- "I said that I was done fighting. I said the realms could burn around me. I said that I didn't care what happened. And for a while I didn't care and I didn't act. I left my children to fend for themselves when they needed me more than ever. But I see now that all I was doing was lying to myself. I've lost enough to realize I don't want to lose any more. I've still got family and friends to protect, and I'll raze Heaven and Hell to see them safe. So allow me to send both your master and your true body a message. I may not always be there but I'll always be watching, Averian. Harm anyone I love and I'll track down your true body and finish what Kusaka started!"
- —Kenji to Averian's primary Battle Doll post-Collapse, prior to beheading said Battle Doll.[src]
|Archon of Storms|
|Base of Operations||Numerous:|
|Education||Numerous people and institutes:
Rōnin Shiba (浪人芝, Masterless Shiba), better known by his adopted name of Kenji Hiroshi (健児博, Hiroshi Kenji) and alternatively as Kenji Shiba (柴建次, Shiba Kenji), is a legendary Tsuji feared throughout the realms as the Archon of Storms (嵐のアルコン, Arashi no Arukon), the Sword Saint (剣聖, Sword Saint) and the Morning Prince (朝王子, Asaōji). Kenji was the youngest son of Dastan and Aiko Shiba and the godson and apprentice of Anika Shihōin. Meian, Rosuto and Kireina where his siblings. He eventually formed a family of his own. He fathered children with Eri Kurosaki, Lisa Yadōmaru and Ino Choyo, and married Ino. His children, in order, include Shinrei Hiroshi, Lisa Hiroshi, Kentaro Hiroshi, Kitsui Sanretsu, Hotaru Hiroshi, Akira Hiroshi and Kay Hiroshi.
As a younger man Kenji revived the Yuengiri philosophy, fought on the side of Anika Shihōin and the Gotei 13 during the Winter War, and fought as an ally to Tōshirō Hitsugaya and Shinji Hirako during the Quincy Blood War. He eventually formed and led the Ryū Order and was a major contributing figure in the war against Averian, whom he often met face-to-face on the battlefield alongside Van Satonaka and Kei Yume, who where his trusted allies, fierce rivals, and close friends. His dedication to freedom as an ideal, his formidable prowess as a warrior, and his unique talent to make seemingly impossible and insurmountable tasks possible has forged him into a legendary figure throughout the realms, with even the Godly Tenjin openly regarding him as a threat. In addition he was openly regarded as a dangerous and unpredictable individual by three generations of the Central 46, who labelled him a criminal.
After the war with Averian, Kenji turned his attention towards Oda Kōhai and Heisekai, whilst training his children to eventually take up his mantle. Alongside his childhood friend and rival, Kusaka Kori, the duo destroyed Oda's primary Battle Doll and left his plans in tatters, though this had the unforeseen side-effect of driving Oda's supposed sister, Shiawase Kōhai, to action. Following the Collapse Kenji seemingly took up the life of an average Human in the World of the Living, becoming a professional poker player and part-time mechanic, and rarely intervened in matters dealing with the spiritual world at large; this stemmed from the combined deaths of his wife, Ino, his twin sons, and brother, Meian, and sister, Kireina. Whilst he declared that he would watch the realms burn, seemingly having lost his drive, time eventually eroded this notion and when Kei Yume required assistance it was the rock that broke the camel's back: Kenji took up his Zanpakutō once more and subsequently went to war with Averian and his Espada, the resurgent Imawashī, the secretive Kikkashō, as well as anyone else who threatened what he held dear. He beat The Outsider and Averian to the Serenity Jewel, which Kei had been sealed inside, and kept it safe from them whilst working to free his friend from within. To aid in his task he enlisted the aid of Lisa Yadōmaru, Tadashi Kori and Shin Nagakura.
Throughout Parts I, II and III of the series Kenji served as the authors primary protagonist, but has since fallen into the role of an advisor and supporting character per the beginning of Part IV; his son took his place as primary protagonist, and his daughter replaced him as the main source of information for their allies. He does, however, return to his original role on a number of occasions, and thus could be considered the secondary protagonist of the series going forward.
Kenji is a man with a youthful appearance despite his advancing age. He has only recently started to go grey, despite being at least sixteen centuries old, and hasn't a wrinkle at all. His physical appearance is similar to Kaien Shiba, though as relatives this is understandable, though the likeness is uncanny enough for people who don't know of Kenji's connection to the Shiba clan to compare the two. Sōritsu Kuchiki initially suspected Kenji of being a member of the Shiba clan based solely on his and Kaien's likeness, though he also noted them to hold similar views.
Kenji is muscular, tends to wear the standard Shinigami attire with varying colour schemes, wears his black hair spiked and in an unruly fashion and almost always dons a haori which once belonged to Van. He has also, on very rare occasions, tied his hair up in a ponytail. Of his appearance perhaps Kenji's strangest trait is his shifting eye tone. Under normal circumstances his eyes are a shade of aqua green, but under the influence of his Shikai, Kyoaku or his Hollow powers his eyes turn violet, red and yellow respectively.
Kenji has worn a multitude of outfits throughout his long life, some of which have become his staple colours. His first, donned after leaving the Soul Society, was dark blue with the Yin and Yang emblazoned on the back. The second, which he took to wearing after the formation of the Ryū Order, was regulation black accompanied with a red haori he often discarded prior to battle. His third, which was what many called his "war attire" was sleeveless and backless to accommodate the use of Shunkō, which he accompanied with a white haori similar to those of the Gotei 13 Captains as well as a black gauntlet upon his left arm. His current is a mixture of the first and third, sleeveless, with a long-sleeved white haori that once belonged to Van, which Kenji would later emblazon with the Yin and Yang symbol on the back as before.
