First off, someone finally put together an FAQ on the game here! I just found it after I wrote this all up. D'oh.
A couple of things to correct from the first half, to begin with!
There are actually videos! The PSP I was playing on originally didn't have a big enough memory stick to play them, so I'd just get white screens where they went. Most of them were from the anime, as far as I could tell, although the last two were pretty obviously either made for the game or a sneak preview of the anime. There are 70 videos in total - you can watch them on the TV in Ichigo's room. Hilariously, I only switched memory sticks after I'd unlocked the first 68 of them, so I didn't see them in the context of the actual game. D'oh.
The special attack is actually called the Burning Attack! I had been calling it a 'Musou' at first. The proper name is the Burning Attack.
The Soul Pieces actually do stuff! They not only give you a support character in battle, but they also give you stat boosts and other perks (30% off at Urahara's shop!) when you put certain characters on or put certain character combinations on! This is a comprehensive guide to every possible combination you can make. The screengrabs give you the perks that each combination give you, but they don't translate the names. Some of the names I could make out were:
Black Eyes: Ichigo + Hichi
I Want Girls: Chizuru + Orihime + Tatsuki
Karakura Super Heroes: Don Kanonji + Karin + Jinta + Ururu + Kon
First Love?: Shinji + Orihime
Your Name Is...?: Ichigo + Zangetsu
Forbidden Garden: Kon + Orihime + Matsumoto
My Harem!: Kon + any 12 girls
My Harem! 2: Chizuru + any 12 girls
Shinigami Women's Association: Unohana + Yachiru + Nanao + Nemu + Matsumoto + Soi Fong + Isane + Kiyone
Gomen na. . .: Gin + Matsumoto
# 1: Starrk + Shunsui
The Heart: Ulquiorra + Orihime
Ichigo vs Byakuya: Ichigo + Byakuya (self-explanatory, I think)
69: Kensei + Shuuhei (okay, I kind of lol'd)
There are tons more combinations - pretty much every major Arrancar x Shinigami battle and a lot of the battles from Soul Society have combinations, as well as every Captain and their Vice Captain, the Captains from TBTP with their Vice Captains, and the Espada with their fraccion. You can also make combinations out of all of the 10 non-traitorous Captains, the 10 Espada, the Urahara Shop, the Kurosaki family, and a bunch of two-person team ups! I've gotten 100% of the Soul Pieces now, so I can make whatever combinations I want! Here are some of the dialogue options I've gotten from them:
Shunsui -> Nanao: "My Nanao-chan!" "Who's your Nanao-chan?"
Lisa -> Nanao: I couldn't make this out exactly, but it sounded like Lisa saying something and Nanao getting flustered. I hope it's foreshadowing them meeting in the manga. :(
Lisa -> Shunsui: This mostly sounds like "Let's go!" "Alright" between them, although I may not be catching what Lisa is saying that well. As an aside here, you can arrange their Soul Pieces to match up by color to put any of the three (Shunsui, Nanao, and Lisa) in the middle. It's cute.
Seaweed Ambassador -> Byakuya: "Wa-ka-me! Wa-ka-me! Wa-ka-me!" "Hnn."
Mashiro -> Ichigo: "What's up, Beri-tan!" "Beri...tan? What the-?"
Mashiro -> Kensei: "MORNING!" I can't really tell what he's saying, but it sounds kind of... cheerful. Which is bizarre, because this is Kensei.
Kensei -> Shuuhei: "Shuuhei, huh? That's a strong name!"
Hachi -> Orihime: "My nickname is Hachi, but my full name is Ushoden Hachigen." "It's a pleasure to meet you!"
Orihime -> Nel Tu: "Nel-chan!" I can't make out Nel's response (her lisp is kind of distracting), but she's telling her to do something together with her.
Orihime -> Neliel: "You're... Nel-chan?" "Yes. Let's help Ichigo... together."
Nnoitra -> Orihime: I don't really know what's going on here, but he sounds really excited and she's telling him to stop. I need to shut my imagination off now.
Neliel -> Nnoitra: I believe this is the dialogue from the flashbacks about her looking down on him as a warrior.
Grimmjow -> Neliel: "Well, if it ain't the woman!" Most of their other dialogue seems to just be "Let's go!" "Uhn!"
Grimmjow -> Nel Tu: "Stupid brat!" "Sexta Espada, Grimmjow-sama!"
Grimmjow -> Nnoitra: "Nnoitra, you bastard!" "Shut up and die, Grimmjow!"
Shinji -> Aizen: It sounds like their dialogue from TBTP. Aizen even calls him "Captain Hirako".
Ulquiorra -> Orihime: "Woman, are you afraid of me?" "No, I'm not afraid." (yes, this is their last exchange from the Lust arc)
There are literally dozens more interactions (and if you ask, I can pair characters up for you, these are just the ones I thought to do off the top of my head), and a lot of character pairs have more than one interaction. It's usually a snippet of canon dialogue and the second set is a simple 'Let's go!' 'Okay!' exchange. Sadly, I couldn't figure out what Zangetsu and Orihime's dialogue was supposed to be, and I could never get Hichi to say anything interesting to her (he apparently doesn't like to talk to anyone but Ichigo and Zangetsu).
