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  • Obvious Villain, Secret Villain:
    • In the "Tale of the Lost Agent" arc, Tsukishima is the obvious villain, who goes around attacking and applying Mind Rape to Ichigo's friends, forcing him to work with Xcution to develop his Fullbringer powers in order to protect them. And then it turns out that Xcution just wants to steal Ichigo's powers, and that their leader, The Mole Kugo Ginjo, has been working with Tsukishima all along to manipulate Ichigo. Interestingly, Tsukishima spends a lot of time playing The Mole himself; he uses his powers to insert false memories of himself into Ichigo's friends and family, making them think he is Ichigo's dear cousin. But because Ichigo, and thus the audience, know who Tsukishima is well before he takes up this act, his villainy is never a secret.
    • Much earlier, there is a more ambiguous case. When Ichigo and his friends go to the Soul Society to rescue Rukia, they quickly identify the sly, sinister Gin Ichimaru as bad news. Only later is it revealed that the saintly Sosuke Aizen, who was thought dead, is in fact the true villain behind the entire fiasco, while Gin is one of his Co-Dragons. Fast forward a long ways in the plot, and it turns out that Gin is a Dragon with an Agenda; specifically, he wants to kill Aizen as revenge for an event in their past.
  • Ocular Gushers: Used for comedy purposes when something hasn't gone a character's way. Examples include the school administrator who failed to chastise Ichigo and his friends for the events of Don Kanonji's TV show and Keigo every time he has a melodramatic falling out with either Ichigo or Mizuiro.
  • Odd Couple: Most of the Captain-Lieutenant sets are this. See trope page for full list of examples.
  • Odd-Shaped Panel: Tite Kubo can be quite creative with his panel arrangements. One that he uses on a regular basis is when he wants to show multiple character faces at the same time, either for a mass reaction to a situation or to show a mass introduction. In those cases, the panels can range from square, rectangle, triangle, trapezium, or a range of other shapes.
  • Official Couple: Although the story focusses on a group of friends who fight and support each other, there is very little romance in the story and the only confirmed relationships tend to have one or both partners being deceased. These relationships only get revealed when they're relevant to the motivation of the main characters, such the back story of Ichigo and Uryuu's living fathers and deceased mothers. However, the epilogue of the story occurs after a ten-year Time Skip and does reveal that several characters get together during that time. Ichigo and Orihime live together at the Kurosaki Clinic and have a son, while Renji (still Byakuya's lieutenant) and Rukia (a newly promoted captain) have a daughter.
  • Offscreen Inertia: Due to often having several battles going on at once, this is bound to happen. Most aggravating though, is leaving Rangiku with a slashed throat during the final arc, unattended to for several chapters without any word whether they've died or not.
  • Oh, Crap!: The manga thrives on these as a multitude of examples on the trope page reveals.
  • Omake:
    • The tankubon version of the manga usually includes little pencil sketches at the end of each chapter, which are sometimes cute offscreen moments and sometimes rather heavy symbolism. There are also the Colorful Bleach bonus chapters, which primarily focus on the daily lives of the Soul Reapers. New ones aren't currently being made, but Kubo has promised that he might make more some day.
    • The anime has the ending Omake Soul Reaper's Illustrated Picture Book/Golden Cup, which includes a screen wipe of Kon flying by. This started out in the Soul Society arc as a way to help introduce the Loads and Loads of Characters but evolved into funny characterizaton moments or parodies of the main series as well as quick explanations. It also spawned several sub-series, such as the Arrancar and Quincy Encyclopedias and the Substitute Soul Reaper Work Diary.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Quite a lot of the songs on the various soundtracks display examples of ominous English chanting in the style of Latin chants. These became some of the most popular songs used for threatening scenes and battles. For example, Stand Up Be Strong, which was commonly used whenever a protagonist faced a difficult fight.
  • Once a Season: Byakuya fights an enemy that can control others; typically via "Love", and wins or survives because (being Byakuya) he refuses to accept that "love".
  • Once Is Not Enough: It tends to happen a lot. Lampshaded sometimes by characters who all know that Hollows and Soul Reapers are so notoriously difficult to kill, the only way to be certain is decapitation. The amount of characters that use a final attack once and then walk away thinking it's over is huge.
