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 is a Japanese shōnen manga series written and illustrated by Tite Kubo. Bleach follows the adventures of Ichigo Kurosaki after he accidentally obtains the power of a Soul Reaper—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 41 tankōbon volumes . 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 28 volumes . 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, with the second film Bleach: The DiamondDust Rebellion released in North America on Region 1 by Viz on September 15, 2009.

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.


The story opens with the sudden appearance of one of the , a military order who escorts the souls of the dead, named Rukia Kuchiki in teenager 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 who was originally a human soul. After Rukia is severely wounded while trying to protect Ichigo, she attempts to transfer half of her 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 .

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 strongest hollows, arrancar, 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. However, Ichigo goes with a few friends to the Hollow's world, , in order to rescue their friend Orihime Inoue who was kidnapped by Aizen in order to reduce the number of Soul Reapers defending Soul Society. 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.


Bleach was first conceived from a desire on Tite Kubo's part to draw shinigami in kimono, which formed the basis for the design of the Soul Reapers in the series, and the conception of character Rukia Kuchiki. The original story concept was submitted to Weekly Shōnen Jump shortly after the cancellation of Tite Kubo's previous manga Zombiepowder., but was rejected. Manga artist Akira Toriyama saw the story and wrote a letter of encouragement to Kubo. Bleach was accepted for publication a short time later, in 2001, and was initially intended to be a shorter series, with a maximum serialization length of five years. Early plans for the story did not include the hierarchical structure of Soul Society, but did include some characters and elements which did not come into the plot until the Arrancar arc, such as Ichigo's Soul Reaper heritage. The series was originally meant to be named "Black" due to the color of the Soul Reapers' clothes, but Kubo thought it was too generic. He later tried giving it the name of "White", but came to like "Bleach" more as it was associated with the white color and he did not find it too obvious.

Tite Kubo has cited influences for elements of Bleach ranging from other manga series to music, foreign language, architecture, and film. He attributes his interest in drawing the supernatural and monsters to Shigeru Mizuki's GeGeGe no Kitaro and Bleach s focus on interesting weaponry and battle scenes to Masami Kurumada's Saint Seiya, both manga Kubo enjoyed as a boy. The action style and storytelling found in Bleach is inspired by cinema, though Kubo has not revealed any specific movie as being an influence for fight scenes. When pressed, he told interviewers that he liked Snatch but did not use it as a model. Kubo has also stated that he wishes to make Bleach an experience that can only be found by reading manga, and dismissed ideas of creating any live-action film adaptations of the series.

Bleach s creative process is focused around character design. When writing plotlines or having difficulties generating new material, Kubo begins by thinking of new characters, often en masse, and rereading previous volumes of Bleach. Kubo has said that he likes creating characters that have outward appearances that do not match their true nature, an element that can be found in many Bleach characters, as he is "attracted to people with that seeming contradiction" and finds an "urge to draw people like that when I work." The terminology used in Bleach has a variety of inspirations, with each category of character bearing a different linguistic theme. Many of the names for swords and spells used by Soul Reapers were inspired by ancient Japanese literature. Hollows and arrancar use Spanish terms. Kubo became interested in Spanish because, to him, the language sounded "bewitching" and "mellow".



The chapters of the Bleach manga are written and illustrated by Tite Kubo. In Japan, they have been published in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump since 2001. Since Bleach s premiere, over three hundred chapters have been released in Japan. Most chapter names are in English and have katakana above them to indicate how they are read in Japanese, similar to furigana ruby characters used with advanced kanji characters. In addition to the main series chapters, some chapters are published with a negative chapter number. These "negative" chapters are side stories and consist of events that precede the start of the series. North American licensor Viz Media has been serializing the individual chapters in Shonen Jump since November 2007 in the United States. The individual chapters are collected by Shueisha in a series of tankōbon volumes, which include a poem based on the cover character. The first volume was released on January 5, 2002; , 41 volumes have been released.

Viz released the first volume on June 1, 2004, with 29 volumes released . The company released a hardcover "collector's edition" of the first volume with a dust jacket on August 5, 2008, followed by a box set on September 2, 2008, containing the first 21 volumes, a poster, and a booklet about the series.


