Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto (山本元柳斎 重國,Yamamoto Genryūsai Shigekuni) is the captain of the 1st Division in the Gotei 13 and also the Captain-Commander (Head-Captain in the English Dub) of the whole Gotei 13. His lieutenant is Chōjirō Sasakibe.
Yamamoto is the oldest captain in the Gotei 13. He has the appearance of an old man with red eyes a very long white beard, and long eyebrows.There are many scars on his torso and head, the two most prominent being a pair of long, perpendicular scars above his right eye, suggesting numerous battles in his past. After his brief confrontation with Aizen, Yamamoto lost his left arm . He wears the standard Shinigami uniform, but its size is greatly exaggerated. He also drapes his haori over his back instead of actually wearing it. Despite his old and frail appearance, he has a very muscular body that he only reveals when he takes a certain battle stance, something that, Shunsui claims, is not seen too often.
As the captain-commander of Gotei 13, Yamamoto is highly respected by most of the Shinigami, most notablySajin Komamura, who views Yamamoto as a benefactor who saved his life. The embodiment of conviction, Yamamoto follows the laws and regulations of Soul Societyto the letter, and expects the same of others. He is not a man to tolerate insubordination, and is vocal with those who attempt to act in such a manner. He is quick to anger in the face of possible betrayal, and can be quite aggressive in combat. When in a state of peace, he carries himself with an air of frailty, even to the point where he has fallen asleep standing while awaiting Shunsui Kyōraku's arrival for a meeting. Due to years of experience, Yamamoto very rarely shows any sign of distress or surprise, usually responding by opening one or two of his eyes, which are partially closed slits the majority of the time.
Yamamoto is very loyal to Soul Society and takes his duties very seriously, expecting the same from the rest of the Gotei 13. His loyalty is so great that he is willing to sacrifice himself and the Gotei 13 in order to defeat Aizen, believing it to be their duty to lay down their lives for the sake of the Soul Society if necessary. Another example where Yamamoto shows his loyalty, is when he become visibly angry when Shunsui, Byakuya and Kenpachi lose their haoris and show little regret; to him the haori represents their status as captains.
Yamamoto appreciates Eastern cultures and is a master at the Japanese tea ceremony, and subsequently dislikes the "Western" traditions preferred by his lieutenant Chōjirō Sasakibe. Yamamoto holds a tea sessionevery month in the 1st Division quarters for every member of the division. He plaits his own beard and arranges its ends once a month. He also likes to be rubbed down with a dry towel while exposed to the sun on his balcony.
Yamamoto founded the Shinigami Academy about 2100 years before the current time. Yamamoto was himself a teacher at this academy, and personally instructed Shunsui Kyōraku and Jūshirō Ukitake. He admits to being rather proud of the two. When they became captains, he boasted about them as though they were his own sons. Approximately one thousand years ago, Yamamoto founded and became the Captain-Commander of the Gotei 13.
Approximately 110 years ago, Yamamoto was noted as being the oldest captain amongst the Gotei 13, followed by Unohana, Shunsui and Ukitake. It is stated that the four of them have been Captains of the Gotei 13 for at least 100 years at that point. Yamamoto was seen pushing Kisuke Urahara into the First Division headquarters, so that he could start the promotion ceremony. Yamamoto explained that seven days ago there was an order to promote the 12th Division Captain Kirio Hikifune, which would leave her position open. He then notified the various captains of the opening and asked that they submit nominations for the selection of a new captain. Within a short time he got a recommendation from 2nd Division Captain Yoruichi Shihōin to promote her 3rd Seat, Kisuke Urahara. The following day Yamamoto called Urahara in so that he could take the Captain's Proficiency Test, to be judged by himself, Retsu Unohana and Ginrei Kuchiki, so that they can confirm that Urahara is qualified to be a captain. Having satisfied his three superiors, the three senior captains appointed Urahara the new Captain of the12th Division.
