Bleach: How & Why Was Shinji Able to Use His Bankai?

Bleach: How & Why Was Shinji Able to Use His Bankai?
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After a long wait, the third episode of the second cour of the new Bleach anime finally revealed Shinji Hirako’s Bankai, Sakashima Yokoshima Happōfusagari, thus making the famous scene from the Can’t Fear Your Own World light novel canon, as the scene was not originally present in the manga. Shinji Hirako is the eccentric Visored who later turned out to be the former Captain of the 5th Division and one of the most powerful Shinigami in the whole series; after Aizen’s downfall, Hirako was reinstated as the Captain of the 5th Division, and in that vicinity, he played an important role in fighting the invading Sternritter. Since he finally managed to activate his Bankai, despite the restrictions, we will tell you how and why he was able to do it in the first place.

Sakashima Yokoshima Happōfusagari is a very powerful Bankai that actually changes the complete perception of a foe, making their allies become enemies and vice versa; it is a wide area Bankai that affects a lot of targets at the same time and does so indiscriminately, which is why it was banned, as it targeted Shinigami as well as their opponents. It is also useless against a single enemy. As Shinji was alone, facing a group of Soldaten with no allies in sight, he was finally able to activate his Bankai and reveal all of its splendor to all of us.

The rest of this article will focus on the scene in which Shinji Hirako activated his Bankai from the most recent Bleach episode. This was a crucial scene as it was not present in the original manga, i.e., Kubo actually expanded the story in the anime, which is why it is so important. And that is why we have decided to tell you everything you need to know. The article is, of course, going to contain numerous spoilers, so be careful how you approach it.

Since the conditions had been met, Shinji could activate his Bankai without fear of causing any problems for his allies

Fans have seen Shinji Hirako’s Shikai, Sakanade, during his fight against Aizen in Fake Karakura, but his Bankai, despite being one of the most intriguing ones, was not revealed in the manga. It was first revealed in the sequel light novel, Can’t Fear Your Own World, but many fans are still unaware that this light novel is not canon.

This is why Kubo changed things a bit and included Shinji’s Bankai, Sakashima Yokoshima Happōfusagari, in the Thousand-Year Blood War anime, thus making it clear to everyone that it is part of the canon.

As far as Shinji Hirako’s Bankai is concerned, we know that the Bankai is always an upgrade of the Shikai in a way, so we could have assumed that Shinji’s Bankai would be an even stronger version of Sakanade, and that proved to be true. Namely, Sakanade was a special Shikai that completely altered the spatial perception of the target, changing absolutely every direction and making it impossible for an enemy to fight that way, as it is impossible to figure out all the changes; Aizen did it during their fight, but Aizen is special.

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So, building on this, Aizen’s Bankai takes all of it to another level, and we’re going to explain what it does. Called Sakashima Yokoshima Happofusagari (transl. “Reversed Evil Eight Treasure Blockade”), it is actually a wide-area Bankai, meaning its effects are visible on those inside a certain radius, with the user himself excluded. The user is protected from the Bankai’s dangerous effects by a large flower construct, whose petals close up and protect Shinji from the effects of the Bankai.

It is one of the most hazardous Bankai in the Seireitei, which is why it is one of the so-called forbidden Bankai (Yamamoto’s Bankai was also one of the forbidden Bankai, but it could only be used for a brief period of time, as was Kyoraku’s Katen Kyokotsu: Karamatsu Shinju). Why are they not allowed? These Bankai are prohibited since they indiscriminately target both opponents and allies, and because of their wide range, they pose an equal threat to both (Shinji himself has admitted this fact, claiming that his Bankai poses a serious threat to his allies).

So, as you can see, certain conditions must be met before Shinji can activate his Bankai without any problems. As we’ve said, it is a very dangerous Bankai as it indiscriminately targets both friends and foes, which is why the Central 46 has put it on the list of forbidden Bankai – it is simply too dangerous.

Namely, just imagine a situation where Shinji would activate the Bankai in front of many Shinigami – the Shinigami would simply slaughter themselves. Sure, Hirako is immune as he is in the center of the Bankai’s radius, and he could probably fit someone else in that flower-like sphere of his (this is similar to how Byakuya’s Senbonzakura Kageyoshi has a small area in the center that protects Byakuya), but everyone else would be affected.

On top of that, it is quite useless against one enemy, which is why Shinji can only activate it when a group of enemies surrounds him. On top of that, he can only activate it outside the Seirtei or inside it, when there is a wartime exception. In short, the conditions that have to be met are:

  1. There has to be a wartime exception, or he has to be outside the Seireitei;
  2. He has to be surrounded by a group of enemies;
  3. No allies can be present around him.

Now, activating is quite easy, as Shinji is a powerful character, but these conditions are usually not met simultaneously, so Shinji doesn’t often have the opportunity to use his great Bankai. But, the anime actually provided us with this, as all the conditions have been met.

First of all, the wartime exceptions were in place, as the Gotei 13 were at war with the Sternritter, so there was that. He also wasn’t technically in the Seireitei, as the Seireitei was replaced with the Wandenreich, so both conditions were met. Secondly, he was surrounded by a large group of Soldaten who were willing to kill him per Yhwach’s orders. This means that the second condition was also met. Finally, since the Shinigami were scattered around the Wandenreich, Shinji was actually alone in front of the Soldaten, with no allies present. And with this, the third condition was also met.

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If you add to all of this the fact that Urahara managed to find a way to stop the Sternritter from stealing the Bankai of the Shinigami, Shinji has absolutely no reason not to activate his Bankai, and he did it, ultimately eliminating his opponents brutally and mercilessly, on one of the new anime’s best scenes without a doubt. And that is the story of how Shinji could activate his Bankai and why he could do it without much hesitation this time.

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