Ikkaku is a tall and muscular man. He is bald, a fact made fun of by many people, especially 11th Division Lieutenant Yachiru Kusajishi, who calls him "cue ball", "chrome dome", or "pachinko-head" (as a result of her fondness for giving people nicknames or when he questions her direction skills). Ikkaku's bald scalp is very reflective while under the sun, causing the members of the 8th and 11th Divisions to mistake it for a full moon at one point, much to his chagrin. His eyes each have a small red marking at the outer corner. Ikkaku has a scar, which he gained while fighting Ichigo Kurosaki during the Ryoka Invasion, running down the left side of his chest. He wears the standard Shinigami robes, with the exception of no tabi with his sandals. Seventeen months after Aizen's defeat, Ikkaku sports a gold-plated shoulder plate on his right arm with the kanji for dragon (龍) printed on it.
Ikkaku is violent, fight-loving, and rude, which has been noted by Tetsuzaemon Iba, among others. He loves fighting so much, he is unwilling to travel anywhere without a sword, resorting to carrying a wooden one when posing as a student at Karakura High School. Ikkaku is very self-conscious about his baldness, often insisting he is not bald and his head is "shaven", and will threaten anyone who points this out.
Ikkaku considers fighting fun, and tries to get as much fun as he can, even taking deadly risks to drag out fights for as long as possible. He limits his skills in order to make fights last longer, using his Bankai, or even his Shikai, as a last resort against his opponents. Ikkaku constantly smiles when engaging in a fight with a formidable opponent.
Ikkaku considers the only honorable battles to be those fought one-on-one. Even the threat of death is not a reason to ignore this fact, for he believes the winner is only determined when the other dies. In his fight with the ArrancarChoe Neng Poww, Ikkaku was losing badly, yet refused to surrender or use his Bankai.
Ikkaku has a sense of loyalty and responsibility, and is fiercely loyal to his captain, under whose command he wishes to die. He considers surviving an otherwise lost battle good luck, which his captain taught him, and carries a blood-clotting ointment in the hilt of his Zanpakutō.
Not much is known about Ikkaku's history. Ikkaku came from the streets of Rukongai. At some point, he met Yumichika Ayasegawa, and the two became friends. The two would frequently go from village to village, looking for opponents for Ikkaku to face in combat.
They had an encounter with Kenpachi Zaraki and Yachiru Kusajishi before they entered Seireitei. Yachiru told him messing with Kenpachi while he was in a good mood was a bad idea, but Ikkaku did not take the warning seriously. When face to face with Kenpachi, he, becoming alarmed by his Reiatsu, was happy to finally have a real challenge. Kenpachi attacked with enough force to crater the ground under Ikkaku, which somewhat alarmed Yumichika. Due to Kenpachi's strength, Ikkaku, forced on the defensive, held off his relentless strikes. The two continued to battle, with Ikkaku trying to overwhelm Kenpachi, though unable to wear him down, only succeeding in receiving wounds while Kenpachi remained untouched by his blade. Stating he was having fun, Kenpachi decided to finish Ikkaku with one strike, resulting in Ikkaku losing the fight. As Ikkaku became mad Kenpachi would just walk away without finishing him off, Kenpachi, telling him he had no interest in weaklings who cannot fight, states he did not have any obligation to finish Ikkaku off. When Ikkaku, thinking he was toying with him, demanded Kenpachi kill him, Kenpachi, losing his patience, grabbed hold of Ikkaku. Asking why he was screaming for death if he loved to fight so much, Kenpachi explained to him a philosophy to follow for people like them: only admit defeat after death, and when you survive, consider yourself lucky and only think about killing the man who failed to kill you. Smiling at him, Kenpachi stated it was not like he went easy on him; he was just lucky to escape death. He said Ikkaku should live and come back to kill him. As Kenpachi left, Ikkaku, asking him his name, was told he was Kenpachi from Zaraki.
Afterwards, when he had rehabilitated from his wounds, Ikkaku, searching everywhere for Kenpachi in order to challenge him, could never find him, until one day when Yumichika came to him with some news. He had heard Kenpachi had beaten the captain of the 11th Division of the Gotei 13 in a single blow, which made him the new captain of this division. Taken aback by this revelation, having seen protecting others as not really Kenpachi's style, Ikkaku set out to find his old opponent.
During an address to his division, Kenpachi was greeted by Ikkaku and Yumichika, who had become Shinigami and joined the division. Ikkaku told Kenpachi he had come back just as he had suggested, which prompted Kenpachi to smile. Later, they were present when the division battled a caterpillar-like Hollow. After the division lost several members, Ikkaku, showing up to fight it, was stopped by Kenpachi, who decided to kill it himself. After the Hollow was dispatched, more came, which prompted Ikkaku and Yumichika to join in the fight. Initially against it, Kenpachi was persuaded upon realizing the two had fighting traits similar to his.
Sometime later, Ikkaku, while walking around the 11th Division barracks, was greeted by Renji Abarai, a fresh transfer from the 5th Division. When Renji asked Ikkaku to train him, the two battled. Impressed by his new student's eagerness to excel. Ikkaku asked Renji why he wanted to become strong so badly. After Renji stated he had someone he wished to surpass, they continued to train well into the evening, advancing as far as using their Shikai against each other. Ikkaku told Renji they had finished training, and if he wished to learn any more, he would have to figure it out on his own, for Ikkaku did not want Renji to end up mimicking his style. When Renji asked him if he had Bankai and why he did not use it, Ikkaku, stating he had his reasons, alluded he was chasing someone as well. Telling Renji his name, he instructed him to remember it, for the next time they fight will be to the death. Explaining to him why he gives his name to his opponent, Ikkaku left as Renji thanked him.
