Gotei 13 vs. Sternritter vs. Arrancar: Which Group Would Win in a Fight?
There are four main worlds in Bleach, but there are only three main groups of powers, as the ones possessed by those living in Hell are not known at this moment. The Shinigami powers are embodied in the Soul Reapers of the Gotei 13 and their allies. The powers of the Quincy are embodied in Yhwach and his Sternritter, while the most powerful Hollows were the Arrancar and the Espada. These three main groups are going to be the focus of this article, as we are going to compare them and determine which group is the strongest.
Based on the data we have, the Gotei 13 would be the strongest of the three groups due to the diversity of their powers and the training they’ve been subjected to. The Sternritter would be placed second due to the powerful abilities they gained from Yhwach, who is individually one of the strongest characters in the series. Ultimately, the Arrancar would be placed third because they are mostly raw power but without much finesse.
This article will present the groups rather than be structured like our usual comparison articles. Namely, we were forced to do so because the powers and abilities used by the three groups are not equally comparable. For example, the Bankai can be compared to an Espada’s release, but there is no similar technique on the side of the Sternritter. Another example is the Quincy: Vollständig, a technique that cannot be compared to any other technique. There are many such examples, so we simply had to approach this article differently because, in any other case, our analysis would not have made much sense.
The Gotei 13 of Bleach
The Gotei 13 is the organization that most shinigami join. It is divided into 13 Divisions (hence the name), with several divisions having different specialties. The 4th Division is the Medical and Supply Division, the 11th Division is the Combat Division (specializing in physical combat), and the 12th Division is the Research and Development Division. It’s unclear if the other companies are specialized, as these three stand out as the only ones apart from their members.
Although the Gotei 13 itself consists of 13 companies, there are other offshoots of this organization, which could also be called companies. These are the Royal Guard, the Kidō Troupe, and the Onmitsukidō. Like any other army, the Gotei has 13 ranks. There are 20 officer ranks but no non-officer ranks. The lower the number, the stronger and more important the officer. Below are the ranks and their descriptions, from highest to lowest, in terms of strength.
Among the group’s best-known members are Genryūsai Shigekuni-Yamamoto, Shunsui Kyōraku, Jūshirō Ukitake, Byakuya Kuchiki, Rukia Kuchiki, Renji Abarai, Shinji Hirako, Sajin Komamura, Tōshirō Hitsugaya, Retsu Unohana, Sōsuke Aizen, Mayuri Kurotsuchi, and Kenpachi Zaraki.
Yhwach and his Sternritter
The Sternritter are 28 of the strongest members of the Wandenreich, which can be compared to the commanders of the Gotei 13 in terms of rank and fighting power. All knights are Quincy inscribed with a script by Yhwach. Thus they now each bear one of the letters of the alphabet, which serves both as their epithet and as the initial of the individual powers bestowed upon them by Yhwach.
Yhwach can assign a letter several times at the same time, either with the same powers or with two different powers, both of which represent the corresponding letter. Also, the letters do not necessarily have to come from the Latin alphabet. For example, Yhwach gave the Star Knight Shaz Domino the Greek letter “Σ.” The Star Knight Grand Master is the leader of the Star Knights and Yhwachs’ deputy, Jugram Haschwalth. The five strongest and most elite Star Knights form the so-called Schutzstaffel, Yhwachs’s personal bodyguard.
The best-known members are Yhwach, Jugram Haschwalth, Pernida Parnkgjas, Askin Nakk Le Vaar, Bambietta Basterbine, Äs Nödt, Quilge Opie, Bazz-B, Gerard Valkyrie, Lille Barro, Gremmy Thoumeaux, Robert Accutrone, BG9, Candice Catnipp, and even Uryū Ishida at some point, among others.
