After using his Saigo no Getsuga Tenshō to defeat Sōsuke Aizen at the end of the Arrancar Saga, Ichigo Kurosaki, the protagonist of Tite Kubo’s Bleach, lost all his Shinigami powers and was unable to see the spirits of the dead for a while. We said for a while because the manga had another large arc that saw Ichigo fight against Yhwach and his Sternritter. But, how did Ichigo get his powers back and who helped him in that process? In this article, we are going to answer those questions for you.
Ichigo Kurosaki regained his powers after being stabbed in the back by Rukia with a special sword containing the Reiatsu of the Gotei 13’s senior officers and other Shinigami. He had already accessed part of his powers as a Fullbringer, but this procedure – thanks to the help of Urahara, Isshin and the Gotei 13 – returned all of his Shinigami powers to him.
The rest of this article is going to focus on the much belittled Fullbringer Arc of Bleach, as you’re going to find out all the details surrounding Ichigo getting his powers back and everyone who actually helped him achieve it. If you don’t know what happened during the officially titled Lost Agent Arcs, there are going to be spoilers present.
How did Ichigo get his powers back?
Seventeen months have passed after he had defeated Aizend and Ichigo has completely lost his Reiatsu. Slowly trying to adjust back to normal life, he rarely talks about Soul Society. After some time, Ichigo is contacted by a man while mysterious attempts are being made against the lives of his friends. The man, named Ginjō, is a “Fullbring” user and wants to help Ichigo regain his Shinigami powers.
When Ichigo’s training begins, he is locked in a dollhouse and has to fight a teddy bear with a human soul, which he cannot defeat without Fullbring. After a short time, the teddy turns into a mindless monster and tries to kill Ichigo with hard attacks. He gets a tip from Chad that for Fullbring he needs an item to associate moments of pride with.
For Ichigo, this is his Substitute Shinigami Badge and he then remembers all the battles he’s fought. Through pride, Ichigo awakens his Fullbring, which he claims possesses his Getsuga Tenshō’s Reiatsu. With a fired Getsuga Tenshō, he defeats the monster and is set free by a sneeze of Riruka. Afterward, she explained that her Fullbring, named Dollhouse, can be deactivated when she sneezes.
As Ichigo dries himself, his Reiatsu suddenly pours out of the Shinigami badge. During attempts to push back the Reiatsu, it disappears on its own and he wonders if there is a time limit. Suddenly, voices erupt from the Shinigami badge. Ichigo only understands a few words, but realizes that it was Rukia’s voice. Ginjō then sends him home because a Fullbring is very stressful for the body and Riruka also said he should rest.
When Ichigo goes home with Chad, Chad tells him that Inoue always brings him bread since she worries about him. While getting some bread for Ichigo, he notices that something is wrong with Inoue’s Reiatsu. The two immediately run to Inoue’s apartment. While Ichigo tries to call Inoue, Chad says it’s a bad idea because if she noticed the call, it could kill her.
When they reach the apartment, they see Inoue sitting on the floor in front of her apartment. Ichigo asks if everything is ok. She replies that she has met up with a friend and that they don’t have to worry. After that, Ichigo and Chad went home. On the way, Ichigo asks Chad if he believes Inoue’s story since he worries about her. Instead of running home, Ichigo goes back to Xcution.
He asked Ginjō if he knew what happened and that he felt Chad and Inoue were hiding something from him. Ginjō told Ichigo that it was probably the same person who attacked Ishida. His name is Tsukishima and he also has a Fullbring. He also mentioned that Tsukishima is a former ally. After learning this, Ichigo goes to his boss, Ikumi Unagiya, and asks her if he can get a vacation.
She pointed out that he’s been skipping the whole time anyway. As he is about to leave, Unagiya grabs his shoulder and tells him that she doesn’t know what happened and that he shouldn’t worry about her as she is not a teenager but an adult. As Ichigo walked the streets, he thought about what Ginjō had told him: that Shūkurō Tsukishima was their leader at first and that they were together looking for a way to rid themselves of the Fullbring powers.
He was also the one who figured out that you lose the Fullbring powers if you transfer them to a proxy Shinigami. When they finally found a Shinigami and some of them were already transferring their powers to the Shinigami, Tsukishima changed his mind and killed the shinigami as well as those who had transferred their powers. From then on nobody saw him again. Ginjō wondered if he had planned it from the start.
He then shows Ichigo a deputy badge that belonged to Tsukishima. Ginjō does not know what his motives are, only that Tsukishima wanted to prevent him and the other members of Xcution from contacting a substitute Shinigami and now wants to get Ichigo’s attention, so he attacked Ishida and Orihime. Ichigo shouldn’t worry though, as they are already preparing for the next training session and he should go home for now.
While Ichigo was thinking about it and walking down the street, he suddenly spotted his father standing in a small alley. Before Isshin could see him, Ichigo hid. When Urahara came over, Isshin said they should go somewhere else just to be safe. As they walked away, Ichigo remembered what Ginjō had said to him: does he know everything about Urahara and what his deeper motivations were.
Ichigo wondered if he should follow them. But if it turns out that Urahara really belongs to the enemy, could he really do something against him? All he thought about was getting his powers back as soon as possible. The next morning he learns from Riruka that he will be transferred to an aquarium and without complaining, Ichigo agreed. When he is in the aquarium, Jackie Tristan was already standing in front of him.
Without hesitation, she pulled out her Shinigami badge and called for a fight. However, it turned out that Ichigo was inferior to Jackie, so Jackie dominated the fight for a long time. She said that someone who hadn’t fought Fullbring for long couldn’t take her on. Ichigo masters his Fullbring better and better as the fight progresses until the two are evenly matched.
