No anime is exempt from the threat of having their show finish unconcluded. I mean, look at what happened with Bleach. It was arguably one of the biggest anime on the planet at the time it was airing and then it simply just…stopped, with no more episodes. And now, nearly 9 years later, a new season of Bleach is coming out. Fans are left puzzled because the trailer for said season shows a lot of variation. Could this mean the anime will be concluding differently too?
I mean, there are rumors that this new anime adaptation will possibly fix Bleach’s manga ending. It was still ongoing when the anime went on hiatus, so a bunch of stuff happened that, well, not a lot of fans agree with. And when the manga itself ended, it was very controversial. You either hailed Tite Kubo, the mangaka, as a visionary or you thought he was a hack who lost his motivation a long time ago.
In either case, it isn’t easy to generalize Bleach’s legacy so simply. No matter where you landed as a Bleach fan, its impact on the anime industry is undeniable. I mean, Bleach was part of the ‘Big 3’, a trio of manga and anime that absolutely dominated the scene back in the day. It is Shonen royalty. Even if you weren’t actively following the manga, you knew most of the plot points through sheer osmosis from across the Otakuverse. So, what happened? And what changed that it’s coming back now?
Welcome to Lore Analysis – where we take a look at the stories currently trending in the Anime stratosphere and pick apart what the deal is. We take a close look, analyze the plot, and present our findings for any poor soul searching for answers regarding their favorite anime. Today, we’re taking a look at Bleach; The rise, the fall, and the upcoming revival. Will it do things differently than what we’ve seen before? Let’s dive in!
Bleach: Blast From the Past!
As a franchise, Bleach is a bit of a conundrum. In the late 2000s and early 2010s, it shared center stage with legends such as One Piece and Naruto Shippuden. Looking back at it, I think it combined the storytelling prose of One Piece with visuals that rivaled Naruto Shippuden and created something extremely special. It was, in its own right, a force to be reckoned with.
Even now, I have a fond memory of getting those Naruto Shippuden DVDs. I didn’t have great internet so the DVDs are how I used to catch up on my favorite shows. And one of them came with an extra movie, which was Bleach: Memories Of Nobody. That was my first time actively watching something Bleach related and I immediately stumbled upon the first opening theme. And I mean, I started to get the hype.
So, it was saddening to see how it later fell into a rating slump, sputtering behind the other Shonen Giants with lower and lower views until it was eventually canceled at its 366th episode in 2014. And when the manga ended four years later, well, fans didn’t hold out much hope for a continuation.
A Manga Ending That Left Fans Disappointed?
To say fans felt underwhelmed by the ending of the manga wouldn’t be a farfetched claim. With claims of it being rushed and not planned enough, the manga left much to be desired. Sure, it had been a long time coming, with the manga having a 15-year long run. But people expected a little more exposition in something as long-awaited as Bleach, compared to the lackluster conclusion.
There was the matter of how Ichigo Kurosaki, our main protagonist, never truly got to defeat Yhwach, the main antagonist. Then there was the case of certain pairings which were pushed together and not organic. Which, as a casual fan, I agree with considering Ichigo and Rukia Kuchiki were much more compelling together than separate.
And then there was the time skip, where we saw Ichigo’s son, Kazui, and how he is the supposed ‘true hero’ of the Bleach story. Which, again, seemed very forced.
Bleach 2022: A New Beginning (And End?)
So, it’s 2021. And out of nowhere, Bleach: A Thousand-Year Blood War arc gets announced. And fans are cautiously hopeful again.
Not only is it looking to return to Bleach’s combat-based roots, but it feels like the anime will it time with exposition. Whatever hasty conclusions we got with the manga, might get more fleshed out in this anime adaptation. Including an actual romance between Orihime and Ichigo.
The main thing a lot of fans are hoping for is that the anime can somehow connect the dots between Yhwach’s defeat and the epilogue with Kazui. Since that was, again, very lost in translation.
In any case, it’s kind of amazing how such a beloved franchise is getting its day in the spotlight again. And we can’t wait to see where it goes!