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26 March 2011 @ 04:03 pm
Why Byakuya/Yoruichi makes sense (a fangirl's POV)  
Because my life really is that boring and pathetic, I've written an essay explaining my opinion on my OTP, Byakuya/Yoruichi. Not much else to say. I was really, really bored.

First, their names:

(From this post at soul_society)

Shihouin Yoruichi: 四楓院 夜一
Shihouin: "four"; "maple"; "institution"
Yoruichi: "night"; "one"
Shunshin: "blink" or "flash"; "god"
notes: "Shunshin" Yoruichi is a play on her name, and is her nickname. Better translated as "God of flash", the "shun" kanji indicating that she's gone in a       blink of an eye. "Shunshin Yoruichi" together can also refer to how Yoruichi suddenly disappeared over the course of one night.

It's interesting to note that the Shihouin clan symbol consists of 4 maple leaves, as seen on this screenshot:


As already stated, her name may be refering to how she was gone in one night. No goodbye letters, no warning, or anything. Just gone. I'm not sure what kind of "institution" her name implies, but I'm only assuming it refers to the institution where you learn - which is ironic, considering that she helped train so many people (Byakuya, Kisuke, Soifon, Ichigo, Renji..)

Kuchiki Byakuya: 朽木 白哉
Kuchiki: "rot"; "wood"
Byakuya: "white"; kanji used to express awe or admiration (English equivalent such as "alas!")
notes: In an early title spread, KT translated the name as "Rotwood", so you the meaning is pretty literal. There's also symbolic imagery for the Byakuya vs Ichigo fight, as BOTH their names were huge foreshadowing for the setting: fighting black on a promontory behind white rotting trees.

Kubo does play a lot on their names during the Ichigo vs Byakuya fight. Ichigo's spiritual color is red and black, Byakuya's is pure white (like in his name). Tensa Zangetsu's blade and hilt are completely black, while using Shukei: Hakuteiken, Senbonzakura becomes completely white. The wings and halo are an interesting touch, as, at first, Ichigo's Hollow seemed to be the "demonic" side of Ichigo. They fight surrounded by white, rotting trees, too.

I may also be reading too much into this, but the part of Byakuya's name that suggests awe or admiration, may be related to Yoruichi. She was his mentor when he was younger; a Captain, the head of a Noble Clan, etc. If I were a hormonal teenage boy constantly being picked on by a beautiful, powerful woman, I'd admire her, myself.

Kisuke, Soifon, and Hisana:

I love the argument that, because Yoruichi left with Kisuke and lives with him now, automatically makes them lovers. I'd like to say that assumption is just that; an assumption. Many people these days think that the only type of love a man can feel for a woman is romantic; but I'd like to ask, do you have romantic feelings for your father (girls) or your mother (boys)? Do you not have any friends of the opposite gender that are, well, just friends? Not all love is romantic. Not all men and women love each other in a romantic way because they live together. Friendship can be just as strong, if not stronger, than romantic love. I have more guy friends than girl friends, and I can't see myself in a romantic relationship with them, ever. We're friends, and that's good enough for me.

So far, we haven't been given any solid indication that Yoruichi and Kisuke are involved romantically. They have great chemistry, sure. They tease each other, yes. I've no doubt Yoruichi parades around nude in front of him. But she also paraded around nude in front of Ichigo. We like to associate nudity with sex, but this is simply not true. Nudity has very little to do with sex, in my opinion. We, as a culture, only put the two together because that's how Western Culture is.

Furthermore, Yoruichi doesn't peg me as a modest or self-conscious person. Come on, now. Remember her teasing Ichigo in volume 14, about him never seeing a naked girl? She mentions that she likes transforming in front of people, because they assume she'd be a man, and seeing their reaction makes her laugh.  If she can transform in front of complete strangers, I don't see the big deal with her transforming in front of Kisuke. It seems, though, that around him she prefers to be a cat when not fighting with him.

As for her risking her life, breaking the law, rescuing him and resigning to the Real World: Friendship is an integral part of Bleach. It's been shown that friendship is a very powerful thing. I don't really think I need to elaborate on this point, but I would like to point out that Yoruichi leaving with Kisuke to the Real World does not automatically equal romantic love. Ichigo is willing to risk his life to save and protect his friends, family, even strangers, so why because, a woman does the same thing for a man, by definition, she "loves" him? The same can be said of a man who rescues/leaves with a woman. Gender cliches, people. Gender cliches.

