“Plotkai!” ~ A Bleach Editorial

WARNING: THIS EDITORIAL CONTAINS SPOILERS ABOUT THE MOST RECENT CHAPTERS OF BLEACH. IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE SPOILED, DO NOT READ AHEAD! Also, remember this is an editorial and as such it contains many of my personal opinions. Finally, Bleach is a large, expansive series, so if I get any of my facts wrong, feel free to call me on it.

Ah, Bleach. It’s one of the ‘Big 3’ shounen anime out in Japan right now, and like the other two members of this little club, it gets a lot of flack. If you’ve read my blog on my top 10 anime of the decade, you know that I am quite the fan of Bleach despite this. However, I do agree with a lot of the criticism it gets, especially when it comes to the fact that Bleach‘s creator, Tite Kubo, loves to seemingly troll his fans by pulling some things that can (mildly) be described as ‘out of left field’.

Some Bleach fans refuse to admit that there is anything wrong with this show, however one of the great things you learn as an anime fan is the ability to be able to make fun of a show that you love. I can fully recognize that there are both good and bad things about Bleach, and although I do rant from time-to-time about Kubo’s trolling, I actually find the fan reactions hilarious and think that the trolling adds to the entertainment value of being a Bleach fan. So here I am, celebrating my favorite things that I hate about Bleach. Wow, that looks a lot crazier on the computer screen than it sounded in my head.

Here we go!

Sousuke Aizen, a.k.a. CAPTAIN GOD

LOLUMAD?

Ah, Aizen. This man started out as possibly one of the most brilliant villains I have ever seen in an anime. However, as time went on his moments of brilliance turned more into moments of plot convenience, and the more I thought about Aizen and his entire plan the more I realized it really doesn’t make sense in a lot of ways. However, there is one way to rationalize it: The Gotei 13 are just plain stupid. How so? Well, let’s look at the evolution of Aizen and his great plan step-by-step shall we?

The earliest point in the story that we have ever seen Aizen is during the Turn Back the Pendulum Arc, where we see him as Shinji’s lieutenant in the 5th Division. He seems like the nice, cheery guy we saw him as in the beginning of the series, however we are looking back on this with the knowledge that even this long ago (I believe it was about 110 years) Aizen was planning to betray Soul Society. When he first announced that he had been planning to do this for so long, I thought it was just incredibly epic that he pulled it off. However, as more of the story is revealed, it seems that Aizen was more lucky and less talented than he originally seemed.

Shinji right-out says to Aizen that he kept him at arms length because he knew Aizen was suspicious and he didn’t want Aizen to get to know Shinji too well or find out anything too sensitive about the inner-workings of Soul Society. Despite this, he seems to have never once thought it might be a good idea to do something like oh, I don’t know, maybe clue Yamamoto in that Aizen was suspicious? Just a thought.

Isane, the lieutenant of the 4th Division, says at one point that Aizen’s zanpakuto is water-based.This gives us the impression that Soul Society had no idea that Aizen’s true powers were that of general illusions. Even so, how could Soul Society not know what the powers of their lieutenants and captains are? We have very little indication that Shinji knew what Aizen’s powers were (and in fact Aizen says that keeping a distance from him allowed him to keep those powers from Shinji), but when Aizen became a captain, wouldn’t they have looked further into it? You would think that such an important and strict organization would make sure they knew clearly and for a fact what their higher-up’s powers were.

Now, to play devil’s advocate with myself, he could have just as easily used illusions to make them think that his zanpakuto did something else, but we have no proof that he did this other than the fact that it would make sense for Aizen to do such a thing. Then again, Kubo goes against a lot of things that make sense, so who knows? Either way, I digress.

So then the Vizards have been created thanks to Aizen, Urahara is framed for it, and Yoruichi goes with Urahara to the living world. Throughout several points in the series, we have seen Soul Society put quite a bit of trust in both Urahara and Yoruichi, so why didn’t either of them try to contact Yamamoto and tell him that they knew it was Aizen’s fault? I can understand them feeling that it wouldn’t do any good at first, but after so many years you’d think either Urahara, Yoruichi, or even one of the Vizards might have attempted to clue Soul Society in on their impending doom, especially since they all seemed rather aware that they were going to get pulled into the battle at some point.

