018. 6/17 op. 2 Doesn't Smile Much Anymore
019. 6/17 op. 3 memories in the rain
020. 6/17 op. 4 A Face From the Past
021. 6/17 op. 5 A Fighting Boy
022. 6/17 op. 6 A Battle in the Graveyard
023. 6/17 op. 7 Sharp Will, Dull Blade
024. 6/17 op. 8 One-Sided Sympathy
025. 6/17 op. 9 A Fighting Boy 2 (The Cigarette Blues Mix)
Ichigo Kurosaki was a little boy when his mother passed away. One rainy day, Ichigo, whose ability to see the undead is a blessing and a curse, tried to stop a young girl from drowning in a nearby river. His mother, Masaki, ran after them, frantically trying to rescue her only son. Then everything went black, and Ichigo awoke only to discover his mother dead and the little girl gone.
It's the anniversary of Masaki's death, and the entire Kurosaki clan, along with former ShinigamiRukia Kuchiki, head to the cemetery to pay their respects. Sleeping demons rarely ever stay still and pretty soon Ichigo confronts the Grand Fisher, the Hollow that may be responsible for his mother's demise. This and more in this action-packed volume of Tite Kubo's manga smash-hit Bleach.
Ichigo prepares for the anniversary of his mother's death.
Kon wakes Ichigo up for the morning, annoying Ichigo. He then recalls looking for a body to put Kon into, and finally being forced to settle on a stuffed animal. Rukia then climbs out of his closet, where Kon gets a view up her skirt, but is forced to dive back in when Yuzu enters Ichigo's room. Yuzu informs Ichigo that his friend, Mizuiro, has been outside waiting on him for a while.
Ichigo hurries to get dressed and wonders why his dad didn't wake him up. When he glasses at his watch, he takes note of the date, and Rukia notices, asking him what's wrong. However, he dismisses her concern.
At school, Tatsuki, Orihime, and Michiru compare their art projects. When Ichigo arrives, he greets Orihime warmly, but she notices that he's tense. Tatsuki comments that Ichigo won't be in class tomorrow, so if Orihime needs anything from him, then she should get it today.
That evening, the Kurosaki's hold a family meeting to decide on tomorrow's duties. Later, Rukia asks if Ichigo is taking the day off for a family picnic, and he asks if he can not do his Shinigami duties the next day, which she says is impossible. He then tells her that the next day is the anniversary of his mother's death, or more specifically, the anniversary of the day she was killed.
Tatsuki recalls her history with Ichigo to Orihime. Elsewhere, he tells Rukia that he's responsible for his mother's death.
Tatsuki remembers her history with Ichigo, narrating it for Orihime, mentioning that they first met at a karate class, where she won all of the fights against him. He always cried when he lost, but when his mother arrived, he'd stop crying.
Elsewhere, Isshin, Ichigo, Yuzu, and Karin hike up a hill to Masaki's grave. While on the way up, Rukia waves at Ichigo, and he wonders why she's there. When Yuzu and Karin question her presence, he claims that she's a friend from school and runs off to talk with her. Once alone, he yells at her for following him and not being sneaky about it. She apologizes, but says it was necessary in case of a Hollow attack.
She then asks who killed his mother, which Ichigo denies having said, and Rukia states that a Hollow killed his mother. Ichigo yells at her, saying that such a serious thing isn't a joke and that it wasn't a Hollow who killed her. He then thinks he sees a small girl, and runs away, while Rukia asks what's wrong.
Meanwhile, Tatsuki tells Orihime that Ichigo's mother died when he was nine years old. After her death, he wandered by the riverbank from morning till night, as if he was waiting for something.
Rukia finally catches up with Ichigo and he tells her that he killed his mother.
The Kurosaki family visit Masaki Kurosaki's grave in remembrance of the day of her death.
