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08 March 2009 @ 02:49 pm
Ulquiorra and Orihime  

The fandom is riled up. I've had three impassioned discussions, two and a half arguments, and one near fist-fight this morning over what's going to happen next in Bleach. I've had to calm at least one panic-attacked shipper and offer cyber chamomille to another fan who I haven't seen this nervous since the night of the 2008 US presidential election.

Orihime haters, of all kinds, are fuming because Orihime's got the stage. Orihime fans, of all kinds, are biting their nails because Orihime's got the stage. Just as a lot of fanbois are pleased that Ichigo got pwned in this last fight (as by all rights he should have because of the power disparity between him and Numero Quatro) so these fanbois are hoping to be surprised by the next fight, the fangirls (and all of those who like character development in our manga--excuse my sometimes awful gender generalizations) are unable to predict how what happens next will impact the relationships of those we care about so much. Will Orihime redeem Ulquiorra? Will Ichigo wake up and notice that Orihime loves him? Will Orihime notice that Ishida loves her? Will the fifth tower fall? What does it all mean?

Shishou, if you cut away to the Fake Karakura Town fights now, expect your home to be torched by angry fans!

Okay, I'm interested in fighting if it includes psychological drama or exceptionally beautiful opponents (my all-time fangirl fantasy of all time of seeing White Angel Ishida versus Black Demon Ulquiorra is a possibility now--the mere visual would be enough to make me shoot blood out my ears, arrgh!) As a person with two x chromosomes, though, my real interest is in the way characters relate in shounen manga without stabbing and kicking and punching. I'm a fan of looks and words that don't mean what they say, oh my.

That's why I'm crazy about the Orihime and Ulquiorra relationship.



Like my slash-loving friend Neha, who is so perceptive about text and subtext and endearingly honest about when her fanon desires clash with authorial intent, likes to say about Ulqui and Hime, you'd have to be BLIND not to see the tension. I mean, dear Lord, the slap that is as old as romance literature, the whole captor-captive dynamic, the gothic Byronic dude and the virgin optimist.

LB7-sensei and I talk about it occasionally--she ships UlquiHime hard and I ship it with a more detached fascination (my heart is in IshiHime and RenIshi) and although neither of us expect Ulquiorra and Orihime to become a canon couple with babies by the end of the manga (I'm not ruling it out--I keep pointing out what happened with Bulma and Vegeta, written by Kubo's mentor, Toriyama--a really similar case of famous story ingenue for some years meets dark murderer and woah!), we expect great things from the Ulquiorra and Orihime story. In fact, we're expecting them soon. Like, next week! (Give us a break, we're still high on the fact that we called the wings and LB7 called the second release... we're on a roll here).

I wanted to quote a very lovely post that LB7-sensei made in the UlquiHime FC at BA. She wrote it in part to assuage a fanclub that was going berserk with anticipation and fear.

We all need to realize that we are being manipulated here by KT. He knows Ulquiorra is a sympathetic character that many fans really love so he needed to show us a side of him that we've never seen before. Ulquiorra is about to suffer a major beatdown from somewhere, we don't know where yet, so KT is setting us up to accept it.

You might say Ulqui is almost OOC right now - but not if you look at in context with the seven sins. In each chapter, every character shown exhibits the sin from the title to some extent or another, Ulquiorra, of course being one of the most obvious. He and Ichigo have pushed and goaded each other to this point. Ulquiorra is more powerful at the moment, plus he wants to make a point about how stupid this whole "hearts" thing is. From his pov, what he is doing is simply the most obvious thing. He may not even feel that he is being especially cruel - after all, he does not understand friendship or love in any way (or if he does, he vehemently denies it's existence).

It's unrealistic to expect him to change in any way, if indeed he will, without a major beating. Srsly. If Kubo wants to save this character, he has to beat him down, and hard - otherwise it would be a betrayal of all of Ulqui's characterization up till now.

Just like Ichigo needed to undergo what has happened to him, so Ulqui will get his just deserts as well. KT wants to take the edge off our sympathy for him so we can stand to watch it w/out screaming plotkai and everything else. Honestly, I expect him to get worse before it's all over. He's in big time denial about the possibility of any humanity on his part, even though he has been hybridized with shinigami. Denial makes people behave in pretty nasty ways.

Begin shipping notes:

Orihime is a big source of that denial on Ulquiorra's part so his apparent cruelty toward her is not very surprising. SHE is the sticking point of this whole hearts issue as far as he is concerned.

Remember, never once has KT misled us about Ulquiorra and Orihime. He's made it plain at the beginning that Ulqui is fascinated by Orihime (out of all the humans in the Conquistadors chapters) but his reasons are perfectly logical as far as he is concerned. He thinks her power might be useful. He develops an elaborate scheme to abscond with her that he thinks will keep anyone from coming after her by making her look like a traitor. After all, he'd just as soon avoid unnecessary conflict.

Now that he has the girl, is she making him feel uncomfortable things? I think we can safely say she is - anger and confusion if nothing else. She slaps him and he reacts with restrained astonishment. Not because of the voilence of her act but because she cared enough to put herself in danger for her feelings. These are things he does not understand but because he is hybridized with shinigami, he must have some of these feeling himself now and they make him act in ways that are unusual for him, which only feeds his frustration and anger. But he keeps a lid on it all.

