Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Bleach Analysis: The Curious Case of Inoue Orihime

Hello, it's time for another article!

I'm going to talk about another character. One that I really liked in early Bleach and is one that is now hated by the fandom in general:

Inoue Orihime (again, if you missed the title)

 



Whoa whoa, don't close your browsers, people. Let's be sensible.

Orihime started off as one of Ichigo's Hollow-hunting crew, complete with interesting powers. But like Uryu and Chad, she would soon become a victim of Kubo's writing, mainly to showcase Ichigo and how "cool" he is.

Any Bleach reader knows what's up. She's got orange hair, bright eyes, and yes.....big boobs. At the mere age of 15. Unusual, but they don't call him Titty Kubo for nothing!

*I apologize to anyone that was offended by that bad joke*

I can think of two classic scenes that starred Orihime:

One of which was Orihime and Tatsuki walking in the hallway of Karakura Town, and while Orihime cheerfully rattles off her "lunch" to her friend, she is knocked over by Ichigo. Tatsuki yells at the Strawberry, and Orihime is left a little frightened by his perpetual scowl and "scary face".

The other was when Ichigo and Rukia spotted her in a street. A car had hit her, but she waved it off as a "bump in the head", again so cheerfully. Rukia even plays up her innocent polite girl guise to bow to her (as Ichigo as to remind her who she is)

And there's other fun stuff, too!

-As an assignment, she draws a picture of herself as a robot


-A daydream about Ichigo turns into gentle frolicking, but suddenly, they rush towards each other with fire in their eyes.....and then it turns into Orihime winning a boxing match! Wtf?

Yeah, that's who she was. Quirky. And while she is a ditz, it's interesting to note Orihime is pretty high up on the class rank: one chapter had her third when the final exam scores were posted.

She also seemed to be the social butterfly; she had a circle of friends (Tatsuki, Chizuru, Ryo, Michiru, and Mahana). If you don't know four of those five names, go re-read the first 40 chapters or so.

Again, I used the past tense? How come?

To understand how Orihime rose and fell in the narrative, let's go back to a serious moment, and one of Ichigo's first Hollow hunting jobs:



The Hollow Acidwire attacks her, and we soon learn that it is the deceased soul of her brother, Sora Inoue. He manages to knock out her sister's soul (Rukia stated that Hollows go after their family members, if they have any) until Ichigo and Rukia stop him.

In fact, we learn that he was the one that gave Orihime her hairpins, and was the only family she had.

Also note that BEFORE Acidwire attacked, she was with Tatsuki, and they were talking about Ichigo. Tatsuki suggests to her to "lead him to a dark alley and pin him down", much to the former's shock.

See, Orihime had a little crush on Ichigo, nothing too serious....but NO, I'll get to THAT later.

The attack overall gives us some nice development, and you see her in other scenes (for example, Orihime points out to Ichigo who Uryu is), but here's the kicker:


Remember this, in the chapters where Uryu and Ichigo have their competition, and Uryu uses Hollow bait? Then a Menos Grande attacks, along with a long fury of Hollows to the sleepy Karakura Town?

Say "yes", please.

Numb Chandelier attacks Karakura High, and Orihime notices it when she is about to leave with Tatsuki and Chizuru. Quickly panicking, she tells Chizuru to run and discovers that Numb planted seeds in students to turn them into controlled zombies.

The crowd of students jump in and surround Orihime, until Tatsuki jumps in to defend her. She can't see the Hollow, but she kicks and punches the crowd AND bites one Numb's tentacles. That owns.

.....wait, we're not talking about Tatsuki? Darn.

.....Anyway, Tatsuki gets seeded (that sounds wrong), and wounded.

Orihime remembers that in middle school, everyone teased her about hair and a bunch of bullies even cut her hair! The fiery boxer we all know and love stepped up to defend her, and from there....the duo became friends.

In a flash of dust, Orihime awakens with resolve! She vows not to forgive those who hurt her friend, and the Shun Shun Rikka form on her shoulders.

The what?

I bet you 90% of hardcore Bleach fans don't even know what I'm talking about

The fairies! Tsubaki, Baigon, Ayame, Shun'o, Lily, and Hinagiku appear and they explain Orihime's new powers.

One fairy (Tsubaki) forms the attack mode, a projectile dubbed Koten Zanshun

Two fairies (Ayame and Shun'o) form the "healing" mode, a semi-circle that can "reject" damage and reverse all aliments and wounds within the circle, dubbed Soten Kisshun

Three fairies (Baigon, Lily, Hinagiku) form the defense mode, a shield dubbed Santen Kisshun.

Before you can say I'm becoming a living wiki at this point, I'm just reminding you guys. Keep in mind these facts about Orihime's powers, because they will appear again.

Anyway, Orihime wins, Chad and Orihime learn the secrets of Ichigo's Shinigami life, and they train with Ichigo and Ishida to get ready to rescue Rukia.

Let's skip ahead, to when Kukaku's cannon seperates the rescue group. Orihime and Uryu land together, where Orihime daydreams and pictures the Quincy as her crush (feelings are growing, I guess)

They breeze through, fight some fodder, and even this guy:



But......really, this was more of Uryu cleaning up house than Orihime. I mean, holy shit, he basicially disables his enemy's powers. How come we never see this again?

----

Speeding through, Orihime manages to slip into Shinigami robes to blend in. Unfortunately, she and Uryu run into the 12th Division, and witness one Kurotsuchi Mayuri blowing up his minions to attack them.

Orihime blocks the explosion, and tearfully notes that she couldn't save them. She is then ushered away from the action when Uryu commands Aramaki to take her.

.....Could this be foreshadowing for what things await us? I know Orihime is a pacifist and doesn't like to hurt people, but something tells me she could've helped in that fight!

You know, in a way that didn't require Uryu to give up his Quincy powers? Maybe she could've taken on Nemu. ...Look, I'm rambling now. Let's just stay on point.

So after that, she goes with Kenpachi, Yachiru, Ikkaku, and Yumichika to break Uryu, Chad, and Ganju from prison. And from there, Ichigo beats Byakuya, Aizen makes his move, but in the end of the day, Rukia is safe.

Let's note what we have in store for Orihime's character:

-her crush on Ichigo
-her friendship with Tatsuki
-her hairpin powers
-her role in things to come....what will it be?

