The episodes of the Bleach
anime series are based on the manga of the same name written by Tite Kubo. They are directed by Noriyuki Abe and produced by TV Tokyo, Dentsu, and Studio Pierrot. The plot of the episodes follows the adventures of a teenager named Ichigo Kurosaki who can see ghosts and becomes a Soul Reaper after assuming the duties of Soul Reaper Rukia Kuchiki.
The episodes have aired since October 6, 2004, on TV Tokyo in Japan. Viz Media obtained the foreign television, home video, and merchandising rights to the Bleach
anime from TV Tokyo Corporation and Shueisha on March 15, 2006. Subsequently, Viz Media contracted Studiopolis to create the English adaptation of the anime, and has licensed its individual Bleach
merchandising rights to several different companies. The English adaptation of the Bleach
anime premiered on Canada's YTV channel in the Bionix programming block on September 8, 2006. Cartoon Network began airing Bleach
the following evening as part of its Adult Swim block. Adult Swim stopped broadcasting new episodes of the English adaptation on October 20, 2007, after airing the first 52 episodes of the series. It was replaced with another Viz Media series, Death Note
, to provide Studiopolis more time to dub additional episodes of the series. The series returned from hiatus on March 2, 2008 (with two new episodes airing every night beginning with the Arrancar arc, as well as the first two movies), and had returned to hiatus for almost a year after airing episode 167 on November 21, 2009. The hiatus ended on August 28, 2010, with the airing of episode 168.
Thirty-eight pieces of theme music are used for the episodes: thirteen opening themes and twenty-five closing themes. Several CDs that contain the theme music and other tracks have been released by Studio Pierrot. As of August 2009, 49 DVD compilations have been released by Aniplex in Japan. 20 DVD compilations of the English adaptation of the anime have been released by Viz Media, and five season boxsets have been released that contain the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th seasons of the anime.
The Region 1 DVD compilations of the Bleach
anime are released by Viz Media. As of August 24, 2010, 31 DVD compilations have been released by Viz Media in the United States. A DVD collection box of the first season was released on June 10, 2008, a DVD collection box of the second season was released on August 19, 2008. and a DVD collection box of the third season was released on July 7, 2009. The series has been released in the UK by Manga Entertainment in half-season sets, then re-released into season sets.