The Carter Chronicles…

It sounds like an exciting story, with normal, but realistic characters. Initially appearing to be something simple, you can almost tell, by it’s simpleness, that something very intense is about to unfold. Although, Mark’s writing could use some proofreading (e.g. punctuation mistakes and grammar issues), his story definitely seems like one worth checking out. Good luck, Mark!

Mark Draycott Author


The beginning of the end

Part 1:

He was supposed to finish early that Thursday but a late order had kept him rooted to his desk past 6pm. Having almost given up on the idea that he may still make it to ‘The Shed’ for 7, he prepared himself to make the call knowing that cancelling this late in the day would not go down at all well. He stepped outside into the icy cold air and checked his watch. It was 6.45.
“This is a wind up surely?” said the voice on the other end of the phone. “You are shitting me right? You’re on in 15 minutes and you call me now to cancel”.

“Listen Ray I’ve just finished work. I don’t need this right now” he replied.

“You do though son that’s half the problem. You do need it.”

“Just tell him that we’ll pencil in another…

View original post 779 more words

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Volume 4 Overview

That’s right, everyone!  IT’S HERE!!!!!

Presenting to you the overview of Volume 4, the awesome, climatic conclusion of the “Soror and Frater” Arc!

Copyright 2015 Clare Sceski
Copyright 2015 Clare Sceski

PLOT SUMMARY:

John, Faith, and Bernard have come farther than they ever thought possible.  They’ve persevered through every struggle, every personal trial, and every foe that has come their way.  Now the final battle has arrived.   Allying with the people of Castrum Fortress, John and his friends must storm the city of Howaito Maki and defeat the three Evil captains…or every prisoner of the Evil will die.

GENRE:

Fantasy/Anime/Action/Emotional/Dark

EXCERPT:

We come to a halt, stopping right beneath the wall which rises high above us.  Thunderous booms sound in the distance, and we can vaguely hear the clashing of weapons and the screams of pain.  “So the fighting has already started,” says one of the scouts with us.

“That’s our diversion,” states Ashida.  “Let’s make the most of it.”

A long rope dangles from where we fastened it at the summit of the wall.  It’s our only way up and into the city.  I raise my eyes to the top of the rope, and I feel my heart beat faster.  I don’t know why, but the top of this rope…it’s like the threshold—the threshold of destiny.  Once I climb this rope, I’ll be in the city.  I’ll be on the final part of my journey.  I’ll be on the doorstep of rescuing my siblings.

My siblings…

This is the final endeavor.  I feel like I’ve known everything that would happen up until now.  I’ve never been surprised truly.  There hasn’t been as much mystery as I feel there is now.  Nothing about the future is clear anymore.  Nothing is black and white.  Because, from here…

—I look at the sky, the clouds, the dullness and gloom that fills this region—

…everything is gray.

I cast a worried glance at Faith and Bernard, and I can’t help but feel closer to them at this moment.  “Listen,” I say, “whatever happens, I want you both to know that you’ve been great; you’ve been my best friends.  I know we’ve been through a lot, and a big part of that is my fault, but—”

“John,” Bernard cuts me off, “it’s okay.  Stop acting like we’re going to die when we get in there.   We can do this.”  He smiles reassuringly at me, as does Faith.  “Come on,” Bernard says, stepping towards the rope, “let’s go get your brother and sister.”


Hope you guys are excited!!!  I know I am.

If you haven’t already or you’re interested in my series, you can download a free copy of the first book, Volume 1: Shadows in the Sunlight by clicking here.

Thanks for being awesome!

Dom

The Two Part Finale

copyright 2015 Dominic Sceski

You can blame me for not speaking about this as much as I should.  I’m usually the type of person that laughs at my own jokes, replays my own highlights in football, and acts out the greatest feats I’ve accomplished.  That being said, I think my own books are awesome.  What author wouldn’t?  Why else follow through with a book idea, if you don’t think it’s great?

