Kurosaki Ichigo (Bleach)
Kurosaki Ichigo(黒崎 一護) is the main character of Kubo Tite's anime and manga series Bleach. At the start of the story, Ichigo is 15 years old, living with his father, Kurosaki Isshin, and two sisters, Kurosaki Yuzu and Kurosaki Karin. Since he was a child, Ichigo has had the ability to see spirits, and such is the spark which lights the story of Bleach.
Ichigo was born on July 15, presumably in 1989 or 1990, seeing as he is 15 years old at the beginning of the story. His hair color is natural even though it looks bleached, and has been a source of teasing by other children as they believed he was just following a trend. Ichigo also had the ability to see spirits, though it was not realized until after his mother's death.
Ichigo's family was very close, but especially Ichigo's relationship with his mother. At a young age he began taking karate lessons at the same school as Arisawa Tatsuki. He would always recieve a beating, but whenever his mother came, he would stop crying instantaneously.
Ichigo's mother was killed when he was seven years old, at event for which Ichigo blamed himself. He and his mother had been walking in the rain near a river which had begun to flood, and quickly became white-water. While walking along, Ichigo spotted a young girl standing by the river, and believing she was going to fall in, he ran after her in an attempt to save her. Ichigo's mother did not know why he was running toward the river, and ran after him, trying to save him. At that moment, she was struck by a train, and the next thing Ichigo knew, he was on the ground, covered by his mother's corpse.
For a long time Ichigo believed this to be the truth of his mother's death, but doing the "Memories in the Rain" sub-arc of the Hollow Arc, it was revealed that the young girl he saw was actually a lure used by the Hollow known as Grand Fisher. Ichigo's high spirit density had caught the attention of the Hollow, and with his ability to see spirits, he ran after the lure. Ichigo's mother had ran over to protect him, and then had her soul eaten by Grand Fisher.
Ichigo is first given Shinigami powers by Kuchiki Rukia for the purpose of defeating the first introduced hollow, Fishbone D, which was attacking the clinic run by the Kurosaki family. Ichigo transforms into a Shinigami and makes quick work of it.
Rukia then joins Ichigo's school, informing him that she has lost all of her powers to him, and that he must take her place as a Shinigami. Initially declining her offer, Rukia takes him to a park where the spirit of a young boy is is being attacked by a hollow where Ichigo decides that he can't just let others suffer right in front of him. He states that he is not doing it for Rukia, but as a personal duty.
Ichigo defeats various hollows along the way, each time a new character is introduced, or a new fact about Shinigami, Hollows, or Soul Society is revealed. It introduces various friends of Ichigo who shall play important rolls, such as Inoue Orihime, Ishida Uryuu, and Yasutora Sado.
The next major event to occur is the Memories in the Rain event. Ichigo and his family meet go to a cemetary where the late Kurosaki Masaki was laid to rest. Ichigo meets up with Rukia, and he is in a bad mood. Ichigo explains that his mother was hit by a car while attempting to save him. Rukia theorizes that it may have been a Hollow who had killed his mother while trying to devour his reiatsu-rich soul. Ichigo blames himself for her death and storms off, stating that he had run off to save a girl by a flooding river, but his mother did not see her and ran after him; the next thing Ichigo knew, he woke up with his mother's corpse on top of him.
In the anime, which diverges slightly from the manga, a Shinigami who has been observing Rukia confronts her. Ichigo shows up once again and fights for a short time with the Shinigami. In the manga, this shinigami was never part of the storyline, but the rest of the events are roughly in alignment with the manga. A Hollow appears at the cemetery, attacking Karin and Yuzu, and both Ichigo and the Shinigami run to the scene. Ichigo and the Shinigami free Karin and Yuzu, and Ichigo fights the hollow. At a critical point when the hollow is about to seriously wound Ichigo, the Shinigami jumps in and protects Ichigo, then passing out. Ichigo continues to fight the Hollow, as it chases him around the cemetery. Ichigo then notices the "bait" the hollow keeps attached to its head to lure in humans looks like the girl he was trying to save on the river the day his mother died. The hollow, Grand Fisher, then changes the shape for the "bait" into Ichigo's mother, ignorant of who she was. Ichigo attacks in rage and wounds the hollow. Grandfisher then cries out in pain and runs away.
