The Espada (十刃, (エスパーダ), Esupāda; Latin for "Sword", Japanese for "Ten Blades") are the top-ranked Arrancars in Sōsuke Aizen's army of Hollows-Shinigami hybrids; they are the most powerful Arrancars under Aizen's command, and they are the main rivals of the Gotei 13.
The Espada are composed of ten Arrancars with exemplary strength. Members of the Espada are given a number 0-9.Each Espada has a tattoo with their number somewhere on them, such as Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez, whose tattoo is on his lower back,and Coyote Starrk, whose tattoo is on the back of his left hand. Along with Sōsuke Aizen, Gin Ichimaru, andKaname Tōsen, the Espada as a group possess comparable strength to Soul Society's Gotei 13 Shinigami captains.
Their immense amount of power and leadership status among the Arrancar also grants each Espada the authority to exert command over Aizen's other forces within Las Noches: the Números, the Exequias, and their own Fracción, chosen by them from the Números. Similar to the power gap between captains and lieutenants in the Gotei 13, the strength of the Espada far surpasses that of the average Número. Aizen himself is confident enough of his Espada's abilities to send them out on potentially hazardous missions, such as gathering information in the Real World, fighting Shinigami captains inside Las Noches and Karakura Town by themselves, and searching for Vasto Lorde.
Being Aizen's most direct subordinates (not counting Gin Ichimaru and Kaname Tōsen), the Espada are privy to several of Aizen's plans and most intimate secrets, such as his goals of destroying Karakura Town and creating the Ōken, and the location of the Hōgyoku within Las Noches. Aizen's respect for the Espada's abilities is reflected in his manner of addressing them, often referring to them as "my dear Espada" and sitting at the head of the same table with them while discussing the events around Hueco Mundo. According to Dordoni Alessandro Del Socaccio, though Aizen treats them as tools to do his bidding, he wanted to take back his position as an Espada to once again be close to Aizen. In accordance with this, Aizen was not at all distressed over the deaths of the Espada, and calmly congratulated the intruders in Las Noches for their victories against the Espada as he left for Karakura Town.
There seems to be a sort of hierarchy among the Espada; a higher-ranked member apparently can give orders to lower-ranked members. This is demonstrated when Aizen orders Ulquiorra Cifer to kidnap Orihime Inoue and Ulquiorra takes a team of lower-ranked Espada with him. Various missions usually involve one or more Espada operating together, with the most senior member exercising command over the others. While the lower-ranked members usually have little restraint in taking their own initiative (thus exceeding their orders), higher-ranked members usually stick to Aizen's commands, and are often the first to bail the others out of trouble, because, according to Nelliel Tu Odelschwanck, they wish to prevent the Espada from losing one of their own. However, Aizen's attitude toward the offending Espada members seems to be one of leniency, officially forgiving them (though not without severe sanctions) on the grounds that they are merely advancing his own wishes.
Aside from regularly appearing in Aizen's throne room and the debriefing room, the Espada are known to have their own quarters within Las Noches. Those that have been seen appear to have been modified to suit the specific Espada's taste. Szayelaporro Granz, for instance, possesses a large building that he refers to as his "palace", complete with a hidden, indestructible laboratory and a changing room. Zommari Rureaux has been shown on one occasion to await orders inside a meditation room. Coyote Starrk's room is designed along the lines of a lounging chamber, and Aaroniero Arruruerie's tower, accessed via a hanging bridge, effectively keeps out sunlight and contains nooks and crannies for hiding cushions and other implements whose purpose is to make his shape-shifting abilities more convincing.
According to Ulquiorra, any Espada ranked 4th or higher are not allowed to release their Zanpakutō within Las Noches, nor are any Espada allowed to discharge a Gran Rey Cero as both are powerful enough to destroy the majority of Las Noches.
After Aizen's defeat and the deaths of Starrk and Baraggan Louisenbairn, Tier Harribel became the ruler ofHueco Mundo. However, an empire called the Wandenreich appeared, and she was personally defeated by Yhwach and captured. The Quincy empire claimed Hueco Mundo as their dominion, as well as another foundation stone to invade Soul Society.
The creation of the Espada has long been one of Aizen's most important preoccupations. While it is not specified when the Espada were first brought together as a group, the original Espada were already in existence sometime before Aizen's defection from the Soul Society and acquisition of the Hōgyoku. Since then, the composition of the Espada has changed, both in membership and position.
