_debbiechan_ (_debbiechan_) wrote in bleachness,

Plushie-gasm and Nakama Arc Speculations

Plushie-gasm! Me want so much!

He's already betrothed to another, alas. Pheleon is exhausted from making his wings or I'd get her to make one for my Szayel-crazy friend Justine. I'm having fantasies of a plushie with tentacles big and strong enough to grab my Renji and Ishida plushies and wave them around like flags. (Wouldn't that be the sight?) I want to send Kubo-sensei an army of delicately-crafted plushies of his less popular yet utterly squishable characters like Shinji, Hanatarou, Keigo, Wonderweiss. Oh I would love to own a Tesla plush or at the very least, a decent Orihime plush.

There is no official Orihime plush--isn't that shocking? I made my own "Unhappy Hueco Mundo Hime" for my daughter last year but the cats appropriated her.

Hime's lost some stuffing over the year. Her boobs deflated significantly.

There's even an official Chad plush. My only guess is that marketers figure girls buy the plushies and girls don't like Hime that much. Poor Hime, so controversial. Not only is she batted around by my cats, she's batted around as a feminist icon by fans.

I have great faith that Kubo-sensei, who has a wicked sense of humor and a fondness for giganto boobs, is  nonetheless NOT a misogynist and my Orihime's great moment is coming soon. I will then sew a "KICKASS TRIUMPHANT HUECO MUNDO HIME" and I'll  give her a look so fierce the cats won't come near! (or if they do it will be to purr and cuddle, not to toss her around with the dust bunnies under the bed).

(ETA--What I'm really dreading is that this Orihime MOMENT will be a sacrifice--that is so in keeping with her nature. I want to see proactive Hime and Tsubaki, but lots of the signs point to a re-framing of her strategically bad decision to go with Ulquiorra in the first place. She didn't trust her friends to win their fights in this nakama arc and just assumed that Ulquiorra was speaking the truth when he said they'd die if she didn't come with him and she only delayed her friends' inevitable fighting with the enemy meanwhile putting her healing skills in enemy hands... BAD MOVE Hime--but of course without it we would have no HM arc. So I'm wondering if Orihime won't make another, more honest and meaningful gesture of sacrifice for her friends the next time.  I don't fear that Kubo will KILL her but....

*bites nails* )

Tomorrow is Tanabata 7/7 and guess what? I didn't write a Tanabata story this year. So I guess I'll fan-blather about the manga.

Is the Hueco Mundo arc over? The blurb in Shounen Jump before the flashbacks started said that the arc was over, only it referred to the preceding chapters as the "Arrancar arc." What's this one now going to be called? Right now, it's conveniently being referred to as "post-flashback chapters" since we don't know what's going to happen yet, but it's clear that the story that began with Orihime's going to HM is far from over. There are still endless possibilities for further parallels to the Soul Society rescue arc. 

I've heard a lot of fans refer to the adventure in Hueco Mundo as the "Nakama arc" and someone the other day asked me why people called it that.

No, it's not that Bleach has suddenly become One Piece, but Kubo-sensei has really hit the friendship theme hard in this part of the story. Before the five rescuers set off to Hueco Mundo, Kubo made sure we got this.

The friends fell apart. Allegiances were questioned. Ishida's father made him choose between associating with Shinigami or getting his powers back. Shinji, trying to recruit Ichigo, warned him that all his friends would desert him once they knew of his inner Hollow.

Ichigo hero-complex has its roots here--in his protective instinct to keep his friends away from harm and away from troubles only HE can take on. He causes his friends great pain by shutting them out emotionally.  Tatsuki puts his head through a glass window and asks the burning question for the first time in the story.

Ichigo shines in his devotion to the concept of friendship but he doesn't really trust his friends--that is, he doesn't think they're up to the task of doing what it takes to confront bad guys. He takes it for granted that they haven't evolved or will NOT evolve in fighting strength. He amazingly assumes that he doesn't need the Shinigami to take on Hueco Mundo all on his own. For the sake of friendship yet while ignoring his friends.

