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ChiliConCarne
topic
01:51:45 PM Nov 13th 2013
edited by 75.21.151.182
  • Rubs forehead* We really need to settle on what the Inner Hollow is, trope-wise. I’m sorry this is so long, but please bear with me…

Lets look at the facts:

  • The Inner Hollow is introduced as a color-inverted soul reaper Ichigo and his words and actions seem to be based off of a typical Anthropomorphic Personification of a person’s psyche.
  • …However, his conversation with the Old Man afterwords suggests he has independence from Ichigo and will take over his body, similar to Demonic Possession and Grand Theft Me.
  • Later he actually takes over Ichigo’s body, is capable of speech and overall seems like a typical Dermonic Posession/Grand Theft Me.
  • The way the Vizard refer to “Inner Hollows” indicates they are parasites that hijack their body and powers when under extreme physical stress.
    Yet in Turn Back the Pendulum, they seemed to be undergoing normal Hollowfication, not being hijacked by a split personality/parasite.
  • Shinji also says “everyone you love will be slaughtered by your own hand”. This could be interpreted as literal, since the Hollow will be using Ichigo’s body to kill people, or metaphorical because Ichigo will turn into a Hollow himself (which suggests he’s not being hijacked by a parasite).
  • The Hollow’s fight against the Vizards indicates he is a parasite…
  • But his actions and words to Ichigo suggest he is merely an artists representation of Ichigo’s psyche—what Carl Jung refers to as “the Shadow”.
  • It’s also important to remember that everything in Ichigo’s inner world is symbolic representation of his personality and not literal…
    But how does that explain the Hollow’s takeover during the Byakuya fight?
  • After gaining his Inner Hollow’s mask, use of said mask causes subtle changes in Ichigo’s personality. Is it the Inner Hollow partially surfacing or is the Inner Hollow/Hollow mask merely drawing out Ichigo’s “inner evil”?
  • Tite Kubo seems to imply that the Hollow and Ichigo are independent beings. He said in an interview that Ichigo’s voice distortion in Vizard form is caused “by him and the Inner Hollow speaking at the same time.” indicating they are two different people inhabiting the same body.
  • But then there’s the Ulquiorra fight, which is where things get really weird. Contrary to popular belief, Ichigo was not “dead”, he was dying, but not 100% dead. The Inner Hollow apparently took total control of Ichigo, but unlike the Vizard fight there was no inner battle, and unlike the Byakuya fight the Inner Hollow displayed no distinct personality. (Also, in the original manga, he did not say “I’ll protect you.” to Orihime. He was staring off into space and muttering “Help.. I’ll help you…” over and over again to no one in particular.)
    Tensa Zangetsu’s words in the Dangai indicate that Ichigo became a Hollow, yet the Inner Hollow’s appearance still changed, in dictating he did take over. Then they merge and say “[They} are [his] power,” suggesting that they are merely facets of Ichigo’s personality as a whole and, by proxy, his powers.
  • But then E Bt R goes in-depth as to what Hollowfication is. A Hollow soul is inserted into a “normal” soul and the two souls “bleed together”, becoming a single entity (at least in the sense that they share the same body) and that their struggle for dominance causes the body to turn into a mindless monster that eventually undergoes Soul Suicide. This explains what happened with the Vizard fight, but does not explain why the Inner Hollow was mindless when it took over during the Ulquiorra fight (where there was no “inner battle”).
  • Then Isshin reveals that the Inner Hollow is actually White, the Artificial Hollow that tried to hijack Masaki’s body and moved on to Ichigo due to being unable to fuse with the former’s soul. This confirms that the Inner Hollow is not a natural part of Ichigo’s power or psyche, but is a parasite that has fused with (read:”hijacked”) its host’s powers. It is one with Ichigo in that it shares his body; it may look and act like Ichigo now, but it is still a independent entity trying to gain a body of its own. Its host’s body.
    Yet Hollowfication is not defined as a parasite hijacking a host soul; it is the natural (or artificially-induced) degeneration of a soul into a Hollow of its own. Does this make White a parasite trying to take over Ichigo’s mind and soul or a catalyst for his natural Hollowfication personified since the Hollowfication catalyst doubled as an Asauchi?
  • Nimaya then explains that the Inner Hollow/White is actually Ichigo’s zanpakutou spirit. We now know that zanpakutou spirits are independent beings that start out as nameless Asauchi that either draw out a shinigami’s own zanpakutou spirit (as in the case of stronger shinigami) or adopt their wielder’s innermost personality traits and powers over time (for weaker shinigami).
  • But Nimaya insists that zanpakutou are not independent entities; they are you, your innermost traits manifested in a visual/aduible form in your mind. When you talk to your zanpakutou, you are literally and metaphorically talking to yourself.
  • But we also know the Old Man and Zangetsu had minds, wills, personalities, and goals totally independent of Ichigo. How else could Ichigo’s “Quincy powers”suppress Zangetsu without Ichigo having a totally effed-up body system? Wouldn’t that indicate that “Zangetsu” is a foreign parasite that hijacked Ichigo’s unborn soul? Ichigo’s epiphany after reforging Zangetsu indicates they are metaphorical/metaphysical/all-in-his-head rep’s of his personality. That they are literally him and him alone despite the Inner Hollow/Zangetsu not being a natural part of his soul.
  • But that still doesn’t explain the sharp contrasts between the Byakuya and Ulquiorra takeovers/transformations.
  • That leaves us with the big question: What is Zangetsu? Is it a parasite or a representation of Ichigo’s psyche? Does Ichigo really have a “Superpowered Evil Side”? How independent is he of his master? It seems the author himself can’t decide, since he consistently contradicts himself in the interpretations of the Old Man and Zangetsu. At this point, we could just label it as a Mindscrew/Retcon/Alternate Character Interpretation, but I’ll leave that up to you guys to decide.

