President's Day Weekend is coming up, and who better to help us celebrate than Bleach's Yachiru, someone who knows about having fun! She and Soi Fon (whose birthday we celebrated yesterday) may both belong to the Soul Society, but you won't find two more opposite personalities! Today is her birthday, so be sure to watch some Bleach episodes in celebration, and join us in wishing her the cutest and happiest of days! As long as she remembers the directions to the party...
Yachiru Kusajishi is the fun-loving little Lieutenant of Squad Eleven. As the Vice Chairwoman of the Society of Female Soul Reapers, she’s helped organize the popular “Day at the Beach” event, the photo trading cards of the hottest Captains, and the cute Soul Candy dispenser designs. Every day is a party when she’s around, so just imagine how festive she’ll get on her birthday!
Yachiru gives everyone she meets a nickname, sometimes out of affections (like with Kenpachi “Kenny” Zaraki and Ichigo “Itchy” Kurosaki) and sometimes because she can’t be bothered to remember their real name. Her mind is so busy jumping from one fun thought to another, she’s even been known to forget the nicknames! [see episode 45]
But don’t let her cute demeanor fool you. This tiny Soul Reaper has incredible spiritual powers that have yet to be fully realized. No one knows quite what she can do because no one wants to set her off [episode 38]. And she’s so physically strong she was able to carry Kenpachi off the field of battle all by herself! [episode 40]
While Yachiru makes a game out of most things, she isn’t playing around with her loyalty. Kenpachi found her in the brutal Kusajishi district of the Rukongai and gave her a name, and since that day she’s been steadfastly at his side—or on his shoulder. Kenpachi means everything to Yachiru, and she will do whatever it takes to make sure he has fun. So if you’re looking for a good present to get her this year, try arranging a fight between Kenpachi and Ichigo. That’s sure to bring a smile to her face!
-- Pancha Diaz (Bleach manga editor)
Height (cm): 109
Weight (kg): 15.5
Description: She looks and acts like a little girl, but occasionally she displays unexpectedly strong physical powers. She immediately became a lieutenant without taking the entrance exams. As she and Zaraki share similar solitary pasts, they stay together wherever they go.
We're lucky enough to celebrate two Bleach character birthdays this week (stay tuned for #2 tomorrow), and today we send our best wishes to Soi Fon! One might wonder what a serious, intense member of the Fon clan would make of such a, uh, festive occasion as a birthday, but we suspect Soi Fon would appreciate some well-wishes, especially given all she's been through in the past -- she's a battle-trained assassin, after all! Enjoy the little tribute below and tell Soi Fon to enjoy the day!
Happy Birthday, Soi Fon! Many happy returns…
…or maybe not! We were just thinking how fun it would be to throw a party for her, but isn’t she kind of intimidating? After all, she’s the one running the Soul Society’s secret assassination squad…
Soi Fon, the captain of Second Company, lives by a code of honor. “Right or wrong, it doesn’t concern me,” she’s been known to say. “All I care about is my honor and my duties as a captain of the Thirteen Court Guard Companies.” You’ll want to watch out if you get in her way, because she has sworn to kill her enemies. Just look at how ruthless she was during her battle with Yoruichi, her childhood idol and former mentor. [Episode 57]
The story goes that Soi Fon studied under Yoruichi and served her master faithfully, until the day her master vanished from the Soul Society without saying goodbye. Needless to say, Soi Fon was devastated. Years later, Yoruichi reappears in the Soul Society, and the two cross paths. The fight that ensues offers a glimpse of two warriors fighting at the peak of their powers. It’s as if all of Soi Fon’s adoration was converted into its opposite: pure hatred.
Back when Soi Fon was still a girl, she trained hard with Yoruichi. She enjoyed going into battle with her mentor and was ready to die for her master at any moment. Those were happier times. But now that Soi Fon is older, who’s to say that old wounds can’t be healed? Maybe there’s a chance for the two to fight alongside each other again. They do investigate some strange disappearances in the human world together [episodes 67 and 68]. At any rate, here’s wishing Soi Fon a prosperous year!
