Yoruichi Shihoin

Yoruichi Shihoin is a anime/manga character in the Bleach franchise
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Yoruichi Shihoin was the former Captain of the 2nd Division of the Gotei13 as well as the former Commander of the Onmitsukidō. She abandoned her position to aid her friends Kisuke Urahara and Tessai.

Origin

Yoruichi Shihouin and Kisuke Urahara in their youth
Yoruichi Shihouin and Kisuke Urahara in their youth

Yoruichi was born many centuries ago in the Soul Society as a princess of the Tenshiheisōban (天賜兵装番, House of Godly Gears) and lived in Shohoin Clan Mansion. This isolated life was only filled with joy through her time playing with her childhood friends Kisuke Urahara and Tessai Tsukabishi in the secret, underground cavern that Kisuke had built for them. Here they would practice daily to perfect and hone their talents in secret. Yoruichi also had the very unique talent of being able to transform into a talking black cat.

Some years later, Yoruichi was positioned as the 22nd generational head of the Shihōin family, and selected to become the Corps Commander of the Executive Militia of the Onmitsukidō, the Special Forces of the Soul Society and enforcers of the Shinigami.From this high position her skills and talents would raise her even further to the position of Captain of the Gotei 13's 2nd Division. She further made history by using the two positions she held to unite the formerly separate military forces into one.

Yoruichi Shihouin Gotei 13 2nd Division Captain
Yoruichi Shihouin Gotei 13 2nd Division Captain

From her status as Captain of the 2nd Division, Yourichi would take on a young protege and personal bodyguard, who's name was Soi Fon, from the family tasked as guard of the Shihoin Clan. Treating the young girl more as a friend, she trained her in the skills of hand-to-hand called Hakuda Martial Arts and the Flash Step technique. When an opening appeared in the 12th Division, due to the former captain Kirio Hikifune promotion to the Royal Guard: Zero Division, she recommended her old friend and current 2nd Division 3rd seat Kisuke Urehara for the job. At the time, he was already the head of the valued Detention Unit. A choice Soi Fon strongly disagreed with, siting his lazy behavior; and didn't believe he was even responsible enough for position he already held. Yoruichi dismissed her objections but did agree that he was hardly much of a hard worker. Soi Fon went as far as to follow Kisuke for a whole day to take notes to further support her claims She would later tease Soi Fon as she invited her to Kisuke's captain's proficiency exam by suggesting her tailing him was due to a romantic interest. Still, Yoruichi praised her foe her passion and devotion. He would pass the exam to take on as Captain of the 12th Division. She would have to encourage her friend to stand tall among the other Captains and not be so reluctant.

A few days later, word came to Yoruichi that Kisuke had entered the Detention Unit, claiming he was given permission from her. Though she didn't recall this claim. When asked if she desired him removed, she casually told her troops to allow him to go where he pleased. This was another time Soi Fon voiced her disapproval, but Yoruichi tired to easy her concerns since they were discussing Kisuke, the former head of the Detention Unit.

Yoruichi Shihouin plays with a young Byakuya Kuchiki
Yoruichi Shihouin plays with a young Byakuya Kuchiki

From a noble family herself, Yoruichi was on strong terms with the also prominent Kuchiki Family. She would occasionally cast aside her duties to tease and play with the young Byakuya Kuchiki. Games he was not to fond of, but still wound up taking part in. She would steal the ribbon from his hair and force him to use Flash Step to get it back. Nine years would pass, when an emergency meeting was held involving the disappearance of the 9th Divisions Captain, Kensei Muguruma, his Lieutenant, Mashiro Kuna; and several other ranked members of the Gotei 13 after they never returned from investigating another incident. The Gotei 13 leader, Yamamoto, selected five Captains to be sent and a worried Kisuke demanded he be among them. When his request was refused, it was Yoruichi who had to chastise him for his outbursts. All the Captains and Lieutenants that were sent had become somehow infected and changed into Hollows. Unknown to her at the time, they were the victims of a wicked trap set by Sousuke Aizen, the then Lieutenant of the 5th Division.

