HEART is the forty-first volume of the Bleach manga series.
Pushed to the verge of death by Ulquiorra Cifer, Ichigo Kurosaki releases his Hollow powers. But can Ichigo control his powers long enough to claim victory against his rival, or will he lose everything he's been fighting for...?
In response to Orihime's cry, Ichigo turns into a strange new Hollow form and easily overpowers Ulquiorra.
Within his subconscious, Ichigo hears Orihime Inoue calling out to him and tells himself to stand up and protect her.
Orihime turns around to look at a newly transformed Hollow Ichigo in shock. Ulquiorra and Uryū Ishida are also shocked by this transformation. Ulquiorra tells him it's impossible for him to be alive and asks who he is. In response, Ichigo's inner Hollow summons Zangetsu to his hand before swinging it down by his side, ready to fight. The sheer force of the swing blasts away pieces of the surface of the dome and sends Orihime stumbling away to be caught by Uryū.
Ulquiorra once again asks the Hollow who he is. Ichigo's inner Hollow just lets out a mighty roar. He then charges up a Cero at the end of his horns and fires it at Ulquiorra who quickly counters it with his black Cero. Ulquiorra is shocked by the Hollow's power, saying there is no way a Human can use a Cero. The inner Hollow suddenly appears behind Ulquiorra, grabbing one of his arms and ripping it off. Orihime asks in disbelief if that is really Ichigo.
Ulquiorra reveals that he has regeneration powers, regrowing his old arm back. He attempts to attack Ichigo's inner Hollow, but is overpowered and defeated.
Orihime asks if that is really Ichigo standing there, clutching Ulquiorra's severed arm. Ulquiorra just sighs and regenerates a new arm. Ulquiorra then tells the Hollow that his greatest power is regeneration, not strength. He continues to say that he can regenerate any part of his body except for his internal organs and brain. He then proceeds, saying that it doesn't matter that he changed his form, he will still not be able to defeat him. Ulquiorra forms a Lanza del Relámpago, a javelin-like weapon of spiritual energy, in his hands and throws it at the Hollow. It barely misses, exploding with incredible force behind him.
Ulquiorra comments that it's harder to control than he thought and charges up another one. Before Ulquiorra can throw it, the inner Hollow suddenly appears behind him and chucks his severed arm at him. Ulquiorra slashes at it with his Lanza del Relámpago and tells Ichigo's inner Hollow not to underestimate him, swinging his javelin-like weapon at him. The Hollow effortlessly catches the end of it with his bare hands and crushes it before slashing Ulquiorra across his torso.
Ulquiorra collapses in defeat, not able to believe that he was beaten by some Human that turned into a Hollow. The inner Hollow suddenly presses down Ulquiorra's head with his foot before charging up a Cero directly on him. Ulquiorra tells him he has no reason to live anymore and to go ahead and kill him. Ichigo's inner Hollow shoots the Cero, resulting in a massive explosion.
Rukia continues to fight Rudbornn, but is suddenly interrupted by Yammy. Before Ichigo's inner Hollow can shoot off another Cero, Ulquiorra attacks him.
Rukia Kuchiki freezes Rudbornn's branches, saying if he breeds new soldiers like fruit, the solution to stop that growth is to simply freeze the branches. Before Rudbornn can do anything else, he is smashed aside when Yammy Llargo punches through the platform. Yasutora Sado remarks that Yammy had gotten a lot bigger since the last time he saw him. Infuriated, Yammy yells that he's going to kill Uryū to get revenge for what he did earlier to him. Suddenly, the Hollow's Cero blasts through the hole in the dome. Rukia, Lieutenant Renji Abarai, and Sado are shocked by the Cero's strength and Rukia questions if that was Ichigo's Reiatsu.
