ZERO :: the Fool (annwyd) wrote,
ZERO :: the Fool

Anti-IchiHime Refutation #1

Mmm, wanky post. Anyway, like I was talking about earlier, I'm slowly going through arguments against Ichigo/Orihime and refuting them. This is the first one. Before anyone gets any items of clothing into knots over it, though, please note that nowhere in this do I insist that IchiHime is inevitable and everyone must support it. I simply take down a faulty argument against it. That's why it's not going into the main body of the IchiHime essay when I revise it.

Anyway, here's the argument I'll be dealing with tonight:

Ichigo's feelings for Orihime haven't developed in over 250 chapters! She's still just a friend to him!

The answer to this one is simple: yes, they have. Because she wasn't always a friend to him.

"Are you close?" Rukia asks Ichigo in chapter 3, referring to his relationship with Orihime. Ichigo waffles on this. From his answers, we can gather that he might sort of maybe consider Orihime "close" because of their shared past, but he specifically does not call her a friend. She's best friends with Tatsuki. She's a classmate. He doesn't really know her.

Their experience in the first arc brings them closer, especially once Ichigo realizes that Orihime remembers it and has gained powers. We see the result of that development when Orihime is able to cheer Ichigo up and convince him that going to Soul Society to rescue Rukia is the right thing to do.

We see some more interesting development in the early SS arc, when Ichigo chews Yoruichi out for upsetting Orihime. He doesn't get all D:< at her when she claws Orihime; instead, his anger comes when she yells at her. Ichigo has previously shown no hesitation in protecting people physically by this point, but protecting people's feelings? That's pretty new, and it's another step in the development of his relationship with Orihime.

After his fight with Byakuya, Ichigo gives Orihime a tender look as he realizes how much she's done for his sake (even if he doesn't understand the reason yet; give him a break, he's dense). Then he thanks her--showing that he is now capable of appreciating her.

Shortly after Rukia is rescued, Ichigo and Orihime work together to find her. He is now capable of treating her as an equal when the situation calls for it.

In the start of the Vaizard arc, we see that Ichigo, Chad, and Orihime fight Hollows together. In other words, after the SS arc, Orihime is now on a level similar to Chad, who has been Ichigo's friend for years.

We then see him attempt to protect her and do (in his opinion) a lousy job of it. This upsets him enough to make him miserable until Rukia comes and snaps him out of it. After she does so, the first thing she does is make him apologize to Orihime, which indicates that his relationship with Orihime has developed to the point where Rukia notices its importance.

Finally, upon hearing of her capture, Ichigo declares Orihime nakama--not just a friend but a close friend, a member of his circle of friends, a partner, and someone on the level of Tatsuki or Chad, both of whom he has known for years.

Let's summarize:

In the mini-arcs leading up to the SS arc, in Ichigo's eyes, Orihime goes from "girl I have a shared history with but don't really know" to "someone I want to protect who is capable of influencing my thoughts and beliefs in a positive way" (with her encouragement of his rescue of Rukia).

During the SS arc, despite their lack of interaction, in Ichigo's eyes, Orihime goes from "someone I want to protect who is capable of influencing my thoughts and beliefs in a positive way" to "someone I appreciate, want to protect both physically and emotionally, and will work side by side with."

Post-SS arc, in Ichigo's eyes, Orihime finally transforms from "someone I appreciate, want to protect both physically and emotionally, and will work side by side with" into "nakama that I must protect and that other people in my life recognize the importance of to me."

So yes, Orihime has not yet explicitly developed past "important friend" for Ichigo (although she's always had the additional bonus of that history with him). However, there has been plenty of development to their relationship, and there's no reason that it would be somehow poor writing or unrealistic for its future development to take on a romantic edge.

Corollary to this argument: Ichigo's feelings for Orihime haven't developed since the Soul Society arc!

Well, since the SS arc, Orihime has explicitly made the leap to nakama or "friend/comrade." However, it's kind of unreasonable to expect more than that during that time frame. Let's look at what actually happened during the time in question:

1) Ichigo & co get home. Ichigo, Chad, and Orihime briefly work together.
2) Orihime, Chad, and Tatsuki get hurt fighting Arrancar.
3) Ichigo angsts over his failure to protect Orihime and avoids actually interacting with her because of this angst.
4) Rukia kicks Ichigo out of his funk, forces him to apologize to Orihime. (Perhaps this experience is what makes him realize that Orihime is nakama to him?)
5) The other shinigami who arrived with Rukia hustle Ichigo & co into battles against the Arrancar.
6) Rukia gets injured; Ichigo goes to train.
7) Rukia and Orihime "train" together in Soul Society; Ichigo is busy training with the Vaizards.
8) Orihime, on her way back to the mortal world, gets captured.

This doesn't exactly give Ichigo much time to get closer to Orihime. So it's unreasonable to expect him to have had tons of epiphanies about her since the Soul Society arc.
Tags: bleach

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