*** Warning : Spoilers from Anime Arrancar Arc ***
I just finished Episode 140 of the Anime and I can feel the world Tite Kubo created crumbling.
I see Tite Kubo is adopting the philosophy of his friend Akira Toriyama (Dragonball).
"Power level allotment is for plot development, not for believability."
I skipped the entire Bount Arc because I found it offensive the way Ichigo was suddenly stripped of his Bankai when he worked so hard to get it.
The few battles I watched had wildly different power levels from the ones in the Soul Society arc.
I thought that going right to the Arrancar arc, with Tite Kubo, back behind the pen, the power levels would balance again.
I was wrong.
Ichigo is as strong as Zaraki in Shikai (first release).
Bankai is, as Yourichi pointed out during Ichigo's training, about 5-10 times stronger.
Ichigo was able to fight to a draw with Byakuya w/ that level of power.
Ichigo is unbelievably strong.
Now, Hitsugaya just nearly defeated Luppi (6th level Espada).
Grimjaw (former 6th level Espada) totally overpowers Ichigo without Hallow-mask power.
Hitsugaya's Bankai can't be stronger than Ichigo's.
I thought Ichigo was far stronger than Hitsugaya.
Tousen cut off Grimjaw's arm with pathetic ease.
Zaraki beat Tousen with comparative ease.
Ichigo is way stronger than Zaraki.
(Ichigo went toe to toe with Zaraki at Shikai. Ichigo is now at Bankai which is 5-10 times more powerful)
Grimjaw is weaker than Tousen.
Tousen is far weaker than Ichigo.
Yet, Grimjaw defeated Bankai Ichigo with ease.
Ichigo should be at a power level 5-10 times that of Tousen.
That means, at least, 5-10 times stronger than Grimjaw.
When we first meet Rukia, she gets critically wounded by a mid-size Hallow.
If she can already do Shikai, she should know Shunpo (flash step).
A weak little mid-size Hallow should never have been able to touch her at all.
Now she's defeating Arrancar. (she beat the one from the first assault)
Ikkaku can perform Bankai.
Yet, Ichigo beat him in Soul Society when Ichigo was nowhere near Bankai level.
I doubt Ikkaku developed Bankai over the few months between Soul Society and Arrancar.
It's supposed to take 10 years to go Bankai.
Then 10 years to master it.
Ichigo is supposed to be regarded as extraordinary for his feat.
The only Shinigami ever to go Bankai in 2 days (Urahara took 3).
Even if Ikkaku had been close, his power level should have been far lower than Ichigo's.
Renji went Bankai, but Ichigo is far, far stronger than Renji.
Ichigo went toe to toe with Byakuya, while Renji got blown away.
I guess Ikkaku just didn't feel like going all out, but, come on, he's not the kind of guy to hold back.
He admires strength.
Losing to somebody weaker than he is just isn't in his character.
Ikkaku trained Renji.
Ikkaku should be a lot stronger than Renji than.
Renji right before the mission to stop the Arrancar practically begged Ikkaku to help, meaning Ikkaku is incredibly strong.
Yet Ikkaku was easily beaten by Ichigo in Soul Society, and Renji nearly defeated Ichigo hours later.
And, Ikkaku is the one who trained Renji to the point where Renji could even go Shikai in the first place.
the plot-holes begin to collapse into one another...
sorry for the pessimism.
i'm just really attached to Bleach.
i've had a lot of inspiring moments watching.
but now the dreamworld feels like cracks are showing and widening.
and I'm so moved by Orihime's deep feelings for Ichigo and Aizen's fascination with her.
Tite seems to have decided to do as Akira.
"Power levels are plot devices, not an integral part of maintaining the symmetry of a fictional world."
in a story about power and strength, i think it really is important.