Ichigo Kurosaki News

Ichigo Kurosaki is a anime/manga character in the Bleach franchise
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I think i mentioned it somewhere that it wasn’t until 2007 that i first began watching anime and reading manga with gusto, having had little exposure prior, precluding YuGiOh! which is devoured with intensity during my earlier years.

Sufficing to say my approach to anime and manga is a little different now than it was a few years back, a little less discerning; it was probably because my exposure to anime back then was so limited that i pretty much devoured whatever i encountered-so long as it fell within specific battle oriented categories.

Only now, with my tastes slowly expanding and transforming, can i say that i have gathered a pretty intricate perspective on anime, at least based on what i have watched and read; and its only now, after so many years that i can begin to appreciate just what anime and manga has to offer as a pretty unique medium of entertainment and, more importantly, all the flaws that it has been known to present to its viewers.

Though that description might in itself present some issues; after all how do you separate a fault, a failing, from an attribute; it’s like complaining that no one ever dies in comic books, not taking into account that the triviality of death is a deep rooted attribute and characteristic of the comic book universe, if it is to continue down its current structure of story telling.

In this post i attempt to cover all those elements and factors of anime and manga that i have found irksome and irritating over the years.

Though i would qualify that by saying that not every element or attribute mentioned in this post is applicable to anime in general, but rather specific facets, types, genres of anime that i have come across.

Equally important is the fact that the negative nature of some of the elements mentioned is only determined by their usage; in other words certain elements might prove irksome in one scenario but brilliant in another; most times it comes down to execution.

So, without further delay, what irritates me, sometimes even downright infuriates, me about anime:

1. NAKAMA POWER- I intend to elaborate on this issue in another post, but for now i will say that there is probably no bigger sin that has ever been introduced in anime than this irritation known as nakama power. The idea that the outcome of battle would be determined by the feelings and positive hopes one one party makes my blood boil.

I was highly amused while watching this one anime in which, after spouting a grand speech on heroic ideals and determination and wanting to protect others, the hero found himself soundly defeated by an enemy that went on to remind him that no amount of resolve could close the distance in strength between them.

Even within the fictional world of anime one expects a level of logic and realism to prevail; and there is no plausible realm in which great resolve can translate into raw power and skill, and 99% of the anime that utilize this concept are completely ruined by the presence of Nakama power.

Notice that even Dragon ball z, the cliché of cliché’ anime, somehow managed to avoid the use of nakama power, instead depending on ridiculous power ups, a silly tool still way more justifiable than Nakama power.

Note worthy examples include almost everything in Fairy tail, One piece to an extent; though bleach [sort of] escapes this category, instead finding its poison elsewhere. Not forgetting Guilty Crown

Acceptable uses of the concept can be found in Gurren Luggan and History’s Strongest Disciple. Though series like Blood+ and Fullmetal Alchemist has proven this concept largely unnecessary.

2. RANDOM POWER UPS- I HATE random power ups almost as much as i detest Nakama power, and while it fares more positively in comparison Nakama power, the sudden emergence of hidden abilities, earth shattering powers, never before hinted upon weapons will destroy the credibility of an anime (at least in my eyes) faster than the dumbest plot holes.

And the coincidence of all such circumstances, always timed to unleash in time to contend with some unstoppable force, rendering any strategy or battle plans meaningless.

And yes i consider Ichigo’s sudden uber hollowification against Uluquiora to be a random power up, just one of the few that worked but only because the Esparda’s defeat by any other means would have been, as otaku like to say, an ass pull.

And here’s where i appreciate series like Naruto and One piece that showcase a primary protagonist’s slow rise to power; because the majority of shonen anime depend upon sudden power ups to turn wimpy incompetent heroes into formidable opponents to near invincible villains.

One wonders why they create such powerful villains if rationally defeating them will eventually prove impossible outside some previously unknown super saiyan mode.

And am now hearing rumours that Hunter X Hunter does just this with Gon during the Chimera ant arc; though one can only assume that, given Togashi’s track record, he, along with the likes of Gurren Luggan, will be one of a few that can pull this off brilliantly.

3. GENIUS PROTAGONISTS- Its difficult to believe that some years back many Naruto fans were floating the idea that the series would have been better off with Sasuke as the lead, which doesn’t make sense because natural born geniuses in anime strip the tension out of most story lines, making things seem too easy.

There is no place for geniuses in anime and manga outside of support roles or as antagonists; thought its worth mentioning that those anime which effectively utilize genius protagonists balance them out with even smarter villains and acceptably challenging obstacles. Just look at Death note where no victory was achieved without considerable struggle.

4. BATTLE GENIUSES- Back to picking on the big 3; I am talking about characters that, while barely average in intelligence, will walk onto the battle field against a superior opponent and almost always emerge victorious, always adapting in the last instant against a power initially overwhelming to them.

And this pretty much describes Ichigo, always spending the better part of an hour getting skewered and battered, only to discover the opponents weakness through pure observation when challenging an invisible attack, or gaining that extra boost of speed to match a demonically fast enemy.

It’s always the same dumb nonsense, that an ability to adapt in the field can literally serve you against any and all enemies, one wondering just how discovering your enemy’s weaknesses after an hour’s battle will aid you at a point in time where you should be in no physical shape to achieve victory.

It’s probably why i appreciated Jiraiya’s death so much in Naruto, that even after discovering the enemy’s true power, he found himself incapable of doing anything other than sending this information off to his pupil, dying in the process.

A lesser mangaka would have eliminated that particular plot, instead having Naruto display uncharacteristic intelligence in the midst of battle.

5. NAKAMA- Maybe there was something initially endearing to this concept upon its conception who knows how far back, but i am tired of anime and manga that possess little to no plot outside of the protagonist’s need to defend his nakama.

This term has been severely misused in story telling, the topic of many grand speeches to justify one unnecessary conflict after another.

6. FAN SERVICE- It would be a strange otaku that would complain about the presence and level of fan service in Queen’s blade, because that’s pretty much all the series is about. However one such Otaku would be more than justified in making the same complaint against a series like Freezing Vibration, essentially attempting to take a darker tone with its story but ruining the tension created by attacks that do little more than rip cloth and expose flesh.

Fan service has its place in anime, and a few splashes here and there in even the most serious anime isn’t likely to disparage its quality. Unfortunately most fan service proves to be quite unnecessary.

I should also probably mention the weird and unrealistic body sizes and proportions.

7. WHINY VILLAINS- I have elaborated on this fault in a separate post detailing the traits of a great villain. And reiterating those complaints, i have just about had it with villains in anime and manga whose primary purpose in life seems to be to elicit sympathy from the audience.

That so many villains these days have to berate use with a sob story about their lives, that we are expected to forgive and relate to fiendish characters whose only saving grace is the ridiculously unrealistic levels of torture they underwent during their youth; that almost all anime today end with the hero and villain weeping incessantly over the course their lives took. It irritates me to no end, that anime cannot bring to us some truly evil villains.

Tortured pasts and complicated origin stories do not necessarily make great villains.

8. GRATUITOUS VIOLENCE- I have come across what i would refer to as some considerably strange otaku who will not touch an anime unless it spills blood and guts in liberal amounts. I don’t get the appeal.

Action series devoid of blood in any form are unrealistic and make absolutely no sense. However there are series whose only selling point is the glorious amounts of blood spilt in each episode.

Too many anime series use gore for shock’s sake, attempting to keep fans glued to the screen with the promise of a thousand unique and gruesome deaths. It’s the reason i failed to watch Final Destination, which is just one massive death fest.

Great offenders here include Afro Samurai and Shigurui. Again i understand the place gore has in anime; however more than half of the bloody anime i have come across felt like they were forcing gore for gore’s sake.

9. LENGTHY BATTLES- I wrote a post on this particular topic a while back, comparing short and long battles in anime. And i remember concluding that both forms of battle had a role to play in an anime, and how positive a long or short battle proved to be was always determined by the the circumstances in play.

In other words there are times where lengthy battles are indeed a necessity. This unfortunately doesn’t apply to most anime, who have no problem allowing duels to run into the dozens of episodes at a time.

Most such anime simply fail to keep the clashes fresh, and over time the battles become repetitive, basically bringing to the screen too many of the intricacies of the fight, basically a blow by blow telling.

10. COMPLEX TERMINOLOGY- One of several reasons mecha as a genre simply doesn’t appeal to me; the idea that an anime would waste precious minutes explaining to us viewers the intricacies of some of these scientific and engineering concepts simply baffles me.

I understand the need to create realism in one’s story, but do we need to waste time listening to characters blurting out gibberish about how the central triflorating coil impacts the heating of the semi concrete switch.

90% of all mecha and sci-fi series feel the need to fill us in on how their false science works. Outside of actual elements of an anime that are key to understanding the concept that drives a series, they all need to stop.

11. UNYIELDING PROTAGONISTS- During my first two hundred episodes of One Piece is seriously considered dropping the series, not because of its quirky style but primarily due to Luffy, a hero that, no matter how many times he was decimated by his enemy, always got up, again and again, ready to take loads more punishment.

Now am not saying that Luffy never went down during those initial 200-400 episodes; I am saying that when he did go down, he still stood up to face his opponent once more, most definitely unconscious but none the less indomitable.

I am curious. Medically speaking if i snatched a club up and knocked a human being down, unconscious and all, would it be within their ability to rise up none the less and continue engaging in battle? Because i might be wrong and Luffy could well be within the limits of reality.

12. BATTLE MONOLOGUE- I understand why combatants would choose to express themselves in battle; what i don’t understand is why any being of average intelligence would decide to reveal the secrets of his ability to his enemy.

I mean, isn’t that part of the strategy, keeping your enemy guessing and basically ambushing them during a fight? I get that we the viewers need to understand what is going on in a given scene, but writers could be smarter about educating anime fans.

It’s probably for this reason that i still appreciate the old Samurai X anime, that each major clash included a bystander that basically provided us, the viewers, a blow by blow of the fast paced events occurring on the battle field; that’s actually a more believable tool that Kenshin simply spilling to Sato the rational of his legendary skill.

13. INBALANCED CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT- Krillin says it all. I would have had much greater appreciation for Ichigo’s growth during Bleach’s progress if there was anything akin to favourable development for support characters such as Rukia and Sado.

