Bridge ficbit – Sode no Shirayuki 10

A little less manic, Isshin offered Kon a hand. “You okay? Ichigo let off a heck of a blast. I kept it from getting outside the room, but-”

Kon snorted, fingers running through orange hair with a shake that had nerves written all over it. “Mod-soul, remember? They built us to take on high-level Hollows. And take over for any shinigami getting out of a gigai. Even captains.” He blinked, a little dazed. “Whoa….”

“Yeah. You take it easy,” Isshin said firmly. “Captain-level’s one thing. Ichigo? My family kind of runs toward the high end of the scale.”

“Ichigo?” Kon echoed in disbelief.

“Heh.” Still grinning, Isshin stepped back out into the hall. Picked up the door, and shut it.

Working out his own nerves with a bit of practical magic, Loki murmured to the hinges. Yes, Isshin’s kick had been completely unexpected, outrageous, and more than any self-respecting door should have to put up with. But it was over now.

Still cranky, brass and wood flowed back together.

“Nice trick,” Isshin complemented him. “Still sure you don’t want to be a plumber?”

“I’ll handle human plumbing, thank you,” Loki said dryly. “Less boring. Your family?”

“Walked into that one, didn’t I?” Isshin shrugged. “Let’s get the girls settled. Then – I think we could use a drink.”


“Your grandfather.” Perched on a kitchen stool, Loki stared at his foster father. One glass of sake definitely wasn’t enough for this. “Yamamoto-Genryuusai. The fire giant….”

“Well, he was,” Isshin shrugged. “The old man struck me right off the clan register. Attacking a brother captain for no reason? Can’t have that. Isn’t done.”

“And it didn’t occur to him you might have a very good reason?” Loki said dryly.

“Ah!” Isshin’s finger stabbed innocent air. “But a dutiful noble son would have had evidence. Would have brought it before the Chamber of 46. Would have let them rule on it. Then, and only then, with official permission, would he have tried to kill the bastard.”

Loki thought that over for all of three seconds. “The Chamber of 46 is compromised.”

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37 thoughts on “Bridge ficbit – Sode no Shirayuki 10

  1. I really hope that relation to the Captain Commander is through his mother’s side. Though any thought of Isshin’s parents is pretty much arrgh my brain.

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      1. Pretty sure it isn’t canon. Isn’t in the wiki, yet. My knowledge of the manga isn’t so comprehensive as to rule it out. None of the gaps jump out as obvious candidates, unless the information was released very recently. Obvious possibility is that someone read a scanlation where Isshin spoke to the old man, and interpreted the address that way.

        Works here because we’re all pretty familiar with Norse mythology.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Satoyama:

        Bit confuzzled by your response: what does being conversant with Norse myth have to do with whether or not Yamamoto-Genryuusai is Isshin’s grandfather?

        Like

      3. Yamamoto is a fire-giant, then Isshin has fire-giant blood, which combines with Masaki’s blood to produce Ichigo, Karin and Yuzu. Masaki had whatever Frigg is. Kids are a throwback, and hybrids. Fire giants are probably close enough biologically to ice giants, vanir, aesir, etc… for mixes to have more of the original power.

        Shinigami are derived from European Death imagery, some of which comes from the Revelation of John. Fire giants are pretty significant in Ragnarok. If one buys the interpretation that Bleach is a mishmash of Christian imagery, then splicing in a Norse themed story goes with splicing in other elements of the original myths.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I came back to the study of Bleach canon after a couple of years of absence. ‘Very loosely based on Christianity’ jumped out at me.

        We know the Soul-King is a freak that lives in the sky above Soul Society, either ruling or being worshiped or both. The Soul-King had a freakish son or descendent, who lived on Earth and interacted with humans. This son spent time dead*, and was resurrected to return to the kingdom in the sky.

        Now, maybe lots of cultures have stories like that. There are also significant incompatibilities with how the standard Christian narratives work. Still, we know that the Shinigami traces back to the Pale Rider, that Kubo Tite has some English, and might’ve wanted to mine earlier sources.

