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Ichigo Kurosaki (黒崎 一護, Kurosaki Ichigo) is the protagonist of the Bleach series. The series begins with Ichigo receiving Shinigami powers as a result of a run-in with Rukia Kuchiki, the Shinigami assigned to patrol Karakura Town. These powers come at the cost of Rukia's own, and as a result, Ichigo concedes to work as Rukia's stand-in, fighting to protect people from evil spirits called hollows and sending good spirits, pluses, to Soul Society.
Personality-wise, Ichigo is a stubborn, reckless, short-tempered, occasionally confrontational, spontaneous, determined, outspoken, strong-willed, witty, cynical, impulsive young man, and is extremely protective of his friends and family. This latter trait is the driving force behind most of his actions and almost all of the story arcs have stemmed from him rushing off to save someone, usually females.
He attempts to maintain a detached and "cool" image despite claiming to not care about what other people think about him. For this reason, he generally keeps his face set in a permanent scowl. However, despite this 'tough guy" image he tries to maintain, he becomes extremely shy and uncomfortable around nude or immodestly dressed women, a fact both Rangiku Matsumoto and Yoruichi Shihōin have teased him for. He is also rather cocky and has been known to taunt and belittle his opponents when fighting. Conversely, he can also go into a state of deep depression when he loses a major battle or lets a friend down. Ichigo has a habit of misreading other people's names, such as Uryū Ishida and Yasutora Sado. One of the series running gags is that he keeps forgetting his classmate's faces and names, with his friends claiming he only knows half the class. Though, he seems to remember names much easier later on in the series. He is a rather smart young man, though.
Although his cocky, hot-headed, and spontaneous nature (as opposed to his true personalities) makes him appear rather dimwitted to more composed and calculating individuals (particularly Uryū), Ichigo is a capable analyst when required and can instinctively catch on to some things much quicker than those around him. His natural orange hair and rebellious disposition tends to annoy many bullies in his school, who constantly pick fights with him. Ichigo claims that he does not care about other people's opinions about him (both in regards to his hair and other subjects) and seems to enjoy fighting the bullies. Similarly, he is also a capable student, ranked 23rd in his school, studies regularly and doesn't neglect his schoolwork; he claims that he has "nothing better to do at home". It is later revealed that he works so hard simply to overcome the misconceptions many teachers have about him, based on his hair color and interactions with other students. It's shown in a recent omake, that, even with his Shinigami status, he is still able to pass exams, though his teacher gave him remedial exams because of his constant disappearances.
Due to his constant fights with bullies, many students were initially rather afraid of him. However he has a warm and kind heart, defiantly looks out for those placed in his charge, and is to a degree quite compassionate once he understands another's point of view. Rukia even states in the first movie that "he only looks scary". This trait makes him quite likable to children. He has never raised his voice or threatened his sisters Karin and Yuzu. However he has some trouble with authority and traditional respect, and is often quite rude when talking to those older than himself. He tends to call General Yamamoto "gramps" and refers to some captains (particularly Kenpachi, Byakuya, and Toshiro) by their given names, despite verbal protests from Byakuya and especially Toshiro. However, he does give Japanese honorifics towards some of those older than him (like Yoruichi and Ukitake).
Interestingly enough, several attractive female characters in the series have developed a crush(s) on him, often due to his inwardly compassionate nature, namely Nel Tu, Orihime, Ririn, and possibly Senna and Rukia.
Ichigo hasn't shown any romantic feelings towards any females in the series with the possible exception of Senna. This is likely due to the fact that the two spent some quality time together. There is also a strong bond between him and Rukia, and their love-hate relationship has be interpreted as romantic by fans and even characters (starting very early in the story). Orihime has confessed to be in love with Ichigo, but he has yet to show any signs of similar feelings, and has only shown her the same stubborn loyalty he has shown all his other friends.
Agent of the Shinigami arc
At the beginning of the series, Ichigo sees and confronts Rukia Kuchiki, a Shinigami, when she enters his home for a soul. During their conversation, a Hollow attacks, having tracked Ichigo back to his house. Because of Ichigo's interference with Rukia's work in his personal effort to protect his family from the Hollow, Rukia is wounded and forced to transfer her powers to him in a desperate measure to save the Kurosaki family. During the transfer, Ichigo absorbs almost all of Rukia's powers rather than taking half, as she had intended. Having her Shinigami abilities and his own immense spiritual power, Ichigo makes short work of the Hollow and Rukia leaves.
The next day, Rukia shows up in Ichigo's class, now apparently a normal human as the other students are capable of seeing her. Rukia informs Ichigo that she is using a Gigai — an artificial body used by Shinigami when they need to recover their powers or stay in the human world for extended periods. While she recovers her abilities, Rukia insists that Ichigo take over her job, battling Hollows and performing Soul Burials in her stead. At this time, he is only able to transform into a Shinigami when a special seal on Rukia's glove is used to separate his soul from his body, and therefore cannot become a Shinigami without her present. Their acquisition of the mod soul Kon(replacement soul) removes this dependency.
Ichigo's new duties set off a flurry of activity both in the human and spirit worlds. At one point, the Hollow Grand Fisher, who has evaded the Shinigami for over fifty years, comes to the human world and attempts to consume Ichigo's sisters, Karin and Yuzu. It is at this point that Ichigo finds out that Grand Fisher killed his mother and seeks revenge. Rukia tries to keep Ichigo from fighting, as she feared the Hollow was too strong, but Ichigo orders her to go with Kon and take his sisters home. She is reminded of Kaien Shiba's last fight as a fight for honor, and reluctantly follows his orders. Ichigo greatly wounds Grand Fisher, but the Hollow manages to escape.
During a duel with Uryū Ishida, a Quincy, a massive amount of Hollows, including a Menos Grande, are drawn to the human world and defeated in one form or another, mostly by Ichigo and Ishida. Chad and Orihime Inoue also have their dormant powers awakened as a result, and each defeat a Hollow on their own. Ichigo's victory against the Menos draws the attention of Soul Society, triggering the beginning of the next arc. Meanwhile, Ishida and Ichigo develop an uneasy friendship as Shinigami and Quincy, with both of them apparently saving each other's lives.
Soul Society Arc
After drawing the attention of Soul Society, Ichigo loses the Shinigami powers he gained from Rukia after being swiftly defeated by the Shinigami captain Byakuya Kuchiki who, along with Renji Abarai, arrests Rukia and takes her back to Soul Society. The damage Ichigo suffers renders him a powerless human soul, while he discovers that Rukia is guilty of a felony for transferring her powers to a human and remaining in the human world for so long. Desperate to save Rukia, he undergoes intensive training with Kisuke Urahara that nearly costs him his soul, but awakens his own Shinigami abilities by doing so as well as creating a hollow inside himself. After training with Urahara, he leaves for Soul Society with Urahara's mysterious feline friend Yoruichi, along with Orihime, Chad, and Uryū. Even though Rukia had told him not to go after her, he decides to not listen to her and return the favor of saving his life.
Ichigo battles against many Shinigami during his time in Soul Society, managing to tie or defeat numerous lieutenant-level and captain-level Shinigami. Much of the time he is seriously wounded, and on several occasions he barely survives, but each time his incredible endurance carries him through until he is able to be healed. A Hollow mask, a remnant of his training with Urahara, also consistently appears and reappears on his person to block what would normally be fatal blows. The first fight is with Jidanbō, a Seireitei gatekeeper, which Ichigo wins easily, but he is in turn effortlessly repelled by captain Gin Ichimaru. Ichigo enters Seireitei accompanied by Ganju Shiba after being launched from Kūkaku Shiba's spirit cannon. He then proceeds to fight Ikkaku Madarame. Ichigo beats Ikkaku, even after Ikkaku reveals his Zanpakutō's Shikai, and learns that he will be hunted down by Kenpachi Zaraki, who will seek out the strongest of the intruders.
