Kenpachi is a tall, muscular Shinigami with a wild and aggressive appearance, which fits his personality. He has a long face with pronounced cheekbones, and pronounced, hairless eyebrow ridges. He has green eyes and long, stringy black hair. A noticeable trait in his appearance is a long, thin scar running down the left side of his face, inflicted on him by Retsu Unohana. He is one of the tallest Shinigami, towering at 202 centimeters (approximately 6 feet 6 inches), making him almost double the height of his lieutenant.
He wears a sleeveless captain's haori (which belonged to the previous captain and was taken after his defeat), which has a ragged look to it. He styles his hair into stiff strands during his baths, attaching small bells at its tips, and wears a special eyepatch on his right eye. During his first fight with Ichigo, the eyepatch is more elegant, having a gold-like lining and a chain as one of the straps. It later becomes a normal black eyepatch with normal straps.
17 months after Aizen's defeat, Kenpachi's hair has grown out past his shoulders. He no longer has the bells in his hair. His eyepatch's design has changed again, as it is now, but a single piece covering his right eye. The eyepatch is black with a grey outline.
Although he is known to be a violent fighter, Kenpachi's actions tend to be for the best. He has a very poor sense of direction, at times asking Yachiru for help (even though her sense of direction is just as bad). Kenpachi lives for battle, and enjoys a good fight more than anything. He even holds back in an effort to make any fight last longer. He claims injury and death are nothing but the price one pays for a good fight. Despite his division being the most blood-thirsty squad of the Gotei 13, the 11th Division has its own code of ethics, which is different from the rules and regulation of Soul Society. Despite his tendency to be brutal, Kenpachi usually stops a fight if his opponent is too injured to fight back, claiming he is not interested in fighting "weaklings who can't fight anymore", and he does not feel obligated to deal a death blow to anyone who cannot fight any longer. However, he will unhesitatingly kill his opponent if they refuse to end their fight, as seen during his battles with Kaname Tōsen and Nnoitra Gilga.
On multiple occasions, Kenpachi has shown to greatly respect those who can defeat him in a fight and those who can push him to his limit. Ever since Ichigo handed him his first known loss (though Ichigo considers their fight a loss for him), Kenpachi has considered the latter a member of his Division. He expresses his willingness to engage him in a rematch every time they meet, only to be turned down, as Ichigo already considers themselves as friends. Nevertheless, Kenpachi still challenges him to a duel, as evidenced when he aided Ichigo in his fight against the Bount (where he gave "his blessing," stating doing so would make Ichigo stronger for "their anticipated fight").
Kenpachi sometimes contradicts his own logic in fighting. On the one hand, Kenpachi wishes to increase his own personal power. On the other hand, he conceals his strength to enjoy a fight for as long as possible. Although he thrives for battle, Kenpachi does have emotions. Kenpachi and his lieutenant, Yachiru, have been close ever since they met, and have a father-daughter-like relationship, making Yachiru one of the few people he cares for, along with 11th Division 3rd Seat Ikkaku Madarame and 11th Division 5th Seat Yumichika Ayasegawa. However, he has stated if his subordinates interfere in his fights, he will "cut them up first". Aside from Yachiru, Kenpachi deeply gives meaning to his name. Following his fight with Ichigo Kurosaki, Kenpachi talks about the pain of not having a name, as he lived his early years without one. This causes him to feel guilty his sword is not acknowledged by its own name. Since then, he has strived to learn its identity.
Kenpachi strongly believes fun comes before working. In every battle, he tries to get as much enjoyment out of it as possible. One example is when Kenpachi sends his 5th seated officer, Yumichika, to fend off the Bount in Karakura Town, as he is the only high-ranking officer who is not busy, or rather, busy having fun, as Yachiru was snacking and Ikkaku was napping. During his free time, Kenpachi always takes his afternoon nap. He does not have a particularly favorite dish, but he particularly hates nattō.
Kenpachi's unique hairstyle is partly due to his habit of taking a bath everyday before going to sleep, which is a necessity to him due to his strong perspiration. During these baths, he usually washes his hair with soap, making it stiff. He enjoys doing so because it is easy for him to set his hair to his preferred style. He once tried a hair treatment recommended by 1st Division Lieutenant Chōjirō Sasakibe, but his hair became too silky and was impossible to set for a while. Since then, Kenpachi has greatly disliked the lieutenant. Kenpachi is once shown attaching the bells to his hair, which apparently takes a while to accomplish. The highest bell in particular takes him several hours to attach, as the tip of his hair is just beyond his reach. Occasionally, 11th Division 5th Seat Yumichika Ayasegawa offers to do it for him, only to be turned down by Kenpachi, who thinks it is weird for someone else to style his hair.
Kenpachi's surname came from the district he once resided in, Zaraki, which was District 80 of the North Alley of Rukongai. District 80 was the worst, most lawless region of Rukongai, full of thieves and murderers (whereas area #1 was the most orderly and law-abiding). While residing in District 80, Kenpachi was nameless. As a young boy living in the streets of the Rukongai, Kenpachi, coming upon the dead body of a Shinigami, took his Asauchi, later imprinting his soul upon it to make his own Zanpakutō. During that time, he eventually became proficient in swordsmanship, and killed numerous opponents. Sometime during this, he, coming upon Yachiru Unohana, fought with her. The fight was the first time he felt fear, and subsequently the first fight he ever enjoyed, having been bored slashing anything else. He subconsciously sealed his power to allow them to fight longer and consequently lost to her. After their fight, he began to admire her, and wanted to fight like her.
Sometime later, as a young man, Kenpachi, coming upon a young girl, named her Yachiru, in remembrance of the only person he ever admired, after she showed no fear of his sword. Yachiru came from District 79. Kusajishi, where her parents were murdered, seemingly not too long before Kenpachi arrived. On that day, he took on a name: Kenpachi, the title bestowed upon the strongest Shinigami in every generation, the one who has slain the most enemies and won the most battles.
Later, he had an encounter with Ikkaku Madarame and Yumichika Ayasegawa before they entered Seireitei. Yachiru warned Ikkaku messing with Kenpachi while he was in a good mood was a bad idea, though Ikkaku did not take the warning seriously. When Kenpachi and Ikkaku meet face to face, the latter immediately became alarmed by the former's Reiatsu, but was happy to finally have a real challenge. Kenpachi attacked with enough force to create a crater in the ground under Ikkaku, which somewhat alarmed Yumichika. Due to Kenpachi's strength, Ikkaku was forced on the defensive, holding off Kenpachi's relentless strikes. As the two continued to fight, Ikkaku tried to overwhelm Kenpachi, though he failed in doing so, only succeeding in increasing his own wounds while his opponent remaining untouched by his blade. While Kenpachi mentioned he was having fun, he decided to finish Ikkaku with one quick strike, resulting in his loss of the fight. Ikkaku became mad Kenpachi would just walk away without finishing him off. Kenpachi, plainly telling him he had no interest in weaklings who could not fight, noted he did not have any obligation to finish Ikkaku off. Ikkaku, thinking he was toying with him, demanded Kenpachi kill him. Kenpachi, losing his patience, grabbed hold of Ikkaku and asked why he was screaming for death if he loved to fight so much. Kenpachi explained to him a philosophy to follow for people like them: "Don't admit defeat and seek death. Die first, then admit defeat. When you lose, but don't die, it just means you were lucky. At those times, think only about survival. Survive, and think only about killing the guy who failed to kill you". Kenpachi, smiling at him, stated it was not like he went easy on him; he was just lucky to escape death. He said Ikkaku should live, come back, and try to kill him again. As Kenpachi went to leave, Ikkaku, asking him his name, is told he is Kenpachi from Zaraki.
Some time later, Kenpachi killed Kenpachi Kiganjō, the captain of the 11th Division, in a single blow in front of over two hundred members of the Division. As per the 3rd Captain Qualification Trial, Kenpachi became the new captain of that division. By killing Kenpachi Kiganjō, he became the official and uncontested holder of the title, Kenpachi, as well as becoming the 11th person to hold the title.