        Incompatibilities: Three days dead is not the same as 900 years, 90 years, 9 years, 9 days and so forth. More significantly, the Trinity doesn’t work that way. Most especially the Revelation of John is not about the Son usurping the Father after a very long power struggle.

        Yhwach-the-extremely-loose-possible-Jesus-cognate is the father or creator of the Quincies, died* in a war with the Shinigami around 1000** years ago, and has enough of a grudge with the Soul-King to kill him.

        The Quincy halos imply the loosely based on Christianity interpretation. The Nazi imagery implies the many different cultures interpretation. I’ve been wondering if Kubo Tite read some Dan Brown.

        In conclusion: I dunno. I have no idea what is going to happen in canon. There is a good chance I will be satisfied by it, but I was satisfied by Naruto’s ending.

        *Possible translation issue. Wiki says Yamamoto failed to kill him.

        **The events supposedly happening at this time appear to be incompatible with what we know of world history.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Sun-crosses were and are found in a lot of cultures before the Nazis made them infamous. Given a lot of the Quincy terms are German, it’s more than possible the Christian elements are just imported along with that, no greater symbolism required. And if you look into Buddhist and Shinto conceptions of the afterlife, the God of Death dying and being replaced by a successor isn’t unusual.

        Or as some might otherwise phrase it, MST3K motto. “It’s fiction, relax!”

        Liked by 1 person

      6. The original, traditional shinigami don’t have very much to do with the pale horse and rider. As for today’s shinigami, all the Grim Reaper reaping symbolism is to do with the reaping angel and the winepress angel, who announce that it’s harvest time for the whole world. (And that’s based on Jesus’ many parables about the wheat and the tares, and about the apostles/disciples as harvest workers, etc., which in turn reference stuff in the OT prophets.) This combines with the idea of an angel of death or disease goes back to the story of Passover, and the story of the pestilence in Jerusalem that was a punishment for David having Uriah killed. (But the pale rider isn’t actually pictured as a “good guy,” whereas the angel of death/pestilence is just doing his job.)

        And of course, half of every motif in the Book of Revelation has a sword, a bow, or some kind of weapon attached — and they’re all fully referenced back to Psalms or one of the OT prophets, or all of the above.

        As for how that all fits into Bleach, no idea!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Schutzstaffel doesn’t seem like a term the Kubo Tite would pick by accident.

        Overthinking analysis is something of a fun hobby for me. Doesn’t make me correct or good company.

        Liked by 2 people

      8. You never know. It means “Protective Echelon”, and a lot of things – and history – can get lost in translation. “Ubel Blatt”, for example, was apparently picked by that author because he thought it meant “Evil Sword”.

        …Only “blatt” refers to the blade of a leaf.

        Which leads to the punch-drunk bunnies imagining Koinzell as a maniacal gardener. Ahem. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I meant in the confines of this fic. I have no idea of cannon. In fact the only other time I’ve seen even a hint of a possible relation to Yamamoto was in Stardust. So it’s really up yo you.

      Like

      1. Heh! In this fic, it’s definitely through the mother’s side. Isshin was born into the Shiba clan. For which Yamamoto-Genryuusai probably gives thanks on a daily basis, because that means Isshin’s insanity isn’t connected with his clan.

        …Isshin wants pictures when Yamamoto figures out who Ichigo is. It should be priceless.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. >…Isshin wants pictures when Yamamoto figures out who Ichigo is. It should be priceless.>
        He probably would like pictures of any and all noble Shinigami family reactions to finding out who Ichigo is. The impression I got is that the Shiba Clan was kind of…….infamous in Soul Society.

        And then extra wackiness Karin and Yuzu meet the other ‘living’ members of their father’s clan.
        Karin: All our relatives are like Goat-chin. What did I do in a previous life to deserve this?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, that didn’t take Loki very long, now did it? Coming to exactly the right conclusion.

