sestuna

I know, I know, canon and fanon consensus is that the Crystal Tokyo ChibiUsa comes from is the exact future of our Usagi. That ChibiUsa might be changing the past, but it’s in a single timeline, and Neo Queen Serenity in the future can remember being Usagi and remember ChibiUsa coming to visit her and even occasionally makes decisions based on those memories (like sending ChibiUsa to the past to train because she knew ChibiUsa needed to be there to meet Hotaru), but I really, really prefer the diverging timelines theory.

And there are a bunch of reasons, logistical, occasionally personally indulgent, and related to good Storytelling that I prefer to thing that the timeline we’re following is a different timeline than the one experienced by ChibiUsa’s Crystal Tokyo. 

1. It raises the stakes by getting rid of the guarantee of a future, especially when ChibiUsa is present. 

Look - this is no small problem. It’s difficult to get invested in a story when you know for a fact that everything is going to be okay. This can be fixed by claiming there’s only one timeline, but it’s a changeable one, but that still lowers the stakes for Infinity and Dream, because ChibiUsa is right there, and she’s fine. Or when she’s not fine she’s still not being erased from existence

When Usagi jumps into Pharaoh 90, for instance, everyone is devastated. If ChibiUsa is the future child of this incarnation of Mamoru and Usagi, though, that devastation doesn’t make sense. Because ChibiUsa is right there and she’s fine! So clearly everything is gonna work out!

Whereas if you assume ChibiUsa’s timeline is safe regardless of what happens to Usagi’s timeline here, then the whole thing becomes much scarier and darker. ChibiUsa’s presence isn’t a guarantee that everything is going to work out. There is no guarantee. Their timeline could end here. They could all die here. 

2. It allows ChibiUsa and Hotaru’s friendship to continue uninterrupted. 

One of the most confusing thoughts about the future Crystal Tokyo senshi is Hotaru’s place in it. Especially regarding Hotaru’s age. While technically 900 years old, ChibiUsa is still a teenager when she and the Quartet become a team. We know from art that Naoko envisioned Saturn as part of that team, but how does that work? Every solution is confusing and sad, and potentially creepy child grooming for friendship? Or does Saturn just hide somewhere until ChibiUsa has time travelled a couple times? Is she the one adult in a team of teenagers? How do she and ChibiUsa rekindle their friendship when for ChibiUsa it’s been days but for Hotaru it’s been hundreds of years?

Much easier is just that Hotaru from our timeline hops over on a semi-permanent basis to ChibiUsa’s timeline. 

3. Crystal Tokyo, and the choices of Neo Queen Serenity and King Endymion make more sense. 

Why would you obsessively worry about your daughter who isn’t aging if you’ve known since you were fifteen that she would eventually figure it out and it’d be fine? Why would you send a criminal to tenth planet space-Australia to merge with the planet and become the ultimate evil if you can remember that that was nearly the downfall of your entire kingdom? 

Wouldn’t you seek out some kids names Demande and Safir and Esmeraude and, like, put them in an after school program or something if you knew their adolescent antics would turn into extremist gang activity and terrorism that nearly ends the world both now and in the past?

The best explanation for Crystal Tokyo existing the way it does is that the king and queen were working without a map. Otherwise ChibiUsa’s time travel invokes a paradox. Or at least questionable character choices. 

4. I like the idea of Sestuna Meioh being a normal human who’s been living a normal life in Tokyo up until her awakening.

I don’t want her to just have been brought back from the dead. All the other girls got to have normal lives. I want her to get that chance too. And since we know she’s been stationed at the time gate uninterrupted since the Silver Millenium, the best way for her to get a normal life is to have been reincarnated in a new timeline.

5. It gives ChibiUsa a whole new source of angst, and a whole new sense of responsibility. 

I could explore this for ages and have so many feelings about it, but in lieu of writing several thousands words full of multiple mini-fics right here, I’ll just say: ChibiUsa accidentally created an entirely new timeline, probably because she didn’t know how to use the time key, and immediately exposed that timeline to danger. She probably didn’t even know she was doing it, but imagine how she feels when she realizes what she did. Simultaneously, this action gave Pluto a normal life. It gave Hotaru a friend. This new timeline, is it darker or lighter? Scarier or safer? How does ChibiUsa feel?

