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|Pre Timeskip | Post Timeskip|
15-17 years old
July 15 (Cancer)
High School Student
|Base of Operations|
|Japanese Voice Actor(s)|
|English Voice Actor(s)|
Ichigo Kurosaki (黒崎 一護, Kurosaki Ichigo) is a Human who has Shinigami powers. He is also a Substitute Shinigami. Ichigo is the son of Isshin Kurosaki and Masaki Kurosaki, and the older brother of Karin and Yuzu.
Ichigo looks like a normal teenage boy, except that his hair is spiky orange, a trait that he has been ridiculed about for years on end. He is a fairly tall, lean-built person with peach skin and brown eyes. He likes to wear tight clothes top and bottom. He has a tendency to wear shirts patterned with the number 15, because his name is a homonym for the number. 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 sheath, but it later became a red rosary-like strap. The shape of them is a kite with a flat top and bottom. Ichigo's appearance has caused several people, including Jūshirō Ukitake, to notice a similarity to Kaien Shiba; the former lieutenant of the 13th Division. After training in the Dangai, Ichigo's hair grows considerably and is noticeably taller, as stated by his friends. However, after Ichigo loses all his spiritual powers, his appearance reverts to the way it was before his Dangai training.
Seventeen months after defeating Aizen, Ichigo's appearance doesn't change, except that he becomes taller and grows sideburns. After regaining his powers, Ichigo’s Shinigami attire also consists of a thicker strap across his chest. He also has four black vertical lines on his forearms and black, tattoo-like bands crossing over his chest, wrists, and ankles. Similar bands, but with white ends, are around his neck as collars.
When he was a child, Ichigo considered his mother to be the center of his world, always smiling when he was with Masaki and he was regularly 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. 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, causing Ichigo to risk his life to protect both his family and strangers.
As a 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. 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”. He is shown to be genuinely compassionate and empathetic about others, as seen by him promising to bring a Plus flowers and a toy plane or soothing others when they become upset.
Ichigo is also a capable student, ranked 23rd in his year at school, studying regularly and not neglecting his schoolwork. He works as hard as he does to overcome the misconceptions many have about him based on his hair color and fighting. Ichigo hates fortune telling, horoscopes, feng shui, psychics and anyone whose trade involves taking money from people for things that they cannot see. He has difficulty remembering people's faces and names. Ichigo becomes extremely shy and uncomfortable around nude or immodestly dressed women, a fact both Yoruichi Shihōin and Rangiku Matsumoto have teased him for. Ichigo is often 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 without using honorifics.
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 and cutting off the right arm of Yammy Llargo in retaliation for him ripping Yasutora Sado's right arm apart. He often taunts and belittles his opponents when fighting, sometimes even attacking without warning. Ichigo has a strong desire to win his fights 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. However, Ichigo's resolve in battle can waver at times, which can impede his fighting prowess and goes into a state of depression and self-loathing when he loses a major battle or lets a friend down.
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 Gilga, and Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez "trash". 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.
Ichigo was born on July 15, as the first and only son of Isshin Kurosaki and Masaki Kurosaki, 15 years before he became a Shinigami. His little sisters, Karin and Yuzu, were born a few years later. When he was 4 years old, Ichigo joined a karate dojo, where he met and befriended with a little girl named 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.
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.
On June 17, one month before Ichigo's tenth birthday, 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. 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.
One day when Ichigo was 12 years old (two years after his mother's death), 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.
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. Ichigo regularly got into fights with thugs, due to the unusual color of his hair. During one of these fights he received help from Yasutora Sado. Shortly after Ichigo returned the favor when he rescued Chad from two gang members roughing him up. 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.
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.
Agent of the Shinigami arc
After using a dead girl to scare off some skateboarders, Ichigo apologizes to her and promises to bring her some new flowers to replace those damaged by the skaters. He tells her to go to heaven quickly. That evening Ichigo sees Rukia Kuchiki in his bedroom. He initially mistakes her for a burglar but when Ichigo realizes that only he can see the intruder, he accepts that Rukia is a ghost. He refuses to believe her explanation about Shinigami, causing Rukia to bind him with Kidō. A Hollow then attacks the Kurosaki Clinic and upon hearing his sister's pleas for help, Ichigo breaks free and rushes to stop the Hollow. Ichigo, surprised at its monstrous appearance, charges at it with a baseball bat in a futile bid to release the captive Yuzu. Rukia frees Yuzu, but Ichigo's reckless actions force Rukia to shield him with her body, causing her severe injuries. Seeing Ichigo's determination 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 and makes short work of the Hollow, collapsing afterwards.
The following morning, Ichigo is horrified to find that Rukia is now a part of his class and that she has altered his family memories of the attack. She insists that he must help her do her job while she awaits the return of her powers. Ichigo refuses, so Rukia forces his soul out of his body and takes him to a park where a Hollow is about to attack. She manipulates the situation to persuade Ichigo to perform her duties. After having undergone some training with Rukia to improve his combat tactics, a Hollow bursts into his room. Rukia, who has taken to staying in his closet, forces Ichigo's soul out of his body and he cuts off part of the Hollow's mask, revealing it to be Sora Inoue. Rukia explains the origins of Hollows and states that Orihime Inoue is in danger as Hollows often attack their relatives. They rush to Orihime's apartment where Ichigo manages to stop the Hollow before it eats Orihime's and Tatsuki's souls.
Ichigo notes that Orihime's soul is outside her body, but is knocked outside the building. As Ichigo comes to a stop in mid-air, acid spat at him by the Hollow causes him to drop his Zanpakutō. Sora then knocks him out. As Rukia wakes Ichigo, he notes that the battle is different and that it has affected him before rejoining the fight. As Sora charges at him, Orihime steps in between them and is bitten. Ichigo listens as she talks to her brother. Ichigo reveals that Orihime had told him that her hairpins were a present from Sora and that he is not the only one who is sad. Sora uses Ichigo's sword to purify himself and Rukia explains to Ichigo that Hollows defeated by a Zanpakutō are purified and sent to the Soul Society. As Ichigo and Orihime talk, Rukia heals her and erases her memory.
At school, Ichigo fends off Mizuiro Kojima's suggestions of a relationship with Rukia and Reiichi Ōshima's threats about his hair colour. Ichigo then notices that Chad has a parakeet with him and that there is a spirit inside it. Rukia confirms that it is just a lonely Plus, which they should send to the Soul Society that night. Ichigo complains about missing another night of sleep. Upon returning home, Ichigo helps with the injured from a car accident, including Chad. Ichigo notes that the wound on his back was inflicted by a Hollow. The next morning, Ichigo tracks the spirit inside the parakeet using Reiraku in order to find the missing Chad.. When they find Chad, who runs away from them. Ichigo tells him that it is dangerous to be by himself, but he is distracted by an ill Karin. At Rukia's behest, he brings her home. Karin tells him that she saw the Plus' memories and that he saw his mother being murdered. After placing her in her bed, Ichigo rushes to help Chad, reflecting upon how long it has been since he last saw Karin cry.
Ichigo arrives to take over fighting the Hollow, Shrieker, killing several small creatures that were carrying Chad's birdcage along the way. Rukia releases him from his body and he immediately injures Shrieker. Ichigo notices mores small creatures nearby and is told that they spit out explosive leeches. He asks Shrieker if he was the one who killed the child's parents, which the Hollow confirms. Ichigo catches one of the leeches and slams it into Shrieker's mouth. When the Hollow refuses to trigger them, Ichigo rips out its tongue, 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 savor what it is like to be murdered. Ichigo cuts through his head and Shrieker is pulled in to Hell. After Rukia explains about Hell, she tells the Plus that they will send him to the Soul Society and Ichigo says that he might see his mother there.
The following day, Ichigo notes that Chad's memory has been erased and Rukia gives Ichigo a Gikongan, a dispenser of Artificial souls. After explaining its purpose, 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 the Soul Society. After defeating the Hollow, the concerned Ichigo rushes back, only to see his body jumping out an upstairs window and run away at extremely high speed. As they chase after him, Rukia tells him that it must be a Mod soul. Rukia explains what she means to an angry Ichigo, who asks if Rukia is alright with the idea of the Mod Souls being created and killed all for the Soul Society's convenience. Ichigo wonders how the Mod soul must feel about being persecuted and then gaining his body. They receive a warning about a Hollow. Hurrying to its location, they find the Mod Soul is fighting it and Ichigo rushes to his aid, reminding him that he is using Ichigo's body. The two continue arguing as they defeat the Hollow together. Kisuke Urahara removes the Mod Soul from Ichigo's body. Ichigo asks him what he is going to do with it and asks who he is. Rukia gives the Mod Soul to Ichigo, who thanks her for not throwing him away.
After failing to find a body to place the Mod Soul in, Ichigo places him in a plushie and decides to call him Kon. On the 16th of June, Ichigo is woken by Kon and scrambles to hide him and Rukia as Yuzu comes into the room to say that Mizuiro is waiting for him. He apologizes to Mizuiro and notes that his memory has been erased, remembering that Rukia had told him that Urahara must have worked hard. As Rukia leaves, Ichigo complains that Isshin did not wake him up as usual before noticing the date. That night, the Kurosaki's hold a family meeting to discuss their trip to Masaki's grave the following day. Ichigo asks Rukia if he can take the day off from the Shinigami work as it is the day Masaki was killed.
On the 17th of July, the Kurosaki family visit Masaki's grave. Ichigo is annoyed that Rukia followed them and becomes angry when she asks if Masaki was killed by a Hollow. Ichigo notices the same girl he saw the night Masaki died and he runs after her, later telling Rukia that he killed Masaki. At Masaki's grave, Ichigo watches his family's antics and reflects on his mother's death and its impact on his family. Sensing the reiatsu of a Hollow, Ichigo realizes that the twins are easy targets. As the Hollow attempts to eat Yuzu, Ichigo arrives and cuts the twins free. He demands to know why the girl he saw when Masaki died is there, asking if she is controlled by the Hollow. Rukia tells him that the Hollow is called Grand Fisher and that it uses the girl as a lure to trick and devour Humans who have high levels of spiritual power. Ichigo realizes that Grand Fisher killed his mother and lunges at it. Ichigo stops Rukia from interfering, insisting on fighting alone and instructs her to mind his sisters.
Ichigo struggles against Grand Fisher and is subjected to the Hollow's Transcribe ability. The Hollow transforms his lure into an image of Masaki and explains about his ability. The Hollow pierces Ichigo's chest and Ichigo stabs the Hollow's chest. He grabs his arm, saying that he has finally caught him, slashing open his chest. The Hollow then transfers its form into the lure and escapes. Rukia tries to convince Ichigo that he cannot fight him any more, but he insists that he can and that the Hollow is still not dead yet, but he soon collapses. Rukia uses most of her strength to heal his stomach wound, leaving his other injuries. Ichigo awakens in his body, in great pain and Rukia reminds him that the wounds his soul receives will show up when he returns to his body. Ichigo asks her if he lost, but she tells him that he won since the Hollow fled and nobody died. Ichigo says that Grand Fisher is not dead and walks off.
At Masaki's grave, Ichigo apologizes for not being able to avenge her. Isshin notes that the time has gone by quickly and that it has already been ten years since Masaki died. Ichigo corrects his error and 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 he smokes on this one occasion as when Masaki saw him smoking while they were dating was the only time Masaki had complimented his looks. When Ichigo asks why nobody blames him for her death, Isshin dismisses the suggestion, saying Masaki would be mad at him and that she would gladly die to protect her child. He reminds Ichigo that he is the one that the woman he loved gave her life to protect 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. 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.
While Yuzu and Isshin are watching Don Kanonji's Ghost Bust TV program one Wednesday evening, Ichigo asks Karin why she is not watching it with them. She tells Ichigo that she can see spirits about as clearly as Ichigo can and is not interested in the ghost show. Ichigo remembers that she saw the Hollow that attacked the house when he first met Rukia and realizes that she might be able to see Shinigami too. The next morning at school, Orihime performs Don Kanonji's pose as Ichigo arrives in class and ask him to do the pose with her. As Ichigo's friends all do the pose, Ichigo tells Keigo that he is not going to the live recording of Ghost Bust at the abandoned hospital in Karakura, despite his attempts to convince him to go. The following Wednesday, Ichigo accompanies his family to watch Ghost Bust being filmed. There, Orihime apologizes to him for trying to get him to do Don Kanonji's pose and he tells her that it is okay. He reveals that Keigo and Mizuiro know he despises it, but yet still do it anyway. When asked why he came, he explains 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.
