Bleach: The 5 Scenes That Changed Ichigo Forever

Many pivotal scenes changed the course of the Bleach anime, and most of them involved none other than Ichigo Kurosaki, the main protagonist. Ichigo may not be on a noble quest to save the universe but he will fight hard to protect his friends and family, and he isn't afraid of a challenge. He experiences a lot of personal growth and change throughout the story because of this.

Any story will have 'signpost' scenes that mark the transition from one act to another, and that includes one or two points of no return. Ichigo's personal arc was much the same, and viewers can point to several vital scenes that defined Ichigo's entire heroic journey and gave his personal journey its shape.

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1. Ichigo Becomes A Soul Reaper

One of Ichigo's first-ever scenes was also his most important of all. It was his first "point of no return," when he changed from a punk high schooler with an affinity for spirits to a black-robed Soul Reaper with a sword. There was no going back when he made this transformation, and it was all thanks to Ichigo's new Soul Reaper friend, Rukia Kuchiki.

Rukia spotted the Hollow (Fishbone-D) first -- the creature was coming closer to Ichigo's house and threatened his little sisters, Karin and Yuzu. Rukia couldn't finish the job, so it fell to Ichigo, and Rukia lent him her powers to make this happen. This was when Ichigo became fully immersed in the world of Hollows, Soul Reapers and bloody combat, and he would get used to it before long.

2. Ichigo Resolves To Rescue Rukia

A little later in the story, Rukia was accused of the grievous crime of lending her powers to a human, leading her brother Captain Byakuya Kuchiki to drag her back to the Soul Society to face "justice." Ichigo was left for dead but survived, and at this point, he could have washed his hands of Soul Reaper business and left Rukia to her fate ...

... But he wasn't that sort of person; instead, Ichigo willingly passed another point of no return by training with Kisuke Urahara to regain his Soul Reaper powers; then, he and his friends stepped through a portal to infiltrate the Soul Society and rescue Rukia. The Soul Society mission began and many exciting battles lay ahead, all for the fate of Rukia Kuchiki -- and Ichigo was in the center of it all.

3. Ichigo Masters His Inner Hollow

Ichigo grew a monster inside of him: his inner Hollow, a relic of the Hollow named White that Sosuke Aizen had created. This inner Hollow began to manifest itself during the Soul Society arc, and during Ichigo's climactic battle against Byakuya Kuchiki, the inner Hollow fully manifested itself, until Ichigo tore its mask off. But that just delayed the problem.

Back home in Karakura Town, Ichigo was approached by the Visored warriors, and he accepted their offer to train him. Ichigo faced his inner Hollow and defeated it on its own terms, becoming the "king" while the Hollow became the "horse." This was another moment of Ichigo accepting and using his power rather than fearing and rejecting it, and that strength allowed him to face the challenges that lay ahead.

2. Ichigo's Final Getsuga Training With His Dad

At a certain point in the series, Ichigo thought he had the strength necessary to take on the 10 Espadas and Sosuke Aizen... but not quite. He was outclassed by the traitor Captain, leaving his own father, Isshin Kurosaki, to step onto the scene. Making use of some strange time dilation effects of the Dangai, Isshin gave Ichigo a chance to train in using the final form of the Getsuga Tensho, and it was a grueling process, to say the least.

But Ichigo did it, and he combined his newfound powers with Kisuke's kido mastery to defeat Aizen once and for all. But this came at a cost: the strain on Ichigo's body. He collapsed and lost his Soul Reaper powers, meaning he returned to ordinary life for the next 17 months. Eventually, Ichigo regained his powers to face the Wandenreich, and this was a chance to start anew.

1. Ichigo Marries Orihime

Ichigo is a fighter, for sure, but he is also a lover. Overall, Ichigo was pretty tight-lipped about his personal feelings during most of the story -- as were many of the other characters. But he had formed a strong friendship with Rukia, and he and Orihime realized that they had something special, too.

Orihime had already fallen in love with him, and by the time Yhwach was defeated, at last, Ichigo knew that his fighting days were over. It was time to make the most of the peace that he had fought for, and sometime in the following years, he and Orihime married and started a household together, including their young son Kazui.

This was the "I did it!" moment of Ichigo's entire character arc -- when he knew for certain that he had saved the world for all time and he could retire in peace. Ordinary life might feel mundane compared to fighting monsters in exotic worlds, but it is a peaceful one, and Ichigo learned that ordinary life can be an adventure all on its own.

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