10 years later Yamamoto called an emergency meeting of the captains of the Gotei 13, where he gave an intelligence report on the unknown disappearances of 9th Division captain Kensei Muguruma and lieutenantMashiro Kuna. Captain Muguruma and Lieutenant Kuna had previously been sent out to investigate the disappearance of other 9th division members. He then stated he would choose 5 captains to form an investigation team. A very winded and frantic Kisuke Urahara showed up to ask that he be allowed to go with the investigation team, as he had previously seen his lieutenant Hiyori Sarugaki go to the sight of the disappearances. He was told no by Captain-Commander Yamamoto, and when Urahara protested he was chastised by Yoruichi. Yamamoto continued with the meeting and selected 3rd Division Captain Rōjūrō Ōtoribashi, 5th Division Captain Shinji Hirako, and 7th Division Captain Love Aikawa. Yamamoto told them to head to the campground. He ordered Yoruichi to stand by, while 6th Division Captain Ginrei Kuchiki, 8th Division Captain Shunsui Kyōraku and 13th DivisionCaptain Jūshirō Ukitake were ordered to stay behind and guard the Seireitei.
Captain-Commander Yamamoto then ordered Captain Unohana of the 4th Division to prepare her relief stations for casualties. When Unohana insisted that she should tend to the wounded at the site of the disappearances, Yamamoto stated that he could not send healers without knowing the full extent of the situation. Upon the arrival of the Captain of the Kidō CorpsTessai Tsukabishi and his Lieutenant Hachigen Ushōda, Yamamoto asked Tessai if he had heard the news of the disappearances, telling him that he wanted the two of them to head to the campground as well. Shunsui interrupted and asked if it was a good idea to send both the Captain and Lieutenant of the Kidō Corps when they had no idea of what was going on, prompting Yamamoto to ask what he would suggest. Shunsui told Yamamoto that they should send his Lieutenant Lisa Yadōmaru. With the squad formed, Yamamoto sent them out to investigate the disappearances.
Yamamoto is first seen during a meeting between captains over their fellow captain Gin Ichimaru's failure to kill Ichigo Kurosaki. Upon arrival, Gin gets into an argument with 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki and 12th Division Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi. Yamamoto tells them to stand down and then asks Gin if he had been informed about the reason he has been summoned. He then details that Gin acted without permission and failed to capture the target, which he feels is unusual for a captain. He then asks for an explanation.
Gin plainly states he has nothing to say, which confuses Yamamoto. Gin goes on to say that he has no excuse and that he made a mistake and he won't try to justify his carelessness. Yamamoto then decides that Gin will have to be punished, but an intruder alert goes off. Shortly after Zaraki leaves, Yamamoto dismisses the meeting, stating that Gin's punishment will be handled later. He orders the captains to return to their defense stations.
At Rukia Kuchiki's execution Yamamoto asks her if she has any last words. When Rukia requests that Ichigo and his friends be allowed to return to the Human World unharmed, Yamamoto grants her request, though in truth he has no intention of allowing them to live. Upon the activation of the Sōkyoku, Yamamoto explains that the Phoenix produced by it, calledKikōō, is the true form of the spearhead of the Sōkyoku and the executioner of the grand penalty. After it pierces through the criminal's body, the grand penalty ends.
Yamamoto watches as Ichigo appears and saves Rukia by deflecting Kikōō. He sends his lieutenant Chōjirō Sasakibe to stop Ichigo while he confronts Shunsui and Jūshirō after they destroy the Sōkyoku. Yamamoto orders them to not move. While he says that the person who made off with Rukia was a replaceable lieutenant and is a matter that can be easily dealt with, he states that he cannot forgive them for what they have done. He notes the severity of their crimes as Captain-rank Shinigami but before they can be dealt with, they escape down the side of the cliff.  After they get some considerable distance away, they stop. But Yamamoto, who is already there waiting for them, states that it is not often that he has to chase after young children. Yamamoto then releases his spiritual pressure, causing Nanao Ise to collapse, forcing Shunsui to take her far away from the battle.