6. Look, I just really like the idea of free will. 

I want to believe Usagi and Mamoru and everyone else are making choices about their future genuinely not knowing what it will hold, because this is a new timeline with a new future. When they talk about going to medical school or opening a flower shop, I don’t want that to be “what I would do if we weren’t scheduled to start a post-apocalypse global utopia in 4-6 years”. I want that to be what they are genuinely planning on, because there’s no certainty that their timeline will play out like the Crystal Tokyo one. They’ve even asked Pluto and she’s shrugged and said, “Look, we’re in new territory here. This timeline has already veered so far off the ones that I was aware of at the Time Gate that we can’t be certain of anything.”


Basically, I like it better. And I know it’s not standard fanon, but I prefer it. And anyway please all continue with your day I’ll be here overthinking every aspect of Sailor Moon. Bye. 

La catábasis como tema principal en Angel Sanctuary y Bleach

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La catábasis o katabasis (del griego κατὰ, “abajo” βαίνω “avance”) es el mitema que se refiere al enfrentamiento que se le hace a la muerte en un viaje de descenso al Inframundo. 

Toda historia que se desenvuelve en torno a la catábasis cuenta con un héroe que, pudiendo ser un mortal o una deidad, emprende un viaje al más allá en busca de algún objeto, un ser amado, o un conocimiento superior. La habilidad que tiene un mortal de poder cruzar a un mundo espectral, vivir estando en él y volver en el mismo estado, es lo que le otorga el estado superior a un humano común. De una forma similar, el regreso de una deidad se considera como un tema escatológico como lo es el ciclo natural del tiempo y el espacio, o como la derrota de la muerte y el paso a la inmortalidad.

Una de las catábasis más famosas es la de Orfeo, quien tomando ventaja del encanto de su música (un talento heredado, probablemente, de Apolo), bajó al Inframundo para rogarle a Hades que le devolviera el alma de su amada Eurídice. Una historia tan cautivadora como la de este carismático personaje no es fácilmente omitida y, aunque han pasado milenios desde la primera vez que fue contada, sigue cautivando al mundo entero. 

¿Quién podría resistirse a la idea de un héroe atravesando un sinnúmero de dificultades inimaginables en un mundo en el que solo habitan seres inmateriales con el único objetivo de salvar a la persona que ama? Ni siquiera grandes mangakas como Kaori Yuki y Tite Kubo han podido resistirse al encanto de dicho mito.

La catábasis en las obras de Kaori Yuki y Tite Kubo

En la obra cumbre de Yuki (Angel Sanctuary), Setsuna emprende un viaje al infierno para rescatar el alma de su amada hermana, la que será sometida a juicio y posteriormente destruida por haber cometido incesto en vida. La catábasis de Orfeo es mencionada explícitamente en el manga, dando a entender a los lectores que fue la inspiración para construir al protagonista.

“¡Oh, Eurídice! ¡Mi amada y bella esposa! Te he perdido.”

Hades , el rey del Tártaro, y su reina Perséfone se llavaron a su amada, pero cuando escucharon el llanto de Orfeo y el lúgubre sonido de su lira, sintieron tanta soledad y tristeza que todos los habitantes del inframundo (incluídos el rey y la reina) permitieron a Orfeo llevar a su esposa de vuelta a la Tierra.

Sin embargo, Orfeo violó la prohibición de los dioses: no mirar el rostro de su esposa a lo largo del camino de regreso.

Eurídice cubrió su rostro y regresó a la oscuridad llorando como una avecilla.

Cayó.

– Kaori Yuki, Angel Sanctuary, capítulo 21.

En cuanto a Kubo, Ichigo, el protagonista de Bleach, va a la Sociedad de Almas a impedir que Rukia sea ejecutada por haber roto la ley que prohíbe el traspaso de poderes shinigami a un humano. Si bien en su manga no se hace alusión directa a la catábasis de Orfeo, la inspiración es evidente: Ichigo comparte las características de los héroes griegos, y su determinación por salvar a la mujer que detuvo su lluvia y cambió su mundo, nos da a entender, de una forma bastante poética, que ella es su Eurídice. El poema que le dedica a Rukia en el capítulo 85 deja esto bastante claro.

