Bleach, by Tite Kubo, is regarded as one of the best shonen series and is one of the BIG 3 Anime along with One Piece and Naruto. It was Bleach which made swords cool once again after Samurai Champloo and Rurouni Kenshin. Since you are here means you already know in Bleach they use Zanpakuto’s to fight the evil doers. Furthermore like millions of fans you too must have wondered about which is the strongest Zanpakuto.
Don’t worry we got you covered in that aspect and are presenting to you the list of top 10 strongest Zanpakuto in Bleach to ever exist.
The following list contains spoilers for the upcoming Thousand Year Blood War Arc, so if you are an anime only then kindly scroll ahead and get deep knowledge on Zanpakuto’s.
Let’s look at the top ten Zanpakutos in the Bleach universe ever to have existed:
10. Shinso Of Gin Ichimaru
Starting the list off, we have the Zanpakuto “Shinso”, wielded by the captain of the 3rd division of the Gotei 13, Gin Ichimaru.
The blade itself is very short, resembling more of a dagger/short sword than an actual sword but appearances can be deceiving. The primary attack of Shinso seems to be a thrusting attack by elongating the blade, but it is later revealed that the blade breaks down into dust for a split second, which is also the power of his Bankai “Kamishini no Yari”.
The dust spreads to a very long distance, capable of destroying buildings and hollows alike. Gin was one of the captains of the Gotei 13 and his prowess is deadly. He was able to break Rukia’s will with the help of a few words and was able to beat the giant guarding the door to the Soul Society.
Also, the dust particles contains a powerful cell-destroying ability which was almost responsible for the death of the powerful Sosuke Aizen. Thus this needs to be there in the list of top 10 strongest zanpakuto’s in Bleach.
9. Benihime Of Kisuke Urahara
On of the smartest minds of the Soul Society, and also stated as one of the “five special war powers” to Yhwach’s plan, Kisuke Urahara not only is clever, but also owns a Zanpakuto of dangerous level, called “Benihime”.
It is able to create and control crimson energy to carry out a range of techniques, although the true potential lies in the bankai “Kannonbiraki Benihime Aratame”. The Bankai takes the form of a giant woman which has the ability to destruct and reconstruct anything it touches in a variety of ways that Urahara commands.
This ability not only buffs up Urahara’s offence but also is a formidable defense. When Askin blinded Urahara using his abilities, Urahara’s bankai stole Askin’s eyes and operated those into Urahara’s. Thus, granting him a painful way of healing himself from the gravest of injuries.
The reason why it’s such low down on the list is that it has only been shown once, which was used to defeat the likes of Askin Nakk Le Vaar, one of the four members of the Schutzstaffel, the strongest of the Sternritter. However, Urahara faints post using the bankai and is not there throughout the entirety of war post this. But still a Zanpakuto of such potential deserves to be one of the strongest zanpakuto of all time.
8. Sayafushi Of Oetsu Nimaiya
One of the five members of Squad Zero, whose combined strength is said to be more than combined strength of the Gotei 13, Oetsu Nimaiya is the known as the “God of the Sword” and the creator of all Zanpakuto.
But such a significant individual who stands at the top wields a very special Zanpakuto, “Sayafushi”. This blade is actually considered to be a ‘failure’ by Nimaiya as the blade is too sharp but the edge is too smooth, which results it being impossible to sheath it.
Nimaiya carries the blade in a small tank containing jelly. The reason why he and his blade stands above Urahara’s Bankai is because of the fact that he was able to cut down all four members the Schutzstaffel, consisting of Lille Barro, Askin Nakk Le Vaar, Pernida Parnkgjas and Gerard Valkyrie, effectively killing them all in one shot, whereas Benihime was responsible for only the defeat of Askin Nakk Le Vaar.
One could argue that the Schutzstaffel were in their supposed “weakest form”, as Yhwach resurrects them back with more power. However, despite the amped up revival, the 4 possessed powers enough to destroy Soul King’s palace and cities around it, ALONE. And killing such 4 people in one shot is a feat no one has acquired in all of Bleach.
Thus, Sayafushi is one of the strongest Zanpakuto to ever exist.
