The number of epic duels in Tite Kubo’s Bleach is simply amazing and over the years, the manga has provided us with some truly amazing fights. Some of them have even become part of anime history. Now, this duel might not be among the best-known and most epic of the series, but it holds an important place in the story and it focuses on two extremely important characters from the Bleach franchise. One of them is the legendary Zero Division leader Ichibē Hyōsube, while the other is Yhwach, the leader of the Quincy. In this article, we are going to find out how the fight between them evolved and who the stronger character really is.
While Yhwach has defeated Ichibei in the manga, there is no essential difference between them as both are equally strong from an objective standpoint. They are similarly overpowered and are similarly difficult to take down, with Yhwach’s in-manga victory being more of a plot-driven convenience than anything else. This is why it is difficult to determine the winner of this clash.
Now that you have the short version of the answer, the rest of the article is going to be divided into three sections, with the first two introducing the characters, their powers, and their abilities. In the end, we’re going to give our final verdict and explanation on why this fight would end as a draw, i.e., why Yhwach and Ichibei are equally strong.
Yhwach and his powers
Yhwach is the Father of the Quincy and the emperor of the Wandenreich, with the designation “A” – “The Almighty”. He is the son of the Soul King and also the leader of the Sternritter, as well as the leader of the Quincy rebellion against the Shinigami. Yhwach is one of the most powerful characters in the series and is, by all means, almost invincible.
Yhwach is one of the most powerful spirit beings in the Bleach universe, recognized as being the most powerful Quincy. Already as a child, his power gathered people around him, who considered him a miracle. He subjugated all of Quincy’s territories in less than 200 years single-handedly. History remembered him as one of the only opponents Yamamoto could not defeat and the only one to survive his Bankai.
He was able to kill the Captain General of the 13 Divisions with amazing ease, destroy the Seireitei, and even invade the Royal Palace. Even Ichibē Hyōsube, the leader of the Royal Guard, who can be described as an invincible fighter with his many abilities, was defeated by the Quincy. During his final fight against Ichigo and Aizen, it took Yhwach’s power to be negated for a short time for King Quincy to be defeated.
Yhwach is able to use the whole plethora of Quincy techniques, both the basic techniques and those that only he masters. He can of course absorb spirit particles to move through the air, levitate, harden his body, create a spherical barrier, create a giant spirit bow, or even shoot arrows from his finger. His mastery of absorbing spirit particles goes as far as stealing power from the enemy through the Sankt Altar technique.
Even by Quincy standard, Yhwach possesses very strong spiritual power. This spiritual power is so powerful that it is able to annihilate the body of the Arrancars, yet covered with the Hierro. His Reiryoku reserves allow him to be able to use Yamamoto’s Bankai, Zanka no Tachi, which not only dries up the environment but also destroys the user’s body.
He can even make his spiritual pressure take shape, under the guise of an overflowing aura. He can absorb the spiritual power of his opponents, without great difficulty, especially with the Sankt Altar. His powerful Reiatsu allows him to take a Getsuga Tenshō without taking any damage or exploding Ichibē Hyōsube’s body after a huge fight.
Even after his death, his spiritual power was strong enough to survive for 10 years. He has also demonstrated immense strength on multiple occasions. He sliced Yamamoto’s body from left shoulder to right leg in a single blow, slicing him in half and condemning him to death. He stopped Ichigo’s first Bankai with his bare hands and even grabbed Aizen’s body with his arm.
His skill as a warrior is unparalleled. He was able to overtake Ichigo, yet in Bankai, tackle him to the ground and plant his sword in his neck, without him being able to defend himself. He has considerable mastery of the sword, often using it as his primary weapon in battle, being able to face Ichibē Hyōsube on equal terms and overpower Ichigo in a two-sword duel. His pain tolerance is also very high, using gigantic arrows that pierce his body to allow him to gain momentum.
Ichibē Hyōsube and his powers
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.
As a member of the Royal Guard, Ichibei wields powerful reiatsu and martial skills far beyond those of a Gotei 13 Captain. 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.
Ichibei seems to be an expert in both Bakudō and Hadō, summoning Hyapporankan without an incantation and also mastering unique secret spells. Senri Tsūtenshō is one such technique, where Ichibei causes a giant image of his own hand made of pure reiatsu to appear in mid-air (similar to Tenken), which then throws the opponent back a distance of 1000 ri (an antiquated unit of measurement, equivalent to approximately 3.927 km). However, Yhwach was able to intercept his flight by shooting himself from behind with his own technique.
There are also two variations of this technique: in one, Ichibei creates a gigantic foot instead of a hand and uses it to stomp the opponent, and in the other, he uses Senri Tsūtenshō with both hands to crush the opponent between the massive palms. Ura Hadō: San no Dō — Teppūsatsu is also a special technique, a secret or modified Hadō spell in which Ichibei creates the aura of a massive dragon’s head with a hand swipe. This blows out a strong wind that literally blows away enemy defenses.
Yhwach vs. Ichibē Hyōsube: Who would win?
We could, actually, give you a proper analysis of the things we have written above but that wouldn’t really do the trick when compared with what we have decided to go with. Namely, as Yhwach and Ichibē Hyōsube have, indeed, fought in the manga and are going to in the anime, we thought that it would be better for us to just recap this fight for you to see how it could help us understand this comparison.
After Soul Society was attacked by the Wandenreich, killing Yamamoto and several other Shinigami, the Royal Guard appeared to help rebuild Soul Society. The surviving Captains saluted the members of the Royal Guard. Ichibei Hyōsube greeted the Captains warmly and explained the reason for their visit. He also wanted Ichigo to accompany them to their realms.
Ichibei makes an appearance during Yhwach’s invasion of the Soul King’s realm. While the other members are tasked with stopping the invaders at what appears to be the entrance to the Soul King Palance, the Monk 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.
Conclusion? Although Yhwach did manage to defeat Ichibei using his ultimate power, this was a very convenient win. Ichibei has definitely proven himself capable of parrying Yhwach and even defeating him, but Yhwach did, indeed, have to much power to not go down against the leader of the Royal Guard. But the latter also survived the fight and that is why we will, despite the in-manga outcome (which seems to be more plot-driven than anything else), declare them to be equally powerful.