Bleach Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi’s fearsome zanpakuto, Ashisogi Jizo has special abilities rooted in brilliant but cruel science.
Bleach‘s combat system is largely based around soul-cutting swords, or zanpakuto, weapons usually wielded by Soul Reapers. As Season 1 of Bleach showed, zanpakuto are shaped like ordinary katanas and can be used as such, but a powerful Soul Reaper can wield special shikai or even bankai abilities. This includes Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi of Squad 12.
Some zanpakuto are melee types or have elemental attacks based on fire, water, wind and more. Captain Kurotsuchi’s zanpakuto, Ashisogi Jizo, is based on cutting-edge science, and in fact, its bankai is a living thing. All this makes Ashisogi Jizo easy to modify and enhance before battle, giving Mayuri a serious edge on his opponents. Here’s how it works.
The Science, Shikai & Bankai Of Mayuri’s Zanpakuto, Ashisogi Jizo
Captain Kurotsuchi’s zanpakuto is unusual in several ways. He is a naturally curious and resourceful person, not content to wield an ordinary katana in battle. His zanpakuto is even more like a living being than most others, and it can actually regrow its body if the hilt remains (a feat no other zanpakuto can match). Its sealed form is a katana, except its hilt is wrapped in bandages and features several small spikes on it. Mayuri later modified this sealed form to contain a sensor, allowing the sword blade to move automatically and block an enemy’s attacks.
Once Mayuri says “Rip, Ashisogi Jizo,” the sword transforms and reveals its shikai. Its hilt will remain, but the blade turns gold and has three crooked prongs, making it resemble a short trident. The body also features an eerie baby face with closed eyes. This shikai can be swung around like an ordinary sword, but its special power comes into play when an opponent is slashed or pierced. Ashosogi Jizo can cut off the enemy’s motor nerves, rendering them paralyzed but alive, making them easy for Mayuri to capture and use as lab specimens. That is the main use for Ashisogi Jizo in Bleach, and it’s notable that this ability will not cut off the victim’s sense of pain. This allows Mayuri to conduct tests based on the subject’s pain response to various stimuli.
This zanpakuto’s bankai, Konjiki Ashisogi Jizo, was one of the most dramatic and terrifying releases performed during the Soul Society arc. The sword returns to its original state as a strange, massive creature appears out of thin air. It has a long body like a caterpillar’s, but its head is that of a human baby with yellow skin and blank white eyes. This bankai can simply crush or eat the enemy at will, but it can also emit a deadly poison gas from its mouth to wipe out Mayuri’s enemies within moments. It can also produce dozens of blades in its chest with which to impale the enemy.
Most notably, Mayuri will modify this bankai over and over to enhance it and keep his enemies guessing. After each battle, he alters the composition of the poison gas so opponents can never create an antidote or develop an immunity. Mayuri also set Konjiki Ashisogi Jizo to self-destruct if it somehow becomes a liability. Another modified version has 70,000 layers of nerves on its outer body. It is rarely used, however, as having nerves on the surface of its body causes it serious pain.
Mayuri’s Zanpakuto In Bleach
Mayuri’s zanpakuto is symbolic in Bleach, representing its user’s drive to become stronger and wiser, but never perfect. According to him, science is a bit of a paradox, striving to enhance itself and grow while never reaching a perfect state, otherwise, it grows stale.
Captain Kurotsuchi’s first big fight was against Uryu Ishida during Bleach‘s Soul Society arc. First, Mayuri utilized the weapons in his modified body, then used his shikai to paralyze Uryu. However, Uryu countered this with a spirit string technique to keep moving his body, so Mayuri next used bankai, attempting to crush and poison Uryu to death. Uryu triumphed in the end, though he was dying from the poison gas and was only saved by Nemu Kurotsuchi’s aid.
Bleach‘s Hueco Mundo arc saw Ashisogi Jizo’s next use, this time against Szayelaporro Grantz and his own zanpakuto, La Lujuriosa. The two scientist warriors fought back and forth, each trying to exploit the other’s abilities until Mayuri won by dispelling his possessed bankai and afflicting Szayelaporro with a mind-accelerant drug. Later still, Mayuri used Ashisogi Jizo’s sealed state to duel with a possessed Captain Toshiro Hitsugaya, and used his bankai’s modified forms to face the Sternritter Pernida Parnkgjas and his nerve-based abilities.
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