All 13 Bleach Arcs in Order (Including Recaps)

Bleach Arcs in order
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Tite Kubo’s Bleach is one of the biggest and most important manga (and anime) titles in history. The story of Ichigo Kurosaki and his adventures as a Shinigami has become one of the historically most important shonen titles ever. The original Bleach manga was published from August 7, 2001, to August 22, 2016, totaling a total of 74 volumes.

Regarding the Bleach manga’s narrative, the 74 volumes are divided into 13 distinct arcs. But, since Bleach is somewhat specific for being a very long series with a 300+ episode anime series, there are also several non-canon anime-only arcs. Since this is a complete article, we are going to present all the arcs, both the canon (manga) ones and the non-canon (anime-only) ones. Having said all of that, let us see what the order of Bleach arcs is.

Editor’s Note: This arc list is regularly updated to bring you the latest developments from Bleach franchise.

How Many Bleach arcs are there?

Technically the Bleach manga has only five major canon arcs (excluding the filler arcs), but if you separate those major arcs into smaller, more sensible arcs, you get nine arcs and four filler arcs.

Bleach arcs in order (at a glance)

Before we detailly explain them, here is a quick summary of all Bleach arcs in order:

  1. Agent of the Shinigami Arc (The Substitute Shinigami)
  2. Soul Society Arc
  3. The Bount Arc*
  4. The Arrancar Arc
  5. Hueco Mundo Arc (Arrancar: The Fierce Fight & Arrancar vs. Shinigami)
  6. The New Captain Shūsuke Amagai Arc*
  7. The Past Arc (Turn Back The Pendulum)
  8. The Battle of Karakura Arc (Arrancar: Decisive Battle of Karakura & Arrancar: Downfall)
  9. Zanpakutō Unknown Tales Arc*
  10. Gotei 13 Invading Army Arc*
  11. The Lost Substitute Shinigami Arc (Lost Agent)
  12. The Quincy Blood War Arc (Thousand-Year Blood War)
  13. No Breathes from Hell

Bleach arcs in order (fully explained)

This section will list all the major Bleach manga and anime arcs and give you some basic info about their plots. The Bleach arcs will be divided based on which source material they are taken from. The arcs are listed by the release date.

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Now, since the Bleach manga itself wasn’t officially divided into arcs but rather into events (which actually consist of arcs and mini-arcs), we are going to use a combined division from both the manga and the anime series to give you a proper overview of the series.

NOTE: Those arcs denoted with an asterisk (*) are anime-only arcs and are not considered canon.

1. Agent of the Shinigami Arc (The Substitute Shinigami)

Agent of the Shinigami Arc The Substitute Shinigami

Chapters: 1-70
Episodes: 1-20

Our Bleach arcs order begins with a fifteen-year-old teenager who can see spirits named Ichigo Kurosaki who meets a Shinigami (Soul Reaper) named Rukia Kuchiki. Rukia explains to Ichigo what a Shinigami is about and her goals. After the brief explanation, the two meet a Hollow attacking Ichigo’s little sister.

Seeing his injured sister, Ichigo furiously attacks the Hollow but fails to defeat him. Rukia tries to help Ichigo, but she is injured on the spot. Rukia tells Ichigo that the only way to defeat the Hollow is by transferring her Shinigami powers to him. Ichigo accepts and becomes a Shinigami. Finally, Ichigo manages to defeat the hollow.

By transferring Rukia’s Shinigami powers to Ichigo, the latter has become a Substitute Shinigami since Ichigo’s powers are not his but Rukia’s. But Ichigo will have to replace Rukia longer since when a Shinigami lends his powers, it will take him a while to get them back. Rukia will get a human body, and while she recovers, she will go to Ichigo’s Institute.

2. Soul Society Arc

Soul Society Arc

Chapters: 71-178
Episodes: 21-63

Our second Bleach arc is The Soul Society Saga, the second saga of the Bleach manga, which narrates the events that occurred in history from the arrival of the Ryoka to Soul Society until the departure of Sōsuke Aizen and his followers to Hueco Mundo.

In it, the action moves practically entirely to Soul Society, the home of the Shinigami, where all the Captains and Sub-Captains of the Gotei 13 appear for the first time, as well as the unstoppable progress of Ichigo Kurosaki in his abilities, developing his newly discovered Shikai, knowing his Bankai in record time and beginning to sense the existence of Hollow powers within him.

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This saga is eminently focused on the combats of Ichigo and his allies with different Shinigami, although, at the same time, it is observed how the plot unfolds, beginning to show a more choral Bleach, where other characters live their own adventures and their own experiences develop.

In the anime, this material was translated into two full seasons, called Soul Society: The (Sneak) Entry (episodes 21 – 41) and Soul Society: The Rescue (episodes 42 – 63).