7. Senbonzakura Of Byakuya Kuchki
“Senbonzakura” is wielded by the captain of the 6th division, Byakuya Kuchki. He is also the “adopted” brother of Rukia Kuchki. While using the Zanpakuto’s ability, Byakuya is left holding the sword’s handle after Senbonzakura’s blade turns into a thousand small, thin sakura petals that fly away from the hilt.
When he activates the Bankai “Senbonzakura Kageyoshi”, a thousand of swords appear from the ground which scatter away into millions of petals and strike the enemy, stabbing them multiple times.
As one of the strongest characters, Byakuya’s ability with his sword has proven to be very dependable at many times, defeating the likes of Espada’s Zommari Rureax and Yammy Llargo, Fullbringer Tsukishima.
In the Thousand Year Blood War Arc, he was able to crush the head of Gerard Valkyrie with the help of Senbonzakura Kageyoshi, and was able to defeat his reincarnated self with the help of Hitsugaya, Renji and Rukia.
This is a huge feat considering that Gerard Valkyrie is un-killable and always revives no matter who kills him. Also, injuring Gerard is in itself a nigh impossible task due to his immense power which rivals over many captains’ powers combined and also thanks to various HAX he received from Yhwach. So killing such a person even once is a feat that one can boast about.
Thus making Senbonzakura Kageyoshi one of the strongest Zanpakuto in Bleach.
6. Katen Kyokotsu Of Shunsui Kyoraku
The laid back former captain of the 8th division, and the present captain commander of the Gotei 13, Shunsui Kyoraku wields the powerful pair of swords “Katen Kyokotsu”.
It is one of the few Zanpakutos which comes as a pair of swords and similarly, demonstrates one of the most unique abilities in all of Bleach. The primary power of the sword in its shikai form is to “Make Children’s Games come to Life”, in which the Zanpakuto decides the rules of the game and people are forced to participate, once stepped into the area of effect.
Such a unique but powerful blade was used to defeat the likes of the Espada Coyote Starrk, but similar to Benihime, the true potential lies in the Bankai – Katen Kyokotsu: Karamtsu Shinju.
When activated, the Bankai of the sword encompasses Shunsui and his enemies into a dark void and as per the stages of the bankai the environment keeps on changing.
During the Thousand Year Blood War arc Shunsui was fighting Lille Barro the first Quincy to ever receive a power from Yhwach, making him one of the strongest members under his army.
Lille Barro was in a league of his own, no enemy of this level had fought before in the series thus forcing Shunsui to use his Bankai. Shunsui himself did not want to use it in front of others as its effect was not something that he could control on his own.
This Bankai is so strong that it was used to defeat the likes of Lille Barro who boasts he could take on Genryusai Yamamoto. This is the same Yamamoto against whom Yhwach himself had to use a cheat code to defeat him.
The powers portrayed by Shunsui in this fight makes him and his Zanpakuto one of the most dangerous pairs ever.
5. Nozarashi Of Kenpachi Zaraki
One of the 5 special war potentials stated by Yhwach and the physically strongest captain of the Gotei 13, Kenpachi Zaraki needs no introduction. The captain of the 11th division lives to fight, and lives to destroy the likes of his enemy.
But the most interesting part of his character arc is that despite his immense strength, he does not know the name of his Zanpakuto, nor can use the Shikai or Bankai ability, which is odd since he is a Shinigami.
After losing to Yhwach once who spared his life on a whim, he realizes that he needs to grow stronger and he achieves this by going against the first Kenpachi, captain Retsu Unohana.
After a long fought battle and several revivals and defeats later, he finally manages to remove the mental blockades he put on himself and defeats Unohana. In the process, he learns the name of his Zanpakuto – “Nozarashi”.
Nozarashi can almost cut through anything and combined with the raw power of Zaraki himself, this combination is virtually unbeatable. Even WITHOUT knowing his Zanpakuto’s name, Kenpachi was able to defeat the likes of two Soul Society captains, Tosen and Komamura, the 5th Espada Nnoitra and 4 sternritters.
