Ichigo grew up in Karakura Town and was raised by his mother and father, Masaki and Isshin; and he was the older sibling to his twin sisters, Karin and Yuzu. For as long as Ichigo could remember he could see ghosts. One rainy day, Ichigo rushed to try and stop who who thought was girl falling into the flooding river, but this had just been a ghost. When he woke up, he found his mother dead on top of him. He would eventually spend hours alone walking along the area where his mother died. The child who smiled all the time was lost. He blamed himself for his mother's death and the suffering it caused his family. He then dedicated his life to protecting his sisters.
When Ichigo was 15 years old, a Soul Reaper named Rukia Kuchiki walked into his room through the wall. At first he refused to believe Rukia's story, but the family clinic was soon attacked by a monster called a Hollow. Yuzu and Karin were both injured, and Rukia told him that the monster was there for his soul. Ichigo was ready to sacrifice his life, but Rukia jumped in the way and was seriously injured. She made an offer to Ichigo to transfer some of her powers to him by piercing his heart with her sword. Ichigo inadvertently took all of Rukia's powers and destroyed the Hollow with his own zanpakutō.
Ichigo Kurosaki (黒崎 一護, Kurosaki Ichigo) is the main protagonist of the BLEACH series that was created by Tite Kubo, It first began serialization in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump in August 2001.
He first appeared in BLEACH Volume 1, CH. 1 "Strawberry & the Soul Reapers".
Major Story Arcs
Agent of the Shinigami Arc
Ichigo's time as a Soul Reaper put him through various trials that challenged his dedication to protecting others. Rukia had joined Ichigo in school as a classmate and lived in his closet until she could regain her powers. He didn't care about the duties of a Soul Reaper that Rukia would preach to him. He was just determined to help people when he could. One of Ichigo's more earth shattering threats was when his family went to visit his mother's grave on the anniversary of her death. In this fight, Ichigo fought against the Hollow known as Grand Fisher, the monster who had tricked Ichigo as a child and murdered his mother. Ichigo suffered serious injuries in this fight becasue the Hollow had used his humanoid lure to take on the form of his mother. He did eventually stab Grand Fisher, and it fled before it could be killed.
The second greatest challenge Ichigo faced was when he was challenged by Uryu Ishida, a Quincy, to a battle for who was the better. Ichigo thought this was going to be a one-on-one, but he was shocked as Uryu released what he referred to as Hollow bait. Hollows were flooding into the city that were attracted by the bait, but they were far more than Uryu had anticipated. Ichigo and Uryu killed countless Hollows, and they had to band together to stop a Menos Grand that appeared. Ichigo ultimately managed to injure the Menos by deflecting it's Cero blast with his zanpakutō.
Soon after the incident with Uryu, Ichigo found Rukia missing form the closet and Kon had been bound and gagged. She was trying to protect Ichigo from the Soul Reapers from the Soul Society that were coming to arrest her. Ichigo rushed her aide and battled with Renji Abarai and Byakuya Kuchiki. Almost immediately after Ichigo won against Renji, Byakuya both sliced his zanpakutō in half and pierced his body before he could even see him. To save Ichigo's life, Rukia agreed to return to the Soul Society to face her own execution. He was soon found and saved by Kisuke Urahara.
Soul Society: The Sneak Entry Arc
The injury Ichigo had suffered from Byakuya had robbed Ichigo of his ability to become a Soul Reaper, but Urahara offered to train Ichigo in a way to both regain his powers in order to rescue Rukia. In this training, Ichigo regained his powers and unlocked the powers of his zanpakutō by learning it's name, Zangetsu. The rest of the time preparing was in combat training. Before leaving, Ichigo was joined on this mission to the Soul Society by Uryu, Yasutora " Chad" Sado, Inoue Orihime, and Yoruichi Shihōin, a talking cat who was acting as their guide. Their infiltration was blocked by the appearance of Gin Ichimaru and the giant wall that fell around them.
Yoruichi guided them to her friend Kūkaku Shiba to find a way to break through the barriers. They were joined by Ganju Shiba, and they were launched in like a firework shell. Upon breaking in, the group was separated across the Seiretei. Ichigo was with Ganju. Ichigo had to face with Ikkaku Madarame almost immediately after landing, then battled with Renji Abarai after that fight. The only difference this time was that Renji seemed to want to save Rukia himself. However, Ichigo's training proved too much for Renji.
