More than ten years since the last episode aired, the anime adaptation of Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War arc has finally begun airing. Originally penned by mangaka Tite Kubo, the past decade was filled with somber uncertainty for fans, who wondered if the events of these final chapters would ever get adapted into moving pictures and sounds. Not only did this wish come true, but it looks better than we could’ve ever hoped.
There will be spoilers going forward, as things get bloody within the very first episode.
The arc begins with the Quincy King’s hymn: 900 years to regain his pulse, 90 years to regain his intellect, 9 years to regain his power, and trailing off without revealing the final part of the hymn. We see the 12th Division scrambling to emergency alarum as hollows are being expunged en masse in the human world, resulting in an imbalance of souls existing between the living and non-living realms.
The Thousand-Year Blood War goes from zero to sixty very quickly. By the 15-minute mark in episode 1, the 1st Division barracks are already under assault from the Vandenreich, an organized army of Quincy assailants analogous to the 13-Court Guard Squads of the Soul Society. Head Captain Yamamoto is visibly shocked as his lieutenant, Chōjirō Sasakibe, is impaled in front of him by a massive Quincy blade.
In episode 2, we see that Hueco Mundo has been swiftly and completely conquered by the Vandenreich, with the remaining arrancars having either been killed or subjugated. Tier Harribel, the former 3rd Espada under Aizen, was soundly defeated and imprisoned by the invading army. By episode 3, Ichigo crosses blades with his first Quincy Sternritter opponent: Quilge Opie, with the letter designation “J.”
A large portion of the Bleach fanbase grew up with the series during their tender teenage years. The early swashbuckling adventures of Ichigo and Rukia slaying giant ghosts with oversized swords appealed to a lot of youths at the time of its airdate. For Americans, this was way back in September 2006 on Adult Swim. Sorry for the hard-to-swallow-pill, but 2006 was 16 years ago.
Some of us are old geezers now, and we’ve grown up quite a bit. But thankfully, Studio Pierrot decided to mature the anime adaptation by taking the shackles off the censorship and cranking it up to TV-MA. That’s right, the anime adaptation of the Thousand-Year Blood War is going to be for mature audiences only. When someone gets bifurcated in the manga, you can damn well be sure you’re going to see the same thing in the anime now.
Not only do we get to watch a bunch of Quincy grunts getting gruesomely decapitated (complete with blood fountains) in episode 2, but the animation team at Studio Pierrot went the extra mile with the animation quality. The detail on the character’s faces is dynamic and thorough, weapons glint, and a blaze of particle effects fill the screen whenever a large attack is launched. Every frame has a level of quality seldom seen outside of motion pictures, like Bleach: The Diamondust Rebellion or Bleach: Fade to Black. It’s consistent and pure eye candy, and I often find myself going back and re-watching scenes just to appreciate them all over again.
Additionally, we even got some extra scenes with Tier Harribel that weren’t originally in the manga, a move that fans have praised for taking off-screen sequences and fleshing them out. Old tracks from the original anime OST were also revamped with new remixes; listen for the sweet re-arrangement of On the Precipice of Defeat in episode 3 when Ichigo confronts Quilge.
If you want to know where you can catch the new episodes, check out this post with all the details. What are you looking forward to the most in the Thousand-Year Blood War’s anime adaptation? Is it Kenpachi Zaraki getting into the action? Shunsui’s Bankai? Or maybe it’s just seeing Rukia’s butt in the special onsen? Whatever it is, let us know in the comments!
We also have a sexy Yoruichi Shihouin figure in the store that’ll look good on any Bleach fan’s shelf!
Source: Anime News Network