Uryūu Ishida by Tite Kubo
|First appearance||Bleach manga chapter 33|
|Created by||Tite Kubo|
Takako Honda (young)
Derek Stephen Prince
|Relatives||Ryūken Ishida (father)
Kanae Katagiri (mother, deceased)
Sōken Ishida (grandfather, deceased)
Uryū Ishida (石田 雨竜 Ishida Uryū?, rendered as "Uryū" in the Viz Media manga and "Uryu" in the Viz Media anime and Bleach: The 3rd Phantom) is a fictional character and major figure in the anime and manga series Bleach created by Tite Kubo. Uryū is introduced in the series as a classmate of the Soul Reaper Ichigo Kurosaki, who reveals himself to be a Quincy, a clan of humans which was destroyed by the Soul Reapers. Wanting to prove the Quincies were better, Uryū challenges Ichigo to see who could kill more Hollows. However, once they are overpowered and start working together, they start getting to know each other, to the point they become friends. Since then, Uryū appears in the series as an ally to Ichigo, accompanying him in every fight he has.
Besides his appearances in the manga and the anime, Uryū has also had minor roles in two animated films from Bleach and has been playable in all of the video games from the series. His character has been well received by readers of Bleach, commonly appearing in the top ten of the characters popularity polls from the manga. Reviewers of manga, anime and other media have commented on Uryū's character, adding praise and criticism. Although he received negative responses in his introduction as an antagonist, Uryū's development as a friend of Ichigo has been praised.
Creation and concept
Along with the Quincies, Uryū was created by Tite Kubo to be the rival of the Soul Reapers, Aizen included. Thus, several of his characteristics including his white outfit to contrast the Soul Reapers' black kimono, and the use of arrows which contrast the Soul Reapers' zanpakuto swords.
In the Japanese anime, Ishida is voiced by Noriaki Sugiyama, His English voice actor is Derek Stephen Prince, who found his character to be "the most complex" he ever made as he saw it as the "black sheep" from the series, noting that it is unknown from which side he tends to be. However, he mentions he sometimes has problems in distinguishing his vocal portrayal from that of the similar character of Shino Aburame from the Naruto' series. He also liked how his character manages to handle every situation "in a cool way", something that he would like to do.
Uryū Ishida is a black-haired, bespectacled teenager of average height, generally shy and quiet yet tries harder to act cool around others. Uryū comes from the Ishida family, a family of pure blood Quincies though he is impure like his mother. As a child, having lost his mother at a young age, Uryū mostly interacted and trained with his grandfather Sōken Ishida before witnessing him being killed by Hollows right in front of him. This is one of the reasons he hates Soul Reapers as they knew of the attack but did nothing to stop it. As a Quincy, Uryū uses the most common power and ability of the Quincy: a bow named Lone Sparrow (弧雀 Kojaku?) composed of spiritual energy. During the Arrancar arc, Uryū uses a new Quincy cross, and a variant of his original bow called Lone Sparrow on a Silver Cliff (銀嶺弧雀 Ginrei Kojaku?). Unlike his original bow, this bow is shaped like a spiderweb and can fire up to 1,200 shots at once.
After Ichigo Kurosaki gains the Soul Reaper powers of Rukia Kuchiki, Uryū confronts him in an attempt to prove that Quincy are superior. Using some special bait, Uryū attracts a swarm of Hollows to Karakura Town so that he and Ichigo can compete to see who can kill the most Hollows in three days. This bait, however, attracts too many Hollows, and Uryū and Ichigo are forced to a Gillian-type Menos together. A few days later, Uryū is defeated by Renji Abarai when he attempts to stop him and Byakuya Kuchiki from capturing Rukia Kuchiki. Intent to save Rukia by joining Ichigo's group, Uryū trains to better equip himself for the next time he needs to battle a Soul Reaper.
