On the nature of Ichigo’s zanpakuto
Here are a few clarification questions and answers on the nature of Ichigo’s zanpakuto (after Bleach Chapter 540).
1. Has old man Zangetsu always been in fact Yhwach’s / Juha Bach’s Quincy “seed” in Ichigo?
2. Ichigo’s closest thing to zanpakuto /blade personification has been Hollow-Ichigo all along?
3. Was this hollow that fused with Ichigo originally created by Aizen (and only pulled out or awoken by Urahara during that controlled deprivation process)?
4. Ichigo’s closest thing to a zanpakuto is something compositionally and functionally similar to the real, original zanpakutos, i.e. the asauchi created by Oetsu Nimaiya?
5. Ichigo never had an authentic Asauchi (created by Nimaiya) to begin with?
Ad 1. Yes, this seems to be the case.
Ad 2. I guess…
But. Hollow-Ichigo says at the beginning that he and Zangetsu have been one and the same since the beginning. And that is the logic of the whole series… I guess there has been a fusion of quincy and hollow powers in Ichigo’s mother. So the power Ichigo was born with was Zangetsu-hollow from the beginning. Since hollow is the “substratum”/material for zanpaktou, I’m not sure if it’s correct to say that Zangetsu “pretended” to be a zanpaktou (in any case it explains how he could do it). But then, the whole Nimaiya episode made it totally unclear what a “true” zanpaktou is (also remember Arrancar’s blades were called zanpaktous).
Ad 3. Yes, except the fusion took place in Masashi (I think).
Ad 4. I guess, but that’s the most confusing point. Nimaiya says “white” hollows are composed of shinigami souls. And then he says they’re of the same composition as Asauchis. It follows that asauchi are composed of shinigami souls, but this makes no sense to me.
Ad 5. Yes.