|Anime Debut||Episode 230|
|Japanese Voice||Yuuichi Nakamura|
|English Voice||Jamieson Price|
Muramasa appears as a tall thin man with pale skin and shaggy, dark brown hair and two bangs crossing over the bridge of his nose. He has turquoise-colored eyes circled by purple marks similar to his tsuba and the design of his clothes. Probably his most prominent feature are his long fingernails, shown to be much shorter before his long separation from his master. Muramasa wears a long white robe-like coat, somewhat reminiscent of an Arrancar's. The collar of the robe is covered with a thick fur, featuring a purple ascot fastened by a ruby brooch. Muramasa wears a wide sash at his waist, decorated by a purple stripe. He wears boots with pointed tips similar to those worn by Gillian-class Menos.
Throughout the Zanpakutō Rebellion, Muramasa is seen suffering from a strong ailment stemming from the countless Hollows he absorbed converging together and slowly tearing him apart from the inside, gradually causing various physical effects to his being. In earlier stages his eyes to run tears of blood which later glass over, filled with blood completely.  In more extreme cases, he becomes physically sick and weak, even becoming transparent at some points.
When he comes face-to-face with Ichigo Kurosaki for the first time, he identifies himself as a Zanpakutō. Muramasa has also shown himself to be a very mysterious person, as his supposed agendas seem to only hide a deeper goal that not even his allies were aware of. Despite his usually composed self, as noted by Orihime, Muramasa is suffering great emotional pain. This was seen from his outburst at Orihime trying to label him and from his joy at seeing Kōga Kuchiki. His inner world is one of an endless clear ocean with countless columns protruding from the water's surface.
Muramasa is actually very loyal to his master, Kōga. Whenever Kōga felt he was under-appreciated by Ginrei Kuchiki, Muramasa would cheer him up with overly praises. When his master was arrested, Muramasa went to break him out and inspired him to find his own justice. Ironically, all of Muramasa's good intent unintentionally drove his master a downward spiral of overconfidence and crimes. When a mentally broken down Kōga started a killing spree and abused Muramasa for protesting, Muramasa regardless remained loyal. Even after Kōga stabbed him for supposedly not answering his summons centuries ago and refusing to listen to any explanations, Muramasa continued to try to support him. It was only until Kōga broke Muramasa's blade that the Zanpakutō spirit finally broke down.
Several hundred years before the start of the main story-line, Muramasa worked faithfully as the partner of Kōga Kuchiki. During which, he used his power to tip the favor of a civil war in Soul Society to the side of the Seireitei. When Kōga began feeling under-appreciated, Muramasa would regularly comfort him, even to the point of overly praising him. When Kōga was framed as a traitor, it was Muramasa who inspired Kōga to seek justice. Muramasa's good intentions turned sour when Kōga killed the men responsible and had a mental-breakdown from the realization that his life as he knew it, was over. The Zanpakutō Spirit vocally disapproved of Kōga's actions, when the rogue Shinigami killed innocent bystanders, only to have his efforts rebuked.
Kōga soon rebelled against the entire Soul Society, convinced that everyone was jealous of his power and were insignificant stepping stones to greatness. As Kōga continued to kill more people, he continued to sink deeper into insanity, and soon found himself even abusing Muramasa. This disharmony soon cost Kōga, as he lost the ability to communicate and even use Muramasa's power. Believing that Kōga abandoned him, Muramasa fell into despair until centuries later, he learned that Kōga was sealed away.
Zanpakutō Unknown Tales arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
Muramasa is first seen after arriving in a dark cave surrounded by the Zanpakutō Spirits released thus far of the Gotei 13 captains and their lieutenants. When Haineko approaches him and asks him if they could leave that place, he tells her that they are waiting for the rest of their comrades to be free, and proceeds to introduce a new member in their ranks. After the captains, lieutenants, and other Shinigami of the Gotei 13 are summoned by Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto, Muramasa appears and tells the Shinigami who have gathered at the Sōkyoku Hill that their Captain-Commander will not be attending and that their spirits are now free of them. After a small confrontation with the gathered Shinigami, he summons a katana and stabs the ground with it, creating purplish flames of energy that erupts and causes the peak of Sōkyoku Hill to rise.
