Now to the Bleachness matter at hand. My friend Jasse and I spend many an afternoon talking too much about our favorite Bleach character Ishida. Out of those conversations grew some ideas that I encouraged Jasse to write up into a mini-essay. Here it is. It's an unorthodox idea but I'm fairly sold on it--particularly because I think Kubo has defined Ishida's most defining moment as the time when he stood behind that tree and didn't rush forward to save his grandfather. vesperh has said that control rules Ishida's life. Jasse ( ananosa )suggests that it's FEAR of loss of control.
Ishida's Cowardice by ananosa
Coward: lacking courage. Proceeding from or expressive of fear and timidity.
"I really did not want to face it, At that time...When you were attacked, I was the one that hid myself and was unwilling to help you"
The chapter's name was "Blind but Bleed mix"
This is a very important revelation. Ishida masks his own insecurity, his own unwillingness to put his own life on the line for someone he cares about by hatred. This is a very typical human behavior. We blame others for our own problems. This is the easiest way to run away from taking responsibility for our flaws and mishaps. Blame others...and escape.
Ishida blamed the Shinigamis for not showing up to save his own grandfather.
and his blame while legitimate in a sense does NOT unburden him from responsibility nor excuse him from it. It ought have been his responsibility as Souken's most beloved pupil and grandson to put his life on the line for him without waiting for some stranger or a shinigami to do the saving.
"I am very useless I couldn't even save you can you can you ever forgive me?"
Ishida is obviously burdened by this ugly realization,by his stark weakness and inability to change what happened at that time. He asks for forgiveness from his master, knowing Souken, he did not put any blame on his grandson in the first place.The main problem remains that Ishida did not forgive himself.
Was this problem resolved?
I believe not. The events seem to confirm that Ishida's cowardice is very much an issue that has not been resolved till now.
Lets analyze all the battles Ishida has gone through
Against Jidanbou. Ishida had a clear advantage, Jidanbou had an air-borne type Zanpaktou. Its worst nightmare is a long range fighter like ishida who can fire simultaneously thus destroying all his projectiles at once.
To the Next Foe, Mayuri.
Ishida had the Sanrei gloves. A Quincy artifact that grants the Quincy fighter immeasurable powers once he/she decides to take it off.
Again...he had an advantage here. Everything is under control.
Next foe, Iceringer
Oh..so here Ishida can fire 1,200 consecutive arrows and Iceringer can fire only 108 consecutive arrows. Ishida's Hirenkayko is obviously superior to Iceringer's Sonido.
Next foe, Chiruuchi
Ishida has proven that he cannot do much against Chiruuchi in his normal state.
Pesshe interfered in the fight, he helped him and made Chiruuchi release.
Ishida asked Pesshe to do his "infinite slick" again only to realize a second later that its "finite". Ishida did not want to show his "next card that he has in his sleeve". Things have escalated and Ishida had to use the "Seele Schnieder".
He dominated and won the fight as a result.
Next Foe, SZayel Appollo.
Please bear with me on this. This fight is the most important one that helps illustrate my point.
So Ishida after noticing Rukia and Chad's reiatsu dropping, decided to help Renji whose not even injured yet. Would have Renji died if Ishida did not interfere? yes, he would have died. Did Ishida interfere in the battle because he felt Renji needed help? I don't think Ishida even knew Renji needed help until he saw it with his own eyes.
I think Ishida mainly interfered because he thinks he can even out the odds by having another fighter with him.
Ishida "United front" was a 2nd option...the first one was trying to defeat SZayel alone. I believe Ishida assumed that SZayel while an Espada couldn't be that dangerous(boy, was he wrong!!) because his reiatsu shouldn't be that high.
Lets see this page
So ishida is relieved that SZayel Octavo is Espada numero 8.
Ishida entered the fight on the premise that SZayel wasn't that much threatening,he also interfered because if he failed to defeat SZayel on his own. Renji is there to help(which explains how quickly Ishida thought of his plan in the chapter United Front/Red and White. He planned it all before even entering the fight IMO.
There is nothing exactly wrong about Ishida being honest it was a relief that SZayel is "not" that strong. But It should tell us how carefully ishida chooses his battles.
So far, all the battles he had. He was either superior against his foes or had an advantage against their fighting styles(Jidanbo/Iceringer) or,
he had a card in his sleeve that guarantees victory (Sanrei gloves/Seele Scnider-Mayuri/Chirucchi) or there was a potentially strong fighter in the battle arena(Renji-SZayel) and in the case of sZayel specially, Ishida has prolly sensed beforehand from his reiatsu that he was not that threatening.
