What Is Kyoraku Shunsui Bankai? Why Was He Made The New Captain Commander Of Gotei 13?

After the downfall of the Soul Society and the Gotei 13 by the heinous acts of Yhwach and his Quincy army i.e. the Wandenreich, there was much to rebuild. Multiple heavy losses were dealt, like the destruction of the Sereitei and its soul reapers but also big losses like captains losing their Bankai and captain commander Yamamoto’s death at the hands of the Quincy King.

After the invasion, the Royal Division took initiative for the recuperation of some of the key characters and the Central 46 decided to elect a new Captain Commander. They in fact elected 8th division captain Shunsui Kyoraku as Yamamoto’s successor.

Although posing no doubt to the level of his skill as a captain, why would the lazy and laid back captain of the 8th division be given such an important responsibility? Also, what is Kyoraku Shunsui Bankai abilities? Did they play a role in him getting the promotion? Let’s find out.

What Is Kyoraku Shunsui Bankai in Bleach TYBW? How Is It So Strong?

Let’s not forget about another factor that is very important for a Gotei 13 captain, that being Bankai. There never came a reason for us to witness Kyoraku Shunsui bankai before the TYBW arc, even though he owns great feats like defeating strong fighters like Coyote Starrk.

His spiritual pressure itself is a menace, as he boasts enough to withstand a raging Yamamoto alongside Ukitake. He hides his true potential beneath a funny and easy going facade.

To meet the level of Ryujin Jakka, the flaming and powerful Bankai of late captain commander Yamamoto, there is no doubt as to the fact that the new commander must boast a powerful Bankai as well.

Kyoraku shunsui bankai releasing in his fight against Lille Barro

Wielding Katen Kyokotsu, which is a pair of blades dual wielded by him, he is adept at sword fighting and can hold his ground.

Before learning about Kyoraku Shunsui bankai first let us know in depth about his shikai which can help us understand Kyoraku Shunsui bankai better.

Shunsui wields a unique Zanpakutō, Katen Kyōkotsu, which exists as a daisho sword pair.

Katen Kyōkotsu has a personality of her own and that shines through in battle and prevents Shunsui from fighting at full power until she is in the mood for it.

To release the Shikai, Shunsui utters the command: “The Flowery Winds Become Disturbed, The God Of Flowers Sings, The Heavenly Winds Become Disturbed, The Devil Of Heaven Sneers.”

When the flash clears, Katen Kyōkotsu has become a pair of huge, black, heavily curved Chinese scimitars with silver edges.

The power of Katen Kyōkotsu is to “make children’s games real.” The Zanpakutō makes the rules and anyone who steps within the boundaries of its spiritual pressure is forced to play by those rules, including Shunsui himself.

Shunsui has several techniques he can use with this form of Katen Kyōkotsu, such as:

Bushōgoma (Lazy Spinning Top): Shunsui rotates with both blades facing in opposite directions, creating large wind blades that fire toward an opponent from Katen Kyōkotsu.

Takaoni (Mountain Demon): The technique’s rule is whoever is higher up “wins.”

Kageoni (Shadow Demon): The rule of this game is that whoever gets their shadow stepped on “loses.” For example, Shunsui demonstrates the ability to hide himself in shadows using this technique and also controls them to attack his opponent by attacking the shadow they are standing upon. Furthermore, he can create multiple shadow clones of himself to attack his opponent from multiple angles.

Irooni (Lustrous Demon): In this color-based game, the player says the name of the color they want to cut with their sword and cannot cut anything else. When the player calls out a color that does not exist on their body, the damage inflicted is minimal, even if the attack would normally inflict a severe wound.

However, if the player calls out a color they are wearing and attacks, the damage given will be proportionate to the amount of that color on their body. To maximize damage, the player must use a color that maximizes the risks to themselves as well as the enemy.

For instance, wearing black robes and calling “black” would inflict massive damage on an enemy if struck, but the player would be at risk of suffering major damage in return depending on how much of the enemy’s skin or clothing is covered in black.

Daruma-san ga Koronda (だるまさん が ころんだ, The Dharma Doll Fell Down): After Shunsui or his opponent is marked as being “it”, the other combatant travels toward them on a trail of Reiatsu left by their attack in order to catch them by surprise.

However, if the combatant who is “it” sees their opponent while they are moving, that opponent loses and thus dies. The game this technique represents is Daruma-san ga Koronda, a children’s game similar to red-light green-light.

