Every Bleach fan knows who Zangetsu is, the old man version, and why he is such an important aspect of the series. Zangetsu is an embodiment of Ichigo’s powers and is an extremely powerful entity, whose powers have helped Ichigo on numerous occasions. And while he looked like no one in particular in the beginning, as the history of the Quincy unfolded during the Quincy War Arc, it turned out that Zangetsu looks a lot like Yhwach. In this article, we are going to explain why that is.
Zangetsu, the old man, is actually a manifestation of Ichigo’s Quincy powers he inherited from his mother. And since we now know that every Quincy has a fragment of Yhwach’s soul in it, it turns out that Zangetsu is actually a manifestation of Yhwach in that aspect. Why exactly Zangetsu of all characters manifested Yhwach’s looks is not know, but it is assumed that it is a plot-related thing.
In the rest of this article, we are going to tell you why Zangetsu looks like Yhwach and how the two are actually connected. Also, you’re going to find out about Zanegtsu’s history, as well as his powers and abilities, which is going to answer the question of why he is so similar to Yhwach, the leader of the Quincy. Spoilers ahead!
Why does Zangetsu look like Yhwach?
The “Old Man Zangetsu” is a spirit who resides in Zangetsu, Ichigo’s Zanpakuto. He is actually a spitting image of Yhwach from 1,000 years ago and, as part of Ichigo’s soul, represented the Quincy portion of his powers. He originally pushed back Hollow Ichigo and posed as the only Zanpakuto spirit to become Ichigo’s central power and prevent him from becoming a Shinigami.
However, over time, he began to appreciate Ichigo more and helped him in his projects; in the end, he no longer objected to Ichigo becoming a Shinigami and voluntarily stepped down as its central power so that Ichigo could obtain his true Zanpakuto (Hollow Ichigo). However, Ichigo did not want to lose his old companion, which resulted in the Old Man Zangetsu being included in Zangetsu’s new form as well.
When Ichigo is in his “spirit world”, Zangetsu appears in the form of a 30 to 40-year-old male. He has shoulder-length hair, tinted sunglasses, and a three-day beard. He is wrapped in a reddish-black coat. He also has a habit of keeping at least one hand in his pocket. Zangetsu is always portrayed as calm and wise, and seems to enjoy testing Ichigo, even if the purpose of these tests sometimes seems contradictory to the goal.
When Ichigo uses his Bankai, the Zanpakuto spirit also transforms in accordance with the change in the actual sword. Accordingly, the new form of the Zangetsu is called Tensa Zangetsu and is that of a young man (about Ichigo’s age). The clothing changes only slightly, the collar is shorter and Tensa Zangetsu wears a hood, but no sunglasses.
According to Isshin, Ichigo’s father and owner of Engetsu, Zangetsu is more aggressive than before in his Bankai form. He also doesn’t leave his hands in his pockets as often. One of the spirit’s abilities has been shown many times in battle: Zangetsu can temporarily seal severe and deadly wounds, which Ichigo later traces to Quincy’s latent Blood Vein ability.
Likewise, like the actual Yhwach, he can create a great broadsword out of Reishi, but its strength is unknown. Old Man Zangetsu now represents the smaller of Zangetsu’s Dual Blades.
Zangetsu reappears when Oetsu Nimaiya is forging Ichigo’s Zanpakuto through his Asauchi. He clarifies that the “whites” that Aizen created were very similar to the Asauchi of the Hooden, since they entered the interior of the soul and merged with the original power of the Shinigami, becoming its Zanpakuto. Nimaiya then reveals that Zangetsu is not actually Ichigo’s Zanpakuto, but that he has been pretending to be.
He clarifies to Ichigo that it is not the “sword inside him”, but in reality, it is the manifestation of his Quincy powers and that is why his appearance is identical to Yhwach’s, since it is identical to his 1,000 years ago. In his inner world, Ichigo stares at “Zangetsu” and begins to remember details about his first meeting with the man in front of him.
After this he asks if what Nimaiya said is true, to which “Zangetsu” replies that it is true and emphasizes that he is not Zangetsu; this statement shocks Ichigo. As they both fall into the waters of their inner world, Ichigo asks if it is really Yhwach and not Zangetsu, the latter replies that he is only the source of the Quincy power that is inside him and it is not Yhwach. Ichigo is still confused after his words and he shouts that he does not understand what he is saying, and asks if he is an enemy or an ally.
“Zangetsu” for his part answers that he is neither of the two, but that he has never lied to him nor had any malicious intentions, except when he said his name. He adds that Ichigo must have already realized that, since he taught him how to use his Zanpakuto, that all that time he actually used the powers of his inner Hollow, even more so when he was about to die, since the one who always saved his life was the Hollow and not him.
He suppressed his potential, acting as the main source of his power. Ichigo asks the reason for his actions, and “Zangetsu” immediately replies that if Ichigo became a Shinigami, he would inevitably get hurt and that sooner or later he would have to kill him with his own hands. After this revelation, he manifests a reishi sword in front of Ichigo, and tells him once again that it was his duty to kill him if he became a Shinigami.
However, Ichigo chose that path and became a Shinigami after going through a lot of suffering, and for this reason, he doubted his mission and instead of killing him decided to help him on his journey. But for that reason, he is happy to take a step back, as he is pleased to see his growth. After expressing these words he slowly fades away in front of Ichigo, leaving behind his reishi-covered sword.
As he disappears, he tells Ichigo that the power he’s been using up until now was the one he couldn’t suppress, but now that it’s gone, he’ll be able to fight with his “true power” so he urges the substitute Shinigami to use the power of the real Zangetsu. Having said that, the whole place begins to radiate in an intense glow that covers Ichigo.