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Bleach (ブリーチ Burīchi) is a Japanese anime series based on the manga of the same name by Tite Kubo. The anime ran for a total of 366 episodes including 111 episodes of original material not based on the manga. Bleach was produced by Studio Pierrot and directed by Noriyuki Abe. Bleach’s Japanese and English voice actors include some of the most credited and well known voice actors, including Johnny Yong Bosch. The music was composed by Shirō Sagisu, who also composed the music for Neon Genesis Evangelion. A total of fifteen opening themes and thirty ending themes were used throughout the series, featuring a diverse group of Japanese artists.

Bleach follows the adventures of Ichigo Kurosaki after he obtains the powers of a Soul Reaper (死神 Shinigami, literally, “Death God”)—a death personification similar to the Grim Reaper—from another Soul Reaper, Rukia Kuchiki. His newfound powers force him to take on the duties of defending humans from evil spirits and guiding departed souls to the afterlife. The anime adaptation includes original storylines not found in the manga; including repeated appearances and stories containing these original characters. Studio Pierrot produced the series from 2004 to 2012, consisting of 366 episodes. Viz Media obtained foreign television and home video distribution rights to the Bleach anime on March 15, 2006. Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim began airing Bleach in the United States on September 9, 2006. The series international release extends through dozens of countries in several languages including Spanish, French, German, Portuguese and Tagalog.

Plot

The anime adaptation of Bleach follows the story of the manga, although introducing several original storylines. In Karakura Town, Ichigo Kurosaki becomes a substitute Soul Reaper when Rukia Kuchiki cannot fulfill her duties after engaging in battle with a particularly powerful Hollow. He later discovers several of his friends and classmates are spiritually aware and have powers of their own: Uryū Ishida is a Quincy, Orihime Inoue possesses a group of protective spirits known as the Shun Shun Rikka, and Yasutora Sado (“Chad”) has strength equal to the Hollows, later defined as being a Fullbringer. When Rukia is sentenced to death for her transgressions in the human world and taken back to the spirit world of Soul Society, Ichigo seeks out the assistance of Kisuke Urahara and Yoruichi Shihōin, unbeknownst to him as being two exiled Soul Reapers, to allow himself and his friends to save Rukia. After battling the many Soul Reapers, it is revealed that high-ranking Soul Reaper Sōsuke Aizen framed Rukia for the crime and has been illegally experimenting on Soul Reapers and Hollows and he plans on taking over Soul Society via use of the Hōgyoku. He escapes into Hueco Mundo, the realm of the Hollows, and later abducts Orihime as she is instrumental in creating the Oken, a power that will allow him to kill the Soul King, the ruler of Soul Society. After Ichigo is trained by the Visards, other exiled Soul Reapers who began exhibiting Hollow powers, he and his friends travel into Hueco Mundo to save Orihime, facing Aizen’s army of Arrancars, Hollows given Soul Reaper abilities, who are led by an elite group of 10 known as the Èspadas.The Èspada are composed of ten Arrancar with exemplary strength. Members of the Espada are given a number 0-9. Each Espada has a tattoo with their number somewhere on them, such as Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez, whose tattoo is on his lower back, and Coyote Starrk, whose tattoo is on the back of his left hand. Along with Sōsuke Aizen, Gin Ichimaru, and Kaname Tōsen, the Èspada as a group possess comparable strength to Soul Society’s Gotei 13 Shinigami captains. After finally reaching Orihime, Aizen reveals her kidnapping was a distraction to allow him to take Karakura Town, as its spiritual energy is what is needed for the Oken. After training from his father Isshin, another exiled Soul Reaper, Ichigo and the Soul Reapers face off against Aizen, Soul Reapers who aligned with his cause, and his most powerful Èspadas, resulting in Aizen’s surrender and Ichigo losing all his powers. Nearly two years later, Chad reveals to Ichigo that he has found people like him, known as Fullbringers, in a group known as Xcution. The Fullbringers can give up their powers to restore a Soul Reaper’s powers and they plan on doing so for Ichigo, who begins to use Fullbring as well. However, it is all a ruse by their leader Kugo Ginjo, a Fullbring and former Substitute Soul Reaper, to steal Ichigo’s powers to empower the rest of them. Ichigo ultimately has his Soul Reaper powers restored and defeats Ginjo and the other members of Xcution, and returns to his duty of protecting Karakura Town.

