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Translations: Gintama 489 by kewl0210 , One Piece 744 by cnet128 , Naruto 672 by aegon-rokudo , Bleach 576 (2)
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Bleach

Bleach
Original title: ブリーチ
Demographics: Shounen
Chapters at MH: 1281
Releases at MH: 0
Publishing Status: Ongoing
Writer(s): KUBO Tite
Artist(s): KUBO Tite
Serialized in: Weekly Shounen Jump
Published by: Shueisha
Year: 2001
Official Site:
Popularity: 2345 favorites
Translators: 213 (Click here to view)
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Score 4.4 of 5.0 - 1164 votes

Summary and Preview

Ichigo Kurosaki has always been able to see ghosts, but this ability doesn't change his life nearly as much as his close encounter with Rukia Kuchiki, a Soul Reaper and member of the mysterious Soul Society. While fighting a Hollow, an evil spirit that preys on humans who display psychic energy, Rukia attempts to lend Ichigo some of her powers so that he can save his family; but much to her surprise, Ichigo absorbs every last drop of her energy. Now a full-fledged Soul Reaper himself, Ichigo quickly learns that the world he inhabits is one full of dangerous spirits and, along with Rukia--who is slowly regaining her powers--it's Ichigo's job to protect the innocent from Hollows and help the spirits themselves find peace.

Tags

Action, Drama, Shounen, Supernatural

Reviews
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Review by shrimpy
Bleach is yet another one of the top titles in recent years to stand at the top of shounen action. But that's about all it is--mindless action (pardon my sarcasm).

It's a different take on the "shinigami" universe. A world where fierce battles rage to maintain the balance of our world and the next. Bleach never fails to deliver on explosions, power-ups, zoomed in faces, and lots and lots of weapons. But that's about it. Kubo is a fantastic character artist (although he seems to have largely borrowed from his failed title, "Zombie Power"), but he really stinks at drawing environments. Many fights take place in--you guessed it--wastelands, or worse, nothing. I'm not a huge fan of using my imagination to fill in the backgrounds. And I sure hope you weren't looking for a story here, because this comic plays like a bad RPG. It's highly predictable and gets largely ridiculous at times...like the current arcs where some enemies "power up" and turn into animals. It's like the anime filler came true. I speak mostly in jest, as there is a limited range of character development, but the author is so busy trying to write about so many characters at once that no one ever really grows. That is perhaps the most frustrating part of bleach. It's black and white--the enemies are evil and good guys good, and once everything is settled, we're right back to where we started.

Despite its many flaws, bleach wins because it delivers to a specific audience, and by looking at the numbers, there's plenty of that audience to go around. Give it a try, but definitely this title is by no means a masterpiece of manga. It's just your same old shounen but with a facelift.

On a plus side, this comic uses tons of slang, dialects, and even archaic japanese so it's great for language study purposes--primarily the only reason I read it. (recommended only for the advanced student...the wide variety can make it frustrating for beginners to follow) Permalink " "
Review by nicobarten
I read shrimpy's review, and i had just to write something here.

Bleach isn't what he calls only 'mindless action'. The first arc when Ichigo go to the shinigami world to rescue a precious person to him, is just wonderful. I even wonder if shrimpy has seen this arc, because it's just in one word GOOD. I think it's correct to say that everyone loved Bleach at that time.

I agree that the latest arc is a bit worse, but i still think it'll come to a great plot again. Permalink " "
Review by cnet128
Ah, Bleach. You either love it or you hate it. Except that that's a lie, because generally, you do both.

Bleach, you see, is a series with a lot of pros, and a lot of cons. It's not for no reason that this is one of the most popular manga series around today – the author has an undeniable sense of style. Characters are varied, and near-universally damn cool in their own unique ways. Artwork is always pristine, with the characters themselves taking centre stage. After the introductory arcs, the characters' unique weapons get nearly as much focus as the characters themselves, and these are just as nicely-designed and have just as much cool-factor. Which is good, because this manga essentially thrives on cool-factor.

