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Characters: Bleach Espada
Characters that appear in Tite Kubo's Bleach
. This page deals with the Espada
.Back to the main character index
NOTE: To avoid confusion to English-language readers, who may be more familiar with the English anime than the manga, all names are in Western order.
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(#1) Primera Espadas - Coyote Starrk and Lilynette Gingerbuck
"I so envied the weak. The weak can always find others to be around. I want to be weak. And if that's impossible, I at least want to find companions who are as strong as I."
The First Espada, a lazy Arrancar who prefers to avoid fighting altogether and largely lacks malicious intent. Despite his apathy and laziness, he is highly analytical and a flexible fighter to boot. His Fraccion is the young Lilynette Gingerbuck. Defined with the aspect of 'Loneliness', Starrk was a Hollow who grew too powerful and envied the weak because they can pack together, and joined Aizen for the sole purpose of having friends and comrades. His number tattoo is on the back of his left hand and his Hollow hole is in his sternum.
His Zanpakutou is Los Lobos
, and it transforms him into a traditional Wild West gunslinger
with overwhelming offensive abilities.
- Abnormal Ammo: Aside from Ceros, he can also release exploding spirit wolves made out of pieces of his soul.
- Action Bomb: His spirit wolves, as Love and Rose found out the hard way. The dub even calls them "wolf-shaped warheads".
- Adaptation Dye-Job: His hair is jet black in the manga, brown in the anime.
- Affably Evil: Easily the least evil hollow in the series after Nel and her brothers.
- Alas, Poor Villain: While villain may be stretching it, his death at Kyoraku's hands via Iro Oni was easily the most heartwrenching of any of the Espada. Kyoraku himself even dislikes having to kill him off.
- Animal Motifs: His resurrección is related to wolves. More specifically the "lone wolf", reflecting on his aspect. His name and western cowboy-like outfit relate to coyotes.
- Anti-Villain: "Couldn't we just pretend to fight?" He means it, too, and lets some opponents know that if they leave he's prepared to let them get away.
- Apologetic Attacker: Apologizes several times before doing something to oppose the protagonists.
- Awesome McCoolname: He sounds like he should be a villain in some western.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: Figured out how Shunsui's and Ukitake's Shikai abilities work after only a few attacks.
- Badass: Comes with the territory of the being the top Espada. He was actually beating several captains simultaneously, including some very powerful ones. Keep in mind one of the captains he fought would eventually become Captain Commander.
- Badass Bandolier: Has a pair at the back of it, to complement his lone-wolf-gunslinger-theme. They don't hold bullets however - they let him summon a badass spirit wolf army, and a pair of energy swords if he needs them.
- Badass Beard: Sports a tiny goatee. It isn't much, but it still nicely accents the whole Wild West theme.
- Badass Longcoat: In his released state.
- Batman Gambit: The anime version of the fight invokes a Fake Weakness in his guns by having him holstering his right gun every time he fired in an attempt to fool Kyoraku into thinking he was recharging and luring him close on the assumption his opponent would be studying the pattern of attacks to find a weakness; he was right.
- Battle Aura: As a Hollow, it was powerful enough to kill all the other Hollows around him.
- Beam Spam: His Cero Metralleta technique forms a dozen or so energy spheres, each of which acts like a machine gun that fires Ceros at rapid rates of fire. Kyoraku calls him out on how "unfair" this technique is.
- Blessed with Suck / Cursed with Awesome: The same power than made him the Primera Espada is also what caused him centuries of loneliness and depression. He was so powerful no other hollow could approach him without dying instantly because of his spiritual pressure.
- Brilliant but Lazy: He's Espada # 1, is brilliant at analyzing a fighting situation despite having little information to use, but tends to sleep more than do a thing and requires Lilynete to kick him into gear.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Lilynette treats him like her own private Butt Monkey, not to mention he's so lazy one might assume he's an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain. Then he starts fighting.
- Calling Your Attacks: "Cero Metralleta".
- Combat Pragmatist: Once he starts taking a fight seriously, do not turn your back on him.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Proving what it takes to be Primera Espada, he easily defeats Rose and Love, two Captain-level opponents with the added power of Hollow masks, at the same time.
- Dual Wielding: Once he activates his Resurreccion, he wields a pair of pistols that fire Ceros, and when he takes it even further, he trades those out for a pair of blue laser blades similar to his original katana.
- Even Evil Has Standards: "Forgive me, but I abhor such tactics."
- Evil Counterpart: To Kyoraku, though he's a little lacking in the 'evil' department. Both are Brilliant but Lazy warriors capable of incredible feats but reluctant to do much and have MUCH younger assistants that freely whack them despite being nowhere near as powerful as they are, and even have similar application of speed and fighting style. They differ largely in that Kyoraku is more carefree and easygoing while Starrk is more lazy and apathetic. Also Starrk is a much more straightforward fighter, while Kyoraku defies his samurai motif as a Combat Pragmatist.
- Evil Genius: "Evil" is a bit strong - he's apathetic at worst and a bad guy by luck if anything, but regardless fills the shoes of a genius via Awesomeness by Analysis.
- Eyepatch of Power: His release covers his left eye with an eyepatch that looks like it's made of bone with a Hollow hole in it.
- Flunky Boss: Sorta. He can split his soul into at least a hundred exploding wolf-like creatures.
- Friendless Background: Starrk is defined by his loneliness and it is in fact his Aspect of Death. He was so powerful that his mere presence would kill any beings he came across until Aizen helped him put his power under control.
- Fusion Dance: Lilynette is not his Fraccion, she's his zanpakuto. Resurreccion requires this.
- Gangsta Style: Does this at one point in the anime.
- Gun Fu: He rapidly fires away from a stationary position, elegantly sheathing and then firing with his more powerful gun.
- Guns Akimbo: He wields two guns during his release. One fires rapidly but has minimal power and the other fires slow but powerful projectiles.
- The Gunslinger: His released form uses a pair of guns with different effects.
- I Am Not Left-Handed: A gambit he pulls in the anime where he fires a powerful cero from his right pistol and then holsters it, creating the illusion that while the right gun is more powerful, it requires recharge between firing. When Kyoraku tries to take advantage of this apparent weakness, Starrk just flips the gun forward and shoots him in the face.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Does not care about his power at all, since it caused his loneliness in the first place. He even admits he envies those who are weak.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: He's lonely to the point where he'd even consider Baraggan a friend.
- Literal Split Personality: He has the power to split his soul into other beings, including creating an entire pack of wolves to function as his army. Starrk and Lilynette don't know which of them was the original or whether identifying an original even matters. They were originally one being who created the other as a companion to escape their desperate loneliness.
- Lonely at the Top: More or less the basis of his character.
"I was jealous of the weak ones. The weak are allowed to congregate. I want to be weak. If that's impossible...at least give me comrades
as strong as I am."
- Lonely Together: Starrk and Lilynette were always alone together after he created her from his own soul so he'd have at least one companion.
- Madness Mantra: "I am not alone. I am not alone. I am not alone."
- Martial Pacifist: Doesn't seem to care much for combat, being extremely reluctant to fight Kyoraku seriously. He dislikes the idea of taking revenge altogether unless it's for a friend.
- Non Indicative Name: Despite his name being Coyote Starrk, his Animal Motif is the wolf. His background is that of a lone wolf who desperately wants to be part of the pack and his power, Los Lobos ("The Wolves"), allows him to split his souls into both companions and an entire pack of soul wolf weapons.
- Non-Malicious Monster: He's a Hollow, but he's not evil, just extremely lonely and viewing the other Espada as his True Companions.
- Not So Different: Much of his behavior and tactics are comparable to Kyoraku's, but this is ultimately subverted and lampshaded when it turns out his assumptions on this basis - Kyoraku's 'desperate' attacks - turn out to be misguided. Kyoraku is intentionally unpredictable, and tells Starrk he shouldn't be so quick to think they're the same kind of people.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: When he finally realises how serious Aizen is, he stops playing around in battle. He takes out Kyouraku with a shot to the back.
- Perpetual Frowner: Been alone for most of his life, so you can't really blame the guy.
- Person of Mass Destruction: He can fire 1,000 cero at once, and those dozens of soul-wolves each have the fire-power of a small nuke. It's good thing that he doesn't care for fighting.
- Power Incontinence: Could not stop his reiatsu from killing everything around him until he met Aizen.
- Punch Clock Villain: Despite being a villain, Starrk is hardly evil or malicious.
- Savage Wolves: He can summon an army of them.
- Spell My Name with an "S": It's 'Starrk', not 'Stark'.
