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Bleach Gotei 13 Guide
WARNING: Although this guide contains seperate spoiler sections, if you are not upto date of the time of writting this article in the anime, there will be spoilers.
For a List of all the Zanpakuto shown in the series you can view the Bleach Zanpakuto Guide
For Character Biographies of Non-Gotei 13 Characters you can view the Bleach Character Biographies
Introduction to the Gotei 13:
The Gotei 13 is the name given to the 13 Divisions of the Shinigami in Soul Society. Anyone classified as a Shinigami is put into 1 of the 13 Divisions, whether they are a Captain or Vice-Captain, hold a Seat, or are just a member, they are still an important part of the Division.
Each Division of the Gotei 13 has a Captain and a Vice Captain, they are generally the strongest of the whole Division. To become a Captain, a Shinigami must first have achived Ban-Kai as one of the prerequisites. The Captain and Vice Captain usually travel together and get along well.
A Shinigami cannot be seen in the human world, they leave Soul Society when they are going on missions to balance the Spirits in the World. Those that can see Ghosts can generally not see Shinigami, but there are exceptions and it is a very rare gift.
Each Shinigami wears black robes with white trimming and a white cloth belt. On special occassions they wear a arm band to signify thier rank in their specific Division. The Captain of a Division wears a White Robe with the Number of their Division in Kanji on the back.
The Shinigami have three duties:
- To preform the 'Soul Burial' and send ghosts to Soul Society or Hell.
- To track down and 'clense' hollows from the human world.
- To regulate and balance the souls in each world.
The Gotei 13:
1st Division Captain: Yamamoto Genryuusai Shigekuni
First Division Captain and founder of the shinigami academy. By virtue of his position and seniority, he is also the supreme commander of the Gotei 13.
Yamamoto-taicho looks like a very old man, almost after the fashion of the Taoist Immortals, but under his shinigami robes he still has a strong body that has not decayed with age. His spiritual pressure is possibly greater than any other being in Soul Society; it was enough to paralyze Ise Nanao--the Eighth Division Vice-Captain--with a mere glance. He wields Ryuujin Jakka, the strongest of all fire-type zanpaku-to. His skill in kidou is unknown, but probably as formidable as his swordsmanship, as he appears to embody the convention of the "old master."
Kyouraku Shunsui (8th Division Captain) and Ukitake Juushiro (13th Division Captain) seem to have a particularly strong relationship with Yamamoto-taicho. He mentions that they were the first graduates of his shinigami academy to rise to the rank of captain, and some clips from the anime show Yamamoto-taicho sparring with the two (and easily winning).
1st Division Vice Captain: Unknown
Not much is known about this man, other than his outfit, which is somewhat different and more formal than those of the other vice-captains. Judging from his appearance, face, and weapon, it is probably a safe guess that he is a sophisticated sort of man.
2nd Division Captain: Soi Fong
Captain of the Second Division, and Commander of Covert Operations and Executive Militia.
Not much is known about Soi Fong. She is from a lower noble that served the great Shihounin family, and became a comrade of Shihouin Yoruichi (former Captain of the Second Division) at a young age.
In combat, Soi Fong wields Suzumebachi, one of the more unique Zanpaku-to. She also seems to have the entire Covert Operations division at her beck and call, ready to fight at a moment's notice.
After being inducted into the Second Division, Soi Fong quickly became a close associate and friend of Yoruichi, and hence felt betrayed when Yoruichi abruptly left Soul Society to help Urahara Kisuke.Recently, however, Soi Fong and Yoruichi seem to have mended their relationship somewhat.
2nd Division Vice Captain: Ohmaeda Marechiyo
Descended from one of the noble families in Soul Society. Omaeda is an enormous individual, dwarfing his petite Captain. He is also her opposite in personality, being rather a buffon and not especially bright. Not much else is known about him.
3rd Division Captain: Ichimaru Gin
The sly-faced, perpetually smiling Ichimaru seems to be almost totally amoral, willing to injure even his own comrades if it helps him get what he wants.
Ichimaru's personality is inscrutable. It is impossible to tell if his ever-present grin is merely a facade to hide his true thoughts, or if he really does take devilish glee in the various tragedies he sets in motion.
As with most captains, Ichimaru's past is shrouded in mystery. However, he seems to have a rather strong relationship with vice-captain Matsumoto, who is probably his only true friend.
Ichimaru's zanpaku-to is Shinsou, which he uses with impressive skill, if rather indiscriminately.
