||It has been suggested that this article be merged into Bleach (manga). (Discuss) Proposed since November 2013.|
The cover of the first DVD compilation released by Viz Media.
|Genre||Action, Bangsian fantasy|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Noriyuki Abe|
|Written by||Masashi Sogo|
|Music by||Shirō Sagisu|
|Original run||October 5, 2004 – March 27, 2012|
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 are 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.
The anime adaptation of Bleach follows the same storyline as the manga, featuring the same cast of characters of protagonist Ichigo Kurosaki, a Substitute Soul Reaper, and his friends the Soul Reaper Rukia Kuchiki, the Quincy Uryū Ishida, his spiritually aware classmates Orihime Inoue and Yasutora (Chad) Sado (later revealed to be a Fullbringer), and the exiled Soul Reapers Kisuke Urahara and Yoruichi Shihōin. After saving Rukia from execution in Soul Society, the home of the Soul Reapers, they learn that Soul Reaper captain Sōsuke Aizen has gone rogue, intending to reproduce the Hōgyoku, an item previously created by Urahara, as he has discovered that it will grant his very desires. In the past, Aizen tested the Hōgyoku on fellow Soul Reapers, transforming them into the Hollow-like Vizard, and it is revealed that he has used the same ability on several Hollows, transforming them into the Soul Reaper-like Arrancar. Ichigo, having undergone a Hollow transformation himself, is trained by the Vizard as he and Soul Society prepare an assault on the Hollow's realm Hueco Mundo to kill Aizen for treason. Aizen, along with fellow rogue Soul Reaper captains Gin Ichimaru and Kaname Tōsen, kidnap Orihime, as she is central to their plans. As Ichigo and his friends and allies battle the Arrancar, and the captain Arrancar known as Espada, Ichigo finally reaches Orihime but Aizen reveals she was only a distraction so he may invade the human world to use the spiritual energy of Ichigo's home of Karakura Town to produce the Ōken, a powerful key that will perfect the Hōgyoku. However, the head of the Soul Reapers Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto has prepared for this and produced a duplicate of Karakura Town to trap Aizen in so he may be stopped. After Ichigo's father Isshin Kurosaki reveals his Soul Reaper past to his son, he teaches his son the ultimate Soul Reaper technique which Ichigo ultimately uses to defeat Aizen, but at the cost of his spiritual abilities. Over a year after the fight is over, Ichigo is approached by Chad who has found Xcution, a group of other Fullbringers who wish to give up their own dangerous abilities and help Ichigo restore his spiritual ability, but it is all a ruse orchestrated by their leader, Ichigo's predecessor Substitute Soul Reaper Kūgo Ginjō, to restore his own powers and take revenge against the Soul Society. After finally defeating Ginjō, Ichigo has his abilities restored and is once again Karakura Town's substitute Soul Reaper. The television series ends prior to the introduction of the Wandenreich storyline currently published in the manga.
Several storylines are unique to the anime, acting as filler. The first is the fight against the Bount, spiritually aware humans who are immortal so long as they absorb souls, a fact that makes them a threat to Soul Society. 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 unique storyline is the introduction of the new Soul Reaper captain Shūsuke Amagai, replacement for Ichimaru who sided with Aizen. However, Amagai is seeking revenge against Captain Yamamoto for the death of his father, using the Kasumiōji family's Bakkōtō weapons in his plans. Ichigo battles Amagai, who eventually admits his shame for his own actions and takes his own life. A final filler arc features the evil Zanpakutō Muramasa whose ability is to turn into a spiritual self and turn all other Soul Reapers' Zanpakutō into similar spirits to take revenge on Soul Society for imprisoning his master Kōga Kuchiki. After he is successful, he is double-crossed and transforms into a monstrous creature that Ichigo fells in battle, but not before Muramasa reveals all he wanted to do was to allow Soul Reapers and Zanpakutō to communicate on equal terms.
Morita tries to recreate the mood that he feels when he reads the comment and imagines hearing the dialogue.
