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10 Zanpakutos in Bleach, ranked based on versatility

10 Zanpakutos in Bleach, ranked based on versatility (Image via Shueisha)
10 Zanpakutos in Bleach, ranked based on versatility (Image via Shueisha)

Zanpakuto is literally called the Soul Slayer and is an essential weapon in Bleach. Besides Soul Reapers, it is also the primary weapon wielded by Arrancars and Visored. The sword is a being unto itself, called the Shallow Hit because they are powerless at the beginning when a user wields it.

After a Soul Reaper imprints the essence of their soul in their Shallow Hit and learns how-to guide and mold their Zanpakuto, they can awaken its powers.

Zanpakuto has two releases, the first form is Shikai, which means Initial Release, and the Final Form, Bankai, which means Final Release. Here is the list of 10 most powerful Zanpakutos in Bleach.


Ranking 10 Soul Slayer blades by their versatility in Bleach

10) Hozukimaru

Ikkaku Madarame's Zanpakuto as seen in the Bleach anime (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Ikkaku Madarame's Zanpakuto as seen in the Bleach anime (Image via Studio Pierrot)

Being the lieutenant of the Eleventh Division of 13 Court Guard Squads, Ikkakku Madarame is one of the powerful Soul Reapers in Bleach. He has the potential to become a captain because of his brute strength and swordsmanship. The only thing he can’t handle is his chaos-loving personality and arrogance.

His Zanpakuto, Hozukimaru, in its sealed form is just like an ordinary katana. However, when he unleashes its Shikai, it takes the form of a Samurai Spear. He can also split his blade into three sectional staffs connected with chains.

Its Bankai is Ryumon Hozukimaru, in which he gets two blades that resemble a heavy Chinese Monk’s spade and a huge blade floating behind Ikkaku.


9) Shinso

Gin Ichimaru's Zanpakuto as seen in the Bleach anime (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Gin Ichimaru's Zanpakuto as seen in the Bleach anime (Image via Studio Pierrot)

Gin Ichimaru was the captain of the Third Division of 13 Court Guards Squad and later betrays the Soul Society along with Sosuke Aizen. When he was a child, he was able to kill the former third seat of the Fifth Division, who by rank and age should have been more powerful and skilled than him.

His Zanpakuto is Shinso. Upon unleashing its Shikai, the blade can extend up to one hundred times. His blade was capable of pushing both Ichigo and Jidambo out of the seireitei gate.

Gin claims that using his Zanpakuto’s Bankai, his blade can extend itself up to 13 km at 500 times the speed of sound.


8) Hyorinmaru

Hitsugaya Toshiro's Zanpakuto as seen in the Bleach anime (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Hitsugaya Toshiro's Zanpakuto as seen in the Bleach anime (Image via Studio Pierrot)

Captain of the Tenth Division, Hitsugaya Toshiro is a serious individual from Bleach. During the battle between Gin Ichimaru and Hitsugaya, the former acknowledges his potential by saying that he is the embodiment of a heavenly guardian that would be reincarnated every few centuries.

Hitsugaya’s Zanpakuto Hyorinmaru is the strongest ice-element sword in the entire Soul Society. After awakening its Shikai, his Zanpakuto transforms into a crescent-shape sword and can extend up a great distance which depends on the user’s force of will. With his Zanpakuto, Hitsugaya can control Ice and Water.

In Bankai, Hyorinmaru can freeze anything around the radius and can revive itself as long as there’s water in the air.


7) Senbonzakura

Byakuya Kuchiki's Zanpakuto as seen in the Bleach anime (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Byakuya Kuchiki's Zanpakuto as seen in the Bleach anime (Image via Studio Pierrot)

Byakuya Kuchiki comes from the Kuchiki clan, one of the noblest clans in Soul Society, and is the twenty-eighth head of the clan. Apart from that, he is also the captain of the Sixth Division of the 13 Court Guard Squads of the Soul Society. Byakuya has prowess in swordsmanship and is an excellent Kido user.

His Zanpakuto Senbonzakura can separate into thousand tiny sharp blades (in its Shikai) that resemble Sakura petals. In its Bankai, the Zanpakuto is enhanced to a much larger version of its Shikai, which is capable of defending its users while performing lethal attacks. However, his Bankai requires Byakuya’s blood to be activated.


6) Sakanade

Shinji Hirako's Zanpakuto as seen in the Bleach anime (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Shinji Hirako's Zanpakuto as seen in the Bleach anime (Image via Studio Pierrot)

Shinji Hirako was a former member of the Visored. Later, he rejoins the Soul Society and becomes the captain of the Fifth Division of 13 Court Guard Squads in Bleach. He is a master swordsman and a Shumpo User.

