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  • Call-Back:
    • Chapter 1 is called "Death & Strawberry" and involves Rukia stabbing Ichigo to give him Soul Reaper powers. In Chapter 195 Rukia returns to Karakura after the Soul Society arc and restores Ichigo's Heroic Resolve that he'd lost, thus restoring his ability to fight as a Soul Reaper; this chapter is called "Death & Strawberry Reprise." Much later, Urahara instigates a plan to restore Ichigo's lost Soul Reaper powers that culminates in Rukia stabbing Ichigo again; this chapter is called "Death & Strawberry 2." the final chapter is simply called Death & Strawberry. Which completes the call back by giving the ending chapter the same as the beginning.
    • When Ichigo first uses his restored bankai. his pose is exactly the same as when he used bankai for the first time.
    • "Dark Side of Universe" followed by "Black & White" appear three times as consecutive chapters titles. The three "Dark Side of Universe" chapters herald a confrontation between Ichigo and his inner Hollow. The following "Black & White" chapters then explore the conflict between them.
    • Chapters 80 & 84 cover the use of Kuukaku's cannon to launch Ichigo's group through Seireitei's barrier. Those two chapters are respectively named "The Shooting Star Project" and "The Shooting Star Project 2 [Tattoo On The Sky]". Chapters that subsequently focus on the Shiba siblings and their technology also have "Shooting Star Project" titles. This includes Ichigo being launched to the Royal Realm by Kuukaku's cannon in a chapter called "The Shooting Star Project (ZERO MIX)".
    • The significance of "Rain" in chapter titles usually heralds flashbacks that shed light on the origin of traumatic pain various characters carry with them. The "Memories in the Rain" mini-arc deals with the death of Ichigo's mother. The "Memories in the Rain 2" mini-arc deals with the impact of Kaien's death on Rukia. When both characters gain closure for their pain, the chapter is called "And the Rain Let Off". "Everything but the Rain" deals with Isshin and Ryuuken's first meeting, setting up not only Ichigo and Uryuu's future births but also Ryuuken's future isolation from the Quincies.
    • The "Turn Back The Pendulum" arc is set over a hundred years in the past where Urahara investigates Aizen's illegal Hollowfication experiments by wearing an Invisibility Cloak to hide his reiatsu from detection. The "Everything but the Rain" arc is set over twenty years in the past where it is revealed that Aizen has stolen that same cloak for his own use, to continue his illegal research in the World of the Living. With it, he is able to watch his experimental hollow, White, fight Isshin without Isshin's knowledge, setting up the events that lead to Isshin's loss of Soul Reaper power.
    • Chapter 679 puts Ichigo in a pose that's very similar to the one he had after losing to Ulquiorra in their second battle. However, the meaning is reversed. In the first, Ichigo was utterly defeated and Ulquiorra expected him to give in to despair, which Ichigo refused and remained Defiant to the End. In the second, Ichigo's words are simply "It's over", after Yhwach also said the same thing.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Most magical effects require this. Citing the verbal component of kido, special powers, or zanpakutou releases will ensure full power attacks. It's lampshaded at various times; e.g., when Renji screws up because he skipped the kido incantation, or Zangetsu mentioning his power is much stronger when his name is called, or Yumichika observing that deliberately calling his zanpakutou by the wrong name means his zanpakutou doesn't release the majority of its power. Aizen also once comments that the kido he just cast without an incantation misfired and only used a third of its strength, despite the fact it looked like it had succeeded.
  • Calvinball: Apparently any time the Soul Reapers try to do something for the New Year, this happens.
    • In Episode 303, the Soul Reapers's New Year karuta game turns into this.
    • In Episode 335, the Soul Reapers's New Year kite-flying game turns into this.
  • Can't Catch Up: At the beginning of the manga, Ichigo's classmates begin developing spiritual power. However, as the storyline becomes focused on the spiritual worlds and spiritual threats, the plot quickly whittles Ichigo's group down to only three friends who continue to have core involvement: Uryuu, Sado and Orihime. Even they struggle at times to keep up with the ever-increasing threat levels. Ichigo's other close friends, Tatsuki, Keigo and Mizuho, only develop enough power to interact with, and become vulnerable to, the spirit world. They have to be left behind or protected because they cannot fight at the power level required.
  • Carrying a Cake: Yumichika, Hanatarou, and Rin make a cake on behalf of the ghost of a dead baker who's unable to pass on until his mother has tried his cake recipe. After various mishaps during the making of it, it's finally presented to the grieving mother, who promptly rejects it. Then, the distressed ghost accidentally knocks the cake onto the floor and a Menos Grande almost fries it with a cero.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Keigo and Kon love women, especially if they have large breasts. They are never successful in their attempts to attract a single one.
  • Cast from Calories: Souls don't usually have to eat, but those with a significant spiritual output do.
