Hogyoku Ex Machina

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

In the final battle with Aizen a different choice is made, and now Ichigo and his greatest enemy have gone back to the beginning. His best friends are powerless, his allies don't know him, and everything he loves is in danger.

Hogyoku Ex Machina is a completed Bleach fanfiction by Mac Ceallach.

In the final battle, Ichigo and Aizen strike fatal blows against each other at the same time. The Hogyoku reacts by sending them both back three months to the point in time when Aizen first picked up the stone right after he betrayed Soul Society. On one hand, Ichigo has the chance to kill Aizen properly and undo damage and deaths caused the first time around. Unfortunately, the enemy too is well-aware of what has (and will) happen as well as who they should attack if they want to hurt Ichigo in the worst way.

It's different from most other Peggy Sue stories in that both The Hero and the Big Bad get sent back in time, leaving both sides on a level playing field. Ichigo also wastes no time in explaining to everyone that time travel is going on, forgoing any masquerade or working behind the scenes.

Comes highly recommended on the Recommendation page.

Tropes used in Hogyoku Ex Machina include:
  • All Zanpakuto Want Hercules: Ichigo succeeds in convincing Muramasa to stand down. He did not expect Muramasa to choose him as his next wielder.
  • Anti-Villain: Starrk, Lilynette, Nel.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The crystals that create holograms.
  • Badass in Distress: Ichigo ends up in this position, despite also being a God Mode Sue.
  • Big Damn Heroes:Because Muramasa isn't a zanpakuto formed from Ichigo's soul, Aizen isn't able to drain him into the King's Key's creation right away. Thus, Ichigo is able to call upon Muramasa before Aizen can kill them both.
    • Also, Uryu, Isshin, Renji, Chad, Neliel and others arriving to save Ichigo from the hollowfied Tosen.
  • Blatant Lies: Zangetsu tells Renji that Ichigo is practicing how to split himself up to make training in other areas easier. This is a brazen lie, as they have entirely different reasons to do this and it will actually make the training harder. Ichigo is rather disturbed that his sword is a much better liar than he is.
  • Brick Joke: Zangetsu and the hollow frequently complain in one of the anime's omake that Ichigo's mindscape rains when he's depressed and that it has no animals, particularly purebreed dogs. The form the spirit of the Hogyoku takes after Ichigo removes it from its body? A Labrador puppy.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Due to events near the beginning of the fic, Orihime loses access to her Shun Shun Rikka abilities, and it's said that it will take at least several months before she returns to her full power. According to the author's notes, this was done partially to serve as a Drama-Preserving Handicap: "I wanted to take away Tite Kubo's little get-out-of-death-free card."
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Ichigo, his hollow and Yamamoto discuss whether or not it's possible to bind two zapakuto to a shinigami at once. All while Tensa Zangetsu and Muramasa try to kill each other about 20 feet away.
  • Celibate Hero/Chaste Hero/Clueless Chick Magnet: Ichigo as usual and lampshaded mercilessly.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Muramasa. Without him, Aizen's plans would have succeeded. You really don't expect a filler character to carry so much weight.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Ichigo as usual. While thankful for it, it irks Yamamoto and Soi Fon to no end.
  • Cock Fight: Hilarious, non-romantic example between Tensa Zangetsu and Muramasa.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: As usual, Mayuri and the hollow dish it out with aplomb.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Non-romantic example. When Muramasa decides that Ichigo should be his next wielder, Zangetsu does NOT take it well.
  • Cynical Mentor: Yamamoto acts as one to Ichigo by discussing battle strategies and forcing him to use his hollow abilities when he's been too frightened of them so far. He finds Ichigo far too idealistic, but as he put it, "In one thousand years, no shinigami has been born who was able to stand against the full force of my spiritual pressure." Guess who the exception was.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Ichigo's hollow. See Does This Remind You of Anything? below.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Lampshaded when Ishida asks, "Kurosaki, is there anyone you've fought that you haven't become best friends with?"
  • Deus Ex Machina: See the title.
  • Disguised Hostage Gambit: Right after traveling back, Aizen switches appearances with Ichigo, leading everyone to attack the wrong person.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The hollow has fun with Muramasa's unwanted intrusion into Ichigo's soul.

Hollow: You'd think Muramasa had raped your soul or something.
Ichigo: What?
Hollow: You didn't want it, did you?
Ichigo: No, but- don't say it like that!
Hollow: Ah. Sorry. Penetrated, then. Penetrated deeply. Without permission. Into virgin territory. There was thrusting involved. Am I doing any better now?

