_debbiechan_ (_debbiechan_) wrote in bleachness,

IchiRuki Essay Contest Winner: "SS Arc Gone Wrong"

Is it too early for comprehensive essays about the HM arc vs the SS arc? Our journey to HM is just about done (if Aizen isn't yet). Fans have been calling parallels for years now, but until the IchiRuki FC at Bleach Asylum held a contest for Ichigo's birthday last July, I'd yet to see any full-blown essays. The following is the winner of that contest, and I'd promised the author,
[info]nacchan_touya, I'd repost the essay here. It's shipping-slanted of course, so bear that in mind if you choose to read.

I hope to see more HM vs SS essays in this community soon.

note--IchiRuki shippers are as famous (or should I say infamous?) for making essays as [info]bleachness  is for hosting them, but I'd welcome more meta of a general SS vs HM nature if anyone wants to post essays along those lines in the future. As mod [info]karenai noted elsewhere, it's only courteous if you believe that your essay is going to be "controversial" (i.e. shipping-oriented) or if you have any doubt as to the appropriateness of your essay for this community to let me know of the content before you post or to send me the document for approval. I or any of the mods reserve the right to delete any posts.  The mods just want to have a heads-up so we'll be awake in case of bloodshed.  Well, we do have rules. We can't stop random pranksters shooting out comments and bifurcating feelings like Gin zapped Hiyori, but we can try. Basically, we just don't want anyone to kill the fun--we know that no one dies for real in shipping wars.

Now for Nacchan's essay! She didn't title it, so I did, from a line in her writing.  "SS Arc Gone Wrong"


Essay Entry

First I apologize for the grammatical mistakes and weird sentences (which I'm sure you’ll find), English is not my main language and this post contains quite a lot of images from the manga, so for phone user please thread carefully.

THEME : Comparing the SS and HM arcs, can we guess what is Kubo's intent for our pairing?

When I first read the HMarc I had a lot of Déjà Vu moments, the further I read the more I feel that Kubo-sensei was rehashing the SSarc but at the same time he’s not because he reusing the scenes and situations yet he totally omits all the components that make SSarc as an epic and romantic with HMarc

SSarc and HMarc is very similar but also very contrast, the flow of the fights and scene patterns are nearly the same but the outcome results are very different. I’m compiling the scenes which was very similar yet very contrasting so we could see the difference and try to figure sensei’s intentions behind it.


both girls has their turn abducted by the enemies in a similar fashion (both willing to submit to the abductor because someone else’s life was on the line), both did it because they want to protect.

what makes it different?

Rukia's Farewell

With Rukia they share a proper goodbye, Ichigo was conscious when the teary farewell happened, he realized that Rukia did it to protect him, that teary face of hers later motivates him more to save her because he wants to see her smile.

For a muse, Sensei dedicated a full blank black page after Ichigo's scream of despair to illustrate Ichigo's feeling of despair and helplessness

Inoue's Farewell

With Inoue he was unconscious hence totally oblivious to her teary farewell and her sacrifice. And again just for a muse Sensei later adds this scene

… well seeing that he just escaped from some kind of liprape assault last night it’s kinda understandable eh?

Ichigo’s Depressed State
In the time after both girls are abducted Ichigo entered to an emo mode

what makes it different?

With Rukia it’s clear what makes him depressed, the fact that he once again was protected and because of him Rukia will be killed, Kubo-sensei made it clear that the sole reason of Ichigo’s depressed state was Rukia’s abduction

In Inoue’s case sensei blurred the reason of his depression by adding more and more problems for Ichigo. Not only he still carry the worry from his hollow problem and the bitterness from his 2nd lost to GJ, Sensei made SS crew abandon him and also separated Rukia from Ichigo (he even did it in a similar way with the ‘broken coda chapter’)

Kubo-sensei threw all that troubles in the same chapter where Ichigo learn about Inoue’s abduction, that’s why we can’t say that the reason of his depressed state is solely because Inoue was taken away because sensei took that spotlight by adding more problems at the same time, even the chapter title are ‘Eagle Without Wings’ which emphasized more on Ichigo’s hopelessness without his friends by his side.

