Kubo said in an omake SS actually grew stronger after Aizen's defeat. For example, Hitsugaya has fully mastered his bankai, and Renji's bankai changed a little. Not that it matters now, since bankai is useless against Vandenreich. And of course, these new enemies are nothing like we've seen before. They can even give Arrancars Quincy powers, dammit.
Did Soul Society grew weaker? It depends what your understanding of the word "weaker" is & how you choose to apply it.
To Yhwach, the softening up of Soul Society's mentality made them weaker. In other words, the mindset of SS, specifically the divisions enabled the weakening.
If SS never slept during the time of peace (as Yhwach puts it), then it's is likely that they would continually contrive new systems, new techs, new equipment to further improve the security of their homes & individuals that live there. The old ruthless SS would pursue their goals through any means they deem necessary, weather it be killing their own kind to achieve a purpose or using humans however they pleased & etc
The medallion which steals Bankai, the improvement of Letzt Stil to Vollstandig are just a few powerful examples to connote that SS enemy, the Quincy weren't sleeping.
However, had SS pursue that way of doing things then they would be nothing more than thugs, animals, malevolent beings.
Feel like this is a thread to bump right about now. Since Renju came out of the wood works and became really powerful perhaps the Royal Guards really did a form of unlocking session to improve the SS roster. They certainly have improved
People loose sight of war, sight of reason to grow stronger, there are no treats, no fear, no family to protect, because everything is peaceful, and the power needed to protect the peace is marginal compared to what this nation once had.
Therefore it grows weak, it's human nature to only focus on whats infront of its nose, especially as new generations are born, who does not remember war, do not remmeber fear, and does not remember what true strength is.
I'm pretty sure that Kubo is refering to this aspect of real life, in his manga.
The only way to grow strong again, is to regain the fear, realize what true srength is, and teaching the new generations who only knows peace.
We also know that power in Bleach is heavily affected by a persons mental state, not being ready for war could mean a massive difference in actual military power.
Also wars are about psychology, the one not believing in themselves will loose, the one with the strongest resolve will have a huge advantage.
A peaceful nation will not believe in themselves in wars, if anything, it will ruin them to the point of either psychologically become stronger, or grow even weaker.
So Soul Society will no doubt either grow weaker, or stronger from this experience.
Considering it's a shounen manga, then that means it's most likely the latter that will happen, and judging by Renji's apperance, this seems to indeed hold true.
Making the current Soul Society look weak, and the original Gotei 13 look strong, and if you follow the shounen manga tendencies, then Soul Society needs to grow stronger than their past generation a 1.000 years ago.
I got a feeling that Byakuya and Kenpachi will be this generations two new top dogs, Ichigo's right and left hand, who will make a stand.
Bhyakuya and Kenpachi make sense, because both has potential, both are rivals, both were the only Captains to fall and survive, both are completely and utterly opposite to each others in personality.
It would actually make a lot of sense to have them both on Ichigo's each side, one of them from the slums of Society, and the other of the highest Nobles of society.
Ichigo will likely be the one to stand where Yama-Jii stood a 1.000 years ago, just like this picture, and with Kenpachi and Byakuya left and right to him.
I'm pretty sure that this generation will surpass the old, and for that reason, I also think something will happen to Shunsui and Ukitake, will they meet their end as well as Yama and Unuhana has?
Lets see what happens
I believe so, soul society got comfortable and let themselves become weak
In all that peacetime I have no doubt they let themselves get a little soft. Look at Zaraki for example - SS allowed him to go on with just a rusty shred of his actual power and that's because the only people he had to use his power on were other denizens of SS. The Shinigami certainly would have done daily training to keep themselves sharp, but what with their long lives and the fact that they've never been threatened like this for a long, long time, they probably had the mindset that their power was enough, so they never felt any need to really push themselves that extra bit further.
The Wandenreich on the other hand have been at war for the whole span of 1000 years. We've seen how some Shinigami have improved by training extra hard after the Aizen malarkey; the Wandenreich have probably been in that mindset constantly for the last millennium. Whereas many Captains have further to go to reach their full potential, the SR are probably already there, because the WR evidently doesn't tolerate weakness or failure.
So yeah, whilst SS got complacent and allowed their standards to fall, the WR have maintained a strict measure of what they call 'satisfactory' I guess.
Last edited by NoOneInParticular; December 30, 2013 at 04:04 PM.
It's also possible that the Shinigami not only got weaker in mind, but weaker physically too. There's been a lot of evidence that some of Yhwach's power is shared among the Quincies, as demonstrated when he took that power back from the impure Quincies during the Holy Selection; perhaps the Shinigami also share this trait, where they share a fraction of the Soul King's power between them. It appears that the current Shinigami army is a lot bigger than they used to be; this means the average power for a Shinigami now is less than the average power for a Shinigami back then (assuming the Soul King hasn't supplied more of his power to his forces). Fortunately, it appears the Soul King has shared more of his power with the Shinigami that went to the Royal Dimension...
I think that most people tend to forget that Aizen screwed over SS for more than a century. He took from them some of their greatest assets, he is responsible for the loss of almost a dozen captains, including himself, along with a handful of vice-captains. If it weren't for Aizen's plotting, a great number of those that held or hold the title of captain would be stuck at the rank of vice-captain, and the current vice-captain would be mere 3rd seats, or worse. The Sternritters wouldn't stand much of a chance.