  • Cat Fight: In a bizarre example that starts off comedic but ends on a very serious note, when Charlotte Cuulhorne fights Yumichika Ayasegawa, he keeps acting like they're having a Cat Fight. Yumichika is so far from amused by this that it's not even funny (for him, that is; for the reader, it's hilarious... at least until it gets serious).
    Cuulhorne: Beautiful Charlotte Cuulhorne's final, holy, wonderful, pretty, super-magnum sexy, sexy, glamorous... cero!
    Yumichika: That's just a normal cero!
  • Catchphrase: Lots of characters are known for specific phrases, such as Hitsugaya complaining, "It's Captain Hitsugaya!" or Don Kanonji's "Spirits are always with you!" Other examples can be found on the trope page.
  • The Cavalry:
    • The Urahara Shop crew arrive to aid Ichigo and Uryuu against a horde of Hollows in Chapter 47.
    • Ichigo arrives just in time to save Orihime's life from Yammy in Chapter 192, and in the next chapter Urahara and Yoruichi arrive to save Ichigo.
    • In the Karakura battle, Wonderweiss & his pet Olympus Mon arrive to restore/bolster Aizen's forces and the Vizards arrive and even the playing field for the 13 Court Guards in Chapters 363-364.
    • Isshin, Urahara, and Yoruichi move in to help fight Aizen when the 13 Court Guards and Vizard forces have fallen; Isshin reveals himself in Chapter 397, Urahara reveals himself in Chapter 401, Yoruichi reveals herself in Chapter 403.
    • Rukia, Isshin, Urahara, Kenpachi, Ikkaku, Byakuya, Hitsugaya and Renji come to restore Ichigo's powers and aid him against the Fullbringers in Chapters 459-60.
  • Celestial Bureaucracy: Soul Society is run by the judicial Central 46, which also commands the three military organisations: the 13 Court Guards, the Royal Special Task Force, and the Kido Corps. The Central 46 is a very traditional, rules-oriented bureaucracy that functions in complete isolation and secrecy. It's this secrecy and isolation that allows Aizen to hide his activities for so long during the Soul Society arc, as it takes a long time for even captains to find a reason to barge into a place they have no permission to either enter or question. In the wake of Yamamoto's death, Kyouraku's promotion to captain-commander is the organisation's first true shake-up for a thousand years. Unlike the rule-abiding Yamamoto, Kyouraku is willing to argue with the Central 46 over their decisions.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Although Chapter 1 begins with Ichigo's family almost being killed, the storyline becomes Darker and Edgier over time. It ranges from friends being kidnapped by rules-abiding brothers to friends being kidnapped and subjected to psychological torture and physical abuse until they finally break. By the final arc, protagonist injuries include being ripped open to the spine, exposing the entire ribcage, the violation of personhood by non-consensual scientific experimentation, and even implied sexual abuse. The anime's openings have also shifted from happy-go-lucky to darker and more pathos-driven to reflect the storyline's direction.
  • Character-Magnetic Team: Ichigo's group functions like this, attracting not only human or Soul Reaper friends and allies, but even hollow friends and allies.
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • During the Soul Society arc, Mayuri is cold-blooded, murderous and evil. There may be ham, but he isn't played for comedy. In the Arrancar Arc, he becomes a Cloudcuckoolander Jerkass whose ham is Played for Laughs. This polarised the fan base between viewing him as a Karma Houdini that's escaped justice at Ishida's hand and viewing him as pure sociopathic comedy gold. In the Thousand-Year Blood War Arc, Mayuri's cold-blooded evil and hammy comedy have combined into something that is played for either seriousness or black humour.
    • Kon is introduced as a threatening character that is then revealed to be a Technical Pacifist (even putting himself in danger to protect some ants). However, once he is made Ichigo's "substitute" "soul candy" he is relegated to status of Joke Character.
  • Chekhov's Armoury: Kubo has said the Final Arc will answer ALL unresolved questions from the previous 11 years of the manga's run... and given the sheer volume of those, Chekhov's Guns ended up firing regularly.
  • Chekhov's Gun: More often than it's given credit for.
    • Chapter 27 briefly mentions that Keigo actually lives outside of Karakura in a place called Naruki City; flash forward roughly 400 chapters and Naruki City becomes the main setting for the Lost Substitute Soul Reaper Arc.
    • Rukia, Byakuya, and Ukitake all remark on Ichigo's striking resemblance to Kaien Shiba but dismiss it as coincidence. 400 chapters later, it's confirmed that Ichigo's father, Isshin Shiba, is Kaien's uncle.
    • Ichigo's Hollow mask during the Shattered Shaft training sets up the Vaizard introduction well over a hundred chapters later, the Lost Agent arc some four hundred chapters later, and even more revelations five hundred chapters later.
    • When Byakuya sees Ichigo's bankai for the first time, he remarks that it doesn't seem like a real Bankai because it appears to enhance his speed and raw power rather than his reiatsu like a normal Bankai. This sets up how Ichigo defeats Aizen three hundred chapters later and also the truth about the origin of his powers four hundred chapters later).
