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29 November 2013 @ 11:21 am
THERE IS NO DEATH IN BLEACH; BLEACH IS NOT DEAD (ramblings)  
THERE IS NO DEATH IN BLEACH; BLEACH IS NOT DEAD

An Arrancar fan was complaining to me the other day about how boring Bleach is lately and how she reads every week in futile hope for the return of Grimmjow or maybe maybe MAYBE Ulquiorra. I did a double-take. Wasn’t it obvious from the current plot that no Arrancar would be showing up for a while?  It occurred to me that Kubo’s tease of Grimmjow fans—showing pieces of the character’s body and giving fans a bubble of his voice and then withholding his appearance for dozens of chapters—is exactly what Kubo pulled with Rukia fans in the Fullbringer arc. I thought the stunt was cruel and childish then too; surely, there are better ways to cook up suspense in a narrative.

Then I thought of Kubo’s recent color spread—the unintelligible one, the one with the familiar use of too much white space, a cryptic poem, the coffins with the red crosses that were obviously a shout-out to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” video. Kubo does what Kubo does. His readers are caught in a bad romance with him; it’s been a long, sadomasochistic dance for over a decade with this manga. The moon, like many a resolution in Kubo’s plots, is near but oh so far.

Bleach has been losing its audience. That comes as no surprise to no one.  Even the die-hards who’ve stuck with the story are disgruntled and irritated. Well, not me. I get disgruntled over stale pie and unfair medical insurances schemes in my country but I muchly enjoy Bleach.

These past weeks I was enjoying the Komamura backstory to the hilt, but not only am I a very tolerant fan of Kubo-sensei’s narrative quirks, I’m a huge fan of the doggie-captain. Anyone who reads Bleach for this or that character or group of characters only is bound to be frustrated to tears. Not only does Kubo have a huge cast of characters he doesn’t juggle very well, he’s fond of inventing new ones and creating stories for them. The little Fullbringer parables for Giriko, Jackie, and Yukio may have stood alone as stellar short stories but very few fans wanted to read them when they had been waiting for years and years for answers to unresolved stories about their beloved favorites and major cast members.

Will a good backstory involving Rukia or will Ulquiorra’s return bring back Bleach’s lost audience? I doubt it. Although I’ve always believe that both events are bound to happen. I was recently chatting on Tumblr with So-Unrequieted (she hates Orihime and for So-U, Orihime’s grace period for redemption is over). I wrote: Grace period for Orihime? Bleach’s grace period may be over for plenty people, but I believe Kubo works in another time frame from most humans. He’s slow but not retarded in the sense people use that word as an epithet. He resolves his stories. He’s too much of an architect not to be obsessive about balance and parallels and symmetry. He closes plot holes; he builds on the past. He takes a random face in the clouds at the end of the SS arc and gives it a name and presents it as a pet to Wonderweiss; he answers why Ishida was scratching his chin about Ichigo’s substitute shinigami badge…. a few hundred chapters later, in another arc. Kubo finishes what he starts. But only after many of his readers have left the room and gone for snacks or started families or forgotten what manga is already.

So yeah, I’ve always believed that the hougyoku story needs to be answered with Rukia, that Ulquiorra needs to throw Chekov’s Lanza, and that Orihime needs to find her inner resolve (as in all coming-of-age stories) and fire Tsubaki successfully (probably in symmetry with the denouement of her tedious romance story).  Kubo has already said that we’ll find out about Matsumoto’s background, Yoruichi and Urahara’s, that Ukitake will be cured of his disease—and look, we got the reason why Koma-chan is a doggie in a gorgeous fairy tale, so why not satisfactory resolution of our favorite main characters’ stories? I waited four years for Isshin’s backstory—ever since San Diego Comic Con 2008 when Kubo promised it, and the Memories in The Rain arc 2 went beyond my expectations.

