List of Soul Reapers in Bleach
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This is a list of Soul Reapers (死神 Shinigami, literally, "death gods") featured in the manga and anime series Bleach, created by Tite Kubo. Soul Reapers are a fictional race of spirits who govern the flow of souls between the human world and the afterlife realm called the Soul Society.
The Bleach story tells of how Ichigo Kurosaki becomes substitute Soul Reaper in Karakura Town in place of Rukia Kuchiki. He assumes her duties to protect souls and put them to peaceful rest, as well as to fight against dangerous, lost souls that could not rest, called hollows.
As the series progresses, however, Rukia is captured by the Soul Society's Soul Reaper military for giving her powers to Ichigo, and she is sentenced to death. Ichigo and his friends go to save her and are forced to fight against many of the Soul Society's Thirteen Court Guard Squads. Eventually, the fifth Squad Captain Sōsuke Aizen, the third Squad Captain Gin Ichimaru, and the ninth Squad Captain Kaname Tosen all defect from the Soul Society at the time of the rescue and start a plan, interrupting Ichigo's battles, to gain greater power with the arrancars, focusing the story with the main antagonist Sōsuke Aizen.
- 1 Creation and conception
- 2 Characteristics
- 3 Soul Reaper court divisions
- 4 Soul Reaper characters
- 4.1 Squad One
- 4.2 Squad Two
- 4.3 Squad Three
- 4.4 Squad Four
- 4.5 Squad Five
- 4.6 Squad Six
- 4.7 Squad Seven
- 4.8 Squad Eight
- 4.9 Squad Nine
- 4.10 Squad Ten
- 4.11 Squad Eleven
- 4.12 Squad Twelve
- 4.13 Squad Thirteen
- 4.14 Squad Zero
- 5 Reception
- 6 References
Creation and conception
Bleach was first conceived from Tite Kubo's desire to draw Shinigami ("Soul Reaper" in the English adaptations) in a kimono, which formed the basis for the design of the Soul Reapers. Before deciding the use of kimono, Kubo thought of giving black suits to male Soul Reapers and any forms to female Soul Reapers, but thought that it was too generic and changed it to a kimono. Several characteristics from them, such as the kidō spells and the zanpakutō swords are also based on Japanese literature. Instead of using zanpakutō, Kubo wanted to give the Soul Reapers guns, with the exception of Rukia, who would use a scythe. Seeing that guns are not suitable for kimono, he changed them with swords. When asked which of the Court Guard Squad captains and assistant captains were his favorites, Tite Kubo answered by saying that he liked "all of them" and that he likes to "support" characters "disliked by readers." Early plans for the story did not include the hierarchical structure of the Soul Society, but did include Ichigo's Soul Reaper heritage.
Soul Reapers can only be seen by other spiritually aware beings, which excludes most humans. Additionally, they can be injured and die like regular humans yet can resist most injuries unless considerably great.
All Soul Reapers possess a zanpakutō (斬魄刀, lit. "soul-cutting sword"), a katana which reflects aspects the user's soul and personality. A zanpakutō has a symbiotic connection with its owner, its spiritual embodiment possessing similar traits to its owner and evolving to reflect its Soul Reaper's power. By learning the name of the sword's spirit, and through training, Soul Reapers can unlock more powerful transformations of their zanpakutō. The first transformation, known as a shikai (始解, lit. "initial release") which acts like a binding contract between a Soul Reaper and the sword, changes the zanpakutō's' appearance to so the owner can facilitate its special abilities to its fullest. The second transformation, known as bankai (卍解, lit. "final release"), is an ability normally seen in Soul Reaper captains that requires ten years minimum to master. Once achieved, the Soul Reaper can unlock the full potential of their zanpakutō, increasing their own power several times over. Though rare, it is not impossible for two people to manifest the same zanpakutō and spirit. This is considered the ultimate taboo of the Thirteen Court Guard Squads and the individuals who manifest the spirit are forced to fight to the death to determine the zanpakutō's true master, as in the plot of Bleach: The Diamond Dust Rebellion. Many Soul Reapers are able to use kidō (鬼道, lit. "way of the demon"), a form of magic that can be performed by reciting a specific incantation. Most of the kidō spells seen in the series are used as attacks, defensive measures, or to bind others, though they can also serve more specialized needs such as healing wounds or communication over long distances. Spells are ranked on a scale from 1 to 99, indicating their complexity and overall power. Low-level spells can, however, be as effective from a skilled kidō user (e.g., Byakuya Kuchiki).
Soul Reaper operations are based out of the Soul Society, which is an afterlife realm in Bleach which is maintained by a being known as the Soul King. Travel between the human world and the Soul Society is extremely limited and monitored, but some Soul Reapers are stationed in the human world to carry out their duties. If this Soul Reaper is an assistant captain or a captain then they will have a Gentei Reiin, or a Spirit Restriction Seal, on some area of their body. This seal will limit their spiritual powers to one-fifth of their full power and it can only be released in a state of emergency. In addition to these laws, it is a crime for a Soul Reaper to remain in the human world for longer than directed. A Soul Reaper's duties include leading wandering spirits to the Soul Society by giving a Konso (魂葬 (こんそう) konsō, "soul funeral") to souls yet to become hollows and defeat those who have. High-level Soul Reapers and similarly powerful beings are able to levitate by standing on the spiritual energy in the air.
Soul Reaper court divisions
The Gotei Thirteen (護廷十三隊 Goteijūsantai, "Thirteen Court Guard Squads" in the English dubbed version) is the central organization in the Soul Society that most Soul Reapers join. It is split into thirteen squads, each symbolized by a flower whose floriography shows the squad's hue.
- Squad One (一番隊 Ichibantai, First Division in manga) - The division's flower is the chrysanthemum-meaning "immaculate".
- Squad Two (二番隊 Nibantai, Second Division in manga) - As its captain is also leader of the Stealth Forces (隠密機動 Onmitsukidō, literally, "Hidden Secret Movements Organization"), Squad Two's shares duties with the other branch in surveillance, covert operations, imprisoning potentially problematic Soul Reapers, and assassinations. The division's flower is the Pulsatilla cernua -meaning "splendor".
- Squad Three (三番隊 Sanbantai, Third Division in manga) - The squad's flower is the Calendula officinalis-meaning "tranquility".
- Squad Four (四番隊 Yonbantai, Fourth Division in manga) - Squad Four is known for its medical work. The division's flower is the Gentiana scabra-meaning "fidelity" and "conscience".
- Squad Five ((五番隊 Gobantai, Fifth Division in manga) - The division's flower is the Pieris japonica-meaning "sacrifice".
- Squad Six ((六番隊 Rokubantai, Sixth Division in manga) - Squad Six has no special duties, but is currently seen as a model division by the other Soul Reapers and known for its strict adherence to the rules. The division's flower is the red Camellia japonica-meaning "righteous reason".
- Squad Seven (七番隊 Nanabantai, Seventh Division in manga) - The division's flower is the Japanese iris-meaning "kindness" and "vitality".
- Squad Eight (八番隊 Hachibantai, Eighth Division in manga) - The division's flower is the Strelitzia-meaning "getting everything I(one) want".
- Squad Nine (九番隊 Kyūbantai, Ninth Division in manga) - Squad Nine is always on standby as it is the security force of the Gotei 13, also overseeing art and culture. The division's flower is the white Papaver somniferum-meaning "oblivion".
- Squad Ten (十番隊 Jūbantai, Tenth Division in manga) - The division's flower is the Narcissus-meaning "selfishness".
- Squad Eleven (十一番隊 jūichibantai, Eleventh Division in manga) - Known as the Zaraki Corps, Squad Eleven is well known for its brute military force with a specialization of sword-only combat, making them at loggerheads with the Fourth division. The division's flower is the Chinese yarrow-meaning "battle".
- Squad Twelve (十二番隊 Jūnibantai, Twelfth Division in manga) - a scientific research division and has been the home of the Soul Reaper Research and Development Institute for 110 years. It was directly linked to the S.R.D.I. by former Captain Kisuke Urahara. The division's flower is the Thistle-meaning "revenge", "rigorous" and "independence".
- Squad Thirteen ((十三番隊 Jūsanbantai, Thirteenth Division) - division's flower is the Galanthus nivalis-meaning "hope".
Other military forces exist apart from the Gotei Thirteen and serve more specialized capacities:
- The Kidō Corps (鬼道衆 Kidōshū) is a reclusive group that specializes in kidō and is in charge of the gateway connecting the Soul Society and the human world.
The Captains (隊長 taichō, literally, "unit commander") are the leaders of the thirteen squads. Each controls a specific squad with the exception of the Head Captain (総隊長 Sōtaichō, literally "Commander-General"), who acts as both captain of Squad One and leader of the Gotei Thirteen; the implication is that this is an ex officio position. Other than Kenpachi Zaraki, all captains are able to perform the bankai of their zanpakutō. To achieve the position of captain, a Soul Reaper must display great expertise with Soul Reaper abilities and battle tactics, and must be approved by either their fellow captains or the members of their own squad. There are three ways a Soul Reaper can become a captain.
- To take the captain proficiency test, which requires the ability to perform bankai. Presumably, most Soul Reapers become captains using this method. At least three existing captains, including Head Captain, have to witness the test.
- To have personal recommendations from at least six captains and approval from at least three of the remaining seven.
- To defeat a captain one-on-one with at least 200 witnesses from the captain's division. Kenpachi Zaraki and Kenpachi Kiganjō are the only two known captains to have achieved their rank using this method.
The Lieutenants (副隊長 fukutaichō, literally, "vice-unit commander") are the adjutants to the captains in each squad. In terms of rank, they hold the second seat in the squad. In the case of a squad captain's death, departure, or other circumstances making them unable to perform their duties, the lieutenant acts as the acting captain until another captain can be assigned. The seated officers (席官 sekikan) hold ranks from third seat to twentieth. While single digit ranks are usually assigned to a single officer, the lower ranks are often held by several. Higher ranks may also lead secondary teams within the division; for instance, Hanatarō Yamada is Squad Four's seventh seat and leader of the Fourteenth Advanced Relief Team therein.
Soul Reaper characters
Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto
Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto (山本元柳斎 重國 Yamamoto Genryūsai Shigekuni) was the captain of Squad 1 and Head Captain of the Gotei 13, believing that laws must be upheld for the benefit of the community and despised those who break them, though he made an exception with Ichigo due to debt that the entire Soul Society owed to him. He founded the Soul Reaper Academy about 1,000 years before the main Bleach storyline, where he personally instructed Shunsui Kyōraku and Jūshirō Ukitake whom he treated as if they were his sons. Yamamoto claimed that no Soul Reaper born in the last one thousand years is stronger than he is. Yamamoto was also a mortal enemy of Yhwach, failing to kill him a millennium ago and dying by the Wandereich leaders' hands after losing his Bankai to him.
