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Shunsui Kyōraku

 

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Shunsui Kyōraku
ShunsuiKyoraku.jpg
Race Shinigami
Birthday July 11[1]
Gender Male
Height 192 cm (6’3½”)[1]
Weight 87 kg (191 lbs.)[1]
Professional Status
Affiliation Gotei 13, Soul Society, Kyōraku Family
Occupation Captain of the 8th Division
Team 8.jpeg 8th Division
Partner Nanao Ise
Jūshirō Ukitake
Previous Partner Lisa Yadōmaru
Base of Operations 8th Division HQ, Seireitei, Soul Society
Personal Status
Education Shinō Academy
Zanpakutō
Shikai Katen Kyōkotsu
Bankai Unknown
First Appearance
Manga Debut Volume 10, Chapter 81
Anime Debut Episode 24
Video Game Debut Bleach Advance: Kurenai ni Somaru Soul Society
Voices
Japanese Voice Akio Ōtsuka
English Voice Steve Kramer
Spanish Voice Ramón Rocabayera (Spain)
Jorge Ornelas (Latin America)

“If it’s me, it would be a waste not to dance no matter what.”Tite Kubo[1]

Shunsui Kyōraku (京楽 春水, Kyōraku Shunsui), sometimes romanized as Syunsui Kyōraku[2], is the Captain of the 8th Division in the Gotei 13. His lieutenant is Nanao Ise.

Contents

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AppearanceEdit

Shunsui Kyōraku is a tall Shinigami with grey eyes and long wavy brown hair (though during the flashbacks of his youth, Shunsui is shown to have straight and significantly shorter hair). His hair is tied in a long ponytail and has long bangs that frame the left side of his face. He wears a straw hat (called a sakkat) and a pink, flowered ladies kimono, which he drapes across his shoulders and over his captain’s uniform. Although his haori and obi sash are cheap, his pin-wheel hairpins are very expensive. He does not wear tabi with his sandals. He has thin facial hair around his mouth and on his cheeks. Over a hundred years before Aizen’s defection, Shunsui only had facial hair on his upper mouth.

PersonalityEdit

Kyōraku is a laid back and flamboyant man, evident in his style of dress and general attitude, and he is rarely seen without a smile on his lips. In his off time, he can be seen drinking sake in bars and napping. He likes steamed buns that go with sake, but dislikes powdered green tea. Other times, he likes to chase after women, particularly his lieutenant, Nanao Ise, whom he calls “my Nanao-chan” (Lil’ Nanao in the English Dub). Nanao will often respond by hitting him with whatever she has on hand. He would have also done this when Lisa Yadōmaru was his lieutenant, which shows that teasing is a part of his personality. Kyōraku tends to use a more familiar speech style than most other characters. He generally refers to his fellow captains and Shinigami by their first name followed by an honorific. Kyōraku is a peace-loving man who will always try to talk his way out of a fight, though he doesn’t wish to insult opponents by refusing to fight. The slightly eccentric Kyōraku also seems to like making an impression on opponents.[3] He also dislikes taking the life of innocent people, as he left Chad alive when Nanao offered to kill him.[4]

Captain Kyōraku also wrote a romance novel titled “Rose-colored Path”, which runs in Seireitei Communication, but is very unpopular. Kyōraku does not receive a single fan letter or gift for his birthday from his readers but he is also not bothered by this at all. Like with many other captains, the Shinigami Women’s Association released a photo collection on Kyōraku. His collection was titled “Using Arms as My Pillow”. It quickly sold out, partially because it came out in lesser number of copies than similar collections by the other captains. However, it has not been re-printed but Kyōraku is unaware of this.[5]

Though Kyōraku tries to talk his way out of a fight, he does insist on fighting when the situation is grave, as seen in his battle with the First Espada, Coyote Starrk. When Starrk asked that they only pretend to fight, he replied that he couldn’t do that “this time”, as much as he prefers to do things the same way.[6] He is also one of the most proficient combatants in Soul Society, and maintains a level of honor and integrity when engaging in battle, much like his best friend Jūshirō. He refuses to fight with children or even in the presence of a child. [7] He always maintains a semblance of respect for his opponent and is polite in combat situations[8] and prefers to fight one on one.[9]Even when fighting powerful opponents, like Starrk or Aizen, he never (or at least rarely) loses his cool, going as far as to make small talk and joke around with his opponents.

