The Gotei 13 captains in Bleach represent the absolute cream of the crop of the Soul Society. They are the defenders and police, the alpha and omega.
Among these 13 captains in Bleach, there are those that are strong and those that are not so much. This will will chronicle them all from the well-known like Rukia to the least well-known, and rank them according to strength.
Note: This list will contain spoilers and likewise is only the author's opinion. It's also regarding the most current captains.
A look at Bleach's captains, ranked from strongest to weakest
13) Tetsuzaemon Iba
Tetsuzaemon Iba is a man who loves to fight. He hasn't revealed his bankai and is still the captain of the 7th division. He still maintains good strength and expert swordsmanship. He has shown this off on multiple occasions, but is still training. Even after Bleach's final arc, he's still training to get into captains shape.
Meaning that, of all the captains, he hasn't excelled in many fights despite loving the fight itself. His bankai hasn't been revealed, nor has his Zanpakuto been named. He's not weak by any stretch, it's just enough to put him at the lowest end of the list.
12) Mayuri Kurotsuchi
Kurotsuchi, captain of the 12 division, very rarely wins on the basis of direct strength. He’s more about using feints and ambushes and also poison. That doesn’t mean he’s weak by any means. But he’s much more likely to win via sneakiness and drugs than he is by overwhelming power.
Ishida once destroyed his bankai with one shot. So that doesn't exactly give the best picture when it comes to being a Gotei 13 captain, though there's something to be said for being sneaky. Not everyone has to be this big, hugely amazing, powerful person like Goku from Dragon Ball.
11) Lisa Yadōmaru
Despite not having seen her Bankai in Bleach, Lisa is still the current captain of the 8th division for a reason. She was fast enough to duel against a Hollowfied Bankai Ichigo and held her own for a while against a Hollowfied Kensei without even using Shikai. Likewise, the somewhat perverted captain is ambidexterous and doesn't back down when presented with a challenge.
Lisa cut down the Menos Grande-level Hollow via swift sword strikes, and fought 3rd Espada Tier Harribe by herself during the Fake Karakura Town arc. She was also one of those that tried to fight Aizen and got blown back from it. Other than that, she possesses a Hollow mask that can boost her abilities exponentially but can only use it for five minutes.
10) Rōjūrō Ōtoribashi
Rose's dinguished looks bely great strength, as he may not have won any real fights but he's more of a misdirection fighter than anything else. His swordsmanship skills are top notch, able to battle Kensei without releasing the blade lock they got into.
Rose can use the Hollow Mask, which automatically rockets him up there. His bankai is music-based, able to give him an advantage over an opponent's heart via the illusions the music plays. Still strong, but possibly not as strong as Kensei and Shinji.
9) Isane Kotetsu
Isane Kotetsu is an expert healer, but don't be fooled. She's captain of the 4th Division for a reason, having practically mastered the spellwork path. Aside from healing everyone's wounds, she also rushes into battle sometimes rather recklessly, as seen when she rushed Aizen during the Soul Society Arc.
Her perchant for healing has saved many lives, and her combat prowess is nothing to sneeze at. She stood her ground during the Zanpakuto rebellion, even when her legs were frozen. She's also quick enough to keep up with her captain Unohana.
8) Kensei Muguruma
The captain of the 9th Division and a Hollow Mask user like Lisa, Kensei is a lethal wind user. Kensei held his own against all of Ichigo’s creepy hollow powers. His shikai can utilize wind currents to slice and blow away enemies threatening him, and he's been smart enough to use it for Hollow crowd control.
We’ve at least seen Kensei’s bankai, even if he only used it to beat up a child arrancar. Even without the Hollow mask, he was able to block even Hollow Ichigo's blows and even sword strikes. He also knocked him back with an elbow strike, so that should count for plenty.
7) Tōshirō Hitsugaya
As Kyoraku said, Hitsugaya is going to be one of the strongest captains. But as it is, his bankai hasn’t even matured completely yet. Plus he’s one of the newest captains, so he doesn’t have the power-bringing experience of age. THere's something to be said about being new to the job.
This raw potential was finally realized during Bleach's Thousand-Year Blood War arc. He bisected and generally held off the rather tough Gerad Valkyrie with just his Bankai: Daiguren Hyōrinmaru. He certainly counts for improvements.
6) Soi Fon
Soi Fon is the captain of 2nd Division of Bleach's Gotei 12. She also has a crazy-powerful rocket launcher bankai. It was noted as being so powerful it cracked the Shijū no Saimon, or Four Beast gate. Beyond that, Fon's more the speedy type, making a ton of speed clones with her Shunpo abilities.
Fan's special ability to kill in two steps is also noted. It's not flashy or anything, best demonstrated on Ggio in Bleach's Fake Karakura Town arc. It's a two step assassination, the castor hits two sides and the death affect is instant when the butterfly insignia appears.
5) Shinji Hirako
Shinji is the strongest of the once atagonistic Visored and 5th Division Captains. Partly because he’s their leader and likewise because he thought to fight Aizen. He’s got the benefit of wisdom since he's older than his compatriots. He also has hollow powers, including enhanced speed, strength, endurance, and even access to Cero.
Plus that crazy illusion sword. People who have illusion swords are just strong. His Zanpakuto causes illusions, making the opponents perception of reality completely askew, along with gravity. He uses this to great effect to confuse opponents such as Aizen, even if Aizen managed to best it.
4) Rukia Kuchiki
Every Bleach fan knows that Rukia Kuchiki is the new captain of the 13th Division. Other than that, her exploits have mostly been followed throughout Bleach. She stopped her own Zanpakuto by herself, she fought against such threats as Aizen and Grimmjow and her aid led to victories over these threats.
She's also a very capable ice user, a user of spell work like Kido, and can and has, mastered her bankai. Her ice abilities can freeze and shatter targets she makes contact with, as more than a few Hollows have had the misfortune to demonstrate. She was also proficient enough to block an Espada's blows.
3) Byakuya Kuchiki
Byakuya may be one of the strongest of Bleach's Gotei 13, heading up the 6th Division. He defeated an Espada himself and helped defeat Yammy. Sure he lost to Ichigo once, but that was the only time. He never let himself or Ichigo forget that either.
The only thing is, he's had more than a few setbacks and others have clearly outclassed him by now. Still, as captain of the 6th Division, he is a speed demon, can use high-level spells without incantations, and has more than proven his worth.
2) Shunsui Sakuranosuke Jirō Kyōraku
Kyoraku is the captain of the 1st Division and Captain Commander of the entire Gotei 13. He's known for being incredibly powerful, as evidenced in Bleach's final arc by beating the #1 Espada using only his shikai. He also defeated the Tōjū with barely any effort.
Because it seems that his bankai is just too horrifying to use, which it is. His bankai causes a mutual despair and death effects, if he does damage or injures his opponent. Regardless, Kyoraku clearly has insane power - and not just because he’s one of the oldest captains.
1) Kenpachi Zaraki
Kenpachi is apparently the only guy Unohana has ever faced who was stronger than her. He had untapped potential that he never bothered to use because he was afraid of his fights being over too quickly. Pre-bankai Kenpachi was one of the strongest based on his raw potential.
This raw potential was finally realized during Bleach's Thousand Year Blood War arc. He was the only one that managed to face Unohana and live, even with her bankai activated that melted things down to the bone. He also managed to stop her cold.