It has been 10 years since the last episode of “Bleach” aired on television.
Since March 27, 2012, “Bleach” fans of the famous anime have longed for another episode of the famed anime to appear on the TV screen. What made the suspense even worse was that the last aired episode was not the series’ final episode.
Tite Kubo, the author of the manga the anime is based on, wrote a final arc, “Thousand-Year Blood War,” to conclude the beloved series. Now, after a decade, the sequel series “Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War” premieres on screen as of Oct. 10.
The original series, “Bleach,” first aired in October 2004 and quickly attracted anime lovers worldwide through its action-filled sequences and dynamic characters.
The story follows Ichigo Kurosaki, a Japanese teenager who is suddenly thrust into the secret world of ghosts and the supernatural. Kurosaki soon finds himself aligned with an organization called the Soul Society, which aims to protect humanity and fellow spirits by sending deranged and nefarious human souls, or “Hollows,” to the afterlife for good. With a natural ability for sensing hollows and a resilient soul, Kurosaki quickly ascends within the Soul Society and is granted the role of “Substitute Soul Reaper.”
Supported by high school friends and other soul reapers, Ichigo sets out to defend humanity and the Soul Society against the constant threat of Hollows.
Patrick Forest, senior film major, watched Bleach growing up and immediately became a fan. The popularity and action scenes drew him to the series, but the story kept his enthusiasm as it progressed.
“The relationships and story are something people underestimate,” Forest said. “Every battle Ichigo is in, you root for him, you feel his pain and you watch him grow. The anime is more than just a cartoon; it is an example.”
There was never an official reason given for why the anime was discontinued. The most obvious theory fans can point to is the decline in popularity. During its run, “Bleach” aired against anime rivals “Naruto,” “One Piece” and “Dragon Ball Z.” As these series began to rise, “Bleach” views declined.
The surge in popularity the show had, in combination with problems in the story, pushed “Bleach” to the wayside towards the end. Although initially lauded, fans started to get confused by the large number of characters and the inconsistently paced story.
“I struggled to watch past the Soul Society story arc due to the show’s pacing slowing down considerably,” said Joshua Wellington, senior illustration major.
There is not an anime or regular TV show without its problems and gripes from the audience. The pacing of “Bleach” was a problem for Wellington, but he persisted and later appreciated its values. The show’s creativity shined alongside its issues, so fans of the anime can still maintain their positive outlook.
“I can say that even though I am not able to enjoy it the same way I did when I first watched it, I am eternally grateful to it and its creator for existing,” Wellington said. “It has greatly influenced the path I have taken in life, and I am sure that many ‘Bleach’ fans would say the same.”
“Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War” seeks to revive the original anime series and answer the many questions and issues the show has had. The series consists of four seasons with 10-14 episodes per season.
The series has much ground to cover and action to condense into four seasons, as the arc in the manga consists of 19 volumes.
The manga ended in 2016, and although fans were happy to see the story end, many complained about the abrupt ending. The “Bleach” author, Kubo, experienced declining health issues consisting of torn shoulder tendons and extreme stress while finishing the manga.
Years of a demanding schedule contributed to the author’s worsening health, which ultimately led to the story’s hasty ending. During the production, Kubo helped the scriptwriters cover any plot holes or issues the manga had.
“Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War” premiered its first episode on Oct. 10 and will continue releasing episodes every Tuesday for the first season. “Bleach” fans and those interested in checking it out can watch the show on Hulu.