542. THE BLADE IS ME
544. Walking With Watchers
545. Blue Stripes
546. THE LAST 9DAYS
547. Peace from Shadows
548. The Thin Ice
549. The StormBringer
550. Blazing Bullets
THE LAST 9DAYS is the sixty-first volume of the Bleach manga series.
After finally learning the truth about his mother and his own connection to the Quincy, Ichigo now faces off against his true Zanpakutō. Meanwhile, the Wandenreich prepares its final plans as Uryū’s role becomes clearer. The world’s last nine days now begin...
In his inner world, Ichigo recalls that the first time he fought Yhwach, he felt like he was summoned there in front of him. He tried not thinking about the reason, as he didn't even have any information except that he was the enemy. But the first time he looked at him, it quickly reminded him of someone he knew.
Ichigo calls out to Zangetsu and asks him what all this means. Zangetsu responds by saying that he is not the real Zangetsu and that everything he has heard from Ōetsu Nimaiya is true. At this moment, the surrounding buildings in his inner world begin to break and go into water. Ichigo asks if he is really Yhwach. Zangetsu answers this question by telling him that he both is and isn't, but is in fact the source of Ichigo's Quincy power. Ichigo shouts that he doesn't even understand whether Zangetsu is an ally or an enemy, with Zangetsu responding that he is neither. He also tells Ichigo that his words are straight from his heart and that he has never told him a lie except about his name.
When he couldn't use his Zanpakutō powers, when his life was in danger, the one who saved Ichigo was not him; in fact, it was always his inner Hollow. Zangetsu goes on to say that he didn't want him to become a Shinigami, which is why he tried to suppress his growing potential and always tried to be the core of his power. When Ichigo asks why he did this, Zangetsu answers that he wanted to keep him away from fights and danger, because if he became a Shinigami, it would mean that he would one day have to kill Ichigo. He then summons a sword, which he says is Ichigo's real Zanpakutō.
Zangetsu then says that Ichigo's determination as a Shinigami eventually lead him to a change of heart, and he began helping him. He tells Ichigo that he couldn't be more proud of who he's become. Zangetsu then begins to cry and fade away. Ichigo says that he still has questions for him, but Zangetsu tells him that all this time he has only been using a fraction of his power and that it is now time to claim his real Zanpakutō and fight with his true strength. As Ichigo grabs the real Zangetsu, he is engulfed in light.
Ichigo wields the reforged Zangetsu. Meanwhile, Yhwach prepares to make an announcement to his Sternritter.
Still within his crumbling inner world, Ichigo reminisces about the false Zangetsu and his inner Hollow, concluding that neither of them ever lied to him. He realizes that "Zangetsu" had saved him several times in the past with Quincy power, including the Quincy's Shadow and Blut. Ichigo decides that despite the imposter's admission, both he and the inner Hollow are "Zangetsu." He then asks if Zangetsu is okay with this.
Outside of the inner world, Nimaiya continues to forge Ichigo's Zanpakutō. Ichigo abruptly grasps the Zanpakutō while it is still within the flames, much to the dismay of Nimaiya's assistants. However, Nimaiya states that it is okay; stating that the sword is done, he tells Ichigo to take it out. Ichigo pulls out the Zanpakutō, unleashing an immense wave of Reiatsu that evaporates much of the sea around the palace. As his assistants look on in awe, Nimaiya explains that the huge volume of water was needed to cool down the newly forged sword. He asks Ichigo if he can do it with "those" Zangetsu.
Ichigo looks down on the new Zangetsu, now a pair of blades, one larger than the other. He resolves to never again ask Zangetsu to lend him power, to stay out of his way, or to fight by his side, and that he will fight on his own. He silently gives him thanks, now understanding that Zangetsu is him.
Meanwhile, in the Wandenreich's headquarters, the Sternritter are assembled before their emperor. Yhwach stands before them, announcing that he has some information to share with them.
Yhwach announces to the Sternritter that Uryū Ishida will be his successor.
Yhwach announces to the Sternritter that Uryū Ishida will be his successor at a gathering of his troops. Many of the Sternritter are outraged that Yhwach chose a stranger as their future leader, and they ask Yhwach to reconsider his decision. After the gathering disperses, arguments break out among some Sternritter, particularly Bazz-B, as they had all anticipated and accepted that Jugram Haschwalth was most fit to be Yhwach's successor.
Bazz-B asks Haschwalth if he feels anything about what has just happened, and Haschwalth replies that it is Yhwach's decision to make. Bazz-B calls Haschwalth a coward for his inaction and then gets increasingly angrier. He starts shouting that the seat should be his, if it doesn’t bother Haschwalth who the successor is. Bazz-B is told to calm down, and he states that he is already perfectly calm, even more so than Haschwalth.