Unfortunately, I hope you're ready for a long run of disappointment.

So Orihime returns to school, and of course, Chizuru gropes her. But things are happy now, and while Tatsuki notes to herself that Orihime disappeared over the summer (she couldn't sense her), at least friends are back together.

Ichigo has a new problem, however, and it's his Hollow form creeping up. While Shinji appears and lures Ichigo to the Vizard warehouse, Orihime and Chad decide to investigate. Hiyori blocks them.

The next day, however....

.....Our first Arrancar, Ulquiorra and Yammy appear. Yammy sucks up a bunch of souls and almost gets to Tatsuki, but our healer jumps in to assist!



Things are for naught, though. Yammy overwhelms Chad, and a terrified Orihime realizes the giant fought alone to protect her and Tatsuki. She then proceeds to heal Chad, and blocks Yammy from attacking.

Orihime resolves not to be a burden to Ichigo anymore, and wants to do things herself, without constant help. Nice Kubo, you're doing good so far. Angst can be unbearable, but it can be done well if the situation calls for it.

This time in Bleach, the enemies were starting to get really difficult and a real challenge to the heroes. So it's appropriate for Orihime to want to improve.

However, she tries attacking Yammy, but the big oaf smashes her pin representing Tsubaki, and thus, her attacking force. From there, Ichigo jumps in to save his friends.

Sigh

I REALLY hope you guys are gonna get used to this.

But whatever! Yoruichi and Urahara also jump in, Ulquiorra and Yammy retreat, and Orihime and Chad are healed.

While recovering and eventually returning to school, Orihime is troubled by Ichigo's suffering aura (due to not being able to control his Hollow powers), and furthermore, Rukia's little gang of Shinigami show up, undercover!

Rangiku and Hitsugaya decide to lodge with our healer. From there...

(watch up to 3:20 or so)

So while Orihime is glad to see her friend Rukia again, she painfully notes that Rukia was able to reinvigorate Ichigo and bring back his confidence so easily, but she herself wasn't able to.

And instead of being happy that Ichigo's back his old self (for now), she finds herself more jealous of Rukia.

Look, it's more angst, but you get the running theme here. Our healer continues to feel weak and sorry for herself, this time in a more....emotional way.

Kubo's on point so far, but it won't last.

Skipping around, Grimmjow's little crew attacks, and of course, Orihime gets resorted to being a healer again! Though I suppose it's fair, everyone sans Rukia had trouble with their opponents....

Then comes the shocker. With Tsubaki out of comission, Urahara basicially bans Orihime from fighting in the upcoming Winter War, not wanting her to get in harm's way or have Aizen see her powers. Naturally, she is upset, but understands.

Thankfully Rukia is angered by Urahara's choice and offers to train her in Soul Society, regardless (I swear, these two could be best friends)

Hiyori takes her to the Vizard Warehouse, where....hooray! Hachigen manages to repair Tsubaki, albeit noting that her powers are more based on time distortion and similar to his own.

Remember this, kids. It'll show up later.

Things are looking up! Ichigo's developing his Vizard powers, the Gotei is mobilizing, and Orihime reclaims the chance to develop her fighting strength.

However.....

Ulquiorra's report when he and Yammy attacked earlier shows Aizen exactly what Orihime can do. And he is interested. He issues the command.....

...and when Orihime finishes her training and crosses over to get home, Ulquiorra intercepts. He tells her that she will either go with him or kill all of her friends.

......This is where things take a SERIOUS nosedive.

Mr. Stoic gives Orihime a bracelet to hide her presence and allows her to say goodbye to one person before departure. Guess who she picks?



Yeah, it's Strawberry. Oh em gee what a shocker!

Look, it's not the romance part of this scene I dislike. Orihime's speech about living five lives and falling in love the same way is poetic and kinda tugs at the inner romantic in me.

She even tries to kiss Ichigo!

(note: keep in mind, I'm not some rabid Ichigo X Orihime shipper, but when it's supposed to be part of a character's development, you want to see where it could lead)

Romance in shonen is one of its weaknesses, since the demographic is geared towards young boys, who would rather see ass kicking and comedy than people in wuv.

But I thought it was fine here. No, what bothers me about this scene is that:

She says to goodbye to Ichigo, who is not her closest friend.

Remember what I said earlier about what Orihime has in store for us? Romance with Ichigo and....that's right, her friendship with Tatsuki! HER BEST FRIEND.

I'm pissed that she didn't chose her. That's a little selfish, wouldn't you say? Orihime was the one who made this determination at the beginning to protect Tatsuki, and pretty much forgets she exists.

Tatsuki was the one that saw Yammy's soul slaughter and was about to be next! Did Orihime forget all about that?

And really, I know we're talking about Orihime here, but this was pretty much the scene to me that said "yeah don't expect Tatsuki to be relevant anymore". Kubo focused a little too much on the romance aspect and in turn, shafted her closest friend.

*sighs* Whatever. Again, Orihime is the focus of this post.

So she's taken to Las Noches after biding farewell, and obviously, Aizen cuts the BS and asks for her power right away:


To repair Grimmjow's lost arm. Yes, so apparently she can repair limbs out of nothingness. Aizen remarks that her power is godlike, too.

HUECO MUNDO HEAL COUNT: 1

Keep an eye on that counter, folks.

.....Soon, word gets out that Orihime is captured. Ichigo is alarmed and immediately gathers Uryu and Chad to do something!

Unforunately, it doesn't look like Soul Society will assist. Because Yamamoto is convinced that Orihime went willingly to Hueco Mundo and thus, is now a traitor.

.......I remarked on this last post, but understand why this is extremely stupid:

-It's a gross assumption to say Orihime went off willingly. Where's the proof? And SS knows Orihime is a simple, kindhearted girl, not a lol Aizen mastermind.
-ORIHIME HAS NO OBLIGATION TO SOUL SOCIETY. She is not a shinigami. She is not a deceased soul. She is an alive 15 year old girl, who, if it wasn't for Ichigo, wouldn't know the spirtual world even exists!
-Yamamoto is a jerk, plain and simple.

Naturally Ukitake and Ichigo object to this ruling, and Strawberry breaks the rules to go off and rescue Orihime.

