Gotei 13 Invading Army Arc ((護廷十三隊侵軍篇 Gotei Jūsan Tai Shingun Hen)
Season 15 of Bleach (of the same manga written and illustrated by Tite Kubo) begin airing on April 12, 2011 to present. The shinigamis, together with Kurosaki Ichigo, step into a mind-boggling conspiracy that replicates all the captains and vice-captains of Soul Society (minus a few). It soon turns into an all out war of fakes versus originals. At the same time, Ichigo loses his shinigami powers.
The season’s opening and ending themes are:
1. ViViD’s “Blue” (ep. 317-342)
2. fumika’s “Aoi Tori” (アオイトリ Blue Bird) (ep. 317-329)
3. UNLIMITS’ “Haruka Kanata” (ep. 330-342)
• Season 4 (Jan. – Aug. 2006)
• Season 5 (Aug. 2006 – Jan. 2007)
• Season 9 (Apr. – Oct. 2008)
Peace has finally returned for Karakura Town and Seireitei. Matsumoto (vice-10) and Nanao (vice-8) are sent to cleanse and restore barriers between both worlds. However, on the way back to Seireitei, through the Precipice World, the two lieutenants are confronted by an unusual occurrence.
On the other side of Seireitei, Hitsugaya (10) and Kyouraku (8) loses contact with their lieutenant, but open their return, the lieutenants don’t even realize a huge time lapse has occurred. In that instance, the Shinigamis realize the Precipe World is out of sync with Seireitei. Yamamoto-Genryusai (1) immediately calles for Kurotsuchi Mayuri (12) to conduct a survey of the Severed World with Kenpachi’s (11) squad as security. Byakuya (6), Renji (vice-6) and Hitsugaya (10) are sent for additional back-up. Thus, access to the human world is temporarily halted for the following days. During the survey, squad 6 loses communication with 12 and 11. Soon enough, the remaining team are confronted by a bright light from the walls of the Precipice World.
Elsewhere on earth, Kon runs off with Ichigo’s body, while his master and Rukia are off to clean house. He stumbles upon an unconscious naked green-haired girl and rescues her home. Sensing no spiritual or human aura, she must have dropped in to the human world when the senkaimon opened. Upon Ichigo and Rukia’s return, Rukia sends the conundrum back to the research team back home. Thereafter Rukia is ordered to return to Seireitei with Ichigo, against Urahara’s advise.
As the duo travel through the Precipice World, they are chased by Kototsu (the Cleaner). It has regenerated that quickly?! Ichigo is forced to use his bankai to save them both, but loses not only his substitute badge in the process but his powers too. He gets temporarily separated from Rukia from his fall. But is immediately apprehended by Hitsugaya and Byakuya upon touching ground. He is accused of being the prime suspect of the latest events in Seireitei and disrupting the flow of the Precipice World.In a darkened lab, a mad scientist walks through the room filed with gigai and speaks to Kira (vice-3) and Nanao (vice-8).
April 19, 2011 | ep. 318: Renji vs. Rukia? Battle with Comrades! (Renji VS Rukia?! Nakama to no tatakai! 恋次ＶＳルキア？！仲間との戦い！)
Kon tries to hide to green-haired girl from the Kurosaki family. But Kujou Nozomi already thinks him a pervert and avoids him at all cost.
Elsewhere in Seireitei, Ichigo is placed under house arrest for his “involvement” in the disappearance of the captains. However, Ukitake (13) and Kyouraku (8) find it hard to believe that Ichigo (accused by his substitute badge) will stoop to such levels and without cause. Soon enough, Rukia frees Ichigo from his imprisonment to escape Seireitei. There is time lapse between the living world and Soul Society, which lead to much of the unexplained events. However, they are stopped by Renji and Ikkaku, who are bent on stopping and attacking them without thought. Could they be controlled by someone? Yoruichi arrives in time to save Ichigo and Rukia. At her hideout, she explains to them that these Shinigamis have been replaced by Reigai, functioning much like a gigai in the human world, housing the spiritual essence of the Shinigami. These reigai are near-perfect replicas of their originals: in memory, personality, behavior and skill, minus their aggression. She is unclear how many of the reigai have infiltrated the Gotei 13. Someone in the 12th Division is definitely involved and plotting something colossal.
