This is a question about how the spiritual body is "comprised", how and why do shinigami bleed, have internal organs, etc. It is shown that they do not need food, so why a digestive tract at all?

All things in Soul Society are made of reishi, so are we to believe that reishi is the equivalent of "atoms" or "particles"? "Spirit particles" is commonly used to describe the energy that a Quincy uses.

So the main question is: in canon, has it been explained why shinigami have a body that is still basically human?

  • Not sure which episode it has been said, but I am fairly sure they said they are governed by different logics then known in the living world.
    – Dimitri mx
    Aug 4, 2015 at 22:03
  • they do not need fodd,IIRC if they are hungry they can be shinigami Aug 5, 2015 at 4:43
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    It's Bleach, don't use your brain. It's easier to enjoy the show if you don't notice all the glaring plot holes and inconsistencies.
    – Nolonar
    Aug 6, 2015 at 20:50

2 Answers 2


I believe you've answered your own question - it's not really blood that's draining from a shinigami, it's the reishi of that person draining away, thus weakening their soul. Ichigo and co (and the viewers) only perceive it as blood because that's something our minds can actually grasp and understand. In more extreme cases, such as Ulquiorra, when critically injured, the person may simply disintegrate directly into particles before one's eyes, due to a sudden uncontrolled collapse of spiritual energy. Nell's wound results in rapid and ongoing "bloodloss" (reishi-loss) in her adult form, forcing her to 'reduce' her 'mass' back to a smaller size, that of a child.

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    I could believe this if it wasn't repeatedly mentioned that shinigami have "organs" such as when mayuri fights the espada (whatever his name is) and more recently spoiler when fighting a certain creature that controls nerves.
    – Denslat
    Aug 17, 2015 at 14:36
  • @Denslat, I would say it's the same: whether "blood", "organ", "hand", "arm" (Bleach sure loves it some severed arms!), "face", "leg", "brain", "intestines", whatever, it's all human (corporeal) jargon being used as terms of reference for something that cannot be comprehend in non-physical language. Aug 17, 2015 at 20:09
  • Yet again I reference Mayuri, that guy would not state "nerves" etc.... at the end of the day "Non physical language" it may be, but what they are and how they work are still exactly the same as a human, they may not be nerves or blood but they still act the exact same way...
    – Denslat
    Aug 21, 2015 at 16:16
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    "but they still act the exact same way" - I'm not sure they do: humans cannot regrow limbs, revert to childhood forms and back again to adult, be brought back from the 'dead', leap enormous distances, fly, etc. While they may appear to operate like human body parts some of the time, at other times they operate in a completely different manner. So one can't assume shinigami 'bodies' will react the same way as humans' in any given situation Aug 22, 2015 at 8:57
  • @MeirIllumination The organs indeed do not act the same way, but they are very similar, and because they are also made out of Reshi, they are far more flexible than human organs. That being said, Shinigami may still need nerves to control their muscles, Blood to keep the power flowing, and stomachs to digest food into Reshi. Reshi can also be forcefully compressed into new organs to replace old ones, or create platforms to stand on in air. While made of Reshi, Reshi itself has no purpose without guidance, so i agree they are not necessarily like human organs, but they have human purpose.
    – Ryan
    Jul 13, 2016 at 20:56

Short Version:

Shinigami bleed because they have blood. Thanks to science-minded characters like Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi and Szayelaporro Grantz and their talk of organs and nerves, we know that a shinigami's body has these components and functions very much like a living human's body. Thus, we can infer they also have blood vessels and blood.

Long Version:

The question of what sort of substance a soul is made up of is one that many philosophers have taken on through the ages. A follow-up question would be how this substance interacts with other substances. Bleach seems to give partial answers to these questions for the universe in which it exists.

So, in Bleach, there are two substances: The substance that makes up a living human body (physical matter), and the substance that makes up a Shinigami and Wholes (Reishi). As it turns out, in the world of Bleach these substances are very similar. Living humans and spirits both have organs and bleed. Though there is some uncertainty with how physical matter and reishi interact, at least when separate in their own worlds (the World of the Living and the Soul Society) they behave in similar manners.

In western culture, we tend to view spirits and the afterlife in a very ethereal way. The substance of the soul and the body are considered to be very different. This is probably why it seems so strange in Bleach that ghosts can bleed. The idea of a more physical afterlife was not unknown in the ancient world, though, and can be seen in the Norse Valhalla, where fallen men eat, drink, and do battle. Also, many Christian denominations believe that Jesus ascended to heaven with his physical body and that there will be a physical resurrection of the body at the end of times.

Also relevant: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resurrection and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcendence_(religion)

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