Oddly enough, it was right after that very tight and well-told mini-arc that some of fandom bailed. Bleach’s ratings had been flagging in Japan for a long time, and the Everything But the Rain arc did nothing to revive them. The Quincy arc wasn’t popular, and Ichigo’s having Quincy powers infuriated some fans. Not me or my Ishida-fan friends for we were all excited about ALL THINGS QUINCY, and I took note that power-level fanbois actually liked more than disliked the reveal about old man Zangetsu being Quincy in nature. IchiRuki fans were the ones who acted as if their grandmothers had been illusions perpetrated by Aizen all along; I was pretty perplexed and still am at the phenomenon. At first I thought it was as simple of a matter as Ichigo and Rukia clearly not being the focus of Bleach’s last arc the way they were in the Soul Society arc, and I was reminded of the exodus of UlquiHime fans from Bleach during the Fullbringer arc when it was plain that Orihime had not revived and would not be remembering Ulquiorra. Then I realized that my very perceptive IchiRuki friends had other issues with Bleach that went beyond shipping. I asked a very thoughtful someone who had dropped Bleach a little before this time and who wasn’t an IR fan what was going on, and she said it was Kubo fulfilling all the standard shounen tropes (Ichigo being the universe’s shiny unicorn messiah being only one of the tired tropes) instead of subverting them as we’d been led to believe he could. I didn’t understand this either. I’d never expected Kubo to subvert any genre; what I had seen sometimes was audiences expecting a fighting manga to become a slice-of-life manga or a serious novel-length fanfiction or worse, a romance-based cutting-edge super-text that went from junior high to post-graduate studies as its readers grew up.

*Big shrug* Sometimes I think Kubo is writing for me alone. I find all sorts of Proustian deliciousness in his close-ups of door-knobs. Then I remember that if he were truly writing for me, the female Quincy wouldn’t be so cloyingly sexualized and there would be more Kon.

Although the following vids came out in April 2012 at Thatguywiththeglasses.com, I didn’t watch them until a couple months ago when they were posted at Deathberry, my main Bleach forum hang-out:

http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videolinks/ir/yrt/readright/35098-read-right-to-left-the-downfall-of-bleach-part-1

http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videolinks/ir/yrt/readright/35352-read-right-to-left-the-downfall-of-bleach-part-2

My response: I think the guy hit all the reasons why Bleach's popularity has fallen so much--too many characters, terrible pacing, the disappointing Deicide conclusion, Orihime's inability to carry an arc-- but I did disagree with him here and there. How could he dislike the “Turn Back the Pendulu” arc? It was the best ever.  And while I can see why people didn't give two shits for the Fullbringer arc, it was paced better and told a good story.

It was funny how the reviewer didn't understand Aizen's whole "but I planned you this way" business with Ichigo back in Deicide. Funny how Kubo was planning the final arc even back then. Not so funny how Kubo's story is sooooo sloooooow that he takes so long to follow through on little foreshadowings like these. It's like the man lives in molasses time and his audience is in a completely different dimension. I imagine that when the manga is done, readers who can fly through volumes will have a different view of his pacing for not having had to suffer YEARS of it.

The indictment of Orihime in this video was really damning. It just reassures me, though, that Orihime's character is still "unfinished" by Kubo terms. She got zero resolution in her own arc.  And it was funny when the reviewer was going through the SS and Arrancar arc parallels as if they were cliche dumb things--I was like, ok, Kubo does a lot of that shit on purpose and imbues it with top-heavy poetic meaning. But whatever. There are way too many big panels, yeah.


So-Unrequited joked the other day (she’s no fan of Kubo’s) that two things Kubo likes are boobs and parallels. There you have it. It’s almost as if Soul Society was the champion arc of Bleach’s glory days, then the “I don’t want to win this way!” Arrancar arc that befuddled, bored, and disgusted so many Bleach fans was its intentional antithesis. The Arrancar arc ended in so many failures, the least of all being a hero stripped of his powers, and it even had its Emo Prince in Ulquiorra—who, arguably, for all his sins, became the heart of the story when he died and took on the hero’s role and even stole all the heroine’s attention.

The poetry of this is just lost on fans who were annoyed with the arc’s over-reaching dreariness-- from Szayel’s perversions (even I as an Ishida fan thought Szayel’s fight went on too long and skirted the lines of what was acceptable for audiences of a tender age—Szayel, Szayel, so cute flirting with Renji, so nauseating impregnating Nemu) to Aizen’s tiresome transformations (The man had illusion powers so why did he need to go through all those standard shounen hulk growth spurts—why not fight with his mind?) But I had good times; Bleach always brings me good times. The goofiness of Aizen chasing kids through Karakura will always be one of the arc’s highlights; Mizuiro’s Molotov cocktail hurled at the series’ most invincible villain will always fill me with joy—one of those “Yes! Try you must” moments like when Hanatarou faced off Byakuya in SS. I was still very much in love with Bleach—even though I felt I’d survived some horrible ordeal and still, STILL Orihime had not shot Tsubaki and still, STILL we did not know Ishida’s reason to protect or how Isshin had become a doctor or…. so many other hinted at plot pieces. Ulquiorra’s death scene gave me all kinds of reasons to love Kubo, though—even as I cried for three days straight. The stingingly tender “just fuck already” looks Ichigo and Rukia gave one another at the very conclusion of the arc along with the flirty looks they gave one another in the “honeymoon” spread that came out for the Bleach calendar that year were like a promise ring from Kubo-sensei….

