Saturday, 1 December 2012

Bleach Analysis: A Soul's Guide to the Soul Society

Hello, everyone, it's me again. Before I start, there's something you guys need to keep in mind:

I was a big fan of Bleach back in the day. I loved the beginning arc where Ichigo learns to be a Shinigami, and thought the Soul Society arc was really good too. It slipped downhill for me from there, but the point where I specifically started to hate the series was when Aizen trolled everyone in Fake Karakura.

Yes, the whole Hueco Mundo invasion had some nasty bumps, but the aforementioned scene was the straw that broke the camel's back.

I may seem really critical about this series, but it's because my hopes and excitement were smashed by Kubo constantly doing things that were "cool", rather than develop characters properly or smooth out the rough edges in the plot. And today features loads of rough edges.

I'm here to discuss the Soul Society in Bleach. And to answer the question, "is it a good afterlife for humans?"

Here's the short answer: No. It's awful.

Rukia even has the gall to proclaim it as a paradise back in the early days of Bleach. Now, this requires an explanation on my part. After all, Soul Society has Shinigami, which defend the living from corrupt souls called Hollows. Surely it can't be that bad?

The answer is YES, it is. Let me explain, through four points.

1. First off, the diversity in Soul Society is....well, it's not there.

Yes, we have giants, dark-skinned people, and people with freakish hair symbolizing every color under the Skittles wrapper. But that's in physical appearance ONLY.

Notice that all Shinigami have JAPANESE names?

Kuchiki Byakuya? Hisagi Shuuhei? Hinamori Momo?

The lone exception is Soifon, who is, as well as her clan, obviously Chinese. But aside from that, everyone has a Japanese name. Even regular souls like Shiba Kukaku and her brother Ganju. This is supposed to be the afterlife for all of the human race, right? And Bleach takes place in the real world; Karakura Town is a made-up city within the real Japan, and Chad comes from Mexico, another country.

So what's the deal? Where are the Americans, the French, the Germans, the Indians, etc. in Soul Society? Yes, Quincies and the filler Bounts have a German motif, and the Hollows have a Spanish motif. But guess what?

Those are not deceased pure souls.

Seireitei means "Court of Pure Souls", right? Are only the Japanese pure? Is the rest of the world unable to die or something? I can't understand this. The fact that the 13 heads of the Soul Reapers all conveniently have Japanese names (sans Soifon) is a little suspicious.

I can think of three reasons.

One, maybe there's multiple Soul Societies....yeah! Maybe somewhere out there, there's an American Soul Society where the Soul Reapers use pistols and smoke cigarettes? Maybe a British Soul Society where everyone uses a rapier-type sword, rather than a katana or some variation.

One problem. Well, two.

What kind of manga endorses an afterlife where people are segregated based on where they're from?! We all share the same damn planet when we're alive, but when we kick it....everyone parts? That's crazy!

And here's the second problem: Soifon and her clan are Chinese, but are present in the homogenously Japanese Soul Society. If my first reason is correct, then she's out of place. She should be in the Chinese Soul Society. Maybe her family really messed up when they were alive, and now they have to spend their afterlives serving the same people that raped and slaughtered within their country back in WWII.

So here's my second reason. Maybe SS is just mostly Japanese.....because! I mean, the world has a feudal Japanese design!

Maybe all the other ethnicies and races of the world are tucked in some cornor in Rukongai, wondering why they can't be as talented as their Japanese counterparts. And the problem with that is that's just too far-fetched and dumb to accept. Japanese being better than all? Have you SEEN their weird fetishes?

I was able to form the third reason after reading the chapter where Yamamoto's Bankai summons an undead army of ten trillion people, all those he's killed. Now, I was told that was a pun, given Earth has only about 7 billion (and Bleach is centered in the real world), but maybe we can conclude Yamamoto killed all foreigners to make an homogenously Japanese society. Now, that reason is messed up beyond belief, because that would imply ETHNIC CLEANSING in the afterlife......

So there's no reason that makes sense. Kubo just didn't make Soul Society's residents diverse because, that wasn't on his agenda when writing the story.

It just sucks because Bleach is based on the real world, unlike other shonen like Full Metal Alchemist, One Piece, Naruto, Hunter X Hunter, Toriko, and so on. When you write a story based on our real Earth, you're limited to the zaniness you can make and get away with.