Ichigo's next major role was his attempt to rescue Rukia as shinigami Abarai Renji and Kuchiki Byakuya come from Soul Society to collect her. Ichigo steps in after Uryuu Ishida is wounded and proceeds to fight with Renji. Ichigo is quickly overpowered and dealt a serious injury by Renji's shikai (the 'initial release' of his zanpakutou), Zabimaru. The fight continues until Ichigo's immense reiatsu takes over and he becomes faster and stronger, tossing Renji around like a rag doll. Kuchiki Byakuya steps in and stabs Ichigo twice in the chest before Ichigo can even realize it. As he lies bleeding and near death, Rukia follows the two back to Soul Society and tells Ichigo that if he follows her, she will never forgive him. He then falls unconscious.
Ichigo wakes up in Urahara Kisuke's shop. Urahara tells Ichigo he can turn him back into a shinigami, and Ichigo begins training with him. His first test is to regain his reiatsu after his soul chain is cut. He finds it hard to breath and his body is sluggish once that is done. He is ordered to fight with one of Urahara's shopkeepers, Ururu. He is reluctant at first because of her adorable girly apearance. She promptly punches a crater-sized whole in front of him, which sends him running. After he dogdes one of her punches, it proves that his body has retrieved it's reiatsu because he can operate normally again. He is then thrown in a pit referred to as "shattered shaft" that he must escape from, despite being bound with Tensei's kido, or he will become a hollow. Ichigo resists the hollow and makes it out at the last second and appears before Urahara wearing both shinigami clothes ('shihakusho', or Supreme Death Attire) and a Hollow mask. Ichigo removes the mask and begins the third test, in which he must manage to cut Urahara's hat. Ichigo's zanpakutou is still broken, but when under pressure, an old man existing within Ichigo's soul, the physical manifestation of Ichigo's zanpakutou, tells Ichigo the sword's name. Ichigo calls its name and brings forth his shikai, Zangetsu.
Soul Society Arc
After arriving in Soul Society, Yoruichi takes them to the house of [[Shiba Kuukaku (Bleach)|Shiba Kuukaku],a large-breasted fireworks expert with a missing arm. There she prepares a large cannon, with which she blasts them into Seireitei, the Court of Pure Souls, where the shinigami reside. She insists that her brother, Shiba Ganjuu, accompany them.
During the landing process, the group was split up. Ichigo is immediately confronted by Madarame Ikkaku, the 3rd seat officer of the 11th Division of the Gotei 13. Ichigo beats him and gains some respect in the process. While wandering through, he and Ganju, who had been separated from the others when entering Soul Society, encountered Yamada Hanatarou, who was familiar with Rukia, and who also wished to save her from execution. With Hanatarou as a guide, Ichigo and Ganju went into the sewers of Soul Society, and travel quickly through the passages. Surfacing once again, the three end up at the bottom of a large staircase, where they encounter Abarai Renji.
Ichigo and Renji quickly enter combat, Renji saying that he wishes to defeat Ichigo to get Rukia's powers back, and Ichigo saying that he would need to save Rukia first. Renji, now 5 times stronger than he was when they first met (a result of power limitations in the Material World), seemed to be at the advantage. Blowing Ichigo back through a building, Renji gains a lot of confidence. Ichigo emerges and states that he will take down the other 12 vice-captains and 13 captains if he had to, all in order to rescue Rukia. Ichigo, eyes glowing white, delivered one immense blow to Renji's shoulder and chest with Zangetsu. With Renji defeated, Ichigo, Ganju, and Hanatarou retreat back to the sewer system to recover. It is there that Hanatarou finds a hollow mask in Ichigo's robes. This mask is the same Ichigo wore when he emerged from the pit during his training with Kisuke Urahara. Ichigo, thankful that it has blocked a deadly blow from Renji's Zabimaru, wished to keep it, but Ganju and Hanatarou did not agree, and thus threw it into the sewer water.
Upon resurfacing, the small group heads up the stairs from which Renji had descended. At the top they are overwhelmed by the enormous reiatsu of Zaraki Kenpachi. Ichigo commands Ganju and Hanatarou to run, and stays to face Kenpachi. Because of the difference in Ichigo and Kenpachi's strength, Ichigo is unable to cut Kenpachi, even when given a free hit on the Captain. In fear, Ichigo attempts to flee, only to be quickly found by the Captain. Again Ichigo faces off with Kenpachi, but the Captain is able to break Zangetsu and pierce Ichigo's chest. On the brink of death, Ichigo returns to his internal realm to once again confront Old Man Zangetsu, but, he holds in his hand a normal katana. Zangetsu then has Ichigo fight an all white version of himself, though a much more menacing character; this white Ichigo holds Zangetsu. Ichigo is surprised at the fighting ability and innovative attacks of his other self, but is able to regain Zangetsu by realizing that Zangetsu is not a tool to use to fight, but a partner to fight along side of. Ichigo then returns to reality, his bleeding stopped and Zangetsu fixed, faces down Kenpachi one last time. Both release all of their reiatsu and attack with only one swing of their swords. Both fall to the ground, Ichigo apologizing to his friends for losing, and Kenpachi saying that Ichigo shouldn't apologize if he wins.