* On a different note, how is Demonic Posession a form of Split Personality Takeover? Demonic Possession suggests a foreign entity using a human body/soul as a medium to interact with the world. Split Personality Takeover indicates that the “alternate personality” originates from the subject’s psyche. For example, in Naruto, the Tailed Beasts pull Demonic Possession on their jinchuuriki; they do not originate from their host’s psyche nor do they take on/reflect aspects of their host; their ultimate goal is Grand Theft Me. The V Izards Hollows, and Zangetsu in particular, seem to be a weird combination of Demonic Posseession/Grand Theft Me (in that they are parasites trying to take over their host’s body and have independent wills/minds and have their own agendas) and Split Personality Takeover (since their appearances, personalities and powers are derived from their hosts).

Arha
02:50:07 PM Nov 13th 2013
Nobody is going to read that until you put it into paragraphs.
Willbyr
moderator
04:46:05 PM Nov 13th 2013
Indeed.
KingZeal
05:08:31 PM Nov 13th 2013
To put it bluntly, the Hollow is both part of Ichigo and not part of him. Bleach loosely uses Shinto philosophy as part of its story structure, and Shinto believes that every everything—every person, animal, object, part of an object, collection of objects, or even metaphysical concepts—all had their own souls. Further, souls both overlap and be independent at the same time. For example, Fullbringers gain their power by commanding the soul of a thing which has meaning to them. Chad's "thing" is his skin, which is both part of him and its own being. In the same way, inner spirits (the Old Man and the Hollow) are both part of their masters and not.
Wyldchyld
06:47:07 AM Nov 23rd 2013
edited by 2.100.119.228
You said "Let's look at the facts." and then proceeded to list interpretations. In a couple of cases, you're creating assumptions to form the basis of other assumptions you have, which leads to circular arguments. For example, you've assumed the White Aizen created and the Inner Hollow of Ichigo are exactly the same, which has led to you making assumptions about the relationship between Ichigo and his Inner Hollow. The manga has clearly set up a connection, but it's left the relationship open to interpretation. We barely even know what "target hollowfication" really meant so Masaki being hollowfied as a result of it tells us very little about the relationship between White and Ichigo's Inner Hollow.