But let's move on, since this point is largely aesthetic and doesn't affect Soul Society and what it's presented as in the manga. Because you know, no one even questions the lack of non-Japanese and they don't even appear!

Here's the second point:

2. There is no social equality, but rather, elitism.

When you think of an afterlife, you think equality. Everyone has the same fate in death, be they rich, poor, young, old, black, white, whatever. But not in Bleach!

See, Soul Society is set up like this:

There's the Rukon districts (Rukongai) where most normal souls appear when they're sent off by Shinigami.

But in the middle of the Rukongai lies the Seireitei, that's why you go to become a Shinigami when you show enough reiatsu to qualify for the job. And I can assume the offspring of Shinigami are born here?

But here in lies the problem. The Rukongai residents are defenseless, reiatsu-less souls that are easy prey to hungry Hollows. For god's sake, they live in shantytowns! Their villages (Japanese designed) are run down and pretty much shitty. Granted, this isn't all of the villages, they infact improve in quality the closer to Seireitei.


why are the only available people to protect them all the way in the fucking center of Soul Society! Shouldn't it be spread out? In the real world, cops and soldiers are placed throughout countries, not just one place! Imagine being an American citizen and police officers only exist in the middle of the country, in Kansas or something. You'd be fucked in the other 49 states if oh say you were robbed, raped, or killed!

But that's not the worst of it. Seireitei keeps the Rukongai peasants out on purpose. Yes, you heard me.

Remember Ichigo and crew's journey to save Rukia? They had to get past a giant wall/gate to get inside the Seireitei? Four giants guarded the four gates to keep out intruders?

How messed up is this, my readers?

You Shinigami claim to be protecting the innocent, but god forbid. you see a bunch of peasants on your way to do your job! This afterlife is elitist!

The only time you see the Shinigami going out to Rukongai is to fight Hollows, and then bam!
They rush back home and drink sake. Do you see them checking on the regular souls often?

Do you see them interact with the citizens? No.

Seireitei should've composed of various bases of the Shinigami spread across Soul Society, so each section of Rukon would active police force to protect them?

Now there's some characters that grew up in the Rukongai hell like Kenpachi, Rangiku, Hitsugaya, Gin, and so on. So maybe it's understandable they would relish the chance to escape this shitty life and be better off.

And I would accept that-somehow-if there wasn't a HUGE problem with this.

The Nobles.

Yes, there's NOBLILITY in an afterlife. How the hell is this possible? Did they die first or something? These "Nobles" were born in the Seireitei without experiencing the fresh hell that is Rukongai. And I can count the active nobles in duty: Byakuya, Soifon, Kyoraku, Omaeda, etc.

The latter are lesser nobles, but Byakuya, holy cow.

This guy is the head of the Kuchiki Clan, one of the 4 Major noble houses. And every time we've seen him, he's always given off a "I'm better than you" vibe of arrogance. Even after Kubo made him a "hero" after the Soul Society arc, he still acts stuck-up. Yeah, that's not elitist at all.

His clan is no better, because they were against Byakuya even MARRYING a peasant, the now deceased Hisana.

And these guys get the sweet life? The hell? Mind you, it's not like we see all the nobles in Soul Society around or responding to major events, so we can assume the following: the Nobles are mostly not Shinigami, and spent their days living it up, Ja Rule style, in their mansions and fancy clothes.

While regular Shinigami risk their lives to maintain the city and fight Hollows.

While regular souls suffer in Rukongai.

.....This is a fair afterlife how?

Also, this is a minor point, but SS is supposed to composed of deceased HUMANS. What the hell are Komamura and Hiyosu doing here, then? What's THEIR story?

And this is the afterlife, so why is there disease? Hisana died because of it, and Ukitake suffers from Tuberculosis. I can't say I understand the logic.

But let's jump to the next reason!

3. Corrupt people are in charge.

We all know about the Shinigami and what they do, that's the staple of the series.

We know they purify Hollows with their swords and protect (I scoff at this) the innocent.

You got generally nice people in the Gotei 13, like Hanataro, Yachiru, Rangiku, and many more.

The problems lie with the Captains, the head henchos of the Seireitei (if all the Nobles died off). They're the true power in this world, they're the best of the best.

Or are they?

You see, most of the dickery comes from the Shinigami Captains being jerks! Not at all of them of course....but take a look at the offenders:

-Byakuya. His first appearances composed of him trying to carrying out the execution of his adopted sister Rukia. Some brother he is, right? And like I said before, Byakuya carries such an "holier than thou" attitude with him. I can chalk that up to the nobility being there, but can you honestly look me in the eye and tell me, "oh Byakuya presented in the Soul Society arc was a likeable guy"?

