Bleach (Japanese: ブリーチ, Hepburn: Burīchi) is a Japanese shōnen manga series written and illustrated by Tite Kubo. Bleach follows the adventures of the hotheaded teenager Ichigo Kurosaki, who inherits his parents' destiny after he obtains the powers of a Soul Reaper (死神, Shinigami, literally 'Death God')—a death personification similar to the Grim Reaper—from another Soul Reaper, Rukia Kuchiki. His new-found powers force him to take on the duties of defending humans from evil spirits and guiding departed souls to the afterlife, and set him on journeys to various ghostly realms of existence.

Bleach cover 01.jpg
Cover of Bleach tankōbon volume 1,
featuring Ichigo Kurosaki.
GenreAdventure, supernatural[1]
Written byTite Kubo
Published byShueisha
English publisher
ImprintJump Comics
MagazineWeekly Shōnen Jump
English magazine
Original runAugust 7, 2001August 22, 2016
Volumes74 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
Anime films
Live-action film
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and manga portal

Bleach was serialized in the Japanese manga magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump from August 7, 2001 to August 22, 2016, with its chapters collected into 74 tankōbon volumes. The series has spawned a media franchise that includes an anime television series that was produced by Tokyo-based Studio Pierrot from 2004 to 2012, two original video animation (OVA) episodes, four animated feature films, ten stage musicals, and numerous video games, as well as many types of Bleach-related merchandise. A Japanese live-action film adaptation produced by Warner Bros. was released in 2018.

English-language releases of Bleach are coordinated by Viz Media, which has released several volumes of the manga each year since 2004, and published chapters of Bleach in its Shonen Jump magazine since November 2007. Viz Media secured foreign television and home video distribution rights to the Bleach anime in 2006. Adult Swim began airing dubbed episodes of Bleach in the United States that fall, and Hulu later began to stream subtitled versions of the anime a week after each episode aired in Japan. Viz Media has also released each of the four Bleach feature films in English.

Bleach received the Shogakukan Manga Award for the shōnen demographic (teenage males) in 2005, and is among the best-selling manga in both Japan and the United States. Despite significant downturns in both the Japanese and English manga markets, Bleach continued to perform well commercially, and has sold more than 90 million tankōbon copies in Japan alone. As of 2018, the series had over 120 million tankōbon volumes in print worldwide.

Plot summaryEdit

Ichigo Kurosaki is a teenager from Karakura Town who can see ghosts, a talent which lets him meet supernatural trespasser Rukia Kuchiki. Rukia is one of the Soul Reapers, soldiers trusted with ushering the souls of the dead from the World of the Living to the Soul Society (尸魂界 (ソウル·ソサエティ), lit. "Dead Spirit World")—the afterlife realm from which she originates—and with fighting Hollows, monstrous lost souls who can harm both ghosts and humans. When she is severely wounded defending Ichigo from a Hollow she is pursuing, Rukia transfers her powers to Ichigo so that he may fight in her stead while she recovers her strength. Rukia is thereby trapped in an ordinary human body, and must advise Ichigo as he balances the demands of his substitute Soul Reaper duties and attending high school. For aid in hunting the Hollows, the pair ally with a trio of other spiritually empowered teenagers: Ichigo's high school classmate Orihime Inoue, best friend Yasutora "Chad" Sado and the Quincy—humans who can fight Hollows—Uryū Ishida.

Eventually, Rukia is arrested by her Soul Reaper superiors and sentenced to death for the illegal act of transferring her powers into a human. Ichigo and friends enlist the help of ex-Soul Reaper scientist Kisuke Urahara, who also enables Ichigo to access his own Soul Reaper powers, to enter Soul Society and rescue Rukia. Shortly after the party's arrival in the Soul Society, conflict arises among the captains of the 13 Court Squads when the captain of the fifth company, Sōsuke Aizen, is apparently murdered, which causes the Soul Reapers to begin fighting amongst themselves. However, as Ichigo is almost successful in rescuing Rukia, and Soul Society is on the verge of civil war, Aizen reappears and reveals his intention to obtain the Hōgyoku (崩玉, lit. "Crumbling Orb")—an orb of immense power—that Kisuke planted in Rukia's human vessel by faking his death and arranging Rukia's execution. Aizen is accompanied by his fellow conspirators, Gin Ichimaru and Kaname Tōsen who are the third and ninth company's captains, as they use Hollows to cover their escape into the Hollows' realm, Hueco Mundo (虚圏 (ウェコムンド), lit. "Hollow World"). Afterwards, Ichigo and Rukia reconcile with the Soul Reapers, who view the former as a powerful ally and designate him as an official substitute Soul Reaper.

