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20 August 2010 @ 10:08 am
What Bleachness is, Kubo in Hospital, Authorial Intent  

Update! Update! Update! Some general info and opinions following!

1) The following information is on the bleachness user page but maybe I should keep posting it as a monthly reminder as new people keep joining to address the perpetual misunderstanding that this space is a general LJ community like soul_society  or a general forum like Bleach Asylum meant to cater to the needs of all Bleach fans. It's my own personal fanblog; I pay for it; it began as a writing journal and a blabbity space for me and my friends, and it's as biased and colorful as hell (albeit moderated):

Anyone interested in joining this peculiar, lively community should read the RULES AND GUIDELINES first.

HERE and many found the following comment helpful in terms of defining the community's history and purpose: (...)this isn't a general Bleach community; this is a personal coterie discussing general Bleach things. There is a difference.

2) That clarifed, here's some personal stuffs! I'm going to be late updating my website with so many of the wonderful art gifts you have given me. One of my homeschooled kids who was supposed to enter public school this month is still in the process of being appraised and the bureaucracy of this state is ugh unbelievable. I'll also get around to re-uploading dead links for doujinshi and scanning new ones for bleachness  members eventually--promise!

3) Kubo-sensei was in the hospital yesterday! He's fine now though! Got some medicine for his stomach and is recovering well! I worry so much because I'm a Jewish Mother. Also, does any other crazy fan out there ever get the fear when Sensei travels that his plane will go down and we'll never find out how Bleach ends? XD

4) And now an opinion about authorial intent. (Never mind the complicated literary theory, for my main expository purposes, in a nutshell, authorial intent means the manga-ka has a plan. Some readers may see a cauliflower in one tiny doodle while others see a mushroom cloud but that doesn’t mean both viewpoints are equally valid; the manga-ka, unlike an abstract painter, intended one or the other or neither. Readers are free to see whatever they want, however. Now, the fact that the manga-ka has a plan doesn't mean that he has it at all times--many authors are nebulous about describing their creative process and how they are inspired. An author without any clear authorial intent would be, as many fanbois claim Kubo is doing weekly, performing mighty asspulls).

Some parts of fandom seem to be interpreting Kubo's recent tweets about how he isn't influenced by fans and will write his manga the way he wants as his confirmation of "Death of the Author" . Is Kubo's conceding that he has no authorial intent? Hmm, where this cognitive leap comes from I'm not sure. The popular consensus among modern readers is that everyone has a right to interpret literature whichever way he pleases, and Kubo seems to be among them--but he has also spoken clearly of his authorial intent before. In an interview with Morita in regards to the Memories in the Rain OVA, Kubo-sensei said: "There are bits in the manga where I draw scenes that wouldn’t get the reader’s attention too much. I always put all my effort into my manga but how each audience read my manga are different. So it’s really important to make sure they would end up all having a similar idea of my story, but then again, it’s really up to them how they read the manga, but then there are scenes where I want the audience to be touched, so it’s really hard." Sounds here to me that while Sensei is acknowledging everyone's right to interpret a scene as he wishes, it's important to Kubo as an author that most people GET his intentions and respond with the emotions he author desired to invoke.

A recent tweet from Kubo-sensei that is really being misinterpreted is this one, an exchange between him and animator Kudo:

飽きっぽい俺が未だに飽きずにやれてるのは、正解が無く、それを探す必要も無いところが理由の 一つです。 RT @1953tink: 芝居!絵!正解が一つならどんなに楽か!しかし正解が一つしかないとしたらなんとつまらないこ とか。

Kudo-san: Drama! Painting! If there's only one single interpretation it'll be easier, but then again it would also be boring
Kubo Tite: One of many reasons why the fickle me is able to continue going on is because I don't think right or wrong and I don't need to search for it.

Kudo-san's view is absolutely clear. He's saying that there is no one single interpretation in art. Kubo's answer, like his manga which so beautifully address moral ambiguities and more than the Black and White (haha) of humanity, is more playful. He admits to his fickleness. He doesn't say whether or not he has to search for it while writing, in his moral life or in his interpretation of art.

