Shonen fans are eating good during the anime season this Fall. Alongside the release of some highly anticipated new anime such as Chainsaw Man, we’re also getting some old names we never thought we’d see again. That’s right, Bleach is finally back after a hiatus of nearly a decade, to finally put a rest to its story with the Thousand Year Blood War arc being adapted. This is huge, because there were so many things that the manga elaborated on, including what became of the main antagonist Yhwach.
Yhwach was the big bad of the entire franchise. And yet, when everything was said and done, we were still left confused over what happened to him after his fight against Ichigo Kurosaki, the protagonist. During the Quincy Blood War, when the two face off, it was almost neck to neck. Using his Bankai, the original Zangetsu, he finally lands the final hit on Yhwach. However, being sliced in half doesn’t mean a definitive end, because it turns out he’s still alive, but without a Reiatsu or anything.
And really, such a sordid end for a character that almost seemed larger than life in his ideals and cruel actions, is almost befitting. Of all the villains we got in Bleach, from Sōsuke Aizen to Ulquiorra Cifer, Yhwach was the one that stood out. He didn’t want power, per say. He didn’t entertain the idea of absolute domination or revenge. No, what he wanted was a warped misinterpretation of ‘peace’ in his head, where death and life become so muddled, you can’t tell one from the other. Because when all the different realms collapse, what is left?
But that’s also what made Yhwach’s journey such an interesting character arc. By the time we reached the future, made safe by the actions of Ichigo and others in Soul Society, Yhwach was basically non-consequential. So, how did we get here? Let’s discuss that in Lore Analysis! The segment where we take a look at plot point and see where they might end up. Today, it’s The Almighty’s fate.
Yhwach: The Magnanimous Ruler, A Ruthless Enemy
Yhwach was already born different. As a baby, he had no senses. He could not hear, could not see, couldn’t even voice out his frustration or move. Even the most base of instincts were not in his capabilities. And yet, he never showed fear. There wasn’t a moment where Yhwach even bothered to show his displeasure.
However, there must’ve been something more to his quiet presence because he was actually the Soul King’s son. And just like his father was revered, Yhwach was as well. He was able to share a piece of his soul with those near him, through touch alone. And that fragment of him was able to heal wounds that were left gaping open. And, so people raised him up, worshipping him as a God they named ‘YHWACH’.
Yhwach is known by many names, but one of the first things is being the Father of The Quincy. The Quincy are these beings that can sense spiritual beings like Souls and Hollows through instinct, making very good hunters. Every Quincy has his blood flowing through them, and they regard him as their king. And like they respect him, Yhwach cares for them back, often referring to them as his children and leading them against the Shinigami, their sworn enemies.
While his ideals of collapsing all the worlds, aka the Human Realm, Soul Society, Hueco Mundo, and beyond together, to achieve a ‘society unafraid of death’ is frightening, he is somehow still followed and beloved by many.
The Mighty Fall Of The Quincy Patriarch:
So, how does someone so prominent fade into obscurity? Well, that’s what happens. Though he was certainly close to winning. He managed to defeat and absorb the original Soul King and used his Black Reiatsu against Ichigo.
But he forgot Ichigo wasn’t alone. So,when Uryū Ishida fired a Still Silver arrowhead into his chest, that was the opening Ichigo needed, and the moment that Yhwach fell. He still struggled, trying to break Ichigo’s blade but it was done. Ichigo slashed Yhwach in half, leading to his demise.
Ten years down the line, we learn that Yhwach did try to destroy the future once again but, because Ichigo had already destroyed his future, the Reiatsu never came to his call. And so, he’s basically left in the unknown, forgotten.