|It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into [[::List of Bleach characters|List of Bleach characters]]. (Discuss)|
This is a list of Soul Reaper (死神 Shinigami?, literally, "Death god") characters featured in the anime and manga 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 arrested by the Soul Society's Soul Reaper military for giving her powers to Ichigo, and she is prepared for execution. Ichigo and his friends go to save her and are forced to fight against many of the Soul Society's Court Guard Squads. Eventually, the Fifth Squad Captain Sōsuke Aizen defects from the Soul Society at the time of the rescue and starts a plan, interrupting Ichigo's battles, to gain greater power with the Arrancars, focusing the story with him as the main antagonist.
- 1 Creation and Conception
- 2 Characteristics
- 3 Soul Reaper court divisions
- 4 Soul Reaper characters
- 4.1 1st Division
- 4.2 2nd Division
- 4.3 3rd Division
- 4.4 4th Division
- 4.5 5th Division
- 4.6 6th Division
- 4.7 7th Division
- 4.8 8th Division
- 4.9 9th Division
- 4.10 10th Division
- 4.11 11th Division
- 4.12 12th Division
- 4.13 13th Division
- 4.14 Kidō Corps
- 4.15 Other
- 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 are generally departed human souls that have gained supernatural powers. 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, though it takes considerably greater injuries to die than it would for regular humans. It is a rule that in order to be a Soul Reaper a person must have been human to begin with. Komamura is the exception to this rule and Captain Yamamoto apparently is able to make an exception for him with Central 46 for which he has always been grateful.
All Soul Reapers possess a zanpakutō (斬魄刀?, literally, "soul-cutting sword"), a weapon which reflects aspects of their soul and personality. Some zanpakutō spirits even possess similar physical traits to their wielders such as hair color and eye markings. 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 shikai (始解?, literally, "initial release"), changes the sword's appearance to better facilitate its special abilities. A shikai also acts like a binding contract between a Soul Reaper and the sword and assures that no one but the owner of the weapon can use it to its fullest. The second transformation, known as bankai (卍解?, literally, "final release"), can require hundreds of years for a Soul Reaper 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?, literally, "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. 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 soul funeral (魂葬 (こんそう) konsō?), and to cleanse Hollows (fallen souls) of their sins. 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 divisions, some of which have certain specializations. The Fourth Squad, for example, is the medical division; the Twelfth Squad is the scientific research division; and the Eleventh Squad is well known for its brute military force. 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 Stealth Forces (隠密機動 Onmitsukidō?, literally, "Hidden Secret Movements Organization"), typically led by the captain of the Second Division, is tasked with surveillance, covert operations, and imprisoning potentially problematic Soul Reapers. The Zero Division, a secret group composed of only former captains, protects the royal family.
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 Commander-General (総隊長 Sōtaichō?, "Head-Captain" in the English dub), who acts as both captain of the First Squad and the 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. A Soul Reaper may also become a captain by dueling another captain to the death, as in the case of Kenpachi Zaraki.
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 digit ranks may also lead secondary teams within the division; for instance, Hanatarō Yamada is the Fourth Squad's seventh seat and leader of the Fourteenth Advanced Relief Team therein.
Soul Reaper characters
Shigekuni Yamamoto-Genryūsai (山本元柳斎 重國 Yamamoto-Genryūsai Shigekuni?) is the captain of the 1st Division and the leader of the Gotei 13. He's an old man with a very muscular body. There are many scars on his torso, head, and arms, suggesting numerous battles in his past. Yamamoto believes that laws must be upheld for the benefit of the community and despises those who break them. 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. He claims that no Soul Reaper stronger than him has been born in one thousand years.
Yamamoto's zanpakutō is Ryūjin Jakka (流刃若火?, roughly "flowing blade like fire", Viz "flowing flame blade"). When released, the sword consumes him and the surrounding area in flames. It is the most powerful fire-based zanpakutō in Soul Society, and the sheer power of the flame can disintegrate almost anything the sword is waved at. Yamamoto is an exceedingly powerful fighter, able to easily combat two captains, as well as several arrancar, with Ryūjin Jakka's shikai. He is also a skilled martial artist in hand-to-hand combat; when Ryūjin Jakka's powers are negated by Wonderweiss Margera, Yamamoto proceeds to kill the Arrancar with his bare hands. Ryūjin Jakka is a primary plot element in the anime's "Zanpakutō Rebellion" arc, sought by Muramasa to use for his own purposes. He is voiced by Masaaki Tsukada in Japanese and Bob Joles in English.
Chōjirō Sasakibe (雀部 長次郎 Sasakibe Chōjirō?) is the lieutenant of the 1st Division. He is the least seen of all the lieutenants, not being named in the manga until long after his first appearance. Unlike most other lieutenants, he is often present during meetings between captains. His zanpakutō is Gonryōmaru (厳霊丸?, roughly "solemn spirit"). Its shikai command is "Bite", which transforms into a rapier. Its special abilities remain unknown; however, the materialized zanpakutō in the Zanpakutō Unknown Tales arc of the anime is able to manipulate lightning. He uses storm clouds and rain in order to increase the strength of his lightning attacks. While his materialized zanpakutō is fighting against Sui-Feng with the help of Sajin Komamura's materialized zanpakutō he shows his anger towards his master for not standing out enough. He is the only Soul Reaper participating in the battle for Karakura Town that has not fought yet, guarding the fake town with a large barrier. In an omake it shows that due to a mission in the real world he enjoys growing tea leaves and making his own tea. He is voiced by Taro Yamaguchi in Japanese and Michael McConnohie in English.
Yoruichi Shihōin (四楓院 夜一 Shihōin Yoruichi?) is the former captain of the 2nd Division, the Onmitsukidō. She held the title during the Turn Back the Pendulum gaiden. She abandoned her post to aid Kisuke Urahara and Tessai Tsukabishi in leaving Soul Society. She is voiced by Satsuki Yukino in the Japanese anime and Wendee Lee in the English dub, while in her cat form Shirō Saitō voices her in Japanese and Terrence Stone in English.
