Like most of the other Espada in Bleach, Ulquiorra has a pretty gruesome origin story. It was created from absolute nothingness, and he was the only white hollow in a sea of blacks, making him an anomaly in a harsh, unforgiving world. Speaking about his past, Ulquiorra clarifies that while he could experience “emptiness”, he couldn’t hear, smell, bite, or feel absolutely anything.
When he later rose through the ranks in Aizen’s army to become the Fourth Espada, his inability to understand feelings or empathize with others remained, making him a being driven solely by logic and evidence. As he explains in the Bleach manga, Ulquiorra believes that “what cannot be seen does not exist”; accordingly, the feelings, which he also calls “the heart”, remain a mystery to him.
No wonder Ulquiorra, who was born in the void and mourns his own existence, never smiles. Ultimately, however, he comes close to understanding the human heart, but only at the very end of his story, when he is a few steps away from death. It is interesting to note that towards the end of his final fight with Ichigo Kurosaki, Ichigo becomes more and more detached from human emotions as he is consumed by anger, while Ulquiorra in turn becomes more human. This change in understanding can be seen in his last words: “Now I see. Her heart was right… in my hands.”
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