Their group is split up soon after their arrival, and Uryū ends up partnered with Orihime Inoue. Though the pair manage to avoid detection for some time, they are eventually found by 12th Division captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi who played an indirect role in Sōken's death. As their battle progresses, Uryū removes his sanrei glove, entering the Quincy final form which substantially increased his Quincy powers at the time, allowing him to beat Mayuri at the cost of losing his powers. However, a tired Uryū is then captured by Kaname Tōsen. He is soon reunited with other members of his rescue team that have also been imprisoned, and they are freed by Kenpachi Zaraki. Upon reuniting with Ichigo and saving Rukia, the rescue team returns to the human world. In the anime, during the Bount arc, Uryū used the last of his Quincy powers to defeat the Bount Yoshi.
Back in Karakura Town, Uryū finds his father, Ryūken, who offers to restore his Quincy powers on the condition that Uryū never associate with Soul Reapers again. Uryū agrees and regains his powers, but soon discovers that Orihime has been captured by the Espada. He joins Ichigo and Chad in going to Hueco Mundo to rescue her. Upon meeting Rukia and Renji in Hueco Mundo, their group splits up upon arrival. Uryū defeats Cirucci Sanderwicci before meeting up with Renji to fight Szayelaporro Grantz. Just as they are about to be defeated, despite aid from Nel's Fracciónes, Mayuri indirectly comes to their aid. After his injuries are healed, Uryū holds Yammy at bay before protecting Orihime from Ulquiorra Shiffer during the Espada's fight with Ichigo. He tries to stop a nearly Hollowified Ichigo from mutilating the defeated Ulquiorra, and is attacked himself, but is saved by Ulquiorra, who dies shortly afterwards. He remained with Orihime for the duration of the final battle against Aizen.
Seventeen months after Aizen's defeat and the subsequent loss of Ichigo's Soul Reaper powers, Uryū takes over Ichigo's original duty of protecting Karakura Town from Hollows. However while walking the streets one night, he is attacked by Kūgo Ginjō. After recovering, Uryū attempts to help Ichigo fight Kūgo's ally Shūkurō Tsukishima prior to revealing his attacker's true identity before being cut down by Tsukishima. Rukia later heals him and he regroups with Ichigo to battle Kūgo.
A few weeks after the defeat of Kūgo and Xcution, the Wandenreich take over Hueco Mundo culminating in the advent of the Quincy Blood War. Uryū refuses to aid his friends in the matter by rejecting the offer of going to Hueco Mundo on the grounds that Quincys can do more harm than help. Later, Uryū is brought before Yhwach at Silbern with the other Sternritters and learns that he has been named the Wandenreich leader's heir. Ywhach proceeds to bestow Uryū with an 'A' Schrift in a private ceremony, making him a Sternritter while explaining to Uryū that he survived the effects of Auswählen compared to other impure Quincies due to an unforeseen power within him. Despite learning that Auswählen is the cause of his mother's death, Uryū accompanies Yhwach to Soul Society for an invasion along with the Sternritters.
After Yhwach had absorbed the Soul King and remodeled the entire Soul King Palace, Uryū was assigned to the Schutzstaffel. However, during the climax of the series of battles, Haschwalth having deduced his true intentions to wipe out Wahrwelt itself, Uryū reveals his reasons to Ichigo and his friends for coming to the Soul Society were because he is a Quincy and that only his spiritual pressure can activate the chips that he extracted from the sanrei glove, which he placed around the altered city. When Ichigo, Orihime and Chad leave, Haschwalth attacks Uryū stating that he knows they will all perish in their upcoming fights. Later in his fight with Haschwalth, Uryū is nearly incapacitated. However, he then manages to rise up and forms a new Heilig Bogen in order to continue his fight with Haschwalth. During the fight, Haschwalth reminds Uryū that although, he assumes that the Almighty can see the future, he states that it possesses a far more terrifying power than he imagined. Uryū demands to know what it is, but Haschwalth promises to tell him after they finish their battle before declaring that it is time for Uryū to place everything upon his broken scales.