Soi Fon (砕蜂, Chinese: Sùifēng), born Shaolin Fong (蜂 梢綾, Chinese: Fēng Shaolíng), is the captain of the 2nd Division and also the current Commander in Chief of The Secret Mobile Corps (Onmitsukidō). She is a hard worker, with a tomboy appearance 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 Soul Society, Soi Fon was crushed by the fact that Yoruichi did not take her with her. When Yoruichi returns to Soul Society a century later, Soi Fon engages her in battle yet didn't 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. The two's relationship has become somewhat of a running gag: She likes anything resembling a black cat (a form Yoruichi can assume at will) and displays jealousy should Yoruichi be in someone else's company. Soi Fon also appears to apply battle techniques similar to Yoruichi which are to engage the enemies by using hand-to-hand combat with Shunko abilities.
Soi Fon's zanpakutō is Suzumebachi (雀蜂?, literally translated as "Hornet"). When released it shrinks into a stinger that is worn on the middle finger of Soifon'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 also holds true if an internal organ is pierced in the same location, regardless of the point of entry into the body. Furthermore, if Soi Fon 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 Whip of the Thunder Immortal") composes of a greatly enlarged version of the shikai form that encases the entirety of Soi Fon's arm, which she mentions as being bulky and incapable of concealing, and thus unsuited for use in missions requiring stealth. In this form, Suzumebachi becomes a long-range weapon and looks like a large rocket launcher; its main offensive capability allowing Soi Fon to launch a high-speed projectile that resembles a large missile. The thunderous recoil produced by the weapon requires Soi Fon to be anchored to a nearby stationary object via an enhanced cloth-like material (which doubles as armor) called Ginjōtan (銀条反?, lit. "Stripe of Inverted Silver"). Soi Fon notes that normally she can only use her bankai once every three days; using it more than once in a day drains considerable amounts of her spirit energy. Soi Fon is also well-known in the Soul Society for her high speed movement, shunpo and also the Flash Release technique, shunkō. Suzumebachi appears as a freed zanpakutō in the Zanpakutō Unknown Tales anime arc, resembling a tiny flying hornet-like girl with agility to match Soi Fon's high speed movement. She is initially voiced by Tomoko Kawakami and Hōko Kuwashima since episode 206 in Japanese and Karen Strassman in English.
Marechiyo Ōmaeda (大前田 希千代 Ōmaeda Marechiyo?) is the lieutenant of the 2nd 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's a skilled tactician, is not above putting himself in danger for his duty, and is only feigning 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"). It transforms into an oversized flail that can be thrown to inflict great physical damage to foes. Gegetsuburi appears as a freed zanpakutō in the Zanpakutō Unknown Tales anime arc, resembling a shirtless, obese man who blames Marechiyo for his appearance. He is voiced by Shōto Kashii in Japanese and Lex Lang in English.
Rōjūrō "Rose" Otoribashi (鳳橋 楼十郎 Ōtoribashi Rōjūrō?) is the captain of the 3rd Division during the Turn Back the Pendulum gaiden. He leaves Soul Society after becoming a Visored.
Gin Ichimaru (市丸 ギン Ichimaru Gin?) is the captain of the 3rd Division at the start of the series. He joins Sōsuke Aizen for whom he was once a lieutenant in the 5th Division, in defecting from the Soul Reapers at the conclusion of the Soul Society arc. His zanpakuto, Shinsō, has the ability to extend a great amount at high speeds to pierce his enemies, but its true power involves turning to dust momentarily while it secretes a deadly poison capable of breaking down cells. The truth about his zanpakuto is seen in chapter 414.
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 the 3rd Division. He is also formerly a member of the 5th Division and 4th Division. 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 to defect from Soul Society, and develops more of a depressed and pessimistic demeanor.
Kira's zanpakutō is Wabisuke (侘助?, roughly "The Apologizer", translated in the English manga as "the penitent one"). The shikai command is "raise your head". When released, Wabisuke takes the form of a sword with a square hook that 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. Wabisuke appears as a freed zanpakutō in the Zanpakutō Unknown Tales anime arc, as a long-haired and darkly clad emaciated man carrying a large ball and chain. He is voiced by Takahiro Sakurai in Japanese and Grant George in English.
Shūsuke Amagai (天貝 繍助 Amagai Shūsuke?) is introduced as the captain of the 3rd Division during season nine of the anime. He does not appear in the manga. 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 Shigekuni Yamamoto-Genryūsai 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. However, 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 "fire started by lightning"). His zanpakutō's shikai command is "sever". 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 negates any other active Soul Reaper zanpakuto abilities, forcing opponents to rely on other powers. He is voiced by Ken'yū Horiuchi in the Japanese version and Joey Lotsko in the English version.
Makoto Kifune (貴船 理 Kifune Makoto?) is added to the 3rd Division 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, Kifune stood out as a highly gifted student, but his inability to function in a team prevented him from attaining rank in the Gotei 13, leading Kifune 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.
Kifune's zanpakutō is Reppū (烈風?, literally "gale"). When released, 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. He is voiced by Hikaru Midorikawa in the Japanese version and Christopher Corey Smith in the English version.
Retsu Unohana (卯ノ花 烈 Unohana Retsu?) is the captain of the 4th Division. She is a soft-spoken lady who never displays distress even in the most perilous situations; she responds with sharp-minded thinking. She uses honorifics when addressing everyone, including her subordinates. Shunsui Kyōraku and Jūshirō Ukitake treat her as their senior, implying that she may have been involved in Gotei 13 longer than Kyōraku and Jūshirō although they were the first captains to be appointed under the Captain Commander. As the captain of the 4th Division, Unohana is commonly healing and treating the most severe injuries and performing major surgeries, normally on the captains and if necessary, vice captains. Though she is always polite to her patients and subordinates, her mere presence will scare her charges into submission if they try to leave her care before they are fully healed. She is also shown politely intimidating two brutal-looking members of the 11th Division (which are known throughout Soul Society for their brutality and violence) in the Rukia Rescue arc. Unohana is shown to be quite reluctant to discuss her age or if heard, she will give cold yet polite remarks to whom who might want to guess her age. Kyōraku and Ukitake appeared nervous when she overheard them discussing her possible age in the Gaiden arc and Ichigo has been "advised" not to discuss women's ages in front of them by Unohana as she stated it is rude and unwise to do so. She was one of the captains that took part in the reinforcement that had been sent to Hueco Mundo to assist Ichigo and his friends in order to retrieve Orihime from Aizen's captive. She is currently in the Karakura Town, presumably healing the wounded captains and the vice captains along with other casualties.
