Big 3 Nostalgia Returns – Bleach TYBW Ep 1 Review

Kubo Tite’s Bleach popular during the Shonen Jump Big 3 golden era of the early 2000s returns to adapt the nostalgic final Thousand-Year Blood War manga arc.

Bleach has returned after nearly a decade to adapt the manga series’ Thousand-Year Blood War final arc. The anime show full of Big 3 era nostalgia is streaming on Hulu and Disney Plus for its last run. 

Bleach Thousand-Year Blood War Arc Episode 1 Review 

Nostalgia, nostalgia all around. 

From the cold opening of the rookie soul reapers being overconfident and then being overwhelmed by aggressive hollows to Ichigo and crew showing up Over Powered as all hell – the nostalgia was through the roof in this first episode. 

Is Bleach in the Big 3?  

The Big 3 of Shonen Anime: Bleach, Naruto, and One Piece
The Big 3 of Shonen Anime: Bleach, Naruto, and One Piece

The Big 3 refers to the most popular manga series during Shonen Jump’s golden era in the early 2000s.  

One Piece created by Oda Eiichiro, Naruto created by Kishimoto Masashi and Bleach created by Kubo Tite are all recognized as the three core manga that attributed to the rising popularity of anime and Japanese Pop Culture in the West. 

Naruto and Naruto Shippuden have finished airing (we don’t acknowledge Boruto around here) 

One Piece is still going strong at over 1,000 episodes with a fandom more passionate than ever 

And then there’s Bleach…which kind of got thrown to the wayside years ago. 

Why Did Bleach Get Cancelled?  

Ichigo Group's Ishida Uryu, Sado Yasutora, Inoue Orihime, and Kurosaki Ichigo
Ichigo Group’s Ishida Uryu, Sado Yasutora, Inoue Orihime, and Kurosaki Ichigo

Despite being part of the Big 3 of Shonen anime, Bleach aired its final episode in 2012 without any official statement or reason for its abrupt cancellation.  

Fans have since speculated that Bleach may have originally been canceled due to poor ratings, a dispute between the mangaka Kubo Tite and his publishers, or that the source material had caught up with the adaptation – leaving little room for continued anime episodes without the use of filler. 

Admittedly I was never a super huge fan of Bleach (I liked Naruto more and was a hardcore Sasuke fangirl) but I did watch many of the arcs up until a certain point. Honestly, it actually surprised me just how much I remembered as I sat through the ending theme full of flashbacks paying homage to the series’ original run. 

Is The Bleach Manga Finished?  

Kubo Tite finished the Bleach manga in 2016 by writing the Thousand-Year Blood War as the series final arc. I’m glad hardcore fans get to see the end of their favorite series from the golden shonen era of anime finally adapted for TV. 

Bleach Nostalgia Levels Over 9000 

The Arrancar Ebern Asguiaro
The Arrancar Ebern Asguiaro

Did anybody else laugh out loud when Ichigo falcon kicked Asguiaro Ebern the Arrancar out of his bedroom window like randos showing up unannounced was an ordinary occurrence? 

I loved that during the Ichigo vs Ebern fight, Ichigo was so OP he broke whatever spell Ebern was using to try and take his bankai. I guess after Aizen stole his theme song in the original series, Ichigo learned to never let a villain take his bankai. 

I noticed while watching that I remembered names of characters I thought I’d long forgotten, and stores that no longer exist due to memories associated with them.  

My teenage megane villain awakening  Ishida Uryū
My teenage megane villain awakening Ishida Uryū

Like visiting the Suncoast Motion Picture Company in the fancy mall a few towns away from my home and buying an Kisuke Urahara Chibi keychain that I still have on my set of keys to this day. 

That had to be…almost 14 years ago now. 

I also loved seeing Ishida Uryū despite vaguely remembering he may have been evil, or had some pretty shady tendencies. All of Ishida’s scenes still hypnotize me to this day, so I have to wonder if he was my ‘megane villain’ awakening as a teen or something. 

Soul Society vs Wandenreich 

Yhwach wants to achieve peace through violence
Yhwach wants to achieve peace through violence

Remnants of Ishida’s bloodline the Quincies were apparently hiding in the shadows of a wall near Soul Society for 1,000 years draining the area of Reishi. Since they finally have enough, a group of Quincies ambushed Master Genryusai in his office and made vague threats before disappearing in a cloud of smoke. 

So basically, Bleach will continue a golden shonen era of anime plotline as if it weren’t currently 2022. 

The animation still has the same feel as the original series, and while I won’t be watching this weekly it was nice taking a trip down memory lane to see the characters who helped me through my adolescence.  

(Although, I might tune in for another episode if Renji ever shows back up. I remember him being one of my favorites, along with Hitsugaya Toshiro [my white haired anime boy awakening? Haha ☺] but the reasons as to why has been lost on me through time.) 

But, tell me your thoughts. 

Kurosaki Ichigo end credits illustration
Kurosaki Ichigo end credits illustration

Are you excited that Bleach was able to have a proper return in order to finish adapting the manga’s story? 

Did the animation make you feel nostalgia for the bygone golden era of shonen anime? 

And… Do you remember shonen anime being so formulaic and cheesy? 

(I mean it was almost Naruto “the power of friendship” talk no jutsu levels of cheesy during some points in the episode…) 

Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, we’d love to hear from you! Also be sure to follow us for more Anime Season First Impressions in the near future!        

We are also creating Anime and Japanese fashion-inspired merchandise for fellow fans, Visit our Redbubble store if you have a chance – you get cool gear, and it helps support the blog!        

☆ In Asian Spaces     

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Author: In Asian Spaces

I write in my personal time and I haven't published much at all. I don't know if that qualifies me as a writer or not, but I'd like to change that. I have a deep passion for travel, cinema and (mainly) East Asian things, but I plan on writing various things to keep it spicy. Let's prosper together ~ よろしくおねがいします。

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