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THE DEATHBERRY RETURNS
MangaVolume18Cover
Poem
"Your shadow, quietly
Like a vagrant poison needle
Stitches my footsteps.
Your radiance, lithely
Like lightning striking a water tower
cuts down the source of my life."
Cover Suì-Fēng
Volume 18
Pages 208
Anime Episodes 54 - 56
Release Data
Print (J) August 4, 2005
ISBN (J) 4-08-873841-1[1]
Print (US) April 3, 2007
ISBN (US) 1-4215-1042-1[2]
Chapter List
Shueisha 150. Countdown to The End:0

151. Deathberry Returns
152. The Speed Phantom
153. Empty Dialogue
154. The God of Flash
155. Redoundable deeds/Redoubtable babies
156. Welcome to Purgatory
157. Cat And Hornet
158. Sky Leopardess

Viz Media 150. Countdown to the End: 0

151. The Deathberry Returns
152. The Speed Phantom
153. Empty Dialogue
154. "Flash Master"
155. Redoundable Deeds/Redoubtable Babies
156. Welcome to Purgatory
157. Cat and Hornet
158. Sky Leopardess

The Deathberry Returns is the eighteenth volume of the Bleach manga series.

Publisher's summary

The execution of Ichigo Kurosaki's friend, Rukia Kuchiki has begun, yet Ichigo himself is nowhere in sight. In a matter of seconds, the power of one million Zanpakutō will slice through Rukia as punishment for sharing her Shinigami powers with Ichigo. Is this really how things are going to end?!

Bleach All Stars

All-Stars
砕蜂
Suì-Fēng
Ep246YoruichiCharaPic 山本元 柳斎 重國
Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto
Ep223SuiFengCharaPic 四楓院 夜一
Yoruichi Shihōin
Ep206YamamotoCharaPic

Ep221ShunsuiCharaPic 浮竹 十四郎
Jūshirō Ukitake
Ep216IchigoCharaPic2
京楽 春水
Shunsui Kyōraku
Ep227UkitakeCharaPic 黒崎 一護
Ichigo Kurosaki



Chapters

150. Countdown to The End:0

Rukia Kuchiki's execution ceremony proceeds, but is interrupted at the last second.

Summary:

150Cover

The cover spread of 150. Countdown to The End:0.

Near Sōkyoku Hill, several Shinigami observe the Sōkyoku being released as the large ropes entwining it are unbound and left to fall off the cliff, where they crash into the ground below with heavy thuds, leaving the Sōkyoku bare. As she stands on the execution scaffold before it, Rukia Kuchiki observes that her heart is at peace even after 3rd Division Captain Gin Ichimaru's words shook her, and though she initially assumes this is due to Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto's promise to spare the lives of the Ryoka, Rukia comes to believe that it is actually the result of her brother, Byakuya Kuchiki, turning his back on her when she was confused and shamefully clinging to life. With Byakuya continuing to look away as he stands with the other captains and lieutenants, Rukia thanks him.

Suddenly, the restraints binding Rukia's arms behind her back dissipate as three medium-size cubes rise from the platform in front of Rukia, splaying her arms outward on either side and locking her legs together by hovering in front of them before ascending toward the top of the execution scaffold with her frozen in place. Seeing his lieutenant, Nanao Ise, watching this nervously, 8th Division Captain Shunsui Kyōraku asks her to not look so sad because she is making him feel bad, prompting Nanao to clarify that it is not sadness she is feeling. With Rukia suspended before the top of the execution stand, flames flare out from the base of the Sōkyoku and wreathe themselves around the massive halberd, shocking 2nd Division Lieutenant Marechiyo Ōmaeda. While watching the Sōkyoku ascend into the air from its hole in the ground, 2nd Division Captain Suì-Fēng and 4th Division Lieutenant Isane Kotetsu realize that it is changing shape, to Shunsui's surprise, and the Sōkyoku transforms into Kikōō, a massive phoenix composed entirely of flame.

