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06 November 2010 @ 12:48 pm
Bleach Redux Entry (Not the Same Old Song)  
Talked a lot with friends this week about the new Bleach reboot, about how things seem the same right down to the funky mod cover pages but there's a dark undercurrent to the highschool hijinks. Ichigo's not right for one thing, and there was a debate in fandom in recent days over is he clinically depressed, has he lost his morals, has he "moved on" and grown up or has he regressed? Most of my friends are happy about the return of old-style comedy to Bleach. Because I'm probably a 12 year old boy trapped in a grown woman's body, I'm the perfect audience for shounen--I love fart jokes, guys blowing stuff up, big boobs on pretty girls, and when friends smack friends to show love like Tatsuki did Orihime in the last chapter. Nonetheless I can't escape my English nerd self that looks for poetic hints and subtext in my manga and because of both personas--the kid and the schoolmarm--I hereby bring some observations, speculations and general fanmoosh over the new arc.

Not the Same Old Song

Kubo-sensei loves his parallels. So many parallel panels so far. Ichigo knows his dad has otherworldly powers now but it seems that the father-son dynamic is still the same goofy loving one we were introduced to ten years ago.

Isshin in chapter two:

Isshin still pounces on son in the mornings and Ichigo serves his dad the same grumpy one-upmanship that's part of their game.

The audience just sees Isshin with different eyes now--the way Ichigo does. And when Isshin shows concern for Ichigo's bad dreams, we know where the guy's coming from--Isshin lost his powers once too. Maybe he's gone through the same angst and denial Ichigo's going through. Kubo spares us a heart to heart father-son talk (and we're left with the implication that these manly men aren't up for that just now, even 17 months post-wartime) but Sensei did promise his fans an Isshin backstory---were there ever haunting voices for Isshin like those in Ichigo's dreams, chiding him to "wake up" to reality? If so, who were they? And were Ichigo's voices, as my friend syn thinks, also calling to Ichigo's powers and asking those powers to "wake up?"

I don't see how anyone in fandom can say that Ichigo's happy being just a normal human boy without shinigami powers, but just like there were people who saw Ichigo's ultimate!hollow form (aka IchiThing) transformation on that dome in Hueco Mundo as some sort of heroic ubermensche who would eventually represent Ichigo's separation from humans, shinigami and arrancar as the ultimate hybrid identity, there were plenty fans who anticipated Ichigo's peaceful acceptance of normal powerless human life.

To them I say blergh, you're not reading Bleach--you even missed this week's chapter title "A Day Without Melodies." If nothing else, that title should tell you that Ichigo, the boy who once kept a guitar in his bedroom (it's not there in Bleach Redux) and was so often pictured wearing headphones in splash pages, is going through the motions of his life without a song in his step.

Some people argued that Ichigo had regressed, was clinically depressed and losing his morals by whoring out his physical strength to the highest bidding sports clubs. Other fans, notably the ones who'd wrongly predicted that Ichigo would be relieved to live life as a normal human, noted that Ichigo seemed okay, wasn't cutting or in need of Prozac, and was by his own admission to Keigo not lonely.

Irony. When are people going to understand that Kubo Tite makes use of this little literary device almost as often as his characters stab one another?

Kurosaki Ichigo, telling Rukia in early Bleach that he's really a selfish bastard who doesn't want to protect anyone beyond his own family:

Kurosaki Ichigo, in Kubo's special chapter 00, telling all of us that he's always wanted the power to protect the helpless. POWER--it's what he's always wanted.

That power came with Rukia. At the end of the last arc, it also literally left at the same time Rukia did, so yeah, invariably there's a connection there.  Some will see it as a romantic connection between two people (I do, for one, and I love how Bakuman, the Jump manga about aspiring manga-ka referenced Bleach's chapter 243 stare-down between Ichigo and Rukia: Tagaki explains how he's going to work romance into his Jump tale: "True love doesn't start with words.  First all you do is look at the person you like. I'll just have the hero and heroine stare at look at one another without words". XD ) Others who don't really want to look for romance can just see that Ichigo wants his powers back. He has no career plans, as he told Keigo, and he's shuffling around from sports team to sports team and getting fired from his job. Does this mean he needs Rukia in his life in order not to be an angst-bucket? She was the one who "stopped the rain" and the last time Bleach started a new arc, she's the one who came back and jump-started an aimless Ichigo back into his true self.

