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Even after all these years reading this manga I still play the Number one song in the back of my head when reading the fighting sequences. While the world may not ever know why Tite Kubo decided to call this book Bleach, but at this point does anybody really care what this series is called? Anyone else find themselves calling Ichigo Bleach at times? I can’t be the only one. The stakes have never been higher. Orihime is still held captive at the hands of Aizen and Ichigo and pals have to rescue her before it’s too late. Sure it may sound like the plot of some videogame, but there is just way too much awesomeness in this series not to get all giddy about.
There just doesn’t seem to be an end to this Hueco Mundo arc and in a way it could really go on forever. The battle is getting heated as Ichigo takes a back seat in order for Tenth Company Captain Hitsugaya to take on Espada Halibiel. As his friends stall Aizen, Ichigo and Rukia fight Yammy, but will he get to his friends in time to save them? Some may see this book as nothing more than 200 pages of sword fighting action, but who reads a shonen series for the character interaction and poetic writing? You get what you paid for and that is one kick-ass battle after another with some surprises and memorable moments along the way. The art remains the same steady beat that it began with. Kubo gives it his all to blow us away with some great action sequences. Sure it’s one huge fight but I always find myself eagerly awaiting the next installment. I’m sure one day we’ll see Ichigo and gang take down Aizen and while part of me wants to see that; another part just wants the battles to go on and on. B+
Story & Art:Shuzo Oshimi
The cover of the books really hooked me. The facial expressions are so great, and the dialogue bubble just makes me feel like they truly are talking to me. With that being said, I ended up reading volumes two and three of this series in the same morning. I couldn’t stop to take a shower! I think it’s because I could experience socially unacceptable actions through the characters.
So volume two ended with the cliff hanger of what will happen when Kasuga’s classmates find that he and Nakamura completely trashed their classroom. I feel so bad for Kasuga and all the crap that’s piled on top of him throughout the story. Yeah, at first no one finds out about his vandalism spree, but his girlfriend does, although she doesn’t care and wants to stay with him. Poor guy has to choose between his goddess of a girlfriend and the psycho chick who messes with his mind. I’m betting he’s going to go for Nakumara because even though it’s COMPLETELY cool that Saeki understands Kasuga, that makes her fall from her idol status of being perfect and unattainable. Stupid boys. ;p
I give The Flowers of Evil an A not because Oshimi necessarily crafted a complex story, but because I truly enjoyed it and couldn’t stop reading it. The art is fantastic, and I always appreciate when an author includes notes at the end of each chapter. They really help me understand that it’s not just a story about being perverted. It’s about the darkness of youth, and I completely relate to that.
The very thing I have to point out is that the chapter picture of Luffy on the very first page is probably the worst picture I’ve seen Oda draw of his main character. He might have been on an off day, but the way Luffy is standing there and his legs just look tiny compare to his upper body…yes I know the guy is made of rubber! This story is so beloved over in Japan that fans up roared when Oda announced that he was halfway through, and I can see why. I am definitely going to miss it. Even though Oda has assistants to aide him in producing this story, I am still impressed that he has been going strong all these years with stories that are chock full of detailed art and tons of dialogue. Alright, soo Luffy and his crew finally make it to Fish Man Island, which reminded me of the scene in Star Wars episode 1, where the Dungans live. I can’t believe I made an episode 1 reference. So in a series of flashbacks we learn more about Jimbei and Arlong and their relation to the fish people. We are introduced to a group called the Celestial Dragons. It’s really cool to see Oda tying all these cultures and characters together. I noticed in the last few volumes that the art seems to be cluttered on some pages, just way too much going on. And while sure the art is very distinctive with accentuated features on the characters; it is still simple. But come on, it’s not really the art that makes us love these characters; it’s the amazing and emotional storyline from cover to freaking cover!
The third volume of my favorite series by CLAMP kicks off with a bang! Yeah with that awesome image of Kamui’s aunt giving birth to one of the sacred swords!! Back in the day when I collected Animerica magazine I would make sure the first place I went was the middle of the magazine to read the current installment of X/1999, as it was called during its initial publication. The story is about the end of the world as it comes about in the year 1999. Keep in mind these were originally published in 1996 so things were looking bad for Y2K back then.
This volume packs the same kind of action that the previous two volumes did. To be honest this is where they say the shit hits the fan! We have Kotori dead, Fuma has become the Other Kamui and is on the side of the Dragons of Earth and his goal is to kill Kamui so he can become the one and only! We have Kamui going into a coma that only Subaru can get him out of. Did I mention the awesome fight between Subaru and Sei! There are some awesome flashbacks of Tokyo Babylon in this volume too. There is a really touching scene with Kotori in a dream sequence….that give her character closure after her gruesome death.
The series was put on hiatus with volume 18 and fans, including myself have been waiting anxiously for the true ending of this masterpiece. This version includes the first three volumes along a glossary, mini character bios, notes by the creators, and over 20 pages of gorgeous color artwork and title pages. Finally after all these years, I get to see the credits of who really does what in the world of CLAMP. Who is the art director, who is the story writer? They finally broke it down at the end of the book and I get to see who is who. Thank you Viz for bringing this book not only back into print, but for giving us the cake and the icing. Volume four cannot come soon enough! A+