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Bleach / Tropes U to Z

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  • Ultimate Job Security: Captains are the strongest beings in Soul Society, so they have the freedom to do a lot of what they want and get away with it. Even when Mayuri blows up his own squad, it doesn't damage his position as captain, because the law only prohibits captains from doing anything to other captains' soldiers. The previous Kenpachi and Squad 11 captain Kiganjo was too lazy to turn up to meetings; Ukitake is often too sick to go to meetings or tend to his other duties; Zaraki only toes the party line when it suits him; and Kyouraku avoids work because he's too lazy or chasing skirt. Zaraki and Unohana once agree that captains can get away with things precisely because they're normally too powerful to be brought to justice.
  • Unfinished Business: The reason why soul reapers have to perform konsou (soul burial) on spirits and why spirits might linger long enough to turn into hollows if they don't have konsou performed in time.
  • Unfriendly Fire: Bankai is one of the most powerful abilities a Soul Reaper can use in battle, but it's also one of the most dangerous. Several Bankai have been confirmed to be so dangerous to both allies and enemies that the Soul Reapers either limit their activation or make sure they're isolated from allies before activating it. Yamamoto's Bankai begins destroying all moisture as a side-effect of activation (including within human bodies), and if active too long will destroy the world its active in. Hitsugaya was so concerned about his Bankai affecting allies on the battlefield, he waited until he was reduced to half power before daring to activate it; he also has this concern about the area of effect of his Shikai as well. Ukitake warns Kyouraku not to activate his Bankai when allies are in view of it, and when he does finally decide to use it, he flees as far away from his allies as he can get before activating it. Urahara never lightly activates his Bankai, once stating that it absolutely cannot be used for something like training colleagues.
  • Unnecessarily Large Interior: Las Noches is a single building that appears to be the size of a small country. It doesn't seem to exist for any reason other than for Aizen to show off.
  • Unreliable Canon: Kubo has mentioned in interviews that he creates the overall structure of the story arc in advance, but fine details may be developed as he writes. He rarely Retcons information but a few major Revisions have occurred as a result of him introducing plot-relevant information from the points-of-view of the characters explaining them; the accuracy always depends on whether or not the character is well-informed, honest or driven by an agenda. One major example includes how zanpakutou function; the limitations, procedures and details introduced can be true, untrue, Metaphorically True, misguided, or subject to either exact wording or context that render the previous assumptions moot.
  • Unreliable Expositor: Even the Fourth Wall isn't safe from Aizen's mindgames.
  • Unusual Chapter Numbers: Some flashback chapters use negative chapter numbers that have never been fully explained.
    • Chapter -0.8 covers the very first meeting between Ichigo, Chad, Keigo and Mizuiro. It's told from Mizuiro's point-of-view.
    • Chapter -17 covers how Renji, Kira, Hinamori and Rukia met as Academy students and how Renji, Hinamori and Kira were put into an advanced class study group while Rukia was left behind in a lower achieving class. It also introduces Hitsugaya as a young child who refuses to consider the validity of training to become a shinigami.
    • Chapter -12.5 covers a past event where Aizen, Hinamori and Rangiku arrange a birthday surprise for Hitsugaya and reveals that Gin gave Rangiku her birth date.
    • Chapter "0 Side A" covers the days leading up to Chapter 1, focusing on Ichigo's feelings of powerlessness to help those in trouble, such as the little ghost girl.
    • Chapter "0 Side B" covers the days leading up to Chapter 1, focusing on both Rukia receiving her assignment to patrol Karakura Town and Renji receiving his new promotion to Sixth Squad Lieutenant.
    • Chapter -16 is Hitsugaya's back story, revealing how he met Rangiku and why he decided to become a shinigami. It picks up five years after the events in Chapter -17. The chapter was also written to promote the second film which is about Hitsugaya's back story.
    • Chapters -108 to -97 cover the Turn Back the Pendulum mini-arc. It covers a nine year period 110-101 years before Chapter 1 and reveals the truth behind Urahara's exile and who the Visoreds really are.
    • Imaginary Number 1 is a chapter detailing two Espada having been sent to Hell after their deaths in the canon as an advertisment for the fourth film which is set in Hell.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Muramasa's plan from the Zanpakuto Unknown Tales arc. It might qualify as a Roulette if Ichigo weren't so easy to manipulate. His original plan was to get inside Yamamoto's head in order to access his memories in order to free his former master, when Yamamoto set up a barrier to keep him out he staged a Zanpakuto rebellion to buy himself time. Ultimately, he tricked Ichigo into helping him break the barrier allowing him to access Yamamoto's memories and free Yama's Zanpakuto.