Yamamoto's zanpakutō is Ryūjin Jakka (流刃若火, lit. "Flame of the Flowing Blade"), and it displays control over flame. It is the most powerful zanpakutō in Soul Society, and the sheer power of the flame can disintegrate almost anything the sword is waved at. Its release command is "Reduce All Creation to Ash" (万象一切灰燼と為せ, Banshō issai kaijin to nase or "All things in the universe, Turn to ashes" in the English Dub). Ryūjin Jakka's Bankai is Zanka no Tachi (残火の太刀, lit. "Longsword of the Remnant Flame") which upon release causes all of the flames produced by Yamamoto to be concentrated at the edge of the blade, which takes on the appearance of an ancient, scorched sword. Zanka no Tachi's heat reaches temperatures of 15,000,000 degrees, creating flame-like reiatsu around Yamamoto, which renders him untouchable. Merely activating it drains all the moisture in Soul Society. Even squad ten current captain, Toshiro Hitsugaya, cannot release his sword due to the heat radiated from Yamamoto's bankai. Its power is so great it can destroy the entire Soul Society and Yamamoto himself should it remain active for too long. He was voiced by Masaaki Tsukada in the Japanese version and by Neil Kaplan in the English dub.
Chōjirō Tadaoki Sasakibe (雀部 長次郎 忠息 Sasakibe Chōjirō Tadaoki), was Yamamoto's lieutenant, often present during meetings between the captains. He was the only Soul Reaper that participated in the battle for Karakura Town that did not fight, guarding the fake town with a large barrier. In an omake, it shows that due to a mission in the real world he enjoyed growing tea leaves and making his own tea. He, alongside 106 other Soul Reapers, was killed during the Wandenreich's first invasion of Soul Society. It is revealed during his funeral that he had achieved his bankai even before Yamamoto's pupils, Shunsui Kyōraku and Jūshirō Ukitake did, though due to his loyalty to Yamamoto had never used it or even offered to be a captain. Yamamoto confronted Chōjirō's murderer, the Stern Ritter Driscoll Berci, who tried to kill him using Chōjirō's bankai, only to be obliterated by the enraged Yamamoto for using his lieutenant's bankai so shamefully.
His zanpakutō is Gonryōmaru (厳霊丸, lit. "Stern Spirit", translated in other ways). When released with the command "Bite" (穿て Ugate), it transforms into a rapier. Its shikai special abilities remain unknown. His bankai is Kōkō Gonryō Rikyū (黄煌厳霊離宮, lit. "Stern Spirit's Yellow-Glittering Detached Palace"), which produces a bolt of lightning from the blade that extends and transforms into a dome of lightning, stationed far above the users head and fastened to the ground by a large number of lightning pillars. These pillars can be controlled at will to shock the opponent.
Shunsui Sōzōsuke Jirō Kyōraku (京楽 次郎 総蔵佐 春水 Kyōraku no Jirō Sōzōsuke Shunsui) was originally Squad Eight's captain for most of the storyline. One of the oldest captains alongside his friend Jūshirō Ukitake, Shunsui was trained under Head Captain Yamamoto whom he called Old-man Yama (山じい Yama-jii). Shunsui is a laid-back and flamboyant man as seen in his attire, wearing a straw hat and a pink flowered haori over his captain's uniform. In his off time, he can be seen drinking sake and napping. Other times, he likes to chase after women, particularly his lieutenant Nanao Ise. Shunsui tends to use a more familiar speech style than most other characters in Bleach; he generally refers to his fellow captains and Soul Reapers by their first name, usually followed by an honorific. Kyōraku is a peace-loving man who will always try to find a nonviolent solution, though he does not wish to insult opponents by refusing to fight. But he is also an adept fighter, able to defeat Coyote Starrk by using only his shikai. After Yamamoto's death, Shunsui becomes the new Head Captain, and chooses Genshirō Okikiba and his niece Nanao as his Squad One lieutenants.
Unlike other Soul Reapers, Shunsui possesses paired zanpakutō called Katen Kyōkotsu (花天狂骨, lit. "Bones of Heavenly Blooming Madness"). While the blades are normally two daisho swords, their Shikai state resemble dao or falchions. When released with the command "Flower Wind Rage and Flower God Roar, Heavenly Wind Rage and Heavenly Demon Sneer" (花風紊れて花神啼き 天風紊れて天魔嗤う Hana Kaze Midarete Kashin Naki, Tenpū Midarete Tenma Warau), Katen Kyōkotsu gains the ability to "turn children's games into reality." One such game, Bushō Goma (不精独楽, Lazy Spinning Top), involves spinning around wind like a top. Another, Takaoni (嶄鬼, Mountain Demon), declares that whoever is the highest is the winner. A third technique, Kageoni (影鬼, Shadow Demon), forces the players to alter their own shadows; whoever steps on a shadow, even their own, is declared the loser. The fourth game is known as Iro-Oni (艶鬼, Colored Demon) where players call out color and then slice the enemy where that color is displayed. However, if the color is not on the body of the person who called it out then the damage given is minimal; the more that the declared color is prevalent on the declarer's body, the more damage the attack will commit. A fifth game is called Daruma-san ga Koronda (だぁるまさん が こぁろんだ, The Dharma Doll Fell Down), a game similar to "Red Light Green Light". The sixth and final game is called Kageokuri (影送り, Silhouette Sending) which is a game where if a person is staring hard enough at another person's shadow, then their opponent creates after images of themselves. Katen Kyōkotsu's bankai is called Katen Kyōkotsu: Karamatsu Shinjū (花天狂骨枯松心中, "Heavenly Bloom Madness Bone: Withered Pine Lovers' Suicide"), which he uses only when his allies are at a safe distance from himself. When released, Shunsui's bankai covers a large area around Shunsui in an aura. This aura changes others' perception of the surrounding environment, making them perceive it as darkened, bleak and gloomy, and causes others to feel varying levels of melancholy and despair. While it maintains its shikai form, its bankai allows Shunsui to manifest various stories, which can kill an opponent easily. It also manifests the spirit of Shunsui's zanpakutō, a Feudal-Japan-style mistress referred to as Katen who created a kunoichi offshoot named Kyōkotsu to hold Shinken Hakkyōken until Nanao eventually asks for it.
Nanao Ise (伊勢 七緒 Ise Nanao) was originally Squad Eight's lieutenant for most of the series, serving under her uncle, Shunsui Kyōraku. Nanao's family is mostly composed of women with a both a lineage of Shinto priesthood and another reputation in the fact that men who marry into the family, like Shunsui's brother, eventually die due to a family curse. As a child, living with elderly relatives after her mother was executed for discarding Shinken Hakkyōken in the aftermath of her father's death, Nanao joined the Thirteen Court Squads for her knowledge in kidō. During her first days as a member of Squad 8, enjoying being read to by former Squad 8 lieutenant Lisa Yadōmaru, Nanao realized her family's zanpakutō was with Shunsui. Nanao is a very serious and pragmatic person like Lisa, which is at odds with Shunsui's silly antics. Despite this, she is extremely respectful of her captain and follows his instructions without hesitation. Nanao is often accosted by her captain, whose teasing takes various forms. When she is particularly annoyed she removes her glasses. Though her face has never been shown while doing so, this act is apparently quite frightening as most characters who see it are reduced to gibbering wrecks just by witnessing it. When Shunsui becomes the new Head Captain, Nanao becomes his lieutenant in Squad 1 alongside Genshirō Okikiba. While she creates a special kidō capable of blocking the Wandenreich during their second invasion of Soul Society, Nanao later convinces Shunsui to give her Shinken Hakkyōken.
Nanao's zanpakutō is Shinken Hakkyōken (神剣八鏡剣 lit. "Holy Sword Eight-Mirror Sword), a family heirloom used in the Ise clan's rites and rituals. Unlike other Soul Reapers, members of the Ise clan lack zanpakutō and only the family head can inherit Shinken Hakkyōken. Nanao is rarely seen with the weapon for most of the story until Shunsui's battle with Lille Barro, her superior having sealed the zanpakutō into Kyōkotsu to honor his sister-in-law's wish to hide the apparent source of the Ise clan's curse from Nanao in hopes it would end with her generation. But as a last resort, as Shinken Hakkyōken is able to harm divine beings, Shunsui gives the bandaged zanpakutō to Nanao while she accepts the consequences despite being skeptical of it. In its Shikai state, Shinken Hakkyōken takes the form of an ornate medium-sized bladeless sword with a flat end with ability to take the power of a god into itself and disperse it off into the eight directions. The weapon did appear in the art book "All Colour but the Black" in its basic unwrapped form, appearing as either a wakizashi or a tantō.
Genshirō Okikiba (沖牙 源志郎 Okikiba Genshirō) was originally 3rd Seat in Squad One, ordered by Yamamoto to guard their barracks during the Wandenreich's attack on the Soul Society. After Yamamoto's death, Okikiba is selected by Shunsui Kyōraku to be his lieutenant along with Nanao Ise.
Shin'etsu Kisaragi (如月 信越 Kisaragi Shin'etsu) was a member of Squad One and father of Shūsuke Amagai introduced in the anime. When Central 46 denied Yamamoto's request to investigate the Kasumiōji Clan Compound upon the clan's manufacturing of the Bakkōtō, Kisaragi is sent to infiltrate the Kasumiōji Clan Compound where he was caught by Gyōkaku Kumoi's men as Gyōkaku Kumoi forces a Bakkōtō on him. Using the control of the Bakkōtō, Kumoi forced Shin'etsu to return to the person who sent him. Shin'etsu ends up fighting Yamamoto, who is forced to kill his subordinate in self-defense. Shūsuke finds his dying body and hears his father's last words "Beware the Bakkōtō".
Originally led by Yoruichi Shihōin, who combined her group's duties with the Stealth Force (隠密機動 Onmitsukidō, lit. "Special Forces"), Squad Two's duties include assassination and covert operations. After Yoruichi is forced to leave her post for aiding in Kisuke's escape when he was accused of the Hollowification of the Vizards, Suì-Fēng became the current captain of Squad Two.
