Bleach may not have been able to see its anime through to an end, but Tite Kubo made sure Ichigo Kurosaki got closure in the manga. After all, the Soul Reaper learned some huge secrets about his powers just before the series wrapped, and a new piece of art is bringing up the change to fans.
For those unaware, Bleach did make a little comeback this month. Kubo stepped back into the spotlight to release Bleach JET, a book filled with unseen art from the shonen title. It was there fans got a brand-new look at Ichigo, and the never-before-seen artwork shows off his final shikai.
So, if you missed Ichigo’s famous Zapakuto from the ‘Soul Society’ arc, you best look away. The blade is long gone these days, and Kubo isn’t afraid to show it.
As you can see above, the new artwork sees Ichigo in his altered Soul Reaper robes, and the outfit has different armor than anime fans are used to seeing. There are two shoulder blades protecting Ichigo’s upper arms with these robes, and his waist is draped with a torn white fabric.
Of course, Ichigo’s shikai looks pretty different as well. When the Soul Reaper used to unlock his famous Zanpakuto, it turned into a single large blade with a distinct slope. Its tapered handle was wrapped in white cloth, and Ichigo was able to wield the massive weapon with ease. However, Ichigo’s actual shikai replaces that sword with one similar to it, and the shake-up gives the hero a second sword to wield for fun.
This artwork by Kubo shows Ichigo holding his sword out before him, and the black blade is shaped like his famous one. The sword is a bit shorter than the one Ichigo wielded for most of Bleach, but he makes up for it with this shikai’s second blade. The shorter sword isn’t seen fully in this sketch, but it can be seen in Ichigo’s other hand. Its enclosed handle is covered in white bandages, and the sword has a black blade which mirrors the larger sword Ichigo is versed in fighting with.
So, which of Ichigo's Shikai do you prefer...? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics and anime!
Bleach was first created by Tite Kubo for Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump, running from 2001 to 2016. The series follows the young delinquent Ichigo Kurosaki, who has the ability to see spirits. He soon obtains the power of a Soul Reaper - one meant to usher lost souls to the afterlife - and now has the duty to defend the living world from monstrous dark spirits known as Hollows.