"All war is deception; think your opponent has a weakness and it becomes his strength. Remember that."
|Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto|
|Name||Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto|
|Bankai||Zanka no Tachi|
- "Imperturbable and like an unmovable pivot." - Tite Kubo
Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto (山本元柳斎 重國, Yamamoto Genryūsai Shigekuni) is the former captain of the 1st Division in the Gotei 13 and also the former Captain-Commander (Head-Captain in the English Dub) of the whole Gotei 13. His lieutenant is Chōjirō Sasakibe.
Yamamoto is the oldest captain in the Gotei 13. He has the appearance of an old man with a very long beard, and long eyebrows. There are many scars on his torso and head, the two most prominent being a pair of long, perpendicular scars above his right eye, suggesting numerous battles in his past. He wears the standard Shinigami uniform, but its size is greatly exaggerated. He also drapes his haori over his back instead of actually wearing it. Despite his old and frail appearance, he has a very muscular body, something he only reveals when he takes a certain battle stance, something Shunsui claims is not seen too often.
As the captain-commander of Gotei 13, Yamamoto is highly respected by most of the Shinigami, most notably Sajin Komamura, who views Yamamoto as a benefactor who saved his life. The embodiment of conviction, Yamamoto follows the laws and regulations of Soul Society to the letter, and expects the same of others. He is not a man to tolerate insubordination, and is vocal with those who attempt to act in such a manner. He is quick to anger in the face of possible betrayal, and can be quite aggressive in combat. When in a state of peace, he carries himself with an air of frailty, even to the point where he has fallen asleep standing while awaiting Shunsui Kyōraku's arrival for a meeting. Due to years of experience, Yamamoto very rarely shows any sign of distress or surprise, usually responding by opening one or two of his eyes, which are partially closed slits the majority of the time.
Yamamoto appreciates Eastern cultures and is a master at the Japanese tea ceremony, and subsequently dislikes the "Western" traditions preferred by his lieutenant Chōjirō Sasakibe. Yamamoto holds a tea session every month in the 1st Division quarters for every member of the division. He plaits his own beard and arranges its ends once a month. He also likes to be rubbed down with a dry towel while exposed to the sun on his balcony.
Powers & Abilities
Master Swordsmanship Specialist: As the founder of the Shinigami Academy along with over two millenniums worth of combat experience, Yamamoto is arguably the most powerful combatant in all of Soul Society. Few would hope to come out alive from a fight with him. He is capable of fighting two captain-level Shinigami simultaneously. His skill in swordsmanship has been shown to be powerful enough to take down his opponent with a single precise strike.
- Number One: Nadegiri (撫で斬り, "Clean Sweep" or "Killing Several with One Sword Sweep"); This basic technique allows for a precision cut of extreme force and speed, it can casually slice through large, multi-story high opponents protected by steel skin. The opponent can be killed with one swift slash so precise, that they aren't even aware of until after it has taken place.
Flash Steps Master: He is also seen to be experienced in the art of Shunpo, being able to outstrip Shunsui and Jūshirō in terms of speed during a chase across Seireitei. He is able to easily overtake both captains and arriving at their destination first without even being noticed by the other two captains.
Master Strategist & Tactician: With his years of experience as a teacher and warrior, along with being the commander of the entire Gotei 13, Yamamoto is a very intelligent man. He is capable of quickly adjusting to new developments and making quick decisions accordingly . He has great tactical acumen , as shown from his preparations for the battle in Karakura Town. He is shown to be also a very perceptive man, demonstrated from how easily he could tell Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi was hiding knowledge on the Bounts. His skill at battle tactics is undeniable, as general he commonly sends the captains and divisions out to engage in battle for over a number of centuries, be it to relatively small or large number of threats. Also, he gives commands to his subordinates that may seem harsh or excessive, but often yield fruitful results, because of the rebellious acts that ensue, which he most likely had already calculated.
Immense Spiritual Power: Being one of the oldest members of Soul Society, Yamamoto's spiritual power has the same effect as his Zanpakutō, as it is elemental representative of fire. He tends to glow with a fiery aura which has the potential to burn and set his surroundings on fire without the use of his Zanpakutō. Yamamoto possesses an exceedingly powerful Reiatsu, capable of making other captain level Shinigami of Kyōraku and Ukitake's calibre sweat in fear and paralyse Lieutenant Nanao Ise with a simple look. This later caused her to faint, and she had to be taken a safe distance away, by Shunsui, from the Captain General simply to regain her ability to breathe.
