Fifteen-year-old Ichigo Kurosaki is a typical teen with fighting skills, two caring sisters and a special trait: he can see ghosts. However, when Ichigo and his family find themselves under attack by a huge beast, Ichigo discovers that there’s more to the supernatural world than the everyday specter. Vengeful spirits known as Hollows roam the world in search of devouring souls, and Shinigami – soul reapers – work tirelessly to defeat them and guide normal ghosts into a place called Soul Society. Ichigo valiantly fights the Hollow that threatens his sisters, but on the verge of defeat a Shinigami named Rukia gives him her powers, turning him into a Shinigami himself. Ichigo must now adjust to his new life of both vanquishing and saving souls for the sake of Soul Society.
Synopsis Bleach tells of story of fifteen-year-old Ichigo Kurosaki, a High-school student who possesses the ability to interact with the dead. This power leads him to encounter Rukia Kuchiki, a Shinigami sent to the living world with the task of eliminating evil spirits known as Hollows. After an unfortunate twist of events, Rukia is left obligated to lend her powers to Ichigo, but Ichigo unwillingly steal all of her energy. Now a substitute Shinigami, Ichigo must follow the customs of a Reaper, including the businesses of hunting down Hollows and aiding lost spirits. Story (6/10) A few years back, the eternal prowl for a good Shounen brought me back to my Anime to Watch Stickies note, and I found myself pausing my cursor upon Bleach. Bleach was a series that had been posted upon that note for perhaps eight months. I thought “what the hell? Maybe all those Youtube comments were right, and it can be compared to other not-so-hidden gems that the Shounen genre has been known to dish out.” As such, I downloaded the first three episodes and sat back, hoping that Bleach would be deserving of all the hype surrounding it. Now, here’s the moment to say that I like the genre of Shounen. From ancient classics like Dragonball, to more recent works such as Soul Eater, I don’t just like it; I downright love it! I don’t care if it’s mainstream, or if the animation is riddled with twitchy-flaws or even if the main character has hair that spikes up all the way to freaking Saturn! I truly adore Shounen anime. Considering this fact, one might believe that I actually like Bleach. Well, I don't. Bleach is a romp of a Shounen, with limitless power-ups, busty female characters, and even a white-masked monster or two. Hidden among an overabundance of these archetypes, there is a truly interesting story of friendship and sacrifice. If only Bleach focused on this area more, and cast aside its dated centers as a plot-story. Unfortunately, through tumultuous filler and un-strategic battle sequences, it remains an obtuse insult to the genre it tries so desperately to personify. The saddest thing is, Bleach might have actually worked for me, had it been the first Shounen I ever watched. Regrettably, it wasn’t, and I couldn’t help but glare at the constant plot twists ripped straight out of the bare bones of other well-known adventure stories. The interactions Bleach offers up could have been so much better, and for that, I was disappointed. For example, in the moment when Ichigo first notices that Rukia is the new member of his class, he emits words that are so reminiscent of dialogue in Shaman King, that it is almost sickening. Another discussion set that confused me presents itself in episode 2, and concludes in episode 3. Rukia tells Ichigo that even Shinigami don’t know what it is that Hollows want, yet in the next episode, she states without any hesitation that Hollows are after souls. This one plot hole brought my respect for the show down to sub-Arctic levels. Even in its best moments, Bleach’s story is an incomparable farrago of uneven twists and random leaps. Animation (6/10) Sadly, Bleach doesn’t even have animation rooting on its side. It’s okay I suppose; fairly average for a Shounen, and certainly nothing to rave about. Shaky frame movement and still-shots of characters bombarding other characters with super-charged attacks cripple the battle scenes. Still, along with many of Shounen series, Bleach’s animation has its moments, especially in the midst of important spectacles of battle. The color quality of Bleach is something to be appreciated. They remain fairly consistent throughout, although I didn’t enjoy the scratchy