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Ichigo Kurosaki (黒崎 一護

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1 Ichigo Kurosaki (黒崎 一護 on Wed Jun 30, 2010 7:22 am

Toushiro Hitsugaya

十番隊隊長 Jūbantai Taicho

Ichigo looks like a normal teenage boy; the one exception to that is his spiky orange hair, a trait that he has been ridiculed about for years. He is a fairly tall, lean-built person with peach skin and brown eyes. Since becoming a Shinigami he has become noticeably more muscular, as noted by his sister Karin. When in his spiritual form, Ichigo wears standard Shinigami attire with the addition of a strap across his chest. Initially it was a thick brown belt to hold his Zanpakutō sheathe,[2] but it later became a red rosary-like strap.[3] Ichigo's appearance has caused several people, including Jūshirō Ukitake, to notice a similarity to Kaien Shiba; the former lieutenant of the 13th Division.[4]
edit Personality

When he was young, Ichigo considered his mother to be the center of his world.[5] Ichigo always smiled whenever he was with Masaki and he was regularly at her side, holding her hand. Despite crying whenever he lost in a match at the dojo he attended, Ichigo started to smile again as soon as he saw Masaki when she came to pick him up.[6] At a very young age, Ichigo heard his father saying that his name means "to protect one thing", which instilled in him a desire to protect his mother. When his sisters were born he began attending a dojo for the sake of protecting them, since then the number of people he wished to protect has continued to grow,[7] causing Ichigo to risk his life to protect both his family and strangers.[8][9]

As a Human teenager, Ichigo's personality is much more complex. Stubborn, short-tempered, strong-willed and impulsive, he attempts to maintain a detached and "cool" image, despite claiming not to care about what other people think about him. He generally keeps his face set in a permanent scowl, with his eyebrows drawn together.[10] His outspoken, hot-headed demeanor is a trait Ichigo himself acknowledged, and that if somebody picks a fight with him, he cannot help fighting back. He coldly refers to his teachers as “instructors”.[11] He is shown to be genuinely compassionate and empathetic about others, as seen by him promising to bring a Plus flowers[12] and a toy plane[13] or soothing others when they become upset.[14] Ichigo is also a capable student, ranked 23rd in his high school.[15] He studies regularly and does not neglect his schoolwork, claiming that he has "nothing better to do at home", though he actually works as hard as he does simply to overcome the misconceptions many have about him, which are based on his hair color and fighting.[16] Ichigo hates fortune telling, horoscopes, fengshui, psychics and anyone whose trade involves taking money from people for things that they cannot see.[17] He has difficulty remembering people's faces and names.[18][19] Ichigo becomes extremely shy and uncomfortable around nude or immodestly dressed women, a fact both Rangiku Matsumoto and Yoruichi Shihōin have teased him for.[20] Ichigo has some trouble with authority and traditional respect, often quite rude and disrespectful when talking to those older than himself, calling Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto "gramps" and referring to several of the Shinigami captains by their given names.[21]

When it comes to fighting, Ichigo has a complex sense of honor; he regularly seeks to exact revenge for the actions of his opponent, such as instilling the fear of being murdered in Shrieker[22] and cutting off the right arm of Yammy Riyalgo in retaliation for him ripping Yasutora Sado's right arm apart.[23] He would often taunt and belittle his opponents when fighting, sometimes even attacking without warning.[24] Ichigo has a strong desire to win his fights[25] and to win them in what he views as a legitimate manner. To this end, he has refused the aid of his inner Hollow, even when knowing that it would allow him to win.[26] Similarly, after regaining control of his body, he tells Ulquiorra to cut off his limbs so that they may have a fair fight[27] and refuses to kill him when he is dying; saying that it was not the way he wanted to win.[28]

Ichigo has even shown that he despises those who mistreat their allies in any way, even if they are his own enemies. He is disgusted when an individual berates his/her own allies, such as when Yammy calls Ulquiorra Cifer, Nnoitra Jiruga, and Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez trash[29]. He also expresses anger towards those who go as far as attacking their own allies, expressing that he cannot forgive those who murder their own comrades.[30]

Despite Ichigo's strong sense of honor, his will to win can waiver at times, which directly affects his overall energy levels and fighting abilities. His absolute resolve is depicted by his eyes glowing bright blue and his body being engulfed in a bright blue aura. The same is included with his Hollow powers, in which his eyes glow yellow and his aura turns black. Ichigo’s abilities at their peak allow him to hold his own, if not contend, against the toughest opponents. His will to protect his friends is shown to be so great that, even when battle-worn, he can fight at deceptively high levels, as seen when he effortlessly caught Grimmjow’s punch when in his released state. However, at the same time, his lack of resolve to win can also impede his spiritual energy and fighting prowess, shown when he goes into a state of depression and self-loathing when he loses a major battle or lets a friend down; after losing his fight against Yammy and Ulquiorra, thanks to the crippling fear of his inner Hollow, Ichigo's will became so weak, he was unable to even defeat a weak Hollow until Rukia helped restore his resolve.[31]
edit History
Young Ichigo with Tatsuki Arisawa.

Ichigo was born on July 15th, as the son of Isshin Kurosaki and Masaki Kurosaki, 15 years before he became a Shinigami. His sisters Karin Kurosaki and Yuzu Kurosaki were born a few years later. When he was four, Ichigo joined a karate dojo, where he met and befriended Tatsuki Arisawa. Tatsuki beat Ichigo in every match they had. Tatsuki would also help Ichigo if he was being picked on by bullies and cheer him up if he was upset.[6]

Ichigo was able to see Pluses for as long as he could remember. He could see them so clearly that, as a child, he could not tell the living from the dead. This resulted in him appearing to other people to be looking at deserted places and talking to himself. This caused people to say that he could see ghosts, though when Tatsuki Arisawa asked him about this, he denied being able to see them.[32]

On June 17th, when Ichigo was nine years old, he and his mother were walking home alongside one of Karakura Town's rivers; which was swollen from heavy rain. Ichigo saw a girl near the river and thought that she was about to jump into it. Unable to tell the difference between ghosts and living people, Ichigo ran towards her to stop her, unaware that the girl was the lure of the Hollow Grand Fisher. Masaki tried to stop him, but he did not listen. After failing to grab hold of the girl, Ichigo lost consciousness for a time. When he awoke, Masaki was lying on top of him, covered in blood.[33] Starting the day after Masaki's death, Ichigo repeatedly skipped school to go to the riverbank where Masaki died. Tatsuki found him there, where he would stay from morning until night, wandering along the bank as if searching for his mother; squatting down if he was tired and then wandering some more.[34]
Ichigo risking his life to protect Chad's coin.

One day when Ichigo was twelve, prior to the Clinic opening, he heard the bell ring and answered the door to find a girl with her brother on her back. He had been in a car accident and was covered in blood. The clinic did not have the equipment necessary to save him and he died before an ambulance arrived to transfer him to Karakura Hospital. Sometime later, he learned that the girl was Orihime Inoue.[35]

Ichigo later entered Mashiba Junior High School. During this time, Ichigo had finally defeated Tatsuki in a karate match and had not had another match with her since.[36] Ichigo regularly got into fights with thugs, due to the unusual color of his hair. During one of these fights he protected Yasutora Sado from a group of thugs. When the thugs later abducted Chad, Ichigo found them and knocked down their leader, Yokochini. He used Yokochini's phone to ring for an ambulance for each of the five thugs, and then beat up all of them. After Chad was freed they made a pact to protect and fight for each other, they have remained good friends since.[37]

Shortly before Ichigo became a Shinigami, he and Chad began attending Karakura High School, and their reputations preceded them. During a fight with a gang led by Reiichi Ōshima, Ichigo and Chad met Keigo Asano and Mizuiro Kojima, saving the former in the process. While Keigo was initially afraid of Ichigo and Chad, both he and Mizuiro later became friends with them.[38]
edit Plot
Agent of the Shinigami arc
Rukia, wounded, about to give Ichigo her power.

One evening, Ichigo confronts a group of skateboarders who had knocked over an offering to a dead girl. After beating an explanation out of them, he orders them to apologize to the ghost of the dead girl; who is floating behind him. When the skateboarders run away, Ichigo tells the girl that they scared them so much that they will leave her alone and apologizes for using her to scare them. He then promises to bring her some new flowers and tells her to hurry up and go to heaven.[39] When he arrives home, he has an argument with his father, Isshin Kurosaki, and storms off to his room; where he sees Rukia Kuchiki. Ichigo mistakes the Shinigami for a burglar and kicks her. Isshin comes to Ichigo's room to tell him to stop creating a ruckus, but when Ichigo informs him about the intruder, he tells his son that he cannot see anyone else in the room. As a result, Ichigo accepts that she is a ghost of some sort, but refuses to believe Rukia's explanation about Shinigami; causing Rukia to bind him with Kidō. As Rukia continues her explanation a Hollow attacks the Kurosaki Clinic. Hearing his sister's pleas for help, Ichigo breaks out of the Kidō and rushes to stop the Hollow.[40] Upon seeing the Hollow, Fishbone D, Ichigo is gripped by fear, having expected the evil spirit to be similar to a Human, rather than the monster standing before him. While reassuring himself, he notices that it is holding Yuzu and charges at it with a baseball bat in a futile attack. Rukia injures the Hollow, freeing Yuzu, and explains that the Hollow's target is likely him. Ichigo thinks this means that it is his fault that his family is in danger and his reckless actions force Rukia to shield Ichigo with her body; causing her severe injuries.[41] Seeing that Ichigo is truly determined to protect his family, Rukia offers to temporarily turn him into a Shinigami by piercing his chest with her Zanpakutō and transferring half of her power to him. However, Ichigo absorbs almost all of Rukia's power. Transformed into a Shinigami, Ichigo makes short work of the Hollow,[42] collapsing afterwards.[43]
Rukia removes Ichigo’s soul from his body.

The following morning, Ichigo awakens from a nightmare to find that his family have no memory of the attack and instead believe that a truck hit the clinic. When Ichigo goes to school he is horrified to find that Rukia, who is visible to the other students, is now a part of his class. After she threatens him not to make a scene, Ichigo brings Rukia outside, where she informs him that she is using a Gigai while she awaits the return of her powers. While she is recovering, Rukia insists that Ichigo take over her job. Ichigo initially refuses, saying that the only reason he fought the previous night was because his family was in danger. But Rukia forces his Shinigami form out of his body and takes him to a park where she has received word that a Hollow is about to attack. She then manipulates the situation to persuade Ichigo to perform her duties.[44] After having undergone some training with Rukia to improve his combat tactics,[45] Ichigo hears a beeping sound from inside his room and is startled when Rukia jumps out of his closet whilst trying to warn him of a Hollow attack. As a large hand bursts through the floor, Rukia dons her Skull Symbol glove and forces Ichigo's soul out of his body. Ichigo slashes at the Hollow's head, but only manages to slice off a portion of its mask, revealing the Hollow to be Orihime Inoue's brother; Sora.[46] Rukia explains that all Hollows were once a Plus, causing Ichigo to angrily say that he thought they were just monsters that had to be defeated, questioning what he has been killing up to that point. Rukia cuts him off, saying that Orihime is in danger.[47] As Rukia explains that Hollows often attack their relatives, she and Ichigo rush to Orihime's apartment.[48] Ichigo manages to stop the Hollow before it eats Orihime's soul, positioning himself between her and the Hollow and telling it that it will have to kill him first.[49] Ichigo notes that Tatsuki has been caught up in Sora's attack before realizing that Orihime's body is lying on the other side of the room. Ichigo turns to confirm that Orihime is still behind him and she exclaims that she thought it was him. Remembering Rukia's words that only other spirits can see Shinigami, Ichigo is puzzled by why Orihime can see him. Sora explains that he is talking to her soul, and that Orihime is already dead.[50]
Sora uses Ichigo's Zanpakutō to purify himself.

The Hollow attacks Ichigo with its scale-covered tail, which Ichigo is unable to cut, sending the substitute Shinigami flying through the wall. As Ichigo lands and comes to a stop in mid-air, the Hollow spits acid at him, burning his hands and causing him to drop his Zanpakutō. Sora then hits him from above, knocking him into the ground before returning to Orihime.[51] As Rukia wakes Ichigo, he notes that the battle is different, and that it has affected him. Rukia reminds him that Orihime's soul will be eaten if he loses.[52] Ichigo jumps back into the apartment, but is again shrugged off by Sora. As he threatens to kill Orihime, Ichigo cuts off his hand, telling Sora that older brothers are supposed to protect their siblings. Sora demands to know why Ichigo is interfering[53] and insists that he will not give her to anyone else, especially Ichigo. As Sora tries to bite him, Ichigo tells him that Orihime does not belong to anyone. Sora charges at Orihime and bites her. Ichigo listens as she talks to her brother. As she collapses, Rukia arrives and tells him that she can be saved as long as the Chain of Fate is still attached to her body. As Rukia attempts to heal her, Ichigo reveals that Orihime had told him that her hairpins were a present from him and tells him that he should not think that he is the only one who is sad. Sora grabs Ichigo's sword and uses it to break off his mask, saying that he wants to disappear before he lose himself again. Ichigo tries to talk him out of it, but Rukia stops him, saying that he should let him disappear. She explains to him that Hollows defeated by a Zanpakutō are purified and sent to Soul Society. After Sora purifies himself, Ichigo asks Orihime how her injuries are but instead she tries to ask him other questions; only for Rukia to erase her memory.[54]
Ichigo senses Yūichi Shibata inside the parakeet.

When Ichigo remarks that his wounds have healed very well, Rukia tells him that she excelled at Kidō in the Shinigami Academy. Ichigo asks if there is a school for Shinigami, but Rukia changes the subject by asking him how to open a juice box. Mizuiro Kojima interrupts, noting that Rukia and Ichigo are together again, saying that they get along well. Ichigo denies this. When Mizuiro questions the impression Ichigo is giving those around him, Ichigo tells him that he would have died his hair long ago if he was worried by such things. As Mizuiro introduces himself to Rukia, Ichigo says that his hobby is womanizing, warning Rukia to watch out for him. As Keigo Asano arrives, Mizuiro tells him that Ichigo asked her out. Despite Ichigo's denial, Keigo congratulates him and introduces himself to Rukia, only to be interrupted by Reiichi Ōshima. Reiichi then asks Ichigo when he will dye his hair, claiming that Ichigo is copying his style. Ichigo reminds him that it is his natural hair colour and tells him to do something about his own hair, calling him a chicken and claims to be a thousand times stronger than him. Angered, Reiichi ignores Keigo's pleas not to fight and produces brass knuckles. He is then knocked out by Sado. As Sado explains his injuries, Ichigo notices that he has a parakeet with him. Rukia tells him not to worry, as the spirit inside of it is just a lonely Plus, which they should send to Soul Society that night. Ichigo complains about missing another night of sleep.[55] When Ichigo returns home, he finds his sisters busy helping with the injured from a car accident. He asks Isshin if there is anything he can do to help, but is told to stay out of the way. When Sado is brought into the clinic, Isshin asks him to help his friend. Ichigo notes that the wound on his back were inflicted by a Hollow, which Rukia confirms.[56]
Karin pleads with Ichigo

The following morning, Isshin tells Ichigo that Sado has disappeared from his room in the clinic. Ichigo rushes to school and asks Mizuiro if Sado is there. Realizing that he is not there, Ichigo runs out of the class just as his teacher is entering; telling her that he has a stomach ache. Rukia catches up to him, saying that she did not find him nor has she received any information about Hollows from Soul Society. She explains that Hollows can hide between the Human World and Soul Society, so Ichigo decides to try to track the spirit inside the parakeet. To Rukia's shock, Ichigo finds the Reiraku of the Plus and begins to follow it.[57] When they find Sado, he runs away from them. Ichigo tells him that it is dangerous to be by himself, but is distracted by a weakened Karin. Rukia tells him to bring Karin, who has collapsed, home. He complains, but when Rukia insists, he tells her to be careful as her power still has not returned. As he runs home with Karin in his arms, she tells him that she saw the memories of the child trapped within the bird and that the Plus saw his mother being murdered. She asks him to save the child.[58] After placing her in her bed, Ichigo rushes back to help Sado. Reflecting upon how long it has been since he last saw Karin cry, he promises to send the Plus to Soul Society.[59]
Ichigo returns Shrieker's bombs.

When Ichigo arrives to fight the Hollow, he stamps on its head and tells Rukia not to try to act cool when she is beaten up. He introduces himself to the Hollow, Shrieker, and tells him that he is the one that he should be fighting.[60] Rukia releases Ichigo from his body and he immediately injures Shrieker's shoulder while Rukia takes care of his body. Ichigo notes the small creatures nearby, commenting that he had seen them carrying Sado's birdcage and he was glad that he killed them. Rukia tells him that they spit out explosive leeches. Ichigo slices the creatures that jump at him, but the leeches they contain spill out and explode when Shrieker makes a noise with his tongue. Ichigo emerges from the smoke and hits Shrieker, asking him if he was the one who killed the child's parents, which he confirms. After listening to Shrieker's explanation, Ichigo becomes disturbed and the Hollow pushes his sword away; throwing more of his artillery creatures at him. Ichigo catches one and slams it into Shrieker's mouth. When the Hollow does not detonate them, Ichigo rips out its tongue,[61] before stabbing his sword into Shrieker's leg. Ichigo asks him how it feels to be unable to move or fight, and if he can savour what it is like to be murdered. Shrieker rips his leg off to escape, causing Ichigo to mock him before cutting through his head. From this wound, the gates of Hell emerge. Rukia explains to Ichigo about Hell as the gates open and Shrieker is dragged inside. When Rukia tells the Plus that they will send him to Soul Society, Ichigo tells him that he might be able to see his mother there.[62]
Ichigo questions the use of the Artificial Soul.

The following day, Ichigo notes that Sado's memory has been erased. Rukia asks to speak with him and punches him when he refuses to talk in private. She drags him outside and gives him a Gikongan, a dispenser of Artificial souls. After explaining its purpose, and striking Ichigo for making fun of her, she forces him to try one. Ichigo is unconvinced by the replacement soul's personality, but is forced to leave it in his body when they receive an order from Soul Society.[63] After defeating the Hollow Ichigo rushes back, concerned about how the artificial soul is getting on. Upon noticing a broken window in his class, Ichigo jumps up to it, only to see his body jump out the same window and run away at an extremely high speed. As they chase after him, Rukia tells him that it must be a Modsoul.[64] Angered by the Modsoul's actions, Ichigo argues with Rukia, before asking her to explain what a Modsoul is. While listening to the explanation and looking at Rukia's drawings, he complains to himself that he cannot take it seriously because her pictures are so bad. Ichigo questions if Rukia is alright with the idea of the Modsouls being created and killed all for Soul Society's convenience, but she tells him that it is irrelevant as it is Soul Society's law which is there to protect Humans. Ichigo thinks to himself how the Modsoul must feel about being persecuted and then gaining his body.[65] As they search for him, they receive an order informing them of an immanent attack by a Hollow.[66] Hurrying to its location, they find the Modsoul is already fighting it. Ichigo rushes to his aid. When the Modsoul tries to ask why Ichigo saved him, he demands to know whose body it is while fending off the Hollow. The two continue arguing as they defeat the Hollow together. Kisuke Urahara arrives to reclaim the Modsoul, removing it from Ichigo's body. Ichigo asks him what he is going to do with it and, realizing that Kisuke can see him, he asks who he is. Rukia snatches the Modsoul back, dismissing him as a greedy merchant. She tells Kisuke that she is happy with the Modsoul and gives him to Ichigo; who thanks her for not throwing him away.[67]
Ichigo has trouble sleeping, plagued by memories of Masaki's death.

On the 16th of July Ichigo is woken by Kon who threatens to sneak inside his bag when he goes to school, to get him in trouble, if he does not get up. Ichigo throws Kon at the wall, reminding him that he has been told to act like a normal stuffed toy animal. Ichigo recalls how he and Rukia had searched for a body to place the Modsoul in, but ended up placing him inside a stuffed animal they found by the roadside. He also reminisces about how he came to call him Kon. Rukia complains about the noise they are making. Ichigo scrambles to hide her and Kon as Yuzu comes into the room to tell Ichigo that Mizuiro is waiting for him. Whilst hurrying to get dressed, Ichigo tells Mizuiro from the window that he has just woken up and to wait inside for him. Ichigo notes that Mizuiro's memory seems to have been erased, remembering that Rukia had told him that Kisuke , whose name he cannot remember, must have worked hard. As Rukia leaves via the window, Ichigo complains that Isshin did not wake him up as usual before noticing the date. Rukia asks why he has such a long face, but Ichigo says it is nothing and that "it's soon".[68] When he arrives in school, Orihime says hello to him and he smiles back as he returns the greeting.[69] That night, the Kurosaki's hold a family meeting to discuss their trip to Masaki's grave the following day for the anniversary of her death. Ichigo asks Rukia if he can take tomorrow off from the Shinigami work for just one day, telling her that it is the day Masaki was killed.[70] Ichigo lies in his bed, a towel over his eyes as memories of that rainy night flash through his mind. As he walked with his mother he had seen a girl by the river bank take a step into the raging waters and had gone to rescue her. Ichigo covers his eyes, trying to block out the painful memories. His attempts are unsuccessful, as he remembers his mother calling after him as he ran to the girl. The next thing he remembers is being by the side of his dead mother.[71]
Rukia asks about Masaki's death.

On the 17th of July, while walking to the graveyard, Ichigo notes that it is very hot, completely different from the day Masaki died. When the twins see Rukia waving at them, Yuzu asks if Ichigo knows her, which Ichigo denies. Karin then says she thinks she has seen her before, prompting Ichigo to claim to have suddenly remembered that she is from his school and goes to talk to her, sending the girls ahead to the grave. Ichigo asks Rukia why she followed him and gets annoyed when she says it was in case of a Hollow attack, saying that she should be more covert. He then denies being angry about it. Rukia asks him who killed Masaki, questioning if she was killed by a Hollow. Ichigo reacts angrily to the suggestion that a Hollow could have been targeting him and killed Masaki by mistake, saying that she blames everything on Hollows. As he is saying this, Ichigo notices the same girl he saw the night Masaki died and he runs after her.[72] When Rukia catches up to him, he tells her that the one who killed Masaki was himself.[73] At Masaki's grave, Ichigo looks on as Isshin declares that it is time for the annual "Kurosaki Family Tombstone Domino Rally", with Isshin and Ichigo being the first match. However, Yuzu stops Isshin.[74] Ichigo stands at the grace, reflecting on the night his mother died and what impact it had on the family.[75] Later, Isshin uses a whistle to call Ichigo and the twins. Ichigo tells him to stop, as he can hear him even without the whistle. Ichigo asks him if Karin and Yuzu are there yet, but Isshin tells him that he would have left without him if Ichigo was the only one that he was waiting on. He tells Ichigo to find the girls, but he refuses, saying it is tiring and that he should go himself. Isshin grabs Ichigo, asking if his little sisters are not precious to him and decides that they will split up search for them. He tells Ichigo to search in one direction, and then says he will stay there, prompting Ichigo to kick him. Isshin complains that Ichigo broke his jaw. Ichigo then senses the reiatsu of a Hollow.[76]

While running, Ichigo realizes that Yuzu and Karin are easy targets. He meets up with Rukia, saying that he must be heading in the right direction if she is there too. He asks her if she is going to question him further on his mother's death, but she tells him that it is his problem and that she will wait until he is ready to talk about it. Kon pops out of Rukia's backpack, telling them to stop acting so cool, surprising Ichigo. Ichigo questions when Kon became so devoted to Rukia and tells him that Orihime is there. Seeing his reaction he says that Kon is not devoted at all as the little plushy is left behind.[77] As the Hollow attempts to eat Yuzu, Ichigo arrives and cuts off the tentacle holding Yuzu before severing its hand, freeing Karin. Ichigo demands to know why the girl he saw when Masaki died is there; asking if she is a Hollow's crony or if she is controlled by a Hollow. The Hollow tells him that he is wrong.[78] The girl's form changes and it sprouts a tentacle from its head, connecting it to the Hollow's body. As Ichigo asks if the girl is a part of him, Rukia tells him that the Hollow is called Grand Fisher, and that it uses a lure to trick and devour Humans who have souls with high levels of spiritual power. Ichigo realizes that the girl he was trying to save when Masaki died was actually Grand Fisher's lure and that the Hollow killed his mother. Despite Rukia's protest, Ichigo lunges at Grand Fisher, who dodges his attack. Grand Fisher grows a new hand and attacks Ichigo, who blocks the attack, only to find the furry Hollow launching 's hair growing and attacking him. Rukia begins to chant a Kidō spell, but Ichigo tells her to stop and cuts his way free from the hair. he tells Rukia that he will fight the Hollow alone, and instructs her to look after his sisters with Kon. When she protests, he cuts her off and asks her not to interfere, claiming it is his fight.[79]
Grand Fisher attempts to manipulate Ichigo.