Enhanced Strength: In addition to his surprising physique for his age, Yamamoto has shown tremendous physical strength as shown from how easily and swiftly he put a large hole into the chest of the monster Allon without much effort at all, using only the blunt end of his cane. He also just as easily with a single hand stopped one of Allon's strikes and overpowered it despite it having enlarged its arm and increased its strength several folds.
Enhanced Endurance: Despite his old age, Yamamoto is capable of fighting for long periods of time even when outnumbered with no visible signs of exhaustion.
Enhanced Durability: During his fight with two of the most powerful captains, Shunsui Kyōraku and Jūshirō Ukitake, he emerged without any sign of injury. He has also shown able to take directed attacks from others without being fazed. He has been seen to even take being impaled on a sword without so much as flinching from the perceived damage.
Kidō Master: Yamamoto's vast knowledge of Kidō is so great that he can perform them without calling out a name, while retaining its great potential power, whereas most users require a name to do so, if not a full incantation. He is also able to produce immensely powerful barriers to protect him from all but the strongest of dangers.
Master Hand-to-Hand Combat: As a master combatant, Yamamoto has had over a millennium's worth of experience. As with his skill in swordsmanship, he also has skill in hand-to-hand combat, as evident from his ability to effortlessly catch a strike from the deceptively fast Allon. While it is uncertain how much his skill has declined from his advanced age, he is still a dangerous and highly skilled combatant.
For the manifested spirit that appears in the Zanpakutō Unknown Tales arc see Ryūjin Jakka (spirit).
Ryūjin Jakka (流刃若火, "Flowing Flame Blade" or "Flowing Sword, Young Fire") is the name of Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto's Zanpakutō. His Zanpakutō is the oldest, most powerful fire type and has greater attack power than all other Zanpakutō in Soul Society. In its sealed form, Ryūjin Jakka usually takes the appearance of a harmless wooden staff which can be used like a spear. At any time, Yamamoto can instantly remove that disguise, by peeling off the wood, to reveal its true form of a standard katana with a dark purple handle and a circular hand guard. Its power is so great that even the strongest of Shinigami are afraid of it even in its sealed form.
- Shikai: Its Shikai command is "Reduce All Creation to Ash" (万象一切灰燼と為せ, banshō issai kaijin to nase; "All things in the universe turn to ashes" in the English Dub). The release of his Zanpakutō comes with an extreme release of spiritual pressure affecting all in the area, and can be felt for miles upon miles across all of Seireitei.
- Shikai Special Ability: When released, Ryūjin Jakka's blade is engulfed into fire. The aura of this weapon can disintegrate anything that Yamamoto waves the sword at, changing it into nothing more than ash and engulfing the surrounding landscape in a blazing firestorm, the heat of which was intense enough to scorch the sky. Only powerful fighters such as Kyōraku and Ukitake can resist it, but even then only indirectly. Even in its Shikai, Ryūjin Jakka's power is enough to fight against the Shikai of two other captains simultaneously, both of whom had the reputation of being the strongest Captains in Soul Society while together. Unlike other Zanpakutō shown so far, resealing Ryūjin Jakka does not deactivate any ability already used against an opponent, as seen when Yamamoto imprisons Aizen, Gin, and Kaname. The flames created by Ryūjin Jakka can be controlled with great precision by Yamamoto to attack only the targets he chooses and he also has power over the intensity of the flames.
- Jōkaku Enjō (城郭炎上, "Fortress Blaze"); This ability creates an immense wall of flame that surrounds the target and then forms a huge contained sphere of flame in which to imprison enemies. It is shown to be immensely powerful as it was capable of imprisoning three Captain-level Shinigami (Aizen, Gin and Kaname) for a significant amount of time.
- Bankai: Not Yet Revealed
- (To Shunsui Kyōraku and Jūshirō Ukitake) "My quarry never escapes. Come, you rascals. But you won't get off without a thrashing this time..."
- (To Nanao Ise) "Listen well! Begone from here! I don't have time nor the patience to teach a mere infant like you how to breathe."
- (To Izuru Kira) "Good grief. You kids are pathetic... making me fight."
- (To Allon) "A monster filled only with the instinct to kill. How pitiful."
- The Amagai filler arc in the anime marks the first and only time to date that Yamamoto has actually sustained injury on-screen, although it had no apparent effect on him.
- Ichigo calls Yamamoto "Gramps," as seen in the Amagai arc, Kenpachi Zaraki calls him "Old fart," and Kyōraku calls him "Old Man-Yama," while all of the other captains (Ukitake and Komamura, in particular) use the honorifics.
- Yamamoto has a habit of referring to those he faces in battle as "youngster," and he also refers to a battle as a "beating" or "punishment," giving reference to his age, as he is the oldest character in the series to date.