List of Bleach characters
||It has been suggested that List of Soul Reapers in Bleach and List of Hollows in Bleach be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since December 2013.|
The Bleach manga and anime series features an extensive cast of characters created by Tite Kubo. The series takes place in a fictional universe in which the characters are divided into various factionalized fictional races. All these races are subdivisions of humanity, but are distinguished by whether they live on earth or in one of the afterlives, by possession of thematically contrasting supernatural powers, and by the use of aesthetics drawn from the artistic traditions of different real-life regions.
The main character of Bleach is a Japanese teenager named Ichigo Kurosaki, a living human who has the power to interact with ghosts. He is visited one day by a spirit named Rukia Kuchiki, who is a soldier for the afterlife-ruling Soul Society. When Rukia is grievously wounded by a monstrous evil spirit in his company, Ichigo is granted her powers of exorcism and psychopompy, and then forced to assume Rukia's duties while she recovers. Now a Soul Reaper, Ichigo guides the ghosts of the innocent to the afterlife and protects his city against the hollows: the hungering ghosts of people who are not able to rest in peace after death. Over the course of the first arc, Ichigo clashes and forms alliances with the other supernaturally powered residents of his city, including several of his high school classmates, who join with Ichigo and Rukia to form the core cast of the story.
In the seventh volume of the series, Rukia is arrested for having breached the rigid feudal laws governing Soul Society by giving her powers to a human. Ichigo and his friends leave the living world to infiltrate Soul Society and rescue Rukia from execution at the hands of her fellow Soul Reapers. The journey to Soul Society introduces the largest number of secondary characters of any arc, foremost among them the 26 military commanders of Soul Society, including Sōsuke Aizen, who is secretly a rebel with godlike powers and a dream of universal conquest. This story sets the tone for the remainder of the series, which places Ichigo in conflict with one powerful faction after another as he battles to protect his friends and city from the crossfire of escalating supernatural warfare, the world from destruction at the hands of Aizen and other villains, and to contain and control his own burgeoning superpowers.
Many individual Bleach characters and the series' character design work have been praised, though Bleach's constantly-expanding character roster has been a point of criticism in the press. The size of the cast has been explained by author Kubo as the result of his writing process, in which he first creates new figures, then writes their personalities and character arcs, and finally assembles these interactions into a new plot. The overall response to this technique is mixed, with some reviewers believing the resulting characters are still relatively stereotypical and often get little individual focus, while others have remarked that even secondary characters feel like protagonists of their own stories.
- 1 Creation and conception
- 2 Primary characters
- 3 Secondary characters
- 4 Antagonists
- 5 Minor characters
- 6 Non-Soul Reapers
- 6.1 Kūkaku Shiba
- 6.2 Ganju Shiba
- 6.3 Urahara Shop
- 6.4 Vizard
- 6.5 Wandenreich
- 6.5.1 A: Yhwach
- 6.5.2 B: Jugram Haschwalth
- 6.5.3 D: Askin Nakk Le Vaar
- 6.5.4 E: Bambietta Basterbine
- 6.5.5 F: Äs Nödt
- 6.5.6 G: Liltotto Lamperd
- 6.5.7 H: Bazz-B
- 6.5.8 I: Cang Du
- 6.5.9 J: Quilge Opie
- 6.5.10 K: BG9
- 6.5.11 O: Driscoll Berci
- 6.5.12 P: Meninas McAllon
- 6.5.13 Q: Berenice Gabrielli
- 6.5.14 R: Jerome Guizbatt
- 6.5.15 S: Mask De Masculine
- 6.5.16 T: Candice Catnipp
- 6.5.17 U: NaNaNa Najahkoop
- 6.5.18 V: Gremmy Thoumeaux
- 6.5.19 Y: Lloyd Brothers
- 6.5.20 Z: Giselle Gewelle
- 6.6 Zanpakutō Spirits
- 7 Merchandise
- 8 Reception
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
Creation and conception
Bleach's creative process is focused around character design. When writing plotlines or having difficulties generating new material, Tite Kubo begins by thinking of new characters, often en masse, and rereading previous volumes of Bleach. Kubo has said that he likes creating characters with outward appearances that do not match their true nature, an element that can be found in many Bleach characters, as he is "attracted to people with that seeming contradiction", and finds an "urge to draw people like that when I work." When creating characters for the manga, Kubo first designs character appearances and only then decides what their personalities will be, in reflection of what he drew. When brainstorming character designs, he will go out and draw the faces of real people he sees, a hobby of his dating back to childhood. Kubo considers every character to be unique and wants each of them to have the opportunity for character development in the course of the series. When asked about potentially-romantic relationships between certain characters, Kubo states that he "doesn't want to turn the series into a love story", since he thinks there are more exciting aspects of their personalities to draw out.
Kubo has cited influences for elements of Bleach ranging from other manga series to music, foreign language, architecture, and film. He attributes his interest in drawing the supernatural and monsters to Shigeru Mizuki's Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro and Bleach's focus on unique weaponry and battle scenes to Masami Kurumada's Saint Seiya, both manga Kubo enjoyed as a boy. Bleach was first conceived from Kubo's desire to draw a shinigami in a kimono, which formed the basis for the design of the Soul Reapers. Several characteristics from them such as the kidō spells and the zanpakutō swords are also based on Japanese literature. Rukia Kuchiki was the first character Kubo designed, but he did not see her as a lead character, so he created Ichigo Kurosaki to be the series protagonist. Other characters from the series also use different languages to describe their terminology; the powers from the Quincy are taken from German, while hollows and arrancar instead use Spanish terms; for the latter, Kubo believed that the language sounded "bewitching" and "mellow" and that felt appropriate for a species of ghost. The names of several arrancar are based on famous architects and designers who inspired scenery appearing in Bleach.
Ichigo Kurosaki (黒崎 一護 Kurosaki Ichigo?) is the primary protagonist of Bleach and main hero. An orange-haired high school student, Ichigo becomes a "substitute Shinigami (Soul Reaper)" after unintentionally absorbing most of Rukia Kuchiki's powers. His cynical nature at first makes him ill-disposed towards the duty, but, with the passage of time, he accepts and welcomes the strength his Soul Reaper powers give him. When creating the manga series, Kubo commented that Rukia Kuchiki, the first character he created, did not seem like a lead character, so he created Ichigo to be the series protagonist.
Rukia Kuchiki (朽木 ルキア Kuchiki Rukia?) is a Soul Reaper who is assigned hollow extermination duties in Ichigo's hometown (Karakura Town) and is the main heroine (though her role is downplayed later on). Though her physical appearance is that of a teenage girl, in reality she is ten times older than Ichigo. At the opening of the story, Rukia is forced to transfer her powers to Ichigo and assume a temporary lifestyle as a regular human. She registers at the local high school and takes up residence in Ichigo's closet, while teaching him how to be a substitute Soul Reaper in her place. She is shown many times kicking Ichigo in the face and using similar, slightly comical tactics to "wake him up." Orihime stated once that Rukia seemed to be the only one that is able to cheer Ichigo up, as she seems to have a lot of faith in him. Rukia was the first character of the series created by Kubo, her design being the one he decided to use for all the other Soul Reapers.
Orihime Inoue (井上 織姫 Inoue Orihime?) is a long-time classmate of Ichigo Kurosaki who, at the start of the series, has a crush on Ichigo, later falling in love with him. Orihime is also best friends with Tatsuki Arisawa. She is effectively an orphan, as when she was 3, her older brother Sora left their abusive parents' home with Orihime and raised her on his own. Later on, when Orihime was in middle school, he died in an accident. Though initially devoid of spiritual powers, she develops spiritual awareness early in the plot and later obtains the God-like ability to warp reality through rejecting past phenomena.
Uryū Ishida (石田 雨竜 Ishida Uryū?)[n 1] is a Quincy, a descendant of a line of near-extinct, priest-like, hollow-hunting archers who were historical enemies of the Soul Reapers. He bears a deep grudge against all Soul Reapers, including Ichigo, and is an early antagonist in the series. He comes to view Ichigo differently over time, and eventually becomes a valuable ally and a friendly rival. As a quincy, Uryu possesses the supernatural power to gather invisible "spirit particles" from the atmosphere. Once gathered, these particles can be shaped into spirit-energy constructs, foremost among them a bow and arrow, and to fuel various magical spells and superhuman abilities.
Yasutora "Chad" Sado
Yasutora Sado (茶渡 泰虎 Sado Yasutora?), better known as Chad (チャド Chado?), is one of Ichigo's friends at school. He is of mixed Japanese/Mexican heritage & a student who towers over his classmates at 6 feet 5 inches. Despite his imposing appearance he is quite meek, and refuses to fight unless it is for the sake of another. Chad does not have awareness of ghosts at first, but this changes when he attempts to protect Ichigo's sister, Karin,and her friends from a hollow. He discovers a unique ability that strengthens and armors his right arm, enabling him to fight hollows. Eventually as his power develops, Chad learns that he is very similar to a Fullbringer and joins Xcution to help Ichigo regain his Soul Reaper powers.
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The Bounts (バウント bounto?) are a group of humans with special abilities. They are the main antagonists during the series' anime-exclusive Bount and Bount Assault on Soul Society arcs. The Bounts live eternally (caused by an accident) due to a scientific experiment earlier in the Soul Society, where they were created, and began to eat the souls of human beings to gain more power; according to Kisuke Urahara, they have historically been known as vampires. Like Soul Reapers, they each have a unique weapon known as a Doll, a familiar equivalent to the Soul Reaper zanpakutō. Like a zanpakutō, a doll is its creator's power given physical form. However, instead of taking the form of actual weapons like zanpakutō do, dolls are mostly self-sufficient creatures when released, although they tend to be used as weapons in various ways such as a large battleaxe or a snake, as a sword and whip. Their leader Kariya, motivated by the destruction of himself and all connected to him, plans to invade the Soul Society along with the remaining Bounts to destroy it and themselves. However, with the exception of his friend Gō Koga (古賀剛 Koga Gō?), Kariya managed to have his forces wiped out by the Soul Reapers prior to himself being killed by Ichigo Kurosaki. A use of the German language is an apparent theme among the Bount given that several of their dolls have names based on German words. IGN criticized the Bounts as being "lame bad guys," noting that the bittō (the Bounts’ mosquito-like creatures that collect souls) in particular were like "something straight out of a bad sci-fi movie," but admitted the Bounts were "decent plot devices" to develop the other characters.
