Bleach: A Subtle Critcism Of Japanese Conservatism?
As you may know Japan is a very conservative society. It seems to me that Bleach is Tite Kubo-san's subtle criticsm of this conservatism. There are many examples throughout the series, but the one that strikes me the most is the conversation between Byakuya and Ichigo after their final battle. There Byakuya explains that when the execution order for Rukia came down he was conflicted between two promises he had made. When he had married Rukia's older sister, Hisana, who was a commoner he had broken SS law. On Hisana's deathbed she asked him to adopt and protect Rukia as a sister, which he did which was effectivly breaking the law a second time. As a result he made a promise to his parent's grave that he would never break the law again. As a result of the conservative thinking and promise on his part, and SS's conservative laws when the order for Rukia's execution came down he chose the promise to his parent's and did nothing. After hearong this story Ichigo said that if he was in Byakuya's place he would still try to fight against the rules. Byakuya then commented that his blade was destroyed by Ichigo's [LIBERAL] one.
Still the people in SS are not portrayed as evil, just so Conservative that they connot see that the rules sometimes need to be bent, or even broken.