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Something has struck me throughout the Bleach Anime so far. That is that people's power levels keep changing reaching new heights in every Ark. Now obviously I can offer the simple explanations of growing stronger over time, and people gaining new abilities like Ichigo's hollow mask. However I would like your opinions on the following.
Kenpachi Vs Ichigo (No Bankai, No Hollow Mask) - Kenpachi has proven to be one of the strongest Captains in the Bleach universe time and time again. Easily beating down two captains who were using Bankai with his own sword still sealed and defeating an espada lvl opponent even after receiving massive damage from his opponent. Now, it has been explained that Kenpachi was out of practice in this fight, but this still worries me that Ichigo could defeat or at least draw with a swordsman such as Kenpachi when not in his Bankai or Masked form. Does this make Ichigo the strongest characters in the anime accept from Aizen and Yamamoto? I know he's the hero of the series, and usually they are the strongest, but is it not a tad much that he has achieved a power as good as or better than a captain level character in such a short amount of time?
Byakuya Vs Ichigo (Short burst of hollow mask, Bankai) - We could put Ichigo winning this fight down to the fact that he is completely underestimated by his opponent for most of the fight. However, Byakuya still seemingly uses every move he has against Ichigo and still looses. True, he is not dead, but he is wounded severely. The point I’m trying to make is that Ichigo with no real experience of using his Bankai manages to defeat a Captain level opponent whom we can only assume has know his own Bankai for hundreds of years. I understand that perhaps Byakuya had no real reason to kill Ichigo because he actually wanted to save his sister, but his sense of duty stopped him from doing so. But his sense of Pride seems to be so great that he would never let an opponent defeat him. For examples of his pride, check the new anime ark, he's apparently betrayed the Gotei 13 for the sake of his own pride, and the fact he severs several limbs when fighting an espada, so that the espada has no power over him. Oh and one more thing, does Ichigo not knock out 2 or 3 second seats before this fight including the first squads first seat, who I think has been a ranked officer for very long time.
The Espada - I have read both the Manga and watched the Anime, and to be honest with you, I was very disappointed with the fates of the espada, especially the top three members. I say this because they were defeated to easily in my opinion. I mean, Starrk was the only one who was really in a proper full on fight with several Vizard-Captain and Captain level opponents and even the captains he was facing were perhaps the strongest of the captains (going by how long they've served). The second and third espada were dispatched without much of a fight. Meanwhile Ichigo is fighting tooth and nail against the four espada even when he is supposedly one of the most powerful characters in Bleach. Obviously beating, another espada, and two captains in the form of Byakuya and Kenpachi. Does the war seem like it's ending really fast for no particular reason, sure, Ichimaru, Aizen and Tosen will be hard to beat but think of the odds against them. The Captains of the Gokei 13(not even counting the ones that will eventually make it back with Ichigo), The Vizard, Ichigo and where are Urahara,Yoruichi and Tessai Tsukabishi: The man with the ability to blow shit up? The bad guys REALLY have their odds stacked against them.
Captain Hitsugaya - This is a vague one, but from the start of the anime he seems to have grown in power greatly. An almost epic change in power from struggling to even touch Ichimaru in the first ark, and getting beaten down easily by Aizen (True he is incredibly powerful, but seriously, they're both captains, you think Hitsugaya could put up at least a short fight against him when he supposedly has the most powerful ice based sword in the Gotei 13. Especially after that display against his own sword in the new ark, that was just epic.
Moving on to the new ark. Now I understand this filler is needed for some Manga/Anime thing. Now I don’t claim to be an expert on why they needed it, and I agree this has been by far the best filler so far. But there seems to be a certain, waste of time with it, don’t you think? I mean we’ve already seen that they make it through it because they end up going to fight the Espada don’t they? Everyone was shocked by Byakuya’s betrayal but obviously if he is fighting with the Gokei 13 against the espada, then is obviously playing a trick or is brain washed or something along those lines. The point being we know the good guys are going to win. Which is slightly annoying.
That’s all I’ve really got to say just now. I’m not stating this is fact, and I’m sure the change in power levels is due to the need for characters and the Hero (Ichigo) to be able to fight stronger opponents again and again. But they could do it more subtly or at least let the stronger captains step in and help the hero until he can stand on his own two feet a little better, rather than him gaining absurd amounts of power when he needs it.
Any explanations for this? I’d really like to get a full discussion going.