Soul Society arc
Ikkaku and Yumichika Ayasegawa encounter Ichigo Kurosaki and Ganju Shiba upon their intrusion into the Seireitei. Doing his Tsuki-Tsuki dance to give Ichigo and Ganju time to exit their sand pit, Ikkaku becomes irritated when they just stand there looking at him. After Ichigo and Ganju get into an argument about possibly fighting, Ganju runs away. As Yumichika chases after him, Ikkaku is left to fight Ichigo. After resolving why Ichigo did not run away as well, Ikkaku attacks. After clashing, resulting in both of them receiving small cuts near their eyes, they exchange names. After applying ointment from the hilt of his sword to stop the bleeding and telling Ichigo he is not sure what to make of him, Ikkaku asks Ichigo who his teacher is. When Ichigo reveals he was taught by Kisuke Urahara, a surprised Ikkaku states if he is Ichigo's teacher, it would be very rude of him to kill him so easily.
After Ikkaku releases his Shikai, he and Ichigo clash once more. When Ichigo thinks he has the upper hand, Ikkaku, swinging his Zanpakutō at Ichigo's head, says a second release command, causing his Shikai to split into a three-sectioned staff, forcing Ichigo to react before the spear head can hit him square in the face. As he blocks with his forearm, creating a deep wound, Ikkaku states Hōzukimaru isn't a spear, but a sansetsukon. Though he believes Ichigo will be unable to use his wounded arm any longer, Ikkaku is forced to dodge when Ichigo attacks. As the wall behind him is destroyed by Ichigo's slash, Ichigo states it seemed like Ikkaku finished talking, but he does not know Ichigo's sword, and next time, he will be the one who will not be able to hold his weapon. As they continue to battle, Ichigo notes he is getting used to fighting against his weapon. When Ichigo cuts Hōzukimaru in half, cutting deeply into the center of Ikkaku's chest at the same time, Ikkaku, laughing, tells Ichigo he should give up since he can still hold his sword. Spinning the bladed end, he advances, prompting Ichigo to yell at him to put it away, having already lost. Refusing, Ikkaku states he will only lay down his weapon when he is dead, and he will never walk away from a fight like a coward. The two collide, resulting in Hōzukimaru breaking further, and a grievous wound is dealt to Ikkaku's arm. Falling to the ground, an unconscious Ikkaku states Ichigo was too strong.
After Ikkaku wakes up, he is greeted by Ichigo, who reveals he used the ointment in Ikkaku's Zanpakutō to heal their wounds. As a surprised Ikkaku becomes irate at the thought of having been saved by his own enemy, Ichigo asks him where he can find Rukia Kuchiki. After laughing at the notion of 5 people and a cat saving Rukia, Ikkaku, telling him where she is being held, tells him if he is the strongest in his group, he should watch out for his captain, Kenpachi Zaraki, who will surely be looking for him. When Ichigo asks Ikkaku if his captain is strong, Ikkaku states he will know if he sees him, and he will know his strength if he survives the meeting.
While recovering from his injuries at the 4th Division's headquarters, he is given an unsanctioned interrogation by Mayuri Kurotsuchi, whom he tells no details of his fight. Disturbed Ikkaku has nothing to offer as far as information, Mayuri, stating he will need to be punished for his behavior, is stopped by Kenpachi, who asks him when has he had authority over members of other divisions. As Mayuri leaves, Ikkaku, telling Kenpachi about what direction Ichigo went and why he was there, describes him and how he told him who Kenpachi is. Stating his strength is great, he says he will most likely keep getting stronger.
When the 11th Division decides to help Orihime Inoue, they are met in resistance by the captains of the 7th and 9th Division, along with their respective lieutenants. Intervening, Ikkaku and Yumichika wish to fight against the lieutenants, for they think they are not good enough to take on Kenpachi. Ikkaku is called out to fight by Tetsuzaemon Iba, who states it has been some time since they last saw each other, and his insulting loud mouth has gotten sharper. Stating he is one to talk, Ikkaku notes Iba left the 11th Division because he could not become lieutenant. The two leave to fight elsewhere.
Later, Ikkaku and Iba, resting after their battle, drink with each other. When Ikkaku comments on a lightning strike, Iba, scolding him for being ignorant, states it was not a lighting strike, but Kidō, and it would not have reached them, for it was a targeted attack. When Iba states Ikkaku has not improved one bit, for he still knows nothing of Kidō, Ikkaku, telling Iba he was never interested in Kidō anyway, states unlike him, his mother did not make him a "do it all" type of guy. Iba explains he was not always so good, but instead of focusing on one thing, being well rounded means a better chance at a promotion to lieutenant. After engaging in a small argument about Iba always drinking too much of Ikkaku's booze, they fight again.
Sometime after Aizen's defection from Soul Society, 6th Division lieutenant, Renji Abarai, approaching Ikkaku, asks him to take the vacant captain's position of the 5th Division. When Ikkaku refuses, an adamant Renji states there are not any other lieutenants who can use Bankai, and even if there were, he would be the only one qualified. When he affirms Ikkaku could have any vacant spot and should be the next captain, Ikkaku reminds Renji he already told him he has no intention of telling anyone besides him and Yumichika he is capable of Bankai, for if it got out, he would have others telling him the same thing. Stating he has no intention of becoming a captain because it would mean he could no longer fight under Captain Kenpachi, Ikkaku says just as Renji's desire is to surpass Captain Byakuya Kuchiki, his is to fight and die under the command of Captain Kenpachi. He tells Renji if he understands, he will not ask him again.
Bount arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
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Along with Yumichika, Ikkaku leads the 11th Division after the Bount invade Soul Society. Sensing Maki Ichinose's presence, Ikkaku, preparing to fight him, is unable to strike back, since he is invisible, and is defeated. Approaching him after Ichinose's escape, Kenpachi states the intruder is a coward to fight in that manner.
