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11 September 2011 @ 12:02 pm
In defense of Rukia (info, pictures, and arguments) 1  


PART 1


Well, this actually is one of my posts at the IR FC at BleachAsylum (the post at BA is here http://bleachasylum.com/threads/18944-v58-IchiRuki-FC-The-Story-of-Destiny-Begins?p=2856333&viewfull=1#post2856333). As I mentioned Orihime's name in comparison with Rukia three times in a post of 6.500 words aprox. to speak about the heroines and female leads my post got edited by a moderator ( ̄▽ ̄;A). Anyway, Debbie gave me permission to post the uncensored version at Bleachness (Thanks Debbie!). For the ones who don't know what I'm talking about at least this is a good Rukia-resources compilation entry, and for the people at BA who wanted to read the unedited version of my post here it is:


Disclaimer: This post is basically a resources post with some of my thoughts scattered here and there. The post is Rukia-centric (and in defense of her) because I started writing it thinking about posting in her FC, but the debate about Rukia's character got heated up and was stopped by the moderators and my post was getting too shippy anyway, so I thought I'd post it here XD. All the translations and info came from Bleachasylum -most of it from the FC- and Bleachness. Thanks as always to Nacchan, MelodyMix, Sketchbaka, pikeish, mezzo_marinaio, Sheryl Nome and a all the members who contributed translating that I'm sure I missed crediting properly because this post turned long as ever (sorry about it ( ̄▽ ̄;A)).



"The first character he drew was Rukia, then Ichigo. [...] Kubo made Bleach not because he wanted to tell a story about shinigami, but in the progress of creating a character he thought a shinigami story will fit the character (Rukia)."


"Morita asked if Rukia was the original lead character (because she was first drawn) but then Kubo said that she's not. Because she's not, he need a lead character thus Ichigo was born."




A few days ago I read some comments stating that Rukia could be seen as a 'boring' character by some readers and my first reaction to that was something like '......WUUUUUUT?!' (屮゜Д゜)屮. Of course, I know I'm Rukia biased and being 'boring' or 'interesting' is more than anything a matter of perspectives, but still... really... '...WHAT!' (屮゜Д゜)屮. Maybe I was this shocked to hear that because a part of me always thought that if you loved Bleach you had to also love what I consider Bleach's very soul: Rukia. After all, it's because 'Kubo thought, 'Ah, she must be a shinigami,' then he decided to make a story about shinigami.' Ichigo and Rukia meeting of destiny at the start of the manga is the recurrent point to which Kubo keeps returning to in every arc ('Truth Under My Strings' -SS arc-, Chapter 00 sideA and B -Arrancar arc-, 'Edge of Silence' -HM arc-, 'Death and Strawberry 2' -FB arc-). And story-wise probably Rukia has been the nakama with the best and most steady development up to date.

One could also argue that loving Rukia is not the same thing that finding her interesting, but the truth is that 'loving' a character and 'finding it interesting' is usually the same. Why you come to enjoy a character? Because you become interested about her/him for whatever reason. But Rukia is just a fictional character not a real life person, so if one day I come to find her 'boring', I may very well drop Bleach or come to find her character appearances a waste of panel time. When someone thinks something is boring but keeps getting exposed to it over and over sooner or later you will become irritated. Anyway, semantics aside, how could anyone find 'boring' Rukia considering that in Bleach she is the character who affects the story the most (her epic 'goodbyes' and 'returns' mean the story is moving in another direction) and she is the one character able to turn Ichigo (the main lead) into his most epic self is really beyond myself.



"Q: Okay, let’s ask about this months topic 'Characters'. First of all, let’s start with our main characters: Ichigo and Rukia.
Kubo: The first Ichigo I drew wore glasses. He wore glasses and had black hair (laugh). He also had kind eyes… and it looks like a different person from the Ichigo we have now.

Q:Is it true that Rukia’s design was decided before Ichigo’s design?
Kubo: [...] to match Rukia’s design I changed Ichigo’s character design. Like Rukia had black hair so it’s best if Ichigo didn’t have black hair."