Ever heard the English saying, "Hell with the lid off?" Well that's Ulqui now. His plan backfired, the girl is creating problems for his nihilistic outlook on existence and obviously he cares or why would he have bothered to question her in the throne room? Those very questions leading to the "hearts conversation." If he was truly the automaton he (and some fans) believe him to be, he would have simply waited for Ichigo and paid Orihime no mind at all. But he's a curious creature, if nothing else, and that curiosity has lead him to places that make him very uncomfortable and he's basically having a tantrum about it. Unfortunately, when a being that powerful loses his cool, everyone in close proximity is going to get hurt.

I'm actually quite impressed with KT's understanding of psychology here - that or shounen tropes are just working out that way, but it seems like an awfully big coincidence.

I was kind depressed too earlier because I couldn't see a way out of this "corner" people say KT has written himself into - but now I do. I think KT is going to take the dark road. I mean look at what he just did. But the dark rode is the only one out of this situation that could redeem all three characters in this triangle - including Ichigo - because he's developed quite a number of issues himself - and certainly Orihime with her obsessive infatuation and low self esteem- and most especially Ulquiorra. Ulquiorra is struggling to grasp something that frankly can only be beaten into him because of the circumstances. Orihime is going to play an integral role in that (as is Ichigo), and a tiny little place in Ulquiorra's tiny little bit of humanity knows that and this is why he is inexplicably drawn to her, no matter how vehemently he may want to deny it.

This is our ship peeps. It's not about flowers and rainbows and unicorns. It's about clawing your way out of the darkness.


I find the growth of the UlquiHime shipping fandom fascinating--it's just exploded in the time I've been a Bleach fan. I really wonder what Kubo's hit here. It might just be the Bulma-Vegeta fair maiden and dark lord thing but there's something more that speaks to the essential themes and dichotomies in Bleach, I think. I'm really curious as to how the relationship will play out.



Now, if you'll excuse me, my husband the mild-mannered philosophy professor is watching kick boxing on cable and wondering why I haven't stopped babbling with my "Trekkie" friends all weekend about some damn cartoon. "Did somebody kiss at last? Is that why you"re excited?"

Noooo, someone got killed, which is just as good. As Chad's tattoo reminds us Amor y Muerte are close, really close. And this is Bleach. In the midst of death, we have talk of the heart and even though there's despair, we have promises of love.


 
 
( 114 comments — Leave a comment )
Evaanimeangel4eva on March 8th, 2009 09:11 pm (UTC)
Flashing back to FKT would bring up a massage uproar onto the internet - and it's isn't going to settle very nicely as you said. ^_T*

And the same here: I can't wait to see what's going to happen next between Ishida and Ulquiorra! Will Ulqui decide to wipe him out? (God I hope not) Will Orihime finally make her stand (am I making this sound too like a showdown or something?)

Of course, I am looking forward to how Orihime will take this, and what Ishida's reaction will be.
The only thing I know for sure - Ishida, for your own sakes...don't even TRY to attack Ulqui. Just use your brain tatics like you always do. XD

In the mean time...
I'll dying from that Suspense Illness... *twitches* & *rocks back and forth*
honeyhammer: UO. fandom lulzhoneyhammer on March 9th, 2009 04:39 am (UTC)
Hmm, I don't think Ulquiorra will hurt either Orihime or Ishida. He may have an incentive if Ishida goes on the offensive, but neither characters are driven by bloodlust or seem to hold much attachment to fighting in general, so I can't see him finishing off Ishida assuming they did get into fight. However, with that being said, Ulquiorra's really cracking at the moment so he may act unpredictably. I would agree that Ishida would be wise to engage him mentally as opposed to physically - or a combination of both, depending on whatever buys more time for Orihime should she need to heal Ichigo (assuming how hollow form doesn't come out of that hole in his chest, similar to this scene: http://www.onemanga.com/Bleach/220/04/)

Ultimately, though, there's going to be psychological warfare going and it's not going to pretty for Ulquiorra.
Bucket: Bleach - UlquiHimegully_moe on March 8th, 2009 09:17 pm (UTC)
I'm just going to sit back and expect the unexpected. The development between these two have gotten really dark. They are my OTP of Bleach, yet I don't see them as a romantic couple. There's something so different about this pair that it's intriguing. I like them because of what they bring out of each other, especially Ulquiorra, being that he is my favorite. Without Orihime we'd never get any insight as to what Ulquiorra thinks about humans.
oh gallant piglet,: rukihimeaizome on March 8th, 2009 09:30 pm (UTC)
"and one near fist-fight this morning over what's going to happen next in Bleach."

Holy crap, really?

I find it interesting that the most recently released (translated) volume has a pretty good amount of 'Hime development. Her discovery of the hidden building, everyone telling her not to fight, Tsubaki's resurrection, her training with Rukia... I read it all today and thought it was good timing to have this volume out before whatever happens next few chapters. Re-reading it made me really angry at how many people were just blowing her off, when of all people RUKIA is the one who disagreed most vehemently. I loved reading that again, because not only does it show a strong friendship, it also shows Rukia has faith in her when (seemingly) nobody else does. I hope people remember that (especially the haters).

Whoops. I mean, YAY FIGHT SCENES AND BLOOD AND PEOPLE GETTING CERO'D! XP

(I need to make another 'Hime icon...)

ETA: Meant to add: It's also interesting that the volume ends with Ulquiorra showing up to give her that ultimatum and the bracelet thing. Again, good timing on the volume's release.

Edited at 2009-03-08 09:32 pm (UTC)
_debbiechan_: Rukia_debbiechan_ on March 8th, 2009 09:34 pm (UTC)

Well, not really, I exaggerated.

