In Bleach, Zanpakuto is essential for a Shinigami, as these are soul-purifying swords. As the epithet suggests, they can purify souls and not just normal souls but even the souls of hollows, after killing them.
In this article, we will discuss the Zanpakuto of the captain of the 6th Division of the Gotei 13 squad, Byakuaya Kuchiki.
He is one of the strongest fighters in Seireitei and is loved by many fans of the series. But to first understand his Zanpakuto, we must first know about him, right? So let’s start without further ado!
Who Is Byakuya Kuchiki?
Byakuya is the 26th head of the Kuchiki Clan, one of the great noble clans in soul society.
Also, as mentioned before, he is also the captain of the 6th division of Gotei 13.
He always acts in a very aristocratic manner and always seems serene and apathetic towards other people, even when he is deeply conflicted.
One would find Byakuya acts indifferent, bordering on arrogance in most situations he is faced with. He usually finds his opponents not worth his time.
However, the captain of the 6th Division is very perceptive and fully aware of his limits. However, anything he says about his opponents is usually accurate and justified.
Even when faced with opponents far stronger than him, he stays calm and continues to use a formal tone. Byakuya even uses the Japanese formal way of referring to oneself.
Unlike in his past, where he was very hot-headed and was very prone to anger.
Now that we understand him better, let’s learn about his Zanpakuto, Senbonzakura!
Byakuya’s Zanpakuto: Senbonzakura
Byakuya’s Zanpakuto is called Senbonzakura. Its appearance is not very striking; it looks just like an ordinary Katana in its sealed state.
The Tsuba (handguard) has a bronze color and a simple cross guard with an open frame much like a four-pane window.
Even without unsealing his zanpakuto, Byakuya can challenge anyone, even an Espada!
And why not? After all, he is revered as one of the best swordsmen in the Soul Society, alongside Toshiro Hitsugaya and Shunsui Kyoraku.
With the command “Scatter,” Byakuya’s zanpakuto dissolves into what seems like countless blades that reflect light in a unique way, giving its signature sakura petal-like appearance.
Only the handle and the tsuba of the original blade remain in his hand. Bayakuya can control these blades by swinging the hilt.
In order to prevent himself from getting hurt by his own attack, both his Shikai and Bankai possess a Hurtless Area or safe zone.
Within a distance of 85 cm from Byakuya, his blades do not cut anything unless Byakuya himself allows the blades to enter.
Bankai: Senbonzakura Kageyoshi
Byakuya’s bankai is called Senbonzakura Kageyoshi and is similar to his Shikai but much larger in scale.
As Byakuya utters the words, “Bankai: Senbonzakura Kageyoshi”, Byakuya drops his sword straight down.
The Zanpakuto phases through the ground, blade first, and a ripple is generated.
This ripple expands out, covering the surrounding area in darkness. Then, two rows of thousands of giant blades emerge from the ground and dissolve into countless small blades similar to his Shikai.
Unlike his Shikai, Byakuya can control the blades telepathically, but when he uses his hands to control them, the speed of the blades doubles.
He can even make the blades move in different directions at the same time. In his Bankai, Byakuya uses some named moves, and these are:
Senkei:- The 26th clan head refers to this as the true form of Senbonzakura.
The scattered petals, or blades, unite into four circular rows of glowing swords. These rows float in a circle above each other, circling around Byakuya and his opponent.
In this form, his bankai forgoes all defense and concentrates the power into a smaller number of blades, increasing their attack power.
Although he can control them telepathically, Byakuya calls a blade into his hand for a melee attack.
When in hand, the blade loses its glow and takes the form of his sealed Zanpakuto.
This sword the 6th Division captain holds has so much power that even a few cuts from it can deal a fatal blow to the enemy. Thus, Byakuya does not use it often.
He only uses this technique when he has sworn to cut down his opponent with his very own hands.
Gokei:- In this technique, Byakuya increases the number of petals immensely and creates a spherical formation around the opponent.
The blade continues to revolve around the enemy in the spherical formation, removing any blind spots and blocking all exits.
Then the blades launch inward towards the opponent. The blades continue moving to the point of collapsing on themselves, decimating the opponent.
When Byakua used it, it completely decimated a very large building from the inside out, and the shockwave generated forced Byakuya himself to dodge it using the flash step.
Shukei: Hakuteiken:- In this form, Byakuya condenses each and every one of his petals into a single sword.
This drastically increases its attack power, and the spiritual pressure released is immense.
The blade turns bright white, and its power takes the form of a bird. Hence the name Hakuteiken (White Imperial Sword).
Pure white wings also form behind Byakuya’s back, as well as a halo made of concerted spiritual energy forms.
These wings also provide the ability to fly, and the sword is so powerful that a single sword can cause fatal injuries.