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WHITE TOWER ROCKS
BleachVolume14Cover
Poem
"Creak, creak, tower of purgatory
Piercing the world like light
Sway, sway, tower of spine
Will it be us or the sky that falls?"
Cover Hanatarō Yamada
Volume 14
Pages 200
Anime Episodes 40 - 43
Release Data
Print (J) September 3, 2004
ISBN (J) 4-08-873649-4[1]
Print (US) August 1, 2006
ISBN (US) 1-4215-0612-2[2]
Chapter List
Shueisha 116. WHITE TOWER ROCKS

117. Remnant 2 [Deny the Shadow]
118. The Supernal Tag
119. Secret of the Moon
120. Shake Hands With Grenades
121. In Sane We Trust
122. Don't Lose Your Grip On
123. Pledge My Pride To

Viz Media 116. WHITE TOWER ROCKS

117. Remnant 2 (Deny the Shadow)
118. Supernal Tag
119. Secret of the Moon
120. Shake Hands with Grenades
121. In Sane We Trust
122. Don't Lose Your Grip
123. Pledge My Pride

WHITE TOWER ROCKS is the fourteenth volume of the Bleach manga series.

Publisher's summary

Ichigo Kurosaki and Yoruichi Shihōin race to save Ichigo's friends from Rukia Kuchiki's cold-blooded brother, Byakuya Kuchiki. They arrive to find Ganju in tatters, and Rukia with him. Ichigo is bent on defeating her brother this time, but he is nowhere near prepared. Can he learn decades' worth of skill in just a matter of days?

Bleach All Stars

All-Stars
涅 マユリ
Mayuri Kurotsuchi
Ep215OrihimeCharaPic 石田 雨竜
Uryū Ishida
Ep29MayuriCharaPic 井上 織姫
Orihime Inoue
Ep269UryuCharaPic

Ep286ByakuyaCharaPic 朽木 ルキア
Rukia Kuchiki
Ep216IchigoCharaPic2
朽木 白哉
Byakuya Kuchiki
Ep320RukiaCharaPic 黒崎 一護
Ichigo Kurosaki



Chapters

116. White Tower Rocks

Having been saved and partially healed by Yoruichi Shihōin, who reveals her true form to him, Ichigo Kurosaki heads to Senzaikyū to save his friends upon sensing 6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki's Reiatsu there.

Summary:

116Cover

The cover pages of 116. White Tower Rocks.

At the Ugendō Quarters in the Thirteenth Division barracks, Captain Jūshirō Ukitake is shocked to learn of 5th Division Captain Sōsuke Aizen's murder, and when asked about the time and motive of this by Ukitake, the Riteitai relaying this to him details how it happened earlier today and neither the murderer nor motive are known, prompting Ukitake to wonder what happened while he was sleeping before asserting that he will get to the bottom of this.

Meanwhile, on the bridge leading to the Shishinrō within Senzaikyū, Ganju Shiba and 4th Division 7th Seat Hanatarō Yamada are terrified to see 6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki approaching. When Hanatarō notices that he recognizes Byakuya, Ganju describes him as being a member of the Kuchiki Clan, one of the four highest-ranked noble families, and the most powerful leader in the history of his family as well as the most famous of the Gotei 13 captains. Bemoaning Byakuya showing up at a time like this, Ganju bluntly states that they have no chance of defeating him and nervously proposes begging for their lives in a bid to convince him to let them go. Though a surprised Hanatarō questions what he is talking about and suggests that they run off with Rukia Kuchiki, Ganju points out how there is no way out other than crossing the bridge, which will lead to Byakuya killing them, and angrily demands to know if Hanatarō expects him to risk his life for Rukia, his brother's murderer.

With a somber Rukia remaining silent, a trembling Hanatarō acknowledges that there is no reason for Ganju to fight for Rukia because this rescue was never personal for him before requesting that Ganju take Rukia with him while he stops Byakuya, shocking Ganju and Rukia. Upon being asked by a stunned Ganju if he knows what he is doing, Hanatarō affirms this and admits that he would do the same thing Ganju is doing if he were in the latter's position due to not wanting to risk his life for an enemy, and when an incredulous Ganju clarifies that he is referring to how Byakuya's Reiatsu is at least as powerful as 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki's, which is something neither of them can handle, Hanatarō confirms this, only to explain that he cannot leave without trying to save Rukia after coming so far in order to do so. Bowing to Ganju, Hanatarō thanks him for everything and expresses hope that they will meet again.

Hanatarō turns and begins walking onto the bridge toward Byakuya, leaving Rukia to desperately call out to him in an attempt to stop him. As he holds his arm out in front of Rukia to stop her from following, Ganju observes that Hanatarō does not even have a Zanpakutō and is still visibly shaking in fear before yelling as he walks over to the wall and slams his forehead into it, startling Hanatarō. Walking up to Hanatarō with a bleeding forehead, Ganju orders him to move and kicks him back to Rukia's cell as he turns to face Byakuya. After mentally apologizing to Kaien Shiba because his revenge will have to wait due to Kūkaku Shiba not raising a coward who would abandon a friend, Ganju addresses Byakuya and declares that the latter will have to get past him.

Within the Study Chamber inside Sōkyoku Hill nearby, Ichigo Kurosaki sleeps on a mat surrounded by a healing field near the hidden entrance, and as he opens his eyes, Ichigo wonders where he is while realizing that he is not dead. When Yoruichi Shihōin approaches him, Ichigo expresses relief that the former is alright, prompting Yoruichi to note that Ichigo is not exactly in good shape. Upon being thanked by Ichigo for saving him, Yoruichi states that it was due to Ichigo's own will to live as much as anything and admits surprise as his wounds not having killed him instantly. However, as he recalls how badly he was injured during his fight with Kenpachi, Ichigo bolts up, causing his chest wound to begin bleeding, and responds to Yoruichi demanding to know what he is so worked up about by claiming that he has to help Yasutora Sado due to the latter being in danger. Yoruichi pushes Ichigo back down and reveals that Sado, Orihime Inoue, and Uryū Ishida are alright before noting that they are merely hurt but still alive after having fought the right people, with Orihime and Uryū escaping almost entirely unharmed.