With his awakened Zanpakuto, Zaraki cuts a giant Gerard Valkyrie in half with single slash. We can safely assume that Kenpachi’s Nozarashi is stronger than the blades of his fellow captains as he was able to swiftly defeat a powered up Gerard Valkyrie in effectively a single shot.
Whereas it took the collective strength of the likes of Renji, Rukia, Hitsugaya and Byakuya to defeat a relatively “weaker” version of Gerard Valkyrie.
What is Zaraki Kenpachi’s Bankai ability you ask?
He gains even more physical strength, cutting strength and acts mindlessly. His raw power of his Bankai is so strong that Kenpachi’s body cannot contain it within his body. Ultimately resulting in his own arm getting ripped. In his bankai, Zaraki was able to slash a meteorite to pieces.
Thus making Nozarashi one of the strongest Zanpakuto in existence.
But the next few characters have abilities which can defy logic itself.
4. Kyouka Suigetsu Of Sosuke Aizen
Next off, we have another blade whose Bankai has not revealed shown the “Kyouka Suigetsu”, which is wielded by our enchanting yet manipulative antagonist, Sosuke Aizen.
He is also another one of the five special war potentials who can devoid Yhwach of his destiny. Being a former captain of the Gotei 13, he put on a very scholarly and caring demeanor which also overlaps with the power of his Zanpakuto.
When used, it’s power can control the five senses of the victim absolutely, putting them into complete hypnosis. This power is stated to be foolproof, and the secret to fend off against the hypnosis is only known to Gin, who himself got to know the information after serving Aizen for centuries.
Aizen was casually playing along with Ichigo, the strongest captains, the Captain Commander and the Vizards, putting them into hypnosis with his Zanpaukto, making his Zanpakuto easily as one of the strongest ever.
After merging with Hyogoku and his own Zanpakuto Aizen’s spiritual power knew no bounds. He can easily eradicate anyone with just his spiritual pressure. He was able to hypnotize Yhwach, after the latter fully awakened the powers of “The Almighty” after a thousand years.
This is a huge feat in itself when you know that Awakened Yhwach with all his powers can see into the future and change past in the present. If you don’t get it then don’t worry there are millions like you who didn’t. Maybe Kubo will explain it in the anime.
There is no certainty to the fact that whether Ichigo would have been able to defeat Aizen if the latter had actually revealed his Bankai. Thus making Aizen’s Kyouka Suigetsu one of the strongest zanpakuto‘s in Bleach.
3. Zangetsu Of Ichigo Kurosaki
Our protagonist, Ichigo Kurosaki, uses his Zanpakuto “Zangetsu” . The manifestation of Ichigo’s inner selves and origin reveals him the true identity of Zangetsu.
The identical depiction of Ichigo in all-white represents his Inner Hollow, while the black-clad figure is actually a depiction of his mother’s Quincy abilities, which mimic that of Yhwach.
He essentially is a cocktail of every potential species in the Bleach universe, as his father is a Soul Reaper, his mother a quincy, he has hollow powers thanks to Aizen, and he has Shinigami and quincy abilities thanks to his genes.
This increases his power to astronomical heights, as evidenced by Zangetsu’s unique skill, the “Getsuga Tensho,” which unleashes potent energy blasts. The fact that Ichigo was able to master his Bankai “Tensa Zangetsu” in just three days and wield it against Kenpachi and Byakuya is a noteworthy accomplishment.
His other abilities also enabled him to face off against many strong opponents before ultimately defeating Aizen in combat.
Later on, Jugram Haschwalth breaks his Zanpakuto, but Oetsu Nimaiya used a new Asauschi to recreate it, turning it into a genuine Zanpakuto.
Yhwach, himself sees Ichigo’s bankai as threat and destroys it on multiple occasions. One of the strongest Zanpukto in the series is made possible by his mixed lineage and unlimited talents and the potential unlocked by being a cocktail and in the way Ichigo employs his boons using Zangetsu makes Zangetsu one of the strongest Zanpakuto’s in Bleach.
2. Ryujin Jakka Of Genryusai Shigekuni Yamamoto
Even though the captain of the first squad and the captain commander of the Gotei 13 seems to be elderly, one must never forget that advancing years bring with them a wealth of expertise and experience.
