Bleach’s Strongest Shinigami Isn’t Dead Yet? Captain Yamamoto Explained
Bleach is back, and the hype couldn’t get any higher. Or could it? Early on in the Thousand Year Blood War arc, Yhwach came face to face with Yamamoto’s unfiltered fury. How did that fight go? Well, we’ll be covering that, along with the events that led up to the inevitable rematch, and diving into what comes after this massive, bloody war. So, let’s not waste any time, and get into the infamous Genryusai Shigekuni Yamamoto! [Eijisai Before Genryusai] Though it would be great if we had some idea as to how his early life was, there’s nothing available to us. What we do know is that, over 2000 years prior to the series, Yamamoto was the founder of Genryu teachings and the creator of the original school for those who could be useful to Soul Society due to their spiritual pressure. It was called the Genji school and was later renamed as.
[Shi no Reijutsuin, aka the Academy of Spiritual Arts] . In other words, he basically had the whole idea of protecting the balance of the living and everyone else through specific teachings. After all, he was the head instructor. About 100 years after that, his title became due to the scar on his forehead that looks like the character for “Ei”. Yamamoto doesn’t particularly like the nickname, but in a way, it could be meant mainly as a sign of respect. This is like how samurai or warriors are appreciative of their scars, since it demonstrates both their fighting prowess and how well they were able to survive. Kind of like The Immortal Sugimoto from Golden Kamuy who feels he can never be killed. At some point during that period, his reputation attracts the attention of one [Chojiro Sasakibe].
Who insists on being made his right hand man. This both grabs Yamamoto’s attention and also confuses him since Sasakibe isn’t even one of his students. Either way, their agreement involves Sasakibe mastering his bankai for Yamamoto to even consider him worthy of defending him. In a way, this was an indication as to his boastful attitude that eventually leads to his downfall. Something he seemed to realize himself. Of course, Sasakibe succeeds with [Koko Gonryo Rikyu], a lightning-based bankai, and even adds an additional scar to Yamamoto’s forehead. Due to that, his nickname changes to – seeing as the scar now looks like the character for Ju. However, since Sasakibe, who gave him that additional scar, doesn’t feel he’s worthy of being the reason for the name change, Yamamoto decides on something.
Else. Following the theme of Genryu and his Genji school, Yamamoto takes the title with an emphasis on the character for ‘willow tree,’ as one can be found near the academy itself. Jumping to about 1000 years prior to the beginning of Ichigo’s arrival, Yamamoto creates the [Gotei 13] – who are referred to as “a band of ruthless killers” by people like Yhwach, who is an irredeemable menace himself. Among Genryusai’s choice of captains is Retsu Unohana, who was a violent criminal and the original Kenpachi. His most precious students, though, are Shunsui Kyoraku & Jushiro Ukitake who he personally instructed. He even considers them like his sons, and gloats about their successful promotion to captains. Around the same time as he becomes Captain Commander of the 1st Division,.
He and Yhwach battle, but he fails to take his life. However, Yamamoto killed some of the Quincy King’s sternritters (Hubert, Zeidritz, Argola). Because of that failure, Yamamoto put a painting of himself covered in flames in his room as a reminder of the event and the cruelty of his past actions. That included using anyone and anything to win in battle, with no worry as to his comrades’ lives lost either. Intuition told Yamamoto that it was likely he would die the next time he had to go that far again, if that time ever came. As time passed, many of the original captains were no more. 110 years ago, approximately, the only ones remaining who were part of the original choices were Unohana, Kyoraku, and Ukitake. Yamamoto also personally recruited Komamura, despite the Soul Society’s.
Prejudice against non-human souls being part of the Gotei. But it was long after the original and hyper-violent team died out that Yamamoto became a calmer and more accepting man. Later on, after Ichigo’s rescue mission for Rukia, the betrayal of Aizen, and the fight in the fake Karakura town, peace eventually returns. With that comes Yamamoto’s realization that Shunsui, Byakuya, and Kenpachi have lost their original captain haori, causing him to be enraged. Not because of the loss of the clothing, but because they seem to care very little about it and the importance of what it signifies. Next, let’s get into what kind of power this man has available. But before we do, don’t forget to subscribe with notifications on and smash that “like” button to avoid a Thousand Year Blood War of your own! .