Ichigo soon finds himself and his friends in escalating skirmishes with Aizen's army of humanoid Hollows, the Arrancar, as they are joined by the Vizards—Soul Reapers who were victims of Aizen's experiments in creating Soul Reaper/Hollow hybrids. When one of the Espada—Aizen's 10 most powerful Arrancars—kidnaps Orihime, Ichigo and his allies enter Hueco Mundo to invade Aizen's palace. However, as Ichigo rescues Orihime, Aizen reveals her abduction was a distraction as he launches an attack on Karakura Town in order to sacrifice the souls of the living and create a key to the Soul King's Palace so he can kill the Soul King who reigns over the Soul Society. When the Vizards join the remaining Soul Reapers to face their mutual enemy, Gin reveals his own agenda of assassinating Aizen. However, the latter then uses the Hōgyoku to become a Hollow-like being and overpower everyone. Ichigo ultimately succeeds in subduing Aizen at the cost of his powers and reverts to a normal human.

Months later, preparing for life after high school, Ichigo is called back into action when Xcution, a gang of Fullbringers—supernaturally aware humans like Chad—manipulate him and his loved ones in a scheme to siphon his Fullbring abilities. After his Soul Society allies restore his Soul Reaper powers, learning that Xcution's leader Ginjo Kujo was his predecessor, and that the substitute Soul Reapers are not fully trusted, Ichigo defeats Ginjo while resolving to continue fighting with the Soul Society.

After Ichigo regained his powers, an army of Quincies known as the Wandenreich (見えざる帝国 (ヴァンデンライヒ), lit. "Invisible Empire") appear and declare their own war on the Soul Society, after enslaving the Arrancars. The group is led by Yhwach, the ancient progenitor of the Quincies who seeks to kill the Soul King and rid the world of the fear of death. In their first invasion, the Wandenreich kill many Soul Reapers including the head-captain. Uryū joins the Wandenreich as a means to get close to Yhwach, who was responsible for the death of his mother among other Quincies. Later on, Ichigo and his friends aid the Soul Society in fighting the Wandenreich's second invasion, but Yhwach proceeds to slay the Soul King. In the final battle, Yhwach returns to the Soul Society to conquer it, but with the help of Uryū's father, Ichigo and Uryū defeat the Quincy leader.

Years later, Rukia becomes the new captain of the thirteenth company and has a daughter, an apprentice Soul Reaper named Ichika, with her childhood friend Renji Abarai. Meanwhile, Ichigo and Orihime have a son named Kazui, who is also training to become a Soul Reaper.


Bleach was first conceived from Tite Kubo's desire to draw a Shinigami (Soul Reaper) in a kimono, which formed the basis for the design of the Soul Reapers in the series.[2][3] At first, Kubo thought that the Soul Reapers should use guns, so the first title for the series was "Snipe" (as in "sniper"); however, this was changed with the inclusion of swords.[4] After that, the series was meant to be named "Black" due to the color of the Soul Reapers' clothes, but Kubo thought the title was too generic. He later tried the name of "White," but came to like "Bleach" more for its association with the color white and that he did not find it too obvious.[5] The original story concept was submitted to Weekly Shōnen Jump shortly after the cancellation of Kubo's previous manga, Zombiepowder, but was at first rejected.[6] Manga artist Akira Toriyama saw the story and wrote a letter of encouragement to Kubo.[3] Bleach was accepted for publication a short time later in 2001, and was initially intended to be a shorter series, with a maximum serialization length of five years.[3] Early plans for the story did not include the hierarchical structure of the Soul Society, but did include some characters and elements that were not introduced into the plot until the Arrancar arc, such as Ichigo's Soul Reaper parentage.[2]

