The Star and the Stray Dog
Ep32TitleCard.png
Kanji 星と野良犬
Romanji Hoshi to norainu
Episode Number 32
Manga Chapters Chapter 98
Arc Soul Society: The Sneak Entry arc
Chronology
Previous Episode The Resolution to Kill
Next Episode Miracle! The Mysterious New Hero
Airdate
Japanese May 17, 2005
English May 6, 2007
Theme Music
Opening D-tecnoLife
Ending Houkiboshi
Episode 32 Screenshots

The Star and the Stray Dog is the thirty-second episode of the Bleach anime.

6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai remembers his past with Rukia Kuchiki and begs Ichigo Kurosaki to save her in his stead.

Summary

Renji Abarai screams in agony after being wounded.

Screaming in agony after being grievously wounded by Ichigo Kurosaki, 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai falls to his knees, to the shock of Ganju Shiba and 4th Division 7th Seat Hanatarō Yamada, before looking forward, where he envisions Rukia Kuchiki standing in Ichigo's place. As he briefly recalls his history with Rukia, Renji begins reaching forward while mentally asserting that he is the one who did not go after her when she left. In the past, in the Inuzuri district of southern Rukongai, dozens of its inhabitants walk through the central street and purchase items from vendors.

An old man attempts to scare Renji and his friend away.

With Renji observing that the four quarters of the Rukongai divided into 80 districts each were safest at the center next to the Seireitei and extremely dangerous at the outskirts where he was, a young Renji and his friend approach the table of an old man selling jugs of water, who sends a customer off with a smile before swiping at the two boys with a wooden rod. While Renji protests that they did not do anything, another friend of his sneaks underneath the table, remaining unnoticed by the old man.

Renji steals a jug of water from the old man.

As Renji notes that children like them did not know what would happen to them if they even slightly provoked the adults, the old man continues to wave the wooden rod around and tells Renji and his friend to stop staring, prompting Renji to comply by walking away with his friend. However, Renji asserts that he and his friends did anything they could to survive, and upon meeting up with a third friend of his, Renji sees the boy under the table signal that he is done. Telling his other friends to do it, Renji rushes back to the table and grabs a jug of water off of it while his friend crawls out from underneath. Angered by this, the old man attempts to attack him.

The old man loses his balance and knocks over the table.

Suddenly, having had his ankle tied to one of the table's legs by the boy who was underneath it, the old man loses his balance and falls forward, knocking the table's contents onto the ground and spilling water everywhere. After declaring that this serves him right, Renji tells his friends that this is their chance as they pick up jugs of water as well and celebrate acquiring it. When the old man tells them to stop and picks up his wooden rod once more, a surprised Renji instructs his friends to run and begins fleeing, prompting the old man to untie his ankle before pursuing them while promising to not listen if they beg him for forgiveness, which one of the boys realizes he is serious about.

A young Rukia Kuchiki trips up the old man.

Renji tells his friend to shut up and keep running as the old man pursues them through a deserted alleyway. While Renji states that they hated this town, one of his friends claims that he can no longer run. However, as Renji looks ahead and expresses shock, a young Rukia runs past him and his friends before sliding into the old man's ankle, tripping him up and sending him crashing to the ground. With the old man remaining conscious and cursing at her, Rukia repeatedly stomps on the back of his head to keep him down and runs past Renji and his friends, whom she orders to follow her. Though Renji hesitates, Rukia points out that others will come for their water if they do not leave.

Renji gives Rukia a share of the snacks they acquired.

Looking back at the old man lying on the ground, Renji and his friends run after Rukia as Renji concludes that they met in a town like this. Some time later, in a hut in a different part of the Seireitei filled with several other children, Renji holds out a cloth containing something to Rukia, and when she questions what this is, Renji explains that it is her share of the snacks he and his friends acquired which he divided up. When Rukia unfolds the cloth and holds up a small, transparent, spiky and round snack in confusion, Renji observes that it is confetti candy, only for Rukia to be further confused, prompting one of Renji's friends to clarify that it is a sweet candy.

An older boy holds a younger boy's candies out of reach.

