I haven’t been reading Bleach for a while, but yesterday I just felt like getting back into it. I thought I would read a few chapters.. ended up reading everything that is out. That is the reason for the title of this post, I think I went through almost all the Bleach manga that was published this year. I think I may as well give my impression on it while everything is fresh in my mind =) I am not going to recite what happened in those chapters by the way, I’ll only mention things that picked my interest :P
I think I’ve stopped reading Bleach because the events became just too ridiculous. The fight I stopped at was Renji against a Superhero wrestler guy who was basically almost a comic relief character, yet he managed to defeat Kensei in his bankai form. After the epic fight Yamamoto put up it was just too ridiculous, it did not meet any of my expectations. So now when I got back into the manga I made sure to expect nothing serious from it. It worked pretty well for me.
First thing I want to mention – Kubo continues to reveal sword releases of different shinigami. Yachiru (pink headed girl who rides on Kenpachi’s shoulder) got shikai, Rukia got bankai, Renji updated his old one. Kenpachi got something, not sure what it was. All that was kinda interesting but not too exciting in itself. I rather liked new power Rukia got though. It is basically the power to freeze herself and things around her. It has a catch as you can see, and she can’t unfreeze herself too quickly, so after she uses that technique she is wide open for any incoming attack.
As you probably guessed Yachiru was involved in an actual fight this time. It is a little strange, since she looks and acts like a little girl. She got punched in the face and I think she was also stabbed, but she took it very well, not like you would expect from a kid. Well, she is a lieutenant after all, so it just proves that she was worthy of that rank. That fight got a little ridiculous after a while. She defeated one opponent, then another one showed up and first thing he did was turned her bones into cookies. Yep, cookies. Her arm broke almost at once, and she couldn’t fight any longer. And I am not going to be saying that ability her opponent used to do that to her is a nonsense, whatever. I just wonder, can an organism really function if it’s bones are turned into cookies? Shouldn’t she experience anaphylaxis or something like that? I mean, come on, cookies are made of all sort of staff that have no business being inside our bodies, expect stomach, maybe.
Also I want to say that Kubo, while having moments of inspiration is probably kind of lazy O.o I don’t know how else to explain what is going on in his manga. Remember Byakuya was fighting a pink pumpkin voodoo guy? That could control things? Same thing happened again. There was a guy with the same kind of power who fought Byakuya in the same manner. Remember Kurotsuchi using drugs to defeat his opponent in Hueco Mundo arc? You guessed it, it happened again. Toshiro uses his bankai for the 100501st time. Three different people use puppet master kind of power in a row, and they even fight each other. Also there are so many Naruto-inspired elements. Like the way Kurotsuchi defeats one of his enemies is quite similar to how Itachi defeated Kabuto; one of the bad guys multiplies and summons a meteorite; dead people are being brought back to live. It would have been alright if Naruto was some obscure manga, but since it is more or less a sibling to Bleach I’d say Kubo did not think it through with those choices.
But as I said, Kubo has moments of inspiration. He has given a pretty good back story to this new arch villain Yhwach. Apparently the reason he makes this absurd war is cause this is the way he sustains himself. He was born without any human abilities, but with a way to acquire them. He can grant others all kinds of blessings, but in return he gets all their “powers” when they die. Which usually follow pretty quickly. He needs people to receive his blessings and die with them to be able to exist, to be able to see, move, to be an able individual. So for him letting his forces to be wiped out is a not only acceptable but rather natural. And being overpowered beyond any measure he doesn’t really needs a lot of support. So at least in this aspect the manga makes sense. I know not everyone would agree with me, I tend to be very forgiving towards crazy strong antagonists in shonen series. On the other hand I tend to be rather negative about overpowered protagonists, which I did not express so far in this post, so I’d call it a zero sum :P
What else worth mentioning was there? I did not remember Bleach having quite as much mature content. There wasn’t anything that would make it R on MPAA ratings scale; but having a cross-dressing boy play with dead bodies in a manner that broadly hinted to perversion was not something I’d expect from a manga for teenagers.
To be honest one of the reasons I started reading the manga again was that I was lead to believe that Aizen would come back. It’s kinda interesting, since he still in my eyes has great potential as a villain. He was put down when he was still progressing and changing . He did not yet know his own abilities and limits, which may have been the reason he failed. So I was a little disappointed to know that I was wrong and Aizen was not brought into the events. Not yet anyway. I know that we had quite enough of him already, but well, what can you do, I still would not mind having more. I watched this video a few days ago, a scene where Aizen fights Toshiro. I’ll put it here, please watch it, it is only 4 minutes long.
Listen to this dialogue =) That is the way to build a villain. He is not just cruel, not just stronger than Toshiro, not just smarter than him. He is, somehow, more orderly, in this fight he represents sanity, sharp yet calm logic, while Toshiro represents revenge and primitive desire to use brute force to deal with problems. And through all this Aizen gains some kind of respect, he makes us agree that in this fight he is the only one who should win. Even though he is clearly a horrible person, who almost killed his subordinate a minute ago. That ability to be so superior that you twist people perception of good and evil is what makes Aizen a villain worthy of hundreds episodes we have been watching him.
Of course, I say that after seeing 300+ episodes of the anime and spending a lot of time thinking about it. This scene I’ve brought up may leave a different impression on you, and I’m pretty sure it left a different impression on me when I saw it first. I would not be surprised to see someone being outraged by what Aizen says in this calm manner of his. But being able to invoke anger is something you can expect from a villain too, isn’t it? =)
That is it from me. Till the next time, see you (^_^)/