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Ichimaru Gin

Gin Ichimaru by Tite Kubo

Gin Ichimaru is a fictional character and a major antagonist in the anime and manga series Bleach created by Tite Kubo. He is the captain of the 3rd Division in the Gotei 13 until he betrays Soul Society, and after that he becomes a commander in Sōsuke Aizen's arrancar army. His lieutenant was Izuru Kira.

Character outlineEdit

Ichimarugineyes

Gin's open red eyes.

Gin's most distinguishing characteristic is his expression; with his slitted eyes and ever-present grin, his face looks like that of a fox. Ichigo derisively nicknames him "fox-face" in their first meeting because of this (in the English dub, he instead replies with a more generalized insult). He also has unusual silver hair, which has a purple tint to it in the anime; his name refers to his hair color, gin (銀, "silver"). Gin rarely removes his smile or opens his eyes; in the case of the latter, such moments serve to identify when he is significantly annoyed or angry. There are only a few times when he opens his eyes: once in a flashback when he and Aizen rescued Momo Hinamori and other students from hollows, and the other during a battle with 10th Division Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya. His eyes are alternately portrayed as light green/blue,[1] blood red,[2] and yellow.[3] By contrast, there are far more moments when he stops smiling, those usually being lesser degrees of annoyance, genuinely apologetic moments, or in deep thought of a sudden epiphany.

Gin's constant happy façade tends to have the opposite effect on those he meets, making them instantly distrust him. His use of sarcasm only further encourages this, especially in those who have known him for a long time. Rukia comments on how she felt like snakes were wrapping around her neck whenever Gin spoke, despite the fact that he was speaking to her brother at the time. Kaname Tōsen notes that Gin has a similar effect on just about everyone when explaining Wonderweiss Margera's frightened reaction to Gin. In the anime, Gin speaks with a distinct Osaka dialect, which is indirect and polite. His English dubbed voice is also formal and polite, but with a rather mocking and facetious undertone.

NewAizenGinTosenAnime

Gin, in his new outfit, alongside Aizen (center) and Tōsen (right).

After betraying Soul Society, Gin switches his captain's attire for a similar but unmarked garment. He now wears a long, white robe over his normal Soul Reaper hakama. The hilt of his zanpakutō is visible sticking out from under the robe through the opening down to his waist. Later, Ichimaru is seen wearing a white hakama like the arrancar, instead of the black one he first appears in. Gin wears his robe open in a narrow 'V' down to his waist, closed to below the hips, then open again to the hem, which falls about mid-calf. His robe has long bell sleeves, into which he hides his hands like one does with kimono sleeves. The lining of the robe and edges or layers of the under-robe(s) appear to be black. From other examples, it is likely he is also wearing black tabi with white waraji. His zanpakutō is not visible with this outfit.

HistoryEdit

Gin saved Rangiku Matsumoto from starvation when they were children, and the two have been good friends since then.[4] Rangiku is the only person Gin seems to truly care about, although he seems to "disappear" often, as Rangiku puts it. He also never tells her where he's going. Gin was considered a child prodigy since he graduated from the academy within a year and was assigned to a seated position in the 5th Division.[5] Gin killed the 3rd seat of the division with ease, which aroused Aizen's interest in him.[6] Before he became captain of the 3rd Division, he served under Captain Sōsuke Aizen as the lieutenant of 5th Division.[7] A lesser point is his constant talks with Byakuya Kuchiki, which Rukia believes he did specifically to unsettle her since she was afraid of him.[8]

SynopsisEdit

Gin's first major appearance is at the gates leading into the Seireitei, following Jidanbō's defeat by Ichigo Kurosaki. He easily repels the two without killing them, simultaneously closing the gate which Jidanbō was holding open (it is later revealed by Aizen that he ordered Gin to do so). The other captains question his failure to kill opponents whom he should have had no trouble killing, but a second intrusion by Ichigo's group, followed by the supposed death of Aizen, leaves them with bigger concerns. Aizen, having faked his death, has Gin deliberately cast suspicion on himself, thereby drawing attention away from Aizen's activities. After Aizen's plot is revealed and they retreat to Hueco Mundo, Gin bids Rangiku Matsumoto goodbye and apologizes to her, one of the rare moments in which he doesn't smile.

In Hueco Mundo, Gin jokingly chides Aizen over his habit of playing around with his subordinates. When Ichigo's group breaks into Las Noches, he observes them, even altering the position of the halls when no one is around. When Ulquiorra Schiffer catches him in the act, Gin denies changing anything, saying that he wouldn't do that to "those kids" and that he does not like "sad stories". He later appears alongside Aizen and Tosen in Karakura Town, commenting on Kira's sudden change in emotion to Tōsen and remarks that Kira is 'doing well'.

