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Bleach Manga Essay

From the Medieval Period through the Early-Modern Times
It is said that the oldest 'manga' in the sense of comical pictures in Japan was an emakimono (an illustrated scroll) called "Choju Jinbutsu Giga (caricatures of frolicking birds, animals and humans)" painted in the Heian period(794-1185). Emakimono (old Japanese document of rolled paper) also shows expressions like comics and has some elements which are similar to modern comics.
Then, caricatures and ukiyoe (Japanese woodblock prints) grew out in the Edo period against the backdrop of the development of printing techniques and the flowering of townsmen culture. A best-selling book at the end of Edo period "Hokusai Manga" was particularly famous and it contained the old form of 'manpu' such as a line depicting nasal breathing and caricatures of court nobles and samurai. These caricatures grew out because of that period and led to latter-day cartoons.

From the End of the Edo Period through the Taisho Period
In 1862, a comic magazine "The Japan Punch" was published in Yokohama City's Enclave for foreign residents and gained popularity. Due to this, Japanese newspapers also started to place comics and the word 'ponchi' meaning the comics which deal with topical themes became a vogue word. Western satire magazines became available afterJapan marked the end of a long period of isolation and Japanese comics developed by imitating them. In 1877, a comic magazine representing the Meiji period "Marumaru Chinbun" was first launched. Japan's first serial comic was "A Tall Man and a Short Man Make a Trip to Enoshima and Kamakura" (1896) by Beisaku TAGUCHI serialized in "Marumaru Chinbun" and it was the first comic that describes a coherent story with specific characters. Rakuten KITAZAWA showed great dedication to the development of Japanese cartoons by launching "Tokyo Puck" in 1905 and so on. Also, "Tonda Haneko (Miss Haneko Tonda)" serialized in "Jiji Manga" by Rakuten from 1928 was Japan's first serial comic starring a girl and it was a pioneering girls' comic. Ippei OKAMOTO established the first cartoonist organization in Japan called Tokyo manga kai (latter-day Nihon manga kai) in 1915. Okamoto serialized a manga prose such as "Hito no Issho (A life of a man)"(1921) in Tokyo Asahi Shinbun and constructed a prototype of Japanese story manga later. Okamoto's activity played a large role in the process that comics which were considered to be solely as a means of satire became recognized as popular entertainment. Since the publication of "Adventures of Sho-chan" written by Nobutsune ODA and illustrated by Katsuichi KABASHIMA and "Nonki na Tosan (Easygoing Daddy)" written by Yutaka ASO in 1923, the modern expressions such as layout of frames and speech balloons started to have popular usage.

From the before War Period through the Post War Period in the Showa Period
In 1932, Shin Manga ha Shudan (New Manga Group) was formed by young cartoonists in their 20s including Hidezo KONDO, Ryuichi YOKOYAMA and Yukio SUGIURA. The members of Shin Manga ha Shudan were characterized by drawing not with a brush but with a pen and their style was mainly Japan's own nonsense comics which was inspired by western nonsense comics. Shin Manga ha Shudan achieved so much popularity as to surpass Rakuten, Ippei and their disciples and the members of Shin Manga ha Shudan became core cartoonists in the comic world post World War II. In the 1930s, popular children's comics such as "Norakuro", "Tanku Tankuro" and "The Adventures of Dankichi " which were serialized in "Shonen Club (Boys' club)" published by Kodansha Ltd. and other children's magazines became bestselling books. Aside from these mainstream comics which were serialized in newspapers and magazines, there were thin and two or three colored comic books sold at mom-and-pop candy stores and toy stores. These cheap and rough comic books were called akahon (a book for boys) due to heavy use of red ink. For these akahon, cartoonists such as Masao HAGA (芳賀まさを) and Gajo SAKAMOTO, in the early years, produced the manuscript. When Japan joined World War II, Japanese comic industry was temporarily forced to decline due to the regulation by intelligence bureau and lack of paper. After World War II, Osamu TEZUKA who was inspired by Walt Disney and Fleischer Studios, Inc. established the expression technique in "Shin Takarazima" combining cinematic composition with symbolism specific to the comic, and his technique became the de facto standard of Japanese comics.