On Soifon: Well...Soifon. I'm no psychologist, but I have to say, her obsession with Yoruichi seems a little unhealthy, or at least a little on the extreme side. There's nothing wrong with having an idol. I can't say I blame her, either. There's nothing wrong with wanting to surpass a mentor, or get back at someone that hurt you. All those feelings are understandable. Now, whether those feelings cross into romantic love, I can't say. We haven't really been given any solid material (manga-wise) to suggest that Soifon loves Yoruichi in a romantic fashion. I'm not completely dissing the idea, though. It's Soifon.

As for Yoruichi's feelings about her, I think Yoruichi cares. I don't think she would have devoted so much personal time to her (Soifon) if she didn't. Notice she's the only one of her family that Yoruichi really paid mind to? Possibly because she saw some potential in her, or she liked her personality and wanted to get to know her better, maybe both. Soifon is also the only person she's made up to. She's the only one Yoruichi left that Yoruichi herself made contact with. 

This suggests, at least to me, that either Yoruichi thought it more important to patch things up with Soifon, or she doesn't want to face Byakuya at all. It seems they're both going out of their way to avoid each other. After he was stabbed by Gin, Yoruichi isn't shown. She also, as far as we know, didn't pay him a visit in the hospital. They've had no interaction outside of meeting again on the bridge in volume 14. I'd also like to note that they were introduced in the same volume, too (volume 6).  If Ichigo hadn't run off to "save" Rukia on the bridge, I have no doubt Yoruichi wouldn't have seen Byakuya again in the first place.

Hm, suspicious?

On Hisana:
It's safe to assume that, since Byakuya went through so much to marry her, that he did, indeed, love Hisana very much. I don't think that fact has ever been disputed. Whether she returned it is debatable, judging by her words that she was "unable to return your [Byakuya's] love." We haven't been given much, if at all, background on her. We don't know what she was like or if she only married Byakuya to have a better chance of finding Rukia. But we do know that Byakuya loved her very much, given what we know.

I haven't really seen Hisana brought up as an argument against the possibility that Byakuya and Yoruichi could never be together. I think it depends more on Byakuya himself than Yoruichi, but of course her feelings are important, too. It's certainly possible to love again after you lose someone. Some people do, some people don't. Like I said, it depends on Byakuya himself. I personally don't feel like Hisana could be the only person he could ever love romantically, but that's just my personal opinion on his character. We've seen that he can change (being more lienent with "the law" and a little more open/protective of Rukia, and hell, he even has a sense of humor now. Albiet a dry one).

But he hates her!

It's never actually said, by Byakuya, another character, Yoruichi, or even Kubo that Byakuya hates Yoruichi. It's not even implied that he hates her. It's certainly implied that he doesn't like talking about her, using her techniques, or being around her, but never that he hates her. I think he hates what she did more than Yoruichi herself. It's no wonder, either. It's never shown or said that Byakuya had many friends or family when he was growing up, aside from his grandfather. His mother most likely died when he was very young, and Soujun (his father) died, but at what age Byakuya was, we don't know. (That info came from this post at bleachness)

Take a look at this scan of the manga, chapter 299, pg 17, while Byakuya is fighting Zommari, after he used a technique taught to him by Yoruichi:

"I don't want to have to use the techniques that woman taught to me."

(However, my copy of vol. 34 translates this as "I didn't want to use a technique I learned from her" so personally, this is the quote I'm sticking to).

They also refer to each other by their first names, but I doubt this has much significance, as Yoruichi herself refers to everyone by their first names. Byakuya doesn't, but it may be because they're fellow nobles and he sees no proper/polite need to address her formally, since she's his equal (on a societal basis).

So, he's a teenager (by Shinigami years) no friends, not much family, rigorous rules and expectations (his father didn't become head or a captain, so maybe he felt that he had to prove himself where his father didn't) training to be the next head of the most influential family in the Seireitei..and the only person who really paid him any mind up and leaves one day. With another man, to boot. Breaking the law to do so, on top of that.

I really don't find it surprising that he has so much resentment for what she did. Her leaving, breaking the law, abandoning her duties as a fellow Noble, her nonchalant attitude about it all, may also be why he was so stringent about following the law the to the damn letter, even if he personally disagreed with it. He had to make up for her mistakes, because, after all, Nobles are "examples" to the rest of the SS.  Of course his promise to Hisana, and his contradictory promise to his parents, may have also influenced that. Lucky for us, Ichigo was there to beat some sense into him.

