Written by Shiggins
I've talked about why Ouran Highschool Host Club is not perfect. I've talked about why Naruto is not perfect. I've participated in explaining why One Piece is nowhere near perfect. And now, I'm going to finally take on the sword-obsessed shonen series known as Bleach. Just like with the other series I've done "Not Perfect" article on, this doesn't mean I hate Bleach. I just can see the glaring issues that get on my nerves. From stupidity to characters, I will be attacking the second ever anime series I checked out, and I will finally be finished with The Big Three of Shonen Jump!
...Claydragon is gonna be mad at me!
...Claydragon is gonna be mad at me!
|NONE OF YOU ARE PERFECT SO STOP STANDING THERE AS IF YOU ARE!|
Ichigo Kurosaki, ladies and gentles! The big badass main character who fights all the villains, saves all the heroes and yet somehow gets none of the girls! He's ginger! He's tough! He's serious! And he's... okay. That's it really. He's just okay. He is nothing special whatsoever.
Why am I not head-over-heels in love with Ichigo? Quite a few reasons actually but the most glaring one is that he's okay. He's not especially weird or quirky, reacting to every chaotic situation with either huge panic or huge wonder. He's not got any ultimate goal except "protect my friends", which is the most generic of all motivations when you really get down to it. And he's not even that interesting to look at, since he's only a few steps away from being the generic brown-haired protagonist from every harem series ever.
All of these problems result in me bored out of my mind whenever Ichigo is on stage. Characters like Naruto Uzumaki are interesting because they have a huge and relatable goal to focus on and that's what drives them through the events of the story. Characters like Goku are interesting because they view terrifying conditions with a nearly disturbing love for the battle, which can result in serious consequences and make us curious to see what could happen. And characters like Ichigo really just go through the motions, barely giving a unique reaction to anything substantial. He's not a bad character. He's just nowhere near a good one.
|That's right! Nothing special... but damn he looks good with long hair...|
|His attempt to be the next Spiderman for yet another reboot did him no favours.|
However, a character's personality is not always a factor in their likability. A lot of the times, the best characters have the best abilities and techniques, some of which give them a major advantage while others are given a major disadvantage that they have to overcome. And in what is becoming far too frequent amongst manga characters these days, some are just born with EVERYTHING!
A very common annoyance for Bleach fans is the amount of times we're told Ichigo has "that" inside him. At first, we were told he had the powers of a Soul Reaper inside him, so he was half-human and half-Soul Reaper. That's fairly predictable and acceptable, since you'd have a harder time finding a non-mudblood Shonen protagonist but then suddenly, Ichigo has Hollow powers inside him too. Oh and he's also a Fullbringer. And he's also got Quincy blood inside him. I'm honestly just waiting for this arc to say he's also got Soul King blood inside him, just to add to the encyclopedia of nonsense he is!
|Wow, it's a good thing he activated his random Berserker hollow mode, or Ichigo might have actually been really hurt!|
Yes, Ichigo does have to train to learn the Bankai and the Fullbring powers and yes, he does go through some strain because of the Hollow Mask, but this amount of favouritism towards Ichigo just makes it seem almost pointless, since literally everybody who trains extremely hard are overcome by someone "born special". If I was Rukia, I'd fucking give up. "Well, he's clearly got everything inside him and can do or anything. I'll just push away the little villains until he shows up and takes all the credit".
So... Many... Characters!
There's too many! Okay?! I know Naruto had a ton of them, and I said the same thing about that series, but I think this one might actually be worse! I haven't counted but I'm pretty sure the cast is a lot bigger here than it is over there.
|You get barely any time! And you get barely any time! EVERYBODY GETS BARELY ANY TIIIIME! (Except you, Uryu).|
The amount of minor villains that I fell in love with are actually quite staggering, and that might be the most back-handed compliment I've ever said but it's true. Characters like Ggio Vega have brilliant designs that surpass many of the more major characters like Ichigo, and yet they barely appear. The reason for this is an obvious one; Too many. Tite Kubo can't give them all the screentime they deserve, so it's almost a congratulations I give as I lament the fact that Coyote Starrk only existed for one battle and two scenes before it.
It's the same problems as with Naruto of course. Brilliant characters take too long to appear because it's almost like they're fighting each other for screentime, and they don't get the amount of exposure they clearly require to flesh out and be enjoyable. The final arc of Bleach is the biggest criminal here, with literally dozens or tens of dozens of chapters hinting at a character appearing later, but then when they do finally appear, the series doesn't actually use them for very long because so many others are trying to be rammed in. It's a mess.
S..... L..... O..... W.....
I actually own Bleach volumes and I honestly recommend buying paperback volumes for manga series and writers that deserve it. And one of the benefits of owning the volumes is that I can binge-read it at my own pace, because the alternative is possibly the most painfully slow series I've ever had to crawl through.