Consequently, you can take my word for it: Volume 4 of The Golden Lands will be the best yet.  I’m not sure why I haven’t been blogging about it as much as I should be!

Pretty much, this how I’m viewing the “plot/story flow” of my series:

  • Things begin in Volume 1: Shadows in the Sunlight
  • Things get personal between the characters, and also between the characters and the readers in Volume 2: Wrath
  • Things get exciting in Volume 3: The Ghost of Hedekira
  • And finally, for Volume 4, things get epic, intense, and reach their pinnacle and ultimate fulfillment.

The title of Volume 4 may be undergoing some changes.  Why?  Well, Volume 4 is turning out to be much longer than expected, at least in comparison to all the other volumes.  So far, I haven’t published a volume of TGL that was longer than 90 pages.  Volume 4 is already 125 pages long, and I haven’t finished it yet (although I’m very close to).  Because of Volume 4’s length, I’ve decided to make it into two parts.  Don’t worry, it will still be one volume!  I’m just going to divide the actual book into two parts.

Part one, as of now, will be called either “The White City”, or “Howaito Maki” (the white city is called “Howaito Maki”, so both optional titles are centered around the same idea).

Part two will be given the original name for Volume 4, “The Red Captain” (a reference to Nirak, the antagonist).

If you haven’t already downloaded Volume 1 (which is a free ebook at Smashwords.com [click the image in the sidebar]), then I would highly encourage you to if you’re interested in my series.  The Golden Lands is a fantasy based story with characters that behave and think like characters from anime shows.  Why characters that resemble anime characters? Because anime characters (if it’s a good anime) have so much determination in whatever they’re doing, and the way they portray realistic, human emotion is one of the most beautiful portrayals I’ve ever seen in any form of art.

I’ll be releasing the overview of Volume 4 (containing the cover, description, and excerpt) very soon!


Dom

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Aul

 

“Korragraphy”: Choreography Mistakes in The Legend of Korra

TLOK

NOTE: None of the images in this post are mine and this post only covers Seasons 1 and 2 of TLOK


So, what’s in choreography that makes it so important?  And what kind of choreography am I talking about?

No, not dance choreography!

I’m talking about the order and sequence of a fight-scene.  That kind of choreography.  And, while this just may be my opinion, I believe that The Legend of Korra makes a few mistakes in this area.

How so?

What we want in every movie, TV show, or book series:

 

I think we can basically agree that when it comes to a good story, the plot steadily grows more intense.  The struggles of the characters get bigger and bigger.  The excitement increases.  What great story has the climax right at the beginning?  Wouldn’t the rest of the story be considered dull?  What would readers or viewers have to look forward to, if all the excitement reaches its pinnacle too early, yet the story still goes on?

This is an immense blunder—or trap—that many great writers—whether it be of books, shows, or movies—fall into.  Keeping your audience interested in your story, if you plan for your story to go on, is a big deal.  Sometimes, we accidentally find ourselves making one arc of our story to be too epic, such that it overpowers the sense of intensity which should be present in another scene.  We “de-climax” the true climax, or we falsely “pre-climax”—creating a climax before it should even happen.

That’s not what we want as readers or viewers, and we shouldn’t want to do that as writers.  We know how it is.  We want people to say “the story just gets better and better”.  That’s only going to happen if everything is well-sequenced, and the power of every exciting moment within the story is checked so that the ultimate scene within the story is really the ultimate scene.

Keep the “max” in climax.

The choreography mistakes in The Legend of Korra

 

Just as a story isn’t good without proper “event choreography”, so too a fight-scene will lack the desired level of awesomeness if certain fight-scenes are more impressive than others…but not at the proper time, in accordance with the series.

Allow me to explain.

