Always at the center of events but seldom involved, Kisuke Urahara has a dark past which led to his current residence in the Human World.
- Kisuke Urahara, proprietor of a shop in the Human World, is a powerful Shinigami with a troubled past and a hidden nature.
- Urahara was once a Captain in the Gotei 13 and the founder of the Shinigami Research And Development Institute.
- After being framed by Aizen and banished, Urahara helped stabilize Masaki Kurosaki’s condition through a risky procedure involving a Human soul.
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Ever present but never involved in some of the most important events in Bleach, Kisuke Urahara has always been an enigmatic character in the series. As the proprietor of a small shop that sells Shinigami items in the Human World, Urahara was a mentor to Ichigo Kurosaki during his early days as a Shinigami, having trained him in swordsmanship to achieve his Bankai. While his outward persona in Bleach is generally jovial, a bit juvenile, and at times, sarcastic, his true nature quite different, concealing a troubled past that led to his current situation.
He is a powerful Shinigami in his own right, who is very measured with his words and extremely proficient at manipulating others for his own desires, making him a force to be reckoned with. Formerly a Captain of the Gotei 13, Urahara was the founder and first President of the Shinigami Research And Development Institute (S.R.D.I.), and one of Soul Society’s greatest minds. Having developed several inventions such as unique Gigai as well as his own version of the Hogyoku, Urahara commanded great respect in Soul Society, until a tragic sequence of events led to him being banished to the Human World and stripped of his title.
Early Years In The Gotei 13
Kisuke Urahara spent his childhood alongside Yoruichi Shihoin and Tessai Tsukabishi at the Shihoin Mansion in the Seireitei. After enlisting in the Gotei 13 alongside Yoruichi, Urahara went on to become the 3rd Seat of the 2nd Division, as well as the head of the Detention Unit under the Onmitsukido (Stealth Force), which was headed by Yoruichi at the time. Just over a century prior to the start of the series, the former Captain of the 12th Division, Kirio Hikifune, ascended to the rank of the Royal Guard, which left her seat vacant.
On Yoruichi’s recommendation, Urahara was considered as her replacement. He took his Captain’s ability test, which was supervised by Genryusai Shigekuni Yamamoto, Genri Kuchiki, and Retsu Unohana, and managed to pass, successfully being promoted to the rank of the 12th Division’s Captain. As a result, he also had to take on Hiyori Sarugaki as his lieutenant, as she had served in the same position when Hikifune was Captain.
Although he initially felt a bit flustered and out of his depth, Urahara hardened his resolve to rise to the challenges of his new responsibilities as Captain. While the reception to his promotion was mixed, with Hiyori in particular exhibiting a great deal of resistance to his leadership, especially with the changes he sought to incorporate into the 12th Division, he soon proved himself to be worthy of his new title. He soon founded the Shinigami Research and Development Institute and became its first President, with Mayuri Kurotsuchi as his Vice-President.
A Scapegoat For Aizen’s Crimes
Just under a decade after his ascension to Captain, Urahara became involved in investigating a series of disappearances in the Rukongai area of Soul Society, after being alerted by Captain Shinji Hirako and his Lieutenant Sosuke Aizen. When Captain Kensei Muguruma requested that a researcher be sent to investigate, Urahara asked that Hiyori be allowed to check out the situation, despite her reluctance. While making a new type of Gigai to stabilize the vanishing souls, Urahara was informed that the Reiatsu of the investigating team had disappeared, which sent him into a panic.
At an emergency Captain’s meeting, Urahara requested that he be allowed to go and investigate, but this was denied by Commander Yamamoto. He eventually chose to disobey orders and set out, being joined by Tessai Tsukabishi, who was now Captain of the Kido Corps. As they arrived at the scene, they spotted Aizen with his henchmen, as he was just about to kill Captain Shinji Hirako. On questioning Aizen about his reasons for being there, he received a mediocre response in return and soon realized that Aizen was the one behind the disappearances.
Tsukabishi used a high level Kido against them, but it was to no avail, as Aizen and his lackeys managed to flee. After assessing the conditions of the victims, Urahara deduced that they had undergone Hollowfication, and transported them to his lab in order to try and reverse the process with his version of the Hogyoku. Unfortunately, his efforts did not prove to be successful. The following day, Urahara and Tsukabishi were apprehended, summoned before Central 46, swiftly tried, and sentenced to be stripped of their powers and sent to the Human World in exile. Luckily, a disguised Yoruichi intervened and rescued the pair, taking them to a secret underground arena. Now convinced of Aizen’s role in framing him, Urahara began working on a Reiatsu-concealing Gigai to allow him and the Hollowfied Shinigami to escape to Human World, where he set up the Urahara Shop.
Helping Isshin And Masaki Kurosaki
Later on, Urahara encountered Isshin Shiba, the 10th Division Captain, and the Quincy Ryuken Ishida arguing about how to help Masaki Kurosaki, who had been affected by a mysterious ailment which created a hole in her chest after being attacked by a Hollow. On noticing this, Urahara realized it to be a consequence of Hollowfication, and informed both Isshin and Ryuken that the situation was irreversible. He told them that he could help her, and explained that the only way to stabilize her condition would be to insert a piece of a Human soul — the opposite of a Hollow.
This would be made possible by a Gigai that Isshin could enter in order to attach his soul to Masaki’s, depriving him of his Shinigami powers. Isshin immediately agreed, and the operation proved to be success, saving Masaki’s life in the process. Urahara then aided Isshin in acclimatizing to his life in the Human World, and spent the rest of his days at the Urahara Shop, until the arrival of Isshin’s son, Ichigo Kurosaki, would bring him into conflict with Soul Society once again.
BLEACH: Thousand-Year Blood War Part 2 – The Separation is available to stream on Hulu and Disney+.