What really bugs me about Kubo's treatment towards Ichigo is how he managed to destroy Ichigo is just one chapter. This shows in the amount of negative reactions towards Ichigo after 686 came out. Seeing my favorite character got bashed for being paired with Orihime, the one whom he shows zero romantic interest during the course of 684 chapters, seriously saddens me. Rukia is like the only girl that I can ship with Ichigo.
I hear you. I always laugh when someone says you read bleach wrong. If you’re a young reader, most young readers liked Ichigo as the “cool” hero with crazy powers and awesome fights etc. (It’s what shounen is famous for) Melodrama, slice of life or tragedy was never the advertised theme of bleach. Which is why Ichigo’s ending misses the mark with its young readers because they compare him to Naruto and he just looks like a loser. If you’re a more mature/complex reader, then the ending failed with them too for very obvious reasons like no consistency in the story and contradictory world building. As for Ichigo, at what point did he show the desire the live an ordinary human life? Except the two times, one when series began and all Ichigo wanted was to be normal and not see the ghosts anymore. He didn’t know about shinigamis. And other is in fullbring arc where he asks it rhetorically, “is this not what I wanted, then why do I feel so empty?”. Ichigo is shown to be “still not over it”. (The shock of losing his powers that is, he is shown to say this when he instinctively reaches out for his powers, only to remember he doesn’t have them anymore). Neither of these can be used for counter argument. When did he ever show the desire to marry and have kids at such a young age or at all? And most of all when has he ever shown any romantic interest in Ori/hime? On the contrary, Ichigo’s feelings have been canonised for Rukia by using Orih/ime as a means of narrative, with her being over and over disappointed by seeing Ichigo’s behavior towards Rukia. I didn’t imagine this scenario, I read the same manga kubo wrote that is how I know ori was disappointed because it’s drawn in the panels. I don’t need to prove anything, it is author’s job to prove to me through his story what his canon pairing is and yet kubo completely failed to deliver that. Not seeing love where there is none (Ichigo->ori) is not me reading manga wrong, it’s such people blowing the context out of proportion. And Ichigo probably is the only shounen protagonist who didn’t get to do anything at all in the main boss fight, couldn’t even reveal his full power and got his ass saved by the very villain who was the sole negative element in almost the entirety of the series. The reason I say saved and not aided is because neither Ichigo nor anyone else could hold a candle to Yhwach if not for Aizen, and it is Kubo’s bad writing that drove him into corner with super OP villains. (Which he often gets criticized for) He made this mistake with characterization of Aizen who was already too OP but instead of learning from it, he went on to make another ridiculous OP character with no depth that literally destroyed the essence of his main character. That IMO is the biggest blow to Ichigo that ruined his credibility as hero. Ichiruki is just collateral damage. The real damage is that bleach as a series including its protagonists now stand for nothing, Nada, zilch because there was no meaning in their life, their struggles and this entire manga itself. If someone were to ask Kubo today what was the point of bleach or all of the characters he created, I doubt he would be able to answer properly.