The choreography for the fight-scenes in The Legend of Korra, especially Season 2, are incredible.  Yes, I said that.  Don’t get the wrong idea; I’m not saying the choreography is poor in The Legend of Korra.  I’m saying that the choreography, in all its greatness, isn’t sequenced in the right way throughout the series.  The final battles in the seasons TLOK aren’t always as climatic as some of the fight-scenes earlier in the seasons.  What’s the problem with that?  Well, just as we discussed above, in which we discovered that the climax should truly be the climax, why should the ultimate battle be bereft of certain fight-moves or fight-scene-choreography, while other, less intense scenes be possessed of those glorious moments?

SEASON 1:

 

To a certain extent, there aren’t very many long or drawn out battles in Season 1.  Don’t get me wrong; I like Season 1 of The Legend of Korra the best!  It had a great sense of mystery and excitement, with cool villains and intriguing character developments.  However, when it comes to fight-scenes, the longest, and in my opinion, the coolest battle in Season 1 is between Korra and Tarrlok, in Episode 8: “When Extremes Meet”.

tarrlok vs korra
Korra vs. Tarrlock

Both Tarrlok and Korra are masters at bending.  Korra is nimble, using the moves of a practiced gymnast (like back hand springs) and speed to evade Tarrlok’s attacks.  But at the same time, she’s strong, using earthbending to level the playing field.  It’s only when Tarrlok reveals that he is a bloodbender that Korra is finally defeated.

korra backflip 2
Korra dodging an attack from Tarrlock

How awesome is this fight-scene?  Pretty awesome.

There are other scenes of prominent choreography; for instance, all of the pro-bending matches in Season 1 possess cool, fancy footwork, spins, and bending tricks.

probending
The start of a probending match

So what’s the problem with Season 1?  When Korra confronts Amon, the antagonist of the season, the fight-scene is…well, not so impressive.

Now, I understand my personal opinion is coming into play here.  The end of Season 1, or the finale of any series for that matter, doesn’t need to end in an epic battle.  There doesn’t need to be the “ultimate unleash of power”, the coolest back-flip, or the fanciest moves.  But Korra practically gets taken out, (e.g. loses her bending), and then manages to land a lucky blow on Amon to knock him out of the building and into the sea.  And after Amon falls into the water…well, he gives up.  Sure, his cover is blown.  Yet, at the same time, he’s also a super powerful waterbender.

korra defeating amon
Korra defeating Amon, luckily understanding how to airbend at that very moment

Did there need to be a long, drawn-out fight?  No.  But it wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped for, and in my opinion, it wasn’t as climatic or cool as skirmishes in previous episodes.  Why not save the best for last?  Why not change Korra’s fight with Tarrlok to her fight with Amon?

Korragraphy of Season 1.

SEASON 2:

Korra_saves_Unalaq
Korra faces off against a group of kidnappers

The battles in Season 2 start out both creative and remarkable.  In episode 4 of Season 2, “Civil Wars, Part 1”, Korra unveils a series of extremely agile moves against a team of kidnappers.  The fight-scene lasts for only one minute, approximately.  Throughout the course of this battle, however, Korra performs an intricate (and maybe unnecessary) corkscrew/flip after sliding down the railing of some stairs, two somersaults, two handsprings, and two airborne 360s.  All of her moves are very cool and impressive, and evidently stylized with care.

What issue did I take with this season?  Everything is so lax.  There’s no slow motion to show that these are impressive moves, there no build-up with the music.  Korra is kick-butt and there’s no reason to give it extra hype…or is there?

Korra faces off against Unalaq, the Dark Avatar
Korra faces off against Unalaq, the Dark Avatar

When it comes to Korra’s brawl with Unalaq, the “Dark Avatar”, everything is intense.  The fighting is impressive.  But once again, we’ve been seeing these same moves throughout the series.  And there’s nothing that makes these moves appear epic, since the creators make them appear to be nothing out of the ordinary for Korra.  Let’s not forget the flips, somersaults, and fast-paced hand-to-hand combat of Mako, Bolin, and Asami.  It’s not just Korra with the battle-swag.

