Why is "The Lust 3" not titled "The Despair?" More than a few fans have asked that. I think it's because the title 'The Lust' still works in this chapter. Kubo's particular about his chapter titles. He's a poet.
Anyway, someone asked at BA and I couldn't resist typing up a long-ass response. I'm expecting to get neg-repped and stink-bombed there, and here's what I wrote.
Originally Posted by Eve
I'm curious: what was the "lust" in this chapter? Ulquiorra didn't seem as lustful as much as getting what he wants- or maybe him fulfilling his lust for despair?
Orihime's "lust" to be able to protect/save/resurrect her friends? That's not really a "lust".
Ishida's "lust" to be calm while fighting Ulquiorra? Not a "lust".
Perhaps it's something to do with Ichigo's mullet.
And my response:
My take. You mileage may vary.
From what I've seen, Kubo's title pages tend to call attention to the imagery most resonant with the words. Sometimes there's just a graphic flair like the title in the shape of a key or there's a bad Engrish pun, but the seven sins titles have all had some vague echo to the Judeo-Christian sin they're supposed to represent. Even Gluttony, which was later seen to be Gluttony for destruction, was prefaced with Yammi's gnawing on a piece of meat.
This chapter gives us the title with several repetitions of Orihime's grief-awe-horror-strick eyes at the sight of Ichigo with a giant hole in his chest. The panels go hole, eye, hole, eye. The visual is really disturbing and the title flashes The Lust 3.
Why wasn't this chapter titled the Despair? I've been thinking about that over and over these past few days. It seems to have mostly been about Orihime's despair. I remember some fans predicting that Orihime would be the sun or something similarly shiny to metaphorically blot out the heavy black darkness of Ulquiorra's reiatsu when she arrived above the dome, but alas, she fell to Ulquiorra's purpose whereas Ichigo and Ishida kept on marching defiantly towards their "deaths" the way shounen guys do. Orihime fell to despair.
But there was something that I thought of immediately when I saw that title page and I made the connection later. Orihime reminded me of a mourner before the crucified god. I was half-expecting her to gather Ichigo into her arms like a Pieta but I watched her do her Orihime thing--heal, shield, feel feel feel, cry, Kurosaki-kun, and something else we hadn't seen before--despair. All very in character, all very moving.
Lust? Lust has been described by the Church as an adoration of the body, an idolization of man over the Divine. It's common in fandom among Orihime-watchers (her haters and other people too--I know plenty people who don't hate who believe the following) that her love for Ichigo is a sort of idolatry. When Ichigo was fighting Grimmjow, Orihime was preoccupied about WHY he was fighting--she said she couldn't see herself reflected in his eyes. Some will say that she was concerned about his well-being but I saw plenty canon support that she was concerned with Ichigo saving her.
One of Nel's arguments, when the little Hollow was trying to goad Orihime into giving Ichigo support (right after Orihime had just disappointed the poor boy by being scared of his mask) was Ichigo is fighting for you.. Orihime needed to be told this. It was important to her. It wasn't until Ichigo gave his speech about being in HM to fight Grimmjow, Ulquiorra, Aizen and listed every one of his nakama including Orihime that we see any real change in Orihime's expression--in that chapter we saw a close up of her eyes. To this sixteen year old girl, to whom it had mattered in war that the most vital weapon the hougyoku be destroyed it also matter A LOT that the object of her love be fighting for her (she had every reason to doubt--after all, Ichigo had asked her to heal his opponent so they could settle a grudge match--prioritizing Orihime would've meant leaving GJ unhealed).
A few things have been said already around fandom about Orihime's calling upon Ichigo to help her and I and some others have written about how it strikes us as prayer--not surprising. Panicked people pray--that's the first thing they do, religious and irreligious alike, they appeal to a higher power.
Be careful what you pray for, I suppose. The appearance of whatever/whoever next week is essential to the plot and to Orihime's development as a character and to the relationship between Orihime and Ichigo (just as the Grimmjow incident of her cheering him on seemed to be part one of Orihime coming to terms with Ichigo's Hollow self and Ichigo allowing his friends to see it).
But the sin--I wouldn't think Orihime's attitude sinful in context except that, as a large part of fandom has noted, from the time she picked Ichigo over Tatsuki to say goodbye to, Orihime's been fixated. She's been waiting for Ichigo to act first. She's had to be reminded to put up her shield, told by Ichigo himself to heal a small child before healing him, she's listened to Ichigo tell her to heal Grimmjow and to stay back from the fight with Ulquiorra when she could've easily said no.
In this chapter she was shown kneeling in panic and despair over Ichigo until Ishida, who was sacrificing literally life and limb for her, was blown across the panel and into her consciousness. I predicted this--I said I wasn't looking forward to Ishida's having to fall into a bloody heap against Orihime in order to get her attention after her ignoring him since he showed up--what would it have take for Kubo to have her thank him briefly? Not a chummy convo--just a sweet acknowledgement or happiness to see him? Panels and panels of her staring up into the sky---where now, we know, she expected Ichigo to win.
And Ichigo died.
Now she wants Ichigo to take care of it all. She wants his salvation. I believe, and maybe this is a matter of personal theology as well as literary interpretation here, but Orihime's salvation lies within herself. Looking to Ichigo, shounen hero that he is, to make all the decisions for her is a type of idolatry. A type of man-worship. A neglect of the Divine (that is, Orihime's own latent powers) and true lust.
You may throw tomatoes now.