The Bleach shonen action franchise is packed with powerhouse characters, from the master martial artist Yoruichi Shihoin to the panther-like Grimmjow Jeagerjaques. Fortunately, many of Bleach‘s strongest warriors are on protagonist Ichigo Kurosaki’s side, including the lovable rogue Kisuke Urahara and Captain Byakuya Kuchiki of Squad 6.
These two warriors never crossed blades during Bleach, though they were on opposing sides during the Soul Society arc, with Kisuke helping Ichigo’s party sneak into the Soul Society to rescue Rukia. If Byakuya and Kisuke had fought during that time, who would have won? Let’s break it down.
Byakuya Kuchiki has many strengths and assets in Bleach, including his nobleman status and position as Squad 6’s Captain. He received an elite education and was well-trained, making him a highly informed and finely balanced Soul Reaper commander. He is noted for having one of the fastest flash step techniques in the entire Soul Society, being second only to Yoruichi. Byakuya can elegantly move across the battlefield to evade enemy attacks or get into position to strike his enemies down. He isn’t bloodthirsty when doing this, but he is ruthless and precise.
A master at swordplay, Byakuya can strike his enemies down with his zanpakuto’s sealed state, usually in conjunction with a flash step. Against a stronger foe, he will perform his shikai, Senbonzakura, and dissolve his blade into a thousand tiny ones that can slice the opponent from all directions at once. His bankai, Senbonzakura Kageyoshi, is a scaled-up version of the shikai, and he can make it move faster by motioning with his hands. In a dire situation, Byakuya can trap his enemy with him inside a massive formation called Senkei, which boosts his offensive capabilities further.
Byakuya is also a master of kido spells, able to cast moderate to advanced techniques with only the spell’s name, bypassing the entire incantation. Two of his favorites are Riku Jokoro, which traps the enemy in place, and Byakurai, which strikes the foe with an intense, narrow beam of white lightning.
Kisuke Urahara came off as an eccentric recluse during his time in Karakura Town, but in reality, he was once a part of the execution brigade before becoming the Captain of Squad 12. His skills are remarkably diverse, starting with his background in assassination and stealth. Kisuke can move with astonishing speed and agility to get the jump on his opponents, even being able to evade ultra-quick bala blasts from Arrancar foes.
His zanpakuto is called Benihime, and he is an expert swordsman with it. Its shikai can fire a destructive blast of red energy at the opponent, and if truly pressed, Kisuke will use its bankai, Kannonbiraki Benihime Aratame. This large bankai can reshape matter nearby, either splitting it apart or melding flesh and materials closed. Kisuke can heal people this way, or cut up his enemies and create escape routes if need be. He rarely uses this power in Bleach, however.
Like Byakuya, Kisuke is a master of kido, and his technique is arguably even better. Kisuke can cast practically any kido spell with ease and unusual speed, often before the enemy even realizes what’s happening. In fact, it was Kisuke’s tricky kido that helped Ichigo finish off the seemingly invincible Sosuke Aizen.
To top it off, Kisuke has the mind of a genius scientist and master tactician, capable of observing and analyzing any kido spell, zanpakuto release or Hollow ability used within his vicinity. He could even read Yammy Llargo’s muscle movements to predict his actions in battle, and can deduce countermeasures to just about anything with the right kido spells or gadget.
Bleach‘s two powerful Soul Reapers will begin a fierce but polite duel with their sealed zanpakuto, augmented by flash steps. They start off evenly, and Byakuya must admit that despite Kisuke being an exile goofball, he is deadly with the blade. At most, the duelists will suffer mild wounds before moving on to bigger, better techniques.
Byakuya will perform shikai to get the edge on Kisuke, who can defend himself with Benihime’s own shikai and launch a counterattack from range. Byakuya’s too fast though, returning fire with Byakurai to reinforce Senbonzakura’s petals. Kisuke’s own kido will see him through all this, and by the time his opponent is ready for bankai, Kisuke has figured out Byakuya’s patterns, having studied him the entire time. Kisuke can fire Riku Jokoro to lock Byakuya in place, turning his favorite spell against him, then get in close and knock him out with a barehanded strike. Kisuke has triumphed — and he didn’t even have to shed excess blood to do it.