Bleach

Bleach (ブリーチ Burīchi?, romanized as BLEACH in Japan) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Noriaki "Tite" Kubo. Bleach follows the adventures of Ichigo Kurosaki after he obtains the powers of a Soul Reaper (死神 Shinigami?, literally, "Death God") —a death personification similar to the Grim Reaper—from another Soul Reaper, Rukia Kuchiki. His newfound powers force him to take on the duties of defending humans from evil spirits and guiding departed souls to the afterlife.

Bleach has been serialized in the Japanese manga anthology Weekly Shōnen Jump since August 2001, and has been collected into 48 tankōbon volumes as of December 2010. Since its publication, Bleach has spawned a media franchise that includes an ongoing animated television series that is produced by Studio Pierrot in Japan, two original video animations, four animated feature films, seven rock musicals, and numerous video games, as well as many types of Bleach-related merchandise.

Viz Media obtained foreign television and home video distribution rights to the Bleach anime on March 15, 2006. Cartoon Network began airing Bleach in the United States as part of its Adult Swim block on September 9, 2006. Viz Media has licensed the manga for English-language publication in the United States and Canada, and has released 33 bound volumes as of December 2010 as well as published chapters of Bleach in its Shonen Jump magazine since November 2007. Viz Media released the first Bleach film, Bleach: Memories of Nobody, on DVD in North America on October 14, 2008. The second film, Bleach: The DiamondDust Rebellion, was released on September 15, 2009.

Volumes of the manga have sold more than 50 million copies in Japan, and have reached the top of manga sales in the United States. The anime adaptation has been similarly received; it was rated as the fourth most popular anime television series in Japan in 2006 and held a position amongst the top ten anime in the United States 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 the United States.

Ichigo Kurosaki is a teenager gifted with the ability to see spirits. His life is drastically changed by the sudden appearance of a Soul Reaper —one who governs the flow of souls between the human world and the afterlife—named Rukia Kuchiki, who arrives in search of a Hollow, a dangerous lost soul. When Rukia is severely wounded defending Ichigo from the Hollow, she attempts to transfer half of her reiatsu (霊圧?, literally, "spiritual pressure") energy to Ichigo so that he can defeat the Hollow. However, Ichigo takes almost all of her energy, transforming into a Soul Reaper and allowing him to defeat the Hollow with ease. With her powers diminished, Rukia is left stranded in the human world until she can recover her strength. In the meantime, Ichigo must take over Rukia's role as a Soul Reaper, battling Hollows and guiding souls to the afterlife realm known as the Soul Society (尸魂界 (ソウル·ソサエティ) Sōru Sosaeti?).


 

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