Art of Ichigo.
|First appearance||Bleach - Chapter 1: Strawberry and the Soul Reapers (2002)|
|MG appearance(s)||Super Smash Flash 2|
|Created by||Tite Kubo|
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Masakazu Morita|
Yuki Matsuoka (child)
|Voiced by (English)||Johnny Young Bosch|
Mona Marshall (child)
Ichigo Kurosaki (黒崎 一護) is the 17-year-old protagonist of the Bleach franchise. He appears in his Shinigami form and wields his Zanpakuto, Zangetsu.
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 canon, Ichigo is an orange-haired 15-year-old teenager able to see spirits, he even befriend some of them. He meets Soul Reaper Rukia Kuchiki in the midst of a hollow attack. After Rukia is heavily injured by the hollow, she is forced to transfer her Soul Reaper powers to Ichigo so that he can kill the hollow and save their lives and 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
- Main article: Ichigo (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. 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 10th in A tier on the current tier list.
- 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 Zanpakuto Zangetsu, which is supposed to weigh Ichigo down.
- In previous demos, Ichigo was programmed slower than his DS counterpart which made him have similarities with Ike 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. This made some people consider Ichigo was based on Ike or Ichigo was a clone of Ike, even though the first SSF2 Demo came out before Brawl. However, Max Silverman stated that Ichigo was never meant to be like Ike from the Fire Emblem franchise.