Ichigo’s Demonic Transformation! Why He’s Feared By Everyone
[Ichigo Kurasaki] represents one-third of the template that battle shonen protagonists follow to this day. His position as the protagonist in one of the Big Three grants him almost legendary status. However, unlike the continuing appearances of Luffy and Naruto, Ichigo had almost fallen to the wayside after the anime was canceled. That was until Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War was announced to be airing in the fall 2022 season. After a decade-long hiatus, what’s a better way to get back into the world of Bleach than exploring its protagonist? Today, we’ll be doing a deep dive into Ichigo Kurasaki– from his powers and potential, to what we can expect to see from him in Thousand Year Blood War. [Base Stats] Even before starting his Soul Reaper training,.
Ichigo was a much more capable fighter than the average fifteen year old. He had been training in martial arts for nearly a decade which, unsurprisingly, translates really well to fighting as a Shinigami. Even after quitting his martial arts career, his father [Isshin Kurosaki] was more than happy to continue extreme hand-to-hand combat training at home. Because of this consistent regimen, Ichigo started his training leaps and bounds ahead of other Shinigami. As a result, his strength is off-the-charts; he can smash a full grown man’s head through a sidewalk with ease. Ichigo’s extensive martial arts training also aids in his enhanced speed and reflexes. He’s able to strike opponents in quick succession while simultaneously dodging attacks. And if he does get hit? Be it from another martial.
Artist or a supernatural being, Ichigo can recover incredibly quickly and jump back into the fight. I’ll be getting into the details of Ichigo’s battle prowess in a little bit, but the key take-away is that he is incredibly strong beyond what any novice Shinigami normally is. Obviously, physical prowess isn’t the only factor that makes a powerful Shinigami; strategy, knowledge, and spiritual connection are also incredibly important. Luckily for Ichigo, he excels in these categories as well. Ichigo is genuinely an intelligent guy in both an academic and strategic sense. He's one of the top twenty-five students in his high school and is able to maintain this position after becoming a Substitute Shinigami. His academic intelligence leads into his stellar deductive.
Skills; he can study his opponent’s fighting style, and immediately pick apart what their strengths and weaknesses are. But what really makes Ichigo a natural Shinigami is his connection to the spirit realm. Again, he’s been able to see ghosts for as long as he can remember so his synchronicity with spirits is already established. Since he’s been so in-tune with the spirit realm from such a young age, he bypassed the learning curves that many Substitute Shinigami have by default. Ichigo can sense spiritual energy from otherwise impossible distances—even as it weakens or dissipates. This ability also translates well into battle because he can sense enemies retreating via their energy signatures. Combined with his ability to easily pick up new battle techniques, he is also able to weaponize his.
Spiritual energy much more quickly. Perhaps the best example is his use of the [Spirit Ribbon], mere days after picking up duties as a Substitute Shinigami. So, with a solid baseline of how strong Ichigo naturally is, I think we can finally get into the finer points of Ichigo’s soul reaper career. [From Kids See Ghosts to Kid Fights Ghosts] Ichigo starts as a high school student who can see and communicate with ghosts. He lives a pretty regular life with his single father, Isshin, and his two little sisters [Karin and Yuzu] before, in now-typical Shonen fashion, a mysterious figure and a monster show up and change the trajectory of his life forever. The mysterious figure in this case is [Rukia Kuchiki]: a Shinigami on the hunt for a malevolent spirit called a in the area. After.
Ichigo kicks her to the ground—a reasonable response for someone breaking into his room—she binds him with a [Kidō spell], rendering him immobile. After seeing his two little sisters hurt by the spirit, Ichigo is able to release himself from the binding spell through sheer willpower alone. Turns out the Hollow is tracking him since his soul and spiritual energy are incredibly powerful. This, plus a severe injury, convinces Rukia to bestow some of her Shinigami power to Ichigo so he can save his family. Unfortunately for her, the transfer is botched, and Ichigo ends up taking nearly all of her power—thus making him a Shinigami. The first fight I’d consider pivotal to explaining both Ichigo’s powers and characterization is against the Menos Grande. It’s not his.
