Beginner's Guide to Mainstream Anime: Bleach

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The following review is intended as a beginner’s guide to one of the mainstream animes: Bleach. We hope the review will provide some basic information about Bleach for those who would like to know more about the series. This is not a comprehensive review and with no deliberate intention for spoilers.


The Story:
Bleach (ブリーチ) is a very popular Japanese manga and anime series written and illustrated by Kubo Tite.
Bleach is a story of Kurosaki Ichigo, a 15 year old boy who – by a series of accidental encounters – receives the power of a shinigami (death god) from Kuchiki Rukia. In the Bleach world, shinigamis are often sent out to protect real-world towns from evil spirits, called the Hollows; and Rukia is responsible for protecting Karakura Town, where Ichigo and his family live.

When Rukia fails to attack a Hollow and Ichigo’s family is in great danger, Rukia suggests that the only way to save his family is for him to borrow her shinigami power. However, due to Ichigo’s enormous reiatsu (spirit particles power), he unintentionally takes all Rukia’s power, and therefore from then on, he has to help her to protect his town from Hollows.

Each shinigami has supernatural powers, whether through kidou (magic spells) or from their zanpakutou (swords). Ichigo’s zanpakutou is called Zangetsu.
Because Ichigo is only a substitute shinigami, his soul has to leave his body each time he becomes a shinigami. To remove suspicion from his family and friends, Rukia buys a modified soul from the Urahara Store (provider of merchandises for shinigami in Karakura Town) that can act as Ichigo when he is fighting against Hollow.

The modsoul, Kon, adds comedy into the Bleach storyline. When not in Ichigo’s body, he is inserted into a lion plushie who is always bullied by everyone.
As he fights as a shinigami, he receives help from a number of his school friends with power of their own. Orihimie Inoue is an ordinary girl who later develops the power to protect Ichigo and her friends. Yasutora Sado has an enormous strength, and is willing to help Ichigo after being helped himself.

Uryuu Ishida is a Quincy, Hollow-fighting archers and enemies of the Shinigami, who becomes a friendly rival and an ally to Ichigo. Together with Ichigo and Rukia, they fight to protect their town and their friends.

Bleach introduces plenty of characters to love (or hate) as the storyline continues. From the captains and fellow shinigami in Soul Society where they live, to the Arrancars and Espadas in the Hollow world, to the half-Hollow half-Shinigami Vizards.

A couple of prominent Shinigami in Bleach are Captain Hitsugaya, Kenpachi, and Byakuya. Hitsugaya Toushirou is the youngest captain in Soul Society, who is in charge of the 10th division.

Zaraki Kenpachi is the “strongest” of all captains, as he seeks to be the most powerful by fighting against the strong ones. Kuchiki Byakuya belongs to a noble family and is a “nii-san” (brother) of Rukia, as she was adopted at a young age into the Kuchiki family.

(Ukitake Juushirou, Kuchiki Byakuya, Soi Fon, Yamamoto-Genryuusai, Tousen Kaname, Komamura Sajin,
Kurotsuchi Mayuri, Shunsui Kyouraku, Unohana Restu, Aizen Sousuke,
Hitsugaya Toushirou, Ichimaru Jin, Zaraki Kenpachi)

Even though Bleach is an action-packed anime filled with shows of power and huge fighting scenes, it also has a great plotline and character development.

Bleach focuses on the characters, their search for power, and the will to be stronger. Some for power and some for status, but those who seek strength to protect the ones they love are the ones that will persevere. It is a story about friendship and family and how the people in your lives are the ones that keep you fighting.

Why is this anime special?
Bleach has a great blend of action and storyline, which has made it a very popular anime worldwide. Fans wait each week to read or watch the next episode to know what has happened in Ichigo’s world.

The manga has sold over 50 million copies in Japan alone, and it has also reached the top of manga sales chart in the United States. Similarly, the anime has reached the top 10 in both Japan and US in the past few years.

Bleach caters for audience young and old, both male and female. For the male audience, Bleach is about action, fights, and powers – and afterall, that is the essence of this anime. However, female audience will also love Bleach as much, as they follow the kakkoi Ichigo and his friends through all the hardships and learn to love the characters.

Bleach-related merchandises are always in demand. But that is not all… If you are an anime fan who loves going to festivals and cosplay events, you will definitely have seen a number of Bleach fans dressing up as Ichigo or their favourite shinigami.

Do you know that apart from the anime and manga, you can also find Bleach movies, games, and even rock musicals? That only shows that this particular anime is not only popular but will stay that way for a while.

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