Bleach: 13 reasons Ichigo and Rukia broke up with the right people

The first thing people know Bleach is that it is a manga and anime based on battle and action, hence a Shounen. It does not focus on romance and is unlikely to focus much on romance; Even Kubo himself has stated that he did not want to focus too much on romantic relationships as other interesting and exciting things were happening.

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However, throughout the series, we got a lot of hints of romantic feelings between the now-canon couples: Ichigo and Orihime, and Rukia with Renji. How things turned out was a point of contention for IchiRuki fans, but with a closer look one realizes that this was how it should be.

Updated July 12, 2021 by Anthony Mazzuca: While it’s not as intense as the battle of who deserves Subaru between Rem and Emilia, there were many disappointed fans that Rukia and Ichigo didn’t end up together. With the show returning sometime this year, it’s worth reiterating that both Rukia and Ichigo ended up with better partners in the end. Nobody cared more for Ichigo than Orihime, and the same goes for Renji and Rukia.

13 Ichigo was always willing to put aside his own fears and desires for Orihime.

Tatsuki stops Orihime from doing Don Kannoji's bwhahah

One always consistent thing about Ichigo was how stubborn he could be in battle. If someone was in danger, they would rush to try and save the day, and most of the time, that meant entering without a plan.

What is overlooked is how willing he was to put aside his desires and fears outside of combat if it meant helping others. One example is when Orihime invited him to go see Spirit Hunters, the Don Kannoji TV show. She has always hated ghosts, a fact that Tatsuki had to explain to Orihime, but that didn’t stop her from going anyway. He always wanted her to be happy at the end of the day.

12 Orihime knew Ichigo well enough to know that Kon wasn’t the real Ichigo

Kon and Ichigo making faces with bleach

It takes a great connection to know when someone is not acting like himself. That’s what Orihime managed to do when Kon ran wildly inside Ichigo’s body and was his lustful self.

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He jumped into Ichigo’s classroom, made a move towards Orihime, and then kissed Tatsuki before being forced to flee. Orihime knew immediately that this was not the real Ichigo, forgiving him for actions that would have gotten him in trouble with any other girl. It is a testament to how much Orihime cared for him.

eleven Renji admonishing his friends for staring lovingly at Rukia proved he had the same feelings

Young Renji in Bleach

Renji’s feelings for her have always been evident, since when they were children. One night, the two were unsuccessfully trying to fish when Renji finally managed to catch one.

When he turned around triumphantly, he saw the rest of his friends looking at Rukia wistfully. As would anyone in love, Renji admonished his friends for looking at her with eyes full of love.

10 Ichigo and Rukia contributed to each other’s respective romance, helping them take them to new heights.

It is interesting to note that both Rukia and Ichigo have worked to bring their respective romantic relationships closer together. Rukia was the one who dragged Ichigo to apologize to Orihime and made him swear to her.

Rukia was the initial reason why Ichigo and Orihime grew closer and were more expressive of their desire to protect each other. At the same time, Ichigo was the catalyst for Rukia and Renji to become close again after decades of avoiding each other. Ichigo was not meant to interfere in their relationship as a third party, but to help them realize the full range of their feelings for each other.

9 Ichigo’s resemblance to Kaien

Ichigo looks like Kaien Shiba; Rukia’s mentor, the boy she saw as an older brother and friend, but not as a romantic interest. Even Byakuya himself said it and understood why Rukia would feel friendship with Ichigo. Rukia paralleled Kaien’s last fight with Ichigo’s fight against Grand Fisher, the Hollow that had killed Masaki Kurosaki.

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She views them as similar and therefore unlikely to have romantic feelings for a guy she sees as anything other than a potential romantic partner. Throughout the Arc of Soul Society, she keeps bringing the two together.

8 Ichigo and Rukia are literally different species

It is understandable that within the sometimes convoluted universe of Bleach, with all the different races (souls, hollows, arrancars, etc.) and the complicated ways an individual can end up changing races, fans can get confused or forget things. One thing that can be forgotten is that, despite his extraordinary abilities and powers, Ichigo is human. Although he was a Shinigami, he is not a Soul.

