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The important thing, though, is how Bleach's drop was so much more pronounced. Death Note was still better in the Second Arc than most Shonen ever get. Bleach doesn't even deserve that distinction now.
Yeah, see Bleach has sucked lately because lately it sucks, not because people think it sucks. It's not a social thing.
It really is a case of a story full of potential, and everything just going to waste. Over and over again, it seems.
I don't know where it'll go from here, but I don't think it's going to change from it's current predicament.
I think someone needs to rerate this review...since the ratings are quite misleading atm
Category Ratings: (1-10 scale)
Overall, Kubo knows what he's doing quite well, and he has come quite a long way since he first started. There's a clear difference between Ichigo's appearance early in the manga and now, which is a nice way of showing Kubo's ever evolving style. The art is sharp and clean. While the backgrounds and overall cast design is genetic, it's all well done. Kubo has much room to grow and will probably continue on evolving for years to come.
Bleach isn't without its flaws but it is overall quite nice. It's easy to follow and interesting at that, always captivating your interest. Doing manga isn't exactly easy due to how tight a schedule you're working with as it is, but Kubo is fairing quite well. Using elements that made manga like Yu Yu Hakusho and Dragon Ball famous, Bleach is working quite well.
Perhaps Bleach's greatest strength lies in its characters. Bleach has various characters each unique even in their own genetic way. Not many manga right now have such a variety of characters as the one Bleach has. There's a character for everyone and every taste. While I personally wish all characters would get an equal amount of screen time, that isn't possible and when you have so many characters, fans may often feel as though their favorite isn't getting all the screen time it should.
Another great aspect of Bleach is its overall theme. While the current theme of friendship is strong in modern mainstream manga, feel do as great a job as Bleach. Even in its own cheekiness, Bleach's characters all offer a great degree of humanity and companionship towards each other, each possessing their own agenda and unique form of interaction. The shinigami theme is also fun and somewhat like another favorite manga of mine, Yu Yu Hakusho, while the battle driven plot reminds me of Dragon Ball, yet another favorite. Overall, Bleach's theme is fun and easy to follow.
It's impossible to be completely original this day and age but Bleach doesn't exactly feel like anything also you've seen before and whenever you get a sense of deja vu, it is still done in a way such that it's unique and different. The shinigami and zanpakuto theme is quite original as is the hollow theme.
Bleach is overall one of the current top manga. In my book, it is second only to One Piece. It's fun, and moves at a pace that is easy to follow. Everything is also quite orderly and it seldom disappoints you. Kubo seems to know well the direction he is going with the story and it is thus far pleasing.
Category Ratings: (1-10 scale)
Kubo knows how to make an interesting looking character. Many of the heroes and villains alike have very catchy designs. However, the backgrounds are all but nonexistent. Even when Kubo treats us to a rare panned out shot of the surroundings around a character, it's nothing but marshmallow buildings and generic rectangles for the most part.
The overall plot is interesting. Unfortunately, the pacing the story uses to get to that plot is a killer. For every chapter we get of intriguing story advancement, we have thirty or more chapters of pure duels. Bleach is character driven, forsaking the overlying plot to show off its characters.
Great designs, often interesting, and sometimes endearing. Some of Bleach's characters leave me wanting more, and seeing them pop up in a chapter is a treat. Unfortunately, none of the main characters have these traits.
Kubo threw together a cast that just feels gigantic and, for the most part, put most of the badassery of the series into characters who show up once per hundred chapters. The main team is never really given a chance to shine and make us cheer for them, and the secondary character list is so massive that trying to give them all screentime just takes away more from Ichigo and company, not to mention the story's pacing.
While early Bleach may have had different themes, it's devolved into friendship and resolve. However, Kubo doesn't quite pull these off as well as I'd like. For some time now, the manga has completely forsaken any endearing friendship moments, with Ichigo even being nicer to his enemies than his friends at some recent points.
While the zanpakutous generally have some originality in their releases, the plot itself never really moves too far away from mainstays like Yuyu Hakusho or DBZ (What with the constant fights and now energy blasts.)
Still, can't rate this one TOO low because at least the character designs are sort of unique.
I see Bleach as a double-edged sword, as you might have noticed from the categories above. It has so many qualities that give it the potential for greatness, but it never quite reaches that. Countless repetition moments in fights, Kubo's unwillingness to trim his massive cast of characters, and terrible pacing leaves the reader feeling like Bleach is just wasted potential.
I agree wholeheartedly with the issues Danre raised. However, I feel that most of them are symptoms of a more widespread issue: that the plot, the character, growth, the development, the fight scenes...pretty much every important aspect of this manga is driven by gimmicks.
In my mind, a gimmick is a quick-make hook, a special bit of deus ex machina, used by the author to draw in readers and make the story appear more dynamic. This isn't always a bad thing. Take Naruto for example. He has a demon fox inside his belly that goes badass and shakes up the plot every now and then. It's a rare occasion that quickly makes things more exciting for the audience . Sex scenes, as they're often employed in movies, are definitely gimmicks. It's an easy way to interest the audience...and doesn't really entail any writing or plot.