After Ichigo's brief fight with Sode no Shirayuki, Muramasa appears to stop her from reuniting with Rukia Kuchiki and startles Ichigo with his Reiatsu showing he is very powerful. It is then revealed that he, too, is a Zanpakutō Spirit. He explained that his goal is to free all Zanpakutō from their "enslavement" of Shinigami. Angered by Muramasa's attempt at justifying himself, Ichigo quickly engaged him in battle. While initially the battle was evenly matched, Muramasa used his powers to release Zangetsu from Ichigo's being, who quickly took over the battle for Muramasa.
Muramasa was surprised when Ichigo's inner Hollow took advantage of Ichigo's weakened state and lack of Zangetsu's influence. Although the inner Hollow proved too powerful for Zangetsu to handle, Ichigo soon took control again and returned to his normal form. As Ichigo fell unconscious, Muramasa began wondering about Ichigo. Deciding to investigate, Muramasa, being a Zanpakutō, used his abilities to enter Ichigo's inner world. When Ichigo refuses to answer Muramasa's questions about the unique powers that defeated Zangetsu, Muramasa uses his powers to paralyze Ichigo and then forcibly summons Hollow Ichigo. The inner Hollow finds amusement in this development.
As Muramasa noted that Hollow Ichigo's powers aid Ichigo considerably and greatly resemble a Hollow, he asks what he is beyond another side to Ichigo's soul. Hollow Ichigo merely says he is Ichigo's purest instincts. Muramasa decides to "free" the inner Hollow the same way he did with the other Zanpakutō, by forcing them to accept their inner desires. To Muramasa's shock, Hollow Ichigo is completely unaffected by the spell and instead attacks him. Still curious as to what the inner Hollow really is, Muramasa is forced into an intense fight. Hollow Ichigo quickly shows himself to be a powerful and equally intense fighter, forcing Muramasa on the defensive.
After realizing that Hollow Ichigo was out of his power to control, he instead decides to destroy him with assistance from his invisible powers. Before he could strike down the bound Hollow, Ichigo breaks free from his binding and saves his Hollow half, greatly shocking Muramasa. When Muramasa asks why a Shinigami would protect a Hollow, Ichigo merely states that he is not a Shinigami, but a Human. Muramasa is then given an even greater surprise when Ichigo forces Muramasa out of his inner world through sheer spiritual pressure. Back outside of Ichigo's soul, Ichigo swears to get Zangetsu back.
Before Ichigo could attack Muramasa, Zangetsu reappears and intervenes. After Ichigo is able to defeat Zangetsu, Muramasa voices his surprise at Ichigo's resolve to fight his partner. Ichigo explains he did this to honor his partner and their bond. Suddenly, Muramasa becomes immensely ill and transparent, making him retreat. While alone, Muramasa says to himself, Ichigo may be something of importance. He then resolves to capture Ichigo by any means necessary to use Ichigo's unique powers.
Later, he appears to be limping through what appears to be the Forest of Menos in Hueco Mundo, killing several Gillian-class Menos. After killing a Hollow, he is seen killing and absorbing another Hollow that he deemed to be sufficiently powerful. Muramasa is later seen coming out of what appears to be a Garganta, where he starts coughing and states that he is not used to the body yet. He is immediately confronted by Ichigo who witnesses Muramasa's arrival out of the Garganta along with Lieutenants Momo Hinamori and Rangiku Matsumoto. Muramasa sees that Ichigo isn't afraid of his powers and so binds them with his spiritual threads, but they are quickly released as he is in a weakened state and starts to cough and bleed from both his eyes. Ichigo takes advantage of this situation and tries to attack Muramasa, only to be blocked by Senbonzakura. Captain Byakuya Kuchiki then puts an end to the confrontation and leaves with the Zanpakutō Spirits.
When Byakuya kills his sister's Zanpakutō, Sode no Shirayuki at the request of Senbonzakura, Muramasa sends him to deliver the remains of the broken Zanpakutō to its owner, and sends most of the Zanpakutō Spirits to back him up, resulting in a full-scale battle with the Shinigami. When Byakuya returns to Muramasa's hideout, Muramasa receives a communication from a Hell Butterfly, prompting Byakuya to ask if he plans to go to the Human World. Muramasa brings the rogue captain to see the Captain-Commander, who is sealed inside a barrier by three Zanpakutō Spirits. After explaining the conditions of Yamamoto's sealing, Muramasa tells his allies to prepare for another encounter with the Shinigami soon.