Following the Collapse, which saw Kenji relinquish his role as a Shinigami and take up civilian life in Grat, he has changed drastically. He has allowed his hair to grow out long (though much of this growth occurred prior to the Collapse) and he no longer wears his old colours at all, the only exception being the fact he retains Van's old haori. Kenji now wears civilian clothing, usually in the form of denim jeans and leather jackets, though when he works the forge he tends to-do-so shirtless. On the rare occasion he does appear as a Shinigami once more he typically dons a sleeveless black kosode and a long padded black scarf, accompanied by tight-fitting black jeans and a pair of tight-fitting black sandals. The only constant carried over from his older uniforms is the white haori he dons; it is the same haori he took as a reminder of his vow to defeat his impostor for the injuries he inflicted upon Van. A newer additive was the necklace he appeared to wear. Kenji donned a green jewel commonly worn around the neck, shaped in the form of a diamond with extended points, which bore an exact likeness to the Serenity Jewel of the Yume Clan. He claims this jewel serves as homage to his lifelong friend and ally Kei Yume, though this was merely a diversion; this was, in fact, the actual Serenity Jewel. Following the Collapse Kei was sealed within the gem, which became a target of The Outsider. Kenji seized it first to protect his old friend.
Kenji is kind, helpful and generally an all around nice guy; at least until you piss him off, at which point you'll be lucky to escape with your life. Kei Yume went as far as to say that excessive violence wasn't Kenji's way and that the violence propagated by his doppelganger just wasn't in-line with Kenji's character, though the validity of this statement was later called into account when Kenji revealed this doppelganger was in fact his manifested Hollow powers; which had once supplemented Kenji's rage centers enough that he ripped a man's head off after crushing his windpipe. As such by no means is Kenji the gentle lamb some paint him as; he'd as quickly kill some people without a shred of remorse, and has often done so even when the option of mercy could have been entertained. Following Kenjiro's brutal attack on Van Satonaka, for example, Kenji vowed to see his attacker dead, and even took one of Van's haori with him just as a reminder of that vow. He has worn it even after exacting his vengeance. He was also easily angered and prone to fits of rage, especially in his youth, which tended to get him into trouble; especially with Anika Shihōin, though even as an adult he can still sufficiently lose the head and go on a rampage. He also became less perceptive as a result, though this did lesson in later years; for he always fought against Averian whilst enraged and suppressed his Inner Hollow with much the same emotion ruling his thoughts.
In his youth Kenji was a carefree flirt and a womaniser who once complained when Shinji caught him, as it wasn't a gorgeous woman. He ran from one relationship into another, which included Eri Kurosaki, Lisa Yadōmaru, and Ino Choyo. His relationship with these woman led to the birth of six children; one to Eri, one to Lisa, and four to Ino. He would eventually marry Ino though the Collapse resulted in her death. Sometime after this Kenji and Lisa, based on a mixture of loneliness and adrenaline, rekindled their old relationship and became lovers once more.
Outside the stresses of battle and leadership, Kenji has repeatedly demonstrated his good nature and jolly attitude, particularly when with those he considers his close friends. When he first discovered he fathered a child with Eri she neglected to tell him about, Kenji met the news with joy, even though the circumstances where dire; he then offered to look after the child, who he then named: this child was Shinrei Hiroshi. When he's with his friends he maintains an almost childish attitude that frequently annoys his student Akiye, who often reprimands both him and Kusaka for their antics. Once he and Kusaka start bickering it isn't an odd thing to have all other matters put on hold, an example being when they planned to reveal Oda Kōhai's plans, only to have the explanation derailed by their childish tendencies. However, despite this attitude, when push comes to shove Kenji can be the epitome of calm and seriousness and by no means is he naive. When he finally confronted Oda alongside Kusaka he did so without any of his apparent childishness. This good natured spirit also extended to matters of trust. Even as a young man he wasn't one to be suspicious when meeting new people; some would even say he was too quick to trust as he was nothing but courteous to Van and his friends and even put his own life on the line to help Van in his struggle against his Inner Hollow. He did this in spite of the fact he had just met Van and company that exact same day; perhaps because he felt a kinship with the young man for Kusaka hinted much later that he had gone through something very similar when Kenji's own Inner Hollow had threatened to gain dominance. Though it could be argued he was merely following the examples of Kei and Shinji, who had helped him in much the same way as he helped Van.
As time progressed Kenji has mellowed tremendously, to the point he told Averian that his head could not be bought with cheap taunts. He rarely engages in battles at all anymore and when he does he takes his time, almost as if he where out on a leisurely stroll. He only loses his temper rarely and likes toying with his opposition; the latest victim of this was Oda. He acts even worse when alongside Kusaka, in part to their childish tendencies and general rivalry. The two easily dominated Oda during the initial stages of their conflict, and even when Oda seemingly took the upper-hand against them by temporarily sealing their Shinigami power, the two where merely playing at a charade to demoralize the man. They even came to a shared agreement that they'd let Oda return to his old legendary strength just so they could test the depths of their own powers against him, safe in the belief that if they failed to finish him, their fused state, Jiyū, could do so easily. However, when outmatched, Kenji knows his limits and when to ask for help. When faced with a revived Averian he immediately put a plan into motion that would hopefully result in him and Kusaka gaining the necessary power to topple their adversary.
