Bleach’s One-Shot Shows Serious Culture Overlap Between the Human World & Soul Reapers

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the Bleach one-shot chapter by Tite Kubo, Jan Cash and Vanessa Satone, available now in English via Viz Media.

Set years after the original series ended, the new Bleach one-shot makes it clear that the Soul Society and the world of the living have grown closer than ever. In decades past, Soul Reapers lived totally apart from humans and took no interest in the mortal realm. All that has changed, as new characters such as Yuyu Yayahara are proving in epic fashion.

The Soul Society and the people of Karakura Town are allies and friends now, and some cultural overlap has taken root. Rukia Kuchiki was once a reverse-isekai character who found human life strange, but as the Soul Reapers embrace modern human society, the border between their worlds grows ever fuzzier.

Bleach's Soul Reapers Now Embrace New Tech & Fashion

yuyu bleach

The Soul Society's officers have embraced new technology to make their jobs easier, marking a clear upgrade from how the Soul Reapers used to operate. Their 1990s-style soul pagers have since been replaced with new models that resemble smartphones and can connect to regular human smartphones for live video chat, as Renji did with Ichigo. This replaces the need for in-person visits via senkaimon gates to speak with Ichigo and his friends. Meanwhile, Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi is seen using hologram projectors to speak remotely, and Soul Reapers even have access to television sets to stay updated on what human society is like. This can make it easier for them to blend into human society while in physical gigai bodies.

Soul Reapers also have a new sense of fashion, mostly represented by Yuyu Yayahara. She is Bleach's first-ever gyaru Soul Reaper, showing a clear interest in human pop culture and even using the internet and social media to stay current. Few, if any other Soul Reapers have ever been seen adding human fashion trends to their uniforms or even their everyday clothes, but Yuyu is set to start a new trend -- and other Soul Reapers may follow her example. This update also reflects author Tite Kubo's fondness for stylish fashion trends in real life, as his color spreads show.

How Soul Reapers Learned Of The Human World's Rich Culture

The Soul Reapers in Bleach have always had business in the human world, with their duty to escort the souls of the dead to the afterlife and perform the konso ritual on them. Yet for the most part they ignored the ways of humanity and focused on spirits, but this all changed when the eight Visoreds ended up in Karakura Town along with fellow outcasts Kisuke Urahara and Yoruichi Shihoin. These characters spent all their time living among humanity, giving them a chance to assimilate into human society and learn about their fashion, pop culture and far more. For example, the Visoreds swapped their old Soul Reaper uniforms for unique outfits that reflected their own tastes.

Rukia Kuchiki became a cultural bridge between these two realms more recently, spending months in her gigai body while posing as a human. She may have shared some of these experiences with her fellow Soul Reapers later, and others such as Rangiku Matsumoto got used to human societal norms and fashion with unusual ease. Thanks to the new Bleach one-shot, most Soul Reapers are catching up to these cross-culture pioneers, with Yuyu Yayahara leading the way.

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