Soul Society: The Rescue Arc
It wasn't long after Ichigo's battle with Renji that he had to face the overwhelming power of Zaraki Kenpachi. Before Ichigo was about to die from his wounds, Old Man Zangetsu summoned Ichigo into the inner world to face with a Hollow Ichigo. Ichigo had to fight his darker version to prove he was worth of wielding Zangetsu. His victory granted him Zangetsu's support in his fight with Kenpachi. Their fight ended with serious injury to both sides. Yoruichi took Ichigo to hide him and to treat his wounds. While there, Yoruichi then revealed that she wasn't a talking male cat, but a young human woman.
Ichigo tried rushing to save Ganju and Rukia as he sensed Byakuya was approaching them, but Yoruichi arrived soon after to knock Ichigo out. She rushed him away to a hiding place she knew of to train him to use Bankai with one of Urahara's devices. Ichigo took on the challenge without even knowing the possible consequences of failure.
Ichigo's training was successful and he arrived to stop Rukia's execution moments before the Sokyoku ended her life. He then freed Rukia and toss her to Renji to run. Ichigo defeated all the Vice-Captains who tried to follow, then he finally had his rematch with Byakuya. During the battle, Ichigo taunted Byakuya to release his bankai before revealing his own. During their fight, Ichigo was nearly overcome by his inner Hollow, but fought him off. After Ichigo won, Sosuke Aizen, the true architect of these events, appeared to steal the Hogyoku that Urahara had hidden inside Rukia's Gigai body. He then escaped to Hueco Mundo with his allies. In light of Aizen's manipulation, Ichigo was accepted into the Soul Society as an ally and made an official Substitute Soul Reaper. Rukia elected to remain in the Soul Society as Ichigo and his friends returned home.
It wasn't long after the events at the Soul Society before Karakura Town was attacked by a new form of humanoid Hollows called Arrancar. Ichigo was fighting well against Yammy Rialgo, but he hesitates as his inner Hollow was trying to take control over him. Ichigo needed to be saved by Urahara and Yoruichi. A short time later, Ichigo was approached by Shinji Hirako, who had a Hollow mask similar to his own. Rukia and many of the other 13 Court Guard commanders arrived pretending to be students in his school. Azein's Espada attacked one night led by Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez. Ichigo was completely defeated in his fight and only survived because becasue Grimmjow was called back. Humiliated by this defeat, Ichigo went to Shinji's group with intent on using them to control his Hollow, but they forced him to join the Visored or let his Hollow overwhelm him.
Ichigo trained in secret using the Visored's techniques. Part of this training required for Ichigo to fight the Hollow Ichigo once more. When Grimmjow and several other Arrancar attacked, Ichigo was ready for his remake now that he ahd some control over his Hollow mask. Ichigo gave a far better right and looked to be ready to win until his mask shattered. Grimmjow took this opening toturn the tables and nearly kill Ichigo again. The sudden retreat of the Arrancar was a complete mystery until they discovered Orihime had gone missing. She had surrendered to Aizen to save them all.
The Soul Society was refusing to wage a rescue to save Orihime since she was considered a traitor. They didn't want to risk leaving Karakura Town unguarded for when Aizen would start a full on attack. Ichigo was ordered not to go after her, but he had Urahara prepare a way to go to Hueco Mundo with Chad and Uryu.
Hueco Mundo Arc
In the desert of Hueco Mundo, Ichigo and the gang ran across an Arrancar Hollow of a little girl named Nel Tu. She guided them toward Las Noches, and along the way they were joined by Rukia and Renji. Nel tagged along with Ichigo as everyone needed to split up to search. He defended Nel throughout this battles, but constantly guarding her put him at a disadvantage in his fight with Ulquiorra Cifer. Ulquiorra pierced Ichigo thorough the chest and left him as dead. However, Ichigo was revived by by Orihime's powers on Grimmjow's request.
