Bleach Vol. 21: Be My Family or Not – Reviewed!!!
Spirits, big swords and bright orange hair: what more could anyone with a love for Manga’s tasty delights ever want. If you do not understand what I am saying then I can surely confirm that this is just not for you (get with the program [DUH]).
Bleach is the story of a world in which a group of people, known as Shinigami, police the dead and attempt to shepherd them into the after life dimension called The Soul Society. Their secondary mission is to battle against fallen spirits in order to restore spiritual balance to our world and theirs. The starring character, Ichigo (which amusingly, when translated from Japanese, means “Strawberry”), is a spiritually sensitive human who has a run-in with a Shinigami named Rukia. As a result of their interaction Rukia’s powers are temporarily transferred to him, giving Ichigo the obligation of her duties as a member of the Soul Society.
In Volume 21, entitled “Be My Family or Not”, we meet up again with Ichigo and the gang right after the conclusion of the previous volume’s battles. In the first chapter we finally get the background story on the ice-cold attitude Rukia’s brother has towards her conviction and attempted execution! With that out of the way it is time for a little healing, and maybe even a little R&R, as our group waits for their chance to return to their world and, now, not so ordinary lives. Quickly after their return home we begin to realize that their lives might never be the same again. A new mysterious character is revealed as Ichigo is presented with an offer and we are left pondering whether this new player is a friend or foe!! In the final bit of story we get surprised with the identity of a newly revealed Shinigami who’s true identity may leave you doing a double take.
While there is very little action in this volume compared to the previous, we are hit with some pretty big revelations. The story lags towards the middle and gets into what I consider filler material, but the last two chapters turn it around and tease us with exciting new plot points for future story exploration. If you have not already read these chapters in their initial release form in Jump Magazine then I would definitely suggest giving this volume at least a semi-detailed read. I give this release a 3 out 5 because while there is some awesome new material, it is dragged down by pages and pages of pointless filler. Bleach, as a whole, rarely runs into these types of lagging moments but when it does it makes me want to simply skip on to the more exciting fight sequences and detailed story telling.
Written by Tite Kubo, Bleach is published by Shueisha and released in the powerhouse multi-national magazine Weekly Shonen Jump. Bleach is the manga that keeps on giving with hundreds of chapters under its belt and many more volumes just waiting to be translated from Japanese to English. Stay tuned because there is still tons of life in this series and it does not look like it will be letting up any time soon!
Bleach, Volume 21 by Tite Kubo, Frances Wall