Ichigo Kurosaki’s Zanpakutō, Zangetsu, is one of the more unusual ones in Tite Kubo’s Bleach. Zangetsu always looks like a normal blade and while it does change shape a little, it never had the flair of some other Zanpakutō introduced in the series. Also, it never had any special abilities save for the Getsuga Tenshō, but the Getsuga Tenshō had several forms. As stated, Zangetsu is one of the more curious Zanpakutō even by Soul Society standards and that is why we are going to talk about it in this article. We are going to tell you how Ichigo had his Zanpakutō reforged after Jugram broke it with his sword.
Ichigo lost his Zanpakutō to Jugram, who cut it in half with his sword while it was in Bankai. Since a Bankai cannot be repaired, Ichigo had to get a new Zanpakutō completely, which is why he went with the Royal Guard. After he failed to defeat his Asauchi, Ōetsu Nimaiya sent him away, but he returned once he found out the truth about his mother’s death, after which Nimaiya was able to forge a new blade for him.
The rest of this article is going to focus on two things: Ichigo having his blade broken while it was in Bankai, and then the process of reforging it once again by the Royal Guard. The article is going to expand on what we have already written about Ichigo’s Zanpakutō. If you’re new to Bleach, this article is going to contain a lot of spoilers, so be careful how you approach it.
How did Ichigo lose his Zanpakutō?
When Ichigo manages to break free from Opie’s “The Jail” and arrives in Soul Society, he finds the dying Byakuya there. He asks him to protect Soul Society, whereupon he furiously starts a fight with Yhwach. He defeats him after a relatively short time. When Yhwach tries to give him the coup de grace, Ichigo instinctively uses the Blut Vene Quincy technique to protect himself.
Yhwach then said that only Quincy could escape from Quilge’s Jail and now wants to recruit Ichigo into his army. He doesn’t want to know anything about it. Yhwach exits the battle, telling Ichigo to wait for him because he is his “son, born in the dark” Before Ichigo can stop Yhwach, however, his Bankai sword is broken by Yhwach’s right hand, the Sternritter B, Jugram Haschwalth, and cut in half.
His sword was then taken by Mayuri, who summoned Ichigo while he was talking to Rukia and Shinji in the Division 4 barracks. Mayuri was doing some research and when he summoned Ichigo to his laboratory, he explained that his Zanpakutō is beyond repair. When Ichigo stated that Mayuri fixed his Zanpakutō all the time, the Captain stated that he never fixed it, only modified it and that it is possible while the blade is in Shikai state, but when a Zanpakutō is broken in Bankai state, it is lost forever. This shocked Ichigo.
This was confirmed by the Royal Guard later on when they arrived at the Seireitei to help. Ichibei said that a broken Bankai can never be repaired, but invited Ichigo to their realm, where – he said – they could make something out of it and give him a new weapon. Ichigo, of course, accepted.
How did Ichigo manage to fix his Zanpakutō?
Arriving in the realm of the Soul King, Ichigo is first sent to Kirinden, the “city” of Tenjirou Kirinji, where he is supposed to regenerate. He has to stay underwater in its hot springs for a long time to heal his wounds. It turns out that Rukia, Renji, and Byakuya were also taken there to save their lives. After recovering much faster than Kirinji anticipated, Ichigo is taken to Butonden, the palace of Kirio Hikifune, along with Renji.
She invites the two to a sumptuous feast, which she has prepared by pouring her reiatsu into the food. This greatly strengthens the two newly cured Shinigami and infuses them with powerful Reiatsu. Kirio then sends her to Hououden, where Ōetsu Nimaiya is waiting for her. She also warns the two that the creator of the Zanpakutou is an extremely unpredictable man.
Arriving at the next palace, they are first received by Nimaiya and his Zanpakutō girls in his eccentric way, until Mera admonishes the member of the Royal Guard to finally lead the Shinigami to the right “Hououden”. This turns out to be a small, dilapidated hut with a deep dark shaft inside, into which Nimaiya shoves Ichigo and Renji unceremoniously, taking their Zanpakutō from them and destroying them. He says that the two of them have no love for their swords and because of that they have drawn the anger of the Asauchi lurking in this basement.
While Renji is able to defeat the Asauchi after some time, proving himself to be a true Shinigami in front of Nimaiya, Ichigo is unable to do so. Disappointed, Nimaiya ties him up with Kidou and lets him fall through a portal back into the human world. Once there, he meets Ikumi Unagiya, who invites and comforts the frustrated Ichigo to her home. After a short time, the doorbell rings, and Ikumi opens it but is surprised to find that nobody is there. However, Ichigo sees his father standing in front of him in his shinigami form; he orders him to follow him.
He goes home with Ichigo and strikes up a lengthy conversation with him, opening up about his and Masaki’s past. With Ichigo thus becoming aware of his true nature and roots, Mera reappears to bring him back to Hououden. There, Nimaiya sends him to the basement for a second time to fight the Asauchi. However, before he can leave, all of the Sword Spirits have already bowed to Ichigo. Ichigo grabs the hand of one of the Asauchi, which he recognized as his Zanpakutō spirit. He turns into Hollow Ichigo wearing his mask.
Along with him and Nimaiya, Ichigo goes to the cave by the waterfall where the Royal Guard forges all the Zanpakutō. With the help of his 5 helpers (the Zanpakutō girls Mera, Toki, Sato & two others), Nimaiya forms a new sword out of Hollow Ichigo. Meanwhile, Ichigo delves into his inner world and encounters Zangetsu, who now truthfully introduces himself as the spirit of Yhwach from 1000 years ago and apologizes for deceiving Ichigo all along.
However, Ichigo realizes that Zangetsu’s only intention was to protect Ichigo and does not want to part with his old comrade-in-arms. He, therefore, intervenes in the forging process and directs his reiatsu into the forming weapon. Although surprised, Nimaiya lets Ichigo do it, saying something interesting might come of it. After the newly forged sword cools down, it turns out to be a pair of dual blades, now containing both Zangetsu (Ichigo’s Quincy powers) and the Hollow (Ichigo’s Shinigami powers). After saying goodbye, Ichigo continues on his way to Senshumaru Shutara.