Kenpachi Zaraki Approaches!
Kanji 更木剣八、迫る!
Romanji Zaraki Kenpachi semaru!
Episode Number 36
Manga Chapters Chapter 103, Chapter 104, Chapter 105
Arc Soul Society: The Sneak Entry arc
Previous Episode Aizen Assassinated! The Darkness which Approaches
Next Episode Motive of the Fist
Japanese June 14, 2005
English June 10, 2007
Theme Music
Opening D-tecnoLife
Ending Houkiboshi
Episode 36 Screenshots

Kenpachi Zaraki Approaches! is the thirty-sixth episode of the Bleach anime.

Ichigo Kurosaki begins his battle with 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki.



Rangiku Matsumoto visits Momo Hinamori in her cell.

In the first Special Confinement Gaol within the Fifth Division barracks, Lieutenant Momo Hinamori sits and holds her head in her hands as she recalls finding the corpse of her captain, Sōsuke Aizen, earlier that day. As she enters the room, 10th Division Lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto observes that Hinamori looks awful and inquires if she has calmed down from earlier, prompting Hinamori to meekly apologize for causing her trouble as well, only for Rangiku to dismiss this because she could not do anything either.


Rangiku describes the situation outside the cell to Hinamori.

When Hinamori requests to know what things are like out in the Seireitei, Rangiku describes it as chaotic due to such an unprecedented tragedy occurring within the barracks alongside the Ryoka situation, resulting in the high-ranking Shinigami pursuing their own goals while losing focus. A stunned Hinamori questions why they are not arresting the perpetrator, but Rangiku clarifies that they are still investigating the crime scene and have no choice but to await Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto's decision.


Rangiku reprimands Hinamori for her reckless actions.

However, with Hinamori beginning to accuse 3rd Division Captain Gin Ichimaru of having killed Aizen, Rangiku angrily reprimands her for saying such reckless things and reminds Hinamori that her division is suffering the most right now despite the chaos outside because they have lost both their captain and their lieutenant, which Hinamori should know the meaning of. As Hinamori stares at her in shock, Rangiku admits that she understands how Hinamori feels before wondering if there was really no alternative to the actions which Hinamori took after finding Aizen's corpse and asks Hinamori to at least consider this, as the title of lieutenant should not be taken lightly.


Rangiku gives Hinamori a letter with Sōsuke Aizen's last words.

While Hinamori apologizes once more, Rangiku's expression softens as she hands Hinamori a sealed letter which was found in Aizen's room and is addressed to her. Asserting that Hinamori is lucky her captain, Tōshirō Hitsugaya, found it because anyone else would have submitted it as evidence and prevented it from reaching Hinamori, Rangiku instructs Hinamori to treasure Aizen's last words as she reads them even if Rangiku does not know what they are because a captain leaving their last words to their lieutenants should be a happy thing. Rangiku departs and walks outside the prison ward, waving to Hinamori when the latter thanks her for her delivery.


Hinamori reads Aizen's letter detailing his last words.

After looking up at the sun, Rangiku rubs her eyes. Back inside the cell, Hinamori unties the string binding the letter and opens it, where she finds Aizen stating that her reading this means that he was unable to return. As Hinamori realizes that this means Aizen knew he was being targeted and wrote this letter after she fell asleep the previous night, she reads Aizen apologizing for how much grief he has caused her, as he has no words to express his gratitude. Aizen's letter details how he never spoke to her about his concerns because he did not want her to get involved before expressing hope that Hinamori will forgive him for involving her now.


Hinamori is stunned by the contents of Aizen's letter.

With Aizen revealing all he has discovered so far in the letter to Hinamori, whom he trusts more than anyone else, because he is likely no longer alive, Hinamori is left astonished and sweating in shock. Meanwhile, in the Senzaikyū compound, Ichigo Kurosaki, Ganju Shiba, and 4th Division 7th Seat Hanatarō Yamada are stunned and intimidated by the intense Reiatsu crushing down on them. As Ganju wonders where the Reiatsu could be coming from, Ichigo declares that they need to run ahead because he knows someone terrible is nearby and they need to get out of here before the enemy finds them, which Ganju and Hanatarō agree with.


Ichigo feels like he constantly has a sword at his throat.

Ichigo, Ganju, and Hanatarō begin running forward as 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki comments on them finally getting here just as he was getting bored before questioning which of them is the Ryoka he has been searching for. Continuing to run with Ganju and Hanatarō, Ichigo observes that something is wrong because it does not feel like they have put any distance between themselves and the enemy despite how far they have run. While Ichigo concludes that it feels like he constantly has a sword at his throat, Hanatarō suddenly collapses behind him, leading Ganju to demand to know what he is doing as he runs back.


Kenpachi Zaraki crouches on a rooftop above Ichigo.