The "right or wrong" Kubo is addressing, in any event, is a grand abstraction--it's not the right or wrong I always speak of when I grade papers (and I do grade them for my husband's introductory logic classes occasionally and I'll be getting a job as an online teaching assistant--tedious grading--when the kids get more independent from homeschooling). What Kubo speaks of is not the right or wrong I speak of when I predict "hey I bet the Kenpachi who showed up this week is really a vision in Ichigo's inner world" and the next week proves me to be wrong. Or when I said "hey I bet Ulquiorra is gonna regenerate during his fight with Ichigo and he's going to have a beautiful demon release with wings" and those chapters proved me to be right. 

In other words, one can be right or wrong in Bleach. The author has an intent. Interpretations are all fine and good. A sword can represent a penis or it can represent a will to kill. But a sword isn't a tomato. End of story.

Evaanimeangel4eva on August 20th, 2010 03:31 pm (UTC)
Gosh Debbie, I'm certain you almost gave half of the fanbase a heartattack saying, "Kubo in Hospital" XDDDD
Well he's right how he wants his readers to have a SIMILAR idea of the concept of the story. If it were to be misunderstood too much, it wouldn't be the same story that he was trying to convey in the first place right?
_debbiechan__debbiechan_ on August 20th, 2010 03:36 pm (UTC)


I'm recovering from a migraine today as well and kinda vulnerable to ... heart attacks? LOL. I always worry about his eating and was going why doesn't he go to a damn doctor? when he complains about his stomach but then again I hear different things about the Japanese attitude towards maintaining a brave front. I just worry about people when they're sick. *sends virtual vegetarian chicken soup to all ill people out there*

I always think that stuff about textual interpretation is kinda obvious but then people end up arguing so much--it's fun up to a point. Eventually even the literary theorists start writing hate letters to one another. XD
(no subject) - animeangel4eva on August 20th, 2010 03:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
april_ms on August 20th, 2010 04:00 pm (UTC)
***In other words, one can be right or wrong in Bleach. The author has an intent. Interpretations are all fine and good. A sword can represent a penis or it can represent a will to kill. But a sword isn't a tomato. End of story.***

That's why sometime I'm confuse why people called someone who proves right in interpreting Authorial intent arrogant or smug. Like how many people calls Ichiruki fandom are arrogant because we deny HM arc is a romantic arc. Well, Kubo proves us in this recent chapters that we are right. For me it's not arrogant. A little smug feeling is unavoidable like after we're solving a puzzle.

And I hope Sensei is okay now..Thank you Debbie for the update
_debbiechan_: meow_debbiechan_ on August 20th, 2010 04:29 pm (UTC)

Eh, I've been called arrogant and smug all my life--usually by people in classrooms and seminars who I pwn in arguments. XD XD XD In other settings people usually think I'm super modest. I find it's always the last refuge of people who are pwned in debates to call someone "smug"---if you can't attack an argument, make a personal attack! XD That's why it's always best to just plain avoid comments about the arguer and stick to the subject at hand. One of guidelines here on this community--I don't always toe the line perfectly but I'd rather everyone talk about the manga itself than fandom or other fans.

mezzo_marinaiomezzo_marinaio on August 20th, 2010 04:05 pm (UTC)
Lol, there are STILL people who think there's no autorial intent in this manga? XDDD

I guess Kubo must have been perfectly alright with those kids thinking that the Soukyoku was Yamamoto's bankai, then!

Oh, wait... XDDDDD
_debbiechan_: Chizuru_debbiechan_ on August 20th, 2010 04:23 pm (UTC)

oh! Forgot about that one. It was a volume note and he was observing some kids talking about his manga (what a fun experience that must be!) and as I recall, his response to the kids misINTERPRETING his manga, lol, was "try harder, Kubo."

A harder worker, that man.
(no subject) - adam_epp on August 20th, 2010 05:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on August 20th, 2010 06:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
annie_08: oppositeannie_08 on August 20th, 2010 04:35 pm (UTC)
So sensei doesn't imply that there is no such thing as authorial intent? Well, common logic should be clear to everyone but I guess not XD

I see that drama stemmed from how certain group interpret this tweet as sensei has proven us that he doesn't have authorial intent and every interpretation IS correct. Yet how come it's wrong for fans to see charcater's flaws and criticize them? If we are entitle to our interpretation, then we shouldn't be wrong in seeing things diferently.

