"True strength is not just about having the ability to fight."
|Gender||Female & Male|
|Japanese||Mitsuki Saiga (Baboon)|
Asami Sanada (Snake)
|English||Mary Elizabeth McGlynn (Baboon) |
Michelle Ruff (Snake)
During the Zanpakutō Rebellion initiated by Muramasa, Zabimaru takes on a new manifestation of two separate, humanoid beings; an adult woman and a small boy with a long tail. The boy is attached to the woman by a chain encircling his neck which can be removed at will. The woman, Saru (猿, Monkey), is a tall, curvaceous woman with green fur covering most of her body, with the exception of her chest and abdomen. She has ankle-length, light mallow hair with black markings on her bangs. Her eyes are light green, and she has a beauty mark on the left side of her chest. The chain is wrapped around her waist. The boy, Hebi (蛇, Snake), wears a white and yellow robe which reveals his abdomen. He has blue eyes, short red hair, and triangular white ears. He uses his long tail to balance in the air. Both Saru and Hebi have fangs.
While under the influence of Muramasa's brainwashing, Saru is usually the one who does the serious talking to their opponents, and frequently disciplines Hebi when he misbehaves. She occasionally downplays the significance of events, such as the drastic difference between her spirit and manifested forms. Saru can be very cruel, threatening to decapitate Rukia Kuchiki and show Renji her head in order to make him fight her and Hebi seriously. She believes true strength is not found only in having the will to fight, but in the will to kill one's opponent. Meanwhile, Hebi is fascinated by frogs, eagerly watching one hop around while waiting for Muramasa's return. He is rarely serious in conversation, and gets angry at Saru when she reprimands him for this. Hebi does not like fighting one-sided battles, and will complain if he overpowers his opponent too easily. However, though they frequently get into arguments with each other, in battle, Saru and Hebi manage to set aside their differences and work together as a team very effectively.
Saru and Hebi are very critical of Renji, calling him an idiot and claiming he is weak. They left Renji because they wanted to grow stronger, and were tired of Renji's weakness. Saru claims Renji is a coward, and believes his weakness lies in the fact that he cannot muster the courage to kill his own Zanpakutō spirit, which is why she and Hebi wish to kill him. However, they are visibly impressed when Renji gains the will to fight them seriously, and congratulate him when Renji defeats them.
After being freed from Muramasa's brainwashing, Saru is somewhat rude toward Renji, implying she and Hebi take after him and sarcastically congratulating him when Renji figures out what she is saying. She maintains a healthy antagonism toward Renji, vocally refusing to "clean up" after him in battle. Saru is usually the one to keep Hebi on-task, and berates him when Hebi messes around. However, she cares about him, and becomes deeply concerned when Hebi abandons her and Renji in order to live life on his own. Meanwhile, Hebi is very critical of Muramasa and his goals, referring to the Zanpakutō Rebellion as "ridiculous". He is still not serious in conversation, whining to Renji about being hungry while the latter is reporting to several captains, and can be very stubborn, refusing to return to sword form when Renji orders him to do so. Hebi frequently insults Saru for having a large bottom.
He is easily distracted by wildlife, and will ignore his mission in order to pursue any animals he sees. Additionally, Hebi temporarily leaves Saru and Renji because he wishes to be free, and has fun eating lots of food and lazing around, though he comes to care about Karin Kurosaki and grows serious when he realizes the Boomerang Tōjū tricked him. Saru and Hebi claim to have "unfinished business" with Senbonzakura, and are very confident in their own abilities. Additionally, they refuse to stop fighting until they have nothing left. Saru and Hebi can be overconfident in battle, allowing the Hammer Tōjū to recover while they were being praised for seemingly defeating him. They do not like being compared to Senbonzakura, and frequently deride his secretly childish nature.
Zanpakutō Unknown Tales arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
Saru and Hebi wait for Muramasa's return alongside the other Zanpakutō spirits in their cave. Later, Saru, Hebi, and the other Zanpakutō spirits appear before the Shinigami who have gathered on Sōkyoku Hill. After the Shinigami and Zanpakutō spirits begin fighting each other, Hihiō Zabimaru appears and uses Hikotsu Taihō.
Later, Saru and Hebi appear while Renji is searching for Byakuya Kuchiki. After introducing themselves when Renji does not initially recognize them, they begin fighting him. When asked why they are fighting, Saru and Hebi reveal they heard a voice telling them to act according to their instincts, and that their instinct is to fight. During the fight, Saru and Hebi mercilessly overpower Renji until the latter regains his ability to release his Shikai, much to the surprise of Saru and Hebi.
