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Tōshirō Hitsugaya

Tōshirō Hitsugaya is a fictional character in the anime and manga series Bleach created by Tite Kubo. He is the captain of the 10th Division in the Gotei 13. His lieutenant is Rangiku Matsumoto. Hitsugaya is the lead character of the Bleach-based film The DiamondDust Rebellion.

Hitsugaya was voted the most popular Bleach character in the latest Shonen Jump polls, replacing Ichigo Kurosaki, who had previously held the position. He received 8278 votes, 383 votes more than Rukia Kuchiki, who finished second.[1] In the 2007 Japanese Newtype magazine character polls, he was voted the 7th most popular character of all-time in any anime.Template:Fact

Character outlineEdit

Tōshirō Hitsugaya is very young by Soul Society standards. Born in Rukongai, [2] he became the youngest ever to reach captain rank. [2] Thus, he is called a "boy genius" or a "child prodigy" by many. Hitsugaya is very short and his height (133 cm) is comparable to Rukia Kuchiki's. He also has spiky silver-white hair (which tends to draw attention in the human world) and teal-emerald eyes. He wears standard captain's clothing, save for a green baldric around his shoulders which holds Hyōrinmaru, his zanpakutō.

Hitsugaya is generally mature and serious, in contrast to his free-spirited lieutenant, Rangiku Matsumoto, although he can sometimes be short-tempered and irritable. Despite their personality differences, he and Matsumoto seem to be very close. Hitsugaya is shown to also be easily irked by others goofing off or drawing unneeded attention to themselves, as shown when he led a team of Soul Reapers into Ichigo Kurosaki's school. He hates anything that he deems childish and hates being described as something close to a child, evident in a filler episode when he meets Ichigo's sister, Karin, who pats him over the head further angering him. [3] This is also shown more in the omake chapters, where he is repeatedly mistaken for a child, much to his annoyance. Fitting with the nature of his zanpakutō, Hitsugaya dislikes summer and warm weather in general.

Hitsugaya's intuition is extremely sharp, and he is the first person to correctly suspect Gin Ichimaru of foul play, though he understandibly did not suspect Sōsuke Aizen of the same. During his duel with Ichimaru in the anime, the latter remarks that Hitsugaya is the embodiment of a heavenly guardian that would be reincarnated once in a few centuries. This is attributed to his given name, which is a homonym for a casual Japanese term meaning "amateur" (藤四郎), possibly referring to Hitsugaya's young age and inexperience relative to the other captains of the Gotei 13. He is very protective of Momo Hinamori, due to the fact that they were old childhood friends, also because he views her as an older sister, promising to kill those who harm her.

A running gag is Hitsugaya getting annoyed when anyone refers to him by anything other than his title, Captain Hitsugaya. Hinamori has called him by "Tōshirō," ("Hitsugaya-kun" in the Japanese manga and anime) and both she and Ukitake have occasionally used "Little Shiro" (シロちゃん Shiro-chan) — a nickname meaning "Whitey" (Snowy in the English manga) in reference to his hair — in both cases without repercussion, however. In the Shinigami Golden Picture Book sketches (omakes found at the end of episodes of Bleach), Jūshirō Ukitake comically gives Hitsugaya candy and other food because "Jūshirō" and "Tōshirō" sound similar and because they both have white hair, making them both "Shiro-chan." The first character in Hitsugaya's given name, Tōshirō, means "winter," which is appropriate given his white hair and ice type zanpakutō. Ichigo also calls Hitsugaya by his given name without the use of honorifics, much to his irritation, making him one of three captains Ichigo refers to in this manner (the others being Byakuya Kuchiki and Kenpachi Zaraki). In contrast, Orihime Inoue calls him "Tōshirō-kun".

HistoryEdit

Hitsugaya's early life was spent in Junrinan, District 1 of Rukongai. There he lived with his grandmother and Momo Hinamori. He was also a friend of Jidanbō, the West Gate Keeper, whom he taught the "city rules."[4]

Hyourinmaru Hitsugaya

Hitsugaya meets Hyōrinmaru for the first time.

As a child, Hitsugaya had an icy demeanor that estranged himself from others, with the exception of his grandmother and Hinamori. She would call him "Shiro-chan" (Lil' Shiro in the English dub) and he would retort by calling her "Bed-wetter Momo." The three were very close, and Hitsugaya was irritated when Hinamori left to join the Soul Reaper academy. Throughout his childhood, he was always aware of what seemed to be an icy presence within himself and had continuous dreams about a plain of ice. He claims or believes he died on that plain. [5] Five years after Hinamori's departure, Hitsugaya encountered Rangiku Matsumoto, then a normal Soul Reaper, in a marketplace, when she stood up to a merchant who left his change on the counter, rather than handing it to him. The two got into an argument, and Rangiku noticed Hitsugaya's enormous latent spiritual power.

