In the 31st issue of Shueisha’s Weekly Shounen JUMP magazine, it was announced that Tite Kubo’s Bleach manga is approaching its end. The issue hinted at how many chapters are left, but didn’t flat out say an exact number. Bleach entered its final story arc four years ago in February 2012.
The story for Bleach is as follows:
Ichigo Kurosaki is an ordinary high schooler—until his family is attacked by a Hollow, a corrupt spirit that seeks to devour human souls. It is then that he meets a Soul Reaper named Rukia Kuchiki, who gets injured while protecting Ichigo’s family from the assailant. To save his family, Ichigo accepts Rukia’s offer of taking her powers and becomes a Soul Reaper as a result.
However, as Rukia is unable to regain her powers, Ichigo is given the daunting task of hunting down the Hollows that plague their town. However, he is not alone in his fight, as he is later joined by his friends—classmates Orihime Inoue, Yasutora Sado, and Uryuu Ishida—who each have their own unique abilities. As Ichigo and his comrades get used to their new duties and support each other on and off the battlefield, the young Soul Reaper soon learns that the Hollows are not the only real threat to the human world.
Bleach launched in 2001 on May 2. VIZ Media currently has the license for the manga in North America and is currently releasing chapters digitally alongside the Japanese release. There are 66 printed volumes in North America with the latest volume releasing back on March 1. Bleach also received a television anime adaptation that ran for an impressive 366 episodes, ending back in 2012 right before the manga’s final story arc began. VIZ also has the television anime rights and has been distributing them since 2006.
Bleach also received a run on Adult Swim in 2006 and concluded airing all 366 episode in 2014. A Blu-Ray series for Bleach will be released by VIZ Media and distribution will begin on July 19. The manga has also inspired four anime films, a series of novels, and several video games. A series of stage musical adaptations launched in 2005 with the latest performance being this month in June.
Bleach is considered one of the three pillars of Shounen JUMP alongside Naruto and One Piece. Naruto ended last year after 700 chapters and One Piece is still ongoing, leaving it as the last of the big three.