Instructing Ichigo to stay in the healing field because his multiple crushed organs make him of little use to his friends right now, Yoruichi observes that Ichigo would have been cut in half had he not had a certain object in his pocket and expresses surprise that he still has it, leading Ichigo to look over and see that Yoruichi is holding up a Hollow mask with its left eye socket destroyed and cracked, which he is astonished to learn was in his pocket. With Yoruichi expressing confusion at his reaction, Ichigo details how he was told the mask saved him when he fought 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai yesterday, but threw it into one of the underground canals after Hanatarō insisted that he get rid of it, to Yoruichi's shock. After clarifying that Hanatarō is a member of the Fourth Division who healed him prior, Ichigo picks up the mask and wonders how it ended up with him once more, and when Yoruichi decides to hold onto it, Ichigo begins to protest due to only just having gotten it back, but Yoruichi threateningly orders him to hand it over, which prompts an intimidated Ichigo to give it back. While Ichigo grumbles about the belligerence of this request, Yoruichi mentally notes that it is better to be safe than sorry despite how unlikely the envisioned scenario is.

When Ichigo comments on how amazing Yoruichi is, the latter questions this, prompting Ichigo to detail how Yoruichi is unharmed despite the area being patrolled by captains and managed to carry him here with such a small body, only to be told this was not difficult in Yoruichi's original form. Registering what he was just told, Ichigo expresses bewilderment, and after noting that it had been kept secret from Ichigo and his friends all this time, Yoruichi decides to show Ichigo her true form and transforms into a tall, dark-skinned woman, leaving Ichigo speechless with shock. Yoruichi observes that most people assume she is male due to how she sounds in her cat form and mocks the foolish reactions she receives whenever she reveals her true form, which she takes great pleasure in eliciting, before attempting to show Ichigo how she brought him here as she holds up a bone wand, only for a heavily blushing Ichigo to demand that she put on some clothes.

Apologizing, Yoruichi begins getting dressed while noting that she has not worn clothes in a long time and teases Ichigo about being so prudish when it comes to seeing a naked woman. With a still-blushing Ichigo reiterating his request for her to get dressed as he looks away, Yoruichi inquires if he is sure that he does not want to take this chance due to it possibly being his last opportunity, prompting a flustered Ichigo to declare that this is none of her business. As Yoruichi criticizes his sense of humor and claims that other people must consider him boring, Ichigo claims that this is not the case as he realizes that Yoruichi is not wearing pants and reminds her that she is supposed to get dressed from the bottom up. After getting fully dressed, Yoruichi holds up the bone wand she used to transport Ichigo here and asks him if his stomach wound is better before observing that he likely made it worse by screaming so much as Ichigo clutches his bleeding abdomen and mentally calls her a jerk. While examining the bone wand, Ichigo reiterates Yoruichi's explanation of it allowing the user to fly when filled with Reiryoku, and when Yoruichi proudly describes it as a rare and valuable artifact even within Soul Society, Ichigo notes that she still managed to acquire it and lists off Yoruichi's healing prowess, ability to change forms, and possession of unusual artifacts as he questions just who she is.

However, as Yoruichi begins to explain, she and Ichigo suddenly experience the crushing sensation of Byakuya's Reiatsu, leading Ichigo to recognize it as belonging to the man who destroyed his Shinigami powers and took Rukia from the Human World. When Yoruichi realizes that it is coming from Senzaikyū, Ichigo grabs his Shikai, Zangetsu, and begins running off. Upon being asked by Yoruichi what he plans to do, Ichigo asserts that he has to save Ganju and Hanatarō, who were headed to Senzaikyū, because no one else will before channeling his Reiryoku into the bone wand, causing a large bat-like wing to unfurl as the wand wraps itself around his arm and propels him into the air, leaving Yoruichi to angrily call him a fool.

Back on the bridge to the Shishinrō, Byakuya continues to exert his Reiatsu as he recounts how he came to see what terrible foe had gained entry to the cell by concealing its Reiatsu upon sensing someone moving toward this location, only to conclude by expressing his disappointment at finding a bug instead. Far behind Ganju, Rukia attempts to run after Ganju and stop him despite Hanatarō's protests, but ends up collapsing, leading her to realize that her body will not move the way she wants it to after losing so much Reiryoku from being kept in her Sekkiseki cell. Despite this, Hanatarō assures her that Ganju likely has a brilliant plan in mind due to how confidently he confronted Byakuya. Despite this, after mentally observing that it would be a waste of time to use tricks against someone as strong as Byakuya given how intense his Reiatsu is, Ganju decides to take his chances and rushes at Byakuya with his cleaver drawn, leaving Rukia and Hanatarō to express shock at him not having a plan after all.

Suddenly, as Ganju attempts to use his "Tears of Blood" smoke bombs, Byakuya appears behind him and tells Ganju to disappear because his sword is not for crushing vermin while Ganju finds his left arm slashed from his shoulder to his inner elbow, causing blood to spurt into the air as Ganju screams in pain. Hanatarō calls out to him in concern as Byakuya continues approaching him and Rukia, but Ganju demands that Byakuya stop. When Byakuya reiterates his order for Ganju to disappear, Ganju asserts that he does not care if Byakuya is a famous noble and proclaims that the Shiba Clan does not produce cowards who run away from fights so easily. Upon hearing Ganju mention that he is a Shiba, Byakuya apologizes for dismissing him and promises that Ganju will not leave here alive as he draws his Zanpakutō. With Ganju wondering what Byakuya plans to do from such a distance and Rukia pleading with him to not do this, Byakuya releases his Shikai, Senbonzakura, causing the blade of his Zanpakutō to separate into a thousand slender blade petals. While Rukia screams at him to run, a stunned Ganju is slashed in multiple areas of his body at once by the blade petals, leaving him to collapse as he loses consciousness and a large amount of blood.