Ichigo is then met by Renji Abarai, who seeks revenge for his earlier defeat. Renji injures Ichigo, who becomes stronger during the fight and defeats Renji, after which Renji begs him to rescue Rukia, his childhood friend, upon changing his mind regarding his loyalties. Renji is taken into detention for trying to fight alone and losing, while Ichigo is healed by Hanatarō Yamada in Seireitei's sewage system. Ichigo finally encounters Kenpachi Zaraki on his way to the Shrine of Penitence, where Rukia is held, and at first can hardly injure the powerful captain, who, according to Hanatarō, is immortal. Ichigo finally calls upon the strength of his Zanpakutō to defeat Kenpachi. In the aftermath of the fight, both Ichigo and Kenpachi are left incapacitated, Kenpachi being evacuated by his lieutenant Yachiru Kusajishi while Ichigo is rescued by Yoruichi. Since that, Ichigo thinks that Kenpachi seeks revenge and Ichigo is highly frightened of him, running away from him when he asked for another fight, even feeling his will to kill him from far away. When in reality, Ichigo is simply the most challenging fighter that Kenpachi has ever faced; added with the fact Kenpachi loves to fight only fuels this misconseption. Yachiru has also stated in the Japanese dub that "Ichi is Ken-chans best friend"
Before his Bankai training and after his fight with Kenpachi, Ichigo goes to the tower where Ruki is being held to save both Hanatarō and Ganju from Byakuya Kuchiki. Upon his arrival he confronts Byakuya, even though he is not at full strength. The fight goes better than his first confrontation with Byakuya but this time Yoruichi stops the fight and insinuates on Yoruichi and Byakuya having a past together. Yoruichi then takes Ichigo to his Bankai training.
Yoruichi tells Ichigo that he cannot save Rukia with his present power and asks him to train to achieve the Bankai of his Zanpakutō. Upon completing the training, he, along with Yoruichi and sympathetic captains Shunsui Kyōraku and Jūshirō Ukitake, separately converge upon the Sōkyoku to stop Rukia's execution. At the last possible second, Ichigo stops the execution, and proceeds to dispatch three lieutenants — Marechiyo Ōmaeda, Isane Kotetsu and Chōjirō Sasakibe — barehanded. Along with being able to stop the Sokyoku a blade with the power of 10,000 swords, he proves that he has truly gotten more powerful within the 3 days. He is then confronted by Byakuya Kuchiki.
During this battle, Ichigo reveals his Bankai against Byakuya, and outmaneuvers the captain's attacks. Byakuya counters using the second form of his own Bankai, and after a while Ichigo's endurance runs out, leaving him in critical condition. At this point, Ichigo's inner Hollow surfaces and injures Byakuya to the point that both combatants have almost no power left. After regaining control of himself, Ichigo faces off against Byakuya in a final clash, each channeling all their energy into a single attack. After this final clash, neither has the strength to fight, but Byakuya admits his defeat because his blade was destroyed by Ichigo's.
Ichigo then finds out that the events in Soul Society were an elaborate plot masterminded by Sōsuke Aizen and confronts him alongside Renji Abarai. Unable to defeat Aizen, Rukia is taken from the group and the Orb of Distortion is removed from her soul. He is unable to do much of anything without the help of the remaining captains before Aizen departs for Hueco Mundo.
Prior to leaving Soul Society, Ichigo is given a badge by Ukitake that serves as a license that allows him to hunt Hollows in his area officially. It is a multi-purpose artifact that functions like Rukia's glove for the task of removing souls from bodies. Unlike her glove, but similar to her Cellphone, it alerts him to the presence of Hollows. He also speaks to Rukia who has decided to stay in the soul society even after they had tried to kill her. He leaves with an understanding for her and his Shinigami powers.
In the anime, after his adventures in Soul Society, Ichigo not aware he is unable to perform Bankai outside of Soul Society faces against 3 mod souls in series of games set by Urahara which involed kidnapping Ichigos friends without ichigo knowing anything about what was going on. when ichigo attempt bankia he is unable to and undergoes training with three Modified Souls (Ririn, Kurōdo and Noba).
After the training, which ends up unsuccessful, he finds out about the Bounts and confronts Yoshino Sōma, who uses a powerful fire-type Doll. Ichigo is unable to win, even with the help of Rukia Kuchiki, but is unintentionally saved by another Bount, Ryō Utagawa.
Udagawa appears later to try to eat Ishida's soul, and a battle between him and Ichigo's group ensues. Yoshino then appears and takes Ishida away. While visiting Ishida in the hospital, the group is met by Hō and Ban, Bount twins who use Dolls that manipulate water. Ichigo attempts to defeat them, but any damage sustained to the Dolls quickly regenerates. He discovers that when the twins are separated, their ability to control their Dolls is greatly reduced, and with some assistance from Ganju Shiba, the group succeeds in blowing the weakened Dolls up with fireworks, killing the Bount twins in the process. Ichigo and company then infiltrate Jin Kariya's mansion in search of Ishida.
Upon entering Kariya's mansion, Ichigo engages Udagawa in battle, during which he obliterates a large portion of the house. His spiritual power surprises both Udagawa and Maki Ichinose, a Shinigami deserter who joined forces with the Bounts. Ichinose confronts Ichigo and the two fight until Kariya takes over and overpowers Ichigo. As Ichigo is at the brink of defeat, Kisuke Urahara and his assistants arrive to rescue them, demolishing the remainder of the mansion in the process.
Later on, Ichigo fights Gō Koga and his Doll, Dalk, after the Bitto nearly killed Keigo Asano. Ichigo is slowly beaten, allowing his Hollow form to appear. Ichigo manages to repel his Hollow self and take over, only to succumb to his previous injuries. Izuru Kira soon appears to lend a helping hand, disabling the Doll. Koga retreats, unwilling to kill such young men due to an incident in his past with a young Bount.
Ichigo then invades the Bount hideout that Ugaki is defending with Chad, Orihime, Rukia, Renji and the modified souls. Four Shinigami lieutenants who had entered the cave earlier and fought Ugaki's Doll, Gesell, assist them. Finally, only Renji and Ichigo continue into the depths of the cave to find Ugaki. Renji decides to take on Gesell one on one with his Bankai so that Ichigo will have the strength to take on the remaining Bount. Renji's attacks send Gesell on a fury that ends when Ugaki is killed by his own Doll (possibly due to the Doll being influenced by Kariya). The cave begins to crumble and Yumichika Ayasegawa convinces Ichigo to leave them behind and go further into the cave.
Ichigo finds the remaining Bount and they open a portal to an unknown destination. Ichigo starts a battle with Kariya. Kariya defeats Ichigo's Shikai and threatens to kill him using Zangetsu. The threat convinces Ichigo to recover his will to fight and regain his ability to use his Bankai. The fight continues, both adversaries now evenly matched. They are interrupted by Ishida, who helps the Bounts reach Soul Society, believing he will get stronger there and defeat the Bounts.
In Soul Society, Ichigo's group uses Kūkaku Shiba's house as their initial base of operations and separate to search for the Bounts. After the Bount Yoshi almost kills Rukia Kuchiki, she is saved by Byakuya. Ichigo asks Byakuya for assistance, but Byakuya refuses, making it clear that he still dislikes Ichigo.
