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19 September 2010 @ 01:48 pm
420 Musings, etc....  
Oh my, I feel hungover today. Yesterday was Yom Kippur, a fasting religious holiday and I’ve dehydrated myself again and my bronchitis is back and besides wanting to draw pictures of Orihime eating cake all yesterday, I kept nodding off in synagogue and having thoughts about the last chapter in Bleach so maybe I can corral some of them for you today. Or not. Let’s see if anything I write makes sense post-starvation:

There seems to have been extra twitching and hand-wringing since the release of 420 (in the West—the chapter itself is released today (Monday Tokyo time) in Japan). I’ve read all kinds of responses, positive and negative, much confusion and speculation and also the usual unsubstantiated rumors about “such and such is happening on Kubo’s Twitter,” lol (more on that later). I went to sleep and dreamed Bleach, which even for a big ass fan like me is unusual. I guess Kubo-sensei hit a nerve with this chapter—maybe the shock was due to the combination of Ichigo’s new snazzy (albeit highly derivative) sexy spooky character design, the sudden fall of Aizen from clever handsome omniscient villain to tantruming bowling ball-head, and to the startling angst of ZANGETSU (formerly a very cool old guy now a United Colors of Bennetton bishie) crying in a shounen. Let us not forget the coup de grace—this chapter gave us the whole uh oh Ichigo is no longer a SHINIGAMGI, that role he so proud of, and wait, didn’t Isshin lose his Shinigami powers too once, and aaaah, the title Deicide now finally makes sense! (The title really did have to do with the first option on an old bleachness poll and not Gin’s ban kai or Aizen’s demise but Ichigo’s tugging his god out, only in a way we could have never imagined—the death of Ichigo’s death god!)

Score for Kubo-sensei the poet.

Then score again for Kubo’s naming of Ichigo’s form as "Mugetsu," which means "moonless sky." Kubo’s been hitting his readers over the head with Ichigo as the moon for years. His attack is Moon Fang Heaven-Piercer. His ban kai is Heaven Chain Slaying Moon. He uses Black Moon Fang against Byakuya, and now…

First thing I noticed is that the IchiRuki fandom, ever vigilant about the Black Sun/White Moon details Kubo-sensei gave Ichigo and Rukia in his famous poems in 2006, started roaring about how “moonless sky” heralded the role of Rukia somehow. I remembered my own version of the poem back in those days—I quibbled with some translator when it came out—the poem for Rukia had been translated as “the moon who eclipses night” and I thought it worked better as “the moon who erases night” and eventually, a lot of Japanese speakers agreed with me (to my credit, I have worked as a professional translator of poetry before—just not in Japanese—in Spanish and Hebrew). I really like the idea of Rukia being the eraser of night in the poetic sense. It makes sense in Kubo’s world to me too and although not necessarily predictive of plot, the scenario of Rukia being the one to banish Ichigo's emotional darkness/powerlessness does make more sense than a lot of other poetic theories floating around out there.

I hear things in fandom that get pulled out of nowhere with no reference to Kubo's culture or what he's said in interviews or even what's been laid out in the manga AT ALL—e.g., someone referred to Ichigo’s final form as being one where there was "no moon needed" and implied that Ichigo was at a prideful, no-regrets ultimate strength now-- because he covered his moon with his “kurosaki” or “his black cape.” This interpretation misunderstood that the Japanese “kurosaki” refers to a peninsula, not a cloak. Also, I’ve heard people refer to Orihime’s name as “princess of light because “Ori” means “my light” in Hebrew whereas Kubo’s likelihood of referencing Orihime’s name to such a language is very slight—not to mention the fact that he’s already associated her name with Tanabata, 7/7 and said in interview that he wants people to think of “hmm” when they hear “Hime” as in “what?” I can understand people hoping that Orihime may jumpstart Ichigo's powers with her own (I even believe it's likely) but Orihime being the light to clear Ichigo's darkness makes no poetic sense. N'uh. Does not follow.

Then there were some people going oh noes, Ichigo gained his ban kai (Heaven Chain Slaying Moon!) for Rukia so now the ship is deaaaaaad. Moon GONE. *teeth gnashing* (I dunno--I was tickled when qwirky pointed out the old matching 2006 poem to Rukia's and noted that the kanji itself referred to Ichigo's ban kai even if the translation didn't make that clear. She wrote:

As an interesting note, Ichigo's poem is: 天を鎖す太陽
"The sun that locks Heaven."