To Yoruichi's shock the next day, orders from the Central 46 had been issued for the arrest of both Kisuke and Tessai. They had been framed for the incident and sentenced without being given the chance to prove their innocence. Kisuke was sentenced to exile in the Human World, and Tessai to be imprisoned in the Level 3 detention area. Knowing their of their innocence but unable to prove it. A masked Yoruichi freed her friends and brought them back to their old underground training area. She berated her friends for keeping her in the dark, but also brought along the eight Hollowfied Shinigami and the prototype Gigai that Kisuke had been developing. They would hide out on Earth, and Yoruichi would abandon her titles to head to Earth as well. She would only leave behind Soi Fon, so she would not be punished as part of their crimes. She would spend most of her time on Earth in her cat form.

Creation

BLEACH Vol. 6 JPN (Dec 2002)
BLEACH Vol. 6 JPN (Dec 2002)

Yoruichi Shihoin is a supporting character from the anime/manga series BLEACH, created by Tite Kubo. It first began serialization in Shueisha's Weekly Shounen Jump in August 2001. She first appeared final chapters of the Agent of the Shinigami Arc.

Yoruichi's tribal tattoo
Yoruichi's tribal tattoo

Yoruichi's first appeared as a cat in BLEACH Volume 6, CH. 51 "DEATH 3", and her first anime appearance was in BLEACH - Episode 15 "Kon's Great Plan". Though, the fact she could talk would not be revealed until shortly after these appearances. Yoruichi's human form would not be revealed until BLEACH Volume 14, CH. 116 "White Tower Rocks". and this form's first anime appearance was in BLEACH - Episode 41 "Reunion, Ichigo and Rukia". Her character's Japanese voice work is done be different voice actors depending on which form she's in. Her standard human voice actor in the Japanese series is performed by Satsuki Yukino, and her cat form is voice by the male voice actor Shiro Saito. The U.S. dub produced by VIZ Media has her human form voiced by Wendee Lee, and her cat form is voiced by the male voice actor Terrence Stone.

She has had random placement in the BLEACH fan polls. In the first she placed 15th place, in the second she placed 19th, her highest placement was in the third poll where she placed 7th, and the fourth poll fell to 28th. Her fight with Soi Fon was ranked came in 9th place for best fight. In an image by Tite Kubo in Volume 26, it's revealed that Yoruichi has a tribal tattoo on the outside of her left thigh. Though her personality is very youthful and energetic, she uses a dialect that more often heard from older speakers. When speaking about herself, rather than using the more common 私 (watashi) that is commonly used by women. Yoruichi speaks with a term used by older men, 儂 (washi). This furthered the impression that she was a man while in her cat form.

Character Evolution

"Just like a person holding a sword trying to protect something. That maybe one's life, or place in society, or reputation, things that one loves, things that one believes; it matters not if it's good or bad, the will to 'protect it' does not change."
Yoruichi Shihoin "BLEACH" Vol. 8 CH. 62

Yoruichi's cat form
Yoruichi's cat form

In Yoruichi's first appearance in the BLEACH series, she gave impression of being a simple black cat. It wasn't even revealed she could talk until later. Even then, she had a deep voice of a man. Nothing was ever revealed about her past, other than that she was an old friend of Kisuke Urahara. For an unknown reason, she kept her true form a secret from Ichigo and his friends as they invaded the Soul Society to rescue Rukia Kuchiki from execution. She led them all the way and acted as their guide. She only revealed her actual identity to Ichigo after his battle with Kenpac hi Zaraki, revealing that she hadn't changed from her cat form in such a long time. He was astounded to learn she is a woman. In her human form she took great pleasure in teasing the easily bashful Ichigo. As she dressed, she repeatedly flashed him. From that point she an orange top with shoulder guards, tight black pants, shin guards, and her now long purple hair is kept in a bound ponytail. When she was a member of the Gotei 13, her hair was cut very short. Her deeper history in the Soul Society wouldn't be revealed until her battle with Soi Fon.

Yoruichi Shioin in human form design
Yoruichi Shioin in human form design

Birthday: 1 January

Hair: Purple

Eyes: Golden-yellow

Height: 156cm (5'2")

Weight: 42kg (93lbs.)

