Appearance and Personality
Old Man Zangetsu
Zangetsu is the embodiment of Ichigo's Soul Slayer (Zanpakuto). He looks to be a man somewhere in his late thirties to mid forties. He has long, black hair and scruffy-looking stubble on his face. Zangetsu wears semi-transparent sunglasses and a long black coat/cape with a string connecting the shoulder and the lapel.
As far as his personality goes, Zangetsu is serene and straight forward. His actions speak for themselves and he speaks only when he he feels it is necessary. Most of the time, he is Ichigo's voice of reason. He is also a strong, capable and formidable combatant, not to be taken lightly. Zangetsu resides within Ichigo's inner world (mind), a place that is completely sideways, from the clouds in the sky to the buildings and skyscrapers in the fore and background.
On the flip side of the coin is Hollow Ichigo, who is in all reasoning, Zangetsu infected with Ichigo's inner Hollow and is the embodiment of his primal instincts. Hollow Ichigo is very energetic, talks a lot, and is a sadistic, fierce, animalistic fighter. Hollow Ichigo is very violent and impulsive. He laughs maniacally and enjoys causing his opponents pain. He continually taunts Ichigo, claiming that Ichigo is weak compared to himself, although he likes the idea of taking total control over ichigo's body. He battles like a berserker, (unlike Ichigo) ignoring any sustained injuries or pain and mercilessly overwhelming his enemies with brute strength, sheer power and blinding speed. When ichigo is very weak and about to die, he surfaces, taking full control of Ichigo's body because according to him, if ichigo dies, he would perish as well.
Hollow Ichigo is a dark, nightmarish and distorted version of Ichigo, with a constant psychotic grin over his face. He taunts and belittles Ichigo over his what he believes to be his weakness, to fight with logic, rather than instinct. Still, he relishes the idea of having Ichigo's powers as his own. He views himself as a horse and Ichigo as the king, because Ichigo is in the control of their shared body, but he doesn't like the idea of carrying a king, who is weaker than himself, and get cut to ribbons with him, so he wants to become the king and take control of Ichigo's body.
When Ichigo defeats him, he proves to dominant, and so the Hollow Ichigo accepts to become his horse... for while, but promised he would return if Ichigo "messed up" and he would tried to take control again.
The embodiment of Ichigo's bankai, Tensa Zangetsu, looks to be a young man in his late teens to mid twenties. He wears a black-hooded cloak and brandishes Ichigo's bankai-transformed Zanpakuto. In order to learn the "Final Getsuga Tensho", Ichigo must face him in combat while in a water-submerged version of his inner world.
"Zangetsu Prime" (Official Name Not Given)
The yet-to-be-officially-named "Zangetsu Prime" is the end result of Tensa Zangetsu's merger with the latest incarnation of Hollow Ichigo. "Prime" is also the true embodiment of Ichigo's power. It is this being, not Tensa nor Hollow Ichigo, that Ichigo must face in combat in order to learn and master the Final Getsuga Tenshou.
Involvement in the Series
After Ichigo loses the Shinigami Powers he gained from Rukia Kuchiki, in the aftermath of his battle with Renji Abarai and Byakuya Kuchiki, Kisuke Urahara offers him a way to regain his lost powers. During one part of his training in the Shattered Shaft, his soul begins to transform into a Hollow, but the transformation is out of sequence. Instead of his body changing into a Hollow first, his Hollow mask begins to form. It is possibly at this point when Hollow Ichigo is first born. During his transformation, he awakens in a world that is completely sideways (his inner world) and is met by Old Man Zangetsu, who tries to tell him his name, but Ichigo can not hear it. He tells Ichigo that the powers he lost was not his, only borrowed from Rukia. He says that in actuality, he has his own Shinigami Powers and forces Ichigo to find those powers within a particular box surrounded by countless other boxes, while the world he is in collapses around him. If Ichigo does not find the right box before this world completely crumbles, he will turn into a Hollow. When Ichigo finally locates the right one and opens it, he discovers Zangetsu within it. Just as his Hollow mask begins to completely form over his face, he pulls Zangetsu free which also frees himself from the confines of the Shattered Shaft, ending the second part of his training. At his point, Ichigo still doesn't know the name of his zanpakuto until midway through his battle with Urahara. Zangetsu appears again, but this time, Ichigo is able to hear his name and release the true power of his broken, sealed zanpakuto, thereby ending the third part of his training.
The next time that Zangetsu is seen, he reappears to Ichigo when he is losing to Kenpachi Zaraki. Zangetsu makes Ichigo earn him again by defeating his inner Hollow (Hollow Ichigo). During his fight, Zangetsu tells Ichigo that he has forgotten him and the outcome of the battle will decide if Ichigo is truly worthy of keeping Zangetsu.
At the end of the Soul Society storyline Ichigo begins to learn his Bankai using a Tenshintai. While he is using the Tenshintai Zangetsu gets a physical body outside of Ichigo so that he can fight him until he recognizes Zangetsu's true form. They battle for three days and Zangetsu pushes Ichigo to his limits, but eventually Ichigo achieves his goal and Zangetsu's true Bankai form is seen.
This also marks the turning point of which personality is dominate inside Ichigo's soul. As the battle with Byakuya rages on, Ichigo gets possessed by Hollow Ichigo and viciously battles Byakuya, gaining the upper hand throughout the fight. Through sheer force of will, Ichigo is able to consciously dispell his inner Hollow and take back control of his body so he can finish his battle with the Shinigami Captain.
