What's the difference between these two shikai; Rangiku's Haineko and Byakuya's Senbonzakura? They both seem to have the same abilities.
For Matsumoto Rangiku's shikai:
When released with the command "growl" (唸れ unare?), the blade dissolves into ash. In combat, Matsumoto can control the movement of the ash, and cut anything it lands on by moving the hilt. The ash is also solid enough to be used as a shield to block enemy attacks
For Kuchiki Byakuya's shikai:
...Senbonzakura's blade separates into thousands of slender, petal-like blades.... While the blades are too small to be seen by the naked eye, they reflect light in such a way as to appear as cherry blossom petals. Byakuya can control the blades at will thereby allowing him to shred opponents at a distance and break through almost any defense. While Byakuya can control the blades with his mind alone, using his hands allows him to do so more effectively, making the blades move twice as fast.
There seem to be a few main differences, though they are very similar.
- Byakuya can control the blades of his with his mind, while Matsumoto needs to move the hilt.
- The ash can be used as a shield while Senbonzakura cannot.
Senbonzakura can be used as a shield as proven in Byakuya's first fight with Ichigo in season 3. Though at the time Byakuya was using bankai, he made a shield by gathering all the fragments in front of him so he probably can do the same thing in shikai.
A lot of people on various forums like to nit pick at the details, but in essence they are very similar. Both Shikai transform the blade of the sword into smaller substances that are used for offense and defense. While Byakuya is able to control Senbonzakura telepathically, Matsumoto controls Haineko with the hilt of her sword. However, in Matsumoto's fight against Apache, SunSun, and Mila Rose, she changes Haineko's form from a dispersed cloud of ash to an ash tornado with her empty hand. The fact that Byakuya controls senbonzakura with his mind might just be due to the fact that he is a stronger and more experienced shinigami and partner to his zanpakuto. Just for the sake of the viewer/reader I wish would release a list or booklet or something along those lines of the zanpakuto and their abilities. I'd love it if he would say what their Bankai would be if they ever reached that level. I really wanna know what Urahara's Bankai is and especially Yoruichi's.
It is likely that rangiku 's bankai may be the same as sebonsakura's bankai and she might be able to control the ashes with her mind , although we haven't seen her bankai yet.