Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto (山本元柳斎 重國, Yamamoto Genryūsai Shigekuni) is the captain of the 1st Division in the Gotei 13 and also the Captain-Commander (Head-Captain in the English Dub) of the whole Gotei 13. His lieutenant is Chōjirō Sasakibe
Yamamoto is the oldest captain in the . He is an old man with a very long beard, and long eyebrows. There are many scars on his torso and head, the two most prominent being a pair of long, perpendicular scars above his right eye, suggesting numerous battles in his past. He wears the standard uniform, but its size is greatly exaggerated. He also drapes his over his back instead of actually wearing it. Despite his old age and frail appearance, he has a very muscular body, something he only reveals when he takes a certain battle stance, something Shunsui claims is not seen too often
As the general of Gotei 13, Yamamoto is highly respected by most of the Shinigami, most notably , who views Yamamoto as a benefactor who saved his life. The embodiment of conviction, Yamamoto follows the laws and regulations of to the letter, and expects the same of others. He is not a man to tolerate insubordination, and is vocal with those who attempt to act in such a manner. He is quick to anger in the face of possible betrayal, and can be quite aggressive in combat. When in a state of peace, he carries himself with an air of frailty, even to the point where he has fallen asleep standing while awaiting 's arrival for a meeting. Shunsui calls him Yamamoto "-jii-san" or "Yama-jii" (Old-Man Yama in the English Dub), while Jushiro calls him "Genryūsai-sensei". In the Shūsuke Amagai arc, it has been shown that Ichigo calls him "Gramps". Due to years of experience, Yamamoto very rarely shows any sign of distress or surprise usually responding by opening one or two of his eyes which are slit majority of the time.
Yamamoto appreciates Eastern cultures and is a master at tea ceremony, but subsequently dislikes "Western" traditions as preferred by his lieutenant . Yamamoto holds a every month in the 1st Division quarters for every member of the division. It is known that he plaits his own beard and arranges its ends once a month. He also likes to be rubbed down with a dry towel while exposed to the sun on his balcony
General Yamamoto founded the Shinigami Academy about 2000 years before the current time. Yamamoto was himself a teacher at this academy, and personally instructed Shunsui Kyōraku and Jūshirō Ukitake. He admits to being rather proud of the two. When they became captains, he boasted about them as though they were his own sons.
Approximately 110 years ago Yamamoto is noted as being the oldest captain amongst the Gotei 13, being followed by Unohana, Shunsui and Ukitake. It is stated that the four of them have been Captains of the Gotei 13 for at least 200 years as of 110 years ago before the current time.
Shortly Yamamoto is seen pushing Kisuke Urahara into the First Division headquarters, so that he can start the promotion ceremony. Yamamoto explains that seven days ago there was an order to promote the 12th Division Captain Kirio Hikifune, which would leave her position open. He then notified the various captains at the opening and asked that they submit nominations for the selection of a new captain. Within the following day he got a recommendation from the 2nd Division Captain Yoruichi Shihōin to promote her 3rd Seat Urahara. The following day he calls Urahara in so that he can take the Captain Proficiency Test along with Retsu Unohana and Ginrei Kuchiki, so that they can confirm his qualities at being a captain. Having been satisfied with their findings they have appointed him Urahara the new Captain of the 12th Division.
10 years later Yamamoto calls a emergency meeting of the captains of the Gotei 13, where he gives a intelligence report on the unknown disappearances of the 9th Division captain Kensei Muguruma and lieutenant Mashiro Kuna as well as the other high ranking members of their division, who had previously been sent out out to investigate the disappearance of other division members. He then states he will choose 5 captains to form a investigation team. When a very winded and frantic Urahara shows up to ask that he be allowed to go with the investigation team as he had previously seen his lieutenant Hiyori Sarugaki to the sight of the disappearances. He is sumarily told no by General Yamamoto, when he protests he is chastisted by Yoruichi. Yamamoto continues on and selects 3rd Divisoin Captain Rōjūrō Otoribashi, 5th Division Captain Shinji Hirako, 7th Division Captain Love Aikawa, he tells them to head to the campground. He orders Yoruichi to stand by, while 6th Division Captain Ginrei Kuchiki, 8th Division Captain Shunsui Kyōraku and 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake to stay behind and guard the Seireitei. He orders Captain Unohana of the 4th Division prepare her relief stations for casualties. When Unohana insists that maybe she should tend to the wounded there, Yamamoto states that he cannot send healers without knowing what the situation is like. Upon the arrival of Tessai Tsukabishi the Kidō Captain of the Kidō Corps and his Kidō Lieutenant Hachigen Ushōda, Yamamoto asks if he has heard the news relaying that he wants the two of them to head to the campground as well. Shunsui interrupts and asks if its a good idea to send both the Kidō Captain and Kidō Lieutenant when they have no idea whats going on, prompting Yamamoto to ask what he would suggest. He resolves that they should send his Lieutenant Lisa Yadōmaru. With the squad forms he sends them out to investigate the disappearances.
