My Love/Hate Relationship With Tite Kubo’s Bleach

I don’t typically write about anime on here, as I don’t know a whole lot about it and frankly most of it just leaves me cold, if it isn’t just outright annoying.  There are some that I like, however.  When I came across Bleach one night on Adult Swim, it had me hooked from the beginning.  It had a cool concept and likable characters. There were flaws, sure, but I could overlook those.  At the start I could, anyway.

Now?  I watch more out of habit than anything else.  There are so many problems with the show that I’m not even certain where to begin.  Let’s start with the characters.  There are some really cool characters in Bleach.  Ichigo, for starters. Rukia, and of course Kiske.  The problems is that there are TOO many characters!  Way, way too many.  I get that Tite Kubo doesn’t like to kill off his characters, but there gets to be a point that a ridiculously long character list becomes unwieldy and slows the pace of the show.  Plus, there’s very little tension because you can pretty well guess that the good guys (and a lot of the bad guys for that matter) are going to survive the fight.  The point is, the cast really needs to be culled.

In a related point, which I mentioned above, the pacing is awful.  The fight between Renji, Uryu, and Szayelaporro was ridiculous, for example.  I don’t know how many episodes it spanned, but it took way, way too long.  All the while, more interesting battles were taking place, such as the fight between Kenpachi Zaraki and Nnoitra.  Oh and while I’m on this train of thought, some of the released forms of both the Espada and Soul Reapers are ridiculously unwieldy.  I’m sorry, but something is wrong if you have to spend twenty minutes explaining the ins and outs of your power.

Anyway.  Another pacing problem has to do with poor placement of back story.  More than once there has been times that a big battle is about to take place and the author seems to say “wait, wait!  Let’s back it up 100 years so you can see why [insert character name here] is such a prick!”  No.  Uh uh.  You should have the characters well established before the battle begins.  Back story should only be added as relevant to the main story, and it should be added in such a way that it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the main plot.  Just jamming it in there before (or during!) a climactic confrontation does not good story telling make.

The next problem I have is more with anime in general, although Bleach is a big offender.  The comic relief is often ill timed and just plain obnoxious.  Nelliel and her whole bunch come to mind in the most recent arc (I watch it dubbed on Adult Swim, by the way).  I think some of that is just due to cultural differences–Japanese humor is just different than ours.  There are some great comedic moments in Bleach, that is for certain, but there are many times the arguing and what not that is supposed to be funny just feels like the writers padding for time.

All of that being said, I still watch Bleach.  There are times that I’m not sure why, but the show is compelling even though it’s not exactly deep and thoughtful.  The characters and likable, and the fact that any of it even works at all given the vast mob that is the cast is amazing in and of itself.  It’s a spectacle, and I can’t help but keep watching.

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