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Warning: this article is full of underworld spoilers. Keep reading with your katana close, or choose another article to read instead.
The anime of Bleach started with a short-tempered but ultimately talented Ichigo Kurosaki, a normal high school student until he encounters the cool Shinigami Rukia in the middle of one of her missions. Together, they will travel between the human world and the spirits worlds in order to guide the lost souls and defeat the evil ones.
But what else can we say about this world wide successful and still ongoing manga? Besides the fact that we would all love the anime to continue, of course. It has been a while since we have seen Ichigo and company kicking supernatural assess in 2D. So, while we flood Studio Pierrot with fan letters asking for a well deserved come-back, we can remember the good moments of our orange flame haired hero.
The anime arcs that involve the Arrancar have been particularly cheered by expert critics and fans. Hueco Mundo, a vast desert swallowed by the night, seems like a cold and impersonal place, but don’t judge it by it’s looks. Fighting bonds and passions run deep beneath the surface. It is in this scenario that Ichigo has the most epic encounters with the hottest aggressive rival possible: the Arrancar Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez. Their rivalry started in the usual brutal way of Ichigo’s Shinigami duties, but Grimmjow’s presence became important for him as the story progressed. So, ready for a bit of action? Let´s remember the best moments of GrimmIchi in battle!
Why Grimmjow x Ichigo are the hottest aggressive rivals of Bleach
1. Because Ichigo is the Shinigami star.
Let´s recall who is the good guy of the movie, shall we? Ichigo could see spirits even when he was a “normal” human. He is used to fights, as his unorthodox father greets him every morning trying to kick his butt. How about the thugs who pick on Ichigo because of his orange hair, or that try to molest other people in front of him? Ichigo has had plenty of opportunities to train his muscles of justice.
We have to admit that the first time Ichigo confronted a Hollow, he was efficient as hell. Even our dear commander Rukia, who is the usual adventure´s companion for Ichigo, acknowledges the guy has a natural talent for the Shinigami job from the very first episode. Ichigo is also analytical and perceptive in battle. That combination of analytical skills, short-temper, spiritual power and will to do what is right suits the Shinigami´s duties.
After several successful missions on the human world, Rukia is forced to go back to the Soul Society (the realm of the good spirits), as she committed a taboo by giving her Shinigami powers to our hero. Naturally, Ichigo went to rescue her and ended up being acknowledged as a special case of Shinigami. He slayed Kariya and defeated the Bounts as well, so, by the time of his first encounter with Grimmjow, Ichigo was a hot Shinigami star on his own accounts. This means he is confident enough to take on whoever challenges him, and that, of course, includes Grimmjow.
2. Because Grimmjow is the boss of the bad guys.
If a Hollow is usually a powerful and merciless rival, we can just imagine that the Arrancar are worse. Arrancar means “To tear off” in Spanish. These individuals are Hollows that have removed their masks. While Hollows are often feral creatures left with a desire of destruction or attraction towards a specific individual, the Arrancar win on intelligence, developing a unique personality. They also tend to have more human physical features, although they can be pretty ruthless and brutal in battle.
If all of these were not enough, the most powerful Arrancar under the command of the power hungry Commander Aizen are named Espadas (Swords in Spanish). Grimmjow is one of such Espadas. Since his pre-Arrancar times when he had a handsome panther shape, Grimmjow is seen as a strong leader by his pack, who invited him to join them on their purpose to evolve.
Thus, Grimmjow succeeded in becoming a handsome and skillful Arrancar with blue hair and white uniform. Notice he doesn’t only look the opposite of Ichigo, his personality is also inverted. While he apparently is a smiling laid-back guy, he is extremely violent and short-tempered in battle, where he is as cunning as a fox. Also, Grimmjow´s psychotic smiles and crazy laughs can send chills down your spine.
It is unsurprising that, on his first encounter with our Shinigamis in episode 118, he easily impales Rukia, enraging Ichigo. Then, Grimmjow plays with him for most of the battle. A little bored because Ichigo is unable to touch him at first, the Arrancar keeps belittling him… until Ichigo assures that he can win over him and surprisingly gives him a strong blow that scares his torso. So, we can see that was a first encounter to remember.
