001. Death & Strawberry EditIchigo Kurosaki is a teenager who can see ghosts, but lives an otherwise normal life. But when he encounters Shinigami Rukia Kuchiki, his life changes forever. When a creature called a Hollow attacks his family, he has no choice but to become a Shinigami to defeat it.
It’s 2:23 a.m. on a Friday at Karakura Town. A black butterfly flies near the moon. A woman dressed in a black kimono stands on a telephone pole, looking at some sort of map. When she senses strong spiritual activity, she jumps off of the pole.
Later that day, around 7:13 p.m., a young man with orange hair and a gray school uniform named Ichigo Kurosaki has beaten up a skateboarder by the name of Yama-Bro. Yama-Bro’s friend, Toshi-Bro, asks him why they should leave, prepared to fight, but is defeated by Ichigo, who uses only his right foot. The skateboarders are terrified by Ichigo’s strength. Ichigo yells at them to look at the broken vase and asks Mit-Bro, the third skateboarder, what it represents. Mit-Bro answers that it is an offering to the kid who died there recently. Satisfied by the answer, Ichigo beats him. He then asks the skateboarders why the vase is broken. One of them responds that they knocked it over while they were skateboarding. He then tells them to apologize to the dead girl standing next to him, who has some blood on her left side, indicating that he can see and talk to ghosts. The skateboarders get scared and apologize to him and the dead girl. Ichigo apologizes to the dead girl for using her that way, but she says that it's okay and that she was the one who asked him to chase them away. Ichigo tells her that he'll bring her new flowers for the vase and the dead girl thanks him.
Ichigo returns to his home, which is also a hospital called the Kurosaki Clinic. Upon entering his home, he is greeted by his father, Isshin Kurosaki, with a kick to the face, saying that Ichigo is late and that dinner is always at 7 o’clock. Ichigo asks if this is his way of greeting his son after performing a serious exorcism. While the argument continues, Yuzu and Karin, Ichigo’s sisters, are seated at the table having dinner. Yuzu tells them to stop and says that the food will get cold, but Karin tells her to leave them alone, before telling Ichigo that he has a new friend, a ghost with glasses. Ichigo complains that no matter how many times he exorcizes them, the ghosts keep coming back. Karin tells him that it must be tough having high specs, while Yuzu says that she’s jealous of them since she can only see the blurry outline of ghosts, while Karin and Ichigo are able to clearly see and talk to them. Karin tells her that she doesn’t believe in ghosts and regardless of whether she can see them or not, if she doesn’t believe in them, then it is the same as if they didn’t exist. This remark leaves Yuzu shocked and the ghost in the cold.
She then tells Ichigo about a new project she has planned. Ichigo tells Karin to stop using him for her get-rich schemes. While he is talking to her however, Isshin uses the distraction to put his son on the floor. Ichigo retaliates and defeats his father, and then goes to his room. Yuzu worries about his behavior. After Karin makes a remark about her father’s lack of communication skills, he starts talking to a poster of his deceased wife, Masaki Kurosaki.
In his room, Ichigo notices a black butterfly and wonders where it came from. He then notices the girl with the black kimono, who is armed with a sword, and is intrigued by her. As the girl remarks to herself that something is near, Ichigo kicks her from behind and accuses her of being a burglar. The girl is surprised that Ichigo can see her. Isshin comes to Ichigo’s room and attacks him for making noises in the house. Ichigo says that it is all the samurai-costumed girl’s fault, but Isshin does not see her. The girl then tells him that ordinary people can’t see her and reveals that she is a Shinigami.
Outside, a strange-looking creature with a hole in it's chest eats the dead girl from before and notices that a strong soul is near.
At the Kurosaki Clinic, the Shinigami tells Ichigo that she is from the Soul Society, and has arrived to exterminate an evil spirit. Ichigo doesn’t believe her, saying that he believes in ghosts, but not in Shinigami. Offended by his remarks, the girl uses a technique called Kidō: Bakudō #1, Sai, immobilizing Ichigo in the process. She tells him that it is a technique that only Shinigami can use. She also tells him that she is older than she looks and that the Spiritual Law prevents her from killing Humans that she has not been ordered to kill. She then touches the Glasses-Wearing Ghost’s forehead with the bottom of her sword handle. The ghost says that he is afraid to go to Hell, but the girl tells him that he’s going to Soul Society, which is a peaceful place. After the ghost vanishes, the Shinigami tells Ichigo that she had just used a technique called Soul Burial, and that Humans call it "Going to Heaven". She also says that it is one of her duties as a Shinigami.
