It my seem weird that a self-professed shounen battle fan hasn’t seen 2 of the big 3 anime considering all are battle shounen. But considering my experience getting into anime wasn’t the typical one (i.e I didn’t watch toonami all that much back in the day) it starts to become more excusable. Nevertheless I couldn’t go on like that so now I’m finally catching up to bleach and one piece!
Now I’m not actually watching the one piece anime. Rather I’m reading the manga as based on digibro’s video on the series I feel that is a better way to experience the story (that and the anime is too long with too much filler for my taste). However bleach is a different story entirely and I’ve already watched the first nine episodes of it. And because I absolutely loved it so far what I wanted do was expand a little on my first blog post about why I love battle shounen through the example of bleach and hopefully clear up any misunderstandings 🙂
On my last post I got a lot of great feedback. The first (and so far only) direct comment on my post was from Rorikon Kuro and in honor of that I’ll mainly address his points. Ruikon countered my point about shounen battle series being fun and exhilarating by claiming that “The fear that comes with suspense is as compelling as the euphoria of combat”. While I’m sure many would agree my response is that fear can be a very fickle emotion. If you lack that fear or feeling of suspense when watching other genres for any reason (lets say you’ve seen it before, you’re not easily scared in general, ect.) Then alot of the appeal is lost. Where as even if you have seen a fight before or just not super into action you can still very easily enjoy a battle if you’re invested in the characters, and these fights usually have great character development on top of that. So using bleach as an example like I said let us take the fight between Orihime’s brother acidwire and Ichigo. Now I had seen this fight before. Why? Because I saw a video that had the name “acidwire” in it and of course I had to watch it cause it had a crazy thumbnail and acidwire is a cool af name! But I never had the context before now and this time around that fight had so much emotional weight to it I nearly cried at the conclusion and I don’t cry easily (side note: The way bleach does character development reminds me ALOT of ushio to tora. So much so I have to wonder if it wasn’t slightly inspired by it. Future comparison blog?)
Now imagine that this had been a horror anime. For one, most horror anime are notoriously not scary and I don’t think bleach would be an exception. Next add the fact that if there was no fight but a simple exorcism a lot of what made the scene good would have been lost ESPECIALLY if you had seen it out of context already like I did. There would be no suspense or tension as you know the results already. And even if you hadn’t it would be little different from any other ghost sob story. I posit what gives this part of the series so much weight is Ichigo and Orihime are fighting for their lives and souls. Some random thrashing about of their bodies like a possession doesn’t have the same impact as watching Ichigo bleed and swing with all his might and precision while orihime’s soul is visibly and violently yanked around by a chain.
Personally I’m not that into horror because I don’t like feeling scared. But even if I was I’m sure battle shounen would still be my favorite genre because of the emotional weight it gives to character development like this (by the end ichigo is stronger both in skill and as a person, more knowledgeable about the mechanics of this world, and understands Orihime more. Orihime for her part got a ton of development reconciliating with her bother and parental figur. There are tons more I’m go into on bleach once I see more but suffice to say it’s amazing so far. Next post will address implementation of themes in long running shounen then after that a bleach impressions part 2 so stick around!