What did I say? The shippers would be churning over recent developments in the manga. Ever since 237 when Orihime was given such a stirring soliloquy, the IchiOri hopes have been at high mast. I know some IshiHimes who went out and drank over the death of their ship (not I! I had still had faith) and some IchiRukis who muttered and shifted in their seats and reminded us of the previous 200 chapters of IchiRuki outweighing this one chapter.
Dear Bleach fan, the harbor is crowded. I like fanfic and fantastical imaginings.I like Ikkaku/Nemu as much as the next healthy sex-minded girl, and sometimes RenBaya moves me. AizenUlqui is my 2nd favorite ship. With so many wonderful characters, there's something for everyone. But the guns have always ridden on the big warships--IchiRuki and IchiOri. And the general belief is that one of these relationships will be consummated in canon (hardly anyone expects an open ending anymore--I don't think Kubo will suggest--he will clarify the above. He may suggest with IshIHime, but he's going to wrap this one up. He's too methodical and too much a shoujo man not to).
What's happened with 270 that everyone is flailing about? There's splishing and splashing men going overboard. It can look pretty silly to an outsider, very confusing to someone who doesn't give a hoot about ships, but I think most people will tell you that it's the beginning of the end fot the IchiOri ship.
I've never attempted detachment when it comes to ships, but not all viewpoints are valid. I can drop clunkers of bad evidence when it comes to so-and-so getting together. But when it comes to IchiRuki, one doesn't have to shake the manga upside down for even a drop of evidence. It's everywhere.
But what about Orihime, you say? You love her. Don't you want her to be happy? Don't you think Kubo will go with the fairytale ending? What about 237? Isn't that chapter a sure indicator of who's going to end up with who?
Um, maybe I can explain. Yes I want her to be happy. No, I don't think Kubo will go with the fairytale ending
Persons scoffed when I called 237 a "red herring" and Orihime your typical "shoujo character whose unrequited love thickens the plot and keeps girl readers buying Jump." People have even accused me of dissing my own favorite female character.I've never been of the notion that the poor girl is disturbed, that she ignores her friends, and that's she's blinded by the sunbeams. I didn't even fault her for overlooking my beloved Ishida since it's plain they are a good match, whether or not they are made canon. (When Orihime, blushed and pushed that dress into Rukia's hands and got in her space and told her take very good care of this, I knew Orihime could like Ishida. Someday). I actually think it's tragic, in a operatic way, that Hime loves Ichigo so much. It was a cute crush in the beginning, but now it's all intense and interesting to me.I honestly don't get my panties in a wad over the idea of IchiOri. They're both such nice people, and I like a fairy tale as much as the next girl
We all have out biases and navigate the waters with wishful thinking. I try, seriously I do, to look at literary likelihoods and weigh text and picture (actually no text makes sense w/o a picture, but a picture can make sense WITHOUT text. I've been thinking about this ever since
furato pointed out to me that the moment Rukia said "Kaien dono had a wife," her suspicions rose--because of the text, apparently.--that that relationship was more than what it appeared. But say there hadn't been those panels of Rukia looking mournful before that text gave it its weight. A smiling Rukia among division members would tell another story). A few weeks ago I re-read the manga (believe it or not, I'm not one of those people who reads it daily) and the symmetry of the story, the parallels and the obvious filler-insertions by editors were plain as day to me. So was the IchiRuki bond that was becoming increasingly more than just a friendship. Also, Bleach is one of those stories in which the characters are so lovingly created (Kubo-san himself said that he thought of them as real people) that the complications of RL inform this hand-drawn world full of cliche characters--the hero, the shaman, the shoujo girl. ANYONE would have to disagree about what characters are thinking and why they're behaving the way they do.
I'm friends with someone who (was it around the chapter that Rukia was taken to SS?) began to ship IchiOri whilst I shipped IchiRuki. We were so friendly about it all--she would say, oh I know that Orihime doesn't stand a chance, but the truth is I want Renji for me. Those were the days when the fandom was small and friendly. I didn't know the players but I checked around here and there, mostly to get spoilers. I read every entry in soul_society.
Then the ugliness spilled in and with it, the shipping skirmishes, the anti-shippers, the general naughtiness given to people obsessed.
I did a lot of sitting on my hands because I didn't want to say things to POSSIBLY offend people, to POSSIBLY irritate people, and of course, I promptly did both without even trying! (Apparently, annoying people is one of my many talents). So now, hell, I don't care. I'll speak my mind. I don't consider myself a ranter (although I've been known to be fairly bitchy under the influence) and there's really not much to say about the chapters and ships that other people haven't said already. I go WEEEE and pant and predict and write fanfic in honor and adulation of my favorite manga, but this is my comm and I'll prattle on if I want to in the lieu of 270.
We don't have an "I love Rukia" in this chapter but we have text "I'm going back for Rukia" and we have action--Ichigo abandons the mission. Clearly, Rukia is priority number one.
How anyone can say that Ichigo loves Orihime is beyond me. There none, zilch, zip, nada, not a drop of evidence that he does (alright I'll count the vow to protect her at her bedside as one drop--the lack of romantic response in Orihime, though, kills the moment. She's like, "uh?" whereas Ichigo and Rukia have been giving one another long looks for chapters and chapters).
