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The Gotei 13 Ranking System is comprised of the following positions, listed in descending order, along with the corresponding character ranks.

In Japanese traditions, Shinigami is known as a god of death. Similar to the grim reaper in western customs, these spirits of death lead souls from the living world to the afterlife.

Shinigami appears in various forms in anime and manga, typically as key characters that serve as messengers of death.

In Bleach, Shinigami are called soul reapers. They perform the role of a Japanese samurai who upholds peace and order in the afterlife by supervising and governing souls.

They also cleanse the realm of the living by exterminating the monstrous, soul-eating entity called hollows.

The Gotei 13 (13 Division Imperial Guard) acts as the military organization of the Shinigami. And like any military unit, they utilize ranks to ascertain the position and duties of Shinigamis.

Gotei 13 Ranks in Order

The Gotei 13 is a corps that has eliminated the seniority-based rank structure in favor of a merit-based hierarchy that is determined by proof of capability, experience, and power.

Following is a list of the ranks from lowest to highest.

  1. Academy Student
  2. Substitute Shinigami
  3. Seated Officers
  4. Lieutenant
  5. Captain
  6. Captain Commander

6. Academy Student

bleach academy studentbleach academy student
bleach academy student

The Shinigami Academy is an establishment that educates souls with spiritual abilities for the Shinigami military forces.

The shinigami academy welcomes applications from everyone. However, applicants must pass an entry exam and provide evidence of possessing some spiritual energy to be admitted.

Students at the academy learn how to manage and use their Reiatsu and Shinigami combat forms (Hakuda, Hoho, Kido, and Zanjutsu). They also learn how to carry out Soul Burials and communicate with the spirit of their Zanpakuto (sword).

The academy’s curriculum is taught over six years, but exceptionally talented students like Tshiro Hitsugaya, Kaien Shiba, and Gin Ichimaru have been known to graduate from the academy earlier.

Upon completion of the Academy’s coursework, students are expected to apply to join a Gotei 13 division or other forces of the Shinigami.

5. Substitute Shinigami

Substitute Shinigami - Kurosaki ichigo and Kugo GinjoSubstitute Shinigami - Kurosaki ichigo and Kugo Ginjo
Substitute Shinigami – Kurosaki ichigo and Kugo Ginjo

A Substitute Shinigami is formed when a Shinigami inserts his/her zanpakutou into a human’s heart.

The probability of success is low. Yet, if successful, the individual often gains access to only a temporary portion of the shinigami’s power.

However, in Ichigo Kurosaki’s case, he absorbed the entire powers of Shinigami Rukia Kuchiki due to his inherent spiritual pressure.

This practice is prohibited by the Soul Society and carries a death penalty, as evidenced by Rukia’s punishment.

But when it does happen, the substitute shinigami is welcomed to soul society and given a special badge that tracks and limits the substitute.

There are only two Substitute Shinigami in the history of soul society, Ichigo Kurosaki and Kugo Ginjo.

Gijo turned into a villain, while Ichigo grew to become the series’ enduring protagonist.

4. Seated Officers

Graduates from the Shinigami academy apply to join the Gotei force.

This application is reviewed and accepted by one of the 13 divisions, assigning them to the rank of the seated officer.

Seated officers are members of a division numbered from rank three down to twenty.

They are somewhat equivalent to junior and non-commissioned officers of real-life military forces.

Seated officers are usually strong and well-versed in the art of hakuda, hoho, kido, and zanjutsu. They also usually have a shikai, the first upgraded form of a Zanpakuto.

These officers work their way up to become a lieutenant by getting stronger and completing missions.

3. Lieutenant

Bleach Gotei 13 LieutenantsBleach Gotei 13 Lieutenants
Bleach Gotei 13 Lieutenants

Lieutenants can also be considered the deputy-captain. They act as the second-in-command of a division and the right-hand person to the captain.

The lieutenant assumes command of the division in the captain’s absence until the captain returns or a replacement is appointed.

They can be identified by a distinctive badge secured to their left arm bearing the symbol of their division.

Lieutenants generally have access to their zanpaktou’s shikai alone (except for Renji Abarai who can use bankai). Although their level isn’t close to that of a seated officer.

2. Captain

bleach gotei 13 captainsbleach gotei 13 captains
bleach gotei 13 captains

Captains act as the leading officer of a division in charge of strategic planning and execution.

They are recognized as the most formidable in a division. Stronger than a lieutenant by five times and an average seated officer by 10 times.

Strength, experience, and most significantly, mastery of bankai are the distinguishing factors that set captains apart from lower-ranked officers.

They are generally identified by their white haori, which bears the Gotei 13 symbol and the corresponding division number.

To rise to the rank of captain, lieutenants or lower-ranked officers must pass the Captain Proficiency Test, which requires the mastery of bankai.

This test necessitates the presence of a minimum of three current captains, one of whom must be the captain-commander.

Another way to advance in rank is to obtain a personal recommendation from at least six captains and approval from at least three of the seven remaining captains.

The final and most unconventional method to become a captain is to challenge and defeat the division’s incumbent captain in a duel before a crowd of at least 200 witnesses from the captain’s division.

1. Captain Commander

captain commander shigekuni yamamoto

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