As she smiles at this and prepares to eat the candy, Rukia stops upon noticing an older boy holding a younger boy's sack of candies out of reach. With the older boy taunting him and asserting that the candies are his, the younger boy demands that he give them back and manages to grab onto the sack, which is ripped open by the boy's weight, sending the candies flying all over the room. While the younger boy begins to cry at this, the older boy berates him for wanting the candies when he does not have any Reiryoku and reminds the younger boy that he does not get hungry as long as he has water before demanding that the younger boy stop crying.

Rukia pins down the older boy and lectures him.

With a stoic expression on her face, Rukia walks over to the older boy and grabs him by the shoulder to get his attention, where she questions his claim that the younger boy does not need to eat because they are all the same. When the older boy angrily dismisses her as a newbie and attempts to attack her, Rukia kicks the back of his legs, causing him to fall on his back, and pins him down by climbing onto his chest as she proclaims that happiness should be shared among everyone because they can all taste and smell even if they cannot get hungry. Having quieted the rest of the children down with her words, Rukia reprimands the older boy for acting like the adults do.

Renji finds Rukia sitting on a tree branch.

After the older boy confirms that he understands this, Rukia gets off of him and walks over the crying younger boy, whom she gives her own bag of candies so he no longer has to cry before exiting the hut while Renji observes that she did this despite likely being reluctant to give them up. As he runs outside in search of Rukia, Renji notes that she was different because she had an attitude and spoke like a man. Upon seeing Renji searching for her, Rukia calls out to him, leading Renji to see her sitting on a tree branch above him, and inquires if something is wrong, leading an embarrassed Renji to cross his arms and claim that nothing is wrong while blushing.

Rukia stops running for a moment out of fatigue.

A laughing Rukia calls Renji weird and continues laughing as he counters that she is the weird one, and while Renji angrily demands to know what Rukia is laughing at, he admits that there was always an aura of refinement around her regardless of what she did. Some time later, Renji and his friends run through a crowd of people in the marketplace. As she follows them, Rukia comes to a stop and places a hand over her stomach while panting, only to assure Renji that nothing is wrong when he expresses concern before continuing to run along. Eventually, Renji's friends come across a rickshaw and marvel at how shiny it is as they make faces in the reflective surface.

Three adults discuss a local boy becoming a Shinigami.

Nearby, three adults discuss someone they know becoming a Shinigami and the pride of Inuzuri. When one of them expresses a desire to become a Shinigami as well, another dismisses this as unlikely because becoming one requires a great amount of Reiryoku, piquing the interest of Rukia and Renji as they join their friends by the rickshaw. With the adults admitting that they are out of luck in this regard, the driver of the rickshaw emerges from a nearby building and scares Renji's friends away from the rickshaw while berating them for touching it with their dirty hands. As the driver moves to the front of the rickshaw, a Shinigami within the building announces his departure.

Rukia suddenly collapses after the Shinigami passes her.

The adults outside cheer on and encourage the blue-haired Shinigami, who emerges from the building as well and begins walking over to the rickshaw. Suddenly, an astonished Rukia collapses, prompting a concerned Renji to ask her is something is wrong while she struggles to get to her hands and knees. Walking over to Rukia, the Shinigami inquires if she is okay as well before wondering if she and Renji are hungry. Though Rukia denies this, the Shinigami kneels in front of them and assures her that he was also confused when he became hungry in a world where no one is supposed to be hungry, which is a reality they will have to accept.

Renji successfully channels his Reiryoku into an orb.

After theorizing that Rukia's body instantly used up all her Reiryoku after feeling his own Reiatsu, the Shinigami opens and hands her a small basket containing three onigiri, which he instructs Rukia to eat without hesitation, before walking back to his waiting rickshaw as Rukia stares in awe. Some time later, Renji stands with his friends and Rukia in a deserted area while yelling in exertion, eventually resulting in him successfully channeling his Reiryoku into a glowing blue orb above his palm. Clapping in amazement, Renji's friends praise his skill and claim that he will definitely become a real Shinigami one day. However, while Renji basks in this praise, he is distracted by Rukia shining with blue light.

Rukia easily forms a large orb of Reiryoku.

