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Bleach 542 – Two Is Better Than One »« Bleach 540 – You Know Nothing Ichigo

Bleach 451 – The Blade and I

A lot of people have pointed out the reconning that was done for this arc, and I don’t think anybody seriously believes Kubo planned this out ten years ago from the very beginnings of the series. That said, I think it was done relatively well enough to seem plausible, and I don’t find it to be a huge distraction. It was written so that a lot of things lined up and there are no glaring inconsistencies, but at the same time there was no foreshadowing of this twist at all before this arc and Zangetsu was treated as the real zanpakutou all along, including all of the times he has trained and gone into his inner world, such as for his bankai and final Getsuga Tenshou. The only real explanation I can see for this is simply that he was a damn good imposter.

As Ichigo confronts him, he explains that he is actually a manifestation of Ichigo’s quincy powers (hence the resemblance to Yhwach), and that he’s been suppressing Ichigo’s shinigami powers in an attempt to save him from Yhwach himself. Ichigo’s inner hollow has been responsible for saving him a couple times too, and contributes to a good portion of his power. In an unfortunately quick turn of events quincy Zangetsu decides that it is time to say goodbye as he dissolves into a sword in the shape of a flaming cross. Whatever his new zanpakutou is going to look like, I’m quite excited at seeing what new abilities he will have, as he is implied to be much, much stronger now without the restraints on his powers. Just as I was wondering about how Ichigo could possibly get stronger after all the power-ups he’s received before, Kubo manages to outdo himself yet again. However, I am a bit sad to see the old man go, especially after he shed a single tear at the very end. It’s not clear what all this means for Ichigo’s quincy abilities, but it is possible that he will remain with Ichigo in some other form.

June 13, 2013 at 10:18 pm
  • June 13, 2013 at 10:21 pmTaiyo

    So… was there any point in him pretending he only had 1 arm?

    • June 13, 2013 at 11:22 pmPsithief

      His hidden arm was the one holding (back) the real Zangetsu all this time.

      Is that a Zanpaktou in your coat or are you just…

      • June 14, 2013 at 4:24 amCybersteel

        or in his pants

    • June 15, 2013 at 8:19 amGradius

      You see his other arm a bunch of times. He just emotes with only one. More notably “Tensa Zangetsu” always used both arms once he summoned his sword.

  • June 13, 2013 at 10:22 pmGekokujou

    Maybe Ichigo will be able to access his old Zangetsu somewhere down the track and dual-wield. That’d be pretty wizard.

    • June 14, 2013 at 6:31 amEdios

      i see what you did there

    • June 14, 2013 at 7:09 amAldebaran

      Now is clear, why quincies couldn’t steal Ichigo’s bankai, because it wasn’t really a bankai, but a quincy powers!

    • June 14, 2013 at 11:00 amsortedevaras

      “pretty vizard”

    • June 19, 2013 at 3:48 amPsithief

      I just read #542 and you totally called it. Uh, except it happened immediately. Not bad!

      • June 20, 2013 at 6:45 pmGekokujou

        Damn straight, but it happened much quicker than I was thinking. I think a certain mangaka may have read my comment lol.

      • June 20, 2013 at 8:54 pmGekokujou

        P.S. Thanks for remembering my comment.

  • June 13, 2013 at 10:33 pmNadester

    With the sword being that bright, I think I finally know why Zangetsu wears shades.

  • June 13, 2013 at 10:35 pmZen

    What I want to see is some new quincy-based reiryoku manipulation powers in addition to a powered up getsuga and a new hollow mask…

    • June 14, 2013 at 11:36 amDistortion

      I want to see new moves …

  • June 13, 2013 at 10:39 pmK

    Huh… I’m a bit slow on the uptake but… Final Getsuga Tensho raelly is somewhat the same as quincy’s final form…..

    • June 13, 2013 at 11:01 pmL002

      It is not likely that it derived from Ichigo’s quincy blood since Isshin’s Engetsu can do the same.