....Wait. We're rescuing someone......Ichigo is rescuing a female friend with his buddies, breaking customs and risking his life to do so. They're going to a special dimension.

Does this sound familar to anyone?!

This is a retread of the Soul Society arc, only this time, we're going to Hueco Mundo and Orihime's the one in captivity!

......Wow, this is awful.

1) Doesn't it seem cheap and unfair to Orihime's character to be reduced to someone that means to be saved? When the past few chapters/episodes she's been trying to become independent and strong?
2) It was fine with Rukia because it was a totally unique situation then. We're getting a rescue arc literally right after a rescue arc this time!

Damsel in distress arcs are a staple of shonen, and they're usually executed well. But the problem is that Kubo is copying the groundwork for the same situation twice in a row!

It'd be fine if there were like 3-4 arcs in between......and the situations varied.....however, this is not the case. Kubo only knows how to write rescuing and training.

Maybe I'm complaining too early. Let's just see how it turns out.


Ichigo and his friends traverse through the desert, and eventually word gets out. Ulquiorra informs Orihime of this development, and forces her to swear loyalty to Aizen.

And....she does.

Ulquiorra talks to Nnoitra later, saying including the choice to say goodbye to a friend and time to do so were the methods to give Orihime the sense of free will, and in turn, lower her resistance.

.....However, Orihime resolves to reject the Hogyoku in secret, which would stop Aizen's plans! Whoa! Kubo, you tease. But hey, that's something to look forward to....it'd be great, right?

Things are going to get seriously messy now. Just warning you.


We see Orihime again after Nnoitra easily defeats Chad. Ulquiorra comes in and taunts Orihime, not only saying that all of her friends are going to die, but this whole situation is a futile effort, that her friends were idiots to charge Hueco Mundo head-on.

.....Well, it's not like the protectors of the souls were offering to help!

Orihime, offended and angry, slaps Ulquiorra.....err, okay, it's something right? No....no, I don't understand. Orihime has her powers, and with her emotions, could easily reject Ulquiorra to teach him a lesson, then cue resolve speech. Something more a slap would have a greater impact.

....I guess she didn't want to push her luck, because the whole fortress is filled with psychotic monsters.

By the way, here's a YouTube comment from that video:

"I hate u Orehime! U have the nerve to slap someone as badass as him! Shame on you! Ur rediculous! Pathetic! If i were Ulquiorra i would tie you down and break your face! Its a shame... He has such a sexy voice too..."
 

I did not make this comment up; whoever this user is, they shouldn't be allowed to reproduce.

From there, Orihime begins to cry and worry that everyone is needlessly risking their lives. It's a kinda a lapse in character for the independent strong pay-off we're waiting for, but whatever! Kubo will make her do something important, right?!

Eventually, Ichigo confronts Ulquiorra and battles him for the first time...however, Loly and Menoly, two female Arrancar, appear and start to bully her:


Which turns to physical violence.

....Man, Kubo, this is REALLY unfair for Orihime. In the span of a day she gets captured, imprisoned, emotionally knocked around, and now....bullied by Arrancar bitches.

I really feel bad for her in this scene, though. .....But we all know things are gonna look up, and Orihime will develop into an iron willed maiden!

.....wait a sec-


Yes, Grimmjow appears! He decimates Loly and Menoly, ending their torture, why? Because he wanted to clear the debt he owed to Orihime when she healed his arm.

See, that's why he's leagues better than Nnoitra.....he has a sense of honor.

.....

Before taking her away, Orihime decides to heal Loly and Menoly....including the latter right back from death!

HUECO MUNDO HEAL COUNT: 3

.....What?! Who the hell decides to revive their torturers?! Is Orihime a masochist or just really nice? Look, either way, I'm not happy with this. She's reduced to a healing item again, and it's to heal two sadistic bullies! By choice! Not cool, Kubo.

Grimmjow takes Orihime away to find Ichigo, whom at this moment had just had his chest stabbed by Ulquiorra and left for dead.

Wanting him at full power, Grimmjow orders Orihime to heal him......yet Orihime tries to refuse, saying she'll only allow him to get hurt again.

....so you'd rather have your crush die on your watch? C'mon now.

HUECO MUNDO HEAL COUNT: 4

Ichigo and Grimmjow fight, blah blah, and when Ichigo busts out the Vizard Mask, Orihime is afraid of his power and what's he become. Nel scolds her and her fear is vanished.

....Look, I understand Kubo's trying to make Orihime strong and independent this arc, but how come everytime she's doubted herself or been afraid, someone else had to snap her out of it?

It seems contradictory. You'd think she'd learn by now.

Ichigo wins, yadda yadda, and while he tries to take Orihime and Nel away, Nnoitra (of course) shows up and ruins another person's day. God I hate him.

Nnoitra toys around with Ichigo while Tesla holds Orihime captive. Goddamn it, Kubo! Again Orihime is trapped and no more than a crying damsel in distress! And before she can even use her pins to help, Tesla threatens to destroy them.

......sigh.....

Ichigo loses, Nel transforms and fights, then she gets turned back, Kenpachi appears, and beats Nnoitra, you know the story. Finally, no more bullshit in our wa-

 
 
Goddamn it. Stark shows up and takes Orihime back to Aizen, where the mastermind announces his plan to destroy her town as he leaves.
 
.....You know, the repetition is starting to annoy the shit out of me. This is like the fourh time some Arrancar has shown up and taken Orihime away. She's not a frisbee you can throw and pass around.
 
And this would be the fifth time she's healed in HM if she got to Kenpachi! Five! She can not only heal, Kubo. Remember?! She can attack! Hachi fixed the pin! So why haven't I seen it?
 
And that reminds me:
 
Where the living hell are the Shun Shun Rikka fairies?
 
They have not made an appearance this whole time. They represent Orihime's powers, and they're quirky, interesting, and......there! Wouldn't you think they'd be able to talk to Orihime, give her confidence to USE her powers more effectively, and keep her in a good mood?!
 
Oh Ichigo can talk to his bloody thirsty Hollow every yaoi fangirl loves to ship him with, but it doesn't work for our hairpin healer?
 
*sighs* Let's just move on.
 