「那由他の刃も越えていく」
Voy a pasar a través de 100 millones de espadas

–Ichigo Kurosaki, Bleach, capítulo 85.

Al leer ambos mangas, pese a lo distintos que puedan parecer debido a que pertenecen a géneros totalmente opuestos (shoujo y shounen), es inevitable reparar en más elementos en común que comparten y que se desprenden de la catábasis. Para ahondar más en ellos, se presentan a continuación una serie de comparaciones entre ambos.

Paralelos entre Angel Sanctuary y Bleach

  • Protagonistas

Setsuna e Ichigo, a pesar de ser personajes muy diferentes en términos de personalidad y madurez (siendo Setsuna más irreverente e inmaduro), tienen en común su gran romanticismo, determinación y sentido de protección.

Relacionado a la primera característica de estos protagonistas, tenemos que así como Kubo ha escrito poemas para expresar los sentimientos de Ichigo (especialmente hacia Rukia) a través de poemas, Yuki lo hizo en su momento con Setsuna. 

Descansa en paz

En el momento en que tu vida terminó
¿Sentiste dolor?
¿Sentiste miedo?

Tu fría mano sostiene un flor abriendo
Tus labios escarlata y tu pelo que se mece con el viento
Hacen que me pregunte si esto es un sueño

Pronuncias tus últimas palabras con dolor
Y mi vida termina

Por favor…
Llévame contigo

–Setsuna Mudou, Angel Sanctuary, capítulo 20.

Me pregunto si puedo continuar con la velocidad del mundo sin ti. 

–Ichigo Kurosaki, Bleach, volúmen 49.

Respecto al segundo punto, se puede afirmar que ni Setsuna ni Ichigo dudan en ningún momento en hacer lo que se les cruza por la mente cuando hay una buena razón detrás. 

Además, ambos sienten la obligación de hacer lo imposible por la persona que arriesgó su vida por ellos.

Apuntando al tercer aspecto, se encuentran las enormes ganas que poseen de proteger a las personas que aprecian a como dé lugar, incluso si eso significa tener que sacrificarse ellos mismos.

Otra particularidad que los hace incluso más diferentes de los demás, tiene que ver con sus colores de cabello, inusuales para el fenotipo japonés. Uno posee el cabello castaño claro debido a que su padre es inglés, y el otro posee el cabello anaranjado, heredado de su madre. Esta diferencia al resto los ha llevado a ser considerados buscapleitos y a ser incomprendidos por quienes los rodean. Ninguno de los dos ha podido zafarse de las peleas y han tenido que aprender a defenderse.

Por último, es importante destacar también, que así como Sestuna no es un humano puro (en términos de alma), Ichigo tampoco lo es. Mientras que el primero es un ser creado con la energía que el ángel orgánico Alexiel adquirió después de cientos de reencarnaciones, Ichigo es el hijo de un shinigami y una Quincy. Ambos tienen el código genético de un humano, pero sus almas son muy diferentes a las de un humano común y corriente, las que les permite ver seres que no son propios del mundo material.

  • Amores destinados

Setsuna heredó el amor que Alexiel siete por su hermano Rosiel, es por eso que en esta reencarnación se enamoró de su hermana Sara, quien resulta ser la reencarnación del ángel de la sabiduría Gabriel, encargado de proteger a Alexiel. Desde un cierto punto de vista, podría considerarse que el amor entre los hermanos Mudou es producto de los sentimientos que sus almas angelicales poseen, en otras palabras: estaban destinados a enamorarse porque los sentimientos que acarreaban desde sus vidas como ángeles predominaron en sus corazones.

El caso de Ichigo y Rukia es aún más explícito. Él es el sol negro y ella la luna blanca; uno es la arena y la otra el rotador; la naturaleza de uno es quincy y la de la otra shinigami; Ichigo es la energía masculina y Rukia la femenina, entre otros. Su encuentro fue destinado gracias al Rey de las Almas con el fin de que la oposición energética que cada uno de ellos representa lograse crear un balance, siguiendo la tradición espiritual del Ying y el Yang.

