Soul Reapers in Bleach tend to be quite strong, they have to be to defend Soul Society and the human world.
Throughout Bleach, the audience gets to see multiple examples of Soul Reapers, from the captains of the Gotei 13 to the Lieutenants who follow them around to even Ichigo. Now, of course, this has left many fans wondering who exactly the strongest ones are.
This list will attempt to answer that question with a list of the 10 strongest Soul Reapers in Bleach.
Note: Spoilers are aplenty in this article. This is just the author's opinion. Also, because Bleach tends to be inconsistent with its powers and people at certain levels, there may be notable abscenes.
Note 2: The author admits to a lack of familiarity with Bleach, having not seen it since Soul Society Arc.
10 strongest Soul Reapers in Bleach, ranked
10) Tōshirō Hitsugaya
Hitsugaya is the epitome of raw potential. Despite the fact that he mostly has ice powers and keeps to the back of fights, he was always itching to prove himself. He can flash freeze opponents and his Bankai can give him dragon appendages and ice wings.
That icy raw potential was finally shown off during Bleach's Thousand-Year Blood War arc. He bisected and held off the rather tough Gerard Valkyrie with just his Bankai, Daiguren Hyōrinmaru. Though he was not quite able to finish the job, he certainly incapacitated Gerard.
9) Kisuke Urahara
Kisuke Urahara trained Ichigo, his friends, and companions, in the shinigami arts and swordsmanship. He is the former 12th Division captain and lives in the human world selling shinigami items.
Despite setting up shop, Urahara's skills haven't dulled since he was able to fend off Wonderweiss, Yammy, and even trap Aizen for a few minutes.
Urahara's sword skills aside, he also founded the Shinigami Research and Development Institute in Soul Society and invented many items to aid the Soul Society, including Gigai (artificial bodies for storing spirit energy).
Usuagara is also a kido master, and his shikai and bankai are among the most versitile when used.
8) Byakuya Kuchiki
Byakua was the first Soul Reaper Captain Ichigo had a rude awakening from in Bleach. He incapacitated Ichigo with a punch due to his Shunpo being maxed out. Byakua is so quick that only Yoruichi or Soi Fon are able to keep up with him.
Byakuya's swordsmanship is at the top tier, able to perform lethal techniques with nary an effort. He doesn't need incantations to pull high-level Kido spells. His shikai is particularly lethal, likewise his bankai, which summons a storm of blades. Anything caught in that storm is dead before they can think.
7) Retsu Unohana
As the Captain of the 4th Division, Retsu Unohana was recognized mainly for being Soul Society's master healer. During the Thousand Year Blood war arc, everyone comes to find that she is not only the founder of the 11th Division, but the “First Kenpachi” (or strongest shinigami) to hold that title.
As the “First Kenpachi”, Unohana's blood lust surpasses even Kenpachi Zaraki’s, not easy to do as Zaraki and Ichigo fought each other to exhaustion much like Vegeta to Goku from Dragon Ball.
Even then, Kenpachi still acknowledged that Unohana was the first person to make him feel truly afraid to fight her.
6) Kenpachi Zaraki
The Captain of the 11th Division, Kenpachi Zaraki, lives for the fight and the thrill of it! He reached Captain rank without awakening his Zanpakuto, and fought Ichigo until the two couldn't move anymore (recognizing Ichigo as a worthwhile opponent in the process). Kenpachi also kept hounding Ichigo for a rematch.
His Zanpakuto awakened only when he finally defeated Unohana after a grueling duel during Bleach's Thousand Year Blood war arc. His spiritual power is immeasurable, able to harm and pressure people even from a distance like gravity increasing. He is strong, able to throw off any attack with just one arm.
5) Shunsui Kyoraku
Shunsui Kyoraku is the new Captain Commander of the Soul Society, for very good reason. His swordsmanship was able to hold and eventually overwhelm someone as powerful as the First Espada.
He's also a Shunpo master, a great strategist and tactician, and was durable enough to withstand a Cero at point blank range.
The scariest part of him is his Shikai and Bankai's special abiltiies. His Shikai is able to manifest games that the Zanpakuto makes up. The rules feature a shadow game where shadows are manipulated to attack the opponent, and a Squid Game-like game of red-light green-light starts, in which, if the opponent is seen when they move, they die.
His Bankai can weaponize despair and make any damage inflicted on Kyokaru reflect on the opponent. This was brutally demonstrated on Lille Barro, who barely managed to survive all the levels. He only survived thanks to his true form being unleashed.
4) Isshin Kurosaki
Ichigo's father was the first person able to cut Aizen. He killed Grand Fisher with nary an effort. Beyond that, Isshin was the former captain of the 10th Division. The former is due to sacrificing his powers to save his wife, Ichigo's mother. Masaki, for over a decade before Bleach started.
Even so, Isshin still possesses immense enough spiritual power, swordsmanship skills, Shunpo, and kido to rival Aizen. Had Aizen not become his godlike self, it's speculated amongst fans that Isshin was more than a match for Aizen, given that they fought on an even keel and Aizen was damaged severely.
3) Sosuke Aizen
Sosuke Aizen is the antagonist of Bleach, the icon that many recognize when recalling the show. His lust for power made him betray Soul Society, often literally backstabbing those in his way and treating everyone like a stepping stone. His Kido usage enabled him to disable Captain Sajin Komamura without much effort.
He is a master swordsman with a supreme intellect, able to think five moves ahead. He is also great whilst unarmed and has immeasurable spiritual power. Aizen was able to stop Ichigo's bankai with a finger, destroy Renji's Shikai with a swing, and his shikai is akin to a Sharingan level hypnosis. He also became effectively immortal.
2) Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto
Yamamoto was the Captain Commander of the Gotei 13 over a millennium, because no Shinigami were stronger than him. Yamamoto was able to kill Ayon of Tier Harribel's Fraccion without breaking a sweat. If not for Arrancar Wonderweiss, Aizen would've died in the flames of the trap.
Despite looking old, fragile and mostly hunched over, Yamamoto is akin to Master Roshi of Dragon Ball since he had a very muscular body. With his swordsmanship and hand-to-hand, Kido and Shunpo overtook many assailants, including Wonderweiss and Aizen.
His Shikai is eternal flames and his bankai allows him to hit them with flames as hot as the sun itself.
1) ichigo Kurosaki
Ichigo Kurosaki is the protagonist of Bleach who had the greatest power growth, as he went from being Rukia's Substitute Shinigami in the introduction arc to one of the most powerful Shinigami. Why? Simple, he has multiple power sets from Hollow to Shinigami, to even Fullbring and Quincy!
This meant that Ichigo was able to defeat such godlike opponents as Ulquioora Cifer with his merged Hollow form, nearly killing the Soul King Empowered Ywach, and triumphing over Aizen by sealing him. Basically, Ichigo has done the impossible and broke the unbreakable to quote Gurren Lagann.