Tite Kubo's hit anime Bleach stars Ichigo Kurosaki, who makes new friends and enemies alike on his quest to protect his friends and topple the bad buys. Along the way, Ichigo meets some enemies who later become trusted compatriots, or at least trusted allies. Captain Byakuya Kuchiki of Squad six is one such person, and there is more to this man than his chilly exterior.
Captain Kuchiki is in fact a complicated man who has many layers to him, and fans may soon find out what made him the Captain he is today. Byakuya has enjoyed power and wealth, suffered tragic loss, faced defeat on the battlefield, and even turned inward to ask himself the tough questions. Here are ten things to know about the aristocratic Captain Kuchiki.
10 His Fighting Style Is Elegant
It is a given that Captain Kuchiki is a powerful fighter, since he is a Captain-class Soul Reaper and holds this rank all throughout Bleach. But while Captain Zaraki is a brute force berserker and Aizen relies on illusions, Byakuya fights with grace and finesse. He's a fine swordsman, and his shikai, Senbonzakura, creates flowing arcs of deadly, sharp petals that can slice apart a foe. This Captain adds flash steps, various kido, and even melee combat into his style to make him a real jack of all trades.
9 He Was A Bratty Kid
The Turn Back the Pendulum arc showed us the Soul Society 110 years prior, and this includes a pint-sized Byakuya Kuchiki. Back then, he was training under his grandfather, Ginrei Kuchiki, and this boy was a real hothead. He reacted pretty poorly when Yoruichi showed up to tease him, and was quick to show his angry face and take Yoruichi's bait in a flash step chase game. Then-Captain Ginrei commented that Byakuya ought to "control that temper of his." Goodness knows Byakuya has learned to chill out since then.
8 He's The Prince, But Not The King, Of The Flash Step
As mentioned earlier, Byakuya is a deft hand at the flash step technique, which not all Soul Reapers have mastered. This move allows a person to move in the blink of an eye, and can give them a serious edge against any foe who can't use it themselves. Being a talented Soul Reaper, Byakuya mastered this art at a young age, but he never unseated Yoruichi as the "Goddess of Flash." During the Soul Society arc, Byakuya was confident that he could catch Yoruichi this time, but he was proven wrong.
7 He Dotes On Rukia
Captain Kuchiki would probably not admit this if asked, but he dotes on his adopted sister Rukia. At first, it's hard to tell, since he's a vocal supporter of Rukia's scheduled execution (and thus earning Ichigo's wrath). But later on, Byakuya exploits a loophole and allows Rukia to visit Hueco Mundo with Renji to back up Ichigo, showing how much the Captain trusts her. He even advises Rukia to wear a coat against Hueco Mundo's desert storms. Most of all, Byakuya slew the Septima Espada not out of anger or even duty, but because that Espada tried to take Rukia's life.
6 He Was A Married Man
Years ago, Byakuya was an eligible bachelor as the future head of the Kuchiki family. But he shocked and angered the rest of the family when he married not a noblewoman, but a street commoner named Hisana. Flashbacks make it clear that they were happily married for five years, and when Hisana passed, Byakuya swore to find Rukia, as Hisana asked him to. The Captain also pledged to never defy society's rules again (though he certainly did later on).
5 His Favorite Kido
Captain Kuchiki can use a variety of kido with ease, and this makes him flexible in combat. While not a true kido master like Captain Aizen or Hachigen Ushoda, Byakuya prefers to use the kido known as Riku Jokoro, Japanese for "six-rod light restraint." With it, he can immobilize a foe, and that gives him a clear shot with his shikai or a follow-up kido. Rukia wields it against the Noveno Espada, Aaroniero, and the Espada knows (through Kaien Shiba's memories) that Byakuya enjoys using that spell in battle.
4 He Wears A Fortune
What does wealth look like? A shiny car, or a big house? The Kuchiki Manor is huge and impressive, of course, but Byakuya also wears a fortune around his neck! His rare scarf is worth several mansions all by itself, so it's a good thing the Captain never loses it. Interesting note: in the manga, that scarf is silver, but in the anime it is minty green. That helps it stand out against his black and white uniform.
3 He Can Survive His Own Bankai
When the Wandenreich invades the Soul Society in the Bleach manga, Captain Kuchiki finds himself facing Sternritter "F", As Nodt. But the Sternritter has a surprise: he can (and does) steal Byakuya's Bankai and wields it as his own! Byakuya is soon pummeled into submission with Senbonzakura Kageyoshi, and all the Sternritters believed him dead. But not so: he barely hung on, and he made a full recovery later (and helped Rukia slay As Nodt once and for all).
2 He's A Proud Man In More Than One Way
This may seem like a given, seeing his nobleman status and his Captain rank. But there's more to it. At first, Byakuya has a cold and stubborn pride, and this pride will not allow him to oppose the Soul Society's rules. But after Ichigo fights to rescue Rukia, Byakuya sheds this cold pride and takes a blow from Captain Ichimaru's sword to help protect Rukia. As mentioned earlier, Rukia is now his real reason to fight, and he refers to her as "my pride" after he slays the Septima Espada. And though he didn't say it aloud, he was probably beside himself with pride and joy when Rukia unlocked her own Bankai.
1 He Resembles His Father
Ginrei Kuchiki is Byakuya's grandfather, and in between them is Sojun Kuchiki. This man never actually makes an appearance in the Bleach anime or manga, but he appears in the source books. Based on that image, Sojun is a calm and happy man, having a more relaxed and friendly face than Byakuya typically has. Sojun is not shown wearing a Captain's white haori robe, so maybe he never attained that rank. Still, one glance can confirm that this is Byakuya's father.