After Aizen's treachery was finally revealed, she no longer lived in hiding from the Gotei 13. As a Hakuda Master, Yoruichi depends on her hand-to-hand combat skills despite her own Shinigami powers. Having once held the tile of Captain of the 2nd Division, she did possess a Zanpakuto and reached the level of Bankai, but have never been seen using it and it's location is unknown. During the battle with Aizen and his Espada, Yoruichi used a special armor Urahara designed called the Anti-Hierro Armor.

Major Story Arcs

Agent of the Shinigami Arc

Yoruichi Shihoin arrives
Yoruichi Shihoin arrives

Yoruichi first returned to Karakura Town in cat form to Urahara's Shop to inform him that Rukia Kuchiki had been located by the Soul Society and had sent two agents to retrieve her.

Soul Society: The Sneak Entry Arc

Rukia had been taken back to the Soul Society and Ichigo Kurosaki was defeated by Byakuya Kuchiki. Still, he wanted to go and rescue Rukia from the execution verdict she had been handed. While Urahara handled Ichigo's training, she went to offer to help train Orihime Inoue and Sado Yasutora (Chad) to prepare. With the training completed as far as they could go in the time they had, they all gathered at Urahara's place and were joined by the Quincy, Uryuu Ishida. Kisuke opened to doorway, and she led the path. They barely managed to avoid the Kōtotsu. They tried to infiltrate the Seireitei, but were blocked by the walls the were raised and the gate guardian Jidanbō. Though he lifted the gate after Ichigo defeated him, the 3rd Division Captain, Gin Ichimaru, attacks. They escaped harm, but were locked outside the Seitetei.

Yoruichi leads the gang to Kuukaku Shiba
Yoruichi leads the gang to Kuukaku Shiba

Needing a way in, Yoruichi led the group to an old friend, Kuukaku Shiba. After agreeing to help, and had her younger brother, Ganju Shiba, join them. They used her unique firework talents to be blasted into the Seireitei and through it's defenses. Though the broke in, they were all separated into smaller groups. Yoruichi was alone and went unnoticed. She found Ichigo in the aftermath of his victory against Kenpachi Zaraki. He was seriously injured and unconscious, so she took him to her hideout under the execution grounds.

Soul Society: The Rescue Arc

Yoruichi returned to human form
Yoruichi returned to human form

While she tended to his wounds, she discovers a Hollow-like mask in his robes. She asked him about it when he woke up. She became worried when he said that he thought he was tossed away after his battle with Renji Abarai. Suspicious, she demanded he give her the mask. When he asked how she carried him, and she finally revealed her true form as a woman. After teasing him for being so shy from her nude body, she started to explaining the device she used to fly them there. Before he could ask anything further, they both felt Byakuya Kuchiki approaching Rukia's cell. She couldn't stop him from rushing out with her flying device, but caught up in time to stop Byakuya from using his Shika form of his Zanpakuto. She knocked Ichigo out, and carried him away from the battle with the promise in three days she would make him stronger that Byakuya.

Yoruichi begins Ichigo's Bankai training
Yoruichi begins Ichigo's Bankai training

She took him to the secret training grounds she used with Kisuke when they were kids. There she explained the forms of the Zanpakutou and oversaw his training to use Bakai using a special technique of Kisuke's. She teased him some more during a hot spring bath, and explains a bit more about Kisuke and their past. Renji found them in this location, but was there to work on his own Bankai.

Yoruichi Shihoin vs. Soi Fon
Yoruichi Shihoin vs. Soi Fon

The training finished just in time, and Yoruichi pulled Soi Fon away from the battle so Ichigo could concentrate on fighting Byakuya to save Rukia. She fought her old squad, but Soi Fon pulled out her Shikai to try and kill her. They two had a heated battle, and Soi Fon tried to use Shunko. Yoruichi canceled out her attack using the true Shunko. With their fight over, Soi Fon revealed she was heartbroken that Yoruichi didn't take her with her as she ran so many years ago. The two rejoined the fight after Sousuke Aizen's betrayal had been revealed. He escaped the Soul Society with the Hogyoku to Hueco Mundo, along with Gin Ichimaru and Kaname Tousen. Yuruichi went back into cat form, and after everyone was healed they returned to Karakura Town.

