Bleach

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cassiesheepgirl's avatar By cassiesheepgirl on Apr 1, 2011

Story

I owe a lot to anime. Through joint love of the medium, I have forged friendships and experienced more variety of storytelling that I could ever have imagined. But the day Japanese animation changed my life for good was a bright spring afternoon when I first encountered a tale about a teenage messiah exorcising the evil from our world with his great sword of justice. Many people may dismiss Tite Kubo as little more than a derivative punk, doling out sub-par shounen every week. Such heretics however, should be ignored, for Kubo offers up far more than entertainment, he gives us the gift of salvation in the form of his epic fable, Bleach.

The fictitious Karakura Town runs rife with sin, with delinquents resorting to frequent acts of vandalism and bullying. While it seems that there is little hope for humanity, one orange-haired boy named Ichigo Kurosaki stands up to the immorality of the world, forcibly extracting apologies and repentance from the worst of the sinners. One day, he meets a shinigami (death god) called Rukia who reveals a hidden world of malevolent beings known as Hollows who consume innocent souls to satiate their own rampant hunger. When Ichigo finds his family under attack, Rukia lends him her power and awakens him to his true identity: the saviour of mankind. With new powers, the teen begins to fight against the hollows and purify them in order to rid the world of evil.

In the midst of its awe-inspiring fights depicting Ichigo’s divine retribution upon each wrongdoer, Bleach helps to assure us of how we should live and what awaits us in the future. Soul Society offers up solid proof that there is an afterlife, while the ghosts that linger in the human world teach us not to fear taking the next step on this journey. Likewise that the series still carries on to this day after a definitive conclusion, only gives more evidence to the fact that there is something more beyond the seeming finality of death. By ending the central story yet continuing the narrative, we simple men and women can clutch onto the knowledge that our human lives are but a chapter in a novel, and our souls shall continue to endure for many years to come, defying the laws of both mortality and plausibility at every turn.

There are several moralistic parables aside from the main story. While many heathens often refer to this as pointless filler, these hellions are indisputably wrong. Bleach’s side stories are integral to the series’ teachings, and guides its followers on the correct path. The cleverly scattered fables train us not to lose our tempers, but to have patience and faith that accepting the mundane or the downright terrible will ultimately make us appreciate the greatness all the more. After all, if we can endure episodes of the cast playing football for no logical reason, then we can certainly control ourselves when faced with rude individuals, bankruptcy or bereavement.

Likewise odd recurring jokes give us further guidance on the path to enlightenment. For example, one of the series’ most pitiful characters is that of Kon. That this pathetic being not only lacks a physical body of his own, but also fails to succeed in any of his endeavours proves that his depravity towards the female form – and particularly their ample bosoms – is not admirable, but deplorable. From this we learn that such infatuations will only lead to our downfall and utter ruin.


Animation

Bleach’s divine artwork is a thing of beauty. In terms of animation, the series excels. From showers of shimmering sakura petals and billowing clouds of dust amidst a heated clash to Ichigo speeding across the screen, each slash of a zanpakutou effectively pierces our apathetic hides and enlightens us to the show’s teachings.

Meanwhile, the variety of different character designs from the attractive to the downright ridiculous pertains to the diversity of society and that we should accept everyone no matter how they look. While the natural reaction to meeting someone like Kurotsuchi in a dark alley may be to run for the hills, we should look past his bizarre appearance and instead give him a great big hug. After all, he is just as deserving and in need of love as the next person.


Sound

With any long series, a large number of opening and ending themes is to be expected. What I had not anticipated was that each and every one of these harmonious melodies would resound within my heart like a heavenly angelic chorus. Whoever doesn’t find their soul uplifted by the enthusiastic yell of “HEART HEART” from the show’s twenty-third ending theme, Stay Beautiful by Diggy-Mo’, must have very little humanity left in their hollow shell of a body.


