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Please add new theories at the bottom of the page.

First thing first, let's speculate on the rest of the Stern Ritter letters, shall we?

The two shinigami introduced in chapter 480
They gonna somehow end up staying at Ichigo's place. Why. Because it would be funny,thats why.
  • Jossed-ish, one of them is dead.
    • This isn't confirmed yet.And afterall nobody dies in Bleach. And Orihime isn't that far away either.
      • Chapter 481 came out, and it seems like my prediction was right.
      • They didn't stay for long, they had to go back to SS to attend Sasakibe's funeral. And then Vandenreich invaded.
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Ivan is a Hollow/Quincy hybrid
So you have a Quincy who has died, and due to sercomstances become a Hollow, this Hollow merges with others to become a Gillian and eventualy dominates to the point of becoming a Adjuchas or Vasto Lorde. This Menos level Hollow eventualy is rips off their mask which would normaly result in an Arrancar but due to the Quincie orrigin they have Quincy powers instead of Soul reapers.
  • It gets worse, actually. Chapter 483 shows that he's actually also capable of chanting something. Could be a kido, or since he's a Quicy, just another one of their spells. If that is kido.... Shinigami-Quincy-Hollow-everythingelse hybrid?

The Vandenreich are soul amalgamations.
They operate on the same general idea as powerful hollows, which are made from a large number of lesser hollows that have been devoured by another. The main difference being they're born from the fusion of the remnants of multiple types, such as shinigami, Quincy, hollow (including Arrancar) and spiritually aware humans. Possibly 'trash' parts of destroyed or damaged souls that become naturally drawn into a lesser level of reality where it all gathers, eventually forming an individual.
  • Alterativly there part Zanpakuto not part shinigami

The Vandenreich are the antagonist version of Squad 0, their name denoting they are from the Spirit King's dimension.
Aizen was working with Vandenreich all the time (possibly a member, or trying to attain that higher being), the purpose is to foster and grow Ichigo's power to be able to kill off the Spirit King - only possible with Ichigo's fittingly named main attack. Yamamoto will eventually die as a final show off of how bad-ass the Vandenreich are, leaving the Spirit Kings key to Ichigo, who will then travel to the Spirit King's dimension for some serious whop-ass and endgame series. Series will end with Ichigo finding his destiny (i.e. realizing he's heir appearant to one of the four noble clans and successor to the Spirit King), but when it all comes down to business he will stay human and substitute shinigami.
  • Somewhat jossed by the fact that we find out that the name Vandenreic refers to Their status as a hidden organization with a king that stayed invisible within Soul Society, and that the Gotei 13 fought the Vandenreich in the past as well, not the 0 squad. However, it's also somewhat confirmed because Isshin was head of the Shiba clan.

Vandenreich is divided into two groups
The first group are the Quincies, who are on missions in the Human world and Hueco mundo exterminating Hollows, causing the barrier between Soul Society and the Living World to deteriorate. The second group is a "third spiritual race" whose powers can be described as the combination of Hollow and Fullbring powers, with the "manipulation of souls" mechanic of the latter. The Messenger and the Leader are members of this "Third Race"; they are the remnants of the original maintainters of souls in the world, alongside the Shinigami, until they were all but wiped out in a war between the two races 1000 years ago.

Vandenreich are making Arrancar with Quincy powers
Because Aizen made Arrancar with Soul reaper powers and....i'm just trying to make sense out of Ivan.
  • Jossed. They are taken from Hueco mundo as a vanguard, not created.
    • Still doesn't really disprove this, if we take "make" in the sense of granting them new power. Aizen "made" Arrancars by giving Hollows Shinigami powers with the Hogyoku, these guys "make" Quincy Arrancars by giving Arrancars Quincy powers through unknown means.
      • Not quite. First of all, arrancars are hollows who've broken (parts of) their masks. From my memory, the only time this has been achieved was by the usage of the hogyoko. Further, Quincies are humans that have learned to sense and control reishi and reiatsu. While it's not completely impossible Quincies could exist in soul society, there's really nothing supporting quincies being able to exist as quincies after death, as they would be reincarnated in soul society. Would they continue being Quincies there, they'd be hunted down as per the old war. If they're not going to SS, they're going to Hueco mundo as hollows. As far as character storytelling goes, it's pretty obvious any quincy would kill himself sooner than becoming a hollow, not to mention that understanding the process of becoming a hollow diminishes the possibility of becoming one. While it's absolutely possible Vandenreich could've made 'Quincy Arrancars', it rhymes very bad with the Bleach story so far. We now know Ivan along with probably other arrancars are forced to do Vandenreich's bidding, not created. While on the subject, it's more likely (IMHO) the Vandenreich are another 'clan' of hunters, similar but not identical to Quincies. (Tessai originally describes the Quincies as an offspring from these hunters). TL;DR: You may be right, but everything points to the Arrancars employed by Vandenreich are taken from Hueco mundo, not created anew.

Ryuuken was once a member of the Vandenreich
He left when he was younger. He did not want Uryu to become a Quincy at first because he feared the Vandenreich would try and recruit him.
  • Note that he seems to have been aware of Vandenreich methods for restoring one's powers after use of the Sanrei glove.

Ryuuken was trying to protect Uryuu from getting caught in the war between the Shinigami and the Vandenreich.
Whether he was personally involved with the Vandenreich or not, Ryuuken seems to have been aware of their existence and therefore likely realized that they would, inevitably, restart the conflict with Soul Society. The Shinigami would have been immediately suspicious of the Ishida Quincies, even if they were noncombatants...and Shinigami taking an interest in their family has never, EVER ended well. Likewise, the Vandenreich would not be kind to a tiny family of near-pacifist Quincies, one of whom had even negotiated with the Shinigami for peace. Ryuuken's complete withdrawal from the spirit world was the only way to guarantee that he and his son would not be drawn into the coming war. Remember that Souken said Ryuuken was protecting something specific through his decision to withdraw, and Isshin and Urahara have respected his decision to do so despite how much they could have used his help during the Winter War.

The Vandenreich capture and use Bankai for their own ends
Several members of the Vandenreich talk about "capturing Bankai" and back is Soul Society it was mentioned Sasakibe was able to use Bankai as well. As such I theorize that the Vandenreich actually steal bankai and become able to use it themselves.
  • Just adding that I KNEW IT. At least they have shown that they steal Bankai, now to see if they can actually use them.

Ivan and Luders were Privaron Espada
Ivan was rather strong for your average Arrancar (assuming average is Numeros-level), having been sent to try to capture Ichigo's Bankai, and Luders was put in charge of the Vandenreich squad that declared war on Soul Society. Granted, both were killed off immediately, but it doesn't really change what they might have been in the past. The Privaron Espada were all Arrancar that were once Espada, but we only saw three such Arrancar. There are implied to be generations of Espada, with Aaroniero being the oldest of the Espada, apparently even before Aizen usurped Barragan as King of Hueco Mundo. If that is true, there were potentially more Privaron Espada than the ones Ichigo and Co encounter, unless the rest died over the years.

The Vandenreich Leader will curb-Stomp Ichigo and the gang
This is obviously going to happen, but when it does, i'll look like a genius.

The Vandenreich's power to seal Bankais is based on Szayel's research.
Szayel Aporro displayed the ability to prevent a Shinigami from entering Bankai from within a certain area (his room). The Vandenreich raided what was left of Szayel's research when they conquered Hueco Mundo, and improved upon it to create their Bankai sealing medallion.
  • YES. Troper sir/ma'am, you're a genius!

The Vandenreich will kill Mayuri
The Vandenreich Quincies seek to destroy Soul Society for the Quincy genocide. Now, who within Soul Society had the most to do with that genocide? Who bragged about it to the person he presumed was the last Quincy? Who inexplicably carries photos of the "experiments" he conducted on Quincy subjects for shits and giggles?

My guess is this arc will give Mayuri a battle far more epic than his fights with Ishida and Aporro, possibly even killing him. We know now that Kubo is going to be less than hesitant about killing characters, and it only makes sense that the Vandenreich would be especially eager to see to it that Mayuri suffers. Considering the only reason a Bankai'd Mayuri wasn't killed by Ishida was because Ishida's aim was slightly off, he doesn't seem to have much of a chance against the enhanced powers of these new enemies (unless he has time to get Crazy-Prepared like he did with Aporro).

The arc itself began with Mayuri, and it's been reminding us rather heavily that he is the one most involved with what happened to the Quincy. His new look even carries with it less of the comical Cloud Cuckoo Lander aura of the previous look and a return to the more sinister man he was when we first met him.

Mayuri's death could leave the door open for Kisuke to come back to Soul Society, which would be an interesting development in itself.

  • Mayuri wasnt behind the genocide. Yamamoto was. It only seems like hes the most involved with the genocide because hes always with Uryu. Also, I remember reading that Kubo said Urahara wasnt going back to the Soul Society.

The final arc will see the return of characters from throughout the series, eventually resulting in a gigantic climactic battle featuring everyone.
We already know the Arrancar and surviving Espada are back. The Quincies as a race have returned as the Vandenreich. As Ichigo and co. are now technically aiding the Hollows, they as a race may work alongside the shinigami for now. As some WMGs above postulate, Aizen may return in some form. Hopefully this arc will involve Isshin enough to finally reveal his backstory. The Shibas will probably get involved. The budding spiritual powers of Karin and Tatsuki may develop. The other Visoreds will definitely come back.

What I think most likely though is that we haven't seen the last of the (surviving) Fullbringers. Sure, Jackie's just a regular human now, but Riruka and Yukio still have their powers and are just wandering around the place. Considering that they're proper canon characters, it seems unlikely that they'll disappear forever just because the Fullbring arc is over. How awesome would it be for one of our heroes to be cornered by a powerful bad guy, all hope nearly lost, everything goes silent, then... "Invaders Must Die"

  • Mostly confirmed. Aizen is partly involved in the new arc; the Shibas have made an appearance with an uncle who is heavily implied to be Isshin, but it is the DEAD Fullbringers who make a return to the story. It is a given for the other Visoreds to reappear in the story as well.
  • Confirmed in Chapter 625. Yukio and Riruka have returned, but they have not been shown fighting yet.

The Vandenreich are the murdered Quinces.
The Shinigami went genocidal on the Quinces years ago, killing hundreds of humans. What did they do with the souls? As far as I know, they can't force them into hell, they might have taken them to Seireitei and inprisoned them, which seems logical, or them might have attacked the souls. I don't know what happens when a plus soul is cut by a zanpakto, but I assume it's similar to when two shinigami fight and kill each other.

So if the Shinigami were so prepared for the Vandenreich, or at least seemed to be pretty quick to assume them Quinces, I think that after they killed the Quinces, some must have fled as souls, possibly to Hueco Mundo. Uryu stated that the increased reishi in the air increased his powers in Hueco Mundo, so I assume a large group of trained Quinces would be able to survive just fine for years, training, growing stronger and hating the shinigami. In the end, they hate them enough to even ally with arrancars in an attempt to destroy them.

  • Force the arrancars to work for them*, other than that I like this WMG.
    • It seems likely if you consider things like Mayuri saying that a human can't withstand the power that Uryuu gained when he removed the Sanrei Glove and Quilge Opie saying that the limited version of the Sanrei Glove went extinct 200 years ago (when the genocide of the Quincy's happened). Though I would like to add to the theory with the following: that the Quincy's split at some point in the past with one half chosing to wage a deliberate war against the Shinigami (which they lost a thousand years ago) and the second group that chose to only purge Hollows while still alive in the human world (and after death they may possibly have chosen to become Shinigami). The last group would then be the ones purged by Soul Society, 200 years ago.

The Vandenreich will succeed.
It will be the end of the soul Gotei 13 as we know it.

Vandenreich Leader is named Ishida and is ancestor to modern Ishidas
That'd explain why Kirge was surprised that Uryuu arrows are weaker than his- Uryuu, as descendant of Leader, has to be powerful.
  • Jossed his name is Juha Bach
Given what Ryuuken said in 531 about pure vs. mixed Quincy ancestry, Kirge may have expected Uryuu to be pure-blooded, not realizing that Ryuuken married beneath his station.
  • Funny thing is that Yhwach has appointed an Ishida to be his successor, so if this goes through, an Ishida really will lead Wandenrecih in the future.

The Emperpor of the Vandenreich's surname will be revealed to be Uryuu's mother's maiden name.
Perhaps there's a reason she's never talked about or mentioned.

Ishida is one of the Stern Ritter
My money would be on the hooded dude.
  • He's not that guy, but he has joined Vandenreich.

List of future battles
The following battles will happen eventually, but not necessarily during the Stern Ritter's invasion of SS (since said invasion is unlikely to be the only major confrontation between the 'Reich and SS):
  • Mohawk Man vs Unohana
  • Masked Woman vs Soi Fon
  • Black Haired Girl vs Hitsugaya
  • Blonde Member vs Kenpachi
And of course the Emperor vs Yamamoto.

Michael Jackson is a Stern Ritter
Take a look at the guy on the far left and tell me that doesn't look like Michael Jackson? When he died, he became a Bleach Nazi, it's that simple.

After the Vandenreich prove too strong, and pretty much annihilate everyone and everything, the survivors will fall into a Despair Event Horizon and realize that they are truly fucked. When all seems lost however...
The Royal Guard will arrive and royally kick some ass.

There are 26 members in the Stern Ritter.
Based on the recent chapter, they have a letter added to each of them with "Stern Ritter -Insert letter-". This likely means that there is a theme where there are 26 of them total with the strongest being A, B, and C. The leader is likely Stern Ritter A with a hierarchy applied to the other 4 in command power.
  • Putting my money on Stern Ritters letters will form a german word, allowing All Your Powers Combined when we think they're toast.
    • Two coming sternritters will have H and R, R will be a split body/personality type. And the word if fuhrer (führer).
  • 26 Stern Ritter and 13 lieutenants (technically twelve) and 13 captains. Coincidence?
    • Too easy. Count in Urahara shop-team, Squad 0, Isshin and Ryuken, Ichigo with gang and Iacto Arme. While Kubo does seem to like to introduce new characters, I highly doubt we'll see 26 Stern Ritters. But 26+ antagonists in total for the entire arc, why not.

Uryu is a Sleeper Agent and Ryuuken is a former Vandenreich
His father was a member of their group before he grew to dislike their cause (and overall dislike of his species as a whole), however, Uryu was exposed to the group before Ryuuken's defection, and they managed to mess with his mind, installing a "order" that he has to obey when certain criteria will be met, and he will be a loyal servant to the Vandenreich.

Ichigo's group will expand in the final arc

Ok, so far we've had the basic group in Bleach. Given that Nel has already returned, one can probably include her given that the Vandenreich will pose the biggest threat.

So, not counting any captains that may or may not survive the Vandenreich's invasion, it will be; Ichigo,Rukia, Chad, Orihime, Ishida, Renji, Nel, Grimmjow, (who'll probably start as Renji did, being a more vicious rival until a key moment), Harribel (Possible, if Ichhigo and co rescue her from the Vandenreich, and she decideds to join. Given how she hates wanton destrucion,and given that the Vnadenreich do just that, it's ample motivation for her)

Ishida's loyalties will come into question, given that the Vandenreich are Quincies. Either way, he will regain his Letz Still form.