The episodes of the Bleach anime series are directed by Noriyuki Abe and produced by TV Tokyomarker, Dentsu, and Studio Pierrot. The episodes have aired since October 5, 2004 on TV Tokyo in Japan. Viz Media obtained the foreign television, home video, and merchandising rights to the Bleach anime from TV Tokyo Corporation and Shueisha on March 15, 2006. Subsequently, Viz Media contracted Studiopolis to create the English adaptation of the anime, and has licensed its individual Bleach merchandising rights to several different companies. The English adaptation of the Bleach anime premiered on Canada's YTV channel in the Bionix programming block on September 8, 2006. Cartoon Network began airing Bleach the following evening as part of its Adult Swim block. Adult Swim stopped broadcasting new episodes of the English adaptation on October 20, 2007 after airing the first 52 episodes of the series. It was replaced with another Viz Media series, Death Note, to provide Studiopolis more time to dub additional episodes of the series. The series returned from hiatus on March 2, 2008 and went back on haitus after the 167th episode on November 22, 2009. In the UK, Bleach premiered on AnimeCentral on September 13, 2007, with new episodes airing daily, but is currently on hiatus after airing the first 52 episodes.

, 49 DVD compilations have been released by Aniplex in Japan. 22 DVD compilations of the English adaptation of the anime have been released by Viz Media, and 3 DVD collection boxes have been released that contain the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd seasons of the anime. On July 29, 2009, Aniplex released a "TV Animation Bleach 5th Anniversary Box" which includes 15 DVDs and 3 bonus discs.


Eleven CD soundtracks, produced by Shirō Sagisu, have been released for the Bleach anime series and movies. Bleach Original Soundtrack 1 was released on May 18, 2005 and contains twenty-five tracks, including the first opening and ending themes in their original television lengths. Bleach Original Soundtrack 2 followed on August 2, 2006 with an additional twenty-three instrumental tracks. Bleach Original Soundtrack 3 followed later on November 5, 2008 with 27 instrumental tracks. Each of the films from the series have also had their own CDs. Bleach: Memories of Nobody Original Soundtrack was released with twenty-five tracks from the Bleach: Memories of Nobody anime film. A soundtrack was also released for the Bleach: The DiamondDust Rebellion film, with nearly thirty tracks from the movie and finally a 3rd one for the "Bleach: Fade To Black, I Call Your Name" movie, with twenty-nine tracks. Bleach: The Best contains twelve of the opening and ending themes from the series in their full length versions later followed by "Bleach: Best Tunes" with contains the next twelve of opening and ending themes.

The Bleach Beat Collections, is an on-going set of CDs published by Sony Music featuring recordings by the original Japanese voice actors that provide a look at the personalities of the characters they play, as well as the voice actors themselves. The first CD was released on June 22, 2005; , 21 volumes have been released across four named sets called "Sessions".

Three "Radio DJCD Bleach 'B' Station" CD season sets, each containing six volumes, have been released in Japan. The third season is still ongoing in Japan. Eight drama CDs have been produced for the series as well, featuring the original voice actors from the series. These drama CDs have only been included as part of the DVD releases.And the Biggest Fans Ling ling And Jeremy


There are three feature films based on the Bleach series, all directed by Noriyuki Abe, director of the Bleach anime series. The films have been released in December of each year starting in 2006. Each movie features an original plotline, rather than being an adaptation of the manga's story. They also feature original characters designed by Tite Kubo, which is contrary to the normal practice for anime-based films, as the original author usually has little creative involvement.

The first film, Bleach: Memories of Nobody, was released in Japan on December 16, 2006 and had a limited release in American theaters in June 2008. The movie is centered around the activities of a group called the "Dark Ones," who were banished from the Soul Society and trying to destroy both Soul Society and the World of the Living. Memories of Nobody was released in North America on Region 1 DVD by Viz Media on October 14, 2008.

The second film, Bleach: The DiamondDust Rebellion, was released to Japanese theaters on December 22, 2007. Its plot focuses on an artifact belonging to Soul Society's King, and 10th Division captain Tōshirō Hitsugaya's efforts to clear his name after it is stolen while under his care. The DiamondDust Rebellion was released in North America on Region 1 DVD by Viz Media on September 8, 2009.

