Bleach: Yamamoto Zanpakuto, Ryujin Jakka
Ryujin Jakka or Flowing Blade Young Flame is one of the oldest and most offensively powerful zanpakuto in the entire Bleach series and belongs to Genryusai Shigekuni Yamamoto the captain commander of the gotei 13 and is one of the reasons why he is so feared by enemies and allies alike.
Yamamoto typically conceals his zanpakuto in a wooden staff that he uses as a walking stick and sometimes even as a blunt weapon. The sword itself is in the form of a regular katana with a circular handguard and a purple handle and doesn’t have many standout features.
In Bleach, Ryujin jakka is one of the zanpakuto we see with the ability related to the generation and manipulation of fire and Yamamoto is able to convert his already high levels of reiatsu into heat and flames that can turn almost everything into ash. Like all zanpakuto ryujin jakka has a release command to enter its shikai state which is “reduce all creation to ash”.
When ryujin jakka enters its shikai stage, a huge explosion of fire follows which is so intense that it can be felt all across soul society and even alters the weather to such a degree that it consumes even the clouds and evaporates moisture away. Even in its shikai state very few people can withstand the intensity of the flames unless they are captain level and even then may show difficulty in withstanding it.
There are a few abilities that Yamamoto can use in his shikai that makes use of these flames such as Taimatsu which allows him to create an inferno simply by waving his sword, Jokaku Enjo which creates a giant flame wall that traps its targets within and Ennetsu Jigoku which creates pillars of flame that resemble a cage that consumes the targets and turns them to ash.
Outside of these named abilities Yamamoto typically uses the shikai state by just overwhelming opponents with high levels of heat and fire which most opponents can’t even really stand up to as it’s said to typically be about as hot as the surface of the sun.
Every zanpakuto in Bleach has access to a stronger form and Ryujin Jakka is no different, so if you thought being able to casually flick your sword and having flames as hot as the surface of the sun (6000 degrees celsius – hot enough to not burn you but disintegrate you) wasn’t overpowered enough, Ryujin Jakka’s bankai is a more insane version of his shikai.
The name of this bankai is called Zanka no Tachi or Blade of Ember and takes on the appearance of a worn out katana that looks as though it was severely scorched by fire.
When this bankai is activated all flames previously created by the shikai are absorbed into the sword and all the power of the flames are now concentrated into the blade itself. The heat that is generated is also turned up to eleven where its effect on the atmosphere is so severe that other abilities that revolve around water or ice like hitsugaya’s zanpakuto, hyorinmaru or Rukia Kuchiki’s Sode no Shirayuki, cease to function as it evaporates all the water in the air in a radius as large as soul society itself. Captain Unohana even mentions that if left for too long the heat that this bankai generates could even destroy soul society and even Yamamoto himself.
In its bankai form, the zanpakutou gives its user 4 distinct abilities. Lets cover the easiest to explain first which is zanka no tachi east, Kyokujitsujuin. As i mentioned, when yamamoto enters bankai all the flames are absorbed and concentrated into the blade, zanka no tachi east further concentrates this destructive power only at the blade’s edge which causes the blade to disintegrate all it touches instead of cutting or burning something up. The next ability, Zanka no tachi north, Tenchi Kaijin is the direct application of this concentrated flame blade, which is a slash which makes use of the unique effect of the bankai and disintegrates anything the blade touches out of existence due to the intense heat of the blade’s edge.
The next ability is zanka no tachi west, Zanjitsu Gokui. This ability activates immediately as Yamamoto enters bankai but isn’t visible at first. Zanjitsu Gokui surrounds Yamamoto in a shroud of flames that isn’t visible to others due to how intensely hot the flames are. He casually mentions that the temperature of the flames covering his body burns at a cool 15 million degrees. Thats as hot as the core of the sun which is fucking insane, even if you just stand on the surface of the sun youd be practically disintegrated, if you are emanating heat equivalent to the core of the sun who cares about your sword people would just disintegrate around you.
At these temperatures, the heat is enough to cause atoms to forcibly be fused together, so the minute he goes bankai technically everything should basically just disintegrate just by him standing there. There isn’t even any known material that can withstand temperatures as high as that. When loyd was taking the place of juha bach he commented that if it weren’t for his blut vene he would have been turned to dust already just being in proximity of this bankai.
The final ability is Zanka no tachi south and is activated when Yamamoto thrusts the sword into the ground. What this ability does is, it allows the user to summon the corpses and ashes of those who have died by the flames of ryujin jakka. Those summoned then attacks anyone the wielder deems as their enemy until that person is completely destroyed. Other than the fact that this would allow the wielder to summon an essentially undying army,, the wielder can also choose who gets called back which acts as a psychological attack on whoever the wielder is fighting as a loved one or a comrade could be brought back.
With all these abilities, Ryujin Jakka is immensely overpowered and very few people throughout the series can even stand up to it let alone fight it. There has only been one occasion in which it was resisted and that was during the 1000 year blood war arc against juha bach who ultimately ended up stealing it from yamamoto.
Now i don’t know if the zanpakuto alone is responsible for how overpowered its abilities are or whether yamamoto’s immense spiritual pressure is what turns a mediocre ability into an overpowered one, like if it was given to someone with low reiatsu would the flames be as immense and concentrated i dont know, likely it could be that both are just overpowered and when paired together just becomes broken. Nevertheless in the hands of Yamamoto this Ryujin Jakka is insanely powerful and is one of my more favourite zanpakuto in Bleach purely because of its sheer power and destructive capability.