View Full Version : Technique Analysis: Utsusemi

October 31, 2008, 07:10 PM
Before I begin, I'd like to tell people NOT to respond to this thread with baseless opinions. If you're going to respond to this thread, present an opinion/rebuttal/agreement that has manga canon back-up. I do not want to see anime or games used as evidence. Furthermore, while I am not against speculation and drawing conclusions, do not get carried away. I also do not want to see theories posted that are based on one's own assumption/speculation. I am creating this thread so we can figure out the workings of this unique technique. Thank you.

To begin I want present the two instances in the manga where this technique has been used:

Yoruichi using it against Byakuya: http://www.onemanga.com/Bleach/118/17 & http://www.onemanga.com/Bleach/118/18

Byakuya using it against Zommari: http://www.onemanga.com/Bleach/299/17 & http://www.onemanga.com/Bleach/299/18

Now, what do we know for sure about this technique at face value? At first, it seems you are hit, but you appear a short distance away unharmed with pieces of your clothes being damaged from the attack. This is what we know for sure.

There have been speculations brought up on this forum about what this technique actually does:

-Advanced Shunpo

Let's take a closer look and see if any of these speculations holds water:

Replacement: Some have likened this to the Kawarimi technique of the Naruto series. It has been suggested that Yoruichi replaced herself with the clothing that was cut and Byakuya replaced himself with his haori. However, that seems to be quite impossible. How is it possible to exchange places with something that you are wearing? You'd end up in the exact same spot. That means that this speculation could not possibly be the truth behind this technique.

Afterimage/Clone/Illusion: Some have said that this is an afterimage or illusion. That Yoruichi and Byakuya moved so fast that only the afterimage was hit. First, I think Byakuya and Zomari would realize immediately if it was an afterimage when they attacked. When hitting a person, you feel yourself hitting that person. Seeing as an afterimage is just an illusion and not a physical thing, you'd have the sensation of missing with your hit. Neither Zomari nor Byakuya showed signs of missing. Second, I do not think afterimages can bleed. Both Yoruichi and Byakuya bleed when they were "hit." The blood is a clear sign that it was not an afterimage or illusion.
A clone could be the way to look at it. Is it possible that Byakuya and Yoruichi created the Bleach equivalent of a bunshin, which disappeared on contact? No. The haori that was hit belonged to the real Byakuya seeing as Byakuya was no wearing it after he reappeared.

Advanced Shunpo: This seemed to be the speculation that the majority agreed upon. Is it possible that Yoruichi and Byakuya momentarily used shunpo more advanced than their usual shunpo? It may be possible. However, Byakuya said that he did not want to have to use this technique (http://www.onemanga.com/Bleach/299/18). This means Zomari forced him to use it. Byakuya was forced to use a technique that was a last resort. He did not want to use it but he had to in order to save his life. It even has a name.
This cannot be any normal shunpo. Shunpo is simply flash step, which is going a distance in a flash. Yamamoto said Kyoraku can go far with one leap (http://www.onemanga.com/Bleach/155/08). It seems shunpo is simply stepping/hopping/leaping certain distances in a flash. Furthermore, Ichigo said he saw every step (http://www.onemanga.com/Bleach/117/15), which means shunpo is basically fast stepping/leaping/hopping. Yamamoto's comment implies that the better you are, the farther you go with each step and I think it's obvious that the better you are, the faster you go. This explains how Byakuya can use shunpo with one leg. He is just taking a step. He uses the injured leg as leverage and takes the actual flash step with the other leg. He simply has to take the pain of putting weight on the injured leg. The injured leg may cause a problem if he decides to use many flash steps in succession, but doing one at a time is just a matter of taking the pain for a moment.
Seeing as shunpo is literally "flashing stepping," I do not see how Byakuya could of used shunpo when Zomari stabbed him. Zomari and his clone were both right next to Byakuya when they stabbed him (back and front). If Byakuya stepped away, they would have felt him moving. I do not think it is possible for Byakuya to move and not as least touch Zomari while moving from between Zomari and his clone. For these reasons, I do not believe this is shunpo at all.

So what did we get out of this?
Speculation 1: Replacement
Refutation 1: You cannot replace yourself with something that you're wearing, as you'd end up in the exact same place.

Speculation 2: Afterimage/Clone
Refutation 2: Afterimages cannot bleed. The haori pierced was of the original Byakuya, not a clone.