Ichigo rushes back to get Orihime, and of course, runs into Ulquiorra. Their second battle begins while Loly and Menoly try to get at Orihime again.
 
At this point, they've come to fear what her power can do, and harm her while Ichigo tries to get past Ulquiorra to help.
 
....You see?! Orihime healing those two did nothing productive in the long run! She wasted her fucking time, and it wasn't for Yammy attacking Loly and Menoly (thus disabling them), they would have bullied her AGAIN.
 
However! Orihime does manage to block one of Ulquiorra's attacks, so.......it's do or die, Kubo!
 
Blah blah, more fighting, and when things get to the dome of Las Noches, Ulquiorra completely dominates Ichigo by releasing twice. Just when Orihime and Uryu show up to assist, Ulquiorra had already blasted a hole through his chest, killing him.
 
Now things get really horrible. Are you paying attention?
 
This is pretty much Orihime's last chance this whole arc to amount to something. She's been a captive all this time, constantly worrying for her friends' safety, crying, being abused.....but Ulquiorra's the final foe! If she teams up with Ichigo, things will go well and-
 
 




No. NO. NOOOOOOOOOO-!!!!!!!!!!
 
 
Do I have to spell it out? Augh......Orihime does nothing more than cry over Ichigo's death. She just fucking stands there and goes "Kurosaki-kun" NONSTOP!!!!
 
Emotion and angst are vital, but this couldn't be a worse time. Orihime's last chance to do ANYTHING respectful consists of her crying her eyes out and begging someone to help her. And seriously:

Say ICHIGO-KUN, WILL YOU?!
 
I'm extremely pissed off now. Kubo has destroyed the entire theme of Orihime getting stronger and becoming independent in a single moment, to make way for SSJ3 Ichigo!
 
Anything to be cool, am I right?!
 
Orihime's "development" resulted in jackshit in the end. Remember her wanting to destroy the Hogyoku?! Where the hell did that go?!
 
Remember the other aspects of her powers? Well, you don't see them very much this arc!
 
Remember Aizen being interested in her powers? Well, that was a cover-up, as he kidnapped Orihime just to lure Ichigo to him, and by proxy, half of the Gotei!
 
NONE OF THESE SUB-PLOTS GO ANYWHERE.
 
That's the worst of it. All this time, we were all expecting some kind of grand pay-off for Orihime, just to make up for the character set-backs. But in the end, no, it's all about goddamn Ichigo.
 
For crying out loud, Rukia was a way better damsel in distress! By simple virtue that she literally couldn't do anything to rebel (given she had no powers), and we got to see her past.
 
By contrast, Orihime was a character whom we were more familar with. And she actually had powers to do something! Reject an Espada! Reject the Hogyoku! Reject the fucking wall and tunnel a way out of the fortress! No.....all she did was fucking heal.
 
Orihime haters have a right to be repulsed by her. That crying scene alone represents a character with misused potential and poor development. I missed the quirky, strong Orihime.
 
Oh yeah.....SSJ3 Ichigo stabs a hole through Uryu's chest. Let's fix that.
 
HUECO MUNDO HEAL COUNT: 5
 
Now does Orihime heal Ichigo a final time? Or does Unohana do it? Fuck it, what does it matter? After this, Ichigo escapes to finish the war.....blah blah.
 
Rukia, Chad, Uryu, and Renji are all other examples of poorly developed characters victim to Kubo's writing, by at least they got to do something. Beat up an Arrancar, kill a Hollow, whatever. Orihime didn't get to do ANYTHING.
 
So......I have little faith in Kubo to repair his mess when the arc finishes. Yes, we're about to start the Fullbringer arc in Orihime's stead.....the thought brings bile up my throat.
 
Wait, what's this? Kubo released a databook?
 
Databook: Tia Harribel and her fraccion survived their injuries and the war. Apache went to Inoue Orihime in Fake Karakura and begged her to heal them. Orihime did, and these Hollows got to go home. Hooray!
 
 
Excuse me, I have to scream into my pillow for 45 minutes.
 
....
 
Let's just see what the fuck is wrong with this whole situation. You're telling me, Kubo....Orihime willingly healed four Hollows she hasn't interacted with at ALL, and by pure virtue of being the saint she is?
 
...Oh gee, I guess Orihime caters to everyone now! Heal Grimmjow, heal Loly, heal Menoly, heal Harribel?! Who's next?! Ted Bundy? Kim Jong Il? Adolf Hitler? Osama Bin Laden?
 
I mean, she can revive the dead without any outside help! Yet she seems more willing to heal a bunch of Hollows (thus preventing purification, which in turn prevents a better afterlife) than people would SHOULD come back to life: Masaki, Soken, Hisana, her own brother Sora?!
 
Look, I enjoyed Harribel and her fraccion. Guilty. And I don't want Orihime to actually heal those aforementioned people, because she is not just a healer! She attacks and defends, Kubo!
 
But that doesn't excuse the oddness of this whole outcome. Wouldn't she be more willing to heal.....oh say Grimmjow? A jerk, but someone that's interacted with Orihime personally and actually helped her in escaping?
 
Or maybe-
 
 
 ...no, anyone but him.
 
That's something I have to bring up. What person started the Orihime X Ulquiorra fandom? That person needs a lobotomy.
 
Ulquiorra did nothing but torture Orihime......kidnapping her, saying her friends were dead, murdering her friend Ichigo right before her eyes.....and some people think all of that's forgiven when Ulquiorra says "I know what a heart is now" and reaches for her hand?
 
I mean......I'm all for shipping, especially crack shipping, but this is too much for me.
 
Why was Ulquiorra so damn popular in the first place? I guess because he's a bishie and his second released form is kinda cool, but apparently him dying invoked this global response of agony.
 
....Jesus, people. Now....where was I?
 
So how did Orihime's character turn out this arc?
 
In case you've voided my anger, not so good. It's just a mess. Think back to what I said we had in store.
 
-her friendship with Tatsuki (Tatsuki hasn't been important or relevant for a LONG time, Orihime seems to care more about Ichigo than her so-called best friend)
-her hairpin powers (Hooray, we get to see the healing aspect abused a million times. A few defense shields, but nearly no attacking whatsoever. And again, the fucking fairies are gone!)
-her crush on Ichigo (The most predominant aspect and yet, it's still written badly. She doesn't even confess to him at the end of the saga, and apparently some fans are convinced turning into a ruthless monster for someone equals true love)
-her role in things to come (huh.....well, I got my hopes up and look what happened. Kubo can't fix this, can he? What will Orihime do next arc?)
 
