Bleach, that other mainstream anime everyone has heard (think DBZ, Naruto, Cowboy Bebop, etc.), is a series written by Tite Kubo, produced in the Weekly Shonen Jump and on television. Bleach follows the adventures of Ichigo Kurosaki, a high-school boy with strangely orange hair, after he obtains the powers of Soul Reaper from another Soul Reaper, Rukia Kuchiki.
To this date the anime of Bleach has come to end after 366 episodes, ending at the "Lost Agent Arc" (around the 49th Volume of Bleach). The manga is still ongoing at Chapter 508, but obviously from the title, I am not here to talk about the manga.
Bleach is a series with tremendous success, as the it has been around since 2001 (thus 12 years old), has had four movies produced and released in films (only in Japan) and has had 2 OVA's. I would love to cover over every single aspect Bleach has given us, but I don't think people want to read a review the size of their economics textbook.
this is what original bleach art looked like
Bleach, I found out about in 2007 when I saw a couple episodes after my knee surgery on Adult Swim. Originally, after watching their first opening by Orange Range (Asterisk is the name of the song) I thought Jet Grind Radio was an anime (commence laughs), but I found out something totally different. Ichigo Kurosaki, gains his Shinigami powers to fight Hollows, which are evil ghosts who reside in Hueco Mundo but travel to the living world to feed on the souls of the living and dead alike. Like Shinigami, Hollows are made of spiritual matter and cannot be detected by ordinary Humans. All normal Hollows wear white masks and have a hole where their heart used to be* (Bleach manga; Chapter 28, pages 10-12)
So boom that's it you think the story is over from there, Ichigo fights, saves friends, etc. rinse-dry-repeat WRONG! Well, due to Rukia giving Ichigo her Shinigami powers, she must stay on Earth and recover, while at the same time making sure Ichigo does her duty, to destroy the Hollows in his hometown Karakura Town. As Ichigo fights and gets stronger, some of his friends get involved (Orihime and Chad develop powers due to his constant Spiritual Pressure leaking), his other friend is another type of Hollow-Hunter called a Quincy (Uryu), where they start off as rivals and eventually work together.
Explaining each character's profile, more characters, more enemies, and obvious power growth's is a bit too tedious especially for a 300+ episode review, so I will now break up each into the set arc's Bleach has, rating them as such (my new take on anime review's that are <=50+ episodes). In addition, there are filler arc's and obviously the main arc's that follow the manga, but I will tell which is which,
Season 1/Arc 1: The Substitute (1-20)
This is where the main story gets rolling in Bleach, as Ichigo meets Rukia Kuchiki, a strange "candy-shop" owner Urahara who knows more than he should and trains Ichigo, and two Soul Reapers named Renji and Byakuya take away Rukia, who is to be sentenced to death for giving her Shinigami Powers away to a human.
Score: 3.5 stars out of 5
Season 2: The Entry / Season 3: The Rescue (episode 21-63)
To me this is just the Soul Society Arc, and is probably the best arc out of all of them. Ichigo, Chad, Uryu, and Orihime arrive in Soul Society to take down the Gotei 13/ 13 Court Guard Squads and take home Rukia. Along the way Ichigo fights a few captain, gains a few more allies (hello Renji), meets Yourichi, and discovers the hollow in-himself which developed when he (Spoiler alert) regained his hollow powers after losing them in Season 1. Throughout the arc, Ichigo and his friends fight, barely survive, learn new powers they never thought was possible, and face death nearly every episode. In this arc, Ichigo learns the fabled Bankai (which you can compare to Super Sayian in Dragonball Z) and finally duels Byakuya. In addition, besides finding out backstories (Byakuya, Rukia, Renji, Urahara, Yourichi) we learn who the true antagonist in this series, Aizen Captain of Squad 5.
Score: 5 out of 5 stars
Season 4 & 5: Bount Arc *Filler* (64-110)
The Bount arc was our first filler and to tell you the truth it wasn't so bad. See Fillers are usually just episodes before major scenes, as the manga has to usually be ahead of the show, and most of the time they are produced at the same time. Here, Tite Kubo needed time to produce more characters and develop the story, thus this filler was born, as a season not episodes like in DBZ. The Bount arc isn't the greatest and is a little bit frustrating, as the story isn't too involving and Ichigo somehow has regressed since his fight with Byakuya. I would say these filler episodes did develop more time for some other main characters, like Toshiro Hitsugaya (captain of squad 10), Ikkaku (member of squad 11-psuedo-Ichigo rival), and Renji. The Bount are somewhat like Reitasu Vampires, but Ichigo v. Jin isn't too bad a fight.
Score: 2.5 stars out of 5
Season 6, 7, & 8 & 10- Arrancar and Hueco Mundo Arc
While I did say the Soul Society Arc is the best arc, this Arc is not one to be undervalued. While it does start off slow, with Ichigo afraid of his Hollow inside of him, the following sequences causes the wheels to get into motion to the main story of Bleach. Lots of new villains, same heroes, new mysterious people interested in Ichigo, oh and invading the main bosses lair. After being pummeled by Yammy (and Ulquiorra just enjoying it), Ichigo finally decides to master the Hollow inside him, by going for some secret training. Upon completing his training, he finds that Orihime was "kidnapped" by Aizen and goes out to rescue her, although against the Gotei 13's direct orders.
