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Character Creation: Zanpaktou

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on Sun Nov 20, 2016 12:17 pm

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Cero Espada
Cero Espada
Here I wish to speak candidly with you all about zanpakutoh. Before we move on to types, let us talk about Zanpakutoh when they are sealed. Zanpakutoh take the form of regular katanas with some variations among individuals. In Soul Society they all seem to fall among these three categories:

Typical Styles:
1) Katana - These blades are the most common form of sealed zanpakutoh and tend to have uniform appearance except for the hilt. A katana is a slender blade with a moderate, smooth curve to the blade, a circular or square guard and enough room on the hilt to grip it with two hands. The blade tends to be at least 23 inches in length, or about 60 centimeters.

2) Wakizashi - These weapons are very similar in appearance to katanas, but they are shorter than katanas or kodachis. The blade falls within a 12 to 24 inch range. When there is a wakizashi, it is generally used to accompany a katana. When seen together, this pairing is referred to as a "Daisho" or "Large and Small."

3) Nodachi - These weapons tend to be much more difficult to wield. Their hilts are between 12 and 13 inches long and it is much heavier than a katana. It goes without saying that its cutting range and capabilty far exceed that of a katana.


Special Cases:
Asauchi (Shallow Hit ) -
This type of weapon is used by individuals who have not yet been able to communicate with their zanpakutoh. It is not simply a plain weapon, but it is reduced in power by an immense degree.

Disguises -
(((This is where I see a lot of liberties taken among Shinigami that ought not be taken.)))
It is possible for a shinigami to disguise his or her zanpakutohn as something beneath notice. We see both Urahara Kisuke and General Yamamoto do this, disguising their weapons as wooden canes. When they wish to release their zanpakutoh, they undo the disguise and call forth their zanpakutoh. Urahara simply took the blade and placed it in a wooden hilt and a cane sheath. Yamamoto dissolves the wooden cane appearance to reveal his zanpakutoh, as well.

I've seen a lot more zanpakutohs on various sites that have magical abilities up to the max number allowed by an application. This should not always be so. In this post it is hoped to open your eyes to different possibilities you may not have previously considered.

For zanpakutohs, there are seven types:
1) Melee-type
2) Kidou-type
3) Projectile-type
4) Defense-type
5) Element-type
6) Unclassified
7) Special

This specific post regarding Zanpakutoh will deal with Melee-type Zanpakutoh. The following posts will also deal with their own specific aspect.

1) Melee-type Zanpakutohs
Melee-type Zanpakutohs are usually geared toward some type of armed combat rather than a magically or elementally based ability. They generally don't have any flashy abilities and tend to build on the wielder's strengths to enhance their abilities as warriors. Sometimes their special combat techniques are simply nameless and due to their ingenuity rather than some enhancement or extra option granted by their released state.

Melee-type wielders tend to have proportionally greater strength, greater capacity for damage and endurance, and have gained mastery in the art of hand-to-hand/melee combat.

Some examples of these zanpakutohs are:
Hisagi Shuuhei:
Death Wind is a Melee-type Zanpakutoh. By his build, we see that his body is toned, especially at his core and shoulders. This suggests strong throwing ability. The main attack that Death Wind can be used for is for throwing. Using his reiatsu, Shuuhei is only able to manipulate the length of the chain to a point, but unless he combines his combat strategy with spells, his attacks are not magical, but very physical.

Madarame Ikkaku
Houzukimaru, quite frankly, is a naginata with the special ability to part into a tri-secting staff. Ikkaku is an amazingly resilient combatant, and his zanpakutoh reflects that in shikai with its changing form. For his bankai, he specifically states that Houzukimaru needs to get woken up by either injuring or getting injured, and so it rises to the occasion to grant Ikkaku the height of his melee power. We further see evidence of its melee-type in that it cannot handle unleashing so much power for long before it will break.

Sajin Komamura:
Tenken, or "Heavenly Punishment," plays strongly on Komamura's eternal loyalty and his superior strength. His shikai produces an armored giant that follows his every movement. This is the loyalty aspect of his character. The sheer size of it also plays at Komamura's ability to get bigger (he is only a little taller than Tousen at one point in the anime, but over twice as tall as Aizen at another point.)

Tenken is durable, a reflection of Komamura's insane capacity for damage. It is strong and delivers one hell of a punch.