Jin Kariya (狩矢 神 Kariya Jin?) is the Leader of the Bounts who planned to destroy the entire Soul Society through the Jōkaishō that created the Bounts. He was originally Eugene Currier, a boy who was befriended by the Soul Society scientist Ran'tao before being forced to leave his home when Soul Reapers are dispatched to kill the Bounts. He eventually fused his Doll Messer into him, increasing his power and seeing the Bounts' existence as meaningless. Gō Koga (古賀 剛 Koga Gō?) is the one that was closest to Jin Kariya. In the 1800s, while still going under the name Claude Gaugain, Koga was living in a countryside somewhere in Europe. One day, Kariya, known at that time as Eugene Currier, paid him a visit, bringing Cain with him. He asked Koga to take care of Cain and teach him how to live as a Bount. Cain (ケイン Kein?) is a young male Bount that Jin Kariya left in Gō Koga's care many years ago. Hō and Ban (鵬?) and Ban (磐?) are twin brothers who appeared when they used their dolls in order to attack Uryu Ishida at the hospital. Ryō Utagawa (宇田川 稜 Utagawa Ryō?) served under Jin Kariya and had ambitions to overthrow him. When it came to the fight against the Bounts at their mansion, Ryō Utagawa was killed by Maki Ichinose and his body turns to dust. Mabashi (馬橋 Mabashi?) interrupts Yoshi's battle against Rukia Kuchiki, Orihime Inoue, and Kuroda. Mabashi used his doll to take over Rukia Kuchiki. Sawatari (沢渡 Sawatari?) is the oldest of the bunch. Ugaki (宇柿 Ugaki?) fights Ichigo and Renji in a cave until signs of weakness causes him to be killed by his own doll. Yoshi (ヨシ Yoshi?) fought Rukia Kuchiki, Orihime Inoue, and Kuroda in an alley until Mabashi ordered her to leave. Yoshino Sōma (相馬 芳野 Sōma Yoshino?) is the former wife of Jin Kariya. She tried to take the soul of a human until she was stopped by Yoruichi Shihoin.
Hollows are the class of spirit that most enemies in Bleach are a part of. They are formerly human spirits that were not sent to Soul Society in due time after death. This makes them lose their sense of being and gives them a craving for human souls. Their main characteristic is a white mask completely covering their face and a hole near their heart. Each hollow's mask has a design unique to that individual. Arrancar, a stronger form of hollow that have acquired humanoid form and some of the powers of Soul Reapers, become the primary antagonists later in the series. Besides having a human body, their masks are partially broken to reveal part of their face. Their holes are no longer restricted to being near their heart, and can be located anywhere on their body, including their head.
Muramasa (村正?) is the main villain of the anime's Zanpakutō Rebellion arc. He is the Zanpakutō of Kōga Kuchiki, the arrogant former 3rd Seat of the 6th Division before being set up as a traitor as the others feared Muramasa's power to take control of other Zanpakutō. However, after going on a paranoia-induced rampage, Kōga is sealed after losing his connection to Muramasa. But Muramasa eventually resurfaces and sets up a Zanpakutō Rebellion as a means to get control over Ryūjin Jakka so he can break Kōga's seal. He is voiced by Yuichi Nakamura in the Japanese anime and Jamieson Price in the English version.
Xcution (エクスキューション Ekusukyūshon?) is a secret organization in Naruki City that makes itself known to Ichigo 17 months after he loses his Soul Reaper powers and serve as the main antagonists in The First Arc after the Time-Skip. The group is made up of humans who possess the power known as Fullbring (完現術（フルブリング） Furuburingu?, lit. "Final Manifestation Art"), an ability to manipulate the "soul" of an object to bring out its full potential.
Kugo Ginjo (銀城 空吾 Ginjō Kūgo?) is the leader of Xcution. In the past, he was the first substitute Soul Reaper before he gave up the position and disappeared, joining Xcution and later becoming its leader. Shūkurō Tsukishima (月島 秀九郎 Tsukishima Shūkurō?) is the former leader of Xcution and Ginjo's accomplice. His Fullbring power is Book of the End (ブック · オブ · ジ · エンド Bukku obu ji Endo?), a bookmark that transforms into a katana with two abilities: cutting through anything and inserting/removing false memories of whatever it cuts, living or not. Moe Shishigawara (獅子河原 萌笑?) is a Fullbringer who works for Tsukishima. Yukio Hans Vorarlberna (雪绪･ハンス･フォラルルベルナ Yukio Hansu Voraruruberuna?) is the youngest member of Xcution. His Fullbring Invaders Must Die (インヴェイダーズ·マスト·ダイ Inveidāzu Masuto Dai?) allows him to insert people into another dimension, which is controlled by his video game console. Giriko Kutsuzawa (沓澤 ギリコ Kutsuzawa Giriko?) is a Fullbringer whose Fullbring is Time Tells No Lies (タイム·テルズ·ノー·ライズ Taimu Teruzu Nō Raizu?) , which allows him to impose "timers" upon things and beings to which they are attached. Jackie Tristan (ジャッキー・トリスタン Jākī Torisutan?) is a Fullbringer whose Fullbring is Dirty Boots (ダーティ・ブーツ Dāti Būtsu?), whenever her boots get dirty, she becomes physically stronger. Riruka Dokugamine (毒ヶ峰 リルカ Dokugamine Riruka?) is a Fullbringer whose Fullbring is Dollhouse (ドールハウス Dōruhausu?), which allows her to freely move people and objects into or out of anything that she adores or finds cute.
- Chizuru Honshō (本匠 千鶴 Honshō Chizuru?) is a classmate of Ichigo Kurosaki. She is an open lesbian and is often trying to get close to Orihime only to be thwarted by Tatsuki who would often attack her.
- Karin Kurosaki (黒崎 夏梨 Kurosaki Karin?) and Yuzu Kurosaki (黒崎 遊子 Kurosaki Yuzu?), are Ichigo's younger sisters. Both born on May 6; Karin is typically cynical and sarcastic, and is significantly more assertive and aggressive than Yuzu. After Ichigo loses his shinigami powers after defeating Aizen, Karin is shown to be the one who now sees and interacts with ghosts. Ichigo also notes that she does not let it bother her. Yuzu is more soft-spoken, empathetic, and emotional in comparison to her sister. She on the other hand can not see ghosts like her sister.
- Keigo Asano (浅野 啓吾 Asano Keigo?) is a classmate of Ichigo Kurosaki. He is an extremely hyperactive character and often uses overly dramatic movements and words to act out his feelings.
- Masaki Kurosaki (黒崎 真咲 Kurosaki Masaki?) is the wife of Isshin Shiba and the mother of Ichigo, Karin, and Yuzu, as well as the last of the Kurosaki bloodline who was taken in by the Ishida family with plan that she would marry Ryūken to continue the Quincies' existence.
- Mizuiro Kojima (小島 水色 Kojima Mizuiro?) is a classmate of Ichigo Kurosaki. He has a boyish face and gentle manner of speaking, with a marked fondness for older women. He is shown to be spiritually aware, but has yet to display any unique abilities.
- Rurichiyo Kasumiōji (霞大路 瑠璃千代 Kasumiōji Rurichiyo?) is the heir to the Kasumiōji Clan and was a central figure to the Kasumiōji Conspiracy. Her mother died giving birth to her and her father died of an illness.
- Tatsuki Arisawa (有沢 竜貴 Arisawa Tatsuki?) is a good friend of Ichigo Kurosaki and the best friend of Orihime Inoue. She has known both since she was young, sparring with Ichigo in their karate classes and defending Orihime whenever people picked on or bothered her.
Modified souls (改造魂魄 kaizō konpaku?), or Mod-Souls for short, are artificial souls created by Soul Society researchers some time before the start of Bleach's storyline. They were created to reanimate the dead bodies of humans to act as a formidable fighting force, but this was found unethical and they were ordered to be destroyed. Six modified souls have been introduced in the series thus far, each having been saved from destruction. All have enhanced speed and strength when compared to normal humans, and often special abilities which set them apart from each other. Each typically inhabits a plushie with all of their abilities intact (albeit scaled down to fit their size). The three introduced in the anime's Bount arc also possess a personal gigai (義骸?), a synthetic human body, that they can use to avoid attention and otherwise regain complete use of their abilities.
Kon (コン?) is the first modsoul to appear in Bleach. He primarily serves as a comedic foil in the series, receiving little respect and much disdain from other characters. He is not completely undeserving of this treatment as he is highly perverted in nature; he is drawn to girls with big breasts (and displays attraction towards Rukia despite her lack thereof, but more because he believes she saved his life) and, when inhabiting another's body, spends his time trying to look up skirts since "it will not be [his] reputation that gets sullied". However, from the beginning he displayed a much more serious side to himself, believing that a life should not be taken on purpose after he witnessed the destruction of other mod souls. Kon's area of expertise are his legs, and thus he can run faster and jump higher than any human, even in his plush form. He typically inhabits a lion plushie that he is very fond of, referring to it as his "sexy body". Kon also inhabits Ichigo Kurosaki's body whenever he is away, playing the part of Ichigo so that his family does not miss him. Although Kon makes only sporadic appearances in the Bleach storyline, he frequently hosts and/or stars in omake specials for the series, self-proclaiming himself the series' mascot.
Kurōdo (蔵人?) is a somewhat cowardly modsoul. He has the ability to shapeshift, and can replicate the abilities of others when he does so (although he can not replicate the potency of said abilities). His plushie body is a rabbit-esque purse. Kurōdo's gigai is of a bespectacled man with a mustache and two-tone hair color (black to the left, blond to the right). He wears a gray top hat, multi-colored suit and tie, as well as dark brown boots. He is often told he talks too much.
Noba (之芭?) is very quiet, rarely speaking more than a few words. He is fairly shy, hiding his face when he wishes to show no emotion. Despite this, he is somewhat analytical and adept at strategic combat. Noba has the power to teleport himself and others to almost any location he has been to, using inter-dimensional portals. The dimension inside the portals appears to be red. He can also create wormholes to redirect ranged attacks, both physical and energy based, back at the enemy. Noba's plushie body is an anthropomorphic turtle in gray dress trousers and a white ruffled shirt with a red bow tie. He retreats into his shell when embarrassed or feeling shy. His gigai is of a young slim built, red haired man with aqua eyes wearing a ninja-esque outfit: a fur coat with a shield on his back and a zippered mask.
Lirin (りりん Ririn?) acts as the leader of the modsouls introduced in the Bount arc. At times she is petty and arrogant, resulting in her initial dislike of Ichigo Kurosaki. She can sense Bount reishi, along with their dolls. Other times she shows real concern for others, eventually developing a fondness for Ichigo where in she will put herself in harm's way to protect him. She often looks down on Kon as inferior, which causes frequent arguments between the two. Her special ability is the creation of illusions. Lirin's plushie body is an anthropomorphic bird that wears a blue coat, red bow, and blue boots. She does not like the plushie at all, and claims that she cannot change to another. Lirin's gigai is a small girl with short blonde hair wearing a pink, fur-trimmed coat, a purple bird-shaped cape, and red boots. She, Kurōdo, and Noba all live at Urahara's shop while not in action.
