"While it is good to be energetic, please remain quiet inside the hospital. As long as you are still inside this building, your lives are in our hands. Please do not forget that."
|Height||159 cm (5'2½")|
|Weight||45 kg (99 lbs)|
|Affiliation||Gotei 13, Soul Society|
|Previous Position||Captain of the 4th Division |
Captain of the 11th Division
|Previous Division|| 4th Division |
|Previous Partner||Isane Kotetsu |
|Base of Operations||Seireitei, Soul Society|
|Manga||Volume 10, Chapter 81|
|Video Game||Bleach: The 3rd Phantom|
|Spanish||Irina Indigo (Latin America)|
Retsu Unohana (卯ノ花 烈, Unohana Retsu), formerly known as Yachiru Unohana (卯ノ花 八千流, Unohana Yachiru), was the captain of the Fourth Division in the Gotei 13. She was one of the oldest and most experienced captains, and was the Soul Society's best healer, as well as the first person to wield the name Kenpachi. Her lieutenant was Isane Kotetsu.
Unohana has the appearance of a slender and very youthful woman with blue eyes and black hair. She wears the standard Shinigami captain uniform apart from using an obi instead of the normal sash. Her hair is long and is always worn as a large braid down the front of her body. Over 100 years ago, she did not have the large braid, instead styling in front of her as a loose ponytail. While maintaining a kind and gentle look at most times, during her battle with Kenpachi Zaraki, her eyes appear gloomy and very menacing. She also wears her hair down for the first time and is revealed to have been covering a notable scar in-between her collarbone, inflicted by Kenpachi when the latter was young. Before Kenpachi inflicted that scar on her, she did not tie her hair in front of her, instead wearing it down at all times.
Unlike most Shinigami who carry their Zanpakutō in their sash, Unohana has a large string attached to the sheath of her Zanpakutō and carries it over her shoulder, or has her lieutenant, Isane Kotetsu, carry it for her whenever they are together on the battlefield.
Unohana has a gentle and warm personality that augments her appearance. Unohana is a soft-spoken, polite, and caring woman who uses honorifics when addressing everyone, including her subordinates and the enemy. She rarely shows any signs of panic or distress, and has a great sense of duty, shown in the times that she orders Hanatarō Yamada’s imprisonment and Isane Kotetsu’s chasing of Renji Abarai when he runs away with Rukia Kuchiki. Despite her sense of duty, she will also heal almost anybody around her, including Renji after he was defeated by his captain, Gantenbainne Mosqueda when she arrived in Hueco Mundo, and the Visored, referring to them as allies despite Shinji's reluctance to do so. With her grace and kind manners, she lets others know quietly that while she may be soft, she is not to be taken lightly. Despite her gentle nature, several members of the Eleventh Division and even her fellow Captains fear her.
However, after the revelation of her past as the first Kenpachi and Shunsui Kyōraku calling on her to draw on her experience from then, Unohana's personality reverts to her original violent and bloodthirsty nature; once she meets with Kenpachi Zaraki, she comments how the scar left on her chest was causing her pain just from the sound of his voice. Unohana herself says that she is infatuated with crossing blades, and firmly believes in taking any actions necessary — even sleight of hands such as hidden daggers — to get ahead in battle.
Unohana likes strong-flavored food, preferring it to bland tasting dishes. In her free time, she climbs mountains throughout Rukongai; during these excursions, she collects medicinal herbs. Once a month, she holds an ikebana class for the members of her division and she is also the President of the Ikebana Club.
Some point in the past, she named herself Yachiru Unohana and was known as the most diabolical criminal to ever exist in Soul Society. Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto sought her out and she joined him, becoming one of the founding members of the Gotei 13. Unohana laid the foundations of what would be known as the 11th Division and became its first captain, as well as the first Kenpachi. At some point in the past, Unohana was taught medical techniques by Tenjirō Kirinji as a way of prolonging fights.
