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A zanpakutō (斬魄刀?, lit. soul-cutting sword) is a fictional type of magic sword in the anime and manga series Bleach wielded by those with Soul Reaper powers. The art of using a zanpakutō is called zanjutsu (swordsmanship). In Viz's English adaptation, they are translated as Soul Slayers.
Most zanpakutō look like regular katana, with slight variations between them as one would expect between different swords. However, each zanpakutō is imbued with a unique sentient spirit, which gives the sword the power to send pluses to the afterlife, purify hollows, and transform the zanpakutō itself into more elaborate and powerful forms. To facilitate these tasks, zanpakutō have unique abilities that match their owner's characteristics.
A zanpakutō spirit is part of its owner's soul, and often shares the same personality traits. However, they can act independently, and thus can be considered a Soul Reaper's partner in battle. Because they are part of their owner's soul, a zanpakutō cannot be replaced, and will slowly regenerate if broken. As a Soul Reaper gains power, their zanpakutō can change form by allowing the inner being to manifest itself to a greater degree in the outside world. The sword and the inner being are synonymous to each other. No matter what form (or size) a zanpakutō takes, it is usually virtually effortless for its owner to wield because it is a part of its owner's soul. On the other hand, it is much more difficult for a Soul Reaper to wield a zanpakutō that is not their own. Kaname Tōsen is the only character in the series known to do so.
Soul Reapers can transfer their powers to others by stabbing their zanpakutō through the recipient's heart. Rukia Kuchiki does this at the beginning of the story to help Ichigo save his family. Although she only intended to give him about half of her power, he absorbed nearly all of it.
Depending upon the Soul Reaper's ability to communicate with and control their zanpakutō's spirit, a zanpakutō can manifest itself in two additional forms and revert to a sealed state. These two forms, known as shikai and bankai, are akin to "upgrades" for the zanpakutō, giving it abilities far beyond that of its simple use as a sword. Soul Reapers usually carry their zanpakutō in the sealed state and activate the released forms as necessary.
In addition to the upgraded forms, the sealed form of a zanpakutō can also be radically altered, though such alterations are purely cosmetic and usually don't offer any significant advantage in battle; one exception is Ikkaku Madarame's Hōzukimaru, whose hilt stores a blood-clotting ointment. If a Soul Reaper has great spiritual power, but is unable to control it, he or she will have a larger zanpakutō, as Ichigo Kurosaki did when he first became a Soul Reaper. Isshin Kurosaki, Ichigo's father, explains at one point that high-level Soul Reapers must be capable of maintaining and suppressing the size of their sword. Otherwise, they would end up swinging around swords the size of skyscrapers. Zanpakutō can also be disguised as other objects, though such objects seem to need to be of similar proportions to the sword itself. Both Kisuke Urahara and General Yamamoto, for example, disguise their zanpakutō as canes; Urahara's takes the form of a shikomizue, while Yamamoto's zanpakutō is merely hidden within the larger cane disguise.
Soul Reapers who are unable to communicate with their zanpakutō wield a nameless version known as asauchi, meaning "shallow cut."
The shikai (始解?, initial release) is the first "upgraded" form available to a zanpakutō. To activate it, the Soul Reaper needs to learn the name of their zanpakutō. This is not as simple as simply picking a name, as the living spirit of the zanpakutō already has its own name. Therefore, the Soul Reaper must be able to communicate with their zanpakutō effectively, which requires being able to speak to the spirit within its world. Achievement of the shikai is a mark of control of a zanpakutō, and it appears to be a requirement for advancement within the Gotei ranks, as most seated officers and presumably all lieutenants are capable of shikai.
After first learning the zanpakutō's name, the shikai can be performed at will simply by speaking a command followed by the zanpakutō's name (in most cases). The command varies between users and range from a simple imperative verb to a short poem. It often relates to the zanpakutō's signature ability, or hints at the nature of its spirit. This step may be bypassed by expert Soul Reapers who have learned how to use their bankai. In rare cases, a zanpakutō, once released, will remain in that state indefinitely. Such zanpakutō are described as a constant released form type, such as those of Ichigo Kurosaki and Kenpachi Zaraki.
Once the shikai is activated, the zanpakutō will change form to access whatever special abilities it is capable of. They usually remain in the form of a sword, but the type of sword differs radically among various zanpakutō. The special abilities of the zanpakutō, like the zanpakutō itself, have specific names that usually must be announced to fully activate the effect. As Ichigo's zanpakutō, Zangetsu, explains, knowing the name of an attack and not knowing it makes a difference in the amount of power that attack has.
The bankai (卍解?, final release) is the second and final form of a zanpakutō. To achieve it, one must be able to materialize their zanpakutō's spirit in the real world and subjugate it, giving the Soul Reaper full reign over the zanpakutō's power. According to Yoruichi Shihouin, the power of bankai typically increases a Soul Reaper's power by a factor of five to ten. Maintaining the bankai is taxing for the wielder, and it is difficult to maintain for long periods of time. If the owner is on the verge of death, the bankai will disappear.