As his former vice-captain, Ichimaru still holds great loyalty to Aizen Sousuke, and is revealed to have participated in Sousuke's various nefarious plot. The traitors were uncovered, however, and Aizen fled to Hueco Mundo along with his co-conspirators Ichimaru and Tousen.
3rd Division Vice Captain: Kira Izuru
A thin and somewhat neurotic individual, Kira is good friends with fellow vice-captains Hinamori and Abarai. He seems a decent enough sort, but is also extremely loyal to his captain, Ichimaru Gin. This sometimes puts him in difficult positions, where he is forced to choose between loyalty to his captain and loyalty to his friends.
4th Division Captain: Unohana Retsu
A kind and peaceful woman, who is perfectly suited to be Captain of the healing-oriented Fourth Division. She seems willing to help almost anyone in need, but don't let her motherly appearance fool you; she is highly intelligent and possesses an extremely strong will.
Though possessed of a compassionate personality, Unohana ultimately remains loyal to the core principles of the Gotei 13 and Yamamoto Genryuusai, even at times when she seemingly feels that official policy is not the right course of action.
She has not engaged in any combat to date, but wields the healing zanpaku-to Minazuki as her blade of choice.
4th Division Vice Captain: Kotetsu Isane
As kind-hearted and mild as one would expect from the Fourth Division, but seemingly having a slightly more combative nature. She is extremely loyal to her captain, whom she idolizes, and has a sister (Kiyone) who is ranked as third seat of the Thirteenth Division. Not much else is known about her.
5th Division Captain: Aizen Sousuke
Captain of the Fifth Division. A rather unassuming individual, but one with great depth. Sousuke is a brilliant thinker and fighter--probably the second most powerful captain after Yamamoto--and is respected among shinigami for his chivalrous demeanour. He seems to be wary of Ichimaru Gin and his motives.
He acts gently toward his subordinates, particularly Hinamori Momo, his vice-captain. He recognizes the respect she has for him, and plays along with her hero-worshipping.
His zanpaku-to is the amazingly devious and powerful Kyouka Suigetsu.
For quite some time, it seems as though Aizen is dead, the likely culprit being Gin. However, Aizen actually faked his death with the aid of his zanpakuto's special powers. As it turns out, the Aizen we see before his apparent death is a farce, a mask to facilitate his goal of greater power. Aizen is actually just about as evil as they come, indulging in a variety of rather unsavoury acts from destruction of the central government to attempted murder of his own vice-captain. He is eventually found out, and flees to Hueco Mundo in an attempt to make a perfect shinigami-Hollow hybrid. It is Aizen's belief that doing so is the path to ultimate strength.
5th Division Vice Captain: Hinamori Momo
A sweet, gentle, and somewhat naive girl who seems entirely unsuited to be a vice-captain in the rough and dangerous world of Soul Society. Despite her cute and innocent appearance and demenour, however, she can cross swords with the best of them, and is an accomplished master of kidou.
She has idolized Aizen Sousuke since before she became his vice-captain, and holds an almost unhealthy degree of loyalty to him, particularly in times of extreme emotion.
Hinamori's best friend, however, is Hitsugaya Toushirou, captain of the Tenth Division (whom she calls "Shiro-chan" for short, much to Hitsugaya's annoyance). They have known each other since before they were shinigami, and she seems to love him as though he were her younger brother.
6th Division Captain: Kuchiki Byakuya
Captain of the Sixth Division. Byakuya is head of the noble Kuchiki family, and as such is sophisticated in his philosophy and manner of speech. He is perpetually cool and collected--many might say cold and emotionless--having never been seen to either smile or lose his temper.
Despite his youthful appearance, Byakuya is actually a widower. His wife died some years ago, seemingly of one or another illness. It is not known whether Byakuya's reserved personality developed or increased after his wife's death, but it seems a logical assumption.
He is Kuchiki Rukia's adoptive brother, but does not appear to possess or display much filial affection. Rukia even goes so far as to say at one point that Byakuya never once cared for her in the slightest. This may be a somewhat unfair portrayal, however, as Byakuya seems to be the type who keeps his cards close to his chest, so to speak.
His weapon is the deadly Senbon Zakura, which he wields with suitable elegance to dispatch his foes.
Byakuya's departed wife was actually Rukia's sister, though Rukia was not aware of this. Her dying wish was that Rukia be cared for, and Rukia was hence immediately adopted by the Kuchiki family, with Byakuya swearing on his wife's gave to protect his new sister. However, Byakuya had already "broken the rules" before by marrying a woman of lower class, and after defying tradition again (through Rukia's adoption), he swore an oath to keep the laws of Soul Society without exception. This put him in an awkard position when Rukia was sentenced to death, as he was torn between his oath to uphold the rules, and his oath to protect his sister.
