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04 May 2011 @ 08:11 am
New Arc Poll  
WELP, everyone’s talking about Bleach’s flagging sales and rankings in WSJ polls* so I thought I’d make an entry and my own poll. Polls are unscientific of course, bleachness polls are dumb by self-definition and because people here tend to be big Kubo fans I don’t expect that this poll will reflect a lot of the current dislike of the Fullbringer arc I’ve been reading here and there. I only want to prompt some discussion.

*Of the “Big Three” Naruto, One Piece and Bleach in the past year, the first two have steadily ranked in the top five of WSJ rating polls while Bleach has been all over the place. The “Bleach My Soul” chapter that concluded the Arrancar arc placed Bleach at its highest recent ranking (2nd) and the last ranked chapter was for 438 (the one with Orihime’s “Beauty Attack” that felled Shi Shi) and Bleach ranked at its lowest ever (13th). Zangetsu01 posts the WSJ chapter rankings (determined by reader feedback cards) weekly at BA: the latest post is here.

Poll #1737904 New Arc Poll

My Favorite Arc So Far (bear w/me--kinda complicated but not really)

Karakura Town (early Bleach)
Soul Society
Arrancar Arc/Hueco Mundo (includes Ulquiorra's death)
Fake Karakura Town (when the Shinigami were fighting Aizen etc)
Karakura Town Redux (Aizen chasing kids through street and Final Ichigo/Aizen battle)
Fullbringer Arc so far

What I look for in an arc in order to say I like it (check all that apply)

My favorite characters
Interesting characterization regardless of whether my favorites appear that often
Good fights meaning suspense, innovative weaponry and cool stuff blowing up
Good fights meaning emotional drama, high stakes, relevance to plot
Anything that holds my attention or moves my feelings
Other (explain)

What I think about the current Fullbringer arc:

I'm enjoying it--thumbs up!
I like it but I believe it has flaws.
It's okay--I'm enduring it until something better happens.
Sticking with it because of reader loyalty but I dislike it.
I dislike it. I've tried to quit it or have skimmed it.
Burn it with fire!

Orihime's Beauty Attack Chapter--where she turned around and knocked Shi Shi over w/her good looks--

Hated it--it was a waste of panels and pages.
Did not care for it--no.
Meh, it made no real impression.
I liked it--it was funny.

With the Beauty Attack chapter, do you think Kubo was trying to tell off the Twitter troll who wanted to kill off Orihime?

Yeah, and it was a bad joke. Get a grip, Kubo and remember your story.
Yeah, and it was kinda funny.
Yeah, and everyone's entitled to a spiteful nervous breakdown.
Not really, why would he do that?

How badly do you miss Rukia in this arc?

I miss her but I'm enjoying the arc.
I miss her as much as Ichigo does--he's suicidal.
I don't miss her and I'm enjoying the arc.
Rukia is not that relevant to me in terms of this arc.
Rukia's absence defines this arc and my frustration grows weekly


He's annoyed me from the beginning of this arc and I don't know what Kubo's doing with his character.
I like an angsty Ichigo.
Ichigo's many wardrobe changes--yes. Sexy t-shirts. And yes to stylish cardigan with violin symbol!
I facepalmed when he doubted Urahara.
I grow weary of fail!Ichigo
I'm afraid that Kubo's message may be that a strong woman is needed to jumpstart Ichigo again and Ichigo will be the damsel in his own lifestory.
Rukia, come back nao.
Ichigo, man up nao BEFORE Rukia sees you like this.
Ichigo, all you need is another date in your room with a nubile girl.
Listen to Chad, bro.
Ichigo? Where's KON?

My opinion?

THIS ARC IS REALLY GOOD. Fans are complaining about it because fans ALWAYS complain, and this time they have a subjective reason to bitch (no Rukia) besides objective ones (bad pacing that was there for past four years, the emphasis on art such as close-ups of doorknobs or Ichigo taking a whole page to ride an elevator over moving the plot). Some people like me, though, like the symbolic paneling (hello allusive big shadow of Ichigo in “Brocken Spotlight” that refers to an optical illusion of light and skewed perspective in keeping with Ichigo’s point of view in the chapter). The plot too has more suspense than HM which was basically a line-up of who fights who next.

I've actually reread the beginning of Bleach to see what some of the complaints were about and while I've seen smaller paneling that moves the story, I've seen this story NOW moving faster and with more sophisticated art. It's not as funny or endearing and naturally relies on reader loyalty so it doesn't work to gain your love so no, it's not OLD BLEACH. But it's a training arc and those never move fast and people don't love them as a rule. I like the mind games/mysteries Kubo plays (What are Isshin and Urahara up to? What past do Bookman and Ramen Guy share? What the hell has been done to Orihime?) and I like the emphasis on the nakama and yeah, Ichigo is more interesting to me as an angsty boy than as "let's go get em" hero although the angst can wear thin.

I’m not that worried about the fail!Ichigo people are complaining about. I sincerely believe that this arc is the culmination of Ichigo’s coming of age crisis. Ichigo’s protection boner like all dichotomies in Bleach (Kubo is obsessed with black and white, hollow and human, good and evil) has shown its good and bad sides in the two previous arcs. Because of his need to protect, Ichigo became 1) in SS, a shining hero and 2) in HM, a mindless monster who stabbed a nakama and killed an opponent who had already surrendered.

Last week we saw Ichigo willing to die because he wanted to fight—again prioritizing the fight over the need to honestly protect. Ichigo needs to man up and discover a balancing act between urges defined as hollow-like by Kubo in Bleach and those defined as too oppressive and shinigami-ish (think Byakuya and Ichigo defeating those rigid principles in SS). He needs to realize that not hesitating is good but that being rash without reflection is bad. He needs to stop running away from his feelings and grow up. I think it’s this arc’s job.

Yep—Ichigo was introduced as a fuck up in this arc. We’ve already been told Ichigo’s grades dropped, he was whoring himself out to sports clubs, and now he’s lost and mistrusting his own dad and former mentor and going all ballistic in the rush to regain his powers—it’s all a coming-of-age drama. He has no where to go but up.

As for the Fullbringers? New characters are necessary to introduce new story elements. It’s Kubo’s one great flaw that he gets carried away with introducing new characters. New story elements could be introduced just as well with four Espada instead of ten... the Arrancar arc suffered from being a predictable line of who fights who next rather than being a plot with emotional dramatic elements at stake. I like the Fullbringers. They seem less like fighting opponents than characters already onstage with emotional histories. Tsukishima is not only a bish but he’s smart and has motives to wonder about—does he or doesn’t he want to give up his powers and why?

