'Bleach' Celebrates Orihime's Birthday With New Artwork

One of the reasons Tite Kubo's Bleach still remains popular years after the series has ended is [...]

One of the reasons Tite Kubo's Bleach still remains popular years after the series has ended is the fantastic character designs in the series. That goes double for one of the main heroines, Orihime Inoue.

To celebrate Orihime's birthday, character designer for the anime Masashi Kudo shared a new sketch of Orihime along with a short video detailing his process.

Orihime's design is often held in high regard by fans, with some even declaring her their favorite character in the series as a result. So it's good to get a refresher of just how cute Orihime can be. The sketch features her outfit during the Thousand Year Blood-War arc, and it's one of the reasons fans wish the final arc of the series was adapted into an anime.

The debut of this outfit was one of the funniest moments in the final arc of the series as well, as Ichigo was pretty taken aback by Orihime's bold look. She blamed Urahara for the bold look, but got over the embarrassment pretty quickly when push came to shove. This was the first time in the series where Orihime dressed as boldly as some of the other female characters as her outfits and personality were usually reserved.

But this more revealing look, while full of fan-service, was a way for Kubo to quickly demonstrate how much Orihime had come out of her shell by the end of the series. Kubo had introduced many new villains and powers in the final war of the series, and this was a nice shorthand way to show Orihime's growth when time was absolutely of the essence toward the truncated end of the series.

Bleach was first created by Tite Kubo for Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump, running from 2001 to 2016. The series follows the young delinquent Ichigo Kurosaki, who has the ability to see spirits. He soon obtains the power of a Soul Reaper - one meant to usher lost souls to the afterlife - and now has the duty to defend the living world from monstrous dark spirits known as Hollows.

It has been adapted into English thanks to VIZ Media, and has sold over 900 million copies in Japan. The series was later adapted into an anime by Studio Pierrot from 2004 to 2012, and has four feature-length animations, rock musicals, video games, and a ton of other merchandise. You can currently find the series now streaming on Hulu.