The Arrancar of Hueco Mundo
Arrancar are Hollow who have shed part of their former hollow mask to partially gain the powers of a Shinigami. They use a Zanpakutō 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. Arrancar were very rare until the beginning of the reign of Sōsuke Aizen over Hueco Mundo; Aizen created more of them using the Hōgyoku. When the mask of a Hollow is destroyed by the Hōgyoku or by some natural phenomenon and an Arrancar is born, the Hollow’s power is sealed within its Zanpakutō.
This power is called Resurrección, and if it is activated, the Arrancar briefly regains a shape similar to that of Menos’ time and can now use his techniques, which have been strengthened many times over.
A key difference between the Zanpakutō of the Arrancar and that of the Shinigami is that when the Arrancar releases the sword, the Resurrección, it is not the sword that transforms (as with the shinigami), but the Arrancar itself. This is because the Zanpakutō of the Arrancar is nothing but the power of a Hollow split off from their soul and sealed in weapon form, with which they reunite at the Resurrección.
Another difference is that Arrancar can seal their powers not only in various forms, not just that of a sword, but also in many different models of weapons. Like the Shinigami, the Arrancar are able to attain two stages of their release, the Resurrección, which every Arrancar is capable of, and the Segunda Etapa, which only Ulquiorra Cifer is said to have attained so far. Each Resurrección has special abilities; it rarely happens that a Zanpakutō already has an ability in its sealed state.
The Arrancar possess a number of abilities, some of which they could only learn or develop through attaining human form, such as Garganta or Gran Rey Cero.
The best-known members include Nnoitra Gilga, Baraggan Luisenbarn, Grimmjow Jaegerjaques, Aaroniero Arruruerie, Tier Harribel, Yammy Llargo, Coyote Starrk, Ulquiorra Cifer, Szayelaporro Granz, and Zommari Rureaux.
The Gotei 13 are still the most powerful group in Bleach
We have now introduced the three groups to you, and we can now talk about the balance of power between them. In our honest opinion, the Gotei 13 outmatch the three groups, not just because they are the protagonists. Namely, the Gotei 13 has shown the biggest diversity among the powers and abilities of the individual members, which is certainly an advantage in such a situation.
The Gotei 13 have also been subjected to rigorous training and have shown enormous growth potential beyond their perceived maximum. On top of that, Yamamoto was the single strongest character alongside Yhwach, and he was able to defeat basically everyone else. Not to mention the likes of Aizen, Kenpachi, Ukitake, and Kyōraku, who are also extremely powerful. The Gotei 13 managed to defeat both the Sternritter and the Arrancar, which is why they are ranked first.
On the other hand, our second place goes to the Sternritter. Yhwach’s troops were exceptionally powerful, so powerful, in fact, that they forced even the Gotei 13 to elevate their power levels in order to fight them fairly. But, while they are powerful and have diverse skills, there are two main reasons why they are not first.
The first of them is the fact that they depend a lot on Yhwach; without him (and Jugram, who has his skills as well), most of them have a limited framework inside which they are able to use their powers. The second reason is that they had to resort to stealing the Gotei 13’s Bankai to defeat them, which means that they were aware of the fact that the Bankai of the Gotei 13 were more than enough to defeat them, which ultimately proved to be true.
But, as the invasion of Hueco Mundo showed, they are more powerful than the Arrancar. Okay, to be fair, the Sternritter invaded Hueco Mundo with Yhwach, who easily defeated Herribel, and the most powerful Arrancar, like Baraggan, Coyote Starrk, and Ulquiorra were dead; oh, there’s also the fact that Grimmjow cut Quilge Opie as if he were a piece of paper. But, the Sternritter overwhelmed the Arrancar of Hueco Mundo, and they do have a much wider array of powers and abilities that they can use to their advantage. And that is why the Arrancar are the weakest group of the three.
And this is our ranking based on the information we have from the manga and the anime. We think that we have properly evaluated the powers and the abilities of these characters and the groups they are part of and that we have been able to determine the power balance among them, which was relevant for our final ranking, which is as we have described it.