Hello, my lovely Otaku/ otaku in training! I have returned to give you another series to explore. This time, we’ll be talking about a series that is very near and dear to my heart. Actually, I can legitimately say that it’s my favorite Shounen (Action) series. But just because I love it so much, that doesn’t mean I won’t be harsh about it. Because in my opinion, there is a lot to be harsh about. So, let’s dive right into our selected series: Bleach!
In volume one, we are introduced to Ichigo Kurosaki, a fifteen year old with an uncanny ability to interact with spirits of those passed on. It’s mostly an annoyance, until he comes in contact with a Shinigami (Death God), Rukia Kuchiki, and his world is forever changed. In wanting to protect his family, Ichigo absorbs Rukia’s powers, and becomes a substitute Death God, taking her place in the city that she is assigned to. Well, turns out that while Ichigo is doing the Shinigami thing, Rukia has gotten herself into big trouble for transferring her powers to a living person, and basically puts herself into a predicament making her have to go back where she came from to be put on trial for what she did. Honestly, that’s the first major arc of the series. This mostly consists of Ichigo and company saving Rukia from her “fate”, and the introduction of the main villain of the series. It is followed by a couple more arcs, one of which Ichigo saves another friend (Orihime Inoue), and faces the main villain. Again. Now unfortunately, I cannot tell you whether or not this ends on a happy note, because the manga of the series is on-going. I can, however, tell you that as of the most recent chapter, things are not going incredibly well. It’s October as I’m writing this, and the bad guys of the most recent (and supposedly last) arc have a huge upper hand. So… yeah…
The anime, however, has reached its end. Mostly because it got cancelled. *insert loud laughter* Wait, that’s mean. Especially for a series I call my favorite. I guess I should explain why this is so funny to me. This anime started out really strong and really good. Heck, I even liked the first filler series (mind you, this is before I knew what filler was). The art started off like a series that would last about 26 episodes, but by the middle/end if the first arc, it got really, really good to me. Then as time went on, it looked more like people didn’t care, and that the series was just there for background noise. The magic of it sort of disappeared for me. At one point, I found myself watching it just to see the opening/closing songs and animation. Which is not that great. For about a year and a half, I just stopped watching or reading it. Then I randomly went back to it, and everything seemed to be back. If only for a short while. Then the luster was gone again. It just got mind numbingly boring to me. I think the problems I had with it were filler arcs, and repetitive and predictable stories. Which is weird, because that’s actually what I look for in long Shounen series now. With a little curve ball thrown in every once in a while.
And shall we talk about filler arcs? Let’s talk about filler arcs. This series had no less than four filler arcs. Which isn’t really all that bad if we compare to Naruto and how many filler arcs there were for that anime in between the GINORMOUS fight between him and Sasuke and the actual start of Shippuden (Part II). But the arcs, which I understand are fillers… were SO long… Like, a lot of these non- canon episodes were a legit season. Like 25-27 episodes. Seriously? And yes, I know the point of fillers is to make a delay between the anime and the manga so that they aren’t too close together. But… ugh. I did enjoy some of the episodes, because some fillers were just one or two episodes, but most of them were just really long. Though they had some voice actors that I liked in them, so I’d watch just to compare their work in other series.
I guess I’ve been talking about the cons waaaay too much. There are reasons why I like this show. Really there are. Let’s start out with what attracted me to Bleach in the first place. Its plot is pretty good. I mean, I know there are plenty of series where the main character runs into some supernatural character and gets supernatural abilities in response. But a lot of the time, it’s forced upon them or it happens by accident. Ichigo willingly chose to take that power to protect the people he cared about. And also with the series, when it comes to a serious arc, it does hold my attention. However, as of late, Tite Kubo has gone multiple months, (and since a chapter comes out every week multiply however many months by four) without any of the main characters. Only secondary characters have made appearances. Which makes it easy to lose my attention. And the comic relief is actually pretty funny too. Certain comic relief characters (Keigo Asano, Hanataro Yamada, and Ganju Shiba) have pretty good comedic timing. Also the majority of the main characters have a tragic backstory that propels them to do better. While there are some points in which it does hinder them (e.g. a couple of characters will have flashbacks about their horrible childhood during life or death situations), they never compromise their beliefs in order to get something done. Their interpersonal relationships with each other is nice to see too. How each character is connected to another makes it fun to guess how they will/will not act. Most of the relationships have something or another to do with Ichigo (because he is the main character). But the fact that he would go to risking his life and *spoiler alert* die (a couple times) for his friends shows how much cares for these relationships. And most of the characters aren’t fist shakingly annoying. MOST being the word of choice. But for the sake of the favorites, I shall keep that opinion to myself.
Now, while I laughed at the fact that this anime was cancelled, I do wish that it hadn’t been. But my reasoning is more for nostalgic purposes than actually wanting to see the last of it animated. The Japanese voice cast was pretty good, and the English equivalent was very well cast. Most characters had a voice that portrayed them perfectly to me (exceptions are Renji Abarai, Kisuke Urahara, and a few others I can’t specifically think of at the moment).
This is a long series, and it is worth the read/watch if you have time to go through 60+ books or 350+ episodes. It does get a bit slow at times, but what series doesn’t, right? At the library, we have every book that is out for print, and as for the anime, we should be caught up through the end of the most recent non-filler arc. Which is the Fullbringer Arc. We also have all the movies, from Memories of Nobody to Hell Verse. And if you’re willing to spend all that time reading and watching, it is pretty interesting. Well, that’s all I got to say for this installment! See you hopefully next time!