Nozomi Kujō (九条 望実 Kujō Nozomi?) is a Mod Soul who only appeared in the anime. Nozomi has escaped from Soul Society and is wanted by Kagerōza Inaba. She is actually the result of Project Spearhead, the experiment that created the first Mod-Soul in the image of its overseer Ōko Yushima. In truth, having a grudge against the Soul Society yet needing a stronger body to best use his power without residual side effects, Yushima transferred his consciousness into a Mod Soul that he splintered into two to conceal his presence: One half becoming Nozomi who embodies Yushima's restraint and the other bearing his rage and personality that became Kagerōza. Ending up in Karakura Town while evading the Reigai, Mod-Soul based clones of Soul Reapers created by Kagerōza, Nozomi is found by Kon and befriends Ichigo and his friends as they protect her. In the process, having intending to destroy herself to keep Kagerōza from fulfilling his goal, she manages to open up and show off her exuberant personality while manifesting her own Zanpakutō Arazome Shigure (退紅時雨 Faded Scarlet Late Autumn Shower?) which can absorb spirit pressure in its released state. Eventually, Nozomi is captured and Kagerōza proceeds to use his lab equipment to absorb her and assume his true form as Yushima. However, Nozomi's conscious is able to endure and fights Yushima as he battles her friends. Though she managed to separate from him, Nozomi dies from the internal wounds she inflicted on Yushima while she was still a part of him.
Quincy (滅却師(クインシー) Kuinshī?) are a clan of humans who are descended from Yhwach. Spiritually aware because of Yhwach's blood running through them, the Quincies can reshape spiritual particles into various types of bow and arrows, swords or explosives. At their height, Quincies used their powers to combat the hollows to protect the land of the living with a greater success rate than the Soul Reapers. However, unlike the Soul Reapers who purify Hollows, Quincies completely destroy the soul and thus create an imbalance between the life and death that would threaten to destroy the world. As a last resort to prevent further imbalance, the Soul Reapers exterminated most of the Quincies with only few trace remains allowed to live. As a result, having great animosity towards Soul Reapers, some Quincies marry into normal human families with their children becoming Impure Quincies while some Quincy families attempt to keep their bloodline pure. Tite Kubo created the Quincy as rivals to the Soul Reapers, resulting in long-range weapons as a counter to the standard Soul Reaper zanpakuto and white clothing as an antithesis to the black Soul Reaper uniform. Their name stems from their symbol, a five-pointed star, and the prefix "quin," meaning "five," as well as Kubo's liking for the phrase "Quincy archer." Other than Uryū Ishida and the Wandenreich, there are some other Quincies who had survived the genocide.
Ryūken Ishida (石田 竜弦 Ishida Ryūken?, romanized as "Ryūgen" in Bleach Official Character Book SOULs and other Japanese sources) is Uryū's father who works as the Hospital Director of Karakura Hospital. Ryūken is portrayed as a bitter and cold Quincy who detests his own people though he is extremely powerful and possesses many of their people's lost or stolen artifacts (some of the new weapons that Ishida currently uses are "borrowed" from his father). It is revealed that he was meant to marry Masaki Kurosaki, a distant relative of his, to preserve the blood purity of the Quincy. However, his engagement fell through when Masaki underwent Hollowfication and Isshin Shiba tied his life with Masaki's in order to save it. Instead of Masaki, he married his family maid, Kanae Katagiri. Nine years before the main story, Kanae was subjected to the Auswählen and eventually died, impacting Ryūken and causing him to detest Quincy.
Sōken Ishida (石田 宗弦 Ishida Sōken?) is the father of Ryūken and the grandfather of Uryū. He trained Uryū in Quincy abilities throughout his childhood, becoming his mentor in the process. Sōken tried to make amends with Soul Reapers by advocating a new system of response to Hollow attacks. His proposal was never accepted, and he was eventually killed in a Hollow attack due to his old age (with Mayuri Kurotsuchi being responsible for not sending Soul Reapers to save him).
Kanae Katagiri (片桐 叶絵 Katagiri Kanae?) is the wife of Ryūken Ishida and the mother of Uryū. She is of a mixed-blood heritage (Gemischt) and originally worked as the maid of the Ishida family. She befriended Ryūken since they were children and eventually developed a crush on him, although she is aware that Ryūken must marry his distant relative, Masaki Kurosaki. After Ryūken's engagement with Masaki fell through, she comforted a weeping Ryūken and eventually married him, giving birth to Uryū. However, nine years before the main story, the Quincy progenitor, Yhwach initiated the Auswählen: the process to absorb the power of impure Quincy, which took the powers of both Kanae and Masaki. Kanae, who was already weak at the time, eventually died three months later.
Soul Reapers are the protectors of souls, granting them access to Soul Society and keeping them safe from hollows. Many of the protagonists introduced in the series are Soul Reapers, either in profession, origin, or abilities. Each Soul Reaper possesses a zanpakutō, a sword that doubles as both a weapon and a physical manifestation of the owner's soul. Each zanpakutō has its own personality, which is at times at odds with its owner's. Though Soul Reapers make up the bulk of the characters from Soul Society that have been introduced in the series, a far greater number of souls occupy its outskirts.
Kūkaku Shiba (志波 空鶴 Shiba Kūkaku?) is an ill-tempered fireworks expert and the somewhat authoritative older sister of Ganju. She lives with her family in flamboyant, ridiculously themed houses (which she changes in design and location regularly) on the outskirts of Soul Society. For some unknown reason, Kūkaku is missing her right arm which in the anime is replaced with a prosthetic. Kūkaku is the head of the Shiba family, which fell from the status of nobility after her brother Kaien, died. Because they knew only that Kaien was killed by a Soul Reaper, both Kūkaku and Ganju are distrustful of Soul Reapers when first introduced. After Kaien's killer Rukia Kuchiki explains how he died and apologizes, the Shibas make amends. Kūkaku seems to have some kind of relationship with the Urahara Shop, knowing Yoruichi Shihōin and claiming to have worked with Kisuke Urahara in the past. She can perform high level kidō spells, and carries a kodachi tied around the remaining portion of her right arm. After the Wandenreich's attack, she helps Ichigo and Bonze return to the Royal Palace. She mentions that they must let Ichigo go to the palace even if it saddens "uncle," before commanding Ganju to continue his training with the three members of Xcution that had been sent to Soul Society, in preparation for the second assault by the Wandenreich.
Ganju Shiba (志波 岩鷲 Shiba Ganju?) is Kūkaku's younger brother. He is the leader of a gang, who all ride large boars. Incidentally, Ganju's boar, Bonnie-chan, met her end in a nabe which Ganju himself was invited to by 4th squad captain Unohana. Ganju possesses a hot temper and a strong ego, though has shown a softer side, easily being cowed by his older sister, Kūkaku. He and his sister initially hate Soul Reapers due to the death of their brother, Kaien, though after his interactions with Ichigo Kurosaki he overcomes this. Ganju is not particularly attractive, something that has become a running joke in the series. He has a dagger which resembles a meat cleaver or a Chinese Dadao, though his skills are limited and he instead relies on his arsenal of fireworks and his earth magic. Ganju's earth magic does not seem to operate on the same principles as standard Soul Reaper kidō spells; the one technique he uses can reduce whatever earth it is aimed at to sand or quicksand, useful when making holes in walls to escape pursuers. Much later he appears shortly after the Wandenreich's assault and is shown to be training with Kugo Ginjo, Giriko Kutsuzawa, and Shūkurō Tsukishima in preparation for the Wandenreich's second assault.
The Urahara Shop (浦原商店 Urahara Shōten?) is a convenience store that predominantly deals in snacks and small household goods. It also caters to a more select crowd of spiritually aware beings, providing them with merchandise it has acquired from Soul Society. Three of its regulars (owner Kisuke Urahara, Yoruichi Shihōin, and Tessai Tsukabishi) are former high-ranking Soul Reapers that are now fugitives of Soul Society.
Kisuke Urahara (浦原 喜助 Urahara Kisuke?) is the owner of the Urahara Shop, whose habit of wearing traditional Japanese wooden sandals and a bucket hat earned him the nickname "Mr. Hat-and-Clogs" (ゲタ帽子 geta-bōshi?). Kisuke is usually quite laid-back and has a jovial if not comical attitude, tendencies that tend to drive away customers. Despite his odd work ethic and personality, Kisuke is a keen intellectual with an inventive streak and an uncanny ability to discern an opponent's weaknesses and attack patterns with ease. Kisuke also leaves his store unattended for long periods of time, like when he trained Ichigo Kurosaki and his friends in the store's cave-like basement.
Kisuke is eventually revealed to be actually the former Captain of Squad 12 after being promoted from his 3rd seat in Squad 2. A century ago, Kisuke caught Sōsuke Aizen in the act of converting Hiyori and their fellow Soul Reapers into Hollows. Though Kisuke managed to save them by turning them into Visards, learning that Aizen was after the Hōgyoku (崩玉?, lit. "breakdown sphere") he developed, Kisuke is forced to leave the Soul Society when framed for the crime and go into hiding in the World of the Living. Though he attempted to dispose of the Hōgyoku in the Gigai body he developed for Rukia, Aizen obtained the sphere. Later aiding the Soul Society in their battle against Aizen by creating a Fake Karakura Town, Kisuke engages Aizen in battle and is initially defeated. However, though defeated, Kisuke placed a special Kidō seal on Aizen that activated after Hōgyoku rejected Aizen as its master.
As a former captain, he is also adept in using high-level Kidō and uses a sharp tactical style of combat. His zanpakutō is a shikomizue named Benihime (紅姫?, "Crimson Princess" or "Bloody Princess" in some translations). In this form it has three known special abilities: it can create a polygonal "blood mist shield" capable of blocking most attacks, a crimson-colored energy blast which is similar to a cero, and an explosion that combines volatile energy with a net. Benihime's bankai has yet to be revealed but Kisuke, when asked to use it to help train Sado, stated that his bankai is not fit for such a purpose. Aizen has commented on Urahara's ability, calling him the only man whose intellect exceeds his own. Kubo has commented on Urahara, saying he is based on Snufkin, whom he thought was cool.
Yoruichi Shihōin (四楓院 夜一 Shihōin Yoruichi?) is an old friend of Urahara Shop owner Kisuke Urahara, and so uses it as a place of residence when she is not abroad. She is a slim, sexy, dark-skinned woman with deep-violet hair. She can also transform into a black cat and back at will (much to Ichigo Kurosaki's displeasure as she would tease him whenever she appeared naked before him after transforming). Her cat form gives her a deep voice, which leads many characters to initially believe she is a male and thus call her "Mr. Yoruichi". Yoruichi is very easy-going and she insists that Sui Fong avoid formalities when speaking to her. She tends to avoid combat and will not engage her enemies unless her allies will lose without her intervention. When first introduced, she helps Ichigo and his friends infiltrate Soul Society. As the series progress, it is revealed that Yoruichi is a former captain of the 2nd Division, head of the noble Shihōin clan, and was the Commander in Chief of the Secret Mobile Corps. Therefore, she is highly knowledgeable in Soul Society's history due to her background as a leader of one of the four highest ranking noble families. According to a citation from Kisuke Urahara when he explained to Hiyori Sarugaki, any squad captain in the Gotei 13 who has had the Secret Mobile Corps under his or her control (usually 2nd Squad) will be a formidable military force in Soul Society. As Yoruichi was the leader of the Secret Mobile Corps and also a squad captain herself during the pendulum period and also a leader of a high ranking noble house, it has made her position in the Soul Society as one of the most intimidating and respected. A century before the start of the series she abandoned all of her military and noble house positions by helping Urahara, Tessai Tsukabishi, and the visoreds escape to the human world. Series creator Tite Kubo identifies Yoruichi as one of his two favorite female characters in the series (along with Rangiku Matsumoto), citing that he "has a lot of fun drawing her and creating stories with her."