Arrancar and Vizards
After returning home from Soul Society, Ichigo confronts Ulquiorra and Yammy, two of the Espada class Arrancar that invades the real world. At first, the battle goes Ichigo's way until his inner Hollow tries to surface, causing Ichigo to battle him for control of his body, giving Yammy the opportunity to beat him mercilessly. Luckily, Ichigo is saved by the arrival of Urahara and Yoruichi, but after this incident, his confidence in his ability to fight and protect the ones he cares for, are destroyed. Stunned by the power of the evil inside of him, Ichigo quits using his Shinigami powers altogether until Rukia returns and brings him back to his senses. Unfortunately, his confidence is shattered once again as he is confronted by another Espada named Grimmjow. After proving to be more than Ichigo can handle, he resorts in using his Bankai and the technique which his inner Hollow first used while in that state and has the power over. After the battle, Ichigo is convinced that he needs the help of the Vizards in order to suppress his inner Hollow and control its powers. After letting his inner Hollow control his body while fighting the Vizard, Hiyori Sarugaki, Ichigo is accepted into their group and begins his training.
Much like his battle against Zangetsu, Ichigo is set against his Inner Hollow, but this time the battle is inside of his soul, while his body begins a full Hollow transformation, mindlessly battling each member of the Vizards. The Inner Hollow explains that he is now the dominant personality of Zangetsu over the "old man" because his powers have grown. He tells Ichigo that the more he uses Zangetsu's power, the easier it is for him to control Ichigo's soul. He also refuses to let someone weaker than himself, decide what it can and can't do, which is why he has chosen to take over Ichigo's body. They battle fiercely with Hollow Ichigo proving to be a far more superior combatant between the two, until Ichigo lets his own instincts and desire for battle take over, turning the tide of the fight his way and finally forcing the Hollow to acknowledge him as King. He warns Ichigo that at anytime, either one of them can become the king or the horse and if he gives his Hollow even the slightest opportunity, he will crush him and take complete control. He also warns Ichigo that if he truly wants to control his Hollow powers, Ichigo should do his best not to get killed until he makes another appearance. Hollow Ichigo disappears and Ichigo departs from his inner world with complete control of his soul and immense Hollow powers, emerging from his Hollow transformed body.
Hollow Ichigo's Resurrección
Later in the story, Ichigo's body is taken over by Hollow Ichigo again, after Ichigo is seemingly "killed" by the number 4 Espada while in the latter's second resurrección form. Ichigo's second full Hollow transformation is quite possibly his own version of a Hollow resurrección and is shown to be immensely more powerful than his first incarnation, as evident by proving to be vastly more superior to the already powerful, second-released Ulquiorra. Some examples of his newfound strength; the ability to completely repel and overwhelm Ulquiorra's very powerful Cero Oscuras with his own standard Cero. He is also able to crush Ulquiorra's ultimate attack, Lanza del Relámpago, with just his bare hand. His Sonido is also more superior to any of those in the Espada's ranks.
Physically, this full transformation is quite different in appearance than the first. This version of Hollow Ichigo has long hair, reaching down to his waist, white skin and a larger Hollow hole than the previous. He also has retractable claws on each of his fingertips and toes with red furry tufts around his wrists, ankles as well as around the neck. His Hollow mask is also quite different, with dissimilar markings and the addition of a pair of forward-pointing horns.
Powers and Abilities
Zangetsu and the inner Hollow are the spiritual manifestations of Ichigo's Soul Reaper and Hollow powers. While using Zangetsu, Ichigo has the ability to use a Zanpakuto, flash step, and any other accumulated Soul Reaper powers. While using his Vizard mask Ichigo gains the ability to use Hollow powers that are provided by his inner Hollow. These abilities include a cero blast and an increase in his raw power,speed. Hollow ichigo fights like a berserker and can ignore injuries and pain.
- Zangetsu (斬月, Moon Cutter or Cutting Moon): Unlike most Zanpakutō, which can be sealed into their normal form, Zangetsu is always in its Shikai state. Hollow Ichigo's Zanpakutō is the same as Ichigo's but in reversed colors. Hollow Ichigo has managed to use zangetsu in different ways. Hollow ichigo has demonstrated throwing, and spinning Zangetsu by its cloth of zangetsu.
- Shikai state/form-Hollow's ichigo shikai mode is identical to ichigo but it's colour is reverse. It has a silver blade with a black edge . The inner Hollow carries his Zanpakutō through wrapping a cloth around the zanpakuto. When in combat,the cloth falls away when hollow ichigo is going to battle. The cloth can also be used to swing the zanpakuto and throw it at hollow ichigo's opponents.
- Bankai-Hollow ichigo supposedly learned bankai simutaneously when ichigo learned it. Hollow ichigo's bankai is compressed and shrinked down just like ichigo's, which allows him to use bankai longer than other captains or bankai users. Hollow's ichigo bankai is a compression of his real power rather than increasing its power. While in his bankai state, Hollow Ichigo is significantly faster, just like ichigo.
: Zangetsu's special ability is getsuga tensho, an enhanced version of shikai's getsuga tensho. When used with his Bankai, these blasts are black with a red outline and their path can be controlled, with a lot of power and speed than getsuga tensho. During Byakuya Kuchiki's fight with Ichigo, the Hollow took control over Ichigo's body and was the first being to utilize this attack. Thus, the more Ichigo used this technique, the easier it is for the inner hollow to take control of ichigo's body. It is assumed that Hollow Ichigo learned to contain the power of Getsuga Tensho within his Zanpakuto's blade (giving each sword strike the power of Getsuga) at the same time Ichigo utilized it.