The Kurosaki family is at Masaki's grave. As Karin prays, Isshin tries to get his family to play tombstone dominoes, much to the annoyance of his children. Rukia is watching the scene unfold from a distance and remembering her conversation with Ichigo where she asked him if a Hollow killed his mother. Ichigo had replied that it was he who had killed his mother. Rukia is certain Ichigo didn't do it on purpose, but wonders what it was that killed his mother. Kon interrupts Rukia's thoughts, wanting to go home. Rukia says that she has to stay close to Ichigo in case a Hollow shows up. Kon complains that is always about Hollows with her.
As Ichigo places flowers at his mother's grave he reflects on how he has always been able to see ghosts, but how he tried to hide the fact, including from his friends like Tatsuki. Because he saw ghosts so clearly, he couldn't always tell the difference between living people and ghosts. As a result, people often questioned him about whether he could see ghosts or not. He would usually laugh it off and it didn't seem like a problem to him, until the day of his mother's death.
On June 17, when Ichigo was nine, he was walking with his mother in the rain. As he does so, he talks about how he loved his mother and wanted to protect his mother. He says that his mother was the center of the universe for not only him, but his entire family as well. He then returns to narrating what happened the day his mother died, commenting on how it had been raining hard for days and as a result the river had become swollen. As he and his mother was walking home, he saw a girl standing beside the river as if she was deciding whether or not to jump in. Ichigo ran to her, trying to stop her from jumping in. Reflecting that initially he had just wanted to protect his mother, then after they were born, his sisters, but that as he got stronger he wanted to protect more and more people. As he ran towards the girl, his mother ran after him. When Ichigo awoke, he found his mother dead because of a severe cut. He didn't know what cut his mother, but he realized she died protecting him. As a result, he believe he tore the heart from his family's universe.
At the grave changes to Yuzu crying with Karin trying to comfort her. They hear their father whistling and as they get ready to go to where their father is, Karin sees the girl Ichigo saw by the river that day standing at the edge of a cliff. Karin wonders what she is doing there. Yuzu wonders who she is talking about and that is when Karin realizes that the girl must be a ghost, as Yuzu can't see her. Karin goes up to speak to the ghost and tells her that if something is troubling her, then there is a priest down the hill, but before she can complete her sentence the ghost asks her if she can see her and hear her. Karin replies in the affirmative, but asks the ghost to keep it a secret as it is embarrassing. At this point something appears behind the girl that comments on how tasty Karin looks, as Karin starts to get worried.
Yuzu and Karin are attacked by a Hollow and Ichigo goes to their aid.
Isshin blows a whistle to gather his kids, but only Ichigo shows up. Isshin suggests that they split up and look for Yuzu and Karin, which Ichigo initially refuses to do. However, he feels a sensation and runs off without saying a word.
Elsewhere, Yuzu asks Karin what's wrong, and Karin orders her to not come any closer. She sees the "thing" behind the small girl, who commends her for being able to see so much. Rukia notices the presence of a Hollow and runs off, quickly coming into contact with Ichigo who has also realized that a Hollow is about and that his sisters are easy targets. They head towards the Hollow, and Ichigo asks if Rukia intends to question him. She says that she has no right to know, and that if he wants to talk, she'll listen.
Karin has been thrown back by the Hollow, and Yuzu tries to help. Karin starts to reprimand her, as she ordered Yuzu not to come closer, but the Hollow steps on her back, forcing her to cry out in pain instead. Yuzu feels the leg on top of Karin and wonders what it is, when the Hollow uses a tentacle to lift her up and strangle her. The small girl says that Yuzu is "trash" because she has no spiritual power, and that she only wants to eat "the dark-haired girl." However, because Yuzu is an "eyesore," the girl says she'll eat Yuzu first.
At that time, Ichigo arrives, slicing off the Hollow's tentacle that was strangling Yuzu. He catches her as she falls and then cuts off the claw that was holding Karin down, freeing her from the Hollow's grip as well. The small girl identifies him as a Shinigami, and Ichigo remembers her from six years ago, when she had been at the river's edge. She states that she doesn't remember back that far, but that she understands now that Ichigo must have seen her work previously. He asks if she's a Hollow's crony or if she's being controlled by a Hollow, and she says that both guesses are wrong.
