Bleach Confirmed for 2021
March 2020 has been a fantastic month for the loyal fan-base Bleach still gathers after so many years - the anime was announced to be returning and the hype restarted. People started speculating, sharing, discussing what can be done differently, and the fandom revived.
However, we do not have a set date as of yet and some are becoming increasingly nervous that the current events may push the release of the anime out further into the future.
Having said that, as the manga was initially released in 2001, 2021's anime return seems very likely as that would mean it drops for the 20th Bleach anniversary.
The anime will adapt the "Thousand-Year Blood War" arc and fans are hoping that this may finally do it justice it deserves and flesh out the characters and certain story beats in greater detail.
We do not know yet when in 2021 the anime may drop exactly but Q3 seems very likely as the timing is fantastic (anniversary) and it gives the studio that picks it up ample time to give us a quality release.
The Story Continues
As a reminder - Bleach anime stopped much to our dissatisfaction at the episode 366 mark, when the last episode aired on TV Tokyo, on March 27, 2012. A long time ago, right?
The anime covered basically everything until the end of the Fullbringer arc, ironically coming to a full stop. Pun Intended. The first 16 seasons that were brought to our screens were animated by Studio Pierrot, famous for making fights looking fresh and flashy and generally great-looking animation.
The story dropped off at an epic point as well - just as Ichigo defeated Ginjo and became insanely overpowered with his Full Bringer powers, leaving us wanting more and then, well, ending. Talk about an auspicious point to cut us off!
But, if we do get a continuation soon, we can expect the "Thousand-Year Blood War" to wrap the story up in at least three seasons. That is three seasons of fantastic content, provided that we get some questions answered and some things, well, tweaked, for a lack of a better word.
The Ending that Bleach Deserves
Those who never lost faith that Bleach will someday return would also like it to bring something new to the plate as the manga appeared to be rushed near the end and some fans were not exactly pleased with the ending either.
Regardless of your attitude toward the ending of the manga series though, it is very unlikely that anyone would mind seeing new content as long as Tite Kubo is consulted and the new content is a meaningful filler that expands on the lore, fleshes out the characters and introduces some new world-building elements.
All that said, we may be better of expecting the anime continuation to follow the story beats of the manga to a T, simply because it would spare us any disappointment in case we do not get any new content we want.
At this point in time after 8 years have gone by, it may be prudent to carefully manage expectations as we do not have any further details or announcements available to speculate. Even though "Bleach resurrection" feels like a proper term right now, let us collectively not hold our breath till we get more verified information.
Possible Date of Return
Possible release dates for Bleach are something widely speculated upon (we have been speculating for years), but it seems very reasonable to guess that it will be around Bleach's 20th anniversary, which is August 2021. However, this is pure speculation as we do not have any confirmation on this.
Particularly concerning is the fact that we might see further delays due to COVID-19, but if not, the August timing would be spectacular to give us at least the first season of the anime continuation.
The fact that this was announced in March bodes well - it would be poor planning to hype up the loyal fans again only to drop them yet again. The hype is fantastic but it will die down if we get nothing within a year or so - so a quarter 3 2021 release for Bleach anime seems like a reasonable assumption.
Is Coronavirus Going to Affect the Release of Bleach Anime?
Everyone is waiting with bated breath for any new piece of information regarding the Bleach comeback, but with the current climate caused by COVID-19, it is not unreasonable to assume that delays will happen.
We simply do not know just exactly how much the current situation can affect production and time-frames, and we are already looking at so many great releases (movies, events, anime) being pushed out for the future with uncertainty looming over everything.
A comforting thought is that the return of Bleach was in fact announced when the coronavirus pandemic was already a thing back in March - this tweet by Shonen Jump announcing it and the official announcement on the Bleach 20th Anniversary Website date to end of March.
We can comfort ourselves that any complications that may be caused by the pandemic have already been taken into account and that the 15 estimated months that are needed to produce at least season 17 have the circumstances calculated in already - that way, we may actually get new episodes in August of 2021.
How Many Episodes/Seasons We Can Expect
TYBW was a very long arc so guessing how many episodes that would give us is a bit tricky, but there are several possibilities here:
- About 50 to 60 episodes if the story follows the manga closely and some fights are condensed.
- Between 70 and 80 episodes if each episode covers about three chapters and no filler content is added.
- Between 100 and 110 if we cover two manga chapters per episode without any filler content again.
- Easily well over 120 episodes if we get filler content that will flesh out the story more.
To neatly break this up into seasons though, we may be getting anywhere between 3 to 5 seasons of anime broken up into 22 to 26 episodes each, which would fit the formula so far.
All of this will depend wildly on filler content as adding even more fillers than anyone expects is also a possibility - after all, Bleach was always a commercial success and there is a chance that it may be longer than anyone of us anticipates simply due to that fact.
Everything We Know So Far
Everything we know about the Bleach anime's return is what we have already learned in March:
- Bleach anime is definitely returning in the future, and most likely in 2021.
- We do not have any exact time-frames or release dates, but a quarter 3 release for 2021 seems like the most obvious answer to this question.
- We do not know whether the coronavirus pandemic will affect the release of Bleach anime nor do we have any confirmed information whether the release window is moving at all.
- It seems very likely that we may get anywhere between 60 to well over a hundred episodes spanning over several seasons.
- We are getting the "Burn the Witch" anime this fall, animated by Studio Colorido. That should get us by until the arc we are waiting for.
What we can do in the meantime is to manage our expectations and be careful not to overhype this for ourselves as further delays are possible. Being cautious about trusting unofficial news sources is also prudent as there are many Twitter accounts and the like sharing information that is false.
BLEACH 20th ANNIVERSARY PROJECT PV
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© 2020 Ellie Lowe