Alright sit your butts down, ladies, gentlemen, and all other configurations of being. I’m about to tell you why this latest episode of Steven Universe turned Pearl from probably my least favorite character in the show to one of my favorite characters of anything.
So now that we know that Pearls are mass produced on Homeworld, we know that Pearls are also seen as nothing more than servants. And this fact has made me go from hating Pearl to loving her,
We don’t know how long Pearl was on homeworld, I assume a few thousand years. And she was in this demographic that was seen as inferior. And you know how that happens in the real world. She was looked down on. She wasn’t allowed to excel at anything. She was nothing more than a tool and if she DARES to be anything more than that, she’s a defective threat. This was her LIFE.
And then she comes to earth, and serves under Rose Quartz. A woman who lets her be more than “just a pearl”. She learns sword fighting. She learns spear fighting. She learns all these things and does all these things that she previously wasn’t allowed to back on homeworld. And for once, she actually feels like she’s worth something. Like she’s proving to all those people who called her “just a pearl” that she’s MORE than a pearl.
And then it all goes to her head.
She wins the war. She’s proven herself. And now she’s so high on self esteem, something she usually doesn’t have, that she becomes the very person who looked down on her.
She becomes the person who look down on others.
“You’re a human. You’re a novelty. At best.”
“Humans just lead insignificant lives until their ultimate demise.”
She’s so used to being looked down on that she absolutely MUST be on top. And thats why she learns so many things and does everything she can to better herself. So she can continue being “more than a pearl.”
And whenever she’s proven wrong, whenever she’s beaten, or threatened, thats when her defenses kick in. That feeling of being “just a pearl” starts flowing, and she’s so desperate to be “more than a pearl” that she gets mean. Rude. Condescending.
Thats why she hated Greg so much at first. He was taking the one person who believed in her and hogging her all to himself. He was being more to Rose than Pearl was. And she was feeling like “just a pearl” again. So she does whatever she can to fix that.
She instead comes off as an egotistical bitch.
Then Steven happens. He’s sure of something. He just KNOWS he saw something in the warps. But Pearl knows better. He was seeing things. And than he suddenly says those magic words.
Whats this?! Pearl thinks. This LITTLE BOY think he knows more than ME?! This is UNNACCEPTABLE.
And she does it again. She refuses to be looked down upon so much that she starts looking down on others herself, and she ABSOLUTELY needs to be right. She desperately tries to prove to Steven that she is “more than a pearl”.
Again. She come off as an egotistical bitch.
Then. Sardonyx. She finally fuses Sardonyx. And thats the breaking point for Pearl. Pearl may have done everything she can to prove she’s “more than a pearl”, but while fusing Sardonyx, she feels something else.
She feel POWERFUL.
She has POWER.
She has a thing that NO OTHER PEARL HAS.
And she gets SO addicted to that power that made her feel superior to ANYTHING, that she wants more. She wants to feel that again. She doesn’t want to feel like “just a pearl” ever again. And she thinks Sardonyx can do that.
And then. She’s caught. Garnet is mad. The one person she doesn’t look down to is outright pissed. And Pearl KNOWS it’s because she FUCKED UP. And now she feel like “just a pearl” more than she has in thousands of years. And when she finally admits it, that she’s “just a pearl”, Garnet shuts her down. Shows her that she’s more than that. She’s her own person.
Now we have the best part.
Peridot comes in and outright says it.
You’re “just a pearl”
And this sets her off. She’s on the defensive again, and now she’s determined to prove herself again.
But this time it’s different.
I’m not “More than a pearl”
I’m not “just a pearl”
I am A PEARL.
SO LET ME SHOW YOU WHAT A PEARL CAN DO.
…but she lost the fight. Peridot gets her way, proved to the others that she’s “just a pearl”
And best of all, it doesn’t matter. Steven and the other still came to HER, thinking no less of her.
And now I think she’s realized that it just doesn’t matter.
Is not fair…
Luke Evans went and HAD THE AUDACITY to take my fucking fav Disney villain and make it super sexy and lovable and now I can’t stop watching his movies and videos and Oh my god he’s so sweet and lovely
“Nat, you should of seen her! She flew down and kicked that akuma into the Seine like it was nothing! I’ll link you the video I snagged for reference.”
