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"In a real fight that would have been your head. Heed me well, kid, because from now I'll be coming at you like I'm trying to kill you. You have to the count of ten to draw your sword and fight. Oh, and focus."
—Kenji to Michael Davis during the latter's Shikai Training.[src]
Kenji Hiroshi
Kenji Hiroshi's red eyes
Name Kenji Hiroshi
Kanji 健児博
Romanji Hiroshi Kenji
Characteristics
Race Soul
Age 150+
Gender Male
Height 6ft
Weight 98kg
Eyes Red
Hair Black
Professional Status
Affiliation Soul Society
Occupation Shinigami, Journalist, Lieutenant
Previous Occupation 3rd Seated officer
Team 9th Division, Kidō Corps
Previous Team 11th Division
Partner Keiichi Yume, Van Satonaka, Mikado Sayaka
Previous Partner Kazuya Kuchiki, Takeji Yatsunishi
Base of Operations 9th Division barracks
Personal Status
Education Shinō Academy
Status Active
Zanpakutō
Shikai Aoi Inazuma
Bankai Not achieved

Kenji Hiroshi (健児博), known following the Assault on the 9th Division as the "Archon of Storms" (嵐のアルコン, Arashi no Arukon), is a Shinigami formerly of the 11th Division in the Gotei 13, under Captain Kenpachi Zaraki. Currently he is a member of the 9th Division, initially under Captains Kensei Muguruma and Kazuya Kuchiki. He later served as the 3rd Seat of his Division under Captain Sajin Komamura and Lieutenant Shūhei Hisagi. During this time Kenji also served as a member of an elite Commando unit within the 9th Division which comprised himself, the Lieutenant and the 4th, 5th and 6th Seated officers.

Following the death of Captain Kuchiki, Kenji sought to keep the latter's teachings alive and eventually became a respected Kidō teacher with many notable students benefiting from his guidance in the aftermath of the Assault on the 9th Division. By no means was he strictly a Kidō instructor however. Kenji also taught extensively as an instructor attached to the Shin'ō Academy, where he taught the entire Zankensoki, in addition to other specialised classes.

Outside his duties as a Seated officer, teacher and Shinigami, Kenji is a notable contributor to the Seireitei News Magazine. He authors his own story called The Cataclysm and has shadow-wrote a number of additional articles on behalf of others. In his off-duty hours he either spends his time in Kei's bar writing and editing for the news magazine, or he goes out into the field to investigate topics that he finds interesting. In later years however Kenji has become something of a controversial figure. His unsanctioned training of a new Substitute Shinigami did not help his position, nor has his outspoken views, some of which are widely conveyed by the Seireitei News Magazine. It is said that he is steadily being viewed as a dangerous future element.

In an attempt to curb Kenji's vengeful passions regarding Kazuya's assassins and the Evening Primrose and direct his energies in a more beneficial direction, Hisagi promoted him to Lieutenant when he himself was promoted to Captain, and gave overall leadership of the Commando Unit over to Kenji. Kenji's co-Lieutenant, who commands the Kidō Unit of the 9th Division, is Kei Yume.

Appearance

Kenji is a fair-featured man with piercing crimson-eyes and raven-black hair. He retains a youthful appearance and sports absolutely no grey in his hair; a fact he appears to be quite proud of, as none of his known counterparts can claim the same.[1] Ever since a heated battle with Sakae and the modified Kensei Muguruma, Kenji sports a nasty-looking scar on his left pectoral.[2] It has been said on numerous occasions that Kenji closely resembles the late Kaien Shiba, despite the two being unrelated.

Kenji Liberation Saga

Kenji removing his white Commando haori prior to engaging in a fight.

As is typical of the Commando unit he serves in, Kenji wears a form-fitting white-coloured haori over his standard Shinigami attire with "Komamura 9th Division" emblazoned on the back.[3] This initially had "Hisagi 9th Division" on the back and has been a staple of Kenji's wardrobe since roughly two years after the Kidō Corps Revolt.[4] He returned to sporting Hisagi 9th Division upon the latter's promotion to Captain. Like most members of the 9th Division, Kenji wears a sleeveless koode.[5] In emulation of Shūhei Hisagi, Kenji wears two black armbands coiled around his left bicep, in addition to sporting a 69 tattoo on his left forearm.[6] These armbands possess explosive qualities,[7] and to protect this secret Kenji covered them with rags taken from Van's torn kosode to create a makeshift armband.[8] This armband was later replaced with a standard Lieutenant's badge that served more-or-less the same function as the rags before had.

