AniFriday Issue #26 – Autumn Manga Special pt2: Bleach
Oh god! Here I came into this supposedly final arc, expecting answers and revelations. Instead, I’m seeing a lot of the same stuff that made me hate the previous arcs, and call this series a bloated formulaic mess. Everything I love and find cool about this show can be boiled down to a few characters. Any love I once had for this series is dangling from a metaphorical string made of three to four personalities. It’s almost as bad as when I was watching the original InuYasha anime once it got past the first 60-70 episodes. At this point, if there’s anything good and memorable to be strung from this series’ last arc, it will have to come from Ichigo – again!
Since I haven’t been able to put together weekly AniFriday posts for most of the summer, I thought I’d take the material that I could and compile it into specific posts for each series. While I couldn’t squeeze in time for some much desired anime watching, I did have time to read my favorite manga week t0 week. For this post, I’ll be focusing on the chapters (591 – 603) I read during that hiatus for Bleach and its final major arc, the war with the Quincy. At the end, I’ve given my general overall thoughts on the material, while on the way there you can see my chapter by chapter thoughts on the series. Though I think I may have given away some of thoughts in my initial rant. Pardon me, while many may have abandoned this series, I still hold some semblance of passion for it.
I’m gonna try to not focus on the surprise at the end, and more on what actually happened throughout the chapter. As usual, Bleach makes the distinction between “power levels” in this show rather confusing, it also goes out of its way to be confusing in its rules. I’m still not terribly sure how this whole zombie situation works with the blood and this cross-dressing Quincy, and the presence Mayuri just adds to the confusion. We only know for sure that four of the powerful Arrancar have been resurrected by Mayuri for his purposes. They still appear a bit rebellious about being controlled by a shinigami, and are still very obsessed for the most part with the shinigami who killed them. But for now, they’re the next line of defense against the Quincy.
This chapter felt surprisingly long despite all the nonsense in it. It’s this nonsense, and the madness of this chapter and this fight that’s keeping me interested.
I’m not sure if Hitsugaya’s dead, or just zombified. But he is one hell of a threat. His new Quincy master explains that Hitsugaya was made this way while he was still alive, so this may not be a case of a dead character showing up, unlike all the other corpses lying around. I always had a problem with this manga’s inability to commit to a character death. It’s not like I need to see characters die in a show, but when you have a show almost exclusively dedicated to fighting, super powers and gods, you expect something to die, and not always on the bad guy side either. I will admit that I was very impressed at the ice captain himself completely wrecking every thing in sight like you would expect from one of the most powerful shinigami ali— well, used to be one of the most powerful shinigami alive.
The question I’m left with after reading this chapter is how Mayuri going to tackle the problem of a shinigami captain who is more powerful than him (in my opinion) and who he can’t manipulate? My proposed answer? SCIENCE! Pseuo-science to be frank.
Mayuri, you are such a sadistic f*cking freak! If you didn’t think Mayuri was a villain before, just look at this chapter and you can see him doing what would seem to be villainous stuff. He’s even explaining his techniques and traps like a villain that believes he’s already won!But I guess I will admit that the pseudo-science guess I made before was right. Somewhere along the line, he’s administered something that puts Hitsugaya in some weird time loop. In all likelihood, he’s probably only paralyzed his mind. It’s pretty effective, and clever. Just another example of why this freak is one of my favorite characters.
Why does Kubo always have to have these ridiculous freak show characters?! I hate these characters and the fights with them! And the characters just multiply, too. Now I have this annoying Pepe dude popping up making everyone fight each other so he can get all the glory. If that weren’t pitiful enough, we see two more captain and a vice captain pop up as zombies, too. That’s just sad. I can’t even keep up with who is alive or dead anymore. And I’m getting the bad feeling that I’m not going to like the next few chapters.
Oh well, hopefully I’ll get to figure out what Mayuri’s goal is at the end of this chapter. Perhaps Hitsugaya can be brought back, or will Mayuri make him his slave instead of the Quincy’s? He’s known for doing this to other opponents.
F*ck this sh*t chapter! I had these goofy gimmick enemies! And since most of the characters are walking gimmicks anyway, the characters that I’m specifically calling out for being gimmicks are exceptionally bad. Let us never speak of this chapter again.
Good, hopefully this PePe bastard is almost dead. Even cooler is how Mayuri is using the zombies to his advantage now. Everything he mentioned, I don’t doubt. I don’t doubt that he was able to collect the blood of at least all the captains and vice-captains in the Seireitei, and I don’t doubt his ability to synthesize their blood and manipulate it as he wishes. He’s truly amazing.