Ishida will be forced to decide whether or not he joins up with the Vandeenreich, or sticks with Ichio and co. Another possibility is that he will go to them simply for more power. It wouldn't be the first time that he's done something as such.

Mayuri Kurotsuchi is behind the Vandenreich
A while back, Kurotsuchi found the lab belonging to Szayel Aporro Granz. Inside, there were what looked like two bodies, hanging from the ceiling. After that, it was stated he made recurring visits to Hueco Mundo. In an interview, Tite Kubo was asked if the things Kurotsuchi found would be showing up. He answered, they wouldn't be showing up alone. I believe Mayuri Kurotsuchi found the corpses of several Quincy, and somehow managed to bring them back to life in some form or another. This would also explain why they started their takeover with Hueco Mundo; they were already there when they came back to life.
  • This troper agrees. Besides, who knows more about Quincies than anyone else, due to cutting up a couple of thousand of them? And I'm still very suspicious about the whole "murdering innocent Rukongai citizens" thing.

The remaining Fullbringers will play a role in the final arc
They will help to hold off a Quincy invasion of the world of the living. Jackie will act as Mission Control for the surviving Fullbringers, using equipment given to her by Yukio. Oh, and Tsukishima is among the Fullbringers who survived.
  • I hope so, Does anyone else wanna see Tsukishima becoming the Sixth Ranger of the main Five Man Band?
    • Well... the dead Fullbringers are playing a role.
    • And now Riruka and Yukio have joined in on the action.

The person who sliced Kirge Opie in half was Grimmjow
.It was mentioned he was supposed to return in the final arc. Also would explain why Urahara would be shocked and how it looks like a zanpakuto is near his face. What better way to reintroduce the guy?
  • My cents: Kirio Hikifune. Why is Urahara shocked? Because (Royal Guard) Good Is Not Nice, and Urahara knows that. Royal Guard is also to be revealed in the final arc according to Kubo, and their assumed power level is in line with Kirge's slasher. Also, now's a good time for them to come save the day in SS.
    • All but confirmed in Chapter 518.

Kenpachi will OWN the Vandenreich.
After all, he doesn't have a Bankai to steal!
  • Confirmed as of 502, at least two of them.
    • And GLORIOUSLY JOSSED two chapters later.
      • However, he's received a huge power-up and will no doubt massacre the Vandenreich, given the chance.

Possible letter meanings for the Stern Ritter lettering.
We know Kirge Opie is Stern Ritter J, which means "The Jail", so there is a meaning behind the letters. Another possible one to mention is As Nodt, who is F which could be "The Fear". Other suggestions could be listed bellow...
  • A = The Ace or The Archangel given their themes.
  • P = The Puppet given there was someone in the group who could control the bodies of several Soul Reapers.
  • That would make him the puppeteer, not the other way around.

Ishida's actions in the story have given the Vandenreich an advantage against Soul Society.
This troper was reviewing Ishida's actions through the story, and realized something. Since the Vandenreich know of Ishida, what if they used him to observe Ichigo and Soul Society the entire time?
  • In the Soul Society Arc: Self explanatory. Learn of SS defenses and (then) Captain and Lieutenant roster, (ESPECIALLY Mayuri, who given his actions and thoughts in the current arc is the biggest threat to them).
  • In Hueco Mundo Arc: Vandenreich gets the full lowdown on hollows, and sees the strength of the Espadas and other Arrancar.
  • Also, the Vandenreich probably finalized their assault's planning stages during the time skip. This means that they knew SS was transitioning again (reinstating the disgraced Viscored captains, Ichigo's depowerment, and SS potential to make Substitute Shinigamis)
    • Brilliant except for one flaw: If they had -that- good intel, they'd attack right after Ichigo lost his powers and SS was still in turmoil. Ishida was back, unharmed, practically the same day the fighting ended, where lots of people had taken damage. Also, Vandenreich didn't seem to think they'd have a problem power-wise against SS now at full strength, so why not attack during the 17 months? I like wehre you're going, though.
    • Considering the attitudes of the Vandenreich's forces, it seems to be more of a matter of crushing their spirit completely, something that Aizen pulled off multiple times against anybody, and As Nodt pulled off on Byakuya. Hell, if their leader is strong enough to pose a challenge to Yamamoto, then he may have the right to gloat a bit. Not exactly pragmatic, I'll admit.

The Leader is the another usurper...
Like Aizen, his goal is actually to assert himself as a "god" by killing the soul king. Thus, he will have god like powers, and is also vastly more powerful than any of the Sternritter. Reasons? Ichigo vs Aizen was called Deicide. While Ichigo seems much weaker now, it would totally suck if the final arc ended with a less over-the-top battle than the Aizen/Soul Society/ Arrancar arc did. So, Ichigo will gain more ridiculous abilities and in the end, when everyone's tired from all the fighting, Sousuke will arrive and declare this "all part of my plan to eliminate my competitors for godhood!"
  • ...And then Ichigo casually deals with him with an Offhand Backhand, telling him to shut up.

Ishida is already a member of the Vandenreich.
He opts out of the mission to Hueco Mundo without giving a reason, and when Ichigo assumes his motivation, he looks hella guilty. Also, Kirge's cryptic remarks about Ishida being stronger than him, along with him suddenly shutting up, suggests that there's something more to Ishida's absence than what Ichigo assumed. The supposed reason for Ishida's absense is also quite weak: in the SS arc he went with Ichigo despite having little interest in saving Rukia, so him not accompanying his friends to Hueco Mundo just because they are rescuing an Arrancar seems suspect.
  • Opposing thought: Uryu Ishida is captured by VR, just as Harribel. This arc will be about Ichigo saving the last friend (Uryu). I'm guessing Uryu wasn't willing to aid the Vandenreich with his 'more pure' quincy powers —> captured. His father is an unknown survivor, just as Isshin is for SS.
  • Jossed, but Uryu does join Vandenreich later.

The enemy that took out Rukia is Ishida
Nothing to go on except the above WMG and the fact we haven't been shown the assailant's face.

Ginjou will return as Sternritter "X"
For "Xcution". He was revived by the Vandenreich Leader and given Quincy powers.
  • Jossed, Ginjo ended up in the Rukongai and it looks like he's siding with the Soul Society on this one.

Uryu will show up as Sternritter "A"
For "The Archer". He has shown a dedication to the bow and arrow unlike a lot of the other Sternritters.
  • Semi-confirmed: he received letter "A", but it's not known yet what it stands for.
  • Seeing that Yhwach says "(Uryuu) will be the same as me", it's also possible that Yhwach himself is the Stern Ritter A, where A stands for Alpha (leader).

Ishida and the Emperor are related
It would explain why we haven't been told his name yet, and why Opie didn't think that he could be more powerful than Uryu.
  • Since Yhwach's blood flows in every Quincy, they are related.

One of the Sternritter will have the power of resurrection.
There will be many more battles, both sides will suffer many casualties, but in the end, the good guys win. Suddenly, one of the Sternritter walks into the middle of the battleground, activates it's power, and all of the fallen Sternritter will get back up, perfectly fine and possibly even stronger than before.

The Vandenreich can't steal Ichigo's Bankai because:
His powers are too varied from all his battles. The Vandenreich know the basic structure of the captains, shikai, bankai, etc. Ichigo falls outside this area becasue he has the basics AND his hollow form, resurreccion (possibly), and fullbring powers. Added to this is that he's the only Shinigami thus far that has lost and restored his powers multiple times, then he's jsut too "unstable" for the bankai-sealing method to work.
  • Jossed: In order for them to seal a Bankai, they have to know its full power and it has to be fully developed. Ichigo's isn't fully developed yet so they can't steal it.
  • Double-Jossed: Information in the latest chapter hints that in-order to steal a Bankai, you must be stronger than the original wielder, since Ebern and Quilge were nowhere near Ichigo's strength, they couldn't take it, all they need is someone stronger than Ichigo to steal it...though considering that this is Ichigo, they're probably not gonna have an easy idea with that...
  • TRIPLE-Jossed: We find out that Ichigo's "bankai" is actually a manifestation of his Quincy powers, and not a true bankai.
    • Even that can be called into question: Urahara's method of freeing bankai from the Wandenrecih medals involves hollowifying said bankai, and as shown, once a bankai becomes hollowified, the medal instantly expels them. Probably the true reason Ichigo's bankai cannot be stolen is not because it's a Quincy power, but because Ichigo inherently has hollow powers, and the medals have a failsafe that prevents them from stealing hollow powers.

Projected Stern Ritter fights
Since the fights are underway, I'll predict the wins and losses.
  • Buckbeard vs Zaraki - Buckbeard wins.
    • Status: Confirmed.
  • Shunsui Kyoraku vs Commissioner Gordon - Kyoraku wins.
    • Jossed, though he fails to kill Kyoraku.
  • Hitsugaya and Matsumoto vs Scar - Scar wins.
  • NaNaNa Najahkoop vs Rojuro Otoribashi - Rose wins.
    • Status: Jossed. Najahkoop left without sustaining a scratch.
  • Soifon and Omaeda vs Helmet Quincy - Helmet wins.
  • Komamura and Iba vs Bambietta - she wins.

The Vandenreich will win
...and kill all the remaining Soul Reapers. Thus ending the Bleach series. The lesson will have been "attempted genocide against a highly proud race with powers to rival the Shinigami's was a very bad idea, Yamamoto"

Affiliation of the Ishidas
Ryoken knew about the Vandenreich's existence and refused to associate himself with them and be known as a Quincy. He is working against them.Uryu did not know until much later and is probably working with them now as a double agent.The climax will most likely will be a battle between Ichigo and Uryu and end with one of them dying.

Ryuken Ishida has invaded Soul Society along with the other Quincies
Several of them have their faces hidden (for example the hooded guy, or the knight-helmet guy). And beyond one of those masks, Ryuken is hidden. Due to this revelation, Uryu will be forced into an internal conflict, having to choose between his friends or his family.

Bach has a way of resurrecting his followers
Assuming the three VR that Yama roasted are actually Dead, Bach has an ability that lets him resurrect them, along with the three Kenpachi ganked. He just seems way too calm about losing nearly half of his soldiers to two guys, and As Nodt and Busby at least had big introduction panels, which implies some more importance than being simply fodder.
  • So has Unohana. \;D/
  • Seemingly confirmed. In chapter 513, Juha Bach stated he plans to kill Ichigo, take him to their base, and revive him as an ally.
  • Confirmed. In Chapter 604, he revives his elite Sternritters via Auswählen, which allows him to steal the lifeforce of Quincies he has selected (the ones currently battling in Seireitei) and distribute their power to them, making them even stronger then before.
Ryuuken used to be a member of the Vandenreich, and that's why Opie assumed Uryuu must be powerful
In his youth, Ryuuken joined the VR and learned their techniques, and then left some time later. One of those techniques was how to restore Quincy powers (which explains why Soken told Uryuu the loss is permanent- he didn't know a restoration method). The VR assumed that because Ryuuken trained Uryuu, he must have taught him VR techniques, which is why he is assumed to be powerful by Opie.

Juhabach was the first Quincy.
This would just make a very good plot twist, the story possibilities are endless.
  • Called it.

The Stern Ritters can be revived via Sklaverei.
You know, by having Juhabach, who is probably the strongest Quincy, simply put the Spirit Particles their bodies are composed of back together by "enslaving" them. It would explain why there are still so many of them when allegedly nearly all of the Quincies were wiped out long ago, with Juhabach apparently being the only survivor. Also, it would explain why some seemingly rather important characters such as Busby (the guy who blew a hole through Kira!) and As Nodt (KILLER OF BYAKUYA KUCHIKI!) were wiped out without further ado by Yamamoto, when they could have played such major roles in the story later on.

Stern Ritter will invade Karakura Town.
Since their goal is genocide, they won't stop with conquering the Soul Society. Once they finish with Soul Society, they'll turn their sights toward exterminating the remaining Shinigami in Karakura Town: namely, Urahara's shop and the Kurosaki family.

The real Juhabach is...
  • Chilling out at the Ice Palace watching the show
  • Pointing a sword at Urahara
  • Actually Blondie OR swapped places with Blondie at the last minute
    • That would explain why Blondie is the only member of the Vandenreich who was shown interacting with the fake Juhabach, talking to him in a very casual tone and even scolding him for killing the Arrancars. Well, if he's the real boss, that's natural.
    • It would suck royally if the new antagonist couldn't handle Kenpachi's reaitsu while his henchman could (Blond SR was suffocated by Kenpachi's reiatsu). Even Espada #5 wasn't affected in that way.
    • If it's really Blondie, he was most likely faking it. The enemies weren't supposed to know he was the real deal yet, he had to get Yamamoto to fight Fake Juhabach and use the full extension of his Bankai so it could be stolen.
  • It's neither of those, the real Juhabach was in the underground prison, talking to Aizen.

None of the SR are actually the real deal
Related to the above WMG, the SR participating in the invasion are actually all puppets being controlled remotely by the real SR for the purpose of gathering information, and will now reveal themselves

The Real Juhabach is a woman.
Or more rather, Uryuu's mother.
  • It would be so nice to have a female Big Bad for a change.

Juhabach is Ryūken Ishida
And Uryu is on his side. That's why he was not with Ichigo.
  • And maybe they have freed Aizen when they past in the Garganta like thing they use to travel.

We're going to find out that the Quincy were a lot worse than we thought when they had their war with the Shingami.
Okay so we know that when a Quincy kills a Hollow, and presumibly a Shingami, the soul is destroyed. This upsets the balance between worlds, and could destroy everything if it happens too much. Now it was stated that the Quincy didn't listen to the Shingami warnings about this. But now we are seeing some things that imply that Quincy powers could do even more awful things. As we saw with Kirge/Quirge, whatever, Volstandung can absorb even sentient biengs. And it seems like Jura Bach was in charge of the Quincys a thousand years ago. Back is not a nice guy. So we'll find out that even back then the Quincy had a fondness for absorbing or enslaving sentient biengs, and that Bach was already promoting a philosophy of being chosen ones who should rule.
  • Think we're going to find out that the shinigami were a lot worse than we thought. Uruy's and other quincies hatred toward the shinigami must be backed up, otherwise the quincy could just as well have been allies.
    • Well seems like the original members of the 13 Divisions were bloodthirsty and violent, and would use any means to win. Now we just have to find out what the Quincy were like.

Juha Bachs plan
In Chapter 510 I think I figured out the reason multiple Quincy got a bad case of stupid and tried to rush Captain Murder. They were ordered to. It was the real Bach that fought and defeated Zaraki and when Yamamoto confronted him he had a plan that when that happened a bunch of quincies would rush him to distract him for an instant, giving time for Royd to switch places and Bach to attack 1st division headquarters and weaken Yamamoto enough to seal his bankai.

Juha Bach killed Aizen when he refused.
What better way to say "fuck you" than killing the man your greatest enemy couldn't?
  • This actually brings another WMG:

Juhabach does NOT kill Aizen when he blows up 1st Division's office, but rather knocks Aizen out to take him back to Hueco Mundo to reforge him into a Quincy.
Let's rewind back to how Opie recruits arrancars: If they simply accept the offer, they die. But if they refuse, they will be considered for joining. Not to mention that a little later, when Juhabach manhandles Ichigo, he doesn't flat out kill Ichigo despite being capable to do so. Rather, he simply 'nearly' chops Ichigo's head off, then muses about reforging Ichigo into Quincy.