First fight since accidentally inheriting the powers of a Soul Reaper; he fought a few smaller Hollows, and managed to defeat them on pure instinct alone—since he’s barely learned how to properly wield his [Zanpakutō]. None of the monsters he’d fought until then held a candle to the Menos Grande. This Hollow is actually composed of two separate beasts that can fight separately from one another. It’s essentially two massive, malignant spirits in one. Luckily, Ichigo has a pseudo-ally in his classmate [Uryū Ishida]: a member of the rival spiritual faction known as [the Quincy]. Uryū is actually the one responsible for bringing out the Menos Grande, because he summoned dozens of smaller Hollows for the two to battle to prove that Quincy’s are the stronger fighters. After the Menos.
Grande enters through the [Kūmon] gateway, all the smaller Hollows that Uryū summoned to battle start to disperse, and they pray to the much larger spirit before being consumed. While the two are from polar opposite groups that have been warring for years, Uryū reluctantly teams up with Ichigo to defeat the beast. The Substitute Shinigami makes the first move, and slashes the Menos Grande’s ankle, but he simply gets kicked away. Uryū criticizes Ichigo’s methods, though his [Helig Pfeil] also does minimal damage. The two bicker for a bit before deciding to work together in earnest. Uryū discovers that holding Ichigo’s Zanpakutō allows access to the flow of his spiritual energy or . Since he’s constantly leaking out Reiryoku at maximum output, Uryū tapping into it is absolutely.
No problem, and his own is strengthened tenfold. But I bet you’re wondering why I’m calling this a pivotal battle for Ichigo since Uryū’s been carrying it until this point. Well, first, this is where Ichigo discovers that his instinct to constantly have his Reiryoku o n full blast is a benefit when he’s battling with others. Second, it turns out Uryū’s plan was completely useless as Ichigo charges the Menos Grande to finish the malevolent spirit off lhimself. While it does launch a blast to counter-attack, Ichigo is able to accumulate energy from Uryū to launch himself into the sky and bisects t he Menos Grande. It gets sent back to [Hueco Mundo], the world of the spirits, and Ichigo is now on the Soul Society’s watchlist. Another set of important battles in Ichigo’s.
Early Shinigami career were against [Renji Abarai and Byakuya Kuchiki]: the lieutenant and leader of the sixth division of Gotei 13. The three first meet mere minutes after Ichigo defeats the Menos Grande I just talked about. Rukia did not lie; So ul Society moves fast, and in this case, it’s because she’s on their hit list. Giving your Shinigami powers to some random guy is quite frowned upon, so Renji and Byakuya must bring her back to Soul Society and strip Ichigo of [“his” Shinigami powers]. The first fight between the three is a decisive loss for Ichigo, though he definitely puts up a strong showing. He’s mostly on the defensive end of the battle for the first time since getting his powers, and his inexperience definitely shows through when fighting two military-trained powerhouses.
But, to his credit, he does land a few good hits before being stripped of his Substitute Shinigami status. Now, Ichigo does get his powers back…
Ichigo, they are very important narrative points for his growth as a character. From a technical standpoint, this is where Ichigo’s Hollow mask makes its first appearance, definitely not its last though. On the side of worldbuilding, the politics of Soul Society start to get introduced as well. Ichigo’s new found place within the association shapes his worldview later in the series. Byakuya, and especially Renji, get redemption arcs of their own, and realize that Ichigo’s inclusion in Soul Society is not the detriment they thought it would be; by the end of the arc, he’s officially a Substitute Shinigami. Ichigo can easily turn enemies into allies, not just through violence, but by exploring and empathizing with different perspectives. This is something other mangaka inspired by Tite Kubo would.
Incorporate into their own series. But before we go any further, be sure to subscribe to the channel with notifications on to never miss an upload, and smash that “like” button for some Plot Armor today! [Ichigo versus his Haters] The [Hueco Mundo arc] is truly where Ichigo begins to come into his own as a Shinigami. At this point, Isshin Kurosaki’s past as a former member of the [Shiba Clan], and the former captain of the tenth division is brought to light. Now, Ichigo is officially Bleach’s nepotism baby, and his easy slide into the world of Shinigami makes sense. It also has the battle saga that Bleach is most known for: Ichigo versus everyone’s first villain crush [Grimmjow Jagerjaquez]. I’d honestly argue these three fights are what really cement.