Then came the Fullbringer arc with its cast no one wanted to see and after that came the arc after with its introduction of two new shinigami (Yuki and I already forgot her name) and fans were heading for the hills.

But we got the story of White who shows up only when it rains and we got a fierce Masaki protecting Isshin with all her Quincy pride and … and …  we got Ryuuken weeping while carrying Masaki’s Hollow-corrupted body and then a dark-eyed maido Quincy confessing to the emotionally-destroyed young Quincy heir in the pouring rain.

If I were rain, That joins sky and earth that otherwise never touch, Could I join two hearts as well?” ― Tite Kubo, Bleach, Vol. 01: The Death and The Strawberry.

I have such a good time pouring over Kubo-sensei’s poems.  I like how he refers to himself, spins his own allusions like shiny quarters on a table, complicates his own story beyond easy recognition, turned Aizen from a dork to suave godhead back to a dork again, made Zangetsu a Quincy and Ichigo an Arabian prince, made the Royal Guards funny and malevolent and Shutara the spitting image of Nemu, and has now fooled a lot of his audience into thinking that instead of taking molasses-time to finish his series he is NOW RUSHING IT because Jump is forcing him to end it due to miserable popularity.

Bullocks.

Bleach is still popular. It is not dead. There is no death in Bleach, remember?

I was glad to hear the plot pieces falling into place when Koma-chan’s story was told. It was like hearing the ping ping of silverware when just desserts are served. The parallel with Tousen’s story was just extra Kubo crème icing. There was cruelty and pathos and the HEART to feast upon. There was a ridiculously obtuse color page the week Koma-chan met his fate—it had comical details like Gaga coffins and curly hairs on Renji’s bare legs and yet there was an ominous beauty in the composition, the expanse of pink and white and the mention of Kubo’s recurrent moon.

That week there was the announcement of Bleach merchandise! A book of postcards to go on sale in time for the holidays! It was almost like old times again when some of my friends looked up from other manga to gush over how stunning Kubo had drawn Rukia and how badly he had drawn other characters. I felt that twinge of interest again—no, Bleach is not dead. There’s no calendar for it for sale this year—an embarrassment---but Bleach isn’t dead.

Live Journal barely registers a pulse these days, but I’ll probably still be posting Bleach stuffs on here until the end. I have an account on Tumblr where fandoms have migrated but I don’t have the hang of the place—it’s too noisy and young and gif-y for me. I love So-Unrequited’s Tumblr blog, mostly because it’s clever and funny and merciless at exposing Bleach fandom’s underbelly and taking shots at the manga and mangaka but I don’t always agree with So-U. I love Kubo as much as So-U dislikes him, but her journal is a string rhapsody among fart jokes. The most popular Bleach blog on Tumblr is Bleach Lists, and I’m very fond of it, although it avoids shipping controversy like the plague and with good reason—one mention of who you favor among Bleach ships and any innocent remark can send the loonies out to cook your rabbit in a pot or accuse you of anything short of murder (or even murder—I wish I were kidding). Bleach Lists Girl, or BLG, may even be a bigger Bleach fan than I am—she posts twice a day and knows whole filler arcs of the anime that I never bothered with (like the princess arc and the purple-haired captain arc). She’s smart enough to make comparisons between Unohana and Celtic queen Boudica, arrange cross-over skits between Bleach and several books and movies, and be funny more often than she is not funny—something that is not easy to do unless one is really smart. Some of my friends are picky and it bugs them when she puts Byakuya in a setting where he’s chopping onions because Byakuya would have servants chop his onions if not senbonzakura his own onions but I say they’re not suspending their disbelief enough. BLG doesn’t really try to keep her characters in character—she sends arranacar on camping trips, for example. The whole premise of her blog is silliness. I like silliness. Sometimes she gets little things wrong—like she has Yoruichi call Kisuke “Urahara” or she says that both Ichigo and Orihime have “orange” hair but maybe that’s her anime fan side.

