First, an illustration! I was really sick of the (damn sexy but) girly Uryuu of the filler arc ( He's so vuuulnerable) so I drew a picture in which he is the hero of the current. I challenge (beg?) someone to write a fic for this. I need more IshiHime to read (says she who started yet another IchiIshi last night....)
Now onto my Tanabata shipping crisis. I was up too late last night reading the various versions of the Tanabata myth (I've done this before) and trying to weave (ha ha) the various mythological threads here and there into the Bleach story. There's really no doubt that Kubo Tite (originally at least) intended for the story to mean some sort of connection between Ichigo and Orihime. I mean, really-- Orihime the weaver/handicrafts girl and Ichigo (one of whose kanji representations means ox king or something), the ox-puller, the hikoboshi who travels to heaven (hmmm, it was Rukia that he went to "heaven" to save?) to get his goddess woman in a moon-shaped boat (yep, yep, Ichigo is represented by the moon, no one can deny--it's his symbol in Bleach). There's all the damn rain imagery (when rain falls in the Tanabata story, the lovers can't meet), and there's fricken rain all over Bleach. Rukia in the rain with her arms around either Kaien or Ichigo (she really cares for them both--it's heartbreaking--but if Ichigo turns out to be a "bleached" version of Kaien,I'm screaming IT WAS TOO OBVIOUS, KUBO! I'm hoping that the reincarnation stuff is a red herring--the way Byakuya's picture of Hisana looking exactly like Rukia was supposed to make us guess at an unsavory backstory--did he adopt Rukia bc she looked like his ex-love? Did he want to kill Rukia for that reason?) The rain imagery goes on and on--Ichigo's mother dying in the rain, Orihime with her umbrella pining for Ichigo, Uryuu whose name means "rain dragon." At some point, the mythological parallels break down--there's something there, but the pieces don't all make sense.
The Tanabata myth also seems to fit the essence of the Bleach conflict (earth and sky, humans and Soul Society) for a while there. In another version of the myth, Orihime's lover has to weave 1000 pairs of shoes to reach her in heaven, and well, the lover is a weaver/handicrafts feller too (Uryuuuuu?)
But did Kubo's story run away with him? How can characters which have developed one way be squished to fit a mythological paradigm?
It's arguable but I really dare anyone to say that Ichigo doesn't have strong (love?) feelings for Rukia, and that bond is the emotional center of Bleach. But when the rain stops at the end of the Soul Society arc, there is Orihime standing behind Ichigo (Rukia brought them together for a brief moment?). Ah, but Urahara makes the rain stop twice for Ichigo too--by giving him hope that he can save Rukia.
Is the real point of the Bleach romance story that the lovers are always separated (as in the myth--because the relationship just didn't work out) except for every once on a festival sunny day?
Now Kubo-san has started to play the yin yang game--Shirosaki is a "bleached" version of Ichigo. Rukia and Ichigo's zanpakutou are black and white. Hueco Mundo is all white and the Shinigami are dressed in black, and so on and so on....
I think I may lose my mind before this is all over. When Orihime confessed her love to a sleeping Ichigo and people were shouting "this is it--this predicts the plot!" and others were saying "du'uh, he was ASLEEP, and Orihime KNOWS of his feelings for Rukia," I had a three or four hour depression-- I can't figure this stuff out! I know IchiRuki and IshiHime shippers (of which I am both) who got stomach aches or got pissy and yelled at people that day. In Japan (where the majority of fans ship IchiRuki over IchiOri), there was rioting on the cyberwaves.
I don't why this all matters so much to me--I mean, there's always fanfic, right? But if the story doesn't turn out the way I want (will Kubo's editors steer him towards a IchiRuki finale even if that's what Kubo-san didn't plan? I mean, look--fan popularity influenced the decline of Don Kanonji and the rise of Hitsugaya panel time), I'll just cry.
Help me. I'm lost at sea.