"You really are a crude one. First you have the nerve to set foot in the Spirit Palace, then you invade even the body of a member of Division Zero, the retainers of the Spirit King. Filthy human, it's time you learned your place. I shall deliver your divine punishment."
Ichibē Hyōsube (兵主部 一兵衛, Hyōsube Ichibē) is the Leader of the Zero Division (零番隊リーダー, Zerobantai Rīdā), holding the title "Monk Who Calls the Real Name" (真名呼和尚, Manako Oshō; Viz "High Priest").
Ichibē is a large and broad individual with a bald head, red eyes, bushy eyebrows and a long black beard. He wears the standard Shinigami uniform beneath a white, long-sleeved haori decorated with the Royal Guard's emblem. The top of his uniform is open enough to expose his hairy chest. He also wears a large set of red prayer beads around his neck and a pair of single-toothed tengu geta.
Ichibē is an authoritative Shinigami who remains focused on the mission at hand. He speaks in a loud and upfront manner, and usually has an upbeat expression on his face. However, in battle, he is ruthless and somewhat patronizing, though he constantly smiles throughout his fights. Yhwach notes that he becomes much happier when he has resolved to kill someone. He displays a patronizing kindness toward his opponents, such as when he cut Yhwach's physical and spiritual power in half in order to avoid tarnishing the reputation of the Quincy by defeating him at full power.
Ichibē was given the title "Monk Who Calls the Real Name" by the Soul King. Ichibē was the person who first chose the names for everything in Soul Society, including Zanpakutō, Shikai and Bankai. At some point in the past, Ichibē became the first Shinigami whose Zanpakutō gained an evolved form, which was known as Shinuchi.
The Thousand-Year Blood War arc
After the death of Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto, Ichibē uses the Tenchūren to travel to Soul Society with the other members of the Royal Guard. There, they are greeted by most of the surviving Gotei 13 captains and Ichigo Kurosaki. After some of his unit converse with the Gotei 13 captains, Ichibē tells them that they can talk later. Captain Shunsui Kyōraku asks why they are here and Ichibē responds that they are there to rebuild the Gotei 13, but first they will take Ichigo to the Royal Palace. After initially ignoring Captain Suì-Fēng's interruption, he hits Tenjirō Kirinji, one of the other Royal Guard members that admonishes Suì-Fēng, telling him to talk later. Senjumaru Shutara arrives with several badly injured Shinigami in orbs. After the others discuss the wisdom of moving them in their current condition, Ichigo asks why he has to accompany them when his injuries are not so grave. Ichibē states that the reason they are bringing him is different, but he is interrupted by another person.
After Ichigo's subsequent conversation with Kisuke Urahara, Ichigo asks Ichibē if his Zanpakutō will be fixed there. Ichibē tells him that it is not possible, but that there is a way for him to restore it to something similar to its original form. Ichigo agrees to go and Ichibē brings Ichigo to Kūkaku Shiba's home, intending to have Kūkaku launch the Tenchūren back to the Royal Palace using her cannon. He explains to Ichigo that the Tenchūren cannot return there unaided and reasserts that there is a way to restore Tensa Zangetsu, but Ichigo states that he is now making it sound like a lie. Kūkaku launches the Tenchūren and they arrive in the Royal Palace. After Ichibē tells Ichigo that he should be proud of the fact he has been allowed to come to the Soul King Palace, Ichigo asks him when they used the Ōken. Ichibē explains that the Ōken is in fact a power imbued upon them by the Soul King and is a part of them. He states that Aizen was effectively trying to create one of them to access the Palace.
After Renji and Rukia train in his palace, he comes in, commenting that they are talkative. He then reviews their progress in their training, stating that initially they could not even stand or breathe. He remarks that they made great progress. He then asks if both of them are ready to train with him in the "inner room." Inside, he tells Renji that Hihiō Zabimaru is only part of his Bankai's name and that the fact Zabimaru only taught him part of the name indicates that it only partly acknowledged Renji. He reveals the meaning behind his title and that he knows the names of all Zanpakutō. He tells Renji the full name of his Bankai, noting that he has become powerful enough to be worthy of calling that name.
