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11 June 2011 @ 05:20 pm
UnMasked Overview  

In which I babble about my impressions of UnMasked...

My long-awaited copy of the third Bleach databook UnMasked arrived last Monday with more than enough minutae for any fan to rage, marvel, and argue over. My first disappointment was that the touted 仕掛け (gimmick) for the cover wasn't a holograph where if you tilted Ulquiorra just so you could see him naked (drat) but a mere cellophane wrapping with a white fleur de lis-like pattern. I promptly photographed my copy with my custom Ulqui plushie and started scanning pages. Now, it really was raining cats and dogs in my part of the universe and the barometric pressure was wreaking havoc with my propensity for migraines, but I'm blaming my ensuing 4-day headache on the hysterical over-attention I gave to this little book. I wasn't alone though--fandom was churning as translations of the book emerged (maybe it's calming down now though--I know I am).

Ulquiorra Chapter

The first thing fandom made grabby hands towards was the new chapter by Kubo--the only bona fide, uncontestable canon material in the book. Scanned by MzD and translated by Cezaria, it was put up
here to much spazzing from the Ulquiorra and Orihime shipping factions of fandom. The chapter itself was said to be the deathknoll for Ulquiorra by some fanbois ( the ones who've noted a rule that getting a backstory in Bleach means that you're dead and gone). The chapter didn't really give a complete backstory though--there was nothing about how or why Ulquiorra chose to follow Aizen. It told a lyrical, symbolic tale about Ulquiorra's essential character and his aspect of nihilism.

Did you know that nihility is a real word?  That's one thing I learned from UnMasked. Another is that fans can come up with definitions of nihilism that would make Nietzsche turn over in his grave.

Not surprisingly, Orihime figures in the short chapter (that fandom now refers to as "the UlquiHime doujin" because its resemblance to such), She's watching over Ulquiorra sleep and smiling at him in way that defies the characterization of Ulquiorra as the terrorizing jailor. One of the best analyses of the UH relationship from the chapter I've found was by
[info]hinodeh and is here. She describes the tension within a character who appears to want to have nothing to lose and also wants to be accepted. As always, Kubo-sensei's work is rich with ironies. The very use of the word "happiness" in a panel transitioning Ulquiorra from the VOID to Orihime's pretty!gasping!comedy!face was enough to split a crack right through my ready and willing heart. Ugh, the gorgeous pain. Kubo really knows how to work it.

One of the things that later struck me (upon reading the chapter for the oh 44th time) was that Ulquiorra's original form was mouthless--and aren't Hollow beings supposed to be ravenous devouring creatures? Ulquiorra slays his fellow Hollow in the chapter but I do wonder if he absorbs their energy without actually eating them. He wanders to a thorn bush and throws himself into it in a gesture like surrender and suicide and is born there. The beauty of the scene is classic Kubo. For someone like myself who believes in Ulquiorra's eventual return to the manga, I revel in the theme of rebirth, ashes, etc etc etc in Ulquiorra's story. And I hope, as any fan would, that all this promotion for him isn't, as some fanbois claim "a way to let down Ulqui fans easily" but a sort of red carpet being laid out of his eventual return.

The funniest interpretation of the Ulquiorra chapter I've found is

Ulquiorra fans like myself who have pinned a lot of our hopes on Ulqui's eventual return on the fact that he has to fire his Lanza del Relampago successfully (because in shounen no spiffy weapon is introduced and then shown to fail--we have to see what it can dooooo) searched HIGH AND LOW throughout UnMasked for mentions of the lanza. Tellingly, there were none. Not even in the attack listing section where obscure techniques such as Ryuuken's klavier bow attack against Uryuu were named was there a mention of Lanza del Relampago. Why? To quote my dear Rosencrantz, "Either he failed at it so badly his mortification struck it from record, or SPOILERS."

Boo-boos or Retcons

As soon as UnMasked was released, know-it-all fans discovered errors. Some errors are glaring--like fraccion being called Espada or Shunsui being named the Captain of the Ninth Division. Others were arguable, like an omake conversation between Gin and Kira that mentioned Kira eating persimmons even though Kubo had written previously that Kira hated persimmons. I wondered why the numerolgy/bloodtype game in the book didn't use the original bloodtypes that Kubo had used for Orihime, Ishida and Isshin in original character pages and saw fit to change them (it was explained to me that the Japanese can refer to "blood personalities" that are different from one's actual medical blood type--in other words, I may call myself more of a "B" even though I was born an "A"--but when speaking of fictional characters, why not be consistent?) To date, some of the errors aren't decisively errors or retcons--such as the much ballyhooed "Urahara put the hougyoku in Rukia's gigai" of page 131.