Another place where Bleach isn’t dead is Bleach Asylum, the forum that was started by Spacecat in June 2007 and quickly became the primo place in Western fandom. I hate to even lurk there because of a horrible falling out with Space and the administration a couple years ago and any hits only give money to the owner, but the forum has survived a mega-sabotage of its database and many, many members leaving in huffs. It rebuilt itself from scratch not long ago, and last I’ve seen, there are tons of fanbois posting rapturous posts about fights and techniques and there’s a whole thread dedicated to Kubo’s four levels of secrets.  One doesn’t see that dedicated sort of Cliff and Norm from Cheers analyses anywhere else on the Net except maybe at 4chan where, surprisingly, there seem to be more Bleach threads than ever on /a/.  The fans on /a/ are trollish (and subsequently more banal as well as more entertaining in turn) than the Bleach fanbois at BA, who compete with earnest gumption for Post of the Month. I like reading what the bois have to write, but it pisses me off that the bois succeeded in running off the girls from the stomping grounds. There are NO more shippers on BA—the IchiRuki fans having formed Deathberry in 2011, and the IchiHime shippers having had FLOL (Five Lifetimes, One Love) since I don’t know when---when they felt persecuted by all the IRs and felt the need to have their own safe haven. (A haven that is so safe that no one can find it now…. I reminded of when the Harmonians went underground in their final days). In any event, there are no more poemgates at BA; the shipping drama is on other forums and on Tumblr.

I wonder myself how some people can sustain shipping drama for so many years and years; I’m bored of ships sometimes and want to see guys beating each other up. I think a fight between Haschwalth, whose power has been revealed to be hax and mythical and all about BALANCE, and Shunsui, whose power is hax and mythical and all about GAMES, could be a wonderfully thrilling cerebral show-down.  I want to see Renji’s new power-up (why do I think Sensei is going to make me laugh?) and this arc only means ban kais all over the place—Shinji, Ukitake, maybe Hisagi and Rukia, I mean DAMN, how can that NOT be fun? Something about Yoruichi and Urahara will be revealed? What more can we possibly know about them? Will we see Yoruichi’s zan at last? Will we see those two in bed together? And what about all those Arrancar gathering in Hueco Mundo? Who exactly is among them besides the obvious Grimmjow? Will Kukaku adopt the Fullbringer guys into the Shiba tribe?

Bleach is far from dead for me.  I’m not reading it just to see Ishida’s clothes blow off in battle or to see my fave ships happen …. although the day those ships DO happen, this journal will pop corks and the sparkles will be visible to aliens in outer space…..

Next up, a post about Ishida Uryuu I meant to write for his birthday but a ton of freshman composition papers and a bad cold got in the way. If I get another hour at the comp over Thanksgiving break, I’ll do it but I need a little more time than just writing time because I need to track down some manga panels too…..




 
 
Current Mood: fullfull
 
 
 
andrew_jpandrew_jp on November 29th, 2013 09:44 pm (UTC)
It became clear to me back when Orihime couldn't handle Lolly and Menoly-two scrub-tier villains that no one gave a fuck about-that Kubo isn't ever going to meaningfully empower her.

My biggest problem with the Fullbringer arc is that it featured the same five shinigami we've all gotten sick of. Rukia and Renji probably needed to be there, but instead of Hitsugaya, Kenpachi, and Byakuya-of whom only the latter got even a scintilla of meaningful development-we should have had Shunsui, Ukitake, and one of the less-exposed Visored captains. (Either Rose or Love, although my preference would be for Rose.)

Don't worry about me abandoning Bleach though, that Yamamoto fight gave me enough hype for years.

Edited at 2013-11-29 09:57 pm (UTC)
♀*La Muerte Chiquita*♀: WTFla_kalaka on November 30th, 2013 04:08 am (UTC)
i got a problem seeing Hitsugaya there and Kubo commenting something about Ikkaku not having a good reason to be there when the meaningful interactions were with the others (more of less he says that) and I wen WTF cause Ikkaku had more of a meaningful interaction that with Hitsu. I can't take the popularity of the chibi captain -__-* my poor Uryuu is out of the postcards thanks to him, GRRR!
(no subject) - luminous85 on November 30th, 2013 04:50 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on November 30th, 2013 10:53 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lorkylork on December 7th, 2013 08:34 am (UTC) (Expand)
nehalenia: chad interp dancenehalenia on November 30th, 2013 03:51 am (UTC)
I'm here for the long haul, too. I still love Bleach, and I love Bleach fandom as well: the weekly waiting games, the expectations, the surprises and disappointments and (sometimes) the fulfillment of those expectations.

