I like to collect the original Japanese version of the manga but from time to time in bookstores (both English and Japanese) I read the volumes just to pass time and today I was rereading 32 and 33 briefly.
I came across where initially Inoue was trying to be optimistic in front of Nel as Ichigo fought to protect them even though she was shaking visible and I was like okay that’s fine at least she’s trying.
But then it just goes all to hell when Ichigo is in his vaizard form and Nel is the one to remind Inoue that this is the same Ichigo from minutes before and yet Inoue only looks at him with fear.
It really broke my heart how much that stung Ichigo. It is one of the main driving forces that make me so disgusted with ichihime. I know Inoue’s human and she has faults but this is the man she claimed to love for five lifetimes and she couldn’t get past his mask? When he was doing nothing to hurt or threaten her–he was doing everything in his power to protect her and she only stares at him in absolute horror, terrified of his appearance?
I really wanted to cry. I was close to tearing up reading it I almost couldn’t stomach the hurt he expresses that someone he cares about as a friend and wants nothing more to protect fears him. To me this really puts Inoue on the same level as Ichigo’s sisters, more or less. Most likely Yuzu, who loves her brother dearly but if she were to see Ichigo like that, she would be horrified while Karin would be frightened but she would be more concerned for her brother and very much confused. However, the differences is his sisters, despite being in the dark, if they were exposed to this side of Ichigo, while they would be frightened,they would still be concerned for him.
Inoue was exposed and has knowledge of all that is going on and even if she had never seen Ichigo in his vaizard form, It shouldn’t have mattered because she should have known it is still Ichigo.
But, instead, what does she do? What does the girl who claims to love Ichigo with all her heart and would choose to love him for five lifetimes do when faced with the harsh reality and glimpse of the true Ichigo? The one she wanted to gallantly ride like a knight in shining armor through her rose colored glasses and deluded visions?
She fears him.
She does not fear Grimmjow like this, or hell, maybe even at all. She doesn’t fear Uliquiorra, she slapped him! No, but Ichigo himself?
She was absolutely terrified and believed this was not ‘her’ Kurosaki-kun.
Inoue did have to deal with her brother and see him as a hollow but even then she could reach out to him and find her true brother when he bit her shoulder attempting to eat her. And yet with Ichigo, the man she claims she was so in love with, she can only regard with horror and shock.
Rejection. Monster. Fear.
Ichigo could see those emotions in her eyes. Not regarding the situation. Not regarding his safety. They were all directed towards him out of her fear of him.
Rukia went through something even worse and yet never once does she make Ichigo feel alienated or like a monster, feeling only concern for his well being.
Inoue felt concern only for herself and would only relax once Ichigo became ‘'her kurosaki-kun’ in a form she was familiar with.
The joke is her Kurosaki-kun never really existed.
It’s truly just heartbreaking and disgusting how Inoue views him in such shallow, selfish ways and can’t see who Ichigo truly is but still insists on pushing her feelings on him.
If you can’t accept someone in what might perceived as their worst or ‘ugly’ moments then you sure as hell don’t deserve them at their best. Ichigo is not a monster and it pains him to his very core how he is housing this bloodlust and this ‘monster’ inside of him that is the opposite to the core of his very being.
To destroy vs to protect.
He doesn’t need Inoue to look at him and regard him that way while he’s trying to protect her and remind him of what he already knows very well.
He already battles with self doubt and trying to shoulder the responsibilities of the world on his shoulders. He doesn’t need someone adding on that doubt and fear he already had to fight daily to keep from being consumed from the inside out.
People have doubted and ridiculed him day in and day out since he was a child.
This is why ichihime disgusts me to my core. The foundation and resolve of Inoue’s feelings are nothing but infatuation and obsession, but it is not founded in true bonds or connections–only what she believes is there and what she wants to see. She rejects the rest.
Literally her powers are based in rejecting what she does not want to see or believe. And her resolve is so weak and easily broken–she does not deserve to be with Ichigo that way.
Ichigo does not need someone who will flinch and waver between trust and doubt with him and make him feel rejected and alienated. Something Inoue has done more than once in the most crucial moments in his life.
Ichigo needs someone who will never doubt him, who is always on his side, who never looks at him with anything but concern, confidence, and even love.
Ichigo deserves and already does have someone a million times better in his life who would never look at him that way or even doubt him for a moment.
Rukia is the only one who has never once doubted Ichigo. If she’s ever turned him away or reprimanded him, it was out of concern for his health and well being, especially if it meant risking himself for her sake. Rukia knows what Ichigo is capable of and she believes with every fiber of her being that he can succeed–in fact just staying alive is always a success for her because it means you live to fight another day. She is also one who reminds him of his limitations in the sense that he needs to remember he can’t and doesn’t have to do everything on his own–he needs to be open with others and continue to trust in order to succeed–not just rely on her.
Rukia is the one who believes in him when no one else, even Ichigo himself, no longer believes in him. She will fight tooth and nail to do anything that will help anyone, especially Ichigo, because this is the kind of person Rukia is. She is kind, considerate, determined and works hard to achieve her goals. She is loyal to a fault, forgiving, and passionate.
Rukia is the one Ichigo deserves and needs by his side. She helps him to find his purpose, to lend him strength and help him to find resolve in his own abilities, and most of all, she found him a place in the world (all the worlds) where he doesn’t feel alienated or an outsider looking in.
For him, she’s everything. His best friend, his trusted comrade, his nakama, his family, his soulmate, his ray of light, his moon. She is home for him.