|“||Do you remember the first time when you were a child that you stood up and walked on your own? If you don't remember doing it, and yet you did it, it means that you weren't conscious of it at the time. So how did you know how to do it? The answer is all humans are born already knowing how to stand up. Just as birds are born knowing how to fly, and fish are born already knowing how to swim. It's because of what we call instinct. All living creatures use instinct to obtain their natural powers when the time comes that they need them.||„|
|~ Yoruichi Shihoin|
Yoruichi Shihōin is a supporting protagonist in the anime/manga series Bleach. She is the former captain of the 2nd Division of the Gotei 13, as well as the former commander of the Onmitsukidō. Having abandoned her command of both positions, she works with Kisuke Urahara and Tessai Tsukabishi, based in the Urahara Shop out in the Human World.
In her human form, she is voiced by Satsuki Yukino in the Japanese version of the anime, and by Wendee Lee in the English version of the anime.
In her cat form, she is voiced by Shirō Saitō in the Japanese version of the anime, and by Terrence Stone in the English version of the anime.
Yoruichi Shihōin is a slender, dark-skinned woman of average height, with golden-colored eyes and long purple hair, which she keeps up in a ponytail. Her standard attire consists of a black, backless, sleeveless undershirt, an orange over-shirt with two white straps on each shoulder, a large beige sash around her waist, and black stretch pants with a pair of lightweight brown shoes, which allow for stealth and easy use of Shunpo. She previously wore a beige neck warmer, which she pulled up to cover her face in order to hide her identity, but seems to have forgone its use. She occasionally wears long beige wrist and leg warmers, each secured by bands. She, unlike any other known Shinigami, can transform into a small black cat for long periods of time. In this form, she has a distinctive male voice and golden eyes.
110 years ago, during her time as a captain, she wore the same sleeveless and backless Onmitsukidō uniform, with long black wrist guards which Suì-Fēng wears now, but had a black ribbon tied around her neck. She wore a long-sleeved captain's haori. Her hair was much shorter, cut in a style similar to Suì-Fēng's current hairstyle, but without the braids. At some point prior to this, she wore the white Onmitsukidō uniform of the correction corps.
Yoruichi is an intelligent and witty woman, holding an intimate knowledge of Soul Society and its workings, as she was the former leader of the Onmitsukidō and the Second Division's captain. Although of noble birth, she acts differently from most other nobles, very much like Kaien Shiba. For instance, she instructed Suì-Fēng to refer to her without using honorific suffixes, but reluctantly settled for being called "Yoruichi-sama" ("Lady Yoruichi" in the dub). On several occasions, she transforms into her Human form directly in front of Ichigo just to see his reaction to seeing her naked, which she teases him about. In addition, she speaks in a dialect used by elders, such as identifying herself as "washi" (a term usually used by old men to define themselves with), instead of more feminine terms like "watashi", in both her Human and animal forms.
While it is unknown how she obtained her cat transformation, she appears to prefer spending most of her time in it. Upon showing her Shinigami form to Ichigo, she forgot to put on clothes, as she had grown used to not needing them; due to being in cat form for so long. She especially takes delight in transforming in front of people to see their shocked reaction, due to her cat form making her sound male. Her love for her cat form extends to great anger should someone harm it or insult its appearance, as seen from how upset she got after her tail was damaged.
Although relatively calm and mature when a situation calls for it, Yoruichi is quite laid-back and playful, often teasing or flirting with those younger than her, such as Ichigo Kurosaki at the underground hot spring, a younger and hot-headed Byakuya Kuchiki, Suì-Fēng before her time as a captain, and Kisuke Urahara, childhood friend, former underling, and fellow ex-captain. Yoruichi prefers to drink milk, which fits with her practice of transforming into a cat.
Yoruichi Shihōin was born the princess of the Tenshiheisōban(House of Godly Gears), the Shihōin Clan, one of the four noble families. Yoruichi grew up at the Shihōin Mansion in the Seireitei of Soul Society with her childhood friends Kisuke Urahara and Tessai Tsukabishi. During this time, they played together daily under the Sōkyoku hill training space, which Urahara built when they were children.
Later, Yoruichi became the Corps Commander of the Executive Militia of the Onmitsukidō while serving as the 22nd generational Head of the Shihōin Clan, becoming the first woman to ever hold the position. Some time later, she would serve as Commander-in-Chief of the Onmitsukidō, as the position is traditionally held by the heads of the Shihōin Clan. She eventually rose to the position of captain of the 2nd Division of the Gotei 13, further uniting the formerly separate military arms together, as this was also traditionally done by her family.
Some time later, she decided to change her role in the Onmitsukidō from being the Corps Commander of the Executive Militia, which is the position traditionally held by the Commander-in-Chief, to being the Corps Commander of the Corrections Corps. While Yoruichi was Onmitsukidō Commander, she took in Suì-Fēng as a personal bodyguard. Recognizing her talent, she became a mentor and friend. She taught Suì-Fēng most of the techniques she knew. During her time in Soul Society, she created many techniques which involved Shunpo, and taught some of them to Byakuya.
