Short and petite, Rukia has light skin and violet-colored eyes. Her hair is black, with several strands of hair always hanging between her eyes. Byakuya has stated she strongly resembles her sister, Hisana Kuchiki. As a Shinigami of the Gotei 13, Rukia wears a standard shihakushō. 17 months after Aizen's defeat, Rukia wears her hair cropped into a bob which hangs about her face. She wears a fingerless white tekkō, similar to Byakuya's, which extend above her elbows. As a lieutenant, she wears her Division Badge around her uniform's left sleeve, which has been shortened to just reach her upper arm.
Initially born into a lower class, Rukia retains her modesty, even as an adopted member of the nobility. She is graceful and "clean", yet chooses to talk to ordinary people. However, her cool and lone demeanor often forces her to hide her personal troubles, even from her friends. According to Ukitake, Rukia never opens up her heart, and has difficulty making friends. Rukia is clueless about the ways of the modern Human World. She is very good at acting, having acted her way through a number of tough situations, such as getting out of trouble with school teachers and convincing the Kurosaki family to let her stay at their house.
Rukia always has trouble finding clothes that fit her, especially when inhabiting a Gigai in the Human World, leading to her stealing clothes from Ichigo's sister, Yuzu. She likes to climb to high places. Rukia likes everything rabbit-themed, and becomes quite sensitive when someone insults her obsession with them. People often have difficulty understanding her drawings, which are typically rabbit-like, and doesn't like it when people complain about their quality. Rukia's favorite foods are cucumber, eggs, and rice dumplings.
Approximately 150 years ago, Rukia and her older sister, Hisana, were brought together to Inuzuri, the 78th District of Rukongai, after they died in the Human World. Unable to live there while caring for a child, Hisana abandoned Rukia when she was still a baby. Rukia grew up on her own for a considerable amount of time. One day, Rukia tripped an adult who was chasing Renji Abarai's group of friends, and urged them to follow her to avoid losing the water they had stolen. Rukia joined their group, becoming their spiritual leader, and they lived together as a family.
They all hated Inuzuri and the people there. Rukia exhibited some spiritual power during this time. Ten years after Rukia joined the group, with all of their friends dead, Rukia proposed they become Shinigami and live in Seireitei, noting she had heard it was pretty there. Renji agreed with her. As they were gifted with spiritual powers, they entered the Shin'ō Academy with ease, where they struggled to stand out from those from the noble families. The night before the welcoming ceremony for the new students of the Academy, against Rukia's advice, Renji slept in a tree. The following morning, he fell out of the tree and landed on a headstone where a startled Izuru Kira had been praying, for which Rukia scolded him.
Two months after entering the Academy, Renji, scolding Rukia for still not fitting in, informed her he was going to the Human World for field training to practice Konsō for the first time. Rukia complained about this being unfair, but Renji retorted that it is about talent, and that he will get stronger. Rukia said she will show him she is the stronger one, but trailed off. One day, while meeting with Byakuya Kuchiki and his entourage, Renji entered the room to tell her he had passed an important exam. Disappointed with the interruption, the nobles, leaving, told Rukia they were eager to hear her answer. After they had left, Renji asked her what they wanted. She told him they wanted to adopt her into the Kuchiki Clan, having her graduate immediately and be assigned to the 13th Division, which Renji congratulated her on. Rukia thanked him and left. Rukia was told Byakuya adopted her into the Kuchiki Clan due to her similarity to Hisana, whom he had married.
Rukia was admitted to the 13th Division without taking their entrance exam. On her first day in the Division, she is shown into a room by a fellow Shinigami, whom she told to treat her like any other new recruit. After he left, she heard him and others talking about her and the favoritism shown to nobles. Rukia was disappointed it was like that there as well. Lieutenant Kaien Shiba entered the room, introduced himself, and scolded her for her weak reply. Rukia was deeply happy she could have a normal relationship with her superior, rather than being treated as special. That evening, Rukia reported to Byakuya her first day had ended peacefully and she did not attain a Seated Officer position, but Byakuya asked her to leave. Later, Rukia, becoming Kiyone Kotetsu's assistant, went on a mission to the Human World.
During her time in the 13th Division, she became friends with Kaien. One day, seeing she was gloomy, Kaien told her as long as she was in his Division, he would stand by her, even if he died. They were interrupted by the drunk Kiyone and Sentarō Kotsubaki, who tried to encourage her. Kaien mentored Rukia, teaching her how to fight. Their first training location was Mount Koifushi of Hokutan, the 3rd District of West Rukongai, where Kaien taught her about the concept of the heart. He was present when she learned her Shikai's first two "dances".
Rukia greatly admired Kaien's wife, 3rd Seat Miyako Shiba, wanting to be like her someday. When Miyako was killed by a Hollow, Rukia, Kaien, and Ukitake went to its lair. She offered to go first in order to scout out its abilities, but Kaien asked to face the Hollow alone. When its special ability destroyed Kaien's Zanpakutō, Rukia attempted to help, but was stopped by Ukitake. He told her Kaien's fight was one of honor rather than a fight for his life. If she were to help, Kaien's life would be saved, but his honor would be forever damaged. After protesting about this, Rukia reluctantly obeyed his order. However, the Hollow, entering Kaien's body, possessed him.
The Hollow attempted to attack Rukia, but Ukitake, blocking it, sent Rukia away as he fought it. Afraid to fight it, she obeyed, but she came back because she wished to help Kaien and was afraid to face her cowardice in future. As it leaped at her, she noted it was no longer Kaien. Unable to bear seeing him like that, she stabbed Kaien. He thanked Rukia and apologized for dragging her into it. Kaien died in Rukia's arms. Rukia brought the corpse to the Shiba family estate, but was afraid to apologize out of guilt from her role in Kaien's death.
Forty years after her adoption into the Kuchiki Clan, Kiyone and Sentarō informed Rukia she had been assigned to the Human World. Rukia thought this was a transfer order, which Kiyone denied, reminding her of her previous mission to the Human World, which Rukia still failed to remember. Ukitake told her she was being assigned to Karakura Town for one month, which should be easy for her. Rukia thanked him for telling her. Ukitake asked if she had told Byakuya about it, but she stated he would not wish to be bothered with such a minor thing. Ukitake offered to tell him for her, for which Rukia thanked him.
Agent of the Shinigami arc
One Friday evening, Rukia feels a strong presence. She enters the room of Ichigo Kurosaki, who, mistaking her for a burglar, kicks her. Surprised Ichigo can see and touch her, Rukia, telling Ichigo normal Humans cannot see her, informs him of the existence and purpose of Shinigami. Ichigo, refusing to believe Rukia's explanation, insults her. Incensed, Rukia binds him with a Kidō spell. Explaining what Kidō is, she returns his insults.
Rukia, reassuring a nearby Plus, performs Konsō on it. With the aid of some drawings, she explains Konsō and the duties of Shinigami to Ichigo. She reveals she is unable to sense the Hollow she had been tracking anymore because a great power is hindering her senses. Ichigo tells her he can hear something howling. Rukia realizes it is a Hollow, but is confused by how Ichigo heard it before her. She rushes out of the room to confront the Hollow, refusing to free Ichigo. Spotting Karin Kurosaki lying in the corridor, she listens as she tells Ichigo what happened. Ichigo breaks free of the Kidō, much to Rukia's shock, and rushes to stop the Hollow, Fishbone D.
As Ichigo futilely attacks the Hollow, Rukia injures it, freeing Yuzu Kurosaki from its grasp. When Rukia explains Fishbone D came because of Ichigo, he attempts to attack the Hollow himself. Rukia shields him with her body, rendering her unable to fight. Seeing that Ichigo is truly determined to protect his family, Rukia offers to transfer half of her power to him. However, Ichigo somehow absorbs almost all of her power instead. Rukia realizes it was Ichigo's power which had confused her senses earlier, leaving her wondering just who he is. After defeating Fishbone D, Ichigo collapses and Rukia goes to his side, where she is approached by Kisuke Urahara, who offers her a Gigai.
The following day, Rukia shows up at Karakura High School as a new student, telling people her family had just moved there. She quietly threatens to kill Ichigo if he reveals anything about her true identity. Later, Rukia explains that her power is still inside Ichigo, preventing her from returning to Soul Society. She reveals she is using a Gigai to recover, enabling normal Humans to see her. Rukia tells Ichigo he will have to take over her Shinigami duties, which he initially refuses to do. Rukia, forcing his Shinigami form out of his body, takes him to a park where a Hollow is about to appear. As the Hollow attacks a young Plus, Rukia successfully persuades Ichigo to perform her duties.
Rukia arranges for Ichigo to undergo some rudimentary training to improve his combat tactics. As he trains, she studies modern speech by reading a horror manga. They are interrupted by Orihime Inoue, whom Rukia initially does not recognize. Rukia notices a mark on her leg left by a Hollow, and asks Ichigo about her before leaving. That night, Rukia receives a message about a Hollow on her Denreishinki. She tries to warn him of a Hollow attack just as a large hand bursts through the floor. Rukia uses her Gokon Tekkō to force out Ichigo's soul, and he manages to slice off part of its mask, revealing it to be Orihime's brother, Sora Inoue. As the Hollow flees, Rukia explains to Ichigo that all Hollows were once Human.
Ichigo and Rukia rush to Orihime's home, where Ichigo engages the Hollow in battle. When Ichigo is thrown through the apartment’s wall and knocked out, she wakens him, warning that if he loses, Orihime's soul will be eaten. Rukia enters the apartment as Orihime is badly injured. Revealing she can save her with Kidō, Rukia, telling the lucid Sora to move out of the way, treats her. When Sora decides to purify himself with Ichigo's Zanpakutō, Rukia states his sins will be washed away by the sword. When Orihime, waking up, starts to ask Ichigo questions, Rukia replaces her memory.
When Ichigo states his wounds have healed very well, Rukia tells him she excelled at Kidō in the Academy, before changing the subject by asking him how to open a juice box. Mizuiro Kojima interrupts, noting Rukia and Ichigo are together again, saying they get along well. Ichigo says Mizuiro's hobby is womanizing, especially older girls, and warns Rukia to watch out for him. Keigo Asano, arriving, introduces himself to Rukia. As Reiichi torments the group, Rukia, ignoring him, continues to struggle with the juice box until Yasutora Sado arrives with a talking parakeet. Rukia tells Ichigo the spirit of a lonely Plus is inside it, which they should send to Soul Society that night. She notes Ichigo is now concerned about other people's safety. When an injured Sado is brought to the Kurosaki Clinic, Rukia tells Ichigo the wound on Sado's back was inflicted by a Hollow.
The next morning, Sado disappears and Rukia searches for him. She later tells Ichigo she did not find him, nor has she received any word about Hollows from Soul Society. Ichigo, trying to track the parakeet himself, quickly finds the Reiraku of the parakeet, much to Rukia's shock. Just as they find Sado, they also come across a weakened Karin. Rukia orders Ichigo to take her home so he is not distracted while fighting. Brushing off Ichigo's concerns about her fighting a Hollow, she runs after Sado. Unable to catch up to him due to the restrictions of her Gigai, she curses the SRDI. Rukia is attacked by a Hollow called Shrieker, but is surprised when she survives his initial strike. During the fight, she realizes Sado cannot see Shrieker. Surprised by his calmness, Rukia verbally directs his attacks towards the Hollow.
