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Not even a Bankai could stop these moments from sucking.
In Bleach, Urahara telling Orihime she would not be able to fight against Aizen's army without Tsubaki was unfortunate for her, but somewhat reasonable and in keeping with others were saying about her (Uryu and Chad have expressed similar sentiments before, and Renji agrees with Urahara in the same scene). But it turns unbelievable when it turns out that he lied to her and chose not to reveal that Aizen was interested in her powers. His lie leads to her capture: after speaking with Rukia and hearing that she only needs resolve for battle, Orihime manages to get Tsubaki repaired and starts training to get stronger, which leads to her encountering Ulquiorra in the dangai when she goes to help Ichigo. If Urahara was clever enough to hide the Hogyoku inside Rukia (and only get outsmarted by Magnificent BastardAizen), then he should have considered that she might have stayed behind if she realized just how important she was.
And then, in Chapter 349, Orihime's reaction to Ichigo getting a hole blown in his chest by Ulquiorra's Cero is to panic and beg for Ichigo's help. Throughout the Arrancar arc, she had realized that she couldn't rely on Ichigo all the time, and she wanted to become stronger to help him and fight on her own by the next time she saw him. Now she's falling back into relying on Ichigo, not even trying to help herself, which only serves to confirm the arguments of those who consider her too weak. It's not that she no longer realizes her problem, but her instincts are just wrong...
Not being able to do anything to help is actually fairly easy to explain. No matter what Ulquiorra's fangirls will have you believe, Ulquiorra is not even close to a nice guy. The entire interaction between he and Orihime was his attempts at psychologically breaking her, with his blowing Ichigo open being the final straw, showing that his attempts to break her had at least partially succeeded.
If Orihime had no combat skills, then that would serve as an excuse. But she can literally reject space-time. She might be capable of turning Aizen and his whole army into embryos. Yet not even the 'genius' Urahara considered trying to hone her skills even to incapacitate Arrancar. It's as if the series itself is conspiring against her getting stronger. Her non-combat role in the Soul Society arc was tolerable because no one knew the extent of her powers and because she was still new to fighting. By now, it's been several hundred chapters, and Aizen himself told her that she could reject space-time. As time goes by, it seems less and less realistic that Orihime won't fight and win some battles. The series can't handwave it with her being "afraid" or "in pain" forever; she's too much of a powerhouse for that excuse to remain tolerated. If this keeps up, then it'll seem like Tite Kubo and Shonen Jump are deliberately putting Orihime through Chickification when she should be one of the greatest badasses in the series, just so they can have a Moe MoeDamsel in Distress.
It was established at the start of the current arc that Orihime's problem is her lacking the will to use her powers to harm others. Hopefully, this arc will manage to sufficiently motivateher to consider using her abilities effectively for something other than healing.
Fine if Orihime doesn't want to kill people, fine. But, Kubo, no stunning people, no knocking them unconscious, nothing? She either HAS to kill them or can't? Regardless of what Kenpachi says, going on the offensive does not mean going for blood. If Orihime is even half as smart as people say she is and that training she did with Rukia in Soul Society was worth even half the trouble, why hasn't she figured some way around this?
Orihime doesn't even have to try to knock them out. As it's been repeatedly stated on this very page, she can reject space-time, which basically means she can morph any object or person into a state they used to be in the past. She could de-power major villains by de-aging them until they're not strong enough to kill her friends. She could probably turn her enemies into babies if she tried. Basically, people who can warp time-space have a lot of ways they can kill people without inflicting mortal injuries. Tite Kubo just isn't thinking.
The idea that Orihime would never ever want to even HURT anyone is bullshit. Isn't this the same girl who drew herself as a destructive robot in the future? The girl who's supposedly took karate lessonsyet never does this in self defense? Kubo has just contradicted previously established characterization in order to make her the arc's Distressed Damsel and it's made worse by Orihime's unwillingness to get better over the course of the arc. She CHOSE a fighter's path yet can only cry and rely on "Kurosaki-kun!" whenever she's in real trouble instead of trying something. The most she can do against Ulqiorra is slap him but she can't even fight back against Loly and Menoly? It's really no wonder those girls hated Orihime's guts and tormented her so much; she's so helpless, she made it all too easy for them!
The "destructive robot" thing was a fantasy that didn't consider the idea of actually hurting anyone with her weapons, like a little kid wanting to be a pirate or ninja or something. The "not defending herself" actually supports the idea of her being an Actual Pacifist. You can easily say her choosing a "fighter's path" is her being in over her head and childishly thinking she'll be able to do something despite her pacifistic nature. Her being an Actual Pacifist isn't bullshit, but the contradictions mentioned above are good points.
Yammy, the weakest of the Espada who was constantly getting kicked around by the protagonists, was revealed to be the 0 Espada, a rank that was never previously mentioned or hinted at, after his release. A number of hollows had stated that the Espada only goes from 10 to 1.
Maybe they'll go to negative numbers eventually?
How many of us like Yammy? Does he have any other characteristics besides "big, loud, and dumb"?
Oh, and it was completely useless — Kenpachi and Byakuya easily defeat him via handwave. It's like Tite Kubo is trying to get fired.
Take a look at the latest manga chapters. He's still with us (both Yammy and Tite Kubo).
Yammy being the 0 Espada is later given a somewhat reasonable explanation, albeit one that admittedly sounds like a Handwave: The Espada are not ranked based on power or ability, but how much energy they give off when they enter their true forms. While this is a fair explanation, it still doesn't really make any sense in terms of why you would rank your top soldiers in a way that doesn't help them at all and actually hurts some of them.
It's also not an entirely satisfactory explanation because in most cases, brute strength counts for a lot in Bleach. Apparently, Yammy is the one exception to that.
Not to be outdone, Ichigo commits the biggest Wall Banger in the manga so far during his second fight with Ulquiorra. When he comes to his senses and realizes how brutally he mutilated Ulquiorra while in Hollow mode, he demands that Ulquiorra cut off his arm and leg so they can have a fair fight. (Orihime, who has already healed an opponent at his request, is standing right there.) To make it worse, Ichigo, who only a few chapters ago declared that he fights not because he thinks he can win but because he has to win, screams, "What kind of victory is this?!" as Ulquiorra dies, as if he cared more about the fairness of the fight than about saving his friends. Ichigo's behavior in this chapter came so far out of left field that many fans regard it as Character Derailment to boost Ulquiorra's status to Worthy Opponent and Noble Demon.