About 110 years ago, Yoruichi recommended that Kisuke Urahara, her 3rd Seat, be appointed to the recently opened position of Captain of the 12th Division after the former captain, Kirio Hikifune, was promoted. Prior to presenting Urahara with the news of the open position, Yoruichi had a sparring session with him at the Sōkyoku Hill training space. Before retiring to the 2nd Division barracks, Yoruichi informed Urahara she had recommended him for the position. Suì-Fēng confronted Yoruichi, concerned that she was overestimating Urahara's capabilities, and proceeded to explain she believed it had been a mistake to appoint him as Corps Commander of the Detention Unit. Suì-Fēng continued by stating he was undeserving of such a position. While Yoruichi readily admitted that Urahara was not really a hard worker, she dismissed Suì-Fēng's criticisms, playfully insinuating that her focus on him must have romantic connotations, which Suì-Fēng denied.
After spending the day following Urahara around Soul Society taking notes, Suì-Fēng returned to the 2nd Division barracks to show Yoruichi her evidence of Urahara's lack of competence in his position, only to find Urahara already there talking with Yoruichi. Suì-Fēng is told Urahara would be taking the captain proficiency exam, to which she stands in disbelief. Yoruichi, confirming it, further requested Suì-Fēng attend the exam as well. She explains that normally only captains are allowed to attend, but she had asked special permission to allow Suì-Fēng to attend. Suì-Fēng was at first confused about why she should attend, but Yoruichi told her there was no need to keep secrets, as she knew she was attracted to Urahara, which Suì-Fēng again denied. Yoruichi explained she knew all about how Suì-Fēng had been following Urahara around all day.
Suì-Fēng admitted she was following Urahara around, but stated it was to prove he was lazy, incompetent, and unworthy of Yoruichi's praise. Suì-Fēng handed her notes to Yoruichi, who, reading them, commented on how detailed they were. When Urahara didn't deny any of the information in the report, Suì-Fēng was shocked he would be so honest about his seemingly unprofessional actions. An unsurprised Yoruichi, stating Urahara never changes, praised Suì-Fēng for her intelligence gathering skills. Suì-Fēng, happy at first, realized Yoruichi regarded the notes not as intelligence information, but rather as a love letter.
Suì-Fēng was reasonably distressed, and Yoruichi, laughing it off, told her to loosen up, as she wasn't serious. They were interrupted by the arrival of a squad member, who delivered a message that the people Urahara had been looking for had been found. Suì-Fēng replied that if he didn't return in time, it would put a strain on the 2nd Division's reputation and Yoruichi's. Yoruichi, dismissing this, told Urahara to hurry off to his duty, and told Suì-Fēng to help prepare for Urahara's Captain's Proficiency Test. Yoruichi is later seen among the other captains awaiting the start of the ceremony. Upon Urahara's arrival to the 1st Division barracks, where he was formerly introduced to the other captains, he was chastised by Yoruichi for being so reluctant. She told him he was already a captain, so he should stand tall.
A day or so after Urahara took over the 12th Division, Yoruichi was told by an Onmitsukidō member that Urahara had entered the Detention Unit property, claiming he had been given approval to go. Yoruichi couldn't recall when or even if he asked for permission or whether she granted it, but when asked if she wanted him removed, she nonchalantly told her division members not to bother and to allow him to go where he liked. When asked if she remembered the incident in question, Yoruichi plainly said no. Suì-Fēng, becoming distressed, prepared to voice her disapproval, but Yoruichi told her to calm down, as it was Kisuke they were talking about, stating he must have had an idea of some kind.
Yoruichi appeared to be on good terms with the members of the Kuchiki noble Clan as she would often visit the Kuchiki Manor to play tag with a teenage Byakuya Kuchiki. On one such occasion, she was asked to train Byakuya by his grandfather Ginrei Kuchiki, the Head of the Kuchiki Clan and the 6th Division captain. Upon seeing the arrival of Yoruichi, Byakuya swung his sword at her, calling her a were-cat. Yoruichi, laughing, began to playfully tease him, calling him "Little Byakuya". She complained about receiving such a greeting after coming all the way there to see him. Byakuya yelled at her, saying he didn't want to see the likes of her, and he would be the head of the Kuchiki Clan soon enough, so he had no time to waste on her. While asking if that was the case, she stole the ribbon holding his hair back. Byakuya, quickly turning, swung his sword at her, but she easily dodged it.
Yoruichi, laughing at him, exclaimed that if the head of the Kuchiki Clan could get his hair-tie stolen by a girl who is just playing, then the future of the Kuchiki Clan had become bleak, though this was just a ploy to entice him into another game of tag. Not to be defeated so easily, Byakuya told her not to move an inch, but before he could finish, she, telling him he couldn't catch her, used Shunpo to begin the chase. Byakuya stated he could see she wished to incite his wrath, and he promised to make her see the error of her ways, further claiming his Shunpo was far superior to hers.
9 years later, Yoruichi is seen at an emergency meeting of the captains of the Gotei 13, where the Captain-Commander was giving an intelligence report on the disappearances of the 9th Division Captain Kensei Muguruma, Lieutenant Mashiro Kuna, and the other high-ranking members of their division, stating they had previously been sent out to investigate the disappearance of other division members, and declaring he will choose 5 captains to form an investigation team. When a very winded and frantic Urahara showed up to ask that he be allowed to go with the investigation team, as he had previously sent his Lieutenant Hiyori Sarugaki to the site of the disappearances, he was summarily told no by Captain-Commander Yamamoto. When he protested, he was chastised by Yoruichi, who told him he was acting pathetic and that he should get a grip on himself. She further stated he sent Hiyori himself, and for him to lose his composure like that only insulted her. The Captain-Commander continued naming the members of the investigation team, telling Yoruichi she was to standby for further orders.