Ichigo struggles against the faster Grand Fisher, who mocks him. Ichigo realizes that all he can do is shrug off the Hollow's attacks and that his stamina will not last at this rate. He stops himself, saying that this is his mother's killer. Thinking of Yuzu and Karin, he remembers that he decided to protect them and swears to defeat Grand Fisher. He dives at the Hollow's chest, but Grand Fisher catches Ichigo's sword. As he tells Ichigo that he hesitated, his fingers tear apart and grow, stabbing Ichigo in the chest.[80] Angered by Grand Fisher's taunts, Ichigo slashes at the Hollow, swearing to defeat him even if his arms and legs are ripped off. Grand Fisher remarks that he is so young and easily manipulated, before transforming his lure into an image of Masaki.[81] The Hollow explains that, using the hand that impaled Ichigo, he can look into an enemy's memories and create an image of the one thing that they cannot cut more than anything else in the world.[82] Ichigo screams at him that this is not the kind of place to bring out Masaki's form. He charges at Grand Fisher, but he uses the lure to block him, telling him to sheath his sword. The Hollow punches through Masaki's form and pierces Ichigo's chest, telling him that anger can dull the blade. Ichigo stabs the Hollow's chest and grabs his arm, saying that he has finally caught him. He says that his dulled blade is all he needs to defeat someone like him and turns the Hollow's own words back on him; slashing open his chest.[83] As Grand Fisher collapses, a severely injured Ichigo uses his sword to prop himself up. When Rukia arrives, Ichigo tells her that she is late and that he has already cleaned up. Rukia reminds him that it was him who told her to stay out of the fight. As Grand Fisher stirs behind Ichigo, Rukia warns him just in time to dodge another attack. The Hollow then transfers its form into the lure, saying that both parts of him are the real body.[84] The Grand Fisher leaps into the sky and escapes. Rukia tries to convince Ichigo that he cannot fight him any more, but he insists that he can still fight and that the Hollow is still not dead yet; despite this he soon collapses on Rukia.[85]
Isshin gives Ichigo some advice.

Ichigo awakens back inside his body, in great pain. Rukia tells him not to make a fuss as the wounds his soul received will show up when he returns to his body, insisting that he should know that by now. Ichigo complains that she always returned him to his body after healing all his wounds, this prompts Rukia to apologize as she says that she used most of her strength to heal his stomach wound. When Ichigo thanks her, she tells him that the pain numbed in battle returns when one re-enters his body and gives him some plasters for the cuts on his face. Ichigo asks her if he lost, but she tells him that the Hollow fled and nobody died, so he won. Ichigo says that Grand Fisher is not dead and walks off.[86] Back at Masaki's grave, Ichigo apologizes to her for being able to avenge her. Isshin offers him an umbrella, but Ichigo refuses the offer, prompting Isshin to repeatedly poke Ichigo in the head until he hits him back with it. Isshin notes that the time has gone past quickly and that it has already been ten years since Masaki died. Ichigo says that it has only been six years, to which Isshin replies that he was "so close". Ichigo loudly complains about this, causing Isshin to say that Masaki can rest easily if she sees him being so lively. When he starts smoking a cigarette, Ichigo says that he thought he had quit smoking when Karin and Yuzu were born. Isshin explains that Masaki complimented him when they started dating about his hand looking cool when he was smoking. He notes that this was the only time that she had complimented his looks. As a result he smokes at her graveside every year on the anniversary of her death.[87] Isshin tells Ichigo not to look so sad. When Ichigo asks why nobody blames him for Masaki's death Isshin asks why he would blame Ichigo, saying that if he blamed her death on him, Masaki would become mad at him. He explains that Masaki was a woman who would die to protect her son. Isshin reminds Ichigo that he is the one that the woman he loved gave her life to protect. He then knees Ichigo in the back and tells him to live his life well and leaves. Ichigo asks Rukia if her powers are returning and asks that she allow him to remain a Shinigami for a while longer, regardless of whether it is returning or not. He says that he wants to become stronger so that he can defeat Hollows, protect those that are targeted and to defeat Grand Fisher; otherwise he will not be able to face Masaki.[88]

One Sunday morning, Ichigo leans out his bedroom window to beat Kon clean against the wall, in spite of Kon's protests. Rukia tells him to stop, as she has arranged for an implement to clean him with - the schools toilet brush. Ichigo orders her to take it back.[89] Later, Kon, wearing a dress, leaps at Ichigo apologizing for having run away from home. Ichigo, who had been wondering where Kon was, questions why Kon is dressed in such a way.[90] While Yuzu and Isshin are watching Don Kanonji's Ghost Bust TV programme one Wednesday evening, Ichigo asks Yuzu what the pose they are doing is. When Yuzu calls the show cool, Ichigo asks himself if that can be considered cool. Yuzu says that he can definitely see them, but Ichigo says that he does not know about that, annoying Yuzu. Ichigo then tells her that if he says he can see them, then he can see them. As Ichigo finishes his juice, he asks a distracted Karin what she is looking at. She says it is nothing, prompting Ichigo to tell her that she is acting weird. Ichigo asks her if she is not going to watch with Yuzu and Isshin, but she says she is not interested. She tells Ichigo that she can see spirits about as clearly as Ichigo can, hence her disinterest in the ghost show. Ichigo remembers that she was the only member of the family to see the Hollow that attacked the house when he first met Rukia. He then realizes that if she can see Hollows, then she might be able to see Shinigami as well. His thoughts are interrupted by Yuzu shouting as the announcer reveals that the show will be broadcast from an abandoned hospital in Karakura Town the following week.[91] The next morning at school, Orihime performs Don Kanonji's pose as Ichigo arrives in class, confusing him. She asks Ichigo if he has not heard of it. When Ichigo says it is Ghost Bust, Orihime ask him to do the pose together, but Tatsuki drags her away. As Ichigo's friends all do the pose, Ichigo tells Keigo that he is not going to the show when it arrives in town. Keigo tries to convince him to go, but he retorts that Keigo is not even from Karakura. Keigo reveals that he has invited Rukia and tries to get her to do the pose.[92]
Orihime apologizes to Ichigo.

The following Wednesday evening an annoyed Ichigo, accompanied by Isshin and his sisters, watches his friends gather at the abandoned hospital where Ghost Bust is being filmed. When they note that he did come after all, Ichigo tells Keigo and Mizuiro to shut up and that he will kill them. Orihime apologizes to Ichigo for trying to get him to do Don Kanonji's pose, explaining that Tatsuki had told her he hates such shows. Ichigo, who did not remember it at first, tells her that it is okay and that it doesn't bother him. He reveals that Keigo and Mizuiro know he despises it, but yet still do it anyway. When asked why he came, he tells Orihime that Isshin and Yuzu are huge fans of the show, saying that they would look pitiful if just the two of them went. Orihime tells him that he is so kind, but Ichigo dismisses it as normal.[93] Ichigo notes that everyone is foolishly gathering at the hospital, thinking that the TV show's staff will think that they do not get any entertainment, calling them freaks. Rukia tells him that he must be tired from his dual life and instructs him to use this chance to spread his wings. Ichigo is surprised that she is concerned about his health, but gets annoyed with her when she reveals that she does not know what the "festival" is about. After explaining it to her, he asks if there really is a spirit in the abandoned hospital, noting that if a spirit really is there, the Shinigami would have dealt with it already. Rukia replies that that is not exactly correct. She says that it is likely to be a Jibaku-Plus and begins to explain what this is.[94] When the Jibaku-Plus begins screaming, Ichigo notes that it sounds like the voice of a Hollow. Rukia tells him that it is on its way to becoming a Hollow.[95] Ichigo notes that it feels like there is a Hollow nearby, but it does not look like one; prompting Rukia to finish her explanation. As the Jibaku-Plus screams at those who have gathered, Ichigo says that he is carrying "one hell of a greedy grudge". As the show begins filming Don Kanonji parachutes into the hospital grounds, causing Rukia to go watch the events unfolding. Ichigo asks her if they should not perform Konsō on the Jibaku-Plus to prevent him from becoming a Hollow. Rukia tells him that it takes months, even years to turn into a Hollow. She says that it would be trouble if there was a struggle as somebody might get hurt and instead states that they will perform the Konsō after the show. Seeing that Ichigo is unconvinced, she seeks to reassure him. However, Don Kanonji jams his staff into the hole in the chest of the Jibaku-Plus.[96]
Ichigo fends off the Hollow, Jibakurai.

Concerned, Ichigo jumps over the cordon and shouts at Kanonji to stop. He is immediately pounced upon by security. He tells them to let him go or something bad will happen. Rukia tries to change him into a Shinigami, but is caught by security too. Ichigo tells her to break free and get over to him, as she only has two guys restraining her.[97] Kisuke Urahara pokes his cane through Ichigo's head, freeing his Shinigami form from his body. Recognizing the sandal-hat guy, Ichigo asks what he is doing there, only to be told not to space out. Ichigo rushes towards Kanonji.[98] Ichigo shouts at Kanonji to stop and knocks him away from the Jibaku-Plus. Kanonji asks what he is doing, causing Ichigo to realize that the medium can see him. When Kanonji calls him a fan, Ichigo threatens him but is cut off by the screams of the Jibaku-Plus, who vanishes in an explosion.[99] Ichigo notes that it did not turn into a Hollow, thinking that Kanonji took care of it. When he asks him if he sent the Plus to heaven, he promises to send Ichigo to heaven too. Rukia shouts at him to look up, where they see the Plus reforming into a Hollow on top of the hospital. Kanonji asks what it is, surprising Ichigo, who tells him it is a Hollow; but Kanonji ignores him. As the Hollow charges at them Ichigo tells Kanonji to run away, but Kanonji pushes him back, telling him to run. Kanonji challenges the Hollow but Ichigo jumps in between them and knocks the Hollow back. The two momentarily bicker but when the Hollow attacks again, Ichigo blocks it.[100] Ichigo knocks Kanonji out of the way of a charge by the Hollow, who gets its head stuck in the hospital wall. As it frees itself, Ichigo drags the medium inside the hospital.[101]

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2 Re: Ichigo Kurosaki (黒崎 一護 on Wed Jun 30, 2010 7:29 am

Toushiro Hitsugaya

十番隊隊長 Jūbantai Taicho
part 2

Annoying Ichigo, Kanonji argues that he should not run away as he is viewed as a hero and must be a symbol to his fans. Ichigo stops him from returning to where the TV cameras can see him, asking the medium what he will do if the audience gets caught up in the fighting; insisting that protecting his fans is also a hero's duty. He explains that Hollows attack people with high levels of spiritual power, meaning that the Hollow will definitely come after them if they stay inside, avoiding harm to the hostages. As Kanonji compliments him, the Hollow bursts through the floor. Ichigo swings his Zanpakutō at it but it hits and becomes stuck in the ceiling. Realizing that the corridors are too confined to use his sword in, Ichigo admits to himself that he never thought of such a thing. The Hollow spits a goo-like substance at him, sticking his hands together. Unable to use his sword, Ichigo tells the Hollow that he will beat him with just his legs. Kanonji, however, steps between them and jams the Hollows mouth open with his staff. Ichigo tells him to run away, but he insists that Ichigo's words have made an impression on him and that his way of fighting is befitting of a hero. To Ichigo's chagrin, he calls Ichigo his battle buddy and says he will die protecting him.[102] As Kanonji prepares his Kanon Ball technique, Ichigo says that it is useless. Kanonji fires the energy ball at the ceiling, freeing Ichigo's blade. He thanks the medium and charges at the Hollow. While Ichigo manages to injure the Hollow, he confirms his suspicion that he cannot target its head properly with his hands stuck together. As Kanonji cheers him on, he wishes that the medium would shut up. With his sword still embedded in the Hollow's shoulder it smashes through the external wall and climbs up on to the roof, dragging Ichigo with him.[103] Freed from the Hollow, Ichigo takes advantage of the open space attacks, saying that as long as Kanonji does not come, the Hollow is nothing to him. Kanonji promptly steps through a nearby door onto the roof, attracting the Hollow's attention. Ichigo tells him to run away and stops the Hollow from attacking Kanonji; knocking it into the guard rail. Ichigo immediately slices the Hollow's head, prompting Kanonji to congratulate him and dance around. Ichigo tells him to stop. As the Hollow's body disintegrates, Kanonji notices that it is the same spirit he thought he sent to heaven. Ichigo explains what happened, causing Kanonji to become distraught. Ichigo tells him that he should not let it get to him, as he did not know and regretting it will do no good. Ichigo points out that the crowd is waving and tells him to answer them, asking if it is not his duty. Kanonji thanks him, complimenting his courage, quick-wits and strength and asks that they work together in future. Ichigo agrees to help him once in a while. Kanonji then annoys him by calling him his number one pupil.[104] Before departing, Ichigo is forced to take a Don Kanonji fan club card, signed “to my #1 pupil”.[105]

The following day, Ichigo is among a group of students brought before the principal regarding the events at the abandoned hospital. Showing a recording of the programme, Kagine complains that their escapades were broadcast live nationwide. He asks Ichigo if he has anything to say to this, prompting Ichigo to comment that the person in show looks a lot like him. Kagine insists that it is him, to which Ichigo replies that he is his twin brother, separated at birth. Kagine persists with his complaint, but is interrupted by Tatsuki. When Rukia says that it is her own fault for not stopping Ichigo and distracts Kagine, Ichigo and the others sneak out the window. After they make their escape, Keigo thanks Rukia, but Ichigo tells him not to, as she was going to sell just him out. When Keigo mentions that the announcer talked over Ichigo’s shouting during the show, Ichigo thinks that he owes the announcer one for preventing people from realizing that he had called Rukia by her first name.[106] That afternoon, Ichigo answers the door when someone calls to the Kurosaki Clinic. Upon realizing that it is Don Kanonji, Ichigo closes and locks the door. When Kanonji questions why he did this, Ichigo demands to know how he found out about his house and tells him to go home. Kanonji reveals that he invited Rukia along and Ichigo realizes that it was her who told the TV star where he lived. Yuzu then sees Kanonji and knocks Ichigo over while opening the door. Rukia’s phone alerts her to a Hollow, and Ichigo says that he would rather be “anywhere but here” and transforms into his Shinigami form, ignoring Kanonji asking him where he is going. As Ichigo and Rukia pass by Uryū Ishida, Ichigo comments that while he always thought it better that Hollows did not appear, this time its appearance saved him. Rukia tells him not to ask for it or drop his guard, prompting Ichigo to complain to her about accepting food from Kanonji. [107]
Ichigo fends off a clingy Plus.

Arriving at what they believed to be the location of a Hollow attack, Ichigo and Rukia find a Plus cowering in a corner, but no Hollow. Ichigo asks Rukia how many times such a thing has happened in the past week, suggesting that Rukia’s phone is broken. The two bicker and Ichigo complains that he is in the middle of exams, even though Rukia is sitting the same exams. As Rukia insists that the phone is working, Ichigo asks if there is another Shinigami defeating the Hollows before him. Rukia tells him that Shinigami are strictly sorted and that it should not be the case. As the Plus jumps at Ichigo, thanking him, Ichigo hits him and orders him to say that to the person who saved him. When Rukia is unable to get the Plus to tell them who saved him, Ichigo performs Soul Burial on him.[108]

At school, Ichigo tells a worried Keigo that exams do not hold a lot of meaning in life. Mizuiro points out that Ichigo is ranked 18th out of the 322 people in their grade, shocking Keigo. Ichigo replies that he studies at home and turns down the “nerdy” that Keigo presents to him. He points out that his orange hair causes him a lot of trouble as older students pick on him and teachers watch him closely, and so he studies so that the school does not complain about him. Mizuiro says that he has a lot of problems, but Ichigo replies that he is used to it. Mizuiro then asks him if he has seen Rukia, saying that they are always together. Ichigo tells Mizuiro that he has been trying to keep away from her at school to avoid the “creepy glances” and rumours since their appearance on Don Kanonji’s TV programme. Rukia then drags Ichigo off, causing him to complain about the rumours about them. Rukia tells him to complain later as there is a Hollow. Ichigo tells her that he will not forgive her if it is not there this time.[109] After school, as they fail to find another Hollow, Ichigo complains about the current missing Hollow and the one from lunch time. As Rukia drags his body from its hiding place, she tells him to shut up and return to his body. Re-entering his body, Ichigo tells her to do something about the problem. The pair are approached by Uryū Ishida, dressed in a Quincy outfit, prompting Ichigo to ask if the unusual outfit means that he is a priest. Uryū asks Ichigo if it is correct that he can see spirits, which Ichigo denies is even possible. When a new Hollow appears, Uryū kills it with his bow and introduces himself, saying that he hates Shinigami,[110] and that he hates Ichigo.[111]
Uryū grabs Ichigo's red spirit thread.

When Keigo and Mizuiro notice that Ichigo is ranked twenty-third in the freshmen first semester final exams, Keigo tells him that they will not invite him anywhere again. Ichigo reflects upon his encounter with Uryū, wondering why he would say such things to a complete stranger and why Uryū was angry when he was the one who interfered with Ichigo’s duties. He notes that remembering it irritates him and decides that he will not go easy on him the next time he meets the Quincy. Realizing that he cannot remember his full name, Ichigo lists of possible names out loud. Orihime overhears him and reveals that Uryū is in their class. Tatsuki tells her that he is poor at remembering people’s faces and names, guessing that he cannot remember half of the class yet. When Ichigo tells Tatsuki to be quiet, Orihime tells him more about Uryū. She takes him to the handicrafts club to show him Uryū. Ichigo notes that he is indeed in their class and they watch him sew a teddy bear for Michiru Ogawa. Orihime asks what happened between Ichigo and Uryū, but Ichigo dismisses it as no big deal.[112] After school, Ichigo followings Uryū as he leaves the school. The Quincy asks him if he intends to follow him all the way home, noting that he had noticed him spying on him from the classroom doorway. When Ichigo applauds him, Uryū states that it is due to Ichigo’s inability to restrain his spiritual power, and that he lacks the ability to sense reiatsu, as evidenced by him not noticing Uryū until that day. Uryū then explains that he noticed Ichigo’s unusually high spiritual power and that in mid-May, he acquired Shinigami powers. Using Reiraku, Uryū explains that a Shinigami’s spirit thread is coloured red and invites Ichigo to fight him, saying that Shinigami are unnecessary in the Human World.[113]

Ichigo calls the idea ridiculous, saying that his grudge against Shinigami has nothing to do with him and that Uryū is no match for him. Uryū taunts him,[114] Uryū succeeds in convincing Ichigo to fight him. Ichigo takes Kon and places him inside his body, freeing his Shinigami form. He tells Kon to watch from there as he beats Uryū and then asks the Quincy what the rules for the fight are. Uryū takes out a piece of Hollow bait, explaining that it will cause Hollows to gather in Karakura Town and the one who defeats the most Hollows within twenty-four hours wins. Angered by this, Ichigo demands to know why he is exposing the residents of the town to such danger for their fight. Uryū tells him not to worry as they will kill all the Hollows.[115] When Uryū kills the first Hollow, Ichigo leaps at him and tells him to undo it, but Uryū tells him that Hollows will soon flood the town and that he should run if he wishes to protect as many people as possible. When Uryū warns him that Hollows tend to prefer people with high spiritual power, Ichigo thinks of Karin and runs off, followed by Kon.[116] After slaying his third Hollow and saving a pair of Pluses, Ichigo notes that Karin should be finished school and would be outside playing, but he struggles to think where she is. Noting that his detection range is too narrow and his reaction to Hollows appearing is too slow, he sends Kon to get Rukia’s phone.[117] Ichigo defeats the Hollows between the Kurosaki Clinic and the last place where he saw Karin, thinking that it should be safe for her now. He then decides to go after Uryū to make him fix the mess he created, but sees a vision of Uryū mocking his ability to find him. He tells the vision not to underestimate his instincts, and then hopes that Kon hurries up with Rukia’s phone.[118]
Ichigo tries to persuade Uryū to fight together with him.

Having tracked down Uryū without Rukia’s phone, Ichigo tells him that he needs to trash Kon first. He demands to know what took the mod-soul so long and blames him for having to wander the entire town. The two argue over the situation, with Ichigo saying that if Kon was so dedicated to Rukia, he should have been able to find her immediately. Having failed to attract their attention by shouting, Uryū fires an arrow at Ichigo, who blocks it. Ichigo insists that it is a battle between him and Uryū, and that the amount of Hollows they beat is irrelevant. Kon points out that there is a large crack forming in the sky, and Uryū notes that the Hollows are converging upon it. When Uryū begins to fire arrows into the group of Hollows, Ichigo tells him there are too many and that they need to come up with a strategy. Uryū asks him if he is afraid and charges towards the Hollows, shouting that the last Quincy will be their opponent. Ichigo asks what he means by this, and Rukia explains about the fall of the Quincy at the hands of the Shinigami,[119][120] prompting him to run after Uryū and attack several Hollows around Uryū. Ichigo tells him that he does not know or care about whether the Shinigami or Quincy were right and expresses his frustration at Uryū’s methods, but is interrupted by him. Uryū tells him that he thought the Shinigami were correct, until his sensei was killed in front of him.[121] Uryū tells Ichigo of his sensei’s attempts to convince the Shinigami to work together with the remaining Quincy, but he died fighting a group of Huge Hollows without achieving that goal. Uryū says that he must prove the strength of the Quincy to the Shinigami. Ichigo complains that his story is too long to remember all of it and kicks his head into a Hollow, dazing it. Ichigo points out that his sensei’s wish was to work together, not to prove the Quincy’s strength and asks if he will do that now, saying that fighting back to back is the best way to deal with the situation.[122]
Ichigo attacks the Menos Grande.

