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Genres: Shonen, Action, Comedy
Author: Kubo Tite
Artist: Kubo Tite and assistants(?)
Publication: Weekly Shonen Jump
Start Date: August 2001
End Date: Ongoing
Number of chapters at review: 305
Number of chapters read by reviewer: 305
General Overview: Bleach is the story of Ichigo Kurosaki, your average 15 year old kid, only he's not so average. One night, a female shinigami named Kuchiki Rukia invades Ichigo's life, when he takes her shinigami powers from her to save her life. The story revolves around Ichigo's struggle against the Hollow world and putting his newly found shinigami powers to the test.
Category Ratings: (1-10 scale)
Kubo's art is awesome. While bland, barren white backgrounds plague his manga, his character designs are part of the Bleach craze. Every character has a unique ability, allowing Kubo to further his awesome character design. And everyone loves his stylish color spreads. Right out of a fashion magazine!
Kubo's plot is sort of a downside to his manga. Both of his major arcs have been rescue arcs, and they're pretty similar to each other. Fight a group of baddies, and save the girl. The plot also progresses at an odd pace, stretching fights like the Syazel Apollo fight over many chapters, instead of showing it in about 7 consecutive chapters.
Kubo's strong point. Why do I read Bleach? To see my favorite characters do stuff. The manga is filled with awesome, manly badasses. While most characters are generic looking, there's a certain charm to them. And when your favorite character pops up, you're hooked to the manga for the next 3-5 chapters.
Of course, I'd give it a 10, but the main characters all suck. Except for Chad.
Lot's of friendship themes in here. Ichigo constantly tries to prove that he's strong enough to protect his friends, and kind of shows in a corny way, like gaining random power ups cause your friend tells you to get up.
Bleach isn't really original. Sure the zanpakuto concept is pretty good, but we've all seen guys with big swords, spiky hair and bulging muscles. Oh, and guys who control ice. There's something new.
One thing that is pretty original is his use of Spanish, which really contributes to Bleach's charm.
Bleach isn't the best shonen out there (One Piece and HxH hold my heart.) but it's a good series. I rather enjoy watching the anime more than reading the manga, but I still enjoy Kubo's work. And there's still so many things left to look forward to, that Bleach still has a lot of steam left in it. Keep it going Kubo.
Spoiler: Manga's images taken from earlier chapters to avoid spoiler, generally the art improves show
Last edited by Luckas; April 18, 2008 at 07:47 AM.
The reason I got into Bleach is because of it's darker theme of death. This wasn't something I had often seen in manga. The art is beautiful and I love it for that. The characters are engaging and I love them all though I must say, Chad is my favorite. I also enjoy the fact that Kubo has many strong female fighters. I am kind of glad he draws out the fights because that's basically why I keep coming back. Though he does seem to drag them on. I hope he can find a balance between a well detailed fight without making in too long. I also feel that there is much left to be done here and I hope my expectations aren't unfounded.
I think if Kubo could pull off something similar to Oda's Thriller Bark arc, we'd see a whole new side of Bleach (short fights, lot's of random interactions, and end it with a freaking epic battle.)
I just hope whatever Kubo has planned next isn't another rescue arc.
I will give it a shot with my category ratings:
Category Ratings: (1-10 scale)
The art is just awesome. Characters are done in detailed way, and it's the main reason to say why it's so high in my opinion. Background, like background, I don't seem to think that other titles are lacking that either, so it's normal. But characters.. yeah, characters drawing is the reason for such high point.
Hmm I give it 6, just because one of the arcs is just awesome <without spoiling, it's one from rescuing someone>. Other things are just common: bad guy and deafet him. Yes, defeat him. Why? In Bleach there is nothing like death of some character from the good side. For me its a minus, even the 4th plaved characters can die, but no in Bleach. Other than that, I don't think reapting things, just with other characters, is enought interesting.
Man, I would give it 10, because there is multum of characters, and anybody will love somebody from that manga. But.. yes, there is so much characters, that more than half of them haven't even been introduced properly, or have enough background on them. So my points are just for showing so much interesting-looking guys and girls. Big minus for not enough background (space?) for each of them.
Standard for shonen. But.. yes, another 'but'. I think there is no so big difference of themes in Bleach. I think compared to other shonen titles, manga lacks in themes section. Even if there is reapting it another way around, eveything resolves in gaining strength in order to protect firends..
Like in previous review, Bleach is not so much orginal. The only thing which I found very interesting was the concept of zanpkautou and spiritual thingy with that. I think it's really cool.
I sympathise with that title, because it was my first shonen title, when I begun to read manga. The art is fantastic, the plot in the begining seems interesting until certain arc, fights are good <but not always: Kubo recently tends to lengthen fights to the point, it's boring> and there is bunch of characters to like <and minuses of that>.
Last edited by Luckas; April 14, 2008 at 02:18 PM.
the only problem i find with this series is the slow pace it has taken in the plot i mean you wait one week and all you get is wallpaper material (though appreciated)and no plot, nothing happens for weeks
Plot is really the biggest downside to an otherwise brilliant series. Since none of the major characters ever die there's really no 'threat' of a character to lose in a fight which just kills the suspense. Also it seemed like the once meacing Hollows have become a meer footnote in the story and are nothing but meer inconviences...
Bleach is a series that started out with potential but went downhill after the first big arc. During this arc you get the feeling that this is all just a set-up for things to come. Unfortantely that didn't end up being the case as the story doesn't really seem to go anywhere (The main reason I stopped following it.) and it feels as though the mangaka is making it up as he goes along. Also the characters seem to have no real motivations outside getting stronger for the sake of it, beating the badguys and saving their friends from danger.