Seeing a petrified Hanatarō watching this, Byakuya turns to him and raises his Zanpakutō handle to attack once more despite Rukia moving between the two of them and begging him to stop, only for Ukitake to appear behind him and grab his wrist before he can follow through. As he comments on how dangerous it is around here, Ukitake tells Byakuya he has done enough, and when Rukia calls out to him in astonishment, Ukitake kindly greets her while observing that she has lost weight and inquiring how she has been. Upon being asked by Byakuya what he is doing here, Ukitake claims that he should be the one asking this question and points out how there is a ban against drawing one's Zanpakutō even if it is done for the purpose of driving off Ryoka. Byakuya merely informs Ukitake that there is a wartime exemption permitting this in effect, leaving Ukitake incredulous at such a measure being taken over the appearance of a few Ryoka as he questions if Aizen was killed by one of them.

However, both Ukitake and Byakuya are shocked upon sensing a powerful Reiatsu approaching their location, and as Ukitake describes it as being captain-level despite not recognizing it, Hanatarō realizes who it belongs to as Rukia sees Ichigo hurtle from under the bridge into the air above her with the aid of the bone wand. Landing in front of Rukia while the others watch in astonishment, Ichigo walks past her as she attempts to address him and apologizes to Hanatarō for sending him and Ganju ahead as Hanatarō tearfully recounts what has happened. As he acknowledges this, Ichigo turns to Rukia and declares that he has come to rescue her, only for Rukia to remain silent. When Ichigo questions why she is not at least smiling after he came all this way to help her, an emotional Rukia reminds him that she told him to not come after her and points out how injured Ichigo is. Despite this, Ichigo merely acknowledges that he is an idiot, and as he looks over Ganju's bloody form, Ichigo gives Rukia permission to yell at him as much as she wants after he beats Byakuya.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


117. Remnant 2 [Deny the Shadow]

Ichigo Kurosaki confronts 6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki on the bridge to Senzaikyū, where he demonstrates his improved power and skill.

Summary:

117Cover

The cover page of 117. Remnant 2 [Deny the Shadow].

With Ichigo Kurosaki staring down 6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki on the bridge leading to Senzaikyū, Rukia Kuchiki calls out to him as she stands nearby, prompting Ichigo to question if she intends to tell him to give up and assert that Rukia is coming with him even if she wants to be executed before declaring that he is rejecting all of her protests. Flabbergasted by Ichigo deciding to ignore the wishes of the person he is saving, Rukia demands to know what kind of tyrannical rescue this is, only for Ichigo to claim that he does not want to hear any snide remarks from the one who needs rescuing as he instructs her to find a corner where she can tremble and beg for help. After staring at Ichigo in mutual irritation for a few seconds, a smiling Rukia observes that Ichigo has not changed at all and still does not listen to her. Questioning why he would, Ichigo notes that Rukia always worries about him and should worry about herself instead. With Ichigo assuring her that he will not get himself killed because he has gotten stronger, Rukia recalls Kaien Shiba smiling and emotionally shuts her eyes.

Meanwhile, as he stares in shock at Ichigo, 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake asks Byakuya who he is, leading Byakuya to assure him that Ichigo is not related to the one Ukitake is thinking of and is just a nobody Ryoka. Byakuya declares that he will dispose of Ichigo and allow this trifling conflict to come to an end, and as he begins approaching, Ichigo comments on Byakuya's arrogance in not attacking while he and Rukia were talking. After wondering who Ichigo thinks he is speaking to, Byakuya inquires if the former thought Byakuya would attack while his guard was down and criticizes Ichigo's confidence before exerting his Reiatsu, causing Rukia to fall to her knees. While Rukia and 4th Division 7th Seat Hanatarō Yamada affirm with each other that they are okay, Ichigo draws his Shikai, Zangetsu, as Byakuya observes that he has improved from when they last met if he can remain unfazed within such Reiatsu. Though he admits that he is uncertain of how Ichigo regained his Shinigami powers, Byakuya asserts that he should have enjoyed a peaceful life in the Human World because coming here to lose the life that Byakuya spared was foolish. However, Ichigo states that he does not plan on losing it and proclaims that he will be going home after he beats Byakuya, who reiterates his criticism of Ichigo's confidence once more as he disappears from view with Shunpo.

While Rukia remembers Byakuya using Senka against Ichigo in their previous encounter, Byakuya attempts to attack Ichigo from behind with his Zanpakutō, but Ichigo intercepts his stab with Zangetsu at the last second and notes Byakuya's criticism of his confidence before grinning as he tells a stunned Byakuya that he can see him and repels his attack, pushing Byakuya back. As he looks at Ichigo, Byakuya once again comments on his improvement and holds his Zanpakutō in front of him while promising to demonstrate the difference in their skills before Ichigo can drown in his newfound strength, as the latter could not beat him in a thousand years. With Rukia screaming at Ichigo to run, Byakuya attempts to release his Shikai, Senbonzakura, only for Yoruichi Shihōin to appear and bind the entire blade in cloth before he can finish, leaving those present stunned by her arrival.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


118. The Supernal Tag

Intervening in the conflict on the bridge, Yoruichi Shihōin saves Ichigo Kurosaki from 6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki and demonstrates her formidable prowess in Shunpo.

Summary:

118Cover

The cover page of 118. The Supernal Tag.

As he rests in his cell with his arms restrained, 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai is confronted by his Zanpakutō Spirit, Zabimaru, who criticizes Renji for still being asleep. While Renji expresses annoyance at this being the only thing Zabimaru has to say after all this time, Zabimaru asserts that they are fully recovered and ready to fight, meaning that it is Renji's turn to get better so they can fight Zangetsu once more, which Zabimaru declares they will beat next time. However, Renji reveals that Ichigo Kurosaki is not his enemy anymore, and as a surprised Zabimaru acknowledges this and questions who Renji's enemy is now, Renji merely stares out the barred window next to Zabimaru.

