Hi! Um… short answer, yes I do!
Unnecessary Long Answer:
Ichiruki has always been the main canon-material pairing in BLEACH for me, but as BLEACH was an action genre, I was very happy it didn’t get into any romance that would get in the way of the series. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t like Orihime’s position in the franchise, because that’s all she was demoted to in the end.
Ichigo and Rukia had amazing chemistry in the first and best arc of BLEACH. But when the Hueco Mundo arc came around, Kubo kinda destroyed Rukia’s personality. She did hit Ichigo now and then in the first arc when he’d make fun of her, not for just the sake of beating Ichigo up. Ichigo was extremely depressed, injured, and misinformed about the hollow attack. She shows up and beats the crap out of him. She brings him to his senses, but after the Hueco Mundo arc, Kubo butchered Rukia’s caring side towards Ichigo, which I was extremely unhappy about. You’d think considered Kaien’s death she’s be far more caring and considerate…… but no. Just down the gutter. ESPECIALLY when Rukia forced Ichigo to apologize to Orihime. That was not acceptable. Orihime and Chad ran into the fight of their own will, its not Ichigo’s fault they got hurt and he should not take blame for that. Orihime did try to reason with Ichigo that she ran in of her own accord and that he shouldn’t have to be there to protect her all the time. This set up the whole gary-sue trope for Ichigo, and ever since then he was the only one to ever actually progress the BLEACH series and things just got sickeningly repetitive.
Now…I apologize if I’m side tracking but I have to talk about my stance on these pairings again:
….Orihime was shown to have a crush on Ichigo throughout the entire manga, but never had any real reason or explanation behind it.
Seriously? Why????? She literally would give up her life for a mere highschool crush.. who does that? Its been stated she didn’t develop a crush for Ichigo until she saw him in Highschool. She stalks him and constantly gets in his way.
Ichigo has never once shown any interest in her at all, he’s brushed her off and ignored her everytime she approached him, and yet Kubo has the audacity to co-author a book and release it about Ichigo saying he knew about Orihime’s crush this entire time and even asks her out? I’ve never heard something so ridiculous in my entire life.
I saw a video released recently about one of the BLEACH editors saying Orihime was the heroine of the series which is entirely false. Out of the entire series (besides filler arcs), Orihime has only defeated ONE enemy. Which was a weakling hollow in the first arc. That’s literally it. I don’t think heroines are defined by the amount of people they’ve healed, but regarding that, her healing abilities could be replaced easily by Hachigen or Unohana. Hachigen told her she had the ability to bring things back to life without needing a body, and yet her power couldn’t even HEAL a body like Ichigo’s in the Ulquiorra fight. She’s no heroine. She was demoted to a side-character.
Back to her crush on Ichigo, remember the ONE time she actually defeated an enemy? That was for TATSUKI. TATSUKI WAS THE ONE WHO AWOKE HER POWER, AND THAT’S WHEN ORIHIME GAINED INDEPENDENCE TO FIGHT. But when going to rescue Rukia, she was really only there to “protect” Ichigo for no real reason as to why besides her crush that she doesn’t even know if its requited.
Orihime had the ability to reverse time. She was given many opportunities to actually make a difference in the series that only she could make. But none were taken. She didn’t reverse the Hougyoku, she couldn’t stop Tsukishima, and despite having “god like powers” her power does jack-shit to the soul kings. As to how she wasn’t killed in the Yhwach vs Ichigo battle, and as to why Ichigo and CO. even let her come along on this mission will forever be a mystery to me. She’s the weakest character out of the original team of 5, by all means, she should have been killed. Even Renji knew she wasn’t a warrior, so why was she there? Her only significance in the final battle was fixing Yoruichi’s arm, that’s it. (and giving birth to Yhwach Jr. but that’s a cluster fuck to analyze for another time)
Orihime was reduced to pure fanservice waifu-material. Her breasts were 4X the size of her head in the quincy arc, and her power has been completely useless overall the entire series, especially if others can replicate her abilities to an even better extent than her own. (Like Hachigen.)
The fact that there’s no soul king and Ichigo wasn’t allowed at home due to his power issues, and the fact that they’re even allowed to have children in the world of the living, this is the most baffling, false, and culture shocking ending to a series I have ever seen. I feel like this ending is legit a dream world that Ichigo is having as the new soul king considering this ending is literally not possible reflecting on all the information we’ve been given this past arc. Yikes.
