Sunday, May 8, 2011

Yo Ho Ho, and A Bottle of Bleach!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!SPOILER WARNING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For those of you poor saps who are only keeping up with the English manga, or worse, the English anime <shudders>, you should consider yourself warned! This post contains spoilers!!! (ohnoes!) If you have kept up with the Japanese version like a sensible person, this isn't a big deal. But I thought it should be mentioned for those reading this that haven't. You have been warned. That is all.

Okay, now down to business. I work at a store that is essentially Nerd Heaven. The people I work with are all fairly awesome, and we find a lot of things to talk about. One of the people I work with shares my love of anime. At least, on some of the newer anime. One such anime is Bleach, a series based on the manga (Japanese comic book) by the same name written by Tite Kubo. It is an amazing show/manga, and I heartily recommend it to anyone with any interest in anime. It's mainstream, but it's good. Anyway, on to the point. If you're not already familiar with Bleach, you might want to skip the rest of this. It assumes you know what the hell I'm talking about.

At work last Thursday, we were discussing the Arrancar, and who was the Primera (rank 1 Espada). My co-worker is one of the unfortunates following the English version, and hasn't discovered it, yet. Well, hadn't until I told her. Anyway, I made the comment that it was, of course, Shunsui's counterpart, Starrk. Shunsui was the most powerful Shinigami, other than Old Man Yama, so his counterpart in the Espada ranks was naturally the most powerful Arrancar. This led to an entire discussion about who was the counterpart to who. There are ten Espada, each ranked according to their power. After the defection of Aizen, Gin, and Tousen, there are now ten Shinigami Captains, too. So, we analysed each of the characters, and found what we thought were pretty decent counterpart pairings. The results of that discussion, and the reasons we arrived at our conclusions, will be the focus of this post.

We'll start with the first. The Primera. The rank one Espada, most powerful of the Arrancar. Coyote Starrk.
Doesn't he look like just the perfect douche?
Well, his counterpart was terribly obvious, and already stated; Shunsui Kyoraku.
No similarities to Starrk at aaaallllll. . .

They're both the most powerful in their respective organizations, they're both lazy, they both loathe being serious in a fight, they both keep a girl in their circle that puts them in their place, and they both tend to piss off others who don't really get them. So, yeah, obvious.

Next up on the list, Baraggan Luisenbarn. The old man Arrancar in charge of death.
Yeah, He's kinda awesome.
Barragan is an old dude who sits on a throne (most of the time) and is content with letting his underlings do most of the fighting, not thinking he should have to join the fight. His underlings should be good enough to take care of any threat that arises. He has a certain timeless wisdom (or at least he thinks he does), that makes him seem older and more powerful than he looks, which is saying something. Now, first instinct is to pair him with Old Man Yama. However, after careful consideration, we chose . . .
He's small, but he'll eff you up, brah!
. . . Toshiro Hutsugaya. He's young, younger than any other Captain, or even any of the officers in his squad, be he, too, has a timeless quality about him that makes him seem older and wiser than might first be expected, even by a Captain of the Gotei 13. Also, He and Barragan share an intense desire to see Aizen dead, albeit for different reasons. While Toshiro does not share Barragan's opinion that he shouldn't have to do his own fighting, he does share the confidence that he is powerful enough that most people shouldn't be trying to fight him.

Rank 3 in the Espada went to the lovely Tia Halibel.
Not shy at all, is she?
Tia Halibel is somewhat of an ice queen, except when it comes to her girls, the three Arrancar she keeps as her primary underlings. She seems a hateful hardass to most, especially the men, but her love for her girls, and their love for her, gives her the will to cooperate with her peers to defeat the Shinigami that would threaten them. Sound a little like someone else we know?
Tell me she's not a lesbian. I dare you.
Soi Fon, the Captain of 2nd Squad, is a pretty obvious choice for Hanibel's counterpart. They have very similar personalities (both being kinda ice queens), and they both have a love for their respective females that borders on, if not dives right into, lesbianism. (Soi Fon is definitely a diver. Just watch the episodes of her vs Yoruichi. Seriously.) Soi Fon has the same tendency to look down on her males allies, especially those who work for her.

Which brings us to number 4. Ulquiorra Schiffer.
"I'm so emo, I cry green acid tears."
Ulquiorra Schiffer is the Arrancars' silent badass character. The way he moves is deliberate. His speech is smooth, eloquent, and to the point. His arrogance is such that he won't even pull out his sword to fight you unless you prove you're strong enough to be worthy of such a thing. He prefers to not to even look at you, if he can help it, because you are so far beneath him. Looking at these attributes, his counterpart was fairly obvious, as well.
Fear the pink, bitch!
Byakuya Kuchiki. Captain of the 6th Squad, and Rukia's adoptive brother. He's seriously almost Ulquiorra's twin. I'd write an analysis for him, but it would end up being a copy/paste of Ulquiorra's, except I'd change "won't even pull out his sword" to "won't even show you his Bankai."

Espada number five is Spoonboy Cowtounge. More popularly, he is known as Nnoitora Gilga.
Spoonman! Come together with your hands!
Nnoitora values strength and combat above all else. He believes life isn't worth living unless he can fight and kill. His motivations are simple and brutal. Just like . . .
He is Asskicking incarnate
. . . Kenpachi Zaraki, Captain of Eleventh Squad. He lives only for the next fight, the next challenge for his massive strength. The primary difference is, where Nnoitora's motivation stems from hatred of others and love for destruction, Kenpachi's motivation comes from the thrill of martial challenge.

And now, it's time for everyone's favorite Espada. <fake applause> Number six, Grimmjow Jeagerjaques
"How you doin'?"
He's mean. He's loud. He's obnoxious. He likes nothing more than to beat the shit out of people. He is a force of injury and destruction. We considered pairing him with Kenpachi, but we came up with a better counterpart.
How can someone so sweet be so scary?
Retsu Unohana is the perfect counterpart for Grimmjow, not because of their similarities, as it has been with the others, but because of their differences. Where Grimmjow is mean, Unohana is kind. Where he is loud and obnoxious, she is calm and pleasant. Where he causes injury, she heals. They are diametrically apposed. Where most of the others reflect certain traits in each other, Grimmjow and Unohana balance each other, instead.

This post is turning out longer, and taking longer to compose, than I originally expected. Thus, in the interest of sanity, I am going to mark this Part 1, and write Part 2 at a later date. Soon, just not right now. Until next time!


  1. One of the things that you missed out about Unohana, though is the way that the entire Gotei 13 treats her. For the most part, (and especially in the Vizard Creation saga) Unohana is feared, albeit playfully, by her collegues, because she has so much power and wisdom. In that case, I would have matched her up with Ulquiorra and found someone else to match Bya with.


  2. You are wrong, sir. Ulquiorra is a perfect match for Bya. Now, as for Grimmjow . . . idunno.