Kuukaku Shiba is the elder sister of the proud Shiba clan known for their fireworks skills in the Soul Society.
Kuukaku Shiba grew up in the Soul Society as a child of the prestigious Shiba Clan, who are famous for their talents in fireworks. She had two brothers, Kaien and Ganju; and originally lived in the Rukon District. Kaien left the family to join the Gotei 13 Guards as a Soul Reaper. Even after the fall of the clan's status, the family guards and Kuukaku's teachers, Koganehiko and Shiroganehiko, stayed loyal to her. One of her closest friends was from the prestigious Shihoin Clan, Yoruichi Shihoin.
Captain Jūshirō Ukitake came to see her one day to tell her how her brother Kaien had been infected by a Hollow that took over his body. He was then defeated and killed by a fellow Soul Reaper, Rukia Kuchiki. She was outraged at the loss of her brother, and took the clan into hiding from the rest of the Soul Society.
The character of Kuukaku Shiba is a supporting character of the BLEACH series that was created by Tite Kubo, It first began serialization Weekly Shonen Jump in August 2001. She was first introduced during the Soul Society: The Sneak Entry story arc that began in Volume 9.
She first appeared in BLEACH Volume 9, CH. 78 "Fourteen Days for Conspiracy", and her first anime appearance was in BLEACH - Episode 23 "14 Days Before Rukia's Execution". Her character in the Japanese series is voiced by Akiko Hiramatsu, and the U.S. dub produced by VIZ Media is done by Cindy Robinson.
"Been a while since we’ve talked like this, my friend. Lucky for you, I enjoy danger."
Yoruichi Shihoin "BLEACH" Vol. 9 CH. 78
Kuukaku is an energetic and aggressive woman who is loyal to friends but very distrustful of strangers. She has black hair that she always has wrapped and green eyes. Her robe is small and red halter style top that exposes her ampule breasts, and it's adorned with the family crest. It's unknown how she lost her right arm. She's also a pipe smoker. She's loves to take risks and defy the laws of the land, but angered when her rules are violated or questioned.
Kuukaku is an eccentric person who tends to move from place to place, but always hangs a large decoration to make the location of her house. She shows little fear and is quick to volunteer her brother for tasks. He's too scared to deny her demands. She also holds the memories of her brother Kaien in high reguard. It's unknown when she became friends with Yoruichi, but their similar pasts from being born in high social class families is a likely source.
Birthday: 1 October
Height: 168 cm (5'6")
Weight: 58 kg (128 lbs.)
Kuukaku had some unexpected visitors one day when Yoruichi came to see her with four humans. They were, Ichigo Kurosaki, a Soul Reaper; Orihime Inoue, Sado Yasutora, and Uryuu Ishida, a Quincy. They had tried to infiltrate the Seireitei, but had been pushed back and the walls were raised. Yoruichi had brought them to her, because they needed her unique skills to break into the Seireitei. She agrees to help out since Urahara is involved and she trusts Yoruichi, but not her companions. She has her own brother, Ganju, join the group. She shows them that she plans to use her fireworks to launch them over the walls of the Seireitei and through the barriers. She gives them Reishūkaku to train with to allow them to survive the explosion.
Everyone managed to use the Reishūkaku but Ichigo. Later, Ganju had reluctantly taught Ichigo a tip that worked, but he was using so much Spiritual Pressure that it was shaking the house, then lost his concentration, causing an explosion. She beat Ichigo and her brother and refused to feed them dinner as punishment. Now that they were ready, the troop climbed into the Kakaku Hō launcher and launched them into the sky.
After several days, Kuukaku was hearing of the chaos in the Seireitei and grew impatient. She went to see Jidanbō Ikkanzaka, the Western Gate guard, to ask he join her for a walk to see Yoruichi. The two made their way to the Sōkyoku Hill just as Captain Sousuke Aizen motives had been revealed as a traitor to the Gotei 13. The other gate guardians were allied with Aizen, and Kuukaku defeated one easily with a blast of Hadō Kido. Aizen with his forces then escape to Hueco Mundo, the Hollow's world, through a portal.
With the fighting over and people had time to rest, Kuukaku was furious that Ganju played such a little role in the battle and was even running from fights. While forcing Ganju to do push-ups as punishment, the Soul Reaper that killed Kaien, Rukia Kuchiki, came to see them. She had been to scared to in the past, but came to apologize for the death of their brother at her hands and for taking so long to do so. Kuukaku punches Rukia for taking too long, then reveals that she already knew the whole story. She had just been waiting for Rukia to come and apologize herself. When Ichigo and Orihime arrive, Kuukaku invites them all for dinner.
Kuukaku Shiba was raised and educated by Koganehiko and Shiroganehiko, but unknown where she obtained all her skills in combat and Kido. She does have a high level of Spiritual Pressure.
It's currently unknown if Kuukau's katana is or isn't a Zanpakuto, a Soul Reaper sword. It's a short bladed katana with pale orange hilt and a rectangular-etched guard. Each corner of the guard is curved inward. She keeps her sword strapped to the remains of her right are. She has used this sword to ignite the launch of the Kakaku Hō.
Kuukaku is a popular character in BLEACH and has made numerous appearances in the different products based on Tite Kubo's original manga. These include the anime and video games.
Kuukau Shiba's appearance is censored in the anime production of BLEACH that's produced by Studio Pierrot. In the manga she is shown with her right arm missing at all times, but for the anime, a prosthetic right arm is added to the series, but it's never shown to move. It's unknown why the edit was made, but the series does have a practice of toning down graphically violent scenes of dismemberment.
Kuukaku plays a limited role in Tite Kubo's original manga and only appears in the Soul Society arc, but she appears again in the BLEACH anime Her only other appearance is in the filler Bount Arc. Her role is similar in this arc as it was during the Soul Society Arc. She sends her brother to the the Earth realm to help in the battle against super powered humans called Bount, then punished him for not being of aid. Ichigo and Yoruichi return to Soul Society and some to see her when the Bount invade the Soul Society.
She later appears in the filler Gotei 13 Invasion Army arc in a minor role.
As a series based mainly on fighting and battles, Kuukaku Shiba has made numerous playable appearances in the BLEACH series of games. her first appearance in games was in Bleach: Dark Souls for the Nintendo DS. that was released in Japan in February 15, 2007.
(For a full list of games that feature Kuukaku Shiba, see her profile on Giant Bomb. HERE)