I think it’s just about the time where I can start getting hyped up for the return of one of my favourite anime and manga from when I was growing up — Bleach. Just like everyone else, I’m astonished at how fast time is passing us by, and while I certainly don’t want to wish any of that time away, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t counting down the days to some of the big things I’m excited to see this year.
Along with some other banger anime series that I will be talking about in the not too distant future, Bleach is coming home this autumn. So, today I thought it’d be fun to list three of my favourite fights from the series and give you guys my reasons why I like them so much.
Ichigo vs Byakuya
I’m starting off strong here with what is most definitely NOT the most original choice; however, I don’t care, as this fight was incredible and had a lot going on, which contributed to why it is so many people’s favourite fight from the series.
First up, Byakuya Kuchiki presents himself as the first major antagonist character in the series as it began to take its steps away from the “monster of the week” formula.
He completely opposed Ichigo’s views, threatened to execute Rukia — the person who saved his life back at the beginning of the series — and presented an almost insurmountable wall for our main boy to overcome. This was also during the arc which 99% of Bleach fans will tell you is their favourite one, so when a series that felt really strong during this portion of the story finally arrived at this fight, expectations were high and it blew people away.
The seemingly impossible mission to infiltrate Soul Society and rescue Rukia that Ichigo and co had come up with was hitting obstacle after obstacle. Strong opponents were appearing everywhere as our main characters were trying to rush to the aid of the captured Rukia. And then we had the mini-training arc as Ichigo attempts to master a technique that takes most characters years to conquer — all before the fated execution day of Rukia.
All of these factors came together and created an incredible atmosphere, both leading up to the fight and during it. Stopping the execution just in time, the display of growth in Ichigo — and to top it all off we had the reveal of Ichigo’s Bankai: the technique he had been training in, which takes most soul reapers years to master. He had done it, and debuted it here.
Aizen vs Captains
Towards the end of the Soul Society arc, it was revealed that one of the Thirteen Court Guard Squad captains had been scheming in the background and that everything that had led up to this point what all a part of his master plan at getting his hands on the Hougyoku. This item was said to have the power to dissolve the boundary between a soul reaper and a hollow, allowing for one to gain the powers of the other.
This then lead to Aizen leaving Soul Society and creating his own underlings in the Arrancar — ascended hollows with abilities and powers similar to that of a captain-level soul reaper. All the while Aizen was gaining more knowledge and power from the Hougyoku in order to ascend himself into something not quite soul reaper, not quite hollow — something entirely new, and much more powerful.
Eventually, however, Aizen would meet again with the soul reaper captains he once betrayed, and good Lord this fight was an absolute rollercoaster of emotions. At numerous points, you thought the captains had managed to get the better of Aizen’s insane intellect by teaming up and combining their powers in a clever way — only to discover they had been playing into his hand the entire time and instead of landing blows on Aizen, they had in fact been damaging their own allies.
Ichigo vs Grimmjow
This one was the grudge match of Bleach. The fight that we had already seen two rounds of, both ending with third parties interrupting them. Finally, though, we had arrived at the final battle between these two. No holds barred, no interference, just the two of them at one another’s throats. While being a visually awesome fight with some of the best scenes from Bleach, it also had a couple of big hurdles that Ichigo managed to overcome as a character.
First up who is Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez? He is the number six Arrancar in Aizen’s army, meaning that his power level put him as the sixth strongest in the group of 10 that Aizen had formed. While Grimmjow isn’t the strongest, he has that slightly psychotic, rebellious, and “doesn’t give a shit” type of attitude that a lot of people love when it comes to their villains. This made him stand out quite a lot, especially in comparison to the personalities of the other Arrancar who were somewhat low-energy and aloof — you’ll always be my favourite, though, Hallibel.
I mentioned that Ichigo and Grimmjow had fought previously but were interrupted, and in those first couple of encounters Grimmjow gave Ichigo quite the ass-whooping. So, their final encounter presented a significant challenge for Ichigo to overcome — alongside that of his own personal demon living in the back of his mind, holding him back from accessing 100% of his power. In dealing with this latter challenge, Ichigo managed to restore his confidence in himself — which in turn gave him the clarity he needed to accept his power and beat his opponent.
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