Rukia and Ichigo sneak into the research lab to check on the records of the people leaving Seireitei and realize the fugitive, Nozomi, who Kon found was the first to have left when the whole incident began.
In the human world, Reigai Kira and Nanao arrive with their new master, the mysterious scientist of the 12th squad, to recapture Nozomi. Kon catches up to her to protect her, but they are overpowered and pinned down. Lucky for Kon, Ishida arrives.
April 26, 2011 | ep. 319: Ichigo’s Capture Net! Escape from Soul Society! (Ichigo hobakumō! Sōru Sosaeti o dasshutsu seyo! 一護捕縛網！尸魂界を脱出せよ！)
Ishida protects Kon, but an unconscious Nozomi is captured by the Reigai Kira and Nanao. The mad scientist boasts that he has surpassed even his captain, and proceeds to cast a spell and injure Ishida with his zapakutou Raiku. When things look bleak, Chad and Inoue arrive as backup. However Chad is no match against the scientist, who reveals himself to be Inaba Kageroza.
Meanwhile, in Sereitei, Ichigo, Rukia and Yoruichi are confronted by a full frontal assault, blocking their departure at the Senkaimon. To enable the other two to return to the human world, Yoruichi sacrifices herself when Reigai Byakuya shows up.
Ichigo and Rukia arrive home in time to help Chad. But Ichigo, in his weakened state, is no match against this new foe. Fortunately for Ichigo, the real Renji (vice-6), Hitsugaya (10) and the rest of the captain and lieutenants arrive to protect the human world.
Before leaving with his minions, Inaba reveals that once he retrieves Nozomi, he will conquer Seireitei and the human world. He returns to Soul Society and orders his Reigai to retrieve Nozomi at all cost and elimiate their originals.
The Captains, Lieutenants, Ichigo, and friends all gather at Urahara’s shop, as Inoue watches over Nozomi. While alone, Kon tells Nozomi that he is a mod soul (too). The shinigamis formulate a plan to protect Nozomi from Inaba, the 7th seated officer in the 12th squad and the Severed World Specialist. What could he possibly want with Nozomi?
In the meantime, to cheer up Nozomi, the friends decide to have a cook-out for her. Unfortunately, Nozomi runs away and the friends end up looking for her. Kon finds her, eventually, but leaves her in the care of Matsumoto (vice-10) – who happens to be a Reigai. When he realizes his mistake, he goes in for the safe, but is sliced in the process. Ichigo finally arrives, and promises her that he will protect her, while Reigai Matsumoto escapes.
Far off in Seireitei, the Reigais gather, realizing they have yet to replace a few: including Yamamoto-Genryusai (1), Ukitake (13) and Kyouraku (8).
May 10, 2011 | ep. 321: Showdown of Mutual Self, Ikkaku vs. Ikkaku! (Jibun dōshi no taiketsu, Ikkaku VS Ikkaku! 自分同士の対決、一角VS一角！)
Ukitake (13) and Kyouraku (8) finally meet to discuss the strangeness of the events. Everything has been coincidentally perfect at Seireitei. The inseparable dynamic duo looks into the records of the severed world and discover discrepencies. However, they are quickly apprehended by Soifon (2) for “falsifying records.” In the mean time, the old fool Yamamoto-Genryusai (1) orders an investigative squad into the human world.
In the human world, Kon is tied up like a roasted pig, as Nozomi escapes, once again. All the friends go in search, as she too searches for something. Simultaneously, the Reigai army enter the human world in search for Nozomi. Ikkaku and friends meet their doubles in a fight to the end!
In Seireitei, Inaba visits the real Nozomi in a cell.
May 17, 2011 | ep. 322: Clash! Rukia vs. Rukia! (Gekitotsu! Rukia VS Rukia!” 激突！ルキアVSルキア！)
The originals are trounced by their Reigais. Ishida is left tending to the fallen.
