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'Bleach': Brilliance or Blech?

Teggy
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Posted July 6, 2008 - By Courtney Kraft

Oh Bleach...this should be good.

Most of you know what Tite Kubo's Bleach is about, so we’ll keep it short. Bleach is a shounen series about teenager Ichigo Kurosaki who has the ability to see ghosts. Unaware of his own spiritual power’s potential, he meets a Soul Reaper named Rukia. In an attempt to save his life, Rukia gives Ichigo her powers, turning him into a substitute Soul Reaper.

Shame on Rukia! That’s a major crime. And thus, the plot thickens.

Anime fans have been raving about Bleach for the longest time, so we felt that it was high time to see what all the fuss was about. Frankly, it’s not the greatest thing since sliced bread (that would be our Shinsengumi Hello Kitty cell phone charm); but upon extensive marathon watching, we now understand why it’s so popular.

Bleach is the epitome of a typical shounen (boys) series. Ichigo is a relatable protagonist who gets to fight a lot and slowly become stronger and stronger. He’s a character that guys can look up to. He’s friendly and honorable, but tough as nails and determined which makes him a very well-balanced character. Plus, he’s not effeminate like a lot of anime bishie boys.

Don’t worry ladies. He’s still cute, and there are plenty of other evil bishies for you to crush on.

And let’s face it, guys like anime with lots of cool fights! Bleach certainly delivers those. For some...maybe a little too often, which tends to drag out the plot and make the series rather formulaic. For example, the Soul Society arc goes like this:

1) Recap the last five minutes of the previous episode.
2) Ichigo or pals fights some generic Soul Reaper.
3) They win.
4) Ichigo gets seriously hurt, but lives somehow.
5) Rukia sits in prison and rots.
6) Rinse. Repeat.

It goes on like that for what...fifteen episodes? Ichigo living through all the fights then moving onto the next a few minutes later, despite being critically injured, just gets a bit ridiculous. Besides, if the Soul Society is not the “world of the living,” how can anyone die at all? Soul Reapers grow up and die, but how? Maybe it’s explained later, but we’re not sitting through another 100 episodes to find out.

Despite its repetitive and slow-as-molasses nature, it still makes for a good time in the way that YuYu Hakusho does. However, Bleach would be more fun to watch once a week on television rather than on DVD (unless you’re madly in love with it, then by all means, buy it). We say this because the recaps at the start of the later episodes do get quite repetitive, and it made us want to fast forward through those since we just saw them.

As much as we dislike being picky (who are we trying to kid here?), the music does not do the series justice. It too is repetitive. Some of it sounds really cool until you’ve heard it thirty times in a row. Plus some of the English action-scene songs sound horribly cheesy. It’s like the stuff you’d hear on a Saturday morning cartoon...in the 90s.

The dub is well written and acted, but it's not quite top of the line. Johnny Yong Bocsh plays a very appropriate Ichigo. He captures the attitude and age perfectly. Michelle Ruff doesn't sound like a whiny, head-voice-abuser...for once. The rest of the cast is pretty spot on, but some characters like Renji and Byakuya lack that silken sexiness to their voices that we get from the Japanese version. No biggie. The dub is great when you just want to kick back and enjoy the show or you're busy multitasking.

Wow...we sure had a lot of nit-picky complaints, so allow us to conclude with the following: Bleach doesn’t suck. Despite its flaws, it is still a fun and enjoyable series with plenty of interesting characters to love and entertaining fight scenes.

Now behold the amazing Shinsengumi Hello Kitty cell phone charm!


--Courtney Kraft

 

 

 

 

 

BLEACH © Tite Kubo/Shueisha, TV TOKYO, dentsu, Pierrot

 


For personal reasons, I will no longer be writing reviews for g4tv.com. I would like to thank the wonderful Stephen Johnson for giving me this opportunity, as well as all of you for supporting my works. I hope that I have opened your hearts and minds to the world of anime and manga. Arigatou gozaimasu minna-san!

– Love, Court

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