|Original Manga||Kubo Tite|
|Made By||Studio Pierrot|
|Episode Length||22 minutes|
|# of Eps/Volumes||120+|
Sum it up in a Sentence:
Highschool teenager who can see ghosts gets given grim reaper-like powers and finds himself and everyone he knows a target for otherworldly forces.
Kurosaki Ichigo is a 15 year old boy that has an ability to see ghosts/spirits. Because of his ability, he is able to meet a female death god (a.k.a Shinigami) named Kuchiki Rukia. To save his family and friends from unwanted soul-eating spirits (Hollows), Rukia transfers her Shinigami powers to Ichigo. As Rukia takes on a human shell, together they solve mysteries involving spirits and Hollows.
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Naruto's more enjoyable brother, Bleach.
It doesn't veer off down the horrible Dragon Ball Z Shonen money-trap road of 1 issue to an episode with a $7 animation budget, in fact I don't think it's ever used cyclical animation in a noticable fashion, and it keeps the plot crackling along with admirable gusto and voice acting. Furthermore, the guys at Pierrot understand arcane anime secrets like 'how to direct a scene' and 'camera placement' so on a couple of occasions have even improved on the source material.
However, as with all long running Shonen you tend not to care about the characters as much as you care about what they're capable of doing next and Oh God the Filler.
Probably my favourite long-running series, with some very original ideas and a couple of great twists.
Bleach starts out really interesting as it details the story of a main character who accidentally becomes a hunter of hollows, basically evil entities that are the result of those who have died. It's interesting stuff and no one's really that overpowered or anything like that. Then there's the Soul Society arc where Ichigo has to go into the land of the death gods in order to save a friend. It's one big long storyline but it has some of the most dramatic and epic fight scenes in a shonen fighting anime. This is all really good.
After this though, the Bound arc comes up and all the basic themes reappear except everything's watered down. Then there's random crappy-ass filler, then more terrible storylines with repeated themes, and then eventually they get back on track to what I guess is the original storyline, but even that starts to repeat themes and fails to further develop characterization. The show is still kind of entertaining, but it's a real disappointment from the incredibly strong opening.
As a shonen fighting show though, it's comparatively better than some of the other shows currently running.