Wednesday, 2 September 2015

[Discussion] Are the Quincy Pre-Destined For Extinction?

I was in a bad mood one day, saw a post that sparked some of my cynicism in regards to the Quincy's position, and this little essay came out of it. 

Quote from: Polgarena @ Bleach Asylum
Thank you, everyone, for your great contributions! :loyal

Bazz-B was not done just yet. He was struggling, as his fist on the ground showed, even though his body got slain. Burner Finger 4 provoked Haschwalth to react in a pretty emotional manner, revealing Bazz-B’s full name - Buzzard Black! I love it, but during the time I was reading the chapter I thought that this was the first sign of Bazz-B’s defeat/death.

In the flashback three more years passed. Jugram with that hat looked funny (good that he doesn’t fashion it anymore), but I really enjoyed Bazzard’s good looks in that "oldish" uniform. I thought Hubert would end up being Algora, but oh well, Kubo thought otherwise. The relations between Sternritters weren’t ideal even back then, so it’s good to know that some things never change. Hascwalth’s “I’m watching” panel was excellent. It was terrifying for a moment, and Hubert felt that.

Bazz-B wanted to fight badly. He wanted to resolve their problems with fists. But Jugram was smarter. In a way. He didn’t want to fight, and not only because fights between Sternritters were punishable by death, but because they’re not a good tool to resolve conflicts. Of course, it’s not like he was all “in the right” and Bazz-B “in the wrong”, because by avoiding fights, Jugram also avoided interaction. And without interactions conflicts can never be resolved.

Cue the current fight. The moment when Jugram cut Bazz-B’s had hurt even me. But it wasn’t the gore that hurt, it was Bazz-B’s face. That’s the face of utter defeat if you ask me. It was sad. And now that we’ve seen the magnificent Burner Finger 5, Bazz-B’s hopes of survival decreased even more.

People can say what they want about this chapter, Jugram’s and Bazz-B’s characters. They can say they’re badly written, that the last few chapters were Kubo’s grasping at straws... They may question the point of these chapters, as the glorious character development ship sailed long time ago for Sternritters. People have their rights not to like something. But, the only thing that I didn’t like in this set of 4 chapters is the fact that Bazz-B’s (99,99%) gone [he sustained a diagonal/vertical slash]. And I’m sad; not that much for Bazz-B himself, because this counts as a beautiful “gone in the blaze of glory” death.
I would have wanted him to live of course, but I’m sad for the Quincies in general. I now really fear that Kubo envisioned the future of Bleach-verse without them.

Sadly, I must agree with you on this, with the way things are going, even with the emphasis placed on the fact that Ichigo also has the blood of a Quincy in him, which he inherited from his mother.  More than anything else, Ichigo has identified himself as a Shinigami, and just as a Shinigami.  In the Arrancar Saga, Ichigo feared his Hollow side; in the Lost Agent Arc, his Fullbring powers were just a means to an end to regain his Shinigami powers; in the Thousand Year Blood War, learning about his Quincy heritage and coming to terms with "old man Zangetsu" were just stepping stones towards him repairing his Bankai and attaining his true Zanpakuto.

But that's not over yet.  I am sure I am not the only one who noticed it, but Ichigo has not drawn Old Man Zangetsu's blade even once since Yhwach manipulated Ichigo into killing the Soul King.  One would think that Ichigo would draw both Zangetsu when he was fighting back against Yhwach, but he only used "White Zangetsu's" Zanpakuto to fight.  Even when he was preparing to defend himself from Grimmjow (before Neliel's interruption), he only had the one drawn.  I do not know if these are simply recent details, or will develop into plot points later on, but the incident with the Soul King might be causing Ichigo to reject his Quincy side, whether he himself is conscious of it or not. 

It hasn't simply been this arc either, but an over-arching theme throughout the series up to this point.  From the start, the Quincy were depicted as a danger to the system making up the Bleach-verse - the more Hollows they kill, the more they upset the balance of souls, and run the risk of the Soul Society and Living World mutually destroying one another when they blend together as a result of the balance being lost.  Ryuuken, the one who inherited Souken's title as "The Last Quincy", was content to simply let the Quincy die out with Souken's generation.  And to be honest, in his eyes, why not?  Yhwach has his claws into every Quincy in the modern day, and he used the Auswahlen to kill every last Gemischt Quincy barring Uryu to regain his power, including Katagiri, all for the sake of finishing the war that began one thousand years ago. 

And at this rate, I would not be surprised if that war was instigated by the Quincy in the first place, since that is the direction the flash-backs pointed us towards.  After all, Yhwach created the Stern Ritter with that very purpose in mind.  In other words, Kubo has been painting the Quincy from Day One as the aggressors; as the one element in the system that does not belong; the aberrant souls that endanger the world's existence just by fighting against Hollows to survive and to protect souls; the group of people who produced an individual as horrible as Yhwach; the race who brought down the Soul Society and killed the Soul King, the entity whose existence stabilizes the world.

