Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pipe Smoker (fictional): Kisuke Urahara

I will try to avoid an inordinate amount of detail in this post.  If I say anything that you don't understand, check the Bleach wiki (linked below) to read about it.

Kisuke Urahara is a fictonal character from the manga/anime series Bleach.  In the past, he was a captain of one of the Soul Reaper squads and lived in the Soul Society, however, due to breaking some Soul Reaper laws, he was exiled to the world of the living where he now lives disguised as a normal human.

He appears to be an eccentric owner of a small odds-and-ends convenience-type store with a prediliction for selling candy.  However, the shop is actually a front for his sometimes supplying Soul Reapers in the world of the living with what we would consider to be "supernatural" devices to aid them in their jobs or in their lives while spending time in the world of the living.

He appears as a tall human male with disheveled blonde hair that hangs in front of his face.  He wears a coat that somewhat resembles a Soul Reaper captain's haori (or kimono).  He also wears a white and green striped hat with a brim that always casts his eyes into shadow.  He rarely removes it.  He also often carries a hand fan, which he sometimes teasingly uses to cover his mouth.  He seems to do this to make himself appear to be smiling and saying something jokingly when in fact he's quite serious.

In spite of being exiled to appearing as a normal human, he still retains all of his quite considerable powers.  He commonly uses a walking cane, although he doesn't need it.  In fact, his cane is his zanpakuto (his sword) in a concealed form.  He behaves in a manner that many times seems frivolous and sarcastic, however his behavior is only to conceal that he knows much more than it seems, in fact much more than many of the other Soul Reapers, and that he is an extremely dangerous opponent in combat, and is one of the fastest of all the Soul Reapers.  Besides his sword-fighting ability, he is also a master of kido--the use of spiritual power in combat, which would look like some kind of "magical" combat ability to humans.

He has a brilliant intelligence as befits him, since he was the founder and first president of the Soul Reaper Research and Development Institute before his exile, and is responsible for many inventions which are still used by various other Soul Reapers.  It was some of his inventions that got him into trouble, and the misuse of one invention in particular (misuse by another Soul Reaper captain) that is at the center of the entire over-arching saga of Bleach.  He was also instrumental in the training of the story's main protagonist, Ichigo Kurusaki, and Ichigo's transformation into a truly powerful substitute Soul Reaper.

At times of rare relaxation, he can sometimes be seen smoking a pipe of the Japanese kiseru design.

See also:   Kūkaku Shiba.

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