Despite being one of the strongest and oldest captains, Kyōraku retains a level of humbleness and isn’t overly arrogant about his strength, although when fighting Starrk, he does comment on how the fight “wouldn’t be too easy” even after finding out that Starrk is the 1st Espada, but he does recognize that Hitsugaya has the potential to become stronger than him given enough time.[10][11] Kyōraku has shown a great distaste for fighting, telling Love Aikawa that it doesn’t matter whether you owe someone or they owe you, as soon as you start fighting, you are in the wrong either way.[12]

HistoryEdit

 


Young Shunsui Kyōraku in his academy days.

 

Shunsui is the second son of the high-ranking noble Kyōraku family. Despite being of such old and prestigious lineage, he disliked studying and training, and preferred to chase the ladies, although being told by Captain-Commander Yamamoto that he was able to see the truth and was wise for his age. Because of this, he was sent against his will to the Shin’ō Reijutsu Academy (Shinigami Academy). While there he came to know Jūshirō Ukitake, who would become his best friend and fellow captain. He, along with Jūshirō Ukitake, was one of the first Shinigami to become a captain through the Shinigami academy. Furthermore, he was personally trained by Yamamoto.[13] He and Ukitake are the oldest captains amongst the Gotei 13, with the exception of Retsu Unohana and Yamamoto himself. It was stated that the four of them have been Captains of the Gotei 13 for at least 100 years as of 110 years ago before the current time.[14]

 


Shunsui Kyōraku as a captain over 100 years ago.

 

110 years ago, he was shown to have a unique relationship with his Lieutenant Lisa Yadōmaru, though in contrast to his relationship with his current Lieutenant Nanao Ise, Lisa was more outgoing and perverted in a way much like his own personality. But he found that his position required him to be the “adult” in the situation.[15] He was also the first to casually mention, to an inquisitive lieutenant Sōsuke Aizen, that the previous 12th Division Captain was promoted to the Royal Guard.[16] He was also present at the promotion ceremony of the newly appointed 12th Division captain Kisuke Urahara.[17]

 


Kyōraku reassures Urahara.

 

9 years later Shunsui was present at an emergency meeting called by Captain-Commander Yamamoto. He decided to create an investigative team to locate the missing 9th Division squad members. When he gave out the orders, Yamamoto ordered Shunsui to guard the Seireitei.[18] When Yamamoto decided to send both Kidō Captain Tessai Tsukabishi and Kidō Lieutenant Hachigen Ushōda of the Kidō Corps, Shunsui instead advised him to send only Hachi and replaced Tessai with his own lieutenant, Lisa. He tried to cheer up a shaken Kisuke Urahara, telling him not to worry about his lieutenant, Hiyori Sarugaki, who was sent to help the 9th Division, because she was strong, though not as strong as Lisa.[19]

 


Kyōraku sees Aizen.

 

During a night-walk he met up some squad members that were on guard and congratulated them of keeping watch on the Seireitei. He also noticed lieutenant Sōsuke Aizen taking a night walk, muttering to himself that he was maybe over-thinking things before leaving. Later in his barracks he was addressed by a very young Nanao Ise, who had come to see his Lieutenant, Lisa Yadōmaru. Shunsui then remembered that Nanao always came to him around the first of every month to have Lisa read to her. Nanao confirmed this, only to be told that Lisa was away on a mission, but would be back soon.[20]

PlotEdit

Soul Society arcEdit

 


Kyōraku greeting Yasutora Sado.

 

Shunsui first appears during the captain’s emergency meeting called by Captain-Commander Yamamoto. However he says nothing at this time, and remains silent throughout the constant bickering between his fellow officers.[21]

Shunsui is among the first Captains to encounter the “Ryoka“. He meets up with Yasutora Sado in his division’s compound. There, he gently drifts down from a second level to the ground amidst falling petals (scattered by Nanao), then rises to announce his name to Chad.[22]

After his flashy appearance Kyōraku sits down and tells Chad that he dislikes fighting and even offers him something to drink, something Chad responds to by a violent “No” because it is forbidden for minors to drink, something Kyōraku also realizes is a problem.[23]

 


Kyōraku defeats Sado.