Yoruichi has lived up to her former position as a captain and Commander in Chief of the Secret Mobile Corps due to her prowess throughout the series including when she immobilized Espada Yammy Riyalgo bare-handed. While she is very skilled in all Soul Reaper tactical combat, Yoruichi has always been presented in the series as extremely powerful in hand-to-hand combat and the use of flash steps (瞬歩 shunpo?), a high-speed movement ability. While the ability is common for any competent Soul Reaper, her speed movement is almost unmatched, leading her to be called the Goddess of Flash (瞬神 shunshin?, English Anime: "Flash Master"). Even after a century later, Byakuya Kuchiki is still unable to surpass her speed. Yoruichi is also highly skilled in "Flash Cry" (瞬閧 shunkō?), which is an advanced technique that combines hand-to-hand combat and kidō abilities. The use of shunko allows the user to fight bare-handed against any opponent's weapons without being injured. She has never been seen wielding a zanpakutō in the current or gaiden storyline, though is shown carrying a kodachi-like blade during flashbacks. She has also been shown using gauntlets and sabatons during her latest fight against Aizen, though these have been destroyed since then.
Tessai Tsukabishi (握菱 鉄裁 Tsukabishi Tessai?) is Urahara's personal assistant in both business and other matters. He is a large, muscular man with a thick mustache who is always seen wearing an apron. He is shown to have great physical strength, made apparent by his ability to smash a hollow's head to pieces with a single, open-palmed thrust. During the Turn Back the Pendulum miniseries, it is revealed that he was the captain of the Kidō Corps in Soul Society. As a result, Tessai is extremely skilled in kidō, demonstrated by his ability to use a level 99 binding spell while skipping its incantation. He has not been shown to carry a zanpakutō, but he did carry a shakujo during his time in Soul Society. For using forbidden kidō spells in aiding Kisuke Urahara in his attempts to help the visoreds, Tessai was sentenced to imprisonment by the Central 46 and was forced to flee to the human world.
Jinta Hanakari (花刈 ジン太 Hanakari Jinta?) is a small, red-haired boy who is supposed to do manual labor for the shop, such as cleaning. Instead he usually slacks off and forces Ururu to do all the work. Though he frequently bullies her, he does care for Ururu as he recovers her body after she is injured by an arrancar. Though he is more knowledgeable than one might expect given his young appearance, he is still childish, calling Renji Abarai a "moocher" (居候 isōrō?),and he enjoyed teasing, spitting and drooling on Ichigo when his Chain of Fate was severed and Ichigo was becoming a hollow in an incapacitated state. Jinta seems to have a crush on Yuzu Kurosaki, calling her "The Goddess" and regarding anything she gives to him as sacred. His primary weapon is an oversized iron rod, similar to a Tetsubo, which he can use to attack.
Ururu Tsumugiya (紬屋 雨 Tsumugiya Ururu?) is a meek, black-haired girl with pigtails and purplish-blue eyes who mostly does manual labor for the shop. She is 3 (three) years older than Jinta. She uses a multi-barreled shoulder cannon as her weapon, which can turn into a rocket launcher to deal with powerful opponents. Ururu's meek attitude is somewhat at odds with her fighting ability, which is undefined, but quite high (Urahara vaguely mentions that her fighting ability is at an "anti-Soul Reaper" level). Her punches and kicks have a lethal amount of force and far surpass what is capable of most characters. She seems to respond robotically when injured or when Hollows are nearby. During such times, Ururu seems to take on a rather simplistic view of right and wrong; she considers those that cause harm (relative to her) as enemies, and believes that enemies must be eliminated.
The Vizards (仮面の軍勢（ヴァイザード） Vaizādo?, lit. "Masked Army"; "Visored" in Japanese media and first English release) are Soul Reapers who have obtained hollow powers via a process called "Hollowification" (虚化 horō-ka?). While Ichigo's Hollowification naturally occurred, the Vizards were forced into it ages ago by Sōsuke Aizen as part of an experiment prior to them forced to flee the Soul Society. To gain access to their hollow powers, a Vizard dons a hollow mask that augments their Soul Reaper abilities with access to some of the generic hollow abilities. The Vizards have not shown any sort of hierarchy, seeming to prefer a loose-knit organization. After Aizen's defeat, many of the Vizards are allowed to return to the Soul Society.
Love Aikawa (愛川 羅武(ラブ) Aikawa Rabu?) is the former captain of the 7th Division. He is a tall man with a spiked afro (shaped like a normal round afro during his days as a Soul Reaper), and wears sporting sunglasses and a jogging suit. He seems to be very laid back, usually reading Weekly Shōnen Jump or some of Lisa's erotic manga in his spare time. Love's hollow mask is designed after a traditional Japanese Oni mask. Love is later shown to be quite physically strong, being able to rip a Menos Grande in half with his bare hands. Love's Zanpakutō is named Tengumaru (天狗丸?, lit. tengu). His shikai transforms it into a large kanabō reminiscent of a black cactus, twice the size of Love. Tengumaru has the ability to project fire from its tip.
Shinji Hirako (平子 真子 Hirako Shinji?) is the captain of the 5th Division, preceding his lieutenant Sōsuke Aizen. He distrusted Aizen from the day they met, and thus made him lieutenant so he could keep an eye on him. Because Shinji never socialized with Aizen, however, he was easily deceived by Aizen's actions, culminating to his conversion into a hollow. He has also grown an unknown relation with Ichigo: when asked by Captain Yamamoto which side he was, Shinji answered by saying he was on neither the Gotei 13 nor Aizen's side, but on Ichigo's. Shinji's character is somewhat comical, adding a bit of levity to situations that are otherwise serious. He seems to like annoying his associate, Hiyori Sarugaki, which usually earns him a slap from one of her sandals. He also appears to have a history of referring to cute girls he meets as his 'first love', complete with a deadpan look on his face despite the obvious lie. An early design of Shinji can be seen in the first chapter's cover art, making it clear he was planned well before his introduction. After the 17-month time-skip, Shinji is reinstated as the captain of the 5th Division again.
Shinji has brown eyes and jaw-length blonde hair with a straight cut and many of his facial expressions reveal his upper teeth. While attempting to recruit Ichigo, he wears a standard Karakura school uniform, though he usually wears trousers, shirt and tie, often supplemented by a newsboy cap and long-coat. Shinji appears to have a round ring pierced in the middle of his tongue.
During his first stint as a captain, before he left the Soul Society, his hair was very long, reaching down to the lower part of his back. He wore the standard Shinigami robes with a standard, long-sleeved, captain's haori. Seventeen months after Aizen's defeat, Shinji returns to this attire with the addition of wearing his tie tucked under his robes. His hair which he kept in a short, straight-line cut after becoming a Visored has remained basically the same as well, with the exception of the bang now having a more asymmetrical cut with the left side being longer than the right.
Shinji's zanpakutō is named Sakanade (逆撫?, literally "Offense", translated as "Counter Stroke"). When released by Shinji's command "collapse", five holes line the blade's length, and a large ring forms at the bottom of the hilt. The blade releases a scent that inverts and reverses the enemy's visual perception. Shinji claims that it is impossible to comprehend the attack directions, as the more experienced one is, the more one relies on instinct to fight, causing one to inevitably fall prey to Sakanade. After training more thoroughly with his zanpakutō, Shinji is even able to invert the words he says, as well as make those more susceptible to the ability Sakanade very ill. Shinji is quite skilled with his hollow powers, using a single cero blast to easily overwhelm Grimmjow Jeagerjaques. His Hollow mask resembles a pharaoh's mask.
Mashiro Kuna (久南 白 Kuna Mashiro?) is the former lieutenant of the 9th Division under Kensei. She is a somewhat carefree-crazy girl who is prone to throwing fits for the smallest of things, such as Orihime befriending Hachi or when Kensei insisted on following his subordinates into battle. Her overall style of dress is reminiscent of the costumes worn by the tokusatsu superheroes of late 1970s Japanese television, particularly those of the Kamen Rider Series. Even her attacks are announced like a Tokusatsu superhero. She often calls Ichigo Berry-tan (or "Berry Boy" in the English manga, and "Carrot Top" in the anime), a pun on Ichigo's name ("ichigo" in Japanese also means "strawberry"). Unlike the other Vizards and Ichigo who have to undergo a type of training to control their hollows, Mashiro was able to maintain her hollow mask for fifteen hours on her first attempt to control her hollow. Mashiro's hollow power gives her exceptional physical strength as she easily decapitated several Menos Grande and the giant hollow which was brought by Wonderweiss Margera subsequently engaged in battle with him. However, in the mid-battle with Wonderweiss Margera her mask shatters well before her time limit was up causing Kensei to intervene. Her mask resembles a grasshopper's head, another reference to Kamen Rider. Mashiro loves to engage in battle by combining her physical strength and hollow power rather than using her zanpakutō, the name of which is still unknown.
Kensei Muguruma (六車 拳西 Muguruma Kensei?) is the previous captain of Squad 9, bearing a 69 tattoo on his stomach that influenced Shūhei Hisagi to have one his cheek after saving him when he was younger, and piercing on his left eyebrow. One of the first to be turned into a Visard, Kensei's hollow mask takes on the form of what appears to be a hockey mask, with a flat surface, and six slits running down the front. In comparison with his fellow Vizards, Kensei is a much more serious character. He has a short temper and is easily irritated, particularly by Mashiro. After the events of the Fake Karakura Town battle, Kensei is reinstated as a Soul Reaper Captain. However, during the Wandenreich invasion while his wounds are tended to by Isane after his ordeal against Mask De Masculine, Kensei is murdered by Gremmy Thoumeaux.
Kensei's zanpakutō is named Tachikaze (断地風?, lit. "Earth severing wind") and is released with the command "Blow". His shikai shrinks it down into the form of a survival/combat knife. While in this form, Kensei demonstrates the ability to charge and fire spiritual energy from the blade. Tachikaze can also manipulate wind, as demonstrated when Kensei uses several wind blades to slice up a hollow, killing it instantly. Kensei's bankai is named Tekken Tachikaze (鐡拳・断地風?, lit. "Iron Fist Earth severing wind"). The combat knife transforms into two bladed, bronze knuckle-like weapons known as tiger claws in each hand that are connected by a long fabric-like material that wraps around and up his arms like bandages and form a small arc above his head. Kensei's bankai focuses all of the destructive power into the knuckles, causing whatever the knuckles are touching to be hit continuously with implosive power.
Rōjūrō Otoribashi (鳳橋 楼十郎 Ōtoribashi Rōjūrō?), commonly referred to as Rose (ローズ Rōzu?), is previous captain of Squad Three prior to Kisuke's promotion to Captain. He is an effeminate man with long, wavy, blond hair and a bird's beak-like Hollow mask. He seems to be interested in music, as he speaks to Love about an artist's new single and has been seen playing or tuning a guitar on several occasions. Rose appears to be one of the calmer and perhaps wiser ones amongst the group, though he becomes irritated whenever Love spoils a manga's story for him. After the events at the Fake Karakura Town, Rose is allowed to return to Soul Society and restored to his captain status. But during the Wandenreich invasion, after being saved from Mask De Masculine by Renji and taken to be cared for by Isane, Rose is murdered by Gremmy Thoumeaux.
