|“||I am really a tramp down to my bones. I hate myself. I bark at the moon, but I don't have the courage to jump and grab it."||„|
|~ Renji Abarai.|
|“||Listen. I'm only going to say this because you're the only one here to hear it. All this time, for almost as long as I can remember...decades at least, Rukia and I were separated by a distance so great, we couldn't even glimpse one another. But the one who brought us back together was you. That's why I decided. Whenever you found yourself unable to go on, I'd take you onward myself. Carry you if I had to. That's what I've done up to now, and I'll keep on doing it. Forever, until the day you die.||„|
|~ Renji Abarai to Ichigo Kurosaki.|
He is voiced by Kentarō Itō in the Japanese version of the anime, and by Wally Wingert in the English version of the anime.
Renji has brown eyes and long crimson hair, which is usually kept in a high ponytail. As a child, Renji's hairline was leveled. Later, he styled it in a large widow's-peak. His upper body is covered in tribal tattoos, which have increased over time, starting from his early days as an academy student to covering his entire back, much of his chest, his extremities, and even much of his forehead. He wears a standard Shinigami outfit, though he usually includes some sort of headgear, usually expensive glasses, or a white headband when he is saving up to purchase some new glasses. Despite being of appropriate rank, Renji does not wear his Division's lieutenant badge. While out of uniform, Renji often wears a white kimono-like type of night clothing, with pink floral patterns on it, and a dark grey sash tied around his waist. It has also been said "that the women within his Division do not mind that he usually walks around in his night clothing."
Seventeen months after Aizen's defeat, Renji's hair has grown longer and he wears a maroon colored bandanna covering all of the tattoos on his forehead. He also wears long dark straps on each wrist with bandages over his arms.
Renji is quite dynamic. His personality varies from smug and cocky to disquieted and depressed after a major defeat, but shows himself to be an incredibly serious and determined fighter when confronted with an actual threat. Willing to fight, kill, and die for whatever he believes in, Renji is a dangerous man to those who stand in his way. Yasutora Sado compares his fighting style to that of Ichigo Kurosaki. Renji is determined to surpass his captain, Byakuya Kuchiki, and it's this determination that drives Renji to grow stronger. Renji likes taiyaki (a popular fish-shaped pancake usually filled with sweet bean paste), and has a dislike for spicy food. Renji also likes futsal, and in his free time works on assembling a team from the 6th Division, with success, more or less. The current members are himself, Rikichi, and the 4th, 8th, 13th, and 20th seated officers.
All of Renji's sunglasses are purchased from Seireitei's popular Gin Tonbo store and cost half a year's worth of his pay check. However, every time he wears a pair, they are broken in one way or another. On these occasions, he replaces them with a tied white bandana, until he can purchase a new pair of goggles. His dream is to wear a pair that he himself designed at least once.
Renji grew up in the 78th District of Rukongai, Inuzuri, with several other children. Having come to Soul Society alone, they helped each other to search for their families. One day, after stealing a jug of water, Renji and his friends were chased by a kama-wielding adult. Rukia Kuchiki tripped the adult and urged Renji's group to follow her to avoid losing the water. Rukia joined their group and they lived together as a family. They all hated Inuzuri and the people there. Renji disliked the fact that Rukia had spiritual power like he did. Ten years after Rukia joined their group, with all of their friends dead, Rukia proposed that they become Shinigami, which Renji agreed to do. As they were quite gifted with spiritual powers, they entered the Shin'ō Academy with ease, where they struggled to prove their worth among those from noble families. The night before the welcoming ceremony for the new students of the Academy, Renji slept in a tree, against Rukia's advice. The following morning, he fell out of the tree and landed on a headstone where a startled Izuru Kira had been praying. Having scored among the highest grades in the entrance exam, Renji was admitted into the top class along with Izuru and Momo Hinamori.