Elsewhere, Ichigo, Inoue and Chad go in search of the missing Nozomi (with Kon hot on her tail). Nozomi insists she does not need their protection, as she will fix the problem herself. Kon’s stuffed body soon unravels as they approach a gate to a shrine.
Matsumoto Rangiku (vice-10) is forced to take on the impostor Kira, who uses Wabisuke to his full advantage. Inaba had enhanced all their abilities, including their sword’s. Wabisuke, the penitent sword which doubles the weight of its opponent’s sword, has now been revved up to ten times. With Haineko weighed down, Rangiku tries to use kidou on him unsuccessfully. Seeing an opening, Rangiku purposely evades Kira’s next strike, as his sword makes contact with metal, that reverberates to his own sword. With his own sword weighed down, Rangiku takes him down with Haineko.
Meanwhile, Rukia meets her evil twin. The fake’s abilities are definitely better than hers. Soon, fake Rukia is joined by the fake Nemu (vice-12). Rukia tries to escape, as the real Nemu comes to her aid. Soon, Nemu takes out the fake one, as Rukia too takes out her Reigai. They meet up with the victorious Rangiku, but it turns out, she’s the impostor and proceeds to take down the girls.
Kyouraku (8) is thrown in jail, while Ukitake (13) pleads for his release with the council of 46. However, according to these decrepit and stiff old rulers, once a person is judged, there is no going back. Unohana (4) then approaches Ukitake and suggests a conspiracy. Before leaving, she warns that they cannot trust anyone. At the cell, Ukitake finally shows up to break Kyouraku out, only to stab him in the back.
May 24, 2011 | ep. 323: Protect Ichigo! Nozomi’s Determination (Mamore Ichigo! Nozomi no ketsui 護れ一護！望実の決意)
Nozomi enters the shrine, bend on going to the natural senkaimon ((穿界門, World Penetration Gate), previously unknown to others, to hide from Inaba thus preventing his domination of both worlds. No one knows where it leads to, therefore making it difficult to locate her. Kon tries to convince her – unsuccessfully – not to leave as Ichigo and the rest will protect her. As she leaves, Rangiku and the rest of the fake squad (Rukia, Shuhei, Omaeda, Yumichika and Ikkaku) stop her. Kon tries to stop them, but his actions are futile. Ichigo arrives in time to stop them, however his reiatsu decreases as he realizes he has to finish off the battle as quickly as possible. With one swing of Getsuga Tenshou, the reigais turn into their natural form – a pill. With that, Nozomi promises never to leave again, understanding for once what it is to be protected.
Chad and Inoue go to the aid of the fallen girls: Rukia, Rangiku (vice-10) & Nemu (vice-12). But the fake Renji stops them. Chad takes him on, and is later aided by the true Renji while Inoue heals the girls. Renji easily takes down the impostor.
At Seireitei, the fake Ukitake (13) and Kyouraku (8) go after Yamamoto-Genryusaai (1), but the captain is on to them. Meanwhile, Unohana (4) and Isane (vice-4) check into the falsified info. Searching through the Great Library Cloister, Unohana realizes that a shinigami from the severed world department did a lot of “research” there. But Inaba is watching them and has used his altered zanpakutou to change time and space around them.
May 31, 2011 | ep. 324: Recapture Seireitei! The Captains Move! (Seireitei dakkan e! Taichō tachi, ugoku! 瀞霊廷奪還へ！隊長たち、動く！)
Hitsugaya (10), Byakuya (6), Kenpachi (11) and Komamura (7) return to Seireitei using Urahara’s (ex-12) senkaimon to try to regain control of it. However, they waltz right into Inaba’s trap in the Precipice World, forcing Komamura to remain behind to counter the currents. The other three split up once reaching Soul Society. Kenpachi immediately encounters his reigai and engages his clone in a fierce combat, much to his delight, which ends in his victory.
