5th Division, 20th Seat.
285; Apparent Age:
6’ 1”; Weight:
Hikaru Shin is a tall, olive-fair skinned man with broad shoulders and lean features. His muscles are more toned than built, giving him the illusion of being like a man in his late teens or early twenties. That is, one who is meant to be large and muscular, but hasn’t fully grown into their own proportions. His glossy hair is a dark henna color that is nearly black, which he wears at only an inch to an inch and a half long. Shin’s eyes are hazel, and change with the ambient lighting and some other factors, between nearly green, nearly brown or a completely indiscernible mix of the two.
Shin wears the standard shinigami uniform, with some slight alterations that make it more fit for his personal martial disciplines and exercises. He chooses to go barefoot, preferring to the feel the ground beneath him without the protection of shoes or sandals, and has developed thick callouses on both his feet and hands.
Shin also wears a belt with a satchel over the front of his left hip, and the sling for his sake bottle on his right hip. Also on this belt, on the back of his hips, are two scale-shaped plates of sekkiseki stone, fitted in leather with special loops for his fingers and arms, each eight inches long and six inches wide. These plates can be removed from or placed on the belt easily, so that Shin can arm himself with shields that remove the brunt of spiritual assaults.
Shin is an easy-going and thoughtful man. In his younger years, he fretted over the loss of his shinigami powers, but has developed cool patience and appreciation for his situation. He enjoys an orderly life with a nearly predictable routine, and the structure provided to the 5th division's Seireitei by their late captain's passion for order and due process. Conversationally, he's more of a listener than a talker, and some people have mistaken him for being a slow thinker due to this.
Shin comes off to others as an odd but easy blend of neat, orderly and relaxed. Ordinarily, he reacts to trouble and excitement like a stone obelisk responds to the wind and rain - he doesn't. His actions are responses, thought out courses of action that can be made quickly or slowly.
Unless a person knows his background, it's also difficult for many people to understand why he hasn't advanced from the 20th seat in nearly 120 years of service, leading them to make otherwise unfounded judgments about his character. These judgments are often enhanced because there are a dozen or so wagers in the Seireitei betting pool that concern what his shikai will do, and because he has an uncanny sense of awareness and attention to detail that can make it seem like he doesn’t like to give other people his attention.
Passable Swordsmanship: Shin hasn’t had the opportunity to fight with his zanpakuto in well over a hundred years. Though he still practices with bokken, his skills have dulled over time and rendered him less effective with a sword than most other seated officers.
Tai Chi Chuan Master: Shin had been a practitioner of the supreme ultimate fist since long before he lost his reiatsu, but the event has given him plenty of time and reason to practice it often and with great diligence. In that time, he has learned to combine the hard and soft styles of tai chi chuan into nearly perfect symbiosis.
Though he is no match for the supernatural strength and speed of some other officers, Shin is still a fighter to be taken seriously. Few shinigami take the opportunity to hone their strictly martial skills in the way that Shin has, and his awareness of his disadvantage has caused him to hone his reflexes, powers of observation and attention to detail to the point that he seems to have either a very strong intuition, or a nearly precognitive ability to react.
Traceur: In lieu of hoho, Shin has taken up the training in parkour to keep himself fit for message delivery, in addition to his other disciplines. This discipline is the art of traversing over distances by using the most direct route that can be taken safely. It focuses on efficiency and speed, which includes avoiding injuries of both the short and long term and developing confidence and critical-thinking skills.
Shin’s dedication to this and his other forms of martial arts keep him in stellar physical condition, and greatly enhance his balance, bodily control, flexibility, spatial awareness and ability to make quick and reasoned decisions.
High Strength: As a result of his extensive training in tai chi chuan and parkour, and the addition of archery to his list of hobbies, Shin is much stronger than he first appears, able to lift his own body over a wall with just one arm and little effort, and continue moving with great speed and very little time to recover.
High Durability: Also as a result of his training in tai chi chuan and parkour, Shin’s body has gained impressive durability that allows him to take more abuse than it seems he should be able to. This quality stems not only from an inherent quality, but also from his ability to make fast decisions and small changes in bodily positioning that minimize the impact of contact with other objects.
Empty Spiritual Energy: Despite being a seated officer of the Gotei 13, Shin has no spiritual energy. He can see and interact with spirit beings, but only due to being a spirit himself. At one point in time, his spiritual energy was enormous, but it has all vanished without a trace.
Attempts to discern his spiritual energy have been met with utter failure by machines, and people who have attempted to ‘feel’ his spiritual presence in particular have reported a sense of nausea similar to the vertigo of looking down from a great height, or from the bends of rising up too quickly from a great depth. These feelings invariably pass after only a few seconds, but can still be disorienting.