After Renji begins to fight evenly against them, Saru and Hebi admit they are impressed before activating their Bankai and overwhelming Renji. When Saru and Hebi prepare to leave, having disarmed him, Renji begins using Kidō. When Saru and Hebi shatter Zabimaru with their attacks, Renji uses Higa Zekkō, defeating them and returning Saru and Hebi to their sword form. After their defeat, Saru and Hebi congratulate Renji on his victory and reveal they have come to their senses. However, Saru and Hebi later reveal they have no memories of their rogue activities beyond knowing that they occurred.
When Byakuya attacks the 6th Division barracks with Senbonzakura, Renji, having heard that his captain is a traitor, confronts him. However, when Renji proves unable to release his Shikai, due to having recently used Higa Zekkō, Saru and Hebi arrive and begin to fight Senbonzakura. Though Saru and Hebi hold their own against him with teamwork and powerful attacks, Senbonzakura eventually activates his Bankai, Senbonzakura Kageyoshi, and defeats them. Shortly after several other Shinigami arrive to help, Saru and Hebi get up and aid Renji in fighting Byakuya, though all three of them are quickly defeated.
Later, Saru, Hebi, and Renji arrive alongside the other Shinigami and Zanpakutō spirits in Karakura Town to defend it from the Gillians produced by the unstable Muramasa. Though Saru, Hebi, and Renji 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. Upon realizing this, Saru, Hebi, and the others pool their Reiatsu in order to close the Garganta. Upon Muramasa's defeat at the hands of Ichigo Kurosaki, Saru and Hebi return to Renji's sword.
Beast Swords arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
Saru and Hebi accompany Renji to the Human World to deal with the Tōjū problem, where they decide to remove their chain and split up in order to increase their numbers. However, Hebi becomes distracted by a fish and wanders off, leading to the Boomerang Tōjū escaping. Afterward, when Hebi finds the Boomerang Tōjū, it manages to escape by pointing out how Hebi will be forced back into his sword state and lose his newfound freedom after the mission is over. This prompts Hebi to leave Renji and enjoy himself, where he meets Karin Kurosaki and Yuzu Kurosaki. The twins try to befriend Hebi, who acts indifferent as he tries to convince himself he is better off alone, though Karin disagrees with Hebi's view. When Karin and Yuzu bring him to their house, Hebi begins warming up to them.
However, when Ichigo arrives and reveals Renji is looking for him, an angered Hebi leaves. Soon, he runs into the Boomerang Tōjū, who decides to kill Hebi to preserve his own freedom. When Hebi easily overpowers him, the Boomerang Tōjū turns his attention to Karin, who comes looking for Hebi, and takes her hostage. As the Boomerang Tōjū begins overpowering a non-resistant Hebi, he talks about how much he enjoys his freedom and being alone, causing Hebi to realize that being alone is not the way to live. Before the Boomerang Tōjū can kill Hebi, Saru and Renji arrive and defeat him. Afterward, Hebi returns Karin to Ichigo and asks Ichigo to not tell Karin about him before leaving with Saru and Renji.
After Saru and Hebi defeat a Tōjū with the help of Senbonzakura, they write apology letters while musing to themselves about Senbonzakura. After leaving a very rude note for Renji, Saru and Hebi go to the Shinigami Research and Development Institute to put the defeated Tōjū in captivity, only to discover all the SRDI members have left for the day. They break into the institute, where they meet Senbonzakura, and turn on one of the machines made for containing defeated Tōjū. However, Senbonzakura fools around with the remote, resulting in the machine trapping himself, Saru and Hebi in a Tōjū-resistant container.
As they wait for someone to open it, Senbonzakura gets angry and tries to break the container with his Shikai, but fails due to the strength of the glass. Ashisogi Jizō comes into the room, and the trapped Zanpakutō spirits ask him to get the remote and free them, but he cannot hear them. Instead, he finds the remote and accidentally breaks it, resulting in an enraged Senbonzakura destroying the container and several other machines with his Bankai. The alarm is set off, and they barely escape the room, only to find themselves in the control room. Noticing the SRDI has been spying on the entire Seireitei, Senbonzakura starts pressing buttons randomly, which results in many explosions occurring across the Seireitei.