Rose's zanpakutō is named Kinshara (金沙羅?, lit. "Gold Shala"). His shikai transforms the blade into a long, plantlike whip with a flower at its tip. Prefaced as Kinshara Eleventh Sonata (金沙羅奏曲第十一番 Kinshara Sōkyoku Daijūichiban?), Kinshara's technique, Izayoi Bara (十六夜薔薇?, lit. "Sixteen Day-Old Moon Rose"), causes this tip to discharge an explosion of energy. Kinshara's bankai, Kinshara Butōdan (金沙羅舞踏団?, lit. "Gold Shala Dancing Troupe"), summons several figures called the "Dancers of Death". His bankai allows Rose to use music to create the illusion of physical pain (burning, drowning, etc.) as long as his opponents hear the music. But bankai is useless against opponents who are deaf or have deafen themselves.
Hiyori Sarugaki (猿柿 ひよ里 Sarugaki Hiyori?) is a former lieutenant of the 12th Division under captains Kirio Hikifune and then Kisuke Urahara, initially refusing to accept the latter as she saw the former as a motherly figure. Hiyori is a small, blonde-haired girl with a short temper and violent tendencies that include death threats and physical violence. Hiyori often attacks Shinji Hirako, regardless of his outranking her in their pre-Vizard days, usually by slapping his face with one of her sandals or using him as a human shield when necessary. Hiyori took the longest to defeat her inner Hollow out of all the Vizards. During the battle with Aizen, Hiyori was mortally wounded yet was healed by Captain Unohana in the aftermath.
Her Hollow mask is skeletal in appearance with a large horn on the forehead and diamond-shaped markings over the eyebrows. Her zanpakuto is named Kubikiri Orochi (馘大蛇?, lit. "Beheading serpent") and is released with the command "chop cleanly" to become a large cleaver with a jagged edge.
Hachigen Ushōda (有昭田 鉢玄 Ushōda Hachigen?), commonly referred to as Hachi (ハッチ Hatchi?), is the physically largest Vizard. He was formerly the Vice Kidō Captain (副鬼道長 Fuku Kidōchō?) of the Kidō Corps under Tessai Tsukabishi. He specializes in binding spells, and as such is always tasked with making barriers for the Vizards' use. He is skilled enough to use bakudō up to 99 without reciting their incantations. By his own admission, his powers are very similar to those of Orihime Inoue's. Despite his unusual size, Hachi is actually very kind and gentle, and seems to enjoy Orihime's company. His mask resembles a Native American tribe mask. He has been seen with a zanpakuto during Ichigo's training when the young man went berserk, he helped restrain him while also brandishing the blade at him. Later during the battle at Karakura Town, he encased it in his barrier right before confronting a horde of Gillian, however, it is uncertain what its powers are or if it is even a zanpakuto at all. He aids in Soi Fon's battle against Barragan and manages to ultimately defeat the Espada at the cost of his forearm.
Lisa Yadōmaru (矢胴丸 リサ Yadōmaru Risa?, romanized as Risa Yadōmaru in the Japanese media) was the former lieutenant of the 8th Division under Captain Shunsui Kyōraku. She is a girl with glasses and long, braided, dark hair, who dresses in a seifuku, as opposed to the more Western-style uniforms worn by the female students of Karakura High School. She seems easily irritated and apparently likes to read erotic manga. In the English translations, it has been edited to "swimsuit magazines". She is also very curious, and would spy on the captain's meetings during her time in Soul Society. When she was a lieutenant for Gotei 13, she read to Nanao Ise, later her successor as lieutenant, every month. Her mask resembles a knight's helmet, with a cross shape opening on it. Her zanpakutō is called Haguro Tonbo (鉄漿蜻蛉?, lit. "Black dragonfly". 鉄漿 means "black tooth dye"). In its shikai form, it becomes a large guan dao or monk's spade with a fanned blade and large orb on the opposite end.
The Wandenreich (見えざる帝国（ヴァンデンライヒ） Vandenraihi?, "Invisible Empire") are a group of Quincies under Yhwach who serve as the antagonists of the final storyline of the series. Their attire usually consists of long white trench coats fitted with numerous buttons, a cape, a belt (usually a piece individual to each member), and a Quincy symbol somewhere upon the uniform. Apparently founded by the survivors of the Quincy massacre a millennium ago, the Wandenreich named their group from the act of hiding themselves within the shadows of the Seireitei while preparing to exact revenge on the Soul Reapers once amassing enough power to do so once their leader is revived. In the aftermath of Aizen's defeat, the Wandenreich conquered Hueco Mundo and captured numerous Arrancars (including the former Espada Tier Harribel) to serve as their personal Vanguards and foot soldiers. Quilge Opie leads one of the many Jagdarmee (狩猟部隊（ヤークトアルメー） Yākutoarumē?, German for "hunting army") groups that hunt Arrancars. The Wandenreich also includes the Stern Ritter (星十字騎士団（シュテルンリッター） Shuterunrittā?, German for "Star Knights"), an elite force that invaded Soul Society, leading to the notable deaths of Squad One's Lieutenant Chōjirō Sasakibe and Head-Captain Yamamoto.
Yhwach (ユーハバッハ Yūhabahha?) is the sovereign of the Wandenreich and supposed progenitor of all Quincies. He is currently the main villain of the series. When Yhwach was born, he already demonstrated supernatural abilities, such as infusing part of his soul in other people to heal them of injuries and disabilities. But the moment the person healed this way dies, Yhwach regains that fragment and gains their person's abilities and knowledge. Because of these abilities extending his life, revered as a holy child, Yhwach took the name of YHWH which the people proclaimed in his presence. He has some history with Yamamoto who failed to kill him a millennium ago. For unknown reasons, Yhwach was sealed away for nine centuries and nine decades until he was freed, and spent the next nine years stealing the powers from "impure" Quincies to regain his power through his Auswählen (聖別（アウスヴェーレン） Ausuvēren?, German for "Selection") ability. Among his victims were Ichigo's mother Masaki Kurosaki as she protected her son Ichigo from the Hollow Grand Fisher, and Kanae Katagiri, Uryū's mother. It appears his time imprisoned has left his sanity in question; he claims everything he is doing is for peace despite his sadistic behavior and dark humor.
Months after Aizen's defeat, Yhwach conquers Hueco Mundo by defeating its current leader Tier Harribel and imprisoning her while employing Arrancars as foot soldiers for the Wandenreich as a means to invade Soul Society. Learning of Ichigo battling Quilge, Yhwach decides to have the Stern Ritter invade the Soul Society. During the attack, Yhwach secretly leaves for the First Division Barracks to attempt to recruit Aizen, letting the shape shifted Royd Lloyd take his place. After Royd is defeated by Yamamoto, Yhwach arrives and executes Royd, before taunting Yamamoto to release his Bankai and stealing it. Yhwach then severs Yamamoto in half with one swing and then obliterates his body. Shortly after, he is then confronted by Ichigo Kurosaki and has a brief battle with him, during which he reveals that his mother Masaki was a Quincy before departing. Several days later, as Ichigo learned of his ties to the Quincy through both his mother and Zangetsu's likeness to how Yhwach looked 1000 years ago, Yhwach has Haschwalth bring Uryū Ishida before him. Telling Uryū that he was only impure Quincy who survived the effects of Auswählen, having a power that surpasses his own, Yhwach makes the young Quincy his heir before returning to the Soul Society to enact the final phase of his plan.
Shortly thereafter, Yhwach launches another attack on the Soul Society, replacing Seireitei with the city of Wandenreich. He oversees the battle and renders judgement on his subordinates who lost their battles, namely Cang Du and BG9. It is revealed that he spread pieces of his soul all over Seireitei, and thus every death on the battlefield prolongs his life. After Ichigo returns to the Soul Society, Yhwach uses the opportunity to invade the Royal Realm where the Soul King resides. Accompanied by Uryu and Haschwalth, he engages in battle with the Squad 0.
B: Jugram Haschwalth
Jugram Haschwalth (ユーグラム・ハッシュヴァルト Yūguramu Hasshuvaruto)?) is Yhwach's right-hand man and grandmaster of the Stern Ritter and also has the epithet "B". He along with the rest of the Wandenreich was sent to deliver the message to declare war on Soul Society. Later Haschwalth and the Stern Ritter went with Yhwach to destroy the Soul Society. He kills the 13th Division's Sixth Seat, Hidetomo Kajomaru, in front of other Soul Reapers after breaking his resolve. Sometime later, he helps Yhwach in his plan to steal Yamamoto's bankai by accompanying the shape-shifting Stern Ritter Y, Royd Lloyd, and watches the latter defeat Kenpachi Zaraki rather easily. After Yamamoto's death, Haschwalth is told to convey to the other Stern Ritter that they were to raze Soul Society before Ichigo arrived. He watches his master fight Ichigo before being called back to their palace, before which he easily breaks Ichigo's bankai. During Uryū Ishida's appointment as Yhwach's successor, he remains calm, despite of his fellow Stern Ritter's objections against it as they prefer Haschwalth more. Later, during the Wandenreich's second invasion, he confronts Shunsui Kyōraku and Nanao Ise, although he is blocked from advancing by the latter's incantation of a special kidō capable of preventing any Quincy from entering. He breaks through the barrier and is about to attack Shunsui and Nanao, before Yhwach calls him back to the palace to punish the Sternritter who lost their respective fights. He later creates the passage to the Royal Realm and follows Yhwach there.
D: Askin Nakk Le Vaar
Askin Nakk Le Vaar (アスキン・ナックルヴァール Asukin Nakkuruvāru?) is a male Stern Ritter who has the epithet "D". During the Wandenreich's second invasion, Askin appears in the place formerly housing the Soul Society's Research and Development Institute, surprising most of its inhabitants yet taking his leave when Mayuri and Nemu Kurotsuchi appear. Noticing BG9's defeat against Suì Fēng, Askin confirms Mayuri's suspicions that the Wandenreich have prepared the possibility that the Soul Reapers have trained in different powers after their bankai had been stolen by them.
E: Bambietta Basterbine
Bambietta Basterbine (バンビエッタ・バスターバイン Banbietta Bastābain?) is a sadistic female Stern Ritter who has the epithet "E" for "The Explode (爆撃(ジ・エクスプロード) Bakugeki (Ji Ekusupurōdo)?, Japanese for "Bombing"), able to create bombs out of anything she mixes her spirit energy into. Bambietta fights with the 7th Division captain, Sajin Komamura, and steals his bankai. Like most of the Wandenreich, she is opposed to Uryu being named Yhwach's successor. During the Wandenreich's second invasion, she fight both Shinji Hirako and Komamura, the former of whom she manages to incapacitate despite his shikai state. However, Komamura manages to retrieve his bankai from Bambietta, at which point she activates her Vollständig, which amplifies her power and causes her to grow wings and a pentacle-shaped halo. The two fight, with Komamura using his Human Transformation technique and bankai to overwhelm and defeat Bambietta. Though she barely survived Komamura's attack, Bambietta is killed off by her fellow female Quincies to be used as Giselle's zombie bodyguard. In this new state, she is later summoned by Giselle to fight Ikkaku and Yumichika, and then is seemingly defeated by Charlotte Chuhlhourne.
