from squad 13. Rukia grew up in the "hanging dog" area of the Ruken District along with Renji Abarai
. Her potential was noticed by the Kuchiki Clan
and was adopted becoming the younger sister of Byakuya
. Nearly executed in Aizen
's plot, she was rescued by Ichigo
and her friends.
Her old fashioned speech, dignified behaviour and aesthetic sense she shares with Byakuya set her apart.
Short and petite, Rukia has pale skin, violet-colored eyes and black hair, with one strand of hair always hanging between her eyes. Byakuya has said to Rukia that she strongly resembles Hisana Kuchiki. As a Shinigami of the Gotei 13, Rukia wears a standard Shihakushō.
Initially born into a lower class, Rukia retains her modesty even as an adopted member of the nobility. She is graceful and "clean
", yet chooses to talk to ordinary people. However, her cool and lone demeanor often forces her to hide her personal troubles even from her friends. According to Ukitake, Rukia never opens up her heart and has difficulty making friends. Rukia is clueless about the ways of the modern Human World. She is an accomplished actress, being able to act her way through a number of tough situations, such as getting out of trouble with school teachers or convincing the Kurosakis to let her stay at their house.
Rukia and her older sister, Hisana, were brought together to Inuzuri, 78th District of Rukongai after they died in the Human World. Unable to live there while caring for a child, Hisana abandoned Rukia when she was still a baby. Rukia grew up on her own for a considerable amount of time. One day Rukia tripped an adult that was chasing Renji Abarai
's group of friends and urged them to follow her to avoid losing the water they had stolen. Rukia joined their group, becoming their spiritual leader and they lived together as a family.
They all hated Inuzuri and the people there. Rukia exhibited some spiritual power during this time. Ten years after Rukia joined the group, with all of their friends dead, Rukia proposed that they become Shinigami
and live in Seireitei, noting that she had heard it was pretty there. Renji agreed with her. As they were quite gifted with spiritual powers, they entered the Shinō Academy with ease, where they struggled to prove their worth among those from noble families. The night before the welcoming ceremony for the new students of the Academy, Renji slept in a tree, against Rukia’s advice. The following morning, he fell out of the tree and landed on a headstone where a startled Izuru Kira
had been praying, for which Rukia scolds him.
Two months after entering the Academy, Renji scolded Rukia for still not fitting in and informed her that he was going to the Human World for field training to practice Konsō for the first time. Rukia complains about this being unfair, but Renji retorts that it is about talent and that he will get stronger. Rukia replies that she will show him that she is the stronger one, but trails off. One day, while meeting with Byakuya Kuchiki
and his entourage, Renji entered the room to tell her that he had passed an important exam. Disappointed with the interruption, the nobles left and told Rukia that they were eager to hear her answer. After they had left, Renji asked her what they wanted. He congratulated Rukia when she told him that they want to adopt her into the Kuchiki family, have her graduate immediately and assigned to the 13th Division. Rukia thanked him and left. Rukia was told that Byakuya adopted her into the Kuchiki family due to her similarity to Hisana, whom he had married.
Rukia was admitted to the 13th Division without taking their entrance exam. On her first day in the Division, she is shown into a room by a fellow Shinigami, whom she tells to treat her like any other new recruit. After he leaves, she hears him and others talking about her and the favoritism shown to nobles. Rukia is disappointed that it is like that there as well. Lieutenant Kaien Shiba entered the room, introduces himself and scolds her for her weak reply. Rukia was deeply happy that she could have a normal relationship with her superior, rather than being treated as special. That evening, Rukia reported to Byakuya that her first day had ended peacefully and that she did not attain a Seated Officer position. Byakuya then told her to leave. Rukia soon became Kiyone Kotetsu's assistant and went on a mission to the Human World.
