Basic Information Introduction to Shinigami Shinigami are spiritual beings of great power, completely imperceptible to most mortals and in possession of abilities that exceed those of the average soul. They come in all shapes and sizes, but share common, defining traits such as their black uniforms and the swords they wield. These swords, named Zanpakutō, are the main source of a Shinigami's power. They grant unique abilities to their wielder in several different stages that evolve along with the owner. Shinigami reside in Soul Society, a form of waiting room for souls in line to be reincarnated, and frequently travel to Earth in order to perform their duties.
The typical Shinigami exists in service of a higher cause, namely to monitor and preserve the flow of souls between the living and the dead. It is their duty to expedite the passing of the newly deceased just as it is their duty to cleanse the sins committed after death by those souls who remained on earth too long and became Hollows.
Introduction At their core, Shinigami are individuals that have removed themselves from the cycle of souls in order to monitor and regulate it, as well as to protect the balance from external threats such as Arrancar or Quincy. Human in appearance, what sets Shinigami apart is the Zanpakutō they carry and the Shihakushō they wear: a uniform consisting of a black kosode and black hakama tied with a white belt. Typically, tabi socks and sandals are worn with the uniform.
Unlike their Hollow counterparts, a Shinigami develops physically much like a human would though their aging is greatly slowed in proportion to their spiritual strength. Shinigami are otherwise as varied as mortals, men and women of all colors, creeds, and ages are represented in the Shinigami population, and it is therefore impossible to establish any uniting physical characteristics.
Instead, Shinigami share a common psychological plight as part of their development; a shard of their soul breaks off in the form of their Zanpakutō spirit, which inhabits both their blades and minds, and becomes the source of the wielder’s unique abilities.
Zanpakutō A Shinigami's most trusted weapon, the Zanpakutō is no mere sword - It is a part of their soul. As integral to them as the body they inhabit. Zanpakutō house spirits with distinct personalities that are often complementary or supplementary to the wielder. Only through developing and strengthening this relationship can the Shinigami unlock their full potential.
The Zanpakutō Spirit is simultaneously a Shinigami's closest companion and their most trusted weapon. Essentially a shard of the owner’s personality, the spirit normally embodies several traits that the wielder may lack, or does not fully embrace about themselves. The personality and emotional complexity of this Spirit can be as complicated and varied as any person, and it takes time and effort not only to develop, but to manifest at all.
Upon entering the Academy, prospective Shinigami are issued an Asauchi, an empty katana that serves as a vessel for the part of the Shinigami that eventually becomes the Zanpakutō spirit. It serves its purpose without flair; these swords are all indistinguishable and ready to accommodate its wielder's Zanpakutō spirit. Asauchi are wielded by Academy students and low-ranking Shinigami alike, and it is widely considered the most prominent symbol of inexperience. As Asauchi are essentially mass produced, they come in three ‘standard’ sizes with little variety: Katana, Wakizashi, and Tanto.
In order to imprint themselves on the Asauchi and facilitate the growth of the Zanpakutō, Academy students will spend every waking minute with their sword either at their side, resting in their hands, or in a state of meditation. For some, this process can be completed in just a few, short years however it is not uncommon for some Shinigami to take upwards of a decade or longer before they are successful.
When the Zanpakutō finally takes its true form the result is a unique weapon, distinct from the Asauchi used to reach this point. This is known as the Sealed Zanpakutō. This is the hallmark of a true Shinigami, however the sword does not yet exhibit any unique powers. It is here that most Shinigami start their long and arduous path toward harmony with their Zanpakutō, first by contacting their spirit and establishing their dynamic.
The first step toward that harmony is Shikai, the first release, and it is a relatively simple ordeal. Through communing with their Zanpakutō spirit, the Shinigami seeks to learn its name. When this name is called out in the form of a release phrase, the sword will transform and take on a different shape as well as unlock its unique ability. This ability can range from the simple control of elements such as water or fire, to complex manipulation of dimensional space, emotions, or countless other effects. Having achieved Shikai is fairly common among Shinigami, and for the majority it is also where their development ends.