At some point in the past Nnoitra Gilga was the 8th Espada with Nelliel Tu Odelschwanck as the 3rd Espada and Szayelaporro was not a member at all. During this time Aizen frequently sent the Espada out to search for the Vasto Lorde-class Menos.
Before his death, Aaroniero Arruruerie was the sole member of the current Espada who was also part of the first-generation Espada. He was also the only Arrancar from Gillian-class Menos stock to attain a position among the Espada.
Coyote Starrk is the 1st Espada so he's the most powerful out to all the nine other Espada members. He is so powerful, that Hollows are typically killed off just by being in his presence. Due to his loneliness, he split himself into two arrancars and created his "counterpart" Lilynette Gingerbuck. What makes him unusual is he uses Lilynette as his Zanpakuto. Starrk has wavy, shoulder-length dark brown hair that he keeps unkempt and parted down the middle. He also has a faded goatee. His clothing is typical of an Arrancar. He wears a white jacket outlined in black, though altered with the collar upturned. A black sash is worn in a manner similar to a matador around his waist. He wears white gloves. The remains of his Hollow mask consist of a fanged bottom jaw that is position along his neck as if it were a necklace. His Hollow hole is on his sternum, right below the tip of his mask. His Espada tattoo is featured on the back of his left hand, which he conceals with his glove.
To enter his Resurreccion form, his release command is "Kick about, Los Lobos."
Baraggan Louisenbairn is the 2nd Espada. Baraggan has the appearance of an elderly man with a white moustache and white hair. His face is lined by large scars in the left side of his chin and across his right eye. Despite his aged appearance, Baraggan is quite stocky and muscular, especially when compared to the other Espada, and when standing (albeit with the slouch of an elderly person) he is of a fair size. He wears a regal white leather coat with black fur lining; he has short sleeves and three black fur stripes running along the bottom. He also wears a golden wrist band on both wrists and a belt which consists of three thick chains attached to a large metal disk with a sun emblem. His overall appearance is like that of a barbarian lord (of Viking origin). The location of his Espada tattoo is unknown as well as the location of his Hollow hole. The remnants of his Hollow mask take the form of a five pointed crown just above his forehead.
When he was the King of Hueco Mundo, his crown had four elegant protrusions which were ornately decorated.
He was the formerly the God-king of Hueco Mundo and original ruler of Las Noches and his Zanpakuto is a giant double-headed battle axe. To enter his Resurrección form, his release command is "Rot, Arrogante."
Tier Harribel is the 3rd Espada. Tier is the only member that's a female (Nelliel Tu Odelschwanck was formerly the 3rd Esapda but she still has the tattoo of the number three on her back).
Harribel has dark skin, green eyes, blonde eyelashes, and messy short blonde hair which has three braided locks. She wears a variation of the Arrancar jacket that covers the lower part of her face downward, while baring a good portion of the lower half of her large breasts. The jacket, unlike that of other Arrancar, has a zipper running along its entire length that is opened from the bottom upwards (in the anime, this outfit is extended to fully cover her breasts, a black stripe showing where the original cut of the jacket was). The jacket's sleeves completely envelop her arms, ending in black glove-like extensions at her extremities, which slightly give her fingers the appearance of a cat’s paw. Harribel carries her Zanpakutō horizontally across her back (similar to Soifon). The sword itself is notably broad and short compared to others, completely hollow in the middle, and has a western-style guard.
The remnants of her Hollow mask consist of the sides of her face and her mouth, as well as an extensive area below and around her neck extending down to, and also covering, her nipples; she usually hides these Hollow remnants from view with her jacket (in the anime, the remnants are extended to cover the underside of her breasts due to censorship). Harribel's mask fragment gives her a similar appearance to Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez, at least in regards to the teeth. To date she has the most intact mask of any Arrancar not including the incomplete Grand Fisher (though the mask is removed upon her Zanpakutō's release). Her Espada tattoo is oddly placed on the left side of her right breast. The location of her Hollow hole is currently unknown, despite the fact that her release form reveals most of her body.
Her form at the time mostly resembled her released state but most of her body and face was covered by white hollow-bones. Her hair and eyes were, however, exposed.
