Bleach: Why Is Shinji Hirako’s Bankai So Dangerous?

Bleach: Why Is Shinji Hirako's Bankai so Dangerous?
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Bleach fans will certainly remember the first time they met Shinji Hirako, as he had an introduction that one does not easily forget. The eccentric Visored later turned out to be the former Captain of the 5th Division and one of the most powerful Shinigami in the whole series; he was even able to injure Aizen in Fake Karakura Town. After Aizen’s downfall, he was reinstated as the Captain of the 5th Division and was performing his duties with his Lieutenant, Momo Hinamori, when Yhwach and his Sternritter invaded Soul Society. And while Shinji participated in the fights in the original manga, the anime expanded on his role and revealed his Bankai in the third episode of the second cour. But Shinji was actually forbidden from using his Bankai in the Seireitei because it was too dangerous, and in this article, we will explain why that is.

Shinji Hirako’s Bankai, Sakashima Yokoshima Happofusagari, is a dangerous wide area Bankai whose special ability is to alter the perception of the enemies it affects. Namely, unlike Sakanade, which alters spatial perception, Sakashima Yokoshima Happofusagari actually changes everything, meaning that allies become enemies and vice versa. Shinji is the only one not affected by it. Because it indiscriminately affects both allies and enemies, Shinji cannot use it in the presence of other Shinigami.

Due to its specific evolution and all the notoriety surrounding it, Shinji Hirako’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 why it is so dangerous. The article will explain what Sakashima Yokoshima Happōfusagari does and why it is considered so dangerous. Be careful, though, as we are going to reveal a lot of spoilers in this article.

Shinji’s Bankai is powerful under certain conditions, but it affects both friend and foe, which makes it so dangerous

Being a Captain of the Gotei 13, Shinji Hirako has high Spiritual Pressure, in addition to being a Visored, which gave him additional powers and abilities. He is, of course, also able to use Bankai because of this, as a Bankai is a requirement for a Captain (except Kenpachi Zaraki, who remains the only known Captain to achieve the rank without a Bankai). Hirako has shown himself to be insightful and analytical, being one of the few people who could see through some of Aizen’s lies, although he was also ultimately tricked.

Shinji has one of the most powerful illusion-type Zanpakutō in the series; its name is Sakanade. Sakanade was first shown during the collective battle against Sōsuke Aizen in Fake Karakura Town, as Shinji confronted his former lieutenant and showed us his Zanpakutō and its Shikai.

Sakanade has a special ability known as Sakasama no Sekai (transl. “Upside Down World”), one of Shinji’s Zanpakuto’s well-known special abilities. Shinji’s Zanpakuto can create an illusion in which all directions are reversed.

So right becomes left, top becomes bottom, front becomes back, and vice versa. In this way, the direction from which an attack comes is swapped with the viewing direction. Your own movements also act in the opposite direction. Shinji calls the illusion for the opponent the Upside Down World.

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Shinji retorted that it was difficult to mentally reverse all directional adjustments in the heat of battle in response to Aizen’s assertion that Sakanade’s Shikai was simply a matter of habit. Shinji questioned Aizen if he smelled anything delicious and claimed it was too late to hold his breath, but gases inhaled by the nose caused this illusion.

This suggests that his blade might also be classified as poison-based Zanpakuto rather than Kido- or illusion-based Zanpakuto. Shinji can undoubtedly choose who is subject to Sakanade’s illusion because he can employ his Shikai in team strikes. This is significant because we cannot see the same effect when his Bankai is questioned.

Now, as for his Bankai, we know that the Bankai is always an upgrade of the Shikai in a way, so we could assume that Shinji’s Bankai would be an even stronger version of Sakanade, and that is true. 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, there you have it. Actually, this is the principal reason why Shinji Hirako’s Bankai was forbidden in the Seireitei – it was simply too dangerous, and while wartime exceptions allowed him to use it, he was nevertheless careful with it. This is what he himself said when the Soldaten surrounded him. Namely, he explained that he usually cannot do this because his Bankai would also influence his allies, but since none of them were there and a group of enemies surrounded him, he could finally activate his Bankai, even inside the Seireitei (although, technically, it wasn’t the Seireitei anymore, it was the Wandenreich), as it would affect only his enemies.

And he did it. Explaining that his Bankai turns an ally into an enemy and vice versa, he observed as the Soldaten brutally killed each other, while he himself killed the final one after deactivating his Bankai. Shinji himself is protected from the effects of his Bankai, which allows him to fight effectively while it is active. His Bankai doesn’t really work when a lot of enemies do not surround him, but the situation calls for it, so he did activate it the situation called for it. Ultimately, he could do it safely because no one else was there. The Soldaten thought they could easily defeat him since they outnumbered him, but Shinji tricked them and made them kill themselves.

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It was a very brutal Bankai, but this brutality simply shows how and why Shinji’s Bankai, Sakashima Yokoshima Happōfusagari, was so dangerous and why the Central 46 listed it as one of the forbidden Bankai; had they not done it, the risks of Shinji hurting his allies within the Gotei 13 would have been too high and Shinji was aware of that, which is why he himself also avoided activating it unless it was absolutely necessary or safe.

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