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I normally don't do blog posts but since I'm out of college for right now I thought I'll take a shot at it. I really wanted to do two on the arc as a whole and Bazz-B around the time of his turn but really didn't have the time for it as I was in school at the time. So this will probably be my only one. It's quite long so thanks for reading if you make it to the end. This will cover my take on Toshiro and the fandom disdain for him reappearing after his return last week.
Hitsugaya always gets unfairly ragged on in my opinion. Discard the fact they are all old souls...Hitsugaya is still a kid in comparison to everyone. All of his opponents are older and by default has way more battle experience and more training than he does at the end of the day that always puts him at a disadvantage. People judge him by his win percentage and he doesn't have a good W-L record ratio. But I judge him by a different degree. If you look at Toshiro as a stand-alone character without outside influences (fan-girls and being a fan favorite) which induces lots of other band-wagoner’s to hate on him. To me he is a decent mid-tier character that gets a lot of unwarranted hate.
Despite being a child prodigy Toshiro is stern and carries out his business seriously in contrast to his lieutenant. He also recognizes his flaws and constantly trains and learns with every victory or loss. Toshiro has one of the most diverse and biggest list of techniques in the series as proof of his efforts. With all that being said he does have traits that reveals his age. One that he is prone to rage and second he can be naive. But he's not the only one to show either of those traits. People seem to forget that Toshiro is not only a prodigy in combat but he also possess keen intellect as well; which was shown during the Soul Society Arc when he prominently suspected and investigated the foul play that was amiss surrounding Rukia's execution.
Toshiro's fights are what most people judge his merit by. But Toshiro has had some weird battles: battles where he as a main supporting character is meant to lose, battles that are stacked against his favor (Such as elemental disadvantage), or fights where after it appears it's over there's some kind of interference that nullifies what he's done with him being an ice user encasing opponents in ice. In matter of fact the events after his fights are to me what damages his credibility as a fighter and a character.
Toshiro vs Gin - Draw
Toshiro vs Aizen - Loss
Toshiro vs Shawlong - Win
Toshiro vs Luppi - Draw
Toshiro vs Harribel - Win/Interference
Toshiro vs Aizen - Loss
Toshiro vs. Yukio - Win
Toshiro w/Rangiku vs. Bazz-B - Interference
Hitsugaya vs. Cang Du - Win
First of all we have Aizen on the list twice. You can't fault Toshiro for being owned by Aizen both times. He's a main villain that was only meant for our MC Ichigo to defeat. Harribel and Cang Du he had the fights won but it's the fight choreography that damages him. Harribel gets broken out of her ice due to Wonderweiss and Cang Du later breaks out of his ice due to his Vollstandig. Then we have him fighting a "fire" user while handicapped without his bankai. In regards to that fight Toshiro is one of the only captains if I’m not mistaking to actually combine his lieutenants shikai abilities with his own therefore reinforcing his own skills. It’s one of the most amazing and brilliant concepts which validates why a captain has a lieutenant; not only to fight side by side or give advice, but to actually be able to combine their powers.
-Fighting style + Comparison to other characters-
The way Toshiro fights is also a detriment to his character and brings about disdain towards him. But it's also a reflection towards his youth and inexperience. The first thing is that despite him obtaining bankai at such a young age he's too quick and eager rush into battle using it. It's his over reliance of his bankai is what hurts him and devalue’s his character because we see him use it and fail with it so much. Yes he constantly improves it but he never had or showed no mastery over it to the point where his zanpaktou lives up to its title and hype of being "the strongest ice type zanpaktou."
The fact we see him use and lose with his bankai so much is even more damaging when we have characters like: Shunsui, Ukitake, Urahara, Kenpachi (although he didn't know/knew either), Aizen who have gotten so far in this series without even being pressured into using bankai and still winning their fights easily. This definitely applies with Shunsui and Kenpachi. Then we have characters in this arc like Byakuya who we know is quite skilled after his loss go back and refine his shikai's destructive capabilities. If someone as old (compared to Toshiro) and strong as Byakuya can still find ways to refine his shikai to the level of it being mistaken as bankai; most likely we will never be able to see Toshiro's peek when it's all over. After all Shunsui did state Toshiro would possibly be stronger than him in 100 years.
Then we have his comparison to a main character who also uses an ice type zanpaktou in Rukia. That convenient plot training she had to help her achieve bankai hurt Toshiro in that she one shot a higher level opponent in As Nodt. Her bankai makes it her ice zanpakou instantly more destructive and useful when compared to Toshiro's track record when all he could do is freeze opponents; to where she can not only freeze them but then make them turn to dust afterward. Although Toshiro's techniques and bankai may be flashier now it's even more apparent they did no more than Rukia's shikai abilities did with freezing an opponent that they can eventually get out of due to their own or outside interference.
Toshiro may not be the best character (and no he’s not my favorite; Ulquiorra, Byakuya, and Kenpachi tops my list) but he's definitely not the worse as general consensus implies. He's a victim of Kubo's writing, his good looks (for the fangirling), and his popularity that leads to him getting wrote off and bashed by band-wagoners. The only way I can see his character being redeemed is if he receives some kind of logical end-game power up or further mastery of his zanpaktou.
- Mini Rant -
I couldn't care less if Toshiro died or any other popular characters died. But people criticizing Kubo for not doing so can't complain too much for his reasoning not too. Out of the big 3 (Naruto, One Piece, Bleach) his was the only anime that got axed. People can blame the fillers but those aren't the blame as Naruto has plenty of them and One Piece stretches it episodes like hell. We all know Bleach isn't as popular or huge as Naruto or One Piece. If popular characters like Toshiro are what keeping people buying his manga and supporting his product mainly in Japan then it makes no sense for him to kill them off. Yes it may earn him internet praise but that's no sure fire way to keep people buying his product
Thank you for reading.