The next day, Urahara and Tessai were arrested under the orders of the Central 46. It immediately became evident they had been set up by Aizen, but were given no right to defend themselves and prove their innocence. As a result, they were quickly given their sentences. For "committing crimes against researching and invoking forbidden phenomenon" and "deceiving and inflicting grievous injury to fellow Shinigami", Urahara was sentenced to become Human and to be exiled to the Human World. For "using forbidden Kidō techniques", Tessai was sentenced to life imprisonment in a Level 3 detention area. Before either of their sentences could be executed, a masked Yoruichi, entering the building, knocked the guards unconscious and rescuing the disgraced former captains, bringing them to a secret underground area.
In this secluded area, she expounded how mad she was at them for excluding her from their plan. She revealed she had brought the eight Hollowfied Shinigami and the prototype Gigai Urahara was working on. With that epiphany, Urahara resolved to make ten Reiatsu-blocking Gigai to aid him and Tessai. Tessai stated his fear about Yoruichi's safety, but she calmly stated they should not worry about her, as she would escape somehow.
When she left Soul Society, she left behind her titles and positions, and was thus relieved of her high status. She was succeeded as 2nd Division Captain and Commander of the Onmitsukidō by her protégé, Suì-Fēng, at a later date.
Years Later Yoruichi arrives in Karakura Town in feline form, where Tessai Tsukabishi reveals to Jinta Hanakari she is Kisuke Urahara's best friend. Later, Yoruichi sits outside of Urahara's shop looking at the sky. When Urahara comes out and asks her what she is looking at, Yoruichi is shown to be no ordinary cat, as it can talk and is seemingly male. Yoruichi tells him to stop acting, as he knows full well that "they" have already come. After Rukia Kuchiki is taken back to Soul Society, Ichigo begins training with Urahara to regain his Shinigami powers. At the same time, Yoruichi offers to train Orihime Inoue and Yasutora Sado in the use of their powers, warning them his lessons are strict and difficult. They readily accept. They track down Uryū Ishida, who is somewhat surprised to see them. Orihime explains they must engage in training lessons if they are to go to Soul Society, to which Uryū asks who their master will be. Orihime tells him, knowing he will be skeptical, their trainer has been standing next to him the entire time. Uryū is surprised, explaining that there can't be a Human that stealthy. Yoruichi speaks up, telling Uryū it is he who will be training them. Uryū predictably freaks out at the notion of a talking cat. After regaining his composure over the issue, Uryū calmly states he can't believe there is such a thing as a talking cat. Yoruichi tells him the issue is not about him, but about the necessary training in order to save Rukia from Soul Society. Though coming around to the idea, Uryū declines to train with them, as he has plans to train on his own, and, rather than saving Rukia, he just wishes revenge on the Shinigami who previously defeated him. Yoruichi resolves that he has no desire to go to Soul Society, and that they must go and train before it is too late.
Yoruichi proceeds to train Chad and Orihime in an abandoned warehouse, but they can't call on their powers. Yoruichi exclaims that at this rate, no matter how long they train, they can't go to Soul Society. He states that if they can't find their powers and freely call upon them, they are as good as dead in Soul Society. Urging them both to remember the first time their powers manifested, he reaches the conclusion that their powers were activated when they were put in a position to protect others. Therefore, in order to activate their powers, they should think back on what they were trying to protect at the time. It is through Yoruichi's words that Orihime comes to understand that she wishes to protect Ichigo; this realization brings forth her powers in the form of the "Shun Shun Rikka". Yoruichi tells Orihime that the next thing she must learn is to control her powers, as they are now attacking him. Yoruichi turns his attention to Chad, asking him why he wishes to go to Soul Society. Shortly thereafter, Chad, gaining access to his power, uses its ability to punch a huge hole in the wall, much to Yoruichi's surprise. Both Orihime and Chad are glad to have gained free use of their abilities, thus allowing them to go to Soul Society. Yoruichi tells them they have no time to celebrate, as they just damaged property and need to get out of there before they attract attention.
As the group prepares to go to Soul Society through Urahara's Senkaimon, Yoruichi decides to act as their guide. Once Urahara explains to them the dangers of using the passage, Yoruichi states only those who know what their hearts think will be able to follow him. When Ichigo states everyone gathered is determined to go, Yoruichi reminds him that if he loses, he will never return. Ichigo is firm in his resolve to win, and Yoruichi applauds his response. It is from this point on Yoruichi acts as a guide through the journey in the Dangai, the space between Soul Society and the Human World.
After arriving in Soul Society in an ungainly manner, Yoruichi informs them of the seriousness of the situation, and explains their location and the composition of Soul Society. Ichigo runs towards theSeireitei, but a huge wall blocks his path. Ichigo is stopped by a giant, who Yoruichi says to be the Seireimon Gatekeeper Jidanbō, one of the elites in Soul Society and guardian of the west gate. He tells everyone that it won't be easy to get past the guardian and they should prepare a plan, but he is ignored by Ichigo, Chad, and Orihime. Yoruichi and the others witness Ichigo's unlikely victory over Jidanbō. As per the rules, Jidanbō lets Ichigo and his friends pass through the gate, but is surprised by the unexpected arrival of Gin Ichimaru.