Kenji is known to extensively modify his standard uniform and almost all his additives have a function beyond comfort, giving him quite a unique look. Shortly before the resurrection and attack of Kensei Muguruma on Rose and Hisagi, Kenji had donned a black gauntlet on his left-forearm as an optional additive.[9] He further covered his right arm from the wrist up in white bandages. Despite being unaffiliated with the 4th Division, Kenji was occasionally seen wearing one of their medical backpacks slung over his right-shoulder that held more than just medical supplies.[10]

Kenji is a rare case in that he possesses a Zanpakutō whose sealed state takes the form of a katana and wakizashi. He wears the katana threaded through his ōbi in the traditional style, but tends to keep the wakizashi strapped horizontally across his lower back in a manner similar to the Onmitsukidō.[11]

Personality

As evidenced by his former membership of the 11th Division, which is seen as the premier fighting force of the Gotei 13 who specialised in swords-only combat, Kenji likes a good fight;[12] he still frequently spars with his former comrades, and has even challenged Lieutenants; amongst them Takeji Yatsunishi.[13] Even after transferring to the 9th Division, Kenji continues to wear his Zanpakutō with him at all times in keeping with the tradition of his former Division.[14] Whilst members of the 11th Division often sought glory in battle, with some even remarking that if they're going to die they'd rather die fighting,[15] Kenji proved a more reserved and calculating fighter. Kenji did not believe in the "might is right" philosophy, and thus transferred Divisions.[16] He also did not restrict himself to the study of Zanjutsu. Kenji studied Kidō under Kazuya Kuchiki,[17] with a similar mindset to that of Tetsuzaemon Iba regarding his training.[18] He is also noted to be fearless, for he stared down an Adjuchas-class Hollow whilst only moments earlier rescinding an order for reinforcements.[19] Even under pressure Kenji is also highly analytical, though not to the same degree as Van.[8] Van has admitted that Kenji is a better conversationalist however, especially when it comes to giving reports.[20]

Kazuya's death, coupled with the murder of Takeji almost immediately after and the death of so many of his comrades at the hands of Kazuya's killers, caused something to wither in Kenji; he reckoned that a piece of himself had died right along with them.[21] This feeling quickly turned to a burning resolve to avenge the deaths of Takeji, his Captain, and his squad-mates; all of his anger was directed solely at Sakae, for she was the only member of the assassin trope whom Kenji had personally laid eyes on, though he failed to discover her identity.[22] Van and Kei where largely responsible for helping Kenji come to terms with these events.[23]

His later role as a teacher attached to the Shinigami Kidō Association further helped Kenji reconcile with his anger, and he eventually became a kind and approachable instructor who advocated Kazuya's teachings regarding Kidō;[24] despite this his methods where noted to be highly unorthodox and outright dangerous.[12] Whilst Van is a joker, Kenji tends to be more respectful and reserved; he is a particularly effective leader and teacher, and helped Ace become a more effective officer through kind but firm reprimands.[6] Hisagi valued Kenji for his leadership skills and was particularly thankful when he returned to active duty following the wounds he sustained against Sakae.[25] His trials since the assault served to mature Kenji, both in terms of personality and combat ability.[26] His maturity helped him greatly when he volunteered himself as a Kidō instructor.[27]

In his downtime Kenji is a busy author; he writes a popular series called The Cataclysm, which has consistently featured in the Seireitei News Magazine;[28] even his companion pieces have proved very popular.[29] In addition he is a competent illustrator, and he can often be found drawing whenever the dread that is writer's block sets in. By no means does he limit himself to his own works however; Kenji has extended himself through various topics, and often shadow-writes for others, including his colleagues. He worked alongside Rikuri Ukitake during her modelling career, but ended up making a fool of himself by mistaking her for someone else.[30] Despite this setback he ended up having a successful partnership with Rikuri because he made her laugh.[31] Kenji frequents the Yume bar operated by his close-friend and squad-mate Kei Yume, and it is here that he mulls over his various articles before submitting them for review.[32]

Michael Davis and Jenna Sheppard have both noted Kenji to possess something of a twisted sense of humour,[33] whilst his former student Garrett openly describes him as "a bit of an arse".[34] He not only left an exploding message behind for Michael as a prank but forcibly conscripted Jenna to help Michael with spiritual matters when Kenji himself was absent.[35] Garrett was noticeably nervous when informing Kenji about Michael's capture by the selfsame Visored being chased by Kenji and Van, and his nervousness was justified when Kenji attacked him with Kidō-wrought lightning javelins. This shows that he has a bit of a temper.[2]

Kenji has recently expressed interest in dating again and was about to ask Mikado to introduce him to "her friend with the big babylons", but was interrupted by Van before he could so so.[36]

Kenji's preferred drink is whiskey on the rocks.[37]

Literary works

Personal works
Kenji's bleach cover

Front cover of The Cataclysm.

