The ‘Zanpakuto’ or ‘Soul Slayer’ is the main weapon that a Soul Reaper uses in battle. Soul Reapers train and, after a while, they are given a Zanpakuto. As you train and get to know your blade, it becomes stronger.
Eventually, after learning the name of your blade, it transforms into a stronger version of itself known as Shikai. If a Soul Reaper trains long enough, or employs Urahara’s traning methods, they can gain access to the ultimate form of a Zanpakuto, the Bankai.
Update April 26, 2020 by Louis Kemner: The Bleach series is all about swords, and there are so many cool zanpakuto out there, we decided that a list of ten is too short to demonstrate just how diverse and cool these weapons can be in the anime and manga. Soul Reapers, Visoreds, and even arrancars all use them, and we chose five more zanpkuto that ought to get a little more recognition. Now, let’s check out the 15 coolest zanpakuto of all, and what they can do.
15 SODE NO SHIRAYUKI
Rukia was one of the first Bleach characters to appear; in fact, author Tite Kubo designed her before he designed Ichigo. But Rukia didn’t unveil her own shikai until much later, during the early stages of the arrancar arc.
Her zanpakuto is Sode no Shirayuki, or “sleeves of white snow.” It’s an elegant ice blade that can freeze or damage enemies in all kinds of ways. Just ask D.Roy, Rudubon, or Aaronerio! And if need be, Rukia can replace the damaged metal blade with an ice one.
This is the zanpakuto of Izuru Kira, the second-in-command of Squad 3. Although this weapon’s shikai doesn’t look like much, its ability is unique and devastating against just about anyone.
Its name as been officially translated as “Apology,” and Kira can double the weight of anything he strikes with Wabisuke. And that can go on indefinitely, making any person’s weapons or body far too heavy to lift. The idea is that they are so heavy, they kneel with their head bowed, as though apologizing.
Captain Kaname Tosen of Squad 9 is among the least powerful Captains, but his zanpakuto, Suzumushi (“bell bug”) is a pretty cool one. It can use a variety of abilities, such as overwhelming the opponent’s senses and crippling them before any blood is shed.
This sword’s shikai can also create a rain of hundreds of blades, and we saw Kaname use that technique against Kenpachi in the Soul Society arc. As for bankai, Suzumushi can trap any opponent in an area where all senses are dulled, making a battle against Tosen very difficult.
Next up is a zanpakuto with a tiny but vicious shikai: Suzumebachi. It belongs to Captain Soi Fon of Squad 2, who herself is petite but quite deadly. She is a trained assassin, and no one is better suited to use Suzumebachi.
This shikai forms a stinger over Soi Fon’s right middle finger, and once she stings someone with it, a butterfly mark appears on the wound. If Soi Fon strikes that same spot again with Suzumebachi, the target drops dead, no matter what. Scary!
No list of awesome zanpakuto is complete without Hyorinmaru, the blade of Captain Toshiro Hitsugaya. It is a magnificent ice dragon, and better yet, its powers are still growing and developing, since Toshiro himself is a growing boy.
Its shikai is fearsome enough, but once bankai is activated, Daiguren Hyorinmaru can freeze all the water in the air, form ice prisons, and even create ice body doubles that can bail Toshiro out of trouble when an opponent attacks him.
Also known as the Sacred Spear, Shinso was wielded by Gin Ichimaru. In its Shikai form, this blade can extend at a rapid speed, with powerful force. It can stretch as far as 100 hundred times its original length.
Gin used this ability to beat down Ichigo multiple times. In its Bankai form, the blades speed and destructive power greatly increase. It is believed that, in this form, the blade can stretch up to 13 km and move 500 times the speed of sound. Gin is also clever enough to boast about the blade’s great length to distract his enemies from his fast it moves.
9 ASHISOGI JIZO
This blade is used by the Soul Reaper Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi of the 12th division in the Gotei 13. This blade is a tricky one: any victim who comes in contact with the blade will be paralyzed, but their sense of pain is not dulled at all.
When Mayuri uses his Bankai, his sword becomes a gigantic, baby-headed, poison demon with a caterpillar body. Ashisogi Jizo’s poison breath is so deadly that once it comes in contact with you, your body immediately starts breaking down. This deadly poison also spreads rapidly over a large area. And if this bankai becomes a liability for any reason, Captain Kurotsuchi can set it to self-destruct.