This is because Bankai, the final release, is several orders of magnitude more difficult to attain, and several orders of magnitude more powerful. It is the result of an almost unbreakable bond between wielder and blade, of intimate knowledge not only the self on a conscious level, but also on a subconscious level. While the physical change a Zanpakutō undergoes in the transition between sealed state and Shikai is often minor, Bankai is often far more grand. The Shinigami's clothing often changes to reflect the Zanpakutō's final stage of release, as does the immediate surroundings, and it isn't uncommon for a Shinigami's Bankai itself to be massive or cover a massive area, depending on its nature.
Shinigami and their Zanpakutō spirits have varying relationships. But a universal rule is that all Shinigami have something to learn from their spirits whether they know it or not. It might be the ability to feel emotion, or a desire to be the very best version of themselves, or any other number of motivations both subtle and obvious. Zanpakutō spirits are as varied as the Shinigami who wield them, and so, too, are the relationships between wielder and weapon.
The most common form of interaction between Shinigami and Zanpakutō is in the Shinigami's inner world, which is a spatial and visual representation of their own psyche. Just like with Zanpakutō spirits, these inner worlds are varied and unique in a reflection of the Shinigami's mind. The Zanpakutō spirits inhabit this world, and through introspection a Shinigami may commune with them in order to learn about themselves and their blades, unlocking new levels of power. The process of deliberate meditation used to commune with the Zanpakutō is known as Jinzen.
The Cycle of Rebirth Souls exist in a constant state of flux between the realms of existence. Mortals who die peacefully as well as those purified by the Shinigami have their souls move on to The Soul Society. Here they live in peace and safety until they 'die' again, being reborn into The World of The Living once more. Mortals that die with their hearts full of regret, or with other unfinished business, often refuse to move on, lingering in the mortal world until their pain becomes too great to bare. It corrupts them, turning them into a monstrous beast called a Hollow. These beasts devour human souls until they find their way to the plane of Hueco Mundo where they and their siblings cannibalize each other in an endless attempt to sate their hunger.
These three realms, The World of The Living, The Soul Society and Hueco Mundo exist in a relative harmony. The amount of souls located on all three planes must be kept somewhat uniform otherwise all three planes begin to suffer. A mild imbalance could cause wild variances in weather patterns and tectonic shifting, major imbalance threatens to destroy or forcefully merge planes of existence by ripping them apart or hurling them into one another. Essentially, if the system does not stay properly balanced and tended, it will forcefully correct itself.
Shinigami exist as stewards for this balance. They actively monitor the flow of souls in the Cycle of Rebirth and work tirelessly to ensure it stays as uniform as possible. To achieve this, they Shepard lost souls from The World of The Living to Soul Society and purify Hollows. They have even had cause to forcefully purge souls from their own realm in the name of keeping this balance.
The Soul Society Introduction Soul Society is split up into two major regions - the white, fortress-city of the Seireitei, located in the center, and the surrounding vastness of the Rukongai, an urban sprawl bordered by wilderness. Soul Society at large is reminiscent of feudal Japan in architecture and customs, though Seireitei itself is quite unlike anything else; massive, whitewashed towers rise up over the city, sprawling complexes and tidy streets give way to hills and gardens, and everywhere the eye can see, Shinigami go about their daily business. For Shinigami, the Seireitei is simultaneously their home and their base of operations.
Seireitei The Seireitei looks more like a fortress than a home, and is therefore the perfect reflection of the militaristic Gotei that runs the city and governs the Shinigami within.
Once inside those white walls you can find all manner of buildings. Some structures stretch high up into the air as if to scratch the sky, while others are no larger than the homes of the upper districts of the Rukongai. The buildings vary in purpose from large residential complexes, shops, barracks for the less wealthy Shinigami, to large fields, gardens, and lakes.
