Most Bleach characters are actually popular because they are canon or have been present in the anime filler episodes, gaining notoriety despite the criticisms directed towards these episodes. Still, the Bleach universe also contains several light novels that supplement the canon story, most of which have been (semi-officially) confirmed as canon by Kubo. One such work is Bleach: Spirits Are Forever With You by Ryōgo Narita, which features the character of Sōya Azashiro, who was the eighth Kenpachi at one point. In this article, we are going to tell you what happened to him in the series.
Sōya Azashiro was the former Captain of the 11th Division and the 8th Kenpachi before his rebellion. At some point, while gathering much power, he rebelled against the Gotei 13 and tried to bring them down, but ultimately failed and gave himself up as he heard that the Royal Guard was pondering coming to assist the Gotei 13. He was then imprisoned in the Muken, where he – seemingly – still is.
The article is going to be divided into two major sections. The first one is going to introduce the character and tell you a bit about Azashiro’s powers and abilities, while the other one is going to tell you what happened to him in the story. The article is going to contain a lot of spoilers from the Bleach lore, so be careful how you approach it if you’re not up-to-date with all the details.
Who is Sōya Azashiro?
In the Gotei 13, Sōya Azashiro, also known as Kenpachi Azashiro, served as the 11th Division’s captain. He succeeded Kenpachi Kuruyashiki as the eighth Kenpachi, taking the title from him. He belonged to the illustrious Azashiro Family. Azashiro seems to be a proud, courteous, and well-mannered individual.
He despises weakness, though, as evidenced by his mocking remarks to Sōsuke Aizen in the Muken when he tells him that he did not respect him for losing to Ichigo Kurosaki and that he is unable to comprehend how a loss can be advantageous. He also appears to possess a similar level of patience to Aizen, who waited 200 years while imprisoned before carrying out his objectives. He is also a tough fighter, as befits a Kenpachi. Now, we are going to tell you a bit about his powers and skills, as well as his weapon, which he used in the Spirits Are Forever With You light novel.
Azashiro became one of the most powerful Captains in Soul Society, to the point of defeating his previous Captain and murdering other captains during their rebellion 200 years ago. Also, holding a position as Captain of the Gotei 13, Azashiro had one of the 13 largest Spiritual Pressures in the Soul Society. His Reiatsu was so great that he didn’t even flinch after feeling the power of Hundred Grantz, whose Reiatsu is comparable to that of a Vasto Lorde.
Despite being a former member of the 11th Division, Azashiro is very proficient in the use of Kidō; thanks to the special ability of his Bankai, Azashiro is able to throw high-level Kidō without any incantations and uses a fighting system that centers around his ability with the Kidō. He can invoke dozens of high-level Kidō spells such as Hadō #96, Ittō Kasō, and Hadō #90, Kuroshitsuji.
Being a bearer of the Kenpachi title (he was known as the 8th Kenpachi), he indicates that he is quite a monster when it comes to the use of Zanjutsu. However, unlike the other members of the 11th Division and especially those who have held the title of Kenpachi, Azashiro is not very adept at hand-to-hand combat, coming to recognize that his strength lies in his special ability.
Currently, both the name and the sealed form of Azashiro’s Zanpakutō are unknown; all that is known is the name of his Bankai, which is Urozakuro. It has been revealed in the light novel that Azashiro’s Zanpakutō is permanently in the Bankai state, which is an exceptionally rare phenomenon. Due to the fact that Azashiro’s Zanpakutō is always in his Bankai state, the ability of his Shikai cannot be known for certain; this is because, at the time of getting his Zanpakutō, Azashiro was so strong that he could activate his Bankai immediately. For this reason, the release command of his Shikai is not known; in fact, Azashiro himself has no idea what the release command is.
His Shikai’s abilities are largely unknown, except for one, which is his greatest offensive ability and is also part of his Bankai as well, and that is Azashiro’s ultimate technique. In order to use it, Azashiro must nullify his Bankai and, therefore, fuse it with the Seireitei, materializing in his hand a sword whose appearance is that of a normal Asauchi, without any distinguishing characteristics. However, in this sword, the Reishi of everything that Azashiro had previously fused with is concentrated.
His Bankai’s name is Urozakuro, as we have said. Azashiro’s Bankai’s main ability consists of a fusion between any type of material or living being and its master. In addition, it assimilates and penetrates the material or subjects designated for fusion. His range reaches the circumference of Soul Society. Due to the fact that he has merged with the Seireitei itself, Azashiro can understand any event that happens in his area of influence, listen to conversations, and even teleport anywhere within the Seireitei.
However, his Bankai has certain weaknesses. If he is affected by abilities like Yumichika’s Shikai or Quincy’s more basic ability to absorb or collect Reishi, Azashiro will take a ton of damage. It took him a year to fuse with the Seireitei once his initial Fusion was broken. While he is in the fusion state, Azashiro’s bodily features drop sharply.
Is Sōya Azashiro dead, and what happened to him?
The Spirits Are Forever With You light novel has not been translated into English as of yet, but we do know some details about Azashiro’s plot from the story. Namely, we know that Azashiro became the Captain of the 11th Division at some point and then, after a while, rebelled against the Gotei 13 after he evaluated that he had gathered enough power. His plan ultimately failed, and he was stopped by the Gotei 13; when he heard that the Royal Guard would be coming down to take him down for good, he gave up on his initial plan and gave himself up to the Central 46. He was tried and sentenced to imprisonment in the Muken, where he seemingly remains even now. Since he never appeared in the canon works, not much is known about him aside from this.