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A Zanpakutō (斬魄刀, Soul-Cutter Sword; Viz "Soul Slayer") is the main weapon of the Shinigami, the Arrancar, and the Visored. The Shinigami art of wielding a Zanpakutō is called Zanjutsu (斬術, Swordsmanship).


The Zanpakutō of low-ranking Shinigami are called Asauchi and do not have names, but the Zanpakutō of high-ranking Shinigami do have names. In its sealed state, a Zanpakutō has the form of a Japanese sword.[1] Such weapons are unique swords generated from their owner's souls. Its shape differs depending on its owner.[2]

Zanpakutō are the trademark weapons of the Shinigami. Capable of cutting spiritual bodies, they are among the few weapons which can be used to combat Hollows. Each Shinigami carries a Zanpakutō, and each Zanpakutō is unique: the swords are reflections of a Shinigami's power and soul, and sentient beings unto themselves. The Zanpakutō's name is the name of the living spirit which empowers the sword and lends its strength to the Shinigami who wields it. These beings can vary greatly in appearance, and have their own distinct personalities, which are similar to their owner's.

A Zanpakutō's shape and abilities are based on their Shinigami's soul. Once a Shinigami learns his/her Zanpakutō's name, they can communicate with one another and grow stronger together. Zanpakutō are born with their Shinigami, and they die along with their Shinigami. Shinigami use them in battle as a reflection of their heart. When released, they can display a vibrant power. They are one with the Shinigami, and they share a Shinigami's conviction.[3]

The only known exception to how a Zanpakutō is unique to the Shinigami carrying it is the Shinken Hakkyōken, in which it is a Zanpakutō passed down from one generation to another of the Ise Clan. Because they are bound to this blade, it is impossible for members of the family to create their own unique Zanpakutō.[4]

Inside each Zanpakutō is an incarnation which manifests itself upon the Zanpakutō's transformation. The first step is to acquaint oneself with this incarnation.[5]

Zanpakutō that have merged with a Hollow also gain the ability to protect their Shinigami through various means. Zangetsu for example was able to manifest a Hollow mask to protect Ichigo from major injuries when he was dominated by the Manifestation of Ichigo's Quincy powers.[6][7] After becoming the dominant spirit, he was able to take possession of Ichigo's body whenever he was on the brink of death.[8][9]

Arrancar Zanpakutō[]

An Arrancar's primary weapon is the same as a Shinigami's, but unlike a Shinigami's Zanpakutō, the blade is an embodiment of the Hollow's power.[10]

Zanpakutō Facts[]

  • All Asauchi are forged solely by Ōetsu Nimaiya. Since the birth of Soul Society itself, there has never been a Shinigami who truly awakened his or her own Zanpakutō without wielding an Asauchi which Nimaiya forged.[11]
  • Being the creator of every Asauchi, Nimaiya knows the exact location of every Zanpakutō in existence, no matter who the wielder is or how the blade is attained.[12]
  • Because they are part of their owner's soul, a Zanpakutō cannot be replaced, though it will slowly regenerate if it is broken.[13]
  • The only thing which can heal a broken Zanpakutō is its own wielder's force of will, Reiatsu, and the time required to infuse the Zanpakutō with this Reiatsu. This only relates to one's Shikai, and can only be done if the hilt of the Zanpakutō remains intact.[14] The destruction of a Shikai and the destruction of a Bankai hold quite different meanings, for a destroyed Bankai can never be restored to its original form.[15]
  • Certain unique Zanpakuto can be passed onto other Shinigami, who can access the inherited Zanpakutō's abilities. [16]
  • The size of the Zanpakutō reflects the amount of the swordsman's spiritual power.[17] Exceptions to this rule are beings of immense power, who are required to actively control the size of their Zanpakutō.[18]
  • If a Shinigami pierces the chest of a Human with their Zanpakutō and channels their Reiryoku through it into the Human's body, it will transform this Human into a Shinigami temporarily. This process does not have a high chance of viability even when the Human in question has a high level of spiritual energy, and if the method does fail, the Human will die.[19]
  • Every Zanpakutō has its own name, which the wielder must learn.[20]
  • A Zanpakutō can determine if its wielder is worthy of its power.[21][22] Based on this, the Zanpakutō may choose not to give its true Bankai name (and its full potential) if it feels the wielder is not worthy.[23]
  • Zanpakutō have a true form.[24] This true form resides inside their Shinigami. A Zanpakutō has a mind and a body, which control their powers. Shinigami can grow more powerful by communicating with them.[25]
  • It is possible for a Zanpakutō spirit to create another Zanpakutō spirit who has their own name and appearance.[26]
  • Zanpakutō possess their own Reiatsu, which can be sensed as any Reiatsu can and is similar to their wielder's, though with subtle differences.[27]
  • It is possible for a Shinigami to lose harmony with their Zanpakutō if they are suffering from mental instability, resulting in the Zanpakutō spirit in question unable to hear their wielder's voice, and thus causing the Shinigami to lose access to the sword's Shikai despite knowing its name. Directly abusing the spirit in question can contribute to further deterioration of the bond,[28] and even cause permanent severance of the connection between Shinigami and Zanpakutō.[29]
  • No matter what form (or size) a Zanpakutō takes, it is always virtually effortless for its owner to wield because it is a part of its owner's soul.[30] Shinigami captains all consciously keep their Zanpakutō in a manageable size, or else they would be holding Zanpakutō the size of skyscrapers, so one cannot judge the strength of one's opponent solely by the size of their Zanpakutō.[31]
  • No Zanpakutō in existence has a Shikai and a Bankai which use unrelated abilities.[32]
  • A Zanpakutō cannot use elemental attacks of more than one element.[33]


The Zanpakutō was conceived and invented by Ōetsu Nimaiya of the Royal Guard.[34] The terms "Zanpakutō", "Shikai", and "Bankai" were chosen and given by another member of the Royal Guard, Ichibē Hyōsube,[35] whose Zanpakutō was also the first to gain an evolved form, known as a Shin'uchi.[36]


Ōetsu Nimaiya invented the Asauchi that have the potential of becoming Shinigami Zanpakutō. He forges them using a method that melds a multitude of Shinigami souls together. Ironically, a similar method was used by Sōsuke Aizen in his creation of his experimental Hollow, White.[37]

Obtaining A Zanpakutō[]


The Asauchi found in Ōetsu's domain.

