remaining sword pinning down his arm.

Ichigo and Renji grin in unison as they affirm that they will, and when Byakuya expresses confusion, Ichigo and Renji assert that they swore to save Rukia while preparing to stand up. When Byakuya questions who he swore to, Renji grips the remaining sword pinning down his arm and proclaims alongside Ichigo that he swore on his own soul before crushing the sword in his hand, shocking Byakuya, and rushing forward with his Zanpakutō held out. Recalling 11th Division 3rd Seat Ikkaku Madarame commenting on his lofty goal of surpassing Byakuya, Renji remembers 3rd Division Lieutenant Izuru Kira advising him to stay away from Rukia after she joined the Kuchiki Clan.

Ep52RenjiZanpakutoBreaks

Renji's Zanpakutō breaks upon hitting Byakuya.

While he recalls Izuru noting that Rukia knows as well as they do that she is different from them, Renji remembers 11th Division 5th Seat Yumichika Ayasegawa observing that it is much hard to draw than it is to tear and that tying is much more complicated than untying is before screaming as he reaches Byakuya with his Zanpakutō, resulting in a spray of blood landing on the ground behind Renji. With the broken blade of his Zanpakutō falling past the handle and embedding itself in the ground near his feet, Renji stands with the remainder of the blade pressed into Byakuya's scarf, where it cracks in several areas before shattering and crumbling.

Ep52ByakuyaThrowsScarf

Byakuya throws his scarf onto Renji as a sign of respect for the latter's fang reaching him.

Mentally cursing, Renji collapses before a blood-spattered Byakuya, who removes his scarf and throws it on top of Renji. After praising Renji for reaching him with his fang, Byakuya turns and walks away. Meanwhile, on the bridge leading to Sōkyoku Hill, while four members of the Kidō Corps escort her, Rukia stops in place upon realizing something has happened to Renji. As she looks out over the Seireitei and mentally admits that she did not recognize Renji's Reiatsu until it faded because it was so powerful, Rukia concludes that it was definitely Renji and demands to know why he ended up in this situation. Suddenly, 3rd Division Captain Gin Ichimaru approaches Rukia on the bridge, and after greeting her, Gin smiles maliciously.

Kon-Sama's Ultimate Shinigami Illustrated Guide

Kon introduces several prominent Shinigami in rapid succession:

Characters in Order of Appearance

Fights & Events

Powers & Techniques Used

Hohō Techniques:

  • Shunpo (歩法, Flash Steps)
  • Senka (閃花, Flash Blossom)

Kidō Techniques:

Zanpakutō released:

Shikai:

Bankai

Music

Timestamp Track Listing
01:34 Bleach OST 1 - 15 - Catch-22
03:27 Bleach OST 1 - 10 - Will of the Heart
05:00 Bleach 5th Anniversary Box CD 1 - 03 - BL_73
06:31 Bleach OST 1 - 08 - Raw Breath of Danger
08:41 Bleach 5th Anniversary Box CD 1 - 09 - BL_82
09:52 Bleach 5th Anniversary Box CD 1 - 18 - BL_33
11:30 Bleach 5th Anniversary Box CD 1 - 05 - BL_86
13:24 Bleach 5th Anniversary Box CD 1 - 12 - BL 16 (Destiny Awaits - Other Version)
15:46 Bleach 5th Anniversary Box CD 1 - 16 - BL_92
18:06 Bleach OST 4 - 21 - Nothing Can Be Explained (inst ver.)
21:19 Bleach OST 1 - 11 - Requiem for the Lost Ones

Anime Notes

  • Renji Abarai musing on how he has always been afraid to even step on Byakuya Kuchiki's shadow despite his aggressive posturing.
  • Kenpachi Zaraki commenting on the Reiatsu generated by the duel between Renji and Byakuya while fighting Sajin Komamura and Kaname Tōsen.
  • Renji attempting another strike against Byakuya after the blade of his Zanpakutō shatters, only for the hilt to disintegrate as well.
  • Renji looking at his bloody hand before losing consciousness.

  • Ichigo Kurosaki fighting Zangetsu and his clones, where he fends off two of them before having his sword shattered by a third and refusing to stop his Bankai training despite his injuries, all while Yoruichi Shihōin watches.
  • Byakuya leaping back after Renji interrupts his attempt to use Senka.
  • A flashback to Byakuya performing Senka on Ichigo.
  • Ichigo continuing to battle against Zangetsu and his clones, where he succeeds in shattering one of Zangetsu's swords, but has his own shattered by another Zangetsu and is cut twice on his shoulder in the process, prompting Zangetsu to observe that Ichigo may die before achieving Bankai at this rate even though they are out of time.
  • Renji's Bankai release ripping tiles off the bridge with its power.
  • Byakuya moving to a different part of the bridge after dodging Hihiō Zabimaru prior to moving to the roof of one of the towers.
  • Senbonzakura coiling around Hihiō Zabimaru in a helix and constricting prior to its bone segments separating.