  • The Cataclysm -- an ongoing and highly popular episodic series written by Kenji, with frequent insight from Hisagi, who also serves as the works main editor. The book features a highly fantasised version of the Gotei 13 and focuses on the adventures of main characters Kenji Hiroshi, Van Satonaka, Kei Yume and Shiju Shūdō as they battle against an ancient evil, amongst other supernatural and increasingly difficult threats.[28] The first publication sported the tagline The end of an era... And the beginning of a brand new chapter! and featured Kenji on the cover, and was released in July of 2003.[38] Publications are hotly anticipated despite long delays between chapters.[39]
  • Cataclysm Holiday Specials -- Van contributes holiday segments based on Kenji's popular episodic publication. He uses the same setting and characters written by Kenji with a comedic flair and, in Van's own words, are done solely for shits-and-giggles.[41]
Guides and Lectures
  • Bolt From the Blue: The New Substitute -- an ongoing diary written by Kenji after he helped Michael Davis finalise his acquisition of Shikai, which also served as something of a sequel to his earlier failed work regarding the Shinigami basics.[42] The work was inspired by Rukia Kuchiki's own diary regarding Ichigo Kurosaki, but Kenji didn't initially submit it for review to preserve his own involvement in Michael's training.[43]
  • The Yonkō of Hakuda -- Despite great anticipation for the final product the article received a horrible debut; Seireitou Kawahiru never showed up for the interview, and the article thus comprised only the Yonkō's known history with a flashy cover-page.[44]
  • Follow-up! The Four Realms Theory -- a follow-up to his failed article with Seireitou, Kenji sought out the latter's student -- Minato Kuramoto -- to discuss Hakuda. Minato proved far more forthcoming than his teacher, and explained in detail how Shinigami only ever reach the first realm, Kiai, because their Zanpakuto prevents Kiroku from being possible.[44] The article proved popular with members of the 2nd Division, as well as those in the Shihōin Clan who wished to take the title of Yonkō from Seireitou.[45]
Co-Publications and Contributions
  • A Lieutenants Guide to Hearty Subordinates -- a multi-series issue co-published by Kenji that features 2nd Division Lieutenant Kazuo Hanazawa and his love of cooking, with all proceeds going to Kazuo; each issue featured Kazuo dressed in a Chappy the Bunny-styled apron with white frills, with a serious expression, always armed with the obligatory spatula as he detailed his various recipes.[46] The issue, which was widely believed to have replaced Kaname Tōsen's The Path of Justice as the most popular recipe guide,[47] was immensely popular; Kazuo was known to cook for his squad-mates, and many turned out in mass to support their Lieutenant.[48]
Illustrative Works
  • Illustrations of Rikuri Ukitake -- Kenji worked alongside Rikuri Ukitake during her modelling career, and posted numerous columns and illustrations in the Seireitei News Magazine, not to mention other more specialised publications before Rikuri called time on her career.[31] As the publications that once featured Rikuri are now considered rare memorabilia, it is considered very difficult for anyone to obtain the articles where Rikuri featured; some do, however, still exist and are traded in certain areas of the Rukongai.[Notes 1]
Obituaries

History

Kenji originated in the poorer districts of Northern Rukongai, but wandered into the outlying districts of Western Rukongai, where he would meet Van Satonaka and develop a close friendship with him.[20] He sought out the life of a Shinigami to better his own existence and escape poverty, and eventually entered into the Shinō Academy on his third attempt. Despite his humble origins Kenji added Kei Yume to his list of trusted friends, the latter being from a minor noble house.[22] During their respective pursuit of Shikai Kenji laughed at Van smacking his Zanpakutō against a rock whilst swearing profusely at his sword.[12] Upon arriving at the academy Kenji made it his goal to emulate Shūhei Hisagi, who was viewed as the ideal template for a Shinigami,[49] not to mention someone who was viewed by Kenji's own class as something of a legend.[21] After graduating and entering into the 11th Division, Kenji met the Lieutenant of the Eighth Division, Takeji Yatsunishi, and eventually developed a friendly rivalry with him. The two met frequently for sparring sessions.[13]

RikuriRevealed

Kenji worked with Rikuri Ukitake.

Kenji would eventually transfer to the 9th Division after receiving a promotion to the post of 3rd Seated Officer, where he would work closely with Lieutenant Shūhei Hisagi; a partnership which eventually led Hisagi to reorganise the Commando Unit years later.[3] As a member of the 9th Division Kenji contributed greatly to the Seireitei News Magazine as an author and illustrator. Shortly thereafter Kenji contracted Izumi Ōmura for the production of specialised pens and ink for his personal use.[50] Prior to Rikuri Ukitake calling quits on her modelling career, Kenji was one of her illustrators; Rikuri's image made Kenji quite a bit of money.[31] Kenji famously mistook her for someone else however, but managed to land a lucrative contract with her in the end because he managed to make her laugh, despite making himself appear as an idiot in the process.[30]

During the Winter War waged by the Gotei 13 against Sōsuke Aizen, Kenji ended up working closely with Eikichirō Saidō in the vicinity of Kagamino City. As Eikichirō remarked that things where about to get underway, Kenji looked on in silence whilst documenting what he felt at the time in his notebook.[51] His musings would later contribute to the popular arc of his novel which depicted his characters engaging the Privaron Espada under Aizen's control.[52]

When the Quincy of the Wandenreich under Yhwach assaulted the Soul Society, Kenji was visiting the barracks of the 3rd Division on an errand from Lieutenant Hisagi. He stands with Lieutenant Izuru Kira when the Quincy begin their invasion,[53] but is powerless against the onslaught and is grievously injured alongside Izuru.[54] Kenji's wounds are light in comparison to Izuru's however but he is nevertheless treated by Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi and soon returns to the battle.[55] Kenji is one of the lower-ranked Shinigami who enters Wahrwelt. When Hisagi is shot by Lille Barro, resulting in extensive injuries, Kenji attempts to stabilise his Lieutenant.[56] He also fell into Lille's sights but was intercepted by Captain-Commander Shunsui Kyōraku before he could pull the trigger, and thus escaped further injury.[57] He ultimately mourned the untimely passing of Kensei Muguruma.[9]

In what many deemed a bizarre career choice Kenji refused the chance to return to the 11th Division as Lieutenant,[58] and instead pledged himself to the teachings of Kazuya Kuchiki, who became the new Captain of the 9th Division following Kensei's death.[21]

In yet another bizarre move Kenji extensively trained the Fullbringer known as Garrett Sheppard in the combat forms of the Shinigami, which drew no small amount of ire from certain parties.[35]

Synopsis

Renascence Beginning

Main article -- Renascence Beginning.

