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.
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 live in the Soul King’s Palace and are tasked with protecting the Soul King and his realm. The members are Tenjirō Kirinji, Ichibei Hyōsube, who is their leader, Ōetsu Nimaiya, Senjumaru Shutara, and Kirio Hikifune, former Twelfth Division Captain.
In the rest of this article, we are going to tell you something about the Royal Guard in Bleach, as well as who its members are. We are going to give you some basic information about each of the members and their powers. 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 is 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. Its existence is only known because Kisuke Urahara’s predecessor as the captain of the Twelfth Division, Kirio Hikifune, was transferred to this Division. Zero Division makes its debut appearance in Chapter 516. According to Hirako, Zero Division is staying at the palace of the Soul King.
Zero Division lands in a kind of flying tower, the Tenchûren; Kyôraku indicates that the Tenchûren is the means of locomotion of Zero Division, which does not have any additional, the five members being captains, all of them. The sum of their powers surpasses the power of the other 13 Divisions combined. The Central 46 have no authority over the royal detachment.
Who are the members of the Royal Guard in Bleach and what are their powers and abilities?
Members of Zero Division appear at the end of Chapter 516, there are three males, Tenjirō Kirinji, Ichibei Hyōsube, and Ōetsu Nimaiya, and two females, Senjumaru Shutara and Kirio Hikifune. We are going to introduce each of them in this article.
Ichibē Hyōsube is a member of the Royal Guard and first appeared after the Wandenreich attacked Soul Society. He is titled the “Monk Who Calls the Real Name”. He also appears to hold the position of leader among the Royal Guard, or so Yhwach refers to him as such. Like all members of the Royal Guard, he was probably a member of the Gotei 13. However, it is unknown to which of the 13th Divisions he once belonged.
His special merit for Seireitei was that he gave his name to many things in society, e.g. he invented the expressions Zanpakuto, Shikai, and Bankai (although he does not call his Bankai that, but rather Shin’uchi). For this reason, he also knows the true name of each Zanpakuto, for example.
As a member of the Royal Guard, Ichibei wields powerful reiatsu and martial skills far beyond those of a Gotei 13 Captains. The fact that he was the only opponent to date who was able to keep up with Yhwach for a long time or even gain the upper hand over him shows his immense strength. Yhwach himself called him the leader of the Royal Guard and thus theoretically the strongest of all Shinigami.
In addition, Ichibei has an extremely fast Shunpo, so he was able to catch up with Yhwach, who was thrown away by the Senri Tsūtenshō. His defense is also formidable, as he could intercept some of Yhwach’s kido-like missiles at half power between his bare palms, or force his blood vein back from the veins on his left side with sheer effort. Finally, he can summon high-level kido spells without incantation, which are still strong enough to do damage even against an enemy like Yhwach.
As with the other members of the Royal Guard, some of his abilities appear to be related to his merit/inventions for the Seireitei. One aspect of these name-related powers is that Ichibei can steal the voice of anyone who calls out their full name. His Zanpakutō also plays a part in relation to these abilities: when sealed, the brush, rather than cutting through flesh, “cleaves” the essence of the name of everything it touches.
The effect of this is that the object in question is conceptually reduced by half its existence – and thus its power. Should Ichibei die, he can still telepathically contact anyone who approaches his remains. The latter must then call out his full name, allowing Ichibei to absorb a fraction of that person’s power and use it to fully restore his body (similar to Orihime’s restorative abilities), no matter how much of it is left.
It is unclear exactly how much power Ichibei has to absorb for this or whether this only works with extremely strong “donors”. In any case, Ichigo didn’t show any signs of weakening after the trial and didn’t seem to notice the loss of his power at all.
Tenjirō Kirinji is a member of the Royal Guard and was first seen after the Wandenreich attacked Soul Society. He is titled “Hot Spring Demon” (Sentouki). Tenjirō often behaves in a very rowdy, arrogant, and provocative manner, much like a thug, bandit, or crook. He often seems to want to start a fight and therefore often has to be held back. He seems to look down on the Captains of the Gotei 13.
He is also the only character so far who dares to address Unohana by her first name and does not seem to have any respect in front of her, which may be due to the fact that she was his student. It is unknown to which of the 13th Division he once belonged, but Retsu Unohana was apparently his student, suggesting that he may have been the former Captain of the 4th Division.
Tenjirō was Unohana’s tutor, so he seems to be a greater healing expert than she is. He developed a method for his healing practices that use hot springs with healing powers. He is one of the fastest Shinigami ever and is therefore also called “Lightning-Fast Tenjirō”, which he demonstrated when he suddenly appeared behind Soi Fon. His induction into the Royal Guard also shows that he must have tremendous reiatsu and fighting prowess.
