The Captain Commander of the 13 Court Guardian Squads and the founder of Gotei 13.
The past of the captain commander is one shrouded mostly in mystery, but it is known he, along with his Lieutenant, Chojiro Sasakibe, Current Squad 4 Captain Retsu Unohana, The Secret Zero Division, and a few nameless people founded the Gotei 13 over 1000 years ago. Yamamoto is the oldest and by far the most powerful of the captains that reside in soul society. It is known that it was him who started they the Shinigami Academy, and his two best pupils would one day become captains of incredible power and status themselves. Those two future captains were Squad 13's Jushiro Ukitake and Squad 8's Shunsui Kyouraku, who took the role of Captain Commander after Yamamoto's recent death in battle. Yamamoto saw the two of them not just as his pupils but also like his sons. It is unknown how exactly when or how long he has been a captain and how he achieved his rank, but he is shown to be at captain level strength about 1000 years before the series begins. As well as holding the rank of 1st division captain, he is also the Captain Commander of the Gotei 13, meaning all other Shinigami answer to him, including the other captains.
Yamamoto makes his first appearance when he calls a meeting for the captains. In this meeting the matter on hand is Gin Ichimaru of Squad 3 for failing to kill Ichigo, who, wanting to save Rukia, had invaded the outskirts of Soul Society with Uryu, Chad, Orihime, and Ganju, as well as Yoruichi in cat form. As soon as the meeting begins Kenpachi Zaraki of Squad 11 and Gin begin to argue about Ichimaru's inabilty to deal with a threat that he should have taken care of easily. Ichimaru of course mocks Kenpachi. The arguement seems to frustrate Yamamoto who demands an explanation from the captain. Ichimaru gives no excuse or explanation, saying he could have done it but didn't. The meeting comes to an abrupt end when the Captains are put on full alert that Ichigo's group has reached the inner walls of the Soul Society.
During the execution of Rukia Kutchiki, Yamamoto is present and witnesses, to his great shock and anger, Captains Ukitake and Kyoraku, assisting in the stopping of Rukia's execution. In spite of being the longest standing Captains with the exception of Unohana and Yamamoto himself, Shunsui and Ukitake do not stand down to Yamamoto's orders, and he catches up and engages the two in a fight. At the start of the fight Nanao realizes that the two Captain's chances are still incredibly slim when Yamamoto unleashes his spiritual pressure. She becomes overwhelmed by Yamamoto's immense power and collapses. He then draws his Zanpakuto, Ryujin Jakka, and the three engage in a fight amidst a sea of flames, all generated from the Captain Commander's blade. The battle suddenly stopped with the announcement from Isane of the true intentions of Aizen, Gin, and Captain Tosen, leading to all of the chaos in Soul Society.
During the Bount Arc, Yamamoto suspects that Mayuri Kurotsuchi is betraying the Soul Society. In turn he orders Byukuya to investigate any available information on the the Bounts. He later holds a meeting with the remaining captains and tells them about the Bounts invading Rukongai and the Bount's origins.
During the Arrancar Arc, Yamamoto made his first appearance by having a conversation over video to Toshiro over Aizen's army invading Karakura Town and allows Momo to speak with him. Once the conversation begins to revolve around Aizen, Momo begs Toshiroto rescue Aizen, believing that Gin Ichimaru is manipulating him. Yamamoto cuts their conversation short by knocking Momo unconscious with a Kido. Later when Orihime is captured he orders Toshiro's team 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 the initial part of Arrancar Arc, Yamamoto is shown presiding over Shusuke Amagai being appointed captain of third squad. Once earning his fellow captain's trust, Amagai uses his position to attempt to exact revenge against Yamamoto, believing that he killed his father, by nullifying the flames of his Zanpakuto. However, Ichigo interferes and defeats Captain Amagai.