Elsewhere, the imitators battle Yamamoto-Genryusaai (1) as Isane and Unohana (4) confront Inaba in his headquarters. However, during his tale of soul reapers creation, Isane attacks Unohana, revealing to be a fake. Soon, Unohana’s Reigai too arrives. But the real Unohana escapes, knowing that she needs to save her energy to save/heal the other captains.
The Reigai Ukitake (13) and Kyouraku (8) fall. Unfortunately, they were just stalling for time, waiting for Unohana’s Reigai to heal them.
Meanwhile, Byakuya’s (6) passage is stopped by Hitsugaya’s (10) reigai and a heated battle ensues. In the mean time, Inaba visits his figure in the cell. He promises that Nozomi will return.
In the living world, Urahara informs the rest that all have passed through except for Komamura (7). Ichigo immediately volunteers to go, but is counseled by the rest to remain behind and care for his injuries. They remind him he still needs to protect everyone on earth, and most of all, Nozomi. But he counters, saying that everyone there are friends to Nozomi. Thus, will protect her, with or without him around. With that touching piece of back and forth, Nozomi heals Ichigo by returning his reiatsu with kidou. Urahara warns that the second invasion will be riskier than the first as Inaba is probably guarding the Precipe World like a hawk.
June 14, 2011 | ep. 326: The Two Hinamori, Hitsugaya’s Resolution (Futari no Hinamori, Hitsugaya no kakugo ふたりの雛森、日番谷の覚悟)
The injured Kenpachi (11) stumbles into a bamboo clearing but is stopped by Soifon’s reigai and her onmitsukidou squad (black-ops). Is death imminent for the badly injured fighter? Kenpachi clears out the black-ops, but is hunted by Soifon with her poison dart. Komamura (7) arrives as back-up to Kenpachi! With that, Komamura relieves Kenpachi, as the latter goes in search of Inaba.
Reigai Kyouraku (8) and Ukitake (13) manages to drain and weaken Yamamoto-Genryusaai (1).
Histugaya (10) goes in search of Inaba but finds Momo instead. She immediately tries to kill him, and when he stops her, she asks, “Are you going to try to kill me again?” Alarmed, and remorseful, the unsuspecting (and stupid) Hitsugaya allows himself to be stabbed repeatedly. He is saved by the “real” Momo who is angered that her Shiro is hurt. Turns out, number two was also a fake. Yoruichi comes to his rescue.
Ichigo enters Soul Society, but thrown way off, and not without Inaba noticing. Inaba redirects Ichigo’s entrance and vows to erase his existence. He creates a vortex in which Ichigo is sucked back into the Precipe World. His fate is sealed as the Cleaner draws him in.
June 21, 2011 | ep. 327: Pride of the Kuchiki Family! Byakuya vs. Byakuya! (Kuchiki-ke no hokori! Byakuya VS Byakuya! 朽木家の誇り！白哉VS白哉！)
Byakuya (6) faces his doll while Komamura decks it out with Soifon. A tired, but annoyed, Yamamoto engulfs the challenging reigais.
The friends on earth begin to panic when Ichigo’s reiatsu becomes undetectable.
June 28, 2011 | ep. 328: Defeat Kageroza! Shinigami, All Out War! (Kageroza wo taose! Shinigami, sōryokusen! 影狼佐を倒せ！死神、総力戦！)
An injured Hitsugaya (10) and Kenpachi (11) make it to Inaba’s base. They promptly attack, only to have Inaba reveal his seemingly unbeatable Zanpakutou, which records his opponent’s attacks, sealing it in the severed world, and regurgitates it back to them. Things look bleak for the two captains, until Yoruichi arrives with the rest of the rescued captains. Inaba calls for backup from his Reigai squad as another battle of fakes and originals ensues.
As the battle begin to lean towards the enemy, the “reigai” Mayuri attacks Inaba, revealing he had switched places with his impostor.
In the Precipice World, Ichigo is rescued by a mysterious figure and returned to earth.
