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04 July 2010 @ 08:15 pm
Some authorial intent and psychology with Orihime's character.  
Tite Kubo: "I don't want to make Bleach into a love story because there are much more exciting things about their personalities and things that they can do instead of getting into the romance aspect of their relationships."

Most co-dependent individuals find it hard to be alone with themselves. The roots of insecurity and over dependency are many and varied. Most often they go back to early childhood.


People who are insecure or overly dependent often rely exclusively on a partner or other family members to meet all of their emotional needs. They may even define themselves in terms of their relationship with this one person.


Confusing sympathy and pity for love which is a result of feeling sorry and compassionate for someone so much that they have smothered and coddled them until they cannot do for themselves and have become completely dependent on them.


Discovering their own unique mission, the contribution that they can make to the world, however large or small is an important aspect of developing a sense of personal identity. Once they find that mission or purpose, their life will gain a new inspiration that reduces their dependency on others.


They feel unappreciated and unseen by others.


Inability to take self-initiated steps to get their life into control, order and direction because they have overly identified and submitted themselves to the will, power and control of another person even if that person did not intentionally set them up to be so dependent. They try to prove others that they are good enought to be loved. They may have problems developing their own autonomous interests, goals, and pursuits because they organize their life around a special loved one.

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Fear of loneliness, being alone or isolation make them desperate to hold onto a relationship with a person well beyond the time that it is reasonable to do so.


The idealization of others is something very usual in low self-esteem individuals.

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They idealize others, believing that the others will be what they need of them, and then they feel devastated when others don't live up to the role they created in the first place. They can collapse when things don't work up the way they expect them to.


What a normal Orihime would do

Fear of being independent which is due to the fear of the negative consequences of becoming independent keeping they weak and frail, thus needing the support and nurture of those people on which they are dependent.


What a normal Orihime would do

Reluctance to disagree with others close to them for fear of losing their support. They may lack confidence in themselves to take initiative to do things on their own apart from their significant other(s).

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What a normal Orihime would do

Irresponsibility due to lack of training in knowing what normal personal responsibility taking is and the resultant handing over to other persons the responsibility to take care of them.

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What a normal Orihime would do

Immobilized since need for approval, fear of rejection and feeling of insecurity gone so out of control that they become immobilized without the direction, support and nurturing of the person on whose approval they have become dependent.


What a normal Orihime would do

Even though Orihime genuinely always wanted to protect Ichigo (from the start of the manga), in the Hueco Mundo arc this wish was subjected to her need for his approval. Her promises to get stronger were made with 'no bothering Kurosaki-kun' in mind not with thoughts of protecting him; that's why when he made clear that what he wanted was to fight she couldn't oppose him. It's not surprise that in the HM arc Kubo has been dealing with the characters' psychological issues (Ichigo's obsession with protecting, Rukia's guilt feelings). Kubo hasn't drawn Orihime's love for Ichigo in the HM arc; Kubo has drawn her idealizing him and becoming overdependent on Ichigo to a pathological level.


EDIT: 06/07/2010 - because there is some interest in the sources used.
Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach nor the overdependency theory; they belong to Tite Kubo and John Bowlby, respectively.

Pictures taken from:

Attachment theory, overdependence and insecurity symptoms taken from:
-Psicología social ed. Mc Graw Hill (J. Francisco Morales, Miguel C. Moya, Elena Gaviria, Isabel Cuadrado) Capítulo 13 Relaciones interpersonales íntimas. Pág 381 (sumisión copulsiva).
-Psicología Evolutiva (Vol. 2) ed. UNED (Pilar Herranz Ybarra, Purificación Sierra García) Capítulo 2 Apego: Los primeros vínculos afectivos. Teorías del apego. Attachment theory (John Bowlby) Modelo preocupado. (pattern Ambivalent/Resistant).
-Overdependency symptoms (Pay special attention to "Strategies for Helping Others to become Independent of You number 12: Fantasy and Myth Debunking") http://redrockcounseling.com/resources/Help+for+overdependency.doc
koi_suru_usagi: Coming Downkoi_suru_usagi on July 4th, 2010 06:56 pm (UTC)
Holy SHIT!
She's ME!
hinodeh: Did he just... ? Gazille/Levihinodeh on July 4th, 2010 08:06 pm (UTC)
I dunno if KT read up on co-dependency when he wrote Orihime's degeneration into a weak-willed damsel, but at any rate, even if he didn't, the resemblances are scarily accurate.
_debbiechan_: Orihime_debbiechan_ on July 4th, 2010 10:08 pm (UTC)

*sad little sigh*

It's a very recognizable type. You don't have to have a degree in psychology to spot it. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, WAS this girl and thank all that is holy, grew up .