F: Äs Nödt
Äs Nödt (エス・ノト Esu Noto?) is a male Stern Ritter member who has the epithet "F" for "The Fear" (恐怖 Kyōfu?, Japanese for "Fear"), due to his ability to infect opponents with paralyzing, unstoppable fear. Normally, this only works if he stabs his enemies with his reiatsu thorns; however, upon activating his Vollständig, he can infect them by eye contact. Having been raised on the concept of Heaven and Hell, Äs is ironically fearful of death and pain. While hospitalized and close to death, Äs is approached by Yhwach and accepts the Quincy's offer of power. During the first invasion, Äs Nödt stole Byakuya's bankai and used it to nearly kill him before interfering in Yamamoto's battles with Royd Lloyd alongside NaNaNa and Bazz-B, forced to fall back after getting nearly incinerated by Yamamoto's Ryujin Jakka. He later appears when Yhwach names Uryu Ishida as his successor. During the second invasion with orders to kill Byakuya, Äs Nödt confronts Rukia who is traveling across Seireitei in search for other Soul Reapers. With Rukia refusing to tell him where Byakuya is, Äs finds that Rukia is unaffected by his power as she is technically not alive by using her newly perfected Sode no Shirayuki's freezing power, thus not being able to feel fear. Rukia then proceeds to freeze Äs Nödt. The attack fails, as Äs merely activates his Vollständig, Tatarforas (神の怯え (タタルフォラス) Tataruforasu?, Japanese for "Fear of God"), and infects Rukia via his enhanced powers before being sliced through by a newly recovered Byakuya. Äs recovers and assumes a more monstrous form on the expectation that Byakuya is going to be his opponent, only to be destroyed when Rukia activates her Bankai, Hakka no Togame, and takes him out in one hit.
G: Liltotto Lamperd
Liltotto Lamperd (リルトット・ランパード Rirutotto Ranpādo?) is a young female Quincy with the epithet "G" for "The Glutton" (食いしんぼう (ザ・グラタン) Kuishinbō (Za Guratan)?, Japanese for "Gluttonous"), the ability to extend her mouth into a massive maw to consume anything larger than herself. Despite her relatively petite appearance, she is quite profane, as shown when she calls out Bambietta for her habit in killing handsome men for her pleasure. When she and the other female Sternritters attack Kenpachi in his weakened state after he defeated Gremmy, Liltoto devours many of Soul Reaper reinforcements. She later unsuccessfully attempts to attack Ichigo upon his return, thwarted by Ichigo himself, her fellow Stern Ritter Bazz-B, and then by several members of Gotei 13.
Bazz-B (バズビー Bazubī?) is a hot-blooded and merciless male Stern Ritter who has the epithet "H" for "The Heat" (灼熱 (ザ・ヒート) Shakunetsu (Za Hīto)?, Japanese for "Scorching Heat") as he can manipulate the temperature of surround spirit pressure with a finger to create flames and explosions. Bazz-B defeated Izuru Kira and the other 3rd Squad members when he appeared in Soul Society, using his power to offset Head Captain Yamamoto's attack when it was about to consume him and his fellow Sternritters. He was among one of the Quincy most opposed to Uryu Ishida being named Yhwach's successor, thinking Haschwalth would be the successor and confronting him about his acceptance to their leader's ruling. During the second invasion, Bazz-B overpowers Hitsugaya before Cang intervened to kill the Soul Reaper captain. Bazz-B later confronts Shinji, Momo, and Marechiyo, intending to stop them from intervening Kenpachi's fight with the other Stern Ritters. He then stops Candice and her group from fighting Ichigo any further prior to Yhwach's arrival to the battlefield. After failing to kill Ichigo, Bazz-B takes on Rukia and Renji.
I: Cang Du
Cang Du (蒼都 (ツァン·トゥ) Sou To (Tsan Tu)?) is a male Stern Ritters who has the epithet "I" for "The Iron" (鋼鉄 (ジ・アイアン) Kōtetsu (Ji Aian)?, Japanese for "Steel") as he can turn his skin into a hardened material. During the first invasion, Cang fights Tōshiro Hitsugaya and Rangiku Matsumoto and manages to steal the former's bankai. In the second invasion, Cang is ordered to personally kill Hitsugaya, interrupting the latter's fight with Bazz-B. When Cang tries to activate Daiguren Hyōrinmaru, he is forced to relinquish the Bankai due to Hitsugaya's use of the Shin'eiyaku to temporary Hollowfy him contaminated the weapon. Cang is eventually defeated and encased in ice with Hitsugaya's attacks, although he manages to break out of it after the activation of his Vollständig. Nevertheless, Cang was imprisoned alongside BG9 and brought before Yhwach for judgment. Though he uses his ability on the grounds of refusing to die by the hands of any other than Yhwach, Cang is bisected by Haschwalth.
J: Quilge Opie
Quilge Opie (キルゲ・オピー Kiruge Opī?) is one of the leaders of the Jagdarmee squad who has the epithet "J" for "The Jail" (監獄 (ザ・ジェイル) Kangoku (Za Jeiru)?, Japanese for "Prison") due to his ability to create flawless cages made of spirit energy. He is assigned in Hueco Mundo to capture Arrancars for Yhwach to use as Vanguards for the Wandenreich, having no toleration for disobedience and willing to act in a barbaric manner if offended. After easily defeating Loly and Menoly as well as Harribel's Fracción, he is confronted by Ichigo and his friends. He engages Ichigo in battle and activates his Vollständig, Biskiel (神の正義 (ビスキエル Bisukieru?, Japanese for "God's Justice") and uses his Sklaverei ability to absorb Ayon. Receiving orders from Yhwach to keep Ichigo occupied while the Stern Ritter invade the Soul Society, Quilge struggles to keep up with Ichigo's movements and is unsuccessful in stealing Ichigo's bankai, causing Ichigo to assume the Wandenreich fear a Shinigami's bankai. Falling for one of Ichigo's taunts, Quilge attempts a counterattack only to be shot from behind by Kisuke Urahara. However, Quilge gets back up using Ransōtengai and shoots Urahara in the back, as well as severely injuring Yasutora Sado and Orihime Inoue and imprisoning Ichigo in an seemingly impenetrable cage. He is about to move in to kill the others when he is sliced in half by an unknown assailant, killing him.
BG9 (ベー・ゲー・ノイン Bē Gē Noin?) is a helmeted Stern Ritter who has the epithet "K". He has a single glowing eye, hides various robotic tendrils and artillery beneath his cloak and claims to have never "breathed", leading Suì Fēng to believe he is a robot. He is cruel and sadistic, not above threatening children if his demands are not met, as scene when he injures Omeada's younger sister with one of his tendrils.
During the Wanderwich initial invasion of the Soul Society, BG9 stole Suì Fēng's bankai. While looking for Suì Fēng during the second invasion, he finds Omaeda and takes his younger sister as a hostage to force the lieutenant to give him his captain's whereabouts. Though attacked from behind by Suì Fēng, BG9 is unscathed as he greatly injures the captain with his weapons. Before he can deliver a finishing blow, Suì Fēng regains control of her bankai and uses it to attack BG9. As a result of his defeat, BG9 is brought before Yhwach for judgment while watching the execution of Cang.
O: Driscoll Berci
Driscoll Berci (ドリスコール・ベルチ Dorisukōru Beruchi?) is a large male Stern Ritter who has the epithet "O" for "The Overkill" (大量虐殺 (ジ・オーヴァーキル) Tairyōgyakusatsu (Ji Ōvākiru?, Japanese for "Massacre"), reflecting his power to become stronger every time he kills someone, such as Squad One's Lieutenant Chōjirō Sasakibe while stealing his bankai, Kōkō Gonryō Rikyū. His power allows him to become stronger with every person he kills. He fights and defeats Shuhei Hisagi easily and is soon engaged by Yamamoto himself. Delighted, Driscoll activates Chōjirō's bankai and tries to kill the Head-Captain with it. However, it fails to have any significant effect on Yamamoto, who easily burns Driscoll to his bones, killing him instantly.
P: Meninas McAllon
Meninas McAllon (ミニーニャ・マカロン Minīnya Makaron)?) is a female Stern Ritter who has the epithet "P" for "The Power" (力 (ザ・パワー) Chikara (Za Pawā)?, Japanese for "Power"), possessing immense superhuman strength. When she and the other female Sternritters attack Kenpachi in his weakened state after he defeated Gremmy, immobilizing him with a single punch, Meninas focuses her attacks on the Soul Reaper captain while her associates deal with the Soul Reaper reinforcements. She later unsuccessfully attempts to attack Ichigo upon his return, thwarted by Ichigo himself, her fellow Stern Ritter Bazz-B, and then by several members of Gotei 13.
Q: Berenice Gabrielli
Berenice Gabrielli (ベレニケ・ガブリエリ Berenike Gaburieri?) is a female Stern Ritter with black and white colored hair who has the epithet "Q" for "The Question" (異議 (ザ・クエスチョン) Igi (Za Kuesuchon)?, Japanese for "Objection") which plays on her power to force people to divulge their abilities when asked. Berenice fights Kenpachi Zaraki alongside Jerome Guizbatt and Loyd Lloyd. Kenpachi explained that she was a very arrogant woman who had something against him and explained her power to a great length, though Kenpachi admitted that he could not hear her too well due to Jerome's roaring ability. Annoyed, Kenpachi carves out Berenice's throat, killing her.
R: Jerome Guizbatt
Jerome Guizbatt (ジェローム・ギズバット Jerōmu Gizubatto?) is a large dark-skinned male Stern Ritter with an ape-like appearance who has the epithet "R" for "The Roar" (咆哮 (ザ・ロア) Hōkō (Za Roa)?, Japanese for "Yell") as he assumes an ape-like form to drastically amplify his voice to create a devastating sound-based shockwave. This ability proved to be no match for Kenpachi as he easily cuts Jerome in half and carried his corpse atop his sword.
S: Mask De Masculine
Mask De Masculine (マスク・ド・マスキュリン Masuku do Masukyurin?) is a large male Stern Ritter who has the epithet "S" for "The Superstar" (英雄 (ザ・スーパースター) Eiyū (Za Sūpāsutā)?, Japanese for "Hero"), as his strength increases when he is applauded by his assistant, James. Mask also wears a Luchador Mask and arrogantly strikes warrior poses, wishing that he had an audience to see his battles while seeing himself as a hero.
