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"Because I'm Beautiful"
—Yumichika catch phrase
"The Nail That Sticks Up"
—"First Chapter of the Series"
An Epic Fanfic series by Tomas The Betrayer, Hammered Down is an alternate view of Soul Society, the war against Hollows, and the kind of situations and people that would need to exist to make Heaven into a militocracy divided into slums.
The story begins (at first) as a sort of prequel, detailing Rukia's tribulations adapting to her new life in the Gotei 13 and, more importantly, to the Noble House of Kuchiki after being adopted by Captain of Squad 6 Kuchiki Byakuya. She soon learns that just because she has left the ghetto doesn't mean danger no longer follows behind her, and she may be far beyond her depth. It soon encompasses all the characters of Bleach, from the captains to Ichigo and Co. including their enemies, going from around 50 years before the main plot and taking a complete divergence from canon storyline just after the end of the Soul Society Arc. It's a tale of dark plots thousand of years old, the sense of love, the unfairness of power, sacrifice, the need for peace and what it can cost to maintain it.
And it is awesome.
It's a massive Doorstopper (1022 pages at size 12) that was first constructed in equally massive chapters until it was retooled from 14 to 36 chapters. While at first look it may appear to be a sort of Coming Of Age Story and some romance...thing (the Rukia/Ichimaru is as far from romance as it's possible), it is in fact an action/suspense/guile-packed saga with bits of dry humor, drama and a lot of grayness thrown in. No side is truly evil and irredeemable but abounds with Well Intentioned Extremists who are convinced that their solution is the only one feasible and are ready to go any length to achieve/mantain it.
The story is told in continuous POV, sometimes going to the same scene again and again, with many chapters devoting themselves to flashbacks. It is also noteworthy for bringing most of the secondary characters to the front and making them undeniable badasses (as Yumichika in the quote exemplifies) and retooling many scenes in more dark, complicated plots. Tends to gloss over the actions of the canon universe (just making a handwave to the Soul Society Arc) unless it's to give a different perspective of the situation or explain alternate actions that don't change much of the plot... that is until the end of the Rescue Rukia arc where things just go out of control.
The complete story can be found here
The Sequel, Lifted Up, can be found here
BEWARE OF SPOILERS
- Action Survivor: Keigo and Mizuiro, as per canon. To the point that they not only manage to save Kanoji from Barragan, but get him to let them live only to troll him with the peace offering.
- Affably Evil: Aizen thanks the Gotei for coming out to battle him in the Fake Karakura after revealing that the whole thing was a trap while the Hollow Army lay waste to Seireitei. He even says that it was fun.
- A God Am I: While it could be Justified that all shinigami are gods, the ones that actually by pure power deserve the title are: Yamamoto, Aizen, Fenrir, and Unohana
- Above Good and Evil:
- Action Girl: Rukia, Yoruichi, Nemu, Nanao, etc. Pretty much any female shinigami who get the spotlight with very few exceptions.
- Aloof Big Brother: Same characterization for Kuchiki as in the manga, but explored to its logical ramifications, showing his (very hidden) dere side of Kuudere.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: All the organizations from shinigami to Hollows are curiously maintained together under the threat of complete annihilation by their leaders (Aizen/Yamamoto).
- Best Served Cold : A conspiracy a thousand years in the making...
- Big Badass Wolf: Fenrir, the world devourer
- Big Damn Heroes: Ginrei Kuchiki who came like a thunder in the tick of the moment, along with Heroic Sacrifice and You Shall Not Pass.
- Kenpachi in Shikai crashes through a wall, crashes into Segunda Etapa Ulquiorra, and crashes out another wall. What.
- Black Comedy
- Bolivian Army Ending: While not the ending per se the assault on the King's dimension ended with half of the Royal Guard completely laid to waste and forced to retreat while Fenrir Segunda Etapa and Perfect Hollow Aizen face each other over Fenris' next meal. . Also see the Three Heavenly Warriors vs. Wonderweiss/Yog-Sothoth
- Brain Bleach: “Sitting naked on the table was Rukia Kuchiki, an evil grin stretching her face,” because Nemu just transferred Mayuri into her old gigai. Enjoy.
- Call Back: Many. Renji makes it a battle tactic with Yammy’s reattached arm. Then there are the little canon details that the author exploits...
- Camp Straight: Yumichika.
- Can't Catch Up: Chad still can’t fight on equal terms with Espada. See Grievous Harm with a Body for details.
- The Casanova: Yumichika, the legendary BEAUTIFUL shinigami, who can charm the pants out of any woman except for Rukia.
- The Chessmaster : Aizen, obviously. But really Retsu Unohana
- Conscience Makes You Go Back : Ichimaru and baby Rukia.
- Crapsack World: This is the biggest motivation for all the factions: they want to change it. If only they could decide which way is the "right" way.