Things are going to get really really horrible now. Are you ready?!

Ah....the timeskip. Where Uryu copied Nanao's look, Chad gets facial hair, and Ichigo finds a way to become even more dense than he was.

But screw them! What's Orihime up to? Her first scene post-timsekip has her dangling out of a window saying hello to Kurosaki-kun.

.....You know, I don't know why this bothers me so much. It's not exactly uncommon for friends to address each other by their family names in Japan. Ichigo calls Orihime "Inoue", so what exactly is the problem?

Gee, I don't know. It's not like Orihime had a crush on Ichigo....

....oh, wait. That was the whole damn focus on the last arc for her character. And I like I said, she didn't even confess in the end. In fact, it seems to have been swept aside, doesn't it? There is no such scene to indicate their friendship has evolved.

Ichigo, I'm impressed. You friend-zoned her without even trying!

No seriously, I feel like Kubo hit "reset" for Orihime's relationship so far.....you'd think they would interact and talk about I dunno, Orihime crying and Ichigo turning into a monster against Ulquiorra?

.....I'm spending too much time on this.

There's one scene where Orihime gets nervous in Ichigo's house and gets dizzy later....I have no idea what I'm saying here.

.....Anyway, you know the garbage sequence of events. Ichigo meets Ginjou, Ginjou shows up to taunt Ichigo and lure him into going to Xcution, someone attacks Uryu, and so on.

Orihime meets Uryu in the hospital, where Ryuken reveals his attacker is a human and that she should be careful. .....How come Orihime didn't heal Uryu from the get-go?

Oh my god, you see this? Because Kubo always uses her for JUST healing, he's basically trapped Orihime in a purpose circle.

-Have Orihime heal someone, you annoy the reader because they see she's only healing again. Not doing anything offensively or different. In turn, they're seeing her potential being wasted further.

-Don't have Orihime heal someone, you annoy the reader because they know she can heal anything (destroyed limbs, gaping holes, death), so to not do so would just waste time and mess up some event later on.  In turn, they go "what's the point"?

If Orihime fought more and attacked, she wouldn't have this damn problem. But let's keep going.

Later on, she comes home (apparently she has a part-time job at a bakery or something), and encounters Shishigawara, who tries to kill her.....but can't do it because of how pretty she is.

You know, there's plenty of Bleach characters I can't stand, but Shishi....Punk Kid is one of the worst. Annoying as all hell, he reminds me of that one kid in high school that acts all tough and never shuts the hell up.

....Where was I?

Tsukishima, another horrible character, shows up and reveals himself to be Uryu's attacker! And while Orihime tries to get answers, he just....attacks from behind:

Spanish, anyone?
 
That's such an overused attack style, it's not even funny.
 
Orihime suffers no damage because of the cut, but she starts to vaguely consider Tsukishima as a friend.
 
Oh boy. I can just point you to Gilblord's article on the Fullbringer arc if you don't know what this amounts to. But let's just move on before I lose my shit.
 
Ichigo trains with Riruka, Ginjou, and Jackie, blah blah, Tsukishima attacks the Fullbringers, super blah blah......eventually Orihime heals Uryu.
 
....What was the point of waiting, again?
 
They discuss what's happened but can't decide if all the incidents so far were because of ol' Shu-kun. Soon she finds Chad, and the giant leads her to the Xcution base. Eventually, she talks to Riruka.
 
Hiyori#2 tries to scare her, saying Ichigo's training will cause him great pain, so much so that Orihime might not be able to fix it.
 
In a moment of being strong, Orihime responds that she will never allow him to be irreparably hurt, and we get a panel of the Ulquiorra fight. Touching, but there's a few problems with the speech:
 
-It would have a greater impact if she was more than friends with Ichigo, something that she's been striving for, correct? As a result, I feel like I heard this before. It seems....basic.
 
-She resolves to HEAL Ichigo no matter what. Not "protect", not "save", not "fight alongside", heal. God, Orihime, Tsubaki must be itching to get a use in. Will you stop being a passive doormat and up your game a little?
 
I could also get into Riruka and Orihime's scenes together, but since I like Riruka in the same vein I like getting mouth sores, I think I'll skip it. Oh fine, I'll describe one:
 
Orihime explains her upbringing to Riruka (whoa Kubo, you actually remember that?), that she and her brother escaped abusive parents, and that she's been alone this time, her aunt pays her to live alone and get good grades. It's a nice moment, but it's ruined by Riruka's tsuntsun bitchiness.
 
Soon Orihime jumps in the game area where Ichigo and Ginjou are "training", and the Aizen clone remarks that the "healing item" has arrived.
 
Congrats. That sums up Orihime's character in a nutshell.
 
She's a helpless girl that is caught in the shadow of her friend/crush Ichigo, she heals everyone and everything (you're a Hollow! Sure, come on down!), and she doesn't have the tendency to attack more. That line seriously bothered me because it's like Kubo's trying to taunt me for liking Orihime, to show "ha ha this is what Orihime is sucka, get used to it", and that he's pretty much satisfied with writing her this way. But no, that's not the worst of it.
 
Some people actually thought this line was funny. I swear to God, I remember looking at a quote from Bleach Asylum or somewhere where someone really thought it was funny.
 
Just.....no. It's not funny. At all. Loser.
 
Ginjou's hacking away at Ichigo, seriously slashing the shit out of his "pupil", where Orihime jumps in and blocks the attack. We all remember her speech to Riruka, don't we?
 

 
What, become important all of a sudden? It's not all about you, Ichigo.
 
So while Orihime was still passive here, I did like her stopping Ginjou. Resolve-filled, strong Orihime is something we need to see, and even if the scene felt like a retread, it's something, you know? At least she ain't crying!
 
Then she vows not to be a burden again......sigh, this is a retread taken too far. This was the whole theme for her last arc, and look how well that turned out. It's like a broken promise.
 
Ichigo soon gains his powers back.....you know, I really can't follow these Fullbring events that well. The arc itself was just so awful and jumbled.
 
