BLEACH Character Analysis: Masaki Kurosaki – THE HOLLOWFIED QUINCY

BLEACH Character Analysis: Masaki Kurosaki - THE HOLLOWFIED QUINCY

BLEACH Character Analysis: Masaki Kurosaki – THE HOLLOWFIED QUINCY

BLEACH Character Analysis: Masaki Kurosaki - THE HOLLOWFIED QUINCY

Masaki Kurosaki is easily one of the most important characters within the world of Bleach. Her short but impactful role within the story helped to shape the character of Ichigo, as her death was responsible for instilling within him an even stronger desire to not just protect those around him, but to protect as many people as his hands can carry.

During the Thousand-Year Blood War Arc, key details relating to Masaki are revealed, which explain the actual reason behind her death. This information is told to Ichigo, who is finally able to accept that he wasn’t responsible for the death of his mother. Additionally, we learn a lot about her background during the “Everything but the Rain” flashback, as her link to Ryuken and Isshin is well explained, as well as how Urahara had ended up saving her life.

In this blog, I want to talk about everything that there is to know about Ichigo’s mother, discussing her past and her significance to the story, as well as theorizing what had happened to her after her death because we never really see her within the Soul Society. So without further delay, join me as I break down and analyze the character of Masaki Kurosaki.

Masaki makes a debut appearance within Chapter 1 of the manga and incidentally in episode 1 of the anime. Her most notable features are her long wavy brown hair and brown eyes, which Ichigo ends up inheriting. At the start of Bleach, we are made to appreciate just how much her passing has impacted the Kurosaki family.

In the first chapter, we see that Isshin has a huge memorial poster of his late wife in their home with the phrase “Masaki Forever” written at the top of it. We see him speaking to the poster as he asks his wife for advice from time to time about how to handle their growing children. In Chapter 19, Ichigo describes his mother to be the center of their family, around whom they all had revolved. So after her passing, an irreplaceable void was formed, which affected all of them.

We are able to truly appreciate the impact of losing Masaki when we follow the family during one of their annual visits to Masaki’s grave. Karin and Yuzu were fairly young when their mother had died, but in Chapter 19, we see how losing their mother had affected both of them. Yuzu is seen crying as Karin comforts her.

We understand immediately that Karin sets aside her feelings to be there for her sister, despite the fact that she must also be hurting. Yuzu had assumed a lot of the household duties like cooking and cleaning, while Karin had turned inward and suppressed her feelings for the sake of being stronger for those around her.

Isshin often jokingly speaks about how he has to play the role of both parents, but you can see that he hides the pain of her loss by constantly cracking jokes and not letting his family dwell too much on what makes them unhappy. While it initially comes across as really annoying, you quickly understand why Isshin assumes the role of an overly goofy father.

he is doing everything that he can to not let his family feel like they’re missing out on not having Masaki in their life. After all, she was a loving mother who cared greatly for her family. She died because of her love for Ichigo, as she protected him from the Grand Fisher, a Hollow that she should have been able to handle.

BLEACH Character Analysis: Masaki Kurosaki - THE HOLLOWFIED QUINCY

However, due to reasons that I’ll speak about later, she was unable to use her powers to protect her son and defend herself. Her death was truly tragic and unexpected for the majority of the story. This is how we remember Masaki, as a loving mother who was killed by a Hollow. We get more information about her death during the final arc of the manga, where significant details about her past are revealed.

Let’s now analyze these revelations as we dive into the “Everything But The Rain” flashback, which takes place roughly 20 years before the present timeline of the manga. We see a young teenage Masaki within chapter 530, as we learn that she is the last of the Kurosaki family and she is being looked after by the Ishida family only because she is one of the last pure-blooded Quincy, like them.

For this reason, she was supposed to have an arranged marriage with Ryuken in order to maintain the purity of the Ishida Quincy bloodline. Ryuken’s mother had lost her patience with Masaki after learning that she is making slow progress with her training, feeling that the young girl doesn’t appreciate the significance of being one of the last pure Quincy.

Masaki later senses the presence of two large spiritual pressures, and she assumes that somebody is in danger, so she rushes off to help them. However, she ends up being stopped by Ryuken, who reiterates a similar sentiment to his mother by reminding her of the position that she is in.

He tells her to take better care of herself, as a pure-blooded Quincy shouldn’t spill their blood so easily. We learn that a Quincy should only show up to deal with a Hollow after a Shinigami has died, and even then, it is tradition to send a mixed-blooded Quincy in order to protect and preserve the pure-bloods.

However, we see why Ichigo gets his impulsive nature from, as Masaki states that she respects Ryuken for thinking before he acts, but she isn’t the type to sit by and do nothing when somebody needs help, because she wouldn’t be able to live with herself if following tradition had resulted in the death of somebody.

Masaki is unaware that what she has sensed is Isshin battling a mysterious Hollow that is unlike any other Hollow they have ever encountered. It is revealed that this Hollow is called White, and it’s an experimental Hollow created by Aizen. When she arrives onto the battlefield in chapter 532, she witnesses the intense battle.

