Posts Tagged ‘Kubo Tite’

Bleach 421

September 23, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by Binktopia]

Good to know that Ichigo’s new fabric-outfit wasn’t black, but rather blue. His skin looks sickeningly pallid, though.

Background of the week

Ichigo’s Shinigami abilities disappear after only one attack. I suppose that’s entirely fitting, given that Ichigo is only really predisposed to using one attack, but that still seems like something that will need to be addressed before the next major battle.

I cannot and will not accept that Urahara conveniently set a trap on Aizen when he “had [his] guard down the most.” The Hougyoku is, to some undetermined extent, a sentient being, with which Aizen has completely fused. (At least, they were completely “one” back when Kisuke hid this Kidou.) There is no excuse for Aizen having his guard down when he was able to supplement his own awareness with that of the Hougyoku.

Even worse than this leap of logic is the fact that this is such a cheap twist. Why does nearly every major fight in Bleach have to involve a sudden appearance? Why can’t characters — very specifically, our main character — do anything themselves? Ichigo just received a massive (and, for once, sensible) power-up, and he can’t even finish his own fight with it? One week after reestablishing our protagonist as someone useful, Kubo turns around and neuters him once more.

Twist of the week

The Hougyoku has finally deemed Aizen unworthy of its power. This has been a long time coming, so I can’t even muster the faintest hint of surprise.

We’re finally beginning to learn about our next primary antagonist (or at least a driving force behind upcoming plot), the Spirit King. Kisuke’s distant attitude on the matter is mildly interesting, but it also worryingly feels like a setup for a “fight the established order” storyline. That feeling is compounded by Kubo’s last-ditch attempt to redeem Aizen’s character as one who perhaps was not inherently evil, but rather one who sought to overthrow an unjust system. This kind of character alteration is perfectly acceptable when the character being amended has had sufficient development all along the way; for all the problems with the pacing and unnecessary drama in Naruto (particularly surrounding Sasuke), the final revelations about Itachi’s motives were not only interesting, but fit well with all of his actions leading up to that moment. With regard to Bleach, Aizen has committed far too many blatantly evil acts to be redeemed, and furthermore, he’s barely had any actual character development. His progress has been littered with power-ups and strength upgrades, not personality establishment and evolution. In short, then, I don’t appreciate Kubo trying to pull this off with Aizen, as it feels like an afterthought. Let an evil character be evil and move on.

Final Flash: A tremendous step back from the previous chapter.


Bleach 420

September 16, 2010 4 comments
[scanlation by Binktopia]

From the plethora of available “420” jokes, let’s just go with something like “wasn’t that the only way to enjoy Bleach anyway?” and move on.

After some flashback pages of the earlier fight between Ichigo and post-Fountain of Youth Zangetsu, the twist is finally revealed: the “Final Getsuga Tenshou” is when Ichigo himself becomes Getsuga.

The important note: I don’t find this terrible. I still think it’s stale and uninteresting to have Ichigo become taller, older, and longer-haired, and I certainly have to laugh at the Hot Topic-catalog laziness of designing Final Form Ichigo with flowing black hair, black fabric, and a black aura, but I will give some credit to Kubo: this concept is acceptable. To defeat Aizen, whose abilities are “broken” (despite being improperly written in the last few chapters), Ichigo needed to achieve some kind of powerup that wasn’t just a linear increase in strength. There’s no telling how deep Kubo will go into the concept, and it’s entirely possible that the spiritual evolution part of the process will be conveniently forgotten and/or rewritten as though this is a linear powerup, but from initial indication, “becoming Getsuga” seems to work.

Twist of the week

The less-important note:

Have fun, yaoi fans

The rest of the chapter is pretty standard Bleach: Venom/Aizen gets pissed and yells too much, and Ichigo uses a big monochromatic attack.

Background of the week

Final Flash: Not “good,” but “good for a recent Bleach chapter,” meaning surprisingly acceptable overall.

Bleach 419

September 9, 2010 Leave a comment
[scanlation by Binktopia]

So much unnecessary dialogue. Tension is important during a fight, but that doesn’t mean the pacing of the fight should be interrupted (or, in this case, completely overwhelmed) by text.

Background of the week

It’s not just “Deicide” anymore; there’s a subtitle? Even Kubo is bored with this.

Aizen transforms into some unspeakable creature. First, how ugly. I’m sure that’s somewhat the point, of course. Secondly, and most importantly, this signals a continuation of a worrying trend: The Hougyoku being treated like a linear power-up rather than the plot-altering device it’s been shown to be. It’s certainly not as though the Hougyoku should be able to rewrite the plot according to Aizen’s desires, but for it to quietly be demoted to something as simple as this is a critical consistency error.

Go get him, Venom

Once again, Aizen proceeds to deliver a long-winded monologue, and as with last week’s chapter, Ichigo counters with a trite, throwaway line. Also, Ichigo’s new hairstyle should not make his entire self look older. If Kubo wanted an older, more “badass” character, he should have written Ichigo as such to begin with.

Twist of the week

Next week will be the unveiling of the “Final Getsuga Tenshou.” Maybe that will equate to some decently-paced action, instead of one-off twists and incessant dialogue.

Final Flash: A letdown even by already poor Bleach standards. Kubo has written himself into a corner with his treatment of the Hougyoku.

