11th squad


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Despite his initial introduction as a lethal foe, Kenpachi later begins to play the role of the comical anti-hero in Bleach: though still self-centered and violent, his actions tend to be for the best and his relationship with his division and others is always portrayed comically. This comical shift is primarily centered around his appearances in the Bleach anime and omake stories, with the exception of the occasional diatribe between himself and Yachiru. He is depicted as having a very poor sense of direction, and is often depicted in omake stories asking his lieutenant Yachiru for directions to a particular place (who then randomly points in a direction).

Kenpachi lives for battle (evidenced by his method of attaining his rank) and enjoys a good fight more than anything. He even weakens himself in an effort to make any fight last longer. He also claims that injury and death are nothing but the price one pays for a good fight. Despite his group being the most bloodthirsty of the Gotei 13, they have their own code of ethics, different from the set rules of Soul Society, fitting with Kenpachi's portrayal as a free spirit; on various occasions, he is seen putting fun before work.

Prior to entering Soul Society, Zaraki resided in District 80, the most lawless district surrounding Soul Society. He became very proficient with swordsmanship while he was there, and eventually adopting the district's name, "Zaraki", as his surname. After leaving the district he found a small girl who, despite her young age, did not fear his sword. Since she had no name, he named her Yachiru (やちる) in remembrance of the only person he ever admired. At the same time he also took on a name for himself: Kenpachi, the title bestowed upon the strongest swordsman, the one who has killed the most, and a tradition amongst captains of the 11th Division. Yachiru became inseparable from Zaraki from that point further, following him wherever he went, usually clinging to his back.

After some time had passed, Zaraki found his way into Soul Society and killed the previous captain of the 11th Division, thus gaining his seat in the Gotei 13. As a new captain, Zaraki was begrudgingly forced to learn kendo, though he made it a point to avoid using it in battle in order to prolong the experience of fighting as long as possible.

In an interview, Tite Kubo noted that he would like to go more into depth about Zaraki.[3]

Kenpachi does not know the name of his zanpakutō, and is the only captain in the history of the Gotei 13 who cannot perform bankai. Despite not knowing its name, his zanpakutō is constantly released due to his immense spiritual pressure in the same manner as Ichigo's Zangetsu.[4] The sword's appearance is a reflection of Kenpachi's own practice of weakening himself to fight: it is a seemingly worn-down and dull blade with a guard that extends inward from its center. The blade is much longer than that of a standard zanpakutō. Despite its appearance, it is easily capable of cutting through most objects. This is demonstrated when he stabs straight through Ichigo's zanpakutō and later slices a building in half with careless effort after releasing the full force of his spiritual power.

It appears that after his fight with Ichigo, Kenpachi wishes to learn more about his zanpakutō because he wants to become stronger and can identify with the pain of not having a name. However, he is not yet capable of communicating with his zanpakutō, and it is implied that he continually tries to learn from his zanpakutō so that he can achieve a new tier of power. Zangetsu notes that Kenpachi's disharmony with his zanpakutō causes the two to diminish each other's power.