No one can deny that Ichigo had a humoungous hole in his chest back in 348 and looked pretty darn dead (not moving, staring eyes) in 349. We’ve all heard that if Orihime hadn’t called out to Ichigo he would have been dead forever.
However, the fact that Ichigo was then and is still wearing the remnants of his bankai outfit is now making me doubt he was ever actually dead in the first place. Yes, it's hard to believe considering the monster hole and the staring eyes, but let’s look at something.
Way back in 143, Byakuya tells Renji that when your bankai vanishes on its own, the wielder is close to death:
And that's what happens in 272 when Ulquiorra puts that first (albeit much smaller) hole in Ichigo: his bankai vanishes, his outfit changes (tho it's still ripped up) and Zangetsu returns to its regular/shikai state:
So the same thing should have happened when Ulquiorra put that second hole in him, right? Except that when IchiBeast stands up and summons Zangetsu in 350, it’s still in bankai form:
So what do y'all think this means? That Ichigo was somehow less dead in 349 than in 272? That he’s become so strong he can maintain bankai even beyond death? Or did Kubo just blithely forget what parameters he established in 143 and 272?