When Ichigo arrives, she, transforming him into a Shinigami, warns him about Shrieker's abilities. She and Sado hide Ichigo's body and the parakeet in a safe place. The parakeet says it is his fault she was injured, as he wanted to bring his mother back to life. Rukia questions him about this. When Ichigo defeats Shrieker, the gates of Hell open to claim the Hollow. Rukia explains Hell to Ichigo. After examining the parakeet, she, determining he cannot be returned to his body, reassures him about going to Soul Society. She erases Sado's memory.
With her supplies running low, Rukia visits the Urahara Shop. She stops Jinta Hanakari from bullying Ururu Tsumugiya outside the shop before being shown in to Urahara. Ordering various goods, she pays for them with the bounty from Ichigo's defeat of Shrieker, shrugging off Urahara's concerns. She collects a previously ordered Soul Candy dispenser. At school, she gives Ichigo the dispenser, stating it will allow him to transform into a Shinigami without her help, while placing an artificial soul in his body. Ignoring Ichigo's unease with the idea, she makes him use it. When she receives an order, she drags him off to deal with it, leaving the artificial soul, Kon, in Ichigo's body. After dealing with the order, they rush back to find the artificial soul is causing mayhem in their classroom. They attempt to confront it, but he escapes, leading Rukia to believe it is a Mod Soul.
As they search, Ichigo and Rukia argue until she tells him of Operation Spearhead, revealing that according to Soul Society's laws, all Mod Souls must be destroyed. As Rukia naively asks a shopkeeper if he saw Kon, she receives an order. When they find the Hollow, they find Kon is already fighting it. After it is defeated, Urahara arrives to reclaim Kon. Rukia tells him she is content with her purchase, and he does not have to worry about it. Later, Rukia and Ichigo see a news report about the incident on TV. Ichigo asks what they should do, but gets no reply. Rukia and Ichigo search for a dead animal to put Kon into, but eventually settle for a stuffed toy animal. On the 16th of June, Rukia notices Ichigo is very distracted. After a family meeting that night, Ichigo tells the confused Rukia the following day is the anniversary of his mother's death.
The following day, Rukia waits for Ichigo near Masaki's grave. She questions Ichigo about his mother's death, asking if a Hollow killed her. Angered, Ichigo tells her he was responsible for Masaki's death. Horrified by this and what she had said to him, Rukia quietly watches Ichigo's family visit the grave. Kon, crawling out of her backpack, asks to go home, but Rukia insists they must be nearby in case a Hollow attacks. When Karin and Yuzu are attacked by Grand Fisher, Rukia senses the Hollow, but is once again surprised by the lack of any orders on her Denreishinki. She rushes towards them, meeting up with Ichigo on the way. She tells Ichigo she will not ask about Masaki any more. She, transforming him into a Shinigami, carries his body. Finding Ichigo's sisters, she sees Ichigo being confronted by Grand Fisher. Rukia, telling Ichigo about this infamous Hollow, berates him when he recklessly attacks it. As she realizes Grand Fisher killed his mother, Ichigo, stopping her from helping him with Kidō, tells her to stay out of the fight. Rukia puts Kon in Ichigo's body, and they bring the girls to safety.
When she honors Ichigo's request to stay out of the fight, Kon asks her to save Ichigo. Rukia rushes back to watch Ichigo's battle. Thinking to herself that she cannot interfere, as Ichigo is fighting for himself, she remembers the events of Kaien's death and decides not to interfere. When Grand Fisher escapes, Rukia tries to calm the heavily wounded Ichigo, insisting that the fight is over. When Ichigo collapses, she begins healing him. Rukia uses up most of her strength healing Ichigo's major wounds, so she returns him to his body before he is fully healed, reassuring him over the outcome of the battle. Rukia listens as Ichigo talks with Isshin. Afterwards, Ichigo asks Rukia if he can remain a Shinigami for a while longer.
One Sunday morning, Rukia stops Ichigo as he beats Kon clean against a wall, revealing she has arranged for an implement to clean him with. She proceeds to use the school's toilet brush on Kon, but Ichigo orders her to take it back. At school, Keigo invites Rukia to the live broadcast of Don Kanonji's TV show and encourages her to do his pose. Rukia declines, politely saying she is too shy. The following Wednesday evening, Rukia accompanies several of her classmates to the broadcast at an abandoned hospital. Telling Ichigo he must be tired from his dual life, she instructs him to relax. She reveals she does not know what the "festival" is about. Ichigo explains it to her, but she still does not understand. He asks Rukia if there really is a spirit there, thinking the Shinigami would have dealt with it. She states it is likely a Jibakurei, which can be difficult for Shinigami to detect.
When the Jibakurei screams, Rukia tells him it is a Demi-Hollow. As the show begins filming, Rukia, turning her attention to the events unfolding, is impressed with Kanonji's entrance. Ichigo asks her if they should perform Konsō on the Jibakurei, but Rukia tells him it takes months to years for one to turn into a Hollow. Believing it would be trouble if there was a struggle with so many people there, she states they will do the Konsō after the show and seeks to reassure him. However, Don Kanonji jams his staff into the hole on the Demi-Hollow's chest. Rukia condemns Kanonji's actions. When Ichigo is pounced on by security after attempting to stop Kanonji, Rukia, trying to change him into a Shinigami, is caught as well. Urahara frees Ichigo, prompting Rukia to ask what he is scheming. Urahara, claiming he is there because Ururu and Jinta enjoy the show, frees her. After Urahara knocks the guards unconscious with a blast, Rukia berates him for using Soul Society's tools so freely. When the spirit disappears, Rukia, realizing its body is about to reform into a Hollow, searches for it with her Denreishinki. She yells at Ichigo to look above him, attracting the attention of some security guards.
The following day, Rukia and the others are called before the school principal over their appearance on the show. Rukia distracts Kagine by claiming responsibility, allowing the others to flee. When Kagine notices the others are gone, Rukia escapes as well. That afternoon, she receives an order and leaves with Ichigo. As they bicker, they pass Uryū Ishida. Later that week, Rukia and Ichigo arrive at what they believe to be the site of a Hollow attack, but find a Plus cowering in a corner and no Hollow. Ichigo suggests her Denreishinki is broken, but Rukia insists it is working, rebuking Ichigo's suggestion that there is another Shinigami defeating the Hollows before him. Rukia is unable to get the Plus to reveal who saved him, but determines somebody is responsible.
Rukia decides to call Urahara to ask whether her Denreishinki is broken. When he does not answer, she complains about him to herself. After school, she and Ichigo arrive at yet another site with no Hollow. The pair is approached by Uryū, who tells them a new Hollow has appeared. An order confirms this, and she is surprised when Uryū kills it. He introduces himself as a Quincy. The next day, Rukia tells Ichigo to keep Kon with him in case Uryū tries to contact him again. Later, she visits Urahara, and after scolding him for not answering her calls, asks about the Quincy. Rukia is confused by the repeated appearance and disappearance of Hollows. Seeing a large number of Hollows, Rukia goes outside and notices a spiritual disturbance in the sky.
Later, Rukia is attacked by a Hollow. During the fight, she realizes, with annoyance, her power has not recovered, despite her being in a Gigai for two months. Kon, arriving, subdues the Hollow, but Rukia bickers with him for forgetting what he was supposed to tell her. When Uryū interrupts them, Rukia deduces he is responsible for the large amount of Hollows. Ichigo, arriving, argues with Kon. The group argues until they notice the Hollows are gathering at the disturbance in the sky. When Uryū leaves, Rukia tells Ichigo about the Quincy and their extermination by the Shinigami. Ichigo chases after Uryū, leaving her alone with Kon. Ignoring Kon's advice, she goes after them.
Rukia watches in shock as a Menos Grande appears near her. When she tries to stop Ichigo from attacking it, Urahara, binding her with Kidō, tells her to watch the battle, which he claims will be crucial for her and Ichigo. She is left stunned when Ichigo severely injures the Menos, forcing it to flee. When Uryū turns up at school heavily bandaged, Rukia tells Ichigo not to pay attention to it, as it is not his fault.Mahana Natsui, inviting her to lunch with the girls of the class, asks Rukia what her relationship is with Ichigo. Despite Chizuru Honshō and Orihime's encouragement, she states they are just friends. Realizing she has become too attached to the Human World, she ties up Kon and writes a coded note for Ichigo, telling him not to look for her and to go into hiding. She then leaves the Kurosaki clinic
Lost in thought as she runs, Rukia is surprised by Renji. Complaining she has become too soft in the two months she has been missing. He demands she summon the Human she gave her powers to. When Rukia denies doing such a thing, Renji asks why she is acting like that. Byakuya appears behind Rukia, surprising her. When Renji prepares to attack her seriously, Uryū intervenes, but is unable to defeat him. As Rukia notes Renji's increased strength, Ichigo arrives. Angry that he came after her, Rukia watches Ichigo and Renji fight.
Hoping Ichigo will run away, Rukia leaps on Renji to distract him. However, Ichigo, continuing to fight, ends up being greatly injured by Byakuya. Rukia, saying it is her fault he is dead, asks to go to him, prompting Byakuya to say Ichigo resembles "him". Ichigo grabs Byakuya's leg, relieving Rukia. However, she kicks his arm away from her brother to prevent Byakuya from attacking again. She tells Ichigo to know his place and accepts her arrest, saying there is no point in finishing off someone who is clearly about to die. She tells Ichigo she will not forgive him if he tries to follow her. Renji opens a Senkaimon, and they leave for Soul Society.
Rukia is imprisoned in the Sixth Division’s barracks. Refusing Renji's instruction to eat something, she mocks his eyebrows and new rank. Rukia asks if she is going to be executed. Renji states Byakuya is reporting to the Central 46, and he will most likely appeal for her sentence to be reduced. Rukia disagrees, saying she knows what type of person he is and he has not truly looked at her once since her adoption. Later, Byakuya, informing them Rukia will be executed in 25 days, tells Rukia they will not meet again until her execution. After Byakuya leaves, Rukia tries to cheer Renji up by saying it only makes her more determined to escape. She makes fun of his tattooed eyebrows, angering him.
Soul Society arc
During her stay in the 6th Division's prison, Rukia regularly talks to Hanatarō Yamada, who is assigned as a janitor there. When he remarks on how she always seems gloomy and sad, Rukia asks him not to address her with honorifics. She tells him of Ichigo, expressing her faith in him. She goes on to mention how it is her fault Ichigo's life changed, and that he suffered greatly. 14 days before Rukia's scheduled execution, Renji escorts a group of Onmitsukidō guards as they transfer her to the Senzaikyū. Once there, he points out to her they can see the Sōkyoku, which will be used for her execution, from the windows. Before leaving, Renji tells Rukia there was an unconfirmed report that five Ryoka invaded Soul Society, and one of them matched Ichigo's description.
While in the Senzaikyū, Rukia notices the sky becoming brighter when Ichigo and his companions break into Seireitei. She senses the Reiatsu from Ichigo's battle with Kenpachi Zaraki, but is unable to determine if anyone died because of the prison's Sekkiseki walls. She quietly asks Kaien if she is worth spilling blood over. Shortly after, Hanatarō and Ganju Shiba open the door to her cell. When Ganju realizes Rukia is the one who killed Kaien, Rukia urges him to kill her, saying she will have no regrets if she dies by his hands. However, they are interrupted by Byakuya's sudden arrival. When Hanatarō decides to face Byakuya by himself to allow Rukia to escape, Ganju goes out to face him instead.
