Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Manga Review: Bleach
So about a month ago I finally got down to reading Bleach, the manga. My sister has been raving about it this shonen manga all the time so I bought the first two volumes from Borders some 1 1/2 year ago. I just never summoned the interest to pick it up since. In fact I have even played the game first before attempting to make sense of the plot. Well I finally started reading it last month and it got me hooked.
The story revolves around a teenager known as Ichigo Kurosaki, who happens to be able to see ghosts and other supernatural beings. One day he met Rukia Kuchiki, a shinigami who happens to be wondering through his room looking for a hollow (a corrupted soul). After kicking her, much to her shock, she lost her powers. The power is transferred to Ichigo and thus he is recruited by Rukia to take over her place temporarily. The manga series is still on going and has reached 30 volumes so far. It involves four major arcs, the first being Ichigo's discovery of his power in his home town. The second, the Soul Society arc where Ichigo goes of to the Soul Society in order save Rukia, is slightly longer. When I mean slightly long I mean it spawned 11 volumes (13 volumes if you include the moment from when Rukia is captured).
The formula is simplistic - Ichigo is strong, but often over-estimate his opponents. Often he would find himself defeated only to return stronger after harnessing his inner strength again. It is like Dragon Ball series I suppose, and for most of it Son Goku and Ichigo more often than not, shares the same ability of determination as well as having the desire to help his friends. His sidekick, Rukia, is comparable to Bulma too, though I find Rukia actually more useful than merely a comedy sidekick.
The thing I like about Bleach is while predictable, the characters are likeable. Even the villains. The supporting casts aren't your average filler characters. Everyone has a background that is thoroughly explore (which explains why the Soul Society arc went on for so long, as it not only focuses on the rescuer's attempt, but also on an internal conflict within Soul Society). In fact I can't remember a manga series where the main character isn't on the front cover after just one volume.
I am happy to finally pick the book up and read it. It has a fascinating storyline that explores the destiny of not only the protagonist, but his fellow friends acceptance to fate as well as their enemies. The writer Kubo Tite has a real knack of writing up good story laced with appropriate humour, as well as drawing great art with clean lines. It may have taken me years to join the party, but it is still truly recommended.