"I refuse to carry a king who's weaker than me and get cut to ribbons with him. If you're weaker than me, then I'll destroy you, and take your crown for myself."
This page is about Ichigo's true Shinigami powers and the being referred to as his Inner Hollow in the anime. To see the Zangetsu from the anime, see Zangetsu (Quincy Powers)
|Zangetsu (Zanpakutō spirit)|
|Height||174 cm (5'8½")|
|Weight||61 kg (134 lbs.)|
|Manga||Volume 13, Chapter 110|
|English||Johnny Yong Bosch|
|Spanish||Eduardo Garza (Latin America)|
Zangetsu (斬月, Slaying Moon) is the manifested spirit of Ichigo Kurosaki's Zanpakutō as well as his inner Hollow. He has been variously called Hollow Ichigo (虚 (ホロウ) 一護, Horō Ichigo), more properly called The Hollow within Ichigo (一護の内面 (ないめん) の虚 (ホロウ), Ichigo no naimen no Horō) or White Ichigo (白一護, Shiro Ichigo).
Zangetsu is the result of the fusion between the Hollow White Ichigo inherited from his mother and the Shinigami powers he inherited from his father. He has stated himself to represent Ichigo's purest instincts.
Zangetsu appears to be virtually identical to Ichigo, except inverted in color. He is a fairly tall and lean-built being with white skin and hair. His eyes consist of black pupils, white irises, and black sclera. He has black nails. While Ichigo wears a standard black Shinigami shihakushō, his Zanpakutō spirit wears a white shihakushō with a black cloth belt. When he is later pulled out of Ichigo by the manifestation of Ichigo's Quincy powers, he wears a mask greatly resembling Ichigo's Hollowfied form from his battle against Ulquiorra Cifer, and has white, waist-length hair along with a white version of Ichigo's shihakushō in Bankai form.
When manifested outside Ichigo's inner world from one of Ōetsu Nimaiya's Asauchi, Zangetsu's appearance is marginally the same. He retains Ichigo's physical build and hair, however, his face appears almost skull-like, similar to the Hollow mask that Ichigo wears when he draws on his Hollow powers.
Zangetsu's most distinguishing features are his maniacal laughter and psychotic smiling. He is brutal, arrogant, disrespectful, murderous, and sadistic. Though he taunts Ichigo as being a weak and unsuitable counterpart of himself, he relishes the idea of Ichigo growing stronger as he also grows stronger as a result. Unlike Ichigo, he battles like a berserker, ignoring injuries and overpowering his enemies with brute strength and force. He protects Ichigo's body when he is about to die because if Ichigo dies, he will as well. He seems to respect the manifestation of Ichigo's Quincy powers to a certain extent. Due to his status as a Zanpakutō spirit, Zangetsu doesn't get much opportunity to fight and gets really excited on the rare occasions he does get to fight.
Zangetsu has declared Ichigo is the "king" of the inner world, and he is the "horse". Zangetsu wishes to "take the crown" from Ichigo so he can have control over his body and become the dominant personality because he refuses to put up with Ichigo's softness of trying to defeat his enemies with reason and logic, which would eventually result in both him and Ichigo getting killed. After his loss, he states he is willing to allow Ichigo to keep the crown for now, but once Ichigo "screws up again", he will make his move once more. Zangetsu made good on this promise when Ichigo was nearly killed against Ulquiorra Cifer, at which point, he took control of Ichigo's body once again.
When he is merged with Ichigo's Quincy powers, much of the manifestation's personality seems to be in effect, making the merged spirit much calmer, though he is prone to occasional outbursts similar to Zangetsu. He revealed his motives for taking over Ichigo's body during his fights were to protect him.
Agent of the Shinigami arc
While Ichigo Kurosaki underwent training to gain his own Shinigami powers, Kisuke Urahara puts Ichigo's soul through a process called Encroachment, where if Ichigo does not gain Shinigami powers on his own, he will become a Hollow. Tessai Tsukabishi severs Ichigo's Chain of Fate. Tessai uses Bakudō #99, Part 1. Kin to prevent Ichigo from using his arms to scale the sides of the shaft.
After three days in the shaft, Ichigo begins to transform into a Hollow. When the Bakudō restraining Ichigo begins to break, Tessai uses a more advanced version of it. When Jinta Hanakari says it will kill Ichigo, Tessai states he must restrain him before he completes the transformation into a Hollow. Before the final part of the spell strikes him, Ichigo escapes in the large explosion created by the awakening of his Shinigami and Hollow powers. Although he succeeds in gaining his power, he emerges from the pit with Shinigami robes and a Hollow mask, the latter of which he later discards.
Soul Society arc
During Ichigo's more difficult battles, the mask he thought he discarded kept reappearing on his body in places where there would normally have been fatal wounds.
As Ichigo fought Renji Abarai, Renji uses Zabimaru to hit Ichigo near his heart, but the sword is stopped for some reason. After the fight, as Hanatarō Yamada heals Ichigo, he discovers the Hollow mask Ichigo thought he threw away was what blocked Zabimaru. Thinking of the mask as a good luck charm, Ichigo wants to keep the mask, but Hanatarō, fearing it, takes it and throws it into the sewers.
Later, Ichigo runs into 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki, who stabs him in the chest. Seemingly dying, Ichigo is pulled into his inner world by the manifestation of his Quincy powers, where he meets Zangetsu for the first time. Explaining it is time to see if Ichigo is worthy of using him, the manifestation tells Ichigo if he wants to wield him again, he must take him back with his hands, for his opponent will be himself. Ichigo is forced into a fight with Zangetsu with a nameless katana while the latter has Zangetsu. Gaining an advantage, Zangetsu exerts his Reiatsu and begins to spin Zangetsu by its cloth. As the two fight, Zangetsu asks Ichigo if he thought it would be so simple to fully control his Zanpakutō and notes Ichigo only thinks about himself and never considered drawing out the power of Zangetsu. Zangetsu further explains there is more to the power of Zangetsu, and if he can open up and lend it his power, it will become even stronger. Stating Ichigo does not do this or rely on his Zanpakutō and only worries about making himself stronger, Zangetsu says it is time to end this. Deciding to show Ichigo the right way to use Zangetsu, he moves to attack. As they cross swords, Zangetsu is surprised to find the nameless katana in his hands and Ichigo holding Zangetsu. Seeing the manifestation has decided Ichigo is worthy of using him, Ichigo awakens back in the real world.