shadows that appear occasionally beneath people’s chins. They are unrealistic and downright ugly in my opinion, but I do realize this addition was simply taken out of the manga, and that it is just a variant of artistic styles. Sound (6/10) The sound quality of Bleach is nothing exceptional either. The first opening is quite enjoyable I’ll have to say, considering that it is by Orange Range. The first ending on the other hand is an awful English-Japanese hybrid track that I didn’t even bother learning the title of. The underlining sounds are strange and fake; like that moment in a show when someone’s neck is grasped and a weird rubbery-crunching sound emits itself. Now that I think about it, there were quite a few of those scenes in Bleach as well. The voice acting is... well, it's okay. Nothing truly stands out, but I can't recall any moments where it was absolutely terrible and unbelievable either. One thing that bothered me in the English dub was the fact that practically every Shinigami in the Soul Society is voiced by either the same man or the same woman, depending of course on whether the characters in question are male or female. The background music isn’t wonderful or terrible. Unlike Fairy Tail or Naruto, there aren’t any songs that caused me to think; “Now that’s Bleach music.” Tracks sort of fade into the backgrounds, but don’t heighten the effects whatsoever. There is one song that I’ll never, ever forget. It flares up any time Ichigo whips out his sword, and it goes something like this... “If you wan’na see some action...” Ugh... I can only speak for myself here, but I literally cringe with terror whenever I hear that song. I can’t decide whether it goes too much, or not at all!!! Characters (5/10) Right away, we are introduced to Ichigo Kurosaki, our tough, street brawling, loud-mouthed protagonist. The first few minutes give us an insight into his life at home, and his interpersonal interactions with random citizens who inadvertently stumble into the alleyway where a child once died. Let’s just say that Ichigo should seriously consider getting counseling to help him quell his anger towards strangers. Of course, this leads me to Ichigo’s main personality trait, his “fake” outward disposition. After his mother died, Ichigo just had to become depressed, and had to blame himself, and had to grow cold and emotion-ridden. Now, with a character like this, I’d love to say that our hero pulls it off and manages to accent it with a little originality, but he really doesn’t. On the contrary, he spews angry words, disrespects his elders and secretly mopes, just like any InuYasha and Sasuke-like character would do. Ichigo is an angry person who hides an inner immaturity (sound like every teenaged boy you know?) Well that’s because Ichigo is your every-day teenaged boy, even coupled with his so-called tragic past. The other characters are simply present to fill in gaps when Ichigo isn’t showing off some epic new power up. Other than Ichigo and Rukia, there’s Orihime, the disproportionate ditz, Uriyu Ishida, the composed soul survivor of the Quincy clan and Chad, Ichigo’s silent follower. There’s just something unbelievable about Bleach’s cast; something that causes them to come off as fake and overdone. Needless to say they aren’t bad, but I can’t connect to them either. They are cold and distant, like glaciers in the far north that cannot be stroked by the sun, or even by something as potent as Global Warming. I want to like them; I want to feel for them, but even in the most trying of situations, they just flop there and screech things like “Ichigo! Save us!” or “Save Rukia!” Overall (5.8/10) Although it is often placed with Naruto and One Piece, the three really can’t be compared because the former two belong to a completely different category; one comprised of well thought out plots and bold characters. Bleach is far from bad, but in all honesty, the distinct lacks of foreshadowing and originality that it presents, make it pale next to One Piece and Naruto. Even in the best of scenes, when plot elements come crashing together, I am left with a feeling of unwelcome familiarity. I’d absolutely love to say that in instances like this, Bleach was just being Bleach. However it wasn’t, it was being bad-Shounen. Still, Bleach works very well with what it has been given; an okay story, middle-of-the-road characters, and a world partially plagiarized straight out of Yu-Yu Hakusho.
