3rd Division (Gatekeepers)

Never assigned a special purpose under former captain Ichimaru Gin, the 3rd division was largely removed from active duty after Aizen's betrayal, to be re-evaluated by Command and assigned a more distinct purpose. As it turned out, this problem was solved by its current captain Shugoku Sai, who clinched her bid for captaincy by proposing her vision of the 3rd division "Gatekeepers". Its newly-assigned role is to watch over Soul Society's borders, including the four gates to Seireitei and the dangai (the gap between Soul Society and the living world), and to serve as the front line in repelling any intruders.

Captain: Shugoku Sai

A former member of the Special Forces, Shugoku is a serious, down-to-earth woman with little patience for wasted time. Her ascent into her current position happened suddenly enough to surprise many, as she had not even been a part of the Gotei 13 until after Captain Gin's exile, and had not previously sought promotion in the Special Forces. Evidently, Shugoku had been biding her time and honing her skills until she was sure she could win the position – no doubt much of her time was devoted to discovering her bankai without drawing undue attention.

Shugoku seems to be a strong proponent of justice, but seems more in line with the views of 13th division captain Ukitake than former 9th division captain Tousen; she upholds the law because it protects the innocent, not because she feels it has inherent value. In the short time she has been captain, she has already shown a willingness to bend the law as much as possible whenever it contradicts the "good" or sensible option.

As a combatant, Shugoku is known to specialise in hakudo, chiefly because it combines so well with the use of her zanpakutou. She seems to be less adept in kidou than most captains; it seems that she has mostly disregarded attack spells and only bothered with bakudou, the way of binding. There is little doubt that her concept for the 3rd division's new purpose, which (perhaps inadvertently, perhaps intentionally) played into mounting concern over the potential return of Aizen and his supporters, played a large role in her promotion.

Zanpakutou: Sanzein Ga (lit. "retribution spanning the three worlds")

In its sealed form, Sanzein Ga appears as a bokuto or bokken, a wooden practice sword. Shugoku dislikes fighting with its sealed form, however, and usually begins a fight by releasing it. Sanzein Ga's shikai command is "remember", and its released form is that of a heavy chain wrapped around Shugoku's arms and hands; thus, she can use it like gloves or gauntlets to compliment her skill with hakudo. It can also extend to be used like a whip, meaning it can entangle and immobilise opponents.

Sanzei Ga's signature ability, activated by the command word "reveal", to render itself invisible except to one whose conscience is clear of wrongdoings. This is not a flawless judge of character – it is possible for even one who has committed truly heinous deeds to feel no remorse, just as it is possible for one to wrongly blame themselves – but it is still a useful power in combat, making it that much more difficult for Shugoku's opponents to block her attacks. Sanzein Ga's bankai is not widely known.

Former Captain: Ichimaru Gin

The former captain of the 3rd division, Ichimaru Gin fled Soul Society after taking part in the plot staged by 5th division captain Aizen Sousuke. Before becoming captain, Gin had served as Aizen's vice-captain, and he made it clear upon leaving Soul Society that his loyalty had always been to his former captain, not to the Gotei 13.

Even before this incident, Ichimaru deliberately presented the image of being somewhat shifty and deceitful. His smug mannerisms earned him the ire of several fellow captains, particularly 10th division captain Hitsugaya Toushiro. Gin is noted for a distinct "foxlike" appearance – narrowed eyes and a crafty smile – and silver hair, and for an old-fashioned accent voiced with rather mocking undertones.

Zanpakutou: Shinsou (lit. "Divine Spear")

Ichimaru's zanpakutou takes the form of a wakizashi when sealed, bearing a guard is shaped like an 'S'. Shinsou's shikai is triggered by the phrase "shoot to kill". In its shikai, Shinsou's blade glows white and extends at high speed to impale Ichimaru's opponents. In addition to making it a deadly long-range weapon, the extending blade also carries tremendous force without affecting Ichimaru, making it useful for forcing heavy objects to move. Once extended, Gin can maintain the blade's length and swing Shinsou in wide arcs, attacking multiple targets quickly and simultaneously.

Vice-captain: Kira Izuru

Born to a family of lesser nobility, Kira lost both parents when he was quite young. Little else is known of his past, except that he befriended fellow Vice-Captains Hinamori Momo, Abarai Renji, and Hisagi Shuuhei during his time at the Shinigami Academy; the group were often seen spending time together. He also seems to have a friendship with 10th-Division Vice-Captain Matsumoto Rangiku. After graduation, Kira - along with Abarai and Hinamori - was sent to the 5th Division, where he stayed until Ichimaru Gin became captain of the 3rd Division.

Kira is loyal to both his friends and his duties, perhaps to a fault, and despite his position is reputed to be somewhat bullied by his peers and superiors. This nature meant that he was not considered as a replacement for his former captain – and, indeed, his current captain has made it clear that she does not necessarily intend to keep him in his current position.

Kira is a fairly average-seeming young man with blonde hair and blue eyes. His most distinctive features are his tendency to look slightly pale and gaunt, and his somewhat put-upon demeanour.

Zanpakutou: Wabisuke (lit. "miserable man", idiomatically "apology")

When activated, Wabisuke's shikai bends the blade into a square hook. In this form, Wabisuke doubles the weight of whatever it strikes. The ability affects both inanimate objects and living beings. Though a seemingly pointless ability in sword combat, the effect is cumulative. With a second hit from Wabisuke, the weight will double again and so on, exponentially. Thus, after seven or eight blocked attacks, his opponents are unable to lift their own swords. Once Wabisuke's effect becomes noticeable, Kira's opponents often fall to their knees with their heads bent down, as if in apology, thus the name of Kira's zanpakutou.

Gate Watchers

The Gate Watchers are giants (each is over 30 feet tall) that guard the four gates into Seireitei. They are elites of Soul Society, although not as strong as a captain or vice-captain, and are said to all be brothers. Since Division 3 assumed the role of gatekeepers, the four Gate Watchers now also fall under the command of Captain Shugoku.

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