The Soul Reapers of Bleach They are a central part of the story, in addition to the world of the living and the dead, but they can be a bit complicated to explain, both in the context of the series and in its history in Japanese literature, due in part to some aspects. about them lost in translation.

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However, as the series progresses, viewers learn more and more about Soul Reapers, including what type they are, what they are capable of, and even what they have accomplished in the past, and audiences can learn these things from first hand Ichigo. And, as mentioned, they also have an interesting story outside of the series, including where they surprisingly started.

10 They were originally Shinigami

In the original Japanese version of the series, the soul reapers were called “shinigami”, creatures associated with the death of Japanese fiction. Their exact definition has varied over the years, serving as psychopomps that help souls enter the afterlife or as undead human beings who prey on the living. As her exact role changes from time to time, her appearance varies from skeletal or corpse-like to looking perfectly human. Sometimes they are mistaken for similar creatures from foreign folklore.

Due to its unique nature, it can be difficult to find an English translation of “shinigami”. Viz’s translation of Bleach was with “Reapers of Souls”, which had been approved by creator Tite Kubo, probably as a reference to Death serving as “the Grim Reaper”.

9 They started in Grimms fairy tales

Grimm Fairy Tale Classics Anime The Godfather of Death

Although they appear frequently in Japanese anime and manga, shinigami are not actually from traditional Japanese mythology. The word “shinigami“It is believed to come from Japanese translations of Western works that feature a personification of death, such as the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, Godfather death, and Italian opera, Crispino and his wife, which mistakes the figure for a fairy or witch, depending on the translation.

In both stories, a character makes a deal with the figure to become a wealthy doctor, only for the protagonist to become arrogant. In the fairy tale, when the hero tries to save a princess from death in the hope of marrying her, he pays with his life. Death’s counterpart in the opera is a little more merciful, allowing the hero to repent of the mistake of his ways. The fairy tale is also known to inspire the Japanese comedy rakugo, “Shinigami no hanashi” or “Story Of The Shinigami”.

8 Reapers of souls can be born or made

Bleach Ichigo And Rukia Goodbye

In Bleach, Soul Reapers are supernatural beings who live in a parallel world to the living world and bring the souls of the dead to Soul Society. They are normally invisible to normal humans, but can be seen among those with strong spiritual powers. Since they are spirit beings, souls may be trained to become soul reapers, but aristocratic soul reapers tend to be born into the spirit world as spirits.

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Soul Reapers can reproduce with humans, as the protagonist Ichigo and his sisters are the children of a shinigami father and a human mother. While they are not believed to be the first such children to be born to such a couple, very little information is known about their predecessors, suggesting that it is still a rare occurrence.

7 They can also have substitutes

Ichigo in Soul Society in the final episode of the anime

There is also a Surrogate Soul Reaper. The success rate for becoming a Surrogate Soul Reaper is low and the powers gained generally remain limited and temporary. Additionally, the Soul Society officially prohibits granting the powers of a soul reaper to a human.

When a human becomes a soul reaper, as in the case of Ichigo, who initially gained a share of Rukia Kuchiki’s power, they are generally required to leave their bodies with the help of soul candy or some other special, similar device. astral projections, although the body of the reaper of souls needs to be cared for in the periods when the soul has abandoned it. Because a body is effectively dead without a soul, surrogates can often allow another spirit to take temporary possession of his body, as Kon often takes over Ichigo’s body.

6 They have three main duties (and they get paid)

Generally, the role of a reaper of souls, at least in the Bleach universe, can be divided into three main roles, at least in relation to the human worlds: Burial of the soul, Governance of the soul and Cleansing of gaps. Interestingly, they appear to earn a salary for their work and may even earn rewards for their work with Hollows.

“Soul Burial”, also known as “Soul Funeral”, involves bringing souls to the spirit world, including sending evil souls to hell. The “governance of the soul” involves regulating the flow of spirit-related activity within the human world and the spirit world. The “cleansing of the gaps” involves cleansing the sins of the wandering spirits known as “gaps.”

5 They have all kinds of powers and abilities


For starters, soul reapers tend to age better than humans and can live for thousands of years. They also tend to survive injuries that would kill a normal human, but can still be mortally wounded.

They also tend to have great spiritual powers, although this comes at an interesting cost: unlike other spirits, they need to eat. They can cast powerful “Kidō” spells for both direct attacks and support. In addition to this, they are also known to use supernatural Zanpakutō swords, which they generally keep on their person.

4 They don’t necessarily look human

As mentioned, Soul Reapers can have different appearances in fiction and this is equally true in the world of Bleach. Some of them look perfectly human, but others have a variety of appearance variations, and some even resemble animals.

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A notable example of the latter is Sajin Komamura, who looks like a wolf. He is also over 9 feet tall and weighs over 600 pounds, making him gigantic compared to the average human.

3 They tend to prefer black

ichigo vs byakuya bleach

A trademark of the soul reaper is the “Shihakushō”, a black kimono, usually paired with white underwear. Some customization is allowed, from wearing scarves or shortening sleeves.

The black uniform helps to contrast them with the Quincys, who prefer white. As soul reapers tend to side with the protagonist, this effectively serves as a subversion of associating light with good and darkness with evil, at least from the audience’s perspective.

two They have a beef with the quincies


For thousands of years, the Soul Reapers have been rivals to the Quincy. The main source of conflict is the fact that they disagree on what to do with the Hollows. As mentioned, soul reapers prefer to cleanse them of their sins, although they are not against punishing them for sins committed in life. The Quincys would rather just kill them.

While the Soul Reapers point of view generally benefits from the audience’s perspective, the Quincies are not completely vilified, as Soul Reapers have been shown to underestimate Hollows, but Hollows have also been shown to be underestimated. The Quincies’ actions are a threat to existence itself, although they themselves fear death.

1 They are to blame for everything

Bleach Rukia stabs Ichigo

The anime has a tendency to add villains who became evil due to the machinations of Soul Society, such as the Dark Ones, Captain Amagai, and Kusaka. While this could initially be attributed to the adaptation changes, the manga would reveal that his incarnation of the Soul Reapers also had some blood on his hands.

According to the manga, the Soul Reapers sealed the King of Souls, effectively creating different worlds and being the reason people can die and become Hollows to begin with. Naturally, this also created the conflict with the Quincys.

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