  • Up to Eleven:
    • Ulquiorra defeats Ichigo with his released form. However, he still takes on a second release, something no other Arrancar has been seen to possess, to not only kill him, but to defeat him with pure despair. Ichigo's Hollowfied response takes this even further, beyond anything even Ulquiorra has seen a Hollow be capable of doing.
    • Bankai is supposed to be the final release of a Zanpakutou, the ultimate Super Mode. Then it's revealed Final Getsuga Tenshou exists... and that more than one user knows how to develop it.
  • Urban Fantasy: When the stories are set in present day Japan.
  • The Un-Reveal: We never do see Ichigo's new Bankai in the final arc due to Ywhach shattering Ichigo's sword and later reducing it back to it's basic shape as Ichigo's lands the final blow.

  • Vampiric Draining: Hollows feed on spiritual energy as a secondary source of nourishment (the primary being the "hearts" of both living and dead Humans). Sources include humans, Soul Reapers and other Hollows.
  • Villain Decay:
    • When the Menos Grande first appeared Rukia said she'd read in textbooks that only the Royal Special Task Force can fight them. Ichigo could barely scratch it. Now that it's been confirmed that that was a Gillian, the lowest level of a Menos Grande, and that any high seated Soul Reapers can handle them. As the power levels of the main characters develop to lieutenant and captain levels, the Gillians have accordingly become regarded as mook-level threats.
    • Aizen starts out as a cool, composed, Big Bad who hands out Gambit Roulettes like they handed out Kool-Aid at Jonestown. Then he became Drunk with Power and his constant petty taunting reduced him from a Magnificent Bastard to Smug Snake. This was actually lampshaded in-universe and Urahara was even counting on it as part of his plan to help Ichigo defeat Aizen. It worked.
  • Villain Pedigree:
    • Ordinary, Hollows are the worst threat in the early stages of the story. Then this is ramped up when it's revealed there are giant versions of Hollows called Menos Grande that only the Royal Special Task Force are supposed to handle. It turns out Rukia's textbooks were wrong: any high seated officers can handle Menos Grande if they're Gillian level, and captains and lieutenants can handle Adjuchas levels. Only the Vasto Lord level of Menos Grande gives captains trouble.
    • The Espada were modified arrancar of post-Menos Grande level, introduced to make the threat of the Soul Reaper captain in the Soul Society arc look minor by comparison.
    • It's gotten to such an extent that the Vandenreich threat has been introduced in such a way that makes the Espada look extremely underwhelming. It's even lampshaded in-universe when one Quincy captain easily defeats five Arrancars and complains that Aizen's followers were weak.
  • Villains Never Lie: Subverted with Ichigo, who expresses doubt that Aizen could have done the things he claims.
  • Visible Sigh: A comedic device the anime uses, often when a character feels another is being unduly emotional.

  • Wacky Parent, Serious Child: Isshin is a rather off-the-wall nutcase whereas Ichigo is usually extremely serious. It tends to come across as Ichigo being the more responsible of the two. That said, Karin is even more serious than Ichigo. Isshin/Karin interactions are therefore even more extreme than between Isshin and Ichigo.
  • War Arc:
    • The Arrancar Arc is set against the backdrop of the Winter War, a battle between the Arrancar and the Soul Reapers.
    • The Thousand Year Blood War Arc is the culmination of a thousand years of warfare between the Quincies and the Soul Reapers.
  • War Is Hell: A prominent theme about Bleach is that there is a distinct lack of "happy" deaths. When people die here, they invariably die in rather ugly ways, from decapitation to bifurcation and incineration, among other things. If their deaths are not particularly nasty (see Starrk), their scenes are still executed in incredibly depressing ways. Even if they're particularly nasty characters, well, their deaths may be deserved, but in each case, Kubo refuses to glorify how they died (see Driscoll) by making it as gruesome as he can. If they do accept their fate gracefully, Kubo consistently shows that, despite their peace at the prospect of death, their compatriots are affected in negative ways (Kaien to Rukia, Ichimaru to Rangiku and Unohana to Zaraki). Even if it doesn't lead to death, several characters get permanent scars, lose their limbs, suffer several severe sets of wounds, or end up so traumatized by their experiences that it influences their personalities and philosophies later in life (Kira, Hisagi). This all comes to a head during the Vandenreich arc, where the Stern Ritters' pragmatism seriously cripples much of the Soul Reapers and defies a multitude of Shonen battle clichés as a result. Aizen, himself a former teacher, once recited one such a commandment that all cadets are taught to in the Spiritual Arts Academy.