  • While Renji still bleeds a copious amount after being attacked with Senbonzakura Kageyoshi, the shot of blood spurting into the air is zoomed-out and grayscaled, and there is far less blood on the ground when Byakuya approaches Renji, who does not have as much blood spattered on his body.
  • Byakuya does not pull out one of the swords pinning down Renji's arm, drawing blood in the process, but instead pulls out one of the swords embedded in the ground around Renji.
  • Multiple shots of the blood drawn by Renji's final attack are omitted, and the remaining scenes are grayscaled.
  • Renji is not shown bleeding further from his back and ankle after his final attack against Byakuya, and he does not leave a trail of blood in midair when he collapses.
  • Byakuya does not receive a superficial wound from Renji's final blow that bloodies his scarf.
  • After Byakuya throws it onto Renji, his scarf does not become permeated with blood from the wounds on Renji's back.

  • In the manga, Renji's assault on his fellow Shinigami consists of him incapacitating everyone in his way with a single blow each prior to leaping away; here, after breaking the last Shinigami's sword, Renji does not attack him further and leaves, and the Shinigami has a different hairstyle than he does in the manga.
  • In the manga, Renji prevents Byakuya from releasing his Shikai by wrapping Zabimaru around the blade, in line with how Yoruichi Shihōin had prevented its release earlier by binding the blade with fabric, and Byakuya manages to say his Zanpakutō's name before; here, Renji simply slams the end of Zabimaru into the blade of Byakuya's Zanpakutō before he completes its release and this prevent the release, with Byakuya not saying Senbonzakura.
  • In the manga, after catching up to Byakuya on the tower rooftop, Hihiō Zabimaru immediately starts pushing him down toward the ground; here, it instead pursues him high into the sky first.
  • In the manga, the separated pieces of Hihiō Zabimaru are visible after crashing into the bridge prior to reassembling, and Byakuya is alerted when they begin to move; here, they are obscured by a cloud of dust, and Byakuya is not alerted until they fly out of the cloud.
  • In the manga, when the ground underneath Byakuya is broken by two bone segments, he is sent skidding back wordlessly on one knee; here, he flips into the air and lands further back, where he falls to one knee and grunts in exertion.
  • In the manga, when Byakuya uses Hadō #33. Sōkatsui, the blast surges out perpendicular from the bridge through nearby buildings; here, it instead surges along the bridge itself between the two rows of towers.
  • In the manga, after being disrupted by Byakuya's attack, the skull of Hihiō Zabimaru inadvertently crashes into one of its bone segments; here, its body instead smashes into its skull while it is charging at Byakuya, sending Hihiō Zabimaru crashing into several of the nearby towers before skidding to a halt.
  • In the manga, Renji's hair does not come undone until after he begins bleeding from his wounds, as his bandanna is destroyed at the same time; here, it comes undone as the arch behind him is destroyed and before he begins bleeding.
  • There are far fewer shards of Hihiō Zabimaru lying around Renji after it is destroyed by Senbonzakura Kageyoshi.
  • In the manga, Byakuya realizes that Renji is still alive when his hand twitches; here, Renji instead begins gasping in pain and struggling to get up.
  • In the manga, when pinning down Renji, Byakuya generates thirteen swords, one of which pierces his hand and another his wrist; here, the amount of swords produced by Byakuya varies between shots, and one of the swords pinning down Renji's arm is piercing it near the elbow on his forearm rather than at his wrist.
  • In the manga, after leveling one of the swords at Renji, Byakuya has it and the other swords not pinning down Renji dissipate into blade petals, then reform as swords pointing at Renji around his own body; here, Byakuya keeps them all intact - consequently, when Renji gets up for one last attack, he shatters all the swords around him rather than just the one embedded in his hand.
  • In the manga, Renji recalling his friends commenting on his goal to surpass Byakuya and his relationship with Rukia occurs after he collapses and begins losing consciousness; here, it occurs while Renji is performing his final attack against Byakuya. Additionally, Yumichika Ayasegawa is not visible during this recollection, unlike Ikkaku Madarame and Izuru Kira, and the order of Izuru and Ikkaku's scenes is reversed.
  • In the manga, after Renji's final attack against Byakuya fails, his broken Zanpakutō cracks at the point of contact with Byakuya and leaves behind a small shard of blade when it shatters; here, the remainder of the blade cracks in multiple places after initially remaining undamaged and shatters completely, leaving only the guard and handle.

  • In prior episodes, exposure to intense Reiatsu caused sweat to move up the faces of affected individuals; here, Renji's sweat falls downward when he is confronted by Byakuya, in line with the depiction in the manga.

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