Ichigo Character Development
From Lab Member 011 !ElPsY.KxH.:
I am NOT the author of those posts. I just gathered them from one thread and compiled.
Original thread: http://archive.foolz.us/a/thread/66750361/#66755058
Grammar and other issues fixed by Spark (Hype chart, Bleach Abridged Manga and other).
His character is not an agglomeration of one-dimensional tropes like eating or violent troublemaking for fun, therefore, for /a/, he will forever be void of "personality". Those tropes are the only things that a/ can define a "personality" through (moe isn't really deeper than that). That is actually what /a/ thinks that a "personality" is. Thanks to the horrific dumbfuckening of the shonen standard by DBZ, anything more complex is above the reading comprehension now.
That being said, Ichigo is a good character, but that will never be comprehended here.
Most likely because the only people who are unaware of it and are lso willing to ague about it are the Narutards.
His childish idea of what a "fight" is is the first one that goes away in Soul Society. It is a gradual change. At this point he asks the enemy to give up merely because of the power difference. He's not actually seeing to defeat the enemy. The enemies are just obstacles.
This climaxes at Renji. The well known scene "I'll cut you".
At Byakuya, he is still fighting to beat the resolve of the enemy. Ichigo removes his sword from his neck. Later, he breaks down the mask too. His intention was to break Byakuya's resolve. He is not a killer. This is narrated by Byakuya of all people. This will change in the Arrancar Arc.
Ulquiorra and Yammy are the first point in the story where Ichigo fails to protect his friends. It affects him because it is due to his Hollow that is inside him, who is eating him up from the inside. He questions whether he is able or unable to withhold it. At this point (and this is completely understandable) he doesn't even want to turn into a Shinigami because he is afraid that the Hollow will take over.
Rukia kind of snaps him out of this because she's Rukia.
He resolves to beat the hollow after that and contacts the Vizard. The hollow is the first person in the story who actively questions Ichigo's fighting style and the effectiveness of his personality in battle. He says it out loud that Ichigo does not want to fight. To him, fighting is a necessity to protect others.
This is further elaborated by Ichigo's instinct, who takes the form of Zaraki Kenpachi (fitting, I guess?).
This is the climax of Ichigo's change as a fighter. Here he mans the fuck up and starts fighting more maliciously.
This also makes him more cocksure, as it is first shown in Hueco Mundo, but his enemies quickly beat it into him that you need to have actual power to act like a dick and hold back during a battle. These are just intermissions.
Grimmjow is the first one who openly shows the Hollow personality that Hollow Ichigo was talking about. He talks about battles and fighting instinct.
This affects Ichigo (in a fucking awesome way), but he’s not being himself yet. These are not really him, just the effects of the all the Hollow shit that he’s been going through. He is trying to find himself among all this shit and he identifies with the things that other people say about him. He picks up the aggression that Grimmjow talks about, but in the end, it just helps him channel down aggression and he calms down after the battle.
However it makes him regain his resolve that was lost mostly due to the whole Hollow crap. This is the first time in Hueco Mundo when Ichigo starts acting like his old self.
And after the battle, on the base of his old self (affected by all that he went through) a new personality is born which acts from thought and not from emotion. This is the first milestone of Ichigo's character development.
He understands the enemy; accepts the enemy; but he doesn't befriend him or fall out of the context of the enemy being an enemy.
He just tells him to fuck off.
This is the first relatively mature scene of Ichigo in the series. Compare it to the wimpy kid who didn't want to take the responsibility of protecting everyone because it was too much of a hassle.
Not worlds apart yet, like how it will be in the Fake Karakura Town war, but we are getting there.
However, what comes immediately after that is the climax of his Hollow power plotline. His fears coming true, he loses control entirely and awakens to the notion that he killed and mutilated an enemy and he wounded one of his own friends.
Upon this, he loses his shit so much, he does this to try and save the last drips of his dignity. Of course, Ulquiorra dies. This is Ichigo's first kill in the series, which is a "didn't go as planned" moment for him, and also his moment of awakening to the fact that his enemies kinda die if he kills them. Compare it to this moment:
The two fights are parallel to each other, but with different outcomes. In Byakuya's case, he could play the hero role that changes the big boss, but in the case of Ulquiorra it went horribly wrong.
This makes Ichigo gloomy, which is understandable again. Rukia narrates this in Eyes of the Victor.
But he doesn't lose himself over it. It just changes him.
This is Ichigo narrating Yammy's absence of reaction to the Espada dying, and Inoue feeling bad for Ulquiorra. It shows the Hollow-Human difference.
This is Byakuya believing in Ichigo.
And the next page is Ichigo, for the FIRST time in the series, using the word "korose" (to kill) instead of "taose" (to defeat) when talking about his enemy.