Kirio Hikifune was the former Captain of the 12th Division and is now a member of the Royal Guard. She is titled “Ruler of Grain”. Kirio seems to be quite a nice woman who immediately struck up a chat with Shinji when she saw him again. However, when she became a member of the Royal Guard, she appears to have succumbed to a minor food addiction.
Very little is known about her, except that shortly before the Turn back the Pendulum arc, she left Soul Society under the pretext of retiring. However, she only did so to join the Royal Guard. Her then Lieutenant Hiyori Sarugaki was very sad about this development because she had a mother-daughter-like relationship with Kirio Hikifune. Her successor was Kisuke Urahara.
During her time in the Royal Guard, she had to shed a few pounds due to her cooking methods using a lot of reiatsu, which is why even Shinji hardly recognized her later. After Soul Society was attacked by the Wandenreich, killing Yamamoto and several other Shinigami, the Royal Guard appeared to help build Soul Society. The surviving Captains saluted the members of the Royal Guard.
Since Shinji didn’t recognize Kirio immediately, she slapped him on the back of the head and then started a little chat. After the Royal Guard returned to the Reioukyuu, Ichigo and Renji visited Kirio’s city of Gaton during their training/healing journey. There she served the two of them a big feast so that she lost all her excess weight. As it turned out, the food that Renji and Ichigo ate wasn’t normal but boosted their reiatsu to a new level. As the two headed to the next town, Kirio warned them to be careful as they didn’t know what Ōetsu Nimaiya had prepared for them.
Ōetsu Nimaiya is a member of the Royal Guard and the maker of the Zanpakutō. He bears the title “Tōshin”, which could translate to God of the Sword in English. Ōetsu Nimaiya is quite lively, likes to joke around, and likes to use English terms. Kirio Hikifune considers him to be quite unpredictable. He has a sense of humor similar to that of Kisuke Urahara, for example forcing Ichigo to do an awkward pose just to photograph it and show his Zanpakutō girls.
Furthermore, he hates living in modest circumstances and, in addition to his actual workshop and place of residence, has built a somewhat larger property in which several Zanpakutō spirit women live. Furthermore, he respects every Zanpakutō very much and in turn demands of every wearer of a zanpakutō that he should also love it. You could also describe his character as a combination of Keigo’s, Kon’s, and Kisuke’s characters.
Ōetsu created the Zanpakutō many years ago, which became the primary weapon of many shinigami. The Soul King found this invention essential to the protection of Soul Society, and Ōetsu was subsequently drafted into the Zero Division. Ōetsu Nimaiya is known for creating the Zanpakutō, showing that he has high craftsmanship, Kido abilities, and intelligence. His induction into the Royal Guard also shows that he must have tremendous reiatsu and fighting prowess.
Senjumaru Shutara is one of the Shinigami tasked with protecting the Soul King as a member of the Royal Guard. She is nicknamed “Great Weave Guard”. She owes her position due to the fact that she created the Shihakushō and other Shinigami clothing. Shutara has a playful and teasing personality, as demonstrated in her first appearance where she shows up with full fanfare held in her six arms.
Of course, one would think that she was drawn into this ridiculous little game by her colleagues, but the few appearances she makes and her mania for going on Mayuri’s nerves prove the contrary. However, she takes her job very seriously; during Renji’s visit to her palace, when the latter refuses to cooperate, she threatens him to cut off his “parts”, after which, he finally accepts.
Like the other members of the Royal Guard, Senjumaru was a Captain of a Gotei 13 division, being quite prominent among them. She at some point in her past determined a scale she named, Shutara Scale, which controls or keeps informed about the existing balance of souls. After having made that great contribution to the Soul Society, she was chosen by the Soul King himself as a member of the Royal Guard.
Senjumaru possesses a tremendous amount of spiritual power, which makes sense since she is a member of the Royal Guard, which are the most powerful among the Shinigami, as it is known. Senjumaru can make, mold, and work with any kind of cloth to suit his needs. To confound her adversaries, she has developed a cloth clone, her own personal warriors that obey her mental orders, and even a phony scenario in which the palace was collapsing.
She can manipulate the sewing needles she uses to modify clothing, which is a continuation of her ability to manipulate clothing and harm those who are unlucky enough to use them by killing them. Senjumaru is a master weaver, unsurpassed in ability. The Ōken Clothing, a unique outfit made to let the user safely return to the Seireitei from the Palace of the Soul King, was invented by her.
Its extraordinary defensive strength enables the user to survive the friction caused by piercing the 72 barriers between the Soul Society and the Soul King’s Palace. This garment is constructed from the bones and hair of Royal Guard members, without them suffering any harm during the procedure. Without the user recognizing it, she can quickly change the entire set without them noticing. She is known as Senjumaru because of her lightning-quick work.