  • Espadas

Setsuna posee a Nanatsusaya e Ichigo a Zangetsu. Ambas espadas son especiales porque solo ellos pueden blandirlas y porque poseen un espíritu que solo responde a su dueño. 

Tanto Nanatsusaya como Zangetsu son increíblemente poderosas y van adquiriendo un mayor poder destructivo y adoptando nuevas apariencias a medida que sus amos van aprendiendo más de ellas o aceptando sus poderes.

  • Un amor no correspondido y una trampa

Kurai es la princesa imperial de Gehenna, el primer infierno. A pesar de ser un demonio, Kurai posee un corazón puro y generoso, y se enamora perdidamente de Setsuna a pesar de estar consciente de que él ama a Sara. Su corazón oscila un buen rato con los celos, la resignación y la desesperación. 

Kurai puede ser comparada con Inoue en la historia de Kubo, especialmente por su rol en el arco de Hueco Mundo. Inoue alberga sentimientos no correspondidos por Ichigo, y lidia constantemente con los celos que siente por Rukia, la dueña del corazón del hombre que quiere. 

Los sentimientos que Kurai alberga por Setsuna resultan ser su mayor debilidad, y la llevan a creer en las palabras del demonio Mad Hatter (Belial), quien la engaña (y amenaza) para que lo acompañe al reino de Lucifer sin decirle una palabra a nadie a cambio de conseguir una poción que resucitará el cuerpo de su amado.

De la misma forma que Kurai es engañada por Mad Hatter, Inoue cae en una trampa y es amenazada por Ulquiorra, quien la obliga a que lo acompañe a Hueco Mundo sin decirle a nadie, para servirle a Aizen a cambio de la seguridad de Ichigo.

Ambas personajes poseen una escena similar al despedirse de sus amores no correspondidos antes de partir si decirle a nadie. Kurai e Inoue intentan besar al hombre que nunca las verá de la forma que ellas quisieran (Kurai intenta hacerlo mientras el alma de Setsuna está en el cuerpo de Alexiel).

Por último, tanto en el caso de Kurai como en el de Inoue, los protagonistas se ven en la obligación de ir en su rescate, teniendo que pasar por situaciones difíciles a causa del egoísmo.

  • Pecados capitales

Mad Hatter y Ulquiorra representan un pecado capital. Mad Hatter es el orgullo, aunque todo el tiempo pareciera que representa mejor la lujuria debido a que le encanta seducir a hombres y mujeres y llevarlos a la corrupción total (así fue como logró crear un trauma en Raphael). A modo de paralelo, al analizar a Ulquiorra puede decirse que él representa los siete pecados capitales debido a que los sintió todos por Inoue, pero gracias al poema incluído en el volumen 40 de Bleach queda claro que la lujuria es el que mejor lo define:

心在るが故に妬み Envidio a causa del corazón
心在るが故に喰らい Glotoneo a causa del corazón
心在るが故に奪い Codicio a causa del corazón
心在るが故に傲り Me enorgullezco a causa del corazón
心在るが故に惰り(あなどり)Soy indolente a causa del corazón
心在るが故に怒り Me enfurezco a causa del corazón
心在るが故に A causa del corazón
お前のすべてを欲する Siento lujuria por todo tu ser

–Ulquiorra Cifer, Bleach, volúmen 40.  

  • Accesorios protectores

En Angel Sanctuary, Kurai roba uno de los aretes de Setsuna y se lo queda como recuerdo antes de partir con Mad Hatter. El arete resulta poseer un poder protector que repele cualquier ataque realizado a quien lo porte.

En Bleach, Inoue cuenta con unas trabas que su hermano le regaló para uno de sus cumpleaños y que tienen la capacidad de protegerla a ella o a quien ella desee.

  • Un juicio manipulado

En Angel Sanctuary Sara/Gabriel es llevada a un juicio ante la corte de Dios y en presencia de todos los ángeles por haber tenido relaciones incestuosas con Setsuna. En este juicio se decide si se castigará a Gabriel quitándole su poder de elemental del agua y destruyendo su alma. Poco después, gracias a Raphael y a Uriel, se sabe que el juicio que se lleva a cabo no es válido debido a que ha sido manipulado por Sevothtarte para poder robar los poderes del ángel.