  • The Dreaded: The Running Gag with everyone being terrified of Unohana continues as even Ichigo's hollow self is frightened of her. There's even a fanart of it.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Subverted. Aizen effortlessly slaughters several Shinigami when he and Ichigo return to the past, but they're all revealed to have just received a Tap on the Head from Ichigo once Aizen's illusion drops. The author even defies this trope in the following chapter's notes: "If I kill [Yoruichi], it'll be way more epic than that. She's awesome."
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: For Shakushi, the spirit of Kenpachi's zanpakuto. Kenpachi even promises to be a bit more responsible with him!
  • Enemy Mine: Yoruichi is surprised upon finding out that the Vizards fought alongside them against Aizen in the original timeline, since they have no reason to like them. Ishida suggests it was because of this trope.
  • Fantastic Racism: After learning that the Vizards that had been cast out a century ago were still alive and not crazy, the Gotei 13 members decide to actively avert this by asking if they want to come back with no strings attached, offering the two empty captain positions to them, and make plans to appoint a less racist Central 46 this time around.
  • Final Speech: Ultimately subverted since having the main character die in the third chapter would be a problem, but everyone gets the feeling that this is going on when Ichigo asks Chad to take care of his sisters and he has a hard time getting people to take him seriously about an actual threat and that he's not just becoming delusional. Ichigo references this trope at the time as well.
  • For Want of a Nail: Ichigo does not use the Final Getsuga Tensho release against Aizen in the Final Battle. Another example of this is that Senna from the first film never exists since Ichigo spends all his time in Soul Society and she is never created.
  • Foreshadowing: It's easy to miss, but an author's note helpfully points it out. While The Cavalry is fighting Aizen, Ichigo, gravely injured, sensibly stays out of the way. That sounds like him, doesn't it? It foreshadows that Aizen wasted no time in implementing his Disguised Hostage Gambit.
  • Freudian Trio: Zangetsu is The Spock, Ichigo is The Kirk and the hollow and Tensa Zangetsu are The McCoy.
  • Ghost Shipping: The hollow just can't get enough of Neliel.
  • Good News, Bad News:

Ichigo: I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you got your powers back.
*Ishida looks hopeful*
Ichigo: The bad news is, you never told me how.
*Ishida looks pissed*

  • Handsome Lech: Ichigo's hollow highly endorses ladies having physical relations with Ichigo.
  • Have We Met Yet?: Most of the Gotei 13 are thrown by how familiar the random human invader is with them.
  • Heel Face Turn: Muramasa and because she was restored to her rank, Nel.
  • Hologram: Using specially formed crystals, Mayuri created a device that allows people to project memories of theirs as holograms. It's main purpose is to not have the audience sit through Ichigo constantly explaining the plot to everyone else.
  • I Have Your Little Sisters and Best Friend
  • I Should Write a Book About This: Orihime points out that Ichigo's adventures would make a great manga. They could even have it printed in Shonen Jump.
  • I Want My Jetpack: Orihime excitedly asks if there are robots in the future. Since it's only been three months, no, there are no robots.
  • I Warned You: When Ishida's warns Mayuri (not very hard, mind you) that it wouldn't be a good idea to have Ichigo attempt to place his reiatsu into a rare and valuable crystal because he's clumsy, Mayuri blows him off. Then Ichigo (having a massive amount of reiatsu and no control over it, hence “clumsy”) makes the crystal explode.

Ishida: I told you so.

  • In Love with Your Carnage: When everyone sees Ichigo's memories of Tatsuki, which are mostly of her fighting, Kenpachi is impressed and declares that she will be welcome in Squad 11 when she dies and becomes a Shinigami.
  • Insistent Terminology: “It's Hitsugaya-taicho.”
  • Irony: When Ichigo hears that Hitsugaya hung out with his sister, he says, “He dies.” When it's pointed out that Hitsugaya probably didn't reciprocate any possible feelings of affection, he replies, “He'd fucking better not have! He's at least ten times her age!”

Hitsugaya: He wants to kill me because I'm too old? (There was just something cosmically unfair about that.)