Orihime and Chad go to investigate Tsukishima, only they can't fight him because he activates his Fullbring, Book of the End!
 
This is the point of no return.
 
Tsukishima's fullbring inserts himself into their memories, where in Orihime's mind, Tsukishima apparently knew her since she was a little girl, and was so nice to here!
 
Inoue Sora has to be turning around in his sleep in Soul Society.
 
And while you think it couldn't get any worse, that just means you guys don't know Kubo. Let's skip to Ichigo in his Power Ranger armor attacking Shuu-kun's mansion with Ginjou.
 
Unfortunately, Ichigo's quest to attack Tsukishima is stopped by familar faces.....Orihime and Chad!
 
Tsukishima is now Orihime's friend, remember? So when psychotic!Ichigo goes to attack him, Orihime heals him and questions why (Ichigo) is attacking her friend (Tsukishima)
 
even though Ichigo is her friend too (and assumes Ichigo is automatically wrong)
 
even though Tsukishima openly admits to altering her memory IN FRONT OF HER
 
....Hahahaaha no, this is a gag scene. There's no way Kubo can sink any low-
 
 
 
                                                                    .........why do I tempt fate?!
 
Well. That's just fucking grand. Orihime and Chad get so confused when the Shinigami show up and start to fight the Fullbringers, they suffer a mental breakdown. And Urahara and Isshin have to knock them out!
 
GO FUCK YOURSELF, KUBO.
 
It's one thing to make Orihime a damsel in distress and have her cry when a climatic scene occurs, but this is honestly worse. This is worse than the Ulquiorra scene!
 
It's like Kubo really had no idea what to do with her, and since he couldn't insert a rescue arc again to have her cry out in weakness, he just makes her mentally unstable to write her out of the scene. Because all we all know, the story's titled "Ichigo"!
 
.......Except that it isn't. It fucking isn't. Strawberry gets to go insane and turn into a power ranger, and Orihime is trolled up the wazoo. She somehow does even fucking less this arc than she did in Hueco Mundo. And that's REALLY saying something.
 
It's just so pathetic than Kubo had to humilate her and reduce one of his own main characters to being completely useless all together. I don't get it. Does the man hate young girls that much? I mean, it would explain why he loves to troll Momo.
 
But again, it's just awful. And for shits and giggles, what's Orihime up to this current arc?!
 
Basically, she gets to have some coolness when she, Chad, Uryu, and Ichigo take down Hollows, old-school style, but she eats bread with everyone while Ichigo chases Ivan.
 
I'm not making that up.
 
Then she goes with Chad and Ichigo to rescue Dondachakka with Nel and Pesche, but she doesn't do anything. She sits on the sidelines while Ichigo fights Kirge Opie, than survives being turned into swiss cheese by his reishi absorption move.
 
And she says hi to Ichigo and shoos Grimmjow away from seeing him later on.
 
Yaaay...
 
I seriously think Kubo has some fear about making Orihime too revelant. Every arc she's shown some kind of promise and development, and gets at least one good scene, if not only one.
 
But then she's always thrown to the sidelines, whether it be to heal endlessly, cry for Ichigo, get trolled, what-the-fuck-ever! It's the same thing over and over!
 
Because it's obvious the likes of Ichigo, Aizen, and Hitsugaya are so much more important.
 
How can a character be developed this way if Kubo can't even try? And how can I even give a shit about Orihime doing something meaningful if I know what the outcome will be?! Do I have to remind you what her character had in store for us?
 
-her romance with Ichigo (oh gee, that went somewhere. Call me when she says "I love you", kisses him, or at the very least, stops saying "Kurosaki-kun")
-her friendship with Tatsuki (just.....screw you, Kubo. Tatsuki will never be significant to this manga at all, and Orihime will never interact with her ever again.)
-her hairpin powers (the fairies don't even fucking EXIST ANYMORE. And it's obvious she can physically only heal at this point. Forget attacking! That shit's for Ichigo, a character Kubo actually cares about!)
-her role in things to come......(I'll tell you.)
 
Her role is always be the goddamn medic of the group, to gasp in shock whenever a friend gets hurt, to rush to their aid, to only think about healing a friend, not attacking alongside them.
 
Her role is always to be the doormat of the series, to heal anyone with a papercut to a removed head, to get fodderized or trolled to give Ichigo resolve or a power-up, to not be independent.
 
Her role is always to keep the fans in by showing some promise in the beginning, but being constantly shafted in the end. For shippers to rage on or people to make hentai of.
 
Why do I know this? Because Kubo is terrible at character development. If there was a way to make someone look cool and shortchange their personality/quirks/ideals/dreams/etc instead, he's done it.
 
Orihime may have not been the most original character, but she was damn enjoyable when Bleach first started. But now?
 
All she represents is broken promises, irrelevance, wasted potential, and ham-fisted writing.
 
And like the rest of you, I had to suffer through it all.
 
For that, I thank anyone who read this article.
 
What should I write about next, my readers? Another character? What-if situations?  Silly theories of mine? Do you guys have an idea?




31 comments:

  1. If that YouTube commenter hated Orihime for just slapping Ulquiorra, they must really really hate Ichigo

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  2. I think you should do a review of the beginning of bleach all of the way through the soul society arc. And then make a review of the whole arrancar fiasco.

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    1. Very tempting. I'm sure many people would agree that the beginning was good, Soul Society was Bleach's peak, and the Arrancar saga slowly degraded the series.

      It'd be a lot of hard work for me, though. Still, it's not out of the question.

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    2. Alright. If you ever need help just ask me because I got plenty of free time.

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  3. Why didn't Orihime reject reality to make herself and all her friends invincible and omnipotent. When Ulquiorra tried to take her, she could have just said the following: "I reject the fact that I am not immune to all forms of physical attacks and restraints, the fact that I am not able to instantly incinerate threats to my friends, and the fact that I cannot go faster than the speed of light". She might be ditzy, but she should have been able to do something along those lines. It would end the manga early, but that's what you get when you make a power that broken.

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    1. Seriously, she's basically Haruhi Suzumyia with bigger boobs and a kinder personality.
      Her never actually doing anything meaningful with her godlike power is probably the most wasted potential in the whole history of shounen manga (if not ALL manga).