Homólogamente en Bleach, Rukia es llevada a un juicio por haberle entregado todos sus poderes a Ichigo. Extrañamente, la corte de los 46 decide que su alma debe ser destruida por haber cometido tal crimen. Posteriormente se descubre que los 46 sabios fueron asesinados por Aizen, y que él mismo dio la orden de destruir el alma de Rukia para así conseguir la Hogyouku que llevaba dentro.

  • Máscaras y cuerpos falsos

Uriel, el ángel elemental de la tierra, es un hombre inteligente que destaca por la invención de unas máscaras capaces de controlar emociones y por cuerpos falsos en base a vegetales. 

En su primera aparición en el manga, puede verse cómo Uriel es controlado contra su voluntad por una máscara que él mismo creó.

En Bleach, vemos cómo los hollow poseen máscaras y actúan de formas muy distintas a cómo lo hacían cuando fueron humanos.

Los cuerpos vegetales que Uriel crea, como el que le dio a Yue, son comparables a los gigai de Urahara, ya que actúan como contenedores de almas y adoptan la forma de ésta.

  • Científicos inescrupulosos

Sevothtarte es un ángel que ha llevado su depravación científica al límite, y no lo piensa dos veces cuando se trata de experimentar con los de su misma especie y someterlos a todo tipo de experimento.

Caso similar en Bleach es el de Mayuri. Un científico capaz de experimentar a sangre fría con hollows, arrancars, quincies, shinigamis, humanos y con lo que sea que le parezca interesante y relevante para sus investigaciones.

Pensamientos finales

Cuando se escribe una catábasis las posibilidades pueden ser infinitas, pero sin lugar a dudas, la que siempre atrapará el corazón de los lectores, serán aquellas que tienen una conexión con los sentimientos más fuertes que éstos experimentan a lo largo de sus vidas. 

El amor nunca dejará de ser un tema atrapante, en especial si quienes escriben las historias son personas con facilidad para comprender emociones y expresarlas de forma artística, llena de símbolos y figuras que los analistas disfrutan.

Tras notar el alto número de similitudes entre Angel Sanctuary y Bleach, podría decirse que una historia inspiró a la otra, al menos eso pensé al principio. Sin embargo, siendo la catábasis relacionada al viaje órfico un viaje muy particular, las posibilidades creativas se reducen considerablemente, y puede que el caso de Yuki y Kubo no sea más que una gran coincidencia. Lo cierto es que, sea como sea, es indiscutible que lo que estos geniales autores tienen en común es la fascinación que sienten por el más allá.

Referencias

Collins and Fishbane. Death, Ecstasy, and Other Wordly Journeys. State University of New York, 1995. 

Dowden and Livingstone. 2011. A Companion to Greek Mythology. Blackwell companions to the ancient world. Literature and culture.

González Serrano P. “Catábasis y resurrección”. Espacio, Tiempo y Forma, Serie II: Historia Antigua. Volume 12, pp. 129–179. Madrid, 1999. 

Leeming D. The Oxford Companion to World Mythology (Oxford University Press, 2005), p. 98.

Louden B. “Catabasis, Consultation, and the Vision: Odyssey 11, I Samuel 28, Gilgamesh 12, Aeneid 6, Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, and the Book of Revelation,” in Homer’s Odyssey and the Near East (Cambridge University Press, 2011), pp. 197–221. 

Radcliffe G. Edmonds III,Myths of the Underworld Journey: Plato, Aristophanes, and the ‘Orphic’ Gold Tablets (Cambridge University Press, 2004).

gentlexbloom  asked:

There is a little box upon her palm, tied closed with a single silver ribbon as she approaches with a quiet smile turning her lips upwards. Inside was a small container of lip stain, a flattering shade of rose which would suit her just right. "Happy Birthday Sestuna. I-I found this in the market the other day a-and thought you might like it."

     ✧ .   A single hue trained on the pink princess, CURIOUS and intrigued by her approach - a RARE occurrence it was for the maiden to approach her, but not one that was unwelcome. She watches in silence as open palms reveal a small box neatly tied with a ribbon. Curious of its contents she reaches and takes the small object in hand, fingers working gently to UNRAVEL the string in one swift motion.