The English-language cast is assembled form experienced industry actors with many having roles in dozens of credits in other anime series, movies and video games. Originally, Bosch, Ichigo's English voice actor, found pronouncing the names of the characters to be difficult and tried to do the deep gruff voice of the Japanese Ichigo. Bosch acknowledges that the directorial control was loosened as the work progressed; stating around episode 10, as he was guided into the role of Ichigo and it the growth of the character. Bosch notes that the long scenes of screaming and panting; in particular the scene in episode 18, have nearly made him pass out. Sheh notices the difference in the tone of Orihime's voice in the English dubbing and describes it as being higher pitched and "innocent-sounding". The production wanted to make Orihime sound tough, and comedic, but not "ditzy". Sheh relates to her characters unusual creations for food, but believes she is better. Prince likes to play Uryu because he is the black sheep of the cast and he is a complex character. Throughout the production, Prince acknowledges that his role as the English voice actor of Naruto's Shino Aburame and sets them apart by taking a Clint Eastwood tone for Uryu.
For the voice acting, one of the difficulties is stating Japanese phrases while maintaining pronunciation and inflection. The duality of the story is hard to keep up with, and the cast has to juggle the challenges of performing under the different lifestyles of the characters. The voice actors often make suggestions for the scenes that differ from the approved script and results rewriting and additional takes that are put into the dub.
Religious and cultural
Von Feigenblatt describes Bleach as being culturally and religiously aware. Bleach's plot incorporates the traditional Japanese belief of spirits coexisting with humans and their nature, good or evil, depends on the circumstances. An example is Orihime's backstory, who was raised from the age of three by her brother Sora, and prayed for his soul's peace after he died in a car accident. As time went on, she prayed less and Sora became jealous and turned into a Hollow and attacked Orihime. Drazen says this is a reminder to the audience to not abandon the old ways or risk the spirits taking offense and causing problems in the world. Bleach also incorporates Shinto themes of purification of "evil spirits through charms, scrolls, incantations, and other rituals." The show also draws upon Christianity and Caribbean Santeria. Spanish terms are prevalent throughout the realm of Hueco Mundo, meaning abyss world, and its warriors are the Espada, literally "sword" in Spanish. Kubo says he chose the terms because they sounded "bewitching and mellow" to him.
Both Quincy and Bounts have been known to associate with the German language, making Kubo's world of characters diverse in race and language as well. Von Feigenblatt notes that the Quincy "are clearly inspired by the Christian Orders of Knighthood such as the Sovereign Order of Malta and the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher whose influence is shown in terms of the uniform worn by the Quincy as well as by the symbolism of the cross." Many of the names for swords and spells used by Soul Reapers were inspired by ancient Japanese literature.
Kubo likes creating characters that have outward appearances that do not match their true nature.
The character Orihime is a complex character who has been both praised and criticized for her appearances. Her role has developed from a "big-breasted bimbo" throughout the story, but the way in which she uses her power has been deemed as stereotypical.
Rukia was initially set to be the protagonist of the series, but the early development of her character resulted in it being changed. Kubo drew Rukia based on his concepts of a Shinigami and wanted her to have an appropriate Shinigami sounding name. Kubo's choice of the name is deliberate, eventually decided upon the last name "Kuchiki" (朽木, lit. "rotten wood") and chose her first name based on the Latin name for cosmos, which in Latin means "light". Kubo sees her as "a ray of light for Ichigo." Rukia's English voice actress, found Rukia to be a "survivor", due to how lonely she initially was and how she has been developed through the anime series as she had to start trusting people. Harper notes that Rukia is not a stereotypical shōnen heroine, noting Rukia's loss of her powers and subsequent dependence on Ichigo were "a great source of both drama and comedy in the show." Alexander noted that she is "less of a foil to Ichigo and more like the other side of the same coin".