Marenoshin Ōmaeda (大前田 希ノ進 Ōmaeda Marenoshin) is the former lieutenant of Squad 2 under Yoruichi as well as former Captain of the Special Forces Patrol Corps, appearing in the Turn Back the Pendulum gaiden. He is the father of the division's current lieutenant, Marechiyo. His appearance is similar to that of his son. Like his son, Marenoshin likes to downgrade the poorer members of the Gotei 13, like Izuru Kira and Shūhei Hisagi. Marenoshin eventually retired his positions, both of which were taken by his son.
Suì-Fēng (砕蜂（ソイフォン） Soifon, pinyin: Suì Fēng), born Fon Shaolin (蜂 梢綾（フォン シャオリン） Fon Shaorin, pinyin: Fēng Shaolíng), is the captain of Squad 2 and also the current Commander in Chief of the Stealth Force. She is a hard worker who believes strongly in following orders. She is also outwardly antagonistic to her underlings as she believes this keeps them on their toes. During her childhood, she served as a bodyguard and eventual protégé of Yoruichi Shihōin with whom she developed a close relationship. When Yoruichi left the Soul Society, Suì-Fēng was crushed by the fact that Yoruichi did not take her with her. When Yoruichi returns to Soul Society a century later, Suì-Fēng engages her in battle yet did not manage to defeat her. After asking the question of why she was left behind, to which Yoruichi's answer is not heard, the two make amends. Their relationship has become somewhat of a running gag: Suì-Fēng likes anything resembling a black cat (a form Yoruichi can assume at will) and displays jealousy should Yoruichi be in someone else's company. Suì-Fēng also applies battle techniques similar to Yoruichi, engaging the enemies by using hand-to-hand combat with Shunpo abilities.
Suì-Fēng's zanpakutō is Suzumebachi (雀蜂, literally translated as "Hornet"). When released by the command "Sting all Enemies to Death" (尽敵螫殺 Jinteki Shakusetsu), it shrinks into a stinger that is worn on the middle finger of Suì-Fēng's right hand. Whenever it stabs an opponent, a butterfly-like symbol called a hornet's crest (蜂紋華 hōmonka) spreads from the point of contact. The crest bears four wings because the Hornet has two sets of full-size wings located on its thorax. Due to her training, this mark can be kept there for as long as she desires. Should Suzumebachi stab the same location again, the opponent dies. This technique is called "Nigeki Kessatsu (弐撃決殺, Death in Two Steps)". This also holds true if an internal organ is pierced in the same location, regardless of the point of entry into the body. Furthermore, if Suì-Fēng is infected with a foreign poison, she can stab herself with her zanpakutō to counteract the new poison with her own, neutralizing it. Suzumebachi's Bankai, Jakuhō Raikōben (雀蜂雷公鞭, lit. "Hornet Thunder Whip", 雷公 means thunder) is a part shaped like a bee's stomach acting as a homing missile high in power with a part acting as a launcher with a sighting device, shaped like a mask. Holding this bankai makes her hard to move and the thunderous recoil needs something like a Ginjōtan (銀条反, lit. "Cloth of Inverted Silver") or someone to reduct. Suì-Fēng notes that normally she can only use her bankai once every three days without issue; using it more than once in a day, while possible, drains considerable amounts of her spirit energy. So even the second shot would exhaust her to the point where her speed and maneuverability would be seriously impaired which is anathema to her fighting style which requires high levels of both. Even without the weapon, Suì-Fēng reformed the secret art Shunko(瞬開), meaning she is strong in close combat.
In the Japanese version of the series, Suì-Fēng was originally voiced by Tomoko Kawakami; after Kawakami's passing in 2011, the role was taken over by Houko Kuwashima. Karen Strassman provides her voice in the English dub.
Marechiyo Ōmaeda (大前田 希千代 Ōmaeda Marechiyo) is the lieutenant of Squad Two Division and Captain of the Special Forces Patrol Corps. He comes across as arrogant and dull. In an omake, he is shown to come from a rich family, where he is revealed to have a ridiculously long name: Marechiyo Yoshiayamenosuke Nikkōtarōemon Ōmaeda (大前田 日光太郎右衛門 美菖蒲介 希千代 Ōmaeda Nikkōtarōemon Yoshiayamenosuke Marechiyo). Other characters suspect that he received his position as a lieutenant because of his family's influence. Despite his dense and foolish attitude, he is a skilled tactician, is not above putting himself in danger for his duty, and only feigns weakness and stupidity to lull his opponents into underestimating him, using this to aid in his near victory over one of Aizen's arrancar.
Marechiyo's zanpakutō is Gegetsuburi (五形頭, roughly "Five heads"), and is released by the command "Crush" (打っ潰せ buttsubuse). It transforms into an oversized flail that can be thrown to inflict great physical damage to foes. He has not obtained his Bankai yet.
Squad Three was originally led by Rōjūrō "Rose" Otoribashi until he was forced to forfeit his post after Sōsuke Aizen placed him through Hollowification. Gin Ichimaru, formerly Aizen's lieutenant in Squad Five, takes Rose's position until Aizen revealed his true colors. After Izuru briefly taking over captain duties for a while, the anime depicting Shūsuke Amagai to momentarily hold the captain status before his death, Rose is allowed to resume his duties after Aizen was defeated.
Chikane Iba (射場 千鉄 Iba Chikane) is the former lieutenant of Squad 3 under Rōjūrō Otoribashi, appearing in the Turn Back the Pendulum gaiden. She is the mother of Tetsuzaemon Iba, the current lieutenant of the 7th Division. She retired from her position sometime later.
Izuru Kira (吉良 イヅル Kira Izuru, romanized as "Iduru" in Bleach Official Character Book SOULs and other Japanese sources) is the lieutenant of Squad Three, formerly in Squads 5 and 4. He is a friend of Momo Hinamori and Renji Abarai from their days in the Soul Reaper academy, and the three often spend their free time together. Though Kira is loyal to his friends, he often places his duties as a lieutenant above them. He defends his captain, Gin Ichimaru, from a grief-stricken Hinamori, and later calls himself a "monster" for raising his sword against her. He subsequently comes to regret helping Gin Ichimaru to defect from Soul Society, and develops more of a depressed and pessimistic demeanor. During the Wandenreich invasion, Kira is mortally wounded by Sternritter Bazz-B. However, he is revealed to have survived the attack and is later healed by Mayuri Kurotsuchi, allowing him to battle the multiple weakened bird cloned copy's of Lille Barro's Vollständig.
Kira's zanpakutō is Wabisuke (侘助, lit. "Apology helper", translated in other medias "the penitent one" "Apologizer"). The shikai command is "raise your head" (面を上げろ omote o agero). When released, Wabisuke straightens and its blade forms three sides of squares, becoming angular hook. It has the ability to double the weight of whatever it strikes. The effect is cumulative, so each following hit exponentially increases the weight of the target. Thus, after seven or eight blocked attacks, his opponents are unable to lift their own swords or even move their body, leaving them on the ground with their head bowed as though asking forgiveness. At this point Wabisuke's released form, a blade bent into a squared hook, comes into play, being used to decapitate the kneeling opponent, denying them forgiveness.
Shūsuke Amagai (天貝 繍助 Amagai Shūsuke) is an anime-exclusive character introduced as the captain of Squad 3 during season nine of the anime. He has an unkempt appearance and is usually bright, lively, and unpretentious, and can become drunk on a single drink of alcohol. Because Amagai spent most of his Soul Reaper career away from Soul Society as part of a patrol group, the members of the 3rd Division are mistrustful of him when first meeting him. As such, he spends the episodes following his introduction trying to prove himself to them and the rest of the Soul Reapers by promoting teamwork between all the divisions. As the anime progresses Amagai is quickly revealed to have ulterior motives, with his friendly attitude only being a means to further his plans. He joined the Gotei 13 in order to exact revenge upon Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto for killing his father to keep the bakkōtō a secret. After his various accomplices are slain in Soul Society, Amagai takes the nuclei of their bakkōtō and engages Yamamoto in battle. He ends up fighting Ichigo Kurosaki while Rukia and the others Rurichiyo Kasumioji (who Amagai abducted after killing Gyokaku Kumoi) and is defeated by Ichigo. Upon learning the truth about his father's death, he takes his own life to atone for his misdeeds.
Amagai's zanpakutō is Raika (雷火, roughly "Lightning Flash"). The shikai command of his zanpakutō is "sever" (断ち切れ tachikire). When released, it takes the form of a white hook sword with curved pipes that form the hilt. He can focus fireballs into the crux of the hook and, by slamming it into the ground, create large fissures of flame to attack enemies with. Raika's bankai, Raika Gōen Kaku (雷火豪炎殻, literally "Lightning Flash Flame Shell"), enlarges the blade and creates a giant conch-shaped guard worn across Amagai's arm, with the handle of the blade hidden inside it. This form gives him greater control of his fire attacks, his most powerful technique creating giant dragons of fire to encircle and crush his foe. His Bakkōtō, a twin-bladed tuning fork-shaped weapon, creates black-plated armor across Amagai's right arm and a green energy sword emitting from the weapon when activated.
His Bakkōtō (獏爻刀, roughly "tapir crossing blade") negates any other active Soul Reaper zanpakutō abilities, forcing opponents to rely on other powers.
Makoto Kibune (貴船 理 Kibune Makoto) is an anime character who is added to Squad 3 as the 3rd Seat during season nine of the anime. He has brown hair and purple-rimmed glasses. While he outwardly appears friendly towards his subordinates, he is highly intolerant towards failure, calling those who fall in battle "trash". When in training at the Soul Reaper academy, Kibune stood out as a highly gifted student, but his inability to function in a team prevented him from attaining rank in the Gotei 13 where a teammate getting injured upon his attack on a hollow got him in trouble with Central 46. This led Kibune to join the patrol squads under Shūsuke Amagai instead. Around this time, he became a servant of Gyōkaku Kumoi and gained a bakkōtō. Though it gives him the necessary power to wreak havoc on Soul Society, he eventually loses control of the Bakkōtō and is killed by Izuru Kira as Makoto's body laid on the ground in flames.
Kibune's zanpakutō is Reppū (烈風, literally "Gale"). When released by the command "rampage" (荒れ狂え are kurue), it takes the form of a large, two-bladed weapon. When combined with his Bakkōtō, Makoto can telekinetically control the sword, allowing him to attack enemies from any direction and spin the blade like a saw blade.
