The Bleach "Thousand-Year Blood War" arc becomes more complex as its mysteries are revealed. Uryu Ishida's shocking decision to join the deadly Yhwach and become a Sternritter has left fans with many unanswered questions. Uryu is one of Ichigo Kurosaki's many friends, and he's also one of the strongest and most fascinating. Every arc in the series demonstrates his enormous growth, which only serves to increase his likeability. Uryu is Ichigo's only friend who is strong enough to regularly engage in side-by-side combat with him.

But Uryu's apparent betrayal suggests that he will turn against Ichigo. Uryu is now more powerful than ever thanks to his extraordinary ability as a Sternritter. A close ally turning against the protagonist would only exacerbate his issues. Here is a detailed explanation of Uryu's true motivations and whether or not he succeeds in his goals.


The betrayal of Uryu in Bleach wasn't random or unexpected.

Bleach: Uryu's Betrayal and the Reason Behind it, Explained_0

Uryu began acting uncharacteristically right at the start of the Bleach "Thousand-Year Blood War" arc, and Bleach drops a few hints that something will happen between him and Ichigo. Orihime, for example, points out that she's glad Ichigo and Uryu are close friends now. During his battle with one of the Quincy, Ichigo himself remarks that he hasn't been attacked with Uryu's arrow for a long time, setting the possibility for a future clash between the two. However, Uryu suddenly declines going to Hueco Mundo to help Dondochakka, saying that Quincy exist to defeat hollows.

Considering Uryu didn't hesitate to work with Hollows in the past, this rejection seemingly comes out of nowhere. He'd also previously fought alongside Pesche, Dondochakka and Nel to save Orihime. Despite how much he loathed the Soul Reapers, in the "Soul Society" arc Uryu was genuinely worried about Nemu being mistreated by Mayuri Kurotsuchi. The young Quincy has always tried to help those in a weaker position, therefore it was all the more confusing to see him refuse to help a former comrade.

Uryu never previously distinguished among races and, despite being rather aloof, always did his best to help those in need. This time, however, the rest of the team left him behind and went to Hueco Mundo, separating from him for a long time. The next time they meet Uryu is when they're on opposing sides. Whether intentional or not, Bleach had never once portrayed Uryu as evil. Even after joining the Sternritter, his true intentions soon became clear.


In Bleach, why does Uryu Ishida betray his friends?

Bleach: Uryu's Betrayal and the Reason Behind it, Explained_1

After his separation from the group, Uryu insists on learning about the history of the Quincy -- despite his father's countless efforts to stop him. His research turns up a rather shocking piece of information regarding his mother's death. Though she supposedly died from some sort of illness, she actually passed away because of Yhwach's Auswählen (Holy Selection). Incredibly, Ichigo and Uryu both lost their mother on the same day because Yhwach decided to steal their powers for himself.

As a result, Masaki Kurosaki died from a lack of power in her fight with Grand Fisher. Kanae Katagiri, who always had a weak body, died from her sudden loss of energy. Therefore, Uryu joined the Sternritter and even became Yhwach's successor in a plot to infiltrate the Wandenreich Empire and act as a double agent for the Soul Society.

To prove he was truly on Yhwach's side, Uryu confronted his "former" friends, declaring that he would deal with them before Yhwach awoke. In reality, Uryu had discovered a critical weakness in Yhwach and discovered that the villain is not as invincible as everyone had assumed. Yhwach could be defeated as long as he shared his Almighty ability with Jugram. Uryu accomplished the original goal of his alleged betrayal as a result of this discovery.


Why did Yhwach select Uryu as his successor?

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Even more than Uryu's decision to join Yhwach, Uryu's selection as his successor surprised Bleach fans. The cunning villain views his followers as nothing more than tools and only ever has faith in Jugram Haschwalth, his right-hand man. Jugram, the most powerful Sternritter and the one who shares Yhwach's supreme power, "The Almighty," should succeed Yhwach. Nonetheless, Yhwach was also impressed by Uryu, especially given that he was the lone "impure" Quincy to have survived the Holy Selection nine years earlier.

As a result, Yhwach declares Uryu his successor in front of his entire army, bestowing the letter "A" on him and bestowing immeasurable powers on the young Quincy. The letter stands for "Antithesis," which translates literally as "Perfect Anti-Setup." Uryu can use this power to undo anything that occurs between the two targets. For example, if he is injured in battle by an opponent, he can easily transfer his own ability to that person while also healing himself.

Though Yhwach never explicitly states why he chose Uryu as his successor, Jugram is perceptive enough to recognize his motives. He explains that Uryu only received the honor so that everyone else could keep an eye on him. Yhwach is not a gullible character, so he most likely saw through Uryu's "betrayal" from the beginning. Instead of directly killing his descendant, Yhwach decided to elevate him and give his subordinate Jugram the opportunity to deal with him.