3. Because Grimmjow brings out Ichigo's inner Hollow.
There is a dark side dwelling in all of us. Only in the case of Ichigo, that side can be brutally destructive. It all started with Ichigo’s problem of becoming a Shinigami without relying on Rukia’s powers. In order to keep his duties within the underworlds, he underwent a painful process called Encroachment, where the chain that binds his body and soul was destroyed. As result, Ichigo’s Shinigami and Hollow powers were awakened at the same time, winning him a Hollow mask that usually reappears when he is going to fight. But, we only could wish it was a mere mask, because a Hollow Ichigo with the will to kill dwelled deep inside of him from that point on.
Ichigo noticed that, while confronting the Arrancar, his dark side tries to come to the surface (on his battle against Byakuya, for example). This is especially true for his showdowns with Grimmjow, who is as ruthless a fighter as Hollow Ichigo. So, these two are brutal and berserk when they fight against each other, with Ichigo being spared due to external interventions and interruptions. Even after training to control his inner Hollow, Ichigo ends technically defeated by Grimmjow, which doesn’t help much in keeping his dark side at bay. So, taking into account that Hollow Ichigo is a representation of Ichigo’s purest instincts, we can conclude that Grimmjow brings his feral side out.
4. Because they are honorable rivals.
Calling both Ichigo and Grimmjow honorable might sound as a stretch, but they can not be considered as the pure good guy and the pure evil guy either. We already mentioned the existence of Hollow Ichigo, right? Anyway, Ichigo gets disgusted when Yammy calls Grimmjow trash. He also spares the life of his rival on episode 167, where Ichigo is finally able to surpass Grimmjow but refuses to give the fatal blow.
We should also mention that Grimmjow stops an assault on Orihime by other Arrancar in Las Noches (the Espadas headquarters). He also takes Orihime to heal Ichigo on episode 165 and makes sure the healing process is not interrupted by sending Ulquiorra (Ichigo’s rival at the moment) to another dimension. Although Grimmjow assures this is because he wants to be the one to defeat Ichigo in the end… well, that was too much hard work for the sake of his enemy, right? So, these two have their honorable moments 🙂
5. Because their rivalry is so not over.
Let’s go back to that first fight between Ichigo and Grimmjow, shall we? Ichigo’s cooky attitude was annoying but intriguing at the same time for Grimmjow. How did a mere human dare to say that he could defeat the great Arrancar whenever he liked, despite that he was evidently loosing? Besides that, Ichigo’s surprise blow left Grimmjow with a large scar on his chest. Did the powerful warrior heal it with magic, as he usually does? Not in this case. Grimmjow wanted to remember Ichigo and return the favor later.
Unfortunately, the pair are interrupted whenever they are having their rematch. Probably the last time this happened was in episode 190, where their fight was interrupted by Nnoitra. So, we can see that since their first encounter, Ichigo and Grimmjow have kept their great fight pending. Plus, Grimmjow survives the Hueco Mundo Arcs. These two still could cross their paths in the future, so… we fans are expecting more of them!
Bleach is a long story that involves all sorts of rivals for Ichigo. The stronger he gets, the more powerful the rivals he encounters on the way. As we reviewed on this article, we can see that Grimmjow has been distinguished among the antagonists of Bleach for his skills, personality and ongoing rivalry with Ichigo. We can also notice that their interaction evolves, from simply being on opposite gangs, to something more complex. In the end, none of them follows their superiors to the letter and listen to their own inner… could we call it inner voice?
So everyone, if we can remember something about Ichigo and Grimmjow is that sometimes, it is good to trust your instincts and follow that inner voice. Maybe your enemy has something of great value to teach you. These two had positive outcomes after all, right? Ichigo was able to increase his powers in order to protect the people he cares about and Grimmjow survived to tell the tale 🙂
Which are your favorite episodes or scenes involving GrimmIchi? Do you agree that we want to see those two back in new adventures of Bleach? Which other Bleach rivalries would you like us to revise? Remember that we are open to all your comments and suggestions. See you soon!