Tite Kubo's hit anime series Bleach follows the young hero Ichigo Kurosaki on his quest to defeat evil, and Ichigo isn't going on this quest alone. He's also got Rukia, Chad, Orihime, asnd Uryu by his side to form a hero squad. Along the way, this squad gets support and help from none other than the mysterious Kisuke Urahara, the man with a hat and wooden clogs.
Just who is he? Kisuke is a resident of Karakura Town, and he's the goofy owner of Urahara Shoten, a candy and novelty store. But there's more to him than meets the eye, and in fact Kisuke plays a pivotal role in Bleach's story, past and present. These are the top 10 facts to know about Mr. Hat-and-Clogs.
10 His robe looks like a Captain robe
Kisuke's eccentric costum design was not randomly generated by any means. He wears green robes that give him an old-timey look, and his long outer robe has a series of white diamond patterns along the hem. Why? This robe mirrors that of a Soul Reaper Captain; that is, the white haori robes that all Captains wear! These Captain robes have a row of black diamonds along the bottom, and Kisuke's robe is a throwback to his own Captain robe during his Gotei 13 days. The wooden clogs are 100% his own fashion choice, though.
9 His shikai and its power
Generic Soul Reapers have yet to unlock the full power of their zanpakuto, which will resemble a simple katana, nothing more. But once Shikai is learned, it can morph into a new form. Kisuke, like Ichigo, has a straightforward Shikai that modifies his sword's shape during combat. And like Ichigo, Kisuke's own sword seems to always be in Shikai mode, as we never see it resemble an ordinary katana. Kisuke's sword is named Benihime, or "red princess," and it can unleash powerful energy blasts that can take on an Espada.
8 He invented the gigai
Kisuke always has some new invention in mind, and during his Soul Reaper days, he added a useful item to the Soul Reaper tool kit: the gigai! This is a soulless artificial body, and a Soul can place themselves inside it and walk around the human world as a flesh and blood mortal. Early in Bleach, Rukia spends most of her time in one, and when it starts malfunctioning, she goes straight to Urahara Shoten to have it looked over.
7 He also invented the Hogyoku
Kisuke is one busy guy. While his invention of the gigai was very useful and became standard procedure, he had another, much more controversial invention to claim as his own. As a result of studying the nature of hollows, Kisuke sought a way to break down the barrier between hollows and Soul Reapers to unlock ultimate power. The result was the Hogyoku, or "breakdown sphere," but it was just a prototype. The ambitious Sosuke Aizen, meanwhile, loved the idea and wanted to steal the Hogyoku for himself, so Kisuke hid it inside Rukia's soul. This prompted Aizen to set up Rukia for execution and thus get his hands on the Hogyoku at last.
6 His history with Aizen
Both Kisuke and Aizen go way back, and they crossed paths in the Turn Back the Pendulum arc, set 110 years ago. At that time, Aizen was a Lieutenent serving under Captain Shinji Hirako, but his devilish schemes were already underway. It was back then when Kisuke developed the Hogyoku, and Aizen made sure to frame Kisuke for the crime of converting several Soul Reapers into hollows. Aizen walked away free, and Kisuke faced permanent banishment and exile into the world of the living. No wonder Kisuke has a score to settle with him!
5 His unique dojo
Although banished to the world of the living and far from the front lines, Kisuke wasn't content to just become an idle shop owner. He is still a capable fighter, and he can train younger warriors in his unique underground chamber. Down there, under his shop, Urahara can train Ichigo and the others in a vast space complete with rocky terrain and a false sky. It is in this zone where Kisuke trained Ichigo to prepare for a Soul Society invasion, and Urahara also allowed Renji and Chad to train there before infiltrating Hueco Mundo.
4 He's good friends with Yoruichi
This is a charming friendship that appears early on in Bleach. At first, viewers think that they're looking at a talking cat, and given how eccentric Kisuke is, that's taken at face value. Until we see that Yoruichi is a woman, a soul who used to be a Captain! She and Kisuke often fight together, such as when they helped rescue Ichigo and the others from Yammy and Ulquiorra early in the arrancar arc. Flashbacks also show that it was Yoruichi who helped Kisuke evade the wrath of Central 46, becoming an outlaw herself in the process.
3 He's a scientist all the way
With the Hogyoku and gigais under his belt, it's clear that Kisuke is quite the inventor. What's intresting is that he first had his roots in assassination squads until he transferred to the science-heavy Squad 12, much to Hiyori's surprise. Right away, Kisuke converted his barracks into a lab, and he soon recruited a young Mayuri Kurotsuchi to help. Being the clever man he is, Kisuke lured the stubborn Mayuri into the job by promising that if anything happened to him, Mayuri would inherit the entire lab for himself. Mayuri jumped at the chance.
2 He dealt the final blow against Aizen
This was a long time coming, and defeating Aizen at last must have brought Kisuke all kinds of satisfaction and release. While Ichigo is the action hero, and he helped subdue Aizen with his newfound powers, it was Kisuke and his clever kido spells that sealed the deal. Otherwise, Ichigo might not have vanquished Aizen at all! To make this point even clearer, Aizen shouted Kisuke's name, not Ichigo's, in a helpless rage just before he was sealed away in defeat.
1 He can open gargantas
Kisuke Urahara is a loyal Soul Reaper and dedicated to fighting the forces of evil. And to do that, he has a thorough understanding of hollows, arrancars, and everything about them. He can read an arrancar's muscle movements to predict their attacks, and he of course knows all about hollowfication. And fortunately for Ichigo's squad, Urahara can open and close a garganta (Spanish for "throat"), at will. This allows Ichigo's team to enter Hueco Mundo, traveling in between the worlds the same way that hollows and arrancars do. He did much the same to allow Captains Kuchiki, Kurotsuchi, Unohana, and Zaraki to back up Ichigo's team in Hueco Mundo later on.