From the back cover:
Ichigo Kurosaki has always been able to see ghosts, but this ability doesn’t change his life nearly as much as his close encounter with Rukia Kuchiki, a Soul Reaper and member of the mysterious Soul Society. While fighting a Hollow, an evil spirit that preys on humans who display psychic energy, Rukia attempts to lend Ichigo some of her powers so that he can save his family. Much to her surprise, Ichigo absorbs every last drop of her energy. Now a full-fledged Soul Reaper himself, Ichigo quickly learns that the world he inhabits is one full of dangerous spirits and, along with Rukia—who is slowly regaining her powers—it’s Ichigo’s job to protect the innocent from Hollows and help the spirits themselves find peace.
Our library doesn’t have a lot in the way of manga, but it does have all the extant volumes of Bleach. I haven’t been interested enough to purchase any of this series, but when something is free and also highly recommended by a friend, I’m willing to give it a shot.
To my surprise, I actually found this volume very entertaining. Although shinigami and fighting evil monsters are not new concepts, the detailed information and methods Rukia instructs Ichigo in makes for more depth. The art style is fun, particularly with facial expressions, and even though there’s an obligatory buxom babe, it isn’t gratuitous or lewd.
So far, Rukia is my favorite character—serious, smart, capable of bossing Ichigo around. Her crankiness and moments of unexpected girliness are fun, too. I especially love the extended scene where she tries to figure out how to drink from a juice box. Moreover, there is absolutely no romantic tension between Rukia and Ichigo, which is nice to see. She’s not mooning over him; she’s training him.
I definitely liked this volume enough to continue on with the story for free.