IchiRuki vs IchiHime
|ShipWar:||IchiRuki vs IchiHime|
|Date(s):||2001 - 2016|
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Anonymous on FFA
debbiechan and several of her colleagues were really the source and driving force behind the Bleach fandom shipwars that got really truly nasty (and which got Bleach and Bleachness, her comm, on Fandom Wank only about 19234 times, but more on that later).
Okay, the basic-basics: Bleach is a shounen manga about a kid (Ichigo) who has a big sword who sees dead people and shouts a lot. He has two female friends...do you see where this is going? One of his friends is Orihime, who's generally sweet and feminine. His other friend is Rukia, who is generally tomboyish and badass. There's more to the characters, but all you need to know is their basic archetypes, because you will have to pick sides even if you don't ship either pairing. YOU MUST PICK A SIDE! Also, whichever side you pick determines how good or bad of a feminist you are. Is this loaded enough yet??
Back in the annals of time, Debbie was a pretty benign figure. I hesitate to call her a "BNF" because I don't think there was a culture of sycophancy surrounding her, but she definitely had a strong and ubiquitous fandom presence and could always be counted on for having Something To Say about the newest chapter of the manga. Bleachness, for a long time, was her fic and general discussion comm where people could wig out about Bleach. For a long time, Debbie didn't even ship Ichigo with either of the girls, and instead shipped him with Ishida, one of his dude-friends - I can't remember when or why the shift happened.
Then: it all changed. How? Why? I'm not the best source for insider info, sadly (a lot of mine is second hand because while we were in the same fandom, I didn't really participate the Bleachness comm because by the time I got there, things were already pretty insane). Every time a new chapter was released, Bleachness and its core usergroup just got nuts, picking apart every panel of the three characters interacting, looking at color spreads/art books to find more "evidence" that IchiRuki was canon, because it WAS, GODDAMMIT. The first rule of Bleachness was IchiRuki IS CANON. NO EXCEPTIONS. KUBO IS SPEAKING TO DEBBIE IN CODED LANGUAGE THAT ONLY SHE CAN UNDERSTAND, IT'S RIGHT HERE IN THE MARGIN OF THIS MANGA PANEL!!!
Actually, Debbie wasn't that frothingly crazy, but a lot of people on Bleachness were. Debbie herself had this really weird...smugly condescending way of approaching the whole argument that was its own special brand of annoying. But Bleachness was her comm and there was a lot of inter-fandom sniping over the shipwars, and she was pretty tolerant of abusive behavior so long as it was on "her" side. The people who shipped Ichigo/Orihime were either barely-tolerated or had left all together, and I think the polarization of the two camps really led to the worst behavior. The Ichigo/Orihime shippers weren't exactly innocent, but I think they played the game better. It was all sort of a slow descent into madness.
A gradual pattern in the Bleach fandom developed, and it could be counted on every week: new chapter is posted. Bleachness and/or debbie fires off an initial reaction post highlighting all the pro-IchiRuki moments and all the Ichigo-Orihime moments that clearly proved that he hated and despised her, and also, that she smelled and was a Bad Role Model For Young Girls. Then the Ichigo/Orihime folks would hit back with their counter-analysis, further stirring up the hive of crazy that Bleachness had become until someone - usually people shipping Ichigo/Orihime! I think they realized early on that Debbie would do their work for them, so they mostly stayed out of the actual arguing until there was enough material, at which point, the latest round of Bleach Fight 2008-2012 (or whatever) got posted to either Wank Report or Fandom Wank, and the fight would continue there. It was very cyclical and at one point, Bleach fandom was on FW on a monthly, if not bi-monthly, basis.I had friends who shipped Ichigo/Rukia, and they'd all pretty much disavowed Bleachness, Debbie, and the mainstream shipping of the couple because it became such an intense clusterfuck. You couldn't ship IchiRuki without being lumped in with the loonies at Bleachness and I think the comm did more damage to fans of the pairing than not.
The IchiHime faction migrated to the Five Lifetimes, One Love forum in 2007 due to the constant shipwars and perceived mod bias on BA. Some time later, the IchiRuki faction created their own forum too, Deathberry.
The shipwar was "decided" when the manga canonized IchiHime in 2016 in its last chapter. See the IchiRuki Hall of Anal Devastation for reactions. Some went as far as destroying their Bleach merchandise.