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. He was also unique in many ways, and his not knowing the name of his Zanpakutō was one such trait. But, that all changed during the Quincy War against the Sternritter when Kenpachi found out the name of his Zanpakutō and also managed to activate his Bankai.
The revelation of Kenpachi’s Bankai was a major moment for Bleach and since that moment, as well as the Bankai, were so special, we have decided to write an article explaining its powers and abilities to you. Kenpachi’s Bankai is completely unique in the world of Bleach and it was essential for us to explain how it works, how it was activated, and why it is so special ahead of the big reveal in the anime. There will be spoilers, so you have to be careful how you approach certain parts of the article.
What is Kenpachi’s unnamed Zanpakutō?
Statistically, the Captain of the 11th Division should be the weakest of the Captains, but in practice, he is actually one of the strongest. Kenpachi Zaraki is a very powerful Shinigami, a fact he has repeatedly proven in the story. His appearances in the anime alone, including the movies, show how powerful he is; he defeated the Quinto Espada alone and severely injured the Cero Espada alongside Byakuya.
He can also take on other Captains who fight him with their Bankai while he holds back himself. Where his strength comes from is unknown, but since he was already a strong fighter when he was in Rukongai, there may be some connection with his past. Since Captain Unohana held the title of Kenpachi, she was the strongest Shinigami of her generation.
As for his Zanpakutō, it was thought, for a long time, that Kenpachi will never find out its name and thereby access its full powers. But, during the Quincy War, Kenpachi managed to find out the name of its Zanpakutō – Nozarashi – and used it to help the Shinigami defeat the invaders. We’re going to give you more details on that later, but let us now see, in short, why Kenpachi’s Zanpakutō is so special.
Nozarashi’s cutting power is so tremendous that she can destroy a massive meteorite that Gremmy manufactured. Kenpachi’s Shikai resembles a butcher knife with a sheath attached to a green tassel. Even as a young child, Zaraki was able to imbue his Zanpakutō. His blade is far longer than the typical Zanpakutō, nearly the size of a nodachi, and it has a huge guard that extends toward the center, resembling a shinai.
Although it is bandaged, his handle is white. Before he was made captain, Kenpachi was the only member of the Gotei 13 who was unaware of the name of his Zanpakutō and was unable to use any of the releases for it. Kenpachi, who identified with not having a name after his battle with Ichigo, desired to learn more about his Zanpakutō in order to grow stronger.
Kenpachi was unable to hear his Zanpakutō’s voice because of the discord between Zaraki and his blade, as noted by Zangetsu, who claimed that this was the cause of their ongoing injury. Because of the absence of harmony, Nozarashi had very little spiritual strength, which made it vulnerable to injury and resulted in a sword with many notches in its extension and noticeable wear on its edge.
Nozarashi, despite its outward look, has the ability to cut through things with ease. Zaraki used it to cut through Ichigo’s Zanpakutō and later used it to effortlessly split a building in half by releasing his spiritual force. Later, when Kenpachi had defeated Retsu Unohana in battle and unleashed his real might, he had at last heard the voice of his sword.
The Soul Society, before Kenpachi discovered its identity, thought that Nozarashi constantly remained in its released state due to Zaraki’s enormous spiritual power, mostly because of the sword’s intricate design. The drink is the order for his release. Nozarashi has incredible attack strength in its released condition and is capable of destroying a meteorite with a single blow. Zaraki’s power to slash has also improved, enabling him to pierce through the bodies of his adversaries and even space itself.
When activated, Kenpachi releases a significant amount of spiritual power that is more than the neighboring structures. In this form, Kenpachi has red skin that has black markings all over it, a pair of horns growing on his forehead, and other features that give him a demon-like appearance. His weapon resembles a knife in appearance and is quite similar to his Shikai, albeit in a changed form. Zaraki can equal and defeat the gigantic form of Gerard Valkyrie with a single blow, removing his arm in one motion, and slicing him in two halves from a large distance because of his Bankai, which also gives him exceptional physical power and slicing prowess.
How did Kenpachi activate his Bankai?
In the midst of the conflict between the Wandenreich and Soul Society, Kenpachi came upon Lloyd Royd, who was pretending to be Yhwach. He was confronted by Kenpachi, who explained their frailty while carrying three dead Sternritters. Later, he is seen being vanquished by Lloyd, who is Yhwach. The only time he comes again is when Yachiru Unohana must be defeated so that he can master the art of killing.
Unohana frequently kills Kenpachi during this battle and then uses her healing powers to bring him back to life since she knows that Kenpachi is stronger than her and she wants to assist him in regaining his former strength. Unohana fought Kenpachi once before when he was a kid, and she lost, you discover. But Kenpachi sealed a significant portion of his true power because he wanted to enjoy himself fighting even more.