After a Soul Reaper is able to materialize and subjugate their zanpakutō's spirit, the zanpakutō can assume its final and most powerful form. Unlike the shikai, there is no command phrase to activate bankai, though the user will usually say "bankai" beforehand. A zanpakutō's bankai is often a manifestation of the spirit itself, usually creating a massive creature or effect to aid the user in battle (Ichigo's bankai is an exception, becoming more compact instead). The bankai itself will extend the name of the zanpakuto (Ichigo's Zangetsu becomes Tensa Zangetsu, Byakuya's Senbonzakura becomes Senbonzakura Kageyoshi), or sometimes change it altogether (Tōsen's Suzumushi becomes Enma Kōrogi). Certain Soul Reapers also change with their zanpakutō, gaining clothing similar to what their spirit form looks like. Most zanpakutō will also gain additional special abilities. Like with the shikai, most of these abilities have an associated name or trigger command.
Centuries of experience are normally needed to achieve bankai and ten years of additional training to master it; however, a device created by Kisuke Urahara can forcibly materialize a zanpakutō spirit, thus bypassing the experience portion of the training. This method is potentially fatal if not completed within three days, and the only two to successfully complete this abbreviated method of achieving bankai are Ichigo and Urahara himself.
Byakuya Kuchiki claims that even within the four noble houses of Soul Society, only one person in several generations will be born with the spiritual power necessary to achieve bankai. Because the act of bankai usually takes hundreds of years of combat experience to achieve, it is rare amongst Soul Reapers and almost exclusively limited to the thirteen Soul Reaper captains in the Gotei 13. The only captain not to have achieved it is Kenpachi Zaraki. The only non-captain Soul Reapers shown achieving bankai within Bleach are Renji Abarai, Ikkaku Madarame, and Ichigo Kurosaki.
Arrancar, who are hollows that have removed their masks and gained Soul Reaper powers, have zanpakutō and can perform something similar to a Soul Reaper's release called resurrección (Spanish for resurrection). Unlike Soul Reapers' zanpakutō, however, an arrancar's zanpakutō is simply the arrancar's hollow powers sealed into sword form. By releasing their zanpakutō in the same manner as a Soul Reaper, an arrancar can release his or her hollow powers.
Because their powers are sealed in their zanpakutō, an arrancar's release will usually transform some or all of their body into a hollow-like form, allowing them to use their abilities freely. This form usually reflects what the arrancar looked like as a hollow, although to highly varying degrees. Arrancar normally only return to their human form when they reseal their hollow powers; doing so without resealing, though possible, is a permanent change comparable to amputating a limb. The reason arrancar go through such trouble to seal their power is twofold: it allows them to maintain human form and conserve their power in times of inactivity.
There are several types of zanpakutō, classed by the main purpose or effect of their special abilities. For example, Ichigo Kurosaki's zanpakutō is a melee-type zanpakutō, since it is primarily designed for close-combat. Yumichika Ayasegawa's zanpakutō, on the other hand, is a kidō-type zanpakutō, since it's designed around its special ability rather than its close combat potential.
Some zanpakutō are also classified by element: Tōshirō Hitsugaya and Rukia Kuchiki possess ice-type zanpakutō, Shigekuni Yamamoto-Genryūsai controls a fire-type one, and Kaien Shiba's uses water-based abilities. In the video games, Jūshirō Ukitake's is also depicted as being water and lightning based, fitting with its release command, and Shunsui Kyōraku's is associated with wind-based attacks.
Zanpakutō by character
- Name: Zangetsu (斬月, lit. Cutting Moon); the spirit takes the form of a middle-aged man wearing tinted glasses and a ragged black coat. However it can also take the form of Ichigo's inner hollow which says more or less that it and Zangetsu are tied together, one or the other usually in control.
- Voiced by: Takayuki Sugō (Japanese), Richard Epcar (English)
- Shikai: Zangetsu takes the form of a large and elegant cleaver as tall as Ichigo is. It has no scabbard, rather the blade is wrapped in cloth from the pommel when not in use. It has no command phrase, as it is a full-time released form zanpakutō.
- Bankai: Named Tensa Zangetsu (天鎖斬月, lit. Heavenly Chain Cutting Moon), Zangetsu takes the form of a nodachi with a black blade, a manji crossguard, and a short chain attached to the end of the hilt. When Ichigo uses Zangetsu's bankai, he is wearing a coat identical to the spirit's. In this form, Ichigo's speed is greatly increased, exceeding the velocity of flash steps. Ichigo also gains matching agility and reflexes. Additionally, his attack power raises moderately.
- Abilities: Getsuga Tenshō (月牙天衝, lit. sky-piercing moon fang), an energy attack that fires blue-colored blasts of spiritual power in the shape of a crescent. In bankai form, the blasts are black with a red outline and their path can be controlled, and their attack power and speed are increased explosively.
- Shigekuni Yamamoto-Genryūsai - 1st Division captain
- Name: Ryūjin Jakka (流刃若火, lit. Flowing Blade like Flame, Viz: Flowing Flame Blade)
- Shikai: Ryūjin Jakka is consumed in flame. It is activated by the command "reduce the whole of creation to smoldering ashes" (万象一切灰燼と為せ banshō issai kaijin to nase?, Viz: "All things of this world, turn to ashes").
- Abilities: Ryūjin Jakka creates flames so hot that the aura alone can disintegrate anything Yamamoto waves the sword at. The area surrounding Yamamoto is also consumed in flame.
