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Posts Tagged ‘Bleach’

Bleach 429-430

December 14, 2010 2 comments
[scanlation by Binktopia]

(429) That’s a little too uncomfortably tsundere, Ichigo.

Run, Lucci. I think he likes you.

With Karin having already established her relevance in this arc, Yuzu stakes her own claim, by… revealing a good test score. Actually, if she is to be involved in any real capacity, I’d prefer for her to stay cheerful, at least on the surface. Bleach is at its worst when all its characters are intensely angst-ridden, so even if Yuzu follows up her spirited boasting with a moment of concern, her initial cheerfulness is hugely appreciated.

Also, she is just adorable

This business with Inoue and Ishida sensing some disturbance in Ichigo’s Force is treading a fine line as Kubo attempts to sensibly reestablish Ichigo as a dominant protagonist. Despite major character flaws and poor storyline choices involving her in the past, I really hope for Orihime to get the bulk of the focus here. The rivalry between Ichigo and Ishida is best suited to playful, comedic school scenes; their relationship in serious scenes is too distant, sometimes inappropriately sarcastic, and it always drags the story down. Granted, Orihime has made more than her fair share of negative contributions to the story, but her character is multi-faceted enough to be appropriate in both comedic and dramatic scenes, and she seems to be the better option to transition the main group back to serious plot.

On a completely different note, what the hell is wrong with the art lately? Non-backgrounds and white space-attacks aside, post-timeskip Bleach chapters have looked like they were fashioned from static.

xrhrxhhrxhhrhxrCAN'T HEAR YOUR SHIRTxcxhhrhxhr

So much for Inoue being the impetus for Ichigo to take action. Instead, Uryuu had to go and get his arm blown off. For all my criticism and wariness about the inevitable return to serious plot, I have to say that I’m pleased with the layout of the last two pages of this chapter. The panel structure and the dichotomy between the situations of Ichigo and Ishida was handled effectively. I can only offer so much praise, though, because that purported business card bears a slogan that is laughably juvenile. It doesn’t look like much of a business card, either, actually. It looks more like a credit card.

Good credit limit, brutal interest rate

(430) These first couple pages of Orihime swooning over her fantasy version of Ichigo are very amusing and outright enjoyable, but that enjoyment is short-lived, as she must return her thoughts to more serious matters. Kubo clearly has the comic timing, fashion sense, style, and suitably interesting character quirks to put together a good (likely romantic- or school-) comedy series. It’s such a pity he’s doing this instead.

Uh… just because Ichigo didn’t come to dinner immediately does not mean he must be masturbating. I just want to put that out there.

Who's the perverted one, again?

The reappearance of Ryuuken would seem to reaffirm the importance of Isshin in this arc, as well as perhaps that entire older generation. Even if more characters aren’t involved, though, the rivalry between Ryuuken and Isshin is enough to propel the story forward at this point. Bringing him back into the fold was a good choice.

Introducing a substance similar to (yet decidedly different from) Reiatsu may feel like a pretty cheap attempt at variety, but that introduction is redeemed by Ryuuken’s excellent direct approach. For once, the audience isn’t being led around with vague allusions and half-truths; Ryuuken is calmly, even bluntly stating the facts, and furthermore offering his own reasonable hypotheses as to who is responsible for harming Ishida and what can be expected in the near future. His straightforward demeanor is exactly what this scene required.

Analyzing Ryuuken’s hypothesis itself, it would be immensely pleasing for this arc to center around the core group of human characters. The mere mention of Chad is promising, as he has never gotten development remotely befitting of a character as comparatively interesting as he is. Hopefully, the focus will remain on him, along with Ichigo, Inoue, Ishida, and the Kurosaki family, rather than involving too many new faces or Soul Society rehashes.

Ichigo struggling with an overwhelming sense of powerlessness is enjoyable to watch, not in a sadistic way, but as a character examination. Unfortunately, we’re treated only to a handful of panels highlighting this internal strife before he decides to rely on the aid of a complete stranger. I understand the notion that Ichigo is desperate to save his friends, and that he’s prepared to do anything for that cause, but I feel that he was far too quick to turn to the Xcution business card. Whether this is a criticism of Ichigo’s weakness as a character or Kubo’s weakness as an author, I’m not entirely certain. Perhaps both are to blame.