    Aizen: "Do not seek beauty in battle. Do not seek virtue in death. Do not make the mistake of considering only your own life. If you wish to protect that which you must protect, slice the enemy you must defeat from behind."
  • Watching the Sunset: In the anime, Hitsugaya likes to hang out in a place that has the best view of the sunset because it reminds him of his childhood days spent with Momo, where they eat watermelons while watching the sky.
  • Weakened by the Light: Espada No. 9 Aaroniero Arruruerie can't stand sunlight and can't maintain or perform his shape-shifting in the light.
  • Weapon Twirling: The third seat of Squad 8 tries to intimidate Chad with some quick swordplay, and just gets punched in the face.
  • We Are as Mayflies: Soul Reapers and Hollows (and for that matter ordinary Soul Society civilians) live vastly longer than humans. But it's a bit of a subversion, since they're what humans might become after dying.
  • We Have Reserves: Deconstructed in the Soul Society Arc. By the the end of their first day in the Seireitei, Ichigo, Ganju, and Chad had already incapacitated most of the 11th squad and many other rank-and-file soldiers, and we see that a lot of the Shinigamis' resources were run thin providing relief and aid as a result of their trail of carnage.
  • Wham Line: With its many twists and turns, the series has plenty of shocking lines:
    • When Hinamori finds out Aizen is alive, Aizen reveals his status as the Big Bad with a single sentence.
      Aizen: I'm sorry. You must have been worried. I'm really sorry. I'm sorry for hurting you so much. There was something I had to do. Thank you, Hinamori. Thank you so much. Goodbye.
    • When Hisagi (a vice-captain) defeats Yumichika (a fifth seat), he tells Yumichika to surrender because it's impossible for fifth seats to defeat vice-captains and a pointless death would be a terrible thing. Yumichika's response is to curb-stomp Hisagi by revealing that it's possible to fake a Shikai.
      Yumichika: What I show you now is completely confidential. Take a peek at the true power of my zanpakutou!
    • Well, looks like Hitsugaya has stabbed Aizen, and it all looks over... only for Ichigo to yell, "Guys, guys, what the HELL are you doing?" It's then revealed that Aizen swapped places with Hinamori and tricked everyone into attacking her instead.
    • Late in the Fullbringer Arc, Ichigo sees Uryu, who'd supposedly been attacked and injured by Tsukishima at the start of the arc. After a moment of Ichigo worrying whether Uryu had been turned against him like Chad and Orihime had, Uryu reassures Ichigo that he's on Ichigo's side, before saying something that turns the entire story arc on its head.
      Uryu: Don't you get it?!! The guy who cut me... is the guy behind you! (Ichigo's supposed ally Ginjo stabs Ichigo from behind, revealing himself as Evil All Along)
    • When Yamamoto goes all-out to defeat Yhwach for invading Soul Society and decimating the Gotei 13. Emerging from the fight victorious, he is stunned to hear his dying opponent gasp out the following confession:
      "Yhwach" : My... power... isn't... enough... forgive me... please... Yhwach-sama.
    • When Kyouraku insists to the Central 46 that Kenpachi Zaraki needs to be properly trained if the Gotei 13 is to survive the Vandenreich's invasion, he calls forth the captain who will train Zaraki... revealing that captain's true, until-now unrevealed, identity in the process.
      Kyoraku: I'll leave Captain Zaraki to you, Captain Unohana. No... First Kenpachi Yachiru Unohana.
    • When Kyoraku strolls into the Soul Prison.
      Kyoraku: Well, this darkness, is not meant for us innocents, if it is you, you do sense me right? Answer me, Aizen Sousuke.
    • When Yhwach manages to fatally impale Ichigo.
      Aizen: How... fascinating. You seem to think I'm Ichigo Kurosaki.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Ashido, a character in the Menos Forest arc. Kubo created the character and fully intended to use him but ran out of time to insert him into the manga. The anime decided to create a filler arc based around him and insert him where Kubo had originally intended to use him. However, the filler arc ended with him facing down the enemy to give the group time to escape and Rukia vowing to go back to Hueco Mundo to search for him. She never did, so Ashido's fate remains unknown.
