Bleach review

Apr 04, 2021
If it weren't for the ending, I would've given this manga 8 or even 9 out of 10 simply due to nostalgia and everything good this manga used to be once. Now it will go down in history as one of the stories with the worst possible ending everyone refuses to acknowledge (myself included). Given that I loved this manga (although the final arc in general was pretty weak plot-wise), it is very hard to be at least a bit objective.
I am afraid this review might sometimes turn into a rant from someone who was hoping for the best until the very end.

Story: 6/10.
It started off in a very typical shounen-esque fashion as we were introduced to the main two characters right away. One boy. One Shinigami. Oh, those words sum it up perfectly as our main character is no ordinary Japanese young man, oh no, no, no, he has a very important purpose to serve. For the sake of his family and friends, he becomes a Shinigami and so his adventures begin.
The first two arcs are the most solid ones and I've heard that Bleach was supposed to end with Aizen's defeat (which is chapter 423, correct me if I am wrong), so I consider said chapter the original ending while the rest is just WSJ's attempt to milk this cash cow like there was no tomorrow. And I believe most of us know what it led to. The sales began to drop along with the manga's popularity, too many unnecessary details were added and eventually this manga ended so badly people are still salty. We will never know if Kubo ended his manga that way out of spite or because he's a bad writer. If you ask me, - and it is just a speculation, - I believe the former is more likely, given that the final chapter is the exact opposite of everything he'd been working on for 15 years.

Art: 8/10.
I like Kubo's art style as it got better as years passed. I think it's one of Bleach's strongest qualities regardless of what it had become in the end. So thank you, Kubo, for a well-drawn manga.

Character: 7/10.
Here comes one of my biggest complaint because 15 years of decent development were flushed down the drain in a blink of an eye for reasons I will never know or understand. But oh boy, I am starting to get pretty salty, it's not good for my nerves, is it? So let's talk about the positive side of this coin.
Ichigo and Rukia are the main characters and they ARE Bleach. They were the very first pairing I shipped for real because their interactions and chemistry are amazing. Their relationship is based on partnership, strong friendship and equality. I still ship them because these two complement each other just the way they were supposed to from the beginning.
Bleach has a lot of supporting characters and mentioning all of them will take too long. So, if you'll excuse me, I will only tell you about my favorite minor characters: Chad and Ishida. Oh, these two deserved so much better. Being Ichigo's best friends, they play a big role in his life and development as a character, they have decent personalities and are very interesting on their own.
Unfortunately, Kubo created more characters than he could possibly manage. The fates of most of the cast members remain unknown and the destiny of those who are present in the ending make you wish you never laid your eyes on this weak parody of Bleach and its former glory.

Enjoyment: 7/10.
With the last arc and horrible ending this manga is hardly worth 4.5 out of 10. But without it, if you read it until it's supposed original ending, it's actually pretty decent.

If you ever decide to read this story, I recommend stopping at chapter 423 to save your nerve cells. If you do, you will get an interesting story full of action and awesome adventures.

I do not like open endings. But in Bleach's case, it would be the best possible option. Only Kubo knows why he stepped over what was left of his fanbase. Bleach used to be good. And I believe that this good part still deserves to be loved, although it could've been so much better. I hated the ending, but ignoring just one chapter is not that big of a deal and I thank Bleach for everything it gave me. What is one chapter (for it to be canon, the rest must be ignored, so it's not valid) worth in comparison to all the good things I've got?


Autor Kubo, Tite