Bleach – Have We Mentioned It’s The Final Arc?
I’m sure that by now, everyone has heard the news about Bleach entering its final story arc. If not, then I’m sure this post will come as quite a shock. Until this announcement, it was difficult to tell when the series would actually be ending, but that was partially because everyone thinks it should have ended after Aizen was beaten. The previous story arc felt a lot like filler to quite a few people, which meant even Kubo seemed to be having difficulty coming up with any reason why the story should still be running. This announcement strongly indicates that the time for filler has now passed, because there’s no longer a need to hold the important plot points for later.
Mangaka will always have an obligation to keep the story going for as long as possible. After all, more chapters means a higher paycheck for both the creator and the manga company. This kind of thinking was a big part of what led Dragonball to keep producing story arcs even after the Freiza Saga, which at the time felt like the logical conclusion of the story. Announcing the true final part of the series, then, could be thought of as a way to combat this. A writer who thinks they may have to continue the story may end up holding themselves back when it comes to potential story elements, because doing anything too permanent would make things much harder later on.
I have a theory regarding this storyline. All we really have is the title, “The Thousand-Year Blood War”, since not a lot happened in this particular chapter. However, the idea of the series focusing on a war in some way reminds me a little of Shakugan no Shana. That series had three seasons, and each of those had a different focus, with the first centered mainly on action, the second on characterization, and the last was based around a war that had been in the background until then. Now look at Bleach. There have been a couple different storylines, but the style has changed quite a bit in each of them. If the focus is really going to shift to the war against the Hollows, I think we might expect a story like what’s been happening in Shakugan no Shana Final. The full power of the Soul Society will be put to use, the most powerful Hollows will come out of hiding, and we may get some resolution to the state of the balance of souls.
Admittedly, this isn’t the best theory out there. I’ve always been the first to point out that I’m not really qualified to talk about Bleach, since I haven’t really experienced the whole story. What I’m proposing does sound a lot like the Arrancar arc, but I haven’t seen all of it, so it’s hard to be sure. I just thought that as a Bleach reader in general, I should share what I think about the current state of things. Could the series reacquire the level of quality it once had? I think it might, but I’m not putting any money on it. Will the new story drag on as long as it can? Most likely. Will we finally get to see Orihime standing up against Hollows? God, I hope so.