Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War

Alt title: Bleach: Sennen Kessen-hen

TV (13 eps)
Fall 2022
4.534 out of 5 from 5,661 votes
Rank #9

The peace is suddenly broken when warning sirens blare through the Soul Society. Residents there are disappearing without a trace and nobody knows who's behind it. Meanwhile, a dark shadow is also extending itself toward Ichigo and his friends in Karakura Town…

Source: Viz

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The bankai show is back and everyone is happy with the bankai show being back. That is the only thing they are happy about since the bankai show has nothing to offer besides that. Here’s what you notice when you pay attention to something other than nostalgia and pretty colors.Episode 1The show begins with a wide and detailed view of Karakura Town. It seems like the animators really cared to make it feel alive until you notice how despite the movie-level artwork, Karakura Town is devoid of life. What a better way to care about the people in it than having the city being completely empty of people. Apparently everyone is inside their homes. Nobody goes out at night in this part of the world.Soul Society sends two completely incompetent soul rippers to protect an area that is already guarded by the most hax people. Is it because they know Ichigo is protecting it and therefore there is no reason to send more capable people? No, that’s not it, they are POV characters basically; they exist to be incompetent so Ichigo can come off cool when he appears. They also exist to be oblivious and to constantly ask questions as a lazy excuse for consecutive infodumps. That is why they don’t know or have seen a photo of Ichigo, the guy who invaded their home and defeated Aizen. Supposed it’s because the world is a big place and thus not everyone knows everyone else. You can’t expect every single soul reaper to have seen Ichigo. Or seen Ichigo’s picture. Or heard of Ichigo. Or know who this Ichigo guy is despite being sent to the city he is in. Why do you expect soul reapers to be given a proper briefing over the area they are protecting? All they have to do is swing a sword and kill monsters. Why would they care if they are in the same city as the guy who is more powerful than Aizen? Why would anyone tell them? There’s no point.Then comes one of the most notorious inconsistencies of magic in the show. One moment the characters can walk on air, the next moment they run on the ground. This keeps happening with no real explanation for when they can do one but not the other. Supposed they are afraid and they can’t concentrate on floating on the air. Only fearless captains can do that, and only when they feel like it, which is why nobody was flying during the Soul Society arc… Or Kubo was just bored of drawing backgrounds and had them flying whenever he didn’t want to draw buildings or to pay attention to field tactics. Basically the characters float on air when they stand still and talk, and run on the ground when there is supposed to be action for padding the length of a scene, even when they can just fly away.Then the good guys appear and they fight the hollows that the incompetent soul reapers can’t defeat. Here we see how everyone is okay with Ishida, the guy who destroys the souls of the innocent when he kills hollows. But then again they are fine with murdering innocent civilians by releasing a bankai against typical hollows, as well as killing thousands of innocent people in Soul Society just for balancing the damage caused by the death of hollows. Why would they care about some guy killing a few hundred souls with every arrow? Here’s a thought. If Ishida had allowed the hollows to kill the two soul reapers, he would have literally caused less damage to the cosmos. The best thing he can do is to do nothing. He is not even needed in battle since Ichigo has eclipsed him in power.Anyways, everyone causes massive destruction of property, probably kills dozens of civilians and renders homeless hundreds more. Ichigo in specific goes bankai for beating simple hollows and causes a nuclear explosion in the middle of the city. Because being surrounded by people who can level buildings and reshape reality is not enough. He was making such a huge fuss about being afraid of death in the early episodes as well as protecting the innocent so nobody around him will die again. It’s not bad writing when the main character who had an existential crisis about death in the first episodes is now murdering innocent civilians by the thousands by releasing his bankai against typical hollows.The show does not want you to realize that by having nobody pointing out the death and destruction they caused. In fact the story will ignore this event forever after. It’s as if it never happened. I mean, what did you expect, people running in the streets, screaming while covered in blood? They died in the explosion and thus you don’t see anyone. Let’s instead focus on our brave heroes chilling at home after causing mass destruction and death.Bad guys infiltrate soul society and reveal they will soon invade in great forces. They do that for no strategic advantage, they are sure they will win thus they have nothing to be afraid of. Including the revelation of their plan before it comes into play so their enemies can prepare for the attack. They revealed it just to make it harder for their faction to win and there is no problem in that sort of logic.The same bad guys don’t provoke Yamamoto for stealing his powers and winning the war right away. This is excused as the old man not using his Bankai on nobodies. Thank goodness the bad guys didn’t come with their boss so the old man would be forced to use it against him and lose his powers. But then again that would be smart and these idiots reveal their plan just for making their mission harder to accomplish.Then the bad guys teleport away, which is another superpower that works however the plot says so. Whenever Kubo doesn’t want someone to die or get captured, he just goes hocus pocus and they disappear. Later on this technique gets completely forgotten because the plot will want them to die or get captured.Episode 2Episode 2 is defined by infodumps. There are so many of them and they are mostly useless information we already know of or have seen already. Several minutes are wasted on telling Ichigo and the gang what had happened in the previous episode. Then more minutes are waster on explaining what is going on in Hueco Mundo. Stuff that we see just by the camera switching to that place. Then Nel expositions worthless info about the nobodies who are fighting there. It’s stuff you either already know or it doesn’t matter because they are nobodies. Then the captains regurgitate what is going on, which is again stuff you saw in the previous episode. So yes, we got 4 useless infodumps in a single episode that could have been easily changed to the additional material Kubo promised to add in the anime. But that is not going to happen since he doesn’t give a shit about improving the plot. He’s just going to add more bankais and call it