Ikkaku Fights v.s Dordonie Fights
When I read Ichigo v.s Dordonie I was instantly reminded of Ichigo v.s Ikkaku. Their meeting scenes are nearly identical, both Ikkaku and Dordonie greeted Ichigo with an awful comedic dance that sends Ichigo and his newly obtained companion into a wtf mode



They fight, both enemy had an upper hand at first and then Ichigo pulls out his true potential and won and in the end he healed both of those enemies

what makes it different?

in Dordonie fights we didn’t have that did we? and I don’t think it’s because they didn’t have the time because when you read the chapter you could see that there’s a lot of silent moments between Dordonie speech, Ichigo could ask him yet he didn’t (or we could say Kubo-sensei didn’t make him)

after the manga goes far I could see why sensei didn’t bother to make Ichigo ask that question because in the end it’s Inoue who finds him and not himself like how a rescue arc supposed to be.

Enemies Chest Fetish?
I’m referring to these scenes


kinda similar aren’t they?

what’s makes it different?

In SSarc Ichigo’s passion and will to save Rukia made Old-man Zangetsu materialize and help him to survive and win the fights.

While in HMarc he stays dead

Seeing the chapters after this we could assume why sensei makes it that way, because he wants to makes Ichigo and Inoue’s reunion different from his and Rukia’s epic one where the hero who sought for the damsel epically found her, in HMarc the damsel is the one who has to find the hero because he just couldn't made it.

First Reunion
Both arcs have Ichigo reunited with each damsel twice

what makes it different?

I don’t have to say much because the panel already talks for itself, the IchiRuki bridge reunion in ch. 116, the only chapter that have 53 pages, with color pages and cover page, with white background to emphasize the mood, double pages, knelling pose and the most important of all : both are conscious. And after that epic meeting they still have the time to have meaningful interactions despite Byakuya Nii-sama standing a few feet from them.

Aw Grimmjaw you’re such a helpful magpie aren’t you? Isn’t it sad that both in goodbye scene and reunion scene Inoue always found Ichigo in an unconscious state?

Renji Fights (ver.2) v.s Grimmjaw Fights (ver.3)
Both are the opponent Ichigo first met in living world, he lost to both of them before, both are the settling fights between the two

what makes it different?

Ichigo v.s Renji


the purpose of this fight is clear : Ichigo has to beat Renji to be able to pass through to Rukia’s cell, he shouted that more than once, this fights is for her

Ichigo v.s Grimmjaw
unlike IchiRen fight, this fight purpose is not tied to the Ichigo’s rescue mission because :

the one who he has to rescue is already there (graciously delivered by the enemy)



so what is the true purpose from this fight? First is of course what our hero clearly shouted up there, second is to show how Inoue’s behavior hinders Ichigo in fighting properly and to hint to the readers that Inoue’s unconscious desire to want to saved by Ichigo are already dominating her previous will to protect by making her scared of him instead for him.

Second Reunion
Both reunion focused on three figures (SSarc : Ichi---Ruki---Soukyoku , HMarc : Ichi---Hime---Ulq) in both reunion Ichigo’s role is a party hijacker

what makes it different?


Scene : IchiRuki Eyesmex
Background :Soukyoku Firebird


Scene : IchiUlq Eyesmex
Background : Inoue Orihime

Black Moon Rising v.s The Lust Arc
Or in the other word IchiBya fight v.s IchiUlq fight. Both are the final fight of both arcs, both opponent are considered stronger than Ichigo, and Ichigo’s Hollow took over on both fights

what makes it different?

Ichigo v.s Byakuya was voted as the most favorited fight among all of BLEACH fights in the recent best bout poll and for me it’s not a big surprise. It was epic, it was romantic. Ichigo was at his peak in that fight with his bankai debut which he clearly stated he obtained FOR Rukia

(Ichigo obtained the ‘Black Moon’ for Rukia, seeing that title being butchered for another purpose is kinda amusing)

There’s also his passion to makes Byakuya realize what a brother should do, his passion to protects Rukia’s honor, how the result of that fight really pleased him and his victory makes him proud. The purpose of his fights is clear : to defeat Byakuya so he’ll stop hunting Rukia’s head and act like a sane brother.