Kenji has often loudly protested the believe that he is protective as he often cites Kusaka as the guardian of the group instead, even when he raids enemy strongholds to rescue his dearest friends. One of the reasons he engaged Averian in combat at all was because the first time he did so he was alongside Van and didn't want to see one of his best friends hurt fighting a foe neither could've hoped to defeat one-on-one at the time. When he found out that his children had been attacked by Kenjiro Hiroshi, who was actually his manifested Hollow powers, Kenji, in his quite fury upon finding the him, immediately released his Bankai and fought just like he used to with his Hollow mask donned; angry, ruthless and wholly uncaring of the destruction his wayward powers could cause. As long as he slaughtered Kenjiro the ends justified the means. Perhaps due to this it is no surprise he is feared by those in positions of power. By the classification of the Central 46 Kenji is considered a dangerous future element. This boils down mainly to the way his ideals are viewed by the governing body of Soul Society; for they view Kenji as a good yet chaotic individual who needs constant monitoring. He happily goes out of his own way to help others and save innocents, even should he have to put his own life on the line to do so; often complaining about people calling him "protective" afterwards. The fact he's bound by no rules or authority but those he sets himself is also a contributing factor. As head of the Ryū Order with what is essentially an army of fanatical followers at his beck and call, the Central 46 are perfectly justified in being wary of the man; though Kenji himself delights in this. He believes that peace can only reign when a deterrent is in place and views himself as one such deterrent.
Kenji has saved the day or resolved a conflict so many times now that he takes most things in his stride, without surprise or overreaction. During the Tower of Night Incident, in which Averian managed to tear the veil between alternate worlds, Kenji moved between the worlds fixing the tears until he at last met an alternate version of himself. Aside from thinking that the odds of such an occurrence where so low that it was almost impossible he still reacted without much outward show of surprise. Afterwards he demonstrated another trait; he held this alternate version of himself to the same high standards he holds himself to, and expressed an interest to train and prepare this younger version to eventually combat that worlds Averian. One can infer from this that Kenji sees it as a form of fate for he and Averian to clash, especially considering he has gone to such lengths to combat him.
Kenji has a scant list of likes and a much larger one for dislikes, his wives cooking being amongst the top, though he misses it now that he can't have it following Ino's death. He is partial to a drink and prefers cider and spirits, and is also a known smoker of cigars. He supports Tottenham Hotspur F.C., as does his son Kentaro, and one of his preferred settings is watching the match with a drink to-hand.
Following the Collapse it can be argued that Kenji lost a great deal of his drive as he now spends his days tinkering on old cars and his nights visiting strip-joints, and the time in-between drinking far too much. Kusaka, who runs the garage alongside Kenji, states he is a completely changed man. He explains that Kenji always had his friends by his side and that the Collapse had taken so many of them at once that the fight was, quite literally, kicked out of him and then some; even Kusaka cannot coax him into even a friendly fight. He doesn't appear to care about defending the Spirit Cycle as he did in the past, or even whether or not Averian is stopped from destroying everything in front of him, feeling it is the duty of others to rise and challenge him. Kenji believes that he has sacrificed enough for the world and those in it and would quite happily watch it burn. If push came to shove he may even aid in its burning. Instead of fighting the grand wars of his past he has finally lot go and allowed the next generation, headed by his son, to take over for him. He does however at times revert to his old self, particularly if someone threatens what little family he has left, at which point his anger is without limit and his vengeance without mercy. His father, Dastan, learned to his regret that Kenji still watches over Kentaro and that he would fight with everything he had to protect him, a lesson he then taught the entirety of the resurgent Imawashī by proceeding to unleash his Bankai upon them. He also isn't above helping out now-and-then as he still has a knack for finding things out, but instead of jumping on this information himself, he is seemingly content to offer his son and daughter vague clues and, at times, a push in the right direction. If direct intervention is required Kenji rarely does anything but what is required to see the task accomplished; nothing more, noting less. Kusaka theorizes that there are only two people alive today who could possibly urge Kenji to lift his sword and fight for a cause again, and they are Van Satonaka and Kei Yume.
Kusaka's words, as usual, proved to be prophetic. Following the Collapse Kei was sealed inside the Serenity Jewel; an heirloom of the Yume Clan and one source of power for The One, similar to the Well of Awakenings. The Outsider coveted this jewel but Kenji picked up his sword and seized the gem first in order to protect Kei, and was subsequently placed firmly at the top of The Outsider's hit-list. However, this did far more for Kenji than saving a friend, or returning the favour; it served to light a fire under his ass, providing Kenji with a goal that renewed his drive and fighting spirit.
- Main article -- Kenji Hiroshi/History.
- Main Article -- Bleach (Kenji Hiroshi).
- Main Article -- Bleach: Sun and Moon Chronicles.
- Rivalries Part I
- Rivalries Part II
- Rivalries Part III
- Rivalries Part IV
- Rivalries Part V
- Rivalries Part VI
- Rivalries Part VII
Days of Carnage arc
- Trickster Strikes Part I
- Trickster Strikes Part II
- Trickster Strikes Part III
- Trickster Strikes Part IV
- Trickster Strikes Part V
- Trickster Strikes Part VI
- Trickster Strikes Part VII (mentioned only)
- Trickster Strikes Part VIII
- Trickster Strikes Part X
- Trickster Strikes Part XI
- Trickster Strikes Part XII
Exiled Prince arc
- Mastering One's Inner Demons Part I
- Mastering One's Inner Demons Part II
- Mastering One's Inner Demons Part III
- Party Crashers Part I
- Party Crashers Part II
- Into The Sunset: A Meeting Pre-determined By Fate
- Clash! Kenji vs Margin!
