Bleach by Tite Kubo

details
Title: Bleach.
Writer(s): Tite Kubo.
Artist(S): Tite Kubo.
Publisher: Viz Media (Jump Comics).
Format: Digital.
Release Date: August 7th, 2001 – August 22, 2016.
Volumes: 74.
Genre(s): Fantasy, Adventure, Supernatural.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5/5).

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Among the many countless Japanese shōnen manga series that took the world by storm, there was one with a orange-haired kid that caught my eye as a young teenager. When he was introduced to a world that reimagined grim reapers with fascinating characters who possess unique abilities (especially upon unleashing their bankai), I just couldn’t believe it. My excitement was piercing through the roof. My curiosity was piqued beyond my understanding. From the various friendships built through the series to the incredible action scenes capturing the mangaka’s stunning artwork, I was enthralled by the journey and wanted to see how cool this kid could get as he grew up. Unfortunately, I ended up quitting on the anime (or just anime as a whole) in my young adult days and never got around to completing this series. This year, I took the time to revisit this beloved series and to find out for myself what happened to this orange-haired kid and what kind of evil was he able to slice away from existence.

What is Bleach about? The story follows the young teenager Ichigo Kurosaki and his unexpected burden (or gift) upon obtaining the powers of a Soul Reaper from the mysterious and in distress Soul Reaper Rukia Kuchiki. As he learns about his ability to see spirits and his new role to send the good ones to the afterlife while eliminating the bad ones, he slowly makes new friends in otherworldly realms and defeats evil foes with ill intentions as the stakes increase over the years. Collected in 74 volumes, his adventures set him on a course towards self-discovery and maturity despite his usual temperament characterizing him as a hotheaded kid who never asked for anything in the world but to be left alone to his peaceful loafing. He also discovers along the way the history behind the Soul Society and the secrets that they have kept from the world.

Bleach Review: Did It Let Us Down? – OppaiHoodie.com

Upon setting my feet into this universe, I was completely taken by a wave of nostalgia. The characterization of each of these heroes, the character design illustrated with a refined sharpness, the action-packed story-lines that always had you wondering what new ability these guys were going to showcase. I was simply mesmerized by the direction of this action-centric franchise and looked forward to the inevitable battle match-ups up until the boss fights that would occur for the story-arc. There’s something thoroughly captivating to watch Ichigo Kurosaki and his friends grow and reinforce their bonds as they face new menaces along the way. There was simply nothing that could stop these guys from helping each other get out of hell and I found it exciting as things started to heat up in their world..

The entire franchise can be divided in four story-arcs: the Soul Society arc, the Arrancar arc , the Fullbring (or The Lost Agent) arc, and the Quincy (or the 1,000 Year Blood War) arc. The first story-arc remains the most captivating and original narrative of the franchise, feeling fresh and exciting for fans to indulge. Once mangaka Tite Kubo enters the second story-arc, you could already start to tell that he wasn’t going to give up on the formula that made the first one such a success. It doesn’t ruin much but it does feel a bit more long-winded as the inevitable fights are stretched out as much as possible to keep the suspense high and the series as engaging as possible. However, considering that this remains one of the best story-lines of the franchise and introduces some innovative character development (especially in terms of power-ups), it’s hard to hate much of the action offered here.

Bleach Espada Wallpapers 1080p | Bleach anime, Bleach characters ...

The third story-arc is where the mangaka loses it. It completely betrays the original premise of the manga and explores unusual new ideas that never gel together. Good thing it was a short one, right? Not exactly… The final arc is the ultimate nail in the coffin. Everything is awkward, the balance between humour and drama is odd, the fan service ruins certain characters. You could tell that the mangaka wasn’t even trying to give fans a hint of hope towards revitalizing a dying franchise. It doesn’t help that the final act attempts to throw everything in the barrel, praying that the concoction will bring back the dead. Leave it to the final volume’s epilogue chapter to offer nothing satisfying for long-term fans too. Sure, it shows that it was rushed, that there was something outside the story (e.g. publisher and author contracts) that might have pushed for a quicker death, but this wasn’t the way to go. Is it as awful as I claim it to be? No. You will find some exciting new reveals but to see some things get retconned for other things to work was just a shame.