I think the up and down WSJ ratings reflect knee jerk responses to chapters and not thoughtful analyses of the arc as a whole. That's for Kubo and his editors--they take these responses and have to sit down and think about them. What works, what doesn't work in the fine details. But the story? I'm good. What else is Kubo supposed to do? Bring the Shinigami to Karakura town and have Rukia fight Ginjou?--it would be ridiculous fanservice to play to peoples' wants right now, and he has to follow the story he's planned. I'm sure that after the training is done, really good things are gonna happen.

As for people saying that Kubo is writing what he damn well pleases now and not listening to “haters”, first of all—can you please not call people who want to discuss a text or a character critically “haters?” It sounds so puerile. I suppose that’s to be expected when a lot of anime and manga fans are in high school but I hear grown-up fans talking this way about other fans and using the word “hater” like an epithet and it REALLY rubs me the wrong way.

Kubo has listened to reader imput in the past and even though he says he doesn't now, it's naive to believe that editors, who DO listen to reader responses, don't have any influence on the direction of the manga. Kubo stated at last winter's Jump Festa that the audience love of the Espada was responsible for prolonging the Arrancar arc. (It's almost as if he's blaming the audience for his bad pacing). The Ashido arc was cut out by editors and put in the anime instead. This is the way it goes with serial stories—changes WILL be made and reader responses DO make a difference.

I’m not worried that Bleach is going to be cancelled. For everyone who’s genuinely worried about that—please chill. Sure, Bleach hasn’t had a WSJ cover or a two page color spread in a while but it’s still a money maker. The last movie didn’t make as big money as hoped maybe but it still made major yen. The last volume didn’t sell as much as previous volumes but it’s still selling in numbers of what most mangaka can only dream of selling. As for WSJ ratings—I can’t tell what to make of them. I’m still sore that Psyren, my favorite shounen (a smart story and the sexiest female lead since Ruka) got cancelled and I have no idea why Magico is being promoted so highly now—but as always with Bleach, I plan on being patient. Years in this fandom have taught me one thing—patience pays off.

Current Mood: hungryhungry
ruinin fuckin' everything: maskallelujah on May 4th, 2011 01:20 pm (UTC)
Here's my opinion

I have loved Bleach since the moment I sat down and read it. I bared through filler arc after filler, arguments, the death of my favorite character, everything, and I kept reading and loving it no matter what. I laughed off people hating the Espada Arc because I liked the characters SO much it moved me. And you know what? Right now I feel nothing.

Bleach has saved my life so many times. I can't tell you how I felt the day before I heard about the release of 312, the defining NnoiNel chapters, but it was never good. Half of my life has been nervous breakdowns and constant misery and the feeling I don't belong. I'm still reading it now but instead of making me go DAMMIT KUBO I NEED NEXT WEEK it's making me go "where are you Bleach?". So please don't belittle this as "fans always complain".

The only thing good about this arc is the art. I want Orihime to have more time to shine but so far it's just been Ichigo angst. Ichigo is my favorite character 98% of the time so right now it hurts me to see what was initially interesting being turned into something that is prolonged and boring. I don't care about fullbring, it looks so tacked on and like it came from nowhere. At least in Naruto, which I hate in every aspect, it's believable when people learn of a new power or there's something people don't know. But this fullbring crap came out of nowhere and makes no genuine sense to me half the time. I don't care about the fullbringers and I don't care about anyone like I used to.

It literally feels like someone with Kubo's art wrote the next movie and they decided to make a miniseries in comics. It doesn't feel like Bleach. I was so happy when Kubo said there was more instead of that it was ending but right now I wonder if it was the best. At the end of the day I have faith in Kubo but not very much right now.....and I don't even care if he's paying attention to us. I'm so disappointed with the finalized product coming out I just do not. care.
Super Nintendo Chalmersstrawberries_85 on May 4th, 2011 01:23 pm (UTC)
"It literally feels like someone with Kubo's art wrote the next movie and they decided to make a miniseries in comics. It doesn't feel like Bleach. I was so happy when Kubo said there was more instead of that it was ending but right now I wonder if it was the best. At the end of the day I have faith in Kubo but not very much right now.....and I don't even care if he's paying attention to us. I'm so disappointed with the finalized product coming out I just do not. care."

I think that just about sums up how I feel about Bleach right now. :(
(no subject) - allelujah on May 4th, 2011 11:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on May 4th, 2011 01:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - allelujah on May 4th, 2011 01:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on May 4th, 2011 01:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - allelujah on May 4th, 2011 01:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - naurel on May 4th, 2011 03:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - arcadiasilver on May 4th, 2011 05:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - conjure_lass on May 4th, 2011 03:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scuttling on May 4th, 2011 06:58 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Apologies in advance for the rant - takashid416 on May 5th, 2011 08:07 am (UTC) (Expand)
Super Nintendo Chalmersstrawberries_85 on May 4th, 2011 01:21 pm (UTC)
Oh shit, there's so many multiple answers I want to pick. Would that be fair? XD
Atsushi Sakurai's mistress: Taki and Klaustorment2romance on May 4th, 2011 01:53 pm (UTC)
I'm probably going to get jumped on for this but I actually think that Bleach should have finished with Aizen's downfall. Everything up until that moment was linked to this vast over reaching intricate plot, now that Aizen's been defeated this whole thing just seems rather pointless. I am in firm belief that you shouldn't just continue writing a story for the sake of it (even though it has a massive fanbase) it should end on a high note.
_debbiechan__debbiechan_ on May 4th, 2011 03:01 pm (UTC)

Depends on whether you think the end of the last arc was a high note.

And there were still a lot of unanswered questions left insofar as the Bleach universe goes--although Kubo could've tied them up in a hurry I suppose with a speech by Urahara.
(no subject) - conjure_lass on May 4th, 2011 03:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - adam_epp on May 4th, 2011 07:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
hinodeh: Hiryuu is scepticalhinodeh on May 4th, 2011 01:57 pm (UTC)
Honestly? I quite like th current arc, because it has the most plot since SS and I like the fullbringers, since I like most of them instead being loving one of them and being meh or downright hateful about the others.

Also, Tsukishima is currently a much much better big bad than than Aizen was after SS. Tsukishima does shit instead of eternally sitting on his ass, smiling smugly and going "Just as planned". Unlike Aizen, he has also some humanity by not being dignified and smug 24 hours a day. I still love him getting sneezed on. So yeah, love dat Tsukishima, and it's good that he is the main boss of a short arc. Even the best villain starts to look idiotic if he stays the main villain of a series which is stretched to ridiculous lengths.

SS was really good because it had a fairly good balance of plot and fights. HM I like because of the arrancar, Ulquihime and some interesting plot threads which were sadly dropped (Orihime destroying the hougyoku, anyone?), but it had a bad balance of fighting and plot and Orihime's issues seemed to lead somewhere onyl to be reset in this arc.

