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10 September 2010 @ 09:23 am
Ichigo is Ichigo is Ichigo  
If I don't say something now I'm going to pop!

The last few weeks have seen a flurry of complaints about Ichigo's characterisation including such staments that 'he's not himself,' 'he's just an empty shell' and others along similar lines. After the most recent chapter I finally had to step up and say something in Kubo-sensei's defence. Specifically everyone who is making these complaints is dead wrong.

Now that I have your attention and ire, first let me say that there is a kernel of truth to these complaints. Ichigo has been acting differently to his normal brash, gung-ho self. But that does not mean Ichigo is not being himself. In fact his current behaviour has precedent (though I can't find a convenient link at the moment). But cast your mind back if you will to Ichigo's final fight with Grimmjow and specifically to when Nel finally guilted Orihime into cheering for Ichigo and boosting his morale. Ichigo's entire demeanour changes and he takes a clear upper hand along with the line 'Sorry, I can't let myself be hurt any more.' His current demeanour puts me very much in mind of that moment with the main differences being less regret and sustaining it for considerably longer.

So we know Ichigo has this sort of behaviour in him but there's a bit more to it than that. It in fact can be argued that it is not just an occasional thing either but a fundamental part of Ichigo's nature. What we're most used to seeing is the hot-headed young man with a tendency to jump in feet first without looking. But we've seen other sides to Ichigo when we've had occasion to venture to his inner world. The first of the other aspects of his personality we've met is the one who acts most like Ichigo's current state. Zangestsu-ossan. Calm, collected and measured and while it;s possible to annoy him he's never been seen to lose his composure. Even Zangetsu-boya who was about as annoyed as we've ever seen him still doesn't emote all that strongly.

But wait... there's more! Someone actually picked this up as well. Ichigo likes to annoy his opponents. 'I saw every step Kuchiki Byakuya.' 'If miracles only happen once, then what do you call this?' 'Am I becoming more like a Hollow or are you becoming more like a human?' These are just a few choice quotes of Ichigo's taunting his opponent and that's not even getting into what Shirosaki does when he's let off the chain. However Aizen is remarkably immune to such banter, at least on the receiving end (he's been rather good a dishing it out). So obviously Ichigo's normal attempt at mind games aren't going to work so he's been forced to change tactics. And it's working so while Shirosaki probably isn't all that enamoured of the method he certainly can't argue with the results.

Now mentioning Zangetsu-ossan and Shirosaki is not just to show that there are facets of Ichigo's personality, though that is important. However just as significantly  we must remember that Ichigo has spend a significant amount of time in his Inner World coming to grips with these two aspects of his self that he's spent a lot of time ignoring (especially Shirosaki). Quite frankly if Ichigo hadn't shown some effects from that it would be even more surprising. And considering that form wise Ichigo's is employing his more shinigami-like powers at the moment its understandable that there would be more of Zangetsu in his behaviour than anything else. (Random speculation: If that burnt arm proves to be a problem he'll shift to a more Hollow-like form and bust out some high speed regeneration. Also if he does three will also be a shift in behaviour to something more like Shirosaki as well).

So in conclusion what we seeing at the moment may not be Ichigo as we normally know him but it is indeed Ichigo. In fact I would go further and say that it is Ichigo truly in harmony with himself in a way that he's never been before. So all I can say to this new state is VIVA ICHIGO!

Current Mood: accomplishedanalytical and smug
_debbiechan_: Kensei toothbrush_debbiechan_ on September 9th, 2010 11:32 pm (UTC)

All I can say is I've got a baaaaad feeling about all this...

I'm actually looking forward to seeing the Final Getsuga because really--is that all Ichigo has? What if it's not enough? (nope, I never trust editorial sideline comments never XD)

Ichigo looks deadly, poised and collected, yes ...

but I just have this inkling that he's going to crack. A final GT to wipe out this monsterous thing that Aizen has become? Maybe it's that simple. But then Ichigo will still have to contend with the hougyoku and his own desire maybe?

I'm really kinda spooked by this Ichigo.

Sensei withholding what happened in Ichigo's inner world for a reason too--to spook us perhaps?

I just don't think Ichigo's been alright since entering HM, learning to lose his chocolate, and especially since the dome--and given Rukia's pronouncement about "eyes of a victor" versus Gin's observation about Ichigo's new serious eyes... I have to wonder---what sort of victor is Ichigo going to be? I think it's all interesting character development stuff. I'm not cheering yet--no.... I want an Ichigo who has resolved his issues and is happy and himself again--this guy, well this guy--

we'll find out soon enough, I guess.
(Deleted comment)
flowerxofxevilflowerxofxevil on September 10th, 2010 07:50 am (UTC)
Hahaha, great comment, and great icon. :D
oh gallant piglet,: ouchaizome on September 9th, 2010 11:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you.