The following day, during Kenpachi's first addressing of his division, he was greeted by Ikkaku and Yumichika, who had already become Shinigami and joined the division. Ikkaku told Kenpachi he had come back just as he suggested, causing Kenpachi to smile. Later, they were present at the battle of the division against a caterpillar Hollow. While initially the division lost, Ikkaku showed up to fight it, but was stopped by Kenpachi, who decided to kill it himself. After the Hollow was dispatched, more came, prompting Ikkaku and Yumichika to join in the fight. Though at first he was against it, Kenpachi was persuaded upon realizing the two had similar fighting traits, and, as such, would like to fight by his side. After this, Kenpachi allowed them to participate in his fights.
Shortly after joining the Gotei 13, Kenpachi was forced by Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto to learn Kendō because he had not learned any formal swordsmanship training, having bypassed those normally necessary qualifications due to the way he attained his position. Central 46 ordered Yamamoto to stop the training after one day, as they became concerned that if Zaraki realized his full potential and rebelled, he could become an unstoppable force. Kenpachi hated using Kendō because his battles would end too quickly with it, so he only used it if his own life was in danger.
Agent of the Shinigami arc
Kenpachi and Gin Ichimaru both tease Byakuya Kuchiki about his sister Rukia Kuchiki being sentenced to death, saying he is depressed, as a noble family would not stand to have a criminal as a member. Byakuya, retaliating, says lower-class people do not understand the feelings of nobles. Kenpachi, admitting he does not really, says he is very bright, and since he is so bright, Byakuya should allow him to finish Rukia off before she is executed. When Byakuya states he did not know Kenpachi, at his level, could actually kill people, Kenpachi tells him to try him, and before the two can engage in combat, Gin, stopping Kenpachi, ties him up and drags him away.
Soul Society arc
After Ichigo Kurosaki and his friends arrive in Soul Society, Kenpachi tells Ichimaru a captain should have no problem killing a Ryoka. When Kenpachi asks Yamamoto where the Ryoka are heading, an invasion alarm goes off, and Kenpachi runs out of the captains meeting.
He begins to hunt the strongest Ryoka, but his lieutenant, Yachiru Kusajishi, guides him in the wrong direction for some time. While he is lost, he, coming across the 4th Division's compound, finds and stops Mayuri from "interrogating" his 3rd Seated Officer, Ikkaku Madarame. Once Mayuri leaves, Ikkaku tells Kenpachi the Ryoka Ichigo is getting stronger, and is aware of the captain.
After a while, he, figuring out where Ichigo is heading, waits there for him to arrive. While Ichigo, Ganju Shiba, and Hanatarō Yamada run through the Seireitei, they feel Kenpachi's tremendous Reiatsu. As he tries to discern who among the three is the strongest, he finally realizes it is Ichigo. Introducing himself, he tells Ichigo he has come to kill him. As the others, trying get away from his strong Reiatsu, cannot get far, Kenpachi confronts Ichigo. Kenpachi is determined to fight Ichigo no matter what the issue may be, showing himself to be unconcerned with his friends or Rukia's fate. Kenpachi, seeing Ichigo's battle stance, compliments him on it, though noting it has openings, and admits he likes his spiritual pressure. Kenpachi, acknowledging he understands why Ikkaku lost to him, notes Ichigo is still weaker than him, so he decides to give Ichigo a fighting chance. Kenpachi, baring his chest, tells Ichigo to cut him anywhere and not hold back. When Ichigo refuses to attack an unarmed opponent, Kenpachi, while commending him, states it is simply a handicap, and while he appreciates the thought, Ichigo should save his sympathy for someone else. Kenpachi tells him to either kill or be killed. Ichigo, attacking Kenpachi's exposed chest, causes no injury, much to his confusion. Kenpachi, unamused and disappointed, begins to unsheathe his Zanpakutō, and, telling Ichigo it is his turn, asks him to not die too quickly.
When Ichigo's hand starts to bleed, Kenpachi, asking him why he is surprised his sword cannot cut him, pushes Ichigo back, using his arm against his blade. Kenpachi, explaining why Ichigo's sword cannot scratch him, takes out his own sword and tells Ichigo he should try, at the very least, to place a dent upon his sword. Ichigo, trying to run away from Kenpachi, cannot seem to shake him, and ends up running into him at every turn. Eventually, Kenpachi, growing bored of chasing after him, sits down. When Ichigo confronts him, he, finally seeming happy, asks if Ichigo is preparing to die or if he is surrendering. Ichigo refuses to do either and, attacking, finally succeeds in injuring Kenpachi. Kenpachi, extremely excited Ichigo can actually injure him, telling Ichigo to keep his spiritual pressure up and not relax, attacks Ichigo.
The two clash and the battle continues, with Kenpachi, while having the upper hand, happy to see Ichigo improving. When Kenpachi comments on how Ichigo is using the sounds of his bells to determine his position, Ichigo asks if he is underestimating him, as he has not released his Zanpakutō. Kenpachi explains his Zanpakutō has no name and, having never had a seal on it, is currently in its true form. As Ichigo, relieved to hear this, attacks once more, Kenpachi, stopping him, further explains his Zanpakutō's state. He, thrusting his Zanpakutō through Ichigo's, breaking right through it, stabs Ichigo in the chest. Kenpachi tells Ichigo he warned him not to relax his spiritual pressure, and it has become weak because he saw a chance to win. He, frustrated the battle was so easy and is now over, retracts his sword. Eventually, much to Kenpachi's surprise, Ichigo gets up, accompanied by a large burst of spiritual pressure. Ichigo, attacking Kenpachi, surprising him further, deals him a serious injury to the left side from his shoulder down the side of his torso. Kenpachi, deflecting Ichigo's next attack, stabs his sword into a nearby building. Kenpachi, beginning to laugh, becoming extremely excited, says now the fight is just getting started, noting they should drag out the fight. He, lunging at Ichigo, lets his face get cut by the blade just to get close to Ichigo. As the battle escalates even more, Kenpachi, despite his injuries, continues to fight, teaching Ichigo the drive behind his personality. 
Kenpachi, realizing both he and Ichigo are evenly matched, enjoying the feeling and euphoria of the moment, takes off his eyepatch, noting he considers Ichigo a worthy opponent, so it only makes sense to fight him at full power. Kenpachi's spiritual power skyrockets as he removes his eyepatch, prompting Ichigo to wonder what is going on. Kenpachi, explaining to him what the eyepatch does, takes out his Zanpakutō and, cutting a nearby building in half with a single slash, tells Ichigo he will use all his power to kill him. When Ichigo, increasing his power, greatly impresses Kenpachi, Ichigo, explaining he can do so by borrowing Zangetsu's power and fighting side by side with him, states he will never lose to someone like him, who only fights by himself. Kenpachi asks if Zangetsu is Ichigo's Zanpakutō, fighting side by side with it and borrowing its power, as he finds it ridiculous. He believes Zanpakutō are just tools of war, and fighting side by side with one are words for weak losers who are afraid to fight on their own. They, both releasing their spiritual pressure, run at each other to make a final strike, releasing enough spiritual pressure to collapse all the buildings around them. The battle ends in a draw, with Ichigo falling first and Kenpachi shortly after, both admitting defeat. As Yachiru calls for Retsu Unohana to heal Kenpachi, Kenpachi tells Yachiru he lost, but needs to pay him back. He, raising his sword, acknowledges he ignored it for a long time and wants it to communicate with it. Kenpachi, not hearing it speak, faints, which scares Yachiru.
During Kenpachi's recovery in his quarters, Yachiru and Makizō Aramaki bring back Orihime Inoue, and he tells her he will help her find Ichigo. Much later on, Orihime guides Kenpachi, Yachiru, Ikkaku, Yumichika Ayasegawa, and Makizō to Ichigo, and finds Yasutora Sado, Uryū Ishida, and Ganju Shiba on the way, freeing them in the process. As they continue to search for Ichigo, Kenpachi realizes they are being followed, and Captains Kaname Tōsen and Sajin Komamura, as well as their respective Lieutenants Shūhei Hisagi and Tetsuzaemon Iba, confront them. Kenpachi tells his subordinates to go ahead without him, but Ikkaku and Yumichika stay behind, eager to fight as well. Though reluctant, Kenpachi accepts their help, and they fight against Hisagi and Tetsuzaemon elsewhere. Kenpachi, battling Captain Komamura and Captain Tōsen, easily fends them off, leading him to goad them into releasing their Bankai. Although Komamura is reluctant to do so, Tōsen obliges, revealing he always had an uneasy feeling about Kenpachi since he became a captain.