Meanwhile, on the bridge leading to Senzaikyū, Yoruichi Shihōin stands between Ichigo and 6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki. When 4th Division 7th Seat Hanatarō Yamada wonders who she is, Rukia Kuchiki expresses recognition of Yoruichi's name and identifies her as the former Commander-In-Chief and Corps Commander of the Onmitsukidō. While Byakuya admits that he thought Yoruichi was dead after not hearing of her for over a century, Ichigo thanks Yoruichi for coming to help him, only to request that she stay out of this because he has to defeat Byakuya. However, Yoruichi dismisses the idea of this being possible and moves over to Ichigo with Shunpo before jabbing her hand into his stomach wound, shocking those present. With a confused Ichigo collapsing, Yoruichi catches and hoists him over her shoulder, prompting Ukitake to observe that she shoved a powerful anesthetic like Gaten or Hōten directly into his organs as he questions if she intends to heal him.

When Byakuya declares that he will not allow this and that she cannot escape from here, Yoruichi inquires if he considers himself to be her equal and if he has ever once beaten her in a game of tag, which leads Byakuya to suggest that they give it another try as he and Yoruichi disappear with Shunpo. Upon seeing Yoruichi appear behind him, Byakuya turns around and slashes at her with his Zanpakutō, only to discover she is gone as Yoruichi reappears on the far end of the bridge behind Ukitake. However, as Yoruichi lands, Byakuya appears behind her and mocks her for believing that she could outrun him with such mediocre Shunpo before slashing her across the chest, severing her left arm in the process. Suddenly, Yoruichi's falling body transforms into a cut piece of fabric as the real Yoruichi lands on a stunned Byakuya's outstretched arm and mocks him for believing that he could stop her with such mediocre Shunpo. After moving to the roof of a nearby building, Yoruichi promises to make Ichigo stronger than Byakuya in three days, and as she declares a truce until that point while acknowledging how self-serving it is, Yoruichi proclaims that she will not be captured if Byakuya pursues her before disappearing with Shunpo.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


119. Secret of the Moon

While 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake resolves the conflict on the bridge to Senzaikyū, Orihime Inoue and Uryū Ishida blend in with the Shinigami by donning shihakushō as Yoruichi Shihōin brings Ichigo Kurosaki to a hidden location.

Summary:

119Cover

The cover pages of 119. Secret of the Moon.

As Yoruichi Shihōin leaps across the Seireitei with an unconscious Ichigo Kurosaki over her shoulder, 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake observes that they got away, and when 6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki walks away from the bridge leading to Senzaikyū, Ukitake questions where he is going and what should be done about the Ryoka on the bridge. With Byakuya claiming to have lost interest and giving him permission to do as he wishes with them, a confused Ukitake comments on his moody nature while Rukia Kuchiki suddenly collapses behind him, to 4th Division 7th Seat Hanatarō Yamada's concern. Ukitake realizes that Rukia must have been concentrating the whole time Byakuya was here and calls out his 3rd Seats, Sentarō Kotsubaki and Kiyone Kotetsu, who leap up onto the bridge and kneel in front of him as Hanatarō assumes they are new enemies.

Upon being asked by an unnerved Ukitake how long they have been here after he notes that they followed him, Sentarō reveals that they have been present since Ukitake first arrived on the bridge, and when Ukitake reminds them that he instructed them to not follow him because it was dangerous, Sentarō proclaims that his undying respect for Ukitake would not allow him to idly sit by, prompting an irritated Kiyone to assert that this is also true for her and that she respects Ukitake more than Sentarō does. While Sentarō and Kiyone begin to argue over this claim, an embarrassed Ukitake orders Kiyone to contact the Fourth Division and have them send an advanced rescue unit for the critically wounded man lying nearby, surprising Hanatarō, before telling Sentarō to put Rukia back in her cell.

Though Hanatarō attempts to stop him, Sentarō angrily tells him to move aside and denies wanting to do this, intimidating Hanatarō. Gently picking up an unconscious Rukia, Sentarō assures her that he and Ukitake will get her out of her cell by talking to the higher-ups as he carries her back into the Shishinrō, leading Kiyone to declare that she is more worried about Rukia than Sentarō is and that she will be the one to get Rukia out alongside Ukitake as she runs after them. With Sentarō and Kiyone continuing to argue as Kiyone prepares to contact the Fourth Division, Hanatarō approaches Ukitake, who observes that he is probably wondering why Ukitake is letting him live, which a surprised Hanatarō confirms. As he questions why he would not, Ukitake points out how they still do not know who killed 5th Division Captain Sōsuke Aizen, which the Ryoka may have information about, and thus he could not kill Hanatarō until this has been investigated, but clarifies that Hanatarō attempting to save one of his subordinates is more important to him even if it was through questionable means and promises that he will not stand by and watch Hanatarō get killed.

Meanwhile, in another part of the Seireitei, 9th Division 20th Seat Toshimori Umesada is informed by Orihime Inoue that they did not find any Ryoka in a nearby area. Acknowledging this, Toshimori instructs the Shinigami under his command to search every square inch of a nearby street and warns them that the cunning Ryoka will try to sneak past them, which they comply with as they run off. Orihime and Uryū Ishida stand before Toshimori while dressed in Shinigami shihakushō, and upon being asked by Toshimori if they are new after he thanks Orihime for the report, Orihime cheerfully affirms this and claims that this is her first term of service while Uryū meekly states that he is reporting for duty. After inspecting the two of them, Toshimori comments on Orihime's attractiveness and lecherously suggests that she come over to his residence tonight, to her confusion. Toshimori introduces himself as one of the fifteen 20th Seat officers selected for the 9th Division this year and claims to be the most successful member of his class, but finds Uryū standing between him and Orihime as he promises that she will not regret doing this.

