- "Averian inferred that he was not at full power. What happened to him?"
"From what we could piece together, Kusaka went berserk after The Collapse. He went straight to Hueco Mundo and razed the Forest of Menos to the ground. Averian's avoided direct combat ever since."
- —Hitsugaya, Riki and Akiye discussing Kusaka's titanic battle with Averian, which drastically weakened the latter.[src]
|Affiliation||Ryū Order, Kenji Hiroshi|
|Occupation||Shadow Head-Captain, Captain of the 3rd Division|
|Team||3rd Division of the Ryū Order|
|Previous Team||11th Division of the Gotei 13|
|Partner||Kenji Hiroshi, Meian Shiba, Sojiro Kori|
|Previous Partner||Ino Hiroshi, Kazuma Nishiki|
|Base of Operations||Horiwari|
|Marital Status||Married to Kireina|
|Education||Shinō Academy, Garian Shinjo|
|Bankai||Chūza no Shagetsu|
Kusaka Kori (日下コリ, Kori Kusaka lit. God's peace), better known by his Ryū moniker of Kenpachi Kusaka (日下白哉, Kusaka Byakuya) and his current title as the Slayer of Gods (神々殺害, Kamigami Satsugai), is a legendary Tsuji and Seijin trained by Garian Shinjo himself. Kusaka is the son of Seijin Anika Shihōin and Kenpachi Tadashi Kori, as well as the older brother of Sojiro. Thus he is also the half-brother of Itazura and Mariko, as well as Tsubaki's cousin. He was the Shadow Head-Captain of the Ryū Order as well as the Captain of the Order's 3rd Division, with Sojiro as his Lieutenant and Meian Shiba as his co-Captain.
Throughout the series Kusaka served as the primary supporting character and lifelong friend and rival to Kenji Hiroshi, who later became his brother-in-law. His strength and loyalty to Kenji enabled the latter to triumph over a number of threats over the years, to the point Kusaka was widely reputed as Kenji's shadow. In addition Kusaka worked behind-the-scenes during the Winter War and Blood War, often at the direction of his father. He eventually intervened in the final battle of the First Spiritual War in order to save Kenji and kill Averian's premier Battle Doll, though this cost him his powers. Over the next sixteen years he raised two sons with Kireina, and also became a mentor to Kitsui Sanretsu, who was Kenji's genetic twin. Together with Kitsui he regained his powers and destroyed the Esclavos organization of Fullbringers, before returning to fight Oda Kōhai alongside Kenji.
Following the Collapse Kusaka went berserk and fought a titanic battle with Averian in Hueco Mundo which he won, resulting in Averian losing a great deal of his former power and forcing him to unleash his Espada. He dropped off the grid and joined Kenji in exile, where he reopened Kori Autos, where he now works repairing old classics. After Kenji intervened to protect the Serenity Jewel of the Yume Clan, which had Kei Yume sealed within, Kusaka took measures to ensure that the Spirit Cycle of Souls was protected despite claims that he was done with spiritual matters. He took Kenji's son, Kitsui Sanretsu, under his wing and dropped off the grid, becoming the latter's mentor and guardian in order to prepare the young man to assume a place at Kentaro's side. He made a brief return however to share his Fullbring with Garrett Sheppard and Randy Jones.
Kusaka stands at 6ft in height and is a more muscular man than Kenji would be, being broader through the shoulders as well as a little taller. He wears his hair in a series of disheveled black spikes with a split fringe that hangs longer on the right with a shorter one between his eyes. His clothing consists of a black jacket, white under-shirt, black denim jeans, a tight leather belt and a pair of studded fingerless gloves.
Kusaka is a bold, confrontational, sarcastic, and fun-loving man with a gentleness that belies his incredible thirst for battle and competition; his gentle side is shown most strongly when in the company of his sons and niece. However he is, by nature, a man who trusts slowly. When Sanada Shirono remarked that Kusaka did not like him Kusaka refuted this statement, and replied by saying he simply did not trust Sanada. It should also be said that the only reason Kusaka was even present to meet Sanada was due to his mistrusting nature; he attended this event simply so the new recruits to what would eventually become the Ryū Order did not turn on and attack Kenji. He spent the entire encounter watching and waiting with his hand close to the hilt of his Zanpakutō so he could react quickly and put them to the sword, if it was required.
