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Thing is, while Sasakibe received post-mortem hype that completely went against his showings, Urahara's hype falls in line with what he's shown, and he's shown much better than being 1-shotted by a barehanded shikai Ichigo along with 3 other VC's in a time span of mere moments. There's really no story reason for that pathetic showing, but the showing does exist
And for that reason I can't give him the win here. He may have a hard hitting Bankai, but his other feats are frankly terrible
I don't understand how this is even debatable. Urahara has shown so much more than what Sasakibe has. To make matters even more worse for Sasakibe, he wasn't even the one who displayed his bankai to all of us; it was a Stern Ritter that used Sasakibe's stolen bankai on Yamamoto. We've seen Sasakibe taken down by Ichigo with next to no trouble at all during the SS arc as well. Urahara has put up a better fight with all of his science than Sasakibe has.
When it comes to fighting, Urahara has shown that he doesn't need his zanpaktou to battle. He was the lieutenant of the second squad of the thirteen court guards. Not only that, but he was also in charge of the Maggot's Nest (where, keep in mind, no zanpaktous were allowed). He was placed in those positions because he showed promise, strength, and the wits to handle each task presented--which we've seen him handle time and time again. Urahara's a captain-class shinigami that toys with his enemies; he literally plays around with them. Urahara has stood his ground without even using his bankai yet--all for what purpose? because he doesn't find it suitable for battle. Urahara fighting Sasakibe is child's play.
This is difficult logic. Basically, Sasakibe's power up was a pure retcon, since no captain class fighter would lose in hand to hand combat to Ichigo back at that time and Sasakibe is said to be one. If we use it as a base for arguments, no need to argue, then, since Sasakibe shouldn't even win his group in the first place.
But assuming we are to consider his "real" power, Sasakibe is not a pushover. Remember that the impressive display of Bankai was demonstrated by Driscoll and Captain-Commander noted it wasn't the power of Bankai he knew. Driscoll did nothing to him, using the same Bankai Sasakibe used, so, it makes me think Sasakibe would eventually defeat Driscoll if not for the surprise Bankai steal, since he should just be more powerful overall, considering he did way more damage.
Urahara will probably get most of the votes and he definitely has the edge of versatility, but I doubt it'd be anything easy.
Kubo indeed retconned Sasakibe's power, he was a VC-class fighter in SS arc but turned out to be a captain-class fighter who didn't become one for the sole reason that he wanted to be Yamamoto's right hand man until he died. He mastered his bankai before likes of Shunsui and Ukitake were born and that bankai was praised even by Yamamoto. The bankai has the ability to spam lightning bolts from the sky which naturally come at incredible speeds, are thus very hard-to-defend and strong enough to permanently scar Yamamoto. Urahara has tricks of his own and he also has a very versatile shikai and since we've never seen Sasakibe's full might in action, it may be a bit premature to hand him the win but I agree with Hakuteiken that whoever wins this fight, it wouldn't be an easy victory.
Urahara can use high-level Kido, and his shikai has a few very neat tricks. And he also has bankai, even though he hasn't shown it yet. He has everything necessary to beat Sasakibe.
Urahara is too heavenly to lose here,Sasaki e was too overrated,but I still think kisuke would defeat him without much effort. Also,since urahara was shown at the end of the chapter,let's help him,since he may soon show some other abilities.
I think the VC's just underestimated Ichigo, and Kubo wanted to showboat Ichigos power. I dont think Urahara is the modt skilled fighter but he has a good array of techniques that go beyond normal Shinigami fighting styles. Chojiro just isn't developed enough as a character to say he could win this fight imo. Mastering his bankai before Shunsui and Juushiro were born is cool, but what do you expect if hes as old as he looks.
Kisuke Urahara: 23
Chōjirō Sasakibe: 4
Kisuke Urahara advances to the next round.
You can discuss the results in Bleach Tournament Discussion Thread.