Upon Shunsui's return, he takes note of the Shunsui and Ukitake's history as they are like sons to him and how powerful they are. He then plainly tells them it is too late for words and to take out their swords. Shunsui and Jūshirō draw their Zanpakutō as they dodge his attack. Yamamoto asks if they intend on fighting him without releasing their Zanpakutō, causing Shunsui to ask if there was any other way than fighting. Yamamoto silences him, stating that he has taught them that there is no mercy for those who obstruct justice. Shunsui then counters that Yamamoto also has said to follow through with your own sense of justice. Ukitake finishes, stating that they have to protect justice with everything they have. Yamamoto dismisses the notion of individual justice as it cannot override global justice. Tired of talking, Yamamoto removes his haori and top, telling them to prepare themselves for battle as he releases his Shikai.
As Yamamoto stands prepared for battle, he asks them what they are waiting for, telling them that they should release their Zanpakutō unless they plan on burning to ashes without any resistance. Ukitake and Shunsui then decided to release their Zanpakutō. Upon their release, Yamamoto notes that they are the only two Zanpakutō in Soul Society that are in pairs. They then charge at each other, causing a large explosion of spiritual power.
The battle suddenly is forced to stop with the announcement of Isane Kotetsu about the true intentions of Sōsuke Aizen, who is responsible for all of the chaos in Soul Society.
When Aizen's true colors are revealed, most of the remaining captains quickly close in on his position and completely surround him. When the Menos Grande come to his, Gin Ichimaru, and Kaname Tōsen's rescue, Yamamoto warns the other Shinigami about the Negación attack the Menos Grande perform to rescue their fellowHollows.
Yamamoto is seen when he calls all of the captains for an emergency. Later, Yamamoto has a small video conversation with Tōshirō Hitsugaya over the Arrancar invasion of Ichigo's home town, and allows Momo Hinamori to speak with Hitsugaya. Once the conversation begins to revolve around Aizen, Momo begs Tōshirō to rescue Aizen, believing that Gin Ichimaru is manipulating him. Yamamoto cuts their conversation short by knocking Momo unconscious with a Kidō, noting it is too soon to speak as such.
After Orihime Inoue is kidnapped, Yamamoto orders Tōshirō's task force to retreat back to Soul Society in preparation for the war against Aizen, and firmly disapproves of the idea of Ichigo and the others going to her rescue, seeing it as a suicide mission, and believing that Orihime willingly betrayed them.
After Coyote Starrk recaptures Orihime Inoue and takes her back to Aizen, it is explained that Yamamoto ordered the creation of a replacement Karakura Town so that the captains can fight at full strength without damaging the city. He is then seen with several other captains and lieutenants waiting as Aizen and his forces arrive in Karakura Town.
The New Captain Shūsuke Amagai arc (anime only)Edit
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
It is revealed that Yamamoto has set up four pillars around the fake town that if destroyed will lure the real Karakura town out of Soul Society. Baraggan Louisenbairn quickly realizes this and sends out his Fracción to obliterate the towers. This plan however, is quickly halted by Yamamoto's four soldiers, Izuru Kira, Yumichika Ayasegawa, Ikkaku Madarame and Shūhei Hisagi, who have been placed at the pillars to protect them. After the pillars are successfully defended and four of Baraggan's Fracción are killed, the Espada and remaining Fracción pair up against a Shinigami and begin to battle. Yamamoto announces that the real fights have begun.
When several of the lieutenants are critically injured against the "pet" of Tier Harribel's Fracción, Ayon, Yamamoto steps in and causes a large hole to appear on the left side of Ayon's chest. Ayon then swells to gigantic proportions only to be cut in half by Yamamoto's Nadegiri, and when Ayon's left half returns, he effortlessly incinerates him with his Shikai. Even after Yamamoto kills Ayon, he tells Izuru not to let down the barrier. Just then,Apacci, Mila Rose, and Sung-Sun launch a desperate attack from behind even though they are each left with just one arm. However, Yamamoto takes them down effortlessly by swinging his Shikai and "lightly toasting" all three of them, which inadvertently kills them. He later notices that Harribel has set her sights on him to avenge her fallen subordinates. But before they can engage each other, Tōshirō Hitsugaya intervenes.