When Tōsen releases his Bankai, Kenpachi learns he cannot see, hear, and sense spirit energy. However, he fights off Tōsen with the sense of touch, as he can feel when the blade makes contact with his body. However, Kenpachi, becoming frustrated with this style of fighting, lets Tōsen impale him with his sword. Kenpachi, grabbing hold of Suzumushi's hilt, figures out only by grabbing Suzumushi can he see and hear Tōsen. Before Tōsen can attack him, Kenpachi, grabbing Suzumushi once more, gravely wounds Tōsen, which dispels his Bankai.
As Tōsen tries to retaliate, Komamura blocks a slash from Kenpachi, which shatters his helmet. Kenpachi, revealing he never cared what Komamura looked like (though he was curious), proceeds to fight against him once he releases his Bankai. However, the battle doesn't last long; Komamura, sensing Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto fighting, abandons his fight with Kenpachi. Later, Yumichika tells Kenpachi the result of his battle. Kenpachi, in turn, tells him Komamura ran off. Kenpachi, surprised to see Yumichika with no signs of injury after fighting against Hisagi, begins to question him, but, much to his annoyance, Yumichika begins to talk about beauty. While they do receive Isane Kotetsu's message about Aizen's betrayal, they do not accompany the other captains to Sōkyoku Hill.
A week after the incident with Aizen, Kenpachi finds Ichigo training with Ikkaku on his division's grounds. Seeing his wounds healed completely, Kenpachi tries to fight him again, but Ichigo runs off, and Kenpachi cannot find him. He does not see Ichigo and his friends when they leave Soul Society, telling Yachiru he and Ichigo will certainly meet again because they are the only ones who are what they seem to be.
Bount arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
Click "show" to read the arc plot.
When Kenpachi and his squad feel the presence of an old member of the 11th Division, Maki Ichinose, he tells everyone to ignore him.
He attends a meeting, called by Mayuri, in regard to the missing data from his division's archives. Kenpachi tells Yachiru he is aware of this because it could be Maki who is responsible for the deed.
Kenpachi helps fight off the Bount Invasion in Soul Society. At first, he refuses to help, but after hearing the 10th Division spotted Maki, he sets off to find him, arriving in time to stop him from attacking Chad. Kenpachi asks Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya and Ichigo to let him fight Maki. As Kenpachi fights Maki, he is generally unimpressed by the former officer's strength. Maki, tricking Kenpachi, traps him within his Saigyoku Nijigasumi ability, but Kenpachi, briefly removing his eyepatch, breaks through it, and congratulates Maki for forcing him into removing his eyepatch, despite having done so for just a second. Maki, realizing the battle has turned against him, attacks Kenpachi frantically, asking why he has so much power yet has no just reason in using it. Kenpachi, silencing him, tells him he should fight on his own accord instead of being dependent on others. After Maki realizes the meaning of Kenpachi's words, the two charge at each other with full power, and Kenpachi, claiming victory, greatly wounds Maki, breaking the latter's sword in the process. The fight with Maki having ended, Kenpachi, taking Yachiru, heads back towards the Seireitei.
When Yamamoto calls him and the other captains for an emergency meeting, Kenpachi complains.
Kenpachi appears to Ichigo as his instinct and desire to win, explaining to him they are both the type of people who lived to fight battle after battle. After Orihime is taken to Hueco Mundo, Kenpachi arrives with Byakuya Kuchiki to retrieve Hitsugaya's group and bring them back to Soul Society.
The New Captain Shūsuke Amagai arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
Click "show" to read the arc plot.
After Kenpachi had to fight the new 3rd Division captain,Shūsuke Amagai made a request to Captain-Commander Yamamoto to start inter-division training sessions so the Gotei 13 could better coordinate its divisions. The idea was initially unpopular among most other captains, particularly Kenpachi, who did not believe he should be concerned with other divisions' problems. He proceeds to go after Ichigo after finding out he was in Soul Society, but both Ichigo and Kenpachi end up protecting princess Rurichiyo from assassins. Kenpachi finds Rukia, who tells him to keep the incident a secret, however, he does not even know what is going on. Later, when Yamamoto orders Ichigo's capture, he, like most Shinigami, is seen as reluctant to go after him, saying he "is not in the mood".
Hueco Mundo arc
Kenpachi arrives, alongside Captains Byakuya Kuchiki, Mayuri Kurotsuchi, and Retsu Unohana, in Las Noches after the battle between Ichigo Kurosaki and Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez. Kenpachi comes to Ichigo's aid as he blocks an attack by the ArrancarTesra Lindocruz. As the Arrancar tries to attack again, Kenpachi deals a fatal slash wound down his chest. Finished with Tesra, Kenpachi looks to Nnoitra Gilga to be his next opponent. When Ichigo asks what Kenpachi is doing in Hueco Mundo, he responds by kicking Ichigo, stating he is in the way of the field of battle. Kenpachi reveals Kisuke Urahara was asked by Captain-Commander Yamamoto to send them to Hueco Mundo in preparation for the upcoming battle in Karakura Town. Nnoitra, finally deciding to attack, is blocked, though still impressing Kenpachi with his strike. When Nnoitra asks Kenpachi his name, both men give their name and rank.
As the two opponents continue to fight, Kenpachi, getting close to dealing a fatal blow to Nnoitra, cannot cut through the Espada's skin with his sword. Nnoitra, cutting Kenpachi on his left shoulder, laughs, telling him his Hierro is unsurpassed by any current and former Espada. He tells Kenpachi his blade will never cut him. Kenpachi, undeterred, continues to fight Nnoitra with even more ferocity, much to the Espada's surprise. After Nnoitra dodges an attack, Kenpachi deduces it must have been dangerous for him to dodge it. Dismissing it as a reflex, Nnoitra continues the battle until Kenpachi, saying he has never met an opponent whose eyes and neck cannot be cut, stabs Nnoitra in the eye hidden by his eyepatch. However, Nnoitra, unaffected, reveals the remains of his Hollow mask and hole hidden under his eye patch. The Espada, moving closer, stabs Kenpachi in the chest. After the two argue over Nnoitra's inability to be cut, Kenpachi keeps trying to slice up his opponent. Eventually, Kenpachi cuts Nnoitra, and, fighting fiercer than before, cuts him again, this time cutting off a part of Nnoitra's Zanpakutō. Kenpachi states he has finally gotten use to the strength of Nnoitra's Hierro. The battle carries on until Kenpachi's eye patch is knocked off. 
After Kenpachi explains the nature of his eye patch, Nnoitra, in a rage, releases. When Nnoitra asks how it feels to see an Espada release their Zanpakutō for the first time, all he gets in response to his question is a smile from Kenpachi, who tells him he has nice Reiatsu, and it is like the Reiatsu itself is sharpening his blade. Kenpachi, wasting no time, goes on the offensive, but he, surprised when his attacks are blocked, is dealt a grievous wound across his chest. Nnoitra sends Kenpachi flying away from him as he mocks him. Noticing there is no movement from an unresponsive Kenpachi, Nnoitra sets his sights on Yachiru, but Kenpachi, recovering, cuts off one of his arms. When Nnoitra comments on Kenpachi playing dead, Kenpachi says since Nnoitra will just block his attacks with his many arms, he just has to cut them off. However, Nnoitra, mocking Kenpachi, regenerates his arm. Kenpachi, grabbing Nnoitra, slams him into the ground, prompting Nnoitra, reveal his two hidden arms, to stab Kenpachi in the chest. 