The girl decides to explain the 2 types of spirits in the world to Ichigo through illustrations. The first type of spirit is the most common, called a Plus, which are what the "ghosts" that Ichigo usually sees are. The second type is known as a Hollow, a spirit that attacks the living and the dead and eats their souls. They are what Humans call "Evil Spirits". Her illustrations representing the two spirits are full of cute rabbits (for Pluses) and bears (for Hollows). Ichigo comments on her horrible drawing, offending the girl, who then draws a doodle mustache on him. She tells him that the Shinigami have two duties. The first duty is to guide the Pluses to Soul Society using Soul Burial. The second duty is to exterminate Hollows, which she went there to do. Ichigo asks her why she is loitering at his house when she should be getting rid of it. She tells him that, for some strange reason, she cannot feel its presence anymore, as if a great power were hindering her senses.
Ichigo then hears a very loud voice and remarks on it to the Shinigami. She recognizes it as the voice of a Hollow, and is surprised that Ichigo was able to hear it before she did. They both hear a girl cry out, who Ichigo recognizes as Yuzu. He begins to worry about the safety of his family. The girl leaves the room to get rid of the Hollow, leaving Ichigo behind, who is still paralyzed. The girl tells him that even if he comes with her, there is nothing that he can do to help. When she reaches the door, she feels the Hollow’s immense spiritual force. She and Ichigo then meet Karin, who is wounded but alive. She tells him that something invisible wounded their father and Yuzu, as well as her self, and that he went there to warn Ichigo. She then loses consciousness. Ichigo tries to break free from the Shinigami's spell, but the Shinigami tells him if he attempts to do so, his soul will be destroyed. However, he manages to break free of it without being hurt. The Shinigami is shocked to see that a Human managed to break a Kidō spell.
Ichigo then goes to the living room, which had been devastated, and sees his wounded father. He notices a hole in the wall, and sees the shadow of a creature outside. The creature turns out to be a monster with a hole in its chest and a mask-like face; it is the same creature that ate the dead girl earlier. Ichigo concludes that the creature is a Hollow. Although he refuses to admit it, Ichigo is terrified by the presence of the monster. He notices that the creature, named Fishbone D, is holding Yuzu in its right hand. Ichigo tries to attack it with a baseball bat, but the monster easily defeats him with just one punch, sending him to the wall. Fishbone D prepares to crush Ichigo, but the Shinigami cuts his arm with her sword, freeing Yuzu at the same time. Ichigo manages to safely catch his little sister.
The Shinigami reassures him that none of his family’s souls were eaten. Ichigo wonders why Fishbone D didn’t eat his family when he attacked them. The Shinigami explains to him that Hollows wander, searching for souls with high spiritual power and because of that, humans are sometimes attacked. Ichigo realizes that Fishbone D has been searching for him the entire time, because of his enormous spiritual power, which had given him the ability to see ghosts. This revelation makes Ichigo feel guilty about what happened to his family.
Meanwhile, Fishbone D manages to regain his right arm and attacks the Shinigami, sending her into a wall. She notices that Ichigo is facing the Hollow, challenging it to fight him. Fishbone D was about to eat the teenager, but the Shinigami stops the Hollow, getting injured in the process. She tells Ichigo that his power is no match for it and that she is no longer able to fight the Hollow. This makes Ichigo feel even more guilt. The girl then asks him if he wants to save his family, to which Ichigo asks if she knows a way to do it. The girl points her sword at him and tells him that the only way to save his family is to become a Shinigami like her. All he has to do is pierce the middle of his chest with her sword, called a Zanpakutō, and she will give half of her Shinigami powers to him. She also tells him that the percentage of success is not high and that he will die if it fails. After seeing Yuzu pleading for her brother to run away, Ichigo decides to accept the girl’s proposal. The girl introduces herself as Rukia Kuchiki. Ichigo introduces himself as well.
As Fishbone D approaches them, Ichigo stabs himself with Rukia’s Zanpakutō and a light appears, blinding the Hollow for a moment. Suddenly, the Hollow's left arm is cut off. Ichigo appears as the light fades, wearing the Shinigami outfit and holding a large Zanpakutō. Rukia is surprised to realize that Ichigo has taken all of her Shinigami powers, despite her intention to only give him half. She concludes that it was Ichigo’s powers that were previously hindering her senses. She is also surprised that his Zanpakutō's became so large, a result of Ichigo’s great Spiritual Energy.
As Rukia ponders this, Ichigo cuts Fishbone D’s right leg off and exterminates the Hollow, completely by cutting it in two.
The chapter concludes with Ichigo’s statistics:
- Ichigo Kurosaki/15 years old
- Hair color/Orange
- Eye color/Brown
- Occupation/High school student and Shinigami
Characters in order of appearance :
- Rukia Kuchiki
- Ichigo Kurosaki
- Dead Girl
- Isshin Kurosaki
- Yuzu Kurosaki
- Karin Kurosaki
- Glasses-Wearing Ghost
- Masaki Kurosaki
- Fishbone D
Episodes adapted from this chapter:
- Episode 1: The Day I Became a Shinigami