Along with the rest of the captains and lieutenants, Yamamoto takes notice of the huge Hollow creature and Wonderweiss joining the battle. When Ukitake and Shunsui are attacked by Starrk and Wonderweiss, he calls out to them as they fall to the town below.
Yamamoto appears somewhat surprised at the arrival of the Visored, having not seen them for 100 years.  Shinji then approaches Yamamoto to greet him to which the commander asks if he has come for revenge. Shinji plainly tells him that if it was against Aizen, then yes. As for the Gotei 13, he couldn't care less. He then explains that if he was mad at the Gotei 13, it would be for making the barrier around the fake Karakura Town so hard to get through. Shinji then explains if he hadn't found lieutenant Sasakibe outside the barrier they still would be on the outside of it. Sasakibe apologies to the Captain-Commander for allowing them in, saying he thought it was necessary given the circumstances, but before he can finish Yamamoto forgives his actions. Yamamoto then asks Shinji if he is right to assume they are allies, to which Shinji tells him it's obvious they aren't. He states that the Visored are not on the Gotei 13's side but they are against Aizen and they are Ichigo's allies. Yamamoto muses to himself about the statement of the Visored being Ichigo Kurosaki's allies.
After the last combatants are defeated by Aizen, Yamamoto makes his presence known by drawing Aizen's attention with a huge pillar of fire. Aizen states that although he has finally shown himself he is too late, as of now he is the only one left to be counted as manpower. Aizen notes that if he falls, the Gotei 13 will crumble. Pointing to the idea that Yamamoto has lost his chance. Yamamoto asks Aizen if he really thinks he can cut him down with that much power. Aizen responds that he doesn't have to cut him down, as he already has. Yamamoto becomes enraged, but before he can react Aizen appears behind him. As the captain-commander turns to face him, Aizen stabs him through his stomach with his Zanpakutō. Yamamoto grabs Aizen's arm pulling him in closer and exclaims that he has caught him. When Aizen tries to trick him into questioning whether or not he has caught the real Aizen, the captain-commander calls his bluff and states that if he only relied on his eyes or skin then he would say yes, but he instead only needs to rely on sensing the reiatsu of Aizen's Zanpakutō that is impaled into his stomach. Yamamoto then reveals that he has laid a trap for Aizen, and initiates his Ennetsu Jigoku technique, detailing how the entire fight up to this point was to trap him in this technique. Aizen questions that he would use his subordinates to set such a trap, admiring the captain-commander for his cunning. Yamamoto states that he plans to die with Aizen in the flames. He then screams to Ichigo to get back as he is not part of the Gotei 13 and he should not have to endure their fate. When Aizen asks if he would really risk killing the other combatants to try and destroy him. Yamamoto states they are all prepared to die to destroy evil and that is the true spirit of the Gotei 13. A released Wonderweiss Margela then appears behind Yamamoto, who senses his presence and attacks only to have his blade caught by Wonderweiss, who then throws him, sending the captain-commander crashing into the cityscape below. Yamamoto then becomes confused as the flames of Ryūjin Jakka disappear without warning. Aizen then explains that he knows full well that Ryūjin Jakka is the strongest Zanpakutō and that in a one on one battle Yamamoto's strength far outweighs his own. He then details that Wonderweiss is the only modified Arrancar in existence and that his Resurrección, Extinguir, is built solely for the purpose of stopping his Ryūjin Jakka.
Yamamoto still questions what happened, prompting Aizen to state that for the power to seal away Ryūjin Jakka's power, Wonderweiss traded his words, knowledge, memory and reason. He then bids farewell to the captain-commander. Wonderweiss then moves to attack Yamamoto who swiftly lands a devastating punch with force so great that it creates a large hole in Wonderweiss' chest and sends the Arrancar flying several city blocks before crashing into a building. Yamamoto then asks Aizen if he actually thought that by sealing his Zanpakutō that he would be able to strike him down. He tells Aizen that he is naive and asks him if he ever stopped to think how he served 1,000 years as the Captain-Commander of the Gotei 13. He states that there has not been a Shinigamistronger than him born in the past thousand years. He then uses Shunpo and appears in front of Aizen and moves to punch him in the face, but the blow is intercepted by Wonderweiss who takes the impact instead. Yamamoto remarks to the Arrancar that he wasn't planning on leaving anything to chance and that he has some remarkable features. He then resolves that if he can't break one bone he will result to tactics that bring more pain, as he removes his top.