With an irritated Toshimori questioning what he is doing, Uryū calmly observes that a man of his position does not have time for entertaining with Ryoka on the loose in the Seireitei and a special wartime exemption issued. Though angered by the idea of Uryū lecturing him as he clutches the former by the collar, Toshimori is distracted when the Shinigami he sent to investigate the street report that they did not find anyone and request new orders, leading him to run off in order to deal with this as he promises to make Uryū pay for this once the current conflict is settled. While Uryū sticks out his tongue and notes that this is fine because he will be long gone by the time the conflict is over, Orihime thanks him for his help, leaving an embarrassed Uryū to assert that he simply does not like men like Toshimori while Orihime expresses delight at how well her plan is going, which she did not expect. Affirming that Orihime is clever, Uryū recalls how they got here.

In the past, as he huddles behind some bushes with Orihime, Uryū is shocked by Orihime's suggestion that they steal uniforms from Shinigami. Orihime clarifies that they will be borrowing rather than stealing, though Uryū fails to see the difference, and points out how they heavily resemble the Shinigami aside from their clothing, which means that they can move around unnoticed if they dress like the Shinigami. Upon noticing two Shinigami approaching their location, one male and one female, Orihime jumps out alongside Uryū on the count of three and swiftly knocks them out. Shortly afterward, with the two Shinigami bound and gagged in a warehouse, Orihime takes their clothes and apologetically assures them that they will just be borrowing their uniforms. When an unnerved Uryū expresses surprise at how quickly she knocked out the two Shinigami, Orihime details how Tatsuki Arisawa taught her some karate and told her that she could easily reach the rank of first dan, prompting a stunned Uryū to mentally note that he should never fight her. As she declares that it is time for them to change, Orihime begins taking off her shirt, only for a shocked and blushing Uryū to avert his gaze while demanding to know what she is doing. Bashfully stating that Uryū is right about boys and girls not changing in the same room and admitting that she thought she was with Tatsuki for a second, Orihime quickly prepares a changing room for Uryū with a fabric cover slung over a piece of rope in front of some crates, leaving him to begin putting on a shihakushō behind it as he observes with confusion that it is normally supposed to be the other way around.

In the present, with Uryū sitting on some stairs and blushing as he remembers this, Orihime writes in a notebook and recounts how they learned the location of Senzaikyū from the two Shinigami earlier before concluding that the others are likely already on their way there. When Orihime concludes that Ichigo is probably already there with a happy expression, Uryū gets up and decides that they should hurry in order to get there before Ichigo screws everything up, which Orihime agrees with. While Orihime and Uryū discuss which division they should belong to because they need to be ready to provide such information immediately if asked, 12th Division Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi makes himself visible on the steps near where they were located prior and watches them depart.

Elsewhere, Yoruichi enters a hidden room within the Study Chamber inside Sōkyoku Hill and drops Ichigo on the ground as she pants heavily while carrying Ichigo's Shikai, Zangetsu, on her back. Noting that she became this exerted after only performing a few hundred consecutive Shunpo movements due to being out of action for one hundred years, Yoruichi claims that she is getting old. After wrapping Ichigo in a blanket, Yoruichi sits against the wall across from him and urges him to wake up due to his need to get stronger before promising to discuss the true power of Zangetsu with him once he does.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


120. Shake Hands With Grenades

Yoruichi Shihōin reveals the existence of Bankai to Ichigo Kurosaki while Orihime Inoue and Uryū Ishida walk into 12th Division Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi's trap.

Summary:

120Cover

The cover page of 120. Shake Hands With Grenades.

Standing with Ichigo Kurosaki in a Study Chamber within Sōkyoku Hill, Yoruichi Shihōin notes that they do not have time for him to heal completely and that Ichigo will have to endure the pain he is in.

In the past, Ichigo grabs Yoruichi by the collar and slams her against the wall as he demands to know why she removed him from the confrontation on the bridge leading to Senzaikyū even though he had the best chance of survival of anyone there. With Ichigo claiming that Rukia Kuchiki, Ganju Shiba, and 4th Division 7th Seat Hanatarō Yamada are going to get killed now, Yoruichi questions his confidence in his power and coldly asserts that no one present could have fought 6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki and lived before flipping a belligerent Ichigo onto his back with Taketonbo, leaving him gasping for air. As she instructs Ichigo to stop shouting so he does not reopen his wounds, Yoruichi explains that carrying him away was the best she could do since it was the only way to escape Byakuya, and when Ichigo inquires why she took him and not Rukia, Yoruichi acknowledges this and reiterates that no one there had any hope of defeating Byakuya, only to reveal that Ichigo might have a chance the others would not in three days, making him the only logical choice. Ichigo stares in astonishment as Yoruichi points out how 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake was also there and assures Ichigo that he will imprison but not kill Ganju and Hanatarō due to being a very dutiful man. Concluding that they will be alright, Yoruichi states that Ichigo only needs to concentrate on becoming stronger now and promises to train him for three days so that he can defeat Byakuya and save his friends with his own hands.

In the present, while Ichigo draws his Shikai, Zangetsu, Yoruichi asks him if he is aware that Zangetsu is a constant release-type Zanpakutō, prompting a surprised Ichigo to realize that she is referring to the classification that 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki's Zanpakutō falls under and admit that he always knew Zangetsu was different from others since it never changes shape even if he calls its name. When Yoruichi observes that he also does not know that Zangetsu has a second stage of release, Ichigo can only stare in astonishment as she details how all Zanpakutō have two stages of release, Shikai and Bankai, before revealing that it is mandatory for a captain to be able to perform both. Clarifying that this means every captain has mastered Shikai and Bankai with one exception, which is Kenpachi himself, Yoruichi explains how Kenpachi is the only Shinigami in the history of Soul Society to become a captain without being able to perform Bankai or even knowing the name of his Zanpakutō due to his immense fighting prowess.

