"Battles are always fought one-on-one, and whoever dies has no regrets."
Hōzukimaru's physical manifestation takes the form of a large, very muscular man with brown skin. He has long orange hair, which reaches down to his legs, styled into three large spikes around his face and a beard which reaches to his pectorals. He also has tufts of orange hair on his wrists, and wears a white robe as a skirt with no shoes. He has a large, black, dragon-shaped marking which stretches horizontally across his upper chest, and has dark brown eyes with light red markings underneath them.
While under the influence of Muramasa's brainwashing, Hōzukimaru is somewhat cautious in regards to battle, criticizing Kazeshini for believing the Zanpakutō spirits should rush in and attack without any prior planning. He is very level-headed outside of battle, and is quick to settle disputes between other Zanpakutō spirits by pointing out how they should be focusing on their former masters as their real enemies.
In battle, Hōzukimaru is somewhat savage, mercilessly overpowering several unseated Shinigami while proclaiming they do not stand a chance. He likes fighting opponents with a reputation of power; during the Zanpakutō spirits' attack on the Seireitei, Hōzukimaru expresses his desire to fight one of the captains. He despises weak opponents, and derides several unseated members of the 2nd Division as being "not even good for a warm-up". Hōzukimaru adheres to a strict rule of not interfering in the fights of other people, stating all fights are one-on-one, and is willing to die in battle without any regrets. However, he will abandon his fight if he considers it boring. He becomes annoyed when someone else aids him in his fight, even if he is being overpowered when they do so.
He possesses a particular aggression toward Ikkaku Madarame, attacking him almost immediately upon seeing him, but is willing to prove he is Ikkaku's Zanpakutō spirit by performing his Tsuki-Tsuki Dance with him. He believes his power is far above Ikkaku's own, mockingly asking Ikkaku if he believes he can defeat him prior to their first battle. Hōzukimaru implies he left Ikkaku because of how he acts like a "badass" despite not having the skills of one. However, he comes to respect Ikkaku's fighting spirit and motivations during their second fight, and congratulates Ikkaku upon being defeated. He consistently refers to Ikkaku as "partner" rather than by his name.
After being freed from Muramasa's brainwashing, Hōzukimaru maintains a healthy rivalry with Ikkaku, challenging him to defeat more Gillians than he does during their defense of the Human World and fighting alongside him during the ensuing battle. He is disgusted by Muramasa's betrayal and true motivations, and denounces him during the battle. However, he is still headstrong and confident in his own power, claiming he would seal the large Garganta which Muramasa created by himself. He regards hunting Tōjū as a "good way to pass the time", and finds scary stories highly amusing. He cares greatly about Ikkaku, and immediately attempts to save him after Ikkaku is abducted by the Tentacle Tōjū despite his policy of fights being one-on-one. Hōzukimaru is good friends with Ruri'iro Kujaku, and they can frequently be found drinking together.
Zanpakutō Unknown Tales arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
Hōzukimaru waits for Muramasa's return alongside the other Zanpakutō spirits in their cave. Later, he joins Sode no Shirayuki and Tobiume in attacking Shinigami in the Seireitei. As he fights, Sode no Shirayuki tells him they are being summoned and incapacitates the Shinigami whom Hōzukimaru was fighting with a wave of ice as Hōzukimaru moves away. Later, Hōzukimaru and the other Zanpakutō spirits appear before the Shinigami who have gathered on Sōkyoku Hill.
Later, Hōzukimaru and Ruri'iro Kujaku come acrossSenbonzakura looking at Sōkyoku Hill. When Ruri'iro Kujaku fails to interact with Senbonzakura, Hōzukimaru calms him and says they will kill their masters soon enough. After hearing Muramasa let Ichigo Kurosaki get away, Hōzukimaru decides to take action. Later, he encounters and attacks his former partner Ikkaku Madarame, who is unsure if Hōzukimaru is really who he said he is. To prove it, Ikkaku and Hōzukimaru perform their Tsuki-Tsuki Dance together. As the two begin to battle, Hōzukimaru overwhelms Ikkaku by activating his Bankai. When the fight is interrupted by the Onmitsukidō, Hōzukimaru retreats because he is bored of his and Ikkaku's fight.
