By Tite Kubo
Genres: Action, Adventure, Shounen, Super Power, Supernatural
Ichigo Kurosaki has always been able to see ghosts, but this ability doesn’t change his life nearly as much as his close encounter with Rukia Kuchiki, a Soul Reaper and member of the mysterious Soul Society. While fighting a Hollow, an evil spirit that preys on humans who display psychic energy, Rukia attempts to lend Ichigo some of her powers so that he can save his family; but much to her surprise, Ichigo absorbs every last drop of her energy. Now a full-fledged Soul Reaper himself, Ichigo quickly learns that the world he inhabits is one full of dangerous spirits and, along with Rukia—who is slowly regaining her powers—it’s Ichigo’s job to protect the innocent from Hollows and help the spirits themselves find peace.
Honestly, do you guys really need me to review this manga? Published since 2001, Bleach has acquired so much popularity that even people who never read a single page of manga in their life might know of the title. While some love it with strong passion, others hate it just as strongly. Undeniably, though, Bleach earned itself the title of being one of the “Shounen Big Three”, with thousands of fans who eagerly read Bleach updates every Wednesday.
Personally (and obviously, or else it wouldn’t be listed here), I love Bleach, but with some qualifications. As a whole, Bleach is a manga with amazing quality. Its art is dazzling. Its characters, though somewhat flat, serve the purpose of a Shounen manga. Its fighting scenes are beyond epic. The overall progression of story, though not impeccable, is quite ingenious. Then, something must have happened in the plot somewhere that made the manga drastically decline in quality, or else there wouldn’t be that many Bleach haters, right?
In fact, I have graphed (arbitrarily, using my own personal judgment) a Bleach quality of story vs. chapters chart. I hope this will clearly illustrate why some people would hate Bleach.
Conclusion from graph? Bleach haters either didn’t like Bleach from the beginning (theseries start off somewhat slow), or started to hate Bleach ever since 3-4 years ago (when the quality of series, undoubtedly, declined by a huge margin). However, if we take out the anomaly, which is, for the main part but not limited to, an arc that just randomly popped up from nowhere and is not really related to the story, we would find that the overall quality of Bleach for 550 chapters is extremely high. Besides, currently, it is going strong, and likely to finish as a solid manga worthy of being called “The Big Three”.
Bleach is a mainstream Shounen manga that one have a love-or-hate relationship with. Even though I currently belong to the lover category, I completely understand the haters. It is frustrating to see a manga that one has been following for years to temporarily turn into a shadow of its former glory, especially since updates come only once per week. It is easy to turn over to the hater group.
However, were a person who never seen Bleach before to marathon it right now, I bet he will love it, as he sees the big picture much more than blunders made in some arcs. So hopefully, Bleach will stay strong for another 50 episodes, and end in a manner that connects the story as a whole (which is quite possible, I think) and with an ending that readers find satisfactory.
And certainly, I never figured out as to why the English translation of Bleach is a synonym for detergent!
Note: I am quite sorry that what could have been a review turned into a stream of argument of “why people hate bleach” and “why it is overall a good story”. I frankly think that this mini-thesis paper would be a more appropriate blog than another generic, boring Bleach review.