Bleach: Ichigo's Zanpakto Isn't Who He Says He Is

Bleach remains one of the anime industry's most popular series, and it continues to gain fans even after ending. Studio Pierrot brought Bleach to a close a couple years back, leaving anime-only fans to wonder what happens to Ichigo Kurosaki. Tite Kubo's manga continued to explore the Substitute Soul Reaper's powers after the anime's end, but plenty of fans are still left in the dark about Bleach's most shocking revelations.

So, it's not surprising to know there are Bleach fans who are unaware of Ichigo's surprising Zanpakuto twist.

If you are a fan of the Bleach manga, then you are familiar with the plot twist. Kubo's final arc of the manga revealed a shocking secret to fans about Ichigo's so-called Zanpakuto spirit named Zangetsu. The old man was the one who helped Ichigo achieve Bankai and aided him in training his Soul Reaper gifts over the years.

However, Old Man Zangetsu is not Ichigo's Zanpakuto - not by a long shot.

The "Thousand-Year Blood War' arc revealed Zangetsu wasn't Ichigo's real Zanpakuto. Ichigo enters his inner-world to confront the old man, and Zangetsu confirms he has nothing to do with Soul Reaper powers; Instead, the old man is the physical manifestation of Ichigo's Quincy powers which he got from his mother.

During the conversation, the old man admits he bears the appearance of Yhwach, a Quincy leader whom Ichigo disdains. Still using the name Zangetsu, the man then tells Ichigo he hid his true identity to sabotage the boy on purpose; The Quincy race was nearly destroyed by Soul Reapers, and Zangetsu felt he would have to kill Ichigo if he took up such a title. However, Zangetsu realized Ichigo could never be like the Soul Reaper who tested the Quincy, and the old man let himself fade away from existence so Ichigo could meet his true Zanpakuto.

With Old Man Zangetsu gone, Ichigo learns that his so-called Inner Hollow is actually his true Zanpakuto. The crazed creature is a mixed of Ichigo's Soul Reaper powers and a Hollow which his mother passed down to him at his brith. The entity is said to represent Ichigo's most basic instincts, and the Zanpakuto gives Ichigo a new dual-blade weapon.

You can read Viz Media's synopsis of Bleach below:

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"Ichigo Kurosaki never asked for the ability to see ghosts—he was born with the gift. When his family is attacked by a Hollow—a malevolent lost soul—Ichigo becomes a Soul Reaper, dedicating his life to protecting the innocent and helping the tortured spirits themselves find peace."

ichigo zanpakuto zangetsu

Bleach is author Tite Kubo's second title. Kubo made his debut with ZOMBIEPOWDER., a four-volume series for Weekly Shonen Jump. To date, Bleach has been translated into numerous languages and has also inspired an animated TV series that began airing in Japan in 2004. Beginning its serialization in 2001, Bleach is still a mainstay in the pages of Weekly Shonen Jump. In 2005, Bleach was awarded the prestigious Shogakukan Manga Award in the shonen (boys) category.