Two months after entering the Academy, Renji scolded Rukia for still not fitting in and informed her that he was going to the Human World for field training to practice the Konsō for the first time. Whilst being briefed on the field trip by Shūhei Hisagi, Kanisawa, and Aoga, Renji failed to recognize Shūhei, who was to lead the mission. Izuru explained to him that Hisagi was famous and a gifted student. Renji, Izuru, and Momo were assigned to the same group. When Momo joined them, Renji kicked Izuru because of how he greeted her, saying that he should not let his emotions show so easily. While in the Human World, Renji remarked that Konsō was a lot easier than he had imagined. He then lost his temper with the constantly fidgeting Izuru and punched him. As Shūhei called an end to their field trip, the group was attacked by a Huge Hollow, which killed Kanisawa and Aoga. Shūhei ordered the group to retreat while he stayed to fight the Hollow. When a second Huge Hollow appeared, Momo stopped and questioned why they were running away. Renji reminded Momo that the Hollow had just killed two sixth year students. When Momo rushed back towards Shūhei, Renji and Izuru followed her and helped to block the second Hollow's attack on him. When more Huge Hollows showed up, they were saved by the arrival of Fifth Division's Captain Sōsuke Aizen, and his lieutenant, Gin Ichimaru. When Momo wondered if they would ever become as strong as Aizen and Ichimaru, Renji laughed at the notion and insisted that captains and lieutenants were monsters.
Having passed an important exam, Renji rushed to find Rukia to tell her. However, when he found her, she was with several Shinigami, including Byakuya Kuchiki. As they left, Renji noted Byakuya's power, causing him to wonder who he was. Renji asked what they wanted and congratulated Rukia when she told him that they want to have her adopted into the Kuchiki Clan, have her graduate immediately and assigned to the 13th Division. Rukia thanked him and left. Renji told himself that Rukia finally had a family and that he should stay out of it. After Rukia left, Renji trained every day in a bid to beat Byakuya, but he was unable to defeat him even once.
Renji graduated from the Shin'ō Academy in its 2,066th year and joined the Gotei 13, where he initially served under Aizen in the 5th Division, along with Izuru and Momo. The rebellious Renji, however, was moved to the 11th Division and rose to the rank of 6th Seat. During his time in the 11th Division, he befriended Ikkaku Madarame, to whom he revealed that he wanted to become stronger than Byakuya Kuchiki. Ikkaku taught Renji how to fight and Renji became aware that Ikkaku had a Bankai, and requested that he use it to train Renji.
Forty years after Rukia's adoption into the Kuchiki Clan, in mid-April, Momo and Izuru presented Renji with a letter stating that he was to be promoted to lieutenant of the 6th Division. He formally accepted Momo's words, which caused her to tell him not to be so uptight. Ikkaku told him that he was now a step closer to Rukia and that his will has been strong for forty years, but now that he was a lieutenant, they should return to the type of relationship that they once shared. Izuru informed Renji that Rukia was leaving on a mission to the Human World that afternoon. When Momo urged him to hurry, Renji told her that he would wait until his promotion was made official a month later, and that when she returned, he would surprise her with it. On the 19th of July, Renji was sent alongside his captain to arrest Rukia and return her to Soul Society.
Agent of the Shinigami arc
Having been tasked with either arresting or killing Rukia, Renji travels to the Human World with Byakuya and discusses the merit of their orders. Using his goggles, Renji identifies Rukia and confirms that she is inside a Gigai. Renji reveals that he did not believe the information from the Image Office about this. Renji greets and attacks Rukia, saying that she was so lost in thought that she failed to notice a scout from Soul Society standing right behind her. He complains that she has become too soft in the months that she has been missing and demands that she summon the Human that she gave her powers to. When Rukia protests that no such thing happened, Renji questions why she is acting like that. While she is distracted by Byakuya, Renji attacks her, but lets her escape, saying that giving her powers to a Human is a very serious sin for a Shinigami and that they have been appointed to kill the Human. Renji tells her not to try to protect the Human and that his next attack will be serious, but he is interrupted by Uryū Ishida. After asking who he is, Renji cuts Uryū's explanation short and decides to kill him. Renji defeats Uryū in a single attack, and as he is about to kill him, he introduces himself and swings his blade down. However, he is stopped by Ichigo Kurosaki’s arrival.
