The story opens with the sudden appearance of Shinigami Rukia Kuchiki in Ichigo Kurosaki's bedroom. She is surprised at his ability to see her, but their conversation is shortly interrupted by the appearance of a 'Hollow', an evil spirit. After Rukia is severely wounded while trying to protect Ichigo, she attempts to transfer half her powers to Ichigo in order to let him face the Hollow on equal footing. Ichigo instead unintentionally absorbs almost all her energy, allowing him to defeat the Hollow with ease. The next day Rukia appears in Ichigo's classroom as a seemingly normal Human, and informs Ichigo that his absorption of her powers has left her stranded in the Human World until she recovers her strength. In the meantime Ichigo shelters Rukia in his home and takes over her job as a Shinigami, battling Hollows and guiding lost souls to Soul Society. After a few months of this arrangement, in the sixth volume of the series, Rukia's Shinigami superiors interpret her disappearance as desertion, send a detachment to arrest her, and sentence her to death. Ichigo is unable to stop Rukia's capture, but with the help of several of his classmates who also possess spiritual abilities and ex-Shinigami Kisuke Urahara, he sets off for the Shinigami base, located in the afterlife realm known as Soul Society. Once there, Ichigo and company battle against the elites of the Shinigami military, and are ultimately successful in halting Rukia's execution. It is then revealed that Rukia's execution and Ichigo's rescue attempt were both manipulated by Sōsuke Aizen, a high ranking Shinigami previously believed to be murdered, as part of a far-reaching plot to take control of Soul Society. Aizen betrays his fellow Shinigami and allies himself with the Hollows, becoming the main antagonist of the series, and Ichigo teams up with his former enemies in Soul Society after learning that the next step in Aizen's plan involves the destruction of his home town. The Gotei 13 unite to defeat Aizen and the Arrancar but are unable to stop Aizen in the Fake Karakura Town they created. Ichigo eventually defeats Aizen in Soul Society at the cost of his Shinigami powers. At this point, Bleach chronicles Ichigo's attempt to regain his lost powers. According to Tite Kubo, the ending of the series is not yet planned out or written.