In the next arc, a megalomaniacal evil genius wants to turn the souls of everyone in his hometown into a giant key, slaughter most of his shinigami allies, and conquer three different universes. And when a foreign being invades your universe with the goal of exterminating. enslaving, or eating your family, friends, and species, letting them slice you in half so the job would be easier for them isn't honor. It's betrayal. Ichigo states as early as the first volume that he fights primarily to protect his friends and family; how the heck is losing limbs going to help you with that, dear hero? The desire for fairness and sympathy is in his moral code; but when a war is going on, you have to draw the line somewhere...
Ichigo still hasn't killed a single non-Hollow opponent. Before this scene, he hadn't even killed a single Arrancar. He was perfectly willing to let any and all of Aizen's servants go as long as they weren't standing in his way. And when he destroyed Ulquiorra, he nearly killed Ishida, which (accidentally) makes overcoming Ulquiorra pointless because the full Hollow form is obviously too dangerous to release and, without it, Ichigo still sucks compared to high-end Espada and cannot meaningfully contribute to the war!
The real Wall Banger here should be how Hollow Ichigo's cero, fired at POINT-BLANK RANGE, didn't destroy Ulquiorra outright, making room for this Wall Banger about Ichigo wanting to be fair and sympathetic by wanting his arm and leg off. Remember that the cero was aimed at Ulq's head, yet only his lower body (i.e. the easily-regenerated portion) was destroyed.
Ulquiorra's entire death sequence was a giant Wall Banger, especially since it necessitated the two Wallbangers noted above (Ichigo being derailed and Ulquiorra's illogical survival of Ichigo's last attack). The reason these Wallbangers had to happen? To give Ulquiorra a dramatic death and to make us feel sorry for him, just like Orihime does. But wait: isn't this the same Ulquiorra who was actively trying to mind rape Orihime without a second thought? Who threatened to force food down her throat if she didn't eat? Who spoke of tearing apart her chest and cracking open her skull? And even if Kubo and the fans "forgot" about all those incidents by the time the death scene rolled around, are we supposed to forget that Ulquiorra blew a hole right through Ichigo's chest when he was already defenseless and helpless, and then brutalized Ishida so severely that Orihime started to cry and scream for Ichigo to come back and protect her from him? And yet, the characters and readers are expected to sympathize with Ulquiorra here. This is the mother of all Wallbangers — not only did Kubo see fit to have this scene, but he utilized the other two aforementioned Wallbanger-caliber plot points to make it happen.
Feeling sympathy and pity for Ulquiorra is not impossible; forgiving him, like Orihime seems to do, is.
Orihime saying she's "not scared" of Ulquiorra as he's dying is supposed to be touching and sad, but it comes across as profoundly stupid when you remember that moments earlier she was absolutely terrified of him. Her line might as well have been "I'm not scared... now that you're dying and no longer actively trying to maim and kill my friends." Note that despite forgiving and pitying Ulquiorra, Orihime makes no attempt to save him, even though she has the power to do so, as demonstrated with Menoly earlier.
Aizen showing up in the middle of Tia Harribel's battle and killing her for no reason. She doesn't even get a death scene or last words; it's just into the fridge. Not only is it unsatisfying, but it's also out of character for Aizen, who sacrifices minions like it's going out of style but would never be so stupid as to do his enemies' work for them just because he's a nigh-omnipotent egomaniac.
What makes it worse is that Hitsugaya had appeared to defeat her not long before. It would have been better to have him kill her right then and there.
Because Harribel was rendered incapitated, none of the Vizard girls were allowed to show ANY of their abilities; their contribution to the fight was axed because Kubo didn't feel like giving Harribel a second round like the other top Espada. And Harribel gets neither death scene nor flashback, unlike every other Espada that died. There goes the female!
While still a wallbanger, things are somewhat better knowing now that Harribel survived... somehow. No explanation was given in the manga itself—rather, how Harribel survived was only mentioned in a databook.
Mayuri Kurotsuchi. We are introduced to this utterly loathsome person who tortured Ishida's grandfather to death and did experiments on human subjects, which positioned him to be one heck of a future opponent for Ichigo and co... and then, suddenly, when Mayuri comes back, he bullies Ishida for comic relief, and he is considered a good guy. His Karma Houdini status is played for laughs. What the hell, Kubo? We know Mayuri is your creator's pet, but you can't expect us to forget what he did and consider him just a laughable Jerk Ass buffoon. As for Ishida... he has no problem working with the bastard who once tortured his granddad and still bullies him. He has nothing more than mild annoyance towards the man who ruined his life.
When Harribel releases, she cuts Hitsugaya in freaking half from a distance. Next chapter, he returns and reveals that what she hit was an ice clone. That can bleed. And speak.
Blood, speaking, even limbs falling off — those bits are well in the realm of possibility given Cicada; and it certainly makes more sense than a few rags and a captains cloak behaving that way. But it was still a cruel move by Kubo, all but destroying the tension from the previous chapter without warning — and that's a pattern that continues for most of those fights. If he absolutely had to stay in against the third espada, then ice limbs not only would have had more of a basis, given his bankai form, but also would have kept SOME of that tension. Even Frozen Blood might be better.
The real Wall Banger: after that exchange, neither party uses that level of skill again. Hitsugaya does pull out an interesting technique later on; but it seems like Harribel got weaker after releasing—she could hit Hitsugaya quite well before.
Tousen releases his Ressurecion, all but slaughters Komamura in the space of a few pages, and is about to strike the finishing blow in a confrontation that has been a long time coming. Then Hisagi gets up again, after being run though twice earlier in the fight and after suffering massive wounds before then — he is nowhere near in good condition and was nowhere near the same ballpark as a captain in the first place. Nevertheless (perhaps because he should've been "dead"), Hisagi manages to catch Tousen completely by surprise. This would have been okay if he had distracted him just long enough for Komamura to get a second wind and strike a desperate blow with his bankai. But no — not only does this surprise blow work, but he also manages to cut him through and then release his sword inside Tousen's skull, ending it right there out of nowhere. All that built-up tension gone, and Komamura didn't get to do anything despite this being his single greatest possible shining moment in the whole series, which he could have used to end his jobbing streak right then and there.