Later, when Ichigo agrees to walk down to the Seireitei instead of taking the Tenchūren, Ichibē laughs and notes Ichigo has finally stopped overreacting before revealing the Wandenreich has begun attacking the Seireitei. As Ichigo launches himself down the stairs and tells Ichibē to inform him of such things earlier, Ichibē asks him what he said. When Kirio Hikifune states Ichigo has become strong, Ichibē denies this and says Ichigo grew up before stating he became strong. When Kirinji points out this is the same thing, Ichibē says both Ichigo's body and soul became stronger and states Ichigo has become a real Shinigami. The next day, when Yhwach, Jugram Haschwalth, and Uryū Ishida arrive at the palace, Ichibē senses their presence.
While Yhwach and his elite guard contend with Senjumaru Shutara, Ichibē uses the calligraphy character for "Hidden" to hide the entire Soul King Palace from sight upon the arrival of the Quincy. Senjumaru explains this, prompting Ichibē to state that he is surprised that she would reveal the trick so soon before noting that this means Hikifune created her cage in time.
After the cage is opened by Pernida Parnkgjas, Ichibē is surprised when Yhwach appears before him, asking if the Royal Guard would let him pass. Ichibē rises from his position and tells Yhwach not to use his name in such a familiar tone, lest his voice go hoarse from doing so. Ichibē draws a line on the ground and informs Yhwach that this is where he will kill him. When Yhwach calls him by name once more, Ichibē reminds him that doing so might crush his throat as an enormous hand pushes Yhwach off the side of the palace. Ichibē appears next to Yhwach and explains how this hand will send him flying 1000 ri away before pushing him downward with another hand. When Yhwach attempts to speak, but is unable to, Ichibē gleefully reminds him how he warned him about misusing his name. However, he is shocked when Yhwach restores his voice and subsequently uses Sankt Bogen to propel himself upward by shooting himself with a Heilig Pfeil and notes that this means he must destroy Yhwach.
Noting that he must kill Yhwach because of his failure to atone, Ichibē draws his brush and prepares to attack. Ichibē and Yhwach clash, with Yhwach noting that he looks much happier than he expected. When Yhwach deflects Ichibē's brush with his arm, Ichibē reveals that his brush can cut names as a shocked Yhwach's arm falls to his side. Ichibē reveals that Yhwach's arm is now Ar and that his physical capabilities have been cut in half before slashing him down the center of his body, causing Yhwach to fly back into the palace. Moving back to the palace, Ichibē asks Yhwach what he thinks about being cut to pieces.
After telling Ichibē that everything in the world is his to take, Yhwach attacks him with his Reishi pillars, only for Ichibē to stop them by clasping his hands together. Noting that he was trying to preserve Yhwach's reputation by defeating him at half power, Ichibē leaps into the air before using Bakudō #62. Hyapporankan, which Yhwach counters with Blut Vene Anhaben. Ichibē notes this is interesting before using Ura Hadō: Sannodō — Teppūsatsu, which seemingly breaks through Yhwach's barrier, before grabbing Yhwach by the throat. However, black lines begin appearing along Ichibē's arm as Yhwach explains that Blut Vene Anhaben consumes everything around it in order to remain active. Hearing this, Ichibē mocks Yhwach before forcing the veins of Blut Vene Anhaben back onto Yhwach, causing the blood vessels in his face to explode, and reprimands him for daring to invade the body of a Royal Guard before releasing his Zanpakutō, Ichimonji.
When Yhwach expresses confusion at the appearance of his Shikai, Ichibē asks him if he can tell the difference between a sword and a pen before attacking him. Ichibē and Yhwach clash as Yhwach asks Ichibē if he is just going to remove his powers again, only to fall silent with shock after failing to call out the name of his sword. Asking Yhwach if he knows what the name of his sword is, Ichibē reveals Ichimonji has removed its name entirely with its ink. Upon hearing this, Yhwach attempts to steal Ichibē's power with Sankt Altar, but Ichibē simply shrugs off the spell and explains how his power cannot be used by another because Ichimonji wields darkness before splashing Yhwach's face with ink.
As Yhwach stands covered in ink, Ichibē notes it must have been painful for his name to be taken away and claims he shall give Yhwach a new name as his master before activating his Bankai, Shirafude Ichimonji. Ichibē notes that this form of a Zanpakutō used to be known as an Evolved Zanpakutō before proclaiming that Yhwach's name is now Black Ant, which means his life is as short as one. Manifesting an enormous foot above Yhwach, Ichibē smashes him through the floor before bidding him farewell and crushing him in midair with two giant hands. However, Ichibē is surprised when Yhwach bursts through the floor and attacks him, causing him to wonder what is happening.
