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08 April 2009 @ 07:21 pm
Ichigo's Power  
Much speculation has been going on in Bleach fandom ever since Ichigo transformed into The Beast, and what it signifies and whether it will be permanent.

I'm going to take a guess here and say that while it does reflect some psychological issue of Ichigo's, probably some combination of suddenly having a Hollow hole and his single-minded desire to protect, it DOES NOT reflect a sudden increase in power on Ichigo's behalf. Rather what we are seeing is how powerful Ichigo truly is and has been all along.

Basically the reason I'm saying this is that Ichigo has consistently shown sudden and truly massive spikes in power followed by what can be later considered truly underwhelming performance when all the facts are assembled. First we have his regaining his Shinigami powers after his first encounter with Byakuya. Specifically he burst out of a Level 99 Binding Spell cast by someone who we would later learn to be the former Captain of the Kido Corps. Then when he first learned Zangetsu's name he unleashed a Getsuga Tensho that cut through a protective barrier cast by a former Captain and gouged what can only be called a small canyon into the ground. This represents a display of power orders of magnitude greater than anything he displays until achieving bankai which brings me to my next point.

After achieving bankai and when he fights Byakuya it is noted that Tensa Zangetsu grants him super-speed that surpasses shunpo. And since we later learn that Byakuya learned his shunpo from Flash Goddess Shihouin Yoruichi that says a lot indeed. Even ignoring his initial fights with Grimmjow and Ulquiorra since he was concentrating on controlling Shirosaki, his fight with Dondorii and his final fight with Grimmjow he displays none of that super-speed while using bankai. Even with his mask out while fighting Grimmjow they're a close match in speed while Byakuya, who first noted the super-speed aspect of Ichigo's bankai, is able to out manoeuvrer Zammori, the fastest of the Espada.
To summarise, Ichigo has displayed tremendous power at various points in the manga up to this point, but his failure to do so consistently leads me to surmise that on some level he's been suppressing this power for whatever reason. However the single-minded nature of Beast-Ichigo has removed these psychological blocks and given Ulquiorra and us a taste of just what Ichigo will be capable of when he fully masters his power.

Current Mood: curiousspeculative
Merceatsyourface on April 8th, 2009 01:34 pm (UTC)
To summarise, Ichigo has displayed tremendous power at various points in the manga up to this point, but his failure to do so consistently leads me to surmise that on some level he's been suppressing this power for whatever reason.

Speaking as somebody who experiences this phenomena in pianistic form, I offer this solution:

Ichigo is not a master.


Seriously though: I am not a crazy-awesome fantastic pianist. I have moments where I can be good - by my own standards - but those are dependent largely on one thing: my emotional state at the time.

If I'm bored, I suck. If I'm sad, I suck. If I'm angry, I suck. If I'm feeling cheerful and happy and inspired, I suck less.

The crazy awesome pianists (and any other performer), however, do not suck regardless of their situation. I hear stories of professional vocalists who sing, even though they are half dead from a cold and can barely speak normally, but who still belt out arias because they *have* to.

That's what Ichigo is going through, imho. His power spikes are realistic. Depending on what his emotional state is at the time, that's how he fights. He was depressed in the arrancar arc, and it reflected in his fighting.

If he were a *master*, he'd fight at top strength, with little to no difference in the quality of his skills, whether or not he was angry or sad. But for all his current potential and strength, he's only been a trained shinigami for - what - half a year? That's nowhere near enough time to gain the discipline he needs to be consistently kickass.

Thus ends my thoughts on your post.
Merceatsyourface on April 8th, 2009 01:37 pm (UTC)
(I forgot to mention that I agree with your assessment of Ichithingy's beast nature overcoming the psychological blocks? =D)
kohi_no_torakohi_no_tora on April 9th, 2009 07:25 am (UTC)
I think that there's more to it than simple emotional state though. He's been really fired up on more than one occasion during his 'slump' periods and still not approached his initial spikes.

Whatever the block is, it runs far deeper.
Merceatsyourface on April 9th, 2009 11:21 am (UTC)
Sorry about this long reply! I hope it's not too repetitive; I was trying to clarify myself so that there wouldn't be any misunderstandings. These are just my thoughts on yaoi Ichigo.

I think that there's more to it than simple emotional state though. He's been really fired up on more than one occasion during his 'slump' periods and still not approached his initial spikes.

I'm not sure it's fair to call it simple emotional state though, mostly because emotions are our instinctual mental responses to whatever's going on in our lives, and Ichigo post-SS-arc isn't in a good place, mentally.