The third film, Bleach: Fade to Black, I Call Your Name, was released in Japan on December 13, 2008. In the film, members of Soul Society are struck with amnesia causing them to forget Ichigo and Rukia. When he goes to Soul Society to investigate, Ichigo discovers that Rukia has forgotten not only him, but her own identity as well. The film was released on DVD on September 30, 2009.


Bleach has been adapted into a series of rock musicals, jointly produced by Studio Pierrot and Nelke Planning. There have been five musicals produced which covered portions of the Substitute and Soul Society arcs, as well as two additional performances known as "Live Bankai Shows" which did not follow the Bleach plotline. The initial performance run of the Bleach musical was from August 17 to August 28, 2005 at the Space Zero Tokyo center in Shinjuku.

The musicals are directed by Takuya Hiramitsu, with a script adaptation by Naoshi Okumura and music composed by playwright Shoichi Tama. The songs are completely original and not taken from the anime soundtrack. Key actors in the series include Tatsuya Isaka, who plays Ichigo Kurosaki, Miki Satō, who plays Rukia Kuchiki, and Eiji Moriyama, who plays Renji Abarai.

Trading card game

Two collectible card games (CCG) based on the Bleach series have been produced. "Bleach Soul Card Battle", produced by Bandai, was introduced in Japan in 2004. , seventeen named sets have been released for the series.

"Bleach TCG" was introduced in the United States by Score Entertainment in May 2007, but ceased publication April 2009, just before the planned launch of its seventh expansion, "Bleach Infiltration". This cancellation was attributed to the ongoing recession, which has heavily affected TCG sales. Designed by Aik Tongtharadol, the TCG is a two-player game in which each player starts with at least 61 cards: a "Guardian" card, a 60-card "main deck" and an optional 20-card "side deck". A player loses if their power, as dictated by their Guardian card, is reduced to zero, or if they are unable to draw or discard a card from their deck. The cards for the game have been released in named sets with each set released in three formats: a 72-card pre-constructed box set containing a starter deck and two booster packs, a 10-card booster pack, and a 12-pack booster box. , six named sets have been released.

Video games

The first video game to be released from the Bleach series was Bleach: Heat the Soul, which debuted on March 24, 2005 for the Sony Playstation Portable. Currently, the majority of the games have only been released in Japan, though Sega has localized the first 3 Nintendo DS games and the first Wii game for North America. So far, all dedicated Bleach games released for Sony's consoles have been developed and published by SCEI, whereas the Nintendo GameCube ones are developed and published by Sega, and the Nintendo DS versions are developed by Treasure Co. Ltd..


A single Bleach artbook, All Colour But The Black, has been released in Japan, America and Europe. The artbook compiles a selection of color spreads from the first 19 volumes of the series, as well as some original art and author commentary.

Three databooks have also been released about the series. The first two, Bleach: Official Character Book SOULs. and Bleach: Official Animation Book VIBEs. were released on February 3, 2006. Bleach: Official Character Book SOULs was later released in English by Viz on November 18, 2008. The third databook, , was released on August 3, 2007. In addition to character guides and articles on other fictional aspects of the series, it compiles the various short comics, , that were published in V Jump. The omake-style panels are similar to those included in the main series, but reveals more of the daily lives of characters.

Tite Kubo and Makoto Matsubara have co-authored two novelizations of the Bleach series, which were published by Shueisha under their Jump Books label. The first volume, BLEACH-letters from the other side: The Death and The Strawberry was published on December 15, 2004, and the second, BLEACH: The Honey Dish Rhapsody, was published in October 30, 2006.