          Mouth slightly agape, she draws her attention to a container of lip stain within; the first word she could use to describe it: ‘beautiful’. Had it not been for the princess’s words, she would have thought the GIFT to be for her liege. She couldn’t remember the last time she had worn products to enhance her beauty.

          Eyes shimmering with a gentle smile she turns to the Hoshidan princess grateful for the gift given to her.

❝Thanks, Lady Sakura… I’ll wear this soon so make sure to catch me with it on, okay?

Katabasis as the main theme in Angel Sanctuary and Bleach

CLIC AQUÍ PARA LA VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL

Katabasis or catabasis (from Greek κατὰ “down” and βαίνω “go”) is the mytheme which refers to the confrontation a hero makes to death in a journey to the underworld.

All stories that develops around a katabasis counts with a hero which can be a mortal or a deity who starts a trip to the afterlife looking for an object, a loved one, or a superior knowledge. The ability to go to a spectral realm, stay alive in it and come back in the same state from it, gives the hero a superior status than an ordinary human. In a similar way, a deity’s return is considered an eschatological theme as is the case of the natural space-time cycle, or the triumph over death and the possibility of immortality.

One of the most famous katabasis is Orpheus’. He, taken advantage of the beauty of his music (a talent he probably inhered from Apolo), went to the underworld to beg Hades to give him back his beloved Eurydice’s soul. An incredibly captivating story as the one of this charismatic character is not easily omitted and, even if millennia have passed since the first time it was told, it stills charming the world.

Who could resist to the idea of a brave hero who face countless difficulties in a world inhabited by immaterial beings with the solely objective of rescuing a beloved one? Not even great manga authors like Kaori Yuki and Tite Kubo have been able to ignore it.

Katabasis in Kaori Yuki and Tite Kubo’s works

In Yuki’s masterpiece (Angel Sanctuary), Setsuna starts a journey to hell in order to rescue the soul of his beloved sister and prevent her to go to a judgement in the court of the angels to be punished because having committed incest in life. Orpheus’ katabasis is explicitly mentioned in the manga, conveying the readers that it was the inspiration to build the main character.

“Eurydice, my beauty, beloved wife! Oh, I have lost you.”

Hades, king of Tartarus, and his queen Persephone took his beloved one. But when they heard Orpheus’ cries and the mournful song of his lyra, it was so sad and so lonely, that all the inhabitants of the underworld (including the king and his queen), gave permisson to Orpheus for his wife to return to the Earth.

But Orpheus disobeyed the order of the gods: not to look at his wife’s face on the long way back. So, Eurydice covered her face and fell in the dephts of darkness with a cry, like a little bird.

She fell.

–Kaori Yuki, Angel Sanctuary, ch. 21.

In Kubo’s case, Ichigo (Bleach’s protagonist) goes to Soul Society to impede Rukia to be executed as a punishment for have given her shinigami powers to him. Even if the manga doesn’t explicitly mention Orpheus’ katabasis, readers can easily see the inspiration was evident: Ichigo shares the Greek heroes’ characteristics, and his determination to save the woman who stopped his rain and changed his world, make us understand in a very poetically way, that Rukia is his Eurydice.

「那由他の刃も越えていく」
“I will pass through even 100 million blades!!”

–Ichigo Kurosaki, Bleach, ch. 85.

When reading both mangas, despite their inherent differences because both of them belong to totally opposite genres (shoujo and shounen), it is inevitable to notice more elements in common they share and which emerge from the katabasis. To delve deeper into them, a list of comparisons between the two stories can be found below.

Parallels between Angel Sanctuary and Bleach

  • Protagonists

Setsuna and Ichigo, despite being very different from each other in terms of personality and maturity (being Setsuna more disrespectful and immature), have in common their romanticism, determination and sense of protection.

Related to the first characteristic of these two protagonists, we have that Kubo has written poems to express the feelings of Ichigo (especially towards Rukia). In the same line, Yuki did it too with Setsuna.

Rest in peace.

In the moment your life whitered
Were you in pain?
Were you frightened?