Last edited by Impossibility; January 07, 2014 at 11:29 AM.
It actually gets me wondering though, what becomes of all those Captains when there's not some sociopath running around betraying people in the night? Given Shinigami's long lifespans and the fact that the Aizen debacle was seemingly the biggest thing to happen to SS for a long time (and no one even died), it's odd that there are (or were) only 10 Captain-class Shinigami from the pre-Vaizard Captain era knocking around, and that includes the Royal Guard. I wonder if the ex-Captains are the ones occupying the Royal Guards' palace towns.
Anyway, I wasn't implying that the Captains hadn't been working to keep their powers in shape, but given how far they generally came after being embarrassed by Aizen, it would appear that they weren't working as hard previously. Sui Feng, for example, spent years developing Shunko because, well, she had the time. Yet it's in this one year and a half - in fact, in the few days since SS got stomped over by the Wandenreich, that she mastered it.
With Zaraki, I agree. They let his potential go to waste because as things were, maximising it could only be counterproductive. But now, in the face of war, they know they can't let anything go to waste. Maybe if Aizen hadn't depleted the number of Captain-class Shinigami in SS, they would collectively have been enough to keep him in line without Yama around, who knows?
Also worth considering here is yamamoto's role and the sokyoku. For a long time while yamamoto was CC he had the role of keeping the captains in check. He was the pillar on which it all stood. His role was essentially to keep shinigami in control via the threat of shoving a flaming foot up their asses. And now the sokyoku. I cant find the link right now but the manga did make the point that its original role was to pushing the most severe of crimes committed by shinigami. The gotei 13 itself started out as a bunch of murderous bloodthirsty thugs, juhabach also made that point. Considering those 2 things its not actually that unusual that captains would originally have to be replace somewhat often considering their long lives. Also, weren't love, rose and kensei relatively new captains by the time of TBPA? Even more captains rotating although we have no idea of what the deal was with them. The kenpachi are another interesting case, with the current number of kenpachi there have been (although unofficially to some extent) we already have enough to suggest that a captain lasting around 100 years is not that weird.
I think the issue with kenpachi is that by now he does not need to be kept in line. He is without a doubt a maniac but given what we have seen it does appear as if he would listen to orders if given. So far he has listened to what little shunsui has ordered... yet 110 years ago he did not even show up to the captain meeting even though yamamoto was there.
As far as the captains I think the main issue is that the things they recently acquired would have at large been unnecessary had their bankai not been stolen. Take soifong... She did master her shunko however is it a suitable replacement for bankai? Not even close.... Komamura didn't really become stronger IMO, he simply got a 1 time immortality deal which had to be used to deal with a very specific and dangerous ability. Hitsugaya certainly got nothing that close match bankai.... His technique was relatively impressive but still only within the realm of shikai to begin with. Perhaps the woven ice thing will be more relevant once he uses some fancy bankai technique with it. Overall I would ultimately argue that shinigami in general are ultimately better off training their own bankai rather than alternative skills. Assuming it is even possible to develop a skill to a level where it could replace bankai it would still be a terrible waste of time and effort. Bankai comes from their soul, it is an ability inherent to them that works by consuming an overwhelming amount of power. Even if a skill can be developed to properly replace bankai in battle the shinigami in question would still perhaps be stronger than that if he had spent that time and effort developing his bankai....
If only Gin was still alive... Even if his bankai got stolen they wouldn't even know how to use it.lol
And he's as powerful as anybody with bankai or not.. ^__^
Gin my favorite character.. i hope that somehow you are still alive .... just waiting to save her when she gets in danger...
I also hope that Yamamoto will rise from the ashes like a Phoenix.. ^__^
I was thinking about this and now I'm wondering if it's not the case that SS got weaker, simply that the Quincy got stronger. SS have gone largely unchallenged for 1000 years, but they still field an army and maintain a focus on training and discipline. Furthermore, Yama, Mayuri and presumably others knew that Yhwach was still alive, which would inevitably mean a Quincy resurgence, so they won't have just completely dropped their guard.
Anyway, it might be more accurate to say that the Quincy simply got stronger. We already know that Vollstandig is an advancement from Letzt Stihl. They've been literally living in the shadows of the ones who once defeated them, so it's not like they could ever have forgotten that the Shinigami were still around and waiting to be defeated. So the Quincy would have spent this entire time honing their skills and planning their eventual move.
I disagree KCKk. The G13 from what they began ass criminals and murderers from what Juha states were down right stronger and straight cut throat.
I believe they deteriorated in power simply through battle force and a growing morality as peace started to settle in. We already have an idea of how strong the OG G13 were and that's Unohana and Yama who down right aside from Aizen were the strongest Shinigami.
Now from what I've seen only certain captains can fight to a degree without Bankia. That's where their weakness lies and Juha capitalized on that.
Captains like Shunsui held their own against Letzs still Grand pa gun slinger. Kenpachi killed 3 sternritters no abilities just swordskills. Mask beat Kensei n Rose taking on both Bankia...Renji managed their same feats with only his Shikia n used his Bankia to stop mask once he used letz stil.
Soi Fon n Hitsugaya didn't even kill their Sternritters,this is PIS but this shows you the Sternritters wil slaughter you without your Bankia. And can still do the same with your Bankia if you can trump their ability. So Yes the G13 IMO are now recovering their might as numerous Captains are starting to reach boss lvs in retaliation of the Quincy's themselves being so strong.