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Momo Hinamori (Japanese: 雛森桃) is the lieutenant of the 5th Division, formerly under Sōsuke Aizen.

Appearance

Hinamori wears standard Shinigami robes and her dark hair is pulled into a bun held in a tied cloth. When in her Shinigami robes, she wears the 5th Division's lieutenant armband. She can be seen in her pajamas, a plain kimono, in the latter case her hair is tied in a loose ponytail. When she attended the Shinigami Academy, she wore the red students robes assigned to the girls and her hair was in pigtails tied at the base of her neck.

Personality

Hinamori is an upbeat and easy-going girl who is generally quite trusting, but also very impulsive, emotionally vulnerable, and naïve (though she has said that she would like to grow out of her naivety). Quite friendly, Momo is on good terms with many of the Shinigami captains and lieutenants, particularly Tōshirō (childhood friend), Rangiku (somewhat of an older sister figure), Izuru and Renji (academy classmates). Though normally kind, her rare bouts of anger can appear rather menacing, such as her outrage at Captain Ichimaru when she blamed him for causing Aizen's death.

Hinamori's main pastime activities are reading and drawing. Due to her talent in drawing, she has overseen work for book illustration in the Shinō Academy.[1] Her love for books was developed since Aizen regularly gave her the books he had read. In his absence, she frequently visits the library.

She also attends the ikebana lessons held by the 4th Division Captain, Retsu Unohana. She frequently pays visit to her and Tōshirō's grandmother in Rukongai. Her favorite food is peach (a reference to her given name), while she does not like plums, even though her Zanpakutō's name means "flying plum tree".[2] She sometimes bakes cookies, and once made a batch in the shape of Aizen's glasses.[3]

Since Momo was the utterly devoted lieutenant of Aizen, even believing him to be innocent and that Ichimaru had manipulated him, Aizen's betrayal to the Soul Society essentially broke her mental state, and his attempt on her life has had thus far unknown effects on her psyche. After Yamamoto debriefed Hitsugaya on Aizen’s plan concerning the King's Key, he allowed her to talk to her old childhood friend, though Momo appeared rather fatigued since regaining consciousness. After she apologizes to him profusely for not believing him and attacking him, Tōshirō pokes fun at her for her baggy eyes and small breasts, trying to make her laugh. Hinamori abruptly asks him if he is planning on killing Aizen, and when he tells her yes, she begs for Aizen’s life. As she enters a hysterical state, she is knocked out again, and Yamamoto apologizes for Momo. At this time, it is obvious that Momo is not in a stable mental condition. Hinamori’s mental state is not entirely unexpected, given her idolization of Aizen.

In the Fake Karakura Town arc, Momo appears to help defend Karakura Town against Aizen, Ichimaru, Tōsen, and the top three Espada, declaring herself as Aizen's enemy. However, as Rangiku notes, she still referred to him as "Captain Aizen," making it questionable if she's fully accepted the fact that Aizen is the enemy, or if she still has some doubts.

History

Momo grew up in Junrinan, District 1 of Rukongai, along with Tōshirō Hitsugaya. While Hitsugaya tended to be a bit of a brat as a child, Momo found him amusing and then decides to keep Toshiro by her side. The two have a close friendship, reflected by Momo giving him the nickname Shiro-chan (Lil' Shiro in the English dub) although Momo is older than Tōshirō, it gives him the best reason to protect her. Even more, the two are very close and have promised to protect each other. When Momo entered the Shinigami Academy, she excelled at Kidō. It was there that she met Izuru Kira and Renji Abarai, who soon became her friends and, later, her fellow lieutenants.

Her friendship with Izuru Kira and Renji Abarai began back in the Shinigami Academy on a standard field exercise to the real world to practice performing the Konsō (Soul Burial), and combat with artificial Hollow replicas. The exercise was led by Shūhei Hisagi. Everything went well until a group of Huge Hollows attacked them. Shūhei told everyone to run, but Momo turned to see Shūhei being attacked by a Huge Hollow. She ran to help him, and was followed, somewhat reluctantly, by Renji and Izuru. The group, at first, managed to escape but ended up being surrounded by even more Large Hollows, however backup arrived in the form of Fifth Division Captain Aizen and his Lieutenant Gin Ichimaru.[4] Momo began idolizing Aizen from that moment. Later, Momo was assigned to Aizen's Division after her graduation from the Shinigami Academy. After Gin's eventual promotion to Captain, Momo made her way through the ranks to be Aizen’s Lieutenant (through much hard work as noted by Hitsugaya).

