Gin Ichimaru was the Captain of the 3rd Division of the Gotei 13 until he betrayed Soul Society, alongside Sōsuke Aizen and Kaname Tōsen. His lieutenant was Izuru Kira.
Gin is fairly ordinary in terms of clothing, and doesn't wear any unique items. His overall appearance, however, is not as normal. He keeps his eyes constantly narrowed to slits, rarely ever opening his eyes which are found to be a bright sky blue. Although he appears to be an early to mid twenty-year-old person, he is unusually thin and tall with very sharp features giving him a skeletal appearance. He bears unusual silver hair (his name refers to his hair color; gin [銀] is Japanese for silver). He also keeps his face set in a wide mocking smile, which he only wipes off on rare occasions of annoyance, surprise, confusion, or even sadness.
In Hueco Mundo, his outfit, like Aizen's and Tōsen's, has been modified since the three abandoned Soul Society. He now wears a long, white robe over his normal Shinigami hakama. The hilt of his Zanpakutō is visible sticking out from under the robe through the opening down to his waist. Later Gin is seen wearing a white hakama like the Arrancar, instead of the black ones he was last seen in. Gin wears his robe open in a narrow 'V' down to his waist, closed to below the hips, and 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.
Gin is one of the most mysterious Shinigami in the series, since his almost constant smile and slitted eyes, combined with his heavy use of sarcasm and mocking politeness, make it very difficult to discern his thoughts. Many find his demeanor and appearance rather unsettling and there are very few who were willing to trust him even before he was revealed as a traitor. Gin seems to be fully aware of the effect he has on others and more than once has been seen toying with people's emotional states for his own amusement. Both Rukia Kuchiki and Wonderweiss Margela have shown to be rather frightened of him, Rukia noting to herself that she felt like she was being strangled by snakes whenever he spoke, even if he was not speaking to her directly. In the anime, Gin speaks with a distinct Kyoto dialect, which is polite but indirect. His English dubbed voice is also formal and polite, but with a rather mocking and facetious undertone.
Powers and Abilities
Genius Intellect: When Gin was younger, he was hailed as a child genius. He was highly proficient in his classes at the Shinigami Academy, and he graduated in one year. His skill was already evident at a young age when he gained a seated position in the 5th Division shortly after graduating, ultimately surpassing the previous child prodigy Kaien Shiba, who was already an adult and had taken five years to become a seated officer. Gin has shown himself to be highly manipulative and deceptive. He comes out unscathed due to the calm confusion he plays at, which is a testament to his overall strategy. In his battle with Hitsugaya, Gin was able to manipulate the positions of three people so Hitsugaya would have to choose between saving his own life or Hinamori's without any visible effort. He has been shown to be capable of simple deception by having his opponent focus on one thing to hide the true threat.
Master Swordsmanship Specialist: Gin is a highly proficient combatant. In combat, he doesn't seem the least bit taken back by the abilities of his opponent, even when they seemingly have an advantage. He fights with seemingly no effort behind his attacks, as he always wields his sword with one hand. His ability to wield his combat skills was evident even when he was a child. He easily defeated and killed the former third seat of the 5th division, who by rank and age should have been more powerful and skilled than him. He is commonly seen using his Zanpakutō's special ability, allowing him to be quite deadly at a distance, which is capable of killing multiple targets in one shot. He has shown the ability to use extreme speed mixed with a calm composure and precise attacks.
Immense Spiritual Power: Gin, without putting out any effort, easily incapacitated Chad, Orihime, Uryū, Makizō, and Ganju with his reiatsu just by facing the direction they were coming from.
Shunpo Expert: Though never actually shown using this in combat, after his battle with Toshiro Hitsugaya, he used an impressive Flash Step to retreat. He is also able to fight on even grounds and speeds with Ichigo using Tensa Zangetsu.
Enhanced Durability: Gin's durability is strong enough to withstand a direct hit from Ichigo Kurosaki's Getsuga Tensho, only suffering a light wound to his forehead as a result.
Kido Practitioner: Gin's actual ability is unknown but he was able to teleport himself and Aizen a considerable distance using "Sentan Hakuja". He was also able to cast "Hakufuku" on Rangiku Matsumoto, preventing Sōsuke Aizen from perceiving her reiatsu.
Shinso (God Spear; "Sacred Spear"): It looks like an ordinary wakizashi. The hilt is light-blue with atsuba made of two slim swirls of metal looping around the blade to make an open oval, resembling an "S".
- Shikai: It is triggered by the phrase "Shoot to kill" (Ikorose). In the English Dub, however, he uses a command related to piercing/stabbing and ends the phrase with a personal pronoun (him, her, it) defining who he wants to hit.
- Shikai Special Ability: In its Shikai, Shinsō's blade glows white and extends at high speed to impale Gin's opponents from a distance. The blade also carries tremendous force when extending, 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. In addition, Gin can maintain the extension and swing the activated Shinsō in wide arcs, attacking multiple targets quickly and simultaneously. Shinso is capable of reaching a maximum length equivalent to one hundred times its original length, earning it the nickname Hyapponzashi (Hundred-span) when Gin was younger.
Bankai: Kamishini no Yari (God-Killing Spear): In its Bankai state, Gin's Zanpakutō does not change in appearance at all, retaining its small wakizashi form. However, as Kamishini no Yari, the blade is capable of reaching lengths equivalent to 13 kilometers (roughly 8.1 miles) at 500 times the speed of sound. The blade can also retract to its normal size at the same rate. Gin has also stated his Bankai is not as fast or as long as he claims but he hasn't elaborated on this statement further to determine what he is specifically referring to.
- Bankai Special Ability: Gin's Bankai's main basic abilities are essentially the same possessed by his Shikai, but its power, length and speed are vastly amplified. The blade's tremendous cutting power is significantly increased, to the point where Gin is capable of swiftly cutting an entire town in half with a single stroke while standing a great distance away.
- Buto (Dance (Step)): By adopting a stance where he firmly grips Kamishini no Yari with both hands and places the Zanpakuto's hilt squarely to the center of his chest, Gin is able to unleash the tremendous extension and contraction properties of his Bankai to an even more terrifying extent than its normal state. This occurs in the form of a piercing maneuver where the extension and contraction of the blade becomes almost completely unseen to even the most-diligent of observers.
- Buto: Renjin (Dance (Step) Serial Blade): This ability repeats the action of extending and subsequently contracting Kamishini no Yari, as observed within the technique Buto, multiple times in rapid succession. The entirety of this process is completed in a mere moment, resulting in the individual steps involved in this technique becoming virtually indistinguishable from each other, generating an apparent mass of numerous blades that leaves little opportunity for the intended victim to evade successfully.
- The color of Gin's eyes has varied throughout the series' medium. They are shown as blue on the cover of Volume 20 and Episode 270onwards. However, early episodes of the anime depicts them as red, and Bleach: Dark Souls has them colored yellow.
- Although only heard in two episodes (22 and 52-53), Gin's "bye bye" has become very popular with the fans and even became the sound of one of Gin's "fast move attack" in Bleach Heat the Soul 5.
- While it remains the same in the original Japanese version, Shinsō's release command varies in the English dub of the anime ("Impale him," "Slay them," "Pierce his flesh," "Shoot to kill,"), as well as in Bleach: Shattered Blade and the DS series ("Shoot 'em dead").
- Gin was among the four 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 Shōnen 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 off-putting in appearance.
- Gin's Shinsō came 8th in the Zanpakutō poll.
- In the Bleach best bout poll Ichimaru's fight with Hitsugaya came in fifth place.