9th Division Assault arc

Blank period arc

Evening Primrose arc
Investigation arc
Cultist arc

The New Substitute arc

Bleach Renascence

Main article -- Bleach Renascence.

Soul Society chapter

Specials

Main article -- Specials and Omakes.

Equipment

  • 4th Division medical bag: Despite having no affiliation to the 4th Division itself Kenji has been shown to, on occasion, carry one of their medical bags slung over his right shoulder.[10] He has been shown to carry not only medical equipment but also an assortment of other items, including pens and paper.[9] At any given time he is known to carry:
  • Hitsuboku (筆墨, Pen and ink): Kenji uses specialised pens and ink for his writing but also as an "ace-in-the-hole". The ink, when applied directly to the bloodstream, releases a potent sleeping agent. The tip of his pen can be ejected at extreme speeds to quickly facilitate use of the agent. Both the pen and ink are made specially by Izumi Ōmura of the 12th Division.[50]
  • Explosive paper: Used predominately as a prank.[33] Kenji was shown leaving a letter behind for Michael which, when read, proceeded to blow up in his face with enough force and noise to alert Jenna, who was standing outside the factory where Kenji had trained Michael.[35]
  • Senten (穿点, Piercing/Drill Point): medical equipment usually carried by the 4th Division, which has the effect of knocking out weak -- or weakened -- individuals with only a single drop.[59] Produces a heightened and longer lasting effect when used in conjunction with Izumi Ōmura's specialised sleeping agent.[50]
  • Teleportation sheets: During the investigation into Yoshiro Shiba's disappearance, Kenji revealed himself to be in possession of specialised sheets which enable instantaneous travel from his current location to the courtyard of the 9th Division's barracks through Kidō.[37]
  • Explosive Armbands: Like his Captain, Kenji wears two black armbands coiled around his left bicep, which have been shown to possess explosive qualities.[7] Kenji later covered these armbands with the rags torn from Van's kosode to disguise them.[8] He has been noted to retain the rags as a makeshift armband to continue the disguise.[37] The rags where later replaced with his Lieutenant's badge.

Powers and Abilities

Potential and Growth Rate: Like his known counterparts, Kenji has a remarkably advanced growth rate coupled with bagfuls of unrealised innate potential. Despite only recently graduating Kenji was already sparring with Shinigami of Lieutenant-rank.[13] He was later noted to possess skill and knowledge beyond typical Lieutenant-class combatants.[60]

High Spiritual Energy: Kenji boasts particularly high spiritual power; he frequently sparred with then-Lieutenant Takeji Yatsunishi of the 8th Division, despite being a Seated officer himself at the time and their sessions beginning shortly after Kenji graduated.[13] He is also a member of the 9th Division's elite Commando Unit.[3] After meeting the nature spirit known as Raijin in Northern Rukongai, Kenji and Van where infused by a small measure of its power.[23] Before this Kenji was already considered Lieutenant-class and was offered the position with the 11th Division, but ultimately refused.[58] Kenji's reiatsu is electrically charged; when exerted electricity is shown to dance along his limbs.[6] Due to his skill in Kidō Kenji is also noted to possess masterful control of his reiatsu.[24] Nine years following Kazuya's death, Kenji was able to defeat a weakened Adjuchas without assistance; he even rescinded the order for reinforcements, such was his confidence.[19] Despite admitting that Van is stronger than he is,[8] Kenji was capable of contending with both Sakae and Kensei in what was described as a "heated battle";[2] a clear improvement, considering Kenji was unknowingly almost killed by Sakae during the assault years previous.[21] As such Kenji is openly regarded as being stronger than typical Lieutenants,[60] and is often subjected to a limiter when operating in the World of the Living even before he was officially made Lieutenant of the 9th Division.[61][62]

Kidō Expertise: Despite originating from the 11th Division, which encourages melee-only combat amongst its members to the point one must possess a melee-type Zanpakutō,[63] Kenji is a remarkably skilled practitioner of Kidō whom even Sakae, who defeated him rather easily, admitted was nearly at the skill-level expected of a Kidō master outside the ranks of the Kidō Corps.[21] Kenji can thus be described as a direct benefactor of Kazuya Kuchiki's Captaincy;[17] the man advocated the study of Kidō amongst the members of the 9th Division, and Kenji studied under him diligently prior to his death.[Notes 3] Two years after volunteering himself as a Kidō instructor, Kenji's abilities advanced even further; to the point of skilfully manipulating the shape and consistency of spells to achieve results beyond their usual function.[24] The further passing of time saw his skills continue to grow. When he rescued a teenage Michael Davis from an Adjuchas-class Hollow Kenji demonstrated the ability to exchange incantations with extended hand gestures.[19]