Back then, there were identity issues at stake too. Rukia pointed out to Ichigo that he'd lost his will to be a shinigami.

She's the one who forced Ichigo to take a look at himself and chided him to get his act together.

She also did this by expressing faith in him and cheering him on with her "man in my heart" speech--the apparent clincher to getting Ichigo to act. He slays the Hollow after Rukia concludes with these words.

So, I ask again--does Ichigo need Rukia?

Co-dependency is a controversial subject. Especially among shippers. Ask those who are calling "foul!" now because it's long been claimed that Orihime is too dependent on Ichigo (by her own admission--see the lust chapters where she asks "why do I always depend on him?") and that's bad for the IchiOri ship but here we have Ichigo being kind of a mess when Rukia's out of the picture, and is this sexism?

Meh, so much blah blah--the "who's a real feminist" crap misses the real point of trying to figure out who the characters are in this story and the fun of predicting how they're going to act and react in future situations. The "what's sexist" stuff is a debate for shippers who play in the Jerry Springfield arenas of fandom. Besides, I've only got so much time before the family gets back from synagogue and I have to fix lunch (I'm writing this in one sitting--this is hardly a polished essay) so I'm not getting into that mess beyond saying that it's my personal belief that Orihime's self-reliance issues will be taken care of in the Bleach plot with Orihime doing something awesome in battle, namely--fulfilling her longtime wish (which is just like Ichigo's) of protecting someone (I fully expect her to launch Tsubaki when she consummates this dream!)

Ichigo's fulfilment, though, lies with a power that is identified with Rukia. Kubo even went out of his poetic way to identify Ichigo's loss of power with Rukia when he named the attack that ultimately disabled Ichigo of his Shinigami powers after only one use mugetsu, a night without a moon.  Rukia was identified as the moon and Ichigo as the sun in Kubo's poetry and art before, so yeah, one would expect that the darkness will only be over when a literal person returns in Ichigo's life.

I answered the need and co-dependency question in a comment at Bleach Asylum so maybe I'll save myself some typing and just copy-paste:

Ichigo Needing Rukia and Is Ichigo Depressed?

As a psychiatrist of my own (may his soul rest in peace) said to me many years ago, "Co-dependency can be fun--or it can ruin lives. People need one another--that's a fact of life, but there's such a thing as taking it too far."

Essentially, I think we're arguing over the negative connotations of "need" and "depressed" when analyzing Ichigo. I'd say that Ichigo needs Rukia, but like Peca observed he's making attempts in his life to cope--granted, they're not the most noble attempts (whoring oneself out to the highest school club bidder isn't the Ichigo I remember but he's not stabbing puppies). Point is, people do what they can and aren't perfect (hmmmm, I seem to remember trying to make this point over and over in the Orihime FC).

As for Ichigo being clinically depressed, in my view he is. HE IS. But there's nothing wrong with that--people tend to see depression as a indictment of one's character or a moral flaw rather than a normal reaction to environmental stimuli. People get colds because of germs or not eating right and people (not the ones born with chemical imbalances or suffering from severe mental illness) can react to situations with depression.

It doesn't mean Ichigo needs medication or needs to be hospitalized--he's just depressed. The fact that his mood fits the clinical description to a t (of situational depression according to the diagnostic manuals I reckon) doesn't mean anyone who calls him that is putting him down.

Kubo himself has admitted to his own depression in public. Most recently in America's Shounen Jump interview of a couple years back when he said he had been depressed and that his editor had been bringing him mandarin oranges in an attempt to get him to eat better and cheer up (this was in context with people sending him chocolates --my packages to him didn't stop--I've been sending him chocolates for years now).

