I became a nearly criminally late fan of Bleach this year. The manga was extremely popular in my middle school years and though I read approximately 9 volumes, I didn’t fully attach myself to the series until this year.
Netflix’s Bleach film was one of the best casted Live-Action Adaptations however, the movie inaccurately crammed quite a bit of story into movie format. I decided to revisit the series again but this time, I’d see to its conclusion.
In its long stretch of 74 manga volumes and a total of 686 chapters, Bleach tells a story that other Shonen titles of today clearly imitate or were/are inspired by. Spanning across multiple arcs, the story is fairly engaging as protagonist Ichigo Kurosaki is given Soul Reaper Powers and later discovers he possesses his own. Two of the bigger arcs primarily incorporate the “damsel in distress” method of story but have awesome battles filled with fascinating villains. One arc is so short that its only real purpose was to build up Ichigo.
Volume 74 concludes the final arc and the Bleach series overall. This arc began with Ichigo and the gang going against fated enemies; Quincies. Our initial introduction to Quincies were Uryu and his piece of shit father though hints of a potential uprising is hinted very early in the series. This arc brought many powerful, fun, and twisted adversaries like Giselle, (my personal favorite), that can turn the dead into zombies that follow her will.
Unfortunately as exciting as this arc was, the conclusion felt like a complete rush. Characters that were thrown back into the story in earlier volumes appear only to either disappear, (Nel), or pull out surprise moves that make little sense, (Captain Toshiro),. Worst of all is the fact that one of the most overpowered antagonists of this arc die in the most nonsensical ways.
Bleach had a long and mostly exciting run that developed a huge international fanbase. With that in mind, the fans deserved better than the rushed ending Kubo delivered. The last pages confirm relationships that lead to children which practically screams of a new story of their Soul Reaper offspring. Thankfully the series end was nowhere near as bad as Fairy Tail, but was pretty damn close.
Rating: 7 out of 10