When Hanatarō states that there is no strength left in his body, Ganju berates him for requiring so much care as he hoists Hanatarō over his shoulders before responding to Ichigo wondering if he is alright by telling him to shut up and run. Kenpachi looks over each of them as Ganju rejoins Ichigo in running, and after dismissing Ganju and Hanatarō as not being the Ryoka he is looking for, Kenpachi sees Ichigo, who experiences the sensation of Kenpachi leaning over his shoulder and inquiring if he is the one, causing Ichigo to turn around in shock and look upward, where he sees Kenpachi crouching on a rooftop above them as he grins and stares back down at him.


Ichigo envisions being impaled through the chest.

Upon being asked by Kenpachi how long he is going to keep staring over there, a stunned Ichigo envisions being impaled through the chest from behind by a Zanpakutō, only to quickly realize that he is unharmed. Gripping the section of his shihakushō where he believed the Zanpakutō came through, a frightened Ichigo mentally asserts that he was certain that he had been stabbed and wonders if killing intent alone could really do this. As he stands behind Ichigo, Kenpachi asks him if he is Ichigo Kurosaki, and when Ichigo questions how Kenpachi knows his name and who he is, Kenpachi notes that his 3rd Seat, Ikkaku Madarame, should have told Ichigo.


Rukia Kuchiki senses the intense Reiatsu outside.

Ichigo recalls Ikkaku describing Kenpachi as tough, seeking the strongest fighter among the Ryoka, and someone Ichigo may not survive facing while Kenpachi introduces himself and declares that he is here to fight Ichigo to the death. Inside the Shishinrō within Senzaikyū nearby, Rukia Kuchiki is startled and gets to her feet as she mentally notes that she felt Reiatsu again, which she realizes must be incredibly strong if she can feel it from within the Sekkiseki building, before wondering what is going on outside as she recalls 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai informing her of an intruder in Soul Society matching Ichigo's description.


Rukia prays that Ichigo runs away if he is still alive.

Though she is not sure if Ichigo is really here, Rukia mentally asserts that she could not wish for anything more than for Ichigo to be alive and kneels as she clasps her hands in prayer and urges Ichigo to run away so he can live because there are forces in Soul Society which defy the logic of the Human World. Back outside Senzaikyū, an unnerved Ichigo stands across from Kenpachi and mentally identifies him as he recalls Yoruichi Shihōin's warning to flee immediately should he encounter a captain. With Ichigo questioning how he could possibly escape from such Reiatsu, Kenpachi asks him what is wrong and reiterates that he is here to fight Ichigo to the death.


Ganju Shiba and Hanatarō Yamada are affected by Kenpachi's Reiatsu.

When Kenpachi inquires if he should start because Ichigo does not seem like he has anything to say, Ichigo moves to draw his Shikai, Zangetsu, only to stop upon seeing that Ganju has fallen to his knees and Hanatarō has collapsed behind him. Seeing Hanatarō drooling with blank eyes, a shocked Ichigo begins to ask him if he is okay, but Ganju interrupts by insulting Ichigo and explaining that he and Hanatarō will be fine because they simply got caught up in Kenpachi's Reiatsu before urging Ichigo to focus on what is in front of him because Kenpachi will kill him if he does not. Suddenly, 11th Division Lieutenant Yachiru Kusajishi pops up from behind Kenpachi's shoulder.


Yachiru Kusajishi leaps onto Ichigo's shoulder.

As she comments on Hanatarō drooling, Yachiru leaps onto Ichigo's shoulder and expresses sympathy for how scared Hanatarō must be, prompting a startled Ichigo to throw her off. Yachiru lands next to Kenpachi and observes that Ichigo got mad at her, and as Kenpachi affirms that it is her fault, Ichigo wonders where Yachiru came from and how she is remaining completely unaffected by Kenpachi's Reiatsu. With Yachiru rebuking that Kenpachi is the one who taught her such mannerisms, Ichigo demands to know who she is, only to be shocked to learn that she is a lieutenant just like Renji when Yachiru cheerfully introduces herself and says it is nice to meet him.


Ganju runs off with Hanatarō over his shoulder.

After noting that Yachiru is not ordinary either because he did not detect her until she jumped onto his shoulder, Ichigo instructs Ganju to take Hanatarō and find Rukia while he handles this. Having gripped the handle of his cleaver in preparation for fighting, a surprised Ganju protests this, but Ichigo pleads with him to do this, leading Ganju to curse as he hoists an unconscious Hanatarō over his shoulder and runs off. As Yachiru comments on them leaving, Ichigo confidently proclaims that he cannot let Kenpachi pass through here, only for Kenpachi to remind him that he is here to fight Ichigo and clarify that he does not care what happens to Rukia or Ichigo's friends.


Kenpachi offers to let Ichigo take the first swing.

Noting this, Ichigo draws Zangetsu and begins exerting his blue Reiatsu, which Kenpachi praises as being not bad despite Ichigo's guard being stiff and full of openings before concluding that it is unsurprising for Ikkaku to have lost because ordinary lieutenants would have no chance against Ichigo. However, as he states that Ichigo is still not on par with him, Kenpachi offers to give Ichigo a handicap by letting him take the first swing and cutting Kenpachi wherever he likes as he pulls open his haori, stunning Ichigo. Awed by this, Yachiru commends Kenpachi for being so generous, prompting Kenpachi to claim that he is a bleeding heart of generosity.