As Uryū dismisses the idea as nonsense, Ichigo attacks a Hollow that had come up behind Uryū, while kills another Hollow. Uryū insists that he is not co-operating, but that he simply had to kill it or else he would have been killed. Ichigo tells him that that is good enough. Ichigo reveals that he does not know much about the Shinigami, nor does he have much pride in doing Shinigami work - he simply wishes to defeat Hollows. He attributes this to his mother's death and his desire to prevent others experiencing what his family went through. Ichigo tells him that his approach to their fight is endangering the people he wants to protect and says that he will not forgive him for that, but it is not the time to talk about such things. Stating his own reluctance to work with Uryū, Ichigo asks him if he will co-operate. Uryū kills another Hollow in reply, saying that his story is rather long as well. The pair agree to beat each other up after the Hollows have been dealt with, but as they are about to attach the horde of Hollows, a Menos Grande rips apart the sky. After they argue about how to deal with the Hollows and the Menos, Ururu Tsumugiya, Tessai Tsukabishi, Jinta Hanakari and Urahara arrive to fight the Hollows.[123] Urahara tells them that they will take care of the "small fry" so that Ichigo can concentrate on fighting the Menos.[124] Seeing its size, Ichigo questions whether it is in fact a Hollow and is shocked to see it eating the nearby Hollows. He tells Uryū that there is no way they can figure out how to fight such a monster and that the will have to simply cut it repeatedly until it succumbs to its injuries. He charges towards the Menos, calling for Uryū to accompany him.[125] Ichigo attacks the Menos' leg, cutting it, but he is knocked back by the unfazed Menos. In response to Uryū's questions, Ichigo tells him that he is alright and that he thought he could cut its feet off and work his way up to the head and kill it that way. Uryū complains about his way of thinking and places his hand on Ichigo's Zanpakutō as he insists that they need to rethink their battle plan. While Ichigo thinks to himself that there was no plan to begin with,[126] Uryū notices that Ichigo's power is flowing into his bow. Ichigo is shocked to see the increased size of Uryū's bow and asks what happened to it.[127]
Uryū's strategy for attacking the Menos Grande.

With Ichigo's Zanpakutō tied to his head, Uryū instructs a dubious Ichigo to increase his power to its maximum so that he can shoot an extremely large arrow at the Menos Grande. Ichigo points out that he never controls his energy output and that if people say that his power is great then it must be at maximum all the time. When the Menos starts to charge a Cero, Ichigo rushes towards it and blocks the Cero with his Zanpakutō. Uryū notes that Ichigo's power increases as he resists the Cero. Ichigo repels the attack, injuring the Menos in the process.[128] As the Menos retreats from the Human World, Ichigo yells "Victory" and asks Uryū whether he is going to thank him for his help before collapsing. Ichigo notes that he cannot move and his Zanpakutō begins to destabilize, losing its form. The energy released from Ichigo and his Zanpakutō causes Uryū's bow to grow again, this time without having to touch it. Noting that it will explode, Uryū begins to fire arrows into the sky to release the excess power, injuring himself. Ichigo tells him not to over do it, as he will lose his arm. Uryū tells him to make sure that he lives so that they he can beat him later.[129] The following day, when Uryū arrives late to school with both arms bandaged, Rukia tells Ichigo not to pay attention to it, as Uryū is responsible for his injuries. Ichigo denies being worried, but Rukia replies that she did not say anything about worrying, annoying Ichigo. Ichigo later overhears Keigo telling Mizuiro that he saw Uryū talking to himself the previous day, believing it to be related to a theatre. Ichigo is thankful, thinking that it is good that Keigo is an idiot.[130] At lunch time, Ichigo asks Uryū to join Keigo, Mizuiro and himself for lunch. Uryū quickly declines, but when Ichigo tells him that it is Keigo's treat, he agrees. While they eat, Keigo notes the heavy atmosphere. Ichigo instructs him to tell some jokes to liven things up, thinking to himself that maybe he should not have invited Uryū. When Uryū asks Ichigo why he invited him, he replies that he is in a good mood and that he ought to be grateful that someone invited him. When the Quincy says that he prefers to eat alone, Ichigo says that he enjoys eating alone too and tells him to eat while facing the other way.[131]
Ichigo finds Kon tied up.

That night, Yuzu complains when Ichigo takes the left-overs from dinner again. Ichigo claims that it is a midnight snack, as it is very tiring during puberty. When Yuzu tells him she will not care when he gets fat, he says he will be careful and goes into his room. Ichigo calls Rukia, but she is not there.[132] Realizing this, Ichigo resigns himself to eating the meal, even though he is not hungry.[133] At 2:00 a.m. Ichigo wonders whether Rukia is going to return that night, noting that it would be nice to get a full night's sleep for once, with no Shinigami duties to carry out. Hearing a muffled noise, Ichigo finds Kon gagged and tied to the back of the toilet bowl. Ichigo brings him back to his room, where Kon thanks him while Ichigo holds his nose due to the smell. Ichigo sprays him with deodorant, prompting an argument between them. When Ichigo asks why he was tied up, Kon tells him that Rukia is in big trouble. He shows Ichigo a note that is sitting on his desk and informs him that she has left. Not knowing why she left without any explanation, they open the note and are shocked to find that she has left the message in a word puzzle. Ichigo figures out the puzzle and reads the message, telling them that she has to leave and instead of looking for her, they should go into hiding. Still confused about the situation, Ichigo decides that nothing will be resolved if they just stay there. He tells Kon that he will become a Shinigami and find her. When Kon asks him how he will change into his Shinigami form, Ichigo realizes that he cannot change form without Rukia. He demands that Kon change him into a Shinigami, but he resists. Urahara appears at the window and offers to change him into Shinigami form, saying that he wants to help his frequent customer.[134]
Renji unleashes his Shikai against Ichigo.

As Renji Abarai attacks Rukia, Ichigo arrives and attacks him. Renji dodges and demands to know who he is.[135] When Renji notes the size of Ichigo's Zanpakutō, Ichigo replies that he thought it was large compared to Rukia's, but there had not been anyone else to compare it to. Renji realizes that he is the Human who took Rukia's Shinigami powers and attacks him.[136] As they clash swords, Renji asks if Ichigo's sword is just for show. Ichigo tells him that his yapping is becoming annoying and that he will end up biting his tongue. As he mentally notes Renji's speed, Renji cuts Ichigo's shoulder and tells him that it is over. He reveals that Rukia will be executed in Soul Society. Renji taunts him, saying that he could not even scratch him. Ichigo slashes at him, cutting his chin. He then apologizes for interrupting his speech and asks him to continue, reminding him that he was saying that he could not scratch the more experienced Shinigami. Captain Byakuya Kuchiki tells Renji that thirty three hours previously, their undercover forces witnessed Ichigo inflicting a scar upon a Menos Grande. Hearing this, Ichigo wonders what a Menos is, thinking that he must be referring to the "big-nosed guy" he fought with Uryū. Renji laughs at this, saying that while his sword is big, it has not power to back it up and asks Ichigo what the name of his Zanpakutō is. Ichigo replies that he has not named his sword and asks if they actually give them names. Renji activates his Shikai, surprising Ichigo with its change of form. He leaps into the air and slashes Ichigo's left shoulder, saying that it is the end of the rookie.[137]
Ichigo's final blow to Renji is stopped.

Renji explains that a Zanpakutō can change its size and shape based on the strength of the owner and that while he does not have a grudge against Ichigo, he will finish him slowly. Rukia attempts to stop Renji and tells Ichigo to run, but Ichigo grabs his sword. As he stands up, Ichigo's reiatsu increases, severing the tassel on his Zanpakutō's hilt. Ichigo injures the surprised Renji and quickly overwhelms him, claiming that his movements have slowed. Ichigo reveals that his wound no longer hurts and that he feels great. As he attempts to end the fight, the blade of his sword disappears. Stunned, Ichigo concludes that Renji is not responsible for it. He then notices that Byakuya is holding the severed blade. Ichigo thinks this to be impossible due to the distance between them and as he prepares for Byakuya's attack, Byakuya appears behind him and stabs him through the chest.[138] As he falls to the ground, Ichigo wonders whether he was attacked from the front or from behind. Byakuya comments that he is slow, even when falling over and stabs him again.[139] As Rukia runs to Ichigo's side, Renji stops her and Byakuya acknowledges that he greatly resembles "him". Ichigo grabs Byakuya's leg, telling the Shinigami captain not to talk about him as if he is dead. Byakuya tells him to let go, but Ichigo instructs the captain to look at him when he is talking so that he can hear him. When Byakuya threatens to cut off his arm, Rukia kicks Ichigo's hand away from her brother, telling him that as a Human, he should know his place. She then tells Byakuya that she is ready to leave for Soul Society. Ichigo protests, but Renji tells him to stop making things worse. Rukia tells Byakuya that there is no point in deliberately kill Ichigo, as he will soon stop breathing on his own. Ichigo asks if this is a joke, causing Rukia to reply that if he tries to follow her, she will never forgive him. She tells him to conserve what energy he has left so that he may live a moment longer. Byakuya acquiesces to Rukia's request and explains that he Ichigo should die within thirty minutes due to his injuries, but if he does survive, he will no longer possess any Shinigami powers. As Renji opens a Senkaimon and leaves with Rukia and Byakuya, Ichigo notes that he cannot move or speak. He reflects upon coming to protect Rukia, but instead she protected him again.[140] As Ichigo contemplates his injuries in the rain, Urahara and Yoruichi Shihōin approach him.[141]
Ichigo awakens with an unexpected bedfellow.

Ichigo thinks to himself he must finally be dying, as he was just cold and now he has no pain and is warm. He then awakes to see Tessai Tsukabishi lying on top of him in a small bed on the floor. As Tessai calls Urahara, Ichigo recognizes him as one of "sandal-hat's" associates, and pushes him out of the bed, hurting his left shoulder. Heavily bandaged, Ichigo realizes that he is neither dead nor at his own house. Urahara enters the room, telling Ichigo that his wounds are not yet fully healed, and that if he moves too much he could die. Ichigo realizes that he is in Urahara's house, and that it was Urahara who saved him. He asks the shopkeeper if he found Uryū as well, and if he is alright. Urahara explains that Uryū's injuries were less severe, so he treated them on the spot. When he left, he was about Ichigo. Ichigo is sceptical of this, but Urahara continues, saying that Uryū had stated that Ichigo was the only one who could beat the Shinigami and save Rukia. Ichigo says that he cannot do anything as Rukia has been taken to Soul Society, which he cannot go to. Urahara reveals that he can send Ichigo to Soul Society, but on the condition that he trains with Kisuke for the next ten days. Ichigo replies that since they do not know when Rukia will be executed, he should go to Soul Society as quickly as possible. Urahara knocks him to the ground with his cane, saying that he will die if he goes there in his current condition. Kisuke then reveals that he purposely allowed Ichigo to fight Renji and Byakuya, as he believed that it would be easier for him to realize this after having fought them himself. As Urahara continues to force the point home, Ichigo stares at Urahara's cane, noting that it feels as if there is a sword pointed at his head. Urahara tells him that Soul Society typically allows a grace period of a month before executions, so they till spend ten days training and seven days opening the gate to Soul Society, leaving Ichigo with thirteen days in Soul Society to rescue Rukia. Ichigo asks if he can truly become stronger in ten days. Urahara assures him that he can and asks if he will do it. Ichigo responds that if he does not, then nobody will.[142]
Orihime asks Ichigo about Rukia's disappearance.

Urahara gives Ichigo a bottle of pills and instructs him to take one every hour. Saying that he will be recovered from his injuries by dinner time, Kisuke sends him to school for the final day of the term. At school, Tetsuo Momohara speaks with Ichigo, who fails to remember his name. Tetsuo reminds Ichigo of his name and that he has repeatedly tried to recruit him for the karate club. Ichigo apologizes and Tetsuo takes Rukia's seat in the class. Ichigo reflects upon the rate at which he is healing thanks to the pills and the fact that nobody appears to remember Rukia. As Misato dismisses the class for summer, Ichigo notes that Uryū did not come in, thinking that he would remember Rukia. Keigo interrupts his thoughts by blind-folding and spinning him around, telling him to guess where the watermelon is. Ichigo hits Keigo over the head with a stick, shocking Keigo and Mizuiro. Keigo recovers and excitedly invites the group on a ten day trip to the ocean. Ichigo declines, saying that he has no time in his schedule, insisting that he cannot go no matter what Keigo says. As he walks home, Ichigo thinks that it is odd that nothing feels out of place, that the world is continuing as normal without Rukia, and that if this is how things are supposed to be, then why should he bother. When Ichigo meets Orihime on the way home, she asks him where Rukia is. She notes that everyone has forgotten about her, but she believed that Ichigo would know. Ichigo explains the situation to her, saying that he had no idea that she could see his Shinigami form. Orihime scolds him about thinking that he could take Rukia away from her friends and family in Soul Society, and that she would be taken back again. She then tells a confused Ichigo that she knows he has already made up his mind even if she scolds him like that. She then gives an impression of how she thinks Ichigo would react and tells him to go save her, insisting that she does not want her friend to die either. Ichigo thanks her and runs off.[143] Ichigo goes to the Urahara Shop, showing Kisuke his healed wounds. He tells Urahara that he told Isshin that he would be sleeping over at a friend's house and asks Urahara to teach him well.[144]
Ururu attacks Ichigo.

In a hidden training area underneath Urahara's shop, Kisuke acts surprised to see such a large space underneath his shop. Ichigo tells him to stop feigning surprise, but Urahara ignores him, prompting Ichigo to tell Tessai that his boss has a habit of ignoring his customers and going off on rants. Ichigo ridicules Urahara's comments about the training area and urges Kisuke to hurry up and start the training. Urahara tells him that he has an admirable spirit and pokes his cane through Ichigo's head, freeing his soul form. Ichigo complains, but is quickly finds it difficult to move. Urahara notes that it is his first time he has had to move in soul form. He explains that Byakuya destroyed the source of his power, leaving him without any Shinigami powers and that he must restore these powers in order to fight the Shinigami. Kisuke explains about Reiryoku, saying that the more one's reiryoku rises, the sharper the movements of their spiritual body becomes. He says that if Ichigo can manage to move even better with his spiritual body than he can with his mortal body, then we will have made a complete recovery of his reiryoku. Not understanding what Urahara wants him to do, Ichigo asks if he has to do gymnastic exercises. Urahara tells Ururu Tsumugiya to get ready. The two greet each other before Urahara tells him to fight her, stating that the lesson will end when one of them can no longer move. Shocked, Ichigo refuses to fight the girl, but is interrupted by Ururu, who tells him to put on some gloves and headgear or else he will die. She lunges at Ichigo and causes a large could of dust and debris.[145] Ichigo emerges from the dust and grabs his headgear, thinking that he would have been killed instantly if that attack had hit him. Noting that it might not do any good, he asks how to put on the headgear. Urahara tells him to put it on his forehead and shout an incantation, but Ichigo refuses. However, when Ururu narrowly misses him again, he does as Urahara instructed, but nothing happens. Annoyed, he yells at Urahara, who is surprised that he did as he had said. Ichigo figures out how to put on the headgear, but runs away from Ururu after another near miss. Ichigo realizes that he is able to run away from the girl. Knowing that he can match her speed, he guesses that he can also dodge her attacks directly and allows her to attack him. Ichigo dodges and begins to attack Ururu. Trying to keep his self control, Ichigo does not aim for the face, preferring to hit her headgear lightly, believing the weight difference will do the rest. However, he hits and cuts her face, causing Ururu to leap onto his outstretched arm and kick his head, sending him flying him into a rocky outcropping. Tessai catches Ichigo before he hits it, cushioning Ichigo from the impact.[146]
Tessai severs Ichigo's Chain of Fate.

Ichigo asks for one more try, but Urahara congratulates him for clearing the lesson. Urahara explains to a confused Ichigo that he never said anything about beating Ururu to clear the lesson. He says that she is strong enough to fight a Shinigami, so there is no way he could win. He asks Ichigo if he is still having trouble breathing or moving, and Ichigo says no. Urahara says that he has successfully recovered his spirit energy; the soul tends to gain the reiryoku faster when it is in danger of being destroyed. If Ichigo had not been able to dodge the attacks, however, he would have died. Ichigo gets mad at this, but Urahara says that everything worked out and that they will move straight to the next lesson. Tessai then cuts Ichigo's Chain of Fate.[147] As Tessai pins him to the ground by sitting on his back, Ichigo yells at Urahara that he will die, as he can no longer return to his body now that the chain has been cut. Ichigo becomes angrier when Urahara tells him that he knew that, who tells him that all he has left is death. He reveals that the chain has already begun to corrode from the severed end, and that if it reaches his chest, a hole will open up and Ichigo will become a Hollow. Urahara tells him that he can avoid this by becoming a Shinigami. The point of this lesson, which Urahara calls "Shattered Shaft", is to restore Ichigo's Shinigami powers. A hole opens up underneath Ichigo and he and Tessai fall to the bottom, where Tessai immobilizes him with Bakudō #99 Kin. Urahara tells him to scale the sides of the deep shaft to clear the lesson, but Ichigo tells him that this is not possible. Kisuke points out that the corrosion of his Chain of Fate has begun, as the chain begins to eat itself.[148] Ichigo falls to the ground and demands that Urahara stop the corrosion, but Kisuke tells him that he would only be eaten as well. He then reveals that there is a gas at the bottom of the shaft which speeds up the corrosion process from months or years, to at most 72 hours. He tells Ichigo to become a Shinigami and climb out of the hole before that, or else he will become a Hollow and they will destroy him. Ichigo asks him if he is planning on killing him, prompting Urahara to tell him that is what he will have to do if Ichigo gives up.[149]
Ichigo awakens in his inner world.

After the fifth corrosion of the chain, Ichigo notes that the process alternates between a few minutes of corrosion and a few hours of dormancy. Due to the pain caused by the corrosion, he is only able to attempt to escape during the dormant phases. Ichigo stands up and attempts to run up the wall of the shaft, but quickly falls back down. Jinta Hanakari asks him if he is hungry. Ichigo replies that he cannot be hungry as souls do not get hungry. Jinta tells him that a soul feeling hungry is a sign that they will soon become a Hollow. He then offers to allow Ichigo to drink his drool and spits down the shaft, encouraging Ururu to do the same. Ichigo threatens to beat them up as drool lands around and on him. Later, as Ichigo wonders how long he has been in the hole for and how he can get out of it, Jinta runs down the shaft's wall with a platter of fruit. He offers the food to Ichigo, who denies that he is hungry, saying that he chain is still long. Jinta places the food on the ground and tells him that it he cannot tell the time in the hole, but it has been seventy hours since he entered the Shattered Shaft. He also reveals that the final corrosion phase is stronger than the earlier ones. The entire remaining length of the chain then begins to eat itself. Ichigo asks Urahara and his associates to stop it, but a hole opens in his chest and a mask begins to form over his face.[150] As Jinta leaves the shaft, Urahara explains that the mask forming before his body reforms is a sign that Ichigo is resisting the transformation.[151] Hearing a voice calling him, Ichigo awakens inside his consciousness on the side of a tall building and sees a man standing on a flagpole. He asks the man who he is. Surprised at this, the man says his name, but Ichigo cannot hear it. He remarks that it is sad, and asks how many times he has to tell him his name before he is able to hear it, as he thought that nobody in this world knew him better than Ichigo. Ichigo denies know anyone as "gloomy" as this man, but is stunned to see him stand on the side of the flagpole. As the man asks how he can sit like he is doing, Ichigo falls from the building and screams. The man follows him and tells him that it is good that he can yell and that Shinigami control death, so he should not worry. As the two fall towards the ground, Ichigo tells him that he is not currently a Shinigami. The man tells him that he can control the Reishi around him and that he should focus them underneath his feet to stand on. The man urges Ichigo to try to remember a time when he was a Shinigami when he stopped in mid-air. He tells Ichigo that Byakuya only destroyed the powers given to him by Rukia, but he failed to realize that Ichigo has his own Shinigami powers. Saying that his powers were hidden deep inside his soul and awakened by Rukia's power, he instructs Ichigo to find it as the world is crumbling around him.[152]

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3 Re: Ichigo Kurosaki (黒崎 一護 on Wed Jun 30, 2010 7:30 am

Toushiro Hitsugaya

十番隊隊長 Jūbantai Taicho
part 3

With the buildings of his inner world dissolving into countless boxes, the man tells Ichigo that his powers are hidden inside just one of them and that if he cannot find it before the world disappears completely, then he will become a Hollow. Ichigo falls through a fissure into water where he wonders if he should do it. He thinks to himself that he has never been any good at sensing reiatsu, as Uryū had previously told him. He then remembers that Uryū had an easy way of sensing reiatsu and soon figures out what it was. Ichigo finds the red Reiraku of his Shinigami powers and opens the box it is coming from, surprised to find a Zanpakutō's hilt inside. The man tells him that this time he ought to hear his name, and urges him to take the hilt.[153] Ichigo struggles to pull out the Zanpakutō as the world crumbles around him.[154] In the Shattered Shaft, the Kidō restraining Ichigo's arms begins to break apart. Tessai tells Urahara that he can no longer simply hold him and activates the next stage of the Kidō, Bankin, restraining his entire body. However, a burst of energy from the hole in Ichigo's chest ruptures the Kidō and there is an explosion. As the smoke clears, Ichigo, wearing a Hollow mask and Shinigami clothes, emerges. As Jinta and Ururu prepare to fight him, Ichigo draws his still broken Zanpakutō and uses it to smash the Hollow mask. Urahara congratulates him on his success, saying that he is now a complete Shinigami, prompting Ichigo to hit him in the eye with the sword's hilt. Ichigo reveals that he swore that he would kill Urahara when he got out of the shaft. Urahara suggest they move straight to the third lesson, which is simply to knock Urahara's hat off of his head. Ichigo immediately attacks Kisuke, cutting the hat slightly. Urahara compliments the power of the broken blade, prompting Ichigo to say that he can do better when he gets serious. Ichigo proposes a five minute time limit as Kisuke draws a blade from within his cane.[155]
Ichigo and Kisuke clash.

Urahara quickly overwhelms Ichigo, who compliments the power of his attacks, despite the sword being so skinny. Remembering that the only thing which can cut a Shinigami is Zanpakutō or a Hollow, Ichigo concludes that he cannot be harmed by Urahara's blade and relaxes. Kisuke, however, immediately cuts off the remains of Ichigo's Hollow mask and calls him naive for thinking that his sword is not a Zanpakutō. He activates Benihime's Shikai, telling him that it is a genuine Zanpakutō.[156] As Ichigo remembers Renji using his Shikai during their fight, Urahara tells him that every Zanpakutō has a name. He attacks again, destroying a rocky outcropping and sending Ichigo flying. Ichigo blocks his next attack, causing Urahara to compliment him on his bravery. He then cuts through the remains of the blade, slicing off even more of it. Ichigo runs away from him in response and wonder how it could have happened. Urahara catches up and destroys the rest of the blade and the tsuba, saying that there is no power in Ichigo's sword. Urahara asks him if he can still win with just the hilt remaining, saying that he will kill him if he continues to fight with just the hilt. Ichigo runs away again, thinking that he is going to die. As Urahara continues to attack him, Ichigo thinks that it is embarrassing and questions why he ran. As he is knocked to the ground, Ichigo sees the man from his inner world again. The man asks why Ichigo ran when he has not yet called him. He says that Ichigo should be able to hear him now and tells him to cast off his fear. He reveals that his name is Zangetsu[157] and Ichigo stops in his tracks, turns towards Urahara and calls out Zangetsu, activating his Shikai. Ichigo looks at the new form of his Zanpakutō as Urahara tells him it is time to start lesson three for real. Ichigo warns him that he might not be able to hold back and swings Zangetsu at Urahara, who activates his Chikasumi no Tate ability. As the dust settles, the hat-less Kisuke comments that he could have lost an arm if it were not for the Chikasumi no Tate. He picks up his ruined hat and calls Ichigo a scary kid, as he did not expect so much from one swing. Urahara congratulates a sleeping Ichigo on passing the third lesson.[158]

After completing Urahara's training, Ichigo has a relatively normal summer holiday while waiting for the gateway to Soul Society to be opened. On the first of August, Ichigo and his friends gather for a fireworks festival. Having kicked Keigo in the face for over-reacting to seeing Ichigo again, Ichigo asks him why the have gathered so early in the day when the festival is that night, prompting a short argument. Ichigo asks Tatsuki what happened to her arm, which was broken when she was hit by a car during a national tournament. Isshin, Karin and Yuzu, all wearing kimonos, come running up to Ichigo, knocking him down a bank. Due to the girls' behaviour, Ichigo asks if they are drunk. Isshin explains that a juice seller had used wine to dilute the juice instead of water. Isshin then tells the group that they saved a seat on the opposite bank of the river that morning and Isshin heads off with the twins, and several of Ichigo's friends. Ichigo decides to follow them and apologizes to Tatsuki for always bothering her, saying it is alright if she does not want to come. She tells him to hurry up, and that she will be there later.[159] Later that night, Ichigo complains to a drunken Isshin about having to carry Karin and Yuzu. Isshin tells his son that he can enjoy that touch and that they did not wear any underwear under their kimonos. When Ichigo angrily asks him what he wanted to do to his daughters, he replies that it is just a joke and that he should not make such scary expressions. Ichigo tells him that he will be leaving for another week again and that he might not be back until the summer vacation ends. Ichigo looks at his father, prompting Isshin to ask why he is giving him a "I'm very worried about what will happen when I'm gone look". He tells Ichigo that he will take care of everything at the house and that while he is still around, he will not allow anyone to hurt his family. Ichigo asks if he is an idiot, saying that he is not worried at all.[160]
Isshin presents Ichigo with a protective charm.