The sequence was meant to show how far Tousen had fallen. It was even ironic, considering that gaining sight turned out to be Tousen's greatest weakness. Still anticlimactic, though.
LOLIRONY is neither a good excuse to screw over prior conventions nor a good reason to make Komamura, who had every bit as much depth behind this matchup, worthless. Had he been able to do something, anything, other than get beaten down, it would've been better. Making him worthless is inexcusable.
Shinji demonstrates his Shikai against Aizen, catching him in an Interface Screw and making him bleed. But he taunts Aizen about the element of his sword Aizen neglected to realize in his analysis. (That itself isn't a Wallbanger, since EVERYONE does that for no reason). Suddenly, Aizen instantly defeats him despite the sword's effect being unbreakable and despite the fact that Shinji pointed out that an experienced captain like Aizen should be MORE crippled by the sword's power than a novice.
That exchange was Shinji holding the idiot ball. In fact, the entire fight is a Wall Banger. Why is Shinji surprised that his shikai was overcome, when Aizen was shown to figure it out on his own the first time during the exchange and got more than enough time to figure it out again with all his boasting? Shinji had another trick but held it back because he thought Aizen couldn't overcome something that he just fully explained, and that Aizen seemed to figure out before his first trick.
Ichigo makes it to FKT and has a chance to take a surprise blow at Aizen; not only does he miss it, but he also doesn't don the mask before it is stomped on. Also, Aizen tries to talk him into believing that "he has no reason to hate him" despite all that he has done to his friends and his personally trying to kill him. And Ichigo would have fallen for it if not for the interference of Komamura.
It gets worse when you remember that Grand Fisher went to Hueco Mundo, specifically to that Lab/guard station where Ichigo entered that world through, to get turned into an Arrancar, suggesting that Fisher was at least tangentially connected to Aizen. Take this with Aizen's comment that Ichigo's life had been part of Aizen's plan, and you realize that Aizen is responsible for the Hollow that killed Ichigo's mother, tried to kill his sisters, and (in the anime) accelerated Orihime's brother's Hollowfication. This, combined with his admission back in Soul Society that he helped create the Hollow that killed Kaien Shiba, and Aizen is responsible by proxy for a lot of the pain felt by a number of main characters.
How utterly, obscenely powerful Aizen has become has certainly proven to be a wallbanger, especially in the most recent chapter. After easily dispelling total sensory inversion, he cuts apart Tengen Myou'ou's titanic blade without even trying, lops offs an arm without batting an eyelid, and takes down Komamura, Love, and Rose in a single slash each, making Koma's filler-based anime-centered losing streak canon in the process, all without releasing. And the reason he's so broken? As Gin said in summation, "You try to do anything, you're careless, because Aizen's just that powerful". Guess the journey to godhood was redundant.
And he manages to top himself- Aizen, on his own, using, at most, a minimal amount of illusions and a bare blade, takes down every remaining captain in a single stroke, seemingly makes Yamamoto commit what amounts to suicide in an effort to destroy him, which doesn't work, and now casually disposes of Isshin, Urahara and Yoruichi mere chapters after their Big Damn Heroes entrance and after people such as Urahara were said to be equal to Aizen in several respects. Why does anyone even bother trying at this point?
Has no one even bothered to ask when did Aizen switch with Momo? If Aizen was already using Kyoka Suigetsu before Ichigo showed up then Ichigo should not have been affected by the illusion of everyone else seeing Momo as Aizen. And yet, for some reason, Ichigo (who was watching the entire fight without even blinking) waited until after Hitsugaya ran his sword through her heart to ask the others why the hell they were beating on a poor girl who was already half dead!!
This one is usually explained by Aizen blocking their hearing so they couldn't hear Ichigo.
That explanation doesn't work either, since Ichigo was seen having conversations with several of Aizen's attackers before they went charging him down. Even if they couldn't hear Ichigo, why did he just stand there and let it happen? We've seen before that Ichigo isn't the type to just stand by and let a bunch of guys beat down a helpless girl, regardless of the odds against him.
It turns out that Ichigo's entire career as a shinigami was a Gambit Roulette planned by Aizen since before Ichigo became a shinigami! The hollow attacking the Kurosaki household and wounding Rukia just enough for her to transfer her powers to Ichigo but not enough for either of them to die? Just as planned. Ichigo being mortally wounded and stripped of his powers but saved at the last second by Urahara and turned into a true Shinigami? Just as planned. Ichigo practically dying in his fights against Renji, Kenpachi, and Byakuya without his Hollow's random interference? Just as planned. Ichigo nearly being devoured from within by his inner hollow in his struggle to become a Vizard? Just as planned. Ichigo randomly gaining control of his mask to narrowly defeat Grimmjow after almost being beaten to death by him twice? Just as planned. Ichigo randomly being saved from Nnoitra and Tesla kicking him while he was down? Just as planned. Ichigo coming back from the dead TWICE against Ulquiorra?Just as planned. Had Ichigo died or stayed dead at any point, the "plan" would have failed; its success proves once and for all that Aizen is a Villain Sue.
This is, of course, assuming what he's saying is the actual truth and not something he made up to mess with Ichigo's head.
Aizen already knows everything that will happen. If he had planned for Ichigo to train to use Final Getsuga Tensou and can stop or counter it easily, then Kubo needs to cancel Bleach and quit writing manga because there is no other foreseeable way that Aizen can be stopped. Kubo has no place in the industry if he can't write a manga without bullshit plot twists and powers coming out the wazoo.
Aizen knows Ichigo is training. We're 50% of the way to a massive wallbanger.
Kubo's topped himself. The Hougyoku was revealed to be a wish-granting machine even though its power was only used to create Arrancars and Vizards. Its creator explicitly stated that its power was to break down the barrier between Shinigami and Hollow. There already was an accepted in-story logic behind Orihime and Chad gaining their powers.