He was not born into Soul Society and he never died to go there. If he wanted to be with Rukia, he would have to wait and die of old age or … die immediately and be separated from everyone else too soon. Rukia is a soul that ages extremely slowly and will probably never die. Their families are in different worlds and their priorities are incompatible.

7 Ichigo and Orihime’s romance was built from scratch

Orihime’s crush on Ichigo was evident in the first few chapters; She even had trouble expressing herself in front of him, although part of her character development was how she gained self-confidence. As for him, he was willing to sacrifice his life for her from the very first arc, when he came between her and her Hollowified brother, Sora.

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He almost always highlights her, speaks for her and defends her. Ichigo and Rukia’s relationship fits best as the best friend dynamic with teasing, joking, and fake fights.

6 Ichigo and Orihime go to extremes to protect each other

Ichigo literally came back from the dead for Orihime during his fight with Ulquiorra while he was in his second Hollowification, all because she cried for him not to die. Orihime also places her body between Ichigo and Acidwire to protect Ichigo. Ichigo places himself between Grimmjow’s Zero and Orihime without hesitation.

Orihime more than willingly went to fight Yhwach alongside Ichigo to be his defense, knowing that they were about to face a divine Quincy. Fans must remember that many of Ichigo’s enemies noticed this; Ulquiorra, Grimmjow, and Nnoitora mocked him for wanting to protect her so badly and underscored how she was the motivation for him to fight more fiercely.

5 Rukia and Renji’s mutual history showed how much he cared for Rukia

Rukia and Renji grew up together as orphaned soul children in Soul Society. They shared the same experiences and together they discovered Reiatsu’s gift of being accepted into Shin’ō Academy. Their mutual goal was to become a Shinigami, gain higher ranks, and become stronger.

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When Rukia tells Renji that the Kuchiki clan wants to adopt her, he acts happy but is depressed inside because he predicts that they will part ways. Still, he tries to suppress his sadness, thinking that Rukia finally has a family, falsely believing that he was not important to her.

4 Renji was willing to sacrifice everything if it meant keeping Rukia safe.

Renji sacrificed everything to save Rukia. Ichigo may have gone to Soul Society to save her from execution and risk her life, but it was out of strong friendship and gratitude that Rukia gave her the means to protect her family. Renji almost lost his life and risks everything for Rukia.

If things had taken a different turn and Ichigo had failed to save Rukia, perhaps he would run away and still have a home and family to return to. But such an outcome for Renji would be devastating; he would have lost Rukia, as well as his position as a Shinigami, his position in the Seireitei, and possibly his life as he unashamedly defied his superiors.

3 Rukia and Renji’s romance was also foreshadowed

The first moment for Rukia was when she announced her possible adoption to Renji. She was overwhelmed to think that he was happy, because she expected a different reaction, as she wanted the separation to sadden him and make him fight for her. But he only reacted in the way he thought was best for her, and that ended up making her feel like he put her on the road to death.

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Chapter 98 was devoted to how Renji considered Rukia an unreachable “star” that he, a “hobo”, could never reach. If he only wanted friendship, why did he feel like he had to stay out of Rukia’s way? If she only wanted friendship, why did she expect him to protest? The answer is simple: their adoption did not get in the way of friendship, but in the way of the “something more” they wanted.

two Both Renji and Rukia got too emotional when it came to helping the other

Here are some other examples of Rukia and Renji showing their devotion to each other. The moment came when Renji swallowed his pride and pleaded with Ichigo to save Rukia. The moment when Rukia was ready to give up and follow Aizen for Renji to be saved.

Renji’s extreme reaction when Szayelaporro told him that Rukia and Aaroniero had killed each other, a reaction that seems very similar to Ichigo’s reaction to Orihime? And finally, when Renji confessed to Ichigo that he helped Rukia and himself become close again and would always be by Ichigo’s side for that.

1 When Orihime confessed her love to Ichigo

This must have been the most obvious and blatant omen of all time. When the Espadas allow Orihime to say goodbye to a person before they take her to Hueco Mundo, she chooses Ichigo (even though he is still unconscious from a previous fight). She underlines how she could have chosen one of the others, but Ichigo was the person she needed to see one last time.

She says that there were so many things that she would have liked to do and that she would like to live five times to try various different things, but she always fell in love with the same person: Ichigo.

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