Both Momo and Izuru Kira presented Renji with the news of his promotion to the 6th Division as their new lieutenant. Ikkaku Madarame told Renji that, due to his promotion, he was now closer to Rukia in status and that he should renew his friendship with her. Izuru also informed him that Rukia was being stationed in the Human World, and Momo urged Renji to go after her before it was too late, but Renji refused, stating that it wasn't official until the ceremony anyway, and that he'd rather surprise her with his new promotion after she returned.[5][6]

Plot

Soul Society arc

When we are initially introduced to Hinamori, she is the first to arrive to the lieutenants' meeting, and is sitting on the floor. She asks Renji if he’s seen Aizen anywhere, and when she admits that she’s noticed him acting weird lately and is near tears, Renji lies and denies the fact that he has just had a conversation about Rukia with him.[7]

The captain of the 10th Division, Tōshirō Hitsugaya has been one of Hinamori's close friends since they both lived in Rukongai. She still calls him "Hitsugaya-kun" sometimes, and only once does she call him her old nickname for him, "Shirō-chan," and that is when she is under severe stress. He is worried about Hinamori, and warns her to watch out for Gin before Aizen’s "murder."[8] As a result, Hinamori attacks Gin when Aizen’s body is discovered, and is countered by Izuru. She actually releases her Shikai when Izuru refuses to let her kill his captain. Hitsugaya arrives and stops both of them in an instant. He orders them to be restrained and to be imprisoned.[9]

Hinamori is desolate over the death of Aizen, but his last letter to her reaches her through Hitsugaya and his vice captain, Rangiku Matsumoto. Matsumoto points out that if the letter had been found by any of the other captains, she wouldn’t have been allowed to see it. The letter holds Aizen’s "secrets" and his knowledge of the conspiracy. However, it is a sham letter meant to blame Hitsugaya for everything, including Aizen's "death."[10] When Hinamori escapes from her cell, she goes after Hitsugaya, and Gin, who has arrived on the scene, merely laughs. Hitsugaya attempts to deal with Gin, but Hinamori tries to stop him. He hits her much harder than he means to, and in the fray with Gin that follows, Gin traps Hitsugaya in a situation that is either be killed or let Hinamori die. Hitsugaya realizes this too late, but fortunately Matsumoto reappears to stop Gin's sword.[11]

Hinamori is put back into a cell and a spell is put on her cell by Hitsugaya to keep others from attacking her. It is very difficult to break from the outside, but very easy to break from the inside. However, Hitsugaya didn't count on Hinamori’s determination to avenge Aizen and break the spell from the inside. She hides her presence and follows Hitsugaya and Matsumoto and is shocked to find the Central 46 Chambers massacred. She is reunited with Aizen briefly, but she is betrayed by him. He stabs her through the chest and she nearly dies.[12]

When Hitsugaya returns to the Central 46 Chambers building, he sees Hinamori’s body. He is surprised to see the one behind it all was Aizen and not Gin. Aizen's reasoning behind almost killing Hinamori was that he built her to not be able to live without him. He claims to have done her a favor by killing her. He tried to get other people to kill Hinamori, but that failed, so he was left with no choice but to kill her himself. Hitsugaya attacks Aizen. He is easily defeated. Fortunately, even that failed, and he abandoned Hinamori and Hitsugaya once Unohana and Isane showed up on the scene at the Central 46 Chambers.[13]

Arrancar arc

She is seen briefly talking with Tōshirō Hitsugaya through a video monitor after Yamamoto debriefed Hitsugaya on Aizen’s plan concerning the King's Key, and the Head-Captain allows Momo to talk. Hitsugaya is somewhat surprised to see her up and asks her if she should be walking around. Momo tries to persuade him that she is better, though she still doesn't look it. Momo apologizes for not believing Hitsugaya and attacking him. Hitsugaya tells her not to worry about as it did not bother him. He also tells her to get back to bed so she can get rid of those bags under her eyes. Momo thanks Hitsugaya for accepting her apology until he tells her, even if she isn't one she looks like a little kid, and if she doesn't sleep more she won't ever grow. Momo yells at him, telling him he isn't one who should talk about growing.[14]

