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THE MASCARON DRIVE is the twenty-sixth volume of the Bleach manga series.

Publisher's summary

Ichigo Kurosaki and all his friends are training like mad, spurred on by the looming threat of Sōsuke Aizen's wicked plans. But while Uryū Ishida and Yasutora Sado increase their powers, Orihime Inoue finds out that she has to sit out the coming fight, leaving her friends without her protection. And Ichigo, despite his intensive training with the Visored, can't control his Hollowfied self long enough to battle. With the war against the Arrancar ramping up, can the team afford to have two fighters on the sidelines?

Bleach All Stars

All-Stars
ウルキオラ・シファー
Ulquiorra Cifer
Ep138GrimmjowCharaPic2.png 浦原 喜助
Kisuke Urahara
Ep267UlquiorraCharaPic.png グリムジョー
Grimmjow
Ep329UraharaCharaPic.png

Ep320RukiaCharaPic.png 井上 織姫
Orihime Inoue
Ep216IchigoCharaPic2.png
朽木 ルキア
Rukia Kuchiki
Ep215OrihimeCharaPic.png 黒崎 一護
Ichigo Kurosaki



Chapters

224. Imitated Gaiety

10th Division Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya speaks to 5th Division Lieutenant Momo Hinamori for the first time since Sōsuke Aizen's betrayal while Yasutora Sado undergoes training.

Summary:

The cover page of 224. Imitated Gaiety.

Upon seeing 5th Division Lieutenant Momo Hinamori appearing from behind Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto on the monitor connecting to Soul Society set up in Orihime Inoue's apartment, 10th Division Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya expresses shock while his lieutenant, Rangiku Matsumoto, solemnly exits the apartment and walks away. Back inside the apartment, Hitsugaya observes that Hinamori is awake and questions if she is sure that she should be walking around, and though Hinamori assures him that she is fine now, Hitsugaya internally notes that her tired eyes indicate that she is not fine. After a moment's pause, Hinamori apologize for having ever doubted Hitsugaya and for having drawn her Zanpakutō against him, not knowing what she was thinking when she did this, but Hitsugaya cuts off her self-criticism by asserting that he has already forgotten about the matter because it is behind them and that Hinamori should focus on going back to sleep so she can get rid of the bags underneath her eyes.

With Hinamori tearfully thanking him for this, Hitsugaya elaborates that she already looks like a child and that children need twice as much sleep as adults do since they will stop growing otherwise, to her astonishment. When Hitsugaya claims that she will need ten years of sleep to catch up to someone like Rangiku, a flustered Hinamori counters that Rangiku is abnormal and that Hitsugaya is in no position to give somebody else advice about growing. However, a smiling Hitsugaya reminds her that he is a captain now and no longer just her childhood friend, which she acknowledges as she calms down. Hesitating for several seconds, Hinamori asks Hitsugaya if he is going to fight Sōsuke Aizen, and when Hitsugaya confirms this, Hinamori inquires about the possibility of killing him and begs Hitsugaya to not do so, to the latter's shock. While a sweating Hinamori claims that Aizen must have had a reason for the terrible things he did and could have been forced to do so by Gin Ichimaru or someone else, Yamamoto holds his hand over her face and performs Inemuri, causing Hinamori's eyes to go blank as she loses consciousness, with 1st Division Lieutenant Chōjirō Sasakibe catching her body when she collapses. Yamamoto turns to Hitsugaya and apologizes for granting Hinamori's request to speak with him because it may have been too soon, only for Hitsugaya to tell him that it is alright and bid Yamamoto farewell despite his concern prior to turning off the video feed. As he clenches his fist, Hitsugaya ruminates on what Aizen has done to Hinamori.

Meanwhile, in the Study Chamber underneath the Urahara Shop, Yasutora Sado fires an energy blast with his Fullbring, Brazo Derecha de Gigante, at 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai, who leaps into the air while wielding his Bankai, Hihiō Zabimaru, and mocks him as seemingly getting weak, prompting Sado to claim that he is not while Kisuke Urahara watches them.

In the past, Renji is startled by Urahara's request for him to train Sado and wonders why he was chosen, which leads Urahara to admit that he does not think Sado will leave even if asked, and when Renji points out that Urahara should be the one to train Sado if he wants to be trained, Urahara states that whoever trains Sado needs to have Bankai. With Renji asserting that this further solidifies why he should train Sado since he can perform Bankai, Urahara claims that he could not possibly perform Bankai since he is simply a lowly-but-handsome merchant, but an exasperated Renji declares that everyone knows he is the former captain of the Twelfth Division and the creator of the Hōgyoku. However, after casually concluding that he forgot, which leaves Tessai Tsukabishi to restrain Renji while the latter demands to be let go so he can mangle Urahara due to having never met someone so frustrating before in his entire life, Urahara clarifies that it must be Renji since his Bankai is not suited for training or strengthening people.

As Renji stares in surprise at this, Urahara recalls the former wanting to ask him something, which he has managed to avoid up until now, and proposes that Renji do odd jobs for him for the next three months in exchange for Urahara answering any question he asks. Despite Renji asserting that training someone is not an odd job, Urahara claims that it is since training is a nuisance and one could get killed doing it before inquiring about whether Renji would rather give up on the question he wished to ask, which results in Renji reluctantly agreeing to his terms while Tessai realizes that Urahara tricked him into doing odd jobs in addition to the training and Jinta Hanakari and Ururu Tsumugiya call him stupid for this.