Asauchi (浅打, Shallow Hit) are the nameless Zanpakutō which all low-class Shinigami wield. Shinigami who are still in training - those who do not yet belong to any of the Gotei 13 - and Shinigami who are unable to communicate with their Zanpakutō all wield generic Zanpakutō. "Shallow hit" refers to the grossly reduced power of a Zanpakutō whose wielder cannot connect with it properly.[38] This way of thinking is partly inaccurate.

Asauchi are actually the ultimate Zanpakutō, for they have the potential to become anything.[39] There are over 6,000 members of the Gotei 13, all of whom are loaned one of these nameless Zanpakutō upon first entering the Shin'ō Academy, and this same blade is officially given to them upon joining a division. All Shinigami must spend every waking moment with their own Asauchi, and as they progress in their training, they slowly and methodically imprint the essence of their soul into their Asauchi. This is how they guide and mold their own unique Zanpakutō.[40]

Although Asauchi (and later unique Zanpakutō) are normally given to Shinigami upon joining the academy, Kenpachi Zaraki took an Asauchi from a dead Shinigami and made it his own without ever entering the institution.[41]

Those born from the Ise Clan cannot imprint their essence into an Asauchi, due to their family's Zanpakutō, Shinken Hakkyōken, being passed down from generation to generation.[4]

Zanpakutō Training[]

Main article: Zanpakutō SpiritIt is not enough to simply know the name of one's Zanpakutō. If a wielder were to lend its power to its Zanpakutō, the weapon would become stronger. To fully use a Zanpakutō's power, a wielder must get to know its Zanpakutō's spirit.[42]


Tōshirō Hitsugaya and Ikkaku Madarame perform Jinzen.

Jinzen (刃禅, Blade Zen; Viz "Sword Zen"): This method is the only way to carry on a proper conversation with one's Zanpakutō. One places their sword over their lap, takes a meditative pose, and forces their mind to become one with the Zanpakutō.[43]

In this form, one can call out the true form of the powers of their Zanpakutō. It has been refined over thousands of years, since the beginning of Soul Society, to allow one to commune with their Zanpakutō. This advanced form of training is far different from attaining abilities by force. In this form, one enters a state of calm to enter the inner world of the Zanpakutō and engage them there.[44] In this state, a wielder will have to fight their Zanpakutō spirit in order to attain access to new abilities. Unwilling to teach its owner these abilities, the Zanpakutō spirit engages its wielder in a battle, the likes of which has never taken place before.[45]

In this meditative state, one is so deeply entranced, even sustained wounds are ignored.[46] Any form of injury sustained in the inner world while in this meditative state is reflected in the real world.[47]

Communication & Personality[]

A wielder knows their Zanpakutō spirit very closely and vice versa. The connection is very deep, though in the beginning the connection is one sided, with the wielder being unable to fully hear the spirit communicating with them.[48] It is not uncommon for the introduction of the Shinigami and Zanpakutō spirit to take place in the Shinigami's "inner world" while the prospective Shinigami sleeps.

As stated, a Zanpakutō is a being unto itself, and tends to be highly temperamental. Its mood is determined by how it is treated by its Shinigami and its overall personality. This allows a Shinigami to partially determine whether or not it will achieve its true power.[49]

For example, Yumichika Ayasegawa normally releases his Zanpakutō with the name Fuji Kujaku (Wisteria Peacock), even though its true name is Ruri'iro Kujaku (Azure Peacock), knowing its favorite color is azure and its least favorite is wisteria purple. He does this so its true power is not seen. Since his Zanpakutō hates the nickname, it becomes moody and only releases a fraction of its power. This allows him to pass off his Zanpakutō as a simple melee-type rather than what it truly is, a Kidō-type, something which is unacceptable in the 11th Division due to an unspoken rule that all Zanpakutō in the 11th Division must be melee-types. Only when its true name is uttered does it achieve full potential.[50]

Inner World[]

Normally, the Zanpakutō spirit can only be seen by its wielder. Otherwise, they dwell in their own "inner world", created within the minds of the Shinigami who wield them. As such, each Shinigami's inner world is drastically different from another Shinigami's, and is unique to themselves. A Zanpakutō's spirit can bring its wielder into its inner world,[51] though Shinigami can voluntarily achieve this simply by meditation.

General Powers[]

  • Konsō (魂葬, Soul Burial) is the process by which a Shinigami sends wandering Pluses in the living world to either Soul Society if they are good in life, or Hell if their life was full of evil acts (such as murders, theft, etc). Konsō is performed by using the pommel of the Shinigami's Zanpakutō to tap head of the soul, thereby transporting them to the afterlife.[52]
  • Hollow Purification: When a Hollow is sliced with a Zanpakutō, it is cleansed of the sins it committed as a Hollow, and passes into the afterlife. This is called sublimation. Souls who pass into Soul Society will be reborn again into the Human World once their "life" in Soul Society comes to an end.[53]

Zanpakutō Forms[]

Depending upon the Shinigami's ability to communicate with and control their Zanpakutō's spirit, a Zanpakutō can manifest itself in two additional forms and revert to a sealed state. These two forms, known as Shikai and Bankai, are akin to upgrades for the Zanpakutō, giving it abilities far beyond those of its simple use as a sword. Shinigami usually carry their Zanpakutō in its sealed state, and activate the released forms as necessary.

