At long last, we get more than just rumors about the mysterious Zero Division. They finally show themselves, and as it turns out, there are only five members. I think I was expecting them to be more, but it is better this way since a low number of new characters means less lengthy introductions and also stronger members. Too many people tend to cause their individual power to become diffused (clone troopers have never made formidable enemies). Zero Division has been hyped up to be an incredibly strong group, and Kyouraku claims now that those five are more powerful than the entire Gotei 13 combined. After seeing all the captains get destroyed in the past few chapters though, I’m hesitant to think that these guys will be the saviors of Soul Society, even if each one of them is more powerful than Yamamoto. Given that they didn’t even come out when Aizen was rampaging, the fact that they have shown themselves now really highlights the severity of the current crisis. Even now, they only came out only after the battle was over, so one can only assume that this Soul King is pretty damn important.

The Vandenreich were obviously prepared to fight them, but still, it would be quite the letdown if the Royal Guard got steamrolled like the rest of the Shinigami. My first impression is that they are going to be hardcore fighters, even if they don’t look that all that cool. I am actually highly looking forward to seeing them in battle, and hopefully they’ll get to kick some ass before Ichigo has to step in again. The only name we know so far is Hikifune Kirio, former captain of the 12th squad, though it’s not clear whether she’s the big momma or the kuudere. I guess they’ll be introduced soon, and with some luck they’ll have extra information to offer about Ichigo or the enemy.

Speaking of Ichigo, he probably won’t be seeing a lot of action anytime soon with his bankai still broken, unless he figures out his Quincy powers soon. As Mayuri explains it, broken bankais can’t be repaired except in rare cases. However since Ichigo happens to be a rare case already, I’m pretty sure that he will be able to get his bankai working again, one way or the other. It may be time for another trip into his inner world to see Zangetsu.

95 Comments

    1. Where the hell did they come from?

      Didn’t you read? They came from above. The wall around Seireitei is usually guarding the palace, and that means that the palace is way above Soul Society. Aizen also implied this when he took off his glasses at the end of the SS arc. He said “Throne in the sky”.
      If you pay attention, it’s really not that hard.

      Why they didn’t help during the invasion remains a mystery right now, but so does the reason why the healing division wasn’t allowed to move. We just have to wait.

      I personally think that the black haired one is Hikifune. She looks like the type to earn respect by Hiyori. Then again, the one on the left looks like the Mommy-type, I suppose it would be fun if Hiyori thinking of her like that.

      virox
      1. The Fourth Division was not move because Yama-jii knew it will casulties among their ranks as it has personal with almost no offensive capabilities. Captain-Comander knew that theer was no way they could help the wounded, the Quicies go for the kill for sure those sick bastards.

        haseo0408
      2. “black haired one is Hikifune. She looks like the type to earn respect by Hiyori”

        She also earns my respect. But as we know, Hikifune is supposedly a motherly type so my bet is the plump woman. The black hair seems too “normal” to be the one raising Hiyori. The Vizards is a group of people who are mostly eccentric, Hiyori and Shinji are the most eccentric. The only normal ones were Kensei and Lisa.

        I would prefer that black haired one to be part of Ichigo’s harem, it would be amusing if Ichigo would have a girl that is stronger than him.

        My main concern is how we got to see a glimpse on where the Spirit King lives. It looks like a somewhat fancier version of the Soul Society. I expected something more mystifying.

        On a side note, it seems Kubo has been reading a lot of One Piece, the Squad Zero characters seem to be based on what Oda would draw for flashy characters such as Doflamingo or Brook.

        L002
    2. This is all part of Aizen’s plan!

      Now that the Zero Squad is here, he will prevent them from leaving Soul Society. Meanwhile, he will escape from prison and assassinate the unguarded Spirit King.

      MasterDragonKnight
    1. Kind of reminds me of One Piece how important strong character has weird unique character design. Which I think it’s good because I didn’t like the stereotyped idea of “Main/ Important Character = Must all good)

      Except in Bleach I don’t think they are doing it right. Gotei 13, Quincy, Arrancars etc. all get handsome amazing character design but he seemed to have thrown all that away with the Zero Squad. At least with One Piece they were doing it from the start.

      Drift
      1. the main reason, i have a problem how they look is, that they absurdly differ from usual shinigami. They also continue design trend Kubo started with quinci: take a group’s name and throw a bunch of characters in it without regard to this group’s tradition.

        now here we have a japanese pank type of character with this famous wierd hair stule, a wide-smile party casher, a large woman, whos power , i pray,is not involved with food or nursing. And the lumberjack guy. Just stop and imagine them in th eplaces of some other division captains, since they all presumably were gotei captains at some time.