  • Hadō: Kenji is particularly powerful in offensive spells. He has shown himself fit to launch a Shakkahō spell into the weaker innards of his targets on the back of a separate spell, such as Byakurai, with explosive results.[6] He is especially intuitive when it comes to combining spells to achieve effects beyond the spells usual function. Kenji mixed the effects of three separate spells to create fast-moving chunks of explosive concrete which hit their target with devastating effect, and even after this he was capable of launching Hadō #78 with enough power to kill an Adjuchas.[19] His ingenuity and control allowed him to explosively charge a normal letter and set it to detonate after a short time in someones hand as a "prank".[35] He eventually managed to replicate Sakae's use of lightning-based Kidō javelins, which he used as a projectile against Garrett when the latter gave him bad news.[2]
  • Bakudō: Kenji was fit to quickly subdue and bind a group of thugs using Bakudō #63. without an incantation or motion.[37] Just prior to the death of Kazuya his skill, and creativity, allowed him to use multiple Enkōsen shields to subtly divert Sakae's assault to avoid fatal injury; a feat she found impressive under the circumstances.[21] Enkōsen appears to be his favoured Bakudō, for it is often the first spell reached for when defence is necessary.[42] In addition to basic uses Kenji has developed his skills to the point of altering the consistency of his summoned shields to better deal with fire-based spells, specifically allowing him to create fluid streams of protective light to divert harmful effects away from himself and others.[24]
  • Kaidō: Despite never being attached to the 4th Division or Kidō Corps, Kenji can heal wounds as competently as some members of the medical corps.[6] He showed himself capable of stabilising Hisagi and treating the grievous wounds he suffered against Kensei, to the point he declared that members of the 4th Division weren't needed.[64] Despite his bluster Kenji has yet to demonstrate the kind of prolonged care shown by members of the 4th Division and, at present, his skills amount to advanced on-the-spot and emergency treatment.[9]
  • Teleportation: Kenji is one of the few Shinigami shown to use Kidō outside the three main branches, with specific relation to instantaneous movement. Whilst the exact limits of his skills are unknown he was fit to relocate Van, Mikado, six captured thugs and himself from an outlying Rukongai district to the courtyard of the 9th Division without issue.[37]

Zanjutsu Expertsie: As a former member of the 11th Division,[21] which was viewed as the primary combat division of the Gotei 13, Kenji was undoubtedly a skilled swordsman; he frequently sparred with then-Lieutenant Takeji Yatsunishi.[13] Even after joining the 9th Division his skills did not atrophy; as the security force for the entire Gotei 13, Kenji had more than enough opportunities to advance his skills. He also improved under Sajin's watchful eye in a similar manner to how he studied under Kazuya.[65] He has been shown to favour a swift accelerated sliding manoeuvre that leads into a powerful slash as an opener.[21][6] Kenji is one of very few Shinigami affiliated with the Gotei 13 to have trained himself in the ancient Wan'nesu style of swordsmanship.[23]

Hohō Expertise: Kenji is capable of using Shunpo to the level expected of a Lieutenant, and has shown himself fit to keep up with then-Lieutenant Takeji Yatsunishi in their many sparring sessions.[13] In the years following Kazuya's murder, Kenji's skills had vastly improved; he was once described as being "fast as fuck".[12] He also demonstrated the ingenuity to utilise Kidō spells to disguise the tell-tale swish usually associated with Shunpo movements.[42]

Hakuda: Kenji has shown a certain proficiency in unarmed combat when the situation demands it, for he was fit to easily knock out six members of the Evening Primrose.[37]

Enhanced Durability: Kenji survived being impaled by several lightning-coated javelins launched at him by Sakae and still retained the ability to fight back.[21] The injuries he sustained, coupled with the burns received in Sakae's counter-stroke, where severe enough that it necessitated Kenji's treatment by Captain Tsukada of the 4th Division.[66] Van noted that Kenji was lucky to have survived his wounds.[22]

Enhanced Endurance: Kenji has a noticeably high tolerance for pain. He retained consciousness despite being impaled by numerous javelins and burned by intense flames.[21] He also fled his sickbed to attend his Captain's funeral despite significant pain and discomfort.[22]

Keen Intellect: Kenji is noted to be quite intuitive. As a journalist he is known to be a quite effective investigator, which extends to other avenues of his Shinigami duties.[6] He is capable of calmly analysing a situation and picking the most effective counter in a short period of time, even during the heat of battle.[21] Kenji proved himself capable of feigning anger and sadness when Van was seemingly killed and turned the situation to his advantage, knowing that Van was alive; Kenji's actions actually solidified Van's stealth, for he was believed by Sakae and the Evening Primrose to be dead based on Kenji's "emotional" reaction.[8] Outside his normal duties Kenji's intelligence has served him well as an instructor; he is noted for his unconventional teaching methods, with numerous individuals benefiting from his bizarre tutelage over the years.[12]

Zanpakutō

Aoi Inazuma (青い稲妻, Blue Lightning). Kenji's Zanpakutō takes the form of a paired katana and wakizashi, thus making it a daishō combination. The katana sports blue hilt wrapping and a square guard inlaid with lightning motifs which he wears at his waist in the traditional style threaded through his ōbi. The wakizashi has red hilt wrapping and a bronze circular guard which he wears strapped horizontally across his back.[11]

Kenji is one of the few males whose Zanpakutō is confirmed as a female; Aoi Inazuma's spirit form takes the shape of a teenage woman with green-coloured hair and black eyes. Kenji described her as being hesitant to teach him the more dangerous aspects of his Shikai's powers, specifically in reference to the double-edged sword that was Raijin.[12]

Inazumashikai

Aoi Inazuma's Shikai.

