Ever since Bleach aired Ichigo Bankai forms has always been the talk amongst fans and haters alike.
Ichigo bankai forms were always used to compare his power level amongst his fellow Bleach character as well as from other anime. This has led to many heated battle amongst fans on various forums, social media platforms and discord servers.
What exactly are the multiple forms of Ichigo bankai?
Ichigo’s bankai are not like stages within his base bankai. They are simply different due to Ichigo’s weird genes, method to use Reiatsu to fight and lineage. To get a better insight, let’s understand his bankai’s one by one.
1. Ichigo Bankai (Without Hollow Powers)
This bankai was first revealed by Ichigo in his fight against Byakuya during the Soul Society/ Rukia rescue arc. Unable to match Byakuya’s speed in his Shikai form Ichigo gave us one of the most iconic moments in Anime history.
While training to achieve this Bankai, Ichigo, for the first time met with Zangetsu. The old man, we are all fond of.
However, this old man is nothing but a mere few percentage of Ichigo’s actual powers. Also, he exists within Ichigo all thanks to nobody but Aizen.
Confused? How was Aizen able to give Ichigo his powers? Then wait for it, I will explain it in detail ahead.
This bankai although fast does not have enough fire power. It could barely win against Byakuya who was toying with Ichigo. It failed to kill a certain “Jaguar” and it also failed to successfully defeat Ulquoirra.
Though, Ichigo’s hollow powers took over and ultimately beat him to the point where he couldn’t regenerate. You can’t call that a clear win.
So despite its incredible speed it is still the weakest Ichigo Bankai.
2. Ichigo Bankai with Fullbring Powers
After Ichigo lost his powers after using Mugetsu against Aizen, he turned desperate to fight and protect people. This desperation led him to Ginjo who taught him how to use Fullbring powers.
Fullbring powers help humans whose parents have survived Hollow attacks before to be able to manipulate souls of all things in existence. For eg, chair, table, tea, water, air etc. Using these souls they can tap into the powers of the hollows their parents survived from.
Now which parent of Ichigo survived a hollow attack I’ll tell you later on. But he does activate his Fullbring powers.
Later on when it is revealed that Ginjo is the real culprit and wanted to steal Ichigo’s powers and attack soul-society. The captains of gotei 13 and Rukia and Renji transfer some of their powers to Ichigo and the latter achieves a new form of Shinigami powers.
In this his Bankai sword isn’t a straight long sword but is curved and has slight perforation for dealing more damage, if stabbed and pulled.
Also, his reiatsu reaches a new heights.
3. Actual Ichigo Bankai
Earlier I mentioned that Aizen was able to give Ichigo his powers. Here’s the explanation for it. Please be warned that there are heavy spoilers ahead. If you want to wait for TYBW arc anime to air then do not read ahead.
So when Isshin Shiba, Ichigo’s father, Captain of the 10th Division, was investigating Hollowfication of Shinigami’s on earth, he was ambushed by ‘Black’ a Hollow created by Aizen. The ambush left Isshin unable to use his Bankai thus being unable to kill the Hollow himself.
However, Ichigo’s mother, Masaki Kurosaki, who was a pure blood royal quincy, helped Isshin to beat the Hollow. Although, during the fight, Masaki got bit by the hollow leaving remnants of itself inside Masaki. Which left Masaki on the brink of death,
To save her from dying Isshin sacrificed his Shinigami powers and later on married her and gave birth to Ichigo. Who thanks to his parents lineage and Aizen’s interference had powers of all 3 major beings in the Bleach-verse viz. Shinigami, Quincy and Hollow since birth.
In addition to his training as a Fullbringer, he has those powers as well.
So when Ichigo finally becomes aware of his true lineage and Aizen’s plan, he gets his real Asauchi i.e real Zanpakutou. Which is a dual sword similar to Shunsui Kyoraku and Jushiro Ukitake.
The big sword is Ichigo’s Hollow powers which were locked away by the quincy powers in him i.e the Zangetsu we saw in the anime. This Zangetsu is none other than Yhwach from 1000 years ago.
He didn’t want Ichigo to use his hollow powers and be strong enough to defeat the quincies in the future.
Now coming back to Ichigo bankai, to activate it he needs to go into this new mode where he gains this awesome looking horn similar to his vasto lorde form when he fought Ulquoirra.
This new mode is called the ‘Horn Of Salvation‘. This is the form which Aizen and Ulquoirra wanted to achieve beyond Hollowfication. Thus, achieving Aizen’s dream of making a perfect being.
In this form, Ichigo brings his swords together and fuses them to reveal a huge white and black sword with a chain joining the hilt and the top of the sword.
In his true bankai form, Ichigo’s speed outmatches anything we have ever seen before. And Yhwach who has absorbed God and can change reality at any point deemed it dangerous enough to break it as soon as he saw it.
This is enough to prove how strong Ichigo really is. The new sword is designed to take down big foes and is huge enough to slice through anything.
It kinda reminds of huge blades used by Ikkaku Madarame in his bankai form.
What do you think which Ichigo Bankai form and design you like the best? Also, if you want to watch anime like Bleach then click here. Let us know in the comments.
Image Copyrights: @VIZ MEDIA/Bleach Project/Tite Kubo