Rukia tries to stop the fight, but is unable to handle Byakuya's Reiatsu because of the Sekkiseki's effects. She is shocked when Ichigo arrives, but becomes angry at him for attempting to rescue her. Ichigo, ignoring her protests, fights Byakuya. As Byakuya prepares to use his Shikai, Rukia warns Ichigo to run. However, Yoruichi Shihōin arrives, and stops him from releasing. When Hanatarō asks who the woman is, Rukia tells him about her. After Yoruichi escapes with Ichigo, Byakuya's Reiatsu renders Rukia unconscious. Despite Hanatarō's protests, Ukitake orders Sentarō Kotsubaki to take Rukia back into the Senzaikyū.
The following day, Rukia is told her execution has been brought forward to the next day. Rukia notes that despite her shock, she is not saddened by the news. Attributing this to a dream she had the previous night about Kaien's death, she reflects on her role in his death, wondering why she did not stop him. She states she does not deserve to be rescued or have anyone stand by her.
On the morning of the execution, the guards, tying up Rukia, escort her out of the Senzaikyū. As she is being moved onto Sōkyoku Hill for her execution, Rukia senses Renji falling in battle against Byakuya. As she mourns his defeat, 3rd Division Captain Gin Ichimaru approaches her. Gin, teasing her over how she greets him, points out Renji is still alive. After telling her he was trying to rescue her, Gin offers to save her friends for her. Reflecting on how much she has hated Gin since she first met him, Rukia briefly wonders what he would have to gain from such an act, only to learn he was joking. After he leaves, Rukia reflects on how Gin's lie restored her will to live, leaving her disgusted.
Rukia is brought to the base of the Sōkyoku, where she sees Byakuya arrive silently. Rukia asks Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto to allow the Ryoka to leave Soul Society after the execution, to which he agrees, pleasing her. As she watches the release of the Sōkyoku, Rukia notes her heart is at peace once again, despite Gin's earlier intervention. She wonders to herself whether it is because of Yamamoto's promise or because Byakuya ignored her. She reflects on her life, concluding she has no regrets. As she says goodbye, the Sōkyoku moves to attack her. However, Ichigo, arriving, manages to halt its advance.
After overcoming her initial shock, Rukia becomes upset that Ichigo is attempting to rescue her again. As the Sōkyoku prepares to approach again, Rukia warns Ichigo not to face it. However, Ukitake and 8th Division Captain Shunsui Kyōraku destroy it, after which Ichigo destroys the Sōkyoku's stand, freeing Rukia. Ichigo dismisses Rukia's protests, but she refuses to thank him. As she asks what his next move is, she notes to herself he has become stronger. Renji arrives moments later, much to Rukia's relief, but the moment is cut short as Ichigo throws her to Renji. Rukia and Renji scold Ichigo for being reckless, but are told to get to safety.
As they are escaping, Renji refuses Rukia's demands to release her and help Ichigo. Insisting they have to run, he tells her Ichigo feels he owes her for allowing him to protect everyone. They are eventually confronted by Kaname Tōsen, who brings them back to Sōkyoku Hill, where Sōsuke Aizen and Gin are waiting for them. Aizen demands Renji hand Rukia over to him. When Renji refuses Aizen's order, he is attacked by the captain. Renji tries to attack Aizen while still holding Rukia, but he is quickly overwhelmed. Rukia offers to surrender herself, but Renji silences her. Ichigo returns to defend the pair, but Aizen, defeating them both with ease, grabs Rukia.
Rukia listens as Aizen talks about Ichigo's role in his plans and about how to overcome the limits of a Shinigami. Aizen reveals the existence of the Hōgyoku, revealing Urahara had buried it deep within her soul. He states Urahara gave her a Gigai in hopes to turn her into a Human and hide the Hōgyoku forever. He further reveals he killed the Central 46 and orchestrated Rukia's execution. Wanting the Hōgyoku for himself, Aizen hoped her death would give him access to it, but settles for a non-fatal alternative, since the execution was interrupted. Aizen, removing the Hōgyoku from Rukia's body and tells Ichimaru to kill her, but a battle-worn Byakuya, grabbing Rukia, is impaled by Ichimaru's Zanpakutō instead. Rukia asks him why he saved her, but Aizen advances on them. Before Aizen can kill them, the remaining captains arrive to subdue Aizen, Ichimaru, and Tōsen.
During the aftermath of the battle, Rukia is restrained by a member of the 4th Division when she tries to go to Byakuya's side while he is being healed. Captain Retsu Unohana, taking over the treatment of Byakuya, tells Rukia Byakuya is calling for her. Byakuya tells her about his deceased wife, Hisana, revealing Rukia is actually Hisana's younger sister. He recounts to Rukia about how Hisana had regretted abandoning her, and had kept searching for her while they were married. He reveals she asked him to find and protect her, as well as why he had sworn to always abide by the rules, thus leaving him torn between two promises when the execution was announced. He apologizes to Rukia for his actions.
During the following week, Rukia, visiting Kūkaku Shiba's home, apologizes to both Kūkaku and Ganju for her role in the death of their brother, Kaien. Kūkaku cuts her apology short, saying she forgives her. She reveals Ukitake had already told her what had happened. When Ichigo and Orihime arrive, Rukia tells Ichigo she wishes to stay in Soul Society. The next day, Ichigo and the others gather at a Senkaimon to return to the Human World. Orihime gives Rukia a dress Uryū made, insisting she take good care of it. The group, saying goodbye, leaves.
Bount arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
Click "show" to read the arc plot.
Rukia arrives in Karakura Town as Ichigo battles the BountYoshino Sōma. After Ryō Utagawa retreats with Yoshino, Sado and Orihime arrive, and the group welcomes Rukia, who tells them she has been assigned to Karakura Town again. Rukia notices the Mod-Souls Ririn, Kurōdo, and Noba, loving Orihime's rabbit plushie. At the Kurosaki Clinic, Rukia is told of the Bount situation. Rukia states Soul Society does not know anything about them. After Renji arrives, Rukia tells Orihime and Sado it is odd that there are now three Shinigami in the area. Rukia reveals she intends to go back to school during her stay, and later manipulates her classmates' memories of her, allowing her to resume her school life.
Rukia and the others go to see Uryū in Karakura Hospital. At the hospital, water starts pouring out of a sink. As more water comes flooding into Uryū's room when the door is opened, it begins taking the form of two balls. The water attempts to drown Uryū, but the group escapes from the room. When the water follows them, Rukia uses Shakkahō to evaporate it. Encountering Hō and Ban, they flee from the hospital, attempting to evaporate the water as they go. As they fight the Bount pair, Rukia, Renji, and Ichigo are swallowed up by the water. Ganju and Hanatarō, arriving, use fireworks to defeat the two Bount.
When Ririn notices traces of the Bount on a nearby rooftop, Rukia states she can sense the missing Uryū's Reiatsu as well. However, they find no one there. From the damage to the area, they deduce Yoshino and an unknown person were there. Sado finds Uryū's bandage on the ground, and Ichigo asks Rukia if they can track Uryū's Reiraku, but Rukia states they cannot, as Uryū is purposely hiding his Reiatsu. Later, Orihime tells the group of a mansion, which they go to. After confirming Uryū is inside, they split up. Once closer, Rukia tells Ichigo she can sense seven Bounts inside, stating they should act while they have the element of surprise.
Exploring the mansion, they find nothing, and Rukia states something is messing up their senses. A small floating object begins attacking them. Using Kidō, Rukia defeats it, but as more enemies attack, the two of them run away, meeting up with the Mod-Souls. After Noba uses his powers to make the enemies disappear, Rukia asks them what they are doing there. The Mod-Souls state they had encountered the same enemies in the mansion and could not overcome their numbers. The enemies find them and attack again, forcing Rukia and the others to run away. They encounter Jin Kariya and the other Bounts.
Kariya, introducing himself, reveals he knows of Rukia. Ryō asks them if they are afraid of the Bount, angering Rukia. After Ichigo calms her down, she states Kariya has a "repulsive glare," warning Ichigo to be careful. Ryō tries to attack Rukia, but Ichigo stops him. Rukia and the others successfully escape, leaving Ichigo behind. When Kurōdo asks if he will be all right on his own, Rukia tells him Ichigo is just buying time for them to find Uryū. She states that after they find Uryū, they will use Noba's ability to get Ichigo out of the mansion.
Upon encountering Maki Ichinose, Rukia, surprised to see a Shinigami, asks if and why he is with the Bount. Ichinose asks her why she is in a Gigai, saying she should use her Zanpakutō. Rukia, telling him she cannot, fires Kidō at him, but it has no effect. He states she has not used her true power against him, but Rukia reveals this is all she can do. After she again asks Ichinose why he is with the Bount, he tells her his motives. Ichinose, sensing Ichigo's battle, leaves before Rukia can stop him. Turning her attention to healing the Mod-Souls, she is worried that she will not be able to heal them in her current state, but realizes they are pretending to be unconscious. The group, saving Uryū and Yoshino Sōma, escapes as the mansion is shelled.
Yoruichi explains what Soul Society has learned about the Bount to Rukia and the others. Rukia deduces living Humans' souls are needed for their plans. Later, Rukia and Ichigo return to the Kurosaki Clinic after fighting a Hollow to find the house filled with booby traps laid out by the Mod-Souls. Ririn and Kurōdo stage a Bount attack using special suits from Urahara. Not recognizing them, Rukia fires Kidō at them. Noba teleports them to safety, but Rukia and Ichigo think they are attacking him. They chase Ririn and Kurōdo around the town. While trying to hit them with her Kidō, Rukia strikes Zennosuke Kurumadani by accident. The Mod-Souls surround Rukia with a bunch of rabbits before Noba ends the battle by removing their suits.
While patrolling the town, Rukia and Ichigo sense Renji's Reiatsu disappear. Ururu and Jinta arrive with a new Bount sensing headband, which they give to Ichigo. When he heads off to find the Bount, Rukia, Ururu, and Jinta search for Renji. They find Orihime and Kurōdo. When Orihime asks about Ichigo, Rukia tells her he went to find the Bount, saying she should go and back him up. However, they are attacked by the Bount Yoshi. Rukia orders Ururu to go after Sado, and tells Jinta to look for Renji. As Rukia battles Yoshi, Orihime protects Rukia with Santen Kesshun. They fight for a while before Rukia and Orihime try to escape. As they flee, Yoshi, attacking them, is stopped and chased off by Mabashi. His doll, Ritz, attacks Rukia, who struggles to keep up with its speed. While protecting Orihime, Rukia is struck by Ritz, and it enters her chest, allowing Mabashi to seize control of her. The Bount forces Rukia to attack Orihime.
Ritz makes Rukia leave her Gigai, causing her spiritual power to increase. Kurōdo tells Orihime they need to attack Mabashi, but Rukia attacks them once more. Lieutenant Shūhei Hisagi arrives, but before Rukia can attack him, she regains partial control of herself. She tells Orihime to attack her before falling back under Ritz's control. Reluctant to battle her friend, Orihime, hugging Rukia, surrounds them both with her Santen Kesshun, causing Ritz to retreat from Rukia's body while screaming in pain. Ichinose, taking Mabashi, retreats from the area.
