|Height||174 cm (5'8½")|
|Weight||54 kg (119 lbs)|
|Affiliation||The Divisions, Soul Society|
|Occupation||Captain of the 5th Division|
|Base of Operations||5th Division HQ, Seireitei, Soul Society|
|Marital Status|| Single
|Bankai||Not Yet Revealed|
Bokuden Tsukahara (塚原卜伝, Tsukahara Bokuden) is one of the captains within the first generation of the Gotei 13, currently known as "The Divisions". He is the 5th Divsion Captain with a currently unknown lieutenant. An old shinigami, Bokuden is famously known as the Blind Swordsman ((盲人剣客, Moujin Kenkaku) due to his ailment and tremendous skill with a sword.
AppearanceAppearing as a humble old man, its hard to imagine Bokuden being a powerful combatant. In fact, Bokuden generally carries himself as quiet and meager who's body is rather slim and lean with his shoulders slouched down. His age makes him only slightly younger than Yamamto, and the two share several similar facial characteristics. Before his time as a captain, his attire was very simple, typically colored in earth tones that made him blend quite easily in the background. This was an invaluable ability, especially during his time as an assassin. As a wandering sword for hire, he carried his belongings in a tightly wrapped green blanket tied over his shoulder and roamed from place to place with no permanent home.
He's noted for wearing a light beige colored hat that covered everything above his nose and tilted his head forward to obscure his face. The hat has several vertical slits in front where his eyes would be. This accents his ability to blend into a crowd and makes it difficult for others to describe his appearance.When not wearing his hat, Bokuden is revealed to have light skin with very little wrinkles. His eyes, though lifeless, are dark brown and typically stare off into the distance under thin brown eyebrows. The only facial hair his has is a neatly cropped beard that covers his mouth and chin. Similar to Yamamoto, he only has brown hair around the sides and back of his head while the top remains bald except for a small patch at the very top.
While dressed as a captain, Bokuden carries two swords tucked into an olive green sash. The swords are both wrapped in green cloth around the handles, have black tsubas and red sheathes. His white captain's haori is long sleeved and has his division's insignia printed in black on the back. Bokuden continues to wear his hat during these times to mask his eyes as most people still find it difficult to stare into his lifeless eyes. When he walks, he tends to walk with his arms crossed over his stomach with them tucked into the sleeves of haori.
Bokuden is best described as a quiet and old man reminiscent of a grandfather. As one of the oldest captains, Bokuden is widely respected by his peers as an extraordinary swordsman with near centuries of battle experience. There is not one shinigami within Soul Society that considers him weak or feeble due to his blindness, though when he was younger was cast out by his family for his handicap. Bokuden has spent most of his life fending for himself, all while increasing his remaining senses to help him "see" and honing his skills with a sword in order to survive. This has allowed him to create a name for himself as the Blind Swordsman and was regarded as one of Soul Society's greatest assassins before joining the Divisions.
Though a deadly killer, Bokuden carries himself in a gentle manner and is soft spoken when conversing with others, never lashing out or speaking loudily. Sometimes, people aren't even aware that he walks into a room until he speaks. This is actually a quality that makes him more frightening because Bokuden is able to perfectly mask his deadly abilities and convince his opponents that he is merely a feeble old man who walks with a tall wooden walking cane. While walking, he typically takes slow and steady steps, bracing himself against his cane with his eyes partially open as if dozing off.
Even when battling against opponents, Bokuden never shows any signs of distress or worry and continues with his soft nature. If facing a single opponent, he's known to speak casually with them and calls out their attack patterns or openings in an effort to increase the battle's difficulty and have them improve. Though he isn't above killing his enemies quickly if ordered to do so.
Like many of the founding members of the Divisions, Bokuden was previously a criminal within Soul Soceity and regarded as a great assassin. There are numerous stories of regarding the Blind Swordsman, a moniker given to him that references his amazing ability to wield a sword regardless of his blind disability. It is unknown when exactly he became blind, but it is known that it was self inflicted to combat the effects of his own Zanpakutō.
Once his skills had reached a certain level of notoriety, Yamamoto chose him to found the 5th Division and lead it as its captain. He was also given the title of Instructor in the use of both Hohō and Kidō at the newly formed Shinigami Academy, and tasked with training the new generation of soldiers.
Powers & Abilities
Immense Spiritual Power: As a founding member of the Divisions, Bokuden possesses tremendous levels of spiritual power that makes him one of its most powerful members. Though appearing as a gentle and old man, his spiritual power has been described as monstrous. When exerting it, it appears as a bright white that's nearly blinding when looked at directly. His control is so great that he's able to expel portions of his spiritual power through his sword to increase their cutting power and damage. This has allowed him to create a form of fighting that combines both spiritual power and swordplay to overwhelm his opponents.