Later, Ichigo comes across Kariya and Byakuya fighting in a forest and joins in. Despite being outnumbered, Kariya is able to hold his own. Ran'Tao, the Shinigami who created the Bounts, steps in and takes Ichigo and Uryū Ishida, who arrives soon after, back to her home in Rukongai. Ran'Tao explains to Ishida and Ichigo about how her spirit powers were sealed and she was banished for the creation of the Bounts, among other things.
After departing from Ran'Tao's home, they meet up with Tōshirō Hitsugaya, Rangiku Matsumoto, and Renji Abarai, who are in the middle of a battle with former Shinigami Maki Ichinose. This does not last long though as Kenpachi Zaraki arrives and challenges Ichinose, allowing the others to pursue the Bounts.
At the Technological Institute, Ichigo and Chad catch up to Kariya, but are unable to stop him. Their battle inadvertently unearths the Jōkaishō, a massive energy source, which Kariya had been searching for. Kariya absorbs the energy and uses its destructive potential as a threat to keep Ichigo at bay. He then gives the whole of Soul Society a day to think about their impending destruction. With permission from Matsumoto, Ichigo uses the 10th Division as a base of operations during this time.
The next day, Ichigo saves both Ishida and Rantao from Kariya, and the two battle. During this fight, Kariya summons his Doll, Messer. After much effort on Ichigo's part, the battle ends in a final power clash, with Ichigo the victor. As he dies, Kariya tells Ichigo that he regrets not being able to watch if Ichigo will walk down the same path he did, because they were both burdened with great powers. This leads Ichigo to wonder whether Kariya's actions were intended to end his own eternal life.
After returning from Soul Society with his friends, without Rukia, Ichigo's life briefly returns to the relatively peaceful state at which it was before he left. This serenity is broken with the arrival of new student Shinji Hirako. Shinji, who reveals himself as a recruiter for the Vizard, approaches Ichigo and attempts to convince him to join his organization. Ichigo persistently refuses, even after being warned that his inner Hollow will eventually take over and destroy everything in sight. Shortly afterwards, two Arrancar, Yammy and Ulquiorra Schiffer, appear in Karakura town in order to locate and evaluate Ichigo's strength. Upon seeing Chad injured, Ichigo battles Yammy using his Bankai, and manages to cut off the giant's arm. However, Ichigo's inner Hollow soon interferes, paralyzing Ichigo, and Yammy injures both him, and Orihime. The arrival of Yoruichi Shihōin and Kisuke Urahara forces Ulquiorra into strategic retreat. Ulquiorra returns to Aizen believing that Ichigo is a waste of his and Aizen's time.
After his failure against the Arrancar, Ichigo loses his will as a Shinigami since he cannot protect his friends. This mood lasts until the arrival of Gotei 13's expeditionary force: six Shinigami sent to the human world under the command of Tōshirō Hitsugaya. Rukia, who is among them, forces Ichigo to defeat a Hollow, all the while chastising him. This causes him to regain his spirit and reaffirm his commitment to protect his friends, the first being Orihime Inoue. Later that day, Ichigo discusses the growing Arrancar threat with Hitsugaya's force and learns what the Arrancar actually are. Rukia is formally accepted into Ichigo's home, sleeping in the same room as his sisters.
That night, six Arrancar under the command of Grimmjow Jeagerjaques invade Karakura Town, intending to finish what they view as an incomplete mission on Ulquiorra's part. They split up, seeking targets with spiritual power. Chad's house is targeted, first by Di Roy, who is quickly dispatched by Rukia, and then by the much mightier Grimmjow, who eliminates Rukia in a single strike. Ichigo uses his Bankai, but Grimmjow manages to block Ichigo's attacks with his bare hands. Desperate, Ichigo uses his Getsuga Tenshō to damage Grimmjow. In his Bankai form, using the move allows his Hollow side to become dominant, and Ichigo remarks that two or three more uses of it would allow his Hollow to completely take over. Kaname Tōsen interrupts the fight and takes Grimmjow back to Hueco Mundo, leaving an unsatisfied Ichigo to sulk in his apparent loss and worry over an injured Rukia.
Ichigo, unable to control his inner Hollow, accepts Shinji Hirako's offer and seeks out the vizard in order to gain control. During a sparring match with Hiyori Sarugaki, he loses control to his Hollow side once more, and nearly kills her. After reverting back to his Shinigami state, Ichigo is informed that he cannot simply keep his Hollow in check with his body or mind, but must force it into the very core of his soul. After a brief period of unappreciated training, Ichigo is told to confront his Hollow side within his inner world. There, Ichigo squares off against his Hollow self. Even after several exchanges, Ichigo is unable to damage the Hollow, while badly injured and stabbed himself. Finally, Ichigo is defeated, and his sword shatters. After a brief discourse with his Hollow, and then another with an inner manifestation of Kenpachi Zaraki (in the anime Byakuya Kuchiki and Jin Kariya appear before this, and force him to refight their battles. Ichigo is defeated by both of them), Ichigo realizes his trouble is that he lacks pure fighting spirit, instead needing reasons to fight his opponents. His spirit rekindled by this revelation, Ichigo is able to make a comeback, seizing the Hollow's sword and impaling him on it. His Hollow subdued for the moment, Ichigo fades back to reality. When he comes to, he learns that while he was fighting internally, his outer body had transformed into that of a powerful and berserk Hollow. The vizard had taken turns battling this monster to keep it in check. Ichigo then trains with Hiyori to increase the amount of time he can stay in masked form.
A month later, the Arrancar once again invade Karakura, and Ichigo brashly heads off to fight Grimmjow even though he can only remain in his masked form for eleven seconds. This backfires, as despite using his masked form and Grimmjow's loss of an arm since their last meeting, Ichigo is unable to defeat him within the eleven-second limit. His mask crumbles, and Ichigo is brutally counterattacked. On the brink of defeat and pinned to the ground, Ichigo is granted a short reprieve by Rukia. As Grimmjow recovers from Rukia's attack, Shinji Hirako appears and fights him until the Arrancar retreat by order of Ulquiorra.
When tending to Ichigo's wounds, the vizard Hachigen Ushōda reveals that Ichigo's spiritual power has been contaminated somewhat by Grimmjow's. As per his instructions, Rukia takes him back to the Kurosaki Clinic to recover. While in a deep sleep, he is visited by Orihime, who has been taken prisoner by the Arrancar and given a twelve hour reprieve by Ulquiorra to say good-bye to just one person. Orihime tries to kiss Ichigo while he sleeps, but is unable to. She does, however, confess her love for him.
Later, Ichigo wakes from a bad dream and realizes that the wound from his wrist is healed. Trying to sense by spiritual pressure who has healed him, he is visited by Hitsugaya, who tells him to come immediately for an emergency Shinigami meeting. The meeting is held at Orihime's apartment where Hitsugaya and Matsumoto took up residence and done via a live-conference device connecting Soul Society and the human world. Captain Ukitake greets them and informs them Orihime was taken by an Arrancar and might have been killed. Ichigo informs them that she visited him to heal him the night before, which leads Yamamoto to believe that Orihime has betrayed them. Renji requests permission to go to Hueco Mundo to rescue her but the request is denied, as Yamamoto believes that the death of one person and the death of the world are weighted on a scale, thus saving Orihime is not important overall. Ichigo asks to go save Orihime by himself, but Yamamoto once again denies the suggestion, stating that Ichigo is a significant asset to Soul Society. The Shinigami are ordered to return to Soul Society to fortify their defenses, leaving Ichigo alone.