  • It Can Think: While it's touched on in canon, in Hogykou ex Machina, the Hogyoku has the mind of a domesticated animal. Its spirit is turned into a dog by the end of the story.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Tensa Zangetsu thinks that Ichigo should keep his different selves separate so as to continue getting stronger despite having trouble controlling what he's got and already being able to cut down mountains. The hollow self claims that at some point trying to gain even more power just gets silly. Ichigo finds himself agreeing with the jerkass Super-Powered Evil Side.
  • Karma Houdini: Gin. Justified by the fact that Ichigo simply wasn't around when he committed his worst crimes and couldn't mention them.
    • Though to be fair, Ichigo's intervention also prevents those crimes from ever happening.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: "We could serialize them, maybe! Shonen Jump would take the manga!"
  • Literal Split Personality: Of a sort when Ichigo figures out how to manifest Zangetsu and his hollow self in the real world. The latter and Zaraki end up getting along swimmingly.
  • Loophole Abuse: In this fanfic, ain't no rules say a kido-user can't serve in the Eleventh Division. Yumichika is surprised.
    • Muramasa claims this when he bonds with Ichigo as a zanpakuto. He and Tensa Zangetsu disagree but Muramasa simply refuses to go away.
  • Mama Bear: Neliel to Yuzu and Karin. Unfortunately, before she can act on it, she learns just how outclassed she is by Ulquiorra and thus has to stand down.
  • Mental Time Travel: Because of how the two of them gained their powers, Ichigo keeps all of his power-ups while Aizen ends up back at square one. This has advantages and disadvantages for both of them.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: The characters mistake Hollow Ichigo's attraction to Nel for this. They're relieved when they learn about Nel's adult form.
  • Mr. Fanservice: The Shinigami Women's Association will NOT let Ichigo get a haircut for this reason and they take great pains to keep it that way.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits: When Ichigo discovers that Karin held an interest in Toshiro, he decides that he's going to kill Toshiro, as he's at least ten times her age. Toshiro, who along with the rest of the Gotei 13 is watching Ichigo via a surveillance device, is less than enthusiastic about the idea.
  • Noble Demon: See Spared by the Adaptation, though Ulquiorra is a big maybe. He decides to escort Neliel and the twins not just because he's curious how he died in the original timeline but also to keep Nnoitra from hassling any of them.
  • Oblivious to Love: And Admiration, Ichigo again. This is why Muramasa manages to blindside him.
  • Oh Crap: When everyone is watching Ichigo talk Muramasa down from his ideas about his future rebellion, they figure he has a plan. When Ichigo gets stabbed by Muramasa, they realize that actually no, there isn't one.
  • Only Mostly Dead: Unohana calls Ichigo this after the first fight with Aizen.
  • Original Flavor: Pretty much everyone behaves the way one would expect.
  • Papa Wolf: Zangetsu is very protective of Ichigo and his position as Ichigo's zanpakuto.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Several characters watching parts of Ichigo's life via projections of his memories (which they had permission for) and with hidden security cameras (...which they did not). At one gathering, they comment on how entertaining his life is, some bring popcorn and Coke (Rukia told them it was a tradition), and everyone, even Ishida and Yamamoto, ends up treating it like a movie night.
  • Peggy Sue: In the final battle, Aizen and Ichigo kill each other simultaneously. The Hogyoku then makes them snap back to the point in time when Aizen first touched the Hogyoku three months ago. They both quickly take advantage of the new circumstances.
  • Physical God: The full implications of Ichigo's ascension after fusing with Zangetsu are explored. Bleeding out, half-dead, he cuts through Yamamoto's Bankai like so much tissue paper.
    • And you know how powerful soul reapers have a heavy spiritual pressure? Ichigo's is like the sky: It's there, it's beyond immense, but you can't actually feel it, just like Aizen described when he first saw this form. This actually works against Ichigo when he needs to be healed; since the healer can't sense his reiatsu, they can't do anything.
  • Poisonous Person: The author added this effect to Ichigo's Physical God form to give him a weakness; basically anyone who touches Ichigo's bare skin while he's in this form gets severely burned, which makes sense given what we know about spiritual pressure if the individual in question were indescribably powerful.
  • Precision F-Strike: After being told his plan will ultimately not work, Gin's eyes are wide open and he says, “Well....shit.”
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Shakushi. Also a Scary Black Man, literally.
  • Ret-Gone: Senna, to a greater extent than in her movie. Since Ichigo spent all of his time after Rukia's rescue in Soul Society, she never forms in the first place. He doesn't even remember her until the Applied Phlebotinum shows it.
  • Running Gag: The various shinigami and visored commenting on how weird it is that Ichigo knows the future.

Renji:"… that's gonna be creepy for a while, isn't it?"

    • People wanting to stab Ichigo with something.

"People keep stabbing me. It's not as easy to survive as I make it look."

Nnoitra: "We should've just killed the human as soon as Aizen-sama knew he was alive. This setup is bullshit."

Ishida: Would it modify Ichigo's memories in any way?
Mayuri: It is perfectly safe! Only the first test subjects went insane!

Ichigo: Um…

Ichigo: Hinamori? They were pretty close, right?
Matsumoto: Were?
Ichigo: Are. Sorry. She got… will get better.

  • Too Dumb to Live/Asshole Victim: Oh, Yammy.
  • Trust Password: Yamamoto gives Ichigo one of these for when Rukia will be Ret-Gone d in the future (i.e. the third film). It also ends up being useful for identification against Aizen's illusions, though Ichigo almost gets killed then anyway since the password is a name and he has trouble remembering it.
    • Ichigo convinces Gin that he's from the future by explaining the true power of Gin's bankai, which Gin never revealed to anyone.
  • The Un-Reveal: When Shinji decides to finally use his Bankai, Aizen knocks him out cold before he can even say, "Bankai".
  • Unskilled but Strong: Ukitake breaks it down.

Ichigo's bankai was not the most powerful. It was not even the fastest. What it was, however, was the easiest to use. Ichigo had attained it and fought a captain with decades of experience an hour later, and had been able to do so because it needed no special abilities or skills beyond the fighting techniques he was already familiar with.... who was permanently in Shikai release, who compensated for the lack of decades of practice by using his Bankai as though it were his Shikai, who used his mask as though it were his Bankai, and who had still further means to increase his fighting ability.