“Knowing eachother for a long time” is weird in itself considering time passes differently in Soul Society than in the human world… which Kubo seems to have forgotten. As to why they’d have a child that is somehow the same-looking age as Kazui perhaps around the same time as Ichigo and Orihime is a bundle of confusion already. But these two didn’t talk for 40 years, then Renji shows up and beats her up and slices her, threatening to KILL her, where URYU HAS TO STEP IN. HOW BAD DOES THAT LOOK WHEN A QUINCY STEPS IN-BETWEEN A SHINIGAMI QUARREL. Renji and Rukia have had absolutely zero romantic interest the entire series. The only one time Renji ever seems to actually like her was when they were children. But RenRuki has never had any one-sided love confessions like Orihime. THis is the least developed pairing out of the two.
(and also for Orihime to make Rukia a wedding veil out of strawberry flowers… REALLY? I MEAN…. no wonder there’s Ichiruki/Ishihime cheating AU’s going around right now! I mean can you imagine Renji seeing his to be wife marching down the aisle with strawberry flowers? Considering this anime has heavily implied name association (Princess Orihime, Sado Yasutora the Tiger, Yuzu-Ichigo-and Karin being named with homonyms for fruits, Ichigo addressing his name with the number 15 on his door, Kon being direct from Konpaku..) For Renji not to pick up on that, especially with Ichigo probably attending their wedding….he’s gotta know something is up. I mean how did Renji even know about Orihime’s crush on Ichigo let alone “know” Ichigo has a “crush on” Orihime too? Zero context for that too. Lot of plot hole issues with these pairings. ))
now Uryu. Precious Uryu. He deserved the world and got nothing. An anti-social who ends up making friends only for them all to become distant from him once more. The original quincy who gets nearly zero spotlight in an arc dedicated to quincy. A man who stood up for ex-shinigami Rukia when she was getting sliced up by her “future husband” Renji. A man who noticed, reassured, encouraged, and was amazed by Orihime’s abilities and kindness. A man who would lay his life down for her after spending nearly the entire Soul Society arc with her. Orihime was the closest person in the group with Uryu, they even shared the same aspirations. They were both top in their sewing class, had quirky designs and tastes, and in the end were both interested in the medical field. They even had a close relative they adored die before their eyes when they were young. For this pairing not to be canon is a crime to me. These two deserved so… so much better.
I honestly could live with Renruki. That’s a whatever for me for it to be canon. But Ichihime makes zero sense with the plot. That’s my main issue with the pairings. For Ichihime to be real, Ichigo and Orihime have to be in soul society. But even so, if Ichigo was in soul society, that means more time with Rukia, so at that point, who knows which way the pairings would go?
That being said, I would not want a forced Ichiruki BLEACH ending if it meant there’d be no soul king and massive gun-shot plot holes and contradictory storyline like Ichihime left.
I completely shipped Ichiruki in the first arc, but as I said, Kubo changed Rukia’s personality (and her friggen backstory? He made her out to be one of the weakest shinigami and yet she had a shikai like… when did she obtain this? If this was before she lost her powers then I’m at a loss as to how she couldn’t defeat a simple hollow, Kubo is a complete liar he legit had no idea where he was going with the story.)Maybe her desire to get rid of her powers and die because of the Kaien incident would make sense at the time, but other than that her being weak was weird, especially now since she’s defeated one of the most powerful underling quincy and obtained a bankai. How can that BLEACH editor say she’s not the true heroine of the series? She can fight and heal injuries, she’s got the training for it.
So I absolutely love Ichiruki. As an AU. Because with the way Kubo set Ichigo up to really be the only soul king option besides Aizen, Ichiruki couldn’t be canon along with Ichihime. If the quincy arc diverged away from that where there was no desperate need for a soul king, Ichiruki should have totally become canon because of Ichigo’s bounds to Soul Society and given their chemistry.
Orihime was jealous of Rukia because Rukia was always the one who could reach through to Ichigo no matter what. Orihime was never able to do that (besides that time in the Grimmjow fight, but the reason Ichigo was upset was because of her in the first place so it makes sense as to why he’d only listen to her that one time.) For Orihime to still hold such good ties with Rukia all the while hating her on the inside for being closer with Ichigo is a surprise to me. She’s strong with her kindness, I’ll give her that. But regardless, she was helpless to save Ichigo, even with her powers. The only time she successfully healed him was during the first arc up to Grimmjow’s fight. After that, she just couldn’t seem to heal him anymore because her power is “no match” against the reiatsu inflicted wounds.
Renji said Rukia’s faced never looked so alive when he mentioned traces of Ichigo sightings in Soul Society. Ichigo, a guy Rukia only knew for a little while, rushed in with little to no shinigami experience to save her, while Renji sat back hopeless knowing he could do nothing despite her being his only friend for so many years. He BEGGED Ichigo to save her because he couldn’t.
Orihime and Renji could not once reach out to the ones they “loved” this whole series. They both held a jealously towards their “spouses’” significant other because they knew they couldn’t do the same. That says a lot about this entire situation.
