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Izō Okada
IzoOkada
"The Killing Shadow"
Name Izō Okada
Kanji 岡田以蔵
Romanji Okada Izō
Characteristics
Race Soul
Gender Male
Height 183 cm (6'0")
Weight 68 kg (151 lbs)
Eyes Red
Hair Red
Professional Status
Affiliation Soul Society, Soul King
Previous Affiliation Gotei 13
Occupation Honor Guard of the First Point
Previous Occupation Captain of the 2nd Division
Team Honor Guard
Previous Team 2nd Division
Previous Partner Saizō Fujibayashi
Base of Operations Soul King Palace
Personal Status
Status Active
Zanpakutō
Shikai Yonaka
Bankai Yonaka Banka

Izō Okada (岡田以蔵, Okada Izō) is the former Captain of the 2nd Division, as well as the former Commander of the Onmitsukidō and Corp Commander of the Executive Militia. A renowned assassin during his time in the Gotei 13, his skill in the art earned him the name "Satsukage" (殺影, "The Killing Shadow"). He was the former captain of Saizō Fujibayashi, who served as his lieutenant prior to his promotion.

After his promotion to the Soul King Palace, Izō became a member of the Honor Guard, the highest level a shinigami could attain, and was appointed the Honor Guard of the First Point (最初の点の儀仗兵, "Saishonoten no Gijō-hei"), as well as its commanding officer. He is also the only Honor Guard that speaks directly with the Soul King, delegating assignments to the other members of the organization.

Appearance

YoungIzo

Young Izō

During his time in the Gotei 13, most of Izō's appearance was hidden underneath black garments that covered most of his body. The only visible area was partially around his eyes, which revealed a man with pale skin and piercing red eyes. The bottom half of his face was covered in a black skin tight material while the top half was covered in a black cap. His attire consisted a black skin tight suit that covered his entire body, including his hands, while his wrists were covered in white cloth. The suit somewhat reveals a lean and toned frame, no doubt conditioned from numerous years of work. Over this material, Izō wore a dark grey short sleeved coat with red lining and black hakama tied by a black sash and tucked into long black jika-tabi. This outfit allowed him to blend almost seamlessly into shadows and increase his stealth ability.

Upon joining the Honor Guard, Izō was required to change most of his outfit to fall in line with the other captains, though was still allowed to change into his original attire for certain missions that require the element of surprise and stealth. His captain's attire consists of the standard captain's haori, though his is sleeveless with the collar slightly raised. There are two 4-point stars with long blue ribbons hang from.

CurrentIzo

Current attire

He also no longer wears a headpiece, revealing long crimson red hair tied into a braid that reaches almost the length of his entire body. There is a large tuft of hair in the front of his head where the bangs hang over his forehead and cover most of the left side of his face, including his eye. His braid is typically wrapped around his neck and hangs over his shoulder. He still retains his face mask, and with his ears showing now, reveals he has several piercings that run top to bottom of them.

Typically, the captain prefers to keep to his all black outfit, choosing to only use his standard captain's outfit during ceremony or official meetings. Regardless of which outfit he uses, Izō carries two tantos strapped on his back over the waist line.

Personality

IzoGrinning

Izō grinning

Izō is a man who greatly enjoys killing, which he often has to keep his urges in check due to the discipline required for all the members within the Honor Guard. Prior to joining the organization, Izō was one of Soul Society's greatest assassins, excelling in the art of stealth and silent killings. His joy of killing is often expressed by the large grin and sinister eyes present on his face. This makes him quite intimidating to be around. As the former leader of the Onmitsukidō, he commanded the second largest force within the Divisions and displays certain characteristics of a strict drill sergeant.

As a former captain of the Gotei 13, he commands a huge amount of respect from his subordinates, who follow his orders without hesitation. Izō is also a man who does not tolerate insubordination or weakness, and personally deals with those instances. Sometimes with deadly force if necessary. He shows no compassion to those around him, and sees such emotions as impediments to performing one's duty fully. Izō would even dispatch his fellow allies if it meant the greater good would survive. When Saizō was his lieutenant, Izō expressed silent admiration towards him, though never expressed any friendly emotions towards him. Instead, Izō acted primarily as a leader and Saizō the follower. But during the lieutenant's recommendation for captain, Izō immediately voted for Saizō's promotion citing excellent skills, work ethic and a suitable replacement.

