|Notable Members||Gotei 13|
|Shinigami. He is a person who gives death to his enemy. He is a person who purifies the deaths of the world. And he is a person who transforms "death" of people residing in the Material World, into "salvation".|
|— Bleach: Can't Fear Your Own World|
Shinigami (死神, Death God; Viz "Soul Reaper") are Souls who act as the spiritual guardians of the Material World. They are also known as the "Balancers" (調整者 (バランサー), Baransā; Japanese for "Regulators") of souls, and were referred to exclusively as such in ancient times. Their primary weapons are swords known as Zanpakutō.
Most Shinigami are Human souls and appear like ordinary humans. However, there are a wider range of appearances among Shinigami than are typical of humans. For instance, Shinigami can be much larger in size. However, some Shinigami, like Sajin Komamura, an anthropomorphic wolflike soul, are not human souls.
All Shinigami wear black garb, known as a "shihakushō" (死覇装; Viz "Shihakushô"; Literally meaning "garment of dead souls"), which consist of a white shitagi, a black kosode, a black hakama, a white hakama-himo, white tabi, and waraji. Captains of the Gotei 13 wear a white haori over the top of their shihakushō to signify their status and division.
Shinigami are tasked with a number of duties:
- The primary duty of a Shinigami is to protect the Seireitei.
- To maintain a careful balance of souls between Soul Society and the Material World.
Beings who possess the latent ability to become Shinigami boast what are known as "Shinigami Powers" (死神の力, Shinigami no Chikara; Viz "Dark Force"; Literally meaning "Death God Powers"). These thusfar undefined powers are said to well up from deep within a Shinigami and cannot be stolen. However, they can be lost, as Rukia Kuchiki temporarily lost hers after transferring her power to Ichigo Kurosaki. Likewise, Ichigo temporarily lost his after defeating Sōsuke Aizen with the Final Getsuga Tenshō. When Ichigo lost the entirety of his spiritual powers to Yhwach, they returned within two weeks, his Shinigami powers included.
- In the Bleach: Official Character Book 2 MASKED, the term Soul Reaper is used, a rarity for the original Japanese version of the series.