Ofcourse, his calculations proved wrong.
He always has control in his fights. He always is calculative. Does he have a chance or not? that was the case with all his fights.
The fight with SZayel broke the trend. Why you ask? simple, because Ishida's calculations and preparations did not make the fight in his and Renji's favor. The enemy they faced was far more prepared and had far more control of all the unfavorable possibilities he can face when fighting a Shinigami and a Quincy.As a result, Ishida lost control and lost the fight.
There was nothing else he can offer after the horrific injury in chapter 293.
He was shown in reality as a vulnerable boy who obviously lost control.
His fighting spirit and "confidence" has been damaged as a result of this unforeseen surprise.
IMO, Ishida kinda of realized that he lost the fight himself even before the stomach injury.
Look at his face,the fear, the vulnerability. The lack of confidence is clear shown there.
In comparison with this.
Ishida is still composed here. He is not fretting and extremely anxious about his arrow succeeding to beat SZayel. He still has control over the situation.
If it did not work he can try again(then his weapon disappeared)..okay...still, its bad but its not over for him yet. another powerful fighter is there.
Renji decided to help.
I think there is a reason why Ishida decided not to go for Orihime and chose the Renji diversion. I think it was a conscious decision on his behalf. I dare say, Ishida is avoiding Orihime. He fears for his life and she must be somewhere where many stronger Espadas than Szayel lurk.
Ishida has yet been in a fight where he the foe he faced was particularly superior to him. More or less, all the fights he had been in. He had 90%-70% or 50% of winning.
Ishida had done many good positive things in the arc. He shed his pride and helped/saved Shinigamis, he broke the vow he made to his father.Although Ishida shedding his pride is not a particularly unique thing to HM arc, Ishida began making compromises at the cost of his pride ever since he chose to save Ichigo's life.
Thats all very positive. some might think that ishida's done enough.
Afterall, his pride means alot to him. but no, what makes him a coward imo was the fact that he is still unwilling to put his life on the line to rescue his a dear comrade. Yes, it must be painful to compromise at the expense of one's pride but the true sacrifice is to give and compromise your life and in the battlefield. IMO, Ishida is STILL very reluctant to do that. thats why he is not portrayed as a hero in this arc.
Which brings me to Rukia.
Rukia and Ishida both care alot about Orihime. Ishida has specially bonded with her in SS arc and Rukia spent a month with her training.
So, its no question that both deeply care about her and came to HM for her sake.
Whats the difference between Rukia and Ishida's portrayal? Why is Rukia portrayed more positively than ishida. Why was ishida so humiliated in comparison?
Here is the difference.
See, to the extent Rukia is willing to do to her nakama. She is willing to give up her life if it ensures Orihime's rescue.
Yes, this is the difference between Ishida and Rukia. Rukia faced an Espada that had caused her emotional distress/turmoil and reminded her of her worst nightmare.Yet, she was willing to win this seemingly impossible battle and fight against all the odds because her nakama and Orihime deserves this.
Sorry, if you compare this to ishida's devotion. Ishida falls flat. Avoiding battles he can't win for sure,avoiding to move forward to Orihime. He acts like a coward.
Ishida's character development prediction:
Ofcourse, this is a shounen. Shounens are all about growing up and ishida as one of the protagonists is no exception to this rule.
The only way this can be start resolving is by having Ishida fight a superior foe. A foe ishida knows he has BIG fat zero-0 against in winning. He remembers his own failures, his failure to be there when his grandfather needed him. He musters the courage and finally decides to take on this very strong foe despite all the odds being against him. He might/most likely lose the battle but this is the only way he can forgive himself because atleast he did not run away/hide.
Thank you all for reading.
This has taken lots of time from me.
I hope it was an enjoyable read. I look forward to further thoughts and opinions/feedbacks.
