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Edit: This post accidently became a ramble. Be warned. (In before tl;dr)
Alright, so we have a series of flashbacks of aizen's pre-defection doings in hueco mundo. The first being Baraggan's where Aizen& co confront him. At this point I think Baraggan was a natural/incomplete arrancar because he had his Gran Caída drawn after Aizen who was a captain at the time (accompanied by captains Ichimaru&Tosen) owned his troops with Kyoka Suigetsu. Aizen offers him power meaning he most likely got hougyoku'd thus gaining his fleshy appearance as the 2nd espada.
Now the only time we saw the hougyoku used by Aizen was to create wonderweiss, but this instance with Baraggan proved natural Arrancar can be further 'perfected' with the hougyoku. Sort of in a twisted way analagous to how Urahara used it to "stabilize" the Visored.
The next flashbacks we have are Nnoitora's 3 flashbacks. Unfortunately we don't get a look at Aizen during this time so we don't really know the time frame. However, we know prior to the hueco mundo invasion, aizen only had the hougyoku for about a month and a half. From this we can tell Nel & her fraccion, Nnoitora, and Syazel Apporo, are all natural arrancar during the time of flashback. Las Noches seemed a little built up during that time beyond Baraggan’s “the sky is my roof” approach to architecture. This could only mean that immediately after the three captain’s confrontation with Barragan, they wasted no time building up Las Noches prior to their defection with the hougyoku. This also means that I think Nnoitora got hougyoku’d. His zanpakuto changed in shape since the flashbacks and he also got stronger as he explains to Nel when they fight again. Syazel Apporo also probably got hougyoku’d in this same regard. However, even in the flashbacks Nnoitora actually said he owed Aizen for his strength in a time before aizen retrieved the hougyoku in the SS arc.
Perhaps Aizen was using his incomplete hougyoku(seen in ichimaru’s flashbacks) on the arrancars back then and upon obtaining urahara’s true hougyoku completed his espada. The thing that still confuses me about Nel’s fraccion is that they were arrancar, had their mask fragments completely ripped off, and then grew full completely new and different looking ones? For the longest time, I thought they had regressed back to hollows only to learn they were arrancar since they had zanpakuto’s? I guess growing back new masks isn’t that extraordinary considering we have hollows like Lunuganga that are made of sand (which make me further question how was his initial transformation into a hollow o_0).
With the pre-defection flashbacks out of the way, the next flashback is Starrk/Lilynette’s. In it we see post-defection Aizen. Obviously Starrk/Lilynette were already natural arrancar. Even more so than Barragan was. The thing is that we see no weapons or zanpakuto, o_0, but they were still obviously arrancar due to the mask fragments. While Barragan had his Gran Caída, we could see Lilynette’s mask fragment in this flashback. Who knows whether they got hougyoku’d or not. How would that go about anyway? They manifested as two different beings in their unreleased forms after all. O_0
Now then, Harribel and Ulquiorra. Harribel was a Vasto Lorde according to the anime flashbacks. And before you guys say that’s anime only filler, I’m sure Kubo had some say in the decision of Harribel being a VL judging by his influence in the Menos Forest anime-only episodes. Not to mention Kubo did character designs for the anime filler characters.
Ulquiorra seemed to be VL before his arrancarization based off of the special mini-chapter to him in one of the databooks that showed him in his pre-arrancar days over a mountain of hollows similar to how Starrk and Lilynette were sitting next to their own mountain of hollows. Whether Urahara’s or Aizen’s own pseudo-hougyoku was initially used first is unknown. This goes for all the other arrancars besides Nnoitora, Syazel Apporo, and Aaroniero as well. The later espada had to be a natural arrancar since he existed in the original espada. Obviously before aizen had urahara’s hougyoku. However, it was said that before Aaroniero became an arrancar, he was a Gillian. Judging by “The Menos Grande” that attacked Uryu, Gillian can take on many forms besides the big black-cloaked giants.
That just leaves the remaining espadas 6, 7, and 8. I’m assuming they were all adjucas before their “arrancarization”. That’s all we have to go for in Grimmjow’s case after all. He has his own flashback as an adjuchas along with his then future fraccion; some of who were still going through the transitional stages between Gillian and Adjuchas(I’m looking at you specifically Edrad and possibly D-Roy). Perhaps this is why Aizen said the phrase to Ichimaru in reference to Grimmjow’s fraccion just having being defeated,
“Those were only Gillians”.
I remember that specific line confused everyone confused back then after seeing Grimmjow’s flashback and we thought they all were adjuchas’s. Perhaps then before he became a natural arrancar, Aaroniero and even The Menos Grande both were in the transitional stage as well. At least that explains the latter’s unique appearance compared to other black-robed Gillian. The only thing that irks me is the "numero" numbers of Grimmjow's fraccion, and Grimmjow himself. It suggests they were created very early on. However, I'm thinking they were made from Urahara's hougyoku. And this explains it further,
Lastly, the Privaron Espada(because Dordoni’s flashback directly stated they existed before Aizen got any form of hougyoku. By extension this further confirms Aaroniero’s status) were natural, and untouched by a hougyoku. Arrancars such as Aisslinger who was arrancar number 17 and his partner Demoura(who Chad fought) allude that hollows and even pseudo-evolved arrancars that resided within Hueco Mundo joined Aizen and were then probably hougyoku’d to perfect them, thus getting their arrancar “numero” number of birth. Ones who resisted or rebelled were probably slain or ran out of Las Noches’s reach as seen in two of Nnoitora’s flashbacks where he not only destroys--during their search for Vasto Lorde--an entire “colony”(of “rebels” as Nnoitora called them) which Nel later refers to them “hollows”, but also is seen killing arrancar.
