Bleach overall is a series that tries its hand at making stock shonen norms a little fresher and more unique. Take for example the lead character Ichigo, who while at first glance would be your ordinary shounen lead, instead was portrayed from the start to be actually quite intelligent. Or Rukia, who isn't the standard for the main female, or even Orihime, who isn't quite a secondary interest. This even extends to values shounen series seem to love, placing more emphasis on instinct for battle over protecting others. However while uniqueness is something many should aspire to, the problem lies in its execution. While Ichigo is portrayed less standard, he still becomes part of scenes that make him look like a moron, and much the same with Rukia which can be jarring. Nevertheless it's this, in addition to the varied and interesting characters, that helps create the great pull of the series in the beginning, lasting well into the Soul Society arc. With the interesting villain being established in the end too, it created enough of a pull for long time in its run. However lately the biggest conflict of Ichigo placing more emphasis on love of battle as the motivation to fight has lately gone to the extent where he makes choices that either would place his friends in grave danger had they been allowed to pass or ignore them entirely even when they are in grave danger. His 'Cut off My arm and Leg' bit for a fair fight and when he had an opponent healed to get a fair fight when he knew two of his friends were dying at that very moment being the worst examples. The interesting villain making questionable choices about his 'allies' and various other shenanigans certainly haven't helped, to say nothing of Power Level issues. Were this not bad enough, the incredibly slow pace the story has grinded to for this current arc makes things even harder to bear with. Fight after fight for the last year, no end in sight, and with not a single one of the heroes dying any tension that could have been helped cope with this has long since been lost. All in all Bleach tries to go about many different cliches differently, but while that gets it off to a good start that alone doesn't make it last to the critical eye in the long run.
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