Playable Characters: Since beating Aizen in a secret bonus stage, I've unlocked all the playable characters! They are:
Ichigo, Rukia, Ishida, Chad, Yoruichi, Urahara, Shinji, Hiyori, Yamamoto, Byakuya, Renji, Shunsui, Hitsugaya, Kenpachi, Ikkaku, Kon, Starrk, Harribel, Ulquiorra, Nnoitra, Grimmjow, Gin, Aizen, and Hichi. Generally, they seem to be divided into three lines - Karakura, Soul Society, and Hueco Mundo. And yeah, Hichi's grouped with the Hueco Mundo guys. Uh... huh. But Kon is grouped with Soul Society, so maybe it's a fluke?
I've tried to give a go with most of these, although I think I've missed one or two. So here are some random observations:
-Hitsugaya and Ishida are useful if you need to fly somewhere to reach a special door or something. Since Hitsugaya's Burning Attack lets him fly with his ice dragon, it's super useful.
-Hiyori's attacks are hilarious. She fights with a megaphone.
-Starrk and Harribel were both kind of let downs - their move sets were generic and so were their Burning Attacks. No, neither of them use their resurreccion, which is REALLY FREAKIN' SAD, because they both have AWESOME RESURRECCIONS.
-Aizen wasn't that fun to play as, although his maniacal chibi was hilarious to watch.
-I was set to be disappointed in Ulquiorra. He was a step down from playing as Ichigo (mostly because I leveled the shit out of Ichigo, so it really was taking a step down of about 40 levels) and his move set was kind of dull... until I used his Burning Attack.
HOLY SWEET MOTHER OF GOD ULQUIORRA IS FUCKING BROKEN.
See, the thing about Ulquiorra (and Ichigo, too) is that if you put Ichigo's Soul Piece next to him on his Soul Board, you unlock a special combination that gives Ulquiorra an 'upgraded' Burning Attack. Meaning you unlock his Segunda Etapa. So he goes from kind of ho-hum to MURDERING BITCHES IN A BAT SUIT, and it's AMAZING (kind of like the manga, really). So Ulquiorra went from "that character that's alright I guess, but kind of boring" to "HOLY SHIT, DO IT AGAIN!"
-Once you defeat Ulquiorra and get his Soul Piece, you can also put him on Ichigo's board for INCREDIBLE FUN TIEMS. See, whereas Ichigo unlocks Ulquiorra's Segunda Etapa, Ulquiorra unlocks Ichigo's crazy uber inner hollow! So now, instead of just putting his mask on for his Burning Attack, he makes that weird hollow!scream, starts flying around ceroing people, and lights the screen on fire. Yes, his new Burning Attack literally SETS THE ENTIRE SCREEN ON FIRE while he screams. It also tends to do 99,999 HP of damage to your opponents, so most fights don't last very long against him. :( This is also possibly why Ichigo is level 107 while all my other characters are in the upper 60s/low 70s.
Story: Well, the story's basically the Hueco Mundo arc at this point. When last we left our heroes, Orihime had been kidnapped and Ichigo and co were headed to Hueco Mundo. Most of the character interactions, particularly any that Orihime has before Ichigo sees her again, are cut out. I think I can chalk that up to the story mostly being from the Player Character's perspective, really.
Again, the game's really weird about who you do and don't fight. Ichigo skips fighting Dordonii and goes straight to Ulquiorra. Chad skips Gantenbainne and goes straight to Nnoitra (?!), even though he goes right through his lair. Ishida also goes through Cirucci's lair, but again, the fight is glossed over and he fights Szayel instead. You're expected to win all of these fights, even though the characters got mauled during them in the manga. And your characters still get mauled, even after you win! So really, what the hell!
The only notable exception to this is Rukia's fight with Aaroniero, which stuck pretty closely to the manga
And then there was Renji's board, which is Szayel's tower. Dear sweet lord. The board itself is bad enough, with all the Indiana Jones boulders and trap doors, but then you get to the end and face... Verona! Yes, the bouncy ball fraccion! These things. THESE THINGS. They are SO BAD that there have actually been questions about how to beat them on the GameFAQs forums. And the kicker? The really humiliating part? THERE'S NO TRICK TO IT. They're just average enemies, there's just four of them at once. You just need to be a way higher level than they start Renji out at to take them down.
So this sent me on a quest to level Renji up and complete some of the bonus boards. He gained levels like crazy in the Karakura bonus board, mostly because everything there could kill him in one hit. And it was here that I discovered the beauty of using Accessories on your character!
See, up until this point, I'd just been equipping stuff to match colors up with the Soul Pieces on the Soul Board, because I had no idea that the items were actually good for much of anything besides giving you elemental resistance. BOY WAS I WRONG. The reason Renji kept getting killed and couldn't beat those fraccion wasn't just because he wasn't high enough level - it was because his Attack, Defense, Reiatsu, and Evasion sucked because he had no items equipped to boost them with. Once I started experimenting with the items, his attack went from a natural 100+ to over 800.