INFAMY IS STILL FAME Bleach is one of those series which took the world by storm, kept building up while oozing with style, before eventually realizing that it had no idea what to do next, began walking in circles as slow as possible so it can drag on for 5 years, before eventually ending incomplete. It is undermining the quality of shounens, it’s full of plot holes and inconsistencies, yet also managed to become one of the most popular anime in existence. Why is that? PRETTY COLORS & NICE SOUNDS The most shallow and yet largest of reasons is because it looked nice, had a funky soundtrack, was filled with style, artistic overtones, occult atmosphere, and exciting battles. All that, assuming your brain can block out the snail slow pacing, and how it always plays out like two 12 year olds measuring their dicks while insulting each other. And need I point out how conveniently everybody is accidentally pitted against dark counterparts of himself that have the exact same style of personality and way of fighting? Coloring and artwork improved in later seasons, but at the same time the aesthetics which made the initial episodes so great, almost disappeared. Along with the animation; after a point on they just stand still and use a few frames that repeat a hundred times, like this is the second coming of Dragon Ball. What could have been blood-boiling battles, end up being nothing more than macho-talking, always ending with cop-out power ups. It’s ironic how the main battle song has lyrics such as “If you want to get some action, you need be the center of attraction.” The action moves like a snail, relying solely on the fandom’s blinded fanboys to keep going. When expectations are very low, fanboyism is enough to please 90% of the target audience. Yes, it’s that easy. If it wasn’t, there wouldn’t be endless cosplays and fanfics made out of this show, just because the characters look cool and sexy, and it wouldn’t have an average score of over 8/10 in every major database for over 5 years. OTHER PROS Another reason is the sheer amount of characters, weapons, and fighting modes. Every character was a distinctive stereotype, had a custom sword with various stages of power and different abilities. There is no way you won’t find someone you like in this huge crowd. It had a cool premise that was making it seem deep and mature. Dealing with death, the afterlife, psychological fears, scars of the past, and a mysterious plan set in motion by nefarious masterminds. Who wouldn’t be interested in following such a story and revealing its secrets, while constantly getting introspection to its characters? It was also the counterforce to the Naruto fandom. Not everyone liked that super popular show about emo kids constantly crying in a corner. Some wanted pro-active characters, full of cocky one-liners and arrogant smirks. Bleach was what they needed, a rivaling shitty shonen to balance the fame of another shitty shonen. NO PLANNING Despite all these positives, it fell apart after 60 episodes because Kubo had no idea of how to continue the story. So, he did the usual trick that works since the days of Dragon Ball. Introducing more characters, rehashing the exact same plot, constantly throwing around power ups that mean nothing after a few episodes, gradually making less sense, having less consistency, shallower characters, fillers which are thrown in without giving a damn about continuity, and yet somehow manage to be better written than the canon story. I can turn a blind eye to a few minor hiccups here and there but not to the point I need to 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. RULE OF COOL NOT There are those who defend the show as nothing more than a guilty pleasure, thus there is no reason to complain about plot holes or bad writing. And yet not even they can deny how much more thought and planning was put into the early episodes. The ghosts were presented as people who died with a grudge, the characters had to face the shadows of their past, and there was some cute school romance in the air. Such elements degraded to faceless monsters defined by their superpower, males that are just bravado and transforming swords, and females that are trophies for males to rescue, and excuses for fan service. Oh, and not to forget to mention how everyone with a tragic past eventually becomes a comic relief. - 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. - 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. - Love rival Orihime, degraded from a sad and innocent girl, to a bimbo with huge boobs who repeats KUROSAKI-KUN every ten seconds. - Everybody 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. - Aizen was hyped as an unbeatable villain with an ingenious masterplan that is kept secret for hundreds of episodes. Kubo was stalling the final showdown by constantly introducing more characters, just so they can waste time in meaningless battles. And then has Aizen getting defeated very fast with a shitty power up that is meant to take away the protagonist’s powers forever, only to have them returning with an asspull, and never explaining what the hell was Aizen’s plan. Well excuse me, this is not guilty pleasure. It’s a test to see how much insult a person’s intelligence can tolerate before dropping your stupid show. JUST STOP It is not simply the constant plot holes and asspulls that make Bleach so bad, it’s also Kubo not finish it, because he makes money out of this shit. He just introduces more characters, contradicts anything he said before, repeats the exact same plot, and gets paid for it. Anything he keeps a secret from the viewer and makes him speculate what it could possibly mean; always ends up being complete bull shit, since he never thinks what he will do next, until he actually draws it. - Why is everybody flying out of nowhere? - How are Bankais rare, if everybody has one?- How can you outrun a ray of light by seeing it hitting you once? - Why is the blind black dude betraying everybody?- Why didn’t the story end after Aizen got defeated and Ichigo lost his powers?- What was Aizen’s plan? - Why are the Quincy still alive when they are supposed to be dead? IN CONCLUSION Bleach is the youngest of the so called Big Three, and also the first to fall apart in just a little bit over a year. For a title that was hailed as the anti-Naruto, it got discontinued and replaced by a zero budget Naruto spin-off. Oh the burn! It’s almost as ironic as when Sega began making Sonic the Hedgehog games for Nintendo. But who ever notices such things, if you get a shallow asshole with a big sword, smirking and saying how big his cock is? It is a fine series to waste your synaptic functions upon, while trying to spot the troll of the week, but it ends nowhere near as good as it began, and doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance before other shonen like Hunter X Hunter or Full Metal Alchemist.
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!
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