Wonderweiss goes to attack but Yamamoto quickly dodges out of the way. He then questions Wonderweiss if he is unable to adapt and learn or if all he capable of is regeneration. An arm then extends itself from out of the back of Wonderweiss' shoulder and tries to attack the captain-commander, who promptly grabs it and tears it off. Wonderweiss screams as other arms appear from his shoulders and attack Yamamoto with an onslaught of punches. He then grabs Yamamoto's arms as the top of his shoulders explode revealing a multitude of arms, he then proceeds to pummel the captain-commander with an even greater magnitude of blows. Once he has stopped, Yamamoto, seemingly unaffected, asks him if that is all he has got, as he then rips off Wonderweiss arms that were holding him. Yamamoto then tells him if that was all he is glad that the Arrancar is no longer in child form as he is not going to hold back he is going to blast him to death. As he uses a hand-to-hand technique, Sōkotsu, against Wonderweiss.
The blow utterly destroys Wonderweiss as the Arrancar screams and then shatters into pieces. The captain-commander laments the whole of Wonderweiss's existence as pathetic and inhuman. Aizen questions in his words and makes note that the very nature of being a Hollow means that they as creatures serve no purpose and only exist to devour souls and that he in fact gave them a purpose. He then tells Yamamoto that the only one inhuman is him as he just crushed a soul with purpose. Yamamoto states he has no intention of entering into a pointless argument with the likes of him, as it will all soon be over. Aizen tells him that he makes light of his words and then explains that captain-commander should remember his previous words. Wonderweiss' Resurrección, Extinguir, was created for the sole purpose of sealing Ryūjin Jakka. Sealing the blade makes it impossible for it create new flames, but Aizen asks what happens to flames already produced, as Yamamoto had flames already in effect before Wonderweiss showed up. He then asks the captain-commander where those flames were sealed. Yamamoto immediately realizes that those flames are sealed in Wonderweiss' body and now that he is dead, they will explode. Yamamoto jumps on the body as it erupts in a large area, destroying buildings around it. Aizen approaches as the flames subside to the captain-commander who has been injured by the explosion. Aizen states that seeing as Yamamoto was able to reduce the damage of an explosion of that size, he is truly worthy of the title captain-commander. Had he not suppressed the explosion with his body, the flames would have vaporized the barrier around the fake Karakura Town and even an area greater than the size of the town would have been turned to ashes. He then thanks Yamamoto for protecting his world. He then moves close to the prone captain-commander and unsheathes his Zanpakutō, telling him that he shouldn't think that he would say something like "I won't kill you". Yamamoto is the history of Soul Society, so at the very least he must finish him off with his own blade. Yamamoto then grabs Aizen by the ankle and tells him not to make him say it again, as he calls Aizen naive. Yamamoto takes advantage of the damage inflicted by Wonderweiss' explosion to use his own charred body as a catalyst for the sacrificial spell, "Ittō Kasō", his arm cracking as he casts it and becomes greatly damaged.
Ten days after Aizen's defeat and subsequent capture, Yamamoto returns to Soul Society, where his injures are healed, save for his lost left arm. He is furious to learn that not only did Captains Shunsui, Byakuya, and Kenpachi lose their respective captain haori, but that they care very little about it. He proceeds to scold the three for their lack of care for the symbol of their station.
