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Renji Abarai by Tite Kubo

Renji Abarai is a fictional character and major figure in the anime and manga series Bleach created by Tite Kubo. He is the lieutenant of the 6th Division in the Gotei 13 under captain Byakuya Kuchiki.

Character outline Edit

Renji has long crimson hair, usually kept in a high ponytail, and his entire upper body is covered in tribal tattoo work. How he got these tattoos is unknown, but it appears that with every achievement Renji attains, the number of tattoos on his body increase as well, starting from his early days as a Soul Reaper candidate until when he becomes Byakuya Kuchiki's lieutenant (at this time his tattoos now cover his entire back). These tattoos match those of Zabimaru in its manifested state. He dresses in the standard Soul Reaper outfit, though he usually includes some sort of elaborate headgear (usually expensive-looking glasses or a white headband). All of Renji's sunglasses are from Seireitei's popular "Silver Dragonfly Glasses Store" and cost half a year's worth of his paycheck. Unfortunately, every time he wears a pair, they are broken in one way or another, usually in a fight with Ichigo.[1]

As far as his personality goes, Renji is about as eccentric as any other Soul Reaper. He varies from smug and cocky in his first appearances to downright angsty and depressed after his major defeats, but shows himself to be an incredibly serious and determined fighter when confronted with an actual challenge. Willing to fight, kill, and die for whatever he believes in, Renji is a dangerous man to those who stand in his way. He is similar to Ichigo Kurosaki in many aspects, and the two are mistaken for brothers in the anime's Bount arc. Ichigo claims they are cousins to keep things simple, allowing many hilarious situations to occur later, including comments over their unusually colored hair. A continuing gag in the series is Renji's nick name, red pineapple, referring to his crimson hair kept in a pineapple top-like ponytail. During a filler arc before the invasion of Las Noches, Renji wears a shirt with 'Red Pineapple' printed on the front, supposedly bought by Ichigo Kurosaki as a joke. He's even referred as "Aka Pine" during the Shinigami Cup segments.

History Edit

Rukia renji

A young Renji with Rukia during their early years in the Rukongai.

Renji Abarai came from the 78th district of Rukongai and grew up as an orphan with several other children, including Rukia Kuchiki. The company of children lived by hunting or stealing food and water. Though Renji and Rukia quickly discovered they had spiritual powers, they remained with their friends until they all died, which prompted them to become Soul Reapers for a better life.

At the Soul Reaper academy, Renji was admitted into the top class, being very adept at swordsmanship, although quite inept at kidō. His senpai was Shūhei Hisagi. At the academy, Renji befriended Izuru Kira and Momo Hinamori, who each proceeded to become lieutenants. His relationship with Rukia became distant after her adoption by the Kuchiki family since he felt he had no place interfering with her life now that she was a noble, despite the fact they both seemed to regret losing the company and confidence of the other.

Renji, Kira and Hinamori served under Sōsuke Aizen and Gin Ichimaru in the 5th division, after which Kira and Hinamori were put under Ichimaru and Aizen in the 3rd and 5th divisions respectively. The rebellious Renji was moved to the 11th Division and eventually rose to the 6th seat. During his time in the 11th Division, he befriended Ikkaku Madarame, who taught Renji how to fight. It was also shown that Renji was aware that Ikkaku had a bankai at this point, but Ikkaku refused to use it to train Renji. On the same day Rukia headed for the human world, Renji was promoted to lieutenant of the 6th Division.[2] After meeting Byakuya Kuchiki when Byakuya adopted Rukia into the Kuchiki family at the academy, the 6th Division's captain, Renji's greatest dream has been to surpass him in strength.

Synopsis Edit

Renji and his captain, Byakuya Kuchiki, are sent to the human world to find Rukia Kuchiki and bring her back to Soul Society. Once they find Rukia and prepare to return home, Ichigo Kurosaki arrives to save Rukia. Renji and Ichigo fight briefly, though before Renji is defeated, Byakuya steps in to mortally wound Ichigo. After they return to Soul Society and Rukia is imprisoned, Renji periodically checks up on her, trying to keep her spirits high despite her impending execution.

Ichigo soon arrives in Soul Society to continue his attempted rescue of Rukia. Renji, feeling Ichigo is to blame for Rukia's sentence, goes to fight him. Despite his best efforts, Renji is defeated and subsequently imprisoned for his failure. Before Ichigo leaves, Renji pleads for Ichigo to save Rukia. Once he recovers he escapes from his confinement and begins training to achieve bankai of his zanpakutō. After completing his training, Renji sets out to free Rukia. Before he can do so, however, he is stopped by Byakuya. The two clash with their respective bankai, though Renji's inexperience with the ability allows Byakuya to claim victory.

Once recovering from his wounds, Renji goes to the site of Rukia's execution in a last attempt to save her. Ichigo, having beaten him there, entrusts Rukia's safety to Renji and the two try to escape. Along the way they are met by Kaname Tōsen, who teleports them back to the execution site. Upon learning that Tōsen and Sōsuke Aizen are traitors that intend to kill Rukia, Renji fights to defend her, yet is quickly defeated by Aizen. Rukia is ultimately saved by Byakuya, though Aizen is able to escape Soul Society. Renji recovers from his wounds once again, and sees off Ichigo upon his return to the human world.