Yoruichi elaborates that, though it is dependent on its wielder's innate talent and training, a Zanpakutō's Bankai is generally five to ten times stronger than its Shikai, further shocking Ichigo, but admits that this power difference requires at least ten years of training to fully master even for someone with great talent. With Ichigo reminding her that he does not have this much time, Yoruichi acknowledges this and clarifies that she is referring to normal training before revealing that she is taking a completely different approach for Ichigo that, despite the great risk it carries, will allow him to learn Bankai in three days.

Meanwhile, as he and Orihime Inoue run through the Seireitei, Uryū Ishida notes that Tsubaki is still not fully healed, prompting Orihime to sadly affirm that this is true even though the other spirits of her Shun Shun Rikka spent hours healing him last night because they seem to have a harder time healing each other. When Orihime apologizes for not being much help, Uryū praises her as being immensely helpful due to her ability to both protect and heal the two of them, which she thanks him for. Internally, Uryū asserts that this is for the best because it allows Orihime to bring up the rear and focus on defense and healing, where the enemy is less likely to target her, and notes that spending the last few days with her has convinced him Orihime is not cut out for fighting because she hates seeing someone get hurt even if it is an enemy, making battles not good for her or her spirits.

Suddenly, Makizō Aramaki emerges from a nearby street and demands to know what division Orihime and Uryū are part of, as well as why they are here. Upon being told that they are part of the Eleventh Division, Aramaki tosses aside the waterskin of sake and approaches them while revealing that he is also part of the Eleventh Division, which is a combat unit, and wondering who in his division would be stupid enough to walk around without their Zanpakutō. With Uryū mentally stressing over not realizing that the divisions specialized in different areas, Aramaki grabs the collar of Orihime's shihakushō and points out how the insignia on the inside is that of the Twelfth Division rather than the Eleventh, though he observes that they would not know that, before questioning who they really are.

However, as Uryū decides that their attempt at blending in has gone awry, Aramaki is hit on the head with a wooden rod by a member of the Twelfth Division, who stands behind him with three other members of his division. With the Shinigami berating Aramaki for accusing his fellow Shinigami while drunk and inquiring if she and Uryū are alright, Orihime thanks them, leading the Shinigami with the rod to assure her that it is the least they could do because the Twelfth Division looks out for its own as one of his comrades claims that members of the Eleventh Division are always trying to start trouble with them. While the Shinigami laugh this off as a misunderstanding since anyone could misplace their Zanpakutō, a silent Uryū realizes that something is wrong and that Aramaki had a good point despite being drunk, and as he wonders why these Shinigami would be helping them despite their suspicious claim of belonging to the Eleventh Division while wearing the insignia of the Twelfth, a shocked Uryū rushes toward Orihime and warns her to get away from the Shinigami, only to be interrupted when one of them explodes in a large blast, splashing blood and organs on his fellow Shinigami, who begin running away in shock. With one of the Shinigami frantically questioning why this is happening and asserting that this is not what they were told would happen, 12th Division Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi stands with his lieutenant, Nemu Kurotsuchi, and blows up the rest of them with a detonator as he claims that a grenade should not come flying back once thrown.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


121. In Sane We Trust

With 12th Division Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi interested in Orihime Inoue's unique powers, Uryū Ishida has Makizō Aramaki take her to safety while he engages Mayuri.

Summary:

121Cover

The cover page of 121. In Sane We Trust.

One of the Shinigami under 12th Division Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi's command recalls how it took him four attempts to pass the enlistment exam for the Gotei 13 after graduating from the Shin'ō Academy and how he was assigned to the Twelfth Division despite wanting to be under 5th Division Lieutenant Momo Hinamori, with some Ryoka infiltrating Soul Society for the first time in centuries on the twentieth day of his service and offering a chance for a promotion for whoever caught them, before he and three others were approached by Mayuri with the assignment of luring two Ryoka who had disguised themselves as Shinigami to the Twelfth Division's barracks, which would be dangerous but not difficult if he and his fellow Shinigami were careful. Remembering how he considered it a great opportunity because it might get him promoted to a seated position and bring him one step closer to Hinamori, though he did not say anything to avoid losing his shot at a seated position by looking insecure, the blood-spattered Shinigami tearfully runs toward Mayuri and mentally declares that this was not how it was supposed to be and was not the deal they made, only to be cut off when Mayuri presses a detonator in his hand while standing with his lieutenant, Nemu Kurotsuchi, causing his and the other two remaining Shinigami's bodies to swell up and distort before exploding.

However, as the smoke clears, Mayuri is surprised to see a cracked and blood-spattered Santen Kesshun protecting Uryū Ishida, who stands over Makizō Aramaki and a trembling and kneeling Orihime Inoue as she shakily thanks him for calling out to her, prompting Uryū to praise her in turn for reacting in time while noting that this was only possible due to Orihime's considerable practice with using her abilities without reciting her kotodama. With Uryū recalling how he found Orihime fatigued from training to accomplish this the previous night and her excitement over succeeding in summoning her Shun Shun Rikka without calling their names, Orihime asks him about the status of the other three Shinigami, leading Uryū to confirm that they are dead and assure her that she she should not feel guilty about it before looking over his shoulder and declaring that Mayuri should feel guilt instead as the Santen Kesshun shatters behind him.

Intrigued by Orihime's Santen Kesshun, Mayuri inquires if Orihime produced it, and though Uryū states that he is not in the mood for conversation, Mayuri ignores him and commends the unique nature of this power while offering to make Orihime his research subject. As Uryū angrily proclaims that they are not making any deals with him, Mayuri promises to make it worth Orihime's while and claims to be kind to women. Lying on the ground in front of Orihime, a bewildered Aramaki wonders why she is crying and dismisses the possibility of her being scared due to her risking her life in order to save him rather than simply hide behind her shield, leading him to express confusion upon realizing that she is crying for the dead Shinigami and question why she she saved him even though he is her enemy.