Surprised to see another Shinigami and further shocked at the size of his Zanpakutō, Renji quickly figures out that Ichigo is the Human who took Rukia's powers, proceeding to attack him. Renji quickly and easily overwhelms Ichigo, injuring him. He states that once Ichigo is dead, Rukia's powers will return, but she will be executed in Soul Society. He ridicules Ichigo for showing up when Rukia was trying to protect him. Ichigo uses the moment to attack Renji, cutting his chin. Byakuya chastises him for being careless and reveals that according to their undercover forces, Ichigo had inflicted a scar upon a Menos Grande 33 hours earlier. Renji laughs this off and asks Ichigo the name of his Zanpakutō. Seeing that Ichigo does not understand him, he activates his Shikai and further injures Ichigo.
After explaining what had just happened to Ichigo, he moves in for the kill. However, Rukia jumps on him and urges Ichigo to run away. Ichigo instead gets up and continues to fight, becoming more powerful, much to Renji's surprise. Ichigo quickly defeats Renji and as he tries to deliver a finishing blow, he is struck down by Byakuya. Awed by Byakuya's abilities, Renji wonders how Ichigo became so powerful so suddenly. Renji stops Rukia from running to the defeated Ichigo's side, telling her that there is no point in her getting into more trouble over a dead person. Rukia protests that it is her fault that he is dead, surprising Renji. When Ichigo grabs Byakuya's leg, Renji is stunned that he is still alive. Rukia surrenders to Byakuya, prompting protests from Ichigo. Renji stamps on his back, telling him to stop making things worse and to be quiet. At Byakuya's behest, Renji opens a Senkaimon and they leave with Rukia.
In the Sixth Division’s barracks, Renji berates Rikichi for failing to look after the Jigokuchō properly. He then visits Rukia in her cell. He tells her to eat something and becomes annoyed when she makes fun of his new rank. Rukia asks if she is going to be executed. Renji tells her that Byakuya is reporting to the Central 46 and that he will most likely appeal for her sentence to be commuted. Rukia disagrees, saying that he will not ask for leniency, surprising Renji. Byakuya later returns and reveals that Central 46 has decided that Rukia will be executed in 25 days time, stunning Renji. After Byakuya leaves, Rukia tries to cheer Renji up by saying that she is alright, as it only makes her more determined to escape and makes fun of his tattooed eyebrows, angering him. Renji leaves, truly saddened and noting that it is not possible for her to escape and that she will be executed. He wonders if this is truly okay with Captain Kuchiki.
Soul Society arc
When a group of Ryoka arrives in Soul Society, Renji is with Rikichi when he hears an alarm warning them about their arrival. He asks for his Zanpakutō, which Rikichi goes to fetch. Rikichi returns with Zabimaru and urges Renji to take it easy as he rushes off. However, he does not reach the Ryoka in time and only glimpses Captain Ichimaru repelling the Ryoka from the West Gate of Seireitei. 14 days before Rukia's scheduled execution, Renji escorts a group of Onmitsukidō guards as they transfer her to the Senzaikyū. Once there, he points out to her that they can see the Sōkyoku, which will be used for her execution, from the windows. The guards thank Renji and begin to leave. Renji stays to tell Rukia that there was an unconfirmed report that five Ryoka invaded Soul Society and that one of them matched Ichigo's description. Renji leaves with the guards.
As he walks away from the Senzaikyū, Renji wonders when he last saw Rukia's face light up like it had just then. Renji ponders if he should have told her this, as Ichigo would not have stood a chance against Ichimaru. His thoughts are interrupted by Aizen, who asks to speak to him privately. As Aizen looks around the room, he notes that they have not spoken since Renji's transfer to the 11th Division and asks if he is now in the 6th Division. Renji inquires what it is that he wants to talk about. Aizen reveals that he is aware that Rukia and Renji were close friends and asks if he thinks that she really deserves to be executed. He then reveals that there are a number of unusual aspects to her arrest and execution, claiming that there is a conspiracy. Shocked, Renji asks what he means, but they are interrupted when Aizen is called to an emergency captains' meeting.
