Bleach fans are aware of the many powerful types of shikai and bankai that populate the Shinigami world in the series. But, Byakuya’s truly stands out as unique among the others. It was during the soul society arc when the audience was first introduced to Captain Byakuya’s deadly shikai, Senbonzakura.
And in the climax of the soul society arc, we finally got to see the full wrath and potential of his mighty bankai. Read on to find out more about Byakuya’s bond with his zanpakuto!
Byakuya’s Bankai Keeps Evolving And Improving Just As Byakuya Himself Evolves
Senbonzakura Kageyoshi doesn’t change in its basic abilities and power but as the series progresses, Byakuya undergoes radical changes in his perspective about his zanpakuto. Along with Byakuya’s growth, the sword also evolves to match its owner.
When we first meet Captain Kuchiki in the soul society arc, he was arrogant and was condescending to his opponents as he considered them beneath him. He thought they were unworthy to even receive the blow of his shikai.
When he fought Ichigo in their final duel, he kept holding his bankai back. And even when he finally released his bankai, he used a less powerful version of it. This is because he didn’t want Ichigo to think he was deserving of his bankai’s full unleashed power. However, this gave Ichigo the chance to nearly defeat such a mighty enemy!
Byakuya Learns To Appreciate His Shikai And Bankai On An Entirely New Level
In the Hueco Mundo arc, we meet a changed Byakuya. He had grown from a conceited man with stubborn views on honor and law, into someone determined to fulfill his role as Rukia’s protective and dutiful brother. In this arc, it’s no more family tradition and law that holds Byakuya’s attention but rather his affection for his sister Rukia.
We see the best example of this change in Byakuya in his fight with the 7th Espada, Zommari Rureaux. Byakuya without hesitating, used his bankai to destroy his opponent. This time, he slayed an enemy not to fulfill his soul reaper duty, but to protect Rukia. Here, we see no arrogance but only his fierce need to protect his sister from harm.
After the Sternritter’s attack, Byakuya started appreciating his shikai and bankai on an entirely new level. When he lost his bankai and nearly lost his own life, Byakuya learned to take a step back and re-explore all the details and strength of his zanpakuto.
This marks the moment Byakuya irrevocably bonds with his shikai and bankai. This level of understanding and wonderful teamwork between Byakuya and his zanpakuto is truly admirable!