Yamamoto explains that Kikōō is the true form of the Sōkyoku and will end the execution by impaling Rukia, who mentally states that she is not afraid because she has had a good life. After reviewing how 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai befriended her, Byakuya took her in, and 13th Division Lieutenant Kaien Shiba guided her, Rukia recalls how Ichigo Kurosaki tried to save her and concludes that she has no pain, sorrow, or regrets, to the point that her heart will leave nothing behind. With Renji, 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake, 3rd Seats Sentarō Kotsubaki and Kiyone Kotetsu, Orihime Inoue, Yasutora Sado, and Uryū Ishida rushing toward Sōkyoku Hill, Rukia thanks them all and sheds a single tear before bidding Ichigo goodbye as she closes her eyes upon seeing Kikōō charging at her.

However, as the burst of flame from the resulting collision clears, Rukia realizes that she is not dead and opens her eyes in astonishment to find a Tentōken-clad Ichigo standing before her in midair while holding back Kikōō with his Shikai, Zangetsu, and casually greeting her.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


151. Deathberry Returns

With unexpected assistance from 8th Division Captain Shunsui Kyōraku and 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake, Ichigo Kurosaki saves Rukia Kuchiki from her execution.

Summary:

151Cover

The cover spread of 151. Deathberry Returns.

With Ichigo Kurosaki standing before her in midair with the aid of the Tentōken and holding back Kikōō with his Shikai, Zangetsu, a restrained Rukia Kuchiki is stunned to see him at her execution ceremony. As Ichigo casually greets her, Rukia demands to know why he is here, and with Ichigo taken aback by her reaction, Rukia asserts that Ichigo should know he cannot beat her brother, Byakuya Kuchiki, who will certainly kill him now. While Rukia claims to have made peace with her death and tells Ichigo to go away, 2nd Division Captain Suì-Fēng is left incredulous by Ichigo stopping the destructive power of one million Zanpakutō with a single Zanpakutō and wonders who he is.

4th Division Captain Retsu Unohana, Lieutenant Isane Kotetsu, and 1st Division Lieutenant Chōjirō Sasakibe stare in shock as 8th Division Captain Shunsui Kyōraku asks his lieutenant, Nanao Ise, if Ichigo is the one whom Yasutora Sado was talking about. When Nanao confirms that he matches the description in the reports they have received, Shunsui notes that the Ryoka is the one saving the day while 6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki glares at Ichigo. Suddenly, Kikōō screeches and rears back, startling Ichigo, who realizes that Kikōō is backing up for a second strike and encourages him to bring it on despite Rukia frantically warning Ichigo that he will not be able to stop Kikōō a second time.

However, before Ichigo and Kikōō can clash once more, a large cable attached to a metal rod wraps itself around the neck of Kikōō, to Ichigo and Rukia's shock, as 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake, having activated the Shihōin Shield to achieve this, arrives alongside his 3rd Seats, Sentarō Kotsubaki and Kiyone Kotetsu, astonishing Isane. With Shunsui driving the rod into the ground and inquiring what took Ukitake so long, Isane is aghast at him joining this as well. While Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto stares in shock, Ukitake apologizes and notes that he had trouble releasing the seal while slamming the remainder of the Shihōin Shield into the ground, where Suì-Fēng sees the Shihōin Clan crest on the side and deduces that Ukitake and Shunsui are going to destroy the Sōkyoku, prompting her to order her stunned lieutenant, Marechiyo Ōmaeda, to stop them. Despite this, Shunsui and Ukitake draw their Zanpakutō and slice them down the length of the Shihōin Shield on opposite sides, sending a surge of Reiryoku up through both sides of the cable to Kikōō, who bursts apart in a shower of flames as the Sōkyoku within is split in two.

While those on the ground shield themselves from the falling embers, Ichigo moves to the top of the execution scaffold behind Rukia, and when she questions what he is doing, Ichigo begins spinning Zangetsu around while proclaiming that he is going to wreck the scaffold. Though Rukia attempts to inform him that the scaffold is designed to withstand the destructive power of a million Zanpakutō, Ichigo simply tells her to shut up and watch before driving Zangetsu into the scaffold and channeling his Reiryoku into it, resulting in the central portion of the scaffold being destroyed and the platform at the bottom being split in a massive explosion of force that rips through the underside of the cliff that they are positioned on as well.

