Bleach 232. On the Zanpakuto
I am starting to make some sense of this new arc. I wouldn’t call it a filler anymore, cause it reveals to me at least two new important things about the main picture, even though it’s an interruption of the main storyline.
- The Zanpakuto is connected to the Kidou as much as with the art of the sword. Blue Fire, Rukia’s spell, is part of Sode no Shirayuki’s garment (and therefore, part of Sode no Shirayuki’s character) Even though Rukia is able to cast the spells without help from the Zanpakuto, these spells are granted power or rendered relatively inoucuous by the Zanpakuto. The Zanpakuto has something to do with the shinigami’s Will in its entirety, not just with some technique.
- However, the Zanpakuto is not the Shinigami’s whole Will pure and simple. We have seen that even when the Zanpakuto is rebellious, some will does rest with the shinigami. Some basic will rests with the default functional platform so to say.
The idea of the whole Bleach series is to personify mental functions, to figure each function of the soul as a complete functioning soul in itself. Humans are one standard functioning soul. With various functions: Will (or Willpower or even Sheer Power), Raw Instinct, and we can imagine many other mental functions, epistemic, and other structural attributes of the mind. Then, there are modifications upon this platform, radical Boosts of some such function:
The Zanpakuto: has all the usual mental functions at some basic level, but has Willpower radically boosted. (Is it more of a Will or is it more of a Sheer Power?)
The Hollow: has all the usual mental functions at some basic level, but has Raw Instinct (Hunger, Lust) radically boosted.
The Shinigami: has all the usual mental functions at some basic level (erotic function – pretty low!), but has the attribute of Discipline, Motivation, and Moral-Code-Following capacity boosted.
And so on.
Shinigamis are strong at first due to their capacity of self-control and self-discipline. They gain their abilities through effort, pure and simple, no shortcuts, no magic, just the usual sweat.
Then, after showing themselves worthy of some pre-existing Zanpakuto’s respect (though, it’s not a normal bileteral agreement… there seems to be a higher power bringing them together and then enforcing this union), they become able to summon this radical Boster at will (at their own will). From now on, it is the communion with the Zanpakuto that grants access to new levels of power.
The Zanpakutos’ rebellion will be short lived. Why? Because they have no motivation. Motivation, together with the capacity to understand and consistently pursue Goals is the Shinigami’s cup of tea. Rukia asks Sode no Shirayuki: „why are you killing people around?”, Answer: „because I’m free, etc” . OK, but.. where is the motivation? In a very short time I think, these free Pibulls, the Zanpakutos, will discover they have no purpose in life, nor any capacity to build a meaning, and thus become… true Persons, so they’ll return to their previous masters with an apology. Zanpakuto lend Shinigami power in exchange for… a meaning.
Analogously: Hollows are strong and they do have purposes, and ardently so, but simple purposes, and are unable to form plans. Their epistemic function is critically low. They need generals to hoard them, generals that are not themselves Hollow, to save them from chaotic self-destruction and impose a rhythm to them.