When Konjiki Ashisogi Jizō appears, Senbonzakura challenges him and begins destroying the room, prompting an angered Saru to activate her and Hebi's own Bankai before firing Hikotsu Taihō at both of them and destroying the entire institute. When Renji and several other Shinigami and Zanpakutō spirits catch Saru and Hebi red-handed, they try to blame it on Senbonzakura, who points out how they have done more damage than he did. This greatly annoys Renji, who decides to give them even more paperwork. Knowing how Saru and Hebi perceive Senbonzakura, Shunsui Kyōraku and Jūshirō Ukitake reveal his behavior is similar to Byakuya's while he was a teenager. When a messenger reveals Senbonzakura is going after another Tōjū with a team of Shinigami, Saru and Hebi rush after him in an attempt to prevent further chaos.
As the threat of the Tōjū begins to wane, Saru and Hebi encounter Kazeshini when their masters meet up, where they learn Kazeshini just saw a Tōjū return to sword form without him dealing the final blow. At night, Saru, Hebi, and Kazeshini meet with Hōzukimaru and Ruri'iro Kujaku, where they deduce the Tōjū whom they had been worried about has appeared; this prompts them to decide to have all of the Zanpakutō spirits deal with the final Tōjū on their own without getting the Shinigami involved, for it would be too dangerous.
The next day, Saru, Hebi, and the other Zanpakutō spirits confront the final Tōjū, Kirikaze, whom Saru reprimands for abusing his power to turn into mist. As the fight progresses, Kirikaze easily overpowers the Zanpakutō spirits until Renji, Nanao Ise, Shūhei Hisagi, Momo Hinamori, and Rangiku Matsumoto arrive to help them. After the Shinigami weaken Kirikaze with several powerful attacks, the Zanpakutō spirits decide to give their remaining Reiryoku to Renji, who finishes Kirikaze off with Hikotsu Taihō after Saru and Hebi return to his sword. Afterward, Saru and Hebi permanently return to their sword as the power enabling the Zanpakutō spirits to temporarily maintain their manifested forms is finally depleted.
Powers and Abilities
Great Spiritual Power: As the Zanpakutō spirit of a captain-level Shinigami, Saru and Hebi possess a large amount of Reiryoku. They easily overpowered Renji Abarai with their Shikai alone, and fought evenly against Senbonzakura for a short period of time prior to the latter activating his Bankai. Even when on his own, Hebi easily overpowered a Tōjū when he decided to fight seriously. Their Reiatsu is red, and Saru and Hebi possess enough control over it to use it as a shield against attacks.
Master Swordsmen: Saru and Hebi are highly proficient in swordsmanship. They fought evenly against Renji and Senbonzakura, both master swordsmen, on separate occasions while performing fast, acrobatic, and powerful attacks with their Shikai.
- Whip Mastery: Saru and Hebi have displayed incredible proficiency with the extended form of their Shikai. They have considerable control over where and how the segments move when they attack, and can effectively use their Shikai for long-range combat. Hebi has used Zabimaru to attack his opponents from several angles at once by surrounding them with blade segments and pulling, resulting in his opponent being crushed and slashed by a rotating sphere of blade segments.
Enhanced Strength: Saru and Hebi possess a large amount of physical strength. They frequently throw each other around with their chain, and can attack with enough force to accidentally crater the ground upon hitting it. During their fight, Saru sent Renji flying into a building with a single slash of her sword on two separate occasions, and Hebi effortlessly threw Renji around with his tail. Saru is strong enough to run up the side of a building on all fours. During their battle with Senbonzakura, Saru casually kicked him through a building. Hebi easily blocked a direct attack from the large, muscular Hammer Tōjū, and Saru managed to temporarily knock him out with a single kick to the head. Saru can easily bend steel bars with her bare hands.
Enhanced Speed: Saru and Hebi are considerably fast combatants. They effortlessly kept up with Renji, a Shunpo expert, during their battle, and initially overwhelmed him with their speed. During their battle with Senbonzakura, Saru and Hebi easily matched his speed, and even outmaneuvered Senbonzakura a few times. Hebi effortlessly dodged several point-blank attacks from the Hammer Tōjū during their short battle.
Enhanced Endurance: Saru and Hebi are considerably resilient combatants. They managed to get up in order to fight Byakuya Kuchiki despite having been severely wounded by Senbonzakura Kageyoshi a few minutes before. Hebi willingly allowed himself to be beaten nearly to death in order to protect Karin Kurosaki, and managed to remain standing afterwards.
