Bleach Thousand Year Blood War Episode 1 review: Ichigo’s return

Terry Oh
Bleach final season

Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War Episode 1 marks the long awaited return of Ichigo and his gang of friends, introducing the ending of the unconcluded story surrounding the Shinigami, also known as Soul Reapers, of Soul Society.

Alongside One Piece and Naruto, Bleach used to be widely considered one of the three kings during a golden period of Shounen anime. However, Bleach was cancelled years ago due to the manga’s pacing issues alongside creative droughts. Many assumed it would never return again, especially after many of the long-time committed fans fell out of the series.

The first episode of Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War maneuvers effectively around issues which plagued the manga, highlighting only the strengths of the series – all while improving upon the canonical lore while showcasing gorgeous action animation.

Without further ado, let’s jump into the review. Spoiler warning below for Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War episode 1!

Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War episode 1 reintroduces the series

With Bleach’s controversial reception towards the end of its life cycle, expectations were mixed for the new season. But the first episode of Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War impressed the community. The animation took no shortcuts, and the pacing moved very fast.

Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War episode 1 begins by introducing the main antagonists, who quickly declare war on Soul Society. Fights break out all across the Bleach universe, and the story moves forward at a quick, yet not disorienting, pace.

Ichigo and his gang of friends return

Ichigo’s super-powered group of friends are reintroduced when they abruptly show up to save two random Shinigami’s, or Soul Reaper’s, lives. The three side characters, Chad, Orohime, and Uryu, are introduced by name after a short but flashy power showcase.

For fans who are new, this short but effective introduction helps them quickly understand who the main characters are. As for the older fans, this impressive show of power assures them the characters are still in peak condition.

Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War skips controversial filler

A large part of the series’ controversy was towards Ichigo’s bullish transformations and power. Every time he fought an opponent, Ichigo ended up somehow using the enemy’s powers himself, making for predictable and lazy story telling.

Ichigo loses his powers after overexerting himself against Aizen in the Arrancar arc, which lead to a series of arcs where Ichigo is pathetically weak then randomly powerful. Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War Episode 1 completely skips these plot points for the better and debuts Ichigo in his prime – thereby cutting right into the action.

Character introductions and plot points are summarized stupendously without utilizing the infamous flashback recaps. In regards to plot relevance, there’s a lot that the first episode honestly skips out on, but it very minimally impacts the story engagement.

Want more Bleach Thousand Year Blood War reviews? Check out our other episodic reviews below:

Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3 | Episode 4 | Episode 5 | Episode 6 | Episode 7 | Episode 8 | Episode 9 | Episode 10