I have little good things to say about Deicide and FKT. Too many filler fights pandering to shinigami and visored fans which had most of the time little emotional impact, too many attempts to kill Aizen which were devoid of tension because we all knew from the start that they were doomed to fail etc.
I like the shinigami well enough, even if I primarly identify as an arrancar fan, but I swear, if their future screentime will be from now on always as boring, bloated, ponderous, meaningless and contrived as FKT, I'd rather never see them again.
I know that shounen is all about the fighting, but FKT nearly broke me.

I suppose the Japanese prefer vastly shinigami screentime, even if said screentime is ultimately meaningless to the plot and taken up by emotionally uninvolving fights, but I, eh... I guess my love really isn't deep enough for that.

I want Rukia back pretty badly, but at the same time I enjoy the mysteries of this arc and hope that they will be satisfyingly resolved unlike HM. I have mixed feelings on Orihime, since on the one side I find her interesting and enjoy her prettiness in a shamefully shallow way, on the other I dread that she will not develop a bit in this arc and stay in her character development limbo.

I'm not even a big time fan, but I also think it's time that Ishida left hospital and finally kicked some ass again. Him being gone so long made me realize that I do like him quite a bit, even if he doesn't make me swoon and isn't my ideal man. XD

What else? Ah, Ichigo. He is really really frustrating right now. I don't care what anyone says, he needed to be smacked hard in the face after the stunt he pulled in the recent chapter. Seriously, he gets his ass kicked by Tsukishima with the later not even breaking a sweat and yet Ichigo gets all upity and wants everyone to stand on the sidelines so that he can PROTECT them. Seriously, how short is this guy's memory? Is this denial, dumbness or both? >_>

Oh, the training parts bore me, but KT is one of those authors who shows the training in great detail. Eh, gimme moar Riruka.

Also, as a fellow Psyren fan, I mourn it's cancellation with you. It was just too soon. ;_;

marvellous monsterfikuz on May 4th, 2011 03:14 pm (UTC)
Re: Tl;dr
Tsukishima does shit instead of eternally sitting on his ass, smiling smugly and going "Just as planned"

That's because his minions (well, minion) can't do shit.
Re: Tl;dr - hinodeh on May 4th, 2011 03:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Tl;dr - _debbiechan_ on May 4th, 2011 03:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Tl;dr - fikuz on May 4th, 2011 03:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Tl;dr - hinodeh on May 4th, 2011 08:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Tl;dr - tsubaki99 on May 4th, 2011 10:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Tl;dr - fikuz on May 4th, 2011 03:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Tl;dr - hinodeh on May 4th, 2011 04:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Tl;dr - scuttling on May 4th, 2011 07:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Tl;dr - hinodeh on May 4th, 2011 08:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Tl;dr - conquistadora on May 6th, 2011 12:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
andrew_jpandrew_jp on May 4th, 2011 01:59 pm (UTC)
I'd rather have seen Orihime knock someone down with her fists than with her beauty.
_debbiechan__debbiechan_ on May 4th, 2011 02:58 pm (UTC)

We haven't seen her do anything offensively in a successful way since... damn ... was it in Soul Society when she stole those uniforms from the Shinigami and used karate? :( I like my Hime all ways--it's just that we got years of her crying and now we're mixing her up more... I did like it that she stood up to Bookman. I'm heartened. One of the reasons I like this arc is that there's been Orihime in it *dodges tomatoes*
(Deleted comment)
Kim!: Mushroom Mushroomspartydragon on May 4th, 2011 04:13 pm (UTC)
THIS. I think part of the problem is that no one's willing to bop him over the head and ask him "how long do you expect your readers to keep reading?"

This should be the fear in the heart of EVERY comic arist. *nodnod* XD

I wouldn't mind the between stuff if it was paced better, hell I wouldn't mind MOST of what's going on if it was paced better. Bleach hasn't been BAD per-se for a while now, just glacially slow. Sure, there's some stuff that irks me (Ichigo's stupidity ATM), but if Kubo didn't insist on the constant visual poetry we might actually get somewhere. Yes, it's pretty. But this is a comic, just being pretty isn't good enough. It's gotta move story too. And move it more than a few inches at a time. Editors are good for that sorta prodding. But I get the impression that his editor isn't being critical enough because Kubo's the rockstar mangaka of Jump, and no one wants to question his judgment. :/
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on May 4th, 2011 04:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - conquistadora on May 6th, 2011 12:55 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on May 6th, 2011 09:01 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - conquistadora on May 6th, 2011 12:56 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - spartydragon on May 9th, 2011 07:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
hinodeh: Hiryuu is scepticalhinodeh on May 4th, 2011 02:07 pm (UTC)
Orihime's beauty attack
I laughed when it happened, but have nowadays some mixed feelings on her.

Sometimes I get that vibe that KT wanted to convey the message of "Orihime is awesome because she is beautiful and cute LOVE HER DAMMIT" with this joke and that's just... Eww. I hate it when I get the feeling that the author irrationally tries to force me to like something.

Also, the greatest thing is Orihime's beauty and cuteness? >_>
The feminist in me squirms. And yes, yes, yes, I know, this is just a feeling I get, and it's not like I or anyone knows for sure. I just get the vibe from this scene that KT tried to "sell" her to the audience based on such superficial traits. What came after that was much better, even if she has yet to regain her old awesome of pwning enemies with Tsubaki to protect her friends.

And the whole "she's so amazingly beautiful that her enemies are felled by it" may be generally excused when it's humor and not a serious thing that shows up all the time, but normally, that is a much derided Mary Sue trait which makes a character unrelatable. No one in RL is that good, seriously.

So yeah, now I expressed the inner conflict that the poll did not allow me to show. XD
_debbiechan_: ORIHIME TONGUE_debbiechan_ on May 4th, 2011 03:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Orihime's beauty attack

I'm so conflicted about Orihime that it's like being the mother of a teenager. Oy vey. I love her and worry about her as if she were my own. I trust Kubo to knock it out of the park when it comes to Rukia's character and eventually, with Ichigo's character but he's got a long way to go to prove to his audience that he's got Orihime down--he's taken some risks developing a shoujo-ish girl against type in this story and developing her over such a long time and I don't know if he can do it.

