|Affiliation||Tetra Alliance, Gotei 13|
|Previous Affiliation||Gotei 13|
|Occupation||Lieutenant of the 1st Division|
|Previous Occupation||Fourth seat of the 1st Division|
|Base of Operations||First Division's barracks, Seireitei|
|Education||Graduated from the Shino Academy|
|Family||Chiyo Kawata, Aoto Kawata|
"Sticks and stones broke my bones, but words were the things that killed me. I had to claw my way through Hell to get to where I am today, and I'll be damned if I let some low-life like you send me back there."
Akemi Shinozaki (島崎 あけ美; Shinozaki Akemi) is the Lieutenant of the First Division.
Akemi is a young woman of average height, appearing to be in her late teens to early twenties. She has a fairly stocky frame, with wide shoulders and slightly narrower hips, and not much in the ways of an hourglass figure. Her bust isn't particularly large or small, sitting around a C-cup size. Her muscles are well-developed, but slim in the sense that they aren't particularly noticeable unless she's in certain lighting. Akemi's skin is fairly pale, and her large eyes are a dark brown colour. Her dark red hair is kept just a bit shorter than shoulder-length, and flips out at the ends. Her hair is parted above her right eye, and most of her bangs are swept across to the left, almost obscuring the top portion of her left eye.
Akemi wears the standard-issue shihakusho, with her Lieutenant's badge tied around her left arm. In honour of the previous Lieutenant, Chōjirō Sasakibe, she also wears a white jinbaori over her uniform.
Akemi is a very confident and hardworking individual who has little tolerance for tomfoolery in the workplace. She likes to draw a distinct, hard line between work and play, and absolutely refuses to let those two aspects of her life cross, lest she become distracted from her duties as a Lieutenant. She strives to make herself better in every way, whether it's becoming a better leader, a better combatant, or even a better friend, and will often go to great pains in order to improve any and all skills that she can. She is also a bit of an opportunist, and will jump to take any chance she can get, as evidenced by her history of going from division to division in order to accept the promotions offered to her. She has no qualms about moving about, as she pledges her loyalty not to any specific division, but the Soul Society as a whole. She takes her duties quite seriously, and expects others to do the same.
When the workday is done, however, this rigid demeanour is replaced by a much softer, and much more friendly one. Akemi is surprisingly lighthearted and cheerful when conversing with people outside of a professional situation. She still does demand some propriety, albeit it's nowhere near the kind she expects at the office. One of her most visited hangouts is a local bar outside the Seireitei, and she and a group of close friends will often spend their Friday and Saturday evenings there. Of course, Akemi always moderates her (and the others') alcohol intake to ensure no one disgraces themselves or has to go to work with a hangover the next day.
Akemi is not afraid to voice her opinions, whether it be in a professional or social setting. She is not afraid to go up against people of a higher rank when it comes to beliefs and ideals, and will fight to the ends of the earth in order to stand up for what she stands by. She is also quite stubborn, but she will concede defeat if proven wrong with hard, solid facts (usually--there are some things that she will never stop arguing about).
Said stubborness can also be found in battle. Akemi will try to fight until the very end, regardless of whether or not the battle is tipped in her favour. Her loyalty to the Soul Society, to her subordinates, and to her friends knows no bounds, and she would be more than willing to sacrifice herself for any of them. This, of course, tends to lead to rather reckless behaviour when the situation is grim. If she does not believe that she can win the fight, Akemi will continue to fight anyway--even if the battle is not one of any significance. She has been stopped on several occasions from literally throwing herself onto the enemy's blade in an attempt to bring them down with her.
Akemi was the oldest of the seven Kawata children, born in 1728 to a couple who hailed from a long line of peasants. Being the eldest "son", she was expected to take over the farm when her parents retired, as well as pass on the family name. Akemi couldn't have been less interested, and she would often spend her days envying her sisters, who got to wear prettier, mud-free clothes, and didn't have to work the fields. When she was around nine, Akemi made the mistake of telling her father that she wished she had been born a girl. He laughed and ridiculed her, chocking the idea up to heatstroke or sickness. Word of this incident spread to her siblings, and she was mocked endlessly by her brothers. Akemi did not bring the topic up again.
