Bleach – Thousand-Year Blood War 1×01 Review: “The Blood Warfare”

The Blood Warfare Bleach Thousand Year Blood War episode 1 review
Ishida, Ichigo, Orihime, and Sado in ‘The Blood Warfare’ (Screengrab: Bleach – Thousand-Year Blood War Anime Episode 1)

The iconic Bleach anime returned after a 10-year break with the ‘Thousand-Year Blood War’ arc, adapting the final event from the manga series. Titled ‘The Blood Warfare’, the premiere episode gave me everything I was hoping for!

The creative team didn’t waste any time when it came to setting the tone. The current arc was serious stuff. Characters will experience serious injuries. And there will be deaths. The episode opened with a narration talking about the confined Quincy King. According to legend, it took 900 years for such a being to regain his pulse, another 90 years to regain his mind, and another 9 years to recuperate his strength. And yes, it was time for the Quincy King to arrive, thus linking his return to the current arc being named the ‘Thousand-Year Blood War’.

I liked how the creative team decided to use the premiere episode as a reintroduction to the main cast. Ichigo and his friends didn’t appear onscreen until the newbie Shinigami named Ryunosuke got attacked by a Hollow in Karakura Town. While it was clear a cowardly Ryunsuke wasn’t capable enough to handle the giant supernatural beasts on his own, I think it was nice to see him still try to save his patrolling partner Shino.

Ichigo and his crew arriving just in time to save Ryunsoke and Shino made for such an exciting entrance. I couldn’t help but smile while seeing the main crew share the screen together after 10 years. ‘The Blood Warfare’ gave viewers a little action sequence highlighting each member and their powers.

After proving some first aid to Shino and Ryunsoke, Orihime Inoue (my favorite character) repelled and pushed back a Hollow. I would have liked to see Orihime use Tsubaki to slice through a bunch of Hollows, but oh well.

Chad, after placing an injured Shino in a (comparatively) safe place, one-punched a couple of Hollows. Ishida, after firing an arrow to release an injured Shino from a Hollow’s grip, managed to kill a number of them by firing arrows from above. And our main guy Ichigo ended the entire battle with a single attack. It was amazing!

Orihime vs Hollow The Blood Warfare
Orihime vs Hollow in ‘The Blood Warfare’ (Screengrab: Bleach – Thousand-Year Blood War Anime Episode 1)

Points to the animation team because the premiere episode of Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War didn’t look like your usual anime fare. Here’s hoping the movie-level animation quality continues.

As for the major threat, I think it was obvious that the unusual disappearance of Hollows was related to the Quincy King. The Soul Society was understandably worried because Hollows being wiped from the face of the Earth meant the thinning of the veil between the land of the living and the dead. Not only that but there was also a scene featuring Yumichika Ayasegawa (looking great!) and Ikkaku Madarame trying to make sense of how an entire community of residents could simply disappear from inside the Soul Society. Even though I have read the manga, I’m still looking forward to learning the answers (which will likely include more content) in the anime adaptation.

the blood warfare review bleach
Ikkaku and Yumichika in ‘The Blood Warfare’ (Screengrab: Bleach – Thousand-Year Blood War Anime Episode 1)

With Ichigo and his crew saving the Shinigami, the action continued on two fronts as the episode progressed. First, I would like to talk about the Wandenreich infiltrating Genryusai Shigekuni Yamamoto’s office. I liked how Yamamoto was able to remain calm. His counterpoint to the Wandenreich about how the office didn’t have lots of security protocols because Yamamoto was enough security went hard!

While we didn’t get to see the faces of the Wandenreich, they all did come across as quite menacing even though they didn’t come to Yamamoto’s office to actually fight. You know they were serious about coming back in five days and annihilating the Soul Society. The fact the Wadenreich had the means to take away a Shinigami’s Bankai made them quite dangerous.

As for Ichigo’s confrontation with a being in service to the Wandenreich, Ichigo vs Ebern made for an intense moment as Ebern continued to taunt Ichigo into releasing his Bankai. The fact that Ebern was unable to take away Ichigo’s Bankai will definitely come up down the line. Again, I’m looking forward to seeing how the creative team will go about providing the answers that were presented in the manga.

Coming to the big villain, we didn’t get a name, but we did get to see him sit on his throne. When creating a well-written villain, you have to give them a motive instead of making them evil for the sake of being evil. In a sense, the villain is the hero of their story. ‘The Blood Warfare’ showed that the mysterious figure was doing everything in the name of peace. It’s a twisted definition of the word peace. But still, this man has layers.

The stage has been set and with only five days to go until the Wandenreich’s return to Soul Society as promised, I can’t wait for all the exciting battles that will be coming my way. One of the reasons I enjoy Bleach is the fact mangaka Tite Kubo always allowed a bunch of supporting characters (including women) to shine without making every battle revolve around Ichigo.

That’s in sharp contrast to how Kishimoto’s all about highlighting Naruto and Sasuke. Even the current Boruto manga has been primarily about Naruto, Sasuke, Kawaki, and Boruto, with other characters taking a backseat, especially Salad and Mitsuki.

Some other thoughts and questions:

  • I could be wrong, but Shino sharing the same last name as Ikkaku could mean they are related. Perhaps they are siblings?
  • The scene where Ichigo simply kicked Ebern out of his bedroom window while Orihime kept the window open was hilarious. Even though the current arc is very serious, such comedic moments are what make BleachBleach
  • With the anime adapting the final arc from the original Bleach manga, I wonder when we will get a proper continuation of the Bleach ‘No Breaths From Hell’ one-shot that was released in August of last year. 

Are you excited about a whole lot of epicness in Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War?

What did you think of ‘The Blood Warfare’?

Let us know.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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