Out of all the big three anime, Bleach has the easiest-to-follow power structure. The ani-manga series has maintained an easy-to-understand and interesting power structure; with three groups, the Soul Society, Hollows, and the Quincies.
We have followed the story from the perspective of the Soul Reapers. The Soul Reapers are the wielders of Zanpaku-to. The final form of a Zanpaku-to is Bankai.
The captains are the only ones known to be able to perform Bankai with a few exceptions. In Bleach TYBW Part 2 the invasion of the Soul Society included stealing the Bankai of the Captains.
- This affected their overall strength giving Quincies an upper hand in the battle. Kisuke Urahara and Mayuri Kurotsuchi started to research to make up for this loss or to retrieve the lost Bankai.
- They’ve come up with a way to recover the Bankai. The truth behind the retrieval also tweaks the information we have about the Quincies so far. This article will explain the retrieval of Bankai.
Bleach TYBW Part 2: All the stolen Bankai
The Captains who lost their Bankai suffered the most damage in the first invasion.
- Lieutenant Sasakibe (Koko Gonryo Rikyu)
- Captain Sajin Komamura (Kokujo Tengen Myuo)
- Soi Fron (Jakuho Raikoben)
- Toshiro Hitsugaya (Daiguren Hyorinmaru)
- Kuchiki Byakuya (Senbonzakura Kageyoshi)
The retrieval of Bankai
Kisuke Urahara was able to figure out a way to get back the Bankai. He makes a quick return to the Soul Society to inform the research department. In Bleach TYBW Part 2 Episode 3, he retrieved the Bankai of the Captain with the help of the Shin’eiyaku or the Shadow infiltration pills.
As for the retrieval of Bankai, there have been multiple clues to the truth. The Quincies failed to steal Ichigo’s Bankai and Quilge fell apart after merging with a hollow.
- The Bankai is an extension of a Soul Reaper’s power which originates from his soul. At the same time, the Quincies have no antibodies against Hollows. The existence of Hollows threatens the soul and spiritual powers of the Quincies.
- The Hollowfication of a Soul Reaper will also hollowfy their Bankai. A hollowfied Bankai will endanger the Quincy and they’ll no longer be able to use it or wield it.
- Returning the Bankai to their original owners. The Hollowfication of the Bankai also weakened the SternRitters by terrorizing their bodies.
The retrieval of Bankai also confirmed that the Bankai has a will of its own. Ichigo has been hollowfied long back which prevented the Quincies from stealing his Bankai. The revelation also shakes the foundation of Quincies as their intentions behind the extermination of the Hollows are undeniably questionable.
The emphasis on the shadows in the ending theme might have been foreshadowing the current events all along. The Bankai have returned to their rightful owners. With that, a huge fraction of the Captain’s strength has returned to them.
The retrieval of Bankai also raises some questions about Ichigo. The reason why he’s able to be a Quincy and a hollow at the same time might be because of the balance created by Isshin giving up his Soul Reaper powers. The Soul Society has more intel on their opponents which will aid them in the battle coming up.