Aside from his rough exterior, one cannot disregard his natural talents which earned him a position within the Gotei 13. In fact, he is greatly respected for his sense of duty and determination to fulfill his missions. Even when facing impossible odds, Izō will never ask for assistance, showing a great sense of pride within his abilities, and admits that if he were to ever be in a situation where his life was on the line, then it was of his own doing. This is a motto that he's stated throughout the Onmitsukidō, meaning one is responsible for their own actions and shouldn't expect others to save them. He firmly believes that every soldier must deal with the consequences of their actions, and a true test of character comes in the form of how they deal with those consequences.

Upon joining the Honor Guard, Izō bears tremendous responsibility as not only a member of the organization, but as the commanding officer. He is principle figure in the Soul King's defense and obeys each and every one of his commands without question. Because of this, Izō is the only Honor Guard that does not leave the Soul King Palace when laying a fallen captain to rest in Soul Society, nor can he ever leave his position even if the other members leave or are killed. Also, there seems to be a shift in his personality where his bloodthirsty nature has subsided an apparent amount as he no longers expresses urges to end lives and instead focuses on protecting.

History

Prior to the events happening within the War of Souls Arc, Izō served as captain of the 2nd Division and helped re-establish the Onmitsukidō, using his profoud skill as a ninja and master assassin to help train Soul Society's stealth forces. Not much is known during his time as captain, or even what his past was like before joining the Gotei 13, but he was considered one of the finest warriors born during that time and rose through the ranks as one Soul Society's most powerful Shinigami.

While serving as captain of 2nd Division, Saizō Fujibayashi was his lieutenant and trained him the various methods of stealth combat and assassination arts. It was during a secret meeting that Izō was promoted to the Honor Guard and serve as its commanding officer with the sole responsibility of protecting the Soul King. Before he departed for the Royal Realm, he was present during Saizō's captain exam and approved of his promotion to the new captain of the 2nd Division.

Plot

Coming Soon.

Powers & Abilities

Despite never appearing in battle during the War of Souls Arc, Izō is regarded as Soul Society's most deadly combatant and assassin, able to kill with such precision and lethality that an opponent wouldn't be aware of it until it was over. Below is a list of his skills described either through other individuals in the arc, or through the author's attempt at explaining his level of power compared to many other individuals in the Bleach War of Souls universe.

Zanjutsu Master: As the prominent figure in creating the new Onmitsukidō, Izō excels at melee combat and swordplay, specializing in close quarter combat, and is considered one of Soul Society's greatest warriors which earned him the promotion to the Honor Guard. Another example of the level of skill he possesses as that he is charged with personally protecting the Soul King, meaning his abilities are nearly second to none. Even Captain Fujibayashi commented that while his skills are great, Izō is still a much more proficient fighter. His style of combat revolves the use of stealth and distraction that allows him to quickly strike before his targets are aware of his presence. With his Zanpakutō being two separate swords, Izō learned to be ambidextrous and is a highly adaptable fighter who can easily swing with equal strength and speed with both hands. Though knowledgeable in many forms and styles of swordplay, he favors quick piercing strikes or other forms of thrusting techniques to bypass an opponent's defenses. Izō is also able to switch between normal and reverse grip in the middle of combat with no effort, depending on which stance grants him the better advantage. His skill is so great that several captains have regarded him as being one of the most dangerous combatants currently existing who should be proceeded with extreme caution. Even while fighting with both swords, he can fight against multiple opponents, some of which are near captain class and still hold his own without any visible signs of distress. He's also known to have created several assassination techniques taught in Zanjutsu training, as well as mastered several complex maneuvers that are proven difficult even for prodigies.

  • Hasamiuchi (挟み撃ち, Pincer Attack) A technique Izō created that incorporates his speed, master precision and his Zanpakutō in released state. To initiate the attack, Izō holds both blades out to each side and crouches low, entering a stance that's reminiscent of bird spreading its wings. He will then leap forward at blurring speeds towards his opponent, arms stretched out as he moves. Just as he is about to make contact with his opponent, he will bring both arms down towards the target, attacking from each side, and increase his speed to the point that he instantly vanishes. Izō will appear a short distance away from behind his opponent with both blades crossed over one another. While in this stance, it will appear as if nothing has happened to the opponent but a second later, the damage will appear as two diagonally intersecting lines across their chest, with a spurt of blood coming out of the wounds in the process. This effect is due to Izō's increadible speed that makes the appearance of the damage delayed. Therefore creating surprise and shock in his opponents who failed to notice the blow.

