Bleach: Ise Nanao’s Zanpakuto and Her Relation to the Kyouraku Clan, Explained

Ise Nanaos Zanpakuto and Her Relation With the Kyouraku Clan
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Ise Nanao is known to be a serious type of woman in Bleach, always clearing after her nonchalant captain. It is a routine of hers to scold Kyouraku Shunsui on a daily basis. But just like Unohana Retsu, Ise Nanao has a very interesting background story. The nerd-looking four-eyed vice-captain of the 8th division carries a curse and a mystery that we didn’t see coming when the 651st chapter of the Bleach manga was released. That is the chapter in which the existence of Ise Nanao’s Zanpakuto first came to light. So what exactly are the abilities of this Zanpakuto and what makes it so special?

  • Article Breakdown:
  • Despite seeing Ise Nanao without carrying a Zanpakuto for the better part of the manga or anime, Kyouraku Shunsui has been hiding her Zanpakuto all along and her name is Shinken Hakkyouken.
  • Shunsui has been hiding Shinken Hakkyouken under the name Kyoukotsu. 

The Ise clan

Though not one of the four noble clans like Kuchiki or Shihoin, the Ise clan does serve a special purpose in the Soul Society. For a few good reasons, the Ise clan is totally different from any other clan. 

The first reason is the Ise clan consists of only female members. It is a clan of priestesses whose job is to perform sacred rituals. So in terms of marriages, they always have to seek men from other clans but the offspring born from them are always females (Sound familiar with Nanami’s mother’s side of the family from Kamisama Hajimemashita, right?). 

The second reason is the Zanpakuto. There is only one Zanpakuto in the Ise clan which is held by the clan head or the high priestess and its name is Shinken Hakkyouken. The other members of the clan can not imprint on asuchis, thus they can not have a Zanpakuto. 

And the third and the most special reason is the curse that has been cast upon them. The curse is known as Ise no Noro. And it is the reason why the Ise clan only has female members. The curse causes the early death of the husbands married in the Ise clan. They die mostly after the birth of their daughter.

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How is Nanao related to Kyouraku Shunsui?

Kyouraku Shunsui’s elder brother was married to Ise Nanao’s mother which makes Nanao, his niece. So the people who have been shipping Nanao with Shunsui, Kindly stop. It’s incestuous and disgusting. Ship him with Lisa rather.

Nanao’s mother who was the high priestess at the time possessed Shinken Hakkyouken. As a result, Kyouraku’s brother died not long after Nanao was born. To save her daughter from this wretched curse, Nanao’s mother sought Shunsui’s assistance to hide Shinken Hakkyouken. Shunsui indeed helped her by sealing away Shinken Hakkyouken’s identity by masking it in the name of Kyoukotsu (or Okyou as he likes to call her). Shuinsui was not always a dual wielder. He split Katen into two or more like Kanen (Shunsui calls her Ohana) split herself into two Zanpakuto and hid Shinken Hakkyouken as one of them naming that Zanpakuto as Kyoukotsu.

nanao related to kyoraku shunsui

Giving away or trying to destroy a sacred weapon is a grave crime. So Central 46 arrested Nanao’s mother and gave her the death penalty. Nanao was only a kid back then when her mother was executed and after that Shunsui started looking after her from afar.

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Ise Nanao’s Zanpakuto and its abilities

Shinken Hakkyouken is a divine Zanpakuto that is said to have the power to kill any divine beings including god. It is an edgeless sword used for rites and rituals only, meaning you can not cut or wound anyone with it in a sword to sword combat. But Shinken Hakkyouken can take the power of god or any divine being that is its opponent and reflect that power in eight different directions. That is why it is named Shinken Hakkyouken meaning Divine  Weapon: Eight Mirrored Sword. 

Ise Nanao came to possess Shinken Hakkyouken in the time of battling Lille Barro. Nanao reflected Lille Barro’s Trompete (which is considered a divine attack) back to him. Thus she severely wounded Lille Barro making it easy for Shunsui to kill him.

ise nanao abilities

Ise Nanao’s other abilities

When it comes to Bleach prodigies, fans most of the time talk about Hitsugaya Toushiro or Ichimaru Gin. But in my opinion, Ise Nanao was a prodigy too. She joined the Shino Academy at an almost record-breakingly young age and was appointed to the 8th division after graduating from the Shino Academy. Despite not having a Zanpakuto she rose to the position of vice-captain. Now people will say that definitely had to be Kyouraku’s doing. Whatever it may be, nobody can deny Nanao’s expertise in using Kido and Hakudo.

Are Ise Nanao and Yadomaru Lisa related?

Though Nanao and Lisa look alike so much, they are not blood-related in any way. Nanao gets her looks from her mother, which was assured in the manga. Lisa was very affectionate towards Nanao. Nanao used to visit her regularly and Lisa used to read a book to her. They share a love of reading. It could be that Lisa is the reason Nanao always carries a book with her even after her disappearance as a symbol of tribute.

What happens to Nanao at the end of Bleach?

After Yamamoto Genryusai’s death, Kyouraku Shunsui was made the captain commander. He made Nanao transfer from the 8th division and appointed her as vice-captain of the 1st division under his captaincy. Till the end of Bleach, Nanao served as a loyal subordinate along with her co-vice captain Okikiba Genshiro, the former third seat of the 1st Squad, who was promoted to the position of vice-captain by Yamamoto Genryusai after Sasakibe Choujiro’s death.

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