When Yhwach explains how The Almighty allows him to see everything that will happen in the future, Ichibē claims this does not matter because Yhwach is still covered in black before using the darkness on Yhwach's body for Futendaisatsuryō, which he claims will destroy Yhwach and leave him unable to reincarnate. However, Yhwach states he is no longer nameless and will be the one to take everything from Ichibē before obliterating his torso. As Ichibē's head falls to the ground, Yhwach notes he was correct about Ichibē dying in three steps. Soon afterward, when Ichigo and his friends arrive at the palace, Ichibē mentally calls out to Ichigo and tells him to call his name, which Ichigo does, allowing Ichibē to take some of his power in order to heal himself. After explaining how this happened, Ichibē asks Ichigo to stop Yhwach from killing the Soul King because the latter is what keeps everything in existence.
Soon afterward, Ichibē apologizes to the group heading toward the palace and states they cannot defeat Yhwach before telling them to not worry because this is what peace is all about and asking Yhwach if this is not the case.
Powers & Abilities
- Name Identification: Ichibē has the innate ability to determine the true name of all things. He came up with the name "Zanpakutō" and the release names "Shikai" and "Bankai", and he was the first one to choose all the names of all things in Soul Society. Due to this unique skill, Ichibē also knows the names of every Zanpakutō from the time they are handed to a Shinigami as Asauchi created by Ōetsu Nimaiya.
- Name Curse: Due to its importance, Ichibē's name carries a curse upon it; those who are unworthy to speak it will lose their voices if they do so.
- Self-Reconstitution: If his body is destroyed, Ichibē can completely restore it to its former state and reconstruct every piece of his body that was out of place. He achieves this by stealing a bit of power from someone that says his name to initiate the process; in order to prompt this, he can mentally speak to the individuals around him and ask them to do so.
Spirit Appendage Manifestation: Ichibē can manifest giant representations of his hands and feet in the air. These limbs copy his movements and possess greater strength in proportion to their greater size.
- Senri Tsūtenshō (千里通天掌, Heavenly Passing Palm of the Thousand Ri): Ichibē manifests a large hand to push his opponent away with extreme force. According to him, it will send his opponent flying 1000 ri away.
Wisdom: As a current commander of the Royal Guard with vast knowledge, understanding, common sense and insight from centuries of service, Ichibē possesses great experience and instincts as a leader, and always acts with optimum judgement of the situation; combining this with his innate ability to see the true nature of his opponent and his diverse skillset, Ichibē is also a very adaptable strategist. His wisdom and common sense have been recognized by the Wandenreich as being potent enough to make him one of the Special War Powers of Soul Society.
Shunpo Master: Ichibē is highly proficient in Shunpo, appearing next to Yhwach almost immediately after propelling him 1000 ri away with Senri Tsūtenshō. He effortlessly sidestepped a multitude of Heilig Pfeil fired by Yhwach's Sankt Bogen.
Immeasurable Spiritual Power: As a captain-class combatant and commander of the Royal Guard, Ichibē has a colossal amount of spiritual power. Ichibē's power is of such a degree that he was able to fight evenly with Yhwach, who possesses vast Reiryoku himself, with just his sealed Zanpakutō and later Shikai. With his Bankai, Shirafude Ichimonji, Ichibē would have been able to permanently neutralize the Quincy King if the latter had not activated The Almighty.
Enhanced Strength: Ichibē possesses a large amount of physical strength. After pushing Yhwach a large distance away from Soul King Palace with Senri Tsūtenshō, Ichibē sent him flying the same distance back to the palace with a single slash from his brush. He crushed a Reishi attack from Yhwach by merely clasping his hands around it, and reversed the absorbing effects of Yhwach's Blut Vene Anhaben by flexing the muscles on the left side of his body, rupturing the blood vessels in Yhwach's face in the process.
Enhanced Endurance: Ichibē possesses a great tolerance for pain; when Yhwach pierced him with his Reishi Broadsword, Ichibē stood his ground despite considerable blood loss, shrugged off the pain, and kept fighting.
Ōken: As one of the Royal Guards, Hyōsube has the Ōken imparted in his bones, which grants him the ability to travel into and out of the Soul King Palace, as well as grant permission to others simply by willing it.
