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Translations: Bleach 600 (2)
In the interest of not getting too off topic I'll keep it short. This is why I think Bakuman does so well in ratings -- it markets itself to a different audience.
If you're a mainstream reader, you have so many choices to choose from. Chances are you'll more likely than not choose among the Big Three, so that less votes overall go to the less popular mainstream manga. In other words the battle manga market is crowded and competitive.
Bakuman appeals to a different market entirely, and this being non-mainstream, has fewer competitors. Less of the votes there are divided among competitors, so Bakuman has a large "share" of votes, getting a higher rating.
To tie it back to on-topic discussions, this could be another factor for Bleach's low ranking. It's always had to compete with the other mainstream manga, so now that it's suffered a loss of interest from its main audience, the loss is especially crippling -- because of how competitive its "market" is.
Ahh actually, I totally forgot about that. Having read Bakuman I should of realized this. I believe they explain it in the manga itself :P Of course if it's not doing well enough to compete with the other mainstream manga's, its losing peoples votes from those who mainly focus on them.. thus leaving it in a low ranking. I forgot all about that.
In that case, everything that has been said does make a lot of sense.
Personally, I still regard Bleach as one of the top three. It doesn't deserve all the bashing it has gotten even though some Aizen jokes were funny but know they are getting old, and pretty uncreative as some are blaming Kubo to be.
I have to admit though that Bleach has fallen in some sense, it's too fast in changing turns and it leaves too many loose ends. E.g. Nel and Grimmjow, they didn't get the proper ending that they should have and I'm certain it leaves many in a state of wonder. Grimmjow is certainly a finished book but, imo, he doesn't have a last sentence. Nel is a person who could be useful in the future but either way we left her too soon or rather without a good farewell.
But the thing that bothers me the most is the constant milking of some characters and the negligence of others. You brought up something interesting about the typical "Shounen Family" and I want to further delve into that. As you said Luffy has his crew and Naruto has his village or more precisely his colleagues/teachers and neighbourhood friends. Ichigo has four main friends; Inoue, Sado, Ishida and Rukia. (On top of that he's gotten closer with first and foremost Renji and eventually Kubo made it so that Hitsugaya, Rangiku, Ikakku and Yumichika got closer to him.)
Now, Kubo actually has a very interesting family, since all of the first four named members are so unique both to the world but also to each other and they really form a strong solid unit. Ichigo as the main, sado as the best friend/older brother type, Ishida as the rival, Orihime as the love interest and Rukia as the sister/sensei and the magical type opposed to Ichigo's brawler type. Power wise, they are very unique, as well.
So in short Kubo has made a little super family of friends with lots of potential, growth and mystery. However, imo, he has failed to keep this family intact and in some utterly failed to show their true place and potential. Let's take Ishida and Sado for instance. Ishida is supposed to be the rival, if I got that right, the quincy to the shinigami, the blue to the red, the calm to the wild etcetera. As a rival, in terms of power they are supposed to of quite equal strength and status. But Ichigo has vastly outgrown Ishida on so many areas, it's not even right to call it a rivalry nor a competition amongst friends, anymore.
This is also were the milking of some characters get involved. Some characters take too much space that it even disturbs the motion of the lead characters. A story is always best if the original and lead charcters are in the focus almost all the time but in bleach characters like Mayuri and Hitsugaya gets forced into situation they neither belong to or are in need to belong to, yet, they are there.
For example, during the Arrancar arc Ishida didn't manage to do take down an espada which imo he should since Ichigo took down two almost three. Instead, not only did he have very minor problems taking down the privaron espada but he also failed to take down Szasayel, interestingly enough he had help on both occasions.
Ishida was the perfect match-up against Szasayel in terms of personality and I really felt like it should have been just the two of them but insted Mayuri had to get involved. A character that didn't really have much to offer and certainly shouldn't be replacing Ishida. Here's also were Kubo made a terrible turn in terms of Ishida as a character. Mayuri, the man who stomped, spit and pissed on his entire family is standing in front of Ishida and he feels nothing? Mayuri mocked Ishida about how he experimented on his grandfather until the head was the only thing left, and he felt nothing? The killer of his grand-pa, mentor, friend and family is in front of Ishida and Kubo has the sense of putting in some comic relief? This was in some way very disturbing to read since it really flipped a finger toward Ishida as a character. To be honest this is something Kubo has been doing wrong since, well, after Ishida lost his powers. Look at the current arc and see what Ishida has been doing, he got sliced only to recover to get sliced again...