I myself had barely finished spazzing over the Ulqui chapter when I had a mini-heart attack over this apparent retcon. For some reason, this issue has always give fandom apoplexy. Lots of fans assumed that the hougyoku was put in Rukia when the guy offered a gigai after she lost her powers on earth, but
the second databook states decisively otherwise : "Because the Hougyoku was a dangerous substance Kisuke decided to hide it somewhere, and that somewhere was in Rukia’s soul. And after a few years when Rukia came to the human world..."  And manga canon supported that fact too with Aizen stating that he noted that Rukia had gone missing after he figured out where the hougyoku really was.

My beef was really personal--some fans have their dreams of ships becoming canon. Mine was getting a hougyoku backstory. Three years ago, before my friend
[info]jaina  interviewed Kubo at SDCC, I spent lots of excited nights w/her wondering about what questions she would ask. Everyone really wanted to know about the truth about the hougyoku and she asked him point blank: "when was the hougyoku put into Rukia?" He answered, smiling ever so coyly, "it's a secret."  When chapters 00 came out and showed that Rukia had a missing memory about her time spent on earth with Isane, many fans speculated that the hougyoku in Rukia might be told in flashback about then. Or in a TBTP 2 miniarc.

Guildenstern responded to the new databook news with a casual "eh retcons happen" attitude and amended the first post of her famous
hougyoku thread at BA with the byline PWNED IN THE FACE.

Gah! I would not have this hougyoku story taken away from me! Or else I would have it properly retconned, with much pomp and expository text, in the manga proper, the way Kubo explained the powers of Chad and Orihime to be due to the hougyoku instead of (or in addition to) Ichigo's mighty leaking reiatsu. I couldn't reconcile the tender care with which Kubo had written Ulquiorra's chapter and the way this retcon was
plopped in on a corner of a panel in a databook.

It took me some days to calm down. There were enough fun details in UnMasked to amuse me (although Szayel's Hollow hole being in his penis? Who DIDN'T call that one?) and eventually the release of chapter 451 convinced me that Kubo will always draw pretty and he hadn't lost his mojo as far as writing an exciting battle goes and yeah, I would ALWAYS be as faithful to Bleach as Yammi's dog.

Japanese fans have been tweeting Sensei about the hougyoku tidbit since the book came out June 3, but so far not a peep from Shisou. I've sworn to myself like Renji that I would ask him myself and that if my fang so much as grazed his cheek I would be satisfied but I haven't worked up the courage yet. For the moment, all the databook boo-boos and revelation that Kubo isn't even listed as an author of UnMasked like with previous databooks (he's listed as Artistic Director) have mollified me a little. Posts in fandom like Spiderkiss'
here  have addressed that while  Aizen has always been a big fat liar, his information about the hougyoku has been consistent with the plot. So I be chillin and reasoning that time will tell. The hougyoku story, after all, has been more or less THE star of Bleach. Like Ichigo and Rukia who've had a farewell scene to close every major arc, the hougyoku was explained to us by Aizen at the end of SS and then re-explained at the end of the Arrancar arc. I fully expect a juicy juicy tale about the little superstar orb (and its Aizen-made cousin) somewhere down the line.

Puppycar Novel

After the Ulqui chapter, the only other unquestionably canon material in this book is the novel co-authored by Makoto Matsubara and Kubo Tite. The whole novel was beautifully and originally translated into English by Estella May 
here. The novel is significant because it confirms the deaths of Barragan and Yammy and also confirms that Harribel and her fraccion are alive. Beyond those absolute confirmations, fandom can probably argue forever about the rest--although Gin is more than surely confirmed to be dead by the way Rangiku and Gira speak of him in the conversation obviously not written by Kubo, and many other Espada are shown in their moments of kicking the bucket. Death in Bleach, of course, is always a trick of mirrors, a game of semantics, a configuration of personas as easily inverted and reversed as fanboi logic....

