Bleach for Dummies, Volume 1
Hey, this is Mollie (Ibiki Teishi) bringing all you in need of a Bleach refresher (or remedial tutor) up to speed. I’ve never followed this manga, because it was hard for me to follow reading online.
So Jeremiah’s been pushing this new manga drug at me…I have to say I bent to ma Pimp’s command, er, peer pressure, because I couldn’t stand being left out.
I’m going to be getting up to speed over the next few weeks and was asked to bring you along for the ride.
As I complete a volume, I’m going to put the juicy bits and major plot points into a quick review post. My goal is to provide a good refresher for veterans and a nice introduction for the noobs (like me).
Oh yeah, and as always, the review itself will be a bit goofy, so even if you don’t need the refresh, maybe you’ll stop in for a laugh.
Chapter 1: Strawberry & The Soul Reapers
Kurasaki Ichigo, aka The Strawberry. 15 years old, good with putting his boot in people’s faces and sticking up for the underdog.
Kuchiki Rukia, Shinigami (Soul Reaper). 150 years old, good with a sword, doesn’t put up with a lot of nonsense. (I really like her!)
Ichigo’s family: Yuzu (cutsie little blonde sister), Karin (not blonde sister, surly ‘tude), Dad (complete comic relief, and I laughed again when I found out he was a doctor) and Mom (Masaki, dead). Ichigo has quite a connection with the dead (quadruple threat, Karin says, he can: see, touch, talk to and channel them). The sisters seem to have some ability to see dead people, but dad is talentless.
Main idea: Rukia’s job as a Shinigami is to track down “Hollows’, but Ichigo’s powerful spirit energy takes her off course. He enters the fight with the mysterious hollow to protect his family and in order to save Ichigo from his own recklessness, Rukia sacrifices herself to save him. She is left unable to fight and transfers her Shinigami abilities to him after he impales himself on her zanpakuto (big ass shinigami sword for kicking Hollow ass). He transforms into a shinigami, complete with black kimono and really, really huge zanpakuto. He kills the hollow, but his life as a shinigami isn’t over.
Soul Society: a restful place for good dead souls
Hollow: monsters who were once human, who track down loved ones and people with high spirit energy in order to fill their hollow hearts.
Shinigami/Soul Reaper: purpose is to send spirits to soul society and to protect humans from hollows.
Kido: demon magic, part of the special powers of a shinigami (healing, tracking spirits, binding and other magic)
zanpakuto: a shinigami weapon, powered by the shinigami’s energy, appearance changes with the weilder
Plus Souls: good souls, dispatched by Shinigami to soul society
Hollow: tormented souls, souls in sin, Shinigami hunt them to protect living humans who would be eaten by the hollows
Dark Force/Incompei Tence: Shinigami powers, this is what Rukia offered to Ichigo, but his power absorbed all instead of half.
Chapter 2: Starter
Ichigo heads to school; he finds Shinigami damage control consists of altered memories and a big hole in his house. Rukia is now a high school student in his class.
Orihime (BOOBS): sweet thing with boobs like half-squished balloons. Too big for perky. To round to be for real. You guys must love her, because she also seems to haz a brain chock full-o-air. No, really, she’s sweet, just not my first choice to represent a positive female role model. I’m told Bleach does this better than Naruto <glares at Jeremiah>, I’m not holding my breath.
Tatsuki: apparently this is a chick, but I thought she was a dude. Too bad she wasn’t. When I though Tatsuki was a guy, their friendship and honesty about Orihime’s cruch on Ichigo was refreshing. As a chick, not so refreshing, just standard stuff.
Mizuiro: Ichigo’s friend, mildly amusing
Interesting bits: Rukia’s power is still gone, Ichigo has it. He refuses to help, so she clocks him (knocking his soul out of his body) puts him on the spot and blackmails him to get him to commit. Huh. Shinigami get their assignments by Nokia phone, apparently. ;P He agrees to do her job because it’s the right thing to do.
Chapter 3: Head-Hittin’
Rukia’s my kind of ‘do it right the first time’ bitch. Hollows have to be hit on the head. From behind. Boob girl appears…uh, Inoue Orihime. Hmm…does Ichigo have a crush on her too? Or is he tongue-tied in the proximity of those magic orbs? Rukia/Orihime interaction looks like a cat fight waiting to happen.
Orihime is accident prone and that seems to be something Rukia takes special note of. Rukia asks about Orihime and gets intense when Boobs’ dead brother is mentioned.