Explain to me, Debbie. Would it be possible for sensei to draw Bleach without authorial intent? He once said he let his characters tell their story. Would it be possible that he doesn't know what he's doing and just go with the flow?
_debbiechan__debbiechan_ on August 20th, 2010 05:14 pm (UTC)
Yet how come it's wrong for fans to see charcater's flaws and criticize them? If we are entitle to our interpretation, then we shouldn't be wrong in seeing things diferently.

Well, there's the irony of the recent drama. If indeed Kubo-sensei was angry because people were bashing Orihime's character while declaring the right of everyone to interpret a work as he or she chooses, then there's nothing wrong with bashing Orihime's character (because people would have the right to think of her as a "failure" etc XD) The fact of the matter is that Kubo was doing none of the above stated things--he wasn't angry persay because people were bashing Orihime--he was responding severely because someone was telling him how to write by calling for Orihime's death and criticizing the HM arc as a failure. Neither was Kubo outright making any philosophical declarations or artistic manifestos. Certain fans appropriated Kubo's statements for their own agendas.

I don't doubt that he was angry though--tweeting a writer to tell him so crudely that one of his characters is so disgusting that she needs to die is in poor taste and can in no way be construed as constructive criticism of his work. That said, Kubo did seem to imply that he doesn't even take any criticism of his work. XD

Edited at 2010-08-20 05:21 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - adam_epp on August 20th, 2010 05:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
metaphore_art on August 20th, 2010 04:47 pm (UTC)
I don't think it's possible for an author to not have some sort of intent, especially in a complex work. This is because in order for a narrative to make sense, an author has to lay some sort of groundwork for many of the things that happen. As you said, people can choose to see a butterfly or a flower in the clouds flitting through a scene all they want, and if it amuses them to speculate what a character's particular clothing means, fine. But to suggest that Kubo has no intent, and instead wants everyone to interpret the events of his story to see whatever they damn well please is ludicrous.

Here's the long and short of it: in a story, the author is god. Everything that happens, happens because the author decrees it. Stories are not like life where random things just happen to be there, and random people have the free will to take themselves randomly to the same places that other people have. In stories, they are particularly drawn and written in a certain way to get them where the author intends for them to go. We may all interpret the journey differently, but in the end, we're going to wind up where the author intends, and so, some of those interpretations are going to turn up to be right, and some wrong. Sorry, kids, that's just reality.
_debbiechan_: Aizen ILLUSION_debbiechan_ on August 20th, 2010 05:16 pm (UTC)

Stories are not like life where random things just happen to be there

Not in stories with a particular stylized form, no. Particularly something as stylized as a fighting shounen manga with such recognizable tropes and motifs.
(no subject) - adam_epp on August 20th, 2010 05:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on August 20th, 2010 06:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - metaphore_art on August 20th, 2010 07:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on August 20th, 2010 07:58 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - metaphore_art on August 20th, 2010 08:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on August 20th, 2010 11:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - karenai on August 21st, 2010 03:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
『ミカオル』 ☆: aizenmikaoru on August 20th, 2010 05:21 pm (UTC)
Say wha?

Everything we do in our lives has an intent, we aren't objective creatures running from one to place to other without an intent. More so a story, we thought of, we designed, we draw and we write.
_debbiechan_: meow_debbiechan_ on August 20th, 2010 05:28 pm (UTC)

"Authorial intent my ass" is apparently what Kubo's tweet is saying. XD
(no subject) - annie_08 on August 20th, 2010 05:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
sleepwalkersleepwalkerrrr on August 20th, 2010 06:40 pm (UTC)
LOL @ //does any other crazy fan out there ever get the fear when Sensei travels that his plane will go down and we'll never find out how Bleach ends? XD// I've actually thought about that a couple of times :D