There's however a character who've suffered a worse fate and that is Sado. This guy is hands down one of the most loveable characters, he's such a pure sole and a really good friend, I mean the type who would literary die for you. And that's pretty much what he's been doing, he's been the crash doll meant to install despair in Ichigo and his secondary role is to display the awesomeness of the villain or rather the antagonists. It was a really long time since I read the whole Seireitei arc, but what did Sado actually do but just easily fall at the hands of Shunsui? In Hueco Mundo he fought a somewhat meaningless fight against Gantenbainne, won, and then lost miserably against Nnoitra. He later recovered only to have some on and off screen fights against the Exequias. Imo, Sado deserved to fight Yammy and beat the shit out of him. Yammy humiliated him so in that case he really deserved him. Yammy is also the perfect type to put against Sado, instead he got wasted on people who had already had their chance to shine.
I guess one way to really bring the series up to it's former glory is to bring back the "family of misfits" make them act and react as a group. Let them grow using each other as steps and firmly put down a system which lets them fight the more vital fights since they are the lead. I thought this arc would be Sado's but I guess I was wrong.
Rukia is however a character I'm happy to see. She brings forth a nice contrast to Ichigo and her sign of growth is pretty clear and interesting. Even though her fight was questionable, she did fight and espada and she won. More of that please.
Another problem I see part from the family is the phenomenon I brought up earlier. Namely the fact that Kubo has a strange habit of more or less putting up a system or face that he later on abandons or without explanation changes. One of those are the Espadas, not to be nitpicky but I have so many question marks over so many things... First of all the numbers, what was the deal with those? 9 = weakest, 0 = strongest. However, there were many doubts if this really reflected reality. In these sort of situations Kubo has to make it clear, easy and understandable. Instead some would argue, whether #2, Barragan, is the strongest of them all or if #4, Ulquirra is the strongest. There's also #3, Hallibel, who didn't deserve that spot according to me. Now, some might wonder if 12 year old really cares about this, but I think they do, even more than us older teenagers. I'm satisfied as long as the characters have a nice personality and background, but if Kubo states something I expect it to be that way, unless he brings forth some kind of twist like Ulqi's second form that even Aizen didn't know of.
Then there's the "who was Vasto lorde" dilemma. I'm not sure even today. I feel that a manga and it's story is highly supported by the lore and world that it takes place in. I think Kubo would gain if he took the time to actually explain certain things and not rush things in, only to then rush them out, like Ichigo's vast collection of forms.
Last edited by Ero-Sanji; August 09, 2011 at 08:16 AM.
I find this new arc boring and inconsistent. Also, the fact Ichigo went a lot weaker pisses me.
I understand why bleach is getting low ranks, absolutely.
However, after reading the last manga, I think we will have some good action again
I think the reason Bleach fell down in the rankings was simply due to the lack of shinigami/arrancar. Whine about HM and FKT being boring all you want, but fact is the Japanese fans loved the Arrancar Arc, or rather the arrancar, and Kubo had to draw that arc out significantly because of that. The editors might have even pushed him to do that....in fact it seems like they may have to an extent, since Kubo said he was relieved to finally finish the Arrancar Arc when he did.
So I think the reason that Ginjo's flashback got skipped and that his fight was very short was due to this arc not being popular, and the editors just wanted Kubo to end it as soon as possible and move on to an arc that the will appeal to the fans in Japan, one that includes more shinigami and in a way that influences the arc more directly.
The most plausible reason was already stated above. Bleach has to compete against One Piece, Naruto, Toriko, Bakuman, Gintama and other smaller, yet decently popular series from Jump, plus Kimi ni Todoke, Fairy Tail, FMA still sells well, etc. from other magazines. Apart from that, the Shinigami are the most popular characters (Hitsugaya 1st, Rukia 2nd, Gin 4th, Byakuya 5th, Kenpachi 7th), so the lack of them during this arc meant that many readers found less interest in the events, even if it is a superficial reason, still means more in polls.
Is Bleach still low on the rankings? It started out in the bottom four during the start of the Arc, but isn't it between fifth and tenth nowadays? I thought it was 8th in the last ranking. (so, mid-tier as there are 18 series) And as the ranking is calculated based on eight chapters earlier, the bad start of the Lost Shinigami Arc means people didn't like the end of the Arrancar Arc.
Kubo has to revive himself, I feel as if he has lost his feel to finding the readers' appeal towards his story and characters. It's time to address the old issues (but it has to be raw/fresh and it's his job to find that idea) and stop recreating (which is what I believe what he is actually doing) what he had already done. If he could do that, I think Bleach might have a chance to go back to where it used to be, but the continuous drag has started to rub in and it might be a pull-down factor.
Bakuman, on the other hand, is definitely on a league of its own due to its distinct difference. As a reader, I like the idea of knowing what the mangakas are actually doing or struggling about, a preview of how what we love reading is being done.
I am at a loss and want to actually know why people loved the Arrancar arc more than the others. Too much characters is too much for me. I still love the Shinigami arc the most.
