Bleach’s protagonist, Ichigo Kurosaki, may be the hero of the shonen story, but his character arc has been found to be damaging in several areas.
It is true that Ichigo has some nice features, and his personal arc included moments of heartbreak, tragedy, triumph and more that defined him. As a whole, however, he doesn’t compare well with other Shonen heroes like Izuku Midoriya, Monkey D. Luffy or Naruto Uzumaki on a personal level.
Ichigo Kurosaki is not exactly the hero we thought of in Bleach
Ichigo was horrified when Rukia was dragged back to the Soul Society to answer for his crimes, embarking on a pseudo-isekai adventure in the Society to save her. This is noble and admirable, but the moment Ulquiorra Cifer kidnapped Orihime and took her to Las Noches, Ichigo embarked on the same search again.
He wanted to rescue Orihime and keep his friends safe, but that was a fact, and the fans needed something more. At this point in the story, however, Ichigo didn’t have much to offer on a personal level. This is not to say that he became a terrible protagonist, instead, he became a little tedious when his character’s growth reached an initial level, despite later revelations, such as his Quincy heritage.
At first, he was the underdog with a tragic story to add more layers to his basic role in the Bleach story, but all of that was eliminated when Ichigo killed his personal demons and became an unstoppable powerhouse.
This, combined with his circular goal of “protecting my friends from the newest enemies that appeared”, made him age as a character quickly.
In the universe, no one can blame Ichigo for following a normal life and not living on the edge every day because of it. But, even so, it can make Ichigo a less convincing and sympathetic lead in Bleach’s history.
Other Shonen leaders are identifiable because they are courageous oppressed people who spend their entire history trying to make their big dreams come true. Naruto Uzumaki wishes to gain legitimacy and respect as the new Hokage and defend his people. Monkey D. Luffy wants to make history as the next Pirate King.
These goals can easily support a character arc, but “defending my Hollows friends and catching up on homework” is beyond compare. Ichigo is simply not ambitious enough to win the hearts of readers beyond the first season of the Bleach anime.
Bleach is a manga and anime created by Tite Kubo, having been published between 2001 and 2016, ending its history in 366 chapters.
In the world of Bleach, we know the adventures of Ichigo Kurosaki, a young man who gains Soul Reaper powers after saving Rukia Kuchiki.
With his new powers, Ichigo is forced to assume the duty of guiding good souls into the afterlife world to the Soul Society, and to defeat the Hollows (evil spiritual monsters) that try to devour them.
The anime can be seen in full on Crunchyroll.
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