Just in time, Orihime had put up her Santen Kesshun, protecting both Uryū and herself from the Hollow 's Cero blast. Uryū stares at the inner Hollow amidst the smoke in shock. Ichigo's inner Hollow was holding the upper half of Ulquiorra's severed body by one of his wings. He then tosses the body against a stone slab and takes out his Zanpakutō, planning to stab Ulquiorra's dead body.
Uryū suddenly appears and grabs the Hollow's wrist, stopping him. Uryū tells him that he had won and that there was no reason to carve up the corpse. He says that if he continues this, he won't be Human anymore. Uryū then shouts Ichigo's name trying to make him snap out of it. In response, the inner Hollow stabs Zangetsu right through Uryū's stomach, sending him flying away. The Hollow then turns to Orihime and in limited dialogue says that he'll help her.
Orihime comes to the conclusion that it's her fault that Ichigo became this way, all because she asked for his help. Ichigo's inner Hollow then charges up a Cero, planning to shoot it at Uryū. Orihime yells at him to stop. Suddenly, a half-regenerated Ulquiorra appears behind the Hollow with a Lanza del Relámpago and slices off one of his horns. In result, the Cero suddenly explodes on the inner Hollow and Ulquiorra, saving Uryū.
His Hollow mask destroyed, Ichigo collapses on the ground while Ulquiorra says his dying words.
The blast from the Hollow's Cero destroys Ichigo's Hollow mask. Ichigo collapses to the ground and Orihime runs to his side. Ulquiorra watches in silence. In thought, Ulquiorra says that even though the rest of his limbs are regenerating, he cannot restore the organs that the inner Hollow had blown away.
Suddenly, a strong whirlwind of spirit energy surrounds the hole in Ichigo's chest before exploding from the hole itself, making the hole close up. Everyone is shocked by this and Ulquiorra says it was high-speed regeneration. Ichigo suddenly rises to his knees and grabs his chest where the hole used to be. He exclaims, "Wasn't there a hole in my chest!?" in disbelief. He then asks Orihime if she was alright before suddenly noticing Uryū off to the side, with Zangetsu sticking out of his stomach.
Uryū smiles and says finally he woke up. In shock, Ichigo asks if it was him who did that to Uryū. Ulquiorra suddenly interrupts Ichigo and then roughly yanks Zangetsu out of Uryū's stomach. He tosses the Zanpakutō at Ichigo saying he wants to finish this. Ichigo questions Ulquiorra if it was him who cut off his arm and leg and stabbed Uryū. He then tells Ulquiorra to cut of his own arm and leg too so they can fight equally. Before Ulquiorra can do so, his wing suddenly starts to disintegrate into ash. Ulquiorra says it's the end for him. He asks Ichigo to kill him quickly or it'll never be over. Ichigo won't do it saying it wasn't the way he wanted to win.
Ulquiorra then turns to Orihime and says that he finally has started to find them to be a little interesting. He then asks Orihime if she was afraid of him. Orihime answers that she is not. The two reach for each other's hands, but Ulquiorra completely fades to ash before they can touch.
Ulquiorra finally understands what a heart is and dies. Yammy uses his Resurrección and transforms, revealing that in his released form he is no longer Espada #10, but in fact Espada #0. Meanwhile, Hitsugaya and Harribel continue their fight.
Ulquiorra experiences his last thoughts before he dies. During this time, he finally realizes what Orihime meant by a "heart" and dies.
Yammy is shocked that Ulquiorra got defeated, stating that he was going to go help him out after defeating Rukia, Renji, and Sado. Yammy becomes infuriated that they are the only people he gets to use his stored up power on, ripping his Arrancar outfit in the process, revealing his #10 tattoo. Rukia, Renji, and Sado discuss between themselves that they could easily defeat Yammy, since they had fought other Espada with higher ranking numbers than him. Immediately after, Yammy uses his Resurrección and the number one on his tattoo crumbles away, leaving only a zero. Yammy then remarks that the Espada ranks don't go from 1-10, but 0-9.
Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya crashes into the ground by one of Tier Harribel's attacks. Harribel says she will put an end to this, releasing her Zanpakutō stating "Attack--!"
The Captains Shunsui, Hitsugaya, and Suì-Fēng continue their fight against the Espada Starrk, Harribel, and Baraggan. Harribel decides to put an end to her and Hitsugaya's fight by releasing her Zanpakutō and slicing Hitsugaya in half.
Captain Sajin Komamura stands guard over Lieutenant Izuru Kira, who is healing their fellow Shinigami. They watch the fights happening before them. Coyote Starrk swipes at Captain Shunsui Kyōraku destroying part of his hat. He comments to Starrk that he's pretty strong. Starrk replies saying that he's surprised at how he can keep on dodging his attacks like that without losing his hat or kimono.
Hitsugaya and Harribel continue to fight. Harribel shoots a projectile at Hitsugaya called "Ola Azul" and it comes right at him.
Meanwhile, both Captain Suì-Fēng and Lieutenant Marechiyo Ōmaeda are exhausted from fighting Baraggan Louisenbairn . Baraggan comments that they can't even budge him. He then smashes his fist through his throne of bones, pulling out a large, axe-shaped Zanpakutō. Marechiyo tells Suì-Fēng that she should hurry and remove the limitations set on her in the Human World, but Suì-Fēng tells him that the limitations were already removed.
Meanwhile, with Hitsugaya smashed against the ground, Harribel is surprised that this was a captain's strength and that her Fracción were defeated by this. She then holds out her sword and releases it, revealing her Resurrección. Before Hitsugaya can react, the right half of his body is cut off.
Tōshirō Hitsugaya recovers from his injuries using a special technique of his and continues his fight with Harribel. Baraggan continues to fight both Suì-Fēng and Marechiyo and reveals that all the Espada embody an aspect of death and that his is old age. He then releases his Zanpakutō.
The sliced half of Hitsugaya's body crashes to the ground and blood spurts out of his wound. Harribel then turns to Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto and tells him he's next and that she'll make him pay for taking her Fracción lives. Before she can even make a move, Hitsugaya, now in one piece, slices at Harribel's face, but Harribel dodges. She attempts to swing her blade at Hitsugaya, but he swiftly jumps over it. Hitsugaya says that he was surprised how much stronger and faster Harribel was after releasing and tells her that it was a good thing he came prepared. The air around him starts to crack and it is shown that it was actually ice. He tells Harribel that he can only use that technique once and to not underestimate the strength of the Shinigami.
Baraggan continues his fight with Suì-Fēng and Ōmaeda. Baraggan sweeps his Zanpakutō at both of them and they nearly dodge the blow. Just from Baraggan's swing, a whole building was sliced in two. Suì-Fēng attempts to kick Baraggan on the back of the head, but every time she attempts to hit him, her kicks seemingly slow down. Baraggan grabs her leg and swings her around, throwing her on the roof of a building. She quickly regains her composure and tries to figure out what Baraggan's power is that causes her movements to slow down.
Baraggan notes that Suì-Fēng can't figure out what his powers are. He tells her that each of the Espada embody an aspect of death and their powers represent that. He reveals that his aspect is "old age," and that it is the most powerful of all the aspects of death because it's the only guaranteed method of death. Suddenly, he appears next to her side and places his hand on her shoulder. Alarmed, she quickly jumps away and Baraggan tells her with just a touch, he can age her very bones. Suì-Fēng's arm then breaks and her face is covered in fear.
Baraggan then releases his Zanpakutō with the words, "Rot, Arrogante!" Baraggan appears with a skull for a head with an adorned crown and dark robes.
With Baraggan's Zanpakutō release, he is shown to be a deadly foe. Harribel and Hitsugaya continue their fight, with both vying for dominance using water.
