In the world of anime, what once was old will become new again. Plenty of iconic anime titles have seen themselves resurrected thanks to fan efforts and time-tested nostalgia. Recently, franchises like Digimon and Sailor Moon were given facelifts with brand-new titles while Dragon Ball ushered in a new anime back in 2015. This year, Naruto will refresh its image with a spin-off anime, and Fullmetal Alchemist famously ended its first anime run to give fans a better, more canonical title. If an anime was popular, fans have surely wondered whether a new title could revive it in the future. So, really, it is no surprise to hear Bleach fans are asking the same question.
Created in 2001, Bleach was brought into the world thanks to Tite Kubo. The artist shared his serialized manga with fans for years before it was adapted by Studio Pierrot into an anime. In 2016, the manga finally came to an end a few years after its anime was quietly wrapped. As such, the show was never able to finish Ichigo Kurosaki’s story following the Fullbringer Arc, leaving fans to plead for an overhaul title similar to Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. And, now, fans have reason to hope something will come of their begging.
At the end of last year, the University of Southern California hosted PMX 2016 and invited character designer Masashi Kudo to attend. The creator is best-known for working on Bleach with Kubo, and it was at the conference that Kudo commented on a possible new anime.
When asked what he thought of Bleach now that is is over, Kudo said, “As a manga story it has ended but there are parts that haven’t been made into an anime yet. I talk a lot with the anime staff about things we can do later.”
On Twitter, Kudo has since stressed Studio Pierrot has no new plans to develop a new anime at the moment, but a day may come when the studio is. If conversations have been held on the backend, anything is possible.
Still, the timeframe is still up in the air. For instance, Studio Pierrot would likely have trouble bringing back one of Bleach’s original directors. Noriyuki Abe has taken a director’s role on the new Naruto spin-off, but Studio Pierrot has at least recognized the desire for an extended Bleach project.
If the series were green-lit, fans would surely want a more condensed iteration of Bleach. The original series was famously plagued with filler episodes, so a new anime would mandate narrative precision. And, most excitingly, it would let fans see the Thousand Year Blood War story arc brought to life. That alone would leave fans satisfied.
So, what do you think? Is a Bleach reboot or expansion inevitable? Or do you think Studio Pierrot is ready to leave the series behind?