Hakka No Togame | 白霞罸

I decided to separate my blog out from my photography website so that I could write more about culture, anime, books, games, yoga and other topics I find interesting.

A good place to start would be my blog name – Hakka No Togame.

It’s a Japanese phrase from the first manga / anime I ever got into. I was introduced to “Bleach” by an ex-girlfriend and watched the complete run of 366 episodes.

The Japanese kanji for Hakka No Togame is 白霞罸.

Names in Japanese have underlying meaning, in the case of Hakka 白霞  – the meaning is 白 – white and 霞 -haze. The third character 罸 means punishment, penalty, censure.

So it translates to something like, “censure of the white haze” or “punishment of the white haze”.

This phrase refers to the ‘special move’ of one of the main characters in Bleach, before I explain Hakka No Togame some background on Bleach.

Bleach started out as a manga (comic) in Japan’s most popular weekly magazine for boys; Shonen Jump. It was then developed into an anime which included TV episodes and movies.

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Shonen Jump magazine covers featuring Bleach

Plot Summary

Bleach is about a guy called Ichigo. In typical anime fashion he is a high school student with special powers. He can see the ghosts (souls) of dead people. Souls should move onto ‘soul society’ when people die, however sometimes they don’t and instead transform into hollows – the evil monsters of bleach.

Hollows come from people who were evil in life, or good people who can’t move on due to some unresolved emotional stuff.

Not only can Ichigo see souls and hollows he can fight them.

The anime focusses on Ichigo’s characteristic of protecting those weaker than him, he does this by building his abilities to fight hollows and other villains as a soul reaper. Another big part of the story is Ichigo’s relationships with his friends and the other soul reapers including notably Rukia.

Two Main Characters

I love Bleach because of the often whimsical but sometimes touching relationship between Ichigo and Rukia.

Ichigo and Rukia’s relationship never becomes romantic; partly based on this being a boys comic, however I found that it leads to a stronger story of affection and care where both characters save each other in various ways throughout.

Soul Reaper Samurai Swords

The soul reapers each have variations on samurai swords known as zanpakuto. These weapons seem to have some form of life and awareness and can be weilded by soul reapers to perform special attacks.

A whole lot of anime is about levelling up your weapon, gaining new powers, becoming ever stronger.

The weapons have successive levels of attack heading towards ‘ultimate attacks’ which are referred to bankai.

Rukia’s bankai is hakka no togame. When she performs this special move her character goes into an ‘icy’ looking form and attacks with a haze that becomes a pillar of ice.

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My interest in anime grew over the years. I’ve never gone totally crazy, but I have watched several excellent series, my favourites are:

  • Black Lagoon
  • Claymore
  • Hunter X Hunter
  • Evangelion
  • Haruhi Suzimaya
  • Shirokuma Cafe

Manga and anime are just two fun aspects of Japan. I’ve been to Japan a few times and really appreciate the traditional culture, temples, safety, art etc.

Manga and anime covers all kinds of genre’s of story, I wouldn’t recommend Bleach to everyone, it’s very long and has a lot of filler episodes, but I think there is an anime everyone would enjoy.