Rukia has the role of 'the rotator' in Bleach and Ichigo is 'the sand'. Ichigo can't keep with the speed of the world without Rukia, etc, etc, and this is a kind of dynamic that works. The narration of stories in which the main male/female leads are very prominent need to have good hero/heroine interactions as a base. In this sense, the female lead often is a strong pillar, a guide, for the hero, they complement each other and they need to have certain chemistry between them. Usually without that interaction, the hero wouldn’t have enough motivation/inspiration to carry the story or to model/heroic behavior that the general public like to see/read. One can only imagine certain male leads without their respective partners: Mulder without Scully, Clark without Lois, Neo without Trinity, Ramma without Akane or Ichigo without Rukia— every one of these characters would become a completely different person; each story changing until being unrecognizable.



"Later on, I learned that the word "rukia" means "light". She's like a ray of light for Ichigo, which makes the name really suit her."

"Q: Do you have any plans to make Ichigo and Rukia a couple?
Kubo: I'm not going to confirm nor deny that. (Laugh)"

"Q: What do you think the bond is that these two have with each other?
Kubo: It’s not friendship, but it’s not an amorous feeling either. With these two’s relationship, I think there is no other relationship like them in other works where despite both standing in a very close position with each other it is not romance *laughs*. But in this year’s movie there is a scene where Ichigo says Rukia is his 'Precious nakama' and I think that explains their relationship well."

"Q: What bits do you want everyone to focus on?
Kubo: The relationship between Ichigo and Rukia. Their change in their own feelings."



It's funny detractors cling to the 'precious nakama' label as they would cling to to anything that would float in the middle of the stormy sea. Never mind that Ichigo has labeled Inoue as a nakama and friend-zoned her thousands of times. Kind of ironical I'd say, if you've seen the scene Kubo's referring to; one doesn't need to be a genius to understand the implications of Urahara's *cunning smile* 'So desu ka...' when Ichigo answers 'she's... a precious nakama.' after a long silence (déjà vu to this manga scene). Just like Kubo said: it's not friendship. They were not at the romance stage in FtB neither, of course. So I understand Sensei's necessity to clarify they weren't lovers (when I was watching the movie with my sister she was surprised when I told her otherwise XD). As Sensei told, canon-wise while all the others bonds Ichigo has with other charcaters can end, the bond he shares with Rukia will never break. "The rain drags Black Sun down, but the rain dried by White Moon.", "The Sun that locks heaven. The Moon that eclipses the night.", "That's right, nothing else can change my world.", "I wonder if I can keep up with the speed of the world without you.", their meeting was destiny, she is the rotator and he is the sand, etc. However, even with all this, it still doesn't clearly state that Ichigo and Rukia are romantically in love with each other right now. It's more like, for Ichigo it can only be Rukia. Honestly any other thing at this point would be too unbelievable ╮(╯▽╰)╭.

  Spoiler!<input ... >
And a short and sweet compilation on what the hell does being a 'Precious Nakama' means XD. The movie staff (most than anyone Morita) and magazines had his own share of fun for the promotion of FtB with the 'precious friend' term and and what exactly was Ichigo and Rukia relationship XD:

Morita: "By the way, Ori-chan, about your song 'echo' how do you think about it?"
Orinin: "When you think about it, well… it’s like Rukia is singing while thinking about her feelings toward Ichigo…"
Morita: "Ooh, what kind of feeling exactly?"
Orinin: "………"
Morita: "OOOH your eyes are changing! your eyes are changing! whew, I’m surprised."
Orinin: "Hahaha, what kind of feeling?… Well, it’s like Morita-kun’s 'Ichigo's song' and Rukia’s 'echo' will make you feel 'ah! It's connected to the movie! Umai na~' Something like that…"


Extarct of a FTB article: "Kurosaki Ichigo, feeling disturbed because this time Rukia is missing. While avoiding shinigami's chase, believing in his bond with Rukia, he's running all over Seireitei.

What is Rukia to Ichigo?