      On the side note, will Ichigo lose his quincy powers? I would like him to keep them since it seems to be a nice keepsake from his mother. Though it can be doubtful since Juha Bach did expected Ichigo to keep them.

      Well I hope we will see the Real Zangetsu, both blade and person, next chapter. Though I am curious if Shirosaki was the real Zangetsu. To be frank, I would like the new Zangetsu to be a woman but since we saw Asuichi then the chances of that are low.

  • June 13, 2013 at 10:42 pmJam

    Seems somewhat possible this could have been planned


    • June 13, 2013 at 11:22 pmschwegburt

      It’s probably like a lot of things writers do. They have an idea about where the plot will go but it goes through iterations during the process and details may change.

      I know that Kubo said he knew Isshin was a Shinigami from the pilot episode and that Hirako’s face actually showed up in the first chapter’s cover. Also remember after the fight with Grand Fisher you saw Iceringer and Deeroy talking about removing GF’s mask. Or that Ichigo has manifested those spirit threads several times.

      Kubo has had a lot of details floating around for a while. Whether or not he throws them into the air to flesh out for later or actually writes with a clear intent for the narratives future . . well that’s the mystery there. I do think his short term pacing and writing is rough enough that his actual plans may come across as ass pulls. He has said consistency isn’t one of his major strengths.

      • June 14, 2013 at 12:46 amKinza Datteri

        500 chapters x 20 pages x ~4 panels = 40000 panels.

        With enough patience you will be able to find rudiments to every potential story that unfolds with the time. Ultimately, it doesn’t even really matter where the story goes. What’s important is how long will the trip take. The longer, the better from Kubo’s point of view.

    • June 14, 2013 at 2:01 amDa5id

      That doesn’t look like set-up to me. I mean, every Soul Reaper’s had a problem hearing their Zanpakuto’s name when first meeting them (Hitsugaya for example) and it’s fair to say that all the Vizard have inner Hollows too.

      This whole Zangestu is Juha Bach just seems sort of random.

      • June 14, 2013 at 3:08 amNUE

        When you said ” every Soul Reaper” do you mean every soul reaper or just those two (Ichigo and Hitsugaya), because every Soul Reaper experience should not be judged to be the same as theirs without further information. And Ichigo is special. He is a human born with Soul Reaper, Quincy, and Hollow in his DNA. His Quincy power suppress his hollow-powered zanpakuto to make sure he doesn’t become a real Soul Reaper. The Vizards were once real Soul Reapers with real zanpakuto before they were mutated (by Aizen) to have inner Hollows, but no inner Quincys.


      • June 14, 2013 at 4:34 amDa5id

        Considering that the Zanpakuto process requires you to learn their name first, it’s confirmed that every single Soul Reaper has to go through that, including the ones that would become Visoreds, meaning they each have inner Zanpakuto AND Inner Hollows, like Ichigo. It’s more than likely that every single other Visored has this same exact situation going on in their heads.

        The next pic is the “using the spirits in the air to float” thing. EVERY Soul Reaper uses that, as well as Arrancars. They used it all throughout the Fake Karakura fight. There’s nothing special about it.

        Then there’s Hollow-Ichigo acting like his sword and having a replica of it. Well, of course he would because, like Zangetsu, he is a part of Ichigo.

        Next thing, Kisuke and Tesai being concerned about the Hollow Mask. It’s because he’s another Vizored and they don’t exactly want another one of those floating around. Has nothing to do with Quincies whatsoever.

        “Ability to stop your wound from bleeding”? Why WOULDN’T the source of your spiritual power be able to stop that? Not that it actually works, seeing as this is a shonen manga, and characters have 1000x the amount of blood the normal human body does.

        Zangetsu absorbing Hollow-Ichigo? They’re the same entity, of course they’d be able to absorb each other.

        And of course Ichigo is “special”, he’s the main character. The main character in a shonen manga almost always gets a bunch of arbitrary power ups before the story finishes.

        So yes, with the “proof” (aka conjecture) above, I will say that this twist is random as all hell.