About authorial intent, isn't this clear as water ? Every story has an intention, even the most abstract art films have some kind of intention. I think it's pretty clear that an artist like Kubo enjoys making things that awoke different things in different readers, however it's pretty clear that Bleach isn't a story where the author doesn't have an intent of what he wants to tell to reader. There are things left to be guessed, and there are things served like a bat on your head.
 Lady Camille Catherine Cecily Lloyd-George X: Diva Matsuskilly_n_duff on August 20th, 2010 08:20 pm (UTC)
I used to pray for J.K. Rowling's safety every night for a year before book 7 came out, lol!
peca_06peca_06 on August 20th, 2010 10:54 pm (UTC)
Roughly, what I learnt in School lol. Pretty much every successful novel, movie, etc... That involves story-telling has some sort of plan, idea, graph, script or diagram where he/she will roughly write the steps (the set up, the catalyst, the first turning point, the climax, the final confrontation and the resolution! In Kubo's case, he has that structure done in each arc). What is called the 3 act structure. There has to be some sort of intent from the beginning to be cohesive and make sense at the end. The skeleton or the structure of the piece. From there you can extrapolate to build your character's stories and maybe some "ass pulls" on the subplots or in things that won't alter the main concept LOL, but you can't break or deviate from the foundation or you'll fail as a writer on whatever you are trying to do. Graphic novels (manga) is no exception, even if they differ a bit from the western ideals, I think you can actually see Kubo following that type of basic pattern. Kubo is meticulous with his work, so you know he's got to have it all planned out, so he can do his parallels, etc... Not to mentioned how he wants people to mainly GET THE RIGHT IDEA from his work (many have mentioned the Yamamoto-fire bird confusion from those kids and he said he needed to work harder XD). His INTENTION matters and how to interpret it as well!

Anyway, I'm glad Kubo sensei is alright now or better. It might be ulcers due to all the stress he's got (I wonder if fandom is stressing him as well as other matters in his life. He might act cool, but it can annoy you with all the wank and bashing going on) :(( . Poor him! The manga NANA is already in a LOOOONG ASS Hiatus due to the mangaka being seriously ill. I don't want Bleach to also be on a stand still for similar reasons T_____T. Man! we are so selfish XDDD. I wish him the best <333
_debbiechan_: BITE ME by syn_debbiechan_ on August 20th, 2010 11:44 pm (UTC)

Sensei seems fine. I wish him the best too. I do worry when he tweets about eating all those desserts though. XD

As for three act structure, Neha likes to call the HM the "Empire Strikes Back" of Bleach. I understand that Kubo has never seen Star Wars but the structure is universal... and if it can at all be used to predict the course of events, Ichigo will get his ASS KICKED BY AIZEN in this form and we'll go on to the RR and meet all the RG as Sensei promised in the Masked interview (lol, another source and not always reliable source of predicting manga events--the author interview!) XD
(no subject) - skilly_n_duff on August 21st, 2010 12:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on August 21st, 2010 12:50 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - aizome on August 21st, 2010 12:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - skilly_n_duff on August 21st, 2010 01:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
oh gallant piglet,: fighting spiritaizome on August 21st, 2010 12:56 am (UTC)
LOL, wow. If Kubo had NO authorial intent at all, then Bleach would be this big, stream-of-consciousness babble with no structure whatsoever. There wouldn't be ends tied up like Tousen's and Gin's stories, Don Kanonji and Keigo and Tatsuki never would have shown up again, and meaningful lines from volume three wouldn't be quoted over 375 chapters later.

When it comes to what's important in the story, Kubo is as subtle as a bulldozer. Ichigo's inner world, flooded because of despair? "The source of [his] despair" dragged out of him wearing a horned mask? Tell me Kubo's intent wasn't plainly obvious there.

Edited at 2010-08-21 12:58 am (UTC)
_debbiechan_: meow_debbiechan_ on August 21st, 2010 01:23 am (UTC)

LOL, when you put it like that! I do wonder sometimes if people try to understand what "authorial intent" means or if certain parts of fandom with a particular shipping agenda or anti-bleachness attitude become sudden post-structuralists at the very mention of the term.

As far as I'm concerned, Kubo's about as subtle as a brick to the face A LOT OF THE TIME but as he himself said in the quote in my original post, "There are bits in the manga where I draw scenes that wouldn’t get the reader’s attention too much." He's a poet--there's deliberate ambiguity and layers in his work.
(no subject) - aizome on August 21st, 2010 01:56 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on August 21st, 2010 12:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Anonymous) on August 21st, 2010 10:44 am (UTC)
It is impossible for a writter (or mangaka) keep happy all the fandom simply because we are all different persons and we got different desires. Even if Kubo wanted he could not. And of course he doesn`t want, a book is part of your own soul and you tell the story on it. None else can but the writter.
pirottesse on August 21st, 2010 10:45 am (UTC)
Yikes, I was not logged when I posted excuse me :P
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on August 21st, 2010 01:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
_debbiechan_: meow_debbiechan_ on August 21st, 2010 01:27 pm (UTC)
And apparently my post has a ship agenda? I do claim that the attitude of "authorial intent my ass!" itself had a ship agenda but my saying that Kubo writes with a plan defends the author, not a particular ship.

