28 Shinigami Ranked From Weakest To Strongest


Summary

  • Bleach features over-the-top and reality-bending fights, with characters possessing delightfully absurd powers, particularly those wielded by the Shinigami.
  • Each Shinigami has unique abilities and weapons, such as Zanpakutō, enhanced physical abilities, binding spells, and damaging spells, which they use to protect Soul Society.
  • Some notable Shinigami characters include Nemu Kurotsuchi, Ikkaku Madarame, Rangiku Matsumoto, and Toshiro Hitsugaya, each with their own distinct personalities, strengths, and abilities.


Bleach, one of the former “big three” shonen anime, is known for a lot of things such as its incredible cast of Shinigami. It has a compelling teen angst-fueled story and some of the most over-the-top and reality-bending fights in anime history. The powers and abilities of characters in Bleach range from exceptionally straightforward to so complex that it’s impossible to see someone with those abilities losing a fight. Most of these delightfully extra powers come from the Zanpakutō used by the iconic Shinigami.

While other races in Bleach can use Zanpakutō, Shinigami are the only group that use them as their main method of combat. The guardians of Soul Society, the Shinigami consist of powerful spirits that can slay Hollows and other threats to the natural order of life and those who pass away. On top of their Zanpakutō, most Shinigami also use a collection of binding and damaging spells in combat, as well as techniques that increase their speed and general physical abilities. The strongest Shinigami spend centuries mastering these techniques to protect Soul Society.


28 Nemu – An Artificial Soul Reaper

Debut Episode: #28, “Orihime Targeted”

Nemu Bleach

Nemu Kurotsuchi is a lieutenant serving under the 12th Division’s Captain, Mayuri. Apart from that, she is also his daughter, although she was created by the resident unethical scientist of Soul Society instead of being born. Because her father’s personality is a little abrasive and eccentric, Nemu was mistreated, resulting in her withdrawn character. The lieutenant is blessed with an impressive amount of strength that allows her to easily throw large rocks and even block a Quincy arrow. However, she doesn’t seem to be in full control of her Zanpakutō, so much so that it’s not even physically with her. As a result, Nemu is one of Bleach’s weakest Shinigami.

27 Ikkaku – Aspiring to Greater Heights

Debut Episode: #26, “Formation! The Worst Tag”

Ikkaku wields two blades on Bleach

The 11th division lieutenant position is taken by Ikkaku Madarame. He’s usually made fun of by most people in Soul Society due to his appearance. Being a bald person, he’s always teased by his peers, with some calling him “cue ball” or “chrome dome”. Despite his appearance, Ikkaku is a skilled Shinigami. Ikkaku has superior sword fighting skills that allow him to use his Zanpakutō with both his left and right hands. His Zanpakutō can also divide into sections and extend beyond its length, which gives him an advantage on the battlefield and surprises his enemies. While not the weakest Shinigami Ikkaku ranks low for his basic skillset.

26 Rangiku – A Lazy Lieutenant

Debut Episode: #24, “Assemble! The Gotei 13”

The serious 10th division captain, Toshiro Hitsugaya, is partnered with the free-spirited lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto. She’s known to be a loafer and is more than willing to use her femininity in order to get what she wants. She’s also bent on everyone noticing her and giving her compliments. When it comes to skills and abilities, Rangiku is an excellent Shinigami with above-average sword fighting skills and immense strength. To add to that, Rangiku also has an interesting Zanpakutō that turns into ash. Whatever the ash lands on, Rangiku can instantly cut. While she’s yet to unlock her Bankai, her Zanpakutō is powerful enough to thwart challenging and intelligent enemies in Bleach.

25 Iba – Out of Focus

Debut Episode: #24, “Assemble! The Gotei 13”

Tetsuzaemon Iba is introduced as the lieutenant of the 7th Division of the Gotei 13, the main military body of Soul Society. He doesn’t really have any remarkable abilities, and he doesn’t participate in any influential fights over the course of the series. However, Iba is apparently competent and strong enough to get promoted to the position of Captain of the 7th Division following a ten-year time skip at the end of the manga. Iba isn’t all that memorable in the series and his fighting prowess is almost completely unexplored, making him one of the weaker Shinigami.

24 Love – An Underexplored Visored

Debut Episode: #122, “Visored! The Power of the Awakened”

Rabu Aikawa, mostly referred to by his nickname Love, is another Shinigami who has some rather unexplored abilities. He can transform his Zanpakutō into a giant club that lets him make more powerful attacks and incorporate fire into some of his attacks, but Love’s true strength comes from his Hollowfication. After donning a Hollow mask, this transformation greatly enhances Love’s physical abilities for a limited time. Sure, Love’s powers don’t bend time and space or contain world-shattering strength, but as a Visored, he can use Hollow abilities that make him stronger than many others. Still, given Love’s lack of screen time, it is difficult to truly rank highly among Bleach’s strongest Shinigami.