      • June 15, 2013 at 8:22 amGradius

        The Hitsugaya bonus chapter has pretty much been invalidated as any kind of canon now though. Zanpaktou are born from asauchi, this is now the canon explaination (otherwise Ichigo’s zanpaktou wouldn’t be the hollow). So Hitsugaya wouldn’t be able to hear his sword before he got his sword.

      • June 15, 2013 at 5:14 pmCaptain Sunshine

        And that’s called a retcon.

    • June 14, 2013 at 2:02 amMisk

      I have a friend who has been editing at Bleach wikia for quite a lot years and when I questioned whether Kubo has planned this all along, he said that Kubo himself had stated that he never planned far ahead, he basically writes as he goes… So yeah.

      • June 14, 2013 at 3:36 amNUE

        That was an interview, and how do celebs reply to interview questions? With interview answers, which are fake truths, but not lies.

      • June 14, 2013 at 3:54 amDa5id

        Fake truths is the exact definition of a lie.

      • June 14, 2013 at 5:58 amKandur

        Some people just want to believe that Kubo wings everything. They feel better that way, or something.

        I have read that interview too. When asked if he forgets things, he replied that he often rereads old volumes to not forget anything. That is literally the opposite of winging it.

      • June 14, 2013 at 6:54 amMisk

        Yeah, but that doesn’t mean he has planned for Zangetsu to be a fake from the start, right? I think the truth is somewhere inbetween…

      • June 14, 2013 at 9:48 amLogan

        DOES IT FUCKING MATTER if Kubo had this planned from the start or not?

        We get the privilege of reading a chapter of a story every week or so. Imagine if he wrote one giant book manga, then no one would question if everything is well intertwined form the very start. Look at Harry potter, is it plausible even the slightest that HP being the last hucrox or whatever was a product of extensive trials and errors to see what fitted best with the story so far.

        All and all, are we forgetting that its a good enough story to care about, and we should enjoy it as it is. And not questions the artist’s methods of getting from point A to point B, we got there. we ARE there. Enjoy it. the past is PAST.

      • June 14, 2013 at 10:10 amsortedevaras

        The only thing that matters is that Aizen had this planned from the start.

      • June 14, 2013 at 10:58 amCaptain Sunshine

        I don’t think anyone wants to think that Kubo made this up on the fly.

        It’s just that this sort of plot development felt like it came out of nowhere just to give Ichigo Quincy powers and set him up as “The Chosen One”.

    • June 15, 2013 at 1:37 amHrmmmm

      I want to believe!

      • June 15, 2013 at 10:52 pmNUE

        Then believe. Because it is RIGHT.

  • June 13, 2013 at 10:44 pmDa5id

    So…does that mean all other Quincy have inner Quincy power people? Or is this something that only Ichigo has because he’s the main character?

    • June 13, 2013 at 10:58 pmZen

      Maybe technically they all do but only Ichigo can see his because only shinigami can enter into the spirit-space where they reside…

    • June 13, 2013 at 11:04 pmdiaz

      Probably only Ichigo has it because of the inner worlds that shinigami have, so his quincy powers can manifest in that world.

    • June 14, 2013 at 10:11 amsortedevaras

      Would be more apt to say they all have a inner-Yhwach hanging out inside them right?

  • June 13, 2013 at 10:45 pmOOOO I see

    Well I think its plausible if you just think of final getsuga tensho as quincy final form

    • June 14, 2013 at 12:03 amPsithief

      Isshin knew about it, so it begs the question: What’s Shiba family influence and what’s Quincy influence?

      At first it seemed Ichigo’s Getsuga Tenshou was just a big Quincy arrow, and his bankai was tiny because Quincy focus reishi instead of just emanating it like a sun.

      Then we saw Isshin call ‘Getsuga Tenshou’ and it all went very murky again. It would be cool to see Isshin fight some more, though!

  • June 13, 2013 at 10:58 pmlune

    From the beginning he has always help Ichigo with his battles & yes not once did Ichigo lead astray by him! I think he is like a guardian Ichigo looking out him & an adviser in a way. Sad that he had to go but he new he has to I think if he stick around Ichigo might some conflict so he did for he sake though it would have been nice to know his real name…

  • June 13, 2013 at 11:19 pmPsithief

    I liked it. We now know that every time Ichigo makes that face, his inner world is crumbling to dust.