Every chapter refuses to go at a fast pace, dragging fights and even simple conversations to the point of overdone boredom. You can tell that Tite Kubo knows where he wants his chapter to end, and is basically using filler to make sure it ends at that exact point. While this is great to read as a whole, stopping each week after barely anything happening is not only boring, it's sore.
I think the best example of this might be Chapter 581, which begins with Ichigo arriving at the battlefield and ends with Ichigo... arriving at the battlefield. It is literally his descent as he falls from the sky, after Chapter 580 ended with the obvious sign that he had arrived already. The time was filled with glimpses of other characters, but they were really quick and pointless. The series commits this crime a lot and I don't think I've ever seen a manga push its luck as much as this.
|It's pages like this authority-demanding finger that cause such problems to burn inside my soul.|
|The chapter that took nearly 20 pages, but was summed up in 1.|
Aizen vs Yhwach
I'm not going to turn this into a debate of "who is a better villain?", but everybody in the world knows the story should have ended with Aizen as the main villain. And while that may still be possible, it will never have the same effect it could have if the series hadn't made such a confusingly dumb blunder.
The "Arrancar Saga" ended with the defeat of Aizen, as he was sealed up thanks to Ichigo and Kisuke Urahara. Ichigo had lost his powers and the fairly pathetic Fullbring Arc brought them back in a clearly half-assed away to keep the series going. Then we got the Quincy Saga, where a brand new villain known as Yhwach appeared out of nowhere and suddenly took over as main antagonist.
|"Tite Kubo, sir. Can you think of anything more evil than Aizen?" |
I'll be the first to admit that Yhwach was actually quite impressive when he first appeared. He killed his own minions and even one of the more powerful characters, revealed secrets to Ichigo, and his facial hair has done nothing but grow throughout the series. (I'm serious, look at how his hair has grown!). As time went on, the interesting features of Yhwach were far outmatched by the boring ones such as his actual personality and being even more overpowered than the former main antagonist somehow, and we all started to wish Aizen would return.
While it's never a bad thing to have multiple major antagonists, it's never as effective to just throw a bad guy in without foreshadowing, after you've been dealing with someone as major as Aizen. Aizen had such a presence on the show, due to being the major authority figure of evil since the Soul Society Arc. Even to this day, he's still around and far more interesting than Yhwach because we've gotten to know him. Yhwach suffers from appearing for literally just the final arc, and that cheapens who he is and how important he is. If I needed to put it in Naruto terms, he's almost like the Kaguya to Aizen's Madara... except nowhere near as awful because Yhwach is lasting longer than one fight.
|He is literally tied to a chair and is still able to take on Yhwach! Are you kidding me, Manga Hitler?!|
Well... That Was Dumb
I feel a bit bad for talking about this one, but I say those words a lot during the Bleach storyline. From a story perspective, many of these ridiculous visuals and plot points that occur do make some semblance of sense, due to being inspired by some sort of cultural aspect. (To find out more about Bleach symbolism, read Claydragon's article here). However, when you really look at them...
A giant hand. A brain in a jar. A man dressed up like a butterfly. And... Zommari. I don't even know what sort of pumpkin-themed hell Zommari's final form is from but it looks ridiculous. And sure, you can tell me it's based on some sort of clever metaphor for Christianity, but if it just comes across as stupid then there's no point! Focus on telling a story before you focus on the symbolism and metaphors etc. And this... This is so stupid.
Foreshadowing? Is that the thing that comes before Fiveshadowing?
|I literally laughed out loud when I first saw this thing. It's far too funny.|
|I don't even know whether to laugh or cry.|
Foreshadowing? Is that the thing that comes before Fiveshadowing?
I know my title was supremely subtle about it so let me explain. Bleach sucks at foreshadowing or revealing facts in a way that doesn't make it feel like it was pushed out of an ass. At times, Bleach does manage to hint at a future plot development that does show some planning, such as when Uryu looked suspiciously at the Soul Reaper badge, which turned out to be a plot point a few arcs later, but for the majority of it, Tite Kubo prefers to just throw them in and never do it again.
|Ladies and germs, I present to you a MacGuffin generator!|
|Good thing it's one of the most badass designs I'll ever see, or I'd be so mad.|
Any flaws I missed out? Any other manga/anime series I should be pointing out the flaws of? I'm sure I could find something in every series!
Tell me below in the comments.
Born under the stars of the Dark Gods, Shiggins owns the power of the Great Eye and is utterly magnificent in his omniscience. If you dare to discover more about someone as great as him, then go ahead. And to all my friends and family members, YOU are wrong and I should be disappointed! Not the other way round!,. You can find out about him or ask him stuff on ask.fm/shigginsishere or go to his tumblr page http://otakugajeel.tumblr.com/