Like mother, like daughter.

The Ise Family Flashback:

It’s an odd thing when flashbacks are among the best parts of a series, but that’s definitely the case with Bleach. It may be that there’s an intriguing world/mythos surrounding the characters, or their histories are more interesting than their present storylines, but it’s always good when we get a chapter dedicated to someone’s past, and this time we learn a little about Shunsui, and a lot about Nanao and the Ise family. First off, it seems like the Ise family is a pretty big deal – whether one of the four royal clans or just another noble one isn’t confirmed; it could go either way at this point. But we do get confirmation as to how Shunsui/Nanao are related, as Shunsui confirms that it was his brother who married Nanao’s mother, which makes Shunsui her uncle.

We learn a few interesting details about the Ise Family, one of which being their apparent curse. They are a line of entirely women, and their inherited curse is said to kill whatever man they marry, and that’s exactly what happened with Shunsui’s older brother after tying the not with Nanao’s mother (who Shunsui confusing calls “big sis”, though that’s more to do with the Japanese language than anything else). It’s not the nicest tale, but the moments with Shunsui sitting on the porch and reminiscing about happier times had some heart to them. Still, all of them bar Shunsui and Nanao are dead now, as it’s all but confirmed that the haori and hairpins that Shunsui wears are from her. We may get a concrete revelation of that somewhere down the line, but I think it’s fair to assume at this point.

A confession of love… for her uncle?

Nanao’s Godly Zanpakutou:

Now, back to Nanao in the present. Truthfully, I’m not sure how I feel about all this. On one hand I think it’s awesome, but on the other it’s so painfully convenient that you can’t ignore it. This happens a lot in Bleach, however, so let’s not pretend it’s anything new… but it still prevents it from being as astonishing as it could be. At least everything has been cleared up now, after last week’s sudden (and confusing to some) twist. As it turns out, Kyokotsu is not Nanao’s zanpakutou after all, which is a little mean on Kubo’s part. It seemed to be the case last week, but Shunsui was most likely calling her out in order to pull Nanao’s cursed sword from the shadows. It’s then that we learn the curse most likely comes from the single zanpakutou that the Ise heirs inherit, as Nanao accepts the potential repercussions and goes on to suggest she has affection for her captain/uncle. By the end, however, she’s out on the field facing off against Pancake-faced Lille as she reveals her God-killing blade-less sword in an epic fashion.

Kubo knows how to do a big reveal.

Overview – What’s Next?:

This is bound to be a divisive chapter amongst Bleach fans and haters alike. For one thing, Nanao may have near-confirmed her love for Shunsui, but now that we know of her curse and the fact that she is his niece… it removes all potential romance between them. But on a more serious note, this is so convenient that it hurts. I’m able to look past it, but I wouldn’t blame others for being blinded by it. It’s a cool power, nonetheless, and makes me wonder if what Yoruichi’s younger brother was carrying a few dozen chapters back was the Shihoin’s inherited zanpakutou. That would certainly explain why she’s never revealed one of her own, if that’s another case of an inherited family blade as opposed to a personalised zanpakutou.


  1. My main question is the zanpakutou was originally created to keep which godly creature in check? The Soul King? Within Bleach mythology, is there any being, aside from the Soul King and his limbs, considered more divine than the Shinigami?

    Usagi Drop (kinda)
  2. I think this sword may be what seperated the Soul King from his limbs in the first place and what scattered them around the realms. Shunsui may have wanted to use this sword on Aizen, so he could create a new Soul King.

    Also apparently the Ise clan is named after a real-life shrine in Japan, that houses the eight-way Yata mirror and is related to the Kusanagi sword and the yamata no orochi ( Kishimoto used the same mythos for the fight of Itachi and Orochimaru, but made the references much less subtle). I guess had that story always in his mind, when he gave Nanao her name.

  3. well she is the vice-captain commander these days…

    so you’d expect her to hold her own somewhat.

    I do feel a little shivved about the whole whose sword is whose thing last chapter… having said that.. it would have rasied yet more confusion about the relationship between sword and weilder.. given i didn;t think other shingami could use anothers sword…
    and i always kind of liked that shunsei had two. so there.

  4. I’m still not completely sold on Kyoraku’s older brother being her father. It’s not explicitly stated that he’s the father, just that he was married to her mother and died not long after. And how Kyoraku addresses it, by saying “her husband”, and not “your father”. And the timeline would have some serious holes if he was. I know ageing in Bleach isn’t the best thing to go by, but Nanao is a little girl in TBTP which was ~110 years prior. So Nanao would be about ~160 tops. Now Kyoraku must be near hitting ~2000 now. He was an early student of Yamamoto, the oldest captain along with Ukitake (excl Yama and Unohana). And in this new flashback, not much older than we see him in Yamamoto’s flashback. So if his brother died not long after the marriage and was in fact the father of Nanao, Nanao would be much, much older.

    So either Kubo dun goofed, or Nanao’s mother conceived her with somebody else.

  5. This Sword is jealous, no Men should take away from it. So, she must stay the entire time single and alone, but with this her Bloodline will end. Because no successor in sight.. that would fit for the real World. But we are here in Seritei…

    1. Nah, it was definitely confirmed that she is Nanao’s mother. Shunsui calling her ‘nee-san’ wasn’t him literally calling her his older sister, it just results in a translation that could be confusing upon first reading.

  6. Maybe Kubo actually writes villains to weapons he conceived a long time ago instead of the other way around, but the end result is the same asspull feeling.