- Chōjirō Sasakibe - 1st Division lieutenant
- Name: Gonryōmaru (厳霊丸, lit. Stern Spirit, Viz: "Solemn Spirit")
- Shikai: Gonryōmaru transforms into a rapier. It is activated by the command "pierce" (穿て ugate?, Viz: "bite").
- Abilities: Unknown
- Soifon - 2nd Division captain
- Name: Suzumebachi (雀蜂, lit. Hornet)
- Shikai: Suzumebachi transforms into a stinger worn on the middle finger of Soifon's right hand. It is activated by the command "sting all enemies to death" (尽敵螫殺 jinteki shakusetsu?, Viz: "spider enemy's killing strike").
- Abilities: When Soifon stabs someone with Suzumebachi, a butterfly symbol called a hornet's crest (蜂紋華 hōmonka?, Viz: Bee's Crest Flower) spreads from the point of contact. A second stab in the same place means death. Suzumebachi can also inject or draw out poisons, as revealed by Soifon during the Bount arc.
- Marechiyo Ōmaeda - 2nd Division lieutenant
- Name: Gegetsuburi (五形頭, lit. Five-form Head, Viz: Five Heads)
- Shikai: Gegetsuburi transforms into an oversized spiked ball and chain. It is activated by the command "smash" (打っ潰せ buttsubuse?, Viz: "crush").
- Abilities: Unknown
- Gin Ichimaru - (Former) 3rd Division captain
- Name: Shinsō (神鎗, lit. Divine Spear)
- Shikai: Shinsō's blade extends at great speeds to impale Gin's opponents from a distance. The sword carries the full impact when blocked. Gin can maintain the extension and swing Shinsō in wide arcs. It is activated by the command "shoot [him] dead" (射殺せ ikorose?); in the anime, this was slightly changed to ikorosu.
- Abilities: In various Bleach console games, Gin fires Shinsō into the ground or sky, causing similar swords to emerge from below or rain all around him, respectively.
- Izuru Kira - 3rd Division lieutenant
- Name: Wabisuke (侘助, lit. Miserable Man, but can also be translated as Apologizer, Viz: The Penitent One)
- Shikai: Wabisuke's blade bends into a square hook. It is activated by the command "raise your head" (面を上げろ omote o agero?, Viz: "Show yourself").
- Abilities: Wabisuke doubles the weight of whatever it strikes. The effect is cumulative, so each strike exponentially increases the weight of the target. After this effect is applied a multitude of times, the target of the effect eventually is brought to his knees as if in apology, hence the name.
- Makoto Kibune - 3rd Division 3rd seat
- Name: Reppū (烈風 lit. "furious wind"?)
- Shikai: Reppū transforms into a large, three bladed weapon. It is released with the command "rage violently" (荒れ狂え are kurue?).
- Abilities: Kibune can telekinetically control Reppū, allowing him to attack enemies from any direction.
- Retsu Unohana - 4th Division captain
- Name: Minazuki (肉雫唼, lit. Purify the Flesh)
- Shikai: Unknown
- Abilities: Creates a giant, flying, one-eyed manta-ray that can heal people in its stomach. It is unclear if this is her shikai or bankai ability, though it is labeled as the former in some Bleach video games.
- Isane Kotetsu - 4th Division lieutenant
- Name: Itegumo (凍雲, lit. Frozen Cloud, Viz: Frozen Snow)
- Shikai: Itegumo splits into three blades resembling an open scissor katar with a normal katana hilt. It is activated by the command "sprint" (奔れ hashire?, Viz: "run").
- Ability: Unknown
- Hanatarō Yamada - 4th Division 7th Seat
- Name: Hisagomaru (瓠丸, lit. Gourd)
- Shikai: Hisagomaru gains a red gauge on its hilt and heals opponents instead of harming them. It is activated by the command "Fill up" (満たせ mitase?).
- Ability: As it heals wounds, the gauge on Hisagomaru's blade fills up. When full, Hisagomaru transforms into Akeiro Hisagomaru (朱色瓠丸, lit. crimson-coloured gourd), which resembles a scalpel. In this form, Hanatarō can return every wound Hisagomaru has absorbed in a single attack. Subsequent attacks also have the healing restriction lifted.
- Sōsuke Aizen - (Former) 5th Division captain
- Name: Kyōka Suigetsu (鏡花水月, lit. Mirror Flower Water Moon)
- Shikai: Anyone who witnesses the shikai will be placed in a state of complete hypnosis from that point on. It is activated by the command "shatter" (砕けろ kudakero?).
- Abilities: Kyōka Suigetsu's complete hypnosis is a permanent effect that allows Aizen to create perfect illusions in the minds of those under its power. Anyone who is under Kyōka Suigetsu's complete hypnosis can't dispel it, even if they are aware of the fact.
- Momo Hinamori - 5th Division lieutenant
- Name: Tobiume (飛梅, lit. Flying Ume Tree, Viz: Flying Plum Tree)
- Shikai: Tobiume's blade straightens and produces several, jitte-like prongs along its length. It is activated by the command "snap" (弾け hajike?).
- Abilities: Tobiume acts as a focus for Hinamori's spiritual power, concentrating it into pink-colored energy bursts capable of cratering floors and holing walls. Hinamori can also compress her power into a single massive energy ball.
