bleachThe Dublin Library has recently acquired Bleach, the best-selling supernatural action-adventure series by Tite Kubo. Bleach is available at the Dublin library in both in manga (graphic novel) and anime (animated television series) DVD formats.

 The basic storyline revolves around a 15-year-old boy named Ichigo Kurosaki, who has been able to see and communicate with ghosts ever since he can remember.

 Ichigo is one of those stock anime/manga adolescents who’s almost thug-like on the outside, but very sweet and gentle on the inside. In fact, in his introductory sequence, we see him beating up a group of guys in an alley…because they vandalized a small shrine Ichigo had built to comfort the ghost of a young girl. He’s also shown bringing fresh flowers every day to the shrine.

 His interactions with the ghost strengthen his immense spiritual powers, and he begins to attract soul-devouring demons (known as Hollows). In response to hisbleachvol.7 dilemma, a female Shinigami (a Soul Reaper sent from the afterlife) named Rukia appears to protect Ichigo and his family. When a powerful Hollow attacks Ichigo’s home and targets his two younger sisters, injuring them and also disabling Rukia, Ichigo agrees to a risky transfer of her powers and becomes a substitute Shinigami.

 Rukia loses her supernatural powers as a result of the transfer, and forms an uneasy alliance with a reluctant Ichigo–she’s the strategist and fount of demon-slaying knowledge, and he’s the brawn with the actual ability to banish Hollows.

 This arrangement leads to the usual complications, best seen in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, of balancing real-life concerns like homework with demon-slaying job—but there’s a further complication because a transfer of powers is a capital crime for a Shinigami. Eventually, Shinigami law enforcement catches up to Rukia, leading to a multi-chapter story arc as Ichigo and a group of his friends enter Soul Society (the Shinigami realm) to try to rescue her.

 Bleach is an action series, with no explicit sex or nudity, mostly-bloodless violence, and occasional mild sexual references. While it’s not the most original or fabulously well-written work, it is a very solidly entertaining genre piece, likely to be enjoyed by older teens and adults.

Written by Guest Columnist, Karin Welss

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