Depression/"messed up"/missing Rukia and his former Shinigami identity/not having a real direction in life/feeling like there's no melody to the words he's living--it's all the same thing. I don't see how anyone can say that Ichigo is well, happy and has "moved on." He's making attempts to cope with sadness and loss (Keigo MS translation: "Are you lonely?" Ju-Ni translation: "Are you missing her?") and he's not cutting, drinking booze or ready for intraveneous Prozac administered in a looney bin yet but HE'S NOT RIGHT.

Kubo didn't have to hit us in the head with an anvil to make that point either. The loss and sadness and loneliness Ichigo feels is obviously there--and he's denying it (Ichigo in response to Keigo's query about feeling lonely: "Like hell I am") is just further evidence that Ichigo is messed up. You don't fix problems until you admit what they are. (example: Orihime asked herself "why" during the Lust chapters and I expect we'll get an answer to her self-doubt and questions eventually--it was her moment of reckoning, when she realized she was failing herself and others because of some denial or misperception on her part)

Further evidence that Ichigo's denial needs to be unblocked--the voices telling him to "wake up!" I see this as metaphorical for Ichigo needing to admit he wants to be a Shinigami--this idea is not at all in contrast to Syn's saying the awakening has to do with Ichigo's powers. Isshin's interest in Ichigo "finally" being able to mention SS is further evidence that Ichigo's denial needs to go.

And missing Rukia is tied into his powers---she came and went with them.

To be honest, Ichigo wasn't the one I talked about the most these past few days--two characters I love more than him had their big "ain't I looking fine" reveals in this last chapter. Ichigo doesn't really look all that much different (sideburns--meh) but Ishida is .... *contains squeals*
certainly growing up into his dad's son. Some people think he's channeling Szayel, but I think Ishida's reintroduction is supposed to echo his "Quincy Archer Hates You" look.

The Ishida we see in Bleach Redux, the one who snaps because someone mistakes him for Ichigo, is oddly reminiscent of the Ishida who held a super rivalry with the Shinigami. Really--where did that sympathetic eyed boy who kept a vigil by Ichigo's bedside for a month go?

This Ishida who takes on a whole group of thugs reminds me of the Ishida who snapped the Hollow bait--vainglorious and reckless. Or is he? Ishida seems to have acquired some hand to hand combat skills in the past 17 months--does he have it in him to take on these thugs all by himself or will Chad and Ichigo (and my dream of dreams, Tatsuki and Orihime toooo) join in and we'll have a great nakama rumble?!!

It was a post by nacchan in the IshiHime FC at BA that got me looking at the parallels between Orihime of chapters two and three and her Bleach re-introduction. One striking set of panel parallels comes with the first time Orihime is shown singing what we now know is her life's theme song and the next time we see her humming the tune:

She's a little girl here. She's skipping (or hopscotching--not sure) and she looks from a high place and notices Ichigo.

A blush and her famous call!

Now let's look at Bleach Redux. Same girl singing a tune.

But the girl has grown up. We see Orihime strutting down the hallway as her admirers part a path.

Orihime has always had admirers and she's always been oblivious to them, so honestly that much hasn't really changed--but is this spring in her step a sign of new confidence? Again, she spies Ichigo from a high place. And this time she calls to both him and Tatsuki.

No blush? Could this be relevant?

Orihime was blushing in Ichigo's presence in the last arc--after he defeated Grimmjow and asked her if she was okay and even in the most recent chapters when she spied him after the battle and burst into tears. She was even blushing at his bedside during his recovery when she noted that she was the only one who was being "loud." The Orihime Kubo showed us in early Bleach was ALL about the Kurosaki Ichigo and there was an extended convo between her and Tatsuki about the crush in chapter four--I hope we get some insight very soon as to the current status of Orihime's feelings for Ichigo.

Remember this girl?

I have to admit--an Orihime who doesn't have eyes only for Ichigo would be a big weird change but some of my friends are convinced that 17 months is long enough to get over a guy, especially after some of the life-affecting experiences Orihime went through in battle. She may have come to see herself, Ichigo, and their relationship in a new light. In any event, she does seem more casual with Ichigo now and maybe on the road to finally becoming good friends with him.

