Yoruichi was born many centuries ago in the Soul Society as a princess of the Tenshiheisōban (天賜兵装番, lit. "House of Godly Gears") and lived in the Shihōin Clan Mansion. Her only friends from a young age were Kisuke Urahara and Tessai Tsukabishi. Some years later, Yoruichi was positioned as the 22nd generational head of the Shihōin family, and selected to become the Corps Commander of the Onmitsukidō, the Special Forces of the Soul Society. She then went on to make history by uniting this faction with the 2nd Division of the 13 Court Guards.
As the 2nd Division Captain, Yoruichi took on a young Soi Fon as her protege. When an opening came in the 12th Division, she recommended Kisuke. Soi Fon objected, but Yoruichi only teased Soi Fon about liking him when she followed him to write a report.
After several of the Captains and Lieutenants had gone missing in the Soul Society, it was later discovered that those commanders had been attacked and infected in some way by Hollows. Unknown to her at the time, they were the victims of a wicked trap set by Sousuke Aizen, the then Lieutenant of the 5th Division. When She learned that Kisuke and Tessai had been framed for the attacks, Yoruichi wore a mask as she rescued them both during the trail. They then fled to Earth with the Hollowfied Soul Reapers. Soi Fon was left behind so she wouldn't be implicated.
Yoruichi Shihoin (四楓院 夜一, Shihōin Yoruichi) is a supporting character from the anime/manga series BLEACH, created by Tite Kubo. It first began serialization in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump in August 2001. She first appeared final chapters of the Agent of the Shinigami Arc.
Yoruichi's first appeared as a cat in BLEACH Volume 6, CH. 51 "DEATH 3", and her human form would not be revealed until BLEACH Volume 14, CH. 116 "White Tower Rocks".
She has had random placement in the BLEACH fan polls. In the first she placed 15th place, in the second she placed 19th, her highest placement was in the third poll where she placed 7th, and the fourth poll fell to 28th. Her fight with Soi Fon was ranked came in 9th place for best fight. In an image by Tite Kubo in Volume 26, it's revealed that Yoruichi has a tribal tattoo on the outside of her left thigh.
" Just like a person holding a sword trying to protect something. That maybe one's life, or place in society, or reputation, things that one loves, things that one believes; it matters not if it's good or bad, the will to 'protect it' does not change."
Yoruichi Shihoin "BLEACH" Vol. 8 CH. 62
In Yoruichi's first appearance in the BLEACH series, she gave impression of being a simple black cat. It wasn't even revealed she could talk until later. Even then, she had a deep voice of a man. Though her personality is very youthful and energetic, she uses a dialect that more often heard from older speakers. When speaking about herself, rather than using the more common 私 (watashi) that is commonly used by women. Yoruichi speaks with a term used by older men, 儂 (washi). This furthered the impression that she was a man while in her cat form.
Major Story Arcs
Agent of the Shinigami Arc
Yoruichi first returned to Karakura Town in cat form to Urahara's Shop to inform him that Rukia Kuchiki had been located by the Soul Society and had sent two agents to retrieve her.
Soul Society: The Sneak Entry Arc
Yoruichi appeared to Orihime Inoue and Yasutaro Sado in her cat form to train them to fight so they could help Ichigo Kurosaki rescue Rukia Kuchiki in the Soul Society. Upon breaking through using one of Kisuke's barrier gates, they were blocked by the gate guardian Jidanbō. Though he lifted the gate after Ichigo defeated him, the 3rd Division Captain, Gin Ichimaru, attacked. They escaped harm, but were locked outside the Seiretei.
She then led them to her Kukaku Shiba, one of her old friends. After some training, they broke through the barrier of the Seiretei by being launched into the sky using Kukaku's firework techniques. The group was split apart almost as soon as they entered. She went unnoticed in her cat form, She found Ichigo in the aftermath of his victory against Kenpachi Zaraki. He was seriously injured and unconscious, so she took him to her hideout under the execution grounds.
