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  1. #1
    Sinta is offline Member Frequent Poster
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    Nov 2006

    Default Essay on a love triangle

    I know what you are all probably thinking. ďWhy the hell is he making a new thread about Rukia and Inoue? Donít we have a thread on this? The answer is yes, we do. I am writing this piece and making this new thread for three reasons. One, I have been studying my brains out for my law school exams and Iím tired of studying. Two, the other thread is getting out of control and I was hoping to get a fresh start on the whole debate. Three, this last reason is really the most important there are a few ideas that I wanted to share, and since my wife doesnít watch bleach and I am stuck in my own novel you guys get to hear it. I want to look at this relationship dynamtic in a slightly different light. I wanted to compare and contrast the love triangle phenomena and apply those to the rules that I have formulated in my own writing experience. I also want to give and comprehensive summary of the interpersonal relationship substructure and how it plays in the story, this will led to an objective explanation for those of you are new to bleach and this debate. I apologize before hand for the length and assumptions that will be presented. I say unto you know now if you are bored and have NOTHING better to do feel free to read this. Otherwise if itís a beautiful day your time would probably be used better doing something else.

    So you kept reading I'm flattered. I will try not to bore you to much. I do think this is a very interesting topic that many people are drawn too. I was thinking about this the other day and I dontí know if was that I had to much caffeine, or if the brilliance and idiocy of all your arguments concerning this subject just touched me but I was thinking about the whole Ichigo/Rukia/Inoue thing and I think the reason that people find this subject so interesting is because its one of the few things that is really still undecided as to the outcome of the story. Whoa. thatís deep. What is it that I mean by that? What I mean is that we know that Ichigo is gonna get uber strong. He is gonna kickass, take no prisoners and pass his exams. Itís going to happen. I donít think anyone would argue that point. The matters of the heart however is very much still open, Rukia, Ichigo, Inoue are a one of the more cohesive yet subtle love triangles in anime. This topic is frustrating and interesting at the same time. I truly think thatís why when nothing cool is happening in the anime or the manga we always revert back to this topic. With that being said I want to make it clear that I donít have an opinion about who he ends up with. Thatís right boys and girls donít give a crap. I will go more into this later. Lets get to our discussion.

    What does it take for a successful love triangle? I have been beating my brain in trying to figure that out. The love triangle is something that they often use in anime and was something that I didnít have much experience with it, discouraged by my lack of understanding I started watching as many animes as I could. Through my viewing experience and conversations with my wife, I was able to formulate four rules that are essential for the ďsuccessfulĒ love triangle. Again this is my opinion feel free to disagree. So before we can move on to my rules of a effective love triangle there has to be a functioning definition.

    Note: I am talking about a specific type of love triangle there are many kinds and many different types that are used for many different purposes. This is my definition of a successful love triangle.

    An effective love triangle is one that gives a ďrealisticĒ interpersonal struggle between three legitimate romantic equals. Potentially (A+B) V (A+C)

    Note: this type of love triangle generally cuts the fan population in half. Peopleís opinion has to do with how they relate to the characters. Tenjho Tenge is a good example. Maya or Aya for Nagi? There are tons of arguments either way, even if the characters are alot alike. I would go with Maya. Why? because I think that i would want a strong women like her. (actually I have one) They are both hot, rocking body all that good stuff. It just comes down to personal preference when you apply this to a love triangle. It doesnít matter what Nagi wants because fans donít base their pairings on what they think the main character wants but on what they want. Just go read the ďoh Rukia Oh inoueĒ thread you will see this.

    What do I mean by this definition? Why would this be a successful or effective love triangle? As a writer and story teller I needed some type of theoretical frame work to be able formulate and use an effective love triangle. This is a very subjective definition open to subjective frames of mind and emotion. This type of love triangle is in and of itself a story. I would say that most anime, manga, movies etc donít use this type of love triangle because the relationship aspect of the story is secondary to the main plot line. I will discuss this later.

    The best way I can explain the above definition so you understand MY frame of mind is to draw an analog of an effective love triangle to a equilateral triangle. For those of you who donít know what that is stop reading because you wonít understand the rest of the post, and Iím not taking the time to explain what it is. With the idea of an equilateral triangle in mind you notice that all three angles are equal. The point is there is nothing to distinguish one angle from another. One main character (Ichigo) has two female love interests (Rukia, Inoue) both female leads have a legitimate opportunity be with the main character. I truely feel that this type of love triangle sparks the most debate and is the most fun to work with. I also feel that if the story is developed right then even though fans of individual characters might be upset at treatment of their favorite character, the one the fans wanted didnít ďwinĒ, the fans will understand the point of story (or relationship) and how it applies to the overall theme.

