In the Bleach universe, the Bankai is the final and complete form of the Zanpakutō; it is the culmination of his training and for the Shinigami to obtain it, it is necessary to force the spirit of the Zanpakutō to materialize. If the Shinigami wins the fight, his Zanpakutō will grant him access to his hidden powers through his real name. Achieving Bankai is rare and even once obtained, it takes another ten years of minimum training to perfect its mastery. The power of a Bankai varies from Zanpakutō to another and from the wearer, but can be five to ten times greater than that of the Shikai. In this article, we are going to rank the 15 most powerful Bankai in Bleach.
15. Kokujō Tengen Myō’ō (Sajin Komamura)
In this special state, the original samurai’s armor is lost, exposing his body and face, thus taking on a more demonic and aggressive appearance. So far it is known if in this state he has an absolute regeneration ability. In this form Kokujō Tengen Myō’ō, upon losing his armor, becomes a mass of reiatsu. Due to this the only change that Komamura’s Bankai suffers is an increase in his power.
However, you can also see an increase in the mobility and speed of the giant’s attacks. According to Komamura himself, Dangai Jōe represents the Kokujō Tengen Myō’ō form after taking his own life. The Bankai is also known to be able to operate independently of Komamura, which is an interesting element of surprise, being able to do all sorts of moves without Komamura doing them. This represents a great difference with his shikai, since in that case his ability is limited to reproducing the movements that the Shinigami executes.
14. Kinshara Butōdan (Rōjūrō Ōtoribashi)
The whip that Rose had begins to transform into several subjects who present on their heads a flower from a tree as well as their initial release and have a divided abdomen; these are called dancers of death. By freeing the Bankai from her, the huge whip transforms into a baton that is used by the conductors of the orchestras.
The main ability of Rose’s Bankai is the ability to use music as an illusion; according to Rose, her ability is to make the opponent believe that they have been damaged, since their hearts believe it.
These, depending on how long you listen to the music, the target, the illusions start to become more realistic and so powerful that they can cause physical damage (burns, cuts, bruises, etc.) and even stop breathing, implying that the damage is real; according to Rose, covering your ears is useless. The effects of this are the result of the acts performed by the Dancers. Rose controls the Bankai through the use of a baton.
13. Kōkō Gonryō Rikyū (Chōjirō Sasakibe)
This is the name of Chojiro’s complete release of his Zanpaku-tō, which he developed 2000 years ago and mastered in a period of one month. Regarding the physical aspect, the Zanpaku-tō changes drastically: a kind of suit appears on Sasakibe, with the appearance of a haori, lightning strikes the ground forming luminous pillars that form a kind of hut around Sasakibe, a kind of glove or ring appears on its wearer which allows him to control powerful electrical currents and direct them towards his opponent.
However, what makes this Bankai one of the most dangerous is his ability to manipulate the weather, which can create powerful electrical storms. Kōkō Gonryō Rikyū attracting lightning. Bankai Special Ability: Chōjirō’s Bankai focuses on weather manipulation, specifically creating thunderstorms, which the user can manipulate by simply extending the Zanpakutō skyward.
In his youth, Chōjirō was able to scar Yamamoto through the powers of this Bankai. Like Hyōrinmaru, Kōkō Gonryō Rikyū is capable of manipulating the weather, so the user can use the weather to their advantage to power up their Bankai’s electric attacks.
12. Hakka no Togame (Rukia Kuchiki)
It is unknown at the moment how she obtained her Bankai, although after using it in her fight against Äs Nödt, the great power she has is clear. Upon activation, Rukia’s body takes on a pristine whitish appearance; her long and loose Kimono, which vaguely resembles Sode no Shirayuki’s spirit form which consists in this case of numerous patterns of lines that decorate and spread throughout her body.
On her chest she has an ornament similar to a flower, likewise on the left side of her head, a long hairpin decorates one of her locks and the bow that her Zanpakutō had in her Shikai form is noticeably enlarged and likewise the blade of her sword becomes completely transparent, acquiring a hue similar to that of ice.
Hakka no Togame amplifies the devastating freezing effects of Rukia’s Zanpakutō as she accesses Absolute Zero. When the Bankai is activated, a huge layer of white mist covers Rukia’s surroundings and her target causing everything within range of her to freeze and completely disintegrate. Being a very powerful Bankai, it is too difficult for Rukia to master and any mistake in using it can cost her her life.
Since Rukia can be physically affected by the power of her Bankai, it is possible that said Bankai will be of limited use. As with the Shikai, Rukia must slowly melt the ice covering her so that the thaw doesn’t kill her, making her Bankai highly dangerous.
Mere contact with Rukia in this state can slowly freeze anyone who touches her, this is seen when Byakuya intervened to advise her on how to properly use her Bankai, which upon intervening, her hand began to freeze.
