Guest writer: Darkrose#1437

Bleach is one of the best known mainstream anime/manga series written and illustrated by the mangaka Tite Kubo and is considered one of the Big Three of Shounen, together with One Piece and Naruto. In this article, I will tell you all about the story behind the creation of the manga, and later the anime. What made Tite decide to start Bleach and what is the mangaka doing right now?

The Creator

Tite Kubo is a pseudonym for Noriaki Kubo, born on June 26, 1977 in Hiroshima Prefecture, Fuchu. Ever since he read the manga Saint Seiya, he knew he wanted to become a manga artist. We all know him for his famous manga known as Bleach, which got serialized as an anime directed by Noriyuki Abe from TV Tokyo in 2004.

Other than Bleach, Kubo has other works such as Burn the Witch and Zombie Powder. More notably, he created a well-known anime known as Aoi Bungaku. It consists of 6 modern classics of Japanese literature:

Osamu Dazai’s No Longer Human (Ningen Shikkaku) and Run, Melos! (Hashire, Melos!); Natsume Soseki’s Kokoro; Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s Hell Screen (Jigoku Hen) and The Spider’s Thread (Kumo no Ito); and Ango Sakaguchi’s In the Forest and Under Cherries in Full Bloom (Sakura no Mori no Mankai no Shita).


Snipe, the concept

Kubo’s first thought of Shinigami was of people in kimonos using guns. So before the final product was conceptualized, Kubo wanted to name his manga “Snipe”, as in sniper. However after they included the swords he wanted to name the manga “Black” for the color of their kimonos, but Kubo found this title too generic. He also tried to name it “White” because the color could be associated with the “cleansing” of souls but even this wasn’t to his liking. Bleach was decided as it could be associated with the color white and still had a “cleansing” aspect to it.

goku

This concept was submitted to Weekly Shounen Jump just after Zombie Powder was cancelled. Unfortunately, it was rejected at first. Then Akira Toriyama, the mangaka for for Dragon Ball, wrote a letter of encouragement to Kubo after reading his story. Not long after that, Bleach got accepted for publication.


Bleach, the long-running series

Bleach

Bleach is about a high school boy named Kurosaki Ichigo who lost his mom at a very early age and has always been able to see the spirits of dead people. One day he meets Kuchiki Rukia, a shinigami (soul reaper), that failed to accomplish her duties after engaging in a certain battle against a particularly powerful Hollow. After this event, Ichigo takes on the heavy burden of eliminating Hollows as a substitute shinigami. The story takes place in Karakura town, Japan.

It was serialized in the Japanese manga magazine Weekly Shonen Jump alongside well-known shounen manga like One Piece and Naruto. The manga ran from August 2001 to August 2016 with a total of 74 volumes.

In 2004 Bleach received the Shogakukan Manga Award, which has 4 categories and Bleach won the award for best shounen manga. Even though the sales of the manga have gone down over the years, 90 million copies have been sold in Japan and 120 million copies worldwide, keeping the series performing commercially well. This means that Bleach is among one of the best selling manga in Japan and the United States.


Bleach, the anime’s rise and fall

As of now, the series has 366 episodes, 2 OVA’s and 4 movies. It also has a grand total of 15 openings and 30 endings. The original soundtracks in the series were composed by Shirō Sagisu who is well known for making OST for Neon Genesis Evangelion as well.

The list of all the openings and endings can be found in the links below:

As the anime got more and more episodes, some problems started to occur. The manga wasn’t updating new chapters fast enough for the anime to keep airing new stuff. Thanks to this, the anime made a lot of fillers that most fans weren’t so happy with. Such examples of fillers are the bounty’s arc and the zanpaktou arc. When the last arc finished airing, the anime ended at a total of 366 episodes, with Kubo only just starting with his new arc. With the cast not knowing whether they should make another filler arc or not, they decided to stop the anime.

Of course just like any other series even Bleach has its flaws. From my perspective, the biggest flaw in this series is the fillers in the anime. Even in the middle of an important arc, the story would suddenly be interrupted to start a completely irrelevant filler arc to compensate for the lack of chapters from the manga! But don’t let that stop you from watching such a beautiful story.


Bleach, the anime’s return?

The anime right now is at an end. If it will ever continue is still unsure since the mangaka has not made much progress on his manga at this very moment. Everyone, both fans and anime producers alike, are sure that the anime will someday return. But when will it return? As of yet, no one knows when or how it will return. The anime stopped airing in 2012, yet the fans to this day are still dedicated and keep the franchise alive.

They all believe in the return of Bleach.

I hope by giving you this much information you got interested in checking either the manga or anime out. If not let me tell you this. Bleach is a story driven by friendship and determination. The main character only thinks of his family and friends’ safety. His will to become stronger is so invigorating that you will feel like you want to become stronger as well. Do not let the amount of episodes and extras stop you from watching this wonderful anime!

And it is not just the main characters that are driven by such strong values. The other characters–even the villains–are driven by this same ambition. It’s easy to get attached to every character that Bleach will introduce to you, no matter how trivial they seem to be.


Sources and Further Reading

  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bleach_(TV_series)

  https://myanimelist.net/people/1880/Tite_Kubo

  https://myanimelist.net/anime/7193/Aoi_Bungaku_Series

  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bleach_(manga)

  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akira_Toriyama

  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shogakukan_Manga_Award

  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhZEOlHJYQQ

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