THE CURIOUS CASE OF BANKAI: BLEACH

BANKAI AND UNLEASHING THE TRUE ESSENCE OF THE WORD

“I want to protect them…”

-Kurosaki Ichigo

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Bleach. The name itself is odd. Story goes that Tite Kubo, the creator of the series had a challenge coming up with the series’ title. Here we are, later looking back at this interesting decision made by Kubo to name it after a detergent. Although the idea is truly hilarious to think about, it is no joke conceptually; the content is well thought out. It offers the anime fan and the newbie (which I was back when I first heard about it), something peculiar. What captured my attention wasn’t just the fights, the main protagonist, Ichigo, or the themes but rather, the concept of the zanpakutou.

For all y’all who like me are fans of the series, forgive me for this but I have to provide a brief explanation of the zanpakutou to the newcomers to the series: Basically, the zanpakutou is a katana (a sword). It is not a regular kind of sword though, for when it is bonded to a shinigami (a death god/soul reaper) the core essence of the shinigami is transferred to the katana. This transfer now gives the katana the ability to reflect the skill, power and true nature of the shinigami’s soul. As if that weren’t enough, the zanpakutou possesses 3 forms [correct me if I’m wrong guys, I ain’t infallible]. The first form is that of the katana (in appearance), the second is the shikai that resembles something closer to the shinigami’s power, and finally the bankai, this is the ultimate form/power of the zanpakutou.

Since this post is about the bankai, it’s important that I focus on it for now. Now, the bankai is unique to each shinigami, some are similar but that is as close as it gets to comparability; it’s an aspect that I particularly like. This is because, the uniqueness manifested by the zanpakutou is reflective of human character, personality and individuality. All of these being traits we can attest to existing in the real world.

Here is where it gets a wee bit odd, the bankai and the Christian share numerous parallels. One of these parallels being that when several people, each being believers comes to the text, they come with different backgrounds that helped shape who they are as human beings, that is, people. None of these persons has the same testimony (a story recounting the often dramatic change that resulted in the individual’s life after encountering God through Jesus), and as such cannot tell the same story in the same way. That’s why I see a similarity at this point: Every manifestation of God’s power at work in each person varies. Not only do they vary, but like the zanpakutou, manifest in different forms…from art, to music, to writing literature to various combinations of all kinds of incredible things (like a double-sword zanpakutou).

Now, I tend to feel that for the Christian, their bankai comes about when the Holy Spirit, together with the Word of God, come together to bring meaning to the Christian’s already-present giftings and abilities. When, the Christian truly becomes a temple of God…I am not referring to some rules, regulations and traditions but an in-depth experience that comes about when one has fully given themselves to God. That there releases raw power, and with God’s word at that point living in the Christian he/she is able to use the best zanpakutou of all in it’s unleashed form…who they are (i.e., their identity).

Keep it anime, keep it cool, keep it Christ, keep it unusual y’all!

Blessings!

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