Bleach Vol. #04 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Release Date: Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Translated by:Joe Yamazaki
What They Say
A new reality-show craze is sweeping the nation, garnering legions of screaming fans (the majority of them being teenaged girls). But this program comes with a supernatural twist-the host, a media-savvy spiritualist, travels to local hotspots and performs exorcisms, live on national TV! Surly Soul Reaper Ichigo Kurosaki has his doubts about this primetime prima donna, and his assumptions are about to be put to the test-the show is heading straight for Karakura Town. What effect will this unprovoked media presence have on the fragile relationship between Earth and the spirit world? Find out more in the fourth action-packed volume of Tite Kubo's mega-manga hit BLEACH.
For the front cover we get the JP cover artwork that features Uryu Ishida, a character who we don’t meet until the end of the volume. 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 a nice piece of color character artwork that we have not seen yet, featuring Ichigo, Rukia, and Yuzu. Inside there is the artwork from the JP sleeve along with a few words from Kubo about his recent move and phone number mix up. There are no extras in this volume. We also get the original chapter headers which feature some great character art.
The print job is a real disappointment, at least with my copy. The black tones are quite faded, especially noticeable in the black panels with text only. It’s not every page, but there are enough instances of the fading to take notice. Not sure what caused this, but one thing that I’ve noticed is that the paper feels different than previous volumes, a bit grainier to the touch.
This volume features Don Kanonji, which has to be the most creative and insane character designs so far in this series. He looks like a dowdy pimp (complete with cane) with dreadlocks, goggles, and a mini-handle-bar mustache. It’s a complete riot and fits perfectly with the type of character that he is. Uryu Ishida’s introduction at the end of the volume was pretty impressive, so I can’t wait to see more of him in the next volume. The Hollow in this volume is the most unimpressive yet and I’m just glad there wasn’t too much of it.
The SFX are translated and retouched. The amount of SFX has increased from the previous volume, so once again I felt like the retouch covered up a bit more of the artwork than the original SFX.
Kanonji’s dialogue was handled perfectly, really bringing his personality to life. This volume is mostly humor, and the translation was quite funny and flowed quite nicely.
Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
BOHAHAHAHAHAHA! Don Kanonji, the “New Century’s Premier Spiritualist”, is bringing his new reality show “Spontaneous Trips” to Karakura and Ichigo is not happy. It seems that there is a spirit haunting the empty hospital in town and Kanonji is going to eradicate those mean spirits! However, in doing this Kanonji unleashes a Hollow that Ichigo must take care of.
The main story here is a very basic, monster-of-the-week setup, but the way Kubo infuses the action with the most bizarre characters yet to grace the pages of Bleach makes this story just fly by in enjoyment. The events in the story aren’t all wasted though as we learn a bit more about how spirits can become Hollows. It’s also during the Hollow battle that we see a much more mature Ichigo handling the situation like a proper Soul Reaper should, something that the mysterious Kisuke Urahara seems to take special notice of.
I should also note that the first chapter might be the funniest bit of manga I’ve read in a while. The whole chapter is about Kon’s journey to find someone that will love him after he gets into a fight with Ichigo and Rukia. During this journey he runs into each of Ichigo’s classmates and the results don’t pan out like he planned. I found myself in tears during this first chapter and it’s something to remind me of just how twisted Tite Kubo’s sense of humor really is.
The last bit of the volume features the introduction of Uryu Ishia, who seems to be killing off all the Hollows before Ichigo and Rukia can do their Soul Reaper business. We don’t learn much at all but with the impressive introduction, as Ishida unleashes an arrow of energy practically across town to destroy a Hollow, I’m really looking forward to the next volume.
I think it is safe to say that if you don’t enjoy Tite Kubo’s sense of humor by now, you are going to hate this volume. From the opening chapter with Kon and continuing with the whole Don Kanonji madness, this volume is ripe with Kubo-isms and I couldn’t stop laughing. I think this volume is a nice reprieve from the seriousness and drama of the previous volume. We also get to hang out and meet with Ichigo’s classmates again. The way they all interact is a real treat and really showcases Kubo’s love for his characters. It doesn’t look like this little break in the action is going to last long though with the introduction of Ishida. A solid volume that has had me laughing each time I’ve read it.
Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translatin Rating: B+
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
Orientation: Right to Left