As one of Shonen’s “Big Three”, Tite Kubo bleaching long been a standard in the anime community. However, for better or worse, it has also been guilty of establishing and even using several over-the-top tropes. An example of this is the mandatory “Bad Father” element.

The protagonist having either a bad or absent father is a long-used character trait in anime and manga. Common examples are Hunter X Hunter‘s Ging Freecss, Ash Ketchum’s father in Pokemon and even dragon ballis Goku. Interesting, bleaching‘s Isshin Kurosaki quite bucks the trend by being an incredibly present and devoted father – though he’s still found his own unique ways of falling short for Ichigo.

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Isshin Kurosaki kept his entire past a secret from his children

Bleach Isshin Kurosaki finds Ichigo

Comes across as a nice fool of a father at his introduction bleaching Fans were quite shocked to find out that Isshin was a shinigami at the beginning of the Arrancar saga. In doing so, he proved to be quite powerful, being able to kill the Grand Fisher with little effort. Strange, bleaching barely acknowledges this big revelation until Sosuke Aizen defeats the Captains towards the end of this saga – coincidentally just as the villain starts revealing information about Ichigo. Not only does Isshin interrupt him mid-conversation, he even berates him for talking too much and for going out of his way to keep the origins of Ichigo’s legacy a secret.

What makes this so weird is that right after Aizen overpowers her, Isshin takes Ichigo to the Dangai to train him to better understand his abilities and teach him the final Getsuga technique. This is a process that forces Ichigo to confront Zangetsu so he can access greater power within himself that could rival and even overwhelm a Hogyoku-fused Aizen. For whatever reason, Isshin never explains his origins to Ichigo – or how he suddenly became a shinigami captain.

One could argue that Isshin was focused on dealing with Aizen, which admittedly was more important at the moment, but even that doesn’t seem like a good excuse. Considering the pain and suffering Ichigo went through for not understanding his heritage and abilities, it was quite selfish and short-sighted of Isshin not to tell his son the truth right away – especially since he did so during the ” Millennial Blood War” does “Bow.

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Isshin could have helped Ichigo get stronger

Ichigo butts his head with Isshin

As strong as Ichigo was during his time as a Shinigami, it’s hard to believe how many times he’s been hit within an inch of his life. Much of this was due to not understanding his abilities and their limitations. While a shinigami’s greatest ally will always be their zanpakuto, Ichigo found himself in a unique predicament; Not only did he never have a real zanpakuto until after his first confrontation with Ywhach, he couldn’t even recognize the real zangetsu.

While it’s unclear how much Isshin could have helped him with this, he certainly could have done something. If only he had explained how the connection between Ichigo’s shinigami powers and the hollow within him worked, which he could have done, Ichigo would have figured out where his shinigami powers came from much sooner. This in turn would have helped him to better understand and develop his powers and he could have deduced the true identity of the “old man”, allowing him to unleash his full potential sooner.

Had Isshin told Ichigo his mother was a Quincy, his son could have trained with Uryu Ishida to master those abilities. Considering how much his power loss has affected him during that time bleaching‘s Fullbringer arc, it’s almost cruel that Isshin never attempted to explain Ichigo’s heritage and the ways to regain his powers. Already knowing how Uryu lost and regained his own abilities after the Soul Society arc, Isshin definitely had reason to believe that Ichigo might regain some of his abilities – or at least develop his Quincy abilities.

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Isshin Kurosaki from Bleach really is anime’s best and worst dad

Isshin Shiba in the evening

All that aside, it’s quite odd that Isshin only trained and helped Ichigo once bleaching — when they were together in the Dangai. As a squad captain and a member of the Shiba clan, Isshin was one of the strongest and most connected shinigami in Soul Society. There were countless ways he could have helped Ichigo – even indirectly – in his adventures. Instead, he left that responsibility to either Kisuke Urahara or Yoruichi Shihoin most of the time.

In fact, it was always left to someone else to teach Ichigo the intricacies of his powers and abilities. Whether it was Kisuke teaching him his Shikai, Yoruichi helping him achieve Bankai, Shinji training him in Hollowfication, or even Ginjo helping him unlock his Fullbring abilities, almost everything Ichigo learned came from someone other. It’s especially weird because Isshin could have probably taken the lead on most of these, or at least supported Ichigo. Worse, he never explains how he knew about the Last Getsuga, making the one instance where he helped Ichigo a plot hole.

Still, Isshin manages to be better than most other anime dads. Unlike Goku, he didn’t bother to heal enemies for Ichigo to fight them himself, nor did he abandon his children like Ging Freecss. Isshin was actually portrayed as an overly doting father – especially towards his daughters – and taught Ichigo how to fight before gaining his powers. He’s not a bad father, just an inconsistent one. He’s there for his children, as most fathers should be, but he’s particularly absent when it comes to Ichigo’s extraordinary circumstances; It’s ironic considering his entire life before he had kids revolved around the same situations. For this reason, bleaching‘s Isshin Kurosaki is the best “worst father” in anime.


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