At the Urahara Shop, Ichigo notices Rukia's wounds. Telling him not to worry, she urges Orihime to focus on her own injuries rather than healing her. Rukia, calming an agitated Renji, informs him the other Shinigami are heading to the Bount's hideout. She tells him if he lets his feelings get to him, even the simplest things will be messed up. As the group prepares to go to the Bount's hideout, Kon states that he is going so he can protect Rukia. She dismisses him as only being good for stopping a couple of bullets.
At the Bount hideout, the group is attacked by eye-like creatures under the control of Gesell. Rangiku Matsumoto, arriving, helps destroy them. Orihime tells Rukia not to push herself, since she has not fully recovered from her last battle. Rangiku states she was told by Hisagi that Rukia had her soul damaged before, and it takes more time for the soul to recover than the body. Ichigo tells Orihime to stay and heal Rukia's injuries. Soon after, the Mod-Souls hear the sounds of Ichigo and Kariya battling. Rukia, getting up, states she has to hurry on despite her injuries. Before she can go, Uryū confronts the group. Finding Kariya, Rukia watches as the Bount successfully leave for Soul Society.
As Rukia and the others arrive in Soul Society, she notes the Bount have already fought some Shinigami. After a long search, the group finds Kūkaku Shiba's home. The next day, the group decides to look for the Bount. Rukia tells Ichigo she has to go back to her division. As she is walking through Rukongai, Yoshi, who Rukia notes is more powerful than before, confronts her. Rukia fights her with the help of Ririn, but Yoshi simply heals her injuries, forcing Rukia to hide so she can tend to her own. Just as Yoshi finds her, Byakuya arrives.
Rukia is brought to the Kuchiki Family Manor, where she is healed by several Shinigami. Later, she, waking up, realizes she was rescued. Noticing the pillow next to her is warm, she believes Byakuya was recently there. Later, Rukia is moved to the Sixth Division's barracks. She wakes up due to a commotion outside. Concerned about Ichigo, she tries to leave the barracks. When Renji spots her, Rukia asks him to take her to Sōkyoku Hill, where Ichigo is battling Kariya. Once there, she attempts to assist him, but Renji stops her. Shortly after, she tells Uryū, Sado, and Orihime not to aid Ichigo. She suggests Ichigo is the only one who can stop Kariya since they carry similar burdens. Trying to cheer up Orihime, she says Ichigo will definitely win.
After Ichigo's victory, Rukia is taken back to the Kuchiki Manor to recover. She is visited by Ichigo and Renji, recalling how her life changed when she went to Karakura Town. She stays in Soul Society as the others return to the Human World.
Tōshirō Hitsugaya and an advance team of Shinigami, which includes both Rukia and Renji, are sent to protect Karakura Town from the threat of Aizen's Arrancar army. Upon arrival, Rukia, greeting a stunned Ichigo, assaults him. Removing his Shinigami form from his body, Rukia, dragging Ichigo off to fight a Hollow, tells him not to fear his inner Hollow, but to rise up and crush it. She forces Ichigo to apologize to Orihime for not being able to protect her. Orihime, thanking them both, welcomes Rukia back.
Rukia accompanies Ichigo to the Kurosaki Clinic, where she is greeted by an excited Kon. Stomping on him, she bickers with Ichigo. After Ichigo shoos away the eavesdropping Yuzu and Isshin, Rukia, stating his family has kept its charm, watches as the other members of Hitsugaya's team enter the room. As they explain to Ichigo why they are there, Rukia assists with some drawings, throwing them at Ichigo when he criticizes them. Rukia, seeing the others off as they leave, annoys Ichigo by insisting she will stay in her old spot. She tells Isshin and Yuzu a false story to convince them to let her stay with them. She shares a room with Yuzu and Karin, which disappoints her slightly.
When Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez invades Karakura Town with his Fracción, Rukia and Ichigo sense their presence. Counting six of them on her Denreishinki, Rukia, expressing surprise at their numbers, deduces they are combing the town, intent on killing anyone with spiritual power. She tells Ichigo Orihime is safe with Hitsugaya and Matsumoto, but one has targeted Sado. As she runs towards Sado's location, Ichigo goes on ahead. Rukia passes Sado halfway there. She expresses her happiness at his safety, but he runs past her. When she reaches Ichigo, who has confronted the Arrancar Di Roy Rinker, she asks him what he said to Sado. When he states he told him to step aside, she, ordering him to do likewise, leaves her Gigai, saying he runs the risk of losing control again if things go bad so soon after his previous fight. She tells Ichigo that Urahara's Gigai was responsible for her powers never returning, and she has recovered. While the Artificial Soul Chappy restrains Ichigo, Rukia, releasing her Shikai, kills Di Roy.
Shortly after, Grimmjow confronts Ichigo and Rukia. Sensing Grimmjow's incredible power, Rukia urges Ichigo to run away. However, Grimmjow impales her with his hand. Chappy goes to her side, and after the battle, Rangiku takes her to Orihime, who heals her. After Orihime is finished, Renji asks if she is fully healed while Chappy fawns over her. Rukia, stating she healed incredibly fast, thanks Orihime, noting her skills have improved. When Ichigo asks how she is, Rukia tells him not to blame himself for her injuries. She suggests he ask Urahara about his inner Hollow. The following day, Isshin and Yuzu ask her if she has seen Ichigo, and she goes in search of him. Unable to find any trace of his Reiatsu, she returns to the Kurosaki Clinic, apologizing to Yuzu when she asks if Rukia had found him.
At the Urahara Shop, Rukia encounters an upset Orihime leaving the store. Rukia is angered to hear that Urahara told her to stay out of the battle, insisting it is not right for her to be cast aside so easily. She tells Orihime, who is worried about being in the way in battle, that the ones who get in the way are those who lack resolve, not power. She states if any one of those who came to rescue her were not there, she would not be here today. As she says they should look for a way for her to help in the battle, Hiyori Sarugaki, appearing, takes Orihime away, leaving Rukia to wonder who she was. Rukia later finds Orihime leaving the Visored's hideout. When Orihime tries to explain, Rukia tells her she felt a bit of Ichigo's Reiatsu when she arrived, and is content he is safe.
Rukia and Orihime travel to Soul Society, where she asks Captain Ukitake to open the training grounds behind the Division's headquarters. The pair spend a month training. When the Espada attack Karakura Town, Rukia receives notice of the attack from a Hell Butterfly. Ukitake orders her to head to the Senkaimon in front of the Division headquarters. Rukia tells Orihime she cannot accompany her, reminding the Human she would end up in the Dangai if she entered a Senkaimon. When Ukitake tells her the Kidō Corps will secure the walls of the Dangai for her, Rukia tells her she will wait on the other side for her. As she rushes to the Senkaimon, Rukia wonders why the Espada are attacking so soon.
Rukia arrives in Karakura Town to find Ichigo losing in a battle against Grimmjow. Freezing the Arrancar with her Zanpakutō, she tries to free Ichigo from Grimmjow's blade, which is pinning his hand to the ground. Ichigo comments on her power, prompting Rukia to state he was using a reckless power himself. Grimmjow, breaking free from the ice, grabs her head and charges a Cero. She is saved by the intervention of Shinji Hirako, who takes over fighting Grimmjow. The battle is cut short when Ulquiorra Cifer appears, restraining Grimmjow, before leaving with the aid of Negación.
After the battle, Hachigen Ushōda, healing Ichigo, tells Rukia to take him home, as he will recover better if he is not near people with Hollow-like Reiatsu like them. That night at Ichigo's house, Rukia is unable to connect to Soul Society with her Denreishinki due to spiritual interference. She wonders who Hachigen and his comrades are, as well as what power Ichigo is trying to acquire. As she ponders the Arrancar's sudden retreat from battle, she decides to go outside to cool her head. She finds Karin and Yuzu outside the door, who ask if it is alright to have dinner with Ichigo. She tells the girls Ichigo would enjoy that.
The next day, Rukia is present when Hitsugaya's team, filtering through the interference, contacts Soul Society. They learn from Ukitake that Orihime was taken by the Arrancar. Captain-Commander Yamamoto orders them to return to Soul Society. Rukia, accusing him of abandoning Orihime, states she cannot obey the order to return. As Yamamoto states he expected as much, Captains Byakuya and Kenpachi arrive via a Senkaimon to force them to return. Soon after, she leaves with the others through the Senkaimon. In Seireitei, Byakuya states he did not receive any orders beyond returning them to Soul Society, and they may do as they wish. He allows them to return to the Human World.
Hueco Mundo arc
Urahara opens a Garganta for Rukia and Renji, and, shortly after arriving in Hueco Mundo, they rescue Ichigo and his group from Runuganga's attack. As Ichigo greets the pair, they, hitting him, demand to know why he left for Hueco Mundo without them. She asks why he did not have faith in them, saying they immediately planned to come back to help rescue Orihime. As the group travels towards Las Noches, Rukia reveals Byakuya, allowing them to do as they pleased, and gave them cloaks to protect them in Hueco Mundo's desert. She asks Ichigo who Nel Tu, Pesche, and Dondochakka are. They introduce themselves, and Ichigo tells her they are Hollows.
Upon reaching the walls of Las Noches, Rukia notes it is not made of Sekkiseki, so Renji and Ichigo break through it. As the group runs through the opening they made, Rukia mocks Renji for trying and failing to use Kidō to illuminate the tunnel. Upon arriving at a crossroads, Rukia proposes they split up, insisting she did not come to Hueco Mundo to be protected by Ichigo, and telling him not to worry about her. After Renji leads them in a chant about their safe return, the group splits up. As she explores Las Noches, Rukia senses Sado's defeat. She hurries in the direction of his fading Reiatsu, intent on helping him. However, she finds herself under a blue sky, which confuses her. The 9th Espada, Aaroniero Arruruerie, appearing behind her, leads her inside his palace. When he removes his mask, Rukia is shocked to see the face of Kaien Shiba.
Rukia asks if he really is Kaien, reminding herself she killed Kaien. Aaroniero, convincing her that he is Kaien, says he is alive and has taken the place of an Espada. However, when Rukia approaches him, Aaroniero attacks her. Aaroniero, reminding her that she killed Kaien, asks if she is prepared to offer her life to atone for the action. Rukia states she would do so, but she must rescue Orihime first. When Aaroniero tries to manipulate her into killing her friends, Rukia, enraged, demands he stop shaming Kaien's memory, insisting Kaien was not like him, Rukia begins to fight him.
Throughout their battle, Rukia hesitates, troubled by the thought of fighting her mentor. However, remembering Aaroniero has been avoiding sunlight, she exposes his true form. She is eased by the notion of not actually fighting Kaien, but is sad she had not saved her mentor from the control of a Hollow as she had previously thought. Aaroniero, releasing his Zanpakutō, impales her, breaking Sode no Shirayuki. Rukia, reflecting upon her training with Kaien, remembers his warning not to die alone and that he left her heart with her. Activating Third Dance, Shirafune, she kills Aaroniero. She is determined to go to Orihime's aid, but loses consciousness.