[Culmination: GOAT of the Gotei.] This long life forged Shigekuni Yamamoto into a terrifyingly potent shinigami. He’s not some old fuddy duddy, pottering about holding tea ceremonies and talking about the good old days. The Captain Commander once claimed that he was so powerful, [no shinigami born in the last one thousand years could match his might.] While Yamamoto can get arrogant, that was far from an idle boast. He’s demonstrated his strength again and again. His [spiritual pressure] alone is enough to overwhelm anyone short of Captain rank in power. Such minor foes don’t even require effort for him to defeat: a simple glare is enough to bring them to the floor, frothing at the mouth. Yamamoto’s power is so immense that he can break multiple powerful sealing spells through sheer force of.
Will. Even without any kind of counterspell or use of his Zanpakutō, the old shinigami can make even a powerful mystical prison a joke. His own mystical skills are also deeply impressive. Yamamoto is a master of [Kidō]: the Shinigami method of spellcasting. The Captain Commander is one of the few characters we’ve seen use a Hado in the 90s without its full incantation. He brought out [Hadō #96. Ittō Kasō] during his battle with Aizen. Even the traitorous soul reaper had issues with doing that. When Aizen used [Black Coffin], another 90s Hado, to restrain Captain Komamura, removing the incantation reduced his spell's power to only one third. When he did use the incantation during a later fight with Ichigo, the increased effect was extreme. If Yamamoto’s Ittō Kasō was similarly limited, the full version must have been ridiculously strong! .
We’ve also seen the captain commander demonstrate a variety of other spells,utilizing sealing magic quite effectively. He can also cast [Bakudō #81. Dankū]: one of the strongest barrier kido of them all. It makes sense that an old, experienced Shinigami would find the time to perfect his skill at a wide variety of techniques. Given the extent of his mastery, there’s no doubt Yamamoto could perform any spell you care to name. Even [Hadō #99: Goryūtenmetsu], the ultimate destructive kido, should be within his wheelhouse. However, Yamamoto rarely needs to resort to magic. His speciality has always been the direct approach, and this is where he shines. He’s a very formidable physical combatant, one strong enough to trade blows with ridiculously terrifying foes. Don’t be deceived by his age into thinking this man is in any way fragile or.
Weak. He cut through the giant Hollow monster Ayon with a single powerful sword strike: not even releasing his shikai for it. He went toe to toe with despite his Zanpakto being entirely sealed. Even in a situation that should be bleak, Yamamoto didn’t hesitate for a second. He took a flurry of blows from the Arrancar without budging an inch. Responding in kind, he was able to tear through Aizen’s puppet with his bear hands. His raw strength is beyond question. His smarts and skills can keep up too. We’ve covered his mastery of Kido already, but Yamamoto’s also skilled at , outrunning two captains with utter ease. He’s also a sharp tactical commander. Yamamoto personally devised the fake Karakura Town plot, dividing the Espada during that fight. The old Shinigami even lured Aizen into stabbing.
Him to nullify [Kanzen Saimin]. It must’ve hurt like hell, but physical contact with the blade rendered its hypnosis unusable. It takes a cunning trickster to get Sosuke Aizen to make a mistake. Captain Yamamoto is an overwhelming threat even without his Zanpakutō. With it, he grows downright apocalyptic. [Ryūjin Jakka] is a sword of pure fire. A single wave of the blade creates a gout of flame, rushing towards its target. Yamamoto has a firm command over the fire created by Ryujin Jakka. He can focus it on a target, scouring them from the world. Alternatively, he can create a wider barrier: sealing away powerful combatants to deal with later. The strongest technique of his Shikai is [Ennetsu Jigoku], the Fire of Hell. Yamamoto can set this move up in advance, creating a devastating trap that spans a massive area. If he needs to,.
