15-year-old Ichigo Kurosaki is the main character of the series, and he has the ability to see ghosts. After meeting a Soul Reaper named Rukia, his home is attacked by a Hollow. Rukia tries to transfer some of her powers to Ichigo so he can protect his family. However, he unintentionally absorbs all of her power. Ichigo defeats the Hollow and begins serving as a substitute Soul Reaper. In Volume Seven, Rukia was taken back to Soul Society to face punishment for transferring her powers to a human. Rukia now faces execution, and Ichigo and his friends try to find a way to get to Soul Society in order to save her.

Bleach Volume Nine
Written by: Tite Kubo
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: October 10, 2005

Volume Nine sees Ichigo, Chad, Orihime, Uryu, and Yoriuchi entering Soul Society. When Ichigo runs toward the nearest gate, he encounters a giant named Jindabo. They battle each other, and the battle is quite interesting to read. There are several times where it seems like one or the other is going to lose, but the tables keep turning. Ichogo becomes the eventual victor, but he ends up impressing Jindabo because Ichigo felt sorry for him afterwards. As Jindabo is opening the gate, we are introduced to a character named Gin Ichimaru; he’s the leader of the third company of the Soul Reapers. He manages to keep Ichigo and his friends from entering the gate.

Ichigo and his group become friends with the people who live in the slums outside the gate, and Chad has a surprise while he’s there. As the group tries to formulate a plan on how to get inside the wall now that their main entrance has been blocked, a man named Ganju suddenly appears. He hates Soul Reapers, so he gets into a fight with Ichigo. The fight doesn’t last long, because Ganju and his gang have to leave in a hurry.

After Ganju leaves, it’s decided that they’re going to see someone named Kukaku. They have been told that this person can help them out with their situation. After meeting Kukaku, the volume ends with Ichigo and his friends running into someone that they didn’t expect.

Now that Ichigo and the others have arrived in Soul Society, the reader is introduced to several new characters. In addition to the characters I mentioned earlier, the reader is also introduced to Sosuke Aizen, the captain of the fifth company of the Soul Reapers. He appears in a brief scene in Soul Society, and he has a conversation with Renji about Rukia’s situation. Since I already know what’s going to be happening a little later in the story from watching some of the anime series, I know that some of the characters we meet in this volume will be important later in the story.

One of the important parts of this volume is the fact that it starts establishing what the Soul Society is like and how it functions. Prior to this in the manga, the Soul Society was just a place that had been referenced, so it’s nice for the reader to finally have something tangible to associate with the Soul Society.

What I’m really interested to see is exactly how long this particular storyline takes in the manga. It went on for a number of episodes in the anime, so I’m curious to see if this storyline will take that long in the manga or if it was stretched out to fill up more episodes in the anime.

Even though I already this portion of the story, I still found myself not wanting to put this volume down as I read it. There’s several action sequences that take place in this volume, which help make this a bit of a quick read.

If you’ve read the previous eight volumes of Bleach and enjoyed what you read, then I think you’ll also enjoy reading Volume Nine.

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