While Ichigo talks to Rukia in his room, Ikkaku and the three others, popping out of a ceiling light, make their way into the room, much to Ichigo's displeasure. When Kon, becoming enamored with Rangiku's bosom, runs toward her, she knocks him away as Ikkaku asks Ichigo if the reaction is some kind of trend in his world, prompting Ichigo to say no, it is just the way Kon is. When asked where they will stay, for Ichigo says they cannot all stay at his house, Ikkaku, leaving, states he and Yumichika will find a place to stay somewhere. Later, Ikkaku and Yumichika, sitting atop a building, have a conversation about how it is impossible for them to have such well made rice balls with artistic wrapping without something more going on, for it is too much for one person to make so many of them.
When the Sexta Espada, Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez, leads an attack on the living world, Ikkaku and Yumichika prepare to face the oncoming enemies. Ikkaku is left to fight one of Grimmjow's Fracción. Motioning to Ikkaku, the Arrancar tells him he has no luck at all because he has to fight him. After being attacked, Ikkaku notices a scared and confused Keigo Asano, who is wondering what is going on. Asking Keigo if he can stay with him, Ikkaku notes if he takes care of the Arrancar, it will save his life, and therefore they would be helping each other out. After Keigo says yes, Ikkaku asks the Arrancar what his name is. Giving his rank, the Arrancar, stopping himself, states there is no point in telling him any more, for all he needs to know is he is the one who will tear him apart. Put off by this, Ikkaku, telling the Arrancar about the concept of the "Last Courtesy", states his name and rank.
As the two fight, the Arrancar tells him if this is all he can do with his Zanpakutō, it would serve better as a waist ornament, for blades will not cut the Hierro of an Arrancar. Trying to goad him, the Arrancar states a Shinigami who refuses to release his Zanpakutō is a shame, but Ikkaku states he is the one who needs to release.
As they continue to fight, the Arrancar is overpowered by Ikkaku's unique style of fighting using both his Zanpakutō and sheath. Analyzing his fighting style, the Arrancar realizes the attacks of his blade come from his right hand, while the left defends using the Zanpakutō's sheath. As he thinks he has the upper hand, Ikkaku switches the sheath and blade, surprising him, and slashes the Arrancar's face, breaking the remains of his mask in two. After being knocked away, Ikkaku, telling him he was lucky, for he was going for his head, spits out two teeth, telling the Arrancar channeling his Reiatsu into his hands has lost him two molars, and resigns to replace them later. When Ikkaku states the Arrancar will need to release his Zanpakutō in 5 or 6 more attacks, the Arrancar, mocking Ikkaku for boasting of his own prowess when he should be cowering in fear at the opponent he will surely lose to, releases his Zanpakutō, introducing himself as Edrad Liones.
Edrad explains to Ikkaku the true power of an Arrancar's release. As Edrad's Resurrección increases his Reiatsu dramatically, he, gaining the upper hand, overwhelms Ikkaku with ease. As the fight is taken to the sky, Ikkaku releases his Shikai, but Edrad, appearing, smashes him into the ground, leaving a crater around him. As Ikkaku tries to get up, he is told by the Arrancar to give up gracefully, for there is no need for him to be beaten into nothing. When he refuses to give up, Edrad gives him a finishing blow, creating a column of flame which extends into the sky. When the smoke clears, Ikkaku, withstanding the blow, holds Edrad's fist upon his back.
When Edrad lifts up his fist, Ikkaku states there was never a difference in their power. Stating the others are in similar fights and will not notice, Ikkaku, telling Edrad to be quiet and promise not to tell anyone about what he is about to see, releases his Bankai. After Ikkaku tells him this is his Bankai, Ryūmon Hōzukimaru, the two, taking to the sky, continue their fight. Cutting through Volcanica, Ikkaku attacks from above. After being pushed back, Ikkaku, grabbing his Bankai by the central blade, twirls the two other blades. Seeing Edrad has realized his Reiatsu is rising, Ikkaku states Hōzukimaru is a "lazy bum" who needs to be awoken, either through battle or by his current movements. As Ikkaku puts all of his strength into one final attack, Edrad does the same, and both fighters collide in a large explosion. As the smoke clears, Ikkaku's Bankai breaks into pieces, and he falls to the ground below, followed by Edrad, who has lost his left arm and the left side of his abdomen.
Afterwards, both Ikkaku and Yumichika go to Keigo's home as a part of an earlier agreement for saving him from the Arrancar. At first, Keigo tries to get them thrown out, hoping his sister, Mizuho Asano, is against it, but she, praising his actions, gives Ikkaku and Yumichika food and clothes because she likes guys with "shaved heads".
Later, while Ikkaku is meditating, the others try to attain Bankai, causing Rangiku and Yumichika to get into a small altercation with their Zanpakutō because they are too similar to them before being yelled at by Hitsugaya. Along with the others, he is alerted by the arrival of an invasion force led by Grimmjow's replacement, Luppi Antenor. He and Yumichika face off against Luppi, who introduces himself as the 6th Espada. Becoming bored, Luppi insists they fight against him four on one because he is going to release and take them all on as a group. Ikkaku is surprised at Luppi's release, which gives him eight tentacles to control. Attacking Ikkaku, Rangiku, and Yumichika all at once, Luppi, overwhelming them, taunts them. Yelling as Yumichika and Rangiku are ensnared, Ikkaku is caught by one of Luppi's many tentacles. The Arrancar is defeated by Hitsugaya before he harms any of his captives.
Upon learning Orihime Inoue has followed the Arrancar back to Hueco Mundo, Ikkaku and the rest of his team return to Soul Society to prepare for the war against Aizen.