Anime series, especially those with large casts, need to learn to provide balanced development to all core cast members of any given stories. The idea of a single character driving the success of an entire story is long obsolete.

14. THE ONE- This harks back to my 13th point; the idea of that so called singular hero born and bread and chosen to rise, rule, save the world has a tendency to turn me off. Though, as i have mentioned before, certain series have the uncanny ability to pull tropes such as this off brilliantly.

Again it all comes down to execution; and anime that choose to gush over a single core character at the expense of all other important characters will kill an anime for me.

15. AMATEUR HEROES- Now this isn’t necessarily a criticism, but more of a…consideration. I understand the idea of anime, especially shonen, being targeted primarily towards certain audiences; but i can’t be the only one to notice that 95% of all heroes in all anime universes a younger than 12 years of age.

The idea that, on a vast planet of diversely skilled individuals, one ten year old stands as the best hope of humanity against one threat or another. This was my problem with copellion (Anime), whose organization had the opportunity to engineer their heroes into being rather than simply choosing them from the masses.

And they still chose to create restrictively skilled high school age girls and boys. I sometimes find myself rolling my eyes at the idea of a 7 year old acting no different from a 30 year old, commanding great power and respect and displaying even greater wisdom.

And again this isn’t always a bad thing; after all i love Naruto. But some of these kids shouldn’t even know how to tie their shoe laces, yet i am supposed to believe that they can concoct genius level strategies and pilot super robots?

16. WHINY CHARACTERS/CONFLICTED HEROES- I think most Otaku will have at some point encountered these most irritating of characters. More often than not, the most conflicted heroes are also the most whiny. You know them, those protagonists that simply cannot make their minds up, will spend most of the series fleeing from responsibility or a calling, whining and crying about their supposedly poor lives, before finally making an appearance at the end.

I can probably accept a little whining, but characters spending nearly two thirds of the series weeping extremely irritate me.

17.USLESS FEMALE CHARACTERS-

I have to confess; i have come across very few female characters in anime and manga that i actually like; and it has nothing to do with the fact that so many of them play little more role than the damsel in distress…okay maybe that’s partly the problem.

However i am most irked by how useless most of them are to the plots of their respective series, besides contributing to fan service and ecchi components.

18. BEACH EPISODES-

I get it; they’re filler, supposed to allow us a glimpse into the lives of our protagonists as they wind down from the stress of daily life, should be funny, supposed to be enlightening, but i am sick to death of them.

If every anime chose to strike these beach/camping episodes from their structures, i would be greatly pleased. The only exception i have found is Another, which actually used the beach episode to pull off a shocking death.

19. CONTRADICTING AGES- Characters with 12 year old bodies that are supposedly several years older-for the record, i am not talking about vampires and the like, but basically human characters; this goes back to my complaint about a silly abundance of teen and pre teen heroes, which is what most such anime do, supposedly bringing older and more mature protagonists to situations, but still determined to bring a child like attitude and atmosphere to the series.

20. PAEDOPHILIA- There are certain anime series that can pull off some innocently funny situations between considerably older and considerably younger characters. Most however come off as quite disturbing.

And that’s it for this rant about those dark sides of anime that infuriate me; though strangely enough, its because this is anime we are talking about that i am not actually advocating for any of these to get eliminated from basic anime story telling.

Anime has a reputation for taking the mundane and squeezing magic out of it; i am certain that, by putting their heads together, anime writers, producers, creators can take any of these elements and transform them into items that can generate considerable entertainment.

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Hiya everyone! After doing the Which Shonen Series has the Most Damsels in Distress?, I got to do it for the opposite sex. Instead of Shonen shows, I made it broad. Please enjoy this list. I tried not to put too many spoilers.

Dudes in Distress

Just to balance the Damsel in Distress lists.

1. Komatsu

He's like the Krillin in the Toriko franchise. Wait, Krillin didn't get kidnapped. You get my point. He's a sidekick character who has no real powers. He's more like Manta from Shaman King, a kind man. He got kidnapped by a thug in the Puffer Whale cave.

2. Ash's Pikachu

Despite being level 100, he gets kidnapped by Team Rocket. Ash is too stupid to keep Team Rocket from jacking his Pokemon. Or maybe Pikachu needs some space from Ash.

3. Ichigo Kurosaki

Gets his ass saved by Rukia and vice versa. Oh, he got his ass save by Nel. He's a lucky bastard to be saved Rukia and Nel who are sexy. Was Ichigo pretending to lose?

4. Eren Yeager

Gets his ass saved by Mikasa and Levi. I seen fans shipping Eren with these two and fan art of Eren getting carried bridal style.

5. Yukiteru Amano

Gets his ass kidnapped by his stalker.

6. Portgas D. Ace

Spoilers - Can't tell you. He was Luffy's bad ass brother whose pride got him in trouble.

7. Usopp

Pre time skip Usopp was a weak, but he was a smart guy.

8. Kon

In his plushie form, he can't do crap on his own.

9. Happy

Needs Natsu and Lucy to save his butt.

10. Gaara

Kidnapped by the Akatsuki.

11. Kakashi Hatake

Was Zabuza's Bitch. Pardon my language, he was a prisoner held in Zabuza's water prison jutsu. His students had to save him.

12. Mokuba Kaiba

Gets kidnapped by that green haired dude.

13. Manta Oyamada

Gets kidnapped by Faust who was dissecting him. It's pretty brutal.

14. Yamcha

Krillin saved him after his chest was stabbed by some androids.

15. Gohan

As a little kid, all he could was throw tantrums and call daddy.

16. Mamoru Chiba

Taichokage:

The human plot device for saving the day has himself been embarrassingly captured more than once and is rescued by the ones meant to be rescued. How he still keeps the Batman-like persona of arrogance and cockiness is a mystery.

17. Kenshiro

Taichokage:

Claimed his Hokuto Shinken technique was invincible, Captured without inflicting any damage and was rescued by a child.

18. Crona

Taichokage:

Probably the only character in the series to be taken by both the Protagonists and the Antagonists. The guy can't catch a break.

19. Trafalgar Law

Taichokage:

Masterminded a brilliant strategy, Beaten and captured by a greater Mastermind!

20. Rokuro Okajima

Taichokage:

You know you are not irreplaceable when you're kidnapped and your company won't pay your ransom.

21. Natsu Dragneel

Bigz007:

yes, it's the true, Natsu was kidnapped one time. I guess it's the first and only time that he needed help from someone.

22. Joshua Lundgren

Bigz007:

taken by Claw's group

23. Killua Zoldyck

Bigz007:

got kidnapped and tortured by his brother Illumi

24. Hatchan

Bigz007

he was saved by Strawhats at Nami's request

25. Raki

Bigz007

saved by Clare just before he was about to be eaten by a yoma.

26. Alphonse Elric

Bigz007

since his body is a metal armor, he got taken and worn by a kid. He had to convince that kid to stop wearing him.

27. Sado Yasutora

Taichokage:

Sado aka Chad is a nice guy and a great friend. He tries so hard. He will fight to failure reapedly if necessary. Unfortunately that's exactly what happens with Chad. When you are rescued by the friend you promised to fight for at least 5 times and you're captured twice, your relevance is put into serious question.

28. Furuichi Takayuki

Taichokage:

The #1 pervert in Beelzebub. He is captured, threatened or beaten many times but is usually rescued by his best friend Oga

29. Kazuma Kuwabara

Nishi99 and Taichokage:

While somewhat over the top, he is actually a fairly reliable guy. Nevertheless, he was captured and used to lure out his best friend into a trap. Not so reliable there I suppose.

30. King Neptune

Taichokage:

He's a nice enough King, but he was foolish enough to accuse some Pirates without proof and tried to apprehend them personally. He was beaten and captured with ease, but was lucky that those same "Pirates" were good guys and they let him go.

31. Krillin

Nishi99:

Saved his waifu from Cell and became a damsel by Cell

32. Coby

Kobra678

Kidnapped by Alvida

33. Yusuke Urameshi

Justalittlegirl:

Kidnapped by nerds

34. Honoka Takamiya

DocHaus:

He gets saved by the school idol, Ayaka Kagari, who is a witch.

35. Ciel Phantomhive

UltimateHero0406:

Without Sebastian, he's just a kid. And as such, he has been snatched up on multiple occasions. Even his soul was kidnapped once lol

36. Free

Taichokage:

Apprehended by witches and thrown into a dungeon, this non aging, immortal magic wielder was rescued by traitor Witches because he was too simple to think about breaking the small iron bars

37. Albert Morcerf

Taichokage:

Kidnapped by hired Pirates and rescued by the one that paid for his capture in order to manipulate the naive Albert into befriending and working with him.

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Okay, guys and gals, this is a sad attempt by me for the Bleach Discussion (Manga)'s hot topics. I haven't read or watch Bleach after the end of the Fake Karakura Town arc.

Feel free to lay down your thoughts since this topic was a bit controversial. I don't blame you, and I'm not doing the anti-feminist thing. I had this weird pattern about Bleach that popped out in my head around 3AM, and I had the urge to post it.

Damsels in Distress

Beware of spoilers!

I was recalling the fun days of watching Bleach back in Adult Swim before it turned a bit stale. I thought about the story arcs in Bleach. Two of them have this trope.

Note: I haven't read or seen Fullbring arc or the rest of the fillers after the Bount arc. I might missed some stuff.

Rukia Kuchiki

Rukia is one of my favorite gals in Bleach. She's tough as nails and has a wicked Zanpakuto, Sode no Shirayuki, that freezes her target. She saved Ichigo's ass plenty of times. I can't help wonder about the whole goal of the Soul Society arc, rescuing Rukia before she was executed. In my mind, I was yelling "come on, Rukia. Bust out of jail and rebel against your bro." It feels weird that Rukia isn't fighting back.

Lastly, enjoy this video of Ichigo's reunion with Rukia. Notice how he treats Rukia. Guys, that's power of love right there.

Orihime Inoue

After Soul Society arc, Ichigo and the gang encounter a group of new enemies called Arrancars, your hybrid versions of Hollows and Shinigami in a sense. Guess what happens, Orihime gets kidnapped. It's up to Ichigo and his gang to rescue her. Loved how Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez and Ulquiorra interacted with Orihime. Compared to Rukia, Orihime is a healer who provides support for her teammates. She is no warrior like Rukia when she didn't put up any resistance to Aizen's group.