Despite Yamamoto's decision, Ichigo decides to make preparations with Urahara to single-handedly retrieve Orihime from Hueco Mundo. At school, Tatsuki Arisawa confronts him about her sightings in which she becomes angry and violent over his reluctance to explain himself. She reveals to him that she is able to sense his and Orihime's spiritual energy, and can see Ichigo and other Shinigami. She is restrained by Keigo and Mizuiro while Ichigo walks away coldly telling his friends not to get involved. At Urahara's shop, Ichigo is joined by Ishida with his Quincy powers restored and Chad with a new more powerful right arm. After some convincing, the trio agree to help each other rescue Orihime and Urahara opens a gate to Hueco Mundo. Ichigo leads Chad and Ishida into Hueco Mundo but unknown to him, Tatsuki, Keigo, and Mizuiro had followed him and witnessed his departure.
Hueco Mundo arc
As Ichigo, Chad, and Ishida enter Hueco Mundo, they are immediately detected by Aizen and attacked by two Arrancar, Demōra and Iceringer. Ichigo is then told to stay back and simply watch as Chad and Ishida engage the two Arrancar by themselves. Once they are victorious, the room and passageway collapses around them, forcing the trio to race outside where they see their destination, a castle in the middle of a barren desert.
They see what looks to be a human being chased by three Hollows. After Ichigo attacks the three, it is revealed that the "human" is actually an Arrancar named Nel Tu; the Hollows are her two brothers and their pet. After becoming friends, the expanded group travels to the wall of Las Noches, where they are attacked by a sand-based Hollow, Lunaganga. The Hollow is immune to their attacks, but the group is saved by Renji and Rukia, the latter of which freezes Lunaganga in a circle of ice.
Ichigo and his group break into Las Noches and split into five directions, leaving Nel and her brothers behind. The siblings decide to follow Ichigo but get lost. Nel is the only one who catches up to Ichigo, arriving just in time to see Dordonii Alessandro Del Socacchio, a Privaron Espada with the number 103.
As Ichigo and Dordonii fight, the difference in power between the two quickly becomes apparent. Dordonii suggests that Ichigo use his Bankai, so he will at least stand a chance, but Ichigo refuses, noting that it would only be a sign of weakness if he were to use his Bankai in every battle. Hoping to force the issue, Dordonii releases his Zanpakutō, thus greatly increasing his power. Now commanding two wind elementals, Dordonii is more than a match for Ichigo. When Dordonii tries to fire a Cero blast at Ichigo, Nel steps in, absorbing the blast and firing it back. Enraged, Dordonii attacks Nel, who is then saved by Ichigo, now using his Bankai.
Dordonii, not satisfied with Ichigo's Bankai, wishes to see his Hollow form. He even resorts to attacking Nel in an attempt to force Ichigo to transform. Ichigo sets Nel aside and tells Dordonii he will show him his Hollow form, but for only a second. Dordonii is pleased at first, but Ichigo defeats him in one blow. Dordonii is healed a bit by Nel, and unexpectedly attacks Ichigo again, who blocks the attack and runs away with Nel, and finally encounters Ulquiorra.
Ulquiorra tells Ichigo that Rukia has been killed, which Ichigo denies. Ichigo attempts to leave to save Rukia, reasoning that he and Ulquiorra have no quarrel and thus no reason to fight. Ulquiorra reveals that he was the one who kidnapped Orihime and successfully goads Ichigo into fighting. Though Ichigo starts out well, he proves to be no match for Ulquiorra, who explains that even if Ichigo managed to somehow win, there would be three other Espada who are stronger still, as Ulquiorra is the 4th Espada. Ulquiorra then impales Ichigo's chest with his hand. He leaves after telling Ichigo to leave Hueco Mundo if he is able to.
Grimmjow brings Orihime to heal Ichigo before he can die, wanting to fight him at full strength. Ulquiorra discovers this and attempts to retrieve Orihime, but Grimmjow uses a portable negación field to temporarily imprison him, thus allowing the two to battle unimpeded. Much like Kenpachi before him, Grimmjow insists that Ichigo not battle for his friends, instead just wanting him to focus on killing him, and reveals that he kept the scar from their first battle as a reminder to fight and kill Ichigo to prove that he is stronger. The advantage shifts between the two combatants at random, with Ichigo donning his Hollow mask while Grimmjow releases his Zanpakutō, eventually ending in Ichigo's favor. Grimmjow, badly injured and reverted back to his unreleased state, tries one more attack, which Ichigo blocks bare-handed and incapacitate's him. Nnoitra Jiruga then attacks Ichigo, revealing that he is the fifth Espada, and is thus more powerful than Grimmjow, whom Ichigo barely defeated.
As they fight, Nnoitra notices Nel, recognizes her as the former third Espada, Neliel Tu Odershvank, and explains to Ichigo that Nnoitra gave Nel the crack in her mask. Nel denies this accusation heavily as Nnoitra attacks Ichigo again, eventually snapping his wrist. Seeing Ichigo hurt triggers Nel's transformation into her adult form. Nel attacks Nnoitra after revealing her ex-Espada status and easily matches him. She releases her Zanpakutō and overwhelms Nnoitra, but, just before finishing him, reverts to her child form. Nnoitra kicks Nel and the enraged Ichigo attacks again, only to be slammed into the ground. Nnoitra then orders his Fracción, Tesla, to switch with him and kill Ichigo and takes hold of Orihime. Tesla also releases, but just as he is about to kill Ichigo, Ichigo is once again saved at the last moment by Kenpachi, who defeats Tesla in one strike and briefly explains that along with him, Byakuya, Retsu Unohana and Mayuri Kurotsuchi have come to perform an intrusion on Las Noches before engaging in combat with Nnoitra. As Kenpachi and Nnoitra fight, Orihime heals Ichigo and Nel to full health. When Nnoitra, thinking for a moment that Kenpachi is dead, attacks Yachiru Kusajishi, Orihime rushes to defend her, while Ichigo, trying to stop Orihime, is stunned that he cannot break through her healing shield.
Kenpachi kills Nnoitra, and as he orders Orihime to heal him, Stark, one of the top three Espada appears, apparently reluctant as he snatches Orihime away to bring her to Aizen. Aizen makes an announcement to all of Hueco Mundo, stating that Orihime is in the fifth tower, should anyone want to retrieve her, and that he has closed the gargantas that the Captains used for entry into Hueco Mundo. He informs them that he is leaving to destroy Karakura and leaves Ulquiorra to take charge of Las Noches. Ichigo tells Kenpachi that his duty is not to defend his town, but to protect his friends, and flies to rescue Orihime as Ulquiorra declares his challenge to Ichigo. Before he gets far though he is attacked by the Exequias, but is assisted by Renji, Chad, and Rukia who start fighting them while he continues on. Before Ulquiorra can intimidate Orihime further, Ichigo reaches them. In order to protect Las Noches, Ulquiorra brandishes his sword and is now dueling with Ichigo.
Powers & Abilities
Ichigo Kurosaki is a captain-level combatant, capable of defeating all but the toughest of enemies effortlessly.
Advanced Growth Rate: According to Aizen and Urahara, Ichigo's most astounding ability is his growth rate: he grasps the basic control of advanced techniques in days where it would take even months or years for the most gifted Shinigami. One example is the Bankai of his Zanpakutō, which he learns in three days with the assistance of a special device invented by Urahara. For a normal Shinigami, this same feat would require hundreds of years of combat experience and at least ten additional years of special training. He also gains mastery of flash steps while training with Yoruichi, which was done over the same period as his Bankai.
Master Hand-to-Hand Combatant: Physically, Ichigo is in top form even when not in his spiritual body. Ichigo has been trained in martial arts since he was a small child, both professionally and by his father's constant assaults and surprise attacks when at home. He regularly fights with and defeats bullies and gangsters, and is an even better martial artist than Tatsuki Arisawa, the second-strongest girl in all of Japan. It should be noted that he was able to effortlessly dispatch three Lieutenants using only his hands.