Saw some character hate on my dash based on shipping earlier and noped right into photoshop to draw some of my faves. Sketchy as all hell and not sure if I’ll ever clean it up completely, but it felt good to vent draw after being unable to for so long. Aaah, I love Alya. I love
Nathanaël. I love Marinette. And damn if it doesn’t feel good to multiship.
has started his own Ladybug comic and goes to Alya for her expertise and her seal of approval as the #1 authority on all things Ladybug. Once it’s ready, he hopes to put it up as a webcomic and Alya’s already planned the spot she’s going to advertise it on the Ladyblog.
To me the Lust arc is very big IH scene. Althought, Hollow saved and turned Ichigo into monster, we can deny that his desire to save her and his will to fighting for her gave his inner hollow the opportunity to take over completely. So that's why this arc is called "The Lust Arc". His desire made him commit sin. That's what I think, so can you tell me your opinion in the lust arc. Thank for reading! Btw, I love your posts about Bleach, you truly understand it more than anyone I've met.
Thank you very much it really makes me happy to hear that !
For the Lust arc there is 2 theories out there . With one being much more probable than the other .
Either ichigo , hearing Orihime’s cries , turned into a monster to protect her .
Either the hollow inside Ichigo was anyway programmed to save Ichigo in case he got hurt real bad and his awakening coincided with Orihime’s cries .
I think the second theory is the one in the real because of this :
And this works just as good for Ichihime than the first theory actually . This post words it perfectly but to sum it up in a few words :
The hollow woke up , saved ichigo and defeated Ulquiorra . Only instinct was at play here because ichigo’s hollow is pure instinct .
But the goal of the hollow was to protect ichigo , only ichigo . He did not care about Ishida or Orihime ( zangetsu/ hollow mixed said to ichigo “ the things you want to protect and what I want to protect are different things” before ichigo turned into Mugetsu . Meaning Ichigo wants to protect those he cares for but his powers want to protect only ichigo ) .
So how come ichigo says this while he turns into a hollow ?
We know the hollow doesn’t care at all about Orihime . So the person thinking this is Ichigo himself and not his hollow . Meaning that while he was dead the only part of humanity remaining in him was his desire to protect Orihime . Fucks me up every time
Maybe , as you said his desire to protect Orihime helped to trigger his transformation into a hollow but I don’t think that’s it . I think his desire to protect Orihime is what helped to trigger his transformation into a dead boy .
And that brings me to the most important idea which you brought up in your message. His desire to protect Orihime as a sin .
The thing is that Ichigo and Orihime are both people with very good intentions and their very good intentions turned their reality into a nightmare during the lust arc .
Like when he went into Hueco Mundo Ichigo’s only motivation was his desire to protect Orihime . He affronted Dordonni and Ulquiorra and grimmjow and then Ulquiorra again because he wanted to bring Orihime back home .
Wanting to protect someone you love is a good thing right ?
And Orihime , since she met Ichigo her faith in him was unwavering . She would always be there to support him , she would watch him from afar even if it’s killing her not being able to help ( see : Orihime having to physically restrain herself to stay back during ichigo’s fight with Byakuya ) because she believes in him .
////A lot of people have twisted this faith in him into a bad thing but it isn’t presented by the narrative as such . And it’s making me so angry to see that when the doctor says about Rose “Well, I’ve seen a lot of this universe. I’ve seen fake gods and bad gods and demi-gods and would-be gods. I’ve had the whole pantheon. But if I believe in one thing… just one thing… I believe in her!” It’s seen as so romantic and amazing but when Orihime expresses the exact same feelings through her actions then this is bad for her and her love for ichigo is toxic ( I’ve always been baffled by this fandom tendency to infantilize Orihime ) . ////
So just before the lust arc you have ichigo motivated by his desire to protect Orihime and Orihime believing in Ichigo with all her being .
They’re both good people with good intentions and good motivations . Then why did it turn so bad ? Why is the Lust arc so tragic ?
To me it was Kubo’s way to show to Orihime and Ichigo that they were humans and not characters .
It feels funny to write that but that’s exactly what happened . In Shonen usually the good intentions of the protagonist is often enough to give them unlimited amount of powers and a guarantee to beat their opponent .
Not in Bleach . When Ulquiorra invoked his second resurrection we knew ichigo was fucked . We knew that no matter how strong he had gotten he wouldn’t be able to beat Ulquiorra . But he was the hero so surely something would happen to help him beat Ulquiorra . He is the hero he cannot die trying to save his friend .
And yet he dies . I think that is something that is not often reflected upon . Ichigo was dead . It was over . He wasn’t strong enough .
He went to such terrible length to protect Orihime that he died . His good , pure desire to protect Orihime got him dead .
And same for Orihime .