a day.By the way, despite all this exposition we still don’t get a full picture of what has happened in the ghost world. We never see how Halibel became the ruler after Aizen’s defeat. We are only told she became the ruler. Also don’t wonder why the soul reapers didn’t finish off the rest of the Arrancar now that the strongest of them are destroyed. Kubo was too busy thinking of what names to give to characters he planned to kill a few seconds later.Speaking of that, many of the new villains appear and they have a name. That means they are going to be important, right? Nah, they die a few seconds later, like they’re nothing and you instantly forget about them. The same thing that happens to every other death in this dumb show. There are dozens of Arrancar and Quincy who are given a name only to be killed before you know it. Also notice how they’re not teleporting away as they did in the first episode since the plot wants them dead.Anyways, the heroes go to Hueco Mundo and find a lot of dead Arrancar. Not because they are dead, but because they say they are dead. Kubo forgot they are ghosts and therefore already dead. Yes, look at all those dead… ghosts.All of a sudden these super evil ghosts that have killed thousands of people each are treated as victimized innocents and Ichigo who was destroying them without a second thought before is now willing to save them. Which is the only thing that defines him as a character, someone who just wants to save people. Even when they are not people but evil ghosts that killed countless people and which by saving them they will continue to kill even more people. But then again he is killing countless people himself every time he releases his bankai for defeating a few hollows, so at least that is consistently inconsistent.Episode 3Here’s more of those useless soul reapers continuing to be useless since they need someone to explain every little thing to them. They are clearly written to be incompetent as an excuse for infodumps. It would make sense if they were typical mortals who got isekaied to Soul Society and needed someone to explain everything, but that is not what is happening. They are full-fledged soul reapers who have been trained and deemed capable to protect a whole city. They are not supposed to be rookies and should at least know the basics. Yet they know absolutely nothing. Because Kubo doesn’t even bother to give us proper fish out of water characters. He just thought “I need more excuses for infodumps instead of showing what is going on, and I won’t bother to add more scenes in this part because it doesn’t have to do with more bankais. I also can’t have citizens of Karakura doing the asking because who gives a shit about average people? I just had the very protagonist murdering hundreds of them and I didn’t even bother to show a single one of them. Because it was nighttime and they were all inside their houses, not because I was bored to draw a few people. So yeah, I’ll just create two more soul reapers, the thing that sells in my crappy manga, and I’m going to make them stupid and incompetent so they will be constantly asking for explanations. Although they shouldn’t because they should already know about all that stuff. I’m such a genius.”Then it is revealed the captains are murdering tens of thousands of innocent people just for balancing the damage caused by the destruction of the hollows. Just as it happened with the city, we don’t see a single civilian. I guess it was nighttime when they all got killed. They were inside their homes so why would we see anyone, right? It’s also all infodumped on us and it’s supposed to be enough. I mean why would you show it when you can have someone flapping his mouth? It’s easier that way and it’s not like it’s something important worth showing. They only killed tens of thousands of people for preventing the destruction of the world, nothing big worth showing. Now let’s forget this event and move to the next scene without adding new content. You know, stuff like the screams of the innocents as they are killed for the greater good, or Yamamoto feeling awful for what is happening. We don’t need that, what we need is more bankais, let’s add hours worth of bankai transformations.Oh hey, we get named soul reapers. That can only mean they are important. If they aren’t why would Kubo give them a name, right? They clearly are going to be vital in whatever happens next. Which is why Kubo kills them 5 seconds after he names them and we forget about them immediately since we don’t get any extra content regarding their contribution to the show and thus we are given no reason to feel sorry for them. Let’s keep the extra material for more bankais, that’s where we should focus on.Then the invasion of the Quincy begins. You know, the one they announced to their enemies for no strategic advantage. Obviously there are going to be lots of Arrancar among the Quincy since they bothered to capture them. If they didn’t plan to bring them along, they wouldn’t have bothered to capture them. Any moment now Halibel and dozens of Arrancar are going to appear. Because if we don’t see them we can only assume Kubo forgot all about them. Just like he forgot to show how Halibel survived the Fake Karakura battle, why the captains didn’t kill her when it’s their job, and how she became the new ruler. No need to include extra content with what she and the other Arrancar are doing. I guess it’s nighttime where they are so we don’t see them since they are inside their homes. It’s not a plot hole. And make sure to add more bankais.And finally what we all want to see, Ichigo using his bankai to fight the Quincy. Let’s hope Kubo is going to add more scenes with him causing nuclear explosions that kill hundreds of the innocent Arrancar he came to save. And no need to show them getting killed, they can be inside their houses.Episodes 4-6Everyone is happy for getting the only thing they care about. Bankais. No kidding, it’s a repeat of the 19th episode of Demon Slayer where everyone is acting like this is the best show ever made, when it’s just pretty animation with a really stupid plot. And don’t kid yourselves, the plot is stupid no matter how much the fanboys want you to think it has a lot of deep and thought provoking themes. And that is why the only thing everybody was talking about in this episode was Yamamoto’s bankai.Nobody was talking about how the Quincy claim they came prepared, with a guide of everyone’s bankais so they will know what to steal and what to avoid. Despite that they suffer a dozen insta-kills by going up against Zaraki and Yamamoto who are obviously way beyond what they can handle. One of them even kicks away a soul reaper instead of stealing his bankai because he didn’t know he had one. Brilliant people, very smart and strategic. Imagine what would have happened if they DIDN’T come prepared by knowing everyone’s bankai. They would all be dead in seconds. Also imagine if they hadn’t revealed their invasion plan for no strategic advantage. They wouldn’t have suffered any casualties.Oh, and needless to say, the tradition of Kubo