Post Reply Theory: The Final Getsuga Tenshou is the last stage of Bankai
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Posted 1/11/17 , edited 1/11/17
Here is my theory : The final getsuga is actually the last stage of Bankai where the zanpakuto spirit integrates with the shinigami and both of them become one entity. Zanpakuto are formed by shinigami slowly and unconsciously pouring out their reiatsu into an empty sword over time, and the zanpakuto is an extension of the shinigami. Maybe the final stage of Bankai is the spirit going back into the shinigami and leaving the sword, integrating with its master, and because the spirit is so strong and the integration is so powerful, maybe after some time the bond breaks and the shinigami loses his powers. The reason it is called the final getsuga tenshou for Ichigo is maybe because his form is purely offensive and the black getsuga flames are what make up his final form. Also this is probably why Ichigo got ALOT stronger before going into the final getsuga where he had the chain around his arm, because him and his zanpakuto strengthened their bond and worked more closely together than ever before. It also explains why in the final gestuga form he doesn't have a sword anymore, because his zanpakuto is integrated with him, so he doesn't need or have the sword anymore.

Now some of you might ask: BUT WAIT. In the manga it's revealed that old man zangetsu with the black cloak is actually Ichigo's manifestation of his quincy powers, and the white hollow is Ichigo's zanpakuto spirit and hollow powers together. The old man Zangetsu is actually Ichigo's quincy powers, and Ichigo's bankai is a black cloak, and the final getsuga makes Ichigo look more like his quincy power's manifestation, not his zanpakuto spirit (the white hollow). How then can it be his bankai and not his quincy powers and a letz stil?!

First of all, Ichigo learned about the final getsuga tenshou from his father Isshin who said that HE learned about it from his own zanpakutou. Isshin was a shinigami and nothing else, he had no quincy powers, so how could he have known about the final getsuga and be taught about it from his zanpakutou if the final getsuga is a quincy power? Some might say that Masaki could have told him about it, but remember Isshin didn't know Ichigo had quincy powers at that point, and there's no evidence that Masaki had a letz stil, so I think that's a bullshit theory.

I really think that Kubo wasn't sure what he was doing as he was moving the series along, because i think that at first he intended for zangetsu to be the black cloaked old man and the white hollow to be Ichigo's inner hollow who both together made up his powers. But I think that as the series progressed he decided to make the black cloaked zangetsu Ichigo's quincy powers but kept Ichigo's iconic black look for his Bankai. This is evidenced by the fact that when Yoruichi trained Ichigo to get him to learn his Bankai to beat Byakuya in soul society, the "zanpakuto" spirit that came out of the dummy Urahara made was the black-cloaked "zangetsu", which tells me that he was meant to be his actual zanpakuto spirit in the beginning of the series. Also more evidence to support my theory that final getsuga is the final stage of the zanpakuto or bankai, here's what happened when Ichigo trained in the Dangai to learn the final getsuga : "Hollowfied Tensa Zangetsu then congratulates Ichigo on finally noticing that only by accepting his blade was the only way to acquire the Final Getsuga Tenshō. Ichigo notes that the blade doesn't hurt at all to which the Hollowfied Tensa Zangetsu states that of course it doesn't as the Tensa Zangetsu he wields was originally Ichigo himself." What does this mean? That zanpakutos are formed by taking an empty sword and slowly pouring your reiatsu into it over time which creates the zanpakuto every shinigami fights with. The final getsuga is the final stage of bankai where the spirit comes back into the shinigami and they integrate together, thus the sword penetrating Ichigo not hurting because that's what the final getsuga is. I really don't think it has anything to do with quincy powers, I think those came along later.

If anything, MAYBE the quincy powers strengthen his Bankai and the final getsuga, adding the black-cloak look at the same time, but I really think that the final getsuga is the final stage of Bankai. I think that Kubo decided on that quincy stuff later, hence maybe why the final getsuga and mugetsu were never mentioned again, because there would be some confusion about the quincy stuff. Thanks for reading.
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