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Bleach: The Final Arc - What We Know So Far

"Bleach" was and remains a common stepping stone for fans just getting into anime and manga, and though the series has ended, many still have a sense of nostalgia for it. Written and illustrated by Tite Kubo, "Bleach" follows Ichigo Kurosaki, a boy who can see ghosts and becomes a Soul Reaper when Rukia Kuchiki transfers her powers to him. Known as one of the Big Three — alongside "One Piece" and "Naruto" — it was adapted into a long-running anime, four movies, several novels, video games, and even a live-action film. 

Despite its initial popularity, "Bleach" was canceled in 2012. The show ended with the Fullbring arc and was not given a proper conclusion. Meanwhile, the manga continued with the final arc, The Thousand-Year Blood War, and officially ended in August 2016. 

It was revealed last year, per Newsweek, that "Bleach" would be coming back after five years and that the final arc would finally be animated. Here is everything we know about the return of the hit series. Spoilers for the manga ahead. 

When is the release date for Bleach: The Final Arc?

In 2020, via Crunchyroll, "Bleach" was confirmed for a 2021 return during the series' 20th Anniversary Project and Tite Kubo New Work presentation stream. The news was revealed by Tite Kubo himself and featured the voices of Ichigo Kurosaki, Rukia Kuchiki, and Byakuya Kuchiki, as well as the editor-in-chief of "Weekly Shonen Jump." 

Unfortunately, there is no word as to when in 2021 the new season will actually air, but that hasn't stopped fans from sharing their reactions on Crunchyroll's post. Deatherz007 commented, "'Bleach' fans have risen from the dead," while XtremeGal87 shared their excitement by saying, "This makes my heart happy. I can. Not. Wait!!" 

All 366 episodes are available on Crunchyroll (without the need of a premium membership) and Hulu, and it is likely that the former will be getting the new season as it airs. Those preparing themselves for the comeback can use either streaming service to watch their favorite episodes (and skip the filler, if desired) or reread the final arc.

What will happen on Bleach: The Final Arc?

Since the anime will be animating the last arc, fans can expect to see the plot of The Thousand-Year Blood War, which begins with Volume 55 and ends with Volume 74. The anime will feature the return of the Quincy army, led by Yhwach, who desires to absorb the Soul King and collapse the Human World, the Soul Society, and Hueco Mundo together. Uryu Ishida, previously known as the last Quincy, will join as Yhwach's successor and cause a rift between him and his friends, particularly with Ichigo. As with previous arcs, there will be many intense battles, but this time, we will see Nanao Ise and Nemu Kurotsuchi getting their chance to shine as they protect their captains. Kubo has also provided more backstory regarding Ichigo's and Uryu's parents and their relationships with one another.

There will be a final battle against Yhwach and a 10-year time skip following the war in which Ichigo marries Orihime Inoue, Rukia marries Renji Abarai, Uryu becomes a doctor, and Yasutora 'Chad' Sado becomes a professional boxer. The series will most likely end as the manga did, with Ichigo's son, Kazui, meeting Rukia's daughter, Ichika.

Who is in the cast for Bleach: The Final Arc?

There are a lot of new characters introduced in this arc, including those who make up the Quincy army, and it is currently too soon to say who will be playing them. However, we can expect the actors who voiced the main characters during the original run to return. It can be assumed that the final arc, like the previous seasons, will be dubbed and that the English voice actors will reprise their roles as well.

This lineup will include Masakazu Morita (Tidus in "Final Fantasy X") and Johnny Yong Bosch (Vash the Stampede in Trigun) as Ichigo Kurosaki, Fumiko Orikasa (Riza Hawkeye in "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood") and Michelle Ruff (Fujiko Mine in "Lupin the Third") as Rukia Kuchiki, Noriaki Sugiyama (Sasuke in "Naruto) and Derek Stephen Prince (Keitaro Urashima in "Love Hina") as Uryu Ishida, Yuki Matsuoka (Osaka in "Azumanga Daioh") and Stephanie Sheh (Usagi Tsukino in "Sailor Moon") as Orihime Inoue, Hiroki Yasumoto (Germany in "Axis Powers: Hetalia") and Jamieson Price (Lordgenome in "Gurren Lagann") as Yasutora 'Chad' Sado, Kentarō Itō (Fukaboshi in "One Piece) and Wally Wingert (the Riddler in the "Batman: Arkham" games) as Renji Abarai, and Ryōtarō Okiayu (Shigure Sohma in "Fruits Basket") and Daniel Woren (Caster in "Fate/Zero") as Byakuya Kuchiki.