The Bleach Manga Calendar

Tite Kubo's Bleach, is an ongoing manga series revolving around Ichigo "Strawberry" Kurosaki, a 15 year old boy who can see ghosts, and his gang of lovable misfits. Naturally, his lovable misfits are only lovable when they're not nearly getting killed by evil spirirts, called "Hollows". When they are in danger of being the victim of one of the Ghostbuster's rejects, Ichigo himself steps in. But not before transforming into a Shinigami, literally meaning "God of Death" (or Soul Reaper in VIZ's English translation of the manga). Shinigami Ichigo

Basically, he takes on the appearance of the above, and becomes a powerful otherworldly warrior whose job it is to kill off evil ghosts. Got it? Good, because things only get more complicated from there.

The series starts off with Ichigo completely normal, aside from his extra talent (the ability to see ghosts). However, he meets a Shinigami one day, and she introduces herself as Rukia and tells Ichigo that she's hunting an evil spirit. This evil spirit-Hollow, if you recall the name (which is so given because it's the soul of a person who died without friends or family)- eats the souls of good dead people to satisfy itself. Ichigo wants nothing to do with any ghosts, despite the talent he and his younger sisters have. Unfortunately for Ichigo, he's going to get WAY more involved with ghosts, because the Hollow manages to find his family- apparently because they all have a lot of "spiritual energy" which the Hollow wants to eat.

Ichigo at first can do nothing to stop the Hollow, which is a hulking monstrous beast, instead of something human looking, and Rukia is unable to do anything to stop the Hollow as well, and when she throws herself in the way of Ichigo's reckless actions, Ichigo realizes how little hope they have and is about to give up, but Rukia has one last plan- she trades here spiritual energy and makes Ichigo a Shinigami! The picture above shows you how hardcore he looks! Ichigo beats the Hollow down, and wakes up the next day to find out he's got a new part time job taking out Hollows all around town! Rukia

Rukia (pictured above) says she needs to wait around to naturally regain her spiritual energy, and until she regains it, Ichigo will take her place.

After their first encounter with a Hollow, Ichigo and Rukia learn a little more about each other and their worlds. Ichigo learns that Shinigami are from Soul Society, a place where all spirits go after death, can wipe people's memories, are not be seen by normal humans, perform soul burial to free wandering spirits that aren't Hollows, and can leave their human bodies- or gigai- at any time with the help of special tools like a soul glove or soul candy.

Rukia learns more about Ichigo's friends, which are pictured below.
Whole Gang

From left, they are: Chad, a half Mexican strong arm whose as kind and gentle as he is strong... And he's monstrously strong. Ishida is a Quincy; a human executioner of Hollows who actually destroys the spirit a hollow is instead of purifying it and sending it to Soul Society. And Orihime, your standard, lovable, stacked ditz.

The first part of the series is really fun and hilarious, and each of the main characters gets a little focus, but the second part, revolving around Ichigo heading off to Soul Society to save a kidnapped Rukia is where things really pick up, action wise. Ichigo learns more about the weapons of a Shinigami, the way to fight using his spiritual body, and his friends also pick up special powers. Not to mention a huge conspiracy! Jason Bourne eat your heart out.

Ichigo vs Renji

Those duds above aren't just for show, they actually take Ichigo to the next step of being a Shinigami and he needs all the help he can get by taking on the entirety of Soul Society.

So what more do you need to know to start reading this series?! It's still not finished in Japan, but it's got a ton of following and, let's not forget...


Lots of great... Art!