Tensa Zangetsu is written as: 天鎖斬月
"Heavenly Chain Cutting Moon"

You'll see "heaven" (天) ("ten") is the same character in both, and the first character for "locks" in Ichigo's poem (鎖) ("toza") is the same character as "chain" (鎖) (the "sa" in "Tensa"). ("Locks" in Ichigo's poem can also be "chains.")

It's funny, no Japanese fan could miss this obvious connection when Ichigo's poem came out, but I don't know how many non-Japanese fans realized it: Ichigo's poem is also a reference to his bankai XD")

To me, it made the connection between the poems more likely and the resolution of Ichigo's loss of powers coming from the people those poems represent even more likely.

An IchiRuki fan asked me how poems from 2006 could have anything to do with predicting future arcs. I said I didn't think Kubo planned them that way. I think he probably only recently fine-tuned the details of the Deicide ending but has been working on the upcoming arcs for a couple of years as evidenced by his interviews. A couple months ago a friend of mine wrote him to say that his poem about Rukia as the moon who erased the night was her favorite and he faved it in his Twitter. <3 Let's just say that was evidence it was recently on his mind.

The speculation about how Ichigo is going to get his powers back is already at full mast. This and we don’t even know for sure whether or not he’s going to lose them to the point that Ishida and Rukia did or if he’s going to lose his ability to fight, see spirits or what. Some people predict that Orihime may restore him—I’m not counting this out. There seems to be a natural grace to this, seeing how Orihime blames herself for bringing out the beast on the dome. I myself don’t see Orihime consoling Ichigo for any angst that may follow given his inability to protect following any loss of powers. I can’t imagine Ichigo not being angsty given such a sacrifice even though I’ve read a fan or two saying that Ichigo will glady and pridefully give up his powers and others saying Ichigo could use the “break” as a normal person… These sorts of opinions make me go wa--? Ichigo started the story miserable because he couldn’t protect—that’s what Bleach was all about—then Rukia gave him the power to protect. She stopped his rain when he saved her at the end of the SS arc, and speaking of rain, pikeish told me that mugetsu is also known as when the moon cannot be seen because the sky is either cloudy or rainy. So it will be raining in Ichigo’s world again? Another cue for Rukia. Unless someone else (or maybe a whole slew of rain-stoppers like a gang of six nakama? Or maybe Mayuri?) is going to come to Ichigo's rescue this time!

But Ichigo may restore himself—he has instant regeneration abilities from his Hollow being if it can still operate. Maybe Shinigami powers restore over time (did this happen with Isshin?) Who knows? There’s also the hougyoku and it’s magical abilities. I know some people are still predicting that the hougyoku will become the final villain but I’m not counting Aizen out of the running yet. To me there seems something unjust about Ichigo winning a fight with the Big Bad at this point after his failures on the dome (stabbing a nakama, killing Ulquiorra—that is, ceroing an opponent after that unarmed opponent gave up and not using a shinigami zanpakutou to purify him—it’s like our shounen hero has blood on his hands). I suspect we can’t get to the Royal Realm without Aizen as our Unreliable Narrarator of Great Justice somehow and I can’t help but remember his smirk after showing the hougyoku to Orihime and feeling that this needs a resolution in which Aizen will play a part.

Today I’ve been drinking lots of orange juice and catching up with forums and I’m still surprised at how big the reaction to this one chapter has been. I wonder if Kubo will top it this week. I know I’ve missed a lot. Bleach fandom is huge. As I’ve noted before, most of it isn’t even on the internet much and could care less what the diehard esoteric specialized coteries or Akon fans have to say, but I poke around in forums here and there and catch the currents. Been doing it for six years or so now. I was a little startled when a friend of mine big into Bleach RPs told me that fans were bemoaning the END of Bleach because I hadn’t seen much of that on the big forums. Like, what? Didn’t Kubo say there would be at least one another big arc and an Isshin backstory? Another TBTP mini-arc and aren’t there still tons of unresolved questions? Just because the main character loses his powers mid-series doesn’t mean he has to go back to live life as an ordinary Joe like some shounen dudes at the VERY END. I wonder if most Bleach fans are really on the edge of their seats expecting the end of the series? I think that reaction has surprised me more than the one that Ichigo will become the next Big Bad because the hougyoku is going to choose him as its next host (honestly, I can’t see Ichigo going THAT bad, can you?)