Your last bullet point asks the right question: the fandom certainly has questions. However, you're not really right to claim a Continuity Snarl in Kubo's coverage of him. King Zeal is right, as is common for a Japanese author, Kubo has littered his story with shinto themes and flavour. Judging from your interpretation, the issue is more that the story is developing in a direction that contradicts your beliefs.

So, to answer the question "What is Zangetsu?" simply: my answer would be "something we shouldn't be so quick to throw tropes at". The reason a lot of your tropes keep getting cleaned up is precisely because of this issue. You're troping your interpretation, not what the manga is definitely saying.

May I just also say you shouldn't be going ahead and troping away as though this discussion has been resolved and an outcome agreed.
Arawn999
02:14:34 PM Feb 8th 2014
edited by 24.67.94.109
@ Wyldchyld

In regards to your comment of "you've assumed the White Aizen created and the Inner Hollow of Ichigo are exactly the same" and "The manga has clearly set up a connection, but it's left the relationship open to interpretation. We barely even know what "target hollowfication" really meant so Masaki being hollowfied as a result of it tells us very little about the relationship between White and Ichigo's Inner Hollow." That's not entirely the case: Both Isshin and Nimaya have stated that White is both Ichigo's Inner Hollow and his Zanpakuto spirit in Chapters 536 and 540 respectively, though Nimaya states it more explicitly: that White's soul infected Masaki, was transferred to Ichigo in utero, and integrated itself into his soul by pulling a Grand Theft Me on his Zanpakuto spirit, Zangetsu.
ChiliConCarne
topic
09:55:10 AM Sep 28th 2013
Looking back over "Everything But the Rain", Isshin and Urahara seem to imply that White never fully merged with Masaki and jumped ship to Ichigo and merged with him. Given that Isshin's reishi strings were the same ones that kept White from taking Masaki's body as its own, wouldn't that make Hollow Ichigo/Zangetsu a distinct entity from Ichigo? According to the SS arc, he has his own agenda; they're just sharing a body.

In that case, he's not the Anthropomorphic Personification of Ichigo's personality/powers; he's a parasite trying to gain a body a la Kyuubi.
ChiliConCarne
topic
07:36:59 PM Jul 5th 2013
edited by 216.99.32.45
The issue with Bleach is that the concept of the zanpakuto relies so heavily on symbolism that you have to look at the subtle implications to understand what they are. They embody traits of their wielders because they are their wielders; they embody their wielder's core traits and their conversations are visualizations of whatever is going on in their wielder's head. It's a way to show the audience what the shinigami is thinking without writing pages and pages of textual introspection like your average written novel.

When Zabimaru appeared in front of Renji, Renji was in conflict over his situation and what to do. Kubo decided to show this by having Zabimaru voice Renji's internal thoughts and desires: to fight Ichigo again or work on his Bankai and save Rukia. In the case of Zaraki's zanpakuto, it was screaming in pain because Zaraki ignored it. Unohana's monologue while training Zaraki explains what this meant: it was a symbolic way of showing the audience that Zaraki ignored his inborn power. A zanpakuto is a shinigami's inborn power and inner thoughts given an avatar that can walk and talk (in their wielder's mind, at least). Ichigo's conflict with Zangetsu is very similar to Zaraki's, except he didn't just ignore his inborn power; he fought against it and beat it down.

The issue with using the Byakuya incident as evidence is that it was the first time Ichigo Hollowfied and it is never portrayed that way again. I personally see it as a fluke because all subsequent transformations are portrayed as Ichigo losing his sanity and becoming an aggressive, mindless beast. Tensa Zangetsu actually states that Ichigo became a Hollow and that Ichigo killed Ulquiorra, he did not refer to Hollow Ichigo at all; he addressed Ichigo directly. Again, it was a way for Kubo to show us what's going on in Ichigo's subconscious; he's finally accepting that he lost control of himself and killed his opponent. It was not another entity taking over, which is what he claimed after he woke up, and is NOT what happened.