The Vandenreich's Bankai-stealing medallions can also steal an Arrancar's Resurrecion
It helped them conquer Hueco Mundo. However, due to the nature of Ressurecion as an Arrancar's sealed Hollow powers, the Quincies can not use them and can only take them away.
  • Jossed, they cannot steal Resurreccions. Hollow reiatsu is poisonous to Quincies.
    • To be more precise, Urahara and Mayuri suspects that Resurreccions can be stolen, but because hollow energy is dangerous to Quincies, the medals have a sort of failsafe that expels Hollow energy.

The new arrival at the end of 511 is...
  • ...Ichigo, having broken out of the cage with a new powerup
    • Confirmed!
  • ...Ishida, having finally got off his ass and decided to get involved
  • ...The Zero Division, having arrived earlier than Bach expected
  • ...One of the war potentials that was being stored at the research department building.
  • ...Aizen, pulling a Big Damn Villain Moment
  • ... Harribel, having escaped from the Vandenreich while their best fighters were busy elsewhere
  • ... Isshin, rockin' it hard now that Yamamoto is gone.
    • .. Bonus points if Ryūken is with him
  • ... The so far unseen remaining Visords
  • ... Kyon!!!
  • ... The surviving Fullbrings
  • ... Don Kanojii having gone through some major Training from Hell

Juha Bach is not as in charge as he thinks.
And he's about get his ass whupped for insubordination by whoever that new arrival is.
  • I personally agree, with the caveat that the blondie that follows him around all the time is the one ACTUALLY in charge. There is no real reason for blondie to exist, he doesn't fight, and Bach has already proven himself more than willing to execute minions on a whim. So why would he need a sycophantic yes-man to follow him around all the time? ESPECIALLY due to the fact that blondie apparently could tell that Bach was out of time before he realized it himself.

The monster mentioned by Yamamoto in the flashback was sealed inside his body
The fire monster is probably the origin of where his powers came from and may very well have been the personification of his Zanpakto, when Yamamoto defeated it thousands of years ago he sealed it inside of himself. He mentions that in the event this monster would come back that he probably wouldn't be alive to see it, this seems to imply to me that with his death the monster will be free to roam. Juhabach killing Yamamoto is the worst mistake he could have made, now he is going to face an opponent even more dangerous.
  • I interpreted it as the picture being of Yamamoto himself: "It's a monster that appeared in Soul Society a long time ago." - Yamamoto became Head Captain a long time ago. "It appeared when Soul Society was already in a difficult situation, and made it even worse." - According to Juhabach, the Gotei 13 that Yamamoto founded used to be blood-thirsty killers. "But it won't appear ever again." - Yamamoto is an atoner, who doesn't want others to get caught up in Soul Society business. "[If it one day appears again] I probably won't come back." -Yamamoto didn't want to release his full power, but Juhabach forced him which lead to Yamamoto's death.

The knowledge Kurotsuchi obtained from dissecting Uryuu's grandfather will prove instrumental in defeating Vandenreich
Who else has studied Quincies well enough to know the perfect ways to fight back? It might even be retconned that preparing for this is why he did it in the first place .

Rukia will fight As Nodt
Given how Mohawk Quincy has apparently survived Yama's attack, its possible that As Nodt did. Perphaps Rukia will take him/her down in order to avenge Byakuya.
  • Since Byakuya isn't dead, I think it's more likely that if As Nodt did survive Byakuya himself will take him down for poetic justice.

The Stern Ritter are all dead.
Because honestly, Quincies may be powerful, but they're still human beings. There's no way they could live for a thousand years. No, these are Quincies who have lived throughout the ages and long since died and gone to the Soul Society. Unbeknownst to the Soul Reapers, these Quincies retained their memories and powers and have been plotting their revenge for centuries, training and studying until they could overcome the Soul Reapers and destroy them.
  • Confirmed. Three times.

The war potentials...
Are all descendants of the Spirit King. The reason why the war potentials confirmed so far are so ridiculously strong is because of the powers they have inherited.

Aizen SOMEHOW used Kyoka Suigetsu on Juhabach.
Juhabach only THINKS he killed Yamamoto and saw Ichigo use Blut Vene. In reality, hes still in front of Aizen. Yes, Aizen mentioned seeing his zanpakuto break in front of him but whats to say the Hogoyku merely allowed him to fuse his power with it, allowing him to control it whenever he wants?
  • Confirmed/Jossed. Juhabach did all that stuff, but Aizen apparently did something to screw with Juhabach's perception of time, making him miscalculate the time he could still safely remain outside of Vandereich. If his subordinate hadn't warned him about this things could have gone very badly for Juhabach.

The Vandenreich are people with Quincy Powers who have been ostracized by the "real" Quincies.
  • After all, Ishida and his father have both claimed the title of the last Quincy, but when the Vandenreich show up, Ishida doesn't seem to question the use of another person using Quincy powers despite the fact that they are all supposed to be dead. Plot Hole? I think not. The Vandenreich are so bloody and violent that "true" Quincies ignore their order, but did not attempt to exterminate them due to the fact they still happened to be fighting a war with the Soul Society and knew they couldn't fight a battle on two fronts. It also explains why Vandenreich were able to hide for so long, Ishida was never told about the evil sect of quincies that use the alphabet to murder people.
    • We don't know whether Ichigo actually told Ishida about Ivan using a quincy cross or not.
      • It seemed pretty clear that Ichigo told him, especially considering Ishida is seeming to stay out of the fight for that very reason.
      • Actually, Ishida stayed out of the fight because he didn't like the idea of helping Arrancar. At no point did he mention the Quincy- which he definitely would have if Ichigo had told.
      • And it would not be the first time Ishida used a convenient excuse to get his way. After all, he knows Nel, Don Don Chakka and Pesche aren't on the scale of evil hollows who eat people.

Ryuken will be Bleach's Snape.
Spoiler for those who didn't read the last Harry Potter book: Just like Snape was in love with Lily and despised James and therefore Harry, Ryuken was in love with Masaki, but she'd rather choose the enemy, the Shinigami. They got married, and we know Ryuken eventually got married (or not) and had a child of his own too. When Masaki died, Ryuken was heartbroken and that's why he retired as a Quincy. He blames Isshin, that's why he's cold towards him (and well, because he took her away from him to begin with). Additionally, we probably won't know what side he really is until the end, just like Snape.

By the end of this arc...
]Ichigo will be captured by the Vandenreich.

Shutara is the co-creator/mother of Nemu.
Or at least influenced her design
  • it's implied that she and Mayuri apparently know each other.

Shutara was in charge of the Nest of Maggots before Urahara.
Or was the one one to put Mayuri in there.

At least one of the Zero Squad 'Captains' is a Hollow or a Quincy
Why? Because at this point Tite Kubo has kind of written himself into a corner. The Quincies can steal Bankai, and it was just demonstrated that their high-level fighters are ALL more powerful than the Captains at their Shikai level. The only real way to deal with that? Either somebody like Zaraki, who doesn't HAVE a Bankai, or to have a Hollow or Quincy fight them - since their power doesn't come from a Bankai. Since the Shinigami aren't trying to wipe out the Hollows (By definition, they CAN'T, as new Hollows will always be created), it stands to reason that at least one Vasto Lorde or Quincy saw the damage the Quincy were doing by actually DESTROYING Hollows, and decided that it would be a good idea to side with the Shinigami to help maintain balance. Since nobody from the Gotei 13 ever really sees Zero Squad, none of them knew who Juha Bach was, and only the oldest Captains had met a couple of them personally, it really wouldn't be that hard to slide a Hollow or Quincy into the squad at the end of the Quincy war and claim he was 'former captain of the 2nd Squad', or something like that. Really, of the Gotei 13, only Yamamoto or Unohana would know for sure at this point.
  • To elaborate further, so far, we have only seen THREE Vasto Lorde class Hollows in the series - Starrk, Barragan, and Hallibel. Since there were a LOT of Adjuchas seen (most of the Fraccion, remaining Arrancar and rejected experiment Arrancar were former Adjuchas - I think the total number is around 50 or 60), there have to be at least a couple more.
  • They make it sound like the zero squad members are stronger than yamamoto, and the only quincy powerful enough to steal yamamoto's bankai was juhabach... so their bankais should at least be safe against everyone except for juhabach

Byakuya didn't die because of Executive Meddling.
Almost everything in the manga suggested that he would really die (including the volume 57 poem). The editors ordered Kubo to keep him alive because of his Popularity Power.
  • Maybe Kubo kept him after realizing that would mean he wouldn't be able to design any new outfits for him.
  • Mask de Masculine's fight was originally going to be shorter - Kubo decided to drag it out as a subtle Take That! to the editors.

The hooded Sternritter is a Shiba
A lot of attention was paid to this random character's hood coming off, so we know he's going to be important. We've also learned that the Shiba siblings have an uncle who would disapprove of Ichigo going into danger, and the overwhelming fan consensus is that this is Isshin. The Sternritter losing his hood revealed hair very similar to that of the Shibas, so perhaps this Quincy was an older child of Isshin and Masaki's from before they settled down in the human world that inherited only Quincy genes, and his birth is what disgraced the family and forced Isshin into hiding?
  • His name is Cang Du. Sounds Chinese, so it's unlikely he's related to Shibas.

Once Zaraki finishes his training, he will be pissed
I'm not even talking about just pissed at the Vandenreich, but at Shunsui as well and possibly Unohana. Think about it, he has only used kendo ONCE and he even states that he hates it because it ends the battles way too soon, but he couldn't get openly angry at Yamamoto for making him learn it due to just how much more powerful Yamamoto still was compared to him. Now they are going to unleash his full potential and then when he sees how quickly his battles end (even if he still handicaps himself) he is going to be angry at those who forced him to learn this and caused him to never be able to have fun again. Shunsui might be able to take him, Unohana has a strong possibility of taking him, but they won't be able to stop him in time and he goes on a rampage causing massive collateral damage.

Contributions to Soul Society is more important than power when determining the potential to enter the Royal Guard
It's only when you're training in there that you become so much more powerful than the entire Gotei 13. Hence why Aizen would have wanted it so much. It would have been awful if Aizen and Tosen got in there.

  • Urahara was probably not considered eligible for several reasons: a) He was expelled from Soul Society. Had they known about all his accomplishments, he might have been accepted. b) He might have been seen as "too derivative" or not original enough like the other five.