Zanjutsu Master: Due to the nature of the first generation of the Gotei 13 being the most powerful version, Bokuden possesses exceptional skill in swordplay which is further enhanced by the fact that he is blind. He can effectively match any combatant with little to no difficulty and often uses his blindness to his advantage by neutralizing his opponent's sight through either Kido or his Zanpakutō's special abilities, and impairing them due to a lifetime of ocular sensory dependence. He's known to be a master at the art of drawing the sword and can deliver strikes with such speed that the only thing that can be seen is the glint from his steel. Bokuden is able to draw his blade, slash his opponent and sheath his sword before his opponent is even aware.
- Reishiki (霊式, "Style of the Departed Soul") This style of swordfighting involves a combination of strikes and spiritual power to release short but powerful bursts of energy to crush his opponents or knock them back. When swinging his sword, he's able to release portions of his immense spiritual power as concussive force. This helps augment the physical power behind simple sword strikes or follow up clashes with a second attack while the opponent is momentarily restrained.
- Hitotsutanjō: Tsuchi (一誕生 • 槌, "One Birth: Gavel") A simple technique where Bokuden comes down with a powerful vertical strike and then follows up with a burst of strong downward pressure like a hammer that is capable to destroying the ground underneath the target and slamming his target down with tremendous crushing force.
- Rokutanjō: Hajiku (六誕生 • 弾く, "Six Birth: Repel") A technique where Bokuden releases his spiritual pressure as a wave to knock back an opponent. This is primarily a defensive technique to help create space between a user and a target, and can even be used through reflex.
Enhanced Senses: Due to his loss of sight, his body naturally developed his other senses to higher levels. This allows to paint a picture of his environment in his mind using his remaining senses and is able to move throughout an area without stumbling or being caught by surprise. His hearing is so keen that he's able to hear his opponent's muscles tensing before a strike, their breathing if its labored or their heartbeat if they're tiring. This allows him to react with almost imperceptible speed. In fact, its very rare to catch him off guard or sneak up on him.
Hohō Master: Even for his age, Bokuden possesses amazing skill in the art of Flash Steps that can easily match his fellow captains. As an assassin, he could eliminate his targets with the blink of an eye and effortlessly dodges multiple attacks, even if he was facing against a large group. As a master in Hohō, he's fully knowledgeable of its techniques and can perfectly execute them. When moving, his form is graceful and focused, and allows him to traverse huge gaps in the blink of an eye. As an experienced user, Bokuden is responsible for teaching classes in the newly formed Shinigami Acedemy, Shinōreijutsuin (真央霊術院, Spiritual Arts Academy).
- Utsusemi (空蝉, "Cicada", referencing their molting) An advanced Shunpo technique that Bokuden favors during battles. By using his amazing speed, Bokuden can simultaneously dodge an attack and create an exact duplicate of himself that can still move for a few moments before finally disappearing. Typically, he baits an opponent into attacking him and strike the afterimage, allowing him to maneuver behind a target and strike them before they are aware of what happened.
Kidō Master: Bokuden possesses a natural affinity towards Kidō and is able to cast its spells with ease. Others have remarked that when casting, Bokuden does effortlessly and is never seen straining to hold a barrier in place or tire from multiple use. Like his skill in Hohō, Bokuden's style of casting has been described as graceful and fluid, with the simplest gesture able to unleash powerful spells with extreme potency.
Mizukagami (水鏡, "Reflecting Water") Bokuden's Zanpakutō appears as rather plain looking katana with a dark brown hilt and red sheath. Even the tsuba appears unpolished and square shaped with the corners indented.
- Shikai: While its release command is currently unknown, it is known that when released Mizukagami's appearance does not change, instead the blade emits a powerful light that temporarily blinds them. This ability is an automatic effect that is unleashed when Mizukagami is released.
- Shikai Special Ability: If anyone witnesses the light from the release they are automatically under Mizukagami's special ability, which target's their vision and their ability to perceive him. The ability is described as creating echoes of Bokuden either standing still or performing actions that aren't actual movements. Instead they are merely illusions used to disorient his opponents or mask his true actions. An example is when Bokuden holds his blade and casually brings it to his side, seemingly creating an opening for opponents to charge in for. As they approach him, the sword disappears and now appears thrusting forward to strike them. This causes confusion within his targets who are now unable to read his movements or interpret his actions. This is merely a simple use of his Zanpakutō's special ability. He's also able to effectively render himself invisible by causing his opponent to perceive that he has disappeared, or strike an illusion of himself. The illusion abilities of Mizukagami are limited to only distorting himself and his actions, not actually creating new illusions of people or obects, or changing his appearance into someone else. An interesting side note to Mizukagami's release is that anyone who witnesses it is caught under its power, even Bokuden himself. To others, everyone around them appear to be out of focus, often appearing as copies. To compensate for this disadvantage, Bokuden chose to blind himself permanently.
Behind the Scenes