Nnoitra, generating two more scythe weapons, tells Kenpachi it is over. However, Kenpachi, laughing hysterically, keeps fighting, only to be injured several times. He reluctantly decides to use Kendō, though he admits it has been quite some time since he has used it. When Nnoitra becomes confused, Kenpachi reveals the Captain-Commander made him learn it when he first joined the Gotei 13, but he never liked it. When he asks Nnoitra if he knows a sword is far more powerful when you use two hands instead of one, Nnoitra, becoming bored with the conversation, charges at Kenpachi, who, gripping his sword with both hands, swings it down. Kenpachi lands a very powerful blow, dealing Nnoitra a lethal wound to his chest, severing a few of his limbs, and almost cutting him in half. Surprised the Espada is still alive, he turns to walk away. When Nnoitra yells at him, asking where he is going as the fight is not over, Kenpachi explains he does not know what he is talking about, as the blow finished him and he is not about to be bothered with finishing someone off who cannot fight back. Undeterred, Nnoitra, getting up, tells him the fight is not over, taunting him to come back and continue fighting. As Nnoitra moves to attack him, Kenpachi, giving in, lands another blow to his chest, and Nnoitra falls to the ground. Kenpachi, standing over Nnoitra's corpse, victorious, thanks him for the good fight. Kenpachi, asking Ichigo what he is, reminds him he, as a Substitute Shinigami, must protect Karakura Town. He tells Ichigo to take Orihime and return, as he is no longer needed in Hueco Mundo. He, telling Ichigo to get his sword, yells for Orihime to come over and heal him. However, Coyote Starrk, arriving, recaptures her, narrowly avoiding both Kenpachi's and Ichigo's attack in the process.
When Ichigo hears from Aizen he plans to destroy Karakura Town, he proceeds to run off. Kenpachi, telling him not to be so hasty, reveals everything is planned, and Urahara not only sent the captains to Hueco Mundo, but made it possible to wage war in Karakura Town. When Ichigo notices Ulquiorra near Orihime, he, reminding Kenpachi of their earlier conversation, informs him he is wrong. Telling Kenpachi his job is not to protect Karakura Town, but instead to protect his friends, Ichigo takes off, leaving Kenpachi behind.
Fake Karakura Town arc
Later, Kenpachi, alongside Byakuya Kuchiki, arrives at the battle between Yammy Llargo and Ichigo. After Byakuya attacks Yammy with Sōkatsui, Kenpachi cuts off one of Yammy's legs, making him fall over. He, berating Byakuya for "stealing" the first blow, tells him to get away from the battle area. Byakuya, calmly calling his statement nonsense, since he was the first to arrive, states Kenpachi should learn his place. Kenpachi, ignoring Byakuya, tells him not to complain if he get sliced into pieces alongside Yammy.
As Kenpachi tells Ichigo he is a disgrace, as he seems to get "beat to hell" everywhere they go, he tells him to move out of the way. When Ichigo, confused, stares at him, Kenpachi goes to strike at him, but Ichigo, dodging, screams at him, saying he could have killed him. As Kenpachi charges at Ichigo, he, slapped away by Yammy, is sent flying into a nearby structure. As Yammy rants and raves, Kenpachi kicks a large piece of rock at him, but the Espada crushes it to rubble before it can make contact. Kenpachi, stating he is surprised Yammy can throw a decent punch when he wants to, as he barely felt it when he hit him, tells Yammy even though he must think he is a big fly, if he is going to punch him, he better put some effort into it. Yammy, enraged, attacks Kenpachi.
As Yammy tries to punch him, Kenpachi cuts off three of his fingers. Yammy, screaming in pain, holding his injured hand, notices Kenpachi on his arm, which he runs up to strike at his head. Kenpachi cuts off another of Yammy's legs, causing the Espada to fall down. Kenpachi, admitting he is a tough one, is disappointed as Yammy lies unconscious, prompting him to call Byakuya to finish the Espada off. When Byakuya asks him what he is talking about, Kenpachi states he figures Byakuya must be bored standing around, so he figures he would at least allow him to finish the Espada off. When Byakuya, deducing Kenpachi expects him to clean up his mess, asks who he thinks he is talking to, Kenpachi states he does not like to kill weaklings. When Byakuya states he will not, as a savage like him is better suited to the task, Kenpachi takes offense, but before he can do anything about it, Yammy, making his presence known by confirming he is not down for the count yet, slams his large hand down in between the two. The two captains look up at Yammy as he prepares to fire a Cero at them. As the large blast is fired, they both dodge the attack, prompting Byakuya to state he cannot believe Kenpachi thought he could finish off the Espada the way he did, pitying his poor judgement. Kenpachi, brushing the comment off, states to him, Yammy is ready to be finished off, but the Espada is obviously too much for Byakuya. Byakuya, releasing his Bankai, tells Kenpachi if Yammy is not too much for him, he should prove it. Kenpachi, liking this idea, states he has always wanted to compete against Byakuya. As the two captains move toward each other, they turn toward Yammy, stating he is in the way, and lash out, hitting the Espada in his face.
Yammy's huge form is knocked off balance by the powerful attack from the two captains, but he, surviving, gets back up, injured and infuriated. Kenpachi states he is surprised Yammy survived, believing he has lost his mind. As the Cero Espada becomes frustrated with the two captains, his Resurrección changes form. After transforming, he warns the captains making him angrier is the last thing they want to do, since his release, Ira, increases in strength the angrier he becomes. He, taunting Byakuya and Kenpachi, says if they make him even angrier, he will make sure their deaths are humiliating and painful.
Later, after defeating Yammy, Kenpachi is accompanied by Byakuya as they exit a Garganta. He is greeted by a few of the 11th Division. The 4th Division, immediately responding to their arrival, note while both are standing, they are horribly injured. When asked by his men how the battle was, Kenpachi states it was boring. After having his injuries treated, Kenpachi, along with Byakuya and Shunsui, is called to meet with Yamamoto, who scolds them for losing their captain haori. When each of them are indifferent to the matter, Kenpachi saying his was a bother, Yamamoto grows even angrier.
Zanpakutō Unknown Tales arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
As the Zanpakutō launch an all out attack, just as the Shinigami are losing ground, Kenpachi makes a dramatic appearance. Ichigo is relieved to see him, but Captain Suì-Fēng, questioning the need for all the theatrics, mentions he is late. As Kenpachi, telling her he got there as soon as he could so he could fight before they took out everyone, gazes among the spirits, he asks if there is someone left to fight. Kenpachi is attacked from behind by Wabisuke, but its blade, striking Kenpachi, has no effect, much to Wabisuke's surprise. Kenpachi, grabbing the sword, asks the spirit if it was trying to cut him with such a dull blade. He, yanking the sword from its hand, cuts Wabisuke down, causing him to, reverting back to his sealed form, break into two pieces.
Rukia and Renji are surprised at Kenpachi's power, having effortlessly taken down a Zanpakutō Spirit, but the Zanpakutō Spirits are not surprised by his Reiatsu. When Gonryōmaru asks him where has he been all this time, Yachiru reveals they were late because they got lost on their way back from fighting Hollows in Rukongai. After she tells the story, Kenpachi tells her to get down, as he wants to fight. He, looking over all the possible combatants, sets his sights on Byakuya Kuchiki, as he has always had a strong desire to face the 6th Division captain in battle. Senbonzakura, stepping in, tells Byakuya he will handle things and he should leave. As he releases his Bankai, Kenpachi, unimpressed, removes his eyepatch, telling the Zanpakutō Spirits they all should get out of his way. As his Reiatsu builds at a devastating rate, Senbonzakura's Bankai, coming into contact with it, is easily dissipated, much to the Zanpakutō Spirit's surprise. As his Reiatsu, further increasing, overwhelms everyone in the vicinity, Kenpachi, appearing in front of Senbonzakura, strikes at him, creating a huge explosion of Reiatsu which, expanding outwards like a bomb, decimates buildings and sends everyone besides Byakuya (seemingly the only one who can stand the increased Reiatsu) flying away from the battlefield.
