I've got a wine hangover from the Passover seder last night and am too tired to go our synagogue's second night seder so maybe I'll just try to compile all these religious references that people have tossing about for the Ichigo and Ulquiorra Seven Sins confrontation. I admit that last night when I raised my glass for the Third cup of Redemption (Passover is, among many wonderful things, about Jews getting wasted for the sake of their religion) and sang the Hebew, I will redeem you with an outstretched hand... I thought about Ulquiorra. I didn't say anything at the table because my manga affinities are already suspect, if not my ability to hold my Manichewitz.
Anyway, the chapter isn't scanned yet and all we have are spoilers and one picture and much fandom commotion, but my take for the moment is ....
That Ulquiorra is not dead.Sure, the ashes stuff represents the corruptibility of the body and the permanence of the soul and whatnot but the fact that Vegeta of Dragonball Z, written by Kubo's mentor Toriyama, sacrificed himself after a hellacious villanous period, was redeemed in poetry and song in the manga, was mourned by all Japan, fell in a heap of ASH and then popped back some chapters later makes me suspect that Ulquiorra will do the same. That and the previous chapter If You Rise From the Ashes and my stubborn belief that no one who puts out a Bleach single of pop songs WILL EVER DIE IN THE STORYLINE. Oh yeah, and Ulquiorra Schiffer (although it's Cifer now according to Kubo's character profile which was released with volume 38--see Spacey's scans here--in a nice correlation with Ulquiorra's two Fallen Angel Lucifer releases--Cifer still is pronounced SHiffer) still carries the name of a monk who survived Hiroshima. So you see, call it denial, what you will, I refuse to believe my batspada is gone for good.
Okay, my head is starting to hurt so here, have some funnies. The first is yet another by KawaiiS for UlquiHime shippers and the second is by Chris( dbnext )for IshiHime shippers. Too early to tell yet but Ishida has so gotten shafted in this chapter... shafted, impaled, dismembered, disemboweled--what else is new? LOL. Mah baby!
Gloom by KawaiiS
The Ishida Abuse Continues by dbnext
Okay. Some interesting fandom observations I thought I'd point out. Gleaned from BA.
Originally Posted by rashomonSo, the chapter's title is "The Ash". Seems Kubo is obsessed with religious symbolisms lately. The title reminds me of the famous quote "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust". I think Ulquoirra turning into sand is in itself an act of repentance like when Job says to God : "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes."
Sorry to bother you with these biblical quotes, but I thought it would fit the title.
Oh no, sorry I wasn't clear, that wasn't the title of the chapter. The title is 'The Ash' But I was just trying to mention that Kubo's probably refering to the phrase, 'Ashes to ashes and Dust to dust.' It was probably all for aesthetics, since he'd been tossing out the 7 sins for the last few chapters.
Hmmm, "The Ashes" title brings many things to mind. I'm not sure if Kubo was making reference to this phrase, but, if so, his timing is interesting. We are in Holy Week, the final week of the Lenten season and Catholics (I have been told that Ulquiorra was named after a Catholic priest, Hubert Schiffer, so referencing Catholicism doesn't seem too crazy here) are generally reminded of their inevitable return to ashes at the beginning of Lent, not at the end.
Bringing The Ashes up at the end of Lent, following 'reflections' on the seven deadly sins certainly feeds strongly into the idea of redemption. It makes me feel as if Kubo is assuring us that Ulquiorra has been redeemed to some degree.
It also suggests that the character is transitioning from his current state into another (from death to new life). This idea is strengthened by occuring at the end of Lent and close to the season of the resurrection, which doesn't refer to humanity's resurrection, but its redemption and potential to enter into the next phase of life. (Whether this transition would involve Ulquiorra remaining in the story o_o remains in Kubo's very capable hands).
The thing I find most interesting, though, is that Ulquiorra falling into ashes -- if it is indeed a Lenten reference -- directly connects him with humanity. The concept of the Lenten Ashes applies uniquely to humans, as we are the only creatures with spiritual forms graced with being able to enter the afterlife, while being bound in this world to physical bodies. The ashes serve as a reminder of our mortality and that it is merely transitory.
Me: It was interesting that there's been a whole discussion on BA regarding the Easter theme and some people haven't hesitated to make comparisons of Ulquiorra to Christ and Orihime to G-d---both of which really make me laugh but I do admit a fondness for religious imagery.
Orihime is NOT god, she might have "god like" powers but she is not god, and for the others, Ulquiorra is not related to Jesus, he did not die for someone sins or any of that nonsense.
Folks that are screaming about a lack of backstory should also remember that often times, and several times in Bleach, that the backstory of one character was revealed by the person who was closest to that individual.
Yammy may be alive just for this purpose. Ulquiorra's death won't go unnoticed by him, so he's the character most likely to reminisce and pontificate about Ulquiorra.
I'd personally perfer a Yammy spun backstory than one just thrown in there as a random device.
And about Ulquiorra and Orihime reaching for each other and how their hands match the two famous sketches: I know that we've gone over this before, but I thought putting it all together would make it easier to understand
WHY KUBO TITE? WHY?
And while we're sort of on the subject of volume poems, I thought of a possible interpretation of the numbers in Orihime's poem.
are not intertwined
do not share the same form
Of the third:
we simply don't have eyes
Of the fourth:
we have no hope in that direction
At the fifth
therein lies the heart
You'll notice that there are five messages. The picture that was published over the poem was the one with Orihime's hand. There are five fingers on each hand. I'm thinking that maybe this format is supposed to represent Orihime putting her hand on the mirror, one finger at a time, trying to reach Ulquiorra (most likely), and meanwhile counting all the reasons why they can't succeed. I don't know if that actually works in Japanese, but at least it seems to make sense?
That's enough G-d and art and poetry in mah shounen manga for now. I'm going to go eat some dry crackers. See ya when the scans come out.