We know that the Gotei 13 are the main organization of Soul Society in Tite Kubo’s Bleach. But, the 13 Divisions of the Gotei 13 aren’t the only Divisions in the series. As Bleach fans will know, there is an additional, smaller Division composed of five extremely powerful Shinigami in the series, known as the Royal Guard. In this article, we are going to tell you everything you need to know about the Royal Guard, as well as its members and how powerful they are. Ichibē Hyōsube, Kirio Hikifune, Senjumaru Shutara, Tenjirō Kirinji, and Ōetsu Nimaiya helped fight Yhwach and the Sternritter but they also seemingly perished in the process. In the rest of this article, we are going to reveal what happened to them and whether they’re all alive and well.
The Royal Guard Captains were all defeated by Yhwach and the Sternritter during their invasion of the Soul King Palace. And while we saw that Hyōsube was killed, the other Zero Division members were only described as being defeated; it was later confirmed that they were all killed. Still, the light novel Can’t Fear Your Own World, which is considered Canon by Kubo, revealed that Hyōsube later revived the Royal Guard.
In the rest of this article, we are going to tell you about the fate of the Royal Guard in Bleach, as well as all of its members. We are going to give you some basic information about how the story evolved and what ultimately happened to them. All of these facts will be revealed later in the anime, so if you haven’t read the manga, we have to warn you about some spoilers in the upcoming paragraphs.
What happened to the Royal Guard in Bleach?
The Royal Guard, also called Zero Division, are the defense organization in the Soul King’s dimension and acts under the orders of the Soul King himself. They inhabit the Soul King Palace and when Yhwach and the Sternritter executed their first invasion of Soul Society, they came to help. Sometime later, the Quincy invade the Soul King Palace themselves, and the Royal Guard members clash with them. This is the story of what happened to each of the Zero Division Captains.
While the other members are tasked with stopping the invaders at what appears to be the entrance to the Soul King Palance, Ichibē Hyōsube has taken up his post at the real gate to the Royal Palace, waiting in case Yhwach manages to get past the rest of the Royal Guard. This is also the case a little later so that a fight against the Quincy ruler seems inevitable.
Although Ichibei seems to be hard on Yhwach and at times robs him of his powers and his name, Yhwach ultimately survives all these attacks and can win the fight after activating his Almighty powers. Ichibei loses his life as he is blown to pieces by his own attack. However, when Ichigo, Orihime, Chad, Yoruichi, and Ganju arrive in the realm of the Soul King shortly thereafter, he is summarily resurrected with Ichigo’s help. However, he explains that it would take too long for his powers to be restored, so he turns to Ichigo and asks him to protect the Soul King at all costs since his death would mean the collapse of all worlds.
Tenjirō Kirinji, Senjumaru Shutara, Kirio Hikifune, and Ōetsu Nimaiya
During the invasion of Yhwach, Jugram Haschwalth, and Uryu Ishida, as well as their soldiers, Tenjirō Kirinji is the first to intervene, repelling the Quincy and confronting their leader head-on. His blows, however, do not hit the enemy. Upset, he wonders why he was never able to hit Yhwach, and Yhwach comments that they are at an impasse. He says he’ll get over it, and though Kirinji screams and attacks once more, Quincy backs away from him. Not believing what is happening, the Shinigami remarks that this is not some kind of evasion or illusion.
Then Senjumaru stands at the top of the stairs. Later, she finds herself in front of Yhwach and confronts the Sternritter W (“The Wind”), Nianzol Weizol, whom she ends up defeating quite easily. After that Yhwach summons his elite guard, the Schutzstaffel. The Sternritter M (“The Miracle”), Gerard Valkyrie, engages directly in combat with Shutara who, to his surprise, gets injured and breaks his needle-sword species.
She summons a giant soldier to protect the passage but he is easily beaten by the Sternrichter C (“The Compulsory”), Pernida Parnkgjas. Without having the time to understand what is going on, the Sternritter X (“The X-Axis”), Lille Barro, pulls out a gun and tells her that the King’s Palace has already fallen and then shoots her in the skull. But shortly after she reappears accompanied by the Royal Guard (Division 0) confessing to them that they had just faced an illusion and that they are in a prison.