Rukia tells him that he must be tired from his dual life and instructs him to use this chance to relax. Surprised that she is concerned about his health, Ichigo asks if there really is a spirit in the hospital, saying that the Shinigami would have dealt with it already. Rukia says that it is likely to be a Jibakurai a soul on its way to becoming a Hollow. Ichigo asks Rukia if they should not perform Konsō on it to prevent him from becoming a Hollow, but says that takes months to turn into a Hollow. She says to do it after the show to avoid trouble in case of a struggle, but Ichigo is unconvinced. Meanwhile, Don Kanonji jams his staff into the partially open hole the Jibakurai's chest. Ichigo tries to stop him, but he is caught by security. Urahara frees Ichigo's Shinigami form from his body, allowing him to knocks Kanonji away from the Jibakurai. As Ichigo realizes that the medium can see him, the Jibakurai vanishes in an explosion. Kanonji promises to send Ichigo to heaven too as Rukia shouts at him to look up, where they see the spirit reforming into a Hollow on top of the hospital. As Ichigo and Kanonji bicker, the Hollow charges at them. Ichigo fends off its attack and when the Hollow gets its head stuck in a wall, Ichigo drags Kanonji inside.
Ichigo insists that they stay inside to avoid the audience being caught up in the fighting. When the Hollow attacks again, Ichigo's Zanpakutō becomes stuck in the ceiling as he fends it off. Ichigo recognizes that he never thought about the corridors being too confined to use his sword in. As the Hollow glues Ichigo's hands together, Kanonji jams its mouth open with his staff and frees Ichigo's blade. When Ichigo's sword becomes embedded in the Hollow's shoulder, it drags him up to the roof. Ichigo frees himself and takes advantage of the open space to defeat the Hollow, prompting Kanonji to praise him. Ichigo tells him to stop his antics and explains that it is the same spirit Kanonji thought he had sent to heaven, insisting that regretting it is pointless as he did not know. Ichigo directs Kanonji to the crowd. 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. and forces him to take a Don Kanonji fan club card, signed “to my #1 pupil”.
The following day, Rukia helps Ichigo and his friends get out of trouble for their actions at the abandoned hospital when they are brought before the principal and Kagine, who complains that their escapades were broadcast live nationwide. That afternoon, Ichigo answers the door to Don Kanonji. He immediately closes and locks the door, demanding to know how he found out about his house. Kanonji reveals that he invited Rukia along and Ichigo realizes that it was her who told him where he lived. Yuzu then sees Kanonji and knocks Ichigo over while opening the door. Rukia’s Denreishinki alerts her to a Hollow and they rush off to fight it.
After numerous incidents of arriving at the supposed site of a Hollow attack, only to find that there is no Hollow, Ichigo and Rukia bicker and 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. Ichigo tries to keep away from Rukia at school to avoid the rumors since their appearance on Ghost Bust. While discussing his high grades with Keigo and Mizuiro, Ichigo notes that his orange hair causes him a lot of trouble as older students pick on him and teachers watch him closely and he studies so that the school does not complain about him. Rukia then drags Ichigo off, causing him to complain about the rumors regarding them. She 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, but they find nothing. After another incident following school, Ichigo tells Rukia to do something about the problem as she drags his body from its hiding place. The pair are approached by Uryū Ishida, who 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 and introduces himself, saying that he hates Shinigami and Ichigo.
At school, Ichigo reflects upon his encounter with Uryū, wondering why he would say such things to a complete stranger and why Uryū was angry. Realizing that he cannot remember his full name, Ichigo lists of possible names out loud. Orihime overhears him and states that Uryū is in their class. She takes him to the handicrafts club to show him Uryū. Orihime asks what happened between Ichigo and Uryū, but Ichigo dismisses it as no big deal. After school, Ichigo follows Uryū as he leaves. The Quincy asks him if he intends to follow him 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. He invites Ichigo to fight him, saying that Shinigami are unnecessary in the Human World.
Ichigo ridicules the idea, but Uryū succeeds in convincing Ichigo to fight him and he uses Kon to free his Shinigami form. Uryū uses some Hollow bait to cause Hollows to gather in Karakura Town and states that the one who defeats the most Hollows within twenty-four hours wins. Angered by this, Ichigo demands to know why he is exposing the town's residents to such danger. Uryū tells him not to worry as they will kill all the Hollows. Ichigo tries to make him undo it, but Uryū tells him that Hollows will soon flood the town and that he should try to protect as many people as possible. When Uryū warns him that Hollows tend to prefer people with high spiritual power, Ichigo runs off to find Karin. After slaying his third Hollow and saving a pair of Pluses, Ichigo struggles to think where Karin is. He sends Kon to get Rukia’s Denreishinki to aid in reacting to the Hollows. 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.
Having found Uryū, Ichigo bickers with Kon when he arrives. Unable 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. 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. Rukia explains to him about the fall of the Quincy at the hands of the Shinigami, prompting him to run after Uryū and attack several Hollows around him. Ichigo tells Uryū that he does not know or care about whether the Shinigami or Quincy were right and expresses his frustration at his methods. Uryū tells him that he thought the Shinigami were correct, until his sensei was killed in front of him. 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 points out that his sensei’s wish was to work together and asks if he will do that now, saying that fighting back to back is the best way to deal with the situation.
As the two begrudgingly work together, 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. The pair agree to beat each other up after the Hollows have been dealt with, but as they are about to attack a horde of Hollows, a Menos Grande appears. Ururu Tsumugiya, Tessai Tsukabishi, Jinta Hanakari and Urahara arrive to fight the Hollows and Urahara tells Ichigo to concentrate on fighting the Menos. Seeing its size, Ichigo questions if it is in fact a Hollow and is shocked to see it eating the nearby Hollows. Saying 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, Ichigo charges towards the Menos and attacks its leg, but is knocked back by the unfazed Menos.
Uryū notices that Ichigo's power flows into his bow when he touches it and plans to fire an enlarged arrow at the Menos, telling Ichigo to increase his power to maximum. Ichigo points out that he never controls his energy output and comments that 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. His power increases as he resists the Cero. Ichigo repels the attack, injuring the Menos in the process. As the Menos retreats, Ichigo collapses and his Zanpakutō begins to destabilize. Noting that it will explode, Uryū begins to dissipate the energy by firing arrows into the sky, injuring himself. Uryū tells him to make sure that he lives so that they he can beat him later. The following day, when Rukia tells Ichigo not to pay attention to Uryū's injuries, Ichigo denies being worried. He later overhears Keigo telling Mizuiro that he saw Uryū talking to himself the previous day, believing it to be related to a theater. Ichigo is thankful that Keigo is an idiot. Ichigo asks Uryū to join them for lunch, though later regrets it due to the atmosphere that prevails over their meal.
That night, Ichigo takes the leftovers from dinner to give to Rukia, but finds that she is gone. At 2:00 a.m. Ichigo wonders whether she is going to return that night, noting that it would be nice not to have Shinigami duties to carry out for once. Hearing a muffled noise, Ichigo finds Kon gagged and tied to the back of the toilet bowl. When Ichigo asks why he was tied up, Kon says that Rukia is in big trouble and shows Ichigo a note that she left on his desk. Confused by the message, which tells them that she has to leave and instead of looking for her, they should go into hiding, Ichigo decides to change into his Shinigami form and find her. Ichigo realizes that he cannot change form without Rukia and demands that the reluctant Kon change him into a Shinigami. Urahara appears at the window and changes him into Shinigami form.
As Lieutenant Renji Abarai attacks Rukia, Ichigo arrives and attacks him. 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. Realizing that he is the Human who took Rukia's Shinigami powers, Renji attacks him. Renji 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 the change of form of his Zanpakutō. He leaps into the air and slashes Ichigo's shoulder.
After Renji explains about the Shikai form of Zanpakutō, he moves to attack him. Rukia attempts to stop him so that Ichigo can flee, but Ichigo's reiatsu increases and he injures the surprised Renji, quickly overwhelming him. As Ichigo attempts to end the fight, Byakuya severs his sword's tip, leaving Ichigo stunned. As he prepares for Byakuya's subsequent attack, Byakuya appears behind him and stabs him. Falling to the ground, Ichigo wonders whether he was attacked from the front or from behind, only to be stabbed again by Byakuya. As Byakuya and Rukia talk, referring to Ichigo, he grabs Byakuya's leg and tells 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. Rukia kicks Ichigo's hand away from her brother, telling him that he should know his place. She then tells Byakuya that she is ready to leave. 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 Ichigo should die shortly due to his injuries, but if he does survive, he will no longer possess any Shinigami powers. As they leave, Ichigo notes that he cannot move or speak. He reflects upon coming to protect Rukia, but instead she protected him again. As Ichigo contemplates his injuries in the rain, Urahara and Yoruichi Shihōin approach him.
Ichigo awakens in Urahara's shop, where Urahara tells him that his wounds are not yet fully healed and that if he moves too much he could die. Ichigo asks the shopkeeper about Uryū's condition. Urahara explains that Uryū's injuries were treated on the spot and when he left, he was worried about Ichigo, stating 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 the Soul Society and he cannot follow. Urahara reveals that he can send Ichigo there on the condition that he trains with Kisuke for the next ten days, revealing that the Soul Society typically allows a grace period of a month before executions. He warns Ichigo that he will die if he goes there in his current condition and reveals that he purposely allowed Ichigo to fight Renji and Byakuya so that he would realize this after having fought them himself. He states that it will take seven days to open the gate to the Soul Society, leaving Ichigo with thirteen days in the Soul Society to rescue Rukia. Though doubting that he can become strong enough in ten days, Ichigo agrees to Urahara's deal.
Urahara gives Ichigo some pills to take every hour, saying that he will be recovered from his injuries by dinner time and sends him to school for the final day of the term. At school, Ichigo reflects upon the fact that nobody appears to remember Rukia. As Misato dismisses the class for summer, Ichigo notes Uryū's absence, thinking that he would remember Rukia. As he walks home after dismissing Keigo's invitation to holiday with him, he meets Orihime, who 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, surprised that she could see his Shinigami form. Orihime notes that Ichigo has already made up his mind to rescue Rukia and tells him to go save her, insisting that she does not want her friend to die either. Ichigo thanks her and 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.
In Urahara's training area, Ichigo's soul form is freed from his body and he quickly finds it difficult to move. He explains that Byakuya destroyed the source of his power, leaving him without any Shinigami powers and that he must restore these in order to fight the Shinigami. He 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. Urahara has Ururu Tsumugiya attack Ichigo and she lunges at him, causing a large could of dust and debris. Ichigo emerges from the dust and runs away from Ururu after another near miss. Realizing that he is able to run away from her, Ichigo attempts to dodge her attacks directly. Ichigo successfully dodges and attacks Ururu by trying to hit her headgear lightly, believing the weight difference will do the rest. However, when he hits and cuts her face, Ururu kicks him into a rocky outcropping. Tessai catches Ichigo before he hits it, cushioning Ichigo from the impact.
Urahara congratulates him for clearing the lesson and asks if Ichigo is still having trouble breathing or moving, which Ichigo is not. Urahara says that he has successfully recovered his spirit energy and that the soul tends to gain the reiryoku faster when it is in danger of being destroyed. Tessai then cuts Ichigo's Chain of Fate and pins him to the ground. Urahara tells him that the chain has already begun to corrode from the severed end. He states that if it reaches his chest, Ichigo will become a Hollow, but he can avoid this by becoming a Shinigami instead. The point of this lesson, which Urahara calls "Shattered Shaft", is to restore Ichigo's Shinigami powers. Ichigo is dropped to the bottom of the shaft, where he is bound with a Kin spell. Urahara tells him to scale the sheer sides of the deep shaft. Urahara reveals that there is a gas at the bottom of the shaft which speeds up the corrosion process 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.
After the fifth corrosion of the chain, Ichigo notes that the process alternates between a few minutes of painful corrosion and a few hours of dormancy. Only able to attempt to escape during the dormant phases, Ichigo unsuccessfully tries to run up the wall. Jinta Hanakari asks him if he is hungry, explaining that a soul feeling hungry is a sign that they will soon become a Hollow. 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 for him. Ichigo denies that he is hungry, saying that the chain is still long. Jinta reveals that it has been seventy hours since he entered the shaft and that the final corrosion phase is stronger than the earlier ones. The entire remaining length of the chain then begins to eat itself and a hole opens in his chest and a mask begins to form over his face. Urahara explains that the mask forming before his body reforms is a sign that Ichigo is resisting the transformation.