Debbie tackled the subject(probably unknowingly in one of her fics) and I found some interesting thoughts from. thnx debbie
|"He’s been afraid every moment of this journey. He was afraid when the first monster roared. When he shouted, "Tell Aizen that a Quincy is here," his chest was cold with dread. Chad fell, and Ishida stopped running to grieve and fear. When he shot through the walls of Szayel Aporro’s laboratory and stood there, smiling and triumphant, Ishida figured himself as good as dead if the Espada numbered any higher than nine. "That’s a relief," he told Number Eight, and his voice was as haughty and cool as the hard blade of fear in his soul. "That doesn’t seem like a very strong number."|
|"What warrior doesn’t know fear? Only unthinking maniacs like Kurosaki don’t know how to channel it to good use, to ride it like a sheet of ice over a treacherous river. Enemies saw a poised opponent, and Ishida lacked no confidence in his abilities. But fear--it tore reishi from the air and fed Ishida’s strength. It reminded him to be cautious. It told him to respect every possibility. Without fear, he would be blind. Without fear, he would be passionless".|
Do you see the correlation?
|"The closer he was to her, the more afraid he felt and the more aware he became of his human body in an inhuman place"|
|"He would not be lost to over-confidence or weakened by vanity but disciplined by fear".|
Those are the lines I found interesting and it relates to the subject at hand. Again, thnx Debbie
The times Ishida had been called Coward in the storyline:
Ryuuken: You're quite the cautious one.
Ishida: Sounds like...you are calling me a coward.
-Another time was by Pesshe:
Both Ryuuken and Pesshe understand Ishida. Pesshe as a character points out the things Ishida should change or the things he must prove the audience otherwise..he called him weak and put him at the bottom list of the "Masculinity chart", he told us Ishida was being a thief,
he assumed Ishida was gay and here he calls Ishida as a coward.
- Complex personality and weakness:
Chad: The more complex a person is, The weaker they are. Thats who he
is So I think he is weakest amongst us"
I thought Chad was being judgmental at first, calling a person he hardly knows weak. but the truth is, The meaning Chad intended was far from that.
Chad was making a true statement here. Humans make things harder for them when they complicate it and as a result they end up holding themselves back because they complicate things so much. In other words, they weaken themselves. Inoue/Chad and Ichigo are all rather straightforward people.
They know what they want to protect and wont have 2nd thoughts when they decide to go all out or when they fight.
Here..I have an example from the manga where Ishida ends up complicating things for himself and end up doing absolutely nothing about the situation.
The Ishida/Renji vs Szayel fight:(example) to illustrate the point
Look at how ridiculous Ishida is with his scenario here:
Ishida: I can now tell the differences between us and the real clones,listen first except for the skin around my eyes and Abrais kun, There is also a difference in hair quantity, which is slightly harder to tell. Those are 2 main differences....etc(continues telling the differences between Dondo and Pesshe clones"
Was it necessary to tell us that the hair quantity is different between them and the real clones, the difference is OBVIOUS and SIMPLE for all to see.
Ishida meticulousness in details is rather funny and above all unneeded.
The black spot in the skin that surround the eye should be more than enough.
Ishida is simply wasting his time here and complicating things that are very simple and obvious here further.
Ofcourse, Ishida list of differences did not do the trick. He ended up wasting time for no real reason. It was Renji and his instinctive simple(because things are far simpler than ishida make them look!!!) straightforward thinking that did the trick and made the situation troublesome for Szayel.
Renji: As I thought, while those copies were around, No matter how I attacked. I[B] Felt i was being imitated so I decided that I should do a test and use bankai to see if they copy me[/b]
Compare between the two approaches in battle. Ishida's and Renji's.
Ishida complicates things for him and made the situation look far comple than it is and Renji simply did what he felt and went for the most Practical approach.
and whose approach succeeded in the end? Renji's ofcourse.
-Ishida and Ichigo:
Fighting Jidanbou:(to illustrate the point above)
Ishida was screaming at Ichigo all the time, how can he fight Jidanbou without "formulating a plan first", both Chad and Inoue saw no problems in how ichigo handled the situation(after all,they think similarly).
Ichigo was annoyed by Ishida constant yelling and complicating things.
In the end, Ichigo succeeded armed by "his courage and inexhaustible energy"...and Ishida's source of worries did not exactly prove that they were in place.
Ishida's mental adaptation: (related to the main topic-cowardice-)
Ishida: How do we cope with such a giant?
Yoruichi: This is all about mental work
Ishida needs to mentally cope with the situation???...just a food of thought.Certainly because the others did not need to cope with it per se. Its his problem alone.
Note--the fic Jasse was referring to was "Inoue-san, You're Coming with Me."
Thought this was an interesting essay--one doesn't usually associate cowardice with Ishida. And it's interesting that at one point during his training with Ryuuken (can't find the page, am lazy today), Ishida accuses his father, "are you calling me a coward?"