As the dust clears, Ichigo reminds Rukia that he is rejecting her protests and declares that he really is going to save Rukia this time on his second try while standing on the right side of the scaffold and carrying Rukia under his left arm. With Rukia tearfully claiming that she will not thank him for doing so, Ichigo acknowledges this while Byakuya stares at them from below.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


152. The Speed Phantom

After destroying the execution scaffold, Ichigo Kurosaki has 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai run off with Rukia Kuchiki before further demonstrating his new level of power against the lieutenants present.

Summary:

152Cover

The cover page of 152. The Speed Phantom.

Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto, 2nd Division Captain Suì-Fēng, Lieutenant Marechiyo Ōmaeda, 4th Division Captain Retsu Unohana, Lieutenant Isane Kotetsu, 8th Division Captain Shunsui Kyōraku, 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake, and 3rd Seats Sentarō Kotsubaki and Kiyone Kotetsu stare in shock at Ichigo Kurosaki, who holds Rukia Kuchiki under his left arm after destroying the Sōkyoku execution scaffold. While 6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki glares at Ichigo, Rukia asks him what he plans to do now because he is too hopelessly outnumbered to simply disappear, and when Ichigo responds that he will run away, a startled Rukia points out how there are captains down there, prompting an annoyed Ichigo to claim that he will beat them up and then run away. Reminding Rukia that she is not the only one whom he has to save, Ichigo details how he has to save Orihime Inoue, Uryū Ishida, Yasutora Sado, Ganju Shiba, and 4th Division 7th Seat Hanatarō Yamada as well before concluding that he is going to save everyone who helped him prior to leaving. As she looks at Ichigo's confident face, Rukia realizes that his strength is flowing into her and notes that Ichigo has become strong.

Suddenly, Ichigo and Rukia are alerted to a commotion on the ground, where they look to see 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai incapacitating the members of the Kidō Corps present as he arrives. With Rukia expressing relief at Renji being alive as he sees her, Ichigo lifts Rukia above his head, and as Renji realizes what he is about to do, Ichigo tells Renji to catch and hurls a screaming Rukia at him, leaving a flabbergasted Renji to berate him before being sent flying back upon catching Rukia in his arms. However, when Rukia and Renji begin admonishing him for doing this, Ichigo orders Renji to stop standing around and get Rukia out of here while protecting her with his life, which Renji complies with. As he watches Renji run off with Rukia in astonishment, Marechiyo is ordered by Suì-Fēng to pursue Renji, and with similar commands from their captains, 1st Division Lieutenant Chōjirō Sasakibe and Isane join Marechiyo in running after Renji.

Upon seeing this, Ichigo appears in front of the three lieutenants with Shunpo, shocking them, and embeds his Shikai, Zangetsu, into the ground. In response, Isane releases her Shikai, Itegumo, granting her sword two additional blades at 45-degree angles, while Chōjirō transforms his Zanpakutō into a rapier by releasing his Shikai, Gonryōmaru, and Marechiyo releases his Shikai, Gegetsuburi, transforming his Zanpakutō into a large spiked ball on a chain, only for Ichigo to shatter it with a single punch to Marechiyo's gut that knocks him out, astonishing Isane and Chōjirō. After grabbing Chōjirō's sword arm by the wrist to restrain him, Ichigo knocks him out with a blow to the head from his other hand, and with Isane stunned that he is not even using his Zanpakutō, Ichigo knocks her out with a single blow as well before pulling Zangetsu out of the ground to block a slash from Byakuya, whom he greets audaciously.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


153. Empty Dialogue

Ichigo Kurosaki begins his rematch with Byakuya Kuchiki as Yoruichi Shihōin confronts 2nd Division Captain Suì-Fēng.

Summary:

153Cover

The cover page of 153. Empty Dialogue.