Some time after becoming a captain, she undertook a mission to eliminate the warriors on the edges of Rukongai. Having lost interest in fighting, Unohana wandered from place to place in search of something that would please her sword, and came across a young boy who would one day be known as Kenpachi Zaraki. Attacking her on sight, the boy was able to injure her, causing the woman to once again enjoy fighting. However, despite being the one left standing at the conclusion of their battle, she realized he was stronger and was better suited to become Kenpachi.
Some time after this fight, Unohana left the 11th division and became captain of the 4th Division. She has been one the Gotei 13's longest tenured captains alongside fellow captains Yamamoto, Jūshirō Ukitake and Shunsui Kyōraku. Ukitake also refers to her as "Senpai", denoting her seniority to both him and Shunsui.
Approximately 110 years ago, Unohana was present for a promotion ceremony that took place at the 1st Division Headquarters, along with the rest of the assembled captains. She witnessed the arrival of the newly appointed Captain of the 12th Division, Kisuke Urahara. Her lieutenant at this time was Seinosuke Yamada.
9 years later, Unohana was present at an emergency meeting called by Captain-Commander Yamamoto where he decided to create an investigation team to locate the missing 9th Division members. When he gave out orders, Yamamoto ordered Unohana to prepare the relief stations for casualties, but she interrupted him and asked if it wouldn't be better for her to tend to the wounded there. Yamamoto plainly told her that he couldn't send healers out without knowing what the situation was like.
Soul Society arc
Retsu Unohana attends a captain's emergency meeting called by Captain-Commander Yamamoto. However she says nothing at this time and remains silent throughout the bickering between her fellow officers. After Sōsuke Aizen's apparent death, she examines the body and confirms to Sajin Komamura and Kaname Tōsen that he is truly dead. When Hanatarō Yamada is brought before her by the 13th Division after aiding an enemy, she determines that Hanatarō must be imprisoned on account of the fact that he is a Seated Officer in her Division and may have accidentally aided in the harm that the Ryoka had supposedly done within Seireitei.
While attending the execution, Isane Kotetsu expresses open regret that Yamamoto lied to Rukia regarding the release of the Ryoka, but Unohana explains to her lieutenant that despite the harshness of such a lie, it also allows Rukia to die peacefully with the idea that her friends' lives would be spared. After Ichigo Kurosaki arrives on the scene and destroys the Sōkyoku stand, Suì-Fēng orders all lieutenants to follow the fleeing Renji and Rukia. Isane, concerned about the order, looks at Unohana, and the latter calmly tells her to go, only to see the former lose to Ichigo.
After defeating the lieutenants, Ichigo starts his battle with Byakuya Kuchiki while the captains then head off to their respective battles. Unohana releases Minazuki, even though the actual process is not shown, and saves all those hurt during the initial battle. She keeps Isane with her on top of Minazuki while her Zanpakutō heals the rest of her patients inside of its stomach. Arriving at the Relief Station, Unohana asks Minazuki to release everyone, and seals it back while calling for her subordinates to tend to the injured personnel for the time being. She then asks Isane to follow her to the Central 46 Chambers.
They arrive at the scene in time to see Aizen defeat Tōshirō Hitsugaya. Captain Unohana announces her presence to the traitors while citing her own suspicions surrounding Aizen's staged death. She also goes on to claim that the residence area in Central 46 Compound was the only place he could hide and mentions the use of an elaborate corpse doll on his part. Aizen then points out the mistakes in her analysis, while also commending her for seeing through his deception. The first was that he was not here to hide, and the second was immediately shown as he releases his Zanpakutō in front of Unohana and explains Kyōka Suigetsu's Complete Hypnosis. He then proceeds to tell Unohana about the third member of his group, Kaname Tōsen. He and Gin Ichimaru then teleport to Sōkyoku Hill, leaving them behind. Unohana immediately requests Isane to find out his exact location and inform everyone of Aizen's betrayal, including the Ryoka. She then takes steps to heal Hitsugaya and Momo Hinamori, both of whom were critically injured by Aizen before her arrival.
After ensuring that both would escape death for the moment, she leaves them in the care of Isane and travels via Minazuki to the Sōkyoku stand, where she tells Yasochika Iemura, the 3rd Seat of her division, that the Ryoka do not require help. She then settles down beside Byakuya Kuchiki and gently scolds him, saying that he has pushed himself too hard. She then calls Rukia over upon Byakuya's request, during which he reveals his reason for allowing her execution.
