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Ichigo Kurosaki->Plot overview

Ichigo meets Rukia Kuchiki in the midst of a hollow attack. After Rukia is heavily injured by the hollow, she is forced to transfer her Soul Reaper powers to Ichigo so that he can kill the hollow and save their lives and his family.[26] Though the hollow is vanquished, Ichigo absorbs almost all of Rukia's spiritual power, and she is forced to stay in the human world until they return. In the meantime, Ichigo performs her Soul Reaper duties, inadvertently exposing his friends to the spiritual world and giving them their own unique abilities.[27] When his actions eventually attract the attention of Soul Society, Rukia is detained and taken home to be executed, and Ichigo leads an effort to save her.[28]

Upon arriving in Soul Society, he repeatedly clashes with high-ranking Soul Reapers as he gets closer to her location. In doing so he splits their forces in two; those who wish to help Ichigo free Rukia and those determined to carry out her execution. With the assistance of his newfound allies Rukia is saved, though she quickly falls into the hands of Sōsuke Aizen.[29] Aizen, having masterminded Rukia's execution, fulfills his plans by removing the Hōgyoku from her body. While he is unable to kill her as planned, he and his accomplices are able to flee Soul Society as the Soul Reapers reunite against him.[30] In the aftermath, Ichigo is made a "deputy Soul Reaper" and is allowed to return home with his friends.[31]

Aizen, through the use of the Hōgyoku, creates an army of arrancar that he sends to attack Ichigo and his friends in the human world. When they are unable to deal with the arrancar threat, Soul Society sends a group of Soul Reapers to help them.[32] Although they are able to fend off the arrancar with the bolstered defenses, they are unable to prevent the abduction of Orihime Inoue. When Soul Society refuses to save her, Ichigo and his friends go to Hueco Mundo to stage their own rescue attempt.[33] With the help of a few friendly arrancar he meets along the way, Ichigo is ultimately able to reunite with Orihime.[34] Before they can return home, however, she is recaptured, and Ichigo sets out to get her back again.

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