Rukia’s living in Ichigo’s closet, stealing his sister’s clothes. Her Nokia rings and she reveals herself, knocking Ichigo into Shinigami mode just as a hollow attacks. Ichigo doesn’t manage a decent attack, because he sees it was Orihime’s brother who died 3 years before. That why you have to kill them from behind. You really don’t want to recognize them because all of them were once alive. Chapter ends with Orihime having dinner with Tatsuki. A nearby teddy bear rips all by itself. That’s one bad bear.
Chapter 4: Why Do You Eat It?
Ichigo has a fit of conscience when he finds out the hollows he killed were human. Rukia tells him Orihime’s gonna die. Tatsuki hears about Orihime meeting Ichigo in the park and gives her a plan to make something happen with his friend. Bear falls to the floor; Orihime seems very attached to it.
Tatsuki gets KO’d, Orihime gets knocked out of her body (her soul is on a chain connected to her chest). Her brother threatens her and Ichigo comes in playin’ the hero with that great big sword (zanpakuto) and his black shinigami robe. Niiiiiiice. Okay, I was thinking Orihime was just a dumb bimbo, but maybe she’s got the right idea. Ichigo’s looking like a good bet about now.
Chapter 5: Binda Blinda
OMG! Tatsuki is a chick! WTF?! How come manga keeps doing this to me? I totally thought she was a dude.
Ichigo hesitates when Orihime can see him, and ends up down for the count. Orihime recognizes her brother, Sora, and he tells her the sad story of her moving on with her life after he died. Imagine. How she stopped praying to him, stopped bringing offerings and went off with Tatsuki. Only talked about Ichigo.
Meanwhile Ichigo sneaks up behind, but gets taken down again. Looks like the Stacked One is about to get eaten by her brother…Ichigo slices off the hollow bro’s hand, lecturing that big brothers are supposed to protect their younger sisters. This frees Orihime and the chapter ends. Rukia appears to be climbing the drain pipe and willing Ichigo to unlock the door.
Chapter 6: Microcrack
This chapter starts with Sora (Orihime’s hollow brother) reminiscing about her birth. It starts out so sweetly–he took care of her, rescued her from their crappy parents…and, oh, yeah…she’s HIS. Like property. But Ichigo doesn’t think much of this. Orihime puts her head in hollow bro’s mouth and apologizes for not praying. She was trying to keep him happy by only telling him happy things.
Rukia comes in and explains that Orihime’s “chain of fate” still connected to her body means she’s still alive. Sora comes to his senses and his hollow mask drops away. He asks Ichigo to send him and Rukia explains that the zanpaku-to cleanses the hollows so they can get in to soul society, which is why shinigami exist.
Orihime reveals why she wears hairpins her brother gave her. She hated them and pouted about it on the day he died; she finally tells him to have a nice day the way she hadn’t back then and he passes on.
Rukia does the equivalent of the Men in Black flashy thing: kiokuchikan(memory replacement). It erases the memory of the shinigami and hollow visit but gets replaced by randomness. Comic relief happens in school the next day as Orihime rambles about impossible intruder with a big sword putting a hole in her wall.
Chapter 7: The Pink Cheeked Parakeet
Last chapter in the first volume opens with new characters, this is the introduction of Yasutora Chad, and THIS guy looks interesting. He picks up a cursed parakeet whose owners keep dying and immediately his life gets exciting. He looks a bit shady, and has to a 30 year old drug pusher, I swear. Hanging out at the High School. He saves his friends from a falling I-beam, proving himself the fastest, strongest playa in this Bleach manga so far.
Rukia meets Ichigo’s friend, Mizuiro Kojima who seems to be a little squirt who picks up on older women. O really? Or is that pure fiction? I’m not quite sure how to take it, but I giggled. Look out, cause Rukia’s like 150.
Another friend shows up, Keigo Asano, who is a little too impressed with Rukia (and Ichigo for bringing her). He’s the kind of guy who loves a party, but isn’t quite smart enough to score any chicks because he’s too busy howling at the moon. He’s looking for Chad. Huh. Isn’t Chad, like 30?
Oshima, who looks to be the school’s butthead bully trades insults with Ichigo; he’s the kind of disposable douche that brings brass knuckles to a verbal fight. Chad steps in and sends him flying. Chad seems slow or untalkative…or both. But he’s been having a heck of a day. Ichigo and Rukia notice that there is a harmless spirit in Chad’s new parakeet. Rukia seems impressed with Ichigo’s concern.
Shirtless Chad shows up in the Kurosaki clinic: built, tattooed and reeking of Hollow. Ichigo and Rukia prepare to get to work as everyone else heads to bed.
I’ll be back soon to give you my update of Volume 2, can’t wait for this to get more exciting. I’m told it will, so if you’re a noob like me…hang in there, this is the slow start, but it’s gonna be worth it .