In the present, Urahara continues to watch Renji spar with Sado and notes that the former is certainly throwing himself into it despite how resistant he was to the idea. Turning to Sado, Urahara internally asserts that his powers clearly have the potential to increase through repeated battles against a Bankai, but is left troubled by the fact that Brazo Derecha de Gigante is something different and distinct from the powers of Shinigami and Quincy. Simultaneously, at the Visored warehouse, Ichigo Kurosaki manages to don his Hollow mask for a brief second, only for it to immediately shatter while Hiyori Sarugaki kicks him in the face for failing to stay Hollowfied. Though Ichigo protests that he would be in great danger if he remained Hollowfied, Hiyori counters that this is the point of his training and that he should just refrain from doing it at all if he is not going to do it right, prompting Love Aikawa and Rōjūrō Ōtoribashi to observe that they are getting along swimmingly.

Outside the Visored warehouse, Orihime Inoue nervously approaches and realizes that this must be where Ichigo is located.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


225. Slip Into My Barrier

Orihime Inoue enters the Visored Study Chamber to warn Ichigo Kurosaki about Sōsuke Aizen's intentions.

Summary:

The cover page of 225. Slip Into My Barrier.

Upon seeing a cat, two birds, and several ants conspicuously moving as though they are near an invisible wall surrounding the Visored warehouse, Orihime Inoue realizes that this is the result of the Hachigyō Sōgai barrier erected around the warehouse that is blocking the building out of the minds of others, who cannot even think of approaching it. However, upon pressing her hand against the barrier, which ripples around it, Orihime notes that it is similar to the Santen Kesshun of her Shun Shun Rikka despite its power, and as her fingers breach the barrier, a determined Orihime concludes that she can enter it.

Meanwhile, in the Study Chamber below the warehouse, an annoyed Ichigo Kurosaki responds to being told to do it one more time by summoning and donning his Hollow mask through making a ripping motion with his hand across his face prior to raising his left arm in order to block a kick from Hiyori Sarugaki, who has her own Hollow mask resting on the side of her head. In response to Ichigo expressing pain at this, Hiyori reminds him once again that he is slower immediately after Hollowfying and asserts that he would have been dead had her blow landed as she performs Gatling Mad-Stomping, which sends a defending Ichigo smashing through several rocks across the Study Chamber.

Upon seeing this, Hachigen Ushōda observes that Ichigo's retention time is not increasing very quickly, only for Shinji Hirako to state that it is not easy to do so, and when Ichigo's Hollow mask shatters, Kensei Muguruma announces that it lasted for four seconds, leaving Shinji nonplussed. When Mashiro Kuna wonders why Ichigo is doing this, Kensei clarifies that he is doing it to increase the amount of time that he can remain Hollowfied and asserts that Mashiro did it too, and when Mashiro denies this, Shinji informs an irritated Kensei that Mashiro has been able to Hollowfy for over fifteen hours and is the only Visored who has not done this part of the training, prompting a surprised Kensei to conclude that he must have forgotten, only to become angered once more when Mashiro mocks him over this and calls him a grouch.

Suddenly, Hachigen looks up in astonishment and warns a quizzical Shinji that someone just slipped through the Hachigyō Sōgai, which shocks the other Visored. With Love Aikawa asking him if it is a Shinigami, Hachigen elaborates that the Hachigyō Sōgai is an original technique which he developed after becoming a Visored and which cannot be broken by a Shinigami's Kidō, leading Kensei to demand to know if it is another Visored. Admitting that he does not know, Hachigen muses that this individual slipped through the barrier rather than breaking through it, something not even a Visored can do, and an unnerved Kensei questions who or what they could be as the Visored look up at the steps leading up to the warehouse to see Orihime nervously descending them.

With the Visored stunned at the intruder being a Human, Orihime timidly asks them where the bathroom is and immediately clarifies that she was joking, though Kensei still expresses irritation at this as Lisa Yadōmaru berates him for taking it so seriously and Love asserts that he would not be making jokes in this situation. However, they are interrupted when Orihime's attention is drawn to Ichigo slamming into the ground nearby to Hiyori's derision, causing them to recognize each other with surprise. Some time later, after Orihime relays Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto's warning about Sōsuke Aizen's true intentions, a battered Ichigo ponders this in silence, and when Ichigo wonders why she is staring at him over this, Orihime notes that he does not seem very surprised by what she told him. In response, Ichigo explains that he is simply having a hard time wrapping his head around the idea of Karakura Town being destroyed to create an Ōken, but assures Orihime that he is going to stop Aizen because he can feel how much stronger he is getting.

As she watches Ichigo thank her for the warning and return to his training with a belligerent Hiyori, Orihime realizes that he cannot really process what she told him because he is so busy training and getting stronger, which allows him to know exactly what he needs to do without fear regardless of what Aizen is planning. Though still cautious about Ichigo's empowerment being strange rather than nice or scary like it was before, Orihime concludes that she needs to get stronger too and exits the warehouse to run out into Karakura Town while someone watches her from behind.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


226. Right of My Heart

Uryū Ishida concludes his training with Ryūken Ishida to have his Quincy powers restored.

Summary:

The cover page of 226. Right of My Heart.

In the Visored Study Chamber, Kensei Muguruma wonders who Orihime Inoue was as Lisa Yadōmaru notes that she ran away after speaking to Ichigo Kurosaki and Rōjūrō Ōtoribashi observes that they seemed to be friends. When Shinji Hirako identifies Orihime by name, Kensei demands to know if he knows her, and when Shinji melodramatically claims that Orihime was his first love, an infuriated Kensei asserts that this is an obvious lie while Lisa reminds him that he says this about every attractive girl, including her, and Rose mentally wonders if she is saying that Orihime is attractive. Behind Shinji, Hiyori Sarugaki is aghast at the idea of Shinji saying this to every attractive girl since he did not say it to her, which Shinji confirms, prior to being sent flying when Ichigo attacks and warns her to not get distracted.