- Token Good Teammate: The most villainous thing about Starrk is his choice to fight for Aizen. Everything else about him, ranging from his actions and even his personality don't match up to his teammates aside from Harribel. Despite this, Shunsui makes it clear that since it is a war, he wouldn't hold back in punches despite how nice of a guy Starrk may be. True enough, Starrk is killed in their fight.
- Torso with a View: He's missing his sternum.
- Undying Loyalty: As he dies, Starrk notes he didn't get to exactly thank Aizen fully, making him one of the few Espada loyal to him outright. It's justified because Aizen gave him exactly what he wanted; companions as strong as himself.
- Villainous BSOD
- A minor one. Despite saying he's not the kind of guy to get revenge for his fallen comrades, Love notes that his performance in their fight gets considerably worse after Baraggan's death. It takes being scolded by Lilynette for him to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge instead.
- In the anime, he appears to completely lose the will to fight after Lilynette's death.
- Walking Wasteland: Before splitting in half, he was strong enough to destroy Hollows by being near them.
- Wave Motion Gun: His guns fire massive ceros. Massive, multiple ceros.
"Why do you think that Aizen made you number one?! Because he believes in your power, right!? If you don't want to lose any of your comrades, then the only thing to do is fight!"
Lilynette is Starrk's sole fraccion and is about as dangerous as you'd expect from someone that looks as young as she does. Nevertheless, she shares a very close relationship with Starrk despite her irritability.
- Absolute Cleavage: Not that she has any cleavage, but her uniform still exposes a lot of her chest.
- Bare Your Midriff: Her outfit shows off her stomach.
- Cute Monster Girl: More cute than monsterous, though.
- Detached Sleeves: She wears white sleeves on her arms from wrist to elbow.
- Famous Last Words: In the anime, she lets out a soft "Starrk..." before Kyoraku kills her.
- Fusion Dance: She's Starrk's zanpakuto, not his Fraccion meaning when they merge she becomes Espada #1 as well.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: Like Starrk, she was never able to make friends or anyone due to the immense power the pair possessed.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Watching her try and fail to keep her dignity as a fighter while Ukitake toys with her, to the point she breaks down crying, makes her an odd case of an allegedly villainous character chalking up Woobie points.
- Ineffectual Death Threats: It's hard to take her cries of "I'll kill you!" seriously when she's dirty and crying.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Subverted. She's a child who's friends with a much older Starrk, though Lilynette makes a point that Arrancar don't age.
- Literal Split Personality: She's not truly Starrk's fraccion, they're two fragments of the same Hollow, so she is also the .
- Little Miss Badass: Tries to be one, bless her, at the very least, but utterly fails at it... until she turns into those exploding reishi wolves, that is.
- Lonely Together: She was actually part of Starrk originally, and they're largely the same person, including their lack of a capacity to survive without companionship.
- Opera Gloves: Though modified so they can reveal the upper half of her hands.
- Plucky Girl: Doesn't give up even when Ukitake is clearly just messing with her to avoid killing her.
- Punch Clock Villain: Like Starrk, she doesn't really have much in the way of actual villainous traits. She's short tempered at worst, but for the most part just hangs out with these guys because she's lonely and there's no one else the pair can really interact with.
- Sinister Scimitar: Can pull one out of her mask to fight. Not fight well, but fight.
- Stripperiffic: She wears a tiny vest, long boots and gloves, and a pair of really short undergarments, all of which are white-colored with black outlines. A light BREEZE should result in a wardrobe malfunction, really.
- Taking the Bullet: In the anime, she dies intercepting a wind attack from Kyoraku that was meant for Starrk.
- Torso with a View: Her hollow hole is located on her solar plexus.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Her hair is green.
(#2) Segunda Espada - Baraggan Louisenbairn
"Shinigami, humans, Hollows, Arrancar, all of their differences and strife, will, freedom, beasts, plants, the moon and stars and sun - all of it is meaningless! There is but one absolute in this world, and that is my power!"
The Second Espada, the self-proclaimed God of Hueco Mundo. Defines the death aspect of 'Aging'. Baraggan, by all rights, lived up to his namesake, until Aizen came and screwed him over, forcing him to his servitude, which he grudgingly accepted. Throughout his life, he has one wish: to exact vengeance and kill Aizen. As his Zanpakuto's name implies, he's extremely arrogant. The location of his number tattoo is unknown and his Hollow hole is in his sternum.
And speaking of his zanpakutou, Arrogante
, it transforms him into a menacing grim reaper capable of decaying everything around him.
(#3) Tres Espada - Tier Harribel
"No world is without sacrifices. But if we produce casualties, we would also sustain casualties of our own."
The Third Espada, a Dark Action Girl
who led an all-female Fraccion
squad. Harribel shows actually more compassion compared to the rest of the Arrancars towards her own Fraccion, but she still fulfills her Dark Action Girl
credentials. She defines the death aspect of 'Sacrifice'. Her number-tattoo is located on the left side of her right breast, and her Hollow hole is in her womb.
Her Zanpakuto, Tiburon
, gives her a shark motif and control of water-based abilities.
- A Mother to Her Men: Unlike the Espada not named Starrk, she actually cares a great deal for the safety of her Fraccion. The anime takes it a step further by hosting a Whole Episode Flashback detailing her past, where she actually recruited Apacci, Sung-Sun and Mila to help form a stable group to keep male Hollows from eating them. Given how her Hollow hole is located in her womb, symbolizing how she's effectively a Parental Substitute for her girls.
- Absolute Cleavage: When her top is unzipped and in her Resurreccion form her breasts are only partially covered by her mask fragments.
- All There in the Manual: A novel-esque story titled "Nestle To Night" (found in the Unmasked databook) reveals that Harribel and her Fraccion survived the entire Fake Karakura ordeal.
- Amazon Brigade: Heads up one of these with her all-female fraccion.
- Animal Motifs: Her resurreccion is related to sharks. In anime-only flashback, her Vasto Lorde form is a humanoid Hollow with shark-themed armor.
- Anti-Villain: Conducts herself in a much more restrained and honorable manner than her compatriots, although messing with her friends brings down her wrath. Her anger usually takes the form of Tranquil Fury but the only time she drops her air of quiet dignity is when Aizen betrays everyone. Aizen is irritated to discover he has to use his sword on her twice before she can be properly defeated.
- Badass: She has some extremely powerful water based attacks, though they weren't of any use against someone with ice powers. Apart from that, she still had the advantage in melee combat.
- Badass in Distress: She was captured by the Vandenreich to destabilize Hueco Mundo and begin recruiting Arrancar.
- BFS: Unusual for most females in Bleach, she wields a massive broad sword in resureccion that resembles a shark's tooth.
- Bishoujo Line: Her Ressurrecion makes her lose her mouth and look normal.
- But Not Too Black: What happened to her in the anime adaptation.
- Butter Face: Subversion. Her body is curvaceous, but when she unzips her jacket, the lower half of her face is a skeletal jaw, in keeping with her shark theme. Once she enters resurrecion, however, her face becomes as gorgeous as the rest of her body.
- Dangerously Short Skirt: In her Resurrección she trades her hakama for a bone-like micro skirt.
- Dark Action Girl: More reserved than Cirucci, but three times as deadly.
- Dark-Skinned Blond: Lighter-skinned (read: tan-ish) in the anime, for some reason.
- Declaration of Protection: In the wild, Harribel lived as close as she could to a life of non-violence and starvation to defy the Social Darwinist laws of Hueco Mundo. Since then, she has been motivated to fight by a desire to keep her few friends from dying.
- Does Not Like Men: She knows that male Hollows will invariably prey upon females, especially since she lives in such a brutal word that the likes of Baraggan rise to the top. However, she does get along fine with the likes of Starrk, meaning she's still a reasonable enough person.
- Everything's Even Worse with Sharks: Her sword's name is the Spanish word for shark and her release adds a shark motif to her appearance. She even refers to herself as the shark when one-shotting Hitsugaya.
- Evil Virtues: Most notably, honor, loyalty, responsibility and selflessness.
- Going Commando: In the manga, we get a shot of her skirt going up, and there's nothing covering what's underneath. Actually changed in Bleach: Soul Resurrección, to black panties under her skirt.
- Intimate Marks: Her Espada Tattoo is on the bottom of her breast, and only visible if she unzips her jacket all the way open to expose Absolute Cleavage.
- Let's Get Dangerous: With the extra fleshing out the anime gave to her character, she's practically a Martial Pacifist most of the time. If you want her to stay nonviolent, do not fuck with her squad.
- Making a Splash: Her released form uses water-based attacks. She can also make water boil.
