Bleach – Series Review


Adios to Death and Strawberry

winter15-foshFor those that kept up with Bleach, you probably already know that it officially ended a few days ago, but was it a great ending that everyone wanted? Personally I have a few issues with how things ended! Oh and there will be SPOILERS.


winter15-kyoOoh, there definitely would be spoilers because manga endings deserve that. For the long time readers, rejoice that it has ended and is not crowding your screens for more attention or even dragging on! As Gintama’s recent chapter said, Jump lost its two main pillars with Bleach and Nisekoi recently but hey, there are more stories that would take it’s place. I want more chapters for One Punch Man and Shokugeki no Soma!


winter15-anaagaHiya! Bleach ended for a while already (around 2 weeks or so?), but the influence of its ending still lingers until now. This is probably because Bleach is one of the most famous WSJ titles, and its immense influence did affect the anime/manga world. But was the ending satisfying?


RIP Bleach


I loved the English dub for Bleach!

winter15-foshI have a lot of fond memories for Bleach thanks to Toonami who originally ran it back in 2006! I remember being curious about the whole concept of the Shinigami or as the dub called them Soul Reapers and Bleach played with the idea of death and the afterlife, but as with any long running Shounen series, they often ran into the dreaded filler arcs that took FOREVER *cough* Naruto *cough* and boy does Bleach have a ton of lame ass arcs like the Bount arc, The New Captain Shūsuke Amagai arc and The Zanpakuto: The Alternate Tale arc. While those arcs are lame, the canon stuff was decent and filled with some cool moments like the first time Ichigo went Bankai, the reveal of Hollow Ichigo and when Ichigo learned to summon his mask for a brief power boost? And who could forget the fights?! Ichigo vs Kenpachi, Ichigo vs GrimJow, Ichigo vs Ulquiorra just to name a few. Sadly nobody else really got to face off against and of the final bosses in Bleach besides Ichigo! I really wished a few of the side characters got their chances to be OP; however, in the end Ichigo is the main character of the series so it’s only natural that he takes the focus. While we are on the subject of Ichigo I have to scratch my head sometimes with Kubo’s choices on Ichigo’s power/origins because he is half Quincy, Hollow and Shinigami all rolled into one! I can only guess that Kubo simply wanted a unique character who could go toe to toe with anyone in the series? Other than Ichigo I liked all of Rukia’s fights, but Kenpachi will always be a personal favorite of mine because when he appeared I always knew things were going to get crazy.


Bleach was one of the first few anime that got me hooked into the animanga fandom and I still have fond memories of Bleach, which began with an interesting opening about a scrawny blond kid with an attitude to change the world. The Soul Society arc of Ichigo’s journey of becoming a Shinigami and rescuing Rukia is one of my all time favrourites for a shounen story. It shies away from the top 3 spots by the finale of Fullmetal Alchemist, Chimera arc of HunterxHunter and Marineford arc of One Piece. I remember being on pins and needles for what would happen to Ichigo and would Rukia die? The suspenseful pacing and good progress really made this a story to come back to. Not to mention, interesting themes around life after death, role of Shinigami in the real world and a hero, who always tried his best even if life only presented him one bleak turn after another. I still remember marathoning the series until fillers and having a great time around.

With popularity however, the studio decided to continue the series with original arcs rather than following canon. We all know what happened to the first instalment of Fullmental Alchemist, right? I swore off anime due to fillers and continued by journey with manga instead. Another thing still stuck to me is the Bleach music. Now the first entrants: *~Asterisk~ by Orange Range, Life is like a Boat by Rie Fu sound old today but they are still a classic and takes me down memory lane. Others on the list are below and you are welcome!:


winter15-anaagaBefore I ramble about the ending, let me have a moment of reminiscence about Bleach. Many people loved it, and I was one of the few people who were OK with it. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either. However, I was totally addicted at reading/watching it. There is something about shounen genre makes me unable to stop reading it despite of the general cliché and formula it has, and Bleach is one of them. The characters slowly grew on me, especially Ichigo. In fact, a lot of people liked Ichigo, and I can see why they love him. As it has been thoroughly explained by (insert name), Ichigo and most shounen characters are walking ideology of what Japanese people desire to be. They are oddities in the strict social law of Japan, but that’s why they are loved. Ichigo gives hope to his surrounding and can influence those who are around him. Besides, he has this cool sword and double personality. What’s not to love about Bleach if there is Ichigo in it?