Unohana's Bankai is going to be similar to Tsunade's Genesis Rebirth technique
What the technique does is literally allows you to regenerate any physical wound as long as you have chakra (or reiatsu, as it were). This would explain why SHE is Kenpachi, rather than Yamamoto - as this would make Unohana literally unkillable unless you could outlast her. And in a long, drawn out, fight to exhaustion, where YOU are taking damage but SHE isn't, the odds are stacked HEAVILY on her side. Even minor wounds will start to add up, as she remains pristine until she reached Critical Existence Failure at the limit of her reiatsu.
  • This would also explain her relative youth.
    • We should also consider Unohana's battle data and the abilities of her Shikai, not to mention her personal history. These are the facts: Unohana was the First Kenpachi. This is an extremely battle-oriented position, obviously. Her battle data- offense comparable with Yamamoto- also reflects this. At some point, presumably afterwards, she was taught the art of healing and became largely nonviolent, although still Soul Society's great Kendō master. Now, most important of all is the ability of her Shikai. Bankais are, without exception, exaggerations or compressions of the fundamental nature of the Shikai. Unohana's Shikai is the ability to turn her blade, Minazuki, into a green gas capable of transforming into a giant, flying medevac manta ray, itself capable of transforming(sprouting feet, for instance). Who knows what else Minazuki can transform into just in Shikai. This evidence points me to only one, horrifying conclusion: Unohana Retsu's Bankai is whatever she damn well wants it to be. She could probably transform it- or fuse with it- to become a giant Kaiju-like monster specifically designed to exploit their opponent's greatest weaknesses and worst nightmares.
      • I think you're putting too much stock into the fact that her Shikai can grow legs. If it is simply a massively powerful healing Zanpakuto, there is actually a whole lot more Fridge Horror in what she could do than just having Godzilla. First, of course, is what I already pointed out - if you are basically unkillable, all you have to do is inflict a Death of a Thousand Cuts and bleed your opponent out. In addition, being a healer means that you know exactly how much punishment a body can take - and EXACTLY where critical strikes need to be placed to kill. But also, you could HEAL them to death. Think about it this way: your body utilizes white blood cells as it heals to combat infection, close wounds, and pretty much keep your body running. Do you know what happens when white blood cells multiply excessively? LEUKEMIA. Do you know what happens when you get an overdose of almost any painkiller? DEATH (and usually not a very pretty one, either). In fact, a sufficient overdose of almost all drugs in a hospital can be fatal. Also, with regards to the brain - while the real science is arguable, since this IS Shonen, if she were to 'heal' somebody's brain back to unmarked perfection - she could theoretically totally wipe a person's entire memory, experience, and personality out - PERMANENTLY (in some comic book continuities, this is why Wolverine has huge gaps in his memory - if his brain is damaged, it 'heals' back to normalcy, but he can't regrow his memory). That's not even getting into the more abstract possibility that she could 'heal' somebody's emotional damage (as in, everything even slightly bad that ever happened to them) - totally robbing anybody of their motivation to fight, or do anything but stare blissfully at the sky. I'd be a hell of a lot more afraid of any of those possibilities than just fighting some lame Godzilla like Komamura has.
      • You've gravely misunderstood my point here. Okay, yes, my theory is speculation as well, but at least I provide canonical reasons why I formulated that hypothesis, instead of just pointing out what I think would be cool or useful in a fight, as you seem to be doing. Look at the evidence: it seems very clear that Unohana was the Kenpachi before she was taught healing, ergo her Bankai and Shikai-which rob her of a handheld sword, despite her best skill being Kendō- presumably have some direct means of offense(consider her 100 offense stat!). Her Shikai is a green gas that can transform into a manta ray, and presumably other things as well, given Minazuki's ability to adapt while in manta form. She can use her Shikai to heal, yes, but the method is extremely roundabout and indirect, as if it were an added feature(fitting my theory), unlike, say, the Healing Shiv that is Hanataro's Hisogomaru. More importantly, you've completely missed the point I was trying to make about her Bankai. I said it could be a Kaiju-like monster, yes, but only if that's what Unohana decides is should be. I hypothesize that her Bankai is an extension of her gaseous, transforming Shikai. Something she could tailor to exploit any opponent's weaknesses and worst nightmares, whether it be a Kaiju, or a Lightning Bruiser, or a Glass Cannon, and so on and so forth. This would also help to explain why she puts the fear of god into hardened soldiers with just a smile.
      • I've got to side with the first guy. You're taking a peripheral travel ability of her Shikai that nobody even mentions in-story or thinks is unusual (allowing it to grow legs to land), and somehow think that it means that her Bankai is literally whatever she wants it to be? That is so stupidly broken that it immediately begs the question of why she didn't use it to slaughter Aizen, the Arrancar, the Quincies, and Juha Bach single-handedly instead of allowing thousands of Shinagami to die. Several other Zanpakuto can change forms as well - Byakuya can go from sword -> petals -> swords -> crazy winged sword, Gin's turns to dust and reforms at a longer length, etc. Kubo has been pretty religious about sticking to a single 'theme' for each Bankai - so far we have ice, fire, wind, lightning, speed, melee power (several), ranged power, sense distortion. You honestly think her 'theme' is 'whatever she wants'? Her Zanpakuto, 'Minazuki', translates as, 'Purify the Flesh'. While a lot could be made of what that may or may not mean, 'transform into whatever I feel like' isn't one of them. More likely it is an acid type zanpakuto (she specifically states that Minazuki's stomach acid is what is healing the ones in its stomach), and it has a number of types of acid she can use.
      • Interesting take. Although it's a bit of an exaggeration to say that I claimed it's anything she wants it to be, in context what I meant was that Minazuki's green gas could transform into any shape or creature, not suddenly turn into some broken Kido-type like Ruri'iro Kujaku or Wabisuke, or an elemental type like Ryuujin Jakka. Again, we always have to defer to the facts- any explanation of Unohana's speculative Bankai has to take into account the little that we already know of her powers and battle data. Those facts are: she is of average speed, with Yamamoto-level offense and above-average defense. Her Kido and Kendo are best in class, and her physical strength exceeds Yamamoto's. Her Shikai, Minazuki, is a rather sinister-looking green gas that can transform into a giant manta ray monster capable of flight and healing via stomach acids(although Nel's healing saliva, for example, didn't end up meaning much about her powers either, no possibility can be ruled out at this stage). Unohana mostly heals using Kido, instead of Minazuki, instead using it to transport the wounded and provide first aid. Minazuki's composition appears to be semi-solid, as its flesh can be seen flowing like viscous liquid to form feet. People are absolutely terrified of her. She was the Kenpachi. This is all we know so far. I maintain that her Bankai is transformation-oriented, with secondary healing powers(similar to how Kyoraku's powers are kid's games with a secondary Razor Wind aspect, or Yamamoto's are flames with a secondary Undead aspect), but I'm more than willing to admit a case can be made for an acid- or gaseous- based dissolving attack, which in itself is pretty mortifying. That, or possibly making someone turn into a seeping mass of tumors and cancer(the "over-healing" theory, but who knows how monsters figure into that). Lastly, I'd like to point out that the translation of Minazuki, "Purify the Flesh," is both vague and a pretty hit-or miss metric of guessing. Some examples: Kyoraku's secondary power, wind, is mentioned in his Shikai command, but its primary power, children's games, is not. Minazuki could possibly be the same, the name(or the as-yet-unheard Shikai command) only referring to the secondary power. Also, there's Ruri'iro Kujaku, whose name means azure peacock. Hardly indicative of vampiric draining, but it does mildly reflect what the thing looks like. This is why I theorize that hearing Minazuki's Shikai command will be both a giveaway of its true power, and a Moment of Awesome. Just imagine- "Transform, Minazuki!" Or "Dissolve their flesh, Minazuki!" Or "Suffocate them, Minazuki!" I can't really imagine a cool one for the over-healing theory, though. "Heal, Minazuki!" Just doesn't have much terror or verve to it.
      • Bankai are almost always significantly larger than Shikai so it is unlikely that Minazuki's Bankai isn't very large. considering Minazuki's size and how much larger than Shikai Bankai can be it is reasonable to think that it would be Kaiju sized and capable of causing a lot of damage even if that isn't what it's ability is. its ability is difficult to guess until we know what Minazuki's Shikai ability actually is. if what we have seen is all it can do than it's Bankai is probably something along the lines of a even bigger version of the manta ray thing with an improved version of its healing ability.
  • Jossed. Unohana's bankai is the ability to dissolve anything. One of the tropers above was right to point out Unohana's emphasis on the acid of Minazuki healing. Her bankai just takes that acid to its offensive conclusion This explains why she has never been shown using her bankai up until now because it would make fighting THAT much easier. She specifically learned healing techniques to prolong her already short and ultimately disappointing battles. She would be hardpressed to use a bankai that made it even easier for her to win. And also because her bankai even dissolves her own body when she uses it so she would have to continuously heal herself during battle anyways. So she rarely uses it. This also explains why she mastered 1000 styles; not only because she loves fighting, but all to avoid ever bringing out her bankai in battle. As it is never directly stated, it CAN be inferred by the words Zaraki says in this panel and the effects on both of their bodies on the next page. The only reason their bodies return to normal is because Unohana is constantly healing both of them the enitre time.
Aizen was once a member of Squad Zero
It would explain why he knows the Spirit King's true nature, and why he was so incredibly powerful. And Shutara condemns him so harshly, it seems almost like she has something personal against him.

Think about it- in the Spirit King's realm there are five cities, one for each member of the guard, which indicates that there are always five members of the Royal Guard.During the Vizard mini arc Kirio Hikifune was promoted to the Royal Guard- which may mean that she was a replacement for somebody who had already left. Aizen was a Lietenant at the time, true, but who's to say that the guard didn't wait a while to find a suitable new candidate to replace him? That would have given him more than enough time to reach a strong position in the Gotei 13.

It may also be the reason why he knew what the Ouken really was, having once been one himself.

(On a silly note, it would also be hilarious if he was the previous owner of the food palace- which could actually explain why no one from the Gotei 13 knew who he was... they may have only ever seen him in his overweight form.)

The final battle will be a coalition of old allies and enemies versus the Vandenreich.

Think about it. They've been rapidly reintroducing the Shibas, the slain members of Xcution, Harribel, Nel, the remaining Visoreds, and an implied Grimmjow. I'd be willing to bet that Kukaku, Ganju, Tsukishima, Giriko, Ginjo, Harribel, Nel, Hiyori, Lisa, Mashiro, Love, and Grimmjow are going to aid in the fight, especially because they all (save for Love) likely lack Bankai and fight in other ways, which makes them trump cards. Personally, I'd love to see Kukaku get into a scrap; being that she's the eldest Shiba, she's gotta have some power to her.

Gunslinger Quincy is an Ishida
He looks like a skinnier Soken excluding his hairstyle, he even wears identical glasses. It also explains why Quilge thought it was impossible that Uryu's attacks could be weaker than his.

The Helmet Quincy will be a woman
  • Why? Tite Kubo, that's why...
    • It can't be a woman - they don't have a huge rack, and this is Tite Kubo we're talking about.
    • C'mon, not every woman Kubo draws is that stacked. Many are, but not all of them.
  • All but Jossed, BG9 seems to be neither a man or a woman, but a robot.

Unohana Retsu and Unohana Yachiru are effectively two separate people.
  • Unohana Retsu does not have Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder). Instead, she has completely detached and segregated two aspects of her personality, or soul: Retsu, the motherly doctor, and Unohana Yachiru, the first Kenpachi. What happens to a soul or a shinigami that has completely suppressed or fundamentally changed their personality? Their Zanpakuto, which is an outgrowth or reflection of their soul, changes ("evolves") as well. Other theories have pointed out that Unohana might do this to alter her sword in the same way Yumichika changes his Shikai. Essentially, whilst there may be a common theme to them, Retsu and Yachiru's Zanpakuto powers manifest themselves completely differently. Retsu uses Minazuki to heal and transport the wounded. Yachiru uses the monster to completely decimate everything around her. And Tite Kubo had planned all of this the entire time. After Retsu "lets Yachiru out," so to speak, she will have difficulty putting the Genie back into the bottle, and everyone around her will want her to turn back to normal.

Yachiru Kusajishi will kick Vandenreich's ass by releasing her bankai.
  • Because giving weak characters new devastating powers is so very Kubo. Also, Rule of Cool.
    • The same Vandenreich who have been stealing any Bankai that gets used?
    • Don't forget about the theory that Yachiru already IS Zaraki's Zanpaktou. Looks a whole lot more likely since the new "Number One Zanpaktou Maker" has a whole bunch of materialized Zanpaktou hanging around him.
      • That theory seems unlikely in light of Chapter 527, as Unohana notes that Kenpachi's "partner" (i.e. his Zanpakuto) has awakened after his apparent felling of her.

Reasons why Unohana develops 'Retsu' and abandoned 'Yachiru' for a long time.

Probably we will get a flashback arc later, detailing Unohana's past. And the reason why she went from a psychotic bloodthirsty killer into an unflappably kind and compassionate Team Mom Mama Bear? My theory is that she did find a Morality Pet as Yachiru but due to her blood lust, she ended up killing the Morality Pet in accident and this sparked guilt, regret over her actions. She can't erase her criminal record, but at the very least, it spurs her to become a good person as an atonement, thus she develops the motherly persona. She picked the new name 'Retsu' AKA 'violent' as a reminder of what she was before and that she will be forever spending her time doing good and all to atone for her mountainload of sins.

  • The alternate theory is that Yachiru is the child of Unohana/Zaraki, and that her big change came when she realized that she would be a TERRIBLE mother. So she left the kid with Zaraki, and worked on her 'mother personality' so she could someday claim the kid.

Zaraki has never been able to talk to his Zanpakuto and unleash his Shikai because he's never been desperate enough to resort to it.
His pride subconsciously prevents him from doing so whenever he's wanted to before. Now that he's facing murderous Unohana and faced with the prospect of dying without ever surpassing her, he's willing to resort to anything, which is just what his Zanpakuto needs in order to get through to him.

525's Cliffhanger ending isn't really the end of Unohana Yachiru
. Tite Kubo is just trolling us.
  • Consider this: we are faced with the prospect, as stated by Kyoraku, that one of them will die. as of this chapter, Unohana Yachiru is brutally slashed by Zaraki after killing him over and over again, and reviving him. This is because each time he dies, he subconsciously starts fighting closer to his true limit. This can be construed as Unohana being the one that ultimately had to die; by her own admission, she was the weaker(although deadlier and more skilled) of the two of them. BUT, before speculation runs rampant, even before Kyoraku's revalation, Kubo stated in an interview that we would see Unohana's "True Power" and her Bankai will be revealed in the Vandenreich arc. This hasn't happened yet, so clearly that wasn't a fatal blow, least of all to someone with the unbelievably broken ability to repeatedly heal FATAL WOUNDS with her SEALED ZANPAKUTO.
    • Or, alternatively, Yachiru Unohana DOES die, but Retsu survives. True defeat and satisfaction is just what she needed to really move on.

The black stuff that forced Juha Bach to retreat is a marker for hell to track him down
  • It's been said that humans living lives of sin don't get into the Soul Society when they die, they are dragged to hell when purified by a Soul Reaper, Juha Bach survived the battle with Yamamoto but eventually died making him lose his powers temporarily due to lacking spirit energy, which allowed him to be sent to hell, which he eventually escaped and has to hide in Schatten Bereich to avoid being dragged back to hell.
  • Jossed, it was a shadow. Yhwach was being dragged back to the shadow realm underneath Seireitei.

Ichigo will get a Quincy-style Spirit weapon
  • Well it looks like he won't have Zangetsu for a while.
    • Question is, where is he going to get one powerful enough for him to stand on par with the Vandenreich? Ishida and Ryuken? Ishida was almost always weaker than Ichigo before the Vandenreich came along.
    • He only needs it until he gets Zangetsu back.
    • Don't need to, since he will get a zanpakuto. Not to mention he always been using a Qunicy-based weapon anyway.

Retsu's Bankai is..
  • Shikai and Bankai are always related, but hers seem very different, right? But what if her Bankai, instead of being a bigger badder version of her shikai, is simply the other side of the same ability. Her shikai heals people, and her Bankai melts them away. Her bankai absorbs flesh, while her shikai dispenses it.
    • You don't even need to dig that far into it. When she was healing people with her shikai, she specifically stated that it's stomach acid was what was healing them. If it is just a straight acid-type, presumably it has a different acid that hurts people.

The Ishidas are Vandenreich Rejects.
There's a reason that Arrancar-Vandenreich recruit went after Ichigo and not Uryu. The Ishidas were likely a family of Quincies who chose to go against the Vandenreich in some way, likely because they didn't agree with the proposed Shinigami genocide or something, and thus the Vandenreich rejected them.
  • Semi-confirmed by Quilge Opie. Souken Ishida denied the development of new Quincy techniques that Wandenreich uses, and stayed true to the old ones.

Masaki used Letzt Stil.
She used Letz Stil to save Isshin from whatever it was he was fighting so she loses her powers explaining why she got killed by Grand Fisher so easily.
  • She managed to kill the Hollow without Letzt Stil. She might still use it in the future, though.
    • On the other hand, doesn't a Quincy need a Sanrei Glove in order to go Letzt Stil? And the only known Sanrei Glove is currently in Souken Ishida's possession.

The Hollow attacking Karakura is a Vasto Lorde, and Issin is in way over his head.
He must use the Final Getsuga to defeat it, hence his depowering. That still leaves the fact that the hollow looks almost exactly like Ichigo unexplained, though.

The Vasto Lordes attacking Karakura Town is Zangetsu and is created by both Yuha Bach and modified by Aizen.
Zangetsu is a Vasto Lordes(Created by Yuha Bach and later discovered, named and modified by Aizen) that was sealed in Ichigo and not a true Zanpakuto Spirit. Zangetsu's name while similar to Isshin's Engetsu that is only a Red Herring and the Zanpakuto that Zangetsu is named after is Kyōka Suigetsu. The reason I think Yuha Bach created Zangetsu is that they have similar appearances and that he adressed Ichigo as his "Son born in Darkness" which may have actually been addressed to Zangestu. Grand Fisher's 3 attacks were failed attempts to reclaim Zangetsu for Aizen's purposes.
  • ...Holy shit. That would explain Ichigo's Asuachi debacle; he never had his own Asauchi Zanpakuto to begin with. Zangetsu was just sort of... There the whole time. And his fused form looks disturbingly like an amalgamation of this new hollow and a Tensa Zangetsu. And the new hollow just happens to have blades for arms... I'm not saying I believe this explanation, but damn if it isn't internally consistent.
  • If this is true, then Ichigo is basically the human reincarnation of a powerful Hollow, born to a depowered Shinigami and a depowered Quincy. Which would also make Aizen Ichigo's creator. Yeesh.

The hollow that Isshin and Masaki
are fighting is pre-Arrancar Wonderweiss.

Just the way Tosen was particular about referring to him as 'pure' and 'light,' in the same way that he did for Wonderweiss in Hueco Mundo... It makes me wonder.

  • I doubt it, it was killed.

Zangetsu is actually the soul of the Shinigami who was used to create the Black Hollow.

The Black Hollow that was created with the Shinigami's soul "infected" Masaki when it bit her, and its power was passed on to Ichigo. Zangetsu isn't a normal zanpakutou, it's the Shinigami protecting his host. "Hollow" Ichigo is the manifestation of whatever it was Aizen did to the Shinigami to create a Hollow out of his soul.

  • As of Chapter 540, this seems to be Jossed. Zangetsu is a younger Yhwach.

Masaki isn't dead
And is in fact currently infiltrating the Vandenreich.
  • Pretty much Jossed. She was stripped of her powers and became an easy prey for the Grand Fisher.

