"You like it? Pretty neat, huh. Doing things in reverse is my specialty." [BLC; 7/23]
hides head in hands I'm so sorry for bringing manga into this, but I couldn't help it. Shinji just has such a cool ability, I had to use him for this prompt in the challenge. (My choice for traditional literature is definitely Door from the Neverwhere, who can "open" anything. Including some things that aren't doors. Nice.)
Layout inspired by @ridleys absolutely wonderful sets! I almost tried to recreate one of Shinji's outfits, but his fashion sense is just so...I gave up basically. Cute happened instead. (And you can't go wrong with Miu Miu SS 2010, you know?)
Fair warning, I went on a lot more than I thought I would in the section below. There's also some mentions of violence and stuff because Bleach is a shounen series, so please don't read below if that's not your thing. tl; dr, Shinji can invert people's five sense and their sense of direction. Also he's a great character (re: giant nerd jerkbutt with a heart of gold) and I have a lot of feelings about him.
XVII. A CHARACTER WITH A REALLY COOL ABILITY
— Shinji Hirako; Bleach by Tite Kubo
Okay, so; background. In the world of Bleach, Shinigami (or Soul Reapers depending on the dub/translation you read) are those from the Soul Society (which is kinda like heaven but not exactly) who hunt and kill Hollows (spirits that haven’t passed on properly and lose their humanity). All shinigami have swords called zanpakutou, which they use to purify Hollows and aid other spirits in passing on. Over time, a shinigami’s soul imprints on its sword, giving it a soul of its own. By learning the name of their sword, a shinigami can draw on its power when releasing the seal. (This is called shikai/first release, though only a few shinigami can use a second and final release called bankai, which are typically ridiculously powerful.) These can be anything from changing the shape of the sword to giving the wielder specific powers, like controlling fire or ice.
There are actually a whole bunch of characters with cool powers in the series. Seriously, I wound up including a list below just because. That being said, I definitely think Shinji wins the cool power contest hands down. What exactly does his sword do?
He can invert his opponent’s senses. And I quote, “Up, down, left, right, font, back…they’re all in reverse. Welcome, to the inverted world.” Trying to fight an opponent while doing all that must really suck too, particularly for the more powerful or experienced fighters who rely the most on their senses. Oh, and it gets better; Shinji can pick and choose not only who’s affected by his power, but which directions are reversed at which times. This means he’s usually involved in large-scale fights and just generally messing with people.
Not to mention, he’s probably one of the best fighters in the series. His battle with Grimmjow (who it took the protagonist three tries to beat) is basically one-sided and that’s without using shikai. Then, later, he’s the first character to land a hit on the first arc villain. Which, let me tell you, was SO SATISFYING. In recent chapters, he also figured out how to reverse other senses, which is just super cool. Word’s still out on how his fight with Quincy!Thor is going, but fingers crossed we get to find out what’s going on with that soon.
The nature of his powers isn’t revealed until, like, three hundred chapters into the series, but what a reveal holy crap. There’s actually a whole bunch of foreshadowing about if beforehand, though. Like when he introduces himself in the main character’s class, he writes his name backwards and spouts the above quote. (This nerd.) And half the other times we see him, he’s just floating in the air upside down like, chillin.
Also, Shinji’s just a great character. Like, my weakness has always been that obfuscating stupidity/crouching moron, hidden badass type and Shinji has that in spades. He’ll go from acting like an idiot, to sighing about having to do work (re: actually fighting back instead of just dodging), to saying in a completely deadpan expression “that girl there…is my first love”. But he’s also the leader of the Vizards, a former captain-rank shinigami (post-timeskip, he’s reinstated; also, being ranked as a captain is, like, a big deal) and a brilliant chessmaster. Like, he didn’t trust Aizen (the first arc Big Bad) one hundred years before the start of the series and promoted him to his vice-captain so he could keep an eye on him. He also didn’t reveal his powers to Aizen in case they ever met in battle, Aizen wouldn’t have time to come up with a way to counteract that. I mean, Aizen still royally screwed him over by turning him into a Vizard and getting him kicked out of the Soul Society, but that’s still a whole other level of prepared.
Oh, and he’s a Vizard, I totally forgot to mention that. Basically, he was a shinigami that got turned partially into a hollow. He not only figured out who was behind it all - his very own vice-captain - but managed to hold off the transformation long enough to get a few good hits in. There were several others that were either with him at the time or got changed in the same incident, and he was the one that spent the whole mess trying to subdue his own friends. Ugh my heart.
After they were all banished, he took it on himself to become their leader and train them to master their newfound abilities. And, like, he cares about them so much? Like, Shinji spends half the Fake Karakura Town battle hanging back and sh.it-talking Aizen just because. He and Hiyori squabble all the time, but then Aizen hurts her and he’s just like, “Alright, douchecanoe, I'll take you down myself.” Did I mention how satisfying it was to watch him lay the hurt on Aizen? Because wow. Also his English VA had so much fun with the scene. (“What an odd-looking sword.” “You like it? You can’t borrow it.” This little sh.it.)
And this segment brought to you by Shinji’s poor fashion decisions. Probably one of the worst dressed in the series, I’m sorry. Featuring:
-His school uniform defying gravity: http://bleach.wikia.com/wiki/File:Ep110ShinjiUpsideDown.png
-Normal, everyday clothes, apparently: http://bleach.wikia.com/wiki/File:Ep140ShinjiArrives.png
-He literally shows up to the final battle in this: http://bleach.wikia.com/wiki/File:Shinji_Hirako_with_Hat.png
So, yeah. Shinji Hirako. What a fave.
Okay, but other characters with cool powers:
-Kira’s sword doubles the weight of anything it hits, which compounds with each hit. (And he reminds the audience of this. Every. Time. He fights.)
-Matsumoto’s sword can become a cloud of razor-sharp ash.
-Ukitake dual-wields (another weakness of mine), but one sword absorbs energy-based attacks and the other fires them back. He can also change the timing and intensity of the attack to really throw off the person he’s fighting. The first time we see him use it, he fires back a cero, which is an attack only hollows can use. (The look on his opponent’s face. Incredible.) Also, bonus points to him for being one of the only characters who doesn’t automatically explain his power to the enemy and basically tells them to figure it out themselves. “…Was that a cero just now?” “Oh, was it? I’m not sure…Wanna try it again?”
-Yachiru’s sword /cuts on three planes of existence/, which is really helpful when your opponent can warp reality. Damn, that’s cool.
-Rukia can cool her body’s cells down to absolute zero. I mean, physically impossibly, but super neat. Also, her bankai is gorgeous. (http://bleach.wikia.com/wiki/File:Hakka_no_Togame.png)
-Kyouraku basically weaponizes children’s games, and everyone in the fight has to follow by those rules, including him. The most confusing part of it is trying to remember which games are in effect at which times, because several can happen at once. Another character with a cool bankai.
-Sui Death-In-Two-Hits Feng. Continuing on the train of character with cool bankai, hers is fantastic. She’s the leader of the Stealth Force and her bankai is literally the flashiest, least stealthy thing in the entire series. And she hates it. The irony is beautiful.