You ready to jump into some anime with me? Yeah? Good, let’s do this.

The first season of ‘Bleach’ is an attention getter from the get-go. For all intents and purposes, I will be referring to the characters as to how they are referred to in the Japanese version. I have only watched the Japanese version, so please forgive me if you watch the English version.

In the first episode, we meet Kurosaki Ichigo and are introduced to his family. Kurosaki is a unique individual. He can see spirits that are lingering on Earth, the ones that don’t seem to want to move on to the next plane. He approaches an alleyway where a girl had been killed and keeps her spirit company. As he is keeping the spirit company, he witnesses a woman in black garb battling a monster of sorts. This monster goes after the little girl, and Ichigo does his best to protect her. After tending to the spirit, he heads back to his house where his deranged father attacks him, playfully – of course. His father owns a medical clinic, and their house is attached to it. He has two fraternal twin sisters – Karin and Yuzu. Later the same day, the woman in black makes an appearance in his room, asking him if he can see her. He tells her yes, and she then comes to find out he can see Hollows (the monster that had been in the alley) as well as spirits. She explains that she is a Shinigami – Soul Reaper – from Soul Society.  Soul Society is where souls go after they pass away. She explains that the being they saw was called a Hollow – who was also a soul, but due to their inability to get to Soul Society in a timely manner become a monster. Then, the Hollow they had battled earlier in the day shows up outside of Ichigo’s house and grabs Karin from inside. Ichigo goes and rushes outside, trying to save his sister. The Shinigami – Kuchiki Rukia – becomes severely injured and then looks to Ichigo, telling him in order to save his sister, he must take her power as a Shinigami to defeat the Hollow. He looks at her and nods his head, and throws himself on her sword (her zanpakutou), becoming a spirit himself – now dressed in the same black garb that Rukia had been wearing. He takes care of the Hollow, and seals his fate as a Substitute Shinigami.

This all happens in 22 minutes. A lot of information is thrown at you out of the gate. I mean, in 22 minutes, we see the “bad guys” and then learn about souls and a place called Soul Society. To see no hesitation occur in Ichigo is one of his strongest characteristics that carries throughout the show. He wants to protect everyone – no matter what the cost. We will see this happen again and again throughout the 15 seasons.

In the next few episodes, we’re introduced to Ichigo’s friends from high school – Orhime Inoue, Yasutora “Chad” Sado, and Uryuu Ishida. Each of these characters have special abilities, like Ichigo. Some we won’t learn about until the following season, but they are all very unique. Uryuu Ishida is the last Quincy in existence. A Quincy is someone who wants to rid all Hollows from existence. Quincys and Shinigamis do not get along – according to Ishida. Ishida, when we learn of his power, attempts to go after Ichigo.

One of my absolute favorite episodes of this season is with Sado. He finds a cockatiel that can talk, and he helps take care of it. It turns out that the  cockatiel is actually a soul of a boy who had been killed. It is said that this cockatiel is cursed, but he is only this way because Hollows continue to chase after his soul. With the help of Rukia, they are able to defeat the Hollows and send the child back to Soul Society.
When Ichigo becomes the Substitute Shinigami, he must find something to do with his body – a shinigami fights in their “soul” form. Rukia goes to a shop which is run by a man named Urahara. He is a very eccentric man who wears flip-flops and a green and white stripped hat, and uses a fan a lot. We don’t learn much about this man in this season, except that he carries items that Shinigami need. He sells Rukia some “Soul Candy”, which Ichigo is to pop into his mouth to become a Shinigami. Well, the candy turns out to be a “modified soul” – the candy was actually an artificial warrior that was created to help Soul Society get rid of Hollows. This modified soul, when not in Ichigo’s body, is stuck inside of a lion stuffed animal. The modified soul’s name is Kon. Like the true nerd that I am, a friend of mine went to Anime Expo right before my birthday and bought me a Kon backpack. I love that guy.

I’ll end my tale here, for now. The end of the season is packed full of lots of amazing things. I feel that if I go into those now, this review will be well over 2000 words. Come back in a few days and I’ll post the second part of my review. Until then…