During a meeting with the captains in the 1st Division offices, Urahara asks for help with restoring Ichigo's powers. Yamamoto tells Urahara to come approach with the special sword he would be using for that purpose, prompting Unohana to ask if he intends to help. He replies that they were saved by Ichigo and it is now their turn to save him, regardless of such action going against customs as it would be shameful if they did not help somebody they owed so much to. He orders all the captains and lieutenants to place their reiatsu into the sword.
Master Swordsmanship Specialist: As the founder of the Shinō Academy along with over two millennia of combat experience, Yamamoto is stated as the most powerful combatant in Soul Society. Few would hope to come out alive from a fight with him. He is capable of fighting two captain-level Shinigami simultaneously, even with a single hand. His skill in swordsmanship has been shown to be powerful enough to take down his opponent with a single precise strike.
Hitotsume: Nadegiri (一つ目・撫で斬り, "The First: Killing Stroke"): This basic technique allows for a precision cut of extreme force and speed, it can casually slice through large, multi-story high opponents. The opponent can be killed with one swift slash so precise, that they aren't even aware of until after it has taken place.
Onibi (鬼火, "Oni Fire"): a technique where Yamamoto takes his sealed zanpakuto in its cane form and uses a powerful thrust to cause a large hole in the body of the Hollow creature Ayon.
Shunpo Master: He is highly skilled and experienced in the art of Shunpo, being able to outstrip Shunsui and Jūshirō in terms of speed during a chase across Seireitei. He is able to easily overtake both captains and arriving at their destination first without even being noticed by the other two captains.
Master Strategist & Tactician: With his years of experience as a teacher and warrior, along with being the commander of the entire Gotei 13, Yamamoto is a very intelligent man. He is capable of quickly adjusting to new developments and making quick decisions accordingly. He has great tactical acumen, as shown from his preparations for the battle in Karakura Town. As noted by Aizen, Yamamoto is very cunning, setting up a trap to kill him while Aizen was focused on the Visored and the rest of the Gotei 13. He is shown to be also a very perceptive man, demonstrated from how easily he could tell Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi was hiding knowledge on the Bounts. His skill at battle tactics is undeniable, as general he commonly sends the captains and divisions out to engage in battle for over a number of centuries, be it to relatively small or large number of threats.
Immense Spiritual Power: Being one of the oldest members of Soul Society, Yamamoto possesses an exceedingly powerful Reiatsu, capable of making other captain level Shinigami of Kyōraku and Ukitake's caliber sweat in fear and paralyses Lieutenant Nanao Ise with a simple look. This later caused her to faint, and she had to be taken a safe distance away, by Shunsui, from the Captain General simply to regain her ability to breathe. Its sheer strength is also great enough to easily break free of four overlaping and high-level Bakudō spells restraining him. Even Aizen openly acknowledges Yamamoto's power being superior to his own spiritual power.Yamamoto states that the reason why he has been able to serve as the Captain-Commander of the Gotei 13 for over 1,000 years is because there hasn't been a Shinigami stronger than him born in all that time. Yamamoto's spiritual power has the same effect as his Zanpakutō, as it is the elemental representative of fire. He tends to glow with a fiery aura which has the potential to burn and set his surroundings on fire without the use of his Zanpakutō.
Immense Strength: In addition to his surprising physique for his age, Yamamoto has shown tremendous physical strength as shown from how easily and swiftly he put a large hole into the chest of the monster Ayon without much effort at all, using only the blunt end of his cane. He also just as easily with a single hand stopped one of Ayon's strikes and overpowered it despite it having enlarged its arm and increased its strength several folds.Yamamoto's strength is so immense that one punch was able to put a large hole through the chest of Wonderweiss while he was in Resurrección, as well as sends him flying back several city blocks. He is also shown tearing off Wonderweiss's arms with his bare hands using little to no effort. With a single double-fist strike, he can effortlessly shatter the whole of Wonderweiss' body into pieces.
Immense Endurance: Despite his old age, Yamamoto is capable of fighting for long periods of time even when outnumbered with no visible signs of exhaustion, even against two of Soul Society's strongest captains, Shunsui Kyōraku and Jūshirō Ukitake, as he emerged without any sign of injury. He has also shown able to take directed attacks from others without being phased. He has been seen to even take being impaled on a sword without so much as flinching from the perceived damage, even when the blow is dealt by the likes of Aizen.
