Bleach didn’t earn its place as one of the original “Big Three” Shonen series by accident. Tite Kubo’s supernatural magnum opus features some of the most exciting battles in Shonen history, and it’s all thanks to the characters who’re fighting.
The world of Bleach is home to some of the strongest manga characters ever written and drawn, but who amongst them can claim to be the mightiest being in the realms of the living and the dead? Here’s our pick for the top ten most powerful characters in Bleach.
The Strongest Characters in Bleach, Ranked
Picking the most powerful characters in any long-running Shonen series is tricky, but deciding what order Bleach‘s characters should be placed in terms of power is an exceptionally challenging task. Just when you think you’ve got a good grasp on how high Bleach‘s power ceiling is, a new character shows up and raises the roof a few feet.
With that said, some Bleach characters are stronger than others, and the skill gap between them and their opponent is usually made clear in the best way possible: a fight to the death. Our ranking of the strongest Bleach characters is below, but be wary; it’s full of spoilers.
10. Gremmy Thoumeaux
The Wandreich counts amongst its ranks many of the most powerful characters in Bleach, and few are better at what they do than Gremmy Thoumeaux, “The Visionary.” This smug punk thinks that he’s the center of the universe, and that’s because he can make himself the center of the universe whenever he wants to.
Gremmy’s signature Schrift ability, The Visionary, causes anything Gremmy imagines to become a reality. During his battle with Kenpachi Zerachi, which was beautifully adapted into animation in Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War, Gremmy pulls out every trick you can think of to defeat the Captain of the Soul Reaper’s fourth Division from conjuring an army’s worth of guns, creating a clone of himself that’s just as powerful as him, and trying to wipe the Soul King’s Palace off the map with a meteorite.
9. Kenpachi Zaraki
Kenpachi Zaraki slashed his way into the heart of most Bleach fans as soon as he stepped onto the scene during the Soul Society arc. While the ferocious and foul-mouthed Captain of the 11th Division’s lack of respect for the Gotei 13’s code of conduct has earned him the ire of most of his fellow Captains, none of them can even try to argue that he doesn’t deserve to stand amongst them.
An orphan who honed his skills while growing up in the hellish 80th District of the Soul Society and took the title used to designate the most powerful Shinigami as his first name., Kenpachi is widely regarded as the greatest swordsman in Gotei 13. Kenpachi’s natural talent with the blade is so potent that he’s not allowed to undergo formal swordsmanship training because he might become too powerful for anyone in the Gotei 13 to stop.
While Kenpachi was always one of the Gotei 13’s strongest Captains, his strength increased immensely after he battled the previous holder of the “Kenpachi” title and learned the true nature of his Zanpakutō. Upon discovering his Zanpakutō’s name, Kenpachi unlocks the ability to transform into a red-skinned demonic form, which increases his power to the point where his mere presence reduces the buildings around him into dust.
8. Jugram Haschwalth
The second-in-command of the Wandenreich spends most of the Thousand-Year Blood War arc standing idly by his master’s side, but the extent of his power is hinted at through the fear and reverence the other high-ranking members of the Quincy army show him. So, by the time he finally unsheaths his sword to battle Uryu Ishida, we’re ready to see what Jugram Haschwalth can do.
Hashwalth’s Schrift ability, “The Balance,” allows him to transfer any injury or misfortune that befalls him onto someone else or claim the vitality and good fortune of others for himself. This means Hashwalsh constantly fights his foe on equal footing, effectively making him immune to the mid-battle power-ups that Shonen protagonists often rely on to overcome powerful foes.
As if the ability to tip the scales of fate in his favor wasn’t broken enough, he also can empower and be empowered by his fellow Quincies, making him the ideal commander for the Wandenreich’s expansive forces.
7. Gerard Valkyrie
Gerard Valkyrie is easily one of the most memorable members of the Wandenreich. An eccentric soul who combines the enthusiasm of a masked wrestler with the visual flair of a Nordic warrior, Valkyrie is as odd as he is powerful, and he shows off that power during his brutal 1v3 brawl with Toshiro Hitsuga, Byakuya Kuchiki, and Kenpachi Zaraki.
Valkyrie’s Schrift, “The Miracle,” is an uncanny ability that allows him to bend probability to his whims. As a result, Valkyrie can dodge undodgeable attacks by the skin of his shimmering teeth and survive blows that would kill other characters. Valkyrie only loses to Hitsuga, Byakuya, and Kenpachi because Yhwach activates Auswählen, stealing his life force to revive subordinates who, at the moment, are more valuable than him.