Ichigo awakens inside his consciousness and sees a man standing on a building, who is surprised that Ichigo does not recognize him. 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 falls from the building and the man follows him, stating that he should not worry as Shinigami control death. Ichigo tells him that he is not currently a Shinigami. The man tells him to focus the Reishi around him underneath his feet to stand on, urging Ichigo to remember a time as a Shinigami when he stopped in mid-air. He tells Ichigo that Byakuya only destroyed the powers given to him by Rukia, but that Ichigo has his own Shinigami powers which were hidden deep in his soul and awakened by Rukia's power. He instructs Ichigo to find it as the world is crumbling around him.
With the buildings of his inner world dissolving into countless boxes falls through a fissure into water, Ichigo he wonders how he can find his own powers. He remembers Uryū stating that Shinigami have red Reiraku and uses this to find a box containing a Zanpakutō's hilt. The man tells him that this time he ought to hear his name and urges him to take the hilt. Ichigo struggles to pull out the Zanpakutō as the world crumbles around him. In the Shattered Shaft, the Kidō restraining Ichigo breaks apart. Tessai activates the next stage of the Kidō, Bankin. However, there is an explosion from Ichigo's body. As the smoke clears, Ichigo emerges wearing a Hollow mask and Shinigami clothes. Ichigo uses his still broken Zanpakutō to smash the Hollow mask. Urahara congratulates him on his success, saying that he is now a complete Shinigami. Having sworn to kill Urahara when he got out of the shaft, Ichigo hits him in the eye with the sword's hilt. Urahara starts the third lesson, which is simply to knock the hat off of Urahara's head. Ichigo proposes a five minute time limit as Kisuke draws a blade from within his cane.
Urahara quickly overwhelms Ichigo, revealing that his sword is a Zanpakutō. He activates Benihime's Shikai and Ichigo remembers Renji using his Shikai during their fight. Urahara tells him that every Zanpakutō has a name and cuts through the remains of Ichigo's blade until there is just the hilt remaining, saying that he will kill him if he continues to fight with just the hilt. Ichigo runs away, thinking that he is going to die. As Urahara continues to attack him, Ichigo sees the man from his inner world again, who asks why Ichigo ran when he has not yet called him. He reveals that his name is Zangetsu 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 and warns Urahara that he might not be able to hold back. He 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, saying that he did not expect so much from one swing.
After completing Urahara's training, Ichigo has a relatively normal summer holiday while waiting for the gate to the Soul Society to be opened. On the first of August, Ichigo and his friends gather for a fireworks festival where they catch up. Isshin and the twins come running up to Ichigo, knocking him down a bank. Due to the girls' behavior, Ichigo asks if they are drunk. Isshin explains that a juice seller had used wine to dilute their 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 girls and several of Ichigo's friends. Later that night, after Ichigo complaining to a drunken Isshin about having to carry his sisters, Ichigo tells him that he will be leaving soon and that he might not be back until the summer vacation ends.
Seven days after completing his training, Ichigo is summoned to the Urahara Shop. As he leaves, Ichigo says goodbye to his sisters. Isshin lends him an amulet which he claims Masaki gave to him and states that it will bring him good fortune. On his way to Urahara's, Ichigo meets up with Orihime. 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 they arrive at the shop, they find Chad waiting for them and Ichigo 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, criticises him for walking the entire way there wearing that outfit. Urahara interrupts them and invites the group inside.
In the underground training area, Urahara reveals the Senkaimon that they will be using to enter the Soul Society and removes Ichigo's Shinigami form from his body. As the others examine his body, Ichigo complains about them touching it freely. Urahara explains about how the Senkaimon works, saying that it will only stay open for four minutes. If they do not reach the Soul Society in that time, then they will become trapped in the Dangai. Yoruichi tells them that only those who are truly ready for the task can go. Ichigo says that everyone gathered there has already made their decision and will go to the 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 Kon to take care of his family. Ichigo, Uryū, Orihime, Chad and Yoruichi enter the gate and appear in the Dangai. As they run, Uryū's cape is caught by the Kōryū. Ichigo is warned not to use his Zanpakutō, as the Kōryū will trap it and he will not escape. After Chad frees Uryū, the group are chased by the Kōtotsu and Orihime uses her shield to protect them from it, propelling them through the exit and into the Soul Society.
Soul Society arc
As Ichigo tries to enter Seireitei, he is stopped by the gatekeeper Jidanbō Ikkanzaka. Ichigo faces the giant alone and quickly shows off his newfound might by defeating him easily. Upon gaining access to Seireitei, however, he is quickly repelled outside the gate by Captain Gin Ichimaru. After spending some time in Rukongai, where he encounters and briefly fights Ganju Shiba, Ichigo and the others are brought to Kūkaku Shiba in search of a new means of entering Seireitei. There, Ichigo trains to operate the Reishūkaku that they will being using to breach the protective barrier above Seireitei. Ganju joins the group and helps Ichigo learn to use the Reishūkaku. At dawn, they are launched from Kūkaku's Kakaku Hō fireworks canon. Despite Ichigo's struggles to control his power input to the Reishūkaku, they successfully break through the barrier, only to be separated from each other. Ganju grabs Ichigo and ensures a safe landing for them, but Ichigo is quickly confronted by Ikkaku Madarame. Ichigo beats Ikkaku, but spares his life and learns that as the strongest of the intruders, he will be hunted down by Captain Kenpachi Zaraki.
Ichigo accidentally attracts the attention of more Shinigami and soon meets up with Ganju again. The pair become surrounded and decide to take Hanatarō Yamada hostage as they bid to escape. Stuck with Hanatarō, they take advantage of his offer to show them a shortcut through the sewers to Rukia's cell. Upon exiting the sewers, Ichigo is confronted by Renji, who gravely injures Ichigo in their ensuing battle. After a struggle, Ichigo becomes stronger during the fight and manages to defeat Renji using a Getsuga Tenshō. Renji begs him to rescue Rukia. Ichigo is healed by Hanatarō, who discovers Ichigo's Hollow mask lessened the damage from what would have been fatal blows by Renji. After recovering, Ichigo encounters Kenpachi Zaraki and initially struggles to even cut the powerful captain. After Zangetsu helps Ichigo find his resolve, Ichigo manages to injure Zaraki. Finding Ichigo his equal, Kenpachi decides to unleash his full power. This prompts Ichigo and Zangetsu to work together to summon his full power and the fight ends with both of them incapacitated. Ichigo is rescued by Yoruichi.
After learning of Yoruichi's true Shinigami form and being partly healed, Ichigo quickly rushes to save Hanatarō and Ganju from Byakuya. Upon his arrival he confronts Byakuya, 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. After escaping, Yoruichi takes Ichigo to a hidden area to undergo Bankai training. She tells Ichigo that he cannot save Rukia with his present power and asks him to undergo Bankai Training. Upon completing this training, Ichigo stops the Sōkyoku from killing Rukia and after sympathetic Captains Shunsui Kyōraku and Jūshirō Ukitake destroy the Sōkyoku, Ichigo frees Rukia and gives her to Renji to protect. He stops three lieutenants from pursuing them before being confronted by Byakuya once more.
Ichigo eventually coerces Byakuya to use his Bankai. Ichigo is unable to keep up just using his Shikai and he reveals his own Bankai, Tensa Zangetsu. He uses his increased speed to outmaneuver Byakuya's Bankai. Byakuya counters using his Senkei technique and after a while Ichigo begins to slow and weaken, giving Byakuya the chance to immobilize him. As he is about to be struck down, Ichigo's inner Hollow surfaces and injures Byakuya. After regaining control of himself, Ichigo and Byakuya prepare for one final clash. Ichigo demands to know why Byakuya will not save his sister and Byakuya promises to answer if Ichigo wins. They clash and while Ichigo can barely stand, Byakuya explains himself.
Through a message relayed via Kidō by Isane Kotetsu, Ichigo then finds out that the events in Soul Society were an elaborate plot masterminded by Sōsuke Aizen. As Renji is wounded by Aizen when he refuses to hand over Rukia, Ichigo arrives to help them against the treacherous captain. The pair join forces to fight off Aizen, but it proves to be futile and Aizen blocks their attack and cuts through Ichigo's midriff, defeating him. As Aizen takes Rukia by the collar, Ichigo interrupts him and Aizen begins to tell Ichigo how he had planned every move from the beginning for his goal, to obtain the Hōgyoku. After Aizen defeats Captain Sajin Komamura, Ichigo looks on dumbstruck at the difference in power. Aizen continues his explanation, stating that Urahara had planted the Hōgyoku inside Rukia's soul to hide it and then gave her a Gigai that would ultimately reduce her to a normal Human. Ichigo helplessly looks on as Aizen then extracts the Hōgyoku from within Rukia and then departs for Hueco Mundo.
After being healed by Orihime, Ichigo and the others spend a week in Soul Society, where he spars with the 11th Division and learns from Rukia that she has decided to stay in Soul Society. As they prepare to leave, Ichigo is given a Substitute Shinigami Badge by Ukitake that serves as a license that allows him to hunt Hollows in his area officially.
Bount arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
After Ichigo returns from Soul Society, Isshin attacks him in bed. Ichigo blocks the attack, earning praise from Isshin. He returns the protective charm to Isshin, who says that he does not want it. He sews it to Ichigo's school uniform, leaving Ichigo to wonder if he lied about Masaki haven given him the charm. At school, he realizes that Tatsuki can see his Substitute Shinigami badge, which soon alerts him to a nearby Hollow which he rushes to defeat. After having Uryū patch up Kon's ragged plushie, Ichigo realizes that he has lost his Quincy powers as a result of going to Soul Society. That night be is confronted by Shinji Hirako, who reveals that both he and Ichigo are Visoreds. Ichigo shrugs off Shinji's repeated requests to join him. When Ichigo returns from school, seeming depressed, he brushes off his family's concerns and goes to his room where he contemplates still being able to hear his inner Hollow and how it has been becoming worse lately.
Karin interrupts his thoughts, revealing that she knows he is a Shinigami. Ichigo tries to dismiss this notion, but the arrival of two Arrancar in Karakura Town causes Ichigo to rush off. Upon seeing Chad injured, Ichigo battles Yammy Llargo using his Bankai and manages to cut off his arm. However, Ichigo's inner Hollow soon interferes, paralyzing Ichigo, allowing Yammy to injure both him and Orihime. Yoruichi and Urahara arrive to protect them, prompting the Arrancar to withdraw.
After his failure against Yammy, Ichigo becomes depressed that he cannot protect his friends. This mood lasts until the arrival of a Gotei 13 expeditionary force under the command of Tōshirō Hitsugaya. Rukia forces Ichigo to defeat a Hollow, all the while chastising him and then forces him to apologize to Orihime. Later that day, Ichigo discusses the growing Arrancar threat with Hitsugaya's force and learns what the Arrancar actually are. After they discuss the mission, annoyed by their company, Ichigo asks them when they would be leaving. Renji tells him that they cannot return to Soul Society until after the Arrancar threat is dealt with. Ichigo insists that they all cannot stay at his house and the eventually leave, except for Rukia, who convinces Isshin and Yuzu to allow her to stay in the girls' room using a cover story.
During the night, six Arrancar lead by Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez invade Karakura Town, seeking targets with spiritual power. Rukia states that one of them has already arrived at Chad's house. Chad is attacked by Di Roy Rinker, but Ichigo arrives in time to stops him. Ichigo tells Chad to let him handle the Arrancar and Chad leaves. Rukia then arrives, 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. She transforms into her Shinigami form, which surprises Ichigo. The Artificial Soul possessing Rukia's Gigai, Chappy, restrains Ichigo while Rukia fights. Chappy explains about Rukia's Zanpakutō to him before they are confronted by Grimmjow.
As Rukia yells to Ichigo to retreat, Grimmjow impales her. Ichigo charges at Grimmjow in response, but is unable to harm him with his Shikai. He activates his Bankai but Grimmjow is able to block Ichigo's strikes unarmed and out-maneuvers him. The Arrancar beats Ichigo up until Ichigo uses his black Getsuga Tenshō to attack Grimmjow. The Arrancar blocks it with his arms, taking minimal damage. Ichigo realizes that he is in danger of his inner Hollow taking over. The fight is brought to a close when Kaname Tōsen forces Grimmjow return to Hueco Mundo. This angers Ichigo, who 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. 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.
