Ichigo Kurosaki's 10 best fights in Bleach, ranked

Ichigo's arm burned fighting Aizen (Image via Studio Pierrot)
Ichigo's arm burned fighting Aizen (Image via Studio Pierrot)

Ichigo Kurosaki has many awesome fight scenes and moments throughout Bleach, fighting off opponents that would've otherwise killed him or any of his friends.

Sometimes this necessitates using his inner Hollow, other times a newer hitherto unseen power, and sometimes heavy improvisation. Though Ichigo may be a powerful Soul Reaper, he has had more than enough difficulties fighting antagonists like Aizen and Byakuya.

This list will chronicle 10 of Ichigo Kurosaki's best fights, ranking them based on memorability and story consequences.

Note: This article contains spoilers for Bleach, and represents the author's opinions.


10 of Ichigo Kurosaki's best fights from Bleach, ranked

10) Ichigo Kurosaki vs. Acidwire

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This early Bleach fight exposed a ton of fundamental truths about Hollows and why, exactly, Ichigo's family seemingly forgot about Fishbone D's attack.

To summarize: Hollows are human souls that were either corrupted by despair or regret or otherwise stayed in the Human World too long, feasting on souls (loved ones in particular) to fill their own emptiness and pain.

This fight is notable because Acidwire/Sora sliced his own mask with Ichigo's Zanpakuto to purify himself after a long and emotional conversation with Orihime, following Orihime saving Ichigo. Rukia also revealed that she had been tampering with memories as she replaced Orihime and Tatsuki's memories so the real story wouldn't get out.

This fight formed the basis for the rest of Bleach's introductory Agent of the Shinigami arc, as Orihime gained spiritual awareness and fighting Hollows gained new context. It also marked the first fight that didn't strictly end by Ichigo's hand,w much like the next entry.


9) Ichigo vs. Grand Fisher

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The Grand Fisher is the Hollow that killed Ichigo's mother, Masaki Kurosaki, almost a decade prior to Bleach. It had a unique lure that took the form of a little girl that the Grand Fisher used to lure Ichigo when he was young, causing his mother to sacrifice herself to save him. Ichigo nearly died after fighting and trying to cut the Grand Fisher in a blind rage, before being impaled.

This duel ended in a draw, as Ichigo was too badly hurt to give chase and Grand Fisher was too badly injured to keep fighting. Rukia was forced to heal Ichigo and remind him that the wounds his soul gets would transfer to his body. Ichigo was also told by his father that he didn't kill his mother, and to live his life well in honor of her sacrifice.

Meanwhile, the Grand Fisher was turned into an Arrancar and swore revenge on Ichigo. This revenge never materialized, as Grand Fisher died at the hands of Ichigo's father, Isshin, during Bleach's Arrancar arc. The fight is memorable for that emotional angle, as well as setting Ichigo up to continue doing Rukia's job.


8) Ichigo vs. Renji Abara

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When Rukia was abducted by the Soul Society to face execution, Ichigo tried to defend her, but failed when Byakuya got involved and one shot Ichigo. Flash forward to Bleach's Soul Society Arc, and Ichigo got his rematch against Renji when trying to save Rukia.

Renji was acting on Byakuya's behalf to defend the Soul Society law. Ichigo was trying to rescue Rukia. It was a clash of convictions. After finally managing to make Renki cease movement by using Getsuga Tenshō, Renji begged Ichigo to save Rukia. Ichigo promised to do just that and needed help from Ganju and Hanatarō to move as he collapsed immediately following the duel.

This was Ichigo's first fight against a leiutenant that went in his favorw, showing the results of his training. Renji started having a change of heart afterward. The higher ups of the Gotei 13 decided to declare Ryoka (those not aligned with Soul Society, in this case Ichigo and friends) enemies of the state, and making Renji turn against Byakuya.


7) Ichigo & Hollow Ichigo vs. Zangetsu & Muramasa

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A Shinigami fighting the spirit of his Zanpakuto? In Bleach's Zanpakuto rebellion anime arc, all the Zanpakuto got physical forms and turned on their owners. Ichigo had to rely on his Hollow powers and form to fight his own sword spirit and his controlling master.

The fight with regular Ichigo was emotional and intense enough, with Ichigo on the backfoot for a good portion of the fight. His Hollow gave him a power boost and things got really intense. The two ended up having to tag in and out to finally stop Zangetsu.

Muramasa required the Hollow itself to intervene mostly on Ichigo's behalf. The duel resulted in a deeper understanding of Zangetsu and Ichigo's relationship, as well as further brainwashing being denied. It didn't end the rebellion, but it was one step closer.


6) Ichigo vs. Gin Ichimaru

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The mysterious and sarcastic Captain Gin Ichigmaru of Squad 3 inspires mistrust everywhere he goes, usually by being a silver-tonged self-described serpent. He fought on Aizen's side during Bleach's Arrancar arc. Whilst he intended to take Aizen down, he was still willing to fight Ichigo during Bleach's Fake Karakura Town arc.