During this, Love Aikawa assures Hachigen that his barriers are undoubtedly flawless, which Hachigen affirms, but questions how Orihime detected the warehouse and got inside the barrier when this is the case, leading an uncertain Hachigen to theorize that she possesses the same type of barrier ability as he does since he examined her Reiatsu at close range, which is what allowed her to detect the warehouse and slip through the Hachigyō Sōgai, though he admits that it is incredible for a Human to possess such powers. Simultaneously, outside the warehouse, Yoruichi Shihōin lands before Orihime and reveals that Kisuke Urahara sent her to find Orihime because he wants the latter brought to his Study Chamber right away.

Meanwhile, at the Karakura Hospital Study Chamber, a panting and ragged Uryū Ishida stands amid dozens of holes in the walls and floor around him before leaping to the side in order to avoid another barrage of attacks. Upon slipping off the edge of the platform he was standing on and falling toward another platform far below, Uryū frantically uses Wolke to cushion his fall. From nearby, Ryūken Ishida approaches with his Heilig Bogen in hand and observes that Uryū was cautious to keep some Gintō stored on his person. When Uryū wonders if he is being called a coward, Ryūken confirms this and attacks with Klavier, forcing Uryū to evade the Heilig Pfeil with Hirenkyaku while they create several more explosions of force upon impact with the surrounding area.

Ryūken admonishes Uryū for being so slow to dodge and assumes he is reaching his limit due to how much Uryū has slowed down, and as he continues to evade the dozens of Heilig Pfeil fired by Ryūken, Uryū mentally admits that he can barely move his arms and legs at this point, only to realize that Ryūken's Reiatsu is weakening too. As he ruminates on Ryūken's promise that his Quincy powers would come back if Uryū kept dodging his Heilig Pfeil, Uryū internally asserts that there is no sign of it working and wonders if Ryūken was lying to him, since he will certainly die if they keep going like this. After concluding that he has reached his limit and must end this exercise, with his chance coming as Ryūken pauses his onslaught, Uryū lands before him and brings out his last Gintō, shocking Ryūken, before using Gritz to encase Ryūken in a large, oval-shaped, stone-like barrier.

However, Uryū's triumph is cut short when Gritz dissipates to reveal an unfazed Ryūken wielding a much larger Heilig Bogen with an intricate Heilig Pfeil notched in its string. Apologizing to Uryū and declaring that it is over, Ryūken fires the Heilig Pfeil and hits Uryū near the center of his chest, leaving Uryū to curse Ryūken having gotten him while collapsing. With Uryū's glasses flying off and landing on the floor, Ryūken walks over and details how striking a Quincy with a Heilig Pfeil 19 millimeters to the right of their heart's sinoatrial node after pushing their mind and body to their limits is the only way to regain the powers lost from using Quincy: Letzt Stil, with Uryū having gained a Quincy Zeichen on his chest centered over the area where the Heilig Pfeil pierced his body. While kneeling next to Uryū, Ryūken wonders why he did not use Heizen instead of Gritz since it would have let him at least inflict an injury even if he could not win, and though he asserts that Uryū's stupid choice makes him sick, Ryūken decides to let him live this time.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


227. The Swordless Soldier

Kisuke Urahara tells Orihime Inoue that she will not be part of the upcoming battle due to her weakened state.

Summary:

The cover page of 227. The Swordless Soldier.

At an apartment complex in Karakura Town, 11th Division 5th Seat Yumichika Ayasegawa laughs uproariously at 3rd Seat Ikkaku Madarame, who has been forced to wear a gaudy shirt with hearts and a cute bear on the front. After an annoyed Ikkaku headbutts Yumichika and tells him to shut up, 10th Division Lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto appears between them and cackles at Ikkaku's appearance as well, to his and Yumichika's shock. When Ikkaku demands to know how she got in, Rangiku points out how the front door was unlocked, which she considers a sign of poor security, and questions what the Human World has done to Ikkaku's fashion sense, leading him to clarify that he got this from the landlady of the complex and respond to Rangiku's disbelief over wearing whatever is given to him by refusing to complain about the clothes he is given when he and Yumichika have free room and board here.

With a surprised Rangiku noting that she complains constantly about her food and clothing, Ikkaku asks Yumichika about who Rangiku is staying with, which prompts Yumichika to reveal that it is Orihime Inoue, whom even he is beginning to feel sorry for despite her being a Human. When Keigo Asano opens the front door and tentatively asks Ikkaku and Yumichika how things are going, he sees Rangiku's breasts and lunges toward her in rapturous glee over them coming before him once more. However, upon being nonchalantly struck in the face by Rangiku's leg, Keigo intercepts her strike by holding his arms in front of his face and slides several feet back otherwise unharmed, to her alarm, prior to proclaiming that he has been underestimated and will never fall for the same technique twice, only for Rangiku to kick him directly in the face with the tip of her foot, knocking him unconscious as Ikkaku chastises Rangiku for being so brutal when Keigo just wanted to jump her. Suddenly, Mizuho Asano enthusiastically opens the door and inquires about Ikkaku's behavior, but briefly mistakes the apartment for someone else's upon seeing Rangiku and angrily demands to know what she is doing here while Ikkaku suggests that a bemused Rangiku do what she came here to do and go since it is going to get messy.

Meanwhile, at the Urahara Shop, Kisuke Urahara welcomes Orihime, who has been brought here by Yoruichi Shihōin, and notes that they have not seen each other in quite some time. After observing that it is nice to have a young woman stop by the office since he has been watching two sweaty men fight each other for multiple days now, Urahara sets down a small table next to the sparring between Yasutora Sado and 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai, which startles Orihime. When Renji seemingly incapacitates Sado with a powerful blow and announces that he is done for the day, Urahara prevents Orihime from rushing to Sado's side and instructs Tessai Tsukabishi and Ururu Tsumugiya to heal him, but Sado insists that he can keep going and gets to his feet while re-manifesting his Fullbring, Brazo Derecha de Gigante, which leads a grinning Renji to jokingly chastise him for pushing himself too hard.