Keen Intellect: Saru is a very perceptive individual. She figured out how to operate the controls for the Tōjū containment devices after watching Renji do so a few times.
- Shikai: Saru and Hebi can manifest the Shikai of their Zanpakutō form at will in a burst of red Reiatsu. It takes the form of a long, 6-part segmented sword with a rectangular, jagged bronze tsuba and a black handle; starting from the hilt, each segment is wider than the one preceding it, and there are 2 pick-like protrusions on the front and back of each segment, with the ones on the front being much longer than the ones on the back. The number of segments can grow almost without limit. However, Saru and Hebi cannot both wield their Shikai at the same time, and must switch it between each other when attacking.
- Shikai Special Ability: Saru and Hebi can use their Shikai for powerful long-range attacks by swinging it at their opponent, causing the segments to separate in a whip-like formation. This allows for a variety of attacks, ranging from a downward slash which pulls an opponent with it to a web of blade segments which crushes and slashes an opponent from dozens of angles at once. However, they can still use it as a sword for close-range combat.
- Bankai: Hihiō Zabimaru (狒々王蛇尾丸, Baboon King Snake Tail): Upon activation, a whirlwind forms around Saru and Hebi before dispersing as Hebi transforms into a large, skeletal snake with dozens of bone-like segments making up his vertebral column and a large mane of red fur around his head. The snake is attached to a bone-like sword hilt, which Saru holds and uses to control Hihiō Zabimaru.
- Bankai Special Ability: Hihiō Zabimaru can be used for powerful long- and short-range attacks. It can pin its opponent between its teeth and ram them into buildings, or follow them through the air and deliver powerful biting attacks. Additionally, Saru claims it is more potent than Renji's Bankai is because it has no blind spots.
- Hikotsu Taihō (狒骨大砲, Baboon Bone Cannon): As its segments separate in bursts of red energy, Hihiō Zabimaru fires a powerful, concentrated energy beam from its mouth. This technique is powerful enough to completely destroy the Shinigami Research and Development Institute with a single use. Additionally, Hihiō Zabimaru can fire smaller blasts at its opponent, but these blasts are less powerful.
- Zabimaru's appearance is similar to that of an omake from both the anime and the manga, when Mayuri Kurotsuchi gave out a pamphlet about altering Zanpakutō spirits to Renji and Hisagi. One of the choices involved changing the Zanpakutō spirit's gender and species (they briefly imagine a well-endowed female Zabimaru with red hair), which both were amazed by and which Renji comically asked Mayuri to do. However, Renji does not recognize Saru's manifested form, and is confused as to how Saru took such a form.
- The spirit form of Zabimaru appears on a karuta card in episode 303.
- (Saru and Hebi to Renji Abarai) "We both heard the voice. It told us to follow our instinct, and we will fight because that is our true instinct!"
- (Saru to Renji Abarai) "We refuse to be weak. We want to be stronger. We've grown tired of your weakness, so we now wish to leave you, and that is all."
- (Saru to Renji Abarai) "Have you forgotten that we know everything about you? Like the time you gave up something that was very dear to you. We saw how desperately you tried to get it back. You fought for it then, yet in spite of what you did, you still don't have confidence in yourself. Perhaps killing your precious friend and holding her severed head in front of your face will finally get you to be serious. Will that force you to take this seriously?"
- (Saru to Renji Abarai) "True strength is not just about having the ability to fight."
- (Hebi to Saru) "I've been thinking about it, and I'm not so sure I want to spend all of my time chained to you anymore! I'm finally able to exercise some free will! I don't want to be bound to you anymore!"
- (Hebi to himself) "I've always wanted to stuff my face without being told to mind my manners! This is a dream come true!"
Battles & Events
|The Rebellion Begins: Rise of Muramasa||None||Episode 230|
|Return of the Zanpakutō Spirits||None||Episode 253, 254|
|Zabimaru vs. Renji Abarai||None||Episode 234, 235, 236||Loss|
|Zabimaru & Renji vs. Byakuya Kuchiki & Senbonzakura||None||Episode 241||Loss|
|Senbonzakura & Zabimaru Trapped||None||Episode 263|
|Zabimaru & Renji vs. Boomerang Tōjū||None||Episode 258||Win|
|Zanpakutō Spirits vs. Kirikaze||None||Episode 265||Win|
|Manga Spirits||Hyōrinmaru • Katen Kyōkotsu • Zabimaru • Zangetsu (Quincy Powers) • Zangetsu (Zanpakutō spirit)|
|Anime 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|