Ichigo Kurosaki is a teenager from Karakura City who can see ghosts, a talent that allows him to meet the supernatural interloper Rukia Kuchiki, who enters Ichigo’s room in search of a Hollow, a kind of monstrous lost soul that can harm both ghosts and humans. Rukia is one of the Soul Reapers, soldiers tasked with guiding the souls of the dead from the Living World to Soul Society, the realm of the afterlife from which she originates – and fighting Hollows.
When she is critically injured protecting Ichigo from a Hollow she is chasing, Rukia transfers her powers to Ichigo so he can fight in her place while she regains her powers. As such, Rukia is trapped in a normal human body and must give advice to Ichigo as he balances the demands of his replacement duties as a Soul Reaper and attending high school. To help hunt the Hollows, the pair team up with three other spiritually gifted teenagers: Ichigo’s high school classmate Orihime Inoue, Yasutora “Chad” Sado’s best friend, and the Quincy – people with the ability to control spirit particles – Uryu Ishida.
Eventually, Rukia is arrested by Soul Reaper’s superiors and sentenced to death for the illegal act of transferring her powers to a human. Ichigo and friends seek help from former Soul Reaper scientist Kisuke Urahara, who also allows Ichigo to access his own Soul Reaper powers to enter Soul Society and rescue Rukia. Shortly after the group’s arrival at Soul Society, conflict arises between the captains of the 13 Court Squads when the captain of the 5th Company, Sōsuke Aizen, is apparently killed; the captains believed that intruders could be to blame, which caused the Soul Reapers to start fighting among themselves.
Afterwards, Commander-in-Chief Genryusai Shigekuni Yamamoto conducts a massive manhunt for Ichigo and his friends as the perpetrators of Aizen’s murder. However, as Ichigo almost succeeds in saving Rukia and Soul Society is on the brink of civil war, Aizen reappears and reveals his intent to obtain the Hōgyoku, a sphere of immense power that Kisuke placed in Rukia’s human vessel, faking his own death and arranging Rukia’s execution. Aizen is accompanied by his fellow conspirators, Gin Ichimaru and Kaname Tōsen, who are the captains of the 3rd and 9th companies as they use Hollows to cover their escape to the Hollow realm, Hueco Mundo. Afterwards, Ichigo and Rukia reconcile with the Soul Reapers, who view the former as a powerful ally and appoint him as the official replacement for the Soul Reaper.
Ichigo and his friends soon find themselves in escalating skirmishes with Aizen’s army of humanoid Hollows, the Arrancars, as they are joined by Soul Reaper Wizards, who fell victim to Aizen’s experiments to create Soul Reaper/Hollow hybrids. When Ulquiora, one of the 10 most powerful Arrancars of Aizen’s Espada, kidnaps Orihime, Ichigo and his allies enter Hueco Mundo to invade Los Noches, Aizen’s palace.
However, when Ichigo saves Orihime, Aizen reveals that her kidnapping was a distraction as he launches an attack on Karakura City to sacrifice the souls of the living and create a key to the Soul King’s palace so he can kill the Soul King who rules. Soul Society. Already anticipating Aizen’s attack, the 13 Court Squads were already waiting for him, moving the entire city of Karakura to Soul Society prior to his attack. As the Wizards join the remaining Soul Reapers to confront their common enemy, Gin reveals his plan to kill Aizen. However, the latter then uses the Hōgyoku to become a hollow being and overpower everyone. Ichigo eventually manages to subdue Aizen at the cost of his powers and returns to being a normal human.
Months later, while preparing for life after graduating from high school, Ichigo is called into action once again when the Xcution, a gang of Subjugators – supernaturally conscious people like Chad – manipulate him and those close to him into draining his Subjugator abilities. After his Soul Society allies restore his Soul Reaper powers, Ichigo learns that Xcution’s leader, Kugo Ginjou, was his predecessor. It is revealed that the Soul Society did not fully trust the replacement Soul Reapers, so they used the Replacement Soul Reaper badge given to the Replacement Soul Reaper to control and limit its power output. Ginjo felt betrayed and vowed revenge on all Soul Reapers. Despite knowing the truth, Ichigo decides to continue to trust his Soul Reaper friends and kills Ginjo. With the return of his power, Ichigo is once again reinstated as a Substitute Soul Reaper.
After Ichigo has regained his powers, the Quincy army is known as the Wandenreich (Invisible Empire) appears and declares their own war on Soul Society, having already enslaved many of the Arrancar in Hueco Mundo. The group is led by Yahweh, the ancient progenitor of the Quincy, who seeks to kill the Soul King and rid the world of the fear of death. During his first invasion, Wandenreich killed many Soul Reapers, including the Captain-Commander.
Uryū joins the Wandenreich to get closer to Yhwach, who was responsible for his mother’s death among the other Quincy. Later, Ichigo and his friends aid the Soul Society in fighting the second Wandenreich invasion, but Yhwach kills the Soul King and consumes him completely. In the final battle, Yhwach returns to Soul Society to conquer it, but with the help of Renji, Aizen, and Uryu, Ichigo finally defeats the Quincy leader.
10 years later, Rukia becomes the new captain of the 13th Company and has a daughter, a Soul Reaper apprentice named Ichika, with her childhood friend Renji Abarai. Meanwhile, Ichigo and Orihime have a son named Kazui who is also training to become a Soul Reaper.