sincere: DGM: Lenalee's back to the viewer ([bleach-aizen/hina] one-way love)
Kay ([personal profile] sincere) wrote2008-06-06 09:23 am
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Bleach chapter -99: Aizen and understanding

It's interesting to see that, once again, Aizen's actions are justified with an almost philosophical emotional trigger.

He's a little bit of an oddball -- the compassionate ubervillain, who makes people feel like they're cared about even though he will obliterate without thinking or remorse, whose confidence is so epic that he just compels people to follow him. And he's very consistent about his standards: what elevates people from tools to, well, people.


He gave this speech to Hinamori, and now he's given it to Shinji too. You can't be betrayed by someone you never even really knew. If you'd known him better, you could've stopped him. He was hardly even trying. But the flimsiest of facades was enough to fool you, because people don't understand each other.

Hinamori didn't understand him because she put him on a pedestal. In doing so, she kept him at arms length, and never questioned him, and naively assumed that the surface was the only part of him that she needed to know. She never knew anything about Aizen more relevant than, say, his favorite food. What really motivated him? What did he really want out of his life? Was it to sit at a desk in the Fifth Division and smile benevolently all the time? She was too busy idolizing what he showed her to find out.

Shinji didn't understand him because he was too wary of him to get close. He thought he knew how to keep Aizen from doing harm, and made assumptions. "As long as I watch him" was supposed to be good enough. But the smarter method (what Aizen would have done) would've been to get close, to learn everything about him: what can you do? why are you doing it? why would you want to? Saying "I've been suspicious of you since before you were born, boy!" is all well and good, but he didn't do anything more than occasionally glance over to make sure he wasn't being suspicious at the moment. He was just like Hinamori, concerned only with the surfaces, and not with what lies beneath.

As a master of illusion, worlds where the surface means nothing, Aizen values what's beneath the surface, and the people who can see beneath it. Gin does understand him, Aizen says. Instead of assuming, he made a choice, and he watches Aizen. He learns about what Aizen wants, what motivates him, what he's capable of. In the end, he knows Aizen better than anyone else. We know this, not only because Aizen claims it's true, but because we've seen Gin recognize his feelings far beneath his pleasant surface: when Ichigo et al begin to invade Hueco Mundo, Gin is right there, smiling, observing that Aizen is actually excited about it, even though by all accounts he shouldn't be. He knows. And he feels the same way. They understand each other.

So an interesting thing I'm taking away from this is: Aizen isn't being a hypocrite. He did and does do the things that he takes Shinji (and Hinamori) to task for not doing. He gets to know the people around him that he trusts at his back -- and the people that he would keep at arms' length, if he was anyone else. His encounter with Szayel Aporro proves this to me. He just knows what Szayel is up to by collecting the fallen Privaron Espada, and he basically only wants Szayel to know that he knows. I understand you. It's both a threat and an intimacy in Aizen's mind. Don't think you can hide things from me. But aren't I compelling? Doesn't the way I know you affect the way you think about me?

Of course, since Aizen's motivations are not-good, even someone who had attempted to get to know him better would probably have had steps taken against him. We have never seen an innocent third party attempt to "understand" Aizen: Aizen approached Gin, and presumably Tousen, to invite them to join his grand work. He invited them in. What would he do if, say, Komamura had genuinely attempted to get to know him? What made him tick? Wouldn't Aizen have hidden his motivations?

But I'd like to think Aizen would have had a deeper respect for him for making the attempt. Aizen has made such a big deal out of understanding that I can't help thinking he wouldn't be so quick to throw away someone who had tried to understand him, the way he was so quick to throw away Hinamori and Shinji when they became inconvenient.

So I'm definitely pleased with this turn of events; it deepens and develops a previously established character trait. I am, however, disappointed that we sort of came into the middle of Aizen's plotting. My hopes when we started this segment out would be that we'd get to see some backstory as to why he's doing all this -- what got him started down Revolution Road. But we came in on the middle of it, apparently after Aizen already has a cause to gather people to.

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