Hi, I know it's been a LONG time since I've posted anything. Thesis projects took over all my free time, and getting my life together has caused
a major writer's block. I will get things done eventually.
But that's not why I'm writing. Bleach has just ended today. And seeing that one of my first posts on this website was about Bleach. AND I made
two journals concerning Naruto's problems and its ending. I thought it would only make sense that I made one for Bleach as well.
So...here we go. *deep inhale*
Back in my high school days, I loved Bleach. It was one of my favorite ongoing animes, and was the one that introduced me to both the anime
and manga communities. Ichigo was once one of my favorite shoenan protagonists. Chad and Kenpachi were was once two of the most badass
anime characters I've seen. Aizen, was once not only my favorite anime villain, but one of my favorite villains of all TIME. I loved everything
and everyone, from Ichigo's friends, to the Soul Society Captains, to the Espada (with the exception of Nnoitra and Zommari because I found
both of them annoying and boring respectively BI), even if one particular character or moment wasn't great, the good GREATLY outweighed
Which made it all the more disheartening for me once I read up to the point in the manga where the story started to fall apart. My rose-tinted
glasses of fandom started to crack, and the flaws were starting to get harder and harder to ignore. And before I knew it, the series that I once
held in such high regard, to the point where I began writing stories inspired by Kubo's work...collapsed into a mire of overcomplicated contradictions,
long-winded awkward dialogue, confusingly vague motivations, and fights that either lasted way too long, or not long enough, with characters
that I struggled to even care about.
Now everyone who once read/watched Bleach has their own interpretation of when things started to go sour. Some say it was immediately AFTER
the Soul Society Saga, others say it was after Ichigo's fight with Grimmjow, others say it was Ighigo's fight with Ulquiorra. I personally feel it went
bad once Aizen cut down Harribel for no other reason than she was the only Espada left standing. But regardless of WHEN it started to happen, Bleach's
downfall in quality became apparent. Of course this didn't affect hardcore Bleach fans who were with the series all the way through the Fullbringers arc
and even through the final one. And god bless their hearts for staying positive despite the contrary. But even they couldn't keep it after the final fight
which everyone, unanimously thought was the worst climax of the series in SO many ways. But, I'm not writing it to list those ways.
I'm writing this as a send-off to Bleach. Because the most frustrating thing about Bleach post-Aizen, is that you could TELL that there was still a good
and engaging story wrapped deep within the bullshit. And I can recognize that the Thousand Year Blood War Arc, could've been the GREATEST arc
the series could've had. But it didn't, simply because of two things. One: Kubo over-complicated the Quincies to the point that not even HE remembered
what they were at times. and Two: Lack of focus on not just Ichigo, or Uryu, but any focus in general. One of the biggest faults that Bleach has over
Naruto, is that Naruto although ignoring its vast side-cast, still focused on its main players. Bleach was the inverse, the main cast, mainly Ichigo's own
friends were pushed to the side, for more focus on characters where most of which took away more screentime than the hero of the story.
And as much as I hate to paraphrase Donald Trump, but Kubo could've Made Bleach Great Again. If he had a more solid idea of what he was planning to
do with the Sternritter, and not beat around the bush when it came to the backstory ABOUT them, and their relationship to Soul Society.
Let's compare the Espada to the Sternritter. The Espada, and the Arrancar in general, although not all of them having the best of fights, we always knew
were considered a big deal. Because there was a long build-up to them. Starting with Grimmjow's lackeys, and introducing us to them being ranked by numbers.
First through how each Arranchar was made by Aizen, and the top 10 being the strongest of the strong. 10 being the lowest, and one being the highest.
....Which was stupidly retconned by Yammy but there's no time for that. The Espada and the whole numbering system of their heiarchy was easy to understand.
So when we see characters face progressively higher and higher numbers we can understand how much of a big deal they all are. Sure, most of them
didn't live up to the "Captain killing" reputation when they were originally introduced. But the point is that there was build-up, and a sense of hierarchy among
Ywach and the Sternritter, have NONE of that. The weirdest thing about this whole Quincy villain group, is that we've seen nothing but them, yet at the same
time, have learned close to NOTHING about them. Unlike the Espada whom slowly built themselves up through threat after threat, the Sternritters just...show up.
Not even in Karakura Town, but just in Soul Society and immediately causing havoc. With the audience knowing close to nothing about who they are, why they have
powers related to the alphabet, and most importantly, how they survived the purge that wiped out the Quincy species THOUSANDS of years ago. Heck, the only
reason Ichigo even got involved was because the Sternritters were attacking Hueco MUNDO instead of Karakura Town. A desert wasteland full of monsters and death.
So there's even more disconnection for our hero before the arc even starts. Sure they're attacking the friends he met there, and we later learn he's part Quincy later.