Season 2 did a better job with making the end of the season the climax.  Korra becomes “de-Avatarized” by Unalaq, when Raava—the spirit of light that makes her the Avatar—is killed (yes, someone dies in Avatar!).  It’s a riveting, shocking moment.  All hope seems to be lost.  But then what happens?

Completely out of nowhere, with hardly any description as to why this happens, Korra is able to unlock a certain power she possesses within herself, and she transforms into a spiritual entity in the form of a blue giant.  Shooting blasts of…spiritual energy, I suppose, she defeats Unalaq using her own strength.  This could’ve been something really epic, but, granted that there were almost no explanations for why Korra was able to transform, instead it was just confusing, taking away glory and awesomeness that the moment in the series deserved.

Korra Blue Giant
Korra as a manifestation of her own power

Conclusion

Once again, I am not saying in any way that The Legend of Korra, either Season 1 or Season 2, is a bad show.  Both seasons are very well done, with impressive animation, visual effects, and action scenes.  However, at least for me, I felt like the timing and “choreography” of events and fight scenes could’ve been done a little better.  Perhaps this is something absolutely weird for someone to analyze, but…well, I just did.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!  Let me know what you think about fight scene choreography and TLOK!

Dom

“Korragraphy”: Choreography Mistakes in The Legend of Korra

TLOK

NOTE: None of the images in this post are mine and this post only covers Seasons 1 and 2 of TLOK


So, what’s in choreography that makes it so important?  And what kind of choreography am I talking about?

No, not dance choreography!

I’m talking about the order and sequence of a fight-scene.  That kind of choreography.  And, while this just may be my opinion, I believe that The Legend of Korra makes a few mistakes in this area.

How so?

What we want in every movie, TV show, or book series:

 

I think we can basically agree that when it comes to a good story, the plot steadily grows more intense.  The struggles of the characters get bigger and bigger.  The excitement increases.  What great story has the climax right at the beginning?  Wouldn’t the rest of the story be considered dull?  What would readers or viewers have to look forward to, if all the excitement reaches its pinnacle too early, yet the story still goes on?

This is an immense blunder—or trap—that many great writers—whether it be of books, shows, or movies—fall into.  Keeping your audience interested in your story, if you plan for your story to go on, is a big deal.  Sometimes, we accidentally find ourselves making one arc of our story to be too epic, such that it overpowers the sense of intensity which should be present in another scene.  We “de-climax” the true climax, or we falsely “pre-climax”—creating a climax before it should even happen.

That’s not what we want as readers or viewers, and we shouldn’t want to do that as writers.  We know how it is.  We want people to say “the story just gets better and better”.  That’s only going to happen if everything is well-sequenced, and the power of every exciting moment within the story is checked so that the ultimate scene within the story is really the ultimate scene.

Keep the “max” in climax.

The choreography mistakes in The Legend of Korra

 

Just as a story isn’t good without proper “event choreography”, so too a fight-scene will lack the desired level of awesomeness if certain fight-scenes are more impressive than others…but not at the proper time, in accordance with the series.

Allow me to explain.

The choreography for the fight-scenes in The Legend of Korra, especially Season 2, are incredible.  Yes, I said that.  Don’t get the wrong idea; I’m not saying the choreography is poor in The Legend of Korra.  I’m saying that the choreography, in all its greatness, isn’t sequenced in the right way throughout the series.  The final battles in the seasons TLOK aren’t always as climatic as some of the fight-scenes earlier in the seasons.  What’s the problem with that?  Well, just as we discussed above, in which we discovered that the climax should truly be the climax, why should the ultimate battle be bereft of certain fight-moves or fight-scene-choreography, while other, less intense scenes be possessed of those glorious moments?

