We are connected through a mass network of the world.
We're like the special care patients in the hospital
We try hard not to let any one of the lines get broken.
But no matter how hard we try, one of the lines will break.
~ Mizuiro, chapter 0.8
I'm always surprised to find out how many Bleach fans don't know about "A Wonderful Error," the extra chapter about how Mizuiro and Keigo met Ichigo. It's one of those out-of-sequence/backstory/ "Untold Bleach" chapters like the recent Hitsugaya one.
You can see chapter 0.8 at lots of places but the Viz pics are posted at a BA thread here (If the connection is slow, it's because BA is switching servers after getting so many recent guests ... such a busy connection ... If you can't get the chapter, let me know and I'll upload it for you).
Anyhoo, my friend Jasse and I were talking about relationships in Bleach this morning. According to the Kubo interview in volume 16, chapter 0.8 is one of Kubo's personal favorites and in it, there's a musing, like a poem, by Mizuiro that compares relationships to telephone connections (Mizuiro is having trouble connecting to his mother). The Telephones R Us color spread, I noted, echoed this. Hey why not compare relationships to telephone connections? It's a modern world--we don't touch much--we are bodiless voices floating around like ghosts.
Jasse said, "There are chords, there are wavelengths. Some connect easily. Some cannot connect no matter how hard you try... and some are severed."
Thoughtful little Mizuiro. Like all of Kubo's side-characters, he's not a throw-away. He offers his detached view on goings-on, speculates about the IchiRuki relationship, tells Ichigo that Keigo is really smarter than he looks. Then in the special chapter, "A Wonderful Error," he gives voice to one of the major themes in Bleach: connections.
Separation is the theme of the Tanabata myth upon which Bleach draws, but the manga isn't a tragic love story--it's a shounen. A coming-of-age story. A story about identity but also about how connections shape those identities. In chapter one, a boy's life is transformed by a connection. Ichigo and Rukia connect in a supernatural way and set the plot rolling.
(and where will that little plot ball land? Who knows? I speculated about the subject of separation in one of my babbling manifestoes: The Bleach plot ... requires so many symbolic separations to be closed. I will bet you that many will be: Uryuu and his father come to some mutual understanding, Komamura fulfills his vow to restore "true sight" to his friend Tousen's eyes, Orihime closes the gap between her fantasy life and plain truths around her, Ichigo makes it up to the friend who got so mad at him that she socked his head into a glass window for ignoring her… the list goes on. Exiles Urahara and Yoruichi may finish their time of separation from Soul Society and reassume their roles as useful upholders of the universal balance...
more of my babblings about the Tanabata myth in Bleach here.)
The metaphor resonated in this color spread (chapter 298):
It's just a color spread, I liked to say diplomatically. But it was obviously meant to titillate shipper hearts as well as give off a nice rosy "ordinary-ness" of some future time beyond the current HM yuckiness (everyone was lying around defeated and humiliated, bleeding and/or eviscerated in the story when the spread came out).
My little shipper heart read something like the banner a friend made:
Oh, good times. When only one half of the spread was released, showing Ichigo and Orihime, one shipper professed, "I've died and gone to heaven. At 11 pm EST, IchiHime became canon!" Not long after, Justine parodied that phrase with the "At .... (forget the date), Bleach became a yaoi carnival" and posted that wacko CANON pic that pops up somewhere in the Bleach Battlers 2 game:
Somewhere, someone connects with the picture.
Poor Kubo. How many of us are connecting with his original intent?
"There are bits in the manga where I draw scene that wouldn’t get the reader’s attention too much. I always put all my effort into my manga but how each audience read my manga are different. So it’s really important to make sure they would end up all having a similar idea of my story, but then again, it’s really up to them how they read the manga, but then there are scenes where I want the audience to be touched, so it’s really hard." -- Kubo Tite
Thoughts? I'm bored. Make fun of me, whatever.