So. This is it. Gin appears to have met all expectations, rising from an obedient yet cunning Smug Snake to usurp Aizen's position as the Big Bad. He does the impossible, outwits Aizen, and seemingly manages to kill him for good, obliterating his body and extracting the Hougyoku in the process. Aizen somehow manages to survive that, giving no explanation for his sudden revival other than "The Hougyoku is already mine." Aizen then assumes a six-winged form and gives Gin the Harribel treatment, casually disposing of him, bare-handed, in one stroke. We're supposed to assume that Ichigo can eventually emerge victorious against this guy.
Aizen planned for Gin to kill him. He knew that Gin was trying to kill him. Aizen's supposed death at the hands of Gin just gives him another form and makes him even more powerful.
Aizen's Alas, Poor Villain moment. It's not so much the fact that they're trying to make us feel sympathy for the guy that commits Moral Event Horizon after another as many times as we blink, although that IS one factor into the Wall Banger moment. It's the fact that, if Ichigo's hypothesis is correct, the Hougyoku didn't give up on Aizen and take away his powers. It took away his powers because, deep down, Aizen wanted to lose his powers. That's right, Ladies and Gentlemen. EVERYTHING,including his defeat, went JUST. AS. PLANNED.
Think about this: Aizen's sentence for trying to kill everyone, killing two shinigami and razing war against the Soul Society: 20 thousand years. He's immortal so this means he'll live through it all and everything. It means he'll eventually be free.
This might be justified by Aizen being truly immortal, as in impossible to kill, but then that just turns it into another wallbanger. This bastard is evil incarnate, Ichigo's bullshit Alas, Poor Villain moment notwithstanding. If you really can't just outright destroy him, and he will never, ever die, why the fuck would you give him a sentence he'll live through? You already have him tied up so he'll never escape. Toss his ass in a hole, fill it in, move the entire hole into a box, hurl the box to the moon, then bury him in the moon, but at least make sure he'll never fucking escape. Unless you're confident that he'll be a weakling by the time he gets out, why take the chance?
The war is over. Most of the shinigami and vizard are confirmed to be alive and ok. But, there's still some characters unaccounted for. A list: Soi-Fon, Kira, Kensei, Mashiro, Oomaeda (he flat out disappears during the fight with Aizen), Isane, Yoruichi, Hachigen, Hanataro, Iba, and This Troper's favorite, Komamura (out of the unaccounted characters, his wounds were the most severe). Since the new arc is gonna start after the 2-week break, we will most likely not see their condition until about 40 or so chapters later. WTF?! Everyone was accounted for after the Soul Society arc, but WHY NOT HERE?! If you ask Kubo what happened to them on his twitter, he'll most likely say that "he may draw them again later" which possibly means he was too lazy to draw those characters in the first place!!! Then the mighty force of the Head bangs the wall multiple times until it's reduced to dust.
The entire end of the Aizen saga. Not because it ended badly, but because almost every single plot thread is left hanging and some of the only threads that are tied up are ones that the ending itself created. Nel, her Fraccion, Grimmjow, several Vizards, many Captains and Lieutenants, and the relationships between almost all characters are not mentioned or expanded upon from the conflict's ending. It then goes into a new storyline with virtually none of the problems that arose from the end of the previous arc being mentioned. It felt extremely rushed, as if Kubo heard that people were bored with the arc and decided to just cut everything and move on to something fresh. The story also hasn't explained why Ichigo and Rukia had to say goodbye. They haven't mentioned there being anything stopping Rukia from seeing Ichigo using a gigai, or relaying messages through Orihime or Ishida, who didn't lose anything and can still see spirits and Shinigami perfectly well. Speaking of Orihime, come the end of the Aizen saga, we realize that everything that's happened to her had absolutely no point or pay-off. She didn't use her powers to erase Aizen. She didn't use her powers to kill Aizen. She didn't use her powers to destroy the Hougyoku. The last we see of her in the saga is Ichigo leaving her on the roof of Las Noches to heal Ishida's hand. All this means that the Chickification into a Damsel Scrappy is what stuck with her through the entire arc and nothing else, because, as mentioned above, her swear to erase the Hogyoku paid nothing off and it ended up doing nothing but giving the story a scene to fill in a few panels. While Ichigo (sort of) being the one to defeat Aizen makes sense, being the main character and all, it doesn't help that pretty much everybody else had to be stuck somewhere else, even those who, at that point, could probably still do something to contribute to the story.
Chapter 433: The Fullbringers, a fairly interesting if mysterious group of empowered humans, have been trying to cut some kind of deal with Ichigo for the past few chapters. Debates had been going on among fans as to whether they're supposed to be allies, villains, or something else, but this chapter indicates that their deal is to transfer their interesting powers over to Ichigo and become ordinary humans. They've been in the manga for about ten chapters and their chances of actually contributing much beyond serving as living power-ups for Ichigo are already dwindling.
Another wallbanger is how the story mirrors way too closely the Vizards bit from last arc: group of quirky characters with new powers shows up, talks Ichigo around a bit, give him knowledge/powers and soon will be discarded away. Kubo has fallen again into his habit of creating more characters to get himself out of his writer's block, ensuring his large cast of old favorites do not get further development and the newest characters are fleshed out just enough to be forgotten when the plot demands it.
My ultimate Bleach wallbanger (this requires lengthy explanation): Ichigo was able to fight on par with Kenpachi Zaraki with only his shikai, right? Immediately afterwards he fought Byakuya Kuchiki while being in an injured state and did fairly well, right? Judging by his fight with Byakuya, I would say that Ichigo abilities were enhanced considerably, not even including the extra power boost his bankai adds to his physical strength and speed, right? Ichigo then learns how to Hollowfy, which further enhances all the powers of the one who uses said ability, RIGHT? He then goes to Hueco Mundo, a world where just BEING THERE enhances Hollow powers, RIGHT?! All in all, using his bankai and hollowfying, Ichigo should be CONSIDERABLY more powerful than he was when he fought Kenpachi and even when he fought Byakuya, RIGHT?!?! So then why, oh why, (while he is in Bankai, Hollowfied, in Hueco Mundo, and putting every ounce of power he could muster into a single Getsuga Tenshou) WHY IS IT THAT HE COULDN'T EVEN MAKE YAMMY BLEED AND THEN BYAKUYA AND KENPACHI (Two characters he equaled without using as much as he used against Yammy) SHOW UP AND WITHOUT EVEN USING THEIR FULL POWER START HACKING YAMMY TO PIECES LIKE HE WAS NOTHING?!?!?!?!