Later, the 7th Espada, Zommari Rureaux, arrives to finish her off,  however, Byakuya Kuchiki, appearing, challenges Zommari.Hanatarō, arriving, tries to move her away from the battle, but Zommari, using Amor, takes control of Rukia's body. Byakuya binds her with Kidō, which prevents Zommari from further controlling her. Byakuya, killing Zommari, requests Isane Kotetsu heal Rukia and Hanatarō.
When Rukia wakes up, she is surprised to see 4th Division members there. She is also surprised to see Byakuya is injured, but he insists that she lie there until she is fully healed. Later, Rukia, hearing Aizen's announcement via Tenteikūra, learns that she and her comrades are trapped in Hueco Mundo. However, Byakuya explains the Gotei 13's preparations for battle in Karakura Town to Rukia.
The New Captain Shūsuke Amagai arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
Click "show" to read the arc plot.
While in the Human World, Rukia is notified of Hollows in Karakura Town. She and Ichigo go to fight them. Finding it odd that more than fifty Hollows have appeared all at once, they split up to fight them. After learning Ichigo encountered someone in a Gigai, Rukia goes to Urahara's store to ask about it, but Urahara is not there, and the others refuse to tell her anything. Rurichiyo Kasumiōji joins their class in school the following day.
After helping fend off an attempted attack on Rurichiyo, Rukia learns the girl is being targeted for assassination by Gyōkaku Kumoi. Rukia hears Rurichiyo's family name is Kasumiōji, which she recognizes as a house of high nobility from Soul Society. Kenryū, amazed Rukia is from the Kuchiki Clan, bows his head to her. When Kenryū asks Ichigo to be Rurichiyo's bodyguard, Rukia forces him to do it while deciding to personally help too.
After Rurichiyo is attacked by an assassin, Rukia and Ichigo, arriving on the scene, engage the assassin, who manages to temporarily immobilize their weapons. As Kenryū escapes with the princess, Rukia and Ichigo defeat the assassin. When Rurichiyo is targeted again, Rukia fights Jinnai Dōko. She uses her Shikai in response to his speed and long range attacks. She delivers a finishing blow, but, to her surprise, Jinnai breaks out of her ice attack, only to be devoured by his Bakkōtō.
When Rurichiyo returns to Seireitei on her own, Rukia opens a Senkaimon and she, Kenryū, Enryū, and Ichigo go to Soul Society to find her. Despite not being granted access to the Kasumiōji compound, they sneak in. They are confronted by the 2nd Division for causing chaos at a Noble wedding and Rukia clashes swords with Suì-Fēng, so Ichigo can save Rurichiyo. After they realize the Rurichiyo they are talking to is an imposter, Rukia and Ichigo, with Shū Kannogi's help, escape underground by having Shū pose as a hostage. However, they are soon discovered and confronted by Captain Shūsuke Amagai. When Amagai realizes Rukia and Ichigo have good intentions, he decides to help them in their mission to save Rurichiyo. He tells them of his problem with Kibune, and they agree to work together to solve both problems.
As they head to the Kasumiōji Manor, they, discovered by Captain Hitsugaya, are attacked. Rukia engages in battle with Rangiku. When the Kasumiōji Clan's treachery is revealed, the Gotei 13 cease attacking Rukia and company. Rukia and Matsumoto are attacked by dozens of Kumoi's soldiers, each wielding a Bakkōtō. Rukia finds Shū and Ichigo in a similar situation inside a secret part of the manor. She takes Shū through the forbidden rooms until they find a secret passage where Rurichiyo was taken. The three find Rurichiyo being held hostage by Kumoi, but are unable to fight him, as he threatens to kill her. Captain Amagai, appearing, kills Kumoi and takes Rurichiyo with him, to the complete surprise of those present. Later, Rukia watches as Ichigo battles and defeats Amagai.
Fake Karakura Town arc
Rukia comes to Ichigo's aid at the five towers at the center of Las Noches. Freezing Rudbornn Chelute's arm as he tries to attack Ichigo, she tells him to hurry and rescue Orihime. Rukia, defeating Rudbornn's underlings fairly easily, battles Rudbornn. At this time, Rukia notices the battle between Ichigo and Ulquiorra Cifer above her. Eventually, Rukia overpowers him by freezing his "branches". Rudbornn is knocked out of the way by Yammy Llargo, who bursts through a nearby wall. Yammy confronts Rukia, Sado, and Renji. When a Cero comes through the roof of Las Noches, Rukia notices Ichigo's Reiatsu.
As Rukia wonders if Ichigo defeated Ulquiorra, an enraged Yammy, cursing the fact that they are all he has to fight, increases in size, causing his jacket to tear and revealing his Espada tattoo. Renji tells Rukia and Sado that together they can defeat Yammy, as he is only the 10th Espada. However, Yammy releases his Zanpakutō. As he towers over them, Yammy is revealed to be the 0 Espada, much to the trio's shock.
After Renji and Sado are defeated, Rukia is caught by Yammy, but Ichigo, intervening, prevents the Espada from finishing her. She asks where Orihime is, and is told she is tending to Uryū's wounds. Ichigo, moving her to safety, begins to battle Yammy. She watches Ichigo as he fights, wondering what happened to Ichigo above the dome. Rukia notes his eyes do not look like those of someone victorious in battle or about to cut down his enemy. After seeing Ichigo's attack on Yammy, she realizes his Hollow mask has changed from its previous form.
Some time after Urahara seals Aizen, Rukia, along with Uryū, Sado, Orihime, and Renji, arrives in Karakura Town. Her arm is in a sling as they greet Ichigo. When he suddenly collapses, Rukia, along with the rest of the group, runs towards Ichigo as he screams in pain. A month later, Rukia and Ichigo's other friends are present in his bedroom when he wakes up. Rukia tells Ichigo how long he had been unconscious for, and that Urahara revealed he has lost his Shinigami powers. Rukia further explains the stages of losing his powers, with the first stage bringing intense pain, unconsciousness, and a reversal of the time Ichigo's body spent in the Dangai. With his Shinigami powers gone, the second stage sees his Reiatsu stabilizing and him awakening before his remaining spiritual power completely disappears. At Ichigo's request, the group goes outside. As it becomes harder for Ichigo to see her, Rukia knows this is farewell. Mocking Ichigo's sad face, she states she will still be able to see him, much to his displeasure. Rukia, disappearing from Ichigo's sight completely, leaves through a Senkaimon as Ichigo, bidding farewell, thanks her.
Zanpakutō Unknown Tales arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
Click "show" to read the arc plot.
Rukia receives a notification supposedly from Yamamoto to meet at the Sōkyoku Hill, where it is learned Muramasa was really the person who called her and all the high-ranking Shinigami of the Gotei 13. Muramasa reveals he captured Yamamoto and has turned all the awakened Zanpakutō Spirits against their Shinigami partners. Rukia, escaping through a Senkaimon, is taken to the Urahara Shop by Ichigo after a brief battle with her Zanpakutō Spirit, Sode no Shirayuki. While resting there, Orihime heals Rukia's wounds, and Rukia tells Ichigo, Sado, Uryū, Orihime, and the others of what happened in Seireitei, and how Byakuya had been defeated by the spirit of Senbonzakura.
Later on, Rukia, going back to Seireitei to find Byakuya, finds Renji, who tells her Byakuya's status and whereabouts are still unknown. Soon after, Sode no Shirayuki attacks Rukia again. After Ichigo tries to protect her, Rukia, binding both her Zanpakutō and Ichigo, tries to kill herself along with Sode no Shirayuki in order to "set her free". Sode no Shirayuki, who tries to reach out for her, is stopped by Muramasa.
Rukia is taken to the 4th Division barracks to recover from her battle. She apologizes to Ichigo for going off alone. When Ichigo questions her reasons for doing so, Rukia says she has a bad feeling about the situation with Byakuya.
Later, with Renji's permission, Rukia, searching Byakuya's office for a clue, falls asleep at his desk. She awakens to find the 6th Division barracks has been attacked by her brother. Byakuya does not answer her questions, and Senbonzakura gives her the remains of Sode no Shirayuki. As Byakuya tells her to stay away from him, Senbonzakura attacks her. Renji, arriving, protects Rukia. He tries to place Byakuya under arrest, but Byakuya defeats him.
Soon, other Zanpakutō Spirits, sent by Muramasa, appear, and Kazeshini prepares to finish off Rukia and Renji. Before he can, the Onmitsukidō, various high ranking Shinigami, and Ichigo surround them. An all-out battle between the two sides begins. Rukia pleads with Byakuya to put an end to his betrayal, but to no avail. As Byakuya battles the newly arrived Kenpachi Zaraki, Rukia, running towards their duel, is caught in the poison of Ashisogi Jizō's Bankai form. Later, she talks with Ukitake about Byakuya.
When Byakuya and Muramasa enter Karakura Town to free Muramasa's master, Rukia, following her brother's Reiatsu, uses a Kidō spell to stop Muramasa from attacking Uryū. When she witnesses Muramasa bringing forth several Hollows, she asks Muramasa what type of Zanpakutō he is. Muramasa, stating he is a Zanpakutō who will change the world, leaves to continue freeing his master. After getting Sado and Orihime to safety, Rukia unsuccessfully tries to stop Muramasa with Kidō. As Kōga is freed from his seal, Rukia, caught by Muramasa, learns of Muramasa's objective. As Kōga awakens, Ichigo appears.
To Rukia and Ichigo's shock, Kōga, stabbing Muramasa, decides to kill him. Rukia, watching as Byakuya intervenes, listens as Senbonzakura reveals he had been pretending to still be under Muramasa's control, and Byakuya had pretended to betray Soul Society so he could find Kōga and, by putting an end to him, close the dark chapter of the Kuchiki Clan's history. Relieved her brother is not a traitor, Rukia joins Ichigo in fighting off dozens of Gillian-class Menos released from Muramasa's body.
As the number of Hollows increases, Muramasa's unstable power reabsorbs the Hollows, resulting in him transforming into a Hollow. He transforms again, becoming a giant dome which continues to grow, attracting more Hollows and gradually opening a huge Garganta. As one of the Hollows attacks Rukia and Orihime, they are saved by Sode no Shirayuki. While Rukia is unable to comprehend how this is possible, the Zanpakutō Spirit reveals she is with several other Shinigami and Zanpakutō Spirits, here to help battle Muramasa. The Zanpakutō Spirits and Shinigami fight the Hollows, and Muramasa is eventually defeated.
Beast Swords arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
Click "show" to read the arc plot.
When Soul Society is given a day of rest to recover from Muramasa's attack, two Tōjū attack the Kuchiki Manor. When Rukia is overpowered by them, she is saved by Senbonzakura and Sode no Shirayuki. Later, Rukia and Byakuya bring the remains of one of the Tōjū to Captain Kurotsuchi, who reveals several Zanpakutō Spirits manifested by Muramasa, having succeeded in killing their masters, became Tōjū. Hoping to stop this problem quickly, Rukia, Sode no Shirayuki, and Senbonzakura search for them. Much to Rukia's annoyance, the two spirits' best ideas to find the Tōjū are to either create more destruction to lure them out or throw a big party. After the latter plan fails, Rukia talks with Sode no Shirayuki, who admits to how weak and foolish she feels for falling to Muramasa's control. Rukia assures her spirit she has always been of great help and importance to her. Soon afterwards, they encounter a Tōjū. While initially overpowered, Rukia and Sode no Shirayuki, combining their powers to subdue it, have it delivered to Mayuri for analysis.
