First off: Yeah, its been ages, I know. I was doing my own little fullbring run-through when I left off, and still intend to finish it one day, but Gliblords excellent article, which is what motivated me to churn out another entry, made me decide to do something different.
So, this time I’ll talk of a real treat as far as nonsense in Bleach goes: Uraharas exile from soul society. Way back in my first proper entry for this blog I commented on how Kubo had written Byakuyas personality as two different characters, but Urahara takes that to a whole new level. Because let us consider: Why was Urahara exiled from soul society?
Well, it was because Urahara made an untrackable, reiatsu suppressing gigai of course!
I can already picture people frowning at this; surely turn back the pendulum showed us something completely different? That indeed it did, but for the first hundreds of chapters in the series, the explanation was the Gigai one, as revealed by Aizen at the end of the soul society arc. As indeed I did myself at first, I can picture people thinking “Aizen=lie”, but then I realized:
- - Aizen has no reason to lie about this. It gains him nothing. It doesn’t smear Urahara or manipulate Ichigo in any way, so there doesn’t seem to be any point. But even if Aizen is just a pathological liar…
- - As a lie, it would be ridiculously simple to disprove.
“Hey Ichigo, what did Aizen tell you?”
“How Urahara got banished because of the gigai thing”
“What? No, that wasn’t the reason.”
“Oh. Seems kinda pointless to tell me that then”
- - And finally, it made sense. To be sure, it’s a bit of an extreme reason for exile for soul society banishment, but Kubo needed to make some sense of Aizens extremely convoluted master plan, and Rukia being made a weak, undetectable hogyoko-container was a crucial part of that. To be sure, the plan was still filled with holes even then, but Uraharas exile, and the gigai business seemed reasonably plausible, and importantly: No one questioned it. No one was expecting the “TRUE” version of Uraharas past to be a plot point that needed to be addressed down the line. The situation was resolved, we knew why he was exiled.
The key word here being: exiled.
Turn Back the Pendulum tells us the story of why Urahara became a fugitive.
That aint’ the same thing.
Basically, Instead of the central chambers passing a judgement on Urahara, and his presence in Karakura being the result of that judgement, TBPT shows us how Urahara bolts from the trial and becomes a man on the run. And this trial has absolutely jackal to do with gigais, its about how Urahara got framed for performing horrific hollowification experiments on his fellow shinigami, which is to me is slightly worse as far as crimes go, and might actually be worth getting a bit worked up about, and instigating a manhunt over.
So why is this big deal? Even if these two explanations are completely uncompatible, the net result is the same right? Uraharas out of SS!
The problem is this:
The mere existence of the Urahara shop makes the TBTP version absurdly preposterous. So, Urahara gets framed as an exceptionally loathsome criminal, escapes from right under the noses of SS’s rulers…and proceeds to walk around in the open in the most spiritually dense place on earth, and set up a shop? A shop called URAHARA STORE? Harrison Ford could really have used some pointers from this genius.
And really, just think back to the first few volumes of Bleach: What happened when Rukia stumbles across ruthless mad scientist fugitive Urahara Kisuke? Why, she doesn’t bat an eye, and proceeds to get supplies from him! Supplies he gets shipped in from Soul Society!
But know what would make almost total sense of this?
If Urahara was simply exiled! Sure he would still have a spotty record, but compared to what Aizen framed him for it’d be a lot easier to accept Rukias acceptance of him, and the fact that he has unseen connections to Soul Society that gets him stuff and allows him to operate a hollow-bounty system (Boy did that plotpoint expire quickly).
However, even this explanation makes no sense in the long run: if Urahara was known as the “reiatsu draining permanent gigai guy”, then Rukia really, really should have seen it coming.
And the weirdest thing is that after setting up these two different Uraharas, Kubo cannot even stick with one. Lets’ say that TBTP Urahara overrides past Urahara, so that the framed, innocent Urahara is the “real” one. For instance, lets fast forward to really not that long at all actually after Turn Back the Pendulum, where the Vizards show up to help the fight against Aizen. Despite being in deep shit herself, Soifon has the gall to make demands of Hacchi before she teams up with him: Imprison Urahara for a month!
This war takes place several months after Aizen flipped off Soul Society, and revealed himself to be douchebag extraordinare, ruler of a Hueco Mondo, and on the hunt for a hollowification device. If theres even a single active brain cell left in Soul Society, Framed!Uraharas criminal record should be squeaky clean after this, and trust in him reinstored. Hey, wouldn’t you know it, rewind the arc a bit and when Kenpachi & Co arrive as reinforcements in Hueco Mondo? That’s because of Uraharas help. On Yamamotos orders.
So appearantly Urahara was a forgiven ally, and at the same time…not.
Theres one way to slightly alleviate the moronicness in this specific case though: if Soifon was a ridiculously petty überbitch who was willing to imprison an innocent man, because Soifons crush decided, of her own free will, to help him save the lives of innocent people.
And she is a protagonist.
A high ranking military officer.
In charge of Soul Societys assassin squad.
Still, at the very least, the matter should be settled now right? Even if it doesn’t affect the Gigai crime, his contributions to the fight against Aizen should have improved his reputation considerably. SS even enlists him to forge the reiatsu sword that gives Ichigo back his powers, so surely he’s been forgi-
Kubo Tite: Urahara and Yourichi are still permanently exiled from soul society.