Oh and another thing. There was a crazy rumor on Twitter that Kubo recently got another flurry of Orihime hate mail. I went back for days and didn’t see any. (eta: Commenter in this thread did find something--there were a couple tweets on the 16th and 17th, the days of the commotion, neither tweets of which mentioned the name Orihime (so that may be why I missed them) but which linked to the poll of hated female characters abroad) Maybe there was some more Orihime hate on 2ch but as far as I know, Sensei hasn’t responded to Orihime hate on 2ch and he doesn’t read 2ch (or so he claims). The one funny thing recently on Kubo’s Twitter timeline that’s cracked me up recently was a tweet out of nowhere that in typical Sensei fashion did not elaborate. It wasn’t in response to a question.


"I'm colouring panties for the first time in my life, but... well, what is this. I ended up wanting to do them skin-coloured."

Sensei won’t say whose panties he’s coloring. Tease!
シボ 洋蔥さん: I want to shine on younijibug on September 19th, 2010 07:46 pm (UTC)
Just reading this makes me anxious! @___@
_debbiechan_: Ishida Dancing by Distilled_debbiechan_ on September 19th, 2010 08:02 pm (UTC)

About what?


I'm excited! I like angst in my manga--and I want to see resolution--like I want to see Rukia, Orihime, the other nakama, find out Isshin backstory. I feel like we're on the brink of these answers. It's 2010 the year of Bleach. I'm looking forward to it!
(no subject) - nijibug on September 19th, 2010 08:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on September 19th, 2010 08:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Lizzy, a harmless lecher and pyromaniac: Keep Calmwicked_liz on September 19th, 2010 08:22 pm (UTC)
Great post Deb!

It makes me so wanna kick myself for not being up-to-date with the manga, but at least I understand what's up.

Kubo-sensei is hilarious, such a dork ^^.

You brought up some great points, the one that stands out most to me is "Aizen's smirk after he revealed the hougyoku to Inoue":

Aizen is a Chess-Master, he believes himself smarter than anyone else. I believe that he has made plans in the event of an unexpected defeat. Don't forget that he was experimenting with hollows being able to re-generate in Hueco Mundo after a defeat.

Should Ichigo destroy himself in an attempt to kill Aizen, Aizen will feel re-assured in the decimation of a potential threat.

However if he does regenerate, he will no longer have the hougyoku, this is where his plans for Inoue comes in.

I agree that Ichigo is in need of redemption - I think that's why he'd do something as self-sacrificing as giving up his powers forever. I also agree that he'll get them back. Probably with help from an unlikely source (in his perception) like Ishida. Especially since Ishida also burned out his powers. And since Ichigo is prone to losing faith in himself, especially after a defeat, and Ishida isn't a shinigami exactly, I think Rukia may also aid him in this rebirth. I'm hoping that he will lose his hollow side, but probably not.
_debbiechan__debbiechan_ on September 20th, 2010 01:04 am (UTC)

That damn Hollow problem. Would be nice if this is what finally got rid of it but I think not.

manonlechat: rukia and renji: star and a stray dogmanonlechat on September 19th, 2010 08:36 pm (UTC)
Part of the reason I'm certain Aizen's final defeat is NOT imminent is that Rukia is not present.
_debbiechan_: KUKUKU_debbiechan_ on September 20th, 2010 01:05 am (UTC)

Gin's got unresolved stuffs with Rukia too it seems... not to mention Kira....

eh, there's enough Bleach for it to go on until my kids have kids!
(no subject) - manonlechat on September 20th, 2010 12:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on September 20th, 2010 03:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - manonlechat on September 21st, 2010 01:55 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
_debbiechan_: Chizuru_debbiechan_ on September 19th, 2010 11:31 pm (UTC)

Some people CALLED it as the Great Don toooo! I'm wondering--Sensei is usually so reverent when it comes to Rukia and the teenage mains. Maybe it's Matsumoto or Cirucci or one of the others. Kubo drawing panties! He did indeed mention designing Ichigo and Rukia underwear in a tweet not long ago but that would be outright scandalous if he did that for a spread. He's such a freaking tease, the man is!
(no subject) - skilly_n_duff on September 20th, 2010 01:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
oh gallant piglet,: hmaizome on September 19th, 2010 09:41 pm (UTC)
"tantruming bowling ball-head"

Aaahahahha! That's exactly how I see Aizen now. XD

I'm with you on most of this. Not really getting the whole freakout over Ichigo's power being GONE FOREVER or Bleach ending or any of that.