The storyline is fairly standard shonen fare. Guy becomes Shinigami (god of death), fights monsters, fights enemies in the name of justice and saving the lives of those dear to him, etc. When the plot twists, it twists good, but it doesn't do so very often. (Indeed, there's only been about one instance of an honest-to-God "plot twist" so far in the series. There have been quite a few more "twists" – good ones, at that – but they can hardly be called "plot twists" since they failed to make any noticeable impact on the plot.) Emotional scenes and plot-advancing scenes are well-executed and thrilling to watch when they exist, but are heavily outweighed by the ubiquitous fight scenes. Individual fight scenes are well-paced, enjoyable to watch, and have plenty of cool-factor (did I mention this manga thrives on cool-factor?) but generally a little predictable, at least in terms of outcome, and do little to advance the actual plot.

If you'll forgive me the analogy, Bleach is like a good JRPG. The plot is enjoyable, but you have to wade through the random battles to get from plot point to plot point. Thankfully, the battles are well-executed, but they're still just random battles when all's said and done. Occasional plot twists occur and are highlights of the experience, but overall, the story is nevertheless an inexorable progression through progressively stronger enemies from one boss battle to the next, all leading up to the inevitable final boss.

Personally, I enjoy it for what it is, just like I enjoy those JRPGs. Because it is always entertaining, the characters are cool and entertaining, and it does have a remarkable amount of style. And whilst the plot moves slowly, when plot advancement does happen, it's still compelling enough to make you glad you waited. Permalink " "
Review by Hyperworm
Read cnet128's review. I agree with all of it. I'm going to try not to retread old ground here.

Here I go with a perhaps unusual comparison.

I love "collecting" information. Pokémon was a great hit with me. You know how many Pokémon there are in advance and I looked forward to not just catching them, but steadily learning about the whole "set" of these creatures -- learning all their unique abilities and traits and moves and so on.

Bleach (and perhaps other shounen manga, but Bleach in particular) does the same thing for me. It has a massive cast, each memorable, with a range of interesting personalities, designs, accents (in the Japanese), and often unique fighting style and masses of hidden potential to look forward to. As an example of the variety of the cast, I don't believe it's a spoiler to say that there are 13 "Squads" in this series, each with (most importantly) a Captain and a Lieutenant, so that's 26 interesting characters to anticipate right there. There are other such "sets" of interesting characters.
The weapons used by the characters are similarly unique, memorable, and awesome. The same applies to "demon arts" (the first of many introduced very early on) and other things. This "collection" aspect pervades the series.

In fact, Bleach introduces so many awesome characters and things to anticipate, that it has trouble keeping the plot moving, as it seems preoccupied with giving you new demon arts, more information on your favourite character (and their fighting abilities, if applicable), basically filling in and expanding these "sets". Obviously, it often does this through fight scenes - which are great fun in their own right, but when it gets stuck in a long run of relatively unimportant battles, that does get frustrating.

I can't help but think that manga isn't the best format for this... space being quite limited... perhaps Kubo-san should throw a load of new demon arts etc. into a canon video game or something and then he could get back to the manga plot? ;p Ah, but then half the fun would be gone ... scrap that then ;p

Well, anyway, the "Turn Back the Pendulum" arc (released a while back in Shuukan Shounen Jump and just today in Japanese tankoubon format), is welcome proof that the plot of Bleach does in fact still exist, and I'm enjoying the fights while anticipating another dose. Reading Bleach -- particularly now while it's still being serialized and you have to wait for the next chapter ;p -- is a sometimes-frustrating but nevertheless awesomely fun journey. I hope it continues for a long time and that Kubo-san can give all the information we want while taking the plot of this thing where he wants it to go. :)