As Zangetsu stands there with a broken katana, still somewhat confused, he asks the manifestation if Ichigo is gone before asking him if that was all. Telling him it is, the manifestation says he is sorry to have bothered him. Zangetsu tells him it was no problem, for it would be problematic if Ichigo, the owner of the inner world, did not win; even though he was unwilling, he had to help. Asking for the manifestation to send him back, Zangetsu begins to fade away and tells the manifestation to train Ichigo well, for one day, this power will be his.
In the real world, as Kenpachi and Ichigo prepare for their last strike, Kenpachi's Reiatsu takes the form of a skull, while Ichigo's takes the form of his Hollow mask, showing how Zangetsu is supporting him.
After the battle, Yoruichi Shihōin takes Ichigo to heal him. As he awakens, she comments on how a Hollow mask saved Ichigo's life. Surprised, Ichigo mentions how Hanatarō threw it away, prompting Yoruichi, with a concerned look of fear, to get rid of the mask, much to Ichigo's dismay.
During the battle with 6th Division captain Byakuya Kuchiki at the execution grounds, Ichigo is pushed into a corner, and as Byakuya prepares to deliver the final blow, Ichigo is possessed by Zangetsu. As Byakuya swings his sword down, Ichigo catches it with his bare hand and starts speaking to himself. When Ichigo looks up, a mask is forming over the upper left half of his face, much to Byakuya's surprise. When Byakuya asks how this is possible and who he is, Zangetsu states he is nobody and slashes Byakuya down his torso.
As Byakuya puts some distance between them, Zangetsu comments on how weak Ichigo is and states his inexperience with the Reiatsu and speed of his own Bankai made his bones shake like crazy. Crushing the sword he grabbed from Byakuya, he states he will show Ichigo how to use a Bankai correctly. As Byakuya calls another sword to his hand and prepares for another attack, Zangetsu fires a Getsuga Tenshō. Using Shunpo to move behind Byakuya, Zangetsu fires another one before appearing directly behind the Shinigami captain before the two attacks meet. As they both survive the explosion, Byakuya notes the Reiatsu and the mask are akin to a Hollow's and asks what he is. As Zangetsu tells him not to worry about it because he will soon disappear, before he can finish his sentence, Ichigo regains control and rips the mask off. Telling Ichigo he cannot win without him, Zangetsu is pulled into Ichigo's inner consciousness as the fight nears its conclusion.
Bount arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
Not wanting to put up with Ichigo's soft heartedness of trying to reason with enemies, especially powerful and dangerous enemies, Zangestu resolved to take over Ichigo's body to prevent Ichigo from getting him and Zangetsu killed. Ever since the fight against Byakuya, the mask does not come back, and eventually disappears. From that point on, Ichigo can hear Zangetsu calling out to him, and around the time of Arrancar invasion, he feels Zangetsu's influence dangerously growing over him. During Ichigo's fight with Yammy Llargo, Zangetsu interrupts Ichigo's thought process and tells him to call upon him for help, for he can make quick work of the two Arrancar, including Ulquiorra Cifer. This interruption costs Ichigo the fight, and most of his friends are seriously injured. Later, when Ichigo confronts a Hollow to regain his fighting confidence, he feels Zangetsu trying to take over for an instant, which leads him to be punched by the Hollow. During another Arrancar invasion, Ichigo ends up fighting Grimmjow, and is subsequently forced to use a black Getsuga Tenshō, which is one of Zangetsu's moves, making it easier for him to take over. Though he turns one of Ichigo's eyes black, Zangetsu is overcome by Ichigo.
Ichigo finds the Visored, and as he fights Hiyori Sarugaki, Zangetsu starts to take control again and almost kills Hiyori before her fellow Visored subdue him. Seeing the uncontrollable power of Zangetsu, the Visored agree to train Ichigo to control him. As Shinji Hirako knocks Ichigo unconscious and has Hachigen Ushōda place a barrier around the building, Ichigo confronts Zangetsu in his inner world.
When Ichigo asks where the manifestation is and takes out his sword, Zangetsu asks him if he is already carrying Zangetsu. Revealing he has his own white Zangetsu, he claims he is Zangetsu. The Visored take Ichigo's body down to an underground training area and take turns battling Ichigo's body, which is possessed by Zangetsu.
In the inner world, as Ichigo persists in asking Zangetsu where the manifestation is, Zangetsu explains he is Zangetsu; he and the manifestation were originally one being, for both are the source of Ichigo's power, and Zangetsu was part of the manifestation. Stating even though they both share one physical body, the form changes if the master and servant exchange roles, Zangetsu reveals control was transferred to him as his power grew, and the manifestation became a part of him, so the more Ichigo tries to draw out Zangetsu, the easier it becomes for Zangetsu to take over Ichigo's soul. Realizing the manifestation will be put back into control if Zangetsu is defeated, Ichigo activates his Bankai and is surprised to see Zangetsu possesses the ability to use Bankai. Gaining a white Tensa Zangetsu, Zangetsu explains he obtained it when Ichigo did. As the two battle, Ichigo fires a Getsuga Tenshō. Batting it away as if it were nothing, Zangetsu unleashes his own highly powerful white Getsuga Tenshō.