  • Shikai: Kenji releases his Zanpakutō with the command "Strike" (打撃, Dageki), followed by him rubbing both blades past one-another, which are then connected by a long rope at the base.[23] When its Shikai is activated, Aoi Inazuma's daishō straightens and produces two jutte-like prongs near the base and tip that appear like fangs, which continually produce surges of lightning. Even in Shikai the length of the katana and wakizashi remain unchanged and are used in the traditional style of Zanjutsu by Kenji.[21]
Shikai Special Ability: Aoi Inazuma allows Kenji to manipulate lightning and electricity in multiple different ways.[60] He can also shape a large quantity into a lightning clone, which he uses to throw off opponents, or mix it with various Hohō-related techniques to take his foes by surprise or hold their attention. It was this that led his contemporaries to claim that it was one of the most balanced Zanpakutō that they had ever seen. Kenji has demonstrated a number of effective uses for Aoi Inazuma; blasting foes with high-intensity shocks, augmenting the height and speed of his movements, blocking attacks with a shield of lightning, and even as a set-up for stronger attacks.[42] He could also employ the electrical current as a means of cutting through fortified defences with casual ease. Due to the absorbing qualities of Inazuma Kyūshū, Kenji is essentially immune to the effects of lightning;[23] overcharging him can prove dangerous however, for all involved because it often results in him slipping into the Raijin state.[21]
Garrettonigiri

Kenji channelling lightning to his blade.

  • Inazuma Kyūshū (稲妻吸収, Lightning Absorption): the most noteworthy aspect of Aoi Inazuma. Kenji is capable of absorbing natural and unnatural sources of lightning or electricity to replenish his own reserves of reiryoku, or as a means of augmenting his various natural abilities.[23] When channelled to the edge of his Zanpakutō, which drastically augments his cutting power, Kenji becomes fit to slice through fortified defences with almost casual ease.[21]
  • Seitennohekireki (青天の霹靂, A Bolt Out of the Blue): should Kenji actually succeed in absorbing a bolt of lightning, he can actually seize control of and direct that phenomenal power as a one-shot attack.[23] During the process Kenji applies his own power to the seized bolt to drastically augment its destructive power.[21]
Kenjilightning

Kenji initiating Raijin.

  • Raijin (雷神, God of Lightning): an extension of Inazuma Kyūshū and a deeper manifestation of Aoi Inazuma's power overall, which Kenji releases automatically upon passively absorbing a currently unspecified quantity of lightning or electricity. Particularly potent sources of lightning can force Kenji into this state after being hit only once. Hisagi likens Raijin to the Zanpakutō of Yumichika Ayasegawa, for he describes Raijin as "the true form of Aoi Inazuma". All of Kenji's physical abilities are drastically augmented upon transitioning to this heightened state, but just as lightning itself is short and destructive, Kenji's time in this form is limited. He also becomes desensitised to the effects of stronger reiatsu; thus he can continue fighting against even significantly stronger opposition, when usually he'd be driven to his knees. At present he also is not in complete control of himself; Kenji acts on complete and blind instinct, which unfortunately can make him more of a hindrance than a help at times when Raijin is invoked.[21]
  • Enhanced Speed: Raijin greatly bolsters Kenji's base speed. He was fit to close the distance between himself and Sakae almost instantaneously.[21]
  • Enhanced Durability: Raijin greatly desensitises Kenji to pain; to the point even extreme injury appears to barely affect his performance.[21]
  • Weakness: Just like a single bolt of natural lightning disappearing as quickly as it appeared, Raijin is a temporary power-up that saps Kenji into complete exhaustion the moment the power-up fades.[21]
  • Enhanced Kidō: In the years following the assault on the 9th Division, Kenji learned to mix the lightning energy generated by Aoi Inazuma into various Kidō spells. He notably enhanced Hadō #78 in this manner to create a circular blade of lightning capable of destroying an Adjuchas-class Hollow.[19] When used in this manner and fired from the tip of Aoi Inazuma his standard Byakurai, when cycled back at him by Michael and subsequently reabsorbed by Kenji, was powerful enough to produce a destructively potent Seitennohekireki.[42]
  • Unnamed Wave-like attack: an attack personally developed by Kenji through combination of Aoi Inazuma's electrical manipulation abilities and Kidō, which produces a potent wave-like attack with enough destructive power to cut massive rends into the earth.[Notes 4]
  • Bankai: Aoi Inazuma Kasō (青い稲妻火葬, Blue Lightning Cremation): Although he has yet to attain it, Kenji possesses knowledge of the release for he was fit to inform Michael Davis of the Bankai form during the latter's Shikai training. It has also been stated that Kenji is typically more powerful and well-informed than typical Lieutenants.[60]

Notable relationships

Romantic

Rin Shihōin

Main article -- Rin Shihōin.
"Your timing stinks. I was just about to ask Mikado if she'd introduce me to her friend with the big babylons and then you walk in!"
—Kenji to Van regarding Rin.[src]

Kenji expressed annoyance with Van when the latter interrupted his conversation with Mikado, for he was about to ask her to introduce him to "her friend with the big babylons".[36] Mikado noted that the two got on well, with Kenji himself noting they got on swimmingly, at least until Mikado told Rin why Kenji was initially interested.[9]

Close friends

Van Satonaka

Main article -- Van Satonaka.
KenjiandVan2

Kenji vs. Van.