Hitsugaya then reminds her that she is to call him Captain Hitsugaya. As Momo realizes the situation, she asks Hitsugaya if he is going to fight Captain Aizen. To which Hitsugaya says yes, she then asks if he is going to kill Captain Aizen, and then begs him to save Aizen. She explains that what Captain Aizen is doing is bad, but she bets he has a good reason. Expressing her belief that Gin or someone else is forcing him to engage in his actions. She is quickly knocked out by Yamamoto, who hands over her care to his lieutenant, Chōjirō Sasakibe. Yamamoto apologizes to Hitsugaya, saying he was just respecting her wishes allowing her to speak but it was perhaps too soon.[15]

Fake Karakura Town arc

She suddenly appears in the battle of Fake Karakura Town, launching a fireball through Tobiume at Apacci, who was about to attack Rangiku Matsumoto. She declares herself as Aizen's enemy; Matsumoto, however, worries slightly, as she still addresses him as 'Captain'. Upon disclosing her method of sneaking up on Apacci to Tia Harribel's Fracción, namely through using her mastery of Kidō to conceal her presence, she engulfs the three in an explosion caused by her applying Tobiume to a "Kidō net".[16]

However, the Arrancar use their Resurrección to heal themselves and then combine their powers to counter attack. Each of them sacrifice their left arm and use them to form a creature with an ability they call Quimera Parca. Apacci claims that it's name is "Ayon", and Rangiku tries to defend herself against the creature, but it tears through the right side of her abdomen, severely injuring her. Momo tries to save Rangiku, and is fast enough to capture her in a star-shaped Kidō net, but the creature attacks Momo as well, taking her out with one punch to her stomach, stating that all of her bones are broken. She is saved by the timely arrival of Izuru Kira and Shūhei Hisagi.[17]

Later, Izuru proceeds to heal them. He heals Rangiku first and tells Momo to hang on. Momo replies, saying that Rangiku is seriously injured and he should heal her first.[18] After the Espada prove unable in Aizen's eyes to defeat the Shinigami, he decides to enter the fight himself. As Hitsugaya manages to land a strike through the chest and it appears that Aizen is finally struck down, Aizen reveals to have already been using his Zanpakuto's hypnotic powers well before the fight started, somehow tricking Hitsugaya to stab Momo instead.[19]

Zanpakutō Unknown Tales arc (anime only)

Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.

The Shinigami in Soul Society begin getting uneasy when their Zanpakutō begin ignoring them. Momo however chooses not to get angry at Tobiume after how much she has been there for her. Later, she is called to the Sōkyoku Hill along with all the other Shinigami with awakened Zanpakutō by Captain Yamamoto. To the Shinigami's shock, it is then learned that a mysterious man named Muramasa was the one who called them and has sealed Yamamoto away. Muramasa then gives even worse news by revealing that he has used his powers to "free" all the Zanpakutō spirits from their bonds with the Shinigami and let them loose throughout Soul Society.

After Ichigo Kurosaki reveals that the Zanpakutō spirits can be returned to their original state by regaining his Zangetsu, Momo goes off with Rangiku to get back their respective partners. After finding Tobiume, the rogue spirit tells Momo how much she hated Momo's naivety towards peoples nature, foolishly believing everyone has good in them. By teaming up with Rangiku and using a Kidō combo to attack the other's Zanpakutō spirit, Momo uses a binding Kidō to finally subdue the Zanpakutō spirits. As Haineko continues to mock Rangiku about being too old, Momo states she can't wait to get older, so she can overcome her naiveness.

After the battle, Rangiku and Momo have a few Shinigami take their Zanpakutō spirits to the 4th Division and begin to travel again, until they run into Ichigo, whom Rangiku collides with. Ichigo explains to Momo and Rangiku that Hitsugaya has fought his Zanpakutō spirit, which returned to him, and he left Hitsugaya to rest. During their conversation, Muramasa arrives at their location through a Garganta. Muramasa begins to fight Ichigo, but is having trouble adjusting to his "new" body, something both Rangiku and Momo notice. Muramasa then decides to restrain them with a binding attack, but his weakened condition causes the effect to wear off. As Ichigo tries to fight Muramasa again, Senbonzakura arrives and fights Ichigo instead. Senbonzakura activates his Bankai and attacks Ichigo, as well as Rangiku and Momo. Momo, however, protects them with a Kidō spell, and they watch Ichigo and Senbonzakura fight, until Byakuya Kuchiki arrives and stops Senbonzakura from fighting. However, Byakuya reveals to them that he is not there to fight his Zanpakutō, but is following his inner desires: to protect his pride. Byakuya then retreats along with Muramasa and Senbonzakura, the latter using his technique to cover their escape.