Quincy and Shinigami fighting alongside one another?  Souken's dream?  I would not be surprised if one of Uryu's reasons for joining the Vandenreich is eventually revealed to be that he realized that Souken's dream was doomed from the start.  It was a pre-destined doom, because Yhwach and the Stern Ritter were going to begin their war against the Seireitei once again no matter what happened.  Yhwach is not the problem, but the Quincy race as a whole.  They've all held onto feelings of hate for the Shinigami for far too long for there to be reconciliation.  The only one who envisioned such a world was Souken Ishida, since it has been all but made clear that every other Quincy in existence outside of the Ishida Clan was all-in for war against the Shinigami.

While I do hope that Bazz-B may survive, that will likely be in vain, and Bazz-B's death likely shows the inevitable fate of the Quincy race - extinction after an empty existence of hate and vengeance.  Bazz-B spent the entirety of his unnaturally long life, which was likely only so long because of Yhwach's Schrift, challenging Haschwalth to see which one of them was stronger and for what?  In the end, he effectively threw his own life away in a suicide run.  He had a chance to fight alongside the Shinigami, but he instead went on his own path, and made his own grave. 

It is not simply the fate the Quincy made for themselves, but the Shinigami would likely not stand for any other fate.  In this war, the Gotei 13 lost too much to the Vandenreich.  Yamamoto was destroyed by Yhwach, a number of the friends and allies of the remaining Shinigami were killed by the Stern Ritter, and now the Quincy have succeeded in killing the Soul King and claiming the Soul King Palace as their Wahrwelt.

Shutara said the Quincy were even worse than Aizen, whom she claimed was the embodiment of evil.  What is worse than the embodiment of evil? 

Chaos.  Throughout many mythologies and folklore, one of the greatest evils in any religion has always been an entity embodying Chaos.  In Bleach, the Quincy have been set up as that element of Chaos from day one, and Yhwach is its embodiment.  Haschwalth put it best - Yhwach's very existence is built around sustaining himself through the death and chaos of battles.  The war with the Shinigami is just another war with which Yhwach sustains himself, and also means the elimination of the one power that halted his endless conquests in the past. 

I will not be surprised if that becomes the true reason why Quincy fight Hollows to begin with - their arrows do not "erase" Hollows from existence, but Hollows killed by a Quincy's arrows or power have their souls absorbed by Yhwach, regardless of whether they were ever aware of it or not.  In other words, all the Hollows every killed by any Quincy in the past thousand years has all been for the sake of Yhwach absorbing more souls to sustain himself, so as to avoid regressing to the state he was born in - mute, crippled, blind, deaf. 

The fact that Quincy may have existed before Yhwach was born does not matter anymore.  They are nothing more than carriers for Yhwach's soul, nothing more than the vessels by which Yhwach sustains himself and absorbs souls through every Hollow they will ever kill and through their own deaths. 

Because of how they are all linked to Yhwach, I will not be surprised if their extinction is the only way to permanently kill Yhwach.  After all, Yhwach has a piece of his soul in every Quincy, and it is likely that those souls would sustain Yhwach even after his heart his stopped, as the "Kaiser Gesang" began with him regaining his heartbeat, meaning the only way to keep him from coming back would be to kill every Quincy that bears a piece of his soul.

This war has done the opposite of what was spoken of between Ichigo and Uryu in the Sub Shinigami arc - it has shown that there can never be peace between Shinigami and Quincy.  It is not simply a matter of killing Yhwach, because he has never been the source of that blood feud between Shinigami and Quincy - too much conflict between Shinigami and Quincy has taken place for there to be peace, and the Quincy Massacre of 200 years ago occurred without Yhwach's influence so he was not responsible for it.

In the current world system, the Shinigami are the essential aspect - they are the ones who purify Hollows and send them to Soul Society as normal souls, and they are the ones who lead souls to Soul Society to maintain balance between the Living World and the Soul Society.  The Quincy are aberrant - they destroy Hollows, and every Hollow they kill upsets the balance of souls and threatens to destroy the world.

The only way this could be justified, and the only way the feud between Shinigami and Quincy could ever stop, is if the current world is unnatural.  After all, the current world is heavily reliant upon the Shinigami - they are the only ones with the power to guide souls to Soul Society, they maintain a "balance of souls" that is necessary to keep the world as it is, and they are the only ones with the power to purify a Hollow's soul and send it to Soul Society.  We know they even created the Soul King, the entity who stabilized the flow of souls into and out of Soul Society and held the worlds together.  Yhwach even mentioned that, before the Soul King was created, the Soul Society was unstable due to the souls constantly flowing in and out of it. 

This means that the Soul Society and the Living World existed without the Soul King, and the implication is that the Shinigami, at one point, did not control the flow of souls into and out of Soul Society.  In the modern day, the Shinigami are the only ones with the power to send souls to Soul Society; before the Soul Society, souls apparently flowed into and out of the Soul Society at their leisure.

