Thursday marked a sad day in the long history of Manga, the ending of Bleach.  It’s always a little weird to see something end that you’ve enjoyed for so long, kind of like reading the final page of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and realizing that your favorite wizards aren’t going to be returning to magic faces and go on adventures, actually this is exactly like that. Let me explain what I mean.

With the release of Bleach Chapter 386, it marks the official end of the series, a series whose journey started 15 years ago on printed page in 2001 and grew with many of us over the years.  In 2004 the TV show adaptation was released in Japan and localized in 2006.  This is where myself and many others would pick up and start a 10-year long sojourn into what we thought was infinity, reading and watching these characters presented to us in spectacular fashion.  The story started out with a young man, Ichigo, as we know him, coming home from school one day and witnessing what would later be called a “Hollow” attack a school friend.  This Hollow was dispatched shortly after by a visiting Shinigami (Dead God).  As the story progresses we find out that Ichigo has the ability to use Shinigami powers and is promoted to Substitute Shinigami since resources are low and they can’t seem to send people to his area to patrol, this always seemed like a weird plot point to me.

As time went on, we find out more about Ichigo and his troupe, as well as we get to see him grow more powerful by facing even more harrowing odds.  This sounds pretty typical of any anime style story in Japanese culture, Naruto, Dragon Ball you name it, its what these things are all about.  The great thing about Bleach is that throughout all of its story arcs, regardless of what happened, the writer always had so much passion for character development and giving us new, exciting, and lovable characters to remember throughout the series.  Each story built up to an exciting climax and a relatively interesting resolution.


Step back to the beginning of the last story arc which was the last we fans were able to rest our eyes on.  The story started fantastically, we find out the reason behind some of Ichigo’s weirder power transformations, we find out why his Bankai looks the way it does, the reason for his “dark” form and the reasoning behind his Hollowfied form as well.  It was a story of revelation and again, of new confrontation and growth, it was also the beginning of the end, an unfortunately lazy end as many of us would put it.  Four weeks ago, we read what would be the final chapter of action that Bleach had to offer, but since the story usually had a habit of the good ol’ Billy Mays “but wait! There’s more!”, we just inherently expected more.  We were incredibly disappointed as the next weeks chapter was a 10 year time skip where the characters were celebrating peace.  Jump two weeks later and the final chapter had most of the main characters all gathered at Ichigo’s home, jabbering about their life and Ichigo’s kid out meeting one of his Shinigami friend’s kid and then that ended the story.


To say that after even 10 years, that this is an acceptable end to a high adrenaline, engaging, and widely adored story by people across the world would be an insult to all of us, more of a slap in the face.  We aren’t sure by which route this terrible ending came to pass but previous interviews with the story creator Tite Kubo showed that he was still very involved and passionate about the story and how he wanted to end their journey.  It makes one wonder, if after 15 years of running that certain executives might just want the series to be over to make room for newer and fresher ideas.  It feels like the only explanation for the utter lackluster and uninspired ending that many of us felt so blindsided by.  In the end, if you haven’t had the time to read Bleach over the years, or you felt that it was getting too much of the same and you dropped off of the band wagon, you might not want to bother with the final story arc, just pretend that Ichigo and friends lived happily ever after in your own story ending that seems much more badass and less contrived. MillerComicsLiteratureBleach,Shonen Jump,Tite KuboThursday marked a sad day in the long history of Manga, the ending of Bleach.  It's always a little weird to see something end that you've enjoyed for so long, kind of like reading the final page of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and realizing that your favorite...