- Byakuya Kuchiki - 6th Division captain
- Name: Senbonzakura (千本桜, lit. A Thousand Cherry Blossoms)
- Shikai: Senbonzakura's blade scatters into thousands of tiny blades ("petals") controlled by Byakuya. It is activated by the command "scatter" (散れ chire?).
- Bankai: Named Senbonzakura Kageyoshi (千本桜景厳, lit. Vibrant Display of the Thousand Cherry Blossoms), Byakuya drops Senbonzakura, causing it to disappear into the ground. Two rows of swords then appear to either side of Byakuya and dissolve into millions of tiny blades controlled by Byakuya.
- Abilities: In bankai form, Senbonzakura has four stages. The first is a magnified form of the shikai, consisting of more than enough miniature blades to form a defensive shield around Byakuya and assault his opponent with massive streams of 'petal blades' (he generally focuses them into two columns of blades as opposed to his shikai having only one singular blade). The second form compresses Senbonzakura's blades into four rows of swords around Byakuya and his opponent, which is triggered by the command "scene of a massacre" (殲景 senkei?). He can control these swords and wield them at will, for instance, one of his common techniques is to bind the opponent with one blade and call another to deal a finishing strike. The third form, "pivotal scene" (吭景 gōkei?), causes every blade to attack from every possible angle, leaving no blind spots. The fourth and evidently final form compresses every blade into a single sword and gives Byakuya a pair of white wings, which is triggered by the command "final scene: white imperial sword" (終景・白帝剣 shūkei: hakuteiken?).
- Renji Abarai - 6th Division lieutenant
- Name: Zabimaru (蛇尾丸, lit. Snake Tail); the spirit takes the form of a nue (Japanese chimera), with the head and body of a baboon and a snake's head at the end of its tail.
- Voiced by: Toru Furusawa (Japanese), Vic Mignogna (English)
- Shikai: Zabimaru transforms into a segmented blade with a pick-like protrusion on each segment. The segments are connected by a stretchable band, allowing Zabimaru to be used as a whip. It is activated by the command "howl" (咆えろ hoero?, "roar" in the English dub).
- Bankai: Named Hihiō Zabimaru (狒狒王蛇尾丸, lit. Baboon King Snake Tail), Zabimaru transforms into a massive version of its shikai resembling a skeletal snake, complete with a snake-like head. Renji's outfit is also modified to thematically match. The segments are connected by Renji's spiritual power instead of thread, allowing him to disconnect and reconnect them at will. Every piece need not be intact for it to function properly.
- Abilities: When used as a whip, Zabimaru can be swung a maximum of three times before returning to sword form. The segments can be separated and controlled by Renji's spiritual power, allowing him to execute a one-shot omni-directional attack called higa zekkō (狒牙絶咬 lit. broken baboon's fang), but it is damaging to Zabimaru and leaves Renji defenseless. In bankai form, Zabimaru gains a special technique known as Baboon Bone Cannon (狒骨大砲 hikotsu taihō?) that fires a dense blast of spiritual energy from Zabimaru's mouth.
- Sajin Komamura - 7th Division captain
- Name: Tenken (天譴, lit. Heaven's Punishment)
- Shikai: 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. It is activated by the command "roar" (轟け todoroke?).
- Bankai: Named Kokujō Tengen Myō'ō (黒縄天譴明王, lit. Heavenly Punishment of Kokujō's King, Viz: Divine Retribution: Black Ropes of Ruination), Tenken produces the entire giant (a black-armored warrior), which also copies Komamura's movements.
- Abilities: Apart from its automatic effects, unknown.
- Jirōbō Ikkanzaka - 7th Division 4th seat
- Name: Tsunzakigarasu (劈烏, lit. Splitting Crow)
- Shikai: Tsunzakigarasu transforms into a number of double-edged shuriken that Jirōbō controls. If destroyed, he can sheath the sword again to summon more. It is activated by the command "flap away" (羽搏きなさい habataki nasai?, "spread your wings" in the Viz translation).
- Abilities: Apart from its released state, unknown.
- Shunsui Kyōraku - 8th Division captain
- Name: Katen Kyōkotsu (花天狂骨, lit. Flower Heaven, Crazy Bone, Viz: Flower-Heaven Bone of Madness)
- Shikai: Katen Kyōkotsu transforms into two large scimitars or falchions. It is activated by the command "flowers are disturbed, god of flowers weeps, winds of Heaven are disturbed, demon of Heaven laughs" (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?, Viz: "when the flower wind rages, the flower god roars, when the wind of heaven rages, the god of the underworld sneers").
- Abilities: Depicted as being able to control wind, summon tornadoes and fire wind blades in various Bleach games.
- Tatsufusa Enjōji - 8th Division 3rd seat
- Name: Hōzan (崩山, lit. Avalanche)
- Shikai: Hōzan takes the form of a saw during its released state. It is activated by the command "dance madly" (乱舞せよ ranbuseyo?).
- Abilities: Unknown
- Kensei Muguruma - (Former) 9th Division captain
- Name: Tachikaze (断地風, lit. Earth-severing Wind)
- Shikai: Tachikaze transforms into a combat knife. It is activated by the command "blow it away" (吹っ飛ばせ futtobase?).
- Abilities: Capable of charging and firing blasts of concentrated spiritual energy.