Barring that, however, I can see how the rest of his plan went as well as it did. He eventually reveals that his real goal is to get the execution blade used on the Shinigami, which is why he kept posing as the Central 46 (whom he quietly killed off) and pushing Rukia’s execution forward. However, when Ichigo interferes, he reveals himself as a traitor and reveals that his real REAL goal is to get the hogyoku, a powerful item that Urahara had stored inside Rukia for safe-keeping so that he can get into the King’s Realm. He gets it and retreats to Hueco Mundo.

This is all well and good, but then things start to get even shakier. He keeps duping everyone into believing his goal is one thing when it’s really another, which is fine, but it gets to the point where even Gin looks more trustworthy than Aizen. It turns into a back-and-fourth game between him and Soul Society of ‘Well my real plan is this!’ ‘Well we knew that so we planned this!’ ‘Well I knew you would know so I planned this!’ Then when Aizen actually starts fighting, every fighting blow and strike made against him turns out to be an illusion, allowing him to take down some of the most powerful fighters Soul Society has in a matter of seconds.

It completely ruins any semblance of power balance between characters (although Kubo is guilty of this just about all the time in Bleach). He no longer comes off as a skilled, brilliant man and is now more like someone who is just damned lucky and is spamming his special abilities to try and cheese everyone else into their deaths. A good move for a villain, but I find myself nowadays rolling my eyes and going ‘sure, like that actually happened, it’s all just an illusion’.

To make the intelligence of Soul Society even more questionable, the captains and lieutenants keep throwing themselves at Aizen even though every other one of their comrades has fallen to the same mistake right in front of their eyes. Most of them don’t even try to use their bankai or any of their other personal skills or talents. It takes all of the awe at Aizen’s abilities out and just makes it seem like Kubo is favoring him by dumbing down everyone else.

However, the actions of Aizen are the cornerstone of Kubo’s trolling, and it never ceases to bring hilarious reactions out of the fans. It’s so bad, it’s almost good!

LOLNOBACKGROUNDS

Yep, and we’re going to do it while FLYING!

This one needs little explanation. There is nothing funnier than watching the fanboys flip out when Kubo draws another fighting scene of the Arrancars and Shinigami floating/flying in the air with no background to be seen. I have no idea why he does it, he may do it just to have less to draw so he can get the chapters out faster, but either way it produces great results.

Topsy-Turvy Shinji

You think that’s backwards? Wait until you see the rest of this series!

When Shinji finally reveals his bankai, it turns out his ability is to fool his opponent’s senses into thinking that everything is upside down and backwards. The fans were confused and thought it was a ridiculous power that was too close to Aizen’s powers.

However, looking back into the story shows that when Shinji transferred into Ichigo’s class at school, he wrote his name backwards on the chalkboard. When the teacher chided him for it, he said he was good at doing lots of stuff backwards. This scene was written years before Shinji revealed his zanpakuto’s ability.

Whether this was planned or whether Kubo just flipped through his old Shinji material to try and find inspiration for his zanpakuto is still a mystery.

When the White Moon Meets the Black Sun

And then CRAZY FANGIRLS rained down upon ENTIRE FANDOM.

At one point Kubo used a poem about a White Moon and a Black Sun on some Bleach data books, heavily alluding that Rukia was perhaps the ‘White Moon’ (her zanpakuto is white and her powers are all ice-based) and Ichigo was the ‘Black Sun’ (his zanpakuto is all black and his powers involve black energy blasts and the like). In case you can’t read the picture above, it says:

The Rain drags Black Sun down.
But the Rain dried by White Moon.