- Mama Bear: Harribel's "Aspect of Death" is sacrifice and the meaning behind this lays within her relationship with her three Fraccion. Harribel has no desire to kill, but she knows that she lives in a Crapsack World where the strong prey upon the weak. She joined up with Aizen because she did not want her own weakness to lead to the deaths of her True Companions. Nevertheless, each of them would gladly sacrifice their own lives for her sake, and they've even adopted Harribel's theme of sacrifice by removing a part of themselves to create the extremely powerful Ayon.
- Martial Pacifist: Like Starrk and her predecessor Nelliel, Harribel hates fighting, but will use her considerable power if it means protecting her True Companions.
- Martyr Without a Cause: Implied in the anime.
- Meaningful Name: "Tier" is German for animal.
- Messy Hair: Messy blonde hair to be exact.
- Ms. Fanservice: She's easily the most shameless of the Arrancar girls, due to her penchant for strutting around in skimpy outfits.
- Monstrous Humanoid: In the anime, Harribel is revealed to have been a Vasto Lorde-level Menos, and thus had a humanoid appearance as a Hollow.
- Not So Different: Both sides appear to be completely oblivious to it, but Harribel's reasons for fighting (duty and friendship) are identical to the reasons 98% of the good guys fight for.
- Non-Malicious Monster: Even as a normal Hollow, Harribel disliked killing.
- No Sell: Unfortunately, due to the Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors at work, her fight with Hitsugaya consists almost entirely of them No Selling each other's attacks, preventing either from being able to use their flashier moves effectively.
- Power of Friendship: "I don't want to become stronger through the power I gain by killing and sacrificing another. If I can't win alone, then I'll win as a group."
- The Smurfette Principle: The only female Espada, though there were at least two others within the group before.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Even after the official romanization of her name came out, the English dubbers continue with their original pronounciation of "Halibel". All of the Espada are named after famous architects. She's named after Harry Bell Measures.
- Statuesque Stunner: Fourth among the ladies of Bleach at 175cm/5'9".
- Stripperiffic: Pretty much the first female in Bleach to have this on purpose. No Clothing Damage; that's an accomplishment.
- Sword Beam: Her Ola Azul ability charges reiatsu within the hollow section of her sword and then fires it; La Gota fires a shark-tooth shaped water projectile from the tip of her sword; and she also fires her Cero from her sword in a similar fashion to Ichigo's Getsuga Tensho.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: Appears to have rejected the Social Darwinist law of Hueco Mundo despite being the third or fourth most powerful Hollow known. After becoming a Vasto Lorde, she refuses to eat other Hollows to gain power.
- Token Good Teammate: Like Starrk, she's one of the most morally-centered Arrancar and only fights under Aizen due to what he's done for her and her Fraccion. It's likely because of this that she was one of the few Espada that survived the Winter War, as Orihime chose to heal her regardless of her status as an Espada.
- Torso with a View: Unlike most of the other Arrancars, this one is subverted. It's where her womb is supposed to be, but it's either entirely internal or not visible under her clothes.
- Tranquil Fury: Doesn't show any more emotion than she did before, but becomes much more dangerous and goes to town on Hitsugaya after her Fraccion are defeated.
- True Companions: She is very close to her Fracción.
- Underboobs: In the manga the underside of her breasts are exposed, but censored in the anime. Suspiciously enough, however, during a flashback to Wonderweiss' creation at episode 294, her underboobs are rendered fully, without any censorship whatsoever.
- Willfully Weak: Refusing to eat other Hollows means that she didn't continue to gain power the way less moral Hollows like Baraggan did. This combined with her steadfast refusal to kill and her belief in fighting as a group explains quite well why she didn't seem as powerful as the other Vasto Lorde Arrancar. Of course, when she actually puts some effort into fighting, she's a total Badass.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Aizen loses interest in the Espada when he realises that even combined they're still weaker than he is. He cuts down Harribel himself although she's later saved by Orihime, inheriting leadership of Hueco Mundo until being captured by Yhwach.
(#4) Cuatro Espada - Ulquiorra Cifer
"Your words are those of a man who knows not true despair. If you know it not, then allow me to teach you. This is the face of true despair."
The Fourth Espada, Ulquiorra is cold, rational, reserved, and absolutely loyal to Aizen, which more or less netted him the position of The Dragon
despite not being his most powerful subordinate. However, all traits put him in direct conflict
with Grimmjow, to the point where though he acted as Ichigo's main rival, Ulquiorra has far more enmity for the Sixth Espada. He considers Ichigo, and all others either weaker than him or human, little more than "trash". He defines the death aspect of 'Emptiness'. His number tattoo is on the left side of his chest and his Hollow hole is in his sternum - though in his debut it was in the base of his throat.
His zanpakutou, Murcielago
, transforms him into a bat-like demon capable of firing pitch-black Ceros and gives him nearly incomprehensible speed.
He received a short comic made by Tite Kubo about his back story in the third data book, Unmasked
, which shows his origins.
Tropes associated with Ulquiorra:
- Alas, Poor Villain: As he dies, he asks Orihime if she's afraid of him. She says no and he finally starts to understand what being human is.
- All the Other Reindeer: In his backstory in Unmasked, Ulquiorra had a white body except for his wings and no mouth, while his brethren were jet black and had mouths.
- All There in the Manual: His backstory is revealed in the Unmasked datebook.
- And I Must Scream: As a Hollow, Ulquiorra was unable to feel, hear, smell, or eat anything. All he could do was see the world. It's why he only trusts what he can see as an Espada.
- Animal Motifs: "Murcielago", the name of his zanpakuto, means "bat" in Spanish. When he releases the sword, he gains giant bat wings.
- Badass: He's the most efficient Espada, and pushed Ichigo well beyond the power limits of both his bankai and masked form.
- Barehanded Blade Block: Most notably when he uses it to blast away Getsuga Tensho.
- Beta Baddie: Hinted. When he goes for the kill, Ulquiorra tends to stab the victim's chest in the same area where his hollow hole is located.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows: No, that isn't manliner above his eyes; they're his eyebrows, though in his first appearance he had no eyebrows at all.
- Bishōnen: Not as feminine as Szayelaporro, but he is slender and quite youthful-looking. And, needless to say, he has lots of fangirls.
- Brutal Honesty: The guy does not mince words. Makes sense, since he has little to no grasp of emotions and would thus have no tact.
- Calling Your Attacks: His lances have individual names; Luz de la Luna for his first and Lanza del Relámpago for his second. His black cero is also named.
- Catch Phrase: Has a habit of saying or a variation of "I see" when finding new information. Then again, he once boasted that he could see everything, unless it didn't exist.
- Character Tics: No matter what he's doing, one or both of his hands are in his pocket at all times. If he takes a hand out, then something bad's going to happen.
- Climax Boss: The final fight between Ichigo and Ulquiorra signifies the end of the quest to rescue Orihime from Hueco Mundo. Ichigo is then free to rescue the rest of his friends, and leave Hueco Mundo to the captains while he heads back to Karakura Town. It also sets up the despair that weakens him for the rest of his fights until his final battle with Aizen.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: His first display of offense in the series consists of him blasting some holes in Orihime's escort guards before they can do a thing. Gave Ichigo a lesson of dominance during their first encounter, resulting in the former's temporary death. Completely thrashes Ichigo again after releasing his zanpakuto during their final battle and while the former is down, he proceeds to maul Uryu as well. Hollow Ichigo, on the other hand, absolutely destroys him even in his second release.
- Death by Irony: He was the embodiment of nihilism, which translated to the way he mercilessly fought Ichigo. Guess who was the one to finally defeat him? An even more merciless and nihilistic version of hollow Ichigo.
- Despair Event Horizon: He was born into a group of jet black Vasto Lordes, pure white and with only one sense (sight). He then wandered the desert for an unspecified period of time until, in a moment of pure despair he encounters a strange phenomenon that rips off most of his mask. His obsession with trusting only what he can see and his inability to understand anything that doesn't register with his sense of sight stems from this.
- The Dragon: Seemed to have been Aizen's right-hand man as well as being given missions that one would've expected to be given to Espadas with higher ranks. This led to Ichigo assuming he was the top Espada, but it's more like he's the strongest Espada that follows orders efficiently.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: His bone-white skin and jet black hair both make him stand out from all other characters around him ever since his introduction.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Calls Nnoitra "disgusting" for implying that he should take advantage of his prisoner Orihime by raping/sexually harrassing her.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The defining theme of his Character Development is his lack of ability to understand why ANY of the heroes continue fighting for Orihime when they shouldn't be able to win, and their allies keep falling. He also fails to grasp friendship, love and almost all other emotions as well. When she explains that this is due to the connections their hearts share he is even more confused. It's a point which he questions over and over again, to Orihime and at one instance, even Ichigo.
