Kalliel (kalliel) wrote,

Incomplete List of Bullet Points About My Fave (3)

- I love all the registers of language at play in Bleach, across all of the characters—and I think it has ample opportunity to really play with this because 1) all anime Japanese is hyperreal, because it’s used as a shorthand for typing characters, 2) there are so many characters in Bleach, 3) their spirit world is modeled off of Edo-era Japan, and with a language that evolves so rapidly, juxtaposing anime-Edo-Japanese with anime-contemporary-Japanese is just delightful.

- I’m just especially tickled by the way my fave talks, because even as there’s nothing too special about what he’s doing—Edo-era Tokyo dialect, masculine informal—I just find it so endearing how hard he defines the borders between the registers of language that he does use. Like, there’s no muddled middle-ground to his codeswitching, so when he switches off it’s a huge 180. When he’s working (which is…always??) he’s pretty insistent on a business-y superior/subordinate register. And he’ll say old-timey/masculine-formal things like 礼を言う in situations that only sort of seem to call for it.

- But then he also has this very crass, super informal register that he pretty much only uses with his childhood friend/foster sister, and then only in non-workplace situations. They’re from the same crappy peasant village and have known each other for basically their entire lifetimes, and I think he’s adorable he’ll still use that register with her. It makes me wonder how intentionally he went about learning the conventions of what is now his regular speech.

- And I also love that even though they’re from this crappy peasant village, it’s known as the posh peasant village, because it’s the one closest to the inner court area, and therefore the safest and most resource-rich. So one one hand they had this crappy peasant childhood relative to the shinigami who grew up inside the central court, but were living the glam life by comparison to the other shinigami who came up from Rukongai. There’s definitely intense class hierarchy at play in Seireitei, at least among the nobility (and the fact that the peasant districts are literally numbered based on how crappy they are, lol), though this has gotten mostly overtaken by the meritocracy of the Gotei 13 itself. But I love this one scene where someone accuses him of being super privileged and growing up with everything handed to him. Even though it’s not true, he doesn’t bother to correct the person—because it doesn’t really matter, neither to him nor the situation in general—because it IS part of this more complicated peasant hierarchy happening outside of and irrespective of the inner court.

- I think it’s adorable how intentional Soul Society is about its cultural arts. Like, "Oh man, we need to have Culture and Art for morale and so we can be well-rounded entities, but this concept is not natural to our species." And there’s so much that’s been VERY unevenly cherry-picked from human culture, all mashed together, extremely unevenly even across Soul Society. So like, in one place people are living in Edo-era accommodations and then in another there’s 1920s cameras and in another there’s heated floors and a PS2.

- I also love how full of introverts Bleach is, in all the possible flavors of introverts. And so many of them have just very sedate, courtly hobbies, like flower arranging or reading or writing poetry or doing calligraphy or contributing things to their literary magazine. But I also feel like this is so significant for the current generation of officers, because SO many of them did not grow up within the inner court, and therefore wouldn’t have been brought up with these skills in their families and daily lives. Particularly all the literacy-based hobbies. Because why or how would any of these peasant children know how to read well? Outside of the inner court, which has its own traditions of tutoring, cultural lessons, etc., you only go to the Shinigami Academy if you have the aptitude to become one. And even then, that’s only 6 years of combat-centered schooling with additional classes in history, calligraphy, etc.

- There’s a written entrance exam, though, so presumably there’s some kind of recently-developed Academy cram school you can attend so you can learn to read and write well enough to even take the entrance exam. I say recently-developed because until this current generation of officers it doesn’t really seem like it occurred to SS that there might be peasants in Rukongai who might qualify. But here we are in the 21st century and half the officers aren’t even from the inner court. XD

- Anyway, only 6 years of schooling doesn’t seem like a lot of time to learn to read/write all THAT well, if you’re mostly there to learn combat arts and to be honest, the average shinigami is pretty shit at even those. And it really doesn’t seem like a lot, given that the lifespan of a shinigami is centuries, if not millennia. Which, that means they have plenty of time to pick up additional literacy skills very slowly (and it appears they do, since Renji from the crappiest peasant village can read better than Ichigo, who is a reasonably bookish, high-ranking student with a contemporary high school education). But at the same time, it’s gotta be pretty uneven, because most people do not seem to have very much free time to just autodidact themselves into literacy.

- And then my fave completed his Academy training in 1 year rather than 6—and given SS’s focus on combat, I assume they fast-tracked him on the basis of that aptitude, and condensed the curriculum by skipping things and dropping non-essentials (like…anything that is not combat-related lol).

- It’s not that he can’t read or write, because he certainly can—better than many of his colleagues, probably. But I imagine he really had to work for that, because nothing about his situation would set himself up well for acquiring these skills outside of his willingness to do the work. It feels like it had to have been a conscious choice to know how to do this, rather than something that happened as a matter of course, and I’m so interested in that. Especially because it’s probably really hard to get up to speed and keep up, when you’re so much younger than everyone and had so much less time in school, and THEN so much less time to develop these skills before being immediately thrust into a leadership role and being expected to operate at that level out the gate. He’s probably only good at these things because he knew he had to try real fuckin’ hard to make up the difference (as is reflected in his combat style, frankly, even though that’s the area where he has an abundance of natural talent—it often seems like he’s turning it up to 11 in order to hold serve with his older/more senior peers).

- Also adorable that his handwriting definitely still looks like a child’s penmanship, in spite of his rank and the sheer amount of paperwork he’s done during his tenure.

- But I also love that he has a separate calligraphic hand, as well? Which makes it seem like even if his Academy experience ended up pretty piece-meal on the fast-track, he still took the same calligraphy class everyone else did, because they all learned this skill. SKIP ALL THE OTHER HUMANITIES BUT CALLIGRAPHY IS A REQUIRED COURSE, LOL. But then this also makes complete sense, because handwriting is a much bigger deal in JP than in the US.

- His literacy education also feels like something he pursued very intentionally because he’s constantly the one in charge of offering the infodump/exposition in canon. Part of this is just because he’s a bit pedantic by nature, and part of it is because no one else wants to do it so he gets stuck with it as the most junior captain, but I think it’s also because he actually had to sit down and intentionally learn all this science/history/politics. Most of it he didn’t live through, unlike many of the others, or it’s not common knowledge he inherited through osmosis—he had to actually study it, and therefore probably knows all this info more readily than most, and knows it in a way that lends itself to being sensically explained to others.

- I’m smitten with the idea that even people with a lot of facility with SS’s core literacy—as far as writing reports and reading them goes—are still basically illiterate when it comes to topics outside of that core workplace register. So reading those histories is probably ludicrously hard. And reading literature? Please. Especially because being able to speak Japanese is more divorced from reading it than, say, English, where you can at least sound things out, or guess at their spellings if you’re writing. You can’t really do that in the same way with kanji. MAN I’m just so interested in literacy in SS being something that’s just as starkly borderized and haphazard and cherry-picked as the rest of their approach to culture. ENDLESS INTRIGUE. <3____<3
Tags: fandom: misc.

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