|“||If you were to turn into a snake tomorrow and begin devouring humans, and from the same mouth you started devouring humans, you cried out to me 'I love you,' would I still be able to say 'I love you' the same way I do today?||„|
|~ Gin Ichimaru's dying thoughts to Rangiku.|
Gin Ichimaru (市丸 ギン, Ichimaru Gin) was the captain of the 3rd Division of the Gotei 13 until he betrayed Soul Society, alongside Sōsuke Aizen and Kaname Tōsen. His lieutenant was Izuru Kira.
Gin is fairly ordinary in terms of clothing, and he doesn't wear any unique items. His overall appearance, however, is not as normal. He keeps his eyes constantly narrowed to slits, rarely ever opening his eyes enough to reveal their bright sky blue-color. Although he appears to be an early to mid twenty-year-old person, he is unusually thin and tall with very sharp features, giving him a skeletal appearance, and bears unusual silver hair. He also keeps his face set in a wide mocking smile, which he only wipes off on rare occasions of annoyance, surprise, confusion, or even sadness.
Gin is extremely mysterious, always smiling and keeping his eyes at slits as well as using constant sarcasm and mock politeness, so it's hard to tell what he’s thinking. Many find him disturbing and few trusted him even before he was revealed to be traitor. Gin is fully aware of what people think of him and likes to toy with people’s emotions as a way of amusing himself. Rukia Kuchiki even said that she felt like she was being strangled by snakes whenever Gin talked. In the Japanese anime, he spoke in a Kyoto dialect, polite but indirect and in the English dub, his voice was formal and polite, but still with a facetious undertone. Also, ever since he was a child, Gin has loved dried persimmons, planting and raising numerous persimmon trees around the 3rd Division barracks, drying the fruit and then distributing them throughout the Gotei 13. When he was a captain, Gin enjoyed walking around the Soul Society and made a hobby in people watching. However he also seemed searching to be for opportunities to cause mischief with some victim and had great skill at needle threading.
PastGin lived in the Rukongai as a child and one day, he came across Rangiku Matsumoto as a child, collapsed on the ground. He offered her some dried persimmons and said that if she was unconscious due to hunger, she had spiritual energy. Rangiku noted that Gin was the same and he introduced himself with her noting he had a strange first name. The two began living together and during that time, Gin asked Rangiku when her birthday was. She said she didn’t know since she didn't really bother to keep track of days before she met him so he decided to make the day they met her birthday. At another time Gin was out gathering firewood, when he noticed Sōsuke Aizen and three other Shinigami in a clearing. One of them gave Aizen a ball of pink energy, which he put in a glass containing the Hogyoku. Gin had seen the three Shinigami leaving an area that Rangiku had collapsed in with the ball of energy. Realizing Aizen was their leader, the boy swore he would kill him. During their time living together, Gin had a habit of leaving Rangiku, not telling her where he's going. In one of these occurrences, she found him with blood on his face and draped in a Shinigami uniform. Rangiku asked Gin what he was doing, but he just replied that he decided to set out and become a Shinigami, so as to change things without her having to cry. 110 years before the events of Bleach, Gin graduated from the Shinigami Academy in a year, gaining a position as a seated officer in the 5th Division, Aizen’s division. One night, Aizen found Gin just after he killed the 3rd seat of the said division and praised his efforts. He then asked the boy what he thought of the 3rd seat with him replying that he thought he was worthless. Aizen made Gin the new 3rd seat and covered up what he had done with the boy eventually becoming involved in his plot. Years later, he helped the rogue Shinigami in the Hollowfication of officers throughout the Gotei 13, including members of an investigation team sent by Captain-Commander Yamamoto. When Kisuke Urahara and Tessai Tsukabishi arrived, Gin seemed unsurprised and Aizen began to leave with his subordinates, saying he had nothing left to do there. Tessai tried to stop them with a Kidō spell, but Aizen used one of his own, allowing him and his subordinates to escape. At some point after this, the rogue Shinigami taught Gin how to avoid being affected by the hypnotic powers of his Zanpakutō, Kyōka Suigetsu. Later, he became the lieutenant of the 5th Division with Aizen as his captain. It was during this time that Gin and Aizen went to the Human World to save some Shinigami Academy students on a field exercise from an attacking group of Hollows. One of these students was Izuru Kira, who would later become Gin’s lieutenant. Eventually Gin became the captain of the 3rd Division less than 49 years ago, around the same time Byakuya Kuchiki attained the rank of captain. However, he remained loyal to Aizen and during his time as a captain, as he went with Aizen and Kaname Tōsen to Hueco Mundo to see Baraggan Louisenbairn, the God-King of Hueco Mundo. Aizen offered the Hollow greater power, but as the King of Hueco Mundo disagreed with him and commanded his army to fight them, Aizen used his Zanpakutō to take down Baraggan’s army of Hollows. Gin and Tōsen held their swords to the Hollow’s throat as their leader convinced him to join their forces.