The Post War Period in the Showa Period
After the war, rental comic became established as one of the inexpensive supply systems of comics and it was a mainstream until the 1950s. In 1595, the first ever weekly comic magazine "Weekly Shonen Sunday" and "Weekly Shonen Magazine" were launched, followed by "Weekly Shonen King" in 1963, "Weekly Shonen Jump" in 1968 and "Weekly Shonen Champion" in 1969, then it entered the five boys' magazines period. Around that time, a lot of new comic magazines were launched and the rental comic system rapidly declined. In the 1950s, many cartoonists who were inspired by the story manga developed by Osamu TEZUKA appeared one after another and in 1960s, the works of Shotaro ISHINOMORI, Fujio AKATSUKA and Fujio FUJIKO became big hits. Also, the works for adults like gekiga (graphic novel) which was created by Takao SAITO appeared as a type of comics which had been considered as reading for children and it led to the expansion of the market. Japanese comic started to be exported around the 1980s and it gained new fans. The fact that Japanese animations had already been broadcasted abroad and gained high popularity made a major contribution to this. In addition, major publishing companies which didn't have a comic department such as Kadokawa Group Publishing Co., Ltd., Tokuma Shoten Publishing Co., Ltd. and Gakushu Kenkyusha also entered into the comic market at the end of the Showa period (from the end of the 70s to the 80s), then so called 'geeky' comic books and comic magazines appeared.

Since the Heisei Period
Genre of comics expanded in keeping with changes of the times and the number of magazine publication rose drastically, also comic magazines in complex with information magazines appeared. In the early 90s, Enix Corporation and MediaWorks, Inc. entered into the market and they created different works than major magazines. Since the 2000s, the culture of dojinshi (publication aimed at a particular hobby group), derivative work, anthology and web comic (a comic published on the Internet) developed further and the number of comic magazines continued to increase. Also, the relations with media franchise is being strengthened. On the one hand, the sales of boys' magazines and girls' magazines have been decreasing as a result of the increasing number of children who are not interested in or do not read comics due to the aliterates in earlier age group and other entertainments such as portable game machines and mobile phones and the low birthrate, then the number of defunct magazines is increasing. On the other hand, Japanese comics are translated into many languages and gained worldwide popularity. However, in recent years, it has been commercially struggling because the comics are downloaded into personal computers and delivered domestically and internationally via P2P and so on due to the development of the Internet.

Ukiyo-e from Samurai Period

Manga Art of "ONE PIECE"

Manga Art of Vagabond

An 80 page essay about the Buddhist Symbolism in Bleach:
Article by Dr. Otto F. von Feigenblatt (MA, PhD, FRAS, FRAI, GCEG)

How Bleach is one of the series that is leading the way from Japanese Exceptionalism to Globalism and Hybridity.

The bleach portion.

"The present study explores cultural representations in three prominent examples of contemporary Japanese animation, NarutoShippuden, Bleach, and Onigamiden. Lingering traces of Japanese exceptionalism m(Nihonjinron) are still present in contemporary Japanese animation such as in the animated movie, Onigamiden.
On the other hand two of the most popular animated series, Naruto Shippuden and Bleach, fit a cultural model characterized by hybridity and globalism.

In terms of demographics, Bleach appeals to a narrower international audience than Naruto due to the higher complexity of its plot as well as due to the religious aspects of the story

Bleach is a very good example of the crosscurrents of Japanese cultural politics due to its dual nature, as an essentially Japanese product while at the same time incorporating global cultural elements.

The series borrows heavily from foreign cultural traditions such as Christianity and Caribbean Santeria, inter alia.
Spanish is favored as the second most prevalent language in spiritual vocabulary.

The Quincy are clearly inspired by the Christian Orders of Knighthood such as the Sovereign Order of Malta and the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher whose influence is shown in terms of the uniform worn by the Quincy as well as by
the symbolism of the cross.
Nevertheless it is interesting that Ishida is clearly of Japanese ethnicity and notwithstanding this factor his culture and legacy is European.

Bleach presents war as an undesirable cyclical event with the potential to bring out the best and the worst in people.
Bleach’s depiction of war is not as pacifist and totalizing as the one that became
prevalent in Japan during the post-war period.
War can be justified in Bleach if it waged in order to protect
important principles and values. In addition to that War is a great opportunity to show bravery and courage.

Bleach is an example of hybridity in Japan’s public sphere.
The series does not present a harmonious integration of cultural elements leading to an integrated and assimilated Japanese culture but rather offers a cacophony of cultural traits in a constant state of flux.
This is shown with a constant emphasis on time and the possibility of change.

Onigamiden, Naruto, and Bleach are some of the most successful examples of contemporary Japanese animation.
Moreover, they represent ideal types in the Weberian sense in terms of cultural worldviews.
Onigamiden shows the strongest traces of Nihonjinron while Naruto and Bleach display characteristics of both hybridity and globalism."

Thanks to whoever made these.

Zangetsu x Yhwach

Shinigami truth

Power Explanation

Aizen Good Guy?

Ichigo x Rukia zan connection.


The infamous "Kurosaki kun,help me" speech from Orihime.