Uryu will develop a Vollständig.
Because it's been a while since he received a power-up. And his Quincy training is nowhere near the level of Vandenreich.
  • Seems likely, now that he has joined Vandenreich.

Ichigo is special because of his unique heritage.
Think about it. His dad's Shinigami, his mom's a Quincy who had a hollow inside her when he was conceived, which also makes him a Fullbringer! The combination of these traits makes Ichigo who he his, so that by the time he learns his past, how he came to be, then it will unleash a new power inside him.

Uryuu is a Fake Defector.
He's joined the Vandenreich out of a want for revenge (something he has a history of) and will attempt to off the Emperor. This, of course, will end badly, and he will probably be killed in the attempt.

Alternately, Uryuu is an infiltrator into the Vandenreich.
Someone, possibly Urahara or Kyouraku, has sent him to spy on the Vandenreich to figure out what their next move will be.
  • Ryuuken would be another possibility for Uryuu's Mission Control. As a Quincy, Ryuuken probably knows more about the ideology and internal organization of the Clan than the Shinigami do, he's got a solid motive against Yhwach considering what happened to Kanae, and he's quite capable of playing the Long Game, with or without the help of Soul Society.

Third Option: Uryuu has been Reforged into a Minion by the Vandenreich just like Ichigo was supposed to be.

Yuha Bach can somehow use Blut Vene and Blut Arterie simultaneously

Ryuken will end up getting involved in the fight against Vandenreich.
This is only assuming that Uryu was coerced into joining Vandenreich against his own free will as opposed to being a spy of some sort. Thus, we'll get a father-son fight where Ryuken tries to bring Uryu to his senses, simultaneously showing his true colors and revealing that he truly loves and cares for his son (Katagiri too, if Uryu's Missing Mom problems are part of the reason for the schism between parent and child), he just had a really hard time properly showing them.

Haschwalth is a direct descendant of Yuha Bach.
I guess any Quincy could be said to be a "descendant" of Yuha Bach, but I'd like to suggest that Blondie's is his son/grandson/something similar. Explaining his Dragon status. Although I'm just saying this because they kind of resemble each other.
  • Then what are other Quincies? Great*over 9000 grandnephews and nieces? If Yuha Bach was the very first Quincy (had no Quincy brothers or sisters), then he is everyone's great*over 9000 grandfather.
  • It's possible, albeit probably not to that extent. As alluded to, just because every Quincy has Yhwach's blood running through them doesn't mean they're necessarily part of his direct line of descent (which we have no further info on at the time). If anything, his frequent use of addressing other Quincies as "My son" seems more figurative and poetic than outright literal.

Oshō of the Royal Guard is the creator of Kidō and founder of the Kidō Corps.
Just a theory, and I'm not sure WHY I think it. I just do.
  • Makes sense if you go by character design alone. He seems to be based on a Buddhist monk. Monks are known for their chants, and Kido spells requires incantations/chants to be used. Of course, there's the fact that exceptionally talented ones can use them without it. But the point still stands as basic Kido training requires you to learn the full incantation in the first place.
    • He says that he's the one who named everything in Soul Society. Doesn't necessarily Joss this though, since it implies he named every single Hado as well...

Grimmjow (assuming he's alive) is now capable of performing Segunda Etapa
Seeing as there needs to be a reason why Grimmjow is suddenly capable of defeating Kirge Opie so quickly when he was able to fight with Ichigo in his Bankai for at least a short time, my thoughts is that while the first form Ressureccion is like a Shikai, the Segunda Etapa is like Bankai. Extending from this, it's possible that Halibel has gained the ability as well.

Reforged Zangetsu's release command will be
Bleach
  • More like "cook," judging by its new appearance.
  • Given what his zanpakuto and attack names both were, and given his Quincy heritage, maybe his release command will be [[Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann"Ten wo Tsuke / Pierce the Heavens"]]?

Ichigo has always been using his quincy powers without anyone realizing
The getsuga tensho of his shikai is a massive blast of blue energy. Basic quincy arrows are shots of blue energy. The main ability of Zangetsu is to let Ichigo fire massive quincy arrows.
  • Isshin has Getsuga Tensho, too, though. Also, if this was the case Ichigo's Getsuga Tensho would probably destroy souls and while we have no prove that that's not the case, if it WOULD destroy Souls I'd assume the Gotei 13 wouldn't let him destroy Souls left and right. (And, yeah, given what we know of the twelfth division, they would know.) It's not good for the balance, after all.
    • True, but "Zangetsu" came into being when Ichigo got Rukia's powers so is it possible that that gave Him the purification abilities of a Zanpakuto? Not OP by the way.
  • Quincy arrows are made of reishi, gathered by a Quincy from the surroundings. Getsuga Tensho is a reiatsu blast, which comes from Ichigo and Isshin's own power. They aren't the same.

Old Man Zangetsu is a Quincy Spirit weapon
Unmarked spoilers for the most recent Chapter:

according to Nimaiya the spirit we have been Calling Zangetsu is actually a manifestation of Ichigo's Quincy powers. the Inner Hollow is the real Zangetsu. I postulate that when Rukia gave her powers to Ichigo she partially awakened his Quincy powers. when this happened Ichigo subconsciously conjured a spirit weapon in the shape of a sword. the reason "Zangetsu" Purifies instead of destroying is that Rukia's reiatsu gave it the properties of a Zanpakuto despite not being one, which is also why Ichigo can channel his Shikai and Bankai through him. the reason that he can only use Getsuga and not any other abilities is because Getsuga is the closest thing to a Quincies natural abilities, and is their for the only ability he can borrow from the real Zangetsu.

Yhwach stole Ryuken's mother's powers, too.
That mark on her leg was never explained. However, Orihime used to have a similar mark, left by a Hollow, and if the same is true for Ryuken's mother, then Yhwach may have deemed her impure (tainted by a Hollow, just like Masaki) and stolen her powers.
  • It's been revealed that Hollow reiatsu is deadly poison to Quincies, so if that mark was really from a Hollow, Ryuken's mom would've died before Yhwach could do anything to her.

Building on the above, Yhwach may have stolen Blut from the entire Ishida family in one fell swoop.
  • We have never seen Uryuu use Blut (despite having been in situations like the fight with Szayel where it could've been REALLY useful) and Ryuuken's never offered to teach it to his son despite restoring his powers. Perhaps there's some reason why Ryuuken doesn't want to pass that technique on or perhaps he simply can't.
  • Souken—the master who taught Uryuu and Ryuuken—was taken down by a pack of what were by all accounts perfectly normal Hollows. Yes, he was past his physical prime; yes, he was facing multiple opponents; yes, the Shinigami failed to respond. But his (mixed-blood, self-taught) grandson was mowing down that kind of monster like grass by age 15. Was there something else that was holding him back that day—like missing the strongest moves in his arsenal?
  • If Yhwach defined "impurity" BOTH as "mixed-blood ancestry" AND as "pure-blood contaminated by contact with Hollows", it's not much of a stretch to surmise that "marrying outside blood caste" and "advocating peace with the Shinigami" might also strip pure-bloods of their purity in his eyes...in which case both Ryuuken and Souken would also have lost their Blut ability in The Purge.
  • This makes sense for Yhwach in practical terms: two more powerful Bluts with which to restore his own abilities, two fewer powerful Bluts among a bunch of dissidents who might later object to his plans.
  • Like Masaki, the Ishidas were probably strong enough to survive the initial loss of power but it would have made fighting major Hollows or Arrancar much more dangerous. That makes sense with what we know of Souken's death and also with Ryuuken's True Neutral status: without Blut, Ryuuken may hate the Vandenreich but he really doesn't have the power to be able to risk pissing them off either.
  • Which would then lead to a possible answer as to why Ishida has joined the Vandenreich. He wants to attain Blut and help take them down from the inside.
  • Jossed. Yhwach attempted to steal Uryu's powers, but it failed. However, Uryu never had Blut in the first place because he's a Gemischt.

Ichigo's bankai will be stolen, and then he'll have to learn Quincy powers.
Because otherwise, it makes no sense for him to have used a Quincy power once, only to never use them again.
  • On the contrary, wouldn't it be equally nonsensical for Ichigo to lose his Bankai after just going through all of the trouble of getting his Zanpakuto reforged, learning about the true nature of his weapon, and no longer having his actual Soul Reaper powers suppressed? Yes, the fact that Vandenreich can steal Bankai is still problematic, but I feel that (or at least hope that) Ichigo isn't stupid enough to make the same mistake the Gotei 13 captains did during the first battle with Vandenreich. I don't think Ichigo's Quincy powers will be going on the back burner either, considering that the sole ability he's demonstrated so far was a specialty of his mother's. It'd make sense that, as suggested above, Ichigo fights with the sum total of his Soul Reaper, Hollow, and Quincy powers.

I'll probably end up being wrong on most accounts, but work with me here. Zangetsu's appearance as that of a younger Yhwach might be symbolic of whatever good in his heart the Vandenreich Emperor cast away, manifesting as an Enemy Without(?) that ended up resonating with Ichigo's Quincy powers, thus taking on the form we all know. After all, both that scene with Tensa Zangetsu (who was made up of both "Old Man" Zangetsu and Ichigo's Hollow at the time) crying Berserker Tears and revealing that it was Ichigo he wanted to protect and his words in 541 to Ichigo were genuinely sentimental.

Tenjiro Kirinji is a former Kenpachi.
Have you seen him talk to Unohana like she's a rookie? This dude's got some balls.
  • Dude, Tenjiro is probably so badass that the only reason he didn't officially become the first Kenpachi (as is Unohana's honour) was because he was inducted into the Zero Division. And not just for his badassery, but because of the sheer amount of death that would happen in this guy's wake! He was probably transferred out of the safety of the people of Soul Society!

Uryu joined Vandenreich on one condition: Orihime (and probably some other friends of his) will be spared in the war.
Let's face it: Uryu is quite a decent guy. Despite his rivalry with Ichigo, he has friends and people he cares about, just like everybody else. He is not the type who would suddenly devote himself to mass killing and destruction which Vandenreich craves. Why would he side with the worst sort of bad guys, then? Why, because there is someone he doesn't want to be harmed! And the best candidate for such a person could be... who else but Orihime?

With the recent chapter 543, it starts to look like the current arc mirrors the Hueco Mundo arc. Stern Ritters have strikingly similar personalities to those of Espadas: Haschwalth=Ulquiorra, Bazz-B=Grimmjow or Nnoitra, luchador Quincy=Yammy... And Uryu acts an awful lot like Orihime when she was captured! He hasn't spoken a single word since he was shown in a Stern Ritter uniform; he looked unusually sad when he told Ichigo he couldn't accompany him to Hueco Mundo, and he seems oddly indifferent through the whole chapter 543. He appears neither glad nor honored to stand by Yhwach's side and become his successor. Is he really there to fight and kill Soul Reapers... or maybe there's an unrelated, more personal reason?

Yhwach wants to perform Grand Theft Me on Ishida
It seems strange that Yhwach would name Ishida his successor, because there's no way he can trust such a newcomer to carry out his vision once he's dead. However, Yhwach won't be dead. His body is a thousand years old and failing him, and he wants a new one to replace it with. Ishida is the perfect candidate- he's the only 'living' Quincy, he's young, and he's implied to be potentially very powerful. Yhwach is grooming Ishida to be powerful enough to act as a vessel for his soul once his current body gives out.

The twist? Ishida knows this is what Yhwach has planned for him, and is the reason he joined him. Ishida hopes that when Yhwach tries to hijack him, he'll be able to keep control for long enough to kill them both, or have one of his friends do so.

  • I agree. I suspect that holy drink he gives to Ishida is spiked with something to facilitate this.
  • With Yhwach's backstory revealed, it seems more likely. His unique power is to distribute pieces of his soul to other people and get them back with whatever memories, skills and talents those people have accumulated. And then Yhwach gave Uryu the "A" letter, the same as his... The same power? As such, if Yhwach dies, his soul should be transferred to Uryu's body.

Urahara is working on a way to negate the effects of the Vandereich's Medallions
One of the biggest advantage the Stern Ritter have on the Gotei 13 is the ability to steal their Bankai. The captains can't use Bankai against opponents that they would NEED to use Bankai on. Urahara, being the genius scientist, is currently examining Opie's medallion to see if he can reverse it's effects and allow the captains to use Bankai when they fight the Stern Ritter again.
  • Confirmed, he has found a way to stop Quincies from stealing bankai and even return the stolen bankai.

Uryuu is a mole, and he doesn't have to ever act against the Vandereich to help the Soul Sociery
Remember when Uryuu and Renji were fighting Szayel? Mayuri knew exactly where they were, because he'd planted camera-like bacteria in Ishida aaaalll they way back when they first fought. So Mayuri can track Ishida anywhere he goes, and Ishido didn't even have a clue about it until he was told. Now, Uryuu has some pretty good Reishi-sensing skills, so Mayuri's bacteria has to be pretty well hidden. Which means that even if Ishida never reports back to the Soul Society, gets any info from them, or does anything to help the Soul Society, he'd still be spying on the Vandereich every time they tell him anything. Hell, even just walking through the palace gives the Seireitei (at least part of) a map of the Vandereich's headquarters. Anything he does or learns will be reported back to the Soul Society through the bacteria.

The best part? Since the bacteria was hidden from Uryuu so well, even if someone discovers it he can always claim he had no clue it existed. Unless Yhwach had spies in Las Noches, in the same room as that particular battle, during the thirty seconds Mayuri spent explaining the bacteria in Ishida's presence, there's no evidence that Uryuu was aware he's being spied on. Granted, when push comes to shove that may not work, but it's worth a shot at least.

So Uryuu can be the perfect spy, without ever putting himself under suspicion. The only way he'd screw up is if he asked a question about information the Soul Society needed to know, but that Uryuu Ishida has no reason to interested in. And personally, I thing Uryuu's too smart to screw up like that.

Bambietta's change in appearance isn't a Retcon
Mostly because I can't think of a reason Kubo would change it without some sort of Executive Meddling but her change in appearance has something to do with her powers, perhaps the more blood she spills the younger she appears thus why she occasionally kills recruits in her spare time.
  • Bambietta's appearance never changed. It's just that we never saw her without her cape prior to Chapter 544, so we couldn't take a good look at her body.

Uryu will steal Ichigo's bankai.
Even though it's a plotkai, Uryu is apparently the strongest Quincy, even more powerful than Yhwach. Now, we know from Yhwach that not everyone is capable of stealing bankai; you need to be powerful enough to handle what you are stealing. Seeing how Ichigo is a freak who has the power of every force in existence, that may be the true reason why his bankai is unstealable. Maybe you need an equally strong opponent for that... And maybe that's why Yhwach recruited Uryu? Something like that would add a fuckton of awesomeness to their rivalry.

Uryu will kill Yuzu
It's been shown already that he's joined the Vandenreich. Given that he has a personal reason for joining, making it a true Face–Heel Turn, Juhabach might ask him to prove his loyalty.Why Yuzu? She and Karin are Ichigo's sisters, the children of a shinigami-human hybrid and a quincy-hollow hybrid. Judging by the freakish level of power Ichigo has, his sisters might also be decided as a threat by Juhabach. Uryu kills Yuzu, but Karin escapes due to timely intervention by Isshin, who escapes with her. Yuzu's death might also give Karin a motive to develop her powers, which, right after the time-skip, Ichigo says have been growing, according to Karin's own words, hence the above WMG.

