And so another giant says goodbye.
From what I know, it seems as though Weekly Shonen Jump actually forced the cancellation of Bleach, mainly because ratings have been falling. Well, I’m not surprised, given that everything that came after Aizen’s defeat was just bad to mediocre. I only kept reading because I wanted to complete the series, and hoped for more Bankai reveals. Oh, and the art of Kubo-sensei for fight scenes is pretty darn good.
Plot? Who reads Bleach for plot, seriously? The plot for Bleach died a sorry death in the deserts of Hueco Mundo years ago…
That ending where Ichigo is with Orihime and Renji with Rukia just reminds me of Naruto‘s epilogue. Ichigo never showed any romantic affection for Orihime beyond saving her ass several times due to her being the damsel in distress, but a decade later and they’re suddenly together. At least there isn’t the issue of Ichigo (Naruto) having a crush on Rukia (Sakura) even as the series was nearing its end. That turnabout was seriously jarring.
And Kubo-sensei didn’t go overboard with the relationships, which is a minor victory. The way the Quincy arc ended, the way Yhwach was defeated is so lame. Kubo-sensei has a real pacing problem where he drags out fights for way too long. I mean, they are some pretty cool fights, but seriously, how many power-ups can either side conjure up? Why don’t people just bust out their strongest moves against the enemy when the fate of the world is in the balance?
And at least previously, the fights had endings. This time, we didn’t see the end of several fights of supporting characters, instead turning to Ichigo’s fight. Ichigo is the archetypal shonen hero, and he hasn’t grown and changed a single jolt over the course of 686 chapters. He’s just the same character from chapter 1, except with more powers every arc. He’s gotta be the most boring protagonist of a major manga series ever.
But Bleach certainly has thrown us some really interesting supporting characters. Generally, I love the secondary characters in major shonen series more than protagonists, mainly because the main characters are usually quite bland and stereotypical heroes. Supporting characters, on the other hand, have no restrictions, and are usually far more interesting.
I definitely didn’t care for the way Aizen was defeated, and all the dumb, unnecessary arcs that came afterwards. I don’t know how much was pressure from WSJ for Kubo-sensei to continue it and how much was his own desire, but it certainly should have ended when Aizen lost. Being the principal villain for so long, his defeat should have been the fitting end of the series. Just like how Madara should have been the final villain in Naruto, not Kaguya who was only inserted into the story late into the final arc.
I can’t say I didn’t enjoy Bleach at the beginning, but I won’t be missing it now.