The New Captain Shūsuke Amagai arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
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Leading the 11th Division around Seireitei in order to respond first to a report of Menos invading the court, Ikkaku begins quarreling with Iba, who is attempting to do the same. Ikkaku and Iba head northeast upon an update via Jigokuchō. The cluttered divisions end up disoriented and unorganized, clumped together in a enclosed space. After Captain Shūsuke Amagai takes control of the situation, Ikkaku and the 3rd Division are coordinated to attack the Menos alongside Izuru Kira. Following Kira's lead, Ikkaku slices apart a Menos with his scabbard. Later, Ikkaku comes into conflict with Shūhei Hisagi over the orders to arrest Ichigo and his friends.
Fake Karakura Town arc
When Aizen, along with his three top Espada, attack the fake Karakura Town, Ikkaku, along with Yumichika Ayasegawa, Shūhei Hisagi, and Izuru Kira, is left to protect the four pillars which keep the real Karakura Town in Soul Society. He begins a battle with one of Baraggan Louisenbairn's Fracción, Choe Neng Poww. Upon seeing the large Arrancar, Ikkaku states he prays he is as tough as he looks. When Poww, wondering if Shinigami pray to a god, asks who he prays to, Ikkaku is perplexed by the concept too. Realizing he does not really pray to any god, he decides it does not matter, for he will just pray to the Arrancar's god. Poww states they have no problem, for their god and king knows full well he is no match for him.
Unlike the three others, who are successful in defending their pillars, Ikkaku is defeated in his fight against Poww, who destroys the pillar he was guarding. Poww states he thought Ikkaku had something more up his sleeve, but if he is dead, he would guess not. As Ikkaku tries to get up, Poww steps on his back, causing him to scream out in pain. Happy he still lives, Poww asks him to show him what he has left. As Poww tries to force him to give in or die,a defiant Ikkaku states he has nothing left, and even if he did, he would not waste it on him. Before Poww can finish him off, Captain Sajin Komamura punches Poww as Iba stops more of the real town from appearing. Punching Komamura a considerable distance away, Poww releases his Zanpakutō, Calderón. Grabbing Ikkaku, Iba, running, states they are no match for someone who just sent his captain flying. Moving back with Shunpo, Komamura, intercepting an attack by Poww, defeats Poww with his Bankai.
As Komamura's Bankai dissipates, an amazed Ikkaku looks on. When Iba, saying Komamura's Bankai is amazing, notes the difference between the captain's Bankai and his is like night and day, a shocked Ikkaku looks on as Iba, asking him if he did not think he would notice, promises not to tell his captain. Scolding Ikkaku, he tells him his job was to protect the pillar, and yet it was destroyed. Telling Ikkaku this happened because he wants to hide his strength, Iba states he does not care if Ikkaku dies because he wants to hide his strength, but he should not disobey orders to do so. Noting Ikkaku's stubbornness has cost them in battle, Iba tells him as long as he is in the Gotei 13, he must obey orders, even if it means crushing his stubbornness and pride. When Ikkaku tries to explain himself, Iba punches him in the face. As an irate Ikkaku, trying to fight back, is pushed to the side, Iba asks him why he would attack head-on in his condition, for there is no point in coming at him head-on if he is just going to get crushed. When he notes he has to win, even if it means running away or sneaking up from behind, Ikkaku states it is something a coward would do, and he is no coward, which prompts Iba to tell him to get stronger and win, even at the cost of his life. As Ikkaku notices Komamura standing behind Iba, he, wiggling his ears, tells them not to worry, for his ears appear to be failing him today.
Zanpakutō Unknown Tales arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
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Along with all other Shinigami who have learned their Zanpakutō's name, Ikkaku is called to Sōkyoku Hill believing Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto called them, which proves to be a trap set up by a rogue Zanpakutō Spirit named Muramasa, who, having called them and captured Yamamoto, somehow "frees" all the Zanpakutō Spirits from their spiritual bond with their Shinigami partners. The spirits begin to attack the Seireitei. Later, after hearing Ichigo got his Zanpakutō Spirit back, Ikkaku goes to Ichigo for answers. Together, they find Hōzukimaru. To prove to Ikkaku he is who he claims to be, the two of them do their "lucky dance" together, and Hōzukimaru agrees to fight one-on-one. As Hōzukimaru takes control of their battle with his Bankai, the Onmitsukidō, appearing, drives Hōzukimaru away.
Later, at the 6th Division Barracks, some of the Zanpakutō show up for Byakuya. The Zanpakutō are surrounded by the Onmitsukidō, Suì-Fēng, Ichigo, Yumichika, and Izuru. As Ikkaku and Hōzukimaru take their fight outside of the area, Ikkaku, able to release his Shikai, gains the upper hand, cutting Hōzukimaru on the shoulder. Hōzukimaru retaliates by releasing his Bankai, using the three weapons separately. When Hōzukimaru's dragon crest finally lights up, signaling full power, he, using his axe-like weapon, unleashes a large amount of spiritual energy. As he and Ikkaku clash, creating a giant crater in the ground, Ikkaku wins using his Shikai. He grin happily when he senses Kenpachi's Reiatsu. After the battle ends and the remaining Zanpakutō Spirits escape, Ikkaku is found by the 4th Division and taken in for treatment.
After recovering, he joins his fellow Shinigami in the Human World to fight Muramasa again. Both he and Hōzukimaru fight the numerous Hollows which arise from Muramasa's unstable form.