Beginning Aizen's PlanGin and Kenpachi Zaraki appeared before Byakuya Kuchiki after his adopted sister, Rukia Kuchiki, was sentenced to death. They teased the 6th Division Captain, saying he had to be depressed that a member of his noble family was going to go down as a criminal. Byakuya said he didn’t think lower class people would understand the feelings of nobles. Kenpachi asked the 6th Division Captain to let him finish off Rukia before her execution and Byakuya retorted he didn’t think the 11th Division Captain could kill anyone at his level. Kenpachi was about to angrily engage the 6th Divison captain, when Gin intervened, typing up the 11th Division captain and carrying him off. Later when Ichigo defeated Jidanbo Ikkanzaka, who guarded one of the gates to the Seireitei, he opened it so Ichigo and his friends could proceed inside. However Gin was waiting for them and purposely didn’t kill them, instead just using his Zanpakuto to bring down Jindanbo, so he dropped the gate and preventing them from entering that way. Soon afterwards, a meeting of the captains was called where Gin was commanded to explain why he didn’t just kill them. He just said it was a mistake and as the meeting was called off, Toshiro Hitsugaya, the 10th Division Captain, overheard Gin and Aizen talking. This was just a scripted conversation meant to increase the suspicions against the 3rd Division captain, who even hinted that he wanted to kill Aizen. Later Toshiro warned the 5th division lieutenant, Momo Hinamori, that Gin might be planning to take her captain’s life. The following day, Aizen’s body was found impaled by Momo, who immediately thought the 3rd Division captain was the culprit. Gin appeared soon afterwards still carefree despite the grievous situation, which just reinforced Momo’s suspicions. She angrily attacked him, but Izuru blocked her and she angrily released her Zanpakuto, sending a fireball at Gin. It missed the 3rd Division captain and his leutenant released his own Zanpakuto to stop her. However Hitsugaya intervened, who had the two arrested and as they were taken away, he accused Gin of preparing to kill Momo. The 3rd Division captain denied that and the 10th Division captain said if the 3rd Divison captain spilled any of Momo’s blood, Hitsugaya would kill him. Gin later released Izuru, arousing Toshiro’s suspicions and he confronted the pair of them. Momo interrupted them, who was now convinced that Hitsugaya was Aizen’s murderer, and attacked him. She gripped her sword tight enough to make her hands bleed and the 10th Division captain attacked Gin as a result. He released his Zanpakuto, suggesting that Izuru put some distance between himself and the fight. The two captains fought with Hitsugaya eventually freezing Gin’s arm, which was enough to make him open his eyes and stop smiling. The 3rd Division captain tried to kill Momo as a distraction, but Rangiku blocked his attack, threatening to fight him if he didn’t stop. Gin disappeared without a word, which made the 10th Division lieutenant remember that he used to disappear the same way when they were children. Later, when Rukia was being lead to her execution, Gin appeared to give her the hope he would stop the execution if she asked, only to admit he was lying. This destroyed her hard-built peace over her execution and showed how sadistic he could be. She thought to herself that she’d always feared Gin, but later Aizen revealed himself as the true orchestrator of the plot that had been going on in the Soul Society. He extracted the Hogyoku from Rukia, then told Gin to finish her off, but as he did so, Byakuya took the hit instead. Aizen, Tōsen, and Gin were then cornered by most of the captains lieutenants in the Soul Society, but then a group of Gillians appeared in the sky to bring them to Hueco Mundo. However before leaving, Gin told Rangiku he would’ve liked to her to hold him a little longer and apologized.