Kubo has cited influences for elements of Bleach ranging from other manga series to music, foreign language, architecture, and film. He attributed his interest in drawing the supernatural and monsters to Shigeru Mizuki's GeGeGe no Kitaro and Bleach's focus on interesting weaponry and battle scenes to Masami Kurumada's Saint Seiya, manga that Kubo enjoyed as a boy.[2] The latter is based on Greek mythology and Kubo also considered it as a source for his focus on myths, monsters and the afterlife.[4] The action style and storytelling found in Bleach are inspired by cinema, though Kubo has not revealed any specific movie as being an influence for fight scenes. When pressed, he told interviewers that he liked Snatch but did not use it as a model.[7] Bleach's fight choreography is instead constructed with the aid of rock music, which the author listens to while imagining the fights in order to give him a sense of pacing for the panel cuts and change of angles through the scenes.[8] Kubo prefers to draw realistic injuries in order to render the fight more impactful, by making the readers feel the pain the characters are feeling.[9] Bleach's fight scenes are often broken up with brief gags, which the author inserts when he grows bored during the illustration process.[8]

Bleach's plotting process is focused around character design. When writing plotlines or having difficulties generating new material, Kubo begins by thinking of new characters, often en masse, and rereading previous volumes of Bleach.[2][9] Kubo has said that he likes creating characters that have outward appearances that do not match their true nature—an element that can be found in many Bleach characters—as he is "attracted to people with that seeming contradiction" and finds an "urge to draw people like that" when he works.[10] The terminology used in Bleach has a variety of inspirations, with each category of characters bearing a different linguistic theme. Many of the names for swords and spells used by Soul Reapers were inspired by ancient Japanese literature. Hollows and Arrancars use Spanish terms. Fullbringers use English vocabulary, with names referencing rock music, and finally, both Quincy and Bounts draw on the German language. This multilingual terminology, along with the variety in apparent character ethnicities, emphasizes the international nature of the Bleach settings.[10]


Bleach's plot incorporates the traditional Japanese belief of spirits coexisting with humans and their nature, good or evil, depends on the circumstances.[11] An example is Orihime's backstory: she was raised from the age of three by her brother Sora, and prayed for his soul's peace after he died in a car accident.[12] As time went on, she prayed less and Sora became jealous and turned into a Hollow and attacked Orihime. Academic Patrick Drazen says this is a reminder to the audience to not abandon the old ways or risk the spirits taking offense and causing problems in the world.[13] Bleach also incorporates Shinto themes of purification of "evil spirits through charms, scrolls, incantations, and other rituals."[11] Christopher A. Born regards Bleach as transmitting Confucian values.[14]

Von Feigenblatt describes Bleach as being culturally and religiously aware, as it draws upon Christianity and Caribbean Santería.[11] Spanish terms are prevalent throughout the realm of Hueco Mundo,[11] while both Quincy and Bounts have been known to associate with the German language, making Kubo's world of characters diverse in race and language as well.[10] Von Feigenblatt notes that the Quincy "are clearly inspired by the Roman Catholic Christian Orders of Knighthood such as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre whose influence is shown in terms of the uniform worn by the Quincy as well as by the symbolism of the cross."[11]



Bleach is written and illustrated by Tite Kubo. The manga was published in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump from August 7, 2001, to August 22, 2016.[15][16] The 698 individual chapters of Bleach[a] were collected in 74 tankōbon volumes released between January 5, 2002, and November 4, 2016.[17][18] Shueisha published the first 21 volumes compiled into six omnibus collections under the name Resurrected Souls to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Bleach series. The first collection was released on August 22, 2011;[19] the last collection was published on January 23, 2012.[20] On September 21, 2012, Shueisha released 45 digital volumes in Japanese e-book stores,[21][22] concluding with the 74th on November 4, 2016.[23] These digital editions have been re-released as a set of 10 volumes on April 26, 2013;[24] the sixth was released on March 14, 2014.[25]