A week after Aizen's insurgency, Unohana stops two 11th Division members from creating a ruckus at the 4th Division’s Relief Station, and unsuccessfully tries to convince Hitsugaya to speak to an unconscious Momo, who is still recovering from her injuries.
Bount arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
Hueco Mundo arc
Unohana and Isane appear alongside Captains Kenpachi Zaraki, Mayuri Kurotsuchi, and Byakuya Kuchiki in Las Noches after the titanic battle between Ichigo and Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez. Her initial appearance effectively stops the approaching Exequias from doing further harm to Yasutora Sado, in which the leader of the group calmly orders a retreat. She then stops Isane from pursuing them, claiming that they are only there to heal the injured, not start more fights.
Fake Karakura Town arc
Unohana appears alongside Mayuri Kurotsuchi after the latter announces that he can get Ichigo Kurosaki back to Karakura Town through a Garganta. She offers to accompany Ichigo back to Karakura Town, claiming to have faith in Mayuri's abilities, but not without adding a remark of how if he fails, Urahara will be disappointed, obviously irritating him. Before leaving with Ichigo, she orders Isane to remain behind and assist their remaining forces in Las Noches.
When Mayuri and Nemu open up the Garganta, Ichigo and Unohana jump in and head towards Karakura Town. As they are travelling, she asks Ichigo about his fight with Aizen, when learning that Aizen defeated him without using Shikai, Unohana is somewhat relieved. She then informs him that he is the only one who can stand up to Sōsuke Aizen because he has not seen his Shikai. She tells Ichigo that his advantage is that not only does he have captain-class Reiatsu, but also that he hasn't seen Aizen's Shikai. She finally warns him not to witness Aizen's Shikai, stating that once he does, the war would be over. Ichigo thanks her and tells her that he will defeat Aizen.
As they make their way back to the living world, Unohana notices that Ichigo is making a path that is weak and brittle and asks that she be allowed to take the lead. Ichigo protests, saying it's unnecessary until she asks again even more politely, scaring Ichigo into submitting to her will. Once Unohana is in front of Ichigo, he comments on how she can make such a clean and sturdy path with captain-class Reiatsu, making note of the difference between them. Unohana asks him what he is referring to, stating that his Reiatsu isn't so different from her and as his wounds are healed, it is possibly because his Reiatsu is too rough and thus unsuited for the particular task. Ichigo objects, stating that if his Reiatsu was at full strength, he would be able to do better. Unohana doesn't believe his reasoning until Ichigo explains that the condition of his Bankai's shihakushō is able to give a clear example of how much Reiryoku he has left. Orihime had already healed him, but told him that it would take longer to replenish his Reiryoku, and since he went to help Rukia and the others, his Reiatsu never did get fully replenished.
He then points to his sleeve that he has left and says this is how much Reiatsu he currently has at the moment. Unohana then thinks to herself that it is impossible, as there is not even half of his shihakushō left, causing her to wonder if his Reiatsu is only at half. Unohana then realizes that she must have mistakenly thought that Ichigo's Reiatsu is at full strength because it was comparable to a captain's. She then asks Ichigo to run in front while she restores his Reiatsu to full strength as they travel. Ichigo questions if she is capable of doing that while they are running to which Unohana answers by explaining how healing Kidō works and that restoring the Reiatsu once a body has physically healed is an easy task. Unohana then acknowledges to herself that if Ichigo's Reiatsu is only at half strength, then he may just be the trump card they need to defeat Aizen.
She later makes it back to the Human World and goes to where Hachigen and Hiyori are. Unohana finishes healing Hiyori Sarugaki and tells the Visored that she should be alright for the time being. Lisa Yadōmaru asks if that means that she might not survive, to which Unohana explains that healing through Kidō is no different from medicine. Unohana notes that she has finished fixing her physical structure. So as long as Hiyori doesn't give up on living, she will eventually wake up. Whether or not she gives up, is something she thinks Shinji Hirako would know better than her. As she begins to walk away Shinji tells her that he owes her one. Unohana stops and asks him why does he thank her, as she doesn't require thanks for saving the lives of her "allies". Shinji responds that he never said they were her allies as the Visored look on in surprise making him question what Hiyori would say in the situation. He simply says again that he owes her one.
