I love Bleach. When I first started my blog I took the opportunity to write about Bleach and it’s characters.
Since then I haven’t really re watched or re read Bleach but when Kubo came out with Burn the Witch it got me thinking about Bleach again and I’ve started to rewatch the series but in sub instead of dub.
Now, if you’re caught up with Bleach (if you’re not then stop reading right now) you are familiar with their swords, the zanpakutos.
Originally, I thought that zanpakutos were spirits separate from the welder. So you had to learn the swords name in order to be able to release the shikai.
However, when we got to the final arc of Bleach we got to learn about the zanpakuto and basically learn that all we knew was a lie. Or rather we didn’t know the whole truth, we only knew the tip of the iceberg.
The wildest thing for me was realising that Ichigo’s sword wasn’t the man in black but was hollow Ichigo… all that time, it was you! How frustrating it must have been for him but then again, man was antagonistic. Zangetsu was always ready to throw hands and it was like, dude, chill (but it makes sense give White).
I’m not going to lie though I loved Zangetsu.
One of my favourite panels is when Ichigo accepts Zangetsu as he is and realises that they are one and the same.
So from Ichigo’s experience we learn that zanpakutos are a manifestation of their welder. They are a part of the welder’s soul given how they are made. They are one and yet different because zanpakutos have their own spirit and personalities.
Thus it colours Kenpachi Zaraki, Kenny, differently. That scene where his zanpakuto was crying out to be heard and Zangetsu was like, “You see, man can’t even hear his own sword. How sad.” (paraphrasing).
Because of that Kenny wasn’t as powerful as he could be… and he was already pretty powerful.
At first I thought it was sad because he wasn’t reaching his potential. However, recently I’ve been thinking it was sad because Kenny wasn’t listening to himself.
The relationship between the welder and the zanpakuto feels like a metaphor created by Kubo about the relationship the character has with themselves. The relationship between welder and sword can show the character’s insecurities (Ichigo), true nature (Aizen) and personality (Renji).
With Kenny, the relationship with his sword shows that he does not truly know himself. He doesn’t truly understand himself.
Sure, he is confident and loves to fight so he understands that but there is more to him than that. It’s like he has put a limit on his own power without realising it.
It also shows his arrogance. He believed that he did not need to know his sword. It was merely a tool for him. His sword was then, rightfully, offended.
The sword is not merely a tool but an extension of yourself. Kenny failed to see that and so that limited his power.
But, was it all Kenny’s fault? Old man Yama refused to teach Kenny Kendo. He refused to teach Kenny the way other Shinigami are taught because he feared Kenny’s power. In essence, he limited Kenny and shot himself in his foot because why would you weaken your best player?
Anyway, it shows how sometimes outside forces can limit you because they are scared of all the potential that you have. They can appear to be caring for you or they can appear to be lazy to teach you because you’re too difficult to teach (*glares at Yamamoto*) but in the end they’re covering up the fact that they don’t want you to surpass them or to become too powerful.
This all got me thinking about my relationship with my zanpakuto. I used to like to design my own zanpakuto… I could totally make one. Anyway, what is my relationship with myself? What is my inner landscape like? If I wear to perform jinzen what would I find out?
What would you find out?
Do you truly know yourself? Do you listen to yourself?
Or do you listen to outside forces?
Even with Ichigo, the man in black (Yhwach and Voldermort have things in common) pretended to be Zangetsu and Ichigo believed him because he feared Zangetsu and thus feared his true power and feared he would be overtaken by his own power as control was always something Ichigo struggled with. Thus, because of his fears he was not able to achieve his true power.
However, it was Zangetsu who continued to save Ichigo and Zangetsu who continued to teach Ichigo! Sometimes (all the time) actions speak louder than words. His inner self was trying to show him through action how to control him and how to become powerful. He cared the most for Ichigo (can’t say the same about Ichigo’s friends; Zangetsu did not care about them).
Side note: Although, the horcrux in Ichigo was helpful from time to time which was weird. I can’t remember why as it’s been a while since I read the last arc. The anime is coming soon so I’ll just watch to see why.
So listen to yourself. Listen to your inner landscape. Take time to get to know yourself as it is important. You may be missing out on something big.