After Äs Nödt defeats Byakuya, Mask De Masculine knocks Renji unconscious as he was about to activate his bankai, causing Äs Nödt to scold him. In his second attack, he is accompanied by "James" who carries a Boxing ring Bell with him and makes it look like the fights Mask engages in are wrestling matches. Mask easily defeats Ikkaku, Yumichika, and Hisagi. He then claims he took down all the "Captain" level classes around him until he sees Rukia and Renji fall from the sky. He is intercepted by Kensei and Rose, the former of whom unleashes his bankai to knock out Mask. However, James encourages Mask to get back up and fight, activating his special ability and enabling Mask to knock out Kensei with ease. He then proceeds to destroy his own eardrums to negate Rose's bankai's special ability, and then blasts a hole through Rose's chest. Before he can kill Rose, Renji intervenes the attack and engages in battle with him. Renji manages to block all of Mask's attacks and also slices James to pieces before slashing Mask. However, as he can be revived by Mask, James's remains regenerate into numerous clones whose cheering causes Mask to activate his Vollständig. Mask manages to overwhelm Renji before being defeated and then incinerated by the Soul Reaper's perfected Bankai. Because of Mask's nature as a Quincy, James was recreated after Yhwach absorbed the deceased Mask's powers.
T: Candice Catnipp
Candice Catnipp (キャンディス・キャットニップ Kyandisu Kyattonippu?) is a female Stern Ritter who has the epithet "T" for "The Thunderbolt" (雷霆 (ザ・サンダーボルト) Raitei (Za Sandāboruto)?, Japanese for "Thunder"), which allows her to fire lightning bolts. She is quick to anger, as shown when she threatens her fellow Sternritter, Giselle, after the latter teases her. When she and the other female Sternritters attack Kenpachi in his weakened state after he defeated Gremmy, Candice takes out some of Soul Reaper reinforcements before helping Meninas in attacking the Soul Reaper captain. When Ichigo arrives and throws Candice into a building, she takes the matters personally and resolves to kill him by activating her Vollständig to unleash her Electrocution attack. However, she is wounded by her opponent's Getsuga Jūjishō and has Giselle regenerate her served arm. Candice is attacked by Bazz-B as she was about to resume her fight with Ichigo. However, before they can proceed with their intent, Candice and other Stern Ritter are stopped by several members of Gotei 13.
U: NaNaNa Najahkoop
NaNaNa Najahkoop (ナナナ・ナジャークープ Nanana Najākūpu?) is a male member of the Stern Ritter who has the epithet "U". During the invasion, he engaged the 3rd Division captain, Rōjūrō "Rose" Ōtoribashi in combat. Alongside Äs Nödt and Bazz-B, NaNaNa interferes with Yamamoto's battle with a disguised Royd Lloyd and barely survived the Head Captain's Ryujin Jakka. After Renji defeats Mask de Masculine, NaNaNa spies on him while he is resting, surprised that he left himself exposed for so long and saying that his luck has run out. Later, NaNaNa is present when Bazz-B interrupts Ichigo's fight with Candice, eager to take Ichigo's head himself. He is stopped by several members of Gotei 13 and engages them in a fight instead.
V: Gremmy Thoumeaux
Gremmy Thoumeaux (グレミィ・トゥミュー Guremii Tumyū?) is a male member of the Stern Ritter who has the epithet "V" for "The Visionary" (夢想家 (ザ・ヴィジョナリィ) Musōka (Za Vijonarī)?, Japanese for "Dreamer"), the ability to turn fantasy into reality. Originally being a disembodied brained in a dome casing, Gremmy used his ability to create a body for himself. During the second Wandenreich invasion, Gremmy creates a stand-in named Guenael Lee (グエナエル・リー Guenaeru Rī?), whose "V" epithet stands for the "Vanishing Point" (消尽点 (バニシング・ポイント) Shōjinten?, Banishingu Pointo) in terms of his ability to make his own shape and existence disappear at will, disappearing from both a person's sight and memory. After Guenael appears before a hiding Isane and Yachiru, with the latter forgetting him after she punched him in the face, Gremmy kills off his creation while revealing to the two Soul Reapers was a distraction so he can kill Rose and Kensei. Gremmy almost killed Yachiru when Kenpachi arrives. Intending to kill the Soul Reaper captain with the power of his imagination, Gremmy engages Kenpachi in battle. Eventually, with Kenpachi using his own power against him by displaying his own, a furious Gremmy builds up his muscle strength in a desperate effort to defeat Kenpachi. But it results in Gremmy's death as his body breaks apart due to it not being able to handle the increased muscle mass. As Gremmy dies, he leaves behind his true form - a brain in a jar.
Y: Lloyd Brothers
L. Loyd Lloyd ("Lの"ロイド・ロイド Eru no Roido Roido?) is a bald Quincy with a third eye on his forehead who has an identical twin brother named R. Royd Lloyd ("Rの"ロイド・ロイド Aru no Roido Roido?). Their identical appearance is the result of their ability to imitate others as they have subconsciously used it on each other before being born. The two joined the Wandenreich under the same epithet "Y" for "The Yourself" (貴方自身 (ジ・ユアセルフ) Anata Jishin (Ji Yuaserufu)?, Japanese for "Yourself") that plays on their shape-shifting powers. However, while both can assume the forms of others, only Loyd could replicate one's powers and techniques while Royd instead copy his target's memories and personality.
During the attack on the Soul Society, as Loyd died fighting Kenpachi Zaraki after assuming his form for a duel, Royd posed as Yhwach and defeated Kenpachi before distracting Yamamoto while the real Yhwach was meeting Aizen. Once fulfilling his role in weakening Yamamoto for him while receiving being mortally wounded, Royd is killed off by Yhwach.
Z: Giselle Gewelle
Giselle Gewelle (ジゼル・ジュエル Jizeru Jueru?) is an androgynous Stern Ritter who has the epithet "Z" for "The Zombie" (死者 (ザ・ゾンビ) Shisha (Za Zonbi)?, Japanese for "Deceased"), the ability to turn living non-Quincies touched by her blood into corpse-like slaves or restore severed limbs. During the Wandenreich's second invasion, Giselle, alongside Candice, Liltotto, and Meninas kill off Bambietta after her defeat by Komamura, stating that she would not like seeing their side lose Bambietta as she converts her deceased comrade into her personal zombie enforcer. After she and the female Sternritters attack Kenpachi in his weakened state, Giselle goads several Soul Reaper reinforcements into cutting her so they would kill themselves at her command. However, after Yumichika sees through both Giselle's method of attack and accused of being a man posing as a woman, Giselle summons Bambietta's corpse to have her kill Yumichika and Ikkaku. But Giselle ends up facing Mayuri as her zombified Soul Reapers face the Soul Reaper captain's personal army of revived Arrancars. Once Bambietta is defeated by Charlotte Chuhlhourne, Giselle summons captain Hitsugaya, who's also under the Zombie's effect.
The spiritual embodiment of a Soul Reaper's Zanpakutō, usually appearing before its owner with the form depending if it changed during a Zanpakutō's Bankai State. However, the Zanpakutō Spirit exists to protect its wielder and would eventually cease to be if its Soul Reaper dies or uses a technique that would render the user powerless. During the Zanpakutō Rebellion and Beast Swords arc, the Zanpakutō spirits were given a true presence by the power of the unique Zanpakutō Muramasa. However, by the end of the Beast Swords arc, weeks after his death, Muramasa's power waned and the Zanpakutō spirits return to their original states.
Zangetsu (斬月?), also called "old man" by Ichigo, is the Zanpakutō owned by Ichigo Kurosaki, who appears as a tall man with ragged black hair, facial hair, and sunglasses. Zangetsu aided Ichigo in achieving his potential as a Soul Reaper. However, while attempting to tame his Inner Hollow, Ichigo hears his opponent introducing himself as Zangetsu.
The reason for this is revealed when Tensa Zengetsu (天鎖斬月?), a younger and more powerful version of Zangetsu that Ichigo encounters while in his Bankai state, reveals that he and Ichigo's Hollow are both halves of the same being that represents Ichigo's overall power. After he and Ichigo's Hollow assumed their true form, Tensa Zangetsu battles Ichigo to test his resolve in using the Final Getsuga Tenshō. Though Ichigo passed his test, Tensa Zangetsu reveals the consequences of the attack before bidding his owner farewell. Ichigo would learn that the Zangetsu he knew was actually the personification of his powers as a Quincy, therefore resembling a younger Yhwach. Confronted by Ichigo about this, confirming what the youth learned about him, Zangetsu reveals had kept Ichigo's full power as a Soul Reaper in check before deciding to unlock the youth's full potential in light of Yhwach's return. After Zangetsu is reforged, his essence resides in the smallest of the split blades in his Shikai state.
Zangetsu is voiced by Takayuki Sugō in the Japanese anime and by Richard Epcar in the English dub. Tensa Zangetsu is voiced by Showtaro Morikubo in the Japanese anime and by Keith Silverstein in the English version.
Later revealed to be the actual Zangetsu, Hollow Ichigo is the manfestation of Ichigo's Visard powers, the result of Ichigo's mother being infected by trace remains of the Hollow White. In appearance, Hollow Ichigo is identical to his host save for his golden eyes, opposite colour scheme and permanent grin (as opposed to Ichigo's scowl). In Bankai form, Hollow Ichigo is a dead ringer of Ichigo's Hollow form save for inverted color scheme. Though a bloodthirsty berserker who would take any chance to take over Ichigo's body, Hollow Ichigo's nature as a Zanpakutō compels him intervene during some of Ichigo's fights. After Zangetsu is reforged, his identity fully revealed, Hollow Ichigo's essence resides in the largest aspect of the Zanpakutō's split shikai state.
Zabimaru (蛇尾?) is the Zanpakutō owned by Renji Abarai who appears as a Nue, first seen in the Soul Society arc when Renji was recovering from his first fight with Ichigo. In the anime exclusive Zanpakutō Rebellion arc, Zabimaru's form changes to that of a green fur woman and a young boy with a snake tail. Though the two are normally connected by a chain, with the child assuming their Zanpakuto form for his older counterpart to wield, the two halves of Zabimaru act independent of each other when needed to.
In the Japanese anime, the original form of Zabimaru is voiced by Toru Furusawa, Saru by Mitsuki Saiga, and Hebi by Asami Sanada. In the English dub, while Vic Mignogna voiced Zabimaru's original form, Saru is voiced by Mary Elizabeth McGlynn while Hebi is voiced by Michelle Ruff.
Hyōrinmaru is the Zanpakutō owned by Tōshirō Hitsugaya, appearing as an dragon made of ice. Hyorinmaru already tried to communicate with Hitsugaya before he became a Soul Reaper. During the anime-exclusive Zanpakutō Rebellion arc, Hyōrinmaru assumes the form of a tall young man with long-flowing green hair and dragon limbs.
In the second movie, "The Diamonddust Rebellion" a Soul Reaper named Sōjirō Kusaka, who is the main antagonist of the movie, also possesses Hyōrinmaru.
Several types of merchandise have been produced based on the likeness of the Bleach characters. Apparels from them include replicas of the zanpakutō, hollow masks as well as Soul Reapers clothes for cosplays. Other merchandise based on them include action-figures, plush, and key-chains. Characters are also featured on Bleach trading cards that have different abilities depending on the character appearing in the cards. In Japan, there have been released soundtracks in which the voice actors from the anime perform songs related to their characters. Most characters are also featured in video games from the series, with most of them being fighting games.