Soul Society Arc Edit
Yamamoto is first seen during a meeting between captains over their fellow captain Gin Ichimaru's failure to kill Ichigo Kurosaki. Upon arrival Gin gets into a argument with 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki and 12th Division Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi. Yamamoto tells them to stand down and then asks Gin if he had been informed about the reason he has been summoned. He then details that Gin acted without permission and failed to capture the target, which he feels is unusual for a captain. He then asks for an explanation.
Gin plainly states he has nothing to say, which confuses Yamamoto. Gin goes on to say that he has no excuse he made a mistake and he wont try to justify his carelessness. Yamamoto then decides that Gin will have to be punished, but an intruder alert goes off. Shortly after Zaraki leaves Yamamoto dismisses the meeting, stating that Gin's punishment will be handled later and for right now all captains are to return to their defense stations
After Renji Abarai's defeat to Ichigo, Yamamoto has the chamber of the Central 46 Chambers locked up for their own protection.
Later at Rukia Kuchiki's execution where he asks her if she has any last words. When Rukia makes her request that Ichigo and friends be allowed to return to the world of the living unharmed, Yamamoto grants her request, though in truth he has no intention of allowing them to live. Upon the activation of the Soukyoku Yamamoto explains that the Phoenix produced by it is called Kikou, this is the true form of the the spearhead of the Soukyoku and the executioner of the grand penalty. After it pierces through the criminals body, the grand penalty ends.
Yamamoto watches as Ichigo appears and saves Rukia by deflecting Kikou. He sends his lieutenant Chōjirō Sasakibe to stop Ichigo while he confronts Shunsui and Jūshirō after they destroy the Soukyoku. He tells them not to move, as the person who made of Rukia was a lieutenant and can be easily slain and replaced, he states that he cannot forgive them for what they have done as they are captains and have done the unthinkable. But before they can be dealt with they escape done the side of the cliff. After they get some considerable distant away they stop but Yamamoto is already there, to which he states that it is not often that he has to chase after young children. Yamamoto then releases his spiritual pressure causing lt, Nanao Ise to collapse forcing Shunsui to take her far away from the battle. Upon his return he takes note of the Shunsui and Ukitake's history as they are like sons to him and how powerful they are when they work together, he then plainly tells them its to late for words and to take out their swords. Instead neither takes out their swords and they just dodge his attack, prompting him to ask if they intend on fighting him without their Zanpakuto, with Shunsui asking if there was any other way then fighting. Yamamoto silences him stating that he has taught them that there is no mercy for those who obstruct justice. Shunsui counters that Yama also has said to follow through with your sense of justice. Ukitake finishes stating that you have to protect justice with everything they have. Yamamoto dismisses the notion of individual justice as it cannot override global justice. Tired of talking Yamamoto removes his top and hiori and tells them to prepare themselves for battle as he releases his shikai
As Yamamoto stands prepared for battle he asks them what they are waiting for and that they should release their Zanpakuto unless they plan on burning to ashes without any resistance. Ukitake and Shunsui then decided to release their Zanpakuto's. Upon their release Yamamoto notes that they are the only two Zanpakuto in Soul Society that are in pairs. They then prepare and all charge at each other causing a large explosion of spiritual power.
The battle suddenly is forced to stop with the announcement of Isane Kotetsu on the true intentions of Sōsuke Aizen, leading to all of the chaos in Soul Society.
When Aizen's true colors are revealed all the remaining Captain's quickly close in on his position and completely surround him. Until the Menos Grande come to his, Gin Ichimaru, and Kaname Tōsen's rescue, Yamamoto warns the other captains about the Negación attack the Menos Grande perform to rescue their fellow Hollows.
Bount Arc Edit
Yamamoto plays very little role during the Bount invasion. Yamamoto begins to think that Mayuri Kurotsuchi is betraying the Soul Society and has Byakuya get all information he can about the Bounts. He later holds a meeting with the remaining captains and tells them about the Bounts invading Rukongai and the Bount's origins
Arrancar Arc Edit
Yamamoto has a small video conversation with Tōshirō Hitsugaya over the Arrancar invasion of Ichigo's home town, and allows Momo Hinamori to speak with Hitsugaya. Once the conversation begins to revolve around Aizen, Momo begs Tōshirō to rescue Aizen, believing that Gin Ichimaru is manipulating him. Yamamoto cuts their conversation short by knocking Momo unconscious with a Kidō, noting it is too soon to speak as such.
Later, when Orihime Inoue is kidnapped, Yamamoto orders Tōshirō's task force to retreat back to Soul Society in preparation for the war against Aizen, and firmly disapproves the idea of Ichigo and the others going to her rescue, seeing it as a suicide mission, and believing that Orihime willingly betrayed them.
