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Let's Talk Bleach! - Part 3: Orihime Inoue

Hey y'all, it's Mrlmm1996 coming to talk to you about Bleach! This is not a discussion of individual episodes or chapters; rather, it is a look at the main ideas of Bleach, illustrated using examples from the story to prove a point. If a review of a release is what you crave, I have attached a link to the weekly blog of one Mr. Xilinoc, who does that kind of thing far better than I ever could. It is to be noted that, as this blog uses examples from Bleach fiction to make its point, there are unmarked spoilers contained throughout, so read at your own risk. Also, this blog is NOT a replacement for the Wiki's pages on the subject of discussion; I will not tell you what something is, but I will discuss what I think it means. The thoughts portrayed below will not be embraced by everyone, and I welcome dissenting opinions in the comments. Please, keep all responses within the confines of Bleach Wiki's Policies and the Wikia Terms of Use.

Song of the Week: [Ballad of a Broken Man] by Miss May I

Yeah, I know, three weeks in and I'm already delayed. I was hella sic over the weekend, and I didn't want to even sit up, let alone type this thing. But, rest assured, I have come to fill the fix of the maybe 10 people who actually read this.

As promised at the end of last week's talk (rant? lecture? essay?) I will be discussing Orihime Inoue. Now, I could spend my time pointing out how Orihime is simultaneously a) the token fanservice female b) the token childhood friend/ love interest female and c) the token damsel in distress female. However, that's been done to death. Instead, I'm going to tackle a deeper part of Orihime's character.

I am talking today about a trope I like to call the Innocence Paradox.

For those of you newer to the world of Bleach, stop reading this on account of the unmarked spoilers. Seriously, go on the internet, or to a store, find the manga, and read that.

In all seriousness, for those who don't know, Orihime is one of Ichigo Kurosaki's closest human friends. Initially defined by her huge tracks of land and her big heart. Later on, she basically acquires, through as-yet-unexplained means, the ability to reject the makings of God Himself, using said ability to attack, defend or heal (I say unexplained because the theory that the powers of Ichigo's Karakura Crew manifested due to exposure to his spiritual form has already been invalidated in regards to Chad, so I place little stock in it). That sounds like a pretty bad@ss power on paper right? That's because the ability to transcend the boundaries of reality and tamper with the fabric of creation itself is literally the most OP power imaginable. So, of course, there must exist limits that match the OP-ness of the power, constraining it to the needs of the fiction. What could serve as such a powerful limiter for Orihime then?

The answer is simple: Orihime herself.

You see, Orihime is a pacifist, refusing to employ violence in all but the most dire of circumstances. She does, however, still possess an overwhelming desire to protect her loved ones. This allows her to become a master of her healing and defensive skills, at the cost of her offense.

Here we enter the realm of the Innocence Paradox. In my own terms, the Innocence Paradox exists when a character's refusal to harm others leads inevitably to the harming of others. Orihime is a crtical example. Her refusal to take the offensive, or even to violently defend herself, leads to the endangerment, injury, or death of numerous characters in the series, including, but not limited to: Uryu, Ichigo, Grimmjow, and her own Shun Shun Rikka ally Tsubaki. It also leads directly into the conflict in Hueco Mundo, as her capture by Ulquiorra could easily have been averted by a bit of self-defense. Even Aizen acknowledges that she is unable to harm others, even in defense of her friends, hence why she is allowed nearly limitless movement around Las Noches. Ultimately, Orihime is a character to pure and good for her own sake, and for the sake of others.

And there you have it: my take on Orihime Inoue for the week. I promise my next entry will come this Saturday, though I will not confirm the topic this time. Hope you all enjoyed it, and see you later on this week!

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