Mayuri decides to offer Orihime the best possible terms and details how he will restrict the daily drug regime to only eight doses and biomechanical experiments to only five hours per day, feed Orihime orally, give her clothing when she sleeps, and try hard to not perform any modifications which might kill her, which he considers to be exceptional terms for a research subject, only to find himself suddenly confronted by Uryū holding his Heilig Bogen, Kojaku, and aiming a Heilig Pfeil at his face from only a few feet away. After looking at the area where Uryū was standing and noting that he is fast, Mayuri comments on how rare of a species Quincy like him are before claiming to no longer be interested in his kind after completing his research on them and requesting that he step aside. When a confused Uryū inquires what he means by this and who he is, Mayuri admonishes him for charging into enemy territory without at least knowing the top 13 Shinigami and introduces himself as the 12th Division Captain and President of the Shinigami Research and Development Institute while exerting his Reiatsu.

With Mayuri declaring that he can forget this because he will not know anything in a moment, an intimidated Uryū tells Orihime to run, and when she protests this due to wanting to fight as well, Uryū orders Aramaki to take her and run. Upon being asked by an incredulous Aramaki why he should do this, Uryū asserts that he is doomed if he stays here and demands that he force Orihime if necessary before promising to shoot him if he does not comply, leading an unnerved Aramaki to grab Orihime and begin running away. When Mayuri reminds Aramaki that he was not given permission to leave and uses Jabarakaina to greatly extend his arm in an attempt to grab him, Uryū destroys his hand with a Heilig Pfeil that heavily damages part of the wall behind it and claims to have not given Mayuri permission to stop them, only for Mayuri to reiterate that he is not interested in Uryū.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


122. Don't Lose Your Grip On

Makizō Aramaki carries Orihime Inoue away from the battlefield as Uryū Ishida discovers 12th Division Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi to be more deadly than he expected.

Summary:

122Cover

The cover page of 122. Don't Lose Your Grip On.

As Makizō Aramaki runs through the Seireitei with her slung over his shoulder, Orihime Inoue pleads with him to let her go while attempting to push herself off of him, and when Aramaki reminds her that he is trying to help her and could just leave her here, Orihime accepts this due to wanting to help Uryū Ishida, prompting Aramaki to claim that he cannot abandon women and children due to being a man of chivalry. However, upon being bitten on the shoulder by Orihime, an angered Aramaki chops the back of her neck with his free hand and apologizes for not wanting to get caught up in the battle they are fleeing from as she slumps over, only to realize that he may have been too rough upon seeing that Orihime is completely unconscious. Making a mental note to apologize when Orihime wakes up because she does not seem like a bad person despite being a Ryoka, Aramaki runs up a set of stairs while 11th Division Lieutenant Yachiru Kusajishi steps into view behind him.

Meanwhile, 12th Division Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi stands with his extended and damaged arm as he explains to Uryū that it is very time-consuming to set up. Upon seeing Mayuri grabbing his arm stump, an alerted Uryū leaps back and is shocked to see Mayuri blow off the remnants of his arm below the elbow, leaving the severed pieces to fall to the ground. Claiming that it is very painful, Mayuri pulls out a Hojiku-Zai and sticks it into his arm's vein before injecting the contents, causing his forearm to rapidly regenerate in a grotesque and mutilated manner, further astonishing Uryū. Mayuri observes that Orihime got away, but dismisses this as irrelevant because he only needs a strand of her hair in order to find her and wishes to study her until only mincemeat is left once he does since he believes that every second of experimentation is precious. Though appalled by Mayuri's monstrous demeanor, Uryū mentally notes that he should have a chance against Mayuri due to the latter's strong but unstable Reiatsu likely allowing Uryū to buy enough time for Orihime to escape before he does as well.

As he looks over the area, Uryū mentally admits that he cannot shoot both Mayuri and 12th Division Lieutenant Nemu Kurotsuchi at the same time, but after realizing Nemu is not moving even though her captain is in danger and assuming that she cannot fight, Uryū decides to go for Mayuri first and fires a Heilig Pfeil from his Heilig Bogen, Kojaku, which Mayuri evades, only to see Uryū has disappeared from the area in front of him as another Heilig Pfeil slams into him from behind, creating a large explosion. However, while Uryū stands on a nearby rooftop and watches the dust settle, Mayuri appears on top of the connecting roof nearby and praises his speed. With a stunned Uryū forming another Heilig Pfeil and aiming Kojaku at him once more, Mayuri details how Uryū has been using Hirenkyaku, an advanced Quincy technique that allows one to move at high speeds by creating a current of Reishi beneath their feet, and expresses surprise at someone as young as Uryū mastering it while Uryū wonders how he moved so fast in turn.

Mayuri explains that the Shinigami have a similar technique called Shunpo, which he considers tiring, and declares that he will have to study Orihime later due to being a busy man before proclaiming that he will kill Uryū with the least effort possible as he draws his Zanpakutō and releases his Shikai, Ashisogi Jizō, transforming the blade into a golden, deformed trident with the design of a baby's face emanating vapor. Recognizing what Mayuri has done, Uryū recalls 7th Division 4th Seat Jirōbō Ikkanzaka releasing his Shikai, Tsunzakigarasu', and mentally admits that he cannot tell what Ashisogi Jizō does from its shape. As Mayuri approaches him, Uryū frantically tries to figure out if Ashisogi Jizō can absorb attacks, and with Mayuri drawing closer, Uryū decides that he does not have time to think and prepares to attack.