Later, in the destroyed sections, Rukia comments upon the strangeness of walking side-by-side with her Zanpakutō Spirit. As Sode no Shirayuki agrees, Rukia states she thought it was all over back then.
She inquires what her master means, prompting Rukia to recall when Senbonzakura handed her back Sode no Shirayuki's broken katana. As Rukia reveals she felt suffocated when she saw her broken form, Sode no Shirayuki apologizes for her master's suffering. She states Mayuri reversed the damage, as they successfully regenerated her previously destroyed form. Rukia states she is suspicious of Mayuri's methods, but is eternally grateful for him saving her.
Sometime later, Rukia returns to the Human World, and Urahara tells her and Ichigo that a high school girl possessing a small pink bear charm was attacked. Ichigo questions if a Tōjū was responsible, and Rukia suspects that one is, despite the Soul Society's inability to locate one. Rukia and Ichigo later arrive at an area where another high school girl was just attacked. Rukia tries to track the Tōjū's Reiatsu, but she is unable to. She notes that this Tōjū's Reiatsu is different from a normal Tōjū's, and they should probably investigate the area more closely. Upon closer inspection, they notice that the girl who was attacked was carrying a pink bear charm as well.
While patrolling Karakura Town, Rukia picks up the Tōjū's Reiatsu. She tells Ichigo that it was detected somewhere near Karakura High School, which surprises him.
They finally track down the Tōjū, who they find attacking Orihime. Ichigo manages to save her from the Tōjū's attack, and Rukia moves Mai Suzuki to a safe distance away from the battle. Rukia notes that the Tōjū is merged with a Human, which is why they were unable to track down the Tōjū sooner. Ichigo asks Rukia what they should do, and Rukia answers that if the Tōjū's host has lost her mind and body to the Tōjū, then they have to kill her. Orihime stops them from fighting, noting that the Tōjū's host, Kyōko Haida, hasn't been fully absorbed into the Tōjū yet. Orihime pleads for the Tōjū to set Kyōko free, but she refuses, unless Orihime offers to replace her instead. Orihime tells her that neither she, nor anyone else would want to be used as a host for her possession, which greatly angers the Tōjū. As the Tōjū continues to attack Ichigo, Orihime calls out to Kyōko, who begins to resist the Tōjū's control. Rukia notices this and tells Orihime to use her Sōten Kisshun, which should be able to separate Kyōko from the Tōjū. Orihime complies, and after Kyōko is separated, Ichigo kills the Tōjū with his Getsuga Tenshō. At the end of the incident, Rukia erases Mai's memories.
Gotei 13 Invading Army arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
Click "show" to read the arc plot.
Rukia stays in Karakura Town in the month after Aizen's defeat. One day, Rukia and Ichigo return back to the Kurosaki Clinic, where they are greeted by Kon. As Ichigo complains about him being outside of his room, they are interrupted by a Hollow alert. They immediately leave their bodies with Kon and Chappy. Rukia notices a Senkaimon opened nearby, but since it is unrelated to the Hollow sighting, she shrugs it off. As they continue, Rukia sees Orihime, Sado, and Uryū below, with Ichigo declining an offer for help. After they return to Kurosaki Clinic, Rukia stares at the girl whom Kon brought back to the clinic, as Ichigo berates him. Rukia notices she cannot sense the girl's existence, and that she was found where the Senkaimon opened earlier.
Rukia sends a message about this to the Shinigami Research and Development Institute. Later, Rukia reveals to Urahara that she received urgent orders to appear before the S.R.D.I. with Ichigo, stating she has never heard of an order like that before. As Rukia and Ichigo travel through the Dangai, she tells him they can take their time, as the Kōtotsu was destroyed by Aizen one month ago. However, they are forced to run when it inexplicably regenerates. Rukia is caught by Ichigo, who uses his Bankai's speed to outrun the Kōtotsu. When they exit the Dangai, they are separated when Ichigo falls to the ground.
After Ichigo is apprehended, Rukia, breaking him out from his cell, informs him they must escape through the Hakuto Gate in order to leave Seireitei. As she reveals a time-gap has formed between the Human World and Soul Society, they are approached by Ikkaku and Renji. As Renji explains why Ichigo is being suspected, Rukia, starting to understand the mastermind's motives, faces off against Renji.
When Rukia asks Renji why he is doing this, he states he is merely following orders. Taunting Rukia, he tell her if she does not fight, he cannot guarantee they will live. Rukia is saved by the timely intervention of Yoruichi, with whom she and Ichigo escape. As they arrive at Yoruichi's hideout, she explains the concept of Reigai to her, stating it is highly likely someone from the 12th Division could be implicated in this. As this is happening, Rukia, noticing Ichigo's disappearance, vows to aid him in his infiltration of the Shinigami Research and Development Institute.
When they enter the S.R.D.I, Rukia, knocking repeatedly upon Hiyosu's door, knocks him out with a Kidō spell. Going to his computer, she realizes an order was given to apprehend the mysterious girl. Rukia asks Ichigo what they will do next, but berates him when he suggests returning to the Human World. Yoruichi, appearing beside them, tells them she will assist them in getting to the Senkaimon, despite the possibility the Reigai are guarding it.
As Rukia arrives alongside them, the Reigai, alerted to their presence, proceed to surround the pavilion. Rukia, charging at the Reigai, blocks a thrust from Renji's Shikai, pushing her back momentarily. Trying to attack Renji, her blade is restrained by that of Shūhei's Zanpakutō. As Ichigo returns to Rukia, they are surrounded by the fakes. Meanwhile, Yoruichi, revealing her trick to the Reigai, detonates her portable Gigai alongside Rukia's, and they attempt to use the diversion to escape through the Senkaimon. As they run, Rukia berates Ichigo for screwing up on the timing for the Gigai. Before they are able to enter the Senkaimon, Yoruichi is thrown back by Byakuya, causing Rukia to look back in concern. As Yoruichi holds Byakuya and the other Reigai off, she tells Rukia and Ichigo to proceed through, as she can handle herself. Rukia, emerging in the Human World, asks Orihime if she is alright.
As Inaba prepares to fight against Ichigo, she comments upon the bizarre nature of his Reiatsu. While they are fighting, Rukia warns Ichigo not to over-exert himself, but he activates the powers of his Hollow mask. After Ichigo is defeated by Inaba, she, raising her sword, protects him from Inaba. However, as the real versions of the Gotei 13 appear, Inaba is thrown off balance by Renji's sword. After Inaba retreats, the Gotei 13 meet in Ichigo's room. Rukia and the others learn from Mayuri Kurotsuchi what Kagerōza Inaba's role in the Shinigami Research Institute was, and what Nozomi's role in recent events may be. After Reigai-Rangiku kidnaps Nozomi, Rukia, along with Ichigo, Renji, and the real Rangiku, arrive to help her. Rukia places her sword to the Reigai's throat in an attempt to stop her.
Later, while searching for Nozomi, Rukia is confronted by her Reigai counterpart. As a train roars above them, Rukia battles her Reigai. Stating the Reigai's skills are unparalleled and it has a greater fighting ability than her own, she wonders what she can do to defeat her. When Reigai-Nemu joins the fight against Rukia, the real Nemu Kurotsuchi comes to her aid shortly thereafter, and Rukia concentrates on her Reigai. As they both attack each other with their Shikai, Rukia, defeated, falls into the river. Later, Ichigo and the others oversee Rukia's healing process. After she is healed, Rukia joins everyone as Urahara gathers information on the situation in Soul Society.
After Ichigo goes missing and Sado suggests they go to Soul Society, Rukia and Renji tell him to trust in the captains' abilities. As Urahara says he still cannot find Ichigo, Kon tries to reassure everyone, but Rukia stops him. After Ichigo awakens at the Urahara Shop, Urahara reveals Inaba is really after data on Mod Souls. When asked about Mod Souls, Rukia, taking over, explains with her drawings. Ichigo says it has been a while since she ruined things like that, but Kon encourages her to go on. Nozomi, popping in, says she sucks.
Rukia is with Ichigo when he introduces Nozomi to his family, telling them she is Rukia's relative. After Isshin, Karin, and Yuzu leave to do some shopping, Rukia receives an order about a Hollow on her Denreishinki. After Ichigo defeats the Hollow, Ikkaku and Yumichika ask him how Nozomi is doing. Rukia asks why they are interested, but they do not reply. At his shop, Rukia asks Urahara about Nozomi. Telling her he thought it was unusual he could not sense any Reiatsu from her when they first met, he reveals he became certain she was a Modified Soul when she healed Ichigo, noting her power was similar to Kidō, but different, possibly artificial. They wonder what Inaba wants with Nozomi. 
Rukia participates in a meeting in Ichigo's room, where she listens to Nanao Ise report on the situation in Soul Society. Later, Ichigo, Rukia, Uryū, and Sado spar with Nozomi in order to help her to awaken her Zanpakutō. With their help, Nozomi succeeds in releasing her Shikai. Afterwards, she helps the other Shinigami in fighting the Reigai, joining Renji against Reigai-Byakuya. Despite their combined effort, the Reigai, easily brushing off their attacks, forces them back. Ultimately, she and Renji are pushed back to join their allies. In a desperate decision, everyone decides to rely on the Reishi-absorbing power of Nozomi's newly acquired Shikai. They fire their attacks at her, allowing Nozomi to absorb it all and redirect it at the Reigai as an enormous blast, defeating them. As the dust settles, Reigai-Byakuya, having narrowly survived the attack with "Dankū, counterattacks with "Sōren Sōkatsui", knocking Rukia and everyone, but Ichigo and Nozomi out. As Reigai-Byakuya prepares to finish them, Yamamoto, arriving, defeats the Reigai with a powerful blast of fire.
After awakening, Rukia, showing her respect, bows before the powerful captain and explains the situation. Shortly afterwards, Inaba, arriving, engages Yamamoto. As Ichigo and Nozomi join the captain in fear of the replicating powers of Inaba's "Raikū", they attempt a multi-directional attack to exploit Raikū's limited range of replication, only for the attack to fail. After Inaba uses the collective power of Yamamoto's flames and Ichigo's "Getsuga Tenshō" against Yamamoto, who counters, the two are launched to the ground, knocking Yamamoto out and only battering Inaba. Rukia joins Ichigo, Renji, and Kon in defending Nozomi. Inaba, laughing at the Shinigami's belief of understanding Nozomi's feelings, reveals he and Nozomi are actually the same being split in two. The three, attacking Inaba, are easily defeated.
Later, Inaba has succeeded in capturing Nozomi, while the Shinigami forces in the Human World have all been greatly injured. Ichigo has lost the last of his powers, forcing everyone to regroup at Urahara's Shop. After discussing their options, Kisuke theorizes they can restore Ichigo's Reiatsu with the remaining Reishi still in the Kōtotsu from earlier. After Ichigo successfully acquires his Reishi, Ichigo and Urahara prepare to return to Soul Society to use Inaba's Reigai technology so they can restore Ichigo's powers. Before going, Urahara asks Rukia and the others to act as a diversion in the Dangai while he and Ichigo go through a different entrance.
