Thursday, 18 August 2016

Bleach Analysis - Reviewing the Final Chapter

Okay, no more messing around. No more breaks, no more fake spoilers, no more nothing. After 15 years of publication....Tite Kubo's wild ride has come to an end.

Let's read.

Oh, who's this little boy? This is the last color page of the series, and it's something that 50% of it is this kid's head. (I'm sure you can guess that it's Ichigo's kid)

Hi Hiyori! R-Remember when you had that panel of combat against Gerard?

The last colorspread, ladies and gentlemen. It's simple, but I actually do like this one. You can't go wrong with a spread of the main Tatsuki, Keigo, and Mizuiro.

Uryu isn't even facing the camera lol

The announcement is a live action movie for Bleach!, I guess. I would've liked the anime to return, but beggers can't be choosers. Like the Death Note one, I assume it'll use a lot of CGI for Hollows.

Byakuya and Soi, among others, make their way to the source of the reading Akon found last chapter. Also, "it's been quite some time since Rukia's had down time"? Wait, isn't this the same day, where she became a captain? When did she get to play hooky on Earth?

They arrive on the scene, but something is happening to the shadowy material. 
And give me a break Mayuri, you would keep this under wraps? Not that I'm surprised, but hey, even you can be taken off guard. I've seen movie 3.

Renji and Rukia head to the clinic, and here's Ichigo! Who took notes from Naruto on the decision to make his adulthood haircut look pretty lame.

I like this page - Ichigo and Rukia banter, Tatsuki punches's all entertaining. But oh my god, look at how smug Renji looks.

"That's right Ichigo, I get to hit this every night, u mad bro? I mean, I always end up crying after, but it's sooo awesome."

Keigo, you're an adult, stop with the goofy cartoon faces

I see Karin inherited her cousin Kukaku's two great gifts. The blessing of the female Shibas.

So yeah, Chad's a famous boxer, which many people pointed out kinda contradicts his motto to never use his fists for his own gain? Maybe he does it just to make a living, and gives a lot to charity. I mean, it's probably the easiest job ever, because he would never have to try to win.

I guess this means we don't get the hilarious-but-still-possible-because-this-is-Kubo ending of him spending 10 years fighting off the sand statues (remember that?!)

Aaaand Uryu doesn't get to hang out with his friends. Lovely.

Didn't he not want to be a doctor after seeing his father carve up his mother's corpse? I guess he was turned around when Ryuken revealed. the silver arrow plotpoint. Ah well.

Yuzu and her silly brocon

Speaking of careers (or lack thereof)..

Orihime got her happy ending and married Ichigo! Yeah, they're the parents of that boy in the beginning.....okay, quick word on the Bleach Pairing Apocalypse 2016:

-Ichiruki and Ichihime were both pairings I followed, I'll admit that. 

-With Rukia, there was always more chemistry and genuine moments between the two due to her giving him the chance to protect his family and the whole driving force of the SS arc. However, one could also interpret their relationship just fine as true friends or brother/sister.

-With Orihime....her whole character arc centered on developing more intense feelings for Ichigo, where it went beyond a simple crush to actual love. But the problem never went anywhere. I'd be more happy for her if Kubo bothered to follow up on the climax, where Ichigo goes Super Hollow 3 against Ulquiorra when Orihime cries for him.

He could've went either way: either have Ichigo acknowledge the feelings and return them in story, or have Ichigo turn her down, so at least she could move on. But instead she just kinda floated around, in a state of always wanting to support Ichigo, despite other events in his life taking priority. Orihime was a good friend of his but I never got the impression he ever wanted to or felt like something more. Did the two even talk about the Ulquiorra battle or Tatsuki being left out or anything like that? No.

As such, I guess Ichigo/Orihime is the pairing that makes more sense from a romantic context but not necessarily a logical one. It's not as bad as Naruto/Hinata, where despite her confession, the former ignores the latter up until the final battle where Neji suddenly dies.....but I really can't throw all my weight into it. Still, congrats to the shippers, and at least Orihime's life doesn't suck anymore.

-Speaking of, dear god is Tumblr having a meltdown. 

Rukia was going to bring her fanfiction baby too, but she's apparently gone. More banter from Ichigo and Rukia.