  • On the Next ______: The anime will show preview segments at the end of episodes, often with characters talking over the top of them to either joke about the episode just completed or to joke about upcoming events.
  • One-Handed Zweihänder: It's a stated philosophy that normal sword combat involves two hands and fighting one-handed isn't using all the fighter's strength. Therefore, to make a point about how good they think they are, a couple of characters deliberately fight one-handed all the time even though their swords are huge. Unohana eventually calls Kenpachi out on it, telling him he's not fighting properly and that it's evidence he's not enjoying fighting as much as he claims he does.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • Yamamoto is very strong without his Zanpakutou and it's basically suicidal to engage him one-on-one, even the Big Bad Aizen states that giving Yamamoto a fair fight and level playing field is a fight Aizen would likely lose. But if he uses it, you're guaranteed death unless you've been genetically hacked like Wonderwiess to absorb those flames.
    • Komamura's Bankai is designed for this, which proves a critical weakness: if it fails to kill the opponent in a single hit, he inevitably loses.
  • One In A Million Chance: Being born with high enough reiatsu to possess crazy awesome powers is rare. Having enough power to become a Soul Reaper is even more rare. Becoming a seated officer is likewise unlikely. Possessing the power and training to become a Captain is apparently so rare that, even within Seireitei's Four Great Noble Families, it doesn't happen in every generation.
  • One-Man Army:
    • Each division is a minimum of 200 members. However, each Soul Reaper Captain is considerably more powerful in battle than every member of their respective squadron put together. However, even by the standards of captains, Aizen and Yamamoto stand out. Aizen is capable of defeating multiple captains, even when ganged up on and yet even he was nervous about taking on Yamamoto in one-on-one Shikai combat. In Bankai, Yamamoto is The Power of the Sun.
    • The Espada are so powerful only Soul Reaper captains can fight them. The highest ranks of the Espada cannot be defeated by a single captain and required group effort from even captain-class characters to defeat. Starrk and Barragan were confirmed to be examples of Walking Wasteland even before they became Espada. However, like the captains, they also were not strong enough to handle Aizen's strength.
    • The combined might of the entire Royal Special Task Force is stronger than the combined might of the entire 13 Court Guard squads. There are only 5 members of the Royal Special Task Force. There are over 6,000 members of the 13 Court Guard squads.
    • Ichigo has a unique level of power for any being When he hit his peak, he was curb-stomping Aizen. And the final arc confirms it was only a fraction of his true power.
    • The Stern Ritter are capable of fighting captains. As a result, sixteen of them were able to defeat just under three thousand Soul Reapers (there are around six thousand in total) in a matter of minutes, including several captains, and they only took five casualties in return. Even the captains couldn't handle them. And BG9 is a walking armory on top of this.
  • One-Winged Angel:
    • Arrancar release their Zanpakutou to return to their true state, gaining power in the process. This usually a less-than-human state that reflects the nature of the Arrancar and the more animalistic origins he came from. Certain Arrancar have different modes to their release form, such as Ggio (a fast form and a strong form) or Yammy, whose release keeps developing every time his rage increases. Ulquiorra uniquely has two separate release forms.
    • Visored are Shinigami that have been Hollowfied. They have the ability to done a Hollow Mask which allows them to access their Hollow power. It provides a large boost in power, but it's taken them a long time to gain control over their inner Hollows to achieve only a power increase that lasts only for a short time. When his inner Hollow awakens, Ichigo joins the Visored for training and advice. Tousen voluntarily undergoes Hollowfication to obtain a power-up that he revels in.
    • When Aizen starts undergoing a series of transformative power ups, he goes through a number increasingly monstrous forms until he reaches his final state, sporting six wings, with eyes all over them, a third bleeding eye in his forehead and his skin broken back from from his now monstrous face.
    • Quincy: Vollstandig transforms a Quincy in a similar manner to a Shinigami's Bankai. It manifests the full force of their Schrift power and grants them wings as well. Vollstandig replaces its old-fashioned predecessor, Letzt Stil, because it can be reused without destroying the Quincy's power.
  • One-Word Title: Originally, the story was called "Snipe" to reflect all characters bar Rukia using guns. When the concept changed to thematically symbolising "white on black" in an interesting and non-bland way, it became "Bleach".
