Shunpo or “Flash Step” is a high-speed movement technique that is vital to a Shinigami’s arsenal.
Moving faster than the eye can see is a skill that most Shinigami are expected to be proficient at, but some excel at it more than others in the world of Bleach. As one of the four basic combat styles used by Shinigami in Soul Society, Hoho refers to footwork and movement techniques consisting mainly of defensive maneuvers. Covering the speed and agility needed to take on the strongest of opponents, Hoho is an essential skill for most Shinigami. Its highest technique is known as Shunpo, or “Flash Step.”
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Shunpo is the art of moving between points in the most efficient manner. It allows for high-speed movement that leaves enemies confounded, making it an invaluable skill in a Shinigami’s arsenal. There are quite a few among the Gotei 13 and the Royal Guard in Bleach who have exhibited mastery beyond the norm, with some even creating techniques of their own. Although many have exhibited skill in this arena, only one can claim to be the best Shunpo user in Soul Society.
12 Ichigo Kurosaki
With his advanced growth rate, incredible Reiatsu, and natural athleticism, Ichigo rapidly became an adept user of Shunpo, even if his mastery is still not enough to compete with the best. He can outmatch most lieutenant-level Shinigami with his skill, which grew more pronounced on returning from the Soul King Palace.
Shunpo was not his primary source of speed, since he relies on his Bankai to enhance his Shunpo. However, Ichigo is still an expert whose prowess far exceeds most in the Gotei 13.
11 Jushiro Ukitake
One of the most experienced Captains in the Gotei 13, trained by Captain-Commander Yamamoto, Jushiro Ukitake was also a highly skilled user of Shunpo. He was even able to keep up with Yamato for a short while, but soon lost out to his mentor’s far superior skills.
It is worth noting tha Yamamoto’s skill eclipses some of the fastest Shinigami in history, which makes this feat more impressive. Hence, it is safe to say that he is likely an elite-level Shunpo user, even if it is not critical to his fighting style.
10 Byakuya Kuchiki
As someone who relies heavily on Shunpo when fighting with his sealed Zanpakuto, Byakuya Kuchiki has been noted among the best exponents of this art. He far surpasses most of the other Captains in the Gotei 13, and was even taught by Yoruichi Shihoin — but was never able to match her speed.
Byakuya is also one of the few Shinigami to have devised his own techniques that exploit his skill at Shunpo, allowing him to execute deadly attacks in the blink of an eye.
9 Shunsui Kyoraku
Another of Yamamoto’s students, viewed by many as second in power only to the Captain-Commander himself, Shunsui Kyoraku is another Shinigami who excels at Shunpo. In his fight against Coyote Starrk, the fastest Espada, Shunsui was able to effortlessly evade his opponent’s attacks through his Shunpo mastery.
Additionally, the Captain of the 1st Division even elicited praise from Yamamoto himself for his skill at Shunpo, which speaks volumes of his prowess.
8 Kirio Hikifune
The former Captain of the 12th Division, who is now a member of the Royal Guard, Kirio Hikifune has shown an impressive level of mastery over Shunpo.
During the Quincy Blood War, she was even able to momentarily match the speed of her fellow comrade in the Royal Guard, Tenjiro Kirinji, when fighting against Lille Barro of the Sternritter. This is no mean feat, as Kirinji was once renowned for his skill in the art. Being able to keep up with him indicates that she is no slouch either.
7 Kisuke Urahara
Having trained to keep up with even Yoruichi Shihoin, it is no surprise that Kisuke Urahara is a master of Shunpo. He can run through inferior opponents without giving them so much as a chance to breathe.
To top that, he was also the head of the Detention Unit in the Onmitsukdo (Stealth Force), a division that boasts some of the series’ best Shunpo users. Urahara can even use his Shunpo for misdirection, as seen when he replaced himself with a portable Gigai to evade Aizen.
6 Sosuke Aizen
Make no mistake, Aizen is a monster in every department, and Shunpo is no exception. A large number of his victims did not even realize they were being attacked before he cut them down, and this was prior to him fusing with the Hogyoku.
Aizen’s speed is so great that he could evade Bankai-level techniques, including Ichigo’s own Bankai which concentrated his speed and strength to an incredible level. Furthermore, he was not even fazed when Ichigo augmented his Bankai with his Hollow mask. Aizen is easily one of the best in Soul Society, and he only edges out Urahara by an exceptionally narrow margin.
5 Genryusai Shigekuni Yamamoto
The Captain-Commander of the Gotei 13 is no slouch when it comes Shunpo, and could easily outstrip his students Jushiro Ukitake and Shunsui Kyoraku without breaking a sweat even in his old age. It is likely that he was even faster in his physical prime, which is all the more intimidating to think of since his speed is quite fearsome already.
However, he is still a few steps below certain Shinigami who specialize primarily in this field of combat, as he already far exceeds all his subordinates in virtually every other department.
4 Ichibe Hyosube
As the Leader of the Zero Division, also known as the Royal Guard, Ichibe Hyosube boasts incredible speed and command of Shunpo. He was able to go up against Ywach and sidestep most of his attacks while only using this ability.
Ichibe is easily one of the most powerful Shinigami of all time, and he has innumerable years of training and battle experience behind him. His experience indicates that he would have masteres Shunpo to a degree that few, if any, can emulate.
As the current Captain of the Onmitsukido, Sui-Feng has been hailed as one of the fastest Shunpo users in history, second only to her mentor Yoruichi Shihoin. In fact, she was able to match Yoruichi in speed for a time, and even succeeded in landing multiple hits with her Zanpakuto Suzumebachi. However, she could not land two hits in the same spot to activate her Shikai special ability, due to Yoruichi being slightly faster than her.
Sui-Feng is equally proficient at using the technique in close quarters combat and long range encounters, making it nearly impossible to land a hit on her. Lastly, her Shunpo mastery can also create up to 15 Speed Clones, which mimce her movements and cannot be distinguished from her main body.
2 Tenjiro Kirinji
While Sui-Feng is extremely fast of her own accord, her speed pales in comparison to “Lightning-Fast Tenjiro.” He was hailed as the fastest among the Gotei 13 prior to his ascension to the Royal Guard.
Tenjiro’s speed is nigh on unfathomable. He was able to effotlessly outmaneuver Sui-Feng while standing directly in front of her, shifting his position to pin her down from behind before she could even react. As such, there is almost no one who can compare to his speed among the Shinigami, save for one exception.
1 Yoruichi Shihoin
The “Flash Goddess” herself, Yoruichi Shihoin is without a doubt, the fastest Shunpo user of all time, having based a large part of her fighting style primarily on her mastery of the technique. Her proficiency with all of the Onmitsukido’s speed techniques is so immense that she can appear to be in multiple places at once, and take out entire squadrons of her subordinates in less than a moment.
She can cover massive distances in an instant completely undetected, attesting to her skills in conducting covert operations. Hence, there are few who would argue to her supremacy in this arena. She was even responsible for training Byakuya Kuchiki, and had a hand in developing Kisuke Urahara’s monstrous speed, after spending many years sparring together in their youth.