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Light Novel / Bleach: Can't Fear Your Own World

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Bleach: Can't Fear Your Own World is a light novel, written by Narita Ryohgo, based on Tite Kubo's manga Bleach. Volume 1 was released in Spring 2017 through digital release, while Volume 2 was released on November 2, 2018 and Volume 3 was released on December 4, 2018. The story focuses on events immediately after the defeat of Yhwach, with Hisagi Shuuhei as the main character investigating the events.

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This light novel provides examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: Reveals a lot of character background info, as well as what became of several characters whose fates were not addressed in the manga. It also paints Soul Society's history in a much darker light.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Like the Ise clan's Shinken Hakkyōke, each of the noble houses has a hereditary Zanpakuto that any of the members can utilize in addition to their personal Zanpakuto; with the Kuchiki's being Muramasa, and the Tsunayashiro clan's being Kuten Kyōkoku — the true name of which is Enrakyoten, which possesses the ability to copy any Zanpakuto abilities its wielder witnesses.
  • Artificial Human:
    • Jinta Hanakari and Ururu Tsumugiya are revealed to be artificial life-forms similar to Nemu Kurotsuchi — something previously indicated in the latter's case during her fight with Yylfordt Granz.
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    • One of the antagonists, Hikone Ubuginu, is an artificial hybrid of Soul Reaper, Quincy, and Hollow created by Tokinada Tsunayashiro in order to become the next Soul King.
  • Barrier Maiden: A rather ironic example: Yhwach's remains were used to create the new Soul King — aka the living being whose whole self is the lynchpin of everything that exists, having absorbed the power and essence of the previous one. Additionally, had Yhwach not done that, Ichibei and Shunsui would've had Ichigo become the new Soul King.
  • Belated Backstory:
    • Ginjō Kugō reveals some of his Mysterious Past when reluctantly interviewed by Hisagi, revealing that when he'd been a Substitute Soul Reaper he'd gathered of a group of Fullbringers who had wanted to get rid of their powers. The group had been attacked and killed by a Soul Reaper sent by the great noble families, and Ginjou had killed the Soul Reaper in revenge. This plus realizing the true purpose of the Substitute badge made him go rogue and form the second iteration of Xcution to seek revenge.
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    • More information regarding Baraggan Louisenbairn is revealed, namely that he was one of the first Vasto Lorde to wander through Hueco Mundo around million years ago.
    • We finally find out what Soul Society's 'Original Sin' was, and find out that it lay behind Kaname Tousen's betrayal of the Gotei 13.
  • Big Bad: Tokinada Tsunayashiro, the leader of one of the Five Noble Families, as well as the Soul Reaper who married and later killed Tousen's friend Kakyō. He's a smug, arrogant, self-entitled asshole who indulges his cruellest whims out of the belief that Soul Society is built on a foundation of lies; presently seeks to cause chaos, anarchy, and destruction by revealing the existence of Soul Society, Hueco Mundo, and the spirit-worlds to the World of the Living. His eventual goal is actually revealed to be to have an artificial child, who obeys his every command without hesitation, replace the current Soul King, effectively making him the ruler of Soul Society, the human realm, and Hueco Mundo.
  • Big Damn Heroes: It's the final battle. Kenpachi is busy fighting a superpowered god-child; the members of the alliance are being slowly worn down by the main villain managing to hit them with Kyouka Suigetsu, minimizing their ability to fight back and are slowly and clearly losing; all hope seems lost. And then who finally arrives at the battle? Shuhei Hisagi, a humble lieutenant who hasn't been affected by the hypnosis...
  • Blade on a Stick: Shino, one of the two junior Shinigami introduced at the start of the Quincy arc, is stated to have a shikai is that takes a shape of a naginata spear, which would fit with her being related to Ikkaku (though as far as readers know hers is authentic and not a sansetsukon pretending to be a naginata like Ikkaku's is).
  • Broad Strokes: Some elements of the anime's filler arcs and movies are brought in, albeit with alterations. For example, Muramasa — who was the villain of the anime's Rogue Zanpakuto filler arc and the Zanpakuto of Kōga Kuchiki — is introduced as the hereditary Zanpakuto of the Kuchiki clan.
  • The Bus Came Back: Rudbornn Chelute, who simply disappeared from the story during the Arrancar arc, returns in the novel, as do Harribel's Tres Bestia (Apacci, Rose and Cyan).
  • Colony Drop: Upon realizing the alliance is going to defeat him, Tokinada attempts to crash his simulated world onto the real-life Karakura town.
  • Cool Sword: Ikomikidomoe, an ancient Zanpakuto that Tokinada stole from Ōetsu while the Thousand Year Blood War was ongoing, was forged using the soul of a primordial Hollow, and has a will of its own. It's capable of opening Garganta and summoning extremely powerful Hollows; and can only be wielded by prospective Soul King candidates like Ichigo, Ginjō, and Hikone.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In an effort to prevent Hikone from entering the final battle (so he doesn't get hurt), Hisagi attempts to bind him with a kidou spell; Hikone simply brushes off the attempt and instantaneously incapacitates Hisagi before he can even react.
