Tite Kubo’s sweeping manga finished up in 2016, but the final arc was never adapted into the anime. Fans were left wanting when the anime ended in 2012 and have always hoped to see the final arc be adapted, myself included! It was recently announced that Studio Pierrot is going to be adapting the “Thousand-Year Blood War” arc for release in 2021. This announcement means it’s a perfect time to take a look back at the Bleach manga!
The Bleach manga ran continuously in Shonen Jump and then Weekly Shonen Jump from 2001-2016, coming to an end with the “Thousand-Year Blood War” arc published over the last 4 years. That’s over 600 chapters of story, perfect for this time of social distancing. From a wide cast of characters to a story that spans across different realms, Bleach certainly has a lot to offer old and new fans. I’ve done several re-reads of the series myself, both when it was being published and once since publication ended. I love being able to read something that I’m familiar with that brings me some nostalgia and joy! Here are my top reasons to sink into the story of soul reapers, long story arcs, and epic fight scenes.
1: The Story
First and foremost, the story of Bleach is a great reason to re-read the manga! It’s your classic shounen story, following a 15-year-old Ichigo Kurosaki who’s a typical high school student who also happens to be able to see ghosts. From there, a series of events occur that lead him into learning about the Soul Society, hollows, and becoming close friends with the soul reaper Rukia Kuchiki.
For me, what really makes me want to re-read, is primarily the relationships between characters and the worldbuilding. Two of my favorite arcs throughout the story are the Arrival arc and the Fierce Fight arc. The Arrival arc is all about Shinji Hirako trying to get Ichigo to come with him for some specialized training and the introduction of the Visoreds come! The Fierce Fight arc builds up to some awesome fights between characters and fleshes out some of Hueco Mundo even more.
The story of Bleach is long, clocking in at 686 chapters in total, so there’s plenty to dig into. With any re-read, you get the chance to dive back into a story that you might not have visited in a while and with Bleach, there’s lots of plot to catch up on. With multiple arcs, chapters that feature awesome fights, and seeing the story progress from beginning to end, the story of Bleach is the biggest draw to warrant a re-read!
2: The Characters
This is probably a given with anything you want to re-read, but the characters in Bleach are really great! I remember when I first started reading Bleach and I was really in love with so many of the characters, including side characters. Like any shounen series, the cast of characters only grew as the story went on, giving us plenty of characters to get invested in.
For those who might not have finished Bleach, there are plenty of new characters that are interesting in the final arcs such as new Quincy and human characters that have powers of their own. And certain well-established characters, like Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez, make return appearances! It’s always satisfying getting to see old and new characters have their stories finally wrapped up. A few of my favorite characters (like Grimmjow, Rukia, and Rangiku) are apart of the main story or side stories, so reading the entirety of Bleach has always been a great way to re-invest myself in their individual stories and their character development!
Two of my favorite characters are Ichigo and Rukia. Both are main characters of the series and while that might be a bit of an easy thing to say, there’s plenty to love about them. In particular, I love the dynamic between the two of them. They meet in really strange circumstances and quickly become extremely important to each other. They both bounce off of each other and it’s so much fun seeing how their relationship changes over the course of the manga.
Anytime that I’ve re-read the entirety of Bleach (or even just parts), I get to enjoy seeing my favorite characters again! Whether your favorite is Ichigo or one of the multiple Arrancar that appear in the series, there’s definitely something about getting to re-read the manga they’re in. I really enjoy noticing things I might have forgotten since my last re-read, like the fact that Hiyori Sarugaki was actually a lab manager in the 12th Division of the Soul Society! It’s little bits like that about a character I like that makes a re-read such fun.
3: The Evolving Art
Since Bleach began publication in 2001 and ran for well over a decade, there’s a very cool progression in Tite Kubo’s art style. The character designs all remain recognizable throughout the series, but when you read through the entire manga and look for the change in style, it becomes pretty distinct!
I think the most noticeable change in Kubo’s art can be seen in the faces of all the characters. In earlier chapters, faces tend to be a bit pointier in the chin with wider cheeks. And as you move into later chapters, the design of the faces seem to even out a little bit more! It’s very cool being able to look through every chapter as you go and see just how much Kubo’s art shifted as the series went on.
What I’ve always found cool about revisiting the art in the manga is just seeing the art itself. Kubo has some of the coolest character designs in manga and they’re always very aesthetically pleasing, whether it’s the main character or a villain. In manga, which is such a visual medium, Kubo’s designs really stand out to me because of his unique style!
Bleach offers a lot to any reader that’s looking to get back into the series! Whether you want to revisit it out of nostalgia thanks to the upcoming revival or you’re looking for a series to sink some good reading time into, Bleach is a perfect option.