The other debate in fandom is where the hell are her hairpins? I'm nervous because one week when I was in a really bad mood I wrote a story about Orihime putting away her powers ( Goodbye and Be Well). I want my Orihime character development, but sometimes I'm not so sure how much more angst I want my girl to go through. I'm enjoying the funny Hime of current chapters and dread things going dark again--but (I can't believe I'm saying this) I'm going to trust Kubo's pacing this time. All will be revealed in due time. He did say this arc was going to be a short one. In Kubo-terms that may even mean two years but I'm settling back to enjoy the story.

Oh, and before I go make lunch, I was looking through old chapters for panel references and found this favorite. Ichigo's fortune. So funny how it all came to pass. I especially love how his ban kai coat colors turned out to be his lucky ones. <3

Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Molly ⇽♣⇾ -Can. Not. Break. Me.-: Ukitake/ I dare you...liliesxinxbloom on November 6th, 2010 06:00 pm (UTC)
/adds to memories.

I'm speechless. Useless comment is useless. But thank you so much. ;__;
Issues: Ulquihime-To Livelovely_masoka on November 6th, 2010 06:07 pm (UTC)
Ah, tbh I can't wait for the Orihime angst. I can take only so much silliness and it doesn't help that every chapter since 354 she''s appeared in has her being comedic relief. It kinda is bothering me since I really want her thoughts on the Lust arc and Ulquiorra. I just want Ulquiorra period.

So I really hope Kubo doesn't go so slow this time, I want the character development and I want to know where her pins are. =/ It can't be just a simple artists mistake, and that is part of why I can't enjoy all the happy times right now since it feels kinda fake/it's not going to last long. XD;

Her not blushing is a good sign, but I hate that her crush seems to be resolved off screen? Seriously, it was such a big deal last arc that I be disappointed if something major in her character is just....dealt with off screen. Guh, I hope we get some Orihime-centric chapters to deal with these issues soon.

and heh Ichigo's fortune.XD
_debbiechan_: Ulqui enjoys your despair_debbiechan_ on November 6th, 2010 06:17 pm (UTC)

Esp "your life will spiral into despair." I LOLed for real at that.
(no subject) - lovely_masoka on November 6th, 2010 09:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ryfee on November 7th, 2010 07:17 am (UTC) (Expand)
n a o k o || want your rad bromance: Belle- ehehenendo_chan on November 6th, 2010 06:29 pm (UTC)
I caught on to a couple of these, but even though I've just been re-reading early!Bleach, I totally missed the parallels with Orihime's singing. Ichigo's horoscope always interested me- most of it played out in the Don Kanonji arc, but it seems like it may still be unfinished...

Also, that icon is amazing. xD
_debbiechan_: WAHAHAHAHAHA_debbiechan_ on November 6th, 2010 11:37 pm (UTC)

It's a damn cute icon isn't it? I thank Rosencrantz for it who found it on 4chan. The maker is anon. It's my default right now because I can't get enough of Hime sliding down a drainpipe!
ivixie: elfeytedemivixie on November 6th, 2010 06:29 pm (UTC)
wow I really enjoyed this ^^ after last week's chapter this was needed!

Ichigo really does seem to just be going with the flow of things, follow the current kind of thing because he doesn't seem to have the willpower to do anything else at the moment, beh, he'll get better eventually (definitely) xD
_debbiechan_: Ichigo Scarf_debbiechan_ on November 6th, 2010 11:46 pm (UTC)

It's not if he'll get better, it's just a matter of when. Of course I was saying that about Orihime for the past three years so I'm really hoping that Kubo doesn't keep Ichigo in a funk for too long. Sensei DID say this was going to be a short arc!
Slipstremeslipstreme on November 6th, 2010 06:42 pm (UTC)
Ok, so there isn't much that I can say in short time but this echos almost exactly my thoughts on the matter.

Though on another matter, I personally think even though Ishida was friendly to Kurosaki, his rivalry with him never ended. I think it was the whole "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" concept, and that even though they can be friendly at times; that they are begrudgingly friendly when they have to be, and despite the fact they respect and even like each other they won't admit to it. Now they don't have to rely on each other to save their friends so their rivalry is back in full swing.