- Calligraphy: Ichibē is an accomplished calligrapher, allowing him to draw characters that carry the power of their meaning.
- Seal (封): Creates a boundary that cannot be passed.
- Name Severing: When used as a weapon, this brush does not cut flesh, but instead names; for example, if Ichibē lands a blow on his opponent's arm, he can reduce the physical capabilities of that arm by half if he cuts its name in half to Ar.
- Shikai: Its release command is "Blacken" (黒めよ, Kuromeyo; Viz "Paint it Black"). Upon release, the brush transforms into a form of a somewhat short glaive, with the top portion taking the form of a short, single edged blade reminiscent of a tip of a chokutō, attached to the long brush handle. Additionally, a large halo of black ink appears in the air behind Ichibē.
- Shikai Special Ability: Whenever Ichibē swings Ichimonji, its blade releases ink. Anything that this ink covers loses its name, and thus its powers. Its power is the power of black: every time Ichibē releases Ichimonji, all of the color black from all beings, dead or alive, becomes his power.
- Futen Taisatsuryō (不転太殺陵, Slaughterous Mausoleum of Halted Reincarnation): Ichibē brings forth a massive amount of blackness from his surroundings and fills a cup with it before drinking from the cup. After chanting an incantation, Ichibē creates a large mausoleum with a fence in front on top of shattered gravestones out of the blackness. This technique takes away all of the darkness in his opponent, including their flesh, blood, and bones, until nothing is left; their destruction is so absolute that they will not even reincarnate.
- Shin'uchi: Shirafude Ichimonji (しら筆 一文字, White Brush Straight Line; Viz "White Brush One Written Character"): Uniquely, Ichibē activates his Bankai by calling out "Shin'uchi" (真打, True Strike; Viz "True Blade") instead of Bankai, as Ichimonji was the first Zanpakutō to take on an evolved form long before the term "Bankai" existed. Upon activation, the blade of Ichibē's brush turns white and becomes a long, thick thread that coils in the air around him.
- Shin'uchi Special Ability: With Shirafude Ichimonji, Ichibē can give and change the name of targets who have been struck by the ink of Ichimonji by writing kanji on their body; doing so gives his target the properties and powers of the name granted. For example, by changing their name to Black Ant (黒蟻, Kuroari), his opponent would be as weak and powerless as an ant.
Appearances in Other Media
|Video Game Appearances|
- Ichibē Hyōsube appears in Bleach: Can't Fear Your Own World, where his fate after Yhwach's defeat, as well as parts of his past, are revealed. Read more...
- In Bleach: Brave Souls, Ichibē makes his first appearance outside of the manga as the first character with the Zero Division affiliation. Ichibē is a melee character with the "Espada Killer" ability who wields his Shikai Ichimonji and can inflict Weaken with every attack other than his third strong attack. His strong attacks include Senri Tsūtenshō and Ura Hadō: Sannodō — Teppūsatsu. Ichibē's special attack consists of him using Futen Taisatsuryō on his opponent, inflicting immense damage and Weaken. He is voiced by Naomi Kusumi.
- Ichibē was voted the 40th most popular Shinigami character in the fifth character popularity poll.
- Ichimonji ranked 30th in the second Zanpakutō poll.
- In the second best bout poll, Ichibē's fight with Yhwach ranked 38th.
- (To Yhwach) "Dear me, dear me... I tell you not to say my name, and you say it again. I send you to go and cool your head, and you come right back. Though you may have a few years under your belt, you're still a proper cheeky little brat, aren't you? If you can't do as you're told., I suppose there's nothing else for it. I'll just kill you."
- (To Yhwach) "Now, then, my little halved friend "Yhw". Quincy Chief with half of your power cut clean away. Tell me, how does it feel to be utterly crushed by a chief of the Shinigami you so despise?"
- (To Yhwach) "Dear me. You don't seem to appreciate others' kindness. It was for the sake of protecting your dignity that I went to the trouble of halving your strength. If I were to strike you down at your full potential, how could your precious Quincy underlings ever respect you again?! Though of course, I suppose you don't need any dignity when you're dead!"
- (To Yhwach) "You really are a crude one. First you have the nerve to set foot in the Spirit Palace, then you invade even the body of a member of Division Zero, the retainers of the Spirit King. Filthy human, it's time you learned your place. I shall deliver your divine punishment."
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