After fighting Zaraki, Ichigo is rescued and cared for by Yoruichi, who reveals to him that she is actually human, which surprises Ichigo's innocent mind. She tells him that she is going to train him to defeat Byakuya, but, learning of what is happening to Ganju, Hanatarou, and Rukia, he runs off to fight Byakuya, arriving just in the nick of time. After a brief argument with Rukia, he turns to face Byakuya, with whom he is able to fight on equal footing, even able to see Byakuya's Shun-po. But, when Byakuya is about to release his ShiKai, Yoruichi interferes by wrapping the blade in cloth, knocking Ichigo unconscious, and taking him away.
Once out of harms way, Ichigo then begins to train for BanKai by fighting with a physically manifested Zangetsu. The method for this is to defeat Old Man Zangetsu with Zangetsu; the trick is that there are thousands of swords from which Ichigo can choose, but only one is the true Zangetsu, able to defeat Old Man Zangetsu. During his training, Ichigo is joined by Renji, who appears arrogant. Most of this training is not shown.
The next time Ichigo is seen, he saves Rukia instants before she is about to be executed. He is able to appear at the top of the execution post, and stop the Sokyoku, a zanpakutou with the strength of one million zanpakutou. Ichigo then leaves Rukia to Renji, and moves on to defeat three Vice-Captains in an instant, without using Zangetsu. He then faces Byakuya.
He and Byakuya attack one another until Byakuya feels the need to use his ShiKai on Ichigo. Realizing that Byakuya's ShiKai is too strong for him as he is, he releases his Bankai, much to Byakuya's surprise. With this newly found power and speed, Ichigo is able to overwhelm Byakuya, forcing him to use his BanKai. But, once again, Ichigo loses the upper hand, and becomes seriously injured. Moments before receiving the finishing blow, "the Horse", Ichigo's inner Hollow, takes control, and proceeds to thrash Byakuya with slash after slash, and continuous releases of Zangetsu's ability, Getsuga Tenshou. Ichigo is able to gain control over the Hollow and pulls off the mask. He and Byakuya then attack each other with all that they have remaining, covering the execution grounds in an explosion of white and black reiatsu.
In the aftermath of the attack, Ichigo lays on the ground, and Byakuya announces that Ichigo has one and leaves the scene. Orihime, Sado, Ganju, Ishida, and many other Shinigami come to see what has happened and to aid Ichigo. It is at this time that Captain Aizen, who was believed murdered, appears and extracts an item called Hyougoku from Rukia, which had been made by Urahara. Aizen decimates those who try to stand against him, and then leaves to Hueco Mundo with Captains Ichimaru Gin and Kaname Tousen.
After the fighting is over, and Ichigo is getting ready to go back, Rukia tells him that she wants to stay in Soul Society. Ichigo smiles and says that her decision is fine, so long as she is okay. He then departs from Soul Society with Orihime, Sado, Ishida, and Yoruichi.
Bounto Arc(anime only)
Hueco Mundo Arc
Ichigo's race in the series is the prime motive for the story to begin.
Initially, Ichigo is human, but has a high level of reiatsu, spiritual pressure, and is thus able to see the spirits of the deceased.
During the first episode, Ichigo is impaled with the blade of Kuchiki Rukia's zanpakuto in order for her to transmit some of her powers into him. Though it was intended to only be half of her reiatsu, Ichigo absorbs nearly all of it, giving him the powers of a Shinigami.
Later on he loses the Shinigami powers given to him by Rukia as a result of being defeated by, and having his zanpakutou broken by, Kuchiki Byakuya. In order to regain his Shinigami powers, this time his own, Ichigo had to pass several tests given to him by Kisuke Urahara. During the second test, Ichigo was thrown in a large pit with his arms boudn behind is back. His spirit chain was visible and began to eat away at it self, faster and faster. Ichigo was given three days to escape from the pit; if he succeeded he would become a Shinigami, and if he failed, a Hollow. At the very last instant, just as the chain finished consuming itself, Ichigo escaped from the hole wearing both Shinigami clothes and a Hollow mask, which he quickly removed. Later on, this mask would reappear mysteriously on Ichigo's person, despite having been both take away by Urahara and thrown into a river while in Soul Society. This mysterious reappearance was the cause for suspicion of Ichigo's power.