Genius and Perceptiveness: In his high school, Ichigo's grades are almost always near the top, even despite his work as a Substitute Shinigami. Aside from that, Ichigo appears to be able to determine the correct strategies to evade his opponents attacks; such as in his battles with both Ikkaku Madarame and Renji Abarai where he would have been successful in dodging their weapons if not for unforeseen abilities.
Determination: It seems that Ichigo's power is tied to his determination or will to win. It's shown that when he focuses on victory, his strength is enhanced. In the anime, this is depicted by his eyes glowing bright blue. This effect has been shown while he was battling Renji for a second time, and when he defeated his inner hollow. In his last battle against Grimmjow, Ichigo had most of his mask beaten off and was on the verge of collapse as Grimmjow prepared his finishing blow. However, Orihime began cheering for him, and Ichigo managed to catch Grimmjow's hand without looking, and gripped tight enough to prevent him from moving away. Ichigo then managed to make a clean slash into Grimmjow (despite the fact he had lost most of the benefits from his hollow mask), whereas before most of the damage that he had inflicted that actually made Grimmjow bleed was from Getsuga Tenshou techniques.
Enhanced Strength: When he is in his Shinigami body, Ichigo's already impressive strength is greatly enhanced. His overall abilities are great enough that he can fight on the level of an elite Shinigami captain, and in one case even fought off three Shinigami lieutenants and their released Zanpakutō bare-handed in rapid succession; he shattered one of their Zanpakutō in a single punch. Also, unlike most lieutenant and captain Shinigami, Ichigo is able to fight with his full power in both the human and spiritual worlds. While captains and lieutenants have their power limited to a fifth of its normal level during trips to the real world in order to avoid unnecessarily influencing those living there, Ichigo holds no position in the Gotei 13 and thus has no such limit.
Immense Spiritual Energy: Arrancar Commander Ulquiorra Schiffer has claimed that Ichigo's spiritual power at its peak is even greater than his own, but that it fluctuates wildly when he is in conflict with his inner hollow. Because he has far more spiritual energy than his body can contain, it leaks out constantly, preventing him from hiding it and effectively making stealth impossible when dealing with other spiritually-aware creatures. Ichigo has a great amount of spiritual energy but is generally unable to detect that of another as he didn't notice about Uryu before he revealed his status as a Quincy; however, he proved he can do so even when they are weak or long away, he used of spiritual tie to find the bird, felt Chad losing and that he was alive, he sensed Rukia's strength weakened in Hueco Mundo and in the second movie came from the city to countryside to check up something he had felt.
Master Swordsmanship Specialist: In terms of fighting style, Ichigo relies mostly on his Zanpakutō and the use of flash steps to move at hypersonic speeds, and thus would be considered a swordsmanship specialist.
Flash Steps Expert: Taught flash steps by Urahara and Yoruichi, the "Goddess of the Flash". While not particularly versed in the various techniques, he was able to keep up with and even surprise Captain-level Shinigami with his speed.
Substitute Shinigami Status: Though Ichigo has become a Shinigami, he is still a living human being and resides in Karakura Town. His status in the Soul Society is actually ambiguous. His "rank" as Substitute Shinigami was accepted by the others so he can continue to fight Hollows. Ichigo seems to get orders from the Soul Society by Rukia's cellular. But he ignored the only real order he ever received by General Yamamoto, which was to not go after Orihime. It is still unknown where he is really situated in the Soul Society's order, since he can act by himself and go on his own missions. Ichigo and his friends have been welcome in the Soul Society ever since Aizen escaped, even when they are not with him. They can even explore the division quarters. Though this might stem fron the fact that the Soul Society needs as many allies as they can get in the war against Aizen and the Arrancar. Ichigo is perhaps best-treated and best-respected by Captain Shunsui Kyōraku of the 8th Division, Captain Kenpachi Zaraki of the 11th Division, and Captain Jūshirō Ukitake of the 13th Division, who often assist him in his missions and will even disobey their orders in order to ensure his survival. Captain Soifon of the 2nd Division and Captain Toshiro Hitsugaya of the 10th Division occasionally help Ichigo in his assignments (whenever they are ordered to by Yamamoto), but are quick to turn against him should the need ever arise, as seen during Orihime's capture, The Kasumiōji Crisis, and the Kusaka Endeavor. Captain Sajin Komamura of the 7th Division have never interacted with either Ichigo or his friends.
Pure Blood Shinigami: When Grand Fisher learns Isshin Kurosaki was a Shinigami, he said Ichigo was a "pure-blood" Shinigami. It seems to be an explanation for his strength although it is strange since Isshin had lost his power for twenty years and Ichigo and his sisters are humans. Ichigo did say his mother could not see Grand Fisher so he is half Shinigami, half human. This can mean his sisters have latent Shinigami powers. An example of this is they can see spirits. Karin can fully see spirits such as small Hollows. Yuzu however seems to only be able to see the outline of spirits.
Zangetsu (斬月; Moon Cutter, Cutting Moon): Unlike most Zanapakutō, which can be sealed into their original form, Zangetsu is always in its Shikai form. Yoruichi Shihōin has stated that his Zanpakutō is a full-time released form type, implying that it is simply a type of Zanpakutō that, once in Shikai form, remains in said state.
The spirit of Zangetsu resembles a 30 to 40 year-old man, and Ichigo calls him "old man Zangetsu" (斬月のオッサン, Zangetsu no ossan) as a result. Zangetsu has also been called the "black-clothed man" (黒衣の男, kokui no otoko). Zangetsu is portrayed as wise and calm in most matters, and fond of testing Ichigo in unusual ways, many of which have a purpose completely contrary to the stated goal. Zangetsu has displayed the ability to temporarily close fatal wounds during combat, though whether or not this is a unique ability is unclear.
When Ichigo first becomes a Shinigami, his Zanpakutō is simply an oversized version of a regular sealed Zanpakutō, complete with an equally oversized sheath on his back. The large size is due to Ichigo's immense spiritual power, which he didn't know how to control. As a result, the sword itself was rather weak, since very little spiritual power was used to create it. Nevertheless, it was powerful enough to subdue Gillian-class Menos and lesser Hollows. Byakuya Kuchiki cuts off most of the blade during his first encounter with Ichigo and Kisuke Urahara subsequently slices it down to the hilt during their training, forcing Ichigo to learn the name of his Zanpakutō in order to release its true form.
During Ichigo's battle with his Inner Hollow, it mirrored Zangetsu's Shikai and Bankai when fighting Ichigo while he was training with the other Vizard's having a Zangetsu with a white blade and black edge, and when in Bankai wearing a white and black version of Zangetsu's black and red coat.
- Shikai: The Shikai form of Zangetsu resembles an oversized, though more elegant, cleaver blade without a hilt guard. The sword is as tall as Ichigo is, 1.75 meters, and has a black blade with a silver edge. Ichigo carries his Zanpakutō on his back by the cloth wrapped around the handle. When not in combat, the cloth extends to cover the rest of the sword and falls away when necessary, shrinking back to a manageable size. The cloth can also be used to swing the weapon like a flail and toss it at opponents, but this is rarely done. This was first demonstrated by Ichigo's inner Hollow, then again by Ichigo himself while rescuing Rukia. It is the more powerful form of Zangetsu.