Though the idea of him channeling Szayel is kind of hot, but that is because I <3 that mad scientist big time.

also /add
_debbiechan_: Espada Nunber Eight_debbiechan_ on November 6th, 2010 11:44 pm (UTC)

I miss Szayel so much.

I'm really hoping that Mayuri revives a bunch of Arrancar thanks to whatever poking around he did in Szayel's lab (oh will fandom moaaaan if that happens) and just maybe maybe....

Szayel himself will be let out of his thousand years torment. He's a good foe for Mayuri. My personal wish is that Ryuuken will get revenge for Souken by killing Mayuri, but I loved the Szayel/Mayuri battle in HM--out of a lot of pointless macho fights with no emotional investment, it was clever and philosophical. I even endured Ishida being made a gag toy while it was going on--and the ending of that battle was so disturbingly sublime. I know some people who nearly quit fandom over it. I'll never forget it--the grotesque rape of Nemu and the virgin birth of Szayel just in time for Christmas of 2008.

I'd love to have Szayel back. Not as hopeful about his return as Ulquiorra's though. I can still see Ulquiorra coming back like Vegeta and firing his lanza but I don't know what Szayel would add to the plot other than being an interesting opponent for Mayuri (I know brad will disagree! XD)
(no subject) - slipstreme on November 7th, 2010 12:37 am (UTC) (Expand)
...y wendy creció.: Nerdyariadna19 on November 6th, 2010 08:16 pm (UTC)
Also, I had NEVER seen Orihime act this casual around Ichigo before O__O. She doesn't try to catch his attention particularly, or throw longing looks at him neither. She's not stuttering or blushing. She doesn't seem to give a damn if Ichigo saw her panties or not. And Tatsuki doesn't try to act as matchmaker, but tells Orihime to go to the part-time job and Orihime just disappears like that. I still don't know what to make of this...

I have to admit--an Orihime who doesn't have eyes only for Ichigo would be a big weird change but some of my friends are convinced that 17 months is long enough to get over a guy, especially after some of the life-affecting experiences Orihime went through in battle.

To me it would be weird if she hadn't gotten over her crush for Ichigo after the HM arc and 17 months (or maybe she hasn't completely but is in her way there). I mean, wouldn't it be the natural development for her character? Why did she have to suffer so much through the HM arc if not for this?

Anyway, I adore this new Orihime and I hope Kubo let me enjoy her character once again. Please. Please.
_debbiechan_: Orihime by senbonzakura77_debbiechan_ on November 6th, 2010 11:57 pm (UTC)

Why did she have to suffer so much through the HM arc if not for this?

They won't come here to say it because the community numbers with opposing views are decidedly against them, but I do hear IchiOri shippers say that it would demean Orihime's character to have her fall out of love with Ichigo after Ichigo sacrificed so much for her (went to HM to save her, turned into a monster to save her, etc). I've even heard (and this always appalls me) that Orihime would be some kind of "whore" to fall so quickly out of love with Ichigo.

I think that the difference of opinion lies with the emphasis people put on the FLOL speech. Some see it as a girlish declaration made in the context of wishing to go to Baskin Robbins and sample all the flavors. Others see it as a profound and sincere romantic declaration. I'm in the former group, obviously--I saw the moment itself as touching and sincere but also very typical of a 16 year old girl in love for the first time with someone unaware of her feelings.

And it's only natural for most 16 year old girls to grow out of profound crushes in the space of a couple years, no matter what intense proclamations of Love Eternal those crushes may have inspired. Kubo Tite doesn't write fairy tales in which people act like 2 dimensional types--and Orihime is much more a real human girl than a perfect princess who is going to wait for the length of a long story for the perfect love.

Orihime's FLOL speech was just that--a speech. And by Bleach's own maxim "speaking is not communication" and by Bakuman's recent "True love doesn't begin with words," the FLOL speech isn't what the Ichigo and Orihime relationship should hang on. The actions of the characters and not their words should tell us more--and from their actions, well ...

