Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War Ep 1 TV REVIEW: from ancient grudge break to new mutiny.

Bleach: The Thousand Year Blood War.

Bleach: The Thousand Year Blood War Episode 1 The Blood Warfare.

Animated by Studio Pierrot.

Created by Kubo "God of Character Design" Tite.

After a break of nearly a decade, Bleach returns, to reclaim its place as King of Shonen Anime. And, after a fairly savage bidding war, the final season (and fingers crossed, in time the whole series) has landed at Hulu/Disney+.

So, to answer the question on everyone's lips:

Was it worth the wait? After a decade of missing our friends in Karakura Town, was the reunion everything we could have hoped for?

Oh my (death) god, it was everything, and so much more.

The episode opens with klaxons. As Captain Kurotsuchi and his team descend into the research and development division. It seems something has gone horribly wrong, in the real world: Hollows are dying!

For those unaware... go watch Bleach, it's awesome. But, until then: Hollow are corrupted spirits, humans who for one reason or another were unable to cross over into The Soul Society. It's a Shinigami's duty to track those Hollows down and "purify" them (usually by 'killing' them with a Zanpakuto, the sword of a Shinigami). But here's the thing: It is NOT a Shinigami's job to actually kill these spirits. When a Hollow is 'killed' with a Zanpakuto, they're not actually dead, they're purified and finally allowed to move on to whatever comes next.

So, when Hollows start ACTUALLY dying, being permanently destroyed... that is pretty bad. In fact it's SO bad, it threatens to upset the balance of creation itself.

Pretty bad, right?

But who could be killing all the Hollows? And what does it have to do with the mysterious army, known as The Wandenreich, who just declared war on Soul Society?

Okay, I'm going to try and be objective here. My 'fanboy' hat is OFF and my 'impartial, calm, reviewer' hat is on.



Can't do it.

I've waited TEN LONG, BORING, YEARS for this show to be back, and I'm not going to restrain that joy. There are many sounds, and soundbites that can get a fan hyped. The ignition of a lightsaber. The... whatever the hell that sound is, when the TARDIS arrives. Is there ANY fan able to hear the phrase 'Who you gonna call?' and not immediately shout 'GHOSTBUSTERS!'

These sounds evoke a visceral, unstoppable reaction in many fans, that causes a level of joy that cannot be quantified or measured.

For me, there is nothing that evokes a stronger reaction, than hearing Morita Masakazu (the voice artist for Kurosaki Ichigo) cry out that line that all Bleach fans long to hear "BAN...KAI!"

But there's always a worry, when a show you loved growing up comes back... will it be the same, will it be as good as you remember? Or, have you grown out of that once cherished series? Glares in anger at Heroes Reborn

Thankfully, Bleach Lovers of the world, we have NOTHING to worry about. Studio Pierrot have excelled themselves, and delivered a damn near perfect episode, to ease us back into the life of Substitute Shinigami Kurosaki Ichigo.

First, because it's the first thing you notice: This episode looks amazing, the animation department have gone above and beyond, and produced movie quality animation for this episode... and hopefully for the whole series to follow. The combat is slick, extremely fast paced and just as bonkers as ever, the characters look fantastic, and the Hollows are just as terrifying as you could hope.

Second: the music! I'm not kidding when I say it sounds almost orchestral. I don't know who was in charge of the score for this episode, but give them a raise because this episode sounded better than any anime series I can recall in a very long time.

If this is the quality we can expect from the rest of the series, then the Bleach faithful who have waited patiently for a freaking decade for this series to return are in for a REAL treat...

And that's where I need to get on my soapbox, for a little bit:

Okay, I LOVE Bleach. If you're reading this, you probably love Bleach too (or you're just related to me. Hey, Dad!)

BUT, allow me to make a point to the Bleach naysayers in the crowd (you know there's a fair few of them). Okay, you don't like Bleach. That's fine. But I want you to STRONGLY consider supporting the series.

Hulu/Disney+ dropped a LOT of cash on this series. Why, you're asking? Easy. To test the waters. If they air this series and it does nothing, they can go to their board and say "Ah well. I guess our viewers don't like anime. How about we make a fourth Pinocchio movie to wrap up the year?"

And here's that but again. BUT, if they release this series and it pulls impressive numbers, then there's a very good chance we'll get more anime on Disney+. So, okay, you don't like Bleach. But I'm sure there's an anime you DO love, that you'd like to see added to Disney+. Prove to them that their subscribers want more anime, and you'll GET more anime. If we support Bleach, and show Disney that this is what we want, my dream might come true and we'll get an anime for the greatest Manga of all time: Naoki Urasawa's masterpiece, 20th Century Boys!

Or, you know, something you want. It could totally happen! So, watch Bleach. Tell your friends to watch Bleach. Trick people you don't know into watching Bleach, just to get those numbers UP. And then, we just wait to get our rewards.

So, if you want to unleash your Bankai, check out Bleach: The Thousand Year Blood War on Hulu/Disney+ streaming NOW!

Or, if you want to cheat and read ahead, check out chapter 480 onwards, of the Bleach Manga, on the Shonen Jump App!

Don't be fooled by his facial hair. He's actually VERY dangerous.


Taheg Gloder is a Freelance Copywriter from England. Obsessed with comics and Manga since his teens, he now splits his time between writing comic reviews and retrospectives for POP, and doing reactions on his YouTube Channel, The Dragon & The Hound. He lives alone, because he’s a hermit.

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