Ichigo Kurosaki is one of the strongest characters in Bleach. Now, this is mostly because he’s the main character, but if we were to go deeper into his specific abilities, then we would see that he has one of the most complex powers in all of anime. And if you were to use all of them correctly, Ichigo has the potential to be the strongest character in the series.
Now, first and foremost, Ichigo is a human. His parents were both human when they had other children, and for the most part, this is the most simple side of him. Kind of see, actually, Ichigo’s parents were a soul Reaper and a Quincy before they had their children. Because of this, He and his two sisters have above average levels of spirit energy, allowing them to see ghosts, Soul Reapers, and Hollows.
Even as a human, He displayed much potential. In the first chapter of the series, he’s seen breaking out of a keto spell, which is described as being impossible for humans. Now, there is a bit more to Ichigo’s Human Side with his full bring, but I feel like that would be better explained once we go through his main powers.
In chapter one of the series, Rukia gave her Soul Reaper powers to Ichigo in order to defeat a Hollow. Now, she only meant to grant him half of her power, but somehow He stole all of it without even realizing. It’s important to mention this since a lot of people get this mixed up, but the powers that He got were not his, they were Rukia’s.
And the reason their swords or their zanpakuto looked so different was because He could not control his Spirit energy. Soon after this, though, Rukia’s brother Byakuya Kuchiki expelled her powers from Ichigo since it’s illegal for Soul Reapers to give their powers to humans. It wasn’t until his training with Kisuke Urahara that He awakened his own Soul Reaper abilities.
So, with the powers of a Soul Reaper, He gains his own zanpakuto, whose name is Zangetsu. In this form, he has all the basic abilities of a Soul Reaper, including shikai and bankai. Shikai is the first release of a zanpakuto. This is usually the second form that Soul Reapers have to transform to, but since He doesn’t know how to seal his own sword, shikai is basically just his base form.
In shikai, Zangetsu is extremely large and has a cloth around the hilt that can be used to store the sword when not in use. He can also use his most popular attack called the Getsuga Tensho, which is basically just a Dragon Ball Z blast made up of spirit energy. Later on in the Soul Society Arc, He acquired bankai.
Bankai is the second release of a zanpakuto, which usually takes Soul Reapers hundreds of years to achieve, but it only took Ichigo three days. The reason for this is because Ichigo’s father was a part of the Shiba family when he was a Soul Reaper, and He is also trained by two of the most skilled captains in the series.
But that’s beside the point. With tenso Zangetsu, Ichigo’s blade does become a bit smaller, but he gains a 10 times power increase, becomes extremely fast, and has an upgraded version of Getsuga Tensho, which is now black. Now, it turns out that He can go even further beyond this to his transcended state, commonly known as Dongai.
In this form, He becomes one with his Zanpakuto to the point where it’s fused onto his arm. He can also use his signature attack called Mugetsu, and while he did defeat Aizen with this single move, he lost all of his Soul Reaper powers in the process. But, as stated by Aizen, an individual can reach their Transcendence state by combining both the powers of Soul Reapers and Hollows, which brings us to the second set of Ichigo’s powers.
It was revealed that He was part Hollow. Now, this is basically bad since Hollows are the main threat that Soul Reapers have to destroy, but having these powers only made He stronger. As for how he gained these powers, though many years before the series, Ichigo’s mother Masaki was bitten by a Hollow.
This was a special Hollow created by Aizen, and it caused Masaki to undergo holification. And if it wasn’t for Kisuke Urahara’s help, she would have died. Even so, the Hollow embedded itself within Masaki’s soul, and that piece of her soul was passed on to He. The Hollow named White manifests itself as Ichigo’s Zanpakuto spirit, or one of them, anyway.
During his fight with Byakuya, He took a massive L, which caused White to take over completely and holify Ichigo’s body. In this battle, White thrashed Byakuya using his unorthodox tactics and unhinged instinct. Needless to say, that this was not a fair battle at all, and he actually took back control over his body so that he could finish the fight.
