But man, the shipwars. XP
Let me be clear here: THIS SERIES ENDED IN 2016. But the shipwars are still so, so raw.
And it’s not like Bleach is something where the romantic matchmaking was part of the series in the first place. Not that that’s ever stopped fandom, but I feel like this lasting fervor might (might?) make more sense if the ships mattered deeply to what the core of the series was. The one person who ever expressed any romantic interest in anyone else ended up marrying him, and THAT’S the ship fandom takes issue with. XD
SPN obviously also isn’t a series where romantic matchmaking plays much of a role, but I can almost believe that we were always destined to end up here, shipwar-wise, because of the intense and singleminded ways our main characters interact with each other. Everything is charged, it’s almost always all or nothing, and you know, homoerotically codependent.
But something that sets Bleach’s main character apart from a lot of anime protags (or protagonists in general) is that he’s actually very capable of having and maintaining close relationships with multiple people at once. He doesn’t have the "one goal" or "one person" motivating factor that most anime are built around (possibly also owing to the fact that although he’s our main character, the "main" cast has like 40 characters in it, so sometimes he’s not in the series for rather extended stretches). Everything has always been multiple, and Bleach has always given me more of a sense of the superorganism in terms of how the characters in interact with each other. The interactions are deeply intimate and they mostly only interact with Their People rather than the whole, but these relationships all feed into this larger sense of who they are to each other, rather than sucking into a dense, dark matter "just you and me against the world" mentality. So idk, I guess it’s not as though happening to marry one of these people he cares about and who has been in love with him since like, Day 1, should feel like an "eyes only for you" situation. (Also, literally no other character has ever been even maybe in love with him! There’s actually an entire narrative arc basically built around the reminder that male and female characters can have intimate non-romantic relationships with each other and that women don’t need to be in competition with each other, lol.)
DON’T GET ME WRONG. I ADORE EROTIC CODEPENDENCE. And the dangerous and incredible appeal of "just you and me against the world." But like, as tiresome as I find SPN shipwars, I also kinda feel like we dug our grave with that one, because in some ways that is part of the emotional fabric of who these characters are. Somehow that nonsense just feels even more nonsensical in the context of Bleach. Where did it come from?? But here fandom is, spiting weirdly intense vitriol at each other based on who ships which cartoon person with the next cartoon person, in one chapter of a series that spanned FIFTEEN YEARS’ worth of chapters, five entire years after the series’ end.
If that’s where Bleach fandom is at in 2021, I can only imagine the raw staying power of SPN’s shipwars lol. Lol lol lol lol.