Orihime’s name is based on the legendary Orihime/Vega (weaver princess) in the Tanabata story.
Orihime is part of the sewing/handicrafts club at school and her symbolic number is written as 7/7, indicating 7th July which is the date of the Tanabata Festival in Japan.
Orihime's english-translated name by Kubo himself had her as ‘Vega Highwell’, in Japanese/Chinese mythology, Vega is another name for Orihime, and is linked to the Tanabata story.

Ichigo’s birthday is on 15/7, which falls on Obon Festival, which is part of the Tanabata Festival.
Ichigo’s hollow form in the Lust arc is in the motif of a bull/ox, which is a reference to Kengyuu/Altair being a cow-herder in the legend.
In the legend, the lovers aren’t able to meet if it rains because the rivers would be flooded over and the boatsman can’t ferry Orihime to Kengyuu (Ichigo hates the rain).
In one of the illustrated Karakura town maps, Ichigo and Orihime’s homes are separated by a river and connected by a small bridge. In Chinese/Japanese mythology, Orihime (Vega) and Kengyuu (Altair) are separated by a river (which is a metaphor for outer space, where Vega and Altair are constellations).

The Bleach pilot chapter had stronger hints to the Tanabata legend, where Orihime and Ichigo are separated at the end because Orihime had died and become a ghost/soul, but it was hinted that she would come back to visit him.
The chapter after Orihime confesses to Ichigo and leaves for Hueco Mundo is called 'Eagle Without Wings’. Vega (Orihime) is also known as 'the falling eagle’ in medieval astronomy, and both Vega and Altair are depicted as birds.
The chapter when Ichigo goes off to rescue Orihime is called 'Winged Eagles’. Altair (Kengyuu) is also known as 'the flying eagle’ in medieval astronomy.

Aizen Myō'ō - one of the Wisdom Kings.
The Lust-Drenched Mantra King, The Impassioned One, patron of those caught by desire or attachment.

Not only is their name similar but they both have a third eye which is associated with higher consciousness, clairvoyance and precognition.

Aizen's squad 5 flower is the Lilly of the Valley, sometimes called "Ladder to Heaven.
The flower is closely associated within christian tradition with the second coming of Jesus.
Said to represent Jacob's Ladder, which was the ladder to heaven Jacob dreamed about, and is thought to be a symbolic reference to Jesus Aizen wanting to go to the royal realm)
The flower is also symbolically connected with a general return to happiness in the world.
It is said that the flower's bloom brings back the nightingale's song each May.
Aizen was born on May 29th.

Kyouka Suigetsu (鏡花水月) literally means "mirror flower, water moon"

Aizen Myō'ō holds different things in each hand and one of them is a lotus flower.
In Asian culture the lotus flower represents elegance, beauty, perfection, purity and grace.
Aizen Myō'ō is also depicted holding a mirror, which shows the image of what's reflected and is often associated with negative values.
Water is an representation for purity, fertility, wisdom.
And the moon representing influence over tides, illumination, perception.

It is a saying that came about based on a Zen Buddhism proverb.

"Through body and mind we can comprehend the form and sound of things. They work together as one. However, it is not like the reflection of flower in a mirror, or the moon reflected in the water. If you look at only one side, the other is dark."

In this way we see that the saying is supposed to indicate someone not seeing the whole picture
This fits in well with the zanpakuto's ability theme, however I believe there is more than simple illusion implied within the name.

Aizen and the number 5, before his betrayal

He was born on May 29th, the 5th month.
He is the former captain of squad 5.

Numerology of the number 5-
Five is the number of the Human being.
The pentagon has five legs, symbolizing perfection and the power of the cycle.
It's also the number that symbolizes the meeting point between heaven and earth - four cardinal points plus the center point.

It also represents the five senses and the five wisdom kings.
Aizen's Zanpakuto controls the five senses.
Most flowers have five petals and the "ka" part of Kyōka means "flower"

In Indian numerology, being of the number 5 means having a gentle, loving and compassionate personality and lacking any form of deceit.
This perfectly illustrates the nature of Aizen in the beginning: compassionate, loving and lacking deceit.
They are pure in their heart.

The number 5 is also the number of divinity
Ironically, Aizen had divine aspirations.

Aizen Myō'ō is closely connected with the magical wish-granting jewel (Houjyu 宝珠)
It is the inspiration for the hogyoku, which grants the deepest heartfelt desire of a person.

Aizen as Satan/Lucifer


Aizen Sousuke is the personification of evil.

Christian Bible (New King James version) and Aizen comparison

13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north.
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

Very similar to Aizen's speech when he left Soul Society.

17 You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor;
I cast you to the ground,
I laid you before kings,
That they might gaze at you.

As Aizen evolved, he became less reliant on his intelligence and strategy.
Then he was sent to the muken (underground prison) and looked down at and judged by the Central 46.

Heaven is soul society, after betraying the shinigami Aizen left heaven and went to the fallen world aka hueco mundo, just like Lucifer did.