I always thought that puppy!car, now fully named Kukkapuuro (credit to
[info]aizome  for discovering that like other Arrancar puppycar may be named after a designer--Yrjö Kukkapurro, a furniture designer/architect) would be adopted by Neliel and her merry band. Instead he's destined to stand eternally waiting for his master--the Hachiko of Hueco Mundo. *choked sob*

Makoto-san's previous novels have always had her unique mark--they are slice-of-life stories with poignant details and this one is no different. The Kubo illustration above is worth the price of the book if the Ulquiorra chapter isn't. The rest of the book is recycled panels and summaries of battles told with less emphasis on characters' thoughts and feelings than previous databooks. There are stats that fanbois love and this or that text for shippers to squish into meaningful context, but it's nothing new. I do encourage buying the book for the stickers if only to support the manga industry and Japan right now in its time of need, but I'll confess that I've already given my stickers away :)


There was false advertising for UnMasked. Ads promised a Kubo interview and a poster that didn't materialize. That's more evidence there for the book being thrown together at the last minute. Kubo also tweeted days before the book's release that he was pleased to discover the stickers based on the drawings he made for once coveted 10th anniversary cork coasters. More evidence that the man didn't really look over the book's production much. But hey, if you're among Bleach's most hardcore congregation of fans, you're not buying databooks for goodies like stickers or info like battle names--you're a shipper and you want something to squee about.

Besides the ten stickers of ten solo characters, you get an extra sticker of the "Bleach My Soul" farewell scene between Ichigo and Rukia. The now iconic scene gets its own page and graces the heading of chapter titles but other than that, there's no real shipping verification of anything for anyone anywhere in the book. There's even a little bit of a downer for a couple ships--the section on Nnoitra emphasizes his hatred for Neliel even though canon was more ambiguous about his feelings towards her. There's a section about Gin and Rangiku that translates the pair as having lived together "modestly" although certainly, when they were children, that should have been the case despite all the fanfics that throw the pair in one another's arms at puberty.

Elsewhere the book confirms the same old same old: Ichigo and Rukia mean something to one another. Gin does what he does for Rangiku's sake. Sui Feng and Omaeda work as a team despite their differences and so on; any squee about "canonz!" is the usual shipper's overreaction. I got my happy shoes on for UlquiHime over the "doujin" but my top ships of Ishida/Orihime and Ichigo/Ishida got mostly ignored, mainly because Ishida's heroics on the dome (his clasping the IchiBeast with his one good hand in a plea for Ichigo's humanity and subsequent canon penetration by IchiThing) got left out, and there were no panels of Ishida's longing looks at Orihime. Orihime was conspicuously absent for a lot of the summaries too--in what was supposedly her rescue arc--but nonetheless Ichigo and Orihime shippers did find a line of text on the lust arc summary that set off their bells and whistles: (translation by Sheetz from page 135) "The perfectly hollowfied Ichigo ruminated over Orihime's screams and was bound only by that." <----note boring uncontested fact in fight summary.

Supposedly this sentence was enough to jumpstart speculation of Ichigo's eventual confession to Orihime and was the definitive end to a debate I wasn't aware of existing. When I starting going wha wha wha WHAT DEBATE to friends of mine, I was given the following scenario:

You know, it was that debate where...

-Person A: It doesn't imply romance if IchiThing rises because Orihime cries; It only implies that  Ichigo unconsciously answered to a call of a friend.

-Person B: Aha! I see where you are coming from. There's just this one point you forget dear; If he didn't rise for Orihime, why would it react at the same moment as she screamed? So it rose for Orihime.

-Person A: ...Right, it did rise because she screamed like I said, and I'm saying that it doesn't deduce romance, because it would've been Ishida or anyone else as well.

-Person C: If IchiThing didn't rise for Orihime, then why would it say "I protect you" as in answering her call? So it goes to show it did rise because Orihime screamed for help. Some people are just :facepalm Ichigo rose for the Teletubbies is what they're trying to say.

-Person A: Yeah, I get it, I also said that it was her scream which made him rise, what I meant is...

-Person D: i think is clear that he rose for HER even though you people say there are no pronouns in Japan but ofc we can not no maybe he doesn't love her but i say he love her cos is clear he rise for Orihime ^_^ moeee

-Person A: ''... ok let's forget it.

-------2 YEARS LATER---------

Person B: THERE! I told you that he rose for Orihime. Guess I just took this debate home, no hard feelings though!!!!!11

Person A: ...

Where's Ichigo in the Arrancar Arc?
And Lonely Lonely Aizen

One thing I noticed while reading this book (done as I scanned the pages) was the largely diminished role of the main character of Bleach until the final showdown with Aizen.  UnMasked itself showcases Ichigo in color pages of ridiculous cosplay (don't get me wrong--the boy's really a cutie, especially in that pirate get-up ) but I remember those many months when Ichigo was missing from the manga, and the databook itself doesn't give him star treatment. There's extensive data on the Arrancar, naturally, but Ichigo's role in his own lifestory seems to pass without reflection or narrative. Gosh, if I had a nickel for every time either I or one of my friends said during the Chinese water torture that was the past four years of Bleach: "I wish Ichigo would just have some internal monologue!"

