Everyone’s doing their retrospectives and top ten lists so hey why not my own favorite Bleach moments of 2010? I’m not sure mine were the ones Sensei intended to be awesome—I didn’t get as awestruck by Aizen’s transformations or the fusion of Ichigo’s inner world Zangetsu and Shirosaki as I was by smaller character details like Mizuro launching a Molotov cocktail at the arc’s Big Bad. There were panels galore that stunned me—I’d be hard pressed to pick a top ten of those because Kubo’s art blows up my skirt on a regular basis, but what follows are my favorite moments.
(I did this quickly--forgive sloppy image editing)
My Top 10 Bleach 2010 Moments
The year of Bleach 2010 started with chapter 388 “Eagles Without Wings 2" (we got the spoilers way back on Jan. 13 in case anyone wants to anticipate when we’ll get a whiff of our next spoiler for 2011). It featured the promise of a real final confrontation (one that sadly didn’t live up to its promise), some ink spinning and dashing around, battle art with fun and scary perspectives, then that fabulous Aizen mindfuck of Ichigo that ignited the AiIchi fandom, my first golden moment of Bleach 2010:
1) The AiIchi Bad Touch Scene. Tell the truth--it really creeped you out, didn't it? XD
2) Shinji Fools Aizen. Oh Lawls that half smile and the welcome to Uppy Down World feeling for the audience! (If only for a little while! Aizen’s vicious comeback of getting Hitsugaya to stab Hinamori and then taking down everyone was less stirring—although there was that moment before Aizen revealed himself when Ichigo was going “Guys? Guys!” that I almost laughed because I knew what was coming—Aizen always wins, guys!)
3) Her Words Eased Me. The scene on the steps where Rukia says she’ll wait for Ichigo to talk to her has always been one of my favorites in Bleach—one of the scenes that convinced me that Kubo understood the nuances of relationships, and the echo here touched me. The implicit trust, the significance of real love and understanding beneath the bickering between father and son. On the surface Isshin doesn’t win any father of the year awards for withholding information from Ichigo and for headbutting him, but Ichigo thanks him and hey, the man just showed up to save him and the whole universe, ne?
4) Urahara shows up. UNF.
5) Yoruichi’s leg. There was so much hilarity and tenderness here. The affection I have for this pair (UraYoru, as well as catwoman’s legs) is infinite. Then she smacks him for giving her a look over his fan and Isshin is all like “get a room.”
6) Yer All Gonna Die. When Aizen was turning into a pretty butterfly and fighting Ura Yoru and Isshin, Gin was so funny and laid back. I’ve never loved him more. The fact that I was in total fear for his life during these chapters only added to my love for him. The terror, the denial—Gin, Gin, Gin, who are you? Will you survive the Deicide chapters? Will your ban kai live up to its deity killing name? Of course not! Aizen always wins! ARRGH!
7) A palpable hit. Not a great panel or anything but I’m a Shakespeare dork and this cracked me up.
8) Gin grabs Rangiku’s boob. Gah, this page had it all. GinKira undertones while Gin questions Ran about why she’s come looking for him, the most daring touch ever in Bleach history (yes, surpassing the AiIchi badtouch) and the whole thrill of did he or did he not kill her—now that’s sexy stuff right there. That’s why I love Gin so much.
9) An Ordinary Hero. Mizuiro launches a Molotov cocktail at Aizen. An ordinary human doing all he can under extraordinary circumstances. One of the great lessons of shounen manga. Loved it. Loved his expression here. What a badass little dude. And the whole Aizen chasing the kids had a bizarre horror comedy atmosphere that was classic Kubo—not everyone’s cup of tea but I loved it all.
10) The IchiRuki Look. Yeah, it was a tearjerker and damn, just look at them. What a way to end the arc. Kubo-sensei is a master at expressions and these are his champion faces here—the hero and heroine at their most vulnerable and the bond between them at such a turning point.
So, the final battle didn’t move me much and the new arc is just beginning so I won’t pick any scenes from there although I do love the new arc—if I had to pick one scene from it, I’d give Orihime’s sliding down the drainpipe the Honorable Mention as Fave Moment of 2010 even though it feels like it belongs more to the story of the future than to the story we’ve been through.
So, what were your fave moments of Bleach 2010?