Later, Renji receives an order to put on his lieutenant’s armband and attend a meeting of the lieutenants. He complains about this to fellow lieutenant, Tetsuzaemon Iba. Along with Momo, they are the first to arrive at the waiting room. When Rangiku Matsumoto arrives, Renji asks Iba who her captain is. Hearing that it is Tōshirō Hitsugaya, he remarks that he is a child genius and that it is bad. Momo asks him if he has seen Captain Aizen, which he denies. He tells Momo not to worry about him, saying that the meeting is probably not a big deal and that everything will be alright while asking himself what Aizen is up to. That night, Renji and the other lieutenants are shocked to hear an alarm announcing that there are intruders inside Seireitei. Several hours later, after no intruders were found, Renji and Byakuya witness the Ryoka enter Seireitei from the sky.
Yasochika Iemura announces to the gathering of the lieutenants the extent of the casualties inflicted by the Ryoka. Upon hearing that two of the Ryoka have taken a hostage and are heading towards the center of Seireitei, Renji quietly leaves the assembly. He leaves his lieutenant's armband in his office and heads out alone. He finds Ichigo and compliments him on surviving Byakuya's attack. As the two begin to fight, Renji asks him how he intends to save Rukia, questioning how he can be so confident about being able to save her. Renji unleashes his Shikai and knocks Ichigo back, informing him that his power is five times greater without the limiter placed on his powers when he was in the Human World and continues to attack Ichigo, blaming him for Rukia's troubles. As Renji becomes annoyed with Ichigo's insistence that he will save Rukia, Ichigo tries to exploit the gaps between Renji's continuous attacks in order to fight back, but Renji dodges his attack and strikes him. Ichigo barely dodges Renji's finishing blow, and grabs Zabimaru. He tells Renji that he is sorry for keeping him waiting as his Reiatsu begins to increase dramatically. Renji is hit by a point-blank unnamed Getsuga Tenshō which breaks Zabimaru and badly injures him. Renji, wondering what happened and how he lost, grabs Ichigo and admits that getting Rukia back is an impossible dream for him. He begs Ichigo to save her instead.
Renji falls unconscious and is found by Izuru and a small group of Shinigami, who concentrate on saving him rather than chasing the Ryoka. They bring him to a safe area, where Momo is shocked at his condition. She recommends contacting the Fourth Division to have him healed, but Byakuya tells them not to bother, but to throw him into jail instead. Captain Ichimaru, however, tells them that he will contact the Fourth Division for them. A restrained Renji is treated by a Fourth Division member while in his cell.
In his cell, Renji has a conversation with the materialized spirit of his Zanpakutō, Zabimaru. While Zabimaru is fully recovered and eager for a rematch with Zangetsu, Renji insists that they are no longer enemies. Zabimaru asks him who is his enemy, and who he will fight next, but Renji does not answer. He later breaks out of confinement, knocking out his guard, and finds his way to Ichigo, who is in an underground training area with Yoruichi Shihōin. Renji realizes that he is attempting to learn his Zanpakutō's Bankai. Renji tells them that he is there to train to attain Bankai as well and that Rukia's execution has been moved up to noon of the following day. Renji tells them that he is close to achieving Bankai, as he has already achieved the materialization of his Zanpakutō, and begins to train with the materialized Zabimaru. During a break in training, Ichigo tells Renji his reasons for wanting to save Rukia. After Renji achieves Bankai, he asks Yoruichi if Ichigo really can do the same. Yoruichi tells him that she believes that Ichigo instinctively knows how to achieve Bankai.
