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June 9, 2010

Bento Bako Lite: Bleach vol. 31

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Written by: Kristin
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Title: Bleach
Author: Tite Kubo
Publisher: Viz Media
Volume: Volume 31: Don’t Kill My Volupture (ongoing, contains chapters 270-278), $9.99
Vintage: December 2007 by Shueisha in Japan, June 1, 2010 by Viz
Genre: Your basic super powered fights, mega-cast whose names you can never remember, big-breasted women, action packed shonen title.  It’s pretty straightforward for the genre, really, and one of the very few series of this nature that I actually enjoy.

The story so far (as I have never talked about Bleach here before):  All right, let’s see here….  I only own the first two volumes of the manga, though I think I read a couple beyond that during the time I worked at a comic book store.  Fortunately I’ve been keeping up with the anime on Adult Swim, which just about matches up with this volume of the manga.  So I’m not completely lost here.  If you don’t know anything about Bleach, here is a quick synopsis:  Ichigo Kurosaki is living a normal life when he meets a young woman named Rukia Kuchiki.  Rukia is a Soul Reaper, one of a large group of beings who guide souls into the afterlife.  When she is severely injured while attacking a Hollow (corrupted souls), she transfers her powers to Ichigo.  Ichigo’s latent abilities allow him to become a Substitute Soul Reaper in his home town, even after Rukia regains her powers.  Ichigo dedicates his life to helping troubled spirits find peace.  Along with his spiritually powerful classmates Orihime (who can alter time to heal people), Chad (who can transform his right arm into a powerful armored arm), and the Quincy Uryu (Hollow hunters), Ichigo fights to defends his home, family, and friends from the powerful Hollows, and occasionally other Soul Reapers.

Now for a quick look at the current story line:  Aizen traveled to Hueco Mundo (the dimension where Hollows and Arrancar reside), where he began building his forces and putting his plans into motion.  One of these plans included capturing Orihime and using her abilities of time alteration.  When she is cornered by the Arrancar Ulquiorra, she is forced to travel to Hueco Mundo without a word to anyone.  This resulted in the Soul Society deeming her a traitor, so Ichigo set off on his own to rescue her.  Chad, Uryu, Rukia, and Soul Reaper Renji went with him.  After battling through hordes of Hollows of varying strengths, they finally found Aizen’s stronghold, Las Noches, where Orihime is being held.  Once inside, they split up to cover more ground, but found their progress impeded by powerful Arrancar.  All five of them encountered an Arrancar guard, and struggled to beat them.  Rukia was severely injured in her battle, and Renji’s progress has once again been halted by an Arrancar named Szayelaporro (on the cover of this volume).  As Ichigo attempted to move on to find Orihime, he ran into the incredibly powerful Ulquiorra.

Ichigo dons his Hollow mask to lay the smack down on Ulquiorra in Bleach 31.

In this volume, the stoic Ulquiorra gives us a big surprise when he reveals just how powerful he is, emphasizing the futility of Ichigo’s rescue mission.  He’s not about to let Ichigo go without seeing what the substitute Soul Reaper is made of.  Renji, struggling against Szayelaporro who has negated most of his attacks and powers, is joined unexpectedly by Uryu.  The unlikely pair teams up to take out the sadistic Arrancar, but will their combined strength be enough to destroy him?  Uryu’s got a secret technique up his sleeve, but then, there are things they still haven’t learned about the high ranking Arrancar.  Meanwhile, Orihime is accosted by a pair of rather jealous Arrancar, and then rescued by the most unlikely person you could imagine.  It’s all leading up to a major showdown between Ichigo and the Sixth Espada, Grimmjow.  But that fight’s going to have to wait for the next volume.

I have to say, while I enjoy the anime, I prefer the manga.  For some of the obvious reasons, like all the filler that gets put into the anime.  However, I also think that the story is presented better in the manga.  The downside of course is the action scenes.  Shonen action scenes tend to be messes of black ink where you can’t actually see what is going on (though Kubo handles this well enough).  It can be a little hard to follow.  In the anime, where those scenes are fully animated and colorized, it’s much easier to understand.  Despite that, I favor Bleach in its manga form, though I’ll never have the shelf space to collect it all.  With an engaging story (that has a remarkable amount of depth for what it is) and a huge cast of entertaining and interesting characters, it’s easy to see why this manga is a top seller.


Review copy provided by Viz Media.



  1. I keep getting told that I would enjoy the anime and the manga and should get into it but I just figured it was guys that were just caught up in the hype of it all. I might just give it a shot and put it on my “to do” list.

    Does the “filler” in the anime change the story a lot from the manga?

  2. Um…what do you mean, exactly? Does it change the story? There are entire story lines created just for the anime that don’t even exist in the manga. That’s how filler works. The anime gets ahead of the story in the manga, so rather than stop and wait for the manga to catch up, the anime creates its own story arc to run during the interim.

    Being honest here…I usually hate these kinds of shows. The long running action shows. I didn’t like Dragon Ball, I refuse to touch anything Naruto related, I didn’t like D.Gray-Man, etc. But there is something about Bleach that I really enjoy. It’s got some problems, certainly. But it’s a lot of fun.

  3. I didn’t know if the filler was just useless info or actually important. I see why it would need to be a necessity since they are running at the same time. thanks for clearing that up for me

    Naruto didn’t hold my interest long enough though I did enjoy some of Dragon Ball Z but it just went on FOREVER and was basically the same thing over and over again. I actually enjoyed the various movies instead.

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Comic Attack, Kristin Bomba. Kristin Bomba said: New review: @Viz_Media's Bleach vol 31 https://comicattack.net/2010/06/bblbleach31/ #manga […]

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