To me, one of the most ironically funny things is the way 4chan's /a/ went from despising everything about Bleach except for Rukia, and now seem to like it better than even some of the Bleach-centric fan forums. That shift seemed to happen right around the EBTR mini-arc, which answered a lot of old questions and posed new ones.

I don't really know what to think about Orihime. Her long, LONG delayed development aside, I'm still wondering what was up with her in Hueco Mundo. Was it just that she wanted Ichigo to save her from every danger, no matter how small, or did Aizen do something to prevent her from harming or even opposing any of the Arrancar? Some of her "true" fans believe that she was mentally abused, threatened, and manipulated by Ulquiorra, but the way she slapped him doesn't really bear that out. In fact, almost the only times she displays agency is in his presence. She stood up to Ulquiorra, and even to Grimmjow, but then Tesla threatens to destroy her rikka (which I don't believe he'd have done) and she loses all will to resist even when Ichigo is screaming in pain and being tortured in front of her. To me, that's her lowest point, even worse than when she lost it on the dome and begged Ichigo's corpse to help her, and even tho I don't hate Orihime, if what happened there isn't resolved/explained, it will continue to be a sore point with her character.

I agree with complaints about the pacing and pages with 3-5 panels per age, but it's nothing I'm going to break up with Bleach about. :)
♀*La Muerte Chiquita*♀: Chadapprovesla_kalaka on November 30th, 2013 04:05 am (UTC)
oh yeah, the wiating game, my heart beat fast everytime i am waiting for spoilers or when the chapter is out, the thrill is THERE.

I am here for the long haul too :D
(no subject) - luminous85 on November 30th, 2013 04:49 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on November 30th, 2013 03:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - luminous85 on November 30th, 2013 05:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - nehalenia on November 30th, 2013 11:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - la_kalaka on December 1st, 2013 05:06 am (UTC) (Expand)
♀*La Muerte Chiquita*♀: ishichila_kalaka on November 30th, 2013 04:00 am (UTC)
One of the aspects that got me sighing a lot was Aizen and what you refer as hulking out instead of fighting with his intelligence and using his zanpakutou.

Shipping drama as of lately has become my new funny thing to check. Cause is that, freaking funny x_D and So-U makes it very entertaining to me. I can deal with her orihime hatred, that's her freedom of speech as mine is to keep drawing Ori and Ishi and IshiHime and loving the girl.

i am at peace with that. I have enough drama in my life too, so i am trying to take it easy, although venting is some sort of therapy too xP

BLG is also one of my faves pages in tumblr, i love to make requests to her :D and she was the one who suggested me the "Orihime tells her rivals to stay away from Ishida... Cause at first i asked for "Ishida tells his rivals to stay away from Hime" but she though there were just guys in this series, so it would be cool if she put a girl :D

I LOVED it! I love silly pages :3

And maybe bleach can have a lot of issues, but the promise of Ishida in one of the main roles, more of his family, the quincy and other nice take of characters keep me there and i'll be there till the end.
Complaining is half a joke and half a serious statement, but that's part of the fun and the relationship with the author and his manga.

I enjoy when he takes work and good care to portrait some of his characters: Komamura was a bit "meh" to me during the SS arc, but then during fake Karakura arc he grew on me. He was such a kind character, a good friend, a wise captain. I loved him to pieces and I enjoyed him there.

This is Kubo being great when working with his characters and I expect no less from him when he touches ishida. That's his magic and another reason besides his amazing art to stay there.

