Bleach: Rukia’s Bankai, Hakka No Togame, Explained!

Bleach: Rukia's Bankai, Hakka no Togame, Explained!
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One of the main characters in Bleach, Rukia Kuchiki, is also one of the most popular ones in the whole series. She is a member of Ukitake’s 13th Division and was the one who gave Ichigo his Shinigami abilities when they first met. She has since accompanied him on his adventures around the realms. In this post, we’ll tell you a little about Rukia, who is also a particularly strong character, and her Bankai, Hakka no Togane, a Bankai that is exceptionally beautiful and dangerous.

Rukia’s Bankai is called Hakka no Togane, which can be translated as “Censure of the White Haze” or “White Haze Punishment.” It is an upgrade of her true Shikai, which transforms Rukia into a genuine ice princess, as she can fire an all-freezing, powerful ice attack. She activated her Bankai while training with the Zero Division, most likely in Ichibei’s Riden. Hakka no Togane has been described as being superb by Byakuya but also highly dangerous, as it freezes Rukia completely and can even kill her if she is not careful enough to thaw herself gradually.

Due to its specific nature and how it actually debuted in the series, Rukia Kuchiki’s Bankai has become a major part of the Bleach lore, and because the Bankai was so special, we have decided to write an article explaining its powers and abilities to you. Rukia’s Bankai is quite unique in the world of Bleach, and it was essential for us to explain how it works, how it was activated, and why it is so special now that the anime has finally shown it to us in its full splendor. There will be spoilers, so you have to be careful how you approach certain parts of the article, as usual.

Understanding Rukia’s Zanpakuto: Sode no Shirayuki explained

In order to properly understand a Bankai, we must first explain the user’s Shikai, which is a prerequisite. We will explain how and why later, but this is how we have always done these articles, and there is no reason to change that now. As far as Rukia’s Zanpakuto is concerned, it is called Sode no Shirayuki and is an ice-based Elemental-type Zanpakuto. It is activated by the command “Dance,” as Rukia puts it in front of her and turns it in a circle, counter-clockwise.

This changes the color of her blade to white and adds a ribbon that she can use to draw the sword back in her hands. Sode no Shirayuki is considered to be the most beautiful among the Shikai.

Due to it being an ice-based blade, all of Sode no Shirayuki’s attacks are related to ice. They are called “dances” by Rukia, and so far, she has shown that she can use three dances. The first attack, Some no mai, Tsukishiro (First Dance, Moon White), creates a circle on the ground and freezes everything above it, extending its reach to the sky.

A strong ice wave is thrown from Sode no Shirayuki’s blade during the second assault, Tsugi no mai, Hakuren (Next Dance, White Ripple). Finally, San no mai, Shirafune (Third Dance, White Sword), her third and final dance, lengthens the blade using ice flakes, freezing anything it touches. The theory is that Rukia can only use the San no mai, Shirafune, if the blade of her sword is (partially) shattered because she has only used it once so far when Sode no Shirayuki was broken, although this has not yet been proven.

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As fans will know, this was the basic form of Rukia’s Shikai, one we saw at the beginning of the series and which she had used until her return from the Soul King’s Palace, where she trained with the members of Zero Division. We assume that Ichibei’s training was responsible for her activating the true nature of her Shikai. So, how does it differ from the Sode no Shirayuki we’ve seen in the beginning? Well, the deeper bond that she managed to create with her blade, as well as the fact that she had gotten much stronger (Byakuya himself commented that he was able to sense her Reiatsu while he was coming down to the Seireitei, which means that the increase in her power was truly amazing), allowed her to realize the true nature of her Zanpakuto and that is why she was able to use the true form of her Shikai in her horrifying fight against As Nodt.

Namely, the true form of her Shikai had one major change regarding how the Shikai functioned. As it turned out, the ice was not coming from the blade but from her own body. As long as Rukia employs the technique, she is momentarily dead because bodily functions likewise cease to function in this state as her body is cooled down significantly.

However, she may still move and engage in combat by managing her own spirit particles, although for a short time, as she cannot keep her body frozen for long periods. Rukia can only keep her mobility for four seconds at the absolute zero temperature (-273.15°C) before suffering the repercussions, which could also result in her death. Rukia’s body and sword immediately freeze everything they contact at the molecular level. To avoid causing any more difficulties, she must gradually defrost herself due to the shock to her body.

This was demonstrated during her fight against As Nodt, as she was able to counter his “The Fear,” using the fact that she was (basically) dead at the time, and since dead people cannot feel fear, the true nature of her Shikai allowed her to gain the upper hand against Nodt, if only temporarily until he activated his Vollstandig and transformed himself into the hideous monster that Rukia fought. Now that we have told you everything about her Shikai, we can finally explain her Bankai.

Hakka no Togane is as dangerous as it is superb

The revelation of a character’s Bankai is always a special moment in Bleach because the Bankai usually looks awesome and shows just how powerful the Shinigami is. Now, some Bankai have been revealed fairly early in the series (Byakuya’s, Renji’s, Toshiro’s, etc.), while others were revealed much later (Kenpachi’s, Shinji’s) or never (Aizen’s, Ukitake’s). Rukia has been around from the start, but she had managed to achieve Bankai only much later, during her training with Zero Division, which was a period when several other characters also activated their Bankai for the first time (e.g. Hisagi).

So, her training did pay off, and we have to state that Rukia activating her Bankai was one of the most epic and beautiful moments in the whole series, which is why we have decided to fully explain this Bankai to you.

Before we start, though, there are two facts we must clarify. First off, the Bankai typically amplifies the Shikai’s fundamental abilities. Many such examples include the Bankai of Byakuya Kuchiki, Sajin Komamura, Toshiro Hitsugaya, Mayuri Kurotsuchi, and others. Naturally, Rukia’s Bankai is not an exception in this case. Second, we must remember that the Bankai is always a reflection of the Shinigami in some form. Because of this, Rukia’s character and her approach to performing her duties are important considerations while talking about her Bankai. After going over this, let’s finally talk about Bankai by Rukia Kuchiki.

Sode no Shirayuki’s bankai is called Hakka no Togame (白霞罸), which can be translated as “Censure of the White Haze” or “White Haze Punishment.” Here Rukia receives a long white kimono with some bows on the back and an ice flower in her hair. The Bankai releases a fog that instantly flash-freezes everything around it, turning its opponents into fragile ice statues. The disadvantage or weakness of the Bankai is that the user is also affected by this effect and freezes, meaning that Rukia is an actual ice princess and cannot really move while her Bankai is active.

Still, what it lacks in defense, the Bankai makes up for in offense, as Rukia can quickly create a powerful ice-based burst that will completely freeze anything it touches; she was able to freeze and kill the monstrous form of As Nodt’s Tatarforas with ease, but she always has to perform this attack quickly.

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Namely, if she is hit while in this frozen state, she will shatter like ice, as she has basically become ice at that moment. Also, she will die if she doesn’t thaw herself off gradually. This is why Byakuya, who was impressed with his younger sister’s Bankai, stated that her Bankai is superb and very dangerous, praising her growth and strength.

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