Somehow I missed reading 2/3 of Bleach 6. I was grumpily trying to get through it some time this weekend with no interest in the action or characters at all, and a nonstop head yammer of Why do people like this thing? It's so random, so loose end- they'll go blah blah blah and then Byakuya will appear and he'll fight for pages blah blah blah and then he'll be gone and there'll be more blah blah blah unfunny jokes (Kill Kon, someone- please) nerdy but sooper seeerius hero, his sooper seerious and lovable! pals, the pretty but sketchily delineated puppets of the Soul Society, and where's the story, the deeper shades of character? And just then I had a blinding revelation. Is there a certain lack of stagetime to these guys, a certain brief introduction and then disappearance, a tendency to shortchange these shounen characters badly? Yes.
Because they're not characters in a manga, they're playable roles in a big RPG. Basic info is given about a person's character (as in psychology) and abilities, usually illustrated by a fight; the short Cliff's Notes on who they most often interact with, who will be their 'party'; and then with the vaguest outline of a plot you're left to play them whatever way you please. No wonder half my FL is mad about this series: mangaka rarely give you a set of characters to play with and let you just get on with it. Usually they're in there plotting at you like mad, which gets you Joshed before you can turn round. But Kubo Tite stays away most of the time.
This also explains all those Bleach based RPGs. It's a gamer's manga. Naturally people congregate together to play it.
Good, glad I got that settled. Back to Weird Tales for Sleepless Nights for me.