In the real world, Lisa Yadōmaru fights the possessed body of Ichigo and switches places with Kensei Muguruma. Battling him, Kensei stabs him with his Shikai. When Kensei uses his Shikai's special ability, Ichigo's body begins to undergo serious Hollowfication and becomes a reptilian-looking Hollow.
In the inner world, Ichigo has been heavily injured, and Zangetsu explains how he is the first user of the Bankai version of Getsuga Tenshō and taunts Ichigo about his lack of skill. Moving close to Ichigo, he grabs his Tensa Zangetsu and turns the blade white while telling him he cannot use Bankai, destroying his sword. Attacking the now defenseless Ichigo, Zangetsu explains his reasoning for his ascendancy to power and what true power between two beings really is. Stabbing Ichigo in the stomach with Tensa Zangetsu, he tells him he will no longer be the servant of someone weaker than him, and now he will be in control. Gaining his will, Ichigo grabs the sword in his stomach and transforms it into his black version. Pulling out the sword, Ichigo attack the now defenseless Zangetsu by impaling him through the stomach. As Zangetsu's clothes become black like Ichigo's, he begins to disintegrate into the wind. Before Zangetsu totally disappears, he reminds Ichigo he concedes to his control only for now, and one day, given the smallest opening, he will take control and destroy Ichigo. He tells Ichigo if he truly wants to master his power, he must stay alive. It was later revealed this was all planned by Zangetsu and the manifestation Ichigo's Quincy powers in order to teach Ichigo how to properly utilize Bankai.
As Love Aikawa begins to fight the fully Hollowfied Ichigo, he realizes the battle is going to be tough. Zangetsu charges up a Cero, but before he can unleash it, his body begins to break apart, resulting in an explosion of Reiatsu. When the smoke clears, Ichigo, wearing his Hollow mask, comes out of the husk of what is left of the full Hollow form. As the husk falls to the ground and shatters, Shinji has Hachigen bring down the barrier, and Ichigo falls as his Hollow mask falls off.
New Captain Shūsuke Amagai arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
Zanpakutō Unknown Tales arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
Fake Karakura Town arc
During Ichigo's final battle with Ulquiorra Cifer, the latter seemingly kills him with a point-blank Cero Oscuras through his chest. As Orihime Inoue tries to heal Ichigo while Uryū Ishida holds Ulquiorra off, there seems to be no change in Ichigo's state. After Ulquiorra defeats Uryū, Orihime begins to panic and frantically begs for Ichigo to help her. She fails to notice Ichigo's hair growing longer and beginning to resemble a mane. As Ichigo tells his body to stand up, Zangetsu takes over and transforms Ichigo's body once more.
Shocked at his enemy's unexpected revival and believing Ichigo to be dead, Ulquiorra demands to know who he is. Summoning his sword to his hand without touching it, Zangetsu answers with a roar. Believing words are useless, Ulquiorra fires a Cero Oscuras, but to his surprise, Zangetsu fires a Cero powerful enough to counter it. As Ulquiorra refuses to believe a Human could release a Cero, especially one capable of blowing away his own, Zangetsu appears behind him and effortlessly rips off Ulquiorra's left arm.
Quickly regenerating the arm, Ulquiorra reveals his true power is not his offensive abilities, but his ability to instantly regenerate any non-vital body part. Resorting to using Lanza del Relámpago, Ulquiorra tells Zangetsu to stay right where he is because he does not want to risk using it at close range. When the attack misses, creating a massive explosion in the desert, Ulquiorra states to himself it is a difficult technique to control. As he prepares a second spear, Zangetsu appears next to him, startling Ulquiorra because he used Sonído instead of Shunpo. When Zangetsu throws the detached arm at him, Ulquiorra slashes it away and thrusts the spear. Catching it with a single hand, Zangetsu crushes it. Ulquiorra is left dumbfounded, allowing Zangetsu to slice him down the torso and slam him to the ground. As Ulquiorra states he cannot believe he was defeated by a Human turned Hollow, Zangetsu steps on Ulquiorra's head and begins charging a Cero. Commenting on how Zangetsu shows no mercy, something very Hollow-like, Ulquiorra states because Zangetsu has beaten him, he has no reason to live, and tells him to do it. Zangetsu releases the Cero, creating a vast and powerful explosion on the dome of Las Noches.
Ulquiorra survives, but his left arm, both legs, and lower torso are blown away in the blast. Tossing his tattered body aside, Zangetsu prepares to impale his throat with his sword. Attempting to stop Zangetsu from carving up the apparently dead body of Ulquiorra, Uryū states he will no longer be Human if he goes through with such a merciless act, which prompts Zangetsu to throw Tensa Zangetsu at him, stabbing Uryū through his stomach and sending him flying a distance away. Just as Zangetsu is about to attack Uryū with a point-blank Cero, Ulquiorra, having partially regenerated, severs one of Zangetsu's horns, causing his Cero to disperse skyward.
The explosion shatters Ichigo's mask, and he falls to the ground. As his body and leg begins to regenerate, Ulquiorra thinks to himself it is merely a front, for his internal organs were decimated from Zangetsu's Cero and cannot regenerate. Though he believes Ichigo is finally dead, the hole in Ichigo's chest completely repairs itself, and Ichigo gets up, shocking Ulquiorra with his ability to use High-Speed Regeneration.
Later, when Ichigo is fighting the manifestation in his inner world, the manifestation makes his way to Ichigo and rips Zangetsu out of Ichigo's body. When Ichigo sees Zangetsu, he is in his Bankai state as well, but he is now wearing a black mask with horns and white lines stretching vertically across the eyes. Greeting Ichigo, who is shocked by his sudden appearance, Zangetsu removes his mask and asks if he recognizes him.