Personally I would love it if this really were the end for Aizen, but there are so many other characters that have a score to settle with him, it wouldn't be fitting if at least some of them were not around to see the end or get a few good hits in. And I really think Hinamori NEEDS to see Aizen in this form. For her own sanity, she needs to see once and for all that the man she worshiped does not exist.

LOL the rumors about more 'Hime hate on Twitter made me go bzuuh? I didn't see any either. All I saw was Orihime fans frothing at the mouth and e-screaming "STOP TWEETING KUBO ABOUT ORIHIME HATE" when nobody was doing it in the first place (at least not since that one time).
Brad C: shinpachi - don't worrydeathlike on September 19th, 2010 09:48 pm (UTC)
LOL the rumors about more 'Hime hate on Twitter made me go bzuuh? I didn't see any either. All I saw was Orihime fans frothing at the mouth and e-screaming "STOP TWEETING KUBO ABOUT ORIHIME HATE" when nobody was doing it in the first place (at least not since that one time).


Imagine how Matusoka Yuki would react if she sees those on Twitter. Orihime seiyuu has a Twitter as well and likely following Kubo Tite. Please exit somewhere before you make a fool out of yourself.
(no subject) - aizome on September 19th, 2010 09:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - deathlike on September 19th, 2010 10:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on September 19th, 2010 11:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - aizome on September 20th, 2010 05:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
kaibasgirl on September 19th, 2010 10:15 pm (UTC)
Wow, the last chapter left that much of an impact on people? I didn't find it to be anything too special, but yeah, the fact that people are predicting the end of the series doesn't make sense. There's still the stuff about Chad that needs to be resolved, & Kubo himself said there's another arc after this.

But mostly, after this arc is over, I really hope Ichigo gets a haircut. Even better if Rukia is the one who gives it to him ♥ because him with long hair does not work. Some people might say it makes him look moe, but I disagree. I think it makes him look like some sort of wannabe >__>

Thanks for the insightful post, as always. I hope your fast was a meaningful one. Yom Kippur can be so long, but at the same time so short.
_debbiechan_: Ichigo Scarf_debbiechan_ on September 19th, 2010 11:38 pm (UTC)

I'm pretty sure Ichigo's hair will go back to normal as soon as he's done shooting the Final GT. Or at least back to orange longish 3 month in the dangai lengths. I wonder if he'll keep his new manly height that Keigo noted.

Rukia's going to look really tiny next to him O__o

Yom Kippur was too long this year. I was already kinda sick and it brought back my bronchitis. Yuck. But I'm getting better, thanks. It was very meaningful. This year has been a meaningful on many fronts, including fandom. I've decided to stick with this community and all the friends and crazy I've made here. It's a fun place first and last. And Bleach is cheaper than therapy. XD
Shinigami_Lucia: Rukia&Konshinigami_lucia on September 19th, 2010 11:23 pm (UTC)
Not much comment for the chapter. We don't know for sure whether Ichigo's final attack was successful or not. I guess we just have to wait and see next week.

Orihime haters...I don't know what to think about that. Are these Orihime haters really sincere in hating her or just someone pretending to hate her in order to discredit some fans of a particular character? I'm suspicious about that one because aside from that one troll a few weeks ago, I've never heard anything about an influx of recent Orihime haters in either Kubo's twitter or at 2ch. Then again, I don't follow Kubo's twitter or 2ch that often. So, who knows *shrug*

As for Kubo coloring panties...That actually reminds me of that stuff he mentioned in his twitter awhile back about him wanting to design Ichigo and Rukia's undies or something like that. Maybe he's drawing Ichigo and Rukia in their underwear for the 2011 calendar *get shot*
Messy M.: Seishirou eye // Xvicious_melange on September 19th, 2010 11:33 pm (UTC)
Kubo did receive Orihime hate tweets this weekend, although I think they were from the same person whose tweets he indirectly responded to a few weeks ago.

