|Magazine||Weekly Shōnen Jump|
|Year of inception||2001|
|Original run||August 20, 2001 – August 22, 2016|
The Bleach (ブリーチ Burīchi) universe refers to the Super Smash Flash series' collection of characters, stages, and properties that hail from Weekly Shōnen Jump's manga series written and illustrated by Tite Kubo. Bleach follows the adventures of Ichigo Kurosaki after he accidentally obtains the power of a Shinigami—a Japanese death personification similar to the Grim Reaper—from Rukia Kuchiki. Bleach has been continuously serialized since August 2001 and has been collected in 40 tankōbon volumes as of June 2009. The anime adaptation has been similarly received, rating as the 7th most popular anime television series in Japan in 2006, and in the top ten anime for North America from 2006 to 2008. The series received the Shogakukan Manga Award for the shōnen demographic in 2005, and is among the best-selling manga properties in both Japan and North America.
Bleach was first conceived from a desire on Tite Kubo's part to draw shinigami in kimono, which formed the basis for the design of the Soul Reapers in the series, and the conception of character Rukia Kuchiki. The original story concept was submitted to Weekly Shōnen Jump shortly after the cancellation of Tite Kubo's previous manga Zombiepowder., but was rejected. Manga artist Akira Toriyama saw the story and wrote a letter of encouragement to Kubo. Bleach was accepted for publication a short time later, in 2001, and was initially intended to be a shorter series, with a maximum serialization length of five years. Early plans for the story did not include the hierarchical structure of Soul Society, but did include some characters and elements which did not come into the plot until the Arrancar arc, such as Ichigo's Soul Reaper heritage. The series was originally meant to be named "Black" due to the color of the Soul Reapers' clothes, but Kubo thought it was too generic. He later tried giving it the name of "White", but came to like more "Bleach" as it was associated with the white color and he did not find it too obvious.
The chapters of the Bleach manga were written and illustrated by Tite Kubo. In Japan, they have been published in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump since 2001. Since Bleach's premiere, over three hundred chapters have been released in Japan. Most chapter names are in English and have katakana above them to indicate how they are read in Japanese, similar to furigana ruby characters used with advanced kanji characters. In addition to the main series chapters, some chapters are published with a negative chapter number. These "negative" chapters are side stories and consist of events that precede the start of the series. North American licensor Viz Media has been serializing the individual chapters in Shonen Jump since November 2007 in the United States. The individual chapters are collected by Shueisha in a series of tankōbon volumes, which include a poem based on the cover character. The first volume was released on January 5, 2002; as of August 2009, 40 volumes have been released.
Viz released the first volume on June 1, 2004, with 27 volumes released as of June 2009. The company released a hardcover "collector's edition" of the first volume with a dust jacket on August 5, 2008, followed by a box set on September 2, 2008, containing the first 21 volumes, a poster, and a booklet about the series.
The episodes of the Bleach anime series are directed by Noriyuki Abe and produced by TV Tokyo, Dentsu, and Studio Pierrot. The episodes have aired since October 5, 2004 on TV Tokyo in Japan. Viz Media obtained the foreign television, home video, and merchandising rights to the Bleach anime from TV Tokyo Corporation and Shueisha on March 15, 2006. Subsequently, Viz Media contracted Studiopolis to create the English adaptation of the anime, and has licensed its individual Bleach merchandising rights to several different companies. The English adaptation of the Bleach anime premiered on Canada's YTV channel in the Bionix programming block on September 8, 2006. Cartoon Network began airing Bleach the following evening as part of its Adult Swim block. Adult Swim stopped broadcasting new episodes of the English adaptation on October 20, 2007 after airing the first 52 episodes of the series. It was replaced with another Viz Media series, Death Note, to provide Studiopolis more time to dub additional episodes of the series. The series returned from hiatus on March 2, 2008. In the UK, Bleach premiered on AnimeCentral on September 13, 2007, with new episodes airing daily, but is currently on hiatus after airing the first 52 episodes.
Currently, the majority of the games have only been released in Japan, though SEGA has localized the first 3 Nintendo DS games and the first Wii game for North America. So far, all dedicated Bleach games released for Sony's consoles have been developed and published by SCEI, whereas the Nintendo GameCube ones are developed and published by SEGA, and the Nintendo DS versions are developed by Treasure Co. Ltd.
The Bleach series made an impressive, and either suppressive, debut in the Super Smash Flash series when it was confirmed into Super Smash Flash 2.
- Ichigo Kurosaki: The primary protagonist of Bleach, an orange haired high school freshman, he is forced to become a Substitute Shinigami after unwittingly absorbing most of Rukia's powers. Ichigo was the first character programmed into SSF2, the first manga-originated character to appear in the game and is one first four characters to debut in demo v0.1a. Ichigo is able to use the Getsuga Tenshō, a Zangetsu's special ability and technique which involves charging and launching a strong wave in the shape of a crescent moon. Among other attacks, including Flash Step; Ichigo has a Final Smash in which he transforms into his Bankai form.
- Rukia Kuchiki: The captain of the 13th division in the Gotei 13 makes an appearance as an Assist Trophy. When she is summoned, she uses her signature technique, Some no mai, Tsukishiro, an attack in which Rukia slashes forward, damaging and freezing anyone in her path. She waits a couple seconds before attacking if there's an enemy on stage, but he/she is not in front of her.
- Hueco Mundo: A the desert-like area between the human world and Soul Society. Literally meaning "hollow world" (the word hueco can also mean "empty"), it is where hollows reside when not hunting in the human world, where they are undetectable. The terrain in the middle is flat but in the left side is a huge slope that connects to the boundaries, a hovering platform appears from the abyss on the right side and slides across the stage until it is out of sight.