Also, Ichigo's case is not like the Vizards, so you can't really compare. The way Shinji spoke sounded like their Hollows were literally inserted into their bodies and are thus to some degree still separate entities sharing a body; Ichigo's Hollowfication came from a combination of a spiritual virus that he inherited from his mother and the fact that he's a living soul, which enabled him to Hollowfy naturally. All the Hollowfication virus did was create a malignant "Asauchi" that gave his Hollow powers a subconscious avatar and influenced the appearance of his second Hollow form.
ChiliConCarne
topic
11:53:04 AM Jul 5th 2013
edited by 216.99.32.45
How is the Inner Hollow pulling a Split Personality Takeover if Ichigo's full Hollow form doesn't have an actual personality? Strictly speaking, his full Hollow form should be cackling and sadistic like the "inner Hollow".

Hollowfication is the destruction/corruption of a person's personality and soul, not another personality "taking over". In other words, it's Ichigo losing his heart/sanity, hence why I used The Corruption trope. The "inner Hollow" and the old man are visual mediums for the audience to seen what's going on in Ichigo's head. They don't actually exist as individual personalities/people. A more accurate comparison would be schizophrenia instead of DID/MPD.

Recall Tensa Zangetsu's words to Ichigo after (symbolically) pulling the inner Hollow out of his chest. He said: "This is the form you [Ichigo] took when you killed Ulquiorra Cifer. He did not say: "This is the form your body took when your Hollow killed Ulquiorra Cifer." Ichigo didn't remember it not because another personality had taken over: it's because Hollowfication destroys the victim's mind and heart.

Also consider Nimaiya's speech when testing Ichigo and Renji with the Asauchi. What is a zanpakuto? It's not your enemy, your ally, teacher, friend, lover, ect. It's not a distinct being from its master. It's a subconscious avatar of your personality and nothing more; a mirror that allows you to understand yourself and your inherent powers better. Ichigo himself says this in chapter 542, that he understands now that the Hollow and the old man are not entities/extra personalities for him to fight against, rely on for power, or ally himself with.
Arawn444
04:22:19 PM Jul 5th 2013
edited by 69.172.221.2
Saying that "[the] inner Hollow" and the old man are visual mediums for the audience to seen what's going on in Ichigo's head" ignores the fact that the Old Man, while acting as Ichigo's Zanpakuto spirit, manifested in the real world during Ichigo's bankai training, and that being able to cause your Zanpakuto spirit to manifest is a prerequisite to attaining bankai. Furthermore, Ichigo had never seen Yhwach before, so it would be an amazing coincidence for the Old Man to be identical to Yhwach as he was 1000 years ago if it was all in Ichigo's head.

The definition of Dissociative Identity Disorder is "a mental disorder characterized by at least two distinct and relatively enduring identities or dissociated personality states that alternately control a person's behavior, and is accompanied by memory impairment for important information not explained by ordinary forgetfulness", although the last part is almost always omitted in pop-culture depictions of the disorder. The Inner Hollow is an embodiment of Ichigo's repressed negative personality traits, as he once stated that he was the embodiment of Ichigo's truest instincts - in keeping with being an avatar of Ichigo's personality. However, he also stated that his desire was to crush/devour Ichigo and take control of their body for his own, which according to the Old Man he only tried to do whenever Ichigo was in danger. The main support for the Split Personality Takeover trope comes from that statement and because when Ichigo Hollowfied against Byakuya, he and the Inner Hollow bickered over who would be the one to finish the fight until Ichigo ripped the mask off and regained control of his body, and during the admittedly non-canon Runaway Zanpakuto arc when Ichigo fully Hollowfied he stated "I won't let you (the Inner Hollow) have my body!" and the Inner Hollow was identified as being the one in control of the transformed Ichigo by the Old Man. As for why Ichigo's subsequent transformations weren't "cackling and sadistic", you'd have to ask Kubo, but the Visored even stated that Ichigo's Hollowfications were due to the Inner Hollow trying to take control of his body and that they had to battle their own Inner Hollows for control of their bodies.