Speculation 3: Advanced or Variation of Shunpo
Refutation 3: This is a specific technique, not just fast stepping. If it was a faster version of flash step, there would be no need to give it a specific name. Kyoraku has improved the distance he goes with his shunpo, but it's still called shunpo, not a specific name. Furthermore, if Byakuya simply stepped from in between the two Zommaris, at least one of the Zommaris would have felt Byakuya stepping past them.

Now, I personally do not know what the heck this is. Both appear to be hit, they end up elsewhere and a piece of their clothing is cut. This would be very similar to the Kawarimi technique of Naruto, except the refutation of the replacement kind of negates that comparison. It is possible that this is some sort of teleportation, but that does not explain why they appear to be hit and why a piece of clothing is left behind. It could be possible that this technique allows tou to temporarily phase through things, but as with the teleportation, it doesn't explain why you appear to be hit.

In the end, I do not think we will ever get an explanation of this technique. What we do know is that it is not replacement, an afterimage, a clone, or a variation of shunpo. The day we do get an explanation, I will be very interested in seeing what Kubo pulls out of his ass, because I'm not sure he knows how this technique works himself.

En Yang Ji
October 31, 2008, 08:09 PM
It's possible that it is a afterimage. Zommari's afterimage bleed:

I have one other idea of what it could be, but little evidence backing it in the manga.

October 31, 2008, 08:20 PM
Bleach's Version of Afterimage's make my head hurt >>

Now then for an interesting Fun Fact the word Utsusemi refers to something that a Cicada does. The thing in question is the skin that a Cicada leaves behind when it molts. The reference is obvious, Zommari did stab something, but it was Byakuya leaving behind his Molten Skin(or Afterimage). Zommari entered a husk of Byakuya or something not real as did Byakuya to Yoruichi, Byakuya stabbed Yoruichi but it was just Yoruchi's afterimage.

As for the bleeding thing refer to above.

Though I do like the Analysis of the move Utsusemi.

October 31, 2008, 08:26 PM
Onomatopoeia's reason seems valid...the Cicada thing was just what I was going to suggest. Since the technique is named after the Cicada, the nature of the technique should have something to do with the Cicada itself, and Onomatopoeia's explanation makes sense.

October 31, 2008, 11:30 PM
@ki0: That wasn't Zomari's afterimage. It was a clone of Zomari. I do not think afterimages can bleed since they are, in fact, just images/illusions, not physical manifestations.

It may be a skin-shedding ability, but that still doesn't quite explain how Byakuya got behind Zomari. If he used a Utsusemi and THEN shunpo to safety, why didn't he just shunpo to begin with and not waste precious seconds to use Utsusemi? I'd have to think that Utsusemi is the reason he got behind Zomari like that, meaning that if it is indeed a "skin-shedding" ability, we still need the other half of the equation to get a full scope of this technique. If it is "skin-shedding" then "afterimage" is the wrong word to use to describe it.

October 31, 2008, 11:57 PM
yes but the "image" of themselves being harmed dissapears almost instantly.

i also agree with the skin shedding analogy. however, like i said, the image dissapears, so that is to say, the molted shell dissapears?

i don't think we can really say it is an illuison/after image or it isn't.

i think it's a combination of the two. technically, it doesn't really have to make sense. people having super powers and abilities doesn't make any sense, but hey :p

maybe it's like some crazy space-time warp out because they're moving THAT fast. maybe it's like they actually do get it, but they move so fast in dodging that it's almost as if they reverse and undo time for an instant and then they aren't harmed. O_O

maybe the REJECT having been harmed. hahaha. :p

just kidding with that last bit.

November 01, 2008, 12:31 AM
I think that instead of it being just one of those three possibilities, it's a combination of ALL of them (though, not so much replacement), with a very high level of shunpo being the most prominent factor, as it is a technique belonging to Yoruichi, the Goddess of Flash. I also think the name "cicada" is more literal, like Onomatopoeia suggests.

En Yang Ji
November 01, 2008, 01:42 AM
Although it doesn't explain the bleeding, I think Zommari's quasi-clones are afterimages. Zommari makes a point of saying he has the fastest Sonido amongst the Espada. He explains how his Gemeres Sonido works, saying "increasing my steps even a little will result in quasi-clones". By increasing his speed Zomari creates the clones:

Look at this pic: http://www.onemanga.com/Bleach/299/16/
The lines on the edges of the clones indicate speed.

I think the reason the technique is called Utsusemi, is because the user leaves some of their clothing behind.

November 01, 2008, 08:15 AM
Personally, I still see as a type of Kawamiri. For those of you that read/watch Naruto, you can refer to the Sannin battle when Manda used Kawamiri. It's somewhat similar to this.