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    2. And at least Haruhi is entertaining. WHY KUBO WHY.

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    3. Even though she certainly wanted to, she couldn't reject the would Ulquiorra gave him. Her reality warping abilities, while impressive, seem to be on a rather low level.

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  4. Oh Tatsuki. I used to feel sorry for you never getting some kind of power like Ichigo's other close friends. But seeing how that ultimately turned out, I'm kinda glad now.

    I feel this whole Hueco Mundo Arc was originally going to be an Orihime Arc - until Kubo ran out of ideas and just recycled the previous arc.

    Sadly, I can imagine Orihime-Ulquiorra shippers. I mean, it's almost like Twilight <_<

    (And Ulquiorra having a second release was redundant and just a lazy way to turn him into the strongest Espada. I mean, he was already kicking Ichigo's ass with his first release. He probably had to hold back with his second on or else Ichigo would've been turned into dust after the first attack)

    Dead Arrancar coming back to life off-panel? Thank God I stopped reading Bleach before that XD

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  5. I would like to see a character analysis on Ichigo. My thoughts on him are very divided; he started as a simple character who's beliefs were simple and had alot going for him. But now especially after the Fullbring arc, he is a shell of his former self as and I blame Kubo's terrible writing as well as moments of just stupidity. A "good" example was him asking Ulquiorra(fuck you straight to hell) to cut off his arms and legs to have a fair fight after Vasto Ichigo destoryed Ulquiorra. I get the understand, but its just so stupid.

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  6. Hey meta, I cant view your latest post. What gives?

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    1. Sorry, I turned it to a draft when I noticed a lot of mistakes. It'll be up in a sec.

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  7. I think it would be amazing if you did a "What should have happened in Bleach." After all, most criticisms in this blog thoroughly explore what's wrong with Bleach, but don't often elaborate on how it should be fixed or changed. I mean, you went as far as to give a list, but that's still little more than a vague outline. I'm talking arc restructuring, entirely new ideas. Then again, that would also be far more difficult to pull off than simple criticism, but I would definitely read it if you wrote it.

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  8. I agree with you on so many things,i'm glad you wrote this and I would find it better if someone translated and sent it to Kubo.I love Orihime ,she is my favourite female character in all anime.She is not a fighter but she is easily the most humane character,more human than the humans in bleach,bleach universe would be really dark without her i think.Most characters are close to tsunderes and snobs is what I think .For example every opponent Ichigo has fought was always disrespectful in some ways(yes,i understand that is why they ARE opponents) but to the point where Soul Society has been so disrespectful in the past ,even if Ichigo fought for good.Anyhoo back to Hime.She is ,apart from appealing ,a good student,good at karate,willing to protect the enemy(good hearted),so human- like,that when it comes to love and friends she is the most considerate.I was happy to see her backfire at Ginjo but your point on the whole 'I'll get through this shit' in the Hollow ark is DEAD ON.She should have come out at least a bit stronger OR where is the break down?she should be scarred for life after the whole abuse Hime ark,Ichigo should have spent some time after Grimmjow's remarks of her being changed to help her get better.I regret to say this even if it is my favourite ark.I do love her better though when she was fighting for Tatsuki,when her hair length had meaning.I mean see Uryu is finally getting back at his poor development now,Chad as Ichigo's 'best' friend(Tatsuki is not the only one) got his very small part in the Fullbringers ark while Orihime is always getting to the first aid kit side ,her time to shine has passed already.Yes i hated it when Ginjo treated her as a mere object too especially when you think of all the crap she endured.Monster parents hitting her,brother dying ,brother wanting to kill her and her crush,being abused in school until Tatsuki helps,being further abused in the whole save the damsel thing and now side lined with no care of her feelings of unresolved love .

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  9. I think her time will come soon , I mean Kubo said that after the hiatus, everyone will fight, so that includes her too, besides I am sure she is going to do something important, if not, why is she in hueco mundo anyway?
    The manga will be released in five weeks, enouhg time for kubo to re think his character developments, I hope Kubo will do something to make her able to fight. Talking about somenthing else, I am worried about the possible idea of Ichigo staying in soul society, I don´t want that to happen U.U, What about his friends, family members? and What about Chad, Ishida? and What about Orihime´s feellings for Ichigo? O: Does this mean the pairing Ichigo-Rukia, will be a reality? Nooo Kubo explained Rukia and Ichigo relationship, that they are more friends than lovers or something, anyway, what he wanted to say is that they are not lovers, Is there any possibility for Orihime to stay by Ichigo´s side if Kyoraku decided to take Ichigo to s.s?

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  10. Liked how you emphasized how the story faltered after some time. Such a shame. Although, there are some points i would like to make. I don't think orihime saving those hollows is that illogical. She has always been that kind of a girl. Remember her crying because she couldn't save those shinigami who were trying to kill her? As you said she is a determined pacifist.
    Also about the uluquiora-orihime thing, i don't really think they could have a romantic relationship, but it's not really that hard to comprehend why orihime would feel sympathy towards uluquiora. He DID say he wanted to understand humans and how they build their relationships. Maybe orihime thought he could be given a second chance. Although, personally, i think this was Kubo indicating a case of stockholm syndrome, which is even cooler.