- Kaname Tōsen - (Former) 9th Division captain
- Name: Suzumushi (清虫, lit. Pure Insects, Bell Bug in the Viz translation)
- Shikai: Dependent on the command used.
- Bankai: Named Enma Kōrogi (閻魔蟋蟀, lit. Demon's cricket), Suzumushi creates a large black dome anchored to the ground with ten rings. Anything within, save for anyone who is touching Suzumushi, loses every sense except for that of touch.
- Abilities: If triggered by the command "chime" (鳴け nake?, Viz: "cry"), Suzumushi projects a high-pitched tone over a wide area, overloading the hearing of anyone in range and knocking them unconscious. If triggered by the command "smash his limbs" (四肢を潰すよ shishi wo tsubusu yo?), Suzumushi becomes Benihikō (紅飛蝗, lit. Crimson Flying Locusts) and creates a group of blades that rain on opponents.
- Tōshirō Hitsugaya - 10th Division captain
- Name: Hyōrinmaru (氷輪丸, lit. Ice Ring); the spirit takes the form of a large, winged, Chinese dragon made of ice.
- Shikai: Hyōrinmaru gains a crescent-shaped blade attached to the hilt by a a chain. It is activated by the command "sit upon the frozen heavens" (霜天に坐せ sōten ni zase?, "Reign over the frosted heavens" in the Viz translation, "Reign over the frosted frozen sky" in the anime).
- Bankai: Named Daiguren Hyōrinmaru (大紅蓮氷輪丸, lit. Great Crimson Lotus Ice Ring), Ice flows onto Tōshirō's back in the form of wings and a tail. Ice claws also appear on his feet and left hand and a dragon's head encases his sword hand. Finally, three "flowers" of ice are also created behind Hitsugaya with four petals each. The petals disappear as Tōshirō uses his techniques; however, if there is any water near Tōshirō, Hyōrinmaru can regenerate itself indefinitely.
- Abilities: Hyōrinmaru has control over water and ice. In its shikai form, the blade creates an ice dragon when swung (controlled by Hitsugaya) and the crescent blade freezes anything it wraps around. In bankai form, Hyōrinmaru gains two techniques: "dragon hail frame" (竜霰架 ryūsenka?) and "thousand years ice prison" (千年氷牢 sennen hyōrō?). The first freezes and shatters an opponent that Tōshirō stabs. The second creates pillars of ice which envelop the enemy.
- Rangiku Matsumoto - 10th Division lieutenant
- Name: Haineko (灰猫, lit. Ash Cat)
- Shikai: Haineko dissolves into ash which Rangiku controls. It is activated by the command "growl" (唸れ unare?).
- Abilities: The ash from Haineko's blade cuts through objects as easily as a sword would, as seen in the anime's Bount arc. In Bleach: Heat The Soul 3, the ash that Haineko produces can form together into a cat or leopard-like animal.
- Kenpachi Zaraki - 11th Division captain
- Name: Unknown
- Shikai: Kenpachi's zanpakutō is in a permanently released state, with the hilt of a shinai and a long, beaten-up, dented blade. It is apparently unique in the fact that it is released despite its owner not knowing its name, purely due to his inability to restrain his massive spiritual power. However, despite being in the form of a shikai, its power is apparently inaccessible to Kenpachi due to him not knowing the sword's name.
- Abilities: Unknown.
- Ikkaku Madarame - 11th Division 3rd seat
- Name: Hōzukimaru (鬼灯丸, lit. Demon Light, Winter Cherry in the Viz translation)
- Shikai: Hōzukimaru transforms into a naginata that can split into a three-section staff (三節棍 sansetsukon?) with the command "split" (裂けろ sakero?, "break" in the Viz translation). It is activated by the command "grow" (延びろ nobiro?, "extend" in the Viz translation), followed by Ikkaku slamming the zanpakutō's hilt into its sheath.
- Bankai: Named Ryūmon Hōzukimaru (龍紋鬼灯丸, lit. Dragon Crest Demon Light), Hōzukimaru transforms into an oversized Chinese Monk's Spade and an equally large Dadao, each connected by a large chain to an oversized Halberd blade with a parallel handle forged into the blunt end and a dragon crest on one side of the blade.
- Abilities: While it has no special abilities, Hōzukimaru in its bankai form becomes increasingly more powerful as time passes. Its power level is indicated by the dragon crest, which fills with red dye as Hōzukimaru's power increases. When the design is completely filled, the full destructive force of Ikkaku's bankai surfaces. However, the force of unleashing so much power can leave his zanpakutō's edge brittle.
- Yumichika Ayasegawa - 11th Division 5th seat
- Name: Fuji Kujaku (藤孔雀, lit. Wisteria Peacock)
- Shikai: Fuji Kujaku transforms into a fan of four scythe-like blades, connected at the hilt by a hinge. It is activated by the command "bloom" (咲け sake?).
- Abilities: With the command sakikurue (裂き狂え), Fuji Kujaku can absorb an opponent's spiritual energy, leaving them unable to fight.
- Maki Ichinose - (Former) 11th Division member
- Name: Nijigasumi (虹霞, lit. Rainbow Haze)
- Shikai: Nijigasumi's blade becomes invisible. It is activated by the command "shine brightly" (光華閃け kōka hirameke?).
