After keeping hope alive for eight years after the anime originally came to its truncated end, Tite Kubo's Bleach will be making its grand return to finally adapt the final arc in the series, Thousand-Year Blood War, sometime next year. It's been a long and strange road getting to this point, and it might have seemed like a ceaseless struggle in the middle of it all. Besides, why was Bleach's final arc such a major ask for anime fans? What makes the Thousand-Year Blood War so special that asking for it for so long with no hope of getting an adaptation seem like the right idea?
As one the strangest cases in all of Weekly Shonen Jump history, Bleach had quite a bit of trouble during its final arc. It was no secret that the anime was struggling both behind the scenes and with fans during the Fullbring arc especially, but that didn't stop fans from wanting more ever since the anime first came to an end.
As for why fans have been so adamant about seeing more of the anime, it comes down to several specific moments. Because this serves as the final arc of the entire series, there are several long running plot threads that were not fleshed out until these final scenes. Several gaps in major character origins were filled in, and some characters reached new heights of power.
There is a grandiose nature to it all as Bleach's final onslaught of battles not only had some of the strongest foes in the series (with some of the most elaborate designs to date), but also unleashed some of the coolest character designs overall. Below are seven major scenes that fans will especially want to keep an eye out for when Bleach's anime finally returns, but as is the nature of this final arc, this list does contain spoilers.
If you're someone not completely caught up with Bleach's Thousand-Year Blood War arc and were waiting until next year to read up on it, then there are a few moments here that might be too detailed for you. But like Bleach fans discovered long ago, this final arc is all about visual spectacle more than anything, so that's the main thrust of this list.
Read on to find out which major moments you'll want to keep an eye out for when Bleach's anime makes a comeback, and let us know what moments you're most excited to see in the comments! You can also hit me up directly about all things anime and other cool things @Valdezology on Twitter!
Ichigo's Big Return
Bleach fans have been waiting for the anime to come back for so long that even hearing that it's going to happen doesn't feel real. It may have been confirmed to be in the works, but many fans won't believe it will happen until it's right in front of our eyes. When the anime does back though? One of the hugest moments of its return is going to happen right at the start.
The beginning of the Thousand-Year Blood War arc features an explosive return for Ichigo Kurosaki (and later Orihime Inoue, Chad Yasutora, and Uryu Ishida) as it ushers in the start of this new arc and fans are going to lose it. Especially if this scene hits with the famous "Number One" song from the first anime's soundtrack playing in the background!
Captain Yamamoto's Last Stand
Captain Commander Yamamoto has been one of the most intriguing figures of the Gotei 13 because he rarely stepped into battle himself. When he did, the battles were usually over quickly due to his overwhelming power but that changes with the Thousand-Year Blood War. When Yhwach makes his move on the Soul Society, Yamamoto steps up to the plate and unleashes his incredible Bankai. With four different powerful variations of his Zanka no Tachi, we see them all in quick succession all at once. It's immediately gripping in the manga alone, and is sure to be explosive in the new anime!
Unohana vs. Kenpachi
One of the biggest reveals during the arc comes after the Captains have to go back to the drawing board and learn how to strengthen themselves after their Bankais are stolen by the Sternritter. It was a different case for Kenpachi Zaraki, as it was revealed that Unohana actually was the bloodthirsty killer dubbed "Kenpachi" before him. Needing to officially pass on the baton and make Kenpachi stronger, the two of them lock themselves in a room and fight to the death until he gets strong enough to reach the next level. It's a long and bloody battle, but it's sure to be a violent display in the anime.
Masaki Kurosaki's Flashback
As the series continued we began to learn more about Ichigo Kurosaki's true origins. Not only was his father revealed to be a Soul Reaper (which explains the greater spirit pressure affinity of his family), but the Thousand-Year Blood War revealed the identity of his mother, Masaki Kurosaki. Elaborating on the chosen one nature of Ichigo's growth as a fighter set in motion by Aizen long ago, it was revealed that Ichigo's mother was actually a Quincy whose death was the result of Yhwach's power vacuum. But what's truly going to have that impact is seeing how she met Ichigo's father, and how the two eventually led to Ichigo.
Ichigo's Final Form
Ichigo had undergone several different forms over the course of the series, and each new form brought along with it a huge boost in power. But the final arc sees a culmination of all of his evolutions thus far as learning about his mother's identity as helped carve his identity as someone with Soul Reaper, Quincy, and Hollow powers. Coupled with the power of his twin Zangetsu (which had also unleashed its true form at this point), Ichigo's final form is the debut of his truest self. Seeing him reach a new pinnacle after years of effort is going to mean even more when this anime finally premieres.
Ichigo vs. Yhwach
The final fight of the series, like Ichigo, is the culmination of many of the series' plot threads. While the final villain Yhwach is a bit of a letdown himself since he sort of comes out of nowhere compared to Aizen's build up and payoff, but he provides a final god level opponent that shakes the foundation of the entire series. His forms might look cool in the manga, but the resulting battle with Ichigo will undoubtedly be supreme in animated form.
Death & Strawberry
None those scenes compare to finally be able to see the end of the series fully play out in the anime. The final moments of the series bring Bleach several years into the future and teases what the next generation of Soul Reapers could bring to the table, but most importantly, it concludes. A conclusion is what fans of the anime have been aching for all this time, and seeing the final moments animated at last will provide a sense of closure we have been wanting for a long, long time.