12th Division (Research & Development)

Division 12 is responsible for the development of technology to be used by the Gotei 13. It is thanks to this department that many commonly-used devices – including soul candy, gigai and hell butterflies – are available to the shinigami. Many 12th division members are non-combatants or low-powered combatants, though this is certainly not true of its leadership.

Captain: Kurotsuchi Nemu

The artificially-created daughter of former captain Kurotsuchi Mayuri, Kurotsuchi Nemu is a combination of his research in artificial bodies and artificial souls. Their relationship was far from a healthy father-daughter one, however, as Mayuri never cared much for Nemu's well-being; he is known to have used her as a sacrifice in combat one more than one occasion. Until Mayuri's death, Nemu showed great loyalty to her "father" despite this abuse, and otherwise showed little emotion; she tended to be silent unless prompted for a response, and rarely acted on her own initiative rather than Mayuri's.

Then – a shock to most everyone, possibly including herself – Nemu defeated and killed Kurotsuchi Mayuri in combat during the recent upset caused by former 5th division captain Aizen. There is some debate as to the nature of his death; it is generally agreed that Kurotsuchi Nemu could not have stood toe-to-toe with her captain in combat, not to mention that Mayuri almost certainly equipped Nemu's body with self-destruction mechanisms to ensure her loyalty. However, there has been no proof presented that the account given – that Mayuri attacked his own troops whilst under the control of Aizen's hypnosis, and was killed in self-defence – is not in fact true, and it has been backed up by numerous other 12th division officers who were present. Thus, under the Reihou, the captaincy was handed down to Nemu.

Nemu's fighting style is a combination of capoeira-like martial arts and kidou attacks. By Mayuri's design, her body is surprisingly durable given her meek appearance, and she can withstand injuries that would kill even a shinigami. She has also been designed to be immune to Mayuri's various poisons, as well as carrying a number of toxins in her own body to retaliate against attacks. Presumably, these abilities are only the beginning of the "features" Mayuri has built into her.

Zanpakutou: ?

The nature and abilities of Nemu's zanpakutou remain unknown to Soul Society at large, as she won her seat by defeating the previous captain, not by achieving bankai. Its sealed state is that of a wakizashi or kodachi.

Former Captain: Kurotsuchi Mayuri (deceased)

Also the former head of the Shinigami Research Institute, the first Captain Kurotsuchi and was known for being a man who made even his fellows uncomfortable. Obsessed with science, he was reputed to be sadistic and cruel, and saw everyone and everything simply as an object to be researched – including himself. He had little respect or regard for most others, and it was said (and confirmed, after his death) that he was even willing to sacrifice his own troops to serve his personal interests.

For many years, Kurotsuchi Mayuri walked a fine line in his position, doing many things which his peers found distasteful, but not quite breaking any laws. During the recent coup attempt, however, Kurotsuchi turned on his troops whilst under former 5th division captain Aizen's deception, and died at the hands of his own vice-captain.

Zanpakutou: Ashisogi Jizou (lit. "Jizou's Killer Head")

Mayuri's zanpakutou hilt was wrapped in cloth, and had several spiky protrusions sticking out right below the blade. Ashisogi Jizou's shikai command was "rip"; in its shikai, Ashisogi Jizou transformed into a deformed trident with curved, serpentine blades and a guard shaped like a baby's head, all mounted on the sword's normal hilt. The weapon spewed a poisonous vapour which caused paralysis on contact, though it was said that this did not include numbness, meaning the victim could still feel pain.

Mayuri's bankai, named Konjiki Ashisogi Jizou (lit. "Golden Jizou's Killer Head"), returned his zanpakutou to its sealed state and instead produced a creature, rather like a giant caterpillar in a red cape with a grotesque baby's head and a silver halo. The creature breathed a poisonous derivative of Mayuri's blood, which was known to be lethal to anyone who breathes it aside from Mayuri and his vice-captain. Its other abilities are not widely known, but – like himself – it is said that he has performed experiments on the sword and modified it to be more useful.

Former Captain: Urahara Kisuke

Like Kurotsuchi Mayuri and Nemu, Urahara was both the captain of the 12th Division, and the president of the Shinigami Research Institute (in fact, he was the Institute's founder). Urahara is a well-known figure amongst shinigami, due to his exile around 100 years ago for creating certain unacceptable items (the details of which are unknown to average shinigami). Little is known of his history or personality, however; rather, he is renowned for the devices he created, which include the gigai (artificial bodies) and "soul candy", now used commonly by shinigami. Rumour persists that Urahara had also developed intense training techniques which could enable a shinigami to progress to shikai and bankai much more quickly than would normally be possible.

Zanpakutou: Benihime (lit. "Crimson Princess")

When sealed, Benihime takes the form of a shikomizue (a blade hidden inside Urahara's cane). The shikai command of Benihime is "awaken"; in its shikai, Benihime becomes a slightly wider blade on a curved, elaborately decorated hilt. Benihime has two known special abilities, one for offence and one for defence, both of which are activated by the command "sing". Benihime's defensive ability forms a shield, while its offensive ability fires a crimson-coloured energy blast.

Benihime's bankai is not broadly known, though it certainly has one.

Vice-captain: None

The position of 12th division vice-captain has been empty since Mayuri's death and Nemu's succession. There is an active drive to appoint a new vice-captain, however; and, as most of the other captains feel that Nemu is a weak combatant for a captain, there is a definite push for Nemu to choose a powerful combatant for this role.

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