Van is Kenji's closest friend, rival, and constant companion. Kenji based one of the main characters of his popular series on Van.[28] Even before the Commando unit was formed in the 9th Division the two where often paired together on assignments.[26] After suffering extensive injuries fighting Sakae during the Assault on the 9th Division it was Van who literally carried Kenji to the funeral service of Captain Kuchiki, where he physically supported his injured friend whilst simultaneously disobeying orders.[22] Van was willing to brave his fear of lightning when he accompanied Kenji to the Cave of Fulmination to meet the nature spirit known as Raijin; this mission likewise demonstrated the practised back-and-forth jibbing the two partake in frequently.[23] When Van feigned his death and Kenji responded emotionally to solidify the deception, Kenji later admitted that his emotional reaction was anything but feigned; his sadness and anger at Van being put in danger was genuine.[8]

Kei Yume

Main article -- Kei Yume.

Kei is one of Kenji's closest friends and the two share a friendly rivalry. Kenji often frequents Kei's bar where he writes his various articles and enjoys some downtime, and the two also serve together in the 9th Division's elite Commando unit.[26] Kenji based one of the main characters of his popular series on Kei.[28]

Students

Mikado Sayaka

Main article -- Mikado Sayaka.

Although he oversaw the training of Mikado, Kichō, Ace and Momoko when Hisagi assigned them as his understudies, Kenji nevertheless invested more of his time and effort with Mikado than the others,[26] for he noted himself that she see's a situation in a much broader sense than either Kichō or Ace did, and actually compared her to himself in that regard.[6] Mikado often shadows Kenji regardless of the difficulty of the latter's assignments and has argued with her superiors so that she can remain at his side.[24] For herself Mikado trusts Kenji implacably and follows him without hesitation, to the point she noted that she trusts Kenji more than Van.[8] Kenji reciprocates this trust fully and has begun granting her more operational freedom and responsibility.[64][9] After two years Mikado was the only one of the four of Kenji's trainees who opted to remain with the 9th Division and not accept transfers to other Divisions. Kenji openly admitted that his students -- and Mikado in particular -- gave him a reason to live after he lost almost everything during the Assault on the 9th Division.[4]

Michael Davis

Main article -- Michael Davis.

The oddest of Kenji's pupils is no-doubt that of Michael Davis, based purely on the young man's strange predicament, not to mention the fact Michael has yet to actually learn Kenji's name.[Notes 5] Michael is a Human who lives in Houston, Texas, but received the power of a Shinigami from Shisui Sengoku;[67] an act which is strictly forbidden by the Soul Society, and so strict Kenji was shocked by Shisui's actions.[68] Kenji lucked onto the young man's subsequent battle with an Adjuchas-class Hollow,[19] and subsequently took Michael under his wing when it became clear that Shisui was dead.[11] Over a short but intense training session and general introduction to the ways of the Shinigami and spiritual matters in general, Kenji and Michael developed a working teacher-student relationship.[12]

Former students

Garrett Sheppard

Main article -- Garrett Sheppard.
"He isn't a bad guy. Bit of an arse, maybe, but a pretty chill guy."
—Garrett describing Kenji to Jenna.[src]

Kenji served as Garrett's teacher during routine patrols in the World of the Living over the seven-year-period between the pair's initial meeting and Kenji's training of Michael Davis.[35] Despite being noted by Jenna that Garrett's training was "the past tense", Kenji clearly keeps in-touch with his former protege. Garrett has been actively hunting the Evening Primrose on Kenji's behalf and reporting on their dealings.[33]

Ace

Main article -- Ace.

Momoko

Main article -- Momoko.

Kichō Sayaka

Main article -- Kichō Sayaka.

Alternate world counterpart

Kenji Hiroshi

Main article -- Kenji Hiroshi.

Kenji Hiroshi, known by his birth name of Rōnin Shiba, and also known and feared throughout the spiritual realms as the "Archon of Storms", the "Morning Prince" and the "Sword Saint", is an alternate version of Kenji who appears as the primary protagonist of Bleach: Sun and Moon Chronicles, the main protagonist of both parts of Bleach: War of the Worlds, whilst appearing in the form of a recurring protagonist in Bleach: Cataclysm.

Rōnin Shiba

Main article -- Rōnin Shiba.

Rōnin Shiba, known by his nickname of Kenji, is another alternate version of Kenji who appears as a recurring supporting character in Bleach: Resurgent Phantom and Bleach: Tower of Night, whilst appearing in Bleach: Cataclysm in the form of flashbacks.

Other appearances

Omakes

Kenji's counterpart runs an omake segment alongside Van, which is dubbed Drinking Time With Kenji & Van, which has the two frequently discuss topics relating to Bleach (Kenji Hiroshi). From the third episode on the version of Kenji who appears in the Fanon Canon has appeared as a guest.

Author's notes

Behind the scenes

  • Throughout the course of the series Kenji develops from a protagonist into an anti-hero. He flirts with outright antagonism but has thus far remained aligned with Soul Society. This somewhat mirrors the development of the author's primary iteration of the character, who eventually led a rebel movement which had less than ideal relations with the Gotei 13. This Kenji was also viewed as a dangerous element by the Central 46.
  • Aoi Inazuma was the original Zanpakutō of the author's primary character and was used throughout the events of Bleach: Sun and Moon Chronicles and the early stages of Bleach: War of the Worlds by Kenji Hiroshi. Rajin, which is an enhanced state of Aoi Inazuma's Shikai in this rendition, was eventually revealed to be the actual name of the author's primary version of Kenji, which was used from the later stages of War of the Worlds into Bleach: Cataclysm.