-Kenpachi. He's a bloodthirsty maniac, plain and simple. He was one of my favorite characters in this manga, but this fact is not up for debate. He lusts for battle, and is obviously a psychopath. I mean, you don't see him hacking away, murdering the good guys, but he did stop Komamura and Tousen from carrying out their mission to intercept the intruder Ichigo by fighting them himself. He's a loose cannon.

-Mayuri. The creepy clown captain of the 12th Division? He's probably the worst, most ammoral character I've ever seen in Bleach. The man turned his minions into bombs just to attack Orihime and Uryu. He constantly hits and abuses his daughter Nemu (I know she's technically a robot, but some father YOU are, pal!), over the smallest of errors and just for sick, twisted pleasure. Remember his fight with Uryu? Well, you should, because he openly admits to torturing Quincies, including Uryu's grandfather. He made them burn their own children, among other horrors. Now see, I can give him credit for being twisted as fuck, but he's presented as a GOOD GUY as the manga flows. You expect me to entrust my soul with a maniac like this guy? Even worse, Kubo hasn't bothered to bring up the plotpoint of Mayuri doing all this bad shit to the attention of the actually moral characters! Uryu, it seems, even forgot Mayuri tortured his grandfather, because you never see him think about it or try to carry out revenge!

-Soifon. Now, she's not crazy or a sociopath or anything, and she IS a woman of duty. But I have to question that, even if I like her. In the Soul Society arc, she's shown to be super strict in carrying out orders, but when the ryoka attacked, she was focused on finding her old mentor Yoruichi (and crush) and demanding answers as to why she abandoned her 100+ years ago. Uh what? Shouldn't you be going after Ichigo, Orihime, Uryu, and Chad, the REAL culprits in this? Now, I can kinda
forgive it, because a flashback shows she really cherished Yoruichi as a mentor, and was devistated when she left. But take a look at this example:

Soi only agrees to ally with the Vizard Hachi against Barragan if he imprisons Urahara in a barrier for a month.

Why? Well, she obviously doesn't like Urahara (neither does Hiyori, or Ichigo at times), and it can only be assumed because he ran off with the person she cherished the most. But at the time, Aizen and his amy were an immediate threat! Shouldn't your dislike be discarded in the face of such a cosmic crisis? I can conclude:

Girl is super petty and lets trivial reasons eclipse her job. She needs a therapist.

Holy shit, I've gotten this far and I didn't mention the big bad yet.

-Aizen. What a supreme prick. Yes, I KNOW he's the villain, but Aizen had this grandiose plan worked out for years under the guise of being seemingly nice and trusted by the Gotei. Plain and simple, his goal was to slaughter innocent souls in a town, to form a key, to go let him kill the God of Bleach - The Spirit King. And don't think this wasn't acted upon. He:

-killed the Central 46
-stabbed and traumatized Hinamori
-framed Urahara
-gave the Vizards horrible powers they didn't want
-manipulated Ichigo
-abducted Orihime
-set up Rukia's execution to get a glass orb

Now, some of you may be saying "he's a good villain", to which I not only disagree (that's another rant), I say, THAT ISN'T THE POINT.

I'm not here to argue if Aizen was a compelling villain or not, I'm here to say this monster came from Soul Society. He tricked everyone, so no one couldn't figure out he had this twisted plan in the works. And here's the leader of the "good guys":

-Yamamoto. Since the Soul Society arc, we've gotten a taste of what kind of leader he is, and let me tell you, he's NOT a good one. This man is like Byakuya and Soifon; duty-minded, but even MORE SO. Yamamoto throughout the whole SS arc kept trying to carry out Rukia's execution and stop Ichigo and his friends, the second after the order was given by the Aizen-controlled Central 46. Rukia merely gave her powers to Ichigo to defend his family; it's not like he went insane and started to kill humans just for fun.

Therefore, where in lies the crime and urgency to have her wiped from the face of existance? If only Yamamoto bothered to consider the facts, and most of the OTHER Captains didn't either! He's supposed to be a good guy?

And this is another example: when Orihime was taken by Ulquiorra to Hueco Mundo, Yamamoto IMMEDIATELY suspected Orihime of going with the enemy willingly and branded her a traitor.