  • Only Sane Man:
  • Only Six Faces:
    • By the start of the Hueco Mundo arc, plenty of characters have pretty much the same type of jawline and facial expressions. An easy example is Byakuya and Ichigo; look at them come the Hueco Mundo arc compared to the Soul Society arc, and two characters who looked very different now look almost identical. Even the anime filler characters often resemble canon characters in some way. It's even lampshaded in the manga where a gang of thugs looking for Ichigo ask Uryuu if he's Ichigo. Uryuu's indignant "Do I look like Kurosaki?" takes comedic effect precisely because, except for his hair and glasses, his face does indeed look like Ichigo's thanks to this trope.
    • Akira Toriyama once asked several fellow mangaka to draw characters to draw characters from his series, Dragon Ball. Tite Kubo was one of them, and he made Piccolo look like Kenpachi.
    • Another example of this is when Kubo drew a picture of Naruto and Orichimaru for Naruto's 10th anniversary. His rendition of Naruto is basically Ichigo dressed as Naruto.
    • Lampshaded a second time in chapter 540: You know how everyone complained that Yhwach looked like an older version of Zangetsu? That's because Zangetsu IS a young version of Yhwach.
    • It doesn't help that most characters maintain an identical expression of boredom.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Gin never opens his eyes. When he does, expect the fandom to react. Kyoraku's response to Ukitake being OHKO'd could count, as it's pretty extreme even for one who claims he is simply 'unpredictable'.
  • Opponent Instruction: During the fight between Ichigo and Kenpachi Zaraki, Zaraki, true to his Blood Knight nature, is thrilled when Ichigo manages to cut him, and starts instructing him to keep his spiritual pressure sharp. He even starts telling Ichigo how his powers work, interestingly enough hoping to give Ichigo more of an edge, because Zaraki is enjoying himself for the first time in ages, and wants to draw out the fight.
  • Opponent Switch: Chad and Uryu do this in their first battles in Hueco Mundo.
  • Orphean Rescue: The Soul Society arc involves the gang travelling to the Soul Society to rescue Rukia and the Arrancar Arc involves the gang travelling to Hueco Mundo to rescue Orihime. All four films use this as a plot device as well.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: A lot of the beings are technically ghosts. There are Pluses (normal humans who are dead), Hollows (humans who have been consumed by instinct and become power-wielding, evil creatures that require having their souls cleansed of their post-death sins to save them), and Soul Reapers, who are ghosts that control the balance of souls between worlds and who address the issue of Hollows.
  • Our Souls Are Different: Souls aren't seen. What is sometimes referred to as a "soul" is actually a ghost, essentially an exact duplicate of the physical body composed of ectoplasmic matter, complete with bones, blood, and organs. Disembodied souls still need air and water. Spiritual power is equivalent to Life Energy, so technically all spells and powers are always Cast from Hit Points. Most major characters have ridiculously high spiritual power, so they don't really need to worry about killing themselves by overcasting. Once a human has died, and then their spirit body has died, their soul will continue on to be reborn anew in the human world.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The Bounts are said in-universe to be the inspiration for vampire lore in the human world due to their soul-sucking abilities mimicking that of vampires in fiction. They even have dolls that act like mosquitoes to drain their victims and refine the energy they gather to make them stronger.
  • Out of Focus: There's a such a huge cast of characters that it's common for characters to go without mention for long periods of time; even the main character is not immune to this.
  • Overly Long Name: Lieutenant of Squad 2, Marechiyo Yoshiayamenosuke Nikkoutarouemon Oomaeda, possibly justified in that his family are fairly well-off nobles who are traditionally prone to overenthusiastic naming.

  • Palate Propping
    • Anime episode 10. While Ichigo is fighting the frog!Hollow, Don Kanonji saves him from being bitten by using his staff to prop open the Hollow's mouth.
    • Episode 312. While Lieutenant Omaeda is fighting a Hollow, he stuffs the ball of his flail (his zanpakuto Gegetsuburi in its shikai form) into the mouth of an attacking hollow to prevent it from eating him.
  • Panty Shot: This manga contains a curious mixture of averting the trope, subverting it and playing it straight.