When Byakuya states he just blew everyone away, Kenpachi plainly tells him he has no intention of fighting any of them anyway. The two begin to battle, though Byakuya is not really interested in doing so. When they cross swords, Byakuya releases his Shikai, though Kenpachi effortlessly deflects it. Feeling disappointed, Kenpachi, increasing his Reiatsu, sends it at Byakuya, who, blocking it, proceeds to use Senka. Much to Byakuya's surprise, Kenpachi effortlessly blocks the attack, asking if Byakuya actually thought he could not follow his Shunpo. Byakuya counters, asking Kenpachi if he thought his sluggish speed could catch him. As Kenpachi goes on the offense, Byakuya uses Shunpo to move out of the way, prompting Kenpachi to state it looks like Byakuya's speed is only good enough to dodge him. When Byakuya appears behind Kenpachi, the latter can only react by placing his arm up, causing his forearm to be slashed by Byakuya's attack.
When Byakuya tells him he cannot be caught by Kenpachi, he, taking the statement as a challenge, lunges at Byakuya, who, dodging the two attacks, is surprised when Kenpachi catches his blade with his bare hands on the third attempt. Kenpachi, stating he caught him, slashes him, but Byakuya moves enough so the wound is not fatal. When Byakuya asks why he had taken such a risk, Kenpachi states if he had not, he would not take the fight seriously. Byakuya, using his Shikai again, tires out Kenpachi, who seemingly deflects it again. Byakuya tells Kenpachi to leave him be, or, in his next attack, he will truly kill him. Kenpachi, laughing at the notion, tells Byakuya to try, as he always wanted to fight with him in a battle to the death. Once Byakuya resolves to continue the fight, the two face off.
Before the two can continue their fight, they are interrupted by Ashisogi Jizō in its Bankai form. It, filling the area with its deadly poison, allows Byakuya to escape. After repelling Ashisogi Jizō's poison with his Reiatsu, Kenpachi takes his anger out on the rogue Zanpakutō Spirit, capturing him after he is chased by Yachiru. Before he can do anything, Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi, arriving, causes his Zanpakutō to self-destruct. Before Kenpachi can leave to find Byakuya so they can finish their fight, Yoruichi arrives with news of Captain-Commander Yamamoto's location.
The Shinigami, upon arriving at the rogue Zanpakutō hideout, are hesitant to enter without a strategy, but Kenpachi, eager to find another good fight, enters. Later, Kenpachi, finding himself lost and unsure of where to go next, is ambushed by Tenken and Gonryōmaru. Soon, seeing the two Zanpakutō Spirits are only fighting to stall for time, Kenpachi becomes determined to make the Zanpakutō Spirits fight him seriously. Kenpachi, defeating Gonryōmaru, tells Tenken, who had been holding back while Gonryōmaru was there, to attack him with all of his power. Tenken, transforming into his Bankai form, attacks Kenpachi.
Gotei 13 Invading Army arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
Click "show" to read the arc plot.
Kenpachi is present for a captains meeting, called by Yamamoto, regarding disappearances in the Dangai. After hearing Mayuri's report of a time gap in the Dangai and his request to conduct a study to identify the cause, Yamamoto assigns Kenpachi as Mayuri's bodyguard. Later, Kenpachi, along with other members of the Gotei 13, arriving after escaping from the Dangai, confronts Kagerōza Inaba. After fending off Inaba and forcing him to retreat, Kenpachi joins other members of the Gotei 13 as they hold a meeting in Ichigo's room. Later, Kenpachi joins three other captains in the Urahara Shop, where they attempt to enter Soul Society. After they, minus Sajin Komamura, arrive, Kenpachi, splitting up from the group, faces off against his Reigai counterpart. While slightly outmatched at first, Kenpachi finds great delight in this, comparing it to the time he faced Ichigo. Eventually, Kenpachi defeats the Reigai through with Kendō. Later, Kenpachi encounters the Onmitsukidō, who are under the control of Reigai-Suì-Fēng. After Kenpachi defeats all of the Onmitsukidō, he, preparing to fight the Reigai, is stopped by Komamura, who emerges unscathed. Kenpachi walks off, leaving Komamura to face off against Reigai-Suì-Fēng.
Later, Kenpachi, alongside Tōshirō Hitsugaya, arrives at Inaba's lair, where Inaba approaches them. Kenpachi, rushing in headfirst, clashes with the 7th Seat. When Inaba reveals his Shikai's ability to control space, though Hitsugaya keeps his distance, Kenpachi proceeds to attack Inaba, prompting him to record Kenpachi's attack and cuts him down with it.
When the other Shinigami arrive, Kenpachi proceeds to attack alongside them. As Inaba recreates Yoruichi and Suì-Fēng's joint Shunkō attack, Kenpachi informs them he can copy any ability. Yoruichi and Suì-Fēng, negating Inaba's Shunkō with Hanki, create an opening for Hitsugaya and Kenpachi to cut Inaba down. However, this Inaba turns out to be a fake, as the real Inaba, lunging down from the ceiling, cuts Kenpachi and the others down. As he prepares to finish him off, Mayuri Kurotsuchi stabs him in the back. As Mayuri fights and talks with Inaba, Kenpachi listens with the others. When Inaba releases the full power of the Reigai and more of the Reigai appear, Kenpachi states it is becoming interesting. Kenpachi, avoiding an attack from Reigai-Ikkaku, is attacked by Reigai-Matsumoto and Reigai-Ōmaeda. Eventually, Kenpachi and the other captains are forced to retreat.
Later, they return in time to help Ichigo and Urahara against their Reigai pursuers. Eager for another match, Kenpachi attacks his Reigai counterpart. The two begin slashing each other up, delighting in the intense fight. As they continue fighting, with neither side having an advantage, Reigai-Kenpachi grows even more violent, striking down whomever he sees. As Kenpachi becomes annoyed by these interferences, the lieutenants arrive to aid their captains. When Ikkaku and Yumichika offer to fight with Kenpachi, he tells them to keep the "small fries" out of his way. Later, Byakuya realizes the truth behind the Reigai's battle style: they value self-preservation the most, and will not attack first in fear of being outnumbered. Seeing this, Ikkaku and Yumichika join Kenpachi, this time determined to aid their captain. While not entirely liking the idea, Kenpachi admits it might be nice to have someone have his back once in a while.
Later, the resurrected Ōko Yushima, beginning his endgame, uses his Renzan: Hajokuri technique to begin destroying the Soul Society. Before the Shinigami can act, the Reigai, stepping forward, say they will stop their fellow Mod-Soul's chaotic plan, as their goal has always been to protect the Soul Society in their own way. The Reigai destroy the technique at the cost of their own lives.
The Lost Substitute Shinigami arc
After Rukia stabs Ichigo with Urahara's specially designed sword, Kūgo Ginjō states he has already taken all of Ichigo's powers, and her power isn't enough to restore them. However, Renji, interrupting him, reveals himself and other Shinigami, including Kenpachi, who all continue to watch the situation. Renji reveals they all, including Kenpachi, donated their Reiatsu to Urahara's sword to ensure Ichigo's powers were restored to him.
As Yukio brings each of the duels into different chat rooms, Kenpachi asks Byakuya to wait and trade with him, since his opponent, Shūkurō Tsukishima, looks stronger, but he cannot. When Giriko Kutsuzawa questions him, saying Kenpachi must think he is weaker, Kenpachi, telling him to stop talking, says it is boring to kill small fry. Giriko, calling him an imbecile, says he will teach Kenpachi with brute force. As Giriko transforms into a larger, muscular form, he states his Fullbring allows him to do this. He, explaining his Fullbring as a contract with the gods of time, states the simpler the clause of this contract, the stronger he becomes. As he, saying his current contract allows him more power than ever before, claims he is unmatched, he is interrupted by Kenpachi, who, cutting Giriko in half, says it was boring.