Wondering how Zangetsu is standing before him, Ichigo states he should have disappeared when Ichigo defeated him while training with the Visored. Zangetsu reminds Ichigo how he said that if he wanted to control his power, he should not die before his return. When Ichigo states he was trying to crush him out back during his training, Zangetsu says it is unfortunate, since he is still around. When Ichigo asks him why his appearance changed, the manifestation informs him he took this form when he killed Ulquiorra and states Ichigo fears this form, for the destructive power overwhelms his heart to the point where he cannot even Hollowfy properly. When Ichigo concludes he has to fight Zangetsu and win, the manifestation tells him this is incorrect, for Ichigo is going to fight both of them in a one-on-one fight. They begin to fuse together, much to Ichigo's confusion, and take on a new form. Upon fusing, they take on a hybrid appearance: Zangetsu's white Bankai coat, black horn mask remnant, white-colored hair, and left Hollowfied eye, alongside Tensa Zangetsu's appearance and black Bankai sword. Stating they are two parts of a single being, the source of Ichigo's power, they begin fighting him.
Cutting Ichigo's own Tensa Zangetsu in half, the merged spirit throws Ichigo into a building and notes Ichigo still will not fall. When Ichigo says he will not fall until he learns Saigo no Getsuga Tenshō, the merged spirit states he does not intend to teach it to Ichigo and charges at him. Much to the merged spirit's surprise, Ichigo lets go of his blade and allows himself to be stabbed. The spirit states it was smart of Ichigo, but Saigo no Getsuga Tenshō is not a technique which can merely be acquired by accepting his blade. Beginning to shed tears, he asks Ichigo if he remembers earlier in the battle when he said what Ichigo wanted to protect was not what he wanted to protect. Stating what he wants to protect is Ichigo, he reveals the meaning will come along with the essentials of Saigo no Getsuga Tenshō. Telling Ichigo he will lose his Shinigami powers if he uses Saigo no Getsuga Tenshō, the merged spirit bids Ichigo farewell.
Gotei 13 Invading Army arc (anime only)
Note: Events occurring in this arc are only in the anime and do not constitute canon material.
The Thousand-Year Blood War arc
Upon returning to Ōetsu Nimaiya's palace, the Asauchi which Ichigo chooses takes on the form of Zangetsu. Later, during the forging of Ichigo's new Zanpakutō, Nimaiya reveals this happened because Zangetsu is Ichigo's real Zanpakutō, for the inner Hollow inherited from his mother fused with his Shinigami powers and became his Zanpakutō.
When Ichigo confronts the manifestation in his inner world, the manifestation reveals he always used the powers of Zangetsu to teach Ichigo how to use his Zanpakutō, and Zangetsu was always the one to save Ichigo's life, but the manifestation did not want Ichigo to become a Shinigami, so he suppressed Zangetsu and became Ichigo's primary source of power. After gaining access to the full power of his Zanpakutō, Ichigo states he believes both Zangetsu and the manifestation are Zangetsu. Upon gaining his new Zanpakutō, Ichigo realizes the larger blade represents Zangetsu, while the shorter blade represents the manifestation.
Powers & Abilities
Master Swordsman: Zangetsu's skill in swordsmanship has developed alongside Ichigo Kurosaki's. His ingenuity in it is much greater than Ichigo's, for he can use his Zanpakutō in more versatile and effective maneuvers, such as using his Shikai as a flail, with which he has demonstrated tremendous aim and control of where and how it strikes. While Ichigo fights in a deductive and logical manner, Zangetsu fights in a style more akin to a berserker, relying on instinct with little to no regard towards his own well-being. Despite this, he is a keen strategist, using his speed to attack Byakuya from two sides with Getsuga Tenshō and then appear above him to keep from escaping by jumping above the two sided attacks. He also claims to have more experience with Bankai than Ichigo even when they both awakened it only hours before utilizing it against Byakuya.
- Deadly Darts (デッドリー・ダーツ, Deddorī Dātsu): Zangetsu uses the cloth on his blade to swing his Zanpakutō and toss it at opponents for mid-range combat. The blade moves very fast when thrown, and its impact can damage a building. If the person dodges the attack, Zangetsu can use the cloth to manage the sword's direction and try to hit the target once more. By gripping the cloth, he withdraws the blade and swings it to attack again.
Expert Hand-to-Hand Combatant: Drawing from Ichigo's experience, Zangetsu is a highly capable unarmed fighter. While mostly relying on his Zanpakutō in battle, he will occasionally use unarmed attacks to surprise and incapacitate his opponents.
Highly Perceptive Combatant: Despite his arrogant and insane demeanor, Zangetsu is a very insightful and crafty fighter. While regularly mocking Ichigo, his mocking also has deep rational knowledge behind it which ultimately helps Ichigo come to better understand himself and his powers. Zangetsu's intellect has also been useful in battle. He quickly realizes mistakes in Ichigo's battle tactics and corrects them, and almost instantly adapts to his opponent's battle tactics to perfectly counter them.
Immense Spiritual Power: Zangetsu can emit a large amount of uncontrollable red-colored Reiatsu, which can pulverize the area around him. When Zangetsu began taking over Ichigo's body, Ulquiorra Cifer, the 4th Espada, stated Ichigo's Reiatsu fluctuated from weak to higher than his own. His Reiatsu is great enough to visibly intimidate the Hollowfied Hiyori Sarugaki and the rest of the Visored.
Enhanced Strength: Zangetsu is much more powerful than Ichigo, allowing him to overpower Ichigo very easily. His physical strength is much greater than Ichigo's. He thrust his Zanpakutō into Gō Koga's doll Dalk, while she was in her spider form, and effortlessly pushed her back with it. After taking over Ichigo's body, he grabbed Hiyori's throat, breaking most of her mask, and would have choked her to death if the other Visored had not interfered. He can thrust his Zanpakutō into or throw an opponent through a wall.