Feeling unable to control his inner Hollow, Ichigo seeks out the Visored in order to gain control. At their hideout, Hiyori Sarugaki draws out his inner Hollow, which nearly kills her. The other Visored stop Ichigo, who is informed that he must force the Hollow into the very core of his soul. After a brief period of unappreciated training, Ichigo is sent in to his inner world to face his inner Hollow. While the Visored fight his out of control body, in his inner world, Ichigo is unable to damage the Hollow and is instead stabbed. After a brief discourse with his Hollow and another with a manifestation of Kenpachi, Ichigo learns that he lacks pure fighting spirit, instead needing reasons to fight his opponents. His spirit rekindled by this revelation, Ichigo subdues the inner Hollow and regains consciousness. Ichigo then trains with Hiyori to increase the amount of time he can stay in his new masked form.
A month later, Ichigo once again fights Grimmjow, even though he can only remain in his masked form for eleven seconds. He initially overwhelms the 6th Espada, but his mask crumbles when the time limit expires and Grimmjow counterattacks. The Arrancar pins his hands to the ground and tries to kill him with a Cero, but Rukia freezes his arm. As Grimmjow tries to kill her, Shinji steps in and fights him until the Arrancar retreat. When tending to Ichigo's wounds, the Visored Hachigen Ushōda reveals that Ichigo's spiritual power has been contaminated somewhat by Grimmjow's and at his behest, Rukia takes Ichigo home to recover. While in a deep sleep, he is visited by Orihime, who heals his wounds.
When Ichigo awakens, he realizes that his wrist has been healed by Orihime. Hitsugaya brings him to Orihime's apartment for an emergency communication with Soul Society. Captain Ukitake informs them that 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 Captain-Commander Yamamoto to believe that she has betrayed them. Renji silences Ichigo's protest and requests permission to go to Hueco Mundo to rescue her but the request is denied. Ichigo asks to go save Orihime by himself, but Yamamoto once again denies the request, 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.
While being confronted by Tatsuki over Orihime's disappearance, Ichigo learns that Tatsuki can see him in Shinigami form. Ichigo tries to distance himself from his friends and then goes to Urahara's shop. Ichigo is joined by Uryū and Chad and after some convincing, the trio agree to help each other rescue Orihime. Urahara opens a Garganta to Hueco Mundo and they enter the portal.
Hueco Mundo arc
As Ichigo, Chad and Uryū enter Hueco Mundo, they are promptly attacked by two Arrancar, Demoura Zodd and Aisslinger Wernarr. Ichigo is told to stay back 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 Las Noches. They see Nel Tu being chased by three Hollows and intervene, but are surprised to learn that the child is an Arrancar and her pursuers are in fact her two "brothers" and their pet playing a game. The expanded group travels toward Las Noches, but come under attack by the sand-based Hollow, Runuganga. The Hollow is immune to their attacks, but the group is saved by Renji and Rukia who defeat it. Ichigo and his group break into Las Noches and split up. Nel Tu follows Ichigo, catching up to him just as he is attacked by Dordoni Alessandro Del Socaccio.
Ichigo tries to defeat the Privaron Espada without his Bankai, but is unable to do so. When Dordoni fires a Cero at Ichigo, Nel intervenes and absorbs the blast, firing it back at him. Dordoni attacks Nel, prompting Ichigo to use his Bankai to save her. Dordoni then tries to convince Ichigo to use his Hollow mask, which he ultimately does, defeating Dordoni in an instant once he does so. Dordoni is partly healed by Nel and then attacks Ichigo again. He blocks the attack and runs away with Nel. Upon sensing Rukia's defeat, Ichigo is confronted by Ulquiorra.
When Ulquiorra tells Ichigo that Rukia has been killed, Ichigo attempts to leave to save her, reasoning that he and Ulquiorra have no reason to fight. Ulquiorra successfully goads Ichigo into fighting. Ichigo attacks as hard as he can, but Ulquiorra suffers little damage and counterattacks, revealing himself to be the 4th Espada. Ulquiorra then impales Ichigo's chest with his hand and leaves. Grimmjow brings Orihime to heal Ichigo, wanting to fight him at full strength.
As their battle ensues, the advantage shifts between the two combatants. Ichigo uses his Hollow mask to protect Orihime and Nel from Grimmjow's Gran Rey Cero. Seeing that Ichigo is finally at his full strength, Grimmjow releases his Resurrección and fiercely attacks Ichigo. Both take a lot of damage and as Grimmjow is about to strike down Ichigo, Orihime begs him not to get hurt anymore. Ichigo stops Grimmjow's attack and slashes him. Enraged at the injury, Grimmjow impales Ichigo in the stomach and then uses his most powerful attack, Desgarrón. Ichigo overcomes this and defeats Grimmjow. The 6th Espada tries to attack once more, but Ichigo stops him. Suddenly, Nnoitra Gilga appears, incapacitates Grimmjow and then attacks Ichigo, revealing that he is the 5th Espada.
As they fight, Nnoitra recognizes Nel as the former third Espada, Nelliel Tu Odelschwanck. Nel denies this as Nnoitra attacks Ichigo again. Seeing Ichigo hurt triggers Nel's transformation into her adult form. She battles Nnoitra but eventually reverts to her child form. Nnoitra kicks Nel and the enraged Ichigo attacks again, only to be slammed into the ground. Tesra Lindocruz moves in to kill Ichigo, but Kenpachi Zaraki arrives and defeats Tesra. As Kenpachi and Nnoitra fight, Orihime heals Ichigo and Nel. While Orihime defends Yachiru Kusajishi, Ichigo, tries to stop Orihime, but is stunned that he cannot break through her healing shield.
After Kenpachi defeats Nnoitra, Coyote Starrk snatches Orihime away. Ichigo tries to stop him, but is unable to do so. Using Tenteikūra, Aizen announces Orihime's location and says that he is leaving to destroy Karakura Town. Ichigo tells Kenpachi that his duty is to protect his friends and rushes to rescue Orihime. Upon arriving at the tower where Orihime is being held, he is attacked by the Exequias. However, Renji, Chad and Rukia arrive to fight them so that Ichigo can continue on. Ichigo finds Orihime under the guard of Ulquiorra, who draws his Zanpakutō to fight him.
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.
Fake Karakura Town arc
As his fight with Ulquiorra continues, Orihime shields Ichigo from an attack by Ulquiorra, but she is soon ambushed by other Arrancar. Ichigo tries to help her but is stopped by Ulquiorra. Thanks to the intervention of Yammy Llargo and Uryū Ishida, Orihime is removed from danger. Ichigo tells Uryū to protect her before donning his Hollow mask. He quickly gains the upper hand against Ulquiorra, who promptly moves the fight to the top of Las Noches and releases his Zanpakutō, Murciélago. Despite surviving his first attack, Ichigo quickly realizes how much more powerful and faster Ulquiorra is.
After a series of attacks Ulquiorra asks Ichigo why he won't give up. Ichigo explains that he always knew that Ulquiorra was stronger, but nothing he sees him do will stop him from fighting. Ulquiorra tries to force Ichigo to despair, and completely overwhelms him. Ulquiorra fires a Cero Oscuras through Ichigo's chest, seemingly killing him. Orihime tries to heal him and pleads for Ichigo to help Uryū against Ulquiorra. Hearing Orihime's desperate cry for help, Ichigo transforms into a Hollow and quickly defeats Ulquiorra. However, after he injures Uryū, Ulquiorra manages to attack him again, resulting in Ichigo being restored to normal with the hole in his chest healed. Ichigo is shocked to see the devastation he has caused and looks on as Ulquiorra dies.
After recovering slightly from his battle, Ichigo saves Rukia from Yammy. While noting the strange feeling of his newly altered Hollow mask, he is attacked by Yammy. Unable to summon his mask again, he is caught by Yammy. However, he is freed by Byakuya and Kenpachi. Byakuya reminds him that protecting Karakura Town is his duty and Mayuri Kurotsuchi opens a Garganta for him and Captain Retsu Unohana to travel to Karakura while the others handle Yammy. On their way through, Unohana explains about Aizen's Shikai and says that he is the only one able to defeat him due to having not seen it and that he must maintain that advantage.
En route, Unohana comments on Ichigo's unpolished Ichigo’s skills and realises the extent of Ichigo's potential power. She offers to replenish his energy along the way. Ichigo jumps out of the Garganta and tries to defeat Aizen in one blow but is blocked by a barrier. Ichigo thinks he should have Hollowfied but Aizen says that it would not work and invites him to try. Aizen tries to unnerve Ichigo, but as he begins to waiver, Sajin Komamura appears beside him and tells Ichigo not to be taken in by Aizen's words. He tells that the Shinigami and Visored will not let him see Aizen’s Shikai as they all gather around him. Ichigo reluctantly resolves to trust in his allies and watch for now.
Ichigo watches the battle closely waiting for an opening as Aizen defeats some of the Shinigami. When the captains and Visored are tricked by Aizen into attacking Momo Hinamori, Ichigo asks them what they are doing as they realize it the truth. When the remaining Shinigami are cut down, Captain-Commander Yamamoto engages Aizen in battle and tells Ichigo to fall back. After Yamamoto uses Ittō Kasō against Aizen, Ichigo pounces on Aizen using Getsuga Tenshō. However, Aizen’s wounds heal due to the Hōgyoku, which Aizen has implanted in his chest. Aizen complements 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.
Aizen explains to an angry Ichigo that he believed Ichigo to be the perfect subject for his research. Aizen tells him that all of Ichigo’s victories were by his own doing, prompting Ichigo to attack and state that his claims do not match those he made in Soul Society. Aizen asks why Ichigo believes he told the truth back then and claims responsibility for the events that have led Ichigo to this point. 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 takes his son away, saying that he will answer any questions later. Ichigo says that he has none and accepts that Isshin must have had a reason to keep things a secret. He then thanks his father and returns to Aizen's location where he fights Gin Ichimaru.
When Gin asks if Ichigo remembers their previous fight, Ichigo explains his philosophy on battle and notes that he could not feel Gin’s heart in his blade when they last fought. Gin releases his Bankai, Kamishini no Yari. The two fight as Ichigo is able to stop Gin’s attacks. They continue exchanging attacks and Ichigo begins to worry about Gin’s blade and its speed, recognizing that its true danger is its speed despite Gin's attempts to distract him from this. When the Hōgyoku begins to envelop Aizen, a shocked Ichigo asks Isshin what is occurring. Isshin states he does not know and after the two banter, Aizen is suddenly attacked by Urahara.
Ichigo watches on as Urahara, Isshin and Yoruichi battle Aizen until Gin points out that his back is wide open. He tells Ichigo to relax and the two discuss Aizen and Ichigo’s allies. 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. Gin tells him to run away as he cannot win. He moves to finish Ichigo off 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 and they leave, despite Ichigo's protests. Isshin tells Ichigo to open a Senkaimon and to defend the real Karakura Town. Isshin struggles to persuade Ichigo to go, but eventually succeeds.
In the Dangai, Isshin takes advantage of the absence of the Kōtotsu to allow Ichigo to learn the "final" Getsuga Tenshō. Isshin explains the nature of the Dangai's time distortion and suppresses the restrictive current, saying he can give Ichigo three months to get information from Zangetsu about this ability. Isshin explains about Jinzen and Ichigo tries it. Ichigo awakens in his inner world to find himself underwater. He is surprised to be confronted by the spirit of his Bankai, Tensa Zangetsu, who calms him. After he notes that it is natural that Ichigo does not recognize him as it is his fist time entering this world in Bankai, Tensa Zangetsu attacks him. Ichigo tries to stop the fighting, but knowing what Ichigo wants, Tensa Zangetsu states that he cannot teach him such a technique. Ichigo says he needs it to protect Karakura Town but Tensa Zangetsu says that what they want to protect are different.