But her silence didn't mean she had forgotten about it. Plagued by a constant feeling of gender dysphoria, she slowly slipped into a state of depression and self-hate. She didn't understand why she felt this way--no one else she knew did, and she interpreted that as meaning she was "broken". She attempted to "fix" herself by forcing herself into more masculine activities, but it only made her feel even worse. She felt as though she were imprisoned inside her own body, and there was no way for her to escape. This dysphoria continued to worsen as she got older.
In the summer of 1751, however, Akemi's suffering in the World of the Living came to an end. While working the fields, she accidentally cut herself on one of the farm tools--an occupational hazard, and something she and her brothers and father had done many, many times before. What was new, however, was that the tool she cut herself on played host to a type of bacteria called C. tetani--the kind of bacteria that causes Tetanus. She began to display symptoms after eight days or so, starting with muscle spasms in the jaw that quickly developed into full-on spasms that would affect the entire body, and last for minutes at a time. She died three days after the spasms began.
Life in the Rukongai and Shino Academy
After her death, Akemi found herself in the middle-class districts of the Rukongai. She asked around about where she was, what Soul Society was, and so on, and it was then that she realized she had just been handed a clean slate. Deciding that her life was going to begin now, she grew her hair out, bought the clothes that she wanted to wear, did what she wanted to do. She gave herself her own name; Akemi Shinozaki. For the first time in twenty years, she felt free, confident, and comfortable in her own skin. There were still some things that she would have liked to change about her physique, but at that point she had done all she could.
During her time in the Rukongai, Akemi met and befriended Kei Toyashima. The two of the hit it off extremely well, and within a year, they were the best of friends. Together, they decided to join the Shino Academy. Akemi didn't pass the entrance exam on her first try, and while Kei did, he hung back to wait for her. They both got in the second time, and ended up making a fair number of friends.
However, being in a social setting made certain things much harder for Akemi. She had to constantly find ways to avoid going to things that could potentially expose the nature of her situation. She recalled how her family had reacted to her wish of being a woman, and she was terrified that her new friends would react the same way if they found out. Her anxiety and depression began to creep back in, and she slowly started to distance herself from everyone. This went on for quite awhile before Kei came up and bluntly inquired as to what the problem was. She broke down, and after some coaxing, revealed her secret. To her surprise, Kei was more than accepting, and as it turned out, he too, was in a similar position.
With renewed strength, Akemi decided to come out to her friends, and Kei did it with her. They received a positive reaction overall, although there were a handful of people who were anything but supportive. Some of those people spread the news all over the school, and within days, Akemi found herself being congragulated one second and slammed into a tree the next. The insults cut deeper than a sword, but she built an invincible set of armour around her skin. Akemi was done with hiding who she was, and she knew that no amount of negative remarks could change the way she felt. The support she received from her friends, and even strangers, helped her to make it through. By the time she was finished at the academy, she was a completely different person from when she had started, and it was definitely a change for the better.
Upon her graduation, Akemi was one of the top students in her class, and she passed the entrance exam into the Gotei on her first try.
Life in the Gotei 13
Akemi was first placed into the 7th Division. While she had left the academy behind, she still found bigots everywhere. Deciding to make them eat their words, she worked hard to surpass each and every one of them, setting her sights on a Captain's position. She jumped from division to division, chasing after each promotion that was offered to her. Sometime during this, she also started undergoing speech therapy and horomone replacement therapy, determined to have her physical appearance reflect who she was. This goal was further realized after attaining the position of 9th Division's Tenth Seat. At this point, she had enough money to afford both a sex reassignment surgery and breast implants, and took a couple months off in order to undergo those procedures and become accustomed to the changes.