To have two main characters: male and female… have such a great start off friendship…. to have the female character have a back story involving a guy who she loved who was so similar to Ichigo its uncanny, to have Ichigo quote something he heard from Rukia an entire arc ago when addressing his father’s shinigami powers, to have Orihime fear Ichigo turning hollow when Rukia fears FOR Ichigo as a hollow, to have ichigo constantly be concerned for Rukia’s well being during the Orihime Rescue mission ready to drop everything to go save her first if she was in trouble, to continuously joke about Ichigo and Rukia’s close “romantic” relationship in canon and filler arc along with rumors being spread that the two are dating within the highschool in the first arc, to have an entire movie dedicated to Ichigo and Rukia’s relationship where Ichigo remembered Rukia so quickly, while her future HUSBAND RENJI FORGOT HER COMPLETELY, to have multiple parallels of “sun and moon” yin/yang - clad-type finale white and black bankai moves - similar Masaki-Isshin forbidden meeting parallel not to mention the parallel of Ichigo/Isshin saving Rukia/Masaki savior scene nearly laid out the same way, to have a PTSD rain significance with Ichigo’s memories of his mother dying- and when he saves Rukia he says the rain stopped because of her, to have Isshin and Ichigo’s family accept Rukia as a third daughter/sister and have her sleep in their house treating her as part of the family while Isshin and Yuzu listen in on Rukia and Ichigo’s conversations in the bedroom along with Yuzu being concerned because Rukia seems more girly and romance material to Ichigo than Tatsuki was, to have ichigo miss his power that he dreams about Rukia, to have Ichigo think of Rukia as the last and strongest pride he had as a shinigami when trying to gain his fullbring, to have Rukia swoop in and save him when he’s crying his eyes out to help him regain his power- to be the only one in Soul Society to be against the idea of Ichigo becoming Soul Society’s enemy and spying on him, when Ichigo ends up seeing Rukia’s butt in the hot springs and he and the other guy think of peaches….., when Renji forcibly picks a bloody defeated Ichigo off the ground Rukia tells him to wait and that Ichigo might not be in good shape for a lecture despite that being her job the past few arcs, to have Yhwach say he’ll show up when Ichigo and his friends are at their happiest and he chooses to show up during Ichigo and Rukia’s 10 year reunion and not their weddings or baby-showers, to have Ichihime and Renruki become the “canon” pairing and having their children be the focus of the final chapter and yet the finale book cover is Ichiruki, to have a co-author novel with the suspicious title “We do KNOT always love you” featuring Renji and Rukia’s wedding and Ichihime confession, to have Ichiruki be voted the most popular BLEACH pairing and to be promoting the final BLEACH manga with Ichiruki advertisement bait….. to have the last image we see of the main group be of Ichigo and Rukia who hardly acknowledge their spouses the whole chapter?
and Tite Kubo FRIENDZONED these two?
Bye…I’m glad Ichiruki didn’t get in the way of the story like Ichihime did, so at least that’s a positive.
Mitsuro Kubo, the creator of Yuri on Ice did in 12 anime episodes what Tite Kubo couldn’t do in 10 years.
Create a believable, developed, romantic relationship with a good plot to back it up.
and the best part is, Mitsuro Kubo did it with non-heterosexual characters.
For Kubo to rush in with this light novel to try and force in “romantic development” to try and explain pairings he literally only splooshed together for the sake of children.. and to attempt to explain it in a single light novel when he had wasted a ton of plotline set ups that went no where that he could have spent developing said relationships in 10 years time? To have him claim this is an action genre only for him to approve of a light novel based around forced romance and not filling up the hundreds of plot holes he made in the series? Sure we get insight on a couple character’s status and whereabouts but uM WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED… TO THE SOUL KING? THE ZERO SQUAD? Y’KNOW… THE MOST IMPORTANT KEY TO THE WORLD BEING ABLE TO LIVE? HE DEEMED PAIRINGS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THAT?
If Kaien Shiba claims our hearts are in our fists, I think there’s a lot of bleach fans out there who would love to introduce their “hearts” to Kubo’s face… as harsh as that sounds. He and his entire editor team just continue to ship bait and lie to their fans. It’s very disrespectful, kinda giving fans a reason to be upset with them aside from their other choices. Still don’t approve of the harassment going on though. Nothing is gonna change it now besides us. Its up to us to patch up what’s left of BLEACH’S dignity by continuing to improve and create better plot lines that Kubo pulled out of his garbage can.
So yeah. Ishihime and Ichiruki were, without a doubt in my mind, canon in the first arc. The amount of time and care each exhibited toward eachother throughout the arc says it all. The end game pairings were DEFINITELY not planned from the beginning. Kubo never had a hold that good on the plot of his series past the first arc. Its just… its not believable. Can’t buy it no matter how hard I try…