Unohana's zanpakutō is Minazuki (肉雫唼?, roughly "purify the flesh"). 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 recuperate them in its stomach. When Unohana reseals Minazuki, it dissolves into green mist and reforms into the sheath of her zanpakutō. Her zanpakutō is still under debate because it is not clear whether her gigantic manta ray is her Minazuki's bankai or shikai. However, readers has been shown a glimpse when she was about to unsheathe her sword and probably releasing her zanpakutō, a greenish aura of her spiritual pressure (resemble her Minazuki's colour) appeared around her in order to save the heavily wounded Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya after her received a deadly blow from Aizen in the Rukia Rescue arc. Minazuki appears as freed zanpakutō in the Zanpakutō Unknown Tales anime arc, as a mute figure in a hooded robe, pretending she or he was imprisoning Yamamoto. Unohana, along with Kyōraku and Ukitake are the oldest and perhaps among the most powerful captains in Soul Society due to their thousand of years of experiences in the front line. It's proven in the Rukia Rescue arc when she's the one who discovered whereabouts the hidden place of Aizen and confronted him at The Central 46 Chamber which Aizen took refuge. Unohana stated to Aizen that the chamber is the only place in Soul Society that cannot be approached by any means; even in hostile situation. Even Aizen acknowledged her prowess as the only Soul Reaper that would have guessed accurately of his hiding place if she managed to discover his hoax corpse including expecting her to arrive at any moment. Unohana is the only remaining captain that have not yet involve directly in any direct battle or fighting scene herself. She is voiced by Aya Hisakawa in Japanese and Kate Higgins in English.
Isane Kotetsu (虎徹 勇音 Kotetsu Isane?) is the lieutenant of the 4th Division. She is the older sister of Kiyone Kotetsu. Unlike Kiyone, Isane is generally quiet and observant, 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." Isane's zanpakutō is Itegumo (凍雲?, literally "frozen cloud", translated in the English manga as "frozen snow"). When released, two smaller blades protrude from Itegumo's hilt at 45° angles. Its special abilities, if any, remain unknown. Currently, she is ordered to be stationed in Hueco Mundo by Unohana to assist Captain Byakuya Kuchiki and Captain Kenpachi Zaraki in battle against Espada Yammy Riyalgo. She is voiced by Yukana in Japanese and Stephanie Sheh in English.
Hanatarō Yamada (山田 花太郎 Yamada Hanatarō?) is the 7th Seat Officer of the 4th Division and the leader of its 14th Relief Squad. Hanatarō is very timid and nervous. 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, Hanataro was assigned with Captain Byakuya Kuchiki instead of his 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, 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 attacked (similar to kido or cero) equal to the severity and amount of wounds that has been healed. The proportional of its strength, if the energy is enough 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. Hisagomaru appears as a materialized zanpakutō spirit, appearing as a large klutz-toy-like robot with the ability to produce a giant laser cannon to fire his signature energy blast. He is voiced by Kōki Miyata in Japanese and Spike Spencer in English.
Shinji Hirako (平子 真子 Hirako Shinji?) is the former captain of the 5th Division during the Turn Back the Pendulum gaiden. Shinji is taken out of the Soul Society by Yoruichi after Central 46 rules that he and the other captains and vice captains are affected by the Hollification experiments and will be killed like any other Hollow. Shinji is the leader of the Vizards and lives with the others in the living world hidden from the Gotei 13.
Sōsuke Aizen (藍染 惣右介 Aizen Sōsuke?) is the captain of the 5th Division at the start of the series. He defects from the Soul Reapers at the conclusion of the Soul Society arc, fleeing to Hueco Mundo. In the past he was the lieutenant of the 5th Division under Shinji Hirako, who he replaced sometime after converting Shinji into a Visored.
Momo Hinamori (雛森 桃 Hinamori Momo?) is the lieutenant of the 5th Division. 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, during which 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 the 12th Division.
Momo's zanpakutō is Tobiume (飛梅?, literally "flying plum tree"). Her shikai command is "snap". 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. Tobiume appears as a free zanpakutō in the Zanpakutō Unknown Tales anime arc, resembling a young girl wielding overlarge bells that can launch fireballs. 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 Arrancar at once. She is voiced by Kumi Sakuma in Japanese and Karen Strassman in English.
Ginrei Kuchiki (朽木 銀嶺 Kuchiki Ginrei?) is the captain of the 6th Division and the head of the Kuchiki family during the Turn Back the Pendulum gaiden. His grandson, Byakuya Kuchiki, eventually replaces him in both positions. He is voiced by Kinryū Arimoto in Japanese.
Byakuya Kuchiki (朽木 白哉 Kuchiki Byakuya?) becomes captain of the 6th Division sometime after his grandfather, Ginrei Kuchiki, vacates its captaincy. Rukia Kuchiki is Byakuya's adopted sister and sister in-law. He had been married to Rukia's sister, Hisana, who fell ill and died.
Renji Abarai (阿散井 恋次 Abarai Renji?) begins his Soul Reaper career in the 5th Division, but is transferred into the 11th Division and eventually moves to the 6th to become Byakuya Kuchiki's lieutenant.
Kōga Kuchiki (朽木 響河 Kuchiki Kōga?) is introduced 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 Repears 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 for treason and murder.
Despite being imprisoned, Muramasa was able to materialize and free Kōga from his confinement. Muramasa encouraged his master to use his powers to build an ideal world, but when Kōga saw that the three captains who had framed him were not even remorseful, but even laughing at his predicament, Kōga killed them, and then began killing people in Soul Society indiscriminately, despite Ginrei's attempts first to clear his name prior to the captains' murders, and then pleas to stop his massacre.
Over time, Kōga's voice grew fainter and fainter for 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. 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. Kōga is defeated by Byakuya and asks Muramasa's help; he is shocked to see that Muramasa ignores him. Kōga falls dead. Muramasa himself turned into a Hollow, but was defeated by Ichigo, dying shortly after. He is voiced by Isshin Chiba in Japanese.
Love Aikawa (愛川 羅武（ラブ） Aikawa Rabu?) is the captain of the 7th Division during the Turn Back the Pendulum gaiden. He leaves Soul Society after becoming a Visored.
