Featured Columns

October 29, 2010

Bento Bako Bonus: Color Bleach

Title: Bleach Official Bootleg: Color Bleach+ ($14.99)
Author: Tite Kubo
Publisher: Viz Media (Shonen Jump)
Vintage: 2007 by Shueisha in Japan, August 2010 by Viz Media
Genre: Fanbook, shonen, comedy, action

Attention Bleach fans! You need this book. One-third full-color gag manga by Kubo, two-thirds handbook for aspiring members of the Thirteen Court Guard Companies, this book is perfect for fans of the Soul Society. Learn all about the Thirteen Court Guard Companies, including member bios, company traditions, battle data, top secret information on your favorite Soul Reapers, special techniques, training information, information on the ryoka who invaded the Soul Society, and an entrance examination (only serious Soul Society students need apply!). First Kubo amuses fans with various short tales in a series of full-color gag comics. The Soul Society discusses plans for creating video games (which served as ads for upcoming Bleach games), the Society of Female Soul Reapers attempts to photograph the male captains for photo books and trading cards, Byakuya discovers some unexpected visitors in his home, the Thirteen Court Guard Companies develop ideas for stalls at Jump Festa, the Society of Male Soul Reapers tries to redesign the Soul Pager, and the girls go on a beach trip.

After 66 color pages and gag comics, The Complete Guide to the Thirteen Court Guard Companies begins. All thirteen companies are highlighted, with special information on all of the captains and assistant captains. Learn about the captains’ hobbies, favorite foods, special skills, zanpaku-tō, and top secret personal information (did you know that Assistant Captain Yachiru Kusajishi from 11th Company likes to steal giant carp from Captain Byakuya Kuchiki’s lake and put them into Captain Jūshirō Ukitake’s pond?). For all who aspire to be members of the Thirteen Court Guard Companies, the captains and assistant captains have answered the following questions about their respective companies (and members of other companies give their own opinions!): What kind of person do you seek?; What are the barracks and members like?; Any stipulations?; and A word to the Soul Reaper candidate. Read the official report of the ryoka intrusion and the strange orange-haired young man who led the attack against the Soul Society to save Rukia Kuchiki. Be sure to read Assistant Captain Shūhei Hisagi’s “Soul Reaper ABC Lesson,” detailing the duties of Soul Reapers, their main fighting styles, and information about the Seireitei. If you’re serious about advancing as a Soul Reaper, you can’t miss Assistant Captain RenjiAbarai’s “Let’s Do Shikai!!”, which gives battle tips and lists the main battles of the ryoka invasion. Finally, take the Soul Reaper Academy Entrance Examination test, and then the Society of Female Soul Reapers’ quiz to determine the Thirteen Court Guard Company that you should belong to.

For those concerned with spoilers, the fanbook contains information into the the invasion of the Soul Society by Ichigo and his friends, but before the official betrayal of a certain Captain and the Arrancar story lines. Aizen, Tōsen, and Ichimaru are “missing,” but their true nature is not revealed in this book. So if you’re a little behind, there aren’t any spoilers beyond the invasion by Ichigo and friends into the Soul Society to rescue Rukia. And even then, there aren’t many spoilers here. It’s mostly a character handbook. The entire book is very lighthearted and filled with humor. Personally, I quite enjoy fanbooks that are created as if they are an item from their respective series, like a school handbook, or a monthly newsletter or magazine put together by the characters. Be warned, the main characters from the human realm, like Ichigo, Orihime, Chad, and Uryū, barely make an appearance, and in fact are viewed as outsiders and enemies. The majority of this book is from the point of view of the members of the Soul Society, after all, so the book is best for Soul Reaper fans. It’s well put together, although there is a good bit of repetition – images that are reused, and information that is unnecessarily repeated in close succession – which can be a little irritating. The dust jacket has some extra goodies on the flip side (it’s the “cover” for the Monthly Seireitei Bulletin, which is the format for the bulk of the fanbook). The color comics at the beginning of the book are the best part, but there’s a wonderful amount of personal information on fan favorite characters throughout the book, as well as plenty of fan service for boys guys and gals.

Also, since Halloween is this weekend: here are part 1 and part 2 of my look at vampires in anime and manga from last year. If you’re interested in some ghost stories, check out Melinda’s 3 Things Thursday: Ghost Hunters column at Manga Bookshelf. If you’re looking for a good anime to watch this Halloween, I recommend Witch Hunter Robin or Hellsing.


Review copy provided by Viz Media.



  1. I’ve been told I need to start watching Bleach but I’m hesitant to start a series as extensive as this. There aren’t enough hours in my day as it is lol

  2. Kristin

    It’s a good show, but yeah, HUGE time investment. It’s got over 250 episodes right now, and it’s still running.

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  4. Sheesh! I have no idea when I’d start I’ve got too much other reading to catch up on. And It just seems like sacrilege to replace my Macross Marathon with Bleach but I just may have to do it. Plus Minmei is just more a pain in the ass now than she was when I was a kid. 🙂

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