Sternritter “D,” Askin Nakk Le Vaar intervenes, sarcastically mentioning that they are both calm. When Bazz-B asks why he is here, Nakk Le Vaar states that he is here to help him as they have people who are spying on them. Nakk Le Vaar mentions that they should stop this fighting, as nothing will come out of it. He looks toward Haschwalth and tells him that nothing comes out of fighting except poison. He asks if they understand, and then labels Haschwalth as his next king.
Meanwhile, in Yhwach's throne room Uryū Ishida is drinking something. Yhwach declares that when he finishes the beverage, the ceremony will be over and his powers will soon awaken. He then bestows Ishida with a Schrift, allowing him to bear the designation of “A”, just like that of Yhwach himself.
As the Sternritter continue to come to terms with Uryū's appointment as Yhwach's successor, Orihime meets up with Sado and Kisuke again.
Uryū asks Yhwach why he made him his successor, mentioning that making someone who just appeared out of nowhere his successor will only create friction amongst his army. Yhwach tells him that this is a good thing as he doesn’t need or want sheep following him. He goes on to ask Uryū why he is still alive at this point, telling him that 9 years ago during the Auswählen, all the mixed Quincy were purged except for Uryū. This is why he introduced him as the "Last Survivor," he possesses something that can surpass his own powers, which is the reason why he was made his successor. He tells him that he shouldn’t worry about anything, and the only thing he should do is come with him. Uryū understands and only wishes for the best for his Majesty.
After the announcement, Bambietta goes to her room and tells a Wandenreich soldier to come over to her room. After she kills him, fellow Sternritter members Liltotto Lamperd, Meninas McAllon, Candice Catnipp and Giselle Gewelle enter the room, complaining about her actions. Bambietta tells them to be quiet, as she is worried about the future of the Wandenreich.
Haschwalth heads back to his room and is welcomed by his maid. He tells her that it is late and that she should go to sleep. She mentions that she is disappointed with what Yhwach said earlier and that he should have been the successor. He tells her that this was Yhwach's intention from the beginning: he had wanted to purposely create chaos and friction in order to make everyone judge each other harsher, and direct all those judgmental eyes towards Uryū. This is so they could ask what type of man he is, the kind of power he posses and how he processes information. By doing this, he will be left with a short leash, which means the only thing he’s capable of doing is to devote himself to Yhwach.
In Hueco Mundo, Orihime arrives at the Negal ruins, accompanied by a flying device called Pero. As she eats a snack, she imagines what Sado could be doing. She remembers Urahara mentioning that Pero has a camera to monitor potential danger, but recalls how she was in danger multiple times and he never showed up. Sado appears behind Orihime and tells her that every one has gathered. Urahara is glad to see that everyone arrived safely, and tells them that the next stage of his procedure will take some time.
At the Kurosaki Clinic, Yuzu prepares some food and tells her father and sister that lunch is ready. While she waits for her busy family to come, Yuzu wonders when Ichigo will return from training camp.
Meanwhile, Renji Abarai and Rukia Kuchiki stare at each other. Renji complains that he does not like to stay still or point his sword at his friends. When Rukia states she also does not like to point her sword at her friends, Renji notes he still is not used to the air, prompting Rukia to state the Reishi concentration in the atmosphere is abnormal. Stating even though she does not feel like she is being pressed down any more, but it still feels like she is moving in water, Rukia says they cannot tell how this Reishi concentration will affect them. Hearing her Denreishinki ring, Rukia answers and tells Renji it is Tenjirō Kirinji, who reports that Byakuya Kuchiki has recovered.
At the hot springs, Kirinji states that Byakuya's "bath" is the longest someone has ever stayed there and asks if he feels dizzy. Telling him there is no need to worry, Byakuya states he is still not strong enough to feel headstrong, and since he has survived this far, he will take this opportunity to become strong enough to justify the pride he once held. Stating it is great Byakuya has recovered, Renji realizes he will have to go through the same process they endured. Recalling Senjumaru Shutara's palace, Renji states it was a hellish event, prompting Rukia to say she does not want to remember it and that she feels sorry for Byakuya who will have to go through the same ordeal. Ichibē Hyōsube walks in and notes when they first came here, the Reishi concentration was so dense they could not move or speak. When he asks if they are ready to train with him in the inner room, they affirm this.
Elsewhere, Keigo Asano, Mizuiro Kojima and Tatsuki Arisawa wonder where Ichigo went. When Tatsuki asks if he asked Karin and Yuzu, Keigo reveals they said he went to a soccer training camp, but tournaments ended last month. Mizuiro states since Sado, Orihime and Uryū are also gone, it must be something related to Soul Society, and they will be back eventually. Shunsui Kyōraku approaches and greets them and states that he came to tell them something important regarding their parting with Ichigo.