However, for such a thing to be so would be for it to require the Shinigami to be equally at fault, if not more so.  But they've been protagonists for too long for it to suddenly be revealed that they created this world and the Quincy have been depicted as a group that disrupts the balance for far too long for them to be suddenly given a pardon, even if the current war has left any hope of peace out of the question.  Moreover, the current system is depicted as beneficial, since it brought stability to the Soul Society, which once suffered instability because souls were constantly flowing in and out of Soul Society.  With the Shinigami being the only ones that can send souls to Soul Society, likely as a result of the Soul King's power, the flow stabilized. 

In addition, the Soul King has been so entrenched into the system of the world now that his removal threatens to cause the collapse of all three worlds.  Were the worlds once dimensions overlapping each other in the same space, just as the Vandenreich and the Seireitei were, and did the Soul King's power cause them to separate?  Have they always existed as separate from one another?  We cannot know for certain, but that would make or break this idea either way. 

Moreover, the question such a reveal would present would be whether to let the world return to its natural state, or to continue maintaining the system that the Shinigami artificially created through the Soul King.  When you weigh the positives and the negatives together, the world created by the Shinigami would be seen by the protagonists as preferable to the worlds reverting to their original state, whatever that world was like, and if the Quincy's extinction will be the necessary foundation stone for the world's stability, then so be it. 

But within all of this lies the question - what about Ichigo?  Would he allow the Quincy to be made extinct, including his former friend, Uryu?  Couldn't Ichigo, since he was the one who told Uryu that Soken wanted Shinigami and Quincy to fight together as allies, be the one who tries to make peace between Shinigami and Quincy and end their blood feud?

To the first: Yes.  To the second: No.

Yes, because Ichigo identifies himself as a Shinigami.  As a result, the death of every Shinigami also affected him as much as it has affected the Gotei 13 Shinigami themselves.  Furthermore, Yhwach killed his mother, and Yhwach was the one who forced Ichigo to strike down the Soul King through his Quincy blood.  As I mentioned before, Ichigo has not drawn the "Quincy Zangetsu's" Zanpakuto even once since then, and I would not be surprised if it comes up as a plot-point later of him rejecting his Quincy heritage in favour of his Shinigami heritage. 

Does it clash with his entire revelation about both of his Inner Spirits being Zangetsu and his Zanpakuto?  Yes, but the nature of his blood and its link to Yhwach was not yet an issue back then.  For that matter, the fact that Ichigo's Quincy blood caused him to kill the Soul King when he grabbed Yhwach's swords means that it was Quincy Zangetsu itself that made Ichigo cut the Soul King down.  There's bound to be repercussions as a result, and I'm almost certain that we'll see it subtly when we no longer see Ichigo drawing the Quincy Zangetsu out to fight against the Schutzstaffel, Haschwalth or Uryu.

No, because the Vandenreich's existence and actions against the Shinigami have made peace between Quincy and Shinigami impossible.  There's been too much blood-shed between them for any peace to come about, and both sides will forever hold grievances against one another, regardless of who survives.  One might make the argument that Bazz-B and Co siding with the Shinigami is evidence they can still make peace, but that is not true.  None of the Gotei 13 even noticed that the Quincy disappeared, despite noticing immediately that Mayuri was not with them.  For the Shinigami, the only benefit to having the Quincy was towards opening the Gate so they could reach the Soul King Palace, and the same holds true for Bazz-B and Co, who only approached the Shinigami because they desired revenge against Yhwach. 

In Ichigo's case, Yhwach killed his mother, as I have mentioned before, on top of his identity as a Shinigami.  The only issues he has had when confronted by a Quincy thus far has been with Uryu, and that is only because he considered Uryu his Nakama.  Ichigo's own nature will not allow him to seek peace between Quincy and Shinigami - his only desire is to protect everyone he considers an ally or friend, and the Quincy's only desire is to destroy all the Shinigami, the ones whom Ichigo considers to be his allies and friends.  The two views are irreconcilable, and I will bet that events in the coming future will also make Ichigo and Uryu irreconcilable as well.  All Uryu has to do is kill one Shinigami (even if that Shinigami is Mayuri, the one had it coming for a long time), and that will be the end of it.

But does that not clash with Ichigo being the one to tell Uryu that it was Souken's dream to see Quincy and Shinigami fighting together as allies?  Yes, but the current war has made that impossible, as stated before.  Because the Vandenreich had been in the Seireitei's shadows for a thousand years, and the Quincy have been planning for this war for those thousand years, Souken's dream was pre-destined to die the moment the war started.  Furthermore, Uryu joining the Vandenreich is what buried it permanently, because the only way Souken's dream could have remained alive is if Uryu had stayed with the Nakama, instead of joining the Vandenreich for whatever reason.  But as we saw, that did not happen, and events have been set up that will permanently drive a rift between Uryu and the Nakama in the future.

As things stand, that is the destiny the Quincy face in their future - the Monks of Destruction will eventually face their own, final destruction as the foundation stone for the Soul Society's peace.  The only way things could be turned around is if some dark truth is revealed about the world the Shinigami govern came about and how it was created, but that will never happen, because the Shinigami have been protagonists for too long for that to suddenly be turned on its head.

If you disagree with this, feel free to speak your defense for the Quincy. 
If you agree with this, voice your reason for why you believe this will be the case.

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