She is later seen with Rangiku watching over Captain Hitsugaya while he rests. When the Zanpakutō spirits launch a full scale attack later on, she arrives on the scene along with Rangiku and they intercept Tobiume and Haineko as they attack Isane Kotetsu and Tetsuzaemon Iba. She and Rangiku prepares to take on their Zanpakutō again, but before they can do anything, Ashisogi Jizō appears and breathes a cloud of poison at them. All of the lieutenants try to outrun Ashisogi Jizō, but it is able to keep up with them. Momo tries to attack it with Shakkahō; however, although she doesn't hit it, it becomes irritated with her attacks and activates its Bankai. They all try to outrun it, but Ashisogi Jizō manages to catch up to them (and even passes them). Momo and the others soon collapse, since all of them breathed in Ashisogi Jizō's poison, but are all found and treated by the 4th Division.[20]

Later, in the living world, when Muramasa's unstable powers cause him to become a Hollow, Momo joins her fellow Shinigami and the Zanpakutō spirits, once again allied with Tobiume.[21] Freed from Muramasa's brainwashing by Captain Kurotsuchi, Tobiume voices her resentment to being lied to and used by Muramasa. Momo, however, reminds her to focus on their mission and together they destroy several Gillians. As Muramasa's Garganta continues to call forth more Gillians, Momo and Tobiume join their allies in sealing the Garganta with their Reiatsu.[22] After Momo and her allies defeat the remaining Gillians, Ichigo emerges from the destroyed dome with a defeated Muramasa.[23]

Beast Swords arc (anime only)

Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.

Despite regaining her Zanpakutō spirit, Tobiume is still able to freely manifest herself whenever she pleases. Momo and Tobiume take advantage of this by chatting with each other. Tobiume telling Momo what her experience felt like from being controlled by Muramasa.[24] When Zabimaru and Senbonzakura are trapped in the Shinigami Research and Development Institute, they stumble upon the room where Mayuri Kurotsuchi has been spying on the inhabitants of Soul Society through the use of hidden cameras. She, along with the other members of the Shinigami Women's Association, is seen in a hidden room located in the Kuchiki manor. When Senbonzakura crashes the system, however, their secret hiding spot is discovered by Byakuya Kuchiki. She is also seen when Zabimaru ultimately destroys the Twelfth Division's barracks.[25]

When most of the Tōjū have been dealt with, Momo has dinner at Kamenoya Bar & Grill with Nanao Ise, Rangiku Matsumoto, Tobiume, Haineko, and the shorter half of Katen Kyōkotsu. When a drunken Rangiku reprimands Momo for not have drunk any saké, she replies that she came to the restaurant to enjoy the food. Rangiku angrily inquires if Momo thinks she is too good to drink with her. Tobiume indignantly stands up for her master, but Haineko calms Rangiku down by offering to drink with her instead. After dinner, Momo and Nanao are forced to carry Rangiku back to her quarters. Momo motions for Tobiume to come with them, but Tobiume apologetically refuses, saying that she would like to spend some time with her friends. Momo says that it is alright for her to want to be with her friends sometimes. When the Zanpakutō spirits struggle in their attempt to subdue the Tōjū Kirikaze, they are saved by the timely arrival of their Shinigami masters. Unable to defeat Kirikaze separately, the Shinigami and Zanpakutō reunite with each other. Tobiume returns to her sword form, and, together, Momo and Tobiume are able to help defeat Kirikaze. Momo understands that there is no reason to be sad over Tobiume losing her materialized form - after all, they can see each other whenever they want to, and they'll always be together.[26]

Powers & Abilities

Expert Swordsmanship Specialist: Momo is proficient enough to cross swords with other lieutenant-level Shinigami. While she is capable enough in swordsmanship to attain her high-level seated position. She knowingly states when facing Harribel's Fracción that she knows she is not strong enough to combat them using her swordsmanship skills, instead sneaking up on them and using Kidō.[27]

Flash Steps: Hinamori is skilled enough in the use of flash steps that she can keep up with lieutenant-level Shinigami.

Kidō Expert: Momo, like Izuru, but unlike Renji, excels at Kidō. Momo is a Kidō master as stated by Captain Hitsugaya and Izuru. Her abilities reach to such a pinnacle that she can devise ways to use multiple spells in conjunction with each other (as well as her Zanpakutō) to make a unique way in which to attack and incapacitate her opponents. In this way she can make common spells all her own.[28] She is also able to use a single Kidō technique on two separate targets at once.[29] Hinamori also has some skill with healing Kidō.[30]

High Spiritual Energy: Being a lieutenant of the Gotei 13, Momo boasts a high spiritual energy.

