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Beach Official Character Book: SOULs
Beach Official Character Book: SOULs
Anime Book Review

Cliff Notes is a literary guide that is generally useful for students or readers studying nuances of a particular title or series, so reading through cliff notes explains everything about a particular title. If readers don't fear massive spoilers, then it is useful. For a reader of Bleach's Official Character Book, the assumption is they are fans for this series, and want to be reminded more of why they became fans of the series in the first place.

Since it began its serialization since 2001, Bleach as a Shonen Jump title has enjoyed a strong fan base population, and has been ranked among the top ten series for Japanese and American viewers. One point about shonen series is the immense cast of characters, and adventures that can happen. So if fans want to keep up with so many characters, there is typically a character book/guidebook published.

Beach Official Character Book: SOULsA character book has similarities and differences to an art book. There are more than images in a character book, as this book is a depository of information that sums up the series as an information book. There are color images, bonus comics, Tite Kubo and Masakazu Morita interviews, translations, chronologies, and countless pages of recaping or previewing the first twenty one volumes of this fifty volume continuing series.

So if you are a novice to the world of Bleach including what the Soul Society is, then this is the book for you. If you have consumed this series' other media and want to zip through the manga, SOULs is a good option. SOULs is the first of four character data books that has been published in Japan.

Reviewed by Linda Yau, September 2011

Below: A double page spread from Beach Official Character Book: SOULs, to view at full size just click on the image.

Beach Official Character Book: SOULs

Anime DVD Review

You know, if FLCL had been less science fiction and more supernatural, it could be Bleach.

Ichigo Kurisaki has enough problems without dealing with Lovecraftian horrors. It's not enough that he's a 15 year old, high-school freshman. Whether he likes it or not he also has to be a Soul Reaper. He's got to hunt down Hollows, evil spirits who devour wayward ghosts. (The thing is, those wayward ghosts? It turns out when they get devoured by Hollows, they become Hollows. And if that isn't bad enough, if a ghost hangs out too long in the material world, it becomes a Hollow anyway. This is for all of you who didn't know that there was a "Catch-22" for ghosts.)

BleachThe Soul Reaper job was supposed to be Rukia Kuchiki's. It would have stayed hers if it wasn't for the injury. She was forced to transfer her Soul Reaper powers to Ichigo. Now she's forced to stay over his place and sleep in his closet. The thing that gets her is that Ichigo is getting very good at this in a very short period of time. She wants to know what's up with that.

Can Ichigo battle the forces of evil? Can he free his town from supernatural menaces? Can he get a moments peace in his own household? And what does any of this have to do with Bleach?

The Bleach anime series is based on a very popular manga created by Kubo Tite. It pulls many a twist and turn as it combines action, comedy and adventure. If you're into horror/fantasy adventure with a dash of the absurd, then you better check out Bleach.

Reviewed by Lawrence Sufrin, November 2006

Below: Promotional artwork from Bleach.


Below: Scenes from the Bleach anime television series.




Bleach Plot Summary
Kurosaki Ichigo is a 15 year old boy that has an ability to see ghosts/spirits. Because of his ability, he is able to meet a female death god (a.k.a Shinigami) named Kuchiki Rukia. To save his family and friends from unwanted soul-eating spirits (Hollows), Rukia transfers her Shinigami powers to Ichigo. As Rukia takes on a human shell, together they solve mysteries involving spirits and hollows until from the spirit world comes 2 other shinigamis explaining that it is illegal to transfer Shinigami powers to humans and Rukia exceeded the time limit to stay in the human world. After they sentence her death for breaking the laws, Ichigo snaps and swears to everyone he will retrieve Rukia by breaking into the spirit world.

Bleach Website Links:

Tokyo TV Bleach Official Website (Japanese)

J-Bleach.com (Japanese)

The Bleach Portal (Bleach Fan Website)

Bleach Forums (Bleach Fan Website)

Bleach Manga Community (Bleach Fan Website)

Anime News Network entry for Bleach (TV)

Bleach (manga) entry at Wikipedia

Bleach (Manga)
Bleach (Manga)
Manga Review

Despite the title, Bleach has nothing to do with getting your socks as white as they can be. More likely it'll scare your socks right off.

In explaining this manga, an overused quote must once again be employed. Yes, we hate to tell you this, but Ichigo Kurisaki sees dead people all the time. If there's one thing a healthy, 15 year old, high-school freshman doesn't want, it's a sixth sense to muck things up. Bad enough he has family problems (Arguments tend to turn into knock-down drag-outs.) Now he's attracting bad elements of the unearthly kind. Ichigo is being pursued by an evil spirit known as a Hollow. This Hollow is after him and his family. Whatever plans for a normal life Ichigo had flew out the window. And the ghosts are flying in.

Bleach (Manga)The appearance of Rukia Kuchiki isn't helping matters. She's a Shinigami (a Soul Reaper) on a mission to stop the pesky Hollow and others like it. One thing leads to another, and Rukia is injured. She's forced to transfer her Soul Reaper powers to Ichigo. Not an easy thing to do. It requires thrusting her magic, "Soul Slayer" sword (a Zanpakutou) into his chest. Painful, but effective. Ichigo becomes a force to be reckoned with.

Can Ichigo battle the forces of evil? Can he free his town from supernatural menaces? Can he get a moments peace in his own household? And what does any of this have to do with Bleach?

Tite Kubo's (the pen name for Noriaki Kubo) artwork is powerful and pulls you into the story, creating a manga which has taken the world by storm - combining action, horror and a good dose of hilarity. If you're into horror/fantasy adventure with a dash of the absurd, then you better check out Bleach. Your socks will never be the same again.

Reviewed by Lawrence Sufrin, May 2006


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