After it is announced that Aizen plans to battle over Karakura town, Yamamoto transports the real town and its people to Soul Society, and creates a decoy. When Aizen, Ichimaru, and Tosen, accompanied by the top 3 Espada, Tia Hallibel, Barrigan Luiesenbarn, and Coyote Starrk, and their henchmen, they enter the living world only to find Yamamoto and a large number of Captains and Lieutenants waiting for them. Hoping to eliminate the Arrancars first, Yamamoto seals off the ex-captains from entering by using his Ryujin Jakka's flames. Rangiku and Momo desperately try to fight Ayon, an extremely powerful giant formed from the limbs and power of Hallibel's henchwomen, and are nearly killed. Yamamoto steps in, and effortlessly dispatches the giant in one blow, and burns his masters.
When the Vizards arrive and aid them, Starrk is defeated by Ukitake and Kyoraku, Hallibel held of by Hitsugaya, and Barrigan dispatched by Soi Fon, the flames disappate and Hisagi and Captain Komamura fight Tosen, and eventually win, and Aizen kills him instantly. The rest of the captains and Vizard try desperately to hold of Aizen, all falling victim to the mass hypnosis of his blade, Kyoka Suigetsu, and he then attempts to kill Hallibel too.
Finally, only Yamamoto stands. Aizen stabs him, but Yamamoto uses it as an opportunity to crab Aizen and injure him. Before he can act, Aizen sends an upgraded Wonderweiss after the Captain Commander, which he defeats in hand to hand combat easily. However, Aizen strikes a serious blow an lops of Yamamoto's arm. As a last resort, Yamamoto uses forbidden Kido to detonate the detached limb, to no avail. Before Aizen can kill him, Ichigo steps in and fights him, followed by Isshin and Urahara and Yoruichi.
In the events of Thousand Year Blood War, Yamamoto makes his most significant and final appearance. When 7 mysterious Quincies kill his lieutenant and friend, Sasakibe, and promptly declare war on Soul Society, Yamamoto is angered greatly and resolves to fight on the front lines. During the initial attack, many are killed and a lot of Captains are pushed back when the Stern Ritter "steal" their bankai. The only ones who make significant kills are Yamamoto and Kenpachi, whose bloodlust and lack of a Shikai or Bankai allows him to kill 3 major Stern Ritter, before succumbing to 2 more powerful ones.
Yamamoto confronts the Quincy king, Ywatch and they engage in combat, and Yamamoto begins to take the upper hand. Putting all of his energy forth, he unleashes his bankai, and uses it to easily defeat the king. However, after this, it is revealed he defeated a Stern Ritter who had transformed to assume the king's appearance. His energy spent, the real king emerges and instantly kills Yamamoto.
Named the Ryujin Jakka, it is the oldest and the most powerful fire-based Zanpakuto ever known. It is an attack-oriented Zanpakuto, making it the Zanpakuto with the greatest attack power in all of Soul Society.
In its sealed form, Ryujin Jakka appears to be a harmless walking staff. When released, it turns into a katana with a dark purple handle and a circular handguard.
Upon the command of “Bansho issai kaijin to nase” (All things of this world, turn to ashes), Ryujin Jakka goes into Shikai (Initial Release). Yamamoto himself and the surrounding area immediately gets engulfs in strong flames. With a wave of the Zanpakuto, intense fire burns whatever is in its way. He also has complete control of the manipulation of these flames.
Yamamoto's bankai is Zanki no Tachi, which, compared to his Shikai, looks harmless. It takes the appearance of a worn Samurai Sword, riddled with battle scars and remnants of great burns and sears. In reality, the blade is unique in the sense that it absorbs all the flames Yamamoto generates in Shikai to gain power. As Yamamoto is a veteran fighter with 1000s of years of experience, the blade has become nearly invincible with blade. Ywatch notes the last time they fought 1000 years before, Zanki no Tachi would engulf anything it cuts in flames, but now it is so hot, it simply burns things out of existence by incineration so fast no flames can be seen.
On top of this, Yamamoto is practiced in Kido, although he prefers to use his strength and blade instead. On top of this, Yamamoto is superhumanly strong, despite his advanced age.
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