6th Division Vice Captain: Abarai Renji
The personification of "attitude." Renji is almost the exact opposite of his captain, cocky, easily riled, and unsophisticated in his approach. He does not outwardly seem to have much respect for Byakuya, but in reality Renji greatly respects and fears him. It is his dream to one day surpass his captain, and he trains toward this end with almost fanatical fervour.
Renji is friends with Kira and Rukia, with whom he attended the shinigami academy. He bears particular affection--and possibly something a bit more--for Rukia, and he is pained to see her sentenced to death. Though he initially goes along with the orders of Soul Society, Renji grows increasingly resistant as time passes to a course of action he sees as morally reprehensible.
7th Division Captain: Komamura Sajin
The huge Captain of the Seventh Division. Komamura is a mysterious individual, hiding his features from view with a large helmet. He has a great sense of honour, being particularly devoted to Yamamoto Genryuusai. He is close friends with Tousen Kanamae of the Ninth Division. They share similar life philosophies, though Komamura is seemingly less gentle or hesistant in his approach than Tousen.
When it comes time to fight, Komamura wields the niftily named Tengen, a blade with size to match his own.
It turns out that the reason Komamura hides behind a helmet is that he has the head of a fox. Because of his odd appearance, he has been discriminated against, until Yamamoto Genryuusai took him in (this accounts for Komamura's loyalty to the First Division Captain). Tousen was another person who, ironically, "saw" Komamura for what he was rather than what he looked like, and for this reason they became friends.
7th Division Vice Captain: Iba Tetsuzaemo
A former member of the Eleventh Division, plainly evidenced by his continued love of fighting. Tetsuzaemon is the very image of a yakuza, with garish tattoos and a tanto (dagger) zanpaku-to secreted in his kimono. He still maintains good ties with the Eleventh Division, particularly with his old friend Madarame Ikkaku, though it is implied that Tetsuzaemon left the Eleventh in order to advance himself more quickly (which naturally caused some bad feelings with his former Division). Tetsuzaemon is a talented combatant and a master drinker.
8th Division Captain: Kyouraku Shunsui
The creatively dressed Eighth Division Captain. As his overcoat, hat, and stubble might indicate, Shunsui is someone who lives life in a carefree manner. He loves to nap, joke, drink, and generally be laid-back about everything that comes his way. When things get serious, however, Shunsui shows that beneath his whimsical exterior lies intelligence, skill, and a sensitive and compassionate character that hates to watch suffering.
Shunsui has an excellent relationship with his vice-captain (if somewhat love-hate on her part), and is also good friends with Thirteenth Division Captain Ukitake Juushiro, who, along with Shunsui himself, was one of the first graduates of Yamamoto Genryuusai's shinigami academy. It seems that Shunsui also has a good relation with Yamamoto, having coined the nickname "Yama-jii."
When Shunsui is forced to fight, he wields the twin-blade zanpaku-to Katen Kyoukotsu with awesome skill.
8th Division Vice Captain: Ise Nanao
A careful analysis of Nanao-chan (as Shunsui calls her) will reveal that she shares much in common with her captain, such as intelligence, compassion, and sensitivity. What distinguishes them, however, is that Nanao is disciplined and businesslike, in stark contrast to Shunsui's often-lazy attitude. As such, she is the discipline and perhaps even the brains of the Eighth Division, working tirelessly to keep afairs in order and patiently enduring Shunsui's endless flirting and drinking. Nanao has a classic strict librarian's personality, complete with glasses and enormous tome.
Despite her common annoyance with her captain, Nanao actually has quite a good relationship with her superior, and the two truly seem to care for each other. She also does not seem to be averse to the occasional social event herself, though one would imagine that she partakes of parties in strict moderation.
9th Division Captain: Tousen Kaname
The blind Captain of the Ninth Division. Despite his disability, Tousen is a capable fighter with a strong sense of justice. He is also a staunch advocate of taking the path that leads to the least amount of violence. This outlook is shared by his good friend Komamura Saijin. Tousen is, therefore, highly suspicious of Zaraki Kenpachi and the battle-loving Eleventh Division, which he believes may one day plunge Soul Society into bloody chaos.
When the situation demands it, he wields the powerful Suzumushi with skill that belies his blindness.