        I remember when the espada wide-pan shot was first showed, and people went full involment instantly:”Who ae these guys? What powers do they have? Who is the first? etc”. Here it fells just…. meh.. dissapointing.

        Arri-att
    2. Nah dog forget the black haired chick. Another pretty face. Whoop de doo. Reminds that the only reason Harribel is still around is because she has boobs. Seriously, Nel should have been the one getting rescued at the very least. You know, a character that we care about?

      And for that matter we’re already waist deep in vapid as fuck, too cool for school, apathetic, pretty boys too.

      Each of the four other members look 10x more interesting to me. Especially that woman on the left and that lumberjack mother fucker in the middle. Kubo’s got some sweet looking character designs lying around but he always defaults to the same facial templates. It’s good to see some variety.

      Toriko’s current chapter kinda sets an example. Varied designs bring out a lot of life and fun. Togashi and Oda are good at this too.

      TOP2NE1
  1. Kirio Hikifune!!

    Man, it sucks that only females are those 2. The youthful beauty Kirio turned into either a big fat momma or a hot sexy lady? Come on, I would rather Kirio retain her youthful appearance, I don’t really dig that sexy lady type, sigh.

    The middle one surely looks like a big dumbass. Seriously lol. I can’t stop laughing at the designs.

    Anyway, to be honest, I think the Royal Guards are going to lose anyway. Ichigo will obviously restore his Bankai along with some Quincy powers to save the day.

    Then Ichigo is granted an audience with the Soul King by the Royal Guards for saving them and preventing the crisis from happening.

    The Soul King is then revealed to be Ichigo’s true dad and challenges Ichigo to a final fight. He takes his lightsaber out and cuts Ichi-

    Ok, that’s enough.

    Extremist
  2. I think the reason why Squad Zero didn’t come out is because they are the last defense for the King. You can’t leave the King unguarded. EVER. Protect soul society? That’s what the pawns are for. When the main pawn dies, that’s when there’s some concern.

    Overall, I am confused about the direction Bleach is heading. But, I believe that this manga is still salvageable. We still have unanswered questions: 1) Ichigo’s dad and his relationship with soul society AND his relationship with Ishida’s dad; 2) Ichigo’s mother and her existence; etc. etc. etc. It would be kind of “cool” if Ichigo’s real ability is the absorb “powers.” Explains how he became a Shinigami (absorb Isshin’s [explains why they can both use getsuga tenshou] and Rukia’s), explains how he became hollow (absorbed hollow power)… and all of this stems from Quincy experiment that gave birth to Ichigo, which also explains the source of their ability to steal Bankai and how the Quincies cannot steal Ichigo’s bankai.

    Anyways, who knows. I am hoping for the best for Bleach 🙂

    Silentrax
    1. Perhaps Ichigo was born from the Quincy’s desire to perfect a bankai stealing technology.

      …I think the only explanation we’ll ever get is that Isshin loved Ichigo’s mother very very very much…and when a Papa entity loves a Mama entity…blah

      Still leaves Yuzu’s and Karin’s situations as a complete mystery though. Maybe Karin and Yuzu are more Quincy than Shinigami because they are females…and vice versa with Ichigo?

      Jello
  3. Ugh…these characters designs. Was Kubo trying to make them look more…unique? Kubo has this dumb habit of making his character designs too openly reflect his character personalities. From one panel you can already pretty much guess the personalities of the Royal Guard.

    Also, are we to assume that these 5 people plus the King live in a castle above Soul Society that is as big as Soul Society? Welcome to Area Holyshitbig, Population 6.

    It seems that even Kubo himself can’t take himself seriously anymore.

    Jello
    1. It can’t come as a real surprise that our appearances somewhat reflect our personalities.

      But then again, if you don’t like something, you can always quit instead of this non-stop eternal blabbering and whining.

      Karma
  4. KON!!! Kubo DOES read RC! Only that much longer till we see Gin!

    And I think I understand why the captains were a little hesitant about seeing these guys. They aren’t exactly nice to look at.

    junglepenguin
  5. Seems like a convenient excuse for Ichigo to visit his inner world just to see what Zangetsu looks like now.
    Squad Zero looks like some of their members are from One Piece. Guy in the middle looks very much like Chang Koehan from the King of Fighters. Guy on the left sort of looks like a yakuza gang leader or like Kazuma Kuwabara from Yu Yu Hakusho. Guy on the far right looks a lot like Love Aikawa. Not sure which woman is Hikifune Kirio, but we’ll know soon enough anyway.