Grimmjow had wanted a rematch with Ichigo. In order to take Orihime home, Ichigo tapped into his Hollow mask powers to fight Grimmjow as he released his Resurrección powers. Ichigo won this intense battle, but they were almost immediately attacked by Nnoitra Gilga. Nnoitra was far too strong and Ichigo was drained from his previous fight. However, Ichigo was rescued by Nel as she transformed into a grown woman, and it was revealed that she had been the precious Tercera Espada. Nel looked to win this fight until she returned to her child form, but they were all rescued by the appearance of Zaraki Kenpachi.
Ichigo chased after Orihime as she was abducted by Coyote Stark. Ichigo later finds Orihime in one of one of the towers under guard by Ulquiorra. Ichigo is once again critically injured in his fight but refuses to relent to the vicious beating he takes. Ulquiorra released his second released form to force Ichigo to give up and know true despair the fires a Cero Oscuras through his chest. Ichigo's inner Hollow then took over Ichigo's entire body. In this form, Ichigo's power is overwhelming but with no ability to tell fried from foe. Uryu tries to stop Ichigo's brutality, but us stabbed for it. He's only stopped as Ulquiorra cuts one of Ichigo's horns. Ichigo is returned to normal as the rest of the Hollow mask shatters, and with no more ability to regenerate, Ulquiorra's body dissolve into ash.
Fake Karakura Town Arc
Being one of the only members of teh Soul Society that has never fallen under the spell of Aizen's hypnotic powers, Ichigo was brought to the fake Karakura Town that was the stage for the battle between Aizen, his Espada, and the commanders of the 13 Court Guard. Captain Retsu Unohana healed Ichigo's wounds along the trip. Once through the Garganta, Ichigo tries striking Aizen by surprise, but the attack is blocked by a barrier. Ichigo then waited for the Soul Reapers and the Visored tried to create an opening for him to attack, but Aizen had tricked them into attacking Momo Hinamori. Ichigo is ordered to fall back as Aizen defeats most of the captains in a counter attack.
Aizen tried claiming that everything that has happened was his own design as he fought with Ichigo, but Isshin, Urahara, and Yoruichi arrived to help. As they fought Aizen, Ichigo battled with Gin Ichimaru, but both escaped to the real Karakura Town as the Hogyoku overtook Aizen's body. Af Ichigo followed after him, Isshin taught Ichigo how to claim the power of the Final Getsuga Tenshō. Back in the inner world, Ichigo clashed with the embodiment of Tensa Zangetsu that merged with Hollow Ichigo. Ichigo won this conflict be tossing away his sword and allowing himself to be stabbed.
Ichigo arrived in Karakura Town just in time to stop Aizen from killing Tatsuki Arisawa and several of his other friends. Ichigo had abandoned all of his power to become a living version of Getsuga Tenshō. While he had zero spiritual power, it had all been put into physical strength. Ichigo uses Mugetsu to attack and damaged Aizen enough to be sealed by Urahara. Ichigo soon collapsed and was unconscious for a month. The use of the Final Getsuga Tenshō meant the complete loss of all his powers. He thanked Rukia before she completely disappeared from his vision.
Lost Agent of the Shinigami Arc
Seventeen months had passed since Ichigo lost his powers. He got a part time job working for Ikumi Unagiya or hiring himself out to school teams as a ringer. However, he was growing more and more uneasy as he saw his friends going off to fight the Hollows. On the same day Ikumi abducted Ichigo from school to come to work, Ginjo Kugo, a man Ichigo had helped the other day, arrived at Ikumi's shop. He was looking for Ichigo's father. Ichigo later confronted Ginjo, who revealed himself to be a former Substitute Soul Reaper and the leader of a group of Fullbring users called XCution. They offered to train Ichigo to use Fullbring with the promise it could restore his Soul Reaper powers. Ichigo was reluctant until Uryu and Orihime were attacked by Shukuro Tsukishima, a former XCution member.
Ichigo was trained to use Fullbring firstly by Riruka Dokugamine to unlock these abilities, then by Jackie Tristan to use it in combat and evolve his powers. Orihime was later brought in on Ginjo request to help Ichigo to complete his Fullbring. Just as soon as he had evolved his new powers, Shukuro attacked in the cruelest way imaginable. He had used his powers to alter the memories of all of Ichigo's friends and family. They thought Shukuro was their friend and Ichigo had gone crazy. Only Ginjo was on Ichigo's side, and Ichigo asked if killing Shukuro would return everyone to normal.