Ichigo is surprised that Tensa Zangetsu will not lend him his power and listens as he notes that the hope-filled skyscrapers that once filled his inner world now resembles Karakura Town, submerged by constant rain caused by Ichigo falling into despair. He forces Ichigo to confront the source of his despair, his inner Hollow. Ichigo is shocked to see the Hollow, whom he believed had been defeated. Tensa Zangetsu states that Ichigo will fight them together as they merge into one being, which tells Ichigo that they are two parts of the same being and they are his power, proceeding to attack Ichigo. As they fight, Ichigo notices something strange in the merged Tensa Zangetsu’s actions which prompts him to discard his sword and allow himself to be impaled. Ichigo is congratulated on figuring it out as he notes the blade does not hurt. Crying, the fused Tensa Zangetsu reveals that all he wanted is to protect Ichigo and states that the essence of the technique will be conveyed to him directly from the blade. He tells Ichigo that if he uses the Final Getsuga Tenshō he will lose his Shinigami powers and bids Ichigo farewell.
Ichigo later arrives with his unconscious father in Karakura Town, now taller and with longer hair from his time in the Dangai. He places Isshin on the ground, thanking him and searches for his sisters' reiatsu to make sure they are safe. Ichigo greets his friends and tells them to stay where they are before grabbing Aizen and bringing him outside Karakura Town. he throws the stunned Aizen into the ground and tells him that he will finish the fight in an instant.
The two clash, causing significant devastation to the surrounding area. Aizen comments on their appearances, noting the similarities between each other with the agglutination of their right arms and Zanpakutō's. Aizen continues to gloat as Ichigo stops Aizen’s blade with his bare hand. Ichigo asks Aizen if his feat is really that hard to believe. Ichigo then asks him if he's scared of what is in front of his eyes right now, of something he can't understand. Aizen recovers and uses "Kurohitsugi" on Ichigo, proudly gloating at the power of his Kidō. However, Ichigo destroys the spell and explains to a stunned Aizen that he did not notice that Ichigo is stronger than him currently and moves in to strike.
As they fight, Aizen transforms again and fires an immensely powerful blast at Ichigo. He survives, but his shikakushō is damaged and the arm he used to block the blast is singed. Aizen grabs him and gloats, but Ichigo slashes at his chest, forcing Aizen to release him. Tired of Aizen's logic, Ichigo activates the "Final Getsuga Tenshō". Ichigo explains the technique and uses Mugetsu severely wounding and weakening Aizen. Ichigo watches as Aizen’s wounds heal once again and he begins to reverts to a more normal form. Ichigo falls to the ground as his Shinigami powers weaken and looks on as Aizen is bound by the newly arrived Urahara's Kidō. The two converse briefly before Aizen is finally sealed as Ichigo looks away.
After the battle with Aizen, Ichigo asks Urahara where everyone is and asks if everyone’s memories have been erased. Urahara says no, which relieves Ichigo. Urahara then tells Ichigo that Aizen's seal structure will be dealt with by Central 46. Ichigo asks him if Aizen was really rejected by the Hōgyoku and wonders if Aizen himself wished to lose his power. He explains his theory that Aizen wished to just be a Shinigami. Orihime, Uryū, Rukia, Chad and Renji arrive and shortly after greeting them, Ichigo collapses, screaming in pain.
A month later, Ichigo regains consciousness to find himself back home surrounded by Orihime, Rukia, Uryū and Chad. Rukia explains that Urahara told them he has lost his Shinigami powers. Ichigo tells Rukia that he will most likely have to give back his Substitute Shinigami title. Rukia explains that the first stage of loss brings intense pain, loss of consciousness and a reverse flow of the time that his body experienced in the Dangai. She further explains that he lost his Shinigami powers at that point. Then in the second stage, his remaining reiatsu stabilized, he woke up and the remainder of his spiritual power will completely disappear. Ichigo says that he expected this to happen and asks if he can go outside. He notes that he can no longer sense spiritual presences any more and that it is becoming harder to see Rukia. As she starts to fade before his eyes, Ichigo asks Rukia to give his best regards to everyone, says goodbye and thanks her.
Zanpakutō Unknown Tales arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
Beast Swords arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
Gotei 13 Invasion Army arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
The Lost Substitute Shinigami arc
Seventeen months after Ichigo defeats Aizen, Ichigo starts his third year in high school. He notes that since his powers disappeared, Karin's have been getting stronger and since she has not asked him about it, Ichigo figures that Karin is dealing with it well. At school, Ichigo finds his Substitute Shinigami Badge in his bag, noting that it has lost its abilities. He then notices Uryū running out of the classroom, aware that Uryū began taking over the Hollow extermination he used to cover, noting to himself that it was probably better for Uryū to handle it than Zennosuke Kurumadani. At lunch, Keigo and Ichigo discuss future careers, with Keigo commenting that Ichigo's grades were good when he began high school, but started slipping during the second half of first year. Ichigo replies that he still did well despite the interference of his Shinigami duties. When Keigo asks about Rukia, Ichigo questions why he brought her up and states that she is not assigned to Karakura Town any more. Ichigo insists that he is fine with his now peaceful life.
As he walks home, Ichigo stops an armed thief, reflecting as he does so that he still has the body and reflexes of someone trained to fight and win. He returns the stolen property to its owner, Kūgo Ginjō and asks for him to keep Ichigo's actions a secret. The next day, Ichigo has a dream in which he sees silhouettes of Renji and Rukia telling him to wake up. He awakens to the sound of Isshin, who pounces on him. Ichigo dodges, sending Isshin through an open window. Ichigo dismisses Isshin's complaints, saying that he would go to Soul Society if he died. The annoyed Ichigo blames his father for him having weird dreams recently and demands that he apologize to him.
At school, Ichigo rents his services to Satoda soccer club. As Ichigo prepares for practice, he bickers with Tatsuki, who reminds him to call his boss, Ikumi Unagiya, or he will be scolded by her again and insists that she will not help him this time. Ichigo rushes out to call Ikumi and has a short exchange with her about being fired. As he hangs up his phone, a gang arrives at the school looking for him. Ichigo sees the thief that he had previously beaten up with them. When the gang leader demands that Ichigo come forth, Uryū confronts the group, prompting Ichigo to rush to him to prevent the incident from worsening. As Ichigo and Uryū fight and beat all the gangsters, the pair scold each other over various things. Before they finish, another gangster, Yokochini, appears and asks Ichigo if he still remembers him. When he fails to remember him, Ichigo states that he neither wants to nor cares about his past. Yokochini and his men are beaten by Ikumi, who snatches Ichigo away in a van and brings him to her office.
Inside the Unagiya shop, Ikumi shows Ichigo a pile of documents related to work, saying that he seldom does them and yells at him to go to work. Kūgo enters the store and Ichigo recognizes him as the guy he helped out from being mugged. Ichigo asks what he wants from him. Kūgo eventually shows them a picture of Isshin, asking for background information on him. Ichigo says that Isshin is his father and that he can tell him anything he wants to know. Kūgo questions whether Ichigo even knows enough to answer, saying that Ichigo shouldn't even know about his family yet. When Ichigo tries to question him about what he means, Ikumi interrupts, saying that she is closing shop for the day and will consider the job. As he leaves, Kūgo tells Ichigo to go to the Urahara Shop.
There, Ichigo witnesses Karin leaving and wonders why she was there. Kūgo approaches, calling Urahara a shady character. As Ichigo tries to defend Urahara, Kūgo questions how much he knows about Kisuke and warns him to act quickly to defend his family. Ichigo tells Kūgo that he does not trust him and Kūgo gives Ichigo a business card. Ichigo returns home where Yuzu greets him with the results of her first exam, which she excelled at. Ichigo congratulates her and tells her to show it to Isshin, inquiring where he is. When she tells him that he is not there, Ichigo goes up to his room and remarks that he could find Isshin if he still had his Shinigami powers. Orihime calls round with some left over bread from her job and asks him if something happened recently or if he is being followed, which Ichigo denies.
At dinner time, Ichigo rushes to Karakura Hospital looking for the injured Uryū and finds that Orihime is there already. He asks where Chad is, but Orihime tells him that he didn't answer when he was called. After Ryūken Ishida states the cause of Uryū's wounds, he asks what happened. Uryū states that it had nothing to do with him. Ichigo offers to walk Orihime home, but Ryūken decides to drive her home instead, telling Ichigo he should get home as well. After thanking him, Ichigo runs off, frustrated that there is something going on which he can do nothing about. He dials the number on the card Kūgo gave him and a voice welcomes him to "Xcution". Ichigo is given a complicated dialing sequence to follow, which eventually puts him through to Kūgo. After Ichigo complains about the complicated nature of the phone call, Kūgo arranges a meeting between the two the following evening at an address in Naruki City. The following day, Orihime asks Ichigo if he knew what happened to Chad, who is absent from school. Ichigo states that he does not know and declines an offer to go to Chad's house with her.
That evening, when Ichigo arrives at the meeting place, he is greeted by Kūgo. Ichigo informs him that his friend was attacked and he wants his help. Kūgo inquires if Ichigo trusts him, prompting Ichigo to say that he is probably not a normal Human. Kūgo gives a vague answer and notes that Ichigo has nobody else to count on. Inside the building Kūgo jokes about his request to investigate Isshin, before insisting it was only to gain Ichigo's interest. They enter Xcution's hideout where Ichigo sees some of the other members of the group. Kūgo then informs him that they aim to restore his Shinigami powers. Ichigo demands to know how and why they intend to do this, but Kūgo insists on taking their time. He explains that the members of Xcution are Fullbringers and demonstrates their ability. He explains that all matter has a soul and that he is able to pull out the soul that resides within objects and make it do as he pleases. He then transforms his necklace into a large sword. When Riruka Dokugamine enters the room complaining, Ichigo asks Kūgo who she is. He introduces her and tells her to come in. She is followed inside by Yasutora Sado, surprising Ichigo.
Ichigo angrily asks Chad why he's here and why he hasn't been going to school. Kūgo tells Ichigo to calm down so he can explain everything. As Ichigo glares at him, Kūgo explains that a Fullbringer is a person who had a parent that was attacked by a Hollow before their birth and traces of the Hollow's powers remain in their mother's bodies and are passed on to them at birth. These powers are closer to Hollow than Shinigami powers. He further explains that Fullbringers do not enjoy their powers similar to the way Ichigo hated his Hollow powers. Kūgo says he wants to erase his powers and they've learned they can pass their powers on to someone who possesses both Human and Shinigami powers. Ichigo then realizes that he wasn't the first person born from a Shinigami and a Human.
Kūgo says they have old allies who have reverted to being Human and that they will help Ichigo to get his Shinigami powers back so that he can help them become normal Humans. He then explains that Chad offered to help them if it meant Ichigo getting his powers back. Ichigo asks Chad to confirm this and listens as he explains that he sees the pain Ichigo feels at not being able to protect the people he cares about. He tells Ichigo he doesn't have to hide it, that his feeling this pain means that's who he is. Kūgo says they will restore his Shinigami powers and add their powers on top of that. Ichigo accepts this deal. The other Fullbringers are happy that Ichigo will work with them.
Having arrived home late for the last two nights, Ichigo returns to the Kurosaki Clinic late once again, to the delight of Karin and Yuzu. He urges them to go to bed as it is late. Ichigo is later called back to Xcution's hideout, where Riruka uses her Fullbring to miniaturize and place him inside a doll house. Ichigo is confronted by Mr. Pork, a plushie, which he is instructed to defeat by using Fullbring. Mr. Pork, which has a yakuza man trapped inside it, attacks and Ichigo takes evasive action. He shrugs off Riruka's complaints, saying that he does not even understand the situation yet. Ichigo questions how this will help him regain his Shinigami powers and how he can suddenly use a power that he has never used before. The yakuza says that if he does not kill Ichigo within fifteen minutes, he will be trapped there permanently. Riruka leaves and Ichigo begins to reflect on what she said. He thinks about Kūgo transforming his pendant into a sword and concludes that he should focus on something that he regularly has with him. Chad tells Ichigo to use his representative Shinigami badge and Ichigo tells him he had just thought of it too. As Ichigo holds his badge, the fifteen minutes expire and Mr. Pork enters "Mad Beast Mode", growing in size.
Chad tells Ichigo that it was pride that allowed him to use his Fullbring. When Ichigo thinks of times he was proud to be a Shinigami, his Badge begins to take the form of Tensa Zangetsu's tsuba. Kūgo explains that the badge recorded every battle he ever fought by touching it. Shocked, Ichigo tests out a variety of ways on how to use this new power before successfully flinging a large amount of energy shaped like a spoked wheel at Mr. Pork, which defeats him. Ichigo wonders if the power will help him get his Shinigami powers back. At Ichigo's behest, Riruka restores him to his normal size. Ichigo briefly hears a voice coming from the badge, which he recognizes as Rukia's and wonders what is happening.