Yes, an alive 15 year old girl is supposed to have loyalty to centuries old dead people that willingly protect said alive people. Makes sense to me!


But wait, there's more! In the Fake Karakura Town battle, Yamamoto solos the beast Ayon.....then, um....disappears?

Well, in war, you're not supposed to have your general at the front lines, but what was he doing for all those chapters? When Aizen solos everyone and old Yama comes out to fight him, it is revealed he set up a trap with his zanpakutou to try to fry Aizen in a fiery blaze of hell, which would nuke the whole fake town.

You know, the fake town where the members of his army were fighting?! So you're telling me the old man planned to take down Aizen at all costs, even if his subordinates were to die needlessly for it?

How is that better than Aizen?!

What kind of monster would agree to blindly sacrifice his army to take down one threat out of pure hatred? I understand Aizen was dangerous, and defeating him was priority number one, but this is supposed to be a "good" army!

A "good" army's leader focuses on the welfare of his troops AND defeating the enemy, and is more willing to sacrifice himself or a small number of men to protect the welface of the majority. Now, the fighters in this battle WERE a small number, but here are the problems:

A. some of the victims would be Captains, you know, the strongest and hardest to obtain members of the army?

B. the would-be victims didn't even know Yama was planning to nuke the town just to take down Aizen. If they knew, and agreed, then I wouldn't mind, but there was no such scene to indicate that!

One chapter from the current arc has Yamamoto vowing to destroy all of Soul Society with his Bankai just to destroy the Vandereich leader Juha Bach. That's....worse than the Aizen nuke tactic; you'd be killing your soldiers AND messing up the soul balance of the world, you senile old man.

After that, Yama summons his deceased victims to attack Bach, some of which are BACH'S FALLEN COMRADES. He basically toys with Bach with this fact, and declares Bach's pain of seeing his allies like "nothing like the pain his forces have caused the Shinigami".

Uh what?

You senile hypocrite, your army was the one that killed the Quincies in the first fucking place! Don't you think Bach has enough pain, hence this war going on in Soul Society?

Not that Bach gets sympathy from me or anything, look at his extremist methods!

Think about it, wasn't the Gotei 13 considered the "enemy" of the Soul Society arc? Ichigo, Orihime, Chad, Uryu, and Yoruichi break into a heavily guarded citadel to rescue Rukia, braving odds and risking their lives to do so?

Coupled with this and Mayuri, Byakuya, Kenpachi and others being in the way of this goal, I can only assume Kubo originally wanted them to be villains. I mean, they're part of a larger corrupt system of defense, and the negative entirity of SS is outright ignored.

How interesting would Bleach be if Kubo took the high road and made Ichigo's group resolve to take down the corruption of the afterlife and Aizen's little plot in between?

And made Aizen's motivation to erase the corruption, albeit in an extreme way? Not the crap justification that he "wanted to be weak".

And used this situation to better develop the Vizards, a underused set of characters, Ichigo's other friends (Tatsuki, Keigo, Mizuiro), and his family?

And in turn, gave Chad, Uryu, Orihime, and Rukia tons of spotlight, success, and development?

....compared to the path we have now?

........where was I? Oh, right.
Remember the Central 46 I mentioned when I talked about Aizen? They're the political heads. They make the laws.

Now before I talk more about them, there's a few things I don't get about them. They're 46 they have experience fighting Hollows? Why that number? It's even, so wouldn't they need an odd number like 47 or 49, just to break ties in debates?

Sigh......but let's get to the bread and butter about them.

They are the worst law making body in existance.

If the Nobles and structure made Seireitei seem elitist, then these guys show that Seireitei is also an avid opponent of enforcing democracy.

First off, they have pretty damn strict laws, like "attacking Captains is treason" and "giving powers to a human is a crime". The latter law always bugged me, because wouldn't the morality of giving powers to a human be based on a case-by-case basis? Take Ichigo and Rukia; the latter gave her powers to help Ichigo defend his family from a Hollow since she was weakened. You would call that a CRIME?

But it's not the laws that stand out to make these guys stand out like a sore thumb.

See, back in the Turn Back The Pendlum flashback arc, these guys were the ones to proclaim the Vizards and Urahara as criminals, since the former obtained Hollow powers and latter was framed in giving said powers.

I understand the accusations, but they were just decided to be automatic criminals without any evidence. The defendants didn't even have a chance to defend themselves or hire a lawyer (lol whut).

