Bleach is here! It seems surreal to say, but it's actually here! Episode 274 will become available to everyone this Tuesday 6/15 at 2:30 am when episode 275 launches. Concurrently, episodes #266-274 will be available to all viewers, and the latest simulcast episode #275 will be available to Premium Members. Hope you all enjoy it! Bankai!!
It was said that Bleach evolved out of creator Tite Kubo’s desire to draw a shinigami in a kimono, which would eventually lead to the development of the Soul Reapers, our favorite characters and one of the largest anime series to come along to rival current juggernauts like Naruto and One Piece. This was sometime before 2001, before Bleach was picked up for printing syndication by Weekly Shōnen Jump.
A few years after syndication the flurry and buzz around Bleach would reach such epic proportions that it would be impossible for the outside world to simply dismiss it.
It is now safe to say that Bleach has taken the anime world – and perhaps the real world – by storm, becoming one of the most watched anime and read manga. And yet for the longest time, on the largest destination for all things anime and Asian, it was missing. After a flood of requests from users, polls and petitions, it finally made its way here on Crunchyroll!
Bleach launched on CR on June 7, 2010 with episode 274 available to premium members only, along with episodes #266-273. This week episode #274 will be free to all members in conjunction with the simulcasted launch of episode #275 for premium members.
If you have been buried under a rock for the past several years and have no idea what this show is all about, here is a brief synopsis of what you've been missing:
"Bleach follows the story of a simple high school student: Ichigo Kurosaki. For as long as he can remember, Ichigo Kurosaki has been able to see ghosts. But when he meets Rukia, a Soul Reaper who battles evil spirits known as Hollows, he finds his life is changed forever. Now, with a newfound wealth of spiritual energy, Ichigo discovers his true calling: to protect the living and the dead from evil. And when he vows to defend Rukia from the ruthless justice of the Soul Society, he and his friends must cross over and do battle in the spirit world.
As their journey develops further, Ichigo and his friends will venture deeper into the secrets that surrounded Rukia's incarceration and will face foes who are increasing stronger and fiercer than enemies previous faced before. With every battle Ichigo and his friends will too become stronger, but will it be enough in the end?"
If this isn't enough to pull you in, how about for the fact that not only is the story amazing, but Tite Kubo has provided us with this beautiful artwork that compliments the action, darkness and drama surrounding the story, without being too overbearing or be too action-centric. Although this does fall in the shōnen genre - which means that there is always a great deal of action images - there is still a good amount of bubbly, comedic scenes as well as more intense, dramatic scenes to have a well-balanced visual experience.
In 2001, the star's aligned perfectly for Tite Kubo to launch this amazing series, and nine years later, those same stars have aligned again give you the chance to check out simulcasted episodes of Bleach every Tuesday morning here on CR. So what are you waiting for?
The characteristics of a good anime are debatable. Some think a good anime should be able to make you laugh without foolish gags, and some think they should make you cry easily, but above all, a truly good anime should be able to captivate you within the first few seconds of the first episode, and you should remain interested until its end. Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru, often shortened to UraBoku, pulls you in right away, and with its art and animation, storytelling, and its moving themes and motifs, it refuses to let you leave. It is easily one of the most powerful gothic shojo anime to date, and it twists every viewer’s heart through a flurry of emotions with ease.
UraBoku, which translates to Betrayal Knows My Name, begins with Yuki Sakurai, a teenage boy who was abandoned by his parents as a child. He’s not so ordinary though; he is the reincarnation of a female, and he has this strange power to see into people’s minds when he touches them. After receiving death threats and nearly being killed by duras, demons who for some reason want Yuki dead, he meets a beautiful man who introduces himself as Zess. Now, with allies called the Zweilt wanting Yuki to help them in battle with his ever growing powers, what will become of Yuki? The plot may seem a little cliched, but the exciting experience UraBoku provides makes up for that slight flaw.
When it comes to the UraBoku’s animation, there is nothing bad to say about it. To be honest, only beautiful can describe its art and animation. The animation is seamless, captivating, and of colossal caliber. Many anime skimp on animation to save money, but the amount of detail in UraBoku is quite impressive. Every small detail, from the wings that sprout from Zess’ back in the opening to the broken shackles during the ending theme seem to have a purpose for having been animated. The characters are definitely pretty ― in fact, most of the cast is made up of pretty boys ― and well animated, but it is the backgrounds that really stick out. The haunting beauty of the crimson moon on Walpurgis Night, the night when Duras rise and harm humans, is one of the most memorable frames in animation and something you cannot forget so easily.
Although the animation in UraBoku is astounding, the storytelling is also quite strong. UraBoku carries themes of shonen ai by the American sense of the word, also known as boys love. Despite the homoerotic tension between characters, the story never feels trashy. Many boys love anime have needless kissing, pornographic scenes, and a lack of plot, but UraBoku has substance to it, and boys love is not the main focus of the story. The story is filled with life, sin, emotions, pain, agony, and small moments of laughter, but never even ecchi. The story can also be almost overwhelmingly dark at times, but it is never afraid to push the envelope. From pools of blood to fields of crosses, UraBoku explores various aspects of darker anime. The bits of action that may attract a male audience are also quite violent, but not quite gory enough to turn viewers away. However, there is always a feeling of plausibility in the story. The setting in modern day Japan and the more normal-than-not characters allow the viewers to more easily feel an emotional connection to the story; the normalcy of the world allows the viewer to feel as if it Yuki’s story easily could have been their own.