Later on in the series, He would attempt to control his Hollow, and by training with the Visards, he learned Qualification. He performs this technique by donning a Hollow Mask, becoming at least 10 times stronger as a result. He can do this in either Shikai or Bankai, but most of the time he qualifies during the latter.
To learn this ability, however, He had to encounter White once again. In this second encounter, White made it perfectly clear that if Ichigo ever falters again, then he’ll take complete control, and that is exactly what happens in chapter 349. In this chapter, He dies and transforms into his Vasto Lorde form.
In this form, He became hundreds of times stronger than he ever was up to that point, bodying Ulquiorra with ease. In his Vasto Lorde form, He becomes a complete animal, only relying on instincts. He can also use a Hollow-specific technique known as Acero, which is basically just a Dragon Ball Z blast and is made up of Reishi.
It’s basically just a Getsuga Tensho, but in a ball version. Also, as a side note, every time He progresses in power with his holification, a stripe is added to his mask. Some people think that this is why White is trying to take control of He over time, and this is just a theory, but I thought it was too cool not to mention.
After using the Final Getsuga Tensho and losing all of his Soul Reaper and Hollow Powers, He felt powerless. This is where Ginjo steps in. Ginjo is a Fullbringer who offered to get Ichigo’s powers back.
Now, Fullbringer is basically just a human whose parents got attacked by a Hollow, and by using the residual ryatsu from this experience along with an item that they are compatible with, they can manifest their own powers. So for instance, Ichigo’s mom was attacked by White, and since he’s compatible with his soul badge, he can manifest new powers that are completely different from his old ones.
Also, Fullbringers can manipulate the spirit energy of objects around them, which allows them to do stuff like flow water into their mouths. For example, by training with Ginjou and his team known as Execution, He was not only able to master his Fullbring but also slowly regain his Shinigami powers.
And when the time came, he would combine these forms, giving him power beyond that of a Soul Reaper. However, this would not go as planned as Ginjou was just using He to get even stronger. However, in one of Ichigo’s darkest moments, Rukia pulled up to give him his Soul Reaper powers back legally this time.
In a Twist of a Twist, He became even more powerful than his old story, perform just as Ginjo said. Also, he got rid of his Soul Badge, which was revealed to be restricting He this entire time, which is a detail that many forget. So, I will too. As stated, He and his Fullbring/Shinigami form is vastly more powerful than his old Soul form, and he can do basically everything he could before.
He doesn’t need to use his Hollow Mask as well since Fullbring already incorporates those abilities. Now, whether this form is stronger than Don guy is up for debate, but even so, this is Ichigo’s full power with no restrictions, which is what I would say if we didn’t have two more sections left.
During the Thousand-Year Blood War Arc, Masaki Kurosaki was revealed to be a Quincy, and since she’s Ichigo’s mom, you already know where this is going. In my opinion, this is where Ichigo’s heritage got a little too broken. Like, I could understand that he would be a Soul Reaper cross with a Hollow, but a Quincy?
They have literally nothing to do with him, and I don’t want to hear, “Well, Zangetsu is just the young version of you,” hot bro. There is no way that Kubo planned that 15 years in advance. But yes, as stated, this part of Zangetsu is the manifestation of Ichigo’s Quincy powers.
It was revealed that Zangetsu was holding back most of Ichigo’s Shinigami and Hollow powers and all of his Quincy abilities, although he did use some Quincy techniques to save Ichigo’s life at times. This was in an attempt to prevent He from getting stronger and therefore putting his life at even more risk. It was also revealed that White was trying to help Ichigo this entire time; he just did it in a very psychopathic way.
Now, Ichigo’s Quincy powers manifested in a very strange manner. While he was stuck in Quilge’s jail, He released so much ryatsu that Quilge’s Quincy energy flowed through it, bro. I have tried to record this line. I don’t know what to say anymore. I don’t know what to say. Quilge’s Quincy energy flowed through He, which caused the memories of his dormant Quincy powers to be awakened.