I think possibly his baby-mullet has clouded the minds of some readers. He had very much the same attitude with his third confrontation with Byakuya (as you said), and his third with Grimmjow (also as you said), and even his third with Ulquiorra before they shot off to the dome. The only difference this time with Aizen is: there is no audience for this fight. (That, and Aizen looks ridonkulous, but that's not exactly news.)

Ichigo is still himself. Three months have passed for him and he's grown, that's all.
Marie: [bleach: ichigo] confidenceproglution on September 10th, 2010 12:08 am (UTC)
"Ichigo is still himself. Three months have passed for him and he's grown, that's all."

This, exactly.
(no subject) - sakurahououji_n on September 10th, 2010 06:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wdboldstar on September 10th, 2010 03:52 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
kohi_no_tora: Shurikenkohi_no_tora on September 10th, 2010 07:18 am (UTC)
As I said I think that's rather deliberate on Ichigo's part. He's trolling Aizen and it's succeeding rather admirably. And I'm suddenly getting the image that in Ichigo's inner world Shirosaki is being his usual smart-ass self and Ichigo's basically saying 'Shut up! I'm trying to keep a straight face here!'
(no subject) - secila80 on September 10th, 2010 02:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) on September 11th, 2010 07:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Marie: [bleach: ichigo] skiesproglution on September 10th, 2010 12:20 am (UTC)
I would certainly agree with you that Ichigo is still Ichigo - it's just as aizome said: three months have passed for him, he's grown and he's tired. This isn't a sudden change for him at all, as people keep claiming it is, when you remember that he just spent three months in a life-or-death training match against himself. Zangetsu was trying to kill him - for three whole months - and while we obviously haven't seen what happened completely, we know it was intense and exhausting, just from seeing how drained Isshin was at its end.

Saying that, I understand why people are concerned about his behavior: he isn't being the loudmouth, arrogant smartass that we know and love, after all. But how many times during the HM arc did we see Ichigo approach a battle the same way over and over before being brought down a peg? He knew from the moment he witnessed Aizen in fake!Karakura that things were not going to work the same against him. Ichigo has approached battles this way before, as pointed out by the OP and aizome, it's just not his typical MO. He's certainly more mature and reserved during this battle, and with good reason, but he's still Ichigo.

He's physically tired. He's emotionally drained. And he's clearly grown up. What I think we all need to do is let Kubo show us what happened in Ichigo's Inner World, because that is obviously the point that shaped the current him. We just need to be patient.

Edited at 2010-09-10 12:25 am (UTC)
kohi_no_tora: Lafiel & Jintokohi_no_tora on September 10th, 2010 07:20 am (UTC)
Actually that's another good point. I hadn't considered that Ichigo might be feeling rather worn out at the moment as well.
Bana: strike & kill. [watch me].vitiates on September 10th, 2010 12:59 am (UTC)
In defense of the people who share my opinion on Ichigo is not Ichigo, we feel this way because we haven't seen the development. I'm all for character development in three months span, yada yada yada, but at a certain point, to make this believable, I've got to see at least a part of it.

I think a part of us also misses the usual Ichigo. When a character goes through a significant change in personality (with or without reason), there's got to be some sort of adjustment from the readers. It's generally easier to accept it and take it at face-value if you've seen the development. It's not as easy if you haven't seen anything, which in this case, we really have not. We saw the beginning, and we see the end, but where the fuck did the middle go? That's the part that matters most.

I'm not complaining about Kubo. I have full faith in his abilities. I'm just saying that without a brief summary of what happened in those three months, this new characterization is a little difficult to swallow.

It's fine if you want to voice your opinion, but making a blanket statement by saying that we're "dead wrong" is pushing it. Not all opinions are valid, but in this case, I think the less enthusiastic side regarding Ichigo's change has a fair point. The enthusiastic side does as well.

>.> In addition, the whole mood being 'analytical and smug' is slightly off-putting. It makes it seem like you're trying to look down on us for having our little doubts.
Bana: drown. your colors&scream.vitiates on September 10th, 2010 01:00 am (UTC)
P.S. I, for one, am willing to wait for that brief summary of those three months. I'm just slightly unsettled by the current Ichigo.
(no subject) - aizome on September 10th, 2010 01:18 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - vitiates on September 10th, 2010 02:11 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - snoozy on September 10th, 2010 08:25 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
_debbiechan_: Ichigo Scarf_debbiechan_ on September 10th, 2010 04:04 am (UTC)

Nope, just three months. Long enough to be tired and long enough for his hair to grow to sexy lengths but 200 years. That would make Ichigo crazy, not tired.
(no subject) - sakurahououji_n on September 10th, 2010 08:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
erisalia on September 10th, 2010 02:14 am (UTC)
I personally feel there is something off about Ichigo. I think alot of people felt that way because there was no explanation for the growth. So until kubo explains things people are going to be unsettled by Ichigo's behavior. I for one have never seen Ichigo act this way no matter how tired and worn out he has become. Either way I'll wait for explanation until then I still feel there is something off about Ichigo and I think kubo wants people to question so they are interested in the explanation. ITs why he didnt explain earlier.
カゼ: Swordskamikaze43v3r on September 10th, 2010 02:25 am (UTC)
I say:

He spent 3 months in his Inner World (3 months is a long time, and that place will definitely affect you especially when you're with your hollow and your sword), and Kubo will (or should, cuz who knows, he might troll) explain sooner or later, so to all those people: just wait.
peca_06: uncertainpeca_06 on September 10th, 2010 03:09 am (UTC)
lol Ichigo is still himself, but his behavior is a bit unsettling. I've express worry about him and his state of mind, since he was already dragging ass and burnt out before he even went into his inner World for 3 exhausting debilitating months of self-discovery and facing his worst fears. He is sick of everything at this point and wants things done. It is IC that he talks back and annoys the enemy and so on and so forth, but he looks like he has sacrificed something or has lost a bit of his spunk and is not about maturity, which it would be just fine. We'll get more info about what he realized and his character devel. later on I suppose. Kubo sensei will no doubt explain.
Adam Eppadam_epp on September 10th, 2010 05:24 am (UTC)
My complaint isn't that Ichigo isn't himself, but that he's boring now. What happened to his personality, geez?
Kim!: Mmm... Jump...spartydragon on September 10th, 2010 05:45 am (UTC)
I figure it's a combination of things: he's tired, he's been sobered by a giant pile of power, and there's a good chance he saw forever. So really he's just like "okay, defeat Aizen, check on everyone else - if everyone else is hunky dory, eat, shower SLEEP FOR A FUCKING YEAR then maybe do my homework or bug Rukia or something."

Plus, Kubo's just itching to draw that flashback that will explain things. I CAN FEEL IT IN MY BONES! So all will be revealed with time. *nodnod*
ann89103: Hichigoann89103 on September 10th, 2010 06:22 am (UTC)
So in conclusion what we seeing at the moment may not be Ichigo as we normally know him but it is indeed Ichigo. In fact I would go further and say that it is Ichigo truly in harmony with himself in a way that he's never been before.

This may be true, but because we haven't been shown what happened during his three months of training, there's a jarring dissonance between the Ichigo from just before - the one that lost control and ventilated voice of reason Ishida, then left Hueco Mundo to basically stand around in an almost dazed state while others fought Aizen (until Gin of all people tried to snap Ichigo out of his funk) - and the calm, composed, eerily confident Ichigo of now.

Until we have the whole story from Kubo, Ichigo's drastic shift in behavior is (for me) unsettling and not fully believable.

flowerxofxevilflowerxofxevil on September 10th, 2010 07:55 am (UTC)
Personally, the only proof that he actually changed (or matured too much? whatever we may call it) is that I've always hated him, always thought that he's the most annoying character in the series, and now... I actually like him. And I like him A LOT! He's so awesome and badass in these last chapters. If he goes back to his old self, let me hate him again. xD
i hurt the flower.: .blair bitch's project.snoozy on September 10th, 2010 08:19 am (UTC)
so in conclusion what we seeing at the moment may not be Ichigo as we normally know him but it is indeed Ichigo.

is that supposed to be flashnews?
that is what most people are saying.

Specifically everyone who is making these complaints is dead wrong.

canon attitude much?
it is not so much about complaining. it is mostly, that ichigo and aizen are boring and bland, especially last chapter. that is why half fandom is being annoying orange. and the other half is jizzing cause of his omg-nice hair. go figure.

Edited at 2010-09-10 08:20 am (UTC)
Vayshti: bleachvayshti on September 10th, 2010 08:44 am (UTC)
canon attitude much? .....

.... the other half is jizzing cause of his omg-nice hair.

Almost as dismissive of the other POV as the original poster ;).

If we are going to divide fandom into such polarised groups, then I guess I'm in the jizz camp - but not because of Ichigo's hair.

I'm excited by the change and the possibilities this has opened up for the narrative, and for Ichigo's future characterisation. I'm *burning* for the flashback.

Rather than see Ichigo as boring, I'm finding myself holding my breath and studying the pages to see exactly what changes Kubo has wrought on the poor boy. Maybe I just like a good whumping too much, but this blank expression is not what I'd call boring or bland.

Seeing pages like this, and comparing it to this and other similar "face-off" pages makes me giddy.

Normally I've been annoyed with the pace of the fight chapters - who's bankai is bigger bores me to tears, unless there's some character investment/progression in there as well. I think this has that element, rather than being more of the same.

(no subject) - snoozy on September 10th, 2010 10:23 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on September 10th, 2010 01:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - snoozy on September 10th, 2010 02:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on September 10th, 2010 02:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - snoozy on September 10th, 2010 02:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on September 10th, 2010 02:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - snoozy on September 10th, 2010 02:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - vayshti on September 10th, 2010 02:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)