How Did Kenpachi Become the Captain of the 11th Division?

How Did Kenpachi Become the Captain of the 11th Division?

As far as Bleach characters go, Kenpachi Zaraki is one of the most intriguing and popular ones. The guy who actually seemed like a brainless lump of raw strength actually became a character with much depth and one of the best stories in the whole series. He is the current Captain of the 11th Division of the Gotei 13 and a character who likes a challenge more than anything else. The stronger the opponent, the more he enjoys the battle. And that is how he became what he is. Thanks to his lust for fighting, Kenpachi Zaraki became the Captain of the 11th Division, and in this article, we are going to reveal how it happened.

Kenpachi Zaraki became the Captain of the 11th Division after he defeated Kenpachi Kiganjō in front of his whole Division, thereby becoming a Captain through one of the three ways that it is possible. He also inherited the title of Kenpachi from him. He is the only known Captain of the Gotei 13 from the Bleach manga canon who became Captain in such a way.

The rest of this article is going to focus on Kenpachi Zaraki’s history and the story of how he became Captain. We are also going to tell you a bit about how one can become a Captain of the Gotei 13. This article is going to contain a lot of narrative elements from Kenpachi’s history, so if you don’t know every detail, we have to warn you about impending spoilers.

How does one become a Captain of the Gotei 13?

The Captain (in Japanese: 隊長, taichō) is the head of one of the thirteen Divisions of the Gotei 13. Each of these divisions appears to contain between 200 and 500 troops. The captains are the most respected Shinigami in all of Soul Society, as they are the only ones capable of fully releasing their Zanpakutō through the Bankai.

This makes them the most powerful Shinigami, as they can multiply their strength by ten, which is an overwhelming difference, thus making them the most important attack forces in Soul Society. In addition, the Captains are usually quite skilled with their Bankai, as they’ve trained very much with them unless they’re recently appointed.


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Most of the captains also have extensive experience in other combat disciplines, such as Kidō or Shunpo, and are highly knowledgeable about the history and organization of the Seireitei, as well as having a great sense of strategy. All these factors create an abysmal difference in power between the captains and the rest of the Shinigami in their charge.

When a position becomes vacant, there are three different ways to become a captain of the Gotei 13:

  1. Captain Proficiency Test (隊首, taishu): This requires displaying one’s Bankai in front of two or more captains and the Commander General himself.
  2. Personal Recommendation: Be recommended for the position by at least six captains and the approval of three others.
  3. Trial by Combat: Defeat a captain in front of 200 or more witnesses from the same Division. This method is the rarest of all, and of the current generation of captains, only Kenpachi Zaraki has become one this way.

Before the events of the Soul Society Saga, the positions of the thirteen Captains were held by eleven men and two women. However, in this same arc, the Captains of Divisions 3, 5, and 9 have betrayed the Gotei 13 and have become dangerous enemies, leaving their positions vacant. A the end of the Lost Agent Arc, it can be seen that those positions have been filled by former captains Rōjūrō Otoribashi, Shinji Hirako, and Kensei Muguruma, respectively.

During the Quincy Blood War arc, the positions of the 4th, 7th, 8th, and 13th divisions are vacated and later occupied, by the end of the saga, by the previous lieutenants Isane Kotetsu, Tetsuzaemon Iba, Lisa Yadōmaru, and Rukia Kuchiki.

How did Kenpachi Zaraki become the Captain of the 11th Division?

As we have said, Kenpachi Zaraki is the only Captain among the current Captains who became the Captain through trial by combat; he is also the only known canon Captain who became Captain through trial by combat. Now, knowing how much Kenpachi loves fighting, this makes perfect sense, but it also makes him unique among the Captains. In this section, we are going to tell you the story of how Kenpachi Zaraki came to be the Captain of the 11th Division of the Gotei 13 in Bleach.

Kenpachi’s surname, “Zaraki” comes from the Rukongais district where he lived. Zaraki is the 80th district of Rukongai and, thus, the most run-down. Yachiru mentioned that the inhabitants of this district are more animal-like than human (the stark contrast to the 80th district is the 1st, where the souls obey the laws).

By his own admission, Kenpachi didn’t have a native name when he was still living in the 80th Ward, but that’s also where Kenpachi learned how to fight with a sword and killed countless opponents. At an unknown time, while wandering outside the 80th Ward, Kenpachi found a little girl he named Yachiru in memory of the only person he ever admired after she seemed unafraid of his sword.

Yachiru lived in the 79th Ward, Kusajishi, where her parents were also murdered, and it seems that her parents’ murder and their discovery by Kenpachi were closely related. Since then, the two have had a close father-daughter relationship. Also, at an unknown time, before he became a commander, he fought and defeated Ikkaku Madarame. Because of this, Ikkaku vowed to serve under Kenpachi.


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However, he did not have the opportunity to do so until Kenpachi became the commander of the 11th Company. After some time had passed, Kenpachi headed towards Seireitei, where he killed the current 11th Company Commander (who was the current holder of the title of Kenpachi at the time), thereby becoming the new 11th Company Commander and succeeding as the next Kenpachi competed.

The name Kenpachi is not actually a name in that sense but rather a title given to the strongest and most brutal swordsman, the one who has killed the most opponents. It has been confirmed that there were other Kenpachi before Kenpachi Zaraki. The first sword fighter to bear the title of Kenpachi was Retsu Unohana.

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