The success of Bleach it is undoubtedly linked to the strong imaginary coined by its author. To play a fundamental role in the success of the product was the skill of the author in creating and drawing techniques, fighting styles and above all spectacular and colorful power ups which, honestly, it is impossible not to fall in love with. We refer, in particular, to the so-called Bankai (the maximum stage of power that can be reached by Zanpakuto of a Shinigami), which since the first bars of the manga, but also from the first moments of the anime, have been able to impress for the variety and for the care and refinement with which they were created.
On the occasion of the return of the Bleach anime we decided to draw up a ranking of the Bankai more beautiful, not necessarily the strongest, but simply the most spectacular and pleasant to look at or perhaps the most inspiring on an artistic level. Let's start?
10 – Ryumon Hozukimaru – Madarame Ikkaku
One of the most beautiful and particular Bankai created by the master Kubo is undoubtedly that of Madarame Ikkaku, a very controversial but at the same time very loved character. In fact, Ikkaku keeps his power hidden to avoid being "promoted" to another division, since his dream is to challenge and defeat, one day, the captain of his brigade: Zaraki Kenpachi.
Already in the form of Shikai, Hozukimaru is very particular, since the blade can take both the shape of a spear and that of a classic articulated stick in three sections, typical of Chinese culture. When the Bankai is released, however, Hozukimaru takes on the appearance of two gigantic Chinese-type blades (guan dao) on the sides with an ax in the center, on which perhaps the most particular element of the Bankai itself stands out: an engraving.
On the ax is in fact depicted a dragon which, gradually, turns red, a sign of the accumulation of increasing energy of its user.
9 – Kokujo Tengen Myoo – Sajin Komamura
Although it is one of the least loved faces and especially of the captains considered less strong than all Gotei 13, the one who has the humanoid captain Sajin Komamura it is one of the most inspired Bankai of the whole series. During the initial stages or in any case up to the saga of the Thousand Years War, the giant captain's Bankai allows the latter to invoke a gigantic warrior, who presents himself protected by a splendid and robust armor whose inspiration comes from those typically Oriental, to be precise from those of the samurai.
During the final narrative arc Komamura regains the human form and, consequently, also the appearance of the giant changes, showing itself to its opponent in decidedly different and more threatening remains. The second form is called Dangai Joe and shows a colossal figure no longer wrapped in armor but protected by black ropes on the upper part and a traditional hakama in the lower part. The head, however, is no longer protected by the helmet but shows an almost demonic face, on which voluptuous mustaches stand out, and two long horns that protrude from the forehead.
In this form, according to Komamura, the Bankai is immune to any external attack, since it is composed of spiritual energy in its purest form.
8 – Daiguren Hyorinmaru – Hitsugaya Toshiro
Staying on the subject of spectacularity, one cannot fail to mention Hitsugaya Toshiro, the youngest captain of Gotei 13 and true enfant prodige of the situation. His techniques are striking for elegance and style (but also for power, let it be clear) and, clearly, they find their sensory sublimation in the Bankai. Once released the aforementioned power, which takes the name of Daiguren Hyoinmaru (Scarlet lotus ice ring), the body of Hitsugaya is covered with ice in certain points and with very specific features, forming with the limbs of the young captain the legs and claws of a dragon.
All this culminates with real ice wings that sprout from his shoulders, transforming the young captain into a real humanoid dragon. The main skills of the Bankai are then definitively revealed during the course of the Thousand Years War, in which the "limitations" due to the young age of Toshiro fall once and for all.
7 – Zanka no Tachi – Yamamoto Genryusai
From this ranking could not miss the good old Yamamoto Genryusai and his spectacular powers. The old commander of Gotei 13, who already with the simple activation of his sword Ryujin Jakka he manages to unleash a staggering power, he can only reach a decidedly higher level when he relies on his Bankai.
Unused for centuries and unlined only in the presence of Yhwach during the Thousand Years War, Zanka no Tachi it contains in itself a sometimes frightening energy. Once the Bankai is released, in fact, the Yamamoto blade absorbs all the surrounding flames, blackening to become a "simple" weapon ruined by the flames and time. But not only that: the surrounding area is hit by a sort of general and spooky drought. The energy is so extensive that all the water of the Soul Society dries up and, in general, its prolonged activation could have serious repercussions on both the user and the world in general, as testified by Captain Unohana.
6 – Konjiki Ashisogi Jizo – Kurotsuchi Mayuri
Under the headings "spectacular" and "picturesque" it is impossible, if we talk about Bleach, not to mention the name of Kurotsuchi Mayuri, the enigmatic and, why not, out of my mind captain of the 12th division of Gotei 13. The "scientist crazy "of the Soul Society can boast of an immense wealth of techniques, the result not only of his skill in mastering the arts but also very often the result of continuous research and experiments.