    • Nel explains Arrancar hierarchy to demonstrate how she's different from the Arrancar that serve Aizen. She says that the Arrancar that Ichigo has fought are Numeros, who have double digit numbers, and that they serve under the command of Espada, who have single-digit numbers. Yammy is allegedly Espada #10, but turns out to be Espada #0. 10 is not a single-digit number.
    • When Ichigo and Mayuri are discussing zanpakutou, Kon randomly appears in a hugely muscular body, only to be deflated back to normal size by Mayuri. Five chapters later Kon's buffed up form makes a reappearance to cushion Ichgio and Renji's landing.
    • When Masaki is bitten by a Hollow meant to pass Hollowfication to Soul Reapers, Urahara reveals that Hollowfication will eradicate her soul from the inside out. Later on, when Urahara is looking for a solution for returning stolen bankai from the Quincy that stole them, the measure he comes up with is to Hollowify the bankai and make it pure poison to a Quincy's soul.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • The Chapter 1 title page shows several people in the background. Almost all of them are introduced shortly afterward as Ichigo's classmates and most have only a minor role in the manga. However, one character in the group remains anonymous for nearly 200 chapters: Shinji Hirako, who becomes a major character but only in the third story arc.
    • In Chapter 7, Isshin tells a stonewalling Karakura General Hospital administrator that the hospital director will personally free up bed space if he finds out Isshin is the doctor making the request. In Chapter 126, it's revealed the Director is Uryuu's father, Ryuuken. In Chapter 241, it's revealed Ryuuken's known for at least twenty years that Isshin's a de-powered shinigami. The significance of their Odd Friendship isn't explored until Chapter 528 and even then only sheds light on Isshin's side of the tale while deepening the mystery about Ryuuken's true relationship to the main plot. Ryuuken crafts the unique Still Silver arrow that is the only thing that can de-power Yhwach long enough for him to finally be killed.
    • In Chapter 27, a barely visible character is watching Don Kanoji's show. In Chapter 29, this character looks like he's about to intervene in Don Kanonji's activities but Ichigo gets there first. In Chapter 33, this character is introduced as Uryuu. The anime gives Uryuu a brief sewing cameo in Episode 7 to foreshadow his future introduction.
    • Chapter 56's cover picture shows a dead or unconscious Rukia with strangely shaggy hair. During the chapter, Byakuya tells Rukia he understands her desire to protect Ichigo stems from Ichigo's likeness to "him". It sets up both the Kaien revelation (77 chapters later) and the Hisana revelation (123 chapters later). The Hisana revelation leads to the reinterpretation of the Chapter 56 cover as being Hisana, who was the image of Rukia except for her shaggier hairstyle.
    • At the end of the Soul Society arc, Aizen leaves Seireitei via negaçion and the Soul Reapers observe an enormous eye within the garganta behind the gillians. During the battle for Karakura Town, Wonderweiss turns up with his gigantic pet, Fuura, a huge, misshapen being with one gigantic eye. Fuura destroys Yamamoto's flames which are trapping Aizen and is implied to be the creature whose eye is visible at the end of the Soul Society arc.
  • Child Soldiers: The Soul Reapers permit recruits to join up while still biologically children so long as they can meet the entrance requirements. Of course, Soul Reapers are all Really 700 Years Old, but Ise Nanao, Ichimaru Gin, Hitsugaya Toshiro, and Kusajishi Yachiru were VERY young by Soul Society standards and still often act childish or immature. Yachiru is still a child in the current timeline, as is Toushirou—and he's the 10th squad captain.
  • Christmas Cake: Although she's never directly called "Christmas Cake" in the anime, Rangiku's age is a very sore point for her, with one filler episode going so far as to even create a male version for the sole purpose of having one kid press two berserk buttons by referring to Rangiku as "oba-san" and Yumichika as "o-san" in the same conversation. The anime later takes Rangiku's age references even further by making it such a big issue in the Zanpakutou Arc that it's actually one of the reasons why Rangiku's zanpakutou is angry with her. This is an anime-only trope. Neither character has a problem with their ages in the manga.
  • Chunky Updraft: A favorite of the anime to show how powerful Soul Reapers or Arrancar can be when they start releasing their powers, especially when they enter bankai or a bankai-equivalent level of power.
  • City of Adventure: Karakura Town is really a spiritual nexus, where all the weird powers are, where all the baddies show up, and where Aizen plans to erase in order to create a Cosmic Keystone.
  • Clark Kenting: Aizen, of course. The resemblance to Clark Kent is uncanny (thereby earning him a Fan Nickname of his own) although the reason is much different. Aizen allowed everyone to think of him as gentle and kind to disguise the evil he was perpetrating from the shadows. When he's revealed as the Big Bad, he also casts aside the mask: He tosses aside the glasses, slicks back his hair, and from that point on it's goodbye gentle geek, hello Evil Is Sexy.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: Even the Hougyoku's creator couldn't destroy that darn orb! Also, Ichigo's Hollow mask in the Soul Society arc.
