A lot of juicy stuff has been foreshadowed during this 1000 years war arc. Just to jot some of the exciting developments down:
Shuhei Hisagi probably has a bankai.
Yachiru, Kenpachi's lieutenant, is actually his sword. When Kenpachi released his sword into shikai for the first time, she vanished, leaving only her clothes behind. IE, she transformed into the sword's released form.
Kenpachi and Byakuya are still equal in strength, each having dealt with three sternritter so easily they were beaten off screen (and each accounting for 1 on-screen win). In total, just these two captains account for 8 of the defeated sternritter. Only 10 other sternritter have been defeated by everyone else combined (mostly by other sternritter). Not all captains are created equal.
There are 27 sternritter in all, one for each letter in the English alphabet, plus an extra Y, and all 27 have now been revealed. The nine remaining letters in the fight as we currently know now are -- A, B, C, D, G, H, M, P, and X. The end game of the battles are now in sight.
By process of elimination, the old man with the pistols sternritter must have been 'N,' despite never showing his particular ability, which accounts for the last missing gap.
Grimmjaw Jaggerjack is alive and well. He saved Urahara from the 'J' Sternritter, killing him with a single blow. Grimmjaw has 'an arrangement' with Urahara and will probably be seen later in the conflict in some form or other.
Ganju is Ichigo's cousin on his father's side.
Ishida Uryuu is Ichigo's second cousin on his mother's side.
Kaien-dono, Rukia's original love interest, is Ganju's older brother and thus also, obviously, Ichigo's cousin on his father's side.
Kira is dead. Gone. Kaput. He's not coming back from that giant hole in his body. His condition hasn't been mentioned even once in over 100 chapters. If he had just been injured, he would have been treated like Rukia, Renji, Byakuya and others were and mentioned again by now. He wasn't mentioned, thus he wasn't treated, thus he must have died just like it looked like he must have with that giant gaping hole in his body.
The Fullbringers killed in the previous arc are 'alive' and well in Soul Society, as strong as ever and with their personalities/memories intact. Whether they actually join the fight or not is questionable, though.
Hitsugaya is alive. Kensei and Rose, however, are dead. Matsumoto is an open question.
Ukitake is the most god awful shit useless 'Captain' to ever live. He didn't do anything in any arc of the entire series, and continues to do nothing in the midst of this war as well. His friend, Kyousuke, isn't much better. Despite being the new Captain Commander, he hasn't used his bankai even once or engaged anyone in combat yet.
Hirako Shinji has set a record for the number of battles he's lost without ever invoking his bankai (by my count at least 4 times now). He's a grade A idiot, which I guess is slightly better than the useless shit coward Ukitake who never shows up to fight at all.
The Sternritter custom of killing each other in battle instead of their enemies is a long venerated tradition of all villains in Bleach, including the captains infighting in the Soul Society arc and the arrancar infighting during the Hueco Mundo arc. It gets really tiresome, but these things must be overlooked in the interest of following the much more interesting material, when the sternritter actually bother to face off against their supposed destined avowed enemies the shinigami.
Mashiro Kuna, Tetsuzaemon Iba, Genshiro Okikiba, Tessai Tsukibishi, Isshin Kurosaki, Shunsui Kyoraku, and Jushiro Ukitake have not made any contribution to the war effort whatsoever despite being pivotal battle powers for the good guys' side in this latest and last battle of the series. They should all be tried for treason and dereliction of duty in the face of the enemy and shot by a firing squad.
The Soul King is a real living breathing person with a human body, mind, and eyes, as well as a will of his own despite what Aizen said about him.
Aizen is still plotting something and isn't going to just take this whole thing sitting down. Aizen's bankai still hasn't been revealed.
The quality of this manga overall will hinge upon whether all of its promises are delivered upon or not. Will all of the bankai wielders actually reveal their bankai at some point in the series and fight seriously for once in their lives? How well will the royal guard fight -- will they really be better than the entirety of the Gotei 13 like it was said they were? When will we discover Aizen's motives for trying to depose the Soul King? Will the Sternritter start winning some fights again, so they stop looking so disgraceful compared to the competition and return to their genuine level of dangerousness displayed in the beginning of the arc? Will the Visored who are still on Earth ever show up for this pivotal last battle? Will Ishida's motives for joining the Sternritter be explained? Will Ichigo ever get together with Orihime? Will the truth about Yachiru ever be cleared up? Will Ywach really display the powers of all the slain Sternritter and Captains combined as advertised? Will Grimmjaw and the other Arrancar appear again as advertised?
If Bleach plays its cards well, it will be one of the most entertaining and satisfying mangas of all time, despite not being very deep or emotional, simply because of the fun clashes of power levels and interesting abilities, in addition to the great art and vast variety of character/weapon/moveset designs. Bleach shares a lot in common with Dynasty Warriors, in that it's managed to create an enormous cast of weapon-wielding badasses all with their own unique look and 'hook' that gets you interested in them. Just as Dynasty Warriors is one of the finest games of all time, Bleach is one of the finest mangas of all time. But Dynasty Warriors has a proper ending that fulfills its promises. Bleach, currently, does not.
The necessity of a Bleach anime becomes all the more clear the more awesome and thrilling this 1000 year blood war arc becomes. Right now, some obvious fights stand out as a dream to animate -- Kenpachi vs. Gremmy, Kuchiki Rukia vs. As Nodt, Ichigo vs. the 4 women Sternritter, Masaki and Isshin vs. the 'White' hollow, and more showdowns that are still currently incoming. Just to learn about Ichigo's genealogy and the sources of his abnormal powers alone is worth a new anime season to be made. If a new Bleach anime isn't made it will be a disservice to millions of fans all across the world. There's no doubt that such a good storyline would succeed commercially in getting back the viewers' attention. A Bleach anime is one of the biggest missing pieces in the anime world today.
The Bleach manga will probably last another year based on how quickly the previous Sternritter fights have been going and the number of Sternritter left to beat, so if they started the anime now, they'd never catch up to the manga all the way to the ending. No more filler please.
Claymore's manga has just ended (satisfactorily), so we may as well have a new season of this show too while we're at it.