Also, when Ichigo confronts the Old Man in The Blade And Me 2, the Old Man says that "when [Ichigo's] life was in mortal danger, the one responsible for saving [him] was never me. It was always your Hollow", with images from Ichigo's fights with Byakya, his first encounter with the Arrancar, and his final battles with Ulquiorra being shown. Nimaya himself also referred to the Inner Hollow when it manifested into an Asauchi as "your Hollow." Furthermore, while the Zanpakuto spirits are indeed reflections of their wielder, they do possess their own personalities, which embody traits of their wielder's. Zabimaru's spirit argued with Renji over whether to fight Ichigo again, Ichigo felt loneliness from Zaraki's zanpakuto spirit during their fight, and Yumichika's zanpakuto Ruri'iro Kujaku becomes upset when he calls it Fuji Kujaku.
ChiliConCarne
07:58:22 PM Jul 5th 2013
edited by 216.99.32.43
In that case, then it's not Split Personality Takeover at all: it's Sanity Slippage/The Corruption. You're looking at it too literally. Kubo relies heavily on symbolism when portraying Ichigo's Inner World. Anything that happens in a character's mind (especially when visualized as a Mental World) should not be taken literally but metaphorically. The same goes for the Hollow and Zangetsu because they only appear in the inner world/Ichigo's waking mind, not in the outside world. They are just as much a visual medium for Ichigo's thoughts and personality as the skyscrapers and weather in Ichigo's inner world are visual metaphors for his hope and emotions respectively. Also the zanpakuto avatars are manifested in the shinigami's subconscious, and, as shown when Ichigo used Blut Vene, reiatsu can be inherited and contain subconscious racial memories. You could also just as easily say Kubo decided to make Zangetsu a younger Yhwach to symbolize the fact that Yhwach is Ichigo's ancestor and the originator of all Quincies. Again, it all comes down to symbolism and interpretive reading.

Going off of that, should we label Zangetsu's avatars as separate beings? The article keeps saying "his [the Hollows]/[Zangetsu's] power" which makes it sound like Ichigo is literally borrowing power from a separate entity that just so happens to live inside of his body. But chapters 538-542 state otherwise: when you talk to a zanpakuto or vice versa, you are talking to yourself. So is the Hollow's/Zangetsu's power Ichigo's power or is he borrowing someone elses power. You seem to be insisting that Zanpakuto are fully independent of their wielder, but there are subtle examples in the manga that state otherwise. So which is it?
ChiliConCarne
07:58:22 PM Jul 5th 2013
You're looking at it too literally. Kubo relies heavily on symbolism when portraying characters. Also the avatars are manifested in your subconscious, and, as shown when Ichigo used Blut Vene, reiatsu can be inherited and contain subconscious racial memories. Or you could just say Kubo decided to make Zangetsu a younger Yhwach to symbolize the fact that Yhwach is Ichigo's ancestor and the originator of all Quincies.