Seven days after completing his training, Ichigo follows Urahara's instruction to open his window at 1:00a.m. and wait for his message. Saying that he has a bad feeling about this, Ichigo enjoys the breeze before a ball flies through the window and leaves a bloody message on his closet door, telling him to go the Urahara Shop. Ichigo notes that it is like a message from a dying person and becomes angry when more of the message is revealed, showing that Urahara had anticipated his reaction. As Ichigo leaves, he says goodbye to Yuzu and Karin. Outside the clinic, Isshin once again tries to assault him, only to miss and smash his head into the pavement. Isshin gives him an amulet, which Ichigo dismisses. Isshin tells him that Masaki gave it to him, and that it will bring him good fortune. He insists that he is lending it to him for his trip, and that he is to give it back when he returns. When Ichigo does not answer, Isshin tells him he will have to shave his beard if he loses it. Ichigo asks if this is a threat and decides to borrow the charm. On his way to the Urahara Shop, Ichigo meets up with Orihime, who reveals that she had received the same message as Ichigo. Ichigo reveals that he did not know she was going too until Urahara mentioned it and asks her if she is sure about it. When she insists that she is, he urges her to hurry. When they arrive at the shop, they find Sado waiting for them there and asks where Uryū is, saying that he had heard that he was coming too. When Uryū arrives in a Quincy outfit, he promises to show Ichigo how powerful he has become. Ichigo, however, asks him if he had walked the entire way there wearing that outfit, saying that he is very brave. Urahara interrupts them and invites the group inside, saying that they must listen carefully to him or else they might die before reaching Soul Society.[161]
The Janitor that chases Ichigo's group through the Dangai.

In the underground training area, Ichigo notes that Orihime finds it easy to get along with new people, unlike Sado and Uryū. Urahara attracts their attention by revealing the Senkaimon that they will be using to enter Soul Society. He then uses his cane to remove Ichigo's Shinigami form from his body. As the others examine his body, Ichigo complains about them touching it freely. Kon appears and agrees with Ichigo, prompting Ichigo to demand to know why he is there. Kon insists that he is going with them, but Urahara requests their attention again as he explains about how the Senkaimon works. When Ichigo says that he understands and that it is time to go, Urahara pokes him in the side with his cane and continues talking, saying that the Senkaimon will only stay open for four minutes. If they do not reach Soul Society in that time, then they will become trapped in the Dangai Precipice World. As Urahara tells them about the Dangai, Yoruichi tells them that only those who are truly ready for the task can go, Ichigo tells the talking cat that that everyone gathered there has already made their decision and will go to Soul Society. When Yoruichi tells him that they will never return if they lose, Ichigo responds that they simply have to win. When the Senkaimon opens, Ichigo tells the now tied up Kon to take care of his family. Ichigo, Uryū, Orihime, Sado and Yoruichi enter the gate and appear in the Dangai. Yoruichi tells them not to zone out and run to the exit.[162] As they run, the parts they have already passed through collapse behind them. When Uryū's cape is caught by the Kouryū, Ichigo grabs his Zanpakutō, but Yoruichi tells him not to use it, as the Kouryū will trap it and he will not escape. Ichigo asks what he should do instead, but Sado grabs Uryū and tears the cape. The group continues along the path, but are chased by the Janitor. Realizing that they will not make it to the exit in time, Orihime uses her shield to protect them from the Janitor and the group is propelled through the exit and into Soul Society.[163]
Soul Society arc
Ichigo shows his new strength against Jidanbō.

Upon arriving at one of the Seireitei entrance, Ichigo and his team meet Jidanbō Ikkanzaka, a Seireitei gatekeeper.[164] There Ichigo quickly shows off his newfound might by defeating the giant easily, but he is in turn quickly repelled back outside the gate by Captain Gin Ichimaru.[165]

Needing a new method to enter the Seireitei, Yoruichi brings them to Kūkaku Shiba whose fireworks speciality helps launch them into the Seireitei through a spirit cannon. While successfully entering, Ichigo and the team get separated from each other.[166] He then proceeds to fight Ikkaku Madarame. Ichigo beats Ikkaku, even after Ikkaku reveals his Zanpakutō's Shikai, and learns that he will be hunted down by Kenpachi Zaraki, who will seek out the strongest of the intruders.[167]
Ichigo fighting Renji in their second battle.

Ichigo is then met by Renji Abarai, who seeks revenge for his earlier defeat. Renji gravely injures Ichigo, who becomes stronger during the fight and manages to barely defeat Renji using a direct Getsuga Tenshō; after which Renji begs him to rescue Rukia, his childhood friend, upon changing his mind regarding his loyalties. Renji is taken into detention for trying to fight alone and losing, while Ichigo is healed by Hanatarō Yamada in Seireitei's sewage system. It is revealed here that Ichigo's Hollow mask was able to lessen the damage from what would have been fatal blows by Renji, causing Hanatarō to discard the mask in fear.[168] Ichigo finally encounters Kenpachi Zaraki on his way to the Shrine of Penitence, where Rukia is held, and at first hardly injuring the powerful captain, who according to Hanatarō, is immortal. After Zangetsu helps Ichigo find his resolve, Ichigo makes a tremendous comeback, managing to overpower and greatly injure Zaraki. Finding Ichigo his equal, Kenpachi decides to unleash his full power. This prompts Ichigo to call for help from Zangetsu to summon his full power (and perhaps his inner Hollow as his spiritual power manifests into his Hollow mask during the clash) shocking his opponent again by equaling Kenpachi's own immense spiritual energy to defeat the captain. Despite technically winning, both Ichigo and Kenpachi are left incapacitated in the aftermath. After Kenpachi is evacuated by his lieutenant Yachiru Kusajishi, Ichigo is rescued by Yoruichi.[169][170][171]

After learning of Yoruichi's true Shinigami form and having most of his injuries treated, Ichigo quickly rushes to the tower where Rukia is being held to save both Hanatarō and Ganju from Byakuya Kuchiki.[172] Upon his arrival he confronts Byakuya, even though he is not at full strength. The fight goes better than his first confrontation with Byakuya,[173] but knowing that Ichigo is not ready to fight someone of Byakuya's caliber, Yoruichi stops the fight by incapacitating Ichigo, swearing to make Ichigo stronger than Byakuya in three days.[174] After escaping Byakuya, Yoruichi then takes Ichigo to the secret training ground to undergo training to achieve the said power.
Ichigo frees Rukia from the Sōkyoku execution stand.

Yoruichi tells Ichigo that he cannot save Rukia with his present power and asks him to train to achieve the Bankai of his Zanpakutō. Upon completing the training, he, along with Yoruichi and sympathetic captains Shunsui Kyōraku and Jūshirō Ukitake, separately converge upon the Sōkyoku to stop Rukia's execution. At the last possible second, Ichigo stops the execution, and proceeds to dispatch three lieutenants — Marechiyo Ōmaeda, Isane Kotetsu and Chōjirō Sasakibe — barehanded. Along with being able to stop the Sōkyoku, a blade with the power of 1 million Zanpakutō, he proves that he has truly become more powerful within three days. He is then confronted by Byakuya Kuchiki.[175]
The final fight of Byakuya and Ichigo.

At first they fight without releasing their Zanpakutō, Byakuya casually analyzing Ichigo as he fights, noticing an impressive difference. Ichigo eventually coerces Byakuya to use Bankai. Ichigo is unable to keep up just using his Shikai, and he reveals his Bankai against Byakuya, using his speed to outmaneuver Senbonzakura and eventually injure him for the first time. Byakuya counters using the second form of his own Bankai, and after a while Ichigo's bones begin to break under his Bankai's spiritual compression, giving Byakuya the chance to paralyze him with a single Kidō attack (shot through his shoulder). This leaves him in critical condition. At this point, Ichigo's inner Hollow surfaces and injures Byakuya to the point that both combatants have almost no power left. After regaining control of himself, Ichigo faces off against Byakuya in a final clash, each channeling all their energy into a single attack. After this final clash, neither has the strength to fight, but Byakuya admits his defeat because his blade was destroyed by Ichigo's. Byakuya then departs, leaving Ichigo barely standing, the only thing supporting him being his Zanpakutō.[176]
Sōsuke Aizen effortlessly defeats Ichigo.

Through a message relayed through Kidō by Isane Kotetsu, Ichigo then finds out that the events in Soul Society were an elaborate plot masterminded by Sōsuke Aizen. Renji is then severely wounded by Aizen but refuses to give Rukia over and Aizen kill him but Ichigo saves them.[177] The two of them then join forces to fight off Aizen. Renji uses his Shikai Special Ability, Higa Zekkō where he uses the broken segments of his Zanpakutō to surround the opponent in order to give Ichigo an opening. But this plan proves futile for Aizen is able to deflect Ichigo's sword with his finger and instead slashes him across the midriff just by flicking his wrist. As Ichigo falls to the ground in a state of shock, Aizen slashes Renji who falls to the ground as well.[178]

He then takes Rukia by the collar but is interrupted by Ichigo who surprises him as he is still alive. Aizen then begins to tell Ichigo how he had planned every move from the beginning for his goal, to obtain the Hōgyoku with the help of which he would be able to surpass the powers of normal Shinigami by merging the thin line between that of Shinigami and Hollows. However their conversation is interrupted by Sajin Komamura captain of the 7th division who tells Aizen that he would never forgive his betrayal to Soul Society and demands an explanation from Tōsen. He proceeds to hit Aizen with his Shikai but Aizen stops it with his bare hands and gets away quickly and moves up close to him.[179]

He then tries to release his Bankai but is unable to for Komamura is caught in Aizen's hypnosis. Aizen then defeats him single-handedly by using a Level 90 Kidō spell. Ichigo looks on dumbstruck, wondering about the vast difference between the powers of two captains. With Komamura out of the way Aizen continues his conversation with Ichigo and tells him that Kisuke Urahara had planted the Hōgyoku inside Rukia Kuchiki in order to hide its very existence as Rukia was inhabiting a Gigai that would ultimately reduce her to a normal Human. Thus concealing the Hōgyoku for ever. Just then Ichigo's comrades, Orihime Inoue, Yasutora Sado, Uryū Ishida and Ganju Shiba arrive at the scene but are rendered helpless as Gin releases an enormous amount of spiritual power.[180]

Aizen then proceeds to extract the Hōgyoku from within Rukia using an technique that was made by Urahara that could forcibly take the Hōgyoku from within a soul without damaging it. One other way of extracting it that Aizen had thought of was using the Sōkyoku on Rukia, though this proved to be a failure because of Ichigo's interference. He is unable to do anything without the help of the remaining captains before Aizen departs for Hueco Mundo.[181]

Prior to leaving Soul Society, Ichigo is given a badge by Ukitake that serves as a license that allows him to hunt Hollows in his area officially.[182][183] He also speaks with Rukia who has decided to stay in Soul Society.[184]
Bount arc (anime only)

Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
Click "show" to read the arc plot. [show]

After his adventures in Soul Society, Ichigo, not aware he is unable to perform Bankai outside of Soul Society, faces off against three mod souls in a series of games set by Urahara which involved kidnapping Ichigo's friends, unbeknownst to Ichigo. When Ichigo attempts Bankai he is unable to, and undergoes training with three Modified Souls (Ririn, Kurōdo and Noba).[185]

After the training, which ends up unsuccessful, he finds out about the Bounts and confronts Yoshino Sōma, who uses a powerful fire-type Doll. Ichigo is unable to win, even with the help of Rukia Kuchiki. However, he is unintentionally saved by another Bount, Ryō Utagawa. Utagawa appears later to try to eat Uryū's soul, and a battle between him and Ichigo's group ensues. Yoshino then appears and takes Uryū away. While visiting Uryū in the hospital, the group is met by Hō and Ban, Bount twins who use Dolls that manipulate water. Ichigo attempts to defeat them, but any damage sustained to the Dolls quickly regenerates. He discovers that when the twins are separated, their ability to control their Dolls is greatly reduced, and with some assistance from Ganju Shiba, the group succeeds in blowing the weakened Dolls up with fireworks, killing the Bount twins in the process. Ichigo and company then infiltrate Jin Kariya's mansion in search of Uryū.[186]

Upon entering Kariya's mansion, Ichigo engages Utagawa in battle, during which he obliterates a large portion of the house. His spiritual power surprises both Utagawa and Maki Ichinose, a Shinigami deserter who joined forces with the Bounts. Ichinose confronts Ichigo and the two fight until Kariya takes over and overpowers Ichigo. As Ichigo is at the brink of defeat, Kisuke Urahara and his assistants arrive to rescue them, demolishing the remainder of the mansion in the process.[187]
Ichigo fights Dalk, Gō Koga's Doll.

Later on, Ichigo fights Gō Koga and his Doll, Dalk, after the Bitto nearly killed Keigo Asano. Ichigo is slowly beaten, allowing his Inner Hollow to take over. Ichigo manages to repel his Inner Hollow and take over, only to succumb to his previous injuries. Izuru Kira soon appears to lend a helping hand, disabling the Doll. Gō retreats, unwilling to kill such young men due to an incident in his past with a young Bount.[188]

Ichigo then invades the Bount hideout that Ugaki is defending with Chad, Orihime, Rukia, Renji and the modified souls. Four Shinigami lieutenants who had entered the cave earlier and fought Ugaki's Doll, Gesell, assist them. Finally, only Renji and Ichigo continue into the depths of the cave to find Ugaki. Renji decides to take on Gesell one on one with his Bankai so that Ichigo will have the strength to take on the remaining Bounts. Renji's attacks send Gesell on a fury that ends when Ugaki is killed by his own Doll (possibly due to the Doll being influenced by Kariya). The cave begins to crumble and Yumichika Ayasegawa convinces Ichigo to leave them behind and go further into the cave.[189]

Ichigo finds the remaining Bounts and they open a portal to an unknown destination. Ichigo starts a battle with Kariya. Kariya defeats Ichigo's Shikai and threatens to kill him using Zangetsu. The threat convinces Ichigo to recover his will to fight and regain his ability to use his Bankai. The fight continues, with both adversaries now evenly matched. They are interrupted by Uryū Ishida, who helps the Bounts reach Soul Society, believing he will get stronger there and defeat the Bounts.[190]

In Soul Society, Ichigo's group uses Kūkaku Shiba's house as their initial base of operations and separate to search for the Bounts. After the Bount Yoshi almost kills Rukia Kuchiki, she is saved by Byakuya. Ichigo asks Byakuya for assistance, but Byakuya refuses, making it clear that he still dislikes Ichigo. Later, Ichigo comes across Kariya and Byakuya fighting in a forest and joins in. Despite being outnumbered, Kariya is able to hold his own. Ran'Tao, the Shinigami who created the Bounts, steps in and takes Ichigo and Uryū Ishida (who arrive soon after) back to her home in Rukongai. Ran'Tao explains to Uryū and Ichigo about how her spirit powers were sealed and how she was banished for creating the Bounts, among other things.[191]

After departing from Ran'Tao's home, they meet up with Tōshirō Hitsugaya, Rangiku Matsumoto, and Renji Abarai, who are in the middle of a battle with former Shinigami Maki Ichinose. This does not last long though as Kenpachi Zaraki arrives and challenges Ichinose, allowing the others to pursue the Bounts. At the Technological Institute, Ichigo and Chad catch up to Kariya, but are unable to stop him. Their battle inadvertently unearths the Jōkaishō, a massive energy source, which Kariya had been searching for. Kariya absorbs the energy and uses its destructive potential as a threat to keep Ichigo at bay. He then gives the whole of Soul Society a day to think about their impending destruction. With permission from Matsumoto, Ichigo uses the 10th Division as a base of operations during this time.[192]
Ichigo fights Jin Kariya.

The next day, Ichigo saves both Uryū and Ran'Tao from Kariya, and the two battle.[193]

Ichigo uses his Bankai and begins to fight Kariya. Ran'Tao reveals that there are multiple Jōkaishō scattered throughout Soul Society that will detonate when Kariya uses his Jōkaishō, and the Shinigami of the Gotei 13 begin to seal all of the Jōkaishō. Meanwhile, Ichinose arrives and attacks Ichigo, but turns his sword on Kariya, claiming that he did not join Kariya to watch him destroy Soul Society. Kariya kills Ichinose, and reveals his doll, Messer, in the form of a sword of wind. Kariya uses the wind from his doll to produce electricity, and attacks Ichigo with it. Ichigo's inner Hollow momentarily takes over his body, but Ichigo regains control of his body, surprising Kariya. Ichigo informs Kariya that he cannot absorb spirit particles to heal himself because Ran'Tao sealed his absorption ability. Kariya attempts to detonate a Jōkaisho. Ichigo then deals a fatal blow to Kariya, who wonders what will happen to Ichigo and his inner Hollow before dying. Ichigo concludes that Kariya intended to travel to Soul Society in order to end his eternal life.[194]

Ichigo, Renji and Rukia return to the Kuchiki Manor to discuss Kariya's life. Ichigo remarks on how his life was changed when Rukia gave him her powers, Renji recalls when he was promoted to lieutenant of the 6th Division, and Rukia reminisces on the day when she was assigned to the Human World. Afterwards, Ichigo and his friends return to the Human World. Yoruichi brings Koga, who survived his fight with Hitsugaya, to Ran'Tao's hideout. Hidden from the Shinigami, he is able to recover from his injuries. Koga accepts that the destiny of the Bounts is to eventually die out.[195]

Arrancar arc
Ichigo blocks an attack from Yammy Riyalgo.

When Ichigo returns from Soul Society, Isshin attacks him in bed. Ichigo blocks the attack, earning praise form Isshin.[196] Ichigo returns the protective charm to Isshin, but he says that he does not want it and sews it to Ichigo's school uniform. Ichigo asks if he lied about Masaki haven given him the charm, but Isshin changes the subject.[197]

When Ichigo returns home from school, Isshin elbows him in the face, knocking him to the ground, surprising Isshin, who notes that he looks depressed. He says that he must have done poorly in an exam and tells him that Isshin "The Man" Kurosaki does not get upset by school exam results, saying that grades are unimportant. He tells Ichigo that a high school student should be energetic and do things that are difficult to speak of, such as falling in love. Ichigo, however, says that he will stay in his room until dinner, prompting Yuzu to blame Isshin for not apologizing.[198]

Shinji Hirako reveals himself as a recruiter for the Vizard, approaches Ichigo and attempts to convince him to join his organization. Ichigo persistently refuses, even after being warned that his inner Hollow will eventually take over and destroy everything in sight. Shortly afterwards, two Arrancar, Yammy Riyalgo and Ulquiorra Cifer, appear in Karakura Town in order to locate and evaluate Ichigo's strength. Upon seeing Chad injured, Ichigo battles Yammy using his Bankai, and manages to cut off the giant's right arm. Before he could progress, however, Ichigo's inner Hollow soon interferes, paralyzing Ichigo, and Yammy injures both him, and Orihime. The arrival of Yoruichi Shihōin and Kisuke Urahara forces Ulquiorra into strategic retreat. Ulquiorra returns to Aizen believing that Ichigo is a waste of his and Aizen's time.[199]

After his failure against the Arrancar, Ichigo loses his will as a Shinigami since he cannot protect his friends. This mood lasts until the arrival of Gotei 13's expeditionary force: six Shinigami sent to the Human World under the command of Tōshirō Hitsugaya. Rukia, who is among them, forces Ichigo to defeat a Hollow, all the while chastising him. Later that day, Ichigo discusses the growing Arrancar threat with Hitsugaya's force and learns what the Arrancar actually are. When Rukia returns to the Kurosaki household, Isshin and Yuzu try to eavesdrop on her and Ichigo from his bedroom door. When Ichigo hears him talking to Karin, he scares them off.[200] After they discuss the mission, Renji and Rangiku study Kon's Mod Soul pill and his stuffed lion body, amazed that a gikongan pill could be used in a stuffed animal's body. Getting annoyed by their company, Ichigo asks them when they would be leaving. Renji tells him that they cannot return to the Soul Society until after the Arrancar threat is dealt with. Ichigo tells them he has no problem with them in the Human World, but insists that they all cannot stay at his house, which eventually causes all of Hitsugaya's team to leave Ichigo's residences, except for Rukia, who tries to move into Ichigo's closet again, which Ichigo prevents, since his family now knows about her.[201] Rukia tells Isshin and Yuzu a cover story of having no home in order to coerce them to let her stay with them, which apparently succeeds.[202] However, instead of staying in Ichigo's closet, Rukia ends up sharing a room with Karin and Yuzu (much to her dismay).[203]
Ichigo stops Di Roy Linker from killing Chad

Later during the night, six Arrancar under the command of Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez invade Karakura Town, intending to finish what they view as an incomplete mission on Ulquiorra's part. They split up, seeking targets with spiritual power.[204] Ichigo senses them and fully recognizes their reiatsu. Rukia tells him that there are six Arrancar total and that they are targeting anyone with reiatsu, regardless of how much or how little each person has. She further states that one of them already arrived Chad's house.[205] Although he has not completely recovered from his injuries against Yammy, Chad heads out to fight the Arrancar, but is nearly killed by Di Roy Linker, who tries to impale his arm into Chad's chest. Ichigo arrives in time and stops Di Roy's strike, narrowly saving Chad's life.[206] Ichigo tells Chad to let him handle Di Roy. Chad tries to protest, but Ichigo insists that he lets him fight Di Roy. Realizing that he is not strong enough to help Ichigo anymore, Chad lets Ichigo fight Di Roy and runs off.[207] Rukia arrives after Chad leaves, asking Ichigo what he said to Chad. Ichigo just tells her that he told him to step aside and let him fight. Rukia then tells Ichigo to step aside, as he already exceeded his strength when he fought Yammy during his last encounter with the Arrancar. She swallows a Gikongan pill and transforms into her Shinigami form, which surprises Ichigo. Rukia explains that she lost her powers in the first place because of Urahara's Gigai, and that once she was out of that Gigai, her powers returned as time passed. The artificial soul possessing Rukia's Gigai pounces on Ichigo. Rukia explains that the soul's name is Chappy, and that it was the one she originally intended before they got Kon by mistake, to which Ichigo remarks that he's glad they got Kon instead.[208]
Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez approaches Ichigo and Rukia