Sajin Komamura (狛村 左陣 Komamura Sajin?) is the captain of the 7th Division. He is an anthropomorphic canine who is very self-conscious about his appearance, and so he wears a large helmet that conceals his entire head when he is first introduced. After his fight with Kenpachi Zaraki (during which his helmet is destroyed), he gains enough confidence to go without the helmet. 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 Shuhei Hisagi and dies.
Komamura's zanpakutō is Tengen (天譴?, literally "divine punishment", translated in the English manga as "sword of heavenly retribution"). Once released, Tengen 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. Tengen's bankai, Kokujō Tengen Myō'ō (黒縄天譴明王?, roughly "vidyarāja of black-roped divine punishment", translated in the English manga as "divine retribution, black ropes of ruination") brings forth the entire giant, which also copies Komamura's movements. Though powerful, 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 essentally 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 it's weakness is to balance out it's immense strength. Tengen appears as a free zanpakutō in the Zanpakutō Unknown Tales anime arc, bearing resemblance to the Buddhist deity Fudo Myo'oh, wielding a sword and a bolas, and can attack with fire. He is voiced by Tetsu Inada in Japanese, by Kim Strauss in English during the Soul Society Arc, and by J.B. Blanc in English from episode 99 onward.
Tetsuzaemon Iba (射場 鉄左衛門 Iba Tetsuzaemon?) is the lieutenant of the 7th Division. He is originally from the 11th Division, having transferred once realizing he would never be promoted to lieutenant if he had stayed. His former compatriots look down upon him because of this, though Iba still enjoys a good fight and usually spends his free time with 11th Division 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 Japanese and Steve Cassling in English.
Shunsui Kyōraku (京楽 春水 Kyōraku Shunsui?) is the captain of the 8th Division. Shunsui's a laid-back and flamboyant man, evident in his style of dress: he wears 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. 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. He and his friend Jūshirō Ukitake are two of the oldest captains in the Gotei 13. They both trained under General Yamamoto, who Kyōraku calls Old-man Yama (山じい Yama-jii?). Though generally peace-loving he is an adept fighter, able to defeat the Primera Espada using only his shikai and shown in his skill at almost hiding the difference in the speed of his swing between his left and right hands.
Shunsui's zanpakutō is Katen Kyōkotsu (花天狂骨?, roughly "flower-heaven crazy-bone"). His zanpakutō is unique in that it exists as two completely separate swords, being as a daisho sword pair. In Katen Kyōkotsu's shikai state, the daisho sword pair transforms into two large swords resembling dao or falchions. When released, 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 whomever 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 last known game is known as Iro-Oni (艶鬼 Colored Demon?) and it involves the players calling out a name of a color and then slicing 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. His bankai is unknown, but when asked by the Espada Coyote Starrk to show it to him, Ukitake warns him not to reveal it where so many people could witness it. Katen Kyōkotsu appears as a free zanpakutō in the Zanpakutō Unknown Tales anime arc as two separate female beings, a feudal-Japan mistress and her ninja bodyguard, wielding Shunsui's swords. He is voiced by Akio Ōtsuka in Japanese and Steve Kramer in English.
Lisa Yadōmaru (矢胴丸 リサ Yadōmaru Risa?) is the lieutenant of the 8th Division under Shunsui Kyōraku during the Turn Back the Pendulum gaiden. She leaves Soul Society after becoming a Visored. Her zanpakuto is Hagurotonbo.
Nanao Ise (伊勢 七緒 Ise Nanao?) is the lieutenant of the 8th Division. She first joined the division when she was a little girl and enjoyed being read to by former lieutenant Lisa Yadōmaru. Nanao is a very serious and pragmatic person which is at odds with her captain'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.
Nanao is rarely seen with her zanpakutō during the series. An illustration in the art book "All Colour but the Black" reveals that her zanpakutō takes the form of what appears to be either a wakizashi or tantō, which she seems to conceal within her sleeve. She is voiced by Hitomi Nabatame in Japanese and Kate Higgins in English.
Mashiro Kuna (久南 真白 Kuna Mashiro?) is the lieutenant of the 9th Division under Kensei Muguruma during the Turn Back the Pendulum gaiden. She leaves Soul Society after becoming a Visored.
Kaname Tōsen (東仙 要 Tōsen Kaname?) is the captain of the 9th Division at the start of the series. He has been blind since birth, but is capable of using his spiritual sense to "see". Tōsen is 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 feels it necessary to join Sōsuke Aizen in defecting from the Soul Reapers at the conclusion of the Soul Society arc. However, during his battle against Komamura in the Fake Karakura Town, it is revealed that the reason he betrayed the Soul Reapers was because he saw injustice in the Soul Society's refusal to administer capital punishment to his friend's killer.
The zanpakutō Tōsen uses originally belonged to his now-deceased friend and is called Suzumushi (清虫?, literally "pure insects", but read as "cricket"; translated in the English manga as "bell bug"). In its sealed form, Suzumushi looks like a regular katana; its crossguard shaped like a tear drop, with several teardrop-shaped holes at the wide part of the teardrop. Unlike most zanpakutō, Suzumushi has two shikai commands, each producing a unique automatic effect. With one, Suzumushi projects a high-pitched tone over a wide area which overloads the hearing of anyone in range and knocks them unconscious, his first release command is "Cry". When the second release is commanded, Suzumushi changes into Suzumushi Nishiki: Benihikō (清虫二式紅飛蝗?, literally "Suzumushi, second style: crimson grasshopper"), which creates a trail when swung that turns into hundreds of blades that rain down on his opponents. Suzumushi's bankai, named Suzumushi Tsuishiki: Enma Kōrogi (清虫終式紅閻魔蟋蟀?, literally "Suzumushi, final style: Enma cricket") creates a large, black dome centered at Tōsen's location and anchored to the ground with ten rings. Anyone within the dome loses four of their five senses, retaining only the sensation of touch. The weakness of this technique is that whoever is touching Suzumushi's hilt is immune to the dome's effects, so anyone able to grab Suzumushi recovers their senses for as long as they remain in contact with the hilt.