Having defeated Giriko, Kenpachi looks around to see if anyone else is done with their match yet. Seeing no one is, he, getting bored, decides to go back home. However, Yachiru Kusajishi, popping up, smacks him, saying they all came together and promised to go home together, so if they leave, Yamamoto will have their heads. She continues to pull on his ears as he walks. When Kenpachi greets Ikkaku as the dimension he was in disappears, Ikkaku is surprised Kenpachi is out of his dimension so early, only for him to say Ikkaku is late. Kenpachi, Yachiru, and Ikkaku notice Renji coming out of some bushes. When Ikkaku scolds Renji for his condition, Renji reveals he got out of his dimension a while ago, but could not move for a while, which surprises Kenpachi. When Kenpachi asks how Ikkaku did, Ikkaku says he lectured him for a bit and took off. Kenpachi, frustrated to hear this, scolds his subordinate. He, along with the other captains, looks on as Ichigo breaks apart the last pocket dimension with his Bankai.
As Kenpachi and the others turn to leave, when Byakuya reminds Rukia they were only tasked with observing Ichigo and his decision, Kenpachi, interjecting, states he only came because he was bored. Later, when Ichigo, seeking the return of Kūgo's body, goes to Soul Society, Kenpachi, informed of his arrival, is among the captains present to hear Ichigo's request.
The Thousand-Year Blood War arc
Kenpachi attends a captain meeting, where he is informed about the Wandenreich's infiltration, and is ordered to prepare for war alongside other captains. After the Wandenreich invade Seireitei, Kenpachi is told by Rangiku Matsumoto the enemy has the ability to steal Bankai.
Later, Rin Tsubokura, via transmitter swords, informs Kenpachi, along with the other captains and lieutenants, Ichigo is currently heading to Soul Society. Later, Kenpachi, after defeating three Sternritter, faces Jugram Haschwalth and Yhwach, asking the latter if he is the boss of the Wandenreich. When Haschwalth asks how he defeated three Sternritter so easily, Kenpachi casually explains each situation while referring to the three as trash. Dismissing them from his mind, Kenpachi, charging forward, attacks Yhwach, who blocks the sword attack with his arm, resulting in an enormous shockwave destroying the area surrounding them.
Soon after, Kenpachi is easily defeated by Yhwach, who holds up the bloodied captain by his throat. Stating he had considered the captain to be one of their five special war potentials, he concludes he has overestimated Kenpachi, proclaiming him to be weak. As Yhwach declares Soul Society on the brink of collapse, Kenpachi is saved from further punishment by the arrival of the Captain-Commander. After the battle for Soul Society ends, Kenpachi is reported to have narrowly escaped death, despite being left in a comatose state.
Days later, after somewhat recovering from his injuries, Kenpachi is led to the lowest level of the Central Great Underground Prison by Retsu Unohana under the orders of the new Captain-Commander, Shunsui Kyōraku, in order to train him to become strong enough to combat the Wandenreich. Revealed to have scarred each other's bodies in the past, the captains, finally putting their long-kept contempt for each other into actions, begin their battle to the death.
Kenpachi, fighting Unohana, finds himself on the losing side, with the former using her free hand and legs to keep him from landing any blows on her. Praising him for removing his eyepatch at the start of their fight, Unohana cannot help, but note this also means he is fighting at his limits by doing so. She, continuing to wound Kenpachi with a hidden knife, calls him weak, saying those who only fight with one hand, without using the other for anything else, do not look like they enjoy fighting to her. Kenpachi, degrading her for using tricks she had not used in their last fight, states she has changed from the time he used to look up to her. Knocking Kenpachi's sword from his hand and pinning him against the wall, Unohana tells him she did not change; he just had not given her the chance to use those tricks when they fought each other last.
Reaffirming he had looked up to her, Kenpachi reveals he had never felt fear until he fought Unohana, enjoying fighting for the first time in his life, and it was then he decided he wanted to fight like her. As Kenpachi realizes he might be about to die without ever have defeating her, Unohana pierces him through the throat. When he temporarily loses consciousness, something catches Kenpachi's attention and wakes him. Unohana, noticing this, asks him what happened, as it looked like he lost consciousness for a moment. Disregarding her question and whatever had caught his attention, Kenpachi continues the fight against her.
As the fight continues, Kenpachi is continually injured and knocked out. As Unohana repeatedly heals him, he eventually wounds her. He realizes he was previously only reacting to her sword, but is now doing so reflexively. He further notes every time he regains consciousness, it feels as if he has been reborn, unaware the unconscious limits he placed on himself in their original battle are being released. Recovering from Unohana's onslaught, he delivers a powerful vertical slash.
Despite having been dealt a critical blow, Unohana, pushing Kenpachi back, heals herself and activates her Bankai. As the battle continues to intensify, Kenpachi, greatly enjoying himself, laughs madly. Thinking to himself this is real fighting, he becomes grateful to Unohana. Kenpachi, gradually overwhelming Unohana, stabs her through the chest. As Unohana congratulates Kenpachi while dying in his arms, Kenpachi pulls back his sword and drops it, realizing that this will be the final time fighting her. Begging her not to die, Kenpachi screams out in rage as his opponent fades away. Suddenly, he hears a voice calling out to him, and as he turns, he realizes the voice came from his Zanpakutō.
Later, during the Wandenreich's second attack, Kenpachi feels Yachiru's Reiatsu weakening and goes to her location. Breaking through a nearby wall, he expresses his disappointment to find that Gremmy Thoumeaux is the one causing trouble.  Being asked by Isane Kotetsu where Unohana is, Kenpachi answers he has killed her and confirms that he has inherited her name. Gremmy raises the ground, thus setting up a stage for their battle. After Gremmy reveals his epithet Kenpachi charges at him, but his blade is stopped. Hearing Gremmy explain how he can stop it by imagining his skin is resistant enough, Kenpachi proceeds to cut him and declare he can cut through anything Gremmy can imagine. 
As Kenpachi notes the noise made by his subordinates, Gremmy reveals he's healed and then begins attacking Kenpachi through imagining lava. Stating Gremmy's power is illogical, Kenpachi says he doesn't dislike illogical things and then charges, cutting away the lava and telling Yachiru to get away. After hearing Gremmy revealing what Yachiru's bones are now made of, Kenpachi asks what a cookie is and, hearing the answer, again attacks. Kenpachi is surrounded by water and falls down a fissure in the ground which then closes. He breaks free and, carrying Yachiru, again tries to cut Gremmy, but he is blocked. Noting that Gremmy's power doesn't seem to work on Yachiru anymore, Kenpachi speculates that it is because he shifted his attention away from her. 
After cutting through the beam blocking his sword, Kenpachi tells Yachiru to have Isane heal her arm. As Yachiru gleefully scurries down the side of the structure, Gremmy notes Kenpachi figured out how to disable his power. Confirming this, Kenpachi asks Gremmy if he wants to fight and reminds him of his claim of being the strongest Quincy. Kenpachi reasons that Gremmy would want to destroy the strongest fighter out there because of this status before proclaiming this will not be a fight if Gremmy is distracted so easily by things that aren't Kenpachi. As Kenpachi lunges forward, Gremmy surrounds him with dozens of rectangular columns, which he easily cuts through. Eventually, a joyous Gremmy creates several dozen sub-machine guns around himself and has all of them fire at Kenpachi, who emerges with only minor injuries and notes his sword is finally beginning to enjoy himself.
Kenpachi continues to attack Gremmy, each time taking advantage of Gremmy's lack of reaction to slash him again and again while cutting through his constructs as well. After slashing Gremmy in several areas, a confused Kenpachi asks him if he is imagining his own death. Healing his wounds, Gremmy thanks Kenpachi for pointing this out to him and state he will reveal his strongest technique before creating a clone of himself. When Kenpachi attacks the clone, Gremmy reveals they will not die and points out a huge meteorite hurtling toward the Seireitei. As Gremmy proclaims this attack will obliterate Kenpachi and the entire Seireitei, Kenpachi tells his sword that it is great to find something he has not slashed yet and refers to it as Nozarashi.
When Gremmy explains to him that he cannot destroy the meteorite because it is already in existence, Kenpachi claims that Gremmy is the one who cannot do anything and leaps toward the meteorite. Releasing the true form of Nozarashi, Kenpachi destroys the meteorite, causing chunks to rain down around him as he stands with his Shikai.