killing characters as soon as he gives them a name continues. Now by going a step further. First he kills them one second after he introduces them and then he gives them a name. Amazing. Incredible. Only a master writer would create dozens of new characters, just for killing them one second after he introduces them and then he gives them a name. It’s almost as if Kubo only cares about drawing cool characters and then he doesn’t know what to do with them, doesn’t it?But why would we give a damn about any of that? Look at all the pretty lights of Yamamoto’s bankai. That’s what Bleach is all about. It’s not about a hundred pages of flower symbolism for every nobody character who has an average screen time of five seconds. It’s about the badassery of someone shit-talking his opponent, releasing his transforming sword, and filling the screen with pretty lights. Some of which are awful CGI skeletons, but let’s ignore that as well. The same way we have to ignore the fake Quincy leader having no build-up regarding his ability. The whole thing was explained to us after he was defeated and he had the exact same power as his brother despite having a different letter. Amazing writing.Oh and if there any among you who think Bleach battles are meaningful and tactical, I have news for you. The villains are so dumb they don’t kill Zaraki when they defeat him despite him killing three of their people in a few seconds. And before you say they were about to but Yamamoto appeared and stopped them, I need to remind you the real evil boss (who has the stupid name Yuha Baha) had the time to leave behind an impostor and to walk away. It wouldn’t take more than a couple of seconds to kill Zaraki, but nope we can’t have that smart thing going on in our story. Also the impostor didn’t trick Yamamoto into revealing his bankai so Yuha Baha (lol) can steal it. He just wasted your time because, as Yuha Baha (lol) explained, anyone could have stolen the bankai from the very beginning. They didn’t have to be as strong as Yamamoto in order to steal it, they just wouldn’t be able to use it. So yeah they could have stolen it when they idiotically revealed their invasion plan back in the first episode. So much for calling this battle meaningful and very important when they could have stolen the bankai as soon as Yamamoto was about to use it. This entire battle that you are so hyped about didn’t have to happen. It was just fan service.Episode 7The episode begins with the new material that Kubo had promised. And that material is more nameless captains with more bankais for the fanboys to cream their pants. I mean what did you expect Kubo would add? More plot? Deeper characters? Better explanations to fill the plot holes?Then Ichigo escapes the otherwise inescapable prison because he is half Quincy. Actually he is half of everything at this point, Kubo just repeats the same excuse in every previous arc. Also, isn’t it convenient that we are told Quincy powers don’t work on other Quincy after Ichigo is revealed to be half-whatever? If that is not an asspull, I don’t know what it is. Anyways, Ichigo rushes to Soul Society and he doesn’t take the rest of his team with him because they don’t matter anymore. Forget about the humans and the Arrancar, since that is what Kubo did as well. So in Soul Society Ichigo wants to save people, which is the only thing he does in the whole show. It’s his only defining feature, he has no urgency to achieve something on his own. If he has nobody to protect he would be at home sleeping all day.And then we get another 1-shot defeat of yet another bad guy who had a total screen time of 2 seconds. Did you really expect Kubo’s new material to be the fleshing out of guys like him? Anyways, we should be glad he died after he mentioned his name. That’s the extent of characterization you can expect from Kubo.Then Yuha Baha (lol) said it was a mistake to send a Quincy to stop Ichigo. He should have instead used an Arrankar. That would surely work, like the one he used in the first episode to steal his bankai and it didn’t work. See how Kubo is insulting your intelligence all the time?Then more bullshit happens, such as Aizen hypnotizing Yuha Baha (lol), something we weren’t told until it was relevant, the Quincy losing their power if they stay outside their base for too long, something we also weren’t told until it was relevant, and Yuha Baha (lol) not using Yamamoto’s bankai right away to destroy Soul Society, because we wouldn’t have a plot if he did that.Episode 8This episode exists to kill the tension of what has happened so far. Remember how easily people were dying all the time and the villains being super powerful? Well you can forget all that since nobody important is going to die ever again. Including a captain who was clearly framed as 100% dead. Kubo gave him a sad scene where he mentions his last words, so he expected from you to think he died. Next episode, he survives just because. The reason was because that captain was popular and Kubo got death threats if he dared to kill him. So he chickened out and threw in an asspull for why you don’t die even if your bankai gets stolen, your sword breaks, so does every bone in your body, you lose 10 gallons of blood, and you speak your parting words. This didn’t make everyone happy though, since he got even more death threats by fans who didn’t like his constant trolling. That captain was dead, Kubo had framed it like that, they were all convinced he was dead. So seeing him alive out of nowhere made them angry. They felt cheated, their emotions were all based on a lie. Kubo got what he deserved for changing what shouldn’t have changed. But all that happened in the manga, since after a decade of waiting to see the finale adapted, they stopped giving a damn and just wanna see some damn bankais goddammit. So yeah, despite this episode having this obvious plot hole, the fans ignored it. And obviously Kubo didn’t change it either. He keeps the new material he promised for more bankais.Episodes 9-10The only thing worth mentioning is Unohana helping Kenpachi to level up by dying. They try to make it seem like it’s a big deal, but it really isn’t since Unohana had done absolutely nothing in the entire story. She didn’t even participate in the battle against the Quincy for no reason. Kubo simply shoehorned something about her past a few episodes before he killed her off and called it a day. It’s definitely better than what he has done with all the other people he killed as soon as he named them, but let’s not act like we cared about Unohana. Kubo had neglected her completely and then killed her off just so Kenpachi, someone every Bleachtard cared about, can get a power up. Episodes 11-13The plot slows down to people just talking and having lots of flashbacks. Ichigo learns about how his parents met and gets a new sword (which is, like, the fifth so far thus it has none of the freshness or the impact of the first time he got another). Very underwhelming episodes that would feel far more important in a show where the main attraction is not the mindless action and the cool factor.


