Everyone's favorite soul reaper is back! When fans thought that they would never see a proper ending for one of their favorite anime series, the creators surprised them by announcing Bleach Season 17, which is expected to adapt the Thousand-Year Blood Arc of Tite Kubo's manga series.
Bleach, which made its television debut on October 5, 2004 thanks to Studio Pierrot, released 16 seasons of the shonen series, which has a total of 366 episodes. The last episode aired on March 27, 2012, and since then, fans have been asking for more episodes to adapt the rest of Tite Kubo's manga series.
Even though it took almost a decade, the creators are finally giving what fans want, and it's expected to arrive next year, and as per the leaks, Studio MAPPA will be animating the new season of Bleach.
Here's everything you need to know about Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood Arc:
Bleach: Thousand Year-Blood War Official Announcement
In March 2020, on Bleach's 20th anniversary project, Weekly Shonen Jump Issue 17 announced that creator Tite Kubo and the animators behind Bleach have renewed the anime series for Season 17.
The Japanese magazine also announced that the upcoming season will adapt the Thousand-Year Blood War arc from the manga manga series, confirming the conclusion of the anime series. It was also revealed that the anime adaptation would be uncensored.
Shonen Jump also shared an official video on YouTube, announcing an OVA episode titled Burn the Witch, along with the upcoming season.
Bleach: Thousand Year-Blood War Trailer
In December 2021, Shueisha and Viz Media released the first trailer for Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War, giving us an early look at the upcoming season. Although the trailer reveals familiar characters, it doesn't give away major spoilers for the upcoming season. It's likely that another trailer will be released to give us a closer look at the story of the highly-anticipated final season.
Bleach: Thousand Year-Blood War Release Date
The official trailer above confirmed that the anime adaptation of Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War will be released in October 2022, so it's likely that fans from all over the world will be able to stream the new episodes starting that month. This is going to be one of the most highly-anticipated anime shows coming this year, so expect more promotional hype for the final season in the months leading up to its release.
Expect Funimation and Crunchyroll announce an exact release date for their streaming platforms. We will update this page with the exact date once the official update is up, so stay tuned.
Bleach: Thousand Year-Blood War Plot
As previously mentioned, the upcoming season of the anime series will adapt the final arc of the Bleach manga series. The arc known as the Thousand-Year Blood War Arc runs over 200 chapters total, and it begins from Chapter 480 and through the end of the manga series, which has a total of 698 chapters, so that means Bleach Season 17 is expected to cover 218 chapters.
Bleach Season 17 will likely continue where Season 16 left off: The Wandenreich, which translates to "Invisible Empire" is a confidential group of the Quincy. A thousand years ago, the Quincy were defeated in a war against the Shinigami. As a result, they escaped and hid for years, but they've been gathering their power.
The Wandenreich is expected to launch their attack on Soul Society resulting in an all-out war between the Shinigami and the Quincy. The soul reaper protagonist Ichigo will undergo intense training in order to become more powerful so that he can save Soul Society and fight back.
Update: In Feb. 2022, Bleach creator Tite Kubo did a Q&A with members of his fan club, and it was there the mangaka shared two major updates about the return of the anime.
As the manga artist revealed, the anime adaptation of the Thousand-Year Blood War arc will take time to answer things the original source couldn't get to. Kubo worked closely with the anime's team to provide the answers, so fans of the anime series should expect new content from this adaptation. For instance, the final season will reveal who exactly targeted Rukia during the first Quincy Invasion, and that's just the beginning.
Why did Bleach's story end abruptly?
Some fans wondered why Bleach's story ended abruptly. The manga's epilogue seemed quite abrupt and hastily put together, leaving readers with more questions than answers. Back in 2016, Kubo reported that he suffers from torn tendons in his shoulder along with a partial fracture, caused by drawing for hours on end for 15 years.
By 2011, his overall health began deteriorating significantly due to a recurring cold that he could not get off. The manga artist would often be bedridden for up to a week at a time, only to recover and fall sick yet again. Although he regularly endured the pain to continue working, Kubo's declining health undoubtedly affected his productivity and made prolonging the Bleach arc a difficult task. Kubo also battled with depression, which decreased his motivation to continue working on Bleach.