Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War Episode 11 reveals the circumstances that lead to Ichigo’s parents meeting. Ichigo’s mother has been an absent figure in Bleach since its beginning. His mother Masaki Kurosaki was a Echt Quincy, who died protecting him from a Grand Fisher. Tite Kubo seems to have modeled the Quincy after Nazi’s, based on their uniforms, the use of the German language for their techniques, and the culture they have. I’m specifically referring to the obsession with “pure blood.” In Bleach, the Quincy call the pure blood “Echt,” meaning “real,” and the “mixed” Quincy are called “Gemischt.”
We get a shallow showing of this culture but it appears that the Gemischt are relegated to a service role, acting as maids and attendings. Meanwhile, the Echt occupy a more privilege positions and engage in arranged marriages. Masaki Kurosaki was engaged to Ryuken Ishida the father of Uryu Ishida. Ichigo’s father Isshin Kurosaki tells him the truth his mother was a Quincy. In a flashback we get to see a younger Isshin and his time as the Captain of the Tenth Division. Rangiku Matsumoto was his Lieutenant and the adorable Toshiro Hitsugaya is his third seat.
Isshin’s battle with White
Hitsugaya informs Isshin that a incident in Naruki City where Shinigami where disappearing. Isshin rushes off to investigate. Meanwhile, Aizen, Gin, and Tosen conspire in secret. They have been experimenting on members of the Gotei 13. They are also searching for Shinji Hirako and the other Vizards. They release the Hollow named White. Ironically it’s mostly black, but has white hair. White slaughters two Shinigami and attack Isshin.
Isshin notes that while White is a Hollow it fights like a Shinigami. He releases his Shikai, Engetsu. However, Aizen attacks Isshin by slashing him across the back. Isshin instantly realizes that it must be a Zanpakuto but Aizen is cloaked and cannot be detected. Isshin is how too injured to use Bankai and becomes overwhelmed by White. Suddenly, Masaki appears and uses her Heilig Pfell. Unfortunately, White is too fast and she deactivates her Heilig Bogen, leaving herself open for White to bite her. When it does she takes the opportunity to shoot it point blank in the head.
White corpse prepares to explode, Isshin steps in to take the brunt of the explosion. He saves Masaki. Ryuken and Katagiri watch for a distance, but conclude they won’t be needed anymore.
Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War Episode 10 is basically split into two parts, the conclusion of the fight between Unohana and Kenpachi and the meeting with Renji, Ichigo, and Oetsu Nimaiya. In the Hooden region, Nimaiya puts Renji and Ichigo through a series of silly trials. I’ll be honest I just don’t care about this section of the episode. Oetsu Nimaiya is a cool character but I just not interested in the difference between Shinigami and Zanpakuto.
Personally, I find it confusing how both Renji and Ichigo had their Bankai’s destroyed to a certain extent, but can still be rebuilt. However, Mayuri said that it was impossible. Obviously, this is probably a mistake on Tite Kubo’s part but it seems like he was trying to fix this inconsistency and has failed to do so. Anyway, Nimaiya goes on to reveal that the Asauchi is the basic level of Zanpakuto. Renji and Ichigo are attacked by the angry Asauchi, but only Renji passes. Ichigo has failed. Nimaiya explains that Ichigo isn’t really a Shinigami.
Unohana vs Kenpachi
The main attraction in this episode is the battle between Kenpachi and Unohana. As they battle Kenpachi realizes that he keeps losing consciousness. Unohana remembers meeting Kenpachi hundreds of years ago. Kenpachi stands on a mountain of dead bodies. Kenpachi leaps off the mountain of bodies to attack Unohana. Both Kenpachi and Unohana lust after battle but only for more challenging opponents. Unohana found someone stronger in Kenpachi and was ecstatic at the discovery.
However, Kenpachi, being stronger, had a dilemma, how can he the stronger one keep fighting Unohana. The only answer was for him to become weaker. Unohana has felt shame for causing Kenpachi to weaken himself. Her last wish is to free him from this limitation by killing him repeatedly and resurrecting him, each time bringing him closer to his true strength. Tite Kubo seems to have used this to explain why Kenpachi had either lost, to Ichigo, or struggling to win, against Nnoitra Gilga. Many fans of Bleach have had debates over whether Kenpachi’s losing to Ichigo was an asspull or main character syndrome or a result of Kenpachi’s weakens.
The fight is exciting, so I can’t do it justice so I won’t bother describing it. Seeing Unohana’s Bankai in action was marvelous but we don’t get a clear understanding of what her Bankai actually does. It seems to be a blood manipulation Bankai that increases her power and extends her reach. Sadly, we don’t get much details on this Bankai and Unohana dies. At the end, Kenpachi is devastated he lost his sparring partner, as he finally hears his Zanpakuto’s voice.
In Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War Episode 09, “The Drop,” Shunsui Kyoraku becomes the new Captain Commander as well as the new captain of the First Division. While a surprise, I think that its a fitting promotion. Shunsui is lazy, but he clearly understands the ins and outs of Soul Society. Along with Jushiro Ukitake, he’s a former student of Genryusai Yamamoto, and is most likely to embody what Genryusai found important. Shunsui can be a loose cannon and doesn’t conform to traditions, certainly to the degree Yamamoto did.