But wait a minute, you're telling me that this is the first time Ichigo and Rukia have seen each other's kids? It's been 10 years! This annoyed me during the Fullbring arc too, what was stopping the two from having casual meet-ups every now and then? Rukia could easily pop in a gigai, or Ichigo could take the Senkaimon over. And don't give me the excuse of Gotei protocol, they've mellowed out, especially since Kyoraku's in charge.

Kubo, they're supposed to be friends. You realize all of this despair with Ginjou crap would've happened if Rukia at least called him!

Also, smug Renji continues.
"That's right guys, my seed's in Rukia. I even job at using a condom."

Bach's remains the Living World too? Uhhh...okay.

I guess I'm not surprised that Ichigo's spawn is this powerful (given his heritage), but was there even a need to include this as a cliffhanger to begin with? Everything seemed too happy for Kubo to end on a downer ending.

(also, does SS know Ichigo has reproduced? Look into that guys)

Aizen-sama! Gee the guy must be bored out of his mind, now. He's still locked up. Wait how did everyone recapture him after the battle? Ichigo and Renji were in no shape to keep fighting....I guess either Aizen gave up or Mayuri and Urahara did some kind of uber seal.

We cut back to the battle as Bach is dying, and this just makes me pissed off.

The beginning of this arc seemed like he was one a revenge crusade, operating in his own world for the Quincies to get even for their treatment.

Then it shifted to a hatred of the Soul Aizen, I guess, if you read hard into it, it was a hatred of the vague as they talk about it.

But then he gets so powerful and malicious he aims to just end everything, just for shits and giggles. After all, he had the Almighty! He killed the remaining Stern Ritters! It was just him, and screw everyone else!

And NOW Kubo thinks he can give him a new goal?! A world with no fear? Fuck you Bach, you don't get the right to say that.
-he dismembed his Arrancar minions
-mindfucked Ichigo
-killed Yamamoto
-purged the "impure" Quincies
-very cavalierly sacrificed some Stern Ritter just to power up himself/his elite guard
-then declared he would ruin everyone's happy ending and make everyone suffer

What kind of halfbaked "redemption" is this? A person who does this does NOT want to "make a world with no fear", he is the fear!

 I can't believe I have to see his face one more time, screw you Kubo.

I feel like this was trying to refer to the current cycle in Bleach, after a time when everybody pretty much stopped caring about it in-universe. And I get it, but again, you were the one trying to install fear in everyone. Is that supposed to be better? A world where people fear this sadistic, sociopathic, amoral God king instead of a natural way to pass on?

And what about the Soul King? Bach absorbed/killed him, so how does the universe not collapse when he dies? Who fixes it, and how? Kubo? Answers, please.

As much as Bleach has a tendency to get uber pretentious when it starts to wax philosophical, I think I'd have to agree with Aizen here. Fighting on despite our fears is what makes us stronger, and it's what makes the victory all the more rewarding. If we couldn't be afraid, we wouldn't have flaws. How could we better ourselves?

Btw I don't think I'm ever supposed to agree with Sosuke Aizen, so....yay?

Okay that was a little cheesy, even for Bleach. Someone appears behind Kazui.

Say hello to the fruit of Renji's loins, Ichika. And while the thought of Rukia thinking about Ichigo and Kaien while Renji thrusts his zanpakutou into her is depressingly hiliarous, the name doesn't come from them - it means "one flower" IIRC.

But why on earth is she a Shinigami so soon? She's only 10 at the very most, and while souls age slower than regular still takes time to be a Shinigami! The academy takes what, a few years? Throw in the time for a child to learn how to walk, talk, think, etc.....and this doesn't seem very plausible, even for Bleach.

But we gotta have the shonen cliche of "main characters kids are the same age" a la Harry Potter, so whatevs.

Kind of? Kid, you have no idea

Now this makes even less sense? How is the 10 year old kid able to be a Shinigami so soon, and so efficiently at that? Sure you can point to Ichigo's mutt genes, but learning how to be a Shinigami is not a genetic trait! I guess Ichigo would support the idea of his family learning how to protect themselves, but that's why he had powers to begin with! So his family wouldn't have to get involved!

Did the kid just jump out of his material body? Is it like a light switch for him? Can we thank the stars we don't have a Boruto-style spin-off here? Then again the kid is pretty cute.

But the title references a new generation of "Death" (Ichika) and "Strawberry" (Kazui), so the adventures between a ginger kid and a midget can continue across time.