    That said, Nanao should just marry all the male villains.

    1. You know, that’s probably exactly what he does. I remember him saying in an interview that he basically has a bank of pre-designed characters that he keeps for whenever he plans on using them, so I think that’s what happens most of the time, and he makes them beatable by one particular individual. Unfortunately, it still feels massively convenient…

  7. I guess the only real issue I had with the chapter is that I wish the flashback. I just think we would have more emotional attachment to these characters if we got to see it and not just have it told to us through expository dialogue.
    In terms of convenience, the only thing that bothers me is “Oh, he turned into a god? Good thing we just happen to have a sword that only hurts gods!”
    Also, please, please, please Kubo, do not end these two characters’ story like Usagi Drop!

  8. and also, this Sword is not an Zanpaktou. Perhaps it even is older then the Zanpaktou inventor. A Sword handle down from generation to generation. How old is that thing? Perhaps it played a big Part of creating the Worlds?

  9. I kind of feel sorry for the zanpakutou in this current arc. Before, it was a zanpakutou’s choice if whether or not they wanted to give power to their shinigami. Now it has become into a if you know the zanpakuto’s name then you can use all of its power whether it wants you to or not (also like renji’s bankia). On a side note I do not fully understand why Nanao does not really have a zanpakutou. she is currently using what might just be her great grandmother’s zanpakutou. But why did she not automatically receive a free zanpakutou when she enlisted to become a shinigami? Does her bloodline cause a blank zanpakutou to have the same power as the one that Nanao has at the moment?

    1. I haven’t read it in a short while now, I’ve lost interest to be honest. But I do think the author is doing this in the hope this arc will get picked up for an anime. All this building going on suggests so. He could have easily took the cheap and easy route out and built it around Ichigos final battle with him and left all this stuff out.

  10. Choose which meaning [from free] you want:
    a•dore (əˈdɔr, əˈdoʊr)

    v. a•dored, a•dor•ing. v.t.
    1. to regard with the utmost esteem, love, and respect.
    2. to pay divine honor to; worship.
    3. to like or admire very much: I adore your new shoes.
    4. to worship.

    random viewer
  11. There is no reproduction in soul society. There are no blood related families in soul society. Everyone in soul society is a recycled soul from Earth that has died. When a soul society member dies, they get reborn on Earth again. Families are forever separated (aside from the occasional freak accident where they really do meet again) when they die on Earth and are reborn in Soul Society, so new families are formed via adoption for all the kids reborn in Soul Society.

    Therefore, Shunsui has no blood relation to his ‘brother,’ nor did said ‘mother’ have any blood relation to Nanao. There are no blood ties in soul society whatsoever, in any family, never mind between uncle and niece. There is no chance of incest existing in this world. All the incest haters just need to calm down and actually remember the setting Bleach has developed over decades which carefully details the situation on this matter.

    1. I can see why you’d make those claims, but personally I don’t buy them. Nothing of the sort is stated in the series. If anything, the families/blood lines in SS is one of the biggest mysteries in Bleach. Since it’s meant to be a cycle of life, you’d assume that it would be an even trade, but clearly that’s not the case.

      We know for a fact that children are born in Soul Society and there are genetic sibling; these appear to be souls that were never human. All those who are sent there after they pass away arrive in Rukangai at the same age at which they died, after all.

  12. and if my mind did not play a trick on me, her Weapon (It is not an Zanpaktou) is one of the real Weapons in Seritei. because all this Swords and stuff from the Shinigamis Vice-captains and above, are born out of their own Soul. But this Weapons she wields, was there long ago. Perhaps there are more of these Real Ancient Weapons out there. Weapons of Power to kill Gods or to create World. Perhaps some of these weapons created the Human world, the Huneco Mundo, Seritei and Quincy realm… But it would blow up our Bleach to unlimited endings.. and Kubo will lose the opportunity to haven a Big Finale

    I know, we are properly thinking to much into these things, but we have more time as Kubo. his Weekly publishing surly is tight, and there is not to much time for grounding a Background, perhaps we can give here and there some help.

    That is my real intention, helping out. Aka showing Doors, it’s a Win win situation. i found confidence since Shirobako. i am felling me more as an Supporter now. Giving feedback, but i am an Gaijin in your eyes. but an comrade in Anime and manga in heart.

    1. also, did she not had an small Dagger as Zanpaktou in the Rukia/Ichigo Arc, when she wanted to hurt the old Captain Commander, but he just paralyzed her with his powerful reiatsu?

      She is not vice-captain for show, she had the power. But if she would use her reiatsu to powerup this Divine Sword now.. would it double its powers?

  13. It would have honestly been better if they actually hinted this back then. For example, we at least got a hint that Shunsui’s bankai was dangerous and with this reveal, we now get an understanding why. However,we barely knew anything about Nanao back then and then they suddenly throw this backstory. This just feels way too sudden.

    1. Agreed. I still don’t think it’s terrible, but if Kubo even put in a few panels hinting to the ‘Ise Curse’ or to Nanao’s family at some point, then this would feel a lot more planned out. Personally, I’m going to assume that Kubo planned for this all along with her character, but just never put in the necessary foreshadowing like he has with other twists/revelations (the revelation of Juha being Ichigo’s quincy powers comes to mind as a perfectly foreshadowing reveal).

    1. There’s been a lot of stupidly convenient asspulls in Bleach, but this one is way too on the nose. So much so that even those of us who normally give it the benefit of the doubt are left sighing in disappointment.


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