  • Parental Abandonment:
    • Due to abusive parents, Sora kidnapped his sister for her own safety and fled the home when he was 18 and she was 3, raising her alone until his death when Orihime was 12. Orihime has lived alone ever since but does receive financial aid from a distant aunt. The anime changed this to the parents abandoning Sora and Orihime rather than Sora kidnapping Orihime.
    • Chad's parents died when he was eight so he was sent to Mexico to live with his grandfather. When his abuelo died sometime before Chad became fifteen, Chad returned to Japan and has lived alone ever since.
    • Uryuu lives alone because his mother died when he was eight and he's estranged from his father. It's heavily implied that Uryuu abandoned his father due to anger over Ryuuken's refusal to be a Quincy and that Ryuuken is quietly watching over his son without Uryuu's knowledge.
    • When Hisana and Rukia entered Soul Society, Hisana was a young child Promoted to Parent because of her infant sister. However, because they ended up in a monstrous part of the Rukongai, Hisana was forced to abandon Rukia to survive.
    • Both of Kira's parents died some time before he entered the Shinigami Academy.
  • Passing the Torch: Played with in an interesting way. Ichigo is the main character set up from the start to take out Aizen. Simple enough, except it turns out that some characters have a very different view of how the story should be, or is, unfolding. It's only at the end of Gin's life that we ever see the situation with Aizen from his point-of-view and it turns out his interpretation of the story was a little different to everyone else's. He believed he was the only one who was capable or even allowed to defeat Aizen and spent over a century plotting it. When he realised just how successfully Aizen had broken Ichigo's self-belief and resolve, he was even more convinced only he could defeat Aizen. Unfortunately for him, his revenge was part of Aizen's plan so he fails. As Aizen leaves him for dead, he spots the newly arrived and powered-up Ichigo. Upon seeing the strength in Ichigo's eyes, he realises that he is finally free to pass the torch (for defeating Aizen) onto Ichigo and dies. Gin was never the hero of 'Bleach' (not even an anti-hero) but apparently, inside his own head, he was, and Ichigo was his successor.
  • People Jars: During the Season 15 "13 Court Guards Invading Army" arc, Kagerosa Inaba is shown keeping reigai in large liquid-filled cylinders while performing experiments on them. In episode 336, both Kagerosa and Nozomi are shown inside the tubes as Kagerosa tries to fuse them together.
  • Percussive Prevention:
    • A Soul Reaper does this to Orihime during the Soul Society arc in order to prevent her from getting in the middle of Uryuu's fight with Mayuri Kurotsuchi.
    • Ganju punches out Ichigo so that he stays out of danger until Hanataro can fully heal him.
  • Perfection Is Impossible: In-Universe example between Mayuri and Szayell Aporro, who claims to be 'the perfect being'.
    Mayuri [to Szayel]: There is nothing in this world that is truly "perfect"... To true scientists like you and I, "Perfection" is tantamount to "despair". We aspire to reach greater levels of brilliance than ever before, but never, NEVER, to reach perfection. That is the paradox through which we scientists must struggle. Indeed, it is our duty to find pleasure in that struggle.
  • Personality Powers: The zanpakutou of Soul Reapers, substitutes and Vizards reflect their wielders personalities in way as do Orihime's powers. See trope page for full detail.
  • Permission to Speak Freely: Captain Unohana to Head Captain Yamamoto in anime episode #210.
  • Pillar of Light: When we finally get there, Ichigo's Cero.
    • The Vandenreich show these off when they break into the Soul Society.
  • Pilot: The manga's pilot was a short story showing the differences between the original idea and the published manga. The Soul Reaper uniform was different, Rukia shrank in size when she lost her power, and spirits were given tickets to take a bus to Soul Society. Ichigo and Orihime had feelings for each other, but Orihime is killed by her father who had turned into a Hollow. At the end, Rukia realises she can't take Orihime to Soul Society because she's been banished as punishment for her recent behaviour, so she and Orihime become co-conspirators to hide the truth of Rukia's plight from Ichigo.
    • The anime had one at Jump Festa 2004, which covered the majority of volume 3 of the manga. It's better than its later reincarnation as anime episodes 8 and 9.