Shusuke Amagai Arc Edit
Yamamoto presides over Shūsuke Amagai being appointed captain of Squad 3. However, Amagai uses his position to attempt to exact revenge against Yamamoto, believing that he killed his father, Shin'etsu Kisaragi. In reality, Shin'etsu had been given a mission to investigate the Kasumioji clan, but was captured by Gyōkaku Kumoi and used as a test subject for the Bakkōtō. As Shin'etsu was possessed by the Bakkōtō, Yamamoto killed him to end his suffering.
Amagai, after killing Kumoi, attacks Yamamoto, using his Bakkōtō to prevent Yamamoto from using his Zanpakutō. While Yamamoto is defenceless, Ichigo arrives and fights Amagai, but despite Amagai being outmatched and near death, he stabs Yamamoto. After Yoruichi Shihōin and Yamamoto reveal the truth, Amagai kills himself to atone for his crimes
Fake Karakuru Arc Edit
After Kenpachi kills , it is explained that Yamamoto ordered the creation of a replacement so that the captains can fight at full strength without damaging the city. He is then seen with several other captains and lieutenants waiting as Aizen and his forces arrive in Karakura Then He then unleashes his Shikai to trap the three opposing ex-captains, Aizen, Gin and Kaname, so as to concentrate on the and their .
When several of the lieutenants are critically injured against the "pet" of Tia Harribel's Fracción, Allon, Yamamoto steps in and causes a large hole to appear on the left side of Allon's chest with his cane. Allon then swells to gigantic proportions only to be cut in half by Yamamoto's "Nadegiri", and when Allon's left half returns, he effortlessly incinerates him with his Shikai. Even after Yamamoto kills off Allon, he tells Izuru not to let down the barrier. Just then, Apache, Mila-Rose and Sun-Sun launch a desperate attack from behind even though they are each left with just one arm. However, Yamamoto takes them down effortlessly by swinging his Shikai and "lightly toasting" all three of them, which inadvertently kills them. He later notices that Harribel has set her sights on him to avenge her fallen subordinates. But before they can engage each other, Tōshirō Hitsugaya intervenes.'
Along with the rest of the captains and lieutenants, Yamamoto takes notice of the huge hollow creature and Wonderweiss joining the battle. When Ukitake and Shunsui are attacked by Starrk and Wonderweiss, he calls out to them as they fall to the town below.
Yamamoto appears somewhat surprised at the arrival of the Vizard having not seen them for 100 years. Taking note of Shinji's presence. Shinji then approaches Yamamoto to greet him to which the commander asks if he has come for revenge. Shinji plainly tells him against Aizen yes as for the Gotei 13 he could care less. He then explains if he was mad at the Gotei 13 it would be for making the barrier around the fake Karakura Town so hard to get through. Shinji then explains if he hadn't found lieutenant Sasakibe outside the barrier they still would be on the outside of it. Sasakibe apologies to the commander for allowing them in saying he thought it was necessary given the circumstances, but before he can finish Yamamoto forgives his actions. Yamamoto then asks Shinji if he is right to assume they are allies, to which Shinji tells him to obvious they aren't. They are not on the Gotei 13's side but they are against Aizen and they are Ichigo's allies. Yamamoto muses to himself about the statement of the Vizard being Ichigo Kurosaki's allies.
Zanpakuto Unknown Tales Arc Edit
Yamamoto is first seen when the manifestations of Katen Kyōkotsu, Minazuki and Sōgyo no Kotowari approach the doors of the 1st division office while he is doing some paperwork.
Muramasa details to the gathered Gotei 13 captains and lieutenants that Captain-Commander has been sealed away by Minazuki, Katen Kyōkotsu and Sōgyo no Kotowari after his own Zanpakutō, Ryūjin Jakka, refused to join forces with Muramasa. His whereabouts since this realization are yet unknown.
Powers And Abilities Edit
Master Swordsmanship Specialist: As the founder of the Shinigami Academy along with over two millenniums worth of combat experience, Yamamoto is arguably the most powerful combatant in all of Soul Society. Few would hope to come out alive from a fight with him. He is capable of fighting two captain-level Shinigami simultaneously His skill in swordsmanship has been shown to be powerful enough to take down his opponent with a single precise strike.
Flash Steps Master: He is also seen to be experienced in the art of Shunpō, being able to outstrip Shunsui and Jūshirō in terms of speed during a chase across Seireitei. He is able to easily overtake both captains and arriving at their destination first without even being noticed by the other two captains.
