Hold on, hold on! I know some of you will haaate the banner, because well, either you dislike Yuki and are wondering what he has to do with Bleach or you just don’t like the gloomy look of the graphic, but hear me out. I chose the banner. I love the banner. I entrusted yorleni and her wonderful talent to make this banner, and for me ---ahhh-- *kisses fingers*---the foreboding final arc of Bleach is all here. Ichigo, the mentor but his face in shadow and half-hollowed, and the new generation (yeah, that kid upon whose appearance audiences groaned “not ANOTHER new character) is wide-eyed and vulnerable. I’m scared—aren’t you? If the last arc was all emo Ichi (last banner ) then this one is the final bloodbath….
Any time now with that invasion of SS, Sensei. You promised a Seireitei in ruins and judging from the last stupid bleachness poll, many are on to your teasing ways and there are claims of Battered Reader Syndrome.
The readers literally want BLOOD.
But will they get it? The bloodbath, mean. This is the last arc and anything can happen, right?
Not really. This is a formula genre we’re in, and we’re talking Bleach—a manga whose style we’ve grown familiar with over 10 years now. I’d say it’s fair to expect SOME death but not too much—this is Kubo and it hurts him as much to kill off a character with real finality as it does to say no to a cupcake. As final as they were, Gin’s death, Ginjou’s death, even Sasakibe’s weren’t shockers. We’re past the days when Sensei can fool audiences into believing Rukia is lying dead in the ice…or are we? Maybe not if fandom was so quick to buy Ukitake as the final villain.
Starve and deliver hot months later when you’re begging is Kubo’s usual. A final arc is more than standard fare though—it’s all those long-promised pizzas that didn’t come when we wanted them. Will they matter now? Let us then anticipate big panels for breakfast, poetic allusions for lunch, angsty backstories, humor (breadsticks that look like penises) and a full course pay-off where all mysteries are solved, dessert is a happy ending tinged with Kubo’s special sauce of bittersweetness and irony, and maybe we’ll get a timeskip after-dinner mint of baby namings.
Why do I always write these bleachness entries when I’m hungry?
If Sensei draws a full color Quincy spread, I’ll make Yorleni change the banner.
IT’S THE LAST ARC OF BLEACH AND I’M GOING TO HAVE MY QUINCY AND EAT IT TOO. Oh damn, I can’t remember the last time I was so excited about Bleach, and I’m regularly in a manic state about it. Quincy, Quincy, QUINCY ARC. My favorite character being spotlighted as all the mysteries of Bleach are finally answered….
And yet, isn’t it odd that the fandom is so blasé now? It’s true—it’s smaller, the anime is off the air, Bleach’s glory days are in the past. No one bats an eye at shipwars anymore, BA is a ghost town, the lively RPs and fics and arts that flooded fandom a few years ago don’t have rivals in 2012—I see old stuff being reblogged. Only the loneliest grudge-wankers are still floundering around this or that new social media (Tumblr is a hellhole for Bleach wankity—sometimes hilarious, most times sad), and discourse seems younger and screechier outside LJ –oh LJ, which is sooo dead if it’s not LITERALLY inaccessible because of yet another DDoS attack from Russia.
The last stupid poll asked for you to describe your relationship to Bleach in terms of a romantic metaphor. I’ve been in this fandom a long time. I’m more obsessive than most people, even most otaku I know, and I’ve seen fans come and go. I’ve heard that the heightened state of romantic love or obsessions with collecting orchids, pokemon, or sports cars tends to last at most two or three years and that after that the passion becomes more like a fond habit. Among psychobabbilists, the heightened state of love has been called limerence.
I’ve head people accuse Kubo-sensei of growing out of love with his own subject, but I don’t really believe that to be the case—if anything, I do believe he floundered around the Arrancar arc time when his personal life was at an ebb, but he’s not phoning the manga in at all now. He’s doing what he wants—it’s just that what he wants—the big panel posey graphic design and artsy stuffs, his unyielding urge to procreate new characters into an already too full house--isn’t speaking to an audience in limerence anymore. Their pulses won’t be easily aroused by the old tricks. Sensei said that this arc would be “different.”
I’m different. I’m not like most of the readers on the poll—I get turned on easily by Bleach, even when I see how the player is setting up the dominoes. I’ve found most of the manga fairly predictable and the pleasure for me is in the art and details, not the plot. That’s why I checked “married” on the poll. BTDT, in for the long haul. But even I’m wondering if Kubo can keep this lover’s promise. Different? That’s a very tantalizing word.
I don’t trust it at all.
And for some reason, that doesn’t bother me one little bit.