North American licensor Viz Media serialized the first chapters in the print magazine Shonen Jump from its November 2007 to April 2012 issues.[26][27] The series moved to the digital anthology Weekly Shonen Jump Alpha in January 2012 and Viz Media released it digitally as Shueisha published new chapters in Japan.[28][29] The first volume on English was released on July 6, 2004,[30] and the last volume–the 74th–was released on October 2, 2018.[31] Viz also released a hardcover "collector's edition" of the first volume that came with a dust jacket,[32] two box sets,[33][34] and twenty-five "3-in-1 edition" volumes between June 7, 2011,[35] and March 5, 2019.[36] Viz Media released digital forms of the 16 volumes in English on June 17, 2011.[37][38] As of October 2, 2018, all 74 digital volumes were released.[31]


The Bleach anime series aired in Japan on TV Tokyo's Tuesday 6pm timeslot from October 5, 2004, to March 27, 2012, excluding holidays.[39][40][41] The series was directed by Noriyuki Abe, and produced by TV Tokyo, Dentsu and Studio Pierrot.[42]

Viz Media obtained the foreign television, home video and merchandising rights to the Bleach anime from TV Tokyo Corporation and Shueisha, on March 15, 2006.[43] Viz Media has later licensed its individual Bleach merchandising rights to several different companies.[44]

Bleach premiered in Canada on YTV, as part of their Bionix programming block, on September 8, 2006.[45] Cartoon Network's Adult Swim began airing Bleach in the United States the following evening.[46] Adult Swim stopped broadcasting new episodes of the English adaptation on October 13, 2007, after airing the first 52 episodes of the series.[47] It was replaced with another Viz Media series, Death Note, to provide Studiopolis more time to dub additional episodes of Bleach. The series resumed on March 2, 2008, but went back on hiatus on November 21, 2009, after the airing of its 167th episode.[47][48] Adult Swim would continue to air new episodes as part of the revived Toonami block, with the final episode airing on Saturday November 1, 2014, at 12am.[49]

In the United Kingdom, Bleach premiered on Anime Central on September 13, 2007, with new episodes airing weekly.[50] In 2013, the Sony Movie Channel began broadcasting Bleach as part of their 'Late Night Anime' block, which runs concurrently with the Animax pay-per-view service, and continues to do so.[51] The English dubbed version of Bleach premiered on Animax Asia on December 18, 2009, with the first 52 episodes.[52]

88 DVD compilations were released by Aniplex in Japan.[53] Viz Media has released 32 DVD compilations of the English adaptation of the anime,[54][55] along with twenty-one boxsets that contain fourteen seasons of the anime.[56][57][58] On July 29, 2009, Aniplex released a "TV Animation Bleach 5th Anniversary Box" that includes 15 DVDs and three bonus discs.[59] On November 24, 2010, Aniplex released a special edition of the DVD, "2004 & 2005 Bleach Jump Anime Tour", which contains two OVAsMemories in the Rain and The Sealed Sword Frenzy.[60]