The storytelling of UraBoku is impressive, but it is further strengthened by the themes and motifs present in every episode. The motif of betrayal, often expressed through the statement “I will not betray you” is recurring, and as the story hasn’t finished, the audience can only wonder what may have happened in the past for that motif to be so constant. It creates a feeling of dark curiosity that needs to be satisfied. The motif of shackles and bondage is also incessant. In both the opening and ending are images of characters being bound by rose stems and shackles, but the idea behind it is debatable. However, that’s partially what makes this motif so interesting; guessing at the truth behind it involves the viewer in the story. Even so, the theme that sticks out the most is how love transcends all boundaries. Despite Yuki now being male instead of female, Zess, the man who looks so much like Luka from Yuki’s days as a female, still cares about him deeply and “will never betray him”. UraBoku may only be an anime, but the way love runs so deep in it is bewitching. To see this theme throughout the show is especially exquisite since it shows how love should be long-lasting rather than just a moment of passion.
UraBoku is a captivating and engaging gothic anime, and can easily absorb viewers with its nearly flawless animation, strong story, and enthralling motifs and themes. One doesn’t have to be a fan of boys love nor gothic themes to enjoy it; although more aimed at women than men, it reaches out to a vast audience and effortlessly is able to suck many people in. Powerful and entrancing, UraBoku will keep you watching every week once you start watching.
Bandai announced at the beginning of the month that The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya will be set to premiere at Hollywood’s Laemmle's Sunset 5 Theater on June 24th. The first film of the Haruhi franchise began its US run on May 21st and is set to continue later this month in Hawaii as well. Stephanie Sheh, the English voice actress for Mikuru Asahina, will make an appearance along with other undisclosed cast members at the LA premiere. Also set for a performance is Christina Vee, the actress who portrays Haruhi in the ASOS Brigade promos and the singer/writer for the unofficial English theme songs for the anime. The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya premiered in Japan on February 6 and made over $7 million at the box office by the end of March.
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Studio 4°C to Animate New Thundercats
Warner Brothers announced that Studio 4°C,the animation studio behind The Animatrix, Batman: Gotham Knight, and Halo Legends, will be working on a new Thundercats series set to premiere on Cartoon Network. The classic fantasy series about a team of feline defenders of Thundera first premiered in the US in 1985 and experienced a revival in 1997 on Cartoon Network’s Toonami. The network’s Executive Vice President of Creative Affairs Sam Register describes the new series as Warner Brothers’ “first anime series”, and has high hopes for the series’ future.
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Totoro Reaches Millionth DVD Sale
The Studio Ghibli classic My Neighbor Totoro has sold over 1 million DVD copies after 440 weeks. The DVD version of the 1988 animated film was released on September 28, 2001 and has consistently stayed a part of Oricon’s top 300 highest ranking DVDs ever since. It is the #3 top selling Ghibli DVD film in all of Japan to date, being outsold by Ghibli’s more recent movies Spirited Away (2.3 million) and Howl’s Moving Castle (1.2 million). My Neighbor Totoro is considered by many fans to be Studio Ghibli’s first exposure to the international market and the source of one of Japan’s most beloved childhood icons.
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Dragon Age Anime in the Works
BioWare and Funimation announced on June 7th that they will be collaborating on a feature length anime film based on the hit selling RPG series Dragon Age. The Dragon Age anime feature film will be the first of Funimation’s Original Entertainment team and co-production initiative, which seeks to bring in anime studios to work on non-Japanese properties. The executive producers of the project will be Bioware’s Executive Producer Mark Darrah and Creative Director Mike Laidlaw and Funimation’s President/CEO Gen Fukunaga and Director of Original Entertainment Chris Moujaes. Production of the film is set to begin this month and is slated for a 2011 release.
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Black Rock Shooter Previewing at AX
Anime Expo guest and blogger Danny Choo confirmed on Sunday that Good Smile Company will provide him 10 minutes of the highly anticipated Black Rock Shooter anime to premiere during the 4 day convention, which starts July 1st. Black Rock Shooter initially started as a music video for the widely popular Vocaloid voice synthesizer program Hatsune Miku with visuals and character designs by huke. Since then said designs have become massively popular with Vocaloid fans and have warranted a full animated production. Shinobu Yoshioka will be directing with supervising done by Yutaka Yamamoto, whose previous supervising credits include Kannagi, Haruhi Suzumiya, and Lucky Star. The Ordet animation studio will be the animators for the new OVA. Though the original 50 minute animation was slated for release this month, the project’s website stated that there will be a one month delay before its final online screening, though a pilot was already released in September.
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Supernatural: the Anime Series
The website of Cinema Today reported on July 10th that Madhouse Studios (Death Note, Black Lagoon, Vampire Hunter D) will be covering the production for Supernatural: the Animation, a 22 episode series based on the hit TV show currently on the CW. According to Cinema Today, this will be the first anime production based on a popular overseas drama. The anime series seeks to cover the first two seasons of its live action counterpart as well as add completely original stories not seen in the US. The live action series Supernatural chronicles the adventures of the two Winchester brothers Sam and Dean as they investigate supernatural phenomena all across the United States. It originally aired on the WB before its name change to the CW and will be entering its sixth season this fall. Supernatural the Animation is slated for Blu-ray and DVD release on January 12, 2011. As of this writing, there is no set date for an international release.
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Hitsugaya is doing everything he can to counter Halibel’s sword release, Tiburon. Halibel says she will win against Hitsugaya to avenge her Fracciónes. She melts the ice with Hirviendo and drives Hitsugaya into a corner. Hitsugaya counters by turning Halibel’s water attack into ice with his Zanpakuto, Hyorinmaru, but Halibel has other tricks up her sleeve…