As the fight continues, Haschwalth releases his Schrift "The Balance" to quickly finish off Uryū. However, explaining his 'A' Schrift is "The Antithesis", Uryū reverses the damage to Haschwalth as he realizes the power can harm Yhwach. Haschwalth uses his power to cripple Uryū when he attempts to leave with this knowledge, noting the youth's tenacity before preparing to impale him while stating that Uryū is simply a human desperately clinging to his own beliefs. Later in the fight, Uryū manages to dodge Haschwalth's stab at the last minute before noting Haschwalth's comparison of him to his friends. Admitting that he has tried to remain calm and weigh his actions on scales up until this point, Uryū states that he cannot help but follow Ichigo's lead because he will help someone without question, which he notes is also true for Orihime, Chad, Renji, and Rukia. When Uryū claims that he would feel great joy if he began to resemble any one of them, Haschwalth dismisses his emotions before explaining that he was referring to Uryū's growth. Haschwalth highlights that the single moment where Yhwach granted him power gave him far more growth than all the years he spent with his friends and that it is more logical for him to side with Yhwach because of this. However, Uryū states that he chose to side with them because it would not just benefit him, but because they were his friends. Angered by this, Haschwalth notes that Uryū never expected to give up anything in return for being taken in by Yhwach before declaring that Uryū will give Yhwach his life, only to be quickly interrupted when an Auswählen beam envelops him, surprising both him and Uryū.
Haschwalth collapses and, upon seeing a concerned Uryū looking at him, claims that he does not feel betrayed by Yhwach because the latter chose to take his power over Uryū's, which means only he can be an asset to Yhwach. When Uryū begins to walk away, Haschwalth asks him to come back so he can transfer Uryū's wounds to himself, shocking Uryū. Noting that he will die regardless of how wounded he is, Haschwalth reminds Uryū of how he puts everything on his scales because he might come to regret everything if he merely follows others without considering the consequences of his actions before telling him to save his friends.
In other media
Uryū has also had minor appearances in two films from Bleach, Bleach: Memories of Nobody and Bleach: The DiamondDust Rebellion. He has also been playable in all of the video games from the series. He has also has his own CD soundtrack as part of the Bleach Beat Collection. His CD contains several tracks performed by his common Japanese voice actor, Noriaki Sugiyama.
Several pieces of merchandise based on Uryū's appearance have been released, including key chains, plush and necklaces. Ishida has been a popular character since the manga's inception, ranking high in several popularity polls. So far, he has placed third in the first character popularity poll, eighth in the second and fifth in the most recent.
Reviewers from anime, manga and other media have commented on Uryū's character, having received mixed responses. When he was first introduced as an antagonist, Mania Entertainment writer Bryan Morton commented that Ishida is "annoying", having found him to be little likeable to the point the viewers would probably hate him. When commenting on his role as an antagonist, Morton added he may be the "most demented" villain he has ever seen. However, when Ishida becomes one of Ichigo's friends, the response was turned around with Morton having stated Ishida had become "a good guy with a chip on his shoulder." He found him to be more likeable although he did not see to be very fun when fighting along with his friends.
When reviewing an episode from the Bounts arc, Jason Van Horn from IGN commented that Ishida was "an impressive character" and wished he had had a more active role in the Soul Society, having liked his actions in this season. Additionally, Carlo Santos from Anime News Network found his character to be very likeable, including his attacks and demeanor, noting him to be a good rearranged version of a stereotypical character. He was also called "the coolest human character" from the series by Santos as he praised his new weapons shown in his fight against the arrancar while focusing on their appearance.
Nik Freeman of Anime News Network tried to summarize why Bleach's popularity declined between 2005 and 2015 from one of the most popular shonen series to "a shell of its former self that subsists on the memory of its glory days." Freeman noted Ishida's "dramatic potential" due to his allegiance change while lamented Kubo's low-usage of his character in the Thousand-Year Blood War arc.
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