Soundtrack CDsEdit

Composed and produced by Shirō Sagisu, numerous CD soundtracks have been released for the Bleach anime series and movies by Sony Music Entertainment Japan. Bleach Original Soundtrack 1 was released on May 18, 2005, which contains 25 tracks, including the first opening and ending themes in their original television lengths.[61] Bleach Original Soundtrack 2 followed on August 2, 2006, with an additional 23 instrumental tracks.[62] Bleach Original Soundtrack 3 later followed on November 5, 2008, with 27 instrumental tracks.[63] Bleach Original Soundtrack 4 was released on December 16, 2009, with 30 instrumental tracks.[64] For the 5th anniversary of the series, Aniplex released Bleach 5th Anniversary Box set which contains CD with rare and unreleased tracks.[65] Bleach: Memories of Nobody Original Soundtrack was released with 25 tracks from the Bleach: Memories of Nobody film.[66] Bleach: The DiamondDust Rebellion Original Soundtrack was also released for the Bleach: The DiamondDust Rebellion film, with 29 tracks from the movie, followed by Bleach: Fade to Black Original Soundtrack for the Bleach: Fade to Black film, with 29 tracks, followed by Bleach: Hell Verse Original Soundtrack for the Bleach: Hell Verse film, with 21 tracks.[67][68][69] Aniplex released Bleach The Best box set, which contains CD and DVD with 12 of the opening and ending themes from the series in their full length versions and few extras, later followed by Bleach The Best Instrumental/Jam-set Groove, which contains eight instrumental tracks.[70][71] The separated CD under the label, Bleach The Best which contains 12 tracks, was released in December 2008.[72] The next release, Bleach Best Tunes, contains 14 more opening and ending themes.[73][74] Bleach The Berry Best box set, which contains CD with 13 tracks, bonus DVD and few extras, was released for the 10th anniversary of the series.[75] On April 25, 2012, Aniplex released Bleach Best Trax box set, which include musical CD, bonus DVD with the complete opening and ending theme videos and few extras.[76]

Five Radio DJCD Bleach 'B' Station season CD sets, have been released in Japan.[77] Drama CDs have been produced for the series as well, featuring the original voice actors from the anime; these drama CDs have only been included as part of the DVD releases.[78]

The labels Bleach Beat Collections and Bleach Breathless Collections are sets of CDs published by Sony Music featuring recordings by the original Japanese voice actors that provide a look at the personalities of the characters they play, as well as the voice actors themselves. The first CD was released on June 22, 2005; 29 volumes all together were released.[79] Aniplex introduced two Bleach concept albums. The first, Bleach Concept Covers, was released on December 15, 2010, and the second one, Bleach Concept Covers 2, was released on December 14, 2011.[80][81]


There are four animated feature films based on the Bleach series, all of which are directed by Noriyuki Abe, director of the Bleach anime series. The films were released annually each December starting in 2006, though none were released in 2009. Each movie features an original plotline along with original characters designed by Tite Kubo, which is contrary to the normal practice for anime-based films, as the original author usually has little creative involvement.[82]

The first film, Bleach: Memories of Nobody, was released in Japan on December 16, 2006, and had a limited release in American theaters in June 2008.[83][84] The movie is centered around the activities of the "Dark Ones," who were banished from the Soul Society and are subsequently trying to destroy both the Soul Society and the World of the Living. Memories of Nobody was released in North America on Region 1 DVD by Viz Media on October 14, 2008.[85]

The second film, Bleach: The DiamondDust Rebellion, was released to Japanese theaters on December 22, 2007.[86] Its plot focuses on 10th Division captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya's efforts to clear his name after an artifact belonging to Soul Society's king is stolen while under his care. The DiamondDust Rebellion was released in North America on Region 1 DVD by Viz Media on September 8, 2009.[87]

The third film, Bleach: Fade to Black, was released in Japan on December 13, 2008.[88] In the film, members of Soul Society are struck with amnesia, caused by a parasitic Hollow that erases the memories of its victims. The people in those memories forget the victim as well, resulting in everyone losing their memories of Rukia and subsequentially of Ichigo. When he goes to the Soul Society to investigate, Ichigo is hunted as an intruder and the perpetrator of a great disaster and also discovers that Rukia has not only forgotten him, but has forgotten her own identity as well.[89] The film was released on Region 2 DVD on September 30, 2009.[90] The English Dub release of Fade to Black was released on Region 1 DVD and Blu-ray by Viz Media on November 15, 2011.[91]

The fourth movie, Bleach: Hell Verse, was released in Japan on December 4, 2010.[92] In the film, Ichigo is heading into the Gates of Hell, which is where souls and Hollows who had committed evil during their lives as humans are sent. Denizens of Hell, aware of the power of Ichigo's inner Hollow, desire to draw out that power and free themselves from Hell and so they lure Ichigo into the realm by kidnapping his sisters. Tite Kubo did oversee the production of the film.[93] The dubbed version was released on Region 1 DVD and Blu-ray by Viz Media on December 4, 2012.[94]