That night, Hitsugaya dreamt again of the icy plain and finally met Hyōrinmaru for the first time, though he could not hear the spirit's name. He woke up to find Rangiku admonishing him for not being able to control his power, which had been freezing his grandmother. She told him that power like his needed to be controlled, and convinced him to become a Soul Reaper.[6] With Hitsugaya's natural talent, he entered the Soul Reaper academy in spite of his age and became known as a prodigy, quickly ascending to captain of the 10th Division, ironically making him Rangiku's superior.

Hinamori has continued to call Hitsugaya "Shiro-chan" out of habit, and still feels protective of him. Because of a promise she had made, she only began to call him by name after he had achieved his zanpakutō's shikai and was recognized as a Soul Reaper. Highly capable and knowledgeable, he remains the youngest of the captains within the Gotei 13.

SynopsisEdit

Introduced along with the rest of the Gotei 13, Hitsugaya's sharp sense of intuition and keen sense of observation leads him to suspect 3rd Division captain Gin Ichimaru of foul play as the circumstances surrounding the coming execution of Rukia Kuchiki become more complicated. He warns Hinamori of these suspicions, which inspires her to attack Gin following Aizen's murder. When Izuru Kira steps forth to defend his captain against Hinamori, Hitsugaya breaks up the fight. He admonishes Hinamori for losing control of herself and forgetting her duty, and has her and Kira sent to prison. Hitsugaya also warns Gin that he knows he wanted to kill Hinamori, and that if he causes Hinamori to spill even a single drop of blood he will kill him. When Hinamori is manipulated into thinking that Hitsugaya killed Aizen, Hitsugaya knocks her out, and believing Gin responsible, attacks him. Hitsugaya manages to freeze Gin's arm, but the fight is interrupted when Hitsugaya dodges an attack that almost leads to Hinamori's death, only to be intercepted by Matsumoto. Seeing how destructive Rukia's execution is becoming, Hitsugaya tries to stop the execution by appealing to the Chamber 46, only to discover all 46 members are dead and Aizen is responsible for murdering them, having faked his death. When Hitsugaya discovers Hinamori injured and interrogates Aizen, he angrily explains how Hinamori truly cared about him and how she worked so hard to be his lieutenant. Aizen replies that that's why it was easy to manipulate her and states that "admiration is a state furthest away from understanding". Hitsugaya tries to kill him with his bankai, but he charges at an illusion and is defeated with a single strike. Luckily, Retsu Unohana and Isane Kotetsu, who were also present to learn of Aizen's plan, rescued and healed them.

During the first anime filler arc, Hitsugaya later sends several Soul Reapers to fend off the Bount in Karakura Town. When the Bount infiltrate Soul Society, he, along with Renji and Matsumoto, investigate reports of Bount activity in a forest in Rukongai. The Bount, however, are gone by the time they reach the forest. Hitsugaya later has a battle with the Bount Koga Gō, whom he easily defeats thanks to the advantages his style of combat holds over Koga's. Though he assumes the Bount to be dead, Koga survives.

In a later arc, Hitsugaya leads a group of Soul Reapers assigned to defend Karakura Town against the arrancar threat. During the first attack, he battles Shawlong Qufang. Though heavily injured, he wins after being allowed to remove his power limit. Hitsugaya then has a conversation with Hinamori through video-conference. Hinamori apologizes to Hitsugaya for pointing her sword at him, Hitsugaya tells her not to worry about it. After bickering, they start talking about Aizen. Hinamori, who still cares for her former captain, begs Hitsugaya to save Aizen, thinking that Gin is manipulating him somehow. Angered by the fact that Hinamori is still devoted to Aizen, despite what he did to her, as a result of Aizen's conditioning her, Hitsugaya hopes for revenge. During the second arrancar attack, he fends off Luppi. Though Hitsugaya is initially unable to defend against Luppi's attacks and is knocked to the ground in a single hit, Luppi's inattentiveness and overconfidence gives him ample time to build up a finishing move. Luppi escapes death and promises to kill Hitsugaya in turn. Upon learning that Orihime has followed the arrancar back to Hueco Mundo, Hitsugaya and his team return to Soul Society to help in the preparation for war against Aizen, and he has recently been seen among the captains preparing to do battle. Currently, he is fighting against the Tercera(3rd) Espada, Halibel

HyōrinmaruEdit

HitsugayaShikaiAnimeEp48

Hyōrinmaru's shikai.

Hitsugaya's zanpakutō is Hyōrinmaru. When sealed, Hyōrinmaru looks almost exactly like a normal zanpakutō with the exception of the guard, which is in the shape of a four-pointed star. The hilt is light-blue while the sheath is a deep blue. Hyōrinmaru's shikai command is translated in the English anime as "reign over the frozen sky". Hyōrinmaru is the strongest of all ice element zanpakutō in Soul Society.[7] Hyōrinmaru is one of the three zanpakutō spirits that have been seen, the others being Zangetsu and Zabimaru. Hyōrinmaru's spirit is a large, winged, Japanese dragon.