A Zanpakutō can change size and shape depending on the spiritual strength of the owner.[54]

All Zanpakutō have two levels of release. The first one is Shikai and the second one is Bankai. One must be able to perform both of them to become a captain.[55] The power and forms of Shikai and Bankai are dependent on the Zanpakutō, and vary according to the wielder's strength and training.[56]


Most Zanpakutō look like regular katana, with slight variations between them as one would expect between different swords. Their variations are commonly:

  • Katana (刀): The term katana may be applied to the standard-size, moderately curved, Japanese sword with a blade length of 2 shaku (606 mm / 23.9 in) and longer. The katana is characterized by its distinctive appearance: a curved, slender, single-edged blade, a circular or squared guard, and a hilt long enough to accommodate two hands.
  • Wakizashi (脇差, Side Insertion): A short blade between 30 and 60 cm (12 and 24 inches), with an average of 50 cm (20 inches). It is similar to but shorter than a katana, and usually shorter than the kodachi. The wakizashi was usually worn together with the katana. When worn together, the pair of swords were called daishō (大小, large and small). The katana was often called the long sword, and the wakizashi the companion sword.
  • Nodachi (野太刀, Field Sword): The nodachi was more difficult to wield due to its size and weight. The average length of an nodachi is 65-70 inches long (approx 165-178 cm), often with a 4-5 foot (approx 120-150 cm) blade. The length of the hilt of the nodachi varied between 30 to 33 cm (12 to 13 inches). Due to its weight and size, its cutting capability and range exceeds those of a katana.
  • Tantō (短刀, Short Sword): The tanto is commonly referred to as a knife or dagger. The blade is single or double edged, with a length between 15 and 30 cm (6-12 inches, in Japanese 1 shaku). The tantō was designed primarily as a stabbing weapon, but the edge can be used for slashing as well.

Zanpakutō can also be disguised as other objects, though such objects seem to need to be of similar proportions to the sword itself. Kisuke Urahara, Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto, and Kagerōza Inaba disguise their Zanpakutō as canes. Yamamoto's cane resembles a large walking stick, which dissolves on command to reveal his sheathed Zanpakutō, Urahara's forms a shikomizue (仕込み杖, Prepared Cane), a thin blade hidden within the hollow shaft of a cane, and Inaba's becomes a silver cane, which is immersed in a green light once released.[57]

A Zanpakutō will return to its sealed state when its wielder is knocked unconscious.[58]


Shikai (始解, Initial Release) is the second (or first upgraded) form available to a Zanpakutō. To activate it, the Shinigami needs to learn the name of their Zanpakutō. This is not as easy as simply picking a name, for the living spirit of the Zanpakutō already has its own name. The Shinigami must be able to communicate and harmonize with their Zanpakutō effectively, which requires being able to speak to the spirit within its world.[59] Gaining access to one's Shikai and releasing it for the first time is known as Manifestation (顕現, Kengen).[60]

The blade changes shape and gains special abilities by chanting a Kaigo (解号, Release Call), or release incantation.[61] Using the Kaigo, followed by the name of the Zanpakutō, activates Shikai. It is crucial to memorize each phrase, as every Zanpakutō has a different incantation.[62]

The commands vary between users and range from a simple imperative verb to a short poem. They often relate to the Zanpakutō's signature ability or hint at the nature of its spirit. This step may be bypassed by expert Shinigami who have learned how to use their Bankai.[63]

By calling out a different name and Kaigo, a Zanpakutō will achieve a different release, which is weaker than by calling out the true name. This is usually done when the Shinigami in question wishes to conceal the true nature of their Zanpakutō, as Yumichika Ayasegawa does.[64]

Achievement of the Shikai is a mark of control of a Zanpakutō, and it is a requirement for advancement within the Shinigami ranks, for most seated officers are capable of Shikai. It is particularly required in order to achieve the rank of lieutenant, as it is a requirement which most captains look for.


Bankai (卍解, Final Release) is the second and final upgraded form of a Zanpakutō. Prior to Ichibē Hyōsube giving this form its name, it was known as a Shin'uchi (真打, True Strike), and when a Shinigami achieved it, they would possess an "Evolved Zanpakutō" (進化した斬魄刀, Shinkashita Zanpakutō).[65] To achieve Bankai, one must be able to materialize and subjugate their Zanpakutō spirit. Materialization (具象化, Gushōka; Viz "Exteriorization")[66] means the opposite of getting dragged into the Zanpakutō's inner world: the wielder needs to summon the Zanpakutō's spirit into the physical world. It usually takes 10 years or more to achieve, plus the experience needed to master it.[67] Despite the Zanpakutō spirit being subjugated for their Shinigami to learn Bankai, the Zanpakutō also becomes stronger and learns Bankai at precisely the moment their Shinigami learns it.[68] Even though Bankai is the final stage of a Zanpakutō, it does not mean the Shinigami's growth ends there. A Bankai, especially one recently obtained, can evolve even further as its Shinigami gets stronger.[69] Furthermore, obtaining Bankai allows a Shinigami to release their Shikai without calling its name, although some Shinigami still choose to release their Shikai by calling its name.[70]