Retsu Unohana (卯ノ花 烈 Unohana Retsu) was the captain of Squad 4, one of the founding members of the Gotei 13 and the first Kenpachi, a title granted to the captains of the Squad 11. Before becoming a captain, Unohana was regarded as the most diabolical criminal to ever grace Soul Society, being infamous for her sadistic bloodlust for battle. She invented the "Art of Killing" and gave herself the name Yachiru Unohana (卯ノ花 八千流 Unohana Yachiru) in part of her boast that she had mastered all kind of fighting arts. Unohana was desperate to find opponents who can give her satisfying challenges until she battled Kenpachi Zaraki, whom she regarded as stronger than her after being able to give her a scar on the chest. However, for unknown reasons, after becoming the captain of Squad 4, Unohana became a serene and soft-spoken lady who never displayed distress even in the most perilous situations and when situations prove demanding, she usually responded with sharp-minded thinking. She used honorifics when addressing everyone, including her subordinates. As the captain of Squad 4, Unohana excelled in healing techniques, being taught to her by Royal Guard member, Tenjiro Kirinji, which she put to use in treating the most severe injuries and performing major surgeries, normally on the captains and if necessary, lieutenants. Though she is always polite to her patients and subordinates, aspects of her true persona manifested a bit with her mere presence intimidating her charges into submission if they try to leave her care before they are fully healed or, in the English dub, if they complain about the way they are being treated. She was very good in noticing details, as shown by her being the first to notice a slight abnormality on Aizen's fake corpse, which was confirmed later on by Aizen himself. During the Battle of Karakura Town, she was one of the captains sent to assist Ichigo in Hueco Mundo and later accompanied Ichigo to the town through Garganta, although she did not take part in the battle directly. Later, during the Wandenreich invasion, Unohana and all other members of her division were ordered to remain in their barracks by Yamamoto and after Shunsui Kyōraku became the new Captain-Commander, she resumed her true persona when asked to train Zaraki in what would become a battle to the death. After repeatedly taking Zaraki to the brink of death and bringing him back to continue fighting, Unohana released her Bankai to complete Zaraki's "awakening". In the end, she was run through by Zaraki, dying, but grateful that she had served her purpose and helped Zaraki to learn the name of his zanpakutō.
Unohana's zanpakutō is Minazuki (肉雫唼, roughly "Flesh Purifier"). When in its sealed form it resembles a curved tachi. In its shikai, the entire sword transforms into a gigantic, flying, one-eyed creature resembling a manta ray. It has the ability to heal people by swallowing them and recuperates them in its stomach. When Unohana reseals Minazuki, it dissolves into green mist and reforms into the sheath of her zanpakutō. Her bankai is Minazuki (皆尽, lit. "End of the World"). When activated it releases a red, oily substance from the blade. Its powers have yet to be revealed.
Seinosuke Yamada (山田 清之介 Yamada Seinosuke) is the former lieutenant of the Squad 4, the older brother of Hanatarō Yamada. He served the division 100 years ago, during the Turn Back the Pendulum gaiden. While much of him is unknown, Seinosuke is described as having a bad character, although he respects his captain, Retsu Unohana very much. He later left his position.
Isane Kotetsu (虎徹 勇音 Kotetsu Isane) is the lieutenant and, after Unohana's death, captain of Squad 4. She is the older sister of Kiyone Kotetsu. Unlike Kiyone, Isane is generally quiet and observant and taller than average, though she shares her sister's sense of loyalty to her captain. Unohana notes that Isane suffers from frequent and recurring nightmares. This is sometimes used as material for jokes as Isane's nightmares are often odd or whimsical in their contents. For example, she once had a nightmare that ended with her screaming "fish paste." She is very emotional by nature, crying after the Wandereich's first invasion of the Soul Society and again when she finds Captain Unohana's farewell note before the latter's fight to the death with Zaraki.
During the Soul Society Arc, she was present at Rukia's execution. When Ichigo appeared, Isane, alongside Chōjirō Sasakibe and Marechiyo Ōmaeda, attacked him but were swiftly defeated. She was present when Aizen revealed his true nature to Hitsugaya and Unohana, and quickly broadcast the information to the rest of Soul Society. Isane was part of the reinforcements sent to Hueco Mundo in order to assist Ichigo and his friends. She and Unohana healed Chad and Gantenbainne Mosqueda after saving them from the Exequias. After Unohana headed to Fake Karakura Town, she orderend Isane to assist Captain Byakuya Kuchiki and Captain Kenpachi Zaraki in battle against Espada Yammy Llargo. During the Wandenreich invasion of Soul Society, Isane and the rest of the 4th Division were ordered by Yamamoto to remain in their barracks.
Isane's zanpakutō is Itegumo (凍雲, literally "frozen cloud", translated in the English manga as "Frozen snow") her shikai command is "Sprint" (奔れ Hashire). When released, two smaller blades protrude from Itegumo's hilt at 45° angles. Its special abilities, if any, remain unknown.
Yasochika Iemura (伊江村 八十千和 Iemura Yasochika) is the 3rd Seat Officer of the Squad 4 and the leader of its first relief team serving under Retsu Unohana. Despite his high rank, he addresses his 3rd seat peers in the other divisions with a -sama honorific suffix as he comes from the weakest division in terms of combat. Iemura meticulously keeps a diary, which he sometimes defeats the purpose of by narrating what he is writing in it, particularly when lamenting something. He is quite proficient in the use of healing Kidō and his speedy treatments are known to rival those of his Division's lieutenant, Isane Kotetsu.
The name and abilities of Iemura's zanpakutō are unknown. Iemura was only seen using his sword once in the manga against a 4th Division member after the latter annoyed him. It resembles a regular katana with a square shaped guard.
Hanatarō Yamada (山田 花太郎 Yamada Hanatarō) is the 7th Seat Officer of Squad 4 and the leader of its 14th Relief Squad. Hanatarō is very timid and nervous, mostly he is not thinking about what he is doing. He tends to be clumsy and easily duped. Despite his character, he is shown to be very talented in healing and treating including even displaying boldness at times as he risks his position as a Soul Reaper to help Rukia Kuchiki escape execution while healing Ichigo on several occasions. Instead of his zanpakutō, Hanatarō usually carries the 4th Division medical pack on his back that he uses to heal others in the battlefield. Because he has strong relationships with Ichigo, Rukia and Renji, he is part of the reinforcement sent by Gotei 13 to infiltrate Hueco Mundo in order to assist his fellow Soul Reapers in battle, presumably healing them once the battle is over. In Hueco Mundo, Hanatarō was assigned to Captain Byakuya Kuchiki instead of his own captain, Unohana. While there, he was briefly injured by Rukia who at that time was under Zommari Leroux's control but made full recovery and immediately resumed his duty. He is also known as the "Lil' Creepy Medical Kid".
Though he does possess a zanpakutō, named Hisagomaru (瓠丸, "Gourd"), he tends to misplace it as he rarely needs to use it. When it strikes an opponent, Hisagomaru heals their wounds rather than causing them damage. A red gauge on the blade then fills depending on the severity of the healed wounds. Once the gauge is filled and it is released with the command "Fulfill" (満たせ Mitase), Hisagomaru transforms into a scalpel and changes its name to Akeiro Hisagomaru (朱色瓠丸, "crimson gourd"). In this state, Hisagomaru unleashes a reiatsu-based attack (similar to kido or cero) equal to the severity and amount of wounds that has been healed. The proportion of its strength, if enough energy is stored, is nearly strong enough to decapitate a Menos. However, upon releasing the energies, Akiero Hisagomaru retains its scalpel form, rendering it effectively useless in hand-to-hand combat. He can also release the current amount of energy before it is filled, although this is only mentioned and not actually seen. It Is also only known that Zanpakutō has different names in sealed form and shikai.
Hanatarō was one of the selected higher officers who has been ordered to transfer a partial amount of their own reiatsu to restore Ichigo's Soul Reaper power, although the order is only applicable to captains and lieutenants. It is best concluded that Hanatarō is on the par at the lieutenant's level.
Squad Five was originally led by Shinji Hirako until he was forced to forfeit his post to his lieutenant Sōsuke Aizen after the latter placed him through Hollowification. It was after Aizen revealed his true colors, with Momo briefly taking over captain duties for a while, that Shinji is allowed to resume his duties as captain after Aizen was defeated.
Momo Hinamori (雛森 桃 Hinamori Momo) is the lieutenant of Squad 5. She is an upbeat and easy-going girl who is generally quite trusting, if not naive. She is a childhood friend of Tōshirō Hitsugaya, who called her "bed-wetter Momo" in retaliation whenever she called him "Shiro-chan" ("Lil' Shiro" in the English dub). She befriended Izuru Kira and Renji Abarai when she joined the Soul Reaper academy, and the three later joined the 5th Division under Sōsuke Aizen. Being the only one of them to have stayed with the division, Hinamori greatly admired Aizen; it is because of her deep admiration and respect for him that she is in deep shock and denial after he tries to kill her and subsequently betrays the Soul Society, even suggesting in one of her mentally unstable moments that Gin Ichimaru is controlling him somehow. She later joins the rest of Soul Society in fighting against Aizen during this battle, and calls Aizen a captain, but Matsumoto knows it was only out of habit. During this battle, Aizen again has Momo seriously injured by using his powers and fooling Momo's long time friend Captain Hitsugaya into stabbing her in the chest. It is later revealed that she survives this and is undergoing organ regeneration under the supervision of Mayuri Kurotsuchi. The final arc shows Momo being recovered and that she has been on good terms with Shinji Hirako as he became her new captain.
Momo's zanpakutō is Tobiume (飛梅, literally "Flying plum"). Her shikai command is "Snap" (弾け hajike). When released, Tobiume's blade straightens and produces several jitte-like prongs along its length. In this form, Tobiume acts as a focus for Hinamori's spiritual power, concentrating it into energy bursts capable of cratering floors and breaching walls. She can also compress her power into massive energy balls and toss them from the blade's tip. To complement her kidō-based zanpakutō, Hinamori is noted to be talented with kidō spells as well, able to combine kidō abilities with her own zanpakutō to easily deal with three arrancars at once. She is voiced by Kumi Sakuma in the Japanese version and by Karen Strassman in the English dub.
Ginrei Kuchiki (朽木 銀嶺 Kuchiki Ginrei) is the captain of Squad 6 and the head of the Kuchiki family during the Turn Back the Pendulum gaiden. His grandson Byakuya Kuchiki eventually replaces him in both positions.
Sōjun Kuchiki (朽木 蒼純 Kuchiki Sōjun) was the former lieutenant of the Squad 6 under Ginrei Kuchiki, appearing in the Turn Back the Pendulum gaiden. He is Ginrei Kuchiki's son and Byakuya Kuchiki's father. Sōjun had severe health issues, although he still wanted to succeed his father as the Head of Kuchiki family. However, he was later killed in action and was buried next to his wife.
