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Let's Talk Bleach! - Part 4: Yhwach

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. 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.

Take 2! I tried uploading this last night before I collapsed into my nice comfy bed, but alas, something seems to have gone wrong. So let's try again, shall we?

Song of the week: [City] by Hollywood Undead

Tackling the big guy this week, y'all ready for this?

Yhwach, for the uninitiated, is the Emperor of the Wandenreich, an organization of Quincy militants dedicated to something. Seriously, this organization's goals beyond universal destruction have NEVER really been established. Yhwach is the 'son' of the Soul King, the leader of the Sternritter, the bearer of the Schrift A - The Almighty, the Father of the Quincy, and the current ruler of all existence. Also, his mustache game is on point.

Beyond that, Yhwach is a symbol of God. Like, big-G God. Does this mean the JudeoChristian God? Not necessarily, though Kubo definitely drew from that religious family in the naming of his Big Bad: another name for God, originating from the Old Testament of the Bible, is YHWH, usually pronounced Yahweh and typically romanized as Jehovah. Beyond the name, there are obvious parallels between Yhwach and the idea of an all-powerful metaphysical deity. He's possessed of nigh-limitless power, can see the future almost absolutely, created a race of beings in the Quincy, and has long been worshiped by those around him. The two major differences between Yhwach and the typical big-G God is that: a) Yhwach is definitely evil, as opposed to the good or disinterested natures of most Gods, and b) Yhwach is very much alive as a person, albeit an augmented person.

What does all of this mean for Bleach? Well, I think Kubo is making a comment on that basic tenet of society, religion. Now, I don't mean to say he's attacking religion itself, or any particular religion, but that he's simply putting in his two cents regarding an almost universal human behavior, the worship of some deity or another. Nor am I, a religious man myself, condemning any faith or religion. I am just going to point out some tendencies.

In this case, my interpretation is that Kubo is condemning both the blind, almost cult-like, adherence to a particular creed, and the practicing of violence against others for not believing as oneself does. Yhwach is far from a benevolent master, giving little to no care to his servants, and indeed killing off many of them almost on a whim. Yet, his charisma is enough that hordes of Soldat and Sternritter have followed in his wake for at least a millenium, maybe more. This is incredibly dangerous, as unthinking faith can lead to some horrible decisions and actions. For a real world example of this tendency, look up the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project, better known as 'Jonestown.' Kubo is making the point that we as people should follow whatever set of beliefs we hold dear because of what those beliefs stand for, rather than out of blind adherence or due to a charismatic figurehead. Yhwach and his genocidal goals also evoke images of the many religion-based atrocities of history. The Crusades, modern extremist pseudo-jihad, the extermination of Suni or Shiite Muslims, the chronic 'Holy Wars' in the Middle East against Israel, persecution of Hindus in India, and a myriad of other examples show that we, as humans, seem to love killing each other in the name of so-called just gods. Kubo points out the irony of this by having his god lead an army of conquest into Soul Society, seeking the eradication of the entire universe just because.

So, in summation, Yhwach is in my view a lens into Kubo's rebuttal of the historical negatives of human religions. If you see anything else in the Great Mustached Emperor of All Creation, go ahead and post it down below. I will add one caveat: As I stressed before, my goal in this post was not to offend members of any one group or another, so if I did so despite those intentions, let me know so that I may apologize as personally as the internet allows.

And that was my Yhwach bit, re-uploaded for your convenience. As recompense for the unintended delay, you all get a second song of the week!

Bonus Song of the week: [We Are] by Hollywood Undead

Also, if anyone who reads this knows how to include a poll in these posts, please put such info on my Talk Page, that I may implement the technique on next week's rant and thereby attain a somewhat reliable indicator of readership.

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