The general rule of thumb in most mangas is that unless the Bishi is the main villain the old man/teacher is the strongest of all the characters, especially if that old man/teacher has not been seen doing anything. For example, Inuyasha's father has been stated throughout the show to be the strongest character, stronger than even Sesshomaru (bad example yes). The two students in Bleach are the exact same, one's a bishi, the other is a lazy and both don't hold a candle to Yamamoto. In Ninja Gaiden 2 (spoiler alert), Muramasa shows that he still had enough skills to take out groups of enemies without actually sweating (Ryu could have done the same thing, but he was worried whereas Muramasa was not).
Originally Posted by chinsee
Those were just at the top of my head, and I'm sure there are a lot more examples. The old man/teacher types that do die, are usually used as a meter for the pupil to surpass. Even then, they are still rated higher than the bishis (usually).
Only thing that changes is in Rurouni Kenshin, Hiko is about 40 and is the strongest character in the series. So he is not that old but he kicks ass.
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