    • Also, an army of massively powerful, self-replicating hollows, versus a lone, retreating and exhausted Captain, with no help for miles? "Captain Hirako wiped the perspiration off his face. He stopped acting like he was in a state of panic and smiled, addressing the swarm of Hollows, "You know, you're even more idiotic than I initially thought."
  • A Day in the Limelight: The novel focuses on Hisagi as the main character.
  • Enigmatic Minion: Rudborrn Chelute is revealed to be one for Barrigan and Aizen, harboring the dream of turning Hueco Mundo into a nation run by the Arrancar.
  • Eldritch Location: Prior to Soul Society creating the Soul King a million years ago, the cosmos was a place where life and death were mixed together, and stagnation and progress were in constant disarray. As a result, Hollows as powerful as Vasto Lorde were able to spontaneously come into being without being born from corrupted human souls or undergoing the stages of Menos metamorphosis.
  • Empire with a Dark Secret: The first chapter states outright that the Soul King is Soul Society's "original sin", and those who see the process of Yhwach's corpse being made into the Soul King understand Aizen's motivations for turning against Soul Society.
    • The 'original sin' turns out to be quite grave indeed; just after the soul king came into existence, the five noble houses allowed one of their own (the Tsunayashiro house, who feared his power) to seal him into a crystal and dismember his limbs, rendering him completely powerless despite his importance in maintaining the balance between Soul Society, the human world, and Hueco Mundo.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • The remnants of the Vandenreich, led by Liltotto and Giselle, are still trying to conquer Hueco Mundo... until Hikone shows up, whereupon Liltotto declares a truce with the Arrancar.
    • In order to stop Tokinada, members of Soul Society, the Vandenreich, Xcution, and the Espada call a truce.
  • Foreshadowing: Sharp-eyed readers may have realized that the whole "Ichigo was considered as a potential candidate for Soul King" deal was implied in the manga itself: that's why Ichibei believed that Ichigo and Co. would lose to Yhwach and Shunsui went to Earth himself to give Ichigo's family and friends Soul Tickets to go into Soul Society itself.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The Vasto Lorde are revealed to live in hidden communes — what Aizen was having the Espada look for — where they live in isolation. When Harribel was captured, they came out of the woodwork and started to compete for the throne of Hueco Mundo.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Hisagi's initial role in the novel, according to the novel summary. A lot the early novel is even him interviewing various individuals in preparation for a newspaper article he's been commissioned to write.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Bordering on Hatesink; The main villain, Tsunayashiro Tokinada is almost impossibly arrogant, self-centered, selfish, and completely willing to shamelessly manipulate a naive child to further his goals. Heck, almost every single time he's speaking to another character he'll attempt to KickTheDog with something he says, just to be a dick.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: The protagonist is facing down one of the main antagonists. The antagonist one-shots him. Suddenly, Kazeshini reveals to Shuhei Hisagi that it governs both life and death. And suddenly, Hikone tries to kill Shuuhei, and can't. Repeatedly.
  • Man Behind the Man: It's revealed that Squad Zero actually answers to the Five Noble Families, which when fully assembled can supersede the authority of Central 46 and essentially do whatever they want. Tokinada wants to reinstate the Shiba clan in order to take back political power from Central 46 and the Soul King as part of his schemes — though Yoruichi and Byakuya inform him that Isshin and Ichigo aren't interested in leading it, leading him to suggest Yuzu and Karin be brought in.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Yhwach's physical appearance as the Soul King is never described; he is only ever called the 'thing'. However, everyone who sees how he is being sealed understands Aizen's motivations for turning against Soul Society, implying it is horrific.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Had Yhwach not absorbed all the power of the Soul King, Ichibei was going to make Ichigo into the new Soul King, something Shunsui was aware of. Uruhara and Isshin were also aware of this, and the latter was against Ichigo regaining his powers following Aizen's defeat for this reason.
  • Resurrective Immortality: As long as Ichibei is able to speak their names, the members of Squad Zero cannot be permanently killed.
  • The Reveal: The light novel resolves some of the plot points that were Left Hanging by Bleach's abrupt end:
    • Tier Harribel survived and was rescued by Nelliel, returning to Hueco Mundo alongside the other Arrancar — though she expresses disgust at Yhwach's fate and remarks that she now understands Aizen's motives for trying to destroy Soul Society.
    • Yhwach's power-draining is revealed to be temporary provided one survives it, as both the surviving Vandenreich and Ichigo regained their powers. In particular, Ichigo's Hollow powers are the reason he returned to the World of the Living: Soul Society was afraid that Aizen — who had created White in the first place — would be able to somehow exploit them to wreck havoc.