    Now that the series is drawing to a close, it’s time to finally drop the baggage Ichigo’s been saddled with as the plot demands. We’re going to see Ichigo with a consistent power level, and that’s exactly how the series should end.

    • Enemy identified: check
    • Reason to fight: check
    • A real Asauchi: check
    • Hollow, Quincy, Shinigami powers in harmony: check
    • Hollow, Quincy, Shinigami powers synergising: soon?

    Prediction time!
    I get the impression that the real Zangetsu is fire, but white-fire.
    White like the moon, and the hollow. Fire like the Shiba family’s elemental zanpaktou.

    I don’t think there will be much personality in the real Zangetsu, I think the Hollow spirit has essentially merged with it, while the Quincy spirit (being directly opposed to Shinigami) never can.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    • June 14, 2013 at 9:29 pmsortedevaras

      You forget a female has to be kidnapped for this to kick off, until that happens we are in the pre-show.

  • June 13, 2013 at 11:26 pmDarkconvoy

    If Ichigo’s power as a shinigami was suppressed all this time, wonder what does it say to his potential? Also, wonder what the people who Ichigo has defeated will feel if they were defeated with Ichigo’s shinigami powers was suppressed all this time…..

    • June 13, 2013 at 11:53 pmPsithief

      I suppose it shows that Aizen’s meddling was really worth the effort that he put in.

      If Ichigo knew what he was doing he’d be at his peak all the time. That, of course, would not make for a good story by anyone’s standards. This is not a story about Superman.

      At least the people that Ichigo defeated can still feel. The ones Zaraki defeated don’t get to feel anymore. :D

  • June 14, 2013 at 12:22 amZero Hour 17

    I can’t wait to see the new zanpakuto and outfit. It also begs the question of what his “bankai” actually was and it explains why it couldn’t be stolen. Really hope it stays a sword though. Bows are cool, but I just can’t see Ichigo using one(especially when his main oponent uses a sword. Need them clash shots lol)

    I swear if they go to someone else next chapter before showing the Zanpakuto I am going to be so pissed.

    • June 14, 2013 at 7:42 amEbisu

      I think it could not be stolen because inner Juha Bach was holding to it. Another possibility is that they can’t steal hollow-based bankai. I think nobody has tried to steal a Vizard’s bankai, though I don’t know how the stealing process goes. Still a secret.

      • June 14, 2013 at 4:13 pmZero Hour 17

        It obviously wasn’t a Bankai at all since his Zangetsu wasn’t a real Zanpakuto

  • June 14, 2013 at 1:35 amEamonX

    Tite Kubo, master of retcon and making shit up as he goes along.

  • June 14, 2013 at 2:03 amMisk

    So the inner hollow didn’t joke back then when he claimed that he was Zangetsu?

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  • June 14, 2013 at 5:22 amCelecia01

    Sad to see Zangetsu go, he’s been a cool character over the years. I personally hope that the flaming outline we saw in this chapter isn’t what Ichigo’s new sword looks like. To me it just seems to be a little stereotypical for a sword design and doesn’t look like a great deal of though went into it, but hey, I’ll just have to wait and see what the final product is.

    As for new abilities, I think we can guess what to expect from a white sword:

    1) White Getsuga Tenshou
    2) Large White Gestuga Tenshou
    3) Final Large White Getsuga Tenshou
    4) Powered up Bankai White Getsuga Tenshou (which will be equally useless against enemies).

    Here’s hoping Kubo is a tad more original this time. Ichigo’s ability is to store up power and release it, but there are other things he could do with it instead of firing useless Getsuga’s all over the place. Can’t wait to see the results next chapter!