Even still, there were some who seem to not have received the hougyoku like the Privaron. Correct me if I’m mistaken on any of this you guys, I just realized I’m rambling so I may be assuming a ton of stuff.
Thinking about all of this makes me wonder. There were naturally evolved arrancar and ‘psuedo-arrancar’ that existed in Hueco Mundo before Aizen’s full accession to power. So these natural arrancars before the hougyoku simply bashed in their masks, got power boosts, and obtained pseudo-shinigami powers and physiology? The only literal interpretation of this we see in the series is Grand Fisher himself. Back after fleeing from Ichigo in the Memories in the Rain chapters, we see him getting beat up by D-Roy and Aisslinger I believe, and his mask getting forcefully ripped. This was all the way back before SS arc. Talk about foreshadowing. o_0.
In this case why don’t all hollows become arrancars? Apparently the amount of mask you have missing varies from arrancar to arrancar so it’s not like they need a certain amount ripped off. They could just accidently get a piece of mask broken off(like what happened to Sora when he and Ichigo fought) and then poof! Arrancar. Just look at Aisslinger’s little sliver of face he has showing. Or even Dondochakka’s regrown mask. I see not a bit of his face; actually it’s like his mask is his face since it moves like skin. Bizarre. (I'm mostly kidding here, but it's still something to think about)
Phew. Sorry if this was incoherent. I just had a lot on my mind.
Last edited by Revolation; August 08, 2012 at 10:32 AM.
From what I gather all the espada were in some form affected by the orb. Starrk and Barragan started out as natural arrancar as we actually saw them in a flashback before they met aizen as arrancar (barragan did not have a mask on him). Then aizen came along and used the power of the orb to make all of them into more advanced arrancar.
As far as the privaron espada it seems the orb was not actually used on them based on what dodorni said. Of course it is also possible that the orb was also used on him but since the orb could be used to maximum effect on any hollow or arrancar he still did not cut it.
I don't think just ripping your mask out would turn a hollow into an arrancar though. Remember orihime's brother? Ripping his mask out actually made him somewhat regress to a human soul rather than making him an arrancar. Physically ripping their masks out is perhaps a part of the shinigamification process but I doubt just that is enough, there should be other unknown to us factors there.
As for starrk, my own crackpot theory is that separating lilinet from himself is what made him an arrancar. Arrancar basically separate from their power and seal it in a sword. That is the gist of resurreccion. Lilinet would in principle be similar to an arrancar zampakuto as she is a piece of starrk's soul. Heck, starrk even says that by uniting with her again he unleashes his true power and resurreccion which is exactly what normal zampakuto though.
Yeah, nothing in Bleach makes any sense, really. You pretty much just turn your brain off and go with the flow, haha.
Like the Arrancars: "Hey guys, my hollow form is way stronger, but I'll just walk around with my true powers sealed inside this sword for no reason." Oooookaaaaayyyy.......
Hey, look at the pretty pictures...
Well, merely being an arrancar provides a boost in power compared to being just a hollow as far as we know. I mean, its not like we'd expect adjuca grimmjow to be stronger than sealed grimmjow for example.
But the top 4 Espada cannot just run around using their resurrecion... due to their overwhelming power.
Maybe the lower espada don't release because they have no need to until they actually fight.
I got the impression from the Ulquiorra mini-story that his mask was broken when he walked into that spiky forest. I guess that'd make him a natural arrancar.
Harribel was not an arrancar in the flashback when she was recruited, but I'm not sure whether the anime fillers were canon. I think Barragan said something like "I curse you Aizen for giving me power" in his final moments or flashback.
The thing that always has confused me is the "history" between Neliel and Nnoitra. Kubo even bothered to have a flashback and it seemed like it had been years between the flashback and the current events, yet if they were created by Aizen, then neither of them should've been older than a few months. Some argue that they are pre-Aizen, but if that were the case, why were they Espadas? Wasn't that something created by Aizen? And if not, it is still strange that they had numbers as though someone ranked them in terms of strength.
I don't think aizen just created all the espada as soon as he left SS. My own impression was that he had been at it for quite some time to be honest. The nel and nnoitora bit was implied to have happened years ago at least. As far as the espada go from what we saw the only one that was recruited apparently recently would be starrk. In his flashback we saw aizen with his look from after escaping SS. Perhaps aizen had the look before but we have no way to prove it though. With barragan we saw las noches well before it ever had a roof. Gin was already a captain during the barragan flashback so it would have had to happen something in the past 20 or 30 years as far as we know. Perhaps what triggered aizen building his army are the current flashback events? Perhaps expectating the current developments gave him the keys to create better arrancar which jumpstarted his operation.
The thing is that Neliel and Nnoitra were already Espadas in their flashback. But wasn't the Hogyoku a prerequisite in order to create the Espadas in the first place?