3. The Bount Arc*

The Bount Arc

Chapters: N/A
Episodes: 64-109

The third Bleach arc is The Bount arc. The first part tells us about the first movements of the enemy, who are a group of people who have special powers, which consist of devouring human souls to live forever and not grow old. They call themselves Bounts. The Bounts are characterized by having a Doll, which is equivalent to the Zanpakutō of the Shinigami. These differ because they are mostly pets in addition to having a liberated form and personality.

The Bount are the new antagonists of this Saga, which are led by Jin Kariya, who hates the Shinigami and has a closely related past. His main objective is Uryu Ishida, the last of the living Quincys, who will plow to obtain it at all costs, but he will be helped by his friend Ichigo Kurosaki, Orihime Inoue, and Yasutora Sado.

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The second part of The Bount arc tells us about the invasion of the Bount to the Soul Society, in which the true objective of the villains is revealed, which is nothing more than to destroy it completely, and this will cause many battles of the Bount against the Captains and Lieutenants of the Gotei 13, having as their last fight Ichigo Kurosaki against the leader of the Bount Jin Kariya.

4. The Arrancar Arc

The Arrancar Arc

Chapters: 183-240
Episodes: 110-143

The Arrancar arc is the third saga of the Bleach manga and the fourth of the anime in which the new races will play a fundamental role in the story’s development; in it, the Arrancar and the Visored are introduced.

This part of the story starts from the end of the adventures of Ichigo Kurosaki and his friends in Soul Society and lasts until the preparations for the trip to Hueco Mundo. In addition to the appearance of the Arrancar and the Visored, the Arrancar Arc shows Ichigo’s progress in mastering his Hollow powers and the preparations of all the characters for the imminent war in which the Shinigami of Soul Society will face the forces that Sōsuke Aizen is recruiting in Hueco Mundo.

In the anime, the material based on the manga is mixed with other episodes totally unrelated to the central story in such a way that it covers episodes 110 to 143. These episodes are distributed between the series’ sixth season, Arrancar: The Arrival arc, and most of the seventh, whose name is Arrancar: The Hueco Mundo Sneak Entry.

5. Hueco Mundo Arc (Arrancar: The Fierce Fight & Arrancar vs. Shinigami)

Hueco Mundo Arc Arrancar The Fierce Fight Arrancar vs. Shinigami

Chapters: 241-315
Episodes: 144-167 / 190-205

The Hueco Mundo Arc is the fifth arc of the anime and the fourth of the manga. This deals with the second story in the series: the fight between Aizen’s Arrancar army against Soul Society. This saga begins with the entrance of Uryu, Sado, Ichigo, Renji, and Rukia to the Hueco Mundo to rescue Orihime Inoue, who was kidnapped for her powers and is held by Ulquiorra, the main antagonist.

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Here the increase in powers of the Ryoka and the feelings of the young woman will be shown, as well as intense fights with the last 6 Espada. New allies and enemies will appear, and more Arrancars and the Espada will be presented. This arc is divided into two parts, before and after Ichigo’s final confrontation against Grimmjow.

6. The New Captain Shūsuke Amagai Arc*

The New Captain Shusuke Amagai Arc

Chapters: N/A
Episodes: 168-189

The sixth arc, The New Captain Shūsuke Amagai, has two intertwined stories: One recounts the arrival of the new captain of the Third Division, Shūsuke Amagai, who serves as a substitute for Gin Ichimaru. The other is based on the appearance in the Human World of the princess and rightful heiress of the Kasumioji clan, Rurichiyo Kasumiōji, and her two Shinigami servants (Kenryū and Enryū).

7. The Past Arc (Turn Back The Pendulum)

The Past Arc Turn Back The Pendulum

Chapters: -108 – -97
Episodes: 206-212

The seventh Bleach arch, with the name of Turn Back the Pendulum, the fifth saga of Bleach, as the fandom knows it, should probably be named, more appropriately, The Past Arc. The name it has received is because all the chapters included in this story, except the last one, are called Turn Back the Pendulum, followed by their order of publication.

Due to its length, this part of the story could well be considered more of a gaiden or a mini-arc, but because the events narrated in it play a role of great importance in the central story, it is included within the core plot of the series.

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The arc actually shows what the Gotei 13 was like a century before the central events of the series, as well as the origin of the Visored and the role played in their appearance by Kisuke Urahara and Sōsuke Aizen. It was a turning point in the series trajectory by adding a plot component and leaving aside the numerous combats of the last chapters aside for a time.

8. The Battle of Karakura Arc (Arrancar: Decisive Battle of Karakura & Arrancar: Downfall)

The Battle of Karakura Arc Arrancar Decisive Battle of Karakura Arrancar Downfall

Chapters: 315-423
Episodes: 213 – 229 / 266 – 316

The Battle of Karakura arc is the sixth saga of the manga and the eighth of the anime, in which all the action is transferred to the city of Karakura and a small part of the Hueco Mundo, where Ichigo Kurosaki and his friends will put an end to the great rivalry against the Arrancar army led by Sōsuke Aizen.