The moment that the Ichigo/Rukia fangirls read this, they went on a tirade, convinced that this whole poem was Kubo’s way of saying that he intended for Ichigo and Rukia to be hopelessly in love with each other. Fans of other pairings countered that the symbolism could be in just the sense of friendship and not necessarily romantic. Either way, it spawned a pairing war that is still going on to this very day.

THE HEART

More like ‘I RAN OUT OF IDEAS’, amirite?

One of Kubo’s most notorious trolls was a chapter title page that consisted of a white background that simply had the words ‘THE HEART’ in black in the middle of it. Since this was published, fans have been trying to use ‘THE HEART’ as symbolism for many different things in Bleach.

Kubo doesn’t seem to be unaware of this. In the 2-page full-color spread revealing the results of the newest character poll (which was revealed around Valentine’s Day), the top winners are pictured together holding heart-shaped chocolates. This instance probably isn’t a Kubo troll, but the true meaning of ‘THE HEART’ is still keeping people guessing.

From Powerful Secret Weapon to Kitchen Safety Staple

No kitchen is safe without one!

Ever since Aizen talked about the most powerful kind of Arrancar called Vasto Lorde, fans have been theorizing over who could possibly be or could become one. When we were shown the creation of Wonderweiss, many people who knew Kubo’s trolling all too well began to suggest that the seemingly witless Wonderweiss was probably the Vasto Lorde. We have been waiting with baited breath to see what Wonderweiss can do, and the one time he actually jumped into a battle, he did some serious damage, which only made this theory seem stronger.

However, when Aizen finally faced off with Yamamoto, he revealed that he created Wonderweiss simply to negate Yamamoto’s fire powers. Basically, what we thought was going to be Aizen’s powerful trump card basically turned out to be a fire extinguisher.

In fact, this is not the only instance that Kubo has built up drama about a character and then let us down. Halibel, the one female Espada whom everyone was waiting to see throw some punches, had a barely touched-upon battle with Hitsugaya before Aizen came in and took her out in a single stroke.

Now these trolls are all well in fun, but Kubo has told us that there is plenty more Bleach to come. So this poses the questions, what trolls could Kubo come up with in the future? Well, I put my thoughts together along with some of my friends and we came up with a few fun ideas!

  • Everything was just a nightmare Hanatarou was having
  • At the end of the story, Orihime will undo everything and the story will go back to how it was in the beginning
  • Orihime brings Ulquiorra back to life and they stay together as lovers
  • Grimmjow is actually dead
  • Aizen was the King all along and just locked himself out of his own realm
  • Aizen was actually and Illusion. the real mastermind is Hinamori!

Feel free to leave comments with your own troll theories!

Thanks to Greg from the anime blog Reisen Goes to School by Bus for the idea for the name of this editorial!

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8 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    moritheil said,

    It gets a lot better (worse?) if you imagine Kubo Tite as Aizen. Even as Aizen fools people into thinking one way and sucker punches them, Kubo Tite is doing a similar thing with his plot, dropping out lots of red herrings and then saying “Haha, gotcha!”

    • 2

      A lot of people have drawn the conclusion that Aizen is sort of Kubo inserted into the story, and Kubo uses him as his sort of in-story trolling personality. I think it’s very possible!

  2. 3

    William Wolf said,

    I normally can’t get through many blogs. I love to read but I find that most of them are so boring I have to stop in the middle and just drop it. Fill in the blanks in my head, which I am good at, but I actually was able to fully read your blog post all the way through. You are a very captivating writer who has managed to get past my entirely boredom.

    [I ask this next question of everyone I find interesting, but do you know your MBTI type? I’m ENTP.]

  3. 4

    kesh said,

    ichigo is dreamin. as soon as it gets 2 the good part isshin is gonna jump on his head. wud b fun if he added a 3som or 5. lol. nice read by the way. i enjoyed it

  4. 5

    pein0avenue said,

    Brilliant Post I love the “new trolls”

  5. 7

    m2licee said,

    Nonsense!

  6. 8

    yeonji said,

    i would love to see orihime bring ulquiorra back to life 😀


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