As he clashes with Ichigo Kurosaki, 6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki inquires why the former insists on trying to save Rukia Kuchiki, prompting Ichigo to demand to know why Byakuya does not save Rukia despite being her brother in return. Pausing for a moment, Byakuya asserts that this is a foolish question and that Ichigo would not understand his reasoning even if he did answer before concluding that there is nothing to discuss. After asking Ichigo if he is ready, Byakuya begins exerting his Reiatsu while pushing down on Ichigo's Shikai, Zangetsu, with his Zanpakutō, resulting in Ichigo breaking the sword lock by leaping several meters back. Byakuya states that only one path is open for him to take and promises that both Ichigo and Rukia will die by his hand, and as he removes the Tentōken covering his shoulders, Ichigo declares that he is here to prevent this from happening before he and Byakuya rush toward each other.

Nearby, 13th Division 3rd Seat Kiyone Kotetsu attempts to run to her unconscious sister, Isane Kotetsu, and while her fellow 3rd Seat, Sentarō Kotsubaki, warns her that she will get killed if she gets too close to Byakuya's fight, 2nd Division Captain Suì-Fēng sends him flying with a single blow and confronts Kiyone, who looks back in shock. With 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake attempting to get Suì-Fēng to stop, he and 8th Division Captain Shunsui Kyōraku find themselves confronted by Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto, who orders them to stop and dismisses 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai as being easily expendable for taking Rukia. However, after noting that they will pursue Renji later because of this, Yamamoto asserts that Shunsui and Ukitake are a more serious matter due to having dishonored their rank of captain, which they should know the consequences of. Hearing this, Shunsui claims that they have no choice but to run and leaps off Sōkyoku Hill while pulling Ukitake along with him and being followed by his lieutenant, Nanao Ise, leaving Yamamoto to glare at him.

Though Ukitake points out that his subordinates are still up there as they fall, Shunsui reminds him that Sentarō and Kiyone would try to help them and thus get themselves killed if they fought Yamamoto on Sōkyoku Hill before revealing that they will be fine because he sensed an ally approaching. Back on Sōkyoku Hill, Kiyone is pinned under Suì-Fēng's foot and struggles to breathe as Suì-Fēng admonishes her for disgracing the Gotei 13 with her contemptible actions and promises to put Kiyone out of her misery before she can disgrace herself any further. However, before Suì-Fēng can do anything, a masked Yoruichi Shihōin grabs and tackles her off the side of Sōkyoku Hill, and as they fall to the ground below, Suì-Fēng demands that Yoruichi let go of her. With Suì-Fēng questioning who she is, Yoruichi observes that her temperament has not improved and removes the fabric covering her face, causing Suì-Fēng to recognize her, before attacking Suì-Fēng with a Kidō spell as they crash into the forest below.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


154. The God of Flash

While 4th Division Captain Retsu Unohana tends to the wounded, Yoruichi Shihōin begins battling 2nd Division Captain Suì-Fēng as Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto confronts 8th Division Captain Shunsui Kyōraku and 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake.

Summary:

154Cover

The cover page of 154. The God of Flash.

4th Division Lieutenant Isane Kotetsu regains consciousness, and when her captain, Retsu Unohana, asks her if she is awake, a startled Isane begins to bolt up and apologize, only for Unohana to instruct her to take it easy despite not being hit as hard as 2nd Division Lieutenant Marechiyo Ōmaeda and 1st Division Lieutenant Chōjirō Sasakibe were before instructing her Shikai, Minazuki, to descend, prompting the large, one-eyed, manta ray-like creature they are riding on to land in one of the streets of the Seireitei. Upon being approached by members of her division, who ask her and Isane if they are alright, Isane confirms this and has Minazuki spit out the individuals it was healing with its stomach acid, among them Marechiyo, Chōjirō, and 13th Division 3rd Seat Kiyone Kotetsu, before returning to its sealed state in her sheath by melting down to fit. Unohana notes that they should have recovered somewhat in the stomach of Minazuki and instructs her subordinates to have them rest at the sixteenth relief station until they wake up, which is complied with. When Isane senses the Reiatsu emanating from the distant Sōkyoku Hill and realizes that someone is still up there, Unohana reveals that Ichigo Kurosaki is fighting 6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki, and after observing that they are not strong enough to stop the other captains who left to fight, Unohana requests that Isane come with her because there is somewhere she wants to go.

