By Leroy Douresseaux
May 27, 2007 - 12:30
BLEACH, VOL. 19
CARTOONIST: Tite Kubo
ISBN: 978-1-4215-1043-9; Rated “‘T’ for Teen”
216 pp., B&W, $7.95
Bleach, Vol. 19 falls under VIZ Media’s “Shonen Jump” lineup. As you may know, shonen manga are comics for teenage boys, but there’s no reason that only boys should enjoy this fantastic fight comic from mangaka Tite Kubo.
Ichigo “Strawberry” Kurosaki was born with the gift to see ghosts. After his family was attacked by a malevolent lost soul (called a “Hollow”), Ichigo becomes a Soul Reaper, a warrior who helps souls find peace. However, he became a Soul Reaper when another Reaper, a young woman named Rukia Kuchiki, transferred her powers to him. But this transaction came at a price. Another Soul Reaper, Byakuya Kuchiki, wants to kill Rukia, and now Ichigo faces down Byakuya for the fate of his friend in an epic battle that may very well tear apart the sky above them and the ground beneath them.
Coming into the 19th volume of a massively popular manga series is simply intimidating. Don’t let that stop you. Just dig right into this sucker for mind-blowing duels, where martial prowess and mystical power converge and for eye-popping visuals that are as exhilarating as the best Hollywood special effects. Bleach is like a giant explosive cake that brings together such provocative ingredients as the classic manga like Lone Wolf and Cub, Frank Miller’s early 1980’s Daredevil comics, and wuxia martial arts films such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero. At a cover price of $7.95 for over two hundred pages of visceral thrills and kinetic action, Bleach offers more value for your money than any American comic book… period.