Her feelings which were pure and true pushed her to cry for the help of a dead boy . ( I’ll fucking fight you if you try to see this in a negative light . Orihime’s depression which premises we are shown in the Vizards arc just went worse and worse during the Hueco Mundo and in the lust arc she just snapped . She was no longer herself when she called for him . She never believed in herself , always thought she was useless and completely disregarded her own life but she believed in Ichigo . He was her pillar and now he is dead on the ground . She doesn’t know what to do , she sees Ishida’s arm being tore off from his body , she is desperately trying to heal ichigo but she can’t do it so she just turns for ichigo , for his guidance for his help . She doesn’t do it consciously she just snaps and is not herself anymore when she calls for his help ) . God this scene is so powerful , the lust arc is really the peak of Bleach .
So here it is . Two kids who have the best motivations are confronted with realities .
They are both 16 here , very young and this moment is what will turn them into adults ( I am convinced that without the lust arc the whole arc about ichigo giving up his powers to defeat aizen would have gone differently ) .
They are both selfless and both have the flaw to completley disregard themselves and ALWAYS , ALWAYS put other’s people needs and wishes before their own .
During the lust arc they went to terrible lengths to protect the other . Lengths nobody should ever go . And while doing so they completely disregarded their own lives .
Ichigo died for Orihime and Orihime constantly throughout all the Hueco Mundo arc showed a total disregard to her own life and well being . She let herself be beaten by Loly and Menoly ( because she was sure she deserved it because her friends got hurt getting in Hueco Mundo trying to save her ) , she let herself be strangled by Grimmjow because she did not want to heal ichigo to have him be even more hurt by grimmjow
And during the lust arc she is healing ichigo and protecting ishida with her shield while herself remains completely unprotected ( she already did that during the fight against Nnoitorra shielding Yachiru and healing nell while she remained in the open completely unprotected ) .
The lust arc is what made them grow up . What made them understand that good intentions often aren’t enough in the real world and no matter how much they want to protect the other , how much they believe in the other sometimes they just won’t be strong enough .
To Orihime the growth triggered by the lust arc is clear as day .
Here we have everything . Orihime understands that Ichigo is human and no matter how much she believes in him he will sometimes fail . She also understands that , in order for him to get up she would have to be strong . She does not think she is useless and weak anymore , she does not think her own life is worthless .
She grew up . She understood that both her and Ichigo were human . She got out of the vicious circle of self loathing . All of that because she saw him died .
As for ichigo I think the Lust arc , along with learning the truth about his mother and making peace with his powers is what made him understand he had to rely on his friends during battle . He cannot shoulder it all alone . Sometimes he’ll need the help of his friends in order to win . His desire to protect them is strong , he cares for them very much and wish to be able to shoulder the burden on his own . But he cannot . He realizes he needed his friends help in order to win and that is why this :
( along with him trusting Ishida and then Ganju and Chad to affront their opponents alone ) is one of ichigo’s biggest character development . We all know how over protective he is with Orihime ( certainly because he is in love with her ) but having him bring her voluntarily into the battlefield is completely at odds with the dynamic they had before where he asked orihime to stay behind while he protected her ( see all the vizards and Hueco mundo arc ) . Here he understand that his desire to protect her should not cloud his judgment and that he would need her shielding / healing abilities against an opponent as strong as Ywach especially because he needed someone to protect him while he awoke his hybrid powers . This , coupled with the realization that Orihime trained so hard to be able to fight alongside him that he discovered during the fullbring arc is what brought up this character development .
So in summary the lust arc is a story of two selfless kids with such good intentions and such love for the other that pushed them to go to terrible lengths for the other . Lengths no one should ever go to and living this nightmare is in part what shaped them into the wonderful adults they became .
So sorry this answer is not exactly answering to your ask I talked more about the consequences of the lust arc and its implications than of the lust arc itself . The point you made was good and from a narrative standpoint the transformation of ichigo into full hollow seems to be triggered at least in part by Orihime’s cries so I think you’re right there isn’t nothing there but even if indeed it had nothing to do with orihime the lust arc is still one of the greatest ichihime moment and the one with the heaviest implication of Ichigo–> Orihime which had been later proved by canon . Their relationship was actually unbalanced before the lust arc ( Orihime relying too much on ichigo and Ichigo being too over protective of Orihime ) but this had been changed by the lust arc . It allows them to become more mature , including in the way they act upon the feelings they have for each other . It allows their relationship to evolve to become one of the most healthy in the history of shonen mangas.