Parents should be forgiven for their concern when they check their children’s search history and see “Bleach” in it.

But more often than not, they are searching for the popular anime and manga series by Tite Kubo. While “Bleach cleaner” receives about 210 million results on Google, the terms “Bleach anime” and “Bleach manga” have a combined 300 million hits.

So why did Kubo end up choosing to name this series about magical beings in the afterlife after the common household cleaner?

Why Bleach is named Bleach

Shonen animes, especially the bigs ones, are known for their simplistic titles. One can get a fairly good idea of why One Piece, Naruto, Dragon Ball, and Demon Slayer are named the way they are.

Kubo’s first draft of the series was no exception. Initially called “Snipe,” the author intended for his Soul Reapers to be in a kimono and use a gun.

Kuchiki Rukia, one of the first characters conceived, would use a scythe in contrast. Elements of her original design were incorporated in the movie Fade to Black.

Bleach Brave Souls' Dark Rukia
Credit: KLab

When Kubo scrapped the idea for guns, the name had to go as well.

The author then tried to name the series “Black” because of the Soul Reapers’ iconic clothes. For Kubo, who places so much importance on visuals, it makes total sense as to why he would base the series’ name around what stands out the most.

He then found “Black” to be too generic, and tried to use “White.” Eventually, he landed on “Bleach” — the common chemical agent associated with the color white because of its ability to remove color from clothing.

Ichigo for best anime references in rap music from Bleach
Credit: VIZ Media, Shonen Jump

Later in the manga’s run, Kubo would name one of the chapters “Bleach My Soul” — chapter 423, the chapter dealing with Aizen’s imprisonment and Ichigo’s loss of powers after their epic battle in the conclusion to the Arrancar saga.

From this line of logic, the title could also mean removal, evidenced by the Soul Reapers’ duty to cleanse Hollows and send Pluses to the Soul Society, thereby cleansing the Human World.

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