**Spoiler alert! If you are watching/reading Bleach and want to continue doing so, please do not read this post!***
Okay, so I really liked Bleach. Like, REALLY liked it, and even have an entire shelf dedicated to some figurines (mmmm... Renji...). I started reading ahead online and got caught up with the whole story. It became part of my weekly routine, since Naruto, One Piece and Bleach all had chapters released on Tuesdays. I had a full docket! I was loving the Hueco Mundo arc, the evil-ness of Aizen, the creepiness of Gin, and the evolution of Ichigo. I loved his full-on Hollow state! I loved how he and his papa fought together! I was a little put off by Gin's true intentions... (had me fooled, for sure).
Needless to say, the final fight between Ichigo and Aizen was epic! It was well written, beautifully drawn, and had me on the edge of my seat! I immediately went to see if the anime had caught up yet and watched the fight unfold in front of me!
It was fantastic.
That is where the series should've ended.
The next chapter takes place after the magical "two and a half year gap" that Shonen Jump top series like to take in order to refresh. Naruto did it, One Piece did it, and Bleach did it. Big difference? Two of the three did not come to a natural ending prior to the time-skip! One of them did! Guess which one!?!?!
I would've been okay with this were it not for a few things:
- The art style felt completely different. Everything seemed shinier, and the female characters seemed poutier and... and something, but I can't put my finger on it. It's like by trying to make them look older, Kubo sensei tried to to make them sexier. I don't think he was successful in this endeavor, at least in my personal opinion.
- Everyone else still had their powers, and just tip-toed around Ichigo who had lost all of his Shinigami powers. Didn't like that. I think the characters would be aware that Ichigo is stronger than that.
- Nothing about how Isshin (Kurosaki-Dad) was a Shinigami. There seems to be some behind the scenes stuff that goes on, but it isn't done with enough detail, and we, the audience is left with this whole "WTF?" feeling.
- Chad's powers revealed to be this "Fullbring" garbage. There was allusion at one point early on that, like Orihime, Chad's powers were partly thanks to Ichigo unconsciously sharing his power with those close to him. At least that's what I got from it. Either way, I didn't like this whole "Fullbring" stuff from the get-go. Does Ichigo have access to EVERY SINGLE KIND OF MYSTICAL POWER OUT THERE??? FOR REAL??
I think I got my point across. I did, however, read the entire "X-cutioner" arc. I didn't even like how that ended. Everyone gave a bit of their shinigami powers to Ichigo so that he could somehow be more bad-ass than before? Nope. Don't like it.
After that arc ended, Kubo sensei went on a short month-long haitus, and then started what has been titled as "The final arc!" And do you want to know how much I care?
Not. One. Bit.
How much of it am I going to read?
Not. One. Bit.
If you're big into the story right now, take my advice and stop at the natural conclusion to the story. The rest just feels forced. In fact, that might very well be the case! If it is, I feel sorry for Kubo sensei having to butcher his amazing story like that. It's just... it's just sad, really.
Okay, rant: over.