Kageokuri (影送り, Shadow Sending): By staring hard enough at their shadow, Shunsui or his opponent can project an afterimage in a different location; the higher the opponent’s Reiatsu, the more realistic the afterimage appears. This technique represents Chiichan no Kageokuri, where children stare at their shadow on the ground for several seconds before looking at another surface, allowing them to see an “afterimage” of their shadow.

However, Kyoraku Shunsui Bankai is where things go absolutely wild as he unveils Katen Kykotsu Karamatsu Shinju with which he can change the perception of enemies in such a way that they are forced to play games played by children and follow the rules.

Shunsui considers bankai as his last resort, and will only use it if his allies are far enough away from him so that they do not get caught in its effects.

Upon releasing Kyoraku Shunsui Bankai releases a Special Ability in which an aura covers a large area around Shunsui, this aura changes others’ perception of the surrounding environment, making them perceive it as darkened, bleak and gloomy, and causes others to feel varying levels of melancholy and despair.

Kyoraku Shunsui bankai is the one of those bankai which has stages, revealing that he has achieved so much control over his bankai. Yet, his bankai is not fully under his control further revealing that he has room to grow stronger.

Let’s find out about his bankai stages:

Ichidanme: Tameraikizu no Wakachiai (Act the First: Hesitance and Apportionment of Wounds): Shunsui and his opponent’s wounds inflicted on each other’s body will emerge on their body as well.

Nidanme: Zanki no Shitone (Act the Second: The Pillow of Shame): Black spots appear all over the opponent’s body, causing them to bleed profusely.

Sandanme: Dangyo no Fuchi (Act the Third: The Severing Abyss): A massive amount of water engulfs both Shunsui and his opponent, they remain within it until one of them runs out of Reiatsu and drowns.

Shime no Dan: Itokiribasami Chizome no Nodobue (Final Act: Thread-Cutting Scissors upon a Blood-Streaked Throat): After sheathing his swords, Shunsui winds a white thread around his opponent’s throat multiple times before pulling it taut, leaving a deep cut in their throat that expands before blowing up their head.

These stages are perfect for entrapping extremely strong characters some even stronger than Kyoraku himself. However, these stages guarantee a sure kill. Immortal characters like Lille Barro (one of the strongest Quincies and leader of the Schutzstaffel) can somehow still survive however he was driven to the brink of his sanity.

With such a vast arsenal of abilities within his bankai, it was a given that Kyoraku Shunsui will become the next Captain Commander.

However, there are two other captains who are equally if not more strong than him i.e. Unohana and Joshiro Ukitake.

Although Unohana revealed her strong Bankai to the fans, she spent her complete power into awakening the beast inside of Kenpachi Zaraki and sacrificed an integral part of the military strength for the good of the Soul Society.

However, even without these two there was Byakuya who was also from a noble clan and was pretty strong and has a stable head on his shoulders.

But even then Kyoraku was chosen as the new captain commander, why?

So why was Kyoraku Shunsui elected as the new Captain Commander?

We see the now eye-patched captain receive a letter, regarding his promotion to the captain of the 1st Division and the Gotei 13 Captain Commander. Although he is reluctant about this new responsibility, he accepts the position. Let’s actually discuss how he is the one worthy of the title more than others.

The first criterion definitely pertains to experience, which Kyoraku Shunsui in no way lacks. He is one of the oldest serving Shinigami and captains of the Gotei 13 along side his best friend and 13th Division captain Jushiro Ukitake, both going as far as being direct students of the late captain commander Yamamoto.

Other notable figures like Unohana, the first one to hold the title of Kenpachi are in the same league as well. So as far as experience goes, we can only choose from these 3 captains as the others are relatively young and lack experience, but then why him out of the three?

Well as for Unohana, her being the first holder of Kenpachi and basically having a criminal background does affect her likelihood of being Captain Commander and knowing her true nature of being a ruthless killer, she does not particularly behave like a person who can garner discipline and make rational decisions.

Also, her responsibility for the future of the Soul Society was already planned out by Shunsui, after a mutual conversation, the first decision Shunsui made as the captain commander was to assign her to teach Kenpachi Zaraki the art of killing.

As for captain Ukitake, the major reason holding him back was his sickness, as he suffered to even fight at his full potential. Even though displaying potential to becoming one of the strongest captains and showing mature behavior unlike his friend, his sickness holds him back and because of it he would not have been the correct choice as Captain Commander.

Shunsui Kyoraku on the other hand might be a laid back and easy going captain, he does stand up to fight against enemies and has been shown to be a tactical and cunning person. He knows how to handle stress and take responsibility on his shoulders.

His sense of justice is strong and he is ready to take any steps necessary to avoid destruction. He believes that in war, both sides lose.