Bleach is an action-packed manga series exploring a young teenager’s quest to rid the world of evil spirits.


EXHIBITA
While the anime was cancelled before the final story-arc from the manga was adapted, there are plans to see a return of Bleach in the upcoming months or years!

exhibitb
Although manga to live-action adaptations have a relatively bad reputation, this one sure does put more effort into the special effects than usual! It is the last Bleach movie that I still need to watch before completing this franchise!

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29 comments

  • The disappointment when something that started off so well ends so badly is real. I think sometimes creators should just admit to themselves they maybe only have one or two stories to tell rather than spinning the thing out for as long as possible. I would much rather watch something short but great than countless episodes of slow death

    Liked by 2 people

  • Bleach is one of the animes that I honestly didn’t get started on because of the sheer amount of episodes. It’s the same with One Piece and Naruto. As much as I would love to explore those, I simply wouldn’t know how to ever complete a series that long.
    It’s nice to revisit a franchise though, especially one that you at first never managed to complete. I am sad to read that the ending really botched things though. I really hate it when that happens. You invest time in something and when the ending really doesn’t live up to expectations, I honestly always feel slightly cheated 😔
    As for the live action movie: that one honestly was quite a lot of fun! As far as anime adaptations go, I definitely enjoyed it a lot! There were a few overacted scenes near the end of the movie, but overall I liked it quit a lot. Terrific review Lashaan, really enjoyed reading it!😊

    Liked by 2 people

    • Funny thing.. I’m actually reading those too hahahah I did, however, find that One Piece is the worse of the bunch… I mean… That series is STILL ongoing. I have no idea how that is possible, I think I was a baby when it first started!!! However, I hear that it’s still really good to this day, so at least I got that to look forward to hahahah

      Yep… It’s really sad that this series couldn’t have been wrapped up on a better note. I looked at it with so much praise back in the day too. At least when I decided to try this again, I knew that this might be weak towards the end of the series (I just didn’t expect it to be THIS bad ahahah).

      Ohhh, that’s good to hear! I look forward to trying it out soon and see if, knowing just about everything about the franchise will impact my appreciation of the live-action. I’ll definitely be sharing it on my blog as soon as possible too! Thanks again for reading, my friend! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah it is still ongoing. I believe there are now over 1000 episodes and counting. I don’t know how it’s possible to keep the quality up and going which so much material, but hey, weirder things have happened I guess 😂
        Yeah…it’s always sad when things like that happen 😔 Especially for something that you really love.
        Cool! I definitely look forward to hearing your thoughts on the live action version! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  • Great and honest review. I don’t read or watch a lot of manga (just some), but I can see myself checking this one out. I am already forewarned now, so my expectations are somewhat adjusted. In general, the concept sounds right up my alley.
    Nice review, Lashaan 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to read and share your thoughts on this one, Scarlett! I appreciate it a lot. 🙂 I’m also glad that you have an interest in it too! I hope you’ll get the chance to try it someday and be entertained by what it has to offer. At least the beginning! 😀

      Like

  • I never read any of the manga, and I only made it through a couple episodes of the anime. I liked it but I often lose interest in these super long series, much preferring the shorter 1 or 2 season ones. But I did really enjoy the movie. I didn’t watch enough of the anime to really compare anything more than the general concept, and perhaps that helped me enjoy it more, having less to compare it to. One nitpick, though, perhaps because I have some interest in the real historical pieces, I’ve just never been a fan of all the hugely and ridiculously oversized swords in these sorts of manga/anime stories. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I definitely understand. Nowadays, I do find the shorter, much more condensed and properly-organized anime series to be much more profound and interesting too. I’m glad to hear more positive thoughts on the movie though! I look forward to checking it out myself and see if any of my manga/anime knowledge will impact how much I appreciate of it though. As long giant swords… I can’t blame you there hahahah You’d be surprised by one of the characters in that series who, towards the end of series, actually wields one the hugest butcher knives I’ve seen in my life!!! 😛

