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Tōshirō Hitsugaya vs. Tier Harribel

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Tōshirō Hitsugaya vs. Tier Harribel is a battle between Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya of the 10th Division and the Tres (3rd) Espada, Tier Harribel. It is one of the main battles that occur between the top three Espada and the captains of the Gotei 13 in the Fake Karakura Town. This is Hitsugaya's 2nd fight against an Espada and the first battle for Harribel against a Gotei 13 member.

Prelude

Hitsugaya & Matsumoto - Fake Karakura Town

Captain Hitsugaya & Lieutenant Matsumoto, shortly before separating to their own fights.

After the conclusion of the battles at the four pillars that keep the Real Karakura Town in Soul Society, the remaining fighters prepare themselves to do battle. Baraggan Louisenbairn, furious at having lost over half of his Fracción, prepares to take action himself but is persuaded by Ggio Vega, who pleads with him to leave the remaining Shinigami to him and Nirgge Parduoc. Baraggan agrees. Captain Suì-Fēng overhears this and rushes over to challenge Ggio. The two then begin battle. This serves as a sort-of start signal for the remaining fighters of both the Gotei 13 and the Arrancar to move out. Hitsugaya and Lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto move to go challenge Harribel's Fracción. Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto then declares that the "real battles" are about to begin.[1] He proceeds to order all the Gotei 13 to put their entire selves on the line and to stand strong in not allowing the enemy to take a single step into Soul Society, even if their bodies are torn apart. Hitsugaya then asks Matsumoto if she feels uneasy, but she simply affirms her readiness and Hitsugaya tells her not to lose focus as they go to fight.[2] As Hitsugaya and Matsumoto are surrounded by Harribel's Fracción, Matsumoto offers to handle the Fracción so Hitsugaya can fight Harribel. Hitsugaya asks if she will be able to handle the three and as Matsumoto affirms her confidence, Hitsugaya leaves to appear in front of Harribel. Emilou Apacci is about to stop Hitsugaya, but is told to refrain from Harribel. Harribel then draws her Zanpakutō and Hitsugaya follows suit. The two then begin battle.[3]

Battle

Hitsugaya & Harribel - Sword Battle

Captain Hitsugaya crosses swords with Tier Harribel.

As their battle continues, Lieutenant Momo Hinamori arrives to help Matsumoto. Harribel notes that his Reiatsu fluctuated for a moment. She then asks him what happened, but Hitsugaya simply answers that he does not know. He then has a flashback of when Hinamori asked him to help Aizen and wonders why she came to the battlefield.[4]

Hitsugaya's match against Harribel then appears to turn when the latter senses her Fraccións' defeat by Captain-Commander Yamamoto. Harribel forces Hitsugaya back with sheer power from her blade swing. She murmurs her Fraccións' names to acknowledge them and unzips her jacket to reveal her rank as the 3rd Espada, signified by the tattoo on her right breast. Hitsugaya is shocked to find out that Harribel is only ranked third despite her strength. Harribel questions Hitsugaya's statement and taunts him that she has yet to fully demonstrate her strength. Noticing this, Hitsugaya quickly uses Bankai in an attempt to match her very sudden and large increase in power. Harribel rushes at him and begins her attack as they come together and lock blades.[5]

Harribel Attacks Bankai Hitsugaya

Hitsugaya being attacked by Harribel after revealing herself as the Tres (3rd) Espada.

As their match continues, Hitsugaya is finding himself pushed back by Harribel. He prepares to counter, but Harribel gives him no chance due to using her Ola Azul technique.[6] Harribel manages to push Hitsugaya to the ground and mocks him, questioning "whether this is the full strength of a captain" that defeated her three Fracción. She then states that she will end the battle and proceeds to release her Zanpakutō, Tiburón. Harribel is completely enveloped by a heart-shaped surge of water, forming a cocoon-like cyclone that she then cuts herself out of. Hitsugaya comments to himself that Harribel's Resurrección form has not changed her appearance as much as he predicted, but underestimating her would be a fatal mistake. However, Harribel proves herself to be in a different league by suddenly slicing the right side of the young captain's body from his shoulder before he even realizes it. She comments her disappointment saying that he stood no chance as the dragon of ice sinks to the bottom of the sea with the bite of a shark.[7]

Hitsugaya iceclone

Hitsugaya with his ice clone.

Believing that Hitsugaya has been defeated, Harribel turns her attention to Captain-Commander Yamamoto, determined to avenge her Fraccións' deaths. However, before she can take any action towards him, she is forced to dodge an attack by an uninjured Hitsugaya. She then counters, but her attack is dodged. She then questions Hitsugaya, noticeably confused as she had seen him cut down. Hitsugaya simply responds back that he had not expected Harribel to have such huge leaps in speed and power, and had luckily taken precaution. She turns to where she had slashed Hitsugaya and sees that she has only struck down an ice clone. Hitsugaya tells her that he didn't want to use that technique so early as it was a one time move that he was waiting to use for later in the battle. He then comments to her not to underestimate the power of a Shinigami.[8]

Cascada (Anime)

Harribel using Cascada against Hitsugaya.