The characters from the series have received praise and criticism from several reviewers. Anime News Network noted them to be relatively stereotypical but with traits that make them look "special" noting the interactions they have as well as the large and variable cast of side characters. They were also praised for having energetic attitudes and distinctive ways of fighting. While they commented on Ichigo on being "almost a typical anti-hero", they mention that he is just a common person with a tragic past making him likeable to the fans. They also praised Tite Kubo's artwork to give them good clothes and the anime staff for improving them. Mania Entertainment agreed with praising the artwork of the manga and noted that the "characters have personalities and oddities all described in those designs". They have also praised the development of the characters remarking how Renji, before being defeated by Ichigo, he asks him to save Rukia, while during his first appearances he was more violent and was meant to arrest her. IGN agreed and mentioned that the large number of plot happening within each character make the series more than "example of shonen fighting manga". However, the reviewer commented that it is hard to take the series seriously when one of the main Arrancar is named Grimmjow Jeagerjacquez. Wizard Universe also praised Ichigo as the best hero of 2007 commenting that the only reason why he is not like every "shonen character" is that he only wants to save his friends, not because he tries to act as a hero.
IGN also added that while some fights were dragged for many chapters, they are easy to enjoy due to the abilities of the characters and the artwork from Kubo. In another review, comicbookbin said that Bleach's characters tended to avoid the most obvious courses of action, giving the series an element of unpredictability. Tite Kubo has been praised by comicbookbin.com for creating a "dense multi-layered narrative housing a mob of characters". They remarked how each character from the series had two subplots making the reader hard to remember although that made them more complex. In a review from the volume 20, they noted how Kubo turned the fights into "martial arts and epic fantasy serial" comparing them with fights from famous movies like The Matrix and praised how well drawn they are. Anime News Network also added that the English voice acting of the characters is as good as the Japanese one, considering each of them very original.
- In the English translation of the manga, Uryū includes the macron over the second u. In Viz's English subtitles of the anime and Bleach: The 3rd Phantom, it is written as Uryu without the macron.
- Kai-ming Cha (2008-08-04). "Kubo Comes to Comic-Con". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2008-09-17.[dead link]
- Shonen Jump (Viz Media) 6 (6): 12. June 2008. ISSN 1545-7818.
- Anime Insider (Wizard Universe) (61): p. 39. October 2008. ISSN 1547-3767.
- Deb Aoki. "Interview: Tite Kubo (page 2)". About.com. Retrieved 2008-09-16.
- Deb Aoki. "Interview: Tite Kubo (page 1)". About.com. Retrieved 2008-09-16.
- Tite Kubo, Masakazu Morita (August 2007). Tite Kubo Interview, Bleach B-Station 112. Japan: Bleach B-Station.
- Kubo, Tite (2004). "Chapter 1". Bleach, Volume 1. Viz Media. ISBN 1-59116-441-9.
- Kubo, Tite (2004). "Chapter 2". Bleach, Volume 1. Viz Media. ISBN 1-59116-441-9.
- TV Tokyo, Dentsu, Studio Pierrot (October 5, 2004). "死神になっちゃった日". Bleach. Episode 1. TV Tokyo.
- TV Tokyo, Dentsu, Studio Pierrot (September 8, 2006). "A Soul Reaper is Born!". Bleach. Episode 1. Cartoon Network.
- Kubo, Tite (2007). "Chapter 5". Bleach, Volume 1. Viz Media. ISBN 1-59116-441-9.
- Kubo, Tite (2005). "Chapter 43". Bleach, Volume 5. Viz Media. ISBN 1-59116-445-1.
- TV Tokyo, Dentsu, Studio Pierrot (October 12, 2004). "死神のお仕事". Bleach. Episode 2. TV Tokyo.
- TV Tokyo, Dentsu, Studio Pierrot (September 15, 2006). "A Shinigami's Work". Bleach. Episode 2. Cartoon Network.
- Kubo, Tite (2005). "Chapter 36". Bleach, Volume 5. Viz Media. ISBN 1-59116-445-1.
- Kubo, Tite (2005). "Chapter 51". Bleach, Volume 6. Viz Media. ISBN 1-59116-728-0.
- Kubo, Tite (2006). "Chapter 107". Bleach, Volume 12. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-0403-0.
- TV Tokyo, Dentsu, Studio Pierrot (November 1, 2008). "Rangiku Dances! Slice the Invisible Enemy!". Bleach. Season 4. Episode 86. Cartoon Network.
- Bleach Original Sound Track 2 , CD Jacket, page 6
- IGN: Ichigo vs. Dalk! Appearance of the Faded Darkness Review
- Kubo, Tite (2004). "Chapter 4". Bleach, Volume 1. Viz Media. ISBN 1-59116-441-9.
- Kubo, Tite (2007). "Chapter 187". Bleach, Volume 21. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-1165-7.
- Kubo, Tite (2008). Bleach SOULs. Official Character Book. Viz Media. p. 37. ISBN 1-4215-2053-2.
- Kubo, Tite (2005). "Chapter 42". Bleach, Volume 5. Viz Media. ISBN 1-59116-445-1.
- Kubo, Tite (2004). "Chapter 15". Bleach, Volume 2. Viz Media. ISBN 1-59116-442-7.
- Kubo, Tite (2004). "Chapter 14". Bleach, Volume 2. Viz Media. ISBN 1-59116-442-7.
- Kubo, Tite (2004). "Chapter 16". Bleach, Volume 2. Viz Media. ISBN 1-59116-442-7.
- Kubo, Tite (2004). "Chapter 22". Bleach, Volume 3. Viz Media. ISBN 1-59116-443-5.
- TV Tokyo, Dentsu, Studio Pierrot (November 9, 2004). "死闘！一護VSイチゴ". Bleach. Episode 6. TV Tokyo.
- TV Tokyo, Dentsu, Studio Pierrot (October 13, 2006). "Fight to the Death! Ichigo vs. Ichigo". Bleach. Episode 6. Cartoon Network.
- Kubo, Tite (2007). "Chapter 241". Bleach, Volume 27. Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-874339-3.
- Kubo, Tite (2005). "Chapter 46". Bleach, Volume 5. Viz Media. ISBN 1-59116-728-0.
- Kubo, Tite (2006). "Chapter 123". Bleach, Volume 14. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-0612-2.
- Kubo, Tite (2005). "Chapter 79". Bleach, Volume 9. Viz Media. ISBN 1-59116-924-0.
- Kubo, Tite (2007). "Chapter 181". Bleach, Volume 21. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-1165-7.
- Kubo, Tite (2005). "Chapter 77". Bleach, Volume 9. Viz Media. ISBN 1-59116-924-0.
- Kubo, Tite (2005). "Chapter 83". Bleach, Volume 10. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-0081-7.
- Kubo, Tite (2005). "Chapter 87". Bleach, Volume 10. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-0081-7.
- Kubo, Tite (2004). "Chapter 13". Bleach, Volume 2. Viz Media. ISBN 1-59116-442-7.
- Kubo, Tite (2005). "Chapter 59". Bleach, Volume 7. Viz Media. ISBN 1-59116-807-4.
- Kubo, Tite (2007). "Chapter 175". Bleach, Volume 20. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-1044-8.
- Kubo, Tite (2005). "Chapter 67". Bleach, Volume 8. Viz Media. ISBN 1-59116-872-4.
- Kubo, Tite (2009). "Chapter 224". Bleach, Volume 26. Viz Media. ISBN 978-1-4215-2384-2.
- Kubo, Tite (2010). "Chapter 405". Bleach, Volume 46. Viz Media.
- Weekly Shōnen Jump interview ; Issue 11
- Kubo, Tite (2007). "Chapter 159". Bleach, Volume 19. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-1043-X.
- Kubo, Tite (2006). "Chapter 116". Bleach, Volume 14. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-0612-2.
- Kubo, Tite (2005). "Chapter 70". Bleach, Volume 8. Viz Media. ISBN 1-59116-872-4.
- Kubo, Tite (2006). "Chapter 118". Bleach, Volume 14. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-0612-2.
- Kubo, Tite (2007). "Chapter 158". Bleach, Volume 18. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-1042-1.
- Bleach chapter 403, page 15
- Kubo, Tite (2005). "Chapter 48". Bleach, Volume 6. Viz Media. ISBN 1-59116-728-0.
- "Bleach" manga; chapter -97, page 10.
- Kubo, Tite (2008). "Chapter 214". Bleach, Volume 24. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-1603-9.
- Kubo, Tite (2005). "Chapter 62". Bleach, Volume 8. Viz Media. ISBN 1-59116-872-4.
- Kubo, Tite (2005). "Chapter 60". Bleach, Volume 7. Viz Media. ISBN 1-59116-807-4.
- Kubo, Tite (2008). "Chapter 207". Bleach, Volume 24. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-1603-9.
- Kubo, Tite (2008). "Chapter 188". Bleach, Volume 22. Viz Media. p. 15. ISBN 1-4215-1179-7.
- Kubo, Tite (2007). "Chapter 185". Bleach, Volume 21. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-1165-7.
- Kubo, Tite (2008). "Chapter -100". Bleach, Volume 36. Shueisha. ISBN 978-4-08-874603-6.
- Kubo, Tite (2008). "Chapter -102". Bleach, Volume 36. Shueisha. ISBN 978-4-08-874603-6.
- Bleach Manga Chapter 366 pages 13-14
- TV Tokyo, Dentsu, Studio Pierrot (April 18, 2007). "ヴァイザード!目覚めし者たちの力". Bleach. Episode 122. TV Tokyo.
- Kubo, Tite (2008). "Chapter 190". Bleach, Volume 22. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-1179-7.
- Kubo, Tite (2009). "Chapter 226". Bleach, Volume 26. Viz Media. ISBN 978-1-4215-2384-2.
- Kubo, Tite (2008). The Art of Bleach. Viz Media. p. 104. ISBN 1-4215-1884-8.
- Kubo, Tite (2008). "Chapter -104". Bleach, Volume 36. Shueisha. ISBN 978-4-08-874603-6.
- Kubo, Tite (2008). "Chapter -103". Bleach, Volume 36. Shueisha. ISBN 978-4-08-874603-6.
- Kubo, Tite (2008). "Chapter -108". Bleach, Volume 36. Shueisha. ISBN 978-4-08-874603-6.
- Kubo, Tite (2008). "Chapter -107". Bleach, Volume 36. Shueisha. ISBN 978-4-08-874603-6.
- Kubo, Tite (2008). "Chapter 215". Bleach, Volume 25. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-1796-5.
- Kubo, Tite (2009). "Chapter 228". Bleach, Volume 26. Viz Media. ISBN 978-1-4215-2384-2.
- "Bleach Bankai 52" Wooden Sword". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
- "Bleach Ichigo Mask Zangetsu Cosplay". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
- "Bleach Gin Ichimaru 3rd Squad Fleece Winter Scarf + Pin". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
- "Bleach – Action Figures – Series 2 Yasutora". Viz Media. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
- "Bleach – Plush – Kon Plush". Viz Media. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
- "Bleach – Keychains – Ichigo Metal Keychain". Viz Media. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
- "Bleach – Collectible Card – Bleach Trading Card Game Booster Pack". Viz Media. Retrieved 2008-11-02.
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