Tatsuki, Keigo and Mizuiro will become Substitute Soul Reapers.
Currently, Ichigo is busy preparing for the war with Vandenreich, Uryu has sided with Vandenreich (even though nobody knows about it yet), the rest of the gang are either in Hueco Mundo or in the Soul Society, leaving Karakura Town without anyone to protect its citizens from Hollows. That may be the reason why Kyoraku is meeting with Ichigo's friends - to offer them Soul Reaper powers.

Lt. Yachiru will get into a Designated Girl Fight with Bambietta.
Allowing us to finally see her combat skills and her zanpakuto.
  • Jossed. The only opponents she's ever faced are men, namely Komamura, Ikkaku, and Yumichika.

Yhwach is going to win.
Bleach has taken a 6-week hiatus before the "final battle," and Yhwach says he is going to conquer the world in 9 days. However, Kubo said this arc will be the longest in the series, and it's only been a year. So unless those 9 days will be expanded to hundreds of chapters, Yhwach is going to conquer the Soul Society, forcing the good guys to retreat and try later to take it back.
  • The entire Hueco Mundo Arc occurred in a single day in-universe, but it took so long to write that the anime inserted filler arcs TWICE DURING the adaptation of the Hueco Mundo Arc because they Overtook the Manga. I see no reason to assume that it won't take the rest of the decade for Kubo to write nine days in-universe. (Timestamp: July 17, 2013)
  • Not exactly as predicted, but confirmed: Yhwach successfully invaded the Royal Realm, obliterated Squad 0 and killed the Soul King. He's won.

Ichigo's friends...
...will be forced to escape to the Soul Society - that's the reason they were given those tickets. Same with Ichigo's family.
  • Soul Society isn't the safest place right now, with Seireitei gone and Quincies taking over.

Haschwalth is a brainwashed former Shinigami
This one is really wild, but I like it anyway, so there.
  • His "B" will be revealed to stand for "Blade". Why would a Quincy of all people have a specialty that involves blades? Because he used to work with them before becoming a Quincy.
  • He has an unhappy reaction when Bach mentions brainwashing Ichigo into a loyal soldier. Perhaps he was not aware Bach could do this before this moment and is suddenly complementing his own situation? Or it just makes him feel uneasy on a subconscious level.
  • This would explain his rather distinct lack of personality aside from "Yes, your majesty". He probably has some sort of actual character, but it's just suppressed by the brainwashing along with his memories.
  • Haschwalth is always seen in the general vicinity of Juha Bach, which is interpreted as him having Special Rights. But maybe his case is exactly the same as Uryuu's - Bach keeps him close so he can see if the brainwashing is working properly.
  • Similarly, the serving lady is not there to signify his status, but to keep an eye for him.
  • The other Sternritters' reactions to Haschwalth speak against this theory, but maybe most of them are not on it. Assuming that 'Haschwalth' is a fake identity with a fake name that he got after the brainwashing, it would make sense to only tell a few of other Sternritters the truth, so no one would accidentally spill the beans. The rest was told the lie and simply is misinterpreting Haschwalth's closeness to the Emperor, similarly as they misinterpret Uryuu being named the successor.
  • The last time Juha Bach had a chance to brainwash anybody was 1000 years ago. This would explain why no one from the Shinigami side recognizes Hashwalth during the Invasion - most of them were not there 1000 years ago and the few who were (Yamamoto comes to mind) did not necessary remember the face of every Shinigami who went missing and was believed dead in the previous war - there probably was a lot of them. Plus, you know, there is an invasion going on. Not necessary the best time to wonder where one saw that blond dude before.
Bonus points if Haschwalth actually managed to fuck something up for Juha Bach last time around and this is an art of elaborate revenge or if he was one of the War Potentials in the previous war. If not - hey, someone had to be a test subject for the technique.
  • Problem with that theory is that a few of the quincy use swords or knives and he was probably trained personally by the Emperor in sword fighting.
  • Pretty much jossed, with the way the Sternritters powers and Epithets are granted, unless Yhwach can turn a Shinigami into a Quincy.
  • Jossed in a flashback to Haschwalth's past. He has always been a quincy, and seems to have joined Yhwach of his own free will. The reason he specialises in blades is because he can't manifest a bow at all, as a result of having a cut-down variant of Yhwach's powers instead of normal Quincy abilities.

Uryu will kill Kurotsuchi
Already mentioned in short above, but expanding: Regardless of whether he's a mole or not, it'll be Because he has enough reasons to hate him and the way this issue was "resolved" kind of sucked. (Ishida nearly killed Kurotsuchi and afterwards, everything's just fine and that's it? Really?)

Also, Kurotsuchi doesn't seem particularly well-liked inside the Soul Society and he doesn't have that many fangirls either, so he can be killed off without angering too many and, possibly, without lasting consequences for Uryu. He had to "prove his loyalty", maybe? And with Urahara being innocent there's a smarter, more powerful and allegedly less insane scientist around to fill the "hole", anyway.

Shutara is the creator of the Kōtotsu
The Dangai used to be a penal colony and is now a defence to prevent unauthorised people from entering soul society easily with the Kōtotsu coming along to clean out the Dangai every week, it's been shown to have time/space altering effects when messed with and Squad 12 mentions a Shutara Scale in relation to the vandenreich slaying hollows in large numbers and upsetting the balance.

She is a Space and Time master who is responsible for ensuring the balance is maintained by slaying Menos to balance the worlds, the Kōtotsu is just a way to ensure that people dont exploit the Dangai's time dilation effect.

The Stern Ritter (as in the characters themselves) were created by Juha Bach
This would explain how the characters that Genryuusai burned are back in the most recent chapters, as for the reasons why some characters haven't been brought back, Juha Bach may simply have no use for them.
  • Jossed, at least As Nodt was shown to be a normal living human before meeting Yhwach. however BG9 on the other hand...

BG9's letter K is for "The Killbot"
If only because it's darkly funny.

Komamura is going to die from his own transformation.
Because why wouldn't ripping your own heart out be fatal?
  • All but Jossed, since his great-grandfather hinted Komamura is now doomed to a mindless animal's life.

Haschwalth is 'The Balance'.
It's a pretty obvious conclusion, given the theme of chapter 559.

Haschwalth will steal Shunsui's Bankai and be killed by it.
Ukitake told Shunsui not to release his Bankai where other people can see indicating that if other people see it there's consiquences. It's possible that people seeing it could result in the user's death...
  • Given there are apparently 'rules' to using Shunsui's zanpakuto, it would be rather satisfying for these Bankai thieves to die because they don't know what they're dealing with. That said, no-one else seems to have trouble getting the bankai to work even if - in the case of Sasakibe's killer - they don't use them very well.
  • With every captain having received a Hollow pill, it's unlikely any more bankai will be stolen.
  • Jossed. The battle was inconclusive as he retreated on Yhwachs orders.

Haschwalth is being set up as Ryuuken's Evil Counterpart.
Don't have quite enough yet to put this on the character page, but: Haschwalth already has an Only Six Faces resemblance to Ryuuken, and Kubo's started to exploit those for plot purposes. They've also got a similar stoic, dutiful demeanour. Teenage!Ryuuken shared Haschwalth's concern for the Quincy Clan above his own needs. Both were heirs apparent to powerful positions within clan (and Souken is being set up as the leader of good-ish opposition faction, a possible counterpart to Yhwach) before unexpected events intervened. Haschwalth's scene with his female servant (whom he treats with unusual familiarity and warmth) where he explains why Yhwach appointed Uryuu heir echoes Ryuuken's exposition scene with Kanae about his unhappy engagement. The difference between them seems to be that while Ryuuken turned his back on the clan when the cost to his loved ones grew too high, Haschwalth has remained loyal to Yhwach no matter what. This may be setting up a showdown between them when Ryuuken finally cannot avoid fighting any longer.

Uryuu's ability to channel Ichigo's raw power is going to become significant again.
Remember the whole crazy Freudian step-on-your-sword-and-my-bow-gets-big thing? One of Ichigo's biggest weaknesses as a fighter has always been his lack of fine controL, which Uryuu has in spades. Ichigo has newly discovered Quincy powers and no one to teach him to use them. The story is pushing them towards confrontation again but Ichigo and Uryuu have a common goal in avenging their mothers' deaths, like they did against the Menos Grande. Given their whole Foil/Generation Xerox/Ironic Echo thing I think it's going to end the same way the second time around.

Haschwalth will betray Yhwach but not the Vandenreich
Yhwach killed Yamamoto, who was the only person in the Gotei 13 who could've stood against him at that point, upsetting the balance of strength between the Vandenreich and Gotei 13, which is why Haschwalth didn't tell Yhwach that his time limit was approaching, Haschwalth was hoping to get rid of Yhwach without lifting a finger, since that failed he's probably hoping that Uryu will be able to kill Yhwach somehow.

The recent neverending fight is a subtle jab at demanding fans and their impact on manga
No matter how many times they kill this guy, James always reappears and makes him more powerful than ever. Even after having been defeated in flashy ways a good two or three times, the luchadore keeps getting up and stronger than ever. Kubo stretched the Arrancar arc because fans demanded to see more of them, and historically, fans have done stuff like bring characters back from the dead and prolong other series. This sounds very much like a subtle jab at how fans demand to see more and have kept things going longer and longer.

James is Mask de Masculine's spirit weapon.
1. James obviously isn't an ordinary living being. NOBODY stays alive after getting minced into pieces.

2. Mask only uses his fists and shoots energy beams, he doesn't seem to be using any sort of spirit weapon like Opie's saber or Royd!Yhwach's sword.

  • To be fair, not all Quincies have been showing making a weapon. Bazz-B and Gremmy for example.

3. James wasn't seen around during Mask's previous appearances.

Basically, Mask uses reishi manipulation to conjure an undying sidekick. Thus his powers allow him to boost his own powers.

  • Sort of jossed, maybe? When Mask de Masculine is defeated by Renji and his soul is taken by Yhwach, Yhwach explicitly thanks James rather than Mask de Masculine, implying that James was actually the Sternritter, and Mask was his spirit weapon or guardian or something. In essence, I think this WMG is sort of correct, but the relationship is the other way around, with Mask being a super-powerful spirit guardian that James, the real Sternritter, hides behind.

Most of the Vandenreich don't know Yhwach's motives or real plan.
Because why should he tell them that they're going to die for him?

Most of the Sternritters won't get backstories
Given how quickly they're being dealt with compared to the Espadas, I think Kubo designed the Sternritters only as antagonists to be overcome, so they won't get all that much backstory.
  • Jossed. The Loyd Brothers, and As Nodt got somewhat of a backstory, and Gremmy is being hinted at one now too. I think its more likely only some of the last, more important ones will, or..

We will get multiple backstories in one chapter for some Sternritters
Like it was with Xcution. After they're all defeated is when we'll get backstories for the Sternritters.
  • Quite possible, only the most relevant ones will be getting separate backstories themselves. Perhaps whoever fights Yhwach he will use a few of his dead Sternritters abilities and tell us a little bit about each of them.

Related to the above - at least one of the Stern Ritters doesn't actually want to get all these people, and was only brought along because Yhwach promised them something.
Maybe Yhwach told them that he could bring them back to life if they fight for him.

Bambietta's fate
Given what Yhwach is, I think Giselle's method of "helping" Bambietta is to kill her so she gets absorbed by Yhwach. The only outlier is that we don't know how many Sternritters know about Yhwach's true fate and goal other than Haschwalth. We also dunno what she means by her being, if nothing else, bored by Bambietta's departure, which would make murder counterproductive. Nevertheless, I say she's gonna die off-screen because of Giselle.
  • More likely turning her into a zombie.
    • Confirmed

Most of the Sternritters will die. Most of the Shinigami will live.
I say most because Yamamoto and Sasakibe died, but other than that, the Shinigami will pull through.'

Na Na Na is "The Understand".
Based on him gloating about how long he's observed Renji, it seems to me that his ability will be similar to Szayel's ability to block Renji's powers. The longer he sees someone, the more he gains the ability to withstand them.

Aizen's fate.
As the fight against Yhwach grows more desperate, the Central 46 will eventually unseal Aizen as a final move. Aizen will side with them because only he can be Spirit King, or something like that. But Yhwach, having pigged out on Sternritter powers for the whole war, will absolutely curb-stomp Aizen, and then absorb back the piece of soul he put in when he went to meet with him as a Special War Potential. In fact...

The Special War Potentials are all Soul Reapers that Yhwach absolutely wants to absorb.
Really just so I can say I called it.

Yhwach will absorb the Soul King.
Ala Hao from Shaman King. He will absorb the Soul King as the final powerup for him and he will be the End Boss of the series. If only because hes being built up way more and the Soul King seems to be the only other final villain candidate, and with this Quincy war arc being the confirmed final arc, I don't see the Soul King/Royal Guards being evil happening.

Kenpachi Zaraki may have originally been an Asuachi.
Think about it. Chapter 577 has a flashback when Zaraki meets Yachiru, and he asks if she has a name. In response to her silence, he says, "Me Neither."

If he didn't have a name, then it's possible that he could have been an asuachi, since they don't have names until a soul reaper takes'em and imprints their soul on the sword. What's also to say that asuachi can't wield other asuachi?

Yhwach is what allows Quincys to exist.
It has been said by Word of God that Yhwach has a little bit of himself in everyone that he comes into contact with, and he gets progressively weaker the more of him is spread out. However, when they die, he gets stronger. His birth 9(?) years ago (give or take) is when a bunch of Quincies lost their lives and he regained power.

These are Quincies that by theory, could utilize the Bluts. Uryuu's Mom was one, but for some unknown reason, Ryuken didn't get axed. Perhaps because Ryuken knows of the (or a) way to restart a Quincie's powers by way of nearly killing them, he didn't die. Both he and Uryuu are lampshaded to be a different breed of Quincy, seeing as they cannot use Blut. It's also hinted at that they should or might have been stronger at one point.

Since the only Quincies that have been shown to use Blut have part of Yhwach inside of them, when they die, part of him returns. Thus, it's not a long stretch to say that the Quincies came about BECAUSE of Yhwach's ability.

  • On a different note, this doesn't bode well for Ichigo, who may have a bit of Yhwach inside of him too... This troper detects one of those "If you live, I can't die" cliches.

The blast at the end of chapter 580 is caused by...
Place your guesses here:
  • Unohana, who isn't as dead as we thought.
  • Ganju.
  • The Fullbringers.
  • The Visoreds.
  • The Arrancar.
  • Ichigo.
    • Confirmed!
  • Yachiru Kusajishi.
  • Tenjiro, coming to bring Kenpachi to the royal dimension.