    • The biggest ones involve the ultimate fate of Yhwach as the new Soul King and how Ichigo would've been stuck as the King if not for that.
    • Shinji Hirako's bankai are finally revealed.
    • Shuhei Hisagi's bankai is finally revealed, as well as the actual abilities of his shikai.
    • It's strongly implied that the Ukitake wasn't behind the Soul Reaper who killed the first iteration of Xcution, as Ginjō believed — it was Tokinada, who wanted to eliminate him as part of his conspiracy to overthrow the Soul King.
    • It's revealed that Haschwalth had most the surviving Sternritter rescued and given medical treatment; while Candice, Meninas, NaNaNa, Bazz-B, and several others were captured by Soul Society, turned over to Maiyuri, experimented upon, and reanimated as undead slaves in the same manner as the Privaron Espada and Luppi were.
    • The fate of the Fullbrings, both alive and dead are finally shown: In the World of the Living, Yukio is using his parents' corporation to gather Fullbringers from around the world, while a Fullbringer named Aura Michibane has reformed Xcution into a religious cult exploiting the panic caused by Yhwach's attempted destruction of the cosmos; while the dead Fullbrings were taken in by the Kukaku family, though Mayuri intends to capture and vivisect them.
    • The Negar ruins — where Uruhara made his base in Hueco Mundo during the Thousand Year Blood War — have bits of their backstory revealed, and are relics of Hueco Mundo's ancient past.
    • It's revealed that Rangiku Matsumoto was an incarnation of the Soul King akin to Mimihagi, Pernida, and Gremmy; though Aizen forcibly extracted this part of her soul and fed it to his Hogyoku.
  • Shipper on Deck: When Grimmjow is asked by Liltotto if Nelliel is Ichigo's girlfriend, he replies that Orihime is Ichigo's ideal partner.
  • Sinister Surveillance: The Tsunayashiro clan is in charge of chronicling (and doctoring) Soul Society's history, and maintains an interdimensional surveillance network — the secrets of which are deep and dark, and include hiding the existence of Fullbringers.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Shunsui denies acting on this when asked by Ichibei if he hated the Five Noble Houses for what they've done, stating that he doesn't hate the descendants of the original Five Noble Houses for the crimes of his ancestors.
  • Spanner in the Works: Aura turns out to be one, as she had developed a motherly love for Hikone, and thusly, her QR code messages to Yukio were actually a signal that she intended to betray Tokinada.
  • Staring Down Cthulhu: Shuhei Hisagi, of all people, not only manages to interrupt Kenpachi Zaraki in a fight, he manages to convince Zaraki to allow him to take his place.
  • Super Power Lottery:
    • The Tsunayoshiro family's ancestral zanpakutou, Enrakyoten, has the ability to mimic the effect of any zanpakutou that the owner has witnessed. Given that the job of the Tsunayoshiro noble house is to perform surveillance on both Soul Society and the human world, the current wielder, Tsunayashiro Tokinada, has access to a tremendous set of powers, including Kyouka Suigetsu and Ryujin Jakka. The sole weaknesses of Enrakyoten are that it absorbs the users lifeforce in order to be used (a fact which Tokinada couldn't care less about, as he's just that self-assured about his long-term goals), and that it's limited by the reiatsu of its user, meaning that Tokinada isn't able to perform feats quite as impressive as some of the original wielder of the various Zanpakutou. This is hardly even a weakness, as, while he certainly has less reiatsu as, say, Sousuke Aizen or Yamamoto Genryūsai, he certainly has much stronger reiatsu than other people he's borrowing the abilities from such as Rangiku Matsumoto or Hanataro Yamada. It's so powerful that Tokinada, alone, is able to fight off multiple captains and lieutenants at once.
    • Tokinada's minion Hikone has this as well; as an amalgamation of Quincy, Soul Reaper, and Hollow, he has the potential to succeed the Soul King and access to all of the powers that any member of those races would have, and wields an ancient zanpakutou that allows him to summon Hollows that exceed even a Vasto Lorde in power.
  • Underestimating Badassery: For the entirety of the novel, Tokinada mocks Hisagi over Tousen's betrayal, and openly flaunts his role in causing it to happen. He also makes it clear that he feels Hisagi is so much weaker then him that he's below contempt. Cue to the final battle: Hisagi is taking him on and actually begins to manage to do well in the fight, causing Tokinada to become mildly annoyed and attempt to shove it back in Hisagi's face with Senbonzakura. Hisagi... counters it.
  • Villain Has a Point: It almost seems that Tsunayashiro Tokinada's sole redeeming quality is that he knows some of the worst behind-the-scenes details about Soul Society's history, and genuinely disapproves. It soon gets subverted, however, in that his disapproval actually leads to him to take even worse actions.
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