Weapons are a source of high power and serve the character in battle. Every character in entertainment fiction has a weapon of choice even if they do not; they are a weapon themselves or other people fighting for them. When a person is up in arms, they are more able to defend themselves and even take the offense. In Bleach, we have a diverse group of spirits and creatures represented in the anime. The main tools of a battle that Bleach uses for characters are Zanpakutō, Spirit Weapons, Dolls, and Bakkōtō.
A zanpakutō is a soul-cutter sword that shinigami use for their primary duties. When a Shinigami wields a Zanpakutō, they channel their spiritual pressure and practice Zanjutsu (swordsmanship). A shinigami’s primary antagonist are hollows, and these soul-cutter swords purify the hollows. Zanpakutōs come in many styles; however, this is only true when soul reapers train and overcome the Asauchi status of the sword. Asauchi (a nameless zanpakutō) is the most basic form of any Zanpakutō and a shinigami has to train to hear the individual name of their zanpakutō. They undergo training and eventually the name appears when they manifest the Zanpakutō spirit. Through training, the reflection of the shinigami’s spirit is copied inside the Asauchi and as a result the spirit manifests. After finding the name, they train to reach Shikai and Bankai, which each form has a different name. A Zanpakutō manifests inside a shinigami’s inner world and fights alongside their partner. Individual Zanpakutōs are entities by themselves and bear emotions similar to their owners. For example, Yumichika Ayasegawa calls his sword Fuji Kujaku while his actual name is Ruri’iro Kujaku, which has consequences for Yumichika’s fighting capabilities. According to the Zanpakutō Rebellion opening, “Once a Shinigami learns his sword’s name; they are able to communicate with one another and grow stronger together.” The stronger the bond, the more powerful a shinigami becomes and even, reaching a lieutenant or captain level. They train in fighting and the relationship between their swords.
Akin to a Zanpakutō, we have Qunicys and spirit weapons. Spirit Weapons are Reishi bound armaments for Qunicy to use. A Qunicy gathers the Reishi around them and forms a blue bow of sorts. These soul-based techniques can erase a hollow’s presence while Shinigami purify them. The limit to Quincy’s power is high spiritual pressure and stamina. The requirements for Quincy to draw out Reishi is an innate talent to their soul and a rich Reishi environment. These techniques have a long history spanning over 200 years and still traditionally represent a bow and arrow. Unlike Zanpakutōs, spirit weapons vary in shape and not always bow and arrow. The main types we see are Kojaku, Ginrei Kojaku, and Heilig Bogen (Sacred Bow). Kojaku is the basic form, and all Quincy is capable of manifesting it. Ginrei Kojaku is a Quincy Cross where Uryū Ishida recovered his power and can shoot over 1200 arrows. Heilig Bogen is a customizable bow for Quincy and varies from user to user. If the Thousand Years War Arc is any implication, there are many unnamed spirit weapons with other Quincy.
When you hear Quincy, you also hear Bounts and their Dolls. When a Bount fights, they summon dolls and use them in battle. The dolls reside in seals, and the command to release them has German origins.. Zeige Dich (which is the German phrase) means Show Yourself, and then the name is said soon after. The mechanics to summon a doll could be different from summoning on the first try to training and then calling upon the Doll’s name. Ran’Tao studied the Bounts and made an amulet used to bring forth the power of summoning. Later, Jin Kariya (who is the Bounts’ leader) and Ugaki (Bounts’ researcher of sorts) created a more accessible way in a doll ritual summoning ceremony. A doll’s relationship and Bount are like master and obedient servants. The doll must follow the master, but if the master shows weakness, then the doll could turn on them. A doll’s seal is the Bount’s connection to the World of the Living and if it breaks then Bounts turn to ash. There are many examples of dolls, but the plot-driving ones in Bleach were the Bittos. Bittos are the dolls used for more soul consumption and required a living sacrifice for them to exist. The other types of dolls are automotion, equping, and fusing with the master as well.
Similar to the Bounts, the Bakkōtō consumes power as well. Bakkōtō is a rare weapon, which means Baku (Fused Tapir sword). Baku is a supernatural being in Japanese and is said to be dream-devouring. The devouring aspect is what the Bakkōtō does best, and it consumes a wielder’s spiritual pressure. Bakkōtō is a parasite and feeds on anyone who can supply Reshi. However, the level of one’s power is their natural willpower and strength. Those who process weak spiritual pressure are more likely to get eaten alive by the single-eye parasite. The parasites are ones who feed on the users which gives them power. In Bleach, the Bakkōtō are the illegal trade-secret of the Kasumiōji Clan, and Gyōkaku Kumoi’s assassins (the evil-doers who protect the interests of the organization) use them. The creation of the Bakkōtō was to replace the Zanpakutō and be the new weapon for Soul Society.
It goes to show weapons are different, and Bleach has many depictions of weapons. Henceforth, individuality extends to the arms as well as the characters who wield them. The objects we see in battle situations are impressive, but the Fullbringers have weapons unique to them. The Fullbringers do not fit in a category for armament, but their object affinity is their weapon. Now, the objects that Fullbringers identify with something of high sentimental value to them. Furthermore, Bleach would continue to deliver on an action-packed plot, and these objects are ways to demonstrate the plot.