Beast Swords arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
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After Muramasa is defeated, Ikkaku resumes his day-to-day activities. When the Gotei 13 learns there are rampant Zanpakutō known as Tōjū running around, due to their Shinigami being unable to force them into submission, Ikkaku assists in dealing with this threat. When it is discovered several items from the 4th Division barracks have gone missing, Ikkaku is recruited to be part of a team consisting of 7th Seat Hanatarō Yamada, Lieutenant Nanao Ise, and Hōzukimaru to investigate and find the culprit in the underground waterways. When Ikkaku asks why he has been called on, Captain Shunsui Kyōraku states it is simply a precaution, due to the possibility of the culprit being a Tōjū. When Hōzukimaru states it might be a good way for the two to kill some time, Ikkaku agrees.
In the sewers, Hanatarō accidentally triggers a trap, creating an explosion and prompting them to take extra precautions. Hanatarō accidentally triggers another trap, releasing a large amount of water which whisks them to a large open chamber. While they argue, Ikkaku, grabbed by a large tentacle, is pulled out of sight. After Hōzukimaru tells the others Ikkaku is fine because he, Ikkaku's Zanpakutō, is still alive, they continue without Ikkaku. After the group finds the thief, they are interrupted by Ikkaku being sent flying down the waterway. Emerging, the Tōjū reveals himself to be a large monster with tentacles. Using his Bankai, Ryūmon Hōzukimaru, Hōzukimaru is knocked away. With Nanao's Kidō rendered ineffective as well, she asks Hanatarō to use his Zanpakutō, but he states it is a healing type and he had left it back above ground, thinking he would not need it.
As the Tōjū grabs Nanao in its tentacles, Hanatarō, going over to Ikkaku, sees the mysterious being stab the latter with a sword. As Ikkaku relishes the feel of being healed, Hanatarō recognizes the sword as his own Zanpakutō, Hisagomaru. As the gauge on the sword fills to the top, a large ray gun, popping out of Hisagomaru's chest, fires a beam at the Tōjū, killing him and rescuing Nanao. Later, after making it back to the surface to report the Tōjū's death, the group, stating Hisagomaru had been the one stealing the items from the 4th Division, realizes he must have gotten lost yet again.
Later, Ikkaku, along with a number of other officers of the Gotei 13 and their Zanpakutō, confront Zabimaru and Senbonzakura when they accidentally destroy the buildings of the SRDI. Like many other Shinigami, Ikkaku has his Zanpakutō return to its original form when Hōzukimaru runs out of Reiryoku from helping defeat the final Tōjū.
Gotei 13 Invading Army arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
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Alongside other members of the Gotei 13, Ikkaku appears in the Human World as they, escaping the Dangai, fend off Kagerōza Inaba. After fending off Inaba and forcing him to retreat, Ikkaku joins other members of the Gotei 13 as they hold a meeting in Ichigo's room. Later, he joins the others for a barbecue. Leading a group of Shinigami to face off against their Reigai in a forest area, Ikkaku fights against Reigai-Ikkaku, the fight being equally matched with their Shikai. Overpowered by his Reigai counterpart, who is not hesitant to use his Bankai, Ikkaku is saved by the intervention of Uryū Ishida, who tends to his severe injuries. After Ichigo defeats a Hollow, Ikkaku and Yumichika ask him how Nozomi Kujō is doing. As Ichigo tells them she seemed a bit tired, Rukia asks why they are interested, but they do not reply. At Ichigo's house, Yumichika, Renji, and Ikkaku tell Ichigo they wish to question her. When Ikkaku states they know too little about her, Ichigo asks if him protecting her is not enough. As Yumichika tells Ichigo the Gotei 13 captains were defeated by Inaba's invasion force, Ikkaku states they will now have to face this same army in Karakura Town.
Later, the Shinigami who stayed in the Human World hold a meeting in Ichigo's room regarding the current status of the captains who are in Soul Society. When Marechiyo Ōmaeda suggests they are all dead, an angry Ikkaku, stating his captain would not have been defeated so easily, reveals he would rather fight the Reigai than protect Nozomi. While she is training with Ichigo and his friends, Ikkaku, watching quietly from the side, is approached by Yumichika. Confronting Nozomi as she is washing her face, he tells her to start taking the training seriously and hit back just as hard as she is getting hit. When Reigai-Kenpachi enters the Human World, Ikkaku confronts him in order to buy time for Nozomi to learn the name of her Shikai, refusing the help of other Shinigami in the process, and is soundly defeated. As Reigai-Kenpachi prepares to cut him down, Nozomi, arriving, uses her powers to blast the Reigai away. Marveling at her power, Ikkaku collapses. As the unfazed Reigai-Kenpachi is engaged by Yumichika, Ichigo retreats with Ikkaku so he can be healed by Orihime. With the arrival of Captain Retsu Unohana, Ikkaku and the others are taken to the Shinigami's temporary base, where she, treating them, states Ikkaku's condition is very uncertain.
Later, Ikkaku, making a near-full recovery, boasts his remaining injuries are nothing. Returning to Soul Society with his fellow Shinigami, he finds Kenpachi fighting his Reigai counterpart. When Ikkaku insists on helping him, Kenpachi tells him to worry about the "small fries". When the Reigai corner the Shinigami, Byakuya Kuchiki realizes the Reigai share the same trait of self-preservation, and will not attack first out of fear of being outnumbered. Hearing this, Ikkaku and Yumichika join Kenpachi, having resolved long ago to die by his side regardless. Later, the resurrected Ōko Yushima, beginning his endgame, uses Renzan Hajokuri to begin destroying Soul Society. Before the Shinigami can act, the Reigai, stepping forward, say they will stop their fellow Mod-Soul's chaotic plan, for their goal has always been to protect the Soul Society in their own way. The Reigai destroy the technique at the cost of their own lives.