    • June 14, 2013 at 8:10 amGermanguy

      perhaps his Shinigami’s attack get a bit Mixed with the Attack Styles of the Quincy’s. Perhaps he can bend his Sword to a Bow to shoot Arrows or so…

  • June 14, 2013 at 6:29 amEdios

    does anyone else not notice title is wrong? it’s 541 not 451 lolz

  • June 14, 2013 at 7:06 amAldebaran

    Now is clear, why quincies couldn’t steal Ichigo’s bankai, because it wasn’t really a bankai, but a quincy powers!

  • June 14, 2013 at 7:15 amMagoiichi

    I kinda teared up a little at the end ;/

  • June 14, 2013 at 7:55 amanon

    Sooo 541 chapters later, we have yet to see the MC’s real power….?

  • June 14, 2013 at 8:06 amGermanguy

    Well we saw a glimpse of Ichigos real power, when he slain Mendos Grande, with (how was the name of the Quincy friend?) aside, and he used to much Power, that his Sword began to melt or something. So the Quincy Boy saved him while he used his Raw Power to fire very Big Arrows into the Sky, to bring down his raging Power. Since this Point on, i know Ichigo throttle was never full opened again

    • June 14, 2013 at 8:07 amGermanguy

      Perhaps it was there, when Zangestsu restrict Ichigos Power, for his own Good

    • June 14, 2013 at 8:09 amGermanguy

      oh, i forgotten the Fight when he turns into Super Hollow, when he was near Dead. And Inoue cried over him, so he come back as Super Hollow Guardian

  • June 14, 2013 at 9:15 amYanDaMan

    And after all this, I bet Ichigo will still spam getsuga tensho like no tomorrow.

  • June 14, 2013 at 9:20 amhaseo0408

    Regarding Juha Bach I´ve been thinking this for a while, since he´s the origin of all quincys and his blood is inside every single one of his “sons”, doesn´t that mean that if the Quincy King dies all of his sons would loose their powers?.

    • June 14, 2013 at 12:23 pmPsithief

      Maybe it’s the other way around?

      If there are any Quincy, he can’t die. I suppose that’s as good a reason as any to have him survive whatever SS tried to do to him.

  • June 14, 2013 at 10:05 amLESSQQMOREPEWPEW

    I’m gonna call this now. I won’t be surprise if Ichigo utters these words:
    “Bleach, Zangetsu.”

    And Kubo will have the widest troll grin on his face. :3

    And this manga is all about this moment. A coming of age story. The part where Ichigo becomes a man. A ShinigaMAN.

    And Kenpachi will still be BAMF.

  • June 14, 2013 at 1:44 pmTasa

    It feels a little bit weird for me that the Quincy power would end up using a black color theme while the zanpakuto power would end up using a white color theme.

    On a side not was it ever explain why the Quincy power turned into a teenager when Ichigo went to learn how to use the final getsuga tensho?

    • June 14, 2013 at 6:25 pmGermanguy

      Perhaps the Special Place is the Culprit…Ichigos Dad slowed the Time, perhaps it affected Time inside his Soul, too

  • June 14, 2013 at 6:49 pmspikerman87

    I guess in the Zanpakto rebellion filler arc Muramasa didn’t know he could pull out “Zangetsu” who wasn’t his inner sword. Well that’s a filler arc so yeah…But the Bankai Doll that Urahara made in order for Ichigo to achieve his Bankai in 3 days…yeah that’s just odd.

  • June 14, 2013 at 7:29 pmNine

    Tear…. They really been through a lot. No matter what, Old man does truly want to help Ichigo.

  • June 20, 2013 at 9:14 amBryon

    One thing with Old Man Zangetsu/Yhwach/Juha Bach is that he forgets life IS about suffering and putting yourself in danger, learning to overcome it.

  • June 22, 2013 at 5:38 amCarter305

    Don’t know if anyone has already suggested this theory or not, but I’m gonna throw it out there anyway… I have a strange feeling that Yachiru (little pink-haired girl always riding on his back) has been Zaraki’s zanpakto the whole time, and he just didn’t know it. I mean, what do we really know about her other than that he found her alone in the forest, and her name isn’t even really Yachiru, Zaraki named her that…