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.
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.
Just to balance the Damsel in Distress lists.
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.
Pre time skip Usopp was a weak, but he was a smart guy.
In his plushie form, he can't do crap on his own.
Needs Natsu and Lucy to save his butt.
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.
Krillin saved him after his chest was stabbed by some androids.
As a little kid, all he could was throw tantrums and call daddy.
|16. Mamoru Chiba|
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.
Claimed his Hokuto Shinken technique was invincible, Captured without inflicting any damage and was rescued by a child.
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|
Masterminded a brilliant strategy, Beaten and captured by a greater Mastermind!
|20. Rokuro Okajima|
You know you are not irreplaceable when you're kidnapped and your company won't pay your ransom.
|21. Natsu Dragneel|
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|
taken by Claw's group
|23. Killua Zoldyck|
got kidnapped and tortured by his brother Illumi
he was saved by Strawhats at Nami's request
saved by Clare just before he was about to be eaten by a yoma.
|26. Alphonse Elric|
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|
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|
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|
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.
Saved his waifu from Cell and became a damsel by Cell
Kidnapped by Alvida
|33. Yusuke Urameshi|
Kidnapped by nerds
|34. Honoka Takamiya|
He gets saved by the school idol, Ayaka Kagari, who is a witch.
|35. Ciel Phantomhive|
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
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|
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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)
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)
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!
This is some amazing pictures I thought it would be great to share.
So who are your favorite couples in Bleach and why?
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
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.
Pokemon Black and White Looks Delicious in Motion
First video of a Pokemon battle in Black and White.
Comment & Win: One Piece Vol. 52, 53
Time for a giveaway folks! Now, act civil, we don't want anyone to get hurt in the mad rush to win.
Beginner's Guide to FLCL
Gainax's madcap, surrealist anime, broken down for new viewers.
Steve gets intimately close to Dragon Ball Z, for science!
Top 3 Awful Anime Dubs
Grit your teeth and get your ear plugs ready cause this week we're taking on the three most amazingly bad dubs of all time!
Parting Ways with AKAME GA KILL!
It really comes down to this specific visual here.
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Checking Back on SPACE DANDY and... He's Cleaned Up His Act?
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Parting Ways with AKAME GA KILL!
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Anime Caption Contest! -- 8/27/14
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If you've ever had that feeling as if you're running in circles, Hitsugaya knows exactly how you feel.
HUNTER X HUNTER -- AV Mods' Roundtable
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Stand back there, lil' lady. The men folk will be take things from here.