The two had fought once before during Bleach's Soul Society Arc. It did not end well for Ichigo, to put it extremely mildly. This one wasn't quite there either, but Ichigo had improved by then and was able to last longer against Gin.

This duel proved Gin to be more than just the silver-tongue he was initially portrayed to be. It also proved to be a good enough teaching experience for Ichigo, helping him know when he's out of his league. Gin would attempt to betray Aizen and fight him as the culmination of a 100 year plan, that ended in Gin's death.


5) Ichigo vs. Kenpachi

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After recovering from Renji's fight, being shot out of a cannon, and even defeating the proverbial door guard of Soul Society, Ichigo was on the way to rescue Rukia when Kenpachi's spiritual pressure began to hit like a semi-truck. Resolving to fight him, he made sure Ganju and Hanatarō were away before confronting the battle crazy Kenpachi.

Then Kenpachi stopped Zangetsu with his bare hands and the brawl commenced. Ichigo was shoved back so much, he was forced to pair his power with Zangetsu’s and Ichigo to make any headway. Even then, the fight was about as close as a fight can get, ending with both of them on the verge of death with everything around them reduced to rubble.

This fight was not only savage, but introspective as Ichigo faced off against his inner Hollow for the first time, and certainly not last time. Kenpachi was pleased by that fight, and would constantly badger Ichigo for round 2 like Vegeta to Goku from Dragon Ball Z.


4) Ichigo vs. Ulquiorra

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Akin to Frieza vs. Goku, Bleach's own transformative monster Ulquiorra's strength and sheer monstrous power and despair overwhelmed Ichigo. Out of all the battles Ichigo had been in, his battle against Ulquiorra and his Segunda Etapa form have been some of his most challenging.

With both incredible power and impressive design, Ulquiorra quickly defeated Ichigo and seemingly killed him with a cero blast to his chest.

However, Ichigo’s Inner Hollow took control, resulting in a no-holds barred battle between the two demons slugging it out. Ichigo abandoned all morality and mercilessly tore Ulquiorra apart. It wasn't Ulquiorra's end, though, and it took until the duel's climax for him to slowly scatter into ash.

This duel is one of Bleach's most memorable for the seemingly godlike levels of power granted to both sides in the conflict, and the brutal no-holds barred beatdown Hollow Ichigo delivered. It cracked and nearly shattered Ichigo's hollow mask and even made Orihime afraid of him for a while. It also saw Ulquiorra gain a heart through his death.


3) Ichigo vs. Grimmjow

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Put simply, Ichigo vs. Grimmjow is Bleach's grudge match. The two had fought twice before, both times with Ichigo only surviving thanks to outside intervention. Their final duel, however, had nobody coming to help or intervene. Both men were free to cut loose and settle things.

The raw force of Grimmjow’s Resurrección made this one was for keeps, one that took all Ichigo had. Once the fight kicked off, it was nonstop action as the two engaged in a constant barrage that tore the buildings and ground asunder. Every blow seemed like a lethal shot.

Though there were plenty of fights left before Orihime was safe, Ichigo vs. Grimmjow marked a turning point in Hueco Mundo. Ichigo spared Grimmjow, and even came to his defense. Grimmjow changed for the better afterwards.


2) Ichigo vs. Aizen

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This was another battle that was meant to be, being heavily foreshadowed during Bleach's Soul Society Arc. The traitorous Captain Sosuke Aizen plotted to become the new god and take his place in the heavens, but Ichigo wasn't about to let that happen.

It was the high-stakes battle that decided the entire world's fate. Ichigo vs. Aizen, good vs. evil, the whole shebang. Ichigo didn't do it alone either, and got last-minute training from his father Isshin, plus support from Kisuke Uarahara to take Aizen down once and for all.

It was a battle of gods that saw Ichigo lose his shinigami powers and collapse in relief following the climactic finish. Ichigo needed to rest heavily and recover from it, taking some time to do so. With so many dead, the Gotei 13 had to rearrange themselves and appoint new captains.


1) Ichigo vs. Byakuya

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Many fans agree that this is the best fight in Bleach, and it's easy to see why. This is the most intense battle of wills in the Soul Society Arc, where Byakuya had to uphold Soul Society law and his own honor by defending Rukia's scheduled execution.

Ichigo, however, wasn't the same man that got one shot. He gained his bankai and faced off against Byakuya's own, and the fight escalated to the point where Ichigo's Hollow took over. Byakuya began to see things Ichigo's way and entrusted Rukia's care to him, though not after a climactic fight that shook Soul Society.

It made Byakuya a changed man, finally saving Rukia and giving Ichigo a spot in Soul Society. It was helpful for everyone as Ichigo unlocked his Bankai, getting stronger as the series went on. Rukia gained new respect for Ichigo and Byakuya began changing his own perspective on everything.

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