Gremmy calls him a monster for being able to destroy a meteorite with a single attack, prompting Kenpachi to state he can simply cut through anything. Surrounding Kenpachi with more clones of himself, Gremmy proclaims this means he will simply have to kill Kenpachi with something that has no form and encloses him in a large pocket of space. Kenpachi begins to spew liquid from his mouth and eye and screams in pain as Gremmy explains how he will die a slow and painful death in the vacuum of space, but he bifurcates one of Gremmy's clones, cutting himself out of the void in the process. As the other clones grab onto him, Kenpachi is engulfed in an enormous explosion, which he survives with a moderately burned and scratched body. Noting this as proof of Kenpachi's monstrosity, Gremmy proclaims he shall simply become stronger than Kenpachi and rushes toward him as his veins pop out, only for his body to begin tearing itself apart in midair due to his muscles and tendons growing too quickly for it to contain. As Gremmy falls to the ground below, Kenpachi criticizes him for imagining Kenpachi to be a monster and losing because of it.
Heavily injured, Kenpachi approaches the defeated Sternritter. Hearing Gremmy's explanation of his own loss and his real body, a surprised Kenpachi watches as the Quincy dissolves and perishes. After the stage collapses, Kenpachi calls out to Yachiru and notices her empty clothes on the ground. When his subordinates arrive, he orders them to search for her. He is soon surprised when the low-ranking 11th division members are struck by thunder. He then sees Candice Catnipp, Meninas McAllon, Giselle Gewelle and Liltotto Lamperd approaching. Noticing Candice electrocuting members of his division, Kenpachi attempts to attack her, but Candice dodges and electrocutes him as Meninas punches him into the ground with tremendous force. As the four Sternritter slaughter dozens of 11th Division members around him and wonder how they should kill him, Kenpachi notes he cannot move and wonders if this is the end as an explosion occurs overhead. When Ichigo arrives and moves to him, Kenpachi asks him what he is doing here, prompting Ichigo to proclaim he is here to save him. When Ichigo asks him if he can stand, Kenpachi laughs and tells Ichigo to look out for himself instead of worrying about him.
Eyepatch Power Seal: Kenpachi wears an eyepatch, created by the Shinigami Research and Development Institute just for him, which seals the bulk of his Reiryoku. Since he has so much power, however, it does not noticeably hinder him in battle; in fact, he remains just ahead of most other captains. His reason for wearing it is since he loves fighting so much, he cannot fight most opponents at full strength without defeating them quickly. Seventeen months after Aizen's defeat, Kenpachi wears a new eyepatch.
Reiatsu Bells: In order to further give the enemy an advantage, Kenpachi wears bells on each spike of his hair. These bells can only be heard by enemies whose Reiatsu is concentrated to the point where it can actually defeat Kenpachi. Seventeen months after Aizen's defeat, Kenpachi reveals he does not wear the bells anymore.
Powers & Abilities
Kenpachi did not attend the Shin'ō Academy, cannot use Bankai, and has no apparent skill (or interest) in Kidō and Shunpo. However, he more than makes up for his faults with his sheer power and endurance, easily making him one of the strongest Shinigami in Soul Society.
Master Swordsman: Due to the lawlessness of the Zaraki district, Kenpachi's skill with his sword has been honed to a masterful level, letting him strike multiple times with changes of attack type (from slash to pierce) without any difficulty. While still a child, his prowess was great enough to single-handedly produce a huge pile of adult corpses and wound Retsu Unohana, the 1st Kenpachi, in battle. His unpolished skills, but immense might with his sword allow him to always fight with one hand free, only using both hands when facing opponents he feels will beat him otherwise, as shown with Nnoitra and momentarily Ichigo. As the captain of the 11th Division, which specializes in sword fighting, he is among the most, if not the most, proficient swordsmen in all of Soul Society.
Kendō: Kenpachi possesses considerable knowledge and skill in Kendō, which Yamamoto forced him to learn before officially joining the Gotei 13, though the training only lasted a day out of fear that Zaraki would become too powerful. However, Kenpachi, who despises using skills and techniques learned from another source, only uses Kendō as a last resort.
Ryōdan (両断, Bisection): A technique which Kenpachi uses when he is gripping his sword with two hands. It allows one to split an opponent down the middle.
Hand-to-Hand Combat Expert: While preferring to use his blade in battle, Kenpachi has proven several times to be very dangerous while barehanded. He can easily catch an opponent's attack with a single hand, perform powerful punches and kicks, and easily subdue opponents with throws and take-downs. Kenpachi easily overwhelmed several members of the Onmitsukidō, a corp of Hakuda-specialists, despite being battle-worn.
Immense Spiritual Power: Even by a captain's standards, his Reiryoku is absolutely monstrous. Kenpachi has fought on par with two other captain-level opponents while still wearing his energy-sealing eye patch and his opponents releasing their Zanpakutō's Bankai.Ganju Shiba estimated his sealed power to be close or at the same level as Byakuya Kuchiki's Reiatsu. Retsu Unohana, one of the most powerful captains of the Gotei 13, stated she was weaker than him even while he was still a child. Similar to Ichigo, when unleashing a strong enough surge of energy, it becomes visible and yellow in color, sometimes with the appearance of a skull. After his battle with Unohana, Kenpachi possesses much more control over his Reiryoku, and can use it to stand in midair like other Shinigami.
Unruly Reiatsu Control: His spiritual energy can affect entire areas to the point of disrupting energy attacks from enemies, and cause others from seemingly miles away to enter a state of paralysis and confusion. Kenpachi can exert enough Reiatsu to repel the poison of Konjiki Ashisogi Jizō. However, after his battle with Unohana, Kenpachi gains considerable control over his Reiatsu; prior to Gremmy Thoumeaux creating a structure for he and Kenpachi to fight on, Shinigami in the nearby area were completely unable to detect his Reiatsu.
Damage Resistance: He can use it as a sort of armor, making it impossible for him to be harmed by anyone not at his level of power. This is first demonstrated when Ichigo tries to cut Kenpachi at the start of their fight. Kenpachi allows Ichigo to strike him, yet not only does he fail to cut him, but Ichigo's hands start to bleed because of it. This can be compared to an Arrancar's Hierro.
Shock Wave: He possesses enough control to focus and unleash his spiritual pressure in the form of a powerful shock wave. When using both hands, his shock wave can have a huge radius of destruction.
Energy Wave: By striking at the ground, Kenpachi can create an overflowing wave of yellow spiritual energy, which surges forward before crashing into Kenpachi's target.
Highly Perceptive Combatant: Despite his seeming disregard for any strategy in his fights and his self-admitted aversion to thinking during battle, Kenpachi is a very insightful man, regularly showing more understanding than one would expect. Even Byakuya was impressed by Kenpachi's ability to understand things he has no personal experience with. He is very adept at finding and exploiting weaknesses in his opponents' techniques, such as in his battle with Kaname Tōsen, where he subdued the latter's Bankai while armed only with a Zanpakutō and the one sense left accessible by Tōsen's Bankai at the time - touch. He is adept at adjusting to his opponent's attack patterns and battle methods to better counter them. While he admits to having no sanity or common sense, Kenpachi is very perceptive, noticing traits in people others would not notice, and seeing what drives a person's actions. He correctly singles out Kaname Tōsen and Gin Ichimaru as the only captains who are afraid to die. He possesses sharp intuition towards incoming danger, as shown by his ability to repeatedly dodge Tōsen's assault while still affected by his Bankai. Zaraki also theorized during his battle with Gremmy Thoumeaux that if the concentration of his "The Visionary" shifts towards himself instead of others, the effects that his ability had on Yachiru, making her bones into cookies, would disappear.
