The hero of Bleach is Ichigo Kurosaki, and this brave Soul Reaper stand-in is ready to face any challenge to protect his dear friends and restore peace to the world (or at least, to Karakura Town). From the first episode onwards, Ichigo has faced mortal danger in the line of duty, and more than once, he may have lost his life.
It is true that Ichigo has a powerful inner Hollow that can take over in times of extreme danger, but this inner beast doesn’t always appear and cannot always save Ichigo from great danger. Many times in the series, Ichigo could have been eliminated forever if someone didn’t help him or if his enemies didn’t give him a break. When did Ichigo have a chilling brush with death?
10 When Ichigo lost to Byakuya Kuchiki in season 1
In the early days, in season 1, Ichigo thought that his zanpakuto was strong enough to handle any threat. At the very least, he could cut countless regular Hollows to pieces, but Captain Byakuya Kuchiki was a completely different matter.
Ichigo was unprepared for an enemy like this, and Byakuya took a single quick step to cut Ichigo almost in half and defeat him. Ichigo was bleeding heavily and almost died until Kisuke Urahara rescued him. That was close.
9 When Ichigo trained to unlock Zangetsu with Kisuke
Ichigo was free of Byakuya Kuchiki’s threat for now, but he was still not out of the woods. Now it was time to train with Kisuke and his employees, and this means facing little Ururu Tsigimiya in a boxing match.
Ururu is stronger than he looks, and Ichigo is almost hit. Worse still, he had his chain of fate damaged and ended up in a pit, slowly turning into a Hollow. Ichigo narrowly escaped that fate, or else Kisuke would have killed him as a Hollow. And Kisuke has the strength to do it.
8 When Ichigo and his friends crossed the Dangai, fleeing the Kototsu
Ichigo and his friends were ready to invade Soul Society and rescue their friend Rukia, and Yoruichi Shihoin led the way through the Dangai. But there was a problem: the Kototsu was there too, a sweeper that removes all unwanted people and items from the Dangai on a regular schedule.
The Kototsu chased Ichigo and his friends through the tunnel-like Dangai, and if it touched any of them, they would have been doomed in this strange in-between world. Ichigo barely managed to enter Soul Society to begin his mission.
7 When Ichigo almost lost to Kenpachi Zaraki in their duel
Ichigo’s search in Soul Society turned bloody as he faced one Soul Reaper after another, starting with Ikakku Madarame of Squad 11. Soon enough, Ichigo faced Ikakku’s boss, Captain Kenpachi Zaraki, and this was a true life and death struggle.
Ichigo lacked the power and determination to defeat Kenpachi, and Captain Zaraki struck Ichigo and nearly killed him. The only reason Ichigo survived is that Kenpachi has a sense of sportsmanship – he never finishes off a defeated enemy. Otherwise, this would have been Ichigo’s final defeat.
6 When Ichigo faced Captain Sosuke Aizen (first time)
Ichigo scored a huge victory when he fought Captain Kuchiki to a draw and inspired Byakuya to see things his way. However, this victory was short-lived; Captain Sosuke Aizen arrived, and he was serious. Ichigo and Lieutenant Renji Abarai fought back, but it was useless.
Aizen surprised everyone when he stopped Ichigo’s bankai with a single finger, and his counterattack was meant to cut Ichigo in half and kill him. Fortunately, Aizen underestimated Ichigo a bit and didn’t cut deep enough to land that fatal blow. Lucky Ichigo.
5 When Ichigo faced Grimmjow Jeagerjaques (second time)
The sixth Espada, Grimmjow Jeagerjaques, established himself as Ichigo’s rival during the Arrancar arc and easily defeated him in their first duel. In the second match, Ichigo had the upper hand with his Hollow mask, until the mask wore off and Grimmjow turned the tables.
Grimmjow pinned Ichigo to the ground with his zanpakuto, then charged a zero blast directly at Ichigo’s head, intending to decapitate Ichigo with one blow. At the last second, Rukia Kuchiki arrived and froze Grimmjow with her shikai. That was close.
4 When Ichigo’s party confronted Runuganga, a sandy hole in Hueco Mundo
Ichigo’s team broke into the world of Hueco Mundo to rescue Orihime, and Uryu Ishida and Chad defeated two Arrancar at first. But not long after the gang met Nelliel and her friends, a new enemy appeared: Runuganga. It had a body of sand and there was no escape.
The huge Runuganga created a large sinkhole that nearly swallowed Ichigo’s team, and if Ichigo didn’t suffocate there, then the trap would have kept them in place until the Espadas or other powerful warriors arrived to take down Ichigo’s defenseless team. .
3 When Ichigo lost to Ulquiorra Schiffer (first time)
Ulquiorra Schiffer was a cold rival to Ichigo, as he was the one who captured Orihime Inoue to begin with. Ichigo wanted Ulquiorra dead, but in their first duel, not even Ichigo’s Hollow mask could ensure victory. Ulquiorra responded with a vengeance.
Ulquiorra threw Ichigo a bit, then shoved his hand directly into Ichigo’s chest and practically killed him. Ulquiorra declared Ichigo dead, and Ichigo was totally inert until Orihime used the full extent of her healing powers on him.
two When Ichigo lost to Nnoitora Gilga, the fifth Espada
Ichigo narrowly defeated Grimmjow in their third and final match, but the dust barely settled before another enemy appeared: the fifth Espada, Nnoitora Gilga. He had no sense of honor or sportsmanship whatsoever, and was determined to take down Ichigo and prove his worth.
Ichigo was already exhausted and injured, and was soon at Nnoitora’s mercy. Out of sheer contempt, Nnoitora allowed his only faction, Tesla Lindocruz, to use his brutal released form to slowly crush Ichigo. If Kenpachi hadn’t arrived at the last minute, surely Ichigo would have died.
1 When Ichigo lost to Ulquiorra Schiffer (final time)
Right at the end of the Hueco Mundo arc, Ichigo faced Ulquiorra once more, and this time, he was able to evenly fight Ulquiorra’s sealed form. Then, Ulquiorra released his zanpakuto, Bat, and quickly overwhelmed Ichigo with both stages of his liberated form.
Ichigo was being held by Ulquiorra’s long tail when Orihime and Uryu arrived on the scene, and they both watched as Ulquiorra ripped a large, clean hole in Ichigo’s chest. If it weren’t for Ichigo’s inner Vasto Lorde, he would have died forever.
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