- Abilities: Nijigasumi's blade generates a blinding light which cuts whatever it comes into contact with. The manipulation of light also serves to confuse the enemy of the actual direction Ichinose will swing Nijigasumi. It can also generate a large pulse of light and fire many blades of light at an opponent. Through manipulation of light, it can also render him invisible. When used in its Saigyoku Nijigasumi (彩玉虹霞?, lit. Swallowing Orb of Rainbow Mist) form, it creates an orb of light that compresses around an opponent, crushing them.
- Mayuri Kurotsuchi - 12th Division captain
- Name: Ashisogi Jizō (疋殺地蔵, lit. Ksitigarbha's Killer Head, though it can be interpreted other ways)
- Shikai: Ashisogi Jizō transforms into a deformed trident. It is activated by the command "rip" (掻き毟れ kakimushire?, Viz "claw out").
- Bankai: Named Konjiki Ashisogi Jizō (金色疋殺地蔵, lit. Golden Ashisogi Jizō), Ashisogi Jizō returns to its sealed state and produces a giant caterpillar with a grotesque head and a silver halo.
- Abilities: In its shikai form, Ashisogi Jizō paralyzes opponents by cutting off the brain's signals to the arms and legs when stabbed into them. This paralysis still allows the opponent to feel pain. In its bankai form, the monster released by Ashisogi Jizō breathes a poisonous derivative of Mayuri's blood which is lethal to anyone who breathes it, except Mayuri himself, as well as his lieutenant, Nemu. Several blades can also extend from its chest, allowing it to run through and skewer opponents. If Mayuri stabs himself with his zanpakutō, he turns into liquid and cannot attack or be attacked (used as an escape method). He returns to human form after a few days.
- Kisuke Urahara - (Former) 12th Division captain
- Name: Benihime (紅姫, lit. Crimson Princess)
- Shikai: Benihime's blade becomes a bit wider than that of an unsealed zanpakutō and the hilt curves, adding a crimson ribbon and other elaborate decorations around it. It is activated by the command "awaken" (起きろ okiro?).
- Abilities: Benihime can fire energy blasts of considerable strength, strong enough to counter a cero blast, and can also create a blood-mist shield to protect Urahara, both of which are triggered by the command "sing" (啼け nake?, "Scream" in the English dub and manga).
- Jūshirō Ukitake - 13th Division captain
- Name: Sōgyo no Kotowari (双魚の理 or 双魚理, lit. Logic of the Twin Pisces, Viz: Law of the Twin Fish)
- Shikai: Sōgyo no Kotowari transforms into two thin swords resembling fishing javelins with a reversed jitte-like prong on the back of each blade. The swords are connected by a cord, which is lined with several small charms. It is activated by the command "every wave be my shield, every thunder 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?, Viz: "wave become my shield, thunder become my blade").
- Ability: Various Bleach console games depict it as having control over combinations of water and lightning, making orbs of water and shooting out streams of water from those orbs. These orbs can be made into a certain formation and another skill is to make a puddle of water in the ground as a trap, when the opponent steps upon the puddle, spears of water and thunder pierces through the enemy.
- Kaien Shiba - (Former) 13th Division lieutenant
- Name: Nejibana (捩花, lit. Twisted Flower)
- Shikai: Nejibana transforms into a trident, which is revealed in Bleach Advance: Kurenai ni Somaru Soul Society and later demonstrated by Aaroniero Arruruerie. It is activated by the command "uncoil the liquid heavens" (水天逆巻け suiten sakamake?, "rankle the seas and heavens" in the Viz translation).
- Abilities: Control over and the ability to generate water.
- Rukia Kuchiki - 13th Division member
- Name: Sode no Shirayuki (袖の白雪 or 袖白雪, lit. Sleeve's White Snow)
- Shikai: Sode no Shirayuki becomes completely white and a white ribbon forms from the pommel. It is activated by the command "dance" (舞え mae?).
- Abilities: Sode no Shirayuki has three techniques: "first dance, white moon" (初の舞・月白 some no mai, tsukishiro?), "next dance, white ripple" (次の舞・白漣 tsugi no mai, hakuren?), and "third dance, white sword" (参の舞・白刀 san no mai, shirafune?). The first technique creates a circle of influence around Rukia's target and freezes everything within the circle from the ground upwards until it reaches the sky. The second technique is a directed version of the first attack, creating a massive wave of ice a considerable distance in front of Rukia. The third technique is used if her zanpakutō breaks, and restores the form of her sword with ice, even through an object or opponent.
- Name: Benishidare (lit. Weeping Crimson Bough)
- Shikai: Benishidare's turns the blade completely black and causes five flowers to bloom from the blade, two on either side and one on the tip. it is released with the command "blossom madly" (咲き乱れ sakimidare?).
- Abilities: When released, the flowers on Benishidare release pollen which causes similar flowers to bloom on an enemy's weapon, rendering it uselesss. The flowers will wither if the pollen is blown away. The flowers on the blade can also be scattered to blind an opponent.
- Name: Tsuchinamazu (土鯰, lit. Soil Catfish)
- Shikai: As revealed in Bleach Advance: Kurenai ni Somaru Soul Society, Tsuchinamazu transforms into a chakram with a long purple ribbon attached to the wooden handle. It is activated by the command "good morning" (おはよう O-hayō?).
- Abilities: Unknown.