Later, Hōzukimaru, Tenken, Gonryōmaru, Kazeshini, and Ruri'iro Kujaku confront Byakuya Kuchiki at the 6th Division barracks, only to find themselves surrounded by the Onmitsukidō and other Shinigami. When Ikkaku appears, Hōzukimaru engages him in battle again. As their battle proceeds, Ikkaku successfully releases his Shikai and overwhelms Hōzukimaru until the latter activates his Bankai and gains the upper hand. When his Bankai reaches full power, Hōzukimaru and Ikkaku clash, releasing an enormous amount of Reiatsu in the process. Afterward, Hōzukimaru congratulates Ikkaku for an excellent fight before collapsing.
Later, Hōzukimaru and Ikkaku, alongside the other Shinigami and Zanpakutō spirits, arrive in Karakura Town to defend it from the Gillians produced by the unstable Muramasa. After the Zanpakutō spirits' change of hear is explained, Hōzukimaru aggravates Ikkaku by rushing in to attack without letting him attack first. Though Hōzukimaru and Ikkaku take down several Gillians together, it eventually becomes clear the number of Gillians will not decrease while the enormous Garganta which Muramasa produced is still open, which prompts Hōzukimaru to offer to go inside and seal it. When Byakuya and Senbonzakura blast their Reiatsu-infused blade petals at the Garganta in an attempt to close it, Hōzukimaru and the others pool their Reiatsu in order to close the Garganta. Afterward, Hōzukimaru teams up with Ikkaku to finish off the remaining Gillians. Upon Muramasa's defeat at the hands of Ichigo, Hōzukimaru returns to Ikkaku's sword.
Beast Swords arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
When various supplies and items go missing from the 4th Division compound, Hōzukimaru joins Ikkaku as part of a search group to search for the thief in the underground waterways. Along the way, they run into various traps and eventually encounter the Tentacle Tōjū, who captures Ikkaku. While wondering what to do, Hōzukimaru and the others find the missing supplies and the thief, who turns out to be Hanatarō Yamada's missing Zanpakutō spirit, Hisagomaru. When the Tentacle Tōjū returns with Ikkaku and begins attacking, Hōzukimaru uses his Bankai, but his subsequent attack fails, and the Tentacle Tōjū subdues Hōzukimaru. Seeing the danger, Hisagomaru uses his power to gather energy from Ikkaku's wounds and finishes off the Tentacle Tōjū with Akeiro Hisagomaru, saving Hōzukimaru and the others. Afterward, Hōzukimaru explains the Zanpakutō spirits' situation to Hisagomaru, who is relieved at not having been rejected by Hanatarō.
Later, Hōzukimaru, Haineko, and Wabisuke briefly confront Kazeshini, who is still determined to kill his master. Hōzukimaru, Haineko, and Wabisuke eventually decide they will let Kazeshini do what he wills as long as he does not get them involved. Later, Haineko and Hōzukimaru laugh hysterically at seeing Kazeshini with a baby on his back, and continue to laugh as Kazeshini tries to explain why he has the baby with him. When Kazeshini tries to have them take the child, Haineko, Wabisuke, and Hōzukimaru refuse to do so before leaving as Kazeshini protests.
Later, when Tōjū begin to return to their sword forms without having been dealt a finishing blow, Hōzukimaru and Ruri'iro Kujaku meet with Saru, Hebi, and Kazeshini to discuss what they should do. There, he learns they have found the final Tōjū, Kirikaze, and decides the Zanpakutō spirits should fight him without dragging the Shinigami into it. The next day, Hōzukimaru and the other Zanpakutō spirits confront Kirikaze, with Hōzukimaru being the first to attack. When Kirikaze begins to drain Ruri'iro Kujaku of his Reiryoku, Hōzukimaru, Kazeshini, Haineko, and Tobiume attack him, only to be blown back by a strong wind. After the Shinigami arrive and Kirikaze is severely weakened by their attacks, Hōzukimaru gives his remaining Reiryoku to Renji Abarai so he can defeat Kirikaze. Afterward, Hōzukimaru permanently returns to his sword as the power enabling the Zanpakutō spirits to temporarily maintain their materialized form is finally depleted.