 

Chad proceeds to politely ask the captain to move out the way as he himself would also like to avoid the fight. However, despite Shunsui’s humor and his dislike for combat, once Chad engages him, it is seen that he is not a mere fool, but someone not to be taken lightly. He deflects Chad’s first attack with one arm, and then proceeds to dodge all of Chad’s attacks.[24] Trying to stop Chad from going further, he asks Chad why he continues to fight, and for what reason. Despite his attempts to stop him both through speech and action, Chad continues to come at him.[25] Seeing his determination, Shunsui decides reluctantly to wound him, though he tells Chad that he plans to kill him, having no choice. Taking out his two swords, he watches as Chad runs towards him, then dodges Chad’s attack and slashes him.[26]

At this time, the message that Sōsuke Aizen has been murdered arrives and Nanao informs him of this news. Taking a look at Chad, she realizes he is not dead and asks to deliver the finishing blow. Stopping her, Shunsui rationalizes that if it were indeed one of the Ryoka who had killed Aizen, it would then be better to keep him alive and question him instead. He then asks her to send for people from the 4th Squad to heal Chad.[27]

Later, right before Rukia’s execution, a harried Nanao finds Kyōraku on a rooftop, chewing on a blade of grass. Asking him to hurry up, Nanao is irked when Shunsui again tries to joke with her as usual. Then, getting serious, he asks her what he should do. She then replies that no matter what, he will still do what he wants. All she can do is keep right behind him and stay out of trouble. Shunsui gives a sigh and says, “Then it will again be me that will get into trouble with Yama-jii (Yamamoto).”[28] At the execution, after Ichigo Kurosaki stops the Sōkyoku from executing Rukia, Ukitake appears with a shield sporting the Shihōin house crest and with Shunsui eliminates Sōkyoku from the scene.[29] After the ruckus, they are left shocked when Ichigo destroys the Sōkyoku Stand, and then Ichigo engages Byakuya Kuchiki after defeating three lieutenants.[30] Trying to help her sister, Kiyone Kotetsu runs forward and is followed by her colleague Sentarō Kotsubaki. Sentarō is then hit by Suì-Fēng and when Ukitake runs forward to stop Suì-Fēng, he is in turn stopped by Yamamoto.[31]

Yamamoto gravely states that what they have done is beyond mere punishment and that they are not ignorant of what that means. Shunsui then shows his thinking skills by grabbing Ukitake and running away first, with Nanao in close pursuit. Ukitake then asks Shunsui to release him as he wanted to save his subordinates. Shunsui asks him not to worry, as on the one hand, they had to take the fight elsewhere, or else Yamamoto’s power would most likely cause more casualties, and on the other hand, someone else was coming to help.[32]

 


Shunsui protecting Nanao Ise from Yamamoto’s spiritual pressure.

 

Running to a deserted spot, they reach the site and are confronted by Yamamoto.[33] When Nanao is nearly suffocated by Yamamoto’s spiritual pressure, Shunsui breaks their eye contact, and brings her via Shunpo to a safe place, and returns to the compliments of Yamamoto.[34]

 


Shunsui and Jūshirō Ukitake about to do battle with Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto.

 

Following a brief exchange of words, Yamamoto draws his Zanpakutō against them. As he flares up, and releases his Zanpakutō’s Shikai, he then asks them both to do the same as anything else would be a disgraceful death. He and Ukitake then engage in the fight against Yamamoto, resulting in a large explosion.[35]

During their fight, they receive news from 4th Division Lieutenant Isane Kotetsu, that Aizen had in fact been a traitor, and all three rush to the Sōkyoku grounds.[36] After Aizen’s successful escape, Shunsui is later seen trying to join in on the drinking with Rangiku Matsumoto and Izuru Kira, only to be told no by Rangiku as she states Nanao is looking for him and if she catches him drinking with them they will only get scolded by her.[37]

Bount arc (anime only)Edit

Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.

 

Arrancar arcEdit

Kyōraku is seen when Yamamoto calls him alongside the other Gotei 13 captains for an emergency meeting.[42]

New Captain Shūsuke Amagai arc (anime only)Edit

Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.

 

Fake Karakura Town arcEdit

 


Shunsui Kyōraku and Coyote Starrk cross swords.

 

When Aizen and his army invade the fake Karakura Town, Shunsui asks Ukitake who he believes is the strongest of the Espada.[46] When Yamamoto decides to take Aizen and the other defected former Captains out of the equation so that the Espada could be dealt with first, Shunsui yells for Ukitake to get down when he realizes the Captain-Commander is releasing his Shikai. When Ukitake questions the necessity of that level of power, Shunsui tells him he guesses that just means Yamamoto is not in a good mood.[47] During the battle against the Arrancar, Shunsui matches himself against the Espada Coyote Starrk. Though Kyōraku agrees with Starrk’s attitude and tells him that he too would have preferred “fake” fighting, he also says that avoiding the fight is not an option this time.[48]

 


Shunsui decides to fight with both of his blades.