Throughout his many trials and tribulations he has intentionally played the role of "Kenji's shadow"; he is content for Kenji to receive the praise for many of the deeds the latter would not have been fit to accomplish without Kusaka's incredible power, though he will often rib Kenji over these events at a later time as part of their usual back-and-forth banter.
At his core Kusaka is the very definition of loyalty and dedication; especially to those who have earned his trust and friendship, which he has demonstrated with Kenji, Kazuma and Eri. Without his assistance Kenji would never have survived some of his more arduous battles; it was Kusaka who initially saved Kenji from Kaimen Kazuki, and it was also Kusaka who prevented a recently returned and incredibly enraged Averian slaughtering Kenji by physically blocking his blow and holding him in place. In both cases he remarked that if they wanted to get to his friend then they would have to go through him first. His many actions have demonstrated a degree of selflessness rarely shown by others. He recklessly charged into Hueco Mundo in chase of Vincenzo Montferrand after the latter masterminded the capture of Kazuma Nishiki, and even put his own life on the line to shield his young student from further harm after the latter lost his sight to one of Vincenzo's attacks. He did, however, blame himself for the injuries Kazuma sustained. When asked by Kireina why he'd gone so silent upon their entry into Hueco Mundo Kusaka recounted the mission in which Kazuma was injured, though with her advice he has seemingly gotten past these personal demons.
Whilst Kenji is personified dually by his love of freedom and kind nature, Kusaka is a far more simplified man who helps when he can; even if he doesn't particularly like his mission. Although a calculating strategist and a keen-minded individual who can turn all but the most difficult situation to his advantage, Kusaka dislikes tricks and prefers a straight-up fight whenever possible. His first encounter with Averian was a respectful -- and fiercely competitive -- bout that resulted in a draw, which also highlighted how much Kusaka values strong opposition and a good fight. He is incredibly forceful in how he gets his opinion across and is quick to resort to violence; though a great deal of this may boil down to his heritage. The Kori clan on a whole are a clan built upon battle and the joy one can find in it, and Kusaka is very much an embodiment of that age-old attitude; indeed he is arguably the greatest scion the Kori clan have ever produced. When he joined Kenji to deal with Oda Kōhai and his brothers, for example, Kenji did the talking because he knew well that Kusaka's excitement and battle lust made diplomacy impossible from the start; he was ultimately proven to be in the right, for Kusaka immediately engaged the four brothers before joining Kenji to face Oda.
Kusaka has been described as "utterly incorruptible". It has also been noted in passing that he's the embodiment of a heavenly guardian, similar to Tōshirō Hitsugaya.
- Main Article -- Bleach (Kenji Hiroshi).
- Main Article -- Bleach: Sun and Moon Chronicles.
- Rivalries Part I
- Rivalries Part II
- Rivalries Part III
- Rivalries Part IV
- Rivalries Part V
- Rivalries Part VI
- Rivalries Part VII
Days of Carnage arc
- Trickster Strikes Part I
- Trickster Strikes Part II
- Trickster Strikes Part III (mentioned)
- Trickster Strikes Part IV (mentioned)
- Trickster Strikes Part V
- Trickster Strikes Part VI
- Trickster Strikes Part VIII
- Trickster Strikes Part X
- Trickster Strikes Part XI
- Trickster Strikes Part XII
Exiled Prince arc
- Mastering One's Inner Demons Part II (mentioned)
- Mastering One's Inner Demons Part III
- Kusaka vs. Kagura Part I
- Kusaka vs. Kagura Part II
- Kusaka vs. Kagura Part III
- Party Crashers Part I
- Party Crashers Part II
Tsuji Crisis arc
- Darkest Pursuits
- Darkest Worlds
- Embracing the Dark: Kenji's Vengeance
- Darkness Lifted
- Into the Light
- Main Article -- Bleach: War of the Worlds Part I.
Prelude to War
- Birthplace of a Legend
- Test of Resolve
- Plan to Free Rosuto
- Step Two: Grabbing a Mirror
- Glimmer of Hope
- Main article -- Bleach: War of the Worlds Part II.
Ending a War arc
- Unveiling the Grand Scheme
- Cutting to the Heart of the Matter
- Cutting to the Heart of the Matter: Tsuji Unbound
Kikkashō Unveiled arc
Parts IV & V
- Main Article -- Bleach: Cataclysm.