Edit:

Nel teaching Ichigo how to treat ladies as equals

In the end, both gals give up until Ichigo arrive and show them a glimmer of hope (to fans who ship them, too.) I don't have a full knowledge of the series, but it seems that Kubo likes to add some romantic damsel in distress in these major story arcs.

I have to cut this short. Sorry, I got to hit the hay for Veteran's Day celebration for the Church.

Don't take this blog seriously. I'm just kidding with you guys and gals. (my sarcasm is bad)

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I love BLEACH. While there’re objectively “better” mangas out there, what Tite Kubo started in 2005 is still one of my greatest inspiration in creating fiction, because underneath the flashy fight sequences and repetitive storylines, there’s an outstandingly intelligent story filled with profound themes, and amazing characters. So, now that we entered the final phases of this epic tale, I decided to re-read and review the entire opera up until this moment. Follow me in the…

BLEACH RETROSPECTIVE I: The Death and the Strawberry (Volume 1 to 8)

The opening of BLEACH is a rapid-fire descent into absolute insanity, as our protagonist Ichigo Kurosaki beats up some jocks, strolls down a road talking to a bleeding dead girl and gets into a fist fight with his father, all of which is played entirely for laughs. And from there, things just get both sillier and grittier, with a disembowelled magical warrior-woman that sucks at drawing shows up to give us clunky exposition on this crazy world rules, while a giant fish-frog monster attacks the house. It’s a perfect opening for the series (expect for the clunk exposition of course), that gives us all the best elements of Kubo’s writing.

You laugh at the funny moments and you tremble when the blood starts getting spilled, and the transition between these emotions are incredibly smooth and work out perfectly, something that is often hard to do for many other. Too many times, a mood-switch this radical from slapstick comedy to monster rampage gives us readers a sense of confusion, like the plot is schizophrenic and doesn’t know what it wants to be, but BLEACH knows exactly what it wants to be: entertaining. Like many others, I was immediately hooked by the amusing humor, the viciously cathartic action and most of all, BLEACH’s strongest point when put in comparison with any other work of fiction: the instantly likable characters.

I generally like Ichigo better in these earlier chapters than in the rest of the manga. He’s a great character overall, but the more the plot progresses, the more he loses this edge he as at the beginning. When the story starts he’s much more energetic and brash in his actions, wonderfully disenchanted and deadpan in the comedy, and throw tantrums more often. That’s understandable of course, this is before really harsh battles, doppelgangers and grievous injuries start weighting on him, forcing him to grow up in a more mature, contained individual. The same goes for the mood of the story.

Frequently characters and expression are heavily stylized and sketched to generate humour, something that will fade in the background and used rather rarely once shinigami and arrancars start rising their heads.

That isn’t to say there’s a lack of darkness here, in fact, one of my favourite scenes is the chase Ichigo gives a particular hollow, former serial killer, that forced the spirit of a child into slavery. The way our hero sadistically beats and taunts the monster is incredibly cathartic. It shows another side of his personality that will later be relegated to his evil doppelganger, a certain joy in winning battles and delivering some really harsh punishment. The Ichigo of the first volumes has this punkish, slightly antiheroic streak that goes through his personality, that makes him stand out in my opinion, from the one he will eventually grow up into. That’s at least the impression I generally get.

Rukia Kuchiki is also much more amusing in these first volumes and the same goes for Orihime. For the former is her double role as teacher and sidekick for Ichigo that allows her to generate and dispense all the humour and quirkiness. The two of them together work perfectly and are laughing machines you can’t stop enjoying. The same will happen with Rukia and Renji later on in the Soul Society. But when she’s on her own, Rukia is not that particularly thrilling of a character, her primary traits being the sense of guilt and inferiority she feels towards her adoptive brother and her deceased master, making her more suited for drama than for comedy. When put against a straight player (or at least, slightly less crazy than her), then she’s allowed to be funny and energetic and wacky, making her much more endearing.

Orihime has the edge on this department, because she sprouts out madness on her own, making her impossible not to like in these phase. Her joie de vivre and imagination are exhilarating: one of the best comedic moments of the series is her imagining a romantic walk in the park with Ichigo, a fantasy that slowly drifts, turning a marathon, then a boxing match, then a murder plot. All this will be a bit lost in the shuffle of the Soul Society, where she’ll have to though up and fight the fight, and it will be completely shattered in Hueco Mundo, where her character is reduced to a whimpering, whiny and annoying damsel constantly needing rescue, probably the greatest tragedy of BLEACH.

Uryuu Ishida doesn’t do much to leave an impression at first: immediately he’s positioned as the cliché prodigy-rival from an extinct race/clan. Kubo slowly manages to make him more appealing by simply not treating the whole business too seriously. Uryuu may seem just another dark, serious friend-enemy, like Sasuke from Naruto or Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z, but he gets angry and makes ridiculous decisions like anybody else: the idea of fighting Menos Grande with Ichigo’s sword strapped to his head is a shining example.

Of the five core characters, Chad is probably the less interesting from my point of view. Not that there’s anything wrong with him, in fact I quite like the guy, but of all he seems to be the ones that conforms to a role the most: Chad is the big gentle giant and that’s kind of it. Sometimes he reference his past as a guy who used his strength to hurt others, and was straighten up by his granpa, but we never actually see that enough, making us feel the change, and what we’re left with is a calm, collected boy who says way too little for us to care about him.

A collective thought that describes these characters and makes them likable is that they’re all “uncool”. The manga itself is presented as “cool”, the characters wear “cool clothes”, in the covers they’re always posing like badasses, but the truth is, they’re not: they’re a bunch of slightly insane/slightly idiotic players, short-tempered, unfocused, irresponsible. The greatest thing about the first 7 volumes, is that Kubo never forgets this: the situation may be desperate, the battle may become gigantic and threaten the whole fabric of reality, but these people often don’t seem to care, making joke, hitting hollows with light poles, torturing the magical fairies that just appeared from nowhere. The world of BLEACH is instead reasonably dark and serious, therefore, by putting the two of them together, what comes out is a comedic duo. The cast is the funny guy and the setting as a whole is the straight man of their comedy routine. And these are only the five main ones. I could spend pages upon pages talking about all the others that infest Karakura Town.

The hollows are much darker and threatening in this side of the story. Before they were completely defanged and became into generic monsters of the week, the hollows were legitimately scary and they helped construct an atmosphere of horror around the plot. In the earliest volumes, you often forget you’re reading an action adventure shounen, and you’re instead transported in a haunting j-horror filled with foreboding signs of paranormal activity, like a teddy bear breaking up and bleeding. The fact that Kubo’s never shied away from grizzly details and brutal fight-scenes accentuates the mood. In a smart bit of self-awareness, just as we’re about to change entirely focus and ascend to the Soul Society, Kubo will make a mockery of the whole ghost-story style of this prelude by having heroes being gathered through a massage in blood appearing on the walls and streets.

Going back, I nostalgically remember how impressed I was by the sheer size and power that the Menos Grande oozed in the pages once he first stepped out of the giant tear into the sky. The world of spirits and hollows felt much more grandiose and terrifying, a nightmarish land of Lovecraft’s level abominations waiting to be released upon our world. All emotions caused by ignorance of course. We still didn’t know that the Menos is nothing but one of many dumb skyscrapers than tiny little warriors with magical swords can kill off with their bare hands. This is a common problem of escalation in shounen of course. Everything in the earlier chapters always feels bigger and more impressive, and once we get to the point where the characters can swing a sword and cut the planet in half, most of the magic is gone.

Actually the concept of Hollows is kind of wasted in some ways. Being once normal spirits, corrupted by their inability to accept their destiny, these ghosts have the potential to not simply be opponents to slay, but also real characters, with reasonable motivations and sympathetic in their desperation. Yet we only see this in Sora, Orihime’s vengeful and embittered brother, as all the others Hollows are just a bunch of remorseless sociopaths. Another thing that ended up being wasted potential is Hell itself, introduced in Volume 2 in all his ominous glory, as Kubo designs the splendidly terrifying Gate that drags evil hollows down into the hellish realm. It is something we’ll never see again, except in one of the movie, which I usually avoid watching. Back in time, learning that Kubo was a Saint Seiya’s fan, I imagined he was setting up hell to do his version of the Hades Chapter, with old villains and bad guys coming back from the grave for a final confrontation. Volume 7 of BLEACH is titled “The Death Trilogy Overture”, and I always theorized this trilogy would have been Act 1 Soul Society, Act 2 Hueco Mundo, and Act 3 Hell. But no, Hell in BLEACH is just a nice double splash page and nothing more.

Kubo’s style is much different here, and I don’t talk simply about the artworks, which are much less smoother, but angular and sharp on most faces (which I kind of like). The pacing most of everything, is what’s different from the future: in general the manga is much more brisk and quicker. We’re now used to an extremely decompressed, highly theatrical use of pages by the author (something I will get into later), but here, everything is much more tight and condensed, with many more panels, and the amount of information delivered is bigger. It’s a longer, chunkier read, that takes much more time and energy, and because of this, is often much more satisfying on a narrative level.

Like many other shounens, the first volumes are all separated adventures meant to establish the rules of the world, and pretty much all of the are rather interesting, with a few exceptions of course. The whole business regarding Don Kanonji seems to be there to set up Uryuu Ishida’s presence and give some half-hearted lesson about what it means to be a hero, but as a whole, it comes across as white noise. Its quirky, its funny, its entertaining, but it does speak volume that Kanonji won’t appear again for years to come. Another that that seemed pointless was turn the Shun Shun Rikka into an entire legion of elfs. Giving Orihime something cute and little to interact with will result in a lot of funny moments, but as a whole, they’re just a bunch of designs smashed together without any real character to speak off.

After the arrival of Byakuya and Renji, the manga takes a turn changing radically the status quo of Ichigo, now officially a shinigami using a dead body to stroll around the city, and starts the first of many training session to let him learn new tricks to fight. And with tricks, I mean, Getsuga Tensho and that’s all. It’s amusing to notice how “training” in the world of BLEACH is just more fighting, first with kids, then with Urahara. The best part comes while entering the world of Old Man Zangetsu, a rather trippy and inventive scene that plays on our sense of orientation. In lights of the manga most recent astonishing plot twists (you know the ones), one rereads these chapters asking himself “Is it being foreshadowed in some way?”