We see her save Isshin’s life by firing an arrow to stop the Hollow from releasing a Sero against him. When she realizes that it is too fast for her to keep up with, she recklessly allows herself to be bitten by it in order to fire an arrow at point-blank range through its head. The Hollow White self-destructs, but luckily, Isshin had shielded her from the explosion, and Masaki appears to be unscathed after the whole ordeal. She feels guilty that he had hurt himself in order to protect her, but Isshin is just glad that he could repay the favor after she had arrived to help him.

BLEACH Character Analysis: Masaki Kurosaki - THE HOLLOWFIED QUINCY

Ishin is more surprised that this human girl was able to defeat a powerful Hollow like that as she introduces herself to him, stating that she is a Quincy. He is surprised by this revelation, and even Masaki looks very apprehensive. But Ishin defuses the tension by stating that he has never seen a Quincy in person before, reassuring her that he feels lucky to have finally met one.

Masaki is affected by Ishin’s warm-hearted response. Clearly, she has been raised to dislike Shinigami, but she wonders if all Shinigami are like him, because then that would mean that the other surviving Quincy would have nothing to worry about, because the Shinigami are not as bad as they all think.

After the encounter, Ishin had returned to the Soul Society, explaining to the Head Captain why he had gone to the World of the Living without authorization. He is commended for acting swiftly and minimizing the casualties and damage to the World of the Living, but he purposefully doesn’t mention in his report that he had met a Quincy.

This is in order to protect Masaki, because at the time amongst the Shinigami, there were only unreliable rumors relating to the existence of any surviving Quincy following their extermination 200 years ago. Meanwhile, Masaki wonders if Ishin had gotten back to the Soul Society safely, hoping that he isn’t punished for his actions. Ishin, on the other hand, is surprised by Masaki, as he appreciates that it would have taken a lot for her to rescue a Shinigami, and not only that, but to also identify herself as a Quincy, who historically have always feuded with the Shinigami.

At the end of chapter 533, while Masaki is walking back from school with her friends, she suddenly starts to feel faint, but Mr. Perfect Timing Kisuke Urahara was conveniently walking past her at the time. He realizes that something is wrong with the girl, who quickly composes herself, reassuring her friends that she is fine before continuing to walk home.

Later in the evening, Masaki is confronted by Ryuken’s mother, who is upset that she had acted against the Quincy tradition, but the young girl ends up collapsing in pain during this conversation. This is when Ryuken and his mother spot the Hollow hole that is forming on her chest.

Now, if you recall, she is actually exhibiting very similar symptoms to the Visoreds when they were horrified by Aizen during the Turn Back the Pendulum Arc. Ryuken, carrying her in his arms, rushes out of their home when he ends up bumping into Ishin, who he argues with, stating that he is to blame for Masaki’s current condition because she had gotten involved with him by saving his life from that Hollow. Urahara then appears, revealing that there is no time to waste if they wish to save Masaki.

At the start of chapter 535, we see a visualization of Masaki’s inner world, where she appears to be sinking and being consumed by the Hollow white, which is now inside of her. Ever since Urahara was exiled from the Soul Society, he has focused his efforts in order to better understand Hollowification, thus explaining how he was able to immediately identify Masaki’s symptoms from earlier in the day when she had felt faint while walking past him.

BLEACH Character Analysis: Masaki Kurosaki - THE HOLLOWFIED QUINCY

Hollow vacation was first invented as a method to strengthen Shinigami, but they were unable to control the hollow-fied Shinigami. Urahara is more concerned with the fact that Masaki is a Quincy who is undergoing holification, because it is a process that was only intended to be used on Shinigami.

Urahara makes sure to emphasize that Masaki will never return to being who she once was; he can only save a life. But when holification happens, the soul and the hollow become mixed, and the individual transforms into an uncontrollable monster, losing all sense of sanity. Eventually, the boundary between the soul and the outside world ends up being destroyed, and the soul loses its balance, resulting in a fatal process called Soul suicide.

Meaning, if left untreated, Masaki will eventually die. The only way to prevent this from happening is to pour into her soul something to counteract the holification. Now, they need to correct the imbalance by tapping the scale the other way. Urahara was able to do this with the Wizards by creating a vaccine for them, made by using Quincy reishi and a human soul, and it was thanks to this vaccine that he was able to save all of their lives by stopping the soul suicide in all cases.

However, in order to prevent holification and to ensure that Masaki remains as a human, she needs a strong conflicting power that will always remain by her side, stopping her from horrifying until the day that she dies. The only person who is in this situation that best fits this description is Isshin.

Urahara reveals that he has created a special gigai which is able to enclose within it a soul as an ordinary human. Now, if Isshin were to use the gigai, he would become a being who is both a Shinigami and a human. This entire treatment relies upon two core principles: the first is that Shinigami are the opposite of Quincy, and the second, humans are the opposite of Hollows.