Meanwhile, in the forest near Sōkyoku Hill, a single leaf falls from a tree, where it is caught between clashing kicks from Yoruichi Shihōin and 2nd Division Captain Suì-Fēng and is split by the force as they separate. Moving to separate trees, Suì-Fēng stands across from Yoruichi and claims that Yoruichi being gone for a long time does not mean that her skills have improved, only for Yoruichi to observe that Suì-Fēng seems to have lost her touch in return. Suì-Fēng notes that Ichigo was wearing a Tentōken with the Shihōin Clan clan crest on it and asks Yoruichi if she gave it to him, which Yoruichi affirms on the grounds that Ichigo needed to be able to fly in order to save Rukia, prompting Suì-Fēng to mock the Shihōin Clan as having fallen from grace because it will be banished from the four Noble Houses. With Suì-Fēng bringing up how the Shiba Clan has also fallen and claiming that it is never pleasant to see great clans fall, Yoruichi simply notes that she is talkative today and inquires if this is excitement at seeing her mentor after all these years or just pent-up resentment.

Upon being asked if it was hard to succeed Yoruichi as Commander-in-Chief of the Onmitsukidō, Suì-Fēng admonishes Yoruichi for assuming she would not eventually be surprised and reveals that she controls both the Onmitsukidō and the Keigun now before unsheathing her Zanpakutō and jabbing it into the branch she is standing on while proclaiming that Yoruichi's time has passed, causing dozens of Keigun to appear on the branches surrounding Yoruichi. Suì-Fēng reminds Yoruichi that the Corps Commander of the Keigun baring her sword signifies an execution and boasts that anyone who opposes her will be utterly destroyed, including former Corps Commanders. However, as Suì-Fēng declares that Yoruichi abandoned her post and has nowhere to run, a grinning Yoruichi rapidly defeats all the Keigun surrounding her by moving around with Shunpo so fast that she leaves afterimages, leaving Suì-Fēng shocked as her subordinates fly past her. With Yoruichi asserting that Suì-Fēng has forgotten who she is dealing with and points out that she did not abandon her epithet as she did her post, Suì-Fēng identifies her as the "Flash Goddess" and decides that she has no choice but to rip this epithet apart with her own hands as she removes her haori to expose her sleeveless and backless Keisen Shōzoku.

Elsewhere, 8th Division Captain Shunsui Kyōraku and 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake arrive in a heavily damaged and deserted portion of the Third Old City, which Shunsui notes should be far out enough and Ukitake concurs will prevent others from getting hurt should they fight here. When his lieutenant, Nanao Ise, lands behind him, Shunsui teases her for being last, leading Nanao to counter that he and Ukitake were simply too fast. Suddenly, a shocked Nanao sees Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto sitting behind Shunsui and Ukitake, and as an unnerved Shunsui claims he is early, Yamamoto asserts that his quarry never escapes before promising that Shunsui and Ukitake will not get off with just a thrashing this time as he stands up.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


155. Redoundable deeds/Redoubtable babies

Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto demonstrates just how formidable his power is.

Summary:

155Cover

The cover spread of 155. Redoundable deeds/Redoubtable babies.

With Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto approaching her captain, Shunsui Kyōraku, and 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake, 8th Division Lieutenant Nanao Ise observes that his Reiatsu is truly monstrous and that even two captains may not be enough to beat him as she prepares to intervene by reaching into her shihakushō, only for Yamamoto to look at and focus his Reiatsu on her, immobilizing Nanao and causing her to collapse. As Yamamoto demands that she leave because he does not have the patience to teach infants who have not yet learned to walk, a sweating Nanao begins crying and foaming at the mouth from the sheer pressure. Suddenly, Shunsui transports Nanao to a grassy area far away with a massive Shunpo leap and instructs her to relax while she struggles to breath. While Shunsui apologizes for getting her involved, Nanao is left in disbelief at Yamamoto being able to do this simply by looking in her eyes and realizes that she was naive to think they even stood a chance, leading her to beg Shunsui to not confront Yamamoto when he disappears.