23 Tosen – Diabolical Sensory Deprivation

Debut Episode: #24, “Assemble! The Gotei 13”

Kaname Tosen is the former Captain of the Gotei 13’s 9th Division who betrayed Soul Society along with Aizen. His powers center mainly on manipulating an opponent’s senses. Tosen can use sound to overwhelm a person’s hearing and render them unconscious, and his Bankai creates a space that robs an opponent of every sense but touch. Tosen can also use his Bankai to transform himself into a massive, Cricket-like monster which temporarily restores his sense of sight. Moreover, he can undergo Hollowfication and is a lethal threat to nearly any Shinigami not privy to his abilities.

22 Tessai – A Master of Kido

Debut Episode: #6, “Fight to the Death! Ichigo vs. Ichigo”

Tessai Tsukabishi is a Shinigami living as a fugitive outside of Soul Society following Aizen’s Hollowfication experimentation. He was the head of the Society’s Kido Corps and is capable of casting even the highest-level spells with ease. While most spells require an incantation to activate, he is familiar enough with the techniques that he can forgo this process, making his attacks much faster and less predictable. Additionally, Tessai’s focus on spell casting and unarmed combat make him a much more unpredictable fighter than many of the other Shinigami in Soul Society.

21 Yoruichi – Bleach’s Stealthiest Fighter

Debut Episode: #15, “Kon’s Great Plan” (as a cat)

The former Captain of the 2nd Division, Yoruichi Shihoin is one of the strongest unarmed fighters in Bleach. She can move faster than nearly any other character in the series and can defeat most foes before they even realize she’s moved. Additionally, Shihoin can coat her body in a tremendous amount of electricity, which can also augment her physical attacks. She can also fire off blasts of lighting using this ability to compensate for her mostly short-ranged attacks.

Yoruichi’s speed and strength are second to none, and she only falls short to Shinigami who can neutralize those abilities or artificially surpass them with their Zanpakutō. It’s a testament to the strength of other Shinigami that Yoruichi doesn’t rank higher.

20 Komamura – Fighting Like a Wolf

Debut Episode: #24, “Assemble! The Gotei 13” (masked)

The anthropomorphic wolf Sajin Komamura has more raw physical strength than nearly any other character in Bleach. His Bankai allows him to create a giant avatar that can attack with massive slashes or physical blows. Moreover, Komamura can have the avatar remove its armor and further increase its raw, destructive power. The only downside to this method of attack is that any damage that was done to the avatar also appears on Komamura, although most fighters will not survive long enough to harm either. This is nothing short of one of the biggest and most brutal Bankai in all of Bleach.

19 Shinji – Disorienting Opponents

Debut Episode: #109, “Ichigo and Rukia, Thoughts Revolving in the Sky”

Captain of the 5th Division, Shinji Hirako is a Shinigami as well as a Visored, which means he can use both Shinigami and Hollow techniques. Shinji’s Zanpakutō allows him to invert an opponent’s senses, making them almost entirely unable to guard against incoming attacks. Donning his Hollow mask allows him to easily defeat a foe in this weakened state, by launching powerful Cero beams and enhancing his physical abilities. His Bankai is only revealed in the anime adaptation of Bleach‘s final arc, Thousand-Year Blood War, and causes everyone around him to lose the ability to differentiate friend from foe, making it difficult to use without impacting allies.

18 Mayuri – Soul Society’s Mad Scientist

Debut Episode: #24, “Assemble! The Gotei 13”

Mayuri Kurotsuchi is the Captain of the 12th Division and Soul Society’s own mad scientist. While his raw strength is unimpressive, Kurotsuchi’s intelligence and battle preparation is almost unrivaled. So long as he is able to research his opponent beforehand, he can create an almost foolproof strategy that counters their unique abilities. He is also able to manipulate his Zanpakutō and change its abilities in the middle of a fight so that it better counters an enemy’s techniques, and constantly experiments on it to make it better. He can invent a solution to nearly any problem he faces, like figuring out how to bring people back to life, using what’s more like magic than science.

17 Hitsugaya – Soul Reaper Prodigy

Debut Episode: #24, “Assemble! The Gotei 13”

Toshiro Hitsugaya is the young Captain of the 10th Division and is more accomplished than any other character for his age. On top of his keen intellect, Hitsugaya’s Zanpakutō and Bankai give him control over ice and water. He can manipulate the substances freely and uses this control for several creative attacks and defensive techniques. His Bankai in its final state, which only happens after prolonged combat, transforms Hitsugaya into an adult and flash freezes anything that touches him. With these abilities, he can easily defeat any enemy that doesn’t utilize fire or ice manipulation in their own attacks.

16 Rukia – Cold as Ice

Debut Episode: #1, “The Day I Became a Shinigami”

Rukia Kuchiki, one of the main protagonists and later Captain of the 13th Division, also manipulates ice in battle, but her powers work a bit differently than Hitsugaya’s. Rather than manipulate ice itself, Rukia can control temperature and make herself and the surrounding area so cold that matter isn’t able to move, dropping to absolute zero. This means that Rukia can make anything around her crumble away in a matter of seconds, while also making herself immune to most physical attacks. Even if it takes Rukia a while to fully use her abilities, as lowering her body temperature too quickly could damage her cells, with enough time she can defeat nearly any close or mid-range fighter.

