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Ichigo
Ichigo
Bleach symbol
Art of Ichigo.
Universe Bleach
First appearance Bleach - Chapter 1: Strawberry and the Soul Reapers (2002)
MG appearance(s) Super Smash Flash 2
Species Human
Shinigami
Quincy
Hollow hybrid
Gender Male
Alignment Good
Created by Tite Kubo
Voiced by (Japanese) Masakazu Morita
Yuki Matsuoka (child)
Voiced by (English) Johnny Young Bosch
Mona Marshall (child)
Company Pierrot

Ichigo Kurosaki (黒崎 一護) is the 17-year-old high-school student and subtitle Shinigami of Kurahara town, and he is the protagonist of the Bleach franchise. He appears in his Shikai form and wields his Zanpakuto, Zangetsu.

Character description

When creating the manga series, Tite Kubo, creator of Bleach, commented that Rukia Kuchiki, the first character he created, did not seem like a lead character, so he created Ichigo to be the series protagonist. When designing Ichigo's appearance, Kubo had thought of several types attributes of the character that were never added to the story. Initial design sketches show Ichigo wearing glasses, and having dark hair and kind eyes. When designing Rukia, however, Kubo modified Ichigo's appearance to contrast with hers, giving Ichigo orange hair, a trademark scowl, and removing the glasses. Along with Orihime Inoue, Ichigo has the hardest face to draw for Kubo.

Kubo considered Ichigo's greatest strength to be that he is considerate and thoughtful as he always thinks about other people's needs. However, he also saw that as his greatest weakness, since worrying about his friends tends to put him in danger. Kubo was asked in an interview if he had any plans to focus in the love triangle between him, Rukia and Orihime, but Kubo chose neither to confirm nor deny it as he did not want to focus in romance. Kubo thinks Ichigo is very popular among fans since he "looks cool". He also mentioned that as fans read more about him they discover that underneath him is warm and kind hearted, and that attracts his fans.

Ichigo is voiced by Masakazu Morita in the Japanese anime, while as a child he is voiced by Yuki Matsuoka. Johnny Yong Bosch voices him in the English dub as a teenager, and Mona Marshall as a kid. Bosch has liked Ichigo's character due to how he wants to protect people. However, he experienced difficulty voicing him in the episodes in which Ichigo shouts for a long time.

In the series, Ichigo is an orange-haired 15-year-old teenager able to see spirits, with him even befriending some of them. He meets Soul Reaper Rukia Kuchiki in the midst of an attack from a hollow, a type of monster from another world. After Rukia is heavily injured by the hollow, she is forced to transfer her Soul Reaper powers to Ichigo, so he can defend Rukia and save his family. Though he defeats the hollow, Ichigo absorbs almost all of Rukia's spiritual power, and he is forced perform her Soul Reaper duties until she recovers her powers.

In the Super Smash Flash series

In Super Smash Flash 2

MG icon Main article: Ichigo (Super Smash Flash 2)
SSF2 Ichigo

Ichigo's official pixel art for Super Smash Flash 2.

In Super Smash Flash 2, due the big success and popularity of the Bleach franchise, Ichigo makes an appearance as a starter character, where his design is based on that in the fifth arc in Bleach. He was one of the first four playable characters, along with Mario, Kirby and Lloyd, confirmed according to the trailer and demo. He is ranked 12th in B+ tier on the current tier list.

Trivia

  • In Jump Ultimate Stars for the Nintendo DS, which is where the sprites for Ichigo, Naruto and Goku are ripped from, Ichigo is actually a fast character, despite his Zanpakutō Zangetsu, which is erroneously assumed to weigh Ichigo down. It is stated in a Bleach episode that, despite the varying Zanpakutō sizes, all of them have the same weight.
    • In v0.9b, Ichigo was programmed much slower than his DS counterpart which made him have similarities with Ike from the Fire Emblem franchise in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Ichigo shared having a disjointed hitbox, close to each other in weight, similar accelerated falling speed and similar attack animations with Ike. Max Void Silverman, a developer, however, stated that Ichigo was never meant to be like Ike.
      • From Beta onwards, Ichigo started having an extremely high running speed, while keeping his somewhat slow attacks. This made fans, once again, erroneously consider Ichigo to be based, in a way or another, on Cloud Strife from the FINAL FANTASY series. The developers have not made a statement on this subject, although it is probable that it is all mere coincidence.
  • Ichigo is the one of four fighters in Super Smash Flash 2 to be voiced in Japanese, the others being Marth, Luffy, and Naruto.
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