 

He then takes notice of the fight between Rangiku Matsumoto, Momo Hinamori and Tier Harribel‘s Fracción, asking Starrk if they should also put on a show. Starrk is not amused at Shunsui’s attempt at humor and flatly refuses to fight. Starrk states that neither of them is fighting at full strength anyway. Starrk then makes note of how Shunsui’s short sword is still being sheathed.[49] When Shunsui explains why, Starrk further notes that Shunsui is obviously ambidextrous and that he is stronger with his left hand than his right, therefore Starrk does not quite believe his excuse for his supposed lack of using his short sword. Shunsui is somewhat amused at Starrk’s observations and comments on how he thought he had corrected his strength difference. Shunsui then proceeds to attack Starrk which the latter then dodges. Afterwards, Shunsui then surprises Starrk by switching hands in mid attack and correcting his swing, making his right hand strength match his left. After Starrk comments on the change, Shunsui asks him whether he will take the fight seriously if he were to unsheathe his short sword, to which Starrk comments that Shunsui is already strong enough and he would not want him using his short sword. Shunsui decides then to unsheathe his sword.[50]

Shunsui is able to deduce the ranks of the top three Espada by sensing their battles. He states that Starrk’s female ally (Harribel) is the third strongest, and it would be easier on him if the old guy (Baraggan) was the strongest, implying Shunsui thinks differently. Starrk then says he’s sorry to disappoint him as he takes off his glove and reveals the number 1 tattooed on his hand. Shunsui smiles and comments that it wouldn’t be too easy.[51]

Shunsui appears to be evenly matched with Starrk as he does not seem to express any form of difficulty while battling. The Primera even commented that he is surprised that Shunsui was able to dodge his attacks ‘without losing his hat and kimono’. A thin trail of blood however trickles down from Shunsui’s head, probably due to the slight cut of his bamboo hat.[52] As the battle progresses, Starrk fires a Cero at Shunsui, only for him to state “No finishing pose or anything?”. Starrk then begins to show irritation by scolding Shunsui not to run away. Starrk is then seen to be staring in horror at Hitsugaya’s approaching cloud. [53]

 


Shunsui Kyōraku releases his Shikai to counter Coyote Starrk‘s release.

 

Starrk then watches Baraggan Louisenbairn being hit by Suì-Fēng’s Bankai and looks over to the obelisk of ice that has Harribel imprisoned and questions Shunsui whether all their Bankais are that powerful. Shunsui replies with a smile and calls them their secret weapons. Starrk proceeds to ask if his own Bankai was more powerful than Hitsugaya’s. Shunsui then replies that while he is uncertain of it in a hundred years or so, it is possible that Hitsugaya might become more powerful than himself. Starrk then deduces that currently Shunsui is the strongest; realizing what Starrk is leading to Shunsui throws his pink kimono to Ukitake. When Ukitake wonders what Kyōraku is doing, Shunsui replies by saying that he believes Starrk finally wants to fight for real, something Starrk confirms by saying that he wants to see Shunsui’s Bankai.[54] He then sheaths his Zanpakutō and calls Lilynette over. He explains that he and Lilynette are in fact one. While other Hollows split their power into their sword and body, they split into two bodies instead. He also reveals that once they are one again their full power would be released. With that, Starrk releases his Resurrección form while Shunsui releases his Zanpakutō’s Shikai.[55]

 


Ukitake intervenes in Shunsui’s battle with Starrk.

 

Shunsui proceeds to attack Starrk while he is talking, to which Starrk moves back with ease. Starrk begins to comment on how Shunsui would attack while he is talking. But before Starrk can finish talking, Shunsui uses his Bushōgoma technique. Starrk parries the attack and fires a large Cero from one of his guns. Starrk then tells Shunsui he seems a little panicked and that is not at all like him. Shunsui responds that he meant to kill him with the first blow, but his release must be really something if he could parry it. He then deduces that Starrk’s gun fires Ceros. Starrk confirms but completely denies it can do anything else when Shunsui asks whether it’s capable of more. Shunsui accuses Starrk of being a bad liar. Starrk says the same of Shunsui. Starrk then tells him he made him release his “pain in the ass Resurrección“, so he better show him his Bankai. Shunsui mentions that he has no intention of showing him no matter how strong he has gotten, especially if he is just going to fire Cero’s. Starrk responds by firing his Cero Metralleta at Shunsui, to which he flash steps away. Starrk fires again and tells him that he can’t escape, Shunsui dodges exclaiming how that attack is unfair. Ukitake jumps in front of Shunsui after unleashing his Shikai and negates the multiple Ceros with a blast of his own.[56]