Ichigo listens as the yakuza tries to extort money from Riruka, noting that he looks exactly like the doll he was inside. Ichigo asks if he is to stay for further training, but is told that Fullbring puts more strain on the body than can be felt. Kūgo advices him not to push himself as his body will fall to pieces if he wears himself out. Saying that a few more days without his powers should be bearable after all this time, he promises to call him when he has recuperated. As Chad and Ichigo walk to Chad's home, the latter tells Ichigo that Orihime has been bringing him leftover bread everyday lately. Ichigo tells him that she is worried about him and that he should call her. As Chad goes to give half of it to Ichigo, he notices something is wrong with her reiatsu and shouts that something happened to her.
Ichigo tries to call Orihime, but Chad tells him not to, as it could distract her and lead her to her death. He says that he cannot quite locate Orihime's exact location, but Ichigo can tell by the direction they are going that she is at her apartment. They arrive to find Orihime kneeling in front of her door and ask her if she is alright. Orihime grabs her shoulder, seeming distracted, but notices Chad and Ichigo and asks why they are there. Hearing their explanation, Orihime tells them that nothing happened and that she was with a friend before going into her apartment. As they leave, Ichigo asks Chad about Orihime. Chad tells him that he was probably sensing things wrong and tells Ichigo not to worry.
Realizing that Chad and Orihime will not tell him anything, Ichigo goes to the Xcution hideout and explains the situation, telling them that he believes Orihime was attacked by the same person who attacked Uryū. Kūgo and Jackie Tristan both suspect it is Shūkurō Tsukishima. Ichigo asks who this is and Kūgo explains that Tsukishima is a Fullbringer and the former leader of Xcution who came up with the idea to give their powers to a Substitute Shinigami. However, when they did so, he killed the Shinigami and those that gave him their power and then disappeared. He shows Ichigo a Substitute Shinigami Badge and tells him that he believes Tsukishima wants to keep Ichigo away from them and is using his attacks on Uryū and Orihime to catch Ichigo's attention. He tells him to go home until they are ready for the next stage of training. While walking the streets, Ichigo spots Isshin meeting with Urahara in an alley and hides. When they leave, Ichigo contemplates Kūgo's warning about Urahara, wondering if he should follow them, but decides not to. Ichigo later returns to Xcution's hideout where Riruka places him inside a fish tank, to fight Jackie.
After an exchange of words between the pair, Jackie activates her Fullbring, Dirty Boots and they begin to fight. Jackie tells Ichigo that he is too lax and he cannot take his time getting into a battle. She warns Ichigo that because he is in a living body, he will die if he keeps taking her attacks with his body. Ichigo fires an energy blast at her, only for Jackie to easily shatter it. Ichigo reveals that he knows his attack's weakness and uses Fullbring to increase his speed and attacks her. After being asked who taught him to fight, Ichigo explains that he first learned from Urahara, but then he learned from his battles as time went on, saying that even though he was only a Shinigami for a brief time, he probably has more experience in battle than Xcution.
Reiatsu from Ichigo's badge begins to engulf his right arm and Ichigo begins to tire as a result. Jackie says they will abort the training as Ichigo's Fullbring is going berserk in a way she has never seen before. Ichigo is adamant in continuing. Jackie calls for Kūgo to retrieve Riruka to end the training, but Ichigo suddenly pins her to the ground. He says his Fullbring is not going berserk and has always been like this. He believes this is his badge's way of telling him to hurry and get his Shinigami powers back soon. Believing that it is too dangerous to continue, Jackie decides to stop him by force.
When Tsukishima arrives at the Xcution headquarters, he cuts through the fish tank and Ichigo emerges, engulfed in reiatsu shaped similarly to his Shinigami shihakushō. Ichigo asks who he is before clashing with him. Chad attacks Tsukishima to protect Ichigo's new powers, resulting in Ichigo learning about how he was being protected from the truth. He realizes that Tsukishima attacked both Uryū and Orihime. Ichigo manages to surprise Tsukishima in the subsequent clash but he is swiftly overwhelmed. Kūgo protects him, stating that he can't let them fight yet.
Kūgo knocks Ichigo to the ground when he refuses to cooperate and tells Ichigo that he is not fine if he can be dropped in his real body. Ichigo tries to resume fighting but is stopped by Chad, who tells Ichigo that Tsukishima is too far ahead of him and that he cannot win in his current state. Ichigo disregards this and attacks Tsukishima, who comments on Ichigo's rate of evolution and states that Ichigo is becoming closer to the heights of his previous powers. Yukio then uses his Fullbring to seal Ichigo in order to stop him from interacting with Tsukishima. Later, in Xcution's back-up hideout, Yukio frees Ichigo, who asks what happened with Tsukishima. Kūgo replies that he has fled for now and Ichigo asks what Kūgo is worried about. He replies that if Tsukishima wanted to harm Xcution, he could have kept going but it seems that his objective is Ichigo. Kūgo tells Yukio to help with Ichigo's training. Ichigo asks if it will be a live battle and Kūgo says that is what seems to work best with him, stating that he will fight Ichigo himself.
Yukio loads Ichigo and Kūgo into his console. Seeing this, Ichigo realizes that this is what happened to him before on the rooftops and Kūgo explains about Yukio's Fullbring. Kūgo activates his own Fullbring and says it would be great if they had rules like a video game, requesting that Yukio give them six HP each and six crosses appear above their heads. Kūgo asks if Ichigo needs a tutorial but he says understands.Ichigo activates his Fullbring and they charge at each other. Orihime arrives inside Yukio's game world to find Ichigo lying on the ground, badly injured. Orihime begins to heal him and Ichigo guesses that Chad called her. Chad arrives and confirms this, saying he knows that Ichigo did not want to get Orihime wrapped up in this but they will need her. Kūgo grows impatient and asks Ichigo if he is ready to fight. Ichigo says yes and they ignore Orihime's protest. Orihime blocks Kūgo's attempted attack. Eventually they resume their fight.
Following Orihime's arrival, Ichigo's movements become sharper. He attacks Kūgo up close to counter the range of his sword, but Kūgo is able to fend him off, injuring Ichigo's leg. As they fight, Ichigo notes that he cannot feel anything from Kūgo's sword, contrasting it with his battle with Gin Ichimaru. He notes that while Tsukishima did not look at him, he felt his killing intent. He wonders if he cannot feel anything because they are not using Zanpakutō or if it is because he does not fully trust Kūgo. Kūgo slashes Ichigo's eyes and notes that when Ichigo lost his powers he also lost his resolve.
Blind and confused, Ichigo demands to know what Kūgo is doing and states that he does not trust him as he is not helping him as he had promised he would. Kūgo reminds him that their deal was to get his Shinigami powers back and that if he did not trust him then he should not have agreed to his training. When Yukio prevents Orihime from interfering, an enraged Ichigo attacks but with no success. Ichigo tries to dodge Kūgo's attacks by sensing the presence and sound of his opponent, but Kūgo further injures him, finally leaving Ichigo lying on the ground, impaled with his sword. Kūgo walks away, telling Ichigo that he's going to kill Chad and Orihime and further taunts him. Ichigo struggles for a moment, reflecting on his inability to see, move or speak. Just then he sees a white shape in the darkness and realizes that he is beginning to see Kūgo's reiatsu. Ichigo begins to manifest a new form as power explodes from him. Kūgo puts his life on the line to control the explosion and states his pride in Ichigo's accomplishment. Kūgo concedes that his villain act is not the best and welcomes Ichigo to Xcution.
After completing his Fullbring, Kūgo puts Ichigo through a new training regiment to increase his stamina to meet the demands of using Fullbring. Kūgo asks if Ichigo saw something when he completed his Fullbring and Ichigo is shocked that he knows this. Kūgo says that Ichigo saw him bathed in reiatsu and that is why he cut Ichigo's eyes as that is proof that Ichigo is beginning to regain his Shinigami powers. Kūgo explains that when Ichigo lost his reiatsu, a tiny portion accumulated in a single location inside of him over time and that is why they used the reiatsu flowing from his badge to jolt that awake. He says all that is left to do is to beef up his new body and powers and then his Fullbring and Shinigami powers will fuse, giving Ichigo a power transcending that of a Shinigami. Ichigo takes his badge and tries out his new Fullbring. Ichigo leaves Yukio's Fullbring and thanks him. Yukio states that only 90 minutes have passed thanks to his Fullbring's abilities. Ichigo goes home and Yuzu confronts him at the door, saying they have a surprise guest. She takes him into a room to find Tsukishima sitting on the couch and Yuzu calls him cousin Shū. Tsukishima greets Ichigo.
Ichigo, watching in disbelief, grabs Tsukishima and demands an explanation for why he is there. Karin and Yuzu try to pry him off Tsukishima, but the doorbell rings and Tsukishima asks Yuzu to get it, saying it must be Keigo and the others. Tatsuki begins to lecture Ichigo on staying out so late and Tsukishima tells Ichigo he called everyone and starts to call Chad and Orihime as well. As he is on the phone, Ichigo attacks him, prompting Tatsuki to berate Ichigo for attacking his relative. Ichigo can only quietly respond that she's wrong, before everyone asks why he is acting the way he is. Ichigo flees his house, wondering whether what is going on is Tsukishima's ability. He runs into Ikumi, who takes him to her store to let him calm down and talk about it if he wants. Ichigo decides against telling her about Shinigami and Hollows, as it would make her uncomfortable. However, Tsukishima arrives at the store and Ichigo flees once again, saying he needs someone in their right mind, when Kūgo finds him, saying that everyone in Xcution has fallen for Tsukishima's trap.
Kūgo takes Ichigo to a location which he says no members of Xcution know about to discuss what has transpired. Ichigo wonders why everyone is acting the way they are. Kūgo tells Ichigo that, thanks to information that Chad provided about Tsukishima's attack on Orihime and with what has transpired, that his ability may be inserting himself into people's pasts. Ichigo asks if this would break if Tsukishima were to die. Kūgo tells Ichigo that he does not know and asks if Ichigo could kill him despite this. Just then, Yukio finds them and takes them to Tsukishima's mansion.
Ichigo angrily rushes towards Tsukishima when he spots him, reaching for his badge, but Kūgo stops him. He warns Ichigo that if he is correct about Tsukishima's ability, they will be in trouble if he is cut even once. Tsukishima invites them inside, saying he only wants to talk. A reluctant Ichigo enters the mansion where his family and friends greet him. They tell a shocked Ichigo that he should be happy that Tsukishima is not angry and urge him to apologize. Kūgo tells him not to worry, because even though they view Tsukishima as a friend, the still view Ichigo as their friend too. However, it is too much for Ichigo to handle and he flees the room. He wants to kill Tsukishima, but he cannot fight him where his friends and family can be dragged into it. He goes upstairs and comes across the other members of Xcution. Tsukishima appears behind Ichigo. Kūgo appears, having destroyed the stairs so Ichigo's family and friends cannot follow and tells Ichigo he can now fight without holding back. Ichigo activates his Fullbring and while Tsukishima is activating his, Ichigo cuts off his left arm. As Tsukishima expresses his surprise that Ichigo mastered his Fullbring in such a short time, Ichigo tells him that he came here to kill him. However, Chad bursts through the window and he and Orihime shield Tsukishima.
Orihime heals Tsukishima's arm, leaving Ichigo unable to believe that Chad and Orihime have become the same as the others. Both Orihime and Chad say that Ichigo was able to save Rukia and defeat Aizen because Tsukishima helped him do so. Tsukishima appears behind Ichigo, asking him if he understands, but Ichigo tries to attack him. Tsukishima explains about the ability of his Fullbring, Book of the End, to modify the past of those affected by it. Ichigo tries to attack Tsukishima, but Orihime stops him with her Santen Kesshun. Chad tries to attack Ichigo, saying that he did not become strong to fight with Ichigo. He attacks again and Ichigo is pushed outside from the force of the attack. As he wonders why things turned out this way and that he only wanted to protect his friends, he asks what he got his powers back for. Tsukishima suddenly appears above Ichigo, causing him to charge at him.