Bleach was first conceived from a desire on Tite Kubo's part to draw Shinigami in a kimono, which formed the basis for the design of the Soul Reapers in the series and the conception of Rukia Kuchiki. The series was originally meant to be named "Black" due to the color of the Soul Reapers' clothes, but Kubo thought the title was too generic. He later tried the name of "White," but came to like "Bleach" more for its association with the color white and that he did not find it too obvious. Tite Kubo influences include other manga series, music, foreign language, architecture, and film. He attributes his interest in drawing the supernatural and monsters to Shigeru Mizuki's GeGeGe no Kitaro and Bleach's focus on interesting weaponry and battle scenes to Masami Kurumada's Saint Seiya, manga that Kubo enjoyed as a boy. The action style and storytelling found in Bleach are inspired by cinema, though Kubo has not revealed any specific movie as being an influence for fight scenes. Bleach's creative process is focused around character design, with Kubo created characters en masse and looking through earlier chapters of the manga.
Noriyuki Abe was chosen was director of the anime and the script was done by Masashi Sogo.The animation and character designs were done by Masashi Kudo and supported by Satoshi Taniguchia nd a list of key animators including Hiroki Abe, Makoto Ito, Masami Tanaka, Natsuko Suzuki, Rie Hirakawa, Yuki Nakashima. The music of Bleach was done by Shiro Sagisu.
During the production and broadcast of the first 167 episodes the screen size was in 4:3; episodes 168 through 366 were made and broadcast in 16:9 wide screen. In a 2009 interview, Tite Kubo and Masashi Kudo discussed the upcoming Zanpakutō: The Alternate Tale with Kubo wishing that he could draw the events into the manga. Kubo also revealed that his art style varies in the production of the work and only became cemented after the airring of the anime. Kubo has made art style changes, stopping drawing hair form behind the ears, after noticing Kudo's work.
||It has been suggested that this section be split into a new article titled Music of Bleach. (Discuss) Proposed since November 2013.|
The soundtrack of Bleach was composed by Shiro Sagisu, released in 4 volumes and an anniversary box set. A series of character song albums, the "Bleach Beat Collection" albums, and best-of albums composed of the theme songs have also been released, all by Sony Music Entertainment Japan.
|1||"Asterisk" (＊～アスタリスク～ Asutarisuku )||Orange Range||1-25|||
|3||"Ichirin no Hana" (一輪の花, "One Lone Flower")||High and Mighty Color||52-74|||
|4||"Tonight, Tonight, Tonight"||Beat Crusaders||75-97|||
|7||"After Dark" (アフターダーク Afutādāku )||Asian Kung-Fu Generation||144-167|
|10||"Shōjo S" (少女S, "Girl S")||Scandal||215-242|
|11||"Anima Rossa" (アニマロッサ)||Porno Graffitti||243-265|
|13||"Ranbu no Melody" (乱舞のメロディ Ranbu no Merodi , "Melody of the Wild Dance")||SID||292-316|
|1||"Life is Like a Boat"||Rie fu||1-13|
|2||"Thank You!!" (サンキュー!! Sankyū!! )||Home Made Kazoku||14-25|
|3||"Hōkiboshi" (ほうき星, "Comet")||Younha||26-38|
|4||"happypeople"||Skoop On Somebody||39-52|
|6||"My Pace" (マイペース Mai Pēsu )||SunSet Swish||64-74|
|9||"Baby It's You"||JUNE||98-109|
|10||"Sakura Biyori" (桜日和, "Cherry Blossom Weather")||Mai Hoshimura||110-121|
|11||"Tsumesaki" (爪先, "Tiptoe"")||OreSkaBand||122-131|
|12||"Daidai" (橙, "Bitter Orange")||Chatmonchy||132-143|
|13||"Tane o Maku Hibi" (種をまく日々, "The Days When Seeds Are Scattered")||Kōsuke Atari||144-153|
|14||"Kansha." (感謝。, "Appreciation.")||RSP||154-167|
|15||"Orange" (オレンジ Orenji )||Lil'B||168-179|
|16||"Gallop" (ギャロップ Gyaroppu )||Pe'zmoku||180-189|
|17||"Hitohira no Hanabira" (ヒトヒラのハナビラ, "A Single Petal Piece")||Stereopony||190-201|
