I really want it to be dramatic when Ichigo sees Rukia’s bankai. Especially after Byakuya goes out of his way to point out to Rukia that it doesn’t help anyone if you end up dying even when it’s protecting what/who you care about.
I mean, really, why does Kubo give Rukia a bankai that is so devastating to her enemies and her own body? Even Toushiro’s bankai touches him and it’s completely ice but does it hurt him or cause him damage? No the flaw is just the time limit.
If Kubo wanted to keep to the black and white theme he could have made it simpler and supplied the same that Rukia’s clothes are part of her bankai and measures her reiatsu level like it does with Ichigo. He didn’t have to make it so she becomes frozen herself, I mean why set up such a potential dramatic possibility?? Especially since Yamamoto’s bankai was similar showing an example of a devastating fire based bankai in the sense that prolonged use would destroy him and soul society, and well look how that turned out!
I’m sure Ichigo would be in awe with it but mostly I feel he’d be terrified. Not of her power, but for her safety. I made a previous prediction before that was a bit far fetched and angsty but I came up with a slightly less angsty one!
I can imagine for whatever reason, Rukia uses her bankai and it’s probably a self-sacrifice life or death moment and I can see her face harden with resolve, but she recalls her brothers words before she uses it and thinks:
‘Forgive me, nii-sama.’
And Rukia recalls Byakuya ’s words about how someone about to die can’t protect anyone, and so she thinks she has no intention of dying, but if this is what she can do to buy Ichigo and the others some time or even save them with the power she has, even for this one last time, she will gladly give her life for that cause.
Then before she calls out her bankai she thinks of Ichigo.
“I won’t let you or anyone else die.”
Even if I must leave my heart here [with you].
And then a reminder of Rukia thanking Ichigo for not dying and how she regrets she may not be able to do the same.
“Forgive me… Ichigo.”
Rukia calls forth her bankai and the damage is done while she is breaking, but then she is enveloped by warmth and black flames and Ichigo is standing close behind her. His hands on hers over the hilt of her sword, his chest against her back and his robes flickering like black flames, similar to when his fullbring was manifesting itself. It surrounds them both and rather than unbearable heat she feels growing warmth under Ichigo’s controlled reiatsu slowly bringing her temperature up from her bankai.
“I’d never forgive you for dying here, idiot. No one’s going die. Not if I–we can help it.”