He hasn't failed me before but I have to admit I'm worried as hell. I sweat it each time she shows up and I sweat reader polls and chapter ratings. I'm going to sweat the next WSJ chapter ranking because Orihime figured so prominently in it.
Re: Orihime's beauty attack - hinodeh on May 4th, 2011 04:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Orihime's beauty attack - fikuz on May 4th, 2011 03:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Orihime's beauty attack - fikuz on May 4th, 2011 03:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Orihime's beauty attack - hinodeh on May 4th, 2011 04:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Orihime's beauty attack - fikuz on May 4th, 2011 04:41 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Orihime's beauty attack - hinodeh on May 4th, 2011 05:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
Re: Orihime's beauty attack - _debbiechan_ on May 4th, 2011 09:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Orihime's beauty attack - hinodeh on May 5th, 2011 11:07 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
Re: Orihime's beauty attack - _debbiechan_ on May 5th, 2011 12:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Orihime's beauty attack - hinodeh on May 5th, 2011 03:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Orihime's beauty attack - _debbiechan_ on May 5th, 2011 03:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Orihime's beauty attack - hinodeh on May 5th, 2011 04:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Orihime's beauty attack - scuttling on May 4th, 2011 07:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Orihime's beauty attack - fikuz on May 4th, 2011 07:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Orihime's beauty attack - _debbiechan_ on May 4th, 2011 08:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Orihime's beauty attack - fikuz on May 4th, 2011 08:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
pony_rocks: pic#84544780pony_rocks on May 4th, 2011 02:31 pm (UTC)
Always liked Ichigo's wardrobe.
The more Ishida, the better.
Don't really care about Orihime, did not find her beauty attack amusing, don't think Kubo is feeding trolls.
Current arc is okay, but I do not enjoy the new character much and wish for Quincest... or at least return of Ishida clan.
Single-minded I am.
_debbiechan_: HOT HOT HOT HOT Ishida by Syn_debbiechan_ on May 4th, 2011 03:05 pm (UTC)

There was a LOT of Ishida in Hueco Mundo but even I thought the parts with him in it dragged even though I loved seeing him.

I was just reading comments at BA and my buddy Chronus put it well about Hueco Mundo vs SS:

There were a few islands of emotional impact in the Arrancar arc, but I agree. Neliel/Nnoutra and Gin/Tosen comes to my mind, and also obviously Kaien/Rukia, and some would agree that the Ulquiorra fight, but that last one seriously didn't touch me, regardless that I could understand that it was emotional.

Neither really followed through the story like in SS arc. Sadly. There, we had emorioal motivations for all characters. Ishida to revenge and his tsundere friendship, Chad because he's a bro, Inoue because she wanted to be part of all that and help Ichigo, Ganju because of Kaien, and Hanatarou because of he adored Rukia and because he was useless and forevelalone, etc. Even the enemies had some. Especially Byakuya, Soifon-Yoruichi, etc.

In HM, most of the fights happened because they happened. The nakama tagged along to save Inoue (pretty standard), the captains tagged along because the nakama went in for a suicide mission. Altough the vaizards fought out of an emotional reason it was badly presented and had no climax. Etc.

I want my Ishida true but he's more wonderful to me when he's relevant to the story--the way he was in the battle against Ulquiorra (where he was the moral compass) than when he was just Szayel's plaything (as erotically interesting as that WAS XD) at the beginning of the Arrancar arc
(no subject) - pony_rocks on May 4th, 2011 07:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Aquat1c F1sh: Bleach - Ichigo Ponderingaquat1cf1sh on May 4th, 2011 02:36 pm (UTC)
My favorite arc was the very beginning with early Karakura, and Soul Society is a close second.

However I'm kinda liking the new arc so far... More of an emphasis on the Karakura gang than endless fights and power-ups. I do miss Rukia and the rest of the shinigami gang though, but I'm enjoying how much more plot-driven this arc has been.
Bird: RenRuki; your hair is annoyinginkedfeathers on June 19th, 2011 11:25 am (UTC)
Pretty much my opinion!
(Deleted comment)
balladbirdballadbird on May 4th, 2011 02:44 pm (UTC)
Every character I came close to giving a damn about is dust in the wind (literally, in some cases) so my opinion of this arc is already pretty mediocre, and not really based on its merits at all.

The fullbringer arc hasn't been bad. It's a typical shonen restart/buffer arc that takes place at the end of a big arc. The characters aren't bad, and Ichigo's always been a little stupid, so I don't see anything too terribly flawed with the concept. Perhaps the execution is the problem?

Ratings in general are arbitrary, fickle things, though, and as you said, fans complain about everything. It's like the first thing you have to do to be a fan of something is stop liking it.
_debbiechan__debbiechan_ on May 4th, 2011 02:56 pm (UTC)

But but but don't you like Tsukishima now?
(no subject) - balladbird on May 4th, 2011 03:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Chloe-girl: shut up - I'm readinggrass_angel on May 4th, 2011 02:58 pm (UTC)
Whoa, it's been half a year since this Fullbring arc started? I'm kind of used to this drawn out arc thing, thank you CLAMP for only putting out 25 pages of HOLiC out a month at the end there, but it seriously feels like the timeskip only happened sixteen chapters ago. Which is a good thing I suppose- that everything's been exciting enough that I think it's shorter than it has been, but at the same time... it has all the hallmarks of Kubo playing with the tempo and stuffing up how much it feels has happened over twenty-five chapters. (Which just prompts an "Oh Kubo" from me.)

I'm still just waiting for something exciting to happen that (hopefully) involves characters I like. I'm kind of waiting for Unagiya-mama to make an appearance again.
And hey! I get to see both the Ishida and Orihime more than I did during the whole vs. Aizen thing!
gruskekgruskek on May 4th, 2011 02:59 pm (UTC)
The new arc is way better than what we have had for years. I hated the dull FKT fights with a burning passion. I'm surprised that people are saying that they don't recognize Bleach anymore - this arc is way closer to early Bleach and it's essence than anything we've had for years.

Having said that the ton of new and in my opinion not so interesting characters makes things unnecessarily stretched and messy. It was the same thing with the Espada and even the Visored. It makes people have very little to actually do, because there's not enough screen time for all of them :/

Also the pacing is hit and miss, still better than FKT, though.

So to sum up, I'm not loving it, but it gave me back some hope for PLOT instead of just fights, fights, fights, and VEEERY convinient power-ups coming out of nowhere.

Also, so much hate for a harmless comedy scene with Hime? Ouch... Fans sometimes scare me.
moonlight293moonlight293 on May 5th, 2011 10:14 pm (UTC)
I agree with this so much. I'm so sick of fight after fight after fight! >_<

I agree with the Hime comment. I just saw it as typical comedy scene - I really don't get what the fuss is about... >_>
(no subject) - gruskek on May 6th, 2011 07:10 am (UTC) (Expand)
The Orange Rat: Troll Thread!the_orange_rat on May 4th, 2011 03:18 pm (UTC)
Bleach is always good six months ago. Always.