Your cold palm holds tightly like a blooming flower
Your scarlet lips and hair flowing in the wind 
Make me wonder if all this is a dream…

With your pain
Speak your last words
And my life ends

Please…
Take me with you!

–Setsuna Mudou, Angel Sanctuary, ch. 20.

I wonder if I can keep up with the speed of the world without you.

–Ichigo Kurosaki, Bleach, vol. 49.

On the second point, we can say that neither Setsuna nor Ichigo hesitates to do whatever crosses their minds when there is a good reason behind.

Regarding the third point, they share a huge desire to protect people they treasure by any means, even if that means sacrificing themselves.

Another feature that makes them even more different from the rest, has to do with their hair colours, unusual for the Japanese phenotype. One has light brown hair because his father is English, and the other has orange hair, inherited from her mother. This difference has led people to mistake them with troublemakers. Neither of them have been able to escape from fights, and have had to learn to defend themselves.

It is also important to note, that as Sestuna is not a pure human (in terms of soul), Ichigo is neither. While the former is a being who was created with the energy the organic angel Alexiel acquired after hundreds of reincarnations, Ichigo is the son of a shinigami and Quincy. Both of them have the genetic code of a human, but their souls are very different from those of an ordinary human, allowing them to see things that are not part of the material world.

  • Destined love

Setsuna inherited the love Alexiel feels for her brother (Rosiel), this is why in this reincarnation, Setsuna fell in love with his own sister (Sara), who turns out to be the reincarnation of the angel of wisdom (Gabriel), in charge of protecting Alexiel.

From a certain point of view, it could be considered that the love the Mudou siblings feel is product of the feelings that their angelic souls have, in other words, they were destined to fall for each other because of the feelings they had as angels and prevailed in their hearts.

Ichigo and Rukia’s case is even more explicit. He is the black sun and she the white moon; one is the sand and the other rotator; one is intrinsically Quincy and the other Shinigami; Ichigo is the masculine energy and Rukia the femenine, among others. Their meeting was intended thanks to the Soul King so their energetic opposition they represent gets to create a balance, following the spiritual tradition of the Ying and Yang.

  • Swords

Setsuna has Nanatsusaya and Ichigo Zangetsu. Both swords are special because only they can brandish them, and because they have a spirit that only responds to their owners.

Nanatsusaya and Zangetsu are incredibly powerful. They acquire greater destructive power and adopt new appearances as their masters learn more about them or accept their powers.

  • An unrequited love and a trap

Kurai is the imperial princess of Gehenna, the first hell. Despite being a demon, Kurai has a pure and generous heart, and she falls madly in love with Setsuna despite being aware that he loves Sara. Her heart oscillates a good time with jealousy, resignation and despair.

In Kubo’s manga, Kurai can be compared with Inoue, especially for her role in the Hueco Mundo arc. Inoue has unrequited feelings for Ichigo, and constantly deals with jealousy towards Rukia, the owner of the heart of man she wants.

Kurai’s feelings for Setsuna turn out to be her greatest weakness, and lead her to believe in Mad Hatter’s words, who deceives (and threat) her to accompany him to Lucifer’s kingdom without saying a word to anyone, in exchange of a potion that will resurrect the body of her beloved one.

In the same way that Kurai is deceived by Mad Hatter, Inoue falls into a trap and is threatened by Ulquiorra, the arrancar who forces her to accompany him to Hueco Mundo without telling anyone, to serve Aizen in exchange of Ichigo’s safety.

Both characters have similar farewell panels with their unrequited loves before leaving. Kurai and Inoue try to kiss the men who will never look them way they want (Kurai try to do it while Setsuna’s soul is in Alexiel’s body).

Finally, in Kurai and Inoue’s cases, the protagonists are obligated to go to their rescue, having to go through difficult situations because of their selfishness.

  • Deadly sins

Mad Hatter and Ulquiorra represent a deadly sin. According to the plot, Mad Hatter is pride, but all the time it seems that lust represents him the best because he loves to seduce men and women and take them to a total corruption (that’s how he managed to traumatize Raphael). 