His Zanpakuto’s Shikai form “Upside Down World,” releases a pink mist, and those who smell its aroma land themselves in the inverted illusionary world where enemies cannot predict an attack no matter how strong they are. Shinji has not revealed his Sakanade’s Bankai form yet.


5) Nozarashi

Kenpachi Zaraki's Zanpakuto as seen in the Bleach anime (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Kenpachi Zaraki's Zanpakuto as seen in the Bleach anime (Image via Studio Pierrot)

Kenpachi Zaraki is all about his brute strength and thirst for a good fight. He is the captain of the Eleventh Division of 13 Court Guard Squads in Bleach. He has the ability to split a person into two halves by performing his Ryodan Technique.

Kenpachi didn’t initially take interest in imprinting his soul onto his Zanpakuto. However, later while fighting Retsu Unohona, he awakened his Shikai. His blade transforms into a large cleaver with powers that could destroy a meteorite.

In his Bankai, the Zanpakuto enhances its strength and Kenpachi goes into a mindless berserker state.


4) Katen Kyokotsu

Shunsui Kyoraku's Zanpakuto as seen in the Bleach anime (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Shunsui Kyoraku's Zanpakuto as seen in the Bleach anime (Image via Studio Pierrot)

After the death of Genryusai Yamamoto, Shunsui becomes the captain of the First Division and the captain commander of the 13 Court Guard Squads in Bleach. He has a laid-back personality and hates fighting, despite being considered proficient in Hakuda, Shunpo, Kido, and Swordsmanship.

His Zanpakuto’s Shikai is quite bizarre, as it can force anyone around its spiritual radius to play any of the six random children-like games with deadly consequences. Those who win the game can live and those who lose will die.

The Zanpakuto’s Bankai can make the surrounding environment harder to perceive for the user’s opponents.


3) Kyoka Suigetsu

Sosuke Aizen's Zanpakuto as seen in the Bleach anime (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Sosuke Aizen's Zanpakuto as seen in the Bleach anime (Image via Studio Pierrot)

Sosuke Aizen was the main antagonist of Bleach’s first half. He was the former captain of the Fifth Division of the 13 Court Guard Squads. In order to acquire more strength and power, he betrayed Soul Society.

Aizen is widely acclaimed for his genius around the soul society. After fusing with Hogyoku, he becomes immortal with monstrous powers.

Upon unleashing his Zanpakuto’s Shikai, he can manipulate the five senses of his opponents, by using its unique ability “Complete Hypnosis.” His Bankai has not been revealed yet.


2) Zangetsu

Ichigo Kurosaki's Zanpakuto as seen in the Bleach anime (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Ichigo Kurosaki's Zanpakuto as seen in the Bleach anime (Image via Studio Pierrot)

Ichigo becomes a substitute soul reaper after Rukia Kuchiki impaled him with her sword. He is a formidable hand-to-hand combatant and possesses monstrous strength. He was able to infiltrate the Soul Society and showed his worth by taking on the members of the 13 Court Guards Squad.

Ichigo’s Shikai constantly changed its structure before, but finally showed its true form as a pair of a sword, one is short and the other is long. Both swords represent a different facet of Ichigo’s powers.

The long sword is a manifestation of his inner Hollow with Soul Reaper powers and the shorter one represents the Quincy powers he got from his mother. In his Bankai, Getsuga Tensho, all his powers get enhanced to a monstrous level and grant him speed, strength, and precision. His Bankai is capable of causing massive destruction.


1) Ryujin Jakka

Genryusai Yamamoto's Zanpakuto as seen in the Bleach anime (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Genryusai Yamamoto's Zanpakuto as seen in the Bleach anime (Image via Studio Pierrot)

Yamamoto was the captain of the First Division and the captain commander of the 13 Court Guard Squads. He is the most experienced soul reaper who possesses immeasurable spiritual powers. Yamamoto was able to take on two captain-level soul reapers simultaneously without a sweat.

Yamamoto wields the most powerful Zanpakuto in the Soul Society. His blade’s Shikai ability “Reduce all creations to ashes” can literally turn anything to ashes by swinging at the target.

The Zanpakuto in its Bankai takes the form of a worn-out katana, and it incorporates all the flames of Ryujin Jakka within it. In this form, if the blade cuts anyone, it is capable of burning or removing their existence.

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Edited by Siddharth Satish
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