Is that fair?

So when you learn of this flashback, you want to hug Aizen for killing these elitist anti-democracy judges. But that reminds me....Aizen is pretty much the worst criminal Soul Society's ever had, since you know....he murdered and gave away Hollow powers and plotted genocide and deicide. So it's fair to assume the NEW Central 46 (which weirdly appears at the end of the Arrancar story) would be harsh on this guy, right?


The Central 46 rules Aizen is guilty and sentences him to rot in the lowest level in Hell for 20,000 years (Aizen can't die because the Hogyoku made him immortal, damn you Kubo). Now you have to see what's wrong with this situation.

-Urahara and the Vizards automatically get death on the weakest suspicion of foul play, and there's no evidence. Not to mention, after Aizen revealed who he really was and thus.....their charges, in theory, drop......they aren't allowed right back in. Three Vizards managed to reclaim captaincy, but I've yet to see Urahara there! And why didn't all of the Vizards get their positions back? Maybe it was their choice, or something. Whatever-

-Aizen, a heartless monster, guilty of the things that happened to the Vizards, and judged with actual evidence is.....given a sentence not equal to death. I know he can't be executed, but these "judges" are giving Aizen finite time on his sentence. Meaning, 20,000 years pass, and Aizen's a free man. Since he won't age and probably won't reform at all, given what a soulless dick he was, he'll stroll out centuries later probably hungry for revenge on a new generation of Shinigami.

Why not just keep him in prison until the end of time? Why are you giving this guy a chance to be free?

Apparently SS has been around for a million years (according to one Kuchiki Rukia), so 20,000 won't make the dimension crumble into dust.

So Urahara gets a sentence too harsh but Aizen gets a sentence not harsh enough. Fuck.

This just blows my mind as to how completely unfair this is!

The Shinigami risked their lives to defeat Aizen. Aizen pretty much gave emotional hell to Orihime and Hinamori. Why aren't these people demanding he be mercilessly tortured forever? I mean, it wouldn't be out of line with the corrupt Soul Society. The Central 46 are about doling out justice.....


 In fact, if I was them, I would not only imprison Aizen forever, I would issue public apologizes to Orihime, Ichigo, Hinamori, Urahara, and everyone else that got screwed over by this sociopath!

And here's another non-canon example, but still valid. In the second movie, the Central 46 decides that since Hitsugaya and Kusaka share the same zanpakutou (how is this possible?), they must fight to the death to declare the owner of it.

Yeah, that's real fair, guys. They definitely CHOSE to have the same soul sword, yeah that's right. What a stupid punishment.

D. Jones (No Maam on Arlong Park Forums) pointed out this other damning horror in the TBTP arc, where Urahara and Hiyori visit the Maggot's Nest.

The Maggot's Nest hosts dangerous individuals that Urahara claims "will do bad one day". Meaning, the Central 46 and the Gotei 13 are convinced that these people have the skill-set and lack of morals to do bad things.

However, they have no means of proving this. No trial, no defense council, just lock-up on the tiniest hint of suspicion! Excuse me, but when did SS turn into an authoritarian state?

The second picture also says something about serving in the Gotei in general. Apparently, you can't leave of your own choice. If your leave of absence (for whatever reason) extends to a certain point, the higher-ups call it "withdrawl", and:

Put you in prison.

In "paradise", you can't "retire" from serving in the military! That's wonderful, right?!

Before I can wrap up, I have one more point.

4. Shinigami are terrible at their jobs.
Now hold on, you might be saying that I'm just finding ANYTHING to rant about, right? You might be saying that the Shinigami ARE good at their jobs, right?

Maybe so, but you're not looking in between the scenes.

There's virtually millions of Hollows and only thousands of Shinigami, so it's not like the Shinigami can slaughter them at the drop of a hat....they're outnumbered! But we need to consider a Shinigami's role in the Bleach world, which is:

-Purify Hollows
-Defend Plus souls and humans

Easy, right? Well, this little example of how they fail at the first point was brought to my attention:

Mr. Ixolite (The Daz on Arlong Park Forums) calculated a glaring math oversight. You see, it's the Hollows we see in the series. Specifically, the Arrancar, most of which came from Adjuachas. And Adjuachas come from Gillians all fused together.

