Manga Monday: Bleach

Published on July 6th, 2009

So far on Manga Monday I have discussed the cult classics Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z, and odd ones such as Ranma 1/2, the girly ones like Nana, and the action ones such as Trigun. Typically I’ve stayed away from the more popular and mainstream manga but this week we will give it a go. However you can stop reading right now if you expect me, for even a second, to actually discuss Naruto.

Instead, I choose Bleach. Bleach is a current and hugely popular manga and anime in Japan, the UK, and America. Like all popular manga it is currently spanning 39 books, starting in 2001, and has already sold over 50 million copies. A hugely popular anime, Bleach also has three feature length films, video games, merchandise, an army of cosplayers, a trading card game, and even rock musicals. Believe it or not, this manga is still running!

It follows the story of a young boy named Ichigo (Japanese for ‘strawberry’ since he has red hair), who one night saved a shinigami (warriors from the spirit world) from a terrifying creature from the same spirit world. While in the process of saving the shinigami he took on her powers to become one himself. The story follows Ichigo as he attempts to save the human race from these spirit monsters and find his own place within the strict hierarchy of the warriors from the spirit world known as Soul Society. Like many other popular mangas, Bleach is a good balance of humour, fighting, supernatural powers, compelling story and beautiful art work. Yes, there is even fanservice; who doesn’t like massive comedy breasts?

This manga sits perfectly in the ‘I might be convinced to try manga but I’m not into all the weird Japanese stuff’ column and again, is worth picking up. Still not going to buy it? Then the anime, a particularly good one, sits closely in line with the manga story and may be worth a watch. Many manga fans find that manga is often preferred over anime, but if you have a good anime (Bleach anime opening), there’s often a fantastic manga behind it. Bleach is no exception.

Hollie ‘pheoinx is a shinigami’ Bennett