11 November 2010
Want some ramen?
I have no idea how this is possible, but when Kubo stopped the fighting, wrapped up the Aizen plot (FOR NOW!), and basically had Ichigo start over from scratch...Bleach became enjoyable again.
I don't really know why that is. Maybe Kubo actually got really bored with Aizen a long time ago but he had no idea how to end the plot, so he just kept throwing a bunch of crap on his storyboard. Maybe he couldn't keep refusing to believe that the Fake Karakura Town arc was godawful. Maybe he saw Oda taking One Piece through a timeskip and decided to follow his example like a blind sheep. Maybe he just wanted a chance to introduce a shitload of new characters and realized he couldn't do that while his half hour-long battle remained in print for over two years.
But whatever the reason for the change-up, Bleach is fun again. Sure, the time skip design changes are some of the laziest I have EVER seen (and quite a few characters look way worse than they used to - Tatsuki can't rock the long hair, lemme tell ya), but for the first time in a long, long while, Ichigo is the protagonist that readers idolized when the manga began nearly ten years ago: a rude, sarcastic, and yet overall good-hearted punk. He's even beating the crap out of random street thugs again! We can only hope Rukia returns soon so their old back-and-forth can make a comeback. For now I guess the obvious milf fan-service provider will have to fill Rukia's role.
Anyway I think I'll let this panel from the latest chapter speak for itself. The character's motivations haven't been revealed yet, but it's been heavily implied that he knows of Ichigo's connection to Soul Society. I want you to try to do what this guy is doing: offer somebody ramen in the most threatening manner possible. It doesn't even work as a slasher one-liner! Like you know how Freddy Krueger could say like "You need more iron in your diet," and have his victim be burned to death on an ironing board? Doesn't work with ramen. Ramen could very well be the least-threatening food in the universe, right up there with rainbow-colored sprinkles and Hostess Fruit Pies. And yet this guy is so obviously TRYING to look intimidating while actually offering Ichigo a steaming bowl of noodles he probably spent five minutes boiling JUST so he could have an excuse to pay him a visit.
And that is why this panel is the best manga panel I have seen in a long time.