Trivia

  • Kenji's fellow Division members, Hotaru and Akira, are actually the twin sons of his counterpart. Kenji is thus far unaware of this particular fact.
  • This rendition of Kenji is the only version shown not to be related to the Shiba clan and is thus not a noble.

References & notes

  1. Drinking Time With Kenji & Van: Episode 3: The Multiverse is a Bitch
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Gathering Forces
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Ninth Division Commando Unit
  4. 4.0 4.1 Blank period: Learning to Let Go
  5. Uniform customisation
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 Towards the Future: Answers and Questions
  7. 7.0 7.1 Bleach manga; Chapter 324, page 12
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 Blank period: The Jaws Close
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Back From the Dead: Recuperation
  10. 10.0 10.1 The Fledgling Soul: Answers? Or Questions?
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 A Giving Soul#The Telling Soul
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 12.6 A Giving Soul#The Training Soul
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 Takeji Yatsunishi thread
  14. Bleach manga; Chapter 120, pages 14-15
  15. Bleach Bootleg, page 110
  16. Bleach Bootleg, page 179
  17. 17.0 17.1 Ninth Division (Fanon Canon)#Recruitment
  18. Bleach Official Character Book Souls, page 181
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 A Giving Soul#The Saving Soul
  20. 20.0 20.1 The Summit
  21. 21.00 21.01 21.02 21.03 21.04 21.05 21.06 21.07 21.08 21.09 21.10 21.11 21.12 21.13 21.14 21.15 21.16 21.17 21.18 21.19 Dawn of the Coven
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 Towards the Future: Kenji's Resolve
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 23.5 23.6 23.7 Towards the Future: Cave of Fulmination
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 Blank period: The Noble Art
  25. Towards the Future: Human World Investigation
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 Towards the Future Side Story
  27. Shinigami Kidō Association Instructors
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 The Cataclysm
  29. 29.0 29.1 Data-book Tribulations
  30. 30.0 30.1 Rikuri Ukitake thread with Z
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 Rikuri Ukitake thread with Daz
  32. Kei's introduction
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 The Departing Soul
  34. The Watchful Soul
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3 35.4 The Fledgling Soul: Qs and Ps
  36. 36.0 36.1 Blank period: Rising Suspicions
  37. 37.0 37.1 37.2 37.3 37.4 37.5 Blank period: The Evening Primrose
  38. First Steps Into the Unknown
  39. Blank period: Moving Forward
  40. Bleach: Tribulations
  41. Van's literary works
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 42.3 42.4 A Giving Soul#The Next Step
  43. Bleach omake, Substitute Shinigami Work Diary
  44. 44.0 44.1 Seireitou thread with Sei
  45. Yonkō
  46. Kazuo Hanazawa thread with N
  47. Bleach Bootleg; page 102
  48. Kazuo Hanazawa
  49. Bleach novel; Can't Fear Your Own World, Prologue II
  50. 50.0 50.1 50.2 Izumi Ōmura thread
  51. Bleach anime; Episode 215
  52. Winter War: Kagamino Showdown
  53. Bleach manga; Chapter 494, page 6
  54. Bleach manga; Chapter 494, pages 10-14
  55. Bleach manga; Chapter 520.5, page 7
  56. Bleach manga; Chapter 635, pages 11-12
  57. Bleach manga; Chapter 644, pages 11-14
  58. 58.0 58.1 Kenji's FC Role thread with Sig
  59. Bleach manga; Chapter 326, pages 5-6
  60. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named A_Giving_Soul
  61. Bleach manga; Chapter 209, pages 12-15
  62. Bleach manga; Chapter 210, pages 5-8
  63. Bleach manga; Chapter 147, page 9
  64. 64.0 64.1 Back From the Dead: Kensei Muguruma!?
  65. Ninth Division (Fanon Canon)#Recruitment
  66. 4th Division Captain thread with Somnium
  67. A Giving Soul#Offering the Soul
  68. Bleach manga Chapter 461, page 12
  1. Rikuri's photos where noted to have been "smuggled across Soul Society", with some issues being available in Rukongai to this day.
  2. The Assault on the 9th Division was created to document the retained aspects of Dawn of the Coven, which was the original starting point for the Fanon Canon project. Any references to "Dawn of the Coven" now apply to "Assault on the 9th Division".
  3. "Kenji, please forgive your dumb teacher." -- One of Kazuya's final thoughts.
  4. He slashed his katana to the side away from Michael and cut a massive rend into the floor! Kenji was hopeful that Michael would see, or rather instinctively feel, what had just happened; for it wasn't Kenji's own power that had resulted in the large hole currently in the floor, but rather a combination of his own and Aoi Inazuma's power turned loose and working in perfect sync.
  5. Posted. Oh and btw, we've managed to not include Kenji's name in this at any point, which would be good for later character dev. down the road. Let's keep it this way, Kenji not introducing himself -- Excerpt from the thread pertaining to A Giving Soul which explains the reason behind Kenji not introducing himself.
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