The hero of Bleach is none other than Ichigo Kurosaki, and he tries to live a double life as a high school student and as a substitute Soul Reaper. Ichigo is trying to hide his Soul Reaper ways from his family, but what he didn't realize at first was that Isshin was once a Soul Reaper, too. Isshin Kurosaki was once Isshin Shiba, and Ichigo more than lives up to that name.
The Shibas are a minor noble family in the Soul Society, and although they rank below the Kuchiki and Shihoin families, they are well-respected, and Ichigo met a few of them during his quest to rescue Rukia from the spirit world. Based on the Shibas whom Ichigo has met, and his father too, it is clear that Ichigo is a chip off the old block in all the right ways.
Ichigo Takes After His Self-Sacrificing Father, Isshin Shiba
Ichigo and his goofy father Isshin always butt heads, but deep down, they deeply respect one another, and Ichigo saw his father in a whole new light when he learned the truth about how his parents met. Some time ago, Captain Isshin Shiba was sent to the world of the living, where Sosuke Aizen's artificial Hollow White ran amok, threatening the life of Masaki, a young Quincy archer. Isshin risked his life to save hers, and when White's Hollow powers poisoned Masaki, Isshin risked it all yet again. With the aid of his friend Kisuke Urahara, Isshin gave up his Soul Reaper powers to save Masaki's life once again. Isshin had no qualms about sacrificing his entire career as a Soul Reaper to save this innocent girl, and in the years to come, the two of them married, and Ichigo, Karin and Yuzu were born.
Likewise, Ichigo never hesitates to leap into danger to protect his friends, even if the odds are seriously stacked against him. He stormed the Soul Society with a small gang of friends to rescue Rukia from the Gotei 13, the most powerful soul-oriented force in existence. Later, Ichigo was ready to invade the world of Hueco Mundo alone to rescue Orihime from Ulquiorra, and Ichigo faced Ulquiorra twice in mortal combat and nearly died both times -- but it didn't matter; Ichigo's friend needed him, and the Shiba way called for a brave sacrifice.
Ichigo and Kaien Shiba Both Have Plenty of Heart
Kaien Shiba was Ichigo's cousin, and he was a popular Soul Reaper in squad 13. It was he who helped refine Rukia Kuchiki's skills, and he gave Rukia an extra lesson: that the "heart" is the immortal bond between two people, and should one of them die, they will live on in the other person's heart. Rukia fully understood this after Kaien died and she saw Aaroniero Arurruerie assume his form, and she slew the imposter Kaien without hesitation, since the real Kaien lived on in her.
Similarly, when Orihime was told that Ichigo and the others had invaded Hueco Mundo to rescue her, Orihime was not afraid for their sake. She knew that the heart that connected them would allow them to prevail, and Orihime bravely told Ulquiorra that Ichigo's heart wouldn't allow him to die. Ulquiorra doubted this, but he changed his tune when Ichigo's heart allowed him to slay Ulquiorra at long last. In his dying moments, Ulquiorra was desperate to see this "heart" phenomenon for himself.
Kukaku & Ganju Shiba Share Ichigo's Creative Outlook
Ichigo's surviving cousins are Kukaku and Ganju Shiba, and Ichigo met them through a mutual friend, Yoruichi Shihoin. Ganju reluctantly joined Ichigo's team to rescue Rukia from her execution, and it was Kukaku who prepared a cannon that would fire Ichigo and his allies into the Gotei 13's fortress inside spirit bubbles. Ichigo isn't the most creative character in Bleach, but then again, he does have his rogueish and punkish side, and he'll side with anyone and everyone who's trustworthy to get the job done. He's an open-minded opportunist, in short, and that's why he went along with his cousin Kukaku's wild plan to use that cannon to invade the Gotei 13 (going in through the front gate didn't work).
A true Shiba can find any solution to a problem, and the more unorthodox, the better. On that note, Ganju has no zanpakuto, but he can use his unusual kido and sand-based abilities to disorient his enemies and trap them, and he even fended off Yumichika Ayasegawa of squad 11. Ganju even swallowed his pride and helped Ichigo try to evacuate Rukia from the prison tower, only to be cut down when Captain Byakuya Kuchiki arrived.