Back in the Third Old City, Shunsui reappears before Yamamoto, who commends his impressive Shunpo and how far he has learned to travel in a single step. After Shunsui thanks him, Yamamoto observes that he and Ukitake were always in a class of their own even when they were young, with Shunsui being thoughtful and always seeing the truth of things despite his scandalous weakness for women and Ukitake being generous, well-respected, and always at the center of things despite his frailty. Concluding that they were both transcendent in battle and could not be matched by anyone, Yamamoto describes them as ambitious and training endlessly in order to become the first captains from the Shin'ō Academy that he founded. Though asserting that he was proud of Shunsui and Ukitake as though they were his own sons and hoped that they would walk the same path even though their spirits differed, Yamamoto notes that it is a pity that they turned out the way they did as he peels back the wood of his cane to reveal his Zanpakutō. Despite Ukitake's attempt to continue the conversation, Yamamoto claims that there is nothing more to discuss and demands that he and Shunsui draw their weapons while unsheathing his Zanpakutō, which prompts Shunsui and Ukitake to grip their own Zanpakutō as well.

Elsewhere in the Seireitei, as 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai runs through one of the streets with her in his arms, Rukia Kuchiki begs him to let her go so she can help Rukia Kuchiki, only for Renji to angrily tell her to shut up because someone will hear them while they are trying to escape otherwise. Upon hearing two Shinigami on the other side of a nearby wall noting that they heard voices, Renji takes this as proof that he was right, but Rukia points out that they probably heard him instead. Continuing to run, Renji notes that Ichigo said he wanted to repay Rukia, and when the latter expresses confusion at this, Renji recalls Ichigo explaining how she saved his life and changed his fate, allowing him to become a Shinigami and protect everyone, which prompts Rukia to remember telling 4th Division 7th Seat Hanatarō Yamada how she believed that she could never atone for what she had done to Ichigo by twisting his fate and hurting him terribly. As he notices this, Renji tells Rukia that she thinks too much as usual and assures her that no one thinks badly of her before requesting that she stop taking all the blame onto herself because she is not strong enough to bear that burden yet. With Renji promising that he and Ichigo will lighten her load until she gets her strength back since this is why they made themselves stronger, Renji asks Rukia to believe in Ichigo. When Rukia apologizes to him, Renji states that this is no time for apologies, and when Rukia thanks him, a smiling Renji claims that it is not time for this either.

Back in the Third Old City, Yamamoto pushes back Shunsui and Ukitake after they cross blades with him and demands to know what they are thinking by fighting him without releasing their Zanpakutō. With Shunsui questioning if there is really no other way, Yamamoto reminds him that he will not allow anyone to disrupt the peace, but Shunsui asserts that Yamamoto always taught them to fight for justice and Ukitake points out how Yamamoto urged them to become stronger for this reason alone. Yamamoto counters that no personal justice takes precedence over the justice of the world, and as Ukitake asks him what the justice of the world is, Yamamoto reiterates that there is nothing to discuss and removes his haori before releasing his Shikai, Ryūjin Jakka, transforming the blade into a surge of fire that wreathes itself around him and intimidates Shunsui and Ukitake.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


156. Welcome to Purgatory

With 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki and his 5th Seat, Yumichika Ayasegawa, having finished their battles, Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto engages 8th Division Captain Shunsui Kyōraku and 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake after they release their respective Shikai.

Summary:

156Cover

The cover page of 156. Welcome to Purgatory.

As 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki sits on the broken bridge across from the pavilion where he was fighting with his Zanpakutō embedded in the ground next to him, his 5th Seat, Yumichika Ayasegawa, cheerily approaches and wonders where he is. Upon spotting Kenpachi sitting alone, Yumichika inquires if the fight is over, prompting Kenpachi to reveal that 7th Division Captain Sajin Komamura sensed Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto fighting somewhere and rushed off to help him. With Yumichika cheerfully noting that this must be what he has been sensing, Kenpachi questions why he is in such a good mood and turns to see Yumichika completely unharmed, to his surprise. Yumichika confirms that he won without getting hurt and admits that he had to change his shihakushō after it got dirty, and when Kenpachi observes that he is more cheerful now, Yumichika interprets this as being told he is more beautiful than he was before and begins squirming in happiness, to Kenpachi's annoyance. After calming down, Yumichika apologizes and explains that he is simply excited because he has not been able to fight like that in a long time.