  • Pink Is Erotic: Rangiku Matsumoto wears a pink scarf and is one of the most notable uses of fanservice in the manga. She is very flirtatious and has a buxom figure that she shamelessly flaunts when given the opportunity.
  • Pinky Swear: In anime episode 247 Captain Ukitake gives this type of promise to his zanpakuto spirit Sogyo no Kotowari.
  • Pinned to the Wall:
    • When Aizen fakes his death he makes an illusion so that he appears to be impaled on the side of a tower with his own zanpakto.
    • Loly is left hanging up a tower, pinned by an arrow shot by Uryu.
  • Plot Armor: All of the good guys have it, but Ichigo is the worst. He hasn't died even when holes have been blasted into his chest.
  • Plot Leveling: Every arc, the new enemy threat level becomes much higher than whatever level Ichigo managed to reach in the previous arc. At one point, this trope is met by Ichigo actually losing all his powers by the end of the arc, and the future threat levels rising in accordance with the development of his recovering power.
  • Portal Door: Senkaimon are doors that allow travel between the living world and the Soul Society, Garganta are portals that allow travel between the living world and Hueco Mundo or between Soul Society and Hueco Mundo. Also, there is a special doorway to hell, that opens for the collection of any Hollow that is cleansed of its post-death sins only for the saved soul to have pre-death sins that now need punishment.
  • The Power of Friendship
    • Subverted during Orihime's 'six hearts beat as one' speech.
    • Parodied in the Karakurizer fillers (anime episodes 213-214). Tessai sells the Karakurizer in episode 213 that they will defeat the hollows using the power of friendship, and they they actually do in episode 214.
    • Played straight at the end of anime episode 340. Kon tells Nozomi that Ichigo and his friends would save her by teaching the Big Bad Yushima "the power of friendship".
  • Power Glows: When Quincies or Fullbringers activate their powers, when Orihime activates her powers, and often when Soul Reapers and Arrancar activate their powers as well.
  • Power Limiter: All captain- and lieutenant-level Soul Reapers are limited to one-fifth of their power in the living world to minimize the destruction they leave in their wake and not to have their power affect any souls, like Ichigo's power did with Orihime and Chad. The English dub is lazy about this and doesn't translate the actual word, leaving it as "gentei kaijou." Probably because it's cooler in Japanese. Although gentai kaijou literally means Limit Break, it's not an example of that trope.
    • In the light novel Bleach: You Can't Fear Your Own World, it's revealed that this is why we never get to see Shinji Hirako's Bankai, Sakashima Yokoshima Hatsubou Fusagari. It affects every nearby ally and foe alike (only Shinji himself remains unaffected) and makes them see their allies as enemies and vice-versa.
  • Power Makes Your Hair Grow: This happens so frequently, it's reached memetic proportions. They're always mullets, too. Even Ichigo is not immune.
  • Power Palms: Anime episode 197. Espada #7 Zommari Rureaux' magical eyes can appear on the palms of his hands. He uses the one in his right hand to gain control of Byakuya Kuchiki's left leg.
  • Power Parasite: The Vandenreich's Bankai stealing medallions as well as their Sklaverei ability.
  • Powers via Weapon: Soul Reapers all wield Zanpakuto, swords born from their souls that are imprinted onto an Asauchi. These Zanpakuto bestow onto Soul Reapers their unique powers when released in Shikai and Bankai states, which also transform the swords themselves into different forms, sometimes different weapons altogether.
  • Praetorian Guard:
    • The Royal Special Task Force is the elite five-person unit whose role is to dwell alongside and protect the Soul King. The leader of the Royal Special Task Force is officially the leader of all Soul Reapers, and each member of the unit is granted great power and a unique epithet relating to their abilities by the Soul King. The Royal Special Task Force is more powerful than the entire 13 Court Guard squads combined.
    • The Vandenreich contains an elite unit of Sternritters who serve as the Quincy King's praetorian guard. They only appear when it's time to directly fight the Royal Guard. Their uniform differs from the rest of the Sternritter by including a large six-armed cross emblazoned on their cloaks, as compared the more normal five-armed Quincy cross. Their Vollständig forms include angelic feathered wings. This is unlike the wings of energy that other Sternritter use, which are shaped by the nature of each individual Quincy's power.