The power and forms of Shikai and Bankai are dependent on the Zanpakutō and vary according to the wielder's strength and training, but the power of a Zanpakutō's Bankai is generally 5 to 10 times greater than that of its Shikai.[56] Only the strongest Shinigami can use it, and it is the ultimate technique of a Zanpakutō. Even the four noble families, whose members are always exceptionally talented, only have one member capable of Bankai every few generations. Those who achieve Bankai always have remarkable roles in the history of Soul Society.[71]

Ichigo Kurosaki and Kisuke Urahara are the only known individuals who have attained Bankai through a far shorter, yet much more dangerous method. Using a special device created by Urahara, which forcibly materializes a Zanpakutō spirit (thus bypassing a large portion of the training), they attained their Bankai within three days instead of the normal ten or more years. After successfully testing the device and achieving Bankai, Urahara stated training by using this method for more than three consecutive days could prove to be fatal, which is why Ichigo was forced to achieve his own Bankai within three days.[72]

Drawbacks & Issues[]

  • Training Requirement: The biggest flaw of Bankai lies in the overwhelming power it releases. Its power and form are often far beyond those of a normal weapon, which is why one needs to train at least 10 years with Bankai in order for one to become capable of using it completely and effectively. No Bankai should be used in battle before this period of time has been reached.[73]
  • Komamura and Kokujō Tengen Myō'ō share a bond so strong that when one is injured, the other reflects the damage, but the Bankai is healed when the captain is healed.[74]
  • Daiguren Hyōrinmaru can regenerate itself as long as there is still water in the air.[75]
  • Due to his modification expertise, Mayuri can remodel Konjiki Ashisogi Jizō whenever it is broken, though he insists it has never been properly fixed.[76]
The only known way to truly fix a Bankai is to have it reforged by the creator of the Zanpakutō, Ōetsu Nimaiya.[77] Orihime Inoue's Sōten Kisshun also possesses the capacity to reject the damage inflicted upon a broken Bankai, thus repairing it.[78]
  • Witholding Power: A Bankai's form and strength is determinant on how much the spirit recognizes its wielder. If the Zanpakutō does not fully recognize its wielder, then it may not give its Bankai's true name. The result is the Bankai not being in its true form and therefore weaker.[79]
  • Possible Sign of Death: A Bankai normally only disappears with its user's permission. However, if a Bankai disappears without the permission of its user, it could mean that the user will soon die if not treated immediately.[80]


Resurrección (帰刃 (レスレクシオン), Resurekushion; Spanish for "Resurrection", Japanese for "Returning Blade") returns the essence of an Arrancar's offensive Hollow abilities to their humanoid bodies.[81]


There are several types of Zanpakutō, though only three types have been mentioned (Melee, Kidō and Elemental). Kidō has many sub-groups, and the Elemental group, while part of Kidō-type grouping, is large and diverse enough to stand as its own grouping. These types include:

Power-Type Zanpakutō (パワー型(タイプ), Pawā Taipu)[82]

(Are typically designed for various forms of armed melee combat rather than Kidō-based abilities.)

Name Owner Release Command Bankai Name
Zangetsu (斬月, Slaying Moon)[83][84] Ichigo Kurosaki None Tensa Zangetsu (天鎖斬月, Heaven Chain Slaying Moon)[85][86]
Nozarashi (野晒, Weather-Beaten One)[87][88] Kenpachi Zaraki Drink[89] Unnamed
Zabimaru (蛇尾丸, Snake Tail)[90][91] Renji Abarai Howl[90][91] Sōō Zabimaru (双王蛇尾丸, Twin Kings Snake Tail)[92][93]
Hōzukimaru (鬼灯丸, Demon Light)[94][95] Ikkaku Madarame Grow[94][95]/Split Apart[96][95] Ryūmon Hōzukimaru (龍紋鬼灯丸, Dragon Crest Demon Light)[97][98]
Kazeshini (風死, Wind of Death)[99][100] Shūhei Hisagi Reap[99][100] Not Revealed
Gegetsuburi (五形頭, Five-Formed Head)[101][102] Marechiyo Ōmaeda Crush[101][102] Not Yet Achieved
Sanpo Kenjū (三步剣獣, Three-Step Sword Beasts)[103] Yachiru Kusajishi Unknown Not Yet Achieved
Kidō-Type Zanpakutō

(Are designed around a special ability rather than close-range combat potential.)

Name Owner Release Command Bankai Name
Ruri'iro Kujaku (瑠璃色孔雀, Azure Peacock)[104][105] Yumichika Ayasegawa Bloom[106][105]/Split and Deviate[104][105] Not Yet Achieved
Minazuki (肉雫唼, Flesh-Drops' Gorge)[107][108] Retsu Unohana Unknown Minazuki (皆尽, All Things' End)[109]
Benihime (紅姫, Crimson Princess)[110][84] Kisuke Urahara Awaken[110][84] Kannonbiraki Benihime Aratame (観音開紅姫改メ, Modification of the Crimson Princess' Dissection at the Doors of Avalokiteśvara)[111]
Suzumushi (清虫, Cricket)[112][113] Kaname Tōsen Cry[114][113] Suzumushi Tsuishiki: Enma Kōrogi (清虫終式閻魔蟋蟀, Cricket Final Form: Devil Cricket)[115][116]
Hisagomaru (瓠丸, Gourd)[117][118] Hanatarō Yamada Fulfill[119][118] Not Yet Achieved
Katen Kyōkotsu (花天狂骨, Bones of Heavenly Blooming Madness)[120][108] Shunsui Kyōraku The Flowery Winds Become Disturbed, The God Of Flowers Sings, The Heavenly Winds Become Disturbed, The Devil Of Heaven Sneers.[121][108] Katen Kyōkotsu: Karamatsu Shinjū (花天狂骨枯松心中, Bones of Heavenly Blooming Madness: Withered Pine Lovers' Suicide):[122]
Sōgyo no Kotowari (双魚理, Truth of Pisces)[123][108] Jūshirō Ukitake All Ye Waves, Become My Shield. All Ye Thunder, Become My Blade[124][108] Not Revealed
Wabisuke (侘助, The Wretched One)[125][126] Izuru Kira Raise Your Head[125][126] Not Yet Achieved
Shinken Hakkyōken (神剣•八鏡剣, Divine Blade, Sword of Eight Mirrors)[127] Ise Clan N/A N/A
Shigarami (刺絡, Piercing Entanglement)[128] Senjumaru Shutara Unknown Shatatsu Karagara Shigarami no Tsuji (娑闥迦羅骸刺絡辻, Crossing of Sahā's Gate, Kāla's Corpse and Piercing Entanglements)[128]