And maybe that's apt. When Allon was introduced, some of us thought his appearance seemed like filler--then it became clear that his monsterous mindlessness and ARRRRRRGH was meant to foreshadow Ichigo's transformation on the dome.

The lust chapters seem skimmed over in the databook, and that both disappoints me and makes me hope that Kubo may revisit the scene of many crimes later in canon. Ichigo wins his fight there but not the way he wants to, and the idea that Ichigo rises to protect Orihime is, like all Kubo concepts, an ironic one. There's no getting around the fact that the perfectly Hollowfied Ichigo becomes like all Hollow and is a manifestation of one basic instinct (in this case, the urge to protect gone haywire as
[info]karenai  argues really well in a notorious shipping essay). He wants to protect but nearly ends up killing everyone up there when he aims that cero at Ishida. Sure enough, he does kill Ulqui, stab Ishida, and even doesn't effectively protect Orihime--in all the "he rose to protect only Orihime" arguments, I've never heard an apt answer as to why as IchiThing was powering up, he didn't take pains to avoid bouncing Orihime on her face and nearly killing her. I've heard it claimed that he threw her on purpose like a volleyball to Ishida, but really now--I buy that as much as this beast throwing a bouquet of roses to his beloved in the chapter.

So many unresolved issues there. Fandom has craved more from the dome story since it happened--and maybe, just maybe, the databook's slight treatment of the story, like the missing Lanza del Relampago, means that the lacunae are being left for the master to fill.

If the beast on the dome was really the antithesis of the hero of the SS arc, then what about the Mugetsu form? That's the form that concludes the arc and is the appropriate savior of the universe. Not quite. Ichigo needs a lot of help from Urahara to (literally) wrap this baby up and toss the antagonist to the proper authorities. Mugetsu looks pretty and packs a wallop but it's Aizen himself who gets the lingering character analysis in UnMasked. What was a passing observation in canon from Ichigo about the hougyoku maybe granting Aizen's wish to be just an ordinary shinigami (sometimes the boy has insight but we don't always know if he's right, do we?), this book canonizes (translation by slmcknet on MangaHelpers):

誰よりも強かった藍染は、 誰にも理解されこと無い孤独の世界を抱えていた。 強き者故の孤独 は深く、 哀 しい。
Aizen was stronger than anybody else, and because of this, he was lonely and misunderstood by everyone. The loneliness that came with this strong isolation was very deep, and very sad.

This whole "misunderstood" by everyone business has already brushed fandom the wrong way. Wah, wah, cry us a river, oh Evil One. We're not all willing to be told what to feel about a character yet, especially in such absolute terms, when that character hasn't earned those feelings yet in manga canon. 

"It's lonely at the top" is a villain cliche, but it's also a hero's. Maybe when Aizen (inevitably) returns, we'll get more parallels between the biggest bad guy ever in Bleach and Ichigo too, but for now, I haven't seen any interesting contrasts made outside of esoteric fandom speculations. The best "you are me and I am you" story in the Arrancar arc belonged to the lust chapters and to Ulquiorra and Ichigo trading places as Hollow and Human on the dome.

The gigantic elaborate array of Arrancar, fraccion, Espada, Hollow puppies in this book is a testament to Kubo's imagination for character design. On the one hand, so many characters stole the spotlight from the hero's story. On the other hand, the characters support the theme that Hollow and Human are more alike than different. As with all dichotomies in Bleach--Black and White, Shinigami and Human, Life and Death, Good and Evil, the story of the Arrancar arc was mostly about blurring the lines.

To Be Continued

There's a teensy bit of the so-called Lost Readers arc tease in this book--just enough to introduce Ginjou and show off Ichigo's timeskip sideburns. Volume 50 with Ginjou on the cover is advertised all over the flap page and insert  For me, given that  the Ichigo  first introduced to us in the manga was a mopier than usual shounen lead, I found the psychological insight into his character in the last four years to be REALLY lacking. Now we're in new arc in the manga--the Lost Agent Arc--and Ichigo's identity crisis is at the center.

Who is this Ichigo?

