The Thousand Year Blood War Arc has begun in Bleach's anime adaptation, with Soul Society fans beyond themselves that the series has returned after its long hiatus. With Studio Pierrot back in the animation saddle and the show introducing new and old characters to the mix, what better time than now to break down the most important characters making up the war and refreshing anime fans when it comes to the Shonen's main characters. As the Quincies make landfall to stir up serious trouble, the large cast certainly has key players to remember.
Bleach's manga came to an end long before this new anime adaptation arrived, with the Thousand Year Blood War Arc originally bringing the series to a close. While the new villainous collective had ties to the franchise's past, their strength level makes it clear that they are the most terrifying opponents that Ichigo and his friends have yet to come into contact with. At present, there has been no news when it comes to Tite Kubo returning with new chapters of his Shonen masterpiece, though last year's new chapter showing the Soul Society years following this Blood War might spell an upcoming resurrection.
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Bleach's main hero, Ichigo remains a "substitute Soul Reaper" despite the fact that he's perhaps the strongest member of the Soul Society at present. With the final episode of Bleach's original anime run, Ichigo was granted his powers back, following a storyline that saw them taken from him and it's clear that he's spent his time wisely in getting attuned to his abilities once again. In this first episode, Ichigo's hot-headedness once again places him on the front lines as he attempts to discover the mystery behind the new villain, Asguiaro Ebern, and the organization he works with.prevnext
Ichigo's Allies on Earth
While Ichigo has made many allies while working alongisde the Soul Society, his most trustworthy are those who have gained supernatural powers while remaining firmly in this mortal coil. Orihime Inoue has gone from damsel in distress to being a warrior that has the ability to heal and protect using her unique skills. Yasutora Sado is the bruiser of the group whose powers manifest themselves as hard-hitting appendages that allow him to knock around Hollows with ease. Finally, perhaps the Ichigo ally with the most connection to the enemy is Uryu Ishida, a member of the Quincy family who began as a rival but now assists Ichigo on his mission. Considering the new threat branches from Ishida's clan, he's set to play a major role in the Blood War Arc.prevnext
Ryunosuke and Shino
Not every member of the Soul Society is able to easily become a Captain and unleash their Bankais off the bat, as Shino and Ryunosuke demonstrate with their arrivals in the Thousand Year Blood War Arc. Two Soul Reapers who are clearly "green" when it comes to facing dangerous Hollows, the pair was given guardianship of Karakura Town, looking to prove that Ichigo and his friends weren't needed. Unfortunately, the Hollows they encounter prove very much that the Soul Society needs all hands on deck as they are nearly killed, giving way to Ichigo and his friends making their long-awaited returns.prevnext
The first new villain of Bleach: The Thousand-Year Blood War Arc, Asguiaro Ebern introduces himself to the series by simply walking right into Ichigo's house, with the substitute Soul Reaper delivering a kick to his face to send him packing just as quickly as he entered. Ebern isn't anywhere near the most powerful member of the Wandenreich, but he hits the scene showing how this branch of the Quincies has the ability to eliminate Bankais from the Soul Society, potentially making them a giant threat by taking the Shinigami's greatest asset.prevnext
Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto
The head of the Soul Society, Yamamoto might appear to be an old man, but his power has shaken the afterlife to its core on more than one occasion. With the elder captain not jumping into the field that often, it might come as a surprise to see him unsheath his sword in the first episode of the Thousand Year Blood War Arc. With the Wadenreich arriving on his doorstep and running through his assistant, Yamamoto plays a major role during this latest arc and despite his overwhelming power, isn't able to deliver any significant blows to the opponents that entered his office.prevnext
Without going too deeply into spoiler territory, these new villains that originally brought Bleach to an end are known as the Wandenreich, a faction of the Quincy family that originally went to war with the Soul Society over one thousand years ago. Known as the "Invisible Empire", the antagonists have already demonstrated their ability to manipulate the shadows around them and seemingly have ties to the Arrancar as well considering Ebern's appearance and the mask he has on his face. There are many questions that will be answered as the new series progresses when it comes to these villains.prevnext
A nefarious organization needs an equally nefarious leader and the Wandenreich certainly has theirs in Yhwach. The "Quincy King" has some ridiculous power backing him up, with this episode alone seeing him remove the arm of one of his followers with a thought. While the Wandenreich is a threat overall, the true terror does lie in Yhwach and the Thousand Year Blood War Arc will show viewers just how powerful the new "big bad" truly is.prev