But still, there needed to be more of a set up to the Vandenreich than just them...immediately invading the two known planes of the afterlife.
And to this day, even after Bleach is over, I STILL barely understand how the Sternritter worked. Like I understand that they gained their powers by Ywach writing letters
of the alphabet into their soul with his holy blood and THAT is what gives them their range of powers. But outside of random abilities, they never seemed to have any
form of ranking outside of "Their Majesty" and Jugram, who was the second in command/heir/commander of the Sternritter. And that was it. We didn't even know that
there even WAS a royal guard until they were immediately introduced once Quincy god man went to kill the Soul King. We don't even know how the nature of the powers
work. Like, why is it only a letter, and not a WORD. And what constitutes that letter turning into the word of power, is it random, or is it the very first word that pops into
that Quincy's head? It's so VAGUE that it's frustrating. But I could literally go on for HOURS about what better powers I would give the Sternritter rather than what they
ended up getting.
Now, if Kubo just made the letters a bit more consistent. Like, the lower in the alphabet the weaker you were. It would be easier to understand. As well as just, introduce,
ALL the Sternritter from the get go, instead of just creating random weird characters that pop into his head from week to week. Have the Royal Guard consist of Pernidas,
Askin Nak LeVarr, Bambietta, and As Nodt, and you already have a team of formidable broken powers right there. C-F. And I'm certain you could make them appear just a
broken and powerful as the previous Royal Guard if you just used their powers in a different light.
As for the fights with the MANY Sternritter. Just have Gremmy create his OWN V-Sternritters and have Kenpachi and the Vizards fight THOSE guys, while the Captains, and Vice-
Captains, and friendly Arranchars team up to take down the rest of them. It's not that hard to believe or write. And also give Mayuri just ONE fight instead of FOUR. >8(
So lastly we can just leave the Royal Guard to Ichigo and his friends as they try to stop Ywach. And we would finally get to the most important part of what this final arc should've
been about. Uryu Ishida's struggle as a Quincy. Out of ALL of the characters in Bleach, this guy was the most neglected. This was a character, whose very RACE we thought was
COMPLETELY extinct, with the obvious exception of his dad. A kid who literally had, NO clue if there was any OTHER Quincies out there in the world, and had to shoulder the duty
of continuing the legacy himself. And now, this...sudden army of Quincies show up proving him to be wrong. And he has an opportunity to finally give Soul Society the justice that
his race deserved as they were mercilessly slaughtered by them. But slowly realizing that his, once thought revolution leader, is actually a cold, uncaring god who dreams of conquering
and destroying reality. And works his way up through the Majesty's ranks just to be by his side. Waiting for the BEST opportunity to take him out. For the sake of not just the world,
not only for his race, but for his non-Quincy friends too. To show that he was MORE than just the LAST QUINCY.
This could've been, a GREAT story. Ichigo and friends trying to confront Uryu, only to see him loose his way to Ywach's charisma and power. Ichigo trying to reach to his friend, while
also trying to reach and understand his new found lineage as a demi-Quincy himself. ALL of that character development. ALL of that context. ALL of that drama. WASTED. On padding
and random bullshit fights with fat black guys with "love" powers. >BI
And the saddest thing is. The ending chapter of Bleach itself. IS a good chapter. Ichigo and Orihime getting together, Renji and Rukia getting together, pleasing my shipping side,
as well as giving the rest of Ichigo's friends logical outcomes and careers. Heck, even the kids are adorable. 83 ....But even in THAT chapter they still drop questions that Kubo KNOWS
will never be answered.
The amount of unanswered questions is....staggering. And not JUST in the final arc. But...nearly all of them past Soul Society. WHAT was Ywach's relationship with his dad, the Soul King?
Why did Ginjou go rogue? What WAS the act that banished Szayel Aporro Granz from the Espada, and what did he do to get back INTO it? What happened to the Mayuri's zombie Arranchars?
How did Orihime get over her Stockholm syndrome with Ulquiorra? What did the K of BG9 DO? What did Shinji's bankai DO? WHO IS THE NEW SOUL KING?! Just question, after question, after
question. And ALL of it is going to be left unresolved. With nothing to look on outside of the announcement of a live action Bleach movie. Which at this point, I'm not sure even the most
hard of the Bleach fandom is looking forward to it. Even if it DOES turn out to be great like the Rurouni Kenshin movies. It won't wash out the...disappointment that Kubo left behind.
A disappointment that no ending can truly fix.
And on that sad note. I say goodbye to Bleach. You may not have been the brightest of stars in the sky, but I will always remember you fondly, for good and for worse.
So long Bleach. And may a thousand broken english butterfly metaphors sing thee to thy rest.
*pours out ink in memory*