"Fighting on par" with someone who deliberately lowers themselves to your level doesn't say anything about who is better. Ichigo could be stronger than Kenpachi's limit, or he could still be weaker, we just can't know until Kenpachi runs out of handicaps to remove.
Except Kenpachi fought at his full power in Soul Society. And LOST. Even the current explanation of Kenpachi's mental limiters aren't good enough because it's too much of a stretch to say that Kenpachi subconsciously weakened himself to over 1/5 below his normal strength without noticing. It's one thing to explain his limits in a captain vs captain fight, it's another entirely when comparing someone pre and post bankai.
The death toll after it was all over. Hiyori gets SLICED IN HALF and survives. Jushiro and Hinamori get stabbed, but they survive too.
The latest chapters of Bleach are now featuring the Fullbringers versus the Shingami which, for all the hype that the Fullbringers were brought up, essentially turned into a Curb-Stomp Battle mostly in favor of the Shinigami. To elaborate here are some of the battles and the results.
Kenpachi versus Giriko: Kenpachi won by slicing him in half with the attitude similar to how one would slice a tomato.
Hitsugaya versus Yukio: Captain Jobber finally won a match.
Renji versus Jackie: Lieutenant jobber wins as well
Ikakku versus Shishigawara: Ikakku wins by virtue of being "the luckiest bastard in soul society."
Rukia versus Riruka. About the only battle that can be chalked in favor of the Fullbringers.
It's not terrible, but a particularly egregious borderline Ass Pull is the fact that 486 reveals that Sasakibe knew bankai. The problem with this is that it makes his getting destroyed by Ichigo in the Soul Society arc a massive and retroactive example of The Worf Effect.
His death is in itself, he had the least appearance and no development. It basically said he needed to die just because.
Three Vizard have resumed their positions as captains. I seem to remember these very same vizard being sentenced to death merely for surviving a horrible experiment and having to live in fear and seclusion for over a century. Their leader even told the Head Captain (in no uncertain terms) that they were not allies of the Soul Reapers. I might be willing to understand them forgiving and moving on, but resuming their former positions and acting like being sentenced to execution on principle alone never happened? After seeing that, there is now a dent in my wall that's shaped like my head. Of all the farfetched things in Bleach, this one takes the cake.
Why didn't Old Man Yama try to barbecue Aizen when he had a chance? Right after he trapped Aizen in the Jokaku Enjo, why didn't he use his powers to pump the flame prison full of fire or perhaps cause the prison to press inwards on its captives? If Aizen could have escaped from that he would have done it long before Wonderweiss showed up, and he hadn't been transformed by the Hogyoku yet. He would have been completely helpless against an attack like that. Instead the Old Man waited until everyone else had been cut down before he even tried to go on the offensive against Aizen.
Chapter 474 was quite possibly the moment that the Fullbringer Arc hit its low point, and that's saying a lot. That Ginjo revealing the extra use of the substitute badge is treated as some horribly unspeakable act by ANYBODY, let alone Uryu and the story itself, is just unbelievably stupid. While they definitely should have told Ichigo about it, the Soul Society has at least two reasons why this is justified in general and even more when it comes to Ichigo.
1. There is a precedent in Ginjo of Substitute Shinigami betraying Soul Society. It would only make sense for them to have protection against it happening again. Even disregarding him, substitutes have only a very loose affiliation with Soul Society, so it makes sense to watch them in case of betrayal.
2. Soul Society is primarily a military organization. Being able to keep track of their soldiers makes sense from a strategical point of view and even more so with soldiers who are nowhere near the main HQ of the Soul Society.
3. This is where we get into the Ichigo-related reasons. When he received that badge, he wasn't an official shinigami or even on their side. He was a rebel ryoka and a destructive force against them, taking out 2 captains and 2 lieutenant-class shinigami (if you count Ikkaku as on par with a lieutenant). He is too rebellious to be reasonably kept under control without surveillance so of course they'll watch him.
4. Ichigo has an uncontrollable (as far as they knew at the time) Hollow form and they would need to get to him fast for restraining him if he went berserk again.
5. Ichigo's reiatsu has been established as the reason Hollows are attracted to him and his family. By limiting his power in his human form, they keep him and his family out of problems that he doesn't want to seek out.
The only person in the story who treats it as horrible is Ginjo. Uryu and Isshin weren't concerned about what Soul Society did so much as how Ichigo would react to it. Even if they had good reasons for it, it's reasonable for a person to be angry that they were lied to. In the very next chapter, Ichigo says that he's fine with it, and understands why they did it. While Soul Society may not have been honest with him, Ginjo is the one who hurt Ichigo, his friends and his family. All of this demonstrates that Ichigo has perspective, which Ginjo lacks.
So, the new bad guys can steal Bankai. Oh, that's scary, what do we do? Well of course, release Bankai! Captains didn't even bother to challenge Stern Ritter, test them in any way, nothing. Only Byakuya attacks As Nödt with shikai and cuts him a little bit, but it's still not enough to convince him to refrain from using Bankai. Results are fairly predictable. It doesn't help that Captains thought Vandenreich can only SEAL Bankai, rather than take it.
This one is even lampshaded in the next chapter, when Shinji and Mayuri hear about the four captains doing this; the former calls them idiots and the latter damn near blows his top for doing something so unrelentingly stupid without even letting him see if there was a way around it first.
The fact that they can steal bankai is a wallbanger in itself.
Chapter 505: Kenpachi, so far the only one who curb stomped three Stern Ritter, gets curbstomped offscreen!
Chapter 510 gives us the world's largest Diabolus ex Machina. One of the Stern Ritter turns out to have a brother (the one with Ditto Fighter capabilities) that was only mentioned is this very chapter. Turns out the Juha Bach was actually that guy. Juha Bach is completely unharmed, steals Old Man Yama's Bankai and slashes him once, cutting him in half. Even Aizen wasn't this bad.