- Senna - Bleach: Memories of Nobody
- Name: Mirokumaru (弥勒丸, lit. Maitreya circle)
- Shikai: Mirokumaru takes the form of a staff during its released state. It is activated by the command "call forth the twilight" (夕闇に誘え yūyami ni izanae?).
- Abilities: Mirokumaru can create tornadoes empowered by lightning strikes, which Senna can then control to attack.
- Neliel Tu Oderschvank - Former 3rd Espada
- Name: Gamuza (羚騎士, lit. Antelope Knight, Spanish for chamois)
- Resurrección: Nel transforms into a centaur while her sword transforms into a double-ended lance. The horns on her mask also grow slightly longer. It is activated by the command "declare" (謳え utae?).
- Ability: Nel's primary attack is Lanzador Verde (Spanish for "green thrower" or "green spearman"), in which she throws her lance with great speed and rotational force at her enemies, turning the weapon into a massive drill.
- Nnoitra Jiruga - 5th Espada
- Name: Santa Teresa (聖哭螳螂, common Spanish term for "Mantis religiosa," Japanese for "sacred crying mantis")
- Resurrección: Nnoitra gains two additional arms arranged horizontally at his shoulders, and can produce another two if necessary. His zanpakutō's blade changes shape, becoming like the scythe-like forelegs of a praying mantis, and splits into four identical blades for each of his hands. His hollow mask also changes, looking torn and featuring jagged teeth. He also grows a pair of horns, one longer than the other, and curved in a way that resembles a crescent moon. It is activated by the command "pray" (祈れ inore?).
- Ability: Accelerated healing.
- Grimmjow Jeagerjaques - 6th Espada
- Name: Pantera (豹王, lit. Panther King, Spanish for Panther)
- Resurrección: Grimmjow's appearance becomes feline and predatory, taking on features such as jagged teeth, a tail, and paws for feet. His clothing changes to match his original hollow form. His hair becomes long and flowing, and his eye markings enlarge, extending to the tips of his ears. He loses his jaw mask, which is replaced by a sort of crown just above his forehead. Grimmjow's release is activated by the command "grind" (軋れ kishire?, specifically used to describe grinding one's teeth).
- Ability: Grimmjow's released state augments his speed drastically, as well as giving him animal-like agility and movements. He can also roar when released, creating powerful shockwaves in the air. Furthermore, he is capable of firing dart-like projectiles from his lower arm, and he can create energy claws from his fingertips called desgarrón (Spanish for "tear").
- Luppi - Former 6th Espada
- Name: Trepadora (蔦嬢, lit. Ivy Girl, Spanish for Climber)
- Resurrección: Eight tendrils sprout from a carapace mounted on Luppi's back, which Luppi can freely control. His mask moves from the side of his head to form a helmet. It is activated by the command "strangle" (縊れ kubire?).
- Ability: Luppi's tentacles can be used in a number of ways. They can be used to deliver crushing blows or constrict opponents, and can also sprout a cache of sharp thorns from their ends. The carapace can be rotated, spinning the tentacles like helicopter blades.
- Zommari Leroux - 7th Espada
- Name: Brujería (呪眼僧伽 lit. Sangha of Bewitching Eyes, Spanish for Witchcraft)
- Resurrección: Zommari is covered with forty-eight eyes arranged around his midsection. His legs are replaced by a pumpkin-like structure with cycloptic faces surrounding it. It is activated by the command "suppress" (鎮まれ shizumare?).
- Ability: After releasing his zanpakutō, Zommari gains an ability called amor (Spanish for "love"), which he can use to control anything his eyes see, marking the controlled objects with a mark similar to the sun. His lower half can also cover his entire body, serving as a form of defense.
- Szayel Aporro Granz - 8th Espada
- Name: Fornicarás (邪淫妃, lit. Lewd Concubine, Spanish for will fornicate)
- Resurrección: Two pairs of wing-shaped structures appear at Szayel's back and a flock of tentacles sprout from his lower body. The tentacles can retract to allow him to walk freely. His glasses extend to form a tiara and he gains a set of odd markings near his left eye. Fornicarás is activated by the command "sip" (啜れ susure?).
- Ability: After releasing his zanpakutō, Szayel Aporro can create large amounts of a dark liquid that sprays from his body. Any living thing the liquid touches is instantly cloned. By wrapping his opponent in one of the wings, he can create a doll of them that, like a voodoo doll, can be used to cause injury to the opponent; this is apparently limited to internal organ injury and superficial external cuts. Finally, if fatally injured he can recreate himself by implanting an egg within his opponent, which devours their internal organs and grows into a new Szayel in moments.
- Aaroniero Arruruerie - 9th Espada
- Name: Glotonería (喰虚, lit. Eating Hollow, Spanish for Gluttony)
- Resurrección: Aaroniero's lower body becomes an enormous octopus-like creature with several large mouths on its body. It is activated by the command "devour" (喰い尽くせ kuitsukuse?).
- Ability: Once Aaroniero releases his zanpakutō he can call forth the powers of the hollows he has consumed all at once, and the creature's tentacles are used for melee combat.