- The Perfectionist's Storms
Tsuji Crisis arc
- Darkest Pursuits
- Light in the Darkness
- Invading the Dark Depths
- Embracing the Dark: Kenji's Vengeance
- Darkness Lifted
- Into the Light
Haunted by the Past arc
- Haunted by the Past Part II
- Haunted by the Past Part III
- Haunted by the Past Part IV
- Haunted by the Past Part V
- Haunted by the Past Part VI
- Haunted by the Past Part VII
- Bount Incident Part I
- Bount Incident Part II
- Bount Conflict
- Bount Incident Part IV
- Bount Incident Part V
Kagamino City arc
- Counter Operations (mentioned)
- Fun in Atlantic City
- The Two Idiot Pupils
- Coming Together of Rivals
- Prelude to War!
- Storms over Kagamino (concurrently with The Weaver of Dreams and the Phoenix)
- The Weaver of Dreams and the Phoenix (concurrently with Storms over Kagamino)
- Winter War: Kagamino Showdown
- Storms on the Horizon?
- Pre-Fullbringer Incident Part I
- Pre-Fullbringer Incident Part II
- Pre-Fullbringer Incident Part III
- Pre-Fullbringer Incident Part IV
Quincy Blood War saga
- Main Article -- Bleach: War of the Worlds.
Prelude to War
- Birthplace of a Legend
- Coincidental Meetings
- Meeting of Swordmasters: Kenji vs. Sanada
- Test of Resolve
- Plan to Free Rosuto
- Glimmer of Hope
Making a Stand arc
- Terrorizing Little Devil and The Betrayer of Hope
- Inquisition of Nobility
- Back to the Battlefield
- Inquiry into Madness
Ending of a War
- Fate Plays its Hand: Meeting of Rivals
- Liberation Saga
- Folly of the Youthful
- Battle Beyond all Limits! Kentaro vs. Soritsu
- Main Article -- Bleach: War of the Worlds.
New Wars arc
- Kenji gone Mad?
- Evading a Trap
- Plotting a War
- Righting some Wrongs
- Walking the Correct Path?
- Looking Ahead
- Rage of the Heavens
- A Fight For Old Time's Sake
- Unveiling the Grand Scheme
- Reckoning of the Shiba Brothers
- Cutting to the Heart of the Matter
- Cutting to the Heart of the Matter: Tsuji Unbound
- Return of the Legend
- Averian's Proposal
- A Day in the Human World
- Surprising Intervention
- Return of Arturo
- Awakening the Storm
- Mourning a Warrior
- Two Become One: Fury Unleashed!
Kikkashō Unveiled arc
- Tower of Night: Disaster Strikes
- Tower of Night: Resolve Renewed
- Tower of Night: Picking up the Pieces
- Main Article -- Bleach: Cataclysm.
Investigating Grat arc
Testing the Waters arc
Meian's Legacy mini-arc
The Fire Still Burns arc
War on Two Fronts arc
- Halloween Special! Trick or Treat, Smell my Feet!
- Drinking Time With Kenji & Van: Episode 1: Sanmiittai Revealed!
- Drinking Time With Kenji & Van: Episode 2: Teaching Zanjutsu
- Christmas Special! Eggnog, Presents and Hollow!?
- Easter Special! An Egg hunt with Kenji and Van!
- Sasaeru: Kenji apparently discovered the location of Sasaeru during a mission to protect the Kyūtai from the Illusive Man, though he ended up losing Fushichō to Shinzō, only for Kentaro to later reclaim it. Whilst he initially hid and subsequently sealed them away to prevent misuse of their powers, the return of Averian forced Kenji's hand and he once again reclaimed the fabled orbs to help Kusaka and himself counter Averian's vastly increased strength. It was Sasaeru, the fabled black Kyūtai and strongest of them all, that Kenji took for himself; mostly because it refused to work alongside anyone else, proving the orb was sentient. He had it on his person during the Tower of Night Incident and used it's power to travel at will between the various worlds the Tower of Night appeared in. It was later revealed that Sasaeru was, in fact, a creation of the Lesser Tenjin The Balancer, known later as the Soul King. The fact he possesses it is also unknown to all save Kusaka, Van and Kei. Possession of it granted Kenji a number of effects:
- Immortality: Sasaeru grants Kenji immortality; nothing short of a beheading will kill him, though Kenji himself claims even this isn't enough. When he took possession of the fabled orb Kenji was a man in his prime. As such he will remain as such as long as he possesses it.
- Dimensional Control: Kenji claims Sasaeru can control the dimension as it sees fit; as its wielder Kenji is afforded the same power. This enabled him to travel at will between alternate worlds in order to counter the Tower of Night.
- Instantaneous Travel: Kenji can forge a pathway with which he traverses the realms instantly, without passing through the Dangai. This enabled him to quickly come to his son's aid when he and the Six Directions came under attack from the entire resurgent Imawashī despite being in the World of the Living at the time.
