The secret behind the name of the series

The masterful work of Tite Kubo Bleach took the manga industry by storm when it first appeared in Shonen Jump magazine in 2001. Since then, its equally successful anime adaptation – as well as the series – with naruto and A playwere incredibly popular. Bleach, as well as these two anime, have was also dubbed the Big Three of the Shonen genre by the anime community.

However, unlike the other two, which have fairly simple names, Bleach has had fans wondering about the origin of his name since his first appearance. With its new upcoming animation Bloody Thousand Year Warwhat does the name actually mean and does it mean anything?


Decipher the unique name of the series Bleach

Ichigo and Rukia (Image via Tite Kubo/Shueisha)
Ichigo and Rukia (Image via Tite Kubo/Shueisha)

Considering how old the manga is, there have been countless fan theories about the name of the series over the years. And the manga’s creator, Tite Kubo, has already addressed the strangeness of his name.

Apparently, Ichigo Kurosaki, the series’ protagonist, wasn’t the first character Kubo designed for the manga. Since he was inspired by the classic Japanese legends of the Shinigami, or soul-collecting gods of death, as the basis for the manga, Kubo first drew the series’ most beloved Shinigami, Kuchiki Rukia.

The color palette used to design Rukia pays homage to the classic Shinigami look, with traditional black and white kimonos. For this reason, Kubo first thought of naming the series “Black” or “White”, but decided against it when he realized that neither sounded catchy. .

The name, Bleach, would be a depiction of how black dresses were bleached and turned white, giving rise to an unexpected dynamic in the series. It makes sense once you realize that the Shinigami in the series are made to wear both colors.

Rukia being a prominent example, is seen in black when wearing the usual Soul Reapers outfit and in white during her time in prison before her supposed execution, which was later thwarted by Ichigo.

Interestingly enough, the Evil Hollows were designed by Kubo with a predominantly white aesthetic that contrasts with the usual white archetype, which is associated with pure and good. The Quincey, on the other hand, wore all white, aligning with the color’s traditional connotation. This play on traditional stereotypes is fascinating to note and elevates the relationship between visuals and their underlying meaning to a new level.

Besides the symbolism related to the colors, the name could also refer to the fact that the Shinigami’s job was to purify souls or “bleach” them. Fans have speculated that Nirvana’s album Bleach, being Kubo’s favorite, could also have been a source of inspiration.

The references are subtle enough to keep the mystique of the name alive, but once understood, fans can see just how genius it is. Whatever the reasoning, the name is now synonymous with one of the greatest manga ever written.


Edited by Soumyadyuti Ghosh

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