Once Orihime turns to him and inquires about what he wishes to discuss, Urahara brings up Rangiku stopping by earlier to relay Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto's warning about Sōsuke Aizen seeking to create an Ōken, which he assumes Ikkaku has been informed of as well by now, and admits that it caught all of them by surprise as he ruminates on how they and Soul Society must prepare to fight a battle this winter that will shed more blood than ever before and require them to be stronger than ever before. However, when Orihime affirms this and declares that she wants to get stronger too, Urahara acknowledges this before telling Orihime that she will not be fighting with them this time, leaving her, Sado, and Renji stunned while Urahara brings up Tsubaki being destroyed by Yammy Llargo the other day. Upon being asked if he has been repaired, Orihime admits that he was so badly broken that she does not even know how to fix him, which prompts Urahara to elaborate that Tsubaki is her only offensive weapon and that it is out of the question for her to even consider participating in the battle without him.

In response, Sado interjects and asserts that they cannot leave Orihime behind when she is a friend of theirs who fought hard in Soul Society and wishes to get stronger, only for Urahara to call this an emotional argument and ask Sado if he wants Orihime to get killed. Denying this, Sado claims that her ability to protect and heal people is more valuable than fighting, but Urahara counters that the defensive capabilities of Santen Kesshun are too limited to be useful in the upcoming battle and that the Fourth Division can take care of their casualties with Captain Retsu Unohana and Lieutenant Isane Kotetsu on the front lines. With Urahara concluding that Orihime's powers will not be needed and that a warrior who cannot fight will only hold them back despite Sado's continued protests, Orihime assures Sado that it is okay and thanks both him and Urahara prior to bidding them farewell and running off. Before Sado can follow her, Renji grabs him by the shoulder and states that Urahara is right since the Fourth Division has had combat training in addition to their Kaidō specialization and Orihime's abilities do not change the fact that she is a Human whose personality precludes her from being a warrior, meaning that this may be a good time for her to drop out.

Simultaneously, in Las Noches, Aizen reviews Ulquiorra Cifer's memory of Orihime healing Sado with Sōten Kisshun during the encounter with him and Yammy prior to noting that she has a very interesting ability.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


228. Don't Look Back

Orihime Inoue regains her resolve to fight in the upcoming battle with assistance from Rukia Kuchiki and Hachigen Ushōda.

Summary:

The cover page of 228. Don't Look Back.

Rushing up the ladder from the Study Chamber beneath the Urahara Shop and to the shop's sliding front door, Orihime Inoue is stunned to find Rukia Kuchiki standing on the other side, and as a surprised Rukia questions what is wrong, Orihime hunches over and begins crying in front of her, to Rukia's further distress.

Later that night, Rukia sits on the rooftop of a building with Orihime and is informed of Kisuke Urahara's decision on Orihime not joining the upcoming battle, prompting an outraged Rukia to call Urahara a jerk and express sympathy for Orihime. When the latter claims that she feels better after talking to Rukia and that Urahara is correct in saying she is not strong enough for this, Rukia angrily grabs Orihime by the collar and denies this on the grounds of Orihime having done her share of fighting up until now and even traveling to Soul Society to fight, which is why she should be mad at being dismissed like this. However, Orihime insists that she is not mad or lying and clarifies that she is just sad because she wants to fight with the rest of them while also not wanting to be a burden to anyone else, which means that she would rather be sad than hinder Ichigo Kurosaki or anyone else.

In response, a sympathetic Rukia assures Orihime that those who lack spirit are the ones who cause problems on the battlefield rather than those who lack power and that not one of Ichigo's group was a hindrance in the battle in Soul Society since she would be dead right now had Orihime, Ichigo, Yasutora Sado, or Uryū Ishida not been there. With Rukia concluding that there has to be something Orihime can do to make herself fit for this battle and proposing that they find it together, Hiyori Sarugaki suddenly crashes down next to a startled Rukia and Orihime, the latter of whom she grabs by the collar and informs that she is going to see Hachigen Ushōda by request prior to leaping into the air with a confused and screaming Orihime, which leaves Rukia to wonder who she was.

Shortly afterward, Orihime is dumped in the Study Chamber beneath the Visored warehouse in front of Hachigen, who introduces himself and sits ponderously before a nervous Orihime, who inquires about what he wanted to talk about before having her head twisted to the left by Hachigen, to her distress. Hachigen confirms from looking at Orihime's hairpins that they are the source of her power and almost like Zanpakutō, only to bring up one of them being damaged, which has bothered him ever since she first showed up in the Study Chamber. When Orihime explains that it was broken and that she cannot fix it, Hachigen cheerfully offers to fix it for her, causing Orihime to cheer in excitement as an unnerved Kensei Muguruma tells Hachigen that he can stop holding her head now.

Nearby, Mashiro Kuna throws a tantrum over Hachigen fixing Orihime's weapon and demands that the latter be forced to leave, and as an irritated Kensei admonishes her for this, Rōjūrō Ōtoribashi notes that Hachigen probably feels happy because the Visored rarely meet people with abilities similar to their own, which likely feels like discovering a long-lost relative. While Ichigo continues to train with Hiyori nearby, Hachigen lays Orihime's broken hairpin within a cubical barrier and recounts her explanation of not being allowed to fight since it was broken into too many pieces for her to fix, though Orihime notes that this is not correct and is just close enough due to having explained it five times already. However, Hachigen muses that Orihime possessing powers very much like his own means that she should be able to restore these broken pieces with ease as Tsubaki suddenly pops back into existence and berates an amazed Orihime for her expression.

