Soul Society is a vast place with many parts that have been left unexplored, which actually makes sense since the focus of the plot was on other aspects of the story. The main location within Soul Society is the Seireitei, a well-known location that changed a lot during the second invasion of the Quincy. In this article, based on the new map shown to us in the anime, we are going to tell you how the Seireitei changed during the invasion and what actually happened.
When Ywhach launched his second invasion of the Seireitei, he completely engulfed the Seireitei in shadows and replaced it with the Wandenreich, which was actually hidden within the shadows of the Seireitei the whole time. This is how the Sternritter could move freely around the Seireitei, unlike the first time, as they are bound to the shadows and have to be in them. This completely changed the Seireitei and turned it into the Wandenreich, and most of the topography of the Seireitei completely disappeared, with only five Division Barracks remaining intact. Everything else became the Wandenreich, and the Shinigami had a lot of trouble finding their way around the place.
The rest of this article will be about the Seireitei and how it changed during the second invasion of the Wandenreich. We will tell you about the principal outline of the Seireitei before the invasion, as well as what happened to it when Yhwach and his army replaced it with the Wandenreich. This is an important moment that the anime expanded upon, so we thought it would be interesting for you to actually find out what happened there. Of course, if you’re not fully up-to-date with the Bleach anime, this article will contain many spoilers.
The Seireitei was a well-organized place
The Seireitei, which means “Court of Pure Souls” in Japanese, is the center of Soul Society, which is modeled after a Japanese castle. The Seireitei is at the heart of Soul Society, surrounded on all sides by the multitude of the Rukongai districts. Unlike Rukongai, where all the konpaku who entered the Soul Society through the Konsō live, the Seireitei is the only place where the Shinigami and the nobility are allowed to reside. However, it is possible for spiritually gifted konpaku from Rukongai to live in Seireitei by undergoing Shinigami training at the Shinigami Academy and moving to Seireitei.
A variety of Shinigami originally came from Rukongai, such as Renji Abarai, Rukia Kuchiki, Momo Hinamori, Tōshirō Hitsugaya, and many more. Noble houses also prefer not to reside in the Seireitei and take up residence in Rukongai. Among them are the Shiba clan and also the Shihōin clan.
Since the Seireitei is the most important place in the entire Soul Society in all respects, as that is where the fulcrum of the three powers is, it is accordingly well protected. The first notable defense mechanism to prevent outside intrusion is a wall structure that deploys around the courtyard if any unauthorized Rukongai approach is too close to the Seireitei.
Once the walls are erected, there are only four gates leading into Seireitei, one in each direction, each a ten-day march apart. Each gate has its assigned Warden who can either raise or defend the massive gate separating Rukongai from the Seireitei. Even if you defeat the gatekeeper, there would still be the problem that the wall and the gates are made entirely of Sekkiseki – a material that repels Reiatsu.
The second of these defenses is a sphere of spiritual particles surrounding Seireitei like an orb. This force field is created by the Sekkiseki that make up the Wall. This makes it difficult for intruders to get into the yard, even from the air or through the ground, and they certainly won’t go unnoticed, as the shield is monitored at all times.
The barriers of the Divisions are located in the outer parts, while the inner part is reserved for the nobility. The central part of the Seireitei contains the Senzaikyū and other important buildings and institutions. So, as you can see, the layered structure of the Seireitei is pretty specific in this aspect, and it is likewise well-known, so just imagine how much power it takes to alter it. Yet, Quincy did it.
The Wandenreich altered the Seireitei, but the gist of it remained intact, as Mayuri’s and Urahara’s map showed us
Now that you know the general idea of the Seireitei, we can actually proceed with what happened during the second invasion. Namely, the second invasion started with the Seireitei being engulfed by large shadows that completely changed the whole concept of the Seireitei. So, how and why did this happen?
Well, as the Sternritter explained, after Yhwach’s original downfall, the Quincy had to go into hiding, and since they did not really have a realm of their own, they had to find a place for themselves, and they did – in the Seireitei. Using the shadows, they relocated within them, and there, they built their Wandenreich right under the noses of the Shinigami, who could not sense their presence as they had no idea of what was going on in their own Shadows.
But, this caused them to connect to the shadows so much that they could only remain outside the shadows for a certain amount of time, even Yhwach, which actually caused their initial retreat during the first invasion. On the other hand, the Shinigami had no problem walking through the Wandenreich.
So, in order to be more effective in battle, i.e., without any limitations, the Quincy unleashed their shadows and completely engulfed the Seireitei, replacing it with the Wandenreich. This is how they leveled the playing field, which allowed them to fight as long as they wanted against the Shinigami. But what happened to the Seireitei in the end?
Well, Quincy replaced the topography a bit, although the principal organization was left intact. Mayuri and Urahara collected as much data as they could and created a map of the Wandenreich, which showed that the original, layered structure of the Seireitei remained intact. But everything else changed.
The architecture, as well as the basic topography, as the buildings were replaced with new ones, and so were the streets. This is why the Shinigami had a lot of trouble finding their way around the Wandenreich, as the locations were unfamiliar to them. Some larger structures were not changed that much (for instance, the 1st Division’s Barracks), but they were not the same as before.
Ultimately, as the map revealed, only five old buildings remained completely intact, and they were the barracks of the Second, Seventh, Ninth, Tenth, and Twelfth Divisions, including a special, shadowless section of Mayuri Kurotsuchi’s laboratory, which is from where he and Urahara worked to help the other Shinigami. This is why this new map was important because it helped the Shinigami find their way around the “new Seireitei.”