Last year, an ill and exhausted Tite Kubo pushed on through to complete his Bleach manga. A little while after, he returned to Twitter and shared the bittersweet story that gave him the motivation to keep creating until the end.
That story was of a terminally ill boy’s final wish. He had eighteen months to live, and all the TV shows and video games he’d once enjoyed now only reminded him of his lost time with friends. But he found something new to bring him happiness in the worlds of manga, and especially Bleach.
Kubo received an anonymous letter via his publisher, with no return address. It said that reading Bleach and looking forward to the next chapter was the first thing that had made the boy think about tomorrow. The sender wrote that this boy would have sent the letter after his death, meaning he had already passed away as Kubo read his last request: “Please draw Bleach the way you want to, right up until the end. That’s what I want to read.”
Kubo turned to his followers on Twitter for assistance with finding the sender, so he could express the encouragement and inspiration it had brought to him. He returned to Twitter this week to let his fans know he’d found them and managed to get in touch. Originally, he had thought a family member sent the letter, but with help, he learned that it had in fact been a friend of the boy’s, who was in the same hospital.
The creator thanked his followers for all their support in the best and only way he could. What better way could there be to round up this year than with such a heartfelt tale of gratitude?