|Type||Weapon; Zanpakutō spirit|
The spirit of Zangetsu resembles a tall 30 to 40-year-old man with unkempt facial hair and long ragged black hair. He dresses in tattered all black garbs with narrow sunglasses and a long flowing overcoat that flares out into ragged ends. Because of the spirit's appearance, Ichigo calls him "Old-man Zangetsu". Zangetsu is portrayed as wise and calm in most matters, and fond of testing Ichigo in unusual ways, many of which have a purpose completely contrary to the stated goal. While the inner world is one of tall skyscrapers, Zangetsu has stated to prefer more lush, natural surroundings like bright sunny skies and green forests. Zangetsu has displayed the ability to temporarily close fatal wounds during combat, though whether or not this is a unique ability is unclear, as it could be due to the massive amounts of spiritual energy. Since first awakening his own Shinigami powers, Ichigo has had a strong connection to his Zanpakutō, as shown from how Zangetsu would regularly come to aid him with words of wisdom when Ichigo is in a difficult situation.
However, since Ichigo developed an inner hollow, Zangetsu and the Hollow are both the source of Ichigo's power and share the same spirit body in Ichigo's inner world, the stronger presence retaining more control (and overall appearance) of their body; in which case, the spirit of Zangetsu takes the form of an all-white (clothes and being), somewhat deranged version of Shinigami Ichigo with a strong desire take control of Ichigo's body and power for himself.
The Shikai form of Zangetsu looks like an oversized elegant cleaver rather than a formal "katana". He has no crossguard and no proper hilt; what Ichigo holds is the cloth-wrapped tang. The sword is as tall as Ichigo is, 1.75 meters, and has a black blade with a silver edge. The cloth wrapping on the tang seems to react to Ichigo's will, changing length at a thought or twining about the blade in an impromptu sheath. When in combat, the cloth falls away when necessary, shrinking back to a manageable size. The cloth can also be used to swing the weapon like a flail and toss it at opponents for mid-range combat, but this is rarely done. The cloth also can be done to wrap up wounds, but this is also done rarely. Ichigo has also on more than one occasion used Zangetsu's wide blade as a shield from incoming attacks.
Shikai Special Ability
Zangetsu's special ability is the Getsuga Tenshō (月牙天衝, Moon Fang Heaven-Piercer), which fires concentrated energy blasts from the tip of the blade in the shape of waves or a crescent moon or in a shape of a wave. Ichigo uses this ability without knowing its name several times but masters the technique later on during his Bankai training. As stated by Zangetsu, knowing the name of an attack heightens its power compared to its strength when the wielder does not know its name. The Getsuga Tenshō is a powerful technique with great force, capable of cause large scale damage. While it is currently the only attack Ichigo knows from Zangetsu, Ichigo has used this technique in several different manners, such as striking the ground to create an omnidirectional blast to knock away incoming attacks or slashing at the ground to upturn it and crush everything in its path. Ichigo can also keep Getsuga Tenshō within Zangetsu to augment his sword swings.
BankaiZangetsu's Bankai is considered completely out of the ordinary for any Zanpakutō. Unlike most Bankai forms, which usually create some sort of massive creature or effect, Ichigo's Bankai actually shrinks his sword down to a daito with a black blade. Also, upon releasing, it seems to allow Ichigo to break free from any attack that binds him and prevents him from moving. The crossguard has four prongs bent out to form the shape of the manji (which is the kanji for "ban," meaning "full", as in "full release"). The blade itself is durable enough to withstand Xirbealg's strongest attack. Instead of the cloth his Shikai form had, a short length of chain with a broken link at the end dangles from the base of the hilt. In addition to his sword, Ichigo's robe is replaced with a long-sleeved, ankle-length black coat with red lining that is closed at his chest, then left to flare out into ragged ends, much like that of Zangetsu himself. This coat is part of Ichigo's Bankai and the damage it can take is directly proportionate to the remaining strength and level of Ichigo's power.
Bankai Special Ability
Zangetsu's special attack remains Getsuga Tenshō and can be used in the same manners, but can be used in an enhanced form. When used with Zangetsu's Bankai, these potent blasts can become black with a red outline and their path can be controlled, with explosively augmented power and speed. During Byakuya Kuchiki's fight with Ichigo. When used with his Bankai and Hollow mask in combination, Ichigo's tremendous speed allows him to move faster than the Getsuga Tenshō itself, allowing him to fire multiple blasts from different directions. Ichigo believes that the Getsuga Tenshō is Ichigo's strongest attack, and has compared it to a Hollow's Cero.
Ichigo's Bankai is a compression of his remarkable power, rather than a vast expansion as other Bankai are. This vastly compressed power enables him to reach levels of physical and spiritual prowess most Shinigami would have their bodies give out at and cannot handle. It allows Ichigo to move at very high speeds exceeding those of Flash Steps, and gives him matching agility and reflexes, allowing him to be undetectable to unfocused eyes. His new speed is so great, that it also enhances his Flash Step prowess and allows him to create dozens of tangible clones to confuse his opponent. Ichigo's Bankai also allows him to use his natural strength to its limits. In addition, his already immense spiritual energy has grandly and explosively increased, and now has a deep black spiritual energy with a crimson outline.
Enhanced Bankai Duration
Furthermore, the fact that all of his energy is "compressed" means that usage of his Bankai doesn't expel as much spiritual power as other Bankai from the point of activation; thus allowing him to use Tensa Zangetsu at a much longer duration than any other Bankai users of his level.