Rukia reveals that she has easily made a large orb of Reiryoku in the palm of her hand, and as his friends gush over how much bigger it is than the orb he produced, an irritated Renji crosses his arms and looks away. When one of Renji's friends suggests that she and Renji both become Shinigami, Rukia dismisses this and asserts that she will always stay in the Rukongai because she wants to be with them. With her friends happy about this decision, Rukia looks to Renji for affirmation, which he confidently gives, and the children celebrate being together forever as they run off. While running after them, Renji reflects on how it did not matter who had Reiryoku back then.

Renji attempts to catch a fish with a spear.

Later, with the sun beginning to go down, Renji notes that Rukia always shined even though she lived in the dregs as Rukia wades into a river and sticks her hands into the water. Upon being told by Rukia that it is coming his way, Renji jabs a spear into the water further along the river, only for the fish he was aiming for to briefly emerge from the water a couple feet away. Annoyed by this, Renji begins walking around the water and stabbing into it in an attempt to catch the fish, and as Rukia begins to warn him that this will allow the other fish to get away, Renji loses his footing and falls completely into the river, leaving Rukia irritated while his friends warm themselves by a fire.

Rukia finds a flower floating in the river.

Emerging from the river, Renji curses and tells Rukia to shut up. However, they all fall silent upon seeing flowers floating down the river toward them. While Rukia picks up one of the flowers and identifies it, a confused Renji notices the fish near his leg and jabs his spear into the water once more, successfully impaling the fish on it. Upon turning to his friends and telling them to get the fire ready after bragging about his talent, Renji finds them staring in awe at Rukia, who continues to hold the flower and smiles as the setting sun shines on her. Though he is also enraptured by this, Renji walks up to his friends and kicks them down in annoyance.

Renji and his friends laugh around the fire.

With Renji berating them for standing around as he kicks them, his friends question why he is doing this as Renji observes that they were a family and always together before they knew it. As night falls and the friends sit around the fire while laughing, Renji notes that this was still a dirty town where the adults were criminals and the kids were delinquents, leaving them surrounded by human garbage with only one way to get out of such a life. Ten years later, Rukia stands with Renji on a cliff overlooking the Rukongai, where she proposes that they become Shinigami so they can live in the Seireitei because she has heard it is nice to live inside there.

Rukia and Renji stand in front of the graves of their friends.

Renji recounts how Inuzuri was too cruel for kids like them to survive in even though they had come together in search of a family, and as he stands in front of the graves of his three friends, Renji agrees to become a Shinigami alongside Rukia. Some time later, Rukia and Renji enroll in the Shin'ō Academy and begin their school life among the arrogant nobles. During one of his classes, Renji insists that the professor allow him to answer the question because he knows what it is, but though he praises Renji's spirit, the professor points out that the other students around Renji would have to stand up in order to let him pass and write the answer on the blackboard.

Rukia finds Renji still sitting in the classroom.

With the professor concluding that he will be the one to write the answer today as a result, an embarrassed Renji sits back down while his classmates laugh at him. As the other students mock him as vulgar and lacking common sense for trying so hard to prove himself as someone who came from Inuzuri in the Rukongai, Rukia expresses irritation and shock at their callous attitudes while the professor orders the class to be silent before moving on to the next problem. Later that day, while all the other students mingle outside, Rukia finds Renji still sitting in the classroom with two books on his section of the elongated desk in front of him.

Rukia encourages Renji to stay enthusiastic about his studies.

Alerted by Rukia calling out to him, Renji gathers up his books and asserts that he cannot be wasting time like this because he is in a special promotion class unlike her and is consequently very busy. However, Rukia informs Renji that she likes it when he raises his hands eagerly as he did earlier, and with Renji blushing in surprise, Rukia insists that he keep showing this enthusiasm. When Renji expresses confusion at this, Rukia walks down the steps and explains how the majority of the students at the academy cannot understand the feelings of people who have led existences like her and Renji because they come from nobility, which cannot be helped.

Rukia meets with Byakuya Kuchiki and Nobutsune Seike.

