|Notable Members||Gotei 13|
Shinigami (死神, death god(s)) are apparitions with supernatural powers. Basically, when a soul dies, they go to the Other World, the Check In Station, and are judged, and then sent to their place of afterlife. If a soul remains in the World of the Living after its death, a Shinigami can go and use Konso on it, but instead of it going to Soul Society, it is sent to the check in station. Same for a Hollow after purification. Souls live forever. If a Soul dies, it is destroyed, and therefore, ceases to exist.
Shinigami are unearthly beings living in a world ruled by a different logic than the World of the Living. They possess high Reiryoku and a body of Reishi. They are invisible to those without spiritual powers.
When souls with exceptional spiritual energy train their bodies, they reach the level of Shinigami. The most talented of them become affiliated with various organizations like the Gotei 13 and the Onmitsukidō. Sometimes, a Shinigami is born among the residents of the Rukongai, and in some rare cases from Seireitei. Shinigami receive salaries, like workers in the living world and also earn bounties for defeating Hollows.
Shinigami have a number of supernatural abilities:
- Longevity: Shinigami do not visibly age at the same rate as Humans and tend to maintain a youthful appearance for centuries. Shinigami can live for much longer than Humans, with some Shinigami being over two hundred years old.
- Enhanced Durability: While Shinigami can be injured and "die" like regular Humans, it takes considerably greater injuries to kill a Shinigami than it would to kill Humans. Decapitation is the only guaranteed method of killing a Shinigami.
- Reiryoku: Shinigami naturally possess high levels of Spiritual Power, which varies greatly in magnitude with the strength of a Shinigami. The more power a Shinigami has, the sharper their movements will be. A consequence of having Spiritual Power is that unlike powerless spirits, Shinigami need to eat.
- Zanpakutō: A Shinigami weapon, its shape is typically similar to a Japanese katana. Low ranking officers are issued an Asauchi sword, but high-ranking officers arm themselves with unique swords generated from their own souls. A Zanpakutō is a physical manifestation of this force concentrated into a blade. All Shinigami have a Zanpakutō, but not all of them carry one with them. Its shape differs depending on its owner.
Most Shinigami appear like average Humans. There are, however, a few Shinigami who are less Human-like in appearance. For example, there are much greater variations in body-sizes between Shinigami than between Humans, with small childlike Shinigami and giant Shinigami. Variations do not just occur in size but in overall appearance.
- Shihakusho: The black kimono worn by Shinigami. It is customary to wear a white undergarment underneath. Some wear bright colored scarves with it or shorten the sleeves. They commonly carry their Zanpakutō, which is in most cases tied to their obi sash.
- Konsō (魂葬, Soul Burial): A Zanpakutō's primary, non-combat ability, this is the process by which a Shinigami sends wandering Souls in the living world and send them to their respective place. Either Other World if they are good in life, or to Hell if their life was full of evil acts (such as murders, theft, etc). Konsō is performed by using the hilt of the Shinigami's Zanpakutō, tapping the soul on the head and transporting them to the afterlife.
- Soul Governance: Shinigami are responsible for governing the flow of spirits between the Human World and Other World. This is commonly carried out by balancing the total number of souls by moving and managing them in the Human world. All of the soul-related jobs are under their authority.
Zankensoki: Basic Shinigami fighting techniques. Zan refers to sword fighting techniques. Ken refers to unarmed fighting techniques. So refers to moving techniques. Ki refers to Kidō.
- Zanjutsu: Sword fighting techniques for the Zanpakutō. The most basic fighting technique.
- Hakuda: An unarmed fighting technique that makes use of one's own body in a fight.
- Hohō: The name for all high-speed fighting movements based on the art of Shunpo.
- Kidō: Advanced spells that require strong spiritual power: Hadō and Bakudō.
- Spiritual Limiter: All Shinigami captains and lieutenants have their spiritual energy reduced by about 80% when they enter the Human World by use of a spiritual limit, represented by a seal called the Gentei Reiin (限定霊印, "Soul-Limiting Symbol"), which resembles the symbol unique to their Division, in order not to cause unnecessarily high damage while there. In extreme cases, where their full power is needed, they can request a limit release. The command to release the seal is Gentei Kaijo (限定解除, "Limiter Release").
- Denreishinki: A vital tool for any Shinigami stationed in the real world, this variation on a cell phone functions both as a regular phone and as a communication line with Other World. It receives information about the time and exact location of a Hollow's emergence via a Global Positioning System (GPS). A Shinigami's kills are also recorded in the phone and can be used as currency (according to the bounty placed on each Hollow).
- Gokon Tekkō: a glove which has a skull symbol on it, which can be used to force the soul out of a body.
A Substitute Shinigami (死神代行, shinigami daikou) is someone who became Shinigami by obtaining another Shinigami's power, or by going through a much harder and riskier process to transform him/herself into one. Obtaining another Shinigami's power is done by thrusting his/her Zanpakutō into the person's chest who wants to obtain the power. However, the percentage of success is low. In the case of success, the person normally obtains around half of the Shinigami's power, and only temporarily.
If a Substitute Shinigami appears, Other World gives that Shinigami a special badge which they use to monitor and restrict the Substitute. However, the Substitute is told that it is a license which is given to Substitutes that prove beneficial to Other World to allow them to do their work and identify them as a Substitute. The badge alerts the user if Hollows are nearby via an alarm sound which can only be heard by the owner and the item itself is only visible to other spiritually aware beings. The Badge can also allow the soul to leave the body.