Noblesse Oblige

Final Flash: While I’m still far from thrilled at the prospect of dramatic plot, this transition has been handled about as well as it could have. Ryuuken’s appearance and dialogue was the standout section from this two-chapter stretch.

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Bleach 427-428 (plus special chapter)

November 26, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by Binktopia]

(427) I’m still put off by everyone’s uniforms looking like they’re sewn from white noise.

In a turn both unsurprising and unfortunate, Ishida silently admits to himself that Ichigo still has an aura reminiscent of Reiatsu, though he should have none. There has been no doubt that the series would soon leave behind lighthearted school life and return to Soul Society-style action, but this still feels too soon. The last few chapters have taken huge positive strides away from the dull, uncreative “one-up” action of the last few years, and there’s still plenty of life left in this kind of a plot line.

The cover page is Inoue licking frosting off of her face? Come on, Kubo. Leave fanservice to the harem series.

Not all food is bad, though; that ramen looks delicious.

Top that, Toriko. ... no, seriously, please do. I'm hungry.

Ichigo’s possessiveness towards his “break room” is a great little moment of comedy.

Ikumi’s flushed stutter over being called “sis” is cute. She brings excellent levity to this series.

This Lucci-lookalike is after information on Ichigo’s dad. That’s pretty depressing, as it’s exactly the kind of storyline to being out the unpleasantly serious side of Ichigo, as well as just generally adding angst to the overall plot. The less drama this series presents, the better.

Ichigo “shouldn’t know a thing about [his] family,” no less. I can’t help but let out a long, exasperated sigh. Here comes the tedium.

I come from CP9 bearing gifts of 'boring'

As if this situation wasn’t serious enough, Karin is at Urahara’s shop, with a completely dour look on her face. I was ready for her to be a part of the main plot, but I was hoping for something a bit more cheerful.

(428) The color pages are rather unimpressive. There’s a rough, sloppy quality to them that just isn’t pleasing to the eye.

Between Izumi supporting her own chest with crossed arms in the last chapter, and gracelessly leaning over the table in this one, it’s becoming exceedingly clear that her primary function is “doujin fodder.” The point has been made, Kubo; please back off a little.

Yes, we noticed. Go pander to Rule 34 somewhere else.

Mr. would-be Lucci urges Ichigo to go to Urahara’s shop, and ominously hints that Ichigo will see something amusing there. Deliberately vague characters like this are so frustrating. If this character knows everything that’s going on, what’s so impossibly difficult about merely letting Ichigo in on the secret? Instead, the protagonist has to be sent off on a wild goose chase. This instance is just one of an endless string of intentionally vague characters, so I don’t blame Kubo any more than other authors for pulling this stunt, but given how ineffective this trick is, I also don’t blame him any less.

Introducing new characters by merely saying their name is a surefire way to lose my interest. Riruka and Kutsuzawa could yet turn out to be decent, but there’s nothing exciting about their names, so why highlight their introduction so heavily?

Then again, they might not turn out to be too decent, if their opening dialogue is any indication. What a predictable exchange.

Is Kutsuzawa going to end up being the brother of the mustached man working at Urahara’s shop? Everyone knows mustaches are a genetic trait, after all.

Urahara’s cheerful tone is unbelievably irritating when there’s an obvious serious subtext being avoided. If he was just a cheerful character, I wouldn’t mind, but the whole “smiling face, serious personality” persona has not only been done before, but it’s been done considerably better.

Karin’s short response to the mention of her brother could belie some feelings of resentment, which could provide an opportunity for character growth. Unfortunately, it also provides an opportunity for considerable drama.

"Every day, he protected me from horizontal lines."

On the other hand, Karin shows some admirable determination, in deciding that it’s “her turn” to take care of Ichigo. I cannot overstate how much I hope she develops enough to be able to do so, rather than serve as yet another damsel in distress.

After another insipid “how much do you really know?!” remark, fake-Lucci finally introduces himself as Kuugo Ginjou, and the chapter abruptly ends, despite a notable lack of content.

(Hell Arc special chapter) What’s with the first page of this chapter? Is Kubo offering me options for background of the week?

Oh boy, Espada. We certainly didn’t get enough of them for years.