Eh, I was hoping to be able to sleep tonight and not have to mod another thread from attack from trollers but maybe people will do me and the mods a favor and disagree with out calling anyone a moron or being obviously ridiculous, idiotic or wank-baiting.
The Main Gauche of Enlightenment: Alphonse Mucha #1 moonvelvetsword on July 4th, 2010 08:08 pm (UTC)
I like this post.

In before 300 replies worth of QQ.
elliot_san on July 4th, 2010 08:59 pm (UTC)
This was well-put together and I found myself nodding with each point you made. Great post!

Orihime is a controversial character and definitely one that is commonly misunderstood from those who love her and those who wish for her death. What you wrote (and supported with manga evidence, thank you) is a fair analysis of her character & the path Kubo had chosen for her to follow down. One can't fully appreciate & understand a character if they only accept their best qualities & successes yet turn a blind eye to their flaws & failures. Like many readers I'm still waiting for her to rise again and she will. Kubo isn't done yet and I believe we'll be pleased in the end with her overall development.
connaka: ishida/orihime » dorks SQUARED.connaka on July 4th, 2010 09:01 pm (UTC)
Great post. Thanks for sharing! :D

That there be AUTHORIAL INTENT, indeed! _O/

However, when it's been collected and presented to you ALL AT ONCE like this, as you've kindly done for us, then the points that Sensei has been making about her character throughout the course of the manga, up to this point - all of it just feels much more poignant, in a sense.

But also,

Which is why I appreciated your bonus 'WHAT NORMAL ORIHIME WOULD DO' panels, especially. <3

sleepwalkersleepwalkerrrr on July 4th, 2010 09:07 pm (UTC)
I really liked this. I don't think that Kubo knows much about psychology and designed Inoue after these characteristics, but many of them may be there if he knows people well. However it is, there are lot of things that really explain Inoue very logically.

There are few things though. One is that I find some of characteristics you put there pretty normal for people in common; we all have our flaws and some of those characteristics might appear with people who do not have other serious problems like these whatsoever. Like "fear of loneliness", I think it's pretty common for people to feel lonely. And that one also shows how Orihime wants to be lonely rather than be in a way, and I think that has more to do with the value system of Kubo's. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that not all of those problematic characteristics may be result from some serious flaw, they might be just normal characteristics as well (which may be more typical with co-dependent, insecure people though).
peca_06peca_06 on July 5th, 2010 06:28 am (UTC)
Purely speculative, but I think Kubo has tremendous powers of observation (like all great artists do) and does know a great deal of and understands enough human psychology to make this essay be pretty much on the mark about what it says. He is a very cultured man and reads quite a bit as well. Like you said, it might be very general and things that are pretty normal/common to everyone, but Kubo's characters have very deep and complex emotions (one of the best character designers I've seen), that makes me think that sensei has deep understanding of human psychology, either by mere, but profound observation and/or by perhaps reading books about psychology in a broad way to fill in the gaps and make it more believable.
His meticulous, but not flawless though XD
(no subject) - sleepwalkerrrr on July 5th, 2010 06:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - peca_06 on July 5th, 2010 06:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sleepwalkerrrr on July 5th, 2010 07:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
tsubaki99: Switch-Bossun-Himekotsubaki99 on July 4th, 2010 09:13 pm (UTC)
Nice post =O it was very interesting.

I wonder what would be Kubo's reaction to all these posts and essays about his characters and their psychological issues...I remember when he published Zombie Powder in one of the volumes he said he wanted the readers to read carefully.

Since he said Bleach is character driving is not surprising to see the focus on their development...

And silly me,I just noticed this:



She thinks Ichigo expreses his feelings in words? the guy that has a T-Shirt with the famous quote "Speaking is not comunication"? I have to agree,her idealization prevents her to see further.

The Main Gauche of Enlightenment: Alphonse Mucha #2 crownvelvetsword on July 4th, 2010 09:16 pm (UTC)
I have to agree,her idealization prevents her to see further.

"Admiration is the emotion farthest from comprehension."-- Aizen

He showed it first in Hinamori, now in Orihime.
nagasasunagasasu on July 4th, 2010 09:16 pm (UTC)
Great post! The "normal Orihime" links were real helpful too.
(Anonymous) on July 4th, 2010 09:31 pm (UTC)
This essay is quite interesting. It resumes my feeling about Orihime. I agree her dependance and admiration on Ichigo don't help a lot in her own development. She relies too much on Ichigo and overtrust is always a bad thing.