But I did roll around the ground with my son today over who's cooler--Ulquiorra or Hitsugaya (and it's hard to wrestle with a broken toe! OUCH! I slammed it twice today!)

Rukia is completely devoted to Orihime. That is canon and undeniable. I wish Kubo would have shown us more of their bonding in SS when they trained but that might be giving away some fight surprises. Maybe we'll get a flashback.
(no subject) - aizome on March 8th, 2009 09:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - pixyteri on March 8th, 2009 11:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - escarboucle on March 8th, 2009 09:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - aizome on March 8th, 2009 09:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - escarboucle on March 8th, 2009 09:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on March 8th, 2009 10:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - escarboucle on March 8th, 2009 10:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - aizome on March 8th, 2009 10:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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r0ck3tsci3ntist - sorry, kiddingr0ck3tsci3ntist on March 8th, 2009 09:39 pm (UTC)
I have the definite feeling you are going to get your wish about Ulquiorra vs Ishida. There's no way KT put him up there without planning to use him somehow in this encounter. He's the perfect opposite to Ulquiorra's demon resurrection so I think they are destined for an encounter.

By rights Ishi should not end up fairing any better than Ichigo but I know he has some tricks up his sleeves. We'll see how well they work. It may take losing both young men before Orihime decides to confront Ulquiorra as only she really can. I really think that she alone has the ability to reach the demon and ultimately this IS her fight. I hope Kubo lets her do it. I think if she were to pace the first real wound on Ulquiorra with Tsubaki he would be amazed and even take notice of what the heart can do. Once she has planted that seed in his consciousness maybe Ichigo will come back to us in one form or another and the epic destruction of masonry will resume - but this time Ulquiorra will be harboring a seed of doubt.

You know I think it's interesting though, because what Ulquiorra said about the human heart is basically true. The heart is both our damnation and our redemption.
_debbiechan_: Ulqui by ariol_debbiechan_ on March 8th, 2009 09:44 pm (UTC)


The heart is both our damnation and our redemption.

*SOBS* That's why he's an angel and a demon both. I hope he doesn't hurt Ishida too much. *bites nails*
(no subject) - r0ck3tsci3ntist on March 8th, 2009 09:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on March 8th, 2009 10:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - vayshti on March 8th, 2009 10:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - nehalenia on March 9th, 2009 12:45 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - annieroo2 on March 9th, 2009 05:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
selenityshiroi: ulquiorra-1st level releaseselenityshiroi on March 8th, 2009 10:15 pm (UTC)
I've shipped Ulquihime for a while. I started reading Bleach late 2007 and read the whole manga in a week (chapter 302 was being released then). On my second read through, where I slowed down and took in more of the characters who weren't Ichigo and Rukia, I took note of the epic slap scene and thought 'wow...Orihime did something AWESOME!'. I hadn't really thought twice about Orihime before then and Ulquiorra was just another antagonist.

The slap made me look deeper at their scenes together and the ship won me over.

However, it is only since Kubo returned the focus to Ulquiorra (and Orihime) recently that I have seriously dived into the fandom and started to seriously think about why I like them, how I like them, what I think will happen to them...I've started posting at BleachAsylum (despite being a member since Dec 2007), I've joined a few fanclubs (although the Ulquihime FC has about 90% of my posts) and I taken a wider interest in the entire manga.

All because of the interaction and potential between Orihime and Ulquiorra.

I've even started to see Orihime's character from BEFORE the HM arc differently.

There really is something about the pairing that has my attention and has it so completely.

A few weeks ago I could giggle about the thought of Ulquiorra in a gigai trying to live in the human world with Orihime helping him (in, admittedly, a ridiculously shoujoish scenario). Now? The image is too insignificant, too cute to picture.

The pairing has become deeper than that in my mind. It's about dark and light, balance, corruption and redemption...

Even if they never get a romantic moment between them, I will consider the ship justified in my mind if Kubo has Ulquiorra admit to Orihime that the heart exists and can be a good thing. Even if that is his dying words. If Orihime lives up to the strength that Ulquiorra has thought to himself that she possesses, I will be happy.

That doesn't stop me from hoping for a happier resolution to the pairing (I still think the chances of Ulquiorra surviving this battle are pretty high and I have theories and speculation for Ulquiorra, Grimmjow and Nel having a kind of alliance with Ichigo-tachi) but there is something about the pairing that trancends romance for me, now.
hinodeh: the lookhinodeh on March 8th, 2009 10:22 pm (UTC)
Insignifcant comment is insignificant, but...

Does that mean that you'd continue shipping Ulquihime even if it does not happen?
I remember you saying in your introductory post that you are all about canon ships.
Either way, beautiful post. That's the mysterious power of Ulquihime.

I'm in the camp that thinks that Ishihime will probably happen in some manner, but I believe in and hope for Ulquiorra's survival.
(no subject) - selenityshiroi on March 8th, 2009 10:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - r0ck3tsci3ntist on March 9th, 2009 12:27 am (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - r0ck3tsci3ntist on March 9th, 2009 12:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wdboldstar on March 8th, 2009 10:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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Danielwdboldstar on March 8th, 2009 10:38 pm (UTC)
As an Ulquihime shipper and a big fan of both characters involved in said pairing, I'm having the time of my life in these chapters, even as I hang on the edge of my seat (I am a little concerned that I care more about the fangirl stuff you mention than the fanboi stuff, but hey...) LB7's post is so, so true.