Tenjiro healing technique doesn’t make sense
It’s not really important whether healing techniques (or any technique) in anime actually make sense or not, but some are more convincing than others. Tenjiro Kirinji’s White Bone Hell technique isn’t one of them. The hot spring draws out damaged Reiatsu with their blood. The Blood Pond Hell replenishes the blood lost. Its all kinda silly and it’s made worst by Kirinji punching both Ichigo and Renji to test if they healed. Both times he notes that they would have died if they weren’t fully recovered. What if they weren’t fully healed though? I’m not taking this too serious though, they go to heal some how, but I thought I point it out.
Shunsui silences the 46 Central
I always wanted to know more about Soul Societies governing body, the Central 46. Comprised of 40 men and six judges, they are in charge of trying the crimes of Shinigami. Most importantly they act on behave of the Soul King. They’re a very conservative institution but as I noted earlier, Shunsui is less traditional. He immediately clashes with them when he decides he wants two Lieutenant, Genshiro Okikiba (former third seat) and Nanao Ise. When they Chamber protests, he reminds them that the captains are granted the “sole authority to appoint their lieutenants.”
The judges have nothing to say. Shunsui then challenges them further when he tells them he wants to teach Kenpachi, the art of Kendo. This prompts one of the judges to voice the concern that if Kenpachi revolted they couldn’t stop him. Shunsui points out that if they can’t stop the Quincy, who will protect the Chamber. Silenced once again, Shunsui calls in the person he thinks will train Kenpachi, Captain Unohana, the first Kenpachi. I remember reading this the first time and I was floor. It was such a unexpected twist. Unohana was the typical trope of the wise female healer, for her to be a violent killer was certainly unexpected.
Kenpachi Unohana vs Kenpachi Zaraki
The title of Kenpachi became confusing at this point in the series. We always thought it was the name of Kenpachi but it’s also a title? Why didn’t we call Unohana Kenpachi? According to the series, Kenpachi is the ” title that is only given to the strongest Shinigami.” The title does belong to Zaraki by this standard. What about the tenth Kenpachi, GosukeKiganjo and all the others in-between? I would like to know more about him. None of this really matters but I found the use of Kenpachi in this series confusing. Anyway, Unohana and Zaraki arrive at the limitless underground prison.
Unohana lets her façade down and give off a creepy and scary vibe. I loved it. She use to be a like a librarian and now she’s a badass warrior. According to Shunsui, Unohana was “part of the original and strongest generation of Gotei 13 captains,” and became the “most infamous criminal in Soul Society’s history.” Shunsui laments the fact that only one of them are going to survive. The fight between the two begins, with Unohana getting the advantage quickly. The next episode will get into the rest of this fight and I can’t wait.
Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War Episode 08 follows the Gotei 13 and Ichigo as they deal with the aftermath of Yhwach’s invasion and Yamamoto’s death. Seireitei lies in ruin, while critical patients are being rushed to the hospital. Isane Kotetsu asks Retsu Unohana if it was “the right choice” for them to remain in the barracks. She has guilt. Feeling that she and Unohana could have saved more lives. She’s right but as Unohana notes they were ordered not to leave “no matter what.”
Ichigo and Shinji Hirako visit Renji and Rukia who have become stable after surgery. Rukia thanks him for helping, but Ichigo acknowledges that he really didn’t do much. The meeting is interrupted when Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi calls for him. Mayuri tells Ichigo that his Bankai, Tensa Zangetsu, “cannot be repaired.” Mayuri and Ichigo mention that Mayuri “modifies” his Zanpakuto which is different that its destruction. I would have preferred a more detailed explanation on the difference. Anyway, Mayuri gets a message the Zero Squad (Royal Guard) has arrived.
Meeting the Royal Guard
The royal guard are five former Gotei 13 Captain that protect the Soul King and his Palace. Ichibe Hyosube, Kirio Hikifune, Oetsu Nimaiya, Senjumaru Shutara, and Tenjiro Kirinji arrive in dramatic fashion and proceed to embarrass the remaining members of the Gotei 13. When Sui Fang demands they stop joking around and asks why they didn’t help, Kirinji swiftly moves behind her. Sui Fang is suppose to be one of the fastest Shinigami in all of Seireitei, but Kirinji is faster. Furthermore, he taught Unohana all her healing techniques.
Senjumaru invades Mayuri’s lab to retrieve Ichigo’s Bankai and takes Rukia, Renji, and Byakuya placing them in three weird orbs. Despite Unohana’s healing ability she’s not good enough to heal them. Senjumaru notes that “security is a lot weaker than it was when she was last here.” I think the Gotei 13 got complacent and lazy especially with Yamamoto as their leader and were caught off guard by the Quincy. The devastation to Soul Society is the result.
What do you think of the Zero Squad? Which ones your favorite? Who’s the strongest? Does Kirinji have the best anime hair? Like and Comment.
