How does trash pickup, Recycling centers, &/or Hazardous Material Disposal work for Soul Society in AEIWAM? Is there a Kido-based ritual to break things down into Reishi? Are there Tech Repair Shops?
Sewage in Soul Society works really well but very dangerously because those fucking idiots built the city directly on top of an active supervolcano.
Let me back up:
There isn't a good consensus on how big the Seireitei is (Yoruichi says it takes 10 days to walk 1/4th of the way around the circumference, but whether that's her speed, the average person's or how long a patrol group takes is unclear), Or any real maps of the place, but it's generally agreed that
the city is LARGE. Yoruichi says it would take her and the kids ten days to walk to the next gate 1/4th of the way around the city. Maybe that's 8 hours average human walking speed minus 'trying to herd a bunch of teenagers' but that's still a long trip!
Even before the Seki-Seki stone wall was put up, the city was pretty much circular.
Unlike pretty much every real city, there's no river running through it. Where are they getting their water?
There is a Small but substantial and TOTALLY ISOLATED mountain in the middle of the city made of apparently hard-to-mine rock. A Lonely Mountain, one might even say.
The only visible natural sources of water I've seen evidence of are hot springs in both the Yoruichi/Urahara Super Secret Training Ground/Love Nest and the first division grounds.
Soul Society is run by jackasses and if there's a stupid way to do things, that's the way they're doing them.
In fact, the Soul Society as a whole is almost suspiciously Amestris-shaped, but instead of nefarious alchemy, it's negligent civil engineering
...all this leads me to believe that Seireitei is built DIRECTLY ON TOP OF the caldera of an enormous supervolcano. The city gets it's water from the aquifer of rainwater that's collected in the underground cracks and fissures of the Caldera, and the seki-seki stone wall is set up around the really convenient geographic barrier made by the rim of the caldera.
"Hey!" I hear some of you nerds objecting "Aren't calderas usually concave? Seireitei is convex, if anything!"
You're right! Most Calderas are concave! But they will absolutely fill in with sand and dirt over the true floor of the caldera over time and develop Mounts like the thing at the central part of the city and start to rise WHEN THEY'RE ON THE VERGE OF A CATASTROPHIC ERUPTION.
So yeah! The Gotei-13 has an almost infinite supply of hot water, and probably less than a century to figure out what to do before The Big Kaboom.
Anyway, back at sewage:
There's been a city where the Seireitei is since time immemorial, and even though it's done the istanbul-not-constantinopple shuffle a few times, very little of the actual infrastructure has changed. Empires rise and fall but the desire paths stay the same.
This is especially true in Seireitei, because unlike very nearly every major IRL Municipality, it doesn't have a river running through it, something that usually necessitates Sewer updates By Force. But compared to a river which is constantly moving around in it's bed, a volcanic aquifer doesn't move much until it moves a whole fucking lot real fast, so the undercity of the Seireitei has really had time to... Develop isn't quite the right word.
"Ferment" is closer.
Above-ground waste management is the provenance of the actual local city government- yes, there is a Mayor of the Seireitei that the Gotei-13 has to pay property taxes to. Yamamoto maintains a lot of goodwill with the Mayor by dint of sentencing ill-behaved shinigami to shore up the municipal labor pool, and by knowing the mayor's family for the last millennium. So you'll see Shinigami doing things like trash collection and street-sweeping, but they're just there on probation.
-But nobody wanted to deal with the undercity. It's got a soul of it's own. Washington DC, which is less than 500 years old as a city and on top of a swamp, has an undercity that goes down over half a mile. Imagine how deep the sunken buildings, abandoned secret tunnels, and sewer system of a city that's millenia old, not sitting on actual mud and constantly subjected to high levels of magical background radiation might develop.
An Appetite, for one thing.
The 11th likes to talk a big game, but the reason the 4th is in charge of sewer maintenance is because the only people with the guts for it were people who got degrees rummaging in the guts of living people. Sewer maintenance really is a lot like abdominal surgery, if you were able to walk around inside the patient.
It was Retsu Unohana's idea, actually. Chigiri was a battle medic and aged rapidly for a shinigami. She was old when the court guard finally went from "Yamamoto and his gang of assholes" to "A for-real governing body". Her successor, Kirinji was more interested in traumatic injury recovery than preventative medicine, for obvious reasons- his triage was constantly full of combat casualties and early kido experiment victims Blood Loss was still his #1 Killer.
But Retsu had been reincarnated in and spent her youth in South 80, in the utterly undeveloped conditions there, and held deep, personal grudges with Dysentery and Cholera. For all his talk of healing waters, Kirinji had no sense of the importance of water sanitation, and it was a continuous point of contention between them for her apprenticeship.
"FINE!" He shouted one day after a particularly nasty row. "IF IT'S SO GODDAMN IMPORTANT TO YOU, YOU HANDLE IT! FORM NOW ON, YOU'RE IN CHARGE OF SEWAGE, SLUDGE QUEEN!"
She made her first descent the next morning.
She did not return for six weeks, and Kirinji almost thought he'd resloved that particular problem when she reappeared from the depths, a changed woman. That long in the darkness, alongside the buried secrets and skeletons of the city, with the horrors that did not dare brave the sunlight- it would change anyone, and most would come up looking at least mildly haunted.
Retsu Unohana is not most.
She looks radiant, almost like The Kenpachi again, covered in the horrors of the underground as she used to be covered in blood. She thrives on a challenge, and excels at the art of purification, and now, she has been given the single greatest challenge of purification in history. There is something beautiful and terrible in her eyes as she explains that it does down at least five miles, look at this, she thinks it's from the neolithic era, and there are incredible boneyards of thousands of skeletons, and fungi the likes of which she's never seen before- She is ecstatic- a creature kept in captivity, finally released into it's natural habitat.
