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The Bleach anime and manga series features an extensive cast of characters created by Tite Kubo. The series takes place in a fictional universe in which the characters are divided into various factions and fictional races with distinct themes. All these races are human beings, that in the moment they died, they were able or not to rest in peace. Souls who manage to rest go to a place called Soul Society where they live for a long time until resurrecting in a new body or they instead can become Soul Reapers, who take care of souls.
The series features a teenager named Ichigo Kurosaki who is inadvertently given Soul Reaper powers by a Soul Reaper namedRukia Kuchiki in a moment of desperation during a battle. As he assumes the duties of a Soul Reaper in her stead, Ichigo has to fight against giant creatures called hollows which are the souls of people who are not able to rest in peace after death. Over the course of the first season, some of his friends discover their own powers which are somehow awakened because of proximity to Ichigo.
The Soul Society has rigid feudal laws that Rukia breached when she gave her powers to a human. Ichigo's first great adventure involves infiltrating Soul Society with his friends, seeking to rescue Rukia from a sentence of death at the hands of her fellow Soul reapers. Many mysteries are uncovered in the process of that rescue and several pivotal characters are introduced, including the rebel Sōsuke Aizen, a Soul Reaper captain who departs at the end of that story arc with great powers and the implication of much mayhem to come.
When creating the series, the author Kubo focused on the large number of new character designs and deals with making them participate in the plot. He also decides their personalities after designing them so that all characters can be unique. The characters have received praise and criticism by reviewers from anime, manga and other media. While some reviewers considered some of the characters to initially be "relatively stereotypical" of manga characters, most reviewers have remarked how each character is distinct.