Orihime Inoue Character Analysis
Who is Orihime Inoue? Well what do we know about her? She's a character in Bleach. She has grey eyes, orange/ginger colored hair, wears two flower pins in her head, large boobies, eats weird foods. She's best friends with Tatsuki. She admires Rukia Kuchiki greatly, and is a bit jealous of her close relationship with Kurosaki Ichigo, whom she has a crush on. She recieved unique powers from being exposed to Ichigo's reiatsu, like Chad, Tatsuki, Keigo, and Muzuiro have also. She had an older brother who died when she was young. She use to be bullied when she was younger-so Tatsuki defended her. She was recently kidnapped and taken to HM by Ulquiorra on the orders of Aizen, and Ichigo and Co. went to go get her back. She's a kind, gentle person. But because of this, fighting is not her strong suit.
In the beginning, she's introduced as this carefree, naive, air-headed, book-smart, chipper girl with a overactive imagination. Also, a very strange taste in food, and an obsession with putting red bean paste on everything she eats! XD
Later in the Sub arc...we start to get a little more of Orihime's character through different situations. When Sora's Hollow appears, we see a different Orihime. Still the sweet kind girl she had been since introduce, but we see a girl with a troubled past. A girl whose only family had died...and since then, only really had Tatsuki to rely on. For a young girl, that's pretty heavy stuff...but we see she managed to survive through all that because she had the memory of her brother, (she never took off those hair pins he gave her) and her close friendship-almost surrogate sister-with Tatsuki. When Orihime goes to visit Tatsuki, to ask her about Ichigo, we get that famous quote about rain from Orihime. To wish she was rain so she could "connect" the earth and sky together. (to this I feel-Orihime is tying Ichigo and Rukia together, but that's a essay for another time that I will share in the future). Then the famous scene, where little Hime becomes a big girl, and protects Tatsuki from that big bad hollow all by herself! Orihime is naive, but slowly growing up. Not quite yet there though, but she's slowly beginning to mature from the girl we were first introduced to.
Jump to Soul Society Arc, Orihime and Ishida get separated from the rest of the group. From there, we still see our same chipper Orihime-who will say weird things leaving other characters to go "wtf???" (good ol' Orihime) From there we see an Orihime whose trying hard to do her best, but is overshadowed by the others. She wants to help as much as she can, but unfortately can't keep up. Though admirably, she still keeps trying. Her and Ishida make a really good team, and develop a really adorable relationship with Ishida, (which caused the IshiHime explosion! Ah...remember those days guys?! 8D) She took out some shinigami with karate moves she learned from Tatsuki, came up with that idea to disguise themselves as such. Her and Ishida slip under the radar for quite some time. Until-darn Mayuri. From there I see something I haven't seen in Orihime. Despite being not suitable for battle, and always had Ishida come to her rescue, she still wanted to help and fight with him. When Ishida told her to run, she refused, and wanted to say with him. So much that it took Ishida to get a complete stranger (Aramaki) to grab her, and literally drag her away, kicking and screaming before he knocked her out. Something to this day I admire her character for, that she had to be DRAGGED out of a fight because she wanted to stay and help.
Come to the next arc. Ichigo is in a depression, and Orihime can't do a thing about it. She got hurt bad from Yammy, and Ichigo is sad because he couldn't protect Orihime, Tatsuki, and Chad-his nakama. Que Rukia. She comes in, and like a magician, with the snap of her figures, (and a kick to the head, along with an epic "man in my heart" speech) Ichigo is back to his good old self. Orihime is glad and thankful. But at the same time, reveals she is jealous. She goes to tell Matsumoto that she's "disgusting" and how Rukia is "amazing". Orihime wants to be like Rukia. She wants to be strong, someone who doesn't depend on a hero to come save her (like Ichigo), but also, she wishes she had what Rukia had. This unbreakable trust, a powerful bond, a status of Ichigo's equal. Orihime admires and is very attracted to Ichigo. She always saw him as this hero, "with the funny face". Unlike other kids at school, his face never did scare her. While yes it was a childish crush, it still hurt. Her feelings are one-sided. Ichigo barely acknowledges her. It takes a natural disaster and her life to be in danger for that to happen. All Rukia has to do is walk into a room, and she already would have Ichigo's undivided attention.
