Almost every anime fan knows about Bleach and make that now cringe-worthy joke of saying “not the cleaning supply”. It was a phenomena back in the early 2000s, much like One Piece and Naruto. One couldn’t escape it if you watched anime on television like I had to do back in my younger and simpler times. I used to watch Bleach religiously as a kid, next to my obsession with Inuyasha, Gundam Seed and Eureka Seven. To pay homage to something that was so important to my childhood, I was trying to think of ways I could honour the memory of Bleach as I knew it. Even though I give it flack today for how it ended…that entire last arc, I still hold true that its opening are visual splendours. From a pop art style to monochromatic to even just transitioning fight sequences, Bleach’s openings were superb in order to get you pumped for the episode to come. Each felt distinct, most felt memorable, and some…were best left forgotten compared to others. So here we are, ranking each Bleach opening to my own personal opinions on them. What better way to send off the past than by starting off with an opening?
There will be spoilers touching on some of the stuff that happens within each of the openings. You have been Warned!
15. Shojo S by SCANDAL, Bleach Opening 10
Now SCANDAL is not a bad band by any stretch of the imagination, I actually quite like them. This opening however screamed budget cuts. The still images filled its runtime, lack of interesting animation or even colour palettes, and then repetitive dance choreography that was uninteresting to begin with. It feels sloppy all the way around that I just couldn’t sit and listen to the song long enough. So when I finally did my opinion on it was! Eh…It feels and wants to be flashier than it is. Like a kid acting cool by rebelling against the man. Not a particularly good opening all the way around, and don’t get me started on the random use of Orihime, Matsumoto and Rukia in this opening. I get it, the song is called Shojo S…
14. Velonica by Aqua Timez, Bleach Opening 9
Immediately the screen is too crowded with effects, well either that or just not enough on the screen. It seems to dance between two extremes. While the stills this time have some looped animation to them and a really nice colour palette, far more vibrant than the others, it still feels like a lot of dead air. A lot of nothing happening in the beginning of the opening visually, the music isn’t soothing or engaging it is just there. All the way around it is just a dull opening…with nothing much at all to say how it’s appealing. It doesn’t feel generic as the visuals are at least vibrant and unique, but none of them ever stand out as something that will make an impact.
13. Ichirin no Hana by High and Mighty Colour, Bleach Opening 3
More still images and this time rather than being clear and visually appealing, it turns out someone went a tad bit overboard with the shading. Though I do like the slow bleeding affect at the end of those still images with Ichigo becoming his hollow self while the title forms. Really cool effect. My problem with this opening is that it is almost unmemorable. There is a lot of bland action shots of cool characters with great abilities never showcased well. The edgy beat of the song almost works against it in the beginning, as when we see Ichigo, Chad, and Uryuu all looking dejected and sad over the dour music and atmosphere it just feels bleh. I am alright with grit so long as it means something…and this really didn’t mean anything. Why were they sad again? Did the opening show any of that? I don’t know, but that transition effect was cool.
12. Chu-Bura by Kelun, Bleach Opening 8
Easily one of the better openings to…well any of the openings I have seen. It is upbeat, showcasing a lot of fun characters doing fun activities and Ichigo smashing his father into the ground. It gives that air of the first episodes where we are building up the family dynamic. I find it quite calming and peaceful. It just devolves into a generic opening from there. This is one of the filler arc openings and it kind of shows as they practicually sum it up in the opening. Girl gets kidnapped by some ninjas and Ichigo goes to save her while some soul society shenanigans involving Izuru goes on…wait a minute. This sounds like the second season of Bleach! The soul society arc! It doesn’t even feel original…well besides a great opening and a pretty average song done by Kelun this opening does not stand out much when compared to more upbeat ones.
11. D-tecnolife by Uverworld, Bleach Opening 2
The opening section alone is worth remarking. Ichigo sitting with his back to his sword as his reflection turns into a captured Rukia signifying what’s on his mind. That alone is a great visual. What makes this opening fun is the synchronization with the pace of the song and the visuals. Nothing extravagant, posing a few questions here and there, never overstepping its visuals like the prior one on this list. It certainly helps to showcase some interesting figures that show up in this arc…yet it also spoils the a moment in the Renji v Ichigo fight that I enjoyed. Fun little opening that is forgettable yet still in that moment it’s verve wins you over.
10. Tonight, Tonight, Tonight by Beat Crusaders, Bleach Opening 4
Alright so I may get a little slack for having this one this high up my list, but hear me out for a second. This has a lot of really interesting almost pop art inspired visuals that make me really love some sequences. I love the CDs of the characters in the end showcasing their personalities in a rather unique way. Though Beat Crusaders are not particularly the best band compared to others on this list, I think their voice and song complemented the visuals for some strange reason. I think it is some of the most interesting visual settings that are in a Bleach opening and for that it always stands out in my mind. Certainly enough to make it edge itself into the tenth spot.