Once the battles in the Hueco Mundo are over, Aizen decides to put his plan into action and moves to Karakura Town, leaving Ulquiorra Cifer in charge of Las Noches. However, his plans to destroy Karakura will be interfered with by the appearance of the Shinigami commanded by General Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto, willing to prevent the traitorous Shinigami’s ambitions.

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However, Aizen shows that he is not alone and reveals the first three Espada for battle. On the other hand, Ichigo must undergo various tests in order to reach the final level of his Zanpakutō and thus defeat Aizen.

9. Zanpakutō Unknown Tales Arc*

Zanpakuto Unknown Tales Arc

Chapters: N/A
Episodes: 230-265

This anime-exclusive story arc focuses on the Toju Zanpakutos, who were materialized by Muramasa but were not rescued by their Shinigami owners, causing them to go into blind rage.

10. Gotei 13 Invading Army Arc*

Gotei 13 Invading Army Arc

Chapters: N/A
Episdes: 317-342

The Gotei 13 Invading Army arc is an exclusive arc of the anime. It was issued entirely as the fifteenth arc of the anime. This arc consists of 26 episodes and deals with the revenge plans of the Modified Soul Kageroza Inaba to merge with Nozomi Kujō and bring Yushima ouko back to life using the Reigais of some captains and sub-captains of the Gotei 13 such as Byakuya Kuchiki or Momo Hinamori to reach her goal.

Of course, the protagonist Ichigo Kurosaki will intervene with his friends to save Soul Society from destruction. This saga was broadcast after the Arrancar saga officially ended.

11. The Lost Substitute Shinigami Arc (Lost Agent)

The Lost Substitute Shinigami Arc

Chapters: 424 – 479
Episodes: 343-366

The Lost Substitute Shinigami is the seventh arc of the manga and the sixteenth and last of the Bleach anime arcs in which new characters, stories, and powers are introduced around the series’ time frame.

Here is a new story about 17 months after his battle with Aizen. Ichigo is already a student in the city of Karakura until he discovers the Xcution group, humans who control special abilities (Fullbring), and the plot is based on his training to regain his shinigami powers and about the past of the previous substitute shinigami.

This saga, after the defeat of the well-known antagonist of the series, Aizen, performs a Time-skip or jump in time since it shows new appearances of the protagonists in a long space of time.

12. The Quincy Blood War Arc (Thousand-Year Blood War)

The Quincy Blood War Arc Thousand Year Blood War

Chapters: 480-686
Episodes: 367 – TBD

The Quincy Blood War arc starts when Yhwach first appears when Luders Friegen returns to Silbern, the base of the Vandenreich. He sees Luders arguing with Asguiaro Ebern, which makes him angry. He, therefore, declares that he hates conflict and cuts Luders’ arm as punishment for arguing, which results in him falling to the ground in great pain.

Luders has difficulty getting up, and Yhwach allows him to speak to him while lying down. Only he will cut off his legs since he does not need them. He then kneels in a hurry, and Yhwach questions him wryly about his estimate of the five days of preparation necessary for the war against Soul Society.

He laughs at him, even asking if he is a prophet, but the latter refutes this title, prompting Yhwach to ask him why he had told him about the future when he only wanted to know what was happening at the moment before completing it. He then focuses on Ebern. Yhwach admits he has no reason to praise or blame him, as he has effectively delayed Ichigo Kurosaki.

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13. No Breathes From Hell

No Breathes From Hell

This is a special one-shot manga chapter dealing with the aftermath of the Quincy Blood War. Twelve years after the Quincy Blood War, the Gotei 13 holds a ceremony for former 13th Division Captain Jūshirō Ukitake, which Ichigo Kurosaki is invited to attend.

A man tells the story of his two childhood goldfish, both of which he loved until the larger one died one day. The sight of the smaller remaining goldfish made him lonely at first, but soon it grew larger and flourished so that in the end, he was relieved that the larger goldfish died.

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At night in Karakura Town, Orihime Inoue looks into Kazui Kurosaki’s room and finds that he seems to be asleep. Then, in her mind, she thanks Kon, who is in his plush body, for playing with him today as she closes the door. Suddenly, Kazui opens his eyes and pushes open the window of his bedroom, whereupon Kon, startled, asks where he is going and reminds Kazui that he should stay here since he just got into trouble yesterday.

Will there be more Bleach arcs?

There has been no official confirmation regarding upcoming Bleach arcs, but considering the renewed interest in Bleach word in general, nothing is outside the realm of possibilities. We will update this post as soon as we have more info!

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