Kubo, the asshat he is, declares almost all of the ESPADA to be Vasto Lordes, which come from fused Adjuachas. Aaroniero was said out-right to be Gillian, and he was exempt, but I smell retcon, because Grimmjow was confirmed to be Adjuachas in his flashback.

...Moving on, that means Aizen's army alone was made of "at least 7 and at most 12" Vasto Lordes.
Coupled with the other members, we end up with an ABSURDLY high number of lost souls
that became Hollows.

I don't want to go into details, because I don't want to take the credit. Read up, and enjoy:

You tell me if that counts as doing your job.

Also consider this little gem: in Fake Karakura, Yamamoto fries Apache, Mila Rose, and Sun-Sun, three Arrancar that served Tia Harribel. But while it seems he kills them, Kubo declares in a databook that....they survived! And Orihime was allowed (and she did it for some reason) to HEAL them AND Harribel!

Now....I'll be honest. I enjoyed the antics of Harribel's fraccion. They were catty, but since other Arrancar were just arrogant violent was a nice change of pace. But still, they were technically Hollows, and thus, monsters who had eaten innocent souls.

Why didn't Yamamoto kill them? Because he was impressed by the fact that they attacked him with one arm each? Oh, you'll order genocide and declare humans as traitors, but when it comes to do YOUR JOB, you're like...."nah".

How inept.

But wait, there's more?! Mr. Ixolite's last post here on Applied Logic discussed this in detail:

Urahara Kisuke, as shown by the TBTP arc and the early Bleach volumes, was on Soul Society's blacklist. Granted, it was for different reasons.....but the point is, he was a fugitive/exile. Here's the problem.

The guy manages to open a store with his NAME on it at a spiritually dense town, Karakura Town. Rukia acknowledges him when buying the mod-soul pill, but doesn't even bat an eye.

How didn't SS notice this guy was out there, free as a bird?!And don't give me "he was in an untraceable gigai"....the guy made no attempt to be incognito.

It's not like he hid to some back-water town, shaved his hair, and changed his clothes. He hid in a spirtually aware town in a store called "Urahara Shoten".

You Shinigami never saw that?

Also, for a afterlife world with a simple existance, you guys have a LOT of problems. Traitors, exiles, and the like.

Why is that Ichigo has to bail you guys out? Even in filler arcs and movies, some big disaster awaits the Shinigami, and it's always him that saves the day! I know he's the main character, but it'd be in the same vain as Luffy saving every village from pirates or Naruto fighting every evil ninja. As good as they are, they're not supposed to have all this responsibility. Ichigo was an average Japanese teenager who's biggest concern was getting homework done on time, and now he was to risk life and limb to fight evil undead villains?

Taking care of Aizen's forces is the biggest example!

-Ichigo takes the incentive to go to rescue Orihime right away from Hueco Mundo, not the Shinigami whose JOB is to protect innocent humans.
-Ichigo is the one that gets the snot beaten out of him fighting Grimmjow, Ulquiorra, Nnoitra, and Yammy, 4 espada! Yes, the Captains came in to help, and they did save Ichigo's ragtag group, but it should've been their first priority.
-And when Aizen solos the Captains, including Yamamoto, it's Ichigo that has to risk his life again to stop Aizen at the EXPENSE OF HIS OWN POWERS.

All the kid wanted was to protect his family and friends, NOT bail out a bunch of inept ungrateful soliders that can't do their job correctly!

And lord, is there more. In the Fullbringer arc (worse arc in all of manga, but that's a different rant), it was revealed that Ginjou Kugo was the first substitute Shinigami, and we learn the guy abused his job. Why is that Soul Society couldn't track him down until Ichigo had to get involved? He was a human, wasn't he? You know, a human that set a very unique precedent?

Ginjou says Ichigo's combat pass was a monitoring device courtesy of "evil genius" Ukitake. So....Soul Society tracks Ichigo, but not Kugo.

Ichigo was monitored to draw out Kugo. However, in the process, the latter tricks Strawberry, brainwashes his friends and family, and makes him break down in tears.

....Why is that SS only decides to help THEN? Yes, I'm aware the super sword needed time to charge up and give Ichigo his powers back, and they couldn't send someone to assist?

A Captain? A Vice-Captain? Anybody just to monitor the situation and keep an eye on things? To stop all the bullshit that ensues?!

To make matters worse, look at the recent chapter. Three Fullbringers, Tsukishima, Ginjou, and King Brad-I mean Giriko, are definitely present in Soul Society. Now, aside from having the exact same clothing as they did when they died, this situation makes sense. But.....think about it!

