If you’re a big fan of Japanese anime, you might have heard of the famous manga series ‘Bleach’ written and illustrated by Tite Kubo. Running for 350 episodes and 700 chapters, Bleach has made an indelible mark thanks to its unique character, battle sequences, and strong visual style.
But what is the reason behind the indifferent/ weird name of this anime series? Even today, many fans wonder why is ‘Bleach’ called ‘Bleach’? In this guide, we will address the theories relating to why this Japanese anime was named ‘Bleach’.
The series was called ‘Bleach’ to reflect the color white. It is also a symbol of cleansing that ‘Shinigami’ give souls. It is also called Bleach as Kudo’s a big fan of the band ‘Nirvana’ and the name of their first popular album was ‘bleach’.
Sit back with a coffee in your hand as we will share some more information about the immensely popular Japanese anime ‘Bleach’. As you can tell, Bleach is called bleach for obvious reasons but there are also some other reasons which aren’t that clear. So, let’s discuss them in detail.
What Does the Word ‘Bleach’ Mean in Japanese and English?
The word ‘bleach’ is translated as ‘ブリーチ’ in Japanese and Burichi is how the word is pronounced. The phrase means ‘soul cleanser’ which is exactly what soul reapers do. ‘Bleach’ is based on the idea of ‘black vs. white’ which represents a clash between ‘good and evil’. The word ‘bleach’ also represents the transition of tortured souls who are on the verge of turning into evils from the dark to the light. As Soul Reapers help them bring them back into the good sides.
When Tite Kudo decided to draw a story about Shinigami, he wasn’t planning on naming it ‘Bleach’. At first, he wanted to name the anime ‘black’ to give the impression of black kimonos of Shinigami.
And the weapon wasn’t a sword but a scythe. But later he realized that ‘Black’ would be too simple title for the anime and the same was the case with ‘White’. So, he finally decided on ‘Bleach’ which is also a household product that changes things from black to white.
What Does the Word ‘Bleach’ Imply?
The Japanese etymology indicates the meaning of the word ‘bleach’ as ‘soul cleaning’. This is what Kubo’s Soul Reapers who are also known as ‘Shinigami’ in the anime ‘Bleach’ do.
Shinigami are called death gods who are handed the responsibility of ushering souls to the afterlife. The job of the soul reapers is to ensure that the souls rest peacefully after their life by giving them ‘Konso’ which is a soul funeral. At times, they have to fight a battle with the lost soul who refused to rest after death. Cleaning and guiding the lost souls to rest is actually what is called ‘bleaching’.
Fighting against violent and lost souls is called a ‘cleansing’ process. As these souls are dangerous to both humans and the spirit world hence they need to be captured and put to the rest.
How was the Concept of ‘Black vs White’ Represented in ‘Bleach’?
The ‘Black vs white’ concept was not only inspired by the title of the anime and the color of the robe, but also the enemies of Soul Reapers. One surprising fact about the series is how all the enemies get to be white. The Soul Reapers were all dressed in black robes while the enemies were all-white.
This color scheme was created to be something different and unique. In a visual sense, bleach is used to erase black and create something clean and white. That’s what Soul Reapers do, they used to guide the black lost souls by giving them a soul burial.
How did Ichigo get the Power of a Soul Reaper?
The whole anime series is about the fight of good against evil. Ichigo Kurosaki was a teenager who could see ghosts. This talent lets him see ‘Rukia Kuchiki’ who came to Ichigo’s room in search of a Hollow. Hollow was a monstrous lost soul dangerous to both humans and ghosts.
While Rukia was defending Ichigo from Hollow, got badly wounded, she transferred her power to Ichigo so that he may fight Hollow while she is recovering. Ichigo then takes up the role of ‘soul reaper’ and alongside his friends and Rukia carries out the ‘Bleaching’ of the souls.
Is There any Other Theory Behind the Name of the Anime as ‘Bleach’?
There’s another theory that the Japanese anime is called ‘Bleach’ because of Ichigo’s hair color. However, if you go to chapter 7 of the manga, you will find that the theory is not accurate. Ichigo, when inspected by thugs for his orange hair color, replied that orange is his natural hair color.
Many theories state that Kubo named the series ‘Bleach’ because of the orange hair color of Ichigo and some other characters. However, there’s no evidence that the theory is true.
What was the Original Concept for Bleach?
Initially, Kubo designed ‘Rukia’ as the main character. Armed with a scythe and dressed in Shinigami robes, Rukia was pitted against enemies in the early drafts of the shows.
But as the idea and story developed, Ichigo became the main character and the guns were replaced by swords.
Rukia was a great character in Kubo’s anime ‘Bleach’ and it would have been interesting seeing her as the main protagonist. But it is also difficult to imagine ‘Bleach’ without the presence of ‘Ichigo’. Needless to say, both Rukia and Ichogi make a perfect duo throughout the series.
Conclusion: Why is Bleach Called Bleach?
The job of bleach is to remove stains and colors from fabric and hence the process is called ‘bleaching’. Likewise, the task of the Soul Reaper in the series ‘Bleach’ was to clean tormented and monstrous souls. This might be the reason that Kobe decided to name the anime ‘Bleach’.
Do you have any other theories relating to the anime ‘Bleach’? If yes, do share them in the comment section.