Renji leaves the training area and heads towards the execution site, defeating several members of his own Division, including Rikichi, in the process. He is intercepted by Byakuya, who refuses to allow him to rescue Rukia or to pass by. After blocking Byakuya's Senka attack, Renji activates his Shikai without using its release command in order to prevent Byakuya from activating his own Shikai. Renji then activates his Bankai, Hihiō Zabimaru, and declares that he will save Rukia. Byakuya dismisses this notion and evades Renji's initial attack. He blocks Hihiō Zabimaru and attacks it with his own Shikai, seemingly breaking it apart. However, Hihiō Zabimaru reforms and Renji continues to attack him. Byakuya uses Kidō to take advantage of Renji's inexperience with using his abilities, confusing the movements of Renji's Bankai. He then binds him with Bakudō #61 Rikujōkōrō and uses his Bankai, Senbonzakura Kageyoshi, severely injuring the immobilized Renji. Byakuya explains the nature of his Bankai and complements Renji on still being intact. Renji's Bankai disappears, which Byakuya explains is a sign that he is near death. Renji declares that he can still fight and tries to charge at his captain, but he is impaled by several blades from Byakuya's Bankai. Byakuya congratulates him, but tells him that he will kill him if he gets up again. Thinking of Ichigo, Renji says that he swore he would save Rukia and makes one last attack, but breaks Zabimaru against Byakuya's body before collapsing. Byakuya applauds his lieutenant on having struck him, and leaves a dying Renji with his scarf and acknowledges that Renji's "fang" had finally reached him.
After being healed by Hanatarō Yamada, Renji regains consciousness. Confused, Rikichi tells him that he snuck Hanatarō out of prison so that he could treat Renji. As Rikichi gives his lieutenant a uniform and headband, Hanatarō asks him to save Rukia. After Ichigo saves Rukia, Renji arrives at the execution site, knocking out several Shinigami. From the high perch of the execution stand, Ichigo throws Rukia to Renji and orders him to defend her with his life. Renji escapes from the execution grounds with Rukia in his arms after Ichigo stops several lieutenants from pursuing them. As they are escaping, Rukia protests that they must help Ichigo. Renji tells her to be quiet and tells her that Ichigo wanted to return what he owes to her. He tells her that nobody thinks badly of her and that she can depend on him and Ichigo.
Renji and Rukia are stopped by Kaname Tōsen, who teleports the three of them back to the top of the Sōkyoku Hill, where Aizen orders Renji to release Rukia and back away. Renji asks how Aizen is still alive and what he just said. He refuses Aizen's order, causing Aizen to draw his sword against his former subordinate. Renji evades the full force of Aizen's strike, but is still injured by it. Aizen praises his abilities and tells Renji that he does not want to kill him. After telling Rukia to be quiet, Renji refutes this, demanding to know why he killed Momo. Aizen reveals that Momo and Izuru were just his puppets, causing Renji to state that he is no longer the Aizen he once knew and refuses to hand over Rukia even if it costs him his life. Renji attacks Aizen with his Shikai, but Aizen blocks his attack and grabs Zabimaru with his bare hand. He cuts through the Zanpakutō and injures Renji, then informs him how he had used the three Shinigami. He offers Renji a final chance to release Rukia, but he refuses and as Aizen tries to kill him, Ichigo arrives and blocks the attack. After momentarily bickering, Renji tells Ichigo that he does not intend to run, but will instead attack Aizen. He uses his Higa Zekkō technique to attack Aizen, while Ichigo charges at the captain. Aizen, however, stops Ichigo and quickly defeats both of them.
After Aizen's escape, Renji is treated by the Fourth Division. A week later, Renji waits in the hospital with a recovering Byakuya. When Byakuya asks if Renji wished that he was dead, Renji replies that he does not, and that if he were to die, then he would no longer have a reason to become stronger. Their quiet conversation is interrupted by Ichigo and Orihime Inoue, who are searching for Rukia. Realizing that Renji and Byakuya do not know where she is, they leave. When the Ryoka depart from Soul Society, Renji is among those present at the Senkaimon to see them off.
At some point after the defection of Aizen, Gin, and Tōsen, Renji asks Ikkaku to become a captain, but he refuses. Renji tries to convince Ikkaku that he is the only one who can fill the void left by the loss of the three captains and that he should replace one of them as captain. Ikkaku reminds Renji that he once told him that he did not want anyone other him and Yumichika to know about his Bankai. Ikkaku tells him that just as he wishes to surpass Byakuya, Ikkaku's wish is to fight and die under Kenpachi Zaraki's leadership and that if he understands that, he should not ask him again
Powers & Abilities
Master Swordsman: Renji is highly skilled in various swordsmanship techniques. He was trained by the 3rd Seat of the 11th Division Ikkaku Madarame when he was relocated to his division. Before becoming a lieutenant, his skills were great enough to fight on par with Ikkaku's Shikai and earn the rank of 6th Seat Officer in the 11th Division. Renji is able to hold his own against captain-level fighters, and is one of three lieutenants to have attained Bankai (alongside Chōjirō Sasakibe and Rukia Kuchiki).