Kidō Sub-Types[]

Certain Zanpakutō possess defined abilities and exist in their own category. Due to them being designed around a special ability they are therefore a form of Kidō-Type Zanpakutō.

Projectile-Type Zanpakutō

(When released separate into many air based blades that the owner can control freely.)

Name Owner Release Command Bankai Name
Tsunzakigarasu (劈烏, Splitting Crow)[129][130] Jirōbō Ikkanzaka Flap Away[129][130] Not Achieved
Poison-Type Zanpakutō

(Designed to generate and administer poison as a form of attack.)

Name Owner Release Command Bankai Name
Ashisogi Jizō (疋殺地蔵, Leg-Cutting Jizō)[131][132] Mayuri Kurotsuchi Rip[133][132] Konjiki Ashisogi Jizō (金色疋殺地蔵, Golden Leg-Cutting Jizō)[134][113]
Illusion-Type Zanpakutō

(Are designed around the ability to generate and manipulate perceptions via illusions.)

Name Owner Release Command Bankai Name
Kyōka Suigetsu (鏡花水月, Mirror Flower, Water Moon)[135][136] Sōsuke Aizen Shatter[135][136] Not Revealed
Sakanade (逆撫, Counter Stroke)[137][138] Shinji Hirako Collapse[139][138] Sakashima Yokoshima Happōfusagari (逆様邪八宝塞, Reversed Evil Eight Treasure Blockade)[140]
Kinshara (金沙羅, Golden Sal Tree)[141][142] Rōjūrō Ōtoribashi Play[143][142] Kinshara Butōdan (金沙羅舞踏団, Golden Sal Tree Dancing Troupe)[144]
Living-Type Zanpakutō

(Are designed around the ability to generate living creatures that obey the wielder.)

Name Owner Release Command Bankai Name
Tenken (天譴, Heavenly Punishment)[145][146] Sajin Komamura Roar[147] Kokujō Tengen Myō'ō (黒縄天譴明王, Vidyaraja of Kalasutra's Heavenly Punishment)[148][116]
Unknown Atau Rindō Give Birth[149] Not Yet Achieved

Elemental Sub-Type[]

A large amount of the Zanpakutō are classified by elements, generally utilizing their respective elements as forms of attack. Elemental Zanpakutō are all Kidō-sub-type which have an element based as noted by Kenpachi Zaraki and Maki Ichinose during their battle.[150] This is later affirmed by Marechiyo Ōmaeda.[151]

Fire-Type Zanpakutō

(Designed to generate fire and manipulate fire for various forms of attack or defense.)

Name Owner Release Command Bankai Name
Ryūjin Jakka (流刃若火, Flowing Blade-Like Flame)[152][108] Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto Reduce All Creation to Ash[153][108] Zanka no Tachi (残火の太刀, Longsword of the Remnant Flame)[154]
Tengumaru (天狗丸, Long-Nosed Goblin)[155][142] Love Aikawa Crush Down[156][142] Not Revealed
Tobiume (飛梅, Flying Plum Tree)[157][126] Momo Hinamori Snap[157][126] Not Yet Achieved
Engetsu (剡月, Scathing Moon)[158][159] Isshin Kurosaki Burn[160] Not Revealed
Ice-Type Zanpakutō

(Designed to generate water and manipulate it into ice (and related effects) for various forms of attack or defense.)

Name Owner Release Command Bankai Name
Hyōrinmaru (氷輪丸, Ice Ring)[161][162] Tōshirō Hitsugaya Sit Upon the Frozen Heavens[163][162] Daiguren Hyōrinmaru (大紅蓮 氷輪丸, Mahāpadma Ice Ring)[164][136]
Sode no Shirayuki (袖白雪, Sleeved White Snow)[165][166] Rukia Kuchiki Dance[165][166] Hakka no Togame (白霞罸, Censure of the White Haze)[167]
Earth-Type Zanpakutō

(Designed to manipulate the ground for various forms of attack or defense.)

Name Owner Release Command Bankai Name
Tsuchinamazu (土鯰, Soil Catfish)[168][169] Zennosuke Kurumadani Good Morning[168][169] Not Yet Achieved
Wind-Type Zanpakutō

(Designed to manipulate wind for various forms of attack or defense.)

Name Owner Release Command Bankai Name
Tachikaze (断地風, Earth-Severing Wind)[170][171] Kensei Muguruma Blow It Away[170][171] Tekken Tachikaze (鐡拳・断風, Iron Fist Earth-Severing Wind)[172][173]
Water-Type Zanpakutō

(Designed to generate and manipulate water (and related effects) for various forms of attack or defense.)

Name Owner Release Command Bankai Name
Nejibana (捩花, Spiranthes)[174][175] Kaien Shiba Surge, Water and Sky[174][175] Not Achieved
Lightning-Type Zanpakutō

(Designed to generate and manipulate lightning for various forms of effects.)