The location of Tia's tatoo is on her right breast. To enter her Resurrección form, her relese command is "Destroy, Tiburon."
Ulquiorra Cifer is the 4th Espada. Ulquiorra is a slender, yet fairly muscular, male Arrancar of average height with a melancholic appearance, fairly short, messy black hair, pale white skin, a black upper lip, and green eyes with slit-shaped pupils similar to a cat's. Part of his bangs falls between his eyes, and he has distinctively thick eyebrows. He has teal lines that descend from his eyes, making it appear as if he is crying. His facial expression rarely changes, and he is almost always frowning. He wears typical Arrancar clothes: a white jacket, black sash, and a white hakama. However, his jacket seems to have longer coattails than others, and the collar is rather high.
Like most other Arrancar, he possesses remnants of his former life as a Hollow in his appearance. His Hollow hole is located on his sternum where a heart would normally be (though initially, the hole was located on the base of his throat, a change that was seen in both the manga and anime). The remainder of his Hollow mask lies on top of his head, forming a broken helmet. He is the fourth-ranked Espada, signified by the tattoo on the left side of his chest. He's the only Espada with a second Resurrección form. The release command for his normal Resurrección words is "Enclose, Murcielago." The second form is called "Segunda Etapa."
Nnoitra Gilga is the 5th Espada. Nnoitra is the tallest Espada, excluding Yammy Riyalgo (whose height varies under certain circumstances), dwarfing even Chad by at least a foot (around 30 cm). This fact is emphasized by his very thin and lanky body. His face is frequently set in a huge smile which reveals his upper teeth, similar to Shinji Hirako. His black hair hangs past his shoulders, concealing the left side of his face and a large white eyepatch. The eyepatch hides his mask fragments, consisting of a small set of jawbones and teeth, surrounding his Hollow hole. The tattoo signifying his rank as 5th Espada is located on his tongue. His clothing consists of a modified Arrancar jacket with an overblown spoon-like hood and an opening starting at the neckline, showing most of his midsection, and closing at his waist. He wears the standard hakama but the ends of his pant legs close inside extended and curved boots. When he was the 8th Espada, Nnoitra's hair was shorter and messier, he lacked the spoon hood, and he wore his jacket's collar upturned. To enter his Resurrección form, his release command is "Pray, Santa Teresa."
Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez is the 6th Espada. Grimmjow has light-blue spiky hair and eyes, and also has green lines below them, similar to the eye markings on the Panthera genus of cats, as well as the red marks on Ikkaku Madarame's eyes. Grimmjow's attire consists of a white hakama and a black sash; his white jacket is ragged with an upturned collar. The inner lining is black, the sleeves are rolled up, and Grimmjow wears it open, leaving a muscular chest revealed. The remains of his Hollow mask consist of the right jawbone, and his Hollow hole has moved to his abdomen. His tattoo number (6) is located at his back, near the right side of his Hollow hole. Since his first fight with Ichigo, Grimmjow sports a large scar on his torso, which several characters make remarks to. Grimmjow appears to be a laid-back, irreverent, and sacrilegious individual at first glance, but this scruffy exterior hides an excessively brutal, impulsive, and violent personality and a lethally-short temper. Grimmjow is blunt, sarcastic, and quite sadistic, revealing a psychotic grin whenever he becomes excited, much like Kenpachi Zaraki or Hollow Ichigo. He displays little respect for authority and says whatever is on his mind, regardless of whether or not it is appropriate. This attitude leads to conflicts with Kaname Tōsen, who holds Grimmjow in the same low regard as he did with Kenpachi Zaraki. He also has conflicts with Ulquiorra Cifer, the 4th Espada, usually because Ulquiorra interrupts his battles or otherwise clashes with Grimmjow's ideals, and confidently believes Ulquiorra's powers to be weaker than his, a point he is eager to prove. He develops an additional grudge against Ichigo Kurosaki for wounding him during their first and second fights, and is eager to return the favor. He intentionally kept the large scar on his chest from their first battle as a reminder of this. Grimmjow is also infuriated by Ichigo's belief that he can defeat him regardless of how badly he is injured, which Grimmjow sees as Ichigo looking down on him.
