With a finished manga run and a concluded anime series, Bleach isn’t the massive ongoing multi-media project that it once was. Just because the original member of the Big 3 of shonen series isn’t taking names alongside Naruto and One Piece like it used to doesn’t mean it isn’t a big deal anymore, though. Plenty of people still love the intense and iconic series, and there’s enough fervor for the franchise to justify launching a new mobile game based on it across the globe. Bleach: Immortal Soul is finally being made available to English speaking territories.
The Hong Kong-based game publisher Oasis Games confirmed that Bleach: Immortal Soul, developed by game studio GREE, will be released on iOS and Android in English by the publisher this Spring. Furthermore, pre-registration for the game is already available on the App Store, Google Play, and the official website, letting users nab a variety of bonus items when they sign up for the game early.
Dear Substitute Soul Reaper, you can now pre-register for Bleach: Immortal Soul!
— Bleach: Immortal Soul (@BleachImmortal) January 22, 2020
Officially licensed by TV Tokyo, the producers behind the Bleach anime series, Bleach: Immortal Soul adapts the story of the anime series, which is in turn based on the Tite Kubo-authored manga of the same name. The game is described as a “strategic character-based team RPG” that sees you and a team of your favorite characters exploring iconic environments from the series, including the Karakura Town where the first arc of the series takes place. Players can collect and train a variety of characters from across the franchise, and hardcore fans will appreciate the fact that the original voice actors for each character reprise their roles here.
Characters can be recruited by finishing story missions, completing special daily tasks, or going through the recruitment system. It’s fun to play with your favorites, but if you want to be #1 you’ll need to consider which characters offer the best team composition, attack choices, and combo potential. You can play solo and take it easy, but if you want to be a part of the community, you’ll get a chance to climb the Soul Society ranks, join squads, and utilize friends in battle.
Bleach: Immortal Soul is far from the first mobile game in the long-running franchise. Fans of more robust action games can take a crack at Bleach: Brave Souls, a 3D action game based on the series that lets you battle hordes of fearsome foes as your favorite characters from the series. There’s also Bleach: Paradise Lost, a turn-based RPG battle game with a bit of a real life twist. Enemies appear in real life via a GPS-navigated app, and you’ll have to confront them using a team of your own. It’s currently only available in Japan. Additionally, BLEACH Kyo・Kai-Tamashinokakusei: Shinigami (Bleach: Boundary Awakened Souls – Shinigami) launched in Japan in November of 2018.
Bleach is a shonen manga series written and illustrated by Tite Kubo. It was serialized in the iconic manga magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump from August 7th, 2001 to August 22nd, 2016, with its chapters collected into 74 full volumes. The manga series went on to inspire a television anime produced by Studio Pierrot and directed by Noriyuki Abe. The series aired on TV Tokyo from October 2004 to March 2012, totaling at 366 episodes. A description of the series, according to MAL:
Ichigo Kurosaki is an ordinary high schooler—until his family is attacked by a Hollow, a corrupt spirit that seeks to devour human souls. It is then that he meets a Soul Reaper named Rukia Kuchiki, who gets injured while protecting Ichigo’s family from the assailant. To save his family, Ichigo accepts Rukia’s offer of taking her powers and becomes a Soul Reaper as a result.
However, as Rukia is unable to regain her powers, Ichigo is given the daunting task of hunting down the Hollows that plague their town. However, he is not alone in his fight, as he is later joined by his friends—classmates Orihime Inoue, Yasutora Sado, and Uryuu Ishida—who each have their own unique abilities. As Ichigo and his comrades get used to their new duties and support each other on and off the battlefield, the young Soul Reaper soon learns that the Hollows are not the only real threat to the human world.
English-language releases of Bleach are typically handled by Viz Media, which has released several volumes of the manga each year since 2004, and published chapters of Bleach in its Shonen Jump magazine since November 2007. Viz Media secured foreign television and home video distribution rights to the Bleach anime in 2006. Adult Swim began airing dubbed episodes of Bleach in the United States that fall, and Hulu later began to stream subtitled versions of the anime a week after each episode aired in Japan. There are also four animated feature films based on the Bleach series, all of which are directed by series director Noriyuki Abe. These have all been released in English by Viz Media, as well, with both home video released and theater runs.
Another recent development in the franchise besides additional mobile releases was the release of a live-action film adaptation, produced by Warner Bros. and directed by Shinsuke Sato. The film stars Sota Fukushi as the iconic hot-blooded hero of the series, Ichigo Kurosaki. It was released in Japan on July 20th, 2018, before premiering in America on July 28th, 2018 at the New York Japan Cuts Festival in New York City. The film was released on Netflix on September 14th, 2018.