Growing impatient, Di Roy attacks Rukia while Chappy continues to keep Ichigo from interfering with their fight.[209] Chappy keeps Ichigo pinned down until Rukia returns from the fight, having killed Di Roy with her Zanpakutō's Shikai. Chappy explains Rukia's Zanpakutō to him and that her abilities are actually on-par to that of a seated officer, and that Byakuya pulled some strings to prevent Rukia from being promoted, so she would not be involved in dangerous missions. Before anything else can be said, another Arrancar arrives, having sensed Di Roy's death at Rukia's hands. He introduces himself as Arrancar #6: Grimmjow.[210] Rukia is lost in her own thoughts, as she questions as to whether or not if Grimmjow is really the same species as Di Roy, as he is much more powerful than Di Roy was. Grimmjow questions them both as to which one of them is stronger, breaking Rukia from her thoughts. She yells to Ichigo to retreat, but Grimmjow silences her shortly after by impaling her with his arm, stating that he knew that Rukia was not the strongest of the two. Rukia loses consciousness as Grimmjow slides her body off of his arm. Ichigo proceeds to charge at Grimmjow in response to him impaling Rukia.[211]
Ichigo fights Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez

He tries to attack him with Zangetsu, but Grimmjow blocks it with his bare arm and pushes him back with his reiatsu. Grimmjow tells him that he is giving him a chance to use his Bankai, and that if he does not, then he will punch a whole in him like he did to Rukia. Ichigo complies and activates his Bankai.[212] Ichigo tries to attack Grimmjow with his Bankai, but Grimmjow is able to block each of Ichigo's strikes unarmed and is even able to out-maneuver him. He proceeds to attack Ichigo unarmed and severely beats him to the point of exhaustion without sustain any injuries or fatigue of his own. Grimmjow is disappointed with Ichigo's Bankai, as he only notices that Tensa Zangetsu increases Ichigo's speed. Desperate, Ichigo uses his black Getsuga Tenshō to attack Grimmjow, which he barely manages to block. Grimmjow questions what attack Ichigo used, as Ulquiorra's report did not record Ichigo's use of his Getsuga Tenshō. Ichigo smirks and ask Grimmjow if he is still disappointing. However, Ichigo is halted by his inner Hollow, who tries to take over.[213] Grimmjow laughs at Ichigo's remark and states that he might just be worth killing after all. Ichigo looks at Grimmjow and sees that his Getsuga Tenshō only wounded him superficially. He further states that his black Getsuga Tenshō was originally his inner Hollow's technique and determines that he can fire two or three more blasts before his inner Hollow takes over completely. Grimmjow begins to draw his Zanpakutō, but is stopped by Kaname Tōsen who tells Grimmjow to sheathe his sword. Ichigo recognizes Tōsen as one of the captains who defected with Aizen. Grimmjow questions Tōsen why he is in the Human World. Tōsen tells him that he broke orders by mobilizing five Arrancar, taking them to the Human World, and getting them killed in battle, when he did not receive orders to attack the Human World in the first place. He informs Grimmjow that Aizen is upset with his actions, and that he is to be taken back to Hueco Mundo to be punished. As Tōsen opens a Garganta, Grimmjow reluctantly complies, which upsets Ichigo. As Grimmjow explains that he's returning to Hueco Mundo, Ichigo demands that Grimmjow finishes their fight. Grimmjow counters him by saying that the only reason he is still alive is because he is leaving before their fight is finished. He further states that he knows Ichigo can only fire two or three more Getsuga Tenshō blasts at him, and that even if he could fire his Getsuga Tenshōs without limit, he would not stand a chance against him in his released state. He tells Ichigo not to forget his name: Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez, as the next time he hears his name, he would be a dead man. The Garganta closes, leaving Ichigo alone to ponder the events that have occurred. Renji arrives soon after, asking Ichigo if he won. Ichigo states that he lost, but Renji argues that since he's alive, it means that he won. Ichigo tells him not to patronize him, as he would not be saying that if he were in Ichigo's position. He further states that he cannot protect anyone or even help the wounded; he was defeated in battle by Grimmjow.[214]
The other Vizard stop Ichigo's inner Hollow from killing Hiyori Sarugaki.

Ichigo, unable to control his inner Hollow, accepts Shinji Hirako's offer and seeks out the Vizard in order to gain control.[215] During a sparring match with Hiyori Sarugaki, he loses control to his Hollow side once more and nearly kills her.[216][217] After reverting back to his Shinigami state, Ichigo is informed that he cannot simply keep his Hollow in check with his body or mind, but must force it into the very core of his soul. After a brief period of unappreciated training, Ichigo is told to confront his Hollow side within his inner world. There, Ichigo squares off against his Hollow self. Even after several exchanges, Ichigo is unable to damage the Hollow, while badly injured and stabbed himself. Finally, Ichigo is defeated, and his sword shatters. After a brief discourse with his Hollow, and then another with an inner manifestation of Kenpachi Zaraki (in the anime, Byakuya Kuchiki and Jin Kariya appear before this, and force him to fight their battles again. Ichigo is defeated by both of them), Ichigo realizes his trouble is that he lacks pure fighting spirit, instead needing reasons to fight his opponents. His spirit rekindled by this revelation, Ichigo is able to make a comeback, seizing the Hollow's sword and impaling him on it. With his Hollow subdued for the moment, Ichigo fades back to reality. When he comes to, he learns that while he was fighting internally, his outer body had transformed into that of a powerful and berserk Hollow. The Vizard had taken turns battling this monster to keep it in check.[218][219] Ichigo then trains with Hiyori to increase the amount of time he can stay in masked form.[220]

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4 Re: Ichigo Kurosaki (黒崎 一護 on Wed Jun 30, 2010 7:32 am

Toushiro Hitsugaya

十番隊隊長 Jūbantai Taicho
part 4

A month later, the Arrancar once again invade Karakura, and Ichigo brashly heads off to fight Grimmjow, even though he can only remain in his masked form for eleven seconds. This backfires, as despite using his masked form and Grimmjow's loss of an arm since their last meeting, Ichigo is unable to defeat him within the eleven-second limit. His mask crumbles, and Ichigo is brutally counterattacked. On the brink of defeat and pinned to the ground, Ichigo is granted a short reprieve by Rukia. As Grimmjow recovers from Rukia's attack, Shinji Hirako appears and fights him until the Arrancar retreat by order of Ulquiorra.[221][222][223]

When tending to Ichigo's wounds, the Vizard Hachigen Ushōda reveals that Ichigo's spiritual power has been contaminated somewhat by Grimmjow's. As per his instructions, Rukia takes him back to the Kurosaki Clinic to recover.[224] While in a deep sleep, he is visited by Orihime, who has been taken prisoner by the Arrancar and given a twelve hour reprieve by Ulquiorra to say good-bye to just one person. Orihime tries to kiss Ichigo while he sleeps, but is unable to. She does, however, confess her love for him.[225]

Later, Ichigo awakens from a bad dream and realizes that the wound from his wrist is healed. Trying to sense by spiritual pressure who has healed him, he is visited by Hitsugaya, who tells him to come immediately for an emergency Shinigami meeting. The meeting is held at Orihime's apartment where Hitsugaya and Matsumoto took up residence and done via a live-conference device connecting Soul Society and the Human World. Captain Ukitake greets them and informs them Orihime was taken by an Arrancar and might have been killed. Ichigo informs them that she visited him to heal him the night before, which leads Yamamoto to believe that Orihime has betrayed them. Renji requests permission to go to Hueco Mundo to rescue her but the request is denied, as Yamamoto believes that the death of one person and the death of the world are weighted on a scale, thus saving Orihime is not important overall. Ichigo asks to go save Orihime by himself, but Yamamoto once again denies the suggestion, stating that Ichigo is a significant asset to Soul Society. The Shinigami are ordered to return to Soul Society to fortify their defenses, leaving Ichigo alone.[226]

Despite Yamamoto's decision, Ichigo decides to make preparations with Urahara to single-handedly retrieve Orihime from Hueco Mundo. At school, Tatsuki Arisawa confronts him about her sightings and she becomes angry and violent over his reluctance to explain himself. She reveals to him that she is able to sense his and Orihime's spiritual energy, and can see Ichigo and other Shinigami. She is restrained by Keigo and Mizuiro while Ichigo walks away coldly telling his friends not to get involved. At Urahara's shop, Ichigo is joined by Uryū with his Quincy powers restored and Chad with a new more powerful right arm. After some convincing, the trio agree to help each other rescue Orihime, and Urahara opens a gate to Hueco Mundo. Ichigo leads Chad and Uryū into Hueco Mundo but unbeknownst to him, Tatsuki, Keigo, and Mizuiro had followed him and witnessed his departure.[227]
Hueco Mundo arc

As Ichigo, Chad, and Uryū enter Hueco Mundo, they are immediately detected by Aizen and attacked by two Arrancar, Demōra and Iceringer. Ichigo is then told to stay back and simply watch as Chad and Uryū engage the two Arrancar by themselves. Once they are victorious, the room and passageway collapses around them, forcing the trio to race outside where they see their destination, a castle in the middle of a barren desert.[228][229][230]

They see what looks to be a Human child being chased by three Hollows. After Ichigo attacks the three, it is revealed that the "Human" is actually an Arrancar named Nel Tu; the Hollows are her two "brothers" and their pet.[231] After becoming friends, the expanded group travels to the wall of Las Noches, where they are attacked by a sand-based Hollow, Runuganga. The Hollow is immune to their attacks, but the group is saved by Renji and Rukia, the latter of which freezes Runuganga in a circle of ice.[232]
Ichigo and Nel Tu run into the Privaron Espada Dordonii.

Ichigo and his group break into Las Noches and split into five directions, leaving Nel and her brothers behind. The siblings decide to follow Ichigo but get lost. Nel is the only one who catches up to Ichigo, arriving just in time to see Dordonii Alessandro Del Socacchio, a Privaron Espada with the number 103.[233]

As Ichigo and Dordonii fight, the difference in power between the two quickly becomes apparent. Dordonii suggests that Ichigo use his Bankai, so he will at least stand a chance, but Ichigo refuses, noting that it would only be a sign of weakness if he were to use his Bankai in every battle. Hoping to force the issue, Dordonii releases his Zanpakutō, thus greatly increasing his power. Now commanding two wind elementals, Dordonii is more than a match for Ichigo. When Dordonii tries to fire a Cero blast at Ichigo, Nel steps in and absorbs the blast and fires it back. Enraged, Dordonii attacks Nel, who is then saved by Ichigo, now using his Bankai.[234][235]

Dordonii, not satisfied with Ichigo's Bankai, wishes to see his Hollow form. He even resorts to attacking Nel in an attempt to force Ichigo to transform. Ichigo sets Nel aside and tells Dordonii he will show him his Hollow form, but for only a second. Dordonii is pleased at first, but Ichigo defeats him in one blow. Dordonii is healed a bit by Nel, and unexpectedly attacks Ichigo again, who blocks the attack and runs away with Nel, and finally encounters Ulquiorra Cifer.[236]

Ulquiorra tells Ichigo that Rukia has been killed, which Ichigo denies. Ichigo attempts to leave to save Rukia, reasoning that he and Ulquiorra have no quarrel and thus no reason to fight. Ulquiorra reveals that he was the one who kidnapped Orihime and successfully goads Ichigo into fighting. Though Ichigo starts out well, he proves to be no match for Ulquiorra, who explains that even if Ichigo managed to somehow win, there would be three other Espada who are stronger still, as Ulquiorra reveals himself to be the 4th Espada. Ulquiorra then impales Ichigo's chest with his hand. He leaves after telling Ichigo to leave Hueco Mundo if he is able to.[237]

Grimmjow brings Orihime to heal Ichigo before he can die, wanting to fight him at full strength. Ulquiorra discovers this and attempts to retrieve Orihime, but Grimmjow uses a portable Negación field to temporarily imprison him, thus allowing the two to battle unimpeded. Much like Kenpachi before him, Grimmjow insists that Ichigo not battle for his friends, instead just wanting him to focus on killing him, and reveals that he kept the scar from their first battle as a reminder to fight and kill Ichigo to prove that he is stronger.[238]
Ichigo protecting Orihime and Nel from Grimmjow's attack.

The advantage shifts between the two combatants at random, during the battle, Grimmjow fires a Gran Rey Cero at Orihime and Nel to make Ichigo put on his Hollow mask. Seeing that Ichigo is finally at his full strength, Grimmjow releases his true form and fiercely attacks Ichigo, smashing him into the ground. As he looks for Ichigo amongst the dust, Ichigo appears behind him and fires a Getsuga Tenshō at him. Grimmjow only starts to laugh maniacally and tells Ichigo how much he hates his "eyes". As the fight continue both fighters seems to be on par, and Tia Harribel, who was watching the fight from a distance, even said it felt like a fight between two Espada.[239]
Ichigo fighting Grimmjow in his released form.

Towards the end Grimmjow is about to kill Ichigo, but after hearing Orihime beg for him to not get hurt anymore, Ichigo deftly catches Grimmjow's fist without looking, and slashes his shoulder. Grimmjow gets up after this, enraged at the injury, and impales Ichigo in the stomach. He then uses his most powerful attack, but the battle still ends in his defeat. Grimmjow, badly injured and reverted back to his unreleased state, tries one more attack which Ichigo blocks bare-handed. Suddenly, Nnoitra Jiruga appears, incapacitates Grimmjow, then attacks Ichigo, revealing that he is the 5th Espada and is thus more powerful than Grimmjow, whom Ichigo barely defeated.[240][241]

As they fight, Nnoitra notices Nel, recognizes her as the former third Espada, Nelliel Tu Odelschwanck, and explains to Ichigo that he gave Nel the crack in her mask. Nel denies this accusation heavily as Nnoitra attacks Ichigo again, eventually snapping his wrist. Seeing Ichigo hurt triggers Nel's transformation into her adult form. Nel attacks Nnoitra after revealing her ex-Espada status and easily matches him. She releases her Zanpakutō and overwhelms Nnoitra; but, just before finishing him, reverts to her child form. Nnoitra kicks Nel and the enraged Ichigo attacks again, only to be slammed into the ground. Nnoitra then orders his Fracción, Tesla, to switch with him and kill Ichigo and takes hold of Orihime. Tesla also releases, but just as he is about to kill Ichigo, Ichigo is once again saved at the last moment by Kenpachi, who defeats Tesla in one strike and briefly explains that along with him, Byakuya, Retsu Unohana, and Mayuri Kurotsuchi have come to perform an intrusion on Las Noches before engaging in combat with Nnoitra. As Kenpachi and Nnoitra fight, Orihime heals Ichigo and Nel to full health. When Nnoitra, thinking for a moment that Kenpachi is dead, attempts to attack Yachiru Kusajishi, Orihime rushes to defend her, while Ichigo, trying to stop Orihime, is stunned that he cannot break through her healing shield.[242][243][244]
Ichigo facing off against Ulquiorra.

Kenpachi kills Nnoitra, and as he orders Orihime to heal him, Coyote Starrk appears, apparently reluctant as he snatches Orihime away to bring her to Aizen.[245][246] Aizen makes an announcement to all of Hueco Mundo, stating that Orihime is in the fifth tower, should anyone want to retrieve her, and that he has closed the Gargantas that the captains used for entry into Hueco Mundo. He informs them that he is leaving to destroy Karakura and orders Ulquiorra to take charge of Las Noches. Ichigo tells Kenpachi that his duty is not to defend his town, but to protect his friends, and flies to rescue Orihime as Ulquiorra declares his challenge to Ichigo.[247] Before he gets far though, he is attacked by the Exequias, but is assisted by Renji, Chad, and Rukia who start fighting them while he continues on. Before Ulquiorra can interrogate Orihime's mind further, Ichigo reaches them. In order to protect Las Noches, Ulquiorra brandishes his sword and begins dueling with Ichigo.[248][249][250][251]
The New Captain Shūsuke Amagai arc (anime only)

Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
Click "show" to read the arc plot. [show]

Ichigo Kurosaki and Rukia Kuchiki are alerted to an abnormal amount of Hollow sightings. As they leave to dispatch them, Ichigo encounters Rurichiyo, who asks him for sweets and is attacked by Hollows. As Kenryū and Enryū take Rurichiyo away, Ichigo uses his Bankai to defeat the Hollows, impressing Kenryū and Enryū. The following day, they move into the house next to Ichigo's, and become students at his school.[252] He later learns that they are two Shinigami named Kenryū and Enryū, who are the personal bodyguards of the child with them, Princess Rurichiyo Kasumiōji. Kenryū explains that Rurichiyo is the heir to the Kasumiōji clan, the highest noble clan under the Four Great Noble Houses. Despite Rurichiyo's young age, it is still unavoidable for her to take on the role of leader so young, as Rurichiyo's parents passed away. They came to the living world to protect Rurichiyo after several suspected assassination attempts on her from one of the lead members of the Kasumiōji clan, Gyōkaku Kumoi, who strongly desires to become the leader of the clan. Kenryū asks for Ichigo's help to stop Kumoi.[253]

Later, a group of assassins come to kill Rurichiyo. Their leader, Hanza Nukui, faces Ichigo with an unusual mirror-sword connected to his arm. Hanza is able to gain the advantage by allowing his sword to cover more of his arm. He then uses this sword's mirror to paralyze Ichigo. Hanza explains that his sword, Saiga, evolves in power by consuming spiritual energy from its wielder. Yoruichi intervenes and forces Hanza to retreat. Hanza later returns with new subordinates, each armed with a unique parasitic weapon called a Bakkōtō. While Chad and Uryū go to lure some of the enemies away, Ichigo faces Hanza. As the fight progresses, Hanza's entire body is eventually consumed by his Bakkōtō, ending the battle.[254] The following day, it is learned that Rurichiyo is expected to marry Shū Kannogi soon. After thanking Ichigo for his help, Rurichiyo sneaks back to Soul Society as she cannot stand seeing people get hurt for her sake anymore.[255]

Ichigo, Rukia, Kenryū and Enryū arrive in the compound and separate to find her. Kenryū and Enryū are locked in a storehouse by Kumoi, Rukia encounters eleventh division captain Kenpachi Zaraki, who realizes that Ichigo is present and goes to find him, and Ichigo finds Rurichiyo. However, Ichigo is forced to evade the guards, and loses track of her. Rurichiyo is attacked by one of her child servants. Zaraki arrives and kills the assassin, and Rukia asks Zaraki to keep the incident a secret. Watching from a distance, Hanza tries to frighten Ichigo by releasing his spiritual pressure, but is surprised when Ichigo is unperturbed.[256]

Kumoi sends Hanza and a dozen assassins to kill Ichigo, his friends, and Rurichiyo. Hanza fights Ichigo using the mirror weapon an assassin previously used against Ichigo, and explains that the weapon, Saiga, is stronger via feeding on his spiritual energy. Hanza traps Ichigo in a separate dimension using Saiga. Ichigo is freed by Yoruichi Shihōin, who reveals that the remaining assassins have been defeated. After hearing about this, Hanza retreats. The following day, Kumoi installs Rurichiyo's fiancé as the head of the clan.[257] Having failed in his previous attempt to kill Rurichiyo, Hanza gathers three of his subordinates from the criminal underground and requests that they be given weapons similar to Saiga. Kumoi agrees and the four set out to kill Rurichiyo, Ichigo, and his friends. In Karakura Town, Rurichiyo tells Ichigo that others would frequently be blamed for her reckless actions, including Kenryū and Enryū. Sensing the arrival of Hanza and his subordinates, Ichigo and Rukia stay to protect Rurichiyo and Yasutora Sado and Uryū Ishida leave to confront their attackers. Hanza fights Ichigo and Rukia, Chad, and Uryū each begin to fight one of his subordinates.[258] Ichigo fights Hanza, and using the enhanced speed from his Bankai, breaks Saiga's mirror. In response, Hanza uses one of Saiga's abilities to engulfs Ichigo in light from the shards of the mirror.[259] Sealed inside a different dimension, Ichigo is forced to relive his childhood and his mother's death. Reflecting Ichigo's guilt for being unable to save his mother, the image of Ichigo's mother tries to kill him. Ichigo manages to break free of the dimension by making peace with his mother. Ichigo dons his Hollow mask and overwhelms Hanza, forcing him to allow his Bakkōtō to absorb more of his energy. However, Hanza is consumed by his Bakkōtō, ignoring Ichigo's pleas to stop.[260]

Kumoi schedules Rurichiyo's wedding for the following day, and Kenryū and Enryū realize that he will replace her with an imposter if Rurichiyo does not return for the wedding. Ichigo goes to speak with Rurichiyo, who reveals that she knew about the assassins' true goal and Kumoi's connection to them, and feels guilty that Chad and Uryū were injured. She escapes into Soul Society, intending to participate in the marriage to keep Kumoi in line; however, when she arrives on the other side, her eyes have gone blank and she expresses no desire to leave. Kenryū, Enryū, Rukia and Ichigo attempt to follow them, but are unable to reach Rurichiyo, as Kenryū and Enryū have been blamed for kidnapping her. On the day of the wedding, the four enter the compound to retrieve Rurichiyo, but 2nd Division captain Soifon and several members of the 2nd Division surround them, and Rurichiyo does not respond to Ichigo's calls to her.[261]

Enryū uses his Shikai to destroy the building, and in the confusion, Ichigo reaches Rurichiyo. Revealing Kumoi's intention to gain control of the clan to Rurichiyo's fiancé, Shū Kannogi, Ichigo is attacked by Rurichiyo, who is revealed as an imposter. Soifon begins to fight Ichigo, allowing Rurichiyo and Kumoi to escape. Kenryū and Enryū are captured by the 2nd Division members, and Ichigo and Rukia escape with Shū's help. The three decide to escape by having Shū pose as a hostage. In response, Yamamoto orders a manhunt for Ichigo and Rukia.[262] Ichigo, Rukia, and Shū decide to rescue Rurichiyo, but are attacked by the new 3rd Division captain Shūsuke Amagai, who uses his Shikai against Ichigo. Shū stops the battle, revealing the truth of Kumoi's intentions to Amagai, who agrees to help them.[263]

Despite the patrols of the Gotei 13, Ichigo, Amagai, Rukia, and Shū manage to make contact with the 3rd Division members, and head towards the 3rd division's training grounds, Rurichiyo's last known location.[264] Ichigo and Amagai pursue a pair of assassins with Rurichiyo, and discover that the Rurichiyo they are carrying is a fake. Ichigo, Rukia, Amagai, and Shū head to the Kasumiōji compound, which 10th Division captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya is guarding. Amagai fights Hitsugaya and Rukia fights Matsumoto, the 10th Division lieutenant as Ichigo and Shū enter the compound.[265]

After discovering that one of Amagai’s men, Makoto Kibune, is working for Kumoi and has a Bakkōtō, Amagai has it sent to Yamamoto to tell him about Kumoi's treacherous actions. After receiving the message, Yamamoto orders the Gotei 13 to take the Kasumiōji clan into custody. After Ichigo and Rukia manage to catch up to Kumoi and Rurichiyo, Amagai strikes down Kumoi. After which, Kumoi teleports away, taking Rurichiyo with him. The dying Kumoi reveals that Amagai is the true brains behind the conspiracy.[266]
Ichigo vs. Shūsuke Amagai

Amagai explains that he is after revenge for the death of his father, Shin'etsu Kisaragi. Before his father died, Amagai was told by him of the Bakkōtō. Amagai later learned that Shin'etsu discovered the illegal manufacturing of the Bakkōtō and sought to stop it, but was then killed by Yamamoto. Amagai knew that Yamamoto was well-aware of the Kasumiōji clan's actions but refused to do anything, eventually prompting Amagai to the conclusion that he was in league with the Kasumiōji clan. Ichigo and Rukia quickly catch up to Amagai at Yamamato's headquarters, where Amagai is facing off against Yamamoto and vows to destroy both Yamamoto and the entire Kasumiōji clan. Amagai also reveals that he has a special Bakkōtō of his own that had the power to negate all Shinigami and Zanpakutō powers other than his own. Amagai uses his Bankai, and Ichigo arrives to fight him.[267]

Despite hearing these allegations against Yamamoto, Ichigo is determined to stop Amagai, stating that Amagai has selfishly caused innocent people to suffer. Ichigo is still able to use his spiritual energy and unleashes his Bankai. As the battle progresses, Ichigo also reveals his Hollow mask and quickly takes advantage in the battle. Amagai then realizes that while his Bakkōtō can seal away Shinigami power, it cannot do the same for Hollow powers. Amagai begins to attack Ichigo's mask, and Ichigo manages to hit Amagai with a Getsuga Tenshō. Injured, Amagai declares that he is willing to die for his revenge, and starts to draw more on his Bakkōtō's power. With some well-timed maneuvers, Ichigo is finally able to strike and destroy the Bakkōtō power-negation ability. Then in a final clash, Ichigo is able to defeat Amagai.[268] While injured, Amagai turns his attention to Yamamoto and stabs him in the stomach, which Yamamoto allows to happen. Yoruichi, who arrives with the other captains, explains that Yamamoto did not betray Amagai's father. Rather, Shin'etsu was another victim of the Bakkōtō. After Yamamoto learned about the Bakkōtō, Yamamoto tried to get permission from Central 46 to investigate, but they refused. Instead, Shin'etsu volunteered to investigate by himself. However, he was made into a test subject for the Bakkōtō development. Losing his mind to the Bakkōtō, Shin'etsu attacked Yamamoto, forcing the captain to regretfully strike Shin'etsu down. Horrified by the truth, Amagai falls into complete shame. Wishing to make up for his mistakes, he decides to take his own life as payment. Ichigo is about to stop him, but Byakuya makes Ichigo understand that he needs to let Amagai repent the best way he feels possible. Later, Ichigo says he will help Rurichiyo whenever needed, but she says she will try as the head of her clan to handle it with her own power from now on.[269]

Fake Karakura Town arc
Orihime shields Ichigo from Ulquiorra's attack.