Ichigo awakens, remembering how the cleaner had swallowed him, but not clear how he was rescued. There wasn’t a way Ichigo could have survived the cleaner. Only reason could be Inaba’s research is hidden in the Precipice World.
In Seireitei, Mayuri trounces his subordinate and slowly paralyzes Inaba with his Zanpakutou, thus slowing his thought process. Inaba screams for his reigais (but all if not all are defeated) and Isane comes to his side. Inaba immediately kills her and takes her soul candy. His “soul” is pushed out of his body as he proceeds to resurrect and unleash the true strength of the defeated Reigai.
At this point, both Inaba and Nozomi both admit that each is the first Mod Soul. When the Spearhead Project was destroyed, he changed the info and inserted it into the Precipice World.
July 12, 2011 | ep. 330: I Want to Live…! Nozomi’s Zanpakutō (Ikitai…! Nozomi no Zanpakutō 生きたい…！望実の斬魄刀)
Uruhara has long suspected that Nozomi was a Mod Soul. But how does she fall into Inaba’s plans?
All the captains in the fight with Inaba and his dolls have gone missing. All the lieutenants and Yamamoto are on earth. With the balance of energy shifted to earth, more hollows gather on earth forcing Ichigo and Rukia to deal with the problem.
Without a chaperone and overhearing that war is looming over Karakura Town, Nozomi leaves the group in the middle of the night. Everyone has either fallen or died because of her. She is subsequently attacked by a hollow, but Kon comes to her rescue. Everyone is bent on protecting her. Pushed to her limits, Nozomi vows to protect her new found friends too and not be a burden to all. Suddenly, her zanpakutou appears as she calls on her shinigami abilities.
July 19, 2011 | ep. 331: For the Sake of Fighting! The Awakened Nozomi! (Tatakau Tame ni! Mezame yo Nozomi! 戦うために！ 目覚めよ望実！)
In Seireitei, Inaba orders Byakuya (6), Hitsugaya (10), Kenpachi (11) and Komamura (7) to infiltrate earth. However, Urahara is one step ahead of this chess game and separates the encroaching enemies upon their arrival on earth.
Regaining her sword and powers, Nozomi decides to help the rest defeat Inaba. Even though her sword can most likely counter Inaba’s sword, the decision is opposed by the lieutenants. She can’t even perform shikai, much less remember the name or power of her sword. They can’t take the chance, especially since she’s the target. However, Ichigo, Chad, Ishida and Rukia decide to help awaken Nozomi’s sword’s latent powers with the same training that Ichigo underwent.
Seeing Nozomi’s determination, Ikkaku and rest of the shinigami decides to buy her time by being their first line of defense.
Not holding back, Ichigo throws Getsugatenshou at Nozomi, forcing her to finally remember her sword’s name, Arazomeshigure. It swallows the attack.
As Ikkaku is about to fall in Kenpachi’s hand, Nozomi unleashes the powers of her sword and seemingly obliterates the reigai.
July 26, 2011 | ep. 332: The Most Evil Reigai, Appearing in the Real World! (Saikyo no Reigai, Gense ni Arawaru! 最凶の霊骸, 現世に現る！)
Hisagi (vice-9) and Kira (vice-3) go up against Hitsugaya’ (10) reigai. While Rangiku (vice-10) and Iba (vice-7) fight Komamura’s reigai (7). Renji (vice-6) takes on his captain’s fake with the aid of Rukia.
In the meantime, the seemingly killed Zaraki reappears. Yumichika goes to the aid of a fallen Ikkaku and tells Ichigo and Nozomi to fall back with Ikkaku so that he can avenge him. However, Nozomi can’t stand back anymore. Not when everyone’s trying their utmost best and protect each other and her. What’s more, they are no match against the reigai captains. With that thought, Yumichika promptly falls, Rukia and Renji are cornered by the fake Byakuya, Hitsugaya overpowers Hisagi and Kira.
Nozomi stands out to protect the others. She takes on Hitsugaya’s attacks, swallows it with her zanpakutou, and hurls it back to the reigais. Byakuya reacts using kidou to bind Nozomi and stop her from using her zanpakutou while Komamura tries to nab her. Uryuu Ishida shows up to her rescue as Ichigo’s reiatsu suddenly lowers.
