Thursday, July 30, 2009

Its like one of those "Breaking News" stories, except no one but me really cares.

- Me to Suri about 5 minutes before watching episode 230 of Bleach.


This is something that I never thought I would be talking about here -- the Bleach anime.

As much as I love the manga, I declared the anime dead to me months ago after the "replacement captain/lieutenant" filler arc in which Sora form Kindgom Hearts was the new Captain of the 3rd division (It was a fucking keyblade, goddamnit.) and his lieutenant was the bastard offspring of Sosuke Aizen and Szayel Apollo Grantz. no matter how untrue that statement may or may not be, that's how I feel about it and I lost all desire to ever go anywhere near the anime ever again.

Aizen is the daddy and Szayel is the mommy, and together they spawned this horrible abomination against God.

I'm not a big fan of Bleach's filler arcs. The Bount arc didn't do much for me, but it did bring about the line "Everything it touches turns to snakes!", which has lead to some great moments hanging out with my friends in which we've randomly shouted that out in public. But the latest filler (Which, according to what I've heard, will only be four or five episodes?) is focusing on one of my favorite aspects of Bleach -- Zanpakuto.

For those not familiar with Bleach's cosmology, Zanpakuto are sentient swords belonging to the shinigami. They are spirits born from their master's soul and are the force of power behind all of the sword's abilities. There are a few other things that were brought up in the second movie that I think are bullshit because Hitsufag likes to make up his own rules, so we won't go into that.

But I've loved this concept from the beginning. I've been absolutely fascinated by the idea of learning what the appearances of everyone's swords were. And as soon as we came out of the Soul Society arc and were shown Sode No Shirayuki, Rukia's Zanpakuto, in action for the first time, I fell head over heels in love.

So when it was announced that the Zanpakuto would be the focus of the new filler, I became intrigued. I still had no real plan to watch, but I was curious, and a little excited to see what might become of it. The idea that the zanpakuto were rebelling against their masters interested me. And the nest part was that we would get to see them, even if they were all forced into humanoid forms. But there was one thing I was worried about...

I've always had a very clear mental image of what I believed her to look like. Anyone who's read the short CLAMP manga "Shirahime-Syo" may remember the story "Hiyoku no Tori" and the Heron woman in them. That woman has always been my image for Sode No Shirayuki. Would this arc, shatter my perception of her?

Left: Heron ("Shirahime-Syo") // Right: Sode no Shirayuki ("Bleach")

Surprisingly, no! Sode no Shorayuki is presented here actually very similar to how I pictured her to be. This helped a lot in getting me to want to keep watching. I was very worried about this, because I am resistant to change and didn't want to have to rethink my entire perception of her as a character.

So I torrented the episode, sat down, and watched...

My opinion so far is pretty neutral to the story as a whole, but as for the characters, my head is racing around trying to keep all of my perceptions of them in line.

Haineko was the most hilarious little bitch in the world. I loved when she shoved Rangiku aside and told her to get out of the way. I'd love to see her also have a more kindhearted side to match Rangiku's but I think she is perfect. and oh my god those pants. Wut.

I like Suzumebachi's appearance (especially that she's so fucking tiny), but I can't say I'm too thrilled with her personality. She is way too bubbly, happy, and excitable. Even before Soi Fon was an angst bucket, she did not act like that. Zanpakuto are meant to share many of their master's personality aspects and Suzumebachi doesn't act like Soi Fon at all. 

Kazeshini... I have never liked Kazeshini. Ever since his shikai was revealed and it was shown that he was a dual wield, I've hated him. It was established in the Soul Society arc that the only dual-bladed shikai were Katen Kyokotsu (Kyoraku Shunsui) and Sogyo no Kotowari (Ukitake Juushiro). I refuse to believe his shikai was a secret, since he's a lieutenant. It's possible Kubo hadn't thought it up yet, but for the love of god, Kubo, stick to your rules.

Anyway, the zanpakuto arc has proved that Kazeshini is a dick. this was hilarious to me because I just dislike him so much and how his personality just fell into me continuing not to like him. I'm not a fan of Hiyorinmaru either (gay Chrsitmas trees, wut?) for various reasons, but all he's done so far is stand around and stare at people so I can't really judge him yet.

But oh man the opening and ending? Hot shit, yo. I actually watched the opening twice before I started the episode because Iw as just so fascinated by Orihime and Rukia dancing. I want to dance with them so bad. XD Also everyone was just hanging out and being really hot. What the hell? SDid everyone suddenly realize how sexy they are?

The ending was fantastic. I'm completely addicted to "Mad Surfer" now. that's the kind of song I will hang out alone in my house and dance to in my underwear. I liked the kind of retro feel to the visuals and how it really depicted the personality aspects of all of the zanpakuto.

My big worry about this arc? That it's going to end up focusing on Hitsugaya and Hiyorinmaru. With the way they were introduced in the first episode of the arc, they seem to be getting special attention, and I'm really worried this is going to be another one of those instances of undeserved attention for them.

So I guess there will be followups to this as the arc progresses, because I anticipate having very strong feelings on this. We'll see where it goes.

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