- Shikai Special Ability: Zangetsu's special ability is the Getsuga Tenshō (月牙天衝; Moon Fang Heaven-Piercer, "Piercer of Heaven" in the English anime), which fires concentrated energy blasts from the tip of the blade in the shape of a crescent moon or in a shape of a wave. Ichigo uses this ability without knowing its name several times, but masters the technique later on when he discovers its name. As stated by Zangetsu in the anime, knowing the name of an attack increases its power greater than not knowing its name. The Getsuga Tenshō is a powerful technique with great force.
- Bankai: Tensa Zangetsu (天鎖斬月; Heavenly Chain Moon Cutter, Heavenly Chained Cutting Moon): is considered completely out of the ordinary for any Zanpakutō. Unlike most Bankai forms, which usually create some sort of massive creature or effect, Ichigo's Bankai actually shrinks his sword down to a daitō (Japanese long sword) with a black blade, handguard in the shape of the manji (which is the kanji for "ban," meaning "full"). The cloth wrapped around the hilt is replaced by a short chain with a broken link, similar to that of a Plus. In addition to his sword, Ichigo's robe is replaced with a long-sleeved, ankle-length black coat with red lining that is closed at his chest, much like that of Zangetsu himself.(later the robe's red lining is changed to white).As explained by Byakuya Kuchiki, Ichigo's Bankai is a compression of his power, rather than a vast expansion as other Bankai are. This hugely compressed power enables Ichigo to move at high speeds exceeding those of flash steps, and gives him matching agility and reflexes, allowing him to use his natural strength to its limits. Furthermore, the fact that all of his energy is "compressed" means that usage of his Bankai doesn't expel as much spiritual power as other Bankai from the point of activation; thus allowing him to use Tensa Zangetsu at a much longer duration than other Bankai users of his level. With enough usage and acquired height, Ichigo can even appear as though he is flying. Ichigo's initial inexperience with controlling his Bankai led to a serious drawback; the force of his compressed spiritual power caused all of his bones to crack as stated by his inner Hollow, gradually decreasing his speed and power over time. This drawback has not been mentioned since its introduction, so it has (presumably) been overcome.
- Bankai Special Ability: Zangetsu's special ability remains Getsuga Tenshō. When used with Zangetsu's Bankai, these blasts are black with a red outline and their path can be controlled, with augmented power and speed. During Byakuya Kuchiki's fight with Ichigo, he refers to this attack as a "Kuroi Getsuga" (黒月牙; "Black Moon Fang"). This term simply refers to the darkened color of the attack, not its actual name. When used with his Bankai and Hollow mask in combination, Ichigo's extreme speed allows him to move faster than the Getsuga Tenshō itself, allowing him to fire multiple blasts from different directions. The Kuroi Getsuga was first displayed by Ichigo's inner Hollow, and initially carried the risk of causing his inner Hollow to surface if used too much. With Ichigo's later control over his inner Hollow, this is no longer a problem. Ichigo is also capable of utilizing Getsuga Tenshō to augment blade swings, as seen in the fight with Byakuya Kuchiki, and the manifestation of Ichigo's inner Hollow. In fact it has come to a point where it literally just comes out of Ichigo's body, replacing his blue aura.
Bankai Ichigo or Ichigo Bankai is when Ichigo is using Zangetsu's Bankai. While in this Bankai state, instead of a massive creature or effect as common for other Bankai, Ichigo's Zanpakutō shrinks down to a fully black long sword with a manji crossguard, with a broken chain link at the end while also changing Ichigo's uniform to resemble Zangetsu's spirit form. While in this state, Ichigo's speed augments drastically, surpassing the velocities of flash steps, allowing him to move at incredibly high speeds. When Ichigo uses Getsuga Tenshō/Getsuga Tenshōu while in the Bankai state, the blasts are black with a red outline and their paths can be controlled, with greater attack power and speed. Ichigo's Tensa Zangetsu, as it becomes more compact, and compressing Ichigo's spiritual energy, he can use it, and stay in this state for long periods of time, unlike other Bankai users, which is taxing for the wielder and cannot maintain long periods of time (except for Ichigo). Ichigo's power also increases tenfold, due to the effects of Bankai. He can even appear though as he's flying. Below is a list of the Ichigo's Bankai release.
- Bankai Compression: Because Ichigo's bankai is a compression of his remarkable power, the usage of his Bankai doesn't expel as much spiritual power as other Bankai from the point of activation, thus allowing him to use Tensa Zangetsu at a much longer duration than any other Bankai users of his level.
- Enhanced Sword: Zangetsu becomes Tensa Zangetsu, a much more powerful version of its shikai form. Ichigo's sword truly shrinks down to a fully black longsword with a searing edge that could slice with power far beyond that of the Shikai form of Zangetsu.
- Enhanced Strength: Ichigo's enhanced strength has increased tenfold, allowing him to use his natural strength to its limits.
- Enhanced Speed and Agility: His speed augments drastically while in this state, which surpasses the velocities of any normal speed and flash steps. He moves at light-speeds while in the Bankai state.
- Enhanced Flash Steps: The Shunpo's speeds are also enhanced in this state, allowing him to use flash steps at a speed much greater than Byakuya Kuchiki's.
- Vast Spiritual Power: His already immense spiritual energy has grandly and explosively increased, and now has a black spiritual energy with a crimson outline. It should be noted that the power was originally so great that Ichigo could not control it properly, as Hollow Ichigo said that Ichigo's "bones (were) shakin' like crazy" and that he'd "show (Ichigo) the proper way to use a bankai".
- Getsuga Tenshō: While in this state, the Getsuga Tenshō's potent blasts become black with a crimson outline and their paths can be controlled. Its power, speed, size, and force have augmented explosively and considerably.
Main article: Hollow Ichigo Ichigo's spiritual powers are not limited to just Shinigami abilities; he (also) possesses Hollow powers as a result of his training with Urahara. While attempting to recover his Shinigami powers, Ichigo began transforming into a Hollow from the corrosion of his severed soul chain. Ichigo succeeds in awakening his Shinigami powers, but retains his Hollow spirit inside himself from the transformation. The title page of chapter 220 depicts the inner hollow with the mirror writing, spelling backwards, of Ichigo's name.
At different points in the series, Ichigo's Hollow powers have manifested themselves in different ways. Initially, Ichigo's hollow mask would appear on his body to block fatal blows, which Ichigo never noticed until after the fight had ended. During his battle with Byakuya Kuchiki, the mask appeared on his face when he was near death, allowing his inner hollow to take over until Ichigo suppressed it. The same event is repeated multiple times after that such as when Ichigo fought Koga in the Bount Arc. While suppressing his inner hollow, Ichigo is left effectively paralyzed, since his concentration was focused on suppressing it rather than fighting. The hollow claims that it manifests itself to protect Ichigo during near death moments because it is connected to Ichigo, and it would be a great inconvenience to the hollow if Ichigo were to die.
While he was in training with the Vizard, Ichigo's soul was completely overcome by his inner Hollow for a short period, causing him to physically transform into a Hollow. His near-complete hollow form resembles a large, humanoid lizard. In this form, Ichigo demonstrated several high-level abilities, including: Fast regeneration, Enhanced strength, Body-shaping and Cero.
In this form, Ichigo also demonstrates being able to generate other bizarre Hollow-like appendages from his body, like the large, eyeless, worm-like entity that he used against the Vizard Kensei Muguruma in retaliatory after the latter blasted him with energy gathered and fired from his released Zanpakutō. However, this form didn't last long as Ichigo emerged from the Hollow shell as his standard Shinigami self wearing a Hollow mask.
Vizard are Shinigami who have obtained the power of a hollow through a process known as hollowification. In order to use this power, they must don the mask of the hollow within them. Because he began to turn into a hollow while attempting to recover his Shinigami powers, Ichigo was turned into a Vizard.
