Bleach: 7 Best Bankai Activation Scenes, Ranked

Fans have been treated to some incredible Bankai scenes in the Bleach anime, but these ones really went above and beyond.

The moment a Soul Reaper screams “Bankai” in the middle of a fight in Bleach, indicating that they’re about to enter their final form, fans know that things are about to get real, especially when it’s a captain or lieutenant. Because of how devastatingly powerful a Bankai tends to be, it means they are always a focal point of a scene and are usually accompanied by some badass music, a cool character pose, and the look of panic and fear on the opponent’s face.



In fact, some Bankai that were only seen once in the series still lives on in the memory of many Bleach fans purely because of how iconic their activation scene was, putting on full display just how talented author Tite Kubo is at creating some of the most imaginative and memorable powered-up forms and special abilities in all of anime. Even to this day, re-watching these scenes is still sure to send a chill down the spine of both longtime fans and newcomers to the series alike.

7 Shinji vs Soldat

Shinji Activating His Bankai

When the Thousand Year Blood War was still in production, Tite Kubo confirmed that a few extra scenes were going to be added which he most probably intended to include in the manga, but didn’t get around to because of time restraints. Many people presumed that this would result in extra fights and added backstories, but no one could have predicted that viewers would actually get to see the Visored Shinji Hirako’s very own Bankai.

Completely surrounded by Soldat troops, Shinji activates his Bankai while the camera slowly zooms out, revealing that he has been encased in some sort of cocoon structure. What Shinji is actually doing here is protecting himself from a pink mist that reverses his opponents’ recognition of friend and foe, causing the soldiers to kill one another while a brand-new character theme plays in the background, making for one of the most iconic scenes in the Thousand Year Blood War anime.

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6 Renji vs Byakuya

Renji Revealing his Bankai

By the time Renji decides to finally turn his back on his very own Captain, Byakuya Kuchiki is portrayed to be one of the most menacing and intimidating Soul Reapers within the Soul Society, so there’s no doubt that when Renji decided to activate his newly-acquired Bankai, it made for an incredibly tense and iconic scene.

As the ground trembles beneath the two former companions and a red streak of light shoots into the air, Renji’s Zabimaru is eventually revealed to be a gigantic snake-like entity that is as long as it is dangerous. This is the first time Renji actually uses his Bankai in the story, so it was an extremely important moment for his character that immediately stood out for its incredibly unique animalistic appearance, and for the fact that it actually managed to land a few hits on Byakuya during the fight.

5 Ichigo vs Ginjo

Ichigo Activating His Bankai Against Ginjo

The first time Ichigo uses his Bankai against Byakuya in the Soul Society Arc is undoubtedly an iconic moment, but hearing him scream the word during his encounter with Ginjo hits on such an emotional level because of how disillusioned he is at this point in the story. With his Soul Powers completely gone, and all of his friends turned against him due to Tsukishima’s Book of the End ability, Ichigo goes through quite the ordeal during the Fullbring arc and is all but ready to give up after Ginjo absorbs his powers.

However, at the last moment, Rukia and the rest of Ichigo’s allies show up to restore his Soul Reaper abilities, prompting him to unleash his mighty Bankai. As a wave of blue Reiatsu covers Ichigo, he eventually emerges with his classic Tensa Zangetsu in hand, ready to take the fight to Ginjo. The fluid animation the anime had adapted by this point really helped make this moment stand out even more with it being a big highlight in an otherwise fairly slow story arc.

4 Gin vs Ichigo

Gin Revealing His Bankai To Ichigo

While the two might have only engaged in a small scuffle, Gin still decides to reveal his Bankai during his encounter with Ichigo which fans had been waiting literally years to see, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. As Gin takes an unusual stance and aims the tip of his blade directly in front of him, the camera zooms in on his face before viewers hear a very sharp and sudden noise, indicating that his Bankai has been activated.

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Within the blink of an eye, the screen shows multiple buildings that have been completely detached and are now floating in the air as a result of Gin’s blade which, according to the user, can extend up to 8 miles in less than a second. This Bankai is truly one of the most frightening in the entire series, and while it’s unfortunately only shown on one occasion, it’s a moment that no longtime Bleach fans can ever forget thanks to its visual style and epic music.

3 Rukia vs As Nodt

Rukia As The Ice Queen

As the literal embodiment of fear, As Nodt presented himself as one of the most merciless Sternritter out of the bunch very early on, with his creepy appearance and unnerving movements making him a real standout in terms of design, but he eventually met his demise at the hands of fan-favorite character, Rukia Kuchiki. Despite having been in the series from the very first episode, fans actually didn’t have many opportunities to see Rukia in action much across the series, with many assuming that she hadn’t even acquired a Bankai since it was never mentioned.

Just as Rukia is about to be absorbed by the horrific powers of As Nodt, Byakuya saves her and tells her that if she really wants to end this, she needs to use her Bankai, leading to a sheet of ice covering As Nodt and breaking down his body before fans are treated to a beautiful close up of Rukia herself. As viewers see Rukia completely covered in ice with translucent armor and glistening eyes and hair, it proves exactly why Hakka no Togame is regarded as the most visually stunning Bankai by much of the fanbase.

2 Byakuya vs Ichigo

Ichigo Witnessing Byakuya's Bankai

Fans actually get a glimpse at Byakuya’s Bankai earlier on in the Soul Society arc when he uses it to defeat Renji, but it’s during his final fight with Ichthathere fans get to see it in its full form, and how truly terrifying it really is. Despite Ichigo proving to the Captain of the Sixth Division that he had indeed become much stronger since their last encounter, Byakuya eventually turns the fight around after dropping his sword into the ground, activating Zenbonsakura.

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Suddenly, Byakuya is completely surrounded by hundreds of blades made out of deadly rose petals which both defend the captain from Ichigo’s attack, while also shredding him to pieces, forcing Ichigo to unleash his own Bankai just to be able to deflect the petals. The sheer weight of this ability really comes through with the visual style of the anime which shows both combatants fighting in a room that is literally commanded by Byakuya’s blades, perfectly articulating the immense strength possessed by the captain.

1 Yamamoto vs Yhwach

Yamamoto Activating His Bankai

As the head captain of the Soul Society, it’s understandable that Yamamoto’s Bankai would be strong, but the scene where it plays out makes it look like the strongest ability in all of anime, capable of decimating absolutely everything it touches. When Yamamoto actually reveals his Bankai, all of the flames swirling around him suddenly disappear, resulting in a fairly calm and quiet scene.

This moment of peace is actually hiding the tremendous amount of power that has quickly been absorbed into the tip of his blade, to the point where anything it touched was immediately incinerated out of existence, and this is just the first of the four stages of his Bankai. The presentation of this massive reveal in the anime is done to perfection, with the epic orchestral backing music and use of 3D animation really helping to present this as an unstoppable form that makes Yamamoto worthy of his title.

In fact, the Bankai itself is so long that it requires an entire episode for it to fully activate, but each part of it is complemented by visually stunning and vibrant animation, alongside a few callbacks to Yamamoto as a younger man.

Categorías: Anime

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