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May be or may be not
I'd also wondered if Zero Squad has a hierarchy like other divisions. I agree that they probably have their own captain, who functions as the chief commander in charge of defending the Royal Palace. They likely have a VC as well. His line about no Shinigami being stronger in 1000 years is notable, like you mentioned. If someone like that really is out there, the only place for him is the more senior position of Zero Squad captain. I can't imagine anyone else standing up to Juha Bach wielding Zanka no Tachi + Vollstandig (if indeed he can use them in tandem).
Numbers wise, captain class Shinigami don't come along that often, but then this institution must be thousands of years old. The Soul King must pre-date the Gotei 13, maybe even Soul Society, and captain class Shinigami must have been running around for a long time, so I would imagine the Royal Guard had it's share of recruits to choose from when it was first formed. So adding them to the captains who passed through the Gotei 13, I would guess there are at least 30 or 40 RG. Which does beg the question of how the Vandenreich hope to handle them, even with Bach's huge personal power.
And just regarding the thing about dealing with Menos Grande, I seem to remember Rukia saying it was elite Shinigami who dealt with them. That's more likely to mean vice captains and maybe 3rd seats than captains, let alone Royal Guards. Their duty is to protect the King and nothing else. I'm sure the only reason they're about to mobilise against the Vandenreich is because anything that could crush Yama and the Gotei 13 presents a legitimate threat to the King. Plus, someone has to work to maintain the balance of souls, and there are no other Shinigami to do it right now.
well according to me initially they were just a bunch of brutes(JB pointed this out)...too strong and cannot be controlled...that is why they have been locked up in another dimension...not fit to live in a controlled society...with time some of the refined captains might have joined the ranks but overall they are just barbaric...that is why some of the senior captains who might be as strong as them didn't join their ranks...their fighting spirit will be almost like kenpachi while their arrogance will be on byakuyas level...and when it comes to battle their most fearsome ability will be that they do not enjoy peace at all...war is like heaven to them...on top of that those guys must be hungry for battle since long time...so when they are unleashed they will be like beasts...
The page in question:
It seems like a mistranslation. Clearly Rukia here is just referring to the Gotei 13, as opposed to Ichigo by himself.
I think the Zero Squad is quite small, as some have mentioned. Maybe one for each division of the Gotei 13. I do think they're all at least Kyoraku and Ukitake's level.
I'm afraid to hype them up too much so that I don't end up disappointed, but in the back of my mind I'm really envisioning a group of Yamamoto's.
That.....would be fucking awesome.
What I understood from that is that only elite shinigami handle menos. Basically menos were the sort of hollow handled directly by seated officers. Perhaps I was wrong about that assumption though.
Defeat of Gotei 13 and especially Yamamoto is the only possibility I see when Zero Division has to protect SS King. Now, if they are the last resort for SS King, should not they be the most powerful organization? How can members weaker than Gotei 13 possibly defeat someone who defeated captains?
They could be weaker but the only possibility comes to my mind is having utmost faith in Gotei 13 and Yamamoto.
I have some serious doubts that anyone could think the Zero Squad weaker then the this Gotei, i know we know very little about them but it stands to reason you need that little bit extra to become a member. I mean imagine that it turns out that actually the Blood thirsty Gotei of 1000/2000 years ago actually didn't crock it but was taken silently to protect the Soul King due to the fact they didn't take Yama's direction.....
Just a food for thought : are there only SHINIGAMI in the Royal Guard?Is there even a small,tiny possibilty for VL's or Quincies or humans with special abilities to be coerced in joining the Royal Guard?
Also,the Shinigami within Royal Guard,are they only Shinigami ? What if they can actually Hollowfy and control their Hollow to an extent,something similar to what Tousen did.Not sure about this though.
I have my doubts about there being beings other than shinigami in the royal. I mean, before aizen came along traveling to HM was not a simple task for captains. Even mayuri had trouble with that and only after raiding grants' lab was he able to get it right. Even urahara today does not have the efficiency aizen had to travel (aizen did not have to do the reiatsu pathways). I don't see the royals having an immediate access route to HM. Even if they did HM is dangerous even for captain level shinigami. How would they go about not only finding but recruiting a VL? How would the dinamics worth with someone plainly something entirely different from shinigami and actually monsterlike (not even beastlike) in appearance? The quincy seem hellbent on destroying SS and in all likelihood want to take over the soul king so there would be a few impractical points of keeping a quincy in their ranks.
I doubt the 0 squad has the organization that a lot of people are thinking it would have. More likely what happened was that original, Yama's group was the sole protector of all things Soul Society related all the way until the Quincy wars. He and his group at the time were ruthless and probably did whatever it took to get the job done....kind of like a group of mercenaries or like a ragtag group of superheroes like the avengers or something. A group of people who are individually badass in their own rights when together, they just have that much more badassery. So once the quincy wars end a peace happens, Yama probably decided to start the academy to train shinigami and to actually create some order, but in order to do that, he himself had to change to a degree. He probably realized, however, that there would still be a need for a mercenary type group of badass fighters and that's probably how the 0 squad was started. The Seretei and the academy, the council in central 42, all of this was order and organization. The 0 squad is the opposite of all of this...they probably wouldn't have fit in this paradigm of peace and tranquility anyway.
I believe Squad Zero should contain a group of damn strong ex-Captains. Some from Yama's generation, some from Shunsui's and Ukitake's generation and I believe they are organized as a normal Squad, having a Captain who should be at least around Yama's level or maybe even higher in terms of overall power, Vice Captain, somewhere around Isshin-Aizen level and others like Shunsui and Ukitake in terms of power.
And well I believe in terms of age they should be mostly quite old. At least older than 500 years as it seems even Rukia is older than 200 years as when she met Ichi she was already 200...
P.S. About their actual abilities. I believe they might be top-notch Shinigamis who mastered their Shinigami powers to some insane degree and might have achieved new level of Zanpaktou release like Ichi's and Isshin's FGT.
hey if i may suggest
it seems to me that squad 0 consists only of captains that at bare minimum can at least fight with the old man captain yamatao (misspelling) at equal footing easily. Also the captain/leader of squad 0 is actually stronger then even yamatato hence he is there, should yamatato die then he will show his true strength. Also these captains have perfected their technique and have merged with their bankai without loosing any abilities in other words are able to reproduced ichigo's final tensho getsuga (technique) without loosing any side abilities.
One thing is defintely certain, ichigo's dad issin is definitely from squad 0. he wasn't fighting with aizen just toying around and hasn't shown any of his abilities, assuming the father and son have similar abilities (hinted by the face that issin told ichigo of a final getsuga existing at all) he is a true monster and also one of the true war potentials.
Also urahara is an odd one too for a man to hold a female zanpankto is unique cause no one else has this unique option and considering he also saw the "king" like aizen they both are also on par fighting levels of yamatao.
also the concept of these shinigmai having hollow abilities isn't far fetched as aizen was after it for the same reason so this is also a possibility
Aizen said himself that he's NOT on par with Yama. Before being hougyoku'd and immortal. When he's immortal, sure he can't be beaten by Yama, but I'm sure Yama'd give Aizen a ZT North, and ZT North, and another ZT North, and so on until Aizen is sealed again.