- Kamishini (神殺, God-Killing): As far as Kenji is concerned this is the most noteworthy ability imparted through his ownership of Sasaeru. Normally a Tenjin is immortal; even if struck down in battle they will revive in Amenokai, and they have a massive tolerance for shrugging off pain and ignoring even the most extensive of injuries inflicted upon them; this is the reason neither Kenji, Kusaka, nor Van could kill Averian. This trait is rendered powerless before another celestial being, or celestial artefact; Sasaeru is the latter. Merely being its host enables Kenji to land a killing blow on deities.
- Serenity Jewel: In the aftermath of the Collapse Kei Yume was sealed inside the Yume Clan's heirloom; a large green-coloured diamond-shaped gem with a hollowed centre, typically worn around the neck by the strongest of the Clan. The Outsider, coveting the gem due to its status as a source for The One's power, sought it for himself; whether he knows Kei inhabits it or not is unknown. Kenji, knowing Kei to have been sealed within and not wishing to find out what would happen to Kei should The Outsider claim it, seized it first and subsequently placed himself at the top of The Outsider's hit-list. Kenji later acknowledged this to be the reason he dropped off the grid following the Collapse. He wears it around his neck and has made it his goal not only to evade The Outsider but to return the favour and rescue Kei from its depths.
- Lesser Kyūtai (former): Kenji has possessed all of the Kyūtai sans Musabori and Fushichō at some point or another, with Sasaeru being the most recent. During the Quincy Blood War he held both Asataiyō and Semaiumi and used their powers in combination to reverse the effects of The Zombie, which had been used on Kensei and Rose. This is notable considering that, at the time, the two Visored where actually dead and under the control of Mayuri.
- Renkei: It is unknown exactly when Kenji created these paired bracelets but he was seen to have used them prior to the official creation of the Ryū Order as he and Kusaka wore a matching set when they fought against Kaimen Kazuki. The bracelets allow their respective wearers to share spiritual power and communicate across vast distances, even across separate realms. Kenji's own bracelet is shared with Kusaka even to this day. It was this device that enabled Kusaka, despite losing his powers in the battle with Averian's premier Battle Doll, to combat Hollow during the sixteen years prior to the return of his spiritual powers.
- Reijutsu: Throughout his adventures in the World of the Living Kenji created an assortment of weaponry based jointly on the Zanpakutō template and the lesser utilized Bakkōtō template, adding his own personal twist whilst merging the two styles of forgery. The entire Ryū Order and Dragonforce are outfitted with weaponry created by Kenji.
- Zanpakutō: It has yet to be revealed how Kenji forged his Zanpakutō but the fact the new recruits of the Ryū Order who came through the Yuengiri Academy where all outfitted with the Asauchi forged by Kenji's own hand proves his methods where very effective. Kentaro and Hawke both wield Zanpakutō forged by Kenji and both have achieved their respective Bankai release, showing the effectiveness of his skills at the forge.
- Bakkōtō: Kenji studied Bakkōtō over two-centuries and came to greatly understand how they operate, eventually reverse-engineering the technology whilst applying his own twists. The Bakkōtō forged by Kenji suffer from few of the original design flaws, specifically the one which endangers the wielder. Whilst his Bakkōtō still possess organic components they do not overcome their wielder, having safeguards built in. Kenji admits this does restrict their power somewhat but it definitely ensures the safety of the wielder.
Powers and Abilities
Part I Powers and Abilities
Instincts and Ingenuity: Kenji is a phenomenally complex individual both in and outside battle, who reasons at a level beyond most of his contemporaries; Kusaka included. His instincts are highly attuned, particularly on the field of battle, for he has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to seize on the slightest shift in momentum and thoroughly punish his opponents. His ability to plan several steps ahead enabled him to persevere against a number of opponents with far more experience than he, such as Margin Heart, Jimi, the Visored and even Averian. This played into his overall strategy early on. Kenji is a master of defensive techniques and misdirection. He frequently lulls his foes into a false sense of security or even victory before swiftly turning the tables on them with various traps.
Great Spiritual Energy: Despite lacking Bankai, Kenji was capable of fighting at the level of a Captain; he was notably fit to engage the likes of Van Satonaka and Margin Heart for extended durations as an equal, and also defeat his father, Dastan Shiba, who was an ex-Captain in the Gotei 13. This was considered an especially noteworthy victory for Dastan was regarded as one of the few Captains to have power close to that of the original Gotei 13 Captains. He was capable of engaging both Lisa Yadōmaru and Hiyori Sarugaki in a two-on-one confrontation without being overwhelmed, despite Love noting they where being quite hard on him. He was outclassed however by Kei Yume and Arturo Plateado; this suggested that Kenji's power still lacked refinement. His spiritual energy was sufficient enough to contend with a defective Battle Doll of Averian, though he was pushed to the absolute limit of his abilities as a result and only survived because he was fighting side-by-side with Van Satonaka. He was notably capable of expending certain quantities of spiritual power to cushion against incoming damage, if not dispelling it out-right; even at point-blank range. After achieving Bankai, which occurred in the time between the Winter War and Blood War, Kenji's spiritual power rose by a factor between five and ten. He was notably capable of momentarily contending with the likes of Gerard Valkyrie, though he acknowledged that he was not powerful enough to defeat him.
