I started reading Bleach
kept blogging about it. Then I watched eps. 1-9 of the anime
. Then I stalled out for a while. Then I saw it at the library. Ahhhh, library, how I love you! How you are such a portal to new and addictive series!
Anyhow, Kurosaki Ichigo is just your normal teenage manga guy -- he has bright orange hair and as such, is teased at school, is extremely grumpy, and, oh yeah, he can see ghosts and has a Tragic Past with regards to his dead mother. Somehow, he gets the powers of Soul Reaper Kuchiki Rukia, and she basically stays to train him to use them to defeat Hollows, dead spirits who have become malicious. Rukia illustrates various fine points of the Soul Reaper universe with bunnies. Rukia is gruff, no-nonsense, honorable, grumpy, and extremely cool, and does a hilarious impersonation of a standard shoujo heroine when she wants something from Ichigo or his classmates. Rukia is possibly the least shoujo person ever.
I adore Rukia.
I like Ichigo well enough, but I actually like most of the supporting characters better, particularly his sister Karin, who routinely tries to beat up their dad. And I didn't think that I would like D-cup class airhead Orihime, except she's airheaded in a very peculiar way, and I like her oddness. And I adore Tatsumi, who is very attached to Orihime and very protective of her. I also adore Chad, who is large and muscular and scary-looking, except he has such a soft heart that he will rescue doomed parakeets.
The story arcs themselves aren't actually that interesting, but I adore Kubo's artwork. It's somewhat angular and rough, but still stylized, and he does the best grumpy chibis ever.
Oh, also, there's a teddy bear/lion plushie that thinks he's in love with Rukia. Rukia, naturally, reacts to this by ignoring him and taping him to toilets.
Have I mentioned I adore Rukia?
I've actually had a hard time getting into Naruto
because of the art, despite the fact that Kishimoto's story and characters are more interesting to me. But Kubo draws fight scenes that I can actually follow, and even if I do get bored during all the fight scenes, there are usually enough funny moments that I am thoroughly entertained.
Also, I adore Rukia.
I actually love watching all the characters, particularly Urahara of the somewhat illegal storefront, and there's something about the zany energy among all of them and the extremely expressive faces that totally gets to me.
I do realize I am entering a somewhat problematic arc of the manga now, but.... I can't help it! The chibis, they kill!