A couple more points... one, for anyone worried about shrimpy's "animals" comment, it's not quite like it sounds (and not as lame either ;p)
and two, for those wondering "OK, if I'm going to get into Bleach, should I watch the anime or read the manga?", my answer is both (;p), but: the anime (subbed) first until episode 63 (it's a pretty faithful conversion, I like the music, good voice actors, and so on!), and the manga first after that - because after 63, in my opinion, the anime tends to be censored a little more, has sporadic filler (even in manga-canon episodes), introduces some new music which isn't as good as before and phases out some old tracks, and the animation quality falls, except for the most epic fight scenes. You're better off reading the original work - not to mention that the manga will get you the latest developments in Bleach first! ;)

Hopefully this is a useful addition to the reviews already above. :) Permalink " "
Review by cloneofsnake
To me, Bleach is:

1) very stylish, especially the character outfits
2) has somewhat a storyline, but so slow in unveiling that people generally say it has none
3) no character development, especially Ichigo - Got Shinigami power / sword, relied on huge amount of reiki (sorry, using Yu Yu Hakusho term here?), failed, went into training, got powerful, failed again, went training again, Bankai in what? an hour?, not powerful enough again, went training again... rinse and repeat.

but most annoying of all...

4) the fights... especially Ichigo's, are boring... he has no special "skills", just slashes out bigger and bigger lines and white spaces on the page... honestly some recent chapters of him fighting ShleemJaw (whatever his name was?... see? quite memorable characters!) were just a bunch of lines. I asked myself, why am I still reading this crap.

but yes, to Bleach's credit, even with all its flaws, I'm still reading it, albeit not following closely every week like I do with One Piece, Naruto and Gantz... but like Hyperworm before me, I'm also a "collector" and I am interested to see how the story unfolds. Permalink " "
Review by Zefster
I loved the first 10 or so volumes, but after that I really feel it became a generic battle manga.

Too many fight-scenes between minor characters I could honestly care less about. :( Its frustrating waiting a whole week for a chapter only to get 17 pages of speed lines and a few speech bubbles of unimportant dialogue. Also the fact that Ichigo has been in almost NONE of the chapters over the last year is a big downer.


Okay, well that was more of a critique than a review huh?

Here's my advice, if you actually haven't read this series by now and you enjoy shounen manga like Naruto or HunterxHunter go read it. But if you like shounen with actual plot and character development, go read One Piece. There I said it, haha. *Flees from rabid fanboys* Permalink " "
Review by Janina07
Bleach to be honest is one of the best manga's around. Its hard not to love it and its hard not to hated it at times. However it doesn't matter who you are one must try Bleach and see for itself why it has so many fans. Its mainly a character driven story so after a hundred chapters don't expect to understand the plot. But I must give credit to Kubo Tite, his characters are one of kind and each one is special.

However this manga must come with a warning and that is that once you read it you can never stop. Even if you hated it you will come back to bash and those who love it will come back to cheer for it. Permalink " "
Review by Dra
The beginning of the manga up through almost half of volume 21 is great in terms of plot and character development.

If you like Dragon Ball Z and endless powerup fights that take a crapload of chapters each, you'd enjoy the rest.

Also, I think the drawing style got anorexic halfway through... Permalink " "
Review by nizsu
Bleach is a story of coolness and pride. ppl who called it mindless action, i'd assumed that u haven't read untill chapter 200, then write ur review impatiently. As cnet said, there's reasons that Bleach is one of the most popular manga today becoz more ppl luv it than hate it. you're being arrogant by saying that Bleach win becoz it aims for specific audience. So There're plenty of mindless audience love the mindless action Bleach around.

i think Kubo Tite foresight everything, when he draw chapter 1 he already what happne in the next 300 chapters. He made Bleach unpredictable. Its why Bleach is different from Dragonball.

Ichigo didn't gain Shinigami power or having powerful reijutsu by a stroke of fluke. There're battles that he lost miserably as well. And in my personal opinion, Ichigo isn't the main character, hes a centre point in order to help Kubo tell his stories. There're a wide range of characters with unique personalities and styles. and they don't have as much screentime as Ichigo, it doesn't mean they can't stand out. Permalink " "
Review by StrangerAtaru
To tell the truth, I admit I'm not really the most formidable expert on Bleach. But I do think that there are a few things I can say about the series from my perspective.