-- Yuki Takagaki (Editor, VIZ Media)
Squad #: 2
Height (cm): 150
Weight (kg): 38
Description: Ninth heir of the Fon clan, who are executioners and assassins by profession. She is Yoruichi's former subordinate, yet her duties as captain of the Second Squad led her into conflict against her mentor.
He's tough, he's principled, and while he may not seem the friendliest guy at first glance, he deserves our love just the same. Join us in celebrating the birthday of Bleach's Byakuya Kuchiki, Rukia's brother-in-law and one of the shining stars among the Soul Reapers! (And while you're at it, check out new episodes in our Bleach section).
Byakuya Kuchiki is the head of the aristocratic Kuchiki family, and one of the few people actually born in the Seireitei. He’s also Captain of Squad 6, and a legendary Soul Reaper. But for all his illustrious ancestry and impressive skills, Byakuya is quiet soul who would be embarrassed being the center of attention as the birthday boy. He’d much prefer a quite night at home with family, enjoying some spicy food and moon gazing.
Byakuya lives under the double burden of expectations and responsibilities, and he takes his nobility and honor very seriously. While he isn’t cruel to commoners, he definitely believes in laws of the Seireitei [episode 59]. There was only one time he put his personal emotions above the law, when he married his Rukongai wife [episode 62]. The guilt he suffered for what he considered a selfish act haunted him for years, and it so clouded his mind that he almost let his sister Rukia get executed, and even wanted to kill her himself when Ichigo destroyed the Sogyoku [episode 55].
Because Byakuya keeps such strong control of his emotions, some opponents might underestimate his fighting skills. But it pays to remember that he is the most famous of the Court Guard Captains, known for his deadly, efficient grace. His zanpakuto, Senbonzakura, can split into a thousand blade shards and shred his enemy in moments [episode 52, episode 58].
After almost seeing his sister executed, Byakuya has learned the importance of balancing the demands of honor with the needs of those he loves. He still comes off as unapproachable, but inside he’s softened quite a bit.
-- Pancha Diaz (Bleach manga editor)
Birthday: January 31
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 64 kg
Bankai: Senbonzakura Kageyoshi
Tactics: Senkei Senbonsakura Kageyoshi, Shukei Hakuteiken (One of techniques Byakuya uses with the bankai of his zanpaku-to Senbonzakura Kageyoshi)
Description: The fourth heir of the Kuchiki clan, one of the Four Great Noble Clans of the Soul Society. Known for his hard-nosed outlook and uncompromising attitude, he usually bottles up his emotions, even with his sister-in-law Rukia.
It's a new season and a new story arc as Bleach episodes 110-113 launch today! Ichigo is back to normal, regular school life, or so he thinks, but nothing ever stays quiet for long in Karakura, and when some dangerous strangers arrive, our Soul Reaper heroes face their sternest test yet! Check out the new episodes and all previous seasons of Bleach in the Bleach section.
It’s back to high school and Hollow slaying for Ichigo Kurosaki, who is now officially recognized as a Substitute Soul Reaper by the Soul Society. On the day he returns to Karakura First High School, Ichigo meets an unusual new student named Shinji Hirako.
Uryu is attacked by a Menos Grande and is saved by his father, Ryuken. Ryuken defeats the Menos with a single attack. He tells Uryu that he can help him regain his powers but only under Ryuken’s conditions.
Isshin Kurosaki shows up in his Soul Reaper form and defeats Grand Fisher with a single strike. When Kisuke Urahara appears, Isshin and Kisuke discuss the fact that Sosuke Aizen has made contact with Hollows and is attempting to create a form of Hollows with Soul Reaper powers called Arrancars.
Ichigo senses that the hollow within him is getting stronger and fears that he’ll be swallowed whole in his current state. Meanwhile, the Soul Society's Department of Research and Development detects large amounts of spiritual pressure headed toward Karakura Town.
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