Grimmjow is a very rude and disrespectful character. He uses none of the honorifics in the Japanese language, except when addressing Aizen (though he is quick to discard the formality when Aizen is not around), and refers to Orihime as woman in conversation. However, he does have some form of a code of honor, as he is unwilling to fight an injured Ichigo, bringing Orihime to heal him beforehand so that their battle will be a fair one, though he also wants to defeat Ichigo when he is at full strength. He also saves Orihime from Loly Aivirrne and Menoly Mallia, who were beating her up, to repay the debt of restoring his arm, though he immediately demands another favor afterwards. Despite his aggression and obvious bloodlust in battle, he possesses a feral cunning and has a knack for quickly exploiting any opening his opponent reveals.
To enter his Resurrección form, his release command is "Grind, Pantera."
Zommari Rureaux is the 7th Espada. Zommari is a tall, muscular, dark-skinned Arrancar with slightly larger lips than the others. Both his Hollow hole as well as his Espada tattoo are not visible, but the remnants of his Hollow mask consist of a row of bony spikes along the crest of his head, forming something similar to a Mohawk hairstyle along with a pair of skull-shaped earrings and a thick bony necklace, however it is uncertain if this necklace may also be part of his hollow remains. This gives him somewhat of a witch-doctor appearance. He is also bald and has golden yellow eyes. Zommari's uniform consists of a long mandarin-style Arrancar jacket with a small opening at his chest area. He wears a default hakama like all other Arrancar, although his sandals resemble traditional martial arts training shoes. Zommari has three triangle-shaped tattoos on his chin. He also has four lines running down from his forehead directly above his eyes that end with dots appearing as exclamation points. These are on both sides of his head, giving him a total of eight lines. to enter his Resurrección form, his release command is "Suppress, Brujeria."
Szayel Aporro Granz
Szayel Aporro Granz is the 8th Espada. Szayel has shoulder-length pink hair and amber eyes. The remains of his Hollow mask take the form of rectangular-framed glasses, giving him a scholarly appearance. The placement of his Hollow hole and Espada number tattoo are both unknown. Most of the Arrancar have his/her Hollow hole on the torso or face, however this is not the case for Szayel. Even after having the entire upper half of his body exposed, no hole or number tattoo can be seen.
His clothes differ from the original Arrancar uniform. Instead of a normal jacket, Szayel wears a long shirt that covers all of the skin up to the top of his neck. On his hands, he wears white gloves. He wears the regular pants, with slight length taken away, making them shorter than the others. His face is the only part of his body that is exposed in this uniform. It should also be noted that when he changes his clothes prior to performing his Resurrección, he sports a cape-like garment.
When he was demoted from the Espada, his appearance was slightly different compared to his appearance in the original story. His hair was messier and the three lines on his uniform dropped to his right hip, instead of to the left, right and middle. To enter his Resurrección form, his release command is "Sip, Fornicarás".
Aaroneiero Arruruerie is the 9th Espada and technically the weakest Espada. He usually covers his face with an elongated white mask covered with eight holes while in the light. In place of a normal head, he has a large, glass cylindrical capsule filled with red liquid and two small, floating Hollow heads. The two heads are both tattooed with the number 9 and tend to talk in tandem when revealed, giving the effect of two people speaking in turn. The upper head speaks with a deep voice while the other speaks in a high-pitched, child-like voice, and appears to have a level of individuality. His outfit like most Espada is customized; he wears a dress garb that covers his entire body as opposed to the normal jacket and hakama. He also wears a frilly nobles' coat that acts as his replacement jacket and a single white gentleman's glove. The remains of his Hollow mask fragments are on both of his heads, the upper head having 3/4's of his head covered with the mask, and the lower head covering only half of it. To enter his Resurrección form, his release command is "Devour, Glotoneria."
Yammy Llargo is both the 10th and the 0 Espada. By far the largest of the current Espada, Yammy Llargo is a giant Arrancar with tan skin and a ridge-lined cranium. He has long, bushy sideburns and a thin ponytail. Aside from that, he is bald. He also has orange eye brows and red markings under his eyes. He wears the standard Espada uniform, with the only difference being that his jacket is always open.
Like all Arrancar, he has a large hole in his chest signifying his previous time as a Hollow. What remains of his Hollow mask is the jawbone (complete with 8 teeth), which rests on his chin. A tattoo of the number 10, signifying Yammy's rank in the Espada, is on his left shoulder. However, in his released form, the number changes to 0.
