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Well, so far only the recruited arrancar have had masks and those 2 guys were killed for the fun of it. The rest of the guys in vanderreich so far seem to be humans or at least they don't seem to have any hollow-ish traits to suggest there is some hollow in them. What if they are regular humans who were converted into spirit particles and simply stayed that way? Basically they simply would not have gone back to their normal material form when traveling between worlds. Perhaps with a spiritual body they could also extent their lifetime.
The Quincy are the rebels (big surprise there). I wonder if, Ryuuken is aware of this Quincy leader guy and if, they will aid Ichigo and friends in the upcoming battle.
So we know that the enemy are quincy. That leaves the obvious question of how can they bankai?
Bankai is unique to shinigami so quincy cant do it; if they could, honestly, i think that would be stupid. What are the options then. I see it this way:
1. The quincy have shinigami on their side who performed a bankai.
2. The quincy CANNOT bankai but can release their bows to a further stage (and so was misinterpreted as a bankai). However it dont see how this would be misinterpreted by Yam's guard because to think they can bankai he probably must have heard bankai.
3.The quincy can bankai.
I think (1) is what makes the most sense. So i think that the witnessed bankai was of a shinigami who had defected.
I thought Mayuri said they can "negate" Bankai. That makes the most sense in that we saw Ivan use some Quincy tool specifically to counter Ichigo's bankai.
1. Ivan tells Ichigo to say goodbye to his Bankai
2. Sasakibe tries telling Yamamoto that ...Bankai... (most likely staggered breathing or intentionally left out *more on that later*)
3. White-haired Vandenreich guy mentioning something about Ichigo's Bankai.
4. Mayuri warns the Captains that the enemy Quincy can negate a Bankai...even here he's only talking with cutoff sentences before Yamamoto interrupts.
Based upon these chapters and the situations, there's hardly any reason to assume they can steal Bankai over the ability to negate Bankai.
The ability to "negate" perhaps "destroy" a Bankai will be what makes these Quincy dangerous to SS. Perhaps it's not permanent but even then if a Shinigami has to go Bankai to win, and that is taken out of the picture for the fight, it will definitely make things harder for them.
What I don't understand is why the bad guys sent a vanguard whose only purpose was to show SS that they can steal bankai.
Vandenreich: Bwa, ha, ha! All your bankai are belong to us!
SS: I guess we won't be using bankai then.
VANDENREICH: OH MY GOD HOW DID THIS HAPPEN!