Tite Kubo’s Bleach is one of the most popular anime to date. The story about supernatural swordsmen in black kimonos is still a heavy hitter on the list of anime favorites even though the series ended years ago. The series’ main protagonist, Ichigo Kurosaki, was considered one of the most attractive characters by female fans, and of course, it didn’t take long for those same fans to become heavily invested in the Substitute Soul Reapers’ love life.
Over the course of the anime, many speculated that Ichigo would eventually find himself in a relationship with the series’ other protagonist, Rukia Kuchiki, after seeing their bond grow into what seemed to be an intimate relationship. There were also others who felt that Orihime Inoue⏤Ichigo’s voluptuous and physically attractive comrade⏤would be a much better fit, since she and Ichigo had known each other longer.
With Rukia, Ichigo’s relationship to the fellow Soul Reaper was strictly platonic. Aside from being the one ultimately responsible for turning Ichigo into a Soul Reaper, Rukia was only there to guide Ichigo and to explain the intricacies of the new world that she had just thrust him into. Naturally, their bond grew and strengthened from the many battles they faced together, but neither had the time or the interest to see the other as a potential soulmate. In fact, for a majority of the time, it seemed that love was the last thing on Ichigo’s mind.
On the other hand, Orihime thought about Ichigo all the time, as she had developed an obvious crush on her fellow teammate. But with so much going on, she never really got a chance to express her feelings to him. Throughout most of the series, it seemed that Tite Kubo danced around the idea of them as an item by always putting them in life-threatening situations that brought Orihime close to finally confessing her love for Ichigo. Naturally, anyone watching would have predicted that they would end up together, but Kubo wouldn’t finally address it until years later with the 1000 Year Blood War Arc in the manga.
After defeating Yhwach, the manga ends with a 10-year time skip that sees all the Bleach characters at different places in their lives. Rukia is now Captain of Squad 13 and married to her childhood friend, fellow Soul Reaper Lieutenant Renji Abarai. Chad is now a famous boxer and Uryuu is a doctor like his father, Ryuken. And Ichigo? Well, he’s taken over his dad’s clinic and has gotten married to Orihime. Now a simple housewife, Orihime pretty much takes care of the house and their son, Kazui Kurosaki.
Guess that means the fans who were on Orihime’s side were right: Ichigo ended up with her after all. Hope they at least made some bets on it. That was definitely a gamble that would have paid off.