    And regardless of what a dutiful son is supposed to do, Yamamoto still should have investigated it.

    We know that Central 46 is corrupted and such, but does anyone else think it’s weird that until the whole big reveal that Yamamoto always took Aizen’s side? Never once thought it was odd that he always seemed to be involved in this disturbing incidents in some way, shape, or form?

    Is Yamamoto that obvious? Or there is something more sinister going on – we are talking about a guy who loves to use illusions and such in addition to good old fashioned manipulation?

    Or is Yamamoto so Lawful that he genuinely cannot see that just because someone isn’t being straightforward criminal blatantly breaking the law, doesn’t mean that they aren’t breaking the law. That sometimes upstanding citizen simply means haven’t been caught? Or that sometimes laws are wrong or the people charged with carrying them out or making them are corrupt?

    I find Yamamoto a deeply frustrating character – it’s kind of like the Rens where you want to grab them by the head, rub their face in the obvious thing and “Will you please get your head out of your behind for two seconds and THINK!?”

    Just think how many problems would be solved if those idiots understood the phrase “Trust but verify?”

    And while Aizen fibbed about the extend of his powers, I think he did tell that his zanpakuto produced illusions . . . which logically you cannot take anything at face value . . . I also think he fibbed later about how exactly his zanpakuto works – as it would be his MO to have his enemies barking up the wrong tree while they are trying to get ready to combat his master plan and thus be blindsided.

    Yamamoto being related to Isshin was in your Stardust fic – Zangetsu said that’s why the Shiba Clan tends to blow stuff up.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Loki is a genius. 😉

      And yes, he should have. But then, Yamamoto should have looked into the whole Vizard mess harder, or the Quincy mess, or letting Mayuri out of the Maggot’s Nest in the first place, or the fact that Rukia was slated to be executed for something past Shinigami have done and only gotten reprimands for, or… you get the idea. Yeah.

      The way I see it, Yamamoto is both Lawful above everything else, and a bit too certain of his own wisdom. You’d pretty much have to be, to wipe out almost all the Quincies alive.

      And yes, canon Aizen told people his was a “mist and water” zanpakutou, that confused enemies into attacking each other. Apparently no one bothered to ask just how it did that.

      And yes, I had them related there as well. It’s just so much fun imagining Yamamoto’s face if he has to admit he’s related to the Crazy. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Heh. Changing the line of the conversation here a bit…. Yoruichi should have slammed Urahara down hard on taking Mayuri out of the Maggot’s Nest. And I’m pretty sure she could have done it, too, given he was her Third Seat before he got made Captain of 12th, and their canon relationship as longtime friends. (There being at least one canon image of them as youngsters/shinigami teenagers racing each other….)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I feel Urahara gets blamed a little bit too much for taking Mayuri out of the Maggots nest. Urahara’s plan was never to let Mayuri run around doing whatever he wanted.

        Urahara took a look at what Yoruichi had done – taking one of the undifferentiated divisions and combining it with the traditionally Shihoin family onmitsu to create an entire division dedicated to stealth and intelligence – Aizen showed it didn’t work well enough, but Aizen also proved why it was necessary.

        Urahara saw what Yoruichi did, and saw that Soul Society had no research or science division (outside of maybe the healers and kido corps., but the first would probably be more about medical research and the second about just applications of kido). And Soul Society needed one – if Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri drove anything home for me it was the importance of technological development for militaries, which the Shinigami totally are. The Vizard mess where – as I understand – Aizen’s first big move. He’d done the absolute minimum to show his hand before that, and Soul Society had been – relatively – peaceful for a long time. Urahara had no reason or way of knowing things were going to get so messed up or that he, his Vice Captain, and Yoruichi, all the people who knew exactly how dangerous Mayuri could be and why he needed to be constantly supervised would all get taken out in the same instance. Especially when we see from how the rescue party is organized that Soul Society does take steps to make sure that divisions do not lose their entire upper command structure all at once.