I wouldn't be surprised if this arc eventually reveals that Orihime is moving on. I do wonder if this change will be explicit very soon but it does seem a natural progression for the character in my view.
(no subject) - ariadna19 on November 7th, 2010 09:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ariadna19 on November 7th, 2010 10:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on November 7th, 2010 11:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
reynardine on November 6th, 2010 08:50 pm (UTC)
This is wonderful and lines up with my own take on the situation. Ichigo is obviously hurting inside and is doing the things that people in denial do: claiming he's happy, that everything is alright, keeping busy so that he doesn't have time to think about things, etc.

A word about Keigo MS translation: "Are you lonely?" Ju-Ni translation: "Are you missing her?". This issue came up in a Japanese class that I was taking a few years back.

I'd spent three months away from my husband and was trying to express that I missed him. The teacher(s) told me that there really isn't a word in Japanese that covers the English concept of "to miss", at least not in the context of missing a person (not sure about missing a ball, I didn't think to ask at the time). The closest thing they have is to say that someone "is lonely".

_debbiechan_: Aizen ILLUSION_debbiechan_ on November 6th, 2010 10:02 pm (UTC)

The teacher(s) told me that there really isn't a word in Japanese that covers the English concept of "to miss", at least not in the context of missing a person (not sure about missing a ball, I didn't think to ask at the time). The closest thing they have is to say that someone "is lonely".

Oh that clears up so many things for me. Beyond that Bleach scene even. O_O Thanks.
(no subject) - dekinai_yo on November 6th, 2010 10:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - la_geni on November 8th, 2010 08:24 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ariadna19 on November 8th, 2010 08:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - la_geni on November 8th, 2010 08:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on November 8th, 2010 08:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ariadna19 on November 8th, 2010 09:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on November 8th, 2010 09:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ariadna19 on November 8th, 2010 09:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ariadna19 on November 8th, 2010 09:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
chalitychality on November 6th, 2010 08:55 pm (UTC)
I love your long fandom essays and have been waiting for one to come around since I came out of lurking. Thanks for writing this up!

I have just one (exceedingly!) minor quibble. The guitar in Ichigo's room is, like the infamous "Quincy bedspread", anime-only. Otherwise, I agree completely that Ichigo is living a life without melodies (and a moonless one, to boot), and is aimless and depressed. I would be surprised at the obstinancy of the "Ichigo is fine and happy being normal!" crowd if I didn't have a sneaking suspicion that they may have a vested interest in their interpretation beyond the scope of the story. Subtle symbolism often flies right over my oblivious head, but Kubo's "hints" that Ichigo is less than happy as a powerless high schooler have had all the subtlety of a screaming child in a quiet restaurant, in my opinion.

As for the co-dependency debate, I really don't think the fact that Ichigo obviously misses Rukia terribly and benefits greatly from having her in his life (e.g. the "memories in the rain" and "MiMH" speeches, among several other examples) constitutes unhealthy co-dependency. It's not as though he's incapable of making major decisions without her input (e.g. to train for and ultimately use the "Mugetsu" ability to stop Aizen despite the consequences). Furthermore, "missing Rukia" and "missing powers" as the cause of his current maliase are kind of confounded. I think that he would be struggling with a bit of aimlessness even if Rukia had been around to provide emotional support over the past 17 months.

The timing of the commentary on Jump romance in Bakuman was almost amazing enough for me to forgive the series for its asinine "men have dreams that women don't understand" fiasco. I've found the romance in Bakuman to be pretty ham-fisted and contrived, so I was surprised to see such an insightful comment on the subject from the authors.

When Orihime described her life's theme song as having a "DoReMi" pattern, I thought immediately of the song from chapter 3 and wondered if it was the same one. Thanks for the confirmation! I'm looking foward to the explanations for her missing hairpins and apparent calmness around Ichigo. Both issues seem too important to quietly resolve off-panel, but Kubo-sensei seems to have swept a lot of the emotional resolution from HM under the rug in the interests of starting a fresh arc. Nobody will be happier to eat those words than me when (if?) he goes back and expands on things.