Look, what I'm trying to say is, should we label Zangetsu's avatars as separate beings? The article keeps saying "his [the Hollows]/[Zangetsu's] power" which makes it sound like Ichigo is literally borrowing power from a separate entity that just so happens to live inside of his body. But chapters 538-542 state otherwise: when you talk to a zanpakuto or vice versa, you are talking to yourself. So is the Hollow's/Zangetsu's power Ichigo's power or is he borrowing someone elses power. You seem to be insisting that Zanpakuto are fully independent of their wielder, but there are subtle examples in the manga that state otherwise. So which is it?
ChiliConCarne
08:02:24 PM Jul 5th 2013
You're looking at it too literally. Kubo relies heavily on symbolism when portraying characters. Also the avatars are manifested in your subconscious, and, as shown when Ichigo used Blut Vene, reiatsu can be inherited and contain subconscious racial memories. Or you could just say Kubo decided to make Zangetsu a younger Yhwach to symbolize the fact that Yhwach is Ichigo's ancestor and the originator of all Quincies. Remember that unlike the majority of shonen, Bleach is not a manga that you can take as surface value; you need to look deeper to understand the connections and hidden clues. Otherwise the plot looks like it's full of ass-pulls, retcons, and plot holes when, in fact, it's not.

So should we label Zangetsu's avatars as separate beings from Ichigo? The article keeps saying "his [as in the Hollows/Zangetsu's] power" which makes it sound like Ichigo is literally borrowing power from separate entities that just so happen to live inside of his body. But chapters 538-542 confirm otherwise: when you talk to a zanpakuto or vice versa, you are talking to yourself. So is the Hollow's/Zangetsu's power Ichigo's power or is he borrowing someone else's power. You seem to be insisting that Zanpakuto and the "Inner Hollows" are fully independent of their wielder, but there are subtle examples in the manga that state otherwise. So which is it?
ChiliConCarne
08:02:29 PM Jul 5th 2013
You're looking at it too literally. Kubo relies heavily on symbolism when portraying characters. Also the avatars are manifested in your subconscious, and, as shown when Ichigo used Blut Vene, reiatsu can be inherited and contain subconscious racial memories. Or you could just say Kubo decided to make Zangetsu a younger Yhwach to symbolize the fact that Yhwach is Ichigo's ancestor and the originator of all Quincies. Remember that unlike the majority of shonen, Bleach is not a manga that you can take as surface value; you need to look deeper to understand the connections and hidden clues. Otherwise the plot looks like it's full of ass-pulls, retcons, and plot holes when, in fact, it's not.

So should we label Zangetsu's avatars as separate beings from Ichigo (at least in terms of power)? The article keeps saying "his [as in the Hollows/Zangetsu's] power" which makes it sound like Ichigo is literally borrowing power from separate entities that just so happen to live inside of his body. But chapters 538-542 (along with several other scenes in Ichigo's inner world) confirm otherwise when you look deeper: when you talk to a zanpakuto or vice versa, you are talking to yourself. So is the Hollow's/Zangetsu's power Ichigo's power or is he borrowing someone else's power. You seem to be insisting that Zanpakuto and the "Inner Hollows" are fully independent of their wielder, but there are subtle examples in the manga that state otherwise. So which is it?
ChiliConCarne
08:02:59 PM Jul 5th 2013
You're looking at it too literally. Kubo relies heavily on symbolism when portraying characters. Also the avatars are manifested in your subconscious, and, as shown when Ichigo used Blut Vene, reiatsu can be inherited and contain subconscious racial memories. Or you could just say Kubo decided to make Zangetsu a younger Yhwach to symbolize the fact that Yhwach is Ichigo's ancestor and the originator of all Quincies. Remember that unlike the majority of shonen, Bleach is not a manga that you can take as surface value; you need to look deeper to understand the connections and hidden clues. Otherwise the plot looks like it's full of ass-pulls, retcons, and plot holes when, in fact, it's not.

So should we label Zangetsu's avatars as separate beings from Ichigo? The article keeps saying "his [as in the Hollows/Zangetsu's] power" which makes it sound like Ichigo is literally borrowing power from separate entities that just so happen to live inside of his body. But chapters 538-542 confirm otherwise: when you talk to a zanpakuto or vice versa, you are talking to yourself. So is the Hollow's/Zangetsu's power Ichigo's power or is he borrowing someone else's power. You seem to be insisting that Zanpakuto and the "Inner Hollows" are fully independent of their wielder, but there are subtle examples in the manga that state otherwise. So which is it?
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