Kūkaku Shiba is a member of the prestigious Shiba Clan of the Soul Society and the younger sister of Kaien Shiba. Much of her history is unknown. After the death of Kaien and his wife, Kūkaku became the de facto head of the Shiba Clan. Jushiro Ukitake, Kaien's commander, came to explain how Kaien had been infected by a Hollow and died at the hands of Rukia Kuchiki to stop his rampage. Despite knowing the circumstances, Kūkaku refused to forgive Rukia until she came to apologize, which she never did.
Kūkaku Shiba (志波 空鶴, Shiba Kūkaku) is a supporting character of the BLEACH series that was created by Tite Kubo, It first began serialization Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump in August 2001. She was first introduced during the Soul Society: The Sneak Entry story arc that began in Volume 9.
She first appeared in BLEACH Volume 9, CH. 78 "Fourteen Days for Conspiracy".
Major Story Arcs
Soul Society: The Sneak Entry Arc
Yoruichi appeared at Kūkaku's home along with some young allies, one of which being a Soul Reaper named Ichigo Kurosaki. She wanted her help in breaking through the barrier of the Seiretei. Though she trusted Yoruichi, she didn't trust her friends. Kūkaku only agreed to help as long as they took her brother Ganju. Ichigo and Ganju fought, but Kūkaku put an end to that. After they were all trained to use the Reishūkaku, Kūkaku shot them into to the fortress of the Soul Society to rescue an ally of theirs.
Soul Society: The Rescue Arc
After several days, Kūkaku went to meet with Jidanbō Ikkanzaka, the Western Gate guard, so they could go join the fight. As they arrived, Sosuke Aizen's plot had been revealed. The other gate guards had allied with Aizen, and Kūkaku defeated one with Kido. Aizen soon escaped to Hueco Mundo with his allies.
Sometime later. Kūkaku was punishing Ganju of failing to help in the battle and running from fights. That's when Rukia Kuchiki came to finally apologize for killing Kaien and for taking so long. Kūkaku punches Rukia for taking too long, then reveals that she already knew the whole story. She had just been waiting for Rukia to come and apologize herself before she forgave her. When Ichigo and Orihime arrive, Kūkaku invites them all for dinner.
The Thousand-Year Blood War Arc
The Soul Society was nearly destroyed by the assault from the Vandenreich. With the arrival of the Royal Guard, they came to Kūkaku to return to the Soul King Palace with Ichigo, Renji, Rukia, and Byakuya.She then ordered Ganju to go back to training Ginjo Kugo, Giriko Kutsuzawa, and Shukuro Tsukishima for what would likely be the final battle.
Powers & Abilities
Kūkaku Shiba was raised and educated by Koganehiko and Shiroganehiko, but unknown where she obtained all her skills in combat and Kido. She does have a high level of Spiritual Pressure.
- Kidō (鬼道, kidō): Kido is a form of Demon Magic mainly used by Soul Reapers. She has used the Level 63 Hadō and the more advanced techniques of Reishūkaku and Kakaku Hō.
- Fireworks Expert: Kuukaku comes from a clan famous for their firework specialties, and she is the current master of the Shiba Clan.
Weapons & Equipment
Kakaku Hō (花鶴砲)
It's currently unknown if Kūkaku's katana is or isn't a Zanpakutō, a Soul Reaper sword. It's a short bladed katana with pale orange hilt and a rectangular-etched guard. Each corner of the guard is curved inward. She keeps her sword strapped to the remains of her right are. She has used this sword to ignite the launch of the Kakaku Hō.
- Birthday: 1 October
- Hair: Black
- Eyes: Green
- Height: 168 cm (5'6")
- Weight: 58 kg (128 lbs.)
- Place of Birth: unknown
- Citizenship: Japanese
- Occupation: Shiba Clan Leader
- Known Relatives: Kaien Shiba (older brother - deceased), Ganju Shiba (younger brother), Miyako Shiba (sister-in-law / Kaien's wife - deceased), Isshin Kurosaki (Shiba Clan), Masaki Kurosaki (Isshin's wife - deceased), Ichigo Kurosaki (Isshin and Masaki's eldest son), Karin Kurosaki (Isshin and Masaki's twin daughter), and Yuzu Kurosaki (Isshin and Masaki's twin daughter).
The BLEACH animated series is a direct adaptation of Tite Kubo's original manga. It's produced by Studio Pierrot and first began airing in October 5, 2004. Kūkaku's first anime appearance was in BLEACH - Episode 23 "14 Days Before Rukia's Execution", which aired on March 15 2005.
Her character in the Japanese series is voiced by Akiko Hiramatsu, and the U.S. dub produced by VIZ Media is done by Cindy Robinson.
Kūkaku Shiba's appearance is censored in the anime production. In the manga, she is shown with her right arm missing at all times, but for the anime a prosthetic right arm is added to the series. It's never shown to move. The particular reason for such an edit is unknown, but the series does have a practice of toning down graphically violent scenes of dismemberment.
Kūkaku plays a limited role in manga and only appears in the Soul Society arc, but she appears again in the several different filler arcs. She appearance is in the filler Bount Arc. She sends her brother to the the Earth realm to help in the battle against super powered humans called Bount, then punished him for not being of aid. Ichigo and Yoruichi return to Soul Society and come to see her when the Bount invade the Soul Society. She later appears in the filler Gotei 13 Invasion Army arc in a minor role.
As a series based mainly on fighting and battles, Kūkaku Shiba has made numerous playable appearances in the BLEACH series of games. her first appearance in games was in Bleach: Dark Souls for the Nintendo DS. that was released in Japan in February 15, 2007.
(For a full list of games that feature Kūkaku Shiba, see her profile on Giant Bomb. HERE)