Ginjirō Shirogane (銀 銀次郎 Ginjirō Shirogane) is the former lieutenant of Squad 6 under Byakuya Kuchiki. He runs a popular eyeglasses store, the Gin Tobo, in which his daughter, Mihane also works. After his store became busy, he decided to resign from his position to be replaced by Renji Abarai. However, he still maintains contact with his former comrades, including sending them free eyeglasses.
Kōga Kuchiki (朽木 響河 Kuchiki Kōga) is introduced as the 3rd Seat of Squad 6 during season thirteen of the anime. He does not appear in the manga. He was a prominent up-and-coming Soul Reaper during a period of civil war in Soul Society, who had recently joined the Kuchiki clan, and was rising through the ranks of the 6th Division.
His zanpakutō, Muramasa, possessed the ability to enter the hearts or "inner worlds" of Soul Reapers and turn their zanpakutō against them. He became well respected in Soul Society. But fear of this power coupled with a trio of captains (who were leaders of the civil war) led to his being framed as a treasonous murderer. Despite being imprisoned, as Ginrei defends him from the charges, Kōga is freed by Muramasa with the hope they could build a better world together. However, out of rage, Kōga murdered the three captains that framed him and then went on a killing spree despite Ginrei's attempt to stop him. Over time, Kōga's voice grew fainter and fainter to Muramasa, until the day Ginrei and Yamamoto confronted Kōga and sealed him away, Muramasa never appearing, as he could no longer hear his master's voice.
Centuries passed, and Muramasa eventually learned of Kōga's fate. Materializing in Soul Society, he manipulated the Gotei 13's zanpakutō into forming a rebellion, using them as a cover to capture Yamamoto and, with Ichigo's unwitting assistance, free his master, although Kōga immediately turned on him out of spite for not coming when he had called for him before even though Muramasa claimed that he couldn't hear Kōga. Byakuya then attacked Kōga, revealing that he and Senbonzakura had pretended to be in league with Muramasa in order to find Kōga and kill him, as this had been Ginrei's request to Byakuya should Kōga ever resurface. Destroying his bond with Muramasa completely, Kōga dies alone in battle against Byakuya as his body falls into the water.
Squad Seven was originally led by Love Aikawa until he was forced to forfeit his post after Sōsuke Aizen placed him through Hollowification. By the events of the story, Sajin Komamura took over Love's position as captain.
Jin'emon Kotsubaki (小椿 刃右衛門 Kotsubaki Jin'emon) is the former lieutenant of Squad Seven under Love Aikawa, appearing in the Turn Back the Pendulum gaiden. He is also the father of Sentarō Kotsubaki. Jin'emon later left his service for unknown reasons.
Sajin Komamura (狛村 左陣 Komamura Sajin) is the captain of the Squad Seven, a member of the Werewolf Clan that was once banished to the Animal Realm and transformed to anthropomorphic wolves for committing various crimes. However, they managed to survive and eventually climbed back to the Soul Society despite retaining their half-beast forms. Originally, Komamura is very self-conscious about his appearance and wore a large helmet that conceals his entire head before it was destroyed during his fight with Kenpachi Zaraki. From there on, Komamura gained enough confidence to show his face. His canine appearance is often the source of jokes; for example, when his lieutenant asks where to find a bathroom, he appears to direct him to a fire hydrant, though he is in fact pointing at a bathroom just around the corner. Komamura has a close friendship with Kaname Tōsen and is shocked when the latter defects from Soul Society, feeling that his friend has abandoned his morals. Komamura resolves to awaken Tōsen with his own hands. However, after seeing his former friend's motives and ideology, realizes he has no choice but to fight him. Komamura is immensely strong as demonstrated by his ability to hurl the arrancar Poww's massive released state over his head and onto the ground. Komamura engages Tōsen in battle until his former friend is defeated by Shūhei Hisagi and dies. Later, during the Wandenreich invasion of the Soul Society, Komamura battles the Stern Ritter Bambietta Basterbine by releasing his bankai, but she steals his bankai from him. During the short break after the first invasion, he visited his gigantic werewolf grandfather to train, saying that he no longer feels ashamed of his ancestry. When the Wandenreich begins their second invasion, Komamura confronts Bambietta again, this time being able to retrieve his bankai while revealing to have used the Humanization Technique his grandfather taught him to assume human form while fully invincible at the cost of his heart. Once he beats Bambietta to an inch of her life, the effects of the Humanization Technique wear off and Komamura regress back to his usual form as Iba carries his captain's body away while telling him that they will avenge Yamamoto. Ten years after the Wandenreich's invasion, it is shown that Iba has replaced Komamura's position as captain; Komamura's whereabouts itself is not revealed.
Komamura's zanpakutō is Tenken (天譴, literally "Judgement", translated in the English manga as "Sword of heavenly retribution"). Once released with the command "roar" (轟け todoroke), Tenken creates various body parts of a giant to copy whatever body part Komamura moves; for example, should Komamura swing his sword, a gigantic disembodied arm wielding a sword appears and does the same thing. Tenken's bankai, Kokujō Tengen Myō'ō (黒縄天譴明王, lit. "Vidyarāja of Kalasutra", translated in the English manga as "divine retribution, black ropes of ruination") brings forth the entire giant, which also copies Komamura's movements. Though extremely destructive, Komamura's bankai has a major weakness; any damage inflicted on the giant is reflected upon Komamura, and any damage done to the giant's sword is reflected upon his zanpakutō, as shown when Aizen breaks Komamura's sword and severs his left arm. This weakness essentially makes it a bigger target to a strong enough opponent. According to Tosen, Komamura's Bankai is supposed to finish off the opponent in one hit, which could mean its weakness is to balance out its immense strength. While the weakness may seem overwhelming at first glance, Komamura and his bankai sharing one another's pain is also an advantage; because of the connection the two share, Komamura's bankai will heal at a rate proportional to how much Komamura heals, making it the only bankai in the Soul Society capable of being restored without needing to be modified or reforged. After attaining his Human Transformation technique, Komamura's bankai gains a new ability, Dangai Jōe (断鎧縄衣,lit."Armor abandoned and clad in ropes"). In this form, the giant sheds its armor and becomes more agile and demonic in appearance. Due to the nature of Komamura's Human Transformation Technique, the giant and Komamura become virtually immune to physical damage.
Tetsuzaemon Iba (射場 鉄左衛門 Iba Tetsuzaemon) is the lieutenant and, ten years after the Wandenreich's invasion, captain of the Squad Seven. Iba had transferred from Squad 11 once realizing he would never be promoted to lieutenant if he had stayed, a goal which Ikkaku Madarame implies is to follow in the footsteps of his mother, Chikane Iba. His former compatriots look down upon him because of this, though Iba still enjoys a good fight and usually spends his free time with Squad 11 members. He and Ikkaku Madarame have a custom of dueling with each other, drinking sake, then dueling again to see who has to get more. Iba has a distinctive hair cut and wears black sunglasses with his standard Soul Reaper uniform. Iba is well-rounded in both swordsmanship and kidō, only because it made becoming a lieutenant easier.
The name of Iba's zanpakutō is unknown as well as its abilities. In its released state, Iba's zanpakutō extends into a falchion or a large bladed scimitar with a pick-like protrusion a short distance below the tip of the sword.
He is voiced by Rintarou Nishi in the Japanese version and by Steve Cassling in the English dub.
Jirōbō Ikkanzaka (一貫坂慈楼坊 Ikkanzaka Jirōbō) is the former 4th seat of Squad 7. He is the younger brother of Jidanbō Ikkanzaka, the gatekeeper who guards the entry to Seireitei. He appeared only once to fight Uryū Ishida and Orihime Inoue when they were in Sereitei trying to rescue Rukia. He tries to kill Inoue, but is quickly defeated by Uryū, who pierces Jirōbō's Chain of Fate and Soul Sleep with his arrows, resulting in the permanent loss of Jirōbō's Soul Reaper powers.
Jirōbō's zanpakutō is Tsunzakigarasu (劈烏 literally "Rending crow"). The shikai command is "flap away" (羽搏きなさい, habatakinasai; "Spread Your Wings" in the English dub). It consists of countless flying curved blades, which he can control using telekinesis. Although the blades move faster than the eye can see, they can be easily destroyed or dodged using Flash Step or other fast-moving techniques.
Squad Eight was originally led by Shunsui Kyōraku until he is promoted to Head Captain and transferred to Squad One with his lieutenant Nanao Ise. During his time as Squad Eight captain, Shunsui originally had Lisa Yadōmaru as his lieutenant before her Hollowification resulted in her leaving her post. Sometime after the Wandenreich's invasion, Lisa returns to Soul Society and fills the vacant seat of the captain of Squad Eight.
Tatsufusa Enjōji (円乗寺 辰房 Enjōji Tatsufusa) is the 3rd seat of Squad 8. When Ichigo and friends invaded the Soul Society to rescue Rukia, Tatsufusa tried to prevent Yasutora "Chad" Sado from reaching her only to be defeated by Yasutora.
Squad Nine was originally led by Kensei Muguruma until he and his lieutenant Mashiro Kuna were forced to forfeit their posts after Sōsuke Aizen placed them through Hollowification. Kaname Tōsen, Aizen's accomplice, takes Kensei's position until Aizen revealed his true colors. After Shūhei briefly takes over captain duties for a while, he becomes a co-lieutenant when Kensei and Mashiro resume their duties after Aizen was defeated.
Kaname Tōsen (東仙 要 Tōsen Kaname) was the captain of Squad 9 at the start of the series, formerly its 5th Seat officer during the Turn Back the Pendulum gaiden. He had been blind since birth, but was capable of using his spiritual sense to "see". Tōsen was an extremely calm and serious pacifist, though he will not restrain from fighting for what he believes in or to preserve justice. His philosophies were adopted from a peaceful friend he had before becoming a Soul Reaper. When the peaceful friend's husband killed her for nagging him, Tōsen became disillusioned that such a righteous person could be killed for such an insignificant reason. After the murder, his creed in life became "take the path with the least bloodshed". He felt it necessary to join Sōsuke Aizen in defecting from the Soul Reapers at the conclusion of the Soul Society arc. Later revealed to have underwent hollowification prior to his battle against Komamura in the Fake Karakura Town, Tōsen reveals he betrayed the Soul Reapers as he saw injustice in the Soul Society's refusal to administer capital punishment to his friend's killer. From there, Tōsen completely transforms into a hollow and, too consumed in his ecstasy of seeing for the first time in his life, is struck down by Hisagi. Reverting to his human form, his hollow powers barely keeping him alive, Tōsen is able to have closure with Komamura while requesting to see Hisagi's face one last time. However, having not been vaccinated to prevent the Soul Suicide side effect of hollowification, Tōsen explodes into blood splatter to Komamura and Hisagi's horror.
