Despite being completed a while ago, Bleach is still filled with mysteries that went unresolved. The biggest of these being what exactly happened to Yachiru, the constant companion of Kenpachi Zaraki. Because the thing is, she was there during the Thousand Year Blood War arc, taking active part in the battles. But then, the next moment, she wasn’t. You’d expect a character to die during Bleach, but not just simply go missing with no explanation, right? So, what the hell happened here?
Well, considering her badge and clothing were left on the ground with no signs of struggle, it appears that Yachiru Kusajihi simply vanished into thin air in Chapter 579. However, considering this happened right after Kenpachi defeated Gremmy Thoumeaux, it further adds to a theory that had been floating around for a while now. And that is that Yachiru is but a manifestation of his Zanpakutō, Nozarashi. But while this would make the perfect explanation for her disappearance, it was never confirmed. So even now, we don’t truly know what happened to Yachiru.
So, there are also plenty of plot holes that discredit the theory mentioned above, mostly due to the discrepancies in the lore of how Bankai spirits even work. Not to mention her brief reappearance that also convolute what truly happened to her. But then again, trying to get a straight answer in a Shonen as long running as Bleach means you have to ignore certain twists and turns that the plot might have taken. But with Bleach: A Thousand Year Blood War finally airing, maybe some things might get cleared up? It’s not like Bleach would be the first divulge from a manga ending.
But for now, what we can determine about Yachiru’s ultimate fate is that it’s up in the air. However, she is gone from the story. But to truly unravel the mystery behind her supposed death, we’ll have to dive into her character and discuss how she ended up where she is, and whether this disappearance was foreshadowed. So, let’s discuss what happened to Yachiru in another segment of Lore Analysis!
Yachiru Kusajihi: Kenpachi’s Biggest Supporter
When we first meet Yachiru Kusajihi, she is so out-of-place in the world of the Shinigami, filled with battered men and women, who looked like they had seen horrors beyond comparison. And then there was Yachiru, merely a child who loves sweets and generally being adorable, and she’s also the lieutenant for the 11th Division in the Gotei 13?
But Soul Society is made up of many eccentric individuals, and Yachiru is merely one of them Albeit one that is deeply cared for by the Captain of her division, Kenpachi Zaraki. The usually menacing man is very trusting of his little shadow, because that’s truly what she is. It is said that Kenpachi first came across a young Yachiru in Rukongai as a nameless child, with the aftermath of a battle and a yet unnamed Bankai by his side.
But that child he met grew up into being an expert swordswoman, becoming a Soul Reaper in her own right. Despite her generally cute demeanour, Yachiru is just as intimidating as Kenpachi, especially when she’s angry. It is said that many grown men are afraid of angering the young leader of the Combat Division, due to her short temper. And as they should., considering she had enough spiritual power to control her own Bankai and Zanpakutō, curiously named the Sanpo Kenjū.
So, if she was so formidable and real, why did she disappear? How does an entire Shinigami simply vanish into nothing with no warning?
Did Yachiru Disappear Because Of Her True Nature?
So, maybe there was a bit of foreshadowing that signals to what genuinely happened to Yachiru. For example, when Ichigo Kurosaki, the protagonist, first met Kenpachi and Yachiru, and he asked her where she came from, she simply touched Kenpachi’s Bankai and never answered. What that implies is not expanded upon and we simply move on.
However, it is clear that Yachiru was connected to Kenpachi by more than just simple gratitude. He depended upon her for a lot of things, and the way he protected her was very familial. She balances his serious nature out, like a spirit balances out a blade. Yachiru first appeared to him when he had killed a group of people and was not even phased by the gory scene in front of her. Why a child would be so calm in the face of terror, it is never explained. It’s like she already knew what Kenpachi had done, and she was used to it.
The most damning evidence of Yachiru being a manifestation of the Bankai is the fact that timing simply checks out. Nozarashi, which is the name of Kenpachi’s spirit, was first mistaken for Yachiru by Kenpachi, way back in the beginning. And when Nozarashi disappears after revealing nothing, Yachiru appears yet again. Now, this would be an odd exception, but the thing is that spirits developing human bodies? That is actually an element that is thoroughly explored in the Zanpakuto Rebellion arc. However, that particular work is considered non-canon, so do with that what you will.
But then, there is the matter of her reappearance after her supposed death. Though she vanished earlier, Yachiru reappeared in Chapter 668, where Kenpachi sees her as he laid on the ground, right on the brink of death following a fight with Gerard Valkyrie. So, clearly she is still there? But also not? It’s very confusing overall, but the thing is, Kenpachi’s Bankai is ever present. So perhaps, she was never gone at all and just resides near him as a spirit?
A lot of people don’t understand why Tite Kubo, who is the mangaka for Bleach, made some of the decisions he did. And Yachiru’s disappearance was definitely one of them. However, with a sequel manga in the works, we just might get the answers to the questions left open ended after all. You never know!