11. Senbonzakura Kageyoshi (Byakuya Kuchiki)
Essentially, it is a much larger version of Byakuya’s Shikai, Senbonzakura. During his release, Byakuya releases his Zanpakutō, which plunges into the ground slowly, being replaced by two rows of huge katana blades arranged behind Byakuya or around him and his opponent, in a chilling spectacle. Next, the edges of the giant swords are undone in the same way that it happened in the Shikai, now obtaining a much larger number of small blades with even more devastating effects.
Byakuya can control the movement of these blades with both his mind and his hands (thus multiplying his speed), and use them for both defense and attack. To date, Byakuya’s Bankai has proven to be one of the most effective and powerful of a Shinigami, and only combatants with the most experience, except Ichigo Kurosaki, and speed have been able to stand up to him.
Also, in the Lost Agent Arc, it has been shown that Byakuya can activate his Bankai even when his Zanpakutō is broken, dropping Senbonzakura’s tip followed by its hilt. As if this were not enough, his release is one of the most developed to date, having shown up to three different techniques.
10. Konjiki Ashisogi Jizō: Matai Fukuin Shōtai (Mayuri Kurotsuchi)
In the Quincy arc, we discover that Mayuri has modified his Bankai and who has the ability to adapt to the powers of the enemy. The Bankai has changed appearance, bigger imposing, and much more powerful. At any time, Mayuri can release an altered form of his Bankai. It takes the form of a huge, portly, dark-skinned baby wearing a white loincloth and white cloth covering his pecs.
It has a deformed head with completely white eyes, which is adorned with two balanced branches that support large boxes, and its belly has a large vertical gash in the center with kanji written on either side. The baby lies on a large pile of thick, veiny umbilical cords with visible veins. It can create modified versions of Konjiki Ashisogi Jizō with the information and data Mayuri sends her; this counters the specific abilities of Mayuri’s opponents.
In the fight against Pernida Parnkgjas, Mayuri had his Bankai modified to generate another Konjiki Ashisogi Jizō which had the nerves on the surface of his body, which although causing intense pain, simply by coming into contact with the air and from the ground, it allowed him to effectively resist Pernida’s The Compulsory because its nerves were divided into 70000 layers, each one of which would peel off if Pernida’s nerves entered it.
9. Tensa Zangetsu (Ichigo Kurosaki)
Ichigo undergoes intense training with Zangetsu for three days which was materialized thanks to Kisuke Urahara’s Tenshintai with the aim of achieving Bankai and after achieving it, Ichigo activates this special ability of his weapon during his confrontation with Byakuya Kuchiki. Zangetsu’s final release is unmatched by the rest of the shinigami.
When Ichigo invokes the Bankai, the sword receives the full name of Tensa Zangetsu and takes the form of a katana whose blade is completely black and with a firm and stylized profile, quite the opposite of the exaggerated proportions of the sealed form and the shikai, since which even has a tsuba in the form of the kanji for “complete” and the tsuka’s ribbon transforms into a black chain which dangles from the end.
Along with the transformation of his Zanpakutō, Ichigo’s clothes also undergo a change, and he is always dressed in the long black coat that also wears the materialized form of Zangetsu, part of this coat (Shihakusho) counts as part of his reiatsu
8. Shirafude Ichimonji (Ichibē Hyōsube)
Unlike other Captains, Ichibē activates his Bankai by shouting Shin’uchi. This is because Ichimonji was one of the first Zanpakutō to be able to take on an evolved form long before the term Bankai existed. Upon activation, Ichibē’s brush blade turns white and turns into a long, thick thread.
Ichibē can rename targets that have been hit by Ichimonji’s ink, once this has occurred Ichibē proceeds to write a kanji on the body of his enemy; by doing this Ichibē gives his target the properties and powers of the given name. For example, by changing his name to Black Ant, his opponent would be as weak as an ant.
7. Complete Daiguren Hyōrinmaru (Tōshirō Hitsugaya)
After the final battle against Aizen, Hitsugaya strengthens his Bankai considerably, completing its development after eighteen months of hard work. Sometime later, during his battle against Gerard Valkyrie, Hitsugaya states that Daiguren Hyōrinmaru becomes complete when the last petal of his ice flower falls.
He states that his power was not mature enough to use his Bankai to its fullest, but he managed to age himself to an adult body reaching his full potential. As an adult upon releasing the Bankai from him, Hitsugaya is tall and thin, and has ice covering his shoulders, forearms, and knees.
In his mature form, Hitsugaya can freeze very large objects at a distance with a simple wave of his hand; this also extends to objects that the sword cuts from him. Also, anything that is frozen will have all functions and abilities negated from it. If anyone touches Hitsugaya while he is in this form, they will be quickly frozen as well.