I caught up on the manga around the time that Rukia was fighting Aaro and remember people on one forum complaining about how stupid it was that she won when she's obviously the weakest character and it was good that she definately died at the end of that fight.

Then Ichigo fought Grimmjow and they complained it was too slow and didn't make the reader emotionally invovled, unlike that super awesome fight Rukia had.

Same thing with the dome. Grimm? Awesome. Ulquiorra? Why is he wearing a dress?

For a year I wrote down the names of people in this forum (because I'm creepy) and their opinions on characters and fights and watched them change, often without warning.

People are definately entitled to their opinions, and everyone has at least one moment in Bleach that they will always dislike for perfectly legit reasons, but there are some people who enjoy hating whatever's happening right now, only to love it when nostalgia kicks in.

The there's Kubo. I think there's something almost badass about having a mangaka who secretly hates his fans and goes out of his way to fuck with them instead of writing a comprehensible plot, and maliciously refuses to draw backgrounds as he rolls in pile of yen. Really, him being the opposite of this in real life doesn't matter.
Running on Coffee and Schadenfreudearcadiasilver on May 4th, 2011 04:25 pm (UTC)
I think the impatience of the current arc, not knowing how its going end and not being able to see the fight/arc as a whole contributes to the hate-now-I-love it deal. Kind of in the same way that just reading the whole series one week at a time will give you a different comprehension of time and pacing.
(no subject) - lackasexical on May 4th, 2011 07:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on May 4th, 2011 09:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
The Prince of Fists, Mr. Punch: gpoy forever and everlintwhite on May 4th, 2011 03:33 pm (UTC)
I've decided that the people who participate in the rankings every week have absolutely no idea what they're doing.
_debbiechan__debbiechan_ on May 4th, 2011 03:42 pm (UTC)

The editor of WSJ ultimately decides the rankings. People who buy the magazine mail in their votes rating their favorite series by rank ( 1, 2, 3 ). So it's a chapter by chapter thing. Apparently editors do take reader feedback seriously. Character polls and other sorts of polls in WSJ are run for a reason--to help determine the course the series in the magazine may take.
(no subject) - lintwhite on May 4th, 2011 03:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Maria: bleach_orihime_uryuureynardine on May 4th, 2011 04:23 pm (UTC)
I've found that each of the arcs has taken a while to get into. Kubo can be slow about character development (example: I really disliked Shinji when he was introduced, but after TBTP, he became one of my favorite characters).

The long fight scenes can get old, but that's the genre.

Bleach does takes patience sometimes. I stepped away for awhile during the HM arc (not terribly fond of the Arrancars) but when I came back and caught up, reading it all at once as a whole was very entertaining. Sometimes, that's hard to see chapter-to-chapter.
Adam Eppadam_epp on May 4th, 2011 05:38 pm (UTC)
I was hooked on the early chapters and the Soul Society arc immediately. The problem with Hueco Mundo was that I never really came to love the arc.
(no subject) - escarboucle on May 4th, 2011 08:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Anonymous) on May 4th, 2011 04:29 pm (UTC)
Will fill out the poll later; at work and can't login. c:< *sneaky*

Anyway, I am totally in love with this arc. Bleach was different because of Ichigo, because of the characters and their relationships, and it's what made me fall in love with the series. I think this arc is really building on that. I'm in love with this separation period for the two of them, because it's all a build up to something greater. We saw Ichigo fall apart before the timeskip, and without any time to think about what happened he lost his other half, Rukia. It's no wonder the boy's grades have dropped and he has no real interest in anything ("I'll play on your sports club if you pay me, I'm bored and want money").

Ichigo is in a dark spot before he rebound into a fully mature "hero." Yes his motives were pure before, he was the great kid who stood up for what was right and all that, but he was still naive. I feel like we are really watching his transformation, but in order to build him up into something new, his foundation has to entirely crumble. I commend Kubo for doing something so deep in a manga that is mass-marketed--what he's writing reminds me of the "classics" we'd read in my AP English class my senior year of high school, because I see the same themes present.

Bleach is Ichigo's story, and Ichigo's story isn't done. I don't see how Kubo could have ended the series with Aizen's defeat. It was a victory but at what cost? Who or what was left of Ichigo when it was all over? We saw the kid's heart break when he realized what he'd done on the dome, and just because Aizen was gone did not mean Ichigo's story was over--it was never about him versus Aizen, it was about him period. And when we met Ichigo in the beginning of Bleach, he wasn't happy, his life wasn't okay (even see chapter 00 if you don't see it in the first chapters), and it feels that while Ichigo is facing his fate he is also trying to reach a place of peace and happiness. It's Ichigo's story, and it's going to have ups and downs, and right now the poor kid is at rock bottom. I am fascinated and I absolutely can't wait to see what's next for him.

That and I adore Ginjou the more I see him. Something about him appeals to me, but I'm having trouble pinpointing it.

I would also like to say that I am not an English major, I don't generally analyze Bleach panel-by-panel, and while I love those that do, I don't have a single ounce of their talent when it comes to writing an essay that makes sense. I'm sure someone will reply to my comment and tell me how stupid I am or how what I wrote makes no sense, and I will wilt and agree "What was I thinking?" but I'm not here to convince anybody of anything, just saying what I think in response to the poll.

Running on Coffee and Schadenfreude: [Avatar] The world in a new viewarcadiasilver on May 4th, 2011 05:16 pm (UTC)
Hmm, this might be a bit rambly. But for better or worse, these are my thoughts

Whats wearing me thin with this arc is the feel that character development has ground to almost nothing. Yes, angsty Ichigo is normal for the situation, but we've been dealing with angsty Ichigo since the start of the damn Arrancar arc. Its old, its frustrating, and it feels like Ichigo just refuses to grow up and learn from his mistakes. It feels like he's stagnated with the rest of the nakama, with the occasional little blip of something that looks like resolve and determination (end of Deicide Arc) but just winds us back to depressed emoberry.

Its just angsty Ichigo in an old backdrop with new scenery props (i.e. the Fullbringers).

And its not just him, its all the nakama.

Orihime? I have a lot mixed feelings about her, like most people. Kubo's seemingly forgotten all the other things about Orihime that made her more well-rounded and interesting. Her friendship with Tatsuki is almost non-existent in the manga, her understanding of Ichigo's emotional state that made her quirky and intriguing is gone. The flashes of intelligence and courage haven't been seen since she slapped Ulquiorra. I'm hoping that Kubo resolves a lot of her feelings towards Ichigo in this arc and make some room for something else in her personality. I want Kubo to remember that Tatsuki is her best friend.