Zanjutsu Mastery: Kenji's primary form of combat was Zanjutsu, which he usually engaged in with two blades; a katana and a wakizashi, with his style being an even blend of offence, defence and counter-strokes. His skills enabled him to cross blades with both Lisa and Hiyori two-on-one in difficult sparring sessions, and he could sustain this level for more than an hour. He further honed his skills mimicking the swordplay of the Sword Saint of Dreams Kei Yume, resulting in a highly personalized and adaptable Form he later made his own; his sheer ability, even with one blade, meant he could swiftly kill even experienced assassins. By the time of the Winter War Kenji was only bested consistently in terms of Zanjutsu by Kei himself and Arturo. A clear indication of his advanced skill-set is his ability to battle Bankai-wielding foes with only his Shikai and emerge victorious, not to mention battling foes as powerful as Averian's Battle Dolls or former Captains in the Gotei 13 by himself. He was able to maintain a solid solo defence against Averian's defective Battle Doll whilst Van prepared to release his Rin'ne until presented with an opportunity to use Senka, which even Averian's Battle Doll considered dangerous. He was also capable of holding his own against the real Averian with only one arm with an injured Kazuma slung over his left shoulder, though Averian was holding back. Whilst in his uncontrolled Hollowfied form he perhaps showed the greatest example of his formidable prowess, temporarily holding his own against the Sword Saint of Dreams himself.
Hakuda Expertise: Although not his preferred method of combat Kenji is nevertheless a dangerous opponent even when bare-handed, due in-part to the extensive martial-art training he received from Anika in his youth. After only a few days of further advanced training designed to combine his Hakuda blows with Kidō, his abilities had progressed to the point he could completely outmatch Jimi, who is himself a skilled operative of the Onmitsukidō.
Hohō Expertise: Kenji was trained extensively in the art of high-speed movement by the original Flash Goddess Anika Shihōin. Coupled with his unique lightning-enhancement, Kenji was fit to keep pace with and even exceed the speed reached by Captain-class combatants. He was notably fit to react to Averian's blistering speed, even if it was by a hairsbreadth. His mastery extends to advanced Hohō techniques; Kenji can perform not only Senka and Utsusemi, but a number of speed-related techniques usually restricted to the Onmitsukidō.
Kidō Expertise: Kenji's skill with Kidō is immense; to such an extent the abilities he brought to bare against Van and the myriad uses he found for even the simplest spells, did much to counter the latter's equally as masterful crystal manipulation skills. He was capable of utilizing Hadō #90. Kurohitsugi against Averian despite earlier utilizing many spiritually-taxing techniques, and still maintained the necessary levels of stamina to continue fighting afterwards; this shows Kenji to be a masterful practitioner of Kidō techniques. He was also known to utilize Kidō spells to turn conditions stormy to better utilize his more powerful Shikai abilities, all without alerting his foe to his intent. In addition to traditional Kidō fields Kenji was likewise knowledgeable regarding healing Kidō and protective barriers. He was fit to perform emergency treatment to Tōshirō Hitsugaya during the incident involving the return of Sōjirō Kusaka, whilst hiding Hitsugaya's spiritual energy from his pursuers.
Enhanced Strength: Kenji's strength with only arm was enough to parry the vicious strikes of Averian.
Enhanced Durability: Kenji has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to shrug off even the most life-threatening of injuries. He has at times willingly allowed himself to be injured in close-quarters combat just so he may further attack his opposition. Against Averian's Battle Doll Kenji suffered having his shoulder pierced through by the Battle Doll's Zanpakutō, and then survived one of the latter's Cero with only middling injuries.
Aoi Inazuma (青い稲妻, Blue Lightning). Kenji's Zanpakutō takes the form of a paired katana and wakizashi, thus making it a daishō combination. The katana sports blue hilt wrapping and a square guard inlaid with lightning motifs which he wears at his waist in the traditional style threaded through his ōbi. The wakizashi has red hilt wrapping and a bronze circular guard which he wears strapped horizontally across his back. People have come to fear the Zanpakutō and Kenji himself as Raikiri (雷切, Lightning Cutter). Kenji is also one of the few males whose Zanpakutō is a female; Aoi Inazuma's manifested spirit takes the form of a teenage woman with green-coloured hair and black eyes. In truth, however, Aoi Inazuma was a false identity maintained by Kenji's true Zanpakutō, Raijin (雷神, God of Lightning), because the latter did not recognize Kenji due to his over-reliance on Kyoaku as a source of power.
Incomplete Quincy: Kampfstil
Kenji would eventually contain Kyoaku's essence in a specially crafted sword forged by Garian Shinjo, which enabled him to release his Quincy powers in a similar manner to a Zanpakutō. He did this in the months prior to the Winter War. This sword took the form of a katana with white hilt-wrapping and a pentagonal-shaped guard, complete with a sky-blue hilt.
Kenji, as a natural Tsuji, was born with an Inner Hollow; his, however, was suppressed through unknown means until his travels around the World of the Living, where he began to undergo involuntarily transformation into a berserk Hollow-like creature. Kenji later discovered that Kyoaku was responsible for suppressing his Inner Hollow through usage of the Yuengiri's Soul Manipulation.
Parts II and III Powers and Abilities
Immense Spiritual Energy: Even by Captain-level standards Kenji possesses potent levels of spiritual energy. Following the death of Anika he threw himself into harsh training alongside Van Satonaka to satisfy his thirst for vengeance, and eventually reached a level of power that was roughly equal to that of Kei Yume. Due to his status as a Tsuji he can further bolster his impressive levels by absorbing ambient reishi from the atmosphere; he has an easier time doing this in locales with higher concentrations. He proved himself one of the few individuals with the necessary strength to combat Averian alone for extended durations, though he admitted that he would never defeat him one-on-one. He was also one of the few beings considered to be the equal of Oda Kōhai and his supposed siblings.