Ichigo confronts the Grand Fisher, the Hollow who lured Ichigo to the riverside six years ago, resulting in his mother's death.
Rukia finally catches up with Ichigo, carrying his body on her back, and notices that his two sisters have been knocked out.
Ichigo questions the small girl what she is, and she comments that he's lucky to still be alive. Her body then gets torn apart and it appears that she's simply a lure attached to the real Hollow. Rukia explains that the Hollow is known as the Grand Fisher, because of his ability to protrude a lure from his neck to capture Humans. By consuming Humans with high spiritual power, he is able to get stronger and has managed to avoid Shinigami for 54 years, making him infamous in Soul Society.
Ichigo realizes, then, that the girl he had tried to save six years ago was actually the Grand Fisher's lure, and thus, the Grand Fisher must have actually killed his mother. Angry, Ichigo moves to attack him, while Rukia calls him a fool. Grand Fisher avoids Ichigo's attack and counterattacks, catching Ichigo in his fur. Rukia readies a Kidō attack, but Ichigo asks her to stop. Ichigo cuts himself down, and tells Rukia to take Yuzu and Karin away while he takes care of the Grand Fisher. Rukia begins to protest, but Ichigo asks her to not interfere.
Ichigo continues his fight against the Grand Fisher.
Rukia moves Kon from his stuffed form to Ichigo, which he complains loudly about. Rukia then thinks on how Ichigo said the fight against Grand Fisher was his, and she tells him not to die.
Back among the graves, Ichigo continues his fight against the Hollow. Grand Fisher is extremely fast, forcing Ichigo to run simply to evade attacks, which the Hollow mocks him for. Ichigo, however, resolves to protect Yuzu and Karin, who have been very sad and lonely since the Grand Fisher murdered their mother. Ichigo then moves to attack, but hesitates, allowing the Grand Fisher to push him back and counterattack with his fingernails, with one thrusting into Ichigo's chest.
Karin wakes up and sees Ichigo, who is actually Kon in Ichigo's body. He tells her that she had fallen asleep alongside Yuzu. He tells her to rest while he goes and gets their father. Closing the door as he exits the building, Kon asks Rukia if he did alright, which she says he did. Inside, Karin wonders if what had transpired was a dream.
Back at the fight, the Grand Fisher mocks Ichigo's carelessness, but Ichigo promises to defeat him. He then brings out his lure again, showing the young girl, and then changes the lure to show Masaki Kurosaki instead.
Grand Fisher uses Masaki Kurosaki's likeness to prevent Ichigo from successfully fighting while Rukia debates whether or not to help.
Grand Fisher has created a likeness of Ichigo's mother, Masaki. He explains that by attacking Ichigo with a specific hand, he's able to look into Ichigo's memories. With his other hand, using the information garnered from the enemy's memories, he can create what he saw. He claims that this ability allows him to defeat his enemies, because Shinigami all have one person they can't cut; for Ichigo, that is his mom. The Masaki creation then speaks, surprising Ichigo.
Elsewhere, Kon, in Ichigo's body, asks if Rukia intends to help Ichigo. Rukia doesn't, because Ichigo asked her not to interfere. Kon then asks Rukia to do him a favor and save Ichigo, because Kon doesn't want to say in Ichigo's body forever. After pleading loudly, Rukia finally caves and agrees to do it. However, in return, Kon has to stay and protect the Ichigo's father and sisters.
On her way there, Rukia wonders what she intends to do once she arrives. Since Ichigo is fighting for himself, Rukia ponders whether or not he'd appreciate her help. When she arrives, she tells herself not to interfere, remembering a conversation where she was told that by interfering in a fight for one's pride, she may save his life, but she'd kill his pride.
Meanwhile, Grand Fisher mocks Ichigo for not being able to move just because "Masaki" had called his name. Angry, Ichigo raises his Zanpakutō and moves to fight, but the false Masaki pleads with him not to attack her. Ichigo stops, and Grand Fisher thrusts his hand through pseudo-Masaki's and Ichigo's chest, telling Ichigo that it's over. However, Ichigo is not yet killed, and he thrusts his Zanpakutō into Grand Fisher's shoulder, mocks him, then cuts down, spraying blood.
