Bleach: 10 Years Later

10 years ago, when I was in 6th grade (I’m 22 now), I started reading Bleach in Shonen Jump magazine through our school’s library. I can even recall vividly when it began airing on Adult Swim; it was one of the few anime at the time that my mom really liked and watched with me. Like many shows, I read the manga rapidly and as soon as the filler started up (the Bount Arc), I stopped watching it. My family kept watching but I had stopped. I can recall very well hiding in my room at my dad’s, where I wasn’t allowed to watch anime, and watching it with the volume down really low. I can recall having my mom record it on VHS tapes along with Trinity Blood and other shows on weekends I wasn’t with her.

                Because I read it and re-read it so fast, my memory is quite a bit fuzzy but I do have many fond memories associated with the series. In the summer of 9th grade when I was at my dad’s, I began re-reading Bleach from the beginning and working to catch up to the English release. That summer felt much shorter as I barely moved, reading Soul Society Arc in a tent, meeting Grimmjow for the first time – reading that volume for the first time on my bed on a hot day. I barely slept and I read about 35 books in a week, which was pretty big for me back then.

                -FROM THIS POINT ON THERE WILL BE SPOILERS- After catching up to the English, I continued to read Bleach weekly (illegally) for about two years. I read the end of Hueco Mundo and into the final arc. Around the time Toshi got turned into a zombie, I got bored and I quit reading until about 5 months ago. And then I binge read it. And then I got 30 chapters behind and I caught up about a week ago. And I have A LOT of feelings. So I apologize if this post gets even more choppy – I’m just going to make bullet points. You may or may not agree with me, these are just my personal feelings as the series is ending.

  • The Final Battle felt too quick compared to the battle with Aizen or even with Grimmjow.
  • The entire battle that Yoruichi, her brother, and Kisuke fought was pointless. Having it in there took away from the bigger battle.
  • I thought the Cat God thing seemed like a forced explanation. I did like seeing Benihime.
  • The entire Kenpachi Arc was not pointless. It was really enjoyable. I consider myself fairly good at figuring things out but I did not expect Yachiru to be a physical manifestation of Kenpachi’s sword’s spirit.
  • I kind of felt like Nel stating something along the lines that she wished she could of appeared was a stab at Kubo not getting enough time.
  • I felt there wasn’t enough building on the dad’s helping. Parents play a big role in Kubo’s writing and this was so flat it was depressing.
  • I was so upset about Ukitake but I was so, so happy about Rukia (also Renji’s hair – I laughed for five minutes).
  • Was Adult Toshi even necessary? I felt like it was forced fanservice…
  • I’m still not the biggest fan of Ichigo being a mix of Quincy/Shinigami/Hollow…it’s a bit over-the-top. And we didn’t get to see much about his weird final form at all.
  • I felt like Uryuu’s final fight was shafted. It felt like it was completely written and then taken out for time.
  • I felt there was no build on his feelings about the arrowhead. At all. Or the fact that his dad brought it to him.
  • I don’t recall all of what happened with the Soul King but it feels like he never existed or mattered at all. Same with Squad 0
  • Ichigo is 28 now, y’all.

When the final chapter drops on the 18th, will we get to see the human world 10 years later? What will happen with Ichigo? Will there be any romance? It feels weird to have yet another powerhouse series ending and Attack on Titan is right around the corner with its ending. Bleach has had a huge impact on my life. I’ve read it for a long time, watched it with my family, cosplayed from it with my friends – in fact Rukia was one of my first cosplays. As much as I have not enjoyed this final arc and I felt early battles with Sternritters were boring/drawn out, I am sad to see Bleach end. Moreso, I am sad to see Bleach end in such a hurried/rushed way.

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