  6. So how did Mayuri’s bankai not break? Because if I remember correctly, he BLEW IT THE FUCK UP! This isn’t just me not remembering this correctly, he straight up blew up his bankai.

    Spencer
    1. Squad Zero was known before all the Aizen shit hit the fan. If you’ve memory of some sort then the people were actually waiting for Squad Zero to kick in whilst Aizen was berserking (BECAUSE we knew about them earlier).

      Not a hard concept to grasp.

      Karma
  7. So far it seems that zero division consists of Majin Buu on the far left, Jet Black in the middle, and Disco Stu on the far left.

    Now the question remains….which of the 2 women was the former captain of squad 12?

    Camora
  8. Nice, that explains why so many of the bankai (renji and company) are horribly weak. An inner world episode should be coming up and Ichigo needs to fix his sword. That could be used to unlock his history and give the final explaination on what ichigo is.

    Zaku Fan
  9. Am I the only one that like the design of the bancho looking one? You know, the guy sporting a pompadour (second to left). With a killer pompadour like this he’s gotta be a badass.

    Gekokujou
    1. Until I read your comment, I hadn’t even noticed the pompadour but now upon further inspection, I was almost immediately reminded of Ryu from Shaman King. In which case, badassery is practically a must. I hope we won’t be disappointed.

      ichikaa
  10. With any luck, Ichigo’s bankai won’t be restored too quickly. A part of me would be more satisfied if it was actually impossible but as was stated in an earlier comment, the restoration of a bankai is a rare case and look at Ichigo: The rarest individual in the Bleach universe. Which is to be expected but still ..

    There are a myriad of ways to approach the matter, one of which I think the highest possibility would be for his bankai to evolve through some aide or surfacing of his Quincy abilities. Not saying it’s a good idea but one that won’t leave me alone no matter what.

    And the Zero Squad .. I hope that their personalities aren’t stereotypical to their appearances. I’m somewhat interested in what they can potentially bring to the story as this chapter and the last have done something (something small) to pique my interest and remind me of the Bleach of old. Hope it continues.

    ichikaa
    1. Mayuri was saying that there had to be something inherently unique about a bankai’s wielder that’d enable it to regenerate- one known possibility is Ichigo’s high-speed regeneration in his ultimate Hollow-form…

      Zen
  11. ….yeah, besides the lady in the forth panel, the other character designs are just a bit meh

    As to Ichigo’s Zanpakuto / Bankai, I’m placing my bets on that he’ll not only fix it, but probably will learn some kind of Zanpakuto + Seele Schneider fusion blade combo deal

    Digid
  12. glad to see Kon finally return,come to think again how long he has lost his screen in manga
    early hueco mundo arc….i think he still pop out in final battle against Aizen,well pretty much he has gone for quite so long
    and for Zero division i just feel two male member beside the mid one(bearded)look not cool nor badass
    well they look funny i think

    Kyt
  13. Ok, I’m gonna go ahead and guess that fat lady on the left is dressed as a fairy and has wings (and they’ll serve no purpose except vanity), the dude in the center uses a Chinese lance-type weapon and the guy on the right has an afro hairstyle (and might possibly by the other afrodude’s cousin or something, but that’s unlikely).

    Who’s with me on this? (Half the fun is in guessing what Kubo’s gonna hit you with each week, don’t you guys think so?)

    junglepenguin
  14. So, Ichigo’s bankai really is broken then? I have to admit, it seems stupid beyond belief. He only JUST got it back after all and as been through three fights (Ginjo, Ivan and Kirge) with it. Now he’s out of action again, and he wasn’t even put that way by a main character….Kubo, WTF?

    A smart writer would make use of their assets already present and have Orihime repair the sword with her powers (which were never expanded on beyond the start of the Hueco Muendo arc) but nooooooo, that won’t happen. Really this time I wouldn’t be surprised is Kubo solves this one with super glue the way he’s going.

    Celecia01
  15. Seriously, what WAS he thinking with these character designs? These five people are supposed to be the most powerful shinigami there is, so you would expect them to have more of an ‘authoritative’ air about them. Instead, the majority of them just seem like the next set of Visored. That and Chang from King of Fighters.