Isshin has the choice now to decide if he wants to be the conflicting existence that will save Masaki’s life. It was a choice that was heavily unfavorable for him. If he were to take up the specialty gigai, he would lose all of his Shinigami powers, as well as not being able to see Hollows anymore, and lastly, he won’t be able to become a Shinigami again in the future. For the gigai to work as a vaccine, Masaki’s soul and the hollow inside her need to be tied together with reishi using an incredibly strong strength.

While tied, Isshin will not be able to leave his gigai until the hollow inside her is free from the string, which will only happen if she dies. Isshin selflessly agrees to quit being a Shinigami in order to protect Masaki for the rest of her life. He decides to do this because he owes his life to her.

She didn’t hesitate to help a Shinigami despite all of the preconceptions that she must have had about Shinigami while growing up. Isshin, similar to Masaki, states that he would not be able to live with himself if he had let somebody that he owes his life to just die, all because he has some doubts about losing his powers and not being able to pretend to the Soul Society. Isshin saves Masaki as Urahara successfully tethers their souls to each other.

Sometime following this, after Masaki had graduated from school, she had left the Ishida family and had started to attend University while visiting Ishin regularly, who ends up revealing to her that he was exiled from the Soul Society. The two, of course, end up getting married and have three children.

Chapter 19 reveals to us what had happened nine years ago on the night that Masaki was killed while walking on with a young Ichigo. They had encountered a Hollow called the Grand Fisher, a being who specializes in devouring humans with high spiritual pressure. He does so by altering his law into the faces of those whom he has devoured.

At this time, Ichigo was unable to distinguish between a soul and a human, so when he had seen the Grand Fisher taking the shape of a little girl, he had assumed that she was about to jump into the river. Without thinking, he rushes to help her, but Masaki realizes that it’s a trap and rushes after her son. Ordinarily, she would have been able to handle a Hollow like the Grand Fisher by simply using her Quincy powers.

But in Chapter 537, we learned that she was unable to use her abilities because Yhwach had performed Auswählen, having stolen the Quincy power from all mixed-blooded Quincy, and this includes Masaki, who was tainted by the Hollow White. She was powerless and unable to fight back as she died protecting her son.

As I mentioned earlier, Ichigo and his family visit their mother’s grave every year on the anniversary of her death. Ishin even reveals that he smokes on this day in front of her grave because, as Masaki had first complimented him after seeing him smoking, saying that he looked really cool.

Tatsuki describes how Ichigo had handled the death of his mother in Chapter 18, describing how he had felt responsible for it. He was rarely attached to her, and he would always stop crying whenever she was around. In Chapter 188, we learned that even Ishin had felt responsible for Masaki’s death when he states that he was not able to get there in time to protect her from the Hollow. In Chapter 25, Ichigo asks his father about why nobody blames him for her death.

BLEACH Character Analysis: Masaki Kurosaki - THE HOLLOWFIED QUINCY

Ishin scoffs at this idea as he states that the woman he had loved had died protecting Ichigo. He advises him to honor the memory of his mother by living well and to die long after he does. This is a beautiful, reassuring message which helps Ichigo to move on with his life without feeling guilt.

He shouldn’t waste his life, which was so precious to Masaki that she had given up her own life in order to preserve it. He owes it to his mother to continue living with a smile on his face. When Ichigo battles the Grand Fisher, we learned that Masaki’s final memories were recorded just before she was killed.

After the Hollow transforms into his mother, it begins to tell Ichigo her final thoughts, and we learn that moments before her death, she was reminiscing about how much fun they all had together as a family, and her final request was for Ichigo to never stop smiling, that very smile that lit up his face every time he would see her. Several people, including myself, have wondered why we never saw Masaki again within the Soul Society.

In chapter 76, we learn about what happens to our soul upon entering the Soul Society. When they arrive within Rukongai, they are given a number that represents the order of their death. Then, they are sent to different areas within Rukongai, respectively. Masaki’s soul was devoured by the Grand Fisher, and in chapter 552, we learned that when a hollow devours a Quincy soul, it results in the decay of that soul.

It is essentially the ultimate form of death where there is no coming back from it. Hollows are poisonous to Quincy. This is why their belief centers around eliminating them because if a Quincy is devoured by a hollow, they are wiped from existence. For them, it’s a simple matter of kill or be killed. Of course, this is really unfortunate for Masaki, as it means that her soul has been destroyed.

It just makes the entire situation even more upsetting to know that even in death, she didn’t find peace, and she is now lost to a dark void of nothingness. So, what did you think about the character of Masaki Kurosaki? I know that this isn’t the most upbeat Bleach topic to discuss, but it is a core aspect of the story, as Masaki’s character was the missing link that really helped us to better understand Ichigo’s powers.

Following the “Everything But The Rain” flashback, I really can’t wait to read all of your thoughts on this character. Was there anything that I mentioned about Masaki’s character that you didn’t know or hadn’t linked together before? And as always, if there was anything that I failed to mention, then definitely let me know by continuing the discussion in the comments.

And lastly, thank you for making it to the end of this blog, and I can’t wait to see you in my next Bleach Explained blog. And once again, thank you for sticking around until the end of the blog, and whatever you contribute will mean a lot to me. Thank you.

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