  • Practice Target Overkill: In anime episode #46, while attending the Soul Reaper Academy, the students practice one of the kido spells, Hado 33 "Shakkaho Red Flame Cannon" (AKA a fireball). When it's his turn, Renji tries to show off by destroying the target. He puts too much power into the spell, causing an explosion and giving him an Ash Face.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: It's not uncommon for various characters, whether protagonist or antagonist, to come up with a powerful one-liner shortly before they kick arse. Examples include Ichigo's "That was a practice swing" to Ginjou or Yumichika's "Thank you" to Charlotte.
  • Pre-Explosion Glow: This happens to hollows just before they're destroyed in anime episodes 215 and 267.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: It's not uncommon for various characters to come up with a powerful line or speech just before they kill their opponents. Examples include Kira's "A warrior does not beg for his life" to Avirrama or Mayuri's "Alright, then. Enjoy the next hundred years." just before killing Szayelaporro via a Cruel and Unusual Death.
  • Pretty Freeloaders: Any shinigami stationed for an extended period in the living world ends up freeloading off someone. The most notable is Rukia, who spends months at a time living in Ichigo's closet and later rooms temporarily with his sisters Yuzu and Karin. (Oddly, Renji is called a freeloader, even though he stays with Urahara, who makes him earn his keep with chores.) Meanwhile Rangiku and Hitsugaya stay with Orihime, and Ikkaku and Yumichika stay with Keigo. (Mostly because Keigo's sister Mizuho has a crush on Ikkaku. Or better said, she likes him because she has a thing for bald guys.)
  • Pride: Byakuya is one of the few people in fiction that can compete with Vegeta when it comes to doing stupid things for the sake of their pride. It's the reason for his defection to Muramasa's side in the anime's Zanpakuto Unknown Tales filler arc. Mildly subverted when it turns out he defected to Muramasa's side so he could kill Muramasa's master, Koga, because Koga's past misdeeds were a stain upon the name of the Kuchiki family, whom Koga was an honorary member of.
  • Product Displacement: One panel in chapter 413 shows Calorie Mate cookies, but the full name on the boxes is not completely shown. The most you see is "Calorie M".
  • Protective Charm: Isshin gives Ichigo a charm he claims his dead mother once gave Isshin. Isshin doesn't actually mean for Ichigo to be protected by it, however. Isshin knows that Ichigo is a Soul Reaper and that when Ichigo's soul leaves his body to fight as a Soul Reaper, Kon inhabits Ichigo's body to animate it. By giving Ichigo the charm, Isshin ensures Ichigo's body is protected while Kon is inhabiting it. When the arrancar first attack the living world, Kon's life is saved by the power of this charm (and along with it, Ichigo's body as well).
  • Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: In anime episode #197, Espada #7 Zommari Rureaux tells Byakuya Kuchiki to put down his sword by taking control of his unconscious sister Rukia and threatening to force her to cut her throat with her own sword.
  • Putting on the Reich: In a parallel to how the symbolism of the The Teutonic Knights was co-opted by the Nazis, the Vandenreich uniforms have upgraded the Quincy priest-like uniform to resemble Gestapo officers, agents of the Nazi State Sec, and paramilitary divisions (Sturmabteilung and Schutzstaffel). When Uryuu joins the Vandenreich, he wears the uniform as well.


  • Race Against the Clock: During the Soul Society arc, Ichigo and the others have to save Rukia before she is executed; during the Bount arc, the Mod Souls force Ichigo and friends to participate in dangerous "games" with strict time limits. In the Arrancar Arc, the gang has to try and rescue Orihime before the invasion of Karakura Town starts. In the final arc, there's an inversion: upon discovering Ichigo's gone to Hueco Mundo, the Arc Villain immediately changes his timetable to ensure Soul Society is invaded before Ichigo can get free of his activities and come to Soul Society. They also want the invasion over before the Royal Special Task Force show up.
  • Radial Ass Kicking: Occurs once in a while when a larger number of hollow (or in one Filler Arc, Ninja) turn up.