The responses I've read:

I just believe it is sad that the trolls are coming out in full force, trying to DISPROVE the intent behind Kubo's tweets using ANOTHER ONE OF HIS QUOTES. Like are you serious? Are you trying to tell the author that what he says isn't true based on another quote he said, a quote that could be interpretated SEVERAL WAYS? (the quote in question is one where he says something like "when drawing bleach I like to have the readers get similar ideas" or something like that. Because obviously similar ideas = AUTHORIAL INTENT TO MAKE ORIHIME FAIL")

Such a sad ship fandom.


Similar ideas when it comes to a genre like shonen is pretty much the universal stuff. Orihime's goodbye in 237 was supposed to be sad. This most recent chapter was supposed to be tragic. It's the big picture stuff that the 11 year old boys need to pick up that he's referencing there, not the minute symbolism that's supposed to make IchiHime oh so fail.

No, Kubo isn't referencing the universals and big picture stuff in that quote. He began the quote with "There are bits in the manga where I draw scenes that wouldn’t get the reader’s attention too much." He's not talking about what 11 year olds are supposed to pick up easily. He's talking about his own particular plans. And in another tweet when he says, "Even if they don't get it, I'm drawing what I want!" , I believe it's clear that he has something he wants an audience to "get" and some, not looking hard enough, miss.
sleepwalkersleepwalkerrrr on August 22nd, 2010 12:51 am (UTC)
Eh, what exactly was the point about arguing that author doesn't have an intent ? Does it mean that you can interpret every scene as you want and there is no plan for Bleach ? Isn't a story without authorial intent kinda, impossible or some bizarre modern art ?

And what's this stuff about "Orihime failing" connected to authorial intent ? Everybody's talking about how author obviously has an intent when he draws something, not a word about how Orihime or any character fails lol.

I honestly don't get this.
(no subject) - sleepwalkerrrr on August 22nd, 2010 12:55 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on August 22nd, 2010 01:19 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sleepwalkerrrr on August 22nd, 2010 10:53 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on August 22nd, 2010 01:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sleepwalkerrrr on August 22nd, 2010 07:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
darkslover: AxS Blooddarkslover on August 21st, 2010 01:58 pm (UTC)
Jesus Debbiechan, don't do that again! That "Kubo in hospital" made me lose focus of what was in front of me for some moments! Phew...

And I fail to understand how could anyone write fiction without conveying some kind of message, even unintentionally. Anything we write conveys a message, otherwise writing fictional stories and characters (and not biographies and history) would be impossible. The point is, if the author is not capable to put himself/herself in the shoes of the average reader, so he/she can understand if the message is conveyed or not, then we're talking about lack of writing skills. Kubo does not lack this at all. His ways are just sometimes subtle.
_debbiechan__debbiechan_ on August 21st, 2010 02:26 pm (UTC)

Ah sorry, didn't mean to go tabloid header on you. XD Sensei seems okay.

Sometimes subtle, sometimes not. LOL, sometimes the perfectly right answer is that there is no absolute. XD
self-proclaimed cookie monsterxxboo_radleyxx on August 21st, 2010 11:33 pm (UTC)
3) Kubo-sensei was in the hospital yesterday! He's fine now though! Got some medicine for his stomach and is recovering well! I worry so much because I'm a Jewish Mother. Also, does any other crazy fan out there ever get the fear when Sensei travels that his plane will go down and we'll never find out how Bleach ends? XD

...No I didn't. Now I do! *is scared shitless for a travelling Kubo*
_debbiechan_: meow_debbiechan_ on August 21st, 2010 11:37 pm (UTC)

Haha, he had a little vacation to some islands not long ago and I remember thinking "nah, he's FINE, HE'S FINE, HE'S... fine?" LOL. In case of falling bricks, I'm sure he left some meaningful clues with the interviewer who put those 000's in that Masked interview to torture fans!
(no subject) - xxboo_radleyxx on August 22nd, 2010 12:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on August 22nd, 2010 01:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)