Zanjutsu Mastery: Kenji is a swordsman through and through who is at home in life-threatening close-quarters combat. There are very few who can match his levels of skill. Even with his Shinigami powers temporarily sealed away, Kenji's mastery of bladed combat allowed him to competently cross blades with Oda Kōhai, and fight to a stalemate despite the latter's own skill. When empowered by his Hollow powers he was fit to swiftly defeat Oda. As a master of the Yuengiri philosophy Kenji is calm, graceful, and composed. His style is noted particularly for its defensive application; it is rare for Kenji to ever feel threatened, even when faced with multiple opponents. His mastery allows him to swiftly defeat four opponents whose overall power exceed an average Captain-class, without assistance of any kind. By no means is his offensive application lacking however. Kenji ever seeks the decisive breakthrough whether he's on the defensive or not, and is wholly capable of seizing on the first lapse of concentration and subsequently maiming his hapless opposition in reprisal.
Part III Hollowfication
Although more than capable of using his Hollow powers in battle, Kenji distanced himself from them following the death of Anika Shihōin and his transformation into a more powerful Hollowfied form of which he had no control over. Throughout the war with Averian that followed he refused to use his Hollow powers, deciding to rely on the methods of the Yuengiri instead. In secret, however, he mastered their use through sparring with Kusaka. When he finally did Hollowfy again it was against Oda Kōhai. At this point it was widely believed that Kenji had lost his Hollow powers completely, due to his infrequent use of them, which he and Kusaka revealed to be a ruse.
Parts IV and V Powers and Abilities
Devastating Spiritual Energy: Just prior to The Collapse Kenji's power had reached incredible heights which enabled him to overwhelm Kitsui Kōhai, Ichihara Kōhai, Nakajima Kōhai and Kurokawa Kōhai four-on-one, and later dominate Oda Kōhai; himself said to have power during his prime that was second-to-none beneath the heavens. Shinrei Hiroshi remarked that he could not sense either Kenji or Kei's spiritual pressure when the intensity of their fight escalated and quickly labelled both monsters, suggesting they've both reached a state of transcendence. The mere release of his reiatsu was enough to kill countless Hollow throughout Grat and seal the breach from which they had been coming, which shocked both Garrett Sheppard and Tiffany Henderson. Following the Collapse Kenji unsealed the fallen God Hakyoku and used his body to contain its power, becoming the next container after his deceased brother, Meian, relinquished the fallen God. Kenji's spiritual power has increased to such levels that he was capable of contending with the entire resurgent Imawashī which boasted roughly twenty Captain-class and nine Lieutenant-class fighters by himself, whilst using only his Bankai and receiving only minor wounds in exchange. Post-Collapse Kenji has seemingly bridged the gap between himself and Averian, pointedly telling the latter that he was not the same person and that Averian should flee. Rather than test this claim Averian chose to withdraw. Kenji, however, followed and swiftly defeated the empowered Battle Doll masquerading as Averian, whilst remarking that his master was next.
Zanjutsu Grandmastery: Kenji's mastery of bladed-combat is so extreme that he was capable of defeating the entire resurgent Imawashī by himself, which included his father, Hiden Shinzui and his son, as well as a number of highly dangerous criminals. He was able to not only cut through Averian's extremely durable Hierro with a mere casual swing of Raijin's wakizashi, but Hitsugaya's ice as well. He also completely dominated Averian. This shows that his skill, bolstered by his raw strength, now exceeds that of Averian himself. As such Kenji has entered into a realm of Zanjutsu mastery that is matched by very few throughout history. Only Kusaka Kori appears to have the requisite skill to cross blades with him for extended periods.
Shukuchi: Kenji no longer utilizes traditional Hohō techniques, preferring instead the brand of high-speed movement he developed during the war with Averian, which itself was based on the Tenshi form of high-speed relocation. It enables him to travel incredible distances seemingly in the blink of an eye, as well as traverse the spiritual realms without using traditional avenues of travel. He was capable of coming to Kentaro's aid when surrounded by the resurgent Imawashī, as well as relocate himself and Lisa Yadōmaru to safety after he came to her for help. In both cases Kenji arrived and disappeared as quickly as he arrived, leaving behind no trace as to his intended destination. Kenji would teach Kentaro enough before his disappearance during The Collapse to allow Kentaro to replicate the Shukuchi through Kidō. Even Averian failed to follow Kenji's speed post-Collapse. Kenji not only slipped through his senses but also placed his wakizashi against the small of his back, all without Averian's notice. The Shukuchi, coupled with the Renkei, enables Kenji to instantly arrive to aid others who possess said bracelets, as was the case when he answered both May's call for help and Hitsugaya's warning about Averian.
Kidō Mastery: Kenji's mastery of Kidō extends to all its branches, including Shunkō, with particular skill with spells labelled forbidden. Using a highly complex mix of healing and forbidden Kidō, which was beyond the grasp of Ayumi's prodigious abilities, Kenji was fit to revive Riki Nagakura from a near-death state and restore his mangled arm, whilst augmenting the new arms physiology to aid the flow of Riki's vast and uncontrolled spiritual energy.
Former Powers & Abilities
- Main article -- Kenji Hiroshi/Former Powers and Abilities.
- Main article -- Kenji Hiroshi/Fusions.
- Main article -- Kenji Hiroshi/Racial status.
- Main article -- Kenji Hiroshi/Relationships.
