Byakuya Kuchiki, the Captain of the 6th Division, was unusually cold to his adopted sister, Rukia Kuchiki. Rukia notes how her brother had always been cold and distant to her. Thus, they never had a close relationship, because of which Rukia sought a brother in her lieutenant, Kaien Shiba.
Also, during the Soul Society Arc in the Bleach anime, Byakuya actively sought his sister’s execution. He went out of his way to prevent Ichigo Kurosaki and even Renji Abarai from rescuing Rukia. This left many fans puzzled and curious about his intentions and motivations.
So, let’s find out why Byakuya acted this way to his sister and their history.
History of the Relationship Between Byakuya and Rukia
Byakuya had broken the noble Kuchiki Clan‘s rules by marrying a commoner from Rukongai fifty years ago. Her name was Hisana, Rukia‘s older sister, who had abandoned Rukia when she was just an infant. Before Hisana died, she made Byakuya promise to find her sister but never tell her that she was her sister.
Sometime later, one day at the Shinigami Academy, he saw Rukia and immediately made the decision to adopt her into the family. Though he had fulfilled his wife’s dying wishes, he had broken his clan’s rules again. This conflict of duties compelled him to swear never to break the rules, no matter what.
Even though Rukia officially became his sister, they never formed a bond. Rukia felt like she was just being granted the Kuchiki name but never felt endeared to it. She always wondered why she was even adopted in the first place.
Around the end of the Soul Society Arc, Byakuya finally explained to Rukia about the emotional conflict between his two promises to loved ones. This made him confused and disoriented about how he should participate in Rukia‘s execution.
However, during his battle with Ichigo, he learned that sometimes, personal loyalty trumps duty and tradition. That’s why he decides to save Rukia from the execution, for which he expresses gratitude to Ichigo.
Did their Relationship Get Better?
With the addition of Ichigo into the equation, their relationship seems to have taken a better turn. Byakuya makes the realization that opening up to the people makes for better understanding and more emotional intimacy. Byakuya became a better brother to Rukia, from which their relationship developed a strong emotional angle.
Later, even during the Thousand Year Blood War Arc, both of them helped each other in their personal and emotional growth. Byakuya helped Rukia control her Bankai better and learn better fighting techniques. They even fight the Sternritter, Äs Nödt together. These are positive signs, which could be a hint of further growth in their relationship.