In its shikai, Hyōrinmaru itself remains the same, but gains a crescent-shaped blade attached to the hilt by a chain. Hyōrinmaru allows Hitsugaya to control water and ice. The slashes created by Hyōrinmaru gives off an immense amount of spirit power which overflows from the tip of the blade, creating a flow of ice vaguely shaped like Hyōrinmaru's dragon spirit. The dragon flies at opponents and instantly freezes anything it touches. The chain-blade also freezes anything Hitsugaya traps with it.

Hitsugaya

Hyōrinmaru's bankai.

Hyōrinmaru's bankai, named Daiguren Hyōrinmaru, causes ice to flow from Hyōrinmaru onto Hitsugaya, forming into two large wings and a tail. Ice also forms into a dragon's head around his sword hand, encasing it up to the hilt-—which is in the shape of an eight-pointed star. His wings enable him to fly and are capable of folding around him to serve as ice shields. During one of Hitsugaya's earlier battles, the arrancar Shawlong speculates that Hitsugaya's bankai will fade when all twelve petals disappear and that Hitsugaya's bankai is incomplete due to his young age. Later during his fight with Luppi, the petals no longer appear. Also during that fight, Hitsugaya states that "even if [Hyōrinmaru is] shattered, it will reform as long as there is water present."[8]

Hyōrinmaru's bankai has two known special techniques. The first is ryūsenka, which freezes any enemy Hitsugaya stabs, locking them into a cocoon of ice and freezing them to the core. Once frozen, Hitsugaya can shatter his opponent. The second is sennen hyōrō (千年氷牢?, literally "thousand-year ice prison"),[9] which forms a multitude of ice pillars using the moisture in the atmosphere. These pillars hold the enemy prisoner for a thousand years, also freezing them.[10]

Other mediaEdit

Hitsugaya appears in the second Bleach movie, Bleach: The DiamondDust Rebellion, as one of the two main characters. When the "King's Seal," an ancient artifact, is stolen, Hitsugaya goes out in search of the thieves. After crossing paths with and fighting them, he goes missing, leading Seireitei to suspect him of treason. As Ichigo Kurosaki and others go out in search of Hitsugaya, Hitsugaya himself stumbles across a dark secret concerning a long-dead Soul Reaper named Kusaka Sōjirō, who was a close friend and rival of Hitsugaya's when he was younger. A one-shot manga chapter focusing on Histugaya's past was released to promote the film, revealing how Hitsugaya learned of his powers. In the movie DiamondDust Rebellion Kusaka was seen in a mask with eight for spider like holes. Apparently Kusaka uses the King's Seal to come back to life for revenge. In the end Kasuka ends up being killed by Toshiro his last words were "What if I..." and Toshiro's response was "If.."

Hitsugaya is featured in the Bleach 30 minute OVA, Sealed Sword Frenzy, in which he is part of the group of captains sent to the real world to seal away the escaped and notoriously dangerous shinigami criminal, Baishin. During their first encounter, he successfully fends off the criminal, though Baishin escapes.

Hitsugaya has been a playable character in every Bleach-related video game released so far, the only exception being Bleach: Heat the Soul. Often, he's playable in several different forms, such as his shikai and bankai and even in a gigai. He is also a playable character in the Nintendo DS game, Jump Ultimate Stars.

He is the only Bleach character to appear in two Bleach Beat Collection albums aside from Ichigo himself. The first one was a compilation album with Momo Hinamori and his lieutenant, Rangiku Matsumoto. The second one was also a compilation album, this time with the protagonist, Ichigo Kurosaki. His two songs are 'This Light I See' and 'Bleach the Limitation'. He is also portrayed by Takashi Nagayama in the Rock Bleach Musicals.

ReceptionEdit

Hitsugaya has been highly popular in the Weekly Shōnen Jump's Bleach popularity polls ranking most of the times within the top ten.[11] In the latest poll Hitsugaya was voted the most popular character in the series, replacing Ichigo Kurosaki, who had previously held the position. He received 8278 votes, 383 votes more than Rukia Kuchiki, who finished second.[12] Recently, Hyōrinmaru was voted the most popular zanpakutō in the Zanpakutō Poll, followed by the zanpakutōs of Rukia Kuchiki, Ichigo Kurosaki, Izuru Kira, and Byakuya Kuchiki. In the 2007 Japanese Newtype magazine character polls, he was voted the 7th most popular character in any anime.Template:Fact Carl Kimlinger from Anime News Network praised Steve Staley, Hitsugaya's English voice actor, for giving an interesting variation of his voice rather than "integrity-destroying abominations".[13] In another review he comments that Hitsugaya's unresolved personal issue is, along with the ones from others characters, to be a good part from the climax of one of the story arcs from Bleach. He additionally praised Hitsugaya's bankai for the good animation it has in the anime.[14] Various merchandise based on Hitsugaya's appearance has been created, including action figures,[15] plush toys[16], and key-chains.[17] In order to promote the second film of Bleach, the trailer had the line "Execute Hitsugaya!". Kubo admitted that it was his own idea to make everybody be surprised, but he and Masakazu Morita, the voice actor of Ichigo Kurosaki, received a lot of letters from worried fans, causing Kubo to apologize in response.[18]


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