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Kaien Shiba
KaienShiba
Race Soul
Birthday October 27[1]
Gender Male
Height 183 cm[1] (6'0")[2]
Weight 68 kg[1] (150 lbs)[2]
Professional Status
Affiliation Gotei 13, Soul Society, Shiba Family
Profession Shinigami
Position Lieutenant of the 13th Division
Division 13th Division 13th Division
Partner Jūshirō Ukitake, Rukia Kuchiki
Base of Operations Seireitei, Soul Society
Personal Status
Relatives Miyako Shiba (wife, deceased)
Kūkaku Shiba (sister)
Ganju Shiba (brother)
Isshin Shiba (relative)
Ichigo Kurosaki (relative)
Education Shinōreijutsuin
Zanpakutō
Shikai Nejibana
First Appearance
Manga Volume 10, Chapter 83

Kaien Shiba (志波 海燕, Shiba Kaien) was the lieutenant of the 13th Division under Captain Jūshirō Ukitake, a member of the Shiba Family, and the mentor of Rukia Kuchiki. He was also the older brother of both Kūkaku and Ganju Shiba. Kaien was a trusted and well-respected Shinigami who was tragically killed by Rukia after his body was taken over by a Hollow.

Appearance

Kaien Shiba was a youthful Soul, appearing much younger than Byakuya Kuchiki despite being several decades older than him.[3] He was tall, had spiky black hair, grey eyes, long eyelashes, and pale skin. He wore the standard attire of a Shinigami lieutenant: a shihakushō with a lieutenant's badge on his arm. He also had a spiral tatoo on his left arm.[4] He was noted to look strikingly similar to his cousin, Ichigo Kurosaki, by those who knew him, including Rukia and Byakuya Kuchiki.

Personality

Kaien Shiba was a well-regarded Shinigami and Jūshirō Ukitake's most trusted subordinate when he was alive.[1] A man of strong convictions, Kaien was also a skilled leader who often ran the 13th Division in Ukitake's stead, as the captain was frequently ill. He always treated those under his command equally, regardless of their social standing or gender. He was also outspoken and rough-around-the-edges, but was well-known for being down-to-earth. As a result, he was adored by his division.[2]

Kaien was exceedingly humble and respectful. When he was initially offered the position of lieutenant in the 13th Division, he repeatedly turned it down, believing that there were others more worthy of the position than himself. He also refuted the notion that he was a prodigy despite the clear evidence to the contrary.[5]

However, Kaien was prone to irrational outbursts when angered. The death of his wife at the hands of a Hollow profoundly affected Kaien and he swore revenge on that Hollow, rashly charging after it alone despite protests from Ukitake.[3] Instead, the Hollow took over his body, which resulted in his death. He thanked Rukia Kuchiki, who released the Hollow's control of him, as his desire for revenge was now sated and he could leave his heart behind.[6]

Because of how well-liked he was, Kaien was gifted at making friends and he liked to spend his time training with them. His main hobby was napping and his favorite foods were rice cake covered with sweetened red beans, soybean flower, and sesame seeds (called ohagi in Japan).[6]

History

KaienAndUkitakeTea

Ukitake attempts to convince Kaien to become his lieutenant.

Kaien Shiba was born into the Shiba Family, then still a member of the Five Great Noble Families, and grew up in Rukongai along with his siblings. He was exceptionally gifted and finished a six year curriculum at the Shinō Spiritual Arts Academy in only two years. He graduated with "sixth class spiritual powers" (六等霊威, rokutō reii; Literally meaning "Sixth Class Spiritual Might"), which automatically qualified him to become a lieutenant in the Gotei 13—a feat he accomplished five years later when he became the lieutenant of the 13th Division.[4]

He was initially reluctant to become a lieutenant and had refused Jūshirō Ukitake's offers several times, much to the captain's dismay, because he believed others were more worthy of the position. Once, 110 years ago, when Ukitake was attempting to convince him to become his lieutenant, the two men discussed Gin Ichimaru, who had proven even more impressive by graduating the Academy in just one year. Kaien thought that this was further validation that someone other than him should be lieutenant, though Ukitake disagreed with him.[5]

KaienSocializing

Kaien socializing with his division.