  • Rain of Arrows: Ishida really likes this trick, and will occasionally brag about his rate of fire.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Ulquiorra calls Nnoitra "disgusting" for toying with the idea of sexually harrassing or potentially raping Orihime, despite being a member of Big Bad Sosuke Aizen's army.
  • Rated M for Manly: Bleach is a shounen that relies heavily on some of the classic formulae of the genre. It's heavily focused on fighting with character development and revelation occurring through the old-fashioned belief that only through fighting can men truly get to know each other and only when facing death can a man's personality truly be revealed. However, the excessively macho 11th division take the samurai fighting traditions to such excess they're used for both serious storytelling and parody. For example, Ikkaku would rather die than leave his captain's side for another division, but he can also pop his dislocated shoulder back into place with nothing more than a muscle flex.
  • Rays from Heaven: Episode 309: After the defeat of Sosuke Aizen and the end of his threat to the Soul Society and the World of the Living, rays of sunlight shine through the clouds over Karakura Town.
  • Razor-Sharp Hand: All of the Arrancars can do this as they have the ability to toughen their skin. Some Soul Reapers practice a form of hand to hand combat which allows them to perform both this and Bare Handed Blade Blocks if they're sufficiently more powerful than their target.
  • Really 700 Years Old
    • Soul Reapers age much more slowly than normal humans. Yachiru and Hitsugaya look like kids while being decades old. Adult-looking Soul Reapers often have a century on them, sometimes more than one. Yamamoto is well over two thousand years old.
    • Hollows and Arrancar as well. Lilynette tries to point out the absurdity to Ukitake of viewing her as nothing more than a child given that Arrancar don't age.
  • Red Alert: In anime episode 24 when intruders are detected in the Soul Society.
  • Red Herring: Gin Ichimaru. Is he evil? Is he not? Yes, he's evil, but he wanted Aizen dead as much as the protagonists did.
  • Reincarnation: When human beings die in the Land of the Living their souls go directly to the Soul Society unless a reason crops up for their souls to go elsewhere (by becoming hollows or committing severe enough crimes in life to be sent to Hell). Eventually they leave Soul Society to be reincarnated back into the living world.
  • Released to Elsewhere: Retirement is a codeword for being carted off to the Maggot's Nest, a prison for those considered to be "dangerous elements". Soul Reapers that genuinely retire from the 13 Court Guards (and who are not carted off as prisoners) are said to be "on extended leave".
  • The Rest Shall Pass: Anime episodes 36 and 51, multiple times in episode 185, and in episodes 214 and 215. In episode 324, while Captain Komamura and three other captains are passing through the Precipice World to return to the Soul Society they are pursued by the restrictive current. Captain Komamura uses his bankai to slow down the restrictive current so the other captains can continue on their mission. He is swallowed up by the restrictive current and his fate is unknown at the end of the episode. In episodes 336 and 337, Kisuke Urahara tells his companions at the time (Ichigo and Kon, respectively) that he'll take care of the reigei threatening them and that the companion should go on.
  • Resignations Not Accepted: The Central 46 believes retirement is a waste of the resources used to train Soul Reapers so it's not permitted. Soul Reapers that leave active service officially take "extended leave" and could theoretically be recalled to service at a moment's notice. Soul Reapers officially recorded as "retired" have either died in battle, been promoted to the Royal Special Task Force or been clandestinely shuffled off to a secret prison where people who are considered a potential danger to society - but who have committed no actual crimes - are locked away forever.
  • Retcon: Several characters' initial designs are changed beyond the bounds of Art Evolution in later appearances. The most easily recognizable is Ulquiorra's Hollow hole going from his throat to his upper chest.
  • Retroactive Idiot Ball: Toshiro Hitsugaya's Bankai, Daiguren Hyorinmaru, initially was introduced with three icey flower petals, that gradually wilted as he fought. It was initially guessed In-Universe that was a time limit on his Bankai's power due to him being still not quite fully used to it due to his age, which was seemingly confirmed by Toshiro in his first real fight with it. This made sense why he would often try to win his fight as fast as he could, and would often decide against using his Bankai right away depending on the situation. The final arc would later reveal that, technically, this is true, but instead of his Bankai just deactivating when it runs out, it instead forcibly ages him to the point where he can use it with no issue, making him significantly more powerful as a result. Why he never used this against past foes like Aizen or Harribel is never explained, but regardless it made Toshiro look like an idiot for never doing so. The only excuse given is that he doesn't like using it, but considering how useful it would have been, it doesn't make sense to not use it.