Suì-Fēng looks on in shock of Baraggan's released form, a humanoid skull creature reminiscent of the American personification of the Grim Reaper. The released Baraggan walks toward them on the surface of a roof. The roof rots beneath him just from him walking on it. Baraggan informs Suì-Fēng that anything around him ages and dies. He points his hand at Suì-Fēng and she yells at Marechiyo to run, that he is no match for him. Baraggan finds this statement funny and says to Suì-Fēng that she is no match for him either.
He then releases a strange smoke-like miasma from his body, rotting everything it touches. Suì-Fēng sees the danger and attempts to run, but the miasma touches part of her left hand, deteriorating to only bone. Suì-Fēng looks at her skeletal hand in shock before screaming as more of the skin on her arm rots away. She yells at Marechiyo to cut off her arm and he hesitantly does so, preventing Suì-Fēng's death. The arm falls to the ground, now completely turned to bone. Baraggan finds it funny that even Shinigami fear death.
Harribel shoots off a blast of water at Hitsugaya, engulfing him. He sticks his Zanpakutō in the water, turning it to ice and using it to counter Harribel. The ice quickly wraps around Harribel's sword arm, but she quickly dispels it by slicing her blade in the air. Hitsugaya tells her that her Zanpakutō's water controlling powers will get her nowhere because of the fact that his turns water into ice, making her attacks turn into his. Harribel tells him that her water Zanpakutō will overpower him and soon. Hitsugaya shouts out not to underestimate him and shoots off an ice dragon off the tip of his Zanpakutō. Harribel tells him that he's the one doing the overestimating and blocks his attack with a shield of water. She continues to tell him that if water can become his weapon, the opposite is true as well. She then shoots a giant surge of water directly at Hitsugaya, engulfing him.
Harribel and Hitsugaya continue their fight. Suì-Fēng tells Marechiyo to act as a decoy for her because she has a plan.
Harribel's attack, with Hitsugaya inside, crashes to the ground. As the water clears away, it is revealed that Hitsugaya turned part of the water into ice to form a large shield, protecting him from the blow. He slices the shield in half once Harribel's move was finished and tells her that he was aware that if one could use another's attack as a weapon, the opposite is true as well. He shoots off spears of ice in Harribel's direction and she tells him that all his attacks will have the same results. She then melts his ice spears, rendering them harmless. Hitsugaya suddenly appears behind her and using the melted ice, creates another ice attack and launches it toward her. She quickly breaks out of the ice and Hitsugaya tells her that one is in the most danger during their strongest attack. She slightly smiles at this comment.
Marechiyo is shaking in fear of Baraggan's power, as Suì-Fēng clutches her shoulder where her arm used to be. He knows that if not even Suì-Fēng could dodge Baraggan's attack, then neither of them could escape. Suì-Fēng tells Marechiyo that he has to act as a decoy for a little while saying that she has a plan. Marechiyo freaks out, insisting to her that both of them need to escape while they still can. Suì-Fēng continues to say to not lose his right arm, otherwise he cannot use his sword to cut off any part that starts to rot away. Unintentionally going with the plan, he starts to run away from Baraggan, who starts to chase him.
Harribel shoots spears of water at Hitsugaya and he dodges all of them. Suddenly, she appears right behind him and shoots a Cero at him, cutting off part of one of his ice wings. Hitsugaya notes that it was a weak attack, but says that she is waiting for the same thing he is: For the battle field to be filled with condensation so she can finish him off in one blow. Reforming the broken ice wing, he says that they'll get nowhere trying to achieve the same thing. He then tells her that he has never done this technique in Bankai before, but there is a first time for everything. He continues to say that his Zanpakutō doesn't have to wait for water to control, saying that all of heaven is under his command, and then adding "Hyoten Hyakkaso!"
I moved. No, I had to move. After three years, I finally got bored of the workspace I loved so much. I had never even made it to two years in the past, so that means I liked this one 1.5 times more than the others. Wait. That's not as much as I thought. My new workspace is on the 34th floor! I'm not very good with heights, so how many years will I be able to stand it?! We'll see!!