ShinsōEdit

Shinso

Gin uses Shinsō to attack from great distances.

Gin Ichimaru's zanpakutō is Shinsō.[9] It takes the form of a wakizashi when sealed. The guard is shaped like an 'S'. Shinsō's shikai is triggered by the phrase "shoot to kill"; in the anime, this was slightly changed to the declarative ikorosu. In the English equivalents of the series, the phrase is inconsistent between uses, but mostly uses terms describing stabbing (slay, impale, pierce, etc) coupled with a direct object, i.e. "Slay them." Another trigger phrase, used in the first Soul Society arc, was "Shoot em' dead". Its first rendering in the Viz translation was "skewer that punk".

In its shikai, Shinsō's blade glows white and extends at high speed to impale Gin's opponents. In addition to making it a deadly long-range weapon, the extending blade also carries tremendous force without affecting Gin, making it useful for dislodging heavy objects, as seen when Gin pushes both Ichigo Kurosaki and the giant Jidanbō out from under the Seireitei gate, despite the latter being firmly braced under it. Once extended, Gin can maintain the blade's length and swing Shinsō in wide arcs, attacking multiple targets quickly and simultaneously.

While it has not been seen in the actual series, various Bleach console games have depicted Shinsō as having additional abilities. In Bleach: The Blade of Fate, Bleach: Dark Souls, and Bleach: Shattered Blade, Gin fires Shinsō into the sky and swords similar to Shinsō's unreleased state rain all around him. In Bleach: Blade Battlers Gin shoots Shinsō into the ground and the blade hits the opponent from underneath, whereas in Bleach: Heat the Soul 5, a wave of blades instead shoots up from the ground to hit the opponent.

Appearances in other mediaEdit

Bleach Beat Collection 5: Ichimaru Gin is an album inspired by Gin. It was released in Japan with three unique songs (four total) that include the voice of his seiyū, Kōji Yusa:

  • Track: 01 - Sekai wa Sude ni Azamuki no Ue ni ( The World Already Exists Upon Deceit)
  • Track: 02 - Fuyu no Hanabi featuring Rangiku (Winter Fireworks)
  • Track: 03 - Hyōri (Inside and Outside)
  • Track: 04 - Sekai wa Sude ni Azamuki no Ue ni (Instrumental Version)

Gin has been a playable character in every Bleach video game to date, except Bleach: Heat the Soul.

During the anime's 6th season, Gin occasionally replaces Kon's "Shinigami Illustrated Picture Book: Golden" sketch to host "Arrancar Encyclopedia", where he outlines various facts about arrancar. Each sketch starts with one of the arrancar (or their Soul Reaper masters) announcing the name of the sketch, at which point Gin will give a short course on a specific arrancar topic, such as their standard abilities. Once Gin has finished, the person that announced the name shows up to comment on the topic, usually resulting in a humorous reaction by Gin.

ReceptionEdit

In both the 2nd and 3rd popularity polls, Ichimaru placed 5th. However, like Renji Abarai, he missed the top 10 of the most recent poll, being replaced with newer characters like Grimmjow Jeagerjaques and Ulquiorra Schiffer.[10] Gin was among the 4 Bleach characters to make the top 100 list in Newtype Japan's 2007 list of the most popular anime characters. Tite Kubo remarked in a 2004 Shonen Jump character commentary that Gin's popularity, especially among women, was a great surprise to him, as he had attempted to make Gin creepy and offputting in appearance.

Critics seem to take note of Gin's "interesting design;" IGN says he "has always been a rather odd character with his squinty eyes and cheesy smile"[11] and adds "...he can swing a Zanpakutō like it is nobody's business as well, but it is his smile that gets us more than anything else...".[12] Another IGN review of Bleach volume 17 used Gin as an example of Bleach's colorful and well-developed supporting cast, and remarked that his story would be capable of filling a manga series of its own.[13]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Bleach manga, Volume 20 cover
  2. Bleach anime; episode 48
  3. As portrayed in Bleach: The Blade of Fate
  4. Bleach manga; Chapter-129 page 1
  5. Bleach manga; Chapter -105, page 17
  6. Bleach manga; Chapter -105 page 18-19
  7. Bleach manga; volume 15 tankōbon, page 176 (chapter -17, page 30)
  8. Bleach manga; chapter 145 Anime; episode 53
  9. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Shins.C5.8D
  10. Bleach manga Character Poll; volume 24 tankōbon.
  11. IGN: Gin Ichimaru's Temptation, Resolution Shattered Review
  12. IGN: The Man Who Hates Shinigami! Review
  13. IGN: Bleach Vol. 17 Review

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