Hakuda Master: Zanjutsu is not the only area where Izō specializes in, and is considered equally dangerous in Hakuda. He's honed his hand-to-hand combat ability to master level, making him one of the top fighters within the Gotei 13. Very few are able to match him in physical combat and a single punch can be delivered with great power thanks to his above average strength. Izō's fighting style is combination of bone manipulation techniques and targeting weak points within the body either through closed fists or finger thrusts and chops. This allows him to inflict great damage with minimal effort, as well as execute paralyzing attacks to immobilize his opponents. He also specializes in grappling and takedown throws when up close, giving him a wide range of offensive techniques to overwhelm his targets. Due to the nature of his Zanpakutō, Izō relies heavily on the use of his body to continue fighting as he loses it upon its release. Even with his slender frame, he's able to easily engage with larger opponents, some which can be twice his size and defeat them with ease. He's even able to engage in large groups, quickly maneuvering around opponents and striking them down in a single blow. By combining his physical attributes and skill in fighting, its been greatly accepted that Izō is Soul Society's most proficient fighter, even against Captain Yoshirō Nobuyuki.

Hohō Master: Prior to joining the Honor Guard, Izō commanded the Onmitsukidō, and organization that specializes in combat and stealth, relying on their speed to quickly dispatch their opponents. As such, Izō is a master in the art of Flash Steps to the likes that he is unequalled. Not only is he knowledgeable and mastered its techniques, he's regarded as the fastest within the Gotei 13 and the Honor Guard, rivaling former Royal Guard member, Tenjirō Kirinji. Even if he were to be spotted through whatever means or stealth is no longer an option, Izō's speed would easily overtake an opponent before they had time to react. Combined with his fighting ability, Izō is known to be able to defeat whole groups singlehandedly and even orders his troops to remain behind because of the confidence in his ability. When he moves and unleashes his attacks, they can appear in the blink of eye, filling the landscape with images of him attacking simultaneously. He's stated that if he were facing off against an opponent, he could close in on a target, strike them and appear in his previous position during the span of an eye blinking. This means that taking your eyes off of him for even a second could prove fatal. The speed of his movements are also transferred to his many Zanjutsu and Hakuda techniques, using it to strike a target before they can react. In fact, many of his techniques appear so fast that he can damage a target without them being aware of it, and the wounds only appearing a few moments later.

  • Senka (閃花, "Flash Blossom"): A favored Shunpo technique where one, moving to their opponent's back, directly attacks and seals one's "Saketsu" and "Hakusui" in two rapid strikes (effectively cutting them off from their spiritual energy flow). The technique is so fast, an opponent may not be able to tell whether they were attacked from the front or the back, and even an outside observer may find it impossible see the movements. With Izō's speed, he could effectively cut an opponent from their spiritual flow, rendering them unconcious in the process, or prove fatal enough through the blood loss.
  • Yūreimai (幽霊舞, "Ghost Dance") While Utsusemi focuses on using a practioner's speed to leave behind an afterimage capable of sustaining injury before vanishing, Genzō takes this skill to a different level. Only capable by true masters of Shunpo, a user will cause their body to move so fast in an small space that they become intangible. Outwardly, the user appears as though they are standing still, but in actually they are continuously shifting their body so that physical attacks are incapable of hitting. This allows them to sustain no damage while in this state. While many who use this technique remain stationary, Izō is capable of moving normally, so can surprise his opponents.
  • Genzō (幻像, "Phantom") An advanced Shunpo technique in which Izō effectively executes through exceptional speed. Seemingly standing still, numerous clones will begin to blur into existense all around him. The clones are not physical constructs, but instead a form of visual illusion that manipulates an opponent's sight. These clones are perfect replicas that move and react in a similar fashion to Izo, and he can easily mask his presence between them without his opponent knowing which is the original. It is unknown the exact number of clones he can create but its been observed as well into a dozen creations. This allows him to completely encircle a target to mask his movements, and can use his speed to switch positions with any of them so that he can attack from any direction.