Characters

Ichigo is a true inspiration. His single-minded motivation to uphold good, bring justice to wrongdoers and protect those he cares for shines like a guiding light for all the lost souls scrabbling about in the dark. Likewise, his mass appeal to those around him shows the strength of his leadership as well as the truth of his actions. From taming the reformed delinquent Chad and earning the respect of haughty Ishida to charming the saintly Orihime, Ichigo gathers his disciples from all walks of life and does not discriminate between anyone, instead accepting everyone’s strengths, weaknesses and abilities.

As if Ichigo’s beacon of goodness were not enough, Kubo gives us another gift in the form of Orihime. This pure maiden’s heart is thrice as large as her sizeable bosom and twice as warm. Her unflappable belief that there is good in each and every being and that with a little love no soul is beyond redemption teaches us to have faith in each other no matter the situation. Perhaps, should we rule with our hearts, we might one day lead as fulfilling a life as this flame-haired goddess and stand side by side with the saviour crying “KUROSAKI-KUUUUUN!” in exaltation.

On the other side of the hollow mask Kubo urges us away from the path of darkness and demonstrates what will happen should one stray from the path of the righteous. While the hollows themselves explicitly show how lingering hatred, regret and despair can consume a soul, the true danger of our sins lies with the series’ primary antagonist. With a true fallen angel leading the charge against goodness, Bleach warns us not to be seduced by power and selfish desires lest we rip an irreparable hole in the core of our very beings.

10/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
roriconfan's avatar By roriconfan on Apr 15, 2012

I hate this series more than most of anything else. It is clearly undermining the quality of shounens, it’s trolling away like there is no tomorrow, and yet there are many who loved its ludicrous plot and retarded characters. Before you immediately press the dislike button for saying something bad about your religion here, let me at least try to explain myself.

- First arc: Bleach began as urban fantasy, with teenagers being able to see ghosts and fighting to protect themselves and their friends. It was very good in the first dozen episodes as the aesthetics were great for this sort of series and each episode there was progress and immersion to the characters. I disliked the magical way the lead gains more power in the nick of time and wins but I was willing to leave it aside since everything seemed great as far as shounen go. The characters all had different goals, the ghosts were mostly presented as people who died with a grudge and there was school romance in the air. Very nice so far.

- Second arc: Then the setting shifts to Soul Society, home of the Death Gods who oversee the proper handling of the afterlife. It was quite the epic arc, despite dragging things along at times. It still provided lots of immersion to many characters and the worldview of the series in general, while there was a great plot twist about the traitor amongst the captains. The lead still kept getting stronger with the speed of light but I was still willing to leave it aside as the aesthetics and the immersion were great.

- Fillers: Then came a long filler arc which was sub-par in all and damaged a lot the nice image of the series up until then. It also proved how Bleach was not better than Naruto. Because there was this big flame war back then about which one was better. The answer is One Piece but they didn’t care. Anyway, Bleachtards told Narutards that Bleach has more mature characters, and no fillers. Well, it went to hell after watching Ichigo pissing his pants for seeing a girl naked or having the only purpose in his life to save chicks. And yes, here there be fillers too and lots of them. Thankfully you can skip them without much worry. Some filler characters remain in canon story but they don’t affect anything, so big deal.

- Third arc: Then comes the introduction of the super ghosts and the Death God hybrids and the shit starts to hit the fan. The plot drags a lot, battles become repetitive and the story becomes a repeat of SS arc, only 1500% slower and with 2000% more fillers, which are thrown in the main storyline and interrupt it WITHOUT ANY ATTEMPT TO FIT IN PROPERLY. Here is where the series went so downhill, I lost interest and loath ever since. Characters became caricatures whose only feature is their transforming sword, many seem to be in the story just to drag it with unimportant battles, character development became a joke. Tite Kubo clearly has no idea what he is doing anymore and keeps ass-pulling stuff, while canceling out the rules he made himself a few episodes before.