Ishida hasn't really changed much. But I really, really, REALLY wanted to beat him upside the head. This is the strategist of the nakama deciding that keeping important information from Ichigo is a good idea. Really, Ishida, I understand that you want to protect Ichigo, but you're supposed to have common sense, too.

Chad, if I were you, I'd be in the market for a new best friend. This is at least twice now that Ichigo has shoved him aside or pushed him away with no regards to his feelings at all. Also, no significant development outside of the early series. Good that Kubo remembered that Chad's ethnicity is a part of his character, but really, Chad seems more like a barnacle clinging to Ichigo's shoes than a character with individual motivations. He goes somewhere because Ichigo goes somewhere. I wanted him to sock Ichigo in the face last chapter for the shit he pulled. He should be angry with him right now, but I doubt that will ever really come into play.

I miss Rukia, just like most of the fandom. But sometimes I wonder if the expectations on her, the assumption that if she came into the scene she'd kick and punch sense back into Ichigo and shake sense into the rest, a bit too much. Maybe its because she seems to be the only character that's had significant and interesting emotional development and catharsis and seems to be able to learn from her mistakes that makes people think this.

Now, this arc isn't all bad. It really harkens back to the SS arc with its multiple groups all moving pieces across the chessboard and the reader is just as in the dark about certain things as the characters are. There's mystery and chaos and curiosity. But one of the things that make the SS arc more compelling is the race against the clock. The Doom of Damocles hung over Rukia and we KNEW that time was short and getting shorter with every bump up of her execution date. It created a tension and an understood time limit on the action that kept the pace moving forward.
Running on Coffee and Schadenfreudearcadiasilver on May 4th, 2011 05:16 pm (UTC)
Text limits, huzzah!
And this arc really shows that Kubo has learned a few lessons concerning the previous arcs. Tsukishima is almost the reverse of Aizen. He's not a completely smug, flawless countenance that just sits there and boringly smacks all the protags out of the sky as he sips his tea. I don't see the snot and the derpy little moments as indicating that he's not a complete villain, but as Kubo trying not to make him Aizen all over again. Villains can be silly, too and still be villains. He acts and fights instead of dazzling his opponents with existential philosophy. There's not a horde of minions we call it final boss rush in rpg land to slog through. Like in the SS arc, the supporting cast actively participates and interacts with him, they're part of the fight.

I really want Kubo to wrap up the HM plot threads here, because I want the next arc to start out with a sense of freshness. I want to see these characters to finally move forward from where they were. The story needs to evolve and so do the characters. No more rescue arcs, no more existential crises.
Re: Text limits, huzzah! - _debbiechan_ on May 4th, 2011 06:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scuttling on May 4th, 2011 07:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
the cosplayin' cat ladymochavalentino on May 4th, 2011 05:42 pm (UTC)
So disappointed in Bleach right now. I used to seriously enjoy it. Then I liked to poke some fun at it while still enjoying it. Now...I feel like I don't even have to say anything because it's so bad on its own.

Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed Bleach a great deal. There are a lot of characters I love very much and I spend a lot of time cosplaying the series. I just feel that whatever's going on right just isn't Bleach. It's just pretty fanservice: angtsy bishi boys and pretty drawings. Isn't this supposed to be a shounen comic?

I understand he has someloose ends to tie up, but I for one gave up on him tying up loose ends a long time ago. He has way too many; and rather than introducing new characters, he should just stick to resolving all his old ones: Grimmjow, Nel, Isshin, Ryuuken, the vizards, etc.

tl;dr: I don't understand why Bleach isn't over yet.
rensozukenrensozuken on May 4th, 2011 06:45 pm (UTC)
THIS x1000

I'm desperately chewing every second every week waiting to get a clue on WHAT THE HELL happened to Nel and Grimmjow. Did the Hueco Mundo desert open up and swallow them or something? Right after Nnoitra's death they literally vanished off the face of the earth without a trace ('cept for a little omake Nel got). And with all those Jump Festa interview translations I don't even know if Kubo actually confirmed whether Grimmjow is alive or not. And WTF, Nel doesn't even get a bat of Kubo's eyelash as far attention goes. He writes her off like that? Not even remembering her birthday on twitter? (because I know he remembered some other espadas' birthdays) Just what the hell?.. I know they're irrelevant with the current arc, but can we at least get some closure? soon please? It's so irritating to wait for a chapter just to get nothing at all in the end, especially with the painfully slow pacing this arc has. I'm seriously sulking by a feeling of vanity...

Agreement so hard - takashid416 on May 5th, 2011 08:25 am (UTC) (Expand)
shuryoushuryou on May 4th, 2011 06:13 pm (UTC)
My favorite arcs are definitely the Karakura and Soul Society ones. They just really worked well.

I also really liked the Arrancar/Karakura Town arc because it introduced a lot of new elements with Ryuken being a Quincy, Isshin being a Soul Reaper, and Ichigo not being the only one with Hollow powers. Hueco Mundo arc waspretty good too. It didn't balance out Fights/Plot as much as SS did, but it did have enough to keep me interested.

People say Bleach began to lose it's sense of power levels after Ichigo's final fight with Grimmjow, but I disagree. I didn't think it was too out of left field to see the weaker side of Espada to falter to SS's Captains. I think where the balance fell off was Ichigo vs. Ulquiorra which, despite it's good action, was really just Ulquiorra beats the crap out of Ichigo until Ichigo suddenly gets a new power out of nowhere and beats Ulquiorra.

The Fake Karakura Town arc was kind of a low point. I enjoyed some of the fights, but what little plot was in the HM arc was practically nonexistent here. It was just all fights and even the top 3 Espada felt like canon fodder. And then Aizen came in and beat everyone without effort. For me, when the Arrancar arc began, I was actually still in shock that the nice, friendly dead fellow from SS was the mastermind behond this evil plan and Aizen was still interesting to me. But that feeling dwindled by the time Fake Karakura started, and Aizen didn't really have anything else going for me.

Deicide was a step back in the right direction. Characters who haven't shown up in years (Sans the flashback arc, which I thought was great) showed up and did cool things. Plot was starting to show itself again, and there were implications of a final showdown with Aizen. I really liked the Karakura kids defending themselves from Aizen. Gin's motivations were interesting as well and it was nice to know that Matsumoto still thought good of him. Ichigo's newest ability was pretty broken, but I believed it more since he actually trained for it instead of it coming out of nowhere like Hollow Ichithing. Ichigo and Aizen's match was short, but it was a good kind of short and I liked it. I also thought it was good because to me, Aizen went out as an interesting character again, for not-so-subtly revealing his motivations for why he did what he did. It also gave me hope that Bleach's powers would be balanced again considering the two most broken characters lost their powers. I also loved the two epilouge chapters because it seemed that Bleach was going back to having a bright atmosphere instead of the depressing chaos that Hueco Mundo mostly was.