SEASON 1:

 

To a certain extent, there aren’t very many long or drawn out battles in Season 1.  Don’t get me wrong; I like Season 1 of The Legend of Korra the best!  It had a great sense of mystery and excitement, with cool villains and intriguing character developments.  However, when it comes to fight-scenes, the longest, and in my opinion, the coolest battle in Season 1 is between Korra and Tarrlok, in Episode 8: “When Extremes Meet”.

tarrlok vs korra
Korra vs. Tarrlock

Both Tarrlok and Korra are masters at bending.  Korra is nimble, using the moves of a practiced gymnast (like back hand springs) and speed to evade Tarrlok’s attacks.  But at the same time, she’s strong, using earthbending to level the playing field.  It’s only when Tarrlok reveals that he is a bloodbender that Korra is finally defeated.

korra backflip 2
Korra dodging an attack from Tarrlock

How awesome is this fight-scene?  Pretty awesome.

There are other scenes of prominent choreography; for instance, all of the pro-bending matches in Season 1 possess cool, fancy footwork, spins, and bending tricks.

probending
The start of a probending match

So what’s the problem with Season 1?  When Korra confronts Amon, the antagonist of the season, the fight-scene is…well, not so impressive.

Now, I understand my personal opinion is coming into play here.  The end of Season 1, or the finale of any series for that matter, doesn’t need to end in an epic battle.  There doesn’t need to be the “ultimate unleash of power”, the coolest back-flip, or the fanciest moves.  But Korra practically gets taken out, (e.g. loses her bending), and then manages to land a lucky blow on Amon to knock him out of the building and into the sea.  And after Amon falls into the water…well, he gives up.  Sure, his cover is blown.  Yet, at the same time, he’s also a super powerful waterbender.

korra defeating amon
Korra defeating Amon, luckily understanding how to airbend at that very moment

Did there need to be a long, drawn-out fight?  No.  But it wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped for, and in my opinion, it wasn’t as climatic or cool as skirmishes in previous episodes.  Why not save the best for last?  Why not change Korra’s fight with Tarrlok to her fight with Amon?

Korragraphy of Season 1.

SEASON 2:

Korra_saves_Unalaq
Korra faces off against a group of kidnappers

The battles in Season 2 start out both creative and remarkable.  In episode 4 of Season 2, “Civil Wars, Part 1”, Korra unveils a series of extremely agile moves against a team of kidnappers.  The fight-scene lasts for only one minute, approximately.  Throughout the course of this battle, however, Korra performs an intricate (and maybe unnecessary) corkscrew/flip after sliding down the railing of some stairs, two somersaults, two handsprings, and two airborne 360s.  All of her moves are very cool and impressive, and evidently stylized with care.

What issue did I take with this season?  Everything is so lax.  There’s no slow motion to show that these are impressive moves, there no build-up with the music.  Korra is kick-butt and there’s no reason to give it extra hype…or is there?

Korra faces off against Unalaq, the Dark Avatar
Korra faces off against Unalaq, the Dark Avatar

When it comes to Korra’s brawl with Unalaq, the “Dark Avatar”, everything is intense.  The fighting is impressive.  But once again, we’ve been seeing these same moves throughout the series.  And there’s nothing that makes these moves appear epic, since the creators make them appear to be nothing out of the ordinary for Korra.  Let’s not forget the flips, somersaults, and fast-paced hand-to-hand combat of Mako, Bolin, and Asami.  It’s not just Korra with the battle-swag.

Season 2 did a better job with making the end of the season the climax.  Korra becomes “de-Avatarized” by Unalaq, when Raava—the spirit of light that makes her the Avatar—is killed (yes, someone dies in Avatar!).  It’s a riveting, shocking moment.  All hope seems to be lost.  But then what happens?

Completely out of nowhere, with hardly any description as to why this happens, Korra is able to unlock a certain power she possesses within herself, and she transforms into a spiritual entity in the form of a blue giant.  Shooting blasts of…spiritual energy, I suppose, she defeats Unalaq using her own strength.  This could’ve been something really epic, but, granted that there were almost no explanations for why Korra was able to transform, instead it was just confusing, taking away glory and awesomeness that the moment in the series deserved.