Immense Durability: In addition to resilient, Yamamoto has shown immense durability by being able to take an onslaught of punches from Wonderweiss's multiple arms twice and come out completely unfazed by the assault with no more than simple scratches. He is able to sustain a direct explosion of flames that had the power to incinerate all of Karakura Town and a great area around it.
Hakuda Master: Yamamoto is a highly dangerous combatant even without his Zanpakutō. As with his skill in swordsmanship, he is also a powerful master in hand-to-hand combat, as evident from his ability to effortlessly catch a strike from the deceptively fast Ayon. While it is uncertain how much his skill has declined from his advanced age, he is still a dangerous and highly skilled combatant. Yamamoto is also capable of delivering powerful blows that can smash through Espada-level Hierro and block the majority of multiple punches from a multi-armed opponent.
Ikkotsu (一骨, "Single Bone"): A powerful punch used by Yamamoto against Wonderweiss. Using this technique, Yamamoto was able to destroy much of Wonderweiss' abdomen and sending him flying along a city street and into a building, destroying it.
Sōkotsu (双骨, "Double Bone"): Being stronger than Ikkotsu, it is a powerful two-fisted punch used by Yamamoto against Wonderweiss. The attack can completely destroy an opponent with a single blow.
Kidō Master: Yamamoto's vast knowledge of Kidō is so great that he can perform them without calling out a name, while retaining its great potential power, whereas most users require a name to do so, if not a full incantation. He is also able to produce immensely powerful barriers to protect him from all but the strongest of dangers. Yamamoto is capable of using level 96 Hadō without incantation and still uses it to great effect.
Ryūjin Jakka (流刃若火, "Flowing Blade-like Flame"): His Zanpakutō is the oldest and the most powerful fire-type Zanpakutō and has greater attack power than all other Zanpakutō in Soul Society. In its sealed form, Ryūjin Jakka usually takes the appearance of a harmless wooden staff which can be used like a spear. At any time, Yamamoto can instantly remove that disguise, by peeling off the wood, to reveal its true form of a standard katana with a dark purple handle and a circular hand guard. Its power is so great that even the strongest of Shinigami are afraid of it even in its sealed form.
Shikai: Its Shikai command is "Reduce All Creation to Ash" (万象一切灰燼と為せ, banshō issai kaijin to nase; "All things in the universe turn to ashes" in the English Dub). The release of his Zanpakutō comes with an extreme release of spiritual pressure affecting all in the area, and can be felt for miles upon miles across all of Seireitei.
Shikai Special Ability: When released, Ryūjin Jakka's blade is engulfed into fire. The aura of this weapon can disintegrate everything and anything that Yamamoto waves the sword at, changing it into nothing more than ash and engulfing the surrounding landscape in a blazing firestorm, the heat of which was intense enough to scorch the sky. Only powerful fighters such as Kyōraku and Ukitake can resist it, but even then only indirectly. Even in its Shikai, Ryūjin Jakka's power is enough to fight against the Shikai of two other captains simultaneously, both of whom had the reputation of being the strongest Captains in Soul Society while together. Unlike other Zanpakutō shown so far, resealing Ryūjin Jakka does not deactivate any ability already used against an opponent, as seen when Yamamoto imprisons Aizen, Gin, and Kaname.
Jōkaku Enjō (城郭炎上, "Fortress Blaze"): This ability creates an immense wall of flame that surrounds the target and then forms a huge contained sphere of flame in which to imprison enemies. It is shown to be immensely powerful as it was capable of imprisoning three Captain-level Shinigami (namely Aizen, Gin and Kaname) for a significant amount of time.
Taimatsu (松明, "Torch"): able to create a great inferno with the simple wave of Ryūjin Jakka. The fire generated by the attack entirely consumes whatever is caught within it until nothing remains but ashes. The flames created by Ryūjin Jakka can be controlled with great precision by Yamamoto to attack only the targets he chooses and he also has power over the intensity of the flames.