As Gin cuts off Jidanbō's left arm, Yoruichi realizes his mistake, as he had not foreseen the arrival of a captain. He notes that though Ichigo and his friends are powerful, they are no match for a captain, and if they confront him head on, the worst scenario will come to pass. Before Ichigo can react, he, along with Jidanbō, is pushed out the gate by Gin's Shikai. After it is determined Ichigo is alright, he apologizes to Yoruichi for allowing the gate to close. Yoruichi says there is no need to blame himself, for if they had made it through the gate, the results would have been the same; he would still have to face Gin, so in turn he should be happy he is alive. The souls who live in the Rukongai come out of their dwellings. Yoruichi explains that anyone who is not guided into Soul Society by a Shinigami is considered an intruder, making Ichigo and his friends troublemakers in the eyes of Soul Society. As such, the souls were hiding because they were afraid. While resting among the citizens of Rukongai, Yoruichi discusses his plan to enter into the Seireitei without using the gate. Yoruichi asks Elder-Dono, the citizen whose house they are occupying, where he can locate Kūkaku Shiba, noting she is a drifter and difficult to find.
Yoruichi leads the group into the open area outside of the village, exclaiming that Kūkaku prefers open areas and solitude. Yoruichi tells the group that even though the location of the house changes constantly, the house is always the same style and easy to identify. Not long after, they come upon the house. Before arriving, they are stopped by twin guard/servants Koganehiko and Shiroganehiko, who refuse to allow them to pass. After noticing Yoruichi, however, the twins, allowing them passage, lead them underground into the house. Inside, Kūkaku happily greets Yoruichi, who asks Kūkaku if she can help them. Yoruichi explains the situation and plan to Kūkaku, who agrees to go along.
After undergoing the necessary training to use Kūkaku's Fireworks cannon to enter the Seireitei, the group prepares to leave. Ichigo asks if they will have to use the orb technique he learned to get through and if Yoruichi, being a cat, can achieve the same results. Yoruichi, telling him to place the orb on the ground, climbs on top of the orb and creates a seamless barrier, stating this sort of thing is like breathing to him. As Kūkaku prepares to shoot the cannon, the group enters the cannon. While inside, Yoruichi tells them to not wander off by themselves once they reach the Seireitei, and they are to run if they encounter a captain-class enemy, as their objective is to rescue Rukia and not to engage in unnecessary risks.
The team succeeds in penetrating the barrier protecting the Seireitei, but the destabilization of the spiritual energy powered cannonball causes them to split. As the team begins to separate, Yoruichi assures Ichigo they will find a way to survive, but he must worry about himself first. The group breaks up in four separate directions, with Yoruichi left all by himself. He maintains this way is probably better. Yoruichi finds himself hurtling toward a group of waiting Shinigami, but he bounces back and onto the top of a nearby building before he can be caught.
Running around in cat form, Yoruichi, keeping track of the progress of all of the others, rescues Ichigo after his fight with 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki. He takes Ichigo to a secret underground area, where he recuperates. Ichigo, eventually waking up, thanks Yoruichi for saving his life, but, realizing the urgency of helping their friends, gets up too fast, reopening his wounds. Yoruichi, pushing him back down, assures him they all are fine. He tells Ichigo he needs to rest, and that if it were not for the Hollow mask he wore at his torso, he would have sustained a serious injury. Ichigo, surprised at the broken Hollow mask, explains that he had thrown away the mask previously. Yoruichi, surprised, tells Ichigo he will take it for safe-keeping, but Ichigo states he wants to keep it. Yoruichi, becoming angry, demands he give the mask over to him. Ichigo states he is surprised by how strong Yoruichi must be, running around carrying Ichigo all this time without getting hurt. Yoruichi states it was no real problem once he returned to his original form.
Yoruichi recalls he has never shown Ichigo his true form, and does so, revealing himself to be a woman. She quips how she loves transforming into her true form, as it always leaves everyone surprised. Taking out an object, she tells Ichigo she will explain how she carried him there, but before she can proceed, Ichigo, becoming frantic, tells her to put on some clothes. She teases Ichigo about him being so innocent, embarrassing him. She shows him the object she used to get him to the secret underground area. She reveals its function and how to use it, claiming it is a unique item in Soul Society. Ichigo, intrigued by Yoruichi's identity, asks who she really is. Before she can answer, they both sense an intense Reiatsu, which Ichigo identifies as belonging to Byakuya Kuchiki. Ichigo immediately rushes off, explaining to Yoruichi he has to save Ganju Shiba and Hanatarō, as they went off in the direction the Reiatsu is coming from. Ichigo, taking out the artifact, uses it to get to his friends faster. Yoruichi, annoyed, tries to stop him, but he runs off anyway. She follows on foot.
Ichigo engages in battle with Byakuya, and Yoruichi arrives just in time to stop the release of Senbonzakura's Shikai. Byakuya notes she is the former Commander-in-Chief of the Onmitsukidō, and the former Corps Commander of the Correction Corps. Byakuya states it's been a hundred years since her disappearance, and that everyone thought she was dead. Yoruichi, rushing towards Ichigo, impales his bandaged chest wound with her hand, causing him to pass out.
Ukitake speculates that Yoruichi inserted a strong tranquilizer directly into Ichigo's body in an attempt to save him. When Byakuya states she won't be able to get away so easily, Yoruichi says he is talking big, asking him if he ever won even one game of tag against her. The two engage in a test of speed using Shunpo, Yoruichi managing to stay a step ahead of Byakuya despite carrying an unconscious Ichigo. Yoruichi perches upon Byakuya's outstretched arm. She states he can't catch her with that level of Shunpo, and quickly moves to the top of a nearby building. She yells down to Byakuya that in three days, she will make Ichigo stronger than him, and until then, the fight between the two will be on hold. As she uses Shunpo to leave, she tells Byakuya he can follow her if he chooses, but the "Goddess of Flash" will not be caught so easily.
