Among rumors that the Bleach anime was ending or at the very least going hiatus, ROOKiEZisPUNK‘D premiered new music today for a Bleach ED that plays fan nostalgia for all its worth. "Song for..." was billed in a television ad as "a love song for a special woman," but then when the ED premiered it was a Bleach retrospective told from Rukia's point of view. Rukia doesn't appear in the ending--she's a Hell butterfly flitting over a montage of the nakama and mostly Ichigo.
The scene where Ichigo pops Rukia lightly on the forehead KILLED ME DEAD and apparently others watching as well because there was fanart in cyberspace right after the airing.
Scene where he pops her on the forehead:
Art by Larva
The current OP is my favorite, and while "Echoes" was my favorite of the EDs (the one with the war-weary nakama gathering after the Arrancar battles), this one surpasses it by far. It makes me remember why I love Bleach, and like the chapter "Farewell Swords" now renamed "Bleach My Soul" in the volume, it's a fitting marker for an anniversary.
It's also overwhelmingly IchiRuki. Like I wrote in the IR FC at BA this morning,the montage of images are so wonderful, not only because they are so nostalgic Bleach-wise but because they are from Rukia's POV--and in a wonderful parallel the song and scenes also show us Ichigo's feelings for Rukia. There are three key expressions featured before the gates close: 1) the look on Ichigo's face as he lies helpless on the ground the first time Rukia is taken by Byakuya and Renji to Soul Society 2) the look on Ichigo's face when he stands before the great bird of fire in his most heroic moment in the whole bleach manga to rescue Rukia--a man and no longer a boy and 3) that wistful look of longing and gratitude on his face as Rukia disappears in the last chapter--that moment that marks a relationship's vector point--there's a quiet epiphany here. The anime adds a blush on Ichigo's face in the ED and I'm not that impressed with it--blushes don't equal romance in my book (Renji blushed over Orihime's words in the last anime episode) and peoples' faces get red in cold weather. For me what is more important are the expressions in the characters' eyes when Kubo draws them, and in the case of this ED, the juxtaposition of romantic lyrics, nostalgic scenes, and two characters POVs.
I don't know how anyone can watch this ending and not see a love story, but then again people can read the last panels of "Bleach my Soul" and go okay, okay, move along, nothing to see here, they're just friends, just friends, just GOOD GOOD GOOD CLOSE FRIENDS.
Keep telling yourself that.
Whatever it is to you, in this ED the beauty of the Ichigo and Rukia relationship shines bright as a tear.
Oh and the crack!ep was awesome. So much Ishida goodness. He was an anemic vampire, rotflmao. And I got some IchiIshi love <3 and RenIshi to boot tooooooo! <3
eta: translation by pikeish of heartbreaking description (oh dear lord I'm beyond verklempt now--I'm all a fan googly mess!) of the song by ROOKiEZisPUNK‘D (Thanks Syn for infos):
"In (the album) "Complication", dedicated to a girl that has always been by his side, supporting the guy that has been struggling to shine, could be, so to speak a piece of work that was done with all might, as a continuation of "Complication". Is the important thing from this on forth for the both of our lives, to continue this relationship? Or to say goodbye! It is no doubt that in the final season, this will resonate across many couples who are drawing near to this ultimate choice. Warmth and hopelessness, a spectacle and devastation, hope and despair, put together in this work"
This was the band description for "Song for..." here.
ETA: SGKK translated the lyrics in their subs
You can find them here. The lyrics include, curiously, Kubo's quote about Rukia's meaning to Ichigo:
I'll pull down the single ray of light
What's more curious is that it's an old song, never released but only performed at concerts yet it was so fitting.