Ichigo as a powerful Shinigami, even compared to the latter parts of the [Aizen Arc]. We’ll be discussing those a bit later, though. I also think these battles are amazing benchmarks for watching how Ichigo has grown throughout the Arrancar Invasion arc, which is easily one of the densest arcs in the series. The first meeting between Grimmjow and Ichigo happens right after the start of [The Cold War]: a proxy war between Gotei 13 and the disgraced former captain of the fifth division [Sōsuke Aizen]. Aizen sent the —who are a band of ten Hollows that removed their masks and gained Shinigami-like powers as a result. Ichigo is basically up against an already strong Hollow made even more powerful by Aizen’s modifications. It's easily his most difficult opponent thus far. The resulting.
Fight is almost like an intricate dance, with each fighter weaving around each other, blocking attacks and landing semi-critical hits. Grimmjow’s bare hands do cause a lot of destruction to Ichigo’s body–especially when he goes full Dio Brando on Ichigo’s face. The Substitute Shinigami surprisingly lands a pretty critical blow: a black [Getsuga Tenshō] blast that creates a large gash spanning most of Grimmjow’s torso. Even still, the Espada continues to fight and nearly overpowers Ichigo. It genuinely seems like Ichigo might take a loss until one of Aizen’s men, the former captain of the Ninth Division, [Kaname Tōsen] steps in to end the battle prematurely. Without his intervention, the struggle could’ve easily escalated to deadly levels. Ichigo and Grimmjow don’t have to wait long.
Before an opportunity for a rematch arises. The two enter the fight ready to finish what they started: Grimmjow proudly sports the permanent scar from the last fight to match the trademark hole the Arrancar all share. Ichigo’s been training his Hollow abilities since his last altercation with the Espada; the two are on much more even ground in this second round. At first, it seems like the Substitute Shinigami has the upper hand with a point blank Getsuga Tenshō; it seems his training with the Visoreds paid off. That is until he maxes out on using the mask after eleven seconds; his stacked powers start to wane as the mask begins to crumble off his face. Grimmjow, seeing an easy advantage, turns the tides by breaking his opponent’s Hollow mask ensuring he won’t be able to.
Use it for the rest of the fight before pinning him to the ground with his sword. I’ve yet to really touch on Ichigo’s Hollow-ification, mostly because it’s been a secondary part of the plot compared to the ongoing war between Soul Society and Aizen. However, his Hollow-ification is a massive part of his character development from here to Thousand Year Blood War. The constant threat of [White Ichigo] taking control haunts him, but the combined powers of the Hollow and Shinigami grant him a strong battle advantage. But his first outing with intent to use the mask is another important mark in his growth as a Shinigami. During his rematch with Byakuya the mask was a last-ditch effort, and an introduction to Ichigo’s Hollow side that he wasn’t even one-hundred percent sure about. He doesn’t really get to use.
It much here since his attempts to re-summon it are thwarted by his Reiryoku being completely expended; with no spiritual energy left to use, he is entirely at Grimmjow’s mercy. He would’ve been a goner if Rukia and fifth division captain [Shinji Hirako] hadn’t stepped in and brought the battle to a tie. So, with two battles ending in admittedly anticlimactic ties, Ichigo and Grimmjow’s final fight had a lot of hype and emotions behind it, and
Espada [Ulquiorra Cifer] who serves as a solid tertiary antagonist with his cold and ruthless battle methods. The requisite love interest [Orihime Inoue], dragged to Las Noches against her will, is only able to partially heal him before Grimmjow’s bloodlust gets too high. Luckily, Ichigo is healed enough to nullify a potentially deadly Cero blast with one of his Getsuga Tenshō multiple times. The Espada seems genuinely upset at Ichigo avoiding killing him, but isn’t aware of what Ichigo’s capable of doing when the lives of his loved ones are on the line. From the dust of the second blast collision, the Substitute Shinigami appears with the Hollow mask on and death in his eyes. The mask (and Ichigo’s body) manage to hold up through a series of particularly hard body slams and hits, and even when it.