Watching an overjoyed Orihime cuddle an outraged Tsubaki to her face and thank him for enabling this, Hachigen observes that she should be able to join the front line with Tsubaki restored, but advises her against doing so since their abilities being similar means that she is not suited for combat, especially against the Arrancar. When Orihime responds to being asked if she still wants to fight by confidently declaring that she she does, an understanding Hachigen assures her that she will and creates a tiny, cubical barrier between his fingers as he notes that she does not fully understand her abilities yet and must find a solution that will allow her to fight prior to reminding Orihime that what matters is how she wants to be rather than how she should be, which Orihime thanks him for.

Afterward, Orihime emerges from the Hachigyō Sōgai surrounding the warehouse above, and upon seeing Rukia standing nearby, a startled Orihime begins to explain what is inside the barrier, only for Rukia to deny wanting to know since she came here upon detecting a trace of Ichigo's Reiatsu and knows he must not have told her about it for a good reason, since him being safe is enough for her. With Rukia inviting her to leave, Orihime mentally asserts that she will not have to turn to Ichigo this time like she has before out of weakness because she will be able to fight without looking at his back next time they meet prior to verbally agreeing to go with Rukia.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


229. The Howling Tempest

After a month of training, Ichigo Kurosaki and his allies continue to struggle as Sōsuke Aizen gives Ulquiorra Cifer orders to carry out.

Summary:

The cover page of 229. The Howling Tempest.

In Las Noches, Ulquiorra Cifer walks down a hallway and enters a side room to find Yammy Llargo, who is having his right arm reattached by Roka Paramia. When Yammy asks him what he wants as Roka removes the bandages covering his stitches, which she begins pulling out, Ulquiorra observes that he has healed and that it was worth bringing his severed arm back, though Yammy complains about the length of the healing process making him think that his arm was going to rot and wishes that his body could regenerate like Ulquiorra's eyeballs do. In response, Ulquiorra berates him for whining since his arm has been put back on and not completely destroyed like Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez's, which would have caused him to be demoted from the Espada like the latter was. With Yammy conceding to this with his tattoo of the number 10 adorning his left shoulder, Roka informs him that the treatment is complete, and as Yammy stands up and begins curling his fingers to test their responsiveness, Roka inquires about whether there is any loss of mobility or sensitivity compared to before his arm was severed, prompting Yammy to slam his fist down onto her head, crushing it and killing her instantly. While Roka's corpse spurts blood from her neck and collapses, Yammy muses that his arm is not at full strength yet since such a blow would have split her in two if it were, leading an unimpressed Ulquiorra to tell him that they are going since Sōsuke Aizen wants to see them.

On October 29th, in the Visored Study Chamber, Love Aikawa sits with Rōjūrō Ōtoribashi and ruminates on the deep meaning of the line "You are already dead", as it indicates that the people being informed of this by the speaker have not yet realized that they have been killed, though an exasperated Rose wonders if this is meant to sound like the rhetoric of Egon Schiele and requests that Love stop reading his comics before he does since the latter keeps spoiling them for him. Meanwhile, having sent Ichigo Kurosaki crashing into another rock formation, Hiyori Sarugaki tells him to get up and questions if Ichigo knows how many times he could have been killed during their skirmish prior to sarcastically assuming that Ichigo believes Shinigami are supposed to get killed a lot, to Ichigo's annoyance.

Suddenly, Kensei Muguruma announces that it is time for lunch and that whoever is last in line will be cleaning the dishes. Soon afterward, Ichigo grudgingly cleans the dishes as Shinji Hirako inquires about how his training is progressing, prompting Hiyori to disparage Ichigo for only being to keep his mask summoned for a little over ten seconds. When Lisa Yadōmaru suggests that he might not have what it takes and that he should just give up, Ichigo demands that she shut up since she is not even involved in the training, but Lisa counters that she is since she lent him an erotic magazine the other day, which leads a flustered Ichigo to deny having borrowed anything from her and accuse Lisa of telling lies that sound somewhat plausible. Nearby, Love assures Ichigo that it is fine since he borrows the same magazine every couple of days and Lisa asserts that she looks at it twice a day, and when Ichigo declares that he is not a pervert like they are, Lisa proclaims that she is simply really curious instead of a pervert, though Kensei observes that most perverts are curious. Watching this, Shinji ruminates on Ichigo only being at ten seconds after a month, which indicates that it will take time for him, and concludes that the Hōgyoku awakening at the end of December means they have just two more months, which they will have to hurry during.

Back in Las Noches, Ulquiorra and Yammy walk down a long hall and reach a large door, where Ulquiorra announces his arrival. As the doors open automatically, Aizen welcomes them both and promises that this will not take much longer as he stands before a mummified individual with Coyote Starrk, Tier Harribel, Nnoitra Gilga, Luppi Antenor, Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez, and Aaroniero Arruruerie observing. With Aizen holding the Hōgyoku, Ulquiorra asks him about its awakening status, which leads Aizen to confirm that it is only half-awake and will completely awaken exactly when Soul Society expects it to.

However, Aizen reveals that there is a secret which only those who have actually touched the Hōgyoku know, something he does not expect even Kisuke Urahara to know since the latter sealed it away so quickly after developing it and never removed the seal, and elaborates that a dormant Hōgyoku with its seal removed can briefly unleash its full power when it is joined with someone who possesses twice the Reiryoku of an average captain while using his power and the Hōgyoku to shatter the bindings on the individual in front of him, completing their transformation into an Arrancar. Upon being asked for his name by Aizen, the individual identifies himself as Wonderweiss Margela. In turn, a smiling Aizen asks Ulquiorra if the latter remembers the order he was given a month ago, which Ulquiorra confirms, and instructs him to carry it out with whomever he likes joining him on the mission. With Ulquiorra affirming this, Aizen turns to a one-armed Grimmjow and wonders if he would like to go as well.

