As the Bleach fandom prepares itself for the upcoming 20th-anniversary project dubbed Bleach: Face Again, they’re reminiscing over everything they loved about the series, such as the best fights or story arcs. Of course, ranking the best Bankai attacks is part of the friendly discourse. However, not every Bankai is Bleach got the appreciation it deserved during the anime's prime.
Whether it was because it was only featured in small doses, or revealed in non-anime material, there are a lot of unbelievable Bankais in Bleach that continue to go unnoticed by fans. Although some of it can also be blamed on the Bankai powers belonging to less popular characters, even a few major Bleach characters have had their fascinating Bankai powers ignored. Ignore no more. It’s time to appreciate these underrated Bankai powers in Bleach.
Despite being a major early player in the anime, former 12th Division captain Kisuke Urahara never got the chance to show off his Bankai. Manga readers, however, are well aware of Urahara’s Bankai: the Kannonbiraki Benihime Aratame. The Kannonbiraki Benihime Aratame takes the form of a giant dark-haired woman wearing a risque red robe. It has the power to restructure anything it touches for offensive and supportive purposes, such as splitting open an object within its area with a knife, or, healing Urahara’s eyes in his fight against Askin Nakk Le Vaar.
Retsu Unohana, former captain of the Fourth Division in the Gotei 13, has one of the creepiest Bankai in Bleach. Her Bankai, the Minazuki, liquifies the blade of Retsu’s Zanpakuto into a thick, dark red substance that can surround her proximity. After most of the liquid has flown off the Zanpakuto, the remainder hardens into a shortened katana that’s capable of clashing with Kenpachi Zaraki's blade.
While Shunsui Kyoraku, captain of the 1st Division and Captain-Commander of the Gotei 13, may wish to live life as a pacifist, he will engage in combat if the situation demands it. As a storyteller, Shunsui’s Bankai, Katen Kyokotsu: Karamatsu Shinju, provides him the perfect opportunity to illustrate his somber tales of violence. When activated, Shunsui’s Bankai unleashes black, root-like tendrils into the ground, as Zanpakuto Spirit, Katen Kykotsu, appears behind him. The move covers the battlefield with a gloomy aura that affects the psychological well-being of the enemy. There are also various special abilities to the Katen Kyokotsu: Karamatsu Shinju, such as the user and the enemy sharing the wounds they inflict on each other, or, covering the enemy’s body with black spots that result in profuse bleeding.
To match the cold personality he often shows his peers, 10th Division captain Toshiro Hitsugaya has a Bankai that can ice the competition with ease. Toshiro’s Bankai, the Daiguren Hyōrinmaru, encases his limbs in ice until he has the icy features of a dragon, such as wings and claws. Naturally, Toshiro can use his Bankai to freeze anything within his radius and has many ice-related attacks to aid him in battle. However, he can also use the ice dragon appearance for a more animalistic approach to fighting, like swinging his icy tail at an enemy, or, using his icy wings to launch an aerial attack.