- In Bleach almost every sword fight will end with one character severely injuring or incapacitating their opponent.
You'd Expect: The winner would finish off the loser, or at the very least, check to make sure they're actually dead. Or tie them up, confiscate their weapon, and take them prisoner in situations where bringing them in alive for questioning would be fruitful.
Instead: The winner will always make some snide comment about how badly the loser was beaten, and leave them for dead.
- Yamamoto orders Byakuya and Kenpachi Zaraki to bring Rukia and Renji back to the Soul Society with whatever force necessary when Rukia and Renji wanted to go to Hueco Mundo.
You'd Expect: Byakuya to do so.
Instead: Actually he does take them back but then makes some stupid line about there's no order about them leaving the Soul Society again which means Rukia and Renji are free to go to Hueco Mundo. While the sentiment is nice, the strategy is incredibly stupid. Renji, being a lieutenant, and Rukia, not even a lieutenant, are completely outclassed by the Espadas. Rukia manages to kill one but ends up almost dying anyways while Renji completely got curb stomped. In the end, Byakuya, Kenpachi Zaraki, as well as Mayuri and Unohana had to go save them. Byakuya letting them go to Hueco Mundo, a place where there are captain class Espadas, is literally the equivalent of sending them to death. This is lampshaded in-universe. Ichigo's group going to Hueco Mundo and Byakuya helping Renji and Rukia get there to support him did screw up Yamamoto's plans.
- Then there's two Arrancar, Loly and Menoly, whom Aizen assigns to bring Orihime to an audience with him. The two develop an instant dislike of their captive and attempt to kill her, but are thwarted by Grimmjow's Kick the Son of a Bitch moment. A little while later, Orihime shows them some mercy by bringing them back to full capacity...
You'd Expect: That the two of them thank Orihime for her kindness by swearing off their vendetta against her. After all, both are deathly afraid of Aizen, and would not like it when he's angry. Or even if they don't thank her, since her power makes her look like a monster in their view, they could still keep themselves away from her if only to avoid trouble with Aizen.
Instead: The two wait until Grimmjow's not looking, and during Ichigo's battle with Ulquiorra, attempt to kill Orihime again. In case the previous sentence did not fully compute, it must be emphasized that they do this during the battle when the two are literally in the same room. This earns them scorn from Ulquiorra and Yammy, the latter of whom beats them to a pulp just for being there.
- Let us not forget the infamous incident early in the "Rescue Orihime" arc, where Ichigo and friends come to a series of different passageways in Las Noches, and have to decide where to go.
You'd Expect: them to pick one pathway (since they don't know where any of them lead), and stick together. After all, they're in the middle of an enemy hide-out they know nothing about, the enemy has superior numbers (and superior firepower on a one-to-one basis), and since it's a rescue mission, they need to get Orihime and get the hell out of dodge—which would be delayed if they had to go tracking down scattered team members.
Instead: They split up due to comments from Rukia and Renji about "warriors not fearing death" (never mind that they're on a rescue mission, not to get into Epic Fights... in-universe, that is), something that is so idiotic that Ichigo (of all people) points out how stupid an idea it is. Yet everybody goes along with it, and the exactly predictable happens - they get split up, and attacked separately. The only thing that saves them is that Aizen, instead of simply overwhelming them with his superior numbers and firepower, sets them up in one-on-one battles, most likely because his motive is to draw other Soul Reapers into his trap using Ichigo and friends as bait.
- Urahara knew Aizen would take an interest in Orihime's powers as a means to activate the dormant Hogyoku.
You'd Expect: Mister Hat And Clogs would explain to her up front what Aizen no doubt has planned for her and insist that she stay at his shop where, if Aizen's mooks come to get her, they'll first have to contend with him, Yoruichi, Tessai, Ururu, Jinta, Renji, and Chad.
Instead: He makes her feel useless because her one and only means of attack broke, prompting her to go off to one of the Vizards to get it repaired, go to the Soul Society to train with Rukia, and then get kidnapped on the way back to the world of the living. All the while, he didn't so much as keep tabs on her whereabouts and/or status.
- During Byakuya's fight with Zommari
You'd Expect: Zommari to simply attack Byakuya, kill Rukia, kill Hanataro, and leave, right?
Instead: Zommari explains each of his attacks to Byakuya, including the total number of items/body parts/whatever he can control. Byakuya points out Zommari's been a complete idiot then demostrates why by thrashing the guy. It's later revealed in-story that Zommari was a symbol of death by intoxication.
- Zanpakuto Filler Arc Villain Muramasa comes to the world of the living. Orihime sees him there and goes to him, and not only does she reveal in the ensuing conversation that she knows he's Ichigo's enemy, but Uryu and Chad are backing her up in the shadows. CLEARLY they've been expecting him.
You'd Expect: Orihime to call Chad and Uryu over, or them to tell her to get out of the way, leading to them coming out and finishing Muramasa then and there.
Instead: Orihime heals the man she knows is the enemy, and Chad and Uryu don't even come out until after he's gotten up and attacked her.
The Result: A complete asshole is freed from a stabbed and chained coffin.
- In the same filler arc Byakuya knows what Muramasa's goal is almost from the start. He is one of the only two Shinigami in Soul Society to know what it isnote . He also knows that Muramasa might be able to get the information he needs to find Koga from Yamamoto very soon.
You'd Expect: At the very least that Byakuya would take the chance to warn the other Shinigami what Muramasa's real goal is and that Byakuya is only pretending to be a traitor.