- Whip Mastery: What makes Renji so effective in battle is the unique method in which his Zanpakutō operates; Zabimaru is an amalgamation of a whip and a sword. Renji is a versatile fighter because of this, and to effectively wield it is a testament to his skill. Renji has stated that Zabimaru is an extension of his body, like his arms and legs, and he has used it in a variety of ways. He can use its extension ability to attack an opponent from behind, or either the left or right, without giving away the variation of his attack until it is too late. He has shown considerable skill in using his extension capabilities to constrict opponents, surrounding them from various angles and then retracting Zabimaru in order to crush his adversaries.
Shunpo Expert: Knowing that Zabimaru's Shikai attacks leave him open to counter-attacks, Renji has become very proficient in Shunpo to compensate for this weak point. Renji can even keep up with captain-level Shinigami for an indeterminate amount of time. He knows enough to be informed on their higher level techniques.
Kidō Practitioner: As a student at the Shin'ō Academy, Renji showed poor skill in Kidō. Later, he is skilled enough in the use of the level 31 Shakkahō spell without incantation, but has difficulty using it in rapid succession, as some will explode on him indiscriminately. He also uses a low-level Bakudō spell to restrain multiple targets (albeit they were all unseated officers). Renji also has enough knowledge of Kidō to manipulate it for purposes other than fighting, such as using his Shakkahō spell to illuminate the dark corridors of Las Noches. However, he is only able to create a small light without reciting the full chant.
Great Spiritual Power: Being a lieutenant of the Gotei 13, Renji possesses high spiritual energy. Upon learning Bankai, this power increases on a scale from 5-10. Rukia comments that it was so high, she could not recognize it until it decreased by the end of Renji's fight against Byakuya, which caused it to become more familiar to her. This spiritual power significantly increases again when Kirio Hikifune provides him with her Reiatsu-induced food, her noting that his power is completely different from what it was before. This is proven when Renji overpowers Mask, a captain-level combatant who previously defeated Renji soundly, with his Shikai alone during their second encounter. His Reiatsu is light red in color.
Enhanced Strength: Renji possesses great physical strength. When he swings Zabimaru toward Ichigo in their second fight, he easily tosses him into the air, and subsequently pushes him through an entire building about a dozen meters away with relative ease. During the fight with Szayelaporro's unique Fracción, Renji protects Uryū from a direct punch from one of the stronger Arrancar, using both hands, before throwing him aside. Later, by spinning Zabimaru above his head, Renji creates enough force to generate a whirlwind, blowing all of Szayelaporro's Fracción several yards away, despite their massive size. Szayelaporro stated this was a result of Renji's "brute force." Later, after seventeen months of training following Aizen's defeat, Renji's raw strength allows him to nonchalantly block Jackie's strongest Fullbring-enhanced strike, which had enough force to unearth a large portion of the ground with the shockwave, with just the back of his wrist, and effortlessly knock her out with a simple blow to her stomach using the hilt of his sword. After training with the Royal Guard, Renji's strength increased to the point where he created a large crater by elbowing Mask De Masculine in the back of the head after the latter attempted to use his Star Rocket Headbutt and stopped Mask's Star Satsujin Punch with just his bare hand.
Enhanced Endurance: During his fight with Byakuya, Renji is hit directly by every blade from Senbonzakura Kageyoshi, and when he continues to fight he is pierced by five more blades. Even after such terrible damage, he makes a last ditch effort attack, almost piercing Byakuya with Zabimaru, and finally falls defeated. He had enough confidence in his resiliency to use a full-power Hadō #31 on Szayelaporro at point-blank range, willingly taking damage as well.