"You're a fool, Kurosaki Ichigo. You fear my power, yet you still fight as if you think you can win. I don't understand you. If this is because of what you humans call a heart, then it is because of your hearts that humans feel pain. It's because of your hearts that you die."
- Evil Counterpart: In the Gotei 13, he probably most resembles Byakuya, and they both serve pretty much the same role in their respective story arcs. Both "abducted" one of Ichigo's close female friends and love interests, which brought him to Soul Society or Hueco Mundo; both served as recurring antagonists who repeatedly beat the crap out of Ichigo in all but their final battle, where Ichigo got the upper hand by surrendering to his inner Hollow...and so on. Both are also The Stoic, but where Byakuya is secretly Not So Stoic, Ulquiorra is actually so stoic as to be inhuman. Both also had a reoccuring problem within their arcs; where Byakuya struggled with a Pillars of Moral Character issue, Ulquiorra struggled to understand that which he was incapable of seeing. And while Byakuya goes out in a winged angel form, Ulquiorra's Release resembles a winged bat-demon.
- Evil Sounds Deep: His Japanese and his English video game voices are quite deep.
- Eye Scream: His eyes can be removed and crushed to display his memories. The eye restores itself later, and is apparently not painful. He goes the rest of the scene missing an eye.
- Face Death with Dignity: When Hollow Ichigo powers up the Cero that ultimately does Ulquiorra in, he reacts characteristically, calmly accepting that he's lost and stating that he has nothing else to lose. When he starts disintegrating, he just blinks, then tells Ichigo to hurry up and finish him. When the latter refuses, he calmly accepts that, asks Orihime if she's afraid of him, smiles a little when she says no while reaching out for him, and spends his last moments reflecting on the heart.
- Four Is Death: He has a ghost-like appearance, a nihilistic philosophy and "fallen angel" transformations designed to evoke death by despair. He's the fourth Espada, has had four hollow transformations (hollow, arrancar, resurrecion, segunda), his helmet transforms from four ridges to four horns, and a lot of his fights invoke the number four via chapter numbers and the number of chapters or volumes his battles span.
- Genre Blind: Because he cannot "see" Ichigo's true power (and notes that it fluctuates a lot), he doesn't believe Ichigo will get stronger and repeatedly leaves Ichigo for dead.
- Green Eyes: He was the most mystic of the Espada in terms of having an almost otherworldly origin and nature even by Espada standards. His personality and nature, in combination with his appearance, made him the Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette version of the Green Eyes trope.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: Towards the end of his last fight with Ichigo. He does regenerate, but it only extends his life for a little bit before he slowly disintegrates into dust.
- Healing Factor: He's the only Espada who didn't sacrifice high-speed regeneration for increased attack strength when he became an Arrancar. He has the ability to nigh-instantly regenerate everything but major organs. Theoretically, you could break this guy's neck and he'd get up in a few minutes.
- Heel Face Door Slam: His final speech indicates that he finally understands humans, but he dissolves before he can do anything about it.
- Hellish Pupils: He has tiny slits for pupils.
- I Am Not Left-Handed: He is the only Arrancar known to have a two-stage release, similar to a zanpakuto's bankai. He hasn't shown this to anyone but Ichigo, and claims that no one else knows about it.
- Identity Amnesia: He has no memory of being anything but a Vasto Lorde, which shows how much he knew about humans to begin with.
- Jerkass: If he's not being ordered to do a task by Aizen or is killing someone, Ulquiorra's favorite pastime seems to be goading on people who aren't goading him on. Take how he rubbed Rukia's half-death in Ichigo's face, or threatened to force-feed Orihime if she didn't eat.
- Kneel Before Zod: Ulquiorra goes far out of his way to try to get Ichigo to give up against him after he enters Resurrección.
- Lightning Bruiser: His first fight with Ichigo has him moving too fast for Ichigo to see, shrugging off his strongest attack, and killing him with his bare hands. And that's before he releases. His second released form just makes it even worse. It's fairly safe to say Ichigo only wins because of his uber-Hollow form and because Ulquiorra ran out of energy to hold his form together.
- Lima Syndrome: Subtly develops this toward Orihime, starting with mentally acknowledging her courage when she stands up to him, to being fascinated with her personality. His final moments are spent reaching out to her.
- Mortal Wound Reveal: After being on the receiving end of a Curb-Stomp Battle capped off by uber-Hollow Ichigo's point-blank Cero, he manages to get back up, stop the rampage, and looks like he's about to finish his battle with Ichigo in that stoic demeanor of his. Cue his remaining wing exploding into ash, a sign that his up-to-this-point consistent Healing Factor isn't working anymore. Of course, his thoughts do reveal that his internal organs aren't coming back before this, so it's more for the characters' realization than the audience's.
- Mr. Fanservice: Walks around with an at least partially open shirt much of the time as well as having a certain level of eerie, androgynous beauty.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: His sword stands for two things; "bat" in Spanish, or black-winged great demon in Japanese.
- Neck Lift:On Ichigo. With his tail.
- Nigh-Invulnerability: Barely scratched from his fight with Ichigo, not damaged at all from his fight with Grimmjow, and Up to Eleven in his transformations due to wings.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: He absolutely mauls Ichigo during the final confrontation while Ichigo is doing his best and Ulquiorra is only taking it half seriously.
- No Mouth: As a Hollow his mask had no mouth opening.
- No Sell: Likes to do this. In his first fight with Ichigo, he's not strong enough to block the Getsuga Tensho outright, but sustains only Clothing Damage. In their second battle, his resurreccion form is strong enough to deflect a Getsuga Tensho with nothing but his spiritual pressure. In addition to all this, he often pulls the Barehanded Blade Block.
- Not So Different: Throughout their various confrontations there's a running theme between Ulquiorra and Ichigo as to whether Ulquiorra's becoming more human or Ichigo's becoming more hollow. It's a little of both. Ulquiorra dies finally understanding human emotions and his death is caused by a merciless, rampaging Hollowfied Ichigo.
- Our Demons Are Different: The kanji for his zanpakuto's name translate as "Black-Winged Great Demon", and both his initial and second Resurrección give him an increasingly demonic appearance.
- Perpetual Frowner: Always frowning or wearing a blank expression except during his death scene.
- Person of Mass Destruction: His "Lanza del Relampago" produces a truly enormous explosion.
- Pet the Dog: Chooses to save Loly and Menoly when Ichigo throws a Getsuga Tensho at them instead of taking the opportunity to attack him from behind.
- Power Floats: Notice how he's now taller than Orihime and about as tall as Ichigo in the anime? He didn't grow several inches; you can catch him cheating occasionally.
- Power Gives You Wings: His release gives him gigantic bat wings.
- Power Makes Your Hair Grow: During his releases, his hair grows significantly.
- Prehensile Tail: He can use it as a weapon.
- Red Herring: He seemed to act as Aizen's hands, and had a very calm demeanor about him, as well as being one of the few people Grimmjow was afraid of. All of this led Ichigo to believe he was Espada #1.
- The Rival: He ended up as the rival and Arc Villain for Hueco Mundo.
- Seven Deadly Sins: Used as Theme Naming, since his second/final battle with Ichigo had each sin in the title; The Envy, The Greed, The Gluttony, The Pride, The Sloth, The Wrath, and The Lust 1 through 6. Chapters entitled "The Ash" and "The Heart" wrap the fight up.
- Shorter Means Smarter: One of the calmest and most rational of the Espada, though he certainly has consistent flaws revolving around looking down on people.
- Shout-Out: Ulquiorra's ability of "recording" things with his eye and then tearing it out so other people can have access to what was recorded was faithfully based on Black Swan, a character from Saint Seiya — of which Kubo is a fan.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Until the official romanization of "Cifer" became canon, the commonly accepted way to spell Ulquiorra's name was "Schiffer". Noteably, The Other Wiki still has his old name listed. Ulquiorra's name is itself a misspelling of Patricia Urquiola, a Spanish architect.
- The Spock: He's so analytical that his regenerative powers are even used to aid in his ability to exactly report on something he's witnessed exactly as it happened via crushing his eye. As he says, he doesn't believe in what he can't see and therefore his method of understanding the world is to analyse it as clinically as possible. That makes him both...
- The Stoic: He is always calm and in control until his final fight, at which point he finally gets pissed at Ichigo refusing to recognize his inferiority and delivers a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
- Straw Nihilist: Has this as his life, blood, and Aspect of Death. It's so fundamental to his nature that it's hardly even a personality aspect.
- Supernatural Gold Eyes: Espada aren't supposed to have a second resurreccion, but he does. Not only does it increase his power, but there's a level of mysticism attached to it that not even makes his reiatsu feel completely different to normal reiatsu. Unsurprisingly, he has the golden eyes to fit this supernatural mystery.
