Monday, April 16, 2007

OK, I'm about ready for Bleach's Soul Society arc to end.


I appreciated the manga's initial punk aesthetic & monster-of-the-week plotting. It wasn't substantial, but it was interesting and entertaining. I was even willing to put up with all the archaic half-translated Japanese gibberish - ryoka, zapakoto, etc - as part of the ambiance. What I'm increasingly unwilling to put up with is the ten volumes or so of glacial soul reaper quarreling, posturing, and meandering about, destroying spiritual architecture in the Harry Potter-meets-Kyoto-of-the-dead dramatic wasteland of the Soul Society. Enough already.

There's like a thousand members of the guards companies, and I swear the mangaka is determined to make every single one a character, complete with backstory, motivation, and moral arc. Not that I can tell them apart - they've all got peculiar archaic Japanese names, and half the time I can't even guess right about the sex of a particular individual. The author gives them numbers and rank, and I still get confused about which one is which.

I'm ready to see the whole damn place burned to the ground and re-populated with hollows. Which is another thing - what happened to fighting the hollows? They were kind of neat, in a chilling, the-abyss-stares-also sort of way. We haven't seen one except in flashbacks for lord only knows how many chapters.

Doesn't help that the effect that the mangaka is going for - Soul Society order bad, hulk smash! - is kind of... obnoxious. The "good guys" are, objectively viewed, anarchist scum. They're invading a sovereign state with the aim of abducting a duly convicted condemned criminal who's admitted her own guilt, and are provoking a rebellion & civil war among a military force which clearly was designed to keep individuals with appalling intrinsic power & violent instincts from rampaging about, destroying everything around them. The soul reapers are dangerous, morally suspect, and difficult to control even under a ferocious and unforgiving system of discipline. I shudder to think what they'd be like in a Hobbesean state of nature.

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