Tōsen's zanpakutō is called Suzumushi (清虫, literally "pure insects", but read as "cricket"; translated in the English manga as "bell bug"). Its abilities are vibrations. In its shikai, Suzumushi releases high-pitched tone that renders unconscious anyone who hears it. Its second form, Benihiko, sword creates trail of hundreds of blades, which rain down on his opponent. Bankai state, Suzumushi Tsuishiki Enma Korogi, allows Tōsen to create a sensory deprivation dome around himself and his opponent. After being modified by Aizen, Tōsen gains the powers of a Vizard and uses his Resurrección Suzumushi Hyakushiki Grillar Grillo to become an insect-like hollow and regain his sight. This makes Suzumushi a Zanpakutō with the highest known amount of release forms. He is voiced by Toshiyuki Morikawa in the Japanese version and by David Rasner in the English dub, until episode 278 when replaced with Brian Palermo.
Shūhei Hisagi (檜佐木 修兵 Hisagi Shūhei) is the co-lieutenant of the Squad 9, sharing the position with Mashiro Kuna. As a child he was saved by the then 9th Division captain, Kensei Muguruma. In later years Shūhei has a "69" tattoo on the left side of his face, matching the one Kensei has on his stomach. There also may be a connection with his zanpakutō and Kensei's zanpakutō, as they both use Kaze, or wind. While acting as an instructor at the Soul Reaper academy, Shūhei's class was attacked by a hollow and in fighting it he received a distinctive scar across his face. Shūhei is an extremely mature and calm individual, allowing him to get along well with his captain, Kaname Tōsen. After Tōsen defects from Soul Society, Shūhei assumes the duties of his captain as an acting replacement. Though he swore to help Komamura "open the eyes" of his former captain, in the end he is forced to attack Tōsen to keep him from killing Komamura. According to series creator Tite Kubo, Hisagi became fairly popular with fans long before his backstory and personality were really explored, an abnormality among Bleach characters. Shūhei's zanpakutō is Kazeshini (風死, literally "Death Wind"). When released with the command "reap" (刈れ kare), it takes the form of two kusarigama-like weapons, with two blades curving both directions, connected by a long chain. With Kensei's help, Shuhei manages to achieve Kazeshini's bankai state sometime during the Wandenreich's invasion, though it is not revealed. He is voiced by Katsuyuki Konishi in the Japanese version and by Steve Staley in the English dub.
Prior to taking his wife's surname, Ichigo's father Isshin Shiba (志波一心 Shiba Isshin) was originally captain of Squad 10 two decades ago. It is unknown what his relationships are with the other members of the "Shiba", most notably with Kaien Shiba, who bears a strong resemblance to Ichigo. Most of his actions as a Soul Reaper remain unknown, except for the events at Naruki City, where he met the Quincy Masaki Kurosaki while fighting Aizen's hollow White. When Masaki is bitten by White, she undergoes hollowfication before Isshin stopped it by renouncing his Soul Reaper powers and linking his soul to hers to halt the process. This resulted in Isshin remaining in the World of Living as Isshin Kurosaki (黒崎 一心 Kurosaki Isshin). Having lost Masaki to the elusive Hollow Grand Fisher, Isshin regained his Soul Reaper powers yet concealed it from his family for some time as he killed off the Arrancar that Grand Fisher became while regretting that he did not have his power prior to save Masaki. Isshin eventually reveals himself as a Soul Reaper to Ichigo while aiding him in his fight with Aizen, appearing just as the villain was about to reveal his son's lineage as the offspring of a Soul Reaper and a Quincy. Seventeen months later, after Ichigo regains his Soul Reaper power and the Wandenreich complete their first invasion of the Soul Society, Isshin appears to Ichigo in his Soul Reaper attire and explains Ichigo's past to him.
Having unbelievable spiritual pressure, despite being knocked by Ichigo at times, Isshin is tremendously powerful. Isshin's zanpakutō is called "Engetsu" (剡月, Scathing Moon), The release command is "Burn" (燃えろ moero), whereupon the blade becomes wreathed in a flame emanating from the tassels. Spitting blood onto the blade creates a huge wave of fire. His Bankai is yet to be shown in the current storyline, but is noted by Aizen to put a considerable strain on his body, thus being unusable if Isshin is heavily injured. He is voiced by Toshiyuki Morikawa in the Japanese version and by Patrick Seitz in the English dub.
The current captain of Squad 10 and the series breakout character. His zanpakuto is "Hyōrinmaru" (氷輪丸, lit. "Ice Ring"), summoning a dragon made of ice and making ice made from moisture around Tōshirō. His bankai is "Daiguren Hyōrinmaru" (大紅蓮氷輪丸, lit. "Great Crimson Ice Ring", idiosyncratically Great Crimson Moon). Wings and a protector on his right arm, a time meter made of ice appears on Tōshirō. During this form he can perform more powerful moves by ice.
Rangiku Matsumoto (松本 乱菊 Matsumoto Rangiku) is the lieutenant of Squad 10. She often avoids her duties as a lieutenant so that she can go shopping or drinking with her fellow lieutenants. She usually uses her beauty, or her famously exposed cleavage and large breasts to gain attention or to manipulate others to get what she wants. Despite avoiding her responsibilities, Rangiku is very serious and thoughtful when carrying out her duties as a lieutenant and often her peers and subordinates look to her for important advice. She is also a competent and skilled fighter and is capable enough to overwhelm another strong lieutenant such as Izuru Kira or an arrancar. She is able to withstand long enough to fight three strong fraccion of Tier Halibel. Rangiku has known ex-captain Gin Ichimaru since they were children. Gin found her almost mutilated before Aizen's minions could kill her, thus saving her life. They remained quite close even after joining the Gotei 13 until Gin's betrayal when he sided with Aizen (to protect Rangiku and take revenge against Aizen for ever hurting her, although Rangiku was unaware of this). Rangiku is shown to be the only person Gin genuinely cares for. She is shown to care for him deeply, mourning him greatly after his selfless death, as noted by Nanao Ise.
She persuaded Tōshirō Hitsugaya, while he was still residing in Rukongai, to join the Gotei 13 to gain control over his spiritual pressure. The two of them have grown close ever since. Although Hitsugaya always bickers about her drinking habit and laziness, she has an unwavering loyalty and devotion to him and frequently tries to get him to lighten up, despite his serious attitude. Before Hitsugaya, Rangiku also had a close relationship with her former captain, Isshin Shiba, who is just as lazy as herself. She often foisted her responsibilities onto Isshin, who would then retaliate in kind.
Rangiku's zanpakutō is Haineko (灰猫, literally "Ash cat"). Its guard is in the shape of a cat's head. When released with the command "Purrl" (唸れ Unare), the blade dissolves into ash. In combat, Matsumoto can control the movement of the ash, and cut anything it lands on by moving the hilt. The ash is also solid enough to be used as a shield to block enemy attacks. Due to her laziness, she has difficulty achieving bankai. Series creator, Tite Kubo identifies Rangiku as one of his two favorite female characters in the series, citing that he "has a lot of fun drawing her and creating stories with her."
Founded by its original leader Retsu Unohana, Squad Eleven is a direct-combat Division with a specialization in swords-only combat, making them the most specialized division as they forgo other Soul Reaper practices. What separates the division is its members' ideals is that fighting is what makes life worth living and prefer death in battle. The squad captain of Squad Eleven takes on the title "Kenpachi", with its current leader being the eleventh Kenpachi: Kenpachi Zaraki.
Kenpachi Kiganjō (鬼厳城 剣八 Kiganjō Kenpachi) was the captain of Squad 11 Division immediately preceding Kenpachi Zaraki, primarily known as the 10th Kenpachi. Before he became captain, his name was Gosuke Kiganjō (鬼厳城 五助 Kiganjō Gosuke). He appeared in the Turn Back the Pendulum gaiden, set 100 years before the main story. Kiganjō was bloodthirsty like all other captains of the division, though he was shown to be extremely lazy, as he often failed to attend the captains' meeting, as stated by Shinji Hirako. His position was eventually relinquished, along with his life, during Zaraki's captaincy test, which required him killing Kiganjō while watched by 200 members of the 11th Division.
Yachiru Kusajishi (草鹿 やちる Kusajishi Yachiru) is the lieutenant of Squad 11. She is most recognizable by her mid-length, bright pink hair. She is childlike in most aspects, as she is small, cute, cheerful, and carefree most of the time. She was found as an infant by Kenpachi Zaraki in the 79th District of Rukongai's North Alley, "Kusajishi", the second-most violent area of Rukongai compared to the 80th District "Zaraki". Despite being drenched in blood and having just killed a large group of men, Kenpachi did not frighten her as she touched his blood-soaked zanpakuto unfazed. Kenpachi named her "Yachiru", in memory of the one person he ever admired, the current captain of the 4th Division, Retsu "Yachiru" Unohana. Since that day, Yachiru has spent much of her time clinging to his back for transport. Like Zaraki, she has no sense of direction, even though he relies on her to find his way; when Kenpachi asks her for directions, her usual response is to simply point in a random direction. Yachiru resents being criticized in any way and will often attack the perpetrator in comical fashion. Further reflecting her childlike nature, Yachiru likes to give people nicknames; for example, she calls her captain Ken-chan ("Kenny" in the English version) and calls Byakuya Bya-kun. Various Bleach omakes show that Yachiru has an absolute love for candy, which is often exploited by other characters to bribe her into leaving them alone. Despite her childlike appearance, Yachiru is apparently quite strong, being capable of lifting Kenpachi and leaping between buildings while carrying him. She is also very fast for her size. She can emit a large amount of spiritual power when angry, which forms into a large, pink, angry cat face. She also has a very high spiritual pressure.
Yachiru's zanpakutō is named Sanpo Kenjū (三步剣獣 "Three-Step Sword Beasts"). In its sealed state Sanpo Kenjū takes the form of a wakizashi with a pink hilt which she drags around on a string. Two wheels attached to the bottom of the sheath for her by Ikkaku Madarame facilitate this. According to Yachiru, the ability of her zanpakuto creates two invisible copycats which respectively attack right before and right after Yachiru's own attacks, effectively causing Yachiru's attacks to hit three times and making them more difficult to dodge. Whenever Yachiru wants to, she can make the copycats (who she calls "kids") become visible to others, revealing their monstrous and intimidating appearance.