As a parallel, after analyzing Ulquiorra, it can be said that he represents all the seven deadly sins because he felt them all for Inoue. However, thanks to the poem included in Bleach vol. 40, it’s clear that lust is the one that defines him the best:

心在るが故に妬み I envy because of the heart
心在るが故に喰らい I glutton because of the heart
心在るが故に奪い I covet because of the heart
心在るが故に傲り I am prideful because of the heart
心在るが故に惰り(あなどり) I sloth because of the heart
心在るが故に怒り I rage because of the heart
心在るが故に Because of the heart
お前のすべてを欲する I lust for everything about you  

–Ulquiorra Cifer, Bleach, vol. 40.  

  • Protection

In Angel Sanctuary, Kurai steals one of Setsuna’s earrings and keeps it as something which will help her to remember him before leaving with Mad Hatter. The earring has a protective power which repels any attack.

In Bleach, Inoue has pins her brother gave her for one of her birthdays. They have the ability to protect her or anyone she wants.

  • An unfair trial

In Angel Sanctuary, Sara/Gabriel is taken to trial to the angel court for have had incestuous relations with Setsuna when she was alive. The trial would decide if Gabriel’s elemental power of water will be taken to destroy her soul afterwards. Fortunately, thanks to Raphael and Uriel, it is known that the trial is invalid because it has been manipulated by Sevothtarte to steal the powers of the angel.

Homologously in Bleach, Rukia is taken to a trial for have transfered all her shinigami powers to Ichigo. Strangely, the Central 46 decides that her soul has to be destroyed as a punishment for have broken the law. Later, it is discovered that the 46 wise men who are part of the Central were killed by Aizen, and that he himself gave the order to destroy Rukia’s soul so he could get the Hogyouku.

  • Masks and false bodies

Uriel, the angel of elemental earth, is an intelligent man who stands by the invention of masks able to control emotions and also, for have created false bodies made of vegetal fibre.

In his first appearance in the manga, it can be seen how Uriel is controlled against his will by a mask that he himself created.

In Bleach, we see how hollow have masks and act very differently than they did when they were human.

Uriel creates false bodies, as the one he gave Yue. They are comparable to Urahara’s gigai since they act as containers for souls and take their forms.

  • Unscrupulous scientists

Sevothtarte is an angel who has taken his scientific depravity to the limit, and does not think twice when it comes about experimenting with their own kind.

Similar case in Bleach is Mayuri’s. A scientist capable to experiment with hollows, arrancars, quincies, shinigamis, human and whatever he finds interesting and relevant for his researches.

Final thoughts

When a katabasis is written, possibilities may be endless, but undoubtedly, the ones that always catch the readers’ hearts are those that have a direct connection with the strongest feelings people can feel.

Love never cease to be a compelling issue, especially if those who write  stories are people who easily understand emotions and know how to express themselves in an artistic way: full of symbols and figures that analysts enjoy.

After paying attention to the high number of similarities between Angel Sanctuary and Bleach, arguably a story inspired the other, at least that was I thought at first. However, being the Orphic katabasis linked to a particular journey, the creative possibilities are greatly reduced, and Yuki and Kubo’s case might be nothing but a big coincidence. The truth is that, whatever it is, it is indisputable that what these great authors have in common is the fascination they feel for the afterlife.

References

Collins and Fishbane. Death, Ecstasy, and Other Wordly Journeys. State University of New York, 1995.

Dowden and Livingstone. 2011. A Companion to Greek Mythology. Blackwell companions to the ancient world. Literature and culture.

González Serrano P. “Catábasis y resurrección”. Espacio, Tiempo y Forma, Serie II: Historia Antigua. Volume 12, pp. 129–179. Madrid, 1999.

Leeming D. The Oxford Companion to World Mythology (Oxford University Press, 2005), p. 98.

Louden B. “Catabasis, Consultation, and the Vision: Odyssey 11, I Samuel 28, Gilgamesh 12, Aeneid 6, Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, and the Book of Revelation,” in Homer’s Odyssey and the Near East (Cambridge University Press, 2011), pp. 197–221.

Radcliffe G. Edmonds III,Myths of the Underworld Journey: Plato, Aristophanes, and the ‘Orphic’ Gold Tablets (Cambridge University Press, 2004).