  • White Mask of Doom: Hollowfication is the process by which a spirit's heart is transformed into a pale mask that covers the face. As a result, Hollows wear them and Hollowfied Soul Reapers such as the Visoreds or Ichigo can also pull on a mask when using their Hollow powers.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: The anime is fond of these, partially because the manga itself toys with them. There are even entire flashback arcs.
  • Whole Plot Reference: The Bount arc is lifted almost wholesale from Yu Yu Hakusho's Sensui arc. Both start with an attack on the core cast by a trio with strange powers who actually turn out to be working for the group's mentor figure. Then a group of actual enemies with strange abilities appear with the goal of using one of the core cast members' powers to open up a gateway to another world.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Discussed Trope between Uryuu and the Elite Sternritters when Uryuu fights his friends to stop Ichigo interfering with Yhwach. Uryuu fires at the ground, sending Ichigo's group tumbling from the palace. Lille immediately cocks his gun to shoot Ichigo while he's falling, but Uryuu fires at Ichigo before Lille can, saying it's obvious what Lille's thinking: that assuming Ichigo will die from the height of the fall creates the option of him somehow surviving the fall, therefore he should be killed regardless. The Elite Sternritters are delighted with Uryuu's thinking. Except Lille, who's clearly deeply suspicious of the way Uryuu just dealt with Ichigo's group.
  • Wipe the Floor with You: During Ichigo and Ulquiorra's battle in Hueco Mundo, Ichigo's Super-Powered Evil Side does this to Ulquiorra, smashing his head into a wall.
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: Happens if a character is taken aback in a fight. Ulquiorra manages to do this without his pupils vanishing.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: It's hard to remember how young the children and teenagers are in this manga. Ichigo, Sado, Orihime and Uryuu start off as fifteen year olds, but are far more mature than their age would indicate. Some of their classmates are the same, such as Tatsuki. Their teenage peers among the Soul Reapers are the same: Renji, Rukia, Kira, Hinamori, Ganju, etc., are all teens but behave like adults. The most noticable example is Captain Hitsugaya who is biologically around 12-13 years old, but acts far, far older than that.
  • Withholding Their Name: The zanpakuto of the Soul Reapers (the swords are sentient spirits who are created with their own identity) withhold their names from their owners until a Secret Test of Character is passed. They withhold it because I Know Your True Name is very important in this universe; affecting the power something or someone has.
  • Words Do Not Make The Magic: Even with a incantation kido spells require skill to use and can sometimes be used without the incantation.
  • World Half Full: According to Hitsugaya in Chapter 461, Ichigo's influence is slowly making Soul Society a better place.
  • World of Badass: It's very hard to find someone who doesn't fit at least one kind of badass-related trope.
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman: Word of God states that Retsu Unohana is the most beautiful woman in all of Soul Society. That doesn't stop Charlotte Cuulhorne and Yumichika Ayasegawa engaging in a fight to the death to find out who the most beautiful person in the world is... of course, they're both men, but neither of them let that fact get in the way of taking this trope's intent seriously.
  • Worthy Opponent: While this trope is more specifically and blatantly played with in regards to character motivations and fight matchups, it is a Downplayed Trope in a more general sense. Bleach naturally borrows customs and mannerisms from Feudal Japanese samurai, who would often ask or announce their name and title before a match to acknowledge that they were facing a peer in combat. Obviously, members of the 13 Court Guards do this, but so do members of other factions, such as the Espada and Vandenreich. In fact, a major Establishing Character Moment for Nnoitra is when he asks Ichigo for his name, only moments later to claim he forgot it because Ichigo is simply trash to him.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Kubo very often uses the breaking of a weapon to signify the owner's defeat.
  • Wretched Hive: Districts 50-80 of Soul Society are the subject of ongoing research about the massive drop in standards of living compared to Districts 1-49. In particular, Districts 59+ have been so poverty stricken there's been no instance of any dweller possessing shoes for 550 years.
  • Writing for the Trade: Due to the different parts of the story often being very long, each arc of the manga benefits from being read in its entirety.
  • Wrongful Accusation Insurance: As unforgiving as the Soul Society's laws seem to be, surprisingly little is said of Ichigo's invasion once Aizen tips his hand.

  • "X" Makes Anything Cool: The Fullbringer organization is called "Xcution", even if it's still pronounced "execution".
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: The Fullbringer organization is called "Xcution", even if it's still pronounced "execution".

  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Good fortunate rarely lasts for some not-so-fortunate characters.
