5 Scenes From Bleach That Changed Kenpachi Zaraki
Kenpachi Zaraki didn't have it easy in Bleach, but he took advantage of every chance he got. His arc was better represented by these five scenes.
In the Bleach anime, a diverse cast of characters is introduced, with nearly every one of them having a convincing backstory at some point. The tragic backstory of Ichigo's mother Masaki was fleshed out early on, and then Rukia Kuchiki took her turn. But what about Kenpachi Zaraki, Squad 11's thuggish Captain?
Kenpachi may appear to be your average berserker, but there's more to him than scary looks and bloodlust. Kenpachi had a difficult upbringing and has been through many life-changing events, with more twists in his personal arc to come. His character arc was most determined by these five incidents.
The First Time Kenpachi Fought Yachiru Unohana
Kenpachi had a difficult childhood. He was born in the Rukongai District's 80th and poorest area, a place rife with crime and brutality, where the boy discovered a dead Soul Reaper's generic Zanpakuto. Kenpachi claimed it and imprinted his soul on it, then engaged in mortal combat with Captain Yachiru Unohana of Squad 11. Despite his youth and lack of experience, Kenpachi put up a good fight, ultimately losing because he purposely held back.
This fight cemented Kenpachi's reputation as a bloodthirsty yet sporting fighter, and Yachiru Unohana (later known as Retsu) had high hopes for him. His warrior career had started, and he yearned to outshine the powerful woman who had humiliated him in a street brawl. Kenpachi's first role model was her.
When Kenpachi Met Yachiru Kusajishi
Kenpachi, despite being a rough young man, was not a complete beast. He shared the Arrancar Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez's sense of honor and sportsmanship, and he even made a mate. Years after defeating Yachiru Unohana, Kenpachi met and unofficially adopted a young girl who had no fear of him or his Zanpakuto. He named the child Yachiru, after the Soul Reaper he'd fought, and gave her the last name Kusajishi.
Kenpachi quickly became fiercely protective of her, even if he won't admit it, and his lovely tsundere side was born. Little Yachiru would become Kenpachi's Lieutenant in Squad 11 years later, and protecting her would inspire him to new heights as he battled foes like Nnoitora Gilga and Gremmy Thoumeaux.
When Kenpachi Lost To Ichigo
Ichigo and his friends encountered a slew of powerful Soul Reapers during Bleach's Soul Society arc. Ikkaku Madarame and Renji Abarai were Ichigo's first opponents, followed by Captain Kenpachi Zaraki himself. Kenpachi had a massive strength and experience advantage, but he and his nameless Zanpakuto were not on the same page. Ichigo, on the other hand, and his Zanpakuto, Zangetsu, became a tightly-knit team and overwhelmed Kenpachi with their united powers.
Kenpachi was embarrassed, but it inspired him to strive once more to remember his Zanpakuto's name and listen to it instead of using it as a blunt weapon of war. Kenpachi was shaken out of his complacency by this setback, which helped him narrowly defeat the mighty 5th Espada, Nnoitora Gilga.
When Kenpachi Killed Yachiru Unohana
Kenpachi was one of the "five fighting forces" in the Sternritter's possession during the Thousand-Year Blood War arc, but he had not yet realized his full potential. Captain Unohana, his old nemesis, crossed swords with him once more in mortal combat. Yachiru summoned all of her vengeance and thrashed her protege mercilessly, including using her Bankai, Minazuki, for added effect.
Kenpachi, on the other hand, had learned a lot by this point and had actually turned the tables on Yachiru, killing him. This action did not make him happy. His sorrow helped him harden his resolve and learn enough humility to finally unleash his true potential, despite the fact that he had just lost his greatest role model and competitor. He'd finally come out of Yachiru's shadow, and he was on his way to greatness.
When Kenpachi Awakened His Shikai, Nozarashi
Many dramatic Shikai and Bankai reveals appeared in Bleach, but none were as thrilling as Kenpachi's. Kenpachi finally showed off his Shikai, Nozarashi, during the battle against Sternritter "V" Gremmy Thoumeaux, proving that he was on his way to becoming a proper Soul Reaper.
Kenpachi had become stronger than ever before, and he had used this incredible strength to spectacularly beat Gremmy. There was no turning back after that.