And I loved the spread, negative space is beautiful for me <3





Edited at 2013-11-30 04:03 am (UTC)
nehalenia: chad interp dancenehalenia on November 30th, 2013 06:30 am (UTC)
I wanted the EBTR mini-arc to be 20 chapters instead of 10 and to tell us what happened to the Ishida family, but Kubo is evil like that and will make us wait. I say I hate waiting, but the suspense is also kind of wonderful. I do like having something to wait for, and I'm happy if Kubo wants to drag it out b/c it's hard to imagine not waiting expectantly for the weekly Bleach chapter.
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on November 30th, 2013 11:09 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - peca_06 on December 3rd, 2013 05:38 am (UTC) (Expand)
Running on Coffee and Schadenfreudearcadiasilver on November 30th, 2013 04:28 am (UTC)
The more and more I think on it, Kubo has the skills of a mangaka but the writing sensibilities of a fantasy novelist. His pacing reminds me of Sanderson, Jordan, Tolkien (especially the way he hovers over details), and Martin. Kubo plays a long, long game over mutliple arcs, weaving in details and symmetry through out the major plot arcs. It works well for a novel but not for a serialized series like manga.
Danielwdboldstar on November 30th, 2013 09:30 am (UTC)
This is a great point.

I will say, though, that I have given up on other comics for the same thing. Order of the Stick is one I've dropped because it takes too long for anything to happen.

But for whatever reason, Kubo-sensei hasn't lost me yet.


Edited at 2013-11-30 09:30 am (UTC)
(no subject) - arcadiasilver on November 30th, 2013 09:32 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wdboldstar on November 30th, 2013 09:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
rii_no_amerii_no_ame on November 30th, 2013 05:49 am (UTC)
I'm still keeping up with Bleach and will be to the bitter end, but every other friend I know in the fandom has long since dropped the series. It's a shame - makes fandom feel barren at times - but I understand why. I love Kubo's stories and his characterization and the mythology he's set up, the depth of it all and the way he eventually follows through on all his little cryptic hints and foreshadowing, but...I think readers (and a lot of those who dropped the series) are also justified in demanding that a skilled mangaka understand and work within the constraints of the form, that pacing and restraint be a necessary tool in the toolbox.

I'm a nakama fan, and I love Ulquiorra and Byakuya. I want to see certain plot points wrapped up and I'm curious about certain outcomes. I'm patient enough to endure the 8,000 plot twists and other characters that I don't care about (sometimes for years on end) to get to those things, but I don't imagine others are and I can't expect them to be.

I do hate it. Not because I worry about Kubo - I suspect he writes Bleach the way he does as much for himself as for anybody else, and he's doing just fine probably - but because I used to love this series so much and indulging in it now feels like going to a restaurant in my old hometown that I and everyone used to love, and now I'm the only one who goes because everyone's gone on to eat at other, better places. It's just a wistful, nostalgic thing.
luminous85: Neutralluminous85 on November 30th, 2013 06:05 am (UTC)
I have to cry ditto on this statement.
(no subject) - _debbiechan_ on November 30th, 2013 11:12 am (UTC) (Expand)
Danielwdboldstar on November 30th, 2013 09:35 am (UTC)
Good Read, Debbie. I know lots of people who abandoned Bleach, including the guy who turned me on to it in the first place, back when the Soul Society arc was just starting in the anime.

I admit, I'm not as huge on bleach as I once was, and I haven't really enjoyed an arc as much as I did the Soul Society one, but the Quincy arc is starting to come damn close.

I'm starting to doubt a true Orihime redemption is in the cards, just because it seems like Orihime just... stays this way even when there's a huge chance for change. I feel like in the end, Tsubaki just ain't gonna be her tool. We'll see. I'm still on board for the return of Ulquiorra and a reformed Soul Society that's a bit more equitable, lead by Ichigo and Rukia, as well as figuring out what the Spirit King really is and why Aizen refused Ywach's offer. Kubo-sensei's built an incredibly intriguing world and mythology, and I'm eager to see how he brings it home. Even if it takes another 4-5 years of chapters that cover 5 minutes each in-universe.
_debbiechan_: Hime Looking Up_debbiechan_ on November 30th, 2013 03:57 pm (UTC)

I'll wait for Orihime forever. Only my closest friends understand how much I really love her. I believe she'll be ok. I love her the way Ishida loves her. I love her like Kubo loves her. I love her; I see her for her flaws and quirks and blubbering failures and I want her to be ok.

She has to be. I love her.
(no subject) - wdboldstar on November 30th, 2013 06:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
peca_06peca_06 on December 3rd, 2013 05:45 am (UTC)
Beautiful essay Deb :'( made me cry. I really enjoy when you talk like this about Bleach and sensei.