And, of course, the Bankai of the wacky captain joins the ranking of the most beautiful, spectacular and, especially in this case, details. Once the Bankai is released, the appearance of his Zanpakuto, who usually appears as a small Buddhist monk (Jizo), become those of a sort of gigantic creature made up of an animal body (a caterpillar) and a human head, whose face still resembles that of a child.
With such power Mayuri is not only able to poison enemies with toxic gases to which only he is immune, but also, later in history, to prevent and cancel the powers of others.
5 – Hakka no Togame – Kuchiki Rukia
The style is family in the Kuchiki house, and in addition to the already widely idolized captain Byakuya, we cannot fail to mention his "sister", Rukia. The newly promoted captain of the thirteenth division of Gotei 13, following the disappearance of his master, the former captain Ukitake, in fact possesses a power as lethal as graceful and sublime from the strictly aesthetic side. After performing a very hard training under the severe gaze of the Zero Division, Rukia finally develops his Bankai and the latter is revealed to be one of the most powerful but above all spectacular in circulation.
During the release, in fact, the appearance of Rukia changes radically: the hair becomes completely white, as well as her kimono, which becomes a sort of typically Japanese-inspired ceremonial dress, on which different motifs that adorn every part of the body of the stand out young. This transformation is by no means casual, since the power consists in lowering the temperature to unthinkable levels, down to absolute zero, which the latter can use to hunt powerful attacks through its blade, a real extension of its transformation.
This power, however, must be used with extreme caution: as Byakuya himself says, Rukia cannot use this form for more than a few seconds, to avoid irreparable damage even to his own body.
4 – Enma Korogi – Kaname Tousen
Tribute to the guardian of the afterlife Enma, the Bankai of Suzumishi, the faithful companion of a thousand battles of Kaname Tousen, one of the traitor captains in league with Aizen, is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and particular of all the imaginary created by Kubo.
Once released, in fact, the Bankai in question generates a gigantic dark area around the one who is hit, depriving him of all five senses, waiting for the final "judgment" on his existence. During this phase the enemy is unable to perceive the enemy reiatsu and, of course, the only immune to such horror is the owner of Suzumishi himself.
3 – Guanyin Biraki Benihime Aratame – Urahara Kisuke
This is one of the most "awaited" Bankai of the whole saga and which does not escape the expectations of the many fans. Guanyin Biraki Benihime Aratame is the fascinating and powerful Bankai of Urahara Kisuke, never unlined throughout the course of history, at least until the clash against the fearsome Stern Ritter.
The maximum form of the Zanpakuto power of the former captain of the 12th brigade of Gotei 13 consists in the physical manifestation of the scarlet princess (precisely, Benihime) who, once on the field, gives Urahara the power to modify and reconstruct everything with which he comes into contact with. At the same time, the same figure of the woman is splendid and disturbing, whose suffering face reveals contrasting sensations only by crossing her gaze.
2 – "Unnamed" – Zaraki Kenpachi
In how many, since the very first appearances of the character in question, have done nothing but wait, perhaps fantasizing about how his Bankai could be? We speak clearly of Captain Zaraki Kenpachi, one of the best known faces of all the imagery created by Tite Kubo, also because he is the only one of the various captains who does not have a Bankai (nor a Shikai).
During the narrative arc relating to the Thousand Years War, the mystery that lies behind the captain's inability to use his Bankai, linked directly to the character of Retsu Unohana, another captain of Gotei 13, is finally shed light. will play a fundamental role in the definitive evolution of Zaraki, since right after defeating her in a training fight "to the death", he will be able, for the first time, to hear and communicate with his Zanpakuto.
In reality, later, it turns out that the spirit of his sword (Nozarashi) is little Yachiru, his faithful lieutenant, and after learning this incredible truth he manages to unleash his mighty Bankai for the first time. This new power transforms the current "Kenpachi" into a sort of Yokai, therefore with the features of a demon with red skin, long black hair and a giant hatchet in his hands.
We waited a long time, but it was worth it. No?
1 – Senbonzakura Kageyoshi – Kuchiki Byakuya
It is impossible not to mention in this ranking the delicate and deadly Bankai of the captain of the sixth division of Gotei 13, one of the characters, not surprisingly, most loved by the community thanks to the spectacular nature of his powers. When released, his Bankai transforms his sword into many other swords that revolve around the warrior forming a sort of seemingly impassable gigantic dome.
Senbonzakura's spectacularity travels hand in hand with its particularity in terms of potential. The Bankai in question, in fact, is so powerful as to have multiple different forms of release, among which the ability called "Shukei" stands out which consists in condensing all the blades into one with an immense destructive power.