Shunsui begins to speak, but Ukitake cuts him off explaining that he shouldn’t complain because the Arrancar are double teaming him and his coming to his aid is only fair. Ukitake then comments that besides that Shunsui doesn’t seem to want to use his Bankai. Shunsui assures him that he will eventually. But Ukitake says that he shouldn’t use it out in the open where anyone could see.[57] Ukitake continues by saying that in any case his powers are better suited for this sort of fight. Starrk interrupts by asking Ukitake how he fired a Cero. Ukitake plainly says that he may figure out if he does it again. Determined to figure out Ukitake’s power, Starrk fires again much to Lilynette’s protest that it’s most likely a trap. They engage in a few mutual attacks, then Starrk uses Sonidō to get closer to Ukitake and explains what he has learned of his ability. Ukitake is surprised that he figured it out after only three attacks. Starrk then expresses that he is glad that Ukitake’s power isn’t to reflect any and all attacks back at his opponent. Starrk surmises that if Ukitake has to absorb the attack first, there has to be a limit to what can be absorbed. He then tells Ukitake that he doesn’t think he’ll be able to absorb the attack if he fires 1,000 shots at once.[58]

 


Starrk shoots Shunsui from behind with a Cero at point-blank range.

 

Before Starrk can fire, Shunsui appears behind him and tries to cut off his head, but Starrk dodges and fires a large Cero which Shunsui also dodges. Starrk comments on how such actions aren’t like him, to which Shunsui responds that he shouldn’t make judgements as he is the one not acting like himself. Starrk’s simple reply is that he thought they both were alike. Then seemingly out of nowhere, a Garganta begins to open, surprising the three combatants. Ukitake asks Shunsui if it’s someone new. Shunsui asks in response if Ukitake thinks it is someone who could back up the top three Espada, because he hopes it isn’t. When the Garganta is fully open, Wonderweiss Margela walks through. Ukitake and Shunsui both question who he is, while Starrk says his name, just as surprised to see him there being accompanied by Fūrā.[59]

While Ukitake’s attention is on Fūrā, Wonderweiss attacks him from behind, impaling him in the back and out through his chest with his hand. Seeing this, Shunsui goes to attack the Arrancar but is quickly shot at point blank range by a Cero to the back by Starrk, with both captains falling down to the buildings below.[60] However, Kyōraku appears to be largely uninjured as pointed out by Lisa Yadōmaru, who stomps on his head and demands to know how long he was planning on playing dead.[61]. Kyōraku then proceeds to compliment Lisa and says he is glad that she is all right.[62]

 


Shunsui’s final clash with Starrk.

 

Just as Starrk is about to finish off Love and Rose, Kyōraku stabs him from the shadows. Kyōraku was actually hiding in the shadows thanks to the ability of his Zanpakutō.[63] He then proceeds to explain the abilities of his Zanpakutō, denying Starrk’s charge that he was hiding his powers; stating that his Zanpakutō was not in the mood for that game before and that though he loves his sword, it is very selfish and he doesn’t like playing with it because it jerks him around.[64] He then proceeds to fight Starrk using a new color-based game that ends with Kyōraku slashing Starrk upwards targeting his black hollow hole after calling the color black.[65]

 


Shunsui cuts down Starrk.

 

As the dying Starrk falls, Love appears behind Shunsui and thanks him. Shunsui responds by saying that he is just glad they are safe. Love then tells him that he never changes; always butting into other people’s battles and that he has no style. Shunsui returns his Zanpakutō to its sealed state and tells Love that “only underlings get caught up in matters of style” and that a captain can’t afford such indulgences. He then goes on to state that “If you owe someone or they owe you, the moment you start to fight you’re in the wrong either way”.[66]

Shunsui is next seen with the remaining unoccupied Shinigami and Visored planning to protect Ichigo Kurosaki from Aizen and his Shikai. [67] As Hitsugaya attacks Aizen, Kyōraku attacks his flank with his Shikai, but hits a barrier, which cracks slightly. When Aizen tells Hitsugaya that it is good that he is not attacking alone, Shunsui accuses him of calling Tōshirō a coward.[68] Shunsui later attacks Aizen as he is conversing with Hitsugaya, but Sōsuke evades the attack and complains that he interrupted their discussion. Kyōraku responds that he is not very good at hearing when a man is talking, as just listening is boring. When Hitsugaya activates his Bankai and states that he intends to violently cut and crush Aizen, Shunsui tells him not to be hasty.[69]

 


Aizen effortlessly cuts down Hitsugaya, Kyōraku, Suì-Fēng, and Shinji.

