Anime

Bleach Special One Shot

Howl from the Jaws of Hell

It’s the 20th anniversary of Bleach and Weekly Shonen Jump’s 35th issue decided to celebrate with a special Bleach One Shot manga chapter. The last chapter of Bleach saw the Kurosaki family open the Kurosaki Clinic, Yasutora “Chad” Sado becomes a famous boxer, Uryu Ishida became a doctor, Ichigo Kurosaki and Orihime Inoue have a son, Kazui Kurosaki, while, Rukia Kuchiki and Renji Abarai have a daughter, Ichika Abarai. The Bleach One Shot opens in the World of the Living. Apparently, Kazui keeps leaving his house during the night to meet some strange man. He takes him to a shrine and opens a gate to Soul Society.

It’s not clear how Kazui knows how to open this gate, not to mention how his powers work. If we assume his power is a combination Orhime’s and Ichigo’s then he may have very few limits. One issue I’ve always had with the children of powerful characters like Naruto (Boruto) and Ichigo is the next generation is always more powerful and their parents were already overpowered to begin with. In Soul Society, Ichika trains with Madarame at his Martial Arts Dojo. She’s arrogant, claiming that Madarame has “improved.” For his part, Madarame is well . . . abusive. He keeps calling her a “little shit.” Maybe I’m getting too old but I didn’t like him calling her names, at least “little shit.”

Ichika notices an odd hollow
Ichika notices an odd hollow

A New Soul Society

Anyway, Soul Society is preparing for the Soul Funeral Festival. Renji tells Ichigo that it’s a ritual that takes place every 12 years after the death of a Captain. Kubo uses the fact that Captains rarely die to cover the fact that we never heard of this ritual. It’s not a feasible argument, but it’s not necessary to make the argument either. I would have simply made the Soul Funeral Festival a new ritual and I think it still would have worked. After the Thousand Year War, Captain Commander, Captain Unohana, and Captain Unitake all died. Each one will receive a ritual. The vice captains capture a hollow in the world of the living and kill it in front of the grave of the captain. While the ritual may be an old tradition, Soul Society has been developing new technologies, TV’s, phones, and social media.

Rukia mentions that Soul Society now has TV’s invented by Urahara. Captain Kurotsuchi takes issue with this assumption. While using his new invention, holograms projected from a creepy bug. Kurotsuchi has implanted one of these bugs in each of the divisions barracks. Kurotsuchi tells the Vice-Captains it “time to capture the Hollow.” Kubo introduces two new Vice-Captains, Rindo and YuYu. Rindo is deaf and Yuyu has an unhealthy obsession with gyarus. Ichika sneaks into the World of the Living, where she has little time rejoice as a odd looking hollow appears unnoticed. None of the hollows have reiatsu making it impossible to detect without seeing them. Rindo’s Shikai is interesting, because he’s deaf, he can’t speak and needs to draw on his sword to give commands.

Rinko’s Shikai seems to be inspired by origami

Szayelaporro Granz returns

It appears he’s writes “taka (Hawk),” and his Shikai releases a group of hawks that tear the flesh of a hollow. Yuyu’s powers seem to be new. She doesn’t have a sword, instead uses her well manicured nails to create bear that takes chunks out of the hollows. Akon gets a moment. The third seat of the 12th division was rare in combat during the Bleach series. As the Vice-President of Shinigami Research and Development Institute, Akon uses science more than a sword. He pours a substance on the ground, he counts a series of numbers then utters the command “Ron (melt).” When Renji prepares to join the fray, he’s stopped by an old enemy, Szayelaporro Granz. The former 8th Espada was killed by Mayuri Kurotsuchi way back in the Hueco Mundo arc.

He’s been freed from Hell. When Szayelaporro seeks revenge on Renji and wants to start with his daughter. Ichigo interferes. Szayelaporro who never actually fought Ichigo threatens to kill him. Will-o-wisp from hell begin to fill the air in Soul Society. Kubo introduces the concept of “Reii” or “spiritual authority.” According to Shunsui, it’s a “unit of measure that used to be utilized by nobles,” . . . “it represents the concentration of reiatsu that resides in reishi.” the average division member is a Reii grade of 20, with Vice-Captains between 4 and 5, and Captains grade 3 or higher. When a soul reaper dies their bodies reishi returns to the Earth in Soul Society. However, Captain have a high concentration of reiatsu making a return to the Earth impossible.

