The number of epic duels in Tite Kubo’s Bleach is simply amazing and over the years, the manga has provided us with some truly amazing fights. Some of them have even become part of anime history. Now, one of those duels was the long-awaited rematch between Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto and Yhwach that happened 1,000 years after their first duel. This duel is about to be shown in the anime series and while we’re waiting, we are going to tell you how it happened and who would win in the fight.
Yamamoto and Yhwach are on an equal level and there is no clear winner here. Yamamoto won the first time, after which Yhwach lost his powers, but he survived, whereas Yhwach succeeded in killing Yamamoto the second time, but only by cheating and severely weakening Yamamoto. Yhwach is afraid of Yamamoto, so he had to resort to cheating, which is why we ultimately give a small advantage to Yamamoto.
Now that you have the short version of the answer, the rest of the article is going to be divided into three sections. The first two will the characters, their powers, and their abilities, whereas in the final one, we’re going to give our verdict and explanation of why the ultimate winner of this duel is so difficult to determine.
Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto and his powers
Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto was the captain of Division 1 in the Gotei 13 and also the Captain-Commander of the whole Gotei 13. His lieutenant was Chōjirō Sasakibe. He founded the Gotei 13 and commanded the units for more than a thousand years, making the Gotei 13 one of the most feared units in the whole series.
As one of the oldest Shinigami, Yamamoto possesses an inordinately powerful Spiritual Power. He is so powerful, he is able to bring down Nanao Ise, a Vice-Captain. He can get rid of 4 Bakudō techniques very easily and even Aizen recognizes that he is weaker than him in brute force combat. Yamamoto will say that if he has been the Captain General for 1,000 years, it is because since taking office, no Shinigami more powerful than him has emerged.
In addition to this legendary power, Yamamoto is an excellent teacher and tactician, having trained the first generation of Shin’Ō Academy or Kenpachi Zaraki in the space of a day. He has led the 13 Divisions for 1,000 years, thanks to his legendary strength, but also thanks to his great combat experience and his model leadership.
His Zanpakutō, Ryūjin Jakka, is an elemental Zanpakutō that focuses on fire and is one of the most powerful Zanpakutō in the whole series. Yamamoto can release enormously powerful flames from Ryūjin Jakka by simply slashing it, as his release is so powerful that he doesn’t even have to use any special techniques to defeat most of his opponents. He was able to burn Dirscoll Berci with the flames of Ryūjin Jakka without any specific technique.
His Bankai, Zanka no Tachi, is one of the most powerful Bankai in the series. When released, it completely dries the air in a large area and is felt even by those who are not in its direct vicinity. Zanka no Tachi has to be controlled, as its destructive power is said to be so large that it could easily destroy the whole Seireitei.
Yhwach and his powers
Yhwach is the Father of the Quincy and the emperor of the Wandenreich, with the designation “A” – “The Almighty”. He is the son of the Soul King and also the leader of the Sternritter, as well as the leader of the Quincy rebellion against the Shinigami. Yhwach is one of the most powerful characters in the series and is, by all means, almost invincible.
Yhwach is one of the most powerful spirit beings in the Bleach universe, recognized as being the most powerful Quincy. Already as a child, his power gathered people around him, who considered him a miracle. He subjugated all Quincy’s territories in less than 200 years single-handedly. History remembered him as one of the only opponents Yamamoto could not defeat and the only one to survive his Bankai.
He was able to kill the Captain General of the 13 Divisions with amazing ease, destroy the Seireitei, and even invade the Royal Palace. Even Ichibē Hyōsube, the leader of the Royal Guard, who can be described as an invincible fighter with his many abilities, was defeated by the Quincy. During his final fight against Ichigo and Aizen, it took Yhwach’s power to be negated for a short time for King Quincy to be defeated.
Yhwach is able to use the whole plethora of Quincy techniques, both the basic techniques and those that only he masters. He can of course absorb spirit particles to move through the air, levitate, harden his body, create a spherical barrier, create a giant spirit bow, or even shoot arrows from his finger. His mastery of absorbing spirit particles goes as far as stealing power from the enemy through the Sankt Altar technique.
Even by Quincy standard, Yhwach possesses very strong spiritual power. This spiritual power is so powerful that it is able to annihilate the body of the Arrancars, yet covered with the Hierro. His Reiryoku reserves allow him to be able to use Yamamoto’s Bankai, Zanka no Tachi, which not only dries up the environment but also destroys the user’s body.
He can even make his spiritual pressure take shape, under the guise of an overflowing aura. He can absorb the spiritual power of his opponents, without great difficulty, especially with the Sankt Altar. His powerful Reiatsu allows him to take a Getsuga Tenshō without taking any damage or to explode Ichibē Hyōsube’s body after a huge fight.
Even after his death, his spiritual power was strong enough to survive for 10 years. He has also demonstrated immense strength on multiple occasions. He sliced Yamamoto’s body from left shoulder to right leg in a single blow, slicing him in half and condemning him to death. He stopped Ichigo’s first Bankai with his bare hands and even grabbed Aizen’s body with his arm.
His skill as a warrior is unparalleled. He was able to overtake Ichigo, yet in Bankai, tackle him to the ground and plant his sword in his neck, without him being able to defend himself. He has considerable mastery of the sword, often using it as his primary weapon in battle, being able to face Ichibē Hyōsube on equal terms and overpower Ichigo in a two-sword duel. His pain tolerance is also very high, using gigantic arrows that pierce his body to allow him to gain momentum.
Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto vs. Yhwach: Who would win?
Yamamoto and Yhwach actually fought twice. The first time they fought, Yamamoto came out as the winner but he was not able to kill Yhwach, with the latter thus becoming the first and only person to have survived an encounter with Zanka no Tachi. Still, Yhwach lost all of his powers after that encounter and he was sealed away for a total of 1,000 years. Their second encounter… well… let us tell you how it happened.
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.
Yamamoto 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 he activates his Bankai. Haschwalth is taken aback to see a Bankai of such diminutive stature, 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.
So, yes, this is how Yamamoto actually lost his life to Yhwach; the Quincy Emperor came prepared and he tricked the Captain-Commander. Still, we wouldn’t necessarily take this as a direct sign of Yhwach’s general superiority. First of all, Yamamoto was a Millenium older than their last fight, he was weakened as it is over the course of a thousand years and he was blinded by rage; Yhwach, on the other hand, came prepared and found a way to steal the only thing that the Quincy were truly afraid of – the Shinigami’s Bankai. After stealing Zanka no Tachi, he had a significantly easier job to do and he simply used the fact that Yamamoto was weakened by the fight against the fake Yhwach.
But, on a general level, we don’t think that Yhwach is more powerful. In fact, we’d give a small advantage to Yamamoto, under equal and fair conditions. With both of them being at full power, without any additions and assistance, we think that Yamamoto would come out as the winner, as he did 1,000 years ago. Whether he’d be able to kill Yhwach is debatable, but he would be able to defeat him.