During his battle with Komamura in the Fake Karakura Town, Tōsen reveals that Aizen has given him hollow powers. Tōsen's hollow mask grants him instant regenerative abilities, as well as speed and strength that enable him to contend with Komamura's giant bankai. Tōsen can further augment his powers using his resurrección Grillar Grillo (狂枷蟋蟀 (グリジャル・グリージョ) Gurijaru Gurījo?, Spanish for "chirping cricket," Japanese for "lunatic shackles cricket") to assume an insectoid Hollow form with eyes that can see and fire cero. His ultimate attack in this form is Los Nueve Aspectos (九相輪殺 (ロス・ヌウェベ・アスペクトス) Rosu Nuwebe Asupekutosu?, Spanish for "the nine aspects," Japanese for "nine pagoda finial kill"), which creates powerful sonic-like waves that tear through the enemy via hand movements resembling kuji-in.
Though he nearly succeeds in killing Komamura with his newfound Hollow powers, Tōsen, with his new sight, forgets about everything else around him and is stabbed through the head when Hisagi releases his zanpakutō. Mortally wounded and returning to his old self, he sheds a tear for Komamura when the latter tells him that losing Tōsen would be unbearable for him. He then calls Hisagi to his side, but as he requests to see Hisagi's face clearly once more, Tōsen dies in an explosion of blood. He is voiced by Toshiyuki Morikawa in Japanese and David Rasner in English.
Shūhei Hisagi (檜佐木 修兵 Hisagi Shūhei?) is the lieutenant of the 9th Division. 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, it takes the form of a kusarigama-like weapon, with two blades curving both directions, connected by a long chain. Although he dislikes the shape of his weapon because it's "shaped like something meant to reap life itself," he is extremely proficient at wielding it, capable of using the blades as both hand-to-hand weapons and projectiles, using the chain to make the weapons' paths unpredictable. Kazeshini appears as a free zanpakutō in the Zanpakutō Unknown Tales anime arc, appearing as a violent demonic-looking being. He is voiced by Katsuyuki Konishi in Japanese and Steve Staley in English.
Tōshirō Hitsugaya (日番谷 冬獅郎 Hitsugaya Tōshirō?) is the captain of the 10th Division and the youngest captain in the history of Soul Society. His zanpakutō is called Hyorinmaru which became a twin blade of which the double went to his friend Soujiro Kusaka who was killed because of the duplicate sword. (氷輪丸?, literally "ice ring", idiomatically "full moon"). Hyōrinmaru's shikai command is "Reign over the frosted heavens" or, alternately, "Reign over the frosted, frozen sky" (霜天に坐せ sōten ni zase?, literally "Sit upon the frozen heavens"). Hyōrinmaru is the strongest of all ice/snow element zanpakutō in Soul Society. Hyōrinmaru's spirit is a winged Chinese dragon made of ice. Hitsugaya is often called "Shiro-chan" or "Lil' Shiro" by his childhood friend Momo Hinamori though he would always deny that name. While he was a child he and Momo Hinamori often stole and ate watermelons while watching the sunset. Of interesting note, Hitsugaya maintains an extremely mature, and almost unflappable persona, while it is hinted that he was a bit of a "wild boy" type character before becoming a soul reaper. He finds it especially annoying when people (other than other soul reaper captains) call him by his given name, or omit his honorific title when addressing him. This fact is used for the dual purpose of being a bit of a running gag, and generating his catchphrase: "That's Captain Hitsugaya to you!" (usually spoken with a teardrop or popped vein effect).
Rangiku Matsumoto (松本 乱菊 Matsumoto Rangiku?) is the lieutenant of the 10th Division. She has strawberry-blonde hair and very very large breasts. She makes no effort to conceal the latter, wearing loose-fitting robes that expose much cleavage, which she flaunts to try to win over male characters, openly allowing her chest to become a topic in casual conversation. Matsumoto is very carefree and lazy, usually avoiding the jobs of a lieutenant so that she can sleep or go drinking. Despite avoiding her responsibilities, Matsumoto can be serious when need be, and often gives important and useful advice. Rangiku has known ex-captain Gin Ichimaru since they were children; Gin found her before Aizen's minions could kill her, thus saving her life. They remained close even after joining the Soul Reapers up until Gin's betrayal when he sided with Aizen to protect Rangiku, although Rangiku remains unaware of this. She recruited her captain, Tōshirō Hitsugaya, into the Soul Reapers, and the two have grown close ever since. She has an unwavering loyalty and devotion to him and frequently tries to get him to lighten up.
Rangiku's zanpakutō is Haineko (灰猫?, literally "ash cat"). Its guard is in the shape of a cat's head. When released, 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." Haineko appears as a free zanpakutō in the Zanpakutō Unknown Tales anime arc, as a woman with cat features, often fighting with Tobiume for running gag. She is voiced by Kaya Matsutani in Japanese and Megan Hollingshead in English.
Kenpachi Zaraki (更木 剣八 Zaraki Kenpachi?) is the most recent captain of the 11th Division. Unlike all of his predecessors, he has given himself the title of "Kenpachi," a title given to the man in each generation who enjoys fighting more than anyone else and has the greatest bloodlust; it roughly translates to: "No matter how many times you cut him, he will never fall". He is also the only captain who not only cannot use Bankai but does not know the name of his sword.He also wears an eyepatch that eats his spiritual energy but when the eyepatch is taken off his rieatsu enables his zanpakuto to be very sharp.
Yachiru Kusajishi (草鹿 やちる Kusajishi Yachiru?) is the lieutenant of the 11th Division. She is most recognizable by her mid-length, bright pink hair. She is child-like in most aspects, as she is small, 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; Kenpachi himself was from the 80th District, the most violent. Despite being drenched in blood and having just killed a large group of men, Kenpachi did not frighten her—She even touched the zanpakuto Kenpachi had killed the men with, unfazed by the blood soaking it. Kenpachi named her "Yachiru", in memory of the one person he ever admired. Since that day she 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 child-like 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 child-like 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 fox face.
The name and abilities of Yachiru's zanpakutō are both unknown. In its sealed state Yachiru's zanpakuto takes the form of a small, pink wakizashi which she drags around on a string. Two wheels attached to the bottom of the sheath for her by Ikkaku Madarame facilitate this. She is voiced by Hisayo Mochizuki in Japanese and Stevie Bloch in English.
