Using Zaraki Kenpachi is kind of cheating. That’s because the shingami known as Zaraki Kenpachi really doesn’t have a name.
Yup, Zaraki is a district in the soul society, in other words it’s a place, not a name. He doesn’t really have a last name so they used the place he’s from. Kenpachi isn’t really his first name either. I know, really odd, huh? Kenpachi is the title given to the strongest melee fighter of the shingami, always held by the captain of squad 11.
Bleach is a manga/anime world with many, many, many characters. I could do an A to Z post on just Bleach characters. Yup, that many. Kenpachi stands out head and shoulders above most of them.
Part of that is he’s just so freaking powerful. Yup, he’s so powerful he asked the research and development squad to make him that eye-patch so it would consume vast amounts of his power. Otherwise he’d kill all of his opponents in one blow, instead of most.
We first meet Kenpachi as an enemy of Ichigo, the protagonist of Bleach, who is trying to save his friend from the soul society. Ichigo actually barely defeats the shingami after Kenpachi releases all of his spiritual power. (Yup, they both are that powerful.) At the same time, we meet Kenpachi’s lieutenant. She too was nameless until Kenny (as she affectionately calls him) gave her the name Yachiru Kusajishi. She supports him no matter his aim; though it certainly helps that his sole concern is finding a fighter worthy of battle.
His dogmatic attitude is certainly enhanced by her extreme loyalty. Her perch on Kenny’s shoulder emphasizes their bond and her place in his squad. Later we learn they met when she was a babe and admired the pretty blood dripping from his sword. Yup, they’ve been an inseparable father and daughter pair ever since. I love it that she’s always giving him directions though between the two, they could get lost going from A to B…in a straight line.
The most important detail that defines Kenpachi is the code he lives by. No one interferes in his fight or they’ll be cut to ribbons. Stop the battle if your opponent can’t fight on. No death blows even if his opponent knows great shame at the loss. Offer to fight friends if it means a battle with someone stronger than you. Kill your opponent if they refuse to end their fight (and they are still standing). Try to preserve a life so you can fighter their stronger self later.
His squad mirrors this code, at heart they all hold his blood thirsty desire to battle. A shingami who inspires such loyalty can’t all be violence and evil faces, right?
I bet you were looking for a lovable picture with Yachiru…well here you go… (I’d want one too!)
This month I’m participating in a writing challenge to post everyday in April (except Sundays) called the A to Z Challenge. I’m exploring my love of characters, find the full list here. Read some of my other writing posts here. What characters do you love?