I can’t help but say “No, it doesn’t”, but we don’t see nearly enough of the Old Man to really understand the exact nature of him, so for now, I’ll leave it at that.

Thanks to a genius mixing of humour and darkness, together with an ensemble cast of charmingly inane protagonists, BLEACH and Tite Kubo succeeds in about every level in entertaining its audience. While in hindsight a lot of the stuff introduced results being kind of pointless in the long run, taken on its own merit, the beginning of the manga is a wonderful joyride from page one forward.

Favourite volume’s cover:

Kubo’s earliest covers all share a common problem that was resolved only later on: each word of the title is in a different colour. That may sound stupid, but it deprives the overall picture of a consistent tone, and with that, hurts the image as a whole. It doesn’t help that Kubo still rusty characters model are often not as attractive as we’re used to, and their poses are often unimpressive.

My favourite ends up being the striking cover of Volume 8. The silhouette of Old Man Zangetsu and his positioning on the cover makes for a unique and striking look, and the choice of title is nice. I would have preferred a higher contrast between black and white, not the blackness being shredded by stains of red, but that’s my opinion.

BLEACH Retrospective, coming soon:

*The Death and the Strawberry (Vol. 1-8)

*The Soul Society Saga Opening (Vol. 9-13)

*The Soul Society Saga Finale (Vol. 14-20)

*The Arrancar Saga Part 1: Invasions and Wizards (Vol. 21-27)

*The Arrancar Saga Part 2: Hueco Mundo & Pendulum (Vol. 28-36)

*The Arrancar Saga Part 3: Fake Karakura (Vol. 37-43)

*The Arrancar Saga Finale: Deicide (Vol. 44-48)

*The Lost Agent (Vol. 49-54)

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The first time i wrote a ‘best manga/anime of 2013 (http://katmic.blogspot.com/2013/03/top-five-anime-and-manga-of-2013-so-far.html)’ blog post, it was sometime in February, and i remember thinking that it was a little early to talk about the best anything of 2013, not when the year was just beginning. I considered postponing such a blog post until a few months later when a considerable amount of material had passed before my eyes. But i changed my mind and realized that the reason i wanted to rank the anime and manga material i had encountered so far so early in the year was because it was that early in the year. IN other words i was curious as to how that list would change with time.
Given the fact that we are at just about the half way point in the year, it seems like a good time to take stock of all the manga and anime material i have seen so far and determine which of them was the most superior. I should elucidate that by ‘best manga and anime of 2013 so far’ i am not referring to manga and anime that was released in 2013, even though it is included, merely anime and manga that i have watched since the year began as far as my slightly poor memory is concerned.
I should also point out that my list of best five manga does not include Naruto and one piece because i watch rather than read these two series and as such i could not say where exactly they fall.
Anyway, my ranking is as such:

BEST ANIME SERIES OF 2013 SO FAR---

1. Shingeki no kyojin-
Basic Premise--- Attack on titan takes place in the kind of world i would never want to live in, where giant beings called titans have for hundreds of years hunted the human race to near extinction. Naked, seemingly mindless and violent, requiring no sustenance to survive but instead feasting on humanity for no discernable purpose, humanity has had to adapt to the
threat by hiding behind mighty walls and attempting to prosper within an impregnable defense that hasn’t been broken in a century. The story starts on the day that all this changes, when two new titans emerge with power the likes of which has never been seen and breach the walls. Yeager Eren is the primary protagonist of the story, seeking to unleash the tides of vengeance he has slowly been gathering within him against the titans ever since the tragedy years ago. He will not stop until they are all destroyed even if humanity is basically helpless against them and the titans are continuously gaining ground.
I am going to call SNK a blockbuster, not in the holly wood sense though, simply referring to the fact that this anime busted my mind open when i first watched it three weeks ago. If you have not watched SNK you have not watched a
nime this year, period. There is nothing that i have seen in 2013 that has even come close to being as good as SNK. This series is pure genius, maddeningly genius. No matter how great each episode is, it will keep you lusting for the next one. There is no such thing as simply watching a bit of SNK and then deciding to give it a break. Once you start, you will not stop. I watched all nine episodes in my possession within the space of one day. THIS ANIME IS AWESOME. So intriguing, so nail bitingly exciting, literally throwing surprises at you with each and every episode. If you think you have seen it all and nothing can surprise you, watch SNK. It will blow your mind. Oh and it’s also beautifully animated. i am still speechless about episode five. if your jaw doesn’t drop after seeing this episode, then you are not human.
Rating: 10/5, i do not care what other anime comes out this year, it will not be better than this show. Exceeded expectations several times over. I am hooked. I want this anime now.

2. Suisei no Gargantia-
Basic Premise---Ensign Ledo operates as one of humanity's soldiers in the front line of the fight against the Hidiazu, vile alien beings hell bent on destroying man’s colonies scattered through out space. Ledo, as with his comrades, was manufactured in a wholly changed and evolved society for the sole purpose of fighting the Hidiazu; however an accident sends him hurtling across galaxies to the lost
planet of earth, a world humanity abandoned eons ago during a cataclysmic event and which was believed to be lost.
The world that Ledo finds is a wholly different one from his own, one where the earth is largely covered by water with all remainders of man’s old advanced civilization buried beneath and the race’s existence continuing to live upon water vessels. It is on one such vessel, Gargantia, a collection of several vessels, that Ledo finds himself stranded, unable to contact home and unable to find the meaning of his life in a world that is largely peaceful and not in need of the kind of
massively destructive power contained within his mech, Chamber.
I found this show to be peculiar in that i did not expect to enjoy it. Or rather i didn’t realize that i was enjoying it and was viewing it more casually than anything, until i got to the end and wanted more. This show makes little sense to me because i cannot really pin it down. I am never sure which direction it will take. The initial minutes of the first episode will deceive you into thinking that this is an action series, revolving around giant robots fighting aliens. That is not true. This is mostly drama. Basically imagine you have a giant robot with the power to annihilate entire countries with ease, and you had spend your entire life in constant battle against a vicious alien race. Then you found yourself in a backward villagewhere their is literally no sight of aliens, or really any enemies that could be considered a threat. It is literally one day of normal life after another, trying to catch food, dealing with the harvest and all that. That is what this series is. Ledo though human is on a planet that he no longer understands, with value systems that make no sense, with a race of man that operates with a mindset that makes little sense to him. The simple idea that they care for the disabled shocks him. Where he is from if you are of no use to society and are lacking in anyway, both physically and mentally, you are eliminated.
Rating: 5/5; another one of Gen Urobuchi’s masterpieces, this is a fun little show. The cultural topics and points it tackles are fascinating to watch, especially in the context created. I do not know why but i really liked this show, besides SNK, it is my favorite show of the year so far. I like the subtle yet intriguing character development, and the musical scores are superb, along some impressive animation sequences.

3. Shiki-
Basic Premise---A small village in the mountains is plagued by a noxious disease that, seemingly initially innocuous, soon starts reaping through the small community like death itself manifest
ed. It
takes the hard work of a young doctor and those who support him to realize the truth beneath the facade, that behind the seemingly biological virus is a force of supernatural capabilities, hell bent on consuming the village and morphing it into a new paradise for its kind, the shiki.
This anime blew my mind. The way it was paced, the constant surprises, the intriguing characters driving each mini plot within the major plot, they all contributed to make this one of best horror/mystery series i have ever come across. I watched this show over several weeks unlike SNK but that was because i wanted to savor each episode. Each and every episode of this anime felt, well, deep, never repetitive and always working to evolve the plot in one way or another. Basically impressive story telling skills and a plot that was written to be divisive in terms ripping the boundary between hero and villain apart.
Rating: 5/5, the anime looks good and the music is great; the series attempts to stand out with the design of the characters, especially the shiki. I like it

4. Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica-
Basic premise---This one is a little hard to explain because i do not remember all the details. Basically this little ferret like creature can make one girl’s wish come true but they then have to become magical
girls, girls with magical powers somewhat crafted by their fulfilled wish and who must use this power to fight witches. Making a wish though comes with a price and the life of a magical girl is not an easy one and Madoka must decide whether or not she is willing to make this ultimate sacrifice because once she becomes a magical girl their is not turning back from the hard, misery fraught life that awaits her and all those that bear the title.
Without giving too much away, i will say this; this is a magical girl series, it is also shoujo. I am not a fan of either. Yet Urobuchi took a normally fluffy genre and completely flipped it over its head, creating a series that is dark, and shows the ugly life of magical girls and the horrors they must deal with. I had some problems with it, specifically madoka herself, the primary protagonist, but in the end, it was a brilliant series, not the best i have ever seen, far from it, but most likely to go down as a classic. And unlike many people i actually liked the action scenes with the witches; they had an artistic look to them; the animation was great and the music creative.
Rating: 4/5, i recommend this to everyone, definitely worth the watch, no matter your interests with regards to the genre.

5. Psycho pass-
Basic Premise---In future human beings are judged not for their actions but based on the word of the sybil system, an advanced system that runs the city. However a new criminal element has emerged on the scene, one that can outsmart the system. This element makes preparations to wreak havoc upon the nation and it is up the enforcers, latent criminals that have been rejected by the Sybil system to repudiate this element’s schemes and save the city that sees them as nothing more than criminal garbage. But as always their is always more going on behind the scenes than meets the eye.
Rating: 5/5, really there is nothing much about this series that i can say. You simply have to see it yourself. It can best be described as CSI in the future. Really, it’s ridiculous how many of these shows are done by Gen Urobuchi.
Notable Mentions:

--Devil survivor- The world will be destroyed in six days if the human race cannot fend of the attacks of the demonic horde executing an incursion against humanity and, more importantly, defeat six powerful creatures known as sempterion that will make an appearance within those final six days. The secret lies in an app called nicaea which endows those that download it with the ability to
summon demons of their own to fight against the invasion. There is something about the app’s ability to relay images to people of the death’ their friends are about to experience, availing one the chance to change that destiny, though i am not sure how it relates to the demonic summons acquired. It’s the first major element that happened in the first episode and i remember thinking that these three characters could summon demons because they had survived their fates. Now i am not so sure.
Anyway, this show has shown quite a lot of potential. seven episodes in, i am not really sure what i think about it. While the premise seems interesting, there are flaws that have occurred in the execution of the story, and i am not a big fan of the cliché’ main character or his friends.
The villain/hero/villain, depending on whose side you fall has proven to be more interesting than the three primary protagonist. Devil survivor so far seems like a basic ‘monster summoning’ type series, but with a little more deaths than you would expect. The action is great and i love the effects. This isn’t an endless fight against demons. They have six days to win or the world ends. It doesn’t say that the demons will win or they will destroy the world, merely that if they cannot beat the demons, the world will end. It makes the situation all the more grim.
Rating: 3/5, i am waiting to see more to make my mind up.
N:B- Okay, so i wrote this two days ago and i have just finished watching some more devil survivor, which has changed my mind. This is more like number six than a notable mention; i still have a couple of issues with it but i would give it a 5/5 rating now.