Elsewhere, 9th Division Lieutenant Shūhei Hisagi pants heavily as he lies on a rooftop and complains about Yumichika's Zanpakutō consuming all his Reiryoku. Suddenly, Hisagi sees an enormous fire raging in the Third Old City and recognizes the Reiatsu as belonging to Yamamoto, who stands before 8th Division Captain Shunsui Kyōraku and 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake with his Shikai, Ryūjin Jakka, released as a huge amount of flame coils around him. Internally, Ukitake wonders how long it has been since he last saw Yamamoto like this and felt a fear like the weight of the deep sea, with Yamamoto exerting transcendent Reiatsu even in his Shikai state and producing heat that consumes the clouds above while wielding a blade that turns everything before it to ash as the oldest, greatest, and most powerful of all Zanpakutō.

Approaching Shunsui and Ukitake, Yamamoto questions what they are waiting for and requests that they release their Zanpakutō so they do not get turned to ash without putting up a fight. With Shunsui observing that they do not seem to have a choice, Ukitake agrees and releases his Shikai, Sōgyo no Kotowari, transforming his sword into two identical swords, each with a second blade extending from the back toward the handle, connected at the hilt by a long cord decorated with five charms. Shunsui follows suit by crossing his two Zanpakutō perpendicularly and releasing his Shikai, Katen Kyōkotsu, transforming the two swords into Chinese scimitars with silver edges.

As he looks over the two Shikai, Yamamoto notes that Sōgyo no Kotowari and Katen Kyōkotsu are the only two dual-bladed Shikai in all of Soul Society and concludes that Shunsui and Ukitake ready to fight him together with these Shikai is a magnificent sight. After Shunsui thanks Yamamoto for stating that they have not changed one bit, Ukitake confirms that they are ready to begin anytime, and the three of them clash in an eruption of flame.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


157. Cat And Hornet

As Kūkaku Shiba finds a fully recovered Jidanbō Ikkanzaka, Yoruichi Shihōin continues to fight 2nd Division Captain Suì-Fēng, who gains the upper hand.

Summary:

157Cover

The cover page of 157. Cat And Hornet.

In the Rukongai, two villagers observe that it sounds like Jidanbō Ikkanzaka can move now upon seeing the hut he is inside of shudder from a collision, and upon being approached by Kūkaku Shiba, who inquires if Jidanbō is in there, the two villagers are visibly intimidated. Within the hut, two more villagers ask Jidanbō if he is alright, which he confirms before thanking them for everything. As the two villagers tell Jidanbō to not be a stranger, a third points out that he should be thanking Orihime Inoue because he would have lost his arm had she not worked all those long hours to heal it. With the villagers noting that it has been five days since Orihime departed for the Seireitei and hoping that she is okay, Kūkaku has the door to the hut opened and advises them to come with her if they are concerned about Orihime, shocking those present. While the villagers deferentially greet Kūkaku and she acknowledges them, Jidanbō wonders if she came to see him, only for Kūkaku to claim that sleeping for five or six days must have left him depressed before instructing Jidanbō to take a walk with her because she is going to see Yoruichi Shihōin.

Meanwhile, in the forest near Sōkyoku Hill, Yoruichi stands across from 2nd Division Captain Suì-Fēng, who casts off her haori to reveal her Keisen Shōzoku underneath, which Yoruichi notes she has not seen for a while. When Suì-Fēng asks her if it brings back memories, Yoruichi coyly confirms that it has brought back a few, leading Suì-Fēng to insist that she think back and compare which of them is the better warrior before leaping forward and kicking at Yoruichi, who blocks Suì-Fēng's foot with her wrist before repeatedly and rapidly matching Suì-Fēng's kicks with punches and grabs. After she and Yoruichi trade one last blow and move back to their separate branches, Suì-Fēng notices a bruise on her left shoulder and observes that both she and Yoruichi got a hit in, making this a draw, as Yoruichi bleeds from her mouth and asserts that this is only true for now.

