After being held up in the in-between realms, Ichigo has finally made his dramatic appearance in the ravaged Soul Society, ready to fight.
Ichigo may be the protagonist of Bleach, but he’s been forcibly absent from the last few episodes detailing the Soul Society’s conflict with the Quincy Wandenreich. Trapped in between worlds by the last act of the Quincy Quilge Opie, Ichigo was left to struggle against his jail alone. Now, he’s finally free, and ready to take some revenge.
Ichigo was initially summoned to Hueco Mundo, the realm of Hollows, by Nel and her friends after hearing about the actions of a mysterious Quincy force there. Ichigo and his friends traveled there to help, where they ran into Quilge, who had already taken out several tough Arrancar. While Ichigo was ultimately victorious against Quilge, the Quincy used his special technique to imprison Ichigo in a bubble of spiritual pressure, then cast that prison into the Dangai precipice world–the space between realms–where he’d be forever out of reach.
Ichigo spent the next few episodes trapped there, trying anything he could think of to escape. Eventually, the superior power of Ichigo’s spiritual pressure allowed him to break through, destroying the prison bubble. A Soul Society researcher named Akon managed to open a new portal to the Dangai, opening the way for Ichigo to join the fight there. Ichigo wastes no time, and immediately takes out one Sternritter before he’s even able to introduce himself. Ichigo then headed straight towards Byakuya’s fading spiritual pressure to check if he would survive, and relay that Rukia and Renji were still alive. Following that, Ichigo set off to face off with the big bad himself, Yhwach, who had just moments earlier struck down Head Captain Yamamoto.
The Secret of Ichigo’s Escape
As he battles with Yhwach, the Quincy leader notes that Ichigo was actually able to escape from the jail because he is, in fact, part-Quincy, and the jail wasn’t designed to contain other Quincy. This obviously comes as a shock to Ichigo, who (like everyone else) believed that Uryu was the last Quincy. Yhwach mentions Ichigo’s mother, suggesting that the powers came from her side of the family. Ichigo is even passively utilizing the Blut Vene technique, a move that the Quincy Sternritter had been using very effectively to block attacks from Zanpakuto. There’s no denying the truth of the statement, but the real question is how and why this was hidden from him for so long. Ichigo has already had access to a wide variety of spirit-based powers, so perhaps it should come as no surprise that he’s found his way to Quincy powers as well. Regardless, it seems that Ichigo’s imprisonment in the first place was so that the Wandenreich could attempt to recruit him, so their fascination with him may still prove to be a problem.
Ichigo may now be on the scene in Bleach, but he’s arrived just in time to watch the Quincy retreat. He can still help to pick up the pieces, and now he has his own questions as the entire Soul Society searches for answers.
Bleach: The Thousand-Year Blood War streams new episodes on Mondays via Hulu.