9. Anima Rossa by Porno Graffitti, Bleach Opening 11
Something about Opening 11 always appealed to me. While it may feel overtly cluttered and use a bit too much rain in its opening, this opening has some interesting visuals that always piqued my curiosity about this filler arc. The interesting character designs of the antagonists, how they represent the abilities of the swords of their respective reapers, it all felt like a cool concept to me. It opened up questions about a filler arc, and made me want to watch said filler arc…which is almost unheard of. We see hollow Ichigo and regular Ichigo together using the Getsuga Tenshou was easily something that helped push that curiosity over the edge to potentially rewatching the series at some point. Not to mention the interesting trend of Byakuya and Rukia throughout the opening. That final image of Byakuya walking by Rukia and disappearing always gave me some shivers, I just like how it ties into their relationship. One built upon the past, and one that probably should be forgotten for Rukia to progress further. This opening poses questions in a relatively fun way and for that I think it’s worth a watch every once in a while.
8. After Dark by Asian Kung-Fu Generation, Bleach Opening 7
Now I hate the fire transitioning shots with the text on it throughout this opening. The transition feels jarring to whatever is happening on the screen at that time and just hinders my appreciation of this opening. Now that being said, I think almost every opening with Asian Kung-Fu Generation is a fun opening. Erased, Fullmetal Alchemist’s 4th opening, Tatami Galaxy, they have a decent list for anime openings. Bleach’s 7th opening is no exception even if it is the lesser of all those mentioned, since it isn’t the most complex in terms of questions posed, or even relevance besides showcasing characters. That Aizen shot of him holding a cup in his hand while smirking is a lot of fun though. The main reason why I had this so high is because Asian Kung-Fu Generation has a bit of clout with me and it sets up the dilemma within Ichigo about his hollow nature. The constant shots of him going back and forth between the Vizard him and the regular him is nice to see especially when the final shot is of him shattering through the mask in the end when facing Aizen. There is some nice imagery…but I’m not going to lie when I say that the song swayed me more.
7. BLUE by ViViD, Bleach Opening 14
The best action oriented Bleach opening to me, what it does it give full-reign to the imagination in a simple opening. Wouldn’t it look cool to have X fighting against Y? Well this opening gives you that in spades while keeping the pace relatively fast thanks to the song, BLUE. It truly makes the opening more of a spectacle, even flashing back to prior openings like the girl emerging from the forest followed by soul reapers mirrors the first opening with Ichigo escaping from soul reapers. The stills are interesting…a bit, not as good Velonica’s but still more creative than others. The highlight here is obviously the fight sequences that are more of a blast to watch. More superficial than other choices, but sometimes a cool opening can reap dividends.
6. Alones by Aqua Timez, Bleach Opening 6
Aqua Timez’s second chance at an opening in Bleach is a far better effort visually. While the opening with Kon singing is a bit jarring comparatively to the tone of the opening with a dourer colour palette, it is still fun to watch. There is the calm before the storm where everything erupts into colour, nice touch if you ask me. For those who like Orihime, this is one of the better ones and since I don’t mind her as much as a character it is some nice visuals of her capture. I love the mirroring shot of Orihime turning her head to see a solitary window with her confinement, and Aizen (pre-rebellion) doing the same but catching the glare of the sun on his glasses before his inevitable reveal. It is a nice shot, even if I don’t particularly know if there is any relevance behind it. What makes it interesting is the lack of seeing Orihime’s face, maybe signifying how she is becoming different the longer she stays in Hueco Mundo. Visually I would say this is a better composed shot composition than previous openings, with less jarring editing. Just not enough to make it into my top 5 though.
5. Harukaze by SCANDAL, Bleach Opening 15
This is where SCANDAL should be, in my top 5! While their last foray into Bleach openings…was less than stellar as a result of budget cuts, this one gives me a lot of powerful emotions. The opening starts off as a more mundane and reflective tone, Ichigo going through his daily life after the whole Aizen debacle. It is peaceful and serene. The shots showcasing the, what were they called again? Oh yeah the Fullbringers…how could I have forgotten that name. Each of the Fullbringers is given an interesting character introduction with animation and backgrounds customized for their personal powers. It is more effort than we have seen put into this type of introduction so far. A great stylish still shot of Ginjou as well hinting to something darker under the surface. The best shot of this opening is by far the one of Ichigo walking towards the frame and all the title cards from the manga flashing by in the background. Why I love this one so much is that it feels like a tribute to the old times, a reflection of the past while moving forward with a pretty good song from SCANDAL to boot.