After the initial fight with the Vandenreich, Ichigo's bankai is broken, and Mayuri informs him that unlike shikais, bankai can't be perfectly fixed and get weaker after breaking. Several problems with this. First, Mayuri has to hastily explain all of the other times in the series when a bankai got broken and was fine the next time we see it. Komamura's is the only one that makes any sense. We're told that Renji's bankai is still visibly broken from his fight with Byakuya. Some fans looked back at some of his previous fights, and surprise, surprise, that's not true. It's also annoying because in an action series you want characters to get stronger, not weaker. What's especially irritating is that after spending most of the arc being a complete badass, Ichigo's powers regress again. (Maybe Kubo wouldn't need to asspull so many new powers for Ichigo if he just let him keep the ones he has). And while the characters discuss fixing it, does anyone consider taking it to Orihime, who has the explicit power to restore things to how they were? Of course not! That'd be convenient. Granted, I don't know how it's going to affect things in the long run, but right now it seems like a meaningless retcon that Kubo has to jump through hoops to justify.
The recent revelations about Retsu Unohana. She's a super badass, we all knew it. Except this serves zero purpose as development for Kenpachi. All of Retsu's power, her entire story arc is pointless. She exists to train Zaraki, be cut down by him and make him stronger than her, all the while lamenting how her greatest regret was making him shackle himself mentally. Remember, strong women only exist for the benefit of men and have to guide them. Yeah, unfortunate implications much?
Forget implications, Kyoraku sends his best fighter to train the guy who has a potential to be another great fighter. The catch? They fight to death. And Unohana dies. Yeah.
Don't forget the worst part. Unohana was not only their best fighter, but their best healer. That's right, Zaraki has just killed the Gotei 13's most powerful healer. Which means they're more than likely screwed the next time they get slaughtered like this. It almost seems like it's a ploy to make the Gotei 13 completely useless so Ichigo can be the only competent character in the cast.
When examined closely enough, one of the longest running wallbangers in Bleach, and one that shows that some of the series' problems are self-perpetuating, is Ichigo's power growth. At the start of the series it's emphasized that Ichigo has a lot of raw power, but can't use it properly because he hasn't been trained. Makes sense. You'd think that over the course of the series, Ichigo will get more training and eventually be able to keep up with opponents with both power and skill. But that's not how things turn out. Despite all the talk about Ichigo's potential, some of his biggest fights are won with new power coming out of nowhere, his uber-Hollow and the Final Getsuga Tensho being the most notorious examples. It seems unnecessary because Ichigo doesn't need these powers. He'd be a lot more dangerous if he just trained properly, but for some reason, that doesn't happen. Even more bizarre is the fact that despite how much he suffers from New Powers as the Plot Demands, Kubo seems determined to keep his moveset limited. He gets control of his Hollow, but never learns how to fire a cero like the other Vizard can. He develops his Fullbringer powers, but then loses all of the specific ones and just gets a general increase in strength. To make it worse, the one power he DOES have (the Getsuga Tensho) is legendary for how worthless it is against most of the people he fights. A lot of people complain about Ichigo being overpowered, not without reason, but perhaps the real problem is how inconsistent his power is. After awhile, that whole "it depends on how focused he is" thing, though making some amount of sense, stops being a satisfactory explanation and just seems more and more like an excuse to change his power based on the needs of the plot. Especially because nobody seems particularly interested in teaching Ichigo how to control his power, even though it's been acknowledged as far back as the first arc that it's his biggest weakness. Ichigo exemplifies one of the biggest and most pervasive problems of the series: everyone has a unique power, but it's far more common for characters to win through brute force or a never before seen ability than for them to win through good tactics and clever use of their powers. Ichigo isn't the only one. After the Vandenreich invasion, we're told that Kenpachi is actually going to be properly trained by Unohana. You think "Oh, that makes sense. Just look at what he could do with a Kendo swing." But it turns out that that's a lie, and they're really just removing his mental blocks that prevent him from using his full power. In a way, this is even more frustrating than most of the examples above, because instead of the writer writing himself into a corner and having to make something up, a more logical solution is right in front of his face and he ignores it. What makes all this even worse is that the series isn't even consistent about how much strength matters. Kenpachi relies on brute strength, and he's a total badass. Yammy is apparently the 0th Espada because he puts out the most energy, and he gets flattened. It seems that Kubo either has a weakness for stylish things, or he's another Shonen writer who can't think outside the box.
Addendum: Showing just how desperate the writer is not to have Ichigo get too powerful for the sake of the plot, each story arc provides a different explanation for why he can't access his full power. First arc: Ichigo's untrained and doesn't know how to properly control his spiritual pressure. Arrancar Invasion arc: Ichigo's Hollow is messing with his abilities, preventing him from fighting properly. Hueco Mundo/FTK arc: Ichigo can't tap into his full power if he's not taking the fight seriously enough. Lost Agent arc: Ichigo's substitute badge was suppressing his reiatsu. Thousand Year Blood War arc: Zangetsu is actually his Quincy powers, and he was suppressing Ichigo's Soul Reaper powers because he originally didn't want Ichigo to become one. None of these are mutually exclusive, but when taken all together it seems ridiculous how much is holding Ichigo back, and it becomes a miracle that he can even pick up his sword. Going back to Kenpachi, combining all of the above with the fact that he was stronger than Unohana, even as a child seems to tell us that Bleach characters are born with their full power, and they don't get stronger by training, but by getting rid of mental blocks and overcoming outside forces.
Two words for the most common source of Bleach's wallbangers: Sosuke Aizen. Everything about Aizen makes you want to ask how contrived things can get.
Why does he even bother having mooks when he's just going to backstab them for being "weak" if he thinks a fight is taking too long? Why has he let the Soul Society forces even get a Hope Spot? He could have pulled that trick he did with Hinamori over and over until everyone was too paranoid to even move; failing that, he could have used the only guy in the group who presents a threat as his scapegoat/designated victim. Seriously, if he had gotten all his people to gang up on Ichigo, then Ichigo would have had problems. You can't even say he does it For the Evulz; it would have been crueler (to everyone except Hitsugaya, that is) to let them know just a little too late that they're beating down their only hope. Hollywood Tactics at its worst.
The afterlife is run by whoever has the biggest sword. Everyone takes their orders from a room full of Obstructive Bureaucrats isolated from the rest of society whose word is absolute no matter how Lawful Stupid it is. Okay, there are horrifying monsters that love to snack on ghosts; but couldn't they have a squad or two devoted to reuniting recently deceased souls with their family and loved ones? Or at least set up some basic infrastructure up to a post-19th century level?