To enter his Resurrección form, his release command is, "Be enraged (Get Pissed off in Japanese) Ira." When he turns into his Resurrección form, the tattoo of the number 10 turn into the number 0.
So far there a total of 2 Arrancars that were originally Espada, but for whatever reason they lost their rank.
Nelliel Tu Odelschwanck
Nelliel was the formerly the 3rd Espada. Nel is a female Arrancar that has blue-green hair. She has a large scar coming down from her forehead to her nose, larger than average incisors, and a crimson line that stretches horizontally across her face right below her eyes.
The remains of her Hollow mask make up a cartoonish skull on the top of her head. A crack runs along the left side of the mask and four of the teeth on it are broken off. The location of her Hollow hole is currently unknown. Her clothing consists of a simple green gown, which, in her original form, tears to become a top and skirt.
Her previous form is that of a full-figured woman with long waving hair but otherwise similar features. Her skull mask changes slightly, its features appearing sharper and less cartoonish with a pair of curved horns. A large "3" is tattooed on her back, indicating that she was the former 3rd Espada.
To enter her Resurrección form, her release command is "Declare, Gamuza."
Nelliel is the only espada to lose her rank and live as well as the only Espada that isn't evil.
Luppi Antenor was the former 6th Espada. Luppi has a youthful appearance, with short black hair, lavender eyes, and an androgynous face. Just above his left eyebrow is a row of three pink stars. The remains of his Hollow mask (a top row of teeth) rests on the left side of his head. Luppi's attire consists of long sleeves that fall past his hands, hiding them. His Espada tattoo is prominently displayed on his right hip. The location of his Hollow hole is unknown.
To enter his Resurrección form, his release command is "Strangle, Trepadora." He gets killed by Grimmjow after Orihime healed Grimmjow's left arm and his tattoo.
There are other Arrancars that were Espadas but somehow were demoted to Privaron Espada in which they are much stronger than Numeros and they have a 3 digit number.
Dordoni Alessandro Del Socaccio
Dordoni Alessandro Del Socaccio was once one of the Espadas but was demoted to the 103rd Arrancar. Dordoni's face resembles a stereotypical portrayal of the Devil. His hair resembles a pair of "horns" and he has a van-dyke beard and mustache. The remains of his hollow mask consist of a small plate on his forehead that has horns mirroring those in his hair. Dordoni's Arrancar outfit is customized to fit his eclectic personality, with fringes on the forearm portion of the sleeves, a poofy red sash tied at his waist, shoulder pads, and openings down the front which reveal his black undershirt.
To enter Resurrección form, his release command is "Whirl, Giralda."
Cirucci Sanderwicci was once one of the Espadas but was demoted to the 105th Arrancar. Her appearance is similar to that of the Gothic lolita style of Japanese fashion. She has short purple-colored hair, purple-colored eyes, black fingernails and light purple teardrop markings on each cheek. Her outfit consists of a frilly dress with large, poofy sleeves that cut off at her shoulder and a pair of knee-high boots. She also wears fingerless, evening-style gloves, as well as leg warmers that attach to garters at her thighs. Cirucci has wings on her back, however it is unclear whether or not they are a part of her outfit. The remains of her Hollow mask are positioned in her hair right above the left side of her forehead and resemble a spiked hairpin. When asked if she doesn't mind if her underwear shows she states that, despite her puffy dress, they won't be visible and even has armor under it.
To enter Resurrección form, her release command is "Rip off, Golondrina."
Gantenbainne Mosqueda was once one of the Espada but was demoted to the 107th Arrancar. He has a big afro-style haircut with thick sideburns and a goatee. His outfit has been modified to match his particular style, including large frills on his collar and thighs. The remains of his Hollow mask are a sunglasses-shaped plate on his forehead with four teeth coming out above each eye. There is a star in the center of the mask fragment, which allows Gantenbainne to see when he pulls the plate down over his eyes.
His Zanpakuto is called Draga, but his release command is currently unknown. He's the only Privaron Espada that's still alive, badly injured but still alive.
- "Espada" means "sword" in Latin.
- In the anime, when Shawlong Kūfang describes the Espada, eleven silhouettes are shown, whereas in the manga there are only ten.
- While he is not an Espada, Wonderweiss Margela is classified with Espada-level spiritual energy by Soul Society.