Dear lord, please find time to move on from this tedious ground war with all these idiots and just focus on the Soul Palace part now. It looks like things are going that way, and I very much want to see the Royal Guard tested on this plane, and I dare say that I kinda want to see Ywach meet the Soul King. Not to see the Soul King die or anything, but because I’m intensely curious to figure out what happens.
*Le sigh* Another annoying enemy. I just can’t stand to even read his dialogue, though it’s nice to see that there’s a possibility he won’t linger. I’d like to see at least some of the major flaws of this series addressed before it dies. It was far more comforting to see Ganju pop up for what may be the last major trip for this group. It’s only appropriate that these guys unite for a moment so close to Bleach’s heyday. Even Orihime seemed slightly more tolerable for a moment.
Oh who am I kidding. As soon as she started talking I wanted to tell her to shut up.
It appears the show is setting Ichigo and Ishida up for their climactic battle at the end of the series, very similar to how the same is starting to happen in Naruto. Though I feel far less of a rivalry between Bleach’s pair than Naruto’s. The show kept these two separate for so long, that it just doesn’t feel like a rivalry, and even barely like a friendship. But that’s more of a discussion for the series once it’s ended.
I really do hate these villains. I really really do. Even when we get around to the elites of elites and their fight with the shinigami elite of elite, the Quincy just don’t strike me as much of anything. With the Arrancar, they at least had this cool theme that was about their different aspects of death and how they were eerie opposites of the shinigami. But with the Quincy, they just seem to be a random jumble of nonsense abilities. I get that they have powers based on the hope that Yuwa Bach has given them back, and I get that they’re all just coldly calculated pawns and resources for Quincy emperor to manipulate, but they’re sh*t to me. And even my patience is wearing thin up to this point.
Chapter 600 & 601
Alright, that was pretty awesome. I should’ve known the master smith of all zanpakutou would have some insanely extreme offense on his side. The idea of having a sword so sharp and deadly, that it can only be safely preserved in liquid is an amazing and really cool idea! It also looks like the Zero Squad isn’t gonna get mowed over as easily as I feared. They’re not fighting one-on-one exactly, and they do seem to have a plan that’s utilizing all their abilities properly. And I do find that to be a great thing, because they all should be about as strong as the old Captain-General Yamamoto was before he was killed.
I really didn’t completely comprehend Sternritter D’s explanation of his powers. I could have swore that he said he was immortal in the previous chapter, but I don’t really care at this point. These guys are a mess. The top level Quincy are all just disappointments and fodder to me.
I completely regret what I said about the last chapter, not because I was wrong, but because this next chapter seems like a complete rebuttal to ATTEMPT to prove me wrong.
Geez! They can’t kill these characters off fast enough for me. And now some of them are getting resurrected? Good grief! I don’t really understand what’s going on with this manga at this point. It just feels like a mess to me. Honestly, I just hope at least half the cast ends up getting killed or forgotten, especially the Quincy.
I really just want this cast/combatants whittled down to single digits at this point.
My thoughts on the arc:
aside from Mayuri’s glory and the shock of seeing Hitsugaya as a zombie, the reading of this arc has been kinda crap for me. There are good moments, but for me this is starting to feel much like the Arrancar arc. And what I mean by that is the fights are getting so chaotic and fast, that I’m having trouble grasping of all it, let a lone giving a sh*t. And though I know I shouldn’t expect this pet peeve to change 500+ chapters into a story, but I HATE the villains in this arc! It’s also a common problem for many a shounen series. Too often, you’re told to care about a character after they’ve been defeated or killed. And I just can’t bring myself to do that most of the time. It’s just so formulaic, and if I don’t like a character during the fight, I won’t give a sh*t once it’s done.
I have hope for the future though. With things moving more and more towards the Soul King’s palace, we’ll get farther away from dealing with this random crap, and more towards a more focused experience with less weirdos. All I ask is that you give me my Ichigo fight, explain what the hell is up with Quincies and why they suck so much, and let me see the Soul King for more than two panels. That’s all. I fully expect a sh*t ending to this series, or something flatly dissatisfying.
- AniFriday Issue #25 – Autumn Manga Special pt1: Hajime no Ippo
- AniFriday Issue #24: August 1st, 2014 (that felt kinda nice)