There are only about 3,000 Soul Reapers. They would barely be able to handle Japan, let alone the whole world.
Considering the absurdly advanced magic and tech they possess (such as surveillance BACTERIA, synthesizing dimensional portals and false souls) organizing some sort of ID system is far from difficult.
There's also a bit of confusion as to just how old the Soul Society is. In recent chapters, Rukia mentions that Soul Society is a million years old. How is this even possible? Humanity as we are today has only existed for 200000 years, a fifth of that time. Were Soul Society fighting and made up of monkeys and cavemen back then?
Ishida Uryu is fairly intelligent, right? Out of the three running around after the mod-souls that kidnapped Orihime and Sado, he was the one who figured out their game even though he no longer has his powers, as pointed out by Urahara. And throughout the Bount episodes afterwards, he was hung up on getting Kariya after watching him kill Yoshino. So, why, when he had the chance to end things, does he suddenly get a brain fart and fire the arrow he made absorbing the overflow of reiatsu from Rantao...into the air? Kariya's still trying to recover from her attack. All he needs is one shot. And she's overflowing with power which he can absorb to save her life. Sure, the artifact thing he's using is going to break, but all he needed was that one shot. So he absorbs the excess reiatsu to save Rantao and...fires it into the air. Not Kariya. The AIR.
In the Zanpakutou arc, Komamura fights his zanpakutou in the first episode and gets owned — he's knocked unconscious. A few days later, he's still out but being treated at the 4th division first aid station. He spends most of the arc in a coma, since we never see him after that until the end of 253, the second to last episode of the filler arc. He's never done anything important in the fillers (unless slaying the Gillians and helping seal the garganta in the zanpakuto count), unless it's getting owned.
Wildly inconsistent aging. Rukia is meant to be hundreds of years old; but in a flashback, she and Renji aged from children to adults in 10 years. If they age like normal humans, then they should look much older. And if being a Soul Reaper stops you from aging, then why did Gin, a child Soul reaper, become an adult? Even taking into account that Gin's been at it longer, there's no logic to what ages characters simply "stop" at, other than plot convenience.
This really makes things weird with the Turn Back the Pendulum Arc. 100 years before the series. Byakuya is a teen, and hasn't even met his wife or her sister Rukia, who may not even be dead yet...even though, when first introduced, Rukia said she'd lived "10 of your [Ichigo's] lifetimes." Which would make her 150 (If she meant Ichigo's lived-life) to 800 (Average Human Lifetime). Yeah...100 years doesn't really work for the flashbacks...
With the Thousand Year Blood War arc, Yamamoto's flashbacks reveal that Shinigami never stop aging, as Yamamoto had a full head of dark hair 1,000 years ago after he set up the Gotei 13 and started the Academy.
When Harribel releases, she cuts Hitsugaya in half—but it is later found to be only an ice clone. The anime, unlike the manga, shows no blood. While this solves the problem of how an ice clone can bleed, Harribel was still completely fooled.
Bleach's final filler arc, The Invading Army arc, started off well but went downhill faster than any of the previous filler arcs, and has actually upsurped the Bount Arc's position as the Bleach's worst filler arc. One of the biggest reasons for this? NOZOMI!!KUJO!!
It goes From Bad to Worse in Episode 332. After having her Zanpakuto, and then Shikai, for a short time, once she's absorbed everyone's attacks, she's able to single-handedly defeat the Reigai Komamura, who was in BANKAI at the time, AND Reigai KENPACHI. Both of them PWNED the long-term serving Shinigami Captains in a previous episode and were said to be stronger than before due to the removal of their Purple Braclets.
Yamamoto is taken down twice in this arc. He's supposed to be the strongest of the Gotei 13, but gets taken down twice. Nozomi can apparently fight better than him! This arc is bent on making the Gotei 13 look like a complete joke! We haven't seen the captains since the remaining ones were defeated with Yoruichi in episode 329! Past that, Nozomi is the only one who has done anything.
Dear lord, Kageroza Inaba. Aizen is in pushover territory compared to him. Quick examples? When he's cornered, Kageroza's Zanpakuto is revealed to have the power of teleportation and duplication, and he's then moments later able to resurrect the beaten Reigai. Even after that, after Ichigo uses the last of his Reiatsu to launch Getsuga Tensho at him, it's moments later revealed that he had a cloning ability, which one can't help wondering why he didn't use before. He's also able to absorb Ichigo, Nozomi and YAMAMOTO'S attacks all simultaneously which is powerful enough to one-shot Yamamoto, defeating Yamamoto alone is something even Aizen was aware he couldn't do - which is why he brought Wonderweiss into play. Oh, and did I mention? Urahara's plan to break into Soul Society and help get Ichigo's powers back, which was so incredibly slick it was like Urahara's tactics back in the Turn Back the Pendulum arc? He was savvy enough to catch on and sabotage it.
The Reigai, stronger and more agressive copies of the Gotei 13 shinigami. They were interesting at first—that is, until they kept getting resurrected; then they just become annoying as hell. Then it's revealed that the purple bracelets they were wearing were Power Limiters. They die again, and are resurrected even more powerful then they already were with the braclets removed. How strong? The reigai Ikkaku is able to seriously injure Komamura, allowing the reigai Komamura to gain the upper hand. The reigai of a third seat, can seriously injure a CAPTAIN!
The arc's ending is one as well, the reigai all sacrifice themselves to stop Yushima from blowing up soul society. Nozomi is able to seriously weaken Yushima by forcing him to break his soul chain. WHAT A COP-OUT! The only good thing about the ending is that Nozomi dies.
Everything about Nozomi makes it seem like the writers of this arc were going out of their way to dismiss as much canon as they could. The strongest characters in the series can't do anything without her, she gets a (severely overpowered) Zanpakuto despite technically being a Modsoul for no apparent reason other than to keep her in the action, her very personality being a mix of Rukia and Orihime essentially reduced both girls to scenery for most of the arc, and when she dies, she gets a long, "fades out of existence" scene, despite the fact that modsouls are supposed to revert to pill form when they die, apparently just so all of the characters could stand around her mourning her.
