27 thoughts on “A Spirited Picnic Chapter 1 on AO3

  1. For all the stories with things like mind control or illusions that convince people the fake is real, it becomes even worse if somebody is convinced the reality is fake.

    In most cases they have some detailed description about how it feels to be under the influence so once it is broken they can look back and say “oh, that’s what it is like to be wrong.”

    What if someone was influenced by flawless illusion/brainwashing/love potions and can’t tell the difference even after it’s gone?
    Then the next time a similar thought hits them, they go into a paranoid frenzy trying to “uncover the truth” when there is nothing there to find.

    “So I thought the date went pretty well.”
    “I agree. It was very nice.”
    “Right… so why am I tied to a chair now?”
    “Oh, well I was thinking that I really like you. You make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.”
    “And you decided to introduce me to your kinks?”
    “No, I just need you to tell me where the antidote is.”
    “Antidote for what?”
    “For the love potion! I’ve been hit by this before, I know where those warm and fuzzy feeling actually come from.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, exactly! Aizen’s zanpakutou is all-out Nightmare Fuel. Unohana only realized something was wrong because the “body” wasn’t decaying at the right rate. As far as I know in canon, there was no way to break Aizen’s illusion once his shikai was seen.

      That’s just… mind-breaking. Gah.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. There comes a point when accepting what canon claims about Aizen in terms of immortality, perfection of hypnosis, etc. means accepting Tite’s claim of a world where evil does not mar evil. I reject Bleach canon selectively, so that I can find the remaining whole more credible and more interesting than I find, say, Death Note.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Seriously, execute the man already.

        I was tempted to wall my computer at that particular reveal.

        Seriously, just… why?

        Isshin’s part of the Picnic chapter brought my mind to a screeching halt, so well done on that.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Even if you ignore the part about Masaki being a quincy, i think you should keep the one about her being childhood friend of ryuuken.

    And then, Ryuuken could have asked why Isshin didnt asked his help not only for the sake of their friendship, but also for the sake of Masaki-which may have brought a needed shock in the man.

    I do hope for ryuuken confrontation with Urahara scene…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Seconding the Ryuuken-Masaki friendship thing.

      I know you, CrossOverCreativeChaos, have a specific interpretation of what makes Masaki’s self-sacrifice for Ichigo badass – and that’s fine and fair and I honestly don’t think I disagree with it – but Masaki being Ryuuken’s childhood friend gives her a chance at having a better spiritual background on what’s out there and what Isshin was/is when she first met him than she would have without it.

      Personally, I find that when put up against things in canon Isshin didn’t say, Masaki already knowing is a better background for their relationship. Especially better than the possibility that there were such vital areas where the two did not communicate.

      (Since the possibility occurred to me that – without Masaki already knowing about spirits/being able to see ghosts – Isshin might have thought it was his duty that he not tell her it’s been really oogie and bothering me on several levels of squick, so I’ll probably second just about anything as an alternative.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. *sigh*

        Only ‘didn’t’ at the beginning and ‘not’ at the end were supposed to be italicized in the second paragraph.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thing is, where does Ichigo get the sensing peoples hearts thing?

        Possibility a), is Masaki, in which case she may well have sensed enough from Isshin for informed consent without him actually saying anything.

        Possibility b) is Isshin, in which case we can speculate about really weird Shiba communication habits, and might need Masaki to have some other source of information for her consent. Quincy Masaki or more mundane childhood friend of Ryuuken would both work.

        Possibility c) is both.

        Possibility d) is neither.

        There are also informed consent issues with that marriage and decision to have children stemming from the Gigai that Urahara made for Isshin.

        If we ignore the magical girl genre convention of Ichigo giving informed consent, because heart reading, to Urahara’s experiment to give him back his powers, there are all sorts of squicky informed consent issues. Except for cases like this Darker than Black cross, there is a solid thematic argument that we should automatically assume that Masaki just sensed things without them being properly explained with supporting evidence. In this Darker than Black cross, Isshin’s reality confusion and that Ichigo, Karin, and Yuzu are heart readers argues that Masaki was a heart reader.

        Of course, going too far down this path leads to defenses of Mayuri. Or even Aizen.


