Having grown up in Japan, its amazing to me still that I did not immerse myself in the manga culture until I left the country. Bleach is what is considered a mainstream “shonen anime” along with Naruto which you probably already have heard of. From what I have heard – giving Bleach a try is the best decision I have made. If you want the short answer to what my review is, this show is a good one.
The plot of Bleach is pretty easy to grasp in the beginning. There are Soul Reapers who have the ability to guide souls to the Soul Society which is an afterlife dimension. Reapers not only guide human souls but combat evil spirits to protect everyone. On initial watch, you meet Ichigo the arrogant sarcastic teenage boy (typical character). The first season introduces us to the most important of characters, Rukia and allows us to understand the basic concept of Bleach as we know it. We don’t realize until the end the new events that will cause us to go on rescue missions to defend the Soul Society.
Finally after the first 50+ episodes a climax takes place and makes the entire season worth watching. But, 50 episodes in – who has the attention span to watch this? Continuing on you are promised great rewards at the end of this brick road. Two arcs are a slow paced action anime which is the issue I’ve had with it. The Soul Society arc grabs your attention and asks you to be a loyal fan, until its interest plummets. While the Arrancar arc is interesting in new aspects, neither that or the Hueco Mundo arc do much for the senses. Like most cartoons these days, the plot doesn’t thicken past the save the damsel in distress mode, and gets old. Many of the repeat fights don’t have much oomph to them as we must see the same scenes over again.
Aside from the filler, the reusing of plots and damsel in distress Bleach did show an increasing in potential as we dive deeper into the series. The universe comes alive in new ways, and Bleach improves as it matures. The other seasons are not as good as season 1, and leaves your yearning for more. Oddly enough Bleach is still enjoyable to watch even having finished it already. The true excitement is that with every rerun you find something new about the show. You inspect powers of each character, what motivates the villain of each episode and the quirks of the characters. The true spark of this show is in fact the cast, the odd twists and behaviors keeps you coming back for more. Even when the animation fades in and out between low frames and odd character interaction, its still beautiful to watch.
What also sparks the imagination to Bleach’s claim to fame is their Soundtrack. Each one brings new sound, and revives the old. The tone of each episode is followed closely and does not miss a beat in action and underlying electric tone.
I’ve said this over and over to friends who don’t watch anime, watch this one first- give it a few episodes and you’ll watch it to the end.