Most of Seireitei is zoned off into sections, creating isolated commercial areas, residential areas, and areas specifically for the Divisions. Residential areas can includes neighborhoods of full-size, single-family homes for wealthy officers and nobility, or sometimes towering apartment complexes to house many more Shinigami more efficiently. Commercial areas frequently mix with the residential and provide Shinigami with products and services within their walls, allowing them to live entirely within the city and not Rukongai, if they so choose.
The Divisions themselves, however, are unique. The Second Division, for instance, is known for having some of the largest fields that you can find within Seireitei. In contrast, the Fourth Division is largely contained within their own complexes. Each Division will also have some standard facilities, such as barracks and closely attached residential areas.
As a whole, the Seireitei is a true fortress city in that it is entirely self-sustaining and built to withstand siege—an event that has yet to be attempted. Shinigami, unless directed as per assignment, can find all of their needs met within its walls.
Rukongai Outside of the monolithic walls of the Seireitei are the rest of the souls on their second life.
Far from formally organized, the Rukongai is broken up first by sections named for the cardinal directions (North, South, East, West) and then further stratified by a District number that counts up the further from the Seireitei you travel, beginning with 1 and normally ending with 80.
Those sections closest to the Seireitei, and therefore closest to the wealth, protection, and quality of life it provides, are considered the ‘upper class’ section. Here, the most successful businesses, the wealthiest traders, and most historically successful families own land and do business. The daytime streets are lined with vendors looking to catch the eye of Shinigami on patrol or on their down time, and the side streets and alleys full of bars and restaurants reveal a vibrant night life.
As you travel further through the streets and narrows, past District 10, the Rukongai quickly shifts into a mix of markets and niche shops, often with second level apartments and a climbing population density. It is here, in this massive band, that most of the souls in The Soul Society live out their afterlife.
While births do occur, resulting in pure souls, it is most common that households in the Rukongai are made up of patchwork families that periodically adopt new members for a variety of reasons. In this sense, many households follow the traditional Japanese take on society although there countless exceptions to this standard that dot the landscape.
Each of these Districts makes up their own sense of community, often uniting resources and sometimes even systems of justice and politics to make up for the reducing influence from the Seireitei, the further out one travels. By the time you’ve reached Districts numbered in the 50’s or 60’s, regular patrols of Shinigami have all but vanished and it would not be uncommon to only see one once or twice a year.
The Outer Districts are notable in that the law has almost totally shifted from the Seireitei, to the hands of ambitions men and women who are willing to grab ahold of authority. ‘Might Makes Right’ is a common mantra, and even a common way of life in these parts. Many are forced into life with small mercenary or bandit groups in order to meet their basic needs, others are press-ganged into service as part of turf, and some migrate out to ‘lawless’ districts in order to escape the authority of the Seireitei.
But even the vast, seemingly endless sprawl of the Rukongai does have its self. Beyond the furthest edges of The Soul Society, the streets turn to gently worn, dirt roads and thickening forests. Many manors and farms dot the landscape to help keep the Seireitei supplied with the food necessary to sustain their spiritual power.
History of the Shinigami Origin of the Gotei The very first spiritually powerful human souls appeared in Soul Society, becoming the first Shinigami. These Shinigami were few and far between; a product of random chance when a soul had the power and the circumstance to manifest their own Zanpakutō. It is from their Zanpakutō Spirits that these Shinigami learned of their ability to pass over souls via Konsō and even purify the broken souls of Hollows.
Eventually their numbers grew from a simple handful, no more than a couple dozen, to well over one hundred, the Shinigami began to experience turmoil among their own people. Power-hungry Shinigami, outright sadists, or simply the lazy quickly disrupted the few duties that the Shinigami had taken upon themselves. Eventually, a single Shinigami rose to unite the squabbling Protectors of the Balance and organize them into small Divisions, six in total, with their own duties and specialties. All Shinigami participated in the saving of souls and purifying of Hollows but now each had their own duties alongside that.