When she returned for duty, Akemi didn't waste any time in getting back into the groove of things. She continued to give everything 110%, and was eventually assigned to the position of 1st Division's Fourth Seat. Unfortunately, there was nowhere to go after that point. But that didn't stop Akemi from working, and she instead focused her efforts on obtaining Bankai. She spent a considerable amount of time hanging around the then-Lieutenant Chōjirō Sasakibe, and formed a bit of a friendship with him. Anytime she got sent out to the World of the Living, she would bring back something "Western" for him, as he had few opportunities to leave Soul Society given his position.
Akemi replaced Chōjirō Sasakibe as the Lieutenant of the 1st Division after his death.
Radio: As the Arrancar and Humans cannot make use of the Hell Butterflies, every officer, regardless of rank, was given a radio that they could use to communicate with everyone.
Spare Katana: At the start of the war, all Shinigami were issued a standard katana in case their Zanpakutō broke, or they preferred not to use their Zanpakutō unless it was needed.
Rejuvination Pills: Originally used only by the Fourth Division, these pills were distributed among the rest of the Seireitei in hopes that they could increase the fighting capacity of the soldiers and limit the number of casualties.
Powers and Abilities
Expert Swordsman: Akemi has spent hours upon hours perfecting her swordsmanship, and is on-par with some of the weaker Captains in terms of ability. She dedicates a considerable amount of time in her training schedule to swordfighting in order to ensure that her skills do not regress over time.
Hakuda Expert: In her quest to obtain the position of Captaincy, Akemi made sure to put a great deal of effort into ensuring that her Hakuda technique was far from shabby. While she is far from the level of the higher-ups in the Second Division, she isn't weak either, and can hold her own in a fistfight.
Kido Expert: Akemi also put a lot of time into practicing Kido, and while it is her second-weakest point, she's still above-average in terms of ability. Many Lieutenants could overtake her, however, and as such, she tends not to rely on it as much in battle.
Shunpo Expert: Shunpo was something that Akemi had to work hard to get good at; she was never a particularly good runner in the first place, and Shunpo was even tougher to get right. However, since she had to be good at it to become a Captain, she persevered and eventually got to a respectable speed that is just a tad slower than her peers.
High Spiritual Pressure: Seeing as she is a Lieutenant, Akemi posseses rather high spiritual pressure.
Ginsui (銀水; Silver Water) is a regular katana in it's sealed state. The wrapping on the hilt is black in colour, and the crossguard is plain and undecorated.
- Shikai: Eizoku's Shikai command is "Tie them down". When that phrase is uttered, it will appear to melt and turn into a silvery kind of liquid. While some of it will coat Akemi's lower arms, the rest will float around in the air, and will not move until she gives the order to do so.
- Special Ability: Akemi can control the liquified Eizoku through her thoughts and the movement of her arms and hands. She can also will it to turn from liquid to solid and back again, and can create barriers, armour, shields, and so forth with it depending on how quickly she can move her hands. There are, however, some catches to this ability. First, the amount of liquid is not endless; she has roughly 5 gallons to work with, and cannot generate more. Secondly, the less of Eizoku there is on her hands, the less control she has over it; in other words, if the "armour" on her lower arms gets torn off, she will have half of her usual control, making it much more difficult to utilize her abilities. While it is possible to recover said "armour", it can be quite tricky to do so depending on how much of it she has left on her hands. It also creates a decent opening for the enemy, should they be quick enough to take it.
- Bankai: Kagayakashi Ginsui (輝かしい銀水; Glorious Silver Water): Kagayakashi Ginsui looks no different from it's Shikai version, although the difference is that the silver on Akemi's hands now extends up to her shoulders. The five-gallon restriction has also been increased, giving her a whopping 30 gallons to work with. Unfortunately, as she has not yet mastered her Bankai, Akemi has some difficulty controlling such an amount, and is prone to accidentally using too much or too little of the liquid in her attacks.