I don't understand why a lot of people still defend Bleach, honestly. I used to read all of the mangas that you mentioned, but nowadays I devote my precious time only for Naruto, Bakuman, and Hajime no Ippo. I'm still sticking by Naruto because unlike the incoherent mess that is Bleach, the manga focuses on one big mystery at a time. I can tolerate some plot incoherence here and there, hell, Naruto's guilty of the same sin from time to time. But a whole chapter that not only does not answer most of the questions posed in the previous story arc, but also raises up some stupid new ones that probably has NOTHING to do with the bigger picture is just... stupid.
I also HATE how the manga seems to be so pretentious at times, with its pseudo-philosophical dialogue. I mean, once in a while big questions like, "what makes evil men/women?" or "how far can you go in trying to stop evil before YOU yourself turns evil" can and SHOULD be asked. But trying to make you sympathize for every single villain in the whole manga is NOT awesome, especially when it is done in a half-assed manner (the latest story arc is just full of these moments). It's just too much, and not to mention it slows the pace of the story. If I want philosophy lessons I would read goddam Evangelion.
Furthermore, Kubo's art in Bleach lately has just been inexcusable; a lot of wasted space and panels (you know what I'm talking about, one whole page dedicated to a close-up of a character saying a lame-ass one-liner). One WHOLE BLACK GODDAM PAGE for the title of a chapter is a waste of money. I honestly buy every single Naruto and Hajime no Ippo (and Jojo's B Adventure too) tankoubons whenever they're available even after I read the scanlations; if I didn't know any better and buy Bleach tankoubons before I read the scanlations, I would be PISSED OFF. The sad thing is Kubo's artwork is actually getting better in terms of stylistic direction. The characters look more bad-ass (Kuchiki Byakuya is probably one of THE most bad-ass chara of all time), the expressions are more defined, and the special moves are great. But I've had enough of patiently waiting for a Bleach chapter to be released, only to find out that the story is actually regressing with some stupid and unnecessary flashbacks with one panel taking up half of the page. I'd rather read American graphic novels. At least I get colours with it.
i used to love Bleach to death. I thought to myself, "here's a manga that can finally understand and implement the things that makes battle-manga classics like Dragon Ball and Yu Yu Hakusho great." About halfway through the arrancar arc I stopped waiting for and reading Bleach chapter by chapter everyweek; instead I'd read it once every two months because I know I won't be missing anything anyway. Still, to each his own, I guess. No offense to anyone here
The main point was lack of shinigami. The second point was, the thing I love about Bleach is flashy stuff, epic entrances and things like that. Comparing fullbring arc to those before? It was mild and boring. I can't say the story was bad, but it wasn't Bleach.
When shinigami returned, Bleach shot up to top 3. Then slowly, it fell again, now hanging around the middle. Bleach still doesn't feel like Bleach, it's kinda different. That's what I want in the next arc, flashy powers, cheesy speeches, nice designs, loveable characters (so it means, awesome new villains), tying some loose ends, getting back to relevant things (Soul Society, the King, Aizen's motives; not some humans that wanted to prove something).
I think with the new arc, things can be as awesome as they used to be. It's not like I have stopped liking Bleach, I won't if there are those characters I came to love, but the excitement of reading a new chapter this arc - pre-shinigami was 0%, and after-shinigami, 60-70%.
On the side note, I don't think Arrancar were that important. I'm aware of their considerable popularity, but I believe they were mostly popular because they were featured together with the shinigami: they fought shinigami, they were compared to shinigami and used against shinigami, and were even created by a shinigami, albeit an evil rebelious one lol. Now imagine a new arc full of arrancar - even the well-liked ones - but without anyone from the Soul Society. Something tells me very soon people would begin to wonder where the hell Byakuya/Kenpachi/Rukia/whoever was and why wouldn't they just appear already...
All in all, I hope we'll get lots more flashy action and loveable cheesiness in the near future. I want mah ol' Bleach back! Surely, it'll improve those rankings.
What are you talking about? Bleach was always about the characters. That's why Keigo, Tatsuki, Isshin have remained in the manga even though they are not popular at all. Shinigami and flashy stuff came later, but are all actually in the background.
Yes Bleach is about characters.
Although shinigami didn't come later, as shinigami (Rukia) came before we even knew there was a girl named Tatsuki in the manga >.< But saying that this manga is about Keigo and Tatsuki, I can't agree with that It's about characters and interaction between characters, and majority of those characters were shinigami. We see human gang (without powers) basically only between arcs. And yes, they're not all that popular, so yes, Bleach became less popular when the popular ones disappeared.
Bleach once was kind of slice of life, a bit. That was when it wasn't doing exactly great. The fame came with Soul Society. And from then on, I don't have a feeling that Bleach is not about flashy stuff.
Not everyone likes the same things anyway, so I know that you don't have to agree with me
Last edited by Darjaille; January 08, 2012 at 04:08 PM.