Is Bleach Special One Shot just the beginning

In order for them to return the “Soul Funeral Ritual” must be performed. However instead of being sent to the Earth they’re sent to Hell. In the World of the Living, Szayelaporro explains the rest. The balance “has been broken.” Soul Society sent too much reiatsu to Hell, allowing the mouth of Hell to be forced open from the other side. Somehow Szayelaporro is able to return as a result. The chapter ends with a title page that seems to announce a new Bleach arc, Howl from the Jaws of Hell arc.

Considering how this chapter ended, I willing to bet that there will be at least a mini series at some point. Although, I’m also hoping that it is. Bleach Special One Shot has expanded the universe, but some of the additions felt forced. Tite Kubo’s art remains on of, if not the best in manga. Kubo seems to want at least one character with an disability. It was Tosen (blindness) now it’s Rindo (deafness.) Adding new ways to perform Shikai, non-sword combat, new characters, and ideas, Tite Kubo has inject new life into his stories franchise. It would be a shame if he didn’t complete the arc.

Manga

Burn The Witch Chapter 1: Recap and Review

The cover of Chapter 1

Chapter 1 – Witches Blow A New Pipe

In 2018 Tite Kubo’s Burn the Witch one-shot was released, the series is linked to the Bleach universe and features the same art style. Burn the Witch will be a limited series with only four chapters ending with the release of the anime on October 2nd. The anime will be a “theatrical anime project,” that will be streamed in several episodes on Crunchyroll. Chapter 1 of Burn the Witch is 60 pages long, although it’s unclear whether the other chapters will be. 

Chapter 1, Witches Blow A New Pipe, reintroduces us to the main characters Ninny Spangcole and Noel Niihashi. Ninny is a famous pop star the lead singer of a girl band Cecile Die Twice, she’s rude and abrasive. Noel is a super serious student. She begins the chapter chacing a Bud Buck, a creature that resembles a deer with bat wings. They’re interrupted by a massive batlike creature. Noel uses the spell Blue Spark to defend herself and the Buck. Ninny arrives and uses Flash Bumper: Spell 44 that captures Noel and the Buck in a net. The biggest threat to London are dragons who are responsible for “72 percent of all deaths.” The Reverse London Natural Dragon Management Agency Wing Bind is responsible for conserving and controlling the dragon population. 

Burn the Witch: Tite Kubo manga one-shot review


The World of Burn the Witch

Noel and Ninny are members of Wing Bind after each job members are rewarded. Noel loses achievement points for picking a flower off the Buck while Ninny gains some for saving them. Suddenly, an explosion occurs in a distance tower as Balgo clings to the tail a fire breathing “dragon canine,” Osushi. Neither Ninny nor Noel cares to help him until their told they will get overtime. Ordinary citizens are forbidden from interacting with dragons unless they pass a test. When humans come into contact with dragons they accumulate a substance in their bodies called dragotoxin. The Wing Bind has a mechanism to test for this toxin by requiring the human to lick the screen. 

Humans and Dragons that violate the Dragon Contact Prohibition Act are sentenced to 100 years in prison or they will be executed. Finally, if a human develops a high enough dragotoxin they become Dragonclad. They are considered “infected” with a disease whose most significant symptom of the dragonclad is attracting dragons. Balgo is a dragonclad and is suddenly attacked by a massive dragon. Ninny uses Barrier Tape to seal off the area and Noel uses Spell 4: Stun Ball. Assuming they had subdued the dragon, Noel calls headquarters for their reward. However, the dragon is a Dark Dragon. Ninny calls for an emergency blockade, meanwhile, Noel attempts to call the Sabres. However, Ninny stops her from calling, planning to fight the Dark Dragon themselves to “prove how strong they are,” and become Sabres. 

The Dark Dragon

Unlike normal dragons, Dark Dragons target humans. Wing Binds are allowed to kill Dark Dragons. Ninny charges at the Dark Dragon, while Noel uses a small gun and fires off Spell 75. Elsewhere, a group discusses the presence of a Dark Dragon. They appear to be heads of each of the different Corps, present are Bruno Bangnyfe of the Magic Circle Corps: Inks, Roy B. Dipper of the Incantation Corps: Anthems, Cquntnire Milieve of the Liturgy Corps: Sacreds, Tronbone Takkinen of the Minstrel Corps: Pipers, Sullivan Squire of the Tactical Corps: Sabres, Harry Shayk of the Accounting Corps: Billionaires, Wolfgang Slashhaut of Personnel Affairs Divine Punishment Corps: Gallows, and Saka Rynn of the Development Corps: Patchworks who was absent. They conclude that Balgo Parks should be eliminated. 