  • Clothing Damage:
    • Happens all the time to male characters, especially Ichigo who eventually reveals that his spiritual pressure is connected to his shikakushou when in bankai; when in bankai the amount of shikakushou he has remaining is a reflection of how much spiritual pressure he has left.
    • Yoruichi and Soi Fon have a special move that causes Clothing Damage in the process of activating it.
  • Close-Call Haircut: Happens in several fights throughout the manga. See trope page for detail.
  • Comm Links: How Soul Reapers stay in contact with Seireitei even when they're in the human world. Two types have been seen so far: a single-ear radio-headset style that is kept in the uniform, and a device that looks like a mobile phone. Rangiku and Yumichika favour the former whereas Rukia favours the latter.
  • Conspiracy Redemption: Played with in that the Soul Society was being manipulated by the Big Bad. They thought they were doing the right thing (even if they didn't like it) and that Ichigo was this terrible invader person.
  • Converse with the Unconscious: Rukia does this a little bit with Ichigo, but Orihime definitely takes the cake with her confession. Even so, he's still Oblivious to Love.
  • Cool Key: Each member of Squad Zero is upon promotion transformed into an ouken, the key to the Palace of the Spirit King. Osho states that had Aizen succeeded in his plan, he would have been made equal to the members of Squad Zero.
  • Cool Sword: One of the central facets of the series. Almost every character that wields a sword has one that fits this trope. One of the most stand-out examples might be Yhwach's reishi BFS which comes into life in the sky as a huge bow that shoots a giant arrow to the ground which Yhwach can then pick up and use as a sword.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: The premise behind the Invasion Arc is this with the Soul Reaper captains and lieutenants fighting their own doubles.
  • Costume Porn: Kubo has expressed interest in becoming a fashion designer. You'd think the series was his portfolio or something. It's mostly seen in cover pages in the manga and openings/credits in the anime.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: In one of the anime's Filler episodes, Yumichika, Hanatarou, and Rin have to make a cake for a deceased patissier's mother, who died before his mother could ever taste one of his recipes. Since he's a ghost who cannot be seen by ordinary people, they have to make the cake and present it to his mother for him. Being Soul Reapers, they don't even know what cake is so are appalling chefs who take the entire episode to produce an edible cake. At the start of the episode, Rin is working with a device that reveals spirits, but it's only at the end of the episode that the device accidentally reveals the chef's ghost to his mother, allowing him to communicate directly with her. In The Stinger, Yumichika irritably points out that they could have done this at the very beginning, thus negating the entire plot of the episode.
  • Crack in the Sky: When hollows (such as Arrancar or Gillian/Menos Grande) enter the World of the Living (Earth) or the Soul Society from Hueco Mundo, they often do this by breaking open large cracks in the sky.
    • The Menos Grande hollows open a large hole in the sky when they rescue Lord Aizen and his lieutenants from the Soul Society.
    • When Lord Aizen and his forces return to invade the World of the Living, they do so by opening a large breach in the sky.
    • In episode #254, Muramasa opens a breach into Hueco Mundo which allows an army of Menos Grande to enter. Luckily, Captain Kuchiki is able to use his spiritual pressure to seal the breach.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Rukia's drawings. She explains hollows and pluses to Ichigo by making drawings where the good souls are happy bunnies and the bad souls are angry bunnies. But Aizen as a crafty-looking bear with glasses and the number 5 on his chest takes the cake.
  • Crapsack World: When you die you end up as a peasant in a medieval Japanese slum, ruled by a bunch of Soul Reapers who are generally more interested in getting into fights with each other than doing their jobs. And this is the Good Place. Eventually, you die again, and your spiritual body crumbles and becomes part of the reishi that makes up Soul Society while your actual soul gets reincarnated back on Earth, in an endless cycle. The only known breaks in this cycle occur if you've committed serious sins in life, in which case you go to Hell after you've died, or if your lingering soul corrupts into a hollow — in which case you can be saved by a zanpakutou, but if you're shot by a Quincy arrow instead, your soul is destroyed. It's actually absorbed by Yhwach.
  • Crapsack Only by Comparison:
    • Soul Society is an afterlife that resembles Tokugawa-era Japan, with all of the problems and dissonant morality that implies. Even further than that, Soul Society is split between Seireitei, where the rich and powerful live, and Rukongai, a massive area split into 320 districts where everyone else lives. The further from Seireitei you travel in Rukongai, the more impoverished and lawless it becomes. Also, keep in mind that you can grow old, become sick, feel pain, and die in the afterlife.
    • Hueco Mundo is even worse. It's a massive, dull, and lifeless desert inhabited by ravenous spirits called Hollows that seek souls to devour. Most choose to hunt in the Living World, but the most powerful ones can only be sustained by eating other Hollows, which means Hueco Mundo is essentially a Darwinian theme park. This becomes even worse if you manage to evolve to a Hollow's penultimate form, the Adjuchas. Adjuchas must continue to eat others of their type or else permanently devolve back into a weaker, mindless form.