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  • Yeah, everything I heard about Bleach suggests the story should’ve stopped at the halfway point. This is the reason I tend not to get into series until after they’ve run their course. It’s awful to invest that much time into a series only for the final act or so to completely lose the plot. In fact, I have a scoring rule that prevents such a work from getting a passing grade for that exact reason.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Definitely. This should’ve ended earlier for the sake of everyone. There are now plans to turn the final story-arc into anime episodes (which never happened upon cancellation and poor reception) but I don’t know if we actually want that or not. Maybe the final fights will be rewarding as an anime?… To be seen… That’s interesting, the whole scoring rule. I think it’s wise though. A good story needs a proper ending.

      Liked by 1 person

  • I remember reading Bleach, years ago, being very into it until it just got ridiculous, somewhere in the middle. It happens so often with manga, I used to think it’s my fault as a Western reader, not able to appreciate Japanese pop-culture… but I read some really good ones since then, and now I think it’s mostly the pressure of creating mass-market periodical art that makes it difficult to sustain high quality for years and years – and the most popular mangas can last decades…
    Still, I had some good times with this one 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I share your opinion so much. I do think that some series allows us to put the fault on the mangaka too, whereas he suddenly decides that it’s a smart move to add some fan service here and there, for example. It’s also sad when you see them ruin the franchise with new ideas that make no sense in the universe they created. Sort like seeing neo-futuristic elements added to a Victoria Age story! But, one thing’s for sure. The longer the series, the more risk they have of running into these problems. Except for maybe One Piece, which apparently is still awesome to this day (it’s still an ongoing series)! I won’t lie that I’m still happy to have revisited Bleach and refreshed my memory on all the good stuff that it had to offer though! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • Man, what a bummer. None of the series I’ve read have approached this length (I stopped One Piece in the 20”s when I realized it had no end goal), so I can only faintly appreciate your devotion to go through all 70+ volumes. I did not realize there were live action movies. How many are there?

    Thanks for doing a review of the franchise as a whole. I’m sorry you had to suffer some but it does make me feel better knowing that I made the right decision to stop when I did. Hopefully this doesn’t turn you off manga in general 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep. One Piece is in a god-tier category when it comes to length (it’s still ongoing…). But, as the literature masochist as I am, I have dared embark on that pirate cruise and am working my way to catching up on that series. Don’t expect me to catch up any time soon though hahahah

      There was only one live-action movie and it’s fairly recent (2018). Compared to other JAPANESE live-action adaptation of mangas, it seems like it did a decent job though. I’ll be checking it out soon to complete my Bleach adventures.

      No worries on me giving up on manga. That’s not happening. Just like any other comics/books, there will always be others to explore and some that will completely blow my mind too! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Now I’m wondering about diving into One Piece next year. It would take care of my manga monday posts for YEARS 😉

        I compare all live action adaptations to Death Note. Which I thought was fantastic (not the Netflix hatchet job, but the japanese version), so I hope the movie is good for you.

        Liked by 1 person

  • Oowww amazing review, Lashaan!! 😍😍 Bleach was one of my favorite mangas, I remember when I started to read it and when I used to watch the anime in my sister’s bedroom!! 🥰 I loved reading your review and how enthusiastic you were about it! Though I totally agree with you about the last story arcs… they’re awful 😩

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Caroline! It was one of my favourite animes as a kid too but I unfortunately had to stop when my interest for manga/anime died at the end of high school hahah 😛 I’m glad to revisit them now and to spoil you on how it actually all ends, sparing you of all the crap that it had to offer in the end! 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  • Yaaay, Bleach!! I don’t think I’ve ever finished the series but I remember reading the mangas and watching the animes, and it was so much fun! 😍 I kinda want to finish it now, even though apparently the way the story unfolds is not as great! Thanks for sharing Lashaan!

    Liked by 1 person

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