I’ve been excited about this series for years and it didn’t disappoint. I have always loved the art style of Tite Kubo, although his story choices aren’t always great. However, he does create interesting universes. Burn the Witch chapter 1 is largely an introduction to that universe. Chapter 1 reintroduces our main characters while introducing several new ones and setting up the conflict. Each character feels real and is visually distinct. This chapter could have felt overwhelming with all the new jargon but I thought it was paced well. That said, it’s disappointing to hear that this series is going to be limited, but considering Tite Kubo’s health issues I guess this is the most he can do. There’s still a lot to explain, but I’m excited for the rest of this series. 

Burn the Witch can be read for free on Mangaplus

Misc

Bleach Returns in 2021 and Burn the Witch gets serialized

The cover of the Burn the Witch manga one shot.
Burn the Witch One Shot Cover

Bleach rumors have been circulating the internet for years. Now they have been confirmed. Weekly Shonen Jump announced the return of Bleach on Twitter. Shonen Jump will announce the news on YouTube, with streaming starting at 9:45 am on March 21, 2020. Written and illustrated by Tite Kubo, Bleach was a serialized manga series in Weekly Shonen Jump. The manga ran from August 2001 through August 2016 and has sold over 90 million copies. An animated TV series ran from 2004 to 2012. However, the anime ended before the final arc. 

The final Bleach arc the Thousand-Year Blood War will get an anime adaptation. Tite Kubo’s Burn the Witch will be serialized starting in the summer and get an anime adaptation starting in the fall. For those who are unfamiliarBurn the Witch manga follows two witches, Noel and Spangle, working in the Western branch of Soul Society. As members of Wing Bind, they protect and control the dragons in Reverse London. They battle Dragons called Disguisers, which take control over corpses. The series takes place 12 years after the Blood War. While I have my issues with the Thousand-Year Blood War arc I can’t wait to see it animated. I hoped that Burn the Witch manga would get serialized as well. 

The first thing you’ll notice between Burn the Witch and Bleach is how similar they are. This shouldn’t be surprising considering Tite Kubo is the creator and they exist in the same universe. I’m excited to find out about the Wing Bind, the Conservation Rangers, and how they connect to the Soul Reapers. It’s possible that characters from Bleach (particularly the next generation) will make cameo appearances. Hopefully, we will get more insight into the Soul Society. If you haven’t done so already check out my review of Burn the Witch

Lists · Top 5

My Top 5 Manga Artists

Personally, I’ve always preferred anime to manga. Animation is more dynamic and expressive. The fluid nature of my favorite kind of animation, Sakuga, has particularly captivated me. Action sequences are far more exciting when animated. That’s not to say that 2D art can’t do such things. However, it’s much more difficult. Like comic books, when deciding to read a manga series the art style is more important to me that the story. I will even read a manga series with an average story if the art is good. So what do I think constitutes good art?

Generally, manga is presented in black and white. This means unlike American comics, the shadow takes a more prominent role. Without the advantage of color, an artist must use black, white and gray to convey depth. Lines become more important. The use of hatching and cross-hatching, along with white space can help a manga-ka distinguish their artwork from others. With hard work and technical proficiency, artists can make a name for themselves. Personally, I look for good character designs, details, I favor realism but I don’t mind surreal art. I managed to collect at least 20 artists, but here is the first five:


5. Inio Asano (Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction)

Asano combines detailed backgrounds with childlike characters. His characters are notable for having eyes that are far apart, but his characters don’t look deformed. Asano’s most recent work is the seinen manga series, Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction. A spaceship appears over Tokyo three years prior to the beginning of the story. However, the story focuses on humans not the aliens. It’s a brutal series (for the aliens) but worth the read.


4. Makoto Yukimura (Vinland Saga)

Vinland Saga became a big anime hit last year. While it feature amazing animation, it’s Makoto Yukimura’s art style that stands out. His artwork isn’t too realistic, but has a high level of realism. This type of art is important for depicting the historical setting and characters of the series. His art often features a great deal of detail.