Preparing for the Winter WarLater, when Tōsen severed and destroyed Grimmjow’s arm for his insubordination, Gin accused Aizen of cruelly playing with his subordinates. The rogue Shinigami pointed out the former 3rd Divison captain had been eavesdropping, but he replied Aizen knew what Tōsen would do. Gin then pointed out they’d just lost 5 Arrancar, but his leader pointed out they were of no consequence. Later when Ichigo Kurosaki, Uryu Ishida, and Yasutora Sado came to Hueco Mundo to save Orihime, Gin and Tōsen accompanied Aizen to a Espada meeting, where he told them about the intruders. Soon after this when Tōsen was monitoring the intruders’ progress, Gin walked into the doorway of the room, saying it was a bad habit of his. The blind Shinigami noted that the former 3rd Division Captain had to be worried since he had come as well. Saying he was just joking, Gin was about to enter when Wonderweiss Margela stopped him. He asked Tōsen to do something about him and the blind Shinigami made the Arrancar stop. Gin noted how close Wonderweiss had gotten to the former 9th Division Captain and he explained that pure beings tended to be attracted to each other. At that moment, the former 3rd Division captain saw that Ichigo and the other intruders had entered Tres Cifras. Gin was with Aizen when he received news of Dordoni Alessando Del Socaccio’s death and when they were alone, the former 3rd Division Captain noted his master seemed to be enjoying himself, despite his subordinates getting killed and his enemies progressing. Aizen said that he was and asked Gin if he found that strange, to which he replied that he didn’t and that he was even feeling something like enjoyment himself. Soon after this, the former 3rd Division captain was operating a control panel when he was approached by Ulquiorra Cifer. The 4th Espada asked Gin about the intruder’s progress, but he just commented on Ulquiorra approaching him, noting that he thought the Arrancar hated him. The 4th Espada just denied that and Gin told him to act more sociable, noting he’d felt lonely since Luppi’s demise. Ulquiorra proceeded to ask if the former 3rd Division captain had been adjusting the hallways. Gin gleefully said he wasn’t and that he wouldn’t do that and said he hated sad stories. He later went with Aizen and Tōsen to invade Karakura Town.
Battle of Fake Karakura TownHowever Gin, along with Aizen and Tōsen, found that the Karakura Town they arrived in was fake and they were confronted by the forces of the Gotei 13. Aizen summoned his three top Espada and their Fracción to fight the Shinigami, but Gin and his cohorts were then trapped by a fire prison generated by Captain-Commander Yamamoto. Later during the battle, after Abirama Redder was cut by Izuru for mentioning Gin, the former 3rd Division captain said he was pleased how well his former lieutenant was doing. After Wonderweiss Margela arrived with Fūrā, the creature blew away the fire prison holding Gin and his cohorts. The former 3rd Division captain commented the creature’s breath smelt of death and after the Visored arrived, he noted it felt nostalgic to see them. After this, Gin commented that Wonderweiss’ noises made him sound like a noisy brat and was ruining the mood. He said he hated it when the Arrancar acted like that, but Tōsen said what Wonderweiss said had meaning and he should watch. After Fūrā was destroyed by Mashiro Kuna, Gin noted the creature was the Arrancar’s favorite and when she dropkicked Wonderweiss, he called him “poor thing”. As the Gotei 13 and Visored’s fight with the Espada went on, Gin took on Shinji Hirako until Aizen decided that they were going to end things. After Hiyori Sarugaki was taunted into attacking Aizen, the former 3rd Division captain sliced her in half at the waist, casually saying that was one down. As the Shinigami and Visored attacked the former 5th Division captain, Gin said that his Zanpakuto, Kyoka Suigetsu, was formidable, but Aizen’s power was beyond their comprehension. After Isshin Kurosaki arrived, then left with Ichigo, Aizen asked Gin why he’d just been watching during his fight. The former 3rd Division captain said he hadn’t because he didn’t see an opening, nor did he think his master needed the help. However Ichigo suddenly appeared behind Gin and attacked him, prompting him to say it’d been awhile since he’d last fought. The former 3rd Division captain then asked if he remembered when he cut Jidanbo’s arm. Gin noted how Ichigo had angrily tried to attack him and that he’d thought he was interesting at the time. The Visored said he didn’t remember