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  11. I am so severely disappointed in Orihime Inoue, you have no idea. Everything you have said just summarized the tragedy of what could have been a well rounded female character. It hurts me so much to see how much her character has fallen because I loved this character with my entire being, I shed tears for this character, I drew endless fan art for this character and I wrote endless fan fiction for her-but for what? Everything that Orihime could have been, was shattered. It was probably Kubo's intention to sacrifice all of Orihime's development to be a catalyst to speed up action for the main protagonist, the "drama" to stir up for the main manga's couple, the damsel in distress just to make the main protagonist look and up till the latest chapter, fan service. I also feel that Kubo portrayed her just to make Rukia more superior and to make the Ichiruki ship more plausible.
    I am not sure how I feel about her character at this moment. Whilst I do not blame people for hating her, I can't find myself to hate her character entirely. I still don't think she is a whore, or a slut like how some other people think. I am just so disheartened to see that time and time again her character is reduced to being a lovestruck teenager who can't find her place amongst all these warriors despite having powers that surpass them all. (Let's not forget about the anime making her seem to be a brainless idiot and a name caller and ruining her outcome of a character) What happened to her violent history of abusive parents, the prostitute mother, the alcoholic father? Hell, her theme song was based on that shit all alone. What happened to her friendship with Tatsuki-as you wrote about? Why is Tatsuki neglected from her life? What happened to Sora? He was her hope, her inspiration, does she not miss him anymore? *cries in the corner*
    Although, I respectfully disagree with the whole Ulquiorra drama. I think her scenes with him actually highlighted the strength that no one thought she had and the guy actually thought her to be strong and acknowledged the strength of her powers unlike some strawberry. But once more, where are her recollections of being in Hueco Mundo?
    It's not fair to Orihime fans nor is it fair to her character who had such a promising future.
    Orihime was always strong, but that opportunity to show that said strength is always taken away because she has to be saved.
    I am sorry if I ranted (although I don't think you will see this) I am just so pissed off. I do not hate Rukia, Ichigo or the Ichiruki ship. I am just so frustrated that Orihime was basically sacrificed to make the main protagonist and this ship to look good. I am so sad to see what her character had become. As of right now, Orihime's status is now a shipping pawn for the Ishihime and Ulquihime ships.
    I don't hate her, because I still don't think that her character is anything evil. She is still brave, selfless, determined, loyal, friendly ect.
    But for me, I am just done in thinking anything remotely grand or redeeming will happen to Orihime. Kubo knew what he was doing the moment he made her character jealous of Rukia.

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    1. We read comments, rest assured Meta will get this comment sent to him the moment his schedule allows, as he's rather busy these past few days.

      I agree with pretty much everything you said. In fact, I can only add that, seeing as she didn't show up for several months until last chapter, I was starting to wonder if she'd get to randomly sit out the whole arc AGAIN like happened with the first war (God does Kubo know how to do anything except war arcs and rescue arcs ?) and which more or less happened in the FullBshit arc.

      As an aside, calling it that is immature, yes. But after Kubo flat out lied to the fans about Chad's supposed importance to the arc, plus the rage inducing "not gonna have them question these completely conflicting, physically impossible false memories so have them knocked out instead" BS well, I do not feel mature enough to care.

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    2. I too am frustrated with Chad and Ishida's development. These two guys had so much potential but sadly, they are just mere victims to make King Ichigo look superior. In the Bleach manga, if you aren't a shinigami, then pretty much you are just screwed.

      I am just so upset by Kubo's treatment of Orihime. I cannot express to tell you how much potential she had. I feel so sorry for her because she is basically suffering abuse by her own creating by making her as something for people to jerk off as or as a laughing stock. Seeing last week's chapter of Kubo's "justification of fan service" by having Orihime wear a scandalous outfit that she was not even comfortable in just to get Ichigo's attention, enraged me to the point that I will never read the Bleach manga again. It is so sad that Kubo constantly degrades her character and humiliates her forever using her feelings against Ichigo and making her look so helpless. Seriously, this scene is worse then Orihime sitting down and doing nothing.
      Will we ever get to see Orihime being the fiery boxer again? Why am I even asking that question if I know the answer. Chad and Ishida also deserve to be so much more.

      A big screw you to Kubo.

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    3. The same could be said for all of Bleach. As much as I like it there is so much wasted sub-plots, awesome characters who don't get as much attention as one would like, random powerups, etc.
      Kubo really did have the potential to make a fantastic series. But he never expands on anything and when he does it ends up either succeeding or failing miserably.
      This is why I like stuff like FMA, a series with lots of foreshadowing, character development, etc.
      Hopefully the final arc will fix things. Hopefully.

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  12. misakiayuzaw.blogspot.com
    this is an awesome blog about bleach and similar anime
    pls check it out
    i like that aizen theme of yours
    and orihime is way better than rukia

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  13. http://misakiayuzaw.blogspot.in/

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  14. Something I want to say about ol' ulqs segunda etapa. It doesn't make sense in regards to hollows and arrancars. Ressureccion is just like bankai in that it releases the true form of their power. This was outright stated. Some people try to argue that "oh arrancars zan are just like shinigamis, and their ressureccion was just shikai and ulquiorra learned bankai."

    No. Unless ulquiorra had an ability unique to himself that was similar to segunda etapa, which he didn't, then segunda etapa is effectively impossible.

    But I know why he had segunda etapa: kubo thought it would be cool to give him a second release.

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  15. There are people who argued that Kubo is making Orihime useless to a fault because her powers are not easy to handle and that she is the center of this current arc (Thousand Year Blood War) and will eventually show her true potential. I'm curious to know what's your take on this claim.

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    1. Well if I may respond to this

      It's never stopped Kubo to have people who are literally omnipotent get powerups so that's just an excuse. And yeah, her what, ten lines in the past year really contributed so much to the plot.

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    2. I felt kinda lost when I read the part where they stated that Orihime is the center of this arc. So, I just asked to confirm if ever I missed something. It looks like they're anticipating something crucial from her. Well, given that Kubo stated that she has a god-tier ability... I guess, I couldn't blame them for putting so much hope for her character development.

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  16. I got annoyed when you complain when Orihime didn't stand up I. Hueco Mundo. You said it yourself, she's an average fifteen year old girl she was scared, and when Ichigo fought Ulquiorra, she saw how strong he was and knew she wouldn't stand a chance against him, her offensive powers aren't worth a crap that's obvious. But quit dissing her for not being as brave as the rest of the cast.

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  17. During the battle between Ulquiorra and Ichigo, when Ulquiorra blasted a hole through Ichigo, I had expected to see Orihime go mental and turn omnipotent or go into something similar to the avatar state. It would have been cool to have her reiatsu fluctuating(from extremely high to nothing) and these flactuations being felt across Hueco Mundo, Soul Society and Karakura town. Or just have her rejecting the existence of the arrancar.

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  18. During the battle between Ulquiorra and Ichigo, when Ulquiorra blasted a hole through Ichigo, I had expected to see Orihime go mental and turn omnipotent or go into something similar to the avatar state. It would have been cool to have her reiatsu fluctuating(from extremely high to nothing) and these flactuations being felt across Hueco Mundo, Soul Society and Karakura town. Or just have her rejecting the existence of the arrancar.

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