quaint_twilight: (ichigo)
quaint_twilight ([personal profile] quaint_twilight) wrote on June 3rd, 2010 at 12:25 am
Relationship Dynamic: Nnoitra & Nel
*Mirrored from Karakura Log

Nnoitra in Bleach has been associated with the death aspect of despair and considering his view on the existence of hollows it's easy to see why he was assigned as such. But what bears mentioning and discussion is his relationship with Nel, which seems to have affected his character slightly if not offer a little more than just despair in his life.

As the most blatantly sexist character in Bleach, ironically or rather, befittingly, Nnoitra developed something of an inferiority complex to Nel, a woman, who was more powerful, physically and emotionally, than he was.

When Nnoitra appears after Ichigo's fight with Grimmjow, he is strongly presented as someone who does not believe in fairness on the battlefield. He has no qualms in beating down an already exhausted and injured opponent despite the dishonor in it as a warrior although he makes a good point that one cannot just waltz into a battlefield expecting to fight just one enemy.

Equality is ludicrous to him because inequality is one of the instigators of a fight. Nnoitra does not believe in having valid reasons for fighting so much as crushing the other party using whatever means necessary.

However, in his flashback, his behavior with Nel seems a bit inconsistent with the aforementioned battle code. Nnoitra had constantly sparred with Nel because he apparently could not stand the idea of a woman leading a man.

Ultimately, he had Nel incapacitated with the help of Szayel however it is interesting that he did not consider this as a victory over Nel. He offhandedly remarked that Nel would have seen this as "how a beast does things," and the left-most panel above, with its shaded quality and a pensive-looking Nnoitra, does not show any sort of satisfaction in the committed act and suggests a certain awareness in himself that this was not a "fight" worthy of Nel's warrior code or his own personal intention. However, as his handling of Ichigo indicates, Nnoitra does not see the significance of fairness in a battle so shouldn't that particular "defeat" of Nel constitute as a victory by his standards?

It is here that we see Nnoitra's reason for the attack and that is to curb Nel's growth as a warrior. When Nel's body shrank due to the loss of reiatsu from the wound, Nnoitra's reaction was clear; he was disappointed that they could no longer cross blades. This indicates a desire in him to fight Nel as equals and surpass her but wanted time to catch up to Nel's level. Indirectly, this is also self-acknowledgment that he was weaker than Nel. Tesla remarked that Nel was a "stone" in the way of Nnoitra's blade that he had to eliminate himself. This suggests that his struggle against Nel had become a personal one. Nnoitra had something to prove to Nel; he wanted to show Nel that he was stronger than her.

When Nel returns to her original form, there is an interesting pause in the middle of their fight. Here Nnoitra stops his attack, citing the fact that Nel was slowing down her attack as his reason for doing so. It seems once again reflective of Nnoitra's wish to fight Nel on equal grounds as that would be the only way for a victory to be valid. Nnoitra was not going to fight with full force if Nel was not giving her all or not taking him seriously. Nnoitra was clearly not interested in fighting an amnesiac Nel when he first saw her rather than take advantage of her weakened condition to defeat her. It is interesting that in order to best Nel, Nnoitra has adopted a relatively more honorable method than what he is usually accustomed to doing, perhaps a little influenced by Nel's values as an Espada.

In the flashbacks, Nel was very often seen chiding Nnoitra for behaving like a child and a beast. A child as his emotional maturity did not seem to correlate with his increase in power and a beast as he appeared to Nel still instinct-driven in his fights. Nnoitra had no sympathy for the weak and recklessly killed ordinary Hollows, and this lack of sympathy seemed to extend to his Arrancar comrades. Despite this, we see in present time, Nnoitra sparing Chad's life and even trying to save Tesla from Kenpachi by yelling at him to run away.

One has to wonder if Nel saving his life once in the past has anything to do with this slight change in his character. Nel's saving him inadvertently put him in the position of the weaker party and the recipient of pity, something which Nnoitra has strongly emphasized to hate and this probably accounts for why he does not sympathize or believe in showing pity to others. It is not clear if this hatred of pity was born from the aforementioned incident or if it is inherent in him, however having the experience of being protected because he was weaker could have fostered just a slight understanding of the predicament of the lesser Hollows he had thoughtlessly exterminated, for the better perhaps. Nel's protection of Nnoitra's life seems to be reflected in Nnoitra's concern for Tesla's safety.

Nnoitra harbored the desire of death from fighting the strongest opponent he can find and breathing his last before he hits the ground. His battle with Kenpachi seems to be a deliberate move by Kubo to draw out certain similarities in their characters. Both have an all-encompassing lust for battle and seem to live to fight others. That said, one would expect for Nnoitra to die with a smile on his face, considering that Kenpachi gave him the exact sort of death that he wanted. However, this is not the case. It is also interesting that he focuses on Nel before he breathes his last instead of looking at the man who gave him what he wished for.

It is probable that Nnoitra singles Nel out in his final moments as she is the one who had affected him the most in his life. Nel had occasionally been condescending to Nnoitra but the fact remains that she had looked out for him. For all the minute positive changes that Nel possibly instilled in Nnoitra, one wonders if Nnoitra's journey could have been different if Nel had remained in her original adult form after her mask was broken. Nnoitra would have continued to fight to gain strength but he would have also wanted to live so that he could wait for Nel's return and surpass her, overriding his desire for death due to his despair at the wretched existence of Hollows.
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