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27 October 2011 @ 01:41 am
Ichimaru Gin  
Of all my favorite characters, he's the one I'm most obsessed with at the moment. Clearly, I must share this obsession with the world - or at least try to start a discussion about an interesting character. Either way, there will be pictures, youtube-links and spoilers.

As long as you don't mind that, no matter if you've actually seen/read Bleach or not, please click the cut :)

For those of you not familiar with Bleach, or who gave up on the show forever ago, here's one of my favorite Bleach openings and an as-short-as-I-could-make-it-recap:

Kurosaki Ichigo is a high school student who gets involved with shinigami ("death gods", sort of), after his sisters are attacked by a 'Hollow', a lost soul set on devouring other souls. Ichigo is given powers by the wounded shinigami Kuchiki Rukia, who he befriends and helps fight Hollows.

But not all is as simple as it seems. Rukia is soon arrested by her fellow shinigami, taken to the land of the dead and sentenced to death for having shared her powers with Ichigo, who of course comes after with his group of also powered friends to save the day.

What follows is a plot so full of characters that you need diagrams to keep track of everyone (not to mention the fillers in the anime). The basic story, however, is this:

Rukia, needing to be visible in the human world, inhabits a fake body given to her by 'humble shopkeeper' Urahara Kitsuke, who's secretly hid a MacGuffin (here called a Hogyoku, a shiny blue crystal) in it. The main villain Aizen Sousuke wants this MacGuffin, badly enough that he blows his cover to obtain it. Said villain has kept the entire 'Gotei 13' (as the shinigami organization is called) - and to begin, the audience - fooled that he's the kindest person ever, for ages.

Once Aizen has the all powerful MacGuffin, he rushes off to Hueco Mundo (the world of the Hollows) to build an army and defeat the shinigami's leader, so that he alone may sit upon the Throne of Heaven and decide the faith of everything and everyone. Basically, he wants to be God with a capital G.

In this many-layered gathering of plot-twists we have several very interesting characters (who all, sadly, don't get enough screen time, 'cause the author keeps coming up with new ones every time he has a writer's block) with different motivations; there's Aizen, who wants to rule everything, the captain of the first 'Gotei 13'-squad who wants to keep the status quo and most shinigami with him, there's Urahara who wants to make up for his mistakes (the MacGuffin being one of them) but who can't stop playing mind games and then there's Ichigo and his mortal friends who simply want to stay alive.

And then there's Ichimaru Gin.
Class is now in session

Bleach has been going on for so long now that this guy's played out his role. Therefore I won't be talking much about the manga's current storyline.

Instead I'd like to talk about the appearances of Gin, both in the anime and in Burimyu (aka 'Rock Musical Bleach') and why his actions and motivations make him my favorite character.

The scene that first got me to like him, was this:


Yeah, original I know. For those not in the know, this is from early on when Ichigo & co are trying to get into Soul Society, the area of the land of the dead where the Gotei 13 live, to save Rukia. They managed to open a gate in the wall surrounding the place. Then Gin showed up and kicked them out, ending the encounter like this.

Gin starts out as the captain of the 3rd Division of shinigami - an ever smiling trickster, who's obviously on the side of evil from the word go. His boss Aizen (captain of the 5th Division), on the other hand, is bascialy the evil version of Superman.

Glasses on, he's sweet as a lamb...

...glasses off, he's extremely powerful and will put your soul in a jar.

The first part of Aizen's career as a villain in Bleach is all about him working to set up Gin as the villain, with Gin's full cooperation. Aizen even goes so far as to fake his own death, setting in motion great unrest among the shinigami, who start accusing each other left and right.

This is when we're introduced to Gin's vice-captain, Kira Izuru, who's far too loyal for his own good. (As is Aizen's vice-captain...)

Ah Kira, also a great character! Why do you have to disappear into the background so much?
Oh yeah, a billion other characters are fighting for screen time, that's why.

And then there's Gin's childhood friend, Matsumoto Rangiku, vice-captain of the 10th Division.

An awesome lady.

So Gin has at least two people who trust him when the show starts out. And me, being the twisted creature that I am, loved seeing that loyalty manipulated (mostly in Kira's case) and betrayed.

There's a moment near the end of the first arch, when Aizen has revealed his plan, grabbed the MacGuffin and called on giant Hollows to carry him, Gin and his other follower Tousen to safety, that I love especially.

Seconds before they escape, all three get captured. Rangiku is the one to grab Gin and after he gets free, he makes sure to apologize and says he would have liked her to hold on to him a little longer.

I think I love this moment even more in the musical. Though the kinkier side of me keeps trying to convince me he really wants her to be his Dom.

And then Gin runs off to the world of the Hollows, to help Aizen prepare for battle. So that's the extended first impression of the character and what he does.

As for his motivation...