As they fight, Tsukishima gets behind Ichigo to attack him, but Kūgo takes the attack instead. Ichigo rushes to see if Kūgo is alright and Kūgo insists that he is and that he is still one of his comrades. Uryū then arrives and Ichigo questions his allegiance. Not wanting to fall for a trap, Ichigo is hesitant to listen to Uryū. However, Uryū informs Ichigo that it was Kūgo who attacked him. Kūgo attacks Ichigo, who asks if Kūgo was turned by Tsukishima's powers. Kūgo reveals that their allegiance was a ruse and that Tsukishima had just returned him back to normal by cutting him a second time. Kūgo then merges the Substitute Shinigami Badge he had with his sword and tells Ichigo that it is time to relieve him of his Fullbring and stabs Ichigo through his chest.
Kūgo explains that he was the one who actually attacked Uryū and then ordered Tsukishima to cut him to make them "enemies" who betrayed each other. Kūgo further elaborates that Tsukishima's ability prevented Ichigo from suspecting him. Kūgo withdraws his blade from Ichigo's chest and Ichigo's Fullbring disappears. Ichigo thinks about how hard it was for him to go seventeen months without any power and when he thought he found a way, he was so happy he could protect his friends again. A distraught Ichigo asks Kūgo to give his power back to which Kūgo responds it was power he gave to Ichigo and that it belongs to him. Kūgo says he will spare his life and should thank him.
After Tsukishima and Kūgo leave, Ichigo is stabbed in the back by Rukia with a special sword containing the reiatsu of the Gotei 13's senior officers and other Shinigami and he is surrounded by a big explosion. Ichigo emerges with a new Shinigami outfit and a slightly altered Zangetsu, ready to fight. Rukia greets Ichigo and momentarily berates him, before explaining that Urahara told her about Tsukishima's ability. She reassures him about this and explains about the sword that Urahara made to restore Shinigami powers to Ichigo. Kūgo returns and disputes this, but is cut off by the arrival of more Shinigami. Rukia tells Kūgo that he only stole a small portion of Ichigo's power that had Ichigo's Fullbring, and that Ichigo's Shinigami powers wells up from deep inside and he could never take that from him. Ichigo fires a Getsuga Tenshō at Kūgo.
Ichigo's Getsuga Tenshō misses Kūgo and Kūgo tries to retreat, but Ichigo stops him. He attacks Kūgo with another Getsuga Tenshōbefore asking if it was a crime to transfer Shinigami powers to a Human. Renji informs him that Yamamoto ordered that all captains and lieutenants should put their Reiatsu into Urahara's sword to help bring back Ichigo's Shinigami powers. Hitsugaya tells him that he did this because Ichigo was able to change Soul Society through his actions and that he should accept it proudly. Ichigo notices Kūgo emerging from the dust below. Hitsugaya then tells Ichigo there are Yamamoto also gave that order to stop the original Substitute Shinigami, Kūgo Ginjō. Ichigo is confused about this and Hitsugaya reminds him of when Ukitake gave him his badge and tells Ichigo the Substitute Shinigami law was created solely because of Kūgo before stating that they need to focus on Kūgo right now. Kūgo thanks Ichigo, saying if he hadn't taken his powers, he would've been dead by now.
After Kūgo grants the other members of Xcution part of Ichigo's Fullbring, Ichigo attacks them all. However, Yukio uses his Fullbring to deceive Ichigo and the Fullbringers are unharmed. He reminds Ichigo they received his Fullbring powers, which is a Fullbring that allows for wearing your powers as a mantle and expelling them. He says with Ichigo's help, his Invaders Must Die is now able to influence the world outside his console. Ikkaku tells Ichigo not to hold back and kill them properly. Yukio uses his Fullbring to split everyone up into individual rooms. Ichigo and Uryū finds themselves facing Kūgo, in a replica of Karakura Town, an environment which Kūgo says he picked so Ichigo could fight easier. Ichigo asks if Uryū is hurt, but the Quincy says that Rukia healed him. Uryū then apologizes to Ichigo, saying that when he first saw the Substitute Badge, he had thought there were other Substitutes before him. He thought that if the previous one was alive, they would have told Ichigo and if he was dead, they would have said why, leading Uryū to believe the Soul Society did not know. Ichigo responds by kicking Uryū, telling him it does not matter as they could not have done anything anyhow and that he would have forgotten in a few days. The two momentarily bicker before returning their attention to Kūgo.
While Ichigo and Uryū fight Kūgo, they eventually begin hiding from him. Ichigo asks Uryū if he has a plan, but Uryū tells him that he was not trying to come up with one but rather he was observing Kūgo's Reiatsu. Ichigo abruptly leaves to confront Kūgo and attacks him with a Getsuga Tenshō, but Kūgo cuts through it with his sword and attacks him with a Getsuga Tenshō as well, surprising Ichigo. Uryū explains that Kūgo must have taken Ichigo's full abilities as well, in addition to taking his Fullbring and Reiatsu. As Kūgo and Ichigo continue to fight, Kūgo asks him what he is fighting for, which confuses Ichigo. Kūgo then clarifies that Tsukishima is dying and that if a Fullbringer dies, then all traces of their ability disappears. And if Tsukishima does die, then the pasts he modified will return to normal. He asks Ichigo again what he is fighting for, but when Ichigo does not answer him, Kūgo informs him of an enemy that he should be fighting.
Ichigo dismisses this as an attempt to shake his resolve. Kūgo states that the Substitute Shinigami Badge is given out whether the Substitute in question is beneficial to Soul Society or not. He explains that it has no authority and its true purpose is to observe and restrict Ichigo's Shinigami powers while he had it with him. Kūgo then says that this scheme was designed by Ukitake to control Substitute Shinigami. An enraged Ichigo tells Kūgo to shut up releases his Bankai, which shatters the pocket dimension. Ichigo dismisses Kūgo's words, saying that he knew Ukitake was not trying to mislead him. He looks on as Kūgo activates his Bankai and the pair clash. Eventually, Kūgo's sword breaks and he slumps to the ground badly injured, unable to continue. As Tsukishima tries to attack Ichigo, Riruka blocks the attack with her body instead. Ichigo looks on as they talk. Sometime after the fighting ends he is at Urahara's shop waiting for Riruka to wake up so he can make sure she is okay. He then tells Riruka that none of the other Fullbringers have been found.
Ichigo goes to Soul Society to seek the return of Kūgo's body so that he may bury it in the Human World. Upon arriving at the First Division, he finds the captains waiting for him. He is told to go inside the building by Kensei. He is surprised to see Kensei in a captain's uniform. After informing Yamamoto of his request, he dismisses Captain Hirako's words about forgiving Kūgo, stating that his friends and family hare back to normal and calls Kūgo a "mere Substitute Shinigami". Yamamoto notes that he must have thought carefully about using that phrase. Afterwards, Ichigo is asked about his Badge, but he states that he trusts them and keeps it.
The Thousand-Year Blood War arc
After Hollows appear in Karakura Town, Ichigo arrives on scene to help the Shinigami Ryūnosuke Yuki and Shino. After Ichigo and his friends defeat the swarm of Hollows, he brings Ryūnosuke and Shino back to his home to recover. Two days later, Ryūnosuke awakens. As Ichigo asks who he is, Asguiaro Ebern suddenly appears on Ichigo's bed. While shocked, Ichigo firmly tells him to get off his bed. He refuses and is kicked out of the window by Ichigo, who transforms into a Shinigami and chases after him. As they move away from the house, Ichigo asks if Asguiaro is an Arrancar, why he wants to fight him and if he's under someone's orders. Despite having a mask fragment, Asguiaro tells him that he is not an Arrancar and drops a Quincy cross out of his sleeve and activates a bow, to Ichigo's surprise. While fending off his attacks Ichigo wonders just what species Asguiaro is. Ichigo notes that Asguiaro is repeatedly taunting him, but decides that he has little choice in the matter and activates his Bankai. However, Asguiaro attempts to seal Ichigo's Bankai, but the Substitute Shinigami quickly breaks free and fires a Getsuga Tenshō at a stunned Asguiaro. Ichigo decides to take Asguiaro with him for questioning, but he escapes thanks to a Human-shaped shadow. Ichigo wonders what happened as it was not a Garganta.
Upon returning to his friends, Ichigo learns from Ryūnosuke that 1st Division Lieutenant Chōjirō Tadaoki Sasakibe was recently killed by an unknown enemy group during a battle that left over 100 Shinigami dead. Later, after discussing with Uryū that Soul Society probably let Ichigo know such in detail what happened because they wish for Ichigo to help them soon, Ichigo grows restless and decides to patrol the area. While doing so, he is surprised by the arrival of Nel, who begs Ichigo to help Hueco Mundo. Ichigo asks Nel what happened, but before she can answer, Pesche Guatiche appears and he tells Ichigo what happened. After discussing it with his friends, Ichigo is told by Uryū that he cannot come with them. Ichigo states that Quincy exist to destroy Hollows and that they can do it without him. Urahara then appears, asking if he should arrange a trip to Hueco Mundo.
While leading Ichigo and the others through the Garganta, Urahara tells him about the amount of unusual activity recently that had put him on alert, saying that it is all connected and is not a trivial matter. As they arrive in Hueco Mundo, Ichigo tries to keep Nel and Pesche quiet as the enemy is nearby. Upon seeing the dead bodies lying around, he stops Nel from looking at them and asks what will happen to those that are being dragged away by the invaders. Pesche states that they will be taken to their camp and divided into groups to be killed or taken away. Ichigo decides to go save them, despite being told that Dondochakka is not among them. As Ichigo and Nel near the camp, he notices an explosion and Nel tells him that it was caused by the Tres Bestias, the Fracción of Tier Harribel. Ichigo eventually arrives at their location and notices that Quilge Opie has defeated Emilou Apacci, Franceska Mila Rose, and Cyan Sung-Sun.
As Ichigo fights the enemy, he quickly realizes they are Quincy as Quilge launches a volley of arrows at him. Ichigo drops his sword, so he can catch one of Quilge's arrows and throws it back. Upon the arrival of Orihime and Chad, he throws Nel to Orihime, asking that she take care of Nel. He deflects Quilge's next attack with a Getsuga Tenshō who is ashamed that his arrows can be so easily countered. Ichigo tells him that his arrows are much stronger than Uryū's, though they have not fought in a long time. During their talk, Quilge has received an order to take down Ichigo with all his strength and proclaims that Ichigo will die there. He activates his Quincy: Vollständig and as they are fighting, Quilge elaborates on the details of the technique. Ichigo attacks with a Getsuga Tenshō, but Quilge is unscathed by the attack. He then starts collecting nearby reishi with which to attack Ichigo, but he is assaulted by Ayon before he can do so. Apacci explains about Ayon to the confused Ichigo and warns Ichigo, Chad, and Orihime to run, since they are not their enemies.
Quilge uses his Sklaverei ability to absorb the Reishi making up Ayon's body, causing the Arrancar to flee and conceal themselves and Ichigo's group from Quilge. However, the Quincy is able to locate them and he starts to use Sklaverei on them. Ichigo stops this by attacking Quilge with his Bankai. Quickly, Ichigo begins pressuring Quilge with much greater strength and speed, showing a clear control over the battle. As Quilge finds himself unable to seal Ichigo's Bankai, Ichigo questions why he desires to do such a thing so much, mockingly suggesting that the Quincy is afraid of a Bankai. Suddenly, Urahara blasts Quilge to end the fight. He then opens a portal to Soul Society and throws a confused Ichigo a Denreishinki, telling him to go to Soul Society and listen to Akon via the device. Akon begins to explain the dire situation Soul Society is in.
As he travels towards the Soul Society, Akon updates him on the gravity of the situation there and about the enemy forces. Urahara then contacts him to inform him of what he has learnt about the Vandenreich's abilities from the battle with Quilge. As Urahara notes that the enemy likely took advantage of Ichigo being in Hueco Mundo to attack the Soul Society, Quilge manages to block the exit to Soul Society, traps Ichigo in a cage and closes the portal's entrance in Hueco Mundo. Ichigo desperately tries to break free of the prison, but to no avail. He realizes that Akon cannot hear him, but he can hear Akon as well as the screams and words of the Shinigami via the Transmittal Blades deployed across Seireitei. After listening to this, Ichigo tries even harder to escape. Unable to break out despite using Getsuga Tenshō, Ichigo begins to despair and notices that the Denreishinki has been cut off from Urahara and the SRDI.