Ikkaku Madarame (斑目 一角 Madarame Ikkaku?) is the 3rd Seat of the 11th Division. He is a battle-loving man with a shaven 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 purportedly 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 ointment in its hilt. When released, 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. Ikkaku has achieved bankai, though he keeps this a secret to 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 show 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. Hozukimaru appears as a free zanpakutō in the Zanpakutō Unknown Tales anime arc, resembling a large muscular oni, who possesses the same mannerisms as his master, but is usually lazy about it. He is voiced by Nobuyuki Hiyama in Japanese and Vic Mignogna in English.
Yumichika Ayasegawa (綾瀬川 弓親 Ayasegawa Yumichika?) is a lifelong friend of Ikkaku Madarame. He values Ikkaku's opinion very highly and tends to follow him everywhere. The two joined the Soul Reapers so that they could serve under Kenpachi Zaraki. Since Ikkaku took the 3rd seat position, Yumichika settled for 5th Seat, thinking that five (五, go) looks almost like a three (三, san), which he believes to be the most beautiful number. 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. In the Zanpakutō Unknown Tales anime arc, it is shown that Yumichika is able to use kidō spells, a trait uncharacteristic for a member of the Eleventh Squad.
Yumichika's zanpakutō is Ruriiro Kujaku (瑠璃色孔雀?, literally "azure peacock"), 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 "wisteria peacock"), causing the vexed weapon to assume a form consisting of a sickle-shaped blade which can split into four identical blades. When confident he will be able to keep it a secret, he uses his zanpakutō's real name to assume its true released form with the blades spliting 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. Ruriiro Kujaku appears as a free zanpakutō in the Zanpakutō Unknown Tales anime arc as a peacock-like male who is out for Yumichika for being called by his fake name by attempting to expose his master's full potential. He is voiced by Jun Fukuyama in Japanese and Brian Beacock in English.
Maki Ichinose (一之瀬 真樹 Ichinose Maki?), introduced during the anime's Bount arc, left the 11th Division after Kenpachi Zaraki 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 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. He is voiced by Susumu Chiba in Japanese and Sam Riegel in English.
Kirio Hikifune (曳舟 桐生 Hikifune Kirio?) left the 12th Division soon before the start of the Turn Back the Pendulum gaiden to become a member of the royal guard. This was kept secret from all, but the captains and a few who overheard. Her lieutenant, Hiyori Sarugaki, thought of her as a mother-figure. She was succeeded by Kisuke Urahara.
Kisuke Urahara (浦原 喜助 Urahara Kisuke?), once the 3rd Seat of the 2nd Division, replaces Kirio Hikifune as the captain of the 12th Division during the Turn Back the Pendulum gaiden. He leaves Soul Society after being framed by Sōsuke Aizen for hollowification experiments on certain captains and lieutenants at the time.
Mayuri Kurotsuchi (涅 マユリ Kurotsuchi Mayuri?) is the Captain of the 12th Division and President of the Shinigami Research Institute, preceded in both by Kisuke Urahara. He personifies the archetype of the mad scientist, viewing everyone as objects to be dissected in the lab. He takes great pride in his experiments and the things he has created (such as his "daughter," Nemu) and condemns the concept of perfection. He has made extensive modifications to his body: his left arm can extend like a grappling hook, he can form a scythe by pulling out his ears, and can even replace his organs with dummies. Mayuri has little regard for life or allegiances, even going as far as turning his own subordinates into human bombs on one occasion. Because he experimented on many Quincy (including Ishida's master), Kurotsuchi is often considered Uryu Ishida's nemesis. In the past, the potential danger he posed to the Soul Society led to his imprisonment when he joined the Soul Reapers; it is noteworthy that, in the prison he was held in, he was the only one considered dangerous enough to warrant a separate cell from other prisoners as well as restraints. Kisuke Urahara, upon becoming captain of the 12th Division, recognized his potential as a scientist and released Mayuri to help him with his research and to assist him in running his newly-founded Shinigami Research Institute. In return, Urahara promised him the Division and position as President of the Research Institute if anything were to happen to him. To a certain degree, Kurotsuchi holds a grudging respect for Urahara and his skills, though is visibly affronted when compared to Urahara by Ichigo. Kurotsuchi has also shown that he can create an Arrancar's way of travel, Garganta, when he sent Ichigo to the Fake Karakura Town to engage Sōsuke Aizen in combat. His skill with making poisons is formidable, however, Retsu Unohana, the 4th Division Captain, has been able to cure every poison he has made to date.
Mayuri Kurotsuchi's zanpakutō is Ashisogi Jizō (疋殺地蔵?, roughly "leg-cutting Jizō"). When released, Ashisogi Jizō's blade transforms into a deformed trident head. When it stabs an opponent it emits a poison that severs the nerve signals that control limb movement, paralyzing that limb regardless of where it was struck. However, unlike normal paralysis, the affected limb is still able to feel pain, something which is rather fitting for Kurotsuchi's demented tendencies. Ashisogi Jizō's bankai, named Konjiki Ashisogi Jizō (金色疋殺地蔵?, literally "golden leg-cutting Jizō", translated in the English manga as "divine leg-cutting Jizō"), takes the form of a giant caterpillar with a baby's head and a silver halo. The creature breathes a poisonous derivative of Mayuri's blood which is lethal to anyone who breathes it, aside from Mayuri and Nemu. It can also run through and skewer opponents with the multiple blades that erupt from its chest. Mayuri has physically modified his bankai so that it will self-destruct and return to its sealed state if it attacks him. Ashisogi Jizo appears as a free zanpakutō in the Zanpakutō Unknown Tales anime arc as a small winged baby-like creature. As a final defensive measure, Mayuri can reduce himself to liquid form for three days by stabbing himself with his zanpakutō. This leaves him unable to attack or be attacked, making it a very effective escape tool. He is voiced by Ryūsei Nakao in Japanese and Terrence Stone in English.
Nemu Kurotsuchi (涅 ネム Kurotsuchi Nemu?) is the lieutenant of the 12th Division. She is the artificially created daughter of Mayuri Kurotsuchi, a combination of his research in artificial bodies (義骸 gigai?) and artificial souls (義魂 gikon?). This past has driven her to become rather introverted and passive, preferring to stay silent in her captain's presence. Their relationship is far from the average father-daughter one, as Mayuri does not appear to care much for Nemu's well-being, even using her as bait in combat, and mending her damaged body only when he needs her. Unlike her father, however, she seems to have compassion for others, saving Uryū Ishida's life as thanks when he does not kill Mayuri. Often when she does speak it is in a subdued monotone, and at least one comical instance she mixes up the coloquial usage of the word "cheese!" when taking a picture with the word "butter."