Immense Strength: Kenpachi possesses a very large degree of physical strength, most commonly displayed by his ability to fight back his opponent's attacks with a single arm. He has repeatedly displayed his strength with acts like kicking Tōsen through a building and slamming Komamura over his shoulder with one hand during their battle, as well as when he grabbed Ichigo's giant sword barehanded and reeled both him and the sword in for an attack. While fighting Ichigo Kurosaki, he rammed his sword through a building. With just his bare hand, Kenpachi deflected the Cero of the fifth Espada, Nnoitra Gilga. His sword attacks can cut through Yammy Llargo's released state Hierro, removing his limbs in a single strike and knocking the giant Arrancar off his feet. He can fend off an opponent's gigantic sword with a single hand. His extreme cutting strength is evident in his ability to easily cut through an Espada's Hierro, which is harder than steel, as well as slice apart a skyscraper with a mere flick of his wrist; he even claims that Gremmy's imagination powers cannot come up with anything that he cannot cut, proving so by slicing through Gremmy's self-proclaimed harder-than-steel body. He can carry three corpses on his shoulders without any apparent effort.
Immense Speed: While he possesses no known skill in Shunpo, Kenpachi is deceptively fast for his size and build. Thanks to his tremendous raw power, Kenpachi's leg strength allows him to more than make up for his lack of Shunpo, allowing him to move fast enough to instantly close a huge gap of space between him and his opponent, and even seemingly disappear from sight. In battle, he can strike with incredible speed in rapid succession, making it highly difficult for his opponents to find an opening and counterattack. During his short battle with Byakuya, Kenpachi manages to keep up with his opponent's incredibly fast Shunpo, a feat which shocked and impressed Byakuya.
Immense Endurance: His physical strength and speed is matched by his resilience. Kenpachi often ignores most of the injuries he sustains in battle (much like a berserker), not suffering any debilitation despite having multiple slash wounds in his body. He allowed himself to be stabbed during his fight with Tōsen just to grab Tōsen's blade to dispel his Bankai's effect. During his battle with Nnoitra, he suffered numerous slash wounds and was even impaled and almost beheaded with no visual impairment of his fighting abilities, Nnoitra noting most people would have already been dead by then. Even after receiving grievous injuries which left him in a comatose state, he recovered only days later, well enough to resume training.
Immense Durability: As resilient as Kenpachi is, he is just as hard to damage. During his battle against Yammy, while Kenpachi was focusing his attention on Ichigo, Yammy delivered a powerful blow with his massive fist, launching Kenpachi several meters and smashing him into a large pillar. Despite the impact, Kenpachi quickly emerged unfazed, claiming it was only a "decent punch" and Yammy needed to "put some effort in it". During his battle with Gremmy, Kenpachi remained unharmed after being fired upon by dozens of firearms and having missiles thrown at him, and later withstood the cold vacuum of space and having several clones of Gremmy self-destruct at point-blank range with only moderate injuries.
Nozarashi (野晒, Weather-Beaten One): Kenpachi did not originally know the name of his Zanpakutō, and is the only captain of the Gotei 13 who cannot perform Bankai. After his fight with Ichigo, Kenpachi wished to learn more about his Zanpakutō because he wanted to become stronger, and could identify with the pain of not having a name to be called by. Zangetsu noted Kenpachi's disharmony with his sword caused the two to damage each other's powers; consequently, Kenpachi could not hear the cry of his sword. Later, upon defeating Retsu Unohana in battle and awakening his true strength, Kenpachi finally was able to hear his Zanpakutō's voice call out to him.
Shikai: Its release command is Drink (呑め, nome). Even before Kenpachi knew its name, Nozarashi was constantly in its released state, due instead to Kenpachi's overwhelming Reiatsu forcing the release. He obtained this state while still a child. The blade is much longer than a standard Zanpakutō's, roughly the size of a nodachi, with a guard which extends inward from its center, similar to a shinai. The hilt is white, though most of it is wrapped in bandages, as is his sword's sheath. Despite constantly being in Shikai, Nozarashi did not initially grant Kenpachi any additional abilities or possess any additional power of its own, due to their lack of communication. Their disharmony left Nozarashi with little spiritual energy and let it become easier to damage; it is a chipped and seemingly worn-down blade. Despite its appearance, Nozarashi can easily cut through most objects: with it, Kenpachi stabs straight through Ichigo's Zanpakutō, and later slices a building in half with no apparent effort after releasing his full power. However, upon Kenpachi calling out its release command, Nozarashi transforms into a huge axe with a long, cloth-wrapped handle and a tassel attached to the top.
Shikai Special Ability: In its fully released state, Nozarashi possesses tremendous attack power, easily destroying a huge meteorite with a single attack. Its cutting power is also greatly enhanced, allowing Kenpachi to effortlessly cut through the bodies of his opponents and even through space itself.
Kenpachi appears in the second session of Bleach: Beat Collection, together with Yachiru, Ikkaku, and Yumichika.
He has a minor role in the Bleach OVA, where he vacations in the Human world with Yachiru. He briefly appears in Bleach: Memories of Nobody, making sport of one of the Dark Ones. He also appears in the second movie, Bleach: The DiamondDust Rebellion, charging in and attack Sōjirō's new dragon form, and later helping out in the final battle. On the third movie, Bleach: Fade to Black, he appears in Mayuri's lab to stop Mayuri's madness. After being pushed back by Mayuri's Bankai, he freezes for a while because of Mayuri's weapon, and later wakes up to fight the monster from Mayuri's weapon with the rest of the Shinigami.
Kenpachi appears in most of the Bleach video games. He is very powerful in the Bleach DS series, where his strongest attack is a big shockwave (his full spiritual power after removing his eyepatch), and Heat the Soul (including Soul Carnival) for PSP. He is playable in Bleach: Versus Crusade. Contrary to the series, Kenpachi can freely do Shunpo any time like other Shinigami in Bleach: The Blade of Fate, Bleach: Dark Souls, and Bleach: Soul Resurrección. In some Bleach games, Kenpachi's Zanpakutō leaves a trail of black dimensional matter every time he swings it. Anyone who walks into it suffers damage.
He appears in four of the Rock Musical Bleach performances: Dark of the Bleeding Moon, No Clouds in the Blue Heavens, The All, and Live Bankai Show Code 002. He is portrayed by Shōgo Suzuki.
His theme song, as chosen by Tite Kubo, is Massive Attack's "Superpredators."
In the latest popularity poll, Kenpachi came 15th (in previous ones he came 27th and 9th), and in the Zanpakutō poll, his unnamed Zanpakutō came 29th.
In the Bleach best bout poll, Kenpachi's fight with Nnoitra came in tenth place.
(To Ichigo Kurosaki) "You want a reason...for fighting? Why don't you just accept it already, Ichigo?! You seek out fights. You desire power. Isn't that right, Ichigo? Everyone who searches for power, without exception, searches for battle! Do you fight in order to become more powerful? Or do you want more power so you can fight? I can't tell you that. The only thing I know for sure is guys like us were born this way! We were born to fight, Ichigo! Your instincts will keep leading you toward new battles. It's the only way you have. The only way to become stronger. Fight, Ichigo! If you want the power to control your enemy, take that sword in your hand and cut him down! That's your only option! That's the road that continues in front of you and remains behind you, Ichigo!"
"This Reiatsu... Even though I don't know who it's from, they seem to be deep in the heat of battle. Not bad. It sure makes your blood boil, doesn't it?"
"I want to get stronger. I've finally found a worthy opponent. I can get stronger. I want to fight. I want to get stronger. It sure has been a while. To feel this desire again. I want to get stronger."
(To Ikkaku Madarame) "Never admit defeat and ask for a quick death! Die first, then admit defeat! If you are defeated but didn't die, it just means you were lucky! At those times, think only about survival! Survive and think only about killing the one who failed to kill you!"
(To Ikkaku Madarame) "Sorry but I'm not interested in weaklings who can't fight any more. Besides, I don't have any obligation to finish you off."
(To Maki Ichinose) "Loyalty to someone is different from depending on them. It isn't even interesting fighting against someone who doesn't have his own goals."
(To Maki Ichinose) "If you really wanted to help that Kariya reach his goals, then you would have taken care of Ichigo first. But you chose to come after me. Wasn't that a display of your own will? The power that you have gained was all in order to defeat me. That power comes from your own grudge! Why not try giving all your strength to that end?"
(To Retsu Unohana) "Not criminals? That's rich, coming from you. You know damn well that if we weren't so damn powerful petty criminals is all the both of us would be!"
↑ 1.01.11.2Bleach Official Character Book Souls, page 140