I'm liking the new arc. I know it's only two chapters in and it's doing a lot of scene setting, but I'm liking the scene. The 17 month time jump and the developments in the characters that we haven't been able to watch happen mean that in a way we are being introduced to everyone again, seeing the person they have become. In most ways, they are the same characters we know and love, but not quite. Things are different, subtle changes that go much deeper than physical appearance.
Ichigo continues to be depressed, having weird dreams about the Soul Society and up until now not even being able to bring himself to mention the place. Ichigo's dad is exactly the same. I wonder if he's been out shinigami-ing when Ichigo won't notice? Or having verbal sparing matched with Ryuuken?
Orihime seems a little...off. That sliding down the drainpipe stunt, um...what? And where are her hairslides? Does this mean she isn't using her power any more? Or that she's found a different way to use it? Or even that she has lost it (I doubt that. Only one character should be able to lose their powers at a time, Rukia first, then Uryuu, then Ichigo.) And her theme song thing (which I've heard and it's one that can get stuck in your head annoyingly easily) is a bit random too. Of course, most things about here are a bit random, so no change there.
Where is Chad? He's the only one of the high school group that we haven't seen yet. I wonder why.
Uryuu. Wow. I'm loving the new glasses, slightly different hair and the fact that he'll walk up to some scary weirdo and punch him in the face. I don't think he ever would have done that before. I'm not sure if we've ever seen him physically hit someone before, I only remember him fighting using his bow or using the seele schneider like a sword occasionally. But not punch someone in the nose in front of the whole school fighting. That's more Ichigo's style. Or it was... It looks like Ichigo's rushing in now to help him fight though, unless he's running in the other direction, which I doubt. Either way, as I see it Uryuu's stepping in to protect Ichigo from this guy, which is at the same time excellent (Protective!Ishida ftw!) and worrying, becuase he surely wouldn't do that unless he thought he had to. Before, Chad would have had Ichigo's back. Where is he?
But yeah, Ishida is very cool, clearly still friends with Ichigo (despite his apparent disgust at someone thinking he might be him) and as awesome as ever. So, that's good! I wonder what he's been up to in the past 17 months though? Did he reconcile with his father at all? Had he got himself any awesome new Quincy skills?