Dec 5, 2009 0
Bleach is a reasonable Shonen Jump property that makes for a reasonable anime. Animation-wise, while it doesn’t reach the highs of Naruto, it also doesn’t plummet to the lows. Noriyuki Abe, directed the thematically similar Yu Yu Hakusho in the 90s and he’s a steady hand for this sort of thing.
The manga suffers at little from the fact that it seems that Tite Kubo wasn’t expecting it to be this popular, and so after going through what now seems to be the pacing of a SJ property (opening that could be a one-off story, then gradual lengthening plot arcs, and slow to introduce main antagonist) it’s fallen into a holding pattern of repetition of story beats. And obviously the anime inherits that, along with the added problem of inserting filler arcs into a story that is now just one interminable drawn out fight.
Unfortunately the one main thing the manga has going for it – the sense of design – doesn’t survive the translation to animation that well. We get some of it in the openings, but the episode animation tends to be meat and potatoes work.
That said, if you like shonen action shows, it’s worth watching the up to the end of the Soul Society arc as the pacing is very strong on those episodes. Those episodes clear through source material at least twice as fast as Naruto or One Piece would.