Furthermore, during the first strike of the Wandenreich Byakuya lost his bankai so him being a captain commander is out of the question.

Hence, Kyoraku Shunsui was made the Captain Commander due to his immensely powerful bankai, his seniority in the soul society, his tactical mind, leadership qualities and ability to take immense risk to achieve his goals.

Why does Kyoraku want to teach Zaraki the art of killing?

As mentioned before, the first decision he takes as the Captain Commander was to teach Zaraki the “Way of the Sword” with the help of captain Unohana, who was revealed to be Yachiru Unohana, first holder of the title of Kenpachi.

When Yhwach invaded the Soul Society with his army, even Kenpachi could not hold his own against the Quincy King. Although he was able to defeat a handful of Sternritter on his own, he could not go up against Yhwach as we see the aftermath of a relatively short battle with Zaraki’s defeat.

shunsui to teach zaraki kenpachi

Shunsui knew that without the full potential of arguably the strongest captain, they would not be able to hold their own against their arch nemesis, so he knew he had to do something about it.

He assigned 4th division captain Unohana to teach him the art of killing after doing some research about their past and the result did seem out to be on the fruitful side as Kenpachi learns how to use Bankai, at the cost of losing his best rival, in a dramatic fashion.

Why does Kyoraku want to talk to Aizen?

Earlier we mentioned that, Kyoraku is the kind of man who is ready to take any step necessary in order to win and this right here is the best example to prove it. As Yhwach was busy killing the Royal Division and the Soul King, the world began to fall apart due to Soul King’s absence.

It put the entire 3 dimensions of Soul Society, Hueco Mundo, and Earth off balance. Furthermore, the entire dimension of Soul King that is the Royal Palace was going to fall on Soul Society and destroy it.

Also with captain Ukitake revealing his true form as being the host of Mimihagi, the right hand of the Soul King, his friend Shunsui had other plans.

The thing is during the Quincy invasion, while Yhwach (who was actually Royd Lloyd) was raging violence in the Soul Society, the real Yhwach went underground below the barracks of the 1st Division where the deadly Aizen resides, who was sealed by Urahara and Mayuri after his fight with Ichigo.

His goal was to convince the master of deception into joining his side and to destroy the Soul King as their similarities did match up, but Aizen refused to join his side as he did not forget his pride as a Shinigami.

Shunsui knew about this very pride that a Shinigami would normally posses and he used it to his advantage. He gained the permission to access the seals placed on the god of deception Aizen himself, so that now he could ask his help in order to defeat Yhwach.

Although no one in their right mind would want to release the most dangerous criminal ever, Shunsui knew that at this point where the whole world was at the brink of collapse, these ill omened relationships were trivial and he did know that Aizen could not fathom the sight of a Quincy destroying the world while he is stuck in a jail.

As a man who is good with his words, he was successful in convincing Aizen to defeat Yhwach and that he did help in. Only due to skill in conversation and tactical awareness was he able to convince a person like Aizen.

Also Shunsui knew that only a person on the level of Aizen could hold the Royal Palace together after its precarious condition would be able to lift it with the immense amount of Reiatsu he possesses.

Just to give an example of his power in the TYBW arc, a completely sealed Aizen was able to mess up with Yhwach’s senses and a half sealed Aizen was able to release his immense Spiritual Pressure and affect fully awakened Almighty Yhwach with Kyouka Suigetsu which eventually led to Yhwach’s death.

Shunsui gambled on this situation and it turned out to be fruitful.


The Central 46 decided to elect 8th division captain Shunsui Kyoraku as the new captain commander of the Gotei 13 and even though he was reluctant, he did agree to it. He knew that the Soul Society was not in a very good condition after the Quincy invasion so he decided to take immediate action.

He made risky yet rewarding steps into rebuilding the military strength, as he decided on teaching Kenpachi the art of Killing with the help of Unohana and also going as far as asking Aizen to help them against the Quincy army and Yhwach.

He is a jolly man on the outside but this is the only way he can hide his true nature from others. He was successful in convincing people like Unohana and Aizen into helping rebuild the military strength and he himself took down one of the strongest characters Lille Barro with the help of Nanao.

Kyoraku Shunsui Bankai is extremely powerful as it can mess up with an enemy’s senses in the most brutal way and his cunning nature with his tactical awareness is a masterful proof as to why he was indeed the correct choice for the next captain commander. His decisions did bear fruit and at the end of the day the Soul Society managed to avert danger due to his actions.

Do you think anyone else would have done a better job at being the captain commander in Bleach? Who do you think would have been the best choice if Shunsui was out of option? Do let us know in the comments below!

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