As a side-effect of having such empty reiatsu, Shin has an inherent immunity to reiatsu-dependent abilities, such as some forms detection and the pressure exerted by many other spiritual beings. If the Commander-General revealed his bankai and released his reiatsu at full power, Shin would not be able to feel the difference in reiatsu between the Commander-General, and the Commander-General's toaster.
Kidō Practitioner: Despite utterly lacking reiatsu, Shin still practices his kidō incantations. At one point, he could complete bakudo and hado up to the 52nd difficulty, and his spells struck with amazing strength for his seating, but this has all vanished for him, now.
Hohō Practitioner: Like his skill in kidō, Shin was also once skilled in hohō, but no longer has the ability to use it. He still practices the movements of the agility arts, and often incorporates them into his slow tai chi chuan movements.
A white ceramic sake bottle, 5 inches tall. Its neck pinches inward abruptly before flaring outward for its mouth, and has a small spout on one side. The interior side of the bottle’s mouth, neck and shoulder are covered in a bluish-gray lacquer, whereas the interior of its body and heel are covered in a silvery-black lacquer. It is nestled into a fitted sleeve of woven straw, which also has a round bamboo stopper on a supple ray skin thong.
Shikai: Release command – Overwhelm with brilliance, Suikazura Shinzui.
Suikazura Shinzui is a constant release-type zanpakuto, despite that this type is normally only for zanpakuto whose owners have too much spiritual pressure to contain.
The fact of this matter has been the subject for speculation for some of the shinigami who know or know of Shin. Tests from the 12th division indicate that the zanpakuto itself contains traces of reiatsu, but has barely more than common Soul Society objects, and releases absolutely none of it. There are some bets about the true function of Suikazura Shinzui around the Seireitei, as it is such a bizarre thought that a zanpkuto’s purpose could be to render a shinigami bereft of their reiatsu and spiritual abilities.
Overwhelming Brilliance: When Suikazura Shinzui was first unsealed, it filled its surrounding area with blinding and light and such incredible spiritual pressure that it pushed down on stones, trees and the ground itself. The radius of this area expanded for a few moments, and then suddenly “popped,” crushing those stones, flattening those trees, and leaving a shallow crater in the surrounding area. When the dust and light cleared, Suikazura Shinzui revealed itself to now take the shape of a sake bottle, and all of its and Shin’s reiatsu simply vanished without a single trace.
Limitless Libations: The bottle is filled with a pale purple-red, nearly clear sake with a slightly sweet taste. Whenever the bottle runs out of sake and is stopped, it slowly fills itself with more sake, until the liquid inside the bottle reaches a point just beneath its shoulder. The sake does nothing special for sake, but tastes best when served chilled.
Bankai: Not yet achieved.
At one point in time, Shin was a promising 5th seat officer. Like some other Shinigami, he had vastly more reiatsu than he could contain, and his skills in kido, hoho, zanjutsu and hakuda gave him the edge to excel as far as he did into rank, despite the fact that he had not yet gained his shikai. Great things were expected from him when it happened.
About a hundred and twenty years before now, after devoted communications with his zanpakuto spirit and extensive hard work on his behalf, he was sent out on a mission to deliver a message to a seated officer of the 1st division, who was overseeing a battle in the field, which his captain had determined was too important to trust to a hell butterfly.
During his transit to the battlefield, Shin encountered a rogue Shinigami, who attempted to wrest the letter away from the courier. In the ensuing struggle to escape, Shin was forced to release his shikai for the first time. The overwhelming blast of that action – just the release itself – rendered his attacker broken and motionless.
Shin managed to deliver the message in time, but when he arrived at the scene, all of his reiatsu and related powers had simply vanished. His zanpakuto, a stopped white sake bottle, hung at his side, and for as far as he could tell, was inactive for now.
In the time since then, Shin's reiatsu has not returned. His zanpakuto is a constant release type, and Shin can still interact with other spirit creatures, but his Shinigami powers are, for all appearances, just plain gone.
Now, since Shin lost his powers in the line of duty, and still managed to deliver his message in a timely manner without them, his captain felt it would be disrespectful to unseat him, especially in light of his other accomplishments and distinctions up until that time. At the same time, it would be impractical to keep Shin as active in the division, so he was instead moved to 20th seat and given a rather permanent position in the atriums, where he looks after the proper care of the hell butterflies, for as long as his service there remains exemplary.
From here down, the information contained is purely optional, and included only for character depth.
Socioeconomic Level as a child: Citizen of Rukongai
Socioeconomic Level as an adult: Citizen of Seireitei
Hometown: 65th District of Rukongai
Current Residence: 5th division barracks
Occupation: 20th seat of 5th Division, Custodian of Atriums 1–4
Talents/Skills: Agriculturally inclined, critical thinking, drinking, hell butterfly handling and lockpicking.