While in a fight with Zaraki Kenpachi, Ichigo is wounded, and is brought into a realm within his own mind where he meets once again with old man Zangetsu. This time, there is a pure white version of Ichigo standing along side of Zangetsu, who claims that Ichigo is not worthy of Zangetsu, and fights Ichigo for the zanpakutou. Ichigo comes out the winner.
The next instance of this white Ichigo appearing is during his fight with Byakuya at the end of the Soul Society Arc. Having been nearly defeated, and with Byakuya coming in with the final blow, the Hollow mask once again appears on Ichigo as Ichigo's eyes and voice change into that of the white Ichigo. In this form, the white Ichigo is in control, and demonstrates miraculous power, dominating over Byakuya. After a brief time, Ichigo tears off the Hollow mask with some resistance on the part of the white Ichigo, and returns to normal.
Later in the series, it is revealed that Ichigo was a born Shinigami as his father, Kurosaki Isshin, used to be a Shinigami before he lost his powers for an unknown reason.
Although Ichigo is considered to be a Vizard, it should be noted that this term was not known until after the Soul Society Arc, and that he is not on the side of the Vizards.
Ichigo's strange combination of Hollow and Shinigami powers trouble him after the Soul Society Arc, and he is afraid to fight at full strength in case his Hollow side regains control once again. It is soon revealed to him by Shinji, a Vizard himself, that Ichigo is a Vizard. Shinji tries to persuade Ichigo to join him and the other Vizards, but Ichigo refuses, stating that he is a Shinigami.
After facing the facts, Ichigo realizes that he needs the other Vizards, and he goes to them for training with his Vizard abilities, but makes sure that they understand he will not be joining them.
During this training, Ichigo is brought into his inner-mind realm once again while his physical body is placed in a barrier. While his physical body transforms into a Hollow and the Vaizards try to keep it under control, Ichigo encounters, and must defeat, the white Ichigo. The white Ichigo refers to himself as "The Horse", and Ichigo as "The King", and the only difference between them is that Ichigo is in control, but he could take that away at any time as he grows stronger. Ichigo and his Hollow-self face off, both with BanKai, and Ichigo is losing pitifully. "The Horse" reveals to Ichigo that he lacks the instinct needed to defeat him, after which, Ichigo takes control of the fight and, for the time being, has defeated "The Horse".
Ichigo's Hollow half refers to itself as "The Horse" in relation to Ichigo being "The King", though it has taken on many names from fans, including, but not limited to: Hollow Ichigo, White Ichigo, Wichigo, and Nameless.
This side of Ichigo has a much more aggressive personality, and has shown himself to be a much more superior and innovative fighter than Ichigo, commenting that Ichigo only mimics his use of Getsuga Tenshou, and maintains that he can take control of Ichigo whenever he shows weakness.
He was first shown during Ichigo's fight with Zaraki Kenpachi while Ichigo was injured and Zangetsu broken. Old Man Zangetsu called forth the white Ichigo, who then took possession of Zangetsu, leaving Ichigo with only a plain zanpakutou. Ichigo then fought with his Horse, winning and regaining Zangetsu.
His next appearance occurred during Ichigo's fight against Kuchiki Byakuya, when Ichigo was hit with Byakuya's Kido and Byakuya was going for the final blow. The Hollow half took control and caught Byakuya's blade, and taking complete control of the fight. With some effort, Ichigo was able to forcible remove the mask which was forming over his face by regaining control of one of his hands. He then brushed it off as an "interference".
During the Arrancar/Vaizard Arc, Ichigo went to the Vaizards to train to control his Hollow side, at which point he was able to fight with "The Horse" inside his mental realm. "The Horse" took control of the battle, revealing that he too can use Tensa Zangetsu, albeit a white blade. He told Ichigo that was he was lacking was "instinct", which Ichigo then relied upon to defeat "The Horse", once again maintaining control. After gaining control of this side, Ichigo became able to control his Vaizard form for 12 seconds, although it is assumed he has surpassed this; his fight with Grimmjow during the Hueco Mundo Arc appears to be much longer.