Rin Tsubokura reveals that Ichigo is on his way to soul society and his Bankai cannot be solen. The Gotei 13 are either shocked or elated by this information. They assume that once Ichigo arrives the dynamic in battle will shift in their favor. However, Ichigo is trapped by Opie. Gifted with the letter “J” for The Jail, Opie can construct a Reishi cage that traps opponents. Ichigo franticly tries to break it with his Getsuga Tensho. When Opie turns his attention to Sado, Orihime, Nel, and Urahara he’s cut in half by a mysterious stranger with a Zanpakuto.
Byakuya Kuchiki vs As Nodt
After having his Bankai stolen by As Nodt, Byakuya is struggling to fight off the Quincy. As Nodt cuts Byakuya’s shoulder sending blood spraying. Byakuya is out of his element and senses something odd about fighting As Nodt. He theorizes that the Reishi Thorns are coated with poison. As Nodt corrects him, telling him that there no poison, his thorns induce fear. Byakuya resists but eventually begins hallucinating Rukia as a decaying corpse. Using the Medallion, As activates Senbonzakura Kageyoshi and brutally shreds Byakuya with his own Bankai. Byakuya collapses.
Shuhei Hisagi faces off against Driscoll Berci “The Overkill,” and he’s not doing well. Driscoll’s ability allows him to grow stronger with each person he kills and he notes that he’s already killed over a hundred Shinigami. Driscoll is the one who murdered Chojiro Sasakibe with the javelin. Before he can do the same to Hisagi, Captain Commander Genryusai Shigekuni Yamamoto deflects the Heilig Pfeil. Driscoll is excited to see Yamamoto and is eager to use Chojiro’s Bankai against his former Captain. He activates Chojiro’s Bankai, Koko Gonryo Rikyu.
We get a flashback of Chojiro and Yamamoto when they were younger. Chojiro tells him that he want to be his “right hand man,” and shows him his Bankai for the first time. He’s not strong enough to defeat Yamamoto but manages to give him a second permanent scar. In the present, Yamamoto is appalled at how “weak,” Chojiro’s Bankai is in the hands of Driscoll. He incinerates Driscoll with his Shikai, Ryujin Jakka. Yamamoto promises that all the Quincy will die by his hands and flies off like a comet. His rage encourages the remaining Shinigami, who get a second wind.
Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War Episode 04 opens with thousands of Shinigami being slaughtered in seven minutes, Akon of the 12th Division, believes that the “Gotei 13 cannot possibly win.” The initial moments of this war is just to show the power of the Wandenreich. Most of the Shinigami that are killed aren’t important and we largely don’t know or care about them. I’ve always found the gap in power between Captains and their Lieutenants to be comically large. The exceptions of course being Lieutenants like Renji or Rukia who had Captain level abilities.
I was reminded that some of the names of the Wandenreich are uninspired, like NaNaNa Najahkoop and Bazz-B. Anyway after the weak Shinigami are killed the Wandenreich pair off with Captains. The previous mentioned NaNaNa faces off against Captain Rojuro Otoribashi, As Nodt and Mask De Masculine fights Renji and Byakuya Kuchiki, Bambietta Basterbine encounters Captain Sajin Komamura, Sui-Feng confronts BG9, and Captain Toshiro Hitsugaya meets Cang Du.
Byakuya, who’s always serious and ready to fight at the highest level, tells Renji that “there is no reason for Renji to hold back because the Wandenreich wishes to destroy the Seireitei, which means that Renji should cut them down with everything he has got.” Renji is having difficulty penetrating Quincy’s Blut Vene but Byakuya is able to cut As Nodt’s hand. However, it’s the most damage he does as As Nodt Blut Vene becomes too strong to break through.
At this point in the arc, the Shinigami are still under the impression that the Wandenreich’s “seals” Bankai. Unfortunately, they learn that the Bankai are stolen in the worst possible way, by having their Bankai stolen. Byakuya, Komamura, Sui-Feng, and Hitsugaya all lose their Bankai to the Wandenreich’s. Rangiku Matsumoto uses Bakudo #77 to inform the remaining Shinigami that the Quincy can steal Bankai. Desperate, Akon contacts Ichigo who’s still fighting Quilge Opie. The Quincy has failed to steal Ichigo’s Bankai and has become frustrated,
Ichigo continues to dominate Opie until Urahara deals a death blow. Ichigo heads into the Garganta where Urahara explains that the Quincy have three major abilities: Vollstandig, Blut, and the Bankai stealing Medallions. Before he can explain further Opie attacks him from behind and traps Ichigo in Hueco Mundo. Prevent any rescue.
In Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War – Episode 02, “Foundation Stones,” we get a brief glimpse into Yhwach’s personality. At the end of the last episode, Yhwach severed Luders Friegen’s right arm for bickering in his presence. Luders is understandably in pain. He’s lying down on the floor when Yhwach tells him that he “does not need to strain himself by attempting to sit up.” At first Luders is pleased but Yhwach claims that if he doesn’t need to stand he doesn’t need legs. Yhwach doesn’t have much sympathy for his subjects and are largely just tools for him. They seem to tolerate his brutality but they don’t have a choice.