Szayel’s interrogation of this new character is a little bizarre.

What, is this Hell not Hispanic enough for you?

I can’t appropriately describe how hilarious I find Shuren’s underlings. I’ve sat here for minutes trying to write punchlines severe enough for how poor those character designs are, but no one-liner can possibly do them justice. How utterly laughable.

After a complete non-fight, Shuren teases the plot of the movie by alluding to Ichigo being required to open the gate of Hell. As if I needed a reason to avoid a Bleach movie, this has cemented that I’ll keep my distance.

Final Flash: A rather lackluster series of chapters. The canon story is heading in a fairly dull direction, but it’s still passable; it’s certainly average at worst. The bonus chapter, while substandard, can’t be judged too harshly, as it is entirely a movie tie-in.

Beamcast – November 22

November 22, 2010 1 comment

[download link – 184min, 77mb]

In this week’s huge double-show:

News
SWOT canceled
Fake Hunter x Hunter return information
37 manga publishers to launch North American manga portal
New Shueisha magazine: Saikyou Jump
Air Gear vol. 31 bundled with anime DVD
One Piece vol. 60 sells over 2 million in 4 days
Negima‘s Akamatsu plans free site for out-of-print manga
Dragon Ball SD spinoff manga
One Piece, Toriko 3D film trailers streamed; themes by Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra

Licensing announcements
VIZ: Tenjou Tenge (unedited, 2-in-1 omnibus)
Tokyopop: The Sacred Blacksmith

Non-shonen news
Starz making live-action adaptation of Noir
“Nonexistent youth” bill to be resubmitted
4Kids reports net loss of $9.8 million in 3Q 2010
Zac Efron not starring in Akira
Satoshi Kon’s last film resumes production

Discussion / Weekly Poll
Last week’s results:

Which of these partially-scanlated series would you most like to see caught up?
1. Cage of Eden / GTO: Shonan 14 Days / Sket Dance (19%) (tie)
4. Yankee-kun to Megane-chan (18%)
5. Kuroko no Basket (13%)
6. Onidere (7%)
7. Hajimete no Aku (4%)

This week:
Which of these sidekick characters is your favorite?
Al (Fullmetal Alchemist), Don Patch (Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo), Furuichi (Beelzebub), Komatsu (Toriko), Koutarou (Mahou Sensei Negima!), Krillin (Dragon Ball), Shinpachi (Gintama), Zenkichi (Medaka Box)

This Week in Manga
0:17:14 – Soul Eater 80
0:22:19 – Donten Prism Solar Car 3
0:25:19 – Kure-nai 35-36
0:29:27 – One Piece 604
0:37:40 – Naruto 516-517
0:46:59 – Bleach 426-427
0:52:09 – Bakuman 109-110
0:58:19 – Beelzebub 84-86
1:06:29 – Fairy Tail 211-212
1:10:55 – Hayate no Gotoku! 296-297
1:16:50 – Kekkaishi 328
1:21:15 – History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi 406-407
1:31:42 – AR∀GO 43-45
1:38:17 – Toriko 117-118
1:43:24 – Gamaran 70-71
1:46:38 – The World God Only Knows 121-122
1:55:52 – Defense Devil 72-73
1:57:59 – Mahou Sensei Negima! 308-309
2:05:01 – Nurarihyon no Mago 130-132
2:16:03 – Zettai Karen Children 237-238
2:24:15 – GE ~ Good Ending 59
2:27:59 – Kimi no Iru Machi 112-113
2:34:06 – Enigma 9-10
2:42:07 – SWOT 16-17
2:47:07 – Moon Walker LTD.
2:51:36 – Kintoki
2:56:20 – Gate 7 – 1 (new series!)
2:58:04 – Air Gear 294-295
2:59:26 – Code:Breaker 111
3:00:39 – Katekyo Hitman Reborn! 314-315

Chapters of the Week

Final Flash

Comments / questions / additions? Email the show.
Want to share with friends? How kind. Have a shortlink: http://wp.me/pJOZe-WH

Credit: AnimeNewsNetwork

Bleach 426

November 15, 2010 3 comments
[scanlation by Binktopia]

I’m really enjoying the humor in Ichigo’s abrupt, jerky movements lately. A couple chapters ago, he intercepted Keigo with a deadpan headlock; here, he flies in from off-screen and shoves one of the delinquents’ heads to the ground. This is effective communication through artwork, which is something I never would have been able to say about Kubo before the timeskip.

