Bleach: Thousand Year Blood War Episode 1 Review

After a 10-year hiatus, Bleach has returned with an adaption of the Thousand Year Blood War arc. With the new series, we have a whole list of new changes, and they all seem for the better.

The sound design

One of the most impressive features of the new anime series is its sound design, specifically its background music, thanks to the show’s returning Music Director, Shiro Sagisu, the original crew member of the main series. During the first half, when Ichigo and his friends go to save Shino and Ryunosuke, the iconic bleach song “Number One” plays in the background evoking nostalgia for long-time fans. Whether blatant or subtle, the background music set up each scene flawlessly. When one of the main villains of the episode, Ebern, is introduced, the audience can hear a loud instrument of violin, creating feelings of suspense and uneasiness. Likewise, during the episode's final scene, low but powerful bass notes can be heard as the audience is teleported to the headquarters of the Wandenreich.

The animation

The animation has greatly improved since the airing of the original series from 2004 to 2012. Within the first episode, you can see how far animation has come in the 10-year hiatus. The animation looks clean, and the stylistic changes to the background look amazing. Depending on the mood, different colours are used more than others. When Ebern is first introduced, the background colours turn dark red and orange, conveying danger. The same colour scheme occurs when he escapes using his shadow ability, and the fight concludes, setting the stage for the episode's final scene. 

Stylistic changes

Loyal fans may notice that the design of Ichigo’s abilities has changed slightly. In the past series, we saw Ichigo’s Shikai as a white flash when he activated Getsuga Tenshou; now, it appears as a golden light. We see a similar change with the release of his Bankai, with the signature black and red design being replaced with a black and white design. The other members of the main quartet have changed only in minor ways, with Orihime’s ability showing as a more vibrant orange than we have seen in the past.

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