Ulquiorra is dark. He always has been. He's a creature of darkness who gain his power by eating other souls. But at the same time, he had to to survive. He scrabbled for everything he could get in a dark, horrid, twisted world where the theme of every day, every minute, every second is kill or be killed.

But at the same time, there's always been something more. He does not exhibit the wreckless anger of a Yammy or a Grimmjow or the extreme bloodlust of a Noitora. He's someone who has instead locked his heart away somewhere. I've said this before, but I think his Bleach Beat album's lyrics say a lot. It's not that he doesn't WANT to see the flowers blooming and the world as a beautiful place. Instead, he has given in to the despair of his surroundings as viewed the world as trivial.

But he locked his heart away, and there's still that chance that the key is somewhere, and so far, Orihime still seems to hold the key. Despite her fear and terror and depression, she still showed some spark of life and emotion, and she still defended her friends. Whether its enough to turn the key remains to be seen.

Right now, Ulquiorra is fighting an inner war as well as an outer one. Orihime and now Ichigo have shown him that humans are still fighting, that humans believe in the world and in life. And the heart that is locked away wants to believe, but all his time as a Hollow, an Arrancar, and Espada, have told him not to believe that. So that evil part of himself tries to prove that they are wrong, but the part that was touched by Orihime is still there, and I strongly believe it will win out, even if its with his dying breath.

He's not out of character, and he hasn't suddenly become Irredeemably evil. This is a progression, perhaps even one that needs to happen. Ulquiorra is fighting with his own personal demons even as he fights Ichigo, and something WILL come of it.

I'm still waffling over how the scene will play out in the Manga. Part of me wants to see Hollow Ichigo come out, and ORIHIME being the one who snaps, beating down both Ichigo and Ulquiorra to get them to stop. But that's only one of many ways it could go, and Ishida is definitely a wildcard one shouldn't ignore. Mostly, I'm trying to figure out what horrible mental trauma poor Orihime will go through to make Ishida regret bringing her.

Danielwdboldstar on March 8th, 2009 10:39 pm (UTC)
Oh, as a side note, I'll join the torchbearing mobs if Kubo-sensei cuts back to Karakura, with a few exceptions. Show me Isshin, Tatsuki, or the Vaizards (The Animation of Turn Back the Pendulum is reminding me how much I love them all), and all is forgiven. As long as you cut back to Ulquiorra after the focus is back off of them.
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on March 8th, 2009 10:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wdboldstar on March 8th, 2009 10:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - stace_s on March 9th, 2009 09:21 am (UTC) (Expand)
サラ・: Rukihime: blue and pinkpixyteri on March 8th, 2009 11:45 pm (UTC)
I like fandom. But man, is it funny. With one chapter, the whole fandom gets riled up! It's amazing..

You know, despite Kubo saying he does NOT want Bleach to be made into a love story, it's becoming quite the battle of shippers and fans, with Orihime on one side, Rukia on the other. Just stating what I see. Arguments aren't always sound or canonical because of the devotion fans have toward the ships.

It's interesting. I don't think it was a mistake on Kubo's part; it makes people more interested in what's going to happen.

And Ulquihime = dark evil sexy luv XD
サラ・: Rukia: Nervous hahapixyteri on March 9th, 2009 12:00 am (UTC)
Oh, and, as Ulquiorra is clearly "Envy" or "Jealousy" It would make sense for there to be tension between her and Ulqui, no? Perhaps she needs to aide in destroying him.

BUT NO!! They must make lovely eyesmex and stuff!!
nehalenia: chad interp dancenehalenia on March 9th, 2009 12:52 am (UTC)
Aww, Deb, you're too cute! *blush*

Like everyone else, I'm freaking over what the next chapter holds. Ulqui's second release is SO badass, he really *is* starting to remind me of the balrog in LOTR (only a lot smexier, of course.)

There are just SO many things that could happen! (What do you want to bet there will be fake spoilers this week?) ;-)
sidonzo on March 9th, 2009 02:23 am (UTC)
I've always thought that Ulquihime was a dark relationship and what happened in this past chapter didn't surprise me in the least. In fact while I enjoy light hearted Ulquihime sillies and arts as much as the next shipper, it has always disheartned me to see that quite a few Ulquihime shippers see the ship in a very light hearted and cutesty way. Then they always get upset and worried when the dark chapters come wondering what has happened to the ship. That's just the way Ulquihime rolls folks! If you are looking for sunshine and rainbows you probably won't find them here.

And I am not trying to tell anyone how to ship here. We all ship in different ways and for different reasons. It's just something that has always kind of bothered me. More so a year ago than now since there seemed to be a lot more of the sunshine and rainbow Ulquihime shippers then than there are now and sometimes I felt like I was the only one that shipped them in a dark and disturbing way.
Bucket: Bleach - UlquiHime Slapgully_moe on March 9th, 2009 04:00 am (UTC)
Same here. I like the dark side of the ship. I find the bubbly side a bit weird. I like crack art, but reading cutesy fanfiction just makes me squirm a bit.

I made a poll over at the ulquihime community sometime ago, out of curiosity. Quite a bit of people believed that they would fall in love or are in love. But most of the votes went towards "not romantic, but full of tension."