These Divisions became known as the Six Court Guard Squads, or the Gotei Six, ruled by the Captain of the First Division, the Captain Commander.
The Shinigami were never the only souls in Soul Society. Throughout all of human history, the Soul Society has mostly been populated by regular, mundane souls that have not achieved spiritual power. Without a way to realistically govern the vast population of the Soul Society, the Shinigami ultimately adopted a system similar to those on Earth: The idea of a Spirit King and his appointed nobility to act as the governing and social authority of all of the Soul Society. Even the Gotei itself would not interfere in matters of nobility.
As the population of Shinigami, and of souls in Soul Society, continued to grow, so did the urbanization of the Soul Society. The entire, massive city that formed lost quality and luster as you reached further and further from the center, with the Shinigami acting as a centralized base in the very middle. Over time, in order to better protect the Shinigami from a growing Hollow population that made forays into Soul Society more and more often, a wall of Sekkiseki was erected to separate the inner city of the Shinigami from the rest of Soul Society.
This became known as the Seireitei, the Court of Pure Souls. The rest of the city, separated from the Shinigami within, became known as Rukongai, the Wandering Soul City.
With the Shinigami population now greater than one thousand at any given time, the Shinigami made an incredible development: Asauchi. This creation allowed a soul that had yet to manifest a Zanpakutō to imprint themselves upon it, turning it into their Zanpakutō much sooner and more easily than manifesting one from nothingness.
Around this time marked the formation of the Spiritual Arts Academy. Combined with the Asauchi, the Shinigami were able to start training promising souls that had developed spiritual power on their own. Using Asauchi and a standard system of schooling and classes, the Shinigami were able to begin to inflate their ranks actively instead of relying on the random occurrence that had populated them.
As a result of this development, the Shinigami population quickly doubled. With a city full of super-humanly powerful souls, the need for governance greater than the strength of the sitting Captain Commander became apparent to the Shinigami of the time. In response they organized Central 46, the body that would ultimately serve as the legislators and judges of the Shinigami in the Seireitei. Even the Captain Commander bowed to their authority.
One of the first decisions of the new Central 46, and the one that earned them respect and legitimacy from the Shinigami and the souls of Rukongai alike, was to directly engage the Hollows and Arrancar of Las Noches. Up to this point in Soul Society history the two sides had never come to blows unless the Shinigami met one on Earth and attempted to purify it.
This is what ultimately led to the excellent, organized reaction afforded by the Seireitei when the Hollow army descended upon Earth. The Shinigami were, after a bloody conflict, able to rout the forces of Las Noches and even kill the King. This would ignite a cycle of war and death between Soul Society and Hueco Mundo that would persist for all of human history going forward.
Rise and Fall of Central 46 Many centuries later, in the year 2011, Ai Muro Miyazawa found herself as the Captain Commander of the Gotei Six. By now, the Central 46 had been accepted as the official governing body of all of Soul Society. While nobility still wielded great power in the Soul Society it had waned greatly over the millennia, leaving the nobility a shadow of its former self.
Ai herself also proved to be an agreeable Captain Commander, easy for Central 46 to work with. Just like at any point in the past, many members of Central 46 were nobility themselves and therefore able to corral the mostly complacent families that remained.
This presented a great opportunity for Central 46 to take advantage of. With power and influence like never before, the organization quickly fell into a pit of corruption, self-interest, and degeneracy.
One of their gravest acts would be the secret creation of a Hollowification Virus with the intent of developing Shinigami-Hollow hybrids on par with the powerful Arrancar of Las Noches. In order to test the result, and the effectiveness, the Central 46 organized the capture of Captain of the Fifth, Artix von Creg, and Captain of the Second, Satine Purpureo.