When a work is overly reliant on gimmicks, however, that just smacks of poor quality and very little effort from the writing team. If your film is nothing BUT a string of rather ridiculous sex scenes, it's going to be absolutely terrible...and available only at adult stores. The devices in James Bond were very fun, yes...but they were also absolutely ridiculous, which is one reason that Casino Royal was widely considered much, much better than most.
We've established that a gimmick is often a quick and easy way to make things AWESOME without having to make them good. Now, back to Bleach. The most blatant place you can see this gimmickry at work is with Kurosaki Ichigo, the main character. In the beginning, he's just an almost-normal Japanese student, but we all know that's bound to change. It's a typical shonen device for the protagonist to have some sort of sleeping hidden power that unveils itself when circumstances are dire--typically, the rest of the manga revolves around the protagonist learning to use said power and then learning to be strong in his own right and not dependent on this boost. In Bleach, however, Ichigo (the protagonist) has a seemingly endless supply of power boosts. Whenever things look bad, out pops another uncontrolled boost, super transformation, or awesome upgrade that nobody knew existed. I've honestly lost track. Each time, it moves him wayyyy up on the ladder of power and allows him to defeat another seemingly impossible foe. Then, he coasts on this momentum until he meets the next super-awesome foe, against whom his power seems insignificant untillllll INEXPLICABLE POWAAAA BOOST!!!! This has several unfortunate results that I'll list below.
1) The Bleach Universe's Stability -
2) The Plot -
3) The Pacing -
4) The Cast -
5) The Victories -
Bleach may have started off as something more substantial, but now it's all dependent on flash and short-term gratification--gimmicks that feel less and less gratifying as they're overused to the detriment of the manga. The premise was interesting, which makes its current state all the sadder. I cannot honestly give Bleach anything more than a five in plot and I'm rather inclined towards a three. Characters I think are also five-ish, not because they're terrible, but because nothing at all has been done with them. Overall, I'd rate this series roughly a five. It's still plenty fun for a good while, but it's not good. Important note: good and fun are two very different things. I used to really enjoy this series and you can easily enjoy it, right up to when you get sick of it. But in terms of quality, it's...not all it could be.
Last edited by Shinichiro; October 22, 2009 at 06:00 PM.
Great art! The author's an artist. Specifically, a character artist. The art style is focused on characters and expressions, and is very deliberate. But since the series gets repetitive and can be kinda boring, the art style gets irritating. When things get boring, you don't want to look at how effectively the artist used white space. It's more like, "the plot's empty, at least give me a landscape to look at!" It especially sucks when there are only a few pages to a chapter, and we only get mostly big whooshy-type attacks and over-done reaction shots. BUT the art is still top-notch.
And as far as the backgrounds go, the author does a great job at drawing each setting and establishing where you are and what the environment is like (and he can then focus on characters). Each place is unique and has its own feel to it. I find Bleach very atmospheric.
With regard to characters and expressions, the art is also great. This series has detail that you really won't find elsewhere (I mean, just look at the facial detail). After looking at even a mostly-blank page of Bleach, I can't even stand to glance at something like HunterXHunter (Well, I can't stand to, regardless. Hate on me if you will.)
Some people may not like the art style or how it's used in the story, but that's a separate issue. The artistry is great.
Mmmmm... sometimes, it's really hit-and-miss. Sometimes it's really good, engaging, things are building up, mysterious characters, suspense. Sometimes nothing, and lots of nothing. Or sometimes you have a lot of build-up, but then it's like the author just got tired, threw something together, and went on vacation.
Regardless, what makes Bleach refreshing is that the plot *isn't* "I'm going to be the best -something- ever!!" I'm so very sick of that, and thankful that Bleach is at least a little different in that regard. (The *only* series I've read where that sort of plot hasn't gotten annoying is One Piece.)
So, plot? Sometimes, terrible. Sometimes, very good. The current plot, though (as of this writing), is getting pretty good!
This is the problem right here.
Ironically, the characters that, for some reason, people just looooove about Bleach is the very thing that frequently hobbles it. The author did such a great job with character design that people now demand fan service for their OMGFAVORITE characters. This keeps the author having to include all these otherwise irrelevant people, and prevents him from doing what he wants with the story.
As such, the characters are undeveloped, one-dimensional Bankai robots to please fans and editors.
The good thing now is that with the anime stopped, he has more freedom, and is now doing what he wants with the story. Yet many people hate it because their favorite characters die or don't get their obligatory time in the spotlight.
Ever seen Yu-Yu-Hakusho? Then you've seen Bleach.
But Bleach is a lot better. "Unoriginal" doesn't mean "bad," and "original" doesn't mean "good." I don't think a lack of originality detracts at all from Bleach.
Does my rating matter? Anyone reading this will most likely:
1) have read Bleach.
2) have a definite opinion on what this rating should be.
3) at me.
I'll wait until the series is finished before rating it. I think someone who hasn't read it would enjoy it a lot more now (you can read tons of chapters at once). Some of the series is excellent.
Last edited by Cyrs; August 25, 2012 at 06:58 PM. Reason: consistency
Rating does matter, if anything else, then for just consistency...so yeah...please include some after the smileys...
Also in my opinion, the humans vs gods(heavens), or simple beings vs evolved beings is a theme that is presented really well in bleach and deserves to be mentioned...if my guess is okay then the beating the dead horse goes for the standard shounen cliche themes, but there are some others that are worth mentioning...