However, he can pull it on the fly. Once it’s activated, the Captain Commander summons a set of gigantic flaming pillars that encircle the area. The flames converge at the center point, trapping anyone caught within. This is a technique powerful enough to wipe out an entire city, and Yamamoto himself is not immune to it. The level of commitment needed to use a move that could get you killed says a lot about this man’s strength of will. But none of this is the height of Captain Yamamoto’s power. That comes from his Bankai, [Zanka no Tachi]: the Longsword of the Revenant Flame. This is a humble seeming Bankai: creating an old, battered blade. Don’t be fooled. When unsealed, the flames of Ryūjin Jakka return to Yamamoto’s sword, drastically increasing its cutting power. One hit from it in this.
State would be enough to melt almost anything. The sheer concentration of heat is so intense, it can be felt all across Soul Society. Prolonged use would risk destroying it entirely. That’s just its basic state, however. Yamamoto has developed four additional techniques that further refine his Banki’s overwhelming power. They’re named for the four cardinal directions. First is [Higashi (East): Kyokujitsujin]. This concentrates the power of Yamamoto’s flames further, focusing it entirely on the tip of his blade. It no longer burns: a single strike will unleash pure explosive force. It’s enough to make the Quincy’s Blut Vene basically useless. Next is [Nishi (West): Zanjitsu Gokui]. Yamamoto can increase the heat around himself to a ridiculous one million degrees. That’s more than hot enough to melt steel,.
And would cause wood to turn to ash. Good luck getting close enough to him for a sword strike once his bankai’s been released. Oh, you think ranged combat is the way to go? That’s when the Captain-Commander brings out [Minami (South): Kaka Jūmanokushi Daisōjin]. He can return every person ever slain by his zanpakuto to temporary unlife: using them to restrain his enemies. Yamamoto is ruthless when he has to be: if he knows a specific victim will affect his opponent, he can restore them with this technique. The sight of a dead comrade can shake even a veteran warrior. And to close the fight out, there’s [Kita (North): Tenchi Kaijin]. This final strike is what Yamamoto will use to strike one final, definitive blow. Anything cut by this move is reduced to ash. It’s a simple, direct attack with overwhelming raw.
Power. Nothing could be more fitting for Shigekuni Yamamoto, the strongest Shinigami of them all. [Downfall: End of a Legend] How could a monster like this ever be defeated? Looking at his power set, he seems almost unstoppable. Well, Yamamoto is more than a combatant. He’s a shinigami: the leader of the Gotei 13. Originally, his organization was purely a band of ruthless killers: focused on violently defending the Soul Society. But over the course of Bleach, we’ve seen Yamamoto change from the dogmatic old defender of the status quo to more of a grandfather figure. He becomes someone much more nurturing and supportive over time That paternal instinct was always there in the old Shinigami, but duty once outweighed it. Our first real introduction to Yamamoto as a person.
Is during the Soul Society arc. He’s entirely focused on obeying the orders of the Central 46, carrying out Rukia’s execution without a second thought. When it’s interrupted, Yamamoto is furious. He’s resolved to execute two captains [Shunsui Kyōraku and Jūshirō Ukitake], for interfering with Soul Society business. These are two Shinigami who he personally trained, men he considers his sons. Yamamoto clearly cares deeply for them both and is proud of their achievements. Yet the old shinigami views any sort of dereliction of duty as a personal affront. Yamamoto reveres the letter of the law. From his perspective, Shunsui and Jushiro both betrayed him by violating their orders and the authority of the Central 46. To the Captain-Commander, duty comes above everything else: even fellow members of the Gotei 13. The thought of disobeying his authority.
Enrages the ancient shinigami. If everyone just did what they were supposed to and followed the rules, they wouldn’t be in this mess. However, that worldview was shattered by the course of events. Yamamoto ultimately learned that he was in the wrong here. The orders he was proudly obeying were fake: all a part of Aizen’s plan. The [Central 46], the people he was supposed to protect were cut down, and he didn’t even realize it. This revelation visibly shakes the Captain Commander. For the first time, he can clearly see the flaw in his reverence for the law. Blind adherence to tradition and duty almost made him kill his beloved students, and kept him serving his society’s enemy.. Following this point. Yamamoto started to show a different mindset. He was no longer the ruthless commander and blind Gotei loyalist. He started to.
