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Bleach combines humor, action and a good storyline. Whenever this Japanese anime is shown, everyone in the house gathers in front of the television so they don't miss any of the story. Where else can a human become a shinigami (Soul Reaper)? The Japanese don't shrink from a good storyline when it comes to their animated series. Ichigo, the main character, makes mistakes just like the rest of us. It is easy to care about him as he faces situations no 15 year old should have to come up against. Orihime, the neighbor girl, is cute at the beginning, and she grows into an accomplished fighter in her own right. Rukia, the shinigami who gives Ichigo his powers, is also likable and funny. The artwork is great, too.
The story is about Ichigo, a 15 year old boy who can see ghosts. The show begins with Ichigo's family under attack by a Hollow… an evil spirit. The shinigami Rukia shows up to defeat the Hollow and send it to the Soul Society after it has been purified. Rukia gets injured, and must stay with Ichigo until she heals. Since she is unable to perform her Soul Reaper duties, she transfers her powers to Ichigo. Once Ichigo has the powers, he ends up fighting a Hollow that turns out to be a twisted spirit form of Orihime's older brother, who died some time before. This pulls Orihime into the story and makes her an important part as she strives to help Ichigo since he helped purify her brother's soul. As Ichigo continues to train to use these powers, Rukia is caught by the Soul Society and condemned to death because it is against the rules to give these powers to a human. Ichigo then decides he must go to the Soul Society and save her. Bleach began as a manga, and is still a running serial in both Japan and the US by Tite Kubo. The anime began showing in the US on September 9, 2006 on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.
Ichigo Kurosaki is played by Johnny Yong Bosch in the US translation. He is a teenaged boy with a lot of spiritual energy that takes on the job of Soul Reaper. Rukia Kuchiki is voiced by Michelle Ruff. After transferring her Soul Reaping powers to Ichigo, she is placed under arrest and taken back to the Soul Society for her execution. Stephanie Sheh plays Orihime Inoue, a high school student who forms a bond with Ichigo when he saves her from a Hollow. Yatsutora "Chad" Sado is voiced by Jamieson Price. He is one of Ichigo's friends from school. Kon is an artificial soul intended to inhabit Ichigo's body while Ichigo is tending to his Soul Reaping duties. When he is not in Ichigo's body, he inhabits a lion plushie.
Although Bleach has many loyal fans, including this writer's family, SPCNET's review of Bleach ends with the following, "The principal fault of the anime is how slow the story moves. The viewer will need a lot of patience because the main story is often cut by less important stories that are told only to make an episode last longer. That is really a shame because Bleach lost a lot of viewers because of it, including myself. All of the very good moments are sometimes not enough to stop the viewer from thinking that he is wasting his time."