Episode 372 of the Bleach anime, “The Fire”, was undoubtedly one of the best and most heartbreaking episodes of the whole series. The build-up to Yamamoto’s engagement in the battle against the Sternritter finally reached its peak as the 1st Division’s Captain finally engaged Yhwach, his rival of thousand years, and the leader of the rebel army. It was an epic fight where a furious Yamamoto showed us why he is the strongest Shinigami in several thousand years but it was also a fight in which Yhwach showed just how evil and dangerous he is. In this article, we are going to reveal whether Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto really died in Bleach and what happened to him.
After defeating the impostor Yhwach, who was actually Royd Lloyd, Yamamoto briefly faced the real Yhwach, who quickly stole his Bankai and struck him down with his sword, cutting him in half and effectively killing him. Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto really did perish in this battle against Yhwach, but not becaus he was weaker, but because Yhwach used his rage and trickery to defeat him.
The rest of this article is going to tell you two things – you’re going to find out how and why Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto died during the Thousand-Year Blood War arc, as well as who killed him and what happened after his death. As far as spoilers are concerned, they are going to be present in this article so be careful how you approach it.
Is Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto really dead in Bleach?
Those who have read the Bleach manga know how things happened, but we assume that even for them, the initial reaction to this scene was absolute shock and disbelief. For those who had not read the manga, the anime scene must have been a horrible experience and they are probably – if they don’t know the story – hoping for an ex machina solution in which Yamamoto will end up being alive in the next episode. Sadly, we can only confirm that Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto did, indeed, die in Episode 372 of Bleach, as it is a faithful adaptation of the same scene that happened in the manga. This is what actually happened in this fight.
After the Sternritter launched their invasion of Soul Society, Yamamoto observed the fights around the Seireitei before actually joining in the fights himself. He protected Hisagi from Driscoll Berci, completely destroying the Sternritter O with his flames, after which he headed to face Yhwach, who was just about to kill Zaraki, woving to kill him this time; earlier, Mayuri had scolded him for not being able to do it 1,000 years ago. As he arrived, with the flames of his Zanpakuto surrounding him, he saves the wounded Kenpachi, shocking Yhwach with his speed.
Yamamoto then attacks Yhwach’s arm and tells him that he hasn’t changed the way he treats his men. Yhwach draws his sword to the delight of Yamamoto who tells him that he will be able to reduce him to ashes, after which all of the flames disappear and a feeling of dryness engulf Soul Society; Ukitake comments how his throat feels dry, Kyoraku’s lips start to crack and bleed, and the glass vase in Unohana’s chambers starts to crack, as all of them are aware that Yamamoto has activated his Bankai, Zanka no Tachi, which turned his blade into a piece of scorched metal. Haschwalth is taken aback to see a Bankai that looks so pathetic, but Yhwach warns him not to underestimate him because one strike from this sword will be fatal.
After confirming these claims, Yamamoto volunteers to test them on his body to check if it hasn’t changed in the preceding thousand years. To Quincy’s amazement, Yamamoto cuts through the space next to Yhwach’s cape but only manages to slice off a little portion; he then crashes to the ground and creates a sizable hole in the ground. Yhwach is aware that this is only the beginning.
Yamamoto explains to him that Zanka no Tachi just burns anything it comes in contact with to ashes rather than producing flames. When Yhwach attempts to hit him with his sword, it breaks in two because he is not impressed. Yamamoto rebukes him for being so self-assured and shows his second ability, “Zanjitsu Gokui.” Yamamoto gives Yhawch the option to run even if he would catch up to him and murder him since he needs to finish up swiftly to save himself and the Soul Society from being annihilated by Zanka no Tachi.
He receives a Heilig Pfeil from Yhwach, which the Shinigami easily and quickly destroys. The opponent then casts his strongest magic, “Sank Swinger,” and appears assured as Yamamoto advances at him. Then, using his third power, “Kaka Jman Okushi Daisjin,” Yamamoto yells at him that it won’t work. Yhwach is astounded and unconcerned by the fact that the Shinigami commander can raise the dead, and he lands on their bodies.
When Yamamoto instructs him to examine the corpses, Yhwach recognizes his friends. As he begins to back away, Yamamoto asks the man if he wishes he had taken his Bankai earlier because it had been 1,000 years since anyone had seen it. Because Ichigo has just recently awakened his Bankai and has plenty of time to evolve, this is another reason why Quincy fears him so greatly.
He then employs his final ability, Tenchi Kaijin. While Yhwach is lying on the ground, he abruptly apologizes to Yhwach, much to Yamamoto’s surprise, who shouts and asks who he is. The First Division barracks experience an explosion, and the real Yhwach emerges behind Yamamoto. The half-dead Royd Lloyd is killed by Yhwach. When Yamamoto inquires as to the reason, Yhwach replies that he attempted to hire Aizen but was turned down.
He then inquires as to Yamamoto’s ability to employ his Bankai after it has run out. Yhwach reveals that only he could steal Yamamoto’s Bankai from him due to his tremendous strength, which is why he told Royd not to do anything. Yamamoto replies to the provocation and ends up having his Bankai taken. After bidding Yamamoto farewell, Yhwach conjures a sword of light in front of him and cuts Yamamoto with it. Yamamoto’s body gets severed in two and he falls. The 13 divisions, according to Yhwach, have been extinct for 1,000 years since they lost their aggression.
Who killed Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto in Bleach?
Knowing how powerful Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto actually was, the only person capable of killing him was, actually, Yhwach and that is what happened. Yamamoto was able to defeat the fake Yhwach, actually, Royd Lloyd using his special ability, after which he was too weak to fight the real Yhwach, which is why the latter was able to kill him. Sure, this is testament enough of Yhwach’s powers, as a weakened Yamamoto could still defeat practically anyone, which means that Yhwach really had to be powerful in order to defeat the Captain-Commander of the Gotei 13.
What chapter does Yamamoto die in?
We have already revealed that Yamamoto dies in Episode 372 of the anime, and the final moment will be shown in EPisode 373. This is how it happened in the manga as well, as Yamamoto was slashed by Yhwach at the end of Chapter 510, titled “The Extinction”, whereas the final moments of the Captain-Commander happened in Chapter 511, titled (only in Japanese) ” 立ちて死すべし”.