Bleach is one of the most unique shonen of its time because it has a gritty style as well as an edge that makes it stand apart from the rest, especially thanks to Tite Kubo’s incredible designs and distinct style, and it has so many intriguing characters.
It feels very much in the vein of what's popular in shonen now, and his works influenced many of the creators that are prevalent today—Jujutsu Kaisen’s creator being one of them. It’s a nostalgic series, but it’s one that’s still popular, and with the Thousand Year Blood War airing, it’s a great time to get into or back into the series.
Bleach is among the best shonen manga of all time, but what’s the best way to collect it? I picked up all of the editions of Bleach, the singles, manga box sets, and 3-in-1 editions, to show you how they differ and compare.
Ways to Collect Bleach
Bleach is collected in 74 individual volumes, which where later collected in 3 box sets and 25 3-in-1’s. The final volume, Volume 25, is a 2-in-1 edition, though.
The singles and the 3-in-1 editions are the same height but the 3-in-1 editions are thicker since they collect multiple volumes in one. The 3-in-1 editions do save you space on the shelf in comparison to the individuals, so if you are looking to save some room, they take up less space.
They vary in price too. The Bleach singles retail for $9.99 USD each, so you can collect the entire series for around $739 USD. The 3-in-1’s retail for $14.99 USD each, so you can collect the entire series for around $375 USD. And finally, the box sets vary in terms of price, but you can collect all three at retail for around $590 USD.
Of course, you can usually find all editions for lower prices on sites, but I wanted to give you guys an idea as to what is in store for you in terms of the overall cost to collect Bleach. That all being said, the cheapest way to collect Bleach is via the 3-in-1 editions, then the box sets. The singles are the most expensive way you can collect the series.
All editions of Bleach have glossy covers. The singles mirror and feature the same artwork that’s seen on the Japanese covers. They do have a few stylistic differences, though. The placement of the volume number is different, for instance, but other than that, they are pretty much the same in terms of design for the original release.
The spine features a cropped version of the artwork seen on the front of each cover, as well as the Bleach logo. All of the Bleach singles’ spines are white, but the volume numbers change from yellow to red at Volume 48.
The 3-in-1 editions feature new cover art on all of the volumes. They are character-centric covers, but they feature some of the same character artwork that’s seen on the individuals. The text of Bleach behind each character on the covers is different and they overall have a more graphic look to them, which I really like.
The big difference here is the stylistic differences and the fact that some feature bold color backgrounds. Some feature red backgrounds, while others feature blue and yellow backgrounds, so the artwork pops out even more on these covers.
The spines of the 3-in-1 editions have similar artwork as to what’s seen on the front cover with the Bleach logo. The volumes that are collected in each are listed on the spine as well.
Although it’s the same artwork that’s seen on select volumes of the singles, you can see a bit more of the artwork because of the thickness of the spines. I’ve seen them all on the shelf before while shopping second hand stores and the color palettes of the spines of the 3-in-1’s actually look really good together with the colors they’ve chosen.
The box sets, which are some of my favorite manga box sets to release to date, feature different artwork on all sides of the box. The first box set is horizontal, while the other two are vertical. Box Set 1 features artwork of Chad, Orihime, Ichigo, and Uryū on the front and it has different artwork on the sides as well as on the back.
Box Set 2 features ichigo and a big Bleach text graphic, which wraps around to the side and features Rukia as well. Another Bleach text graphic on the other side and artwork of Kenpachi, Renji, and Ichigo on the back. The inside is awesome too, with a split graphic of Ichigo in his various forms.
Box Set 3 is my favorite of the three. It has Ichigo on the front, on both sides are artwork of the characters from the series, which are also seen on some of the individual volume covers. The back features the captains of the Gotei 13 with Yamamoto front and center, and inside, there’s artwork of Ichigo.
Print and Page Quality
The page quality in the 3-in-1 Editions is worse than the singles. The paper is much thinner, like that which you would see in a newspaper, so the pages are rather see-through. When flipping through, you can see that the artwork bleeds through while reading in many areas.
Because of the paper quality too, the printing is less crisp and sharp than the singles. The individuals have better contrast overall and the pages are thicker and are higher quality as well.
Translation, Lettering, and Sound Effects
After a side by side read through of the first 3 singles and the first 3-in-1 edition, I did notice some minor differences in translation. They changed the wording of a few things in the 3-in-1’s. For instance, in the 3-in-1’s, Ichigo says “How’s that for close, Jerk?!” but he says “How’s that for close, Jerk-off?!" in the singles.
While the translation is slightly different in the 3-in-1’s, the sound effects as well as the lettering are the same in both editions.
In terms of readability, both the 3-in-1’s and singles were easy to read. The spines of both were flexible and they added enough margins around the panels. They both were comfortable and easy to read. Gutter loss wasn’t all that big of an issue either, so no issues to report here.
They didn’t add any new material in the 3-in-1 editions, so the box sets are the only edition of Bleach that comes with extras. Each box set comes with a booklet as well as a full color double-sided poster. Each poster highlights different characters as well as some prominent moments from the series. I really love Tite Kubo’s aesthetic and his original illustrations, so I like these posters more so than most that come in box sets.
As far as the booklets go, box set one comes with a special Bleach collector's booklet, Box Set 2 comes with the pilot story of Bleach. Box set 3 comes with an exclusive booklet that contains a cover art gallery as well an interview with Tite Kubo.
Final Verdict: What's the best way to collect Bleach?
If you are looking to save the most money, the Bleach 3-in-1 Editions are the cheapest way to collect the series. The 3-in-1’s also save you a lot of space on the shelf. If you are looking for the edition with the best page quality, it’s going to be the singles, which you can also collect in the box sets. The box sets come with extras and they save you a lot of money in comparison to collecting the individuals themselves when you can find them at retail, so this is something to consider too.
I personally think the box sets are the way to go. The singles have a much higher paper quality and a better print quality than the 3-in-1 editions do, they come with extras, and they allow you to collect the singles at a discount. By the way, I know some of these have been flickering in and out of stock and I will notify you guys on my manga restock post when they are expected to come back in.
You can get a closer look at all of the editions in my review on YouTube and shop the series below!
Bleach Manga Comparison Video
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