These powers first manifested in his fight with Yhwach, where he used a technique known as Blut Vene. Speaking of his fight with Yhwach, He got his ass handed to him. In fact, it wasn’t even Yhwach who broke his Zanpakuto and, in a very roundabout way, it was Yhwach’s subordinate, Haschwalth, who saved his life.
But yeah, you heard me correctly, Ichigo’s Fullbring Zanpakuto, his strongest form, was destroyed. His new weapon would be forged by Ōetsu Nimaiya, the creator of all Zanpakuto. However, to have his sword remade, He would have to claim an Asauchi first. Asauchi are given to Soul Reapers in training, and over time, their soul is imprinted onto it.
This can be seen with pretty much all Shinigami, but I’ll use Renji as an example. Renji’s Asauchi starts out as a basic white nothing guy, but over time and through combat, it evolves into Zabimaru. As I said earlier, He went through a different process that didn’t involve an Asauchi, so he kind of screwed himself over in the long run.
But even when He tried to choose an Asauchi, he was picked by none of them since he didn’t know about his true heritage. However, after learning about his past and coming to terms with the fact that he was a Quincy, He returned to the Soul Palace once more. This time, all of the Asauchi kneeled to him, and once he picked one, He was met with a figure that looked similar to White.
After choosing, Ichigo went into his inner world and was met by the truth: old man Zangetsu was actually a young version of Yhwach this entire time. And the other reason why Yhwach kept Ichigo’s powers back was to prevent him from fighting the actual Yhwach. But over time, young Yhwach saw Ichigo’s desire to get stronger, and instead of impeding his progress, he decided to help out one last time.
In his true Shikai form, Ichigo’s full power is on display. This time, he’s wielding two blades, with the larger representing his Soul Reaper and Hollow side while the smaller represents his Quincy side. He can get even stronger by adding his Horn of Salvation as well. The Horn of Salvation is essentially just Hollowification again, but this time, He has a horn that resembles his Dangai Joue form.
Of course, this is all in his Shikai form, which was stated to be changing fate with every move that He made. But his Bankai is even crazier. By fusing the two blades together and combining his Soul Reaper, Hollow, Fullbring, and Quincy powers, He creates a Bankai that can strike down even Yhwach, which is exactly why it broke the second that he pulled it out.
But after his Zanpakuto was fixed by this irrelevant person, He hopped back into the battle once again. In the final fight of the series, Yhwach was struck by a plot arrow, which allowed He to deal the final blow. Yhwach would attempt to destroy Ichigo’s sword yet again.
However, this attempt was all in vain as the only thing that he could destroy was the outer shell of the Zanpakuto. And with the outer shell destroyed, a sword resembling Ichigo’s old Shikai was revealed. This, along with his Horn of Salvation, is the most insane power-up in Bleach.
And while we haven’t seen much of it yet, let me just list some of the abilities that He should have in this form. Not only does he still have his Getsuga Tensho, but also He can fire Sero. Now he can combine these two to make an even more powerful attack.
As well, with his Quincy Powers, Ichigo can absorb the spirit energy from objects around him, and he can use his Fullbring powers to create objects from that spirit energy as well, such as his armor. It’s also possible that with more training, He can use even more techniques, such as Blut Vene, Kido, and Reiryoku manipulation.
So on and so forth. So yeah, it’s safe to say that Ichigo is definitely top 5 characters in Bleach. I think that he’s like second place, but you know, I’m not a scaler, so what the do I know? That pretty much does it for this blog though.
I’m just saying that as a One Piece fan, I feel spoiled by Bleach, but that’s just my opinion, and I’m interested to see yours in the comments below. Next week’s blog is going to be Bleach again, but don’t worry, the One Piece stuff is probably going to come back right after that.
I’m just trying to branch out and see what I can do besides One Piece, as I really don’t want to be known for one thing. But anyways, it’s 12 o’clock at night, I have a project that’s due in two days, and yeah, I haven’t done anything, so yeah, bye.
That’s me, Andreea Blaga, author of the blog anime-everything.com. I work as a content creator in the US. I am also passionate about Japanese Anime.