Bleach fans will undoubtedly that Ichigo is the only character in the series that has access to the powers of all major groups – the Shinigami, the Quincies, the Fullbrnigers, and the Hollows. This is due to his lineage, as he has inherited all of his powers from his father and his mother. But, Ichigo’s relationship with Yhwach was quite intriguing, especially after the Quincy Emperor told him that he had special plans for him. But, what were those plans? What did Yhwach want from (or for) Ichigo? We are going to explain everything in this article!
Being aware of his Quincy lineage, Yhwach planned on slowly recruiting Ichigo to his cause, i.e., to join his Sternritter army, just like he did with Ishida. He planned on revealing the truth to Ichigo slowly and then teach him how to use his Quincy powers, but Ichigo’s unplanned awakening of his Quincy powers forced Yhwach’s hand, who then wanted to simply kidnap Ichigo to make him a Sternritter. Ichigo, of course, refused.
The rest of this article is going to explain the nature of the relationship between Ichigo and Yhwach, as well as the meaning of the plan composed by Yhwach for what to do with Ichigo Kurosaki. The details revealed in this article will be revealed later in the anime series, so there are going to be spoilers in this article.
Why does Yhwach want to recruit Ichigo?
After Yamamoto defeated Royd Lloyd pretending to be Yhwach, the real Yhwach appeared behind the Captain-Commander during the first Quincy invasion of Soul Society. He turns back to Yamamoto and tells him that the sole purpose of the attack was to meet Sosuke Aizen in the underground prison under the 1st Company Barracks to ask him to join his army, which he refused, but that didn’t seem to bother him.
Yamamoto attacks him again, but Yhwach steals his Bankai when he tries to activate it. Yhwach had practically won the fight but still summoned his sword, with which he struck down Yamamoto and severed his entire torso. After Yamamoto didn’t give up even in this state, Yhwach cut off his right arm and mocked him as a weakling. Yhwach wanted to withdraw after that since the Royal Guard could possibly appear as well.
But before he and Haschwald could retire, Ichigo Kurosaki appears in Soul Society. Shortly thereafter, Ichigo stands in the way of Yhwach and Haschwalth. However, Yhwach manages to defeat Ichigo in no time. To everyone’s surprise, Ichigo blocks the coup de grace with Blut Vene. Yhwach then explains that only a Quincy could have escaped Kirge’s prison. He suspects that Ichigo’s Reiatsu would have remembered that it wasn’t just descended from a Shinigami.
After another brief struggle, he abandons Ichigo and promises to come back for him, saying “My son, born in the dark“. He first wants to defeat and take Ichigo with him, but Haschwalt says that they have run out of time and must return, whereupon Yhwach realizes that Aizen must have confused his senses with an unknown Kido technique, causing his sense of time to change. Yhwach would go on to continue with his plans without Ichigo, but it is a fact that Ichigo’s premature – from his perspective – activation of his Quincy powers forced him to change his plans.
Namely, Yhwach was aware of a fact that Ichigo had not been aware of – that he was actually a Quincy as well. As Yhwach wanted to unite all Quincy under him and then create his version of a perfect world, Ichigo was, of course, a necessary piece of the puzzle. But unlike Aizen, whom Yhwach was willing to eliminate at a later point if he still refused to join him, Ichigo was not someone Yhwach was willing to let go.
This was evident during their fight when Yhwach did say that he would have to kill Ichigo then and there, but then he seemingly knocked him down, he still told Jugram to take him so that they could condition him. So, even while he said that he wanted to eliminate him, he still wasn’t ready to do it. Okay, sure, he probably would have done it eventually, but he wanted to avoid it if possible.
Ichigo was an important part of Yhwach’s plans for several reasons. First of all, he was a Quincy and that was important in itself. Secondly, Ichigo was enormously powerful and was labeled as one of the five “Special Threats” by Yhwach, which means that he had more potential than most of his opponents; it is understandable why Yhwach would want to have such an asset on his side during the fight. Thirdly, Ichigo was immune to most Quincy techniques, which made him a dangerous opponent, an opponent that the Quincy would rather not have to face.
With Ichigo on his side, Yhwach would probably have won. This was his ultimate goal but knowing Ichigo, he would never have succumbed to Yhwach’s influence, even if he had been conditioned, i.e., forced to submit. He was not like Ishida, who had ties to the Quincy and understood the meaning of the term pride much differently than Ichigo, and he would never have betrayed his friends and/or family.
How did Ichigo get his Quincy powers?
The origin of Ichigo’s powers was wrongly thought to be his father, who turned out to be a former Shinigami and the former Captain of Division 10 of the Gotei 13, where it was actually his mother who gave Ichigo his powers. This was revealed during the Quincy War Arc.
Namely, Masaki Kurosaki, Ichigo’s mother, was the last of the Kurosaki family, which was one of the few “pure” Quincy families. She was adopted into the Ishida family by Ryūken Ishida’s mother, which is why she always called Ryūken’s mother aunt from then on. During a rainy night, Masaki felt two great Reiatsu converging in the vicinity. She couldn’t sit idly by and wanted to see if she could help. Ryūken initially wanted to stop her but couldn’t. Masaki encountered the wounded Captain Isshin Shiba of the Gotei 13’s Division 10.
This was in a fight with the Hollow White. With her abilities, Masaki was unable to hit the Hollow, so she let him attack her. White bit Masaki’s shoulder and Masaki took the opportunity to kill White with an arrow. Isshin thanked his rescuer, who introduced herself as a Quincy. Both then returned to their homes but still thought of each other for days.
They would later meet after Kisuke Urahara noticed something odd about Masaki, who was actually slowly turning into a Hollow after being bitten by White. Isshin wanted Urahara to help her, but he couldn’t do it without Isshin sacrificing his powers, which the latter did without hesitation. Masaki was thus saved, but Isshin stopped being a Shinigami and went to the Human world, where he would end up marrying Masaki.
Masaki was thus a Quincy with Hollow powers and she transferred those powers to Ichigo after his birth. This is why Ichigo was able to see ghosts even before he became a Substitute Shinigami, but he did not know about his heritage so he did not know how to use his Quincy powers and abilities before the final arc.