and the former 3rd Division captain asked if he was trying to provoke him. Ichigo said he didn’t remember Gin’s sword, but rather his heart and explained he could normally understand what someone was thinking when they crossed swords. The former 3rd Division captain mocked him for being poetic, but Ichigo replied that Gin had shown nothing to him. He went on to say when they last fought, the former captain hadn’t paid any attention to him, but didn’t know what had held his attention. Gin responded that he had thought Ichigo was an interesting kid, but now he thought he was just a creepy one, noting he was starting to understand Aizen’s interest in him. Gin then asked Ichigo if he knew how far his Zanpakuto could extend and the Visored replied he didn’t know. The former 3rd Division captain revealed it could go to 100 times its original length, which earned him the nickname, Hyapponzashi, (Japanese for Hundred-span) as a child. Gin then asked Ichigo if he knew how far his Bankai extended and Ichigo responded he didn’t come here for a quiz. Disappointed, the former 3rd Division captain said it could extend to 13km and just stating the number would never get the point across. Gin told Ichigo he wouldn’t go easy on him this time and released his Bankai, instantly cutting several buildings in half. The former 3rd Division captain then swung his sword at Ichigo, but he blocked it, which Gin found surprised. The Visored asked why, since there was no Bankai that couldn’t be blocked by another and swatted the former 3rd Division captain’s blade away. Ichigo fired a Getsuga Tensho at Gin, but it only lightly injured him and he stated again that he was a creepy kid. The former captain swung his sword at the Visored again, slicing another building in half. Gin noted if he didn’t finish Ichigo off soon, things would get a little hairy, then returned his Zanpakuto to its normal length. The former 3rd Division captain said he’d have to fight the Visored the old-fashioned way and began launching a relentlessly series of attacks. After taking a pause in their fight, Ichigo remarked that the most frightening thing about Gin’s Bankai wasn’t the length or destructive power, but rather its contraction speed. Impressed by his deduction, the former 3rd Divison captain tucked his Zanpakuto under his arm, before clapping his hands once. Gin explained that his blade was 500 times that speed and said his Bankai didn’t have the ultimate length, but the ultimate speed. However the former 3rd Division captain went on to say that knowledge wouldn’t help Ichigo win the battle. Gin eventually knocked him into a building and congratulated him on stopping that attack, but called it a fluke. Ichigo began talking with Isshin as the former 3rd Division captain asked Aizen if he interrupted his speech with Isshin. His master said he’d reached the end of his speech as the Hogyoku enveloped him as he was attacked by Kisuke Urahara. Gin proceeded to watch the two fight and as Aizen emerged in a new form, then began talking to Ichigo. He said that it was inevitable that Ichigo and his friends would die and when he saw the Visored’s resolve had faded, the former captain said he really was a kid and had to be removed from battle. Gin then used his Bankai’s Buto assault to attack Ichigo who responded by summoning his Hollow Mask. However it still left him weakened and his mask shattered and the former 3rd Division captain taunted his resolve again. Gin said that when they crossed blades in the Soul Society, Ichigo had been much fiercer, then told him to run away. As Ichigo turned to watch Aizen’s battle, Gin said he shouldn’t turn away when’s he standing near him. He went on to say the Visored was no longer a warrior, a Shinigami, a Hollow, or even a person. Gin went on to ask Ichigo if he thought he could beat Aizen, after he’d defeated Isshin, Yoruichi, and Kisuke. The former 3rd Division captain offered the Visored the chance to run away, since he’d lost interest in him and Aizen would be disappointed to see him in his current state. Gin finished by saying Ichigo ‘knew’ Aizen’s power and drew his Zanpakuto to finish him off. However his master stopped him and asked what he was doing with the former 3rd Division captain replying he was just testing Ichigo’s strength. Aizen then commanded Gin to open a Senkaimon so they could get to the real Karakura Town in the Soul Society. As this happened, Aizen completed his transformation and the former 3rd Division captain remarked his incubation period had ended, before opening the Senkaimon and walked into it with Aizen.