Yamomoto owns the Zanpakuto “Ryujin Jakka,” arguably the strongest Zanpakuto in all of Soul Society. To prove that statement, one must know that this Zanpakuto emanates such potent spiritual energy that they come out as flames. These flames are so strong that water bodies in the Soul Society start evaporating, throats start drying up and the lips of people start to crack of other captains and Yhwach as well. Hitsugaya Toshiro the strongest ice type zanpakuto user and other water and ice based bankai’s and shikai’s stop functioning since Yamamoto’s heat evaporates their abilities instantly.
The last time Yamamato had supposedly used his Bankai was a thousand years ago when he fought against Yhwach. Aizen and Yhwach were both aware that getting rid of Yamamoto’s Zanpakuto was the only way to stop him because of its frightening powers.
Yhwach grabbed the perfect opportunity presented to him by stealing the power of his Bankai.
Yamamoto has the power to completely burn the Soul Society with his raw spiritual pressure. When Yamamoto finally uses his bankai “Zanka no Tachi” on fake Yhwach, all the emitting flames vanish and focus on the blade’s tip.
When Yamomoto uses the “East” form of his Bankai, whatever he touches is removed from existence. Yamomoto could also employ the “West” form of his Bankai to set him on fire, wherein his body becomes as hot as the sun. The “South” form summons the corpses of individuals who were killed by Ryujin Jakka, creating an entire army of zombies ready to kill at Yamamoto’s commands. The “North” form is a powerful slash that completely destroys anything it touches. Had it not been Royd Lloyd fighting Yamamoto as Yhwach, it can be clearly stated that it is virtually impossible to beat him in a fair fight.
Another Zanpakuto, however, is a candidate for the title of strongest Zanpakuto ever.
1. Ichimonji Of Ichibe Hyosube
The leader of the Squad Zero, protector of the Soul King, and one of the first Shinigami to ever exist, Ichibe Hyosube is older and deadlier. It is said that the first Zanpakuto to ever receive an evolved form (later to be known as Bankai) was his “Ichimonji”.
But the most intriguing fact is that Ichimonji is not a sword or a blade at all – it is but a paint brush. It does not cut through flesh, but it cuts through names. A name holds the power to everything in Bleach, it is visible from Renji’s bankai where the Zanpakuto spirit gave him a fake name since it felt that Renji isn’t strong enough to weild its powers. Thus, downsizing his abilities manyfolds.
However, when he later gets to know the real name his powers go above and beyond his current capabilities. This made him strong enough to be acknowledged by Byakuya Kuchiki.
Now what makes Ichibe the most dangerous of all Shinigami is that he is the one who named everything in the Soul Society. Hence he wields the power the command anything and everything at his disposal.
Another great example to explain the importance of names would be to analyze Kenpachi’s situation. The difference in power after he learned the name of his Zanpakuto is crystal clear. Coming back to the Zanpakuto, whatever is manipulated by Ichimonji loses its name, and can also lose its strength depending on what new name Ichibe gives them.
Ichibe was able to erase Yhwach’s name itself and reduce him to an ant which resulted in him becoming as weak as an ant. Ichibe himself is a master of each and every Soul art, and can rival the defensive powers of the Quincy Lord Yhwach himself with relative ease.
When the Bankai is activated, the brush changes into an actual blade and everything in the universe that is black in color, obeys his command. Be it hair, clothes or nature itself, but everything black will be at his command. Ichibe was able to annihilate Yhwach, but could not match up to his prophecy of awakening his complete powers after a thousand years, which coincidentally occurred while fighting Ichibe.
But had it not been for that, Ichibe would have easily defeated Yhwach and can defeat anyone to ever exist, and his unreal powers prove that. He has to power to define the power levels of objects which essentially makes him a God.
Not to forget, Ichibe’s body get dismembered into pieces by Yhwach however his knowledge of the working of soul society helps him to revive himself.
Thus making him a formidable foe.
The Zanpakuto’s are unique weapons where each wields an unique ability however the user who uses them have to be that experienced to use them at their full potential as well.
Do you think, some other zanpakuto should be there in the list then let us know in the comments.