I wouldn't peg the three of them to be as evil as oh say, Hitler, Assad, or Stalin, but you have to remember the facts. Bradley killed his wife in trying to test out his powers. Ginjou and Tsukishima essentially brainwashed a good chunk of Karakura and hatched this elaborate scheme against Ichigo.

I dunno......where's the security to make sure they don't anything bad in SS? Remember, a zanpakutou cleanses a Hollow's sin, but not that of the person. And at the very least, Ginjou was apparently a wanted criminal by Soul Society standards!

But nah, they're allowed to do what they please, and that....involves training with Kukaku for some reason. Kubo, this better have an explaination-

Finally, here's one more example. Many years before the storyline in Bleach, the Shinigami ordered the execution of all Quincies....because of the latter's powers. See, the universe is maintained by a balance of souls, where an even number of souls must exist in the Living World and Soul Society.

Shinigami only purify souls, but Quincy completely destroy them, tipping the scales and ruining the balance. Now.....calling for genocide is kinda messed up (there was NO other way?!), but at least there's SOME justification to it, as amoral as the task is.

However, this recent arc shows us surprise, surprise! There's Quincies running around! The Vandereich and the sub-group Stern Ritters. was fine when Ishida and his dad were the only Quincies before, think of them as lone survivors.

Like how in Dragon Ball Freeza had destroyed the Saiyan race, and Goku, Vegeta, Raditz, and Nappa were the only survivors. It's just a small number.

Problem is:

-we had this GIANT army of Quincies attacking Soul Society. There's Stern Ritters for each letter of the bloomin' alphabet! Not to mention, this army managed to sneak under Soul Society's nose, and conquer Hueco Mundo!.

What the hell?!

How did this fly over the head of the Shinigami? They took over the dimension where the spiritual threats of the world are born.....and the Shinigami didn't even notice.

Not to mention, all the time NOT being hunted down by the Shinigami, these Quincies must've destroyed more souls, considering they're alive right now and they had to destroy souls to win against Hollows. Thus.....this cause is now pointless.

You guys can't even get something as straight-forward as genocide right.

Conclusion: inept!

Well, I've had enough. Rukia, your words have been eaten. Here is your fork. The afterlife is plaqued by poverty, disease, elitism, has only one group of people (the Japanese), and is guarded by ammoral, inept soldiers of fortune.

Kubo had the right idea when he presented the Shinigami and Soul Society as a hostile force that Ichigo had to overcome. just seems so messed up now that they're "good", and Soul Society is where good people GO.

Think Hell would be better. At least there you know what to expect.

Stay tuned for my next article, where I analyze another controversial Bleach character.....a certain healer......Meta out!


  1. - The Afterlife is Japanese: Just another glaring hole in the setting Kubo never bothered to fix, even though a "Shinigami World Tour" could've made for an interesting arc. This is especially weird considering his shtick of using foreign terms for Hollows and Quincy.
    As for Yamamoto: Either insects somehow have human souls, or he's just bragging.

    - Elitism: I presume that Kubo forgot Rukia's "SS is a paradise!"-speech in purpose to make it more challenging for our heroes to save her. Either that or Rukia was trolling.
    But seriously, why do the Shinigami even have 13 divisions if they're all stationed in the same spot Oo ?

    - Mayuri: Jesus Christ, those later hijink scenes with him and Uryu are REALLY awkward. How the hell did Kubo forgot he's the Shinigami version of Dr. friggin' Mengele Oo ?!

    - Vandenreich: This happens when you decide to recycle material from earlier chapters without checking whether or not it would actually make sense.

    All in all, the Soul Society really only makes sense if you forget all this afterlife-stuff and treat Bleach as a series about alternate dimensions with fantasy version of feudal Japan, Spain and Germany.

    1. -The idea of global Shinigami in different societies immediately appeals to me, but Kubo didn't bother. Regarding Yama's Bankai, an expert translator from AP Forums told us that the Ten Trillion thing is a pun. I dunno how, but that's what it is.

      -Kubo forgetting sounds extremely likely, since Rukia looked/sounded sincere when saying it. Maybe it's because she grew up in Rukongai herself, and when Byakuya adopted her, her life improved immediately. (But her sister left her when she was a baby!)

      Totally agree though, having 13 divisions in one spot is an extremely poor design choice.