Kisuke Urahara is the former captain of the 12th division and one of Soul Societies’ greatest ever scientists. His experiments have pushed his Zanpakuto beyond its limits, much like Mayuri.
In its Shikai form, Benihime produces this crimson aura that Urahara can use to his will. Benihime’s Bankai allows it to restructure anything it cuts. This can be used for a variety of purposes, such as stitching things back together so it can heal. Offensively, it can also rip things apart, dealing incredible amounts of damage.
Much like its user, Nozarashi is a pretty straight forward and simple blade to understand. It grants Kenpachi even more destructive potential than he already possesses.
When released into its Shikai state, Nozarashi becomes massive and is powerful enough to cut through space. Kenpachi’s Bankai turns him into a demon-like creature, who is far more powerful and much quicker. His skin also turns red and he acts on pure instinct and bloodlust.
The wielder of Senbonzakura is the 6th division captain of the Gotei 13 and 28th head of the Kuchiki Clan, Byakuya Kuchiki. This blade has the ability to separate itself into a thousand tiny blades that all appear to be like sakura blossoms.
These blades are too small to be seen with the naked eye, but appear pink when light refracts on them. Byakuya can then control all these blades however he wishes. In its more advanced Bankai form, the number of blades greatly increases, allowing for more devastating techniques, such as gokei (“throat scene”).
This is Ichigo’s Zanpakuto and is pretty simple. Much like Kenpachi’s, this blade greatly enhances Ichigo’s speed and power. When attacking, Zangetsu absorbs his spiritual energy, condenses it and then launches this condensed energy from its blade.
Ichigo mainly uses this for his famous Getsuga Tensho attack. Tensa Zangetsu, his Bankai takes this to another level. He becomes faster, stronger and more durable. A Getsuga Tensho with Tensa Zangetsu was almost enough to kill Yhwach, the strongest character in Bleach.
“Counter Stroke” is Shinji Hirako’s sword. Shinji is a former member of the Visored and current captain of the 5th division in the Gotei 13. When Shinji spins his sword, a pink mist comes out of it and anybody who smells it gets hit with his sword’s ability, “Upside Down World”.
This ability flips the victim’s perception. Left becomes right, up becomes down and backward becomes forwards. Shinji can even invert his words causing his opponents to become even more confused and disoriented. This ability also inverts the senses of the victims as well. That is, if they were to get cut on their left leg, they would think it was their right leg that received the damage.
3 KATEN KYOKOTSU
Katen Kyokotsu is wielded by the current Captain Commander of the Gotei 13, Shunsui Kyoraku. Shunsui also holds the distinction of being the captain of the first division, and the former captain of the 8th division. This sword’s special ability can force anyone who steps into the range of Shunsui’s spiritual pressure into ‘playing games’.
Shunsui decides the special rules of these games and played a wide range of them during his fight with Coyote Stark. His Bankai takes his opponent into a dark and dreary setting, and damages the opponent in four separate “Acts”.
2 KYOKA SUIGETSU
Aizen is a former inmate of the prison Muken, having been imprisoned for waging war against the Soul Society in an attempt to become ‘God’. Of course, Aizen is also a former captain and lieutenant of the 5th division of the Gotei 13.
Kyoka Suigetsu’s special ability, “Perfect Hypnosis”, forces any person who looks at the blade to fall under Aizen’s hypnosis. This hypnosis is absolutely inescapable once you fall under its effects, which may last for years and affect many people at once (that’s how he fooled everyone into thinking Central 46 was still functional). This ability was the foundation of Aizen’s plan to become God, and he almost succeeded.
1 RYUJIN JAKKA
The devastating flame Zanpakuto of the former Captain Commander of the Gotei 13, Genryusai Yamamoto. When Yamamoto releases his blade with the command, “turn all creation to ash”, flame bursts forth from his sword and anything it comes in contact with, gets burned to ash. Ryujin Jakka’s flame burns intensely and engulfs Yamamoto’s surroundings, burning anything he wishes.
Zanka no Tachi, its Bankai form, condenses all his flames into his blade and anything Yamamoto cuts, gets burned out of existence; nothing remains, not even ash. The flames of Zanka no Tachi are so intense that it even dries up the moisture of anything that comes into contact with Yamamoto’s spiritual pressure.
Bleach features plenty of great weapons, but the Zanpakuto are by far the most renowned. Here are the strongest Soul Slayers in the series!