Okay, people who've read/seen Harry Potter will get this:

Very loyal men should never, ever befriend nice red-headed women. Ever.

That's the short version. The long version is this:

Way back when, Gin and Rangiku grew up together in the slums of the land of the dead. In fact, Gin saved Rangiku's (after?)life by giving her food when she was starving.

Unfortunately, they lived in an area where Aizen's minions were gathering spirit energy for the MacGuffin, and Rangiku was attacked by them while Gin was off somewhere else (probably searching for food). Rangiku survived the attack, but with part of her spiritual energy forever trapped in the MacGuffin.

Gin, wanting to restore Rangiku to a 'whole' person again, tracked down her perpetrators and spying on them lead him to Aizen. Now, Gin is smart, so he realized he hadn't a snowball's chance in hell against someone as powerful as that. Thus he did the next best thing: swore revenge and started working for the guy, building up trust so that he one day could find Aizen's weak point.

He of course did all this without telling Rangiku, to keep her out of danger; sneaking off now and again without telling her where he was going or when he'd be back. He even signed up to become a shinigami without telling her first. But he does reflect on his actions, in a quite beautiful way.

Gin (thinking of Rangiku): "If you were to turn into a snake tomorrow and began devouring humans, and from the same mouth you cried out to me 'I love you', would I still be able to say 'I love you' the same way I do today?"

There are several versions of this quote, as it is a translation, but the gist of it is always the same.

My interpretation is that Gin knew all along that he would have to become an undercover He Who Fights Monsters to get back what Aizen stole from Rangiku. The metaphor with the snake is basically him trying to put himself in her situation; will she be able to forgive him for all the bad shit he's going to have to do to defeat Aizen?

What answer did he arrive at, you may ask? We'll never know. Gin betrayed Aizen during the big end-battle and almost managed to kill the bastard and get the MacGuffin. But being a Magnificent Bastard, Aizen of course came back to life and killed Gin instead, as seen here.


So Gin's life ends quite tragically. He never got to fullfill the goal he gave up his entire life to achieve (and no, Ichigo doesn't get the MacGuffin either - it stays rooted in Aizen's chest, even after his defeat and imprisonment). All the evil he's done was for nothing.

He does, however, get a rather touching death scene, starting with a flashback of him and Rangiku as children and including Gin thinking he's glad he apologized to Rangiku for his betrayal while he still had the chance.

Of course, such an end is just made for fanfic-writers to mess with! And mess with it I shall, but that's for another day.

I'll most likely gush about pairings and the musicals quite soon. For now, if anyone actually bothered reading this, enjoy the pictures and links and please comment if you have something Gin-related you'd like to talk about!
Current Mood: excitedexcited
Listening to: 乱舞のメロヂー - SID
凱pyrrhic_victoly on October 31st, 2013 10:55 pm (UTC)
I just want to say YESSSSS I AGREE WITH EVERYTHING YOU'VE SAID. Gin is fascinating and tragic and GUH. I don't have much to add except maybe some theories on the mythological symbolism behind his character, haha. Being familiar with Japanese mythology, I never fell for Gin's evil act, and it didn't surprise me too much that he sacrificed himself in the way he did. Foxes often sacrifice themselves for their loved ones, and snakes... Well, sometimes snakes do, too. Gin being a white fox/white snake combo always meant he was going to redeem himself in the end. I've blabbed about this in depth here.

Sorry for randomly popping in like this. I somehow linked over to your journal from one of the old Bleach kink memes since I was wondering if you'd posted some of the claims on your journal. So, that's how I got here. Totally not a creepy stalker or anything. XD
Nonesane: Gin & Kiranonesane on October 31st, 2013 11:26 pm (UTC)
Yay, someone else who's obsessed with Gin! We must be friends now! If you want that is :)

Don't worry, random comments are encouraged on livejournal :D I'll definitely be reading your meta (but tomorrow because it's midnight now and I have to get up for work at 6.15 ;_;)

As for those kink meme claims, they are coming! I just have to do NaNoWriMo first... so in December maybe? I post all of my fics to my AO3 profile (I have a huge long Gin/Kira fic going up there soon, with very much Gin + Matsumoto BFF-feels) so keep an eye on that if you don't want other stuff to get in the way of fic-searching.

Exactly which claim was it that brought you over here? Or was it all of them? And what do you ship, if you ship anything?

(sorry for the rambling, haven't had anyone to talk Bleach with besides my sister for a looooong time.)

