Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto is one of Bleach‘s most famous characters and after his recent clash with Yhwach in the anime series, people want to know as much about him as possible, which also includes some old information that you might have missed or forgotten. Be that as it may if you’ve noticed – Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto has his left arm missing in the new series, and those who haven’t seen the earlier episodes or have forgotten why it happened, wanted to know why and that is why we have decided to write this article, in which we are going to tell you how Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto lost a left arm in Bleach.
After finally destroying and killing Wonderweiss, Yamamoto moved on to confront Aizen himself. Aizen warned him that the flames of his sword were about to explode along with Wonderweiss and destroy everything in the vicinity, to which Yamamoto jumped on Wonderweiss’ corpse and took the full power of the blast. He then used his charred body to use Ittō Kasō to kill Aizen, sacrificing his left arm in the process.
In the remainder of this article, we are going to tell you all the relevant details surrounding Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto’s loss of his left arm during the battle against Aizen in Fake Karakura Town. This article is going to contain a lot of information from the manga and the anime, so if you don’t know why this happened, expect some major spoilers related to why Yamamoto was seen without his left arm after the Arrancar Saga in Bleach.
How and when did Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto lose his left arm?
The story of how and why Yamamoto lost his left arm is actually related to the battle of Fake Karakura Town and starts with the arrival of Wonderweiss, a specially-purposed Arrancar whose goal was to seal Yamamoto’s Zanpakuto. Until then, Yamamoto has mostly observed the fighting without any intervention, save for when he killed Ayon to save the lieutenants. So, what happened when Wonderweiss arrived?
The Shinigami seem to be having trouble with the powerful Espada and the newly arrived Wonderweiss Margela. It seems hopeless when suddenly old acquaintances arrive – the Visored, ready to fight. When asked which side they are on, Shinji Hirako replies that they are definitely not on the side of the Gotei 13, but definitely on the side fighting Aizen.
To explain their late arrival, Shinji says that the barrier around Fake Karakura Town was so strong that Shinji’s group simply couldn’t get in, only being allowed in by Chōjirō Sasakibe by accident. This creates an alliance between the Visored and Gotei 13, which together can defeat all of the Espada. The winning streak breaks when Aizen Sosuke slashes both enemies and allies to face the allied forces face-to-face.
While Aizen defeats opponent after opponent with almost no casualties, Yamamoto is not seen for a long time. As it turns out, Yamamoto has prepared his Ennetsu Jigoku technique in which both he and Aizen were supposed to die. When Aizen pierces him, Captain-Commander holds him down so that he can no longer escape from this technique.
However, Wonderweiss Margela appears, who was created to seal Yamamoto’s Ryujin Jakka, and does so, leaving Yamamoto seemingly defenseless. However, Yamamoto calls the opponents naïve and says that there hasn’t been a stronger Shinigami for 1000 years, so sealing his Zanpakuto won’t be enough to defeat him. In one fight, he kills Wonderweiss by hand-to-hand combat, but his corpse explodes from the flames absorbed.
Yamamoto protects the city with his body and sustains serious injuries. As Aizen confidently approaches him and is about to kill him, Yamamoto grabs his leg and uses the powerful Kido #96, Ittou Kasou, without incantation against him, dealing heavy damage to his opponent’s arm, but Aizen mostly saved himself from the attack. Sosuke Aizen emphasizes that this spell is a self-sacrifice technique.
However, Yamamoto survived the use of this technique and lost his left arm in the process. After Ichigo Kurosaki defeats Aizen, the Shinigami return to Soul Society, where Yamamoto reprimands Byakuya, Kenpachi, and Shunsui Kyōraku for losing their captain’s hair. He lost his arm in the battle and opted not to have it returned. This was a strange decision, especially considering Yamamoto’s old age, but a decision that did not impact his skills nor his influence in the future, as we are about to see in the next section, in which we are going to explain the reasons behind such a decision in more detail, as well as tell you a bit about Yamamoto’s personality, which is relevant for understanding this decision.
Why did Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto lose his left arm?
Going back to the events of Fake Karakura Town, Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto was not the only character that suffered a major injury, but he was the only one whose injury remained even after the battle. Namely, if you remember, Soi Fon and Hachigen also lost their arms during their battle against Baraggan, Ukitake was pierced through the chest, like Hinamori, but all of them returned to normal after Aizen’s fall, save for Yamamoto, whose injuries did heal, but his left arm was not there.
Now, it is fascinating that Yamamoto opted to continue without his arm and that even in such a state, no one even dared to question his competence to be the Captain-Commander. In that state, he not only burned Driscoll Berci to a crisp, he also shook off and burned three powerful Sternritter as if they were mere insects, and fatally wounded Royd Lloyd who was pretending to be Yhwach. All of that without one arm. Amazing!
And while all of this might seem random or just proof of how awesome Yamamoto was, there is an in-universe explanation that perfectly fits Yamamoto’s personality. But, before we answer that, let us tell you a bit about what person Yamamoto was. The Soul Society Shinigami held Yamamoto in high regard as the Captain-Commander of the Gotei 13, which was especially evident in the case of Sajin Komamura, the 7th Division’s Captain, who valued Yamamoto’s opinion so highly that he put it above his own. Yamamoto has a great deal of experience, so he hardly ever gets shocked by what he sees when he opens an eye. The Captain-Commander strictly upholds the law and anticipates that everyone else will do the same in his capacity as head of Soul Society’s executive branch.
Because of this, he does not put up with any form of disobedience and is prepared to hold the offender responsible for his error. Yamamoto’s eyes are virtually always closed, but when he gets used to being quiet and at ease, he almost seems to be asleep. Despite his notoriety, Yamamoto prefers to be addressed as Yama-jii or Yamamoto-jiisan by Shunsui Koyraku, whereas Jushiro Ukitake refers to his former instructor as Genryusai-sensei. According to Yhwach, Yamamoto allegedly used to utilize anything and everything to achieve his objectives, but over time his methods evolved. Yamamoto hates the person he used to be and would never impose his issues on a person from the human world today.
The last sentence actually explains why he did not want to restore his arm. Namely, the only person who could’ve restored his arm was Orihime Inoue, who did so with the others at the behest of Yamamoto personally, but since she was a human, Yamamoto did not want to trouble himself. Unohana was able to heal his injuries, but her powers weren’t of such a nature that she could restore his arm. Since he did not want to bother a human with his problems, Yamamoto – because of his pride as a Shinigami and as a reformed person from when he was younger – opted to continue armless rather than to trouble Orihime to heal him.