If you are a fan of Bleach, then you’ve no doubt realized the iconic manga series came to an end earlier this year. Creator Tite Kubo wrapped the supernatural series with Ichigo, Rukia, and all the Soul Society heroes congratulating each other for a job well done. However, it seems as if things weren’t so peachy behind-the-scenes. According to Kubo, ending the manga was a rather different - and wholly emotional - affair.
So, you know, get your tissues ready.
Recently, Kubo made a return to Twitter and posted a hand-drawn comic that gave fans insight into how the creator managed to finish Bleach. Tenshi’s Cave was kind enough to translate Kubo’s Japanese into English, so a full script of what the mangaka had to say can be read here.
If you want the short version, then prepare to have your heartbroken. Kubo’s comics relayed one fact to fans, and it was that the creator wanted Bleach to end like he foresaw when he began the series. His readers kept him going strong as he published chapters upon chapters of manga, but his productivity began to wane once Bleach turned ten years old.
Kubo’s health began to decline severely, and the creator said he felt pathetic and that he was “failing as a mangaka.” However, those thoughts dissipated after he received a particularly touching fan latter with no name or address attached.
The letter was sent from an anonymous sick child who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. The kid, who hated watching TV or playing video games, turned to manga after being bedridden - and it was there he discovered Bleach. The boy wrote to Kubo that Bleach is what kept him going and gave him life.
Sadly, Bleach wasn’t enough. The letter ended with the boy saying that his message would be sent to Kubo after his death, meaning that the child had already passed away. Kubo shared the boy’s last words to him which were, “Kubo-sensei, I have one final request. Please draw BLEACH the way you want to draw it, right until its conclusion. That’s what I want to read.”
Kubo said he was able to do just as the boy hoped for and that he’s grateful for the guidance he received. The artist’s touching comic shows Kubo crying as he pens the final chapters of Bleach, and he ended his Twitter spiel by asking fans to help locate the family of the boy who write him the letter.
While Bleach’s tenure has ended on the page, there is still some life left in the franchise. The franchise ended its wildly popular anime years ago, but a live-action adaptation is currently in production. The move will hit Japan in 2018 with director Shinsuke Sato at the helm.