winter15-foshNow for the manga which I started reading because I got really tired of watching all the lame filler arcs and wow was I ever addicted! I remember reading the chapters about Ichigo’s mom and dad meeting for the first time and going I NEED MORE! However, Kubo’s writing for the most part never blew me away. I mean sure it had lots of suspense filled moments like certain character reveals? Especially with freaking Aizen who apparently was behind the scenes setting everything in motion for Ichigo to be born with all his odd powers? After that things picked up in 2012 when Bleach entered The Thousand-Year Blood War arc between the Quincys and Shinigami, but that arc is plagued with tons of fights that dragged on for five or six chapters! I mean sure as a huge Kenpachi fan I loved all his fights because at some point during the final arc, Kenpachi learned to use his Bankai. Now after every side character got their special chapter and fight we finally caught up with Ichigo who once again was the chosen one to fight the final boss Yhwach and my god what an OP final villain! His greatest powers are Omni-Precognition (Yhwach can see everything that is to occur from the present moment into the far-flung future. He can “know” everything that lies within that gaze.), Future Modification (Yhwach states that the true power of The Almighty is the ability to transform the future), and Reactionary Power Immunity: That power will not only be unable to defeat him, but become unable to harm him in any way! That is until Ichigo teamed up with Aizen? Yes the same Aizen who screwed up Ichigo’s life and betrayed the Soul Society and lead the Arrancars; however I guess after years of being inprisoned he simply had a change of heart? Just kidding Aizen probably didn’t want to serve Yhwach as the new Soul King.


winter15-kyoThis moment is my favourite in the entire series. Ichigo beating all odds to save Rukia was the peak for me, an amazing crescendo to all the training and power-ups until then. However, after that moment, the storyline continued with the same hi-jinx of robbing off Ichigo’s powers and him struggling to gain some more. It became a rather formulaic storyline with similar endings of different arcs. And let’s not forget the last fight panels almost looking identical with blows coming from behind or sideways. Kubo Tite literally made me snore with the barrage of new characters and things that Ichigo had to do by training hard and fast. I understand this is the shounen formula but there was no point of all these Fullbringers and Sternritters. Aizen could have been the final boss and that would even make sense rather than resurrecting Yhwach for a lame line as, “I am your father!” Please keep that in the Star Wars universe only! You can imagine my derision on how a wonderful story was dragged along just for more chapters and was quickly ended because of sales. I would have rather liked a proper end with Aizen rather than a quickie with Yhwach, when supposedly he was the mastermind behind everything. The Soul Society was downplayed in both the last two arcs and they definitely didn’t deserve it. The captains were the real support cast, so why more were needed? I would have liked to know more about them rather than some glimpses in the middle and more introductions of characters who would die in battle in few chapters. It’s as if Kubo basically ignored his gems and went after other shiny things rather than focusing on what he built with time and continue to nurture them. Don’t event get me started on the pairing. I will bitch about it later but overall, the manga sizzled to its end with a toot rather than a BANG.


So many freaking Quincy characters!

winter15-anaaga The story, specifically the ending, is what makes me loathe Bleach. At first, the story is simple. It’s OK. Then it goes through the whole conspiracy thing, typical shounen stuff. It’s still OK. Then it ends abruptly in an anti-climatic way, leaving lots of things unresolved. Totally totally not OK. Kubo promised us a grand ending where we will be satisfied with it, but all he gave is a lame sword fight and a sarcastic ending which gave a jab at Naruto’s ending and WSJ? Like what the hell, Kubo? I know, the whole word knows that WSJ is pushing you to end things as quickly as possible, but do you have to end it like that? Instead of giving the most satisfying ending he can get, Kubo gave us a crappy last fight and ended Bleach in an extremely similar way with that of Naruto’s to the point where I suspect that he did it on purpose. I don’t like it. Bleach’s ending becomes a personal revenge for WSJ, and that is very unprofessional of Kubo. Justified, WSJ really did push him to ends Bleach as soon as possible. But c’mon, Kubo is supposed to know when his contract will end, and he is supposed to calculate his chapters so that he can give the best and most satisfying result before his contract ends. Besides, who was it that promised us that Bleach was supposed to end last year? As for the ending – God, nothing can – ugh. Suddenly there are people getting married to each other (despite the lack of romance in it), and kids are popping around here and there? The ending feels oddly similar with a certain series, except that Bleach’s didn’t give any good impression at all. In that certain series, most of the things were resolved, and the readers were given glances of the characters’ fate. As in most characters. Well, guess who didn’t do this? Definitely not the other series.


