Most Bleach fans will know all the major Shinigami in the series, while hardcore fans will know even some whose impact on the story is not that big. But do you know Imoyama-san? Well, probably not by that name, but that’s the name Ichigo Kurosaki once used when he talked to Zennosuke Kurumadani, the Shinigami who was assigned to guard over Karakura Town after Rukia. He is a relatively unknown guy and a source of many laughs, which is why we are going to introduce him in this article.
Zennosuke Kurumadani is a Shinigami with the 13th Division who was put in charge of Karakura Town after Rukia Kuchiki. His signature appearance made him a source of many laughs – as no one really gave him much credit due to his strange afro haircut and his flamboyant personality – as well as nicknames, including Afro-san and Af-san. He wasn’t overly weak but much weaker than Rukia Kuchiki, which is why Ichigo did most of the work in Karakura Town at the time. Even his Zanpakuto’s name, Tsuchinamazu, was funny, as it literally means “Earth Catfish.” After the events of the Arrancar Saga, he was succeeded by Shino Madarame and Ryūnosuke Yuki.
The rest of this article will be dedicated to Zennosuke Kurumadani and his story as it happened on the pages of Bleach. We are actually going to explain who Zennosuke Kurumadani is, why he is such a funny character, and what his overall powers and abilities are in the series. We will answer all the important questions about this intriguing member of the 13th Division, so stick with us if you want to know what happened. This article will contain many major spoilers, so be careful if you haven’t actually read the Bleach manga, as this article will reveal a lot.
Zennosuke Kurumadani is a gimmick character, but he did his fair share of work in the series
Zennosuke Kurumadani is a character who is known to Bleach fans, but he is a character who was more of a gimmick creation than anything else. Zennosuke was a strange fellow, and due to this, he was mostly a source of fun in the series, as his interactions with other characters were quite often hilarious.
But, when it came down to defending the people of Karakura, he took immense pride in his post and showed that he wasn’t just for show, although… he wasn’t really the strongest among them. But let us see his story.
Zennosuke Kurumadani is a swaggering shinigami who wants to help out in everything from when Ichigo first meets Shinji to when Ikkaku fought Edrad Liones. He also describes himself as an “elite shinigami,” although he is actually far from it, he is, we cannot deny that, useful in less dangerous situations.
Still, despite his weaknesses, he seems dutiful; for example, he asks Keigo Asano to leave the area of the battle between Ikkaku and Edrad to fulfill his duty of protecting the people. However, Keigo doesn’t take him seriously because he thinks that Afro-san, which is his nickname for Zennosuke because of his afro cut, is actually the star of a TV series. It is unknown if Keigo’s opinion of Zennosuke has changed now that he has learned that Ichigo is a Shinigami.
When Ichigo first met Zennosuke, the latter demanded that he identify himself, and Ichigo showed him his deputy badge, which Zennosuke didn’t recognize (this was an important plot element in the Fullbrigner Arc, where it was explained why Zennosuke had no clue what the badge actually was).
Ichigo then perceived him as being useless and did not want to pay much attention to him. However, the two’s conversation was then interrupted by Shinji Hirako, who challenged Ichigo. Impressed by the Reiatsu released in the process, Kurumadani wondered what “monsters” they were.
He is not informed about the latest happenings around Sōsuke Aizen and the Arrancar and doesn’t seem to be up to date otherwise either, which shows that no one really cared too much for him, which was a source of many laughs. So when he first met Ichigo, he genuinely thought that Rukia was guilty and would have been convicted for her crime.
However, he later reappeared in the events surrounding Kon as a Karakuraizer, helping him against some Hollows in Karakura, but this is not part of the main story. He helped Keigo, in particular, with his Zanpakuto Tsuchinamazu.
He was later brought up to speed at least a little by Kisuke Urahara, as he was present when the latter put Kon and Ichigo’s friends to sleep, as well as the rest of Karakura, and created the Four Pillars. He later helped Tatsuki and Keigo escape from Aizen and Gin, although he was aware that he couldn’t do much against either of them; this demonstrated that he was quite brave and valued his duties very highly. However, when they are caught up by them again, they are finally saved by Ichigo, who goes to the mountains with Aizen to carry out their fight there.
Nineteen months after the battle against Aizen, not long after the end of the Lost Agent Arc, after Ichigo has also regained his Shinigami powers, Zennosuke is transferred back to Soul Society and accompanies his successors, Ryūnosuke Yuki and Shino Madarame, to Karakura Town where he immediately leaves without telling them anything about what they would be doing.
He gave them advice, though, telling them to work hard and avoid any fights. And that is, more or less, his whole story. His powers and abilities remain to explain here, so we will now tell you how strong Zennosuka Kurumadani is in Bleach.
The true extent of Zennosuke’s powers and abilities is unknown, although, from what we’ve seen, he seems to be on an average level in every aspect. He has been described as having an average level of Spiritual Pressure, which actually fits his characterization completely. As for his Zanpakuto, he has a regular blade whose name is Tsuchinamazu, which literally means “Earth Catfish,” which is, we assume, another way of making Zennosuke even more gimmick than he already is, so thank you, Kubo, for making his character so fun.
But, if you thought that Tsuchinamazu was the end of it… well, its release command is actually – “Good morning!” – which is by far the silliest and funniest release command in the whole series. So, this means that Zennosuke releases his Shikai by saying, “Good morning, Earth Catfish!” Wow…
But, Tsuchinamazu is not as weak as the release command suggests. Namely, the blade changes shape into a wind and fire wheel, which makes it more effective, and when Zennosuke slams it to the ground, it can create a powerful and destructive fissure. Sure, the attack was completely useless against Aizen, but Kubo showed us that despite everything, Zennosuke had some fight in him and could defeat some weaker opponents.