November 01, 2008, 12:02 PM
I think ichigo should be counted in this beacuse in his fight with byakuya he was shown using his high speed to create many after images and they were show with his previous injuries with him bleeding from his head and they were able to attack byakuya

November 01, 2008, 02:18 PM
Hmm... I would imagine that Zommari's QuasiClones are afterimage's because of the line's right beside it's body. Now then afterimage's are created when someone moves so fast that it looks like they're still right there but in this case they're not actually there so they have no definitive body so they do not have an exact line, thus those lines. Not only that but the Clone's are created by Sonido which we know is a speed technique...

As for the clothing part explain Yoruichi's Utsusemi then? Because if I cut a piece of paper into two then the paper won't lose any mass at all it's simply cut in half.

Now then about how Byakuya was able to get out, this part is a little unclear for one reason. Because we have no way of knowing when exactly Byakuya used Utsusemi. It's possible that Byakuya did it the moment Zommari created 5 clones.

November 01, 2008, 07:11 PM
I think that it is some sort of teleportation technique like in sf movies where your body gets "cut" into small bits transported somewhere else and then put together...
Here (http://www.onemanga.com/Bleach/115/03/) we can see Yoruichi changing from cat to human form which looks as if her human body was getting out of her cat body[dunno if anyone understands what I just wrote xD], I think that it has something to do with controlling form of your spiritual body. Now to the point ;) If that form changing ability of her works as I think then it could be used for something like teleportation where u move all of your "cells" at the same time, time u need for it to work would depend on number of "cells" u need to move so to move faster u would need to lose some clothes :)
Wish it was true then we could all pray to see Yoruichi moving at full speed XD

November 02, 2008, 10:08 AM
1. It wasn't afterimages. It was clones that Zomari made. It was physically there and able to attack, as it attacked Byakuya. The quasi part most likely refers to the fact that the clones ultimately disappear after a while (we didn't see any of them later on).

2. kikrox1, I don't know what manga you're reading but Ichigo's afterimages didn't attack anyone. And of course the afterimages are going to look like they have blood. They are images of a bleeding Ichigo.

3. Exodi, if I refute both speculations about it being a variation of shunpo or afterimages, then how is it possible that Utsusemi is both? That doesn't make sense.

4. Yoruichi's Utsusemi is a hit to the "skin-shedding" speculation because all her clothes remained intact, so what did she shed? Of course, this could be that Yoruichi has mastered the technique while Byakuya has not so Byakuya still loses clothing. However, if Yoruichi isn't shedding anything (Byakuya did cut some clothing, but Yoruichi shirt looked untouched) then I do not see it as a "skin-shedding" technique.

November 02, 2008, 05:29 PM
but you didn't and can't refute that it's any form of shunpo.

it most likely IS related to shunpo, and it definitely IS a speed technique.

every tiny little bit of evidence we have on it indicates that it is.

En Yang Ji
November 02, 2008, 06:00 PM
Even though it's possible Zommari's technique doesn't use afterimages, what about Byakuya? Zommari may have the ability to make clones as his individual power as an Espada, but how would Byakuka be able to make a clone himself?

Zommari has to have been, at one time, in the same location as his clones. Unless the clones just appear in the location Zommari wishes. Zommari's technique is a variation of Sonido. He explains that the clones are a result of him increasing his steps. The only way this can be true, and the clone appears in a different location than Zommari, is if Zommari was at one time in the same location as the clones. Since we know the only things he does to make the clones is increase his steps, unless he somehow projects an image of himself in a different location he's never been in, by increasing his steps, he has to have been there himself.

It wouldn't make sense if Zommari hadn't been in the location of his clones at one time, given the explanation Zommari has given. How would Zommari project an image of himself in location he was never in, by just increasing his steps?

The actual speed of Zommari's Sonido wouldn't be that impressive if the clones were created by something other than Zommari's speed.

Zommari's technique may not use afterimages, but the quasi-clones are definitely created by speed. And if Byakuya's technique is similar in execution, then his technique is probably the same.

I can't really say why the clones would bleed if their afterimages. The only reason I can come up with, is Kubo probably didn't think too indept about the details of the technique.

November 03, 2008, 10:29 AM
It could be an advanced Flash Step that leaves a temporarily tangible afterimage that your clothing cannot keep up with...Perhaps it involves vibrating the body to such an extent your molecule and genetic makeup "squeeze through" the clothing and leave it behind as you make your escape.