- Shawlong Koufang - 11th arrancar
- Name: Tijereta (五鋏蟲, lit. Five Scissor Insect, Spanish for Earwig)
- Resurrección: Shawlong's upper body is covered with insectoid armor, which extends into claws on his hands. A tail with a scissor-like tip grows from a point just below his neck. His mask extends down the left side of his face. It is activated by the command "snip" (截て tate?).
- Abilities: Shawlong's claws are used for melee combat.
- Edrad Liones - 13th arrancar
- Name: Volcanica (火山獣, lit. Volcanic Beast, Spanish for Volcanic)
- Resurrección: Edrad's arms enlarge greatly and are covered in armor. An exhaust spout appears at each shoulder. His mask disappears altogeteher. It is activated by the command "awake" (起きろ okiro?); in the tankōbon, this is changed to "conflagrate" (熾きろ okiro?).
- Abilities: Edrad can fire massive bursts of flame from his fists to engulf his opponents.
- Yylfordt Granz - 15th arrancar
- Name: Del Toro (蒼角王子, lit. Pale Horn Prince, Spanish for "of the bull")
- Resurrección: Yylfordt's upper body is covered in thick armor, transforming him into a creature resembling a long-horned bull. He even walks on four legs. It is activated by the command "gore" (突き砕け tsukikudake?).
- Abilities: Yylfordt uses his huge horns to as his primary means of attack, charging and skewering opponents as a bull would.
- Dordonii Alessandro Del Socacchio - 103rd arrancar
- Name: Giralda (暴風男爵, lit. Windstorm Baron, Spanish for Giralda)
- Resurrección: Dordonii grows large horns on his shoulders and armor that starts at his feet, wraps around his calfs, then juts out at his waist with two more horns. Two enormous cyclones come from the armor on Dordonii's legs, allowing him to hover. It is activated by the command "whirl" (旋れ maware?).
- Abilities: Dordonii can control two bird-like wind elemental beasts, which are created from the cyclones.
- Cirucci Thunderwitch - 105th arrancar
- Name: Golondrina (車輪鉄燕, lit. Wheel Iron Swallow, Spanish for Swallow)
- Resurrección: Cirucci sprouts large wings with blades in place of feathers. Her arms become long and her fingers become sharp claws. Her mask grows into 'feathers' going down her back with two similar feather-like structures growing from her legs. It is activated by the command "rip off" (掻っ切れ kakkire?).
- Abilities: Cirucci's wing-blades can be used as projectiles which she can summon back at will. Her released form uses a large amount of spiritual energy, but Cirucci can shed her wings and claws to bypass the weakness, instead concentrating the energy in her mask. The change is permanent, however.
- Gantenbainne Mosqueda - 107th arrancar
- Name: Dragra (龍拳, lit. Dragon Fist)
- Resurrección: Gantenbainne gains dome-shaped plates across both arms and down his back into a tail, giving him the appearance of an armadillo. His punching daggers also come to resemble dragons.
- Abilities: Gantenbainne's tail emits energy that he gathers in his hands and shoots forward in a dragon head-shaped blast, a technique he calls Dios, Ruego Nos Perdóne (主よ我等を許し給え).
- Tesla - Unknown arrancar
- Name: Verruga (牙鎧士, lit Tusk Armored Samurai, Spanish for wart)
- Resurrección: Tesla becomes a large, warthog-like creature. His mask grows to cover his entire face, and also produces a pair of tusks. His hair grows into a mane. It is activated by the phrase "strike down".
- Abilities: Tesla's strength is greatly increased, allowing him to snap bones with ease.
- Patros - Unknown arrancar
- Name: Jerifalte (ヘリファルテ, Spanish for "boss")
- Resurrección: Patros' upper body becomes tank-shaped, with two sword-like hands that he can use to attack. It's activated by the command "pollute" (汚れよ kegareyo?).
- Abilities: Patros' right arm can be used to fire energy blasts, while his left fires a wide-area attack, triggered by the command "split open" (弾けろ hajikero?).
- ↑ Bleach manga, chapter 063 Page 10
- ↑ Bleach manga, chapter 229 Page 18
- ↑ Bleach Official Bootleg, page 11
- ↑ United States Shonen Jump interview with Tite Kubo, June 2007 issue.
- ↑ Bleach manga, chapter 148 Page 09
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 187, page 17.
- ↑ Bleach manga, chapter 110 Page 14
- ↑ Bleach Official Character Book SOULs; page 258.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 162, page 13.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 66, page 19.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 155, page 23.
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 Bleach manga; chapter 152, page 13.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 157, page 16.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 75, page 15.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 101, page 13.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 154, page 2.
- ↑ Bleach Official Character Book SOULs; page 119.
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 Mentioned in sketches in Bleach volume 22.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 171, page 9.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 101, page 10.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 116, page 36.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 54, pages 16-17.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 118, page 2.
- ↑ Bleach Official Character Book SOULs; page 180.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 148 , page 18.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 91, page 17.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 156, page 14.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter -104, page 15.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 126, page 16.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 146, page 10.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 139, page 14.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 132, page 4.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 170, pages 18-19.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 234, page 18.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 169, page 6.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 87, page 14.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 205, pages 4-5.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 205, page 18.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 89, page 2.
- ↑ Bleach anime; episode 76.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 122, page 12.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 125, page 14.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 65, page 19.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 156, page 12.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 135, page 9.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 201, page 16.
- ↑ Bleach manga; chapter 203, page 17.