Master Assassin: Izō's skill in the art of Assassination is unparelled and is still considered Soul Society's greatest assassin. Having over a hundred missions under his belt, he has never failed his objectives, effectively killing hundreds under his blade and has yet to meet a target who could escape his grasp. Using his natural skill in stealth, combined with his Zanpakutō's ability, he earned the name the Killing Shadow and dispatched his opponents in the cover of darkness. His skill is so great that many of his targets never even saw him before they were executed. Because of his skill, he was easily the target of Captain Yoshirō Nobuyuki for recruitment into the Gotei 13, and wanted him to rebuild the organization. Naturally, Izō fit within this organization and would later enhance its abilities to effectively carry out secret missions, as well as introduce new techniques that he's labled as Ansatsu Ōgi (暗殺奥義, "Assassination Secret Arts") that focus entirely on techniques meant to kill opponents in a signal attack, while maintaining stealth and speed. In fact, any failure to kill a target using any of these techniques would be considered a great dishonor with the Second Division with Izō demoting the user or expelling them all together. That is why these techniques are only taught to a few individuals with its tradition carried on through Captain Fujibayashi and his leadership.

Master Strategist: Though he often worked in solitude, Izō was none the less a brilliant strategist, deserving of the title of captain, and led his squad successfully for many years before his promotion. As the former leader of the 2nd Division, he was responsible for several branches within it, such as the Onmitsukidō, the Executive Militia, the Patrol Unit and the Detention Unit. As such, he bared tremendous responsibilities, especially with the fact that he was rebuilding the division to its former pre-war status. His methods, though cited as being heartless and cold at times, have always yielded the best results due to his insistance that emotion must be removed to make a clear path to logical reasoning. He also treats his subordinates as though he were a strict drill sergeant, putting his soldiers through intense exercises and constant training. His strategic mind also revolves around the amazing ability to quickly adapt to new situations, thinking calmly and with purpose, and swiftly adjust his strategies in light of new obstacles. Even with his standoff-ish personality, Izō is regarded as a brilliant and experienced strategist and tactician rivaling any with the current Gotei 13, and one of the principal reasons he was selected for commanding officer of the Honor Guard.

Immense Agility: Izō's acrobatic prowess is without equal and uses it in his fighting style and assassinations to enhance their effectiveness. Seemingly able to maneuver under, over and around any obstacle with amazing speed and grace, Izō can attack from all angles and overpower his targets quickly. The application of his agility is truly awe inspiring and proves to be quite versatile. Be it for offense to gain the higher ground and advantage, using it defensively to avoid seemingly any physical attack and remain unharmed, or to make his way throughout an area with ease, Izō can execute complex acrobatic feats without any visible signs of effort. He can quickly scale up vertical surfaces, either by using his speed to seemingly run on the surface, or hop from one wall to the next to reach a great height. Izō's agility is regarded as fluid and graceful, and impressively fast, often leaping out of an opponent's reach or simply avoid the swing of their attacks.

Enhanced Dexterity: Izō possesses an almost unnatural ability to contort himself into almost impossible angles that allows him to slip through his opponent's grasp or maneuver through small openings. As a wielder of two separate blades and proven to be ambidextrious, Izō is known to have excellent hand-eye coordination and can quickly switch weapons in his hands seamlessly, even during battles. He can adjust his strategies reflexively to adapt to new situations, with his attack patterns molding to it. With his dexterity, both of his hands are capable of using the same strength and speed so his attacks remain strengthened regardless which he is using.

Immense Spiritual Power: Similar to the former Royal Guard, the combined power of the Honor Guard is enough to rival that of the entire Gotei 13. This implies that each member possesses an exceedingly powerful Reiatsu which has the physical effect of paralyzing weaker willed individuals simply by standing in his presence. Izō's control of his spiritual pressure is equally impressive because he's able to mask its immense volume and remain completely undetected, which proves invaluable with his former work as Soul Society's greatest assassin. But when he wishes, he can also exert it outwardly to create shockwaves that ripple over great distances. When venting it with purpose, his power can smother lieutenants with ease, often robbing them of the precious air they need to survive, and even captain level opponents react to it. Combined with his sinister grin, he can appear quite intimidating to those who witness the release of his power, and has been noted that it visibly appears as a purple aura that seems to draw in all light around him.

Zanpakutō

Yonaka (夜中, "Dead of Night") Izō's Zanpakutō takes the form of a pair of black short tantōs. These short swords have no tsubas and when closed appear as a single piece of black wood. Izō carries them strapped to the back of his hakama near his waist, one above the other with the handles facing opposite directions. This allows him to pull either or both with ease. As a member of the Honor Guard, Izō possesses a Zanpakutō that is marked with legendary status, granting the wielder an ability or power unrivaled by most.