The Lost Substitute Shinigami arc
After Ichigo appears to regain his Shinigami powers, he is mocked by Kūgo Ginjō, who states it only looks this way, for he had stolen all of his powers and Rukia would only manage to give him some of her power. Calling him an imbecile, Renji reveals the presence of himself and Ikkaku, Kenpachi, Hitsugaya, and Byakuya, who are all observing the situation. Renji reveals they all, including Ikkaku, gave some of their Reiatsu to the sword, which was created by Urahara to allow Ichigo to regain his old powers once Rukia stabbed him with it. After Giriko Kutsuzawa tells Ichigo he will experience his Fullbring's power through them, Ikkaku says he is being too cocky. When Ichigo states he will take care of them, Ikkaku is surprised at this.
After Yukio Hans Vorarlberna explains the new powers of his Fullbring, he is stabbed in the back by Ikkaku, who, saying Ichigo is being too lax, tells him to not hold back at this stage in the battle. As he says Ichigo should kill them properly, an attack, coming at him from behind, is parried by Hitsugaya, who tells Ikkaku to keep his guard up. As Ikkaku apologizes, Moe Shishigawara attacks. As Ikkaku, dodging, asks his attacker who he is, Yukio uses his Fullbring to bring him and Moe into a chat room. Ikkaku faces off against Moe, who surprises Ikkaku with the devastating power of his Fullbring-enhanced punches, which topple the trees around them. While trying to figure it out how Moe is able to do this despite his appearance, Ikkaku is caught off guard, and Moe, landing a direct blow on his shoulder, dislocates it. While Moe brags about his accomplishment, Ikkaku, flexing his muscles, pops his shoulder back into place.
As the fight continues, Moe breaks the blade off of Hōzukimaru, prompting Ikkaku to, discarding his Zanpakutō, fight Moe barehanded. As Moe lands several seemingly critical hits on Ikkaku, he continues to fight as if unaffected. Both fighters realize Moe's Fullbring gradually runs out of luck as the fight continues, making his hits less effective. As Moe lands one more devastating blow onto Ikkaku's stomach, Ikkaku, grabbing Moe's head, knocks him out with a powerful headbutt, stating he is the luckiest man in the Gotei 13. As Ikkaku begins to leave, his leg is grabbed by Moe, who refuses to give up. Applauding his determination, Ikkaku tells Moe to not pointlessly throw away his life. When Moe states he already gave his life to Shūkurō Tsukishima, Ikkaku, asking if Tsukishima is just as willing to die for Moe, calls him a fool, stating pointlessly throwing his life away for someone who does not respect him is the act of an attention-seeking brat. Ikkaku states if Moe decides to attack, he will strike him down with all his power.
After Yukio shuts down the chatrooms, Ikkaku, meeting with Kenpachi and Yachiru, comments on how Kenpachi came out of the pocket dimension early, only for him to state he was late. As they notice Renji coming out of some bushes, Ikkaku, scolding him for his condition, asks if he defeated his opponent. When Kenpachi asks Ikkaku how he came out of his dimension, Ikkaku tells him after he lectured his opponent for a bit, the latter took off. This angers Kenpachi, who scolds his subordinate for such behavior. Along with the captains, he looks on as Ichigo breaks apart the last remaining pocket dimension with his Bankai. Having fulfilled their mission, Ikkaku and the captains prepare to return to Soul Society.
The Thousand-Year Blood War arc
Along with Yumichika, Ikkaku heads to Rukongai. When Yumichika asks if he heard the news, Ikkaku saying he did, states people at Rukongai cannot vanish on their own, and they should not underestimate their division. As Ikkaku and other members of the 11th Division investigate District 64 of Rukongai, called Sabitsura, where people have been disappearing, Yumichika observes there is nobody left. When Ikkaku states there had been people when he had first got the report, meaning the disappearances are ongoing, Yumichika theorizes they left and went somewhere else, not wanting to stay in a place where people disappear, but Ikkaku, rebuffing this, tells him the SRDI would have known if they had simply moved. As one of their subordinates tells them not even one child can be found, another brings them to a group of footprints which lead to one place before disappearing. As they both notice each set of footprints has one foot bare while the other has a sandal, Yumichika concludes a Hollow is not responsible for the disappearances, and Ikkaku orders them to continue searching for clues.
When the Wandenreich begin their invasion of Soul Society, Ikkaku, along with Yumichika, is among the Shinigami who go out to the battlefield. Later, Ikkaku is notified by Rin Tsubokura Ichigo is currently heading to Soul Society. Later, Ikkaku and other members of the Gotei 13 are surprised to sense Ichigo Kurosaki finally enter Soul Society. After the fighting ends and the Wandenreich withdraw, Ikkaku, brought to the medical compound for treatment, is restrained after restlessly shouting his captain could not have died.
After the Wandenreich invade the Seireitei for the second time, Ikkaku notes it is nighttime. When Yumichika asks him if it has not been night the entire time, Ikkaku states it was only cloudy and notes the shadows outside of the Seireitei are increasing before saying he has a bad feeling. Climbing over the wall behind them, Hisagi expresses surprise upon seeing Ikkaku and Yumichika. When Ikkaku asks him why he came here, Hisagi states he got lost before revealing the Wandenreich spread high-density Reishi all over the Seireitei in order to prevent the Shinigami from finding them. Saying they should not move rashly at night, Ikkaku states they will be doing exactly what the enemy wants if they move around in the shadows as Mask De Masculine appears above them, and beats them into the ground.
Later, Ikkaku and Yumichika notice Ichigo's arrival. Soon afterward, Ikkaku, Yumichika, Hisagi, Renji, Rukia, and Byakuya confront the Sternritter gathered at Ichigo's location. After Bazz-B summons his Spirit Weapon, Ikkaku attacks him, forcing Bazz-B to dodge. After Rukia encases Bazz-B's arm in ice, Ikkaku tells the Sternritter they should die right now if they want the Shinigami to leave, prompting Yumichika to note this does not make very much sense. After all of the combatants are separated by a massive explosion, Ikkaku and Yumichika confront Giselle Gewelle, who cautions them against attacking her. When Yumichika claims she is a man, an angered Giselle summons Bambietta Basterbine's corpse and has her engulf Ikkaku and Yumichika in explosions before proclaiming they will kill all of the Shinigami together.