Later, after succeeding in their mission, Rukia and the others return to Urahara's Shop. There, they grow impatient from not getting any news from Urahara and Ichigo. Ultimately, Rukia and the others decide to go back to Soul Society with the now healed Shinigami. There, they learn Ichigo has regained his Reiatsu, but, growing unstable, has transformed into a Hollow again. They find him bound by a mysterious Shinigami. Before Yushima can strike down Ichigo, Rukia, rushing over, forces Yushima back. The man reveals he is a fusion of both Nozomi and Inaba, and, by extension, has all their respective powers. Despite Rukia and the others' combined effort, Yushima quickly defeats them. As Yushima moves to kill Rukia, the Hollowfied Ichigo blocks the attack with his body.
Following the attack, Ichigo returns to normal, albeit deprived of his Reiatsu again. Rukia fends off Yushima long enough for her friends to join her. Rukia follows Uryū's lead in setting up his "Sprenger". While succeeding in restraining Yushima long enough to use the technique, Yushima counters with a "Hajokuri" spell, dispelling the attack and subduing his enemies again. As Yushima prepares for victory, Nozomi's essence, emerging, restrains Yushima. Ichigo tries to reach Nozomi again, but Yushima, regaining control, strikes at Ichigo, only to be blocked by Renji and Rukia. After they are knocked away, Reigai-Nemu appears with medicine to stabilize Yushima's fusion. Before taking the medicine, Reigai-Nemu kicks Yushima aside, revealing itself to be Kon in the Reigai's body. Greatly disturbed by the sight, Rukia, removing Kon from the Reigai, places him back in his plushy. Afterwards, Kon gives Ichigo a Mod Soul Pill of his Reishi, restoring Ichigo's powers.
Ichigo engages Yushima, fighting on even grounds with the resurrected opponent. Ultimately, Kon, unable to stand waiting on the sidelines, insists everyone should join the fight. Rukia starts the attack with a barrage of ice pillars, only for Yushima to absorb them. While the group's attacks are ultimately defeated, they give Ichigo an opening to strike Yushima hard. After a final clash, Ichigo defeats Yushima.
The Lost Substitute Shinigami arc
Soul Society is aware of Ichigo's involvement with Xcution members. Shortly after Ichigo awakens his Fullbring, Rukia is ordered to observe him. Upon learning Ichigo has allied himself with the enemy, she denies he would ever do such a thing.
Rukia appears with Kisuke Urahara and Isshin Kurosaki when Kūgo Ginjō and Shūkurō Tsukishima succeed in stealing Ichigo's Fullbring powers. She stabs Ichigo through the chest from behind, eventually materializing behind him so he can see her. Rukia's actions result in Ichigo once again acquiring Shinigami powers, which manifest in a new form.
After greeting Ichigo, she kicks him in the face, and then proceeds to berate him for crying, saying he should be ashamed he became a coward while she was gone. She states even though Tsukishima's ability is horrible, it does not matter, because it cannot change Ichigo's future, and the bonds he lost can be rebuilt. Rukia tells Ichigo of the sword she used to restore his powers, revealing Urahara created it. When Kūgo interrupts, saying one person's Reiatsu is not enough to restore Ichigo's power, Renji Abarai reveals the Gotei 13's contribution of Reiatsu to the sword. Rukia explains that a small part of Ichigo's power fused with his Fullbring, and there is no way Kūgo could take all of his powers, as he has deep wells of power. She calls Kūgo and Tsukishima fools, telling Ichigo they cannot make him despair because they do not know how much despair he has already conquered, and to show them despair can never stop him.
After healing Uryū, she enters Yukio's chatroom to face Riruka Dokugamine, where she finds herself surrounded by stuffed animals. Throughout their battle, Rukia insists she will not kill Riruka, because it is her duty as a Shinigami to protect Humans. Infuriated by the notion of being called a normal Human, Riruka uses her Addiction Shot ability to trap her in a doll, turning the tide of the battle in the process.
Cornering Rukia, Riruka asks her if she still thinks Fullbringers are normal Humans. Rukia notes Riruka is caught up with the idea of being more than normal, prompting her to explain her concept of "survival of the fittest." As Riruka reflects on the past, Rukia, taking advantage of the distraction, nearly defeats her with Some no Mai: Tsukishiro. Rukia reaffirms she will not kill her, but Riruka, releasing her from the stuffed animal, transfers herself into her body. As Riruka disappears, Rukia, wondering what happened to her, collapses to the ground.
After Yukio shuts down the chatrooms, Byakuya Kuchiki finds Rukia unconscious, noting she is uninjured. Rukia awakens to see the other Shinigami standing around while Ichigo is still inside one of the pocket dimensions. When she urges Byakuya to do something, Yukio tells her he cannot deactivate the dimension, and they cannot break it. Rukia refuses to believe this, wondering if there is some other reason they are not acting. She looks on as the dimension is broken apart by Ichigo activating his Bankai.
To Rukia's surprise, the captains turn to leave. Byakuya reminds her they were only tasked with observing Ichigo and his decision. Hitsugaya states the captains had agreed to use whatever Substitute who came after Kūgo to lure him out and get rid of them both, but Ichigo caused them to change their plans. Reminding Rukia of her reaction to being told to observe Ichigo, he acknowledges she was correct about him. When Tsukishima tries to attack Ichigo, Rukia leaps between them, and Riruka bursts forth from her chest to take the attack. As Rukia collapses, Ichigo catches her. Later, Rukia is present at Urahara Shop, where she informs Ichigo that Riruka has woken up. Later, she accompanies him to Soul Society, and is present with Renji at the captain meeting when Ichigo requests to retrieve Kūgo's body.
The Thousand-Year Blood War arc
As Rukia paces impatiently while the captains are in a meeting, Renji tells her to calm down. Izuru interrupts them by asking about the recent disappearances in Rukongai. As pillars of blue flame erupt across Seireitei when the Wandenreich begin their invasion, Rukia passes Kiyone and Sentarō on her way to the base of one of the pillars. She hurriedly explains the enemy is likely waiting at the base of the pillars.
Later, Rukia, along with the other captains and lieutenants, is notified by Rin Tsubokura that Ichigo is currently heading to Soul Society. Later, she is distracted by Byakuya's apparent death, which her unknown opponent took advantage of and knocked her unconscious.
While recovering from surgery to treat her severe injuries after the Wandenreich leave, Rukia briefly talks with Ichigo. After he leaves, she asks Captain Hirako for his opinion on Ichigo's sorrowful expression. He suggests it is the result of a difficult battle, but her intuition tells her he is hiding something much more serious. Later, Senjumaru Shutara brings Rukia, Renji, and Byakuya to the Royal Guard's Tenchūren so they can be taken to the Royal Palace. Unohana states their condition is too critical for them to leave Seireitei, but the Royal Guard insist on taking them.
Upon arriving in Reiōkyū, Rukia and the other wounded are taken to Tenjirō Kirinji's headquarters, where they are placed in his "Blood Hell Pond" hot springs, allowing its unique healing properties to treat the wounded Shinigami.
She eventually recovers completely, and goes to Senjumaru's palace with Renji for clothing measurements, in which she and Renji are forced to strip down. After they conclude their business there, they move on to Ichibei Hyōsube's palace to begin training. There, they note the extreme difficulty of moving, with Rukia comparing the Reishi around her to water. She then hears of Byakuya's recovery, which excites her, but then remarks on what he has to go through when reaching Senjumaru's palace. It is then that Ichibei greets them and offers to personally train them. 
Rukia and Renji later head for Soul Society. When they begin to get close, Rukia notes that night is coming and tells Renji that they must hurry. She and Renji arrive near Mask De Masculine. When Renji confronts Mask, he tells her to treat Rōjūrō Ōtoribashi and Kensei Muguruma. Rukia agrees to this and says that he should be able to defeat Mask easily before taking them away from the battlefield.
Later, Rukia dashes through the city while searching for the Reiatsu of other Shinigami. Noting the only Shinigami she has been able to find is Isane Kotetsu, whom she left to treat the injured captains, Rukia wonders if the Shinigami are really so inferior to the Sternritter before noting she cannot sense the Reiatsu of any Quincy either. Stopping, Rukia wonders if she should wait for Renji and then attack the enemy castle together with him. While standing still, Rukia has the sensation of someone touching her arm and asks for whomever she felt to reveal themselves. Appearing behind Rukia, Äs Nödt says he is lonely and asking where his Senbonzakura is. Recognizing him, Rukia refuses to tell Äs where Byakuya is, prompting Äs to ask her if Byakuya will come should he kills her as Rukia says he might. The Quincy attacks her with his thorns, causing Rukia to release her Zanpakutō to defend against his fear. However, the ice generated by her Shikai is unable to stop the advancing fear, and Rukia is hit. When Äs claims she is unable to move because she has been struck by fear, Rukia stands up, unaffected by his power, and asks Äs what he fears before wondering if he is afraid of encountering someone he cannot defeat with fear.
When Äs expresses disbelief at the notion of someone with no fear, Rukia tells him to fire his thorns at her once more if he does not believe her before stating she is now using the real power of Sode no Shirayuki. Firing the thorns, Äs points out how she was running from them a moment ago, but Rukia simply freezes them upon touch before revealing she had to avoid them until her body adjusted. When Äs explains how fear works and proclaims she has no way of becoming unable to feel fear, Rukia reveals fear cannot affect her because she is not technically alive before explaining how the true power of Sode no Shirayuki allows her to drop her temperature to below freezing. Though Äs does not believe such a thing is possible, Rukia attacks him multiple times at varying degrees until he is left frozen solid.
Slowly raising her body temperature to a normal level, Rukia notices a small cut on her finger and wonders if she stayed at absolute zero for more than 4 seconds. Noticing Äs still moving, Rukia watches as he activates his Quincy: Vollständig. When Rukia tries to freeze him, Äs moves behind her as Rukia notices she cannot move. Revealing his fear ability now works on sight instead of on contact with his thorns, Äs generates innumerable eyes around Rukia and explains how she can no longer escape his gaze and must feel fear. As Rukia experiences intense fear, Byakuya cuts through the eyes, saving her.
Rukia warns Byakuya to avoid eye contact with Äs as he unleashes his power again. However, the attack is easily deflected by Byakuya. While observing Äs running wild with rage, Byakuya compliments Rukia on becoming stronger, an acknowledgement which leads Rukia to shed a tear. He further encourages her by stating that she has nothing to fear, and with that, leaves the fight to her. Rukia unleashes her Bankai, and a blinding pillar of white emerges. As Äs is frozen solid and fades away, Rukia stands in her Bankai form as a crack appears on the back of her hand. Stepping forward, Byakuya tells her to slow down while returning to normal temperature. While complimenting her Bankai, Byakuya proceeds to tell Rukia it requires delicate control to prevent herself from getting harmed as well and reminds her that a blade wielded with the cost of the wielder's life will not be able to protect anything. She obeys Byakuya and moves on with him.
Powers & Abilities
Expert Swordsman: Rukia knows the basic levels of Zanjutsu, of which she seemed to have only mastered the rudimentary skills. By her own admission, she has less talent in swordsmanship than Kidō. However, after much training by her former mentor, Kaien Shiba, her skill drastically improved. She can hold her own in a battle, most notably defending herself from attacks from the 9th Espada, who possessed the expert swordsmanship skill of Kaien Shiba.