Accept things that would once have been utterly intolerable to him. He was willing to ally with the : a group considered criminals under Soul Society law. The old man showed empathy to Wonderweiss! The Commander of the Gotei 13 demonstrating compassion towards a , natural enemy of all Shinigami? It would’ve been unthinkable once. Could the ruthless leader of Soul Society be capable of thinking like that? That sense of empathy came with a downside however. It outright caused Yamamoto to lose the fight with Aizen. Yamamoto claimed he was willing to kill himself and the rest of the Gotei to bring down the traitorous Shinigami. That’s the traditional doctrine of the Thirteen: they’re a military organization. They’re supposed to be fine with dying in the name of slaying great evil. But Yamamoto took his time to close his fire.
Pillar trap, giving Ichigo a chance to escape. If he’d brought the pillars together more quickly, Wonderweiss would not have had the time to seal his flames away. And when given the chance to have his fire erupt, Yamamoto limits the explosion rather than risk his subordinates’ lives. Even though it takes him out of the fight with Aizen, he won’t take the risk. He’s not as willing to sacrifice his men as he claims. And it pays off. Ichigo saved the Gotei, coming through once again and bringing down Aizen. Soul Society owed a lot to the deputy reaper, and the Captain-Commander knew as much. That debt is what led Yamamoto to the ultimate point of defying tradition. He ordered his senior officers to pool their reiatsu into a sword, with the clear intent of helping Ichigo regain his powers. He committed the very crime he was.
Once willing to execute Rukia for, deliberately empowering a human, overturning centuries of tradition. And he did all of that on the word of Urahara, an exile and outlaw. It’s the final mark of Yamamoto’s character arc, putting compassion and trust over duty and tradition. But that sense of emotion and compassion gives Yamamoto one crucial weak spot. He cares. He’s fighting for the Gotei 13 as people now, defending his comrades. He’s not just acting out of honor and obligation towards the Soul Society. And that makes him emotionally far more vulnerable. Yhwach’s forces hit on this weakness with their first strike. The initial invasion of the Wandenreich sees them kill [Chōjirō Sasakibe]. The loss of his trusted lieutenant hits the general of the Gotei hard. In that moment, Yamamoto’s no longer the callous commander,.
But an old man who witnessed one of his closest friends die. Without the rock of duty to steady him, the old Shinigami’s anger starts to burn out of control. He goes from his previous calm demeanor to trying to incinerate the attackers with a futile strike, screaming at them to stop. And it does nothing. The Wandenreich attack group slips away right in front of him, fading back into the shadows. They leave Yamamoto alone in his wrecked office with two dead bodies. For the first time in thousands of years, the Captain Commander was truly [powerless.] He couldn’t do anything to save his dearest friend. He couldn’t even land a blow on the Quincy attack force. Sasakibe’s funeral just adds salt to the wound. One of his oldest companions is simply gone. There’s a eulogy, but Yamamoto doesn’t hear it. He has to say goodbye to a man he’s known for.
Centuries. That initial pain is bad enough, but the fear of what comes next may be worse. For the first time in thousands of years, he’s truly on the back foot. If the enemy can slay Chojiro like that, everything and everyone is at risk. And Yamamoto knows the nature of this threat. It’s the same one he faced a thousand years ago. The one he couldn’t stop a thousand years ago. Loss and guilt can make a man reckless. When it’s time for the Captains to meet and plan for the war, Yamamoto is not doing well. He won’t even let Mayuri talk, just snapping at the Captains to get ready for the fight. His anger is robbing Yamamoto of his strengths. He’s not forming a proper battle plan, like he did at Kamakura Town. He’s not keeping the Captains, his strongest warriors, together. The old goat just wants revenge. Yamamoto wants to make the Quincy bleed for.
