Monday, July 22
bleach

Bleach (TV series)

Bleach  is a Japanese anime television series adapted from Tite Kubo’s original manga of the same name. Produced by Studio Pierrot and directed by Noriyuki Abe, the series graced TV Tokyo’s screens from October 2004 to March 2012, boasting a remarkable run of 366 episodes.

The captivating storyline centers around Ichigo Kurosaki, whose life takes a dramatic turn when he acquires the powers of a Soul Reaper—resembling the Grim Reaper—from another Soul Reaper named Rukia Kuchiki. Gifted with these newfound abilities, Ichigo finds himself thrust into the role of defending humans against malevolent spirits and guiding departed souls to the afterlife.

In addition to faithfully adapting the manga’s narrative, the anime periodically introduces original self-contained storylines and characters, offering a delightful blend of familiar material and fresh content.

In March 2006, Viz Media secured the foreign television and home video distribution rights for the Bleach anime. Consequently, Bleach made its way to the United States, where it aired on Adult Swim from September 2006 to November 2014, captivating a new audience across the Pacific.

Furthermore, Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War serves as a sequel series, encompassing the manga’s final story arc. Animated by Pierrot and directed by Tomohisa Taguchi, the first 13-episode cour of the sequel aired on TV Tokyo from October to December 2022, while the second cour premiered in July 2023, continuing the captivating saga for dedicated fans.

Plot

The Bleach anime adapts Tite Kubo’s manga, featuring the primary story arcs while also introducing anime-exclusive ones. The story unfolds in Karakura Town, where high school student Ichigo Kurosaki becomes a substitute Soul Reaper, thanks to Rukia Kuchiki risking her life to protect him from a Hollow. Initially hesitant, Ichigo eventually embraces his role and discovers that some of his classmates possess their own spiritual powers. Uryū Ishida wields spiritual particles, Orihime Inoue possesses protective spirits called Shun Shun Rikka, and Yasutora Sado (“Chad”) bears the strength of Hollows within his arm.

When Rukia faces a death sentence in the Soul Society for her actions in the human world, Ichigo forms alliances with exiled Soul Reapers Kisuke Urahara and Yoruichi Shihōin to save her. The truth unfolds, revealing that ex-captain Sōsuke Aizen framed Rukia and has been conducting illegal experiments on Soul Reapers and Hollows. Aizen aims to conquer the Soul Society using the Hōgyoku, a potent substance that transforms Hollows into half Soul Reapers. After a series of events, Aizen escapes to Hueco Mundo, the realm of Hollows, kidnapping Orihime, whose abilities are pivotal in creating the Oken, a power that can kill the Soul King, the ruler of the Soul Society.

Trained by Vizards, other exiled Soul Reapers, and victims of Aizen’s experiments, Ichigo and his friends venture into Hueco Mundo, where they encounter Arrancars, Hollows bestowed with Soul Reaper abilities, led by the elite group known as the Espadas. Aizen, Gin Ichimaru, Kaname Tōsen, and the Espada collectively pose a formidable challenge, rivaling Soul Reaper captains in strength. Eventually, Ichigo sacrifices his power to seal Aizen away, leading to the defeat of the Espadas by the Soul Reapers.

Later, a group called Xcution reveals themselves to be Fullbringers, offering to restore Ichigo’s powers through their own abilities. However, their true intentions, orchestrated by their leader Kugo Ginjo, come to light. Ichigo’s Soul Reaper powers are ultimately restored with the help of the Soul Society, and he continues his role as a Substitute Soul Reaper.

Throughout the series, several anime-exclusive story arcs emerge. The first revolves around the Bount, immortal spiritual humans who steal souls, led by Jin Kariya seeking revenge against the Soul Society. The second arc focuses on Shūsuke Amagai, a replacement Soul Reaper captain who seeks vengeance against Captain Yamamoto for his father’s death. The third arc introduces the malevolent Zanpakutō spirit Muramasa, seeking retribution against the Soul Society for imprisoning its master, Kōga Kuchiki. The fourth and final arc features Kagerōza Inaba creating modified copies of all Soul Reapers in Reigai bodies, attempting to fuse with Nozomi Kujō into an original being, Ōko Yushima. However, Nozomi sacrifices herself to defeat Inaba, resulting in Ichigo losing his powers. These anime-exclusive arcs offer unique and thrilling adventures for Bleach fans to enjoy.

Production

The production of the Bleach anime involved a talented team of individuals. Noriyuki Abe served as the director, while Masashi Sogo took on the role of head writer for episodes 1 to 212. Tsuyoshi Kida handled the position of head writer for episodes 230 to 265, and Kento Shimoyama assumed the title of head writer for episodes 17 to 366. Masashi Kudō contributed as the character designer, occasionally taking on key animation tasks and serving as an animation supervisor.

The captivating music of Bleach was skillfully composed by Shirō Sagisu. Sagisu’s remarkable musical score for the television series was released in four-CD sets, with four additional CDs for the music composed for the four Bleach animated films.

In terms of the visual aspect, during the production and broadcast of the initial 167 episodes, the screen size remained in the traditional 4:3 format. However, from episode 168 to 366, the series transitioned to 16:9 widescreen, offering a more immersive viewing experience.

In a 2009 interview, Tite Kubo, the creator of Bleach, and Masashi Kudō discussed the anime-original season titled “Zanpakutō: The Alternate Tale.” Kubo expressed his desire to incorporate some of the events and concepts from this season into the manga. He also revealed that his art style had evolved and solidified over time, particularly after the airing of the anime. Kubo acknowledged that his work on the anime had influenced his art style, leading to certain changes, such as no longer drawing hair growing from behind the ears of characters.[5] This ongoing evolution highlights the dynamic and creative process that shaped the iconic world of Bleach.

Thousand-Year Blood War

In March 2020, Weekly Shōnen Jump and the “Bleach 20th Anniversary Project & Tite Kubo New Project Presentation” livestream made an exciting announcement. The last story arc of the manga, the “Thousand-Year Blood War,” was confirmed to receive an anime adaptation. This news brought immense joy to Bleach fans around the world.[56]

In November 2021, it was officially revealed that the anime project would take the form of a television series titled “Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War” (BLEACH 千年血戦篇, Burīchi Sennen Kessen-hen). The anticipation reached a new high when the trailer and visual for the series were unveiled during the Jump Festa ’22 event on December 18, 2021.[57][58]

For this highly anticipated anime adaptation, there were some changes in the creative team. Tomohisa Taguchi stepped in as the new series director, taking over from Noriyuki Abe, and the renowned studio Pierrot continued its involvement in the production. Taguchi, in addition to being the director, is also overseeing the series scripts alongside Masaki Hiramatsu. Masashi Kudo returned to fulfill the role of character designer, ensuring that the beloved characters maintain their iconic appearances. Furthermore, Shirō Sagisu made a triumphant return to compose the music, creating the perfect ambiance for this thrilling arc.[59][60]

An advanced screening of the first two episodes took place in Tokyo on September 11, 2022, further building excitement and anticipation among the dedicated fanbase.[61] The series was announced to run for four cours, with breaks in between, ensuring that the adaptation would be given the necessary time and attention to do justice to the epic storyline.[62][63]

The highly anticipated television series finally premiered on TV Tokyo on October 11, 2022,[62][63][e] and the first cour, consisting of 13 episodes, concluded on December 27 of the same year.[64][f] Fans eagerly awaited the next part of the journey, with the second cour scheduled to premiere on July 8, 2023, promising even more action, intrigue, and captivating storytelling.[65]