12:07:21 AM May 22nd 2010
DanaO (copied from archive): Regarding the two examples from Bleach: While both zanpakuto are dramatically and contextually treated as if they were poisoned weapons, the evidence I've seen suggests neither really is. (I haven't looked past the end of the Soul Society arc yet, and so haven't commented on the main page.)
- Upon revealing that power of his blade, Kurotsuchi is quick to express his contempt for the idea that he uses something as crude as a chemical sedative and his explanation for the blade's actual effect (blocking firing of the specific nerve endings from the spinal cord or brain required to move limbs, leaving everything else unaffected) suggests manipulation of energy more in line with the rest of zanpakuto "special effects". (It's also telling that his lieutenant isn't immune to this particular effect... since the fact clearly irritates him.) He does use poisonous gas in his blade's bankai state (in which it's no longer a blade), his blade can behave like acid at least with respect to his own (stated to be heavily modified) body, and it's clear he carries a variety of injectables, some of which are probably poisonous to most creatures, but so far I've never seen him use a poisoned blade.
- Soi Fon's zanpakuto behaves more like a weapon-based Touch Of Death than poison, in that it doesn't actually have any debilitating effect (beyond, well, the wound itself) unless it hits the same spot twice. The butterfly image it creates on the target spot appears to not be a physical reaction to the injury (like swelling from a bee sting) but a spiritual effect (overlaid onto any clothes present, and a contrasting color to aid in aiming). The effect also seems to disappear as soon as Soi Fon is no longer focused on killing her target, with no need for recovery time or an antidote. (Kurotsuchi's shikai effect may have the same quality, provided Ishida didn't drink some sort of "universal antidote" and that it wasn't simply short-term to begin with.)