6. Genryusai Shigekuni Yamamoto
The simple fact that Genryusai Shigekuni Yamamoto managed to stand as the Captain-Commander of the Gotei 13 for well over a thousand years proves that he deserves to be on this list. Regarded by the people of the Soul Society as a demon during his heyday, Yamamoto’s strength far surpasses any other member of the Gotei 13.
Yamamtomo’s greatest asset is his Zanpakutō, Ryūjin Jakka. One of only a few Zanpakutō that possesses alternate forms, Ryūjin Jakka is capable of incredible feats, including cloaking itself and its user in flames over 15,000,000 degrees Celsius and summoning the tormented souls of those it’s slain as charred zombies willing to through their afterlives away for the Captain of the 1st Division.
On top of wielding one of the coolest Zanpakutō in the series, Yamamoto is also a master swordsman and Kido spellcaster. While Yamamoto ultimately died battling Yhwach, he only lost because Yhwach resorted to using dirty tricks to wear Yamamoto down before their encounter.
5. Uryu Ishida
Uryu Ishida is Bleach‘s resident Shonen rival, and his ever-evolving dynamic with series protagonist Ichigo Kurosaki is one of the more exciting elements of Bleach’s story. While he starts the series on friendly enough terms with Ichigo, the relationship between them takes a dark turn during the Hundred-Year Blood War arc when Uryu seemingly betrays his friends and joins the Wandenreich.
As a Quincy, Uryu was born with the ability to form spiritual energy into bolts of energy that he can fire like arrows. While firing spiritual arrows is Uryu’s go-to tactic for most of the series, he gets a significant power boost when Yhwach designates him his heir and grants him “The Antithesis,” a particularly broken Schrift ability.
With “The Antithesis,” Uryu can instantly undo any damage he receives in battle. This ability saves him during his confrontation with Hashwalth, in which he reveals that he only joined the Wandenreich to kill Yhwach and avenge his mother.
4. Sosuke Aizen
Sosuke Aizen is one of the most iconic villains in all of Shonen, and to many, he’s the best character in Bleach. A ruthless manipulator who casually drops some of the coldest one-liners ever written, Aizen is willing to do anything to disrupt the fragile balance between the worlds of the living and the dead so he can achieve apotheosis and rule both realms.
An expert swordsman and sorcerer, Aizen has no problem going toe-to-toe with some of the most powerful characters in Bleach, and that’s before he whips out his Zanpakutō, Kyōka Suigetsu. This god-tier katana can create powerful illusions that they cannot discern fantasy from reality. Aizen’s already incredible power increases even further when he finally achieves godhood, to the point where his illusions can overwrite reality.
3. Ichigo Kurosaki
Ichigo Kurosaki is the archetypal Shoen protagonist down to his DNA, and I mean that quite literally. As Bleach’s story unfolds, Ichigo undergoes power-up after power-up, culminating in him becoming the most powerful being in the Bleach universe.
After receiving the powers of a Soul Reaper from Rukia Kuchiki, Ichigo slowly amasses an arsenal of powers and abilities, becoming a Swiss army knife of a character who can do pretty much anything. From his iconic Hollow mask to his ever-evolving Zanpakutō, Ichigo’s capacity for self-improvement is limitless.
2. Ichibei Hyosube
Ichibei Hyosube is a very late edition of Bleach’s cast, but that doesn’t stop him from being one of the most engaging characters in the series. The leader of the Royal Guard charged with protecting the Soul King, Ichibei’s jovial demeanor starkly contrasts the terrifying nature of his signature ability.
Icibei’s Zanpakutō, Ichimonji, works with his signature ability, allowing him to manipulate any person’s name. By changing a being’s name, Ichibei can alter its nature, weaken its overall strength, and even erase it from existence. With such incredible power at his disposal, it’s no wonder he’s been charged with protecting the being that maintains the flow of souls.
Yhwach is more than the most powerful character in Bleach; he might be the most powerful character in anime history. Yhwach is the last villain Ichigo and his allies face in Bleach, and he makes Aizen look like a playground bully. The first Quincy ever born and the founder ruler of the Wandenreich, Yhwach stands in a league of his own.
Yhwach’s signature ability, “The Almighty,” allows the Quincy king to see into the future and manipulate the course of history to serve his will. On top of that, Yhwach can steal the powers, memories, and even souls of others just by touching them, which he can then keep for himself or distribute to his followers.
Yhwach is so powerful that it takes an alliance of Bleach‘s most powerful heroes and villains to slow him down long enough for Ichigo to deliver a coup de grace. With near-unlimited power at his disposal, Yhwach more than earns the right to be crowned the most powerful character in Bleach.
- This article was updated on December 4th, 2023