In Karakura Town, Yuki allows Shino, Orihime, Sado, and Ishida listen to the urgent message from 12th Division 3rd Seat Akon. He explains the events from the previous episode, specifically the deaths of 116 people, one Shinigami, and Lieutenant Chojiro Sasakibe. Yuki and Shino are horrified that anyone could bypass Soul Societies defenses and kill Sasakibe. The next day, Ichigo is patrolling when he encounters Nel Tu. She tells him that “something terrible has happened in Hueco Mundo.” It turns out Yhwach and his Wandenreich invaded Hueco Mundo. It’s revealed that Tier Harribel ruled Hueco Mundo and was defeat by the Wandenreich and is now a prisoner of Yhwach.
Battle in Hueco Mundo
Of course Nel doesn’t need to ask Ichigo for aid he’s eager to help. However, Uryu isn’t allowed to help Arrancar and Hollows. Ichigo head to Hueco Mundo with Kisuke Urahara, Orhime, Sado, Pesche, and Nel Tu. They arrive and witness burning sands filled with bodies of Arrancar. The head of the hunting party the Jagdarmee, Quilge Opie, announces a selection competition for the captured Arrancar. The competition will determine which of them live or die. Opie will stab each Arrancar and for them to beg for their lives. By having the Wandenreich attack and oppress the Arrancar (former villains) Tite Kubo shows how evil and deprave they are.
Arrancar villains from the past appear and attack Opie. Loly Aivirrne, Menoly Mallia, and Harribel’s three Fraccion, Emilou Apacci, Franceska Mila Rose, and Cyan Sung-Sun. Loy and Menoly are quickly dispatched but the three Fraccion put up a greater fight. After defeating some Jagdarmee, the turn their efforts one Opie himself. He tells them to surrender and join Yhwach if they want “happiness.” They predictably refuse. Opie dominates the three Fraccion off scene shocking Ichigo.
As the combatants prepare for war, the Wandenreich show themselves to be a brutal occupying force. Do you think they are worst than Aizen and the Arrancar? Are they too cartoonishly evil? How do you feel about Yhwach?
In 2019 I created a list of what I think the best anime and manga power systems. I’ve updated the list with some small changes.
In Shonen anime and manga, power systems are established in order to explain the mechanisms for abilities used in combat. These powers systems can make or break a series. It’s important for these series to be have well balanced power systems. The best made power systems will have unique abilities, that are difficult to master or at least take effort. They should feature a variety of techniques, that range in complexity. Some systems will become “broken,” allowing only a few characters to excel in the series. Dragon Ball Z is a great example of a series that ended up broken. Once a series that focused on martial arts, Dragon Ball Z eventually became a series that focused largely on three saiyans, Goku, Vegeta and Gohan.
While Goku and Vegeta continued to get stronger, Gohan fell behind. Due to the nature of saiyan cells (S Cells), Goku and Vegeta continue to get stronger at rapid rates. This eventual means that they’re the only two that will matter in battle. None of this is to say that the series stopped being enjoyable, just that the power system became broken at some point. That said many of the best power systems often incorporate a “broken” ability that allows the main character to surpass his or her enemies.
10. Demon Slayer – Breath Styles
The main form of combat in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba are the breath styles. In conjunction with Nichirin blades, they’re able to battle on par with Demons. Derived from the “Breath of the Sun” the Breath styles are taught by the Demon Slaying Corps. By making use of particular and concentrated breathing patterns, the lung capacity and oxygen in the blood increases. This is all in service of increasing the physical abilities. When focusing breaths, Demon Slayers are able to accomplish feats such as “clotting wounds,” and “slowing down the circulation of poison.”
The Demon Slayer breathing styles feel like they are well earned. The training is intense and the use of Breathing styles causes great physical exertion. For example, Total Concentration Constant requires the constant control of ones breath “morning, noon, and night, and even while asleep.” In order to reach the level of Hashira one must be able to accomplish this feat. Overall there are 15 branches of breathing styles. Demon Slayer’s power system is simple but has variety.
In Black Clover, Mana is the primary form of energy that exists in nature. It is the source of all magic spells. Mana is used to activate all spells. Almost every human can use mana to some extent. Mages in the Black Clover universe have “affinities” for mana “attributes.” These attributes can be one of four great attributes: fire, water, wind, and earth. Or they can be one of several derivative elements like lightning or ice. In addition to this, mages can develop “latent abilities” connected to their element. Wind users have the latent ability “mana sensory.”
Elements like water and fire are common, with elements like light and space being rare. Mages are limited to their element, but they can augment their element into other forms. However, if a mage is a hybrid of two races they may have “dual affinity.” While rare it’s possible for a mage to use science to “artificially enhance themselves” given them more than one element. The more mana a mage possess the stronger they are.
Grimories are magical items that enhance the users ability to use magic. They are the written record of all the spells that a user learns. As the owner gets stronger the book becomes inscribed with newer spells. Connected to their owners, Grimoires cannot be used by other mages and disappear when their owners die. However, Grimoires of Despair are the exception.
