Regarding Bleach characters, Toshiro Hitsugaya is one of the most popular characters in the series, despite being only a secondary character. Kubo liked Toshiro a lot and was quite happy to see the youngest Captain of the Gotei 13 become so popular. He has been called the most talented Captain of the Gotei 13, and Kyoraku theorized that he could potentially surpass all of the other Captains when he grows up. Still, as he is still a young boy, Toshiro often has problems controlling his powers and abilities, which was a cause of many tense situations in the past. Due to this, he was often quick to act before thinking, and when the Quincy launched their invasion of the Seireitei, he lost his Bankai to Cang Du. He would get it back thanks to Urahara not much later, but while regaining his Bankai, Toshiro seemingly turned into a Hollow. Did it happen or not? Keep reading to find out.
Toshiro Hitsugaya is not a Hollow, but due to being exposed to the effects of Urahara’s Shin’eiyaku pill, he was temporarily Hollowfied because his Bankai was also temporarily Hollowfied, and that is the “Hollow Hitsugaya” we’ve seen in the anime. This happened to all the Captains and Lieutenants who touched the Shin’eiyaku pill, but only Toshiro’s temporarily Hollowfied form was actually shown in the series.
As you can assume, the rest of this article will be about Toshiro Hitsugaya and the moment he regained his Bankai in the Bleach series. We will reveal everything that happened, how it happened, and explain how the Hollowfied version of Toshiro Hitsugaya appeared in the first place and what its significance was. In case you’re not fully up-to-date with everything that has happened in Bleach, we have to warn you that the article will contain many spoilers.
Toshiro Hitsugaya did become Hollowfied for a moment, but the effects aren’t permanent
So, in order to properly explain what happened here and what we are talking about, we first have to recap what happened to Toshiro in the first place. So, all of this started with the first invasion of the Seireitei by the Wandenreich, when Toshiro Hitsugaya and Rangiku Matsumoto faced Cang Du, the Sternritter “I” – “The Iron.”
Using the Quincy Medallion, Cang Du stole Hitsugaya’s Bankai, shocking the young Captain, as the Gotei 13 – until that moment – believed that the Quincy could only seal the Bankai, not actually steal them. And while Toshiro survived this battle, he began training from the basics in order to be able to fight without the Bankai until Mayuri or Urahara figured out how to return them.
While they were training, the Wandenreich launched a second invasion of the Seireitei, completely replacing it with the Wandenreich. At the same time, Kisuke Urahara was in Hueco Mundo, researching the Reishi of the late Quilge Opie, Sternritter “J” – “The Jail,” wanting to better understand the Quincy and their powers. While working on that, he actually found a way to return the Bankai to the Shinigami, which is why and how he created the Shin’eiyaku pills.
It’s a pretty interesting creation, the Shin’eiyaku. Namely, because the Shin’eiyaku induces temporary Hollowfying in Bankai users after physical consumption, it served as a type of poison for the Quincy. This intriguing little pill was created by Urahara using his understanding of the Quincy and the fact that they could not absorb the Reiatsu of Hollows without having their Souls destroyed in the process.
As we have already said, Urahara was in Hueco Mundo during the first invasion and the beginning of the second invasion. He went there with Icihgo and the others to save Hueco Mundo from the Quincy, led by Quilge Opie, whose corpse and remains he analyzed.
After Grimmjow helped them kill Opie, Urahara remained in Hueco Mundo and continued his research on the Quincy and their relationship with the Hollows. He discovered the real reason why Quincy exterminated the Hollows there, as he explained to Mayuri. Namely, it was initially thought that it was simply hatred, as the pure Quincy detested the impure Hollows, but it was much more than that.
In particular, it turned out that the Hollow Reiatsu was actually toxic and lethal for Quincy. The Hollows were the opposite of the Quincy, and their Reiatsu was poisonous to them, much as the Quincy were the opposite of the Shinigami. Because of this, they could not absorb it without dying (stronger ones could, but only for a short time), so they just got rid of the Hollows. Of course, Yhwach understood the value of having allies among the Hollows, so he permitted certain Hollows to join his army, although this was more of a tactical move than anything else.
Therefore, Urahara employed Hollow Reiatsu and his understanding of the Hollowfication procedure, which enabled him to produce the Shin’eiyaku pills with the help of Grimmjow and these new findings.
As previously mentioned, the tablets would temporarily Hollowfy the Shinigami by infusing them with Hollow Reiatsu. As a result, it would be impossible to steal their Bankai because doing so would kill the Sternritter because the Bankai were now poisonous to them. The stolen Bankai also got Hollowfied for those who already held the Captains’ Bankai, and the Sterntitter employing them started bleeding and experienced the effects of being poisoned by Hollow Reiatsu.
This is because the Bankai is connected to the Shinigami in more ways than one. This is why they had to release and give up control of the Bankai immediately, or they would have died.
So, when Toshiro Hitsugaya touched the Shin’eyaku pill, as Urahara instructed him to, he temporarily Hollowfied, and since he was intrinsically tied to his own Bankai, the Bankai, despite now being in Cang Du’s possession, also Hollowfied. The Hollowfication was only temporary, we have to say that, but it did the job, as Cang Du couldn’t control the Bankai anymore, and it slowly started returning to Hitsugaya; had Cang Du not given up on the Bankai, the Hollow Reiatsu would have poisoned him, and he would have died.
This is why Toshiro was able to regain his Bankai, and in the process, he temporarily became a Hollow, as was seen when he got a mask resembling that of a Hollow made of ice. The Bankai, which was now infused with Hollow Reiatsu, was out of reach for the Sternritter because if they attempted to steal it once again, they would be killed.
And with this, the story of “Hollow Toshiro” is concluded. As you can see, the young Captain actually did Hollowfy for a brief moment, but it was a temporary transformation and nothing similar to the process that the Visored went through, as their Hollowfication, although not complete, was permanent in nature. It is assumed that Toshiro never had any Hollow powers, nor could he Hollowfy later in the series, as the pill probably did not work like that.