Mangaka: Tite Kubo
I was surprised Viz picked up the work of Tite Kubo for english translation. So who is Tite Kubo? That’s a very good question I can’t answer but here’s what I do know of him. Tite Kubo’s first manga work Zombie Powder became a hit in japan’s Shonen Jump running for twenty seven volumes. Zombie Powder was cancelled and never finished possibly due to Tite Kubo being in a state severe emotional trauma during writing. To date Zombie Powder is yet to be published in english but hopefully if Bleach is a success we may yet see Zombie Powder in english, fingers crossed.
Unfortunately as good as life is we are all going to eventually die. Manga covering such an aspect of life from an eastern point of view I have read and reviewed once before in the form of Shuri Shiozu’s Eerie Queerie, which is available from Tokyopop. Bleach is another spiritual story but shot from another angle. If any of you have seen those U.S tv series Dead Like Me or Tru Calling they will give you a fair idea of what you are in for. Bleach is also still running in Shonen Jump anthology stateside and in japan.
Bleach is a supernatural action adventure. A special secret order of females known as Soul Reapers was established to help those of the spirit world once a human passes away. Decked in black and white samurai robes Soul Reapers are invisible to the living, all except those humans with a spiritual power or ki of some sort. Enter one young student Ichigo Kurosaki who in a very Sixth Sense kind of way can see the spirits of dead and has been able to do so since he was a child. Because spirits are drawn to Ichigo along with some of this other family members Ichigo and co are force into helping them find a way to rest in peace (as in Eerie Queerie too).
Things change with the sudden appearance of Rukia, a Soul Reaper with a magic samurai blade hunting for a hollow (evil spirit that preys on humans for their psycho-spiritual energy). In strange circumstances the hollow starts to attack the other Kurosaki family members. Rukia is wounded in the fight and lends Ichigo some of her powers so he can save his family from the hollow’s bite. Unfortunately Rukia gives Ichigo all her power, through no fault of her own and Ichigo becomes a rookie Soul Reaper. Ding Ding! Round one of Ichigo VS Hollow, who will win?. And was Rukia giving power or was Ichigo taking it unknowingly? Elsewhere Ichigo has to deal with a hollow haunting close friend in need Orihime, various school friends are introduced one in particular Chad (who looks like a refugee from Capcom’s Street Fighter games) has a very strange, nasty injury and a caged parakeet.
Bleach is another kick arse series worth buying. It’s got the fingers to push your action, comedy, ghosts and ghouls buttons. This will sit nicely next to Berserk on my shelves.
On the character front Ichigo is a very punk like ruffian possibly in a Billy Idol (ex-u.k 70-80’s punk rocker) design influence, he’s also convincing as a brat family member and would be hero ( I suppose spirits will have no problems ever finding him with that orange mop on his head he calls hair). This makes Ichigo feel more down to earth even though he has a rough edge. The dark haired Rukia is feisty and seems old fashioned but watching her adjusted to modern setting she’s now dumped in will no doubt add to the comedy. She’s not just a pretty face mind and pulls no punches putting Ichigo in his place now and then.
Tite Kubo’s english language debut has some lovely art. Looking kind of sketchy at times it has a charm that is growing on me. Before reading Bleach from a distance the art looked odd because I’m used to looking at more clean, detailed work (like from Ghost In the Shell, Full Metal Panic etc and also because I also like to draw) but Tite Kubo now has a new fan in me. He definitely has a thing for angled jawlines in his character design but somehow it works well for those that need it. And as manga like Hiroaki Samura’s Blade of the Immortal have proved sketchy artwork can look spectacular too. Cross-hatch shading can be a good thing.
Yeah, so I’m a sucker for this type of manga but despite what some might see as sugar coating in this review that’s not what I’m about. Bleach is a good read and one of the better and larger series available in english. Tread with caution if you don’t want a large series like this. Seven chapters of spiritual sword swinging sweetness laced with school contained within a nice cover. You’d be a dead wrong to miss out on it but the final choice is yours to make. It’s your life (and money) after all.
This manga review was taken from here