Ichigo’s new sword is finally getting forged, and it’s one of the most over-the-top chapters we’ve seen in a while, ending with yet another big new twist about our main character. Nimaiya’s “escort service” of five girls comes flying out of the sky to help him make the zanpakutou, and their personalities are just as colorful as his. Their grandiose entrance (except for the quiet, dark-haired one who goes splat on the ground) was almost as overboard as his are, and I had to reread the chapter to figure out what exactly was going on. The forge is set up, and Ichigo’s Asauchi is transformed into a slab of metal as Nimaya begins work in a shower of fire, water and iron.

Things get really interesting as he also begins to delve deeper into the origins of Ichigo’s powers. If Ichigo wasn’t shocked enough from his previous identity crisis, Nimaiya delivers the critical punch as he tells him that Zangetsu isn’t his real zanpakutou. Ichigo’s true zanpakutou is pure white, not black, and is indeed one and the same as his inner hollow, Whitey. I assume Shiro Ichigo was the hollow that Aizen created, which fought and contaminated Misaki, then passed on to Ichigo and bonded with his shinigami powers. The physical resemblance is quite strong, and there is little doubt that Aizen and Juha Bach were aware of it. And as to the true nature of old man Zangetsu, wit turns out that he is Juha Bach himself — one thousand years younger. I know that some people had noticed the resemblance between the two much earlier, and apparently this similarity was no coincidence. I’ll admit I personally did not expect to see this coming at all, despite knowing about Ichigo’s quincy background.

Although Zangetsu is an imposter, it’s not clear whether or not he is actually an extension of Juha Bach’s consciousness or simply a manisfestation of his quincy abilities due to his ancestry. If it is the former, then Ichigo may have to fight another inner battle, this time with Whitey on his side. There’s also the question of how Zangetsu was able to achieve things like bankai when he was an imposter, and how neither Urahara nor Isshin suspected anything. I look forward to the next chapter.

76 Comments

    1. Agreed. Totally noticed that Old Man Zangetsu and Juha Bach looked aliked, but this plot twist just took the cake.

      Comparing Juha Bach appearences, he looked much cooler 1000 years ago, but his current form just looks badass. Hard to decide which is better.

      Gekokujou
      1. In terms of appearance they are indeed alike, but in terms of personality they are completely different. We notice how Juha Bach killed his comrades with very little remorse. Not to mention he killed several “impure” quincies, including the mothers of Uryu and Ichigo, for his sick ambition. While we only seen Zangetsu briefly in the entire bleach series, we know he is far from that sort of guy to do such evil. If I had to guess, while Juha Bach regained his heart (which must mean a literal heart not a figurative heart otherwise he would be nicer), after another 90, his intelligence, and after 9 more years, he would regain his power. HOWEVER, we can guess he didn’t regain his sanity, which is likely what Zangetsu embodied this entire time.

        L002
      2. it all does add up, “whitey” did basically teach him how to fight, and always used the zampaktou better then Ichigo (ex.fight with byakuga, spinning getsuga tensho anyone?). He has also bluntly said hes Zangetsu more then a few times and been keeping ichigo alive this whole time. Still its interesting how the asauchi and hollows are similar. well played Kubo

        Izu42
      1. Just you wait until Urahara comes on to confirm that Ichigo has become a natural hogyoku and then a Kubo self-insert lime-dances into frame and blows up the seireitei.

        Gradius
  1. Glanced over the old Deicide chapters because I remembered seeing Zangetsu and Hollow Ichigo as two separate entities. I can’t for the life of me figure out whether the hollow Ichigo that appeared during the Dangai training session was the sole manifestation of the zanpaktou or if the Zangetsu that appeared there was indeed a part of its true form as well. Because Tensa Zangetsu looks nothing like Yhwach. Unless that’s Yhwach’s appearance in an even younger form. I’m just wondering if being in the Dangai was somehow able to temporarily purge the Quincy King’s influence over Ichigo’s mind.

    All in all, it could be said that this chapter reeks of heavy retconning on Kubo’s part for the sake of giving the story more shock value…XP

    Zen
      1. That’s the thing with retconning. A skilled retconner makes it so that what he is changing about the story is plausible, retroactively turning things that he previously said in the story into “references.” Nonetheless all the references as a totality will fail to be as tight knit and logical as something that was purpose-written. In Kubo’s case I’m inclined to think that he had some kind of general idea about how he wanted to end the story at the beginning which evolved radically as time went on. Some of these references were perhaps semi-intended, written to serve his original ending-plan and repurposed to serve the new direction of the story- although I’m quite certain that a good many are being taken completely out of context by fans as well. It’s retconning, but not the worst sort- the story ends up kind of masking sense, but there are still enouhg logical flaws to piss off reflective thinkers…

        Zen
      2. I agree to an extent. It’s obvious by the Asauchi that from the beginning that Zangetsu was never meant to be be Ichigo’s true sword spirit. However, a lot of the situations that highlight him as a Quincy such as the Shadow and Hollow absorption could be things characteristics Kubo added to Juha Bach and the Quincy to match him up with Zangetsu.