  • Crash-Into Hello: This is how Hitsugaya and Rangiku first meet.
  • Create Your Own Villain: The anime team tends to create filler storylines involving villains that are victims of Soul Society's experiments and laws and who therefore turn to evil in the process of seeking vengeance. The Dark Ones, Captain Amagai and Kusaka are all filler villains who were originally victimised by the rigidity of Soul Society traditions and who sought to either kill Yamamoto or destroy Soul Society in revenge.
    • The manga later revealed that the Shinigami separated the different worlds by sealing away the Soul King and creating the lynchpin. As a consequence people were now able to die and become Hollows. This would also led to the Shinigami-Quincy conflict, since a) the Quincy and Shinigami couldn't come to a compromise on how to handle the Hollow problem b) the Quincy can't tolerate the existence of the sealed away Soul King and c) Quincy fear death. The Shinigami are thus responsible for the existence of Hollows and the enmity with the Quincy.
  • Creator Cameo: In the 16th season of the anime there's one scene with a shot of Ichigo and Ginjo standing in front of a shop named Hair Studio Pierrot.
  • Creator Thumbprint: Kubo's a big music geek and has given every character a theme song from a surprisingly large variety of styles and nationalities. If a chapter title isn't an out-and-out song reference, chances are it's probably A Good Name for a Rock Band. For instance, Chapter 91's title "King of Frieschutz" is a reference to a 19th-century German opera, and the arc in which Aizen is finally defeated is named after the American death metal band Deicide.
  • Creature-Hunter Organization: The 13 Court Guard Squads portrays itself as an organisation whose duty it is to protect humanity from the threat of Hollows, human souls that have turned evil due to their Unfinished Business literally eating out the heart of their soul. However, the Soul Reapers were originally balancers, monitoring the flow of souls between the World of the Living and the Soul Society. At some point they fell from their original purpose and became Hollow-hunters, although they do retain at least one of their original abilities in the form of Soul Burial. Despite their current path, only the low-ranked Soul Reapers engage in Hollow-hunting to obtain the experience necessary for dealing with threats to the Soul Reapers rather than to humanity.
  • Crippling the Competition:
    • Anime Episode 28. During the fight between Uryu Ishida and the Soul Reaper Jirobo Ikkanzaka, Uryu fires an arrow into Jirobo in such a way as to prevent him from using spiritual pressure, thus making it impossible to continue as a Soul Reaper.
    • Anime Episode 156. Uryu Ishida does the same thing to the arrancar Cirucci Sanderwicci, firing an arrow into her chest to seal off her power.
  • Crossover: With Onmyōji in 2019, where Ichigo and Rukia are released as collectible Guest Fighter shikigami for a limited time.
  • Cue the Sun: Orihime is used as a sun symbol throughout the manga. When Ulquiorra announces "the sun has already set" it's accompanied by a panel of a bowed Orihime standing before her healing shield which is in the perfect image of a setting sun. Later on, Orihime again has this symbolism when she finally begins cheering on Ichigo in his fight against Grimmjow; she talks to him from way up high (on top of a pillar), from behind her glowing golden shield, and induces Heroic Resolve in him. When Aizen re-kidnaps her, he tells her she should smile more to let the sun shine on and it happens again after Ichigo defeats Aizen and Urahara seals him away.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Most fights are this, one way or another. A few extend into How Much More Can He Take?, but this is standard. Sometimes Zig-Zagged in who's doing the stomping. See trope page for examples.
  • Cursed With Awesome: The Xcution group hate using their powers because they are similar to a Hollow's.
  • Cut Short: After getting nineteen volumes into a very lengthy final arc, the entire manga was then suddenly rushed to an end in the last six chapters, killing off the clairvoyant reality warping Big Bad with a sneak attack, leaving numerous plot points unresolved and the fates of most major characters unknown. Kubo eventually indicated in Twitter messages that the reason for the rushed end was severe ill health.

  • Damsel in Distress:
    • Canon: Rukia in the Soul Society Arc, Orihime in the Arrancar Arc, Ichigo in the Lost Agent Arc, Harribel in the Thousand-Year Blood War Arc.
    • Anime Filler: Ishida in the Bount Arc, Rurichiyo in the latter part of the Amagai Arc.
  • Dangerously Short Skirt: While Rukia and Tatsuki have been known to fight in the school uniform's mini-skirt, some of the Arrancar and the Shinigami have been known for incorporating very short skirts into their uniform as well. Harribel is barely dressed anyway, so her very tiny mini-skirt is actually the most clothing she wears, and Lisa wears an extremely small sailor school uniform, despite being prone to fighting with high spinning kicks. When still a Soul Reaper, Lisa customised her uniform so that she only wore the Kimono top, belted to create a minidress look, and wore no hakama with it. Nemu has customised her uniform in a similar way, although she has a very neat pencil-dress look as opposed to Lisa's pleated mini-skirt style.