|18||"Sky Chord ~Otona ni Naru Kimi e~" (Sky Chord ～大人になる君へ～, "Sky Chord (To The Adult You)")||Shion Tsuji||202-214|
|19||"Kimi o Mamotte, Kimi o Aishite" (君を守って君を愛して, "I Protect You, I Love You")||Sambomaster||215-229|
|20||"Mad Surfer"||Kenichi Asai||230-242|
|21||"Sakurabito" (さくらびと, "Cherry Blossom's Man")||SunSet Swish||243-255|
|22||"Tabidatsu Kimi e" (旅立つキミへ, "Beginning Your Journey")||RSP||256-265|
|26||"Song For..."||ROOKiEZ is PUNK'D||304-316|
|27||"Aoi Tori" (アオイトリ, "Blue Bird")||fumika||317-329|
|28||"Haruka Kanata" (ハルカカナタ, "Far Away")||UNLIMITS||330-342|
Four volumes of Bleach Soundtracks have been released. Bleach Original Soundtrack 1 was released on May 18, 2005, and features 25 songs credited to Shiro Sagisu. Bleach Original Soundtrack 2 was released on August 8, 2006 and features 46 songs covering up to episode 64 of the Bount Arc. Bleach Original Soundtrack 3 was released on November 5, 2008, and includes 54 songs from the anime. Bleach Original Soundtrack 4 was the last OST and it was released on December 16, 2009 and included 30 songs. The fifth anniversary box set released July 29, 2009, includes a CD that includes 21 previously unreleased songs.
The Bleach Beat Collections is an ongoing set of CDs published by Sony Music featuring recordings by the original Japanese voice actors that provide a look at the personalities of the characters they play, as well as the voice actors themselves. The first CD was released on June 22, 2005, and as of March 2009[update], 21 volumes have been released across four named sets called Sessions. Each disc features three theme songs of the featured character or characters from the anime. The discs are divided into sessions:
- First Session Vol 01 - Ichigo Kurosaki/Masakazu Morita
- First Session Vol 02 - Renji Abarai/Kentaro Ito
- First Session Vol 03 - Uryū Ishida/Sugiyama Noriyaki
- First Session Vol 04 - Hanatarō Yamada/Kōki Miyata & Kon/Mitsuaki Madono
- First Session Vol 05 - Gin Ichimaru/Koji Yusa
- Second Session Vol 01 - Ichigo Kurosaki/Masakazu Morita & Zangetsu/Takayuki Sugo
- Second Session Vol 02 - Tōshirō Hitsugaya/Romi Paku & Momo Hinamori/Kumi Sakuma & Rangiku Matsumoto/Kaya Matsutani
- Second Session Vol 03 - Kenpachi Zaraki/Fumihiko Tachiki, Yachiru Kusajishi/Hisayo Mochizuki, Ikkaku Madarame/Nobuyuki Hiyama & Yumichika Ayasegawa/Jun Fukuyama
- Second Session Vol 04 - Jin Kariya/Toru Okawa, Ririn/Yumi Kakazu, Kurōdo/Nobuo Tobita & Noba/Nobuo Tobita
- Second Session Vol 05 - Rukia Kuchiki/Fumiko Orikasa & Orihime Inoue/Yuki Matsuoka
- Third Session Vol 01 - Ulquiorra Cifer/Daisuke Namikawa
- Third Session Vol 02 - Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez/Junichi Suwabe
- Third Session Vol 03 - Sōsuke Aizen/Shō Hayami
- Third Session Vol 04 - Kaname Tōsen/Toshiyuki Morikawa
- Third Session Vol 05 - Nelliel Tu Odelschwanck/Tomoko Kaneda
- Third Session Vol 06 - Szayelaporro Granz/Kōsuke Toriumi
- Fourth Session Vol 01 - Byakuya Kuchiki/Ryōtarō Okiayu & Rukia Kuchiki/Fumiko Orikasa
- Fourth Session Vol 02 - Jūshirō Ukitake/Hideo Ishikawa & Kaien Shiba/Toshihiko Seki
- Fourth Session Vol 03 - Shūsuke Amagai/Kenyū Horiuchi & Makoto Kibune/Hikaru Midorikawa
- Fourth Session Vol 04 - Ichigo Kurosaki/Masakazu Morita & Rukia Kuchiki/Fumiko Orikasa
- Fourth Session Vol 05 - Mayuri Kurotsuchi/Ryusei Nakao & Nemu Kurotsuchi/Rie Kugimiya
A number of additional collections have been released. Two volumes were released as "The Best", with each volume containing 24 songs each on two discs; the first volume released March 21, 2007 and the second on March 18, 2009. The "Bleach Breathless Collection" contains six releases featuring five tracks of the individual Soul Reaper. The six volumes feature Ichigo, Rukia, Renji, Toshiro, Shuhei, and Byajuya, respectively.
