Many claim Bleach used to be good or original. I honestly believe these people have never seen another Shounen work. It already takes a lot of ideas from fellow supernatural fighting series Yu Yu Hakusho and Ushio And Tora, including the Mac Guffin gem in YYH's second movie. The parts that aren't "homages?" Flaws in the plot like going nowhere, shoveling in characters, and shameless fan-whoring are all present as early as Ishida's introduction. A Menos Grande appears only to walk off. Orihime's powers themselves are pointless characters. The initial tension between Ichigo and Ishida is rather unsubtle, as being in the presence of Ichigo's massive sword gives Ishida a 6ft bowner. Ichigo is in pain until Ishida shoots off his excess energy. Really, Kubo? Why don't you just have guys smearing translucent sword-goo on oh god he did. It continues in the Soul Society arc where every other time there are two characters, they practically scream "You can ship us! This exchange is nothing but fanfic junk food. Let's flashback to more inconsequential material just to see who else hung out with who." The arc is a long crawl as it dumps in more characters and cheap possibilities. It doesn't help that 90% of the humor goes "Casually say something absurd," "ANGRY SHOUTING!" rubbing in just how interchangeably shallow the cast is. In fact, Aizen has a power that specifically negates planning and storytelling. Not that I look for those in a fighting series. Unfortunately Bleach isn't very good at fights. Most shounen battles have choreography and something resembling strategy, even when it's wacky like One Piece. The three times strategy has come up in Bleach, it was immediately shown to not matter. If a character keeps fighting monsters with steel-like skin they can't scratch, but has fire and ice attacks, they will never think to apply them. Instead Bleach prefers as many fights be an endless haze of clashing downward swings and cheesy flash steps until one side reveals a power of instant victory while striking an effortless pose. Or end indecisive. In its 48 volumes, good choreography has happened maybe four times. While the pacing has worsened and it keeps re-recycling its plot, Bleach was never actually decent or creative to begin with. Luckily I always enjoyed it for how terrible it is. In that regard it is aging well.
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