I love the new arc. Despite plot threads hanging from the previous one, it was wonderful to see a brand new story develop, and I think it's going to be better once we get out of the training phase. The new characters are very interesting to me, since there seems to be some sort of mystery surrounding them. I don't like that Ichigo is starting to doubt Urahara, and with the latest chapter, I didn't like how Ichigo acted around Chad, and seems to me, he's using his friends being hurt as an excuse to fight. Otherwise, I really can't wait to see how further this arc unravels.
gorgeous_mothgorgeous_moth on May 4th, 2011 06:25 pm (UTC)
There's no complaining here. I put trust in the author's story. It's his to tell and its his to decide what he wants to tell. My attitude towards these things are pretty much passive because, for all I know, the author can put in something really nasty so I'm just thankful he doesn't.

I never really have much to say about his pacing, sure, it looks like nothing is pushing the plot ahead (sometimes!) in a single chapter but once you read a volume in one sitting, it's alright (but that may be just me).

I love the shinigamis but sometimes I get weary of seeing my favorites, yes, sometimes, I get tired of seeing Rukia even when I love her to pieces so this 'vacation' she's having from screentime is fine with me. Sometimes, fights bore me. The last fight I really followed week by week was Noi vs. Kenpachi and then waited for the other fights to really finish before I read them because that was how they'd make sense to me.

ANOTHER reason why I am never dropping Bleach is Kubo's art. It'a especially amazing to see how his skill changed/improved. Everyone just looks better right now. Only the gansters are ugly (yay!), and the filler shinigami/whoevernotimportant. Because Kenpachi has his manly charm to carry him through. (For someone trying to forget the nightmare that is Charlotte Culhorn).

Never even entered my mind that Bleach would be cancelled. haha. More so that the worlwide fans of Bleach (or just IchiRuki?) made known of their presence through twitter. Ichigo and Rukia might be the only anime/manga characters to stay on TT that long. That probably had SJ notice they'd get flack for even suggesting to do that.
gorgeous_mothgorgeous_moth on May 4th, 2011 06:54 pm (UTC)
ack! Forgot to put my reaction for the current arc.

This new arc felt like a 'fresh' beginning from its first chapter, and up until its latest chapters. Sure, I thought Orihime's Beauty Attack was a complete waste of pages and thoroughly didn't enjoy it. Seriously, Kubo-sensei, how many times are you going to drill the fact that she's beautiful into our heads! And I like Orihime, not only for her beauty. It just seemed completely senseless, after all, there is more to her than her physical make.

I'm still thinking that the new characters are going to be easily defeated by the shinigami or arrancar. I, for one, just can't think of a reason why the old guy whose fb had something to do with time can't just go do that to Tsuki. :/ Or even Yukio's FB.

Ah, Urahara. The shady businessman. I've always had the irrational fear in me that Urahara is not all that he presents to be, and by extension, Isshin and Yoruichi. Not to mention, Ryuuken. (The oldies can get a spin-off series for themselves...really.) I mean, come on, he placed the Hogyouko in Rukia for a reason we don't know yet and just conveniently sets up shop where the Kurosakis live. I smell something fishy. We still don't know what Ururu or Jinta are, are they human or were they created by Geta-Boshi? Urahara, I can't make up my mind about you. So yeah, aside from those, I understood why Ichigo was suspicious of Urahara. I found it completely strange that others mocked Ichigo for doubting someone that helped him. Until Urahara's case is presented, I will continue to be suspicious towards him. :P

Favorite Arc so far, the Karakura Town Arc and SS does not come a close second. Sure, I'm an IchiRuki fan but more than that, I'm a Bleach fan. KT arc wasn't perfect but it got me hooked. Plus, its when they met, its when the story of destiny began. How can I hate it? That's mainly the reason it's my favorite and is unforgettable.

He's never been my favorite, since I tend to like strong women in my manga, but Ichigo is still special for me. I can relate to him and to what he's going through. He's good. He's just being human. Completely prone to mistakes and bad decisions and prey to emotions. I can't dislike anyone for that.

Also, that brushing off Chad's hand away. I'd like to think he knows Ichigo better than anyone so will not hate Ichigo for it. He shouldn't pity Ichigo, though. Ichigo does not like that, he just goes introspective like and then be depressed. I hate to really say it, but Ichigo needs Rukia right now. Still, that boy should learn to handle things like this on his own.

/too tired to check for grammar

tick-tocking: BLEACH☂ starterscuttling on May 4th, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC)
One thing-- didn't Ichigo's grades drop due to all the school he missed around Hueco Mundo training time, and he had to bring them back up? They're OK now?

Ichigo is a little frustrating at the moment, but I don't mind seeing it because of the inevitable pay-off. I hope it isn't entirely contingent on Rukia because of the message, but I'd be OK if it was, too. As for Rukia, I miss her, but I also think the distance helps it feel that real to the readers too, who haven't felt one year and seven months of no Rukia. I hope it doesn't actually take that long! But it'll be great when we finally get her.

As for this arc, I was really excited at the beginning. I was thrilled the shinigami badge that Ishida had questioned was back, I was hopeful about an arc in the human world having more of the humans -- Tatsuki, Keigo, Mizuiro in particular, maybe Chizuru and Kon (who no, isn't a human). Maybe even the Isshin backstory with some Ryuuken thrown in, given the Isshin photograph & investigation tease.

Training arc has to have training fights. I like the Fullbring folk OK. I think Ririuka is cute, Jackie's hot, Butler's dude's intriguing, Yukio too, the Tsukishima-Ginjou debate gets me fine. I think it's a little hard to buy into them as a whole because it's such an obvious stepping stone on the way to Shinigami status. And if they stick around and aren't "bad", they really will be Vizard 2.0, whom I also miss -- they can't be in Soul Society, where are they? Giant vacation? Also, since Isshin eventually got his powers back, I wish there had been SOME discussion or hint or one between him and Ichigo about it, about Ichigo's eventually coming back... but nope, instead we get distrust that doesn't easily mesh with Ichigo's Rukia echoing words to his dad last arc.

BUT, I'm in it for the long haul, I love the characters and despite myself I believe in KT.

(Don't care one way or another about the Orihime beauty knock out. Too bad it was so low-- she also defended Ishida in that chapter! Also, Ichigo had a hotness spotlight too, if in less pages.)