    Why is this so important to me? I know you probably are wondering this. I think itís important because I think it might be able to help fans understand what has the potential to happen in Bleach and other stories with this type of interpersonal relationship. Furthermore it will give the people new to Bleach and anime a better understanding of the roles that our female leads play and what they possibly mean, or could mean, to ichigo.

    I must admit that I do have a selfish reason for bringing this up I really want your comments because I am having something similar to this in my own story. Itís fantasy I was just wondering how it might be received so please if you disagree with me, feel free, if you hate it, alright but leave your comments this is all research.

  2. #2
    Sinta is offline Member Frequent Poster
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    Ok on to the rules
    Rule number one: Characters must receive equal treatment. Ok so what do i mean by this? Lets use an example. Hinata, Naruto and Sakura this is the example of how NOT to perform an effective love triangle. Why you might ask? Because as of right now, 330 chapters into the story, no one with an objective view point can make a real argument for Hinata. She’s a side character and has served her purpose.

    Therefore Sub-rule (A): an effective long triangle can’t exist between two main characters and a side character.

    Now not being the author of Naruto I can’t say with absolute certainty that Hinata won’t come into the story. I can’t but it’s very hard when Sakura gets as much panel time as she does. Hinata just doesn’t have the development needed to give her a real shot at Naruto’s heart. Any future relationship (as of right now in the story) would be seen as forced and undeveloped leaving a very bad taste in the mouths of those who are reading. The author could correct this. But this late in the manga it would be difficult.

    Rule number two: The two female or male love interest must both have a real opportunity to make a play for the main characters heart. One side affection doesn’t give rise to an effective play for the main character, whether they be girl or guy, the main character must show some sort of romantic affection for both characters. Full metal Panic is good example, Sagara doesn’t show any real romantic affection towards Tessa, if any of you are Tessa fans out there I apologize, but he doesn’t. As a matter of fact In FMP the second raid Tessa has a mini break down and Sagara does nothing to even comfort her let alone ease her fears. This is another case where no one (who isn’t a fan boy) can make a real argument for a potential relationship between Sagara and tessa though her chances are better then Hinata’s from Naruto. This rule is something that is very easy to speculate on in retrospect however this element of the love triangle takes time and should probably be avoided for most of the series. This element can be very frustrating because of the way that most people develop a love triangle. The elements of each relationship are often developed seperately and in pieces focusing on one or the another of the loves interests. Again is retrospect something that is used in this case and is a big help.

  3. #3
    Sinta is offline Member Frequent Poster
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    Rule Number three: The relationship in context of the actual story compared to the overall reason or plot value of the relationship. This rule is often overlooked by people especially in Shonen manga where the relationship aspect of the story is often over shadowed by the action sequences. In a story like peach girl, where the main focus of the story is the relationship itself and that relationshipís external and internal interplay the complexities of the love triangle can be both obvious and exggerated. why? Because that creates drama. And girls love drama; guys donít care about that crap (generally) This is essential if you going to understand action mangaís like Bleach and Naruto. The love triangle in bleach (if there truely is one, weíll discuss this later in detail) the relationship development and basis for the potential triangle was so subdued and contextual that its hard to even examine it with any sort of objective view point. Even those of us who donít really care who the main character ends up with eventually have to make a choice of which character they like and make a choice based on that. The love triangle in Bleach may or may not have intrinsic value to the overall plot.

    Lets look at Tenjiho Tenge as an example, I know this is a difficult manga to use because itís so hard to understand but my point is perfectly illustrated in it. So forgive me. when you examine Nagiís part in the manga. He was the potential to became the Flying Danger (or Heavenly Dragon, this is someone who is good; you become the Flying Dragon by finding someone to protect) or Nagi could become the Black Dragon (an being of evil that fights for the hell of it) He has fallen in love with Maya and is willing to protect her but is she the reason he wants to get stronger? Will he be able to overcome his angry? What about Aya? Will she become one who fights for the one that she loves or will her power run away with her? You get the point. In Tenjho Tenge the love triangle (itís more like a Chain but I wonít get into that here) has greater value to the plot so there is more in the way of development. The feelings and development of the triangle components (Maya, Aya, Nagi) are more realistic in their scope. There are hurt feelings and contentions. Why? Again because the contention and dynamtic of the relationship further develops the plot. (in a way at least) This is a important element that you must look at when you trying to examine the couple question.