A Stand is a visual manifestation of life energy, they’re generally represented as a figure that hovers around the “Stand user.” A stand can represent the ” the manifestation of an individual’s innate fighting spirit and embodies, to an extent, the individual’s psyche.” Stands follow a “loose” set of rules, they’re an embodiment of the user psyche, therefore, they are all unique. This “uniqueness” results in a vast difference in abilities, power and usefulness of Stands. Some Stands can even be detrimental to their users. Any damage sustained by a Stand is reflected on the user and vice-versa. However, automatic Stands and bound Stands are the exception. If Stands are destroyed their user dies with them.
Stands obey every command that is demanded of them within there limits. However, some Stands cannot be controlled by their user. This can result in the Stand killing it’s own user. One rule that governs Stands and their users is that they can only have one. Learning and mastering a Stands ability can be difficult. Stand users are usually ignorant of the ability of their Stand at first. Once they discover it, then they have to learn the various uses for the Stands abilities. To use a Stand, a user has to summon it. Then the user needs to command it, if they hope to use their powers. However, automatic Stands act by themselves.
Based on appearance Stands are classified into 5 different categories, Natural Humanoid, Artificial Humanoid, Natural Non-Humanoid, Artificial Non-Humanoid and Phenomenon. Furthermore, Stands all have supernatural properties, in addition to unique powers. Stands are invulnerable to harm by anything other than another Stand or damage to their user. A Stand’s powers vary wildly, ranging from using a sword, fire or even stopping time. An important limitation on Stands are “firing range.” This range is largely the distance that a Stand is still effective. On top of all that, Stands have six parameters that they can be judged.
The main sources of combat ability in FullMetal Alchemist is Alchemy. Based on the ancient metaphysical mystical art that allows the user to “manipulating and altering matter by using natural energy.” This is called Transmutation, which required three aspects to succeed.
Comprehension – Understanding the inherent structure and properties of the atomic or molecular makeup of a particular material to be transmuted, including the flow and balance of potential and kinetic energy within.
Deconstruction – Using energy to break down the physical structure of the identified material into a more malleable state so as to be easily reshaped into a new form.
Reconstruction – Continuing the flow of energy so as to reform the material into a new shape.
In order to use alchemy a practitioner would need to have complete understanding of chemistry and ancient alchemical theory. Generally, you need to have high intellect. The Alchemists are said to transmute using various substance. Some use the Four Classical Elements (Water, Earth, Fire and Air) and other use the Three Essential Principles (Salt, Sulfur, and Mercury). Regardless, the most important tenet of alchemy is the concept of Equivalent Exchange. Separated into two laws:
The Law of Conservation of Mass, which states that energy and matter can neither be created from nothing nor destroyed to the point of elemental nonexistence. In other words, to create an object weighing one kilogram, at least one kilogram of material is necessary and destroying an object weighing one kilogram would reduce it to a set of parts, the sum of which would weigh one kilogram.
The Law of Natural Providence, which states that an object or material made of a particular substance or element can only be transmuted into another object with the same basic makeup and properties of that initial material. In other words, an object or material made mostly of water can only be transmuted into another object with the attributes of water.
Alchemy includes more than simply an understanding of transmutation and adhering to the laws of Equivalent Exchange. Alchemists need to use a transmutation circle. These circles can be drawn anywhere and by any medium. transmutation circles are made up of two parts, the circle and a “alchemical rune.” Alchemy gets even more complicated, as it focuses on human soul binding, Homunculus (artificial humans) and resurrection.
The Bleach series features numerous different forms of fighting. However, the series primarily focused on the use of Zanpakuto or Soul Cutter Sword. The main weapon used by the Shinigami, Arrancar and Visored. The lowest ranked Zanpakuto is called Asauchi and they lack names. However, the Zanpakuto of a Shinigami Captain do have names. Each weapon are uniquely generated by the users soul. The soul of a Shinigami will determine the shape and ability of the sword. Zanpakuto’s are sentient beings and it’s name is that of the living spirit that powers the sword. Once the Shinigami learns the name of it’s Zanpakuto, they are able to communicate with each other and get stronger.
Zanpakuto are born with their Shinigami and will die with them. The one exception to the uniqueness of a Zanpakuto is the Ise Clan’s, Shinken Hakkyoken. A Zanpakuto can choose to withhold it’s true name from it’s wielder if they deem them unworthy. In order to communicate with their Zanpakuto a Shinigami must use an advance form of training called Jinzen. Based on the ability of the Shinigami to communicate with their Zanpakuto’s spirit, a Zanpakuto will develop two forms, Shikai and Bankai.
Shikai – is the second (or first upgraded) form available to a Zanpakutō. To activate it, the Shinigami needs to learn the name of their Zanpakutō. This is not as easy as simply picking a name, for the living spirit of the Zanpakutō already has its own name. The Shinigami must be able to communicate and harmonize with their Zanpakutō effectively, which requires being able to speak to the spirit within its world.
