Bleach: Is Ishida “the Last Living Quincy”?

Bleach: Is Ishida "the Last Living Quincy"?
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Uryū Ishida is a character from Bleach that we have not written a lot about, even though he is actually one of the main characters in the series, but due to his increased role in the Thousand-Year Blood War Arc, we are going to be writing about him much more than you’d expect. As Yhwach named Ishida his successor, he called him “the Last Living Quincy,” a very noble title, especially for someone who was born in the World of Living as a human. Now, the story of Quincy is well-known, and it doesn’t come as a surprise that Ishida was among the last remaining members of this group, but was he really the last one? We shall answer that question in this article.

Technically, Ishida wasn’t “the Last Living Quincy,” as his father, Ryuken, was still alive and a Quincy by all means. But, since Ryuken formally distanced himself from the Quincy and wanted to have nothing to do with them, Yhwach symbolically considered Ishida as the last one, although he knew that Ryuken was still alive. This was more of a symbolic gesture that also showed how Yhwach was not counting on Ryuken to help them and how he considered Ryuken to be completely insignificant.

The rest of this article will be dedicated to Uryū Ishida and his story during the Thousand-Year Blood War arc or, more specifically, the role he played in Yhwach’s Sternritter organization and how he was perceived. We will give you details about Ishida’s supposed betrayal and his joining the Sternetitter as one of Yhwach’s closest allies. There will be major spoilers for those who have not read the manga, so be careful how you approach the article.

Ishida being titled “the Last Living Quincy” was more of a symbolic gesture than anything else

A long time ago, the Quincy were numerous and were living in our world like the Shinigami without any problems. But, due to their ideology, they often clashed with the Shinigami, and at one point, led by the vile Yhwach, they attacked Soul Society in an effort to conquer it, but thanks to the intervention of the original Gotei 13, the Quincy were defeated, although Yamamoto failed to kill Yhwach, who would wake up after 1,000 years and start a second invasion of Soul Society, which is the plot of the current arc of the anime.

But, in the meantime, not all Quincy were killed, and the Quincy and the Shinigami continued to live together, despite their opposing ideologies. But, they would often clash over the fate of the Hollows – the Quincy thought that the Hollows needed to be completely eradicated, while the Shinigami knew that ta balance must be kept between the number of dead and living souls.

If that balance were to be disrupted, the world’s boundaries would collapse. And while the Shinigami tried to reason with the Quincy, the latter wouldn’t actually listen, and in the end – the Shinigami had to make a difficult choice: to kill the Quincy or not kill them.

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Their ideology of the Quincy did not allow them to see through the arguments of the Shinigami, and the two sides couldn’t really reconcile. Endless debates were held in Soul Society, and these debates lasted for a while before the Shinigami ultimately decided to do what they did – they had to eradicate the Quincy. The Shinigami did not enjoy it, far from it, it was a painful decision, but they thought it was a necessary one.

Hidetomo Kajōmaru said that the main issue was that the Quincy did not want to change, whereas the Shinigami knew that the Quincy ideology would lead to the Collapse of the Worlds, i.e., the destruction of existence as we know it. In the attack, the Shinigami believed that they had wiped out almost all of the Quincy, i.e., enough for them to stop being a threat.

Some of the surviving Quincy, led by Ishida’s grandfather, wanted to reconcile with the Shinigami; they wanted to find a middle path for the two factions to coexist in peace, but the Quincy had always been more radical than the Shinigami, which is why complete reconciliation was not possible.

Having said all of this, we can return to the present timeline. Namely, at the beginning of the series, Ishida labeled himself as “the Last Quincy,” revealing that he had a grandfather who was also a Quincy. Later, it turned out that Ryuken, Ishida’s father, was also a Quincy (and he used the same phrase to describe himself), but that he cut all ties with the Quincy due to various events from his past.

We later discovered that Ishida’s mother was also a Quincy (albeit not pure) and that Ichigo’s mother, Masaki, was also a Quincy. So, when Ishida was born, a total of at least five Quincy (not counting Ichigo himself) were alive. Hollows killed his grandfather, while his mother, along with Ichigo’s mother, died during Yhwach’s Auswahlen; Ryuken, on the other hand, cut all ties with Quincy, so yes, Ishida was, at the beginning of the series, the last living Quincy who actually practiced the Quincy arts.

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But, later on in the story, Ryuken also participated in some fights, which means that he somewhat reactivated his status, although not fully. So, calling Ishida “the Last Living Quincy” is not technically true but also false. Namely, while he wasn’t the last surviving Quincy – there’s Ruyken and, later, also Ichigo – he was the last one who actively practiced the Quincy arts. He never let their ideology cloud him, especially when his friends were concerned, but he was a Quincy, and he did fight using their methods.

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