Kidō (鬼道, "Demon/Spirit Way"; Viz "Soul Reaper's Powers/Spells") is a form of Shinigami combat based on the use of spells. It is one of the four Zankensoki, the primary combat skills for all Shinigami. The basis of Kidō revolves around producing spells with reiryoku for offensive, defensive, and supplementary purposes. Among the Shinigami military branches, the Kidō Corps are hailed as the premiere Kidō specialists of Soul Society.
The foundation of Kidō lies in the use of "spells" (術 (じゅつ), Jutsu; literally "Technique") which are produced with high reiryoku. These techniques can serve a multitude of purposes, ranging from offensive, defensive, and support-based spells.
Kidō is an expression of Shinigami powers; that is to say, it is an extension of the power to create and bestow significance to souls. Shinigami are those that are said to transform death into salvation, because they alone govern a world where meaning in life after death becomes possible. They are beings which create meaning in an existence that have none. Kidō is an extension of this aspect. Each of the Zankensoki are based on the nature of Shinigami powers, the ability to grant significance and meaning onto spiritual existence. Kidō is the ability to pull on spiritual power from within a Shinigami and then bestow upon it an identity of its own. In many ways, it can be called the act of creating pseudo-Zanpakutō, as the method very closely resembles the imprinting process of turning an Asauchi into one's own unique Zanpakutō. However, Kidō is a far more transient power, only creating these pseudo-Zanpakutō for mere moments in most cases. There are spells which can last for thousands of years, but no Kidō lasts forever.
- "Visualize a circle in your mind. The darker and heavier, the better. Then... imagine yourself diving into the center of it. This is the basic form of all spells."
- —Ganju Shiba
Kidō is the act of drawing out Reiryoku from within and then bestowing upon that spiritual power an identity. The name given to the spell is what shapes its identity and the nature of its effect. This method closely mirrors the process of Zanpakutō being born, in which a Kidō spell is itself a temporary pseudo-Zanpakutō with a name of its own that takes form for a specific task. Ganju described the basis of Kidō as the user visualizing a dark and heavy circle, likely a metaphor for the reiryoku required to cast the spell, and then imagining themselves diving into the center of it, which can be understood as inserting a part of their own selves into the spiritual power in order to give it an identity of its own.
Therefore, the process of utilizing Kidō normally requires three main steps: one must first draw forth their spiritual power to the forefront, give it form with the visualization technique described by Ganju, and then finally inserting the desired identity of the spell into that mass of energy in order to shape it into the desired spell. It is possible to manifest Kidō without bestowing an identity onto it, which is done by stopping at the second step of casting a spell. This is often done in order to perform a technique such as Shunkō, in which the user fuses with the Kidō and then imprints their own spiritual nature onto it rather than bestowing upon it an intended identity.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Bleach databook; Official Character Book SOULs
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Bleach databook; MASKED
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Bleach manga; Chapter 81, page 13-14