The greatly anticipated anime adaptation of the final arc in the Bleach franchise seems to have taken an unfortunate turn with the premiere of its first episode. Ever since the official announcement which stated that the series will be available “on Hulu in the US, and on Disney+ internationally”, the information regarding the premiere and the anime overall has been scarce. Disney+ does not seem to have advertised or informed its users of the series even “coming soon”, let alone elaborated on the issue that followed.
As it turns out, Bleach Thousand-Year Blood War seems to be unavailable to everyone outside the UK when it comes to European broadcast. Judging from information currently available online, even some Asian countries seem not to have had access to the episode until today.
With fans being confused and rightfully frustrated, many have started threads and forum discussions in order to try and find out what is happening behind the scenes, while also turning to Disney+ support service for any kind of information as to why the service they are paying for is not being provided.
The subreddits and even Discord servers have been home to countless fans for the past two days, where feedback is being gathered and shared among fans from all over the world. From what has been established thus far, is that Disney+ support stated how the series is currently available in “the following regions: UK, IE, AU, NZ”, and that “air time may vary per time zone.”
This started certain rumors about licensing issues, which grow louder with each day that the series remains unavailable to those who are paying for the service that was promised. Moreover, the anime that had its first showing in Japan on October 8 was announced to premiere 2 days later, but on MyAnimeList, the date that has been set is October 11.
The October 11 information matched with the initial response a user received on October 10 and proceeded to post it online to shed some light on the situation. The message stated that “it appears that the show will be available in the morning”, further explaining how “usually, shows are released Eastern time.
And upon checking, it will be around 8 or 9 in the morning.” Needless to say that this did not come to pass the following morning, therefore the licensing rumors started to claim the spotlight.
Additionally, part of the feedback numerous users have received from the support service seemed to merely explain the situation at hand, rather than providing an answer as to why is it happening and when will it be resolved. The feedback stated that “we (Disney+ support) don’t have the exact date when will it be released in other regions, but rest assured that we (Disney+ support) will handle it for it to be available since the new anime series will be released globally.”
Lastly, there have been messages circling the forums and discussions alike that the final one in the chain of most often responses, was a reference link to a page on which we can learn more about the series. That page seems to have only updated its header to name the exact regions the anime is currently available in, while leaving the “old” information in the content of the page (view the screenshot below).
Other than the majority of Europe not having access to the series, the frustration seems to have spiked when Disney+ posted a Tweet about Latin America not being included on the list of countries the series will be available in at all.
With the tweet being deleted, the fans are now left with repetitive, inconclusive feedback from Disney+ support. For the matter to be even worse, once the news spread about Disney now owning the license for Bleach, it was almost simultaneously announced that Crunchyroll has taken the series down. Therefore, it seems that only Hulu has all the episodes available on their site, while Europe and Latin America remain completely cut off from the franchise.
With the fans currently awaiting the latest episode to be available in their regions, it remains to be seen whether this occurrence was a one-time thing, or will it keep happening with each following episode.
Since the fans have been robbed of the premiere due to such poor execution once the series was supposed to officially start airing, all of which followed a completely underwhelming advertising campaign that left many people wondering which platform to search for in order to watch the series, we would like to end this report on a more positive note and say that the decade long wait has finally ended, and the first episode of this arc has spiked the final season of Bleach to the number one spot on MyAnimeList’s top-ranked anime on the day of its release.