Korra Blue Giant
Korra as a manifestation of her own power

Conclusion

Once again, I am not saying in any way that The Legend of Korra, either Season 1 or Season 2, is a bad show.  Both seasons are very well done, with impressive animation, visual effects, and action scenes.  However, at least for me, I felt like the timing and “choreography” of events and fight scenes could’ve been done a little better.  Perhaps this is something absolutely weird for someone to analyze, but…well, I just did.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!  Let me know what you think about fight scene choreography and TLOK!

Dom

Bleach: The Hollowfication Question

Number one pic

Sometimes we see this when the main character of a story is fighting against an enemy of seemingly unsurpassable might; with no other power to turn to, the main character resorts to teaming up with evil in order to defeat evil.  And maybe, maybe, he’ll even draw his strength from this person or source of evil.

BACKGROUND OF BLEACH

(If you already know all of this, I would encourage you to skip to the section in bold which reads “The Question”)

Ichigo Kurosaki is such a main character.  The manga and anime Bleach is easily one of the most popular Japanese comics and television shows out there, particularly in the shonen (boys) category.  The story follows the adventures of fifteen year-old Ichigo Kurosaki, who becomes a Soul Reaper in order to protect his family from the hunger of a Hollow: a fallen soul/spirit of the underworld.

Ichigo as a Soul Reaper battles a Hollow
Ichigo as a Soul Reaper battles a Hollow

Ichigo is plunged into a life of protecting innocent souls from Hollows, as instructed by Rukia Kuchiki, the Soul Reaper that gave him his powers as a Soul Reaper.  Soul Reapers have the duty of saving souls from Hollows, sending those souls to the Soul Society, and purifying the Hollows so that they too may be admitted to the Soul Society.

THE ZANPAKUTO

Every sword that a Soul Reaper has—called a “zanpakuto”—possesses a spirit in itself.  This spirit, in both its form and personality/countenance, is a reflection of the Soul Reaper that wields the zanpakuto.  There is also an element of mystery encompassing the nature of the spirit which is within every zanpakuto.

The spirit of Ichigo's zanpakuto, Zangetsu
The spirit of Ichigo’s zanpakuto, Zangetsu

These spirits have minds of their own; and although they cooperate with their Soul Reaper in order to further the advancement of power their Soul Reaper is able to unleash, sometimes the spirits might endeavor to control their Soul Reaper.

Once a person becomes a Soul Reaper and possesses a zanpakuto, his soul becomes intertwined or merged with the spirit that fills his sword.  The Soul Reaper draws strength from his zanpakuto, and the spirit of the zanpakuto teaches the Soul Reaper how to wield and unlock the power that the spirit possesses.  This bond between Soul Reaper and zanpakuto is intense.

Which is why, if a Soul Reaper isn’t careful, the spirit of his zanpakuto might turn on him.

THE HOLLOW WITHIN

Ichigo's inner Hollow is exactly like Ichigo but all light and darkness is reversed
Ichigo’s inner Hollow is exactly like Ichigo but all the light and darkness of his appearance is reversed

Ichigo’s zanpakuto, and the spirit accompanying it, is named Zangetsu.  Originally unknown to Ichigo, there is another side to Zangetsu—a darker side.  Zangetsu is one with a Hollow; they are the same person, but one side is good while the other is evil.

The evil side of Zangetsu was said to have been “born” when Kiskue Urahara—Ichigo’s hippy-of-a-mentor—forced Ichigo into regaining his Soul Reaper powers by using a method called “Encroachment”.  Encroachment caused Ichigo to run the line between turning into a Hollow himself, or becoming a Soul Reaper (since he had lost his power as a Soul Reaper).  The result on the surface appeared to be that he became a Soul Reaper again—clean, plain and simple.  However, underlying his transformation was the merging of Zangetsu with Ichigo’s inner Hollow, who was brought about by Encroachment—as a side effect, so to speak.