Bleach 418

September 2, 2010 1 comment
[scanlation by Binktopia]

It’s not like I could take Ichigo seriously before, but his new hair gets me laughing every time I see it. Well, that, and his sad expression.

Cheer up, emo shonen protagonist

Aizen certainly is long-winded this week. As this is Bleach, I assume he will continue assuming things about Ichigo’s powerup until Ichigo makes his move, proving Aizen wrong.

... what?

Ichigo is able to stop Aizen’s sword. To be fair, Ichigo has yet to respond to Aizen’s theory that Ichigo used all his reiatsu to reinforce his strength, so Ichigo could still have some hidden capability that would make this less ridiculous. That said, if Ichigo is only using pure strength, this is unimaginably awful writing. With the Hougyoku, Aizen has the ability to rewrite the plot of his own series; there’s absolutely no excuse for him being overpowered.

Resorting to Kidou is the Bleach equivalent of raising the white flag… or triggering your own death flag.

Background of the week

All this Ichigo dominance bears no credibility whatsoever, but at least the protagonist is doing something for once.

Twist of the week

Final Flash: If it makes people this strong, maybe I should grow a mullet.

Bleach 417

[scanlation by Binktopia]

I am ready and willing to classify Ichigo’s new hairstyle as a mullet. His new transformation/powerup/whatever makes him a bit taller, rips off one of his sleeves, and gives him a mullet.

Cue uncontrollable laughter

A moment of uncharacteristic suaveness followed by another moment of completely out of place humor. Kubo has the uncanny ability not only to write drivel, but to write drivel that actively upsets the audience.

Ichigo’s new power hides all his reiatsu. Boring. That’s typically Bleach, too, in that it is a natural setup for a twist.

How expansive of you, Gin, to pass the torch to Ichigo like that. Lovely. Surely that cements you as a legitimate “good” character.

Twist of the week

Even more laughable than Ichigo’s new mullet is the fact that suddenly he’s able to manhandle Aizen. Ichigo has done absolutely nothing credible as a hero for at least 250 chapters (and that’s being generous), and now he can overpower someone who literally has the ability to write the plot? Pathetic. Kubo could stand to return to Shonen 101, because even linear power levels are more acceptable than this.

Background of the week

Final Flash: It’s been a while since the last laughably bad Bleach chapter. The recent terrible Bleach chapters (read: all of them) have been more of the draining or insulting variety.

Bleach 416

[scanlation by Binktopia]

Why bother giving Bleach the cover if Kubo is always going to make such half-hearted attempts? I can’t recall the last imaginative Bleach cover.

Matsumoto is fine, so Gin gets to be the fallen hero after all. For the record, this kind of plot device works much better when the audience has recognized a character as “good” for more than, say, two chapters.

Also, I’m noticing something wrong with the way Matsumoto has been drawn. I realize that Kubo has designed this character to be a pretty face and cleavage, and nothing more, but a little anatomical consistency would make sense. I believe the human head generally rests on the neck, not directly on top of the shoulder.

Injured more seriously than expected

So… the Hougyoku is just a Philosopher’s Stone, then?

Ed, can you transmute this into something less boring?

When the audience has any difficulty at all telling the sky apart from debris clouds, the art is a serious problem.

Background of the week

We even get treated to a little flashback with poor little nice-guy Gin, sacrificing himself for Matsumoto. Don’t over-sell this or anything, Kubo.

Oh good, it’s Ichigo, and he has another slight costume redesign. Remember when Kane still had the mask on but his costume kept losing little bits and pieces, as his character became more “human” (and infinitely less interesting)? … actually, no, of course you don’t, because you don’t watch wrestling. Anyway, this feels similar; Kubo is grasping at straws, trying little tweaks, hoping something good will come out of it. It hasn’t.

Twist of the week

Final Flash: Matsumoto knew Gin’s plan all along, yet she was shocked (or “feigned surprise,” if you buy that) when he joined Aizen. If she really cared about him, maybe she could have stopped him long before that… like, in the flashback scene we just saw in this chapter. No, instead she lets him run off and then chases after him. Stay classy.

Bleach 415

August 4, 2010 2 comments
[scanlation by Binktopia]

Oh good. A flashback.

Aizen, despite the fact that his chest has been exploded, still has enough about him to strike at Gin. It seems as though broken Aizen will carry on being broken.

This is not art

A huge scream and a pillar of light. Does this mean last week’s potential outcome #2 has been chosen? Gin dies in a few chapters for no productive reason?

Background of the week

Aizen is a butterfly. If this series didn’t kill any emotion I have every time I read it, I’d be laughing uncontrollably for the next several hours. Our unstoppable antagonist is a butterfly. Also, how horrendous is that close-up of his face?

Within the last couple months, both One Piece and Naruto have had chapters with exemplary demonstrations of textless storytelling. Someone at Shueisha should really encourage Kubo to attempt to emulate other aspects of those two series, such as character development, setting, story, pacing, backgrounds, abilities…

Gin has eyes. That’s the most interesting thing to happen in Bleach this week. Well, I suppose confirmation that Gin has been attempting to play the hero all along is worth a mention.

Twist of the week

Final Flash: Bleach is ranked eighth in this week’s Shonen Jump table of contents. Just thought you might want to know that.