Enhanced Speed: In addition to having greater raw strength, Zangetsu is noticeably craftier and more agile in his movements than Ichigo. He can catch his blade in midair and perform a salto before landing. He can easily dodge a tentacle attack from Dalk or a surprise attack, and strike back as soon as possible. He grabbed Hiyori's throat before she could defend herself. His attack patterns are generally harder to read and keep up with, allowing him to strike down his opponent easier.
Advanced Growth Rate: Like Ichigo, Zangetsu has an astounding growth rate. He gains any power Ichigo does, evidenced by his use of Bankai. He could use the black Getsuga Tenshō before Ichigo, despite both learning Bankai around the same time. His own Getsuga Tenshō is incomparably stronger than Ichigo's.
Mask Shielding: Because Ichigo's body is necessary for his very existence, Zangetsu protects it with his mask. During Ichigo's more difficult battles, he manifested the mask to block attacks on Ichigo's body from within his shihakushō, serving as a shield to stop or lessen attacks on him, sometimes saving his life. The mask blocked several hits from Renji Abarai's Zanpakutō, which could have been fatal. Although the mask was thrown away afterwards, it reappeared while Ichigo was fighting Kenpachi Zaraki, preventing his torso from being cut in two.
Possession: Zangetsu can take over Ichigo's body and powers when Ichigo falls unconscious in a fight. When this occurs, Ichigo's sclera blacken, and his irises glow golden-yellow in combination with a Hollow mask forming on the left side of his face. If the mask is broken or torn off, Ichigo will regain control over his body. During his time as the dominant spirit inside Ichigo's mind, Zangetsu could call out to Ichigo, eventually interrupting his thought process, and try to take over in the middle of a fight. If Ichigo manages to drive him back, only his eyes will change for a moment, and the mask will not begin to form. Zangetsu's influence is great enough to force Ichigo's eye to blacken while Ichigo is in his Human body.
Hollow Form: When Zangetsu takes full possession of Ichigo's body, the body undergoes a full transformation into a Hollow creature. His mask resembles a Human skull, complete with a jaw joint and rounded forehead, and has dark red stripes on the left side. This full Hollow is a white humanoid lizard with three-toed feet and a tail, with black marks all over its noticeably more muscular body. It possesses long orange hair and reptilian eyes seen through the eyeholes on its full mask. Unlike normal Hollows, this form used an actual weapon, using Ichigo's Zanpakutō. When Ichigo's powers are somewhat restored by Kagerōza Inaba's Kaizō Konpaku equipment, the mask takes the design of his second Hollow form. Additionally, the fur around the wrists is red instead of grey.
- High-Speed Regeneration: Like some Hollows, Zangetsu possesses the ability to instantly regenerate any wound and even a missing limb.
- Enhanced Getsuga Tenshō: Zangetsu's Getsuga Tenshō completely surrounds his blade. The extent of its power is currently unknown, for it has never been utilized in this form.
- Enhanced Spiritual Power: Even when only partially transformed, Zangetsu's Reiatsu greatly increases. Upon awakening, the Hollow form broke free from a full-powered Bakudō #75. Gochūtekkan.
- Cero: Zangetsu can fire a potent Cero from either his fingertips or his entire hand. This Cero is crimson and tri-focused. The blast is strong enough to overpower a Getsuga Tenshō from the manifestation of Ichigo's Quincy powers, throwing him into a nearby building with great force, and force Love Aikawa to summon his Hollow mask.
- Enhanced Strength: Zangetsu pushed back Kensei Muguruma with little effort and put all of the Visored on the defensive with brute force. It headbutted the manifestation of Ichigo's Quincy powers and sent him flying.
- Enhanced Speed: While in this state, Zangetsu's speed increases greatly. After breaking free from a Kidō spell, he appeared behind Ōko Yushima to attack him.
- Extra Appendage: In his full Hollow form, Zangetsu can grow a large, worm-like appendage from various locations on his body (during his Visored training it emerged from his arm, and during his fight against the manifestation it emerged from his chest). This appendage will try to consume Zangetsu's current target.
- Enhanced Durability: In addition to advanced recovery powers, Zangetsu is equally difficult to injure. After being elbowed and pushed back by Kensei, he got up and continued his assault. He can take multiple direct and close-range Hadō spells of at least mid-level completely unfazed.
New Hollow Form: Ichigo later has his body taken over by Zangetsu once again. This time, the full transformation is very physically different in appearance, and far more powerful than the previous one. In this form, Ichigo has long straight hair, reaching down to his waist, and a Hollow hole, smaller than his previous one, decorated with markings stretching from the hole across his chest and shoulders. He has retractable claws on his fingertips and toes, small, furry red tufts, two starting from his collarbone and stretching around his neck and one each on his wrists and ankles, and white skin. In this new form, he has a different Hollow mask. It covers Ichigo's entire head, and its markings are different, for it has four spike-shaped marks, two of them stopping by the forehead and the other two stretching past the eyes and teeth, going past his chin and joining with the marks on his chest. There are small marks resembling a heart, but with the top and bottom open, extending from the inner corners of his eyes. The mask features two long forward-pointing horns, with black strips extending from their center towards the tips. Zangetsu has his own version of this form, with the opposite colors alternating black with white and vice versa.
- Chain (チェイン, Chein): After transforming, Zangetsu called his Zanpakutō to his hand with a simple gesture.
- Enhanced Cero: Zangetsu's crimson Cero has become exceedingly more powerful, completely overwhelming Ulquiorra's Cero Oscuras and causing large-scale destruction to a large portion of the surroundings. It is fired from between the tips of his horns. However, if one of the horns is cut off, he is unable to form the Cero properly, and any energy already gathered will implode.
