|Notable Members||Gotei 13|
|Soul Reaper. 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|
Soul Reapers (死神, Shinigami; Literally meaning "Death God") 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 Soul Reapers are Human souls and appear like ordinary humans. However, there are a wider range of appearances among Soul Reapers than are typical of humans. For instance, Soul Reapers can be much larger in size. However, some Soul Reapers, like Sajin Komamura, an anthropomorphic wolflike soul, are not human souls.
All Soul Reapers 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.
Soul Reapers are tasked with a number of duties:
- The primary duty of a Soul Reapers is to protect the Seireitei.
- To maintain a careful balance of souls between Soul Society and the Material World.
Soul Reaper Powers
Beings who possess the latent ability to become Soul Reaper boast what are known as "Soul Reaper 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 Soul Reaper 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 Soul Reaper 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.