Looking over UnMasked, the one thing that stands out for me is how Ichigo's drive to protect was challenged the deeper and deeper he went into Hueco Mundo. Ichigo fights Dordoni and is told to leave his chocolate behind, Ichigo's will to to protect is then challenged by Grimmjow who asks him if he's fighting for the sake of the fight or to rescue the girl. Ichigo's "must protect" hard-on gets hollowfied and perverted on the Dome, then streamlined and ultimately exhausted in the final battle.

This new arc starts off with an especially grumpy, powerless Ichigo a few months from high school graduation and on the verge of some life's passage. He doesn't even seem to come alive again until (ironically) he decides that he really misses being dead and fighting to protect.

Of course the being dead part was incidental to Ichigo's identity--it's the protecting that Ichigo is all about.

Just to rub in another boring uncontested fact confirmed in the databook, the real Ichigo fights to protect. From page 68 (translation by
[info]mezzo_marinaio ):


People to be protected

(Image from chapter 212, when Ichigo told Renji that he had lost after Rukia was pierced by Grimmjow)


As far as Ichigo is concerned, fighting is the same thing as protecting the people close to him. If the people he must protect are wounded, that becomes the same thing as ‘losing’.

(note that by this databook definition, Ichigo loses his fight against Ulquiorra)

(Image from chapter 282, when Ichigo throws himself in front of Orihime and Nell to protect them from Grimmjow's attack)


In the middle of the fight, the moment an attack is aimed at Orihime’s group – who he must protect – he bravely protects them with his body.

I'll be adding little bits and pieces of translation here and there as I get them. I have some already I haven't posted as well as some translated tweets from Sensei but it's getting close to dinnertime already as I type this, and it's only been my first full day since UnMasked came out that I haven't felt A DAMN DISCO BALL PULSING UNDER MY LEFT EYE.

I've got a little of my charityfic about Kenpachi and Unohana done and I'll be catching up with RL chores if the hougyoku grants all my wishes and checking back in later. See ya~~

UnMasked ranks 14th in Japan's manga sales this week with 62,680 copies sold
Current Mood: quixoticquixotic
Anne Caroline B. Fernandes: Loki WHATanne_1905 on June 11th, 2011 10:49 pm (UTC)
Nice post, Debbie. I laughed hard at that simulated discussion, I must say. Oh you so crazy, Bleach fandom.

Well, what I could I say? I prefer to believe that the whole hougyoku thing being messed up in this databook is just a mistake. Such as Shunsui being the captain of the 9th division. I refuse to believe that Kubo would do such an amateur retcon. It wouldn't do any good to my health to think that.

Also, I hate to say this, but I don't think that Ulquiorra will ever come back. Not even Lanza del Relampago being left without an explanation will save him, I guess. I hope Kubo proves me wrong though.

Overall, the databook was pretty meh for me. All those erros made me reject it.
_debbiechan__debbiechan_ on June 11th, 2011 11:12 pm (UTC)

Many parts meh and some parts just awesome for me. The Ulqui chapter was <3 and the novel was so good. It was great to have such a beautiful English translation of it as well.
(no subject) - anne_1905 on June 11th, 2011 11:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
nagasasunagasasu on June 11th, 2011 10:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm off to check out these links now. :D
_debbiechan__debbiechan_ on June 11th, 2011 11:10 pm (UTC)

The links in this post are mostly to document or back up pts I make. For the time-being (and I dunno I can ever make a master post to rival it) the definite comprehensive post of translations is http://athakra.livejournal.com/1009.html There are other translations all over though.
erisalia on June 11th, 2011 11:36 pm (UTC)
Have to LOL at the deabting .Just because we as readers knew it was Orihime that called him and awoke the beast(which is precisely what the book is recounting) doesn't mean Ichigo knew. As Kareni has so eloquently argued before he didn't even know what the hell happened :elmo .
_debbiechan__debbiechan_ on June 11th, 2011 11:41 pm (UTC)

oh I'm fine with people shipping IchiThing/Orihime. XD The scene doesn't seem to work so well for Ichigo/Orihime though. If it sounds like I'm biaed again the poor "perfectly Hollowfied Ichigo," I am--he's everything Ichigo didn't want to be and the complete opposite of the perfect shounen hero in SS. Kubo does love his parallels. Usually I ship my Ishida w/everyone but even the IchiThing/Ishida doujinshi have squicked the living daylights out of me. IchiThing is ... well, I dunno I guess some people find him appealing. RAWR.
(no subject) - nehalenia on June 12th, 2011 03:05 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - aizome on June 12th, 2011 04:05 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - nehalenia on June 12th, 2011 04:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - aizome on June 12th, 2011 04:27 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - la_kalaka on June 12th, 2011 04:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - aizome on June 12th, 2011 05:07 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on June 12th, 2011 08:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - aizome on June 12th, 2011 10:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - animenutcase on August 7th, 2011 01:53 am (UTC) (Expand)
andrew_jpandrew_jp on June 11th, 2011 11:41 pm (UTC)
If a databook doesn't even have accurate data, what good is it?
_debbiechan__debbiechan_ on June 11th, 2011 11:56 pm (UTC)

