SWORD SWINGING MANGA ACTION
With winter on its way I've decided to start building up my survival pack of comics, novels, movies, and TV shows to stave off the madness that Michigan can bring once the snow starts covering the ground. I started reading Bleach about a year ago when I discovered Fullmetal Alchemist and had been reading both through free copies of the collected editions at the local library. Bleach has been around since 2001 and has gained tons of popularity with American audiences over the past 10 years. I originally stopped reading because I found it too daunting to continue with a story that would seemingly never end. After a night out at the bar with friends I was told that there is a natural ending point, much like the Cell Saga in Dragon Ball Z, that I could read to and then be satisfied with not reading any further. So I'm going to give it another go.
This volume continues the attack on the Soul Society as Ichigo and his companions battle Soul Reapers and Captains until they bleed out and need to be healed over and over. I read the 12th and 13th volumes back-to-back and did so in a single sitting over one cup of coffee. They were that fun. In fact, that's probably what I'm going to go ahead and just lump this under in my book of manga recommendations. Just plain fun. There's supernatural powers, swordplay, and goofy characters for comic relief. I can see how someone could really get into it as a definitive action and battle manga, but I see it as just a fun way to spend a Sunday reading and enjoying well-drawn comics from the other side of the world.
Every page is fluid and keeps you turning as the Soul Reaper's powerful blades clash with each other and threaten to kill the spunky orange-haired hero. The dialogue is pretty typical of battle manga, with characters talking about how strong they are, being surprised that someone else is stronger, and then claiming that they'll train to get stronger than that person. But you don't often go to an action movie expecting a monologue worthy of Shakespearean study.
I'm going to give these two combined volumes a 4.5/5 for being loads of fun to read. If it weren't for the clunky dialogue, which I'm sure is partially due to the fact that it's translated, I think I could give it the 5/5 it probably deserves in Japan.