‘Bleach’: How Does an Arrancar Become an Espada?

Bleach: How Does an Arrancar Become an Espada?
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The Espada is the name of the group of the ten most powerful Arrancar under the command of the deserter captain Sōsuke Aizen in Tite Kubo’s Bleach. Although the Espada existed before Aizen found the Hōgyoku, he created a new and much more powerful group of Espada; all members of the old Espada, except for Aaroniero, number 9, were stripped and demoted to the title of Privaron Espada, but the structure of the group changed constantly. In that aspect, Espada is more of a rank than an actual type of Hollow, but it could be interpreted as both. As we’ve said, there are two ways to become an Espada, and in this article, we will explain how one can become an Espada in Bleach.

There are two ways to become an Espada in Bleach. The first is through a natural selection process, as a Hollow becomes an Arrancar and then a powerful Arrancar. This process doesn’t occur that often, but as we know that the Espada existed even before Aizen came to Hueco Mundo, we can confirm that it does happen. The second way to become an Espada is via Aizen’s will. After he came to Hueco Mundo, Aizen used the Hogyoku to create a new powerful Arrancar, and the most powerful among them became Espada.

As you might have deduced, this article will be focused on Espada as a group. You’ll learn everything you need to know about the Espada to fully understand how the process works and how an Arrancar becomes an Espada. The Espada we’ve seen in the series were extremely powerful, and we wanted to explain everything to you. Of course, if you’re not fully up-to-date with the story of Bleach, we have to warn you that there will be spoilers in this article.

There are two ways an Arrancar can become an Espada

The story of the Espada starts off with the Arrancar. The Arrancar are Hollows who have shed part of their former hollow mask to partially gain the powers of a Shinigami, i.e., to partially humanize themselves.

They use a Zanpakuto like the Shinigami, which is why the powers of an Arrancar are also a mixture of those of a Hollow and those of a Shinigami, although the Hollow powers predominate. The equivalent counterpart are the Visored Shinigami with Hollow powers. Arrancar were very rare until the reign of Sosuke Aizen over Hueco Mundo, but Aizen created more of them using the Hogyoku.

When a Hollow’s mask is destroyed by the Hogyoku or by some natural phenomenon and the Arrancar is born, the Hollow’s power is sealed within its Zanpakuto. The release of that power is called Resurrección, and if it is activated, the Arrancar briefly regains a shape similar to that of a Menos and can now use his techniques, which have been strengthened many times over. This is the basis for our explanation. Now that we’ve explained the Arrancar let us see how they can become Espada.

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The strongest among the Arrancar became Espada; the name itself was invented by Aizen and used for his powerful Arrancar army, but Arrancar with powers equivalent to those of the Espada did exist before. The Espada are the top army from Las Noches and are comparable to the commanders of the Gotei 13, except that the Espada have no specific duties to perform.

They have the numbers 0-9 tattooed somewhere on their bodies. While Aaroniero is the only one who has his number tattooed twice, almost all other Espada only have one digit. Although Yammy Llargo initially has a two-digit number as a decimal, this becomes one digit, the zero, in his Resurrección. Sōsuke Aizen numbered the Espada according to their Reiatsu’s strength; thus, the numbers only indicate this, not their commanding power.

Each of the Espada also has the right to choose one or more subordinates, called Fracciónes. The number of Fracciónes of an individual Espada varies greatly and is also not dependent on the strength of the Espada. It should also be noted that almost all Espada were Vasto Lorde before becoming Arrancar.

The only known exception is Aaroniero Arruruerie, who, before becoming an Arrancar was a Gillian-level Menos. Likewise, former Espada Cirucci Sanderwicci said that Arrancar serve as Aizen’s soldiers and the Espada are the commanders of the Arrancar. So far, however, there was nothing to be seen of direct commanding power, with the exception of the Fracciónes.

There is no hierarchy within the Espada, and many compete with each other. For example, Grimmjow berates Yammy and Ulquiorra after their first assignment in the real world. Nnoitra often challenged Nelliel to battle and caused her to be expelled from Las Noches.

He also attacked Grimmjow after losing to Ichigo and refused to give up. At the Espada meeting with Aizen, Nnoitra also quarreled with Tier Harribel. Baraggan shows no respect to the stronger Espada, Coyote Starrk, and Harribel tells him straight out how disrespectful Baraggan is to Aizen.

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So, as you can see, the Espada are the strongest Arrancars as designated by Aizen. We have said that the process of becoming an Espada can occur naturally, but that such phenomena are very rare, and while they do occur naturally, it doesn’t happen so often, and had Aizen relied only on this, he would never have gathered ten Espada for his army.

But, when Aizen came to Hueco Mundo and defeated its ruler, Baraggan, he used the Hogyoku to create more Espada. Namely, he was searching for powerful Arrancar who had the potential to become even more powerful (this was seen in numerous flashback scenes that deal with the origins of the individual Espada), and once he found them, he would activate the Hogyoku and helped them become even more powerful.

These powerful Arrancar thus became Espada, which is one way for an Arrancar to become an Espada via the Hogyoku.

But, as we’ve said, the process can also occur naturally, and even before Aizen came to Hueco Mundo, Espada existed there. Nelliel is thought to be one such Espada, being someone who achieved so much power on her own, and we know that Aaroniero Arruruerie was the only “old” Espada who retained a place in the current group without being demoted, so it is assumed that he also became an Espada by himself.

Most of the other “old” Espada were demoted and became Privaron Espada; they are not as powerful as the current Espada but more powerful than other Arrancar. They are Dordoni Alessandro Del Socaccio, Cirucci Sanderwicci, and Gantenbainne Mosqueda.

So, to sum it up, there are two ways an Arrancar can become an Espada. He will either become naturally, which is very rare, and there is no way of telling which Arrancar could become an Espada, or he will become via the Hogyoku, i.e., by Aizen’s own will. This process is relatively known, but we don’t have any details about it either – we just know that it can happen.

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