When Yoruichi finally gets Ichigo back to the secret underground area, she, looking down at him, tells him to wake up, stating he can get stronger, and that when he wakes up, she will tell him about Zangetsu's real power.
When Ichigo awakens, Yoruichi tells him they have no time to wait for his wounds to heal completely, so his wounds will hurt quite a bit. Before she can go, Ichigo asks her why he was the only one she brought back. He expresses his rage, stating he is the only one back there who could have survived. Yoruichi calmly tells him not to think so highly of himself, for no one there, not even Ichigo, would have survived a fight against Byakuya. She adds that to remain able to outrun Byakuya, one person is all she could carry. Yoruichi states she brought him back because, with some training, it may become possible for Ichigo to defeat Byakuya. Yoruichi tells Ichigo that aside from Byakuya, Ukitake was also there; even though Ganju is an intruder and Hanatarō is a traitor, Ukitake will not let them die because they were trying to save Rukia, who is one of his subordinates. She further assures him not to worry because in three days, she will make him strong enough to defeat Byakuya and save everyone.
Before they begin training, Yoruichi explains that all Zanpakutō have two levels of release: the first one is called Shikai (initial release), and the second is Bankai (final release), and one must achieve both to become a captain. She adds that every captain in the Gotei 13, with the exception of Kenpachi Zaraki, can release Bankai. Moving on, Yoruichi explains to Ichigo that the power and forms of Shikai and Bankai are dependent on the Zanpakutō. They vary according to the wielder's strength and training, but in general, by learning Bankai, one's power can grow 5 to 10 times greater. She explains that even the most gifted Shinigami need at least 10 years of training to master Bankai. Ichigo tells her that he doesn't have that much time, but Yoruichi interrupts him, telling him she is fully aware of that; she will use a different, but more dangerous method to make him achieve Bankai in 3 days.
Yoruichi, bringing out a large white doll, states it is a Tenshintai, a rare artifact of the Onmitsukidō, which can forcibly materialize the spirit of a Zanpakutō. Yoruichi goes on to explain what is required in order to achieve Bankai. She notes that materialization means the opposite of entering the Zanpakutō's world; instead, one must summon the Zanpakutō's spirit into the Real World. She explains how to use the artifact: Ichigo must stab the doll with his Zanpakutō and it will forcefully materialize the spirit, while Yoruichi will use her power to keep it materialized. Before they start, she warns him that the time limit is three days, and he only has one chance at this. Before time is up, he must force Zangetsu to submit. Ichigo stabs the artifact, causing Zangetsu to materialize. Yoruichi asks Zangetsu if he heard her conversation with Ichigo, to which he responds he has. She tells him he will choose the method of combat, and asks if they can begin immediately. Zangetsu, telling her he will, prepares to battle. As Yoruichi watches the battle between Ichigo and Zangetsu unfold, she thinks about Ichigo's improvement in fighting, noting his amazingly fast growth.
As the first day of training ends, Zangetsu returns to Ichigo, who relaxes in a hot spring. He becomes agitated when Yoruichi tells him she is going to join him. They get into an argument until she enters in her cat form. While resting, Ichigo tells Yoruichi the underground area they're in is similar to the one under Urahara's shop. Yoruichi tells him the one under the shop was most likely modeled after the area they are in now. She states the underground area was built when she and Urahara were young; Urahara dug the place in secret for their combat training. When they got older and she joined the Onmitsukidō and Urahara joined the Gotei 13, they would train in the secret underground area in order to help each other get stronger. Before she can finish, Ichigo interrupts her, having finally realized Urahara is a former member of the Gotei 13, making him a Shinigami, asking her who Urahara really is. Yoruichi reveals Urahara is the former Captain of the 12th Division of the Gotei 13, and the founder and 1st President of the Shinigami Research and Development Institute.
While Ichigo warms up for another day of training, Yoruichi ponders the possibility of extending his training, noting that Ichigo growth is far faster than a normal Shinigami's, though only his combat techniques are improving while his spiritual energy remains the same. She decides that if his spiritual energy does not increase within the next day, she will go with whatever state Ichigo has developed. She reasons that there isn't enough time for an extension, and it would be too dangerous at that point of training.
Yoruichi is present when the secret underground training area is breached by Renji, who tells her and Ichigo Rukia's execution has been moved, taking place at noon the following day. Yoruichi is surprised by this new information, thinking there is no way Ichigo can attain Bankai in that small amount of time. Ichigo, refusing to give up, tells Yoruichi this training method was her idea, and she shouldn't give up before anyone else. Renji, eventually finishing training, asks Yoruichi if Ichigo will make it. She states she is not worried, for she is certain that Ichigo possesses the instinct necessary to learn Bankai. To help Ichigo in rescuing Rukia, she lends him the Tentōken, a cape which allows its user to fly by inserting some spirit power into it.Following the destruction of the Sōkyoku, Yoruichi intercepts Suì-Fēng at Sōkyoku Hill, stopping her from further harming Kiyone Kotetsu, 3rd seat of the 13th Division. Using Shunpo, Yoruichi grabs Suì-Fēng and takes her away with her off the edge of the cliff. At first, Suì-Fēng wonders who her attacker is, as Yoruichi is wearing a cloth to mask her face. Suì-Fēng recognizes her voice as Yoruichi pulls down the cloth to reveal her face, stating it has been a while since they last saw each other.