Nemu's body was designed to withstand fatal wounds, though she still suffers the pain brought on by her injuries. Nemu is also immune to Mayuri's many poisons. Despite this, she carries around a variety of antidotes to be used as she sees fit. She also holds various poisons and potions derived from Mayuri's research in her own body, making her highly dangerous to those who would eat her or attack her internally. 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. 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". Her zanpakutō takes the form of what appears to be a thin katana. She is voiced by Rie Kugimiya in Japanese and Megan Hollingshead in English.
Rin Tsubokura (壷府 リン Tsubokura Rin?) is a character originally created by Tite Kubo as a mascot for the Japanese Bleach-Fan news site. He regularly interacts with Ichigo Kurosaki's seiyū in brief video segments on the site. Later, he was brought into the manga and anime as a scientist of the 12th Division. He has an obsession with candy and any other sort of sweets, jumping at the chance to visit the real world just to buy sweets unavailable in Soul Society. He is just as timid and simple minded as Hanatarō Yamada. He usually runs and hides from any assignment and is surprised at his willingness to go to the real world. Although androgynous, Rin is directly referred to as "he". Rin is also considered a somewhat feminine name in Japanese. He is voiced by Miho Saiki in Japanese and Julie Ann Taylor in English.
Jūshirō Ukitake (浮竹 十四郎 Ukitake Jūshirō?) is the captain of the 13th Division. He suffers from tuberculosis which acts as an inhibition for him throughout the series; if he fights for too long, or even becomes too agitated, the illness flares up. He is forced to leave most of his duties as a captain to his subordinates so that he can rest. Despite this, Jūshirō 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 strongest captains in the Gotei 13, both having trained under General Yamamoto roughly a thousand years before the current Bleach storyline.
Jūshirō's zanpakutō is Sōgyo no Kotowari (双魚の理?, literally "law of the twin fish"). In Sōgyo no Kotowari's shikai state, it splits into two thin blades resembling fishing javelins, making it one of only two zanpakutō in Soul Society to exist as a pair of separate blades. 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 portray it as having the ability to manipulate water and electricity. His bankai is currently unknown. Sōgyo no Kotowari appears as a free zanpakutō in the Zanpakutō Unknown Tales anime arc as a pair of identical cheerful children who can attack with projectile bladed-fans. He is voiced by Hideo Ishikawa in Japanese and Liam O'Brien in English.
Kaien Shiba (志波 海燕 Shiba Kaien?) was the lieutenant of the 13th Division under Jūshirō Ukitake and was considered something of a prodigy. He closely resembled Ichigo Kurosaki in both appearance and personality, something that is brought up multiple times in the series. Though he had a good relationship with all of his subordinates, he was particularly close with Rukia Kuchiki. Unlike other Soul Reapers, Kaien treated Rukia like any other, not judging her by the name Kuchiki, which in turn helped her to gain some self-confidence. After his wife was killed by a parasitic hollow named Metastacia, Kaien went out to kill the hollow to seek revenge. He was possessed by the hollow in the process and attacked Rukia who killed him in self-defense. Though he thanked her for doing so and apologized for his actions, Rukia forever feels guilty about her role in his death.
However, as later revealed, Metastacia was the result of Aizen's experiments and was designed to reform itself to Hueco Mundo when killed. Still merged with the hollow at the time, apparently able to mentally dominate Metastacia, Kaien was then, however, devoured by Aaroniero Arruruerie. As a result, Aaroniero was able to use Kaien's appearance and abilities, namely his zanpakutō, Nejibana (捩花?, Japanese name for the Spiranthes, translated in the English manga as "twisted flower"). When released, Nejibana transforms into a crystalline cross between a trident and a ji able to manipulate water and produce shockwaves to split the enemy in two. He is voiced by Toshihiko Seki in Japanese, and Kim Strauss when he first appears and Dave Mallow in his later appearances in English.
Kiyone and Sentarō
Kiyone Kotetsu (虎徹 清音 Kotetsu Kiyone?) and Sentarō Kotsubaki (小椿 仙太郎 Kotsubaki Sentarō?) are both the 3rd Seat of the 13th Division. They share the duties of the lieutenant, though neither appear suited for the actual position. They squabble quite often, each believing that they are more respectful of their captain than the other is. They both mean well, but are highly competitive and constantly critical of the other (to further their rivalry, they also happen to share the same birthday, September 22). Kiyone is the younger sister of Isane Kotetsu. Kiyone and Sentarō are voiced by Chinami Nishimura and Kōichi Tōchika in Japanese, and Jeannie Elias and Patrick Seitz in English.
Rukia Kuchiki (朽木 ルキア Kuchiki Rukia?), though talented enough for a position as a seated officer, has been made ineligible by order of her older brother, Byakuya Kuchiki, out of concern for her safety. However, this is not revealed until after the Soul Society Arc when the Arrancar and Espada first appear. Her zanpakuto's name is Sode No Shirayuki, also known as the most beautiful sword in the Soul Society. Not known to have bankai however the materialised Sode no Shireyuki in the Unknown Zampakuto Tales arc possessed abilities non seen with Rukia such as freely controlling icy winds and creating icicles to attack but no link was made between this and a potential bankai.
Tessai Tsukabishi (握菱 テッサイ Tsukabishi Tessai?) is the Kidō Corps Chief (鬼道衆総帥 Kidōshū Sōsui?) and Grand Kidō Captain (大鬼道長 Dai Kidōchō?) during the Turn Back the Pendulum gaiden. After using forbidden kidō techniques in an attempt to save the lives of the Visoreds, he is sentenced to imprisonment and flees the Soul Society along with Kisuke Urahara and Yoruichi Shihōin. He now works at the Urahara Shop.
Hachigen Ushōda (有昭田 鉢玄 Ushōda Hachigen?) is the Vice Kidō Captain (副鬼道長 Fuku Kidōchō?) under Tessai Tsukabishi during the Turn Back the Pendulum gaiden. He leaves Soul Society after becoming a Visored.
