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Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Review – The Ultimate Soul Reaper Returns!

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Shonen Jump has released some legendary manga that eventually would be adapted into anime such as Death Note, My Hero Academia, and Bleach. Released in 2004, Bleach was an instant success introducing seemingly normal Ichigo Kurosaki who would end up becoming a Soul Reaper and the anime world would change forever. Sadly, Bleach’s anime would run into some issues and would end prematurely after 366 episodes in 2012 and us anime fans never thought we’d see the ending of the series other than continuing the manga, which is legendary in its own right.

Now in 2022, Bleach has returned thanks to Studio Pierrot in a new arc, Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War! Ichigo and his allies are back facing a new threat but let us say this immediately, this newest season is hands down one of the best anime we’ve seen this year if not the last decade. What is Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War and why should you jump back into the world of Bleach? Find out in our full review of Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War!

No Time Wasted. Time For War!

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We discussed this in a previous article but we really were worried that Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War would end up being tons of recaps and unnecessary long-winded flashbacks. While it does have some flashbacks throughout its 13 episodes, Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War barely has any recap and even uses clever fuzzy-like memory sequences to recap the older seasons without spending minutes on showing what clearly is an older anime series. Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War might only be 13 episodes but each episode progresses our story by introducing a new enemy or piece of history/relationship never before seen in the world of Bleach.

By the end, you’ll feel as if Studio Pierrot learned from the past seasons of Bleach—and other Shonen Jump series—by focusing on a continuous story and making sure to keep your eyes glued to each new episode. Learning more about the Quincies, the Soul Society, Ichigo, and his parent’s past, and seeing new characters—good and bad—continuously intrigued us and made us realize just how big the world of Bleach really is.

Death, Carnage, and Loss…

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WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD!

There is an absurd amount of death in Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War! By the mid-point of the series, when our newest enemy Yhwach and his army appear, several captains kick the bucket and we even lose one of the coolest old men in anime, Genryusai Shigekuni Yamamoto, who goes out with quite a bang. Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War is not shy with delivering tons of violence this season—more than the original—and showing even Soul Reapers can be killed. Unlike many anime that use death as a means of shock value, Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War’s high death count actually propels many of the characters forward. Shunsui Kyoraku, the laid-back Soul Reaper who always seemed TOO relaxed, now has big shoes to fill as the new Head Captain of the Soul Reapers. We still can’t get over the tale of Ichigo’s mother and why she died…that revelation caught us a bit off guard even though we read the manga!

Stellar Animation, Seriously

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In 2004, Studio Pierrot did an incredible job with Bleach. Yes, it went through many design changes—which was noticed by fans—but the fight scenes were always stunning and the world of Bleach just had a uniqueness to it. 2022’s Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War, though, is on an entirely new level and quite possibly is Pierrot’s best animation to date. From the upgraded character designs to the visual effects—when Head Captain uses his Bankai…just wow—Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War continuously blew our minds. The final scene—again big spoilers here—where Ichigo creates his new Zanpakuto is a scene we want to relive over and over! Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War might be Bleach but throw out any issues you had with the original as this is a new experience in every shape and form!

The Enemy We Needed

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Bleach has had its fair share of enemies and so far, one of our favorites—and many of yours as well—is Sosuke Aizen. Once a Soul Reaper, Aizen was—and still kind of is—an absolute evil menace in the world of Bleach but we think the newest enemy we mentioned before, Yhwach, is the worst of the worst. As the father of Quincy, Yhwach is an absolute evil who kills his own subordinates for not talking to him correctly or showing “weakness”. Yhwach even allowed one of his underlings to fight the Head Captain knowing there would be no way for him to win. We barely scratched the surface in the Thousand-Year Blood War and now there is more to Yhwach. For 13 episodes, we saw one of the coolest and scariest villains ever to be born in Bleach and possibly, anime.


Final Thoughts

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As of this review, Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War stands at a 9.18 on MyAnimeList and we think that alone shows we aren’t wrong for loving this season. Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War didn’t disappoint us in the slightest, providing one of the best anime of 2022 and one of the best parts of Bleach without missing a beat. We can’t wait for Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Part 2: The Separation—confirmed by VIZ Media and to be released July 2023—as we just need more of Bleach!

Did you, readers, love Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War as much as we did? Comment below to let us know! Be sure to mention your favorite part of Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War as well so we can talk more with you guys and gals! Don’t forget to keep stuck to our Bankai-hive here at Honey’s Anime for more anime reviews from this Fall 2022 season and various other anime-related articles!

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