Though, this had all been an elaborate ploy. Ginjo and the XCution had always been on Shukuro's side. They had evolved Ichigo's Fullbring to steal it and boost their own powers. Ichigo fell into complete despair to be powerless and unable to save anyone. Suddenly, Ichigo was pierced through the heart from behind with a zanpakutō by Rukia. It had been embedded with the powers of several of the 13 Court Guard Captains to return Ichigo's full power. A Soul Reaper once more, Ichigo fought alone with Ginjo as the Captains and Vice-Captains battled the other XCution members. Ichigo won this battle, and was welcomed back as a Substituent Soul Reaper.
The Thousand-Year Blood War Arc
One day, Nel Tu arrived on Earth to ask for Ichigo's help. Some unknown enemy had attacked Hueco Mundo and abducted the new leader, Tier Harribel. Ichigo left with Urahara, Chad, and Orihime, and what they found was that the attackers were Quincy army called the Vandenreich. Ichigo battled with Quilge Opie, but tried to return to the Soul Society when he learned they were under heavy attack. Along the path between the realms. Quilge trapped Ichigo in some form of cage. Ichigo was eventually able to break through and arrive at the Soul Society to fight with their leader, Yhwach. Yhwach easily defeated Ichigo and broke his bankai. Before leaving, he taunted Ichigo about having Quincy heritage on his mother's side.
A broken bankai can never be repaired, but Ichigo, Renji, Rukia, and Byakuya were brought to the Soul King Palace by the Royal Guard. The hope was to have his sword reforged. After being healed and fed by the Royal Guard members, Ichigo was sent to Oh-Etsu Nimaiya, the creator of the zanpakutō. When Ichigo failed the first part of the training Oh-Etsu sent him back to Earth. While there, Isshin finally explained to Ichigo about how his mother had been a Quincy infected by a Hollow, and the reason she died was because Yhwach had stolen the powers of Quincy for himself. With a new resolve, Ichigo was brought back by Oh-Etsu, and Ichigo discovered that Old Man Zangetsu was actually the embodiment of his Quincy powers that had been holding back his Soul Reaper powers. He relented Ichigo's full power to him, and Oh-Etsu finished reforging the new Zangetsu.
Powers & Abilities
Soul Reaper Powers
The powers of the Soul Reaper (死神, Shinigami) is to take on an astral body form of his soul that is removed from his original body. Ichigo's powers are unique in that he is a living Soul Reaper. He was the child conceived from a Soul Reaper in a unique Gigai body, and it's most likely that these powers were pass down to him as an inherited trait. After the death of Ichigo's mother, the Hollow that had been sealed within her transferred to Ichigo, and it bonded with Ichigo's latent Soul Reaper powers to become his zanpakutō, Zangetsu.
Soul Reapers are normally sent to the academy to train to fight and use the Kido magic. Ichigo was trained to fight by Kisuke Urahara, a former Captain of the Gotie 13. He has never been trained to focus his power to use most of the offensive Kido magic.
- Zanjutsu (斬術): Zanjutsu is one of the four basic fighting technique taught to all Soul Reapers. This one focuses on combat using a zanpakutō. Ichigo was taught by Urahara.
- Flash Step (瞬歩, shunpo): Flash Step is a high speed technique used by the Soul Reapers. Ichigo has mastered this technique under his combat training and experiences. His technique rivals or even surpasses those of Byakuya Kuchiki.
- Levitation: While in his spiritual form, Ichigo has the ability to levitate in mid air for an infinite amonut of time. This technique can also be used to high speed flight.
Final Getsuga Tenshō
The Final Getsuga Tenshō (最後の月牙天衝, Saigo no Getsuga Tenshō) is a process by which Ichigo melds his entire power to his body and literally becomes the embodiment of the Getsuga strike that he normally fires from his zanpakutō. Though he appears to have zero spiritual energy in this form. What he does have is a far enhanced physical power. The cost of using this technique is to lose all Soul Reaper powers and spiritual awareness.
- Mugetsu (無月, mugetsu): Mugetsu is the final technique to be used while bonded to the Final Getsuga Tenshō. Ichigo forms a blade blade of his spiritual energy. Upon swinging this blade at an enemy, black spiritual energy to erupt from the ground toward the target. It darkens the very sky and causes untold amount of damage on whatever it strikes. The energy continues to rise until it dissipates into the sky.
