So, for those of you who have followed my work in the forums, you may have noticed that I do have a tendency to adapt certain material from anime/manga into the CofD’s setting. I adapted D.Gray Man, Vanitas no Carte, Mahotsukai no Yome, Naruto, Natsume’s Book of Friends, Mahoka, Tokyo Raven, Tokyo Ghoul and Enen no Shouboutai, and I still have plans to adapt some other concepts from MnY, Claymore and Ao no Exorcist. As such, it should come as no surprise that when I think about an anime, one of the first things I think about “how could I adapt and use it for my benefit”.
Especially in the cases where it is just so damn appropriate that it’s painful.
Now, I’m not the first person to think about connecting Bleach to Geist- those two products simply so go so well together. Masked ghosts and psychopomps who work to help ghosts move on, and the focus of both worlds around saving the dead from the consuming hunger of the Underworld whioch slowly twist and devours them just makes so much damn sense. I mean, all you have to do is give a Bound a big ass sword, call it “zanpakuto” and send them fighting Reapers and other terrors of the Underworld while building a krewe which use a semi Spanish terminology, and you are done, right?
I mean, it could work- at least on a very superficial level- but as you start to look into the details, things seems to.. well, fall apart. Sure, the Reapers are mask bearing ghosts- but that’s the point. They bear masks, and only wear them for sudden boosts at power- in exchange for their humanity. And from where those masks come from? From geists, of course. Geists, which are ghosts that were so consumed by pain and sorrow that they forgot who they are, drinking deep from the tainted powers of the Underworld and becoming something… stranger, an inhuman spirit bound by mask. Also, the ones which has the ability to eat ghosts for power are the Bound- or more exactly, their geists (sure, they don’t want to, but Tyranny based Bound simply don’t ask questions, right?). Reapers, on the other hand, are beings which follow the Old Laws of the Bellow, and which work in order to move ghosts from the world of the living to their “rightful place”- and not just dissipate them, as do those Sin Eaters as they help the ghost to “move on” (hey, their get Plasm from it- sounds too much like ghost consumption, right?).
So yeah, once you give it a deeper look, things become evident- the fact that in Bleach the Shinigami are the good guys and the Hollows are the bad guys does not mean that it works the same way in Geist. When your Soul Society is the Deep Dominions of the Underworld, the good guys are the bad guys, and the bad guys are the good guys.
In Geist, you are on the side of the Hollows- working to stop the evil Shinigami (which is roughly translated into “reapers”, after all) from enslaving all ghosts to the works on the dread Soul Society.
Fun, doesn’t it?
(yeah, I am fully aware that you could style your Geist as your Zanpakuto’s spirit- but when you look at the details, geists just share much more in common with Hollows and Reapers fill the same thematic niche as Shinigami- so it is not a perfect analogy, but this is the one which I think work the best, and this is the one we are going to explore in this blog post. What can I say, I simply love evil twists. Like Aizen).
Anyway, if we were to look upon the analogies, considering that the Reapers are ghosts who found “hollow masks”, it would make them as good parallels to the Visored. If we are to treat the Geists as Hollows, from what I can gather, I think that the Bound’s closest parallel would be the Fullbringers (I’m not sure about the analogy, as I’ve stopped seeing Bleach after the Arrancar arc and with Aizen anticlimactic defeat), as they seems to have their powers gained through a certain merging with Hollow spiritual energy (not exactly the Bargain, but it seems to be the closest we have in Bleach). While we are yet to know anything substantial about the “Eaters of the Dead”, we do know that they are eating ghosts- which makes them sound like the Bount. And of course, regular ghosts would be the Pluses.
That’s five races- but what about the rest?
First would be the Shinigami- while Reapers cover the “hollowfied” version, we don’t seem to have a proper parallel for Soul Society’s protectors. Currently, I think about treating them as a form of ghosts which act as guardians of the River Cities or the Dominions of the Bellow. On the other hand, that concept may be used for my old Deathknight concept which I always wanted to write, for people (either living or dead) which submit themselves to the will of the Kerberoi and the Old Laws in order to bring order to the Underworld. May require some revision after we’ll see the full Reaper description, but it seems like a good start for our Shinigami like parallel.
Arrancars are a different issue- being described as those Hollows which shatter their own mask for power, in our parallel it should be geists who shatter their own “masks”- that is, the strange identities granted to them by the Rivers of the Underworld. That would mean turning against the corrupting forces of the Bellow and lock them inside a certain object (like the Arrancer’s sword)- perhaps a memento of some kind- and then be able to call upon them in order to achieve greater power in a similar way to how Reapers do with Deathmasks (still not ure if they should be “good guys” or “bad guys” in the CofD). The Menus themselves could be styled by either Chthonian (as giant dead things which roam the Underworld) or a terrible products of geist who start eating ghosts in order to survive and grow in power, losing more and more of their identity in search for power.
The Quincy would be interesting to explore as a breed of spiritually sensitive humans which can shape Plasm into weapons and spells for both attack and defense. As their attack against the dead would “purify them” and create a similar (if a bit more violent) effect for the ghost moving on (like how the Quincy destroyed Hollows in the anime), it would put them in odds witht he Reaper, as they deny the Underworld the dead it hungers for so much.
Modified Souls could be seen as a product of Thanathologist krewe which works to create artificial ghosts which are in then used to Claim their own corpses and be used as living (dead?) weapons. Blanks, as spirits which lost all of their memories, should be absorbed into the Underworld- but could be modeled as an outcome of strange events when parts of the Underworld get “revived”- that is, former ghosts which were absorbed start moving again, yet with no memory of who or what they are, acting under the twisted influence of the Underworld as they invade and overflood the world of the living. Could even be the outcome of when the Underworld grows closer to the world of the living and start draining ghosts which are not yet within its reach.
The Bakkoto could be styled as some sort of intelligent memento formed as an experiment in the River Cities in order to create controlled, Reaper level ghosts by shaping parts of the Underoworld itself (official, the truth would probably include having Geists being torn apart and used as raw material in order to produce those weapons). Of course, as they are Underworld tainted, those mementos would quickly drain and devour the dead who use them if they are not careful enough. Perhaps could even be used by the living instead (again, their origin story could easily be connected to that Thanathologist krewe). Finally, the Togabito from Hell should probably be a represented by a certain update of the Larvae from Inferno- ghosts which were either so wicked that Hell took over them before the Underworld’s Maw would manage to bite, or ghosts who were tempted by Inferno that they could find an escape from the Bellow if they were to follow the ways of sin and vice. It’s a trap, of course- but Hell does stand on its end of the bargain. It always does.
Well, that’s it for this week! Next week would probably be more of a creative writing kind of thing- either a new homebrew, an Open Development, cosmology or an interview. If you have preferences, feel free to say what you’ll like to see!