    • Orihime already has a tragic backstory and confidence issues, and the series does her few favours in the Arrancar arc. Her dramatic determination to be a better fighter is followed by the destruction of her attack abilities, and Urahara refuses to train her because he deems her useless without those powers. Additionally, being unable to cheer Ichigo up like Rukia leaves Orihime in a depression. Matsumoto and Rukia separately give her some reassurance, saying Ichigo still needs her and she is better than she thinks she is. Things look better for her when Rukia trains her, but she's later made to surrender and defect to the Arrancar side (in exchange for her friends' lives) before she can put her new combat skills to the test.
    • Poor Chad is the victim of The Worf Effect, and not even the Arrancar Arc does much to improve on this. Hurt by Ichigo not relying on him, Chad trains hard and shows off his new powers when he manages to win a fight against a named opponen. This gives Chad enough resolve to feel that he will be successful in Hueco Mundo... until Nnoitra shows up to curb stomp him.
    • Momo Hinamori seems like the average vice-captain who's very dedicated to Captain Aizen, only for her to suddenly find him dead with his corpse maimed and pinned to a wall. After a series of incidents caused by misunderstandings and blind rage (including her arrest and her attacking her own childhood friend Hitsugaya), a Hope Spot has her meeting Aizen who turns out to be alive, much to her relief. Then he suddenly stabs her and reveal himself to be the villain all along; that's right, she's just been betrayed and the man she idolized was all just a lie. She talks to Hitsugaya after a long coma and shares some friendly banter with him, but it's shown she's still in denial about Aizen. Things look better for her when she makes a surprise appearance at the Fake Karakura battle and helps Matsumoto fight the three Fraccion with some clever use of kido; unfortunately she gets badly injured afterward, and then gets stabbed by Hitsugaya of all people thanks to Aizen swapping places with her. The misfortune ends there for her thankfully, as it's shown she's doing much better in the Time Skip with Shinji as her captain and with Aizen out of the picture (mostly).
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: The "density of time" within the Precipice World - which acts as the primary passage between Soul Society and the real world - is 2,000 times higher (e.g. 2,000 years inside = 1 year outside), which made the place a useful prison in the past. It was used by Ichigo and his dad to compress 2,000 hours (approx. 3 months) of Training from Hell into a single hour, in order to power him up for the final confrontation with Aizen.
  • You Are Already Dead: Someone getting fatally (or seriously) hit and not realizing it for a couple of seconds is a recurring event in the series.
  • You Can See That, Right?: Episode 199, during the battle between Captain Mayuri and Espada No. 8 Szayelaporro Grantz. After Mayuri's Bankai attack (a giant deformed baby) swallows Grantz, Renji Abarai and Uryu Ishida watch it chewing Grantz's tentacles into its mouth.
    Uryu: Are you seeing what I'm seeing?
    Renji: As much as I wish I wasn't seeing it, yeah I am.
  • You Monster!: Loly to Orihime of all people. Of course, this can be explained because Loly's an Ungrateful Bitch. Lilynette says something similar to Ukitake when he dispels her Cero with his bare hand.
  • You Never Asked: Subverted. Urahara appears to be this until Ichigo eventually reveals (to the reader) during a moment of inner musing that Urahara never reveals information even when directly asked.
  • You Shall Not Pass!
    • Subverted in Episode 36. After Ganju grabs Hanataro and escapes, Ichigo tells Kenpachi Zaraki that he can't let him pass through to pursue them. Kenpachi tells him that he's not interested in the others: he's just there to fight Ichigo. And what a battle it is.
    • In Episode 54 Ichigo faces off against three Soul Reaper lieutenants and Captain Kuchiki so Renji can get away with Rukia.
    • In Episode 154 the Arrancar Dordonii repays a debt of honor to Ichigo by fighting Rudbornn Chelute and the Exequias to give Ichigo and Nel time to escape.
    • In Episode 319 Yoruichi holds off the Reigei so Ichigo and Rukia can escape through the Senkaimon gate.
  • Your Head Asplode:
    • Kensei causes several Menos Grandes' heads to explode during the Visoreds Big Damn Heroes moment. With his bare fists.
    • In the manga, Yammy does this to a servant who was tending to his newly healed arm. He decided to test his arm's strength by slamming his fist down on the servant's head causing it to splatter into a bloody mess. In the anime, due to censorship, it was changed to him hitting the servant with his arm causing her to smash against the wall which kills her instantly.

  • Zerg Rush: In Chapter 511, the Soldats rampage through the remains of the Seireitei in droves, successfully slaughtering the red shirts along the way.


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