Begins to crack he thinks quickly and replaces the mask near immediately. To counter Ichigo’s increased strength, speed, and Reiryoku, Grimmjow partially reverts to his panther-like Hollow form and goes completely feral. This barely phases his opponent as he survives FIVE of Grimmjow’s incredibly destructive [Garra de la Pantera]. He’s even able to block the finishing fatal move [Desgarrón] before ending the battle by shattering one of its talons and impaling Grimmjow on his Zanpakutō. The epic battle saga is over and Ichigo emerges victorious, motivated to kill to keep his closest friends safe. But, the biggest and baddest battle of all, is Ichigo’s venture against Sōsuke Aizen. The disgraced Aizen has been built up as the worst villain in the entire series for years.
Now: he even has an entire arc named after him. Again, Ichigo’s physical prowess really shines through here, especially after Aizen discovers that the young Shinigami has converted his Reiatsu into the spiritual equivalent of performance enhancers. The villainous man knows exactly what spiritual power enhancers can do; he literally invented one for himself to surpass both Shinigami and Hollow capabilities so long as he has the will to fight. Aizen first tries to break his opponent’s spirit before resorting to physical engagement. Obviously, as I’ve emphasized throughout this video, Ichigo’s will is indomitable, so this does literally nothing. He’s also able to block his opponent’s first attack with his bare hands –an amazing feat considering Aizen was a Soul Society military-powerhouse before.
Defecting. The epic score rages in the background as the two slash at each other, destroying the landscape in the process. Ichigo’s upper hand is quickly taken away when Aizen busts out the [Hadō #90: Kurohitsugi] and nearly crushes him, but his above-average durability saves him. Back on the defensive, Ichigo continues to survive multiple potentially fatal attacks from his increasingly agitated opponent; this includes a blast that shakes the nearby Karakura Town, and sends him barreling into a crater. Incensed by his “human arrogance” and breaking the barriers between human and Shinigami, Aizen attempts to strip the teen of his powers. Ichigo’s one step ahead of him though, and charges up his final move: [Saigo no Getsuga Tenshō]. This technique completely eradicates all of Ichigo’s powers once he uses it,.
But its sheer power forces Aizen to not sustain his evolved form and make him easier to capture. As black flames rise around his body and his hair shifts to long and black, Ichigo successfully embodies Getsuga, and sucks Aizen into the darkness of his Mugetsu. With the [Hōgyoku] broken, the big bad is forced to revert back to his base state. Ichigo’s powers finally run out, and he falls back to Earth. A delusional Aizen believes that the Hōgyoku has fused with him, but his attempt to power back up fails so horribly that he’s forced to reconcile with his ego. Ichigo reaches powers beyond even the biggest villain in the series, and even manages to seal Aizen away before his body gives out. Even for a strong warrior like Ichigo, the ease of Aizen’s imprisonment is still quite out of character. As [Kisuke.
Uruhara] explains, there’s a chance that the Hōgyoku did not reject him. Ichigo surmises this might be because of a latent wish to become a normal Shinigami again; the evidence for this is flimsy at best, but it does highlight a naive optimism our protagonist still manages to cling on to. Obviously, this final boss battle was going to show everything Ichigo has to offer both physically and spiritually, but it also shows that his motives and heart are still in the same place. He’s willing to give up everything that benefits him in order to defeat the most dangerous threat to his friends. [Fullbringer Alchemist…Fullbringer Alchemist] Before I get into the [Thousand Year Blood War] arc, and what could affect its success, I should probably recap where the manga left.
Off. The Lost Substitute Shinigami arc starts with a powerless Ichigo returning to his life as a normal high school student, but something still nags at him to return. A run-in with some thugs starts to jog Ichigo’s lost memories of his time within the Shinigami ranks; one of them, [Kugō] wants information about his father which is one thing he’s able to provide. What he can’t provide is where his father is since his father still has his Shinigami powers and he does not. The two agree to meet later with [Yasutora Sado] and Kugō reveals that he’s going to give Ichigo his Shinigami powers back. This will be done through transfer with a : someone born of a parent attacked by a Hollow who can only pass down powers to the offspring of a human and Shinigami. Ichigo doesn’t trust Kugō as far as he.
