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BLEACH #4 -- Retro Review

They always got to save the bird, don't they?

I’m starting to wonder if there really is some guideline in the shonen handbook about how at least one of a series’ early episodes must center on a cute, little pet. That two-parter about the poodle in ONE PIECE won’t be soon forgotten by I. Now, here’s BLEACH’s version of it... a creepy two-parter about a cursed cockatiel.

(Maybe this is Japan’s version of ‘Save the Cat?’)

The funny part is that I can picture this basic set-up being handled in a completely different fashion if this were another show. On paper, Ichigo isn’t that far removed from Ginko in MUSHI-SHI. They’re both cantankerous, working class guys who act as middle men between mortals and spirits (what the mushi pretty much are). Each episode, so far, has been about him mediating in the troubles of some ghost of the week. I know BLEACH gradually veers far, far away from that; but at the moment, the format’s a lot like MUSHI-SHI’s.

And, of course, MUSHI-SHI was basically the anime version of CONSTANTINE, which in turn got the CW treatment with SUPERNATURAL. All series coming from more-or-less the same starting point, and a lot of times, the differences only seem like a matter of degrees. None of the aforementioned shows are going to be ever be resolved with a shinigimi cleaving giant ghost in half with an excessively-sized sword...

Actually, to be totally honest, ruminating on BLEACH’s premise like this kind-of draws attention to how many concepts are just sort-of taken for granted. The initial set-up of Ichigo being the boy who can talk to ghosts seems to have no bearing whatsoever on the action we’re seeing, now. Likewise, this “Chad” fellow seems like he’s just lurched in from a completely different show, altogether.

I’m sure the show will eventually provide some explanation for him, and Ichigo’s background, and the reason all this paranormal business is situated in one, random town… but I suspect those will be retcons. Call it a sixth sense, but I can smell when a series is making things up as it goes along (with some handy guidelines to follow, sure) and this one is just flaring those hairs, right now.

Watch "Cursed Parakeet" and decide for yourself, then read my comments about the previous episode.

About the Author

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk
Kino88on April 8, 2014 at 2:47 p.m.
I wish Bleach never did veer off from that Mushi shi vibe, For me it was all a lot more entertaining in the beginning, before you had to keep Track of like 40 other characters, though I'll admit I did like the introduction of Ichigo's creepy alter ego,

Dig Deeper into Bleach

The story follows a fifteen year old high-schooler who is forced into an adventure as a Shinigami. He starts off as a weak warrior of honor but progresses to be more than a match for most captains. Now he will face the Soul Society's greatest threat, Sousuke Aizen,Xcution, and Vandereich.

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