Name: Ryuunosuke Kenji, 2nd Division, 3rd Seat
Appearance: Kenji has black, shaggy hair that grows long in the back into a medium-length pony tail down his neck, which he now braids in homage to his former Vice-captain's preferred style. His eyes are caught somewhere between blue and grey. Standing at 5'10" he's about average in size, both in height and in build. He does benefit from long limbs, which he somehow manages to keep under decent control most of the time.
His Shihakshou is just recently shortened at the sleeves all the way up to his shoulders, as well as the addition of a Tattoo to his Left shoulder.
Description: Kenji used to joke around that he just joined the 13 Court Guard Squads to meet strong, pretty women; recently, though, he doesn't joke about much at all. Whatever his motivation, it is obviously a strong one, as it has carried him ever since his days through the academy and all the way up to his current position. Though he tries his best to make things look easy, he does now, and always has struggled with most of the skills that all shinigami master. In spite of this, his skills are no worse for the difficulty with which they are acquired, and to Kenji the skills are most certainly acquired only with difficulty. He spends much of his time practicing the same things over and over just to achieve the same level that most people reach with intermediate effort. Still, he doesn't seem to hold this against those naturally skilled around him, even if he does good-naturedly envy their abilities.
In combat, Kenji's (few and far-between) strong suits are situational awareness and battlefield strategy. In the past, particularly during his early days as a non-ranked member, his impressively swift reaction times and out-of-the-box thinking were both praised; however, those praises were quickly drowned out by 'constructive criticism' on how he should improve... everything else. Though his overall skill set has improved dramatically since those days, elevating him all the way to 3rd seat of his entire division, Kenji still often marvels that he achieved Shikai at all-- and Bankai? However, he is outwardly confident enough to put anyone else's mind at ease.
Kenji was preceded into the Gotai 13 by his best friend and rival while growing up as regular children in Soul Society. They were neither nobility nor lived in the slums, being of average social standing, but eventually displayed Soul Reaper talent. Kenji, being the less talented of the two, was held back for a few years while his best friend proceeded into the 2nd Squad ahead of him. Kenji simply would not stand for being left behind by his True Ultimate Rival, and was determined to catch up and surpass him. Almost a year later, Kenji got the news that while on a training exercise in the Real World his Best Friend was caught in the middle of a Hollow attack and was killed. Kenji dropped out of the academy for a few months while he tried to deal with the loss. Eventually, he rejoined the academy using his best friend's last name in place of his own as a tribute, and as his unerring determination to fight with the 13 Court Guard Squads the battle against the Hollow in order to commemorate his friend's death.
Kenji saw his assignment to the 2nd Squad, the same squad as his Best Friend was assigned to before his death, as a powerful sign that he is doing the right thing by carrying on his best friend's legacy. He always suspected that most of his squadmates would likely be more skilled than him, but having somehow ascended to 3rd seat, he is at once determined and terrified to uphold the responsibility to his Officers and squadmates. First and foremost, however, his greater purpose is to make the name of Ryuunosuke well known throughout the whole of Soul Society, from the 13 Captains themselves (or only 12 now...) to the nobles of all four families to the lowest level of the Rukongai-- not for himself, but for another.
Name: Suzume no Bara (Sparrow's Thorn)
Sealed form: Black binding on the handle and new polished, white wood sheath, bearing sharp, black Kanji characters all the way up the middle of both sides. Worn horizontally across the back.
Sealed Abilities: None/not discovered
Release phrase: Gosezu Hanase! ("Speak without words...!")
Shikai: Becomes a Chinese-style chain whip, of either three, six, or nine chain links determined upon release (and adjustable by sealing and re-releasing). This Zanpaktou kills with incredible speed and deceptive movements, using a multitude of cuts too small to feel to disguise the final blow straight through the heart. Appears at first to be a purely melee-type, displaying impressive (but manageable) speed, control, and mobility when released; however, it is in truth a strong Wind-type, kidou based Zanpaktou, which uses the very real threat of its physical prowess to deceive its foes into supposing that it has no Aces up its sleeve.
Shikai special abilities: Wind-based. Is able to launch long, sharp blades of air from the tip of the whip in mid-swing at a target. Also, perhaps the more powerful of its abilities, it allows the wielder to translate kinetic energy from melee attacks through the air particles between him and his target with near 100% efficiency, effectively letting him attack at range with a punch or slash (this effect seems instantaneous, but is defeatable by keeping close track of the wielder's movements and timing the effect correctly; also greater distances exponentially increase the effect of that fraction of lost energy, limiting its range). Finally, minor wind-based abilities like brief, limited force gusts of wind are possible with enough focus.
Bankai: Not achieved.