Enhanced Durability: Renji is a very durable fighter. Seventeen months after Aizen's defeat, Renji takes a direct, ground-shattering strike from Jackie's enhanced "Dirty-Boots" Fullbring unfazed. Likewise, he was able to resist the unique healing properties of Tenjirō Kirinji's hot springs without rotting away after being fully healed for a noticeable period, as well as enduring one of the Royal Guard member's punches while remaining mostly unfazed, a feat that greatly impressed the man. Later, after his training with the Royal Guard and during his fight with Mask, Renji emerged unharmed after withstanding the onslaught of Mask's Star Lariat and being hit by his Star Flash Super Nova.
- Shikai: Zabimaru's Shikai command is "Howl" (咆えろ, hoero; "Roar" in the English dub). In its Shikai, Zabimaru transforms into an even longer 6-part segmented blade; each segment is wider than the one preceding it from the hilt, with 2 pick-like protrusions on the front and back of each segment, with the ones on the front much longer than the ones on the back. Zabimaru's segments can grow in number almost without limit. The segments are connected by a stretchable thread, making Zabimaru more useful as a whip than an actual sword, however, it can serve as a regular sword just as easily, thanks to Renji's swordsmanship. Zabimaru's guard and handle remain the same in its Shikai release. While Zabimaru can be stretched to incredible lengths in its whip form, Renji has a limit of three consecutive attacks before having to bring the segments of Zabimaru back together for recovery - leaving him fairly vulnerable. To make up for this, Renji usually relies on Shunpo to evade attacks as he retrieves Zabimaru's segments. Renji's Shikai, while durable to an extent, can ultimately sustain serious damage the longer the fight drags on. While it can withstand dangerously prolonged combat, it has limits in enduring high-level attacks that are conducted by either the enemy or by Renji himself. Because of these many drawbacks, Renji states that out of all the Zanpakutō wielded by the lieutenants, Zabimaru is the most difficult to master.
- Shikai Special Ability: Zabimaru has a rarely used special technique known as:
- Higa Zekkō (狒牙絶咬, Bite of a Broken Baboon's Fang; Viz "Baboon Fang Bite"): Renji can use his spiritual power to levitate the disconnected or broken segments of Zabimaru into the air, allowing him to execute a one-shot omni-directional attack, however, Renji states that this is damaging to Zabimaru and leaves him defenseless. Byakuya later comments that using this technique will prevent Renji from reactivating his Shikai for an unspecified duration.
- Bankai: Sōō Zabimaru (双王蛇尾丸, Twin Kings Snake Tail; Viz "Two Kings"): The true form of Renji's Bankai takes on a more compact form that is predominately worn. On his right wrist, Renji gains a gauntlet resembling the top portion of a snake’s skull, with a cowl of red fur surrounding its base. A long, bony tail composed of vertebra-like structures protrudes from the back of the skull, and trails behind him. At will, Renji can extend a large blade from the snake’s mouth. Renji also gains a large cowl of light fur that hangs down from his left shoulder. Additionally, he gains a pair of pauldrons that form an armored collar, as well as additional vertebral cords that hang down from his waist.
- Bankai Special Ability: Zabimaru gains special techniques when in Bankai form.
- Hihiō (狒々王, Baboon King): The cowl portion of the Bankai transforms into a large, skeletal arm that follows the movements of Renji's own left arm. Its hand possesses considerable power, having enough strength to crush bones.
- Orochiō (オロチ王, Great Snake King; Viz "Snake King"): The blade portion of the Bankai changes into a larger, serrated form.
- Sōō Zabimaru, Zaga Teppō (双王蛇尾丸蛇牙鉄炮, Twin Kings Snake Tail, Snake Fang Iron Gun; Viz "Snake Fang Cannon"): Upon impaling the enemy with his blade, Renji clenches his fist, forming a jaw of spiritual energy behind him. These jaws then close down on the enemy, forming the visage of a large, serpentine skull, crushing them with its fangs. Simultaneously, Renji fires a blast of spiritual energy through the enemy. The attack is powerful enough to reduce its target to ashes.