    Rule Four: The main girl/guy almost always wins. Sorry boys and girls this is the rule not the exception. Hinata, Tessa, Kikkyo really donít have a chance. This rule is actually more important then people think. If you notice the first two rules about equal time and treatment, and equal opportunity to win the main characters heart. This fourth rule really shows that in all actuality there are very few stories with a truely equal love triangle. Some stories get close. Onegi Twins is a pretty good one. There is equal treatment among the love interest the story revolves around the love triangle so there can be alot of focus on it. In a story like Bleach end less the main girl position (Rukia) is ďtaken overĒ itís very hard to give the second female/male love interest a legitamate opportunity at the main character. I know that many people see these stories as worlds unto themselves. If you donít believe just go to the Naruto forum and look up threads on Itachi or Kabuto. The ďplot no justsuĒ is often used as an explanation as to why something happens, meaning that if the characters existed outside their creators respective minds that something different would happen from what the author says happens. ďIf the author would have let him Itachi would have killed Jiriaya when Itachi came for NarutoĒ This is what people say to explain why their favorite character lost etc. It isnít any different when comes to loves interest. This entire world is in the mind of one person. He is like the god of that world. He sees past, present and future. Thats why i never comment on an incomplete story. I donít know whatís going to happen so how can I comment on the story as a whole? Donít get me wrong some animes make me really mad. I get really upset when a paring comes out of nowhere with little development and no believeability. But the point of this rule is this. The main character is usaslly the favorite character of the author and his main love interest is usaslly right up there with him ( or her). Thats why they are the main characters. With this in mind itís not hard to see why they would, for the most part, end up together.

    This point about the main girl and guys is very driven to the point of stupid. Canvas 2 and DC Da Capo are both examples of this. The main character (female) in both of those animes shouldnít have, in my humble opinion, ended up with the guy. Sorry they just shouldnít have. I wonít bore you with an analysis of theses animes this is long enough. But if you want to see how a love triangle shouldnít be done. Watch these. Horrible. It just goes to show this rule has alot of merit contrary to popular believe.

    Well those are the rules lets recap:
    1. Rule number one: Characters must receive equal treatment.
    2. Rule number two: The two female or male love interest must both have a real opportunity to make a play for the main characters heart
    3. Rule Number three: Which relationship has greater value in context of the actual story.
    4. Rule Four: The main girl/guy almost always wins.
    Well add this as a sub rule: all these elements have to occur

    Now how does Bleach fall into this format. I think you can comes to your own conclusions but this is how I see it. I donít think this is a real functioning love triangle YET. I do see the potential for a real love triangle.
    Lets look at each rule.

    1. So do Rukia and Inoue get equal treatment through out the anime and manga?

    Answer: no not even close. But it is getting better. Inoue was a secondary character for the longest time more suited for comic relief then anything. The entire Soul Society was about Rukia and Ichigo. Ichigo and Inoue werenít even together for most of the time. You gain insight into how Inoue feels but Ichigo is very focused on Rukia. They (Rukia and Ichigo) share some very tender moments. I will discuss this later. They share some very tender moments. They are important to each other blah blah blah. You get the picture.
    I would say that currently the author trying very hard to develop Inoue to a legitimate love interest for Ichigo though maybe not doing a very good job. Inoueís panel time has gone up, as has her inner monolog. I will discuss Inoueís character in detail later so I donít want to do it here. Suffice to say that there is a real chance a functioning love triangle however we donít really have one yet.

    2. As of right now Do you think that Inoue and Rukia both have a real shot at Ichigo?

    Answer: I would say yes. Merely because of as of right now Ichigo and Rukia are too chicken to discuss their relationship and Inoue is too scared to tell Ichigo how she feels. In real life a simple confession from Inoue could do it for Ichigo. Shes a hottie with a naughty body right? What guy wouldnít want her? but this isnít real life. its not going to be a simple matter of making a confession though some of you hope it would. Rukia and Ichigo probably arenít going to discuss their relationship either so to tell you the truth I donít know what is going to happen. Lets just say that Ichigo has got options.

