Normally, I keep this opinion to myself. No one asks and I don't bother to bring it up; disagreeing on the internet tends to be emotionally aggravating and ultimately fruitless. However, I've recently received multiple reviews requesting Ulquiorra to either have a bigger part in my stories, or for me to retool the stories around Ulquiorra
. Now, this EXTREMELY insulting to me; Starrk is my favorite character, after all, and Ulquiorra is an abusive bastard.
I should probably begin with my introduction to Ulquiorra and the arrancar in general. I did not watch Bleach through from beginning to end, neither when it first came out nor when I was introduced to Bleach. The first time I heard of the manga was in high school during my ' manga phase' when the first volume had just come out and there was no anime. Honestly, I was not impressed. I didn't even think about it again until my third year of college when I had a roommate who was a fan of the anime. She told me the series got much better after the first few episodes and convinced me to give it a chance.
I watched it through the 'Rescue Rukia' arc and found that, while I never really connected to Ichigo's bunch, the shinigami were a colorful and interesting crew. I especially liked Jushiro, though Shunsui quickly came along for the ride; I think it was because they were the only captains willing to do what was right (help rescue Rukia) even if it disobeyed orders and even though they weren't personally invested (at that point, Rukia was a rank-less member of squad 13; she hadn't been introduced as connected to Ukitake beyond a very vague superior/subordinate dynamic). However, though I discovered a slight affection for the series and some characters, once Aizen revealed his plans and the kids returned to the human world, I was done. I had no interest in watching any further.
A few years later, I was idly browsing youtube and searched up videos of Jushiro on a whim (maybe I'd just read Vathara's Tatterdemalion series...I remember that endeared me to Bleach fanfiction at some point) and discovered a clip I could not make sense of in the context I remembered of the series. It was the scene where Starrk goes into resureccion for Shunsui and Jushiro; less than a minute long, but it made me go looking for information on the arrancar.
Now, this is where Ulquiorra comes in. While searching, I found Ulquiorra and Grimmjow to be by far the most popular arrancar. Okay, whatever, I had no idea who they were. So I looked them up on ffnet and found that, apparently, Ulquiorra was a sort of tragic 'beauty and the beast' character who fell in love with one of the Bleach characters and then lost his life in battle, most likely because he refused to kill her or jumped in front of a killing blow meant for her. I thought the idea was a bit trite, but sweet, and looked into the character a bit further.
Imagine my surprise.
I discovered that Ulquiorra was not a good guy in an unfortunate situation; he was most definitely a bad guy
. He was a murderer, a sociopath, likely a psychopath, and a remorseless killing machine. That beauty and the beast dynamic? Yeah...no.
That's bullshit. Ulquiorra relentlessly tortured Orihime through emotional manipulation. He made her completely dependent on him and did his level best to crush her spirit at every opportunity. There was nothing cute about any scene I watched between the two of them; he was not tragic, he was cruel
. I suppose the beast title is accurate, to an extent, but he had always been a beast and had no interest in changing or in love. And that never changed. I kept expecting some aspect of the fandom version of Ulquiorra to rear his head, but the only even remotely similar interactions occurred during 'Arrancar Encyclopedia' which is crack and not canon.
So I thought...maybe it's character development? Maybe he'll repent during his final scenes or do something to make up for his activities.
Well, what do you know? He kills Ichigo and dangles his dead body in front of Orihime while mocking and tormenting her.
That isn't love. That isn't care. It isn't even nihilism (his aspect). Even if he didn't understand the feelings (which is also bullshit; plenty of arrancar were able to feel and comprehended emotions - if he didn't feel, it was because he chose not to, not because he was a hollow), he knew Orihime was in pain and his actions were making it worse. Despite his apparent curiosity and continued apathetic mentions of 'heart', he purposely forced her to experience the most negative emotions he could conceive of, on his own volition rather than AIzen's (AIzen told him to kill Ichigo; he never said torment Orihime with his body). Even if Ulquiorra did learn something about humans and emotions, he put it to use as an instrument of torture, not self-advancement.
His actions were horrifically cruel and abusive. That was the final nail in the coffin for me. I know some people say his final words indicated his...I dunno. Love? Rejection of his own actions?
Again, I call bullshit. He never repented for his actions. He never said he cared for Orihime. He never even said he was sorry.
There was no remorse in the least, and definitely no true love or affection.
When he died, I could only understand it as tragic through the eyes of Ichigo and Orihime. Personally? I saw a sociopathic murderer getting what he deserved.
And, to be honest, it bothers me that so many teen girls seem to think he is the epitome of a cute, date-able guy. If any person gets into a relationship with a significant other who treats them as Ulquiorra treated Orihime, that is not healthy.
So...yeah. That's what I think and why. There's more about the whole fandom artificially attributing emotions, abilities, and airs to Ulquiorra, but that's neither here nor there.