Due to their significance to the world of Bleach and the airing of the TYBW arc, this is the perfect time to explain Bleach’s Squad 0!
So without any further ado, let’s take a look at Squad 0!
What is Squad 0: Formation, Purpose:
Squad 0 is the creme de la creme of Soul Society, with each member being the pioneer of a specific domain!
We first learn about the existence of this highly secretive squad in the Turn Back the Pendulum arc, when Kirio Hikifune gets promoted.
She used to be the captain of the 12th Division, but her contributions to Soul Society were so significant that she was deemed fit for a promotion to the prestigious Squad 0.
In fact, a promotion from the ranks of Gotei 13 captains is the only way members are recruited to the elite Squad 0. And given how rarely this event happens, there’s no surprise that this squad only has 5 members and no other officers under them.
Squad 0 is also referred to as the Royal Guard, implying that they are under the service of the Royal Family, rather than the Soul Society.
The Royal Guard’s duties revolve around the royal family, which include: protecting the Soul King, protecting the Royal Family, protecting the Royal Palace, and slaying Menos class Hollows.
Why Did The Squad 0 Never Help Soul Society During Attacks?
You see, Squad 0 members do not interfere in Gotei 13’s affairs and the defense of Soul Society. They only act at the orders of the Soul King and didn’t intervene in the events after Aizen’s betrayal.
Unfortunately, they did the same with Yhwach and the sternritters, so we didn’t see them during the initial invasion.
But it seems like the moment Squad 0 realized that the Soul King’s safety and well-being were in danger, they were spurred into action.
Now, let’s take a look at the 5 members of Squad 0!
Members Of Squad 0 Explained:
Ichibei has the epithet of the “Monk Who Calls the Real Name” by none other than the Soul King himself!
Like all the other members of the royal guard, Ichibei too is someone who has revolutionized the operations of the soul reapers. The reason for his epithet is that he is the oldest member of the royal guard and as such is the one who has given the names for everything in the Soul Society.
He is the one who came up with the names for Soul Reapers’ swords, the Zanpaktous, and all their evolved forms like Shikai and Bankai, as mentioned in chapter 564 of the manga. In many ways, he is the one who has set the standard for most of the things that modern Soul Reapers still do to this day.
For example, Ichibei is actually the one who invented BANKAIS!!!!
Ichibei has been around for more than 2 million years, and he is one of the strongest too!
Ichibei has the unbelievable ability to manipulate the true names of things meaning he has a certain amount of control and power over the target.
He also has other abilities that all the other Royal Guards have as well like the resurrection beyond death as long as the Royal Palace still exists and eternal life thanks to the modifications done to their bones with Ouken.
It is also implied he has the ability to use clairvoyance and can see everything that happens outside of the Royal Palace.
But the most interesting part of his powers is his zanpakuto, Ichimonji.
While in its sealed form it looks like a brush, but after using the sword’s Shikai it looks more like a glaive.
Its special ability is that it can release ink and anything the ink touches, loses its name and therefore loses its power as well. With his Shikai, he can also control the color black and the color becomes part of his magic, as seen in chapter 608
And lastly, it is time to talk about his Bakai.
Shirafude Ichimonji allows Ichibei to give and change the names of those who have been struck by the ink of Ichimonji. By writing a kanji on his target’s body he can give the target the properties of what he wrote, as seen in ch 609
He used this power against Yhwach, writing “black ant” on his body, subsequently making him as weak as an ant in chapter 609 as well.
Tenjiro is dubbed the Holy Guardian of the East and is the first officer of Squad 0. True to his image, he is very patronizing and thinks that the Gotei 13 including the captains are just amateurs.
This attitude earns him some flak from his fellow squad members as well.
Powers And Abilities:
Kirinji is an amazing healer and the creator of many healing techniques! In fact, he taught the 4th Division Captain Restu Unohana, the greatest healer in Soul Society a lot of techniques.
As the best healer, Tenjiro developed some unique healing techniques that are his magnum opus. Within his palace called the Kirinden, there are a bunch of hot springs that have healing properties.While a normal soul would simply decompose due to the insane healing speed of these waters, the springs are a great way to heal even the gravest of injuries for the strong!
His zanpakuto called Kinpika isn’t that impressive either. Its release command is “Flash from Illuminating Heavens” and he can control the water from his hot springs with it.
The next member of Squad 0 is the mom of the group, Kirio Hikifune. As we mentioned earlier, Kirio was the captain of the 12th division with her lieutenant Hiyori, before Urahara was promoted.
From Hiyori’s agitation after Kirio’s promotion to Squad 0, we can gather that she was really cheery, compassionate, and motherly towards her division’s members.
Before her promotion, Kirio was behind the invention of the Artificial Soul. Also called Gikon, these are souls, which separate a shinigami’s spirit from a gigai.
The Soul King recognized this as a significant contribution to Soul Society, warranting her a promotion to the Royal Guard. But, she took on the role of a master chef because she’s like the Charmy of Bleach. She can infuse her own reiatsu into the base ingredients of the food she creates.
She fundamentally changes the nature and properties of ingredients because they come from her own body’s reiatsu. As for her fighting prowess, we witnessed her OP ability in chapter 600. She has a massive cage made of tree remains that are infused with her reiatsu.
This tree actually feeds on reiatsu to the point that it consumed the attacks the sternritters hit it with. In fact, taking up all these reiatsu-based attacks, the cage grows even faster. Kirio grows this tree from her body, trapping her opponents within.
However, beyond this, we never saw her zanpakuto, its Shikai, or Bankai because while she was protecting her comrade Oetsu from Lille Barro’s attack, she not only didn’t understand how Otsu was still hit but she also reverted to her original form and lost to Lille.
Oetsu Minaiya is the Divine General of the West and holds the title “God of the Sword”.
The reason behind his epithet is that he is the creator of all of Zanpakuto, as shown in chapter 521 of the manga.
His fighting style is very unconventional but he still makes sure to make the best use of his abilities. Oetsu is EASILY able to deflect the enhanced attacks of the Schutzstaffel showcasing his immense accuracy, speed, and power when using the sword. (ch 601)
Whilst Yhwach’s personal guard, he defeats three of them back to back to back with minimal effort.
He slices the bullets in half and defeats them without them even noticing.
One of them even thinks Oetsu is bluffing due to his blade looking wobbly and it is stored in a fish tank saying it makes no sense.
What Oetsu had accomplished with this sword “Sayafushi” is to create a sword that never wears down and is so sharp it can’t even be stored in a sheath.
Oetsu treats this sword like a failure because of that fact and is the reason he could not send it down to soul society.
Because he has only shown himself using this sword, we don’t really know what his Shikai or Bankai is!
And now onto the final member of the royal guard, we have none other than Senjumaru Shutara. She is the Divine General of the North holding the epithet “Great Weave Guard”.
Not much is actually known about the history of Senjumaru, but what we do know is that she was the one who invented the robes that all soul reapers use.
Now these robes aren’t any ordinary clothes either but all have high defensive capabilities, and thanks to her unique invention it allowed her a spot among the royal guard.
She does not appear to be wielding a zanpakuto and as such has never shown herself using a Shikai or Bankai.
Who’s your favorite out of Squad 0? Comment below!