Previously, Uryû Ishida appeared before Ichigo to challenge him to a Hollow-slaying competition. As the Hollows gathered in Karakura, Chad and Orihime found new powers awakening with themselves.
In this volume, focus returns to Ichigo and Uryû as they continue their competition. Said competition draws a huge Hollow to Karakura…
In this sixth volume of Bleach, there are nine chapters, starting with forty-four and ending with fifty-two.
Ichigo Kurosaki may not know this, but the world he lives in is one predicated on balance – between the living and the dead, between everyday life and the Soul Society. Soul Reaper’s aren’t merely fighting Hollows, they are charged with the grand task of equalising the balance between this life and the next. Naturally, if too much energy is channelled to one side, really bad things will happen – just as they’re happening now! Ichigo and Uryû’s competition inadvertently results in generating a leviathan of a Hollow whose sheer size is capable of tearing the Soul Reapers’ delicately constructed balance to ribbons. Is Ichigo Soul Reaper enough to fell this giant and protect the equilibrium of the universe? Fine out in Tite Kubo’s international manga smash-hit Bleach!
Chad and Orihime wake up in chapter 44, ‘Awaking to the Threat’, to discover that they are in Kisuke’s care. Kisuke explains to them their powers and their connection to Ichigo.
Uryû ends up appearing before Rukia and Kon (in Ichigo’s body), and then Ichigo manages to catch up as well.
In chapter 45, ‘Point of Purpose’, Kisuke invites Orihime and Chad to join him as he ventures out so they can get an idea about the world they’ll be stepping into and the enemies they’ll have to fight.
Ichigo insists that he and Uryû should fight directly rather than endangering Karakura. However, Hollows start to converge at a single point.
It is also here that Rukia reveals to Ichigo that the Quincies were wiped out by the Soul Reapers 200 years prior.
Quincies were destroyed to maintain balance, or so Rukia explains in chapter 46, ‘Karneades ~ Back-to~Back’. Uryû reveals that he holds no grudges for that, and reveals a bit of his history – ultimately Ichigo decides that they should just fight together.
In chapter 47, ‘Back-to-Back ~ Tearing Sky’, Ichigo tells Uryû about what happened to his mother in the past and his reason for fighting. Uryû ends up agreeing to fight together, even though they’re surrounded by Hollows. Then a giant Hollow begins to emerge from the sky – fortunately, Kisuke arrives to take care of the smaller ones.
Kisuke and his allies destroy the smaller Hollows in chapter 48, ‘Menos Grande’, to allow Ichigo and Uryû to focus on fighting the giant Hollow that Rukia identifies as a Menos Grande. When Ichigo charges in to fight, Rukia tries to follow but Kisuke uses a binding spell as he believes that the battle is necessary. Individually, Ichigo and Uryû’s attacks don’t have much effect on the Menos Grande – however, when Uryû puts his hand on Ichigo’s sword, his bow increases in size.
In chapter 49, ‘unchained.’, Uryû comes up with a plan to tackle the Menos Grande. Meanwhile, Orihime and Chad observe the battle unfold, still taking Kisuke’s words into consideration.
Uryû’s plan falls through when Ichigo reveals he can’t control his spiritual energy. When the Menos Grande starts charging an attack, Ichigo charges right in and manages to use it to inflict a wound on the Menos.
The Menos Grande retreats in chapter 50, ‘Quincy Archer Hates You Part 2 (Blind but Bleed Mix). Ichigo’s spirit energy level goes berserk, which affects Uryû’s bow without him having to touch the blade. Uryû realises he is able to steal Ichigo’s spirit energy and unleash it with his weapon, and does so.
Meanwhile, Kisuke starts cleaning up whilst Rukia realises that it won’t take long for the news of the Menos’ defeat to reach the Soul Society.
Two new Soul Reapers appear briefly at the beginning of chapter 51, ‘DEATH 3’. Ichigo and Uryû return to school, whilst a black cat arrives at Urahara’s shop. Whilst Ichigo eats lunch with Keigo, Mizuiro and Uryû, the girls invite Rukia to join them.
In the evening when everyone is back home, Rukia runs off. However, she is soon spotted by two Soul Reapers.
We get to see the lunchtime conversation between Rukia and the girls at the beginning of chapter 52, ‘Needless Emotions’. Once that flashback is over, one of the Soul Reapers attacks Rukia – she identifies him as Renji Abarai. He reveals that the other Soul Reaper accompanying him is Byakuya Kuchiki – Rukia’s brother. Just as Renji attacks Rukia, Uryû appears.
In this volume of Bleach, we’re shown just how much potential Ichigo has; he is able to repel a Menos Grande, which is a Hollow supposedly only the Royal Special Task Force an deal with. Uryû’s not exactly lacking when it comes to his ability, either, and it’s pretty great the way he put aside his differences with Ichigo to become an ally. The whole Hollow-fighting sequence is pretty spectacular – Ichigo and Uryû fighting back-to-back, then their united front against the Menos Grande.
This is also the first time we’ve seen Soul Reapers other than Rukia and Ichigo. They haven’t revealed too much about themselves at this point, but it’s clear that they’ll be playing the role of antagonists.
Next time, we get to see just what Soul Reapers are capable of.