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Manga Review: Bleach Volume 1 By Tite Kubo

Natalie is a writer who works at her local library. She enjoys writing reviews, watching anime and TV shows, and playing video games.

Quick Info:

Author: Tite Kubo
Publisher: Viz Media
Published: May 19, 2004
Page Count: 200 pages
Availability: Buy on Amazon, Rightstuf and wherever books are sold


Story Summary:

Bleach is a popular Shonen manga about a high school student Ichigo “Strawberry” Kurosaki, he seems like an average kid, but he has a special gift, he’s always been able to see ghosts and spirits. One night he sees a mysterious woman in his room, she explains to him that she’s a Soul Reaper, someone who fights even spirits called Hollows and helps bring souls to the afterlife the Soul Society. She loses her powers during a fight because she’s wounded by a Hollow and gives them to Ichigo who must be a Soul Reaper until she can get her powers back.

The Popularity of Bleach:

This manga is ridiculously popular, all over the world, but very much in the US. The anime is still running on Adult Swim’s Toonami block on Saturdays. The story is interesting and easily accessible to a wide audience. Bleach was one of the first animes I ever watched. I do enjoy the story and the characters, and the writing is good.

I do think that the beginning of the story is very good. Butt this was before Tite Kubo started dragging the story out too long with excessive plots and arcs when many readers felt it should have ended. I'm very far behind in the manga, but I do enjoy "The Substitute" arc of Bleach, which is an interesting start to the story.

The Art:

Tite Kubo’s art is pretty nice, but you can tell this is an early effort as it looks pretty good, but his newer art is much nicer. The fight scenes are fun though.

The character designs are all interesting and unique, and that's good because the pictures are in black and white, so the character designs have to stand out so we can distinguish all the various characters from each other.

I also like how the characters each have a unique feature that makes them memorable, Ichigo's red hair, Chad's tall and muscular, Uriyu wears glasses (We'll see him in a later volume).


The Humor:

Bleach has good humorous bits and it relieves some of the tension because the story and plot have a serious tone, so the art gags are amusing.

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There are also humorous characters in the story (we'll meet them later) that bring comic relief to the story. In Volume 1, the humor comes from Ichigo's father Isshin Kurosaki. I enjoy the humor and if you like funny characters and gags, you'll enjoy Bleach.

Parentala Advisory:

This manga is recommended for ages 13 and up for language, violence, fanservice and tobacco use.


The Cliches Are Here

Bleach is standard Shonen (manga and anime aimed at teenage boys) and it does have a lot of Shonen cliches, the hotheaded, extremely powerful hero, the ditzy girl, the mentor, and a monster of the week formula.

You'll recognize a lot of these topes if you've read or watched a lot of Shonen, but it's still an enjoyable read, and it's excellent for people who've never read a manga before and want to get into it, but the fact that it uses a lot of standard tropes in its story may turn off other manga fans.

Audience Poll:

Overall Thoughts

I recommend Bleach if you’re new to manga and want to get into the Shonen genre. It’s fun and enjoyable, it is pretty popular so I don’t have to buy the manga because I can find it at my local library for free, and I’d recommend borrowing before deciding if you want to buy it for your own manga collection. It’s worth a read, but not necessarily your money.

Quick Thoughts:

What Works: What Doesn't Work:

Good story, plot and characters

There's a lot of Shonen Cliches

Artwork is decent, but it doesn't look as good as future volumes




Overall Grade: B+

Bleach is a really great read, and the story, characters, and art are very good. It's an easy read with a plot that's a great starting point for anyone looking to get into manga. It's got action, adventure, and comedy. It's worth your time to read, and if you want to buy it, I'd recommend it

Bleach is good, but there are a lot of typical Shonen tropes and cliches in the story, but it's well worth the time to read it. If you really enjoy the story, I'd recommend that you buy it. But if you buy it, you should prepare to get a bigger bookshelf, because this is a long-running Shonen, and that means there will be a lot of volumes to buy.

Still I'd recommend borrowing it from your local library, it's popular enough that a lot of libraries carry the manga so you can check it out if you ask them if they have it.

My Rating:

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