  • Darker and Edgier: Though Bleach was always one of the darkest inclusions in the Shonen Jump lineup, the final arc has really upped the ante. You can find the details in the recap page under "Thousand Year Blood War." For reference, Mayuri's spent most of his time as a quirky, amoral Comedic Sociopathy kind of guy. The opening scene of the final arc has Mayuri deadly, deadly serious, returning to form as an amoral Mad Scientist and not comic relief. Things have turned that edgy.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Shinigami are dressed in black uniforms, off-set by a white obi and a white undergarment which can only just be seen at the edges of the collar and sleeves. Although many are morally ambiguous, or downright evil in a couple of cases, most are decent people who tend to default to the protagonist's side. They are deliberately contrasted by the white-clad Arrancar, the villainous Shinigami, and the mostly villainous Quincies due to Tite Kubo wanting the contrast of black and white to be a big thing of the manga As the main character, Ichigo is so heavily black-themed that his weapon releases into a solid-black form that fires a solid-black attack.
  • Darkest Hour:
    • For Ichigo, this is reached in Chapters 458-459. All of Ichigo's friends, his sisters, his boss, and the Fullbringers have all been epically mind-raped by Tsukishima—with Chad and Orihime protecting Tsukishima from Ichigo's wrath. Then Ginjo, his only ally, gets hit too. Then Uryu shows up and is actually on Ichigo's side, but it turns out Ginjo was evil all along. Ginjo and Tsukishima somehow take out Ichigo and Uryu with no effort, Ginjo steals Ichigo's powers... and then Ichigo's stabbed again, from behind, and it appears Ichigo's own father is holding the sword. The text at the end of 458 wasn't kidding when it said "Zero Hope!".
    • For the Soul Reapers as a whole, this is reached in Chapters 510 and 511. Five bankais have been lost, Byakuya and Kenpachi are not only easily defeated but horribly maimed, Yamamoto is killed, Seireitei is reduced to rubble, there are literally thousands of 13 Court Guard casualties in less than 15 minutes... and Ichigo is trapped in the Precipice World, forced to listen to the screams of the dying. The Vandenreich have completely carried the day and it's hard to see how Soul Society will ever get back on its feet, much less defeat them in battle.
    • In Chapter 680, Yhwach becomes all powerful, after stealing Ichigo's Quincy and Hollow powers. Ichigo collapses, and Yhwach's power creates an umbrella of darkness over Seireitei, stealing the power and lives of the remaining Sternritter. He departs with the announcement that when people feel a moment of great joy, he will strike. He feels this is a suiting situation as everyone will now feel fear whenever they feel joy, not knowing if he'll be attacking or not.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Chapter 480 shows what happens when unseated Soul Reapers with only basic skills get caught up in fights more suited to Ichigo's level. The results are NOT pretty.
  • Deadly Hug: When Aizen is revealed to be still alive, Hinamori hugs him in delight and he returns the hug. A moment later, Hinamori is impaled on a sword, courtesy of Aizen.
  • Dead Man Writing: Aizen's letter to Momo Hinamori in the Soul Society arc.
  • Dead to Begin With: A lot of the characters are post-death spirits. They can still die, however, as the story is influenced by the Buddhist wheel of samsara theme.
  • Death by Adaptation: The anime ended before it was revealed that Tier Harribel had survived Aizen's killing blow or that Ginjou, Tsukishima and Giriko would remain the story as spirits living within the Soul Society.
  • Death Equals Redemption: Tousen. He spent much of his adult life plotting revenge on Soul Society as a result of the death of his friend. One of his deepest fears was to die a Soul Reaper, the thing he hated most. As a result, he Hollowfied to escape being a Soul Reaper. At the end, when defeated and dying after his battle with Komamura and Hisagi, he returns to the Soul Reaper form he had once despised, finally understanding the value of the friendships he had forged amongst the Soul Reapers. He has just enough time to make his apologies to Komamura and Hisagi absolutely clear before he explodes.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: Both Senbonzakura and Haineko function like this when in shikai. Senbonzakura's weakest bankai forms usually use this method as well.
  • Decompressed Comic: Shifted into a milder form of this midway through the Arrancar Arc, slowing down and stretching many fights. Most fans disapprove.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Several Soul Reapers after they fight Ichigo, and several Arrancars during the fighting in Hueco Mundo.
  • Demoted to Extra: The anime tends to leave Orihime, Uryuu, and Chad out of most of the filler arcs and films, choosing to focus the plot lines almost completely on the Soul Reapers and non-living worlds. However, sometimes they even demote Ichigo to extra, too. In the 13 Court Guards Invasion filler arc, all the canon characters suffer this in favor of the anime's filler villains and heroine. Even the canon Soul Reaper characters are demoted in favor of the anime's Evil Doppelgänger versions of them. Kon is made the hero of the arc as a result of being Promoted to Love Interest for the filler heroine.