Arrancar Arc

Kisuke and Yoruichi come to Ichigo's rescue
Kisuke and Yoruichi come to Ichigo's rescue

Not long after the return from the Soul Society, Karakura Town was invaded by two Arrancar Hollows of Aizen. Several humans were killed, Orihime and Chad were seriously injured, and Yoruichi and Kisuke arrived to save Ichigo. She knocked down the large Yammy Llargo with ease, but his tough hide left her injured from the strikes she gave. As she tried to give Orihime some medicine, Yammy struck from behind with a Cero attack. They were both saved by Kisuke. Yammy's ally, Ulquiorra Schiffer, stopped their fight so they could fall back and report to Aizen. Yoruichi's wounds were tended to at Kisuke's place.

More Arrancar would invade, and everyone went into heavy training. When Kisuke realized that Orihime was in danger from Aizen, he asked Yoruichi to to track her down to bring her to the training room so he could try and convince her to stay out of the coming battle. This plan failed and she was abducted by Aizen's forces.

Fake Karakura Town Arc

Yoruichi, Kisuke, and Isshin fight Aizen
Yoruichi, Kisuke, and Isshin fight Aizen

Karakura Town was transported with the people to the Soul Society and replaced with a fake when Azien and his Espada army came to destroy it. Most of the Gotei 13, Espada, and Vizard were defeated when Kisuke, Yoruichi, and Isshin Kurosaki, Ichigo's father, joined in to battle Aizen. His powers had evolved thanks to the Hogyoku he merged in his body. Yoruichi used special armor made by Kisuke, but they broke from Aizen's attack. He would escape back to the Soul Society to the real Karakura Town. Ichigo followed with his father. After training to use the Zangetsu's final attack, he defeated Aizen, but lost his Soul Reaper powers.

Powers & Abilities

Transformation

It's unknown when Yoruichi adopted this skill, but she has been the only Shinigami who has the ability to transform into a black cat and still retain her ability to speak. She lived in this form on Earth for as long as she has been on the run after she and Kisuke left the Soul Society. While in this form her voice deepens and she is mistaken as a man. This skill makes it difficult both identify or track her movements.

Yoruichi's Techniques

Growing up as the head of the royal Shohoin clan, she has been trained in combat skills of the Shinigami. She still prefers to more hand-to-hand style fighting.

Yoruichi Shihoin using the Shunko technique
Yoruichi Shihoin using the Shunko technique
  • Hakuda Master: The Hakuda fighting style is a series of martial arts technique taught at the Shinigami Academy. Being the former Commander-in-Chief of the Onmitsukidō, she has mastered all the skills to the degree of being able to fight armed Shinigami and giant Espada level Arrancar.
  • Flash Step Master: Using the Shunpo 瞬歩, or Flash Step, skill, Yoruichi is capable of incredible super speed. Her talent with this skill is legendary in the Soul Society and it earned her the name of "Flash Goddess" (瞬神, shunshin). Though she has taught these skills to others, no one has ever matched her speed.
  • Utsusemi: The Utsusemi 空蝉 technique is a skill that when used with Flash Step can create an after image of user for the opponent to attack, but will only discover is just an illusion after the image is attacked.
  • Shunkō: The Shunko 瞬閧, or Flash Cry, is a highy dangerouts and advanced technique that was personally developed by Yoruichi by combing both Kido and Hakuda martial arts. The energy that comes from the back of the user is the reason why the back is left open on her original outfit. While in this form, She can use the Hanki (反鬼, reverse demon). This ability can cancel an opponents Kido and movements by striking equal power but in opposite direction.
  • Stealth: Being the leader of the Soul Society's Stealth Force allowed Yoruichi to hone her skills in remaining undetectable. After she helped Kisuke escape, she was never once detected by the Gotei 13. This in-spite of her already formidable Spiritual Pressure.

Equipment

Being from one of the noble families of the Soul Society and Captain of the 2nd Division, Yoruichi had access to some of the more unique items of this world. Many of them allowed for easy transport through flight.

  • Tentōken: The Tentoken 天踏絢appears as nothing more that a simple mantel held by a long sash. This cape gives the wearer the ability to hover in midair for an indeterminate amount of time and allows the person to have the freedom of both hands. She gave it to Ichigo so he could destroy the
  • Anken: The Anken 暗剣 are small knives that Yoruichi hides under her clothes and use in combat. She can use them by swinging her leg and catching her opponent off guard.
  • Anti-Hierro Armor: The Anti-Herro Armor is a specialized set of arm and leg armor that was developed specifically to assist Yoruichi in combat by Kisuke Urahara. It was used during the fight against Aizen, but was also destroyed.

