Sporadic Sequential
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Bleach Babbling

I love Bleach. For my money, it's one of the most addictive, action-packed, adrenaline-pumping series out there. Once again, the latest volume is a series of lengthy battles between opponents other than our main character (who actually only appears in a brief flashback scene the entire book), but I still managed to get completely caught up in the action once I cracked open the cover.

And then there are the quiet moments during the epic battles, which somehow manage to be even more unnerving than the actual fighting thanks to creator Tite Kubo's excellent pacing and composition. Just look at the page below:

Doesn't that just scream, "Uh oh -- bad things are going to happen"? (I don't know; maybe it only works in context of the surrounding story. But since I know what's going on in that scene, I get shivers just looking at it again.)

The only problem with Bleach is it's probably not very accessible to newcomers. At this point the series is on book seventeen and the same storyline has been going on for over ten volumes already. And the cast of characters has grown so large I can't even keep them all straight anymore. (Thankfully, Viz provides a helpful "story so far" recap at the beginning of each volume, including short bios for each of the main characters featured in the current volume, which helps jog my failing memory every two-to-three months.) Yes, the series is self-contained, so if you do want to read it, all you need to do is start with the first volume, but I imagine it's a little intimidating to jump into a series that's already over three thousand pages in.

So has anyone tried jumping into Bleach mid-epic storyline? If so, was it completely unintelligible? Or has anyone started the series recently (perhaps after watching the anime on Cartoon Network)? What did you think? Do you plan to continue with the manga even though there are a lot of back books to catch up on? Let me know in the comments!