Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bleach, Vol. 4: Quincy Archer Hates You

Title:               Bleach, Vol. 4: Quincy Archer Hates You
Category:       Graphic Novel, Manga
Grade:            12-17
Author:          Tite Kubo
Publisher:       VIZ Media
Place:              San Francisco
Date:               2004
Pages:             190

This fourth installment to the Bleach manga series finds Ichigo and Rukia hot on the trail of a sensationalistic TV spiritualist, Don Kanonji.  Unfortunately, while Kanonji can see restless spirits, his method of dealing with them is woefully incompetent. In fact, instead of setting the angry spirit of a hospital free, he inadvertently rips away the humanity it was clinging to and turns it into a soulless Hollow, a vicious monster.  Ichigo and Rukia must step in to save Kanonji from his own folly, although he complicates the issue by attempting repeatedly to lead the deadly fight back into the television spotlights and around all the fans.  Though Kanonji is eventually cowed and grateful, his attitude is short-lived, and soon the pompous man declares Ichigo his number one fan.  Ichigo and Rukia leave in disgust after the Hollow is dispatched, but Rukia begins having trouble with her Hollow pager.  The pair run into a strange, hostile man who destroys the Hollow they missed and declares his fervent hatred for them and all like them as the installment ends. 

With its heavy action, gigantic swords and monstrous battles, Bleach is sure to appeal to childhood fans of the comics and teens who enjoy graphic novels, particularly boys.  While it contains themes common to Japan of spirits in all things, and restless souls, this issue takes an interesting twist by looking at media personalities, the ways in which they ignite crowd fervor and the fraud that often accompanies them.  Analyzing the characterization is difficult because this is one “chapter” of an intensely complex, ongoing story.  While manga is known for complex and highly detailed characters, many toons are unfamiliar to readers who do not know the series and some confusion can take place.  Still, the unique edge on this story made it readable even for someone unfamiliar with series after time was allowed to figure out who was who.


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