I guess the thing is, is that there are a variety of ulquihime shippers that like the ship for different reasons. Whenever something negative seems to happen, I don't get surprised, and I'm rather satisfied. And I feel bad for those who get worried about it. It's not a pairing that needs to be taken seriously. I just enjoy it for what it is, and how Kubo has developed them.
(no subject) - honeyhammer on March 9th, 2009 04:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - selenityshiroi on March 9th, 2009 06:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - r0ck3tsci3ntist on March 9th, 2009 01:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - selenityshiroi on March 9th, 2009 05:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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kimboskerovknuxlover on March 9th, 2009 02:40 am (UTC)
It's not about flowers and rainbows and unicorns. It's about clawing your way out of the darkness.

wow, that line actually gave me shivers. and it's totally true, too! i'm definitely waiting on the edge of my seat, biting my nails while i'm waiting to see what happens next. although this post is really reassuring - i was a little taken aback by ulquiorra's "watch this guy you love get killed. BLAM-O" line. but this gives me hope.

*clings futilely*
MT: Orihime & Rukia- Not your average girlsdbnext on March 9th, 2009 03:52 am (UTC)
I really hate the idea of romantic UlquiHime shipping. This last chapter just confirmed that fact to me.

However, their interaction does intrigue me and I won't deny it's incredibly dark and interesting and I can't wait to see how it plays out. But romance has never been in there and I don't see why it has to be called a ship to be valid. I enjoy the Ulquiorra and Orihime relationship as complicated and intruiging, that's not quite a friendship and not exactly enemies and that's as dramatic as anything. Romance is a whole completely different element that's just not there in my view.

It is informative to see why people might think it is romantic subtext, but then I've never thought LUVLUV has to be inserted into every relationship to make it intruiging when friendship can be just as fun, which is probably why I don't understand yaoi-shipping either.

As a side note, an Ulquiorra VS Ishida fight would be epic and I totally agree with the sentiment he can't have been placed there amongst the ultimate battle of the arc for no reason.
hinodeh: birdcagehinodeh on March 9th, 2009 08:45 am (UTC)
I've just wanted to explain to you why some people view UlquiHime as romantic from Ulquiorra's side:

I'm going to assume that you think that Ulquiorra cannot have any romantic feelings for Orihime because you think that no one that truly loves someone else could act that way towards them. (If it's some other reason please correct me. I'm making assumptions because I have too little actual information.)
First, personally, I view love as an emotion that can be both constructive or destructive, depending on how aware a person is of having this feeling and how he/she deals with it.
I don't believe that feeling love in and of itself makes you automatically a better person. Perhaps you don't, either, but again, I'm making purposefully assumptions so that I have something to go by for my argument.

As to canon:

There is certainly no cold and hard evidence that Ulquiorra loves Orihime.
However, KT has inserted a few things that might be meant to at least make the reader speculate on whether it could be romantic. (Or at least, if there's some sort of sexual attraction, which is of course, not love.)

First there's Nnoitra's rather suggestive question towards Ulquiorra. It proves nothing, but it can make the reader wonder, if nothing else. Ulquiorra's answer "disgusting" can be interpreted in various ways, but I don't think it was meant as "I find Orihime disgusting". It would make little sense since Ulquiorra expressed admiration for her in that very chapter. How can anyone you admire be disgusting?

Another thing is that KT drew the image of Orihime touching the window pane over her volume poem in volume 27. Many people interpret it as Orihime desiring a (romantic) connection with Ichigo but it never goes anywhere, is not even acknowledged. Which fits since Orihime is basically talking to herself during her love confession. (Which is expressed in the image by Orihime's hand only meeting it's own reflection.)
Ulquiorra gets a similar image in volume 30. It's not hard evidence, but it once again fuels the speculation on some possible romantic feelings he might have.
His reaction to finding that Orihime is gone is also paralleled with Orihime's reaction to finding that Ichigo has been gravely injured. Orihime, of course, loves Ichigo and Ulquiorra...
Well, once again, it makes the audience wonder.

Ulquiorra's reaction to Orihime's denial of Chad's death is also interesting since his body language at the beginning (he can't look Orihime in the eyes) and how he tries to steer her away from the topic before he realizes that it's futile indicates some discomfort to me. If he didn't care Orihime at all, would her reaction affect him that much?

Either way, Ulquiorra's current behavior can be seen in various ways, including denial and forcefully trying to prove to himself that Orihime and her feelings mean nothing to him and a possible attempt to distance himself from her by making her hate him.

Just my two cents.
(no subject) - secila80 on March 9th, 2009 08:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - hinodeh on March 9th, 2009 08:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - secila80 on March 9th, 2009 09:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
honeyhammer: UO. fandom lulzhoneyhammer on March 9th, 2009 04:13 am (UTC)
I've been trying to spread rep around even more so that I can rep LB7 for that but so far no luck. Frustration on my part continues.
There really is something more to this relationship than just the bad boy vs. good girl theme, but it's hard to pinpoint. In all honesty, the relationship almost has no category or definite name - at the moment it transcends the typical and expected. And maybe that's what people love about it. I'm not sure if KT intended to hit oil on his own land, but he did, and all I can hope is that he's taken good notice of it.
I ship this pair pretty hard and a good majority of my posts on BA go in the Ulquihime FC, but hey, it's these two characters and their subsequent interactions which got me hooked onto Bleach again.
What I think most draws me to these two is the idea of bridging the "division" between individuals who believe themselves to be so vehemently different. There are two sides in constant conflict with each other, yet fail to realize that this "division" is more of self-inflicted thing, IMHO. The hollow, shinigami, and humans are in a constant cycle of life and so are inexplicably connected to each other - souls going through different circles of life, death, and evolution which will inevitably follow that same circle. All are human souls yet they alienate themselves via prejudice and ethnocentricity. There's conflict with this division which is even evident in the psychological state of Ulquiorra, which has become a large focus.
He's become insecure in his philosophies on life and its meaning and has in turn become insecure with his view of himself as well as his purpose. Doubt and denial are really getting to him and he's trying desperately trying to cover it up and salvage the sureness he once had, even if that means trying to drag down others into his despair. We're really seeing his dark side, which should always have been apparent, but there is some light left there, as proven by him becoming more human. And this is all because of Orihime.
They may not be "romantic" but they definitely have the potential for beautiful moments, and the fact that they're going to change each other forever should be enough.