The result, barely outpaced by similar efforts in Las Noches, was the creation of two Vaizards. These were Shinigami of great power capable of calling on the strength and abilities of an Inner Hollow. However, Central 46 proved unable to control the new Vaizards and they quickly escaped to Earth.
Unknown to the rest of Soul Society, Kyousuke Tsukimiya—Lieutenant of the Fourth Division at the time—had actually left for Las Noches in contradiction of the reports about his death. It was there that he met with the Cuarto Espada, Tova Diabló, who ultimately turned him into a Vaizard just before Artix von Creg and Satine Purpureo themselves were transformed.
This did not end the abuses of Central 46’s authority. Members of the organization continued to use their station to pursue personal profit and greater authority over all of Soul Society. Numerous plots and fabrications were created to discredit the nobility and to cast a shadow of doubt over the Captain Commander.
The Central 46 never bothered to hide their actions. They felt entirely secure in their position and their safety. Despite this, the things they did were still largely unnoticed by the Soul Society at large.
One of the few people to notice was Mitsutaka Karahashi who currently served as Lieutenant of the Fourth Division, successor to the mysteriously vanished Kyousuke Tsukimiya. During his secret investigation of the conduct of the Central 46, Mitsutaka himself is captured even in the middle of the Seireitei by Tova Diabló and taken back to Las Noches.
After his eventual escape, Mitsutaka Karahashi returns to the Soul Society as a Vaizard—courtesy of Tova—in disguise and becomes the Captain of the Fourth Division. He continues his investigation and uncovers proof of the lazily hidden antics of the Central 46 and forms a coalition, including a Quincy and a pair of powerful, human spiritualist twins by the names of Tenko & Kirishi, to overwhelm the current leadership of the Seireitei.
With all of his pieces in place, Mitsutaka Karahashi personally confronts Ai Miyazawa along with the Broken Transcendent known as Time, a former Lieutenant of the Fifth Division. He demands her surrender and resignation in light of the uprising, fueled by countless other Shinigami infuriated by the revelations about the Central 46 that he discovered. Realizing that she had no other options, Ai surrenders and resigns her position, which Mitsutaka accepts—though he chooses to rule as Captain Commander from the Fourth Division and not the First.
Meanwhile, Tenko and Kirishi along with their Quincy ally, Barrie “Ryder” Hughes, slaughter the Central 46 after confronting them with a list of their transgressions right in the middle of their main meeting chamber. This leaves the only authority in all of Soul Society laying at the feet of the Captain Commander.
Now with all of Soul Society under his control, along with a collection of powerful Captains, Mitsutaka Karahashi set his sights on Hueco Mundo and Las Noches. It is there that Truth served as King of Las Noches, still referred to as Tova Diabló. Despite the natural friendship between the two intellectually-inclined men, including between Tova and Kyousuke Tsukimiya, Captain of the Second, Mitsutaka makes plans for an invasion.
At the dawn of the new year in 2013, Mitsutaka launches his invasion and the forces of Las Noches respond in time. The battle is hard-fought and blood stains the sands around Las Noches for kilometers in any direction. Mitsutaka and Kyousuke personally kill three of the few Espada at the time. Meanwhile, Time is armed with a battle plan designed by Mitsutaka and with it is able to defeat Truth, whom Mitsutaka has secretly captured and transported back to the Seireitei.
After the battle, the Shinigami stand victorious once again. Time is executed by Kyousuke Tsukimiya despite her success and the man himself is appointed by Mitsutaka to become the Occupation Commander, with the population of Las Noches enslaved and the destroyed castle turned into an outpost for Shinigami monitoring of Hueco Mundo.
During the final battle with the Espada, however, Mitsutaka is grievously burnt. Even with his wounds healed, Mitsutaka’s sight does not return and he appears to lose all motivation for reasons unknown to most of the Soul Society, unable to so much as leave his hospital room in the Third Division.