Bankai – is the second and final upgraded form of a Zanpakutō. To achieve Bankai, one must be able to materialize and subjugate their Zanpakutō spirit. Materialization means the opposite of getting dragged into the Zanpakutō’s inner world: the wielder needs to summon the Zanpakutō’s spirit into the physical world. It usually takes 10 years or more to achieve, plus the experience needed to master it. Despite the Zanpakutō spirit being subjugated for their Shinigami to learn Bankai, the Zanpakutō also becomes stronger and learns Bankai at precisely the moment their Shinigami learns it. Even though Bankai is the final stage of a Zanpakutō, it does not mean the Shinigami’s growth ends there. A Bankai, especially one recently obtained, can evolve even further as its Shinigami gets stronger. Ichigo and Urahara managed to achieve Bankai at accelerated rates.
A broken Shikai will regenerate, a broken Bankai will never return to its original state. However, a Zanpakuto can be reforged. Zanpakuto are generally grouped into three categories, Melee, Kido and Elemental. Despite the fact that Zanpakuto is the main form of combat in Bleach, there are three other forms of combat. Hoho is a more defensive style of fighting that focuses on fast movements and footwork. Kido (Demon Arts) is a form of combat the produces spells. They often require an incantation to activate. Finally, there is Hakudo (Hand to Hand Combat). Using their body, users attack with their feet and hands. Making use of their physical strength and martial arts skills.
For the Top 10 Strongest Elderly Anime Characters lists, I’m limiting the number of characters from each series to one, for the sake of series diversity. Also my definition of elderly is age and appearance. Old characters like Alucard from Hellsing don’t qualify.
10 – Gran Torino
Series: My Hero Academia
Gran Torino also known as Sorahiko Torino is an elderly retired Pro hero and a mentor to Toshinori Yagi (All Might) and Izuku Midoriya (Deku). Despite his retirement he continues to aid the Police Force in fighting the League of Villains. When Torino was younger he was handsome and tall, however he got shorter as he aged.
Despite his age, Gran Torino remains a powerful hero. He was born with the Quirk, Jet. This Quirk allows him to increase his speed with the jet’s that shoot air from his feet. Along with speed he gains immense kicking power. However, Torino’s speed has limits. He cannot propel himself to far in the air without running out of air. Gran Torino has shown super strength, having once struck All Might so hard he vomited. Even with his advanced age he could handle a low-tier Nomu alone.
Naobito Zenin is the 26th head of the Zenin Family, father of Naoya Zenin. He’s a supporting character and special grade 1 jujutsu sorcerer. He refuses to recognize Maki and Mai because they weren’t born with cursed energy. Naobito is arrogant alcoholic with sexist views. He decided to take a nap during the Shibuya Incident, rather than fight transfigured humans with Maki.
Like all special grade 1 sorcerers, Naobito has amazing abilities. Between Nanami, Maki, and himself, Naobito was the only one who could damage Dagon. He’s a master of hand to hand combat, able to engage in close quarters combat with opponents. Naobito can attack with quick and powerful kicks and punches. He also has a keen tactical intellect. AS the head of the Zenin family, Naobito has a massive amount of cursed energy. His inherited technique, Projection sorcery allows him to “divide one second into twenty-four frames and trace a predetermined set of movements to execute in that second.”
Bang or Silver Fang is a profession hero and martial artists. He is the 3rd highest ranked S-Class hero and is one of the strongest overall heroes. Besides his brother, Bomb, Bang is one of the two “greatest masters of the martial arts.” Bang is normally calm and believes heroes should practice good ethics. Bang is always searching for new disciples to succeed him. He has set his sights on recruiting Saitama and Genos.
Bang is considered to be an exceptional fighter even among S-Class heroes. Garou has stated that “Demon-level beings like Bug God and Royal Ripper are nothing compared to his former master.” Despite being past his prime he’s still considered to be the greatest martial artists and the one of the physically strongest heroes. Bang has immense strength, speed, reflexes, durability, stamina, and endurance.
Yoshimura is an SSS-rated ghoul and manager of the Anteiku café. He aids ghoul that can’t or won’t hunt and kill humans. He takes in Ken Kaneki and teaches him to live as a ghoul. His ghoul masks covers half his face. Despite his reputation, Yoshimura is kind and generous. He views humans and ghouls as equals.
As a ghoul, Yoshimura has an ukaku kagune and a kakuja obtained from cannibalization. His Ukaku Kakuja specialize in avoiding the limits of traditional Kakuja, sharpening into large scimitar blades. Yoshimura is able to “parry incoming attacks, and strike back synchronously,” and it’s almost “impossible” to escape his reach. He also has superhuman speed, regeneration, durability, and a high pain tolerance.
The only woman on the lists, Genkai is the master of Yusuke Urameshi and Kazuma Kuwabara. Genkai put her mind and body through training, learning to create and control her spirit wave orb. She’s pragmatic, which often comes across as being cold. Genkai’s personality is what helped her achieve her power. She isn’t without compassion however. During the Dark Tournament, she used her spiritual powers to free enslaved humans under mind control.