Ulquiorra is a favorite of mine, but he does need a good beating. The one thing he has left is his physical security in his own power. As LB7 also said, maybe he needs the hollow beaten him for him to finally scrounge up the humanity left in him and fight on that rather than pure physical strength.

I'm tense but I'm more excited than anything, and just trying to trust KT in that whatever he does is for the better of all these characters. We really are approaching the climax and the fandom is going nuts. It's going to go even more nuts when it all happens.

-Honeyhammer from BA

Edited at 2009-03-09 06:06 am (UTC)
カルラ (carla): ishida uryuu: quincygirls_are_weird on March 9th, 2009 04:27 am (UTC)
i'm not an ulquihime fan, but i'm very interested in seeing how this pans out. this arc has centered around orihime, and it's pretty obvious that she hits ulquiorra much deeper than ichigo does, and without even really fighting. i really believe she'll be the one who will, if not take him down, at least break him down. and shippers will, of course, take that however they wish to take it xDDDD

as far as an ishida vs. ulquiorra fight goes-- OMG YES PLZ =3 i would die, i'm sure it'd be too much for my little fangirly heart to take, but PLEASE, kubo! *begs*
I will end you: Trashlintsister on March 9th, 2009 05:17 am (UTC)
Wow...even after reading all of this, why do I feel like I'm the only person who isn't freaking out over this week's chapter? I love Ulquihime and Ishihime, but I don't feel either is in danger. I'm glad Ulqui blew a hole through Ichigo in front of Hime. He's pretty much the only one who can get her to show some backbone, and I hope to hell this snaps her out of her "Kurosaki-kun" trance and she realizes he's not as great as everyone makes him out to be. I want her to get angry. I want her to be upset. I want her to walk over and bitch slap him in the face again. This is the perfect time for her to get the development she's long overdue for, and I hope Kubo realizes it.

I highly doubt it's going to get physical between Ishida and Ulqui at this point. Ishida has half a brain and knows better than to jump headlong into a fight like that. Ulqui and Hime have some words to exchange if/before we resort to that.

- Ice from BA
secila80: OrihimePlushiesecila80 on March 9th, 2009 04:06 pm (UTC)
I agree that some anger from our dear Orihime would be a wonderful thing to see. Honestly, I'd be happy with any sort of definite reaction from her but the anger would be particularly enjoyable. I don't see Ulquiorra letting her slap him again but maybe . . . *wondering if she can use her shield to like pin him against a wall or something*
secila80: UlquiHimesecila80 on March 9th, 2009 05:24 am (UTC)
It certainly seems as if tensions are high – perfectly understandable with such a highly anticipated chapter on the horizon ;o)

Ulquiorra is such a deliciously Byronic character. I’m not sure if Kubo is intending to treat him as such, but if he doesn’t – I have to admit – I’m going to be genuinely disappointed. I mean, that is the thing that is so fascinating about those dark, brooding characters, we all assume there is a reason for the darkness. The Lust chapters have me concerned because they imply that Ulquiorra has no reason beyond causing despair. I really hope that this, as suggested above, is out of character or at least a regression of his character to state he had previously overcome – if it isn’t and Ulquiorra is just evil for the sake of being evil HE IS BORING.

Ulquiorra is a very popular character (and I agree, his hotness is undeniable!) but I think his popularity from the beginning, and still, is based largely on things we haven’t actually been shown, things we’ve assumed/hoped about him. (Pretty interesting considering he is a character who has an all-seeing eye and who only believes in what he actually perceives.) I’ve loved every new revelation about his character and how they have fed into and/or evolved my assumptions about him. Now that we seem to be getting to some of the really juicy assumptions: Why he’s working for Aizen? What are his feelings toward Orihime? Aizen? Why does he look so freaking sad all the time? I’m getting pretty darn excited.

On that note, I have no idea how Orihime feels about Ulquiorra and that really interests me. In reviewing their interactions she often looks disturbed, but she always looks concerned, as if she is unsure whether he is serious. Orihime seems to me the only one who has made no assumptions about Ulquiorra. At the very least I don’t think she has assumed that he is her enemy and I’m very curious to see whether the events of the last chapter change this in her mind.
bleach_odbleach_od on March 9th, 2009 08:41 am (UTC)
I just want to address two things before I discuss UlquiHime.

One...I agree with Syn. Orihime was jealous of Rukia. Not because Rukia is one hell of a motivational speaker, either. Because of ICHIGO. She was jealous of Rukia's effect on him. She admitted at school and then cried over it. It was all about Ichigo. I think yall are being to hard on Syn.

I wouldn't call her a liar. However I do believe the unconscious desire to be saved--the unconscious desire to be what Ichigo is to Rukia.Made her make dumb choices....