When the Shinigami invade the base, Ichigo manages to find Yamamoto's barrier. Before he can attempt to free Yamamoto, Muramasa appears and engages Ichigo in battle. Poking at Ichigo's temper, Muramasa eventually gets Ichigo to unleash his full power on in the form of an ultimate Getsuga Tenshō. Muramasa then shockingly momentarily merges with the blast and then directs it at the barrier, destroying it. Quickly Yamamoto awakens, full of sorrow for the turn of events. It is then revealed that Yamamoto was never "sealed", but rather Yamamoto created the barrier himself in an effort to prevent Muramasa from gaining control of Ryūjin Jakka. Desperate to find a power source great enough to break through the barrier, Muramasa staged the "Zanpakutō Rebellion" to find such a power and eventually found it in Ichigo. The Zanpakutō Spirits are furious to discover they were just pawns for Muramasa's plan, making them attack him in rage. However, by that time, Muramasa had already succeeded in enslaving Ryūjin Jakka and uses its power to destroy the cave, along with the reckless Zanpakutō Spirits. Muramasa then vows to use this power to destroy Soul Society.
Muramasa travels to Karakura Town with Byakuya's guidance. He intends to use the knowledge he gained from entering Yamamoto's inner world to break the seal holding his former master, Kōga Kuchiki. When he arrives at the location of Kōga, he is found by Orihime Inoue. He attacks Orihime, but collapses from the effort. Inoue heals him, restoring much of the strength he had lost. She remarks that his Reiatsu is similar to an Arrancar's. He is then attacked by Uryū Ishida. When Sado and Uryū manage to fight back against Muramasa due to his wavering power, Senbonzakura appears to aid Muramasa. Muramasa then makes his way to Kōga's seal and with the knowledge he gained from Yamamoto, recites a spell which breaks his master free. Though initially overjoyed to see his partner, he quickly becomes horrified as Kōga stabs him upon awakening.
Kōga explained that it was punishment for Muramasa abandoning Kōga back when he needed him, which led to Kōga being sealed away. Muramasa then realized that Kōga had not relinquished him, but rather could no longer communicate with him because of their disharmony. Kōga, unable to realize that himself, resolved to kill Muramasa. At the last second, Byakuya stops Kōga, scolding the rogue Shinigami. When Kōga decided to fight Byakuya, Muramasa, still loyal to Kōga insisted he will use Muramasa's power. Kōga scuffed at the idea, feeling he was powerful enough on his own and destroyed the remainder of his sword, stating he didn't need Muramasa. Horrified at being abandoned, Muramasa fell into despair and caused his power to go out of control, unleashing all the Hollows he absorbed.
Soon afterward, Muramasa's unstable energy and despair caused his body to collapse into a vortex, sucking all the Hollows back to him and fused together, causing Muramasa to transform in a dangerous Hollow himself. He quickly went on a rampage, attacking every one he saw. Orihime could see that despite his situation, Muramasa was still awake inside, trying to desperately to retain control. Orihime noted that Muramasa was feeling immense loneliness and anguish, desperately wanting to escape it. When Muramasa finally succumbed to the Hollow side, Ichigo engaged him and seemingly defeated him. But refusing to let all he worked for fail, Muramasa underwent another transformation, becoming a huge and horrific dome-like structure that gradually grew and engulfed Ichigo. Muramasa's unstable energy tears open a huge Garganta, which also begins to draw forth countless Gillians. As the Shinigami and Zanpakutō Spirits combine their Reiatsu to close it and destroy the Gillians, Muramasa's form continues to grow even larger.
Inside the structure, which turns out to be a physically manifested version of Kōga's inner world, Muramasa is surprised, but also delighted to see Ichigo there. Knowing that he has limited time as the Hollows he absorbed are slowly destroying this world, Muramasa decides to finish his fight with Ichigo. While Ichigo says that there is no point for Muramasa to fight him now that Kōga is gone, Muramasa merely states he will continue to fight for as long as possible. Muramasa uses his spiritual threads on Ichigo, but Ichigo sees through its power and destroys them by removing their clear reflection. Muramasa then switches to his illusion powers, allowing him to toy with Ichigo. But Zangetsu comes to Ichigo's aid, offering his eyes and immunity to Muramasa's powers to allow Ichigo to instinctively see through the illusions and easily overpower Muramasa. Ichigo soon states he understands now that Muramasa is so bitter because he was deprived for so long of the simple desire to communicate with his partner as all Shinigami and Zanpakutō should do. While Muramasa refuses to listen, Ichigo goes on to say that Muramasa's goal has always been to make all Zanpakutō communicate with their partner in hopes that he could finally do so with Kōga again. Muramasa, giving in to the truth, merely states that it was just a futile dream. Ichigo, however, insists that Muramasa not let Kōga's views on Muramasa control his life. The two then charge for a final clash, ending with Ichigo as the victor. Falling into the ocean, and to complete despair, Muramasa is surprised by Ichigo diving in to save him and take them both out of the structure safely. Outside, Muramasa admits to his mistakes. Ichigo tells him he can make up for it. Apologizing for the harm he caused, Muramasa then fades away, happy to have finally found someone who was willing to connect with him.