- Tail Slap: In Segunda form, his whip-like tail becomes a long-range weapon.
- Torso with a View: A strange example in that it migrates. It starts out in his neck but ends up in his lower chest by the time he dies.
- Villainous Rescue:
- He protects Loly and Menoly when Ichigo throws a Getsuga Tensho them. When they start to thank him he cuts them off, stating he "didn't do it for you two".
- Later, he saves Orihime and Ishida, at least indirectly, from the rampaging Hollow Ichigo, apparently believing he would win the fight if he cut off Ichigo's horn.
- What Is This Thing You Call Love?: Struggles with this. He finally begins to understand it in the moment of his death, while Orihime keeps reaching for his disintegrating form.
"Hearts? You humans are always talking about hearts. It's as if you have them in your hands. But my eye sees everything. Nothing can escape it. What is a heart? If I rip open your chest will I see it? If I crack open your skull will I find it in there?"
(#5) Quinto Espada - Nnoitra Gilga
"Ain't no chance of salvation for us. Never has been. With or without Aizen, that's never gonna change. If there's one thing I'm grateful to that guy for, it's the fact that he gave me power. Thanks to that, I've been able to savor greater battles than ever before. I'm gonna be strong. Stronger than anyone."
The Fifth Espada, a Death Seeker
. Once, he was the Eighth Espada, but was promoted sometime after a sneak attack to Nel, the 3rd Espada of the time, whom he hates because she pitied and disrespected him. He defines the death aspect of 'Despair'. He is noted to have the greatest Hierro (iron-hard skin) amongst the Espada.Santa Teresa
, his zanpakutou, gives him six arms and six scythes, all capable of instant regeneration if he was to lose one or two. His number tattoo is on his tongue, and his Hollow hole is where his left eye should be.
Tropes associated with Nnoitra:
- Alas, Poor Villain: Clearly what the anime (with a very sad music theme) aimed at, showing him as a Nietzsche Wannabe living behind the Despair Event Horizon, with an absurdly huge overcompensated inferiority complex.
- Animal Motifs: His resurreccion is related to the praying mantis.
- Antagonist Abilities: Specifically matched up against melee characters (like Ichigo and Kenpachi), Nnoitra is problematic to fight. In addition to an inherent Damage Reduction via his Hierro, he is also Multi-Armed and Dangerous in Resurreccion, allowing him to deflect his opponent's weapon with one limb and then immediately counter and overwhelm them with all the others. He can even regenerate these limbs if one happens to be chopped off.
- Archenemy: She and Nnoitra have incompatible philosophies. She believes in never fighting without reason and avoiding it if possible, he believes fighting itself is a reason to fight. He hates women, especially women in positions of authority over him, as Nel used to be and Harribel is. Nel dismisses his philosophy and refuses to see him as a warrior. As a result, she feels he needs to be watched over to prevent himself from getting into more trouble than he can handle. Eventually, he rips off her fraccions' masks, smashes her mask and throws her out of Las Noches.
- Ax-Crazy: Though he's actually disturbed that Kenpachi's more Ax-Crazy than him.
- Badass: He fights Ichigo, then Nelliel, then Kenpachi one after another and gives them hard times. Even after Nelliel released her Zanpakuto, she barely injured him and even Kenpachi gets nearly killed by Nnoitra. Ichigo and Kenpachi as well as Orihime and Yachiru are impressed by Nnoitra's Reiatsu after he activates his Resurrección. The fact, how much Kenpachi enjoys his fight against Nnoitra is a sign of his respect towards the Quinto Espada - in contrast, Yammy who is the highest ranked Espada is a boring enemy for Kenpachi.
- Blade on a Stick: Technically bladed, though it functions much more as a bludgeon due to its design.
- Blood Knight: The Espada equivalent to Kenpachi in this.
- Combat Pragmatist: A fight is meant to be won. It doesn't matter if your opponent is too weak to fight back. Dirty tactics are fair game to Nnoitra.
- Death Seeker: Basically, Nnoitra's life goal is to kill every single person he meets, until he is either the strongest person in existence, or killed in the act. He has no problem with either option and the second one is what actually occurs.
- Despair Event Horizon: Hit it at some point in the past and kept right on going. "None of us is getting redemption."
- Determinator: He will stand up again and again until someone dies.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: He would far prefer to die than be pitied. He cares for Tesla, but will get very defensive if he thinks Tesra is showing pity.
- Evil Counterpart: Similar in some ways to Kenpachi as a bloodthirsty, fight-loving psycho with the desire to fight strong enemies, but Nnoitra is strongly distinguished by character traits such as lechery, misogyny, pettiness, arrogance, and an inferiority complex. The core of their insanity is also different: Kenpachi fights for fun, Nnoitra is a Death Seeker; Nnoitra is obsessed with proving he is the strongest, Kenpachi loves finding out the opponent might be stronger than him. However, when a fight drags on too long, Nnoitra gets frustrated. Zaraki, on the other hand, love a long hard battle. A visual parallel is also drawn with Nnoitra's eyepatch, which is later replaced with a scar identical to Kenpachi's after taking a strong slash to the face and chest.
- Eyepatch of Power: It conceals his Hollow hole.
- He-Man Woman Hater: He kept picking fights with Nelliel because he refused to accept women could be stronger than men and loathed her pity. At a meeting, he mocks Harribel, claiming she's too scared to fight. His suggestions on what Ulquiorra could do his "pet" Orihime draw Ulquiorra's disgust. Later, he shoves his fingers into Orihime's mouth to silence her, a gesture so loaded in Japan that the animators censored the scene into having a hand clamped over her mouth instead.
- High Collar of Doom: His "spoon".
- Horned Humanoid: His released form has asymmetrical horns that look like a crescent driven halway through his skull.
- I Am Not Left-Handed: His Resurrecion looks like it has four arms, but it really has six. He also has a very powerful Healing Factor, just in case anyone actually manages to damage him.
- Improbable Weapon User: Um, what is that thing? A reversed scythe maybe? He does gain four of them in Resurrecion anyway.
- Jerkass: Abrasive, vulgar and misogynistic, he admits he loathes women holding higher ranks than himself, and displays no respect for Harribel now or Nel in the past as a result. His enmity with Nel extended to their incompatible battle philosophies. His botched attempt to murder her and her fraccions led to their de-powering and exile. Even the emotionless Ulquiorra recoils in disgust when Nnoitra implies the captive Orihime should be raped. When later restraining her, Nnoitra shoves two fingers into her mouth, a gesture associated with Japanese porn that the anime changes into a more chaste gagging scene.
- Kick the Dog: Everything he does, really. Even he doesn't seem to enjoy his sadism that much.
- Kick Them While They Are Down: Grimmjow and Ichigo certainly felt it.
- The Law of Diminishing Defensive Effort: Likes to just stand there and point out that his opponent's attacks can't harm him at all. Neliel and Kenpachi's swords are among the only things sharp enough to cut him.
- Multi-Armed and Dangerous: In Resureccion, he can fight with up to six arms, each one holding a weapon. He can also manifest as many as he wants at any one time, allowing him to attack with four and then reveal the remaining two at the worst possible moment.
- No Sell: Chad's best attack doesn't budge him (despite immediately previous TKOing a Privaron Espada), and an exhausted Ichigo's blade harmlessly bounces off his skin.
- Nonstandard Character Design: His eyes are thinner than every single major character's so far, and the large upper teeth.
- Noodle People: He's also much taller and thinner than most other characters.
- Not Worth Killing: Spares Chad's life after defeating him, explaining to Tesra that he's not going to waste energy finishing off someone who's as good as dead already.
- Pet the Dog: He cares enough for his Fraccion Tesra to warn him to get away from Kenpachi after sensing the latter's power. The databooks confirm that Tesra is Nnoitra's "confidant", and that Nnoitra experiences "shaken grief" when Tesra is cut down.
- Rule of Symbolism: According to the databook, Nnoitra is symbolic of an "Asura" from Buddhist theology. An Asura is essentially a deity that has become addicted to anger, violence, sadism, and envy and is utterly incapable of solving any conflict with anything less than violence and death. They are also egotistical to a fault, and feel a compulsion to look down upon others.
- Slasher Smile: As a Blood Knight, he lives for battle... and hopes to die that way, too. Anything that involves or leads to violence and bloodshed is something that makes him grin.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Despite being the Quinto Espada, he claims to be the strongest Espada.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Even after it's been confirmed that his name is "Nnoitra", a lot of people still call him "Noitora." VizMedia calls him "Nnoitora". He's actually named after Richard Neutra, a famous architect. In the dub, it's pronounced 'Noitora.'