Welcome back old friend! That's what this felt like when watching the first part of this final arc of Bleach - it was like reuniting with an old friend and seeing them finally get their moment to shine and tell their story, that's what it felt like. Nostalgia creeped in and joy just fills the heart, from hearing that iconic theme song of Ichigo's to seeing so many familiar faces. The final arc explores the history between the Soul Reapers and the Quincy as a mysterious group that claim to be Quincy invade the Soul Society and revive a one thousand year old war between the two, causing Ichigo to once again help his friends and allies defend their home from these powerful foes.Bleach had always killed it with the variety of characters and here it continues, this cast is once again led by our main hero Ichigo Kurosaki. Ichigo here seems more poised, calm and collective but still has that burning desire to protect and turn it up when in battle. They do a brilliant job with reintroducing characters as well as some new characters, heres hoping we get to see all the Bankai with this new wonderful animation because this cast and show deserve it.The animation is seriously top-notch with Studio Pierrot showing off some of their best work, the use of colors and art was perfect, going as far as showing more darker tones with all the blood and violence. The music is great, the voice acting was brilliant and the overall presentation just really feels like Bleach is getting the first class treatment with every episode, I do hope we get to see the rest of the arc sooner than later but hey i'm just happy to see Tite Kubo's work get a final chance and send off.+ Stunning Animation.+ Fantastic Soundtrack.+BLEACH!!!

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