Suddenly, Nemu leaps onto the roof between the two of them and grabs Uryū's Heilig Pfeil with her right hand while pulling on his collar with her left, causing them to fall off the roof as Uryū bemoans having forgotten about her. Though he frantically tells Nemu to let go before she gets hurt, Uryū sees Mayuri leaping toward them and realizes he is not hesitating before being slashed across the chest by Mayuri alongside Nemu, whose upper back is cut open, leaving him in disbelief at how Mayuri hacked right through her. As she and Uryū land on the ground, Nemu separates from Uryū and smiles as she looks at Mayuri, only for the latter to angrily punch her in the face while admonishing her for not heeding his instruction to never let go even if her arms were torn off. With Uryū slumping against a nearby wall, Nemu apologizes, prompting Mayuri to claim that he was not expecting much from her anyway before declaring that defeating Uryū at this point will be as easy as strangling a baby.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:


123. Pledge My Pride To

Having been immobilized by 12th Division Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi's Shikai, Ashisogi Jizō, Uryū Ishida learns of the true depths of Mayuri's madness.

Summary:

123Cover

The cover page of 123. Pledge My Pride To.

Slumped against a wall with a large gash in his chest, Uryū Ishida is stunned by 12th Division Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi sacrificing his lieutenant, Nemu Kurotsuchi, just to kill him. Standing over Uryū with his Shikai, Ashisogi Jizō, in hand, Mayuri observes that Uryū must have a high threshold for pain if he is sweating but not screaming, and when Uryū clarifies that this is his second time being cut by a sword, Mayuri sarcastically states that he now has a wealth of experience and prepares to attack, only to be interrupted when Nemu collapses behind him. With an annoyed Mayuri telling her to be quiet, Nemu apologizes and requests some of his Hojiku-Zai because her lungs have been damaged and she cannot maintain her vital function. However, after walking over to Nemu, Mayuri instead viciously stomps on her abdomen, causing her to scream in pain while Uryū watches in shock.

As he repeatedly stomps on Nemu, Mayuri demands to know who she thinks she is talking to and if she believes that her body would really break so easily. Upon being begged by an astonished Uryū to stop because he is killing her, Mayuri holds Nemu up by her hair and inquires if Uryū believes such wounds could kill someone he created himself, which he takes as mockery of his skill. When Uryū is stunned by the idea of him creating Nemu, Mayuri confirms this and explains that Nemu is the result of his experiments with Gigai and Gikon before revealing that she is his daughter. Uryū is left speechless by this, and as he preemptively dismisses Uryū's righteous indignation over this, Mayuri claims that the manner in which a father treats his daughter is none of his business while slamming Nemu's head against the wall.

Attempting to get up and stop this, Uryū realizes that he cannot move his limbs, prompting Mayuri to mock him for only just noticing this before attributing this to the immobilizing power of Ashisogi Jizō. Though Uryū assumes that it releases a paralyzing toxin, Mayuri decries this as mediocre and details how Ashisogi Jizō synthesizes a far more complex drug that selectively blocks only the neural impulses involved in movement. While clarifying that this means Uryū will only lose his ability to move and still feel pain, Mayuri repeatedly stabs him in the arm with Ashisogi Jizō, causing Uryū to scream in pain. Irritated by this due to considering a woman's scream to be more interesting, Mayuri withdraws Ashisogi Jizō and orders Nemu to finish off Uryū, only to remember that he cut and paralyzed her with Ashisogi Jizō as well before stomping on her head in anger.

With Uryū struggling to tell him to stop once more, Mayuri turns to face him and questions if he is really such a fool to feel pity for a woman who is his enemy, and when Mayuri wonders if this is the pride that the Quincy hold in such high regard, Uryū is surprised by his knowledge of it, prompting Mayuri to note that it must mean something important to them due to all Quincy speaking of it before they die. As Uryū wonders what he means, Mayuri reiterates his statement of having completed his research on Quincy and recounts how he has studied them thoroughly by applying various stimuli to the minds and bodies of Quincy to observe their response, drilling holes in the skulls of Quincy while they were still alive, making Quincy burn their own children, vivisecting and crushing Quincy, and studying them until they were nothing but pulp, with every single Quincy swearing at some point that they would not do something on their pride as Quincy and would stop him, to his great irritation.

Concluding that one stab from Ashisogi Jizō will make all words of resistance meaningless, Mayuri brushes off a sickened Uryū's response and decides to relay his own hardship as he notes how difficult it was to perform this research due to the Quincy being a rare breed by the time he became President of the Shinigami Research and Development Institute, with Shinigami monitoring the few that were left. After explaining how he persuaded the Shinigami assigned to each Quincy to delay their rescue when they were attacked and turned the Quincy Souls that they brought back into research subjects, Mayuri bemoans how hard it was to arrange this and recalls how the last Quincy he experimented on was an old man who kept calling out the name of his student or grandchild, which Mayuri considers disgraceful, as he tosses a photo of the man's remains to Uryū while clarifying that it was taken after he had finished his experiments.

A mortified Uryū sees the bloody head of his grandfather and mentor, Sōken Ishida, in the picture as Mayuri attempts to recall the student's name, only to give up due to losing interest in his subjects after his experiments are over. Suddenly, a surge of energy erupts behind Mayuri, and as he turns around in astonishment, Uryū reveals that he was the student and that Sōken was his grandfather as he forces his body to stand up with Ransōtengai. Though Mayuri does not understand why this matters, Uryū admits that he is glad Orihime Inoue is not here because he does not want her to see this before swearing to kill Mayuri on his pride as a Quincy, to the latter's intrigue.

Characters in order of appearance:

Episodes adapted from this chapter:

Author's Notes

Volume 14 Intro Image
Mom, Dad, are you guys watching? I finally did it. The Bleach anime is on TV Tokyo, with scenes that move and dialogue that you can hear. I'm so happy, I could cry. Anyway, I'm originally from Hiroshima, but TV Tokyo doesn't have an affiliate there.

Mom, Dad, can you see it there?
-Tite Kubo

References

  1. Bleach 14 (Japanese). Shueisha.
  2. Bleach, Vol. 14. Viz Media.

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THE UNDEAD WHITE TOWER ROCKS BEGINNING OF THE DEATH OF TOMORROW

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