People were asking what's up with all the German in Bleach and I was thinking What's up with all the Yiddish? Jews everywhere have often identified with the Yiddishkeit (Jewishness) of Bleach and are (truly) amused to be included in his all-emcompassing borderline racist identifications of certain groups. I actually like this bad guy segregation (Hollows--Mexican, Espada--Spanish) because it distinguishes groups by language and culture but in the end shows how alike humans are to other humanoids.
Is Ishida the metaphorical Jew of Bleach or WHAT? XD He even has the earlocks and his father is a doctor--never mind the murdered Quincy people.
With his little spirit capsules in previous chapters, Ishida had jibbered some Germanic words--probably Yiddish since no one could properly identify them? I'm not fluent by any means. I wasn't sure it was intentional, but I thought it was apropos for Kubo to allude to the fricken Holocaust whenever the Quincy came up, (Germany=Holocaust for so many Jews, unfortunately). It wasn't until seele schneider, though, appeared in Ishida's hands that Jewish eyebrows rose. Schneider means tailor. Ha ha ha. In German it's soul slayer (Ishida's new weapon is the equivalent of a Shinigami's?) In Yiddish, a schneider is a tailor. I remember a Yiddish song I learned as a kid with the word "schneider" in it.
I am sitting on a bench.
I am combing my hair.
A young tailor passes by
and he says I'll be untrue.
Now we've got Ulquiorra Schiffer. I cracked up at first because I thought schiffer meant lamb chop but come to find out it means boat operator. Now this is significant because....
Ulqui Shieffer being a boatman has significance because it's the fourth time Kubo has made an OVERT allusion to the Tanabata myth.
I've taken the Tanabata story seriously since starting to read Bleach. We over-interpretive types turned ourselves backwards trying to connect the dots. IchiOri shippers found a lot of speculative evidence that Orihime was the star-weaver of the myth and Ichigo the plowherder. I never saw more than three obvious allusions to the story: 1) Orihime is the name of the Tanabata myth starweaver. 2) she's in the handicrafts club haha 3) Rain is bad.... it separates the lovers. Beyond these three things I couldn't see mythological allusions following the human story of Bleach at all. If anything, they seemed to be somewhat an inversion of the myth. When the rain stops for Ichigo (not Orihime), Ichigo is standing before Rukia in one of the manga's more poignant and arguably romantic scenes and all his attention is on her.
Now there's a fourth direct allusion to Tanabata. The boatman is the dude who ferries Orihime across the Milky Way on a clear night (not a rainy one) to meet her lover. The idea of Ulquiorra as matchmaker cracks me up.
Do these allusions mean anything beyond Kubo playing and punning? He's a clever, clever manga-ka. The title of the chapter "Unblendable" led readers to believe that Kaien was one of the two personalities controlling Espada #9 when in fact those two personalities had nothing to do with Kaien. I suspect that his recent "The End is Near" title means that nobody's dying and the Hueco Mundo arc is going to last another year (our time).
Manga-ka are famous for naming groups of characters after silly things--for example, all of Freeza's henchmen in DBZ are named after fruit. The three siblings in Ichigo's family are named after cough drop flavors. And now there's been the discovery that Kubo named the Arrancar after famous designers. Many manga and anime play with popular, well-known Japanese stories and folklore. A reference to Orihime means as much in Japan as a reference to Cinderella would mean to a Western person.... does it mean that every story with allusions to Cinderella is going to coincide detail by detail with the original story?
Nah. I used to think that Tanabata referrences meant the death of my favorite ship--IshiHime--because IchiOri was inevitable. I now believe that Kubo-san is a deeper and more complicated manga-ka than one who would hang his story on one myth alone. Things flip over in Bleach so much--bad guys become good guys, good guys become bad guys--so I grant that it is STILL possible for Bleach to start realistically developing the Ichigo/Orihime relationship, but at this point, after five years of manga, Ichigo has more of an emotional connection to Chad and Ishida than he does to Orihime (oh yaoi tales, come onto me!) and he has a girl with whom he has a special bond, Rukia (no one can deny that) and possibly a romantic interest (let the ship wars commence!)
Hmmm, so after wondering how in the HELL Ulquiorra was going to be the boatman to ferry Ichigo to Orihime, the best I could come up with was that Ichigo is hurt and that makes Orihime go SSJ4. Then she charges up her full power and heals him or brings him back from the dead--a trick Aizen had been hoping to confirm she was capable of. Still, that likely scenario doesn't mean a romantic connection between Ichigo and Orihime--namely because one has not been emotionally developed AT ALL for five years of manga (I'm one of those who insist that Orihime is the unrequited love stereotype). It does mean a play on the Tanabata myth, though. Just as much as the end of the SS arc was one ("Because of you, the rain has stopped falling" spoken alluding to the rain separating the lovers in the myth but the words are not spoken to Orihime).
Then it hit me.
Who's associated with the German *cough* Yiddish *cough, cough*?
Oh this may be the wishful thinking of a deluded shipper but I think Kubo is saving Ishida for something big. As far as I'm concerned the true pairs of Bleach were established, if not consummated into canon, at the end of the Soul Society arc.
Here's where it became obvious (for me):
There's the panel of Orihime, blushing, telling Rukia with (too much) fervor that Rukia should cherish the dress Ishida made, and Rukia is clueless to what Orihime thinks (that Ishida likes Rukia). Then immediately following there is a very touching panel in which it seems clear who Rukia cares for. The white expanse of panel space that Kubo uses to signify important events--the look across a distance--Rukia's hand held unconsciously close to her heart. The IchiRuki certainty was so plain to me here. The IshiHime less plain but coming after Ishida and Orihime's bonding scenes in this arc and even the difficulty that Orihime loved Ichigo while Ishida loved her, it was a very likely pairing-to-be.
I'll reiterate that this is the chapter in which the rain (a constant metaphor throughout Bleach) stops. When the rain stops in the Tanabata myth, the lovers are reunited. Ichigo and Rukia have a special connection at the end of this chapter and arc, and it's not Orihime, the name from the myth, who is in the frames. Instead there's a human girl (albeit one with extraordinary powers) who is crushing (at this point anyway--she doesn't seem to have full-fledged adoration for Ichigo yet) on a Substitute Shinigami who acts like a real headstrong teenager. And alas, he doesn't notice her. This is the human story. This is the story that makes me care.
Even if subsequent chapters of Bleach pronounce Rukia and Ichigo bashert in Yiddish, that clue will not mean as much to me as the plot events preceding the actions of the chapter. Bashert means destiny and is used to mean a person you're destined to befriend/marry. I was already shown that destined encounter in chapter one when Rukia pierced Ichigo's soul and fell into his life. No more allusions are necessary to tell me that they're destined lovers when the story starts that way and points that way.
The IshiHime relationship is more complicated. I can console myself with "there's always fanfic" if this, my very favorite pairing of all time, isn't hinted at when Bleach concludes, but I'm betting my green-striped hat that it will be.
Hmmm. I wonder who Ulqui the boatman Shiffer's bashert is?
One more thing. I was skimming some platitudes today and found this:
Discussion is the exchange of ideas; argument is the exchange of ignorance.