Today’s character of the day is Bleach’s protagonist, Ichigo Kurosaki.
Appearing in the first chapter of the manga and first episode of the anime, Ichigo has since gone on to become one of shonen mangas most popular heroes.
Beginning the series as a regular teenager, Ichigo’s world is turned upside down when Rukia Kuchiki, a Shinigami, appears in his bedroom and a Hollow begins to attack his house. Seeing his will to fight to protect his family, Rukia grants Ichigo the powers of a Shinigami.
Despite being hot-headed and brash, Ichigo cares deeply for other people, including his friends Orihime Inou, Yasutora ‘Chad’ Sado, and Uryu Ishida.
As a Shinigami, Ichigo receives a power-up to his strength, speed and stamina, along with his massive black Zanpakuto sword, Zangetsu.
After becoming a Shinigami, Ichigo also discovers that he is possessed by the Hollow spirit of his sword Zangetsu. Eventually learning to control the spirit, Ichigo’s connection to Zangetsu grants him a further upgrade to his physical abilities through the summoning of a skull-like Hollow mask.
Ichigo can also access a second form of his Zanpakuto, known as a Bankai. This Bankai grants him a massive speed upgrade and a stronger version of his sword known as the Tensa Zangetsu, which appears as an all-black katana.
After coming to terms with his Quincy background his Bankai katana is replaced by a pair of blades, one small and one large, with his Tensa Zangetsu becoming a fusion of the two.
Though mainly a melee fighter, Ichigo’s special Gentsuga Tensho technique releases a wave of concentrated spirit energy from his sword. When used by his true Bankai form, the attack can be made into a cross-shaped energy blast.
Ichigo has three significant form changes throughout the series. The first is his Hollow Form, which is seen when Zangetsu takes full control of Ichigo and transforms him into a Hollow.
Merging with his Tenga Zangetsu, Ichigo achieves the Final Getsuga Tensho form. Turning his appearance mostly black, this form allows Ichigo to use Mugetsu, an energy attack so powerful that it results in his loss of Shinigami powers.
Ichicgo may have settled down with Orihime when the series ended years ago, but he’s returning to action this year for an anime adaptation of the Thousand-Year Blood War arc.
A Shinigami’s work is never done.