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Of course, storywise it's a means of repairing his bankai, or at least giving it a more or less adequate shape, akin to how Mayuri "modified" his own broken bankai. There's also been a lot of exposition. We've learnt where zanpakuto come from (and even an answer to how Kenpachi got one), and also that Ichigo's inner Hollow is his real zanpakuto spirit, while Old Man Zangetsu is his Quincy powers. And don't forget the Everything But The Rain mini-arc, which was caused by Ichigo failing his first attempt to bond with an Asauchi. That's quite a lot of stuff revolving around a seemingly easy problem of getting his zanpakuto back, don't you agree? However, what is it going to gain us in the long run? Ichigo will have a proper zanpakuto, made from an Asauchi, but why is it necessary for him to have one in the first place? Aside from learning about his origins, how will he benefit from such a sword?
How is Nimaiya Oetsu, the father of Zanpakuto, the creator of Asauchi going to repair Ichigo's "Zangetsu" if it's nothing but a Quincy product? Besides, if the spirits inside the sword conflict with each other like they did during the Arrancar Arc or Yhwach has any influence on the Quincy side of Ichigo then having a large and solid Heirich Pfeil pretending to be a sword is going to be troublesome.
As it is, it seems like Ichigo's Zanpakuto is just White's attempt at making Shinigami powers with Ichigo's reiatsu, modelled off of Isshin's because Ichigo has Isshin's blood. Going by Byakuya and Ginrei's Zapakuto, there does seem to be some similarity within bloodlines; we don't know what Ginrei's Zan actually does, but the guard has a similar appearance to Byakuya's. But whilst they might be similar, every Zan should be as unique as it's owner. So I think that right now, Ichigo's Zanpakuto is just his Shinigami power manifested in the crudest form, because he has no proper understanding of what his power is supposed to be, and neither does White.
Well, I hope Ichigo's powers won't change too much. I think they will be based on what we've already seen. I only think they would be more deep and developed, since Ichigo now knows the true origins of his power, thus now he would have a deeped bond with his Zan and will learn more techs from actual Zangetsu the same way he learnt Black Getsuga.
So Whitey a.k.a. Hollow Ichigo was Ichigo's zanpaktou the whole time, but is it really named Zangetsu or something else? And I guess that Vasto Lorde full hollow form will probably be his true bankai form or a resurreccion, I guess we'll have to wait and find out. By the way, this is very different from the Vizards as their zanpaktous aren't hollowfied and don't seal their hollowfication within their zanpaktous like Ichigo and the arrancars can, plus the Vizards underwent the normal hollowfication experiment according to Urahara, while Whitey's soul was implanted into Ichigo's zanpaktou at the time of his shinigami awakening.
whitey was with him as was quincy and shinigami from the time of his birth.
Perhaps I am just not clear on what you are saying, but the way I understand the progression is this:
Aizen has hyogoku, he creates experiments, one of those is the black hollow whitey, who was created with the souls of shinigami.
It is supposed to find a shinigami and fuse with it via its bite. infecting the shinigami soul, and forcing a hollowfication.
whitey is in battle with isshin, but then masaki arrives, and she gets bitten. which is wierd, because most hollow cannot penetrate her blut vene.
then she starts to grow a hollow hole, and urahara and isshin try to save her. so they send isshin into her inner world to balance out the hollow via getsuga tenshou,
then urahara ties a spirit cord to her and isshin, bonding them and keeping the hollow in masaki at bay while allowing her quincy human power to remain.
then, grand fischer arrives and during the conflict, juha bach decides to soul suck, impure quincy to increase his own powers. so masaki is temporarily rendered powerless and GF kills her. and uryuus mom is also weakened and dies.
so now we have ichigo, who is high spec, is born with dormant quincy and shinigami powers. both of which, have hollow flavor due to aizens whitey. but whitey is also dormant in ichigo at this moment.
the spirit string tied to maskai disappears when she dies, but isshin does not rejoin SS, instead focuses on raising ichigo and siblings.
ichigo grows, until chapter 1, when this whole thing started and Rukia appears on scene.
then shortly after ichigos family gets attacked, because he was foolish enough to touch a spirit, which acted like a conduit for his inner spirit power, and released it into the environment, sensing this tasty treat, hollows begin to come out of the wood work to eat ichigo.
when rukia was injured in the fight, ichigo then agrees to the transfer of powers, but when he stabs himself with rukias blade, he absorbs everything, (I suspect that this is due to his quincy powers)
now the development of his spirit powers of which quincy, shinigami, hollow, progress is simple I think.