Beast Swords arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
Subsequent to his death, Muramasa's influence persisted; as he released "all" Zanpakutō Spirits from their Shinigami masters, he was indirectly responsible for causing the creation, and subsequent manhunt of rampant, berserker-type Zanpakutō, dubbed Tōjū by Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi.
The Tōjū eventually begin to disappear altogether, as their Reiatsu became limited after their masters had died, and most of the Tōjū left have either been killed or ran out of Reiatsu, reverting back into their sword forms. The same would happen to the Zanpakutō Spirits; with the death of Muramasa, the source of the power that materialized them in the first place, the last remnants of his influence would eventually diminish, forcing the Zanpakutō to return back into their sword forms.
Powers & Abilities
Immense Spiritual Power: Muramasa apparently has considerable spiritual energy, as evident from Ichigo being very startled by it. Orihime Inoue notes his Reiatsu is very similar to an Arrancar's. While Muramasa's Reiatsu is initially purple, it later turns red and turns black-red soon afterward. Like his master, Muramasa is able to use his spiritual energy for various unique effects:
- Spiritual Threads: In battle, Muramasa has demonstrated a power that creates multiple invisible spiritual threads that he can manipulate to bind a person to the ground. It can also be used as a defensive method against strong attacks like Ichigo's Bankai Getsuga Tenshō. While powerful, these threads can only be manifested through a reflection of a reflective surfaces such as a building's windows or clear water, where they can be seen. If the image is distorted, the threads will disperse.
- Illusions: By feeding his spiritual energy into a person's mind, Muramasa can distort the person's five senses, preventing them from perceiving things clearly. By looking into the target's soul, Muramasa can use the target's memories against them by creating a powerful illusion to distract and torment the target. Only those who blocks off their emotions before the spell takes effect or have enough familiarity and spiritual energy can repel it.
Master Swordsman: As seen from his short skirmish against Ichigo, Muramasa has considerable skills as a swordsman, as he was able to fight on even grounds with Ichigo with a single hand. Even when his strength is wavering, Muramasa is still highly dangerous, easily able to take down dozens of Menos Grande.
Enhanced Speed: Muramasa has shown to be quite fast, as he is able to keep up with a Shunpo expert like Ichigo. During his battle against Hollow Ichigo in its inner world, while forced on the defensive Muramasa was able to successfully dodge all of Hollow Ichigo's flail-like attacks from his sword.
Keen Intellect: Throughout Muramasa's assault on Soul Society, he has repeatedly shown himself to be a highly crafty individual. He is a powerful strategist and manipulator, able to fool enemies and allies alike to suit his needs. These talents allow him to formulate plans well in advance to stay steps ahead of his enemies.
Hollow Absorption: To make up for the lack of his Shinigami master, he is forced to rely on absorbing Hollows in order to remain materialized in the real world. For every Hollow he absorbs his strength is restored for a proportionate amount of time equal to that Hollow's power. At anytime, Muramasa is able to summon forth any of the Hollows to attack his target.
Garganta: He was seen using a variation of this technique to travel to and from the Forest of Menos. Although the way he uses it is slightly different from how the Arrancar use it. Instead of causing the portal to open by "splitting" the air apart in a segmented pattern, he seemingly tears it open, similar to how the Menos Grande use it.
At any time, Muramasa can summon his sealed Zanpakutō form. It takes the form of a standard-sized katana with a purple hilt-wrapping and a guard in a shape similar to the Kidō Corps' emblem, consisting of a circle with a pentagon-like shape in the center and three points protruding from the edges evenly spaced apart.
- Shikai: Muramasa will unleash a wave of energy that will affect any target close enough.
