Ichigo wasn't really looking to become a soul reaper --- seeing ghosts was problem enough --- but when hollows, or evil spirits, attacked his family, he takes on the job to save them. Now he must balance school, family life, and soul reaper duties, all while hiding his supernatural guide and supervisor Rukia in his closet (yes, his closet). Rukia is a favorite of the butt-kicking girl samurai bunch, and her snide commentary and undeniable skill as a fighter make her a great foil for Ichigo's novice bumbling determination.
Over the first volumes of the series, Ichigo's family and friends round out the cast, providing equal parts support and hassling for Ichigo's secret new calling. BLEACH alternates quickly between serious and silly subjects and the quick pace and sense of relationships holds it all together well. As the series progresses, the difference between hollows and human spirits becomes less clear, and the clearly defined role of the soul reapers more muddy to live by. The violence is mostly human/hollow, though it can be brutal, but Ichigo's sense of what is honorable and right shines through.
Reviewed by Robin Brenner on October 18, 2011