      3. Plus, canon may have actually established that he told her. Not saying, or denying, that he’d lost his powers saving her implies that he did discuss losing his powers a little.

        We don’t know what was or was not discussed by them.

        And having Ichigo in Karate seems to have been her project, arguing that she did have an opinion about combat skills.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I have the impression that part of why Isshin may have wound up believing that particular interpretation of reality is inability to cope with Masaki’s death.

    Also, OOC, that design choice seems to be driven by themes made necessary by the crossover.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. At one point, I wanted to argue. Then I realized that anything Isshin might know about theoretical propagation limits of a bankai might well be something he learned after he was first exposed to Aizen’s Shikai.

        Though, the logic of the invasion arc falls apart if Aizen’s illusions aren’t fairly localized. Isshin has no reason to be certain of that.


      2. I’d note that SAO is inspired by James Hogan’s Realtime Interrupt. One of the plot points there is the skewing effect the VR system could have on time.


  4. Shinigami need to eat, when other spirits don’t. Hollows, Arrancar… does everyone with spirit-powers get hungry?


    That energy has to come from SOMEWHERE. Power is never free. There is always a cost.

    “If it saved my son’s life,” Ryuuken said, very quietly, “don’t you think that was a price I would have been willing to pay?”

    Ryuuken, I have serious doubts that if you killed Aizen while he was still considered the Saint of the Gotei 13 that the Gotei 13 wouldn’t kill Uryuu to make sure he didn’t take it into his head to kill a Shinigami captain someday. Especially since the Gotei 13 is inclined to shot first ask questions never.

    Are there Contractors who can weave such seamless illusions?


    Did anyone else wince at the idea of what part of you having go three rounds with Yoruichi?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Given that in real life historical Japan, every peasant had the right to go to the central government to protest unjust taxes against his village (and a tax break would be granted), but the price was the execution of the peasant and his whole extended family….

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Heard of that.

        On the one hand, chose to protest the taxes and they get lowered at the cost of you and your entire family being executed.

        On the other hand, chose not to protest the taxes, be unable to pay them in full, and the cost is you, your entire family, and likely the entire village being executed.

        On the third hand, chose not to protest, scrap up the necessary stuff to pay it, at the cost is that someone or several someones probably starves or otherwise goes without. Hope they don’t increase the rates again so you once again looking at an impossible choice again.

        They really had you coming and going. Do I sentence myself and my family to death now or later?

        Liked by 2 people

    2. I wasn’t so certain on the ‘everything with spirit powers’ bit.

      Ichigo’s appetite is never really commented on in canon, tho’ I think we do get the impression that he has a healthy appetite for a teenager. Actually, other than that feeling hunger in rukongai is a sign
      the person has spirit powers/is a good candidate for Shinigami recruitment, in canon I think the only person whose appetite is commented on at all is Orihime’s, and that’s mostly in relation to her cooking being so weird.

      Whereas in Darker Than Black I think Li is the only person whose appetite gets commented on, and it doesn’t seem to be seen as a suspicious sign of Contractor-ness.

      I’d Wild Mass Guess it has to do with being a Human with Hollow powers, but then other Contractors should display it too.

      Maybe it’s specifically a Human Vizard thing?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ichigo’s appetite might be larger than normal but not out of the realm for a teenager. I could embarrass you at a buffet when I was a teenager. Both of my brothers could pack away an astonishing level of food during their teenage years.

        Maybe Hei’s appetite gets commented on because he is in his 20s and still inhaling food at the teenager level. (Minor thought: Is there any possibility that Hei experienced food deprivation a varying points during the ten years since the Gates?)

        It could be a Vizard thing.

        But still . . . the energy for one’s powers needs to come from somewhere.

        And in Bleach, energy from one’s food seems to fuel one’s powers.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. It’s almost certain Hei did have hungry times, between street life and ending up in various jungle nasty spots.

        That was my thought.

        Some people who go through that tend to load up on the calories when they can because they don’t know where the next meal is coming from or trust that this stretch of getting regular food is going to last.

        Add that with needing extra fuel for his powers . . .

        Liked by 1 person

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