Rukia, the one who gave him shinigami power and later living inside his room. She also transferred to the same highschool as Ichigo. She was asked, "Kuchiki-san, do you love Kurosaki-kun?" once before by her classmates. What is exactly the relationship between these two? Maybe they themselves don't even understand... *XDDDD*"


Morita: "The fact that Rukia's very existence is fading away... Ichigo had the fear that even his existence too will fade away, right? Also, I'm often asked what kind of relationship Ichigo and Rukia have, but... even though they're not lovers and they are, of course, best friends, calling them friends is weird too. It's a very uncertain thing~".


Morita: "Ichigo and Rukia's relationship! Right, I counter this question a lot in every Bleach related job I take. Ichigo and Rukia... it's a miracle relationship. Then can I ask everyone here, what do everyone think about Ichigo and Rukia's relationship?"

Guest: "Lover!"
Morita: "'Lover!' (imitating the guest)"
(and other guests shout more)
Morita: "Lover, nakama, family..."
Guest: "Partner! (aikata/相方)"
Morita: "Hmm? Partner? You mean something like this? (doing some comedy moves)"
Guests: *laugh*
Morita: "Ah, it's wrong (laugh) But, maybe. Maybe 'partner' is the most close one. There were lover, nakama, family, partner... those, those words are not enough to express their relationship. (laugh)

"They're more connected in a deeper way, aren't they? (grin, grin)"

Morita: "Ah, right, that's it! Ichigo and Rukia's relationship is, 'Ichigo and Rukia's relationship'. It's really as it is (laugh). You could say, like for example, there's this two close friends, those persons' relationship is similar to Ichigo and Rukia's... something like that!"

Guests: *small laugh*

Morita: "Ah, I won't use it! (laugh) I won't use this way of explanation! (laugh)"


To convey things that couldn't be seen...
Which part from this movie themes that is strongly expressed?

Oririn: Movie is something to be seen but what this movie want to convey is something that couldn't be seen by eyes. I think if you want to tell it by words, it will be, 'Bond,' but then something important deep inside our hearts is going to complaint. I think the theme is very sensible that it couldn't be explained by words.

Morita: Because we have practically done doing this third movie, I strongly feel about the 'bond' with Rukia and the soul's connection beyond that. We acted the episode of Ichigo and Rukia's meeting four years ago. And then in the middle of our journey until now, as Morita and as Ichigo as well, there're times when we became used to our mutual relationship. Then once again, a shocking meeting was drawn, I and also Ichigo, are reminded on how important Rukia's existence is. We're able to question it once again. I think this series is becoming like that.

Oririn: I know that Ichigo is thinking about Rukia but I never thought it is something this deep, it was a bit unexpected. Just now it sounds good to be called as, 'history,' because of things in the past we have today, and it's connecting to the future. Ichigo and Rukia's relationship is not something that was built in a blink of eye, it's something that building up, is what I strongly felt.

It's quite complicated, isn't it?

Morita: For me myself, I feel that this time's theme, 'bond,' is connection between souls that is thicker than blood, but if you say it is everything then it will feel different and won't do. The first movie was, 'protect' the second was, 'believe' I bury those keywords deep inside while performing. But this time, it won't do just by using the 'bond' word. Even if you say, 'I really love you', to your lover, you still couldn't tell how much you love the person. My feelings right now is exactly the same as that. But even if 'bond' couldn't describe it, 'great bond' will sounds strange (laugh).


Morita: "Well, they aren't lovers but they aren't exactly friends either."
Okino: "Yeah, I guess its precious nakama."
Morita: "I guess, but they are not exactly nakama as well."


Question: "What's Rukia's existence means to Ichigo?"
Morita: "Because she's a very firm, strong person at heart, she has been an emotional supporter for Ichigo. She couldn't be spoiled but, just by her being by his back, he gains self-confidence and could move forward. But she's not Ichigo's lover or family, it's wrong if you say it as friend also. I feel like there's something else lies in different dimension."

Question: "It feels like there's no words that could explain their relationship clearly?"
Morita: "Right, it is also something that this movie wants to express. But after all, me myself still couldn't explain these two's relationship clearly (laugh). Only, this time I tried to act, "Ichigo is thinking strongly about Rukia this much," and once again I was able to feel it.