His powers are awakened, but subconsciously, he used rukias powers, and had an incomplete sword until the shattered shaft training.
During this time, his only connection to his latent ability was from his instincts. the menos grande is a perfect example of his instinct stepping in to help him out with his first, sort of getsuga tenshou.
during the shattered shaft training, he is unable to connect to his inner world until time is nearly out, at which point, he meets OMzangetsu, who claims to be his zanpaktou, It is important to realize that at this point his quincy power is inherently no different than what we know as shirosaki, they both, seek to wear the mantle of ichigos powers and be the primary conduit of those powers.
OMzangetsu, sets up a test for ichigo, but I think this test also serves as proof, -in hindsight,- that OMzangetsu, really is not the zanpaktou, if ichigo had been normal, he would likely have met his zanpaktou in his inner world, as it turns out, he has multiple competing aspects, some of which he knows nothing about, so in his ignorance and lack of frame of reference, he accepts that OMzangetsu, is his power, so he takes the test, finds his powers, and has to pull the sword from the box.
this solidified control with OMZangetsu, and allowed the power of ichigos zanpaktou, to be channeled through OMzangetsu.
then later, during the SS battles, his mask begins, to appear, and his hollow aspect begins to assert itself, it is at this point that even OMzangetsu, is overthrown by whiteys aspect who has manifested as shirosaki. ichigo is frightened of this, and discovers that if he battles, whitey and wins, then OMzangetsu can return.
Had ichigo known that OMzangetsu was not his zanpaktou, he might have had an opportunity to defeat shirosaki, and restore power and his connection directly to his zanpaktou. but again in his ignorance, he chooses Omzangetsu,
then later, during the ULQ fight, after he basically dies, his zanpaktou does what is necessary to save him, it gives complete control to the hollow aspect, and the hichigonator is born.
after things calm down, ichigo then learns that to defeat aizen, he is going to need to learn a technique from his zanpaktou, called the FGT.
to do this he has to go into his inner world directly from the bankai state.
he learns the ancient form known as Jinzen.
when he arrives, he cannot even breathe. I think this is similar to when ichigo arrived in the shikai inner world and still could not hear OMzangetsus voice.
I also think this is the first time, that we get close to meeting ichigos zanpaktou,
since ichigo is not able to hear his zanpaktou directly, or see it directly due to ignorance, hell he cannot even breathe,his zanpaktou, uses the OMzangetsu form, and the shirosaki form, to communicate with ichigo. they fuse before him and try to explain that they are both his powers,
then the FGT training begins,
**I think it is important to note at this point that it would seem that both OMzangetsu, and Shirosaki, were not the dominant personalities within the bankai inner world.
I think this is because of the Jinzen, and the fact that ichigos intent was not to seek old man zangetsu or shirosaki, but to commune with his zanpaktou.
This seems like the closest he could get to speaking directly with it, and also it seems that his zanpaktou, met him half way, and conjured up the familiar forms of zangetsu and shirosakis hichigonator form for a visual fusing before the FGT training.
now we are post dangai training, and ichigo is uber. he is emitting zero reishi, and is absorbing everything just like the quincy he will fight in hueco mundo.