Pop quiz: Name that wrestling move

The obnoxious intruder is nonchalantly eliminated by both Ichigo and Ishida, and his now-removed teeth serve as the backdrop for the chapter number. That was clever.

Good dichotomy established by Kubo, as the competitive relationship between Ichigo and Ishida is played out through dialogue while the art shows them cooperating to rid themselves of the intruders. It’s nothing new, but considering Kubo’s questionable writing talent, there’s no shame in relying on established plot devices.

I actually had to look up who Yoko-chin is, and even after that I don’t really have strong memories of his involvement, but the punchline he delivers about Ichigo’s obvious flashback was worth bringing him back. Good comedy in the first half of the chapter.

This random lady is Ichigo’s boss? What excellent news! Ichigo working for someone other than Urahara further distances him (and the overall story) from boring Shinigami plot.

Oh dear, another small group of people that performs assorted tasks for those who require assistance? If there was such a thing as a reasonable limit on this kind of plot device, then Jump would have long since exceeded it, what with Gintama, Sket Dance, and Medaka Box.

Ikumi has a son. Not only does he provide a nice (if easy) little piece of comedy, but he immediately makes Ikumi’s introduction one of the most successful and interesting in the entire series.

Our Rob Lucci lookalike makes his grand entrance, but pleasingly, his menace is tempered by the fact that he has oddly brought a bowl of ramen to Ichigo’s workplace. This scene isn’t perfect (there’s still no excuse not to draw backgrounds, especially indoors, when it could just be a wall), but it’s much better than I would have expected of this character’s return.

Do you always carry ramen around with you?

Final Flash: We still have yet to truly establish a sense of direction since the timeskip, but I’m not complaining about that. This was good comedy and acceptable seriousness.

Beamcast – November 8

November 8, 2010 1 comment

[download link – 140min, 60mb]

In this week’s show:

News

Viz sells downloadable manga via iPad app
Viz announces online Shonen Jump supplement
Viz confirms Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s, Psyren licenses
Leiji Matsumoto, Shigeru Mizuki earn government honors

New releases

[anime]
Tsubasa, RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE – Season 2 Viridian Collection (DVD) $49.98

[manga]
Inuyasha (vol. 54) $9.99
Inuyasha – VIZBIG (vol. 5) $17.99
Maoh: Juvenile Remix (vol. 3) $9.99

Discussion / Weekly Poll
Last week’s results:

Which sport do you prefer seeing depicted in anime/manga?
1. Basketball (29%)
2. Boxing (24%)
3. Football / soccer (20%)
4. Baseball (16%)
5. Tennis (11%)

This week:
Which of these partially-scanlated series would you most like to see caught up?
(Cage of Eden, GTO: Shonan 14 Days, Hajimete no Aku, Kuroko no Basket, Onidere, Sket Dance, Yankee-kun to Megane-chan)

The Great Shonen Tier List
Characters added:

Perona (One Piece)
Kaguya Kimimaro (Naruto)
Lambo (Katekyo Hitman Reborn!)
Sakuragi Hanamichi (Slam Dunk)
Nagase Kaede (Mahou Sensei Negima!)
Jonathan Joestar (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure)

This Week in Manga
0:25:38 – Sankarea 11
0:28:33 – Bleach 425
0:38:55 – One Piece 603
0:50:15 – Naruto 515
1:02:29 – Bakuman 108
1:06:30 – Beelzebub 83
1:12:58 – Fairy Tail 210
1:16:37 – Hayate no Gotoku! 295
1:20:40 – History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi 405
1:26:41 – AR∀GO 42
1:33:45 – The World God Only Knows 120
1:40:12 – Defense Devil 71
1:43:22 – Psyren 141-142
1:49:07 – Nurarihyon no Mago 129
1:53:37 – GE ~ Good Ending 57-58
1:57:56 – Kimi no Iru Machi 111
2:00:34 – SWOT 15
2:06:44 – Enigma 8
2:14:00 – Code:Breaker 110
2:16:04 – D.Gray-man 200
2:17:47 – Katekyo Hitman Reborn! 313

Chapters of the Week

Final Flash

Comments / questions / additions? Email the show.
Want to share with friends? How kind. Have a shortlink: http://wp.me/pJOZe-Uj

Credit: AnimeNewsNetwork

Bleach 425

November 4, 2010 4 comments
[scanlation by Binktopia]

It’s official: Ichigo dreams about Renji. I can hear the fanfiction community in a stir already.