The NON data parts of the book are what make it for me. But yeah, the data isn't that great. We do get to find out the names of some of the attacks though--like Isshin's middle finger attack and Wonder's screams. Some people think that's cool. I'm not thoroughly into that--I bought the thing for the art mostly and I got the Ulqui chapter and Kubo illustrations for the novel.
Issues: Ulquihime-Move against AUlovely_masoka on June 11th, 2011 11:47 pm (UTC)
Still reeling over the UH doujin. &heart;s ♥ happy forever, just bring him back Kubo. ♥ ♥ I can't wait for my copy haha.


<333 Great job on the rest of the post!~ Some of this stuff I didn't know like wtf over Aizen being misunderstood. D8;

Puppycarre ;A;

Edited at 2011-06-11 11:49 pm (UTC)
_debbiechan_: Aizen ILLUSION_debbiechan_ on June 11th, 2011 11:59 pm (UTC)

Yes, really--WTF. In my view, you're not "misunderstood" unless you're actively trying to make yourself understood. Aizen was deliberately trying to fuck with people. I don't buy this "very sad" shit either. I didn't see it on panel and it annoys me that whoever wrote the text is telling me this is how I should interpret the manga. Sad!Aizen? Yeah, right.

Maybe in the next arc.
(no subject) - lovely_masoka on June 12th, 2011 12:03 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - anne_1905 on June 12th, 2011 12:05 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - erisalia on June 12th, 2011 12:15 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - anne_1905 on June 12th, 2011 12:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - erisalia on June 12th, 2011 12:37 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - anne_1905 on June 12th, 2011 12:47 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - erisalia on June 12th, 2011 12:55 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - nivek01 on June 12th, 2011 02:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on June 12th, 2011 02:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - nivek01 on June 12th, 2011 11:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Alovely_chance on June 12th, 2011 12:00 am (UTC)
That poor little puppycar ;___;
erisalia on June 12th, 2011 12:10 am (UTC)
I felt so bad for puppycar, as touching as it is I can't help but feel so sad for it as they alluded to him being killed soon due to the war. Personally not sure if I buy into the idea of dogs not moving on from a master. I love dogs and have had them for many years but one thing I have learned is dogs come into patterns and if there is not a leader strong enough to break that pattern (like in puppycars story)then the dog is pychologically glued to that point and doesn't move on. I don't necessarily believe dogs are simply forever mourning I believe they get stuck in time because there is not another alpha to pick up the pieces. Same as dogs in the wild. Just because the Alpha dies does not mean the dogs do not move on.
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on June 12th, 2011 12:15 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - erisalia on June 12th, 2011 12:21 am (UTC) (Expand)
sleepwalkersleepwalkerrrr on June 12th, 2011 12:07 am (UTC)
Btw, is it true that unlike in previous databooks, Kubo is not named as an author of the book or something?

Btw, it should be Kukkapuro with one "R" so it means "flowercreek" :D
_debbiechan__debbiechan_ on June 12th, 2011 12:12 am (UTC)

He's "Art Director" which either is or isn't a different thing but sounds different to me. XD Like maybe he only looked at the pictures? There certainly was a lot of text to read--I don't know if even I would've read all that text about my own work if I were a really busy person.
(no subject) - anne_1905 on June 12th, 2011 12:22 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - erisalia on June 12th, 2011 12:40 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - escarboucle on June 12th, 2011 06:54 am (UTC) (Expand)
jpblackjpblack on June 12th, 2011 12:14 am (UTC)
I quasi-agree with the explanation for Aizen's motives, but I always interpreted them as coming from a place of "frustration" as opposed to "loneliness." Soul Reapers have a set limit to how powerful they can become; Aizen himself states this; simultaneously letting the audience know it. To me, I read it as Aizen not being too happy about his life and his abilities being stymied. His contempt for the Soul King before he's captured brings it home, in a way. Aizen enjoys his power, and he doesn't like being told this is as much as he can have. I always saw it as a "fuck you" to "God." And, of course, "deicide," the killing of a God.
_debbiechan__debbiechan_ on June 12th, 2011 12:17 am (UTC)

I concur. The line where Aizen goes "you have seen that thing" to Urahara and challenges Urahara's obedience to the ways of Universe tells me more about Aizen's motivation that all this loneliness stuff--why wasn't that elaborated upon?

