Related to my early question on "what will the Sandpanther do?", I now have most of an answer. Which is to say that I now have a lot of raw Jump chapters to read.
So, how did this come about?
Someone posted on the group I'm pulling these from and asked where they could get ahold of back scans. They were told to read the back posts, since they have answers. This group being fairly interesting, I didn't see a problem with reading all the back posts. I mean, they only go back to... September 2003. How long can it possibly take to sort through all of those?
Answer: Vastly longer than I thought likely. My life is so intense right now that I have no idea where all my time is going, but it is very definitely being eaten up. I managed to read through until the beginning of November, 2003, and while it was all very interesting, it also wasn't getting me any new crack. Meanwhile, people are posting new stuff on the forum that I want to be able to read, but know it will turn into evil spoiler land if I try to touch it.
I think about it for a while, and realize that I am not going to find links to raws of stuff after chapter 130 if I'm reading posts that were made when chapter 106 was the latest and greatest chapter. I need to stop being so linear and jump ahead in time to where what I want would have been published.
So I jump ahead to May, 2004 and find that what I want to read now was publishing back around then. (*sigh* It takes so long for things to come out!) I find a link to chapter 139, and happily download it. Unfortunately, the site I grabbed that chapter off does not have a page with links on it, and does not allow directory browsing. I poke around the posts for that time some more, but find nothing but a lot of spoilers. (I manage to avoid pretty much all of them -- I am highly impressed.) Defeated, I turn off the computer and head to bed.
As I was falling asleep, a thought occured to me. The scans have a logical naming scheme -- "Bleach138.zip". What happens if I change the URL to list "Bleach137.zip? I resist the urge to spring out of bed and check that immediately -- but only by a hair. Proving or disproving my theory can wait until the morning.
I wake up bright (okay, dark. Pitch-black, really) and early -- before my alarm even! -- and, remembering my theory from the night before, I promptly roll over and turn on the laptop. (Yes, I am so lazy that I'm poking around on the net from bed.) It takes me a few minutes to locate the post that had included the link I downloaded the night before, but I find it, and throw it into a browser. Sure enough, it pulls up a download window dialog box. Good so far, I expected that it should still be able to download that, since I just did it last night. I change the chapter number from "138" to "137" and hit enter to load the page.
Being stubborn, I try it again. Maybe they were missing just that one chapter?
Did they take the chapters earlier than that down? 138 was still there, though. Maybe 139 would be as well? I change the URL appropriately, hit enter and... a download window appears! Ha! Success!!
This is all good. Chapter 138 should appear in the next volume, which I estimate will be out sometime in early/mid February. Depending on how my Kinokuniya is feeling this week, I could get caught up pretty darn soon.
Being of the stubborn mindset, I tried every chapter number that I'm missing between 130 and 161. (Yes, I went backwards. It turns out that 137 and 136 were the only chapters missing. But 131 - 135 were there. Score!) All told, I am missing about 1/3 of the chapters. The missing ones are not contiguous, there's only a chapter missing here and there. I think this is acceptible enough that I will read the raws where I have them, and will fill in the gaps with the synopsis. If I just really get something that I absolutely must know what the original Japanese was, I'll post and ask someone if they could provide it for me. So the final answer to "what will the Sandpanther do?" is a combination of #1 and #2 -- research to find what is available, and fill in with English when necessary.
Now the remaining question is -- when the heck am I going to have time to read all this??? The wedding this weekend will pretty much keep me busy through until Monday or Tuesday. (Maybe later -- I'm not planning on sleeping this weekend, so I will probably be dog tired and bad-tempered come Monday evening. Then again, that's probably about the right state to be in for reading large amounts of a Jump fighting series.)
BTW, seshat, I now also have leads on either synopsis or scanlations for pretty much the entire manga series. If you download through IRC, check out #manga-rain. They have a home page that has some stuff up as well.
In mostly unrelated news, it seems that there are downloads for Howl's Moving Castle are available on the 'net. In looking around I came across several people mentioning that they downloaded and watched it. Now to find a copy myself...