- Immense Strength: In this form, Zangetsu can destroy a large portion of Las Noches' roof with the wake of a single slash of his sword. He easily tore off Ulquiorra's left arm without much resistance from his Hierro. He crushed Ulquiorra's strongest attack, Lanza del Relámpago, and forced it to collapse before Ulquiorra even got a chance to throw it. He easily slashed Ulquiorra from his left shoulder to his lower right hip through his Hierro. He can effortlessly throw a large chunk of rock with a single hand.
- Immense Durability: Zangetsu's durability has greatly increased, allowing him to withstand several large explosions in his battle with Ulquiorra at close range with no visible damage. His skin and hands are strong enough to catch and hold onto Ulquiorra's strongest attack, Lanza del Relámpago, without any damage inflicted on him.
- Sonído: Zangetsu moves at exceedingly fast speeds, appearing behind Ulquiorra and throwing his severed arm at him before the former could even turn to face him. Ulquiorra states his speed is not reached by the use of Shunpo; he actually uses Sonído.
- Enhanced Spiritual Power: Zangetsu's already vast Reiryoku increases drastically, easily overwhelming the power of Ulquiorra's second Resurrección. The sheer strength of his Reiatsu terrified Rukia Kuchiki, Renji Abarai, and Yasutora Sado at the bottom of Las Noches.
- High-Speed Regeneration: After Ulquiorra shatters Ichigo's mask, the energy from his Hollow transformation went above him and came down as some sort of energy, which regrew the lost flesh which made his Hollow hole (as a result of Ulquiorra's Cero Oscuras) and fully healed him of his injuries from Ulquiorra, who commented on it to this effect.
Zangetsu (斬月, Slaying Moon)
Since the inner Hollow Ichigo inherited from his mother fused with his original Shinigami powers, Ichigo's inner Hollow is also his Zanpakutō spirit. Zangetsu and the manifestation of Ichigo's Quincy powers are both the source of Ichigo's power and share the same spiritual body in Ichigo's inner world, the stronger presence retaining more control (and overall appearance) of their body. Zangetsu takes the form of an all-white (clothes and being), somewhat deranged version of Ichigo's Shinigami form with a strong desire to take control of Ichigo's body and power for himself. Zangetsu originally used a black Zangetsu obtained from the manifestation. However, after he becomes the dominant spirit inside Ichigo's mind, Zangetsu carries his own white version of Ichigo's Zanpakutō.
- Shikai: The Shikai form of Zangetsu resembles an oversized khyber knife. It has no tsuba and no proper hilt; what Zangetsu holds is the cloth-wrapped tang. The sword is as long as Zangetsu is tall (1.75 meters), and has a silver blade with a black edge. The cloth wrapping on the tang seems to react to Zangetsu's will, changing length at a thought or twining about the blade in an impromptu sheath. When in combat, the cloth falls away when necessary, shrinking back to a manageable size. The cloth can be used to swing the weapon like a flail and toss it at opponents for mid-range combat, and can wrap up wounds. The wide blade can be used as a shield from incoming attacks. Unlike most Zanpakutō, which can be sealed into their original form, the blade is always in its Shikai form. Yoruichi Shihōin states this Zanpakutō is a full-time released form type because of Ichigo's vast but uncontrollable Reiryoku upon generation of it.
- Shikai Special Ability: While primarily used for melee combat, the blade possesses a special ability.
- Getsuga Tenshō (月牙天衝, Moon Fang Heaven-Piercer; "Piercer of Heaven" in the English anime): At the instant of the slash, the blade absorbs Zangetsu's Reiryoku and releases highly condensed Reiatsu at the tip of the blade, which magnifies the slash attack and flies forward. This slash takes the form of a crescent moon or the shape of a wave. When Zangetsu uses this technique, it is red in color, while in the physical world, it is black in color with a red outline.
- Bankai: Tensa Zangetsu (天鎖斬月, Heaven Chain Slaying Moon): It is considered completely out of the ordinary for any Zanpakutō. Unlike most Bankai, which usually create some sort of massive creature or effect, Zangetsu's Bankai actually shrinks his sword down to a daitō (Japanese long sword) with a white blade, crossguard, and handle instead. The crossguard has four prongs bent out to form the shape of the manji (which is the kanji for "ban," meaning "full", as in "full release"). The blade itself is durable enough to withstand even the strongest of attacks, making it quite effective in blocking and deflecting incoming attacks. It can withstand getting crushed by force. Instead of the cloth Zangetsu's Shikai had, a short length of chain with a broken link at the end dangles from the base of the hilt. The chain can be used to spin the sword with one finger. In addition to his sword, Zangetsu's robe is replaced with a long-sleeved, ankle-length white coat with black lining which is closed at his chest and left to flare out into ragged ends. Zangetsu wore a black shihakushō after Ichigo stabbed him, causing his white shihakushō to turn black.
- Bankai Special Ability: Tensa Zangetsu, much like its Shikai form, is used heavily for melee combat, but possesses a certain special ability.
- Enhanced Getsuga Tenshō: Tensa Zangetsu retains the use of Getsuga Tenshō, which can be used in the same manner, but in an enhanced form. When used in Bankai, these potent blasts, white with a red outline, can have their path controlled, and possess explosively augmented power and speed. When Zangetsu uses this technique in the physical world, it is black in color. During Byakuya Kuchiki's fight with Ichigo, Byakuya refers to this attack as a "Kuroi Getsuga" (黒月牙, Black Moon Fang), referring to the attack's darkened color. Both Ichigo and Zangetsu have stated the Kuroi Getsuga was originally the latter's technique.
- Hyper-Speed Combat: Zangetsu takes all the power of his Bankai and compresses it into a small, condensed form, which allows him to perform high-speed combat. His new speed allows him to move behind a Shunpo master like Byakuya and attack him. He can appear in front of a Shunpo expert like Ichigo, leaving no time to react.