    Nyanmar
  16. Wait a minute, I remember Yamamoto told Aizen once that no shinigami has been stronger than him for the past 1000 years, considering that all five members of Squad Zero came from the Gotei 13 it would not make sense for any of them to be stronger than Yamamoto, I would accept that maybe combined they are a lot stronger than the other captains put together but seriously, stronger than Yamamoto?

    gawrshness
    1. I doubt that any individual one is stronger than Yamamoto. They could all be pretty close to that level though and still be stronger than the entire Gotei 13 combined. As it is, the large majority of the Gotei’s strength comes from the captains. Remember that Yammaji could hold his own against 3 captains at once. They may have been regai but they were the regai of the 3 strongest captains in the Gotei 13 under Yammji

      Camora
  17. One thing no one mentioned here is that many people suspected that Ichigo’s Dad might of been in Zero Squad during the Aizen arc was happening. Did Hikifune Kirio take his vacant spot when Isshin went to Earth?

    SilentCid
    1. Yea, it would make sense. He had that torn captain cloak that we couldnt see the insignia on. Plus he took on Aizen head to head before Aizen’s transformation and pushed him to his absolute limit as a soul reaper. He also did it without using much effort. Infact i dont think he even used shikai.

      Camora
    1. i think, he is the “Will” that hold all Seritai “particles” (From that all is build around Seritai) in their “form” as we know. But then, how was Seritai build? Or was it always there, the other Side of “light”?

      Germanguy
  18. So these five are technically Aizen, except not with awesomely gelled back hair. Yeah, the five of them together are more powerful than the thirteen divisions, but after having seen what Aizen and the Quincy were capable of, these 5 don’t seem that promising.

    ion62
  19. First things, first.

    To get Started about these 5 “Zero” Captains

    How Old are they anyway?
    Are they Older then the 3 “oldest” Captains we know? Yamaji is not there anymore. And you know what 3 i mean
    And do these “Zero” Squad members change? I mean, are they the first 5 Captain ever, or are they “exchanged” when some Captain get powerful. More Powerful like the Captain Commander was? Then on what Level is Ichigos Dad?

    Many Question. But i hope we get Answers

    Germanguy
    1. i dunno, without seen them in “Action” or Display of Power, hey look “fakes” for me. Like “Vize-Captains” or so. And the real “Zero” Teichos are still up there, and Observing

      Germanguy
    2. I try to remember a Little piece of Information we “oversaw” here.

      Given that they didn’t even come out when Aizen was rampaging, the fact that they have shown themselves now really highlights the severity of the current crisis. Even now, they only came out only after the battle was over, so one can only assume that this Soul King is pretty damn important.

      If i can “read” the Storyline, WHY they only now appears…

      First, lets remind of a “strange” Reiatsu disapering after the Fight with Aizen. Some Footprint was gathered around and nothing was left. Many “Peoples” disapere.
      We saw some “Little Chat” with the a “captain” and Yamaoto. He took actions to “restore” the Balance of Seritai, without asking for “permission”. But while it was a matter of Time, he done it anyway….

      So, the Zero Squad is here. Not to Save the Asses of the Captains. There are there to “restore” the Balance, or the Kings Castle will lose his “Place” or “protection” or “meaning”. Seritai universe and Hieco Mundo, could clash into the “Humans” World

      i am right?

      Germanguy
  20. This chapter’s ending just pissed me off to no end. I’m aware there’s been slight foreshadowing to the Zero Squad, but to say they’re more powerful than all of the 13 other Squads combined? That, my friend, is grade-A. Ass-pulling. Bullsh*t.

    It doesn’t help that I think their designs are horrible, but more than that this just feels so amateurish and sloppy, thematically.

    The interesting point of this chapter (before that slap in the face) was the zanpakuto discussion. Renji, Komamuro, and Ikkaku being unique cases to different degrees was neat and I actually am very worried for the fate of the two Zangetsu spirits. I’m really hoping Ichigo will pay his inner world another visit so we can find out what – if anything – happened.

  21. The power levels is just out of control in bleach. I just wish it was more balanced out like hunter x hunter, or one piece. the only fight that I thought was more balance out very well, and the fight was head to head, was ichigo vs Byakuya and Grimmjow.

    Dream~Master
  22. BLEACH 517 is out! That being said PLEASE DO NOT READ THE MANGA PANDA VERSION! TERRIBLE! [Yeah it comes out first. Yeah I can’t wait.] But reading the MANGASTREAM Version it’s like night and day! Without a doubt Manga Panda are the WORST Translators out there!

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