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11 December 2009 @ 02:03 pm
Coming Full Circle - Theory Discussion  
I once heard that it is a fairly common practice in Japanese story telling to encapsulate the essence of a story or series in its first chapter. Thus the first chapter becomes something of a road map for the rest of the series.

So the question I have is, is this true for Bleach? And if so, is there anything that going back to the start would reveal?

Now at this point I'm likely going into crazy theory land. Sure the themes of the story are set up, Ichigo's relationship with Rukia (whether platonic or otherwise) begins and inspires him to get stronger, Hollows are introduced, Hollows are fought and defeated and Ichigo reveals some crazy strength in order to do this. These aspects have become extremely common themes and events throughout Bleach, pretty much every arc contains these elements.

But as I re-watched the first episode of the anime and double-checked it against the first chapter of the manga I was struck by the first time we meet Ichigo. When he meets a group of houligans, who have names like "Yama" and "Toshiron", and chastises them for disrespecting the grave of a little girl. This is where I think I"m probably reading too much in. I'm sure that those names just have sounds that appeal to Kubo, or something like that, but it made me wonder if at some point in the series, perhaps once Aizen has been defeated, we will see Ichigo chastising the Gotei 13 for neglecting their soul burial duties and such, perhaps tying in to the corruption of Soul Society in general.

My theory/question aside, can you think of an other "Checkov's Gun" type moments from very early in Bleach that might just now be coming to light? I'm sorry if this has already been discussed but I've begun to re-watch the series from the beginning and the possibility intrigues me (One thing I'm absolutely positive of now is that Ichigo has already seen Aizen's shikai after rewatching the show down on Sokyouku Hill.)
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
littlemeantiger on December 11th, 2009 07:10 pm (UTC)
Well... Shinji already received a cameo in the very early chapters of Bleach, long before even the other Shinigami were introduced.

So yeah. Your theroy has some ground for it to stand on.

Still, Kubo is Kubo. All hail the eternal ruler of the art of trolling~
Avelera: Fight like a Girlathena799 on December 11th, 2009 07:20 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the Shinji picture really did set a precedent for WAY back planning on Kubo's part. Otherwise I don't think I'd even bother, there's a lot of evidence that at least for the first couple dozen chapters Kubo didn't know where Bleach was going (Byakuya's lack of captain coat, Rukia calling Soul Society a "heaven", the brief appearence of Hell) but then you see the picture of Shinji and are forced to consider that maybe it IS all "according to plan".
ayshariham on December 12th, 2009 03:57 pm (UTC)
I think Kubo had like the "backbone" of the story planned out, and then fleshed it out as the ideas came to him. Which would go something like this -Shinigami are good guys, a supposedly good guy becomes the evil guy, there's a super-hero to save the day, and there's a "Hollowfication theory" of some sort to base Aizen's actions on.
I'm guessing the Vaizards are just as important as the Shinigami and the "Bad Guys", so atleast Shinji (probably Hiyori too) had come into creation before the rest of the Vaizards.
The appearance (and lack since that one time) of "Hell" is a little funny. Maybe it was only that one Hollow who was doomed to Hell. =P

Moving back to the original question, lol, the only thing that's out there in the first chapter is Ichigo beating up the bad guys into a pulp. He still does that, except with a lot more bleeding and groaning and showing off xD (Also looking uber-cooler =D)
Catwoman & bitch extraordinaireelfishscallywag on December 11th, 2009 11:01 pm (UTC)
Huh? Where!?
Avelera: Fight like a Girlathena799 on December 11th, 2009 11:31 pm (UTC)
Far right of the character bar =D
littlemeantiger on December 12th, 2009 09:54 am (UTC)
To be honest...
Actually, ever since I re-read the series from scratch, I always wonder who the heck is the guy who Ichigo is hiding.

It's not Ishida. (He's in the middle of the splash.)
It's not Tatsuki. (She's at the far end.)
It's not the male student friend that has long disappeared from the series. (He's right next to Ishida.)

The hair is too pointy to be Ichigo's younger sister Karin.

Could it be Kaien? Could it be someone really, really spoilerfic? Could it be Renji with black hair? (Who knows?) Who on earth is this guy/chick? It must be someone really important to hide behind Ichigo's head. If Shinji wasn't the one who got hidden, then who is the guy?

(And I don't care what Tv Tropes says; the chick at the far end is definitely Matsumoto. She's got blonde hair for crying out loud. It's her.)

Arrgh, this query has been bothering me for a while. Still, it fits your Kubo planned it all theory no? Man, I wouldn't be surprised if we'll never know who Strawberry's hiding behind his head after all.

It's Grimmjow will dyed black hair. I call it.
(Anonymous) on December 12th, 2009 01:03 am (UTC)
yeah, this Shinji picture is always mentioned to prove that Kubo plan some things long ahead-
but then again, to only show his appearance isn't a very big point in general, and for the plot. I mean it was a big surprise that Aizen was the big baddy at the end of the SS arc, and most fans agree that it was awesome, but it wasn't hinted AT ALL.
so, yeah.
_debbiechan__debbiechan_ on December 11th, 2009 08:00 pm (UTC)

It's a fairly common device of most storytelling across cultures that the beginning of a story tells you what type of story you're about to hear and how to read it and what to expect--in the West, a first chapter can be seen as opening remarks in a trial. A trial basically goes "you tell them what you're going to tell them, then you tell them, and then you tell them what you told them." That's also the dullest format for most academic and argumentative papers but part of it holds true for fictional narratives as well.

I think with Bleach it's safe to say that the first chapter introduces your basic protagonist and his conflicts (against Hollows) establishes his important relationships (with family, with Rukia) and sets the tone for the series (scary dark to high comedy). Beyond that, I don't know what else there is to glean except that Kubo's note with his first volume is that he worked very hard on the story, and I imagine he's still working very hard on it despite the many fans who seem to think he's just winging it.

There's a plan. Oh yes. There's always a plan.
Mercury Vegetableashurahime on December 12th, 2009 02:40 am (UTC)
I've been waiting for it to happen since we found out about all the twisted shit Mayuri's been doing. Soul Societies got it coming for all the bad things they enable ;D

Maybe an apt metaphor would be how Rukia got totally distracted when facing that first Hollow, and explained the whole deal to Ichigo instead of trying to find it.

Intriguing question, by the way.