Back in Karakura Town, an aggravated 11th Division 5th Seat Yumichika Ayasegawa screams in frustration and repeatedly whacks his Zanpakutō against a nearby rock while telling it to break. When 10th Division Lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto throws a rock at his head and questions what is wrong, Yumichika explains that Fuji Kujaku is angering him by being snobby, bossy, and narcissistic, to the point that Yumichika does not believe he can ever externalize his spirit and would not bother even if asked. In turn, Rangiku asserts that Fuji Kujaku is just like Yumichika and claims that Haineko is the total opposite of her as a stupid, needy, and moody slob, but Yumichika counters that this is just like Rangiku, whom he considers to be incredibly vain. When the two of them begin fighting each other over this, 10th Division Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya threatens to send them back to Soul Society if they do not shut up and concentrate prior to lamenting their inability to communicate with their Zanpakutō spirits more quietly while performing Jinzen with his own Zanpakutō next to 11th Division 3rd Seat Ikkaku Madarame, who opens his eyes to notice that the clouds are moving in the sky above them. Though Ikkaku denies having said anything when Hitsugaya notices his reaction, a Garganta begins opening in the air above.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


230. Dead White Invasion

Yammy Llargo, Luppi Antenor, Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez, and Wonderweiss Margela invade Karakura Town.

Summary:

The cover spread of 230. Dead White Invasion.

At the training grounds behind the Thirteenth Division barracks in the Seireitei, Captain Jūshirō Ukitake sits on a small cliff and drinks from a cup of tea as 9th Division Lieutenant Shūhei Hisagi walks up behind him and wonders what he is doing. In response, Ukitake states that he was taking a break to enjoy the show and points to the ground below the cliff, where Rukia Kuchiki and Orihime Inoue are fiercely training with each other. When Hisagi recognizes Rukia, Ukitake identifies Orihime and explains that they have been training for the coming war for the past month, and when Hisagi observes that they seem to be having too much fun, Ukitake affirms this and notes that Rukia has never been good at making friends since she rarely opens up, which left him surprised when she showed up to him in desperation and requested that he open up the training grounds behind the barracks.

With Rukia grinning as she continues to spar with Orihime, Ukitake asserts that he is happy for her since she has found a friend, though Hisagi wonders if this is logical when her friend is a Human. Despite Hisagi requesting forgiveness when Ukitake asks him to not say this, Ukitake concludes that their friendship is a fine thing even though they live in different worlds and points out how Orihime and her friends are unusual enough to potentially become Shinigami themselves when they come to Soul Society, which Hisagi smiles at. Upon being questioned by Ukitake about why he came here and if he wants something, Hisagi hands Ukitake this month's copy of the Seireitei Communication with the mail-order catalogue inside, prompting a surprised Ukitake to inquire about what Hisagi is doing with the publication.

Hisagi laments the chaos that has ensued in the Gotei 13 with 10th Division Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya and Lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto in the Human World, 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki constantly sleeping and Lieutenant Yachiru Kusajishi being unaccounted for, and 12th Division Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi and Lieutenant Nemu Kurotsuchi never leaving the Shinigami Research and Development Institute, leading him to admit that he never thought a captain's duties were so difficult due to Kaname Tōsen never asking his subordinates to do anything. After Hisagi leaves and apologizes for being too busy to continue watching Rukia and Orihime train, Ukitake muses that four months is not much time to mend the heart or build strength, which makes him wish that this fleeting peace could last a little longer.

Simultaneously, in Karakura Town, a Garganta rips open in the sky, alerting Hitsugaya, Rangiku, 11th Division 3rd Seat Ikkaku Madarame, and 5th Seat Yumichika Ayasegawa, to reveal Yammy Llargo, Luppi Antenor, Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez, and Wonderweiss Margela standing within. On the ground below, Yumichika is stunned by the Arrancar showing up earlier than expected, though Hitsugaya observes that there is no time to figure out why they have done so, as Yammy notes that they picked a good spot because there are combatants with strong Reiatsu below them. In turn, Luppi notes that these are Shinigami and likely the reinforcements from Soul Society that the sixth Espada told them about, but snidely corrects himself and addresses Grimmjow as the former sixth Espada after turning to him. However, Grimmjow simply asserts that the man he wants to kill is not down there and leaps away from the Garganta, startling Yammy, who is told by Luppi to let Grimmjow go since the latter is worthless now that he has had his tattoo burned off and is no longer an Espada.

When Yammy realizes that the one he wants to kill is not down there either, Luppi inquires about whether he is referring to the one who cut off his arm, the one who beat him up, or the one who deflected his Cero, prompting a grinning Yammy to declare that he is referring to all of them prior to telling Wonderweiss that it is time to go and berating him for just standing there and drooling, only for Wonderweiss to not respond and continue staring into space, to Yammy's disappointment. Suddenly, Hitsugaya attacks Yammy in a flurry of ice, forcing Yammy to partially draw his Zanpakutō in order to defend himself against the slash, and introduces himself, which leads Yammy to comment on the coincidence since he is Arrancar #10. Upon being identified as an Espada by Hitsugaya, Yammy observes that he must have fought someone who likes to talk if he knows about them. Nearby, Luppi confronts Ikkaku and Yumichika, and when the latter inquires if he is an Espada too, Luppi confirms this and reveals a tattoo of the number 6 on his right hip as Rangiku sees Wonderweiss watching two birds and wonders if she can really justify harming him.