Powers & Abilities
High Spiritual Power: As the Zanpakutō spirit of a lieutenant-level Shinigami, Hōzukimaru possesses a considerable amount of Reiryoku, allowing him to fight evenly with Ikkaku Madarame on two separate occasions. Ruri'iro Kujaku theorizes Hōzukimaru actually lowered his power to match Ikkaku's because of his love for fighting. Later, he and Ikkaku effortlessly take down several Gillians with only their Shikai during their defense of the Human World. His Reiatsu is red.
Naginatajutsu Master: Hōzukimaru possesses incredible skill with his naginata Shikai. When fighting, he frequently jabs at his opponent from several different angles, performs powerful two-handed strikes, and effectively uses the ranged nature of his Shikai to his advantage. He is proficient enough to fight equally against a master swordsman like Ikkaku.
Enhanced Strength: Hōzukimaru possesses a large amount of physical strength. He can pick up and throw several unseated Shinigami with ease. He can attack with enough force to shatter the ground upon hitting it, and can spin his Bankai around with enough force to create a powerful whirlwind. During his second fight with Ikkaku, Hōzukimaru sent Ikkaku flying several meters away with a single punch, and repeatedly knocked him back with simple strikes from his Bankai. He can smash his opponent through solid rock with a single strike. He is strong enough to smash through a Gillian's body and easily slice through a Gillian's mask.
Enhanced Speed: Hōzukimaru possesses considerable speed, easily keeping up with Ikkaku during both of their fights. When he and Nanao Ise were chasing Hisagomaru, Hōzukimaru appeared in front of him without Hisagomaru noticing.
Enhanced Reflexes: Hōzukimaru possesses considerably advanced reflexes; during both of his fights with Ikkaku, Hōzukimaru effortlessly blocked a majority of Ikkaku's considerably fast and relentless strikes.
Enhanced Endurance: Hōzukimaru is a considerably enduring combatant. During his first fight with Ikkaku, he let himself get wounded in several areas in order to gauge Ikkaku's strength, and continued to fight without displaying any signs of being affected by his injuries. During his second fight with Ikkaku, Hōzukimaru continued to fight even after receiving a deep cut in his left shoulder.
- Shikai: Hōzukimaru manifests Hōzukimaru with the command "Grow" (延びろ, nobiro; "Extend" in the English dub). It takes the form of a naginata with a wax-wood shaft and a red horsehair tassel on its pommel.
- Shikai Special Ability: Hōzukimaru does not possess any special abilities, and is mainly used for powerful mid- to close-range physical attacks. However, Hōzukimaru can separate into a sansetsukon at any time, allowing Hōzukimaru to catch his opponent by surprise when attacking. Afterward, Hōzukimaru can reconnect the segments at will.
- Bankai: Ryūmon Hōzukimaru (龍紋鬼灯丸, Dragon Crest Demon Light): Initially, to activate his Bankai, Hōzukimaru spins his Shikai overhead before slamming it into the ground as steam and trails of black-red Reiatsu emanate from it; afterward, his Bankai falls from the sky and crashes into the ground around him. Later, Hōzukimaru's Bankai activation causes a small tornado to form around him as two dragons composed of red Reiatsu extend into the sky. During his fight against the Tentacle Tōjū, Hōzukimaru simply holds his Shikai in front of him as it glows white and releases a large amount of steam in the form of a tornado, after which Ryūmon Hōzukimaru appears in his hands. The two main weapons of Ryūmon Hōzukimaru are a Chinese Monk's spade and a standard guandao. Both have a traditional horsehair tassel at the hilt, and a long, cylindrical weight for a pommel. The pommels are connected by a heavy chain to the center section, which resembles an axe blade, with a parallel handle forged into the blunt end and a dragon crest on one side of the blade. Hōzukimaru usually holds one blade in each hand and lets the central portion float behind him, though he will occasionally spin the entire configuration about using the center handle as a pivot. During his second fight with Ikkaku, Hōzukimaru wielded each of the blades individually at different times.