After the events of the Zanpakuto Rebellion arc nobody thought to question Byakuya on his actions? He decided to effectively kill his sister's zanpakuto (with no knowledge that she could be repaired), helped Muramasa find Koganote who just so happened to be in Karakura, never bothered to inform anyone in Soul Society of his double-agent status or even what Muramasa's true objective wasnote which meant that if he had died no one would have been able to stop Muramasa and did this apparently just so he could kill Koga because of his "honor." How did this man make captain? Even with his powers he seems like one of the worst people to lead soldiers in a crisis.
Hinamori's behavior after Aizen's fake death. She receives a letter supposedly from him telling her that Hitsugaya is planning to use Rukia's execution to blow up Soul Society, that Aizen is going on his own to confront Hitsugaya and that if Aizen fails he wants Hinamori to stop Hitsugaya herself. She doesn't stop to wonder why Aizen didn't warn any of the other captains and only warned her through an easily destroyed letter? She doesn't ask herself why Aizen would ask someone at the lieutenant level to kill someone at the captain level? She doesn't even consider informing the authorities? Head, meet wall. Repeatedly.
Those Sternritter that Yamamoto flash-fried? They're all still alive because Bazz B is apparently capable of countering the flames of the most powerful fire-type zanpakuto wielded by the most powerful shinigami.
Chapter 554: So Shinji gets the jump on Bambietta Basterbine and manages to inflict Total Sensory Inversion on her. So, he then goes on to tell her exactly what Total Sensory Inversion does and simply stabs her as she achieves Vollstandig along with the rest of the Stern Ritters. What. Shinji, did you learn nothing from the time that backfired with Aizen? Why didn't you kill Bambietta while you had surprise and Total Sensory Inversion on your side?
Sakanade would be one of the more broken powers in the series, maybe even on par with Aizen's Kyoka Suigetsu, if it were used to its full potential. Apparently, in order to keep it from being this overpowered, it gets hit with The Worf Barrage every time it's used. Shinji should be justified in assuming that No One Could Survive That because nobody would be able to if the story didn't keep pulling the strings to make sure they did.
Can we just put down the entire outcome of the Komamura Vs Bambietta rematch as one? This is basically what got me to quit reading Bleach, unless something else happens to undo it. While Komamura does get a victory, the base was already breaking at his upgrade, a human form that elimiated the most interesting thing about him (an anthro wolf). After the battle the negative reprucussions of the transformation rear it's ugly head. Komamura reverts in to an ordinary wolf who more than likely has NO powers. Then it's revealed just how spitful and loathsome his Great-Grandfather, the one who told him about the transformation, really is. Komamura will eventually lose his humanity, he'll eventually becoming a mindless beast only driven by a thirst for revenge, the thing that marks his clan, and even if he doesn't, it seems likely unless he's able to regain his powers and normal anthro form, he'll have to resign as a Captain. That's right, he's been metaphorically killed off! His grandfather knew this and is relishing the fact that he's effectively ended his grandson's Shinigami career and ruined his life. He's even proud of Sajin for failing to escape his clans roots of revenge and becoming a mindless monster! Since the only ones who know where he is are now too weak to do anything about it, he's most likely get away scott free!!. Meanwhile Zaraki, who's whole character is "I like to kill things" gets to fight a Quincy with imagination powers and exists only wastes them to make Zaraki look more awesome as mentioned below. This is what happens to Komamura after doing mainly nothing but losing horribly, even in fillers, movies, and games, gets metaphorically killed off after his first decent fight that wasn't one sided. This is one of my problems with Shonen, interesting characters get wasted to focus all the attention on the overpowered uninteresting ones.
To add among the Explaining Your Power to the EnemyWhat an Idiot examples, Rose pretty much tells his enemy exactly how to defeat his Bankai, allowing Masculine The Mask to defeat yet another captain level opponent with ease. If it weren't for Renji's Big Damn Hero moment, he might have even died. (Of course, giving Renji a Big Damn Hero moment is 99% likely to be exactly why that happened in the first place.
Just...everything about Gremmy. His entire character's only point is to make Kenpachi look good, as if we didn't already sacrifice one other character with a lot of potential for that exact purpose. He could have just imagined Kenpachi's brain was on the other side of the planet or something, winning the fight then and there, but instead he just set up physical obstacles for Kenpachi to slash through and sat around bragging about how super special awesome his powers are.
Not to mention the fact that, despite essentially only existing to make Kenpachi look even more unbeatable, Gremmy's defeat doesn't even really accomplish that. Instead of having Kenpachi fight his way through Gremmy's tricks and finish him, Gremmy accidentally kills himself by summoning a monster inside his own body, making the entire thing an anticlimax. So to summarize, the powerful Reality Warper that even other Sternritter were nervous about even being close enough to see his fight, killed Rose and Kensei by imagining their deaths, and nearly destroyed Soul Society with a meteor ends up accomplishing little besides softening Kenpachi up a little bit so Candice and Meninas can finish him off.
Let's add 581 to the mix, basically SS and the Vandenrich state that Soul Society will lose the war if Zaraki dies None of the other Shinigami are worth a damn, only Zaraki is. This, and the wasted characters of Unohana and Gremmy, only seal Zaraki's fate as an insufferable God-Mode Sue.
So Yhwach, Haschwalt and Ishida have entered the Royal Realm. They're faced by Tenjiro Kirinji, a master healer and member of the Zero Squad, who are more powerful than the entire Gotei 13 combined. Tenjiro shows off his powers and makes short work of various Soldat troops, then proclaims that if he didn't think himself capable of beating Yhwach, he wouldn't have approached them... all the while explaining how it all works. It's like Shinigami have a Geas on their powers that forces them to explain how they work.
The third movie: Ichigo is confronted by Renji in Byakuya's backyard. He immediately releases bankai, no matter that he has absolutely no reason to use it (his opponent is Renji). Renji doesn't remember having achieved bankai, so there's no threat of that, which would have been the only reason for Ichigo to need to use his. When the fight triggers flashes of forgotten memory for Renji from their first Soul Society fight, the juxtaposition of memory!Ichigo using shikai and current Ichigo using bankai emphasizes the ridiculous overkill going on. It's almost like a parody of Ichigo's canon tendency to use bankai like most people use shikai.