In March 2010, Warner Bros. confirmed it was in talks to create a live-action movie adaptation of the series. Peter Segal and Michael Ewing have been lined up to produce the movie.[95] In 2012, Dan Mazeau was added as a screenwriter for the project, and Masi Oka joined as producer.[96] In 2016, after the series ended, a live-action Japanese adaptation of the series was announced. Bleach, which was produced by Warner Bros. Japan, directed by Shinsuke Sato and starring Sota Fukushi as Ichigo Kurosaki, was released in Japan on July 20, 2018.[97][98][99][100]

At the Japanese box office, Memories of Nobody grossed ¥660 million,[101] The DiamondDust Rebellion grossed ¥800 million,[102] Fade to Black grossed ¥700 million,[103] and Hell Verse grossed ¥610 million,[104] for a total of ¥2.77 billion ($35 million) for the four anime films at the Japanese box office. The live-action Bleach film grossed ¥493,052,600 ($4.45 million) in Japan,[105] bringing the films' total Japanese box office gross to ¥3.3 billion ($39.5 million).


Bleach has been adapted into a series of rock musicals, jointly produced by Studio Pierrot and Nelke Planning. There have been five musicals produced which covered portions of the Substitute and Soul Society arcs, as well as five additional performances known as "Live Bankai Shows" and "Rock Musical Bleach Shinsei", which did not follow the Bleach plotline. The initial performance run of the Bleach musical was from August 17–28, 2005, at the Space Zero Tokyo center in Shinjuku.[106][107][108]

The musicals are directed by Takuya Hiramitsu, with script adaptation by Naoshi Okumura and music composed by playwright Shoichi Tama. The songs are completely original and not taken from the anime soundtrack. Key actors in the series include Tatsuya Isaka, who plays Ichigo Kurosaki, Miki Satō, who plays Rukia Kuchiki, and Eiji Moriyama, who plays Renji Abarai.[109]

In 2016, another musical was produced to celebrate Bleach 15th anniversary. The musical was directed and written by Tsutsumi Yasuyuki with Dream5's Akira Takano and Chihiro Kai as Ichigo Kurosaki and Rukia Kuchiki respectively. The musical debuted on July 28, 2016, in AiiA 2.5 Theater Tokyo.[110][111]

Trading card gameEdit

Two collectible card games (CCG) based on the Bleach series have been produced, one in the Japanese market and a different one in North America. Bleach Soul Card Battle, produced by Bandai, was introduced in Japan in 2004.[112] Twenty named sets were released for the series.[113] After Bleach Soul Card Battle, Bandai introduced three more series. Bleach The Card Gum, which contains 14 sets, was released in early September 2007.[114] The next series, Bleach Clear Collection, which contains six sets, was released in July 2008.[115] The last series, Bleach Clear Soul Plate, which consists of three sets, was published in December 2009.[116]

Bleach TCG was introduced in the United States by Score Entertainment in May 2007,[117] but ceased publication April 2009, just before the planned launch of its seventh expansion, Bleach Infiltration.[118] This cancellation was attributed to the ongoing recession, which has heavily affected TCG sales.[118] Designed by Aik Tongtharadol, the TCG is a two-player game in which each player starts with at least 61 cards: a "Guardian" card, a 60-card "main deck," and an optional 20-card "side deck." A player loses if his or her power, as dictated by the Guardian card, is reduced to zero, or if he or she is unable to draw or discard a card from his or her deck.[119] The cards for the game have been released in named sets with each set released in three formats: a 72-card pre-constructed box set containing a starter deck and two booster packs, a 10-card booster pack, and a 12-pack booster box. Six named sets were released.[120]