- Stay in the Kitchen: He claims that women should not be stronger than men and used this as an excuse to pick fights with Nel.
- Super Toughness: Even by the standards of the Arrancar, Nnoitra's hierro was considered exceptional. He possessed the strongest hierro of all the Espada.
- Took a Level in Badass: He was previously the 8th Espada at some point in the past, but managed to claw his way up to 5th, and given the tough-ass time he gave Kenpachi he seems to have earned it. Neliel was once so strong she could beat him down, without taking in a scratch, as Nnoitra is bloodied up. When they meet in the current timeline, Nnoitra is an even match for Neliel, as none of her attacks did any significant damage to him. Nnoitra is also a recognition that the Espada have improved greatly since Neliel's expulsion.
- Torso with a View: It's in his head!
- Variable-Length Chain: Attaches his weapon to his hip.
- Victory By Endurance: Nnoitra uses this against Ichigo. After Ichigo defeats Grimmjow and apparently rescued Orihime, Nnoitra announces his presence by one-shotting the exhausted Grimmjow before thrashing the equally exhausted Ichigo. In Nnoitra's case, this was triply assholish because Ichigo, Grimmjow and Orihime were all equally fair game in his eyes.
- Villainous Breakdown: Kenpachi's clear enjoyment of what appears to Nnoitra to be a losing battle starts to strongly unnerve Nnoitra. As Kenpachi continues to laugh and enjoy himself, Nnoitra descends into raving and swearing at him. Eventually, this psychological edge causes Nnoitra to be too shaken to think to defend himself when Kenpachi finally goes for a killing strike, crippling him in one blow.
- Would Hit a Girl and Would Hurt a Child: Explicitly a part of his life philosophy.
(#6) Sexta Espada - Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez
"They're all cowards, every damn one of them. Whatever. I'll just consume them. As they become my flesh and blood, they will see beyond. I... I am the king!"
Arrancar 12 and the sixth Espada. He views himself as a king and is angered when he feels that anyone is failing to give him the respect he deserves. Despite his violence and instability, he does have a personal code of honor and fair play. He is despised by Tousen for his disrespect and vicious behavior. He defines the death aspect of 'Destruction'. His number tattoo is on the right side of his back, and his Hollow hole is in his abdomen.
His Zanpakuto is Pantera
, which transforms him into a panther-cat-man-hybrid capable of extreme speed combat, and capable of firing darts from his elbows.
Tropes associated with Grimmjow:
(#7) Septima Espada - Zommari Rureaux
"Everything is 'governed' by its rightful master. Subordinates act under the orders of their superiors. The masses live under the rule of their king. The clouds move according to the will of the wind. The moonlight is ruled by the light of the sun."
The 7th of the Espada members. He claims to be the fastest of the Espada, fast enough to temporarily create clones of himself to confuse and trap the enemy. He's usually very calm and contemplative, but he harbors a deep hatred for Soul Reapers for killing hollows. He defines the death aspect of 'Intoxication'. The location of his number tattoo is unknown, and his Hollow hole is in his right nipple.
His Zanpakuto is Brujeria
, and it transforms his lower body into something similar to that of a sea urchin with 50 eyes covering his body. Each of these eyes are capable of "tagging" targets and telekinetically controlling said targets.
- Animal Motifs: His resurreccion resembles a sea urchin.
- Antagonist Abilities: Zommari's abilities are designed to turn everything around him into a weapon, including his opponents' own limbs. Further, if he manages to mark your head, he can directly control you and force you to either commit suicide or attack your own allies.
- Bald of Evil: He has a row of spikes on his head instead of hair.
- Break the Haughty: Tried to perform one on Byakuya. Fails badly at it and even sees it backfiring on him.
- Doppelgänger Spin: Has the ability to move so quickly he can create clones of himself. These clones are capable of attacking but only last a short time.
- Drunk with Power: His aspect of death is "intoxication". After releasing, he shows a great deal of arrogance and condescension towards his opponent and has a villainous breakdown when he realizes he's really not that great.
- Evil Counterpart: To Byakuya, sort of. They are both stoic yet Not So Stoic underneath, both of their special abilities involve speed and kidou-based abilities. The difference lies in the 'passion' part of their natures. Zommari represented intoxication and therefore had never learned to reign in excess. Byakuya, however, had learned a long time ago to discipline the excesses within his own personality.
- Explaining Your Power to the Enemy: Got him killed.
- Extra Eyes: He has 48 eyes on his release form's body in addition to his two normal eyes, and eight open up on his forehead in the last part of the fight.
- Gratuitous Japanese: His BANZAI! AIZEN-SAMA!!! was more or less left untranslated in the English dub, apart from replacing "Aizen-sama" with "Lord Aizen".
- I Am Not Left-Handed: His reveal of eight more eyes in his forehead.
- Large Ham: "BANZAI! AIZEN-SAMA!" "Why won't you take my love!?"
- Lightning Bruiser: Self-proclaimed fastest Espada and strong enough to fight evenly with a Captain for an extended period.
- Marionette Master: His release ability Amor allows him to control anyone he looks at.
- Pride: Inevitable as he serves as an Evil Counterpart for Byakuya. Seriously, almost all the talk during their fight is about "Which one of us is the most prideful, therefore the most despicable?".
- Scary Black Man: At least before using Ressurection.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Byakuya easily proved Zommari was this. The self-proclaimed fastest Espada was no match for a Soul Reaper who was functioning with only one arm and one leg and for all his strength, in the end he was defeated through kidou and a sealed zanpakutou. As Byakuya said, "You make the title 'fastest Espada' weep".
- Sycophantic Servant: BANZAI AIZEN-SAMA!
- This Cannot Be!: When Byakuya showed he could easily counteract his ability twice. He didn't actually say it out loud, but his facial expression left no doubt about it. Much more blatant in the anime though.
- Too Dumb to Live: At the beginning of the fight, he Flash Steps behind Byakuya and surprises him, but instead of cutting him down, he stops and explains that he is very fast. Then, he told Byakuya too much about how his Amor worked. Byakuya even lampshaded this trope by telling him that he was stupid to have revealed so much.
- Torso with a View: His Hollow hole is over his left nipple according to the databook.
- Villainous Breakdown: The biggest and most noticeable in the Espadas.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Complains about this to Byakuya — he even made a few good points. Unfortunately, he made them while trying to kill Byakuya's beloved younger sister when she was unconscious and defenseless. This, of course, made it personal, so Zommari got killed anyway.
(#8) Octava Espada - Szayelaporro Granz
"Eternally repeating that cycle of death and rebirth, an existence such as this... truly, mine is what may be called a 'perfect existence'!"
Szayelaporro is the 8th Espada and head of research development in Hueco Mundo. He is pretty much a lot like Mayuri: prepared for anything, has little to no feelings for other beings, and is a complete mad scientist. He also considers himself a perfect being with his powers. Everything he does is...well, nasty. He defines the death aspect of 'Madness'. The location of his number tattoo is unknown, and his Hollow hole is in his penis.
His Zanpakuto is Fornicaras
and yes, it does mean "you will fornicate"
in Spanish. It gives him a parasitic worm motif with various and deadly abilities, including something eerily similar to voodoo.
- A God Am I: Gives a big speech about how he is "perfect", "immaculate", and "immortal".
- And I Must Scream: Due to a poison he accidentally injests, his perceptions are speeded up to the point that the few seconds it takes for Mayuri to kill him seem like they took thousands of years. Thousands of years of simply staring at a sword and waiting for it to stab him.
- Animal Motifs: His resurreccion is related to the parasitic worm. The tentacles he gains also make him resemble a butterfly, and he describes himself as a phoenix.
- Antagonist Abilities: With preparation time and advance analysis of future opponents, Szayel can nullify any of his opponent's powers. He can use his wings to create Voodoo Dolls that mimic his opponents powers and fight on his behalf - if he crushes those dolls, the real opponent will take the equivalent damage and if the opponents crush the dolls, more dolls will appear. He can even take control of anything that eats him and resurrect himself by allowing him to burrow into an opponent and consume them from the inside out.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: Can reduce damage his enemies cause after analysing their reiatsu.
- Ax-Crazy: He's normally calm and collected, though mocking. However, he defines the aspect of Madness and it shows: He is completely unhinged.
- Badass Boast: Szayel brags at length about how he's perfect and how Mayuri can never win...right before Mayuri's superhuman drug takes effect, incapacitating the Arrancar and allows Mayuri to win. His boast merely pissed Mayuri off as well.
- Bishōnen: Out of the male Arrancar, he's definitely the most androgynous looking.
- Body Snatcher: If he is eaten while in Resurreccion mode, he will take over his devourer's nervous system.
