Well since you ask, I always thought that this was more of a symbolic picture- with ichigo taking the pace of zangetsu, and him encouraging and supporting this kid. a total role reversal. Ichigo is usually the one who is afraid, and needs to be supported by zangetsu, this kid taking the stance with fists clenched, suggests he can hear ichigos words... and yet, this boy, can hear ichigo better in this pic, than ichigo can hear zangetsu. With the exception of getting impaled or totally bashed by the enemy, never once has zangetsu and ichigo had a conversation in battle where zangetsu would say something like that BEFORE ichigo gets his ass whooped. lol.
I also like how ichigo is preventing the kid from stepping backwards, and that his hood has the hollow marks. there is no sword, which to me was odd, but since its a symbolic interpretation I guess it was not required.
one last thing, - does anyone think this kid looks like ishda. perhaps a future quincy, or maybe, the love child if the maid we saw last chapter and a certain quincy bachelor? lol. it would fit, he could have been placed in the care of the eel house chick. (just speculating.)
We truly all come from different cultures, some more serious than others, some more joking than others. Just wan't to suggest that we don't jump each others throats and try to look past our differences, the OP did allow for serious as well as crazy theories after all ^_^
I like the idea that Ichigo will train this boy, it'd give Ichigo's character building a really nice twist to the positive side.
Ichigo becoming more like an elder, a grown up, ready to pass on knowledge, is also a way to show that Ichigo has matured, and reached a stable stage, considering the periods where he has been crying and showing unstable unmature aspects in the past, Ichigo teaching this kid could show once and for all that he's past all that, once he learns his roots.
Ichigo learning about his roots sort of seems to be his last hindrance, to become the man he truly is at heart.
That aisde I think we all humans has this within us, the instinct to pass on knowledge, and it's a nice way to relate to the manga, considering many of us did grow up with this manga.
The instinct usually only shows up in grownups, and many Bleach readers are exactly that today.
I just hope it could have some importants to the story itself somehow and not only character building of Ichigo, Kubo did make the boy for a reason though, and right at the beginning of the arc at that.
He also left Uryu, Ryuuken, and Isshin in the human world, whereas Isshin is now returning to the story, so perhaps the Ishida's and the boy/girl will make an apperance soon? Why introduce them if they're not gonna play a role?
The question is just what? It can't all be character building of Ichigo.
All this a side, some of these theories in this thread really gave me laugh and some interesting ideas too!
---------- Post added at 01:49 AM ---------- Previous post was at 01:39 AM ----------
His hood creepidly also reminds me of Anakin prior becoming Darth Vader O.õ
One may say Ichigo isn't quite stable in that case... lol!
Will the boy save Ichigo turning to the "dark side" perhaps? Maybe that's stretching it... however the similarities to Star Wars in this picture can't be denied, but Kubo is also known for trolling, lmao.
So should this picture be taken as a serious foreshadowing, or is Kubo up to something entirely different?