Ichigo is seen with a wound on his right shoulder done by Ulquiorra during the battle. As his fight with Ulquiorra continued, Ichigo was shown to be capable of fighting on equal footing with the Espada, though he could not gain the advantage either. Between blows, Ulquiorra taunts Ichigo, telling him that even if he were to defeat him and rescue Orihime, it would be meaningless as she was already one of them, to which Ichigo retorted that that isn't his decision to make. Ulquiorra agreed, replying that it was Aizen's decision before resuming their battle. Later, Ichigo notices that he can keep up with Ulquiorra and understand his movements better than their first encounter. He thinks that it is either because he has become more like a Hollow or Ulquiorra has become more Human within the period between their two battles. At one point, Ichigo manages to catch Ulquiorra's wrist, much to Ulquiorra's surprise, and cut through his Hierro leaving a small nick. When Ichigo reveals his inference about him becoming more capable of following Ulquiorra's movements and the possibility of Ulquiorra becoming more Human, Ulquiorra responds by increasing his reiatsu. He begins to attack more fiercely, catching Ichigo off guard, and he is saved by Orihime's shield.[270]

As Ulquiorra attempts to taunt Orihime, Ichigo stops him by stating how he always thought he was more the silent type; Ichigo then uses Getsuga Tenshō in his blade to attack Ulquiorra. While fighting, Orihime is ambushed by Loly and Menoly, who overheard Aizen's message to the intruders. Ichigo notices this and tries to save Orihime from them, ignoring Loly's threat of ripping out Orihime's eye. However, Ulquiorra stops Ichigo from reaching them (but he states that he's not helping them). Their fight is interrupted when Yammy arrives in the throne room.[271] Yammy notices that Ichigo has gotten stronger since their first meeting and offers to help Ulquiorra, but Ulquiorra declines his assistance. Afterwards, Yammy notices Loly and Menoly and defeats them both and sets his sights on Orihime. He asks Ulquiorra if he could kill her and Ichigo once again tries to help her, but Ulquiorra still prevents him from leaving their battle. Orihime is ultimately saved by the timely arrival of Uryū Ishida, who uses a special landmine (developed by Mayuri Kurotsuchi and specifically designed for Arrancar) to injure Yammy.[272]
Ichigo dons his Hollow mask to attack Ulquiorra.

After Uryū sends Yammy falling to the bottom of Las Noches Ichigo orders him to protect Orihime, so she would not be injured during his fight with Ulquiorra. Ichigo dons his Hollow mask and manages to gain the upper hand against Ulquiorra, even managing to begin piercing his blade, as well as fully repulsing a Cero. Realizing how strong Ichigo has become, Ulquiorra heads to the top of Las Noches as Ichigo chases him. After reaching the top himself, Ichigo realizes that they are above the dome of Las Noches. Ulquiorra explains to him that within Las Noches, two actions are forbidden: the first is that the Espada must never use the Gran Rey Cero, while the second is that the top four Espada are forbidden from releasing their Zanpakutō. This is because both actions have the power to destroy the fortress. He then proceeds to release his own Zanpakutō, Murciélago.[273] As Ichigo stares up at Ulquiorra, he warns Ichigo to not let his guard down and fight with all his might. He then attacks Ichigo with a powerful spiked weapon, which breaks off the upper-right portion of Ichigo's mask. Ulquiorra notes that Ichigo had reflexively defended himself with a Getsuga Tenshō, and if he had not the attack would have decapitated him.[274] Ichigo then starts to realize how much more powerful and faster Ulquiorra is.[275] He then regenerates his mask and uses Getsuga Tenshō on Ulquiorra's request and watches as Ulquiorra effortlessly blocks the technique and then comment on how it was all that a Human would be capable of despite that it is similar to a Cero. Ichigo questions the statement in disbelief but Ulquiorra intends to prove his point by using the Espada Cero, Cero Oscuras.[276]

Ichigo then prepares for Ulquiorra's "Cero Oscuras", but is completely overwhelmed by the attack and has his entire mask shattered in the process, becoming critically injured. The Cero itself takes out about half of the dome of Las Noches. Ulquiorra then proceeds to attack Ichigo, further damaging him while proclaiming Hollow's superiority to Humans. When Ichigo prepares to fire another Getsuga, Ulquiorra surprisingly loses his cool and launches another devastating series of attacks. Ulquiorra asks Ichigo why he will not put down his sword, noting the large gap in power between them. He explains that he always knew that Ulquiorra was stronger, but nothing he sees him do will stop him from fighting. Ulquiorra then states that Ichigo has still not realized the meaning of despair, and transforms into a new form.[277]
Ichigo seemingly finished off by Ulquiorra's Cero Oscuras.

Ulquiorra explains to the stunned Ichigo that only he among the Espada has a second release form, which not even Aizen has witnessed. Ichigo still tries to fight the Espada and show no fear, and attempts to defend himself from attacks but is too slow. Ulquiorra expresses his inability to understand Ichigo's resolve, believing it is a Human's "heart" which causes them pain and will eventually result in their deaths. When Ichigo explains he has no choice but to win the fight, Ulquiorra calls him a fool. After he whips Ichigo with his tail, Ichigo reforms his Hollow mask, however this time his eyes remain Human; his mask is easily broken apart shortly afterwards, and Ulquiorra lifts him by the neck with his tail. Orihime arrives to the top of the dome just in time to see Ulquiorra fires a Cero Oscuras through Ichigo's chest, seemingly killing him.[278]

Orihime is devastated by fatal attack on Ichigo and attempts to aid him, but Ulquiorra appears before her and tells her that she is not powerful enough to save him. Uryū intervenes and fights Ulquiorra while Orihime tries to heal Ichigo, but there seems to be no change in his condition. Noticing that Uryū is losing his battle with Ulquiorra, Orihime begins to panic and pleads Ichigo to help her. Ichigo slowly begins to move as his hair grows longer, almost resembling a mane and his hands grasp at the ground.[279]

Hearing Orihime's desperate cry for help, Ichigo's inner Hollow takes over in a transformation completely different from the previous one he had. Quickly, Ichigo's new form proves vastly superior to Ulquiorra in every conceivable way and easily defeats him.[280][281] However, Ichigo appears to have no form of rationality or individual thinking beyond his desire to protect Orihime. Before he can finish Ulquiorra, Uryū tries to talk sense into him, only for Ichigo to stab him with his blade. Ichigo moves to blast Uryū with a Cero, but Ulquiorra takes advantage of this by cutting off one of the horns on Ichigo's mask, causing his cero to explode.[282] Ichigo's mask then breaks off entirely and he falls back down to the ground. Spiritual power gathers and enters the hole in Ichigo's chest healing him completely in a manner reminiscent of high-speed regeneration.[283]
Ichigo's breaks free of his Hollow's control.

Ichigo regains control of his body with no memory of what had transpired, only to find a half beaten Ulquiorra and his Zanpakutō embedded in Uryū's abdomen. Ulquiorra retrieves Ichigo's Tensa Zangetsu, hands it back to Ichigo, and tells him that they will finish their fight. Seeing the damage inflicted on his opponent, Ichigo tells him to cut his limbs so that they may have a fair fight, however, as the Espada prepares to do so, he begins to disintegrate. Ulquiorra tells Ichigo to finish him off, however Ichigo refuses stating that, that was not the way he wanted to win. The 4th Espada, slightly surprised, then admits his interest in Humans as Ichigo, Uryū, and Orihime watch as Ulquiorra fades into the wind.[284]
Ichigo dons a new mask and attacks Yammy.

After recovering slightly from his battle, Ichigo jumps off of the dome to help Renji, Chad, and Rukia. He then appears where Rukia had been tossed and he saves her from being crushed on the ground.[285][286] Ichigo then teases Yammy that he'd gotten much bigger since he last saw him. Yammy then charges a Cero but Ichigo fires a Getsuga Tenshō causing the Cero to explode in Yammy's face. He then tells Rukia that Orihime is still on the tower healing Uryū's injuries. Yammy then punches the ground where Rukia and Ichigo are, but he had easily dodged with Rukia on top of a building. He then reassures Rukia that he'd take care of Yammy and then they'd return to the real world. Ichigo then charges at Yammy and begins maneuvering away from him, which Yammy thinks is Ichigo running away. Ichigo then explains he is simply running, not to run away, but to get Yammy far enough away from his friends so he can take Yammy on full force. He then dons a new mask with new tattoos on the face, and uses Getsuga Tenshō on Yammy, which slams Yammy to the ground.[287]

As Ichigo dispels his mask, he feels that summoning his mask feels different than it used to, as if it was heavier. Suddenly, Yammy recovers and attacks Ichigo with a barrage of his Bala, showing that it is much more powerful in his released form. He also shows Ichigo that he's actually the 0 Espada, and that he views all of the other Espada, including Ulquiorra, as trash. Ichigo responds by slicing through the Bala assault and stating that he was outclassed in his previous battles and that it doesn't change that he also has to defeat Yammy as well. He also states that he isn't surprised that Yammy does not care for his comrades, but at the same time is disgusted that Yammy calls them "trash". Ichigo tries to summon his mask again, but is unable to. While distracted by this event, Yammy then grabs Ichigo and compliments that Ichigo did well against him, compared to Renji, Chad, and Rukia. However, before Yammy can continue his attack against Ichigo, he is blindsided by a Sōkatsui spell. Before he is able to retaliate, one of his appendages is cut off as well. It is then revealed that Byakuya Kuchiki and Kenpachi Zaraki arrived.[288]
Ichigo and Unohana dive into the Garganta.

Kenpachi scares off Ichigo so he won't get in the way of his foe as he fights off the Cero Espada. Ichigo shows great concern but Byakuya prevents him from intervening, reminding him that the fate of Karakura Town is Ichigo's responsibility. Mayuri Kurotsuchi approaches Ichigo and brings to him a special device that can create a Garganta to allow Ichigo to return to Earth. Retsu Unohana volunteers to accompany Ichigo on his way back while Byakuya and Kenpachi fight Yammy. Reluctant at first, Ichigo makes his decision to go back as the Garganta behind him opens up.[289] After teasing Mayuri about him being similar to Urahara, he and Unohana jump into the Garganta. On their way through, Unohana tells him how Aizen's Shikai works, and that he is the only captain-class opponent who has not seen his Shikai, and therefore is the only one able to defeat him. She informs him that he must not look at Aizen's Shikai, no matter what. Ichigo then says he will defeat Aizen.[290]

As they continued their path, Unohana decides to take the lead to produce a sturdier path to run on, impressing Ichigo with her fine spiritual energy control. When Unohana states that his skills are not polished enough, Ichigo insists that if he was at full strength, he could produce a much more solid path. After explaining how the damage to his Bankai shihakusho’s condition gives a clear example of how much spiritual energy he has left, Unohana was awe struck to discover that despite only having a portion of a sleeve left, Ichigo’s spiritual energy was still comparable to a captain level fighter. Realizing Ichigo’s potential power, Unohana offered to replenish his energy along the way.[291]
Ichigo arrives in Fake Karakura Town.

With his energy restored, Ichigo decides that he has to defeat Aizen with one strike to avoid his Shikai. Upon exiting the Garganta, he arrives behind Aizen and strikes at his neck, but is blocked by a barrier. Aizen greets Ichigo, telling him that it is ludicrous to think that he would enter battle without putting a defense on his biggest blind spot. Ichigo thinks that he was careless not to use Hollowfication out of fear that he could not control it. Aizen guesses Ichigo's thoughts and mocks him for them, insisting Ichigo use his mask and that he will show Ichigo how conceited those thoughts are.[292]

Ichigo does so and attacks, but Aizen evades again and appears behind Ichigo. Ichigo moves away from Aizen again, causing Aizen to tell him that distance only has meaning in a battle between equals, but that between him and Ichigo, distance is meaningless and that he can always touch Ichigo's heart, proving so by appearing in front of him and touching his chest. As Aizen evades another attack attempt, he questions why Ichigo is fighting him, when he has no reason to hate him as he can tell from Ichigo's face that all his friends are fine. As such it is impossible for Ichigo to truly hate Aizen and that he is fighting only out of a sense of responsibility. Aizen goes on to tell Ichigo that powerless comrades cannot be anything but restrictions. Ichigo begins to waiver but Sajin Komamura appears beside him and tells Ichigo not to be taken in by Aizen's provocation. He tells Ichigo to be at ease as the Shinigami will not let him see Aizen's Shikai, something the Vizard resolve to help do as well and united with the Shinigami against Aizen. [293]
The Gotei 13 and the Vizard protect Ichigo.

Ichigo is reluctant to receive their help as he has noticed that they are all worn out and wounded from other battles, but Shinji argues that letting Ichigo fight Aizen alone is a much worse option, and that the battle belongs to everyone present.[294] As Tōshirō Hitsugaya and Shunsui Kyōraku begin attacking Aizen, Komamura thanks Ichigo for his arrival, stating that if he did not arrive when he did, he would have attacked Aizen in anger and would have most likely been cut down.[295] As Komamura leaves to assist the others in attacking Aizen, Shinji asks Ichigo why he didn't bring Orihime back with him, as she would be able to heal everyone and they'd be able to fight Aizen at full strength. However, he does notice that Ichigo brought back Unohana, and feels that for a battle, Unohana was a better choice. He then leaves along with Love, Rose, and Lisa to fight Aizen.[296] As they leave, Soifon advises Ichigo to watch them fight Aizen, as an opening on Aizen would only be open for a moment. She further states that the captains and the Vizard are not there to risk their lives fighting; instead, their fight is a fight for survival, and to protect everyone from Aizen; she then leaves to fight Aizen. Realizing the words of everyone who spoke to him, Ichigo chooses to watch the fight and have faith in the strength of both the captains and the Vizard.[297]
Ichigo pounces on Aizen as he emerges from Yamamoto's attack.

Ichigo watches the battle closely waiting for an opening on Aizen, but sees him defeat Komamura, Rose, and Love.[298] As the captains and Vizard continue to fight Aizen, they seem to gain the upper hand. Ichigo watches as the captains and Vizard rejoice for defeating Aizen. Ichigo, the only one of them not under Kyōka Suigetsu's influence, asks everyone what they are doing. As they hear this, they see that Hitsugaya has not impaled Aizen, but Momo Hinamori instead. As they realize their mistake, Aizen cuts down Izuru and Tetsuzaemon, revealing that he switched places with Momo while using Kyōka Suigetsu.[299]. When the remaining captains are cut down, Captain-Commander Yamamoto engages Aizen in battle. As he activates his Ennetsu Jigoku technique, intent upon trapping Aizen within its flames, Yamamoto says that the members of the Gotei 13 are willing to sacrifice their own lives to beat Aizen. However, he tells Ichigo to fall back, as he is not a member of the Gotei 13 and thus it is not his place to be engulfed in the flames.[300] Yamamoto's attack fails due to the intervention of Wonderweiss Margera, but after defeating the Arrancar, the captain-commander uses Hadō 96, Ittō Kasō against Aizen. As Aizen emerges from the flames, a Hollowfied Ichigo attacks him from above.[301]

Ichigo launches a Getsuga Tenshō at him, sending him crashing through a building and wounding his shoulder. As Ichigo continues his attack, Aizen blocks his blade and tells him that was his final chance to kill him. Ichigo points out that he has injured Aizen, but the wound begins to close up, causing Ichigo to think that it is high-speed regeneration. Aizen tells him that it is not high-speed regeneration, questioning the belief that he would turn himself into a Hollow. He reveals that it is instead a tool instinctively protecting its master, and that the Hōgyoku is embedded in his body, surprising Ichigo. Aizen compliments Ichigo's Reiatsu, saying that he has grown, just as he had planned. He lists various important moments in the development of Ichigo's power and tells him that all of his battles have taken place exactly as he desired.[302]

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5 Re: Ichigo Kurosaki (黒崎 一護 on Wed Jun 30, 2010 7:33 am

Toushiro Hitsugaya

十番隊隊長 Jūbantai Taicho
part 5

When Ichigo angrily asks what he means by this, Aizen tells him not to raise his voice and questions why the substitute Shinigami is so surprised. Aizen explains that he helped him grow because he believed that Ichigo would be the perfect subject for his research. Aizen then asks Ichigo if he had thought strange that he had never encountered a Hollow before meeting Rukia Kuchiki, but was attacked by one immediately after meeting her, or that he was attacked by a Menos Grande drawn by an ordinary piece of Hollow bait, or that Rukia was found by the Shinigami despite her Reiatsu having gone undetected until that point. As Ichigo tries to question him, Aizen asks if it was just a coincidence that he was attacked by Renji, Kenpachi and Byakuya and if Ichigo's victories over them were his own doing, prompting Ichigo to attack Aizen again. The renegade captain, however, blocks the attack and then grabs Tensa Zangetsu with his hand as Ichigo swings again. Aizen tells him not to disappoint him, as he should be capable of much more. When Ichigo says that he does not believe him, as his claims on the Sōkyoku Hill and now do not match up, Aizen asks if he believes he told the truth when he was defecting.[303] Aizen asks who it was that stationed Rukia in the Human World, who installed the ability to detect Reiatsu in Renji's equipment when he was searching for her, and who added information to the reports given to the lieutenants during the Ryoka invasion. When Aizen questions the belief that he did not know the location of the Hōgyoku for the past hundred years, Ichigo asks him when he came to the conclusion that he would be a perfect subject for his research. Aizen replies that he has known about Ichigo from the day he was born. He is interrupted by Isshin, who appears on the battlefield between his son and Aizen, stating that Aizen "talks too much".[304]

As Ichigo calls out to him, Isshin turns to his son and head-butts him with enough force to send him flying over the edge of the rooftop, with Ichigo grabbing hold of the side just in time. Isshin then moves to kick Ichigo off the side and Shunpo's away. Isshin holds Ichigo down to keep Ichigo that it really is him and that any questions he has need to wait until later. Ichigo surprises Isshin by stating he has no questions and that if he kept this secret, then he must have had his reasons to do so. He therefore decides to not force the issue and allow Isshin to explain when he wants to. Isshin compliments his son on speaking so competently. Ichigo tells him to think nothing of it as someone else told him something similar and it helped at the time. He then thanks his father for bringing him back into a mood to handle the current situation. Ichigo returns to the building where they left Aizen and attacks Gin Ichimaru from behind. Gin blocks the attack with his Zanpakutō, but the building begins to break apart from the fighting. On the ground below, Gin notes that it has been a long time since they fought.[305] He asks Ichigo if he recalls the time after he cut off Jidanbō's arm, recounting how an angry Ichigo flew at him and how at the time he thought Ichigo was such an interesting kid. Ichigo states he does not remember. When Gin asks if he is trying to provoke him, Ichigo explains that he is not saying that he does not remember his sword, but rather his heart. Ichigo further explains his philosophy on battle. He notes that normally he can understand a little of what someone is thinking when crossing swords with them, such as their resolve and whether they look down on their opponent. Gin makes fun of him for being so poetic but Ichigo brushes him off and continues with his explanation. He states that Gin has shown nothing to him and when they last fought Gin was not paying any attention to him, though he is unsure what had his attention. Gin states that he had thought Ichigo was an interesting kid, but now thinks he is simply a creepy one. He then notes that is starting to understand why Aizen is interested in Ichigo.[306]
Ichigo attacks Gin, but is blocked.

Gin then begins to talk of his Zanpakutō, asking Ichigo if he knows how far it extends. When Ichigo states that he doesn't, Gin states that it extends 100 times its length. Ichigo maintains his disinterest in the conversation, so Gin asks him if he knows how far his Bankai can extend. Ichigo states he did not come there for a quiz. Gin is disappointed when Ichigo refuses to play his guessing game states that it can extend 13km. Saying that stating the number will not get the point across, he then tells Ichigo this time he won’t go easy on him and releases his Bankai, Kamishini no Yari. He swings the blade at Ichigo, but Ichigo easily blocks it. Gin is somewhat surprised by this as Ichigo asks why, saying that it is obvious that a Bankai could be blocked by another Bankai. Ichigo bats Gin's blade away and fires a Getsuga Tenshō, surprising Gin again as he is hit directly by the blast. When the smoke clears Gin is lightly injured and remarks again that Ichigo is a creepy kid.[307] Ichimaru notes that he has to finish Ichigo off soon and contracts his blade faster than Ichigo can follow, surprising him. Gin further states that his Bankai was stopped pretty easily by Ichigo’s. He says that he has to fight him "the old-fashioned way", and lunges to attack Ichigo. As he is attacking Ichigo's blade with his own, Ichimaru notes than even on the offensive, it feels like his blade is going to break. Ichigo responds by telling him to let it break in two, defending himself from Ichimaru's assault while analyzing his blade. Ichigo thinks to himself that while it has returned to its short length, it is still in Bankai and the fight will be over if he allows Ichimaru to point the blade at him. As Ichimaru leaps to attack Ichigo from above, he extends his blade suddenly and manages to graze Ichigo's shoulder. Ichigo moves in to counterattack him, but Ichimaru leaps away. Ichigo then verbally states that he analyzed Ichimaru's blade: the danger of it is not the length or its destructive power, but the speed at which it contracts. He goes on to say that Ichimaru explained the length of his Bankai and destroyed many of the buildings around them in order to drive Ichigo's attention away from the blade's speed when extending and contracting. Ichimaru tucks his blade under his arm and claps. He asks Ichigo if he heard that and explains that his blade is 500 times faster than that speed. He further states that even if Ichigo has this knowledge, it still does not leave him with a chance for victory.[308]

After being knocked into a building by Gin's Bankai, Gin congratulates Ichigo on stopping the attack, calling it a fluke. When Ichigo asks if he really thinks it was a fluke, Isshin tries to speak to him. Ichigo tells him not to talk to him and to stay out of his way, as he nearly has Gin. When the Hōgyoku begins to envelop Aizen, a shocked Ichigo asks Isshin what is occurring. When Isshin states that he does not know, Ichigo says that he should know as he had been fighting him. Isshin replies that he should ask Aizen, who is attacked from behind by Kisuke Urahara.[309] Ichigo watches on as Kisuke, Isshin and Yoruichi battle Aizen, but make little progress. As Ichigo watches Aizen go on the offensive against Yoruichi, Gin points out that his back is wide open. He tells Ichigo to relax, as he had been joking and invites him to watch Aizen's battle. When Gin says that his allies are going to die, Ichigo asks him if he thinks that he will allow that to happen and then asks Gin if he knows what will happen to him now that Aizen has changed form. Gin replies that it sounds as if he has lost faith in their ability to win the battle and declares that Ichigo is just a kid after all and as such must not be allowed to die at Aizen's hands.
Isshin encouraging Ichigo to go defend Karakura Town.