It is later revealed that Yachiru is actually a manifestation of Kenpachi's zanpakuto, Nozarashi. During the battle against the Wandenreich, Yachiru tells Kenpachi to release her true power, after which she vanishes to form Kenpachi's bankai state. Her position as lieutenant is then filled by Ikkaku.
Ikkaku Madarame (斑目 一角 Madarame Ikkaku) is the 3rd Seat and, ten years after the Wandenreich's invasion, lieutenant of the Squad 11. He is a battle-loving man with a bald head. He fought and was defeated by Kenpachi Zaraki sometime in the past, though was strong enough to survive the battle. Once Zaraki became captain of the 11th Division, Ikkaku and his friend Yumichika Ayasegawa joined the Soul Reapers so that they could fight and die under Zaraki's command. He shares a number of similarities with his captain such as seeking enjoyment in battles by risking his life. He is reportedly the second strongest man in the division. Though strong enough to take a position as a captain, Ikkaku insists his one mission in life is to die under the command of Zaraki.
Ikkaku's zanpakutō is Hōzukimaru (鬼灯丸, referring to the Japanese name for the winter cherry, meaning "Demon light"). Though ordinary in appearance, he stores a blood-clotting styptic ointment in its hilt. When released by the command "extend" (延びろ nobiro), it transforms into a yari with a wax wood shaft. While he usually treats it as such, he can also turn its shaft into a three section staff to surprise the opponent by using the command "split" (裂けろ sakero). Ikkaku has achieved bankai, though he keeps this a secret from most characters so that he is not pressured to become a captain. Hōzukimaru's bankai, named Ryūmon Hōzukimaru (龍紋鬼灯丸, literally "Dragon-crest Demon light"), takes the form of three oversized weapons connected by a thick chain: two blades in each of his hands and a fan-shaped blade, adorned with a carving of a Chinese dragon, which floats behind him. Aside from the increase in power, his bankai offers no special abilities, and is noted to be unusual for a bankai in this aspect. However, the blades appear to have a generally weak integrity for a bankai, as shown when combating the thirteenth arrancar, Edorad Leones, and later when fighting his released zanpakutō while it was in bankai, using nothing but his own katana and spiritual pressure to shatter the bankai's blades. As a fight progresses, the dragon crest will slowly begin to glow crimson, greatly increasing its power as it does so. He claims that it is lazy and only fully awakens when the dragon crest is fully crimson.
Yumichika Ayasegawa (綾瀬川 弓親 Ayasegawa Yumichika) is the 5th Seat of Squad 11 and Ikkaku's lifelong friend, valuing his opinion very highly and tends to follow him everywhere. The two joined the Soul Reapers so that they could serve under Kenpachi Zaraki. His position in the squad does not reflect his actual strength; since Ikkaku took the 3rd seat position, Yumichika decided to become the 5th seat because he thinks it's a beautiful number in comparison to 4. He has colorful feathers on his eyelashes and eyebrow as well as shiny skin and hair, giving him a rather womanly appearance. Narcissistic and vain, Yumichika judges everyone and everything by beauty. He goes so far as to try to forget things he deems "ugly" after seeing them and even tries fighting an ugly opponent with his eyes closed.
Yumichika's zanpakutō is Ruri'iro Kujaku (瑠璃色孔雀, literally "azure peacock", translated in the anime as Sapphire), a kidō-type zanpakutō. However, since the 11th Division has an unspoken rule that zanpakutō are only to be used for direct attack, Yumichika keeps this fact secret. According to himself, he would risk dying to conceal his zanpakuto's true power. To conceal it, he releases with the name Fuji Kujaku (藤孔雀, literally "rattan peacock" translated in the anime as Violet) with the command "bloom" (咲け sake), causing the vexed weapon to assume a form consisting of a sickle-shaped blade which can split into four identical blades. During the fight with arrancar Charlotte Cuhlhourne, Yumichika tells him that his zanpakutō has a favorite and least favorite color and this is why he releases it as Fuji Kujaku (wisteria is the least favorite color). When confident he will be able to keep it a secret, he uses his zanpakutō's real name and command "tear in frenzy" (裂き狂え sakikurue) to assume its true released form with the blades splitting into vines which bind the opponent and siphon their spiritual energy into flowers which can restore Yumichika's health when their petals are eaten. Yumichika claims that a full drain from his zanpakuto can kill an opponent, which is proved when he kills an arrancar.
Makizō Aramaki (荒巻 真木造 Aramaki Makizō) is the 10th seat of Squad 11. Nicknamed Maki-Maki by Yachiru Kusajishi, he is often very timid and cowardly, in contrast to other members of the 11th division. Aramaki makes his first appearance when he, by chance, encounters Orihime Inoue and Uryū Ishida as they travel across Seireitei disguised as Soul Reapers. Despite being drunk, he sees through Orihime and Uryū's lie claiming to be part of the 11th Division. However, during an attack by 12th division captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi which kills several members of the 12th division, Orihime protects Uryū and him with her Shun Shun Rikka abilities. Aramaki is confused by why Orihime is upset with the deaths of the 12th Division Soul Reapers and why she saved him.
As Uryū begins fighting Mayuri, he orders Aramaki to take Orihime to safety, threatening to shoot him if he does not comply. As Aramaki retreats with Orihime, Orihime demands that he let her go so that she can help Uryū, but he refuses. When Orihime bites him, he knocks her unconscious, and shortly thereafter, encounters Yachiru. Yachiru has him take her back to the 11th Division barracks so that she could lead Kenpachi Zaraki to Ichigo. He accompanies them as they look for Ichigo, questioning them on why they would go so far for a friend. The group eventually catch up to Ichigo after his victory over Byakuya Kuchiki. When Ichigo asks who he is, he says that he is nobody important and that Ichigo should just pretend that he is not there.
Maki Ichinose (Non-Canon)
Maki Ichinose (一之瀬 真樹 Ichinose Maki), introduced during the anime's Bount arc, was a member of Squad 11 under Kiganjō before he left the group after Kenpachi killed the previous captain. He traveled the human world, but one day, while in a weakened state in a desert, he fell upon a hollow that almost killed him; the hollow was subdued by Jin Kariya, who allowed Maki to kill it. Maki swore his loyalty to Jin after that, only breaking the vow once to fight Zaraki. He helps the Bounts infiltrate the Soul Society, and gets to fight Kenpachi but is killed by Kariya once his purpose is fulfilled.
Maki's zanpakutō is called Nijigasumi (虹霞, literally "rainbow mist"). Its shikai form is activated by the command "shine brightly" (光華閃け kōka hirameke) or "flash and burst" in the English Dub. When released, Nijigasumi glows with rainbow colors and has the ability to control light for various purposes. It can make Maki turn invisible or douse the area in light, playing havoc with opponents' counterattacks. It can also use light offensively, creating blades of light to cut or crush opponents. His zanpakutō later helps in Kariya's defeat, acting as a lightning rod for Kariya's attacks.
Originally led by Kirio Hikifune, Squad Twelve is associated with scientific research with her successor. Kisuke Urahara establishing the SRDI. After Kisuke and his lieutenant Hiyori Sarugaki were forced to leave their posts as the former was accused of the Hollowification of the latter and the other Vizards, Mayuri Kurotsuchi became the current captain of Squad Twelve.
Nemu Kurotsuchi (涅 ネム Kurotsuchi Nemu) is the lieutenant of Squad 12, a rather introverted and passive woman who prefers to stay silent in her captain's presence. Also known as Nemuri VII (Nemuri Nanagō), Nemu is created by Mayuri Kurotsuchi as a part of the Nemuri Project to create new life through use of Gigai (義骸, artificial bodies) and Modsouls (義魂 gikon). Unlike her "older sisters", Nemu outlived them. Though Mayuri refers to Nemu as his "daughter", he hides his joy towards Nemu and creates a farce of seeing her as nothing more but a tool to use as decoy. But Nemu did learn the truth from Akon, keeping it to herself while having compassion for others as seen when she saves Uryū Ishida's life in gratitude of the Quincy sparing Mayuri. Often when she does speak it is in a subdued monotone, and at least one comical instance she mixes up the colloquial usage of the word "cheese!" when taking a picture with the word "butter." During Mayuri's fight with Pernida, Nemu acted against Mayuri's orders to save him from the Quincy, revealing to have modified her body strength while increasing her decomposition rate. Despite Mayuri's chastising, Nemu throws him to a safe distance as she proceeds to fight Pernida on her own. She ultimately sacrifices herself to have Perinda suffer an agonizing death from her cellular makeup, though Mayuri saves her brain from being eaten. While Nemuri's lieutenant position is taken over by Akon, who formerly filled the 3rd Seat position, Mayuri creates the younger Nemuri VIII (眠八號 Nemuri Hachigō) as his new assistant.
Nemu's body is a Gigai designed to withstand fatal wounds and is immune to various poisons, containing various toxins and serums Mayuri stored in her that make her highly dangerous to whoever eats her or attack her internally. While her Gigai is also composed of highly regenerative cells that her brain regulates, Nemu can still suffer pain and carries around a variety of antidotes to be used as she sees fit. In addition to having superhuman strength, she is also capable of boring through obstacles by rotating an arm at high speeds with the hand functioning as a drill-bit while using parts of her soul in her more devastating attacks. Nemu does not normally carry a zanpakutō, but she is shown to have one in an illustration in the artbook "All Color but the Black" that takes the form of what appears to be a thin katana.
Squad Thirteen is division of the Thirteen Court Squads whose jurisdiction in the land of the living includes Karakura Town, having one member of the squad sent to patrol the area for any Hollow sightings. Among its notable members is Rukia Kuchiki, who succeeds Ukitake as squad captain years after the Soul Society's battle with the Wandenreich.