Genkai is one of the most powerful characters of Yu Yu Hakusho. Her age cost her some of her power but her experience remains. She substitutes her loss of strength with her tactical skills. Her eventual killer, Toguro, praised her claiming “all tactics are useless against her.” Her spirit wave uses the “body as a center for spirit energy.” This makes the human body a weapon and one could return to the time when they were the strongest. According to Genkai, the Spirit Wave grants users the ability to “healing wounds, purification, and even unleashing a massive blast of Spirit Energy powerful enough to blast apart mountains.”
Best Battle Moment:
Genkai vs Shishiwakamaru
5 – Kaiou Kaku
Kaiou Kaku is the greatest Supreme Grandmaster of Chinese Kenpo and the captain of the Chinese Team representing China in the Raitai Tournament. Kaku is considered “ruthless” and prideful in Chinese Martial Arts. When the Chinese fighters in the Raitai underperform, he slices off the hands of three Chinese Association elders. To gain his strength he “abandoned all joys of life.”
Kaku is the strongest of all Kaiou, except Yuujiro. After training for over a century there’s very little he doesn’t know about martial arts. He’s capable of slicing off limbs with a chop of his hands. Despite his age, Kaku has profound durability and stamina. His primary technique is called Shaorii. This technique produces hypoesthesia: “which allows Kaku Kaiou to absorb the whole body weight of his attacker.”
Best Battle Moment:
Kaiou Kaku vs Yuujiro Hanma
4 – Hiruzen Sarutobi
The Third Hokage, Sarutobi was called the “God of Shinobi.” The student of the previous Hokage, Sarutobi would go on to train the Three Sannin. Hiruzen was among the first generation of ninja produced in Konoha. Early in his training, Sarutobi was clearly a genius. He viewed all the people of Konoha as members of a family. Sarutobi was a pacifist and while some saw him as weak, he did permit Danzo to create a black-op Anbu force.
Sarutobi became Hokage at a young age and was the most powerful ninja from his generation. Like many on this list, his skills deteriorated with old age. However, he was still able to handle Oorochimaru and reincarnated version of the First and Second Hokage before dying. Oorochimaru suggested that ” had Hiruzen been ten years younger, he would’ve won.”
Best Battle Moment:
Third Hokage verses Oorochimaru
3 – Genryusai Yamamoto
Age: 2100 +
Captain-Commander Yamamoto was the captain of the 1st Division and the commander of the Gotei 13. Yamamoto values the rules and laws of Soul Society and expect that others need to do the same. He is intolerant of insubordination and is quickly angered by betrayal. His loyalty to Soul Society is such that he’s willing to die and risk the lives of others to protect it. Despite his sternness, he can have compassion for others even enemies. He was saddened to have to kill Wonderweiss Margela due to his childish demeaner.
A 1000 years ago Yamamoto considered himself a “monster” having caused Soul Society’s instability. He was willing to use any means to defeat his enemies. Yamamoto is the considered the most powerful swordsman in Soul Society. He was able to fight two other captains, Shunsui Kyoraku and Jushiro Ukitake, at the same time without injury. Yamamoto is a Master Swordsman, Hakuda Master, Master Strategist, and Tactician. His Zanpakuto, Ryujin Jakka, is the “greatest offensive power than all other Zanpakutō in Soul Society.”
Best Battle Moment:
Yamamoto vs Yhwach
2 – Isaac Netero
Series: Hunter X Hunter
Isaac Netero is the 12th Chairman of the Hunter Association and the Head of the Exam Commission. Netero was playful and occasionally absentminded. Biscuit Krueger called Netero a “twisted individual”, sometimes giving hunters “impossible” tasks. He dedicated his life to martial arts and prayer. His goal in life was to “find a worthy adversary against whom he could fight with his all.”
Morel claims “if Netero cannot defeat an opponent, then no one in the entire Hunter Association can.” Netero is capable of unleashes punches as fast as the speed of sound. His speed is considered to be greater than any other character in Hunter X Hunter. By “clasping his hands,” Netero can strike his opponents with one of his Guanyin’s hands. The whole movement takes 0.1 seconds. Netero’s 100-Type Guanyin Bodhisattva is his most powerful Nen ability. A single strike from bodhisattva is capable of sending Neferpitou a great distance without her being able to react. His 100-Type Guanyin also has a great deal of variety. Netero was considered to be “the world’s most powerful Nen user.”
Best Battle Moment:
Isaac vs. Meruem
1 – Whitebeard
Series: One Piece
Edward Newgate also known as Whitebeard. He was the captain of the Whitebeard Pirates and until his death was considered the “Strongest Man in the World.” He was an orphan and later a member of the infamous Rocks Pirates. Whitebeard would become known as one of the Four Emperors that ruled the seas. Whitebeard was so strong that he had the highest bounty of a living pirate and the second highest bounty of any pirate.
Whitebeards strength was greater than a giants. During the Summit War of Marineford, Whitebeard was able to “block a two-handed downward swing from the giant Vice Admiral John Giant with only one hand on his naginata.” He could move at incredible speeds, jump high enough to reach giants, and had tremendous pain tolerance. During the war he sustained a number of life threating injuries and continued to fight.