Gin presses his Zanpakutō against his chest, causing Ichigo to wonder what the stance is for. Gin activates his Butō ability, but Ichigo dodges. Before he can react, however, Ichigo realizes that Gin's blade has already fully contracted. Gin then uses Butō Renjin, causing Ichigo to don his Hollow mask.[310] After the assault, Ichigo is left winded and his mask shattered. Gin once again mocks Ichigo's frail resolve, noting that back then when they crossed blades in Soul Society, Ichigo was much fiercer than he is now. No longer concerned with him, Gin plainly tells Ichigo to run away.[311] Whilst Ichigo turns to watch Aizen's fight, Gin remarks that Ichigo should not turn away when he's standing right next to him. He then tells Ichigo that he is no longer a warrior, Shinigami, Hollow or even a person anymore and asks Ichigo if he thinks that he can beat Aizen now that he has beaten Isshin, Kisuke and Yoruichi. He offers to allow Ichigo to run, saying that he has lost interest in him and Aizen will be disappointed to see him as he is. Gin finishes by saying that Ichigo 'knows' about Aizen's power and draws his Zanpakutō to finish him, but he is stopped by Aizen. Ichigo notices Kisuke, Yoruichi and Isshin lying on the ground and when Aizen orders Gin to open a Senkaimon to Soul Society, Ichigo tells him to wait, but falls silent as Aizen's body begins to shed his sleek new form as his "incubation" is complete. Unconcerned with Ichigo at the moment, Aizen leaves with Gin to Soul Society. Isshin manages to get back on his feet and tells Ichigo to open a Senkaimon and to get ready to defend the real Karakura Town.[312]

Isshin headbutts Ichigo to get his attention, asking him if he heard what he said about going to save Karakura Town. Ichigo plainly states it is absolutely impossible and he knows it. Isshin yells at his son asking him how he knows if it is impossible or not. Ichigo responds back that they both know there is no way they can beat a monster with reiatsu like Aizen's. Isshin then realizes and states that Ichigo really doesn't understand Aizen's reiatsu. He then tells his son to accompany him but when Ichigo doesn't move it prompts Isshin to ask if he's coming or not. He then asks what Ichigo will do instead. He yells at his son again asking if he is just going to stand there and cry about how he couldn't protect anything. Isshin tells him to think carefully about why Aizen went to Karakura Town within Soul Society. He reminds Ichigo that if he does not go, not only the people he wanted to protect, but everyone within Karakura Town will die by Aizen's hand. Ichigo resolves to go and asks his father to open the Senkaimon, to which Isshin responds he didn't have to tell him.[313] As they are running through the Dangai, Isshin stops Ichigo, prompting him to ask why as he thought they were in a hurry. Isshin responds that he can't sense the Kōtotsu. Isshin explains that Shinigami technically cannot do anything to it, but apparently Aizen has. Ichigo asks him if it will be a problem and Isshin further explains that it can be if they don't do anything about it. He then states that it is convenient for now as the precipice world is cut off from time and space and since the Kōtotsu isn't there to move them out, they now have a perfect place for Isshin to teach him. When Ichigo questions him as to what he plans to teach him. Isshin responds that he plans on teaching him the "final" Getsuga Tenshō.[314]

Confused, Ichigo asks his father what he means. Isshin explains the nature of the Dangai's time distortion and its past as a penal colony, revealing that while they are inside the Dangai, time passes 2,000 times slower. He also reveals that it is thanks to Urahara's technological prowess that Ichigo's group were only thrown back in time a few days when they went to Soul Society to rescue Rukia rather than hundreds of years. Isshin informs Ichigo that he will hold suppress the Kōtotsu and embeds four implements in the Dangai's walls, saying that he believes he can suppress it for around 2,000 hours, or nearly three months. He tells his son to use that time to get information from Zangetsu about the true nature of the "final" Getsuga Tenshō.[315] As Ichigo sits in a meditative pose, Isshin tries to hit him, but Ichigo dodges. Isshin complains that being able to dodge proves that Ichigo's mind was not inside his sword and questions if he can converse with Zangetsu. Frustrated, Ichigo tells him that he has never gone to his inner world by meditating. Isshin tells him about Jinzen and notes that all the techniques he has obtained thus far were probably obtained by forcing them with sheer power.[316] Sometime later Ichigo receives a slash in his shoulder, indicating to Isshin he "did it". Isshin then warns him to be careful as this time around Zangetsu is going to be on a rampage.[317]
Tensa Zangetsu appears before Ichigo

Ichigo awakens in his inner world but quickly notices that it is submerged underwater. Ichigo struggles to breathe and upon seeing the surface, he swims toward it, but is pulled back down by an unseen figure that throws him into a nearby building. The figure tells him to calm down. Ichigo stares at a hooded cloaked figure who tells him that it is painful to watch but he should be able to breathe. Ichigo calms down and realizes the mysterious stranger is correct as he can breathe. He then asks the person who he is, as only old man Zangetsu is supposed to be there. The stranger criticises Ichigo for talking to the one who taught him to breathe like that. He then pulls out Tensa Zangetsu, much to Ichigo's surprise, and pulls off his hood, revealing himself to be a young man. He tells Ichigo he is not surprised that he does not recognize this form, as this is the first time Ichigo has ever come to his inner world in Bankai. He then moves to attack Ichigo, who blocks the attack. Ichigo asks the stranger if he is Zangetsu. The stranger denies it and asks him what his Bankai is called, identifying himself as Tensa Zangetsu as he continues his assault.[318] As they continue to fight, Ichigo puts some distance between them and tells Tensa Zangetsu to wait as he did not come there to fight this time. Ichigo explains that he just wants to ask him a question. Tensa Zangetsu reveals that he already knows that Ichigo wishes to ask him about the Final Getsuga Tenshō. Ichigo is surprised that he knows what he was going to ask and wonders if he heard the conversation he and his father had outside. Tensa Zangetsu moves to attack again prompting Ichigo to yell at him and ask what is he doing. Tensa Zangetsu tells him that he cannot teach him such a thing. Ichigo simply states that without it he cannot protect Karakura Town. Tensa Zangetsu quickly moves in front of Ichigo and grabs his arm and asks why he should care about what happens to what Ichigo wants to protect, surprising Ichigo. He then throws Ichigo into the buildings below. Tensa Zangetsu then states that Ichigo shouldn't misunderstand, and that what he wants to protect and what Ichigo wants to protect are not the same.[319]
Zanpakutō Unknown Tales arc (anime only)

Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
Click "show" to read the arc plot. [show]
Zangetsu talks with Ichigo.

While sleeping, Ichigo is taken into his inner world by Zangetsu, who asks if Ichigo can hear anything other than his voice. Only able to hear Zangetsu's voice, Ichigo asks what is going on. Zangetsu responds that all is well.[320] Later Ichigo discovers a seriously injured Rukia just arriving in the living world. Later, a Yuki-onna appears and demands for Rukia. After forcing the woman to retreat, he learns from Rukia that she was actually the spirit of her Zanpakutō, Sode no Shirayuki. After Orihime heals her wounds, Rukia explains that a strange man named Muramasa has somehow released all the Zanpakutō spirits in Soul Society from their ties with the Shinigami and had them throw Soul Society into chaos. After discovering Rukia has gone back to Soul Society, Ichigo decides to follow her.[321]
Ichigo fights the rogue Zangetsu.

In Soul Society, Ichigo briefly fights Sode no Shirayuki to protect Rukia, but Rukia manages to bind the Zanpakutō spirit and herself together with Kidō. Muramasa arrives and ends the battle, reminding Ichigo that Zanpakutō are more than just a source of power for Shinigami in the form of swords. They have a life and will of their own. Convinced that all Shinigami mistreated their Zanpakutō, Muramasa stated his goal was to “free” all of them from their control of Shinigami. Muramasa then removed Zangetsu’s spirit from Ichigo’s being, who quickly attacks Ichigo. Being hesitant to fight his partner, Zangetsu quickly overpowers Ichigo. Taking advantage of Zangetsu's power and influence leaving Ichigo, Ichigo's inner Hollow took over the battle. While Muramasa was confused, Zangetsu explained that Ichigo's soul has another side to it. Hollow Ichigo then quickly defeats Zangetsu and then forced Muramasa back as well. Before the outcome could be decided, Ichigo regained control and returned to normal, passing out in the process.232-233

Ichigo later awakes within his inner world, where he finds Muramasa, who wishes to learn about Ichigo’s unique powers. Muramasa uses his powers to forcibly draw out Ichigo’s inner Hollow and tries to gain control of Hollow Ichigo, only to be surprised from a sudden attack. After a skirmish, it soon becomes clear that Hollow Ichigo is too powerful for Muramasa to fight directly, instead relying on his powers to bind him. After finally seeing through Muramasa’s invisible power, Ichigo saves his Hollow half, surprising both spirits. He then unleashes a huge surge of spiritual energy to force Muramasa out of his body, greatly shocking the rogue Zanpakutō.[322]

Outside, Zangetsu appears again, unleashing his Bankai. Ichigo’s inner Hollow calls to him, reminding Ichigo that he cannot access his Zanpakutō’s true power because it resides with Zangetsu. Hollow Ichigo offers instead to lend him his power, as long as Ichigo agrees not to seal him within the mask. After an initial struggle against Zangetsu, Ichigo asks why Zangetsu wants to fight so badly, who responds that his desire is to see how strong Ichigo can really become and if it is great enough to defeat him. Deciding to honor Zangetsu’s wish, Ichigo his inner Hollow’s power is able to defeat Zangetsu. Soon afterwards, Ichigo turned his attention to Muramasa, began coughing very sickly and became transparent, prompting him to teleport away. Zangetsu then appears again, assuring Ichigo he has returned to his normal self. Zangetsu explains that Muramasa's power is to forcibly unleash a being's deepest instincts, and then warp them to make the target care only about those desires, regardless of the consequences.[323]
Ichigo watches on as Hitsugaya's fight with Hyōrinmaru ends.

Ichigo then reports his new findings to the Shinigami captains. Afterwards, he is joined by Ikkaku who also wants to fight his Zanpakutō. Together, they find Hōzukimaru and Gegetsuburi. While they are able to catch Gegetsuburi, Hōzukimaru escapes, to which Ichigo follows. To his shock, Ichigo's pursuit is seemingly stopped by Byakuya who quickly disappears. While trying to find Byakuya, Ichigo is confronted by Tobiume and Haineko, who attempt to fight him, but the battle quickly taken over by Rangiku Matsumoto and Momo Hinamori. Later Ichigo is ambushed by Hyōrinmaru, who attempts to fight Ichigo. However, once Ichigo releases his Bankai, Hyōrinmaru decides to withdraw, revealing that he is searching for his master and has no memory of either his master or his own name. Before he is able to leave, Tōshirō Hitsugaya arrives. Hitsugaya explains to Hyōrinmaru that "Hyōrinmaru" is his name and that Hitsugaya himself is his master. However, Hyōrinmaru does not believe him, which leads to the two of them fighting each other. Hitsugaya eventually manages to convince Hyōrinmaru to returns to him.[324]

Ichigo decides to let Hitsugaya rest and continues to look for Byakuya until he runs into Rangiku and Momo who have already defeated their Zanpakutō spirits. Muramasa appears at their location through a Garganta. Muramasa states that he believes him and Ichigo are connected. Ichigo proceeds to fight him, but Muramasa, who is not used to his "new" body, is put at a disadvantage. Senbonzakura then intervenes, fighting Ichigo in Muramasa's place and activates his Bankai. Ichigo, having already fought Byakuya's Bankai in the past, is able to hold his own against Senbonzakura, eventually overpowering the spirit and cracking its mask in the process. Senbonzakura tries to fight back in retaliation, but is stopped by Byakuya. Ichigo is surprised to see Byakuya again, who quickly attacks him with a Kidō spell. Ichigo questions Byakuya's actions and Byakuya explains that, like the Zanpakutō spirits, he is following his own inner desires: to protect his pride. He then retreats, along with Muramasa and Senbonzakura, the latter using his technique to cover their escape.[325]

Ichigo returns and informs the others of Byakuya's betrayal, much to their dismay. Renji even gets angry with Ichigo, refusing to believe that Byakuya has betrayed them. Later that night, Ichigo senses Renji and Rukia's distress and rushes to help them. He arrives with Soifon and some others to combat the numerous Zanpakutō spirits who had surrounded Renji and Rukia.[326] Ichigo squares off with Senbonzakura again, while Renji holds off Byakuya. When Izuru falls prey to Wabisuke's power, Ichigo frantically tries to come to Izuru's aid. Suddenly, Kenpachi Zaraki makes a dramatic entrance with great delight.[327] After overpowering Senbonzakura, Ichigo quickly rushed to Byakuya and Kenpachi’s battle. While distracted by facing Byakuya, Senbonzakura reappeared and launched Ichigo into Ashisogi Jizō’s poison mist. Unable to react in time, Ichigo was poisoned and soon after collapsed. Before Ashisogi Jizō could take Ichigo’s unconscious body, Yachiru chased it away. Upon awakening, he is treated by the 4th Division members. Soon afterwards, Yoruichi appeared with knowledge on the whereabouts of Yamamoto.[328]
Ichigo is goaded into fighting all out by Muramasa.

Yoruichi leads them to an underground network of caves, prompting the team to split up. Ichigo goes with Yoruichi. After voicing Ichigo concerns about Byakuya, the two are attacked by Haineko and Tobiume. Yoruichi quickly over-powers them and tells Ichigo to go on ahead. Ichigo later encounters Minazuki, who retreats from him. Ichigo pursues the Zanpakutō, but loses track of it. Ichigo is then attacked by Kazeshini. After a short struggle, Ichigo quickly defeats and strikes down the Zanpakutō, apologizing to Shūhei Hisagi. Ichigo soon finds Yamamoto inside a barrier.[329] Before Ichigo can attempt to free Yamamoto, Muramasa appears, forcing Ichigo to do battle. Muramasa repeatedly insisted that Ichigo fights with full force, to which Ichigo eventually agrees and dons his Hollow mask. He then launches his strongest Getsuga Tenshō, but rather then dodging or deflecting it, Muramasa adds his own power to the blast and directs it towards Yamamoto’s barrier, causing it to shatter. Yamamoto quickly awakens, and voices his dread at the turn of events. It is then revealed that the barrier Yamamoto was in was not Muramasa’s doing, but rather Yamamoto’s in an attempt to keep the rogue Zanpakutō entering his inner world. Seeing Ichigo’s potential power, Muramasa tricked Ichigo to unleashing Hollow form Getsuga Tenshō, so Muramasa could finally gain access to Yamamoto's inner world and liberate Ryūjin Jakka. Quickly, Muramasa uses his newest servant to cover his escape and trap Ichigo and the Shinigami.[330]

Upon learning Muramasa's intention to free his former master, who is sealed in Karakura Town, Ichigo feels that it is his fault that the town is in danger. After several failed attempts to escape, Ichigo dons his Vizard mask and tries once again. However, he is wrapped up in Ryūjin Jakka's flames. He is freed by the arrival of Captain Hitsugaya. Yamamoto tells Ichigo to go stop Muramasa. Hitsugaya and his Zanpakutō spirit activate their Bankai and freeze Ryūjin Jakka's flames for long enough to allow Ichigo to escape. Upon arriving in the world of the living, Ichigo immediately confronts Muramasa. However, he is too late as Muramasa releases the seal on his master's coffin.[331] Upon witnessing the release of Kōga's seal, Ichigo and Rukia are surprised to sense how much spiritual energy Kōga has after being sealed for such an extensive amount of time. However, their surprise turns into shock upon witnessing Kōga stab Muramasa. After revealing his motive for doing so, they watch on as Kōga prepares to deliver the final blow upon Muramasa, but he is stop by the timely arrival of Byakuya.[332]

Senbonzakura then appears, revealing that he had only been pretending to still be under Muramasa's control, as Byakuya had freed him during their first encounter, and explains Byakuya's betrayal of Soul Society was an act. Byakuya acted as he did in the quest of finding and destroying Kōga to erase the dark stain on the Kuchiki clan's history. When Kōga finalizes his rejection of Muramasa by destroying his sword, the shock proves too painful for Muramasa to deal with, causing his powers go out of control and release all the Hollows he absorbed. Ichigo, understanding that Byakuya was trying to restore his family's honor, tells Byakuya to forget about the Hollows and handle Kōga, while he deals with the Hollows.[333]
Ichigo protects Rukia and Orihime from the transformed Muramasa.

As the amount of Hollows keeps increasing, Muramasa's energy and despair causes his body to collapse into itself, becoming a vortex that sucks all nearby Hollows into him, causing him to merge with them and become a Hollow himself. The Hollow Muramasa quickly attacks Ichigo and his friends. Ichigo initially defeats Muramasa, but Muramasa undergoes another transformation. He becomes a huge dome-like creature that engulfs Ichigo as it grows.[334] Ichigo finds himself inside Kōga's inner world, where he battles Muramasa. As the realm collapses around them, the Zanpakutō spirit uses his powers to immobilize Ichigo. Rubble falling into the water disrupts his ability, however, allowing Ichigo to come up with a strategy to counter his power. However, Muramasa then uses his illusionary powers to confuse Ichigo. Zangetsu offers his assistance, acting as Ichigo's eyes. Working together, they manage to defeat the ailing Muramasa and escape from the dome. After Muramasa dies, Byakuya thanks Ichigo for his efforts.[335]

Beast Swords arc (anime only)

Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
Click "show" to read the arc plot. [show]

In the Human World, Ichigo encounters a Tōjū searching for his master, but the Tōjū escapes. The 10th Division captain and lieutenant, Tōshirō Hitsugaya and Rangiku Matsumoto and their respective Zanpakutō, Haineko and Hyōrinmaru arrive in the Human World to find the Tōjū. Haineko attempts to flirt with him by showing photos of her and Rangiku, but Ichigo brushes it off, saying he is not interested. Hitsugaya fills in Ichigo and Urahara about the current situation in Soul Society. After the Tōjū is absorbed by a Hollow and the two fuse together, Ichigo saves Haineko from it and battles the creature. He is told by Zangetsu that the creature is the same Tōjū from before. Ichigo is thrown back by a powerful Cero and Hitsugaya defeats it with his Shikai.[336]

Zabimaru accompanies Renji Abarai to the Human World to deal with the Tōjū problem. Zabimaru decide to remove their chains and split up to increase their numbers. The Hebi half becomes too fascinated by the living world to pay attention to their mission. He meets Yuzu and Karin Kurosaki. The twins immediately try to befriend Hebi, who stubbornly continues to act indifferent as he continues to try and convince himself that he is better off alone. Karin, however, disagrees with Hebi's view. As they bring him to their house, Hebi begins warming up to the girls. However, when Ichigo arrives and tells him that Renji is looking for him, Hebi returns to his bratty self and leaves.[337]

edit Equipment
Ichigo's Substitute Shinigami Badge.

Substitute Shinigami Badge: Given to Ichigo by Ukitake before leaving the soul society for the first time, the pendant he commonly carries on his belt signifies him as a substitute soul reaper allowing him to remain active in the Human World.[338][339] The pendant gives Ichigo the ability to separate his soul from his body in the absence of Rukia's glove or Kon, it also alerts him to the presence of Hollows in Karakura town like Rukia's phone. Ukitake informs Ichigo that the badge can also be dangerous telling him that it has built in protection making it invisible to normal Humans. In the anime Zennosuke Kurumadani refers to the badge as a "Combat Badge" but is unable to discuss the matter further with Ichigo due to the arrival of Vizard Shinji Hirako, whereas in the manga Kurmadani simply tells Ichigo that he's never heard of his "Seal of Approval" causing Ichigo to refer to it as useless before Hirako's arrival.
edit Powers & Abilities

Master Swordsmanship Specialist: In terms of fighting style while in his Shinigami form, Ichigo relies mainly on swordplay, and thus would be considered a swordsmanship specialist. Aside from his initial training with Urahara, he is basically on a "learn as you go" training regimen thus his skill has developed by fighting rather than formal instruction, becoming even more capable with every fight. His overall skill has been shown capable of competing on equal grounds against the swordmasters of Byakuya Kuchiki and Kenpachi Zaraki's caliber. While usually performing right-handed, Ichigo appears to be ambidextrous as he has shown proficient skill wielding Zangetsu in his left.[340][341][342]

Expert Hand-to-Hand Combatant: Physically, Ichigo is in top form even when he is not in his spiritual body. Ichigo has been trained in martial arts since he was a small child both professionally and by his father. He has repeatedly shown great agility and coordination in his attacks. In addition to having powerful kicks and punches, Ichigo has also shown proficiency in counterattacks, takedowns, and body locks. He has repeatedly been able to catch an opponent's weapon strikes with a single hand.[343] He also regularly defeats multiple bullies and gangsters, and is a better martial artist than Tatsuki Arisawa, who is ranked the second-strongest girl in all of Japan despite her fighting with a broken arm in the last few matches of the competition. While he stopped training officially after defeating her, his constant attacks from bullies and his father help keep his skills fresh. It should be noted that he was able to effortlessly dispatch three lieutenants with Shikai released Zanpakutō in rapid succession merely bare-handed.[344]

Flash Steps Expert: Though not particularly versed in its various techniques, Ichigo has become proficient enough of the technique itself to keep up and even surprise high-level Shinigami with his speed. Even Byakuya Kuchiki, one of the most proficient users of Flash Steps in Soul Society, complimented Ichigo's growing mastery of the technique.[345] During his first demonstration of this skill, he was able to quickly move to knock out three lieutenants and grab his sword before any of them hit the ground.[346]

Vast Spiritual Power: Despite his origins, Ichigo has been noted on several occasions to have tremendously vast levels of spiritual energy well beyond other Shinigami.[347] He is capable of defeating a Gillian before awakening his true power with only his sealed Zanpakutō. Even at less than half strength, his spiritual energy is still comparable to a Captain-level fighter.[348] His spiritual power is noted to be heavy, which surprised Renji Abarai, a lieutenant-ranked Shinigami.[349] Ichigo constantly gives off reiatsu at the level of a captain.[350] It is so overwhelming that even when worn-out in battle, he can continue fighting effectively while still capable of unleashing Getsuga Tenshō or even unleash and maintain his Bankai.[351] Because Ichigo's spiritual energy constantly being so high even at its base level without him consciously being aware of it, he rarely becomes exhausted in battle, thereby meaning the sheer resilience and amounts of energy Ichigo has is monstrous.[352] Ichigo's spiritual energy is still rather difficult for him to control as he has no formal training in controlling it and upon the instances of Hollowfication his reiatsu fluctuates wildly, with it being unreadable at its lowest point and at its highest point more powerful than that of the 4th Espada Ulquiorra Cifer's.[353] Due to this and that he has far more spiritual energy than his body can consciously contain, it leaks out constantly, preventing him from hiding it and effectively making stealth impossible when dealing with other spiritually-aware beings. However, he has learned how to harden his spiritual energy and enhance the strength of his attacks or act as a barrier to reduce the impact of attacks on him, if not negating them completely. He has shown some skill in channeling his spiritual power as he was capable of destroying the Arbor of the Sōkyoku, seemingly an impossible feat which surprised the Gotei 13, by channeling his spiritual power through his sword into the execution stand.[354]