The Gotei Five The year marches on and Mitsutaka remains completely bedridden after the invasion, now known as the Siege of Las Noches. This state continues for months, mostly fueled by losing the love of his life, Cho-Ah Amai, a member of the noble Amai family and his Lieutenant in the Fourth Division.
It was about halfway through the year when Mitsutaka would next stir. A visitor from Hueco Mundo, Alter Tova Diabló (referred to as aTova from here on), appeared mere days after the Siege and began to help rebuild Las Noches. He agreed to serve as a King subservient to the Occupation Commander and the other Shinigami present in Las Noches at the time.
He arrived in the Rukongai, quite a distance from the Seireitei, and announced his presence with a Cero grand enough to carve through the Wandering Soul City and begin a fire that would burn through an immense portion of it. He began a slow, gleeful march towards the Seireitei and, along the way, responded to Shinigami interference in a number of ways: beating them near death, killing them outright, torturing them physically and psychological, or even planting the seed for an Inner Hollow in those he felt were “promising”.
By the time he reached the wall, aTova demonstrated a level of raw power far, far beyond anyone in the Soul Society at the time. To demonstrate he was even able to blow a hole in the Sekkiseki wall that protected the city, freely air-walking through the Seireitei afterwards.
This march would ultimately see 300 Shinigami dead, hundreds more wounded, and the survivors changed for life. It only ended when aTova discovered Mitsutaka Karahashi in the hospital. A quick confrontation left the Captain Commander with a sword between his ribs, dead on the floor. However, before the last of his life slipped away, Mitsutaka was able to transcend and become Wishes.
Unable to stand against a Transcendent, aTova immediately retreated from the Soul Society and ended an event that would become known as “The Great Seireitei Massacre”. Wishes immediately vanished after aTova left, with rumors of a garden in the forest out past the edge of Rukongai being his new home.
After this event, the rest of the Shinigami left in Las Noches are devoured by aTova and he once again declares the independence of Hueco Mundo.
Reeling from the Massacre, the Gotei struggled to repair the city, the Rukongai, and reorganize their ranks. The Divisions were thrown into chaos with only a few Captains remaining. Even the Occupation Commander and Captain of the Second Division, Kyousuke Tsukimiya, was nowhere to be found. The Academy itself also fell into disarray. This state would continue for months as the Shinigami struggled to recover.
It wouldn’t be until early the next year, in 2014, that the remaining three Captains gathered again after yet another assault by aTova on Earth that saw Captain of the Fourth, Miki Sakamoto, betray the Seireitei for Las Noches and destroy Karakura Town in the process.
With these Captains gathered and no Captain Commander for months following the Massacre, an election was called. Kenshou Ine as Captain of the Fifth, Junko Aizawa as Captain of the Third of the noble Aizawa family, and the mysteriously returned Kyousuke Tsukimiya as Captain of the Second. The former, when called for their vote, both chose Kyousuke Tsukimiya as the new Captain Commander of the Gotei Six.
Upon accepting the vote, Kyousuke Tsukimiya made official law a number of things to help the Gotei recover:
The Central 46 was permanently and officially abolished, securing the Gotei's status as independent and in complete control of Seireitei.
The power and influence of the nobility was significantly curbed, and many of their assets seized.
The Captain-Commander was legally bound to take command of the First Division and appoint one of his subordinate captains as his successor.
Kyousuke also appointed new Lieutenants and Captains to fill the remaining vacancies of the Gotei.
With the power of the nobility all but forgotten and the Gotei not prepared for losing as many leaders as they did, these changes were hailed among those present and those who heard afterwards. The new Captains, and the new Lieutenant of Fourth to stand in after Miki’s betrayal, were also positively received by the Gotei and the Seireitei at large.
Immediately after making these declarations, Kyousuke Tsukimiya appointed Kenshou Ine as his successor and then resigned his position, leaving the Gotei for the last time. Kenshou Ine would go on to finish the changes that Kyousuke Tsukimiya began.