I don't think she is a liar, I just think there is a deeper meaning behind her actions. It's just no matter how deep it's always about Ichigo *gag*

Secondly, I am a Hime-hater (Not as much since I became an UlquiHime shipper in earnest) But I am not mad she got the spotlight. I have issue's with her self esteem. She is a terrible role model for young girls. She needs a man to validate her worth---*stoping; saving the rest for my essay on Hime* I just wish she'd notice that Ichigo is not the only great guy around. He may be the greatest...but he's not the only great guy.
*pushes Ulquiorra and Ishida in front of Hime*


@"Dark" Ulquihime Shippers

May I ask you something? What is your definition of romance? You keep saying you hate "Romantic Shipping" when it comes to UlquiHime. Which confuses the hell out of me, because...

The Captor falling for Captive, (& Vice Versa) is a romantic notion in itself. It is the dark nature of the UlquiHime dynamic that makes it romantic.

I don't mean the ooey-goey, sugary sweet kind either...

I mean the dark, tempestuous, passionate, and brutal nature of the relationship that makes me squee. Another thing...I don't see why the relationship could start out dark and then develop into one that isn't. Ulquiorra could for the better, without losing who he is..
I think it makes no difference how you ship it. It's all ROMANCE, no matter how you look at it.

Sorry I didn't say more or really contribute. It's just if I say it all now. There will be no point in finishing my UlquiHime Essay.
hinodeh: deus ex yoruichihinodeh on March 9th, 2009 09:17 am (UTC)
To be fair, captor/captive is often either Stockholm or Lima Syndrome. Both of these are mental disorders. Though I've read that the don't kick in if the captor and/or captive are aware of their existence and resist them.

I mean the dark, tempestuous, passionate, and brutal nature of the relationship that makes me squee. Another thing...I don't see why the relationship could start out dark and then develop into one that isn't. Ulquiorra could for the better, without losing who he is..

I agree with this. Word.
(no subject) - gully_moe on March 9th, 2009 02:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - pixyteri on March 9th, 2009 10:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Stacey: Ichiori - Light and darkstace_s on March 9th, 2009 09:18 am (UTC)
One...I agree with Syn. Orihime was jealous of Rukia. Not because Rukia is one hell of a motivational speaker, either. Because of ICHIGO. She was jealous of Rukia's effect on him. She admitted at school and then cried over it. It was all about Ichigo. I think yall are being to hard on Syn.

IA

I actually had never considered before reading the comments here that Orihime was jealous of Rukia as a person! XD I took her extolling Rukia's virtures to Matsumoto as her basically saying, without actually saying it, I'd like to be more like Rukia so Ichigo would like me.
bleach_odbleach_od on March 11th, 2009 09:32 am (UTC)
Ok ...then it's envious.
If envy is a better word than we can use that. The point is she cried because Rukia was able to do what she could not.

She said (paraphrasing here) She should be happy, but she wasn't. Even as she thought "Thank God Kurosaki-kun is back to his old self" She said that with tears in her eyes. Then she cried later. So I have to ask, how could you think it wasn't about Ichigo? "I'd like to be more like Rukia so Ichigo would like me"

Means she knows he likes Rukia. It means that she is envious of Rukia. It means she wants to be where Rukia is at in his heart.

What Matsumoto said in a nutshell is..."You can still be important to Ichigo without being what Rukia is to him. He still needs his "friends". Jealousy and Envy are human emotions and it's alright to feel this way. You are pretty cool because you didn't let it make you a jealous, spiteful and petty bitch"

Which I agree. I love Rukia and Orihime's relationship. I always have. Friends should come before boys...A true friend is forever. I value my friends. So I like the fact that Orihime loves Rukia as much as Rukia loves her.

@Adam Why do you think Ulq is a dick? So far he has been the only one who treated her with respect. (I know... In my essay I will explain what I mean)

Ulquiorra has hard time understanding emotions. He is also fighting against being human. He doesn't even realize that he has been constantly displaying emotions since 341.

His words to Orihime...showed that he is a victim of jealousy as well. He is becoming less emo-static and more emotional and is in denial because he has a hard time dealing with being human. He's not a dick...he's actually not a bad guy at all. He's just on the wrong side.

Re: Ok ...then it's envious. - stace_s on March 12th, 2009 02:03 am (UTC) (Expand)
Adam Eppadam_epp on March 9th, 2009 04:30 pm (UTC)
There's one reason I don't care for the Ulquiorra and Orihime relationship:

Demon or angel, he's a dick. This chapter proves it.
r0ck3tsci3ntist - sorry, kiddingr0ck3tsci3ntist on March 9th, 2009 06:23 pm (UTC)
lol well, he IS a monster. The Beast from Bell et Bet was an asshole too.
(no subject) - pixyteri on March 9th, 2009 10:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - gully_moe on March 10th, 2009 01:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - honeyhammer on March 10th, 2009 01:07 am (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - xilvrin on March 11th, 2009 02:29 am (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - honeyhammer on March 10th, 2009 02:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
♀*La Muerte Chiquita*♀la_kalaka on March 9th, 2009 06:46 pm (UTC)
Well, What surprise me the most was unlike Rukia-Ichigo-Renji dinamyc, there is not funny moments like Rukia punching renji for hold her too thightly. Even if Orihime is a character with funny and weird ideas who made others character around her to go WTF! right now all we have is sadness, despair and blood.

Seeing it like this, for me is all a big deal and a very very good scenario since KT can accentuate that light and darkness thing. Also for me is all about Ulquiorra being fascinated and curious about Orihime, he is like a child experimenting things.