Landing in a forest, they engage in hand-to-hand combat before putting some distance between themselves. Suì-Fēng comments that even though they have not seen each other in a long time, Yoruichi has not gotten any stronger. Yoruichi states that, on the contrary, she thinks Suì-Fēng has gotten weaker. Suì-Fēng states the Tenshiheisonban, the Shihōin Clan, has fallen, for if Yoruichi helping the Ryoka is revealed, her clan name will surely be removed from the list of the 4 great families. Yoruichi asks Suì-Fēng why she is talking so much, taunting her by saying she is either excited to see her old mentor, or she is blowing off steam from her position as Commander-in-Chief of the Onmitsukidō. Suì-Fēng warns her not to get cocky and think she is still better than her after all these years. Suì-Fēng states both the Onmitsukidō and the Executive Militia are now under her control, as Yoruichi's era ended long ago. Taking out her Zanpakutō, she proceeds to drive it into the tree she is standing on. Suddenly, Yoruichi is surrounded by a cadre of Executive Militia members. Before any of the Executive Militia can react, Yoruichi uses Shunpo to take out every Executive Militia member in the area within seconds. Yoruichi tells Suì-Fēng to stop looking down on her so much, as there is still one title Yoruichi did not relinquish. Suì-Fēng tells her she will take the title of Goddess of Flash from her.
Yoruichi comments on Suì-Fēng's attire, noting she is wearing the battle suit of the Corps-Commander of the Executive Militia. Suì-Fēng attacks Yoruichi, and they begin to fight once again. Suì-Fēng uses Shunpo to appear behind Yoruichi and, holding her Zanpakutō up to Yoruichi's throat, releases her Shikai. They move apart once again and Suì-Fēng warns her to not underestimate her, as it may not have occurred to Yoruichi, Suì-Fēng would use all of her power against her. She states she has become stronger than Yoruichi, and with her death, she will pay the price for staying away from battle for a hundred years.
As a "Hōmonka" appears on Yoruichi's chest, Suì-Fēng goes on to explain the mechanics of her Zanpakutō's Shikai. Appearing behind Yoruichi, she attempts a second strike, but Yoruichi uses Shunpo to escape. After gaining some distance, Yoruichi turns around and goes on the offensive, attacking Suì-Fēng with knives hidden in her boot. Suì-Fēng blocks the incoming knives and manages to land a second strike on Yoruichi, asking her if she now understands Suì-Fēng is stronger than her. Suì-Fēng reveals her new technique, which combines Kidō and Hakuda, exclaiming she has never used it in battle and has only recently invented it. Yoruichi, however, tells her it has a name: Shunkō. Yoruichi uses the same technique, but at a more advanced level than Suì-Fēng's, explaining the mechanics behind the technique in detail. Yoruichi further states she wasn't planning on using Shunkō against her, but warns Suì-Fēng to be careful, as she also has not mastered it, before sending a wave of condensed Reiatsu toward her.
When the smoke clears, the land between them is torn and scorched. Yoruichi asks Suì-Fēng if she now understands why she never showed her this technique, as it is too dangerous. Suì-Fēng starts to use Shunkō to attack her, but Yoruichi, nullifying it with Hanki, tells her to stop, as it is too soon for her to be using the technique in combat. Suì-Fēng, yelling that she should have been able to surpass Yoruichi in all these hundreds of years, continues to attack her, but Yoruichi dodges her attacks effortlessly. Yoruichi stops the attacks by initiating a Shunkō powered punch, but stops short of actually hitting Suì-Fēng. Upset and unwilling to fight anymore, Suì-Fēng breaks down and cries, asking why Yoruichi did not take her with her. She bows down to Yoruichi in defeat.
Yoruichi is with Suì-Fēng when Isane Kotetsu broadcasts the news of Sōsuke Aizen's treason. They are among the first to arrive on the scene at Sōkyoku Hill to stop Aizen. Yoruichi stops Aizen from releasing his Zanpakutō, while Suì-Fēng holds her Zanpakutō to his neck. She tells him not to move a muscle, as Suì-Fēng says she will decapitate him if he does. Yoruichi is noticeably surprised by the arrival of three of the Gatekeepers, as they have betrayed Soul Society to join Aizen's forces, but later sees that Kūkaku and Jidanbō have arrived to combat them. Once his cohorts have been subdued, Yoruichi tells Aizen that it is the end, as there is nowhere for him to escape, for he has been completely surrounded by the Gotei 13. The overall attempt to stop him, however, is thwarted by the arrival of Gillians, who use their Negación to aid in Aizen's escape from Soul Society, with Yoruichi telling Suì-Fēng to jump away just in time. Yoruichi later returns to the Human World with the others.
On their way back to the World of the Living, Yoruichi and the others, while passing through the Dangai, are chased by the Kōtotsu once again, and are forced to flee from it. Upon entering the Human World, they are greeted by Urahara, Tessai, Jinta, and Ururu, who carry them home on Urahara's flying mat. After Ichigo and his friends have been dropped off, Urahara and Yoruichi talk about the future war. They both realize the battle isn't over, and that very soon, he and the other Shinigami will have to rely on Ichigo's group and their strengths more than ever.
