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TYBW EPISODE 15: Peace from Shadows

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There are some on social media who are saying the fights in this episode were extended. I disagree. Nothing was extended. It's not an extension that Bazz-B prepares an aim of BF1 and fire comes out. It's an expected outcome from in-between panels that were not drawn. This is not extension. Same with BF2.

Extension is when there is extra addition without the expected in-between panels. I give an example. In the manga where Gin and Hitsugaya fought, their battle starts from Hitsugaya straight up revealing Hyorinmaru dragon to Gin and attacking with that. On the other hand, in the anime, their battle first has a nice sword-to-sword confrontation for a good amount of time, and after that, Hitsugaya reveals Hyorinmaru dragon and so on. This is called extension.

I would assume for the sake of this weird logic that this battle was not so important compared to Ichigo vs Byakuya just like Soifon vs BG9 or Hitsugaya vs Bazz-B is not so important compared to Yhwach vs Ichibei even though I don't agree with this twisted logic, it was only possible with a 3 chapters pacing per episode. Here, Taguchi has folded 5 chapters within an episode, therefore, chances of getting extended battles are close to zero. On top of that, many battles are going to get trimmed just like Tres Bestias vs Quilge or BG9 vs Omaeda.

I would still wait and see where all this is going to, but I can already see that Abe and Taguchi have different visions in terms of battle planning and execution. Now, if Taguchi had to work with 3 chapters per episode and Abe had to work with 5, then what Taguchi and Abe could have done is never to be seen. From a storytelling point of view, Taguchi has an edge, but in terms of overall battles, Abe has an edge because of extensions. Both have a different approach of materializing source material. So, it would always be different and people would prefer one over the other according to their taste. Hopefully, other battles in TYBW are portrayed with enough extra juice.
 
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I am writing this post mainly for my own interest in quest of different captivating themes from the anime exclusive Irazusando scene.

Shide:
When Ichibei opened this path training for Ichigo, we saw that the environment around Ichigo began to peel off like paper and then we saw strips of papers forming 'shide'.
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Shide are sacred Shinto paper streamers or zigzag-shaped paper strips that hold spiritual significance in Shinto rituals and practices. They are commonly seen adorning torii gates and other sacred objects within Shinto shrines.

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Shide are usually made from white washi paper, which is a traditional Japanese paper. The paper is folded or cut into thin, elongated strips, and then arranged in a zigzag pattern. These strips are often attached to a central rope or string, allowing them to be hung or tied to various objects.

Shide are believed to ward off evil spirits and purify the surroundings. They are considered to be symbols of purification, blessings, and the presence of kami (deities) in the area. The fluttering of the shide in the wind is thought to create a sacred and spiritual atmosphere.

During certain Shinto rituals and festivals, shide may also be used as ritual tools or offerings. They hold a prominent place in Shinto aesthetics and are an important visual element associated with Shinto traditions.

There is a scene in the beginning of the BLEACH anime where we saw spiritual stripes around Uryuu:
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Although those were not shide, but were representation of a spiritual aura and spiritual significance. They came again around Ichigo when he was trying to find the hilt:
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When in episode 13 of TYBW, Zangetsu was disintegrating, at that time, I was not very fond of how he disintegrated because it felt like peeling of the paper. I mentioned this in that episode discussion also. But now, my opinions have changed as I saw the significance of paper peeling off around Ichigo's surroundings. It holds an aura of sacred spiritual significance and the way Zangetsu disintegrated like a paper being torn into different pieces, it makes sense now to me:
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Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine:
Although the path which Ichigo is walking on can be attributed to different torii gates of different areas, but the prominent one is Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine in Kyoto:
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I find it fascinating that the real-life red colour of torii gate is a call-back to the red theme of Shinigami including the red stripe which Ichigo grabbed while falling down in his inner-world even though in the anime, the colour red wasn't attributed to the gate to make it appear different than a story's lore point of view instead of incorporating the real red.

The Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine's Senbon Torii path is not only a popular tourist attraction but also holds deep religious and cultural significance within Japan. It is a symbol of the connection between the spiritual realm and the human world, inviting visitors to embark on a spiritual journey and seek blessings and good fortune.
I find it intriguing that Ichigo, who is a human, is treading on path that is inspired from that real-life symbolism of a connection between spiritual realm and human world. We see how Soul King is a kind of connection vessel between different worlds in BLEACH and because the inspiration is drawn from a real-life spot, it has become more relevant and profound in BLEACH inner lore.