Zanpakutō Unknown Tales arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
Beast Swords arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
Gotei 13 Invading Army arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
The Lost Substitute Shinigami arc
When Kisuke Urahara explains about his intentions to restore Ichigo's power in front of the Gotei 13, Yamamoto tells him to bring him the sword which will allow Urahara to do so. Unohana asks if he intends to agree to Urahara's plan and he replies that they were saved by Ichigo and thus it is their turn to save him, no matter the means. He then orders the captains and lieutenants to give their Reiatsu to the sword. Some time later, Unohana is present when Ichigo meets with the captains to request the return of Kūgo Ginjō's body.
The Thousand-Year Blood War arc
Unohana attends a captain meeting where she is informed about Wandenreich's infiltration, and is ordered to prepare for war alongside the other captains. After the invasion of Soul Society begins, she eventually receives information on the Sternritter's ability to steal an individual's Bankai from the 10th Division. Unohana then notes that, upon examining their Reiatsu, the captains of the 2nd, 6th, and 7th Divisions had also had their Bankai taken. Some point afterwards, Unohana and several other members of the Gotei 13 are surprised to sense Yamamoto enter the front lines as their Captain-Commander's Reiatsu resonates throughout Seireitei. As she notices Yamamoto's Bankai take effect on Seireitei, Isane comments about her skin suddenly becoming dry. Unohana then distracts Isane from the situation by remarking on her acting rather girly. As she does so, she hopes that Yamamoto ends the battle soon, before he destroys Soul Society with his own power. Unohana and other captains are then later shocked to sense that Yamamoto had actually died at the hands of Yhwach.
During the aftermath of the battle for Soul Society, Isane begins to express concern about the decision for the 4th Division to remain inside. Mentioning that they might've been able to save more people, Unohana cuts her off and reminds her not to act on emotion. Seeing her begin to cry, the captain tells her to save her tears as the decision was the last order from the Captain-Commander. Unohana and the other captains later gather outside Seireitei to witness the arrival of the Royal Guard. Tenjirō Kirinji asks Unohana if she has been using the healing techniques he taught her, noting that there appears to have been a lot of deaths. When Senjumaru Shutara attempts to take Byakuya, Renji and Rukia to the Royal Guard's Tenchūren so that they can be taken to the Royal Palace, Unohana notes that their condition is too critical for them to leave Seireitei. However, the Royal Guard insist on taking them as Unohana's powers are not enough to heal Byakuya. Later, as Shunsui Kyōraku meets with Central 46, he invites Unohana in, saying that she will be in charge of teaching Kenpachi Zaraki Zanjutsu, calling her Yachiru Unohana, the first Kenpachi.
Later, after Kenpachi had recovered from his injuries somewhat and leaving a letter for Isane, Unohana leads Kenpachi into the lowest level of the Central Great Underground Prison under orders from Kyōraku to train the 11th Division captain to become strong enough to combat the Wandenreich. Revealing to have scarred each other's bodies in the past, both captains finally put their long-kept contempt for each other into actions and begin their battle to the death.
As Unohana and Kenpachi fight, the former is shown to be able to retain the upper hand against the latter, deflecting his blows with her free hand and feet. Praising Kenpachi for removing his eyepatch at the start of the fight, Unohana goes on to note that it also means that the strength he was currently displaying was his absolute limit. Calling him weak, the 4th Division captain wounds Kenpachi with a hidden knife, and states that those who hold their weapon in one hand while doing nothing with the other, look as if they aren't enjoying the fight. Noting that she had changed from the person he had looked up to, Kenpachi calls her out for using tricks she hadn't in their last fight. Knocking his sword from his hand and pinning him against the wall, Unohana tells him that she did not change at all; he just hadn't given her the opportunity to use those tricks on him when they fought last time.