Bleach is a series that, if done in a different style or perspective, really could have been something special. While the introduction stuff does get a tad cliche, Kubo did a strong job introducing a close knit group of characters and concepts that become crucial to the series. In some ways, if later Bleach is like "DBZ with swords", then the first year is more akin to a Sunday series or a Jump manga that has strange powers and concepts but uses them in a more day-to-day concept (like Nube or...how Gintama would be a few years later)

The problems with the series to me though start around the point of Soul Society. The beginning does seem fine in trying to expand the universe...but Kubo just starts piling on characters...and more characters...and more characters. And just when he starts trying to use some, he starts getting obsessed with fights...and more fights...and even more fights. It doesn't start out bad but by a certain point you sort of realize how brainless the series is, even with a "so-called" conspiracy storyline that many people consider deep. And at the same time, characters you grow to love get quickly replaced by new characters, some of whom you grow to love but others you really want to wish to go away because they get too much focus. There are some interesting concepts amidst it from the fighting styles to character philosophies to a nice take on "facing your inner devil" that tries to define characters further...but it gets lost amidst the fights and the characters.

It only gets worse after Soul Society: characters are forgotten, new characters pop up, certain characters get way overused due to massive fanbases, concepts get overdone, concepts get underutilized...but this time aside from a little more plot that tries to explain it all, you get so lost that you just finally realize that this series is something you just have to read week to week to laugh at.

It's around this point that you pretty much realize the truth: "Bleach" is flash...with an attempt at characterization and plot. It's like eating a bar of chocolate: sure it makes you satisfied but it's not something that is filling. I guess I was never really a Bleach fan regardless and that it's probably the opinion of a naysayer, but I do read it week after week still...just to get a nice laugh at how ridiculous it's getting...or at the occasional time we see Kubo get something right and that we see the flash of what it could have been.

BTW: almost forgot this: Kubo does great fanservice. (hint, hint) Permalink " "
Review by IcyAce
i like this manga so much Permalink " "
Review by Cococrash11
Ichigo keeps getting stronger for every chapter that release. Permalink " "
Review by Maya45
when it will be over i hate it but Ilike it at same time Permalink " "
Review by sei-star
I really hate the cliffhangers but that's because I really love the manga and I can never get enough of it!! It's currently my number one favorite. ^_^ Go Bleach!! XD Permalink " "
Review by Shunsui Kyōraku
I think that Bleach is a great manga, with a great varity of characters and a decent story line.

Even thought the story line has a couple of plot holes the rest of the manga, makes up for this by providing an awsome story line and epic battles.

This being said the main character is very overpowed to say the position in the begining to gain a god like power in one and a half years, isn't plausable. altough it is fun to watch him deal some serious damage to characters who were to cocky or smug.

Overall it is a great read and i hope it continues for a while longer Permalink " "
Review by AZL
To tell u the truth, i read the first book which was suggested to me by my ex-boyfriend, but I didn't really pursue the series until I saw the anime. I really like how the characters grow. It's very good. Permalink " "
Review by evlang106
Amazing!!! The best manga ever! Permalink " "
Review by kingdemon302
Bleach is an manga I would recommend for any person to start as their first manga.
I will say it has downs but has more ups. the part that can get boring is the crash Ichigo takes then gains an new power. Then when he loses power and gets it back. Permalink " "
Review by IchigoLover
There are times when i can not stand bleach and there moments where i'm so in love with it i can not stop watching or reading the series... The characters sometime depending on what they doing or how they say some thing remind me of a couple of people in the real world...

From the style they wear to the way that walk and talk and i find it annoying.. but other than that i love it..you can agree or disagree with me but that is my opinion Permalink " "

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