Does Rukia have a Bankai in Bleach TYBW? The evolution of Kuchiki's Shikai, explained

Bleach: Rukia Kuchiki
Rukia Kuchiki as seen in Bleach TYBW (Image via Studio Pierrot)

Bleach TYBW episode 6 saw Rukia Kuchiki fight Sternritter "F" As Äs Nödt. During the fight, Rukia revealed her Zanpakuto's Shikai and Bankai abilities. While the Shinigami had previously revealed her Shikai in the original anime, the same wasn't explained in detail as done in the Bleach TYBW.

The episode saw Rukia Kuchiki facing Äs Nödt and revealing how her Zanpakuto's Shikai could temporarily "kill" her, allowing her to not face fear. However, her ability wasn't able to bypass the Sternritter's powers, which is why Rukia, following Byakuya's assistance, used her Bankai to defeat Äs Nödt.


Bleach TYBW explains Rukia Kuchiki's Shikai and Bankai in detail

Rukia Kuchiki as seen in Bleach TYBW (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Rukia Kuchiki as seen in Bleach TYBW (Image via Studio Pierrot)

Rukia Kuchiki's Zanpakuto is called Sode no Shirayuki and is known as one of the most beautiful Zanpakuto in the Soul Society. As per what Rukia revealed in the episode, the true nature of Sode no Shirayuki is different from what people perceive. While people believe that the Zanpakuto is capable of freezing a target, in reality, it brings the body temperature of the user below the freezing point.

Thus, using her Shikai ability, Rukia can momentarily kill herself in her own body by bringing her body's temperature to absolute zero. That said, she could seemingly maintain this form for only a short span of four seconds.

Rukia Kuchiki as seen in Bleach TYBW (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Rukia Kuchiki as seen in Bleach TYBW (Image via Studio Pierrot)

As far as her ability goes, as her own temperature is at absolute zero, anything Rukia touches freezes. The effects of the same are also seen in her surroundings, as the ground below her feet froze instantly, causing ice quakes. However, the ability is susceptible to any optical attacks on her. This is because her nerves remain intact during this ability.

The episode later revealed Rukia Kuchiki's Bankai - Hakka no Togame. The ability entirely changed Rukia's physical look, giving her white hair and a transparent ice sword.

Rukia Kuchiki as seen in Bleach TYBW (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Rukia Kuchiki as seen in Bleach TYBW (Image via Studio Pierrot)

She was clad in an ankle-length kimono lined with patterns. Additionally, the form saw the Rukia having an ornate collar and wide sleeves. The sleeves and the ribbons resembled that of the Zanpakuto's look in its Shikai form itself, almost as if Rukia's Bankai form was the Shinigami representation of her Zanpakuto in its Shikai state.

While Rukia's Shikai made her temperature absolute zero, her Bankai was able to increase the area of influence of her temperature. When she activated the ability, a pillar of cold mist rose up from the ground as a massive wave of freezing cold blew in all directions. Following that, Rukia was seen pointing her sword toward Äs Nödt, which helped her freeze her opponent to death.

Rukia Kuchiki as seen in Bleach TYBW (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Rukia Kuchiki as seen in Bleach TYBW (Image via Studio Pierrot)

As evident from the episode, any physical contact with Rukia in her Bankai state would cause the person in contact to start freezing. Fans could see this when Byakuya held Rukia's arm, asking her to increase her temperature and get out of the state. While she did manage to get out of the form and prevent freezing herself, fans hope for her to get better control over the form so that they could see her using the same in the future as well.