As Shunsui informs Ichigo's friends he may have to stay in Soul Society, Orihime wishes the peace could last forever, and Yhwach reveals the final part of the Quincy legend.
Shunsui insists that he is not joking about parting company with Ichigo, prompting Keigo to ask how he can talk about a farewell so easily. Keigo states that he needs Ichigo to help him, which Shunsui admits is true. Mizuiro notes that is fine as it is the way Ichigo is, but asks what has to do with a permanent parting with him. Revealing the place Ichigo is currently in is a special location in Soul Society, Shunsui, stating he is sure he will come back from there safely, but he is worried about the power he will return with, the nature of which could affect the Human World. If this is this case, they will not be able to let him come return.
Grabbing him, Keigo states this is convenient for Shunsui, expresses anger at how they want to keep Ichigo in Soul Society after he went there to protect it. As Shunsui states they will do this if it is necessary, Mizuiro inquires just how probable such a thing occurring is. He states that it is only a very remote chance, prompting Tatsuki to ask why he told if this is so unlikely. Shunsui states he did so because not saying anything to Ichigo's friends would not be fair to him and hands Ichigo's friends some Soul Tickets so they can visit him, for they are tickets which allow them to come to Soul Society if Ichigo stays there. As Tatsuki starts to say that he should give them to someone else, Shunsui states he already sent some to Ichigo's family. Shunsui tells them that there is still some time to go, and says when Ichigo returns, he will tell him to come here right away, for he should rest here before the battle.
Meanwhile, in Hueco Mundo, Orihime reveals to Sado that she was just thinking about how peaceful it is as they help the Arrancar and Shinigami. She wishes this peace could last forever, with no battles actually starting.
In Soul Society, darkness envelops the dome around the Seireitei, revealing ice-covered buildings as it rises. As the Shinigami wonder what is happening, the instruments in the SRDI are going crazy before Akon states the Seireitei has vanished.
Stating the invasion was successful, Yhwach asks Uryū if he knows of the Kaiser Gesang. When Uryū, confirming this and recounts the legend, Yhwach reveals there is another verse to this song: after 9 days, the sealed king will regain the world. Telling Uryū and Haschwalth to go, Yhwach states the world will end in 9 days.
As the Seireitei is completely replaced by the Wandenreich, the Gotei 13 are confronted by the Sternritter.
As the Seireitei is replaced with the Wandenreich, the Shinigami enter a state of total disarray, wondering what is causing this phenomenon. Shunsui stands with Nanao Ise in the First Division barracks, looking down on the chaos. He remarks that he had figured the attack would be sudden and they had set up preparations in Seireitei, but nobody had expected them to take away their home advantages like this.
Co-Third Seats of the Thirteenth DivisionKiyone Kotetsu and Sentarō Kotsubaki try to report the situation to their captain, who appears to be preoccupied. While at the SRDI, Akon and Hiyosu are arguing over whether the readings on their machines are true. As Hiyosu tries to argue against the reality of the situation by saying that the instruments that they're using haven't disappeared, the SRDI building begins to undergo the same fate as the rest of the Seireitei, leaving the researchers shocked.
Yhwach recounts how after losing the war 1,000 years ago, the Quincy escaped from the Human World, and into the Seireitei, which was very lightly guarded at the time, and used their abilities to manipulate Reishi to create a space in the "shadows," thus giving them their name, the "Invisible Empire." Askin Nakk Le Vaar and Haschwalth tell the Shinigami standing before them about this and that they did not have to brake through the Shakonmaku in their previous invasions, as they were inside it the entire time. Shunsui calmly welcomes Haschwalth and thanks him for the information.
Haschwalth and Shunsui introduce themselves and Haschwalth explains that he knew about Kyōraku's recent promotion, and came to him for exactly that reason. Shunsui remarks that they are acting rather hastily, wondering if they would savor the battle. Haschwalth responds saying that he has no plans to do so, since Yhwach's orders were to instantly exterminate the whole enemy army.
Meanwhile, Askin is confronted by Mayuri Kurotsuchi, who appears from an invisible doorway, confirming Le Vaar's statement about using the "shadows" to hide themselves. Kurotsuchi emerges from the doorway with Nemu, both of them wearing fairly new outfits. A surprised Akon asks the captain what he is wearing, but Kurotsuchi ignores his subordinate and continues his explanation. He states that he reformed the inside of his laboratory so that there wouldn't be any shadows.
As a group of Shinigami state that they can't allow the Sternritter to pass, Bazz-B attacks them. However, Tōshirō Hitsugaya blocks Bazz-B's flames with a wall of ice.