When Yhwach and his Schutzstaffel breach the Royal Palace, Hikifune shows up. She builds a cage around the palace’s complete construction in secret to protect it, then she says she’s astonished she did because she hasn’t made a containment this strong in a while. Hikifune describes how the tree is imbued with his Reiatsu and points out how Lille Barro’s bullets are formed of highly concentrated Reiatsu before revealing that the tree will absorb any attacks of Reiatsu like these when they fail to penetrate the structure with Lille Barro’s Heilig Pfeil.
Hikifune says that the Sternritter can go insane if they so want, but they will never be able to leave this tree of life. When Lille Barro attacks Etsu Nimaiya, Hikifune tries to block him but is shocked to realize that he still takes damage. Lille then reveals his power, which further shocks Hikifune. Hikifune is soon beaten by the Sternritter after changing back to her thin form.
Finally, during the clashes, Nimiya arrives with his Zanpakutō and is about to face Quincy Schutzstaffel as well as Yhwach, Ishida, and Jugram Haschwalth. He very easily defeats Quincy Schutzstaffel but Yhwach resurrects it. Later, he takes one bullet in the shoulder and then a bullet in the chest, creating a hole in him. Later he engages in a tactical fight against Askin Nakk Le Vaar, where Ōetsu is affected by “The Deathdealing”, for which he falls to the ground.
Askin reveals that he despises utilizing his power since it causes him agony, but Nimaiya slashes his throat and calls Kirinji to give him a healing water imbuement. After Nimaiya has given him an explanation of the strengths of Kirinji’s therapeutic waters, he cuts Askin fatally and then raises his blade to Yhwach. He uses the Auswählen, and they all come back to life. Despite being shielded, “The X-Axis” then severely injures him.
Are the members of the Royal Guard still alive?
Before we continue, please read the following excerpt:
The Zero Division.
Consisting of five members including the High Priest, they are the elite guardians belonging to The Royal Guard said to be comparable to the entire force of the Gotei 13.
Each member is a pioneer who has created such things as the Zanpakutō or the Shihakushō, which can even be described as the very foundations of the modern day Shinigami, perhaps it could be said that these are the great men and women who built up the history of the Shinigami, from zero.
However, while making his way here, Kyōraku had heard that the Zero Division, excluding the monk, had died by the hand of Yhwach and his subordinates.
Kyōraku felt a sense of puzzlement at the choice of words that is “wake up”, but the answer soon came spilling out from the monk’s mouth.
“It’s not the case that our own flesh and blood was converted into the Ōken just for show you know? The Spiritual Pulse¹ that surrounds the Zeroban Riden* which all of us were given, is almost fused with the individual Reiryoku of each Squad Zero member. As long as the Zeroban Riden are not completely destroyed, they can be revived to the point of being up and about again, if I call their names.” (TN: Zeroban Riden are the separate palaces/estates of the Zero Division members)
“In that case, it would have been truly inconvenient if Ichigo kun was not victorious, don’t you agree, High Priest?”
At one point, the Soul King Palace was reworked to “Wahrwelt” by Yhwach.
If Yhwach was alive and well, the last vestiges of the Soul King Palace would have disappeared before long, and with the exception of the monk, Squad Zero may have ended up quite literally annihilated.
“No matter, the Zero Division do not die so easily, I won’t let them die. Such is their fate. Well, at any rate, I must have Ōetsu and the others work harder from now on.”
Speaking in an easygoing manner that was not dissimilar to Kyōraku on normal days, the monk then paused for a brief moment, he stroked his beard several times whilst raising his eyes to the sky of the Soul King Palace.
“Because there also seems to be a certain child who has taken advantage of this war, to cause a little mischief.”– Ryōgo Narita, Bleach: Can’t Fear Your Own World (2017)
The above-written expert is, as you can see for yourselves, from Narita’s Can’t Fear Your Own World light novel, which deals with the aftermath of the fight against Yhwach. Although not written by Kubo, the mangaka provided illustrations and gave an overall thumbs up to the plot, although we’re not sure that he would have agreed to everything written in the light novel.
Be that as it may, the light novel actually confirms that Hyōsube, using his unique powers after being revived by Ichigo, revived all the other members of the Royal Guard, meaning that Kirio Hikifune, Senjumaru Shutara, Tenjirō Kirinji, and Ōetsu Nimaiya are all alive and well after Yhwach’s invasion and their apparent deaths during the Quincy War; in fact, all of them appear in the light novel in person.
As we’ve said, we don’t know whether Kubo would’ve sanctioned every plot direction from the light novel, but the fates of the characters can be considered canon and this is what actually happened to them.