Ichigo's hollow mask manifests in the appearance of what could best be described as a menacing skull. While pure white on the left side, the mask possesses a total of nine red stripes spread across three spots on the right side of his mask. The red stripes on Ichigo's hollow mask changed in thickness after he subjugated his hollow, covering almost the entirety of the mask's right half during his third battle with Grimmjow Jeagerjaques. The significance of this has yet to be revealed, although the prevailing theories are that it represents Ichigo's control over Hollow Ichigo, or the usage of his hollow powers.
After training with the Vizard and subjugating his inner hollow, Ichigo can use his hollow mask while retaining his personality, but could originally only wear it for eleven seconds at a time. His limit and Hollow powers increases during his third battle with Grimmjow, but to what extent is unclear. His hollow powers became strong enough (comparable to the times when he was possessed) to block Grimmjow's Gran rey cero without any effort and has shown the capacity to "repair" his mask when it has began to crack during this fight. His overall limit is barely a fraction of the amount other Vizard can maintain their masks. After the time limit, the mask breaks and Ichigo loses its benefits. Subsequent attempts to use the mask can only be maintained for an instant.Its possible that his time limit increased due to him fighting with it in Hueco Mundo.
Below is a list of the effects of Ichigo's hollowification:
Hollow Mask: The hollow mask was originally a sign of Ichigo's possession by the hollow within him, but after his training with the Vizard it has become indication that he is merely utilizing his hollow powers. To access Hollow Ichigo's power, Ichigo must summon Hollow Ichigo's mask onto his face (previously it had appeared on it's own before he mastered the hollow within him). With the mask in place, Ichigo has access to most if not all the abilities of a hollow, even subconsciously using a cero during his training with the Vizard.
- Hollow Combat: When Ichigo fights with his mask on his fighting style becomes more instinctive than practiced. The hollow mask also makes Ichigo more ruthless and sadistic, akin to the battle style of Hollow Ichigo. Throughout the duration the mask is in place, Ichigo has shown less concern for injuries to his person, even going so far as to ignore grievous wounds to continue fighting.
- Mask Shielding: The mask has also shown the ability to block attacks on Ichigo's body from within his robe, serving as a shield to stop or lessen attacks on him, sometimes saving his life.
- Power Augmentation: While wearing the mask, Ichigo's hollow powers supplement his Shinigami powers, giving him a vast increase in both strength and speed. The explanation for this is that since Hollows boost their natural abilities by obtaining spirit power around them, either by absorbing it in its ambient form or from another living being, Ichigo attains power from two separate sources: that from himself (drawn using his Shinigami powers), and that from his immediate environment (drawn with the help of his Hollow powers), allowing him to draw power from both sides. It could even be suggested that the Hollow mask allows Ichigo to recapture the energy he constantly leaks into the environment, making him more efficient.
- Getsuga Tenshō: When Ichigo wears his mask, the power, speed, blast area, force, and size of the Getsuga Tenshou becomes drastically augmented to the point of seriously harming a foe to a certain degree.
- Time Limit: Unlike his Vizard counterparts (who can maintain their hollow masks for hours without tiring), Ichigo originally had a limit of eleven seconds before the mask would break. As he fought in Hueco Mundo, however, the limit increased exponentially and substantially to the point where he was able to maintain the mask throughout his third battle with Grimmjow Jeagerjaques.
- Cero: During his fight to subjugate his hollow, Ichigo's soul was overtaken by his hollow. In that state, Ichigo had shown the ability to use cero but it is unknown if this ability is usable in his Vizard form. So far, only Shinji Hirako of the Vizard has shown the ability to use a cero with his mask on.
Begin the primary protagonist of the story, Ichigo has encountered many different characters throughout the series, whether it be family, friends, allies, or enemies. The most prominent of these relationships are listed below:
- Rukia Kuchiki - Ichigo has a unique, complex, and dynamic relationship with Rukia; Most of the time they are bickering adversaries, often yelling and making faces at each other, regardless of where they are or who's witnessing their 'confrontations', friends, allies, and enemies alike. Yet, despite these quarrels, the two have a deep understanding of each other, often giving each other a considerable amount of emotional support when needed. Additionally, it's worth noting that their love-hate relationship has romantic potential, though they have yet to further act upon it.
- Senna - Ichigo first meets Senna in the movie Bleach: Memories of Nobody. When they first meet, Ichigo and Rukia are standing in the middle of a group of hostile Blanks, confused on what action they should take. Senna appears from nowhere and dispatches the Blanks (despite Ichigo's protests). Rukia leaves for the Soul Society afterwards, suggesting Ichigo keep an eye on Senna. At first, Ichigo is rather annoyed by Senna's carefree nature and is somewhat frustrated when he finds out she took a ribbon without paying for it (which he goes to the store to pay for it instead). However, he seems to hold Senna in high regard, afterwards; he protected her from the Dark Ones, refused to hand her over to the shinigami, disobeyed General Yamamoto's orders not to go the the Valley of Screams, risked his life to save her from Ganryū, and suggests to her that she did once exist as a living human being just moments before she disappears. At the end of Bleach: Memories of Nobody, Ichigo catches Senna's ribbon and seems to remember Senna (despite the fact that Rukia told him that any memory relating to the Memory Rosary would fade away). Like Rukia, Ichigo's relationship with Senna has romantic potential, which could be explored even further should she return to the series.
- Isshin Kurosaki - Ichigo and his father have a very unusual relationship. It is very clear that they love each other like most fathers and sons do, but Isshin tends to "train" Ichigo by attacking him, usually when he's asleep, prompting a frustrated Ichigo to retaliate rather violently. Even so, Isshin deeply cares about Ichigo, to the point were he saved his body(Kon was in his body at the time) from an attack by the Arrancar Grand Fisher, and discussed his parenting skills with Uryū Ishida's father, Ryūken Ishida.
- Renji Abarai - The Second Soul Reaper Ichigo encounters (Rukia being the first). They fight repeatedly through the earlier part of the series, but develop a friendship as the story progresses. Renji and Ichigo tend to have the same views in life and Renji helps Ichigo on several occasions, despite his loyalties to the Soul Society. Though they can engage in verbal confrontations with one another, similar to Ichigo's relationship with Rukia.
- Uryū Ishida - One of the last remaining Quincy left in the world. When he first meets up with Ichigo, he is an antagonist/friendly rival but as the series continues they become friends. He was one of the first to notice Ichigo had developed Shinigami powers.
- Orihime Inoue- Ichigo's friend from school. Due to exposure to Ichigo she developed spirit powers manifesting itself as six spirits. She lives alone since her brother passed away sometime before the series started. She has a one-sided love for him. Having been kidnapped by Ulquiorra, Ichigo and the others went to Las Noches to save her.
- Kisuke Urahara - Owns the Shinigami-item-selling Urahara Shop, former captain of 12th Division, and creator of the Hōgyoku. He is highly intelligent, knows more then he lets on. He is a guiding force throughout the series, often helping Ichigo and his friends. He helped them get into Soul Society to rescue Rukia. Also, Kisuke is very secretive towards Ichigo, neglecting to tell him about the Hōgyoku, and having not informed him of his knowledge that Ichigo's father Isshin was once a captain of the Gotei 13 (though, Isshin himself might've requested it, but it's unclear).
- Yoruichi Shihōin - When first encountered, she is in the form of a small black cat with a deep male voice, initially leading Ichigo and the others to believe that she was a male until she transformed. She helps Ichigo and his friends infiltrate Soul Society when Rukia gets taken back for the execution. She helps Ichigo learn his Bankai in three days through a special kind of training. During this time, she transformed in front of Ichigo (twice in the anime), amused by his reaction.