Birth order: Youngest of two brothers, no sisters.
Siblings: Hikaru Ichirou, who died in Rukongai from an infected wound. Shin carried out his final wishes to “escape that disgusting life” and two weeks later joined the Academy.
Habits: Wake up, daily exercise routine, breakfast with lone contemplation, care for the atriums' trees and hell butterflies, daily forms routine, lunch with other 5th division officers, short walk, care for the atriums' gardens and window cleaning, small supper with other 5th division officers, weekly parkour routines, feeding and exercising the hell butterflies, tend personal bonsai garden, choice of archery or locksport hour, small dinner with lone contemplation, short walk, end of day.
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 174 lbs
Eye Color: Hazel
Hair Color: Dark henna
Glasses or contact lenses? No
Skin color: Olive-fair
Health: Peak, great cardiovascular fitness
Hobbies: Archery, bonsai, locksport, parkour, spoon collecting, tai chi chuan forms
Style: Neat, orderly, relaxed
Greatest flaw: Stretch marks along his back, sides and shoulders from growing too quickly.
Best quality: Physical fitness
Educational Background: Shinigami Academy
Intelligence Traits: Analytical, astute, bright, clever, quick
Any Mental Illnesses? No
Learning Experiences: Loss of powers he had previously relied on.
Hikaru's short-term goals in life: Score two consecutive bulls’ eyes from 60 meters, solve a compound shifting lock in 45 seconds or less, see his bonsai cherry tree bear fruit for its second mature season, discover who keeps “borrowing” shovel #17 from atrium 3 without permission.
Hikaru's long-term goals in life: Develop automatic butterfly feeder, best 5th division’s 15th seat officer in race across Seireitei, regain shinigami powers.
How does Hikaru see himself? As a more balanced and less hasty version of his younger self, and as living proof of the late Captain Ryuunosuke Osamu’s kindness and noble soul.
How does Hikaru believe he is perceived by others? As a reclusive, mysterious, and humorously ironic figure.
How self-confident is Hikaru? Very self-confident, but evenly keeled.
Does Hikaru seem ruled by emotion or logic or some combination thereof? More logic than emotion, but works to maintain a balance between the two.
What would most embarrass Hikaru? To learn that butterflies from his atrium were stolen during his shift.
Strengths/Weaknesses: Mostly strengths, as he has long since become the master of his own self, and learned to accept his own weaknesses as an essential part of being whole. He can, however, be overly focused on his schedule and discipline, without taking enough time to recline and rest without thinking about how is actions now will affect his future.
Introvert or Extrovert? Depends on the social situation and the attitude of the room, but more often introvert than extrovert.
How does the character deal with anger? By absorbing the events around him and processing them in a cool, logical way, and then responding with the emotion he feels is the most appropriate to the situation, based on the needs of himself and others, and his values.
With sadness? With quiet contemplation, usually alone for a while. Afterward, he also spends time with his friends and shares a few drinks from his zanpakuto.
With conflict? By hearing both sides of the conflict, and then trying to find the most equitable solution for all parties involved. Failing this, he attempts to convince others to see things from his point of view by creating an equitable situation for the other person and asking for their advice, or by convincing other people that they came up with the idea first.
With change? By coping with what’s different and assimilating the best parts of the change into his daily routine.
With loss? In stride, and by paying the proper respects at a later time. Initially, he has been shown to face loss with a morbid sense of humor followed by total detachment from the situation.
What does the character want out of life? Nothing, from which he has received more than he could ever hope for.
What would the character like to change in his life? Nothing, but if change came his way, he would welcome it into his life as an opportunity for a new experience.
What motivates this character? He wants to make his captain proud of him. Since his captain passed away, the best he can hope for is to make what he remembers of his captain proud of him, and pray that it’s close enough.
What frightens this character? Sudden changes and losses that are beyond his ability to cope and adapt to his environment.
What makes this character happy? Knowing that his actions continue to benefit all of the shinigami of the Seireitei, and that though he lost his powers, he could never lose the things that truly make him a member of the 5th division – his unwavering dedication and loyalty, and the will to better himself.
Is the character judgmental of others? Although Shin can be judgmental of other people, he keeps his opinions to himself and only tries to be as helpful or as fair as possible. This is especially true of people he finds slacking during their shift.
Is the character generous or stingy? He tends to be very generous to other people with his time and money, never asking for anything in return. At the same time, he can be stingy with advice, only giving it to other when it is asked for, even when it can easily make a situation better.
Is the character generally polite or rude? Shin is usually polite, but his enhanced awareness of his surroundings can sometimes lead people to believe he isn’t interested in them or isn’t really paying attention. At other times, he can sometimes be seen as “infuriatingly perfect.”