It has recently been revealed that Tousen, the only captain immune to the power of Aizen Sousuke's zanpaku-to, is a co-conspirator in Aizen's plot to overthrow Soul Society. As such, Tousen now resides in Hueco Mundo. Interestingly, Tousen seems to be of the opinion that his present course of action is just and is the path that will prevent the maximum amount of violence. This has caused no small amount of consternation for Komamura Saijin.
9th Division Vice Captain: Hisagi Shuuhei
Brave and talented, if a bit rough around the edges. Shuuhei was a top-level student at the shinigami academy, being offered a ranked spot in the Gotei 13 before he even graduated. His courage was emphasized when a training raid he led as an upperclassman (including Renji, Rukia, and Kira, interestingly) went sour and Shuuhei ordered the rest of the trainees to flee while he attempted to hold several powerful Hollows off.
10th Division Captain: Hitsugaya Toushiro
The Tenth Division Captain is the youngest captain in the Gotei 13 by a considerable margin. He is known as a prodigy in study of the shinigami arts, earning him the nickname of "Tensai," or "Genius."
Despite his youth, Hitsugaya is one of the more mature captains, level-headed and perceptive, if a bit lacking in the humour department. Unlike the unemotional Kuchiki Byakuya, however, the right set of circumstances will put Hitsugaya into anger, annoyance, etc.
Hitsugaya seems to get along well with just about everyone except Ichimaru Gin, whom he mistrusts. He has a particularly strong relationship with Hinamori Momo, and also has a strong bond with his vice-captain, Matsumoto Rangiku.
When battle comes around, Hitsugaya wields Hyourinmaru, the most powerful ice-type zanpaku-to in Soul Society.
10th Division Vice Captain: Matsumoto Rangiku
Though most folks probably know her best by her ample... *assets,* Matsumoto is actually quite a capable and loyal vice-captain (if a bit on the lazy side). She has a good relationship with her captain, who--despite his seeming annoyance at her sleeping on the couch during working hours--holds great respect and even admiration for her.
Matsumoto also has the unique (and perhaps dubious) honour of calling Ichimaru Gin a friend. As far as can be determined, she is Gin's only friend, having met long ago while she was training her spiritual energy. She seems to like Gin quite a bit (perhaps in an unrequited manner), and is the only person whom Gin seems unwilling to interfere with.
11th Division Captain: Zaraki Kenpachi
The bloodthirsty Eleventh Division Captain. Zaraki lives for one purpose and one purpose only: to fight. All other concerns are basically secondary. Though Zaraki enjoys fighting with all his strength, he does not seem particularly concerned with winning or losing; the joy of battle is all that matters to him.
Zaraki was originally a nameless swordsman fighting for his life on an apparently daily basis. After much trial, he was spotted by the shinigami and given a position in the Gotei 13, where he rose in the ranks until finally defeating (and, incidentally, killing) the previous Eleventh Division Captain in single combat.
That's not to say that Zaraki doesn't have a softer side, though. He has an unlikely friendship in Kusajishi Yachiru, whose tiny, cute appearance and saccharine personality stand in stark contrast with Zaraki's massive physique and gruff manner. The two are inseperable, however, like father and daughter, and it's safe to say that Yachiru is the only person whom Zaraki's wrath has no chance of touching.
Wielder of a nameless blade, Zaraki is the only captain in Soul Society who does not know the name of his zanpaku-to; this is a testament to his terrifying strength in combat and colossal spiritual pressure.
11th Division Vice Captain: Kusajishi Yachiru
Cotton candy to her captain's tiger, Yachiru seems distinctly out-of-place in the battle-loving Eleventh Division. She is consistently sweet and cute, somewhat airheaded, and totally devoted to her captain (as well as the only person in the world who can get away with calling him "Ken-chan").
Yachiru's perpetually happy personality is well-established; in her infancy, as a nameless orphan, she was quite bubbly and cheerful even among a pile of corpses, where Zaraki found her and named her. Since then, she has accompanied him wherever he goes, gleefully misleading him with her rather bad sense of direction and generally adding a splash of colour to Zaraki's otherwise dark life.
12th Division Captain: Kurotsuchi Mayuri
The epitome of a mad scientist, and hence perfect for the job of Twelfth Division Captain. Mayuri paints himself black and white, wears a strange hat, and has altered his body to grant it many strange abilities. His main goal appears to be pursuit of forbidden knowledge at any cost, and he does not hesitate to resort to sadistic or underhanded methods to achieve his ends. Life means nothing to him; he would turn his own men into living bombs if it meant he could do or learn something more easily.
Though Mayuri is completely cold and cruel to everyone he meets, he does have one loyal supporter in the form of his "daughter," Nemu. She is completely devoted to her master, uncomplainingly taking all manner of abuse and even wishing against his death.
