Bleach – 353
「一護、完現術を使いこなせ！」 (Ichigo, Furuburingu jutsu o tsukai konase!)
“Ichigo, Mastering the Fullbring!”
Chad asks Ginjou whether Tsukishima’s power had any suggestion or memory-altering abilities, but Tsukishima himself suddenly breaks into the room. He cuts open the tank Ichigo is training in, and Ichigo reveals himself cloaked in black reiatsu as Jackie collapses. Chad deduces that he is wearing part of his fullbring powers as he did with his bankai. He attacks Tsukishima in attempt to prevent Ichigo from knowing about the person behind the attacks, but he overhears. Ichigo then attacks Tsukishima, but is unable to land any of his strikes. By using fullbring he is able to increase his speed and jump height, but Tsukishima still beats him down.
Ginjou intervenes and stops Ichigo; he battles Tsukishima but is confused when he feels no killing intent from him. Ichigo attacks Tsukishima again despite Chad’s protests, and is able to burn him slightly by increasing his power. However, Yukio suddenly moves Ichigo into another dimension using his powers, and Tsukishima surmises that he intended to prevent contact between the two while Ichigo’s powers had not completely matured.
Watching the anime after already having read the story a few months ago actually put things in a different light as small things that foreshadow what’s to come become more noticeable. I realized I missed a lot of details the first time around that pointed at current and future developments. However, Kubo has also been taking his time at revealing the true goals and motives of the bad guys, and it almost feels dragged out just to showcase some of Ichigo’s new powers. Tsukishima has been taking an observer role for the most part, and much like Aizen was, he’s very interested in Ichigo’s growth. Tsukishima reminds me of Aizen in more than one way too, including his “know-it-all” look and smug attitude (e.g. “you’re pretty good, but not good enough”).
This arc also portrays events situated directly in the human world, with almost a complete absence of spiritual beings so far. So supposedly there are more limitations to what they can do, aside from physical abilities that can be boosted with fullbring. This means that injuries affect their bodies more, though Ichigo still seems to be able to break this rule as he launches a vicious attack minutes after being smashed 20, 30 meters into concrete. On the more realistic side, a curious crowd starts to gather from all the explosions, and so clearly wanton destruction is not without consequences as it was in the fake Karakura Town during the Aizen battle.
Unfortunately, discussion of realism is not sustainable for too long in this kind of show, and at the end of the episode Yukio suddenly decides to move Ichigo into some sort of alternate video game dimension. This does still stretch suspension of disbelief as he could have just trapped Tsukishima instead where he could be disposed of easily. That said, Tsukishima does seem to be the strongest of all the fullbringers as he easily holds off both Ichigo and Ginjou with his swordplay, but I guess he’ll back off for now and Ichigo will go back to his training. Luckily for him, he seems to have a gift for battle and is able to master all sorts of powers with little effort or time.