As Ikkaku and Yumichika repeatedly dodge explosions, Ikkaku wonders how Bambietta keeps throwing bombs without running out, prompting Yumichika to point out that she is causing things to explode by touching them. When Ikkaku states this is the same thing, Yumichika states this means he cannot repel them with Hōzukimaru. Ikkaku decides to attack her head-on, prompting Yumichika to back him up by using Hadō #57. Daichi Tenyō, which sends several chucks of rock flying at Bambietta. Ikkaku stabs Bambietta, but she merely grabs his face, only for Yumichika to appear and cut her arm off. As Giselle explains how Bambietta cannot die because she is already dead, Bambietta blasts Ikkaku and Yumichika away. as Giselle reveals that she killed Bambietta to turn her into a zombie, Mayuri Kurotsuchi arrives to take over the fight.
Ikkaku notes he cannot see Mayuri, but knows him from his voice. Later, when Giselle summons several zombified Shinigami, a shocked Ikkaku curses her. As Mayuri brings out four zombified Arrancar in response to this, Ikkaku recognizes Luppi Antenor among them, and tries to calm Yumichika down when the latter is riled up by Charlotte Chuhlhourne. When the Arrancar begin attacking the zombified Shinigami, Ikkaku tells them to wait, only for Mayuri to state how those who go against the Seireitei must die before pointing out how those are Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto's words.
When a zombified Hitsugaya arrives, Ikkaku recognizes him and states that he thought almost all of Hitsugaya's Reiatsu was gone. When Hitsugaya prepares to attack, Yumichika attempts to use Bakudō, only for Ikkaku to proclaim he cannot stop this with Kidō and send Yumichika flying back with a blow from Hōzukimaru. Hitsugaya unleashes a wave of ice, which freezes Ikkaku's right leg. As Ikkaku notes this is a small price to pay for surviving that attack, Hitsugaya stabs him through the chest and slashes his back before attacking again, only for Yumichika to intercept the slash.
Later, Ikkaku is brought to Urahara's laboratory and healed by Jūshirō Ukitake. When Kenpachi emerges from the medical room, Ikkaku expresses surprise at him being able to move. When Nanao confronts Kenpachi over his desire to search for Yachiru, Ikkaku watches nervously from the sidelines. After Kenpachi agrees to leave the search for his lieutenant to the rest of the 11th Division, Urahara gives Shinji a sphere to charge with his Reiatsu.
After the death of the Soul King, when the worlds start to crumble, Ikkaku watches as Ukitake uses Kamikake to call upon the power of Mimihagi and take the Soul King's place. Later, when Yhwach absorbs Mimihagi and transforms into a swarm of black creatures that invade the Seireitei, Ikkaku, alongside Yumichika and Hisagi, activates his Shikai and begins fighting them off, but soon notes that there is no end to them.
Powers & Abilities
Master Swordsman: Despite being ranked as the 3rd seat officer in his division, his rank does not reflect his fighting abilities, which are of near-captain level. According to Yumichika Ayasegawa, Ikkaku is the 2nd strongest man in the 11th Division. He uses a fighting style noted to be rough, but powerful, and complex movements which allow him to lunge with his sword from the left and defend with his sheath at the right, though he is ambidextrous and can switch between the two techniques. Ikkaku commonly fights with his sword held in a normal grip and the sheath held in reverse grip, showing his mastery of the two variations of sword-fighting. He uses misdirection in his attacks, and even though doing so allows for holes in his defense, he can make up for it with surprise attacks. His mastery of this skill is great enough for Renji Abarai to beg Ikkaku to train him.
Naginatajutsu Master: Ikkaku's Zanpakutō is a naginata-type weapon while in Shikai. Ikkaku uses it perfectly against other sword-type weapons.
Bōjutsu Master: Though Ikkaku's Zanpakutō is a naginata-type weapon while in Shikai, it can split apart into a three-sectioned staff and back into a naginata. While in its split form, he is highly proficient in the use of techniques similar in use to that of bo to take advantage of its versatility.
Hakuda Expert: Before he became a Shinigami, Ikkaku was always roaming around looking for fights. Most opponents did not have swords, so he frequently fought barehanded. He won against everyone he fought, and upon seeing his strength, most people fled from him. When Moe broke his Zanpakutō, Ikkaku resorted to fighting unarmed, and swiftly defeated the Fullbringer.
Shunpo Practitioner: Ikkaku uses Shunpo frequently, though he only uses it to keep up with stronger opponents so he can fight more.
High Spiritual Power: Though only a 3rd Seat, Ikkaku boasts a high spiritual power, and has the spiritual power level of a lieutenant of the Gotei 13. His spiritual energy is red.
Enhanced Strength: Ikkaku possesses a high level of strength. He blocked a punch from the ArrancarEdrad Liones in his released state, even while severely injured. Ikkaku sent Hōzukimaru flying several meters away and through solid rock with a single attack. Several of his opponents have commented on the strength of his blows. His muscle control is highly developed, for after having a shoulder dislocated, he reset it by flexing his muscles. He is strong enough to shatter the ground with a single attack.
Enhanced Endurance: Ikkaku has an incredibly high level of endurance, able to ignore most injuries without noticeably affecting his performance. During his fight against Edrad, despite taking great injuries, he still fought on, used his Bankai, and ultimately defeated the Arrancar. During his fight against Moe Shishigawara, even after taking several critical hits to the point of coughing up blood, he still fought on and defeated Moe.