Seeing the bind that they are in, Ishida comes up with a plan: the standing friends redirect all their reiatsu/attack towards Nozomi in hopes that she is able to absorb it all and use that power against the captains. With that, they all focus their attack on Nozomi as she, in turn, hurls it back to the invading captains. As the smoke clears, Byakuya remains standing and unleashes his bankai: senbonzakura. Fortunately for everyone, Yamamoto-Genryusaai shows up and takes him down.
Aug. 2, 2011 | ep. 333: Destroy Nozomi!? Genryusai’s Decision! (Nozomi o Kesu!? Genryūsai no Ketsudan! 望実を消す!? 元柳斎の決断！)
Nozomi’s existence is quickly waved off as inconsequential by the arriving Yamamoto-Genryuusai. She is merely a Mod Soul. This angers Kon and Rukia, but they are ignored too. Their one-sided argument is stopped with the sudden appearance of Ukitake (13) and Kyoraku’s (8) reigai. It’s up to Ichigo, Nozomi, Rukia and the Head Captain to deck it out while the rest are healed by Inoue. But Yamamoto tells Ichigo to fall back. He’s building a fiery pit of hell of the reigai.
Not heeding the elder’s orders, Nozomi charges for Kyoraku. Ichigo immediately goes to her aid to take on Ukitake. Unohana’s (4) reigai attacks the distracted Yamamoto and binds him with kidou. Unfortunately for the reigai, the real McCoy shows up and captures the fake. Yamamoto easily chars his binding chains, and sets the vicinity up in flames, with the intention of finishing the enemies and Nozomi too. Ichigo manages to swoop in for the safe.
The unyielding reigns go after Yamamoto again, but Inaba arrives to take over the fight. Seeing how Inaba has the upper hand over Yamamoto, Nozomi offers herself as a decoy to prevent Inaba from copying Ichigo and Yamamoto’s techniques. Earlier during the fight, she absorbed Yamamoto’s flames. Ichigo uses the final straw of his powers and falls. Inaba is injured but at the last moment, he absorbs Nozomi’s powers and uses it to copy Ichigo’s and Yamamoto’s techniques. With that, the hurls the attacks back at the only standing opponent: Yamamoto.
Aug. 9, 2011 | ep. 334: The Depleting Reiatsu! Ichigo, Death Struggle of the Soul! (Ushinawareru Reiatsu! Ichigo, Tamashii no Shitō! 失われる霊圧！ 一護、魂の死闘！)
Nozomi stands in the way of Inaba’s blast.
Aug. 16, 2011 | ep. 335: Hiding in the Dangai? Another Ichigo?! (Dangai ni Senpuku? Mōhitori no Ichigo!? 断界に潜伏？もう一人の一護！？)
Aug. 23, 2011 | ep. 336: Pursue Kageroza! Technological Development Department, Infiltration! (Kageroza o Oe! Gijutsu Kaihatsukyoku, Sennyū! 影狼佐を追え！技術開発局、潜入！)
Aug. 30, 2011 | ep. 337: The Developer of the Modified Souls (Kaizō Konpaku no Kaihatsusha 改造魂魄の開発者
Sept. 13, 2011 | ep. 339: Protect Ichigo! The Bonds of Friends! (Ichigo o Mamore! Nakama Tachi no Kizuna! 一護を護れ！仲間たちの絆！)
Sept. 20, 2011 | ep. 340: Reigai vs. Original, The Fierce Fighting for Gambled Pride! (Reigai VS Genshu, Hokori o Kaketa Gekitō! 霊骸VS原種、誇りをかけた激闘！)
Sept. 27, 2011 | ep. 341: Invading Army Arc, Final Conclusion! (Shingun Hen, Saishū Kecchaku! 侵軍篇、最終決着！)
Oct. 4, 2011 | ep. 342: Thank You (Arigatou ありがとう)