Why did Ishida Betray Ichigo? Explained(with Spoilers)
Ishida joined the Quincies in the final episode of the first cour of Bleach Thousand Years of Blood War, and betrayed Ichigo and his friends and now stands against the Soul Society.
This came out as a surprise when he joined Ywach and shot his arrow to defend him from Ichigo, stating that as a Quincu it’s only natural for him to serve Ywach and fight Soul Society.
Bleach’s Thousand Years of Blood War arc was released in October 2022 and finished its first cour. This season had some clear devastation in store for the Soul Society, which killed and mortally injured many strong characters.
The TYBW arc introduced the Quincy vs Shinigami aka Soul Reapers war. Earlier, we have seen that no matter how strong the antagonist of any arc was, Soul Society fought head-to-head with minimal damage. But in this arc, one of the strongest characters was introduced and that is more or less the God of Quincy, and the progenitor of the Quincy race, Ywach.
Ishida not only declared but also hindered first attack of Ichigo against Ywach. But when he was supposed to help his injured friends and comrades, he left them in cold blood.
And now, fans are confused about why would Ishida betray Ichigo and his friends after risking his life so many times for them. Did he really betray them? What’s his real motive? Read on to know more.
Who is Ishida Uryu?
Ishida Uryu is one of the main characters of the Bleach series. He is a teenager at the same age as the main character Ichigo Kurosaki and his classmates. Ishida is also the last fighting Quincy in the human world. Quincy is an extinct race of warriors who believed in erasing the corrupted souls of Hollows.
Since their ideologies are opposite of that of Soul Reapers, a war between Quincies and Soul Reaper ensured that Quincies ended up losing. Only a few of the pure-blooded Quincies survived the war and that includes Souken Ishida.
There are mainly two types of Quincies – Echt(pure blood) and Gemischt(mixed blood).
Until TYBW, there were only 4 disclosed Quincies in Bleach which all belonged to the Uryu family – Ishida Uryu, his father Ryuken Uryu, his grandfather Souken Ishida and his mother Kanae Ishida.
The last pure-blood Quincy was Ryuken. Ishida was born a mixed-blood Quincy since his mother Kanae Ishida wasn’t pure blood.
However, that didn’t affect Ishida to master Quincy’s powers and he learned many combat techniques from his grandpa at a young age before his grandfather’s death.
Ishida detested Soul Reaper’s way due to their history with Quincies. He battled Ichigo and outmatched him in terms of Hollow hunting techniques, which made him Ichigo’s first rival in the series.
However, as happens in every other Shonen anime, Ishida joined Ichigo and became a brother in arms throughout the series. Ishida’s evolution in terms of Quincy’s power had a similar order and development, but Ichigo always was far beyond Ishida’s limit apart from the Hollow Hunting techniques.
At the beginning of the TYBW arc Ishida seemed to be still together with Ichigo and the team, but he changed sides suddenly.
Not only did he join Ichigo, but he also became the next heir to the King of Quincies title. Even though he was weaker than many other Quicies, he defeated one of the 13 Gotei Captains with his Bankai activated.
So, why did Ywach choose him as his successor? And Most importantly, why did Ishida agree to it?
What is the Relationship between Ishida and Ywach?
As told earlier, Ywach is the King of Quincies and calling him the father of all Quincies won’t be wrong too. Yhwach has created and given abilities to many Quincies. He can also manipulate them to the extent that he can kill any and all of them on just a whim.
9 years ago, while resurrecting himself, Yhwach used Auschwahlen and absorbed the powers of Gemischt Quincies which led to the death of Ishida’s mother.
To his surprise, Ishida, who was also a Gemischt, survived at the time. Ywach then takes interest in Ishida and invites him to Wandenriech to offer him his Schrift- A, The Antithesis.
Ywach also talks to Ishida about the Auschwahlen and reasons that ideally Ishida should’ve died because he was a Gemischt., but since he didn’t, he had some kind of innate and unique ability that even Echt didn’t have.
This ability also gave Ishida the ability to resist stern ritter/Schutzstaffel, which can absorb any reishi-based powers, and Ywach’s ability to take the life force off other Quincies. Thus, Ywach declares him as his successor.
Although many other Quincies opposed this decision and wanted Jugram Hasachwalth to be the successor. But, no one dared to try to show their revolt. With this Ishida became the prince of king Ywach who initiated the war against Soul Society and betrayed Ichigo.
Is Ishida a Traitor?
Ishida always had Ichigo’s back no matter how bad the situation was and even risked his own life to protect his friends.
So, what made Ishida suddenly change sides and stand against his friends whom he saved and protected until now? In reality, Ishida has many reasons!
During the TYBW arc, Ishida Uryu wanted to know more about the Quincies. So, he infiltrated and found his father’s archive. However, Ryuken didn’t let him read them. But after researching a bit more, he found a journal where there were records of Quincy’s history 1000 years ago.
1000 years ago, the Lichtreich kingdom of Quincies raided Soul Reapers but got overwhelmed and defeated. Ishida also finds out about the Quincy Extermination incident that happened 200 years ago by Soul Reapers where many Quincies were slaughtered regardless of their age or gender.
Reading this, Ishida couldn’t stop feeling sympathy for his race and anger for the Soul Reapers. That was the moment when Ishida received Ywach’s offer to join him.
Also, during the Soul Society arc, Captain Mayuri tells Ishida that he stopped Soul Reapers to help Souken Uryu. Because of that Ishida’s grandpa, teacher and his most beloved person died. And after his death, even Mayuri experienced Souken, which enraged Ishida.
These are more than enough reasons for Ishida to turn his back on Soul Society.
But in reality, Ishida isn’t the kind of person who will betray his friends. No matter how much he hates Soul Society, it has nothing to do with his friends, who stood by him and fought together. So, why did Ishida join Ywatch and betrayed Ichigo and his own friends?
In manga chapter 660, Ishida reveals his plan to destroy Ywach and Wahrwelt(Ywach’s Palace).
Ishida knew that it is almost impossible to kill Ywach, who is almost omnipotent with his ability to diverge his consciousness with Jugram, can foresee the future, has limitless powers and has the ability to steal Bankai. Every power in existence seemed useless against him.
As per Ishida’s plan, Ichigo has to raid Wahrwelt for the final battle of the series. Ishida hands them the Sun Key, which is the ability to open gates to earth so that Ichigo and his friends can return safely.
Ishida’s plans also include using the Sun Key to initiate Sanrei Shutou to destroy Wahrwelt. But to do that, he must use his own Reishi.
Ishida has a grudge against Soul Society, but he resents Ywach more for taking the life of not only his mother but the life of Ichigo’s mother’s too. And that motivated him to join and infiltrate Wahrwelt as heir of Ywach. But in reality, Ishida never betrayed Ichigo and Soul Reapers.