Disney+ Acquires Streaming Rights to Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War? [RUMOR]

[RUMOR] Disney+ Supposedly Acquires Streaming Rights to Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War?

Tite Kubo’s Bleach series is one of the most important titles in the history of manga and anime, a title that has helped make anime and manga what it is today. And while the anime adaptation of Bleach ended rather abruptly with the Fullbringer Arc, we are finally going to see the infamous Thousand-Year Blood War adapted on screen in October 2022, and we cannot be happier. And while everyone thought that Bleach would be coming to Crunchyroll, who also has the rights to all of the previous seasons, a recent rumor suggests that the streaming rights were acquired by Disney+ and we are going to discuss these rumors here.

Recent internet rumors suggest that there was a bidding war for the streaming rights for Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War and that Disney+ has managed to outbid Crunchyroll and will stream the anime internationally. This has not been confirmed by anyone officially and is still a rumor so we’ll have to wait and see.

The rest of this article is going to bring you all the necessary information you need to know about the rumored Disney+ acquisition of the Thousand-Year Blood War Arc and what that could mean for the international fans of the show. This is a pretty surprising rumor knowing how Disney is not strong in the anime department so we’ll have to analyze this thoroughly.

Is Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War coming to Disney+?

It all started on August 12, 2022 with one Tweet:

Sugoi LITE shook the anime scene with this supposed leak. Now, this was by no means a confirmation, but Sogui LITE has been known to get things right in the past so he is a relatively respected source. As the Tweet states, Disney+ has supposedly acquired the streaming rights to the Thousand-Year Blood War arc over Crunchyroll, who was the safe bet for practically everyone.

Now, this is a rather shocking turn of events as Disney+ is not a major player in the anime market, whereas Crunchyroll is the biggest one in the world. Bleach is also a major title and with Crunchyroll owning the rights to all the previous episodes, it was expected that they would stream the final arc as well. Now, we have to warn you that you should take this with some doubt at least.

This is by no means an official confirmation, as neither Disney nor Crunchyroll, nor anyone else for that matter, have officially commented on this. This is a Twitter rumor that may prove to be true or false; only time will tell. But, while we’re waiting for some official news, let us see the potential implications of Disney’s rumored acquisition.

How did Disney+ outbid Crunchyroll?

Well, this is a question we don’t really have an answer to. We know Bleach is going to premiere on TV Tokyo in Japan and the distributors probably put up a certain price. It was expected for Crunchyroll to grab it for several reasons: (1) Crunchyroll is the biggest anime streaming site in the world and is accessible to the widest audience; (2) Crunchyroll usually gets all the new and big titles (with a few notable exceptions), unless they’re produced by another streaming service (which is not the case with Bleach); (3) Crunchyroll has all of the Bleach episodes already on its service, and; (4) Disney+ doesn’t air a lot of anime.

RELATED: Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War Characters & Voice Actors Revealed

If the rumors prove to be true, Crunchyroll might have been surprised by Disney’s offer since it would’ve been an unexpected one. Disney definitely has the financial means to outbid Crunchyroll, but it was not expected that they would be interested in this. Not because Bleach is of interest to them, but because they don’t usually stream anime series. This is why Crunchyroll was probably surprised and it could be a potential explanation on how Disney managed to outbid them.

What does Bleach going to Disney+ potentially mean?

We have to say that Bleach fans aren’t too happy with this rumor and we can only agree with them. Sure, Disney+ is a respectable source and they will do their best to distribute the series internationally, but there are two valid concerns when Disney is concerned – the streaming schedule and the potential censorship.

Now, Bleach is going to have its regular airing schedule in Japan, on TV Tokyo. This is a fact. Now, Crunchyroll usually simulcast its anime content, meaning that it would end up airing in the West within an hour of the Japanese premiere. Will this be the case with Disney+? We do not know and it could be a potential concern. Namely, Disney has recently acquired the distribution rights to Summer Time Rendering, another anime series, and while Asian subscribers can watch the show in simulcast, Westen viewers will be able to see it when it actually finished its run, which is a bummer.

Now, Bleach is definitely going to be longer than Summer Time Rendering, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll be seeing it in simulcast. Disney+ might release it in batches of 12 or 24 episodes every now and then, which would be horrible, seeing how Western audiences would be getting new episodes weeks or even months after the Japanese premiere. This was never a concern with Crunchyroll and while we don’t know for sure what Disney has planned for Bleach, this is a valid concern and we had to address it. We hope that it won’t be the case.

Disney+ Acquires Streaming Rights to Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War? [RUMOR]

The other issue is censorship. Now, American distributors always censor anime; this has been a fact for decades now (heck, they even censored Digimon, which is a children’s show). And while that was not an issue when you had Crunchyroll, who’d stream the original version, it might be an issue if Disney+ acquired the exclusive distribution rights. Namely, Disney’s platform is very socially aware and while Bleach itself is not controversial, the fact that Yhwach and the Sternritter are a reworking of the Nazis might be a potential issue. Not to mention the blood and violence that will be present throughout the series, since the Quincy War was quite brutal.

And while Tite Kubo did confirm that this arc won’t be censored and that it will include a lot of new content, especially battle scenes, we’re not sure that Disney won’t interfere if the show ends up on its platform. It might be that Disney+ simply wants more subscribers so they’ll just simulcast the show n its original format like in Japan, since the goal is to attract more people, but it might also be a classic Disney story – they’ll take it, censor it and air a more toned-down version of the anime for Western audiences.

Now, we don’t know if this’ll be the case either – Disney might not even have a say in this – but it is yet another valid concern. Now, ultimately, we don’t even know if these rumors are true and even if they are, these concerns might end up being unfounded. We’ll definitely get some official news in the following weeks so keep following us for more updates.

  • Arthur S. Poe has been fascinated by fiction ever since he saw Digimon and read Harry Potter as a child. Since then, he has seen several thousand movies and anime, read several hundred books and comics, and played several hundred games of all genres.