--Legend of the legendary heroes- i am ambivalent about legendary heroes. On the one hand i know it is a pretty great show, with an impressive cast of well developed characters and an interesting story. Yet it is one anime that i feel that i have been watching for a very long time, never indulging in more than one episode each time i get down to watching it. It is almost like there is nothing encouraging me to watch it. It does not excite me the way other shows do, none the less i acknowledge that it is a good show. maybe once i move past the half way point, it will finally hook me; for now though it has not. None the less it is worth recommending.

BEST MANGA OF 2013 SO FAR-

1. Claymore- Claymore, claymore….i do not even know how to describe this manga other than the fact that it blew my mind this year. I dropped claymore last year around August, the idea being that i
was tired to reading five chapters every few months and instead decided to wait till i could consume a considerable amount of claymore to satiate my hunger for it. And for a while , especially early this year, i could not figure out why i thought claymore was such a big deal, until i read it last month and…wow. i do not think i have read anything anyway nearly as good as those 20 or so chapters of claymore this year. Reading claymore this year was like being electrocuted constantly for three hours straight, which is how long it took me to wrap it up. It is the kind of excitement i crave from manga, to get so engrossed in it that i am barely aware of the fact that it is dark and i was planning to eat lunch what seems like just a few minutes ago.
Everything i wanted from claymore was delivered this year, at least as far as chapter 135 where i stopped. We finally wrapped up the battle between the reawakened former number ones and the ghosts and oh how it delivered, with several of the former number number ones awakening, not into awakened beings, but abyssal ones. The battles between these giants things was spectacular, the hair raising contest of speed between phantom Miria and the trio of awakened beings facing her was…i am getting excited just recalling these events, especially the moment when Miria realized the peril she and her friends were in, then realized that she had grown so strong that if she awakened she would become an abyssal one, long enough to rescue her friends before ending her own life lest she destroy everything. I loved the tension it created, the fact that these elite warriors were surviving second by second, barely.
The revelations came in droves, with new mysteries being woven even as the old mysteries were unwrapped and finally unpackaged. We finally understood who yoma and claymore were, their relationship with each other and even got to see the descendants of both creatures in two breathtakingly drawn pages.
But none of that, not even the battle against the former number ones can compare to what happened back in the city. The stalemate between Clare, Priscilla and the destroyer was finally resolved and i think it was done brilliantly. It was one of those situations which didn’t seem to have a solution. Here we had the two most destructive forces in existence and they had somehow taken each other out, solving a problem no one had the answers to. And yet Clare is
stuck in there with them. That is an eternity of suffering that she has been sentenced to unless she is removed from the mold; but that would mean releasing these two forces once more, forces that no one can stop. Personally i would have been happy with any solution that solved the stalemate without any plot holes, and Nagi did just that. The introduction of a slew of new creatures and characters, claymore so old that they once walked with Isley himself, male awakened beings, former number ones from the ancient era, massing to witness the birth of a new creation; i just loved the entire situation that was created, the arrogance of the new arrivals, the power they displayed, the crazy transformations that were so vile yet so beautifully drawn, the finally showdown between…everything.
I thought claymore peaked during the Priscilla destroyer incident, but it seems like with each new chapter, Nagi raises the stakes. I think i am so hyper about claymore because unlike regular single chapter readers, i read nearly 20 chapters of awesomeness in a go. We finally got to know the mystery behind the claymore’s chests, clare and raki finally met, and…just the fact that Clare finally came back into play after so long, seeing her release her yoki after 7 years, the reunion of the ghosts after what seems like forever…I LOVE THIS MANGA.
RATING: 7/5; Hands down the best manga i have read all year and i would be surprised if anything beat it. And i think i will stop before this runs on any longer than it was supposed to. Just writing about claymore has a tendency to me all excited.

2. Bleach- I am one of those people that has never been shy about disparaging Bleach. I mean, Kubo has made it a little too easy over the years to insult his work. But what bleach is doing so far, all i
will say is that if you dropped bleach for any reason, be it recently or as far back as the soul society arc, then i suggest you get back on the bandwagon with the other
fans, because this manga will amaze you. It doesn't matter if you have 400 chapters to get through to finally catch up, if it is just to finally read the thousand year blood war arc, then it is worth your time.
I am not giving Kubo all the praises i would normally give him because i believe he has it easier than naruto or one piece because this is his last arc. So of course he doesn’t have to worry about the future, such as ensuring consistency in this arc with what’s coming up next and so on. He can just go crazy, and that is what he is dong. The story so far is amazing. I reached a point in bleach where i didn’t merely dislike it, i hated Ichigo as a main character. As far as i was concerned, Kubo’s determination to make it all about him ruined the series. Now however ichigo seems to have made a comeback as far as getting back into my good graces is concerned. Bleach is finally what it was long ago and should have been all this time; we have a great story that is completely unpredictable which is something bleach has always failed at; Kubo is actually giving a lot of the characters the stage to shine, and actually developing their stories. The action is, well, bleach has always done well in the action sector.
Rating:6/5; beach is on fire,completely exceeding my expectations. I actually have faith that things will only get better.

3. The Breaker: New waves- Breaker follows the story of Li shion and his attempt to not only survive and thrive in the ferocious world of Murim after his fortuitous encounter with the legen
dary nine
arts dragon. At a casual glance, breaker sounds like basic shonen marital arts stuff, till you give it a read and realize that it is indeed just another basic marital arts story, but one that is executed brilliantly. Shion is the kind of primary action protagonist that you do not encounter in other shonen manga, the underdog of underdogs, the one for whom things never come easily and usually if anything can go wrong it will go wrong several times over.
This year breaker continued to prove why it is such a monster, with the story continuously taking twists and turns in the most unexpected ways. Here is what i will say about Breaker, if you think you know what is coming, you will most likely be wrong. The art is great, and the action is unparalleled. more surprising is how much story is injected into what should be mindless fighting.
Rating: 5/5; at 121 chapters, this manga is showing no signs of slowing down. Every time i think there isn’t much story left to tell, the manhwa does something new that i didn’t expect.

4. Witch hunter- In the story told in this manhwa, witches have declared war against humanity. More than two thirds of the world have fallen into chaos and destruction as a result. The witch hunter
organization exists to eradicate these witches and their hats using witch hunters, humans engineered with great abilities. Tasha god spell is a witch hunter known as the
magic marks man because of his use of two handguns as his primary weaponry against witches. Tasha stands out even among witch hinters because he was trained by a witch, the great white witch. His sister is also a witch which means that while other witch hunter are trained to brutally eliminate witches, Tasha does not kill them, this compassion causing him many problems among his comrades, especially his determination to find, defeat and save his sister, a feat he has attempted and failed at several times over.
The fact that i loved this manhwa this year has to do with the fact that i haven’t read it in ages. It has been on a break for a few years now, and only returned last year. And after reading 20 or so chapters a few weeks ago, i was reminded of how much i loved it. Few other works have art as unique as witch hunter. I just love how the people are drawn and the inventiveness with which each action is drawn, the imaginative characters and abilities…it is difficult to read this manhwa and not be blown away.
The manga this year was even more phenomenal mostly because we began digging into the mysteries surrounding the world. We finally began to understand who Guinevere (or Halloween as she was called), Tasha’s servant, was and why the round table knights and Merlin, a dubious member of witch hunter, wanted her so badly. Though this time Tasha was merely the side dish; Xing took these 20 chapters with the conclusion of his back story, the final collision with his two brothers Lee and Yue (wait, i am still confused about whether xing the witch hunter is actually xing or Yue, especially since its been a while since i read the back story chapters). The final chapter in the Bai long empire saga was refreshing. The four witches of the North south east and west have finally began to move with epic consequences, and Tasha seems to have made his decision between his loyal servant Guinevere and the witch hunter organization that is working with England to get him to relinquish her. I am impressed by how this manga gives equal attention to every character. Witch hunter reminds of one piece in that even if Tasha wasn’t the primary protagonist, anyone of several characters could feel the spot perfectly. Each is endowed with intriguing back stories, enough to run a manga plot successfully.
Rating: 6/5 unparalleled in story telling, brilliant action scenes and the art is simply breath taking and unique like few other series.
N:B: at this point i thought i will stop to point out that number 2, 3 and 4 were all so ridiculously brilliant this year that i couldn’t really tell which of them was superior to the other. I thought that bleach clearly dominated them all, till i read breaker and realized that the manhwa still had more fuel in it to create more outrageously brilliant stories. Then i read witch hunter and for a while bleach and breaker paled in comparison to its madness. Now i realize that at least in my mind, they might all as well be number 2, which is why i am doing a best 8 manga rather than best five.

5. Monster- In this manga, doctor Tenma must face the fact that in using his skills to save the life of a little boy, he unleashed an evil the likes of which Europe has never faced. Now he tasks himself
with the objective of finding and ending the life of a killer before more bodies begin to amass and Europe runs red with blood.
It has taken me ages to finish 160 chapters of monsters and that is not because of a general lack of quality on Monster’s part but because this manga was more a novel than a comic with each chapter somehow packing more content within its 30 something pages than any other manga i have read. None the less calling Monster brilliant doesn’t do it justice. Having finished it a month ago, i can safely say that this is a story that anyone that calls themselves an anime and manga fan should read. It is exciting and hilarious (sometimes) but mostly sad, yet manifesting a spirit of courage and heroism and showing to the reader what the common man can do to confront great evil in their life if only they choose not to look away and bury there heads in the sand. Tenma was just a doctor, a foreigner in fact a time at a time in Europe when race was a divisive issue; he could have looked away and determined that someone more qualified would do something to stop Johan. But he didn’t. He used his meager resources and skills to track down a killer that could have sneezed and eliminated him in the process.
Rating:5/5, i seriously recommend that EVERYONE read this manga. Despite the fact that the story is one of killers and psychopaths, well, killing, there is surprisingly very little unnecessary blood and gore, hence basically a safe story for any age (maybe).