Ichigo's Hollow mask begins to form as he undergoes Encroachment
Ichigo’s Hollow mask begins to form as he undergoes Encroachment

Yet, it proved to be a much bigger “side effect” than Ichigo expected.  When Ichigo battles Byakuya Kuchiki, captain of Squad Six of the Thirteen Court Guard Squads, in order to save Rukia from being executed, Ichigo is suddenly possessed by his inner Hollow.  The Hollow saves Ichigo’s life, but states that Ichigo is too weak to be using Zangetsu/himself.  At the time, Ichigo is unaware that the Hollow and Zangetsu are the same person.

Ichigo is possessed by his Hollow as he fights Captain Kuchiki
Ichigo is possessed by his Hollow as he fights Captain Kuchiki

Ichigo regains control of himself.  But ever since his battle with Captain Kuchiki and his possession by his inner Hollow, Ichigo is now always subconsciously aware of the Hollow within himself.  And the Hollow wants to come out—to control and possess Ichigo.  The struggle to maintain control of his own body and soul steadily grows more intense for Ichigo.

At the same time, Ichigo’s enemies become greater too.  After Ichigo saves Rukia from being executed in the Soul Society, Captain Aizen of Squad Five rebels against the Soul Society.  Aizen is incredibly powerful, and he plans to completely wipe out Ichigo’s hometown and kill the king of the Soul Society.  Aizen is also surrounded by an army of Arrancars—Hollows with the abilities of Soul Reapers—and the Espada, who are high-ranking, super strong Arrancars.  These Arrancars, along with Aizen himself, present a huge threat to Ichigo, his friends, and both the members of the Real World and the Soul Society.

Aizen in all of his evil glory
Aizen in all of his evil glory

Ichigo knows he isn’t powerful enough to defend everyone he cares about.  What’s more, whenever he fights and uses more of his own spiritual power, the chances of him being possessed by his inner Hollow skyrocket.  His resolve being torn down by the emergence of his inner Hollow, and the threat of exceedingly strong enemies, leaves Ichigo confused and unsure of how he can protect his friends.

THE VISOREDS

Shinji and the rest of the Visored crew
Shinji and the rest of the Visored crew

Shinji Hirako, along with his team of rogue Soul Reapers, invite Ichigo to become a Visored; a Soul Reaper that learns to subdue, control, and use the power of his inner Hollow.  They are called Visoreds for the Hollow masks they wear, which are the center of their power.  If Ichigo learns how to control his inner Hollow and use its power, he’ll gain an immense amount of spiritual strength.  Without the knowledge of how to maintain his inner Hollow, and facing the danger of Aizen and his Arrancars, Ichigo turns to the Visoreds for assistance.

In the end, Ichigo goes within himself and battles his Hollow, defeating the dark form of Zangetsu and therefore being able to harness his energy.  The Visoreds continue with his training, and Ichigo gradually learns to control and use his inner Hollow.  The more he battles, the more power he possesses, and the more he relies on using “Hollowfication” as the source of his might.

THE QUESTION

Is it right for Ichigo to resort to using the power of his inner Hollow for the sake of fighting Aizen and saving his friends?  Zangetsu, or the dark side of Zangetsu, is clearly something evil by nature.  His appearance, his motives, his methods—everything about Ichigo’s inner Hollow possesses some sense of malice and morbidity.  Ichigo fights his Hollow and conquers it.  Nonetheless, the Hollow doesn’t go away; instead, he allows Ichigo to draw power from him.  This power is clearly something dark; Ichigo joins with the evil-side of his soul in order to produce intense spiritual attacks.

So, what’s wrong with this picture?

In order to answer the question of whether it is right to use evil to fight evil, we need to look at the situation from a logical perspective.  All of this can be simplified by this basic moral truth:

The end doesn’t justify the means.

