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But why is it called "Bleach"?

by Nathaniel R

boys and their toys... i mean, superpowers.

How often do you have random streaming adventures where you watch something you've literally never heard of? This week on Netflix I caught a new Japanese flick called Bleach (2018) though for the life of me I can't figure out what the title means. It's one of those movies that's 1000% obviously based on a manga because it throws lots of random names, superpowers, and world-building terms and rules at you and assumes you'll be able to keep up. But nowhere in the entire picture does the word "bleach" factor in. I've turned it over and over in my head and unless I blinked during a crucial subtitle the title makes no sense whatsoever.

It was a fun popcorn watch but I had to share one moment near the beginning that had me howling...

A "soul reaper" named Rukia (Hana Sugisaki, the voice of Mary in Mary and the Witch's Flower), who vanquishes "hollows" (demons of some kind) with a totally normal looking sword, has chanced upon a teenage boy named Ichigo (Sôta Fukushi, Blade of the Immortal) who can see dead people and other invisible creatures. She ends up transferring her powers to him during a battle with a Hollow because... well, it's complicated... because in-world genre rules! When he gets the soul reaper powers he magically has a costume and a sword that's way too big for his body. That leads to this priceless moment of disbelief as she watches him swing it around.

I'll take phallic euphemisms for $200, Alex.

Ichigo does, in fact, strut around with annoying BDE even in the high school scenes where he's swordless, but that's taking it visually a bit far, doncha think?

I will never be able to scrub this moment from my mind which is maybe why they called the movie Bleach

P.S. The best thing about the movie is that the demons that Ichigo battle look way more like three dimensional CG renderings of Miyazaki creatures than the tired 'scary/ugly' demons of Hollywood genre pictures. Just look!

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Reader Comments (11)

Do you watch Anime at all Nathaniel? Or read manga? Im curious.

September 28, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterkris01

i dont read manga but as far as anime, i just watch the ones that break through somehow cultrually. Last one I saw was YOUR NAME.

September 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

The Bleach anime was fairly popular in the States when it aired on Adult Swim but it's also hundreds of episodes and not very good so you're not missing anything.

September 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRubi

Rubi -- wow, 100s of episodes. yeah, that's too much. the only animated shows i want to be 100s of episodes are Archer, Bobs Burgers, and Trollhunters (which i'm so sad already ended)

September 28, 2018 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

from an interview with the author
the series was meant to be named "Black" due to the color of the Soul Reapers' clothes, but Kubo thought the title was too generic. He later tried the name of "White," but came to like "Bleach" more for its association with the color white and that he did not find it too obvious

September 29, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterChatan

I also think Bleach is quite fitting.
Like there's an Anime (Manga too I think) called Bubble Gum Crisis. Or Plastic Little.
If you look for Animes outside of Ghibli and if you loved Your Name, I think you'll love the films by Mamoru Hosoda (The Girl who leapt through time, Summer Wars, Ame&Yuki) as well, Nat. 8)
Ghost in the Shell and Akira are classics.

September 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSonja

sonja -- i've seen GHOST IN SHELL and AKIRA. I try to see the big big ones with cultural cache. but there are so many i dont get to very many unless they break through in some way.

September 30, 2018 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

That's okay, Nat.^^
My favorite Anime is Cowboy Bebop and I've heard Hollywood's trying to make a live Action Version of it several times and I hope they'll just forget it. There's no need.
I've also only seen a few Episodes of Bleach the Anime. I tried with Naruto, but it's simply not for me.

September 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSonja

Well, we know what you play on wow, that's for sure...GEEZ ,WOW, SLOW DOWN.

October 1, 2018 | Unregistered Commentersubrakay

I’m not sure if the author confirmed it himself, but my theory regarding the title name is based off the responsibility/job of a soul reaper. A soul reaper searches for souls to guide toward the afterlife and hunts hollows to defeat and save the soul trapped within (since hollows are human souls who weren’t able to pass on or be saved). The process of destroying the hollow mask purifies the hollow revealing the soul within which then moves on to the Soul Society (the name of the afterlife in the series). Like bleaching your clothes from stains and such.

October 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDDD

I tought it was called bleach because ichigo bleaches his hair.
He tells chad in a flashback where they beat up some thugs that people give him shit all the time because he bleaches his hair.

October 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterLes

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