Holy Heckfire, where have I been?

>> Thursday, July 19, 2012

Okay, I've still been trolling around the adult swim world of yaoi (up to the h's going alphabetically at Mangafox), but that's really not what's kept me from doing anything else on my blogs.

What's completely captured my interest and sucked me in is an anime of a genre I have never found interesting in the past: shonen. Most of the shonen I've seen to date has been full of gratuitous violence and overly muscled men or bratty children both acting incredibly stupid.  Lots of shouting. Since I'm a character girl, I've been left, well, underwhelmed.

Admittedly, I hadn't seen much from this genre, though. Dragonball Z, some science fiction/roboty ones my ex liked, a few more. I occasionally liked one (Vandread, Sorcerer Hunters, another one I can't remember the name of), though I never really read the manga so much as watched the animes.

My daughter, for reasons unknown, decided she wanted to get me hooked on some more. She tried Naruto. I found the English-voiced stuff unbelievably obnoxious, particularly the title character. The Japanese stuff was marginally less irksome. Even if I felt sorry for him (and I didn't, particularly), he was so insufferably stupid and/or arrogant, I hated to spend time with him. I have an eight year old; spending untold episodes and volumes with a bratty kid who can talk (but probably shouldn't) didn't appeal in the slightest. None of the characters compelled me. The fights seemed to go on forever and there was this annoying habit of telling us what they were going to do, doing it, and then explaining what happened again in case you missed it. Too irksome for me.

Now, you might be a Naruto fan and that's fine. As successful as it obviously is, there are clearly many many fans out there. My absence is unlikely to be a big deal; I shan't be missed. I'm not saying it's horrible. I'm saying it's not for me.

My daughter tried me on Inuyasha. Interesting and imaginative story and not a bad show. I don't mind spending a few hours watching it. But, again, I'm not compelled. It's about on the same level as the ones I liked before. Cute, with a certain appeal, but I don't have to see every episode. Or even another episode.

And then she showed me Bleach (by Kubo).

If you're wondering what in heckfire I've been doing since like April, I've been completely seduced by the illogical but charming universe of the Bleach shinigami (and Bounts and Visors and Arrancars, and Fullbrings and whatever else you want to throw out there), mostly just the anime, though I've started in on the manga.

I LOVE it. Is it full to brim with overly muscled men and youths shouting and acting stupid and fighting with little or no cause? Yes. And I love it. Somehow, usually within the course of a single episode, character after character gets introduced, different fleshed out characters with depth and quirks and strengths and weakness, and I fall in love with them. Meet and fall in love, one fell swoop. And the main character, Ichigo Kurosaki is no exception. He has more incarnations, has stumbled back from the edge of death (and even the depths of hell) more times than any character I've ever known ever and I just love him to pieces. But I also love Sado and Uryu and Inoe and Renji and Kiske and Ururu and, well maybe not Jinta. I like Rukia (though I wish she was a little bit more of a badass) and like Ishigo's sisters and Ishigo's friends. I like the Soul Reapers that started out enemies and later became protagonists, almost all of them (except that painted sadist), and yes, I loved them when they were bad guys (Kuchiki Byakuya, for instance, and Kempachi Zuraki) . I loved many of the bad guys that "stayed" bad guys (depending on your point of view) like Grimmjow and Ulquierra.

I've seen all but the Zampakuto rebellion season in Japanese on Hulu. I've bought every episode I've been able to find in English (through 229) on Amazon insta-play. And I've seen them all. More than once. I have the first four seasons on DVD so I can loan them to friends. I have the first three movies in English and the fourth in Japanese (yikes, they keep getting better and better, too!).

Well, I'm not really ready to write a review. I should read more. And, though I've seen all but one season in Japanese, I want to see them again, first. I need to better understand why I like it so I can pass it along, make the review mean something more than: what fun!

So, folks, that's where I've been. And likely where I'll be a bit longer.

At least I'm having a good summer.


