The Case of Kurosaki Ichigo’s Clothes
We knew it had to happen sooner or later. Kubo Tite would have to write a chapter that discussed at length the issue of CLOTHING. In this particular case, not the stylishness thereof but the relationship of reiatsu to the current apparel of Kurosaki Ichigo.
The fandom started speculating wildly about Ichigo’s new bandages when he reappeared in the manga in chapter 377 but Annie jumped into assuage my overactive imagination with the reminder that sometimes Kubo just makes drawing mistakes
It’s also been said that the bandages themselves are part of Ichigo’s shihakushou and that the last time we saw them was when Ichigo had some clothes torn in SS—they were just under his clothes. I’m not sure about that one. I do know that Kubo-sensei likes to wrap bandages around Ichigo’s muscles to make him look cool.
There were lots of confusing things about the discussion between Ichigo and Unohana that may be cleared up by an HQ translation (Ju-Ni's will be out any minute) but one thing that the conversation reminded us is that outfits themselves, not just weapons, are manifestations of reiatsu. In other words, Ichigo’s fancy ban kai duds that resemble old man Zangetsu’s gothic rags ARE his ban kai as much as that sleek black zanpakutou. There’s no other Shinigami I can think of right off hand whose clothes change when going ban kai except for Renji, but it’s a long-standing shounen tradition that power-ups bring snazzy new costume changes.
Leave it to fandom to have a MASSIVE MISUNDERSTANDING RIGHT AWAY, however that shihakushou = reiatsu = power level and start to wonder what would happen if water spilled on Ichigo’s ban kai jacket or if he ripped it in a fight—does that mean he’d lose some power?
Selenityshiroi cleared up this misconception best with the answer “Ichigo's bankai outfit being half missing ISN'T the sign of Ichigo being at half power.
Ichigo only having the strength to regenerate his outfit to the half he's currently wearing IS the indication of Ichigo being at half power.”
If you’ve been one of the clothes hounds sniffing after the mysterious case of Kurosaki Ichigo’s clothes, you will have noticed that sometime after our seeing Ichigo on the dome when Ulqui turned to dust, Ichigo acquired some fabric. He was sans one pants leg and bandages in his last scene on the dome, and when he returned in 377, he had two hakama legs and one bandage.
Why would Orihime put a bandage on him when she could heal him? Wasn’t Ichigo already healed because of his own self-regeneration? Was Ishida carrying bandages in his trusty cape? Most importantly, who’s going to write the fanfic to explain the mystery?
At this point, there appears to be a division between the two current scanlations of the manga as to whether or not Ichigo was partially healed by Orihime on the dome. Onemanga suggests he was. The mangafox scan suggests otherwise.
Ichigo may have been healing himself slowly as a result of his self generation, but he seems to believe that Orihime healed him because he “came to” and assumed she did as she always has and he doesn’t know about his own self-regeneration. Selenity postulates:
I've been saying for weeks that Ichigo is slowly regenerating his Bankai outfit. If you look at it now, it has more fabric to it than it did when he first returned to himself.
However, if he had his full reiatsu, he would have regenerated his outfit already. The fact that it's taking so long to regenerate is a sign that he doesn't have the reiatsu to spare to heal it.
Ichigo is slowly recovering his reiatsu and says as much in the chapter. And he is also slowly regenerating his outfit.
It's not a case of Clothes=A and Reiatsu=B and A=B. It's a case of Ability to Regenerate Clothing=A and A=B.
Although Selenity's point is that Ichigo could've been healing himself and restoring his own clothes, I’ve read somewhere else that the simple fact of added clothing makes the case for Orihime having healed Ichigo on the dome. A pro-Orihime-doing-the-healing arguer wrote:
In chapter 353 we had Ichigo still showing some leg and he had no wraps around his arm or torso.
Then he comes back and his pant leg is fully restored and we get wrappings around his arm and even his torso.
Come to think of it, the tail part of Ichigo's bankai tux is half restored as well. I think he really just had his right sleeve left when he was fighting as Ultimate!Hollow. Orihime must have been healing him...
But the flashback shown when Ichigo is talking about Orihime healing him isn’t from any scene on the dome—it’s from when Orihime was healing Ichigo after the Nnoitra fight, as if Ichigo were speaking in terms of “general healing.”
All that said, REMEMBER THAT KUBO MAKES MISTAKES WHEN DRAWING.
During the Ulquiorra/Ichigo fight alone, Kubo made mistakes.
Then the sleeve is gone
And how about Ichigo traveling through the garganta with Unohana?
Ichigo’s bandage is on his arm in this pic:
And here, a few pages later, the bandage is gone (is Ichigo’s reiatsu restoring or destroying his clothes or wavering or is KUBO-SENSEI JUST A TAD OVER-WORKED like every other manga-ka in the business?):
Yes, Ichigo... huh, indeed... I mean, you gotta love fandom. Especially the Bleach fandom--so much ado over little shreds of cloth! Paging Ishida Uryuu. He would have the answers. You know he would.
eta: The JuNi translation of what Ichigo's saying seems to confirm that Orihime (gasp!) WAS healing Ichigo on the dome and that Ichigo did ask Orihime a question AT THAT TIME:
the proof of this is that, when I had Inoue heal me earlier my shihakushou only recovered a little bit
Inoue's healing always fixes my shihakushou too, so I got to thinking about it and asked her why it didn't this time
And it seems that Inoue can heal wounds quickly, but it takes her a while to restore reiatsu
and also from cnet we have: Well, it looks like those clothes themselves are actually part of my bankai. // When Inoue healed me earlier, that pretty much proved it. / My clothes barely regenerated at all, right? // I thought it was weird, since usually when she heals me, my clothes get fixed up too, so I asked her about it... // ...and apparently Inoue's pretty quick at fixing up wounds, but regenerating reiatsu takes her quite a bit longer.
So HMMMMM, we do have two of the respected translators VERIFYING the talk between Ichigo and Orihime here and it does seem that Orihime was healing Ichigo--but why? He had no wounds. This would mean that she was attempting to bring back his clothes? She better have been doing this at the same time she was working on Ishida ...