The biggest thing Bleach has going for it is the fact that fights with huge swords are undeniably cool and that it has a kinda weird sense of humour. Conclusion: Bleach is worth checking out you just need to know when to stop personally I gave up on this series after about 260 chapters. Still I intend to one day check out what happened to that manga with the Shinigamis and the huge-ass swords.
Last edited by vick86; February 02, 2008 at 03:30 PM.
Category Ratings: (1-10 scale)
One thing I’ll always give Kubo credit for is his ability to make anything look cool, or at least aesthetically believable. There aren’t many mangaka who could take on the Arrancar and their releases. He’s also great at conveying emotion—the characters' expressions almost always look real in spite of their stylized facial features. You don't see that in shonen very often.
One thing I don't like is the fight choreography. The use of generic, formless blasts creates a sense of sameness, and the close range exchanges are sloppy looking all around. The lack of definitive backgrounds is another minus. His skill with pen and pencil is undeniable, but it's also unbalanced--even lazy at times.
It's simple and repetitive. Ichigo finds enemies and beats them up, or gets beaten, doubts himself, and finds the inspiration from his friends to win. Worse still, Kubo often eschews his own rules and timelines, leaving any verisimilitude in tatters. This is no Naruto when it comes to plot consistency.
In contrast to the plotting, the characterization is wonderful. Kubo does an excellent job of giving weight to his characters, even the most generic and archetypal. The ho-hum plotting stunts that development, however, and Ichigo himself is as bland as you can get. And the sheer size of the cast clearly exceeds Kubo's abilities now, resulting in tons of misallocated facetime and underdevelopment. Kubo also has a tendency of hiding behind the cast's likeability when he has nothing to write, which only makes things worse.
When the series started, it did a very good job with this. The main theme of the story was death, something few shonen series tackle regularly, and it was handled in a caring, realistic way. That’s where the” heart” of the series lied, and that’s what separated it from the others.
Now it’s indistinguishable from every other shonen. The usual themes—angst, friendship, faith in others—are paraded here as if they were new. The human-scale look at loss and grief has long since been lost, so much of the series’ “heart” was lost with it. It feels empty now.
Not much here, either. It’s the same clap-boom-bang shonen fare we’ve all seen before, with heavy influence from Yu Yu Hakusho in particular (demons = hollows, Spirit Detective = Shinigami Substitute, 3 realm world structure, and so on). Again, you’ll see lots of repetition in both theme and plot--when there is originality, it can border on laughable (Mayuri’s organs, anyone?). Only during the SS conspiracy was I pleasantly surprised.
Bleach is unique in terms of its artistic style and the excellent rendition of its characters. However, the meat of the story—the writing—has withered into by-the-books farce, bogging down it’s good traits and reducing Ichigo's story to whimsy. Still, it’s good enough to check out, if only to take a break from more serious narrative investments.
Last edited by gigantor21; July 29, 2008 at 06:47 AM.
Just for the record, I agreed with gigantor21 on every point in his review and explanation.
I don't find the artwork of Bleach to be particularly good but character concepts are. I do agree that it started off a lot better than it is currently going.
I do like the Shinigami and only read for some of them, as previous stated - the plot is not that gripping but the humour is good.
Generally entertaining but I don't fret is I miss a week.
I agree with the plot being repetitive but on the other hand bleach is a brainless entertainment (and that doesn't have to sound negative)
well, it started off as something much better than brainless entertainment, that's what makes the long time readers kind of sad these days =/
Thank you for the review Gigantor. The only quibble I have is that I couldn't rate character as high as 8.5, simply because of how poorly the main characters have been (not) developed. I mean, really, has the main cast grown in any way aside from power since the first couple chapters? While I agree that his development of secondary characters is stellar, it's simply too much of a flaw for a high score in my opinion. Everything else you said is pretty much spot on though.
^ No problem.
On the primary characters, I fully agree. Like many things in the series, they've been stagnant ever since the SS Arc ended, and later development looks very unlikely at this point. But the enormous likability of many minor characters helps to balance that IMO, as it shows he does have lots of talent with rendering characters. Fleshing them all out? Not so much.
I also agree that the drop in overall quality has disillusioned many Bleach heads, myself included. It's especially true in my case, because I've seen that same thing happen in other series and know where it leads. Prince of Tennis is an excellent example of that--by the National Semifinals, the writing became so odious that I couldn't read it regularly anymore. Most of the fanbase at StopTazmo only reads it for yocks now.
In TeniPuri's case, though, it wasn't that good to begin with so it wasn't as jarring. Bleach was. So if it gets to that point, too, it's going to be a lot worse for all of us. I really hope that doesn't happen.
Last edited by gigantor21; February 22, 2008 at 07:57 PM.
I don't think we can judge the character development just yet because the way Kubo has the story going, there seems like certain things will happen or be revealed that will challenge some of his currently stagnant characters (particularly Sado). And I dont mind some of the other characters not being developed because after re-reading the entire manga recently, some of those characters are only meant to have those small roles and nothing else.
On Characters, I think I would actually rate Bleach higher than Naruto, a manga which is known for good characterization. Both Bleach and Naruto are chock full of interesting characters, the difference is that in Naruto Part II these characters have been stifled and regulated to the background. Bleach, on the other hand, has always done a wonderful job in giving all of the main and secondary characters an importance in the storyline.
I would give Characters a strong 8.5-9, even if the depth needs some working.