Gateways in Bleach (Senkaimon, Garganta, Jigoku no Mon) Explained!
If you’re a Bleach fan, you probably know by now that there are four main worlds in the world created by Tite Kubo. The Human World is our world, from where Ichigo comes from. The Soul Society is the origin place of the Shinigami, whereas Hueco Mundo is the place that Hollows reside in. There is also the enigmatic Hell, which has not been heavily featured in the canon material. As you know very well, in order to travel from one world to another, one has to access a specific portal or gateway between the worlds and in this article, we are going to explain the three main gateways in Bleach and how they actually work.
The Senkaimon is a portal that connects two different worlds. The Shinigami use them to get from Soul Society to the human world or vice versa. The first Senkaimon seen is created by Renji at Byakuya’s command. Before a human can enter the Senkaimon, their solid particles must be transformed into spirit particles by a Reishihenkanki. The interior of the Senkaimon is called Dangai, an intermediate dimension of Soul Society and the world of the living, and has two defenses that are intended to prevent anyone from staying there for a long time, first Kōryū and second Kōtotsu.
The Kōryū is a kind of wall that collapses behind those trying to cross the Dangai. The collapsing wall holds everything it touches, such as Uryū’s cape, which Chad then rips off so he can keep running. He is particularly good at holding spirit bodies, i.e. freed Zanpakutōs, which Yoruichi warns about when Ichigo wants to use Zangetsu to save Uryū.
Kōtotsu ensures that nobody stays longer in the dimension between the two worlds than necessary, because time stands still here. The Kōtotsu has the appearance of an organic, living train with a lamp (it could also possibly be a worm-like creature). It only comes out once a week, just when Yoruichi are on their way to Soul Society for the first time with Ichigo, Chad, Orihime, and Uryū.
Anything that touches it will be destroyed. After the group manages to escape from it, Yoruichi says that Orihime was lucky, as her Shun Shun Rikka was destroyed when touched by the Kōtotsu. The only Shinigami who have destroyed him so far were Shūsuke Amagai (filler) and Sōsuke Aizen (manga chapter 407).
All intruders can go through the Senkaimon in the same way as Shinigami, but the lack of Jigokuchō forces the intruders to have to go through the Dangai. This is a very difficult task to do because the souls that do not cross the Dangai before the gates of Soul Society close will be locked there forever. It is possible for the Seireitei to disable these mechanisms so that Shinigami and Humans can safely cross the Dangai.
To arrive and depart from the Human World, the Senkaimon can appear almost anywhere. When it appears like this, the Senkaimon manifests itself a traditional Japanese door waiting to enter a shōji. It can be opened with a Zanpakutō as a key; this is done by simply placing the Zanpakutō in front of the wielder and inserting it into the special space that makes the Senkaimon appear, after which the user has to turn the sword like a key. When the door appears and opens fully, another door opens behind it, releasing the Jigokuchō.
The Garganta is the technique used by Arrancars and Hollows to enter and exit Hueco Mundo. It can be said to literally tear through the dimensional fabric to open a breach between the worlds, revealing a tunnel composed of enormous energy that must be focused and solidified in order to create a discernible path.
It is primarily used by Hollows and Arrancars, but other characters have managed to use it in different ways. Aside from traveling, the Garganta can also have a second function, only shown once: Garganta Broadcast, which is a visual broadcast similar to a television screen that is created by manipulating Garganta’s individual portals. Ulquiorra Cifer, one of Aizen’s Espada, created this so he could see the current situation of Orihime Inoue’s friends (Ichigo Kurosaki, Tōshirō Hitsugaya, and Rangiku Matsumoto), who were fighting their respective battles elsewhere. It is unknown whether he could create more if he wished so, or if three broadcasts are his limit.
All Menos-class Hollows and Arrancars are capable of opening a Garganta. In most cases, the Garganta opens with the distinctive segmented pattern, but in the case of the first Gillian-class Menos appearing in Karakura Town and those at Sōkyoku Hill, the Garganta is opened simply by tearing the sky as if it were a fabric, leaving the edges jagged.
Also, Kisuke Urahara demonstrated the ability to use the technique. More recently, Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi acquired the ability to use Garganta through extensive research while a prisoner in Hueco Mundo.
Jigoku no Mon
Jigoku no Mon, or the Gates of Hell, is the gateway to Hell in Bleach. The gates are usually chained shut and decorated with the bandaged head and torso of a skeleton on each door. The arms of both of these skeletons are positioned at an angle so that they can easily pull the gates open when it is summoned. It seems that the Gates are prevented from opening fully from the inside by two thick ropes with charms attached to them.
Generally, the face and left arm of a large, unknown demonic creature can be seen behind the Gates when they are open. The demonic entity has armor plating on its upper arm and it wields a blade. Its left arm and face are covered in tattoos resembling tribal markings. The demon skewers the Hollow entering Hell with its blade, and pulls it through the Gates, while laughing. The Gates then close and the entire structure cracks and crumbles into nothing. This has been changed in the future, as we’ve seen the spirits of dead Hollows and Shinigami reside within Hell.
Nothing more is known about the Gates at this moment but if Kubo – hopefully – decided to continue Bleach, we are certainly going to find out more information about it.
Sources: Bleach Fanon Central Wiki and Bleach: Akujin Saga Wiki