Studio Pierrot has released a bevy of new info regarding the upcoming adaptation of Bleach’s Thousand-Year Blood War arc, including its first key visual and trailer, as well as a quality assurance from series creator Tite Kubo himself.
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This latest news regarding the return of Ichigo came as part of the Bleach panel held during the recent Anime Expo 2022.
The panel opened with the aforementioned video message from Kubo, who began by telling attendees that he both loved and was very happy with the art style of the series’ first key visual, as seen below.
He then explained that when he originally decided to follow through on the Thousand-Year Blood War as the final arc of the Bleach manga, as the anime was already set to come to an end, he accepted there was a possibility that its contents might not be adapted for television.
As such, he proceeded to go all out in regards to the arc’s violent content and action scenes. However, now, Kubo says he feels confident that the anime can do the arc justice.
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As there were a lot of characters and battles that Kubo never got the chance to realize when he voluntarily brought the series to an end in 2016, the mangaka excitedly confirmed that the Thousand-Year Blood War anime would feature a number of never-before-seen fights originally conceived for the manga, including one between 1st Division Captain Yamamoto and Quincy King Yhwach, as well as a new fight involving the Bambies.
Finally, similar to his role in the production of the live-action Bleach movie, Kubo confirmed that he was deeply involved in the anime’s production, working alongside Studio Pierrot to bring it to life, whose staff he believes has a deep understanding of the source material. His involvement is so prominent, he joked, that he felt like he was taking a jobs away from the animators.
Kubo concluded his message by expressing his hope that Bleach fans enjoy the Thousand-Year Blood War anime and promising that he would do whatever it took to make that happen.
After Kubo’s message came the main event: the debut of the Thousand-Year Blood War’s first trailer.
The trailer begins with the lore of the confined Quincy King with the man himself Ywhach (CV: Takayuki Sugo – Iwao Hazuki, Shenmue the Animation), which recounts the legend of how the imprisoned ruler regains his pulse after 900 years, his mind after 90 years, his strength after 9 years, and the world in 9 days.
Then as if the viewer were a part of the ranks, the trailer shows Yhwach’s hand picked Sternritter soldiers, as led by the group’s second-in-command Jugram Haschwalth (CV: Yuichiro Umehara – Weather Report, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean), walking out of the Gate of the Sun.
With a quick shot of Yhwach’s first reaching out and glowing blue, symbolizing his desire to conquer the Soul Society, the narration declares that the world is now on the precipice of its destruction at the villain’s hands.
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Following a glimpse of Ichigo (CV: Masakazu Morita – Whis, Dragon Ball Super) facing down a Hollow, the trailer proceeds with a roll call of the series’ cast, which kicks off with the aforementioned protagonist himself.
In a fantastic transition, the trailer then leaps to the end point of Ichigo’s fight against the Arrancar known as Asiguaro Ebern, wherein the villain can be seen attempting to seal his opponent’s Bankai.
Responding to this attempt to handicap him, the protagonist responds with a Getsuga Tensho.
Next up is Quilge Opie, the executive hunting captain of the first Jagdarmee of the Wandenreich and a member of the 26-member Sternritters.
Among the group of elite soldiers, all of which are given a rank according to the letters of the English alphabet, Quilge holds the title of “J”- Otherwise known as The Jail.
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Audiences are then shown Byakuya’s adopted sister and the person responsible for introducing Ichigo to the world of the Shinigami, Soul Society 13th Division Lieutenant Rukia Kukhiki (CV: Fumiko Orikasa – Chun-Li, Street Fighter series).
Making his Thousand-Year Blood Arc debut, 6th Division Lieutenant Renji Abarai (CV: Kentaro Ito: Scop in Fire Force) finds himself using his Zanpakuto Zabimaru as a shield to block an oncoming attack.
The trailer next shows an extreme close up of Yhwach smirking as a series of blue fire pillars herald the arrival of the Sternritters at the Seireitei and the start of their plans to conquer the Soul Society.