Three Radio DJCD Bleach 'B' Station season CD sets, each containing six volumes, have been released in Japan.
Bleach is divided into sixteen seasons that includes numerous original plot lines.
The Bleach anime series aired in Japan on TV Tokyo's Tuesday 6pm timeslot from October 5, 2004, to March 27, 2012, excluding holidays. The series was directed by Noriyuki Abe and produced by TV Tokyo, Dentsu, and Studio Pierrot.
Viz Media obtained the foreign television, home video, and merchandising rights to the Bleach anime from TV Tokyo Corporation and Shueisha on March 15, 2006. Viz Media has later licensed its individual Bleach merchandising rights to several different companies.
The adaptation of the Bleach anime premiered on Canada's YTV channel in the Bionix programming block on September 8, 2006. Cartoon Network's Adult Swim began airing Bleach in the United States the following evening. Adult Swim stopped broadcasting new episodes of the English adaptation on October 13, 2007 after airing the first 52 episodes of the series. It was replaced with another Viz Media series, Death Note, to provide Studiopolis more time to dub additional episodes of Bleach. The series began airing again on March 2, 2008, but went back on hiatus on November 21, 2009, after the airing of its 167th episode. Adult Swim is now airing new episodes at 12am on Saturday in their animated programing block Toonami.
In the United Kingdom, Bleach premiered on Anime Central on September 13, 2007, with new episodes airing weekly. The English dubbed version of Bleach premiered on Animax Asia on 18 December 2009 with the first 52 episodes and season 2 premiered on 18 March 2011 this time with the original Japanese audio with English subtitles.
As of January 2012, 76 DVD compilations have been released by Aniplex in Japan. Viz Media has released 32 DVD compilations of the English adaptation of the anime, along with seven season boxsets that contain the first seven seasons of the anime. On July 29, 2009, Aniplex released a "TV Animation Bleach 5th Anniversary Box" that includes 15 DVDs and three bonus discs. Episode 366, which aired March 27, 2012 was the last episode of Bleach to air on TV Tokyo.
The Spanish dub of the anime is done in two different versions, one in Mexico for transmission in the rest of Latin America and one in Spain. The dubbing in Spain is made in the studies CYO STUDIOS, and by Sound Art in Mexico. Broadcasting in Spain, Argentina, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia is done by Buzz. Broadcasting and Brazil and Latin America is done by Animax.
In Russia, the anime is distributed by "Mega-anime" (Мега-Аниме), which announced the acquisition of licenses October 12, 2007. Production was planned to begin in in the autumn of 2008. The broadcast first airing was on December 21, 2010 on 2x2. In Singapore, Odex is the licensor of Bleach.
Von Feigenblatt notes that "in terms of demographics, Bleach appeals to a narrower international audience than Naruto due to the higher complexity of its plot as well as due to the religious aspects of the story."