Hōzukimaru (鬼灯丸, Demon Light): Though Hōzukimaru resembles an ordinary katana, its hilt is hollow to store a small vial of healing ointment, which Ikkaku can access by removing the hilt's pummel. Its tsuba is an oval, with what look like three small teardrops in relief on both the top and bottom end. Rarely wearing it at his side like most Shinigami, Ikkaku usually carries Hōzukimaru's sealed form in his hand to enable him to quickly access it in battle, and wields its sheath in his other hand to serve as a secondary weapon.
Shikai: Its Shikai command is "Grow" (延びろ, nobiro; "Extend" in the English version). The Shikai of Hōzukimaru is unusual in that Ikkaku slams its hilt (and sometimes its pommel) into its sheath to activate it when saying the command phrase. Once released, Hōzukimaru takes on the form of what initially appears to be a Kikuchi Yari (spear) with a wax wood shaft. The pommel has a red horsehair tassel. While able to deliver powerful blows, it is not very durable, and tends to break against particularly strong strikes.
Shikai Special Ability: Ikkaku uses the command "Split" (裂けろ, sakero; "Split apart" in the English dub) to separate his naginata into its true form, which is a Sansetsukon (三節棍, Three Sectional Staff), after which the sections can independently reconnect and separate again at will. This special ability surprises his opponents when they first attack. These chains can extend a fair length, allowing Ikkaku to swing his weapon like a flail for mid-range attacks.
Bankai: Ryūmon Hōzukimaru (龍紋鬼灯丸, Dragon Crest Demon Light): To activate it during his battle with Edrad, Ikkaku slams the two broken pieces of his Shikai back into the spear-form and says Bankai. Its two main weapons are a Chinese Monk's spade and a standard guandao. Both have a traditional horsehair tassel at the hilt, and a long, cylindrical weight for a pommel. The pommels are connected by a heavy chain to the center section, which resembles an axe blade, with a parallel handle forged into the blunt end and a dragon crest on one side of the blade. Ikkaku usually holds one blade in each hand and lets the central portion float behind him, though he will occasionally spin the entire configuration about using the center handle as a pivot. According to Mayuri Kurotsuchi, it is considerably weaker after having been destroyed by Edrad.
Bankai Special Ability: Ikkaku's Bankai, like his Shikai, is quite unusual. Aside from the increase in power, his Bankai does not offer any special abilities or special defensive properties, but releases some Reiatsu, which starts to grow in strength. Ikkaku treats Hōzukimaru different than other Bankai users treat their Zanpakutō, for they just let theirs slumber and use it when they want to do Bankai. If he forces it to awaken suddenly, cutting the enemy and not getting cut becomes a lot harder to handle than it should be, so his Bankai gets increasingly more powerful as the fight drags on. After he activates his Bankai, Ikkaku's Reiatsu rises as the dragon crest slowly fills with crimson dye. It fills faster when he spins Ryūmon Hōzukimaru with the center handle. Ikkaku states his Zanpakutō is very lazy in battle and needs to be woken up through causing or receiving injury. When the crest is completely filled, Ryūmon Hōzukimaru is at its full power. The force of unleashing so much power can leave his Zanpakutō's edge brittle under excessive stress.
(To Ichigo Kurosaki) "Ichigo, is it? That's a nice name. Men with the word Ichi in their names are often powerful and talented."
(To Ichigo Kurosaki) "I just can't understand. Even though there's a fair amount of distance between us, when two people are engaged in a fight, only a rookie would remove a hand from his sword."
(To Ichigo Kurosaki) "What are you talking about? We're still fighting! One of us will die before it's over! I, Ikkaku Madarame, 3rd Seat of Zaraki's Division, will never walk away from a fight like a coward!"
(To Ichigo Kurosaki) "Damn... How could I not die after losing so much blood! What a shame to get saved by the enemy. Damn, if only I could move, I would kill you right now!"
(To Tetsuzaemon Iba) "I was never interested in Kidō in the first place. Unlike you, my mom didn't make me a do-it-all kind of guy at birth."
(To Renji Abarai) "Idiot. I told you long ago when I taught you how to fight, didn't I? That I have no intention of telling anyone besides you and Yumichika, that I have Bankai. If it got out that I can use Bankai, there'd be others besides you telling me to become a captain. I have no intention of becoming a captain. Becoming a captain would mean that I can't fight under Captain Zaraki. If you wish to surpass Captain Byakuya Kuchiki, then I only have one wish. To fight and die under that man's command."
(To Edrad Liones) "You sure have a different way of getting down to business. 'To announce your name and rank' is a custom taught to us when we learn how to fight. It's known as the last courtesy. If a person dies in combat, at least you get to know the name of the one that brought death to you. Third Seat of Zaraki's Division, Ikkaku Madarame. As for the lowlifes who ignore this etiquette, I simply kill them after they know who did them in."
(To Edrad Liones) "Cut the flattery. You can stop your admiration. It's only natural to show our true levels of Reiatsu. Whether it is worthy of praise is something you will learn after you die."
(To Hōzukimaru) "What you said about me before...you're right, I am pretty stubborn. But still, I'll stick to the way I do things. I'll fight the way I always do and still tear you apart because when you get down to it, a man's not a man if he can't be himself in battle!"
(To Ichigo Kurosaki) "You're too soft, Ichigo. You really think you're gonna win a fight like this without taking any lives? Finish them off properly! That's how you show respect to the enemy who started this battle."
(To Moe Shishigawara) "No man's life is worth more than another! If you're gonna put your life on the line, you do it as equals! I don't care if you're brothers, or master and apprentice, or whatever! You should only die for a guy who'd die for you! There's nothing honorable about throwing your life away as though it's nothing! That's just showing off like a kid!"
↑ 1.01.11.2Bleach Official Character Book Souls, page 116