Video gamesEdit

A number of video games have been created featuring characters from the Bleach series, primarily though not exclusively fighting games. The first video game to be released from the Bleach series was Bleach: Heat the Soul, which debuted on March 24, 2005, for the Sony PlayStation Portable.[121] Currently, the majority of the games have only been released in Japan, though Sega has localized the first three Nintendo DS games and the first Wii game for North America.[122] So far, all dedicated Bleach games released for Sony's consoles have been developed and published by SCEI, whereas the games for Nintendo consoles are developed and published by Sega, and the Nintendo DS games are developed by Treasure Co. Ltd..[123][124] Two mobile games had also been released in 2014 (Bleach: Bankai Batoru) and 2015 (Bleach: Brave Souls) for the series, which are available for iOS and Android.[125][126] In 2017, Line announced the release of a game exclusive for their communication app called Bleach: Paradise Lost.[127]

Light novelsEdit

Tite Kubo and Makoto Matsubara have co-authored three novelizations of the Bleach series, which were published by Shueisha under its Shounen Jump Books label. The first volume, Bleach - Letters From The Other Side: The Death and The Strawberry, was published on December 15, 2004, and re-released as Bleach - Letters From The Other Side: The Death and The Strawberry - New Edition on November 4, 2009.[128][129] The second, Bleach: The Honey Dish Rhapsody, was published on November 30, 2006.[130] The third, Bleach: The Death Save The Strawberry, was published on September 4, 2012.[131] Two novelizations of the Bleach series have been co-authored by Narita Ryohgo. The first volume, Bleach: Spirits Are Forever With You, and the second, Bleach: Spirits Are Forever With You 2, were published on June 4, 2012.[132][133]

After the series ended in 2016, a series of novels were released by Shueisha.[134] The first novel, Bleach: WE DO knot ALWAYS LOVE YOU, was written by the writer of Bleach: The Death Save The Strawberry Makoto Matsubara and was published on December 27, 2016. The second, Bleach: Can't Fear Your Own World, is a serialized novel written by the writer of Bleach: Spirits Are Forever With You series Narita Ryohgo and was released bi-weekly from April 28, 2017.[135][136] The first volume was released on August 4, 2017[137] and the second volume was published on November 2, 2018. The novel series ended with the release of the third volume on December 4, 2018.[138] Viz Media will publish Bleach: Can't Fear Your Own World in Summer 2020.[139]

Shueisha published four novelizations based on the Bleach movies. The first volume, Bleach: Memories of Nobody, was published on December 18, 2006.[140] The second, Bleach: The DiamondDust Rebellion, Another Hyōrinmaru, was published on December 22, 2007.[141] The third, Bleach: Fade to Black, I Call Your Name, was published on December 15, 2008.[142] The fourth volume, Bleach: Hell Chapter, was published on December 6, 2010.[143]


The first Bleach artbook, All Colour But The Black, was released in Japan, the United States, and Europe. The artbook compiles a selection of color spreads from the first 19 volumes of the series, as well as some original art and author commentary.[144][145] The second artbook, Bleach Official Bootleg: KaraBuri+ (BLEACH OFFICIAL BOOTLEG カラブリ プラス), was released on August 3, 2007. In addition to character guides and articles on other fictional aspects of the series, it compiles the various short comics, Tedious Everyday Tales Colorful Bleach (徒然日常絵詞 カラフル ブリーチ, Tsuredure Nichijou Ekotoba Karafuru Buriichi), that were published in V Jump. The omake-style panels are similar to those included in the main series, but reveal more of the daily lives of characters.[146] Color Bleach+: Bleach Official Bootleg was released in English by Viz Media on August 10, 2010.[147] In December 2018, another artbook, titled Bleach JET was released, which contains a massive 700 artworks from the series' 15 years tenure.[148]