.......wait, that's it?!

Let's count the characters we don't have an idea of what happened to them:
-the other Vizards
-the rest of Ichigo's classmates
-etc, etc. etc, etc, etc

I'm not asking for Kubo to dedicate pages to every member of his cast, but putting the important stuff and using mere panels works just fine. The top five on this little list alone would've been fine for me, but noooope. The curse of Kubo always making characters when he gets stuck.

Overall it's not a bad chapter on its own, but the fact that THIS is what concludes the Bleach mind boggling. There's so many things we will never get a proper resolution or answer to.'s really over.

.........what a run. I've been hard on this series, but only because it used to be one of my favorites. And because I've spent so much time on it, for good and for bad....I'll actually miss it.

It could've had a happier ending then this.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Bleach Analysis - Reviewing the Penultimate Chapter

Welp, we all thought it was going to end this week, but we actually one last chapter to go, and because this week's Jump was a double issue....Kubo's wild ride still has two weeks left!

Aw the heck with it, I'll treat you guys anyway!

We begin with a colorspread of Ichigo, who isn't even in this chapter. I was kinda hoping for a shot of the whole cast like the food colorspread just before the Quincy arc, but beggers can't be choosers.

It works well enough to show how far our Strawberry has come.

Four pages of Deviantart and me picking tumors off my back later, we get this announcement! What could it be? Readers of Applied Logic, shall we take bets?

-Anime returning (slim chance but not impossible, rip Yama's seiyuu though)
-Sequel/spin-off (I kinda hope not but it depends on the idea....again, silm but not impossible)
-Databook announcement
-other Kubo-tier option

Shunsui, still CC, reflects on what has happened. He's standing over a grave (easy to guess who), and I must say, I like the backgrounds. (imagine me saying that for Bleach)

Confirmation that it's been ten years, which is like a month to the average Shinigami. Nobody is going to look aged at all.

I also like this shot too, but did they really fix the Sokyoku alter? Does this mean they still have those type of punishments....and the Sokyoku which Ichigo broke?

Shunsui is called away (rip backgrounds), and we learn that the grave is Ukitake. Aww, his best friend.

I'm actually mad about Ukitake as a whole though. He's always had a slightly-higher story presence due to being connected to Rukia, and he honestly is a good guy.....but he's been overshadowed by Shunsui.

-The two took on Stark together, but then Uki gets knocked out by Wonderweiss, leaving Shunsui to clean up.
-Shunsui takes the CC position after Yama's death, while not only does Uki not have a fight with a Stern Ritter, his Bankai is not shown, and he only sacrifices himself to stop the worlds from crumbling.

Which, by the way, never really felt significant or dire because Kubo ignored all of the tension.

And now he's....dead. :(

Two things of note here.

1) Mayuri's design, which never fails to entertain me. I've always felt he was Kubo's best designed character.
2) that title

the perfect end

I honestly can't tell if Kubo really believes this, despite the fact that the series has been lowering in popularity and Jump just pulled the plug, or that he has finally understood irony. Either way, it is up there in chapter titles like "Why Me Sad". A+

Nemuri the eigth is goddamn adorable, this is fact of science!

And I suppose it reflects the development given at the end of the Pernida battle....but I've never been a fan of the "Mayuri was just tsundere for Nemu" angle. That SS/HM abuse was real, and you can't just pretend it didn't happen, Kubo. As a result I fear for this adorable little girl.

Oh yeah, I'm sure Uryu is going to pull his hair out of his skull when he finds out his grandfather's torturer still hasn't been locked up!

Next up is the 11th squad, and it seems everything is just fine. Ikkaku has risen in rank, and I'll assume Yumichika is now 3rd seat, since he hates the number 4.

What of Yachiru you ask? Well she's Kenny's zanpakutou spirit....even though she has a...Shikai herself?
Wait, if she's been like that all this, was there a significant reason why she can't just materalize anymore? It's clear their bond was no regular zan bond.

But wait....what the hell was "Nozarashi" then? Yachiru's actual name? Even though Kenpachi had a sword before he met her and the two actually DO have a positive relationship, so the plotpoint of him arguing with his zan is....arrrrrgh my head.

Classic 11th division lost shenanigans. .....but seriously, no Yachiru?

