Isn’t that just the best logo every for Sundays? If anyone is curious, that photo was taken during my semester abroad in Northern Ireland (which is not the same thing as the Republic of Ireland).
A part of me always feels a little guilty on Sundays. I love my nerdy hobbies and feel compelled to share them with the world. At the same time, I feel like Sunday posts have a different feel than anything else I post throughout the week. Is that bad blogging etiquette?
Now, readers, be they regular visitors or newcomers, will know they are in for some nerdy fun here at TK’s Nerdy Side.
I’m still forcing my way through the first Harry Potter book and an old book on Greek Mythology. I’m not enjoying either one, which means I’m reading rather slowly. If you’re wonder why I even bother at this point, it’s because I can’t stop reading something once I’m half way through.
Those promising reviews will be here at a later time. Today, I would like to talk about Bleach volume 26: The Mascaron Drive.
To recap to anyone who may be new to this series, Bleach is about a Japanese high school student named Ichigo who can see dead people. Well, he specifically sees ghost that haven’t passed on, along with other figures in the spirit world. One of these are Hollows, lost souls who prey on the lingering ghosts. His life is changed when Soul Reaper Rukia is forced to give him her powers in order to save his life and the lives of his family members.
In this volume, I felt a unique connection to Rukia’s character. She’s always been an intelligent person and we know she excelled in her soul reaper training classes. This volume touches on how she rarely makes close friends in part because she is so focused on her duties. In short, Rukia is sort of a nerd. She’s obsessed with learning all she can about her passion, which also happens to be her job.
We usually see her fierce side, but here we see Rukia’s friendlier side in her relationship with Orihime (a high school student and friend of Ichigo’s).
I confess, I really haven’t like Orihime’s character up to this point. She’s a sweet girl and surprisingly smart despite her naïve demeanor. My problem isn’t really with her as much as it is with how the characters obsess over her comically large breasts. Despite her spiritual powers, she has seemed more like a bimbo than a fighter to me.
That image pleasingly evolved in this volume. Her character has grown to be far more dependable, responsible and determined. Finally, her strengths are starting to take center stage, leaving her status as a comic relief device in the background.
Everyone is preparing for the upcoming battle, but she is alone. Her only offensive power is damaged, so she has been asked to stay out of the war. She takes this personally, knowing that all her loved ones will be risking their lives and all she can do is watch.
Despite how depressing that sounds, I really like this reaction. Orihime doesn’t want to be a damsel in distress, watching as others save the world. She is strong. She can fight. What she lacks is skill.
All these feelings connect with Rukia, as she knows all too well what it is like to be too weak to help loved ones. Even more, she is familiar with the pain of watching them perish and the guilt felt for not being strong enough to change those events. I think she wants to save Orihime from that and make sure she knows her strengths have value.
Character development has always been important in my enjoyment of manga. When I happen across series that have dozens of volumes, I expect there to be significant change in the characters. No one just waltzes into the afterlife and returns unchanged. Likewise, those who maintain the afterlife don’t walk away without being affected by the presence of living beings in their realm.
While The Mascaron Drive certainly had it’s share of action, what I really took away from it were the changes in Rukia and Orihime. Rukia showed us a compassionate side of her rarely seen from her duty-bound character. Orihime, on the other hand, showed us she serves a purpose greater than comic relief. She has a the ambition and shows us you don’t need to need to be obsessed with duty, power or battle in order to have a warrior spirit.