Name Owner Release Command Bankai Name
Gonryōmaru (厳霊丸, Stern Spirit)[101][102] Chōjirō Sasakibe Bite[101][102] Kōkō Gonryō Rikyū (黄煌厳霊離宮, Yellow-Glittering Royal Villa of the Stern Spirit)[176]
Darkness-Type Zanpakutō

(Designed to generate and manipulate darkness for various forms of effects.)

Name Owner Release Command Bankai Name
Ichimonji (一文字, Straight Line)[177] Ichibē Hyōsube Blacken[178] Shirafude Ichimonji (しら筆 一文字, White Brush Straight Line)[179]

Unclassified Types[]

Unclassified Types

(These are Zanpakutō which cannot have their type readily verified.)

Name Owner Release Command Bankai Name
Senbonzakura (千本桜, Thousand Cherry Blossoms)[180][181] Byakuya Kuchiki Scatter[182][181] Senbonzakura Kageyoshi (千本桜景厳, Vibrant Display of a Thousand Cherry Blossoms)[183][93]
Suzumebachi (雀蜂, Hornet)[184][185] Suì-Fēng Sting All Enemies To Death[186][185] Jakuhō Raikōben (雀蜂雷公鞭, Hornet Thunder Whip)[187][188]
Shinsō (神鎗, God Spear)[189][190] Gin Ichimaru Shoot To Kill[189][190] Kamishini no Yari (神殺鎗, God-Killing Spear)[191][192]
Haineko (灰猫, Ash Cat)[193][136] Rangiku Matsumoto Growl[193][136] Not Yet Achieved
Itegumo (凍雲, Frozen Cloud)[101][102] Isane Kotetsu Run[101][102] Not Revealed
Unknown Tetsuzaemon Iba Unknown Not Revealed
Kubikiri Orochi (馘大蛇, Beheading Serpent)[194][195] Hiyori Sarugaki Chop Cleanly[196][195] Not Yet Achieved
Haguro Tonbo (鉄漿蜻蛉, Iron Drink Dragonfly)[196][195] Lisa Yadōmaru Smash[197][195] Not Revealed
Hōzan (崩山, Avalanche)[198] Tatsufusa Enjōji Dance Madly[198] Not Yet Achieved
Katakage (片陰, One-Sided Shadow)[199] Asuka Katakura Drown Out[199] Not Achieved
Shunjin (春塵, Spring Dust)[199] Rikū Togakushi Coil Upward[199] Not Achieved
Mogaribue (虎落笛, Tiger-Fall Flute)[199] Taketsuna Gori Sound with a Blow[199] Not Achieved
Kinpika (金毘迦, Gilded Splendor)[200] Tenjirō Kirinji Flash from Illuminating Heavens[201] Not Revealed
Sayafushi (鞘伏, Sheath Cover; Viz "Sheath Dodger")[202] Ōetsu Nimaiya Unknown Not Revealed

General Sub-Types[]

There is one known "sub-type" of Zanpakutō classification, this being:

  • Constant-Release Type: Zanpakutō which are always in Shikai form because of the strength of their wielders' spiritual power, or, more importantly, their lack of control over it.[203] During the battle against Gerard Valkyrie, upon seeing Kenpachi Zaraki's Shikai for the first time, Byakuya Kuchiki called into question whether this type of Zanpakutō truly exists.[204]

Appearances In Other Media[]

Melee-Type Zanpakutō

(Are typically designed for various forms of armed melee combat rather than kidō-based abilities.)

Name Owner Release Command Bankai Name
Reppū (烈風, Gale)[205] Makoto Kibune Rage Violently[205] Not Achieved
Kidō-Type Zanpakutō

(Are designed around a special ability rather than close combat potential.)

Name Owner Release Command Bankai Name
Ryūjōmaru (竜条丸, Dragon Brander) Fujimaru Kudō Flash Kokyū Ryūjōmaru (虎糾竜条丸, Tiger-Seeking Dragon Brander)
Kotōmaru (虎淘丸, Tiger Culler) Matsuri Kudō Swath Ryūkyū Kotōmaru (竜糾虎淘丸, Dragon-Seeking Tiger Culler)
Ikomikidomoe (已己巳己巴)[206] N/A Orbit the stars, Ikomikidomoe![206]
Jot down their funeral, Ikomikidomoe![207]
Hatch out and be ruined, Ikomikidomoe![208]
Ikomikidomoe Hōraku Hakkei (已己巳己巴 鳳落八景, Ikomikidomoe Eight Picturesque Sights of the Fenghuang's Fall; Viz "Ikomikidomoe, Eight Views of the Fall of the Phoenix.")[209]
Enrakyōten (艶羅鏡典, Law of the Bewitching Lucid Mirror)[208] Tsunayashiro Clan Sip from the four seas, the heavenly shores entwine. Equally duplicate ten thousands, and sharpen[208] N/A
Sumitsukigasa (墨月暈, Ink Moon Halo)[210] Ōko Yushima Seethe[210] Not Achieved
Raikū (來空, Coming Void)[211] Kagerōza Inaba Go Mad[211] Not Achieved
Arazome Shigure (退紅時雨, Faded Scarlet Late Autumn Shower)[212] Nozomi Kujō Rain Without End[212] Not Achieved
N/A Sōya Azashiro N/A Urozakuro (雨露柘榴, Rain and Dew Pomegranate)

Kidō Sub-Types[]

Defense-Type Zanpakutō

(Are designed around defensive capability with little or no offense.)

