Bleach: The Evolution of an Arrancar, Explained (2024)


  • Arrancars are evolved versions of Hollows created through a complex process involving powerful emotions and cannibalism.
  • Arrancars go through different stages of evolution, starting as mindless Gillians and ascending to more powerful forms called Adjuchas and Vasto Lorde.
  • Vasto Lordes are the highest level of Menos, resembling normal humans and possessing immense power, and only a few become Arrancars, making them the strongest beings in Hueco Mundo.

Every great hero needs an equally great villain. This is especially true in the Shonen series where the story is mostly about the force of good against the power of evil. Goku has Frieza, Naruto has Madara, Luffy has the World Government, and Bleach has one of the most charismatic and terrifying evil masterminds that ever grace this genre, the former Captain of the 5th Division in Gotei 13, Sousuke Aizen.

There are enough articles praising and condemning Aizen on the internet. What is rarely talked about, however, are those who stand behind him, the mighty Arrancar. Because what most people may not realize is the fact that there are so many elaborate details involved in the creation of an Arrancar. So let’s use this chance to unravel the evolutionary path of an Arrancar, from a lowly Hollow to the mighty Espada.


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A Hollow is Born

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When a human dies, their soul will move on to the Soul Society. However, there are those who can’t let go of their Earthly feelings. The feeling of rage towards an enemy, regret over past mistakes, and the desire to protect loved ones. These kinds of powerful feelings can prevent a soul from safely passing on to the afterlife.

At first, these unfortunate souls remain as Earthbound souls. A ghost, if you will. Over time, if those powerful feelings are not satisfied, they will lose their sense of self and turn into a Hollow. Once they become Hollow, they will try to attack anybody in order to fill the void in their heart. At this point, they are nothing more than monsters that need to be eradicated.

Evolution Into a Lower Menos: Gillian

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If a Hollow is still alive after a long period of time, their original human soul won’t be able to bear the ever-growing void inside them. They begin to feel an insatiable hunger that will lead them to devour each other. When hundreds of hollows engage in this mindless predation, something new will appear out of the pile of mangled Hollow corpses. A creature known as Menos Grande.

There are three kinds of Menos. The first and weakest ones are called the Gillian. These are the creatures that will appear out of the Hollows’ cannibal frenzy. Gillians are mindless creatures with no sense of identity. They have towering bodies and they all look identical to one another. Furthermore, although they are the weakest ones out of all the Menos, Gillians are still way more powerful than a regular Hollow.

Turning Into a Higher Menos: Adjuchas

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Gillians are usually mindless creatures who live following their instinct and aggression. However, there's a handful of Gillians who have a remnant of the soul of a powerful hollow inside them. This soul is so powerful that it ends up taking over the Gillian’s body. This unique Gillain will then decide to consume fellow Gillians in order to satisfy its insatiable hunger.

After consuming hundreds upon hundreds of fellow Gillians, it will evolve into the higher version of Menos, which is called an Adjuchas. The Adjuchas are varied in physical prowess and appearance. Some are rather humanoid, some look like animals, while some appear like nightmarish monsters. One thing’s for sure, they are smarter and more powerful than the Gillians.


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Destined to be the Highest Menos: Vasto Lorde

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For most Hollows, being an Adjuchas is the peak of their evolution. After all, a single scratch is enough to prevent Adjuchas from evolving to the next level. In a world full of ravenous creatures that won’t think twice about jumping and eating each other, it’s practically impossible to stay unharmed.

And yet, some Adjuchas managed to do just that. Not only that, but they also have something special that makes them different from the other Adjuchas, like a person who is destined to be a legendary athlete because they are blessed with the best genetics. Those few Adjuchas will eventually evolve into the highest level within the Menos category, the Vasto Lorde.

Appearance-wise, Vasto Larde looks similar to a normal human. But make no mistake, they are the strongest beings in the Hueco Mundo, at least before Aizen came along. It is estimated that a Vasto Lorde is as powerful as a Captain of Gotei 13.

Becoming an Arrancar

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An Arrancar is a hollow that manages to take off its mask and obtain a power similar to a shinigami as a result. Originally, only a Vasto Lorde had enough power to remove their mask, making them even more powerful than a Captain of Gotei 13. But thanks to the Hogyoku, Aizen managed to create more Arrancar than ever. It is possible to create an Arrancar out of Gillians or even regular Hollows, but they won’t be as powerful as Vasto Lorde Arrancar. That’s why most Espada used to be a Vasto Lorde.

Chosen as an Espada

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When Aizen created the Arrancar, the strongest ones were chosen as the Espada. The ten most elite and most powerful Arrancars that have a power level above the Captains of the Gotei 13. Out of millions of Hollows that have existed throughout history, only ten of them have obtained the rank of an Espada. That’s why they are the pinnacle of evolution for the Hollows.

Bleach is available to stream on Crunchyroll.

More: Bleach: Why Was The Quincy Invasion of Soul Society So Successful?

Bleach: The Evolution of an Arrancar, Explained (2024)
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