Because it's raining, Tatsuki asks Orihime if she wants to stay over, and Orihime reveals that she was kicked out of her house and is now sleeping outside. Tatsuki yells at her, until Orihime reveals that it was a joke and she's actually staying at a hotel. After letting her borrow an umbrella, Tatsuki says farewell to Orihime. While walking in the rain, Orihime thinks about the loss of Ichigo's mother and her brother, stating that she can understand.
Back at the graveyard, Ichigo continues his fight against the Grand Fisher, cutting off one of the Hollow's arms. The Grand Fisher collapses, while a badly-wounded Ichigo leans on his Zanpakutō. Rukia arrives, and he tells her that she's late, prompting her to remind him that he told her not to interfere.
However, the Grand Fisher hasn't been killed yet, and he nearly hits Ichigo's head, who falls to the ground in his attempt to avoid the attack. Grand Fisher then pulls his body into the Masaki lure, and reveals that both are his real body, and that if one part is injured, he can just hide in the other body. Because he's in a replica of Masaki, he believes that Ichigo cannot attack him.
Elsewhere, Kon is sitting in the rain in Ichigo's body in front of the building where Yuzu and Karin are resting. Inside, Isshin notices that it's raining, and calls for Ichigo to come in, but Kon has taken off in Ichigo's body.
At the fight, Grand Fisher mocks Ichigo and then retreats. Ichigo tries to follow him, but Rukia tells him the fight is over. Ichigo then collapses. Kon approaches where Rukia is sitting over the unconscious Ichigo, and she thanks Ichigo for surviving the fight.
Ichigo and Isshin Kurosaki discuss Masaki's death.
Ichigo screams in pain as he returns to his body. Rukia explains that the wounds he suffered as a soul stays when the soul returns to the material body. Ichigo points out that Rukia always healed his injuries before he returned to his body. Rukia apologizes, explaining that she used most of her Kidō healing the injury on Ichigo's stomach. She hands him some band-aids for the cuts on his face, as Ichigo puts them on, he asks if he lost. Rukia says that while the Hollow got away, there were no casualties, so Ichigo most definitely won. Ichigo protests that that Hollow is still alive, but interrupts himself. Getting-up he tells Rukia that he'll see her later and walks away. Rukia has also returns Kon into his stuffed lion toy, but the doll is so soggy from the ongoing rain that Kon can't get-up.
At his mother's grave, Ichigo apologies to his mother for failing to avenge her death. He is joined by his father who had been wondering where Ichigo was and offers him an umbrella. Ichigo refuses saying that it is pointless as he is already drenched. Isshin tries to force one on Ichigo, resulting in Ichigo snatching the offered umbrella and hitting Isshin with it. Isshin comments on how time flies and that it has been ten years since Masaki died. Ichigo corrects him and reminds him that it has only been six years. They have a comical exchange which ends with Isshin commenting that if Masaki sees that Ichigo is doing well, it'll make her feel better "over there". Ichigo reminds himself that his father doesn't know that Masaki's soul was eaten.
Isshin proceeds to light a cigarette and Ichigo asks when he started smoking again. Isshin explains that the only time Masaki complemented him on his look was when she said that he looked cool, smoking. So he decided to have a cigarette in front of her grave every year on the anniversary of her death. Seeing Ichigo depressed, Isshin tries to cheer him up. Ichigo asks why Isshin doesn't hold his mother's death against him. Isshin tells him that Masaki would be angry if he did something like that. He says that Masaki would not regret giving her life for her child and tells Ichigo to live a full life in honor of the sacrifice his mother made for him.
After Isshin leaves, Ichigo asks Rukia to let him continue to be a Shinigami so that he can get really strong and protect people from the Hollow and give him a chance to kill Grand Fisher. He says that if he fails, he can never face his mother again. The chapter ends with the Grand Fisher getting his mask removed with the aid of two other Hollows, vowing vengeance on Ichigo.
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