Edited at 2013-10-31 11:26 pm (UTC)
凱pyrrhic_victoly on November 1st, 2013 06:55 pm (UTC)
Hurrhurr~ I think the Bleach kink meme is dead or, IDK, there are a thousand of them out there or something. There was an advertisement for one back in 2012, which I bookmarked but never went to... until I did, and found that it was dead. I was just wandering around, looking for Gin/Kira where Gin is not a total jerk. :D

Yes, I will totally look forward to that fic! But OMG NaNo... I also signed up for it this year, except there are still so many things that I want to write, ahhh... Good luck to us both? ^^;
Nonesane: Gin & Kiranonesane on November 1st, 2013 07:32 pm (UTC)
The kink memes are indeed dead, but I'll still write those fics because dammit I promised I would XD

Gin/Kira with Gin not being a total jerk is my specialty! Well, Gin acting like a jerk on occassion, but having good and kind intentions, that is.

The fic I'm talking about is actually a crossover fusion with characters from Bleach set in the "Avatar: Last Airbender/Legend of Korra"-universe (it was a present for my sister - she even drew a cover for it which will be uploaded with the story.) But you don't have to have seen the Avatar series to get the story, so hopefully people can read it as a weird Kira/Gin-centric AU. The title for it is "It's in Your Blood"; very dramatic ;)

Best of luck with NaNo! "It's in Your Blood" was actually my Camp NaNo story last August (I did NaNo in June, July, August and November last year; I was crazy! But I did get a book self-published, so yay?) so it's 50 000+ words of delicious Gin/Kira UST...and weird magic. Meh.

And I have a _ton_ of other Bleach PWPs in the works, but since I've only had my sister as an audience for them I haven't really hurried them along of late. Feels good to be inspired to write them again!

Add me to your buddy list over at NaNo if you want :D My name there is also Nonesane.
凱pyrrhic_victoly on November 2nd, 2013 07:29 pm (UTC)
I'll probably be one of those people reading it as an AU since I never got around to watching Avatar (besides the crappy live-action movie, which was really crappy and I still don't know how my dad found it even the slightest bit enjoyable, or even why he picked it out of all the bajillion other movies on Netflix).

LOL, I always have a ton of fics in the works, and I always take *forever* to get any of them done. So, OMG, if you already have 50k+ words of Gin/Kira, that is like awesomeness incarnate.

I should really use the NaNo site more often, so I will do that! :D
Nonesane: Gin & Kiranonesane on November 3rd, 2013 09:42 pm (UTC)
If you ever have the time, I highly recommend the Avatar series! Fun and interesting characters who change and develop over time, an epic plot and beautiful animation that just gets more amazing as the story goes on. Linking the really awesome stuff would be huge spoilers, but I think these two scenes can give you some idea of what the tone of the show and the animation is all about (and this third one with tiny spoilers because it's one of my favorites.)

As for that despicable, racist mess that is the live action movie, it needs to be taken out in the backyard and shot. It is nothing at all like the series, which 1) is clever, funny and watchable, 2) CONTAINS NO WHITE PEOPLE, WHAT THE HELL CRAZY DIRECTOR GUY?! and 3) have such awesome and clever fight scenes and continuity that I could cry, and is just, ugh, no thanks please go away.

*clears throat* Sorry, I just really hate that movie.

50 000+ words of Gin/Kira crossover madness will be up in Decemer on AO3. I will post about it here as well, so hopefully you won't miss it and I'll add a little footnote at the beginning of the story for anyone who knows only one of the fandoms so that won't be a hinder to reading the fic (i.e. "these are the things you need to know about Bleach and Avatar to get this story".)

Added you back on NaNo, best of luck in your writing!

Edited at 2013-11-03 09:51 pm (UTC)
凱pyrrhic_victoly on November 3rd, 2013 10:19 pm (UTC)
I've heard a lot about the series, and probably been spoiled for a lot of it, too. (But that's okay, I'm fine with spoilers. They've never actually ruined any series for me.) I think my brother used to have the series, but I never got around to watching it. I dunno what happened to it... I'll have to ask if he still has the DVDs.

LOL @ stupid movie. I'm not even part of the fandom and I was outraged at the whitewashing.
Nonesane: Gin & Kiranonesane on November 4th, 2013 06:49 pm (UTC)
My sister just put up the fic cover on dA if you're curious :)

That movie is indeed stupid and worthy only of hysterical laughter. Hopefully it didn't turn too many people off trying and watching the animated series.
凱pyrrhic_victoly on November 7th, 2013 07:47 pm (UTC)
Ooh, nice cover! :)

Trololol~ I think most people are just pretending that the movie was the work of a troll. But since the series is over, it's not one with a rapidly growing fandom, so I don't think the movie really affected anything there. The fandom has also done a good job of divorcing themselves from the movie.
Nonesane: Gin & Kiranonesane on February 26th, 2014 09:33 pm (UTC)
And here the story has finally been post online! That only took forever XD

If you have any questions about Avatar:LoK needed to make the fic understandable, feel free to ask! Hopefully all you'll need to know is that people can "bend" (i.e. magic) the four elements and that one of them can bend all four and also is reincarnated to keep the balance between the four bending forms (i.e The Avatar). Also, there are people who don't like benders (the Equalists).