15 Gin – Poisons and Treachery

Debut Episode: #20, “Gin Ichimaru’s Shadow”

Gin Ichimaru was the previous Captain of the 3rd Division of the Gotei 13 before he pretended to betray the organization in a plot to eliminate Aizen. His ability is one of the simplest and deadliest in the entire series. He can extend and retract his Zanpakutō almost instantaneously and skewer an opponent before they’re even aware of the attack. Gin’s blade moves quickly by transforming into dust between extensions, which can remain in an opponent’s body and poison them whenever Gin chooses. These techniques make Gin one of the strongest and fastest long-range fighters in Bleach.

14 Ukitake – Reflecting Attacks

Debut Episode: #9, “Unbeatable Enemy”

The sickly Jushiro Ukitake is the former Captain of the 13th Division of the Gotei 13. His Zanpakutō is one of the most powerful defenses in the series and capable of rendering nearly any attack useless. By splitting the sword into two blades connected by a cord, he can absorb any attack with the left weapon and direct it back at an opponent with the right. This makes nearly any attack against Ukitake ineffective and potentially damaging to the attacker. With this ability and his unusually large pool of energy, Ukitake can win nearly any battle of endurance.

13 Sui Feng – Instant Death

Debut Episode: #24, “Assemble! The Gotei 13”

As the Captain of the 2nd Division, Sui Feng’s speed and unarmed combat ability are second only to Yoruichi’s. However, Feng surpasses her idol in raw combat ability thanks to her Zanpakutō. She’s able to transform her weapon into a stinger that instantly eliminates a foe if she manages to hit them twice in the same spot, making her almost unbeatable when it comes to surprise attacks. Her Bankai ability grants her massive destructive power and transforms the weapon into a giant missile that takes out anything near it after detonation. This array of abilities allows her to take on nearly any kind of foe, no matter how strong their defenses are.

12 Byakuya – An Elegant Demise

Debut Episode: #15, “Kon’s Great Plan”

Captain of the 6th Division, Byakuya Kuchiki, is capable of destroying countless foes with ease. His incredible speed makes it difficult for most to land a single attack on him, and his Zanpakutō is absurdly powerful. He can break his sword into tiny razor blades that almost look like cherry blossoms and control them remotely. His Bankai greatly increases the number of these tiny blades and lets him attack an opponent from any direction at an incredible speed. He can even condense the blades to further augment the speed and force of his attacks. Byakuya is one of the strongest Soul Reaper Captains, naturally making him one of the strongest Shinigami.

11 Urahara – Incomprehensible Power

Debut Episode: #6, “Fight to the Death! Ichigo vs. Ichigo”

Bleach's Kisuke Urahara

Kisuke Urahara is a fugitive Shinigami and the former Captain of the 12th Division. He is arguably the smartest and most likable character in Bleach, as well as a master of spellcasting and unarmed combat. His Bankai is what makes him one of the most powerful characters in Bleach, however. When he unleashes this ability, Urahara summons a giant woman that can tear apart anything and then stitch it back together to Urahara’s liking. This means that he can alter any terrain to his advantage, increase the strength and dexterity of his muscles, or heal himself from any injury. Essentially, he is invulnerable and unbeatable in this state.

10 Oetsu Nimaiya – The Zanpakuto Creator

Debut Episode: Thousand-Year Blood War, #8, “The Shooting Star Project (ZERO MIX)”

Oetsu Nimaiya

Oetsu Nimaiya is a member of the Royal Guard and the creator of all Zanpakutō. As such, Nimaiya’s sword is so sharp and powerful that no sheath can contain it, making it one of the strongest in the series. He has immense spiritual power and is capable of easily defeating numerous opponents at once. He’s so strong that he never needs to use any of his advanced techniques over the course of the series. He is also tremendously useful in a support role, as he can repair and create Zanpakutō for other Shinigami, and even help them enhance the weapons through special training.

9 Senjumaru Shutara – Seamstress Warrior

Debut Episode: Thousand-Year Blood War, #8, “The Shooting Star Project (ZERO MIX)”

Bleach's Senjumaru Shutaru of Squad Zero.

Shutara is a member of the Royal Guard and therefore considered strong enough to protect the Soul King himself. Shutara’s abilities are unlike any others in the series, and she fights entirely without a Zanpakutō, spells, or physical techniques. Instead, she can manipulate cloth and thread with her mind alone. This lets her create incredibly realistic illusions, or attack someone through barriers by manipulating their clothes. She uses her Bankai in the Thousand-Year Blood War anime, which captures opponents and seals them in bespoke dimensions of punishment that are nearly impossible to escape from, making it a top-tier Bankai for sure.



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