    3. As of right now in the manga whoís relationship has greater value to the overall plot?

    I would say Rukia. To be completely honest Inoue could have been taken out of the manga about right up until the time she got captured, and that just the way it is. Rukia gave ichigo his powers and their core relationship has always been paramount to the story. Now this doesnít necessary mean that Inoue couldnít become more important to the story but the author would have to do something to offset the importance of Rukia and Ichigoís relationship. (Finding out that Ichigo is the re-incarnation of Kaien and Inoue was the re-incarnation of this wife now that would do it i think. They were destine to love one another blah blah blah) But again, has of right now Rukiaís relationship with Ichigo does much more to further the plot (I do think that is wavering though). In addition, i think that a romantic relationship between ichigo and Rukia would be far more interesting then one between Inoue and Ichigo but I digress

    4. Iím not going to comment on this one because iím pretty sure that his is a no brainer if you want to argue that Inoue is the main female lead as of right now. You are an idiot. yes, an idiot.

  4. #4
    Sinta is offline Member Frequent Poster
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    Well there you have it. Conclusion There is a lot of potential when it comes to the evolution of the a real working love triangle. I would say that we are close to having one and that’s really why there has been so much development of Inoue’s character in the recent arc. The last about 70 chapters have just been great story telling. We get further development of Inoue, Ichigo and Rukia all in a very subtle way all why keeping subcontextual We will just have to see what happens.

    I would like to note that many love triangles are between a male and female lead and a secondary character. Hinata from Naruto, Kikkyo from Inu Yasha, Tessa from Full Metal Panic theses are all secondary characters. I think this type of relationship is used to fuel the relationship between the main potential couple (maybe not in the case of Naruto, Hinata has just kind of fallen to the way side) but it’s totally like that in the case of the other two. Both Tessa and kikkyo are used as an instrument to further the main couples relationship (and add some humor). I think this I could see this happening in Bleach. Inoue being used as an instrument for the further development of Ichigo and Rukia. I would dare say that’s what is happening. The development of Inoue’s character as of late has been focused on her love of Ichigo and her jealously of Rukia. I can see Ichigo coming to Inoue ready to save her all while she is thinking how happy she is to see him and how much she cares but then she sees Rukia. How does she react? Will Ichigo and Rukia notice? I could see something like happening. I really could. Will it? Don’t know. but it’s totally possible.

    This is post marked. I am working on a comprehesive summary of characterizations including emotional and romantic profile. Is that something that you would be interested in reading. (This would include a discussion of chapter citiation)

  5. #5
    MagoKui is offline Senior Member Regular
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    Aizen is gangsta for making everyone wear white.

    Tousen: "So what are we going to wear anyway? how do we tell each other apart from the shinigami?"
    Aizen: "I GOT IT....lets wear exactly what they wear...but make it WHITE!"
    Ichimaru: "OH SH*T, now THATS gangsta!"
    Tousen: "....even I wouldn't say that..."
    Aizen: "Loosen up Tousen...check this out...lets show him Gin!"

    Aizen/Ichimaru: "....BALLIN!!!!!...."

    Tousen: "... 0_0 ..."

  6. #6
    StealDragon's Avatar
    StealDragon is offline Super Moderator Community Builder
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    thats really a good essay, lots of interesting points well backed up... but i think it should have gone in the Creative Works section even though it directly relates to Bleach and its characters.

    @magokui. he can get away with that quad-post because its not spam (the #1 reason why DPing is bad) and there is unfortunately a 10,000 character limit on the forum. he really had no choice... although i do think he could have gotten that into 3 posts not 4... =\

    I'd like to die with the songs I love stuck in my head. I hope to make the most of these hollow bones we become.
    I raise a toast to the the souls that sang all along. I've been gathering friends to just to make some sounds,
    before the ship goes down, I've been making amends by making the rounds before the whole world ends

    [Chit Chat Specific Forum Rules] // Last Update - Friday March 13, 2009

  7. #7
    Sinta is offline Member Frequent Poster
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    I apologize if I did something against the rules. Forgive me.

  8. #8
    Krytha is offline Senior Member Always Around
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    Feb 2006


    No, you didn't really... do anything that couldn't be helped...

  9. #9
    mystic_guard_sinoel is offline Senior Member Community Builder
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    The 14th Moon


    At first I thought this was a spam thread posted in the wrong section.