The path, known as the Senbon Torii (thousand torii gates), lined with thousands of torii gates, is seen as a symbolic journey and is often considered a spiritual pilgrimage. Walking through the gates is believed to cleanse the soul, bring good fortune, and offer protection against misfortune. It is common for visitors to take their time and reflect as they make their way along the path.

In the anime, there is a scroll on the gate. While it's unknown whether the scroll contains the exact same lines which Ichibei was reading from his scroll or something else, it's also a fascinating aspect that evokes urge to go there and seek the reading.

The main deity of Fushimi Inari Taisha is Inari Ōkami, the god of rice, agriculture, and prosperity. Inari is believed to be a powerful deity who bestows blessings, good fortune, and success upon worshippers. The lore surrounding Inari emphasizes the connection between humans, nature, and the divine. Now, I am not saying Inari is to be compared with Soul King, I am just trying to write the real-life association of Inari with the shrine.

Another thing is Ichigo was walking very carefully with his steps. It was not like a walk which he does in real-life or in other places. It's not a rule, but many visitors do tend to walk at a slower pace to fully immerse themselves in the serene atmosphere and appreciate the beauty of the torii gates and the surrounding natural environment. Taking a leisurely stroll along the path allows for a more contemplative experience and offers ample opportunities for reflection and appreciation of the spiritual ambiance.

Lastly, I want to say that BLEACH did a good job of showing this kind of a transcendence walk of Ichigo in that path which is derived from real-life inspiration places and objects. It fits into BLEACH verse very nicely. There are other entertainment mediums besides BLEACH that portray these kinds of symbolism. My personal favourite is the stunningly beautiful rendering of the path in this trailer of the game Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess. It's worth a watch:
 
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Thank you everyone who joined the discussion about the new season/cour of the TYBW anime arc! :loyal My thoughts about the second (15th) episode are as follows:

~ Some may call the Sternritter meeting a cheap copy of the one the Espada had, but I like how it was used to lay out the basis of the Wandenreich plans as well as to imply character traits for some of the Sternritters. Bonus points are awarded for the fact that it was used to showcase the episode title. :amuse

~ I haven't noticed it in the previous episode, but I really like the blue ribbon on Uryuu's lapel on the suit from the opening theme.

~ The colour scheme from within the temple where Ukitake prepares for the war is very nice.

~ Love the fact that Haschwalth literally emerges from the shadows in order to challenge the Captain Commander. Putting the fact that I'm super far from being a fan of Kurotsuchi, the scene where Askin visits and leaves the SRDI is still very interesting. Askin figuring out that fighting in that very place will take too much effort and thus leaving will always be memorable. Kurotsuchi's suit on the other hand....

~ Why am I able to identify frames that were pulled straight from the manga for the Bazz-B vs. Hitsugaya fight? I was catching myself thinking "Yes, straight from the manga", "another manga panel", etc. I suppose it happens with other scenes and fights, but I'm not sure why it's so obvious for me in this specific fight.

~ Just like back then, I like the teamwork between Matsumoto and Hitsugaya. She was so proud to explain their joint technique.

~ Soi Fon's Shunko looked even more powerful in the anime than it did in the manga.

~ The transition between BG9's big attack against Soi Fon to the scene between Kyouraku, Nanao and Jugram was so well done. It shows the scope of the battlefield and how different fractions and different characters can react to it.

~ Haschwalth's speech about how Nanao should've polished the special Kido barrier so that others can use it instead of polishing it to perfection, in this setting, stems from speech during the Sternritter meeting where he said that the point of the ongoing invasion is to crush the Shinigami's hope. I figure that it instils quite a bit of doubt inside her mind.

~ Bazz-B's Burner Finger 2 didn't appear as impactful as it did in the manga, probably because the anime team didn't show a close-up of Hitsugaya this time around.

~ Loved that extra bit of Ichigo's training with Hyousube's ominous narration.

Hopefully I get around reading your thoughts about this episode and reviewing the next one soon.
 
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