After many years, Bleach is returning to finish what it started. The original anime was one of the longest-running hits back in the early 2000s, but how many episodes will Thousand Year Blood War have to finish the story?
How Long is Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War?
For those unaware, it’s important to stress just how long the Thousand Year Blood War is in Bleach’s manga. This is not just another season, but a deep and long saga.
Bleach’s Thousand Year Blood War spans over 206 chapters, just under one-third of the entire Bleach manga.
Considering that the other two-thirds have been adapted into around 300 episodes (roughly accounting for fillers), you get an idea of the potential scale of Thousand Year Blood War.
How Many Episodes Will Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War Have?
The final episode count for Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War has not been confirmed. However, it has been reported that the series will run for four cours, meaning Thousand Year Blood War will have between 48 and 52 episodes.
Thousand Year Blood War's approximate 50-episode count is considerably shorter than previously predicted.
Based on previous adaptation speeds, I first speculated it to be around 108 episodes long, and potentially longer.
Not counting filler episodes, the last three non-filler seasons – 12, 14 and 16 – progressed at a speed of just over 2 chapters per episode. If that pace continued in TYBW, there would be around 100 episodes of content.
Most contemporary anime adaptations fall into 12 or 13-episode cours, accounting for each anime season. Therefore, 108 episodes – or 9 12-episode cours – would have made sense.
If Thousand Year Blood War has an episode count closer to 50, or four cours, that means the new series will move considerably faster than the average Bleach series before.
It will be very interesting to see how the new pacing changes long-time fans' experiences of Bleach when it returns.
How Many Seasons Will Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War Have?
While we have an idea about the episode length of Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War, there's little confirmation around how these cours will be arranged.
It has been reported that there will be some breaks in-between Thousand Year Blood War's cours, meaning it's unlikely to be a single, continuous run like the previous Bleach series.
However, splitting cours doesn't necessarily lead to new seasons – many series have split-cour single seasons, while some have one cour each year as a separate season.
Given how Bleach was released previously, it's easy to envisage Thousand Year Blood War being one season with around 24 episodes – a two-cour run – each side of a seasonal break. However, nothing has been confirmed yet.
For now, we will have to wait until further announcements, perhaps when the Fall 2022 season nears its end.
Related: How to Watch Bleach Without Filler