Instead: Byakuya doesn't tell anyone (not even the Shinigami in charge of intelligence) what's going on and so not only prevents Soul Society from putting guards in place but also runs the risk of getting himself killed by his allies, meaning that no one opposed to Muramasa would have a chance to stop him.
The Result: Muramasa finds Koga unopposed when it would have been simple for Byakuya or a Shinigami like Yoruichi or Suifen to just lie in waiting and kill Muramasa (who was very weak at the time) and the entire town of Karakura is nearly wiped out. All because of Byakuya's pride and inability to remember he's part of a larger military organization and not supposed to be a loner.
- Minor example: so, you are a foot soldier for Vandenreich and your leader tasks you with very important job—deliver the war declaration to Soul Society. Well, it's dangerous mission, but hey, you got mooks to back you up.
You'd Expect: Do your job and get the hell out.
Instead: You set the date for invasion, even though you weren't told to do so. Yeah, lowliest grunt makes essential decisions for his boss. Although it doesn't change much at all, and couldn't even deceive Yamamoto, it still gets Luders killed by The Emperor.
- They recognize the enemy has an unknown Anti-Bankai ability but that Bankai is needed to be strong enough to win.
You'd Expect: The captains would co-ordinate which Shinigami would sacrifice their Bankai to understand the sealing process, so that the other Bankai-wielders could co-ordinate defence of the realm and the sacrificial Shinigami.
Instead: Four captains independently sacrifice their Bankai to assess the sealing process without co-ordinating with the rest of the captains. This catches all of the captains off-guard and doesn't allow them to formulate a response that can protect either Soul Society or the sacrificial captains. Shinji and Mayuri lampshade in-universe how stupid this is.
- Renji has seen that the Quincies can steal Bankai and use it against the Shinigami owner.
You'd Expect: Him to not use his bankai.
Instead: He attempts to use his Bankai, despite Byakuya's complete lack of stoicism when trying to stop Renji from doing so.
- Chapter 505: Yamamoto goes to save Shuuhei from one of the Vandenreich, Driscoll, who was also the one who killed his lieutenant.
You'd Expect: Driscoll would keep his mouth shut and either run away or fight Yamamoto as cautiously as possible.
Instead: He boasts about killing Chojiro, then tries using his bankai to kill Yamamoto. Cue Curb-Stomp Battle.
- Chapter 506: Yamamoto is about to confront Yhwach.
You'd Expect: Everybody stay the hell out and let the big guys do their thing.
Instead: Bazz-B, Nanana and As Nodt try to ambush Old Man Genocide. No points for guessing how it works out for them. It's especially painful in As Nodt's case, who earlier proved to be a capable and cunning villain. In the end, he doesn't even bother using Byakuya's Bankai or his Scarecrow style powers against Soul Society's most dangerous man.
- Bazz-B is not happy with Yhwach's choice of successor. Specially because he is friends with Haschwalth, whom everyone thinks as the biggest candidate for becoming next Emperor
You'd Expect: Eager support of your Emperor's choice while imagining all sorts of nasty things.
Instead: He shouts at Yhwach and rushes to the podium, only to be stopped by Haschwalth. Thankfully for Bazz-B, he's still in one piece when Yhwach just shuts him up. Later, Bazz-B is still mad and tries to enter Emperor's chambers to bitch about how Uryuu is not good enough to lead Vandenreich. Again, Haschwalth stops him. Also of note, this is the guy who tried to ambush the late Old Man Genocide. So yeah.
- Shuhei recovers enough to try attacking Mask De Masculine when he is about to leave to go see what fell from the sky.
You'd Expect: Him to attack Mask's smaller companion due to Mask being invincible if he has a supporter cheer for him.
Instead: He wraps a chain around Mask and is pulled in to get stomped before Kensei and Rose show up and prevent him from getting stomped, leading to him failing to warn Kensei and Rose about Mask being invincible just as Mask is being restored by his fan.
The Result: Kensei is launched into a tower while Rose is the only person around capable of fighting Mask, making Mask pretty much unbeatable instead of a Zero-Effort Boss as Rose and Kensei could've taken Mask and his fan out at the same time if Hisagi had spoken up earlier.
- Gremmy vs Kenpachi. Gremmy has the ability to alter reality just by imagining it. He has displayed the ability to alter his opponent if he wants.
You'd think: He'd imagine Kenpachi's brain was made of cookies or something.
Instead: He just tanks Kenpachi's attacks and gloats about how awesome his power is while trying to stall Kenpachi with physical obstacles.
End result: Gremmy starts to believe Kenpachi is an unbeatable monster and decides to try and match him physically by imagining himself to be stronger. Because he can't imagine something stronger than what he believes Kenpachi to be, he dies in a Superpower Meltdown. Bonus points for Kenpachi literally saying "What an idiot".
- Byakuya vs Pepe. Pepe attacks Byakuya with his love-control power.
You'd think: Byakuya would just physically dodge the power as he'd already proven he could do, and restrain Pepe with Kidou or out-speed him to strike him down.
Instead: He slashes with his sword, despite having figured out Pepe controls hearts, and despite having two experiences with opponents taking control of zanpakutou spirits (whom Shinigami know have hearts).
End result: He throws away his sword and doesn't know how to take down the nearly-dead, love-controlled Hisagi without killing him in the process.
What An Idiot / Bleach
Ah, Tite Kubo's Bleach. The delightfully popular shonen with many interesting characters, abilities and factions of soldiers. Considering the sheer bureaucracy of the groups, you'd expect there to be impressive strategies and tactics incorporating the great variation of abilities in series, would you not? In a word, no.