“Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War” - Episode 4 Review

Story posted November 11, 2022 in Arts & Entertainment by Will Anderson.

“Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War '' Episode 4, entitled “Kill The Shadow'' is an action packed episode in which all out war begins, and fans are acquainted with some of the Captains and Lieutenants of Soul Society.

Episode 3 ended with the Quincy army blasting through Soul Society’s defenses, and wiping out countless Soul Reapers while doing so. Episode 4 picks up right where 3 left off, with Soul Society’s finest facing off against the onslaught of Quincy, who may just be able to give the Soul Reapers a run for their money.

Up to this point, the plot has mostly followed Ichigo, Orihime, Sado and Uryu in the world of the living, with brief glimpses of the activity in Soul Society scattered throughout. The foursome take a back seat this week as the focus shifts to the conflict taking place within the walls of Soul Society.

Most of the episode focuses on Lieutenant Renji Abarai and Captain Byakuya Kuchiki as they battle a fearsome Quincy who seems to possess impenetrable skin. The animation and choreography in the scenes they share are standout aspects of Episode 4.

Meanwhile Lieutenant Rangiku Matsumoto and Captain Toshiro Hitsugaya face off against another Quincy who possesses a claw like weapon. At the same time Captain Soi Fon duels with a Quincy who also seems to have impenetrable skin and extendable blades to go along with it.

Byakuya, Hitsugaya and Soi Fon simultaneously release their bankai, only to discover their situation is much more dire than they thought. The Quincy possess a unique weapon which allows them to steal bankai from their users.

For those who are unfamiliar, bankai are the unique abilities possessed by only the most powerful Soul Reapers. Those who have achieved bankai are able to transform their blades into a secondary form which grants them an extremely powerful attack.

With multiple of Soul Society’s most dominant Captains losing access to their bankai, the battle seems to be heavily in favor of the enemy. In a moment of panic, Akon of the Soul Society Research and Development Institute attempts to contact Ichigo Kurosaki to request his aid in the war against the Quincy.

At this point the episode flashes back to Hueco Mundo, where Ichigo is still relentlessly trading blows with J, whose motives are finally revealed. J was never trying to kill Ichigo, but was merely attempting to stall him in order to keep his attention away from Soul Society.

Episode 4 is light on character development, with almost every second of its runtime being devoted to one of multiple action set pieces. The increased budget and modern technology does wonders to bring the Thousand-Year Blood War to life in a way it surely wouldn’t have been able to be done ten years ago when “Bleach” originally aired.

“Bleach” had been censored for its first 16 seasons, meaning the bloodier moments from the manga had to either be cut or changed to be less gruesome. This was done in order to comply with ratings which needed to be met for the anime to air on live television.

“Thousand-Year Blood War” does away with prior restrictions due to it being aired on late night television in Japan. Because of this, the animators are able to fully realize the carnage and destruction wrought by the Quincy. This has proved to be a great improvement over the anime’s original run.

The animation in Episode 4 continues to impress and elevate the series to greater heights. Byakuya’s cherry blossom based abilities, which always looked cheaply animated and tacky in prior seasons, are astonishing to behold in “Thousand-Year Blood War”.

The score by Shirō Sagisu deserves another shout out this week, as it continues to add a sense of urgency and intensity to every action sequence. The orchestral rendition of “On the Precipice of Defeat” which plays in Episode 4 is sure to send chills down the spine of any long time “Bleach” fan.

Episode 4 of “Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War” doesn’t disappoint. The assault on Soul Society was brought to life from page to screen in a way that will satisfy long time fans of the series and newcomers alike. The ending is sure to have viewers dying to see what happens next.

Rating: 4/5

Will Anderson is a first-year majoring in communications. To contact him, email: