The Thousand Year Blood War is in full swing and things are heating up! The Shinigami are struggling to keep up with the new enemy forces, the Quincy. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at some of the most memorable Bleach battles in the first cours of the war. Be sure to check back for more information on all the latest happenings in this epic struggle!
1- Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto vs. Royd Lloyd
Yamamoto is known for being one of the strongest characters within the entire Bleach universe, so when fans were first introduced to his powerful Bankai at the climax of the Soul Society arc, it only strengthened that belief. Fans expected him to be able to save the day with his existing abilities, but surprisingly enough, there was still much more power hidden within the Commander’s arsenal. In a sudden twist of events, Yamamoto unlocks four distinct versions of his potent Zanka no Tachi and powers up as if this turn of fate depends on it! His enemies had no idea what he was about to unleash, and unfortunately for Yamamoto, so did he. Despite having faith in the strength of his Bankai, he soon discovers that Yhwach had already managed to steal its power long before it was ever unleashed.
Zanka no Tachi, Nishi: Zanjitsu Gokui’s flames are not just aesthetically impressive but demonstrate the strength of the character it belongs to. Meanwhile, Zanka no Tachi, Minami: Kaka Jūmanokushi Daisōjin renders an eerily tranquil scene as if looking at a graveyard. This atmosphere is further embellished by a touch of uneasiness and danger that refreshes the senses. The fight suddenly becomes complicated when Lloyd makes himself known after faking his death earlier to bait something out. Yhwach barges in with an understanding of Yamamoto’s powers, giving him a tactical advantage over the others. As such, the audience is taken through an intense, action-packed, emotional rollercoaster, all within a short period.
2- Zaraki Kenpachi Vs. Retsu Unohana
The highly anticipated battle between Kenpachi Zaraki and Retsu Unohana shocked viewers, as nobody expected the usually reserved and kind Unohana to match Zaraki’s bloodlust. Despite her gentle personality, Unohana surprises everyone with her sinister side when she tasks Zaraki with an epic sword fight. Favourite anti-hero Zaraki roars into battle with no eyepatch, while Unohana displays blinding ferocity that leaves viewers breathless. Boosting the illustriousness of the event is stunning imagery that perfectly encapsulates how intense the circumstances are. This fight continues to be talked about by fans to this day.
Unohana and Zaraki rarely get to fight someone of their calibre, but Minazuki’s battlefield has given them the ultimate opportunity. Both combatants fight to the brim of their limits, banishing any fear they had previously possessed. Incredibly, Unohana has pushed even Zaraki beyond his previous boundaries, allowing the latter to access his true potential. All the while, the realization dawns on Unohana that there can only be one Kenpachi per generation. In a heartbreaking move of courage and strength, she deactivates her healing powers before being beaten in bloody combat one last time. Zaraki is beside himself at the idea of bidding farewell to such a formidable foe as Unohana and tortuously screams in anguish. However, death marks not the end for both legendary spiritualists; instead, a new beginning when Zaraki’s Zanpakuto spirit appears without warning, stirring one of Bleach’s greatest mysteries into motion.
3- Ichigo Kurosaki vs. Yhwach
The epic fight between Ichigo and Yhwach begins in a scene of chaotic clashes and spectacular magic. The setting alone is breathtaking, with both opponents clashing swords, their sharp blades colliding with deafening force. Ichigo’s Getsuga Tenshō, a powerful spiritual wave attack, proves unreliable against Yhwach’s maximum strength. Enraged, Ichigo takes blows one after another without any sign of relenting; however, he persists onwards, determined to get revenge for the fallen. Even in his weakened state, Ichigo continues to press forward into battle, never losing sight of his goal; to win against the formidable Yhwach and redeem what’s been lost.
Ichigo is moments away from certain death or captures at the hands of Yhwach, ruler of the Wandenreich when his latent Quincy abilities gleam a glimmer of hope. His Blut Vene ability, previously unknown to even Yhwach himself until it was displayed, gives him a much-needed reprieve from his all-powerful foe. Ichigo then uses Qualkreis and Heilig Pfeil in a desperate attempt to take down Yhwach but is ultimately unsuccessful due to Yhwach’s vast power. Seeing that he has only seconds before the Wandeniech Emperor departs Seireitei, Ichigo charges recklessly to try and score some last-minute points against his enemy – but is quashed when Jugram Haschwalth jumps in and leaves Ichigo with nothing but broken shards of Zangetsu in hand. In this chaotic clash between formidable allies, even a strong effort from Ichigo wasn’t enough against the mighty forces of the Wandenreich.
4- Byakuya Kuchiki vs. Äs Nödt
The Sternritter made for a formidable enemy during the Quincy invasion, and their presence drew attention from all sides. Äs Nödt was particularly intimidating with his blood-curdling Tatarforas and forbidding appearance. Still, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka’s spine-chilling voice sealed the deal – to the point where a shiver could be felt along each Gotei 13 Captain’s spine as they confronted it. He gave an unparalleled performance that enriched the whole invasion, making Äs Nödt one of the most memorable villains in Bleach history.