  • EllasEnigma

    yay! I'm so glas you like bleach, Iremember falling in love with it a while back but I haven't read it in a while, guess I better :D

  • SilverMuse603

    Ah, I remember when I fell for Bleach. I blasted through episode after episode until I reached the first filler arc. I made it only two episodes into the Bount arc, and I burned out. After the ride the Soul Society Rescue arc put you through, I felt that the momentum just came to a screeching halt. I didn't touch Bleach for a while after that. 'Til a year and a half ago, that is. I started reading the manga. I tore that thing in probably record time. I love the Bleach manga, and I have since bought the whole damn thing in physical releases. Good stuff.

    I've seen a few episodes of Naruto, and I wasn't taken in by it either. Then eventually, I got around to reading it. Now, I love it even more than Bleach. It has a completely different pace to it. I enjoyed the first 28 volumes of the series (when Naruto is a young'un), but I wasn't head-over-heels as my friends said I would be. Once you enter the next part of the series though (Naruto Shippuden, in the anime), I was consumed by it. The foundations laid out in the first "half" of the series ultimately paid off. Naruto himself went from being one of my least favorite characters (he was such a bratty kid...) to my second favorite. The series became such an emotional rollercoaster. I'm already a habitual nailbiter, and many a nail was lost during some of those battle sequences. Plus, the series actually wrung a few tears from me not once, but TWICE. Only one other manga has ever made me cry (Gakuen Alice), so props to Kishimoto-sensei for breaking through the icy wall around my heart.

    Everyone has different preferences, but I just thought I would offer that since I was turned off by the anime as well. I'm glad I didn't give up on the series though because the manga is truly excellent.

    If I may offer another recommendation for shounen, try either reading Fullmetal Alchemist or watching Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Brotherhood follows the manga to a T, and the voice acting is SUPERB. It's incredible, and I have never seen more badass female characters in one series before. Ever. I loved every moment of FMA. It's a great shounen series for people who don't typically like shounen. :)

  • Stephanie Barr

    The Bount arc is my least favorite save the Fullbring arc (though I liked the series end). But I loved the series so much I pushed through them. I actually really liked the Zampacto arc, but it's not all there yet on hulu. I've bought everything up until then in English (and will buy the rest when they are available). I like the movies, too, particularly the last one that comes out in English in December. Bleach has made me cry several times (and, in fact, that's true of almost all of my favorite animes and most of my favorite mangas - if one can read the sixteenth volume of Tokyo Crazy Paradise with dry eyes [I've read the series at least half a dozen times and cry every time], well, I can't see how it can be done). I'm buying the Bleach mangas as they come out in 3-in-1 volumes. I have the first 3/9 volumes and have preordered the next two or three of them.

    I don't think I have the patience with Naruto. I'd tried reading a year or so ago, long before I tried the manga and was bored still even earlier. With the anime, I went more than a season and still couldn't stand the characters or the pacing. Perhaps the manga would be different if I can get into it far enough. We'll see.

    I've seen quite a bit of Fullmetal Alchemist since my sister and ex-husband both liked it(but haven't read it). Not as irksome as Naruto (for me), but it never sucked me in either. Not sure, though, if I watched Brotherhood, though. I'm willing to try it, but it's not at the top of my list at the moment. Still, I'll bear your comments in mind.

  • SilverMuse603

    Aw, you weren't wild about the Fullbring arc? I liked it, mostly because it promised to start revealing what went down with Ichigo's father, and that's something I'm really interested to hear about. I think I remember reading that the ended the anime there. Are you gonna switch over to the manga for the final arc (The Thousand Years War arc)? I didn't like the way it started out, but just in the past couple of chapters, Kubo has begun to reveal how it will tie in with Isshin's past. It's supposed to be the last arc of the whole series. I hope it ends with a bang!

  • Stephanie Barr

    I always like more character history and I loved how everyone else had matured and gotten stronger while Ichigo was "powerless", but the Fullbringers themselves just didn't impress me. It seemed to me like far too much trouble for people who just weren't badass enough to impress me, though the dude with the remember-me-like-I-want-you-to sword was pretty slick.

    The books I've bought aren't all that far along but I'm expecting I'll read it until the end.

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