6. The God of high School- This manhwa’s premise is ridiculously simple; a group of high school kids with incredible martial arts skills are fighting in a tournament in which the winner will have
their
greatest wishes fulfilled. What makes it work in the beginning is the wishes of those in the tournament. Characters with sick friends and family members make it very easy for you to cheer them on in battle, but as always something else is going on in the back ground. Forces are moving and it soon becomes clear that the fate of the world is at play.
GOH isn’t particularly deep, but it has actually has a compelling story.It is primarily character driven and has the best action i have ever seen drawn in a comic, even, as far as i am concerned, better than breaker. The artist seems to think in a way that other artists do not, and approaches action scenes with a unique set of angles.
Rating: 5/5, this manhwa is all about fighting. it is none the less far from mindless and highly entertaining.

7.Break Blade- Rygart is a young man that cannot use magic in a world where everyone can. He must negotiate peace between friends that have gone to war in a world where nations tend to rely on golems, giant robots controlled by magic, to deal with their grievances. The situation is worsened by his relationship with one of his best friends’ wife and queen of Krishna.
This manga is unique for me because i have never read mecha before. The art is great, exceptionally detailed; the story is one of love and loss and war and the consequences of greed, when those in power choose to reach for their own interests above the lives and safety of those citizens they swore to protect.
Rating: 4/5, i had trouble distinguishing characters and golems in battle. That made it a more difficult process to read this manga.

8. Nabara no Ou- The world of nabari, basically the shinobi world and the normal world have lived along side each other for centuries, never interacting outside of the shadows. The different villages have evolved over the years to meet the new challenges of the world, some transforming from actually villages into corporations but still
keeping with their traditions and each continuing to safe guard their kinjutsu-sho. special techniques, the most powerful in each clan and which is mastered by the clan head.
The story resolves around the hijustu, a powerful form of Kinjustu-sho, known as a powerful form of wisdom, containing all knowledge and so powerful that i can fulfill any wish and change the very shape of the world if asked to. To both protect the world from its destructive power once it was determined that they could no longer control it, as well as attempt to control it, the Hijustu was sealed off in human flesh. At the start of the story five of the former Hijustu hosts have died. some gave in to its temptations, asked for a wish, which they got but in the process unleashed the hijustu. Others were killed by rogue clans who wanted the hijustu,
which only escaped to a new host.
Now the seventh host of the Hijustu finds himself in the midst of a great clash for the power held within his body. A rogue off shoot of another clan known as Kairoushou wishes to gain the Hijustu for its president, a charismatic international personality who believes he can contain its power within his body and use it to change the world for the better.
The fuuma clan will stop him while searching for a way to safely remove the Hijustu, which involves collecting all other clans' Kinjustu-shos. A select few will stop at nothing to make this fellow the king of Nabarai. This young man will either give into the Hijustu’s temptation, allow it to be removed or take the third option, master the use of the Hijutsu by mastering a new form of Kinjustu within which he can harness its powers.
I only picked this manga up because someone commented that while its starts off lazily, it becomes brilliant after 20 or so chapters. So far at chapter 22, i am impressed with what i see. The story has potential and is more than basic shinobi fights. It isn’t merely a matter of good vs. evil because there are technically no villains, merely differences of opinions with one high school teen stuck in the middle. The decisions he makes shape the story.
Rating: 3/5; great potential. I still do not know where it is going and i am still on the fence about whether it is as good as it is proclaimed to be. None the less i have been convinced to continue reading. And the art, which by the way can be considered to be rather unimpressive at the start gets better after 20 chapters, almost like the mangaka was still finding her bearings but has now found a comfortable position.
This one i recommend.

Notable mention:

1. Assassination classroom- an alien creature arrives on the world stage, not only possessing the power to destroy the world but promising to do so in one year. This creature is also a teacher of a particularity troublesome classroom in a certain high school. The students in this class are tasked with killing this teacher within
a period of one year using specially developed weapons, the only ones capable of harming the creature. The rules follow that the students can attack the creature but it cannot attack them. So the games begin.
It is because of manga like this that i am an anime and manga fan. Manga will take the dumbest ideas and morph them into gold. Assassination classroom i began reading last year and i can admit that it is indeed an incredible series, mostly because, based on that premise, you do not expect to find much in the manga. yet it is so entertaining, with a large cast of characters that the plot will slowly peal back with each passing arc. This is how i would describe this manga: think back to that old movie where Samuel L. Jackson goes into a chaotic class of delinquents and transforms them into model students, basically saving these young troubled minds from themselves. This is what Assassination classroom is.
Rating: 5/5; brilliant stuff, i recommend it highly, though i rarely grant it the kind of time i do other manga. I am not actually hooked by it yet.

2. One punch man- I am shocked by the fact that i am actually interested in this manga. I kept coming across the title on several anime sites this year and each time determined that it simply sounded like one of the most asinine manga i might ever come across. After coming across it most recently at [http://matbmangafreaks.blogspot.com/2013/06/new-manga-bookmark-list.html], i decided to finally give it a go, and for the first ten chapters, my original thoughts were
confirmed. One punch man was simply stupid as they come, a story with not particular purpose and a collection of extremely generic characters (except for the lead). At 24 chapters, i can without a doubt say that i am a fan of one punch man.
And i am not sure why. You have an eccentric hero that is so strong that he defeats all opponents with one punch. He at one point in his life decided to become a hero and fight evil. SO he trained so hard that he lost all his hair and became a great hero that no one actually knows of. He saves the world from the greater threats out their but because he doesn’t stand out, really the most basic hero you have ever seen, the credit goes to the other flashier personalities.
This manga can only be described as entertaining. And i am disturbed by how ridiculously drawn some of the chapters are. I have read four chapters so far that are basically anime waiting to be animated. The managaka has a way of wasting an entire chapter on a ten second portion of a fight, making it look so good and dynamic that the images in the comic look like they are moving. If you read this manga and think it is a little too silly, that is because the mangaka wants it to look like that, not because of any particular lack of talent.
Rating: 5/5; one punch man is one of those manga that shouldn’t be worth your time but it turns out to be entertaining.
--I have also began catching up on Beelzebub. I will admit that i am one of those fans that was still hoping that the anime would return. Now however i have finally given up hope, instead deciding to continue the story in the manga. And i must say, Beelzebub is just as good, and funny, in manga form as it was in anime. It feels good to finally return to the world of crazy delinquents and electrocuting babies.
--I am surprised by how much easier it was for me to do this ranking. The first time i tried to compile the best manga and anime i had watched in 2013, i had to first scribble everything down on paper and stare at it for a while, before figuring out what i thought was better.
This time however, things were obvious, almost like their was no question which was superior. Attack on Titan was obviously superior to anything and everything that i had come across anywhere. I had some problems with Madoka magica during its 12 episode run; psycho pass on the other hand was completely consistent, delivering a quality story from beginning to the end without, as far as i am concerned, slipping up unlike Madoka which, i believe, had a few misses. However when i thought of both shows in my head, it was clear that Magica was the superior show, without a doubt.
And in my mind Suisei no Gargantia dominated the rest of them, not in anyone field though, but simply being the kind of charming show i rarely come across.
As far as manga was concerned, when i thought about manga, claymore flashed in my mind. When i thought of best manga, claymore flashed even brighter. There was never any contest here. Same thing goes for bleach, breaker and witch hunter. They were all so brilliant and if claymore wasn’t, well, claymore, they might all share the number one spot. On a weekly basis, i have definitely enjoyed god of high school, but i was looking at Monster as a whole series, already completed and in that case, it was a clearly superior manga in terms of depth and quality to GOH.
Basically manga and anime so far has fallen into place without much resistance. What was good was clearly good and what was bad was bad. There was no jostling for places. And i can safely say that this year is turning out to be a great year for anime and manga. Now i just have to wait for Naruto to return on the 18th and improve my anime viewing experience.
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YO! and Welcome♥
YO! and Welcome♥

Hello Bleach fans out there! There has been many fan fics about Bleach couples and well, I would like to present to you with a special thread me and Takashichea thought would be an excellent idea for those who likes fan fic.

This is the rules!

  • Post comments of who you like as a couple.
  • Post pictures, Gifs, and videos if you like.
  • You can argue on who you like the best and why.
  • Please be nice.
  • Have fun.

This is some amazing pictures I thought it would be great to share.

Ichigo ♥ Inoue
Ichigo ♥ Inoue
Ichigo ♥ Rukia
Ichigo ♥ Rukia
Renji ♥ Rukia
Renji ♥ Rukia
Hitsugaya ♥ Hinamori
Hitsugaya ♥ Hinamori
Rangiku ♥ Gin (canon btw lol)
Rangiku ♥ Gin (canon btw lol)

So who are your favorite couples in Bleach and why?

Also if you like Fairy Tail this is a great thread to also discuss Fairy Tail couples. Fairy Tail: Love Triangle Universe Edition created by Takashichea.

