One day, while I was wandering around the internet, I came across a comment about Bleach having bad psychology.
Wrestling psychology, that is. I don’t think that’s the proper term for what that person was talking about, outside of the context of semi-improvised fight scenes performed in front of a live audience. In works of fiction that a first written, or drawn, or otherwise made and only then presented to an audience, the term I would use is something like ‘tactical depth.’ However, the overall sense of what he was talking about was the fight itself being a kind of story, with it’s own exposition, plot development, twists, and climax.
As an example, let’s consider a wrestling match between an average-sized but athletic man, and a freakishly huge giant. For exposition, we begin with the average-sized man facing off against the giant, and getting some offense in, which the giant doesn’t seem to care about. As the plot develops, the smaller man continues his attacks where he can, as he dodges around his opponent’s, which begins to frustrate the giant. This frustration is born out in the twist, where the smaller man uses the big man’s own momentum to throw his opponent over his shoulders. This twist, in turn, sets up the climax, where the smaller man flips the giant into the turnbuckle, and the pain of the impact paralyzes him long enough for his opponent to get the win.
That’s a basic example of how these things work. In contrast, most fights in Bleach end with the winner suddenly powering up, or revealing that they have an ability that’s perfect for the situation they’re in. In other words, the exact tactics that the fighters use have little to no bearing on how the fight plays out. The tactics of the wrestlers in the example above, in contrast, made up the entirety of the story. Hence, tactical depth – a form of storytelling in which the tactics used actually matter.
I enjoy writing tactically deep fights. However, this comes with costs, chiefly that I need a fairly good idea about what the fighters can do, what their abilities are and what the limits on those abilities are. But as an upshot, my fight scenes can be memorable in and of themselves, and not have to rely on the character’s backstories to get the audience engaged. And I enjoy thinking about my character’s abilities, anyway.