  10. #10
    unknownmonk is offline Junior Member Newbie
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    Wow..damn really well thought out. Though there is something I would have to disagree here. Flame me if you will after. This essay is good and it might help to solve the Rukia vs. Inoue thing, but you only really had one love triangle in there. It is pretty clear Renji cares about Rukia as well. The point really Iím getting at is that your theory works fine if you don't consider the possible outside factor (Renji).

    For example: (using naruto purely because I don't think Hinata has a chance, but it would be nice)

    Well sure Naruto is the main character, Sakura is the main female character, and Hinata the side female. But forgot the other love triangle? Sasuke? Sure Sasuke has a lack of interest towards Sakura, but doesn't that you remind you of Naruto and Sakura. There is the love triangle of Sakura with Naruto vs. Sasuke (which clearly in the whole show has been shown to be Sasuke as the winner). Then there is the Love triangle of Naruto with Sakura vs. Hinata, that somewhat takes a back seat to the love triangle listed above.

    (I'll reread the whole thing again so really IF I'm totally off the mark then ignore what I have to say) Back to bleach, sure Ichigo has had a lot of screen time with Rukia, but not much (just really my opinion) has been developed into a relation like a girlfriend boyfriend thing. To me it seemed as though far more of a caring relationship of deep friendship. Sure the first part of it really was that of Ichigo going into society to save Rukia, but once again you see the same thing happening now. Take out Ganju/Inoue and replace with Renji/Rukia. To me it seems to have been implied that Inoue has really been the one to show an attraction towards Ichigo. Then there is the strong relationship between Rukia and Renji that already exists. Inoue has been focused to be in love with Ichigo, while Rukia and Renji have had a long relationship as well. To me Rukia relationship with Ichigo is much like her relation with Renji very close friendship, though how much Renji likes Rukia is arguable. Since this is the way I see it (people will disagree) I think Rukia has equal chance to develop towards Ichigo or Renji, but Inoue is set up so that she is purely focused on Ichigo.

    As for saving Rukia and her being main focus I won't deny, but it is somewhat expected of Ichigo. Look at all his fights really:
    1. First fight/Gets power to protect his family.
    2. Fight with Inoue brother to protect Inoue and Tatsuki.
    3. Fight to grand fisher to protect his sister.
    4. First fight with Renji was to in his opinion protect Rukia.
    5. Fight between Arrancar to protect Inoue and Chad.
    6. Current fight (going Bankai to protect Nell/Neru)
    So because of this I really don't think, on Ichigo part anyways, there was that much development of attraction towards Rukia during SS. Through out the series Inoue has soon an attraction towards Ichigo, and Rukia (to me at least) was more of a caring relationship with Ichigo.

    Also you said Rukia helped further the plot, which I agree with it. Though I somewhat thing there is a bit of dehumanizing factor to it as well. Basically saving Rukia could be seen goal for Ichigo. This goal only really reachable by power, which could be seen as Rukia = X amount of power (i.e. Bankai). She helped further the plot also with the whole Azien twist, but the question is what now. Her usefulness has really gone in my opinion. She neither has bankai (though some people think she might, which I am not going to argue since we've yet to see that), nor really the skills to fight without it (unlike Kenpachi). So I wonder how she could further the plot anymore?

    Now about Inoue furthering the plot sure:
    1. Save thing as Rukia, catalyst for Ichigo to develop his hollow powers
    2. Her own plan (will she destroy the hōgyoku)
    3. Will Ichigo get to her (probably)
    The way I see is that Rukia had her chance, but after she was saved the relationship didn't go anywhere. Now it's Inoue chance, and she openly admitted to loving Ichigo -quote of it below- (I do know, no one heard it but it sets up a much stable possibility that Inoue will say her feelings).

    Spoiler-ish-though if you don't read the chapter you probably have no clue what it's reference is.

    "Ohhhh...I wish I could live 5 times over. Then Iíd be born in 5 different cities. I'd stuff myself full with different delicious things 5 times each. I'd have 5 different jobs and those 5 times Iíd fall in love with the same person."

    Well Iíve said about all I have to for now, but my whole random babble above probably lost all meaning after a few sentences. To sum it up, very nice essay I agree with most of what you said. I bring up the Renji point main cause of the Hinata examples (just personal opinion). I like Inoue well, just because it's Inoue and it just seem more likely to me. I do agree Rukia would make it more interesting and funnier to watch. Having Rukia run in and kick Ichigo randomly from time to time is always good. As you've stated this is personal opinion, so I do respect and understand where you opinion is coming from.


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