Enhanced Strength: Even without his Shinigami powers, Ichigo has shown himself to be deceptively strong, as shown from his ability to smash a man's head through a concrete floor.[355] When he is in his Shinigami body, Ichigo's already impressive strength is greatly enhanced. His overall abilities are great enough that he was able to fend off three Shinigami lieutenants with a single punch each; one of which shattered one of their Zanpakutō at the same time.[356] His strength is also great enough to stop repeated axe blows from Jidanbō and hurl Rukia several meters into Renji’s arms and still send them both skidding several meters more, both feats with a single-hand.[357][358] He is strong enough to hold back the Sōkyoku, a halberd with the destructive force equivalent to one million Zanpakutō combined, just using his Zanpakutō.[359]

Enhanced Speed: Even before learning Flash Step, Ichigo has repeatedly shown himself to be a very agile fighter. Ichigo has demonstrated great reflexes in battle, able to quickly dodge a strike with no wasted effort and he can instantly counterattack right after.[360] He is able to strike quickly without warning and in rapid succession.[361] His speed also allows him to follow the movements of faster opponents to better analyze their movements or blocking difficult and otherwise fatal strikes.[362]

Immense Durability: While only a teenage Human, Ichigo has shown himself to be a highly resilient man, as shown from his ability to safely break free from a binding spell (albeit a low-level one) and withstand an assault from a large Hollow.[355] When in his Shinigami form, Ichigo's physical durability is strengthened to the point he can continue fighting effectively even after receiving many injuries and can survive attacks that would easily kill normal Humans effortlessly. It was stated by Rukia that a Shinigami's life force is their spiritual power. As such, Ichigo is able to withstand attacks that would be fatal to most Shinigami. Uryū once stated that Ichigo was a monster in this regard.[363]

Advanced Growth Rate: According to both Aizen and Urahara, Ichigo's most astounding ability is his growth rate: he grasps the basic control of advanced techniques in days where it would take several years for even the most gifted Shinigami. Shortly after getting Shinigami powers and with no previous training, began learning advanced spiritual energy sensing techniques by sheer instinct, as he proved he can use a spirit ribbon to find Yuichi Shibata (in bird form).[364] Another example of his growth rate is the amount of time he took to learn the Bankai of his Zanpakutō, which he learns in two days (albeit with the assistance of a special device invented by Urahara that was originally intended for three days).[365][366] He also gains considerable experience in the use of Flash Step while training with Yoruichi, which was done over the same period as his Bankai.[367] Besides his improvements in his Shinigami abilities, Ichigo was also shown able to greatly increase the time he could maintain his Hollow mask from eleven seconds to considerably longer amounts of time. During his first fight with Ulquiorra, he is instantly incapacitated by one Cero blast even with his Hollow mask (which broke within a second), but only a few hours later, he is able to withstand another Cero from Ulquiorra without undergoing Hollowfication and can analyze Ulquiorra's movements much better than before, whereas he "felt like [he] was fighting a machine or a statue", and failed to predict and counter his attacks.[368][369]

Keen Intellect: Despite his somewhat punkish attitude, Ichigo has shown himself to be analytical, perceptive, and deductive. In his high school, Ichigo's grades are almost always near the top, despite his work as a substitute Shinigami. Aside from that, Ichigo appears to be able to determine the pattern of his opponent's battle methods and correctly deduce a proper counter-strategy to defeat his opponent's attacks.
English Slaying Moon
Kanji 斬月
Manga Debut Chapter 63
Anime Debut Episode 19
Media Appearances Manga and Anime
Japanese Voice Takayuki Sugo
English Voice Richard Epcar
Spanish Voice Alfonso Vallés (Spain)
Andrés Gutiérrez Coto (Latin America)

Zangetsu (斬月, Slaying Moon)

The spirit of Zangetsu resembles a tall (about the height of Kenpachi Zaraki) 30 to 40-year-old man with unkempt facial hair and long ragged black hair. He dresses in tattered all black garbs with narrow sunglasses and a long flowing overcoat that flares out into ragged ends. Because of the spirit's appearance, Ichigo calls him "Old-man Zangetsu" (斬月のオッサン, Zangetsu no ossan) as a result. Zangetsu has also been called the "black-clothed man" (黒衣の男, kokui no otoko). Zangetsu is portrayed as wise and calm in most matters, and fond of testing Ichigo in unusual ways, many of which have a purpose completely contrary to the stated goal. While the inner world is one of tall skyscrapers, Zangetsu has stated to prefer lusher, natural surroundings like bright sunny skies and green forests. Zangetsu has displayed the ability to temporarily close fatal wounds during combat, though whether or not this is a unique ability is unclear. Since first awakening his own Shinigami powers, Ichigo has had a strong connection to his Zanpakutō, as shown from how Zangetsu would regularly come to aid him with words of wisdom when Ichigo is in a difficult situation.

In Bankai form, he resembles a teenage version of himself and appears to be closer to Ichigo's age. He has long ragged black hair. He is dressed in a tattered, black hooded cloak that flares out into ragged ends. Zangetsu seems to portray the same cool and calm collectiveness as he would when not in Bankai; however, he is far more aggressive. While in Bankai, the skyscrapers in the inner world are submerged under breathable water.[370]

However, since Ichigo developed an Inner Hollow (as a result from nearly becoming one while having his Shinigami powers restored), Zangetsu and the Hollow are both the source of Ichigo's power and share the same spirit body in Ichigo's inner world, the stronger presence retaining more control (and overall appearance) of their body; in which case, the spirit of Zangetsu takes the form of an all-white (clothes and being), somewhat deranged version of Ichigo's Shinigami form with a strong desire to take control of Ichigo's body and power for himself.[371]

When Ichigo first becomes a Shinigami, his Zanpakutō is a standard-looking katana, but oversized with an equally-oversized brown sheathe hung by a strap over his right shoulder. It has a rectangular bronze hand guard with gently inward-curved edges, a stylized flame pattern on the long sides, and a simple decorative slit on the short ones. The handle is red with two light blue tassels on the end of the handle. The large size is due to the unfocused but immense amount of Ichigo's spiritual power, which he didn't know how to control. As a result, the sword itself was rather weak, since very little spiritual power was used to create it. Nevertheless, it was powerful enough to subdue a Gillian-class Menos and lesser Hollows, completely blocking a Cero from the former. It was even able to upturn the ground with a single strike.[372] Because of its weak spiritual energy nature, Byakuya Kuchiki was able to easily cut off most of the blade during his first encounter with Ichigo and Kisuke Urahara subsequently slices it down to the hilt during their training, forcing Ichigo to learn the name of his Zanpakutō in order to release its true form. This sword is found to be a result of Rukia's deprived spiritual energy and not a result of his own power.[373][374]
Zangetsu's constant Shikai form.

* Shikai: The Shikai form of Zangetsu looks like an oversized elegant cleaver rather than a formal "katana". He has no tsuba and no proper hilt; what Ichigo holds is the cloth-wrapped tang. The sword is as tall as Ichigo is, 1.75 meters, and has a black blade with a silver edge. The cloth wrapping on the tang seems to react to Ichigo's will, changing length at a thought or twining about the blade in an impromptu sheath. When in combat, the cloth falls away when necessary, shrinking back to a manageable size.[375] The cloth can also be used to swing the weapon like a flail and toss it at opponents for mid-range combat, but this is rarely done. The cloth also can be done to wrap up wounds, as Ichigo does during his fight with Ikkaku Madarame, but this is also done rarely.[376] Ichigo has also on more than one occasion used Zangetsu's wide blade as a shield from incoming attacks. Unlike most Zanpakutō, which can be sealed into their original form, Zangetsu is always in its Shikai form. Yoruichi Shihōin has stated that his Zanpakutō is a full-time released form type because of Ichigo's vast but uncontrollable spiritual energy upon generation of it, implying that it is simply a type of Zanpakutō that without proper control of his spiritual energy, once in Shikai form, it remains in its said state.[377]

Shikai Special Ability: Zangetsu's is largely used for melee combat but possesses one known special ability.

* Getsuga Tenshō (月牙天衝, Moon Fang Heaven-Piercer; "Piercer of Heaven" in the English anime): At the instant of the slash, Zangetsu absorbs his spiritual energy and releases highly condensed spiritual energy at the tip of the blade, magnifying the slash attack and then flies forward.[378] This slash takes the form of a crescent moon or in the shape of a wave.[379] Ichigo uses this ability without knowing its name several times but masters the technique later on during his Bankai training. As stated by Zangetsu, knowing the name of an attack heightens its power compared to its strength when the wielder does not know its name.[380] The Getsuga Tenshō is a powerful technique with great force, capable of causing large-scale damage and destruction. While it is currently the only attack Ichigo knows from Zangetsu, Ichigo has used this technique in several different manners, such as striking the ground to create an omnidirectional blast to knock away incoming attacks or slashing at the ground to upturn it and crush everything in its path.[381]

Zangetsu's Bankai form: Tensa Zangetsu

* Bankai: Tensa Zangetsu (天鎖斬月, Heaven Chain Slaying Moon): It is considered completely out of the ordinary for any Zanpakutō. Unlike most Bankai forms, which usually create some sort of massive creature or effect, Ichigo's Bankai actually shrinks his sword down to a daitō (Japanese long sword) with a black blade instead. The cross guard has four prongs bent out to form the shape of the manji (which is the kanji for "ban," meaning "full", as in "full release"). The blade itself can endure even the strongest of attacks, making it quite effective in blocking and deflecting incoming attacks; it can even withstand getting crushed by force.[382] Instead of the cloth his Shikai form had, a short length of chain with a broken link at the end dangles from the base of the hilt. In addition to his sword, Ichigo's robe is replaced with a long-sleeved, ankle-length black coat (or shikakushō) with red lining that is closed at his chest, then left to flare out into ragged ends, much like that of Zangetsu himself.[383] This coat is part of Ichigo's Bankai and the damage it can take is directly proportionate to the remaining strength and level of Ichigo's Reiatsu.[384]

Bankai Special Ability: Tensa Zangetsu, much like its Shikai form, is used heavily for melee combat, but also possess a certain special ability.

Enhanced Getsuga Tenshō (Kuroi Getsuga)

* Enhanced Getsuga Tenshō: Tensa Zangetsu retains the use of Getsuga Tenshō and can be used in the same manners, but can be used in an enhanced form. When used in Bankai, these potent blasts are black with a red outline and their path can be controlled, with explosively augmented power and speed. During Byakuya Kuchiki's fight with Ichigo, he refers to this attack as a "Kuroi Getsuga" (黒月牙; "Black Moon Fang"), referring to the attack's darkened color. Ichigo has stated that the Black Getsuga was originally Hollow Ichigo's technique,[385] and has been proven as Ichigo had no knowledge of it during his fight with Byakuya Kuchiki, using the original Getsuga when in Bankai, and Hollow Ichigo stated that all Ichigo was doing when he used the technique was copying his inner Hollow. Ichigo can also keep Getsuga Tenshō within Tensa Zangetsu to augment his sword swings.

* Hyper-Speed Combat: Ichigo takes all the power of his Bankai and compresses it into a small, condensed form. Then, he uses the power of the Bankai to perform high-speed combat.[386] His new speed is so great, that it also enhances his Flash Step prowess and allows him to create dozens of afterimages to confuse his opponent.[387]

* Enhanced Strength: Ichigo's Bankai also allows him to further enhance his natural great strength as shown from how effortlessly he blocked a punch from Yammy Riyalgo, an Espada known primarily for his immense strength. He is strong enough to cut through Yammy's Hierro with relative ease.[388] The sudden boost in strength upon releasing allows Ichigo to break free from any attack that binds him and prevents him from moving.[389]

* Enhanced Spiritual Power: His reiatsu is so intense and rough as well as thick and heavy that it can suffocate Humans just by being in the general vicinity of his released Bankai.[390] Ichigo's reiatsu was solid in his Bankai despite him only recently acquiring it.[391] In addition, his already immense spiritual energy has grandly and explosively increased, and now has a deep black spiritual energy with a crimson outline. It has come to a point where the red-outlined black energy emanates off of Ichigo's body when his spiritual pressure is exerted, replacing his blue aura. Ever since Ichigo defeated his inner Hollow and affirming his place as a Vizard, he produces a black aura with a red outline that surrounds him as he initiates Bankai, rather than a white aura that shoots high into the sky.

* Enhanced Bankai Duration: Furthermore, the fact that all of his energy is "compressed" means that usage of his Bankai doesn't expel as much spiritual power as other Bankai from the point of activation; thus allowing him to use Tensa Zangetsu at a much longer duration than any other Bankai users of his level.


Main article: Hollow Ichigo
Ichigo's mask while fighting Grimmjow.
Ichigo's mask after fighting Ulquiorra.

Hollow Mask: Ichigo's Hollow mask manifests in the appearance of what could best be described as a menacing skull. The mask is white and originally had only three dark red stripes on the left side, and has since increased in number. The stripes have changed in thickness after he subjugated his inner Hollow. It eventually covers almost the entirety of the mask's left half during his third battle with Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez.[392] While pure white on the right side, the mask possesses a total of ten red stripes (a total of ten can be seen during his last fight with Ulquiorra) spread across three spots on the left side of his mask. In the aftermath of his victory over Ulquiorra Cifer, Ichigo's mask has changed again, as seen when he faces off against a released Yammy Riyalgo. Where his mask once had a series of thick red-black stripes that covered almost the entire left half of his mask, there are now only four thick black stripes that appear to emerge outwards from the widened eye-holes of his mask and either disappear into both sides of the lower jaw or travel past the very top of the mask itself.[393]

The Hollow mask was originally a sign of Ichigo's possession by the Hollow within him, but after his training with the Vizard it has become indication that he is merely utilizing his Hollow powers. To access Hollow Ichigo's power, Ichigo must summon the mask onto his face, which is normally done by placing one of his hands over his face and concentrating spiritual matter on it in order to manifest the mask (previously it had appeared on its own before he mastered the Hollow within him), summoning the mask in a "ripping" fashion. With the mask in place, Ichigo has access to increased physical enhancements (although most of the other Vizard have been able to shift the position of the mask while apparently still retaining the abilities of their Hollowfied state as well as using general Hollow abilities neither has Ichigo been shown capable of doing).

* Power Augmentation: While wearing the mask, Ichigo's Hollow powers supplement his Shinigami powers, giving him a vast increase in both strength and speed. The explanation for this is that since Hollows boost their natural abilities by obtaining spiritual power around them, either by absorbing it in its ambient form or devouring it directly from another living being, Ichigo attains power from two separate sources: that from himself (drawn using his Shinigami powers), and that from his immediate environment (drawn with the help of his Hollow powers), allowing him to draw power from both sides.

Augmented Getsuga Tenshō: When Ichigo wears his mask, the power, speed, blast area, force, and size of the Getsuga Tenshō becomes drastically augmented to the point of seriously harming a foe. When used with his Bankai and Hollow mask in combination, his Getsuga Tenshō is stated to be his ultimate attack. Ichigo's tremendous speed allows him to move faster than the Getsuga Tenshō itself, allowing him to fire multiple blasts from different directions. Ulquiorra Cifer believes that the Getsuga Tenshō is Ichigo's strongest attack, and has compared it to a Hollow's Cero, particularly a Cero Oscuras.[394] The Kuroi Getsuga was first displayed by Ichigo's inner Hollow, and initially carried the risk of causing his inner Hollow to surface if used too much. With Ichigo's later control over his inner Hollow, this is no longer a problem. With the use of his new mask he was able to use Tensa Zangetsu one handed sending a Getsuga Tenshō powerful enough to send Yammy Riyalgo falling down head first while he was in his much larger and stronger Resurrección state.[395]

Enhanced Spiritual Power: While wearing the mask, the spiritual power Ichigo possesses becomes even greater than before. During Ichigo's fight with Grimmjow the 3rd Espada, Tia Harribel, notes that the volume, concentration, and catastrophic nature of his reiatsu didn't seem like that of a Human but more like she was watching a fight between two Espada.[396] It has been noted multiple times that with the mask on his spiritual energy changes into something similar to that of a Hollow.

Enhanced Strength: While using the Hollow mask, Ichigo gains a substantial increase in strength. As in his third fight with Grimmjow, he was able to block the destructive force of an Espada's strongest Cero, the Gran Rey Cero fired by Grimmjow.[397] As evident after he unleashed his Hollowfication state in his battle with Ulquiorra, and was even able to slightly break his sword with a single slash.[398] He is able to effortlessly block a Cero fired by Ulquiorra.[399]

Enhanced Speed: While wearing his mask, Ichigo’s already formidable speed is greatly enhanced. During his second battle against Grimmjow, Ichigo’s speed was great enough to completely overwhelm the Espada, who was unable to follow Ichigo’s movements and was forced completely on the defensive from his barrage of attacks.[400] His attacks also become so fast that the opponent cannot even perceive them until after they are hit.[401] He also becomes fast enough to outrun his own energy attacks, allowing him to strike and enhance them or launch simultaneous attacks at the opponent from different angles.

Enhanced Endurance: Apparently, using the Vizard form makes him much more pain resistant, Ichigo even states at the beginning of his Vizard training that "wearing the mask feels like being in control of someone else's body".

Enhanced Durability: His durability is even more evident throughout the fight as he is thrown through various buildings and obstructions.[402] Ichigo shielded Orihime from a barrage of Grimmjow's dart bullets which have enough destructive force to destroy a large building.[403][404] Even after taking this barrage, he was still able to fight and defeat Grimmjow, even destroying one of his Desgarrón claws, which was Grimmjow's most powerful technique.[405]

* Mask Regeneration: Ichigo seems to have the ability to repair small amounts of damage that is inflicted upon his mask. This is seen during his 3rd fight with Grimmjow and during his most recent fight with Ulquiorra.[406] He has also been shown to have the ability to call his mask out a second time after it shatters, but with less benefits. Also his scleras do not change, and remain Human. This was first used against his first fight with Ulquiorra, although unseen, it was used to help defend against Ulquiorra's Cero, and again with his most recent confrontation with him, after he went into his released form.

Hollow mask as a shield.

* Mask Shielding: The mask has also shown the ability to block attacks on Ichigo's body from within his robe, serving as a shield to stop or lessen attacks on him, sometimes saving his life. One example is when the mask blocked several hits from Renji's Zanpakutō during their fight; Hanatarō Yamada notes the hits could have been fatal.

* Hollow Combat: When Ichigo fights with his mask on his fighting style becomes more instinctive than practiced. The Hollow mask also makes Ichigo more ruthless, akin to the battle style of Hollow Ichigo. Throughout the duration of the Hollowfication, Ichigo has shown less concern for injuries to his person, even going so far as to ignore grievous wounds to continue fighting.

* Increased Mask Duration: After training with the Vizard and subjugating his inner Hollow, Ichigo can use his Hollow mask while retaining his personality, but could originally only wear it for eleven seconds at a time. His limit and Hollow powers greatly increases during his third battle with Grimmjow.[407] The reasons behind Ichigo now being capable of fighting entire battles with his mask, currently remains unknown. Grimmjow speculated that Ichigo's improvements came from a subconscious need.[408] However, once Ichigo's mask changed in his battle with Yammy Riyalgo, he noticed his mask felt different as well, as if it was heavier, and he is unable to re-summon it for a brief period of time. It is unknown if the time limit has changed as well, although his new mask began deteriorating directly after he attempted a Getsuga Tenshō on Aizen with it on.

edit Affiliation

Soul Society & Gotei 13: As a substitute Shinigami, Ichigo is not an official member of the Gotei 13. While aligned with Soul Society, mainly due to the threat of Aizen and the Arrancar, he is allowed to act on his own accord (so long as he does not disrupt the peace), such as mounting a rescue attempt on Hueco Mundo. He occasionally disobeys orders and fights the Shinigami whenever they endanger one of his friends.[409] Overall, he maintains an allied loyalty to Soul Society.

Vizard: Initially, he refused to join their group but eventually comes to see himself as one of them species wise, though he continues to refer to himself as a Shinigami instead of a Vizard. He associates himself more with Soul Society regardless of his loose association with them. He still maintains a distance from them as group and considers them somewhat friends and allies.

Ichigo's Group & Karakura Town: His friends are quite loyal to him, and follow his every move, regardless of whatever their current situation is, though there are occasional leadership arguments between himself, Renji, and Uryū. His loyalty to his friends, family and town are far above that of any of the other groups he has come into contact with over the past months.

Urahara's Group: Ichigo considers Urahara and Yoruichi as his mentors and he respects them greatly, though he occasionally argues with them over their actions and/or decisions regarding a situation (training or otherwise), though mainly due to pride and his own reckless 'logic'.
Species Status
Ichigo carrying the burden of two worlds as a Substitute Shinigami.

Ichigo is an extremely rare case. Despite being a Shinigami, he is still a living Human being and resides in the Human World, rather than in Soul Society. Uniquely, he gained his own powers through Urahara's training/forced encroachment, which simultaneously gave him Hollow powers. Due to his Hollow powers, Ichigo is technically classified as a Vizard, but he still thinks and refers to himself as a Shinigami. For all purposes, Ichigo is a Human in physical body and Vizard in spiritual body, thus making his situation even rarer.
Substitute Shinigami Status

His status in the Soul Society remains ambiguous. His "rank" as substitute Shinigami (死神代講, shinigami daikō) was accepted by most of the others so he can continue to fight Hollows and defend his home town properly, however it is revealed that Zennosuke Kurumadani was not informed of Ichigo's status as upon their first meeting Kurumandi admits to never having heard of Ichigo's status or his "Seal of Approval." Ichigo is alerted to the presence of Hollows by his Substitute Badge, an artifact given to him by Ukitake, who claims it symbolizes the formalizing of Ichigo's Substitute Shinigami position. His duty, as far as the Shinigami are concerned, is protecting Karakura Town,[410][411] though Ichigo views it more as protecting his friends.[412] The Shinigami, however, wish to have him fighting alongside them against Aizen due to his captain-level power and lack of exposure to Aizen's Shikai.[413] Ichigo, however, ignored the only real order he ever received from Captain-Commander Yamamoto, which was to not go after Orihime when she was abducted.
edit Relationships

Main article: Ichigo's Relationships Ichigo has encountered many different characters throughout the course of the series, ranging from family, friends and allies, to rivals and enemies. His interactions with these characters have lead to some strong bonds and rivalries being formed. Some of these friendships have been ongoing since childhood, while others have only developed during the series. Ichigo has not shown any romantic feelings towards any characters in the series.

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6 Re: Ichigo Kurosaki (黒崎 一護 on Fri Aug 13, 2010 4:10 am

Kuchiki Amira

九番隊隊長 Kyubantai Taicho
wah..wah... then what happen???


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7 Re: Ichigo Kurosaki (黒崎 一護 on Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:35 pm

Shawn Kun

副キャプテン Fukutaicho

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8 Re: Ichigo Kurosaki (黒崎 一護 on Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:37 am

Shawn Kun

副キャプテン Fukutaicho
Wows I still cant believe how many parts there are Shocked

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9 Re: Ichigo Kurosaki (黒崎 一護 on Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:09 am

Kuchiki Amira

九番隊隊長 Kyubantai Taicho
he is the main character...


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10 Re: Ichigo Kurosaki (黒崎 一護 on Mon Aug 23, 2010 1:22 pm

Shawn Kun

副キャプテン Fukutaicho
I should be the main charactor Razz

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