Byakuya’s decision to fight at full force was a potentially fatal mistake, as the Quincy quickly steals his powerful Bankai, Senbonzakura Kageyoshi. It seems like the power of their army and weapons are now too much for Byakuya and his comrades, causing an ominous sense of fear and dread throughout the area. The proof of this dire situation becomes apparent as Äs Nödt unleashes his Reishi Thorns, releasing a wave of nightmarish terror into the environment. To make matters worse, Byakuya’s Bankai is used against him horrifically, leaving him completely bloodied and bruised on the ground. Renji bravely steps in to rush to his aid but unfortunately pays for it with broken Zanpakuto as the Sternritter escapes from the scene created by Äs Nödt’s creepy content.
5- Ichigo Kurosaki & Ayon vs. Quilge Opie
Ichigo faces a more significant challenge after Ebern’s fight as Quilge Opie demonstrates the full extent of the Quincy’s powers. His only assistance comes from the Tres Bestias, who could be more helpful. His fortunes take a giant turn for the better when Ayon arrives and instantly displays strength that outperforms the Sternritter agent. When Ichigo feels his victory is sure, Opie absorbs the Hollow’s power and changes into a more powerful form. Now, Ichigo has to quickly beat this stronger opponent with nothing but his natural talents to rely on.
Quilge’s absorption of all the Reisu around him made it seem like he was genuinely invincible, and no one could stand before the power of his Heilig Pfeil. But then Urahara stepped in to prove everyone wrong with a powerful Kido spell that blasted him away in a heartbeat. This gave Ichigo an opening he eagerly took as he began his journey to Seireiei through a Garganta tunnel. What awaited him there was an immense surprise – instead of getting closer to his destination, Ichigo was somehow imprisoned inside an indestructible cage! As much as it seemed like misfortune at first, this surprising twist ended up unexpectedly helping Ichigo develop his Shinigami powers, which certainly worked for him in the end.
6- Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto vs. Yhwach
Yamamoto had been known for his overconfidence in his abilities, ones that had been demonstrated time and time again to be powerful beyond compare. Yet this proved to be a double-edged sword when he faced the formidable Yhwach. After a simple taunt from the Emperor, Yamamoto rashly released Zanka no Tachi and invited disaster as Yhwach quickly stole it away, culminating in a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Quincy monarch. Showing no mercy even as his opponent was cornered, Yhwach delivered some extra punishment out of spite before finally letting Yamamoto go, a reminder of just how much more powerful than him he indeed was.
The intensity of the rivalry between Genryusai Yamamoto and Yhwach was apparent as numerous flashbacks showcased their history together. Unfortunately, Yhwach’s Reishi Broadsword was far more potent than even Yamamoto’s immense spiritual power, and with one powerful stroke, the Captain-Commander was unceremoniously cut down. The Seireitei began to grieve upon sensing the faded presence of their beloved leader, remaining only in two lifeless pieces. To add insult to injury, Yhwach, from his position atop the fallen warrior, proceeded to mockingly declare his victory over the Captain-Commander he had just overpowered. Such a scene left an enduring impression of the near-impossible might of the Tyrant that had just defeated a revered captain.
7- Ichigo Kurosaki vs. Asguiaro Ebern
Ebern’s entry into Ichigo Kurosaki’s life is undoubtedly one to be remembered. His grandiose entrance through the wall of Ichigo’s bedroom was comical and foreboding- a signal that the stakes were about to go up several notches. Ebern quickly introduces himself as what can only be called an unwelcome guest, brusquely informing Ichigo that he is far from having the Last Quincy. He then reveals the existence of Sternritter – a powerful organization of spiritually-strong fighters – before engaging Ichigo in the battle to prove their strength. Throughout their fight, Ebern continually taunts and pushes him towards unleashing his Bankai, making this one of Ichigo’s most memorable skirmishes yet.
By the time the scene with Ebern reached its climax, it was clear that Ichigo would emerge victorious in the end. The eyes of all watchers, whether they were anime-only fans or manga readers ahead of the curve, widened anxiously as Ebern held forth his medallion. This new enemy seemed to be wielding powers powerful enough to outmatch Ichigo’s. Yet, his Bankai-stealing abilities and Reishi Cannons fizzled out when put to the task against the protagonist’s immense power. Ebern persisted with a menacing glare before eventually leaving more questions than answers. Who was this austere figure? What did he want with Ichigo? What will come of all those questions remains to be seen…
8- “Humans” Vs. Hollows
After an agonizing wait of ten years, fans of Bleach rejoiced at the chance to see their beloved characters in action again. This time around, Ichigo, Sado, Uryu and Orihime steal the spotlight and prove they have achieved greater strength since we last saw them. It isn’t the most significant battle in Bleach’s history, yet seeing how much our heroes have grown is satisfying. Moreover, watching shy Orihime participate fully in the fight was something special! Her newfound confidence leaves viewers excited for what is still to come in this thrilling show.
Newcomers to the Bleach fandom are often captivated by the supernatural world of “The Blood Warfare” and its impressive, varied characters. Uryu stands out with his impeccable archery and “ice-skating” skills, while Sado makes a mark with his powerful Brazo Izquierda del Diablo attack. However, the most impressive skill is undeniably the legendary Getsuga Tenshō; seeing Ichigo and his friends managing to take down a hoard of Hollows in such a seamless manner – where even Yuki and Shino, supposed veterans of the battle, remain helpless – speaks infinitely about their strength. It is an exciting way to introduce new viewers to these characters and their abilities without having to roll out tedious recaps.