Bleach stands as one of shonen’s classic “big three” anime alongside its peers One Piece and Naruto, but unfortunately for its fans, Bleach‘s anime and manga both fell behind, and the anime was outright canceled in March 2012, while the manga’s final arc felt rushed in the eyes of some fans. For years, it seemed that Bleach had fallen from grace, but now, studio Pierrot is ready for round two.
The Fall 2022 season will feature a variety of fan-favorite shonen series, including the sixth season of My Hero Academia and the return of Spy x Family, but for veteran fans, the return of Bleach is the true highlight of this high-voltage anime season, and audiences may want to brush up on the story and characters of Bleach before this exciting new storyline, the “Thousand-Year Blood War” arc, launches.
The Story & Characters of Bleach So Far
Bleach is a supernatural action/adventure anime series with some light isekai elements to it. The story began when the black-robed Soul Reaper Rukia Kuchiki granted her powers to the spiritually sensitive high schooler Ichigo Kurosaki, and ever since then, Ichigo has fought heroically to save the day time and again, zanpakuto in hand. Before long, Ichigo’s true enemy arose, the traitorous Captain Sosuke Aizen, who plotted to seize the empty throne of heaven and rule all of creation. Ichigo and his friends Orihime Inoue, Uryu Ishida the Quincy archer and Chad took on this monstrous threat and won, for which their Soul Reaper allies are eternally grateful. For a time, it seemed peace had resumed, and Ichigo thought his adventure was over. However, the real battle is just beginning.
By the end of the original Bleach anime, Ichigo lost his Soul Reaper powers after defeating Aizen, only to meet the spiritually inclined members of Xcution, who used the power of Fullbring to help Ichigo gain all-new powers. Then, after Rukia re-awakened Ichigo’s true Soul Reaper powers, Ichigo saved the day once again against Kugo Ginjo, reuniting with his zanpakuto Zangetsu and all his friends, human and Soul Reaper alike. Once again, Ichigo thought he had achieved peace, but after the Bleach anime ended and before the new season begins, one last enemy shall rise: the Wandenreich, the hidden empire of vengeful Quincy. These Quincy and their almighty king, Yhwach, are bent on revenge against the Soul Society for their defeat 1,000 years ago, and they won’t stop until they have crushed the Soul Reapers and reshaped the world to fit king Yhwach’s terrifying ambitions.
Now, it’s up to Ichigo and his friends to answer the call of duty one last time and prepare for the final battle for the fate of the entire universe, with their Karakura Town home, the Soul Society and even the desert realm of Hueco Mundo hanging in the balance. The stakes have never been higher, and Ichigo’s enemies have never been so powerful. Ichigo’s in for the fight of his life, and along the way, he just might discover a shocking truth about his own family.
Where to Watch the New Bleach Anime
The new Bleach anime is at once a continuation of, sequel to and soft reboot of studio Pierrot’s original animated series of 2004-2012. Studio Pierrot returns to deliver the story of Bleach to the small screen, but with vastly improved animation techniques to bring Tite Kubo’s original manga art to life in true style. Director Tomohisa Taguchi will oversee the anime’s production and release, and composer Shiro Sagisu returns to create the new Bleach anime’s soundtrack.
As for streaming, the new Bleach anime will be split into four cours, with the first set to start airing on October 11th, 2022 on TV Tokyo. The streaming giant Crunchyroll will air the Bleach anime in the West as a simulcast of the original in Japan. The Bleach anime will likely be available only in Japanese dub at first with English subtitles, although other subtitle languages will likely soon be added. An English dub of the new Bleach anime will also be available at some point, though it’s not yet clear when the dub’s episodes will start airing. With the original Bleach manga concluded, there are unlikely to be any filler episodes in the new anime, in sharp contrast with the original Bleach anime’s heavy use of filler arcs.