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The trailer then turns to introduce the Gotei 13 themselves, beginning with the group’s Captain-Commander and its 1st Division Commander (CV: Binbin Takaoka – Hanhui Liu, Shenmue the Animation), who is shown unleashing the fire of his Zanpakutu, Ryujin Jakka:
Followed, in order, by Commander-in-chief of the Soul Society’s covert ops Onmitsukido unit and 2nd Division Captain, Sui-Feng (CV: Hoko Kuwashima – Sango, Inuyasha), along with a tease of her clash with the Sternritter ‘K’, BG9:
Recently reinstated 5th Division Captain and former de facto leader of the Visored, Shinji Hirako (CV: Masaya Onosaka – Vash the Stampede, Trigun):
6th Division Captain Byakuya Kuchiki (CV: Ryotaro Okiayu – Zhuge Liang/Kongming, Ya Boy Kongming!), who is seen fighting against Äs Nödt, the Sternritter known as “F/The Fear” and ultimately unleashing the Shikai ability of his Zanpakuto, Senbonzakura:
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In a surprise interjection, the Sternritter with the designation “E/The Explode”, Bambietta Basterbine (CV: Ayana Taketatsu – Nino, The Quintessential Quintuplets), who cuts into the Gotei 13 line-up with her signature Reishi Sword:
However, her appearance only serves to set-up the introduction of 7th Division Captain Sajin Komamura (CV: Tetsu Inada – Juzo Kadokura, Tomodachi Game), who blocks the Sternritter’s attack with his Zanpakuto Tenken.
Returning to the Gotei 13 line-up proper, 11th Division Captain Kenpachi Zaraki (CV: Fumihiko Tachiki – Taizo Hasegawa, Gintama) is the next member to make an appearance, attacking Yhwach with his Zanpakuto Nozarashi:
In his wake comes the short icy captain of the 10th Division, Toshiro Hitsugaya (CV: Romi Park – Edward Elric, Fullmetal Alchemist), wielding his Zanpakuto Hyorinmaru:
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8th Division Captain Shunsui Kyoraku (CV: Akio Otsuka, All for One – My Hero Academia), referred to in the trailer by the alternate Romanization of his Japanese name Syunsui, who unleashes his Zanpakuto’s Katen Kyokotsu in it’s Shinkai form:
13th Division Captain Jushiro Ukitake (CV: Hideo Ishikawa – Polpo, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind):
12th Division Captain and 2nd President of the Shinigami Research branch, Mayuri Kurotsuchi (CV: Ryusei Nakao – Frieza, Dragon Ball series):
14th division Retsu Unohana (CV: Aya Hisakawa – Bulma, Dragon Ball series):
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9th Division Captain and, like Shinji, both a Visored and a recent return from exile, Kensei Muguruma (CV: Tomokazu Sugita – Gintoki Sakata, Gintama):
3rd Division Rojyuro “Rose” Ohtoribashi (CV: Shoto Kashii – Devo, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders), another kindred spirit who finds himself in the same situation as Shinji and Kensei:
These intros are closed out with fan favorite Bazzard “Bazz-B” Black (CV: Yuuki Ono – Isami Aldini, Food Wars! The Fifth Plate), the fire manipulating member of the Sternritter who bears the designation “H/The Heat”:
And Wandenreich’s Sternritter Grandmaster, Jugram Haschwalth, otherwise known as “B/The Balance”.
His designation bestowing upon him an ever greater role than just the Quincy King’s second-in-command, Haschwalth plays an extremely significant role amongst the Quincy.
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Then the trailer presents a montage of the Sternritters’ roster, beginning with Mask De “S/The Superstar” Masculine, Driscoll “O/The Overkill” Berci, Nianzol “W/The Wind” Weizol, NaNaNa “U/The Underbelly”, Najahkoop, and one of either Loyd or Royd Lloyd, the identical twins who share the title of “Y/Yourself”
Followed by Cang “I/The Iron” Du , Jerome “R/The Roar” Guizbatt, Robert “N” Accutrone:
Äs “F/The Fear”) Nödt, BG9 “K”, Quilge Opie of “the Jail”, Gremmy “V/The Visionary” Thoumeaux:
And concluding with Sternritter Grandmaster Jugram “B/The Balance” Haschwalth, Schutzstaffel Askin Nakk “D/The Deathdealing” Le Vaar, and Bazz “H/The Heat” B:
And finally, the Quincy King Ywhach:
Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War is set to debut this October.
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