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.
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.
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.
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!!!
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!”
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 it had no idea what to do next. It began walking in circles as slow as possible so it can drag on for 5 years, and eventually ended incomplete because the manga got an abrupt ending. As a whole it is undermining the quality of shounens, it’s full of plot holes and inconsistencies, yet it also managed to become one of the most popular anime in existence. Why?
PRETTY COLORS & NICE SOUNDS
The shallowest yet obvious reason is its style. It looked great at first, had a funky soundtrack, artistic overtones, occult atmosphere, and exciting battles. Along with that it had snail slow pacing, and it played out like two 12 year olds measuring their dicks while insulting each other. And need I point out how conveniently everybody was conveniently pitted against dark counterparts of himself who had 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 should be blood-boiling battles were more like macho-talking that always ended 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 moved like a snail and relied solely on blinded fanboyism for giving off the illusion of excitement.
The bar was low as a lot of people were pleased with peanuts, resulting to endless cosplays and fanfics about this show, just because the characters look cool and sexy. And there are so many of them, each one with his own custom sword, various stages of power and different abilities. There is no way you won’t find at least one you will 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 wearing bandanas and crying in a corner about not getting recognition. Many viewers wanted more thug-like 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.
Despite all the 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, and fillers which are thrown in without giving a damn about continuity yet somehow manage to be better written than the canon story. I can overlook 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, 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 with bells glued on his hair, and sole purpose to cut thing just for the heck of it.
- Aizen was hyped up 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 had Aizen getting defeated very fast with a shitty power up that was 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.
It is not simply the constant plot holes and asspulls that made Bleach so bad, it’s also Kubo not finishing it, because he was making money out of this shit. He just introduced more characters, contradicted everything he said before, repeated the exact same plot, and got paid for it. Anything he kept secret from the viewer for making him speculate what could it possibly mean always ended up being complete bullshit, since he never planned ahead.
- 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?
Bleach was 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’s a fine series to waste your synaptic functions upon, while trying to spot the constant Kubo trolling. It definitely ended 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.
And yes, it’s getting a continuation I hear, but it’s too late to do anything about it.
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!
Bleach is one of the three so-called "mainstream shonen animes"; together with Naruto and One Piece these three are immensely popular, and the topic of endless comparison among their fans set out to prove that their favorite is the best out of them. They simply refuse to exit their fanboyism to view the series in an objective light, which is a shame, because they are probably missing out on great adventures, which is the case of Bleach in many ways. If you want my review short and good, give Bleach a try no matter what people have said, as it, despite a lot of shortcomings, presents a most interesting and enthralling universe.
The concept seems pretty basic at first; there's the Soul Reapers (Shinigami), empowered souls who guide departed human souls to Soul Society, the afterlife deimension, formed after a Feudal Japan. They also fight Hollows, evil and malevolent spirits, to protect living humans and souls alike. So, I assume you have read the plot summary, which covers the basics of the first story arc, which is basically the arc where we are introduced to the main main cast of Bleach; the standard, headstrong, rash and protective teenage shonen hero, his voice of reason in the form of a girl, his arrogant beglassed rival, the ditzy klutz girl with big boobs, and the large, stoic type.
Towards the end of said arc however, a real plot appears, events are set into motion, and before long, it has escalated into an assault on said Soul Society a rescue mission from our team of 4-5 heroes, who fight their way through shinigami of all kinds trying to reach their goal, conveniently placed in the middle of this Society. In this arc, you'll get lots of great action and meaningful fights, bottled together with an extremely large and colorful cast of characters, flashbacks and an interesting plot. It all builds up one hell of an end to the arc, 60 or so episodes into the show, where a most intersting twist takes place. And said arc ending is in each and every way the climax of Bleach.
Which is its problem. From there it goes steep downhill to two arcs of slow-paced filler, which lowers your excitement a great deal of levels, and from there the show never manages to get you hooked as much as it did during the Soul Society arc. It does get some interesting new aspects and revelations durign the following Arrancar arc, but it never gets really exciting, nor does it get that much greater during the Hueco Mundo arc. It's just too much fighting, and a re-used "save the damsel in distress" plot. The colorful cast is not seen as much anymore, and aside some interesting emotional developments courtesy of the former klutz girl, there's not a lot to it, and most fights don't have the same enthralling depth to them which made the fights in SS so unique. Now it's more a display of unique powers, and whatever motivations the bad guys had for their fighting is revealed only after the actual fights, which in ways ruins things. Also, there's a few plot holes to speak of, but nothing large.
However, aside the completely random filler arc (which re-used several plot elements from the story), Bleach has shown potential for improvement lately, and it keeps expanding its cast endlessly, which makes the universe seem living in many ways, so we can all only hope that Bleach will improve gradually. However, I sincerely doubt that it will ever be restored to how great it was at its peak, namely the Soul Society rescue arc.
It does have a lot of shortcomings, yet it is a most enjoyable watch still. Now, why is that? The answer is the unexpectancy factor it has. Due to its vast cast and great universe, you can't really know what comes next, only make qualified guesses. What kinds of powers will that character have? What is the villain really up to? And what's with that guy? What will happen next? Who knows, who knows. So one could say that the true strength of Bleach lies in its cast, which can bring about mysteries, plot twists and other aspects of awesomeness, and cover up for a somewhat lacking storyline.
So what about the asesthetics? there's plenty of people who believe that the visual and auditory aspects of anime are just as important as any plot or character development. And Bleach delivers here, in many ways.
The animation quality is quite the hassle to discuss, because it is so varying in quality. At its worst it has low frame rates, offset character designs and framed action, while at its best it is vivid, meticulous and full of soft motions and beautifully animated special and lighting effects. Most of the time however, it is decent. Not average, but not in any way anything bragworthy. Expect some ups and downs in this department.
The soundtrack however, is very great. It is greatly varied, and is renewed per story arc, introducing new tunes often whilst keeping the old ones around too, and this variation is intrinsical of any above-average soundtrack. It stays perfectly in tone and atmosphere with the current events, and feature everything from upbreat, adrenaline-pumping electric guitar pieces to melliflous piano pieces, and standard comedic moment tracks. The opening and endign themes feature a lot of types and genres, from the serene and sentimental to rap and rock. And pop, of course.
I said it in the beginning, and I'll say it again; try out Bleach at least once, desptie what Narutard, shonen haters or anyone else have said. It's pretty enjoyable despite its lacks and faults, mostly in thanks to its great cast.
Bleach one of those animes that apear only once or twice every genaration. With an envolving story that keeps you hooked and faithfull to the manga, with just the right amount of comedy to loose things up when the tension is too high. The sound, animation and characters are flawless, and near perfect in a Tite Kubo style. The only major downside of the anime is the end of it. The end was early and vague since the manga is continuing on to its final arc, and true end, because of that even though Bleach is one of my all-time favourites, I can't give an perfect score due to its early end, most likely because of money issues. Its sad to not see the true end on anime, though as a true fan of the series I hope that at least there will be a movie or an DVD special that in the future animates the end of the still ongoing manga.