Affirming this while Rukia walks away, Renji notes that there was still a gap between them and the other students even after they left the Rukongai and recalls his vow to make the noble students eat their words. Some time later, Renji frantically runs through a hallway and weaves around the surprised students in his way as he approaches the sliding doors to Rukia's room at the end, which he opens before announcing to Rukia that he passed the second exam. Suddenly, as he begins to explain what this entails, Renji sees that Rukia is standing with two Shinigami, Byakuya Kuchiki, and the Nobutsune Seike while she stares at him in astonishment.

Rukia reveals that the Kuchiki Clan is adopting her.

With Renji recognizing Byakuya's kenseikan and realizing that he is a noble, Nobutsune observes that they have been interrupted and leaves the room with Byakuya and the two Shinigami after telling Rukia that they hope she will accept their proposal. A sweating Renji finds himself completely unable to move as Byakuya passes him due to the latter's intense Reiatsu, and remains standing there for several seconds after Byakuya and his entourage leave. Snapped out of his stupor by Rukia saying his name, Renji notes that this seemed intense and inquires what the meeting was about, only to be stunned when Rukia reveals that the Kuchiki Clan wishes to adopt her.

Renji congratulates Rukia for her sudden success.

Somberly explaining how they will have her graduate immediately and make arrangements for her to enter the Gotei 13, Rukia expresses doubt over this plan, only to be shocked when Renji proclaims that this is great and points out how the Kuchiki Clan is an important family that will prevent Rukia from ever going hungry again should she join their ranks. With Rukia staring at him, Renji wonders what nobles eat and proclaims that he is jealous over Rukia getting to graduate early as he claps a hand onto her shoulder. After acknowledging this, Rukia removes Renji's hand from her shoulder and positions it sideways in front of his abdomen with both hands.

Rukia tearfully runs away from Renji.

Rukia tearfully thanks Renji and runs away from him, leaving Renji speechless as he reflects on how he repeatedly urged himself to not interfere because Rukia had finally found a family. In the present, Renji falls to his knees and admits that he was really just scared at the time. Cursing himself for being a stray dog who does not have the courage to jump up and grab the star rather than bark at it, Renji forces himself to his feet and walks over to a stunned Ichigo before grabbing him by the collar. As he accuses Ichigo of being the reason Rukia was imprisoned in Senzaikyū and asserts that thinking about it made his blood boil, Renji concedes that this was not the real reason.

Renji begs Ichigo to save Rukia in his stead.

Declaring that it was his fault for not stopping Rukia from joining the Kuchiki Clan and eventually becoming a condemned criminal, Renji expresses his belief that Rukia would find happiness in doing this. Renji details how he has always wanted to defeat Byakuya from the day they first met, but reveals that he has been unable to do so despite training every day since, meaning that he cannot save Rukia through strength. When Renji requests that he save Rukia in his stead despite the shame it brings him, Ichigo somberly promises that he will as Renji mentally asserts that he will put the unreachable star in flames so he does not need to look at it and does not need to slash his throat.

Next Episode Preview

Don Kanonji introduces himself as the charismatic medium of the 21st century, and while a confused Ichigo Kurosaki inquires why they are not continuing to focus on his fight and 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai in the next episode, Don Kanonji declares that this smells like bad spirits and instructs the children nationwide to wait patiently before performing his signature laugh, prompting Ichigo to demand to know what's going on.

Characters in Order of Appearance

  1. Renji Abarai
  2. Hanatarō Yamada
  3. Ganju Shiba
  4. Ichigo Kurosaki
  5. Renji's Unnamed Friends
  6. Rukia Kuchiki (flashback)
  7. Nobutsune Seike (flashback)
  8. Byakuya Kuchiki (flashback)

Music

Timestamp Track Listing
01:27 Bleach OST 1 - 10 - Will of the Heart
03:48 Bleach OST 1 - 03 - Comical World
04:53 Bleach 5th Anniversary Box CD 1 - 06 - BL_21
06:45 Bleach OST 1 - 24 - Peaceful Afternoon
09:17 Bleach 5th Anniversary Box CD 1 - 02 - BL_56
09:57 Bleach OST 4 - 23 - Wrapped In Kindness
11:34 Bleach OST 1 - 22 - Going Home
15:17 Bleach OST 1 - 13 - Burden Of The Past
16:17 Bleach 5th Anniversary Box CD 1 - 03 - BL_73
18:47 Bleach OST 1 - 19 - Never Meant To Belong

Anime Notes

  • The old man chasing Renji Abarai and his friends pretending to count to ten as a period for them to give back what they stole, only to skip two through nine.
  • Renji describing Rukia as the center of him and his friends.