_debbiechan_: WAHAHAHAHAHA_debbiechan_ on November 6th, 2010 10:07 pm (UTC)

The guitar is anime-only! DOINK! How did I convince myself it was in the manga? I knew about the Quincy bedspread of course. I'm sure I'm remembering plenty Ichigo in headphones in Kubo penlines, though.

I was talking with Syn this morning after posting this and she's thinking that Ichigo has to gain his powers on his own--because there will be nothing more romantic than Ichigo gaining his powers and realizing that there's still something missing in his life. Also, she said she wants independence for Orihime before that character is paired again and she would be hypocritical to want anything else for Ichigo.

I still believe that somehow Rukia will be instrumental in returning Ichigo's powers to him--although from Isshin's example they seemed to return naturally. Maybe the reappearance of Grand Fisher triggered them and Isshin *did* have to protect Kon but the powers seemed to reappear on their own. It will may be that way for Ichigo except I always say that Sensei doesn't do things the same twice.
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on November 6th, 2010 10:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - chality on November 7th, 2010 01:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - karenai on November 7th, 2010 03:18 am (UTC) (Expand)
incandescensincandescens on November 6th, 2010 11:54 pm (UTC)
That is a very interesting discussion.

Though I note that I will also be intrigued if Aizen's bankai was along the lines of "trap someone in their greatest fantasy" and Ichigo will now have to break out of it.
_debbiechan__debbiechan_ on November 7th, 2010 12:00 am (UTC)

You mean is Ichigo dreaming?

I hear that speculation a lot and do think it would be a cheap move on Kubo's part. For one thing, it would rob the audience of some measure of investment in the plot so far. The IchiRuki goodbye scene, the precious Keigo who still wants Ichigo's attention, Orihime in her thigh highs--people would hate for all that to be NOT REAL. So yeah, I don't think Kubo is going to pull a Bobby Ewing in the shower stunt.
(no subject) - incandescens on November 7th, 2010 12:07 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - la_kalaka on November 7th, 2010 06:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) on November 7th, 2010 01:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - incandescens on November 7th, 2010 05:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - azithelonious on November 7th, 2010 06:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - incandescens on November 7th, 2010 11:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - iamnike on November 7th, 2010 03:45 am (UTC) (Expand)
oh gallant piglet,: greenaizome on November 7th, 2010 12:37 am (UTC)
I need to make new icons. /irrelevant

While it was hard for me to see much in this chapter beyond Uryuu's new look (and stolen Daddy's glasses), I can't deny feeling relieved seeing Orihime like this. The sobbing snot-nosed toddler face she made 17 months prior really bugged me. I'm so glad to see her looking genuinely happy and even confident now. This is the Orihime I love.

I'm half tempted to step off on a tangent here, since some fans have made Fruits Basket comparisons. I see some in this chapter too, but not the same ones that have been mentioned already. Maybe it's superficial (if you put bows on the sides of Orihime's head now), but I really like seeing controversial characters showing signs of growing up and coming to terms with their own strengths and weaknesses. I hope Orihime has done some of this, 'cause she's got loads of strengths and I'd hate to see her weaknesses get in the way.
The Main Gauche of Enlightenmentvelvetsword on November 7th, 2010 02:08 am (UTC)
I liked the corollary between Orihime in the 2nd chapter and Orihime now.

Also; 'A Day Without Melodies' = Orihime not singing her song anymore, but just humming it? At least that's what struck me.

My Moehime is growing up. (;___;)
Alexa-chanalexaclyne on November 7th, 2010 03:48 am (UTC)
I DIED & was reborn when I Ishida-kun was revealed. >u< I think I became insane for 3 days straight after seeing it. :B

But then, I felt nostalgic about it. :| I quickly missed the old Uryu, the old cute adorkable Uryu I feel in love with, which happened when I tried to draw 'im. Meh, he feels different. GAH. And I didn't notice Hime's hairpins were gone until someone mentioned about it. I WONDER WHERE THEY ARE?