Soul Society: The Rescue Arc
Once Ichigo was awake, Yoruichi finally revealed her human form. She tried to stop the seriously injured Ichigo from rushing to Rukia's cell to confront Byakuga Kuchiki, but she arrived just in time to save him from Kuchiki's shikai. She knocked Ichigo out and escaped Byakuya's attempts to kill them both. She then took him to the secret underground training cave she used to use with Kisuke. She brought him there to train him to use bankai, using a special technique of Kisuke. They were found by Renji Aburai, but he was only there to train his own bankai.
The training finished i just enough time for Ichigo to save Rukia from execution, and Yoruichi pulled Soi Fon from the execution grounds and into the forest. Soi Fon was intent on defeating Yoruichi. Soi Fon had improved, and even struck her with her Suzumebachi's shikai. When she attempted to use shunkō, Yoruichi used the same technique to cancel Soi Fon's attack. In frustration, Soi Fon looked to Yoruichi with tears and asked why she hadn't taken her with her when she left.
With their issues cleared, Yoruichi and Soi Fon united to try to capture the true architect behind these events, Sosuke Aizen. Though, he escaped through a portal to Hueco Mundo with Gin Ichimaru and Kaname Tousen.
Shortly after the return from the Soul Society, Karakura town was attacked by two Arrancar hollows. Several humans were dead, and Kisuke and Yoruichi went to the rescue of Ichigo, Orihime, and Sado. She easily defeated Yammy Llargo but suffered some minor injuries, due to his thick skin. Yammy's ally, Ulquiorra Schiffer, stopped their fight so they could fall back and report to Aizen.
More Arrancar would invade, and everyone went into heavy training. When Kisuke realized that Orihime was in danger from Aizen, he asked Yoruichi to to track her down to bring her to the training room so he could try and convince her to stay out of the coming battle. This plan failed and she was abducted by Aizen's forces.
Fake Karakura Town Arc
Karakura Town was transported with the people to the Soul Society and replaced with a fake when Azien and his Espada army came to destroy it. Kisuke, Yoruichi, and Isshin Kurosaki, Ichigo's father, joined in on battle Aizen. His powers had evolved thanks to the Hogyoku he merged in his body. Yoruichi used special armor made by Kisuke, but they broke from Aizen's attack. He would escape back to the Soul Society to the real Karakura Town. Ichigo followed and eventually won, but at the cost of his powers.
Powers & Abilities
Yoruichi is a very diverse character, and she possesses many powers and abilities that set her apart from others.
It's unknown when Yoruichi adopted this skill, but she has been the only Shinigami who has the ability to transform into a black cat and still retain her ability to speak. She lived in this form on Earth for as long as she has been on the run after she and Kisuke left the Soul Society. While in this form her voice deepens and she is mistaken as a man. This skill makes it difficult both identify or track her movements.
Growing up as the head of the royal Shohoin clan, she has been trained in combat skills of the Shinigami. She still prefers to more hand-to-hand style fighting.
- Hakuda (白打, hakuda): Hakuda is one of the four forms of martial-arts that is taught within the Soul Society. Only masters of this technique are accepted among the Onmitsukidō. Being the former Commander-in-Chief of the Onmitsukidō, she has mastered all the skills to the degree of being able to fight armed Shinigami and giant Espada level Arrancar.
- Kidō (鬼道, kidō): Kidō is a form of demon magic that is used in combat by the Soul Reapers. There are two forms of Kidō. Hadō for direct attacks, and Bakudō for support.
- Flash Step (瞬歩, shunpo): Flash Step is a high speed technique used by the Soul Reapers. Soifon is most likely the fastest captain currently in the 13 Court Guard. Yoruichi talent with this skill is legendary in the Soul Society, and it earned her the name of "Flash Goddess" (瞬神, shunshin).
- Utsusemi (空蝉, utsusemi): She can use a variation of Flash Step called Utsusemi. This creates such a sudden burst of speed that it leaves a tangible after-image behind. Though she has taught these skills to others, no one has ever matched her speed.
- Shunkō (瞬閧, shunkō): The shunkō technique, or Flash Cry, is a highly dangerous and advanced technique that was personally developed by Yoruichi by combing both kidō and hakuda martial arts. The energy that comes from the back of the user is the reason why the back is left open on her original outfit. While in this form, She can use the Hanki (反鬼). This ability can cancel an opponents kidō and movements by striking equal power but in opposite direction.
