Bleach is back, but it’s the lore debates that have us intrigued. Like how strong is Kenpachi’s Bankai? Okay fine, we admit that’s not the most pressing issue being brought up in the wake of Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War, but it is a good one. After all, each Bankai is so specifically designed for the Soul Reaper that possesses them, and yet some still elude us with their exact power and nature.
Kenpachi Zaraki has always been an oddity amongst his companions in the Gotei 13, so it makes sense that his Bankai would be just as strange as him. So, how strong is Kenpachi’s Bankai? Well considering it can level entire buildings in its vicinity, simply upon being activated? We’re going to go with monstrously strong. Kenpachi’s Bankai hasn’t been revealed to fans in its full glory, but we have seen it in action enough to gauge its pretty violent strength levels.
This fits Kenpachi perfectly, considering how he rose to his current position by defeating the previous captain in a duel to the death, a tradition of the often-maverick 11th Division. But, then again, Bankaioften tend to be pretty hardcore in nature, considering they are the final form of any Zanpakutō. And a Zanpakutō is the main weapon in the arsenal of anyone in Bleach, which includes the Soul Reapers aka Shinigami, the Arrancar, and even the Visored.
This is why knowing the strength of any Bankai can be a window into the character that’s wielding them. It can also be a hilarious dichotomy, like in the case of Suì-Fēng, the stealthy captain of the 2nd Division, and her comically large Bankai, Recoil, that is basically an explosive Bazooka. Nevertheless, let’s take a gander at Kenpachi Zaraki and how his strong Bankai fares in the world of Bleach in yet another segment of Lore Analysis!
Kenpachi Zaraki: As Monstrous As He Looks
Even amongst other Captains, all ranging from various species and races, Kenpachi is a standout. And not just in terms of his personality and appearance, but also due to the sheer amount of strength he holds. If we only talk about something like his Reiryoku, which is the spiritual power that Shinigami depend upon, it is nearly immeasurable. So, to say Kenpachi Zaraki is a formidable opponent would be the understatement of the year.
In stark contrast to his background, Kenpachi Zaraki’s skillset has been, to use a pun, rather blunt. Because his entire combat style revolves around him overwhelming his opponents with raw primordial strength alongside his massive Reiatsu reserves powering him through the worst. So, for the longest time, this was the sole way Zaraki had fought up. That is, until the climax of The Thousand-Year Blood War arc, where he awakened both his Shikai and Bankai.
So, when we’re discussing how strong Kenpachi’s Bankai could be, it’s important to consider everything. From how it manifests, to its pros and cons, everything needs to be looked at. And yes, this Bankai does have some issues.
How Strong Are Kenpachi’s Bankai and Shikai?
While his Shikai simply seems to change his Zanpakutō, Nozarashi, into a gigantic cleaver with enhanced strength, it’s his yet-to-be-named Bankai that we are more interested in. Upon activation, his skin changes to a red hue along with horns protruding out of his head, causing him to resemble the famous Yokai from Japanese folklore, the Oni.
Apart from giving him a makeover, it seems to simply enhance Zaraki’s ludicrous levels of strength to further heights, as evidenced during his bout with the Quincy, Gerard Valkyrie, who mirrors Zaraki in terms of having a bottomless level of strength thanks to his ability to convert physical damage done to him into a newfound wellspring of strength. So, it’s safe to say that Kenpachi’s Bankai is ridiculously strong, even if we haven’t seen it be used too many times.
While Zaraki can contend and even overwhelm Gerard, due to the captain’s recent usage of the Bankai, he has yet to adjust to the awesome strength it grants him. This is one of his biggest shortcomings, causing him to break his arm in the course of battle with the Sternritter. As such, it’s honestly hard to say where Zaraki stands on the overall scale of things. Given that unlike many of his contemporaries, we have only seen him utilize this skill once before vanishing into the rushed ending of Bleach as a whole.
While it’s a given that Zaraki may eventually come into his own and manage to develop further control over his Bankai, we have yet to see it as such. We may have to wait for some time as the series slowly returns in the form of the Echoing Jaws of Hell arc of the manga.
But till then, let’s just say that Kenpachi’s Bankai is a strong but hidden weapon that will be expanded upon later on.