Bleach Vol. #10 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Translated by:Joe Yamazaki
What They Say
With the help of Kūkaku - a one-armed explosives expert and old friend of the mysterious talking cat Mr. Yoruichi - Ichigo and crew are one step closer to infiltrating the Soul Society and rescuing their friend Rukia before she is executed. For Kūkaku's plan to work, Ichigo must control his enormous reservoir of spiritual energy, and there's no telling how much collateral damage this will cause. Meanwhile, the Soul Society hasn't been twiddling their collective thumbs. They quickly dispatch a delegation of captains to give the unwanted visitors the rudest of welcomings imaginable.
Slowly Bleach is beginning to craft quite the interesting story that doesn’t just rely on quirky characters and stylish artwork.
VIZ continues to use the original cover artwork from the Japanese tankoubon, this time featuring Ganju Shiba. Ten volumes in and there has been a different character on each cover. A minor aspect maybe to some, but it is one that I’ve always enjoyed about the Bleach production. There is also a small color illustration on the back cover, which is a miniature version of the artwork for chapter 85’s header. No color plates inside though, which is too bad as I would have loved to see that chapter header in full-sized glorious color.
While the print reproduction still has its issues, like most Shonen Jump titles, it is better than previous volumes. Inside the book all the chapter headers with character artwork are present, which I admit are sometimes my favorite part of the book. Each chapter ends with little sketches from Tite Kubo, this time illustrating a little ongoing mini-story that is the basis for the mini-chapter extra #88.5, “Karakura Super Heroes”, which is quite funny. I hope to see more of this oddball group in the future.
I am definitely a big fan of Tite Kubo’s artwork and style. The art features a lot of thin, sharp-angled line work that uses nice etching for feature shading that looks great. It’s hard to describe Kubo’s quirky style and flashy characters, but it definitely oozes all over the pages here, not just in the actual panels but in the chapter inserts as well. With the introduction of more Soul Reaper captains and lieutenants, there are some more varied character designs that continue to highlight Kubo’s fun style. There is a varied use of deformed designs that add a bit of humor and don’t become a distraction. Kubo also is obsessed with drawing people getting hit in the face, whether is be comical or in the heat of battle.
I am really impressed with how the action artwork continues to improve when it matters. Ichigo has his first Soul Reaper battle inside the Seireitei against an adjutant of the 11th Company, Ikkaku Madarame, and it is illustrated very cleanly with solid direction to choreograph all the attacks. There is only 1 full-page illustration, but it is at the climax which really made that sequence pop. I wish there was more of the large pieces of artwork in this title.
SFX are translated and retouched. The new SFX are still horribly cluttered and garish, but I understand that most likely there were the same in the original language. I do appreciate a few of the new SFX that tried to mimic the brush strokes.
Although most Shonen Jump titles do not have the most complex dialogue, I do very much enjoy the translation and adaptation jobs done here. Most of the proper or cultural specific terms remain in romanji with accompanying English literal translations in parenthesis. There are a couple chants during the “cannonball” scene that were translated literally that I thought did a great job at highlighting the silliness of the text. I did notice one misspelling, when Ganju said “heros”.
Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
In order for Ichigo and company to enter the Seireitei, the sealed off village inhabited by the Soul Reapers and more importantly the imprisoned Rukia, they will have to receive the help of the fireworks expert Kukaku Shiba. The Seireitei is enclosed by a unique barrier that keeps spiritual energy out as well as disintegrates it upon contact. This means everyone will have to learn how to use Kukaku’s new invention, the reishukaku or spirit core, in order to concentrate enough spiritual energy to smash the barrier. Of course this means that some training is required and is another opportunity to showcase Ichigo’s strong potential and his quick learning ability. Ichigo’s potential is massive, in case you hadn’t figured that out by now.
Replacing Ishida as Ichigo’s sole point of annoyance, Ganju Shiba--the younger sibling of Kukaku--antagonizes and bickers with Ichigo constantly. Ganju hates Soul Reapers; a result of a tragic family history that has sent him searching for answers. However, the focal point Ganju’s frustrations with Ichigo is that even though Ganju despises Ichigo as the Soul Reaper, he can feel that there is something different about him. With the group heading into Soul Reaper territory, Ganju jumps at the chance to find the answers he needs by joining the group in the spiritual “cannonball” that Kukaku will fire into the Seireitei.
When the group finally makes their way into Soul Reaper territory, the force from breaking through the barrier sends them off in 4 different groups. No doubt this means that the story will spend a good amount of time bringing them back together, but my hope is that it will also allow for some more time to focus on the other group members that have been ignored for a little while. The situation inside the Seireitei is where the slowly building story is becoming my favorite part of this title. We finally get to look at 12 of the 13 Soul Reaper company captains as they meet to discuss the events involving Gin during his involvement with a ryoka (Ichigo). Talk about too many egos in one room! These 12 captains were all venerable badasses. A lot of tension as each one gets their little shot in on each other, with the mystery building about who stands where in the pecking order and what valuable information do they know. Like most shounen action titles in this vein, there is not a whole lot of information revealed to the reader but rather just enough to peak interest as Tite Kubo gradually pulls the reader into his story. I hooked, and I’m itching to know how this is going to pan out.
When I first started reading Bleach, it was the stylish artwork and quirky characters that puts its own identifiable stamp on Tite Kubo’s otherwise formulaic shounen manga. After reading this volume I realized that had change, where the slowly developing story has now become my main interest with all the aspects I used to enjoy now good tasting gravy. It is building quite slowly, but it’s also spread across multiple characters rather than just focusing on one central character. Tite Kubo is completely teasing us all--and I have fallen for it hook, line, and sinker.
Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translatin Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
Orientation: Right to Left