- Stealth: Being the leader of the Soul Society's Stealth Force allowed Yoruichi to hone her skills in remaining undetectable. After she helped Kisuke escape, she was never once detected by the Gotei 13. This in-spite of her already formidable Spiritual Pressure.
Weapons & Equipment
Being from one of the noble families of the Soul Society and Captain of the 2nd Division, Yoruichi had access to some of the more unique items of this world. Many of them allowed for easy transport through flight.
- Tentōken (天踏絢): The Tentoken appears as nothing more that a simple mantel held by a long sash. This cape gives the wearer the ability to hover in midair for an indeterminate amount of time and allows the person to have the freedom of both hands. She gave it to Ichigo so he could destroy the
- Anken (暗剣): The Anken are small knives that Yoruichi hides under her clothes and use in combat. She can use them by swinging her leg and catching her opponent off guard.
- Anti-Hierro Armor: The Anti-Herro Armor is a specialized set of arm and leg armor that was developed specifically to assist Yoruichi in combat by Kisuke Urahara. It was used during the fight against Aizen, but was also destroyed.
All Shinigami have a special sword called a zanpakutō. These all have three separate and unique forms they take. The sealed form is the original shape of the zanpakutō. In this form, each looks to be an unassuming style of sword. The second form is called a Shikai . It's unleashed when the user learns the name of their zanpakutō. The third form allows to user to bond with their zanpakutō and unleash even more incredible power. This is called a Bankai. One of the qualifications for becoming a Captain in the Gotei 13 requires the Shinigami to reach Bankai.
While Yoruichi's zanpakutō has been seen in flashbacks of the story, the name of her sword has never been spoken and its whereabouts are unknown. She has only been seen using hand-to-hand combat in a fight. Though, she has been more than capable in a battle without one against enemies who are armed.
Birthday: 1 January
Height: 156cm (5'2")
Weight: 42kg (93lbs.)
The BLEACH animated series is a direct adaptation of Tite Kubo's original manga. It's produced by Studio Pierrot and first began airing in October 5, 2004. Yoruichi's first anime appearance was in BLEACH - Episode 15 "Kon's Great Plan", which aired on January 18, 2005. Her human form's first anime appearance was in BLEACH - Episode 41 "Reunion, Ichigo and Rukia", which aired on July 19, 2005.
Her character's Japanese voice work is done be different voice actors depending on which form she's in. Her standard human voice actor in the Japanese series is performed by Satsuki Yukino, and her cat form is voice by the male voice actor Shiro Saito. The U.S. dub produced by VIZ Media has her human form voiced by Wendee Lee, and her cat form is voiced by the male voice actor Terrence Stone.
Dialog was added to the scene of her human form reveal in the Japanese version. Ichigo in shock of seeing her as a nude, human woman, he mumbles about her being a cat. To which, she adds that he should know that cats can't talk. These lines were not in the manga version of the story.
Alterations were added to Yoruichi's backless outfit that was exposed during her fight with Soi Fon in the Soul Society Arc. A white undershirt was added to cover more of her breasts and back. This alteration was also made to Soi Fon's clothes and this change has persisted throughout the production of the anime in Japan. Similar changes were also made to other female character's provocative manga designs, such as Tier Harribel.
In the original English dub produced by VIZ Media, there was a change in dialog of the scenes of Yoruichi's human form reveal to Ichigo. Yoruichi's tempting Ichigo to look at her nude body was removed during the original TV airing.
There have been several movies based on the BLEACH story, Yoruichi Shihoin's first movie appearance was in the second BLEACH movie, BLEACH: The Diamond Dust Rebellion (2007).
- BLEACH: The Diamond Dust Rebellion (2007)
- BLEACH: Fade to Black (2008)
As a series based mainly on fighting and battles, Yourichi has made numerous playable appearances in the BLEACH series of games. Her first appearance was in BLEACH: Heat The Soul 2 (2005) for the PSP. In BLEACH: Shattered Blade (2007) on the Nintendo Wii, Yoruichi has an alternate costume for how she looked as the Captain of the 2nd Division. Though combat was based mainly around sword fighting, she remained a hand-to-hand fighter. For the Bankai mode, Yoruichi used the Shunkō technique.
(For a full list of games that feature Yoruichi, see her profile on Giant Bomb. HERE)