It has been nearly seven months since Bleach ended and I’m still confused as to how IRs were “blindsided” or “betrayed”.
Kubo never gave any indication that the IchiRuki relationship was anything more than friendship. Never.
Especially not in the last arc. They talked like, what ??? Once or twice?? And then the rest of the time Ichigo was with Chad, Orihime, or Ishida—the Karakura gang. And Rukia was always with Renji or Byakuya or her SS fam. Ichigo and Rukia barely interacted.
Hell, ever since the SS arc had ended Ichigo and Rukia were rarely ever depicted together anymore. They would go without seeing each other for dozens of chapters and then BAM! they reunited for a page or two and suddenly fans were freaking out.
And I genuinely don’t understand this…. ?? Like, do people really think that’s beautiful or romantic?? Not seeing your supposed “true love” for possibly months at a time??? Plus, as many have already pointed out, if they were really and truly ~in love~ why did Rukia willingly choose to stay in SS instead of going back to the Human World with Ichigo?? Why did Ichigo not beg her to go with him?? They’re in love right? They can’t even live without each other?? I mean—that’s what I’ve always seen the IRs claim. And yet there were zero signs of romance between them.
Before I started Bleach I was convinced that Ichigo and Rukia were THE couple. I always saw fans flipping out over their scenes together, screaming about their beautiful OTP…
So when I started Bleach I headed into it thinking that IchiRuki was it. And I waited for the romance to pop up.
But I got nothing. I looked for the “signs” and “evidence” that IRs claimed they had for IchiRuki being endgame. I waited for an “I love you” or a flirty dialogue or even one of those “heart eyes” scenes. And I found none.
There was not one single piece of evidence that IR was going to be canon and in love. Of course everybody has a different outlook on things, but Kubo clearly indicated that IR was platonic and that he was going a different route. Tite Kubo is the AUTHOR of Bleach. HIS interpretation is what matters.
Kubo showed that he was going with IchiHime. He doesn’t owe anybody anything and he could have made Ichigo x Urahara canon if he so wanted.
TL;DR - The fact of the matter is that Kubo was always going to go with IchiHime. I’m sorry IRs, but that is the cold, harsh truth. He never indicated or stated otherwise. That’s just how it is.