Can throw him, but Sado has been an ally from the beginning. So, tired of not being able to protect his friends anymore and aware of the mutual benefits, he agrees to take on the Fullbring. After receiving the Fullbring, he’s put through a re-training arc in [Riruka Dokugamine’s] dollhouse. He’s able to defeat the yakuza stuffed animal by remembering how Sado and Kugō were able to access their own powers. He’s returned to normal size, only to find out Orihime’s been kidnapped: a possible threat for him to stop his training. Despite the new terror of potentially losing his closest friend, he continues on through the Xcution warehouse where his training continues. By the time our big bad for this arc [Shūkurō Tsukishima] appears at the warehouse, Ichigo’s.
Got enough of a grasp on his Fullbring to utilize it like his old Shinigami techniques. Their fight is cut short by Kugō and Sado who want their
Distrust of Kugō was well-founded as he was metaphorically stabbed in the back and physically stabbed in the chest. It turns out he was the mastermind all along. He was responsible for putting Uryū in the hospital, and facilitated Xcution's staging of Orihime’s kidnapping. He holds Ichigo’s Fullbring over his head, so he complies and does not fight him. The newly realigned Tsukishima and Kugō leave Ichigo confused and alone until Rukia appears and stabs Ichigo in the back… physically this time. This stab was actually a net positive for him though, since it restores his Shinigami powers in the same manner that Rukia’s sword had at the beginning of the series. With his powers restored, Ichigo is ready to hunt and defeat Kugō and the rest of Xcution. Rukia, Orihime, and a healed Uryū cheer him on as.
He plows through the Fullbringers with ease before killing Kugō in his Bankai pocket dimension. The rest of Xcution are either comatose or smart enough to scatter. Through his most intensive training and several acts of betrayal, Ichigo is back to his incredibly powerful Shinigami state. [So…What Now?] As we said at the start of the video, Bleach is one of the Big Three that revolutionized Shonen Battle Manga. Ichigo is one of the protagonists that created the standard for what a shonen MC should be. However, Ichigo’s been out of the spotlight for about a decade. Shonen has grown and evolved in the decade since he last appeared on our screens, and the Thousand Year Blood War could make or break how fans view the legacy of Bleach.
There are two things that this arc needs to do to redeem the anime: stick to the manga, and appeal to both new and older Shonen fans. Perhaps the most infamous issue with the Bleach anime adaptation is that it diverged so much from the manga. It wasn’t the first time that a manga and an anime went on completely different paths— did it a few years prior—but it was probably one of the most infamous. Bleach didn’t change the ending much—mostly because of its cancellation—but it did add non-canonical arcs that added little to the story. Nowadays, longer, anime-only arcs are mostly saved for films like One Piece Red: they serve as little treats for the super fans. While Bleach also has a few anime-only films, the additional non-canonical arcs just add too much material to an already dense.
Series. Adding filler arcs to the anime definitely helped Ichigo seem even stronger, but it also took time away from explaining the intricacies of larger, canonical arcs like Arrancar. These mini-arcs did little to advance the actual plot or explain any of the larger forces that Ichigo had to defeat. Ideally, this new season will forgo references to the anime-only arcs in favor of sticking to the established manga, which is already exciting enough. The Thousand Year Blood War serves as a pivotal point for the Bleach franchise, not just because it’s the first televised adaptation in a decade but because its original fanbase has grown up. Bleach was a lot of people’s first introduction to shonen battle manga and now, in the era where that same genre dominates the global anime scene; its original fans.
Are now used to the tropes that Bleach helped set up. This new adaptation can’t just coast on nostalgia alone; it has to add to the newer trends in Shonen anime. Out of all the arcs in the manga, this one is definitely the best suited for the darker tone set by Bleach’s contemporaries. It also has the potential to benefit from a decreased focus on censoring blood and gore like the original series did. Kubo himself said that many of the rushed battles in this arc of the manga will get expanded upon thanks to the four cours this arc will take up. But, most importantly, this is the arc that wraps up the long-standing rivalries and mysteries that the original series left on a cliffhanger. Will the genocidal war between the Quincy and Shinigami end? How far does Ichigo’s Hollow-ification go?.
And why exactly is Aizen like