One of the most important parts of the entire Bleach anime storyline was Ichigo accepting his Hollow side as a part of him and drawing power out of it during the times when he needed to do so. Of course, after defeating Aizen, Ichigo lost his Shinigami powers, only to regain them in the events of The Lost Substitute Shinigami arc. However, since then, he never used his Hollow mask before he reforged his Zanpakutō. So, why did Ichigo stop using his Hollow mask after he got his Shinigami powers back?
Ichigo stopped using his Hollow mask because he had become strong enough that there was no need to use it. Even before he used Final Getsuga Tensho on Aizen, he was already so strong that he was probably second only to Yamamoto in Sereitei. As such, there was no need to use his Hollow mask.
Of course, Ichigo probably needed to use his Hollow form in the first fight against Yhwach but doing so might not have crossed his might. But that is all moot and academic now because his reforged Zanpakutō allows him to use his Hollow powers in a different way. That said, let’s look at why Ichigo didn’t use his Hollow mask after regaining his Shinigami powers.
Did Ichigo Lose His Hollow Powers?
During the earlier part of the Bleach anime, especially during the Soul Society Invasion arc, one of the things that we learned was the fact that Ichigo Kurosaki was not only a Shinigami but was also a Hollow, as he inherited this part of him from his mother. In that regard, Ichigo could access his Hollow form to become even stronger. But it was only during the Arrancar arc that he found a way to use his Hollow mask to temporarily enhance his powers.
His Hollow form was so strong that he was able to defeat Ulquiorra Cifer, a very powerful Arrancar, with his full Hollowfication. But the thing that we know about Ichigo and his Hollowfication is the fact that he struggled to control it at times, especially when the Hollow form became too powerful for him to contain. Then again, he lost access to this Hollow side when he lost his Shinigami powers after the Final Getsuga Tensho attack on Aizen. So, did Ichigo actually lose his Hollow powers?
Ichigo never lost his Hollow powers because they have always been a part of who he is. His Hollow side came from the fact that his mother was infected by the Hollow named White, who passed his Hollowfication on to her before his death. Meanwhile, White’s Hollowfication found its way to Ichigo during the time that Masaki Kurosaki was carrying him in her womb.
As such, his Hollow side was always a part of who he was. The only thing that Ichigo lost was his access to his Hollow powers when he lost his Shinigami powers after the Fake Karakura Town arc. And this makes sense when you get to the Thousand-Year Blood War arc, which explained that Ichigo’s Hollow side combined with his Shinigami powers to form his true Zanpakutō.
During the Fullbring storyline in the Lost Substitute Shinigami arc, Ichigo regained his Hollow powers 17 months after Aizen’s defeat because the Gotei 13 captains thought that he was deserving of regaining them. In that regard, he regained access to his Shinigami powers but never lost his Hollow side as well. And that’s because his Hollow side has always been part and parcel of his Shinigami powers after they combined during the time when Ichigo was conceived by his mother.
The only thing that Ichigo lost was his access to his Hollow powers due to the fact that those powers came together with his Shinigami powers. As such, he didn’t have his Hollow powers during the 17-month span between Aizen’s defeat and the Fullbring storyline.
Why Did Ichigo Stop Using His Mask After Regaining His Shinigami Powers?
While Ichigo never lost his Hollow powers even after he lost and subsequently regained his Shinigami powers, the thing that we noticed was that he didn’t use his Hollow mask during the Fullbring storyline. He also didn’t use his Hollow powers in the early part of The Thousand-Year Blood War and before his fake Zanpakutō broke. So, why did Ichigo stop using his mask after regaining his Shinigami powers?
There was never an explanation as to why Ichigo stopped using his Hollow mask. But it is possible that he simply decided to stop using the mask because he was already strong enough without it. During the fight against Aizen, Ichigo was already too strong that he was able to contend with Aizen’s powers before he used Final Getsuga Tensho.
In that regard, he trained hard enough that he didn’t have to rely on his Hollow side. There is also the fact that Ichigo also went on to master his Fullbring powers, which helped his Shinigami powers evolve. As such, during the first attack of the Quincys on Soul Society, Ichigo was already so strong that he was probably second only to Yamamoto out of all of the Shinigami in Soul Society not counting the Royal Guard.
Because Ichigo was already strong enough, he didn’t have to use his Hollow mask at all as he could fight on par with some of the strongest opponents that Bleach had to offer. Then again, as we saw in the initial fight against Yhwach, he probably needed to use his Hollow mask because he had no chance against the father of the Quincys.
Then again, even if Ichigo used his Hollowfication against Yhwach, he would have still been defeated due to how strong his opponent was. As such, it was moot and academic. And he never had to use his Hollow mask after he obtained his new Zanpakutō because his Hollow form could now be accessed in a different way compared to before.
After he balanced out his Hollow and Quincy sides, the only time that he could access his Hollow form was when his body was full of Quincy Reiatsu. As such, he didn’t have to wear a Hollow mask to use his Hollow form.