      -Again, Kubo has a bad memory, so maybe he really did forget about Mayuri. But either way, it sucks, because Mayuri makes an excellent villain but a terrible hero.

      -Agreed again here.

      Pretty much. Remove the afterlife principle and Hollows being souls of the dead, and it'd be a solid, if not flawed, concept.

    2. I personally think Kubo is just lazy about explaining his story and just leaves it to the readeres to assume things. HE should be the creator, think of it as a challenge. He has had chances to explain how the soul society works while making a story along the way. BUt he chooses not to either he's incapable or just not his style. I want to like Bleach so badly it hurts, but the creator must put forth the effort to make it work.

    3. That's the problem with Kubo only really interested in coming up with new characters. Sadly, a manga is not very engaging when neither the characters nor the world they live in is fleshed out enough.

  2. The layout of the surface in Bleach's afterlife is different from the Earth's surface. SS could be an island region that contains a small part of China, a good part of Japan, and some islands in the Pacific to explain the darker skin tones. Hueco Mundo's probably just a small island that got conquered by the Spanish empire. Hiyosu is probably just some deformed freak and Komumura is probably a species of sentient wolf on an undiscovered island.

    1. But there's nothing confirming this. Kubo couldn't be bothered to explain his setting, so fans have to make stuff up.

      Such a theory would make sense, but why is it that only the Japanese afterlife division has to deal with threats to the whole of existance? If they lose, EVERYONE will lose. So why does nobody bother to help them?

    2. Exactly what Doresh said. Kubo leaves tons of concepts ambiguous, and because of that, it makes the readers question and try to think of reasons to make them work.

      It's because the man likes to make things "cool" and "mysterious", which is fine in moderation, but some things REALLY need clarification.

    3. The knowledge of Earth that SS has is about the same as the before
      common era. They probably still think that the earth's flat,
      everything revolves around SS and that SS has actually been around 1
      million years ushering in all dead people. They just don't know that
      there are people like Columbus or Copernicus existed. Society hasn't
      evolved in SS as they isolate people into unorganized towns away from
      main society. The balance of souls is probably bullshit as well
      because of the sheer increase of the human population. If the balance
      was true, the universe would have ripped apart by now. The higher ups
      probably just made bullshit statistics to get dissenters to step into
      line. Nobody but the leader of a more corrupt version of Unit 731 has
      access to the statistics.

    4. a) Nothing like that is ever hinted at.

      b) This would require SS to never listen to any of the million of souls that entered SS in the last couple centuries

      c) Several Shinigami (like this afro dude) do spend quite a lot of time in the modern world. Several Captains and Vice-Captains attended school at one point. They even use modified cellphones. What are the odds that they are still oblivious to the modern times?

  3. I know I'm late to this discussion but there's a good explanation for a lot of your complaints.

    You see, there are only 3000 Soul Reapers. This means Gotei 13 could literally operate in a city high school. That's why the Soul Society's population seems to be mainly Japanese, because it's the only country small enough for them to operate in. Furthermore, in order for the whole "Balance of Souls" thing to work, there would need to be over 7 billion souls in the SS. That would require it to be the size of Pangaea to fit them all and there aren't enough Soul Reapers to patrol the streets of Disney World let alone a city the size of a planet.

    Also, we've seen that out of the 3000 members of Gotei 13, only about 2 dozen of them are actually useful in any sort of battle situation. The rest are so incompetent and weak they aren't even worth bringing along as cannon fodder. How are they supposed to keep the peace in SS or kill hollows and arrancar when they can't even capture four teenagers, three of which were still trying to figure out how their powers worked? I

  4. I noticed that there are things that contradict themselves. The two pictures that are posted above that pertain to the Maggots Nest visit, I remember Unohana said in a previous chapter about the turn over of Captains that one captain died, another RETIRED, and Kirio got promoted to the Royal Guard. But I thought retirement was a decision an individual makes? So can you or can you not retire? Plus, there was a filler episode that had that dude from squad 11 get discharged because his spirit energy was absorbed by a Hollow on a mission with Ikkaku. At the end of that episode, they just let him leave and go back to the much for confinement. Kubo can't even seem to remember the laws he discussed in previous arcs of his own anime and manga...

    1. I doubt he had much to do with the Anime. Well apart from Pierrot hating his and his pacing with a burning, seething hatred probably, and having their offices full of Kubo voodoo dolls.