Bleach Vol. #02 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 7.95
  • Pages: 190
  • ISBN: 1-59116-442-7
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Bleach Vol. #02

By Jarred Pine     March 05, 2005
Release Date: July 01, 2004


Bleach Vol.#02
© Viz Media


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Tite Kubo
Translated by:Joe Yamazaki
Adapted by:

What They Say
Immediately after checking into the Kurosaki Clinic with a mysterious scar on his back, the muscle-bound Chad goes AWOL. Accompanying Chad is a talking parakeet imbued with the soul of a young boy named Yuichi. It doesn't take newbie Soul Reaper Ichigo Kurosaki long to surmise that a Hollow must be involved. By far the strongest spirit he's faced to date, Ichigo is about to discover that not every soul is bound for the Soul Society, especially if it's tainted with innocent blood.

The Review
Packaging:
For the front cover we get the JP cover artwork with a headshot of Rukia. The English logo is the same as the JP logo in the same position at the top. The Shonen Jump label is present in small text at the bottom right along with the creator name. The back cover has great character artwork of the whole high school crew, it’s the color version of the first chapter header in this volume. Inside there is the artwork from the JP sleeve along with a few words from Kubo about how he needs to lose some weight. For extras we get a funny page with a sketch of the “SOUL CANDY PACKAGE CATALOGUE” and a couple character profiles of Orihime and Chad that include original character sketches. There was a bit of ink smudging in the beginning of the volume, but other than that the print job seems pretty decent with black tones have minimal fading. We also get the original chapter headers which feature some great character art.

Art:
Kubo’s character designs still continue to be really enjoyable. There is so much personality that emanates from his designs, and not just from the actual story but the chapter headers as well. It’s great to see an artist put that much care into creating the characters and I think helps add another dimension to some of the characters who we don’t know much about at this point.

I’m still not sold on the Hollow designs, but the action scenes and panel work was improved slightly in this volume. There was a bit more background detail added during the action scenes which helps with gaining a perspective. The panel work also does a great job with choreographing an action scene.

Text/SFX:
The SFX are translated and retouched. I still don’t care for the retouch here because the English text covers up more artwork than the original SFX. Since Kubo uses such big SFX in his panels, it would have been preferable to have small subtitling if they needed to be on the page.

The dialogue for all the characters has been translated and adapted in way that definitely retains their personalities. The only translation quirk I have is that both “Mod Konpaku” and “Mod Soul” are used interchangeably, which I found to be a little inconsistent.

Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
For fans of Chad and Rukia, the first half of Bleach will be a real treat. The two team up to take on a Hollow who during his past life was a serial killer. The Hollow is a real nasty one, but with the hilarious teamwork of Chad and Rukia they are able to stall the Hollow from swallowing any souls until Ichigo arrives in time to destroy it. Only this time, the cleansed Hollow doesn’t go back to the Soul Society. The gates of Hell are opened and Ichigo learns about those souls who are forever damned. Not all of the Hollows that Ichigo is fighting will make it into the Soul Society. I loved seeing Chad in action during the battle with the Hollow. The way he poses after each punch and kick is a riot, and I still crack a smile looking at his outfit: paisley shirt, flare-legged pants, and pointed leather boots.

The other story in this volume succeeds at giving some panel time to a lot of the side characters that makes this story so special. Rukia makes a run to the Soul Reaper merchant, Urahara, who is a mysterious man in a brimmed-hat and wooden sandals who seems to do a bit more than just deal Soul Reaper goods. Rukia picks up a bunch of Gikongan, substitute soul pills, which allows Ichigo to be a Soul Reaper while placing a proxy soul in his empty body. The problem is the pills are defective and Ichigo’s proxy, a Mod Konpaku, is a leftover from a Soul Society experiment gone wrong. The action and story line here is weaker than the previous one, but again, the strength here lies in the mix of fun characters and quirky humor. It is also during this story that Rukia and Ichigo seem to be building a certain bond towards each other. They make wise cracks with each other and definitely seem to be acting more like a team. By the end of the volume I felt that there had been some growth on Ichigo’s part, he no longer was the bad attitude punk from the first pages of the opening volume. He seems to be growing into this Soul Reaper role and becoming more comfortable with it.

Comments
The two stories in this volume are incredibly simple, but Kubo infuses these simple storylines with his special blend of eclectic characters and quirky humor, giving me something that I can read over and over again, never failing to put a smile on my face. Rukia still steals the show with her funny observations and strange Soul Reaper gadgets, but this volume does allow some of the other great side characters a chance to shine. If I didn’t love these characters as much as I do, Bleach most likely wouldn’t be as enjoyable.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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jnager 3/13/2012 1:53:35 PM

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