I still held onto the possibility of the reincarnation theory (oh I will hate Kubo if he goes with it--it's a cliche but it can be done well--what I will hate him is for discounting present-day people and their emotions by making their emotions reincarnations). I distanced myself from my favorite ship (IshiHime of course) and tried out other possibilities and plot turns in my head and in fic (interesting that I could write an Ishida/Shinji but not an IchiOri! XD You know, I think that might be my next challenge! *is killed*) I actually began to doubt what I'd felt between Ichigo and Orihime when she stayed in SS and even when she returned to what Matsumoto called "a stupid (cute) face" (if that's not describing dumbstruck love, I don't know what is). I mourned when Orihime was kidnapped---oh damn, I thought, here we go, she's going to be important to Ichigo. Ishida will have feelings for her but step aside because he loves her that much. Argh! The beginning of the end of my ship....
Then Rukia and Renji show up in the desert. From that moment on, there is no ambiguity. Renji loves Rukia, holds his hand over her protectively, and in later chapters, when Rukia has her goodbye-before-death moment., Renji is in the same size panel as her brother. She loves him. Muchly. But not as muchly as someone else. Ichigo, as in SS, is the last one Rukia thinks of before she's going to die.
The emphasis on Rukia, the sheer drama of her story throughout the whole Arrancar 9 encounter elevated Rukia to a status that irritated some of the fanbois--some only want their guys to kick ass, some just hate Rukia for reasons unfathomable to me. The story was moving and it was moving fast. Was Rukia dying so Orihime could replace her in Ichigo's heart? Oi, the drama. Oi, the interpretations.
And then Ichigo's reaction. He stopped, he was going to turn back. WHAP. Poor Orihime. The beginning of the end for her and for Ichi-Ori fans. How could it not be? A confused and staggeringly upset Ichigo, one could say, didn't realize that he was abandoning Orihime and his original mission and even Rukia's demand that he not help Rukia. He was just reacting and not wisely, of course. But the truth stands that Ichigo said, "I'm going to save Rukia." He didn't, as many people have pointed out, ask where Orihime was, ask if Orihime was alright, ask if she was hurt. A true romantic interchange would've gone like this:
Ichigo: (fiercely) "Where's Inoue? Did you hurt her?"
Ulqiorra: "Are you going to fight me or not?
Ichigo: "I have to fight you if I want to save Inoue. If you've done anything to hurt her, I will kill you, scalp you... etc... etc..."
Orihime could have been chained to a pole being beaten and raped like Ayu-nee in another shounen (Peacemaker Kurogane--the most frightening scene I've witnessed in an anime for kids). Orihime could've been being brainwashed or made Aizen's bride.
Ichigo chose Rukia. Or to be more precise, he didn't even make the choice--he was going to Rukia. Yes, he slams against Ulquiorra for Orihime's honor--with his shikai, mind you, not to do damage but to make a point. It was a very very angry gesture. Then the "I'm in a hurry." I'll eat my green-striped hat if that doesn't mean Rukia.
Story-wise, Ichigo can not reach Orihime yet. The tension is still rising. If Ichigo doesn't reach Orihime, he's going to Rukia---and I tell you, if there's a reunion scene, the deathbells will toll for the IchiOri ship.
To tell you the truth, I count some of these fanatics as friends. I actually enjoy watching some of the bickering and (if I'm not PMSing... like today) I'll even make the leap and frolic with the fans and debate one way or another. I have no bitterness, I am too much of a grown-up to hate anyone merely because they prefer one pairing over another in a hand-drawn world BUT
I expect to be saying I TOLD YOU SO. :p Before the end of the summer, probably. And I give the story two more years to play out--at most.
Oh, Kubo is a cruel cruel manga-ka and he's likely to throw a bone to IchI-Oris (I think he's going to develop IshiHime--call me blind but he didn't emphasize that relationship to drop it like a hot potato) and Kubo may even make things more difficult for Ichigo and Rukia to be together... but but but
This is the beginning of the end. Next week will be fighting, I suppose, since there was shoujo in the Kaien chapter. It only makes sense that the fanbois get treated now. I'm hoping Ulquiorra will release (and I've calmed down--it's too early for my white-bellied boy to die!). I'm hoping that Renji will either lose or win this g-ddamn fight and that Kubo stop teasing us with it.
I don't expect a glimpse of Ishida next week. If there's one, I will be one happy fangurl... but I expect Ishida's next panels to be bright stagelight moments and the focus to be primarily on him when he shows up. I expect Ishida to still play a huge role in this arc---if it's not rescuing Hime persay, it's in allowing the party to escape or being in an emotional support for Hime in some way / Call me a nut but I can see the rescue attempt. I can actually see him in the room where Orihime is being held. She, saying she needs to stay (to accomplish her plan) and he lifting her up , all adamant and handsome like Rhett with Scarlett, her dress flowing, at the top of the stairs and then running off with her....
I can dream, can't I? Kaien said so. If I feel my heart belongs, it belongs. *chants* Ishihime, IshiHime, IshiHime!
Oh damn. I didn't let it all out. I have to go to the bathroom now. There's only so much a fangurl can ramble. I await the day that there's a spoken confession from Ichigo to Rukia and vice versa because that's the only thing IchiOris will accept but I don't need the confession. The beginning of the end for IchiOri was 270.