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 knowing 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. 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, while his English voice actor is Derek Stephen Prince. Prince found his character to be "the most complex" he has 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 voice from the Naruto's character, Shino Aburame, as both have similar personalities. 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. He is a good student and is sometimes seen as the slightly awkward nerdy type. He has an unusual interest in sewing, as he is in the crafts club at school, and makes excellent grades, coming in first place on exams. Uryū is generally shy and quiet, but tries harder to act cool when other people are around, such as wearing clothes he likes.
Uryū operates on a moral ethic known as the "Pride of the Quincy" and has a strong sense of justice. He has also shown to be very chivalrous, stating that he enacts justice on men who abuse or treat women badly. Uryū also has a tendency to prefer to simply incapacitate his opponent, not using lethal force in battle unless thoroughly provoked, especially if he can win without doing so.
As a child, Uryū mostly interacted and trained with his grandfather, Sōken Ishida. At a fairly young age, Uryū's grandfather was killed by hollows right in front of him. This is one of the reasons he hates Soul Reapers, who, despite keeping the old man under near-constant surveillance, did not come to rescue Sōken in time. He long believed that the Soul Reapers were merely taking advantage of circumstances to be rid of him. It was later revealed that the current captain of the 12th Division, Mayuri Kurotsuchi, was behind the delay so that Sōken's soul could be collected for study. Despite becoming a friend of the Soul Reaper Ichigo Kurosaki, Uryū does not like to be considered a friend as he still claims he hates Soul Reapers, and thus, Ichigo is his enemy. However, Uryū tends to accompany Ichigo in any fight, giving several excuses such as that Ichigo is "an agent acting as a Soul Reaper."
When first introduced, Uryū uses the most common power and ability of the Quincy: a bow named Lone Sparrow (弧雀 Kojaku?), which has a basic form and a luminescence. Being made of free-flowing spirit particles, its size can be affected by the amount of spirit particles and spiritual pressure available to it, as seen in his interaction with Ichigo during his first encounter with a Menos Grande. Additionally, he is able to use many Quincy techniques and items to augment his abilities, including some high-level techniques, which are rare enough that even Mayuri Kurotsuchi, who had studied 2661 Quincy, had never seen them in person.
As preparation for his travel to Soul Society, Uryū later masters the sanrei glove, greatly increasing his abilities via a form of resistance training. In this state, Uryū's bow is solid and covered in an intricate pattern. This new bow allows Uryū to fire several shots simultaneously. By removing the glove, Uryū attains the Quincy Final Form. The Quincy Final Form gives him a vast increase in power, enough to defeat a captain-class Shinigami with ease. As a result of removing the glove, however, the Quincy Final Form uses too much power for Uryū's body to handle, causing his body to block his Quincy powers completely after it wears off.
After Uryū regains his powers with the aid of his father, he uses a new Quincy cross, this one resembling a pentacle, 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. Uryū also steals a set of Seele Schneiders (魂を切り裂くもの（ゼーレシュナイダー） Zēre Shunaidā?, German and Japanese for "soul cutter"), special arrows which can be used as swords. Seele Schneiders can also be used in a reiatsu-based pentacle with the target at the center. Upon receiving Uryū's spiritual energy, it explodes, a technique called Sprenger (破芒陣 Shupurenga?, German for "Explosion", Japanese for "Ripping Grass Formation"). Uryū can also use a special Quincy foot technique called Hirenkyaku (飛廉脚?), which is similar to the Soul Reapers' Shunpo (瞬歩?, Flash Step) and the Arrancars' Sonído (響転 sonīdo?, Spanish for "Sound", Japanese for "Sound Ceremony").
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 a day. This bait, however, attracts too many hollows, and Uryū and Ichigo are forced to defeat them together. A few days later, two Soul Reapers are dispatched to capture Rukia Kuchiki. Uryū confronts the two in an attempt to stop them, but is easily defeated by the Soul Reaper Renji Abarai.
Wanting to go and save Rukia, Uryū trains to better equip himself for the next time he needs to battle a Soul Reaper. Later, he joins the rescue team going to Soul Society. 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. Uryū sends her away to remove her from harm, and battles Mayuri in order to buy time. As their battle progresses, Uryū removes his sanrei glove, greatly increasing his Quincy powers and allowing him to beat Mayuri. 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.
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 arrancar. He joins Ichigo and company in going to Hueco Mundo to rescue her. Their group splits up upon arrival, and Uryū soon fights with and defeats Cirucci Sanderwicci. As he continued on his way he joins Renji into fighting the eighth Espada, Szayelaporro Grantz. Just as they are about to be defeated, Mayuri arrives and rescues them. After his injuries are healed, Uryū keeps Yammy from interfering in Ichigo's fight with Ulquiorra Shiffer and then he tries to protect Orihime from Ulquiorra. He tries to stop a Hollow-transformed Ichigo from mutilating the defeated Ulquiorra, and is attacked himself, but is saved by Ulquiorra, who dies shortly afterwards.
Appearances 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 3rd in the first character popularity poll, 8th in the second and 5th 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, Carlos 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 "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.
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