This logical statement works could be explained with this example: Say a man wants to become rich.  Becoming rich is the “end”.  Let’s say further that the man’s “means” of achieving his “end”—becoming rich—is robbing a bank.

The example with the man is similar to Ichigo’s: both ends are good.  Ichigo wants to protect his friends and save the world; the man wants to become rich.  Nothing is wrong there.  But if we say that “the end justifies the means”, then, according to that statement, any means found necessary is “okay”.  Why?  Because the end, in-and-of-itself, is something good.  However, we can see that this is flawed from a moral perspective.  Just because the end is good, that doesn’t mean it’s right to reach the end using immoral means.  That’s a problem.  We could win all wars by torturing the enemy’s citizens until the enemy surrenders—winning a war: good; torturing people to do it: bad.  (#lameexample…I know)

So here’s where the truth comes in: The means justifies the end.

This is a logical/moral principle that encourages people to build good upon good.  A good means should bring about a good end.  Let’s go back to the man that wants to be rich, but make the example different; now his means is getting a job and working hard, and watching his everyday budget: good.  The end?  He becomes rich: good.  That’s the way it’s supposed to work.  Not everybody will become rich, of course, if they work hard and watch their budget.  But you get the idea.

But then, what’s wrong with Ichigo?  What’s wrong with his means?

The main thing wrong with the story, in that Ichigo obtains his source of strength from his inner Hollow, is that the line between what’s good and what’s evil becomes blurred.  Ichigo takes on the form of something evil, bringing down his own good character, for the sake of something good.  This can lead some people into confusion: is that what heroes do?  They join themselves with evil to do good?  Do heroes turn into monsters or evil spirits for the sake of what’s right?

The answer is simple.

And ah: monsters and evil spirits don’t do what’s right.

“No, but Ichigo does.”

In a sense, Ichigo does do something good.  After all, his end is pure.  But his means is not.  Evil doesn’t produce good.  We can become stronger through dealing with a form of evil that surrounds or threatens us.  But evil is never the producer of good.

This might sound like a story from the Bible, to some viewers.  Joseph, the son of Jacob, (the one with the swagged-out, colored-cloak) is sold by his brothers into slavery to the Egyptians: bad.  However, he rises through the ranks of Egypt to become second-in-command and help his family in a time of famine: good.  The “bad” stuff—being sold into slavery—didn’t produce the good—Joseph becoming second-in-command and helping his family.  In the story, God gave Joseph a way to react to the evil, so to speak; a loophole.  But the evil didn’t create the good.

Nevertheless, Ichigo clearly endeavors to do the opposite.  He draws upon the power of evil and assumes an evil form itself.  A flaw, or falsity, therefore, corrupts the nature of the story of BleachBleach, whether or not the author Tite Kubo intended this, preaches that we can reach into ourselves and pull out our “inner Hollow” and use it for good.

If we think about it, we can see how this negatively morphs society’s perception of heroism.  If Ichigo is equated with being a hero—the one who “defeats the bad guy”—and at the same time is merged with a form of evil, isn’t there a chance those people that look up to Ichigo will think it is right to merge with evil to produce good?  To the people of the anime world, Bleach is saying, in however an indirect way, that the face of a hero…well, may indeed look like this:

Ichigo in his "Hollowfied" form
Ichigo in his “Hollowfied” form

The face of something good is portrayed using the face of evil…doesn’t this seem twisted in any way?  Doesn’t that bother you, or seem wrong?

Ichigo’s means? Using evil.

Ichigo’s end? Saving his friends and the world.

Logical? No.

Moral? No.

The means justifies the end, not the other way round.


Tell me what you think and share your thoughts…I’m really looking forward to hearing your take on this!

Dom

P.S. My first book in my series The Golden Lands (fantasy/anime based) is still free at Smashwords.com!

P.P.S. Just a shout-out to my really smart dad who helped me with all of this logic and philosophy 🙂  You know your stuff, Dad!