Wiping away the blood, Yoruichi inquires what the secret to Suì-Fēng's improved combat prowess is, but Suì-Fēng counters that she does not need a trick to fight like this and appears behind Yoruichi with Shunpo. With her Zanpakutō held near a stunned Yoruichi's face, Suì-Fēng releases her Shikai, Suzumebachi, transforming her sword into an ornate gauntlet on her right hand with a long stinger covering her middle finger. Though Yoruichi moves away, Suì-Fēng reappears behind her in midair and declares that there is no escape before stabbing Yoruichi in the abdomen. As a wounded Yoruichi lands on another tree branch, Suì-Fēng reappears on a branch opposite her and reveals that she was going easy on Yoruichi prior before berating Yoruichi for thinking she would not dare hold back. After concluding with a reminder that she told Yoruichi to not get carried away, Suì-Fēng declares that she is the stronger one now and proclaims that Yoruichi will pay the cost of being away from the front line for a hundred years with her life.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


158. Sky Leopardess

Though 2nd Division Captain Suì-Fēng believes she has the upper hand, Yoruichi Shihōin reveals that she has been holding back as well.

Summary:

158Cover

The cover page of 158. Sky Leopardess.

Having wounded Yoruichi Shihōin with her Shikai, Suzumebachi, 2nd Division Captain Suì-Fēng inquires if she remembers its ability as a Hōmonka appears over Yoruichi's stomach wound, prompting Suì-Fēng to detail how Suzumebachi carves a death crest into its target's body on the first strike. Though she admits that this technique was incomplete when Yoruichi left, Suì-Fēng asserts that she has a hundred years to perfect it and that all Yoruichi can do is run around to avoid getting hit twice because Suzumebachi is fatal and nothing can survive two strikes in the same spot before appearing behind Yoruichi and initiating the second strike.

After taking strikes to her upper back and right arm, which gain Hōmonka as well, Yoruichi runs away from Suì-Fēng, who pursues her through the treetops and mocks Yoruichi for attempting to buy time until the Hōmonka disappear as she explains how they no longer have a short time limit and will only go away if she removes them herself. Suddenly, Yoruichi grips a tree branch with her hands and kicks two Anken at Suì-Fēng, who recognizes them and deflects the short blades with the gauntlet of Suzumebachi. With Suì-Fēng's right arm braced, Yoruichi lands on it with her left foot and raises her right leg above her head in preparation to bring it down, only for Suì-Fēng to counter with Takigoi, grabbing Yoruichi's foot on her arm with her other hand and trapping her raised foot with her own two feet before raising her right arm to stab at Yoruichi with Suzumebachi, leading Yoruichi to shield herself with both arms.

Suì-Fēng lands her strike on Yoruichi's cheek and lands on the forest floor alongside a panting Yoruichi, who gains a fourth Hōmonka over the cut, and points to this as evidence that she is better than Yoruichi. Declaring that this is the end, Suì-Fēng is surrounded by swirling wind-like energy, which she claims to have invented as a combination of Hakuda and Kidō that she only perfected a few days ago and which Yoruichi will be the first victim of. However, when Suì-Fēng asserts that it does not even have a name yet, Yoruichi denies this and identifies the technique as Shunkō, and as a stunned Suì-Fēng questions what she is talking about, Yoruichi inquires if she knows why the Keisen Shōzoku opens at the back and shoulders while holding out her fist, which crackles with electricity-like energy. After noting that fabric on the back and shoulders would be wasted because the technique envelops those areas in dense Kidō that draws power to the arms and legs before exploding outward, Yoruichi concludes that any fabric on the back and shoulders would be blown off the moment that the technique is activated as she activates her own Shunkō, blowing the fabric off the back and shoulders of her outfit as she gains an aura of crackling electricity-like Kidō.

With Suì-Fēng astonished by this, Yoruichi admits that she did not want to use this move against her and raises her left hand at Suì-Fēng before unleashing a massive blast of energy and revealing that she still cannot control this very well, leaving Suì-Fēng speechless.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


Author's Notes

Volume 18 Intro Image
Chapters 150 and 151 in this volume were featured on the cover of Weekly Shonen Jump and printed in color for two straight weeks. According to the editor in chief, it was a first for the magazine. I'm thankful. Firsts are always nice. I love them.
-Tite Kubo

References

  1. Bleach 18 (Japanese). Shueisha.
  2. Bleach, Vol. 18. Viz Media.

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