Zanpakuto - Trademark Weapons of Shinigam

The Soul Society's Shinigami has only one weapon of choice when it comes to battling the Hollows from Hueco Mundo: the sword or the Zanpakuto.

The Zanpakutos are capable of cutting through spirit bodies, and they are one of the few effective weapons that can defeat Hollows. Each Shinigami wields a unique Zanpakuto, as they have unique names and power. However in the case of Captain Hitsugaya Toshiro, his Zanpakuto, Hyorinmaru chose two wielders during his Academy graduation. The reason why this happened is still unknown. They vary in appearance and use, reflecting the personality of their master. Zanpakuto's spirit coincides with the birth of the Shinigami.

Some interesting trivia about the Zanpakuto:

* A Zanpakuto cannot ever be replaced. They have the power to regenerate themselves when they are broken.
* The Zanpakuto's size may be a result of the wielder's spiritual power.
* Every Zanpakuto has its own name and its own release command
* The Zanpakuto has the power to determine whether its master is worthy of using their power
* All Zanpakutos have a true form. Their true form is inside their Shinigami. A Shinigami can grow their powers thru constant communication and synchronization with their Zanpakutos.

How a Shinigami gains a Zanpakuto is still unknown. Most of the graduates from the Soul Reaper Academy gains their unique Zanpakuto. It may well be assumed that they gained their Zanpakutos in a similar way like the main protagonist, Kurosaki Ichigo, has gained his: via a test of combat.

All Zanpakutos have the power to send souls to Soul Society, purify Hollows and change itself into an elaborate weapon. In the Bleach universe, there are three different kinds of Zanpakutos: Shinigami Zanpakutos, Arrancar Zanpakutos and the Visored Zanpakutos.

Zanpakuto - Trademark Weapons of Shinigami
Depending on the Shinigami's communication with their swords, the Zanpakuto can manifest itself into three forms: Sealed form, Shikai and Bankai. The sealed form is the usual state of the Zanpakuto when they are normally carried by their wielders. The Shikai is the first upgraded form of the Zanpakuto. To activate this, they must have known the name of their Zanpakuto. Bankai is the second and final release of the Zanpakuto. It normally takes the Shinigami 10 years to achieve Bankai through years of training. Bankai release is accompanied by massive increase of power. A Shinigami releases the Zanpakuto's Bankai by saying the command or by giving another release command (like Reap, Howl or Cry)

Finally there are two sub-types of a Zanpakuto classification:

* Constant-Release type
Constant-Release Zanpakutos are always in Shikai form because of the immense strength of the wielder's energy. Some may point out that it is also possible that the wielder also doesn't have control of their spiritual energy (Kurosaki Ichigo and Kenpachi Zaraki).

* Dual Blade Type
These are Zanpakutos that feature more than one blade in Shikai release. Dual blades are extremely rare and there are only three Shinigamis who have dual blades in Shikai form: Ukitake Jushiro, Kyoraku Shunsui and Hisagi Shuhei.

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