On the frequent occasions when Mayuri wants to fight or perhaps revel in a bit of sadism, he wields the bizarre but lethal Ashisogi Jizou.
12th Division Vice Captain: Kurotsuchi Nemu
Kurotsuchi Mayuri's "daughter," created by the Twelfth Division Captain to be his loyal servant. Despite being constantly mistreated by her "father," Nemu remains totally obedient, loyal, and devoted to his goals. She is not, however, a fool, or someone to be taken lightly.
13th Division Captain: Ukitake Juushiro
The Captain of the Thirteenth Division, with an almost legendary reputation for being a nice guy. Sadly, Ukitake has frail health and is ill a lot of the time, but in his better moments he is a strong and reliable fighter as well as a caring and compassionate leader.
His best friend seems to be Shunsui, with whom he was a fellow student in the early days of Yamamoto Genryuusai's shinigami academy. However, the entire Thirteenth Division seems to love and respect their captain with almost fanatical fervour, and he may thus be said to be a friend of all his subordinates, though not notably close to any of them. Of course, as Kuchiki Rukia's former captain, he is quite concerned as to her eventual fate.
On the rare occasions when he is both in good health and inclined to fight, Ukitake wields Sougyo no Kotowari, one of only two twin-bladed zanpaku-to in all Soul Society.
13th Division Vice Captain: Shiba Kaien (deceased)
The deceased vice-captain of the Thirteenth Division. He bears a strong resemblance to Kurosaki Ichigo, and was apparently a good friend of Rukia's.
Kaien was vice-captain, and his wife was the third seat (quite a convenient arrangement). One night, however, the squad led by Kaien's wife was obliterated. Kaien, Ukitake, and Rukia went together to track the culprit down, which turned out to be a powerful Hollow. Kaien battled the Hollow for the his pride and the pride of his wife, but was ultimately defeated and possessed. Rukia was forced to kill him, an act that earned his gratitude, but also an act that she feels guilty about to this day.
Former 2nd Divison Captain: Shihouin Yoruichi
Former Captain of the Second Division. Born into the noble Shihouin family, Yoruichi quickly rose to the rank of captain, and was apparently quite talented at the job.
However, the day came when Urahara Kisuke was exiled, which prompted Yoruichi to help him and follow him to the mortal world. She has since stayed near Urahara, though in the form of a black cat (this seems to be a unique talent of hers).
Yoruichi is smart, sarcastic, and extremely confident, bordering on arrogance. She does not hesitate to show off her impressive talents (nor apparently her impressive body, at least to Ichigo). However, she is quite well aware of her limitations, and is content to retreat to gain a tactical advantage.
She does not seem to wield a zanpaku-to (circumstantial evidence suggests that Soi Fong's Suzumebachi was once Yoruichi's), but her talent in combat is impressive. She has mastered kidou, and is possibly the most talented practitioner of shunpo in history. These combine to make her a lethal opponent easily capable of taking on a captain-class enemy, even without a zanpaku-to.
Former 12th Divison Captain: Urahara Kisuke
The eccentric proprietor of the Urahara Shop, and a man shrouded in mystery. He's always carefree and witty, but also seems to always know just a bit more than he's telling you.
As it turns out, of course, he's the former Captain of the Twelfth Division. For creation of an untraceable gigai that leeches shinigami powers, he was exiled at some point, and forever banned from re-entering Soul Society. (Why this ban was not also placed on his accomplices--which seem to be Yoruichi and Isshin--is a matter of some debate.)
Urahara has an excellent relationship with Shihouin Yoruichi, who is said to be his only living relative. They act a bit like brother and sister, trading playful banter as well as more serious discussion with equal aplomb. There are also a few non-Shinigami who name Urahara as a friend, such as Tessai, Ururu, and Jin.
Though almost always toting it around it its cane form, Urahara is masterful in the use of his zanpaku-to, Benihime.
Current 13th Division, 3rd Seat: Kotsubaki Sentaro & Kotetsu Kiyone
Two nutty and fiercely competitive shinigami. Since the Thirteenth Division is presently without a vice-captain, Sentaro and Kiyone fill the role of second-in-command until a replacement is selected. Both of them quite obviously have their eye on the vice-captain's seat, and to this end constantly try to prove their worth in the eyes of their captain. Their arguing and pomposity tends to make them look more silly than competent, however.
Despite their rather ridiculous actions and personalities, the two third seats, like the rest of the Thirteenth Division, are deeply devoted to their captain and would probably follow him through Hell and back again if he asked them to.