I sure would love a spinoff series with these two.

Final Thoughts


My final score would probably end up around a five out of ten! Because I really only liked a few characters like Kenpachi and Ichigo and when I heard that Kubo was practically forced by Weekly Shounen Jump to wrap up the final arc earlier than intended kinda sucked and killed my excitement for the series! I remember Kubo wanted The Thousand-Year Blood war to last a few years! So why was he forced to wrap things up early? For starters I guess bleach’s popularity dropped which is one of the reasons the anime had to end! That and it wasn’t getting the sales like Naruto or One Piece. Then again we really won’t know the official reason why unless Kubo gets on Twitter to complain? That seems to be the recent trend with content creators to tweet out their problems, but honestly did Kubo really think he could drag this final arc out for ten or even five years?! Personally I don’t think it would have lasted three due to his writing style or lack of? For the most part chapters contain more focus on the artwork, which is fine because it’s in manga form so it needs great artwork to keep you reading. After everything was said and done, we got the final chapter 686 which takes place roughly ten years after the last battle against Yhwach and it picks up with Ichigo and Orihime living together, which means they hooked up and they also had a kid who is crazy powerful like his father? Rukia also had a kid with Renji, which is probably going to piss off the shippers who wanted Ichigo and Rukia to end up together? Yeah sorry, she never really showed any romantic signs of being attracted to Ichigo. So yay Bleach pulled off a Naruto ending by having kids pop-up! Sadly, we won’t get to see Ichigo or Rukia’s kids teaming up to fight hollows together due to Weekly Shounen Jump pulling this series and I’m sure that doesn’t feel good for Kubo or maybe he doesn’t care anymore and wants to work on something new? Hopefully his next manga doesn’t suffer the same fate. Oh and that special announcement at the end? Bleach is getting a live action movie and no not that rumored American one from Warner Brothers or it could be? As far as I know it will be made in Japan.


Despite of the (crappy) ending Kubo gave us, the fact that Bleach was one of the most popular series in WSJ remains unchanged. Many people love it even until now. It gave us a likeable strong character, and the supporting characters were not that bad at all. Seeing the progress of Kubo’s art is also a huge plus in Bleach too. However, unlike the other series, I don’t think I will ever miss Bleach, especially with a crappy ending like this


The final verdict? I am disappoint. And the worst thing for me was Ichigo and Orihime. From the beginning, Bleach was all about Ichigo and Rukia, with her giving Ichigo powers and the continuous back and forth between them in trading favours. The anime is full of Ichigo/Rukia OP and ED hints; not to mention, the pilot of the manga had a dead Orihime, while a mini-shinigami bossed Ichigo around! So how was Orihime possibly paired off with Ichigo? Sure, she loved him for ages but Ichigo never responded to her feelings, rather he kept on running after Rukia, saving Rukia, getting the badge off Rukia, etc. etc. I feel like this is a devil’s snare that JKR got into when she commented Hermione should have ended up with Harry, when Ron and Hermione were perfect. The fandom exploded for a bit but c’mon! So, even if it’s now canon that Orihime ends up with Ichigo, I’m not happy about it. Happy for Renji that he got what he wished for but this all seems like, boohoo Renji will be alone so let’s give him Rukia, while Ichigo already has Orihime pining after him so let’s pair them up. Copy/paste Naruto ending with children in the mix for the possibility of a spin-off and we are done… Way to go, Kubo. I thought your story progression went downhill but damn, talk about a bailout. I hope he can work on a clothes brand as his next project rather than a manga because the end was a mess. I would have preferred an open-ended end rather than this. Though I have to mention that I liked Ichika and Kazui over Salad and Burrito, no offence. In the end, this story had so much potential but alas, I would not be remembering this in the same breath of Fullmetal Alchemist or even Naruto as an example. Next up is Gintama, soon to end. Now that one would definitely go into my top 10 list.