Zanpakutō

Yoruichi's Zanpakuto
Yoruichi's Zanpakuto

All Shinigami have a special sword called a Zanpakuto. These all have three separate and unique forms they take. The sealed form is the original shape of the zanpakuto. In this form, each looks to be an unassumi ng style of sword. The second form is called a Shikai . It's unleashed when the user learns the name of their zanpakuto. The third form allows to user to bond with their zanpakuto and unleash even more incredible power. This is called a Bankai. One of the qualifications for becoming a Captain in the Gotei 13 requires the Shinigami to reach Bankai.

While Yoruichi's zanpakuto has been seen in flashbacks of the story, the name of her sword has never been spoken and it's whereabouts are unknown. She has only been seen using hand-to-hand combat in a fight. Though, she has been more than capable in a battle without one against enemies who are armed.

Other Media

Yourichi 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, animated movies, and video games.

Anime

Yoruichi Shihoin manga to anime comparison
Yoruichi Shihoin manga to anime comparison

In the original anime that aired in Japan of Tite Kubo's BLEACH series, alterations were added to Yoruichi's backless outfit that was exposed during her fight with Soi Fon in the Soul Society Arc. A white undershirt was added to cover more of her breasts and back. This alteration was also made to Soi Fon's clothes and this change has persisted throughout the production of the anime in Japan. Similar changes were also made to other female character's provocative manga designs, such as Tier Halibel.

Dialog was added to the scene of her human form reveal in the Japanese version. Ichigo in shock of seeing her as a nude, human woman, he mumbles about her being a cat. To which, she adds that he should know that cats can't talk. These lines were not in the manga version of the story.

U.S. Censorship

In the original English dub produced by VIZ Media, there was a chance in dialog of the scenes of Yoruichi's human form reveal to Ichigo. Yoruichi's tempting Ichigo to look at her nude body was removed.

Films

BLEACH: The DiamondDust Rebellion JPN (2007)
BLEACH: The DiamondDust Rebellion JPN (2007)

There have been several movies based on the BLEACH story, Yoruichi Shihoin's first movie appearance was in the second BLEACH movie, BLEACH: The Diamond Dust Rebellion (2007).

  • BLEACH: The Diamond Dust Rebellion (2007)
  • BLEACH: Fade to Black (2008)

Games

Yoruichi in BLEACH: Shattered Blade (2007)
Yoruichi in BLEACH: Shattered Blade (2007)

As a series based mainly on fighting and battles, Yourichi has made numerous playable appearances in the BLEACH series of games. Her first appearance was in BLEACH: Heat The Soul 2 (2005) for the PSP. In BLEACH: Shattered Blade (2007) on the Nintendo Wii, Yoruichi has an alternate costume for how she looked as the Captain of the 2nd Division. Though combat was based mainly around sword fighting, she remained a hand-to-hand fighter. For the Bankai mode, Yoruichi used the Shunkō technique.

(For a full list of games that feature Yoruichi, see her profile on Giant Bomb. HERE)

Voiced by
Name Movies TV Shows
Wendee Lee
1
5
Yuki Inoue
3
12
Shiro Saito
0
2
Terrence Stone
0
2
General Information Edit
Name: Yoruichi Shihoin
Name: 四楓院 夜一
Romanji: Shihōin Yoruichi
Gender: Female
Birthday: 01/01/1800
1st manga book: Bleach #6
1st anime episode: Bleach #18
1st anime movie: Bleach: The Diamond Dust Rebellion
Aliases Goddess of Flash
Were-Cat
Former Niibantai Taicho
Former Omnitsukidou Comander
Princes of the Shihouin Clan
Yoruichi-san
Yoruichi-sama
Yoruichi Shihouin
Flash Master
Recent Movies
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Bleach: Fade to Black

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Bleach: The Diamond Dust Rebellion

The 2nd Bleach movie. A valuable artifact known as the Kings Seal was stolen while Hitsugaya was transporting it. The Ohter captains believe Hitsugaya stole ...

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