Investigating Grat arc
Meian's Legacy mini-arc
- Tale of Survival: Joint Resolve (mentioned)
Powers and Abilities
Devastating Spiritual Power: As the child of two exceptionally powerful Captain-class Shinigami who was trained from early childhood by his mother to be a living weapon, Kusaka has finely honed and exceptionally powerful spiritual energy. Even whilst an academy student he was capable of facing The Trickster in battle and survive, despite the latter being of the Captain-class. He later demonstrated the needed spiritual power to not only contend with Kenji's uncontrolled Hollow form, but beat him into submission multiple times despite being injured from prior battles. By the time Averian emerged Kusaka was the sole individual capable of facing him in battle one-on-one for more than a few desperate moments, being seen as a threat by the latter. This view was later proven true when, in the immediate aftermath of The Collapse, Kusaka did something no other entity has accomplished since Garian himself centuries before: he beat Averian at the height of his power in a one-on-one battle without assistance from Deities or Celestial objects.
- Reīkandō (霊感動, Soul Passion):
- Jouen (情焔, Burning Passions):
Zanjutsu Grandmastery: Kusaka has repeatedly demonstrated that his skill with a blade is a match for not only the greatest swordsmen of his own generation but also those that preceded his; he is the only person in history who has been fit to fight toe-to-toe with Averian without some form of aid. His skills enabled him to engage four of Oda's five brothers four-on-one without much difficulty and without a single injury received, and with only his sealed Zanpakutō. His superb mastery of Zanjutsu -- especially the art pertaining to the use of a Zanpakutō in battle -- enables him to express his mastery in other fields of Shinigami combat, to the point Kusaka's entire body is classified as a blade; it is this alone that makes him a dreaded Hakuda specialist -- all that changes is the range of his attacks. Even as a younger man his knowledge and skill in the use of the bladed art was at a level beyond Kenji's own mastery. Against Kaimen Kenji was initially overwhelmed yet Kusaka was fit to stand toe-to-toe with the older Shinigami and fight to a stalemate. He was also capable of beating back both Hollow and trained Shinigami when Kusaka himself was operating only on the spiritual power he was fit to absorb safely from Kenji via their Renkei, showing that even without the brute strength of his spiritual form Kusaka is a formidable swordsman whose sheer skill enables him to negate an opponents advantage against him.
Hakuda Expertise: During a battle with Averian he successfully grasped the Arrancar's wrist and twisted around his body to strike at his exposed back with no wasted movement. Kusaka is also noted to be "a blade". His mastery of Zanjutsu is so extreme that Kusaka can slice through fortified structures and defenses with only his index finger.
Shagetsu (遮蔽月, Shielding Moon). Kusaka's Shagetsu takes the form of a worn and time-beaten old blade with a ragged outside cutting edge. The guard -- if it where whole -- would take the form of two overlapping ovals, but both have been chipped and scuffed from countless battles. The hilt is covered in dirty and ragged bandages that have since given way from white to gray. He does, however, rarely show this form. Kusaka prefers to keep Shagetsu in his released state; at times keeping his Zanpakutō released for days at a time.
- Shikai: Kusaka releases his Zanpakutō with the command "Guard" (警備, Keibi). Unlike Kenji's Raijin which has multiple forms released via differing commands, Kusaka describes Shagetsu as being "far simpler but no less dangerous", for his Zanpakutō retains a single form which is shared in both Shikai and Bankai; the only difference is the varying degrees of raw power. Firstly the sword transitions from a type of liquid metal upon declaration of the release command into a bone-like scythe on a height with Kusaka himself, with a jaw-like cutting edge and what appears to be an eye-socket near the back of the bladed section. There is a chain which not only coils around Kusaka's right arm but also connects to the base of Shagetsu, enabling Kusaka to not only attack his opponents at range but also entangle their weaponry or strangle them into unconsciousness or beyond with the chain. Secondly his entire left arm is covered in a form of armor which extends to his shoulder; an off-shot and lingering remnant of his Fullbring and its fusion with his reawakened Tsuji powers. Both aspects of Shagetsu have very different abilities and only when both are used in unison is Shagetsu's true power awoken. It was for this very reason that Kusaka, as a younger man, could not draw out Shagetsu's true power. He used merely the scythe and was thus ignorant to roughly half of his Zanpakutō's destructive power.