In the middle of this fight his hollow takes over him but in the end he’s able to break trough and finished the fights with his own hand, that’s why he’s really proud with his victory because it was truly HIS fight.




Lust arc is already discussed many many times in the BLEACH fandom, everyone who understand the manga correctly agreed that in that fight up at the dome was Ichigo’s lowest moment.. he lost his heart, he lost his moral and in the end he was saved by the enemy.

and I think saying “I won’t let you say that word in front of Rukia ever again” and “Is your so called pride is linked to you wanting to kill Rukia? then as you said I’ll trample it since that’s the reason why I obtained this Bankai!” while fully conscious clearly sound much more romantic than unconsciously sending your beloved flying facefirst into the dirt don’t you think?

End Of Hypnosis v.s Edge of the Silence


Both are the climax scenes, Both contains the main antagonist revealed his evil deeds to us readers and to our hero, Both sends Ichigo into a state of shock

whats makes it different?

none.. both climaxes revolved around Ichigo, Rukia and Aizen which makes it kinda ironic.

End of Hypnosis was SSarc’s climax, the arc which focused on Ichigo and Rukia, so it’s to be expected that the revelations will revolve around those two but Edge of the Silence was the climax of HMarc’s which supposed to be focused on Inoue (and Ichigo like some people like to persist) but in the Edge of the Silence there was zero mention of Inoue, instead of her sensei brought the topic of Ichigo and Rukia’s fateful meeting into the spotlight and how Ichigo freaked out over the revelations.

This indicates that whenever sensei want us to focus to main plot of this story the focused characters beside Ichigo will always be Rukia and no one else.

Ichigo’s Inner World State
at the end the result both arcs contributed to Ichigo’s Inner world stability, his inner soul state was addressed in the closing of both arc

what’s the difference?


In the end of SSarc Ichigo gained so much positive things, he gained new powers, new friends, new legal status as shinigami substitutes but most of all the constant rain in his heart is dried because this time he’s able to protect that who change his world and very dear to him : his White Moon.

He came back to Karakura with a smile and proud face.

While in the end of HMarc he was in a very depressive state. He’s guilt ridden, the dome incident makes him traumatic to the point that he’s afraid to use his full power, his entire inner world is drowning.

He came back to Karakura with heavy heart and a lot of burdens.


After seeing and comparing the scenes side by side like that Kubo-sensei clearly never intended HMarc as the hint of IchiRuki’s doom by promoting other pairing because none of the happenings in that arc are equal let alone tops what he had given in the SSarc. Sensei clearly want us readers to notice the parallel he beautifully put there and make a conclusion.

IchiRuki never having any contender in the first place and probably never will because sensei always make sure that no other characters or pairing could outshine them and their bond. SSarc was the prime example how a proper and successful rescue arc should be : A passionate hero who focused on his true mission and a truly selfless damsel who tried everything she had to keep everyone safe.

Ichigo and Rukia always managed to have a two way meaningful interactions whenever they meet no matter how dire the circumstances is and Ichigo spent most of his time fully conscious unlike in HMarc where Inoue has to endure a lot of one way interactions because Ichigo was unconcious or she's being ignored because Ichigo was either too locked up in a battle or being awed by another person whose willing to actually save him (Nel, Kenpachi). Now come to think of it Ichigo spent three of HMarc important moments in a unconscious state sisn't he? (Goodbye scene, First Reunion, Final Battle with Ulquiorra)

SS arc also shows the huge step of IchiRuki relationship development and that development isn’t stop after that arc’s over, it keeps evolving and evolving to the point that a mere word couldn’t describe their relationship.

HMarc was sensei’s attempt to show that Ichigo didn’t possess the same devotion and passion as he did in SSarc (I didn’t say that he didn’t truly want to save Inoue, he was but he also has another motives along the way) and Inoue who some people consider as Ichigo’s potential romantic interest wasn’t compatible for him because she couldn’t be strong for him when he needs her help the most. HMarc was her chance to develop a relationship with Ichigo and they didn’t make it, Kubo-sensei didn’t make it.

In short we could called HMarc as “SSarc Gone Wrong”

and of course HAPPY BIRTHDAY ICHIGO~ \(^o^ )/
wish you all the best and may your life full of happiness and Rukia <3

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