The manga series has sold over 1.2 million copies in North America, and the original Japanese version of the manga series as a whole has sold over 50 million copies. In 2005, Bleach was awarded the Shogakukan Manga Award in the shōnen category. , the manga has sold a total of 39 million copies, ranking as the 14th bestseller series from Weekly Shonen Jump. During 2008, volume 34 of the manga sold 874,153 copies in Japan, becoming the 12th best-seller comics from the year. Volumes 33 and 35 have also ranked 17 and 18, respectively. In total the manga has sold 3,161,825 copies in Japan during 2008, becoming 5th best seller series. In the first half from 2009, it ranked as the 2nd best-seller manga from Japan, having sold 3.5 million copies. Having sold 927,610 copies, Volume 36 ranked 7th. Volume 37 was 8th with 907,714 sold copies, and volume 38 at 10th with 822,238 copies. North American sales of the manga have been high, with Volume 16 placing in the top 10 graphic novel sales in December 2006 and Volume 17 being the best-selling manga volume for the month of February 2007. The English version of the manga was nominated for the "best manga" and "best theme" awards at the 2006 and 2007 American Anime Awards, but did not win either category.

Deb Aoki from considered the series as the Best Continuing Shōnen Manga of 2007, along with Eyeshield 21, praising the "compelling stories, dazzling action sequences and great character development". She also placed the title on her list of "Top 10 Shōnen Manga Must-Reads". The artwork and the character designs received positive response by IGN's A.E. Sparrow. He also commented on the several storylines going on in the series at the same time due to the large number of supporting character which make the manga appealing in response to fans' claims about a "lack of a story" in Bleach. Leroy Douresseaux from ComicBookBin agreed with Sparrow in the number of storylines, but also praised the fighting scenes finding them comparable to the ones of popular films. On the other hand, Mania reviewer Jarred Pine criticized the series as being plagued with stereotypes from the genre. He felt it was a rough start for the series with unimpressive battles, overused gags, and a bad introduction for central character Ichigo that causes him to come across "as a frowning punk" whose one good trait is his desire to protect. Despite this, Pine notes that he loves the series, particularly its quirky, lovable characters.

The anime has been featured various times in the top ten from the Japanese TV Ranking. DVDs have also had good sales having commonly appeared in the Japanese DVD Ranking. The anime was nominated in the 2007 America Anime Awards in the fields of "best manga", "best actor", "best DVD package design", and "best theme", but failed to win any awards. In a 2006 Internet poll by TV Asahimarker, Bleach was ranked as Japan's seventh-favorite anime program.Bleach ranked as the 9th most viewed animated show from Hulu.

Anime News Network's Carlos Santos praised the anime adaptation, describing it as " incredibly entertaining anime that will grab you and refuse to let go." Animefringe s Maria Lin liked the varied and distinct characters, and how well they handle the responsibilities increasing powers give them. She also complimented the series for its attention to details, well paced script, and balance of seriousness and comedy. In summary, she notes "Bleach the anime deserves its popularity. It has something for everyone: the supernatural, comedy, action and a little bit of romance, all tied together with excellent animation and a very enthusiastic sounding bunch of voice actors." Adam Arseneau of DVD Verdict, felt Bleach was a "show that only gets better with age" and was "surprisingly well-rounded and appealing" with well developed characters and pacing. Active Anime's Holly Ellingwood praising the anime for perfectly capturing "the excitement, the caustic humour and supernatural intrigue" of the original manga. She felt that the series "does a wonderful job of building on its continuity to provide increasingly tense and layered episodes involving not only Ichigo and Rukia, but the secondary characters as well". She also praised the series for its striking visual effects, intriguing plot and its "brilliant blend of action, off the wall comedy." In reviewing the series for DVD Talk, Don Houston felt the characters surpassed the usual shōnen anime stereotypes and liked "the mixture of darker material with the comedic". Another Fellow reviewer John Sinnott felt series starts out as a boring "monster-of-the-week program" that becomes more engaging as the stories build and the characters are fleshed out. Otaku USAs Joseph Luster wrote that "the storylines are consistently dramatic without hammering it home too heavily, the characters manage comic relief that's not as eye rolling as one would expect, and the action (in classic fighting series form) has only gotten more ridiculous over the years; in a good way, of course".'s Bryce Coulter praised the series for its plot twists and "the quirky and amusing characters". In comparing the series with Naruto,'s Chris Beveridge felt Bleach was less childish and "simply comes together surprisingly well in its style and execution of what is fairly standard material".


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