- Fourth arc: As if that wasn’t lame enough, the third arc ended with the main villain finally beaten and the hero losing his powers. It could have been a fine point to stop the series there, having seemingly completed all the main objectives. But no, Kubo was making so much money out of the tasteless masses he decided to keep going. And to no surprise, he again makes the story repeat in the exact same way, only this time the newer enemies are completely pitiful and superpowers degraded from awesome mystical forces that someone gains after years of training to simple magical devises. Everybody turned from cool mystical warriors protecting the balance of the universe to lame Power Ranger imitations trying to steal magic items from one another! THIS IS DREADFUL! Yet Kubo was ass enough to reassure us he is not going to stop for the next 10 years. THIS IS BEYOND PITIFUL, THE GUY JUST DOESN’T WANT TO STOP NO MATTER HOW SHIT HIS WORK IS!

Well, lucky for us the animation studio decided to end his reign of retardedness by ENDING the show in the middle of nowhere. It took them 5 years to finally admit he was doing more harm than good to their image but now they finally learned their lesson… NOT! THE IDIOTS WILL REPLACE BLEACH WITH A RETARDED ZERO BUDGET NARUTO PARODY! BURN IN HELL YOU ASSES! AND TAKE KUBO ALONG WITH YOU! … but at least I had fun looking at all the ex-bleachtards trying to hide under a rock or pretending they never really liked the show that much. How does it feel now that your favorite show got replaced by that gay ninja my sweethearts? Butthurt much? BELIEVE IT! Not that I appreciate that gayfest any better but right now let’s stick to this pile of manure.

… What is that you say? I need to get into more technical details because this is a review and not a rant? Oh, ok then, I will say a few words about those thingies just to make this wall of letters seem more objective.

The production values began in quite a good level, in action, soundtrack, and funky artistic overtones (I loved the creepy atmosphere and use of darkness in the early episodes). Although the overall coloring and the character drawings have improved over the years, at the same time the aesthetics in atmosphere-building that made the initial episodes so great have almost disappeared. And so did the animation; after a point on they just stand still and use a few frames to repeat a hundred times like this is the second coming of Dragonball. The pacing of the plot also slows down to that of a snail and makes even the blood-boiling battles to look like they are mostly aimless blahblah with stiff characters doing a few swings every 30 minutes instead of an awesome non-stop and fluent choreography.

The soundtrack is the only thing that doesn’t become a travesty all the way. It is overall very good to hear; it has some really great pieces that save the series from a complete lack of aesthetics. And it’s ironic how the main battle song’s lyrics are “If you want to get some action, you need be the center of attraction.” Because the action becomes way too slow after awhile and needed to rely solely on the fandom’s short-sightedness to keep going.

The story … is unimportant and the least of your concerns. It may seem complicating and mysterious at first, making you think it will be about the meaning of life and a conspiracy so big that will remake the whole universe. But it soon becomes nothing more than the protagonist Ichigo running around trying to save girls. And man, how I love all the speculation regarding the motivations of each character and how that would affect the story later on. There are enough posts around that out there in the forums to feed all the starving people in the world. And guess what, they were all completely bull shit, since Kubo never planned or thought of anything he would draw ten minutes before he sat down to begin his next chapter. He didn’t even bother to keep some notes of the things he established a few pages ago and thus you will get more plot holes and inconsistencies than your trusted steed can possibly carry. They become so abounded you feel nothing but being trolled after awhile. People won’t be able to fly in one part, but then they fly on the next, something they could have done all along. Bankais are rare and powerful at first, but every minor character has one later on and they are all very weak. And how the devil can you outrun a ray of light by seeing it hitting you once? TROLL HARDER KUBO!

