Bleach ranks among the top anime series of all time. With over 120 million copies sold, it does not come as a shock that there are so many seasons of this beloved show. But how many seasons of Bleach are there exactly? There are 16 seasons – with another one in the making!
In this article, we’ll discuss the plot, characters, and story arcs of Bleach.
Bleach is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Tite Kubo. The anime adaptation was produced by Studio Pierrot and directed by Noriyuki Abe.
The series ran for an astonishing 16 seasons (366 episodes), from 2004 to 2012, on TV Tokyo in Japan. In 2006, Viz Media obtained foreign television and home video distribution rights to the anime.
The show was then broadcasted in the United States on Adult Swim, an adult-oriented nighttime TV channel, from September 2006 to November 2014.
In March 2020 it was announced that the final story arc, ‘Thousand-Year Blood War’, would receive an anime television adaptation set to premiere in October 2022.
How Many Seasons of Bleach are There?
There are 16 seasons and 366 episodes currently released of the Bleach anime series, with another season in the making and set to premiere in the fall of 2022.
The 16 seasons are also widely known as the story arcs, even though some arcs are filled with filler episodes that can be skipped.
- Season 1 – The Substitute Soul Reaper (20 episodes)
- Season 2 – The Entry (21 episodes)
- Season 3 – The Rescue (22 episodes)
- Season 4 – The Bount (28 episodes).
- Season 5 – The Assault (18 episodes)
- Season 6 – Arrancar: The Appearance (22 episodes)
- Season 7 – The Arrancar Part 2: The Hueco Mundo Sneak Entry (20 episodes)
- Season 8 – The Arrancar Part 3: The Fierce Fight (16 episodes)
- Season 9 – The New Captain Shūsuke Amagai (22 episodes)
- Season 10 – The Arrancar Part 4: Arrancar vs Soul Reaper (16 episodes)
- Season 11 – Turn Back The Pendulum (7 episodes)
- Season 12 – The Arrancar Part 5: Battle in Karakura (2009) (17 episodes)
- Season 13 – Zanpakutō: The Alternate Tale (36 episodes)
- Season 14 – The Arrancar Part 6: Fall of the Espada (51 episodes)
- Season 15 – Gotei 13 Invading Army (26 episodes)
- Season 16 – The Lost Agent (24 episodes)
Different Arcs of the Bleach Anime
An arc is a part of a story in a manga or anime series. Usually, it’s set in one place or during one specific event, and it is named after that place or event.
In Bleach, the manga story arcs align with the seasons:
- Agent of the Shinigami arc (episodes 1 – 20)
- Soul Society: The Sneak Entry arc (episodes 21 – 41)
- Soul Society: The Rescue arc (episodes 21 – 41)
- The Bount arc (episodes 64 – 91)
- Bount Assault on Soul Society arc (episodes 92 – 109)
- Arrancar: The Arrival arc (episode 110 – 131)
- Arrancar: The Hueco Mundo Sneak Entry arc (episodes 132 – 151)
- Arrancar: The Fierce Fight arc (Episodes 152 – 167)
- The New Captain Shūsuke Amagai arc (episodes 168 – 189)
- Arrancar vs Shinigami arc (episodes 190 – 205)
- The Past arc (episodes 206 – 212)
- Arrancar: Decisive Battle of Karakura arc (episodes 213 – 229)
- Zanooakutō Unknown Tales arc (episodes 230 – 265)
- Arrancar: Downfall arc (episode 266 – 316)
- Gotei 13 Invading Army arc (episodes 317 – 342)
- The Lost Substitute Shinigami arc (episodes 343 – 366)
The Anime series is centered on a 15-year-old student, Ichigo Kurosa, who attends high school In Karakura Town. When Rukia Kuchiki, a Soul Reaper or Shinigami, becomes injured in a battle with a hollow, she gives Ichigo the power to be a substitute Soul Reaper. He is at first reluctant to hold this power but ultimately takes on the role.
Surprisingly, he then discovers that some of his classmates have powers of their own. Uryū Ishida is a Quincy, a group of humans who were destroyed by other Soul Reapers. At first, Uryū challenges Ichigo to see who can defeat more Hollows, but they ultimately end up working together. Uryū and Ichigo become lifelong friends and fight many battles together.
Orihime Inoue possesses protective spirits, known as the Shun Shun. She also accompanies Ichigo to many of his battles and to Soul City to rescue Rukia. Yasutora Sado ‘Chad’ is a human (half Japanese and half Mexican) who also lives in Kakakura Town. He has been friends with Ichigo for a long time and is very loyal to him. He possesses superhuman strength and is exceptionally resistant to damage from physical fights.
Rukia is taken to Soul Society and sentenced to death for passing her powers to a human (Ichigo). Ichigo and his friends attempt to rescue her and battle many Soul Reapers, but they are unsuccessful until Ichigo asks Kisuke Urahara and Yoruichi Shihōn (who are exiled Soul Reapers) for assistance.
In a shocking revelation, it is revealed that a high-ranking Soul Reaper Sōsuke Aizen actually framed Rukia and has been experimenting on Soul Reapers and Hollows illegally. He escapes into Hueco Mundo and later abducts Orihime so she can help him create the Oken to kill the Soul King.
Ichigo and his friends are trained by the Vizards (other exiled Soul Reapers) and travel to Hueco Mundo to rescue Orihime. Once there, the group comes face to face with Aizen’s powerful army of Arrancars. Here, it is also revealed that Aizen kidnapped Orihime as a distraction to attack Karakura Town.
When Ichigo faces Aizen and his army of Soul Reapers he uses a secret technique to lock Aizen away once and for all, but he loses his Soul Reaper powers. Two years later, Chad approaches Ichigo and reveals that he has found other people, known as Fullbringers, who are like Ichigo.
Fullbringers can give up their powers to restore a Soul Reaper’s powers. They are willing to restore Ichigo’s powers. In another cruel twist, it is revealed that this is a hoax by the Fullbringer’s leader, Kugo Ginjo, who wants to steal Ichigo’s power.
Ichigo gains the trust of the Soul Society and he is restored to full power to defeat Kugo. He then returns to Karakura Town to his role as Substitute Soul Reaper.
Main Characters of Bleach
Ichigo Kurosaki is the main protagonist of the Bleach series. He is a 15-year-old boy who lives in Karakura Town. He receives the powers of a substitute Soul Reaper after Rukia Kuchiki (the current Soul Reaper of the town) transfers her powers to him.
Rukia Kuchiki is a Soul Reaper (shinigami), whose duty is to slay evil spirits known as Hollows. She is forced to transfer her powers to Ichigo to fulfill her duties, for this she is sentenced to death in Soul City.
Orihime Inoue is a classmate and friend of Ichigo, with whom she has always had a crush. She develops spiritual powers when Ichigo becomes Soul Reaper and accompanies him on his battles.
Uryū Ishida is a Quincy, a group of humans who are enemies of Soul Reapers. He challenges Ichigo to fight the Hollows but soon they are both overpowered and forced to work together. This bond allows them to become friends and Uryū accompanies Ichigo to all his fights from there on.
Yasutora ‘Chad’ Sado is also one of Ichigo’s school friends. He is quite tall and intimidating but tries to avoid a fight at all costs. He has incredible strength in his right (and sometimes left) arm.
We hope this guide gave you a clearer idea of how many seasons of Bleach are there.
Despite its long 16 seasons, we recommend any anime enthusiast to watch this exciting series.