One night, while Urahara is standing in front of his shop and displaying concern about what is going on in Karakura Town, Yoruichi approaches him. When the Espada Ulquiorra Cifer and Yammy Llargo begin to terrorize Karakura Town, Urahara and Yoruichi show up to save Ichigo from Yammy. After Urahara blocks his punch with his Chikasumi no Tate, Yoruichi easily dispatches Yammy, only for the enraged Arrancar to try to attack her from behind as she goes to help an injured Orihime. Yoruichi, turning around, brutally attacks Yammy, literally pounding him into the ground. As Yoruichi goes back to helping Orihime, Yammy gets up, enraged, and attempts to hit her with a point blank Cero, but Urahara counters it with a similar attack to nullify it. When Yammy becomes confused at the concept of this, Urahara, deciding to show off, fires a blast of spiritual energy from his Zanpakutō at Yammy, which is deflected by Ulquiorra with his bare hand. Ulquiorra, incapacitating Yammy for his rash actions and brutishness, proceeds to explain to him who he is fighting. The two Espada return to Hueco Mundo.
Later, while at Urahara's shop, Yoruichi is shown recuperating from an injured left arm and leg. When Urahara expresses concern about her state, Yoruichi admits she was foolish to fight him without using Shunkō, though she didn't think the Arrancar's skin would be so hard. She confirms the Arrancar are tougher than either she or Urahara had anticipated.
She appears again to take Orihime Inoue into the training room under Urahara's shop so he may speak to her about the upcoming battle.
When Urahara and Isshin Kurosaki immobilize Aizen, Yoruichi appears, wearing armor on her arms and legs, and attacks Aizen from above. She smashes into his back with such force that it destroys the surrounding area, and lands a direct punch with even more force, causing damage to an entire block. Urahara yells for Yoruichi to move away. Aizen quickly recovers, and before Yoruichi can fully dodge his counterattack, he destroys the armor on Yoruichi's left leg. As Aizen emerges from the rubble with his new form severely cracked, he asks them if this is all they have, stating that they better hurry up and make the next move, as he plans to crush them all, one by one, into tiny fragments, down to the very last remnant.
When Urahara expresses his surprise at how the armor he created was destroyed by Aizen with one blow, Yoruichi tells him off for not building the armor properly. Urahara warns Yoruichi to keep away as they prepare to face the next attack, but she remarks that she will be fine as long as Aizen does not attack her exposed leg. Aizen's next blow takes her completely by surprise. Managing to escape Aizen's assault at the cost of her right arm-guard, Yoruichi complains to Kisuke when he asks if she is alright. She tells him she was able to block the attack because of the "half-finished" armor, but she would have simply dodged it without the armor. After they stop arguing, Kisuke launches a Kidō blast at Aizen. Yoruichi, taking advantage of this, attempts to attack Aizen, but he, anticipating their ploy, blocks her attack. She follows up with a Shunkō assault, knocking him to the ground, but Aizen blocks her next attack. Urahara interrupts by immobilizing Aizen with Benihime. Yoruichi, along with Kisuke and Isshin, are defeated by Aizen, who leaves for the Real Karakura Town in Soul Society.
When Ichigo regains his powers, he notices Yoruichi's power was used to help restore his own. She is seen in her cat form, perched atop Kisuke Urahara's head, when Ichigo returns from Soul Society after collecting Ginjo's body.
Two of Yoruichi's unique items are accessories which grant the user the power of flight.
- A long, beige, bone wand-like artifact, with a small, white, bird-shaped skull, and four protrusions, similar to finger bones, extending from the back of the skull. By channeling Reiryoku into the wand, it produces a tentacle, which acts a harness, and a single bat-like wing manifests from the four bone protrusions, which acts as a one-handed hang-glider. No skill or previous experience is required to use it.
- Tentōken (天踏絢, Heaven-Stepping Adornment): It is a brown mantle, with a large drawstring closure at the collar and a large brooch displaying the Shihōin Clan crest. Like the wand, the Tentōken requires no skill or previous experience to use. It appears to be superior to the wand, since it allows one to hover in mid-air, and does not immobilize one of the user's hands.
- Anken (暗剣, lit. "Dark Blade"): Small knives which Yoruichi hides in her boots. She can launch them at a target with a swing of her leg.
- Anti-Hierro Armor: A set of metal gloves and boots, invented by Kisuke Urahara, designed specifically to counter an Arrancar's Hierro during hand-to-hand combat. They are exceptionally durable, protecting the wearer's limbs even during the moment of their destruction.
Powers & AbilitiesFeline Transformation: Yoruichi possesses the unique ability to shape-shift into a black cat at will. How she alone, out of all Shinigami, is capable of this is currently unknown. She has possessed the ability for well over 100 years, and it is known to others she knew from that time. She apparently has no set time limit on the transformation, as she had been in this form for over 100 years. In cat form, Yoruichi can still channel her spiritual energy and move at incredible speeds, though she is physically limited. Her transformation grants her a complete disguise, as her voice in this form is deep enough to lead most to assume she is a male.