Wondering if he has gotten weaker, Kenpachi explains that he had used to be bored with fighting before he met Unohana, and that when he fought her, he felt fear for the first time. Enjoying the fight due to this feeling, ever since then he had wanted to fight like her. Realizing that he may be about to die without being able to defeat her, Kenpachi can only shed a single tear as Unohana pierces his throat with her blade. Noticing the man almost pass out, Unohana mentions he had seemed defeated for a moment. Disregarding her question and continuing to fight her, Unohana thinks to herself that Kenpachi won't die, as he becomes stronger every time he comes close to dying, which is the mistake she made and the sin she imposed on him. As she reflects on their previous fight, Unohana continues to inflict great wounds on Kenpachi and heals them, noting that the limits he unconsciously placed on himself during their original battle are being gradually removed. She pledges to continue this until he surpasses her as Kenpachi begins to inflict wounds on her.
After receiving a devastating blow, Unohana reveals that she learnt how to heal just to prolong her fights. Recovering from her wound, she quickly unveils her Bankai and begins to attack Kenpachi once more. As the latter begins to overpower her, the woman thinks back to when they had first met once more, and how upon the conclusion of their first ever battle she had acknowledged him as worthy of the title of "Kenpachi". Content in the knowledge that he had finally unlocked his full potential thanks to her brutal guidance, Unohana smiles briefly before being impaled.
Unohana congratulates Zaraki and tells him he has finally won. He pleads with her not to die as she laments to herself that she no longer has anything to give and that he now has everything and that he has gained a lot in the exchange. She determines that she can now die happy knowing she has fulfilled her duty and that he can celebrate in her place.
- Daggers: Aside from her Zanpakutō, Unohana also carries with her a set of dagger-like blades, which she can use against her unsuspecting opponent during combat.
Powers & Abilities
Master Healer: She learned the healing techniques that she currently uses from the Royal Guard Tenjirō Kirinji. Though she originally learned healing Kidō as a way to prolong her fights, Unohana has become the most knowledgeable on health related matters in all of Soul Society. She is known to be highly proficient in conventional healing techniques and herbal healing. Her knowledge of anatomy is great enough that upon examination of Aizen's "dead body", she concluded it was not Aizen or even real. She is also able to heal more than just Shinigami, as shown when she heals Yasutora Sado, a Human, as well as Gantenbainne Mosqueda, an Arrancar.
Kidō Master: As one of the oldest and most experienced captains, Unohana has advanced knowledge of Kidō and the flow of spiritual energy. Her knowledge and mastery of healing Kidō are unrivaled within Soul Society. Unohana is well-versed in a variety of Kidō, highly masterful in healing Kidō and is able to easily use high-level Hadō and Bakudō spells without incantation.
Master Swordsman: Unohana's personal specialty is sword fighting, particularly her mastery in the art of Kendō. She is said to be a master of all the countless styles of swordsmanship that exist in the world, hence the meaning behind her previous name, "Yachiru". Her skill level in swordsmanship is far superior to even the combat oriented 11th Division captain, Kenpachi Zaraki, as she is able to easily best him for a considerable amount of their fight after centuries of not engaging in melee combat. During their battle, Unohana easily overpowered and fatally wounded Kenpachi several times, only losing when Kenpachi grew powerful enough to kill her.
Shunpo Practitioner: Unohana is proficient enough in this skill to be as fast as the average captain.
Hakuda Combatant: During her fight to the death against Kenpachi Zaraki, she was proficient enough in Hakuda to deflect his sword swing using the back of her free hand to create openings for attacks, and could also use her leg to block Zaraki's sword hand mid-swing to prevent it hitting her and leave him exposed at the same time.
Immense Spiritual Power: As one of the oldest Captains in the Gotei 13 and therefore one of the most experienced, as well as being one of its most powerful combatants, Unohana has a tremendous amount of spiritual power. Unohana has pointed out that Kenpachi Zaraki's power rivaled her own as a child, though she herself was weaker than him, and acknowledges that she is stronger than everyone but him.
