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Bleach Manga from Shounen Jump

Shonen Jump is the largest and most successful shonen manga magazine in Japan; of the numerous titles that have passed through its pages, few have been as successful and as popular as the Bleach manga.

First emerging in 2001, the Bleach Manga has enjoyed a consistent presence on the manga stage, with its recent decline in sales doing little to debase its image among manga readers around the world.

Adapted into a highly popular anime series, the Bleach Manga has enjoyed much praise and criticism over more than a decade of serialization, having won the Shogakukan Manga Award in 2005.

+The Author

More popularly known by his pen name, Tite Kubo, Noriaki Kubo was born on June 1977 to a town council member in Aki District. The eldest of three children, Kubo produced three short stories before finally attracting the attention of Shonen Jump in 1999 with his first concept of a story titled Zombiepowder.

The series only run for four volumes. Bleach, Kubo’s current and most successful work didn’t arrive on the scene until 2001 and currently boasts over 600 chapters.

An anime adaptation of the Bleach Manga was developed in 2004 and ran for over seven years, producing 366 episodes and four feature length animated movies before it was finally canceled.

Kubo’s aspirations to pursue a career as a mangaka begun in elementary school; along with his realization of this dream came an interest in Architecture and Design which Kubo decided to discard in favor of drawing manga.

Kubo’s primary influences were Masami Kurumada (and the Saint Seiya series, whose display of special weapons particularly intrigued Kubo) and Shigeru Mizuki (and the Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro series whose work with monsters called yokai piqued Kubo’s interest).

Tite Kubo’s earlier concept of Bleach varied slightly from its current form; initially titled "Snipe" the manga series was supposed to chronicle the life of a black kimono wearing shiningami known as Rukia, who wielded a scythe, in contrast to the vast majority of her comrades and enemies whose choice of weapon was the gun.

A reworking of the concept brought about the Bleach Manga’s current structure, with Shiningami in black and white Kimono, wielding powerful katana with special powers.

Kubo owes some of his success to Dragon Ball’s Manga by Akira Toriyama, whose encouragement allowed Tite Kubo to keep striving for success at a time when his concepts were being rejected.

+The Story

In this manga, Kurosaki Ichigo has always stood apart from the rest of his school mates at a Japanese high school, not only because of his bright orange hair but his ability to see spirits.

After a fateful encounter with a dark spirit, Ichigo’s world is upended; in an attempt to save his life, a female warrior called Rukia transforms Ichigo into a being known as a Shiningami, a soul reaper, and grants him the power to protect his family and his world.

The story of Bleach follows Ichigo’s attempts at making sense of his new life and the dangerous world of spirits and Shiningami; with a powerful sword in toe and Zangetsu, the spirit within the blade, by his side, Ichigo will have to fight dark spirits known as Hollow and fellow shiningami for the fate of the world.

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