Eh, gotta put the kids to bed now. Hope this thread doesn't get eaten alive by shippers. XD
nivek01nivek01 on June 12th, 2011 02:17 am (UTC)
When you say that the databook tells us that Gin and Rangiku lived "modestly" before they became soul reapers, couldn't that be looked at two different ways?

Like, 1) They live modestly as in they keep social boundaries, respect each others privacy, act like close friends or siblings who are living together, or 2) They live modestly as in they don't have much money, food, clothing, whatever to live luxuriously.

So really, my question is, are they "living modestly", or "modest with each other"?
Grenatescarboucle on June 12th, 2011 06:56 am (UTC)
Ergo, probably both. They were kids at that time.
(no subject) - nivek01 on June 12th, 2011 09:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - inkedfeathers on June 19th, 2011 10:56 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Anonymous) on June 12th, 2011 05:12 am (UTC)
A problem that I see is evident when it comes to the events of the Dome and whatnot, is that people tend to look at things from a too linear angle. I prefer to look at things from above, putting together information from the past and what appears in the present in order to determine the truth, if the information compliments each other.

For example, Ichigo's rising in the Lust arc, and ShiroGetsu's words to Ichigo in Deicide. ShiroGetsu told Ichigo that the one thing he wanted to protect was Ichigo himself. In the Lust arc, Hellknight Ichigo was more of a reactionary being, driven by an instinct to defend itself. In other words, to defend Ichigo. Shirosaki had warned Ichigo to not die before he came back, yet that is what Ichigo did.

As a result, Shirosaki had to come out and save Ichigo again, but what appear was just a mass of instinct, even more so than most Hollows. Because of that, it couldn't even distinguish friend from foe, as it stabbed Uryu through the chest when he tightened his grip on its arm.

Here's a fun-fact. If you look carefully at chapters 352 and 353, you'll find that Inoue was DIRECTLY IN HELLKNIGHT ICHIGO'S FIRING PATH. The Cero that was meant to obliterate Uryu, would have also killed Inoue, if it hadn't been for Ulquiorra disrupting the Cero and shattering Ichigo's mask in the process.

In other words, the "her" in the translations was just an added word, since the original, flawless translations have no mention of "her", when Ichigo's Hellknight form began to awaken, or in the scene after it stabbed Uryu. It was all simple "I'll protect" or "I'll save". It was all just a mass of instinct with no guidance. That was all that was going through Hellknight Ichigo's mind at the moment.

Even so, I can safely say the only thing it was protecting was Ichigo, and no one else on the Dome, as its actions showed. To top it all off, everything it did horrified Ichigo.
oh gallant piglet,: HICHIROARaizome on June 12th, 2011 05:27 am (UTC)
This. All of it, really.

But hey, if people want to believe it rose for her, let them. It still doesn't change the facts: Ichigo hated it and it was the "source of his despair". If people want to ship her with a mindless monster that smashed her face on the dome... ok then. Whatever floats their boat. Personally I like Orihime too much to want to see her at the mercy of something that was about to blast the entire vicinity into atoms.
(no subject) - deathlike on June 12th, 2011 06:38 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - escarboucle on June 12th, 2011 07:02 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - deathlike on June 12th, 2011 07:11 am (UTC) (Expand)
Well said. - hinodeh on June 12th, 2011 12:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Well said. - _debbiechan_ on June 12th, 2011 12:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Well said. - hinodeh on June 12th, 2011 01:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Well said. - vayshti on June 12th, 2011 10:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Well said. - aizome on June 12th, 2011 11:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - hinodeh on June 12th, 2011 12:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - darkslover on June 12th, 2011 01:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on June 12th, 2011 01:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) on June 12th, 2011 04:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - darkslover on June 12th, 2011 08:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - aizome on June 12th, 2011 11:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - nivek01 on June 12th, 2011 11:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - aizome on June 12th, 2011 11:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
I love you - anne_1905 on June 13th, 2011 02:21 am (UTC) (Expand)
agenttexasagenttexas on June 12th, 2011 06:29 am (UTC)
As usual, very in-depth and informative! Thank you so much!

In reply to the post about an IchiThing/Ishida doujinshi...fandom scares the hell out of me sometimes... O______O
hinodeh: painful memory ichirukihinodeh on June 12th, 2011 12:38 pm (UTC)
I loved reading your thoughts summarized about this book, even if some of them have been known to me before.