What Yoruichi feels about this, I can't say, because we haven't been given any indication yet. She hasn't even spoken to him aside from their encounter on the bridge in volume 14, nor has she mentioned him, either. I think the only time she mentions him (but not by name) is in vol. 6, when he and Renji come to take Rukia back to the SS. She refers to them [Byakuya and Renji] as "they."

We have, more or less, a pretty solid background for her relationship with Soifon, but not with Byakuya, other than their game of "tag" in TBTP. As far as we know, she just liked to bug him, steal his hair tie, goad him into chasing her (to beat him, most likely, she said in vol. 14 that he was never able to beat her - "have you even once beaten me in a game of tag?").

However, going by her character, Yoruichi doesn't seem like she bothers with just anyone. As far as we know, the only people she's helped train are Soifon (who became a Captain) Kisuke (who became a Captain) Byakuya (who became a Captain) and Ichigo (who, well, do I even need to mention this?) I don't think she'd invest much, if any, of her personal time on just anybody. I think she either knew that Byakuya had great potential as a Shinigami and possible Captain, felt sorry for the poor kid for having no friends and no close family members, liked him enough as a person to get to know him (like my theory with Soifon), didn't want him to become "just another Noble" or maybe a little of all. But this is just fan speculation. Either way, she must have thought something of him to teach him what she did.

She's too old for him!

Haha. I love this argument because it's so easy to blow holes into.

Shinigami can live upwards of 2000 years. Is Yama a freaking fossil, or what? An age gap of, say, 20 or so years seems like a big deal to us because we'll be damned lucky to live to 100 at most. But by Shinigami standards, 100 years isn't even a baby. Assuming that they age 50 years to every 10 for a human. So if Ichigo is 15 at the start of the manga, and Rukia is "about 150" (according to absoluteanime.com) that calculation seems pretty accurate.

Yeah, in TBTP Yoruichi was tall enough to squish her boobs into Byakuya's face (hilarious - chapter 315.4, pg 11). Girls tend to grow faster than boys, then their growth evens out sooner, whereas a 13 year old boy might be a head shorter than a 13 year old girl, typically. I really don't think her height is any indication that she's "too old." Also notice that, she refers to herself as a "girl" (ch. 315.4, pg 13). In Japan, you're considered an "adult woman" at age 20. I don't exactly know how that might work in the SS, but it's implied that Yoruichi was, during that time, younger than 20. I'd say 18-19 is a safe estimate, whereas Byakuya during that time was 14, again, just an estimate in human years.

We view an age gap of 4 years differently in adults than children. It's illegal for a 20 year old to be in a relationship with a 16 year old, but not for a 28 year old to be in one with a 24 year old. See what I mean? Byakuya and Yoruichi are adults now. An age gap of 4-5 human years, at most, does not make her "too old."

Even if she were 50-55 years older than him in Shinigami years, this doesn't seem to be much of a taboo. People hardly bat an eyelash at Kyoraku and Nanao's age (both fandom and in the manga). He's clearly much older than she is, but still pursues her romantically, and people don't care. So why is Byakuya and Yoruichi's "age gap" such a big deal?

A pretty weak argument, if you ask me.

In conclusion

This was a biased article. I'll say it. I'm a major fangirl and Byakuya/Yoruichi is my Bleach OTP. Like most people concerning their OTP, I'll take anything and rationalize it to fit my OTP better. However, I do think I've made a few good points, both for and against, why my OTP makes sense to me personally. Not saying my points have to make sense to other people, or that because they like Yoruichi with X character or Byakuya with X character makes their opinion invalid. I'm just a bored fangirl sharing my thoughts. So please don't flame me.

(To everyone reading this via my journal - I'm not sure if I'll be posting this to Bleachness yet. I really just wrote this because I was bored and in a shippy mood. But I might if enough people find it interesting).
Angel: Yoruichi smileangel0399 on March 30th, 2011 03:56 am (UTC)
Did someone really give you the excuse of "She's too old for him?" Seriously?

Very good argument on all counts. I've always thought that her and Kisuke could be involved, but more than likely weren't. They strike me as the kind to be very close friends, and they would do anything for each other. Hell, they already have when she left SS with him.
unwritten_iconsunwritten_icons on March 30th, 2011 04:49 am (UTC)
Haha, yes, actually. Someone sent a review on ff.net on a chapter of TAT (I think it was 8) and was all "Nice chapter but Yoruichi is waaayy too old for Byakkun! I like him better with Rangiku lolz." I went .____. and kindly sent them a PM explaining that she is, at most, maybe 4-5 human years older, and thus not 'waaayy too old' for him. She's not a freaking old maid because she was taller than him when they were teenagers! Haha.