Sigh. Bleach stopped making sense a long time ago, and I didn’t expect much of a payoff. But I at least thought Tite Kubo woulda put some respeck on it.
Ultimately I don’t understand what I’ve been reading for the last 4-5 years. Actually, it’s been more like 6-7 years. But this Ywach arc has been hard to stomach.
Bruuuuh. Siiiiiiiis… In the spirit of Cris Carter, C’mon man.
Bleach, you gave me two of my favorite characters in Captain Hitsugaya Toshiro and Ishida Uryuu. And you also gave me the wonderful Captain Kyoraku. You gave me a cast of characters that were just… Unimaginable. I mean think of the scope of the characters. From Ichigo’s high school buddies to Jinta and Ururu. To the Captains, Lieutenants, and officers of Gotei 13. To the Vizards and the Espada. To even the Fullbringers and Quincies. I must give Kubo-Sama credit. What a world and what characters! And Captain Commander Genryuusai… Baddest cliché old man with mad skills that I’ve read. His Bankai was insane. Yet his Bankai was wasted on a fake Yawach….
I realized this when Lost went off. While characters are very important to me, plot is a non-negotiable.
Yeah, those characters pale in comparison to the jumping off the rail and over the shark halfway thru the Hueco Mundo arc–an arc that was entirely too long.
Aizen… I told my homeboy that Aizen was the perfect nonsensical villain in this nonsensical world. He understood that in a world as tantalizingly fickle and promising as the Bleach Universe, someone had to prove how farcical this cosmos was. There was something BAWSE about that… And his poignant declaration to Urahara was true in an real sense: it’s not about what Bleach is; it’s what it should have been…
Who was the Soul King? Why was he in a crystal? What was that Black hand that engulfed Utitake? The right hand of the dude in the crystal who’s supposed to be the Soul King?
Stop. Just stop.
(James Brown shoulda been at the Apex… The Godfather woulda whipped Yawach’s butt…)
Those questions are meaningless. The main question that made me lose hope for Bleach–in terms of plot–was Ichigo’s dogged determination to never find out how he possessed such ridiculous abilities in the first place because all he cared about was protecting people with his abilities. Even after he got his Shinigami powers back after Kuchiki Byakuya (another off the chain character) took his powers away. Even after he learned how to do Bankai a few months after he got his powers. Even after he began to Hollowfy and was trained by the Vizards. Even after his Dad showed up as a Shinigami to help him with Aizen…
Ichigo was a perfect protagonist in this nonsensical world. It is only until writing this post that I truly understand that he is the character I dislike the most–well, him and Yawach…
I don’t expect all protagonist to be geniuses. Heck, Goku and Naruto were far from it. But at a certain point, in order for these characters to utilize their abilities, they had to have moments of self-discovery. Ichigo appeared willfully ignorant of his own history and abilities in a way that was repugnant to me. And I guess it was the Hueco Mundo Arc that showed me that.
After Aizen had orchestrated it all in the Seretei Arc, Ichigo should have realized that he was a pawn in a larger game. But instead of asking what the game was, who the players were, and how he could be used–his desire to protect his friends overrode those concerns even when it was clear that his desire was being exploited by the game. Never once did he ask, “why am I so different?” until the very end. That’s bad. I’m not saying that Kubo should’ve given us his entire origin story, but the lack of depth to Ichigo dragged on the story, which to me, is only second in “turrible” (a la Barkley) to the plot or lack thereof….
Fullbring? Sigh. But I did like Dirty Boots. Or maybe I liked the way Jackie said “Dirty Boots” in the anime.
At the end of the day, I just don’t understand what the Hogyuko was or what and who in the hell the Quincies really were and how Ywach became Lord over them… I think Tite had some health challenges along the way so I’m not gonna berate him. Also, I really think that Seretei Arc was once of the best arcs in manga/anime history. And the characters he created were OFF the Chain–particularly the captains. My homeboy loves him some Urahara. So I can’t say it’s all for naught. After all, I’ve consumed Bleach for over 10 years. And every week, I kept coming back b
But yet and still…. That Manga hurt me. The kind of hurt that can only take place when you truly love something even when you know you shouldn’t love it and it’s gone do you wrong. And so I let it hurt me. Unlike Naruto, I was put off by the ending-not because I didn’t want it to end, but because seeing the kids of the main characters cannot absolve a plot with so many loose ends.
Ultimately, Bleach will go down as a manga I LOVE and I love to hate. Given the chance, I’d probably read it all over again–unless my homeboy Steve had made the pronouncement he thought but never said to me aloud: “the Hueco Mundo arc is like the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi.” In the words of Jules Winfield, “Negro, that’s all you had to say.”
I miss Bleach already. Thank you, Tite Kubo. It’s easy to critique, but you produced a piece of art that changed my life–even if I wasn’t fully satisfied. But that doesn’t take away what you did give me. It takes courage to put a story out into the world.
And Attack on Titan will soon be over too.
Claymore, Naruto, Bleach…
©2016 M. J. Sales