  • The Reveal: A popular trope in this manga whenever something significant to the plot happens. Examples include Aizen being revealed as the Big Bad, the identity of Yachiru's namesake, that the Quincies still exist, Masaki being a Hollowfied Quincy, Uryuu and Ichigo's mothers being killed at the same time for the same reason by the same enemy, and Uryuu being of vital importance to the future of the Vandenreich. See trope page for further examples.
  • Revenge: Several characters in the story are motivated to varying degrees by the desire for vengeance. Uryuu avenging his grandfather was limited to thrashing Mayuri in battle, whereas Aizen's actions resulted in many characters seeking personal vengeance against him, including the Vizards, Hitsugaya and Gin. Tousen sought revenge against all Soul Society for failing to bring his Childhood Friend's murderer to justice, and Haschwalth is convinced Uryuu's only joined the Vandenreich to kill Yhwach on his mother's behalf.
  • Reverse Relationship Reveal: Gin seems to be the Big Bad who kills Aizen for working against him. Then it's revealed that Aizen is actually the Big Bad and Gin is his right-hand man. Eventually, it's revealed that Gin joined Aizen solely to kill him for a wrong that happened in Gin's distant past. However, Aizen knew Gin's real motive and kept him close to turn Gin's betrayal into an opportunity for a huge power-up. While Gin's goal was the same as the protagonists (to stop Aizen), he was always a villain, albeit one Aizen was using rather than relying on.
  • Revision: Masaki's death is first explained in chapter 19: she was killed defending Ichigo from a Hollow that had been trying to lure him in and eat him. However, Tite Kubo has stated that he did not have a plan for how to end the story until late in the Soul Society Arc, at which point Masaki's death became vitally important and needed elaboration. The new information is revealed in the Final Arc. While it greatly complicates Ichigo's back story, it does not contradict any previous canon. Masaki is depowered by Yhwach while fighting the Grand Fisher, and her back story is so heavily connected to the Ishida family, that the reveal greatly complicates Uryuu's back story as well.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: This is how both the events of Soul Society and Hueco Mundo start, with Aizen's plots further complicating the rescues of Rukia and Orihime, respectively.
  • Rugged Scar: Many characters are Covered in Scars or examples of Every Scar Has a Story, but Tsubaki stands out as he came into existence with a scar over his eyebrow. Fitting, since he's Orihime's sole form of attack and the most brash of her fairies.
  • Rule of Cool: Interviewers have noticed that his manga panels look like cinematic stills giving chapters a "film" quality. Kubo has confirmed this is deliberate to spice up fights which he finds boring without comedy and artistic angles. He included kimono because he wanted gorgeous billowing during fight sequences. His chapter and volume names are carefully chosen English words to poetically reflect plot or characterisation and support volume poems which he pens to add intrigue or depth. Originally, the story was called "Snipe" to reflect all characters bar Rukia using guns. He removed the guns and focused on conveying the concept of "white on black" in an interesting and non-bland way. Cue "Bleach".
  • Rule of Symbolism: Bleach is loaded with Shinto and Buddhist symbolism, to the point where it can be considered a modern day Japanese folk tale. It's one of the few winners of the Shougakukan Award, which is given to manga that positively highlights Japanese values and culture. Nearly everything about the story is symbolic of Japanese spiritualism, which sometimes works to the detriment of non-Japanese fans when a plot revelation comes out of nowhere and readers not familiar with a particular legend or symbolism are left wondering where the hell it came from. Of particular note are the revelations that Ichigo is a fusion of four types of souls (symbolic of the "shikon" philosophy) and practically everything about Captain Sajin Komamura (see his entry on the Characters page for info). The Zanpakutou themselves act as symbolic explorations of the inner truths of the Soul Reapers they're created by.
  • Running Gag: Rukia's art, Ishida's cape obsession, Ikkaku's baldness, Orihime's foods. Ichigo and Rukia arguing after not seeing each other for a while. "That's my line."


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