 

Aizen then critically injures and dispatches of Love, Komamura, Rose and Lisa. He is seen then confronted by Suì-Fēng. She creates clones of herself and charges. When Aizen tries to attack, he finds his arm encased in ice. Suì-Fēng is able to hit Aizen with Nigeki Kessatsu but it is ineffective as Aizen comments that while her technique is interesting, his reiatsu would crush her attacks and powers as a battle between Shinigami is one of reiatsu. However, Aizen is surprised as he is attacked from a shadow. Shunsui reveals himself from having used his Kageoni technique, stating Aizen is careless as there is a shadow on the ice. Shunsui then looks on as Aizen is run through by Hitsugaya.[70] Much to Shinigami and Visored’s horror, it is then discovered that Aizen had already been using his Kyōka Suigetsu to somehow deceive his enemies into stabbing Momo instead. As Hitsugaya goes to attack Aizen in a blind rage, Shunsui and the other captain-level warriors are distracted trying to stop him. Aizen proclaims that they are all wide open and proceeds to strike down Shunsui, Shinji, Hitsugaya, and Suì-Fēng.[71] As they fall into the town below, Aizen states that he will not kill them and that they are to watch the outcome of this battle.[72]

Ten days later, after Aizen is captured and Shunsui is fully healed, he is called with Byakuya and Kenpachi to discuss the loss of their respective captain haori with Yamamoto. While the Captain-Commander is furious at the loss, the captains are indifferent to the matter. Shunsui’s only complaint on the matter was thinking them being nothing more than stylish, which makes Yamamoto all the angrier.[73]

Zanpakutō Unknown Tales arc (anime only)Edit

Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.

 

Beast Swords arc (anime only)Edit

Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.

 

Gotei 13 Invading Army arc (anime only)Edit

Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.

 

Power & AbilitiesEdit

 


Kyōraku’s Battle Data, clockwise. Top: Offense (90), Top Right: Defense (90), Bottom Right: Mobility (90), Bottom: Kidō/Reiatsu (100), Bottom Left: Intelligence (90), Top Left: Physical Strength (70). Total: 530/600.[98]

 

Master Swordsmanship Specialist: While in battle, his power is said to be stronger than any other. His power is unrivaled by anyone who came before him or anyone since.[99]While hating the concept of having to engage in a fight, Kyōraku is presumably one of the most proficient swordsmen in all of Soul Society. He is a highly adaptable combatant as his two swords have allowed him to become ambidextrous, meaning that he is able to switch hands between the two swords. Kyōraku usually swings with more strength in his left hand than his right hand; however, he can easily switch or balance the strength between his two hands, much to the surprise of his opponent. Kyōraku states that he only uses his wakizashi in situations where his katana is too difficult to use. He claims that he does not use them together on a regular basis. The best example of Shunsui’s prowess is shown from his ability to fight on even grounds with an unreleased Starrk, the 1st Espada, with only his sealed Zanpakutō while other captain-level Shinigami have been seen requiring at least their Shikai against an Espada.[100] Shunsui’s fighting style involves evasion and attacking an opponent either in the front or back using the element of surprise to overwhelm them.[101][102][103] His two swords move at a different pace. He takes advantage of that while fighting. While the enemy is at the mercy of his wakizashi’s speed, his tachi swoops in for the final blow. That is the most common method used for swords like his.[104]

Kidō Master: While not his preferred style of combat, Shunsui has high prowess in Kidō combat. During his battle against Chad, he was able to effortlessly launch his opponent several yards away with a seemingly small blast from his finger similarly to the Kidō spell Shō.[105]

Shunpo Master: He is masterful in the art of Flash Steps as a captain. He notably makes a massive leap in Flash Steps within mere moments to remove Nanao from the battlefield and return almost instantly, commended even by Yamamoto prior to battle.[106][107] Shunsui’s skill is proficient enough for him to effortlessly dodge Starrk’s attacks without mussing his hat or Kimono.[108]