- Enhanced Durability: Unlike Ichigo, Zangetsu took a short time to recover and did not get wounded after being thrown into a building. He can deflect Ichigo's Bankai-enhanced Getsuga Tenshō with a single unarmed hand.
- Enhanced Spiritual Power: His Reiatsu is so intense and rough, as well as thick and heavy, it can suffocate Humans just by being in the general vicinity of his released Bankai, and easily surpass Byakuya's Reiatsu. His Reiatsu is solid in his Bankai, despite him only recently acquiring it. While in Bankai, Zangetsu's Reiatsu turns white, with a red outline.
- Enhanced Bankai Duration: Since all of his energy is compressed, usage of his Bankai does not expel as much Reiatsu as other Bankai from the point of activation, allowing him to use Tensa Zangetsu for a much longer duration than any other Bankai users of his level.
See also: Zangetsu (Quincy Powers)
After the manifestation of Ichigo's Quincy powers pulls Zangetsu out of Ichigo during the latter's Dangai training, the two spirits merged into one form, which combined aspects from both spirit's appearances; Zangetsu's white Bankai coat, black horn mask remnant, white-colored hair, and left Hollowfied eye alongside the manifestation's appearance, right blue eye, and white Bankai sword, though the sword's tsuba is black like Zangetsu's. In this form, the manifestation explains he and Zangetsu were technically two parts of the same being, with both of them together representing all of Ichigo's spiritual powers. Ichigo claims if this merged spirit really wanted to, he could have defeated him from the start of their battle, further stating they were this far apart in power.
- Enhanced Strength: The merged spirit is strong enough to break Ichigo's Bankai sword completely in two.
Appearances in Other Media
Zangetsu is featured prominently in the movie Bleach: The Hell Verse, being the object of desire for both Shuren and Kokutō, in which its Cero is strong enough to destroy the chains which bind the Togabito to Hell and damage the Gates of Hell.
Zangetsu is a playable character in the Bleach: Blade Battlers series, Bleach: The Blade of Fate, Bleach: Dark Souls, the Bleach: Heat the Soul series and Bleach: Brave Souls. In addition to his Shikai, he is playable with his Bankai in Bleach: Blade Battlers 2nd, Bleach: Heat the Soul 3, 4, 5, and 6. His New Hollow Form is playable in Bleach: Soul Carnival 2, Bleach: Heat the Soul 7. In the Heat the Soul series however, he originally fought only in his Bankai form in Heat the Soul 3 and 4; Heat the Soul 5 introduces both his Shikai and Bankai forms as playable; he also uses normal Ichigo's Tensa Kyōga super in Bankai mode in the said series as well.
In Bleach: Soul Resurrección, Zangetsu is playable in his New Hollow Form and can use Issen Getsuga (一閃月牙, Lone Flash Moon Fang), where he fires a horizontal blast of red-black Reiatsu at an opponent; Mushin (無心, Heartless), where he rushes at opponent in midair and slashes them several times if he hits them; Hōkō (咆哮, Roar), where Zangetsu roars and releases a massive amount of red energy, which damages all opponents around him; and Cero Gigante (特大虚閃 (セロ・ヒガンテ), Sero Higante; Spanish for "Giant Zero", Japanese for "Extra-Large Hollow Flash"), where he charges an enormous red Cero between his horns before firing it at the opponent, as his Ignition Attack.
In Blade of Fate, his moveset is a complete mirror of normal Ichigo's, while having the shorter Bankai activation cutscene in the game. Dark Souls changes the animations to all of his attacks (making him wield his version of Zangetsu one-handed) and having a new Special Attack A and Super Move A (both being quote-named versions of his Deadly Darts attack), while all Special B and E are altered and also are named with quotes.
In the Blade Battlers games, Hollow Ichigo often fights by flailing around his weapon via his Deadly Darts technique, while only his guard break and two special attacks involve him wielding the weapon normally. Unlike normal Ichigo, Hollow Ichigo can perform a Getsuga Tenshō in midair, while also gaining an ability known as Oborogiri (朧斬り, Haze Cutter) where he performs a somersaulting energy slamming-slash. His primary finishing attack in the first game is a variation of his Deadly Darts known as Shien (紫炎, Violet Flame), where after planting his blade into the opponent, a purple Reiatsu explosion is emitted along Zangetsu's wrapping.
In Blade Battlers 2nd, his actual white Bankai form is used (while functioning the same as normal Ichigo's Bankai in terms of moveset, and usage of his Senpūgiri Super). He gains two new attacks:
- A stronger version of Getsuga Tenshō (different from Normal Ichigo's stronger version) known as Niren Getsuga (弐連月牙, Double Moon Fang), firing a criss-crossed wave version of the original move (acts as his neutral Super Move in Blade Battlers 2nd in Shikai mode).
- Also in the Heat the Soul series he has a variation of it in Shikai form, where after slashing his foe once to start the attack, he uses Shunpō to fire a Getsuga Tenshō from each side twice, then finishes with a slash from behind that forms a 3-way pincer attack.
- His iconic close-range stab in Bankai form against normal Ichigo is given the name Reishiki Getsuga (零式月牙, Zero Style Moon Fang), where a large wave of red reiatsu is released when he pulls out his sword. However, in the Heat the Soul games, the attack's name is instead Yomi Tsukaze (黄泉津風, Yellow Spring Ferry Wind), where Hollow Ichigo mirrors the original gut-stabbing scene more closely and no energy of any sort is released when he removes the sword.
In Bleach: Brave Souls, Zangetsu is a playable character known as White Ichigo, and appears in his Shikai, Bankai, and Hollowfied forms; merged with Tensa Zangetsu to form "White Zangetsu"; as an assist character alongside Ichigo, based on their team-up in the Zanpakuto Unknown Tales filler arc; and in his New Hollow Form. In March 2019, an alternate version of Zangetsu debuted as part of the "Cacao Society" event.