As their fight ensues, Harribel directs torrents of water at Hitsugaya that he simply freezes before they reach. Harribel begins to be encased in ice, but breaks free. Hitsugaya then tells her not to underestimate him as she surely must have realized her situation now. He tells her that since his Zanpakutō is an ice-element Zanpakutō, and so all water will only become his weapon even if that water is her weapon. Therefore, he reasons that since Harribel only has total control over water, her attacks will never reach him. Harribel plainly comments that her attacks will reach him soon enough and tries to incite Hitsugaya into coming closer. Hitsugaya questions if Harribel really thought a taunt like that would actually get him closer to her and launches an attack, stating that such a thing was why he said she was underestimating him. Harribel calmly retorts back that it is Hitsugaya who is underestimating her and reciprocates the situation by melting his ice with Hirviendo, stating the opposite of what Hitsugaya said is also possible and is an inviolable law of battle. She returns Hitsugaya's attack with Cascada.[9]

Hyōryū Senbi (anime e274)

Hitsugaya manages to momentarily freeze Harribel.

Harribel's Cascada begins to spread over parts of the Karakura Town imitation, but Hitsugaya is able to freeze all of it. He then tells her that he understands that the opposite must be true if one's own weapon can become an opponent's weapon and does not need to be given a trite lecture from the Espada about that. He uses Guncho Tsurara and Harribel stops Hitsugaya's attack again by melting it with Hirviendo. Hitsugaya, however, appears right behind Harribel and fires a wave of ice at her. Harribel manages to break away though. Hitsugaya then decides to thank Harribel for her lecture by teaching her another law of battle: "The time you implement your greatest technique is the time of greatest crisis."[10] Harribel responds back by using La Gota and firing a wide Cero as Hitsugaya runs from her. Hitsugaya comments that she is fighting rather conservatively with such a weak Cero. He is not surprised though, concluding that the reason her Cero was so weak is because she is waiting for the battlefield to become filled with condensation like he is and that once this happens, Harribel will use the opportunity to finish him off with one blow. Yet Hitsugaya tells her that their match will go nowhere if they are both waiting for the same thing, and states that he is going to try a particular ability that he has never used in Bankai mode before. Harribel asks what he is talking about and Hitsugaya explains that he actually doesn't have to wait for water, as Hyōrinmaru is the most powerful ice-element Zanpakutō, and so all water is his weapon, which means that all the heavens are under his command. He starts to use his never before seen ability: Hyōten Hyakkasō[11]

Hitsugaya turns back on frozen Harribel

Hitsugaya successfully uses Hyōten Hyakkasō to freeze Harribel.

As Hyōten Hyakkasō begins to take effect, a huge hole opens in the clouds. Even Coyote Starrk notices and is surprised as he fights against Captain Shunsui Kyōraku. Harribel is also surprised, asking what it is. She learns that Hyōten Hyakkasō is an extension of Tensō Jūrin which Hitsugaya explains that Tensō Jūrin is one of Hyōrinmaru's basic powers, but also its strongest. He tells her that his powers are not fully mature and that he doesn't like to use Tensō Jūrin in Bankai mode, as he is unsure of whether or not he could control it and keep it from killing everyone in the vicinity. He regards this concern as unnecessary though, seeing as half of the ice flowers of his Bankai are already gone. Before proceeding, he asks for his opponent's name, to which she replies: Tier Harribel. Hitsugaya then states his name and rank before attacking with Hyōten Hyakkasō. As the sky darkens, snow begins to fall from the hole in the clouds. Harribel attempts to melt the snow with her Hirviendo ability, but ice flowers begin to bloom the moment her sword touches the snow and then on her body. As she questions Hitsugaya's attack, Hitsugaya calmly tells her that Hyōten Hyakkasō causes anything that touches the snow to freeze into the shape of a flower. He states that once one hundred flowers have bloomed, she will die. He then apologizes, stating that he is not going to let her avenge her underlings after all.[12]

Aftermath

HarribelFree

Harribel is freed.

With Harribel incapacitated, Captain Hitsugaya witnesses the opening of a Garganta along with the rest of the standing Gotei 13. Wonderweiss Margela and Hooleer make their arrival.[13] Wonderweiss promptly impales Captain Jūshirō Ukitake and then let's out a banshee-like scream that shatters Hitsugaya's ice obelisk, allowing Harribel to walk free.[14]


References

  1. Bleach manga; Chapter 328, pages 16-22
  2. Bleach manga; Chapter 329, pages 1-7
  3. Bleach manga; Chapter 329, pages 15-19 & Chapter 330, pages 1-3
  4. Bleach manga; Chapter 334, pages 5-8
  5. Bleach manga; Chapter 339, pages 8-14
  6. Bleach manga; Chapter 355, pages 5-7
  7. Bleach manga; Chapter 355, pages 12-19
  8. Bleach manga; Chapter 356, pages 2-7
  9. Bleach manga; Chapter 357, pages 15-19
  10. Bleach manga; Chapter 358, pages 1-6
  11. Bleach manga; Chapter 358, pages 13-19
  12. Bleach manga; Chapter 359, pages 3-13
  13. Bleach manga; Chapter 364, pages 2-3
  14. Bleach manga; Chapter 364, pages 8-10

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