Oh great, another 200+ action anime.
Art and sound wise, Bleach is made at a really high standard. This anime utilizes the best that animation has to offer while still keeping the original 'feel' that the Manga had. One look at this anime and you can easily tell what it is, as it sets itself apart with its unique soundtrack and animation style.
In fact, this is one of the few soundtracks from an anime I wouldn't mind putting on my Ipod, as each piece is both unique in its own way yet enjoyable. This also goes for the Japanese voice acting, which selects actors very suitable for each role. I would probably like this anime much more if I had simply closed my eyes and enjoyed the audio.
Now, of course this anime has its own flaws, the characters. I could go on a rant, saying how each individual character in the anime is poorly designed and ever more poorly executed (no pun intended) but seeing as how this anime has way too many of them it would take a life time. The main cast, which consists of Ichigo, his grab bag of friends, Rukia, and several other Shinigami, rarely stays consistent. As much as Bleach tried to break free of the classic anime character molds it usually fails miserably. I’ll have you know that I hate character molds.
But one character as earned her own paragraph, and her name is Orihime. Not only is she an orphan, but she is all incredibly beautiful, clumsy, has witness the death of her brother, has a triple F cup that defies gravity, has godly abilities, is one of the smartest students in her class but is somehow functionally retarded when it comes to her inter actions with the other characters, really kind, and is friends with just about everyone. But most of all, she also has a crush on the main character. Yet despite all of her amazing, god –like abilities she is reduced to little more than free cleavage or a source of humor. How the hell does any of that make sense?
Orihime isn’t the only girl in this anime, yet one might not be able to notice as most of them all have two similar traits, having gravity defying breasts and being useless. These female characters are introduced to be very important, plot changing, independent women but almost always end up being pushed aside by one of the male characters and are then reduced to little more than background cleavage for the viewer to look at. You can tell the writer had good intentions for them, giving them empowering backgrounds and strong abilities yet somehow they always end up running to Ichigo for help. Every now and then they will be giving an insignificant battle to fight (usually with another woman) in order to prove that they can also do something. This battle will have little to do with the plot, and almost always is a brawl with one of the villain’s lackeys, which basically is used to get Ichigo to the next room. In fact, despite having so many characters that claim to be much stronger than Ichigo, Ichigo is almost always the one who has to get shit done. The entire universe rests in inexperienced Ichigo’s hands… despite the fact that Ichigo has allies who are much stronger than he is. How the hell does any of that make sense?
Finally, the plot. Being based in a manga, you can’t completely blame the anime for its poor plot. In fact, in theory the plot seems to be a good idea. It is the very poor execution that ruined it. If the plot was put in that hands of, let’s say, Studio Ghibli it would have probably turned out much better because, in theory, the idea of a society made up of reapers who defend an earth that is not even aware of their very existence is very appealing. At cover, you would think Bleach was a paranormal anime about self discovery discovering the answers in life and its meaning. But that isn’t what this anime is about. If the anime was a movie or 20-episode anime it would work much better, but the five episode long fight scenes and riddle of subplots completely tarnished the original plot. If you flipped to a random episode you wouldn’t have a clue of what was going on, you would need to watch all 200+ episode to finally fully understand the once simple plot.