Jūshirō Ukitake (浮竹 十四郎 Ukitake Jūshirō) was the captain of Squad 13, and the man who devised the Substitute Soul Reaper badges. Since he was three years old, Ukitake suffered from an incurable and fatal lung disease that whitened his hair before his parents brought him to the shrine of an Eastern Rukongai temple dedicated to the hand-like deity Mimihagi. Though Mimihagi saved his life by taking his lungs, using the gained Kamikake ability to keep himself alive, Ukitake still suffers the effects of the illness; his occasional flare ups and coughing up blood act as an inhibition for him throughout the series if he fights for too long, or even becomes too agitated. Despite being forced to leave most of his duties as Squad 13's captain to his subordinates, Ukitake is respected by many Soul Reapers for his honesty, loyalty, and personal sense of justice. He and his friend Shunsui Kyōraku are two of the oldest and most talented captains in the Gotei 13, both having trained under General Yamamoto roughly a thousand years before the current Bleach storyline. During the final arc, when the Soul King is killed, Ukitake saw the only resort is to relinquish his body and life to Mimihagi so that he would take the Soul King's place and save the Soul Society. When Mimihagi was forcibly pulled out by Yhwach, he collapsed ultimately killing him.
Jūshirō's zanpakutō is Sōgyo no Kotowari (双魚の理, literally "law of the twin fish") and it is released by the command "All Waves Rise Now and Become my Shield! Lightning, Strike Now and Become my Blade!" (波悉く我が盾となれ雷悉く我が刃となれ nami kotogotoku waga tate to nare, ikazuchi kotogotoku waga yaiba to nare). In Sōgyo no Kotowari's shikai state, it splits into two thin blades resembling fishing javelins, making it one of only three zanpakutō in the Soul Society to exist as a pair of separate blades, along with Katen Kyōkotsu and the new, reforged version of Zangetsu. His Shikai is revealed to have the ability to absorb reiatsu-based attacks from one blade and then release them back through the other; the tags along the chain connecting the blades allow Ukitake to control the speed and power of the reflected attack. Some Bleach video games set prior to the current story arc incorrectly portray it as having the ability to manipulate water and electricity (which is impossible for Zanpakutō). His bankai is currently unknown.
Kaien Shiba (志波 海燕 Shiba Kaien) was the previous lieutenant of Squad 13 where his wife, Miyako Shiba was a part of. He is also the brother of Ganju and Kūkaku Shiba. Kaien's appearance closely resembles Ichigo Kurosaki, a fact noted by Byakuya Kuchiki. During Rukia's entrance as a new member of 13th Division, Kaien and Miyako were the only people who can treat her as a normal Soul Reaper and thus their equal, rather than as a noble of the Kuchiki family. He would become Rukia's mentor who helped her to achieve her shikai, teaching her many advices that would help her in her life. However, Miyako was later killed by the Metastacia and during a mission to slay the hollow, Kaien became possessed as well, after which Rukia was forced to kill him. Metastacia then returned to Hueco Mundo, where it was consumed by Espada Aaroniero Arruruerie, who also absorbed Kaien's soul as well, allowing him to take his form and use his abilities.
The name of Kaien Shiba's zanpakutō is Nejibana (捩花 literally "Spiranthes", "Twisted Flower" in the English dub)). The shikai command is "Surge, Water and Heaven" (水天逆巻け suiten sakamake) (translated as Rage through the Seas and Heavens in the English dub or Rankle the Seas and Heavens in some translations). His shikai takes the form of a trident and has the ability to create and control water.
He is voiced by Toshihiko Seki in the Japanese version. In the English dub, he was voiced by Kim Strauss in his first appearance in a flashback scene in episode 49 and later voiced by Dave Mallow in later flashbacks.
Miyako Shiba (志波 都 Shiba Miyako) was the former 3rd Seat of Squad 13 and lieutenant to her husband Kaien. Like her husband, Miyako treated Rukia Kuchiki during her entrance as a normal Soul Reaper, rather than a noble, and quickly became her personal idol. She was assigned to a mission that eventually led to her death by the hollow Metastacia, who wiped off all of Miyako's squad members while infecting her body.
Kiyone Kotetsu (虎徹 清音 Kotetsu Kiyone) is the co-3rd Seat of Squad 13 which she shares with Sentarō Kotsubaki who she competes with to impress her Captain. She is the younger sister of Isane Kotetsu, who is the Vice-Captain of the 4th Division. Because of her short hair and young appearance, Kiyone can easily be mistaken for a boy.
Sentarō Kotsubaki (小椿 仙太郎 Kotsubaki Sentarō) is the co-3rd Seat of Squad 13 which he shares with Kiyone Kotetsu who he competes with to impress his Captain.
Ryūnosuke Yuki (行木 竜ノ介 Yuki Ryūnosuke) is a member of Squad 13 who replaces Zennosuke Kurumadani in overseeing the Karakura Town area during the Wandenreich arc. Ryūnosuke is a timid figure who can get easily frightened and lacks confidence in his abilities, but has the ability to overcome his fear during critical situations. Almost immediately after arriving at Karakura Town, he is attacked by Hollows. However, he is saved by Ichigo before returning to Soul Society in order to attend the funeral of Chojiro Sasakibe. After war is declared, he learns of the origins of the conflict between the Soul Reapers and Quincies before his unit encounters Yhwach and Jugram Haschwalth. His current status and whether or not he survived the battle are unknown.
Squad Zero (零番隊 Reibantai, Zero Division in manga), also known as the Royal Guards (王属特務 Ōzokutokumu), is a secret squad composed of former captains who are charged with protecting the Soul King (霊王 Reiō), his family, and his residence, the Soul King Palace (霊王宮 Reiōkyū). Each member has created something for the Soul Society and were acknowledged by the Soul King as significant people who played a part in making history. The division's flower is the Daphne odora-meaning "glory".
Ichibē Hyōsube (兵主部 一兵衛 Hyōsube Ichibē) is the commander of the Royal Guards, holding the title "Monk Who Calls the Real Name" (真名呼和尚 Manako Oshō). Ichibē is credited for having named everything in Soul Society. Since he coined the term in the first place, he knows each and every names of zanpakutō that all Soul Reapers wield as well as their true names that their wielders themselves may have not even learned yet even if they are accounted with their zanpakutō for a long time.
Ichibē's zanpakutō is Ichimonji (一文字, literally "Straight Line") and takes the form of a large calligraphy brush. It is released by the command "Blacken" (黒めよ Kuromeyo). In Ichimonji's shikai state, the brush takes the form of a curved blade, while the handle remains the same. Ichimonji has the ability to release ink with every swing it takes. Anything that Ichimonji's ink covers loses its name and powers. Ichimonji's bankai is Shirafude Ichimonji (しら筆 一文字, literally "White Brush Straight Line"). Ichibē's bankai is uniquely activated by calling out "Shinuchi" (真打 Headliner) instead of "bankai", as Ichimonji was the first Zanpakutō to acquire an evolved form long before the term bankai existed. Upon activation, Ichimonji becomes a long, thick thread that coils in the air around Ichibē. With Shirafude Ichimonji, Ichibē can give and change the name of those who have been struck by the ink of Ichimonji by writing kanji on their body; doing so gives his target the properties and abilities of the name granted.
Tenjirō Kirinji (麒麟寺 天示郎 Kirinji Tenjirō) is the First Officer of the Royal Guard as the "Divine General of the East" (東方神将 Tōhō Shinshō). Tenjirō also holds the title of "Hot Spring Demon" (泉湯鬼 Sentōki). He is credited for creating hot springs that are able to purge impure blood and reiatsu inside an individual and replace them with fresh new ones. These hot springs serve as the basis for the hot springs created by Kisuke Urahara in his personal training field, which is capable of replenishing reiatsu. Before joining the Royal Guard, Tenjirō was a captain in the Gotei 13 and taught healing techniques to Retsu Unohana.
Tenjirō's zanpakutō is Kinpika (金毘迦, literally "Gilded Splendor") and it is released by the command "Flash from Illuminating Heavens" (天照一閃 Tenshō Issen). Kinpika takes on the form of a small blade with a curved tip, attached to a long wooden pole. In shikai, Kinpika's blade glows brightly. Its abilities are currently unknown.
Ōetsu Nimaiya (二枚屋 王悦 Nimaiya Ōetsu) holds the title of "God of the Sword" (刀神 Tōshin). He is credited for inventing the zanpakutō, whose basic form, the Asauchi (浅打, lit. "Shadow Hit") he personally creates for each and every Soul Reapers. The Asauchi, a template of matured zanpakutō wielded by inexperienced Soul Reapers who have yet to communicate with their zanpakutō, are actually the most powerful of its kind, since they have the potential to become anything.
Senjumaru Shutara (修多羅 千手丸 Shutara Senjumaru) holds the title of "Great Weave Guard" (大織守 Ōorigami). She is credited for inventing the shihakushō (死覇装, lit. Garment of Dead Souls"), the black garment worn by all Soul Reapers. Senjumaru has a number of elongated puppet-like arms that can be manipulated with great dexterity. The arms are also powerful enough to hold many things, including zanpakutō. In serving as a Royal Guard, Senjumaru presides over a cadre of assassin-like soldiers who assist her in combat.
Kirio Hikifune (曳舟 桐生 Hikifune Kirio), holds the title "Ruler of Grain" (穀王 Kokuō). Kirio is credited for inventing the gikon (義魂, lit. "Artificial Souls"), artificial souls that can be inserted into another body, like Kon. She also has the ability to infuse her food with reiatsu, but doing so requires her to bulk up substantial fat beforehand, which makes her normally youthful looks almost unrecognizable to other people. Before being promoted to the Royal Guard, Kirio was the captain of Squad 12 and a mother-like figure to her lieutenant, Hiyori Sarugaki. Her promotion is apparently very secretive as no one except the squad captains and people accounted with her knew the real reason why she left. Kirio was succeeded by Kisuke Urahara of Squad 2, but failed to attend his inauguration ceremony.
Several media from manga, anime and other media have commented on the Soul Reapers from the series. Carlo Santos from Anime News Network has praised the use of the Soul Reapers and Soul Society, since it "takes the familiar tournament formula to the height of creativity" regarding the fact that "This isn't just training and fighting anymore". Melissa Harper has commented that while the name Shinigami is changed to Soul Reaper in the English adaptation, it is an adequate description, and is "therefore a perfectly fine translation." Mania Entertainment commented on Ichigo turning into a Soul Reaper to be "a basic setup for the series itself" and praised how he does not make "awkward moments of handling a sword" making the series less common. Michael Aronson from Mangalife.com has noted the Soul Reapers to be initially similar with the Ghostbusters but he praised how it was later developed as the series progressed. IGN has praised the interactions between the characters and also commented that Suì-Fēng and Yoruichi share one of the more interesting histories in the series, though feels more could have been done to flesh it out.
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- IGN: Bleach: "One Thousand Cherry Blossoms, Crushed! Zangetsu Thrusts Through the Sky" Review
- IGN: Bleach: "Supersonic Battle! Determine the Goddess of Chivalry" Review