Looking at this person's twitter you can see that he/she spams Kubo with his/her Orihime hate daily -_-
oh gallant piglet,aizome on September 19th, 2010 11:37 pm (UTC)
I could have sworn Kubo said something about blocking that one though?
(no subject) - vicious_melange on September 19th, 2010 11:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on September 19th, 2010 11:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - vicious_melange on September 20th, 2010 12:09 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on September 20th, 2010 12:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - vicious_melange on September 20th, 2010 09:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
Adam Eppadam_epp on September 19th, 2010 11:39 pm (UTC)
Kubo's colouring Charlotte Cuuhlhourne's panties, of course.
_debbiechan_: wtf nightmares_debbiechan_ on September 19th, 2010 11:51 pm (UTC)

I thought we'd already seen Charlotte's panties!

And too much else of Charlotte!
>Kat<: [Bleach] IchiRuki Protecting Youtanya_lilac on September 20th, 2010 12:42 am (UTC)
About half an hour after I read last week's chapter, I had a conversation with someone (I'd just met) who read Bleach, and he was said, "Oh come on! Ichigo just stopped being a wuss! It's getting good now!It might even be ending soon."
To which my response was a very effeminate, "Oh come on! There's no way it's ending now... Also, can't you just appreciate the tragedy of the situation?! It's not that he's stopped being a wuss, it's that he understands the gravity of the situation -- he's going to give up something that completely changed his life, and brought him-"
At, 'tragedy', the expression of this poor, poor person was like O.O
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - tanya_lilac on September 20th, 2010 06:52 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - maewie on September 20th, 2010 05:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on September 20th, 2010 09:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shinigami_lucia on September 21st, 2010 01:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
hatandfeethatandfeet on September 20th, 2010 01:34 am (UTC)
I have seen some people on Twitter bemoaning the end of Bleach. I think it's just because they're less informed and don't know anything about Kubo saying that there will be more story arcs.

Also, I have a bad feeling that Aizen is not about to die, as much as I would like that, for the same reason as debbiechan. He has a loose plot thread with Orihime. His smirk after he showed her the hougyoku never went anywhere plot-wise.

And maybe I'm strange, but I'm very excited about Ichigo losing his powers.
Phoenix Hawk's Deep Corefmphoenixhawk on September 20th, 2010 01:34 am (UTC)
Had a thought, similar to you. What happens to Ichigo after his powers go away. Does he become a full-on Hollow, since he no longer has a chain of fate? Does he become a powerless soul? Does he go back into his body and sit there until his powers come back (However long it took Isshin?) Or, will something really weird happen, and he'll transform into the soul of someone else's blade? Or, maybe he'll become an Espada? Have to rule Hueco Mundo for the rest of time.
Super Nintendo Chalmersstrawberries_85 on September 20th, 2010 04:24 am (UTC)
I read through that post nodding my head and agreeing with pretty much everything you said, so I don't really have much to add.

Oh Kubo, that damn tease. I wanna know what who he's colouring. XD
erisalia on September 20th, 2010 04:54 am (UTC)
Personally I disagree with Orihime giving him back his powers because I do not believe she can because I do not believe she can give powers, especially restore shinigami powers and zanpaktous . As far as we have seen she is unable to give someone back their powers once lost as Ichigo is going through. This is something that has to to do with himself. Although I do think she will redeem herself.

Not only that I think this is more of a personal quest of IChigo's. He's most likely going to go through some type of training to affirm to himself who he really is. Which I would think fits well with the fact that this is Ichigo's story afterall. So Im gonna venture he will train with someone perhaps his dad can help him.
(Anonymous) on September 20th, 2010 12:14 pm (UTC)
I am 100% gay for this post.

You'll see "heaven" (天) ("ten") is the same character in both, and the first character for "locks" in Ichigo's poem (鎖) ("toza") is the same character as "chain" (鎖) (the "sa" in "Tensa"). ("Locks" in Ichigo's poem can also be "chains.")

It's funny, no Japanese fan could miss this obvious connection when Ichigo's poem came out, but I don't know how many non-Japanese fans realized it: Ichigo's poem is also a reference to his bankai XD")

In before Rukia's bankai is a play off of her poem. Which, considering the kanji involved, makes an interesting juxtaposition with 'Mugetsu'.

I initially grumbled something like 'He'd stop getting so much Orihime trolling if he stopped hammering home the point that she's dysfunctional as regards Ichigo', but then I realized I was grumpy because it was morning and that I was being a dick.

Come back, Orihime, come back (;____;)