  • Shikai: When preparing to release Yonaka, Izō crosses his arms in an "X" shape over his chest with the the blades held reverse grip and facing down. He then states its release command, "Lurk in the shadows" (影に潜む, Kage ni hisomu) and both blades simply disperse into black shadows, leaving him completely unarmed during this stage. While released, Izō is now reliant on his Zanpakutō's special abilities and his hand-to-hand fighting to make up for this loss, much in the vein of Captain Nobuyuki.
Shikai Special Ability: While its release does not create any visible signs of change, Izō has already gained its ability without his opponents being aware. Yonaka's power comes from its ability to manipulate shadows and use it as a means of transportation. When standing in an area, all nearby shadows and those within his line of sight act as doorways for him to step through. Even the shadow cast by his opponent are his to control. This example acts very much like Shunsui's Kageoni technique. As a master assassin, this ability afforded him the ability to cover huge distances in the blink of an eye without making any tracks or offering any hints of his presence. He can effectively hide within these shadows until he's ready to take action. Also, with his control of shadows, Izo can also attack huge groups by using all present shadows as a means of moving through the battlefield. Any shadow can act as a doorway for him and can quickly transition between different shadows so that he may continue his attacks. He's even been observed pulling in individuals within a shadow and expel them out with violent force. He's stated that when he steps into a shadow, he enters a world of complete darkness where he can see through a cast shadow as if it were a window. Which in turn he can then step out from and attack an unsuspecting foe. The only known limitation is that for him to walk through shadows, it must be roughly the same size as him. But to offset this disadvantage, he can still pass his arm or leg through to make an attack. Such examples are sending a kick through a small shadow to damage an opponent or using a similar smaller shape for his hand to come out and grasp a target. Because of its dependency on shadows, Izō has stated that his Zanpakutō is considerably stronger at night, when those areas of darkness are in abundance and he can traverse freely.
  • Shadow Form: An unnamed technique that appears to be a secondary ability of Yonaka where Izō can instantly cause his body to disperse into a black smoke like substance. There are several uses for this form that range from defensive abilities or to simply move inbetween obstacles. Defensively, he can immediately switch between his normal and shadow form so that when an attack is about to make contact, he can let is phase through him harmlessly and disperse himself to move around his target. He can reform just as quickly as he changes into it so that he can immediately attack again. Other uses include using this form to slip through cracks in a wall or move around targets so that he can remain unseen and gain an advantage. Even when rubble falls on top of him, he can change into his shadow form so that he can remain unharmed, and then seep through openings so that he can reform of himself. This form proves difficult to fight against physically since he is able to instantly switch between forms to evade attacks and position himself in a more advantageous position.
  • Yorukuiki (夜区域, "Night Zone") When faced with an area without many shadows, Izō can create his own by using his spiritual energy to extend his shadow to huge proportions. This means that he brings the world of darkness that he uses to travel in and manifests it in the physical world. Upon activation, darkness will begin to emanate from his body and spread out over a large area and wrapping itself around him and his targets. This radically changes the environment to become pitch black, sapping all forms of natural light and even dimming the ones artificially created. When facing against opponents that are emitting light through special abilities, they will feel as if the darkness Izō created is smothering it and causing its luminosity to visible dimmer. Within this darkness, Izō can become completely intangible and fuse with the shadows so that he remains completely undetected. Even his spiritual pressure is scattered among the cloud of blackness, making it impossible for anyone within it unable to accurately discern his location. Since he is one with the darkness while using this technique, he can appear instantly near an opponent or in mid action to ensure that his attacks strike their intended target.
  • Bankai: Yonaka Banka (夜中挽歌, "Midnight Funeral Song") Because of his role in the War of Souls Arc, Izō never released his Bankai and therefore its effects and power remain a mystery. Its name is the only thing known definitively and a mention of it turning Izō into "Ikiteyoru" (生きて夜, "The Living Night"), which upon release would instantly kill all his enemies under the cover of total darkness, regardless of their number and defense. This signifies an exceedingly deadly power, able to dispatch a single individual or large group just upon release.

Trivia

Coming Soon.

Behind the Scenes

Coming Soon.

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