Revealing his True IntentionsAs they traveled through the Dangai, Gin noted how nostalgic it felt and Aizen agreed before being confronted by the Kototsu. The former 3rd Division captain encouraged his master to get moving, but Aizen didn’t move. Gin pointed out that the Kototsu was a being of reason not spiritual energy so spiritual energy could do nothing to it. However Aizen held his ground and destroyed it, then asked Gin what he was afraid of and said reason was for those who clung to it in order to live. He then invited the former 3rd Division captain to come with him to reason’s horizon and they arrived in the Soul Society. Aizen noted that the real Karakura Town was some distance away and Gin said not to make it sound as if it were his fault. He blamed it on his master destroying the Kototsu and Aizen said that might be true and apologized, before they set out for Karakura Town. As they arrived on the outskirts, Aizen said it would probably be the last time they’d see the town or the Soul Society. Gin eventually noticed Tatsuki Arisawa, whom Aizen identified as Ichigo’s ally, helping her friends move. The two approached them, making Keigo run away and the rogue Shinigami told Gin there was no need to follow, since they could start with Tatsuki. However Don Kanonji interrupted, hitting Aizen in the face with his Kan’nonball attack, then struck his signature pose. Gin was dumbfounded by him and Don Kanonji charged Aizen, when Rangiku appeared and stopped him. She told Aizen and Gin she’d made it just in time and sent the Don away, then the former 3rd Division captain begged Aizen to allow him to talk with Rangiku. His master told him to take his time and that he wouldn’t be inconveniencing him at all. Gin proceeded to grab Rangiku and fly up with her, but she told him to let got and broke free to land on a roof. He asked the lieutenant what she was doing there, despite her being quite weak and barely able to stand up. Rangiku replied she had opened a Senkaimon the minute she felt his spiritual energy disappear and Gin said he hadn’t asked how she got there, but what she was doing there. Rangiku responded that it was because of him and asked why he had joined Aizen, as well as betray Izuru Kira, who’d had so much faith in him. This prompted Gin to ask the lieutenant if she was serious, that if it was really Izuru’s faith that was betrayed. The former 3rd Division captain approached Rangiku, saying he didn’t know why she came, then drew his Zanapkuto, saying she was in the way. Gin fought the lieutenant and left her lying on the ground, before returning to Aizen, who asked what happened to Rangiku. The former 3rd Division captain replied he’d killed her, which Aizen admitted surprised him, since he thought Gin had feelings for her. He just responded by saying he had nothing like feelings and reminded his master he’d once said he was like a snake. As Ichigo’s friends ran away, Aizen prepared to finish them off, ready to move on to creating the Royal Seal. But Gin casually placed his hand on the blade and asked his master to let him deal with them instead. However he suddenly sent out the blade of his Bankai from within his sleeve to impale Aizen in the chest. Gin revealed he remembered how to escape Kyoka Suigetsu’s power, touching its blade in its unreleased form and noted how long it took him to get that information from Aizen. Gin then explained the true strength of his Bankai was it ability to generate a vicious poison, that could break down the cells of those it infected. The former 3rd Division Captain also revealed his blade contracted and extended by turning into dust for an instant. Gin showed Aizen he’d left a small shard of his blade in his master’s heart and gave his Bankai the command, “Kill”. It created a hole in the rogue Shinigami’s chest with the Hogyoku floating in it, which Gin grabbed. Aizen grabbed his wrist, throwing him away, but the former 3rd Division captain still managed to escape with the Hogyoku. Taking shelter behind a nearby building, Gin, whose arm had been injured, looked at the Hogyoku, when he sensed a huge spike in spiritual energy. Aizen appeared in a new form, saying that this was his victory and the Hogyoku was his, even if Gin took it or not. The Hogyoku began glowing as did the center of Aizen’s chest and the former 3rd Division captain wondered what was happening. As he turned to his former master, Aizen slashed Gin across the chest and the Hogyoku disassembled, reassembling in the cross structure on the rogue Shinigami’s chest. The former 3rd Division captain reached for it only for Aizen to rip off his arm and stab him through the chest. The rogue Shinigami said evolution needed fear, namely the one that you could be wiped out at any moment. Aizen thanked Gin for his help, since he had now surpassed both Shinigami and Hollows, before throwing his former subordinate into a building. Rangiku found him and held the former 3rd Division captain in her arms, weeping and as Gin died, he said that he’d failed. He couldn’t get back what had been taken from Rangiku, but was glad he could at least say sorry. As Ichigo arrived, Gin saw the strength in his eyes where before he’d seen only despair and felt peace in the fact that he could leave killing Aizen to Ichigo, before finally dying.
