Bleach may have concluded in 2016, but it remains one of the most popular Shōnen Jump series. While the manga may have received some mixed criticism from fans, especially regarding certain elements within the final arcs of the manga, the series was acclaimed for producing some of the best fight scenes in manga and anime.
Whether it involved a battle for the fate of the world, a clash of ideals, or simply two rivals duking it out, the series features several popular fights — some of which were just downright vicious.
Here is a list featuring 10 of the most vicious fights in Bleach.
10 Shunsui vs. Starrk
They may be lazy, but they’re also some of the strongest fighters in their respective factions. Things start off slow at first, but the pace of their fight picks up once Coyote Starrk releases his Resureccion, prompting Shunsui Kyoraku to shed his pink kimono and draw out his Shikai.
What follows is an unpredictable battle between two veteran warriors. In the heat of battle, Starrk quickly adapts to Shunsui’s power to make children’s games a reality. He even uses its power against him by creating wolves of pure energy to travel through his shadows.
In the end, Shunsui emerges victorious, marking the end of one of the best fights in the White Invasion.
9 Aizen vs. Everyone
After years of anticipation, fans were hyped to see Aizen finally go all out against the Gotei 13 and Vizards. Following an all-out brawl, the allied groups appear to slowly overcome Aizen. After Toshiro Hitsugaya delivers a lethal blow to him, victory seems to be in their grasp.
However, the entire fight is revealed to be an illusion created by Aizen. This fight is a frightening demonstration of Aizen’s power and how easily he turned his enemies against one of their own. The moment where he crushes their hope and picks them off one by one, shows just how cruel and manipulative he can be.
8 Mayuri vs. Pernida
He may be vain and arrogant, but Mayuri Kurotsuchi’s fighting style makes him both extremely dangerous and powerful.
His most intense battle was against the Soul King’s left arm—the living embodiment of progress through evolution—Pernida Parnkgjas. With the power to control people and the earth with its nerves, as well as evolve and adapt based on the people it connects to, Pernida forces Mayuri to use everything in his arsenal to keep up with it.
Mayuri finally defeats Pernida by forcing it into an uncontrolled state of regeneration causing it to explode. It is an unforgettable battle that pushes Mayuri to his physical and mental limits and helps him to develop as a character.
7 Ichigo vs. Kenpachi
One of the best and most vicious fights in Bleach occurs during Ichigo’s confrontation with the most vicious fighter of the Gotei 13 — Kenpachi Zaraki. This fight marks the moment where Ichigo realizes just how powerful captain-class Shinigami are as Kenpachi overwhelms him with both his bloodlust and intense spiritual pressure.
Thankfully Ichigo perseveres and finally fights in perfect harmony with his Zanpakuto, forcing Kenpachi to release his full power. As they both reach their limit, Ichigo pulls off a stunning victory in one of the most epic final clashes in the series. This fight was also well known for allowing for both Ichigo and Kenpachi to develop as characters.
6 Ichigo vs. Grimmjow
When it comes to rivalries, the one between Ichigo and Sexta Espada Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez is one of the most intense. In preparation for their third and final battle, Grimmjow pulls all the stops to make sure he and Ichigo can fight at their full strength. He even rescues Orihime and temporarily seals away the Cuatro Espada, Ulquiorra Cifer.
When the time finally comes for them to fight, neither of them hold back as they clash to surpass one another. By the end of the fight, Ichigo develops a sense of respect for Grimmjow. He even goes so far as to offer Grimmjow the opportunity to fight him as much as he wants.
5 Kenpachi vs. Nnoitra
During the Invasion of Hueco Mundo, Kenpachi appears to meet his match against Quinto Espada Nnoitra Gilga. While he's unable to harm him initially, Kenpachi manages to cut through Nnoitra’s Hierro and even stops his cero bare-handed. After releasing his resurrection, Nnoitra quickly overpowers him. Rather than continue his normal method of hacking away at his opponent, Kenpachi changes tactics and adopts a Kendo stance.
It sounds simple but apparently using both hands to hold his sword drastically increases Kenpachi's power to the point where he defeats Nnoitra with just two blows. This moment shows just how powerful Kenpachi can be if he puts in the effort to fight like a true swordsman.
4 Kenpachi vs. Gremmy
With his thirst for battle, berserker-like nature and incredible power, Kenpachi quickly became a fan favorite character. However, up until he met Ichigo, he never tried to reach his true potential. After defeating Retsu Unohana, he finally discovers his true power and officially inherits the title of Kenpachi.
When he confronts Gremmy Thoumeaux, he demonstrates that he’s become so powerful that his strength surpasses the power of imagination. This fight also features the long-awaited debut of his Zanpakuto which he uses to destroy a giant meteor and even cut through space. Overall, this fight shows just how much Kenpachi has grown since his fight with Ichigo.
3 Yhwach vs. Ichibei
Ichibei Hyosube may seem like a jolly guy, but once he clashes with Yhwach, he becomes a terrifying demon. Ichibei delivers an entertaining, albeit terrifying battle as he demonstrates his fearsome power over the concept of names. In addition to dividing Yhwach’s power by removing half his arm's name, he rewrites his very existence by renaming and giving him the power of an ant.
On the one hand, it's disappointing that Ichibei lost because of the power of Yhwach's “Almighty.” However, the fact that this was a battle between the creator of the Quincy and the creator of the names of everything in the Soul Society, makes it one of the most intense in the series.
2 Ichigo vs. Byakuya
As the final battle in the Ryoka Invasion arc, Ichigo finally gets his long-awaited confrontation with Byakuya Kuchiki. After undergoing intense training and achieving Bankai, Ichigo comes at Byakuya with everything he has.
Their battle offers a nice contrast between Ichigo’s hot-headed nature and Byakuya’s stoicism as they clash with both their swords and ideals for the fate of Rukia’s life. This fight also features several iconic moments, from the reveal of both Ichigo and Byakuya’s Bankai, as well as the first time Ichigo’s inner hollow manifests itself. Concluding with one heck of a final clash, fans will continue to remember this fight for years to come.
1 Ichigo vs. Ulquiorra
Out of all the battles he's been in, his battle against Ulquiorra and his Segunda Etapa form was one of his most challenging. With both incredible power and impressive design, Ulquiorra quickly defeats Ichigo and seemingly kills him with a cero to his chest.
However, Ichigo’s Inner Hollow takes control, resulting in a no holds barred battle between demons. As a hollow, Ichigo abandons all morality and proceeds to mercilessly tear Ulquiorra apart. As he crushes him under his heal, he brutally finishes him with a cero to his face.
Even after several years, this confrontation remains one of the most legendary fights in Bleach.