Wait...no....could be Bleach be getting...good???
I'm REALLY liking the direction bleach is taking with the new arc. I used to love this manga, but have been severely disappointed with everything since Rukia was saved and they returned to earth. I gave up on expecting the series to ever redeem itself a long time ago and have been reading just to see how far it would plummet before finally ending, and when Ichigo went into a hyperbolic time chamber and came out strong enough to defeat Aizen in one shot I thought I got my answer. "What better way to end a manga filled with cliches, plot holes, and Deus Ex Machinas than with a combination of all three? I figured the series would end after one or two epilogue chapters, but am shocked to see that not only is a new arc starting, but that it has potential to turn the series around and make it interesting agai! I didn't want to get my hopes up, but after the last chapter (437) I can't help but see oodles and oodles of potential in this new arc. The series is at a crossroads, one way it can regain what made it so good during the rescue rukia arc, that is, fun characters with unique abilities and interesting fights that are all different from eachother, or it could continue on the path it's already on, which if it does we'll probably be hearing ichigo say something like "Fullbring Hyperhollow mode bankai release!" in the near future. Obviously I'm hoping for the former, and there are a few things I think we need to see/not see for that to happen.
First off, I don't want to see Ichigo in a Shinigami outfit for a long, long time. In fact I don't want to see the words "Reatsu, Shikai, or Bankai" come out of any characters mouth. Shikais were a really interesting concept when they were first introduced, they were all different and had a wide variety of abilities, it wasn't all about simply overpowering the enemy. Then Bankais came along and took it one step further, sure they all have different abilities as well, but I never liked how they were so powerful you could only fight Bankai with Bankai, no matter what you're opponents Bankai did, if you can only use your Shikai then you have a 0% chance at winning. But even then they still had potential, that is until Ichigo's Bankai was revealed to be "make Ichigo stronger,faster, and be able to shoot kamehameha waves out of his sword, and the only way to defeat him is to be stronger than him, faster than him, and able to shoot bigger kamehameha waves than him". With that all hope of avoiding the classic shounen power up formula was lost, and from then on everytime a new enemy showed up stronger than Ichigo, his only chance at beating them was to gain a new power that made him even stronger, even faster, and made his kamehameha waves bigger. Before you know it Ichigo was strong enough to blow up the world, and the only two things everyone else could do were get completely defeated, thus showing off how insanely powerful the enemy was and making it that much more dramatic when Ichigo shows up and wins, or to stand around and talk about how awesome Ichigo has become. It's a cliche that's been done again and again and again and everyones tired of it. We're off to a good start with the introduction of Fullbrings but if Ichigo get's his shinigami powers back it'll be hard to avoid another Ichigoku arc.
Actually i'm going to take this one step further and say I don't want to see any Shinigami in this entire arc. We're on earth and the enemies are apparently human, so no upper ranking shinigami have any business being on earth. The only people I want to see in fights are Ichigo, his new fullbring user friends, Chad, Orihime, and Ishida. I've been waiting literally since the beggining of the Manga to see those guys in serious battles but have been let down at every turn. Especially Chad, ever since I saw him running through Soul Society decimating shinigami after shinigami I've been itching to see him in a good fight, but the only things we ever see him do are taking out small fry like they're child's play or getting beat in one hit by someone stronger. Finally, FINALLY there's an arc where it looks like Chad will play a key role, if he gets beat in one hit again this time I'll stop reading Bleach forever right then and there.
Point Number 3: The best part about Fullbring is that the powers come out of the items used, not the users themselves, so even if someone has an insanely powerful Fullbring it doesn't make them untouchable. Battles will be based on abilities and strategy, as opposed to"oh you hit me but i'm so much stronger than you it didn't even singe my clothes". Also, we've already seen that fullbring can be used on body parts to increase you're own basic abilities, so battles will still be as flashy as they have been, people will still be able to move at super speed and jump hundreds of feet into the air, but now there will be substance to the fights as well.
And my Last Point: There are limitless posibilities to the potential Fullbring abilities we might see. Let's look back at the one's we've seen so far: The first is the ability to transform a silver pendant into a giant sword, and probably anything other shape. The second is the ability to send any person or objects the user "loves" into their realm, which is a tiny dollhouse. The third is an ability where the user sets conditions which must be met within a time limit, and if the conditions aren't met in time you die . Then we've got Ichigos, which is esentially a sheild which can shoot energy blasts. And last we've got Chad's arms, which also shoot energy blasts. There are two types, direct offensive Fullbrings and Indirect fullbrings, and that opens up the door for some pretty interesting scenarios. Fullbring reminds me of the Nen abilities from Hunter X Hunter only without the nen (or in this case reatsu). I've got a hunch that a lot of fights from here on out we are going to see a lot more strategy used in battles. Strategy, that's one thing we haven't seen in Bleach (ironically) since Ichigo got his Substitue Shinigami badge. No more "I teleport behind you and attack but you dodge and shoot an energy blast that takes up two pages" fights like we've been seeing.
Well, thats it, I guess all that's left to do now is wait and see...