Shunpo Master: Considered to be the most proficient Hohō master ever in all of Soul Society, Yoruichi is highly skilled in the use of Shunpo. Though this is by no means a unique skill, as most seated officers are capable of performing it to various degrees, Yoruichi holds the title "Flash Goddess" (瞬神, shunshin; "Flash Master" in the English version), because she has mastered this ability to the point where she can appear to be in several places at once and wipe out an entire Onmitsukidō squadron in seconds. She can easily close tremendous gaps of distance in the blink of an eye while remaining undetected, and can surprise Byakuya, who is one of the most proficient masters in the art as well. She has mastered all of the Onmitsukidō's speed-oriented techniques, and has even created some of her own, such as Utsusemi (空蝉, Cicada, referencing their molting). The full extent of her abilities remain unclear, but she was able to outrun Byakuya while carrying an unconscious Ichigo over her shoulder, performing around 300 steps before feeling tired from being 100 years out of practice. Suì-Fēng could barely keep up with her while Yoruichi was still holding back. She can still perform Shunpo while in her cat form, however, she is not as fast as she is in her true form.
- Utsusemi (空蝉, Cast-Off Cicada Shell): Way of Onmitsu, 3rd of the Shihō. It allows for movement at great speed, leaving at least one tangible after-image behind. Byakuya Kuchiki states Yoruichi taught it to him.
- Taketonbo (竹蜻蛉, Bamboo Dragonfly): A Hakuda technique which involves a simple, yet effective, throw which suddenly and violently flips an opponent upside down.
- Raiōken (雷王拳, Thunder King Fist): A Hakuda technique involving a series of ultra-high-speed punches delivered using both arms. When performing this technique while wearing Anti-Hierro Armor, Yoruichi severely cracked Aizen's first form, destroying the surrounding portion of Karakura Town in the process.
- Shunkō (Lightning) (瞬閧, Flash War Cry): An advanced technique which combines Hakuda with Kidō. This technique surrounds her back and arms with pressurized Kidō based on the element of lightning. The keisen uniform has no back or sleeves because they will rip apart when it is activated. Apart from enhancing her arms and legs for combat, the technique allows her to instantly neutralize an opponent's movement. The Kidō itself can be controlled and fired at opponents from her body, which creates massive explosions. Yoruichi's version of the technique was developed and studied by her a century ago; therefore, the technique is complete and the compressed Kidō is visible. While using this technique, her Reiatsu takes the form of white lightning.
Expert Swordsman: While preferring to fight her opponents barehanded, during her days as a captain, Yoruichi showed herself to be a highly capable swords-woman, taking down a huge Hollow with a single strike of her sealed Zanpakutō
Kidō Expert: As former captain of the 2nd Division and the Commander-in-Chief of the Onmitsukidō, Yoruichi is well-versed in Kidō. Though she commonly employs Shunpo and hand-to-hand fighting techniques, she is masterful in using Kidō to further her capacity in combat, often mixing it with other fighting techniques. She has used mid to high-level binding and destruction spells with no incantation with expert skill. Her skill is great enough to almost effortlessly learn variations of Kidō with only simple instructions.
- Hanki (反鬼, Reverse Demon): This technique is used by Yoruichi during Shunkō. It nullifies an opponent's Kidō by hitting it with a Kidō of perfectly opposite speed and energy. The technique can neutralize an opponent's movements.
Master Assassin: As the former Commander-in-Chief of the Onmitsukidō, Yoruichi is one of the foremost masters of the art of assassination. She has repeatedly shown impressive skill in staying hidden and unseen. When necessary, she can effectively exploit having an advantage against an opponent or hiding her presence. Even Aizen was taken completely by surprise, and just as easily subdued.
Master Strategist: As the former head of her clan and ex-commander of the Onmitsukidō, Yoruichi is a capable leader. She has repeatedly proven to be insightful and crafty, capable of quickly understanding any situation that presents itself and adjusting to it effectively. Upon learning Ichigo would go to save Rukia no matter what, Yoruichi began making preparations of her own by training Orihime and Chad.
Immense Spiritual Power: As a former captain and head of a noble clan, Yoruichi boasts a larger than normal amount of spiritual energy. During Ichigo's Bankai Training, she kept the Tenshintai active for an extended period of time with her Reiryoku. The reputation of her power is enough to make 4th Espada Ulquiorra Cifer wary to engage in combat with her, even with the help of 0 Espada Yammy Llargo. Her spiritual energy and control of it is great enough to act as a shield from fairly powerful attacks, as seen from blocking Jin Kariya's lightning blast with a single hand. While using Shunkō, her concentrated spiritual power becomes far greater than normal.
Enhanced Strength: Despite her slender appearance, Yoruichi is quite strong in her Shinigami form. She could still easily use Shunpo while carrying around an unconscious Ichigo to outrun a fellow Shunpo Master. She easily caught a direct punch from Yammy Llargo, and simultaneously threw him several feet away. She easily injured him, despite his thick Hierro, with various unarmed moves, but it was later revealed she was injured by his Hierro. Though she admitted she wasn't expecting his skin to be that hard, she states she could have avoided taking any damage if she had Shunkō activated. A concentrated blow from Yoruichi can destroy an entire city block.
Enhanced Endurance: Despite her own admission of being out of shape, Yoruichi is a very resilient warrior. Both when out of breath from prolonged running against Byakuya and sustaining fractures from Yammy's Hierro, Yoruichi was still able to fight effectively while showing no signs of weakening.
As a former captain of the Gotei 13, it is known that Yoruichi possesses a Zanpakutō and has achieved Bankai, but she relies nearly exclusively on Hohō and Hakuda. Although she doesn't carry it at all in the current time, she wore it in the past. It resembles a kodachi or wakizashi which she kept sheathed horizontally behind her on her lower back, similar to how Suì-Fēng carries hers in the present day.