It's hardly a surprise, if you consider Minazuki. Stingrays are benthic creatures, right at the bottom of the river, deep in the muck and decay.
It's been a little over eight hundred years into her tenure as a medic, and she has tamed much of the beast. The upper levels are well-mapped and have been made clean and well-lit, enough that even the civilian sanitation forces of the city can regularly enter and work in them without any particular unease. Infant and preventable disease mortality has dropped astronomically. Nobody's had cholera since the 1800's . While they have other jobs, all members of the 4th division are required to take at least one tour in the depths of the undercity.
Horrors still lurk in the depths.
They're pretty sure they lost Tokagero Kenpachi chasing one of those, shortly before Unohana became captain, and she's been reluctant to let other divisions assist since then. The Fourth Division's Fourth Seat, rumored to be the unluckiest post in the entire Gotei-13, is permanently stationed underground, and she loves it that way.
It's only recently that the 11th has been allowed to come along on descents, after Zaraki vanished for two days and then emerged victorious from a manhole in the 5th division with a tentacled horror she'd been tracking for decades that lived at least three miles down. He apologized- he had meant to come up in the 4th to present it's corpse to her directly, but well, you know what his sense of direction is like. Anyway, I saw it scuttling around in the rain aquifers and we don't need it tracking literal shit into the water supply so I went after is and d'ya think maybe I can take the lads down sometime? They' get lazy between deployments and you have a triage up here to manage.
Charmed, she agreed.
Hm. I just re-read that ask and it's actually about dry waste managment.
Sorry. I got very excited about the sewers.
I am now about to get worse about trash.
I don't think they have plastic in soul society- given how bug-themed the 12th division is, I'm pretty sure the casing on Rukia's soul pager is made of Chitin, and if you break it, it bleeds. Also it makes people with shellfish allergies break out in hives.
Since pretty much all the waste in Soul Society is either recyclable or organic matter, I think those trash pits Yumichika and Ganju were fooling around with are really more like Kido-enhanced composting centers. All waste goes into them and the bottom of the pit is pulled out in a tray, like with a vermiculture tower, if the worms were eighteen and a half feet long and hungry enough to swallow anything that falls in the pit, because Mayuri is incapable of making anything that is not at least slightly awful.
The compost is then shaken out for any spare glass or metal that made it into the compost and that's sent off to the 12th division forges to be recycled. it's baked to kill any dangerous pathogens and Giant Garbage Worm Eggs so they don't breach containment, and measured for nitrogen, phosphorus and other important plant nutrient content. Based on it's composition, it's then shipped out to farmers in the upper districts of the rukongai because "Free, A+ grade fertilizer if y'all don't start revolutions, pay your taxes and give us first dibs on crops" is an amazing incentive for rural farmers to not start backing the local warlords.
It was 12th division founder Uhin Zenjohji who came up wth the scheme- he remembered the lengths upper-district farmers were willing to go through to make sure their land remained fertile, what kind of demand Nitrogen was in, and the ravages of phosphorous runnoff, so he could kill two birds with one clod of shit by supplying farmers with 'free' fertilizer that kept them loyal to the court and was tailored to that area's nutritional needs and watershed capacity.
The fact that it kept a lot of swamp and waterway areas pristine so he could indulge his birdwatching hobby was a nice benefit too :).
NORMALLY, those pits are covered, clearly marked, and usually the site of a major traffic jam because that's the local collection point, but when Ichigo and friends arrived, Aizen had whipped everyone into believing they were being invaded by an elite force of super-assassins and not like. 4 high schoolers and a furry. All the street signs and markings came down, civilians shuttered themselves inside, and generally made the Seireitei as difficult to navigate as possible.
I wonder how much Zaraki's rotten sense of direction was exacerbated by that.
ANYWAY! That's my thoughts on trash! Deep undercity horrors and giant compost worms over an active volcano!
So these were an odd addition...
At first glance I actually thought the left side was a bird and that that meant it was the Houou of Oh-etsu's palace(and that the top one was a pawlonia crest to point to Kirio) But that's actually Shutara's symbol and I guess it's a long bit of fabric or thread with a needle on the end. Frustratingly though, the Royal Guard do have directionally oriented epithets, but Shutara's cardinal direction is North...
That said, I think it's clear that the blooming sword shapes up top are Oh-etsu's, but he's supposed to be General of the West.
The swirling pattern on the right seem's like it's probably a reference to stirring Kirinji's hotsprings, and he actually is the General of the East.
And that' leaves the bottom as Kirio's which I guess I can see as sewing seeds into rows of tilled soil. She is also in her correct position as General of the South.
I'll be honest... I don't like these. and I didn't like the gimmick they were tied to. I know it feels like it gives a better excuse than the manga's no comment off-screening, but this just feels like a lot of extra steps for not resolving the problem...
OH! But we got a name for Shutara's royal mansion, Ri-den[離殿], so, "Separated..." or "Separation Palace" apparently? I dunno that doesn't feel like that fits the motif to me... The others were
Kirin-den[麒麟殿]: "Qilin Mansion"
Gaton-den[臥豚殿]: "LyingDown Pig Mansion"
and Ho-oh-den[鳳凰殿]: "Phoenix Mansion."
There is a round about etymological link between the Chinese chī[離] and chī[螭] which refers to a "hornless Dragon," but as you can see the phonetics there don't work for "Ri-den". I dunno what else to make of that... Honestly just kind of shocked she didn't have a spider mansion. it seems like the obvious choice, right?