- Shikai Special Ability: Muramasa has the ability to break into the inner world of targets and bend them to his will. This is done by removing the energy stability between Shinigami and Zanpakutō, leaving the spirit confused and allowing Muramasa to forcibly release the Zanpakutō Spirit's negative emotions.. This ability causes the Zanpakutō to take control of the wielders sword arm causing him/her to unwillingly attack others. This power works similar to how a tape-worm leeches off its target. The only way to combat against Muramasa's power is by understanding how the Zanpakutō works and sealing one's "heart" against it. Though in order to block the attack in that state one must have incredible Reiatsu and concentration. By drawing upon and warping the Zanpakutō Spirit's true instincts to the point of strongly desiring to satisfy it regardless of what may happen, Muramasa can remove the spiritual bonds between Shinigami and Zanpakutō Spirits. The manifested spirit is typically as tangible shadowy figures from weaker Shinigami and with greater individuality and power from stronger Shinigami. A Shinigami with a strong enough will can still access Shikai, but not Bankai as it requires the Zanpakutō Spirit to submit to the Shinigami's will. So far the only way shown to snap them out of this desire is to defeat them in a battle. However, they will only return to their wielder if it is them who defeats them. If another person defeats them they will revert back to sword form and their blade will break in two.
- Energy Wave: This sword is shown to be able to unleash considerable energy waves, capable of creating huge fissures if struck in the ground. Its power is great enough to compete against a black Getsuga Tenshō.
Hollow Form: Driven to absolute despair from being rejected by his beloved partner Kōga, Muramasa's will finally snapped, releasing all the Hollows he absorbed to help sustain his life. Shortly afterwards, Muramasa's unstable energy sucked all the Hollows back and reemerged with him, resulting in a horrific Hollowfication. It is theorized by Uryū that because a Zanpakutō's unity with a Shinigami is what preserves its existence, Muramasa needed the combined energy of the Hollows in order to sustain himself. But doing so would also increase his anger. In his new form, Muramasa's anger mindlessly drives him to attack everyone he sees in a desire to end his suffering. His form becomes an armored version of his former self, complete with long shoulder-pads and a helmet-like mask similar in appearance to a stag beetle with its long horns with eyeholes similar to his sword's tsuba design. He has furry tufts around his neck and collarbone. His eyes are glowing red and his arms become long and slender with long curved blades sticking out from his elbows. His Hollow hole is where his heart would be with fang-like protrusions around it.
- Enhanced Spiritual Power: Muramasa's power in this form is greatly enhanced. According to Rukia, the continued release of it would cause tremendous harm to Karakura Town.
- Enhanced Speed: While in this form, Muramasa becomes dangerously fast and evasive, able to dodge all of Uryū's 1200-rounds-per-shot attacks and keep up with Ichigo while he is in Bankai and wearing his Hollow mask.
- High-Speed Regeneration: Muramasa is able to quickly heal any damage to his physical being, even if said injury partially severs his body.
- Cero: Muramasa is shown able to fire from his hand a very potent violet Cero blasts almost as large as himself.
Appearances in other media
Muramasa appears as a playable character in Bleach: Heat the Soul 7.
- Muramasa was the name of a famous sword smith from the 16th century. Muramasa's blades were thought to have an unnatural blood lust, crying out for blood at night, and refusing to be sheathed until they drew blood, even resorting to cutting their owner.
- "The Shinigami's control over the Zanpakutō is over. And now... Zanpakutō shall now rule the Shinigami."
- "My wielder? My wielder died by my hands"
- (To Ichigo Kurosaki) "The strength of you is the strength of ties... How interesting!"
- (To Hollow Ichigo) "The relationship of the Shinigami Zanpakutō is talk and sympathy. But ... There are exceptions, just like you. You really are interesting."
- (To Kōga Kuchiki) "We are only one. Mutual trust means a higher power. We are Shinigami and Zanpakutō who have joined by fate. Believe me and in yourself."
- (To himself as Ichigo calls to him) "How ironic! So, your voice is able to reach my soul?"
Battles & Events
|Known Spirits||Ashisogi Jizō • Gegetsuburi • Gonryōmaru • Haineko • Hisagomaru • Hyōrinmaru • Hōzukimaru • Katen Kyōkotsu • Kazeshini • Minazuki • Muramasa • Ruri'iro Kujaku • Ryūjin Jakka • Senbonzakura • Sode no Shirayuki • Suzumebachi • Sōgyo no Kotowari • Tenken • Tobiume • Wabisuke • Zabimaru • Zangetsu|