- They do and it became more like a Fluffy Cloud Heaven instead of a 7 Samurai set
- Deconstruction Fic.
- Designated Hero: ...Is... who... exactly?
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Hisagi, did you just take Yachiru hostage? And make Kenpachi sign off from the biggest fight in the history of ever?!
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Did Izuru just Gravity Master Komamura’s Bankai, Grimmjow take on Barragan to defend Aizen, and Rukia just Curb Stomp the Old Man of the Mountain?! In a word, yes.
- The Dog Was the Mastermind : Retsu Unohana
- The Dreaded: Ichimaru for Rukia
- Earn Your Happy Ending: And it was worth it
- Eldritch Abomination: In exchange of the Canon Espada, here the vasto lorde are defined as "Entire Nations Of Souls" and are more like Anthropomorphic Personifications of the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse than living beings, whose power is so massive that the weakest of them managed to stop 4 of the strongest captains while still holding back, and 3 of them laid waste to battalions of captain-level shinigami without difficulty.
- Estrogen Brigade Bait: Hitsugaya, within his first two weeks of Captaincy, to every Zanpakuto we're privy to the POV of.
- Evil vs. Evil: Fenrir Segunda Etapa vs Perfect Hollow Aizen after being trapped in the King's dimension can count in an epic way.
- Foreshadowing: Subtle at first read, but all over the place.
- For the Evulz : Gin. Motives? What motives? He just loves to screw with people's minds and watch the world burn. That is, if you don't take in consideration her love for Matsumoto and his desire for her happiness and well being.
- The Extremist Was Right: Say what you will about Old Man Yamamoto but before him things were pretty shitty to normal souls and brutality was the rule instead of an unfortunate consequence. He may be an old jackass with full Kick The Dog moments but at least he tried.
- Gambit Pileup
- Genocide Backfire
- God is Well Intentioned Extremist: Utopia will happen and if it requires the whole world to burn, so be it.
- Go Out with a Smile: Yumichika realized he had done everything he could do in the (after)life, the culmination of all his plans and goals, so he decided to refuse Orohime healing for a worthy death but only after his body was impeccable. After all, just because he was killed in apocalyptic battle for the future of the world, after facing a Vasto Lorde is not excuse to not be BEAUTIFUL
- Grey and Grey Morality
- Grievous Harm with a Body: Chad to Yammy with the latter’s severed arm, because Hierro is too damn thick.
- Hidden Depths: Even Kenpachi can pick out the flaw to Yamamoto’s peacekeeping.
- Hollywood Cyborg: Hanatarō Yamada, because... Kurotsuchi is an asshole with overbudget.
- Horsemen of the Apocalypse: The vasto lorde.
- I Am Legion: In a nutshell what the vasto lorde and Aizen are.
- Japanese Mythology
- Karmic Death: It was just poetic beauty the way Kurotsuchi was brutally tortured to death by one of his experiments. Too bad that according to epilogue, he may come back
- Kick the Dog: Gin’s main hobby, apparently. He especially has it out for Rukia; see Rant-Inducing Slight. Most notable during a Kido display and the subsequent loss of a student’s hand. Ouch.
- Kid Samurai: Hitsugaya and mocked merciless by Matsumoto for this.
- Lady of War: Rukia in the first chapters, then it came the turn of Nemu, Hinamori and even Harribel. But the biggest example is Unohana who around chapter 32 shows why she is so feared in the Gotei 13 and why you don't shackle Amaterasu to a gang of bullies
- Leeroy Jenkins: Kenpachi (and in a lesser way Yachiru) are successful examples of this trope.
- Lethal Joke Character: Yumichika, with his flamboyant attitude and queer disposition, is considered most of the time to be a one-joke shinigami until the chips are down. There is a reason why unbreakable Rule #3 of Squadron 11 is "Do NOT hit Yumichika Ayasegawa in the face".
- Madness Mantra: WHY WON'T THEY DIE, THEY WON'T STAY DEAD, THEY WON'T STAY DEAD....
- Manchurian Agent:
- Memory Gambit: played Up to Eleven.
- Mind Screw: As soon as Unohana starts singing, expect many of these. A minimum of three per chapter.
- The Mole: Beside the obvious ones we got Momo, Renji, Iba, Hisagi not to mention the probably hundreds of other offscreen collaborators to bring down Soul Society.
- Mood Whiplash: It can go from brutally tearful to hilarious to introspective to narmtastic awesome in a single chapter. Sometimes in a single gorram paragraph.
- Morality Pet: Hisana for Byakuya, who managed to defrost him before the beggining of the series, and Matsumoto for Gin, to the point that he betrayed Aizen, destroying his plans because he dared to hurt her.
- More Than Mind Control : Aizen and Gin are experts at this.