Master Strategist & Tactician: With his years of experience as a teacher and warrior, along with being the commander of the entire Gotei 13, Yamamoto is a very intelligent man. He is capable of quickly adjusting to new developments and making quick decisions accordingly . He has great tactical acumen , as shown from his preparations for the battle in Karakura Town. He is shown to be also a very perceptive man, demonstrated from how easily he could tell Captain was hiding knowledge on the Bounts. His skill at battle tactics is undeniable, as general he commonly sends the captains and divisions out to engage in battle for over a number of centuries, be it to relatively small or large number of threats. Also, he gives commands to his subordinates that may seem harsh or excessive, but often yield fruitful results, because of the rebellious acts that ensue, which he most likely had already calculated.
Immense Spiritual Power: Yamamoto's spiritual power has the same effect as his Zanpakutō, as it is elemental representative of fire. He tends to glow with a fiery aura which has the potential to burn and set his surroundings on fire without the use of his Zanpakutō. Yamamoto possesses an exceedingly powerful , capable of making other captain level Shinigami of Kyōraku and Ukitake's calibre sweat in fear and paralyse Lieutenant with a simple look. This later caused her to faint, and she had to be taken a safe distance away, by Shunsui, from the Captain General simply to regain her ability to breathe.
Enhanced Strength: In addition to his surprising physique for his age, Yamamoto has shown tremendous physical strength as shown from how easily and swiftly he put a large hole into the chest of the monster without much effort at all, using only the blunt end of his cane. He also just as easily with a single hand stopped one of Allon's strikes and overpowered it despite it having enlarged its arm and increased its strength several folds
Enhanced Endurance: Despite his old age, Yamamoto is capable of fighting for long periods of time even when outnumbered with no visible signs of exhaustion.
Enhanced Durability: During his fight with two of the most powerful captains, Shunsui Kyōraku and Jūshirō Ukitake, he emerged without any sign of injury. He has also shown able to take directed attacks from others without being fazed. He has been seen to even take being impaled on a sword without so much as flinching from the perceived damage.
Kidō Master: Yamamoto's vast knowledge of Kidō is so great that he can perform them without calling out a name, while retaining its great potential power, whereas most users require a name to do so, if not a full incantation.
Master Hand-to-Hand Combat: As a master combatant, Yamamoto has had over a millennium's worth of experience. As with his skill in swordsmanship, he also has skill in hand-to-hand combat, as evident from his ability to effortlessly catch a strike from the deceptively fast Allon. While it is uncertain how much his skill has declined from his advanced age, but he is still a dangerous and highly skilled combatant
Ryūjin Jakka (流刃若火; "Flowing Flame Blade" or "Flowing Sword, Young Fire"): His Zanpakutō is the oldest, most powerful fire type and has greater attack power than all other Zanpakutō in Soul Society. In its sealed form, Ryūjin Jakka usually takes the appearance of a harmless wooden staff which can be used like a spear. At any time, Yamamoto can instantly remove that disguise, by peeling off the wood, to reveal its true form of a standard katana with a dark purple handle and a circular hand guard. Its power is so great that even the strongest of Shinigami are afraid of it even in its sealed form.
- Number One: Nadegiri (撫で斬り, "Clean Sweep" or "Killing Several with One Sword Sweep"): This basic technique allows for a precision cut of extreme force and speed, it can casually slice through large, multi-story high opponents protected by steel skin. The opponent can be killed with one swift slash that they aren't even aware of until after it has taken place.
- Shikai: Its Shikai command is "Reduce All Creation to Ash" (万象一切灰燼と為せ, banshō issai kaijin to nase; "All things in the universe turn to ashes" in the English Dub). The release of his Zanpakutō comes with an extreme release of spiritual pressure affecting all in the area, and can be felt for miles upon miles across all of Seireitei.
- Shikai Special Ability: When released, Ryūjin Jakka's blade is engulfed into fire. The aura of this weapon can disintegrate anything that Yamamoto waves the sword at, changing it into nothing more than ash and engulfing the surrounding landscape in a blazing firestorm, the heat of which was intense enough to scorch the sky. Only powerful fighters such as Kyōraku and Ukitake can resist it, but even then only indirectly. Even in its Shikai, Ryūjin Jakka's power is enough to fight against the Shikai of two other captains simultaneously, both of whom had the reputation of being the strongest Captains in Soul Society while together. Unlike other Zanpakutō shown so far, resealing Ryūjin Jakka does not deactivate any ability already used against an opponent, as seen when Yamamoto imprisons Aizen, Gin, and Kaname. The flames created by Ryūjin Jakka can be controlled with great precision by Yamamoto to attack only the targets he chooses and he also has power over the intensity of the flames.
(城郭炎上, "Fortress Blaze"): This ability creates an immense wall of flame that surrounds the target and then forms a huge contained sphere of flame in which to imprison enemies. It is shown to be immensely powerful as it was capable of imprisoning three Captain-level Shinigami (Aizen, Gin and Kaname) for a significant amount of time