SilvaNoir: trenchcoatxilvrin on March 10th, 2009 02:53 am (UTC)
That's what I miss about Bleach. There used to be more silly moments to break up the tension. It was always a good balance between comedy and drama, until they actually got inside Las Noches. It's been getting darker and darker since, with each part moving slower.
Diet Punk: 今更, イングリッシュで 選択するlennan on March 10th, 2009 02:59 am (UTC)
Well, I'm going to try to deal with a number of things raised here.

Hell's bells, you weren't kidding when you said the fandom was in uproar. I don't ship Ulquiorra and Orihime...okay, I'll be honest, I don't ship anyone with anyone. I've yet to see any substantial romantic development between Ichigo and Rukia, despite their deep bond. Deep bonds don't necessarily mean getting hitched and I stand by that, so unless KT goes in that direction, I won't acknowledge the romantic pairing. Plus Ichigo's a romantic blockhead. Orihime and Ichigo; that's just a relationship that would be founded on problems, because well, the girl needs to stand on her own two feet before she thinks about having any boy. Seriously. Plus, Ichigo's a romantic blockhead. I'm not too sure how I feel about Ishida and Orihime, because the shoujo shuffle is something I really don't want happen. If Orihime ended up single and thriving I would be happy, in fact if all of them ended up single and thriving I would be happy. The finding your true love at sixteen is getting a bit old. Or maybe I'm just too old.

Frankly, what we're getting here with Orihime's story is a character analysis of an extremely flawed person rather than a role model. Of course, it's going to be ugly, of course it's going to be frustrating; it wouldn't be as interesting otherwise. I love Rukia dearly as a character, but her development in the SS arc and even her resolution of her guilt over Kaien’s death, wasn't half as interesting as Orihime's story, because well, none of what happened to her was really her fault; whereas in the case of Orihime all her development or lack thereof is a result of her bad decisions. I wonder how KT will write her out of this. If he doesn’t then I’ll be terribly disappointed. But mostly what makes me sad is to see the anger that people can invest in hating some characters. I feel like saying chillax, it's only fiction. Or maybe I should congratulate KT on making a character that elicits such a reaction?

That said, I really enjoyed the analysis of UlquiHime because I find it relevant in a non-shippery way, I think it's very fascinating that KT always juxtaposes those two. Despair and hope, with Ulquiorra trying to destroy Orihime’s hope in Ichigo saving her. Syn mentioned something interesting about how Orihime becomes worse when people try to help her. In a sense, she’s being smothered by her friends’ love when really she needs to be forced to stand on her own. I sincerely hope that seeing the image of her hero blown through with a hole in his chest shatters the illusion of what Ichigo is to her and makes him less of an ideal and more of a person. It will be only then that they can create a relationship with each other as equals. …I’m not so sure, though, that in the moment that Syn was talking about that she was lying. I think more it was she was not telling Rukia everything, and I don’t think that it’s only because she wants to fight alongside Ichigo. Ichigo is always placed so far ahead of everyone, that all of the other characters are “looking at his back” so to speak. Probably all the characters feel the same way, but we’re not following them as closely as Orihime. I also can’t fault her for not focusing on her other goal; seriously, if we’re going to be talking about realism, I don’t think Orihime should take the brunt of the stupid reasoning. Yeah, she worries about Ichigo instead of going to destroy the hougyoku or worrying about Karakura town, but likewise it’s also pretty stupid (though honorable) for Ichigo and co to go to rescue her in Hueco Mundo when Aizen is going to invade their town. All they’ve done is trade a friend for their home. Either way, it shows how immature these characters are if we’re going to talk about responsibility on a larger scale. They all pretty much get a fail on that front, but hey, that’s why they’re the good guys. I also can’t really discount Orihime’s sincerity of feelings towards Rukia; after all, she did cry and demand to be let out of her prison when she felt that Rukia may have died. Finally, yeah, Ichigo is the hero and all, but the true mirroring faces are Ulquiorra and Orihime. They both need to claw their way out of the dark if they are to grow.
r0ck3tsci3ntist - sorry, kiddingr0ck3tsci3ntist on March 11th, 2009 03:25 am (UTC)
Just, this. Thank you.
(Anonymous) on March 10th, 2009 03:56 pm (UTC)
It's ironic that Orihime can't find a role she's satisfied with, even though she's talented in many areas and has one of the most powerful and versatile gifts of all of the characters.
Kubo told us on various occasions, that she has godlike powers and still there was only one event where she was thinking of using them... Rejecting the Hogyoku. If that's possible she might never need to use Tsubaki again. Just reject an Arrancar's existance. Or only the process of Arrancarization. If she utilized her powers to the fullest, she could be the scariest person in all of Bleach.
Of course there are limiting factors as well (like Ulqui's reiatsu or her stamina), but if she thought outside of the box a little she would instantly "power up".
yulieana on September 11th, 2009 09:51 pm (UTC)
You wrote this before "The Ash" and you pretty much summarized how it's all gonna come down to. Ichigo beat Ulquiorra to a pulp and with his dying breath he found his heart in Orihime's hand. WoW.
_debbiechan_: 60secondcoming_debbiechan_ on September 11th, 2009 10:17 pm (UTC)

Haha, well some of us had been calling this one more or less for a couple years now--Orihime redeeming Ulquiorra in some way was all we knew. Even I didn't expect such a bold metaphor from Kubo-sensei as Ulqui going "Oh I get it" about what was in his hand. It was really cool to watch it go down. Can't wait to get back up to the dome to see the fall-out.
(no subject) - yulieana on September 11th, 2009 10:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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