Oh great, yet another Bleach review. Fantastic.
Before countless people flame me and press the "Not Helpful' button because I gave Bleach a comparatively low score to the rest of MAL, please do note that I didn't think Bleach was bad. Bleach was good, REALLY good at the beginning. The series introduced a wide variety of fantastic concepts, a charismatic and love-able cast of characters and has some of the most adrenaline pumping battles I've ever read in any manga. I'm fully aware that the fan-base of the shonen demographic has become increasingly desperate for series that have originality, adrenaline pumping battles and brilliant storytelling.
While not following all the criteria, Bleach was one heck of a quality shonen at the beginning.
Along the way though, something went...wrong.
Actually scrap that, plenty of things went wrong with this series, starting with:
One of the biggest setbacks to Bleach is that it's story isn't exactly what you would call anything ground breaking. It's your typical Yu Yu Hakusho influenced series done better than most. Initially, Bleach had plenty of aspects going for it; putting the unoriginal story aside, the series had one of the best shonen arcs I've ever seen, the sheer adrenaline in that arc and the amazing, addictive storytelling in that arc was so good. The series was setting itself apart from your generic shonen in that in the first 150 or so chapters, it was generic shonen done right.
And then something happened. To be more specific, nothing happened. I feel the author had plenty of fantastic ideas for the manga, but due to the anime airing at around the same time, blasted through all those ideas as fast as possible and rushed the story as much as possible, which I find to be a great shame because Bleach's style of storytelling in that first arc was just so good. Instead, the author decided to repeat the same style of storytelling in later arcs, which really killed the plot and changed it from above average to plain mediocre. The series could have been much better if it experimented with various styles of storytelling and eventually come up with it's own unique style, instead of the author taking the ink out of the pen and not adding anything to the rest of the series.
Bleach's art looks bloody fantastic, almost no problems there. What I found really disheartening however, is that in some volumes the series lowered it art quality for the sake of low quality fan-service, which I found really depressing because the series tried to put these scenes as much as possible in a certain arc when the series could have instead fleshed out it's characters.
Nevertheless,these are just minor nitpicks and the art looks bloody fantastic. Major props to Tite Kubo for providing us with relatively consistent and good looking art over the course of the series.
Bleach plays host to a huge, and by huge I mean HUGE cast of characters. Our protagonists, while a little bland at a good portion of the series, were like-able, well-written and most importantly well-developed. The series however, struggled at developing it's cast of antagonists properly, and when the series did try to focus on developing them (or the protagonists at times for that matter) the series fell into this colossal problem of not knowing how to pace it's story events and character development properly, which led to huge problems in finding the characters as like-able as they should have been.
Nevertheless, Bleach has an above average cast of characters, but the story is just nowhere near worthy enough to have said cast.
Despite all it's major problems, Bleach is still a slightly above average series with one of the most fantastic and well-written shonen arcs I've ever seen in manga. Despite all it's problems, the series is still really fun and enjoyable if not for anything else, and there's definitely this "want to see more feeling" that I get when reading the manga.