- Camp Straight: Is disturbed when he thinks Renji's actions could be considered flirtation.
- Card-Carrying Villain: His image poem says it all. "Tell me I'm the thing you hate the most."
- Crazy-Prepared: Second only to Mayuri.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Apparently he was simply stabbed in the chest. What makes it cruel and unusual is that he experienced it (and the subsequent pain) like it lasted centuries or even millennia.
"Oh When? When will the time come for this sword to pierce my heart? Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry...PLEASE HURRY UP AND KILL ME!!!"
- Death by Irony: Effortlessly trashes Renji because he was using Yylfort to spy on him and knew how to counter all of Renji's techniques. Then gets taken apart by Mayuri because he did the same thing to him using Ishida.
- Dub Name Change: Apparently "Fornicaras" was too risque by [adult swim]'s standards, so in the TV broadcast they changed it to "La Lujuriosa" ("the lustful"). In the Italian manga the command "sip" (sorseggia) was changed to "succhia" (Suck), with everything that implies...
- Evil Counterpart: Both are pretty bad, but the main difference is that Mayuri does the terrible things he does For Science!. Szayel believes that he's already perfect and does the things he's does for pure sadism.
- Evil Genius: He's completely insane and twisted, but he's also capable of some very effective preparations and tricks to compensate for his lack of actual power.
- Evil Knockoff: One of his Resurreccion powers unleashes dark liquid upon his enemies, and creates clones of them when they make physical contact with as little as a droplet of that liquid. As an added quirk, he sometimes modifies the clones' appearance to suit his personal "sense of aethsetics".
- Fan Disservice: A lot of his abilities and comments have a creepy sexual slant to them with occasional rape overtones.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: The second in the series to be revealed as a sick son of a bitch.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Using Gabriel on Nemu was a bad idea! In 'Spirits Are Forever With You' this happens again since his method of stealing techniques by absorbing reiryoku allows Roka to learn Mugetsu and fire it off at him.
- Hollywood Voodoo: He creates dolls of his opponents by temporarily absorbing them into his "wings". These dolls contain pills that represent each of the victim's internal organs and bear their names in Spanish. Destroying any of these pills does the same to its associated organ.
- Hypocritical Humour: Gets creeped out by Pesche taking out his Zanpakuto from his loincloth.
"Just what are you pulling out of there?!"
- I'm a Humanitarian: Well, all hollows eat humans, and many eat other hollows before they're made into arrancar, but Szayelaporro is the only arrancar shown eating other arrancars. Specifically, his own fracciones are designed to act as powerful healing medicine when he eats them.
- Impromptu Tracheotomy: Gets hit by Seele Schinder in the neck.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: In the anime the above attack landed in his chest.
- Intimate Marks: He's one of the few Espada that we've never seen either a Hollow Hole or Espada Tattoo for. Word of God is that they're on his genitalia.
- Karmic Death: From his perspective it took centuries or millennia for Mayuri's leisurely sword strike to finally reach his chest, at which point he was even more insane with sheer boredom and begging for death inside his mind.
- Large Ham: Especially during his fight with Mayuri.
- Life Drinker: His Gabriel ability.
- Mad Scientist: He's Mayuri's Arrancar counterpart, can't be less. Mayuri is disdainful of his approach to science, however.
- The Man Behind the Man: He was the one that ordered the Exequias to kill Dordoni and Cirucci, since he wanted to extract Reiatsu samples from Ichigo's gang.
- Moral Event Horizon: In-Universe, he crossed the Blue and Orange Morality line for Mayuri by claiming to have achieved perfection.
- Nerd Glasses: His mask fragments resemble these. He even pushes them up, showing they're not strongly attached.
- Not Quite Dead: He and Aaroniero quite literally went to Hell together. They basically went from one form of dead to another. The novel plays with this idea by having him return to attack Soul Society after getting a power up.
- Post Mortem Comeback: An incredibly gruesome case. After getting devoured by Ashisogi Jizo, Szayelaporro reanimated himself within Nemu's intestines, after burrowing into her body via her navel. Her stomach ended up grossly enlarged, splitting her skin open and allowing him to be "reborn" through her mouth. The process left her an emaciated, shrivelled-up husk. It didn't work, ultimately, since he absorbed a sense-accelerating substance that was placed into Nemu beforehand by Mayuri, which led to his own Cruel and Unusual Death.
- Resurrective Immortality: By the use of his Gabriel ability he can resurrect himself inside the body of his target, potentially killing them in the process.
- Sinister Surveillance: He has spy bugs placed on his brother, and in every section of his lair.
- Sissy Villain: For a mad scientist, he's awfully concerned about his clothes and hair.
- Smug Snake: He may be a bona fide Evil Genius, but he also believes himself to be an infallible intellect and the perfect being because of his nightmarish methods of escaping from death, and his only fights prior to Mayuri are him attacking people he has already analyzed to put the advantage overwhelmingly in his favor. When he overestimates himself too much against Mayuri, however, his every technique is thwarted and he winds up dying horrifically because he tried to kill Nemu to save himself.
- Torso with a View: Subverted. Per Word of God his Hollow hole is located on the tip of his penis which, while commonly of significant sentimental value, is not vitally important.
- Ultimate Life Form: Claimed to be one, since he can come back to life after being killed and take over anything that eats him.
- Villainous Breakdown: Starts out smug and confident in his superiority. When Mayuri starts messing with him, he throws a temper tantrum and starts swearing a lot. He's also breaking down shortly before his death, begging for Mayuri to hurry up, but then again from his perspective, he's been frozen in place with a sword slooooooooooowly piercing him for an ETERNITY by then.
- The Worf Effect: Very rare villainous version. He appears in the fourth film's prelude solely as a means of helping the audience gauge the power level of Hell's denizens.
(#9) Noveno Espada - Aaroniero Arruruerie
"If it's about our faces, keep it to yourself. We got tired of hearing people's thoughts about them a very long time ago."
Aaroniero is the 9th and only Gillian Espada. Because of his nonhuman appearance, he usually wears a white mask with eight tiny holes over his head. He is prideful of his status as an Espada, a position he has managed to maintain due to his potential for infinite growth by continuing to devour other Hollows even as an Arrancar. He defines the death aspect of 'Greed'. His number tattoo is on his heads, and his Hollow hole is in his left thigh.
His Zanpakuto is Glotonería
, which transforms him into an enormous octopus-like creature. In this form, he has all the abilities of every Hollow he has devoured at his disposal. He additionally wields Kaien's Nejibana
, a trident utilizing water-based attacks.
- All Your Powers Combined: Never used any of them in conjunction, though.
- Alliterative Name: His name begins with the same "Aa" sound despite the starting letters being "Aa" and "Ar" respectively.
- Animal Motifs: His resurreccion resembles an octopus.
- Antagonist Abilities: Power Duplication, but only after eating a Hollow (or a Hollow that already assimilated someone else).
- Arch-Enemy: Rukia loathes him for what he did to Kaien (and tried to make her do as Kaien).
- Brain in a Jar: Two! Almost literally.
- Clipped Wing Angel: His release is extremely large and makes him a bigger target. It resembles a very bloated octopus.
- Death by Irony: He's impaled by the girl he impaled moments before. Which sounds weird, but don't mind us.
- Demonic Possession: Downplayed. Since he absorbed Metastacia, he's able to control the corpse of the last person Metastacia possessed.
- Evil Laugh: Lets one out, rather stupidly in retrospect, while holding Rukia on his trident over his head.
- Face Stealer: By virtue of absorbing Metastacia, he's able to use Kaien's face in place of his real one.
- Greed: He's very proud of his ability to steal other peoples' powers and use them for his own purposes. In fact, his goal in life is to evolve into an Ultimate Life Form via endless evolution through being a Power Parasite.
- Hammerspace: How the hell is he able to hide his Zanpakuto under his glove?
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: While being held in the air by Aaroniero's trident, Rukia points her broken Zanpakuto at his face and uses Shirafune to restore her sword, stabbing Aaroniero through one of his skulls. She swung her sword down, breaking the rest of his jar and killing him.
- Informed Ability: According to him, he'd absorbed the special abilities of no less than 33,650 other Hollows. Despite this, he never actually uses any powers other than Kaien's zanpakuto and some Combat Tentacles. Ulquiorra mentions a third, in passing, calling it synchronized recognition, which apparently let him transmit information between all the Arrancar.
- Lovecraftian Superpower: His Zanpakuto takes on the form of a gaping maw with several tentacles surrounding it, which he hides under his glove. We don't understand that either.
- Making a Splash: He wields power over water with Kaien's stolen zanpakuto.