Now from here on out....I'm going to discuss a theory I have on Orihime's character and her feelings. Something that I discussed with a good friend of mine who is an IchiHime fan...who wants to remain anonymous-and me not mention her name over the net.
From her confession to the chaos that happened during the Lust Arc chapters...
Both me and this IchiHime fan agree, that Orihime knows and acknowledges her feelings for Ichigo are one-sided. And that when a 15 year old girl (like most teenagers go through many changes and are in a time where they are most confused and most vulnerable) professes a love of "5 lifetimes" it doesn't mean it's absolute. She's a teenage girl for crying out loud who had a daydream of Ichigo even dressed like a Prince Charming in the very beginning of SS arc. She is confused with her feelings, her crush, her admiration, her attraction-it distorts her view of what Ichigo really is. She puts Ichigo and Rukia up on these pedestals, not seeing herself as their equals. She sees herself as "not worthy".
With her Confession....Orihime knows her "feelings" are one-sided. She knows they will never be returned (our theory that she thinks that) because first hint....if Orihime felt that Ichigo was destined for her, and Tite Kubo wanted the readers to know they were destined for each other, wouldn't of Orihime instead said "to be loved" not..."to fall in love". Orihime is acknowledging, in our opinion, that no matter what and no matter when, her feelings will always be unrequited for Ichigo. Also, notice how Orihime when she went to kiss Ichigo, stopped herself, then cried, saying she can't do it. She saw herself as "pathetic". Orihime is a good person. She knows it would be selfish to kiss Ichigo. To force her feelings on someone who doesn't feel the same. That's not the Orihime we know....and she isn't going to start to be that kind of girl. Why did she cry and stop herself? Because, it's not her place. She knows she's not the one who belongs in Ichigo's heart like that. She's not the girl he would want kissing him. No matter how much it hurts her, she's not going to do that...she's not gonna take that away and force it on Ichigo. She's far too good to do something like that.
Orihime wants to be strong, but can't in Ichigo's presence? Why is that? She promised she'd never depend on him again. Yet she did, countlessly in HM arc. She let Ichigo fight her battles for her. Why?
Because, Ichigo is still on that pedestal. Ichigo knows better. She's "disgusting" and "weak". He's the strong hero, while she's the damsel in distress. And Ichigo only makes matters worse by basically fueling those thoughts (unintentionally mind you). Orihime will never see herself as Ichigo's equal, therefore she will continue to depend on him. Ichigo never saw Orihime as his equal, therefore he always has to save her. Until the very end when Ichigo turns into Ichithing, she realizes this. And from here on out in Bleach, I know it's going to be something she will regret for the rest of her life.
So what does Orihime need to do? Well we need to see that Orihime in SS arc, that no matter what the odds, will fight for her friends, a girl that has to be dragged away by force to get out of that fight. That Orihime we saw, alone with Ulquiorra, that was an admirable Orihime. She was a mature woman. She had a backbone. She slapped someone who could kill her with the flick of his finger. Orihime downgrades herself FAR TOO much. She needs to give herself more credit. She's a very admirable person. She's beautiful, she's smart, she's kind, and she has talents of her own. She needs to stop comparing herself to Rukia, and just be Orihime. She needs to stop worrying about what "Ichigo" thinks and start to care about what "Orihime thinks". She needs to let go of those one-sided feelings for Ichigo and move on. She's already accepted (in my and the IchiHime friend of mine's opinion) her feelings are one-sided, now she needs to let go and not torture herself. She needs to learn to forgive herself. She needs to learn that Ichigo and Rukia have flaws just like she does, and see that she has more to her than she lets on. Right now, more than anything, she needs a Chad, Ishida, or Tatsuki (heck Rukia) to remind her how much she means to them, and how much they care for and admire her. As much as I LOVE TO DEATH ISHIHIME....Orihime, now more than ever, doesn't need a lover....she needs a friend to be there for her.
Orihime is one of my favorite characters, she's very deep and profound. What she lacks in physical power, she makes up for in her deep character. She's a character alot of teenage girls who read Bleach can probably relate to. I know Orihime can get through this emotional rut-or as I like to call it-"Character development that got shoved off a cliff"...once your rock bottom, you only have one way to go from there, and that's up. Hang in there Orihime! I'm rooting for ya!