Manga Spotlight of the Day: Bleach 3-in-1 – Omnibus Edition – Vol. 1 (Shonen Jump Manga)

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TITLE: Bleach 3-in-1 – Omnibus Edition – Vol. 1

YEAR: June 2011 (US Release Date)

COMPANY: VIZ Media, LLC/Shonen Jump Manga

Story & Art by Tite Kubo (久保 宣章)


“Bleach”… It’s definitely one of the most successful anime and manga titles in Japan and well-known to anime/manga fans all over the world.

“Bleach” has a strong fan following and since its run began back in 2001, series creator, writer and illustrator Noriaki “Tite” Kubo has been hard at work, continuing to crank chapter after chapter for Weekly Shonen Jump in Japan and with the success of the series extending out to films, OVA’s, feature films and video games and other merchandise.

Because of its airing on the Cartoon Network and it being featured on Shonen Jump magazine, “Bleach” has gone on to become a fan favorite in America but also fans all over the world.

BUT… what if you are a person who came into “Bleach” just recently.  You feel that there are too many manga, anime and video games to read and watch that there is surely no way for you to start from the very beginning.

Not to worry as “Bleach” has received the 3-in-1 omnibus treatment from Viz Media and available now is the first “Bleach 3-in-1” which includes volumes 1-3 of the popular manga series.

A brief spoiler-less summary what “Bleach” is about

“Bleach” is a story about a guy named Ichigo Kurasaki who has a gift in which he can see spirits.  One day, he saw a Soul Reaper (one who can govern the flow of souls between the human world and the afterlife) named Rukia Kukichiki who has come to find a Hollow (a lost soul).  She ends up being wounded in battle when she tried to defend Ichigo and so she illegally transfers her reiatsu (spiritual pressure) to him, so that he can defeat the Hollow.  But during the process, he nearly takes all of her energy and becomes a Soul Reaper himself and defeats the Hollow quite easily.

So, the first storyline arc features Rukia now powerless stranded in the human world until she has the time to recover her true powers, while Ichigo fills in and battles Hollows in her place.  And with each fight, Rukia starts to notice something special about Ichigo’s abilities.

Meanwhile, we get to see how friends of Ichigo also have some ties with the supernatural.  From his classmate Orihime Inoue , to his tall friend with immense strength, Chad Sado and the mod known as Kon, we also get to meet friends that help Ichigo and Rukia take on the various hollows that are attacking humans and souls.

“Bleach 3-in-1: Volumes 1-3” is just the beginning but it gives readers an idea of how Ichigo became a soul reaper and how even at a early stage, he is able to demonstrate great ability.  But not just Ichigo, but also his friends.

When it comes to the “Bleach” franchise, there is no doubt of how popular the series is in America.

For me, I was in the very same position as many who are just coming to the series right now.   I saw samples of it while watching “Naruto” when they were both airing on the Cartoon Network but my first foray into “Bleach” was the video game, “Bleach Heat the Soul 2” to be exact.

I knew nothing about the characters although I was aware of the bands and music artists that performed the theme songs for the series, I really didn’t know anything and there were way too many manga and anime series out there.

But with patience, I was able to catch reruns of the anime series on TV and eventually became more interested in the series.

The cool thing about the Viz “3-in-1” manga series is that everyone who have been weary of jumping in with “Bleach” can now do so and instead of spending $30, for these 3-in-1, you only spend $15 ala retail (price may be cheaper on online stores).

But with this first 3-in-1, you get to learn how Ichigo became a “temporary” soul reaper and how he met Rukia.  But you get to meet characters like Ichigo’s friend Orihime Inoue, the significant of the flower hairpin that she wears and we also get to meet Yasutora “Chad” Sado and his unique abilities but also getting to know why a stuffed lion known as Kon can talk.

We get to meet Kisuke Urahara that owns the Urahara Shop (an illegal shop that tends to soul reapers) and a man with a mysterious past.  We meet his assistants, the bulky Tessai Tsukabishi and the two young (but powerful) kids Jinta Hanakiri and Ururu Tsumugiya.

But also getting to know Ichigo and his family which includes his crazy father Isshin and his younger twin sisters Karin and Yuzu.  With Karin, having the ability to see hollows.

And also their high school friends who seem to be spiritually aware such as the dramatic Keigo Asano, the older women loving Mizuiro Kojima and Orihime’s best friend Tatsuki Arisawa.

Every character, no matter if they are supporting characters or family member or  friend of Ichigo or Orihime’s, will play a part in future storylines of “Bleach” and so, this first volume is quite important in the fact that it does help establish who the characters are and also focusing on those relationships but also the development of Ichigo, Rukia, Orihime and Chad which will be a constant theme from the beginning to the present volumes of “Bleach”.

Overall, “Bleach 3-in-1” is a fantastic collection for those wanting to learn more about the series and if you want to start playing the video games or wanting to watch the anime series or just wanting a good action-based series with cool characters, you really can’t go wrong  with “Bleach” because you are getting three volumes for a pretty good price!

Definitely recommended!


 

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