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I was thinking about this topic and how it might relate to both comics and manga. But before i get to that, i thought it might be necessary to ask the question; which do you prefer in anime/manga, long fights or short fights? Because there is a difference between the two and even when it all comes down to the same result, the path taken will bring a different taste out of the achieved end.
Long fights: These will usually follow the same trajectory. A hero faces up against a great villain probably after a long wait and they both unleash their power against each other. Things seem to be picking up, the ground is being torn apart and everything within the vicinity is fleeing as they each attempt achieve victory over the other. Eventually after an episode or two, one finally stands over the other, clearly the superior combatant. But things are far from over. You see, they might have seemed like they were unleashing their full capabilities but that wasn’t the case. They were holding back and releasing a mere fraction of their full potential; at which point they actually remove their restrictions and really go at it. This time the destruction is escalating to a whole new level and entire cities probably have to be evacuated. So after two episodes, you the viewer realize that the fight is actually only beginning not ending. Both combatants push hard against each other and at any one point in time, either of the combatants will seem to gain the upper hand only to lose it and after ten episodes of each warrior being beaten down and somehow managing to get up even from attacks that have been claimed to be fatal, someone is finally capable of rising from the ashes while the other falls. He is the defeated and is either killed or locked up. Some manga or anime might waste an extra episode on dialogue between these two.
Most such long fights in anime and manga will occur with any one of these factors in play, factors that will decide the path the fight will follow:
1. A weak hero- So here you have a weak hero going up against an enemy that is clearly miles stronger than them, They know they can’t win but they fight none the less. One way it will work is the villain underestimates the hero and doesn’t put his best foot forward, choosing to play with the hero; or maybe he isn’t playing but certainly isn’t using everything he has top beat the hero, who
manages to hold on but eventually gets his ass kicked in extremely brutal ways.And here what causes the fight to drag. The hero simply won’t go down. NO matter what you do to him, cutting him, burning him, beating, grinding him, he will get up again and again. There is usually some excuse made about the hero’s durability but that is usually a very silly excuse, at least with some of the ridiculous damage that is dished out against them. This is something that greatly irritates me with shonen heroes like luffy; i mean i get goku being thrown through planets and surviving-okay maybe luffy makes sense, being rubber and all,but besides the mere blunt force, there are attacks that the one piece hero would tank before the time skip that seemed ridiculously unrealistic to me, even for one piece.
Anyway, by this time you have gone through five episodes. Another scenario is that the hero and villain are on par at the start, but , after the hero gets a little cocky, the villain finally reveals his true power and the fact that he was simply playing around. The he unleashes hell on the hero who also simply decides that he will not go down, no matter what (there is usually mention of some promise or something). The villain spends another five episodes trying but failing to kill the hero, by slowly escalating his power but never really going all out at once. Eventually something happens; the hero discovers a new power he didn’t know he had, overwhelms the villain and ends the fight, DBZ being an example; OR, after ten episodes of getting his ass kicked, the hero gets a handle on what the villain was doing, probably figures out the trick to his attack and can now avoid it, or he actually masters the very same attack. Ichigo exemplifies this best, somehow learning in mid battle and by the end of it all, he gains the upper hand and ends the conflict. Ichigo might as well be a supernatural super saiyan; after all that is what they do, get stronger with each battle. You would think someone would learn a lesson and go all out against Ichigo at the start. This is why i love gamaran; characters usually start at 100%.
2.Weak Villain- This pretty much goes the same way as with a weak hero. In fact it will occur midway the weak hero scenario. A hero might start off as simply too strong for the villain, basically dominating. Or he or she could start of as weak and by the end of it doesn’t merely get the upper hand but completely overwhelms the villain. AS such, events are reversed, with the villain struggling to stay on his feet as the hero unleashes holy hell upon them. Except that just like the hero, he villain will not go down. I first noticed this in DBZ where Goku went super saiyan and clearly outclassed
Frieza and for two episodes you were simply waiting for Frieza to succumb to his beating. Except he wouldn’t. And with time he began to retaliate as well, displaying new never before seen abilities and a will to survive that somehow enables him to catch up to and match super siayan’s power level. It basically becomes one long irritating circle. I was actually afraid Ichigo Vs. Aizen would become just that; first Aizen was strong beyond comprehension, then Ichigo surpassed him and claimed to have evolved even beyond Aizen, except he began taking serious damage and…they were smart to wrap the fight up fast.
3. Sometimes both hero and villain are matched and will spend hours on end smashing into each other until one of them gives up or suddenly dies without explanation
The point is these kinds of fights fail because they are drawn out beyond their logical life. In the first place it becomes frustratingly boring. I have mentioned before that i prefer watching one piece to reading the manga. And i can’t tell you how frustrating it is to watch Luffy do the same thing over and over and over again against an opponent he clearly can’t beat, but seemingly expecting gear one, two or three to finally work the thousandth time he uses.
Actually Ichigo better exemplifies this. I don’t know how many bleach episodes began and ended with Ichigo screaming ‘GETSUGA TENSHOU’ over and over again, sometimes hitting, sometimes missing, but clearly making no difference. What is the point? I mean, i get that there has to be a struggle between Ichigo getting his ass kicked and finally figuring a solution out. But really, sometimes it doesn’t make sense how, even after the hero figures out the trick to beating a hero, he can muster the strength to execute it, not after all the beatings he has endured. It is illogical. In most cases figuring out the technique or mustering that mysterious move at the end of the battle shouldn’t matter if you consider that the hero shouldn’t be capable of continuing their battle.
Besides the boring aspects of it, long fights stall the story. Imagine learning at chapter ten that character A is finally going to learn about character B or something like that, but, twenty chapters later, character C and D are still fighting, and there are probably 20 more chapters of fight left before you can finally return to the story and by then, especially if the story is young, you might either not even remember what all the excitement was about, or you might have lost interest in favor of the fight. And this is how shonen manga that is struggling to have a more story based run fail, when the battles take precedence and hence prove to be more enticing and appealing than the story. Imagine reading a DBZ volume, but with at least half of the material dedicated to dialogue. People know what they want from DBZ and that is action, because Akira let it steal the spot light. Same thing for Bleach where, at one time, all people cared about where the fights, with any story related material receiving little to no attention.
Of course i am not saying that long fights are always bad; they can in fact be necessary at times. Some times it takes a long fight to settle matters or to tell a story. Think of Naruto Vs. Sasuke in part one. I have had the rare complaint, but most fans will agree that the length of the fight was actually necessary. This wasn’t as much a fight between brutes as it was a conversation between would be friends. It was an opportunity for both characters to express everything within them and, as some cheesy anime character i can’t remember said, to let their fists speak.
Same goes for Naruto Vs. Pain. As we have seen Kishimoto likes to tell his stories and give background information during major fights. And unlike many people i like it. Because having two characters merely sitting there and talking can get boring. When done right, long fights can tell a story, but of course this is rarely done and will usually be about cool moves and violent endings.
Sometimes the length comes down to the strength of the character. Seeing two powerful characters fight and finish within seconds can sometimes feel unfulfilling. After all as fans, when we see two characters fight, we (usually) want to know who is the more dominant force and that can only happen if both characters empty their tanks and unleash every weapon, skill, power within their reach. It isn’t about the struggle but creating a scenario in which both characters are tested to the limit and when it all ends, there is no doubt as to who the victor is. Back to Naruto Vs. Sasuke, imagine sasuke had beaten Naruto in the first two episodes, before Naruto awakened his nine tails power. Or after he activated his cloak, he had beaten Sasuke senseless without Sasuke awakening his full sharingan. That would have been a pointless and hollow victory.
None the less i don’t advocate for long fights, because they are rarely done right and sometimes it feels like the authors are either stalling for time or trying to take up space, maybe to fill a volume or two.
SHORT FIGHTS: These are usually more incisive and focused. They have no structure per say like long fights do and this adds a level of unpredictability to a series. When a fight drags out multiple episodes you can usually see what the end result will be. Which ever character has been at the wrong end of the punishment for five or more episodes, be it hero or villain, will eventually make a miraculous come back.
Short fights, when done right, are less predictable. They are not merely unpredictable in terms of the end result though, you will not even be able to tell or guess when the fight will end, hell sometimes
you do not even know that the fight has began. Fate Zero had a way of drawing out certain attacks and moves for a precious second or two during the Kirei Kiritsugu fight that made it impossible for you to guess what would be the killing blow. At one point it seemed like Kirei’s knife would do it only for it to miss Emiya’s flesh by a hair breadth. Then you thought the bullet would do it, but Kirei would somehow find a way to exceed Kiritsugu’s expectations. basically the short one minute fight somehow managed to keep me at the edge of my seat by maximizing the effect of every move. Sure, i knew that Emiya would live to adopt (lame) shiro. But in that moment, none of that mattered, because any of these two monsters looked like they were more than capable of killing the other in the next instant and that raised the stakes to incredible levels.
That is what short fights should do. They allow the story to proceed at a stable pace, sometimes around the fight, while doing what so many shonen series fail to do, and that is getting to the point rather than dragging out every event and keeping the viewer in supposed suspense for several episodes. There is a slickness to short fights. Most times the combatants know little to nothing about each other,which makes it so much easier to lose, and more a game of strategy that brute force. It also eliminates endless power ups. if you must fight against an incredible opponent in a fight destined to last mere minutes, you will will have to start at 100%, instead of wasting time the way so many heroes and villains do. There is always an excuse used to elongate fights, to torture the loser, to allow them to achieve the full potential and some more garbage like that.
It is possible to misuse short fights of course. I have pointed out numerous times in my fairy tail reviews just how ridiculously short recent fights have become. Some times it is necessary to allow the fans to enjoy a battle between enemies but that is a rare scenario. Most times i would rather these series gets some of these long fights over with so we can move on to the story. I like that feeling of having absolutely no idea what it is going to happen at any one second in a battle. it adds some excitement to the whole experience. I just re watched Kagura and Yomi’s final battle and really, having knowledge of the manga series and realizing that kagura definitely survives the battle didn’t make that clash any less exciting. This is how battles should be.Anyway, that aside, i am not sure if this even applies to comics; this is more like more pointing out something unique to anime and manga and distinguishes it from comics. I don’t think i have read any comic in which a hero and a villain clash and spend the next few days beating the crap out of each other all over the city. While they do not technically fall under short battles, most comics i have come across will showcase relatively moderate length battles, just enough to get the point across. But then again, we are dealing with heroes that have fought the same villains over and over and over again, so it would be illogical for the battles to drag out.
None the less i would be right in saying that anime and manga needs to adopt some of this temperance in conducting their battles.
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Time skips are a pretty common element in anime, so i am by no means saying that only these series are involved with using them in their plots. These four are simply the most popular series to use time skips so it makes sense that i look at them specifically. The question is which had the better time skip. I might as well say it right now that my answer to the question is Naruto and fairy tail.

The purpose of time skips is to change things up a bit. Maybe a story has reached the end of its road as far as current events are concerned, or maybe all the mystery has been squeezed out and the author feels it necessary to inject fresh life into it; or maybe it is a matter of changing the characters and adding some further development that wouldn’t be possible in the current timeline; either way time skips will bring about the change of that era in anime or manga and start a new one, so it is almost like the anime is starting anew.

