What You Need to KnowBleach first started its wonderful life in Weekly Shonen Jump back in August 2001, and has currently racked up 44 manga volumes. Three years later in October of 2004, the anime version hit the airwaves all across Japan, and is currently at 271 episodes. The man responsible for this achievement is the 33-year-old Kubo Tite. His first hit was a manga called Zombie Powder, which ran for four volumes until it was cancelled. A year later he started work on Bleach; his plan was to initially not take longer than five years to write, but when things are good it is hard to step on the breaks.
The StoryThe basic story of Bleach revolves around the world of the afterlife and the battles that rage within it. The main character Ichigo has a run in with a Shinigami (Soul Reaper in English) named Rukia, who ends up transforming him into one. Basically, the Shinigami act as the afterlife’s army that assist in making sure the circle of life is never broken.
The reason why the afterlife needs an army is because sometimes after death the soul becomes corrupt, which transforms the corrupted soul into a monster called Hollow. Hollows can eat the flesh of regular people like you or me, so they must be destroyed; and by destroyed, I of course mean purified, because Shinigami do not kill (or so they say).
Ichigo is now a substitute Shinigami, and takes it upon himself to protect his town from the constant invasion of hollows. Though he does not do this alone because some of his closest friends start to mysteriously develop powers as well. Ichigo does his job wonderfully as a substitute, but things hit the fan when the Shinigami themselves take away Ichigo's power and arrest Rukia for giving it away. Unfortunately, the sentence for this particular crime is execution.
Ichigo is not the type of guy that would do nothing while his friends suffer, so he gathers a group of loyal followers and storms the afterlife. But he has to hurry, for Rukia's execution is swiftly approaching.
What to ExpectDragon Ball Z with swords.
Like many anime series that are derived from Shonen Jump manga, Bleach too has its fair share of filler, or stories that are not found in the original source material. They either are silly one shot episodes, or multi-episode story arcs that can run for over ten episodes or more. Here is a list of the major filler arcs within the series, and whether you should skip them or not.
- The Bount Arc (episode 64 - 109): The Bount Arc introduces a couple characters that the anime actually makes use of throughout the remaining episodes. Because of this you might want to watch it so that you do not get lost in future episodes. Overall I would say it is average at best.
- The New Captain Shusuke Amagai Arc (episode 168 - 189): Skip it, it isn’t worth it.
- Zanpakutō: The Alternate Tale Arc (episode 230 - 265): For a filler arc, this one isn’t too shabby. If you had to watch any of them, I would give this one a shot. Though I do believe it went on for far too long.
CharactersWhen you have a series this long, you are going to meet many characters on your journey. Bleach shoves tons of side characters at you through out the series, some you will see often, while others you will never see again. To pull this off properly it is important to have the side characters be as interesting as possible; sometimes becoming more popular than the main character himself. Here is a spoiler free list of 5 characters that you will learn to love as you come to experience Bleach.
Should I Read the Manga, or Watch the Anime?Now if you are interested in watching/reading Bleach, you are probably wondering whether you should read the manga, or watch the anime. Reading the manga will get you through the story faster, but on the flip side you will miss some of the better animated battles of the anime. The anime also features a great soundtrack, especially the recognizable soul song that plays every time Ichigo does something great. Basically, if you have plenty of time on your hands and you don't care how long it takes you to catch up, then go with the anime. But if you like to cover lots of ground in one sitting, go with the manga.
|Want to give it a shot before you commit to anything?||Don't enjoy reading, hate subtitles, and like your Ichigo to sound like the Green Ranger?||Still unsure if you will enjoy this, but still want to give it a chance? Like your dialogue small and your explosions big?|
|Bleach manga volume 1 would be your best bet, if you like it you can continue with the next manga or go on to the anime.||Bleach Season 1 Box Set is what you need. It contains episodes 1 - 20.||I would give Bleach Movie 2: The DiamondDust Rebellion a shot. The second film features almost every character in the anime; a Bleach sampler platter if you will.|
Hopefully now you know a little more about Bleach, and are able to make an educated decision about taking the plunge. Bleach is definitely not high art, but it is entertaining. Sometimes, you just need to turn your brain off and enjoy two or more men swinging giant swords at each other.