Months later, a confrontation erupted between the nobility, their supporters, and those who stood behind the anti-nobility sentiments of Captain Commander Ine. Ultimately, with the majority against them, every remaining member of a noble family personally surrendered their titles, status, and privileges as members of the nobility. This effectively ended the influence of nobility in the Soul Society after many millennia.
Changes continue in the Gotei even after this. A number of months after this event with the nobility another dramatic change visits the Seireitei.
Together, Captain Kohara Hi-to as Captain of the Sixth Division and Kiriko Chinda as Captain of the Second Division came forward. Together they announced that, with the approval of Captain Commander Ine, the Sixth Division will be merged into the Second Division, which would be assuming all of their duties as the military police of the Seireitei and the Soul Society as a whole. Kohara agreed to become the Lieutenant under the leadership of Kiriko in this new, more complete Division.
For the first time since its earliest inception, the Gotei Six becomes the Gotei Five.
Behind the scenes, and with help from former Captain Commander Ai Miyazawa, Kenshou Ine neared completion of the “King’s Key”. It was said that another dimension, within the Soul Society, existed that housed the Spirit Palace where the fabled Spirit King—little more than a creation myth—still resided. Determined to reach it, Kenshou Ine enlisted the help of Kiriko Chinda and Captain of the Third Division, Tokiyo Fujikagi, to finish the project.
The result is a success that comes at great cost: All three worlds were temporarily brought much closer together. Natural pathways between them were created that allowed Hollows and Humans alike to stumble or charge into the Soul Society unopposed. Kenshou Ine is also figuratively “cured” of his Vaizard status by the Transcendent known as Hope during this time.
Before the situation gets severe, Kiriko Chinda—now the Broken Transcendent known as Penance—gathered the Captains and announced her succession of him as Captain Commander. She refused to immediately name a successor of her own and also insisted on remaining in charge of the Second Division, both in violation of the laws of her former Captain, Kyousuke Tsukimiya.
A small scuffle erupted in the meeting before the Captains disperse to deal with the men and monsters wandering into the Soul Society. This event would later become known as “The King’s Key Eclipse”.
After the Eclipse, Captain Commander Chinda announced the existence of Vaizards to the public. This is the first time in all of Soul Society’s history that the general population has been aware of Vaizards and, to prove her point about their value and safety, introduced the exemplary officer known as Nagisa Chinda—her very own sister. Kiriko announced that Vaizards would slowly become a routine part of life in the Seireitei.
One of many who are firmly opposed to the presence of Vaizards in the Seireitei, Shun Minamoto—the newest Captain of the Fourth Division—assaulted Kiriko a few nights after her announcement. During the ensuing battle, wherein Kiriko holds back much of her power as Penance, the Command Annex of the Second Division is destroyed. At the battle’s conclusion, Kiriko transcended and in doing so became Fulfillment. This ended her battle with Shun Minamoto and her short reign as Captain Commander.
Before she departed Soul Society for good, Fulfillment paid Tokiyo Fujikagi a visit. It was then that she informed him of his promotion to Captain Commander and bid him a final farewell.
Tokiyo Fujikagi is still the Captain Commander of the Gotei Five and is currently dealing with the aftermath of Kiriko's announcement regarding Vaizards.
Prestige Vaizard Vaizards are Shinigami who have transcended the barrier separating Hollow and Shinigami by conquering their Inner Hollow, a personification of their darkest thoughts and desires. Able to summon forth their Hollow masks, Vaizards call upon powers unavailable to other Shinigami, powers that mirror those of Hollows and Arrancar and augment their already considerable prowess in battle.
Because of the taboo on attaining a Hollow's powers, Vaizards are considered an abomination by Shinigami; the very concept of a hybrid is simply unthinkable to most and terrifying to the rest. It is rumored that there are Vaizards in the highest echelons of the Gotei, though these rumors are unsubstantiated and laughed at in most circles.