- More Teeth than the Osmond Family: His skulls both have rows of jagged teeth at their cheeks, while the octopus has faces on the side.
- Not Quite Dead: Or rather, he's dead in a different way since all Hollows are spirits anyway. Currently in hell with Szayel getting worfed by movie villains.
- Offstage Villainy: Along with Szayel, Aaroniero is the only other Espada that literally went to Hell after dying, but we didn't see enough from him to determine exactly why. Presumably, his treatment of Rukia is supposed to be an indication of his normal behavior, though it's little different than many other non hellbound villains get.
- Power Parasite / Power Duplication: Absorbed Kaien Shiba and Metastacia into him, which allowed Aaroniero to use Matastacia's Demonic Possession and Zanpakuto destruction ability, along with the water from Nejibana's zanpakutou power.
- Pronoun Trouble: Nobody ever refers to Aaroniero by a pronoun, making it ambiguous over whether Aaroniero is to be referred to as a "he" or as "they" (because of the two talking skulls).
- Seven Deadly Sins: He has two. Aaroniero's resurrección is called Glotonería, meaning "Gluttony". His "Aspect of Death" was confirmed to be Greed.
- Shapeshifter Guilt Trip: Uses this on Rukia, but it only works for a bit.
- Too Dumb to Live: Would've won the fight if he wasn't mind-raping Rukia the whole time.
- Torso with a View: On his leg.
- Ultimate Life Form: Claimed to be one, since he gains the powers and memories of anything he eats, plus the powers and memories of anything they ate, giving him the potential for endless evolution.
- Villainous Breakdown: Once Rukia manages to stab through his jarhead, the top head just curses while the lower head screams about being betrayed by Aizen about never being in pain again.
- Voice of the Legion: One head has a high-pitched voice and one very deep voice.
- Weakened by the Light: While it hurts him, it does not make him helpless. It does cancel his shapeshifting ability, however.
- The Worf Effect: Very rare villainous version. He appears in the fourth film's prelude solely as a means of helping the audience gauge the power level of Hell's denizens.
(#10) Diez & Cero Espada - Yammy Llargo
"Piss me off more, and more, and more! The more you do, the more pathetic your final deaths will be!"
Ranked 10 and Zero of the Espada, Yammy is clearly the largest of the group. He's extremely arrogant and loves to destroy things and murder everybody in his way, believing they're nothing but insects. He isn't the smartest though and usually has Ulquiorra explain things. In conjunction with this, he also lacks versatility when fighting. He defines the death aspect of 'Rage'. His number tattoo is on his left shoulder and his Hollow hole is in his sternum.
His Zanpakuto is Ira
, which transforms him into a gargantuan... thing vaguely resembling a cross between a centipede and an Ankylosaurus
if he is angered. If he is to be further angered in this state, he can additionally transform into an even bigger form resembling a gorilla.
- Animal Motifs: His resurreccion resembles cross between a centipede and an Ankylosaurus. His powered up form resembles an ape.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: He can apparently change size in his sealed form; when Chad sees him again in Las Noches, he notes that he's far larger than he was in the real world. And then there's his release... And his second powerup if that was even possible.
- Battle Discretion Shot: After seeing Renji, Chad, and Rukia gear up to fight the now-towering Yammy, we switch to... the real world to watch the other Espada get spanked. Months later when we finally return? A Curbstomp Battle has taken place off-screen, with Rukia as the last one standing. The final fight with Kenpachi and Byakuya is also never shown.
- Big Eater: Something of a plot point as his massive eating habits is what helps him power up in preparation for battle.
- Blessed with Suck: The databook indicates that the Espada are ranked by Reiatsu, and Yammy's 0 rank comes from having the most when he releases since his power increases whenever he's angry. Unfortunately, this means Yammy has practically none of the special abilities that made the other 9 Espada and Arrancar in general so deadly, and as such Kenpachi and Byakuya are able to defeat him with minimal effort.
- Bus Crash: We never actually see Kenpachi and Byakuya beat him.
- Cannibalism Superpower: Through the Hueco Mundo arc, he was apparently eating the dead Arrancars to make himself stronger.
- Clipped Wing Angel: For both his forms. Despite the high strength level, all he really is is a gigantic slow target.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: His off-screen fight with Rukia, Chad, and Renji, which he won. His similarly off-screen fight with Byakuya and Kenpachi, which he lost.
- Dumb Muscle: Hence why Kenpachi, Byakuya and Ulquiorra don't take him seriously.
- Hulking Out: See that part on this trope's page about growing to twice your size? Yammy does it when he's already hugantic. Then goes on to imply he isn't even close to being done yet. What little good it does him.
- Ignored Enemy: Kenpachi and Byakuya barely seem to notice he's there after a while as they keep sniping at each other.
- I'm a Humanitarian: He explains that his boost in power is a result of "eating" a lot. Since one of his attacks involves sucking out the souls of humans and devouring them, and that Hollows are cannibalistic by nature, it seems he was eating the dead Espada and Fracciones.
- Jerk Ass: Hooh boooy. He mass-murders a ton of humans on a whim, nearly kills Tatsuki, splits Sado's arm in half, beats Ichigo to a pulp, punches Inoue across the field, crushes Rukia in his hand, swats Menoly into a wall, brutalized Loly without any real reason, throws stuff at his dog, needlessly killed a nurse right after she reattached his arm and badmouthed his comrades after they died.
- Kick the Dog: A literal example: He mistreated his fraccion, Kukkapūro, who resembled a dog.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Rushes into every fight, but loses every single time.
- Left for Dead: Byakuya and Kenpachi ignored him so much they didn't even bother to finish him off. They just left him bleeding and broken in Hueco Mundo while they went home. He died soon after his sole Fraccion (a dog Arrancar) visited him.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Go ahead. Piss him off. See what happens. Not a damn thing, apparently!
- Licked by the Dog: Yammy is a complete and utter bastard from his introduction to his death, but a small yappy Hollow Dog appears to like him. It doesn't entirely count as a Pet the Dog moment, since his entire relationship with it is telling it to shut up, but at least he never seemed to attack it like he did to a nurse. That dog is his Fraccion, by the way, and he's called Kukkapūro.
- Marathon Boss: While he might not have looked like much, Yammy still fought with Byakuya and Kenpachi for over an hour before his death. In terms of fights based on manga time, he fought the longest out of any antagonist.
- Master of None: Word of God says his powers work something like this; he's the most physically powerful and has the highest Spirit Energy of the Espada, explaining the Zero rank, but the tradeoff is that he has no gimmicks whatsoever, having to rely solely on brute strength and the powers all Hollows have. This, of course, makes him a far less effective fighter than any of the others.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Yammy Zig Zags with this trope. At first it seems he's incredibly weak, then he reveals that he's actually the 0th Espada and technically above Starrk. And he still gets his ass kicked. Then he reveals that he's just not at full power and goes to full power mode...and he still gets his ass kicked. The Espada are ranked according to spiritual pressure, and Yammy's is the highest, but he lacks all the extra bells and whistles that make the other Espada so dangerous, so in the end he ultimately subverts this trope. Kenpachi describes their fight as boring, a criteria he applies to any fight where his life is not in danger at any point.
- Red Herring: He was... disarmed by Ichigo in his first appearance, is smacked around by Ulquiorra, and generally makes an ass of himself, giving the impression that he isn't all that powerful. Renji and the others feel confident enough to tangle with him and guess what?! Espada #0!
- Scary Black Man: He's got the makings of one, but he's too much of a blowhard to really be taken seriously.
- Seven Deadly Sins: Kubo Tite revealed in the Masked interview that some of the Espada were modeled after the Seven Deadly Sins. Yammy's resurrección is called "Ira", so he should be Wrath.
- Speak Ill of the Dead: He made sure to call Ulquiorra and Nnoitra garbage after they died. Same with Grimmjow, but he's alive in the manga.
- There Was a Door: He tends to just burst through walls if he's in a hurry. And sometimes if he's not.
- Torso with a View: Has a hole right in the center of his gut.
- Ungrateful Bastard: What do you do when a fellow Arrancar nurse just reattached your torn arm? Why, bash her head off intending to smash her up to her feet, of course!
- Unskilled, but Strong: He has the highest amount of raw power of any of the Espada, but he lacks any of their special tricks like Respira or Starrk's wolves. He doesn't even seem to have sonido. Thus, he has the top position without being the most effective combatant.
- You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: Due to the nature of his Zanpakuto, Ira. The name itself means "anger" in Spanish, and like the Incredible Hulk himself, the madder he gets, the larger and stronger he gets.
- Your Soul Is Mine: By inhaling, the souls of any muggle level beings in range are extracted and flow into his mouth.