The Main Gauche of Enlightenmentvelvetsword on November 7th, 2010 11:58 am (UTC)
His balls dropped.
(no subject) - tsubaki99 on November 7th, 2010 03:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - velvetsword on November 7th, 2010 03:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Anonymous) on November 7th, 2010 04:48 am (UTC)
Ichigo doesn't need Prozac the pill he needs to cure the current funk that he is in, is blue and has a race car.

On a serious note Ichigo should get his powers back for himself not because of Rukia, a man depending on a woman just isn't romantic or vice versa. Up coming is Don Kanonji teaching his number one pupil how to live in a manly romantic way!

♀*La Muerte Chiquita*♀: Cool Ishidala_kalaka on November 7th, 2010 07:04 am (UTC)
For me Orihime "is almost there" but still have some issues to resolve in order to grow up completely and I'm sure we gonna see those resolutions in the long arc (and possibly a bit in this short arc) cause is there when we gonna see her shot Tsubaki succesfully (that's my biig hope).

Considering the big trauma she suffered in HM I think those 17 months of time skip were a god move from Kubo's part cause it makes the "Orihime is moving on" more credible that if he had choosed to start the new arc a month after, then that would be ridiculous and forced and for me bad story telling after all the bad stuff that Orihime underwent to reach her conclusions.

So for me this is believable and I'm glad about it. And worried for her lack of hairpins ;_;

About Ishida, I'm loving this Quincy Archer redux vibe, I'm all excited over it. Uryuu still needs to grow up and for a character this is guarantee for a long life in the plot :3 and it makes me think if KT sensei did this to make us remember that: Ishida still has flaws. And I said that cause many of us got so thrilled for his heroics and attitude during the Lust arc. He got almost perfect in our eyes.

And there is another thing that I'm remembering right now, and is what Ryuuken have said about uryuu's mercy and that maybe Uryuu is taking his father advice in a way that it couddn't be heathy.

Yup Ichigo is depressed and his depression looks similar as mine. I sleep pretty much and wake up still sleepy, I'm yearning for another world for me instead of this dull place I'm working at this moment, I can feel his detachment, the way he just acepted his dissmisal (the same way I'll do if I got fired someday :_D I can't care less, that place is not my place and I felt this pretty strongly in Ichigo. Help even one of my buddies from this job who is also a Bleach fan got the sad vibes on ichigo and how much he miss his shinigami powers.

Happy?? yeah, right! the guy is acting like me at this moment (resist Ichi, resist, we both gonna meet the world we belong~)

Thanks for this little essay!! *^_^* *put in memories*

Edited at 2010-11-07 07:10 am (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
_debbiechan_: orihime 341_debbiechan_ on November 7th, 2010 09:36 pm (UTC)
I just posted this in the Orihime FC at BA:


What are you looking forward to the most about Orihime's character development now that she's back?

Easy for me to answer although what I want brings up a topic controversial for this FC.

I want an answer to this question:

Three whys in those few panels. Orihime asked herself why she relied on Kurosaki-kun and in essence why she didn't act on fulfilling her promise to herself. Earlier, Ulquiorra had asked her why she didn't defend Ichigo with her shield before the moment she finally did in their battle and he was interrupted--it just seems to me that Kubo-sensei made a point of asking the question too often for it not to figure in Orihime's development.

I know some people are chomping at the bit for Hueco Mundo emotional resolution and some people would rather that the whole mess be over and done with, but it's my personal belief that just as Rukia's emotional issues with Kaien were not totally resolved in SS and we got to see her deal with them again in her powerfully dramatic battle with the ninth espada in the following arc, we're going to see Orihime deal again with some of the issues that were introduced in the arc that made SUCH A BIG DEAL of Orihime's character development; in other words, I'm sure Orihime's character will visit issues of HM again, and this is what I most want to see.

Beyond that, I want to see her learn to understand her powers and shoot Tsubaki. That is all. We saw her evidence of shield getting stronger in the HM arc and her healing powers were obviously improved, but we saw nothing of Tsubaki in action for the entire arc. I'm salivating for him, frankly.

Edited at 2010-11-07 09:37 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - nimucle on November 8th, 2010 02:53 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - la_kalaka on November 8th, 2010 08:11 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mrdracospirit on November 8th, 2010 06:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)