Question: "Up until now Rukia is called, "A person who change Ichigo's world," right?"
Morita: "Because his meeting with Rukia, he was given shinigami's power, the 'world I want to protect but unable to protect' was changed into 'the world I able to protect'. I don't know if Ichigo is glad by meeting Rukia or not. Only, Ichigo himself prepared himself to live in the world Rukia has brought him into, so I think he's happy with the way things are. And because it was Rukia who brought him into the world where Ichigo could live as Ichigo, he must think that he wants to protect her no matter what it cost."

Question: "About that Ichigo, what's his role in this movie?"
Morita: "This time he's rebelling against his heart, bewildered by things that happened, depressed by his confused self, he experienced a lot of feelings in that short of time. This kind of Ichigo was the first. Why he became like that, because the subject is Rukia. "Right, it's Rukia! I will said it 100 or even 200 more times so remember!" something like that. That kind of romantic speech, Ichigo is saying that, it was very important to me. "Wonderful! Ichigo, what happened? You're so young! (a statement Japanese said to a person in love)" something like that (laugh)."



"Q: You also had a message for aspiring mangaka, advising them to believe in their work, otherwise it’s dishonest to charge money for it. What do you mean by that?
Kubo: The message is that if you believe in what you create, it’s enjoyable and people will follow. The talented mangaka should know that, otherwise no one would read or enjoy it. So believe in yourself. Believing in yourself is important."

"Selling something that I myself didn’t enjoy is a sin."

"Making people pay for the works that I didn’t find enjoyable is a fraud, that’s how I think."

"I think one of the dirtiest things in the world is to force one's own values."

"I was credited as 'Executive Director'. However honestly speaking, for the DVD (HellVerse movie) version I want that title to be removed."




Well, while canon it's canon, there is also the material (movies, poems, drawings, etc) that Kubo approves and is credited for or even makes himself outside Bleach's manga which all shippers pay close attention to because Sensei always tries to keep them in character with the original story and we know that by Kubo's own principles he considers to sell something he didn't enjoy a sin/fraud. So let's see what happened with the HV debacle and what not because it's the most recent fandom debate that has aroused in this sense. I made a compilation with most of Sensei's comments on FtB and HV for better understanding:

  Spoiler!<input ... >
For FtB:
"I joined in the production and put together the story and the setting after discussing it with everyone. [...]Kubo-sensei ate lunch while reading the scenario. He drew manga drafts during editing. He seemed so busy.-Pierrot is now in the middle of production. [...] the speech in the last scene, I discussed and decided it with the director at the recording studio *laughs* To tell you the truth there are still bits I wanted to develop but if I do that who knows how long the film would be *laughs* [...] After coming up with the English subtitle "Fade to Black” they asked me to come up with the Japanese subtitle (laughs) So after carefully digesting the scenario I searched for some scenes that can be the key word or words that I can use... Ichigo calling out Rukia’s name was a strong expression that even though no one else remembers you I do, and I found out it had an important meaning behind it. So that’s how I came up with the subtitle "Calling Out Your name" [...] “Then what will we do about the last boss?” and we thought if Ichigo forgot about Rukia we thought “We want to see Ichigo and Rukia!”. We then started the discussion from there. [...] (Rukia's recuing method) if Ichigo didn't show hesitation when he pierced Rukia, it will be a question. That's why we have to make this scene acceptable for Bleach fans, and of course Rukia fans and Ichigo fans. For me, I think it was the best way for the conclusion. [...] This time I feel a lot more fun. Last time because it was my first time I felt uneasy and as someone who works as a mangaka I don't like to talk too much and I feel it's better if I don't get involved too much on the anime production. But this time after become accustomed with the same staff I feel like "I want to do more" and becoming more proactive on giving my opinions this time. [...] this project is the one which I involved the most, I wanted to be there until the end. [...] Kubo-sensei came to the recording. He really fussed over theatrical elocution and made a lot of corrections.[...] The third movie is becoming a special work for BLEACH. It's different with the usual element of many movies, it's a story close to and in which the simple Bleach's origin is drawn. I'm hoping for this story to remain, even just a little, in the hearts of a lot of people."