- Shikai Special Ability: Kusaka's Zanpakutō fills an interesting niche when it comes to classification. Shagetsu is a melee-Kidō-hybrid. The scythe is used primarily for close-quarters combat and the utter devastation of an enemy; its power is thus designed solely to destroy as quickly as possible. The armored glove, however, leans more to protection and supplementary use; its power thus aligns more readily with Kusaka's desire to protect his friends and loved ones. Only when used together does Kusaka unveil Shagetsu's true power, which Kusaka dubs "Sentinel" (衛兵 (えいへい), Eihei).
- Sentinel (衛兵 (えいへい), Eihei): the unique power of Kusaka's Zanpakutō. Usage of Sentinel is widely considered to be Kusaka's trump-card, for it bestows upon him a form of "ultimate defence" that eventually allows Kusaka to void any assault against him. An ability will only work on him once to three times maximum before his Zanpakutō has studied the effect to completely protect Kusaka against it. Kusaka and Kenji, for example, have trained together so many times now that only the highest-level technique employed by Kenji, such as his Bankai, can actually harm Kusaka. Kentaro has stated that his father invented so many techniques on-the-fly mostly because of this ability; if he didn't do something new, then Kusaka would have voided everything he attempted. Hawke claims that Kusaka's durability and spiritual power, coupled with the innate traits inherited through the Kori clan, have made Kusaka all-but-invincible against those who cannot meet or exceed his power; one example of someone capable of consistently harming Kusaka is Averian, though even he has never succeeded in killing him.
- Reīssen (霊一閃, Soul Flash): Kusaka's signature attack throughout his career and the power granted by Shagetsu's scythe form. At its core the Reīssen is a wave of destructive spiritual power released either from Shagetsu himself or Kusaka's body. Its sheer destructive power is unmatched by anything available within the Ryū Order at this stage of release. In addition Kusaka has refined and expanded the Reīssen over his long career. He thus has a slew of derivatives that are all his own.
- Bankai: Chūza no Shagetsu (柱ザを遮蔽月, Bridge of the Shielding Moon): All that is known of Kusaka's Bankai thus far is its appearance and that is only because Kusaka himself states there is little to no change in how it looks between its Shikai and Bankai form; Kusaka, after all, has yet to use it since regaining his powers and learning that the Bankai he used against Averian's premier Battle Doll during his war with the Ryū Order was not his true Bankai, but rather a weakened version born of Kusaka's inability to fully wield Shagetsu at that time and thus not being truly recognized by the blade's inner avatar. Even Kenji remains oblivious to its effects and power. Kusaka has however dropped hints. He told Meian and Rosuto that "the grave is no bar to Shagetsu's call" though ultimately what he meant by this is unknown.
Former Powers & Abilities
- Main article -- Kusaka Kori/Former Powers and Abilities.
- Main article -- Kusaka Kori/Fusions.
Kusaka first met Kireina when she requested only the best to help her free Rosuto from the Wandering Spirit World. Kenji introduced her sister to Kusaka after explaining that Kusaka was much more powerful than he was; a fact that Kireina thought her brother had exaggerated, much to her surprise when she discovered it was true. Initially the two kept themselves at arms-length though over the course of their short mission they bonded, eventually coming to trust in one another. Their relationship blossomed quickly and the two eventually wed sometime prior to the birth of their son Hawke. Her death during the Collapse drove Kusaka into a blood-fuelled frenzy, leading him to launch a one-man invasion of Hueco Mundo, resulting in the complete destruction of the Forest of Menos when Averian attempted to kill him.
While its obvious the two are the fiercest of enemies they also possess a begrudging respect for one-another's combat prowess. Kusaka is the one man throughout history not to have lost to Averian one-on-one in a contest of Zanjutsu; the worst he has ever done, with only one exception, was a well-fought draw. Following the Collapse however their shared respect has vanished. Kusaka staunchly believes Averian had to have had a hand in the destructive event (which Averian denies), which caused the two to wage a titanic battle throughout the Forest of Menos, resulting in its complete destruction.
Behind the Scenes
References and notes
- ↑ Two Become One: Fury Unleashed!
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Darkest Pursuits
- ↑ Darkest Worlds
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Birthplace of a Legend
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Plan to Free Rosuto
- ↑ Unveiling the Grand Scheme
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Test of Resolve
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Return of the Legend
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Glimmer of Hope
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 Step Two: Grabbing a Mirror
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 Cutting to the Heart of the Matter