Ichigo Kurosaki (黒崎 一護 Kurosaki Ichigo?) becomes a Soul Reaper after meeting Rukia Kuchiki. Though Soul Society regards him as a criminal when first learning of him, he becomes their ally after the Soul Society arc and earns the title of "Deputy Soul Reaper" ("Substitute Soul Reaper" in the English dub of the anime). During that arc, Ichigo develops the powers of a captain (strong spiritual pressure and the ability to summon Bankai). His true state is still unknown but he is associated with the Visoreds (the Masked Army), a group of Soul Reapers who can increase their powers by putting on a their inner-Hollow's mask, a process know as Hollowfication, which Ichigo learns from them. Ichigo also possesses a dark alter-ego, also a Hollow, within his soul that resulted from his unorthodox transformation back into a Soul Reaper before the Soul Society arc began. Should Ichigo become unconscious or mentally weakened while in his soul state, the Hollow can take control of Ichigo, transforming his very being, until it is subdued by Ichigo from within. Ichigo has a number of friends. His closest friends are Orihime Inoue and Sado "Chad" Yasutora, two spiritually gifted humans, Uryu Ishida, a Quincy and under ,ordinary circumstances, his enemy, and the Soul Reapers Rukia Kuchiki (whom he originally received his powers from) and Renji Abarai.
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Later in the series
Isshin Kurosaki (黒崎 一心 Kurosaki Isshin?) is the father of Ichigo Kurosaki. He was a Soul Reaper up until twenty years before the current Bleach storyline, after which he began residing in the human world. What he did as a Soul Reaper and why he left remains unknown, though he is seen wearing what appeared to be a captain's haori over one shoulder. Also he seems to know about the Visoreds (the Masked Army). His zanpakutō is called "Engetsu" and has similar powers, even having the same shikai attack "Getsuga Tensho", to Ichigo which brings to question the relationship between his and Ichigo's zanpakutō "Zangetsu". He's tremendously powerful, being able to send Aizen flying by simply flicking his finger. It's implied that he achieved this power by "throwing" away his reiatsu and transferring it all into raw physical power for his spiritual form. This makes it impossible to sense his reiatsu as well. He helps Ichigo learn this technique along with the Final Getsuga.
Ashido Kanō (狩能 雅忘人 Kanō Ashido?) is introduced during the anime's adaptation of the Hueco Mundo arc. He was originally to appear in the manga during the same part in the series, but had to be cut by series creator Tite Kubo due to time issues. He wears the standard Soul Reaper uniform, in ragged condition and without any footwear, with a fur coat draped over himself. The coat consists of several hollow masks adorned on it; one (resembling a gazelle's skull) killed his best friend. The others he uses to block hollow attacks. Along with his fellow Soul Reapers, Ashido followed a group of hollows into Hueco Mundo hundreds of years before the current Bleach storyline. However, the Soul Reapers were instead hunted down by the hollows and killed one by one, leaving Ashido as the sole survivor. Though he was to return to Soul Society once he wiped out the hollows (an impossible task given how many reside in Hueco Mundo), he decided to stay and kill as many hollows as possible, hoping to reduce the numbers appearing in the human world. After meeting Rukia Kuchiki he agrees to join her in leaving the Hueco Mundo. As she and her friends are leaving the realm however, they are attacked by hollows, and Ashido is trapped in a cave-in while defending them. His further whereabouts and condition are left unknown. He is voiced by Yasuyuki Kase in Japanese and Travis Willingham in English.
Ryūsei "Kenryū" Kenzaki
Ryūsei Kenzaki (犬崎 劉聖 Kenzaki Ryūsei?), commonly called Kenryū (犬龍 Kenryū?), is introduced during the anime's The New Captain Syūsuke Amagai arc. He is a servant of Lurichiyo Kasumiōji, the princess of the Kasumiōji noble family. He is fiercely loyal to Lurichiyo, and often reprimands Ichigo for not showing her proper respect. He has somewhat similar facial features to the arrancar Tesla but with short dark hair, and wears a normal Soul Reaper uniform and a light garment underneath, as well as long gloves.
His zanpakuto is named Benishidare (紅枝垂?, literally "crimson weeping bough"). When released, it takes the form of a long black sword with five flowers attached to it, two flowers on either side, and one on the tip. The flowers release a pollen which causes more flowers to bloom on his opponent's weapon, rendering it useless. The flowers will wither if the pollen is blown away. Kenryū can also scatter the flowers on the blade to blind an enemy to allow in the aid of Rurichiyo's escape in battle. He can also create a thick purple mist to blind his enemy. With the command "fall as flowers do" (散華 sange?), Benishidare can turn its petals into blade sized pink energy needles which rain down on the target. He is voiced by Hiroki Takahashi in the Japanese version and Roger Craig Smith in the English dub.
Ruzaburō "Enryū" Enkōgawa
Ruzaburō Enkōgawa (猿猴川 流三郎 Enkōgawa Ruzaburō?), commonly called Enryū (猿龍 Enryū?), is introduced during the anime's The New Captain Syūsuke Amagai arc. He is a silent, largely built man with a small mohawk shaped like a lightning bolt. He wears a light undergarment under his Soul Reaper uniform, as well as a pair of sunglasses. From the opening credits, it would seem that he has superhuman strength. Like Kenryū, he is a servant of Lurichiyo Kasumiōji. He takes the responsibility of punishing anyone he believes to be being rude to their princess. He has a very high-pitched and squeaky voice, which he is embarrassed about, but Lurichiyo likes. Because of his voice, he almost never speaks, even when asking Kenryū about Lurichiyo's location (he uses comical gestures in a sort of pantomime to ask, which Kenryū is able to understand).
His zanpakutō is Daichimaru (代地丸?, literally "the land") which takes the form of a pair of fists attached to chains. By striking the ground, he can cause a pair of stone hands to rise from the earth and trap a target by cupping around it or to defend against attacks. He is voiced by Ryōtarō Okiayu in Japanese.
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 Sui-Feng 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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- Kubo, Tite (2007). "Chapter 159". Bleach, Volume 19. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-1043-X.
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- Kubo, Tite (2007). "Chapter 179". Bleach, Volume 21. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-1165-7.
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- Kubo, Tite (2006). "Chapter 119". Bleach, Volume 14. Viz Media. ISBN 1-4215-0613-0.
- Bleach manga; chapter 188, page 2.
- Bleachmanga; chapter 409, page 13.
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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
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