Bleach Explained: What Is Ichigo’s True Bankai? All 3 Forms of Ichigo’s Bankai Revealed

Grab your spiritual energy sensors, Bleach fans; we’re slicing through the mist to unearth the intricacies of Ichigo Kurosaki’s Bankai! No, you didn’t misread that. Ichigo, the spikey-haired hero of the hit anime and manga series, has not one but three fascinating forms of his ultimate weapon. Forget the chaos of swinging swords; it’s time to understand the evolution of Ichigo’s Bankai and the embodiment of his fearsome powers.

Ichigo’s First Steps: Awakening the Initial Bankai


This is where the legend begins, with Ichigo’s foray into the mystical world of Soul Reapers. We first witness the inaugural form of Ichigo’s Bankai during the iconic showdown against Byakuya Kuchiki in the Soul Society/Rukia rescue arc. Dressed in a tattered Soul Reaper uniform and brandishing a sleek black katana, Ichigo shocked audiences and Byakuya alike.

“It took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears for Ichigo to awaken his first Bankai.”

The so-called “old man Zangetsu,” who revealed himself during Ichigo’s intense training, represents only a fragment of Ichigo’s true capabilities. Turns out, he was partially the handiwork of the devious Aizen.

While this first form dazzled with its incredible speed, it lacked raw power. Sure, it got the job done against Byakuya, but barely. And let’s not even talk about how it struggled against powerhouses like Grimmjow and Ulquiorra.

The Fullbring Chapter: A Second Wind in the Bankai Saga

Enter Fullbring—powers reserved for those rare children born after a parent survives a Hollow attack. Owing to his mother’s past altercation with a Hollow, Ichigo gains access to Fullbring abilities after losing his original powers in the battle against Aizen.

“Due to his mother being attacked by a Hollow while pregnant with him, Ichigo possessed the capability to activate Fullbring powers.”

13 years ago today Ichigo used his Bankai! ✨

— Crunchyroll (@Crunchyroll) November 15, 2020

Trust is a fragile thing, and Ichigo learned it the hard way when he uncovered Ginjo’s treacherous plans. A power infusion from allies like Rukia and Renji rekindled his Soul Reaper abilities, combined with Fullbring traits, thus evolving his Bankai.

The newly transformed Bankai carried a stylish curvature, festooned with spikes, and a revamped Soul Reaper uniform that screamed—’Ichigo is back, and he means business.’ The infusion of Hollow and Quincy energies made this form a cut above the first but still not the pinnacle of his power.

The Third and Truest Form: The Horn of Salvation Unveiled

Let’s get real—the third Bankai is where the layers peel off to reveal the real Ichigo, born of a fusion between Soul Reaper, Quincy, and Hollow origins. Masaki Kurosaki, Ichigo’s pure-blood Quincy mother, and Isshin Shiba, a former Soul Reaper, combined lineages to give Ichigo his unique set of powers.

“To activate his true Bankai form, Ichigo must assume a new state called the ‘Horn of Salvation.’”

In this final form, Ichigo wields a dual sword that splits to symbolize his Quincy and Hollow powers. And let’s not forget that colossal horn—a tribute to his Vasto Lorde form when facing Ulquiorra. There’s a gripping anticipation around this third Bankai, so powerful that even Yhwach felt the need to shatter it before witnessing its full potential.

“We can only hope that now the story’s final arc is being animated and the lore is expanded, we get to see Ichigo’s true Bankai form in all its glory.”


Concluding the Symphony of Ichigo’s Bankai

Alright, Bleach aficionados, we’ve journeyed through the maze of Ichigo’s multiple Bankai transformations, each a piece of a larger puzzle that is his extraordinary heritage and power. Whether you’re a fan of the speed of Tensa Zangetsu, the versatility of his Fullbring-infused form, or holding your breath for the Horn of Salvation, Ichigo‘s Bankai proves why he remains a celebrated icon in anime lore.

As we bid adieu, let’s not forget that the Bleach universe is ever-expanding. With the upcoming animated adaptation of the Thousand-Year Blood War arc, who knows what new secrets will unfurl? So, keep your swords sharp and spiritual energies high; the mystery of Ichigo’s true Bankai is far from over.

Fellow anime enthusiasts, whether you grew up on classics like DBZ and Sailor Moon or are currently binging on Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure and Attack on Titan, the animated realm is a treasure trove of storytelling and artistry. Stay tuned for more articles that promise to deepen your understanding of your favorite shows.

Until next time, keep that Bankai ready!