  • Description Cut: Upon hearing Urahara was once captain of the 12th division, Ichigo expresses surprise and awe that Urahara is such a great man, after all. The scene immediately cuts to an anime-only shot of Urahara suffering constipation in the bathroom while cursing Tessai's medicine.
  • Deus ex Machina: Basically the only way to defeat the Big Bad of any plot arc.
    • Aizen could only be defeated by power Ichigo received mere chapters previous that had never been mentioned to that point.
    • Ichigo spends an entire arc regaining some semblance of his power, only to have it stolen from him from Ginjo, only to have his original power given back to him so he can fight Ginjo, within the same chapter.
    • Arguably one of the most blatant examples of this trope, Yhwach, the Final Boss, spends fifty chapters decimating every opponent that faces him only to be done in by a special silver arrow that was introduced not even five chapters prior.
  • Deuteragonist: Each story arc is about one of Ichigo's companions, deliberately placing them in a situation where they become the least physically active companion so that their powers, personalities and feelings come to the fore and they become the driving force that guides how the arc's plot unfolds. Each arc is designed to reveal a new facet about Ichigo's back story and powers. The Soul Society Arc is about the rescue of Rukia, which introduces Shinigami abilities and society. The Arrancar Arc is about the rescue of Orihime, which explores the Arrancar and Orihime's strange abilities. The Lost Agent Arc reveals what Sado's abilities are and uses his faith in Ichigo to draw Ichigo into a situation where he needs to restore his powers. The Thousand-Year Blood Warfare Arc centres on the defection of the Uryuu to the side of the man who killed both his and Ichigo's mothers, and the quest of the group to both understand Uryuu's position and defeat the Big Bad.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Many examples, but a couple are of particular note.
    • Episode 278 has Wonderweiss coming out of nowhere unfreezing Halibel from her icy death, putting out the flames that are keeping Aizen out of combat, and stabbing Ukitake making it so he is unable to fight.
    • The final fight with Aizen. Gin kills Aizen pretty decisively, but then it's revealed that the Hougyoku has left Aizen immortal so he can't be killed. Instead, he's imprisoned, which means he has the potential to return.
  • Disappears into Light: Happens to the Bounts when they die, Plus spirits when they're purified and sent to Soul Society, and Nozomi and Kageroza in Episode 341.
  • Discard and Draw: Happens with both Uryu and Ichigo after they lose their powers the first time (Uryu after his fight with Mayuri and Ichigo after his first encounter with Byakuya).
    • Happenes for Ichigo again. After his fight with Aizen, Ichigo loses his Soul Reaper powers and has moved on to something called Fullbring.
    • Yet again, Ichigo loses his new powers. Not even 7 pages later, Rukia stabs him with a Zanpakutou, giving him back his Soul Reaper powers. You can see the look of fear on Ginjou & Tsukishima's faces when it happens.
    • Now that Quincy Hitler has broken Ichigo's bankai, it can never be repaired. Fortuitously, Squad Zero has a means to make a new one.
  • Distracted by My Own Sexy:
    • During the anime filler arc where the Bount seek revenge against the wrongs they've suffered at the hands of the 13 Court Guards, Yumichika tracks one Bount to his hiding place on earth. When the other Soul Reapers catch up to him, they're horrified to see him admiring himself in his own mirror instead of keeping watch to see if their mark leaves the cave he's in. Yumichika, however, saw them coming through his mirror and is also the only Soul Reaper who's aware that they're being spied on by the Bount. It's strongly implied that he's checking himself out to ensure he looks his best for the Bount who's spying on them.
    • During an anime filler arc where the 13 Court Guards are invaded by evil clones of themselves, Yumichika struggles to fight his clone because he can't stop admiring how beautiful he is when seen in 3D rather than just in a mirror. He concludes that he simply cannot fight his clone because of that beauty. His clone, however, has no trouble attacking him because he's thinks the only thing more beautiful than himself is to see himself covered in blood.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Orihime inadvertently has and uses this on occasion. In the Soul Society Arc, while Kenpachi tries to interrogate Orihime about Ichigo's location, Yumichika takes a break from thinking he's the most beautiful person alive to contemplate her beauty while chewing nervously on his thumb. At the beginning of the Lost Agent Arc, male students discuss being happy to be in school just so they can admire Orihime and attempt to take photos of her. A short time later, Shishigawara realises he can't kill her because she's so over-the-top attractive; he instead ends up with a massive nose-bleed and a crush on her.
  • Diving Kick: In the anime Episode 280, the Vizard Mashiro Kuna does one of these to the Arrancar Wonderweiss Margera, knocking him into the ground.