The ability known as Hollowfication (虚(ホロウ)化, Horōka) is a unique power that melds the abilities of the Hollow with a living soul it's bonded with. This is normally achieved through the experiments of Sosuke Aizen on several of the Gotie 13 Captains, but Ichigo obtained this skill due to the unique situation of how he gained his original Soul Reaper powers.
To use Hollowfication, the person must first fight and tame their inner Hollow. This will then give the Soul Reaper the power to summon their Hollow mask for a set amount of time. Using the mask gives an artificial boost of power to all of the current abilities.
If the Hollow is allowed to overtake the body and bond with the zanpakutō, this begins a process called Resurrección (帰刃 (レスレクシオン), Resurekushion). While in this form, the inner Hollow had completely taken over Ichigo's body and he had no control over of his actions.
- Cero (虚閃 (セロ), Sero): Cero is an energy blast consisting of large amounts of compressed spiritual energy that is used by powerful hollows, such as Meno Grande and Arrancar. This energy explodes upon impact, and is even more dangerous at close range. The Hollowfied Ichigo has shown the ability to fire a Cero from his finger tips, and he's fires one from between the horns on his head.
- Sonído (響転 (ソニード), Sonīdo): In this form, Ichigo has used the Sonido super-speed technique. No knowledge or training is required for an Arrancar to use Sonido. While this technique is similar to the Soul Reaper's silent Shunpo, it creates a strong booming sound.
- High-Speed Regeneration (超速再生, chōsoku saisei): While in this form, Ichigo was able to use a high-speed regeneration power. This power saved Ichigo from death by closing and healing the wound over Ichigo's chest.
The Fullbring (完現術(フルブリング), Kangen Jutsu (Furuburingu)) ability is a unique power that is used by a very select few humans. This ability is gained by humans who's mother was attacked by a Hollow while pregnant with them. Part of the spiritual power is imparted onto the child. This gives them an ability to manipulate the soul that exists in all things, including inanimate objects.
By using an object that holds a certain level of personal pride to the user, a Fullbring user can call forth a new form of power or ability. Each is unique to the one who wields the power. Ichigo used his Substitute Soul Reaper Badge, and he could fire an energy blast that was similar to the Getsuga Tenshō, but had the form of the Zangetsu sword guard while in bankai form.
Ichigo was trained in using Fullbring by the XCution group with the promise it could be used to return his lost Soul Reaper powers. His Fullbring was similar to his original bankai, in that it clothed his body with his power. Though he completed his Fullbring, this power was stolen from him by Ginjo Kugo and shared among the other members of XCution to enhance their own power. It's unknown if Ichigo retains any of these abilities.
Blut (血装 (ブルート), Burūto) is a special technique of the Quincy. This power is in the very blood of all Quincy, and using it gives them super human defense and offensive powers.
- Blut Vene (静血装 (ブルート・ヴェーネ), burūto vēne): Blut Vene is a defensive technique performed by directing the flow of Reishi directly into the blood vessels. Ichigo was completely unaware of how to use this power or even of his Quincy heritage when he did. He activated it completely by accident in his first fight with Yhwach. It was this ability that saved him from being killed from Yhwach's sword to the throat.
Weapons & Equipment
The zanpakutō is the primary weapon of all Soul Reapers. While normal Soul Reapers are given a base asauchi (浅打ち, asauchi) to impart their soul onto, Ichigo's zanpakutō was manifested from his very soul. This is the first time in history that has happened. The name of Ichigo's zanpakutō is Zangetsu (斬月, Zangetsu).
Zanpakutō have three separate forms, but the final two can only be obtained through strict training. Not every Soul Reaper is capable of activating the final two forms.
Currently, Ichigo weilds dual Zampakutous where the first is Zangetsu (an alter ego of Yhwach) while the other is actually the hollow inside Ichigo which forms as a direct result of the experiments done by Sousuke Aizen. His Bankai will most likely be one that combines Zangetsu and Hollow Ichigo to give rise to perhaps the strongest Bankai in the history of the manga. This point has not been arrived at yet.