        BUT

        Look at Zangetsu’s description of the move he uses to stand on the air and travel. That’s the Quincy Hirenkyaku. There’s no doubt about it, it matches Ishida’s description from the same arc. It has nothing in common with Shunpo or Sonido.

        It’s obvious in retrospect that Zangetsu was meant to be related to the Quincy from the beginning. Same with Masaki knitting Ichigo a quilt that had the Quincy cross on it. It’s been there from the beginning of the series, alongside Ishida.

        EmD
  2. Everyone…Please ask yourselves honestly….Do you really believe? …Do you believe that Tite Kubo planned this from the very beginning? From way back in 2001 when he first wrote Bleach that he planned this twist?

    1. Retconning is fine, even if it’s done merely for the sake of increasing shock value. But please, at least try to make it logically coherent…ah well, most folks’ll probably forgive the silliness so it’s fine I guess…

      Zen
      1. I think Kubo is trying to retcon to create shock value, but it’s very misplaced. He’s trying WAY too hard for Ichigo to relate to Juah Bach and have personal reasons for wanting to take him down. Ichigo already has motivation to fight Juah Bach, he doesn’t need more. I sound like a broken record, but I’m not ok with retconning. He’s basically saying that Zangetsu was a lie. He’s never been his sword, and all of Ichigo’s inner battles and trials with Zangetsu being his supportive mentor will never be looked at the same way.

      2. What ultimately vindicates or condemns an author’s plot decisions is appeal and ultimately, its fiscal effect. Logical coherence is an important factor in terms of creating appeal, but often popularity can be attained by achieving enough emotional effect to make up for a lack of logical coherence. In fact it is arguable that raw emotional appeal is far more important that logical coherence because a logically coherent plot point that is nonetheless emotionally unappealing will not achieve fiscal success- although unarguably, truly transcendent tales attain both. But for the rest it is usually enough to merely be emotionally appealing, for them success in the present day is more than sufficient…

        Zen
      3. Yeah but there has to be a line drawn somewhere. This isn’t the first time this has happened. Kubo has changed a lot of the rules that we’ve come to know since the beginning of Bleach. A lot of the decisions he’s made have not had a satisfying payoff or have been justified to be an amazing revelation. If this was about Ichigo fighting werewolves then his mom would have been a werewolf. The fact that Ichigo is a quincy and him having to spend months trying to explain that when I know he’s making it up as he goes. I care when things have changed from the first arc because it’s arguably the best one. Zangetsu was the sword that Ichigo had when Rukia stabbed him with her sword, it had a Shikai release, he has to say “Bankai” to release Bankai…He learned the Final Getsgua Tensho with Zangetsu. Kubo’s saying that Zangetsu was fake so he can have an excuse to give Ichigo a stronger power, but if there was another arc then he could just say the “real” sword was another fake so here’s the REALLY REAL sword. He’s trying to weasel his way out a corner and it hasn’t worked since this arc began. You can have an emotional reveal, but you can have both: Logical and emotional at the same time. Usually it works better when they both make sense and not just one. Kubo can explain things that fill in the gaps just fine…but it can still be stupid, just because it makes sense doesn’t make it smart.

      4. What any one person thinks “should” or “should not” be done is irrelevant as is his reasoning. Kubo will do what the market will sustain and it is the collective fanbase that ultimately gets to judge his actions by voting with their wallets. I’m just predicting the polls…

        Zen
  3. BAM!

    Kubo pulls a plot twist that makes him look like he knows what he’s doing!
    Reader takes 1d10 points of sanity damage!
    Reader is defeated!
    Kubo gains 22 XP.

    Zangetsu’s persona is the direct link to Juha Bach, so can Juha Bach “reclaim” Ichigo’s Quincy powers as well?

    It seems this is the big upcoming plot point that needs to be resolved for Ichigo’s story at this time.