This doesn’t include what he could do with his devil fruit ability, Gura Gura no Mi. With it, Whitebeard could generate quakes and shockwaves. His devil fruit was considered to be the strongest in the Paramecia class. Sengoku suggested Whitebeard had the power to “destroy the world.” Whitebeard could use his power to “to shake, rupture, and tilt the landscape itself,” causing massive earthquakes and even tsunamis.
It’s not clear how Kazui knows how to open this gate, not to mention how his powers work. If we assume his power is a combination Orhime’s and Ichigo’s then he may have very few limits. One issue I’ve always had with the children of powerful characters like Naruto (Boruto) and Ichigo is the next generation is always more powerful and their parents were already overpowered to begin with. In Soul Society, Ichika trains with Madarame at his Martial Arts Dojo. She’s arrogant, claiming that Madarame has “improved.” For his part, Madarame is well . . . abusive. He keeps calling her a “little shit.” Maybe I’m getting too old but I didn’t like him calling her names, at least “little shit.”
A New Soul Society
Anyway, Soul Society is preparing for the Soul Funeral Festival. Renji tells Ichigo that it’s a ritual that takes place every 12 years after the death of a Captain. Kubo uses the fact that Captains rarely die to cover the fact that we never heard of this ritual. It’s not a feasible argument, but it’s not necessary to make the argument either. I would have simply made the Soul Funeral Festival a new ritual and I think it still would have worked. After the Thousand Year War, Captain Commander, Captain Unohana, and Captain Unitake all died. Each one will receive a ritual. The vice captains capture a hollow in the world of the living and kill it in front of the grave of the captain. While the ritual may be an old tradition, Soul Society has been developing new technologies, TV’s, phones, and social media.
Rukia mentions that Soul Society now has TV’s invented by Urahara. Captain Kurotsuchi takes issue with this assumption. While using his new invention, holograms projected from a creepy bug. Kurotsuchi has implanted one of these bugs in each of the divisions barracks. Kurotsuchi tells the Vice-Captains it “time to capture the Hollow.” Kubo introduces two new Vice-Captains, Rindo and YuYu. Rindo is deaf and Yuyu has an unhealthy obsession with gyarus. Ichika sneaks into the World of the Living, where she has little time rejoice as a odd looking hollow appears unnoticed. None of the hollows have reiatsu making it impossible to detect without seeing them. Rindo’s Shikai is interesting, because he’s deaf, he can’t speak and needs to draw on his sword to give commands.
Rinko’s Shikai seems to be inspired by origami
Szayelaporro Granz returns
It appears he’s writes “taka (Hawk),” and his Shikai releases a group of hawks that tear the flesh of a hollow. Yuyu’s powers seem to be new. She doesn’t have a sword, instead uses her well manicured nails to create bear that takes chunks out of the hollows. Akon gets a moment. The third seat of the 12th division was rare in combat during the Bleach series. As the Vice-President of Shinigami Research and Development Institute, Akon uses science more than a sword. He pours a substance on the ground, he counts a series of numbers then utters the command “Ron (melt).” When Renji prepares to join the fray, he’s stopped by an old enemy, Szayelaporro Granz. The former 8th Espada was killed by Mayuri Kurotsuchi way back in the Hueco Mundo arc.
He’s been freed from Hell. When Szayelaporro seeks revenge on Renji and wants to start with his daughter. Ichigo interferes. Szayelaporro who never actually fought Ichigo threatens to kill him. Will-o-wisp from hell begin to fill the air in Soul Society. Kubo introduces the concept of “Reii” or “spiritual authority.” According to Shunsui, it’s a “unit of measure that used to be utilized by nobles,” . . . “it represents the concentration of reiatsu that resides in reishi.” the average division member is a Reii grade of 20, with Vice-Captains between 4 and 5, and Captains grade 3 or higher. When a soul reaper dies their bodies reishi returns to the Earth in Soul Society. However, Captain have a high concentration of reiatsu making a return to the Earth impossible.
Is Bleach Special One Shot just the beginning
In order for them to return the “Soul Funeral Ritual” must be performed. However instead of being sent to the Earth they’re sent to Hell. In the World of the Living, Szayelaporro explains the rest. The balance “has been broken.” Soul Society sent too much reiatsu to Hell, allowing the mouth of Hell to be forced open from the other side. Somehow Szayelaporro is able to return as a result. The chapter ends with a title page that seems to announce a new Bleach arc, Howl from the Jaws of Hell arc.
Considering how this chapter ended, I willing to bet that there will be at least a mini series at some point. Although, I’m also hoping that it is. Bleach Special One Shot has expanded the universe, but some of the additions felt forced. Tite Kubo’s art remains on of, if not the best in manga. Kubo seems to want at least one character with an disability. It was Tosen (blindness) now it’s Rindo (deafness.) Adding new ways to perform Shikai, non-sword combat, new characters, and ideas, Tite Kubo has inject new life into his stories franchise. It would be a shame if he didn’t complete the arc.