For HV:
"I’ve retuuuurned! The movie was amazing! To be brief, it was aaaaaaall action! [...] Though action movies are generally labelled like that, the action parts usually span about half of the movie… in this movie, though, the scenes that couldn’t be labelled ‘action’ must have been about 10-15 minutes at the most. Furthermore, the action quality was high, high. I think that the anime staff must have had some unusual trouble for this one. [...] At the beginning of the movie, there is a battle scene between Ichigo and Ulquiorra – which is basically a remake of their canon battle; it’s just a few minutes long, but I think those few minutes reached a level of perfection. The people who have even just a little interest in either Ichigo or Ulquiorra should definitely watch it. [...] No way! This time, the movie had earth-shatteringly beautiful drawings! There is little to any difference with my own drawings. I’d really like to thank the movie staff one by one. [...]And then, what particularly impressed me this time was that they drew Ichigo – who is very hard to draw – very well, and made him cool-looking for the entire time. I was really happy about that. All the more because this time, Ichigo was set firmly at the centre of the story. [...]Story-wise, I think that the Bleach movies up until now gave off a Bleach-like feeling, but their Jump-like essence was very sparse. This time, however – while the movie is firmly grounded in the spirit of Bleach – the story produced really gives off a feeling of being a typical Jump movie… so I was able to return to the emotions I felt when I saw Jump movies in my childhood. [...] Honestly speaking, I want that title (executive director) to be removed. I already asked them to do so. This is because I feel I didn't participate enough in the production of this movie to warrant such a title. I already had this feelings since the premier of the theatre version, however when I met with the producer staff to persuade them, the movie was already in the editing process so it couldn't be removed. [...]the scenario was sent to me only in the spring of the year of the movie premiere. Furthermore, the scenario didn't contain any of the ideas of the meeting... apparently, the notes taken at that time were not transmitted to the director and to the other members of the staff. [...] Later on, we had some trouble with the production department agreeing to some changes decided by the scriptwriter, and the scriptwriter worked hard with the changes that were made - but unfortunately, there was no more time. [...] The fact that characters that first made their entry in the original work like Ichigo, Kokutou and Shuuren had a very Bleach-like feeling is thanks to all of the seiyuu that gave them their voices, and to all of the staff that drew them."

My honest impression after reading all of Sensei's commentaries together is that he was trying to highlight and be positive about the things he found enjoyable in the movie (the action, the drawings and the Seiyuus' performance) while respectfully not mentioning anything else ( ̄▽ ̄;A). The problems were there from the start, while in FtB Sensei couldn't stop giving details about his involvement in the movie at all times, in HV all he kept repeating was 'action, action, action' until probably what was the last straw at the camel's back: the movie's producers not removing his title as 'executive director' from the DVD. If you notice, he is even calling Ichigo OOC in the movie... which I can't say I disagree with: Ichigo was OOC in this movie, IMO. And I know I'm fussy about OOCness when I'm dealing with outside canon sources, but Kubo-sensei's forte is characterization, so I understand if he also feels uncomfortable about the movie.


Continue in Part 2...

 
 
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spockshairakai_miko on September 12th, 2011 01:56 pm (UTC)

Wow you made really big research here. Just one thing. Where did you find all these interviews?

_debbiechan__debbiechan_ on September 12th, 2011 03:47 pm (UTC)

You can find these interviews and links to them as well as many of the pix in the first post of the IchiRuki FC at BA. Other interviews come from here at bleachness. You can search for them looking for the tags Jump Festa, Fade to Black, or Kubo Tite. Spider thanked bleachness in her post at the fanclub.
...y wendy creció.: Smileariadna19 on September 12th, 2011 04:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you, Debbie ♥.
spockshairakai_miko on September 13th, 2011 01:06 pm (UTC)
I see :) Thank you very much!
darkslover: AxS Blooddarkslover on September 12th, 2011 03:50 pm (UTC)
One suggestion: maybe it would be a good idea to actually LINK to the second part?
...y wendy creció.ariadna19 on September 12th, 2011 04:38 pm (UTC)
Emmm... you just have to press the button with the arrow that says 'Next Entry'.