Bleach: Will Ulquiorra ever come back?

The most popular Espada by far
The most popular Espada by far (image via Tite Kubo / Shueisha / Bleach)

Bleach fans may be wondering if there is a chance for Ulquiorra Cifer to make an appearance in the future.

Formerly ranked fourth in the now-defunct Espada, he is considered a formidable rival to Ichigo Kurosaki. Despite his importance in the story, as well as Tite Kubo's tendency to bring characters back, Ulquiorra has stayed dead.

There is no guarantee that Ulquiorra will ever show up again. Many Bleach fans believe that he already got the perfect send-off. Of course, given that he is a very popular character, it's no surprise that fans want to see him back.

Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views. It will also contain major spoilers from the manga.


Ulquiorra hasn't shown up since his death in the Bleach story

Throughout most of his existence in the Bleach series, Ulquiorra didn't care about the concept of human emotions. Of course, that all changed after his defeat at the hands of Ichigo Kurosaki in the Fake Karakura Town arc.

Right before he dies, Ulquiorra lets Orihime Inoue know that he finally understands what it means to have a heart. Shortly afterward, he turns to dust as the wind blows him away. Ulquiorra is yet to show up again in any capacity, whether it's a manga arc or even a light novel.

A few key members of the Espada have already made their return in the Thousand Year Blood War. Tier Harribel, Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez, and Szayelaporro Granz all made brief appearances in some way, shape, or form. At the very least, Kubo is not averse to bringing Espada back in the Bleach series.


There is a way for Ulquiorra to make his comeback

The Bleach series celebrated its 20th anniversary back in 2021. Series creator Tite Kubo commemorated this special occasion with a 71-page chapter. Most fans refer to it as the beginning of the Hell arc, which took place 12 years after Yhwach's defeat. This is particularly relevant to Ulquiorra's chances of returning.

Long story short, many strong characters have been sent to Hell after their deaths, including ones that haven't been seen in a while. Szayel was dragged down to the underworld just so he could become the "Jailer of Hell." This opens up the possibility that deceased characters might return in some capacity.

After confronting Ichigo Kurosaki in the Human World, Szayel talked about how the "jaws of Hell" were starting to open, due to a lack of powerful Reiatsu maintaining the balance of worlds. If the Hell arc were to continue in Bleach, it's very likely that other dead characters will show up in a similar role to Szayel.


In conclusion

It remains to be seen if Kubo will ever bring Ulquiorra back into the fold like he did with previous members of the Espada. The only realistic avenue would be a potential Hell arc. Even then, with the likely introduction of the original Gotei 13, Kubo will be juggling a lot of new Bleach characters.

Of course, there is precedence for Espada to show up in Hell. Szayel was significantly weaker than Ulquiorra when they were alive, yet he is now the jailer of the entire underworld. It would be very strange if Ulquiorra wasn't given a title role like his former comrades were.

Regardless of whether or not he makes his return, Ulquiorra does have a way to slide right back into the story. It wouldn't feel out of place if he were to do so.

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