Shinji Hirako's Bankai in 'Bleach' Is Powerful, but Has One Major Weakness

What is Shinji Hirako's Bankai in 'Bleach'? His powerful technique made its debut in 'Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War', but had one fatal flaw.

Callie (Carlos) Cadorniga - Author

Aug. 14 2023, Published 4:25 p.m. ET

Shinji Hirako in 'Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War'
Source: Studio Pierrot

Spoiler alert! This article contains plot details for Bleach.

The gloves are off in Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War. As an army of Quincies launches a full-scale assault over a thousand years in the making against the Soul Reapers of the Gotei 13, Ichigo Kurosaki and his companions attempt to reach new heights with their abilities in order to stand a chance against the forces of the Wandenreich and the Stern Ritter. To that end, the Captains of the Gotei 13 have been forced to unleash the full might of their zanpakuto against their assailants.

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Of course, that means it's Bankai time. This technique is typically reserved for (though not exclusive to) Gotei 13 Captains and represents a substantial power-up for their usual abilities. Whereas most Soul Reapers can unleash their zanpakuto as "shikai", it takes considerable training and mastery over one's soul to upgrade it into a Bankai.

Captain Shinji Hirako has that mastery in spades as he uses his Bankai against the elite Quincy forces of the Stern Ritter. What is Shinji's Bankai in Bleach?

Shinji activates his Bankai
Source: Studio Pierrot
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What is Shinji Hirako's Bankai in 'Bleach'?

Shinji Hirako is first introduced as a compatriot of Ichigo's who has a dubious moral alignment. Though he tries to play himself off as comic relief, he is eventually revealed to be the leader of a rogue group known as the Visored — Soul Reapers who accidentally came to obtain powers of malevolent spiritual Hollows. It is eventually revealed that before defecting from Soul Society, Shinji served as the captain of Squad 5 of the Gotei 13.

He eventually trains Ichigo to master his own Visored powers and, following the fight against his antagonistic predecessor Sōsuke Aizen, is reinstated as a captain of his old squad. And considering how formidable his powers are, it's a good thing he's on the Soul Reapers' side again.

Shinji's shikai is called Sakande. Once spun, it releases a mist that subjects anyone who inhales it to an optical illusion that reverses one's vision and sense of direction, making it impossible to properly perceive incoming attacks.

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As if his shikai weren't powerful enough, his Bankai takes things even further. Shinji's Bankai is called Sakashima Yokoshima Happōfusagari. This allows Shinji to distort his opponents' perception even further, causing all victims in the vicinity to perceive everyone else as an enemy.

Unfortunately, the ability has a major drawback. Shinji's Bankai affects people indiscriminately, including his own allies. He has no control over falls under his spell, making his Bankai a last resort in large-scale battles.

Sakashima Yokoshima Happōfusagari
Source: Studio Pierrot

Shinji's Bankai proves to be invaluable during the Wandenreich's second assault on the Gotei 13. Fully aware of his Bankai's weakness, he unleashes it on a group of Quincies isolated from other Soul Reapers to ensure that none of his own forces fall victim to its effects. Unfortunately, he is incapacitated by a member of the Stern Ritter, who uses her explosive powers to attack indiscriminately around her, ensuring that she hits Shinji even through her confusion.

New episodes of Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War premiere every Saturday on Hulu.

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