One of the stranger moments in the Quincy War arc of Bleach was Ichigo’s attack on the Soul King. Namely, Ichigo and his friends had arrived earlier at the Soul King Palace to help the Soul Society’s deity, but once Ichigo arrived, he quickly attacked the Soul King and cut him in two pieces. Now, this move did not make sense since we know that Ichigo was not there to kill the Soul King but rather to protect him, so why did he do it? In this article, we are going to reveal to you how and why Ichigo cut the Soul King in Bleach and what happened after.
Ichigo and his friends arrived at the Soul King’s Palace to save the Soul King, but right after Ichigo pulled out Yhwach’s sword from the Soul King’s chest – the sword had been there from before – he swiftly attacked the Soul King with his sword. He slashed him in two pieces while Blut Vene was visible on his hand. Yhwach explained that he sent some of his Reiatsu into Ichigo when he pulled out the sword and that his Quincy blood forced him to unwillingly attack the Soul King.
The rest of this article is going to focus solely on the Soul King from Bleach, as we bring you everything you need to know about this specific chain of events that we have mentioned above. We are going to tell you all the necessary information about the events surrounding Ichigo’s attack on the Soul King, as well as its consequences. There will be spoilers ahead.
Why did Ichigo cut the Soul King in Bleach?
The Soul King is the head of Soul Society, but because he is thought of as having an absolute nature, the Soul Society citizens see more symbolic value in the Soul King’s existence. The Soul King, who rules over Soul Society, however, doesn’t live in the Seireitei region; instead, he lives in a higher dimension, where the Soul King Palace is also situated. His Royal Guard bodyguards, commonly known as Division 0, are people he has personally chosen. The Soul King is also Yhwach’s father and the architect of this world, Hueco Mundo, and Soul Society.
Soul Society’s history began with the Soul King, who existed before the organization. The Soul King established Soul Society, Hueco Mundo, and the human world with his power known as The Almighty and has since served as the pivot for the upkeep of these three realms. Hysube received the title “Manako Osho” from the Soul King at some point in the past following the founding of Soul Society (Monk Who Calls the Real Name). The Soul King made the decision to have the Shinigami shut up his enormous abilities at some other undisclosed point in the past.
After the members of Zero Division arrive, the King makes a brief appearance at his Royal Palace, along with Byakuya Kuchiki, Renji Abarai, Rukia Kuchiki, and Ichigo Kurosaki at Reikyou, where one of his subordinates inquires as to if he is awake. A few days later, Yhwach, his son, enters the Soul King’s Palace and immediately begins to massacre the vassals and subjects of the Soul King before making his way to the Soul King’s chamber and stabbing him in the chest.
Soon after, Ichigo and his friends enter the room, where Yhwach informs them of the Spirit King’s predicament before telling them that there is nothing they can do. When Ichigo draws Yhwach’s sword to assist the king, Blut Vene spreads across his whole right side, including the arm, and drives him to sever the King’s torso.
Ichigo’s actions are explained by Yhwach by revealing that the Quincy blood cannot accept the Soul King’s presence. Yhwach explains to Ichigo how he forced Ichigo to attack him by giving him the Reiatsu still present in his sword, which his blood reacted to by reviving the Soul King. As the lower half of the King’s body and the containment pod fall to the ground, Yhwach declares that the Soul King is dead for good. Orihime tries to help the Soul King with her powers, but they are useless.
However, Jushiro Ukitake, who had previously saved thanks to Mimihagi, the right hand of the Soul King, initiates the Kamikake ritual in the Seireitei under the Soul King Palace in order to save the Soul King’s life, offering his own as a sacrifice. In doing so, he protrudes a sizable black hand from one of his orifices, which soars upwards to the Palace, and seizes the King’s upper body.
As Mimihagi’s eye starts to roll in surprise at this, Yhwach remarks that Mimihagi is the only thing his eyes can’t foresee and asks if the Soul King is starting to become nostalgic about Soul Society after protecting it all this time. Ichigo stops Yhwach by seizing his arm and blocking his attack, allowing Yoruichi to pass them and build a Kid barrier around the Soul King with a number of seals. Yhwach attempts to destroy both the Soul King and Mimihagi.
Before stating that they will have to remove the monarch, Yoruichi observes that Mimihagi has stabilized the situation. However, the barrier cracks when Yoruichi briefly loses focus after being wounded in the shoulder by Ury Ishida, sending the upper half of the King flying in the direction of Yhwach, who takes Mimihagi from her. Yhwach fully absorbs the Spirit King after absorbing Mimihagi. So, as you can see, the story of Ichigo cutting the Soul King in two is not as it seems at first, as there was a lot of Yhwach in that story. Ichigo would never have done such a thing by himself, so there had to be an underlying cause, and we have explained it here. Now, let us see how Ichigo was even able to do it based on his powers and abilities.
How was Ichigo able to cut the Soul King?
Ichigo cutting down the Soul King was strange for two reasons. The first one, we have already explained by telling you why Ichigo did it, i.e., how he was forced to do it by Yhwach himself. The second thing is how he was able to do it based on his powers and abilities. The Soul King, who is in charge of all of Soul Society, possesses spiritual abilities that are unmatched in scope. The Quincy king collapsed from sheer exhaustion when Yhwach, who likewise possesses great spiritual power, first possessed the entire range of the Soul King’s abilities. It also took some time for Yhwach to recuperate from his body has fully taken on the Soul King’s abilities.
Now, Ichigo was known for his powers and strengths, that much is clear, but was he on the Soul King’s level? Well, it seems that he was, albeit with a little luck. Namely, as the Soul King is simply a passive entity, it only radiates Spiritual Energy, and the process seems to be quite random. At times, he emanates a larger quantity, while at others, the energy levels seem to be quite low. Ichigo had a similar problem in the beginning, as he couldn’t control the amount of energy he was spurting out, but unlike the Soul King, Ichigo was never a passive entity.
As we’ve come to understand, it did not take too much to cut the Soul King, only that the attacker’s Reiatsu at the moment of contact was bigger than the Reiatsu emanated by the Soul King at that same moment. So, if Ichigo managed to hit the Soul King at a time when the Reiatsu he emitted was lower than usual, Ichigo’s Reiatsu might have been enough to cut him in two. Note that the ”lower level” is a very relative term here, as the amount of Reiatsu released, despite being lower, is still way above average, so we’re talking in very large terms here.
And that, as we’ve come to understand, was enough. There doesn’t seem to be any other underlying reason save for this one, i.e., Ichigo’s Reiatsu was simply bigger than the Soul King’s at that exact moment. This does make sense from a narrative standpoint since it doesn’t overcomplicate things and is quite straightforward. It also fits the lore, since we do know that Ichigo’s powers are enormous. To that, you have to add the following: the Can’t Fear Your Own World light novel confirmed that the Royal Guard considered Ichigo as a potential successor to the current Soul King had Ichigo not been able to do what he did. This means that the five most powerful Shinigami, including Ichibei himself, saw Ichigo as a spiritual entity that had more than enough power to keep the Soul Society stable.
Luckily for him, Ichigo managed to defeat Yhwach, and the old world was restored, but the fact that he was just considered as a potential successor to the Soul King says more than enough about his powers. This is why, ultimately, his cutting the Soul King makes sense when their powers are compared.