I hope I can share more Bleach with you guys, rain or shine, til the end.
I love you and the friends I made here, as well as Kubo and his Bleach. I wasn't a fan of him just because of Ichiruki, but in the artistic/poetic sense. He speaks to me as well and although there are times he looses me a bit with new characters I don't seem to cozy up to, I love his sense of humor, his art, his characters, his allusions, his parallels and all of that epic magic he ends up pulling for his characters at moment's notice.

I was tired of some aspects of fandom, but I still love Bleach and I will continue reading it and drawing about it ^__^ <333.
linwenolatarilinwenolatari on December 3rd, 2013 10:08 pm (UTC)
I still enjoy Bleach. Yeah, it has it's boring parts, but I honestly cannot understand the almost blind hate some people have for it. I mean, I thought Inuyasha was formulaic and it went on for a lot longer than it should, yet, I rarely see people going crazy over it, or Tsubasa Reservoir. CLAMP has a rabid fanbase, and that series started out great, but somewhere in the middle it just went everywhere, yet again, nobody seems to bat an eye about that. I have not really seen people complaining about all that convulated plot, how everyone turned out to be clones of other people and some pseudo-incest going on. It seems that to some people there are authors that can do no wrong, even if they churn out mediocre work, but when someone who it is not considered a 'god' has a few missteps, everyone loses their minds. I personally enjoyed the Fullbring arc, and I understood that it was a necessary arc. Yes, I would love to know more about already existing characters, but sometimes, you need to bring in new ones, even if it's just for exposition.
So I hope the Bleach's declining popularity won't cause for the series to be rushed to an ending leaving a lot of loose ends, when Kubo is probably going to tie them all together if given the time.
Mordecai Banda on December 23rd, 2013 04:54 am (UTC)
Amen to this post.

Well, I suppose I've got that biased 'fan' element to find it hard to hate Kubo's work, but I really do feel he knows what he's doing. I mean the amount of anger at him is becoming ridiculous (On the latest chapters, when the quincy punctured his eardrums and then asked something people were all up in arms 'PLOT HOLE! HE CAN'T HEAR!'

There's a difference between 'Plot Hole' and 'Things as of yet unexplained.' The whole quincy badge thing really hits the nail on the head in that case.

Thanks for the great post.

PS: I've found it easier to enjoy Bleach in a sort of solitary circle rather than try to find a fandom... >...> These days the fandom is rather depressing.
agenttexasagenttexas on December 29th, 2013 10:24 am (UTC)
No, Bleach definitely isn't dead. It's just not all that popular anymore and a lot of people are losing interest in the wait.

I'll admit, I've moved away from Bleach, it's no longer my main focus since I fell for Shingeki No Kyojin but I still adore Bleach. I read it faithfully, have my plushies, figures and the calendar(which I love BTW) in my room. Even when it ends I will always love Bleach.

With that said, I came into the fandom late, I didn't read the manga until the Fullbringer arc was out and I have to say...

I scoffed at comments like, "his pacing is too slow!" because reading it at once seemed pretty quick. But once I got caught up as I am now, I can sorta understand. It's almost as if Bleach is meant to be read in bulk for whatever reason...I dunno.

I'm sad though, I'm going to my first Con in January and though there are stuff for my other mangas(SnK, SAO and so on) there is NOTHING for Bleach. Apparently no one cares enough for the series to organize anything, so sad! Not even a photo shoot!

But regardless I'm in it for the long haul and look forward to reading everything unfold. It's already gotten so good lately with Renji's reappearance! Fingers crossed for the next chapter showing Renji's bankai!
_debbiechan__debbiechan_ on December 29th, 2013 05:51 pm (UTC)

Oh hey there!
The FB was well-paced imv. The Arrancar Arc was a pain to live through--I remember we all wanted t-shirts saying we'd survived it. I can imagine just about any manga being better to read in volumes. The very idea of writing a story that takes years to tell in only tiny chapters a week seems so weird... the audience grows up, the new audience has to be sold to...

I was just looking at a forum showing how the Bleach ratings for the anime plummeted in 2011. They really sank; the Bleach volumes still sell but its popularity in Jump is at the bottom every week.

Bleach just isn't capturing the public imagination anymore, which is fine by me--it captures mine. I can understand being bored by a series--what I find harder to understand is the sense of betrayal by the author some fans report.

I was into SnK too for a bit, enjoying it wildly. My son still reads but I lost my taste for it after the Isayama nationalism scandal. I don't have time for manga at the moment, so busy--started reading Gintama because I needed the joy and that's all I can manage every day.