Tite Kubo’s Bleach took the manga world by storm when it first landed on our screens in 2001. The series quickly became a part of Shonen Jump’s Big Three along with Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto and Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece. But while many can understand why these two series have such straightforward names, it is quite difficult to figure out why Bleach is called what it is.
Bleach is an anime that follows a teenage boy named Ichigo Kurosaki. He has the ability to see ghosts and souls around him, which is what leads him to a Shinigami named Rukia Kuchiki. When Rukia fights a dangerous lost soul named Hollow, she transfers her powers to Ichigo so that he may defend humans and the spirit world from such dangerous monsters. This is where the name Bleach comes from.
As bleach is a household cleaner that can take the color out of white fabrics and other materials, it symbolizes how these souls are cleansed as they pass into the afterlife. This is why Kubo chose to name his magnum opus after the cleaning agent – the name reflects how the main characters clean up the world of demons and spirits that they interact with on a daily basis.
Although Kubo was originally hesitant to name his series Bleach, the encouragement of Akira Toriyama (creator of Dragon Ball) convinced him that the title was perfect for his work. As it turns out, the rough draft he prepared was actually named Snipe and featured different characters with guns instead of swords.