Quincy were created to be rivals to the Soul Reapers, which is meant to be opposites in every way – white and black clothes, long-range and close-range weapons, etc. Uryu Ishida initially believed he was the last Quincy, but revealed that he did not shake up the story, debunking what was known about Quincy. The Quincy’s part in the Thousand Year Blood War was almost inevitable due to their role as equals and opposites of the Shinigami, leading to a clash between the two groups.
BleachQuincy’s is an iconic part of the series, even more so as the Millennium Blood War brought the great conflict of the Quincy to TV screens for the first time. But what led series creator Tite Kubo to develop this group of rivals into the Soul Reapers and how were they originally conceived?
The Quincy were created early on in Bleach lore, initially focusing on Uryu Ishida, a protagonist who has long believed himself to be the last of the Quincy. While Uryu eventually becomes Ichigo’s ally (at least until the Thousand Year Blood War), he and Ichigo get off to a rather rough start, when Uryu challenges him to a hollow-killing contest, hoping Hoping to prove that the Quincy’s skills are superior to the Soul Reaper’s replacement.
Common enemies largely brought Uryu and Ichigo together, but the revelation that he was not a Quincy ultimately shook the story to its core, debunking much of what was known about the Quincy.
Quincy was designed to be a rival to the Soul Reapers
In an interview held on LiveAbout.com after Kubo’s trip to America in 2008, Kubo explained his thoughts when creating Quincy. He declared The Quincy were developed to be rivals to the Shinigami, aiming to be their opposite in every aspect. Quincy wear white, while Soul Reapers wear black; The Quincy uses long-range weapons (bows and arrows), while the Soul Reaper uses close-range weapons (swords). He further explained that Quincy took their name from the English prefix “Quint-“, meaning five, a reference to the five-pointed cross used as their symbol in the series.
Tite Kubo: I created Quincies to be Ichigo’s rival character so I dressed Uryu in white (compared to the black kimono the Soul Reapers wear). Quincy use arrows because they are long-range weapons, so it is difficult for Ichigo to fight them with swords, which are usually reserved for short-range combat. The Quincy cross has 5 points, like the Japanese 5-pointed star. 5 points, quintet, Quincy! Quincy use arrows, so if you call them Quincy archers, it sounds like a name, so I quite like that.
Since Uryu was originally the only Quincy, all of this certainly describes him, but it would also continue to apply to the Quincy Wandenreich seen in the Thousand Year Blood War, even though Kubo wouldn’t start the arc within a few years from the time of the interview. Knowing that the Quincy were built as equals and opposites to the Soul Reapers, the Millennium Blood War part was almost inevitable, as the Soul Reapers would naturally come into conflict with this group operating in the same space. Even the structure of the Wandenreich, with the Sternritter equivalent to the Captains, reflects the organization of the Soul Reapers.
Kubo’s explanation is simple, but it highlights an element of story design by choosing Uryu as Ichigo’s shield, and then the Quincy in general as the Spirit World’s shield. Their opposing characteristics help highlight the differences between them, but the differences are not so great that Uryu and Ichigo cannot find common ground. By using the Quincy as a shield for the entire Soul Society, Bleach takes the conflict that has been held between the two characters to a higher level, forcing both to grow and develop as their friendship is tested.
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Created by: Tite Kubo
First movie: Bleach: Nobody’s Memories
First TV show chapter: Bleach
Cast: Johnny Yong Bosch, Michelle Ruff, Stephanie Sheh, Jamieson Price, Derek Stephen Prince, Wally Wingert
Video games): Bleach: Blade Battlers, Bleach: Soul Resurrección, Jump Force
TV program): Bleach, Bleach: The thousand-year blood war
Figure): Kurosaki Ichigo, Rukia Kuchiki, Orihime Inoue, Yasutora ‘Chad’ Sado, Uryu Ishida, Renji Abarai
Movie): Bleach, Bleach: Hell Verse, Bleach: Fade to Black, Bleach: Memories of None, Bleach: The DiamondDust Rebellion