- Necessarily Evil: Genryusai Shigekuni Yamamoto to shinigami and Aizen to Hollows at least until the epilogue
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: How most fights with Yamamoto tend to end such as his brutal and graphic beating of Unohana to within an inch of her life thousand of years before, which cost her an eye and her sanity.
- Norse Mythology
- Organ Theft: An apparent risk of sleeping with Kurotsuchi Nemu. Hanataro didn’t seem to mind too much.
- Rant-Inducing Slight: A mental rant, but still the sight of Rukia trailing after her adoptive brother after Gin raised her as an infant in the Rukongai resulted in this for Captain Smiles… alongside a good fifty years of Kick the Dog moments.
- Redshirt Army: The usual shinigami tends to be left in this category more often than not, although there are several exceptions during the fic. Played straight with the Zero squadron, who were literally mowed down with ease by 3 vasto lorde, Aizen, Tousen and Unohana. And neither Aizen nor Stark were going all out
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Gin, thanks to his past as a Hollow. Which is why he mantain his eyes semi-closed at all times. That and because he loves to screw with people's mind.
- Revive Kills Zombie: Kanoji tries this on Barragan. And fails. Instead, it heals Ginrei.
- Shounen Upgrade: Mocked by Zangetsu when Ichigo mentions this "a la Dragon Ba" "No."
- Sugar and Ice Personality: Kuchiki Byakuya
- Taken for Granite: The effects of Nanao's shikai. Poor Hinamori- it's unsure whether escaping the subsequent smashing is any better.
- This Is Reality : Notably, Unohana telling Ichigo he isn't the hero of some manga.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: Kon, since the author remembers his earliest appearances. Doesn’t make him any more pleasant for Loly and Menoly to deal with.
- Took a Level In Badass: ALL THE CHARACTERS. Even characteristics like Nanao's glasses are given near Story-Breaker Power levels. Not to mention Aizen, the vasto lorde or Retsu Unohana's apocalyptic Bankai
- Trauma Conga Line: Rukia’s been stalked by Gin for fifty years, Orihime in Hueco Mundo ( and still stuck with Ulquiorra afterwards), Ulquiorra can’t kill anyone (there are perfectly reasonable explanations, mind you), Unohana was beaten for “insubordination” by Yamamoto for a good 2,000 years... Oh dear.
- Troll: Y’know the big, climactic fight we got in the Fake Karakura Arc? Yeah, it was a trap. Gin and the top 3 Espada weren’t even there. Hitsugaya was not amused. Oh, and did you really think that the Hogyoku was some do-all reality warper capable of creating a King's Key? Ha. That was a prank.
- Tsundere: The Kuchiki siblings, type 1 and 2 respectively.
- Unwitting Pawn: It would actually be shorter to list who isn't one.
- Utopia Justifies the Means
- Villainous BSOD: Two of the most memorable are:
- For Ulquiorra: WHY WON'T THEY DIE.
- For Unohana: HE BEAT ME LIKE A WHORE
- Villain Protagonist: Define “villain,” please. And “protagonist” in later chapters. And... Who the Hell are we supposed to root for, here?!
- We ARE Struggling Together!: The only reason why shinigami captains are even social to each other, let alone face the threat of Hollows in any coordination, is thanks to the pure might of Old Man Yamamoto. Before him things were... not so nice.
- We Have Reserves: This does not end well for their leaders at the very end.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Half of the cast; the other half is either a Wide-Eyed Idealist or Action Survivor trying to keep their life at all cost.
- The Woobie: Several, most notably Rukia and Kurotsuchi About Lampshaded by the latter.
- World of Badass:
- World's Strongest Man: Yamamoto, also know as "The Old Man of the Mountain"; the single most powerful warrior to ever possess a blade, and why this is not entirely a good thing.
- With the destruction of Yamamoto at the hands of Rukia, the title seems to go to Kenpachi, whose zanpakuto's aura is like "a solid supernova"
- Worf Effect: Boy, the zero squadron took it hard in the backside in the story, becoming barely worth of being called Canon fodder. Also to Byakuya at hands of Renji Espada.
- Xanatos Roulette : When the villains are so generous with memory spells, it's kind of unavoidable. But it actually works!
- X Meets Y: It's either Bleach meets Dresden Files meets Illuminatus or Bleach meets Mahou Sensei Negima meets H.P. Lovecraft meets A Song of Ice and Fire... without the massive rape/torture scenes.
- Yandere: Holy shit, Momo!
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Refreshingly subverted by Unohana. It would be much more worthwile for them to have to live under the new management.
- Animal Motifs: The Divisions have been reorganized, instead of flowers, they now use animals as their symbols.
- In Medias Res: The story opens with Matsumoto inexplicably a traitor and kind of goes from there.