All the mistakes, and the fact that KT only wrote Ulq's story and assisted in the novel for sure, is a big letdown, but I nevertheless enjoyed this book and found it interesting.
I am suprised, though, that apparently someone else wrote the Rangiku/Kira convo. Another case of KT not knowing? It seems weird for me, since in the past, that sort of thing only happened with anime filler episodes. All the novels up to this point have been authorized and supervised by KT after all.
Kinda, sad, since the Ran/Kira convo did in fact ring true for me in many instances. Yes, Kira did describe Gin as "warm and kind" but I figured that he did that because he wished to see Gin's past behavior with rose-colored glasses, after he learned of his sacrifice. And SS seems to indicate that for all of his messing with him, Kira seemed nevertheless attached to Gin.
Kira probably felt terribly embarrassed and used in the aftermath, and learning that Gin was not all bad in the end must have relieved him and made him feel less silly for his own past behavior, hence he "rewrote" the meaning of some of Gin's past actions towards him, to justify to himself that his loyalty towards Gin in SS was not that delusional after all. On the other hand, that would imply that Kira is still in some denial about his own failures, which would be pretty sad.
Maybe KT will take the time to correct Kira's reaction in the manga, if he indeed disagrees with this portrayal.

Thank you also very much for quoting me. I am still incredibly flattered, though I wish now that I had explained some of my points better.

My opinion on Ulquiorra coming back is kind of like a leaf, going in whichever way the wind currently blows, meaning my mood and what fandom opinion I've read most recently on it. I wish I could stand firm with one side or the other, but the only constant is that I want to believe in his comeback, or at least some more closure from Orihime's side, before everything is said and done. Either way, it seems a peculiar coincidence that the Lanza was omitted in this book, given that you and others have argued for so long that its failure to work mandates a successful use in the future. Which is interesting on its own, given that this would imply that, if Ulquiorra returns, at least one of his hollow techiques would need to be intact.

I am also not sold on Aizen being so RONERY. It's not something that was convincingly build up before, or even hinted at. Maybe KT will manage to change that when Aizen returns to the story, though that would still not recitify the mistake of it not being even implied in about 400 chapters of manga before it was uncermoniously thrown at us.

What else? Well, I loved Ulquiorra's little story and I loved the novel. As a fan of Halibel's girls, it is an immense treat for me to see them live with KT's benediction. I'd love to see them return to the story, but given that their send off happened in a databook, I dunno if that will ever happen.

_debbiechan__debbiechan_ on June 12th, 2011 12:50 pm (UTC)

I loved Harribel's girls too--simply for their designs and uniqueness. I'm not sure we'll see more of them either, but the fact that Neliel and her gang weren't in the novel (I expected them to adopt puppycar *sad*) makes me sure that the ones who will get the manga treatment are Neliel et al. Mayuri was in HM after all, and we have yet to find out about those bodies hanging in Szayel's lab. I'm sure we'll see more of the Arrancar soon.
rensozukenrensozuken on June 12th, 2011 01:53 pm (UTC)
I'm a bit skeptical about Kubo not having ANY involvement in the databook other than the art. Did the editors arbitrarily put in Harribel's special note that said "Harribel acknowledges Starrk, who is in a good relationship with Lilinette, SOMEWHERE IN HER HEART"?

_debbiechan__debbiechan_ on June 12th, 2011 01:56 pm (UTC)

Oh definitely--I mean some of these things like the locations of the Hollow holes and such have to have been dictated by him. It just doesn't look like he proofread the text.

The deathknell is tolling for Starrk all over the net but I haven't given up on him and Lili yet. T_T
(no subject) - rensozuken on June 12th, 2011 02:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on June 12th, 2011 02:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rensozuken on June 12th, 2011 02:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on June 12th, 2011 05:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - nivek01 on June 12th, 2011 11:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on June 13th, 2011 12:38 am (UTC) (Expand)
nightmolenightmole on June 12th, 2011 03:40 pm (UTC)
Thanks to you, now I want the book.
Wanna take a look at that dog story.
sleepwalkersleepwalkerrrr on June 13th, 2011 10:17 am (UTC)
(no subject) - nightmole on June 13th, 2011 01:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
jpblackjpblack on June 14th, 2011 03:49 pm (UTC)
Is the Hell Special Chapter with No. 8 and 9 included in the book?
_debbiechan__debbiechan_ on June 14th, 2011 04:06 pm (UTC)