3. Eiichiro Oda (One Piece)

One Piece is one of the best manga of all time. Eiichiro Oda’s pirate series has a distinct art-style. He plays with portion. Many of his characters are extremely tall with long limbs (but they’re not giants), some of Oda’s characters are top-heavy with short legs. One criticism I would have of Oda’s art style is that his female characters are too similar.


2. Tite Kubo (Bleach)

One thing that you may not notice right away about Tite Kubo’s art in Bleach is that he doesn’t draw backgrounds. Or at least he rarely draws them. This results in a lot of white space being used. Kubo makes great use of his white space often filling it with characters with heavy shadow.


1. Ryoichi Ikegami (Crying Freeman)

I consider Ryoichi Ikegami to be one of the best manga-ka. His artwork is stunning and detailed. His characters feel real and the clothing he draws is amazing. One thing I notice is that Ikegami is one of the manga-ka that features many black characters. Part of what makes Ikegami’s art style so distinct is that each character looks different from the other. However, that difference is more subtle than other manga. I would encourage you to read his Crying Freeman manga series.


Do you have a favorite manga-ka and/or art style? Why do you think you were drawn to them?

Manga

Burn the Witch: Tite Kubo manga one shot review

Seemly following on the heels of Hiro Mashima, creator of Fairy Tail and now Eden’s Zero, Tite Kubo, creator of Bleach, has now released a one shot called Burn the Witch. While, not a full manga series yet, one shots are often 15-60 pages. They tell a complete story, hoping to garner enough support to be turned into a full series. The process is similar to a television pilot.

The 62 page manga, Burn the Witch as the title suggests is about witches in London. Dragons are the main adversaries in this manga. Dragon were once reasonable for “72 % of all deaths,” the residents of “front London” were unable to see the dragons, but citizens from “reverse London” could. The story focuses on to witches, Wing Bind 1st order conservation ranger, Niihashi Noel and 2nd order, Ninii Spangle.

The “dragons,” are varied in design and uses in reverse London. The Conductor is used for “electric generation,” the Hammerback for “minerals,” the Wooly Wally “textiles,” the Matchbox for “fuel,” the Blue Appetite for “medicines,” and the Meatball for well food. The design of the dragons a weird and original, I liked them. Ordinary citizens from reverse London are banned from coming into contact with the dragons.

This is were the witches and wizards, whom passes the exam to become a member of “the wing bind agency.” I instantly thought of Harry Potter, but that’s not a bad thing. Meanwhile, in London a dragon sprouts out of a puppy and Niihashi and Ninii are ordered to exterminate it. The dragon is called a “Dark Dragon,” when “dragons come into contact with negative human emotions,” they become a threat to humanity.

They’re intelligent and can speak “the human language.” The dragon they’re facing is a “disguiser,” a dragon that “takes over a corpse.” Balgo the obligatory perv, taking care of the “corpse,” of the puppy he named Osushi-chan, but he’s in denial about his death. Just as Ninii attempt to capture Balgo’s friend, another disguiser attacks her. The new dragon “Selvie,” believes that by eating both witches he can gain “immortality.”

Ninii claims that it’s a myth, but Selvie believes that he won’t know for sure unless eat’s them. Selvie use to be the friend of Balgo that was killed saving his life when the were 7. He was hit by a train while protecting Balgo. Selvie attacks Ninii, but Balgo blocks it and is bitten. Balgo begins the typical, “we are friends and I’m going to save you,” speech. Niihashi steps in and destroys Selvie with “Absolute Dragon Shutter.” After being bitten by a dragon, Balgo becomes a “haunted one.” Haunted ones are classified as dragons and must be protected.

I really enjoyed this one shot, it didn’t reinvent the wheel but I found it charming. While I was gravely disappointed with how Bleach ended, I hoped Kubo may learned from how poorly that series ended. The most interesting part was the last two pages of the one shot that featured a reference to “soul society,” and a not so subtle reference to “Bleach” on the last page, seen in black letters in the title “Burn the Witch.” Is the Burn the Witch universe part of the Bleach universe? Is Kubo going to create a spin-off? Time will tell, but I hope Burn the Witch becomes a series.