Master Strategist & Tactician: Despite his laid back attitude, Shunsui has repeatedly shown himself to be a perceptive and insightful man. According to Yamamoto, even when he was younger, Shunsui has always had an eye for seeing the true character of anyone he meets.[109] Shunsui easily saw through Kurotsuchi’s attempt to hide being used by the Bounts. He was also one of the few people to suspect that Aizen was hiding something.[110] In battle, Shunsui has proven to be very adept at noticing and understanding details in an opponent’s skills or attack patterns. During his battle against Chad, he quickly determined the basics behind Chad’s Reiryoku blasts, warning him about the kinds of techniques, and even explaining that his energy blasts would eventually use up his life energy.[111]

Immense Spiritual Power: As one of the strongest and oldest Captains in the Gotei 13, Kyōraku has tremendous spiritual power. He is not overwhelmed by the Spiritual Pressure of Captain-Commander Yamamoto as most people would be in such a situation. His strength is shown even further as he was able to defeat Coyote Starrk, the Primera Espada, with only the use of his Shikai.

Enhanced Strength: Shunsui has shown that he is very powerful in terms of strength, as shown when he cracked a barrier that Aizen put up to protect his blind spot with just his Shikai attack, while Ichigo in Bankai and using his Getsuga Tenshō could not even damage a similar barrier.[112]

Enhanced Durability: Shunsui has the ability to survive seemingly unscathed from devastating attacks after taking on Captain-Commander Yamamoto, whose Zanpakutō is the most devastating in all of Soul Society in terms of destructive power.[113] He was also able to withstand a Cero at point-blank range from Starrk, the Primera Espada, in his released form without any noticeable injuries.[114]

ZanpakutōEdit

Katen Kyōkotsu redirects here. For the manifested spirit that appears in the Zanpakutō Unknown Tales arc see Katen Kyōkotsu (spirit).

 


Shunsui with his sealed Zanpakutō

 

Katen Kyōkotsu (花天狂骨, Flower Heaven, Crazy Bone; Viz “Flower-Heaven Bone of Madness”): His Zanpakutō is unique in that it exists as two completely separate swords, existing as a daisho sword pair, consisting of a tachi and a wakizashi. Their cross guards are rectangles, with the corners cut off, decorated by a pattern of cherry petals and lines, and each sports a dark-blue handle. He keeps them sheathed through his waist tie at his left side; although, during battle, the swords have been shown to be placed on both sides of his sash. Like other Zanpakutō, Katen Kyōkotsu has a personality of her own. However, unlike other Zanpakutō, this personality shines through in battle and prevents Shunsui from fighting with his full powers until Katen Kyōkotsu is in the mood for it. Because of this, Shunsui does not like to “play” with “her”.[115]

 


Katen Kyōkotsu in its Shikai.

 

  • Shikai: Its Shikai command is “Flower Wind Rage and Flower God Roar, Heavenly Wind Rage and Heavenly Demon Sneer” (花風紊れて花神啼き天風紊れて天魔嗤う, hana kaze midarete, kashin naki, tenpū midarete, tenma warau; Viz “When the Flower Wind Rages, the Flower God Roars, When the Wind of Heaven Rages, the God of the Underworld Sneers”). Kyōraku sets the two blades against each other in a cross, and then pulls after uttering the poem-like command. When the flash clears, Katen Kyōkotsu has become a pair of huge, heavily-curved, black Chinese scimitars with silver edges. The hilt and tsuba of each are still the same as they were in Katen Kyōkotsu’s sealed-form, but they now sport long red tassels dangling from the end.[116] Despite the two swords becoming identical in this state, Shunsui has stated they still serve as one (the wakizashi) being used mainly for speed strikes, and the other (the tachi) being used mainly for power strikes. Hence that they still exist as a daisho sword pair, with the wakizashi being slightly smaller in size than the tachi.[117]
Shikai Special Ability: The power of Katen Kyōkotsu is to “make children’s games real”. The Zanpakutō makes the rules and anyone who steps within the boundaries of its spiritual pressure is forced to play by those rules, including Shunsui himself. According to Shunsui, “if you win you live, if you lose you die”.[118]

 


Kyōraku using Bushōgoma

 

  • Bushōgoma (不精独楽, Lazy Spinning Top): Shunsui rotates with both blades facing in opposite directions creating large wind blades that fire toward an opponent from Katen Kyōkotsu. The wind blades join together forming a spinning circle of wind that upon contact with a target envelops the target with tornado-like intensity. The attack is not only dangerous but can disorient an opponent trapped within it.[119] The technique is powerful enough to counteract high-powered Cero blasts.[120] The game this technique represents is a spinning top game.
  • Takaoni (嶄鬼, Mountain Demon): This move was also used in Shunsui’s battle with Starrk, but Starrk’s attack hid the nature of the attack.[121] However, Shunsui later explains that with this “game” whoever is higher up “wins.”[122]