        In light of knowing what was needed but not what was to come, Urahara saw a resource. A dangerous one, but one that he, his Vice Captain, and in a worst case scenario Yoruichi could all control. Urahara decided that it was worth it, and based on Mayuri’s successes – horrific a monster as Mayuri is and horrific as his methods were he did accomplish dangerous and effective things – I feel like Urahara wasn’t even necessarily wrong.

        Granted I would think bring Mayuri out – under constant supervision – long enough for him to train up a flock of excellent but far more sane and humane students, use Mayuri for supervised research during that time, then stick Mayuri back in his hole would’ve been the best method. But the Vizard mess happens quickly – no one appears to age in that time, so it could easily have been less than a decade to get set up and get running, which probably sounds like an even shorter timeframe to nigh-immortals like Shinigami. So it’s entirely possible that was his plan anyways. (Granted, this is Urahara. I suspect his plan was just to keep Mayuri under constant supervision on guided research and a very short leash, but Urahara clearly likes high-risk high-reward methods in canon, so…*sighs with a what-can-you-do shrug*)

        My impression was that post Vizard debacle, especially with Aizen manipulating things behind the scenes to keep thing chaotic and make his own life easier, and all the people who knew exactly what Mayuri was vanishing leadership defaulted to the monster. Granted, that only happens because several people were NOT doing their jobs, but I give them a little leeway on account of Aizen, and I don’t know that Urahara was one of those people. I think Urahara was not cautious or careful enough, but I don’t know that he was in the wrong here.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. That’s actually a major part of why I like that character. That feels to me like the author doing a good job.

      Where does rule of law come from? Some imply it just happens, some say it is inherent in blood, and I say it is a result of choices made by people.

      Some situations it matters whether your choices dot the Is and cross the Ts, or just wing it.

      The American military culture has traditionally been oriented towards resisting the tendency to overthrow the government. That is not something that could have persisted if very many capable, powerful men hadn’t mastered themselves and subordinated themselves to others.

      George Washington set the standard for Presidents. He could have made himself King, and did not. He ability and restraint meant that none of his contemporaries dared attempt to crown themselves.

      I see this type of behavior in Yamamoto, and for that reason the Shinigami felt more like a real military to me.

      Yamamoto apparently experienced the chaos before the current government, and for that reason committed himself to that government. He may even be ashamed of how he behaved before the government was formed, when he acted without restraint. Him erring in the direction of subordinating himself to legitimate command authority does not seem wrong for his character, or for the fact that he was kept in military command for so long.

      The skills and mindset for overall leadership may slightly conflict with those for good internal security coverage. Yamamoto definitely does not have the latter. Furthermore, Aizen was running a long con, and had ample time to analyze people, and find the holes in their personalities. The most absurd tricks can work flawlessly if the con man can get the mark thinking emotionally and hence stupidly. Furthermore, he didn’t need to reliably fool more than hundred people, who stayed in position for decades. Maybe I underestimate the difficulty because I’m rubbish at reading people, but I suspect that only needed cinematic level of ability.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The only point I was trying to make was that one shouldn’t follow laws or authority blindly. Because both of those involve people and nobody’s perfect.

        Laws are only as good and just as the people writing them and the people charged with enforcing them. When either or both of those two parties are corrupt or let their biases and prejudice control them, then you tend to get unjust and unfair laws and/or just unfair or unjust enforcement of those laws.

        Jim Crow statues were the law but they could hardly be called fair or just laws.

        In Bleach, the Central 46 are charged with making laws and rendering judgments – and they are corrupt. Perhaps (likely) not all but enough to cause serious damage.

        And command structure itself is often a good thing but just like laws how good it is and how well it works depends entirely on the people IN that structure.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. *G* Or as more than one person has put it, “the purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to guarantee the 1st”. Any command structure that ultimately doesn’t answer to the people it’s meant for will fail; how badly depends on how rigid things have gotten.