Edited at 2011-05-04 06:50 pm (UTC)
Grenatescarboucle on May 4th, 2011 07:52 pm (UTC)
In 17 months, he changed years TWICE, so no, him having his grades dropping has NOTHING to do with HM arc.
(no subject) - scuttling on May 4th, 2011 10:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Anonymous) on May 4th, 2011 07:22 pm (UTC)
Rukia being gone isn't a problem (not that I dislike her, I love her!). One of the options in the poll says "Rukia's absence defines the arc and my frustration grows weekly." I'd say Rukia's absence does define the arc, but in a GOOD way. Maybe it's just that I'm really patient, and I know (as I'm sure we all do) that Rukia will be back, so I think it's fascinating to see what Ichigo's life is like without her. Remember, she's been out of his life for 2 years. That has no impact on the reader unless she's actually absent from the story for a while. It's the same reason I don't mind Ichigo taking a while to get his powers back. His sacrifice at the end of the last arc, both of his powers and Rukia, mean nothing if he gets both back 1 or 2 volumes later (keep in mind this arc only has about 2 volumes of content so far, which isn't much).

I hope the dropping ranks don't cause Kubo to bring the shinigami back ahead of time, because going back to the status quo of pre-timeskip Bleach so soon would cheapen Ichigo's sacrifice.
_debbiechan__debbiechan_ on May 4th, 2011 09:05 pm (UTC)
Re: Rukia

I feel like Rukia's absence defines the arc in a good way too--especially after that volume poem was released. It adds to a sense of urgency. It's a typical Kubo tease. I hate him for this sort of thing--REALLY, I think he goes overboard with it and has no idea how it affects fans in real time but it does help to impact his "big happenings" when they happen. I suppose fans will cheer when she returns but at the same time I sort of will want to punch Sensei in the face, lol.
Re: Rukia - mrdracospirit on May 4th, 2011 11:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Adam Eppadam_epp on May 4th, 2011 07:30 pm (UTC)
This time they have a subjective reason to bitch (no Rukia) besides objective ones.

All reasons to complain about the story are subjective, be it no Rukia or bad pacing. Also, I was complaining about the lack of Rukia last arc, too. She's been making sporadic appearances for the past two hundred chapters. That's four years worth of chapters, and close to half the chapters in the series. Complaints like that just get worse the longer the drought continues, and Kubo hasn't helped the matter a whole lot the few times he has given Rukia a chance to shine since, in my opinion, those rare chapters (her fight with an Espada and the farewell) were a lot better than most every other chapter she wasn't in. Seems a waste to squander such a character and have chapter after chapter about Shinigami captains and Fullbringers that are relatively dull and uninteresting.

About the negative reaction to this arc:

I feel some of it is unwarranted, but I cannot say it is entirely undeserved. People seem to be responding to the lackluster previous arc as much as the lackluster new characters. I saw a lot of fans lose interest in Bleach specifically because of the Hueco Mundo and Fake Karakura chapters, and a lot of that negativity has apparently carried over to the latest arc. The Fullbringer arc is not terribly constructed and has some decent moments, and it's certainly better than the Fake Karakura arc ever was, but Bleach needs to be amazing once more before doubtful fans start crawling back. The Fullbringer arc is not that good.

Kubo fixed some pacing issues, and you can say more things happen per chapter, but bad pacing wasn't the only problem plaguing the series last arc (I identified over a dozen serious gripes I had with the Hueco Mundo arc when I reflected over my feelings towards it). It's nice when the plot moves, to be sure, but the plot still has to be, well, interesting for readers to care about what's happening. Personally, I can't get over how the Fullbringers come across as filler characters to me. Thus far, their powers seem to have come out of left field and Kubo's explanations of their abilities make little sense and don't mesh with the previously established Shinigami and Hollow dichotomy. The Fullbringers, individually, have plenty of quirks, sure, but their characterizations have not been strong enough to make the group stand apart from earlier characters; the group is basically the Vizards redux. The feeling that I've already read these chapters and encountered these characters before is strong, and that's the result of unsatisfactory writing and planning on the author's part.
Adam Eppadam_epp on May 4th, 2011 07:31 pm (UTC)
And more
As for Ichigo's characterization, I'm similarly nonplussed. Of course, it can be said that he's in the middle of some serious growing pains, but that is absolutely nothing new for Bleach's main man. We were all talking about how he needed to mature since the Arrancar arc began five years ago, and he already hit rock bottom during the Lust arc. Bad pacing doesn't only refer to the amount of events that happen per chapter, but also to character development and, in this regard, Bleach has yet to improve. Ichigo's inability to trust others to fight for him is an old, old character trait of his (I'm hesitant to call this trait a "flaw" when so many of his friends have failed time and time again to prove themselves worthy of his trust). Ichigo rushes headlong into battles he cannot win, the same as he always has, and the series has stagnated shortly after Ichigo stopped winning all of those impossible battles just because he's the main character (I'm referring to the time he first fought Aizen and lost, specifically). We've known that Ichigo needs to correct this stupidity for a long time, and he should have needed to resolve the issue before he could(temporarily) defeat Aizen. Same as how Orihime's internal conflicts have been dragged out for an eternity, Ichigo's problems have become so drawn out that it's hard to maintain interest in his issues. Manning up was Ichigo's job last arc.

In some ways, the series has returned to its roots with the Fullbringer arc, but Bleach is still missing the brash swagger it used to have and which Ichigo used to embody once upon a time. Many of my gripes with the Fullbringers stem from my belief that a reset was the opposite of what Bleach needs right now. The story should be building towards an ending and resolving key mysteries that have remained unanswered for years instead of focusing on a new group comprised of recycled characters whose powers are less interesting than what we've seen before. The Fullbringer arc isn't bad by any means and I think it's all right, but people expect more than just "all right" from a series that's been running for almost ten years.
Re: And more - escarboucle on May 4th, 2011 07:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: And more - _debbiechan_ on May 4th, 2011 08:58 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: And more - (Anonymous) on May 9th, 2011 10:40 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: And more - takashid416 on May 5th, 2011 08:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
they're all just third eye blind lyricslackasexical on May 4th, 2011 07:31 pm (UTC)
Ah, it's okay. I don't want to bitch a lot because things are always rough at the start of a new arc. I'm also biased because I loved HM (note: I wasn't reading it in real-time) and the Espada and I'm still emotionally invested in the results of that arc. I still love Bleach more than anything else and I know that for all its faults I always come back - because there's just nothing else that touches me the same way.

At this point I'm reading because I want to see Ichigo come out of his dark place, I want to see Rukia again, I want Orihime and Ichigo to face what happened in HM, I want Ulquiorra and Grimmjow and Gin back, and I want Soi Fon to develop. I'll probably end up waiting on my deathbed but apart from my disinterest in these fullbring characters and my Orihime-patience being tested yet again, it could be worse *knocks on wood* I won't give Bleach up because I don't worry so much about "Can Kubo pull this off?" - the important thing to me is that I know he cares enough to want to.