Keen Intellect: Along with her general skill of healing, she is able to detect the smallest details in her patients. This aids her in her healing. She can detect anomalies and problems lesser healers would not. She can tell by a simple look what type of medical attention, if any, is needed. She is also a keen analyst with great attention to detail, able to quickly determine how to counteract any ailments a person may have. Her powers of perception were great to deduce that Aizen's elaborate illusion of a corpse doll wasn't real, and that Aizen was perpetuating a much larger scheme.
Minazuki redirects here. For the manifested spirit that appears in the Zanpakutō Unknown Tales arc see Minazuki (Zanpakutō spirit).
Minazuki (肉雫唼, "Flesh-Drops' Gorge"): In sealed form, Minazuki is slightly longer than an ordinary katana, and resembles a nodachi. The tsuba has an oval shape, and the handle is red. Instead of tying it to her obi, Unohana carries her Zanpakutō over her shoulder by a rope strap in "Tachi style", or lets Isane carry it for her.
- Shikai: Its release command is unknown. When released in Shikai form, Minazuki will start to morph, turning into a green, gas-like substance before taking the solid shape of a giant, green, one eyed manta ray-like creature with the ability to fly. Minazuki can be used for transportation, and will change back into the green gas substance before returning to its sword form when its duty has been fulfilled.
- Shikai Special Ability: It is large enough to transport many people on its back (at least a dozen, based on its size when compared to those riding it). It seems to act on verbal orders, and when landing it has the ability to somehow create a pair of bird like legs. Minazuki's main aspect is its ability to heal. When the wounded are placed within Minazuki's mouth, they are swallowed and stored inside its stomach. Minazuki's stomach acids are strong healing medicines and ointments which gradually soak over the wounded, curing their injuries. Currently, it has shown the ability to carry at least six people within its stomach. When Unohana gives the word, Minazuki will regurgitate the people back out of its mouth.
- Bankai: Minazuki (皆尽, "All Things' End"): When released the blade of Unohana's Zanpakutō liquifies into a thick, dark red substance able to surround her vicinity. Once the majority of the liquid flows off the Zanpakutō, it reveals the remainder has solidified into a shortened katana, which then can be used for combat, strong and sturdy enough to clash against Kenpachi Zaraki's blade.
- Bankai Special Ability: Unknown.
Appearances in Other Media
Retsu Unohana does not appear as a playable character in many of the Bleach video games, but is usually only seen and having minor roles. Oddly enough, Unohana is seen in Hanatarō Yamada's super B and has a model in Bleach: Shattered Blade with a one player and two player costume, yet she is not a playable character. Bleach: The 3rd Phantom, would be the first video game to feature Retsu Unohana as a playable character. However, she is a non-combatant character and uses various healing methods while in play, but can also use offensive Kidō such as Shakkahō. She is also seen in the movies Bleach: Memories of Nobody, Bleach: The DiamondDust Rebellion and Bleach: Fade To Black, usually attending to the victims of the damages caused by the event of the movie.
- "Genuine elegance." - Tite Kubo
- When Unohana first appeared, her Zanpakutō had a curved blade, similar to that of a scimitar.
- Though now known by this name, Retsu, which means "violent" or "fierce", Unohana used to be called Yachiru, during the time when she was the First Kenpachi. Yachiru means "Eight thousand/many flows" or "Eight thousand/many exiles".
- Unohana has a column in the Seireitei Communication titled 'Tis the Season and another column titled Every Nook And Cranny. She also publishes recommendations for sweet shops.
- (To Sōsuke Aizen) "I thought you would be here, Captain Aizen. No. I should not call you 'Captain' anymore, should I? Treacherous reprobate, Sōsuke Aizen."
- (To two 11th Division Shinigami) "While it is good to be energetic, please remain quiet inside the hospital. As long as you are still inside this building, your lives are in our hands. Please do not forget that."
- (Thinking about Kenpachi Zaraki) "I am strong. Stronger than anyone but you. That is why I must take your life this day. A hundred times, or even a thousand. That is why I must bring you healing. No matter how many times it takes. Until you are restored...to your true self. Until finally, you can surpass me, and move on to far greater heights...Come."