The Stern Ritter are all made up of the Last of their own kind.
That is, the last of their own respective Quincy Clans. So Masaki and Ryuken werent' entirely the "last" Quincies, they were merely the last ones in Japan. It's possible that they are from outside of Japan as well - who says everything is Japan-centric, Yhwach could have sent his blood out everywhere in the world, creating all sorts of unique powers. I think Yhwach might bring this up at some point because they all have surnames - so they're not just Mooks. The Mooks are mixed-blood quincies. Adding onto this is the sternritter abilities are what their own unique-Quincy clan abilities are - they're the last Pureblood quincies of their respective clans, and may have been spared from the attempted genocide by being hidden by their parents, they escaped, or maybe they were simply away from the clans (due to their parents being exiles themselves). Maybe Soul Society knew about them, but figured that there was no point hunting down the last of the clans since they were so spread out that they would either die childless (bringing an end to the bloodline) or eventually cause the bloodline to go extinct through dilution. The only place this didn't happen is Japan - it was assumed the Japanese quincies would eventually dilute, but it took much longer than with the other clans.

Rukia will play a big part in the defeat of Yhwach.
Since its been revealed that Sode no Shirayuki's power is to lower temperature instead of creating ice (which is just a side effect). This power in theory would make Zanka no Tachi useless allowing Ichigo to go all out without having to worry about defending against it.

Love and some of the other visoreds are sneaking into Hueco Mundo and will break out Harribel and the remaining of Aizen's Arrancars.

Gremmy was kept in a lab... maybe even inside Soul Society.
However, how did Yhwach get his hands on Gremmy's brain?

Giselle IS a zombie, as in, reanimated corpse.
Let's see... She just won't stop smiling, she can survive being chopped nearly in half with nary a pain, and while Meninas and Lilotto can imagine the future, Giselle draws blank about her wishes. She is probably not a living being (not even in the same sense that Soul Reapers are functionally 'living' creatures) and is actually a reanimated corpse, which explains why she can't change expression, why injuries don't bother her, and why she doesn't have any imagination at all. Besides, seeing that Yhwach can infuse a mere brain with his Schrift (Gremmy), doing the same to a complete human body, including the dying (slightly deader than As Nodt) or freshly dead (probably), should be no issue.

Haschwalth and Yhwach's letters
Haschwalth's seems pretty obvious. The luckier someone is or however much advantage they have, the more effective his Vollstandig is against them. Since his letter is "B," a likely epithet would be "The Balance."

Yhwach? He's "A." He's already got divine overtones, being the progenitor of the Quincies and even dubbed with their name for God. It's likely his is "The Almighty."

Incidentally, Uryu's "A" is probably something else.

  • Uryu is probably The Archer or The Arrow, considering the emphasis Opie put on the fabled power of his arrows.
    • Or something to do with absorption, when he stepped on Ichigo's zanpakuto during the fight with the menos, his bow grew gigantic instantly just from coming in contact with it. It would also explain his survival from Yhwach's purge if he absorbed energy from Yhwach as quickly as Yhwach absorbed it from him.

Quincy will eventually be able to develop their own powers without Yhwach

After the war is over Quincy will be freed from Yhwach and will be able to awaken their own inner powers without needing Yhwach to grant them a letter.

Yuzu was born a Quincy.
Alright, really quick theory here that has no bearing on the plot whatsoever. How come Yuzu can't see spirits while her brother and sister can? Back when she was just half-shinigami/half-regular human, it was pretty easy to assume that she just didn't inherit powers, but now that it's revealed that Masaki was a Quincy, it makes a little less sense. What if Yuzu was born being able to see ghosts, the way Karin and Ichigo were, because she was born a Quincy? Then, she loses her powers along with her mother but doesn't die from it because whatever latent spiritual power she inherited from her father is just enough to keep her alive, without the full ability to see ghosts. She would have been five when she lost whatever powers she had, and at that age, even Ichigo stated that he didn't know ghosts from real people, so maybe she was still too young to know what she was seeing (and just young enough to pass off any memories of seeing weird stuff from that time as some sort of odd dream).

The Royal Guard will get to fight Yhwach
.Yhwach will burst through into the Soul King's domain..., and they'll be waiting for him.
  • Conirmed.

Stern Ritter X
~Already posted above, but I have a more detailed WMG (sorry, it's a TL;DR)~~Stern Ritter X is not only Ginjo but also the other Fullbringers (at least Tsukishima and Giriko), but only started out as one of them: Ginjo. Before Yhwach regained his powers and invaded, Haschwalth decided he wanted more information on how the Soul Society was run – so he asked for volunteers to infiltrate the Shinigami. Ginjo volunteered (or got volunteered). This is how he became a substitute Shinigami. After that, Haschwalth asked him to stay in Karakura town because of the Quincies living there. He agreed. His power is in fact “The X-Cution” and it was the power to do exactly what he did. He could only turn people with Quincy blood into Fullbringers (Stern Ritter X group) – like Ichigo! He has been acting on Haschwalth's and Yhwach's orders this whole time, allowing Yhwach to assess Ichigo. He then ended up in the Rukongai to spy on Kukaku and see exactly what he could find out about the Zero Squad and the way to get up to the Soul Palace (perhaps his investigations are how Yhwach found out about the whole “barriers can't be closed for 6000 seconds after Ichigo goes through” thing?) So Stern Ritter X is the full group X-Cution, or at least the three “dead” ones.~
  • Jossed. Stern Ritter X is named Lille Barro, and X stands for The X-Axis.

The Royal Guard will be Worfed. Big Time.
Come on, this is Bleach - how many people have been introduced and the viewer is told they're absolutely powerful, yet they get absolutely slaughtered by the villain to showcase how powerful they are?
  • Well, frankly, seeing that this is a Shonen, that the Royal Guards will be Worfed will be less of a mass-guessing and more of a Foregone Conclusion. We all know the Royal Guards will be corpses (or heck, ashes) by the time Ichigo arrives back at Soul King's realm, Yhwach murders the Soul King just as Ichigo confronts him, hibby-jibbies ensues and we're off the The Very Definitely Final Dungeon of sorts. The only thing left to guess about this is whether Haschwalth and Uryuu is going to dirty their hands or not.
  • Confirmed.

Giselle raped Bambietta.
Now hear me out on this. Yumichika reveals that Giselle is a man, based on him smelling like semen. This came off as an oddly specific reason. And back when Bambietta was beaten, she was especially terrified about what Giselle was just about to do to her. And lastly, the fact that Kubo revealed Giselle is a guy, smells of semen, and has Bambietta as a zombie mook now at the same time seemed like no coincidence.
  • Kubo didn't confirm anything regarding Giselle's sex. That's merely an insinuation of Yumichika and Charlotte's (which Gigi neither confirmed nor denied), so the jury's still out (though that clearly hasn't stopped certain fans from taking it as a direct confirmation). And while Giselle is a Nightmare Fetishist and implied necrophile (given her arousal over killing Bambietta and Zombietta's... suspect words), it's more likely that Bambietta was simply terrified of, you know, becoming a self-aware zombie with no control of her body.

Yhwach is the Soul King and what we saw in the Soul King's Palace is his original body.
He called the palace a gravestone and Haschwalth acted like he would feel something seeing it which implies it has ties to Yhwach despite him not feeling anything upon seeing it. Yamamoto likely threw his body into the palace after beating him only for his soul to escape using his power over Quincy blood and powers to manifest a new form.

The Sternritters are literally "part of Yhwach"
My going theory is that becoming a Sternritter means that Yhwach literally absorbs you as part of himself. This means that as long as Yhwach is alive, he can keep summoning anyone that he's absorbed this way. This would explain why the Sternritter are so willing to kill each other and why Yhwach is so willing to just throw his minions away so easily despite their otherwise very pragmatic nature: they know they can be brought back.

Yhwach's Title Will Be...
Sternritter A, "The Author". He is merely Kubo wearing a mask and this final arc is not only a self insert fic, but a sort of example of torch the franchise and run. He entered the world of Bleach, but being the author he is able to share parts of his "soul" with others. Who else could give someone powers better than the creator of the series can? No matter how strong a character is, who decides their fate? The author. Kubo has decided to troll one final time, while also pissing off the executives who made him drag out the series by going full on God Mode Sue in the finale. On a side note, much to Uryuu's dismay, his title will be Sternritter A, "The Asshole", because Yhwach/Kubo has a nice sense of humor when it comes to betraying your friends.

Only Bankai named by Ichibei Hyōsube are at full power
Yamamoto, Unohana, Kyoraku and Ukitake are the only captains who seem to be on another level to most captains and are the only ones who could've met Ichibei before he was recruited to the royal guard.
  • Jossed, yet also confirmed in the same chapter that it was mentioned that he named things. He literally gave names to everything in Soul Society. The part where only the bankai named by him being full power is not true because ALL bankai are named by him, therefore ALL bankai in true and full form are at full power. Only zanpakuto who don't give their full names or are called by false ones aren't at full power.

Chad was in on the Orihime Clothes Prank.
He asks Ichigo what he thinks of Orihime's clothes? There is no reason why he would do that unless he was part of the prank.

Yumichika is wrong about Giselle (Warning: Some queasy speculations)
Yumichika has accused Giwelle of being a guy because she smells of semen. While this leads credence to why Giselle treats Bambietta like dirt, his accusation may not necessarily be true. Instead, it may be that in parallel to As Nodt, Giselle was some kind of victim prior to being Schrifted. In her case, it's probably rape; she got gang-raped or something and was Driven to Suicide as Yhwach happened to pass by her, so that smell of semen might not be hers, but rather, her rapists'. Either that, or due to being Driven to Suicide after a rape, she became a sexually loose girl, so the semen smell might also be because she indulges herself on the guys in Vandenreich.

Yumichika has bankai and everyone, or at least some people, know about it
Ikkaku and Yumichika have a similarity: They are actually more powerful than they publicly acknowledge, with only a handful of people knowing their true power. For example, there are only at least six people who know Ikkaku's bankai: Yumichika, Keigo (who probably knows squat about what bankai is), Iba, Komamura and Mayuri who blurts that out to Ichigo. And we also know there at least two persons who know Yumichika's true power: Hisagi and Charlotte. Now, Mayuri has enslaved some Arrancars for his future use, and one of them happens to be Charlotte. Considering Mayuri's sheer disregard on keeping secrets (e.g., about Ikkaku's bankai), and that he has Charlotte under his wraps, it's possible that he has mind-probed Charlotte, thus learning of Yumichika's true power, and thus keeping Yumichika on his watch. And although the last time we see Yumichika training bankai he's having a hard time, he may have actually achieved it considering that he's either as strong as or stronger than Ikkaku; it's just that he wants to keep it secret. And if Mayuri has been keeping watch on Yumichika, he should then know.

However, Yumichika's reaction to the fact that everyone may have found out about his powers may not necessarily be drastic; Many of 11th Division's members have been wiped out by the FemRitters, Kenpachi is too badly injured to probably take notice (and even if he's sober he'll probably be too busy fighting or panicking about Yachiru), Yachiru is missing and Ikkaku has flat-out seen Yumichika using kido. That, and since five out of the six Soul Reapers who intercept the eight Stern Ritters have bankai (Byakuya, Renji, Rukia, Hisagi and Ikkaku), it will be strange if they let Yumichika join in if they think he doesn't at least have bankai.

Masaki will show up in the final battle
Because this is BLEACH, we all know that Ichigo is going to win, and the likelihood of all the Quincies being released from Juha Bach and passing on into the soul/reincarnation cycle when he is defeated/dies is pretty plausible. Masaki has shown to be pretty strong-willed herself, and as Ichigo fights Juha Bach and loses for the first bit, Masaki (and maybe Uryuu's mother and grandfather, since they are dead, and therefore absorbed into Juha Bach) will show up, save Ichigo and likely others, kick some ass, and give Ichigo a much needed resolve boost that is common in BLEACH.
  • Uryu's grandfather wasn't absorbed by Juha Bach, Masaki seemingly was eaten by Grand Fisher but it's possible that her soul was absorbed instead, with grand fisher only receiving scraps of her power.

Uryu is going to abduct Karin.
Ostensibly to be his wife, but also to protect her from the Vandenreich. After all, Yhwach isn't going to deny his Stern Ritter "A" a lover, is he?
  • I don't follow. On both accounts.
    • Yhwach is a racist who regards everyone other than pure-blood Quincies to be sub-human, but he has appointed Uryu as Stern Ritter "A" on account of the fact that he survived the "Holy Selection" that killed all other mixed-blood and "impure" Quincies, save for the half-Shinigami Kurosaki siblings. There is no doubt that Yhwach intends to wipe out all Shinigami, but Yhwach does seem to permit the Stern Ritter to fulfill their sexual desires. Uryu would take Karin as his lover, citing the fact that if he were to impregnate any of the Vandenreich Quincies the child would be considered impure, so none of them would want to get involved with him. Karin, on the other hand, is only half-Quincy, so her children would be considered impure anyway.

Byakuya, Hisagi, Liltotto, and Meninas are going to Enemy Mine against Pepe.
Because Pepe is a Fat Bastard who is very obviously much more horrible than either duo likely thinks the other is, they'll use a logic of "lesser of two evils" and team up against him.

Giselle, off-screen, has zombified Isane and Yachiru
Well, Kensei and Rose's bodies were in Isane's care after Gremmy killed them with his imagination powers, and now, they're shown to be under Giselle's control like Toshiro and Rangiku. Giselle probably had to go through Isane to get the two captains on her side, and she's not one to pass up on a chance at sadism, so...

As for Yachiru, they mysteriously disappeared after Kenpachi's battle with Gremmy, which was after Kenpachi told her to go find Isane and get her arm healed, so there's a possibility that they were either intercepted by Giselle en route to Isane or met up with them and then was taken out by Giselle.

Among the zombie Soul Reapers, we'll see Unohana
Giselle seems to have been turning Soul Reapers into the (un)undead behind the scenes, and while Unohana's body is probably still down in the Muken (which the Sternritters most likely shouldn't know about), it would be a great opportunity to reverse (if only partially) the utter waste of potential that ensued when Kubo thought Kenpachi needed even more shilling

Build up to the final battle AKA The broken villain who will
Ok. Yhwach has the ability to spread pieces of his soul to others, granting them powers as he has done with the Sternritter. When they die the piece of soul they were given returns to him to increase his lifespan, grant him their knowledge and experience, and most importantly return that portion of power to him. That means that all of the unique powers the Sternritter use originally belonged to him. Now here is the plan involving all the powers shown so far:

Right now he has Explode, Fear, Iron, Jail, Overkill, Question, Roar, Superstar, Visionairy, and Yourself all back. He has shown that he is more than happy to kill his followers. He will execute each of the Sternritter that don't die to gain their knowledge and power back, the ones defeated in actual battle are what he uses to gather information faster. He kills them himself because Overkill is in effect, thus buffing each and every one of his powers every time he kills someone.

That's not all, there are still the powers he has yet to get back, the most important to my theory is Love. After he has killed the Sternritter, along with Squad 0, and a lot of the other characters he will be fighting Ichigo. All those kills powering him up. Then he will use Visionairy to create a stadium and fill all the seats either by teleporting all the still living characters and hollows, or creating copies of them in the seats. The stadium will be like the Tenkaichi Budokai stadium with a ring in the middle.

Of course he will either kill the whole audience and get a small power boost, OR he could use Love on the whole audience and make them cheer for him and thus activate Superstar's effect and increase his power several times over as time goes on. And thus the battle begins and he uses the rest of his abilities that are powered up as much as they could possibly get.

Why? Because you fight Broken with Broken, Aizen's defeat only means he wasn't broken enough to win against Ichigo!.

