Usually the main character falls in this category. Ichigo indeed is one of the top contender. Lately, the one who I see having immense potential is Zaraki Kenpachi.
A question, what are you top five characters that you will put in the list for the strongest and also for the most potential?
Bach, Haschwald, Kyouraku and Ichigo will make my strongest list. The 5th spot is a bit difficult. Could be Kenpachi or Ukitake.
All mentioned above can also make the potential list, since they never quite went all-out. But if we are to look at from the development side of the story, not a single person can live up to Kenpachi's upside. Relatively younger Byakuya, Renji and Rukia could show an improvement, if they get a chance and that's about it.
Im thinking Ichigo, Ishida and Bach. Ishida has been rumored to be very strong and the Quincy were not having that he really should be able to be defeated as I remember. Ichigo because it is a Shounen manga after all. Bach is going to be the final test.
Other then these 3 I am going with Byakuya and Kenpachi. I think Kbuo will keep alive the light rivalry between the two and hes setting it up so that both can have the training and strength boost of their life. These are the 5 I think will be and become beastly as the manga unfolds.
And Toshiro will be the strongest of all time
Judging from the recent chapters Kenpachi, then again Ichigo has less than 1% of the training of any shinigami yet beats all the most powerful bad guys. Lame...but I guess the hero has to be the strongest.
At the end of the series Ichigo will obviously be the strongest. As far as a pure shinigami standpoint go, Hitsugaya. Hitsugaya has the most potential of any "Pure" shinigami. Youngest captain and still powerful in his own right. All what's really needed for him is more experience and development of his growth rate.
Not involving plot, Zaraki would probably be the strongest or have the most potential. Basically, he lost against Ichigo and was weaker than Unohana only because he was holding back his power without being aware of it. Same when he barely won.
Though, maybe Juha Bach is stronger as he was able to beat Zaraki without sustaining any visible damage. Ichigo isn't at that level yet, or even Juha's lackey level.
The rest would be:
Isshin(even though not fully recovered sparred evenly with Aizen)
Ryuuken(holds an important title the last quincy)
Kyouraku(hard to judge his true strength seeing that he is lazy and his zan is even more lazy than him)
Question is: If Masaki betrayed the Vandenreich and Bach then why didn't Bach get rid of Isshin. Is Isshin someone who Bach is wary of?
Wasn't this time of 20 years be the best opportunity to attack Isshin and take Ichigo to the Vandenreich?
I mean Bach wants Ichigo to be on his side so why didn't he take him when Ichigo was still a child and his parents where in no way capable to protect Ichigo from Bach.
There could be 2 options:
Bach didn't know Isshin lost his powers.
Isshin had a great back up plan which made it impossible for Bach to get Ichigo.
What's even more funny is that even Ginjou knows about Isshin and the G13 doesn't. Seems like the intel is really bad in SS. Wonder how Ginjou knows about Isshin.
Isshin is getting more and more mysteries with every chapter even though he never appears in them.
1,000 years from now, Hitsugaya will be way beyond what Yama-ji was before his died.
p.s., I'm not even a big fan of Hitsugaya, but that's how I see, based on shear power.
Kenpachi has no knowledge of his true shikai or bankai so potentially he could be the strongest. Ichigo is the main and is like 4 things in one so he's THE obvious pick.
Toshiro reminds me of Ice man in the X-men, starts of so-so but eventually his powers become so great that he can freeze the globe. A power like that would indeed be useful in combat, slowing the enemy down, even the likes of Ichigo. If he can reach absolute zero, which isn't unlikely based on how far Yama went and that Shunsui said that he would be stronger then all of them, even when Yama was in the same area then he could obliterate any oposition. Bach, Ichigo, Isshin, the area of effect attack by Toshiro would be too much for anyone stepping up to the plate.
Ichigos Bankai gives him speed, the cold will put a quick end to that.
Well, I think freezing the water in one's body would be too hax. That would be an automatic win for Hitsugaya at whatever level his opponent was.
Some technique that even surpasses his ice flower Bankai technique could be developed, though.