[Spoiler-Free Review] Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Part 1 (Subbed)

Hulu synopsis:

When a new enemy appears, Substitute Soul Reaper Ichigo Kurosaki jumps back into the battlefield with his Zanpakuto to help those in need.

*This review will cover the first cour of this anime. This part of the anime consists of thirteen episodes (episodes 1-13). This review might contain spoilers if you haven’t watched the previous anime Bleach. Thus review will cover the anime in subbed format.

The wait felt like a thousand years

After all these years of waiting, the Bleach anime returns and previous studio, Studio Pierrot, will finally conclude the anime adaptation of the final arc of the story, the Thousand-Year Blood War. The anime originally made its Japanese debut on October 5, 2004 and it concluded with a cliffhanger on March 27, 2012 on The Lost Agent Arc (also known as the Fullbringer arc according to fans) on episode 366. While the anime concluded, the manga still continued and manga author Tite Kubo went on to write the final arc. The Thousand-Year Blood War starts in the manga on chapter 480 and the story of Bleach ended on chapter 686. On March 2020, Weekly Shonen Jump hosted a livestreamed titled “Bleach 20th Anniversary & Tite Kubo New Project Presentation”, during the livestream it was announced that the Bleach anime would return and the final arc would be animated by the same studio. The series was directed by Tomohisa Taguchi and the anime was aired on October 11, 2022. It would later be revealed the anime would have a total of fifty-two episodes consisting of four cours. The Bleach Final Arc series would be streamed exclusively on Hulu in North America, while international regions will see this on Disney Plus. The last episodes of the first cour ended on December 27, 2022 with episodes 12 and 13. With the first part concluded, it would later be announced that the second part of the story titled The Separation. The second act of the anime will begin on July this year, but for now, I am going to review the first part of the anime: The Thousand-Year Blood War.

Plot – Heroes return as well as a long forgotten enemy

The anime begins with two new Soul Reapers named : the  and Shino Madarame sent on a mission to the World of the Living at Karakura Town and investigate the massive disappearances of the spiritual monsters the Hollows. Overwhelmed by the attacks of the beasts, they get saved by Ichigo Kurosaki, Orihime Inoue, Yasutora “Chad” Sado and Uryu Ishida. Meanwhile back at the Soul Society, reports have been skyrocketing that civilians at the Yukon District has also disappeared too. With two events happening at the same time, it’s been revealed that everything was orchestrated by an unknown threat called the Wandenreich. The Wandenreich is a Quincy Empire that remained hidden for years after losing a war with the Soul Reapers a thousand years ago. Now that a thousand years has passed, the Wandenreich gathered all their surviving Quincies and plots to destroy the Soul Society reign dominion to the entire world. Leading the invisible army is the Quincy King Yhwach and his selected skilled Quincy warriors called the Stern Ritters. It’s up to Ichigo and his friends to help the Soul Society against an army seeking vengeance from a thousand year war.

Review – The return of the king

After waiting ten plus years for Bleach to return, we finally got what we wanted. Was the hype worth it? In my opinion, yes. Unless you finished the manga or at least finished the previous anime, this first act of Bleach: TYBW immediately jumps right into the plot. In a similar fashion like Dragon Ball Z, as soon as we get reintroduced to familiar characters, the anime doesn’t hold back on jumping right into the story. As soon as you watch episode one, you already get to see the main characters such as Ichigo Kurosaki and then the anime jumps to the Soul Society where the plot thickens and reveals the antagonists. Throughout this anime, the plot’s pace is pretty fast. If we’re going by the manga, chapter 480 is where anime begins and by episode 13, first act ends on chapter 542. That is about 62 chapters all in one act. Overall, this first cour of the anime is pretty fast and the anime shifts back forth between the action of the plot to the narrative. The characters you knew before are still the same as ever, but the new characters bring in some intriguing moments for the final arc. One of the brand new characters that plays a vital role to the story is the antagonist group the Wandenreich. These villains display cold hearted intentions that shows that even the might Soul Society are outmatched. Yhwach, the leader, shows off his god like power and authority in this anime that makes him a formidable enemy. His demeaner and actions makes himself look like a god who seeks to show his power against those who question him. Another group worth mentioning is Squad Zero. These captains bring both the comedy and seriousness for Ichigo and his friends as the story progresses. I won’t spoil what makes them unique, but I like how Kubo makes someone that appears odd, but also wise. With these new villains, our heroes go through many character developments that shows us about themselves and search for inner strength. Like I mentioned before about pacing, there are moments where anime does skip out some minor moments which are mostly comical situations. I won’t mention them here, but in a spoiler review post, I will tell you some points. In a past interview, it was announced that some scenes was going to be added in which we never got the chance to see in the manga. There was few added scenes in fight scenes that made fight moments even better than the manga. I watched the anime subbed and I was really impressed on the voices for the new characters. Most of the characters such as Yhwach and Squad Zero already had their announced voices in the smartphone game Bleach Brave Souls and those voices return for the anime. Fun fact: the voice for Ryūnosuke Yuki also does the voice of Izuku Midoriya from My Hero Academia. In other words, Midoriya decided to pay a visit and join Bleach.

Conclusion – Welcome home, Ichigo

Despite writing this review with limited details, the first part of Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War is a love letter and rollercoaster ride for longtime Bleach fans. All the years waiting was worth it. The old and new voice cast for Bleach was brilliant and the updated animation sets this anime apart from his previous series. Assuming you watched the beginning of Bleach and to The Lost Agent arc, this anime jumps right into the plot of the final arc with twists and turns. The villains really pushes the limits for our heroes and reveals how vulnerable they really are. A lot of the main characters get some flesh out development when the episodes focuses on them and with no surprise, Ichigo gets a heavy dose of it near the end of cour. Like mentioned, the anime’s pacing is really fast. I watched this anime subbed and dubbed and seeing it twice helps me understand what’s going on and how will the plot progress. There are some minor details left out from the manga that didn’t make it to the anime, but it’s passable. The new scenes is worth checking out especially if you wanted more than the manga had to offer. Overall, Part 1 of Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War starts and ends strong and this anime will make Bleach fans crave more in the upcoming Part 2 anime. If you are a Bleach fan, you are going to love this portion of the anime. If you already finished the manga, all you can do is wait until the rest of the anime gets animated. In the meantime, if you are new to the series, go watch the anime or read the manga. Next part of the story begins on chapter 543.

What did you think of the anime? Comment down below. I plan to do a spoiler review article soon. Hit the follow button and be on the look out. My spoiler review article will be expanded and it will cover the English Dub. See you soon!


4 thoughts on “[Spoiler-Free Review] Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Part 1 (Subbed)

  1. Good post Matt. I really enjoyed TYBW, it shows role reversal, 1k years ago 5 soul reapers annihilated Yhwach invading army, now qunicies are the ones that are decimating the Shinigami. It is funny as well that Yhwach is similarly spelt to the actual Hebrew name for god.

    • Thank you Roki! This anime was great. I been wanting to see Bleach return. I noticed that about Yhwach and his soldiers. It’s almost like he seems himself as a god and his troops like angels sent to do divine judgement. His name does sound like god. I guess Kubo wanted to make this villain threatening.

  2. Pingback: Friday Funny 407: Sword Art Online is NOT the worst anime of all time! | Matt-in-the-Hat

  3. Pingback: [Spoiler Review] Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Part 1 (Dubbed) | Matt-in-the-Hat

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