Kenpachi explains why he is offering Ichigo a handicap.

Though Ichigo assumes that Kenpachi is mocking him and asserts that he cannot attack someone who has not drawn their weapon, Kenpachi assures him that it is a service rather than mockery and instructs Ichigo to save the admirable gesture of refraining from striking a defenseless enemy for another time. Kenpachi encourages Ichigo to have some fun with him because life-and-death situations like this are something to be enjoyed, and with Kenpachi describing how he could kill him with this attack by aiming for a vital area of his body and demanding that he stop hesitating, a yelling Ichigo runs up to Kenpachi before slashing Zangetsu downward at him.


Hanatarō regains consciousness, causing Ganju to lose his balance.

Elsewhere, Hanatarō opens his eyes and begins frantically warning Ichigo that he is in danger, causing Ganju, who is still carrying him over his shoulder, to lose his balance and fall over, sending Hanatarō rolling several feet. While Ganju berates him for moving so suddenly because it was dangerous, Hanatarō inquires where they are and where Ichigo is, only to be astonished when Ganju reveals that they are approaching the Shishinrō while Ichigo stayed behind to face Kenpachi alone. Hanatarō declares that he has to go back and help Ichigo because the latter cannot defeat Kenpachi by himself and is certain to be killed as Ganju tells him to calm down.


Hanatarō details how dangerous Kenpachi is due to his title.

Confused by Hanatarō's insistence on this, Ganju questions if he knows Kenpachi, which prompts Hanatarō to detail how the title "Kenpachi" belongs to the one who loves to fight the most and has slain more foes than any other Shinigami, meaning that Kenpachi will never fall no matter how many times he is cut. As he concludes that this is beyond the realm of strong or weak because Kenpachi is immortal, Hanatarō insists that Ichigo will surely be killed if he fights Kenpachi alone, but Ganju interprets this as further proof that they cannot go back. When a surprised Hanatarō begins to protest this, Ganju tells him to shut up and listen.


Ganju convinces Hanatarō to keep heading toward Rukia.

Ganju reminds Hanatarō that Ichigo asked them to take care of Rukia and that they all felt Kenpachi's Reiatsu as he walks forward. Stating that both he and Ichigo know Kenpachi is not normal, Ganju stops next to Hanatarō and concludes that Ichigo made up his mind to fight Kenpachi alone because he was determined to make saving Rukia the priority before pointing out that Ichigo entrusted the two of them to carry out this determination. As he declares that they cannot be waiting here, Ganju resumes running toward Senzaikyū, with Hanatarō following him as his insistence, and mentally promises to come back for Ichigo once they save Rukia.


Ichigo fails to cut Kenpachi with his first strike.

After claiming to still have many things which he wants to tell Ichigo, Ganju mentally instructs him to not die until then. Back at the fight, blood splatters on the ground in front of Ichigo as a bored Yachiru watches with her hands propping up her head. With Zangetsu not having harmed Kenpachi at all and his hand bleeding as it grips the handle, a stunned Ichigo mentally questions why Kenpachi is not even scratched by his attack performed at full force and why his hand is split open instead. Kenpachi expresses disappointment at this being the best Ichigo can do and begins pushing Zangetsu back by grabbing the blade with his bare hand, further shocking Ichigo.


Kenpachi draws his own Zanpakutō after expressing disappointment at Ichigo's concentrated power being so weak despite the time Kenpachi spent looking for him.

Leaping several meters back from Kenpachi, Ichigo frantically wonders how Kenpachi could have touched the blade of Zangetsu with his bare hands, only to be caught off-guard when Yachiru appears in front of him and reveals that he cannot cut Kenpachi because Zangetsu may as well not have a blade to him. With Ichigo confused by this, Kenpachi explains that two spiritual forces colliding results in the weaker of the two absorbing the impact, which means that the sword Ichigo has created by honing his Reiryoku to its limits is weaker than the Reiryoku leaking out of Kenpachi unconsciously. As he bemoans spending so much time looking for someone at Ichigo's level, Kenpachi asserts that this will not even be good as a joke and draws his own Zanpakutō while requesting that Ichigo at least get the rust off of it, resulting in an intimidated Ichigo yelling as he attacks Kenpachi once more.

Next Episode Preview

8th Division Captain Shunsui Kyōraku informs his lieutenant, Nanao Ise, that it is finally their turn and wonders where she is as Ichigo Kurosaki asks Yasutora Sado if he is really going to fight Shunsui. When Sado confirms this, Ichigo question if he is sure about this, which Sado has no response for.

Characters in Order of Appearance

Fights & Events

Powers and Techniques Used

Zanpakutō released:


  • Kyōka Suigetsu (鏡花水月, Mirror Flower, Water Moon) (flashback)
  • Tobiume (飛梅, Flying Plum Tree) (flashback)
  • Wabisuke (侘助, The Wretched One) (flashback)
  • Zangetsu (斬月, Slaying Moon)


Aizen Assassinated! The Darkness which ApproachesMotive of the Fist
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