Bleach: Why Rukia didn’t recognize Isshin

Rukia and Isshin as seen in Bleach (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Rukia and Isshin as seen in Bleach (Image via Studio Pierrot)

As part of the Big 3 Shonen anime, it is no wonder that Bleach’s first half storyline has many plot holes. Though most of them were resolved as the story progressed over time, a few didn’t even get the attention they deserved in the first place, neither from the creator Tite Kubo nor the production house, Studio Pierrot.

One of Bleach’s perplexing mysteries is why Rukia Kuchiki failed to figure out that Isshin Kurosaki is a former Shinigami captain. Masking her presence in the human world with a human Gigai purchased from Kisuke Urahara’s shop, Rukia lived with Ichigo Kurosaki for months, and still, she didn’t have any intel regarding Isshin.

Disclaimer: This article contains heavy spoilers of Bleach. All external media in this article are the property of their respective owners, and Sportskeeda claims no ownership of the same.

Exploring why Rukia didn't know Isshin was a captain in Gotei 13 in Bleach

During the Fake Karakura Town arc, Bleach fans were shocked and thrilled to learn that Isshin Kurosaki is also a Shinigami. This particular moment cleared many doubts regarding how Ichigo became so powerful that a mere transfer of powers by Rukia made him almost invincible against captain-level Shinigamis like Byakuya Kuchiki, Kenpachi Zaraki, and several others.

While Isshin was serving as captain for the 10th Division of the Gotei 13 and was the head of the Shiba clan, being lackadaisical, he spent most of the time sleeping and eating. Isshin was close to his lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto and his third Seat Officer Toshiro Hitsugaya, which is why they were heartbroken when they learned that after his disappearance, he was proclaimed dead.

Rangiku and Toshiro, being two of the most powerful Shinigamis of the Soul Society, are capable of identifying an individual by reading their Riatsu signature, and they know that Ichigo is none other than Isshin’s son. After they arrived in the human world alongside Ikkaku, Yumichika, and Renji, they didn’t try to confront and interfere with Isshin’s new life out of respect.

Rukia was unable to identify Isshin Kurosaki as Isshin Shiba just because she never met him and knows nothing about the former 10th Division captain. Despite belonging to one of the four noble clans, Rukia didn’t get to interact with other clan members. Also, the only people with vast knowledge of every member of the Gotei 13 are the Captains, Vice Captains, and the Kido Corps leaders.

As all 13 squads of Gotei 13 are scattered across Sereitei and Rukongai and are burdened with many duties, they don't have much time to explore other squads and their members.

Moreover, Isshin gradually regained the Riatsu he lost to save his wife Masaki over time, which meant that despite masking his presence in the human world, he was capable of identifying Rukia’s status.

Isshin was also aware that his son, Ichigo, had become a Substitute Shinigami, but he continued to play along instead of interfering with his life. Like how Rukia regained her Shinigami powers gradually, Isshin too will get his Riatsu back, as its purpose was to protect Masaki, and as she is dead it will return to him.

Bleach has several plotholes, but hopefully, fans will get all the answers after Bleach: Thousand-year Blood War starts airing in October 2022.

Readers can keep up with the latest anime and manga news here as 2022 progresses.