When Kenpachi sustained significant harm and was cured, this allowed him to continue fighting. When the struggle was over, Kenpachi regained his previous power and kills Unohana. After Unohana’s passing, Kenpachi hears an unidentified voice telling him that she has been keeping an eye on him the entire time and that she now wants to reveal her identity.
After Gremmy Thoumeaux attacked Yachiru, Kenpachi shows up and starts combat with the Sternritter. Although they are fighting on an even playing field, Gremmy appears to be one size larger than the Captain due to his special ability, “The Visionary.” Guremi threatens to use a meteorite to destroy the Seireitei as the fight nears its conclusion. At that point, Kenpachi first employs his shikai “Nozarashi.” Kenpachi finally succeeds in destroying the meteorite thanks to his newfound strength.
Then Gremmy tries to send Kenpachi into orbit. The Captain fights to survive in the void, but he succeeds. Then Gremmy causes an explosion, but Kenpachi escapes with burns. When Gremmy finally imagines wanting to be stronger than Kenpachi, he eventually dies because the boy’s body cannot support such a large mass of muscle.
Kenpachi is aware of his severe inside wounds after winning. Shortly after seeing Shihakusho and Yachiru laying on the ground, he starts to wonder where Yachiru has gone. Kenpachi commands the 11th Company soldiers to start looking for Yachiru right now as they rush over to congratulate him on his triumph. To take out the Captain, who is weak, Candice Catnipp, Meninas McAllon, Giselle Gewelle, and Liltotto Lamperd arrive and stop them.
The Sternritter begin decimating the lower-level shinigami, causing Kenpachi to attack them with the last of his strength. Eventually, however, he is thrown to the ground by Giselle and Meninas with their combined strength and initially appears to be unable to fight. Later, Kenpachi is taken to Urahara Kisuke’s laboratory, where his injuries are treated by Jūshirō Ukitake.
Ukitake is astounded when Kenpachi, who had been in the operating room, asks who he is referring to when he says he won’t be able to move for a time. Then, after asking Urahara where Yachiru is, and discovering that his Department is still looking, Kenpachi tries to leave the building despite Urahara’s orders for him to stay. Nanao Ise challenges Kenpachi and reminds him that he has a duty to fulfill in this place as Urahara attempts to stop him with a kid’s barrier.
After a brief pause, Kenpachi accepts Urahara’s position and withdraws before requesting an orb to fill with his reiatsu. When Kenpachi later asks if charging the orbs will cause them to fly, Urahara replies that it will open doors to the Soul King’s palace. In response to Urahara’s admission that there might be no turning back, Kenpachi says his only objective is to kill the Wandenreich members. As Seiretei begins to disintegrate, Kenpachi is shocked to hear Urahara declare that the Soul King has been killed.
Kenpachi then observes as Ukitake substitutes the Mimihagi’s strength for the Soul King. Later, he makes an appearance alongside Nemu and Mayuri Kurotsuchi in the newly altered kingdom, greatly shocking and infuriating the latter. The Sternritter Pernida Parnkgjas is then encountered by the three. Attempting to kill him right away, Kenpachi slashes through his head, wounding his arm in the process.
Then, to his astonishment, Pernida suddenly starts to grow. In order to stop additional harm to his body, Kenpachi promptly cut his arm after realizing that it was still misaligned. While Nemu works to recover from his injuries, Kenpachi plans an attack on Pernida that won’t put him in harm’s way. He quickly moves near Pernida, though, and slashes a portion of his torso; unfortunately, this simply causes his legs to bow. In an effort to save his life, Mayuri strikes quickly and uses Fear Factor 4 to stab Kenpachi in the chest from behind. As a result, Kenpachi loses consciousness.
Mayuri refers to Kenpachi as a monster when he notices that he can still move his eyes. Ikkaku and Yumichika showed up after the fight with Pernida, in which Mayuri triumphed despite suffering severe injuries. They transport the wounded Captain of the 12th Division to an apparatus he took with him that includes a chamber where he can heal. Mayuri says he doesn’t mind if the two utilize the second chamber, which is “accidentally” available, to treat their Captain.
Sometime later, he wakes up from his unconsciousness and blasts open the medical chamber from the inside to immediately go to the scene of the fight against Gerard Valkyrie together with Toshiro Hitsugaya, who has also been restored. Once there, he quickly draws the gargantuan opponent’s full attention and instructs the other Shinigami and Visored engaged in the battle to stay out of it. After a fierce exchange of blows, with Kenpachi even using his Shikai, he is still unable to gain the upper hand against the colossal Quincy.
Only when he finds himself seriously cornered by this does Yachiru, who has been missing since meeting Gremmy Thoumeaux, appear to him, who says it is time he mastered the power called ‘Bankai’. As a result, Kenpachi finally obtains that Bankai and decisively slices the powerful Quincy.