Lieutenant Marechiyo Ōmaeda is in distress, wondering what to do. His younger sister, Mareyo, comes up to him and begs him to stay, since she is scared. Marechiyo, however, says that he has to go, as it is his duty to protect his family and serve the Gotei 13. Before he can go, the Sternritter BG9 confronts him, and Marechiyo immediately recognizes him as the one who stole his captain's Bankai.
Bazz-B recognizes Hitsugaya and notes who stole the captain's Bankai. While they exchange introductions, Rangiku goes to tell the Shinigami to defend another location. However, the Shinigami who were told to retreat note how thin the ice is and are concerned about Hitsugaya's wellbeing. As they fight, Bazz-B begins taunting the captain about the thinness of his ice, which Bazz-B can easily melt with his flames. Rangiku returns to Hitsugaya's side and informs him of the Shinigami retreating as ordered. Rangiku releases Haineko the pair combine their Shikai abilities to create a "vacuum multilayer ice wall". He explains this to Bazz-B as well as how his Shikai and Bankai function. The Sternritter tries to attack, but is unable to penetrate the ice and he instead is struck by Hitsugaya's counterattack.
As Hitsugaya and Matsumoto finish their fight with Bazz-B, Ōmaeda battles BG9, who exploits the presence of the lieutenant's own family against him.
Several Shinigami cheer when Hitsugaya successfully deals a blow to Bazz-B.
Meanwhile, BG9 reiterates its question about Suì-Fēng's location for the third time. Ōmaeda again claims he doesn't know and would not willingly divulge the information if he did know. BG9 changes tactics and extends one of its tentacles through a nearby wall, impaling his sister. BG9 states that it detects other people similar to Ōmaeda in the area, and will kill them all if Ōmaeda doesn't cooperate. An enraged Ōmaeda attacks BG9, who pins him up against a wall and then takes out a mini-gun, but before it can fire, the gun is destroyed.
Suì-Fēng drops the broken piece of the mini-gun, commenting on the advanced weapon. BG9 questions how he did not detect her, to which Suì-Fēng retorts that as the Onmitsukidō's commander, she knows how to hide her Reiatsu. Responding to BG9's question on her appearance, Suì-Fēng states that the technique she used was Shunkō. BG9 had believed this ability to be incomplete, but Suì-Fēng explains how she perfected Shunkō, and blasts it with her improved technique.
Elsewhere, Hitsugaya and Rangiku turn to leave. To their shock, however, Bazz-B gets up and asks why they would leave the "preliminary test." He then states that he has yet to begin to fight. At Suì-Fēng's location, BG9 also gets back up, eyes glowing.
As Mayuri and Askin Nakk Le Varr exchange banter about the situation, Hitsugaya and Suì-Fēng are having difficulties fighting their opponents.
Askin Nakk Le Varr declares that it would take too much time to kill Mayuri than he is willing to spend doing so. As he turns to leave, he asks Mayuri if he's going to follow him. Mayuri decides to let him leave, stating that he wants to analyze Askin's Reiatsu, also theorizing that Askin wants to lure Mayuri into his territory. They then sense Suì-Fēng dealing a hard blow to her opponent. Askin states that Yhwach expected the Bankai-less captains to master new fighting techniques. Mayuri points out the implications of what Askin said, to which Askin confirms the Gotei 13's strength.
Elsewhere, Bazz-B melts all the ice Hitsugaya created, shocking the Shinigami. They wonder how he could be alive if Hitsugaya just cut him up, to which Bazz-B said he cut up his mantle and sheds it.
As Suì-Fēng turns to leave, BG9 extends its tendrils to attack her. Suì-Fēng dodges and counters, and asks how it could still breathe, calling it a monster. When BG9 emerges and states that it has never breathed, Suì-Fēng asks if it is a robot and mockingly states Mayuri would like to meet it. BG9 unveils its arsenal of missiles and states that it was able to get valuable data from Suì-Fēng's Mukyū Shunkō, but also states it is disappointed at how it doesn't need to use her Bankai. It then fires the missiles, which Suì-Fēng dodges. However, one of BG9's tendrils pierces her wrist and the Sternritter attacks her up close.
Bazz-B explains that during the previous invasion, twoother Sternritter and himself were able to survive a direct blast from Yamamoto's Zanpakutō because Bazz-B's his flames were strong enough to offset those of the late Captain-Commander. Bazz-B expresses his disappointment that he couldn't demonstrate how powerful he is on Hitsugaya, since he lacks a Bankai. After a brief attack fails to hit the mark, Hitsugaya orders Rangiku to retreat while he sets up a barrier to hold him off. However, Bazz-B uses Burner Finger 1 to break through the barrier and blast pierce Hitsugaya's chest.