Judging and perceiving, I thought I read his character, but once again I begin to realise the limits to my own views. I thought he had no heart, I saw him as sinister, I classed him evil, I labelled him the “bad guy”, but within all that twisitedness and darkness surrounding him, their was a man with a heart, a man with love and warmth, neither good nor bad, just a man lost within his own self, within the darkness in his own heart.
Before the truth was revealed about who the real antagonist of the arc was, I had always thought of Ginjou as the villain due to the immense bad vibes I got off his appearance in that one panel in the first chapter of this arc. I went out of my way to think up theories to make Ginjou the sole bad guy of the arc and the other Fullbring users just victims he ended up controlling and using as pawns. The thought that he was neither good nor bad didn’t cross my mind, the fact that he was just a man lost within his own darkness didn’t occur to me. Upon realising just how badly I misjudged Ginjou, I couldn’t help but give myself an empty look. I couldn’t say I liked Ginjou much when I read the manga, but when I watched the anime, I grew attached to him and ending up liking his character a lot, to the point of feeling sad that he was actually the antagonist of the arc.
I had anticipated that the Fullbring wouldn’t be much of a match for the Shinigami but I am surprised by just how thoroughly the Shinigami beat the Xcution members. While one-sided, the fight were very enjoyable to watch, I especially like the Renji one – he trained to fight Aizen? It sure shows in the way he brushed off Jackie’s mountain crushing kicks as if they were nothing.
The Fullbring Arc may have started weakly but it ended strongly. The last four chapters of the arc were amazing (chapters 476-479), and Tite Kubo’s incredible skill as an artist were made so apparent. The way Kubo can make character gestures so meaningful and deep as if worth a thousand words is such an amazing ability. Those eyes, that stare, those expressions, that tear, those silent moments, that smile; such simple gestures, yet in Kubo’s hands, they tell such a deep and striking story.
I love the climatic Ichigo fights, they are always so good to read/watch. Ichigo rather than with dialog and questions gets to understand his opponent through fighting and clashing swords. It’s interesting how two people battling each other begin to understand the true self of the other the more they exchange blows. It’s as if the soul of each person is fully and completely bared during such moments. Ichigo may not always be his badass self throughout the manga, but the Ichigo during moments like this is just radiant, the way he bares his all and without hate and judgement, he begins to understand the person he is trading blows with and resolving to cut down.
That connectiveness which Ichigo induces in his opponents soul is what brings about the change in the person; beyond good and bad, the two fight as just two living beings. It took me a while to get a handle on such a concept, since it’s generally vague through the story and not really explained, which did make it hard for me to understand just what Ichigo does to change people. When Rukia mentioned that Ichigo had caused the million years of rigidity existing in Soul Society to be wiped clean, I was struggling to think of how exactly Ichigo had done this, but when I looked beyond many of the distractions that came with the Arrancar Arc, I saw what actions in that arc and in the Soul Society Arc caused such a change to be brought about. I never liked the rigidity of Soul Society the moment I understood it, I thought it was stupid to be engrained in such a frozen and unflexible system – wanting to execute someone who chose to save another – so I’m really glad such a change was brought about.Chapter 477 was fantastic, I absolutely love the scene where Ginjou falls and stares at Ichigo, that scene was illustrated amazingly. Such emotion, power and meaning illustrated in their eyes, expressions and stares; they didn’t need to say anything, they both understood each other. Ginjou also began to see a future different than the one he was driven by, it really is a powerful scene:
The questions Ginjou begins to wonder, that last question, was he going to say “…would we be friends?” The ambiguity and mystery of it adds to the impact of that scene and at that point, you just can’t help but feel something in your heart swelling up…
Chapter 478 has to be my favourite chapter of the arc, I found it brilliant; art and content were both incredible. Kubo’s ability to convey just how a character is feeling from just his art shines through so well this chapter. The close-ups on the eyes and mouths, the subtle changes in character positions, the angles used in the scenes, the use of shadows and panel arrangements, the use of black and white, all those come together and convey so unbelievably well just what kind of person Ginjou was when he saved the Xcution members and started up the group. It’s clear just how lonely the members were, but it’s even more clear just how close they grew together from the time they spent together, even if unnoticed and unintended by the person themself. That end, with Tsukishima, ah how it got me good, such a great scene.
Chapter 479…what a tear-inducing coverpage and title. Before I knew it, I grew so attached to Ginjou. From the point of being uninterested in just what happens to Ginjou, he has in the end become my favourite character of the arc. Goodbye Ginjou:
Great to see the Shinigami in Soul Society and some of the changes that have been brought about thanks to Ichigo – allowing some of the Vizored members to return to the positions they once held in Gotei 13. Was wondering who would take Tousen, Gin and Aizen’s place as Captains, and it looks like Kensei, Rose and Shinji respectively have.
Badass of Ichigo to go to Soul Society to get Ginjou’s body back in order to bury it in the material world. Since Ichigo is also a Shinigami Representative, I’m sure he would also want his body to be buried in the world he lived in when he meets his end.
The closing of the chapter further highligths just how much Ginjou and Xcution meant to the members. Riruka’s feelings and the amount she has grown/matured really comes across strongly in those final pages – that final panel of Riruka disappearing revealing the sky, how awesomely illustrated.