I also admit that some characters look very cool and it’s nice to expect them appearing again to say or do something posing. Even if you do that, they are still not as close as interesting as when they where offering more than just big explosions in the first two arcs. They just smirk, say snobby remarks as if their dick is bigger than anyone else’s, swing their phallic swords and shit happen. THAT IS ALL THEY DO! At first they seem like they have a ton of things to do and show in later episodes, and eventually show absolutely NOTHING! I mean NOTHING in the strictest sense of the word. Aizen’s plan? WHAT PLAN? That blind guy’s reason for betraying everyone? WHAT REASON? Some hidden king in a far away place? WHAT KING? Not only that, but most of them begin as very serious and dramatic, and later on turn to idiotic comic reliefs. THAT IS THEIR ONLY DEVELOPMENT! People usually mature the other way around but not in the Bleachverse; for it’s a dimension of utter BULL SHIT! Yet the fandom was retarded enough to love them for the caricatures they were and went on to make endless cosplays and fanfics because they looked so cool and sexy. And that is all they were; inside they were completely empty of context.

The main character, Ichigo the angsty teenager, degraded from a sympathetic youth who was simply trying to protect his friends and family to an imba warrior that only cares about saving chicks and keeps getting his ass kicked yet wins all the time with ass-pulling power-ups. And if the angsty lead is less interesting that a berserker secondary freak with bells glued on his hair and sole purpose to cut thing just for the heck of it, you can see how this series has really messed up priorities.

The main heroine and butchy fighter, Rukia, degraded from a dynamic woman with a tragic past to a frail damsel in distress that needs to be saved every ten days. Her love rival Orihime, degraded from a sad and innocent girl to a bimbo with huge boobs who repeats KUROSAKI-KUN every ten seconds. Heck, all girls in this show end up being there just so you can fap to them. THEY ARE ALL USELESS outside of the above usage of course.

But let’s give the show some credit too. I admit the action is good and a major magnet if you see it as a whole. And by whole, I mean making a shortened version by taking out all the pointless talking in the middle of the battle and the useless scenes they stay frozen and just stare at each other. And even if you do that, it is still repetitive, random and usually ludicrous in terms of looks since there isn’t any variety at all in the way battles happen in this show. It’s always the same linear procedure (macho talk, weak attack, macho talk, release some power, macho talk, release more, macho talk, BS finale with a Deus ex machina power). It happens IN ALL BATTLES regardless of what powers the fighters have or what their strategy is (or what they desperately try to present as strategy when it’s completely random nonsense). And need I point out how conveniently everybody meets and fights dark counterparts of himself that have the exact same style of personality and way of fighting?

And sure, I understand that the majority of anime fans don’t care about the finer things in a series, like consistency or pacing, because if they did, this series would have a far lower rating than the 8/10 it had for almost 5 years. It is nice brain dead action of cool caricatures but nothing more. And it’s far from what shounen can offer as a genre. Naruto, One Piece, even Full Metal Alchemist, may have less exiting action overall but have bits of strategy in them and the story is definitely going faster and more interesting, with far more character development and immersion and far less inconsistencies and plot holes. But who ever notices those things if some shallow asshole with a big sword keeps smirking and saying how big his cock is?

My enjoyment of this show is rock bottom. I prefer story and character immersion to brain dead repetitive action. And sure, I can turn a blind eye to a few minor hiccups here and there but not to the point I have to spring all the way to the stratosphere, and have my brain imploding as if it was hit by Kenshiro. You just can’t turn a blind eye to the thousands of continuity errors and dull scenes without gorging your own eye sockets out. It was a decent series at first and always is a good brain dead action series to waste your synaptic functions upon while trying to figure out the troll of the week but it is nowhere as good as it began and doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance before more innovating works like One Piece or Full Metal Alchemist.

And now for some excused scorings.