Kidō Expert: Rukia's greatest strength is her knowledge of Kidō. Among her known skills are those for binding, healing, and destruction. However, as she herself stated, while her Kidō skill at the Shin'ō Academy was the highest of her class, the sheer power of her Kidō was just average when she joined the 13th Division. Through continuous training, she has greatly developed this skill, able to use Hadō #73 without incantation to considerable effect. She switched from Zanjutsu to Kidō without delay upon losing her Zanpakutō. She can use high-level Kidō in rapid succession without incantations and still retain considerable control and power. She has great skill in using various spells in unique combination, even using multiple spells at the same time. However, she requires incantations when using high-level spells simultaneously.
Enhanced Endurance: Rukia is notably resilient. She withstood being impaled by Aaroniero's Nejibana in conjunction with his Glotonería, and finished him off before losing consciousness.
Enhanced Strength: Despite her size, she is powerful enough to defeat a superior opponent. Even without the aid of her Zanpakutō, she is still a considerable opponent. Despite her size, she can lift and throw a human.
Hakuda Combatant: While in a Gigai, she fought enemies with her hands and feet (kicking, punching, etc.). She is capable of hand-to-hand combat while in her Shinigami state, possessing augmented strength. During the Bount Invasion, she countered the swift and accurate attacks of Yoshi.
Keen Intellect: Rukia has repeatedly shown herself to be very intelligent. She compensated against the power of the 9th Espada with combination attacks. During her forced stay in the Human World after losing her powers, Rukia proved herself very useful in assisting Ichigo with his new Shinigami duties. Rukia is very knowledgeable, as shown from her knowledge of Soul Society's history.
High Spiritual Power: Being a lieutenant of the Gotei 13, Rukia boasts a high level of spiritual energy and can exert large amounts of Reiatsu when needed. Her Reiatsu is white.
Shunpo Expert: Renji says Rukia is helpful and effective because of her high speed. During her battle against the Adjuchas of the Menos Forest, she skillfully dodged multiple attacks from several enemies. She is able to move fast enough to surprise and cut Äs Nödt. 
Sode no Shirayuki (袖白雪, Sleeved White Snow): In its sealed form, Sode no Shirayuki is a normal katana. It has a rectangular tsuba with a vaguely flame-like pattern on the long sides and a curved line on the short sides, inward-curved corners with curved slits above and below the blade, and a series of curved lines embossed on either side of the blade. It has a reddish-brown hilt.
Shikai: Its Shikai command is "Dance" (舞え, mae). Rukia holds her Zanpakutō out in front of her and turns it in a circle counter-clockwise. While she is turning it, the blade, hilt, and tsuba turn completely white. The tsuba becomes a hollow snowflake-like circle, and a white ribbon forms from the pommel. Sode no Shirayuki is regarded as one of the most beautiful Zanpakutō in Soul Society. The transformation is accompanied by a rush of cold air in all directions.
Shikai Special Ability: Sode no Shirayuki is an ice-type Zanpakutō. Sode no Shirayuki possesses multiple techniques, labeled as "dances" by Rukia. Besides ice techniques, Sode no Shirayuki's general ability is freezing. Sode no Shirayuki can freeze a target from a distance, or used in a different manner, create a path or platform of ice in midair. Rukia can freeze even the Reishi-created Spirit Weapon of a Quincy, causing it to shatter.Sode no Shirayuki does not actually spread coldness from its blade; its actual ability is to bring the body temperature of its wielder to a temperature below freezing. As a result, anything its wielder touches freezes, the sword itself merely increasing their reach. Due to this power, Rukia is capable of momentarily "killing" her body by controlling her own Reishi, putting herself in a form of cryostasis. She completely stops all the molecules in her body, preventing any material or substance attempting to affect her from doing so because it cannot enter her body. However, if someone uses an optical attack on her, it will affect her because her nerves are still working. Rukia can lower her body temperature to a point at which the ground below her feet freezes instantly, causing ice quakes, and can even reduce her temperature to absolute zero, though she can only safely maintain this temperature for no more than four seconds. However, when raising the temperature from absolute zero, Rukia has to do so slowly or risk harming her own body.
Some no mai, Tsukishiro (初の舞・月白, First Dance, White Moon): Rukia calls out the name of the dance while holding her Zanpakutō upside down. The blade glows, and she makes a slashing motion when her target is in position. When she does this, she draws a circle with the tip of Sode no Shirayuki. The space within that circle and anything inside freezes. The circle not only freezes the ground, but everything within the circle's influence, including anything above it in the air, creating an extending pillar of light which freezes all within the circle. Shortly after being frozen, the victim shatters along with the ice. The ice pillar will not shatter if the victim is not caught within it.
Tsugi no mai, Hakuren (次の舞・白漣, Next Dance, White Ripple): Rukia, calling out the name of the dance, punctures the ground once, creating a large ice circle, similar to the first dance. She punctures the ground in front of her four times in a semi circle. As ice particles begin to flow up from the punctures she made in the ground, she takes a battle stance. The particles, building up at the tip of Sode no Shirayuki, are released as a large, powerful avalanche of cold air. It flash freezes whatever it comes into contact with, encasing it in ice.
San no mai, Shirafune (参の舞・白刀, Third Dance, White Sword): Rukia calls out the name of the dance, which allows her to gather moisture in the air to the tip of Sode no Shirayuki, creating a blade of ice. This makes it possible to augment the length of the blade. After piercing its target, it continues to freeze any surrounding objects and the immediate area.
Juhaku (樹白, White Tree): Rukia stabs the ground, which creates a trail of ice in the direction of her intended target. The ice freezes the target from the base up, in a continuing freezing process, as it transforms the target into ice.
Ice-Rope Connection: If Rukia can't reach her sword, she can create an ice extension to connect her hand to the sword hilt, which allows her to use Sode no Shirayuki's Shikai abilities at a distance.
Bankai: Hakka no Togame (白霞罸, Censure of the White Haze): Rukia's Bankai changes both her physical look and the clothing she is wearing dramatically. Rukia wears a white, ankle-length kimono with lined patterns. The robe has an attached ornate collar, edges, and shoulder design with long, wide sleeves. There are long, flowing ribbons tied at her back that form numerous large loops. She has a small ice flower formation at the center of her chest, and a half crown of ice which extends around the back of her head. Rukia's hair becomes white, and her blade becomes ice.
Bankai Special Ability: Hakka no Togame increases the area of influence of Rukia's ability to reach the temperature of absolute zero. Upon release, a pillar of cold mist rises up into the air from where Rukia is and covers a wide area in her vicinity. Anything within the area of influence of the mist is frozen. Once frozen solid, victims crumble away within seconds. Physical contact with Rukia herself causes other people to begin freezing solid because of how cold she is. While it is a powerful Bankai, it is also a difficult one, as the slightest mistake could kill Rukia. Because Rukia is physically affected along with everything else in her vicinity, the amount of time she can use her Bankai appears severely limited, as prolonged use can potentially cause her damage, so she is required to melt slowly when leaving this state, otherwise she would risk damaging herself.
Appearances in Other Media
Rukia appears in most Bleach video games. In Bleach: Soul Carnival and Bleach: Soul Carnival 2, she has a technique called Tsurarada (氷柱堕, Icicle Fall), where she creates up to three icicles while in the air and lets them drop down on an opponent on the ground.
Dark Rukia is an alternate form of Rukia which appeared exclusively in Bleach: Fade to Black. While in this form, instead of her own Zanpakutō, she has a gigantic, double-edged scythe, which she easily wields with one hand. Her outfit appears to be completely different, and she is barefooted. Her deep black hair is now lavender, as well as her eyes. While in this alternate state, her powers have been augmented, and she appears to fight differently, as opposed to her normal self. Dark Rukia appears in Bleach: Heat the Soul 6 and Bleach: Heat the Soul 7 as a playable character.
Wanting to draw a Shinigami in kimono, Tite Kubo drew Rukia - making her the first of the Bleach characters to be conceived.
According to Tite Kubo, Rukia's theme song is Wing Stock by Ashley MacIsaac.
Rukia is consistently the most popular female character in the series. In the 4th Shōnen Jump poll, she was ranked as the 2nd most popular character in Bleach.
Rukia was mistakenly shown as holding Senbonzakura in chapter 302.
(To Ichigo Kurosaki) "Even if you save that kid here, nothing will matter if you don't become a Shinigami! Saving him because he's right in front of you!? Don't be naive. A Shinigami has to treat all spirits equally! You cannot just conveniently save those you can see, those you can reach. Don't save that kid with such half-heartedness. If you want to save him now... accept that you must save all spirits. To go anywhere for them... to even give your life to save them, make that kind of commitment!"
(To Ichigo Kurosaki) "...If I ask, will you answer? ...It's your problem. A deep, deep problem. I have no right to know. I don't have a method of stepping into the depths of your heart without getting it dirty. So I'll wait. When you want to talk, when you think it's okay to talk... Talk to me. Until that time, I'll wait."
(Thinking about Ichigo Kurosaki) "Whether I like him, whether I hate him, it's just all so troublesome. Love, companionship and friendship... it's nothing but trouble."
"When the time comes when I have to leave, I have to cut myself off from them all. Love, companionship and friendship. It's troublesome. It's really, really nothing but a saddening emotion. All Shinigami shouldn't have these unnecessary feelings. What kind of disgraceful behavior is this... Rukia Kuchiki?"
(To Renji Abarai about Ichigo) "I...I was the one who dragged him into this!! It's my fault he died!! Since it's my fault he died...! Is it so wrong to go to him?"
(To Ichigo Kurosaki) "Don't even try to move one step from there. If you try to follow me... I'll never forgive you!"
"We must not shed tears. That is the defeat of the body by the heart. Because, for us, this thing called 'the heart' can become nothing less than proof that one's existence is superfluous."
"I'm not scared. I'm content with my life. Meeting Renji and the others, adopted by Nii-sama, Kaien-dono's guidance, then Ichigo's attempted rescue. No pain, no sadness, no regrets. There is nothing for my heart to linger in this world. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And goodbye."
(To Orihime Inoue) "In a battle, the ones who get in the way are not the ones that lack power, but the ones that lack resolve."
(To Aaroniero Arruruerie while thinking he is Kaien Shiba) "I... I did take your life Kaien. I think that sin is something that will never vanish, no matter how many years pass. If killing me will lift your spirits even a little bit... then I will gladly offer you my life. However, I came to Hueco Mundo to save Inoue... my friend. Until I rescue Inoue Orihime I cannot offer you my life no matter what you may say...!"
(Flashback) "At that time I was consumed by a single insecurity. From the start, I had little talent with a sword. My Kidō grades were good when I was in the Shin'ō Academy, but even that was average among the Gotei divisions. Was it really alright for me to be here? Where does my heart lie? Why am I here in the Gotei Divisions?"
(To Aaroniero Arruruerie) "I remembered where the heart lies. What's inside you is indeed Kaien's spirit body, but... Kaien is not there... Kaien... left his heart with me!"
"I know the loneliness of being a prisoner. I know the joy you feel when your friends come to rescue you and the fear of them being injured and defeated."