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Renji Abarai
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Join date : 2009-07-06

PostSubject: About Bleach   Tue Jul 07, 2009 2:38 pm

Bleach is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Tite Kubo. Bleach follows the adventures of Ichigo Kurosaki after he accidentally obtains the power of a shinigami—a Japanese death personification similar to the Grim Reaper—from Rukia Kuchiki. Gaining these abilities forces him to take on the duties of defending humans from evil spirits and guiding departed souls to the afterlife.

Bleach has been continuously serialized in the Japanese manga anthology Weekly Shōnen Jump since August 2001 and has been collected in 39 tankōbon volumes as of June 2009. Since its publication, Bleach has spawned a substantial media franchise. The manga has been adapted into an animated television series produced by Studio Pierrot which is still ongoing in Japan as it adapts the story from the manga. The series has also spawned two original video animations (OVAs), three animated feature films, seven rock musicals, and numerous video games, as well as prompted the release of many types of Bleach-related merchandise.

Viz Media licensed the manga for English-language publication in the United States and Canada and has released 26 volumes as of April 2009. In addition, it has been publishing the chapters in Shonen Jump since November 2007. On March 15, 2006, Viz obtained foreign television and home video distribution rights to the Bleach anime. Cartoon Network began airing Bleach as part of its Adult Swim block on September 9, 2006 in the United States. The first film, Bleach: Memories of Nobody was released in North America on Region 1 DVD by Viz on October 14, 2008.

Compilation volumes of the manga have sold over 50 million copies in Japan and reached the top of manga sales charts in the United States. The anime adaptation has been similarly received, rating as the 7th most popular anime television series in Japan in 2006, and in the top ten anime for America from 2006 to 2008. The series received the Shogakukan Manga Award for the shōnen demographic in 2005, and is among the best-selling manga properties in both Japan and America.


Plot
The story opens with the sudden appearance of Soul Reaper Rukia Kuchiki in Ichigo Kurosaki's bedroom. She is surprised at his ability to see her, but their conversation is interrupted by the appearance of a "hollow", an evil spirit. After Rukia is severely wounded while trying to protect Ichigo, she attempts to transfer half her powers to Ichigo in order to let him face the hollow on equal footing. Ichigo unintentionally absorbs almost all her energy, allowing him to defeat the hollow with ease. The next day Rukia appears in Ichigo's classroom as a seemingly normal human, and informs Ichigo that his absorption of her powers has left her stranded in the human world until she recovers her strength. In the meantime Ichigo shelters Rukia in his home and takes over her job as a Soul Reaper, battling hollows and guiding lost souls to the afterlife realm known as Soul Society.

After a few months of this arrangement, in the sixth volume of the series, Rukia's Soul Reaper superiors find out about her giving her powers away (which is illegal in Soul Society) and send a detachment to arrest her, and sentence her to death. Ichigo is unable to stop Rukia's capture, but with the help of several of his classmates who also possess spiritual abilities and ex-Soul Reaper Captain Kisuke Urahara, he sets off for the Soul Reaper base, located in Soul Society. Once there, Ichigo and company battle against the elites of the Soul Reaper military, and are ultimately successful in halting Rukia's execution.

It is then revealed that Rukia's execution and Ichigo's rescue attempt were both manipulated by Sōsuke Aizen, a high ranking Soul Reaper previously believed to be murdered, as part of a far-reaching plot to take control of Soul Society. Aizen betrays his fellow Soul Reapers and allies himself with the hollows, becoming the main antagonist of the series, and Ichigo teams up with his former enemies in Soul Society after learning that the next step in Aizen's plan involves the destruction of his hometown. At this point, Bleach chronicles the war between Aizen and the Soul Society, a plotline which has not yet been resolved. According to Tite Kubo, the ending of the series is not yet planned out or written.


Setting
A view of Seireitei in Soul Society, the home of the Soul Reapers.
Hueco Mundo is a sparse, white-sanded desert inhabited by hollows.Bleach contains a massive cast of characters designed by series creator Tite Kubo, which are divided into various factions and fictional races with distinct themes, and described using large amounts of invented jargon specific to the series. All significant characters in the series possess some degree of paranormal and superhuman abilities, and these are explained by their souls generating higher than usual levels of a paranormal energy called reiatsu. The three predominant character types in Bleach are humans, Soul Reapers, and hollows.

The humans of Bleach are much like the residents of modern Japan. They live in Karakura town, a fictional town near Tokyo. A normal human cannot see or sense spirits in any way unless that spirit possesses an artificial human body called a gigai, so humanity remains unaware of the existence of the spirit world. Very rarely a human like Ichigo Kurosaki is born who is able to see, interact, or fight with spirits, and others can gain these abilities by exposure to large amounts of spiritual energy, which happens to a number of Ichigo's friends during the course of the series.

The Soul Reapers are a military order of psychopomps based in Soul Society, a sort of heaven. Soul Reapers escort the souls of the dead to Soul Society through the ritual of soul burial. Their other major duties are protecting humans from hollows, and maintaining order in Soul Society. Soul Reapers all possess supernatural powers, which manifest through their zanpakutō swords, and kidō magic spells. Several factions of ex-Soul Reapers are featured in Bleach's story, most prominent among them the members of Sōsuke Aizen's rebellion and the Visoreds, former Soul Society elites who were exiled after obtaining hollow powers. Soul Society resembles feudal Japan, and consists of two major portions: eighty residential districts called the Rukongai, which are inhabited by the souls of the dead, and the walled city Seireitei, the home and military base of the Soul Reapers. The Rukongai districts are ordinally ranked, with the lower-numbered districts being more peaceful. Soul Society is nominally ruled by a king, who resides in another realm within Soul Society, but in practice is controlled by the Soul Reapers.

The hollows are a race of evil spirits who feed on the souls of humans, both living and dead. Hollows are created when the soul of a dead human is neglected by the Soul Reapers until it is overcome by loneliness and/or rage, at which point it changes form into a monster with a white mask. By going through a procedure provided by Aizen, they become an arrancar, a hollow which regains the ability to reason, obtains a more humanoid form, and can gain access to Soul Reaper abilities such as the zanpakutō. As a group, the arrancar are the primary antagonists of the Bleach series. When not hunting humans or souls in the human world hollows reside in Hueco Mundo, a dimension between the human world and Soul Society. Hollows are undetectable as long as they remain in Hueco Mundo.
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