Also another point for the "lost plotpoint gumbo"....Ikkaku and Yumichika, both of them have kept the nature of their true potential a secret from their captain/division, and neither of them got to show off. No Bankai for Ikkaku, no true Shikai for Yumichika.

Had Kubo followed through, we would've gotten nice development between the three, but apparently he thought demon hulk Kenpachi sounded cooler. Fuck me.

Shinji and Momo appear on the next page to offer a compass. Momo still cute, Shinji still jobs.

Which is hella depressing when you really consider the fact that a)Vizard leader and b)has mind fuckery powers like Aizen. What a waste of a character.

The bottom panel is near pretentious drivel so let's keep going:

Wait.....Iba became Captain of the 7th?

Not that Iba isn't cool but he's always been a background character at best. He fought Ikkaku (off-screen) and jobbed to Ayon....we don't even know the name of his sword!

So this also means Komamura is forever a bipedal wolf. Damn, he was the ultimate bro, and yet the hits kept coming. Also-
why didn't Love become captain? The guy with the Vizard mask, fought Stark, revealed to the audience what his sword is called?

Much to the disappointment of fangirls across the globe, Hitsugaya is back to normal. Rangiku teases Hisagi as a future Captain. Why?

I guess I've never understood all the hype around Hisagi. Sure his fight with Crabman was one of the best, and I suppose he went through the hurdle of coming to grips with the power he feared and confronting his treacherous captain in the same arc....but he's just so plain. AnimeHisagi is better because he's a total goofball in omakes.

Also this makes Iba being captain make even less sense!

-name of sword known
-shown training for Bankai

is not a captain but

-no shikai
-no name sword
-did far less


And good luck getting stronger than flipping Kensei boy-o.

See?! Hitsugaya, Kensei, and Rangiku all lampshade the absurdity of the thought. Also screw you Kubo for forgetting Mashiro yet again, she's what makes the 9th fun to watch.

Either way, we have a new captain in the works. Hi Soi. I'm glad that out of the healthy preexisting captains, you had the least contribution to victory.

(not even a goofy panel of her reacting to catwoman Yoruichi!)

Okay hit the damn brakes. What the hell happened to Isane's hair?! She looked perfect before and now she looks like the hairdresser thought she was a Japanese schoolboy.

Kiyone's hair hasn't changed much, but it looks more child like and invoking shades of early Karin/Yachiru. Also she's the VC of the 4th....under her sister? So that means Sentaro is the VC of the 13th?

Like Iba, Isane has barely fought anyone and we don't even know what her Shikai does. I guess Shunsui was whipping everyone into shape. At least she has her captain's healing mojo.
.....that's right. Remember when Kubo killed Unohana just to hype up Kenpachi?

perfect end my nuts.

Someone on 4chan aptly named this lineup the Jobber 13

Well it's a great shot of the captains all lined up.

Apparently Lisa became captain of the 8th (love her skirt), which makes Love not being a captain make even less sense, how that is that possible?

Are Hiyori, Hachi, and Love drinking their depressions of neglect away in Karakura Town? I bet.

Holy cow Rukia is the captain. This is both predictable and wtf all at the same time.

It's icing on the cake that Renji isn't the captain. He can be Seireitei's jobbing mascot then! (fucking Iba got a spot before Hisagi and Renji, let that sink in)

Anyways it's awesome to see Rukia stand this far, considering all of her training, but her growth in power has been so....erratic, where Kubo always had to use cheat codes to make her equal-ish to Ichigo in between the action.

But hey, Rukia rules so I guess it's okay. At least Renji is still a failure at life :)

Oh my god, I just more bullshit cliffhanger for the series.

Well I doubt Kubo is going to pull a Bach-kills-everyone bad ending when everything is so light and cheerful here, so....some kind of shadow teaser?

I'm 99.99999999% positive the final final chapter will show what Ichigo and the residents of Karakura are up to. But if he's not here, part of the guard....I guess he became a substitute again? What was the point of the soul tickets then?

Keep in mind Ichigo/Chad/Uryu/Orihime will be in their 20s! Some are predicting Kubo shoves in an Ichihime ending, but I'm not holding my breath one way or the other.

I thought overall it was a good chapter to showcase everyone real quick, albeit some of the captain decisions make no real sense, Mayuri is still Mayuri, and Ukitake/Unohana died before they really had a chance to shine.

Well my readers, predictions on the (hopefully) last chapter of Bleach? Aizen keikakuing one last time?