Great start to the chapter. This kind of comedy feels right at home with Kubo’s style. I’ve often said that I’d love for Bleach to be canceled and for Kubo to turn around and write a school comedy, but if he can just make this series take itself less seriously, the remaining few years will be satisfactory.

Any good day begins with attempted patricide

Ichigo became a mercenary? This is pretty funny stuff. Settling on the soccer club gives the story a great opportunity for more comedy. The further away we’re taken from huge swords and ridiculous plot twists, the better.

It’s even a pleasure to see Inoue, who, between being revered as an idol and exiting the school from the second story, has shown more charisma and likability than in all 424 previous chapters combined.

Her facial expression is the real punchline

Ichigo’s phone call, seemingly to Kisuke, could serve as the bridge back to Soul Society-related plot. I sincerely hope it doesn’t, and that whoever Ichigo (and Inoue and Tatsuki?) works for leads to new, more interesting responsibilities in the real world.

These punks blocking the gate provide exactly the kind of low-level conflict worth our time, and the way Ishida intervenes is a perfectly suitable combination of aggression and comedy. I don’t know what long-time Bleach fans make of this, but as someone disgusted with where the manga went over the last two or three years, I find this new direction (however temporary it might be) welcome and enjoyable.

Twist of the week

Final Flash: Easily the best Bleach chapter in years. My experience with post-Future Arc Reborn is keeping my excitement limited, as Kubo could drop a Hollow in the middle of all this at any time, but so far the timeskip has worked wonders.

Beamcast – November 1

November 1, 2010 3 comments

[download link – 135min, 57mb]

In this week’s show:

News

Weekly Oricon rankings (10/18 – 10/24)

Discussion / Weekly Poll
Last week’s results:

Which of these 100+ chapter series is most deserving of an anime?
1. Psyren (49%)
2. Yankee-kun to Megane-chan (26%)
3. Bloody Monday (9%)
4. Code:Breaker (8%)
5. Kimi no Iru Machi / MiXiM☆11 (4%) (tie)

This week:
Which sport do you prefer seeing depicted in anime/manga?
(Baseball, basketball, boxing, soccer, tennis)

The Great Shonen Tier List
Character re-tiered:
Arago Hunt (AR∀GO)

Characters added:
Foxy (One Piece)
Yamato (Naruto)
Kousaka Shigure (History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi)
Sango & Kirara (InuYasha)
Death the Kid & Liz/Patty (Soul Eater)
Scar (Fullmetal Alchemist)

This Week in Manga
0:28:14 – Mirai Nikki 57
0:29:33 – Donten Prism Solar Car 2
0:33:00 – One Piece 602
0:38:49 – Bleach 424
0:44:10 – Bakuman 107
0:48:25 – Beelzebub 82
0:56:14 – Fairy Tail 207-209
1:04:22 – Hayate no Gotoku! 294
1:08:59 – Kekkaishi 327
1:14:25 – AR∀GO 41
1:19:29 – Toriko 116
1:24:23 – Gamaran 69
1:28:42 – The World God Only Knows 119
1:32:04 – Defense Devil 70
1:34:30 – Mahou Sensei Negima! 307
1:42:01 – Psyren 140
1:45:55 – Nurarihyon no Mago 128
1:49:07 – Zettai Karen Children 236
1:51:51 – Kimi no Iru Machi 110
1:55:10 – SWOT 14
2:01:35 – Enigma 7
2:08:39 – Deadman Wonderland 39a
2:10:42 – Air Gear 293
2:11:59 – Gintama 328
2:12:53 – Katekyo Hitman Reborn! 312

Chapters of the Week

Final Flash

Comments / questions / additions? Email the show.
Want to share with friends? How kind. Have a shortlink: http://wp.me/pJOZe-S1

Credit: AnimeNewsNetwork