Chad and Ishida show up to surprise Ichigo and say that they're going to help him.  Ishida, obviously, has gone back on his solemn word to his father, in order to rescue a friend. (Ishida does some fancy rationalizing and spouts some ridiculous legalese to justify his associating with a "substitute" Shinigami such as Ichigo but later doesn't hesitate to align himself with Shinigami Rukia and Renji--he even saves Renji's life--I loved the fun bonding time between Renji and Ishida--as much as my slasher self wants to see it otherwise, it's a nakama story). 

Chad has to ATTACK Ichigo to get his attention and even then, Ichigo doesn't quite get it.

Later, in the desert, Renji and Rukia both give Ichigo some blows (Hmm, everyone from Tatsuki on has let Ichigo have it--Ishida didn't do it physically but he's restrained like that. He snarked Ichigo up a storm, though) and Rukia expresses great disappointment that Ichigo didn't trust his friends to come help him.

After all, she and Renji have abandoned their duties as Shinigami and defied Soul Society to come help him! Was Ichigo really supposed to believe that they would do that.  Rukia asks the question again, just in case Ichigo and Kubo's audience haven't gotten it yet.  ARE WE NAKAMA?

There's been so much shippery-stuff made out of these pages and one has to give the shippery resonances their due. It's true that Renji stands back and appears to give Rukia her space while she confronts Ichigo here.  Rukia flat out tells Ichigo that their relationship is that of nakama and that declaration echoes the observation made in quite the dramatic sequence of panels in the SS arc that Rukia is NOT just a nakama to Ichigo.

NOT JUST A FRIEND, says Orihime herself and this gets one of the biggest-eyeballs reactions from Ishida we've seen in the whole manga. Poor Ishida.  Did he have half a hope there that Orihime was going to understand the IchiRuki-ness of Bleach and relinquish her futile feelings?

I'll save you the one page chapter cover that proclaims, according to Orihime, "the one who changed his world."

And there are those who believe that this has no romantic connotation. *shrugs* Sure. Okay. More than nakama, less than lovers, I'm fairly cool with that. Bleach, among many things, is about the relationship between two dynamic characters--Ichigo and Rukia--and if there's one thing that's been consistent throughout the manga is that this relationship is constantly evolving.

So the "Are we nakama?" question Rukia asks of Ichigo has yet to be resolved.

The nakama resonance happens again before the flashback gaiden. First, before Orihime is recaptured, Ichigo gets scolded and kicked around--by Kenpachi this time. Seems that everyone has an idea of what Ichigo's obligations should be. Kenpachi tells Ichigo to remember the girl (Orihime) and his town and to leave the rest of the fighting to the Shinigami. Ichigo seems torn as to what exactly he's supposed to be doing--he clearly wants to fighty fight fight some more.  But then Orihime is zapped away, the openings to Karakura Town are sealed off (effectively giving Ichigo no choice between the town and Orihime), and Ichigo, sensing Orihime is in danger from Ulquiorra (or is she? Or is Ichigo just sensing an opportunity to fight?) gives a very lame hero's speech to Kenpachi about this duty to his nakama.

Pretty words.  Actions speak louder, though. I'll be looking at what Ichigo does rather than what he says in the upcoming chapters.  If the romance we shippers are looking for is going to happen, it's going to happen soon. I expect boulder-size hints soon, even among the zam pow boom of battles set to happen.  Is Orihime more than a nakama to Ichigo? Is Rukia? Will Orihime see, again, that Rukia is more than a nakama to Ichigo?

My best guess right now is that Orihime will do something with the hougyoku (as Aizen planned all along) while Ulquiorra and Ichigo fight. I do expect that the five rescuers will converge at the scene altogether eventually and that the main reunion will not be a Tanabata lovers sort but one of nakama after a long separation.
Tags: bleach manga, ichigo, ichiruki, plushies
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