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The third form of a Zanpakutou is Bankai or "full release" is the true form of the Zanpaktou and has immense power. For the most part only Lieutenant level and higher Shinigami have obtain this level because the imence time it takes to train to call out the true power of the sword. The powers, form, and limit, greatly depend on the soul, spirit energy, and personality of the wielder. But also depends on the sword itself. As seen with Ichigo Kurosaki, one must become one with their Bankai to finally release it. The shinigami must search deep in themselves and defeat the Bankai as a physical being to be able to use this power.
When Bankai is released the Shinigami usually yells or says "Ban-Kai" to release this power.
The form of the Bankai is not reserved to that only of a sword. The bankai takes its true form which can be anything from a katana to a giant weapon.
Bankai not only changes shape of the zanpakutou, but also gives the Shinigami Bankai specific abilities.
List of Bankais
Ichigo Kurosaki in Bankai form
- Original Name - Zangetsu / Slaying Moon
- Bankai Release Name - Tensa Zangetsu / Heaven Chain Slaying Moon
- Abilities and Descriptions - Compared to other Bankais which are enormous, Ichigo's Bankai is small sword with chain hanging at the end of its hilt. Ichigo's Bankai release also give him new clothes, which is actually condensed form of his Bankai. With its condensed form Ichigo can move at high speed. After the Fullbring Arc where Ichigo regains his powers, he gets a redesigned version of his prevouis Bankai. During the Quincy War Arc Tensa Zangestu was snapped in half....
- Original Name - Zabimaru / Snake Tail
- Bankai Release Name - Hihiou Zabimaru / Baboon King Snake Tail
- Abilities and Descriptions - While his Shikai was connected by threads, his Bankai's segments are connected by his own spiritual powers, meaning that Zabimaru can be separated and reconnected at Renji's will. His Bankai also allows him to use new ability Kikotsu Taihou/Baboon Bone Cannon, which shoots blast of energy from Zabimaru's mouth.
- Original Name - Houzukimaru / Demon Light
- Bankai Release Name - Ryuumon Houzukimaru / Dragon Crest Demon Light
- Abilities and Descriptions - Similar to his Shikai form, Ikkaku's Bankai are connected by chains but with different types of weapons. Problem with Ikkaku's Bankai is that it doesn't give Ikkaku special ability, at least right after it was released. According to Ikkaku his Zanpakutou is very lazy, and gets in a mood to fight after it gets damaged little bit. Once it awakens, the dragon crest on his weapon will start to charge up and reaches its full power. In his battle against the Arrancar Edorad, his Bankai was shattered, meaning that Ikkaku has not been able to perform Bankai since.
- Original Name - Suzumushi / Cricket
- Bankai Release Name - Suzumushi Tsuishki Enma Kourogi / Cricket FInal Form, Devil Cricket
- Abilities and Description - Upon its full release, Suzumushi creates larger dome. Anyone within the dome will lose fives sense, except the one who is holding Suzumushi.
- Original Name - Ashisogi Jizo / Leg-Cutting Buddha
- Bankai Release Name - Konjiki Ashisogi Jizo / Golden Leg-Cutting Jizo
- Abilities and Description - When it's released, Mayuri's Zanpakutou transform into a caterpillar with a head of baby that has thousands of blades within its body in case of close combat. Its main ability is however is to create mist of poison which is very lethal.
- Original Name - Tenken / Heavenly Punishment
- Bankai Release Name - Kokujou Tengen Myou-ou / Heavenly Punishment of Kokujo's King
- Abilities and Description - When Komamura uses his Shikai it would create enormous body parts that would briefly mimic Komamura's movement. Komamura's Bankai creates a giant which he uses it to attack his opponents. A drawback of Komamura's Bankai is that any damage Kokujou Tengen sustains wounds Komamura himself, a fact that Tosen explicts during his battle against him during the Fake Karakura Town Arc.
- Original Name - Tachikaze / Earth-Severing Wind
- Bankai Release Name - Tekken Tachikaze / Iron Fist Severing Wind
- Abilities and Description - Other than making its appearance, nothing else is known. Upon its release Kensei's arms are covered with bands while his blades are transformed from single combat knife to a pair of large knuckle blades.
- Original Name - Suzumebachi / Hornet
- Bankai Release Name - Jakuho Raikoben / Hornet Thunder Whip
- Abilities and Description - Unlike her small gauntlet Shikai, her Bankai is large missile launcher attached to her arm. Soi Fon personally hates her Bankai due to its large size, heavy weight, and flashy attack which are unfit for assassination. When it is used, it shoots missile which create powerful explosion, so powerful that Soi Fon would use it after anchoring herself with very strong threads. Normally it would take about three days before she can fire a another shot.
- Original Name - Hyourinmaru / Ice Ring
- Bankai Release Name - Daiguren Hyourinmaru / Great Crimson Ice Ring
- Abilities and Description - The spirit of Hyourinmaru is a ice dragon with two large wings, and upon its release Toshiro is armored with the same ice dragon starting from the his Zanpakutou. Hyourinmaru's Bankai form has same properties as its Shikai form, but it greatly increases its ice based attacks and also grants additional special techniques. Three ice petals form behind Toshiro's back, respesenting the time left Toshiro has in Bankai as the petels melt away...
- Original Name - Shinso / God Spear
- Bankai Release Name - Kamishini no Yari / God Killing Spear
- Abilities and Description - Kamishini No Yari can extend and contract faster than speed of sound, but that is not the true nature of Kamishini no Yari. The real ability of Kamishini no Yariis to turn into dust in a matter of second to extend, rather than stretching its blades from hilt. The dust can also be used as deadly poison which can dissolves and breaks down cells.
Byakuya Kuchiki's Senbonzakura in Bankai form
- Original Name - Senbonzakura / Thousand Cherry Blossoms
- Bankai Release Name - Senbonzakura Kageyoshi / Vibrant Display of a Thousand Cherry Blossoms
- Abilities and Description - When Byakuya is about to use his Bankai, he drops his Zanpakutou onto ground. The sword then submerges into ground and emerges with thousands blades, and then scatters into immeasurable pieces of blades. In a sense it is larger version of Senbonzakura.
Genryusai Shigekuni Yamamoto
- Original Name - Ryujin Jakka / Flowing Flame Blade
- Bankai Release Name - Zanka no Tachi / Long Sword of Remaining Flame
- Abilities and Description - Contrast to its shikai form which is enormous flame that only be controlled by Yamamoto, its bankai form is burnt sword with all of its fire power condensed into single point of Zapakutou. Zanka no Tachi, East Kyokujitsujin is the name of such attack, so much of fire power is focused that whatever the point touches, it is simply blown leaving no trace. Zanka no Tachi, West Zanjutsu Gokui is the defense of his bankai, which clothes Yamamoto with extreme heat that is hot as sun itself. The problem with this bankai is that it is so powerful it will dry any liquid in vicinity, from moisture in air to human moisture.