Powers and AbilitiesGin has a great deal of spiritual power, able to incapacitate a number of Ichigo’s allies just by facing the direction they were coming from. He possesses mastery of swordsmanship and Shunpo, able to move fast enough to keep up with Ichigo in Bankai, and some skill in Kido, casting a spell to hide Rangiku’s spiritual energy from Aizen. Gin also has a high level intelligence, using skilled manipulation and deception in battle, and is highly durable, able to survive Ichigo’s Getsuga Tensho with minor injury. Like all Shinigami, Gin can release the Shikai abilities of his Zanpakuto, Shinso, with the release command “Shoot to Kill”. When he does so, Shinso’s blade glows white and extends to impale Gin’s target with enormous speed and force. He can maintain the length, allowing him to strike in wide arcs and it can extend to a maximum of 100 times its original size. Like most of the other captains, Gin has the ability to release the Bankai form of his Zanpakuto, Kamishini no Yari which doesn’t change its appearance. However the blade becomes able to extend up to 13 kilometers and can extend and retract at about 500 times the speed of sound. The destructive power of Gin’s Zanpakuto greatly increases as a result, able to slice a number of buildings in half while he is still a long distance away. However its deadliest power is an extremely dangerous poison within the blade that can break down cells. Gin uses this poison on a target through his Bankai turning to dust when it changes length and leaves a small piece of the blade inside them. He can then use the poison by saying “Kill, Kamishini no Yari” while holding his hand up to his target, causing parts of their bodies to break down on a cellular level from the inside out. Gin can also use his Bankai to execute an attack called Buto, where he holds his Zanpakuto up in front of his chest. He then unleashes the extending and contracting speed of his Bankai in the form of a piercing attack that can’t be seen except by the most diligent of eyes. Gin has a modified version of this attack called Buto: Renjin, where he rapidly uses Buto repeatedly, though it occurs in a mere moment. Each strike is indistinguishable from the others to the point where the attack resembles a massive amount of blades at once and it is extremely hard to avoid.
- Gin’s eye color has varied throughout the series, they were shown to be blue on the covers of the manga, but early anime episodes had them red in color and they were yellow in Bleach: Dark Souls.
- Although he said it in only two episodes, Gin’s phrase of “bye-bye” became very popular with fans and was even the sound of one of his fast move attacks in Bleach: Heat the Soul 5.
- The release command of Gin’s Zanpakuto, Shinso, varied in the English dub of the anime with it being a verb related to stabbing/impaling and then a pronoun, (e.g. “him, her, it”)
- Gin was among the four Bleach characters to appear on the top 100 list in a 2007 list of the most popular anime characters made by Newtype Japan. Tite Kubo has stated that he found Gin’s popularity, especially amongst female fans, extremely surprising, since he tried to make him off-putting and creepy.
- Gin was the host of an ornake called Arrancar Encyclopedia that aired at the end of some anime episodes, where he talked about subjects related to the Arrancar and Aizen’s forces.
- In the best bout poll, Gin’s fight with Hitsugaya came in fifth and in the Zanpakuto poll, Shinso came in eigth.
- There was a photo collection showcasing Gin called ‘‘White Snake’’ that was going to be published by the Shinigami Women’s Association, but it was canceled.
- Gin also wrote a column for the Seireitei Communication called ‘‘That’s Absurd’’, which is now suspended.
- He was the inspiration for Bleach Beat Collection First Session Vol. 5: Gin Ichimaru and his Japanese voice actor sings in it.
- Gin has been a playable character in every single Bleach game to date with the only exception being Bleach: Heat the Soul.
- Gin, along with Aizen and Tōsen, appeared after the credits of the Sealed Sword Frenzy OVA, where they are having tea in the Human World. Gin ends the OVA by telling the audience to be careful going home.
- The name of Gin’s Zanpakuto is Japanese for “God Spear” and the name of his Bankai is Japanese for “God-Killing Spear”.
- Gin bears a striking resemblance to Hazama from the BlazBlue series. Both have yellow eyes and are almost always seen with their eyes closed, both were captains at one point and are both voiced by Doug Erholtz.