As Vaizards are not necessarily willing participants in their state, some of them do not trust their nature of fully understand the purpose of their existence, and seek to separate themselves from the Gotei as Rogues.
Prestige Shinigami On rare occasion, Shinigami reach a point of evolution that far exceeds their peers. Their very soul begins to change and expand, and so too does their Zanpakutō. Unlike their corrupted brothers, the Vaizards, these Shinigami do not need an Inner Hollow to personify the dark places in their heart or the repressed portions of their personality.
While by no means necessary, the Zanpakutō Spirit may begin to encompass some of the aspects that an Inner Hollow might have shown, allowing the Shinigami to further develop both their soul and their powers.
Skills In addition to the basic Shinigami skillset, Vaizards gain the following:
Inner Hollow Resonance
Cero/Bala or Hierro or Regeneration or a Custom Skill Slot.*
Custom Skill Slot
*: Cero/Bala, Hierro, and Regeneration for Vaizards are identical to those of Hollows and Arrancar, and can be found among the Hollow Skills.
In addition to the basic Shinigami skillset, Prestige Shinigami gain the following:
Kidō (Hadō, Bakudō, or Kaidō)
Custom Skill Slot
Inner Hollow Resonance Inner Hollow Resonance is a power skill, and governs the Vaizard’s proficiency with the power of their Hollow Mask.
When a Vaizard has managed to successfully subjugate their inner Hollow—whether through understanding or brute force—they become capable of tapping into its power, and are able to use their Hollow Mask. When a Vaizard dons their Hollow Mask, they acquire a surge of power and unlock terrifying new abilities. In order to represent this boost in power, Vaizards enjoy a +40 Reiatsu release bonus while their Mask is active.
When a Vaizard first achieves victory over their Inner Hollow, they will find it incredibly difficult to generate and maintain their mask. It will be fragile, and they’ll be unable to maintain the concentration necessary to continue the connection with their inner Hollow for long.
As the Vaizard’s bond with their inner Hollow grows, the strength of their mask will grow with it and they will be able to maintain it for longer periods of time. By the time a Vaizard reaches Master rank, they are able to maintain their mask almost effortlessly, and can even repair it should it suffer damage.
Masters and Grandmasters achieve such a perfect connection with their Hollow nature that they are able to completely synchronize with it. Because of this, the release bonus of their mask increases by an additional +10 Reiatsu with both ranks (for a total of +60 Reiatsu at Grandmaster).
Zanpakutō Evolution Zanpakutō Evolution is a power skill, and governs the Shinigami’s proficiency with the power of their Evolved Bankai.
Although the Bankai is correctly seen as the ultimate release a Shinigami is capable of, the Bankai a Shinigami produces when they first release it is completely different from that of a true master. This is because while the skillset of a conventional Bankai can be improved and mastered through training and a strengthening of a bond between the blade and its wielder, a Zanpakutō can only truly evolve when the Shinigami itself evolves. When this happens, the wielder changes and the nature of their blade changes to mirror them, taking on a new form.
This new form of their Zanpakutō is typically referred to as an Evolved Zanpakutō, as it retains all previous abilities while also developing a new power. This new power, the Evolved Bankai, is incorporated into the Bankai release, and is seen as the “truest” and most “mature” form of a Shinigami’s Bankai. Unlike with Zanpakutō Resonance, where growth is characterized by a deepening relationship with the Zanpakutō spirit, growth with the Evolved Zanpakutō stems from experience. Use and study allow the Shinigami a greater understanding and knowledge of their spirit, and in turn of themselves.
Each rank grants +10 Reiatsu as a release bonus—Beginner to Expert applies this bonus to Shikai (for a total Shikai release bonus of +40 Reiatsu at Expert), whereas Master and Grandmaster applies it to Bankai (for a total Bankai release bonus of +60 Reiatsu at Grandmaster). The Shikai release bonus remains active during Bankai.