- Substitute Shinigami Badge (代行証 死神代行, Daikōshō Shinigami Daikō): Given to Ichigo by Ukitake before leaving Soul Society for the first time, the pendant he commonly carries on his belt signifies him as a Substitute Shinigami, allowing him to remain active in the Human World. 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 Denreishinki. Ukitake informs Ichigo that the badge can also be dangerous and thus it has built in protection making it invisible to normal Humans. Zennosuke Kurumadani tells Ichigo that he's never heard of his "Seal of Approval" causing Ichigo to refer to it as useless before Hirako's arrival. When Ichigo loses his powers, all of the mentioned abilities of the badge are lost as well. Kūgo tells Ichigo the true powers of the badge is to observe and restrict the owner. It is at once a surveillance device for Soul Society and a device to absorb, analyze and control the user's reiatsu. It is also a device for communicating with Soul Society, as seen when Ichigo heard Rukia's voice coming from it. As the badge absorbed and stored Ichigo's reiatsu, Ichigo used it as his Fullbring focus.
- Protective Charm: A Kidō-based charm given by his father. If the owner is attacked by hostile forces, it acts as a defense by forming a barrier, as seen when Kon (while in Ichigo's body) was attacked by the Arrancar Grand Fisher. Ichigo was unaware of the charm's power, and was told it once belonged to his mother. However, the latter is proven to be a lie, as Isshin later reveals that he created the charm recently.
- Asauchi (浅打ち; literally, "Shallow Hit"): A nameless Zanpakutō wielded by the low-class Shinigami. Zangetsu gave this sword to Ichigo when the latter had his Zanpakutō broken by Kenpachi. Ichigo had to fight his doppelganger with this sword in order to obtain Zangetsu once more. He noticed he can't push back his opponent with it and that it looks like a stick next to Zangetsu. When it hit Zangetsu's blade, it was broken in half.
Powers & Abilities
Expert Hand-to-Hand Combatant: Physically, Ichigo is in top form even in his Human form. 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 caught an opponent's weapon strikes with a single hand. 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. He also effortlessly knocked out three lieutenants in rapid succession bare-handed. While he stopped training, his constant attacks from bullies and his father keeps his skills fresh.
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, and later kick Asguiaro Ebern from his bedroom into the street without injuring his leg from the man's Hierro.
Enhanced Speed & Reflexes: 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. He is able to strike quickly without warning and in rapid succession. His speed also allows him to follow the movements of faster opponents to better analyze their movements or blocking difficult and otherwise fatal strikes.
Enhanced 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.
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 Yūichi Shibata (in bird form). 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). 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. 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, when he had "felt like [he] was fighting a machine or a statue", and failed to predict and counter his attacks.
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.
Shinigami 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 sword masters 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.
Shunpo 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 Shunpo in Soul Society, complimented Ichigo's growing mastery of the technique. 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.
Vast Spiritual Power: Ichigo has been noted on several occasions to have tremendously vast levels of spiritual energy well beyond other Shinigami. 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. His spiritual power is noted to be heavy, which surprised Renji Abarai, a lieutenant-ranked Shinigami. Ichigo constantly gives off reiatsu at the level of a captain. 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. Because Ichigo's spiritual energy level is constantly very 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. 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. 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. His energy is also strong enough to hold back the Sōkyoku, a halberd with the destructive force equivalent to one million Zanpakutō combined, just using his Zanpakutō. 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.
Enhanced Strength: 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 knock out three Shinigami lieutenants with a single punch each; one of which shattered one of their Zanpakutō at the same time. 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, achieving both feats with a single-hand. With a single kick, he can break down and launch a large chunk of stone wall. After regaining his Shinigami powers, one swing from his sword was capable of producing a strong shockwave powerful enough to overwhelm Kūgo Ginjō, making the Fullbringer mistake it as a "Getsuga Tenshō".
Immense Durability: 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, and even Aizen commented on his ability to continue moving despite grave injuries.
Zangetsu (斬月, Slaying Moon): When Ichigo first becomes a Shinigami, his Zanpakutō was a standard-looking katana, but oversized with an equally-oversized brown sheath hung by a strap across his back and over his right shoulder. It has a rectangular bronze tsuba with gently inward-curved edges, a stylized flame pattern on the long sides, and a simple decorative slit on the short sides. The handle's hilt has a red-wrapping two light blue tassels attached to the pummel, which is decorated with a flame design on its short sides. 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. 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.
- Shikai: The Shikai form of Zangetsu looks like an oversized elegant cleaver rather than a formal "katana". It has no tsuba and no proper hilt: what Ichigo holds is the cloth-wrapped tang. The sword is about as tall as Ichigo is, 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. The cloth can be used to swing the weapon like a flail and toss it at opponents for mid-range combat, as well as bandage wounds, but these are done rarely. Ichigo has also on more than one occasion used Zangetsu's wide blade as a shield from incoming attacks, and for deflecting energy 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. After influenced from the remaining traces of Ichigo's Fullbring, Zangetsu's appearance changes, giving the blade a silver hilt with gray-wrappings and a short length of chain at its base. The blade itself becomes slightly reshaped, curving inwards at the backside of the tip similar to a trench knife. When stored away on Ichigo's back, the former cloth will materialize to still act as an impromptu sheath.
- Shikai Special Ability: Zangetsu's Shikai 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. This slash takes the form of a crescent moon or in the shape of a wave. 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. The Getsuga Tenshō is a powerful technique with great force, capable of causing large-scale damage and destruction. 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. After Ichigo regains his Shinigami powers for the second time, his Getsuga Tenshō is shown to be noticeably larger and stronger than it was before he lost his powers. A single strike from it is able to cleanly cut off the top portion of Tsukishima's mansion and disperse an entire rainstorm.
- Bankai: Tensa Zangetsu (天鎖斬月, Heaven Chain Slaying Moon): To activate his Bankai, Ichigo first points his Zanpakutō in a straight direction using either a single hand or both of his hands, with the cloth of his Shikai surrounding his arm, tightening during the activation, initially before his Shinigami powers were regained for the second time. Then, his spiritual power surges, with the smoke obscuring his being. 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. 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 shihakushō) with red lining that is closed at his chest, then left to flare out into ragged ends, much like that of Zangetsu himself. 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.
- After his training in the Dangai, Ichigo's Bankai takes on a slightly different appearance. While Zangetsu still takes the form of a daitō with a black blade, the four prongs on the cross guard extend out farther than they previously did. While still in the shape of the manji, the prongs become more abstract and slender in appearance. Ichigo's right hand becomes covered by a black glove and the chain at the base of Zangetsu's hilt extends out further than it previously did, spiraling up the length of his sleeveless right arm with the additional portion of the chain hanging down freely from his upper arm.
- After influenced from the remaining traces of Ichigo's Fullbring, the appearance of his Bankai changes. He wears a white undershirt beneath his black shihakushō, which is now open. Held together by three "x"-shaped marks, it ends in a number of coattails. Ichigo wears black gloves with white "x"-shaped marks appear on both the gloves and his forearms. Tensa Zangetsu's blade is now much longer (roughly the length of his Shikai) and more curved as it nears the tip, with three protrusions along the blunt end of the sword close to its tip. While retaining its manji-like shape, the tsuba becomes more curved and jagged. Tensa Zangetsu's chain is now longer, attaching to both the base of the sword's hilt and to Ichigo's glove, forming a wide loop.
- Bankai Special Ability: Tensa Zangetsu, much like its Shikai form, is used heavily for melee combat, but also possess a certain special ability.
- 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. His new speed is so great, that it also enhances his Shunpo prowess and allows him to create dozens of afterimages to confuse his opponent.
- 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 Llargo, an Espada known primarily for his immense strength. He is strong enough to cut through Yammy's Hierro with relative ease. The sudden boost in strength upon releasing allows Ichigo to break free from any attack that binds him and prevents him from moving. After his training in the Dangai, Ichigo's strength has drastically increased to the point where a single swing of his sword can level a mountain. He can grab hold of Aizen's Zanpakutō blade with his bare hand without feeling any of the exerted force, although that force was capable of doing considerable damage to the surrounding area. He is able to effortlessly break through a #90. Hadō spell "Kurohitsugi" with full incantation with just his bare hand alone. After his Shinigami powers were restored, Ichigo had enough strength to catch a massive blast produced by Kūgo Ginjō's Bankai one-handed and then crush it. With only a swing of his sword, Ichigo is also able to make a huge shock wave.
- 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, and has been proven as Ichigo had no knowledge of it during his fight with Byakuya Kuchiki, 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 or fire it from the tip of the blade as if it were a gun.
- Enhanced Spiritual Power: His already vast spiritual energy increases grandly and explosively. 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. Ichigo's reiatsu was solid in his Bankai despite him only recently acquiring it. Initially, when he activates his Bankai, he produces a white aura that shoots high into the sky. However, ever since Ichigo defeated his inner Hollow and affirmed his place as a Visored, he produces 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 white aura. After his training in the Dangai, Ichigo's ability to sense reiatsu has increased greatly as he can now sense his sisters blocks away through various buildings and determine their current status. According to Sōsuke Aizen, by achieving evolution into a dimension separate from Shinigami, both Shinigami and Humans have become unable to feel his reiatsu unless he voluntarily lowers his level and allows them to interfere, in the same way that a two-dimensional being is unable to interfere with a three-dimensional being. In this same way, he surmises that Ichigo is standing in a dimension even higher than the one he is in. After Ichigo regains his Shinigami powers for the second time, his Bankai activation reverts back to the way it used to be, by shooting a white aura high into the sky. The released energy can break apart Yukio's chatroom, which is said to be indestructible.
- 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. From his final encounter with Grimmjow in Hueco Mundo until Aizen's defeat, Ichigo continuously stayed in his Bankai state for three months.
- Saigo no Getsuga Tenshō (最後の月牙天衝, The Final Moon Fang Heaven-Piercer): By using this technique, Ichigo becomes the Getsuga (月牙, Moon Fang) itself. It is referred to as the “Final” Getsuga Tenshō because if Ichigo uses it, he loses all of his Shinigami powers. For the duration of the ability, Ichigo’s hair turns black, and becomes waist-length. Light bluish-gray bandages form around his body, tightly wrapped around his torso, right arm, and face, ending just beneath his eyes. Black flame-like markings spread across his chest and wrap around his left arm, and the remains of a tattered black cloak cover his lower body. In this form, Ichigo’s body constantly emits smoky black reiatsu, most of which is focused around his right arm. Being in this form allows Ichigo to use Mugetsu. Once it is used, the transformation dissipates, in which he will then lose consciousness accompanied by intense pain with the loss of his Shinigami powers following. Then, any remaining reiatsu stabilizes and he will awaken (sometime later, roughly a month) followed shortly by the loss of his remaining Reiryoku. However, when Ichigo lost his reiatsu, a tiny portion of it accumulated in a single location inside of him over time, and he began to regain it slightly after a year and a half.
- Mugetsu (無月, Moonless Sky): Ichigo generates a blade of deep black spiritual energy in his hand and swings it towards the target. Doing so causes a massive veil of black spiritual energy to erupt upwards and approach the target, darkening the sky, and heavily damaging anything caught within the blast. The energy then continues to rise, dissipating into the sky.
Former Powers & Abilities
- According to Shonen Jump's character popularity polls, Ichigo was consistently the most popular character in Bleach in the first three polls, but ranked 3rd in the fourth popularity poll.
- Ichigo's Zanpakutō, Zangetsu, was voted the 3rd most popular Zanpakutō in the Zanpakutō popularity poll, while his Bankai, Tensa Zangetsu, was ranked 10th.
- The number "15" on Ichigo's bedroom door is both a reference to his age and a pun on his name: ichi-go can also be read to mean "one-five (一五)."
- Ichigo claims that his name comes from: ichi for first prize and go for guardian angel, although his father told him that his name means "he who protects." Using certain kanji (苺), Ichigo's name can also mean "strawberry", which led Jidanbō Ikkanzaka to comment that Ichigo has a cute name and Mashiro Kuna to nickname him "Berry-tan". Upon hearing his name, Ikkaku Madarame remarked that men which names contain the word ichi are often powerful and talented.
- Despite various people noticing how Ichigo resembles Kaien Shiba in looks and personality, both Ganju and Kūkaku, Kaien's siblings, have yet to comment on that.
- When Ichigo takes a new Hollow form in his fight against Ulquiorra, the chapter sketches reveal that his Substitute Shinigami Badge is broken.
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