In considering which anime executed the time skip best, it is a simple matter of looking at pre-time skip, post time skip and how much impact and influence the time skip had on the overall story line, not far down the line but in the immediate future, usually the first arc after.

Pre-Time skip:> All four had pretty epic finales to the first parts of their stories. Naruto saw Naruto and sasuke finally face off, Sasuke came int

o his own as he mastered sharingan and his cursed seal transformation, naruto finally showed sasuke what he could do and Orochumaru finally made his second move. Bleach saw Aizen’s fall and Ichigo

reach his peak, power wise. One piece caused events to enter the new world and brought about a change in the era of piracy while seeing the demise of several characters. Fairy tail delved deeper into the fairy tail guild with the S-Class test, the introduction of the passed fairy tail masters, the three holy fairy tail magics and final showdown between fairy tail and the dark alliance’s strongest guild, Grimoire Heart. Hades, the strongest villain to date made his appearance and we finally saw some dragon, with Archnologia bringing the first part of fairy tail to a close in a most spectacular manner.

Of all the four, Bleach had the weakest ending. You would think that seeing Ichigo achieve final Gentsuga tensou and unleash Mugetsu, Seeing Aizen activate the Hougyoku, Ishhin’s appearance, Urahara’s fight and everything else that happened would have a spine tingling effect; and it would have, if all that had happened nearly 110-150 episodes ago or 50-100 chapters in the past. By the time these events happened we were all pretty much tired of this arc and Aizen; so a lot of excitement was over shadowed by relief that he was finally gone. Kubo dragged events out too long, to the point that everything that happened at the end just couldn’t muster the impact and epicenes it should have had. Even the revelation of Gin’s true intentions didn’t matter as much as they should have and i will admit that i didn’t care much for his death. Bleach messed up here and only a few moments, like Yamamoto’s fight and Ichigo Vs. Uluqiora saved this arc.

One piece had the strongest ending. technically the first part closes with the Marine ford arc but i would say that it stretches back a far as sabody Archipelago. That is where the gears first began turning in moving one piece towards this awesome end. I re-entered one piece and began the Sarbody Archipelago arc after marine ford was over (or nearly over) so i had the privilege of watching it all at once, over a period of a few weeks. There were way too many moments here for me to zero in one just one thing that made it so epic. The straw hat’s defeat was spectacular and logical and you could really believe that they were

completely overwhelmed.

The appearance of the white beard pirates was everything i expected it to be; there were so many characters at play with so many different powers and stories and intentions, both on the pirates side and the marine side. It felt like the whole world had come to Marine Ford. Of course White beard and Ace ( and Baggy whether you like it or not) stole the show.

Any Naruto fan can remember that final arc and knows why it was so epic. Many would point to the sasuke naruto battle being the pinnacle of the arc, but i would point to the Konoha 11 battles. They proved themselves to be more than genin.

Fairy tail changed things around and for once focused on the guild and its battle against a powerful enemy, unlike the norm where Natsu and crew go off to have an adventure. It was hilarious, especially the scenes with that big guy with the voodoo dolls; we saw god slaying magic for the first time, Cana of all people got some actual character development, Hades was every bit the monster a master should be and of course Achnologia blew me away as a fairy tail fan. I actually didn’t see the fairy tail time skip coming, which made it all the more epic. It caught me off guard.

Post-Skip:> I am not a fan of how One piece and Bleach executed the events following the time skip. it was cool to see the straw hats reunite. The idea of a shonen post time sk

ip arc is usually to show off how powerful the characters have become. The idea is to show case strong enemies that the heroes are now able to annihilate with their new powers that they couldn’t defeat before. The fish man island arc was terrible

for a post time skip arc. I might have accepted it before the time skip but not after. I could waste time mentioning so many things that were so wrong with it, but i will keep it short. The enemies were simply not worth the time. Not Luffy, not Zoro, but Ussop and Fanky could have wrapped up that entire affair by themselves. What is the point of a threat that event the weakest members of the team like Nami and Chopper could have eliminated.

It seemed like a waste, the amount of time spent simply keeping these characters busy running around because it was obvious that if they met the villains, the villains would be instantly defeated. So much of what happened here was unnecessary.

Bleach is no different; the full bring arc was crap. Again the villains were simply ridiculously weak, and what makes me hate that is the fact that they were so ridiculously hyped yet when it came for them to deliver, they fell flat on their stomachs. Even Ginju (if that is his name), after al the hullabaloo of going bankai, couldn’t touch Ichigo. It was obvious that the idea was to show just how much stronger the characters had become, but Kubo failed that when he made the villains so weak. Seriously, none of the shiningami had to do anything new to beat the enemy and i had been looking forward to seeing how strong Rukia had become with her promotion. But of course Kubo chose to put her in a stupid situation with bears and toys. Kubo could have found an easier way of giving Ichigo back his powers. What irritates me the most is how cool some of the designs he created where, especially Ginjo’s bankai and how wasted they all were. Fairy tail is still going strong in its first post time skip arc and, even with some of the glitches of the Daimatou enbu, it is setting up to be fairy tail’s best arc ever. We saw all out brawls between fairy,

every other guild they ever introduced and a whole new set of mages and magics, all determined to contend for the big prize. Beyond that is the absolutely thrilling mystery that has been written into the overall plot by Hiro, who is proving to be a master at deception and misdirection. With the introduction of Eclipse, the royal family of Fiore, powerful mages like Kagura (maybe my favorite outside Erza), Minerva, raven tail, Eclipse, possibly zeref and the dragons, this arc has more than tripled the quality of the previous S-Class arc.

Clearly fairy tail isn’t a better series than the other three. But in considering the arcs before and after a time skip, fairy tail is miles ahead of one piece and bleach.

Naruto stands only a little higher than fairy tail, if not at the same level. The saving Gaara arc was actually exciting to watch, at least much more than fish man island or full bring and did quite a lot in finally introducing the Akatsuki to us, Gaara Vs. Deidara, Sakura Vs Sasori and a host of other events. We entered into a new place in the story and there was a freshness to the arc, like the series was starting a new. Here Naruto stands above one piece, bleach and even fairy tail; there are blunders made by Hiro that i simply cannot ignore.

Time skip impact:> It would be easy to say that Naruto can’t be considered to have had the most impact because it had its time skip ages ago and thus had more than enough time to

build upon its story while beach and one piece and even fairy tail are all fairly recent. But that would be false reasoning as i am not talking about ov

erall progress that has occurred in the story since the time skip but immediately after, in the first arc. In Naruto we finally got to see Sakura in action against Sasori. Sure she couldn’t have beaten Sasori on her own but neither would Chiyo have achieved victory without her; either way she faced an Akatsuki and won, in her one and only moment to shine in the series. We saw Gaara’s rise, how he had achieved the title of kazekage and gained the hearts of his people, clearly a result of what Naruto did to him. He showed himself a totally new individual, both i spirit and in power. That fight with Deidara was incredible. It had me on the edge of my seat, not really knowing who had the upper hand at any one point in time.

Naruto did a lot in that first arc and showed that the entire series had in a way changed, and taken on a darker more serous tone. This was new Naruto.

Bleach, there is really nothing to say about it. The exact same characters before the time skip were the exact same characters presented after. Nothing changed, besides making Ichigo a little more whiny. The time skip, as far as i am concerned, had absolutely no impact on the story. If Naruto impact had the greatest impact, then bleach had the least, or rather no impact at all. It was a waste and truth be told absolutely unnecessary. The story could have done without it.

Fairy tail sits in the middle in that the main characters didn’t actually undergo a time skip; the world did, which makes the time skip here unique. The characters were all the same but everyone they knew and everything had changed. So basically the time skip impacted everything there was to impact in fairy tail, which would make it superior even to Naruto if not for the hiccups in this present arc.

The primary characters in fairy tail had more of a struggle because the world had changed around them and even the weakest of mages that they knew had become a threat; and thus they had to find a way of making up for lost time in as short a period as possible. Many people disagreed with the second origin plot, that it was power too easily acquired and given away, that fairy tai didn't have to work for it and thus it invalidates any development they might show. That was true when second origin was first introduced but not now; because the second origin power up hasn’t been used by anyone except Erza and even she didn’t need to use it until the very last battle. IN other words during the time skip the fairy tail mages weren’t left behind, it was every one else that finally caught up to them and their power, otherwise a daimatou Enbu seven years ago would have been pointless; fairy tail would have won it without trying.

This time skip was necessary whe you consider that fact, because none of this competition to fairy tail’s might would have been possible before; Hiro found away of making a lot of strong enemies available in a short time. it was clever and well done as it forced event the likes of Natsu to (some what) grow and learn to overcome the new foes.

One piece falls in line with bleach. We saw very little impact of the time skip in the fish man story. Sure they were stronger and you could see that, but the enemy was simply too weak for it to matter. It wasn’t the best foot first into the new world. I am not afraid to admit that fish man island bored the heck out of me.

Overall i believe Naruo had the best time skip and made best use of it in the short time, followed by fairy tail. As some might point out, One piece is still developing and bleach, well, like is said, bleach didn’t need the time skip and even with the interesting events of the thousand war arc, the time skip doesn’t play a role.

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Vice Pit sentai squad assemble!

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When things are at their worst, the only place to go is up,....right?

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The war has taken an unexpectedly disappointing turn in direction.

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This one will make you cry the manliest tears!

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I really, really don't like MMO's gettin' real.

Anime Expo 2014 -- THE VICE PIT

America's biggest anime convention pulls Sam back onto the show. And wait -- who's this mysterious third guest?

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What was revealed about this reboot from the Anime Expo screening?

DRAGON BALL :: Should You Watch Dub or Sub?

Episode #11. Retro review. He's bringing THAT question up again?

Anime Expo 2014 Recap

Vice Pit sentai squad assemble!

ALDNOAH ZERO #1 -- Special Review

An info dump that... still smells good?

JOJO'S BIZARRE ADVENTURE : STARDUST CRUSADERS #10 + 11 -- Double Review!

This one will make you cry the manliest tears!

BLEACH Ch. 587 Review

The war has taken an unexpectedly disappointing turn in direction.

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