Ichigo’s new bankai form is awesome, with what seems to be a longer, toothed zanpakutou and some modifications to his clothing. There’s no real reason why he needs a new form other than to revitalize the manga, but it could also be explained by the fact that a bunch of the captains contributed reiatsu to restore his powers. The power from his release alone is apparently able to crack open Yukio’s dimensional space, and I’m looking foward to seeing it in action, whether or not there are any functional differences.
Things don’t just stop there of course: Ichigo complements his makeover with a badass attitude as well, the kind of stuff that draws us (or at least me) into reading shounen. In response to Ginjou’s revelation of the “truth” and attempts at trolling, Ichigo simply tells him to shut up and explains that he actually already knew that his substitute shinigami pass did not work as stated. But evidently there’s another layer to the “truth” that Ichigo figured out — that Ukitake meant for him to find out about everything. I don’t think this pardons Soul Society from wrongdoings like “invasion of privacy” or “lack of informed consent”, but if Ichigo holds no ill will then I don’t think its an issue. In the end, he chooses power anyway, and it is a deal that I would probably take as well. After that is cleared up, we get the standard “I will protect my friends” speech before the excitement kicks up another notch as they get ready to fight again, with Ginjou also releasing his bankai. Unfortunately his release is way less awesome than Ichigo’s, and looks something like a botched arrancar crossed with a skeleton in tights. We still don’t know much about his motives or back-story either, but I’m sure there will be plenty of that after he gets his ass kicked.