Name Sealed Form Release Command Bankai Name
Daichimaru (大地丸, The Land)[213] Rusaburō Enkōgawa Rock[213] Not Yet Achieved
Illusion-Type Zanpakutō

(Are designed around the ability to generate and manipulate perceptions via illusions.)

Name Owner Release Command Bankai Name
Muramasa (村正, Village-Just)[214] Kōga Kuchiki Whisper[214] Mukōjōchū Muramasa (無鉤条誅村正, Nil-Stinger Streaked-Death Penalty Village-Just)
Living-Type Zanpakutō

(Are designed around the ability to generate living creatures that obey the wielder.)

Name Owner Release Command Bankai Name
Gagaku Kairō (餓樂廻廊, Corridor of Hungering Music)[215] Kenpachi Kuruyashiki Massacre the auspicious omens and come into being; respect the darkness as you become decrepit with age (瑞祥屠りて生まれ出で 暗翳尊び老いさらばえよ, Zuishō hofurite umareide, an'ei tattobi oisarabae yo) Gagaku Kairō (餓樂廻廊, Corridor of Hungering Music)

Elemental Sub-Type[]

Wind-Type Zanpakutō

(Designed to manipulate wind for various forms of attack or defense.)

Name Owner Release Command Bankai Name
Mirokumaru (弥勒丸, Maitreya Circle)[216] Senna Call forth the Twilight Not Achieved
Lightning-Type Zanpakutō

(Designed to generate and manipulate lightning for various forms of effects.)

Name Owner Release Command Bankai Name
Shiden (紫電, Violet Lightning) Seigen Suzunami Strike Down Not Revealed
Fire-Type Zanpakutō

(Designed to generate fire and manipulate fire for various forms of attack or defense.)

Name Owner Release Command Bankai Name
Raika (雷火, Lightning Flash)[217] Shūsuke Amagai Sever[217] Raika Gōen Kaku (雷火・業炎殻, Lightning Flash: Karmic Flame Shell)[218]
Plant-Type Zanpakutō

(Designed to generate and manipulate plant(s) for various forms of attack or defense.)

Name Owner Release Command Bankai Name
Benishidare (紅枝垂, Crimson Weeping Bough)[219] Ryūsei Kenzaki Bloom Madly[219] Not Yet Achieved
Light-Type Zanpakutō

(Designed to generate and manipulate light for various forms of effects.)

Name Owner Release Command Bankai Name
Nijigasumi (虹霞, Rainbow Mist)[220] Maki Ichinose Flicker with Splendor[220] Not Achieved

Bankai Only[]

Non-Canon Releases

(Canon Zanpakutō Bankai forms that have only been displayed in non-canonical material.)

Shinigami Bankai Name Type
Shūhei Hisagi Fushi no Kōjō (風死絞縄, Wind of Death Hangman's Noose)[221] Kidō-type

Beyond Bankai[]

Bleach: Brave Souls features alternate-universe versions of the Gotei 13 captains who have attained a power beyond Bankai, effectively fusing themselves with their own Zanpakutō in the process and dramatically altering their physical appearances in ways corresponding to their unique abilities.[222]

Beyond Bankai Forms
Captain Special Technique Appearance
Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto Yōkō no Sōkotsu (溶劫の双骨, Twin/Double Bones of Melting Kalpa) BBSBeyond Bankai Yamamoto
Yoruichi Shihōin Tenshi no Mai (天賜の舞, Dance of the Heavenly Granted) BBSBeyond Bankai Yoruichi
Suì-Fēng Suiran Jakusetsu (遂乱螫殺, Finishing Chaos of Deadly/Killing Stings) BBSBeyond Bankai Sui-Feng
Gin Ichimaru Kodoku no Tanga (狐毒の綻牙, Rent Fang of Vulpine Venom) BBSBeyond Bankai Gin
Retsu Unohana Jihinaru Gokusaishiki (慈悲なる極彩色, Merciful Splendor) BBSBeyond Bankai Unohana
Sōsuke Aizen Mugen Hōka (夢幻崩華, Illusion-Shattering Flower) BBSZanpakuto-Hogyoku Fusion Aizen
Shinji Hirako Sakaemadowashi Senkōhō (逆廻惑閃光砲, Reversed Puzzling Flash Cannon) BBSBeyond Bankai Shinji
Byakuya Kuchiki Bōkei: Kyōgahakuteiken (望景・矜雅白帝剣, Hopescape: White Imperial Sword of Graceful Pride) BBSShukei Hakuteiken Byakuya
Sajin Komamura Gi no Issaizan (義の一切斬, Righteous Strike) BBSBeyond Bankai Komamura
Shunsui Kyōraku Kagome Kagome (囲召籠目, Encircling Woven-Bamboo Pattern) BBSBeyond Bankai Shunsui
Kaname Tōsen Onkyōkurin (怨響九臨, Rings of Vengeance) BBSBeyond Bankai and Resurrección Tosen
Tōshirō Hitsugaya Ryōran Hyōrenge (繚乱氷蓮華, Profusion of Icy Lotus Blossoms) BBSBeyond Bankai Hitsugaya
Kenpachi Zaraki Nitō Shinzui (二刀心髄, Twin Blade Apotheosis) BBSBeyond Bankai Kenpachi
Kisuke Urahara Karakuri Benihime Kaikuguri (絡繰紅姫掻い潜り, Karakuri Crimson Princess Scrambling) BBSBeyond Bankai Urahara
Mayuri Kurotsuchi Konjiki Yayajarashi (金色稚戯らし, Golden Child's Tease) BBSBeyond Bankai Mayuri
Jūshirō Ukitake Sōkoku no Awase (双黒戮, Twin Blackness Joined to Kill) BBSKageoni Ukitake


