Saturday, September 6, 2008
Bleach (ブリーチ, Burīchi?, romanized as BLEACH in Japan) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Tite Kubo that has appeared in Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine since August 2001.
Bleach follows the adventures of Ichigo Kurosaki, a high school student with the ability to see ghosts, and a Soul Reaper named Rukia Kuchiki. The early parts of the story focus mainly on these characters. As events unfold, the story begins to delve deeper into the world of the gods of death.
The manga series has been adapted into an animated television series, two OVAs, three animated feature films, a rock musical, numerous video games, and a collectible card game. Compilation volumes of the manga have sold over 40 million copies in Japan, and have reached the top of manga sales charts in the United States. The manga received the Shogakukan Manga Award for its shōnen title in 2005, and the anime has been nominated for several American Anime Awards.
The story opens with the sudden appearance of Rukia Kuchiki in Ichigo Kurosaki's bedroom. She is surprised at his ability to see her, but their resulting conversation is interrupted by the appearance of a "hollow", an evil spirit. After Rukia is severely wounded while trying to protect Ichigo, she intends to transfer half her powers to Ichigo, hoping to give him the opportunity to face the hollow on equal footing. Ichigo unintentionally absorbs almost all her powers instead, allowing him to defeat the hollow with ease.
The next day, Rukia appears in Ichigo's classroom as a transfer student. Much to his surprise, she appears to be a normal human. She theorizes that it was the unusual strength of Ichigo's spirit that caused him to absorb almost all her powers, thus leaving her stranded in the human world. Rukia has transferred herself into a gigai — an artificial human body — while waiting to recover her abilities. In the meantime, Ichigo must take over her job as a Soul Reaper, battling hollows and guiding lost souls to Soul Society.