Skilled Tactician: Knowing her own limitations in direct battle, Momo has shown herself able to compensate for it through crafty combination attacks (such as when she caught Sun-Sun, Mila-Rose, and Apacci in a Kidō net). By using her mastery of Kidō, Momo is able to attack in a number of versatile ways.[27]

Zanpakutō

Tobiume redirects here. For the manifested spirit that appears in the Zanpakutō Unknown Tales arc see Tobiume (spirit).

: In its sealed state, Tobiume takes the form a regular katana with the only slight difference being the five-petal flower designs stamped on the rectangular tsuba with a light red handle. Her Zanpakutō is a Fire-type.[31]
  • Shikai: The command for its Shikai is . When its Shikai is activated, Tobiume's blade straightens and produces two jutte-like prongs (three in the anime) along its length at various intervals.[32][33]
    Shikai Special Ability: In this form, Tobiume releases exploding fire balls from its blade.[31]

    Trivia

    • In the anime (only), when Momo appears to aid Rangiku against Harribel's Fracción, when Apacci, Mila-Rose, and Sun-Sun all release their Zanpakutō, Momo draws hers from its sheath and at the same time, it goes to its Shikai form without Momo calling the release command.

    Quotes

    • (Thinking about Sōsuke Aizen) "Captain Aizen's words... his voice... Captain's everything calms my restless spirit. I'm so glad I came... I'm so lucky to serve under you, Captain Aizen."[34]
    • (To Tōshirō Hitsugaya) "Please save Captain Aizen. What Captain Aizen is doing is bad, but I bet he has a good reason for it. Yeah, that's it... Surely Captain Ichimaru or someone is forcing him..."[35]
    • (To Rangiku Matsumoto) "Don't worry Rangiku-san, I have put on my lieutenant badge and come here today as the lieutenant of the 5th Division. But what that means is that I am acting as the person in charge of the members of the 5th Division, not as a subordinate of Captain Aizen, because he is an enemy of Soul Society"[36]
    • (To Rangiku Matsumoto, Tobiume and Haineko) "I can't wait until I'm older. There's nothing great about being young. Being young means that you're still naive. That's why it feels like you're soaring in the sky or sinking beneath the ocean when someone you admire betrays you. Those emotions control your entire life and can make you lose sight of who you are. By growing older, your heart grows more experienced. You grow one step further away from being controlled by your feelings and are able to keep from soaring through the sky or sinking to the depths of the ocean. That's what it means to grow older."

    References

    1. Bleach Bootleg, Page 91
    2. Bleach Official Bootleg
    3. Bleach anime; Episode 259
    4. Bleach anime; Episode 46
    5. Bleach anime; Episode 100
    6. Bleach manga; Chapter 0
    7. Bleach manga; Chapter 80, pages 20-22
    8. Bleach manga; Chapter 99, pages 17-18
    9. Bleach manga; Chapter 101, page 7-17
    10. Bleach manga; Chapter 103, pages 1-4
    11. Bleach manga; Chapter 129-132
    12. Bleach manga; Chapter 168-169
    13. Bleach manga; Chapter 169-172
    14. Bleach manga; Chapter 224, page 4-9
    15. Bleach manga; Chapter 224, page 10-13
    16. Bleach manga; Chapters 333-334
    17. Bleach manga; Chapters 335-337
    18. Bleach manga; Chapter 337
    19. Bleach manga; Chapter 392, page 12
    20. Bleach anime; Episode 245
    21. Bleach anime; Episode 253
    22. Bleach anime; Episode 254
    23. Bleach anime; Episode 255
    24. Bleach anime; Episode 257
    25. Bleach anime; Episode 263
    26. Bleach anime; Episode 265
    27. 27.0 27.1 Bleach manga; Chapter 334, page 18
    28. Bleach manga; Chapter 335, page 16
    29. Bleach anime; Episode 239
    30. Bleach manga; Chapter 336, page 15
    31. 31.0 31.1 Bleach book of SOULs, page 131
    32. Bleach manga; Chapter 101, pages 10-12
    33. Bleach anime; Episode 35
    34. Bleach manga; Chapter 100, page 12
    35. Bleach manga; Chapter 224, page 16
    36. Bleach manga; Chapter 334, pages 10-11

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