Bleach: Is Ukitake Dead or Alive? What Happened to Him? Will He Be Back?

Bleach: Is Ukitake Dead or Alive? What Happened to Him? Will He Be Back?

As far as Bleach characters go, Jūshirō Ukitake is definitely one of the more intriguing personalities we have seen in the series. Although Yamamoto praised him as one of his two best students of all time, Ukitake was of frail health and never had an overly active role in the fights. Still, during the fight against the Quincies, Ukitake played a major role in the story that would ultimately lead to a very sad ending to the story of this noble Captain. In this article, we are going to tell you whether Jūshirō Ukitake died in Bleach or not and what happened to him in the story.

Jūshirō Ukitake was the Captain of the 13th Division of the Gotei 13 and one of the strongest characters in the series, despite his fragile health. In order to save the Soul King from Yhwach, he sacrificed his own life and released Mimihagi, although it ultimately proved to be an unnecessary sacrifice on his side. And while he did die, his Zanpakutō was seen during the Hell Arc, suggesting that he might be back at some point.

The remainder of this article will give you a detailed overview of Jūshirō Ukitake’s fate in the Bleach series. You already know what happened and how it happened, so we are just going to bring you the details so you know the whole context. Be careful, though, as the article is going to contain a lot of spoilers, so if you don’t know all the details, be careful how you approach the text.

Jūshirō Ukitake died to protect Soul Society

Ukitake is the eldest son of the Ukitake family, which is a family of low-ranking nobles. He has five brothers and two sisters, whom he mainly supports and cares for on his own. He was one of the first to graduate from Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto’s Shinigami Academy with Shunsui Kyōraku. He was also personally trained by Yamamoto. It can be assumed that Ukitake and Kyōraku are the oldest Captains of the Gotei 13, excluding Retsu Unohana and Yamamoto himself. Due to his illness, Ukitake was never able to fulfill his command properly, so Kaien Shiba relieved him of the essentials.

When Kaien’s wife, Miyako Shiba, became possessed by a Hollow, Ukitake and Kaien stopped her from killing Rukia Kuchiki and pursued her into a forest. As the hollow left Kaien’s wife’s body, Kaien began fighting with him. Ukitake prevented Rukia from joining the fight, explaining to her that Kaien was fighting for his honor. Ultimately, the Hollow’s abilities allowed Kaien to take hold of him, and Ukitake began fighting him, but his illness got in the way, and the Hollow attacked Rukia. To Rukia’s and Ukitake’s shock, Kaien took control of his body and killed himself with Rukia’s sword. The 13th Division has never been the same since, without their popular Lieutenant, Ukitake had to rely on his two 3rd Officers: Kiyone Kotetsu and Sentarō Kotsubaki, which often ended in disaster.


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Ukitake played a bigger role in the Soul Society Arc, initially appearing to stop Byakuya from killing Ganju and Hanatarō. Later, together with his friend Shunsui Kyōraku, he helped Ichigo save Rukia and even opted to face his former mentor, Yamamoto, along with Shunsui Kyōraku. The fight was interrupted when Aizen was revealed to be a traitor; this was the first time in the series that it was implied that Ukitake had some connection to the Soul King.


He appeared again during the Fake Karakura Town arc, where he was one of the Captains gathered by Yamamoto to fight Aizen and his Espada. While Kyōraku faced off against Coyote Starrk, the Primera Espada, Ukitake stood aside and dealt easily with Lilynette’s tantrums; Ukitake detested fighting children, and since Lilynette was basically a child, Ukitake refused to fight her, and he dealt with her attacks without even trying. But, when Lilynette and Starrk merged into one, Ukitake actively joined the battle to protect Kyōraku. It all went well until Wonderweiss Margela appeared and, taking everyone by surprise, pierced Ukitake through the chest, rendering him unable to continue fighting. Still, the Visored soon intervened, and Ukitake was ultimately healed.


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During the Fullbringer arc, Ukitake’s role in crafting the Substitute Shinigami badge was revealed, and while Kūgo Ginjō hated him and tried to convince Ichigo that Ukitake (as well as the rest of the Gotei 13) are not his allies, he failed to do so as Ichigo stated that he trusted them nevertheless; Ukitake was shown to be relieved by this fact.

616Ukitake completes Kamikake

Finally, he participated in the fights against Yhwach and his Sternritter, but no major fight was shown. At one moment, realizing that Yhwach was going to kill the Soul King, Ukitake decided to activate Mimihagi, the Right Hand of the Soul King, that was residing in him so he could replace the Soul King if Yhwack kills him, which eventually happened. Mimihagi did replace the Soul King for a while, but Yhwach was able to breach all the defenses that the Shinigami put up and even defeat Mimihagi, ultimately absorbing him inside of him. As for Ukitake, this was his final lifeline.

With Mimihagi taken by Yhwach, Ukitake was freed from its influence and thus succumbed to his illness and ultimately died. He wasn’t really the same ever since he activated the ritual, but he was not dead until Yhwach took Mimihago from him; so, for a brief time, Ukitake was the new Soul King, but he ultimately died. This was a noble sacrifice on his side, but it proved to be in vain, as it did not stop Yhwach from achieving his goals. Whether Kubo intended it to be like that from the beginning or whether he had to rush it a bit because the manga ended as it did is unknown, but this is the story of how Jūshirō Ukitake died in Bleach.


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The Hell Arc could be a way for Jūshirō Ukitake to return to the series

And while Ukitake definitely died during the Quincy War, Tite Kubo seemingly teased a way for him to return to the story at some point. Namely, in the special one-shot titled “NO BREATHES FROM HELL,” Ukitake’s Sōgyo no Kotowari is seen, now gigantic, coming out of the Gates of Hell and impaling Szayelaporro Granz through the back while the former Espada was fighting Ichigo, returning the escapee to Hell. Now, while we don’t really know if Ukitake was the one operating Sōgyo no Kotowari since it was so gigantic, it has been implied that it was, indeed, the former Captain of the 13th Division.

NBFHUkitake intervenes

The very nature of Hell in the world of Bleach is a bit complex, and we don’t really know what all of this means. There are still a lot of unanswered questions, the main one being whether we are actually going to see a continuation of Bleach, as Kubo has been suspiciously cryptic about it, but knowing Kubo, it could really go either way. The demand is high, but Kubo is not known as a mangaka who works well under pressure, so we can’t really tell. Be that as it may, the one-shot definitely opened up a possibility for Ukitake’s return, but in what manner and capacity – we cannot even guess.

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