  • According to Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto, Shunsui Kyōraku's Katen Kyōkotsu and Jūshirō Ukitake's Sōgyo no Kotowari are the only two-bladed Zanpakutō to exist in all of Soul Society.[223] However this has later proven to be inaccurate after Shūhei Hisagi revealed the Shikai version of Kazeshini and Ichigo Kurosaki attained the true Shikai version of Zangetsu, which formed due to the additional presence of the Quincy Power Manifestation.[224]
    • In Ryōgo Narita's novel Bleach: Can't Fear Your Own World, it is further elaborated that no dual-type Zanpakutō occurs naturally:[225]
      • Katen Kyōkotsu exists in a dual-type state even when sealed because the original spirit split herself in two so the other half could store Shinken Hakkyōken.
      • Mimihagi's presence influenced Sōgyo no Kotowari to manifest as two blades instead of one.
      • The true essence of Kazeshini is in its chain, rather than the two scythes; Kazeshini specifically took on the dual-scythe form because he knew Hisagi would dislike its shape.
    • In the anime, one of the Shinigami sent by the 6th Division's elites to attack Kōga Kuchiki was wielding dual-bladed Zanpakutō.[226]
  • In Bleach: Blade Battlers, where the possibility of swapping Zanpakutō amongst various users exists, the kaigo/release commands tend to undergo some unique changes depending on the user. The most important aspect is that the command remains the same, but can be altered via through the current user's speech pattern:
    • One notable example is when Ichigo is using Byakuya's Zanpakutō (via using his Bankai), he speaks out the original command "Scatter" (散れ, chire) instead as "Go an' scatter" (散りやがれ, chiri yagare) via loosely-informal speech.
    • Also in the same game, when Gin Ichimaru uses Renji's Zanpakutō's Shikai, in his Kyōto dialect, "Howl" (咆えろ, hoero) becomes "Do be howlin'" (咆えなはれ, hoe na hare), while also referring to Zabimaru as "Zabimaru-han" (蛇尾丸はん, Mr. Snake Tail).

  • According to Q&A #171 by Tite Kubo on his fansite "Klub Outside", older Zanpakutō (for example, Katen Kyōkotsu) more often tend to have longer release commands than younger Zanpakutō (for example, Sode no Shirayuki).[227]
  • According to Q&A #238 by Tite Kubo on his fansite "Klub Outside", if a Zanpakutō is inherited from a deceased Shinigami (such as the Zanpakutō of Kaname Tōsen and Kenpachi Zaraki), its name and powers will either be overwritten, or it will become an amalgamation of the two Shinigami's natural Zanpakutō.[227]
  • According to Q&A #277 by Tite Kubo on his fansite "Klub Outside", all Zanpakutō consist of two separate parts, the blade and the scabbard; Sayafushi and Zangetsu are the only two Zanpakutō without a scabbard. Sayafushi and Zangetsu are the only two Zanpakutō without a scabbard. The dual Zangetsu is made up of "the blade" and "the scabbard." The correct form of a Zanpakutō includes a scabbard, and the dual blade state fixes Zangetsu into its "correct form", the Bankai has the smaller blade meld into the bigger one, providing the state of the scabbard with the blade inside of it.[227]
  • According to Q&A #350 by Tite Kubo on his fansite "Klub Outside", while Shinigami that have achieved Bankai can activate their Shikai without saying their Zanpakutō name, it is still possible for non-Bankai users to activate their Shikai without saying the release command if they are skilled enough to do so, and even then it might mean the Shikai will not be at full power.[227]
  • According to Q&A #402 by Tite Kubo on his fansite "Klub Outside", while no two Shinigami can have a Zanpakutō with the same name in any given era, it is possible for Zanpakutō to share a name with another Zanpakutō from the distant past.[227]
  • According to Q&A #472 by Tite Kubo on his fansite "Klub Outside", Zanpakutō can share similarities between Shinigami with a blood connection, as evidenced with Zangetsu and Engetsu having similar names and sharing the Getsuga Tenshō ability.[227]
  • According to Q&A #495 by Tite Kubo on his fansite "Klub Outside", when a Shinigami retires from the Gotei 13 for any reason, their Zanpakutō is stored for a certain time until it is returned to Ōetsu Nimaiya and reforged into a new Asauchi.[227]
  • According to Q&A #522 by Tite Kubo on his fansite "Klub Outside", when Ōetsu Nimaiya first invented the Asauchi he had no idea that the Asauchi could evolve depending on the wielder; it is only after this discovery that Ichibē Hyōsube gave these unique forms the names "Shikai" and "Bankai".[227]
  • According to Q&A #556 by Tite Kubo on his fansite "Klub Outside", an Asauchi's blade does not change length during its existence, however a Shikai form can change over time.[227]

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    214. 214.0 214.1 Bleach anime; Episode 250
    215. Bleach novel; Bleach: Spirits Are Forever With You Part II
    216. Bleach: Memories of Nobody
    217. 217.0 217.1 Bleach anime; Episode 182
    218. Bleach anime; Episode 187
    219. 219.0 219.1 Bleach anime; Episode 171
    220. 220.0 220.1 Bleach anime; Episode 98
    221. Bleach novel; Bleach: Can't Fear Your Own World, Chapter 24
    222. Bleach: Brave Souls
    223. Bleach manga; Chapter 156, Page 15
    224. Bleach manga; Chapter 542, pages 1-14
    225. Bleach novel; Bleach: Can't Fear Your Own World, Chapter 24
    226. Bleach anime; Episode 250
    227. 227.0 227.1 227.2 227.3 227.4 227.5 227.6 227.7 227.8 Klub Outside official site