4. Ranbu no Melody by SID, Bleach Opening 13
Yes the most heavily loved Bleach opening is only at number 4 for me. I am not trying to be contrarian, just I think there are others that do their job a bit better for me. My main problem with this opening is its beginning, filled to the brim with random pictures of the city before it’s destroyed as it prolongs that a bit too much. Creating dead air in an opening to me is a big detriment to the entire thing as a whole. I have ones that are low ranked because of that and Ranbu no Melody is no exception. However when the opening does pick up it delivers in spades. A great use of shading when using transitions, primarily using the colour black within each of their costumes and hair styles to transition from one to another was a fantastic design choice. Everything seems to flow through the fight sequence. Then the piece de resistance is the scene of Matsumoto crying over Ichimaru, powerful scene within the story and certainly leads one to questions if you are watching through it blind. The imagery and the style used with a stronger focused on lining makes everything pop in this opening and it for the most part works. It is easy to see why it is considered one the best if not the best by many fans.
3. Change by Miwa, Bleach Opening 12
One of the coolest title introductions, having the city explode and then implode into monochrome for that opening section is just…one of the best visuals in these openings. There is a lot of meaning to the positioning of characters in this opening. Well except for that female arrancar there for some fanservice. The duality between Ichigo and Ulquiorra in this opening is certainly a beautiful thing to see. Throughout the openings we have seen Ichigo reach for Orihime, but in this opening it is Ulquiorra doing it. Interesting parallels to both characters and what Orihime means to both of them, a symbol of light. A lot of cool fight shots inbetween, which pale a bit compared to Opening 13’s. The reason why this ranks higher than it though is those moments of Ulquiorra and Ichigo. Easily one of the more interesting antagonists as he tries to find purpose, and one could see Orihime and her kindness as maybe showing him what could have been. Some strong visuals in the end of his hand finally forming when it is reaching for hers kind of cements a bit of that. Not only that but the last image feels like a cliffhanger with what it means towards Ichigo’s progression throughout the battle and creates a foreboding image of what is to come. It is both enjoyable and thought-provoking, which is something all openings should strive towards.
2. Rolling Star by YUI, Bleach Opening 5
There is this foreboding sense to Bleach’s 5th Opening and its visuals to how it contrasts its song, Rolling Star. This more upbeat song throughout the opening conflicts with the narrative message of the opening, as the opening showcases a lot of dark imagery of the main cast looking for something lurking in the shadows unprepared for what’s ahead. Cut that into fight sequence with Nega-Ichigo and him losing as he watches Orihime slowly fade away into flames (a motif used in future openings as well) and to me it is the start to a rich opening filled with great visual importance. Having Matsumoto hugged from behind by Ichimaru and Toushirou lying defeated on the ground signifies their feelings regarding to what happened in the Soul Society. Both have these dead eyes, ones that feel like they have lost something. Great scenes done with minimal movement. This is a slowburn of an opening that culminates into a screaming Ichigo flailing out at the moon with a black getsuga tenshou (which literally means moon fang) you have one of the best visuals in a Bleach opening. Ones that mean something to the characters involved and one that peters out in the end as the song comes to a head with the words “Yeah! Yeah! A rolling star, covered in mud!” when translated. I just think that this is one of the most well thought out openings that Bleach has put together and it works on more levels than just being visually interesting.
1. Asterisk by Orange Range, Bleach Opening 1
I have to say I am a bit nostalgia blind to this one. The first opening is iconic, stylish, showcases the characters in fun ways. It is a completely style over substance opening, but sometimes that can be enough to make its way into your heart. I remember watching this from my childhood and saying to myself “This is the coolest thing ever!” The series at the time was a touchstone to making me the anime fan I am today, watching all the way up until the end of the Soul Society arc. This opening feels like a time capsule of art for the Bleach openings. The rap opening, the spray cans, the ending card, the pop art feel, everything feels so refreshing and unique to this opening. It is a time capsule of my experience as an anime fan, easily toppling other openings in its wake as what is more important about an opening than the impression it leaves upon you as an individual?
This was surprisingly a long and hard post to make, delving deeper into the minutia of each opening can make for an exhausting experience. I do not envy people who do this all the time, though you do gain a new appreciation for the craft of combining visuals with music. Anime makes the opening an artform, and Bleach is a good example of it. I may do a few more of these in the future.
So what is your favourite Bleach opening? Feel free to leave a comment down below and have yourself a great day!