Satan is know as the deceiver and the father of lies, just like Aizen who has deceived everyone.

Revelation 17:3 - "So the angel carries John in the spirit into the wilderness where he sees a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemy, seven heads, ten horns".

The beast is Satan who has come down to earth calling himself god and is visible to humans.

The similarities.
Butterfly Aizen is the false god form, Monster Aizen and The Beast/Satan comparison -

Mimihage sama -

Character Analysis
Thanks to Asura 大神 from Narutoforums :)

Uryuu and Freischütz connection.
Plus blue dragon and scorpio symbolism.

Ulquiorra Cifer

Kaname Tousen

Youraku Shunsui

Sado Yasutora

The Espada are all based on an Aspect of Death, which led to their downfall.

"Each Espada has a form of death they rule over.
These forms are the 10 main causes of death amongst humans.
They also describe each Espada's abilities, ideology, and reason for existence."
Aspects Of Death

#10/0 - Yammy Riyalgo

Yammy's aspect of death is "Rage"
Yammy's release is the more angry he is, the bigger and more powerful he gets.
This surge of rage makes him the strongest and also the most vulnerable, as his blind rage was useless against Byakuya and Kenpachi who were calm and collected.
His last moments with the dog hollow also signifies that his rage has subsided.

#9 - Aaroniero Arruruerie

AA's aspect of death is "Greed"
In his release form, he's said to have consumed a lot of hollows, and could utilize every one of their powers.
He even absorbed the hollow who absorbed Kaien, thus gaining his power.
In real life aspects, greed leads us to lust after things that we want, but don't have: money, power, fame, love.
So we do what it takes to obtain what we want, even if it means we transform into a grotesque monster in the end.

#8 - Szayel Aporro Granz

Szayel's aspect of death is "Madness"
Szayel is a scientist and considers others as little more than research experiments, and often participates in less than moral activities (aiding Nnoitra in taking down Neliel).
How he tortures people using dolls, and kills them off slowly in his release can also be attributed to his madness.

#7 - Zommari Leroux

Zommari's aspect of death is "Intoxication"
Intoxicated with Aizen and blindly following his every word.
In his released form, Zommari was able to open his eyes, and essentially take control of whatever he was looking at.
Even while being able to "open his eyes", he was still blinded(intoxicated) by his hypocritical hatred of the shinigami.

#6 - Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez

Grimm's aspect of death is "Destruction"
Grimmjow's purpose of being was to destroy his opponents and be the best and survive.
But when he fought Ichigo, he lost because Ichigo was fighting for more than just survival and destruction.

#5 - Nnoitra Jiruga

Nnoitra's aspect of death was "Despair"
His hierro being the hardest of all Espada causes his opponents to feel despair when they cannot injure him and his release form allows him to attack at all angle making you feel cornered and trapped.
He himself fell into despair when he could not beat Neliel and had fallen so low that he used despicable methods to win.
Despair leads to sin.

#4 - Ulquiorra Cifer

Ulquiorra's aspect of death is "Emptiness" or "Nihilism"
His time spent alone shaped his believe that there exist no meaning to life.
His regeneration power that heals superficial wounds and limbs but does not heal vital organs thus metaphorically remaining 'empty', even if he regenerates his body.
His 2nd resurrection where his hollow hole is where his heart should be shows that e his empty inside, both literally and figuratively.
Before he passes on here realizes the meaning of living, "love/friendship"

#3 - Tia Harribel

Harribel's aspect of death is "Sacrifice"
When her Fraccion are killed by Yamamoto, she swears vengeance against him and the Shinigami but does lament their apparent death for sacrifices are part of wars.
Her name, which can also be interpreted with the meaning of "tear" and that paired with her water ability, can symbolize sacrifice, as we often shed tears when we have to sacrifice something.
She herself becomes a sacrifice for Aizen when he cuts her down.

#2 - Baraggan Luisenbarn

Baraggan's aspect of death is "Aging"
Baraggan's base form to be that of an old man.
However, his release resembles that of an King Grim Reaper, and his Respira attack ages anything it touches.
He is often considered the "King of Hueco Mundo" because his aspect of death is absolute.
His own power causes his death, not even himself could escape aging and death.

#1 - Coyote Starrk/Lilynette Gingerback

Starrk's aspect of death is "Solitude/Loneliness"
Before they became Espada they were one being who out of the immense solitude split into 2 beings to keep each other company.
Even after splitting into 2 and joining the Espada, Stark was still lonely.
In his death, he realized that he was never alone to begin with.

Very interesting and accurate comparison of Aizen and the Espada to the Sephirot.

Ain, Ain Soph and Ain Soph Aur

Kenpachi x Yachiru

Modified by ichii_1, Aug 7, 2016 11:07 AM

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