How Did Isshin Lose His Shinigami Powers (& How Did He Get Them Back)
Bleach’s Ichigo Kurosaki has one of the best bloodlines in the entire series because he isn’t only the son of a Quincy that was infected with Hollowfication but is also a Shinigami through his father. Of course, we are talking about the super-dad named Isshin Kurosaki, who raised his three kids on his own but was actually a Shinigami before he met Ichigo’s mother, Masaki. But how did Isshin lose and then regain his Shinigami powers?
Isshin lost his power when he lent it to Masaki Kurosaki so that his spiritual energy could suppress her Hollowfication. When Masaki died, Isshin’s powers gradually returned to him because he no longer had to suppress her Hollow. And when Ichigo’s Hollow took over his body, Isshin regained full use of his powers.
The fact that Isshin used to be one of the captains of the Gotei 13 surprised a lot of fans when this was revealed quite a while back. But the fact is that his history was only truly explained during The Thousand-Year Blood War arc. As such, fans now understand how Isshin lost and regained the use of his Shinigami powers. That said, let’s go over this topic in greater detail.
How Did Isshin Lose His Shinigami Powers?
One of the biggest surprises in the entire Bleach manga and anime storyline was the revelation that Isshin Kurosaki, or rather, Isshin Shiba, was actually a Shinigami the entire time. Of course, he had to be a Shinigami because Ichigo had natural Shinigami powers without having to rely on Rukia’s own Shinigami powers. After all, he had to inherit his Shinigami powers from someone.
Then again, while fans of the series found out about Isshin during the Arrancar arc, it was only during the Fake Karakura Town storyline in the arc that Ichigo found out about his dad’s powers. And we also got to learn that Isshin used to be one of the captains of the Gotei 13 when he was still living in Soul Society.
It is obvious that Isshin left his life in Soul Society so that he could live a human life in Karakura Town together with the kids that never even knew that he was actually a powerful soul reaper. But the fact is that he was a Shinigami that eventually had to leave that life because he fell in love with Masaki Kurosaki and actually lost his powers. So, how did Isshin Shiba lose his powers?
As mentioned, back in the day, Isshin Shiba was a Shinigami and was actually strong enough to become a captain of the Gotei 13. He was the captain of the 10th Division. At that time, Rangiku Matsumoto and Toshiro Hitsugaya were his highest-ranking subordinates. However, when Toshiro told him about an incident involving the deaths of Shinigami in Naruki City, he had to investigate the matter himself because he felt that this was something that a captain needed to deal with.
When he got to Naruki City, he ended up clashing with a humanoid Hollow wearing all-black armor. This Hollow, called White, was powerful enough that he was able to decapitate two Shinigamis without even allowing them to sense his presence. As such, Isshin needed to be serious to try to defeat him, as he was able to give the Hollow a tough fight despite the fact that Aizen injured him with a sneak attack.
Luckily for Isshin, Masaki Kurosaki, a young teenage girl with Quincy powers, arrived to save him. Masaki allowed White to bite her so that he would be within striking distance of her arrow as she released a fatal shot on the Hollow’s head. White tried to self-destruct right in front of Masaki, but Isshin returned the favor by absorbing the blast and saving Masaki. Since then, they became quite close to one another despite the fact that Shinigamis and Quincys were never friendly with one another.
Sometime later, Masaki ended up getting infected by White’s Hollowfication, as that bite was meant to transfer his Hollow powers to her. She became the new host of the Hollowfication, and Ryuken Ishida took her away from the Ishida residence to allow Isshin and Urahara to find a way to treat her condition.
That was when Urahara revealed that ever since he was banished from Soul Society, he had been researching Hollowfication. He discovered a failed attempt at using Hollowfication to strengthen a Shinigami, but he was unsure if this would work on a Quincy. That was when he told Isshin that the only way for them to save Masaki was for him to sacrifice his Shinigami powers.
Isshin willingly obliged, as he used his Shinigami powers to suppress the Hollow that was trying to take over Masaki from the inside. He basically lent his powers to Masaki so that her body would be able to keep the Hollow at bay without her even knowing that Isshin did this for her. As a result, he became human and opened a clinic in Karakura Town.
Shortly after that, Isshin and Masaki got married and gave birth to three children. Ichigo, however, inherited the Hollow powers of his mother, as the Hollow within Masaki was able to find its way to the eldest of the Kurosaki children.
How Did Isshin Get His Powers Back?
As mentioned, Isshin lost his Shinigami powers when he lent them to Masaki Kurosaki to keep her Hollowfication at bay. But we did see Isshin appearing as a Shinigami during the Arrancar arc, as it was clear that he used to be one and was even strong enough to be a captain. So, how did Isshin get his powers back?
We said that Isshin didn’t exactly lose his powers but merely lent them to Masaki so that her body could suppress the power of the Hollow within her. As such, when Masaki died, his powers gradually returned to him because he no longer had to suppress the Hollow within her. But the fact that Ichigo had the same Hollow inside him still meant that Isshin’s powers were still being used to suppress his Hollow form.
During Ichigo’s battle with Byakuya Kuchiki during the Soul Society arc, his Hollow side took over his body and overwhelmed Isshin’s spiritual power, which kept the Hollow at bay. So, when Ichigo’s Hollow side took over, the Reishi string that bound the Hollow finally broke and allowed Isshin’s powers to completely return to him.
That is why it was only during the Arrancar Arc that Isshin displayed his Shinigami powers, as he wouldn’t have been able to do so before due to the fact that Ichigo’s Hollow was yet to overcome his spiritual power.