Decades later, when Rukia Kuchiki joined the 13th Division, Kaien had finally accepted Ukitake's offer and was there to greet her. Rukia was taken aback by Kaien's boisterous personality, but, as he was the first member of the division to treat her with respect, she took to him quickly. Rukia felt shamed for not obtaining a seat upon joining the division, a shame her older brother Byakuya Kuchiki shared, but Kaien comforted her by telling her that, no matter what she faced, she was his friend for life.[3]

At some point, Kaien married a woman named Miyako, who became the 3rd Seat of the 13th Division due to her prodigious skills and despite the prejudices against her gender.[2] Shortly after Rukia joined the 13th Division, Miyako was murdered by a Hollow. Deeply grieved by the loss of his wife, Kaien rashly went alone after the Hollow who murdered her. Reluctantly, Ukitake and Rukia joined him on his mission.[3]

Metastacia

Metastacia: the Hollow that killed Kaien's wife.

After discovering the Hollow's nest, Rukia volunteered to fight it first, but Kaien insisted on fighting it alone. Kaien asked the Hollow how many Shinigami it had killed, but the Hollow couldn't recall. When Kaien asked it if it regretted the Shinigami it ate, the Hollow taunted him by saying that it did, especially the Shinigami woman that it had eaten earlier. Provoked, Kaien drew his sword and grabbed one of the Hollow's tentacles and attempted to release his Zanpakutō, Nejibana, but, by touching the Hollow, it was able to activate its ability and destroy his weapon. Rukia attempted to come to his aid, but Captain Ukitake stopped her, noting that Kaien was embroiled in a struggle to defend the honor of the Shinigami the Hollow had killed, and that such battles must be fought one-on-one.[7]

Legacy

Kaien's death had a profound effect on all who knew him, but none moreso than his captain, Jūshirō Ukitake, and his friend, Rukia Kuchiki. The 13th Division did not believe anyone could replace Kaien following his death and did not promote a new lieutenant to take his position.[6]

Ukitake became a pacifist as a result of his death and actively avoided violence at all costs. This was why he intervened to save Rukia when she was sentenced to execution.[6][3]

Rukia was deeply scarred for her part in her close friend's death.[6]

Powers & Abilities

Prodigy: Kaien was noted to be a prodigy by his captain, siblings, and by the instructors at the Shinō Spiritual Arts Academy. He was able to graduate the Academy's six-year curriculum in just two and was immediately qualified to become a lieutenant in the Gotei 13 as a result of his talents.[4][5]

Hohō Practitioner: Kaien was noted to be exceedingly fast by Metastacia, as the lieutenant was able to sneak up on the Hollow with a single step.[7]

Former Powers & Abilities

Zanpakutō

Nejibana (捩花; Viz "Twisted Flower"; Literally meaning "Screw Flower"): Kaien's Zanpakutō took the form of a standard Japanese katana with a rectangular guard and a blue hilt in its sealed state. It was destroyed by the Hollow that killed Kaien.[7]

Nejibana

Aaroniero Arruruerie with Kaien's Shikai: Nejibana.

  • Shikai: Kaien released Nejibana by spinning it while reciting the release call "Surge, Water and Heavens" (水天逆巻け, suiten sakamake; Viz "Rage Across the Seas and Heavens").[2][1][6] Upon release, Nejibana transformed into a three-pronged trident with a blue horsehair tassel, similar to a Chinese ji. The main staff also ended in a corkscrew spearlike protrusion, from which water freely issued.[2][8]
Shikai Special Ability: Nejibana was a water-type Zanpakutō and could generate as well as manipulate that element. Water was generated in the corkscrew-like end of the trident and it would then gather around the head of the trident for battle. Nejibana was capable of generating large waves with just a swing of its trident.[9]

Trivia

  • Nejibana (捩花) literally translates to "screw flower." This is likely refers to a genus of flowers known as Spiranthes, from the Greek meaning "coil flower."
  • Kaien shares his favorite foods with his former captain, Jūshirō Ukitake.[6]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Bleach: Official Character Book 2 MASKED
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Bleach: Official Character Book of SOULs
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Bleach chapter 134
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Bleach chapter 83
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Bleach chapter -105
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 Bleach Official Bootleg: KaraBuri+
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Bleach chapter 135
  8. Bleach chapter 265
  9. Bleach chapter 266
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