Renji, Rukia, Uryu, and Chad set out to Hueco Mundo with Ichigo to go through Aizen's kingdom, to find Orihime. During the escapade, Ichigo and his friends do win a couple of their battles, but at full cost, thus leaving them weak without even fighting Aizen and his main forces of the Espada. As all hope seems lost, the Gotei 13 sends out a few of their captains to attack with a counter to help Ichigo and his friends, while they surrond the traitors Aizen, Gin, and Tosen. The arc ends with the Byakuya and Kenpachi (the two captains sent to help Ichigo) defeat each respective Espada member, as the other gotei 13 captains are ready for an all-out war with Aizena and the top 3 Espada.
Probably the only problem I had with this arc was they did pull of a Dragonball Z and had fillers in the middle of the arc. Some of these fillers were just awful and it was more like "ugh is the fillers over" rather than "is the new Bleach out?"
Score: 4 out of 5 stars
Season 9: The New Captain Shūsuke Amagai arc (Episodes 168-189) * Filler*
This arc I very much enjoyed, even knowing it was a filler. At the time I had the manga filling me up to date, on the real Bleach events, but this arc took an interesting story and made it better than I expected. While the story does revolve mainly around Ichigo and this girl Rurichiyo (an upper class young girl from the Sereitei), it really has to do with the antagonist Shusuke Amagi, who becomes the 3rd Court Squad Captain and actually fools everyone at the end. Amagi doesn't play the cliche role of the villain, but actually that of a good guy who only wants revenge on one person, but in the process involves many people. I recommend watching this filler arc only to everyone.
Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Season 11: The Past Arc & Season 12: Downfall Arc
While the shortest arc, it probably is the most interesting arc. In this arc we finally learn the past of Aizen, Gin, the Vizard's, and Urahara. The Vizard's are obviously the most important part of the arc, as due to them all being former captains of the Gotei 13 before being declared dead, due to being infected by a hollow because of Aizen. It was cool to see what past lives they led, and how it influenced the events that led to Urahrara and Yourichi being banned, and why they know how to use and control hollow powers.
Season 12 just has to due with the Captains in the Living World fighting the Espada and Ichigo vs Ulquiorra.
Score: 3 stars out of 5
Season 13: Filler* Zanpaktou Arc
The worst of all the arc's in Bleach, it nearly made me stop watching Bleach. This series has the right premise, but is done so poorly, probably due to all the writer's getting ready for the end of the main story in Bleach. In this arc, all the Shinigami's Zanpaktou's (aka their swords/power) turn against them and they have to fight them all, not knowing if it will recover their power, due to some mysterious guy releasing all their swords. All in all, the bad guy turns out to be a former Zanpaktou of some evil shinigami, who has been long sealed, until of course Ichi...no wait Byakuya defeats him.
no gif for this arc hahaha
Score: 1 out of 5 stars
Season 14: The Downfall Arc (cont) Episodes 266-316
This is finally it and I don't know how to explain this arc without being a spoiler so I don't really think I can say much but. Ichigo's Dad finally comes out (he was a Shinigami and knows Urahara and Yourichi...whoops spoiler. Ichigo v. Gin, Ichigo v. Aizen...GIN v. AIZEN sorry. Ok no more spoilers, did I mention Gotei 13 v. Aizen?
Score: 5 stars out of 5
Season 15: Gotei 13 Invading Army arc (Episodes 317-342) FILLER*
This is really a pointless arc, which kind of focuses on Kon, since he hasn't been all too involved in the anime or manga. While the series isn't great, it isn't bad either and has it moments. All in all I suggest skipping it.
Score: 2 stars out of 5
Final Season 16: The Lost Substitute Shinigami arc (Episodes 343-366)
If you didn't figure it out I'm out of gas...I can't write anymore. The Lost substitute arc feels like a filler but it isn't since it fills in some gaps left after the Aizen arc. In addition, it was cool to see all the changes but on each character, making the audience know time does change people. Some of the arc is predictable, but it fits nicely with the story.
Score: 3 out of 5 stars
Alright, pretty happy I wrote this mediocre review and I would love to add more details and stuff but all in all I wanted it to be fair and not that spoiler-ish. Just to add, I loved Bleach and obviously still read the manga. I had some great times with it and I have to tell you, it was a bit like DBZ as over-powering in these types of anime/manga seem to make sense. I mean as nice as it is to be strong at episode 50, why would that be your max (unless you're Yamcha) In addition, like Dragonball Z Bleach has its funny moments, which will leave you rewatching some scenes as well as after the ending credits for its Shinigami Book Golden, featuring Kon.
Overall this series is one of my favorites and while I did despise a bit later for all it's HORRIBLE filler EPISODES I recommend Bleach to anyone. In addition, in case you were wondering what character's I love that aren't Ichigo Kurosaki they are Toshiro Hitsugaya, Zaraki Kenpachi, Ikkaku, Byakuya, Renji, and well Ichigo again lol.
In addition, I hate how Tite Kubo leaves so many questions unanswered or like a what happened to that guy situation lol.
Overall: 9/10 See ya next time