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      3. I should note that Yamamoto did attempt some verifying in more than one situation. He just tried it by the most Lawful manner possible. And when given direct orders, followed those. At least one of the filler arcs specifically dealt with this. The one with the “special weapon” alternatives to the zanpaktou. Yamamoto knew something was up, and had an agent trying to figure it out, while trying to avoid drawing the Central 46’s further attention (they were already hindering his investigation). After Yamamoto’s agent was killed, he tried to start an open investigation and was ordered to shut it down, which he did. This lead to the filler arc bit with Yamamoto’s agent’s son seeking revenge against Yamamoto for his father’s death, because of the coverup the Central 46 had ordered leaving the kid thinking Yamamoto had offed the father.

        There were several other similar bits, where Yamamoto was shown to be trying to check on something but obeyed direct orders to stop. There were also a few times when it was shown that, to avoid receiving those direct orders in the first place, he was perfectly willing to make use of other people’s actions to get the results he was looking for.

        So, I’d put him on the “follow the letter of the law, even when he knows it is wrong, because if he ever slips up he will destroy Rule-of-Law and the Shinigami will return to the old ways of Rule-of-Power… which they cannot afford since there are enemies just waiting out there to beat them if they lose their cohesion.” (like the bit from the Hell arc, or some of the filler arcs that show there are a lot more groups of powerful beings with grudges against the Shinigami than just the Hollows and Quincy)

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Satoyama, you bring up some very interesting points. I personally felt Yamamoto was a very flat character in cannon, your interpretation brings a lot of depth. I think you changed my opinion on Yamamoto, from “Lawful Stupid” to “Lawful Neutral, but with good reasons that he actually put some thought into”

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      5. I… may be wrong on this, but its my understanding that that’s at the root of a great many problems in structured organizations, especially with corruption.

        In order to be a good commander, suborning yourself as much as possible to the orders and rulings of your superiors is a requirement. The loose-cannon trope is popular in pop culture, but in real life someone who ignores or tries to circumvent direct orders is seen (reasonably) as a chaotic and destabilizing element. And the last thing you want in either a command structure or a military force is the kind of chaos where the right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing. That easily leads to forces turning on themselves.

        The problem with this becomes finding successful leaders who also follow orders. At a certain point the intelligence and independance a leader needs to be effective have to be put aside in favor of the will of superiors. But you need that ability to think and make command decisions to be effective in the first place. At this point all you need is someone sneaky to receive a high rank or position of command and decide to also pursue their own agenda while following orders. Then anyone below them has to fight their own trained and encouraged impulse to follow orders to object to said commander.

        Depending on how high up the chain of command the corruption is and how far down it goes before someone objected part of the problem is finding who to even report to that isn’t: already in on it; likely to file the report on up the chain of command to someone who is in on it; going to view the person objecting as a rogue element or too independent; or some combination of these.

        Then you get those problems where someone started a corrupt behavior – which may even have been seen as fine at the time for whatever reason – and everyone suborned themselves to it so much that after the initiator leaves the behavior itself becomes self-perpetuating. That’s probably where you get a lot of problems that are considered ‘institutionalized’ – even after wider society has recognized said behaviors as wrong.

        This is why – I think – most larger beuracratic organizations need an internal check system. But internal affairs organizations are often assumed to be the bad guys by default and to be ‘sticking their noses in other peoples business’ especially if a community has a ‘we take care of our own’ mentality. And that’s without getting into whistleblower organizations also becoming compromised one way or another.

        I guess it’s like they say: you only need one bad apple to ruin the whole bunch.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. >>Which leads to the punch-drunk bunnies imagining Koinzell as a maniacal gardener. Ahem.:)

    Well, he does do a bit of a lawn-mower act on eldritch admonitions that people keep making and letting loose . . . or survived long enough to get really cunning or bred . . . not mention he most certainly plans to “prune” certain individuals out of the general population of the kingdom . . .

    What is with white-haired pretty boys and sharp, pointy things?

    Liked by 1 person

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