Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto is a legendary character from Tite Kubo’s Bleach, the founder of the Gotei 13 and its Captain-Commander, as well as the Captain of the 1st Division. About a thousand years before the main plot began, Yamamoto founded the Gotei 13 and, in that period, defeated Yhwach, but was unable to kill him. He has since presided over the Gotei 13 because he is the strongest Shinigami in history. He is so powerful that no opponent save for Yhwach was worthy enough for him to activate his Bankai.
During his fight against Yhwach, Yamamoto used his Bankai, Zanka no Tachi, for the last time. Since Zanka no Tachi is the most powerful Bankai in the series, we have decided to write an article explaining its powers and abilities to you.
What is Yamamoto’s Bankai, Zanka no Tachi?
Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto was the First Division’s captain and the Captain-Commander of the Gotei 13. He has a balding appearance and lengthy eyebrows, a beard, and a mustache. Despite his venerable age, he has a powerful, muscular body that is covered with scars from the innumerable wars in which he has taken part. He has an aggressive and commanding personality and is adamant that the law must be upheld at all costs. He established the Shinigami Academy and personally instructed Jushiro Ukitake and Shunsui Kyoraku in combat techniques, whom he nearly views as his own children.
His zanpakutō is called Ryūjin Jakka and in its sealed form it looks like a normal katana kept hidden inside the old Shinigami’s walking stick. She is a fire-related elemental-type zanpakutō and is the oldest and most powerful of her kind, as well as the one with the greatest attack power. The shikai is released on the command “reduce the entire universe to ashes” and its power is such that the area around the captain is consumed in flames, which only powerful captains can resist.
His Bankai is called Zanka no Tachi and through this the flames are concentrated in the blade, which appears as if it were burned and ruined by the fire, reaching temperatures of 15,000,000 degrees. From the moment of activation, the whole surrounding environment is affected by a drought condition; moreover, from the thoughts of the commander, one can sense that even his own body would be in danger if the release were to continue for a long time.
The Zanka no Tachi has four distinct techniques, each associated with a cardinal direction. They are:
- Zanka no Tachi, Higashi: Kyokujitsujin is the technique where all of Ryūjin Jakka’s flames are concentrated on the edge of the blade. According to Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto, it simply destroys everything that comes in contact with her. Which is easy to believe, since he just completely dissolves a large area with a single blow.
- Zanka no Tachi, Nishi: Zanjitsu Gokui is arguably Yamamoto’s Bankai’s most dangerous technique. It is invisible until he wants someone to see it. His body is literally engulfed in flames, which reach temperatures of up to 15,000,000°C, making it impossible for anyone to even touch him. Yamamoto compares it to him and his sword being clothed in the flames of the sun. It is very likely that this technique is also the reason for the great drought.
- Zanka no Tachi, Minami: Kaka Jūmanokushi Daisōjin can be used only after Yamamoto recites an incantation. After reciting it, armed skeletons appear and support Yamamoto in battle. The skeletons are all enemies that Yamamamoto had killed with Ryūjin Jakka so far. These attack Yamamoto’s opponents until their bodies turn to ashes.
- Zanka no Tachi, Kita: Tenchi Kaijin is Zanka no Tachi’s final technique through which Yamamoto concentrates all of his Bankai’s powers into one single cut which cuts through the opponent with east.
And this is an overview of Yamamoto’s Bankai and its powers and abilities. We are going to continue with some additional questions related to his Bankai.
Why was Yamamoto’s Bankai revealed so late in the series?
This was actually explained over the course of the series. Namely, Yamamoto is, as we have said, the most powerful Shinigami in history, not even Aizen, Kyoraku, Ukitate, and Kenpachi are above his level. He was a master of all the arts and he could execute his moves and attacks flawlessly and with incredible speed and was capable to kill even the most powerful of enemies.
Using only his Shikai, he was able to slice up Ayon, as well as kill Diriscoll Berci who was using Sasakibe’s Bankai; he also burned three powerful Sterntitter without activating his Bankai. He was also able to fight Wonderweiss with only his fists, as his Zanpakuto had been sealed by the Arrancar. This is one of the reasons why Yamamoto used his Bankai only twice, and both times against Yhwach – there was simply no need for it.
The second reason lies in the power of the Bankai itself. Namely, Zanka no Tachi is absolutely the most powerful Bankai of them all and in that aspect, it has to be said that it is also the most dangerous one. Its power is so destructive that if active for too much time, Zanka no Tachi would destroy the Seireitei without leaving absolutely anything. Yamamoto showed just how powerful his Bankai was during the second Battle against Yhwach and even Unohana remarked that he should wrap it up quickly to avoid destroying everything around him. This is the second reason why Yamamoto did not want to activate his Bankai until absolutely necessary.
Does Yamamoto use his Bankai in the anime? When?
Like he did in the manga Chapter 510, Yamamoto also used his Bankai in the anime, in episode 372 of the series, titled “The Fire”. The episode continued from the events of Episode 371 when Yamamoto mercilessly killed Driscoll Berci, the Sternritter who stole Sasakibe’s Bankai, after which he killed him. He then headed over to Yhwach and proceeded to fight and defeat him, not knowing that it was actually Royd Lloyd, the Sternritter “Y”. All of his Bankai’s abilities were shown in that episode, at the end of which he had it stolen by Yhwach and was ultimately killed by the Quincy Emperor.