- Neliel Tu Oderschvank - When Ichigo first encounters her, she is a young, child-like, amnesic Arrancar kid chased by her former Fracción, Pesche Guatiche, Dondochakka Bilstin and Bawabawa. After Ichigo rushes in to rescue her, it's revealed that they were playing "eternal tag". Nel usually acts as a sort of younger sibling to him, which somewhat annoys him. Though, when he isn't being manhandled by Nel in her adult form, Ichigo considers her a valuable friend, particularly when she's in her adult form. She somehow retains her child-like affection for Ichigo even as Neliel.
- Grimmjow Jeagerjaques - Ichigo and Grimmjow have, without a doubt, the greatest rivalry depicted throughout the series. Grimmjow and Ichigo both have a certain respect for each other, despite the ferocity of their fights. Though their personalities are very similar, they are both very different at the same time, as Ichigo fighting for his friends and family, whereas Grimmjow is fighting for his own benefit, going so far as to disobey Aizen's orders, invade Karakura Town without authorization, allowed his Fraccion die during the battle with Toshiro's squad, disrespect his superior Kaname Tōsen, and attack his "comrade", Ulquiorra Schiffer, in order to satisfy his need for vengeance against Ichigo. During their third fight, after Grimmjow was defeated, Ichigo grabbed his wrist and gently put him on the ground, with pity in his eyes, and chose not to finish him off. Additionally, after Grimmjow arose from the ground and attacked Ichigo again, he practically begged Grimmjow to "let it go" and stop fighting. Grimmjow, however, stubbornly refused to "give in" and was unexpectedly blindsided by Nnoitra, prompting Ichigo to defend him from Nnoitra and berate the latter for attacking a defenseless opponent. It is still unknown whether Grimmjow is alive, and if he is, whether his attitude towards Ichigo has changed after his decision to protect him from Nnoitra.
- Ulquiorra Schiffer - Ulquiorra was the second Espada Ichigo encountered (Yammy was the first), and for the majority of his interaction with Ichigo, doesn't see him as a threat. Ulquiorra is confident that Ichigo's wildly fluctuating power levels will eventually destroy him. Ichigo initially didn't have much of an opinion of the "Cuatro Espada" until he kidnapped Orihime, upon which Ichigo acquired a great dislike of him, though Ulquiorra's opinion of Ichigo remains. In their first fight, Ulquiorra didn't sustain any injuries despite not even drawing his sword and facing a full-powered Ichigo (though, it should be noted that Ichigo burned up his spirit energy in his fight with Dordonii). This battle leaves Ichigo temporarily dead and Ulquiorra with a slightly tattered uniform. After Aizen seals off all of the Gargantua portals, he draws his sword to face Ichigo in combat, prompting Ichigo to ask if he considers him a worthy opponent. Ulquiorra responds that he sees him as an enemy of Las Noches that needs to be eliminated, and Ichigo claims that it's "good enough for [him]".
- Kenpachi Zaraki - Kenpachi was the second Shinigami and first captain that Ichigo fought (not including when Byakuya nearly killed him). They both respect each other (even though Ichigo only calls him "Kenpachi") and consider each other allies. However, Kenpachi craves a rematch with Ichigo, and Ichigo himself does not wish to fight him again (likely because he no longer has a reason to fight with the 11th Division captain).
- Tōshirō Hitsugaya - Hitsugaya and Ichigo had little interaction throughout the course of the series, and Ichigo refers to him as "Tōshirō", which he usually responds by telling him to call him "Captain Hitsugaya". However, despite this and their rare interactions, Hitsugaya has some degree of respect for Ichigo, assisting him to rescue Senna in Bleach: Memories of Nobody, and explains to Karin (during the Arrancar Arc) that although he doesn't have knowledge of Ichigo's whereabouts, he's confident that Ichigo's working to get stronger. During the movie Bleach: The DiamondDust Rebellion, Ichigo aids the then rogue Tōshirō, unconvinced that he has betrayed Soul Society to help Sōjirō Kusaka. When the final battle occurs, Ichigo tells Tōshirō of his feelings concerning his mother's death, that are much like his own concerning Sōjirō.
- Byakuya Kuchiki - Ichigo initially views Byakuya as something of a monster for trying to stop Ichigo from saving Rukia, but later changes his opinion of him after their battle in the Sokyoku Hill. Though now allies, Byakuya doesn't particularly like Ichigo, especially because he doesn't use honorifics when addressing him and refers to him by his given name, which Byakuya finds insulting and annoying.
- Soifon - Ichigo has no interaction with Soifon in the manga, but in the anime, they've encountered each other in Bleach: The DiamondDust Rebellion and again during the New Captain Amagai Arc. During the events of Bleach: The DiamondDust Rebellion, Ichigo breaks through a barrier that Soifon set up and questioned a crime scene. Soifon states that there's "normally no reason to explain the situation to a substitute", but she decides to tell him the information she knows anyway. It's unknown if she did this because of the respect Ichigo's earned from Soul Society, or if it's because of the degree of the crime (involving the security of the powerful King's Seal). During the Captain Amagai Arc, she and the 2nd Division attempt to stop both him and Rukia from stopping the wedding between Rurichiyo Kasumiōji and Shuu Kannogi. She then admits that she had some respect for Ichigo before then and questions his actions for stopping the wedding, but she lets him speak to Rurichiyo, who then claims the she didn't know him (though, this later turns out to be an imposter). She probably respects Ichigo for his strength, but she holds great disdain towards his attitude of ignoring Soul Society's laws.
- Shinji Hirako - Like some other relationships that Ichigo shares with other characters, he has somewhat of a rivalry with Shinji. Shinji was the Vizard that taught Ichigo to access his inner hollow abilities (turning him into a Vizard). Ichigo used to call Shinji by his first name, but later on he develops some respect for Shinji and refers to him as Hirako after they part ways during the Hueco Mundo arc.
- (to Isshin) "You! Is that how you greet your son who just returned from performing a serious exorcism!?"
- (to Byakuya) "You said, miracles happen only once. So what's the second one?"
- "... you said I think too highly of myself? I saw every single step, Byakuya Kuchiki!"
- "Stop telling me to leave you here and run away... it's so annoying! I told you, I don't care what you say. Heh... this is the second time now... I've come to save you, Rukia."
- (throwing Rukia to Renji, a long way down) "Catch!!!"
- "I told you! I can see your every step, Kuchiki Byakuya!"
- "Bankai! Tensa Zangetsu."
- "Getsuga Tenshou!"
- "Sorry, but...I'm not gonna let you do that."
- "'Our pride', you said? So that pride you're saying to be so precious is that connected to killing Rukia, is it? Then I should stamp on it as you said. 'Cause that's why I obtained this Bankai!"
- "What the hell?!"
- "Sorry, Grimmjow...but...I'm not gonna hold back anymore."
- (to Ulquiorra) "...I'm surprised. I didn't think you'd unsheathe your sword right away. I thought I'd have to get you to unsheathe it. So, does that mean you see me as a worthy opponent now?"
(from Ulquiorra) "At the very least, I see you as someone who must be destroyed."
(to Ulquiorra) "Good enough for me."
- "I'll only do it for a instant." (when he is donning his mask)
- "Bitch!" (to many characters)
- According to Shonen Jump's character popularity polls, Ichigo was consistently the most popular character in Bleach in the first three polls, but ranking 3rd in the fourth poll.
- As credited by Tite Kubo in Ichigo's character page in the 1st Manga Volume, his theme music is News from the front by Bad Religion.
- Ichigo Kurosaki is to be considered to be one of the more/most powerful characters in the Bleach universe.