Is Nozarashi Kenpachi Zaraki's Shikai in Bleach TYBW? Explained

Kenpachi Zaraki
Kenpachi Zaraki's Shikai, Nozarashi, in Bleach TYBW (Image via Pierrot)

The latest episode of Bleach TYBW saw one of the highly anticipated moments from the manga finally brought alive. Kenpachi Zaraki finally released his Shikai, Nozarashi, for the first time and cut through a giant meteorite manifested by the Sternritter Gremmy’s Imagination.

The Captain of the 11th Division, Zaraki, had earlier locked horns with the First Kenpachi, Yachiru Unohana, for his Zanjitsu training. In that death duel, Zaraki emerged victorious and released the shackles that he placed upon himself subconsciously.

As a result, he tapped into his true powers and heard the voice of his Zanpakuto spirit for the first time. In the latest episode of Bleach TYBW, Zaraki returned to the battlefield and displayed the Shikai release of his Zanpakuto, Nozarashi.

Kenpachi Zaraki's Nozarashi grants him the ability to cut through anything in Bleach TYBW

In Bleach TYBW episode 20, Kenpachi Zaraki released his Zanpakuto Nozarashi (Weather-Beaten) to cut through a gigantic meteor that Gremmy Thoumeaux had manifested with the power of his imagination.

In this episode, the 11th Division Captain of the Gotei 13 released his Zanpakuto with the release command 'Nome' or 'Drink.' Upon its release, Zaraki's sword took the form of a gigantic axe or war cleave with a long handle wrapped with cloth.

Kenpachi's Shikai Nozarashi in Bleach TYBW episode 20 (Image via Pierrot)
Kenpachi's Shikai Nozarashi in Bleach TYBW episode 20 (Image via Pierrot)

The top of the blade was ornate with a brass cover, and a green tussle was also attached to the backside of the sword. With this humungous weapon, Zaraki cleaved through the meteor with ease.

While there was no description of Nozarashi's ability in the episode of Bleach TYBW, it was pretty evident that upon its release state, the Zanpakuto granted Zaraki unbelievable attack power.

Zaraki as seen in Bleach TYBW episode 20 (Image via Pierrot)
Zaraki as seen in Bleach TYBW episode 20 (Image via Pierrot)

As a soul reaper, Zaraki boasts of cutting down anything. In Bleach TYBW episode 20, he even mentioned that there's not a single thing that he cannot slice down. Since a Zanpakuto's power is closely related to its user's soul and personality, Nozarashi perhaps enhances Zaraki's ability to cut through anything.

As seen in the latest Bleach TYBW episode, he was able to cut through the space manifested by Gremmy with his Shikai. It's also interesting that author Tite Kubo chose 'Drink' as the release command for Nozarashi.

Kenpachi and his aura (Image via Pierrot)
Kenpachi and his aura (Image via Pierrot)

Interestingly, there's a popular theory in the fandom that Tite Kubo was heavily inspired by Gashadokuro Yokai while designing Kenpachi Zaraki. In Japanese folklore, Gashadokuo is a yokai that kills its victims by either biting their heads off or crushing them with its hands.

It's also said that Gashadokuro drinks the blood of its victims' blood after biting their heads off. So, it's quite possible that the author had chosen 'Nome' or 'Drink' to equate the imagery of the Yokai with Kenpachi Zaraki.

Kenpachi's growth as a Shinigami and how he learned the name of his Zanpakuto, Nozarashi

As a boy living in the streets of the 80th Rukon district, Zaraki once picked up an Asauchi from a dead Shinigami. Later, he imprinted his soul upon the sword and made it his own Zanpakuto. However, he was in constant disharmony with his sword, and as a result, he could never hear the voice of his Zanpakuto.

During the Soul Society arc of Bleach, when he clashed his swords with Ichigo Kurosaki, Zangetsu perceived the disharmony that Zaraki had with his sword. At that time, Zaraki felt that a Zanpakuto was merely a weapon to be used in a battle.

Kenpachi vs Ichigo in Soul Society arc (Image via Tite Kubo)
Kenpachi vs Ichigo in Soul Society arc (Image via Tite Kubo)

However, following his defeat, he showed his desire to learn the name of his Zanpakuto for the first time, but he found no answer coming from his sword. So, how did he learn the name of his Zanpakuto?

As a boy, Zaraki had searched relentlessly for an enemy who would provide him with the thrill of battle. He found joy when he swung his blade against Unohana Retsu, formerly known as the First Kenpachi Yachiru Unohana.

Kenpachi as a kid as seen in Bleach TYBW (Image via Pierrot)
Kenpachi as a kid as seen in Bleach TYBW (Image via Pierrot)

He felt that he had found the perfect opponent against whom he could go full-throttle. However, this was also the precise reason why he subconsciously started to put limiters on his powers. Zaraki believed that if he were to lose Unohana, then he would never taste the joy and thrill of battle again.

According to Unohana in Bleach TYBW, it was her inadequacy that forced Zaraki to hold his true powers back. However, one day she realized that the 11th Division Captain's limiters crumbled every time he found himself in near-death situations in battle.

Finally, with Unohana's help, Zaraki was able to release all the seals that he had put on himself and tap into the vastness of his true powers. It was then that he heard the call of his Zanpakuto spirit coming from his sword.

Be sure to keep up with more anime news and manga updates as 2023 progresses. Find the complete list of Bleach filler episodes to skip here.