The story isn't dragged. Since the SS arc we learned about the vaizards, arrancar and espada. Several new characters got introduced and a lot of other stuff.
And since the good guys know that a fight is to come and that they are to weak they have to train.
What would you do, have fun until it starts and get your ass kicked?
Or would you like to skip training and let the next chapter begin with the fighting? In my opinion that would suck. Why not show some badass training like the time Ichigo regained his Shinigami powers. It features on of the best pictures in the whole series (When he appears from the hole with his mask on).
We all thought Chad had to get stronger. I'd like it better to see some of his training to understand how he did it, instead of just seeing he got stronger in his next fight.
For character development. Sometimes there isn't much. Ichigo for one will stay pretty much the same. His attitude to fight to protect the ones around him wont change a bit.
Also, it's a shounen manga. So it's only natural that the characters spend much time with fighting or training . Just like in Naruto, One Piece (there isn't much character development there either) or dbz (oh my god, he said it ).
If there is a long period in which the mangaka develops the characters (not even sure how he could do that), people grow bored pretty fast because there is no action.
Which is natural since it's a action manga.
And nobody would like to read all the threads with all the crying over these "filler" chapters.
And i guess most of the character development is done before the character is introduced.
An author has to do most of it to know how a character fits in the story and to know how he/she would react to certain situations.
For most of the characters at least.
See Orohime. From the start she didn't want to get in the way of the others, because she knew she was to weak. She worried someone could get hurt because she was in the way or because someone had to protect her.
Now she goes to Aizen, for the same reasons.
No development there.
But if she does something unexpected like going there to scout out the situation or to try and stop Aizen, it would be a development.
If it happens, mostly you don't need much time for it. It just happens. While training, in a fight, i a live-death situation, i the grocery store.
And often you don't even realize it.
Of course there are always exceptions.
And none of this has to be true since it's just what i think.
Sorry it got so extensiv
"For Feanor was made the mightiest in all parts of body and mind, in valour, in endurance, in beauty, in understanding, in skill, in strength and subtlety alike, of all the Children of Illuvatar, and a bright flame was in him"