    It’s much scarier to face a foe that might win without a fight.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Psithief
    1. Well, people who are too clever tend to get mistaken for stupid or crazy because other people can’t keep up – as for this case I’m on the fence.Like with Jack Sparrow, never could tell if he plans everything out beforehand or makes things up as he goes along.

      anon
  4. i hope now the anime creators look at this chapter and would want to make a deal wit kubo cause that was a fuking best mind blown ever. And I was also curious since zangetsu is juha then who is tensa zangetsu and why did tensa cried and wanted to protect ichigo??? Dam they will probably talk about tensa next chapter I can’t wait!!!!!

    ultimate024
      1. He also calls “other guy” Zangetsu then goes on to explain that ‘Zangetsu’ and him switched places and that the both of them are the same being. No way in hell this was planned.

        Gradius
    1. It’ll have only happened when Juha’s character was designed. He may have even been on the fence on whether the resemblance was purely coincidental at that point, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that it was intentional.

      Gradius
  5. Nimaiya : Ichigo, You know that dude?

    Ichigo : Of course, He’s Zangetsu,

    Nimaiya : Wrong, try again and take a closer look you should’ve put the dots together by now. That guy’s been pulling the wool over your eyes. The dude who’s been standing right in front of you.

    Ichigo : What are you saying?

    Nimaiya : He’s not Zangetsu, He’s Juha Bach your true Zanpakutou father.

    Ichigo : NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    K C M
    1. And you discover that in this chapter? It was already hinted Bleach has a plot since Aizen revealed he was involved in Ichigo’s fast growth. This arc is truly tying the dots.

      Ebisu
  6. Bulllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllshit.Old Man Zangetsu is Old Man Zangetsu.I call bullllllllllshiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.

    You’re starting to take your trolling too far Kubo!Stop this M Night Bullshit twist crap!

    Magoiichi
  7. It certainly closes up a lot of threads that fans have been throwing around (Juha Bach’s resemblance to Zangetsu, and how Zangetsu always seemed closer to Quincy powers than Shinigamis etc.)

    Arguably you can say that the only reason why Ichigo was even able to achieve Shinigami “upgrades” (Bankai, Final Bankai etc.) was more because of Hollow Ichigo, whereas Zangetsu simply enhances it (account for the fact that Hollow Ichigo was always required for Ichigo to achieve those two transformations). In that regard, while I recognize that this is all probably stuff Kubo made up to make the story more interesting, I’ll admit that it’s actually keeping me hooked on Bleach at the moment and I hope he keeps it up.

    ronri
    1. Adding on to my own post. If you take the side in which Kubo planned this from the beginning, it’s interesting in that one could also argue that Kubo actually purposely planted the protagonist’s nemesis in plain sight to wait until he could unveil this bit of detail within the final arc. Or is that too clever for Kubo? Your call.

      ronri
  8. Kubo is going to need a really good explanation for this if the next chapter does not make sense then it’s obvious kubo just thought about it and never really planned it so I really hope kubo does not screw up he’s in a roll right now.

    ultimate024
  9. I wasnt that into bleach but the last couple of chapter really got me in, while im a Naruto fan i cant help to feel disapointed latly with its chapters but bleach man the series has been giving great twinst and turns that are really good and have me waiting to read more and well personally hollow ichigo is one of my favorites

    Oscar
  10. First [spoiler]the Hideauze are humans[/spoiler] in Gargantia, then the Red Wedding happens in Game of Thrones, now this?! MY BRAIN CAN’T HANDLE ANY MORE MINDFUCKS THIS WEEK!

    Laughing Man
  11. I’ll take this is why the Quinces could never take Ichigo’s “Bankai”. But if he’s going to get his true Zanpakutou, won’t it just mean the Quinces can take his Bankai now?

    Gekokujou
    1. They’d still have to win a tug-of-war against Ichigo’s quincy side to steal it.

      I’d say that’d be the case unless his new bankai is as gigantic all the others. If it is, ignore this guess.

      Psithief
  12. There a high possibility that his two powers will combine again! I mean in his final battle with Aizen he need to power up to gain that power he needed to fight both Zangetsu (younger version) & his hollow side combined! If he can balance the two & accept his orgins I sure Ichigo will be so bad ass than ever before.

    lune
  13. Key to writing a superb twist: introduce something as one thing, then later, say it’s the complete opposite. Cue hundreds of readers correctly guessing the twist hundreds of chapters before you reveal it!

    starss
  14. I’m calling it now: kubo pulls out an even bigger secret, something like a level past bankai or that one of the royal captains created hollowfication. cause think about it. urahara nor aizen were the first to created or know about a shinigami/hollow hybrid. So it had to have come from somewhere…

    Keranu
  15. 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…

    Carter305

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