Errata: It seems that this might be wrong. In volume raw scans he uses "taose". Some claim he used "korose" in magazine, but we're still looking for proof.
This is the next milestone.
And now compare Ichigo to his old self.
He attacks Aizen from behind, with the intention to cut his head off with the first strike.
Aizen downright subverts his pre-SS character by lampshading that Ichigo is here out of a sense of responsibility. Now go back to
and compare the two again.
This is the first point in the story where Ichigo shows signs of growing out of his initial teenage personality issues. Aizen starts talking shit about the hated and everything that Hollows were talking about too, but by this point Ichigo doesn’t listen anymore.
Accordingly to his character growth, the Gotei 13 Captains acknowledge Ichigo. This is the point which could be used as a reference to the events in the Fullbring Arc where they state that Ichigo changed their viewpoint on the whole Substitute Shinigami business. By this point, Ichigo is fighting for Soul Society as much as for Karakura.
He is literally stated to be Captain material here, compared to Aizen who is not.
As an intermission, Aizen here entirely destroys Ichigo's perception of life so far.
Shortly after that, Isshin shocks him by appearing as a Shinigami.
I would call the whole Aizen business bad writing, and it also reeks of several levels of retcon, but I give Kubo the credit for making Ichigo deal with this shit accordingly to the person who he has become,
and incidentally writing the most mature moment of the character in the entire series so far.
After this graduation to an entirely new character tier, Kubo gives Ichigo new qualities, like being able to read the "hearts" of his enemies. This power of comprehension is not entirely new as he was always like this, but this is the first point in the series where he uses it consciously. It returns in the Fullbring Arc too.
He also predicts that Aizen will kill Gin. Ichigo's reaction to his death in the end is magnificent.
The scene where Ichigo completely ignores Aizen and looks at the lying Gin. Everything is there, sadness, understanding, "I called it".
This is art.
Not the art itself, but how the scene is constructed, how it was built up, and how it was executed in the end.
This is ten times the information that is exchanged between two characters through any ammount of dialogue in any manga, and without any dialogue at all.
It does not require dialogue. We know what both of them are thinking.
After this is the defeat of Aizen, and we all know how this ended. Ichigo's melancholy is because he decided to sacrifice all his powers to save everyone. Ichigo's entire character revolved around getting power. His goal before becoming a Shinigami was to gain power. Some could call this a karmic test, and he fucking passed it.
Then he meets up with his friends and says goodbye to Rukia. This is a completely different character than the one from the beginning. Looks different, acts different, is different. There is benevolence in his eyes instead of punkish behavior. And with this growth, we move on to the Fullbring Arc.
The Fullbring Arc is pretty straightforward and Ichigo does not change in it that much, but his character is trialed through the entirety of the arc. This arc is not here to develop him, but to establish his new character which he gained through the manga so far. That is why Kubo set it as a reboot arc.
As you all should have read that in the interview regarding the final arc (Yeah, I know some of you haven't, that's why I'm saying it) Kubo planned the Fullbring Arc and the Thousand-Year Blood War Arc somewhere in the middle of the Arrancar Arc. It was intentional.
What we do see is Ichigo being more genre savvy, which is funny.
Awareness of his own character.
And the ability to plan more steps forward in a battle, effectively trolling the enemy.
You gotta thank Aizen for that I guess.
Here he shows signs of seeing into the heart of Ginjou, or rather not being able to, effectively foreshadowing Ginjou's turn.
I would not call this character developement, because I think this character developement happened here:
But it certainly reestablishes this nature of Ichigo.
Then he is trolled to death, his whole world collapses...
And from the depths of despair he is pulled out by SS. It is worth mentioning that in Nestle to Night it is mentioned that when Renji asks the 4th division guys to take away Ichigo after he collapses from his power loss, he says "Take care of that man! He is the hero of Soul Society!" And the narration says something like "and the name of the hero spread fast among the Shinigami." Ichigo at this point, is a fucking legend in SS.
He is an acknowledged fighter and an acknowledged hero, and he fucking earned every single inch of it.
Which is described by this moment beautifully.
And this is how this kid:
who didn't want to save anyone but who was near him, turns into the Hero of Soul Society who doesn't stand back not even after he is told manipulative things about SS
It is certainly nothing akin to the story of the retard who turns into an older retard who also happens to save a vilage with an asspulled philosophy that he shouldn't normally be able to make up (Naruto).
Or the story of the kid who doesn't turn into anything but he certainly has lots of fun while aiming to (Luffy).
But I think it is a good story.
End of my text.
Please enjoy Bleach.
Original posts ended on that note, but while discussing it with other anons I decided to add one panel to this compilation. Simply a page from manga showing how much did Ichigo change. He kills a human. Not because he wants, not because he's anger driven. He does that because he has to save Ginjo and himself.
To be expanded (probably).