  • Renji falling to his knees and seeing Rukia standing in Ichigo Kurosaki's place, causing him to reach out while admitting that he was the one who did not follow when she left.
  • Renji noting that he and his friends did anything to survive in a district where they did not know what the adults would do given the slightest provocation as they succeed in stealing jugs of water from the old man by tying one of the legs of the table he is selling them on to his ankle and provoking him into trying to chase after them, causing him to trip and knock the table over, though he gets up and unties the rope before giving chase as they flee.
  • Rukia being given a portion of the sweets stolen by Renji and his friends as thanks for her help, only to give them to another child after lecturing an older boy who stole that child's sweets before running outside, where she sits in a tree and mocks Renji when he runs outside to check on her, leaving him irritated.
  • Rukia experiencing hunger while running through a crowd, only to assure Renji that she is fine as they and their friends gather around a metal rickshaw carriage, which they learn is for a Rukongai denizen who has become a Shinigami as he exits a nearby house and passes Rukia, causing her to collapse from his Reiatsu and leading him to give her and her friends his food while explaining how they will need it if they have Reiryoku.
  • Renji successfully forming an orb of Reiryoku above his hand with considerable effort, to the amazement of his friends, only for them to be stunned by Rukia creating a larger orb easily.
  • Renji looking away in irritation as his and Rukia's friends praise her spiritual powers and suggest that they both become Shinigami, only for Rukia to promise that she will stay with them forever, leaving Renji happy as he admits that it did not matter who did and did not have spiritual powers back then.
  • Rukia and Renji hunting for fish in a river, where Renji succeeds in catching one while Rukia happily picks up one of the flowers floating down the water, leaving Renji and his friends in awe of her grace.
  • Rukia, Renji, and their friends sitting around a fire and laughing, only for the latter to begin disappearing one by one.
  • Renji enthusiastically requesting to write the answer to a question on the blackboard in class at the Shin'ō Academy, only for the instructor to note that the students around him would have to get up in order for him to come down and do so before concluding that he will do this instead while the other students laugh and mock Renji, who is left embarrassed.
  • Rukia approaching Renji after class and insisting that he remain enthusiastic in class before reminding him that the other students cannot understand the struggle of their lives in the Rukongai, leading Renji to observe that there still remained a huge gap between them and the elite before vowing to make them eat their words about him.
  • Renji maneuvering around multiple students in the hallway as he runs toward Rukia's room.
  • Renji declaring that his blood boiled every time he thought of how Ichigo caused Rukia to be sentenced to death, only to instead assign blame to himself for not stopping Rukia from joining the Kuchiki Clan clan and thus causing her to become a condemned criminal.
  • Renji declaring that he will put the unreachable fang within reach so that he does not need to look at the star or tear open his own throat.

  • Renji does not bleed as heavily while moving toward Ichigo.

  • In the manga, the old man chasing Renji and his friends is intoxicated and drooling while chasing them with a sickle; here, he is instead sober and chases them with a wooden club.
  • In the manga, Rukia stops the old man by tripping him up while standing; here, she instead slides into his feet on the ground.
  • In the manga, Renji notes that they and Rukia met in Inuzuri while Rukia is tripping up the old man; here, he instead does so after they all escape.
  • In the manga, the orb of Reiryoku formed by Rukia is roughly the size of her hand and slightly deformed; here, it is instead roughly the size of her head and perfectly spherical.
  • In the manga, Renji hits his friends for fawning over Rukia after she displays her spiritual powers; here, they instead does so after she picks up a flower in the river.

  • When reflecting after begging Ichigo to save Rukia, Renji recites the volume 11 poem.

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