My last words will be: “OMG THE SHIPPING WARS, HELP!!” To find out what I mean, please check out the latest Bleach chapter, 661 at Mangastream.
So, the story continues with Kubo finally saying out loud many things we’ve kind of known, or at least suspected for a long time.
More underlining of the fact Ishida was never a traitor (and, as Orihime says, “the Ishida-kun we knew and loved all along”), and now, in this chapter, Hashwaldt has shown a bit of his own hand.
That is, while he’s NOT PRECISELY a traitor himself, he will more than happily point out that “YWACH IS TOTALLY VULNERABLE RIGHT NOW, while I am in charge, JUST IN CASE YOU HAD SOME PLANS THAT MIGHT INCLUDE KILLING HIM WHILE HE SLEEPS.” Which he manages to give away, while keeping just enough ‘deniability’ for when Ywach wakes up again. “What, who? Me? No, no, Ishida figured that out all on his own.”
So my complaints last week that Hashwaldt’s complications have been underutilized? I take them back.
I actually have to take a moment to be impressed here, because what Kubo is giving us in Hashwaldt is a kind of Shindler. He’s in the enemy camp, he has to put up a good show and play by those rules (under intense scrutiny), but he’s opening backdoors at the same time. That’s actually… complex and interesting and the kind of sh*t I really adore. I mean, talk about fan fic fodder….
Speaking of sh*t I adore….
This panel is everything I have ever loved about any shounen manga/anime, anywhere. In fact, Ishida is sounding a lot like Ichigo. If I may quote, yet again, my favorite Ichigo line in the history of all time:
“… If fate is a millstone, then we are the grist. There is nothing we can do. So I wish for strength. If I cannot protect them from the wheel, then give me a strong blade, and enough strength… to shatter fate.”
(I swear to fate, that if that wasn’t so long, I’d want that as a tattoo over my heart.)
The rest of the chapter has Ichigo and crew headed off to kill/destroy/defeat Ywach… the highlights there being that Chad not only gets to land a punch, but also give his signature ‘thumbs up.’ Likewise, the boar-riding dope Ganju Shiba makes a “self-proclaimed” dramatic (re-)entrance, proving that Kubo-sensei did not entirely forget that Ganju was supposed to be there (which means we can have hope for some of the other ‘forgotten’ characters such as Hanataro and Kon…. and Nel and… poor, catnapping Grimmjow.)
Now, on to the important news…. unfortunately for the constant raging fan ship war in Bleach, Ichigo hug/saved Orihime in this chapter.
OH MY GODS THEY TOUCHED. A CONFIRMED HUG. REPEAT : AN ICHIHIME HUG IS NOW CANON. STOP THE PRESSES! SEND OUT KILL ORDERS TO ALL ICHIRUKI SHIPPERS!
Seriously, that’s pretty much Tumblr right now.
This two second, impulsive moment is all the fuel the raging IchiHime people need to take over Tumblr with their assertions that this is the one and ONLY true ship for Ichigo (poor ace Ichigo, he’ll never get a break from any of the shippers.)
Meanwhile, just to add to the shipping commotion, the usually, completely ignored IchiIshi shippers get this moment:
Seriously, that smile rivals the one Ichigo gave Grimmjow… and we all know that was proof positive that Ichigo and Grimmjow have been secret boyfriends for years.
But just in case the IchiRuki people want something to “prove” that Orihime has moved on , there was plenty of fuel for potential IshiHime in this chapter as well, since Orihime was moved to tears that Ishida isn’t a traitor.
So, you know, a big THANK YOU to Kubo-sensei, for revitalizing the ship wars in his fandom.
I mean, in someways, I’m serious. The more people argue about this stuff, the more vitality we continue to have. I just… this IchiRuki/IchiHime thing can be so… vitriolic. (I worry that people actually bully fans out of our fandom by being so f*cking strident about it all.)
Personally, I think we should all just ship Ace!Ichigo and RukiHime and peace be upon us all.*
*please note, I’m a multi shipper. I just hate all the haters.