During this, in the Visored Study Chamber, Love Aikawa and Kensei Muguruma pin Ichigo Kurosaki to the ground as the latter attempts to leave and respond to the Arrancar arriving. When Kensei asserts that he is not ready yet and Love suggests that he let his allies from Soul Society handle this since that is what they came here to do, Ichigo counters that he has been training for this too and needs to take the opportunity while he can. Suddenly, Shinji Hirako pulls Kensei off of Ichigo by the strap of his shirt and orders him and Love to let Ichigo go, allowing Ichigo to run up the stairs and move into the sky while Kensei continues to protest this decision. Before Ichigo can get too far, Grimmjow appears in the air before him and declares that he has been looking for Ichigo, who asserts that he has been waiting for Grimmjow in order to show the latter how much stronger he has become while drawing his Shikai, Zangetsu, and holding his hand over his face.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


231. The Mascaron Drive

Orihime Inoue prepares to return to Karakura Town as Ichigo Kurosaki begins his second battle against Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez.

Summary:

The cover page of 231. The Mascaron Drive.

In the Shinigami Research and Development Institute in Soul Society, Rin Tsubokura frantically alerts his fellow technicians to Arrancar Reiatsu being detected in Karakura Town, and after confirming that Gentei Kaijo has been authorized, Hiyosu demands to know what color the Reiatsu on the monitor is, prompting Rin to reveal that it is vermillion and indicates the presence of Espada prior to relaying the arrival of four Arrancar believed to be Espada in northern Karakura Town and their current engagement with 10th Division Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya's Strike Force to Shinigami across the Seireitei through Jigokuchō.

Upon learning of this, 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake calls out to Rukia Kuchiki, who affirms that she just received the same report, and orders her to go to the Senkaimon in front of the division barracks while the Kidō Corps work on opening it. When Orihime Inoue offers to go with her, Rukia reminds her that she does not have a Jigokuchō and will end up in the Dangai if she tries to pass through the Senkaimon, but Ukitake lands behind Orihime and reveals that he just ordered the outer wall stabilized so Orihime can safely pass through the Dangai and return to the Human World shortly. With Ukitake acknowledging that Orihime is in a hurry and telling her to remain calm regardless, which Orihime agrees to, Rukia promises to be waiting for her on the other side and runs up the cliffside toward the Senkaimon while wondering what is happening since the Espada are showing up long before the Hōgyoku was supposed to awaken.

Simultaneously, in Karakura Town, Ichigo Kurosaki activates his Bankai, Tensa Zangetsu, in a burst of black Reiatsu. When Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez scoffs at this since Tensa Zangetsu could not stop him during their last battle, Ichigo reminds him that Tensa Zangetsu gave Grimmjow the scar across his chest, to Grimmjow's irritation, and inquires about what happened to his left arm. In response, Grimmjow claims that he threw it away because he only needs one arm to kill Ichigo, who concludes from this that he does not need to hold back. With a smirking Grimmjow promising that he will die extremely fast if he does, Ichigo mentally notes that he has exactly eleven seconds to finish Grimmjow while Hollowfied and pulls his hand down in front of his face to summon his Hollow mask in an explosion of black Reiatsu. When a shocked Grimmjow demands to know what this is, Ichigo asserts that he does not have time to explain and rapidly moves to Grimmjow with Shunpo before attacking him with Reiatsu trailing off his blade in a powerful slash that Grimmjow barely draws his Zanpakutō in time to block. As Grimmjow struggles to hold him back, Ichigo unleashes a point-blank Getsuga Tenshō that envelops Grimmjow in a surging, crackling, and enormous blast of Reiatsu.

Elsewhere, Yammy Llargo shatters the ice encasing him and mockingly calls it refreshingly cool while Hitsugaya internally realizes that he will have to use his Bankai against Yammy even with the Gentei Kaijo leaving his power unrestricted. Nearby, 11th Division 5th Seat Yumichika Ayasegawa is sent flying by a blow from Luppi Antenor, who reiterates that Yumichika cannot beat him alone. Bleeding from a wound on his left temple, Yumichika simply tells Luppi to shut up, prompting the latter to ask 11th Division 3rd Seat Ikkaku Madarame if he will talk to Yumichika or let the latter die out of exasperation, only for Ikkaku to note that two against one is not his style. Annoyed by this, Luppi asks Yammy to let him have Hitsugaya so he can take Ikkaku, Yumichika, Hitsugaya, and 10th Division Lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto on all at once with his Resurrección, since he considers them too weak to fight individually.

Meanwhile, at the Urahara Shop, 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai insists that Yasutora Sado stay in the Study Chamber and recover from using up too much of his energy while Renji responds to the Arrancar in his stead. However, Kisuke Urahara points out that Renji is just as exhausted, meaning that they both need to stay here and recover, and declares that he will be going out instead as he wields his Shikai, Benihime.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


232. The Mascaron Drive 2

Luppi Antenor activates his Resurrección, Trepadora, as Ichigo Kurosaki soundly overpowers Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez with the power of his Hollow mask.

Summary:

The cover spread of 232. The Mascaron Drive 2.

Upon seeing Luppi Antenor drawing his Zanpakutō, 10th Division Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya recalls Shawlong Koufang doing the same to activate his Resurrección, Tijereta, and refuses to let Luppi do the same as he rushes toward the latter and activates his Bankai, Daiguren Hyōrinmaru. However, a smirking Luppi manages to activate his Resurrección, Trepadora, releasing a huge cloud of steam that envelops Hitsugaya. Suddenly, a thick tentacle hurtles out of the steam and slams into Hitsugaya, who barely blocks it with his left ice wing and is sent skidding back through the air.