Seven databooks have also been released about the series. The first two, Bleach: Official Character Book SOULs. and Bleach: Official Animation Book VIBEs., were released on February 3, 2006.[149][150] Bleach: Official Character Book SOULs. was later released in English by Viz Media on November 18, 2008.[151] The third book, Bleach: Official Character Book 2: MASKED, was released on August 4, 2010. This book covers details about characters that appear 100 years prior to the story, such as former captains and lieutenants, along with the Arrancars and Visoreds. Although it was released on the same day as volume 46, Back From Blind, the book only covers material up to volume 37, Beauty Is So Solitary.[152] The English version was released by Viz Media on March 6, 2012.[153] A fourth book Bleach: Official Invitation Book The Hell Verse, was published on December 4, 2010. This book was released to promote Bleach: Hell Verse and it contains character sketches, promotional posters and the one-off Hell manga special.[154] A fifth book Bleach: Official Character Book 3: UNMASKED, was released on June 3, 2011, the same day as the volume 50 of the series. However it only covers material up to volume 48, God is Dead.[155] On June 4, 2012, a sixth book was released under the name Bleach: The Rebooted Souls. This free booklet was distributed with Bleach manga volume 55, with the aim to provide information to readers about the manga's final arc, The Thousand-Year Blood War.[156] The seventh book, BLEACH 13 BLADEs., was released on August 4, 2015, and focused solely on the Soul Reapers and the 13 Court Squads.[157]

Shueisha published a special book Bleach: JCCover Postcard Book MAILs., which was released on December 4, 2013. It features cover pages as postcards up to volume 60 with poems on the back.[158]


Fans dressed as characters from Bleach in 2014

Bleach has sold over 90 million tankōbon copies in Japan,[159] and has over 120 million tankōbon copies in print worldwide as of 2018, making it the 6th best-selling series of all time from Weekly Shōnen Jump.[160][97][161] In 2005, Bleach was awarded the Shogakukan Manga Award in the shōnen category.[162][163] During 2008, volume 34 of the manga sold 874,153 copies in Japan, becoming the 12th best-seller comics from the year. Volumes 33 and 35 have also ranked 17 and 18, respectively.[164] In total the manga has sold 3,161,825 copies in Japan during 2008, becoming the year's 5th best selling series.[165] In the first half from 2009, Bleach ranked as the 2nd best-selling manga in Japan, having sold 3.5 million copies.[166] Having sold 927,610 copies, Volume 36 ranked 7th, Volume 37 was 8th with 907,714 sold copies, and volume 38 at 10th with 822,238 copies.[167]

North American sales of the manga have also been high, with tankōbon volumes having sold over 1.2 million copies by 2007.[168][169] Volume 16 placed in the top 10 graphic novel sales in December 2006 and volume 17 was the best-selling manga volume for the month of February 2007.[170][171][172] In a 2010 interview, Gonzalo Ferreyra, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Viz, listed Bleach as one of six Viz titles that continue to exceed expectations in spite of the harshening manga market.[173] The English version of the manga was nominated for the "best manga" and "best theme" awards at the 2006 and 2007 American Anime Awards, but did not win either category.[174][175]

Deb Aoki from considered the series as the Best Continuing Shōnen Manga of 2007, along with Eyeshield 21, praising the "compelling stories, dazzling action sequences and great character development".[176] She also placed the title on her list of "Top 10 Shōnen Manga Must-Reads".[177] The artwork and the character designs received positive response by IGN's A.E. Sparrow. He also commented on the series' ability to handle multiple minor character plotlines at the same time, which he considered a point of appeal, in response to fans' claims about a "lack of a story" in Bleach.[178] Leroy Douresseaux from ComicBookBin agreed with Sparrow in the number of storylines, but also praised the fighting scenes finding them comparable to the ones of popular films.[179][180] On the other hand, Mania reviewer Jarred Pine criticized the series as being plagued with stereotypes from the genre. He felt it was a rough start for the series with unimpressive battles, overused gags, and a bad introduction for central character Ichigo that causes him to come across "as a frowning punk" whose one good trait is his desire to protect. Despite this, Pine notes that he loves the series, particularly its quirky, lovable characters.[181] Jason Thompson said he was no longer able to take Bleach seriously after it introduced villains Ulquiorra and Yammy in a scene precisely mirroring Vegeta and Nappa's arrival in Dragon Ball Z, but acknowledged it was likely intended as a deliberate homage. He also said Kubo was able to avoid the worst artistic failings typical in series which indulge in superpowered combat, but that the battle scenes were still sometimes difficult to follow.[182]


  1. ^ Comprising 686 listed chapters and 12 chapters which were listed as -108 to -97.


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External linksEdit