Alternate world counterpart
Kenji possessed a counterpart in Nanashi's World who eventually became the Lieutenant of the 13th Division in the Gotei 13. This version of Kenji was born into the Shiba clan and had a brotherly relationship with Kaien Shiba; he even made the latter the godfather of his only son. This Kenji lost his life during the Collapse and imparted his last words to Kaien, asking him to look after Kentaro. Kenji met this particular version of himself when he joined with that world's Kaien to seal off the Tower of Night. It was Kenji's use of Sasaeru to travel between the world boundary which gave Kaien the idea to do the same when his world was overrun by Averian and his Arrancar army following the Collapse.
Kenji's character is the co-host of an omake segment alongside Van Satonaka, where the two discuss a number of details regarding Bleach (Kenji Hiroshi). The omake, dubbed Drinking Time With Kenji & Van, is intended solely for humour. Kenji is also slated to appear in a similar omake segment alongside Shiju Shūdō.
Kenji has appeared in a number of holiday specials written by Kenji-Taichō. The first special, which was released during Halloween of 2015, featured Kenji himself, Van Satonaka, Kei Yume and Shiju Shūdō going out trick-or-treating. The second special, which was released during Christmas of 2015, featured those from the Halloween special in addition to Kentaro Hiroshi and Haruki Satonaka. The third special, which was released during Easter, featured Kenji and Van sending their children out to reclaim the eggs their wives hid from them, and included Kei as well.
Behind the Scenes
- Even in light of the retcon undertaken in 2015, Kenji's character has undergone the least amount of changes compared to everything else, with his personality being largely the same since the author first role-played with him alongside Razo.
- During the events depicted in Desperate Stand: Averian Appears!, Kenji states to Van that he must start pushing for his Bankai if he is to continue keeping up with Van. His usage of the release in the Blood War Inquel IV, which occurred first chronologically, shows that he already possessed it. It was implied he lied in order to keep his Bankai hidden for use as a trump card in a latter engagement.
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Liberation Saga
- ↑ Bleach Timeline (Kenji Hiroshi)
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Righting some Wrongs
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Embracing the Dark: Kenji's Vengeance
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Into The Sunset: A Meeting Pre-determined By Fate
- ↑ Meeting of Swordmasters: Kenji vs. Sanada
- ↑ User blog:Njalm2/Top 10 Most Powerful Characters
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Invading the Dark Depths
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 His True Colors?
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Darkest Pursuits
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Light in the Darkness
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Bleach: War of the Worlds
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 Blood War Inquel IV
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 Storms over Kagamino
- ↑ Coincidental Meetings
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 Unveiling the Grand Scheme
- ↑ Cutting to the Heart of the Matter
- ↑ Kenji's Awakening: The Brutal Battle for Control!
- ↑ Return of the Legend
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 Cutting to the Heart of the Matter: Tsuji Unbound
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 Averian's Proposal
- ↑ Rage of the Heavens
- ↑ User blog:Njalm2/Alignments
- ↑ 24.0 24.1 Tower of Night: Disaster Strikes
- ↑ Tower of Night: Resolve Renewed
- ↑ Kenji gone Mad?
- ↑ Test of Resolve
- ↑ Reckoning of the Shiba Brothers
- ↑ Second Act: Heart of the Beast
- ↑ 30.0 30.1 30.2 30.3 Clash! Kenji vs Margin!
- ↑ 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 31.4 Trickster Strikes Part XII
- ↑ Trickster Strikes Part VI
- ↑ 33.0 33.1 Party Crashers
- ↑ 34.00 34.01 34.02 34.03 34.04 34.05 34.06 34.07 34.08 34.09 34.10 Disaster in Switzerland
- ↑ 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3 The Weaver of Dreams and the Phoenix
- ↑ 36.00 36.01 36.02 36.03 36.04 36.05 36.06 36.07 36.08 36.09 36.10 36.11 36.12 36.13 36.14 Desperate Stand: Averian Appears!
- ↑ 37.00 37.01 37.02 37.03 37.04 37.05 37.06 37.07 37.08 37.09 37.10 37.11 37.12 37.13 37.14 37.15 37.16 Survival Against the Odds: Kenji vs. Averian
- ↑ Trickster Strikes Parts IV, V and VIII
- ↑ 39.0 39.1 39.2 Trickster Strikes Part XI
- ↑ Trickster Strikes Part VIII
- ↑ Anika's vanguard
- ↑ Trickster Strikes Part V
- ↑ Trickster Strikes Part X
- ↑ Haunted by the Past Part II
- ↑ First Spiritual War: Prelude
- ↑ Haunted by the Past Part III
- ↑ Haunted by the Past Part IV
- ↑ 48.0 48.1 48.2 Bount Conflict: Investigation
- ↑ The Perfectionist's Storms
- ↑ Oda's power
- ↑ A Fight For Old Time's Sake
- ↑ 52.0 52.1 Day 28: Grat Runs Red
- ↑ Tale of Survival: Naoko's Struggle
- ↑ 54.0 54.1 54.2 54.3 54.4 54.5 Fatherly Intervention
- ↑ 55.0 55.1 55.2 55.3 55.4 Solitary Invasion
- ↑ Tsuji
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 499, pages 8-9
- ↑ Bleach manga; Chapter 199, pages 16-17
- ↑ 59.0 59.1 59.2 59.3 59.4 59.5 The Fire Still Burns
- ↑ Day 19: Ghosts of Yesterday
- ↑ Tenshi
- ↑ Dealing with Loose Ends
- ↑ Riki's Revival