Shikai is the first of the seals on a zanpakutō. Activating this power is gained by learning the name of the sword. This is done through extensive training. Upon speaking the name of the zanpakutō, it will take on a new form with unique abilities.
Ichigo obtained the shikai form through his training with Urahara. In this form, Zangetsu takes on the appearance of an oversize, black cleaver. It's been described as looking like an unfinished blade, and has never returned to the sealed form after it was released.
The shikai form of Zangetsu was altered after Ichigo's Soul Reaper powers were returned to him by the Soul Society, after losing them in his fight with Aizen. Zangetsu's entire form was generally altered from before, and appeared to be a completed blade.
- Getsuga Tenshō (月牙天衝): The Getsuga Tenshō attack is formed by Ichigo swinging Zangetsu. The sword then absorbed Ichigo's own spiritual energy and magnifies them as a crescent moon-shaped blast fires from the blade. Knowing the name of the attack can increase its potency.
Bankai is the final seal of the zanpakutō. Normally, training to use bakai can take many years. Ichigo obtained this ability with a period of a week using a specialized training technique that was developed by Urahara.
Zangetsu's bankai is known as Tensa Zangetsu (天鎖斬月). In bankai form it essentially compresses and clothes Ichigo in his own power. By compressing his power Ichigo is capable of movement at such high speeds and velocities. This makes Ichigo’s even more potent and extremely difficult to dodge. The sword itself changes shape to a long, black katana.
As the shikai form changed when Ichigo's powers were returned, the bankai form was also changed. The sword remained black, but the style of the blade was altered, and three serrations are formed at the top of the blade near the tip. Though far more powerful that before, this form of Zangetsu was broken by Yhwach, and a broken bankai can never be revived.
- Getsuga Tenshō (月牙天衝): The Getsuga Tenshō attack is still used in bankai form, but the intensity of the power is increased twenty fold. The energy blast in this form is a black wave of destructive force that Ichigo has much more control over.
Gikongan (義魂丸, gikongan) is a special substitute soul pill that is used by Soul Reapers to implant a Mod Soul into the body to release their spirit form to battle. This soul is intended to evacuate the protect the Soul Reaper's body from harm. Ichigo only used this once.
Substitute Soul Reaper Badge
The Substitute Soul Reaper Badge (代行証 死神代行, Daikōshō Shinigami Daikō) is an item developed by the Soul Society for human Soul Reapers. It is designed to allow Ichigo to remove his spiritual form form his body to fight without the need of Gikongan. Humans with no spiritual awareness should be unable to see the badge, and it emits a warning signal if a Hollow is within range.
Unknown to Ichigo for most of his time with this item, it was also used by the Soul Society to spy on Ichigo becasue members of the 13 Court Guard hadn't trusted him completely.
Ichigo used this item as the source of this Fullbring powers while he still retained those abilities.
None of Ichigo's Soul Reaper powers can be used while in his human body. To fight he must find a way to expel his soul through the use of a Gikongan, aide from others with specialized items, or his Substitute Soul Reaper Badge.
Ichigo's greatest weakness with his powers is that any damage that is inflicted to his spiritual form will directly effect his physical body once the soul is returned.
- Birthday: 15 July
- Hair Color: Orange
- Eyes Color: Brown
- Height: 5'9" (174cm)
- Weight: 134 lbs (61 kg)
- Blood Type: A
- Place of Birth: Karakura Town
- Citizenship: Japanese
- Occupation: Substitute Soul Reaper / Jack of All Traides (Unagiya)
- Known Relatives: Isshin Kurosaki (father), Masaki Kurosaki (mother - deceased), Karin Kurosaki (younger sister), Yuzu Kurosaki (younger sister). Kaien Shiba (Shiba Clan - deceased), Kūkaku Shiba (Shiba Clan), Ganju Shiba (Shiba Clan), and Miyako Shiba (Shiba Clan/Kaien's wife - deceased)
The BLEACH animated series is a direct adaptation of Tite Kubo's original manga. It's produced by Studio Pierrot and first began airing in October 5, 2004. Ichigo's first anime appearance was in BLEACH - Episode 1 "The Day I Became a Shinigami". His character in the Japanese series is voiced by Masakazu Morita, and the U.S. dub produced by VIZ Media is performed by Johnny Yong Bosch.