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Is This The Most Powerful Bankai In Bleach?

In the world of "Bleach," the Shinigami — such as protagonist Ichigo Kurosaki — are some of the most powerful figures around. As members of the Soul Society, they help both the spiritual and living realms by purifying dangerous Hollows and shepherding Pluses back to the world of the spiritual, and they do so with their special sword abilities, known as Zanpakuto. Typically, they end up joining certain Souls Society military organizations, such as Gotei 13, where their Zanpakuto are honed to the utmost extent.

At their most powerful, Shinigami have evolved their Zanpakuto into Bankai, granting them any number of abilities that are bound to boggle the mind. For instance, Ichibe Hyosube has a bankai that takes the form of a paintbrush, which he uses to write Japanese characters on his opponents. After being marked, Ichibe's opponents will take on the qualities of whatever he wrote on them. For example, a man that he labeled "Black Ant" would become as weak as a literal ant.

Obviously, such a versatile ability ranks among the most powerful bankai in the series, and it's no surprise that Ichibe is considered one of the strongest Shinigami around (if not the strongest). However, there is one other experienced Shinigami with a bankai that just might trump Ichibe. With it, most opponents — even strong ones — turn into nothing but a mere afterthought to its user. For many, it is definitively the most powerful bankai in all of "Bleach."

Zanka no Tachi makes other Bankai look silly

With all but a few contenders, it's pretty clear that Zanka no Tachi, the Bankai belonging to Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto, is probably the strongest bankai around. Other Bankai, like Ichibe Hyosube's Ichimonjii, come close to Zanka no Tachi in terms of potential. At the end of the day, however, Yamamoto's superior level of skill, experience, and raw power give Zanka no Tachi a real edge.

Keeping in line with Yamamoto's fire theme, the founder of the Gotei 13's Bankai is all about heat. And we aren't talking about any regular kind of heat. It is a heat so hot that it smashes whatever preconceptions your puny mind had about it into smithereens. When activated, the bankai makes both Yamamoto and his Zanpakuto so hot that they don't even create flames. His sword merely appears charred. With that extreme heat (which is in excess of 15 million degrees), though, it can deal devastating damage. Though, that might actually be an understatement because anything Yamamoto even touches with his blade instantly vaporizes. There isn't even enough time for it to burn. It just vanishes. The same can be said for his body, which is wreathed in the (still un-seeable) flames of the sun.

Oh, and it can summon armies of corpses

If Yamamoto doesn't feel like vaporizing you by waving his sword in your general direction, his bankai has a second ability. When it strikes his fancy, Yamamoto can pierce the ground with his sword to summon his armies of undead zombies, all of which must do his bidding. 

Now, technically he can't summon any dead person back from the grave. There's a caveat: the ability is limited only to people he has killed in the past. However, considering that he is the 2000-year-old founder of the Gotei and one of the strongest people in the entirety of Soul Society, the number of people he has killed is anything but small.

To top it off, Yamamoto can also do extra psychological damage by summoning specific people who he has killed before. Assuming these corpses have connections to the one Yamamoto is fighting at a given time, he can manipulate their dead loved ones to disrupt his opponent's mental state. Granted, that is a coincidental advantage at best, but it's also one that he probably doesn't need in the first place. The ability to incinerate anything in the universe alone is more than good enough to put Zanka no Tachi in the runnings for the most powerful bankai in "Bleach."