The stories original to the anime are often referred to as filler arcs to allow the manga to move forward. The first original arc is Bount arc, focusing on spiritually-aware humans who are immortal so long as they absorb souls. Their leader Jin Kariya seeks to destroy Soul Society for the constant hunting of the Bount, and he and Ichigo battle for the fate of Soul Society. Another storyline is the introduction of captain Shūsuke Amagai, the replacement for Gin Ichimaru after he joined Aizen in his betrayal. Amagai seeks revenge against Commander Yamamoto for the death of his father; and uses the Kasumiōji family’s Bakkōtō weapons in his plans. Ichigo battles Amagai, who acknowledges the shame of his actions and commits suicide. The final original arc features the evil Zanpakutō Muramasa, which has the ability to turn itself and other Zanpakutō into spiritual beings to take revenge on Soul Society for imprisoning its master Kōga Kuchiki. After he is successful, he is double-crossed and transforms into a monstrous creature that Ichigo defeats, but not before Muramasa reveals the intention was to have Soul Reapers and Zanpakutō communicate on equal terms.

Recent News for Bleach

At long last, the end of the epic Bleach manga has been confirmed — Ichigo’s current battles in the 1000 Year War Arc against the Quincies will come to a close in 2016. This major news was accompanied with questions about the return of the popular anime show, as thousands of fans around the world have been asking since the final episode, “Will Bleach anime ever return?” Ecumenical News has revealed this Tuesday, that the animated show will in fact be making a possible comeback once Tite Kubo’s incredible tale of humans, hollows, and soul reapers finally ends.

Although Bleach may have had its anime series finish early (or be shut down due to an overload of filler episodes, says some sources) back in 2012 accompanied by the conclusion of the controversial Fullbring Arc, it seems our favorite Getsuga Tensho user is making his long awaited appearance (cue soundtrack music from the Rescue Rukia clip!). This arrival will be heralded sometime after the manga finishes its ongoing run. According to the report, Ichigo and his friends will make their incredible return to the small screen for fellow Japanese animation fans this 2016 once the manga formally ends.

POTENTIAL SPOILERS OF BLEACH MANGA AHEAD:

I personally may have be an ongoing fan of Bleach who still enjoyed the Fullbring Arc, but many readers understandably began losing interest in the series following the defeat of Sosuke Aizen to Ichigo’s Mugetsu technique. Quite a few believed that this downward spin in popularity and story continuity may have all been contributing factors in the ending of the Bleach anime seasons. Yet the manga has continued, and thank goodness for that.

With the Quincies’ arc making an amazing return for manga followers and showing that Tite Kubo certainly still has some surprises up his sleeve with solid art and quality, a renewed interest in Bleach has risen to the top of the heap. It appears that 2016 will be a culminating year for Bleach; this final 1000 Year War Arc has subsequently led to increased demand for news regarding the fates of Ichigo, Rukia, and Co., no doubt. An in-depth look is provided this week by iDigital Times in an interesting press release.

Bleach Anime Returning Soon, Manga Ending in 2015 1

After all, Bleach left too many questions to simply fall off the scale for die-hard fans and simple enthusiasts of its storyline, art form, or themes. Will Aizen have a future role in the manga? Just what is Uryu’s part in the Quincy invasion? Who is the Soul King? And most importantly: what is Captain Shunsui Kyoraku’s bankai that we’re not supposed to see? We have to know!

While rumors as to the return of the Bleach anime in 2016 have been suggested for some time now, there is alleged confirmation of this great news for fellow fans of the manga that’s been delivered this August. No official sources have commented on it quite yet, but it appears that there is a definite possibility of the anime reviving once the manga finishes up. The best point of news associated with this claim is that the anime return would not require any unnecessary filler episodes.

Others may only be getting (back) into Bleach now, but there’s definite reason to do so before the manga ends and the anime returns. From the history behind Quincy King and leader Yuha Bach (Ywach) to the secrets of his army attempting to conquer Soul Society and now the Royal Realm, it looks like there’s much in store before Ichigo can say his final goodbye. In addition to some captains still not revealing their Bankai, only Kubo knows what Bleach mastermind Kisuke Urahara has hidden in the fold of his clogs and hat.

Engaging storytelling is back with the current fight between Captain Toshirou Hitsugaya and Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi (yes, Mayuri is up to his old tricks again involving drugs and meme-worthy laughter with the faithful Nemu at his side), but some long-anticipated secrets have already been revealed. From Kenpachi learning the name of his Zanpakuto to Retsu Unohana proving she was indeed the First Kenpachi behind that luring smile, the beginning of the Bleach manga again in 2015 can’t come soon enough for many fans.

So yes, without further ado, there are sources citing that the Bleach manga will have a confirmed end in 2016 with the current arc. Is it true? Hopefully. Yet an exact date as to when the anime will make its glorious return amid the speculation (from Pierrot Studios again, perhaps) has not been made public yet, and no concrete statement on the matter has been given. So fellow Bleach fans, are you excited about the potential behind this bankai worthy news? How do you think Ichigo’s story will come to an exciting close? And what fights in the current Quincy vs. Soul Reaper arc are you most looking forward to seeing adapted if and when the anime rolls around?

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