During her time in the 13th Division, she became friends with Kaien. One day, seeing that she was gloomy, Kaien told her that as long as she is in his Division, he would stand by her even if he died. They were interrupted by the drunk Kiyone and Sentarō Kotsubaki who tried to encourage her. Kaien mentored Rukia, teaching her how to fight. Their first training location was Mount Koifushi of Hokutan, the 3rd district of West Rukongai, where Kaien taught her about the concept of the heart. He was present when she learned her Shikai's first two "dances".
Rukia greatly admired Kaien's wife, 3rd Seat Miyako Shiba. She aspired to be like her one day. When Miyako was killed by a Hollow, Rukia, Kaien and Ukitake went to its lair. She offered to go first in order to scout out its abilities, but Kaien asked to face the Hollow alone. When its special ability destroyed Kaien's Zanpakutō, Rukia attempted to help but was stopped by Ukitake. He told her that Kaien's fight was one of honor rather than a fight for his life. If she were to help, Kaien's life would be saved but his honor would be forever damaged. After protesting about this, Rukia reluctantly obeyed his order. However, the Hollow entered Kaien's body and possessed him.
The Hollow attempted to attack Rukia, but Ukitake blocked it and sent Rukia away as he fought it. Afraid to fight it, she obeyed, but she came back because she wished to help Kaien and was afraid to face her cowardice in future. As it leapt at her, she noted that it was no longer Kaien. Unable to bear seeing him like that, she stabbed Kaien. He thanked Rukia and apologized for dragging her into it. Kaien then died in Rukia's arms. Rukia brought the corpse to the Shiba family estate but was afraid to apologize since she felt guilty about her role in Kaien's death.
Forty years after her adoption into the Kuchiki family, Kiyone and Sentarō informed Rukia that she had been assigned to the Human World. Rukia thought this was a transfer order, which Kiyone denied, reminding her of her previous mission to the Human World, which Rukia still failed to remember. Ukitake told her that she was being assigned to Karakura Town for one month, which should be easy for her. Rukia thanked him for telling her. Ukitake asked if she had told Byakuya about it, but she replied that he would not wish to be bothered with such a minor thing. Ukitake offered to tell him for her, for which Rukia thanked him.
Sode no Shirayuki (Sleeved White Snow): In its sealed form, Sode no Shirayuki is a normal katana with a rectangular tsuba with inward-curved corners with curved slits above and below the blade and a series of curved lines embossed on either side of the blade. It has a reddish-brown hilt.
Shikai Special Ability
- Shikai: Its Shikai command is "Dance". Rukia holds her Zanpakutō out in front of her and turns it in a circle counter-clockwise. While she is turning it, the blade, hilt and tsuba turn completely white. The tsuba becomes a hollow snowflake-like circle and a white ribbon forms from the pommel. Sode no Shirayuki is regarded as one of the most beautiful Zanpakutō in the Soul Society. The transformation comes along with a rush of cold air in all directions.
: Sode no Shirayuki has control over ice, much like Tōshirō Hitsugaya
's Hyōrinmaru, but uses it in a different manner. Like Kaname Tōsen
's Suzumushi and Kisuke Urahara
's Benihime, Sode no Shirayuki possesses more than one ability in Shikai. Sode no Shirayuki's abilities are labeled as "dances" by Rukia.
- Wanting to draw a Shinigami in kimono, Tite Kubo drew Rukia - making her the first of the Bleach characters to be conceived.
- According to Tite Kubo, Rukia's theme song is Wing Stock by Ashley MacIsaac.
- Rukia is consistently the most popular female character in the series. In the 4th Shōnen Jump poll, she was ranked as the 2nd most popular character in Bleach.
- Sode no Shirayuki, Rukia's Zanpakutō, is the 2nd most popular Zanpakutō in a recent Bleach poll.
- In the Bleach best bout poll Rukia's fight with Aaroniero came in seventh place.
- The soul-removing glove Rukia uses early in the series is colored light blue, gold, orange and white in the manga, while being colored red, black, dark blue and white in the anime adaptation.