 


Shunsui using Kageoni

 

  • Kageoni (影鬼, Shadow Demon): The rule of this game is that whoever gets their shadow stepped on “loses.”[123] The game itself allows competitors to manipulate shadows to their advantage. For example, Shunsui has demonstrated the ability to hide himself in shadows by using this technique, and he can also control the shadows and use them to attack an opponent by attacking the shadow they are currently standing upon.
  • Irooni (色鬼, Colorful Demon): This is a color-based game where you say the name of the color you want to cut with your sword and you cannot cut anything else.[124] If the color that you call does not exist on your body, the damage is minimal, even if the attack would normally inflict a much more severe wound. The opposite is true; by calling out a color you’re wearing and attacking, the damage given is proportional to the amount of that color on you. To maximize damage, you have to use a color that maximizes the risks to your self as well as your enemy’s. For example, by wearing black robes and calling “black,” one would inflict massive damage on an enemy if struck even if the actual blow itself was minimal or minor, but the caller would also suffer serious damage if he/she is struck by the enemy in return.[125]

 

  • Bankai: Not yet revealed. Ukitake warned Shunsui not to release his Bankai “where others can see.”[126]

Appearances In Other MediaEdit

Both PSP and Nintendo DS Bleach games portrayed that Kyōraku’s Shikai allows him to manipulate wind. However, this was prior to the revelation of the true nature of his Zanpakutō and Shikai. In both Bleach DS games, Bleach: The Blade of Fate and Bleach: Dark Souls, Kyōraku is able to perform a special move together with Jūshirō Ukitake, when they are in a team. The attack is called Daifuhabanrai (大風波万雷, Great Wind and Waves Heavy Thunder). It combines a powerful hurricane-like, green wind-attack, performed by Kyōraku, and lightning in form of several ball-lightnings, which form diamonds, performed by Ukitake. This is notable in that in both games, it is the only such ‘team attack’ possible. Kyōraku appears in Bleach: Soul Resurrección, utilizing his true shikai abilities and is able to fight with Bushogama, Kageoni and Takeoni.

Trivia Edit

  • Kyōraku is the only Shinigami known to wield a Zanpakutō that exists as two completely separate blades in both its sealed state and its Shikai.
  • His theme song, as chosen by Tite Kubo, is Carlos Gardel’s “Por una Cabeza”.
  • His Zanpakutō and Jūshirō Ukitake’s Zanpakutō have the longest release commands as of yet. Word-for-word, Ukitake’s is the longer of the two, although the translation in the English manga drastically shortens it and lengthens Kyōraku’s.
  • In the most recent popularity poll, Kyōraku was ranked 17th (he came 36th in the 2nd and 29th in the 3rd).
  • His Zanpakutō, Katen Kyōkotsu, was joint 33rd in the Zanpakutō poll, tying with Shun Shun Rikka and Gamuza.

QuotesEdit

  • (To Yasutora Sado) “Then it can’t be helped. Drink, my friend! Since you won’t turn back, at least stay here for a while. Just a little while. All the other captains must have made their moves by now. This battle should be over soon. Until then, please stay here and drink to your heart’s content.[127]
  • (To Sado) “Rescue Rukia-chan? She has only been gone since spring. Time’s too short. The friendship is not strong enough. You should have no reason to give up your life for her.[128]
  • (To Sado) “Since you are so determined, it was impolite of me to try to dissuade you. I apologize for that. Very well then. I have no choice but to take your life.[129]
  • (To Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto) “But a huge matter like this isn’t something you encounter every day, right? It’s that fatherly love where you want to get your subordinate some experience.[130]
  • (To Nanao Ise) “It’s because you’re the youngest in our Division right now. I remember the names of all the young girls.[132]
  • (To Coyote Starrk) “It’s not good to keep forcing this characteristic thing, Espada-san. And if you’re going to talk about characteristic, not having a characteristic behaviour is characteristic of me.[134]
  • (To Love Aikawa) “Getting caught up in style and throwing away victory is something for the lower ranks to do. Captains can’t even think about doing such a carefree thing. Don’t try to be a good guy. It doesn’t matter who owes who. From the instant they enter into a war, both sides are evil.[135]
  • (To Sōsuke Aizen) “I guess I’m not a very good listener when my opponent is male. I get bored just listening.[136]

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