ART SECTION: 8/10
General Artwork 2/2 (looks interesting for a shounen)
Character Figures 2/2 (cool or sexy looking)
Backgrounds 2/2 (fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 1/2 (basic)

SOUND SECTION: 7/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 3/4 (not great but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)

STORY SECTION: 2/10
Premise 1/2 (typical)
Pacing 0/2 (very slow and filled with fillers)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 0/2 (does not exist)

CHARACTER SECTION: 5/10
Presence 2/2 (cool or sexy)
Personality 2/2 (cheesy but well founded)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 0/2 (none for most or makes no sense for the rest)
Catharsis 0/2 (does not exist)

VALUE SECTION: 7/10
Historical Value 3/3 (all-known)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of the too slow pacing and the stupid fillers)
Memorability 3/4 (full of dum yet memorable scenes)

ENJOYMENT SECTION: 1/10
It started out great and turned to shit.

VERDICT: 5/10

2/10 story
8/10 animation
7/10 sound
5/10 characters
5/10 overall
Pemi84's avatar By Pemi84 on Apr 15, 2010

First I didn't want to watch this,but then I decided to watch.And I'm glad I did.Bleach has interesting story,but there are jus tooo tooo much fillers.But If you will be able to watch them all,you will see also a great main plot.The world created in Bleach will catch you almost immediately and much more later because of big-revealing during the story.There are moment you will stop breathing and moments when you will laugh your heart out.

Animation is normal anime,nothing special,but it's nice to look at it.What I like are the shadows on the bodies,sometime they're just like from manga,really cool.

Sound is very good.You maybe won't catch it at first,but when you do you will love it,especially during the battles.Openings are mostly average,there are some very good,like Ichirin no Hana.Endings are average too.

There are such a great characters,like Byakuya,Ishida,Renji,Hitsugaya,and later Ulquiorra and Grimmjow.Even though it doesn't seem so great at first sight,just watch Shinigami picture-book after ending.This one minute reveals so many fun things on characters,so you just have to watch it.There are also some annyoing ones,for example I hate some Espada's and Inoue Orihime is so...pathetic.Yeah,I almost forgot,prepare for hearing PATHETIC very very often :-D

At all,Bleach really surprised me how great and catchy it is.I'm saying- WATCH IT.

Sure you must stand the fillers,but it isn't so bad.

9/10 story
8/10 animation
9/10 sound
7/10 characters
8.5/10 overall
BadxLuck's avatar By BadxLuck on Aug 25, 2011

Story: Awseome story line. Extremly intense right from the beggining. Even most of the filler seasons are amazing, the only one I could've done without is the bount arc. Excluding that, everything is epic! Especilly sence the story isn't completly black and white. It has top quality battle scenes, too.

Animation: As far as animation goes, I think it's pretty good. The only thing I have an issue with is the size of some of the female characters boobs, it's just unrealistic. Otherwise, it's very well done.

Characters: I LOVE how developed all the characters are! Especilly sence there are over 80 of them. The heros and the villans are so well done that, unlike so much anime, you can really see where both sides are coming from and may even end up feeling sorry for and liking the villans. In fact, it's hard not to love some characters from both sides.

Soud: Bleach has a fantastic sound track and amazing voice acters. While at time the music is a little cheesy, it's also really good and always fits the situation. I also think all the characters voices, both in dubbed and subbed versions, fit them really well.

Overall: Bleach is a fantastic anime, and if you haven't seen it, you should really give it a shot. I can garuntee, if you like supernatural action anime, you will love Bleach!

10/10 story
10/10 animation
10/10 sound
10/10 characters
10/10 overall
anime101101's avatar By anime101101 on Sep 3, 2011

I think that this is one of my favorite animes that I have ever watched. I hate that they had to end it like that and wish that they continued it. The story lin to this anime if fairly good. I like that through most of the anime the main characters has a specific goal in mind and would do anything to reach that goal. I like most of the characters in this anime becasue they are awesome people and their characters are well devoloped through out the anime. The animation of this anime is pretty good compared to some other animes. I like the details that are put into some of the characters and the scenary of the anime. I like most of the songs in this anime because they are really good. Also most of the songs do not drown out the voices of the characters. Over all this is a fairly goo anime.

8/10 story
9.5/10 animation
9/10 sound
8/10 characters
9/10 overall