I agree - he has been fired up in the Slump period. However, even then, those times were quite half-assed if you look at and compare how he was in the SS-arc to Slump-period times. SS was all Ichigo being fired up with determination, knowing what he was going to do and just doing it. But the Slump-period shows Ichigo's fired-upness being reactionary, as opposed to proactive. (I postulate that this is why Ichigo never reachieved his BAMFness post SS - because he just did not have the sheer drive or determination or confidence that carried him through Soul Society.)

It's been commented on, the sheer difference of SS!Ichigo and HM!Ichigo, I think. Soul Society was very much "I'M GOING TO GO AND GET RUKIA AND I'M GOING TO SAVE RUKIA AND ANYBODY WHO GETS IN MY WAY WILL GET RUN OVER AND BTW, DID I MENTION I'M SAVING RUKIA?" Whereas in the HM arc, Ichigo has been "I'm going to fight and I'm going to save Orihime and I'm going to fight people." That's a crucial difference, imo. The HM showed a certain lack of impetus in Ichigo, as well as a lack of focus, determination, confidence. In the SS arc, it was never a question of whether or not he could save Rukia - he was going to do it, and screw anybody who tried to stop him. But the HM arc doesn't have that.

Yes, he still wants to save Orihime - but there's no fire to it, comparatively speaking - and not because he's a bad friend to Orihime, but because his mind's just not in the right place for it because everything is coming together in a bad way and intefering with how he usually is. TO name a few of the issues: the hollow inside of him, the fact he might go mad and kill people because of this hollow, his inability to protect Orihime and Chad during the arrancar arc, the fact that they almost died, the fact that other people will die if he is not strong enough.

Those are all fairly serious and disheartening things to be thinking about. I'm of the opinion that he went through post-SS arcs looking very depressed, and unconfident in his position and his abilities. Likely he was feeling the pressure of responsibility. I also doubt that he ever considered throwing away this responsibility, and I also doubt that he ever WANTED to throw it away (unless he's outright said so. Feel free to qouote stuff at me lol). I doubt that he ever wanted to give anybody else the responsibility - he's said numerous of times that he wants to be able to protect people, and to have the power to protect people, and that he never wants to be protected, ever again. To add to this, I'm also going to suggest that he quite possibly really really missed Rukia desperately, because he only really perks up when she comes back and smacks him around to snap him out of it.

Thus, he was likely very anxious, worried, unconfident, freaking out about how he had failed to protect people yet again (Orihime, Chad), feeling somewhat lonely - and all of these feelings would undoubtedly be feeding into his emotional state, which would then affect his fighting skills. Compare him to the Ichigo of the Karakura/SS arcs, and there's a huge difference in his feelings, confidence, and determination.

Hope that clarified what I meant. =)
Merceatsyourface on April 9th, 2009 11:27 am (UTC)
Erm, this got slightly disconnected from my original point, but:

Basically, his emotional state (of which I just wrote an entire essay on I really really really really need to learn to be more succinct) which is linked to his state of mind, or which IS his state of mind, SOMETHING T_T, would negatively affect his performance if he was in a bad place, mentally, at the time, hence the huge discrepency in his fighting skills.

(To add to that: because Ichigo is not a disciplined master with years and years of training, as well as the mental discipline, what he's feeling will REALLY affect how he performs: see SS-arc, and post-SSarc. Somebody like, say, Byakuya, or Yoruichi, or Unohana, might be in a really shit mood, but could pull themselves together enough so that even if their performance was affected by their negative feng-shui, there wouldn't be such a huge slide downwards.)

PS: Is state of mind meant to be hyphenated?

aeri: captain ukitakeiluxe_love on April 9th, 2009 12:47 am (UTC)
I never thought of it that way but that's an excellent point. I've forgotten about the fact taht with his bankai Ichigo is noted to be faster than Byakuya's shunpo, yet he seems a little *slow* lately. I also like your point that Ichigo has always had this power, just never realized it. (I actually had an argument earlier today with somebody who didn't like Ichigo precisely because of his crazy power-ups, but I guess in this case it's not really a power-up if he always had that power, hm?)

I have to add, though, that Ichigo (if he is supressing his power) is subconciously doing so. Perhaps that's a bit obvious but you also have to take into consideration the following: remember towards the beginning of the manga (or someplace, I forget) where Yoruichi or Urahara remarked that he was leaking his spiritual energy everywhere (and therefore affecting his friends, though this is off-topic). Then, Ichigo was subconciously NOT controlling his power (if one can assume that power is associated with amount of spiritual energy) but NOW, he's subconciously supressing his power...?

some food for thought :D I would love to hear your opinion on this!
kohi_no_torakohi_no_tora on April 9th, 2009 07:27 am (UTC)
Oh, it's definitely subconscious. The precise reasons are murkier but its definitely not something Ichigo is doing consciously like he was fighting Grimmjow so as not to terrify Orihime.