If you have read this far, kudos to you! Now share your thoughts on Bleach and what you think should have happened!


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2 Responses to “Bleach – Series Review”

  1. zztop says:

    Way to go, Kubo. I thought your story progression went downhill but damn, talk about a bailout.

    A lot of readers felt Kubo was only doing Bleach for the money, that he didn’t really care about the series anymore.

    On one hand, I can see why Kubo wanted to keep his cash cow going for as long as possible, given there’s little guarantee his next manga can be a popular bestseller such as Bleach. (Ex. Sailormoon’s creator was never able to replicate her success with Sailormoon with her other manga.) But then when your creativity’s already running on empty, it might be better to just end the manga rather than watch it decline into a shadow of its former self.

    Bleach is getting a live action movie and no not that rumored American one…or it could be?

    Live action Bleach is definitely a Japanese production with all-Japanese cast. Gintama’s getting a live action too, while filming on the live action Fullmetal Alchemist ended last week.

    For the live action Fullmetal, the director says he’ll be adapting the whole manga plot within the 1 movie, using Japanese filmmaking techniques capable of challenging Hollywood’s, and the use of an all-Japanese cast will not result in a scene which identifies them as Japanese.

  2. sonicsenryaku says:

    this is a post i had made elsewhere about the whole pairing situation and why i dont understand/agree with the reason why people thing kubo “coped” out.

    Ichigo doesnt show orihime that same bond as rukia’s because it’s not the same. One is a bond based on gratefulness and appreciation that they both impacted each other so greatly, while the other is a bond where there is a deep desire to protect one another and not see the other person cry. How those are conveyed are shown differently and on different levels. Ichigo was always reserved when he came to females and he would never show outward attraction towards anyone, but his bond and feelings towards these two females could be seen regardless and they are as i mentioned.

    As someone who has recently retreaded the series, i have been able to see everything in a fresh perspective. Sure, bleach original started with ichigo and rukia being a dynamic duo, but no later did it instantly throw any kind of romantic implications out the window. It appeared to be going down the road of the “boy meets girl and feelings grow” shtick, but somewhere down the line, kubo had made his decision on what he wanted ichigo and rukia’s relationship to be. People assume the 3rd bleach movie is basically a declaration of the romance between ichigo and rukia but if you really pay attention, it actually puts into perspective how platonic yet strong their bond is.

    Kubo played with the boy meets girl convention when his series began as well as fidgeting a bit with the aspect of a love triangle by building up orihime’s growing infatuation for ichigo; before long, things started to go one way and it had been that way ever since. Look, Im of the camp that feels that ichigo and rukia have better character dynamics (especially during the beginning of the series when bleach was at it’s best) but im also realistic. I wouldnt dare to say that ichihime was not set up blatantly throughout the series. I wouldnt dare say that there wasnt as much romantic context in ichigo and orihime’s screen time than ichigo and rukia’s; and i wouldnt dare say that ichihime came out of nowhere and that it was bad writing to pair them up. I can buy ichigo falling for orihime; it’s not as if the series was leaning one way for 3/4 of the show and then took a wrong turn on Albuquerque for the sake of pulling a fast one over the readers (and if you actually think that, i would suggest going back to watch the series again).

    If you’re upset that the couple you were rooting for didnt happen, fine; but it seems pointless to me to point fingers at kubo saying that either this was not what he originally intended or that he’s a bad writer. At least he wasnt intentionally teasing ships and throwing mixed signals towards the end of his series. All of this was a long time coming and there was plenty of screen time to make this evident unlike the whole naruhina thing. Hell, a movie had to be dedicated to selling naruto’ falling for hinata, suddenly realizing out of nowhere that she was this really important person all along. As much as i adore hinata (regardless of the fact that she had as much character as a blank canvas throughout the series), the whole set up of their relationship was contrived, essentially retconning naruto’s feelings for sakura under the excuse that his infatuation was a result of the rivalry he had with sasuke and that it was basically a childish competition of sorts that naruto held on to for some time. In bleach, we actually have romantic pairings that while not all that compelling (the series mostly focused on action), were still set up appropriately. Like i said, i completely disagree with your opinion based on everything the series provided us, but i guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.
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