We all thought that this was due to the training, but remember at this point ichigo is not using FGT, he is in his shinigami form, and is absorbing all reishi from his surroundings, not like sklaver which seemed to force destruction on what was absorbed, but the direction of reishi was definitely, from the world into ichigo.
in this state, his physical was very strong, strong enough to facepalm aizen and allow some great one liners. only after aizen morphed again did ichigo finally use the FGT.
at which point he lost everything.
now ichigo despairs, and wants his powers back after some time being "normal"
the fullbring arc arrives and we find out that ichigo just needed a jumpstart, so all the captains and VC donate some energy and ichigo is restored via light saber to the chest.
his power is back, but his zanpaktou is broken, we do not see Omzangetsu, or shirosaki during this time.
in fact, it is more similar to the time he had rukias powers in the beginning than anything else.
he never dons the mask, only uses the powers he had mastered and thought everything was ok.
then the VR arrive trash SS, break his sword and cast him into doubt,
the last couple of chapters, where he learns what he actually is, will allow him to regain his power, and right now, I think we are getting set up for a battle between ichigo, Omzangetsu, and shirosaki, he will need to exert dominance over these aspects if he wishes to commune with his zanpaktou, that actually (in my opinion) is made up of both, before he can hear the voice of his true zanpaktou, he needs to fully understand the nature and aspects that he is trying to control.
I would put forth, that neither OMzangetsu, or Whitey- a.k.a. shirosaki, are his zanpaktou, they are both, aspects of his power that are trying to take control of his actual zanpaktou, which was broken after FGT.
this new asauchi, along with the help of nimaya, are going to allow him to balance his powers, and exert dominance, so that he can communicate directly with his zanpaktou, and not be forced to go through an intermediary OmZangetsu, or shirosaki.
thats my understanding of the situation.
Last edited by Cyber34; June 12, 2013 at 05:26 AM.
---------- Post added at 10:51 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:48 AM ----------
As for why ichigo would need an asauchi based zampakuto.... Well, has never actually been a shinigami so far. He has used shinigami powers through his quincy powers apparently however he has never been an actual full fledged shinigami. Perhaps he could have somehow fixed his old sword on his own given that it was made by his quincy powers (apparently at least) however ichigo would have still not been even remotely similar to shinigami within the gotei 13. From the moment ichigo gets his new zampakuto he will actually be one of them.
---------- Post added June 12, 2013 at 01:50 PM ---------- Previous post was June 10, 2013 at 10:51 AM ----------
Remember the 24 hour rule. Spoilers are not allowed until 24 hours of the release of the chapter have passed.
IMO ichigo hasn't used an actual zanpaktou. Zangetsu we know isn't his zan, it's a manifestation by his inner Quincy to stop ichigo from looking any further for its name. Omzangetsu seized the opportunity there I think. We saw his assuchi as a hollow version of ichigo which sword dude said his zan is a hollow, I believe that shirosaki is his zanpaktou. But we don't know his name yet, ichigo chose omzangetsu and as such gave dominance to him. During the fgt training tens a zangetsu said he didn't want to teach ichigo fgt because he loved him and didn't want to lose him he just wanted to keep ichigo safe, I think that the fgt form is his actual bankai and once he used fgt he gave dominance to shirosaki over on zangetsu thus losing his communication to his inner world as he did not know his zanpaktous real name. The name zangetsu does get me though as the name itself follows the bloodline to some point with ishin and aizen having similar names so maybe his zan is called zangetsu but ichigos affiliation with it is of omzangetsu.........
Kenpachi and Ichigo had the same training. Using his full percent state and conviction of the ownself to start the Zampakuto's evolving procedure... which is quite good.
A question slips, Why only Shinigamis are allowed to have a Zampakuto inside them? This is something that Tite hasn't explained yet.
If this Afro-man created Asaushis to materialize the Zampakutos... is clear that Shinigamis have to be Shinigamis to use it.
What i understand from the previous chapters is... Oldman Zange is the Quincy attained from the powers of Juha Bach... Tenza Zange is the Quincy powers of Ichigo in his true state of pureness... this few power that Ichigo could manipulate allow him to enter to Bankai because he was using his sword but Oldman was restraining it like an identity. Sure this a property that came from a pure Quincy and his ability to use Reiatsu better than any else.
Old Man Zange finally leaves his powers in Ichigo's hand and also he trained him to accept his Hollow's powers that came from White.
Ichigo has Ogichi's sword now, and that might be the sword that will awake now but with the Quincies power on it thanks to what happened... so another question slips!
Why the Quincy powers manipulates the Zampakuto of a Shinigami, if the Quincies doesn't have a Zampakuto by themselves? That thing is weird... i'm waiting an explanation of why a Zampakuto has to exist.