Yhwach's powers don't work the way we think
Yhwach gains strength from those he grants power to and those who they in turn kill, but still he is concerned enough about physical damage and attacks that he still needs to have people tank/absorb them for him from time to time. Gaining the power of Cang Du, Mask, Driscoll and Gremmy in theory should make him strong enough to tank anything, as well as with As Nodt's power basically being countered by sheer luck (running into someone who could basically "die" and be immune to it and only as ability of their zanpakuto), as well as wielding the nuke-level power of Zanka no Tachi and Gremmy's broken skills to just do a Colony Drop or clone himself (and by extension his powers). He really has no reason to move with a retinue of servants when he could just imagine them in space or with candy instead of blood or somesuch BS. So why does he still need them? It's because he can only grant powers, not MegaMan them. Souls power him, souls with his mark give him more power, but in the end he really just relies on his own (as-yet-undisplayed) powers to fight.

Yhwach is already dead or close enough to it
Inasmuch as something like him can die. Not quite sure if the Quincy are alive or...what, exactly. Anyway, Yhwach was probably killed or injured beyond his own ability to regenerate when he fought Yamamoto last time (due to getting tagged by Zanka No Tachi before he had a chance to understand it, hence him having the Lloyds scope him out before he stepped in to lock it up). His powers are probably the only thing keeping him together and going at this point, hence his increased need to be a vampire. Marking Uryu with his own Scrift means he's going to try and pull a Body Surf at some point, but he needs the Soul King (or something the Soul King has)for some reason.

Senjumaru Shutara is male and both his female form and Mayuri are puppets under his control.
It's unlikely that the real Shutara was the one with a bullet in her head and considering how "maru" is used in male names it's possible that the real Senjumaru Shutara is male and considering his history with Mayuri who has the ability to last a short time with most of his body destroyed by Uryu Ishida and the appearence of Askin there's a strong likelyhood of Mayuri being a puppet controlled by Senjumaru Shutara.

The Soul King is already dead
Aizen revealed that he had seen the soul king and talked like the throne was already vacant and Yhwach has referred to the soul king's palace as a gravestone, the soul king is lingering as a ghost and sent Aizen a vision to get Aizen motivated to replace him, he's currently gotten interested in Ichigo and probably showed similar interest in Yhwach 1,000 years ago which would explain Yhwach's knowledge about the barriers between Soul Society and the royal dimension.

  • Jossed. The Soul King is alive. Was, since Yhwach has since killed and replaced him.

Yhwach's tactics
We've seen him with this trope, correcting probably every mistake Shonen villains have made. No doubt he'll have more.
  • Yhwach is well aware that enemy reinforcements will come when regains the upper hand with elite Sternritter, just like when the Vizards came and wiped out the Espadas when they returned. He'll make sure The Cavalry DOES NOT interfere and will either take them out personally or with Haschwalth or Uryu rather than sit back and watch his Sternritter fall.

There will be a second set, a.k.a, 26 more, of Stern Ritters
As of chapter 606, we've exhausted all the letters for the Stern Ritters, to the point that Yhwach personally fights Ichibei. This is rather suspicious, seeing that there are still quite a lot of combatants on the hero's side who either have yet to fight in the Vandenreich War (such as the remaining Visored who have just arrived at Soul Society), or have yet to fight at full force (e.g. some captains whose Bankai we have yet to see), in addition to some combatants who are still strong enough to fight despite having been in a scuffle (such as Byakuya, Renji and Rukia).

Sure, back then in Karakuri, Aizen takes down multiple captain-level combatants at once, but only because he fights dirty, and the fights are not too drawn out anyway. Unless each of the final Stern Sitters needs to be taken down by at least six opponents, we're gonna have either Yhwach nuke the entire royal realm and take down everyone at once, or have him summon more Stern Ritters.

Also, consider this: There are two Y s, two V s and two A s. Okay, in Y's case, Lloyd and Royd are twins with slightly different powers but otherwise are both Y s. Then, in V's case, Guenael (Vanishing Point) is just Gremmy (Visionary)'s imagination. But what about A? Despite being A himself, Yhwach appoints someone else to be another A. This opens up the possibility that for each letter, there are multiple Stern Ritters with the same letter but different Schrift powers. Who know, maybe the Soldats actually have Schrift powers (of whatever letters), but are just far too weak to be appointed as true Stern Ritters?

Haschwalth's role is similar to Wonderweiss's
Wonderweiss's main ability was to completely negate Yamamoto's Zanpakuto, allowing Aizen to remove the largest power of the Gotei 13. Haschwaltch's ability is some type of Power Nullifier and Yhwach is currently facing an enemy beyond his current level. This is likely were the "B" Sternritter comes in.
  • Could be unlikely as the others assumed that Haschwalth was to be Bach's successor which implies that he is strong enough to keep the diverse members of the Stern Ritters in check rather than having one specific purpose.

Orihime will be revealed to be something other than a fullbringer in this Arc
So we never actually got Word of God or an in-universe description of Orihime's power as being a fullbringer ability. Although this is likely as other fullbringers such as Yukio seem to have similar powers to her and that they were similar to those of a hollow, there were numerous opportunities to confirm that Orihime's power were fullbring but it was never stated clearly. I think it is possible that Orihime's godlike ability to totally reject reality might mean that she is a similar being to whatever the Soul King actually is as they are both characters who have seemingly divine power or importance but also require physical protection.
  • Likely Jossed, as her power did completely nothing when she tried to heal The Soul King - the shield even shattered when it was placed around the Soul King - and Yhwach called the Rikka "the powers of a Human". Given Yhwach's "The Almighty" allows him to "know" and "understand" all that he sees, he likely wouldn't have made that comment if it wasn't true.

The Quincies who survived Yhwach stealing their powers will live.
Of course... they'll be left with powered soul society people who aren't exactly fond of people....

Yhwach's life is based on The Who's Tommy.
Both characters were blind, deaf, and mute in their childhoods (though Yhwach was like that from birth), and through a miraculous ability, became the central figure in an insane cult, who allowed both to live long enough to gain normal human senses. After being able to see, hear, and speak, said cult then demanded help in the form of personal boosts, which both attempt to grant (with different degrees of success), with both of them expressing some amount of disgust at their followers' lack of understanding at the same level. Considering Yhwach has discarded almost the entirety of his followers, it is pretty likely that, like Tommy, he will die broken and alone, seeing God in the process.
Yhwach is Aiming to be a God himself.
Corny as this may sound. But I think that Yhwwach is goal is to the new god and the only way to do that is to kill the soul king. Him and anyone affected by his Reiatsu have going all over the place, The real world, soul society, Hueco Mundo etc. And because of that, all of existence is his for the taking but the only thing stopping him is the spirit king since he is the linchpin of all of the universe. Yhwach Become the one TRUE god in bleach and he properly wouldn't be someone trapped in a crystalline prison either. Hold on to your hat's ladies and gents, cuz this is gonna be a rough fucking ride.
Ukitake is heir to the Soul King
Calling it right now. He is the son of the Soul King, or at least the next in line for the throne. Cause the last panel of chapter 615 is just way too suspicious. He will become the new Soul King, and prevent everything from disappearing.
  • Jossed. Ukitake is the medium for Mimihagi-sama, the Right Arm of the Soul King.
The Soul King's limbs are lesser gods and
keep a piece of his power.OK With Uketake Sacrificing himself to be the right hand of the soul king. I was thinking that maybe the Soul King has other limbs that that are out there and have become lesser gods themselves. If Mimihagi-sama is a limb of the soul king, then it stands to reason that the soul king was split in pieces 1000 years in the past, properly Ichibe style and what was left was collected to save the soul king. In short soul king who's breath is life was on life support and Yhwach just got him killed when he was at his weakest. if the body of the soul king was enough to keep existence going, then one would wonder how powerful this guy's whole and at full power.
  • Chapter 637 revealed that the true form of Pernida Parngkjas is the Soul King's left arm, which joined Yhwach for as-of-yet unspecified reasons. Whether the left arm had any notable powers of its own or was only granted power by Yhwach has yet to be seen. However, this WMG is looking pretty likely as of 637.
Aizen will become the new Soul King
  • For lack of any other suitable candidate, Aizen gets what he wanted after all.
The Soul King set up Yhwach
Kyoraku seemingly knew that Ichigo was likely to get an absurd power that would prevent him from returning to the living world which hasn't yet happened and Ukitake prepared to sacrifice himself before Yhwach even made it to the royal dimension, the Royal Guard sent Ichigo down the fast way knowing that it would allow Yhwach into the Royal Dimension when the slow way would've worked just fine since Byakuya, Renji and Rukia arrived at the same time as Ichigo anyway and Yhwach would've been unable to get to the Soul King, Yhwach was allowed to kill the body of the soul king who still has 3 limbs missing who are invisible to Yhwach's predictions and now he only has a handful of loyal servants vs a squad of elite Soul Reapers and some Fullbringers, Quincy and Arrancar joining them.
Ichigo has the same power that Haschwalth has
In a flashback to Haschwalth's past, it was revealed that instead of having bow-and-arrow conjuring powers like normal quincies, Haschwalth makes other people stronger just by being around them. He acts as a kind of living amplifier for other people's power growth. I believe that Ichigo has this same power for the following reasons:
  • 1. Orihime and Chad developed powers in response to his presence. Many of his other classmates did as well, albeit in lesser quantities.
  • 2. It would explain why Quilge Opie expected Uryu's arrows to be as strong as/stronger than his. If Uryu had been hanging around with Ichigo for years, then he should have the same boost in power that the Vandenreich got.
  • 3. Ichigo's rapid growth across the series. We know that his power fluctuates wildly depending on how much the Old Man suppresses it, but comments from several people throughout the series imply that Ichigo still has some kind of observable growth trend, and it's way higher than average. The reason for this is that the power boost from Ichigo's quincy side affects Ichigo's Soul Reaper powers, as they exist as seperate spiritual entities.
  • 4. It would explain why Ichigo is one of the Special War Powers. Yhwach went through a lot of trouble and searching to find Haschwalth and get access to his power. It makes sense that getting hold of Ichigo's power would be important to him.
  • 5. Haschwalth's uneasy expression when Yhwach talks about reforging Ichigo into a minion, as well as his offer to kill Ichigo, make sense if Haschwalth is afraid of outliving his usefulness.
  • 6. Isshin's power didn't 'wither away' as he and Urahara seemed to think it might because Ichigo was buffing him back up the whole time.

Who are the rest of the Special War Powers?
So, supposedly there are five Special War Powers that Yhwach mentions at the start of the Vandenreich war. Three have been confirmed so far: Ichigo, Kenpachi and Aizen. Who are the other two?

Potential candidates:

  • 1) -jossed- Uryuu, for several reasons: He is the only survivor of the Auswahlen seventeen years ago (technically, Masaki could have been another survivor had she not been in combat with Grand Fisher at the time), and just as how Yhwach tries to convert Ichigo and Aizen into his minions, he has done the same to Uryuu, as in, it can be suggested that Yhwach is interested in turning the Special War Powers into his elite squad, something like his new Schutzstaffel. (and Uryuu currently is a Schutzstaff)
  • 2) -jossed- Mayuri Kurotsuchi, mainly because most of the fights we've seen he's involved in have him utterly and completely dominate his opponents, in a blunt sense almost making him blitz through all his problems without worry. Also, note that one of the War Powers, Aizen, has been labelled overpowering, of all things, not to mention our protagonist, Ichigo, who, in Shonen tradition, probably will Stu his way through victory sooner or later. (sure, Mayuri "loses" towards Uryuu once, but a) He's not dead, and b) that's because he is blindsided by Uryuu's Ransotengai and Letz Still; had he taken those two into consideration (apparently he didn't learn anything useful from Soken), Uryuu would've been dead for long)
  • 3) -CONFIRMED- Kisuke Urahara, he seems to be on the ball about most things that happen in the series. He has invented many objects that could/have given the shinigami several advantages, including, but not limited to: The Hōgyoku which has quite a large amount of power and potential, Shin'eiyaku also known as the pill that temporarily infuses shinigami with hollow reishi, a reiatsu concealing cloak, and the Tenshintai, a device that can potentially help any shinigami achieve bankai in three days time and thus bolster the ranks of decent fighters by using the Shin'eiyaku to keep said bankai from being stolen. He's also a skilled assassin, a genius, and a master of the following: Swordsmanship, kido, hakuda, and shunpo. Finally, depending on what his bankai is, it could turn the tides of the war.
  • 4) -jossed- Jūshirō Ukitake, due to having one of the arms of the Soul King sealed inside his body, which did seem to halt the destruction of reality for a while, along with boosting Yhwach's power after being absorbed. Mimihagi is also immune to Yhwach's precognitive abilities, so is always a threat. Plus, Yhwach already had one arm of the Soul King in his ranks, why wouldn't he want the other?
    • Its not Mayuri or Urahara. They would have mentioned them as being one by now. Quilge identified Ichigo as one in Heuco Mundo but not Urahara, nor did Askin mention Mayuri as being one.

As of Chapter 663, the results have been out. The five war potentials are:

  • 1) Ichigo Kurosaki, due to his hidden potential.
  • 2) Kenpachi Zaraki, due to his raw power.
  • 3) Ichibei Hyosube, due to his wisdom. (this probably explains why Yhwach takes him on himself instead of trusting his already-powerful Schutzstaffel)
  • 4) Aizen Sousuke, due to his reiatsu.
  • 5) Urahara Kisuke, due to his mysterious nature. (Why Quilge didn't single him out in Hueco Mundo probably can be explained as because he's being careful not to reveal himself too quickly, and by the time Quilge ambushes him via Ransotengai, Quilge has already suffered quite a beatdown already)

The Sealed King of The Prophecy is Ishida, not Yhwach
That's why he survived the purge.

Orihime will go ballistic after seeing Ichigo's (presume dead) body
Her immense rage unlocks a new ability. She transforms into an adult version of herself herself,complete with new dreads and and awesome hairstyle, with abilities including freezing time ,controlling darkness , creating wormholes ad portals,warping reality, conjure up beings from her imagination, age acceleration, creating barriers, force-field projecting, traveling through dimensions and other forms of time-space manipulation. With her new found power,Orihime will take her friends and the remaining Soul Reapers though the portal (that Yhwach politely left for them) and have a epic final showdown against ""The Almighty "" Yhwach.

Yhwach will seemingly survive the killing blow, only to realise that he is dead, and now is a Plus, which gets send to Hell.
Ichigo does kill Yhwach, but Yhwach thinks he is still alive only to realise he is a Plus, Ichigo then hits Yhwach with the bottom of his sword to purify Yhwach of the crimes he had comited as a Plus, and to send him to Hell for his crimes as a human.

Gremmy is the brain of the soul king
Gerard is the Heart of the soul king. He has a body because of his power to regenerate from anything and grow stronger, but his true form is presumable just a heart. Pernida is the Left Arm of the soul king, and he is a talking left forearm. Mimihagi is the same as a right arm. considering this, and how much more powerful Gremmy is compared to all of the other sternritter, it stands to reason his power is like the others, a power that he had already, considering he made new beings of sternritter level with his mind. Also, his true form? A brain in a jar.
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