6. Minazuki (Retsu Unohana)
Mizakuni is the complete release of Unohana’s Zanpakutō. Upon being released, the blade of Unohana’s Zanpakutō liquefies into a thick, dark red substance which quickly exudes from the blade to cover a large area near the user. The liquid unleashed by Minazuki functions as an extremely strong acid that causes the opponent’s skin and flesh to rapidly dissolve.
It is capable of even reducing a physically durable combatant like Kenpachi to a skeleton upon contact and it is even lethal to the owner of the Bankai herself. During their battle, Unohana combined this with her powerful Kaidō to survive the ill effects of her Bankai and drastically speed up the process of killing and reviving Kenpachi in order to remove the psychological barriers on his power after her sealed Zanpakutō proved insufficient to match his newfound strength.
5. Sakashima Yokoshima Happōfusagari (Shinji Hirako, light novel)
Per Shunsui Kyoraku’s words, this Bankai is similar to his in that it affects both enemies and allies. Once released, Hirako’s Bankai completely changes its appearance; it lacks Tsuka and Tsuba, and now Shinji seems to be holding it in reverse, as the ring that was on the rear end of the Shikai’s hilt is now facing forward, while the blade is facing backwards, giving it a similar appearance to a staff.
In addition, the Bankai manifests a kind of Platform with a shape similar to a flower, specifically a “common Carnation”, in whose center Shinji is placed. Six branches/petals emerge from this platform, which in turn branch out again at the ends, each end adopting a pattern similar to flames. His ability is to create a hypnosis that, according to Hirako himself, hypnotizes the spirit itself.
This hypnosis makes all those who are under its range of action not distinguish friends from enemies, causing them to fight and kill each other. However, this power can only be used in a situation where Hirako is facing numerous opponents at once, as in a one-on-one combat this ability would not activate.
Also, the “petals” of his Bankai platform can close around Hirako to serve as a shield. In this way, this Bankai has the particularity of being more effective against numerous opponents, while its Shikai is more effective when facing powerful opponents in individual combat.
4. Unnamed (Kenpachi Zaraki)
Upon activation, Kenpachi releases a large amount of spiritual power capable of destroying nearby buildings. In this form, Kenpachi’s skin turns red, and he gains various black markings around his face, as well as horns on his forehead, as he somewhat resembles a demon. His sword bears quite a resemblance to his Shikai, this being an altered form of it, with a rather jagged design and resembling a knife.
Zaraki’s Bankai grants him tremendous physical strength and incredible slashing ability, thus allowing him to match and take down a gigantic Gerard Valkyrie with a single blow, severing his arm with one swing, and cutting him in half from quite a distance.
3. Kannonbiraki Benihime Aratame (Kisuke Urahara)
Urahara’s Bankai takes the form of a giant woman with black hair braided into a bow on her head and dressed in a revealing crimson robe. Yoruichi stated that Kisuke developed the complete liberation of Benihime in just three days, while Urahara himself has stated that his Bankai is not suitable for training anyone or lending powers or help to others.
Kannon Biraki Benihime Aratame has the quality of restructuring and modifying anything even a living being with the simple contact of his hands and also thanks to this power, he has the quality of producing openings to the rival thanks to his restructuring quality allowing third parties to enter points where they normally cannot enter.
She can also restructure something by putting it back together; this can be used as a form of healing, such as when Urahara restored his eyes using his Bankai hands.
2. Katen Kyōkotsu: Karamatsu Shinjū (Shunsui Kyōraku)
While holding his Shikai in front of him with the blades pointing downwards, Shunsui activates his Bankai, causing black roots to spread out from him similar to an apparition of shadows behind him. Shunsui considers this his last resort, and only uses it if his allies are far enough away from him that they don’t get caught in his effects.
Upon release, an aura covers a large area around Shunsui. This aura changes the perception of others’ surroundings, making them perceive it as dark and causing others to feel different levels of chills.
1. Zanka no Tachi (Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto)
Yamamoto’s Bankai is the most powerful among the members of the Gotei 13. At the moment of being released, the flames previously created by his Shikai vanish, leaving only a burned and somewhat worn saber, as if the blade had been burned. In its released state, the power of its Bankai is such that it is capable of completely drying out the water of the Gotei 13 despite its heat level; according to Unohana’s words, its power could easily destroy all of the Gotei 13, which is why it should not be used for a long time inside the Seireitei.
His ability is to gather all the tremendous energy from Ryūjin Jakka’s flames and release it through the saber. According to Yhwach’s words, the power of Yamamoto’s Bankai has changed quite a bit, in a positive way, since in the past its power only reduced everything the blade touched to ashes, while its current power is capable of destroying everything without a trace.