Though Hitsugaya comes to a halt and questions if this is the extent of Luppi's Resurrección attack, Luppi simply praises him for being able to stop the attack against expectations and admits that the captains are decent, only to inquire about what Hitsugaya would do if this attack were eight times stronger while the steam clears to reveal seven more identical tentacles attached alongside the first one to a large protrusion on his back. With Hitsugaya stunned by this, Luppi attacks him with Jaula Tentáculo, slamming all eight tentacles into Hitsugaya simultaneously from different angles in an explosion of force. As 10th Division Lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto frantically calls out to a cursing Hitsugaya, who falls out of the air, Luppi reminds the Shinigami that he told them to fight him four-on-one, only to snidely correct himself and describe this as four-on-eight.

Elsewhere, Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez emerges from the point-blank Getsuga Tenshō fired by a masked Ichigo Kurosaki alive, but bleeding profusely across his body, as he realizes this was not just Shinigami power and demands to know how Ichigo accomplished this in just a month. However, Ichigo merely fires another Getsuga Tenshō at Grimmjow, who struggles to block it with his Zanpakutō, and moves behind the latter before reiterating that he does not have time to explain and firing a third Getsuga Tenshō at Grimmjow's back, trapping him between the two blasts. Falling out of the sky with further injuries as Ichigo follows him, Grimmjow angrily fires a Cero from his palm, forcing Ichigo to block it with his sword, and reappears behind Ichigo with Sonído to attack him when Ichigo succeeds in dispersing the blast. Suddenly, with Ichigo blocking this strike with a blade lock and asserting that it is over, his mask shatters and falls off his face, prompting a startled Grimmjow to grin manically and affirm this as he sends Ichigo flying with a slash.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


233. El Violador

Kisuke Urahara joins the fight against Luppi Antenor as Orihime Inoue finds herself confronted by Ulquiorra Cifer.

Summary:

The cover page of 233. El Violador.

Cursing his Hollow mask shattering at the worst possible time, Ichigo Kurosaki falls through the air, having been slashed across the chest by a grinning Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez, who moves down to him with Sonído and slashes with his Zanpakutō, forcing Ichigo to block with the sword of his Bankai, Tensa Zangetsu, while Grimmjow observes that he seems to have used up all of his power since he began panting the second his mask came off. Though he admits that he has been injured pretty badly, Grimmjow concludes that it is over and mocks Ichigo for being unable to beat him even with Ichigo's new power.

Elsewhere, Luppi Antenor uses La Hélice to rapidly spin the tentacles on his back and strike 10th Division Lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto, 11th Division 3rd Seat Ikkaku Madarame, and 5th Seat Yumichika Ayasegawa multiple times with them, leaving the Shinigami bleeding. Unimpressed by this, Luppi questions if they are really officers of the Gotei 13 and continues attack them in boredom as Yammy Llargo sits nearby and grumbles about Luppi keeping him from having anything to do by taking on the Shinigami. Claiming that it would be tiresome to go look for other combatants, Yammy yawns and calls out to Wonderweiss Margela in curiosity about what the latter is doing, only to see him catching a dragonfly and holding it up to his mouth to eat, to Yammy's confusion.

During this, Luppi succeeds in binding Rangiku, Ikkaku, and Yumichika with his tentacles and compliments Rangiku for having such a curvaceous body, but threatens to puncture it with many holes as he uses Hierro Virgen to sprout dozens of spikes from the tip of the tentacle restraining Rangiku, who grimaces upon seeing it hurtle toward her. Suddenly, the tentacle is severed by Kamisori, Benihime, freeing Rangiku and shocking Luppi, and Kisuke Urahara expresses relief at arriving just in time. When an annoyed Luppi questions who he is, Urahara apologizes for not introducing himself and explains that he runs a candy store called the Urahara Shop as he claims that it is delightful to make Luppi's acquaintance and prepares to attack. However, Urahara is interrupted when Wonderweiss gleefully attacks him from behind, forcing Urahara to repel him with Nake, Benihime. As Urahara comments on him being somewhat strange, a smiling Wonderweiss raises his left hand and attacks a startled Urahara once more, drawing blood in the process.

Simultaneously, at the central Senkaimon in the Seireitei, Orihime Inoue is informed of the outer wall of the Dangai being stabilized and allowing her to pass through, prompting her to run inside while profusely thanking the Kidō Corps. Shortly afterward, two unseated Shinigami join her as escorts and explain that it is customary for two Shinigami with their Jigokuchō removed to accompany guests through the Dangai, with Orihime no longer being considered a Ryoka and thus granted this custom. With one of the Shinigami apologizing for the nuisance, Orihime thanks him and mentally promises her friends that she will be able to help out now that she has gotten a little stronger. Suddenly, Ulquiorra Cifer expresses disdain at only two guards accompanying Orihime and asserts that the Shinigami are more incompetent than he thought they were if they do not realize that the Dangai is the most dangerous part of Orihime's journey before emerging from a Garganta behind her.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


Author's Notes

Volume 26 Intro Image.png
I moved.
I've moved once every two years since I came to Tokyo. My parents and editor think I just like moving, but I don't. I just get tired of things quickly and after two years I feel like going somewhere else.
Come to think of it, Bleach has been serialized for 5 years now, hasn't it?

-Tite Kubo

References

  1. Bleach 26 (Japanese). Shueisha.
  2. Bleach, Vol. 26. Viz Media.
  3. This chapter originally appears as "The Right of The Heart" in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine.
  4. This chapter originally appears as "The White Invasion" in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine.

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NO SHAKING THRONE THE MASCARON DRIVE goodbye, halcyon days.

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