  • Diving Save: Ichigo does this to save Don Kanonji from a hollow and Sado does this to save Karin from falling metal beams. Other examples can be found on the trope page.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • There's an ongoing sexual joke about shinigami and their swords, resulting in zanpakutou having the Fan Nickname "Soul Penis": Ichigo's is as "big as he is tall" and accused of having great power but terrible control. After achieving Bankai, Renji gets treated the same way. Gin's shikai extends instantly and often flops around when doing so. Mayuri's sword is perfectly positioned for all sorts of subtext, especially when he fondles the hilt with his tongue hanging out, or cocks it to draw out the blade which renders the scabbard flaccid in the process.
    • Hisagi has 69 tattooed on his face. It's in honour of the captain who saved him, who has 69 tattooed on his chest. Kubo has confirmed he wanted Hisagi to have a tattoo on his face that would look cool to younger readers but raise the eyebrows of their parents.
    • Yumichika has a "secret power" that makes him a kidou fighter instead of a physical fighter. If his secret came out, he'd be expelled from his division so he'd rather die than reveal it. Some fans replace "secret power" with "sexual orientation" and think he's in the closet. Other fans think that, because Japanese and American straight/gay stereotypes are often reversed, this is a case of Unfortunate Implications or Values Dissonance instead.
    • Szayel Aporro-Granz's Resurrecçion occurs in a way that makes him sound like he's having an orgasm. He begins it by swallowing his sword and exploding. A lot of his other abilities are similarly sexual in presentation. His resurrecçion is even called "Fornicars."
  • Don't Fear the Reaper: This trope is in force for the most part. The Soul Reapers are just like humans: they can be friendly, moody, supportive, scary, or hostile depending on situation or individual personality type. However, the Soul Reapers aren't enemies of humanity even if their focus on the big picture can make them seem aloof at times. Their role is to guide the dead to Soul Society, cleanse Hollows of post-death sin so they too can be guided to Soul Society, and to maintain the balance of souls across different worlds. In other words, Soul Reapers are portrayed the same way humans are portrayed: as individuals with their own personalities, worries, fears, foibles, strengths, and weaknesses.
  • Don't Look Back: While Division 3 is fleeing a Restrictive Current in the Precipice World, Lieutenant Izuru Kira tells his men "Don't look back". He doesn't want them to be distracted by the pursuing threat.
  • Dope Slap: Rukia and Renji to Ichigo, and Kaien Shiba to Rukia.
  • Double Standard: Played with in the 14th volume of the manga: Uryuu Ishida and Orihime Inoue acquire two Soul Reaper uniforms to disguise themselves with. To Uryuu's alarm, Orihime suddenly begins changing while they're in the same room. He quickly tells her to stop, to which she replies, "You're right. A boy and a girl shouldn't change in the same room together." She then seems to have constructed a personal change room for Uryu, telling him to go ahead. He asks himself while changing, "Isn't it... supposed to be the other way around?"
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Gin Ichimaru joined Aizen and has worked as his right-hand man for over a century in order to get close to Aizen and kill him.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: During the first half of the Bount arc, Ichigo is having trouble activating his bankai in the material world. Note that this is contradictory to not only the manga but also the OAV that takes place around the same period.
  • Dramatic Chase Opening: A Hollow pursuing a little ghost girl in Episode 1; Shuhei Hisagi being pursued by his zanpakuto spirit Kazeshini in anime Episode 260.
  • Dramatic Pause:
    • The anime fight between Charlotte and Yumichika is full of music and dialogue until the moment Charlotte appears to win. He clarifies to Yumichika what his final attack is doing, and suddenly.... silence. Even the music stops. Cue Glowing Eyes of Doom and Pre Ass Kicking One Liner as Yumichika proceeds to curb stomp Charlotte.
    • Done to powerful effect in the anime with Hitsugaya when he realises he's stabbed Hinamori instead of Aizen. Everything stops: characters, fighting, dialogue, music. Everything. Then the screen itself blacks out. And then Hitsugaya explodes.
  • Dramatic Slip: In the very first episode, the ghost of a small girl trips while she and Ichigo are being chased by a Hollow.
  • Dramatic Wind
    • A side effect of using any level of spirit power seems to be to summon a small gale to surround the fighters.
    • Anime episode #202. Near the end of the fight between Kenpachi Zaraki and Nnoitra Jiruga, Nnoitra is badly wounded and Kenpachi considers the fight to be over (he refuses to kill an opponent who can't fight back). When Nnoitra insists that the fight continue, a breeze causes Kenny's cape to billow out as he considers his response.
  • Dripping Disturbance: At the beginning of the Bount arc, this happens to Orihime before an impostor disguised as her brother shows up and kidnaps her; the rest of the cast also notice it when they search her empty house.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Kira, Hisagi, and Matsumoto take up semi-professional drinking after the Soul Society arc to deal with being abandoned by their captains and old friends.
  • Dying for Symbolism: Aizen tries to kill Head Captain Yamamoto (regarded as the history of Soul Society) so as to symbolise the defeat of the 13 Court Guards. He fails. However, later on, Yhwach succeeds where Aizen failed, and does indeed kill Yamamoto to symbolize the defeat and destruction of the 13 Court Guards.


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