You can even take items to
So anyway, once I found all this out, Renji was pretty much an unstoppable juggernaut of destruction. I took him back through Szayel's board, and he pretty much murdered everything in sight. And then he jobbed it to Szayel. Good job, Vice Captain Jobber!
After this point, everything is pretty much a jumble of cutscenes, talking, and very short boards in which the point is to do nothing but fight the Espada. And you fight Nnoitra A LOT. Sadly, Mayuri is not a playable character, so you just get to watch him utterly pwn Szayel. And there's literally one board that's just Nel and Orhime standing around while you go up and talk to them, they cheer you on, and then you go fight Grimmjow. That's all it is. THAT'S ALL IT IS.
Anyway, this continues until Starrk takes Orihime back to Aizen, at which point he has his Professor Xavier Likes to Watch Teenaged Boys Sweat moment and then goes to the human world. So here the story diverges back to Karakura, where you have two boards that allow you to play as Hitsugaya and Shunsui respectively. There are no animated videos here, but you do get to see Harribel's anime!resurreccion. Which has BOOB CUPS. Under her boobs. Anime, I AM DISAPPOINT.
Once you're done with that (sadly, they took everything cool out of those two fights, too - no Los Lobos guys :'(), you can go back to Stage 35, which is the last regular board. Here you play as Ichigo and run through
Ichigo: Inoue, are you okay?
Orihime: Yes. Thank you for saving me, Kurosaki-kun.
THE END. ROLL CREDITS. And the credits are pretty lack-luster, by the way - it's just a lot of stuff you've already seen. And Orihime's only two appearances in them are of her holding Ichigo's hand in that one shot from the anime, and of Aizen touching her face. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to make of this, but it's kind of weird and creepy that those are the only two still shots we see of her.
Anyway, let's say you go back and get a Complete on every single regular Stage in the game! Then you unlock Stage 36, which is called "Above the Dome". This is the true ending, and I think you can figure out exactly what happens here.
Thaaaat's right, Ulquiorra turns into a bat, he's a sonuvabitch to beat, and Ichigo jobs the shit out of it once you get his lifebar down to about half. Then we get cut scenes! And crying! And I get a massive girl boner playing Bull!Ichi, because he is cool as hell to play as! Then la-de-dah, you win, Ichigo goes back to normal and starts bitching that he didn't want to win this way, you pretty much know the rest, ROLL CREDITS! And this time, you get the GOOD credits that actually play out the Lust Arc! It almost reminds me of one of the Bad Ends in Silent Hill, where it's sorta bad, but not the SUPER Bad End that you get if you just fuck everything up. Maybe a Bad +.
But once you get through this stage, it unlocks another special stage! This time, you go and fight Aizen! But after I'd already broken Ichigo so badly before, he really wasn't all that hard - especially not with his new Burning Attack. And then you get a second set of Special Stages which really don't do much of anything at all. I still haven't gotten a Complete on the very last one, because they expect you to beat both Harribel and Starrk at the same time and just. No. It's not happening. I probably won't ever finish that stage.
One more stage of note: In the first Soul Society Special Stage, there's a certain room you can go into that'll take you through a board full of... green smoke. And talking Seaweed Ambassadors. At the end of which, Byakuya and the Seaweed Ambassador have a touching shounen discussion about... something. All he says is "WA-KA-ME", and you can read what he's actually saying at the bottom of the screen. Except that I can't really read well enough to tell what he's saying, so it all sounds like something very deep and shounen to me. And then they fight. At which point, you pretty much trip balls, since that's what you've been doing the entire board.
Extras: Aside from videos and music tracks, you can also get figurines and posters from Urahara's shop!
There are 80 posters of different scenes and characters from the anime. The first half of the anime gives you plenty of Ichigo and Rukia and plenty of them together, lots of badassed posing, a few each of Chad and Ishida, pin up shots of all the Captains (I don't think there's one of Nanao :(), and strangely, not a single poster of Orihime. None.
The first poster of Orihime you get comes from the end of the third Grimmjow fight, where there's the anime-only handhold scene. Guys, I'm pretty sure she did something before this point in the series, come on now. And again, the only other poster you get of her is of Aizen feeling her face up. WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO TAKE FROM THIS? This has seriously been bugging me for the past few weeks.
There is also a poster of Charlotte Coolhorn. Surrounded by roses. The only thing you can do with these posters is display them in Ichigo's room. THANK ABOUT THAT.
On the table beside the poster board is where you put the figurines. EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER IN BLEACH GETS A FIGURINE. Some get two! I'm not even kidding here. You can put up to three on your little table, too, so you can make fun menage-a-trois! Shun/Uki/Nanao? Shun/Nana/Lisa? Yamamoto/Ukitake/Shunsui?
At some point, I think I'm going to just put up the Charlotte poster and his figurine and make a shrine to him in Ichigo's room or something. It seems like the thing to do.
Anyway, if you have any requests for things you'd like to see or know about, I'll try to figure them out for you!