2) Kidou-type Zanpakutohs
Kidou-type Zanpakutohs tend to have a running theme around a special ability. This type of kidou is generally not conducive to armed combat. Sometimes it can have a theme that matches your character's personality, base nature or maybe its physical capabilities.

These Kidou can be formed in the ability to summon and put forth blasts, such as in the case of Hinamori Momo. It can be in the manipulation of blood, such as with Urahara Kisuke. It can be one simple ability with many branching abilities, such as with Otoribashi Rojuro's eleven abilities with Rose, his zanpakutoh. Ukitake can absorb, augment, and reverse energy attacks from his opponent. Yumichika creates vines that can capture a target, absorb their energy, and kill/incapacitate them - allowing him to use their energy to heal himself. Hirako Shinji can reverse spatial perception by reversing the orientation of the world as if someone were looking into a mirror. There are several more examples of Kidou-type abilities.

3) Projectile-type Zanpakutohs
Projectile-type Zanpakutohs utilize several airborne objects that can be moved freely through telekinetic ability.

8th Division, 3rd Seat Jirobo Ikkanzaka, the guy that Ishida Uryuu defeats in one of his first fights in the Soul Society arc, had Projectile-type capability when his zanpakutoh separate into many small discs that he could attack an opponent with. He had stated that up to that point he had never been defeated by an opponent until Ishida shot his Soul Chain and Soul Sleep, effectively destroying the man's shinigami powers.

4) Defense-type Zanpakutohs
Defense-type Zanpakutohs are geared mainly toward defense with little, if any, offensive capablity.

There isn't really a whole lot that can be said here, but an example of a Defense-type Zanpakutoh is Rosaburo Enkogawa, or Enryu from the Bakudou Arc. He may pack a hefty right hook, but when he uses his zanpakutoh's special ability it merely creates barriers to protect himself or others. This is the only example of a true Defense-type zanpakutoh we have seen so far in the anime

5) Element-type Zanpkutoh
Element-type Zanpakutoh tend to be associated with a single element that one can manipulate and use for attack or defense. In a way these are like a sub-category to Kidou-type zanpakutoh, but that really depends on who you ask.

There is also the implication, much to the chagrin of many RPers, that if the user is in an environment that cannot support their element, such as Fire-element used in a vacuum-space that has no oxygen, their abilities will not work. The implication comes from when Hitsugaya Toshiro states that so long as there is moisture in the air his zanpakutoh will never fail.

Elements are capable of cancelling each other out while others are able to relate with other elements for a synergistic effect. Fire and Ice/Water cancel each other out while Water and Electricity will definitely be synergists. Some can be combined to produce something new, such as water and fire meeting to create steam or water and earth coming together to create mud. These combinations cannot be made by one person, but rather by two people or one person using the environment.

These element that have been seen in the Anime thusfar:
Fire
Water
Ice
Air/Wind
Earth
Metal
Wood/Plant
Light
Dark
Poison (Nothing lethal is allowed. But even so, be extremely careful)
Electricity

Unclassified Zanpakutoh
Unclassified Zanpakutoh are the ones that do not necessarily fit into the five categories listed above. In the anime we have this classification either because we have not yet seen a zanpakutoh's special ablities or because it simply does not fit into the above categories.

Some examples are:
Kuchiki Byakuya -
This does not require any explanation, in my opinion.

Tetsuzaemon Iba -
I'm confident this is only Melee-type, but we have not seen him in extensive footage with one-on-one battle, and so there is insufficient stuff to classify it as such)

Kira Izuru -
Weight is not an element-type or a kidou-type, and he does not have any control over gravity

Gin Ichimaru -
One-step above Melee-type, but one-step below Kidou-type

Rangiku Matsumoto -
Ash is not an Element-type. Being able to manipulate ash is not Kidou

7) Special Zanpakutoh Types
Constant-Release Zanpakutoh -
Constant-Release Zanpakutoh are controversial, but in existence. We see two such types in Bleach: Zaraki Kenpachi and Kurosaki Ichigo/Hollow Ichigo. Though there is a huge debate on if Kenpachi is truely constant or not. It is PROVEN that Ichigo is.

Dual-Blade Zanpakutoh -
Out of the scores of Shinigami and Vizards we meet, we see only three instances where there are dual-blade zanpakutoh in Bleach:

Ukitake Joshiro
Kyouraku Shunsui
Hisagi Shuuhei


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