A fate that every soul in Bleach should desperately avoid turning into a Hollow, and Ulquiorra’s past proves it. Ulquiorra is one of Bleach’s Arrancars, a type of Hollow with humanoid form and abilities on par with Shinigami. That doesn’t sound too bad, but very few Hollows actually become Arrancars, and for some, that’s just not possible. But Ulquiorra wasn’t always Arrancar; at one point he was a low level Hollow like all the rest. A special comic book chapter from the never-before-released English-language data book Bleach reveals what his life was like back then, and the answers are truly terrifying.
In the little-known rewards chapter, known simply as “Unmasked” (the title of the data book), Ulquiorra’s origins as one of Bleach’s low-ranking Hollows are recorded. This chapter has a lot of poetic features, narrated almost exclusively from Ulquiorra’s point of view. He recounts his appearance as a Hollow, emerging from a pit of absolute darkness, with his first sighting of other Hollows gobbling up something. However, Ulquiorra felt different from the other Hollows and roamed the Hueco Mundo desert.
During his journey, Ulquiorra states that he cannot hear, touch or smell, only absorbing the world through his empty eyes. The things he sees are mostly unrecognized, and he just finds his way back into the void of non-existence. He came across a transparent object that looked like a block of crystal branches, which somehow reminded him of space. Upon entering it, his Hollow mask was broken, and he felt himself begin to dissolve, welcoming peace. He is then brought out of his reverie by Orihime, turning all of that into a flashback half-remembered from a moment in the Hueco Mundo arc.
The existence of a low-level Hollow, at least as Ulquiorra experienced, is perhaps one of the most nightmarish fates that can befall a soul. He has no memory of his life as a human being and is truly egoless; his senses are almost completely useless; and his existence has absolutely no purpose, except for the desire to be destroyed. Since most low level Hollows are stuck that way with no hope of improvement and seem to be able to last forever even without soul eating, there’s really no way out of the nightmare. there without being slaughtered by the Soul Reaper. However, it actually explains a lot about Ulquiorra’s melancholy attitude knowing that his first experiences as a Hollow were terrifying and dominated by a desperate desire to return. nothingness. In a way, Ichigo may have helped him by defeating him.
Obviously not every Arrancar feels the same way, but this chapter is an important reminder of why the work Soul Society does is so valuable. Those who become Hollow fall out Bleachand stopping that is certainly important, but it also helps save people from the hellish fate that really befalls Ulquiorra.