However, the fight is interrupted by Tsukishima Shūkuro and it is revealed that his Fullbring has reached the next level. Ichigo, identifying Tsukushima as the one who attacked his friends, begins to fight him, but realizes that he can’t take on him yet as his Fullbring is still relatively unstable and the blade of his sword is still easily broken. Kūgo interrupts the fight, however, giving Yukio the opportunity to pull Ichigo out of the fight.
After Tsukishima escapes, Ichigo begins training with Kūgo, which requires Orihime to train him. Ichigo is hopelessly inferior to the leader of Xcution, which is why Orihime keeps healing him. At some point, however, she is removed from the battle, which is why Ichigo is blinded by Kūgo during the training. Meanwhile, Ichigo realizes that he can see Reiatsu again. He manages to hold his own against Ginjo.
The latter then explains that he didn’t do this to harm Ichigo, but to help him complete his Fullbring, and then tells Ichigo to activate his Fullbring. Ichigo realizes that all he has to do now is master his Fullbring. When he gets home happy, Yuzu comes up to him and says that an old friend is visiting, whereupon Tsukishima steps out the kitchen door, shortly after all his friends come to visit and start to greet Tsukishima happily, whereupon Ichigo freaks out and hits him.
Ichigo is then horrified by his friends asking what’s up and they try to calm Ichigo down. He flees in panic and goes to his employer Unagiya to talk to her there, but Tsukishima shows up there as well. Ichigo takes flight again and begins to wonder what is wrong with everyone. Shortly thereafter, he meets Ginjo, who explains to him that the members of Xcution were also attacked by Tsukishima and that if he kills Tsukishima, it’s possible that his friends’ memories could return.
They then go to Tsukishima’s mansion, but soon after, Ichigo’s friends show up. He lures Tsukishima to the upper floors and begins fighting him there after Ginjo makes sure his friends can’t show up. Ichigo corners Tsukishima, who is suddenly protected by Chad and Orihime. Completely horrified, he asks his friends why they are doing this, to which Chad explains that they would never have been able to complete all the adventures if it hadn’t been for Tsukishima. However, Ichigo manages to keep fighting regardless of his friends.
However, when he neglects his cover for a moment, he only escapes the Final Strike as Ginjo protects him. He asks him if everything is ok, to which he says that everything is ok. Shortly thereafter, Ishida enters the scene and asks Ichigo to step aside. Ichigo wonders if Tsukishima has also worked on him, but Ishida explains to Ichigo that it was Ginjo who attacked him. Ginjo then attacks Ichigo and steals his Fullbring.
The latter laughs at Ichigo’s defeat and explains that he was given fake memories by Tsukishima to fool Ichigo and that he is the real mastermind behind it all. Ichigo angrily demands his Fullbring back as he needs his powers to protect his friends, but Ginjo just laughs at him. Shortly thereafter, a sword is rammed into his back, whereupon he turns around and sees his father and Kisuke.
He asks his father if he was also attacked by Tsukishima, but he calls him an idiot and tells him that he should take a better look because he could now see “her” again. Ichigo recognizes Rukia and regains his lost Shinigami powers. He further realizes that Soul Society has sent a delegation of commanders to support him. With renewed courage, he now begins a fight with Ginjo. This now activates his Fullbring, which has now been supplemented by Ichigo’s.
The two are taken into his console by Yukio where they begin to fight. Ginjo explains to Ichigo that he is only used by Soul Society and that his Shinigami badge is only used to suppress his Reiatsu. However, Ichigo tells him that he trusts Soul Society and continues to fight determinedly. He activates his Bankai to finish Ginjo off. He also manages to escape from Yukio’s world.
Ginjo only smiles tiredly and explains to him that he also reached the Bankai when he was a Shinigami and activates it. A bitter fight ensues, but it quickly turns out that Ichigo is superior to Ginjo. The latter recognizes this and therefore wonders whether Ichigo wants to understand him since he doesn’t wear the face of a man who just wants revenge.
In the course of the fight, Ginjo is ultimately killed. Tsukishima can’t see this and tries to stab Ichigo from behind, but Riruka intervenes and tells Tsukishima that Ichigo saved Ginjo. A few days later, to everyone’s surprise, Ichigo makes his way to Soul Society, where he intends to retrieve Ginjo’s body and give it a proper burial.
The captains are shocked and Shinji asks him if he knows what he is asking. Ichigo admitted that he knew what he was asking, but also said that Ginjo was still a Substitute Shinigami and therefore deserved a funeral. In the end, he points out to Ukitake that all Shinigami should know that his Substitute Shinigami badge identifies him as the official Substitute Shinigami, and then he goes back to his world.
Who helped Ichigo get his powers back?
Several people were actually involved in this process. The Fullbringers led by Ginjo were able to help Ichigo regain a part of his powers by becoming a Fullbringer, but the Shinigami knew that it wouldn’t be enough. In the meantime, Kisuke Urahara and Ichigo’s father, Isshin, worked with Rukia Kuchiki to find a way to bring Ichigo’s full powers back. Once they found a way, 3rd Seat Ikkaku Madarame, Captain Kenpachi Zaraki, Captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya, Captain Byakuya Kuchiki, and Lieutenant Renji Abarai all put their Reiatsu into the sword, which – combined with Rukia’s Reiatsu – created the sword with which Rukia pierced Ichigo, thus enabling him to gain his powers back.