I wish she'll able to surpass this unhealthy dependance and be able to forget her crush on Ichigo.
There's no Love Without you: Hime yellne_wayz on July 4th, 2010 09:53 pm (UTC)
You managed to write absolutely everything I've thought of Orihime during the HM arc, and all those panels were win. Good job kind sir/ma'am

I just now that there are going to be some "Orihime fans" that will say that you are just attacking Hime and that you hate her, which is ridiculous. Everytime someone points out Hime's flaws its bashing *eyeroll*
kawaii22kawaii22 on July 4th, 2010 10:43 pm (UTC)
Wow I really loved this essay, thank you for posting it!
Phoenix Hawk's Deep Corefmphoenixhawk on July 5th, 2010 01:13 am (UTC)
A very good deconstruction of the situation. What really bothers me about this is that the characters are falling into the same generic tropes of other shonen series. At least in the beginning they didn't, because all the characters felt like real people. Well, at least as real as characters on a page or on TV can feel. But now, we're devolving into the usual tropes of, "The main male character saves the day, after learning a few things," and "Everyone else becomes useless." Even if their powers should be at least 5-6 times greater (Come on, Orihime stops a friggin' cero without much effort on her first try. At least Ichigo had to struggle a bit against it.

Is this sloppy writing, or decay over such a long series? Or is this all Aizen's brain-wank. I still would love it if we find out this entire arc is Aizen thinking out his master plan. Then we come back to see we're still in the SS arc, and when he goes to stop Ichigo, he gets his ass handed to him so hard, it's not even funny. Come on, Kubo-san, pull this one! It will be the most epic direction shift EVER.
『ミカオル』 ☆: badassmikaoru on July 5th, 2010 02:14 am (UTC)
Very well put and very well argued.

(Hablás español? :D )
...y wendy creció.: Freeariadna19 on July 5th, 2010 07:37 pm (UTC)
¡Gracias! Sí el español es mi lengua materna, de hecho estoy tan acomplejada con mi nivel de inglés como para intentar escribir lo mínimo en este ensayo ja,ja.

¿Eres argentina? ¡me encanta vuestro acento! Yo soy de Madrid.
(no subject) - mikaoru on July 5th, 2010 11:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
♀*La Muerte Chiquita*♀la_kalaka on July 5th, 2010 04:27 am (UTC)
"Admiration is the emotion farthest from comprehension."-- Aizen

Quoting this because for me summarize perfectly Orihime's envisions about the loved person.

A thing we saw when she talk to Nell. A blind admiration for a person that you can sympathize for but that you don't get at all. That for me was the root that sproud during the Lust arc when Orihime instead of get a hold on herself decided to focus on the loved one and ask for answers from him despite his total unability to give her those answers.

Sad but true the blinded admiration she has towards him made her forget about herself and her own strenght. That she is a person with a mind and an own heart (as Ichigo said once: "Orihime is Orihime, she didn't belong to anyone"). And that she can be an equal instead of some sort of cheerleader.

Another think that attract my attention is the second example:

Confusing sympathy and pity for love which is a result of feeling sorry and compassionate for someone so much that they have smothered and coddled them until they cannot do for themselves and have become completely dependent on them.

And also a sense of closeness to that admire person, that you can relate a bit more with him/her and that makes you being satisfied just a bit.

Another fact is that instead of trying to be close to the person, Orihime prefers to protect him from afar. When she pursues Hirako instead of face Ichigo, you can see that despite her best wishes, she doesn't try to close the gap between the two based in the fear of bother the object of your love and admiration and find yourself catalogue as "annoying" for him/her. What I think Orihime fears the most from Ichigo.

Neat analysis, I need to re-read this again, I'm enjoying it because is a good deconstruction where you try your best to focus only on Orihime and don't touch the shipper waters. Although that is pretty difficult since Orihime's character interact with others and is strongly related to Ichigo's character in the way that his existence affects Orihime in a great deal.

Keep writing, I'm visting your journal and I'm reading that other essay too.
peca_06peca_06 on July 5th, 2010 04:47 am (UTC)
Absolutely wonderful and insightful dissection of Orihime's psychology all throughout HM and her state of mind prior to and at the end of it. I couldn't say it any better and why we all know Orihime is capable of more and be better and how her getting hung up on Ichigo has made such a bad co-dependance on him, she didn't even know what to do when the things got really bad. She just didn't count on Ichigo failing at all @_@. I really think she did hit rock bottom and there is only one way to go and it is UP for her, even if slowly, but she'll pull together! The first step is realize her mistakes and what she has been doing.
There are a ton of things I knew already, but some that were not so clear, so I loved seeing your POV on those, how you presented them and I agreed pretty much with everything. Truly a great essay and a testament on authorial intent ^_^, I deeply enjoyed it!