- When Zangetsu took control of Ichigo's body for the first time and grabbed Byakuya Kuchiki's sword, his hand wasn't bleeding in the anime, as it was in the manga.
- In the anime, after Ichigo was hit by Zangetsu's Getsuga Tenshō, the former was less injured by the attack compared to the manga.
- In the anime, after Zangetsu threw his sword at Ichigo and impaled him, only part of the sword is shown impaling him, rather than the whole sword in the manga.
- Zangetsu imploding and disintegrating after being defeated by Ichigo was drastically toned down in the anime. In the manga, Zangetsu's arm started to implode, and part of his skeleton was shown as he was disintegrating, followed by an explosion in the Ichigo's inner world. In the anime however, Zangetsu's arm was instead glowing with Reiryoku, his skeleton wasn't visible, and there wasn't an explosion in the inner world.
- Despite not having been given a name in the anime, on a television with closed captioning, he is called "Kamen" or "White Ichigo".
- There are also occasions where his name is literally a backwards-rendition of Ichigo's full name (even mirrored). This is notable in both of the first two Bleach DS games.
- Zangetsu has stated he does not know what he is, and in the anime stated he does not care.
- On the cover of the 289th Bleach chapter "The Scarmask," part of a skull with a similar appearance to that of Zangetsu's new Hollow form can be seen.
- When Ichigo Kurosaki takes on a new Hollow form in his fight against Ulquiorra Cifer, the chapter sketches reveal his Substitute Shinigami Badge is broken.
- During his fight with the manifestation of Ichigo's Quincy powers during the Zanpakutō Unknown Tales arc, Zangetsu uses what appears to be a black Getsuga Tenshō despite his Zanpakutō still being in Shikai at the time. Whether this is an effect of the full Hollow transformation or a mistake of the anime producers is unknown. However, it should be kept in mind the black Getsuga Tenshō was originally Zangetsu's attack.
- Despite having white irises in the manga, the anime colors them yellow.
- Similarly, his teeth as shown in his first appearance, were colored black; this was retconned in later appearances to be white-colored teeth.
- In episode 82, Zangetsu's eyes were mistakenly colored with brown irises and white sclera in the original Japanese release, instead of yellow irises and black sclera. However, this was corrected in Viz's official English subbed and dubbed releases. In episode 114, during a flashback of Ichigo's, the eyes were still colored incorrectly.
- When Zangetsu first appeared in the Soul Society arc, his teeth were colored black. However, the color was changed to white for all of his following appearances.
- In Bleach: The Blade of Fate, Bleach: Dark Souls and the first Bleach: Blade Battlers game, he possesses Ichigo's black Bankai as opposed to his own white one due to the time the games were introduced which was due to Zangetsu's own version of the Bankai mode that was not revealed yet.
- In Dark Souls, he possesses portraits that show him with both versions of his teeth (black in his selection portrait and white in his versus portrait).
- (To the manifestation of Ichigo's Quincy powers) "He's strong... Zangetsu... train him well... because one day, that power will become all mine."
- (To Ichigo Kurosaki) "I'm going to keep getting closer and closer to you. And not just day after day, oh no. It's going to happen much faster than that! See I'm already closer to you than I was a moment ago. And I'll keep getting closer and closer to you, until I swallow you up and then, you'll disappear. Things are not turning out well for you at all, are they? (laughs) See you around."
- (To Ichigo Kurosaki) "That "Zangetsu" thing you're talking about... aren't you holding it right there? Or maybe... could it possibly be the one... that I have here?"
- (To Ichigo Kurosaki) "I am... Zangetsu!"
- (To Ichigo Kurosaki) "Ichigo, I don't know if you understand or not,... but, Zangetsu and I have always been one and the same. Both Zangetsu and I are a part of your spiritual power, and I was apart of Zangetsu! We all share the same body, and whenever the 'dominant' person changes, the outer appearance also changes. When one is dominated by 'life', one is flesh. When one is dominated by 'death', one becomes bones. It's the same reasoning. My power expanded, and so the ruling power went to me. And this way, Zangetsu became a part of me instead. The more you try to use Zangetsu's power, the easier it is for me to control your soul!"
- (To Ichigo Kurosaki) "Ichigo, what's the difference between a king and his horse? I don't mean kiddy shit like "One's a person and one's an animal" or "One has two legs and one has four." If their form, ability and power were exactly the same, why is it that one becomes the king and controls the battle, while the other becomes the horse and carries the king?! There's only one answer. Instinct! In order for identical beings to get stronger and gain the power they need to become king, they must search for more battles and power! They thirst for battle, and live to mercilessly, crush, shred, and slice their enemies! Deep, deep within our body lies the honed instinct to kill, and slaughter our enemies! But you don't have that! You don't have those pure, base instincts! You fight with your brain. You try to defeat your enemies with logic! And it doesn't work! You're trying to cut them with a sheathed sword! That's why you're weaker than me, Ichigo!"
- (To Ichigo Kurosaki) "I'm not gonna have it, Ichigo. I don't know about Zangetsu, but I refuse to carry a king who's weaker than me and get cut to ribbons with him. If you're weaker than me, then I'll destroy you, and take your crown for myself."
- (To Ichigo Kurosaki) "Shit. Looks like your instincts, and your desire to fight, aren't completely gone. Guess there's no way around it. You got me. I have to recognize you as the king, for now. But don't you ever forget! Don't forget that either one of us can become the king or the horse. If you ever give me the chance. I'll drag you down and crush your skull! And one last warning. If you really want to control my power, make sure you don't get yourself killed before I come back!"
- (To Muramasa) "I'm gonna devour Ichigo and take over his body for good. That's my instinct."
- (Before helping Ichigo defeat the manifestation of his Quincy powers) "Well, there's no point if my landlord's gonna croak."