'Bleach' Creator Tite Kubo Teases New Manga Arc in 20th Anniversary Special

Tite Kubo released a special chapter of Bleach in Shonen Jump to mark the 20th-anniversary of the manga series.

The 73-page one-shot was published in English by Viz on Monday, after being released in Japanese in Weekly Shonen Jump's combined edition of issue 36 and 37.

Set 12 years after the manga's end, the chapter sees lead character Ichigo Kurosaki take part in a special ceremony with the Soul Society.

Known as the Konso Rensai, the ceremony sees the Soul Society honor Captain Jushiro Ukitake in the World of the Living Soul after he was lost in battle 12 years earlier.

Despite it being announced as a one-shot, the chapter ended on a dramatic cliffhanger that teased a potential new arc for the manga.

Kurosaki, Rukia Kuchiki, Renji Abarai and other members of the Soul Society are ambushed by Hollows that have no spiritual pressure before the ceremony can even begin.

After fending off their attacks, they are shocked to discover the return of Szayelaporro Granz, who reveals to that the Soul Reapers have been sending the spirits of dead captains to Hell.

Bleach anime
Tite Kubo's "Bleach" manga returned with a 20th anniversary special chapter on August 9, 2020, the anime ran from 2004 to 2012. Netflix/TV Tokyo

But, because the forces that were holding Hell at bay are no longer around, it can now be opened by spirits from the other side.

Before Szayelaporro can kill Kurosaki he is stopped by the spirit of Ukitake and is drawn back into Hell, but not before ominously warning the Soul Society to think about the consequences of their actions.

Kubo has not discussed whether the manga could return for a new arc, but the chapter certainly left fans hoping there will be more to come.

The manga artist is currently working on Bleach spin-off Burn the Witch for Shonen Jump, the first season of which was published in the magazine on August 24 to September 12, 2020.

While Burn the Witch is in the same universe as Bleach, it is unclear if Kubo will have time to write and illustrate more chapters of his classic manga in the near future as he is working on a second season of his new series.

Bleach was originally published in Shonen Jump from August 7, 2001, to August 22, 2016, ending with 74 volumes in total.

The manga had an anime adaptation that aired from 2004 until 2012, and there are also four films: Memories of Nobody, The DiamondDust Rebellion, Fade to Black, and Hell Verse.

It was announced in March 2020 during the Bleach 20th Anniversary Project & Tite Kubo New Project Presentation that the anime would return.

While it is known that the anime will adapt the "Thousand-Year Blood War" from the manga, it has not yet been revealed when the series is likely to be back on the small screen.

The manga was also adapted into a live-action film in 2018, which stars Sota Fukushi in the lead role of Kurosaki and was released internationally on Netflix.