Every Shinigami they’ve killed. And the best way he knows to do that is to face them himself. When the battle begins in earnest, it’s no wonder Yamamoto seeks out Yhwach the first chance he gets. It’s his chance to both end the fighting quickly, and exact the greatest retribution possible. Robbing the Quincy of their God-King would be devastating: there’s no way their society could survive that. Yamamoto wanted to make this defeat hurt. He activated his Bankai, and went to town on the God King: planning to crush him utterly. He matched Yhwach blow for blow, countering every trick the Quincy King could pull. It was a grand final battle: a mighty Shinigami using all his might to slay a worthy enemy. Finally Yamamoto brought Yhwach down, killing his ultimate foe… Only to discover that the tyrannical Quincy had.
Outmaneuvered him. Yamamoto had spent all his effort and energy fighting a body double. The real Yhwach stole Zanka no Tachi like it was nothing. He even snarked about the idea of bringing Yamamoto’s subordinates back to menace him. Yamamoto must have thought of Sasakibe when Yhwach said that. That simple quip enraged the old Shinigami, making him mount one final charge. That opening was all Yhwach needed to cut the Gotei commander down. One last moment of anger and passion sealed the Shinigami’s fate. As Yamamoto lay dying, Yhwach taunted him. The Quincy tyrant had been keeping a close eye on the Commander, but had deemed his ancient foe no serious threat. He wouldn’t involve humans in Shinigami affairs. He wouldn’t take advantage of them to restore himself. Compared to his long ago self, this Yamamoto was weak. As.
Far as Yhwach was concerned, the “true” Gotei 13 died 1000 years ago, after the Blood War. Was he right? [Legacy of the Strongest Shinigami and More] Eventually, Yhwach is killed by one of his own, Ichigo, but that doesn’t mean Yamamoto’s presence isn’t felt in the final battles leading up to that. For one, after the Captain Commander’s demise, a replacement was needed. And who else would be better to fill that role than one of his precious ‘sons,’ Shunsui Sakuranosuke Jirou Kyoraku. Yes, a heck of a long name to match his precious deceased master and guardian. A more tangible remnant of Yamamoto is his broken sword, Ryujin Jakka, which is all that was left of him after he was killed by his longtime foe. Unfortunately, even that could still be enough to cause an imbalance, so [a special ceremony called.
Konsou Rensei] was done to prevent that, seeing as it’s necessary for anyone of Captain class or higher. One thing that was unknown to the Soul Society, as well as Ichigo and friends, though, was the fact that after the ceremony takes place, the leftover reishi of the person in question is sent to Hell. Yes, that Hell. In other words, our sometimes overconfident but also extremely powerful Genryusai ended up in one of the worst places in existence. And this is solely due to how strong he was while alive. Talk about a terrible reward for centuries of being the mightiest. At least he received a new title there, again: [Gotei Founder]. Though that does sound just like the one he had while alive… Either way, there is a small chance that he could leave Hell due to the imbalance caused by Yhwach’s death and Aizen’s reishi disappearing,.
Which made the gateway easier to open. Not to mention that Kazui seems to be able to open the doors of Hell, or at least is hinted at being able to do so through a ritual. Anyway, it’s not all darkness and hellish butterflies. It turns out that Yamamoto’s change of heart and increased leniency over time allowed for the rules to expand in just a few years. In fact, Ichigo’s son, Kazui, was able to become a shinigami apprentice despite being human (not to mention his Quincy family ties). In the past, that would have never been possible. It likely doesn’t hurt that the boy is related to the savior of the world and the Soul Society, though. On that topic, Soul Society’s academy continues to flourish and accommodate students who hope to become future shinigami, like Renji and Rukia’s daughter, Ichika. In other words, even without.
His large aura around to provide comfort and strength, Yamamoto’s actions and choices have encouraged others to keep the world in check. Life goes on, in part because of what he did, but also because of those he influenced to do the right thing. Or even sometimes, to go against his judgment. Funny how that works, huh? With that said, that’s everything we have for Genryusai, and we hope that he finds his way to his right hand man, Sasakibe, in the afterlife. If only to thank him for his servitude across all those years. Do you think they could meet up in Hell? Would you like that story arc to continue so we can find out? Do you think he’s still kicking butt and taking names in that mysterious place? Let us know in the comments below! This is Anthony Phan, and as always, have a great day!.