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Bleach: Volume 1 by Tite Kubo

Title Bleach: Volume 1, Collector's Edition
Author Tite Kubo
Publisher VIZ Media, LLC
Year 2008
ISBN-10 1421525763

Teaser/Reader Annotation When a lost soul from the spirit world begins a rampage through the city, Ichigo Kurosaki must accept his destiny and take up the role of substitute Soul Reaper.

Plot Summary Fifteen-year-old Ichigo Kurosaki has always been different from his peers in that he has been able to see the spirits of the dead since he was a child. While he knows it is unusual, it never truly affected his life until the day a Shinigami, or Soul Reaper, Rukia Kuchiki shows up chasing down a Hollow – a dangerous lost soul which feeds on other souls. When Rukia is injured defending Ichigo from a Hollow she attempts to transfer some of her spirit power to him, but the two of them miscalculate his potential and he ends up draining her of nearly all of her energy. The power transforms him into a substitute Soul Reaper and, with the help of Rukia's borrowed sword, he must prove his spiritual and physical abilities by destroying his deadly opponent. But what will happen to the now defenseless Rukia, and how will she return to the spiritual world with her powers drained?

Critical Evaluation It is easy to see why this is one of the most popular manga series across the world. Volume one of Bleach lays a great foundation for further development down the road and shows the potential of the storyline and characters. It is an interesting and intricate plot, unique in a genre that defines itself on the unusual. There is a significant amount of character development, especially when considering the norm for manga where there is typically more attention given to the graphics. The characters are charismatic and likeable, if a bit out-there personality wise. To keep from taking itself or the readers too seriously, the action of the manga are broken by humorous moments, often relying on slap-stick comedy guaranteed to amuse the reader and break up the tension. The artwork in this volume is beautiful, and while it is quite detailed, it manages to avoid looking too cluttered as many action-based manga do. Altogether, volume one of the series shows promise for a great adventure in a large, popular series.

About the Author Tite Kubo is the pen name for Noiaki Kubo (June 26, 1977), born in the Hiroshima Prefecture of Japan. He did not take his drawing seriously until the age of seventeen when he was introduced to the Dragon Ball series. Kubo could not have known the great effect it would have on his life. His first manga, Zombie Power, was rejected repeatedly for four years until the magazine Shounen Jump picked it up.

Unfortunately, it did not run long and was canceled due to a lack of interest and Kubo's battle with brain cancer. His next project, Bleach, began its serialization run in 2001 by the same publication, Shounen Jump, who took a chance on the unusual concept. Kubo did not have great initial expectations for the series, but nearly seven years later, Bleach continues and is now over four-hundred chapters long. The project, as well as its anime and movie adaptations, have kept the mangaka busy.

Primary Genre Manga

Secondary Genre Action/Paranormal

Curriculum Ties Japanese Culture

Booktalking Ideas

1) What are some of the values Ichigo holds close despite his attempts to project apathy?

2) Do the obvious breaks from reality help or hurt the manga? Should it have stuck to strictly alternate reality or does the merge of the real world and an alternate universe contribute to the success of the story?

Reading Level/Interest Age Grade 9+

Challenge Issues Violence

1) Become familiar with book and its content.
2) Refer to library's collection policies.
3) Refer to reviews from School Library Journal, Amazon, and Barnes & Nobles.
4) Get reviews from teenagers who are familiar with the book.
5) Refer to the ALA Library Bill of Rights.

Why is it included? This is a very popular manga with young adults.