- Bankai Special Ability: Ryūmon Hōzukimaru does not possess any special abilities or powers, and is instead a mostly melee-type weapon. Hōzukimaru can throw its segments at his opponents for long-distance attacks, but usually wields the segments as blades for close-range combat. The blades themselves are powerful, but can be shattered if hit with enough force. However, the true power of Ryūmon Hōzukimaru lies in its gradually increasing Reiatsu: as Hōzukimaru's fight goes on, Ryūmon Hōzukimaru releases more and more Reiatsu, which is reflected by the dragon crest on the central blade and the dragon tattoo on Hōzukimaru's chest filling with red light. Hōzukimaru can speed up this process by spinning Ryūmon Hōzukimaru by its central handle. When the dragon crest is completely filled and its eye is glowing yellow, Ryūmon Hōzukimaru is at its full power, allowing a strengthened Hōzukimaru to perform powerful physical attacks.
- Reiatsu Explosion: Grabbing the central blade of Ryūmon Hōzukimaru and raising it over his head, Hōzukimaru rapidly spins his Bankai, creating a powerful whirlwind in the process, before slamming the central blade into the ground, creating an explosion of red Reiatsu which can blast other combatants away. Hōzukimaru can use this explosion to mask his escape from the battlefield. (Unnamed)
- "Where'd all those captains run off to? I really want to fight them!"
- (To Ikkaku Madarame) "Battles are always fought one-on-one, and whoever dies has no regrets."
- (To Ikkaku Madarame) "This isn't much of a fight. I'm done fighting for today."
- (To Ikkaku Madarame) "Your spirit is impressive, but you're gonna need more than that to take me down. Go on, cling to your silly stubbornness, but in head-to-head battles, you'll always get crushed."
- (To Ikkaku Madarame) "If you're gonna act like a badass, then you should probably have the skill to back it up."
- (To Ikkaku Madarame) "Now you're talking, partner. Go on, give it your best shot and defeat me!"
- (To Hanatarō Yamada) "A Zanpakutō spirit and its master have separate bodies, but they both share one heart."
Battles & Events
|The Rebellion Begins: Rise of Muramasa||None||Episode 230|
|Return of the Zanpakutō Spirits||None||Episode 253, 254|
|Hōzukimaru vs. Ikkaku Madarame||None||Episode 237||Draw, Escapes|
|Isane Kotetsu & Tetsuzaemon Iba vs. Ashisogi Jizō||None||Episode 243||Win|
|Hōzukimaru vs. Ikkaku Madarame: Final Fight||None||Episode 242||Loss|
|The Monster That Lurks Underground||None||Episode 259|
|Zanpakutō Spirits vs. Kirikaze||None||Episode 265||Win|
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Bleach anime; Episode 230
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Bleach anime; Episode 233
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 Bleach anime; Episode 237
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Bleach anime; Episode 231
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Bleach anime; Episode 265
- ↑ 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 6.14 6.15 Bleach anime; Episode 242
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Bleach anime; Episode 254
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Bleach anime; Episode 259
- ↑ Bleach anime; Episode 253
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Bleach anime; Episode 255
- ↑ Bleach anime; Episode 260
- ↑ Bleach anime; Episode 243
|Known Spirits||Ashisogi Jizō • Gegetsuburi • Gonryōmaru • Haineko • Hisagomaru • Hōzukimaru • Hyōrinmaru • Katen Kyōkotsu • Kazeshini • Minazuki • Muramasa • Ruri'iro Kujaku • Ryūjin Jakka • Senbonzakura • Sode no Shirayuki • Sōgyo no Kotowari • Suzumebachi • Tenken • Tobiume • Wabisuke • Zabimaru • Zangetsu|