Ennetsu Jigoku (炎熱地獄, "Flames of Hell"): This ability creates seven or more immense pillars of flame that surround an area. The intent of this technique is to trap the opponent in the caged inferno and destroy him. The power of this technique is lethal enough to destroy everyone caught in its vicinity, even Yamamoto himself. These flames are capable of incinerating an area greater than that of Karakura Town.
Yamamoto is a playable character in most of the Bleach video games. He fights with his Shikai and has a variety of attacks; however he is shown using Jōkaku Enjou as a Special and Nadegiri in Soul Carnival 2. He appears in all three movies, but plays very little role in them. In the Nintendo DS video games, Bleach: The Blade of Fate and Bleach: Dark Souls, he is capable of performing Ama no Murakumo and Yazuhomura no Orochi in those games, the former named after the Ama no Murakumo no Tsurugi which is later known as the "Kusanagi no Tsurugi", which is one of the Three Imperial Regalia of Japan, while the latter made an appearance in Bleach: The 3rd Phantom. When he performs Yazuhomura no Orochi, his strongest attack in those games, he shoots a giant pillar of fire upwards, which falls on the foe and the surrounding area. In Bleach: The 3rd Phantom, instead of the former, it creates a flaming area that burns the opponents. Also in Bleach: The 3rd Phantom, he is capable of using offensive spells, such as Shakkahō and Sōkatsui.
Ichigo calls Yamamoto "Gramps," as seen in the Amagai arc, Kenpachi Zaraki calls him "Old fart," and Kyōraku calls him "Old Man-Yama," while all of the other captains (Ukitake and Komamura, in particular) use the honorifics.
Yamamoto has a habit of referring to those he faces in battle as "youngster," and he also refers to a battle as a "beating" or "punishment," giving reference to his age, as he is the oldest character in the series to date.
Yamamoto has never made it in the top 50 in the popularity polls but his Zanpakutō, Ryūjin Jakka, came 32nd in the Zanpakutō poll.
(To Nanao Ise) "Listen well! Be gone from here! I don't have time nor the patience to teach a mere infant like you how to breathe."
(To Shunsui Kyōraku and Jūshirō Ukitake) "I was proud of you as if you were my own sons. I believed that, even if the character is different, it is fine if they took the same paths."
(To Shunsui Kyōraku and Jūshirō Ukitake) "As I taught you before, there is no mercy for he who obstructs justice."
(To Shunsui Kyōraku and Jūshirō Ukitake) "There is no individual sense of justice that can overrule the justice of the world."
(To the Gotei 13) "Get ready. Put the entirety of your spirit on the line and crush them here! Even if your flesh is torn asunder, be as a steel wall down to your last shard of bone! You must not let them take even a single step into Soul Society."
(To Izuru Kira) "My, my. Making the Captain-Commander come out. What a pitiful bunch of division members."
(To Ayon) "You are a beast that can think of nothing but killing people. How pathetic."
(To Sōsuke Aizen) "Dying to exterminate great evil. Know that this is the spirit of the Gotei 13."
(To Sōsuke Aizen) "You think that you can strike me down if you suppress Ryūjin Jakka? How naive. How dizzyingly naive. Why do you think that I held the position of Captain-Commander of the Gotei 13 for a thousand years? It is because, in a thousand years, no Shinigami stronger than myself has been born.
(To Wonderweiss Margela) "At the very least I am glad you no longer have the form of a child. I can beat you to death without remorse."
(To Byakuya Kuchiki, Kenpachi Zaraki, and Shunsui Kyōraku) "Listen up!! Victory isn't all that matters in battle!! Just what do you all think your Captain Haori are anyway?!"
(To the Gotei 13, about restoring Ichigo Kurosaki's powers) "Regardless of the circumstances, we were saved by Ichigo Kurosaki in our time of need. It is now time that we returned the favor. Even if that should require violating our own statutes, to allow such a debt to go unpaid would bring eternal shame upon the entire Gotei 13."