Bleach: Who Does Rukia End Up With? Is It Ichigo or Renji?

Bleach: Who Does Rukia End Up With? Is It Ichigo or Renji?
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Rukia Kuchiki is, as we know quite well, one of the central characters of Tite Kubo’s Bleach. We know how important she was for Ichigo Kurosaki, the story’s principal protagonist, and how much effort Tite Kubo put into developing her as a character. This is why Rukia has been constantly among the most popular and beloved characters in the series and why we will talk about her, i.e., one aspect of her life, in this article. Have you ever wondered who Rukia ends up with? In this article, luckily for you, we are going to reveal the answer to that question, as we are going to tell you what happened to Rukia in Bleach.

As was revealed in the sequel light novel WE DO knot ALWAYS LOVE YOU, Rukia Kuchiki ends up marrying Renji Abarai, her childhood friend, with whom she eventually has a daughter, Ichika. Renji has had feelings for Rukia since the beginning, and the light novel explains the development and evolution of their relationship. This was later canonized in the “NO BREATHES FROM HELL” one-shot manga chapter written by Kubo himself.

The rest of this article will further explore the relationship that Rukia had with Renji, as we will bring you all the relevant narrative details, as well as how they ended up after the main narrative had been concluded. Be careful, as this article will contain several spoilers from the unofficially titled “Hell Arc.”

Who does Rukia end up with in Bleach?

And while a lot of fans actually wanted Rukia to end up with Ichigo due to them functioning really well together, there is another character that is actually going to be the focus of this article – Renji Abarai. As with Ichigo, Rukia also has a very close relationship with Renji, who has suffered many setbacks over time but is now stronger than ever. Both had been friends since childhood in Rukongai, and after the death of their friends, they went to the Shinigami Academy. There, their friendship ended when Rukia was adopted by the Kuchiki house. At first, Rukia wanted to turn down the offer to not jeopardize her friendship with Renji, but Renji encouraged her to accept, thinking it would help her lead a better life.

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She understood his request and accepted the offer. From then on, Renji’s only goal was to become stronger than Byakuya Kuchiki in order to be closer to Rukia again. During the Soul Society saga, Renji battles Ichigo, realizing that Ichigo isn’t to blame for Rukia’s situation. He blames himself for letting her down. After his defeat, he then trained to assist Ichigo in rescuing Rukia and even fought his commander, Byakuya. When Renji loses, and Rukia feels his weakening Reiatsu, she becomes very concerned for him but is relieved when he appears safe and sound to her rescue.

Due to Renji’s similarities with Ichigo, the very nature of Rukia’s relationship with her brother’s Lieutenant was very similar. They had a very dynamic relationship, they quarreled often, and they were a source of many laughs throughout the series. But they also cared deeply for one another, as was explained above. They shared a common story and a common background, which allowed them to bond from an early age. Renji was quite proud of Rukia and her achievements, while Rukia kept pushing Renji forward.

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One of the best examples of how much Renji cared for Rukia was the Soul Society Arc when he was ready to abandon everything that Byakuya had taught him, including his honor as a Shinigami. All of his positions just to save Rukia. Initially, he was the ideal Shinigami, but once he realized in how much danger Rukia was in, he threw it all away just to save her; he even joined forces with Ichigo and fought Byakuya only to save Rukia. This was how much he cared for her, although he was unwilling to admit his feelings openly.

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And while Kubo never dug too deep into their relationship in the manga, the sequel light novel WE DO knot ALWAYS LOVE YOU actually explored their relationship and its evolution. In that light novel, Renji and Rukia become closer after Yhwach’s defeat and marry, with Byakuya escorting Rukia to the ceremony. It was a truly heartwarming moment, and while light novels are usually not canon, Tite Kubo canonized this marriage in his “NO BREATHES FROM HELL” one-shot manga, which not only confirmed that Renji and Rukia were married but that they also have a child together, Ichika Abarai, whose name is obviously a reference and a nod to Ichigo since he was an important factor in both Rukia’s and Renji’s lives.

Why didn’t Rukia end up with Ichigo?

Ichigo shares a special connection with all of his friends, and Rukia is no exception. She was the one who gave him the powers of a Shinigami. The one who followed him down the road pushed him to his limits, and on which he faced many adversaries.

Ichigo is a kind person who tries to carry the burdens of others on top of his own while appearing a little chilly and aloof. He strives to get stronger to shield everyone from harm and avert tragedies like the one that left him motherless as a toddler at the hands of a Hollow dubbed Grand Fisher. Rukia was truly struck by how much Ichigo resembled her late boss, Kaien Shiba. She valued both relationships greatly, but neither was romantic.

From Ichigo’s perspective, Rukia might have first been like a superior who then transformed into a friend-making classmate. They both worked on getting stronger, encouraged one another, and supported one another. He recognized in her someone who helped him, who he wanted to be there for out of gratitude, and who, over time, developed into a strong buddy. Rukia assumed the position of a friend along the way, one who could identify with and comprehend his frustrations, rage, worries, frailties, and challenges.

Meanwhile, the person Ichigo treasured and kept safe was Orihime Inoue. The difference between the two relationships was always clear and distinct. Over time, the romance between Ichigo and Orihime became more vivid. The limits he would go to in order to protect her and the effect she had on him kept progressing in the beautifully written build-up of their romance.

And that is why Rukia and Ichigo never dated or became a couple. The Orihime × Ichigo ship was destined to be from the very beginning. While Rukia did care for Ichigo and Ichigo did care for Rukia, they loved each other like siblings and friends, and not in a romantic way. Plus, you have the issue of Ichigo being a teenager and Rukia being centuries old and, well, dead; sure, you might argue that Isshin and Masaki Kurosaki ended up together in a similar fashion, but the situation was wholly different then.

Rukia ending up with Renji and Ichigo ending up with Orihime was the most natural order of things. It would not have done the series any good had Kubo forced another ship when these four characters were concerned.

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