The Bleach manga has been on a long, slippery slide down mediocrity lane (man those metaphors did not match up) for a long while now. The manga used to be great. It had everything a shounen fan dreamt of – great art, engaging characters, good humour and an expansive universe to get attached to. The Soul Society arc is still amongst the most memorable of storylines in any medium, bet it manga, comics, TV or movies.
But then the series started to unravel. It happened around the introduction of the Arrancers. It was a neat idea to have these mega powerful hollows, but it’s never, ever, capitalized on. The idea that these beings could very well be more powerful than multiple captains put together was all but forgotten. Sure, they put up a fight but in the end every battle with an Arrancer invariably ends with our heroes victorious and the Arrancer dead.
The Arrancers also meant we finally see Hueco Mundo, the hollow’s home. But we never really get to see much of this plae outside of Aizen’s gigantic fortress. Even then it’s just a set of corridors and the occasional large area to do battle. I was expecting to see a hollow society, with customs and systems of order very much like a bleaker version of Soul Society. Instead the plot moves so fast that we’re amid a series of convoluted battles before we know it. A chance to really know the enemy is ignored so we can see more fighting, which isn’t bad except…
It’s been bad! Never before in the series did the fights seem to be so arbitrary. Usually the outcomes are arrived at due to plot points (like training) or reasonably logical events. So far in Hueco Mundo? It’s like the author is just making shit up on the fly to end the fight. You see your heroes getting an unholy ass whooping and what happens? A new power never alluded to before manifests and they win. You can see this in the last match between Hitsugaya and the big breasted chick – he uses somewhere in the range of 4 or 5 new bankai moves. Moves that maybe if he had used at the very beginning he wouldn’t have been so injured.
As for Ichigo? Read what he says in this panel. I don’t think it needs to be said but I’m pretty sure he went retared after getting hit in the head so many times.