Renji soon returns to the human world to help deal with the Bount. After some of his Soul Reaper companions are defeated by Ugaki, Renji activates his bankai in order to defeat Ugaki and save his friends. Renji eventually manages to wound Ugaki's doll, Gesell, driving it insane and causing it to kill its owner. Upon his return to Soul Society, predominately fends off the many Soul Reaper possessed by Mabashi's doll, Ritz. After Mabashi and the remainder of the Bount are defeated, Renji assists in caring for the wounded.

As Aizen's arrancar begin to threaten the human world, Renji is one of a group of Soul Reapers sent to help defend against the arrancar attacks. During the second arrancar invasion, Renji fights against Ilforte Granz, who he is able to defeat once his power limit is lifted. After the battle, Renji is recruited by Kisuke Urahara to help train Yasutora Sado. Upon Orihime Inoue's capture by the arrancar, however, Renji and the other Soul Reapers are recalled to Soul Society.

Unwilling to abandon Orihime, Renji and Rukia go to Hueco Mundo to join Ichigo, Chad, and Uryū Ishida in rescuing her. After their group splits up, Renji is joined by Dondochakka Bilstin in traveling through the arrancar base. They eventually encounter the eighth Espada, Szayel Aporro Granz. Upon being drawn into battle with the Espada, Renji discovers that Szayel has nullified all of his abilities as a result of Szayel's earlier research. Uryū soon arrives to lend assistance, though his attacks are also rendered inert by Szayel. No longer able to attack, Renji and Uryū are left at Szayel's mercy until Mayuri Kurotsuchi arrives to save and heal them.

Zabimaru Edit

RenjiZabimaruAnimeEp48

Renji with Zabimaru's spirit, and his shikai.

Renji's zanpakutō is Zabimaru. Zabimaru's shikai command is "howl".

Renji is one of the rare instances where a Soul Reaper's zanpakutō spirit is actually seen. Zabimaru is a nue (a baboon with a snake tail), hence his name. Zabimaru's spirit is portrayed as battle-loving and proud, similar in personality to Renji. It insisted on fighting Zangetsu again after losing, confident that it could succeed on the second attempt. Both the snake and baboon are capable of speaking, though the baboon is usually the more dominant one. The snake seems to be the more violent and insulting of the pair.

In its shikai, Zabimaru transforms into a segmented blade with a pick-like protrusion on each segment. The segments are connected by a stretchable thread, making Zabimaru more useful as a whip than an actual sword, though it can serve as a regular sword just as easily. While Zabimaru can be stretched to incredible lengths in its whip form, Renji has a limit of three consecutive attacks before having to bring the segments of Zabimaru back together for recovery. Renji can also use his spiritual power to separate the segments and surround an opponent with them, allowing him to execute a one-shot omnidirectional attack called higa zekkō, but it is damaging to Zabimaru and leaves Renji defenseless.

Hihio zabimaru

Hihiō Zabimaru.

Zabimaru's bankai isHihiō Zabimaru and transforms Zabimaru into a massive version of its shikai form resembling a skeletal snake. Zabimaru gains many more segments, which are much larger than in its shikai form, and also gains a snake-like head about the size of a small car. Renji is also slightly transformed, gaining a fur cowl around his neck, attached on is a glovelike appendage that Renji holds on the Snake's tail, and a baboon's skull on his left shoulder. Unlike its shikai, Zabimaru's segments are held together by Renji's spiritual power, allowing him to separate and reattach them at will. The segments themselves are extremely tough, making it extremely difficult to destroy Zabimaru. Even if a segment is damaged, Renji can simply detach it and reform Zabimaru. Zabimaru itself, in bankai form, does not literally "cut", Renji usually catches his opponent with the snake-head of his weapon and smashes his opponent into the ground with it. The head has also proven capable of inflicting heavy damage through biting. Zabimaru also gains a special technique known as hikōtsu taihō after Renji becomes more adept with using his bankai. The technique fires a dense blast of spiritual energy from Zabimaru's mouth. He can also use a much more powerful higa zekkō, where all the segments detach and sharpen using spiritual energy.

Character reception Edit

Renji has ranked relatively high in the Shonen Jump popularity votes, once making 3rd placeTemplate:Fact and once 4th place,[3] More recently, he is no longer in the top 10, being displaced in favor of newer characters such as Grimmjow Jeagerjaques and Ulquiorra Schiffer. IGN called Renji's debut into the anime "stylish and cool" and added that the short battle between Ichigo and Renji was "nicely done," noting that from the moment he was introduced, his style and weapon made him a character "[they] want to see more of."[4] They later added in another review about Renji's change in character saying: "...It's nice to see a nicer Renji compared to the jerkish character we were introduced to. Renji's determination to save Rukia is admirable; really makes him a much more likeable character..."[5] By the end of the Soul Society arc, Renji was "still cocky, but we've at least gotten to see that he has weaknesses just like everyone else," having "totally changed since he attacked Ichigo in the very first season."[6] Animeondvd.com also praised Renji's development in the story praising Tite Kubo's way of telling his background making the readers change their ideas of the character.[7]


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