What better way to debut my first blog than to talk about my favorite anime character? Rukia Kuchiki is the female lead in the hit anime, Bleach. I say “hit” but I for one, have stopped watching the show since the end of the second season, as it pretty much went downhill from there. For those unfamiliar with the show, I’ll give a brief summary below. And I’ll have to ask people to excuse my writing. I happen to type the way I speak in person, so if any punctuation looks awkward…well you’re gonna have to deal with it!
Bleach revolves around the life of 15 year old Ichigo Kurosaki, a boy with spiky orange hair who is able to see ghosts. One night, he encounters a young woman named Rukia Kuchiki, a being who transports souls to the afterlife and purifies tainted souls called Hollows. A Soul Reaper, so she says. One night, a Hollow sniffs out Ichigo and attacks his home, putting him and his family in danger. Ichigo recklessly tries to repel the Hollow himself, and this causes Rukia to intervene, taking a devastating blow that would otherwise kill Ichigo. Unable to move, Rukia makes an outlandish suggestion and volunteers to offer her powers to Ichigo so he can save himself, Rukia, and his family. Ichigo is whole-heartedly on board with the idea, and so, Rukia plunges her sword into Ichigo’s heart and transfers all of her powers to him.
The first episode ends with Ichigo becoming a Soul Reaper (and totally owning that Hollow). The following episodes then involve Rukia teaching Ichigo the responsibilities of being a Soul Reaper since apparently, Rukia intended to only transfer a portion of her powers to him, not all of it.
So, if Rukia is my favorite anime character, why is this blog called “Room for Improvement”? Well, let me first explain why I love her so much. Right off the bat, Rukia shows that she possesses many qualities that I like in a female character (as well as females in real life, herp). Rukia is mentally strong, she is confident in her actions, she is blunt, and she knows how to prioritize. Rukia is also imperfect (like any normal human being), her blunt demeanor works against her at times because she has trouble putting herself in other people’s shoes. Rukia falls into the category of “female character who does not act like a female character.” And no, that doesn’t mean she acts like “one of the guys,” as Rukia can also be very feminine at times. What I mean is, she isn’t constantly reminding the viewer that she is a girl. Rukia is simply a character, who happens to BE female, and that is exactly how she was written throughout the show. I should also mention that her actual design plays a big part in why I love her so much, ha.
So, Rukia seems to have everything going for her. What the heck is wrong, you ask? Well, here’s your answer: she’s pretty fucking useless.
Yep, useless! Rukia is nothing more than a plot mover who happens to pass on knowledge to Ichigo so he can properly gain the throne of “all powerful main character” and stay there for the rest of the show. While the two develop an AMAZING relationship together in Seasons 1 and 2, it falls to shit in future seasons. Rukia eventually gains her powers back, and still manages to be useless. Ichigo also contracts some type of emo disease that causes him to lose confidence every time he loses a fight. And almost too conveniently, Rukia appears and gives him a literal kick in the ass. Ichigo’s motivation is revived, and he goes on to fight while Rukia becomes useless once again. She is such a rare case, and I’ve never found a single female character who had such amazing qualities yet managed to be useless throughout a show. So what can be done? Should Rukia be physically stronger? Well, that’d be a good freaking start, wouldn’t it? That alone isn’t enough however, as Bleach is a show with many many MANY characters who fight alongside Ichigo. Like any Fighting game, you don’t want any characters to be overpowered, and demanding a buff on your favorite character alone is hardly fair. Instead, all weaker characters must be buffed to catch up to the top tier, so everyone can be useful in some way.
I love Rukia, but not enough to make her useful if it means making other characters useless. The key to having a good show is utilizing each character in some SIGNIFICANT way or another. Otherwise, why are they even there? That is a question I constantly ask myself when Rukia…or anyone who isn’t Ichigo is on screen. Bleach has already been ruined for me from all the events I hear about now and then. So honestly, it’s too late to improve Rukia, and even if she were to improve, the author would have to make damn sure that all of the other supporting characters are improved as well.
How about you guys? Do you have any ways to improve Rukia? Does she need improvement at all (this is only my opinion after all)? What do you think of Bleach in general for that matter?