Before I begin describing Bleach, I should make it clear that Bleach is quite an underrated production (my guess is because of the anime which forked from the original story) since the Manga on the whole was pretty exciting. I can sense the reason for the hype for Bleach, but trust me… The hype would have been more if maybe the anime reproduction was a little better.
So what comes to mind when someone says Bleach? Detergent, eh? (Just kidding, even if you were thinking of it) Well, to a person like me who analyses anime (and stories as such) it didn’t feel as though the flagship victory of Bleach belonged to either Zanpaktous, or Bankais but instead the main glory of Bleach were its characters! (You probably think that I say this for every review, um yeah, you are sort of right). But it’s true. Really. I do mean what I say, that the most important point going for Bleach is really its characters.
Did you notice how new characters were introduced with the beginning of a sub arc (within an arc. To be quite fair here, Bleach can only be said to have 3 arcs). Hiyori, Risa, Keisei, Shinji and later Nel, Dondochakka, Pesche, etc. you realize that these characters played a huge role in those arcs and even got mixed up in on the action in subsequent arcs. It was quite masterful of Kubo to juggle the personalities of as many characters and choreograph some great conversation between them to build their roles in the story and build the story at the same time. Pretty cool, huh! Every single character who plays some part (even a small one) has been fleshed out pretty well if you ask me. And it is the conversation between them that are so lively and comical that it makes you feel as though Bleach is not just some Shounen-action dance, but a well nurtured baby of Kubo Tite.
Speaking of arcs, there are only 3 as I have mentioned before. First is the best in my opinion. Second is the shortest, but has the least amount of character development (a.k.a my satisfaction level), and the third is neither the longest nor the best out of the three, and it’s not the worst either… Better to be on one side rather than in the middle, anyway that doesn’t even make sense. But the first arc (Aizen arc, even the name of this arc is a spoiler darn it!) captures the true colours of what Bleach can offer you. Sucks right? The first is the best and you just have to read 250~ more chapters after it just to finish the manga. Don’t fret, it’s not bad as I make it sound. On the contrary, it is… wait for it… Boring! The last two arcs really lack what the first arc had in abundance, comic relief. Although, the amount of fighting that takes place in the final two arcs in 250~ chapters is almost about equal to the amount of fighting that takes place in the first 400~ chapters (first arc). Just imagine, you have to go through hours of text about two men provoking and taunting each other and talking about how great they are (and in the end both sides are beaten up pretty badly). So you know now what you are up against.
Well, look here now. On the bright-side I will make a prediction based on the fact that although I haven’t watched the anime and I have no details at all about where it forks away from the Manga that the manga is definitely better than its anime counterpart. Let me explain to you why this fact seems so apparent to me. Because of the ratings of Bleach on MAL. Wait a second. It seems like the manga has got an even worse rank than the anime (x3 times bad). I might be wrong here. But that shouldn’t be a problem, you can both watch and read it if you like and decide for yourself :)
The only other problem that I noticed was the way the manga was the drawing of the fights was quite unintelligible. I mean honestly, I gave up trying to decipher what was going on in the picture. Like dude! If you are going to make a manga that’s mostly about fighting, at least make sure that you can draw the fights properly! Pah! That was the most annoying part. But I got used to it after a while. Also, it seemed as though the final arc ended a bit abruptly. I thought it would go on for at least 25 more chapters… Well, whatever, never mind.
As the conclusion, I would say that if you ain’t got time, read the first arc and then jump to the last chapter. If you think about it, the number of character additions keeps on reducing as the number of arcs increases. Members of Xucution in the 2nd arc (that’s around 6 I suppose) and the 5 members of the Zero division in the 3rd. In other words, Bleach loses what it had going for it in the first arc. Just look how many characters were introduced there (well of course it was the first arc, but even then. Characters being the charm of Bleach it would seem that it became a little rusty as the story went forward). Trust me, that might just as well be the best advice of the day given to you.