The anime has been featured various times in the top ten from the Japanese TV Ranking. DVDs have also had good sales having commonly appeared in the Japanese DVD Ranking. The anime was nominated in the 2007 America Anime Awards in the fields of "best manga", "best actor", "best DVD package design", and "best theme", but failed to win any awards. In a 2006 Internet poll by TV Asahi, Bleach was ranked as Japan's seventh-favorite anime program. The previous year, it was ranked as the twenty-seventh favorite program. During February 2009, Bleach ranked as the 9th most viewed animated show from Hulu.
Anime News Network's Carlos Santos praised the anime adaptation, describing it as "...one incredibly entertaining anime that will grab you and refuse to let go." Animefringe's Maria Lin liked the varied and distinct characters, and how well they handle the responsibilities increasing powers give them. She also complimented the series for its attention to details, well paced script, and balance of seriousness and comedy. In summary, she notes "Bleach the anime deserves its popularity. It has something for everyone: the supernatural, comedy, action and a little bit of romance, all tied together with excellent animation and a very enthusiastic sounding bunch of voice actors." Adam Arseneau of DVD Verdict, felt Bleach was a "show that only gets better with age" and was "surprisingly well-rounded and appealing" with well-developed characters and pacing. Active Anime's Holly Ellingwood praising the anime for perfectly capturing "the excitement, the caustic humour and supernatural intrigue" of the original manga. She felt that the series "does a wonderful job of building on its continuity to provide increasingly tense and layered episodes involving not only Ichigo and Rukia, but the secondary characters as well". She also praised the series for its striking visual effects, intriguing plot and its "brilliant blend of action, off the wall comedy." In reviewing the series for DVD Talk, Don Houston felt the characters surpassed the usual shōnen anime stereotypes and liked "the mixture of darker material with the comedic". Another Fellow reviewer John Sinnott felt series starts out as a boring "monster-of-the-week program" that becomes more epic as the stories build and the characters are fleshed out. Otaku USA''s Joseph Luster wrote that "the storylines are consistently dramatic without hammering it home too heavily, the characters manage comic relief that's not as eye rolling as one would expect, and the action (in classic fighting series form) has only gotten more ridiculous over the years; in a good way, of course". Mania.com's Bryce Coulter praised the series for its plot twists and "the quirky and amusing characters". In comparing the series with Naruto, Mania.com's Chris Beveridge felt Bleach was less childish and "simply comes together surprisingly well in its style and execution of what is fairly standard material".
All four feature films based on the Bleach series were directed by Noriyuki Abe, director of the Bleach anime series. Each movie features an original plotline along with original characters designed by Tite Kubo, which is contrary to the normal practice for anime-based films, as the original author usually has little creative involvement. Bleach: Memories of Nobody, was released in Japan on December 16, 2006 and had a limited release in American theaters in June 2008. The second film, Bleach: The DiamondDust Rebellion, was released to Japanese theaters on December 22, 2007. The third film, Bleach: Fade to Black, was released in Japan on December 13, 2008. The fourth movie, Bleach: Hell Verse, was released in Japan on December 4, 2010. In 2010, Warner Bros. confirmed that it is in talks to create a live action movie adaptation of the series with Peter Segal and Michael Ewing have been lined up to produce the movie.
The popularity of the Bleach anime resulted in the series of rock musicals, jointly produced by Studio Pierrot and Nelke Planning. There have been five musicals produced which covered portions of the Substitute and Soul Society arcs, as well as three additional performances known as "Live Bankai Shows" which did not follow the Bleach plotline. The initial performance run of the Bleach musical was from August 17–28, 2005 at the Space Zero Tokyo center in Shinjuku. The musicals are directed by Takuya Hiramitsu, with a script adaptation by Naoshi Okumura and music composed by playwright Shoichi Tama. The songs are completely original and not taken from the anime soundtrack. Key actors in the series include Tatsuya Isaka, who plays Ichigo Kurosaki, Miki Satō, who plays Rukia Kuchiki, and Eiji Moriyama, who plays Renji Abarai.
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