BleachThe Thousand Year Blood War arc introduces a new range of villains. Known as the Sternitters, these Quincys proceed to demolish Soul Society with their overpowered abilities. Each one is assigned a letter of the Roman alphabet, from A for Almighty/Antithesis to Z for Zombie.
Though their abilities are undoubtedly devastating, the Sternritters don’t always rely on brute force and Reiatsu to win their fights. On the contrary, many of them are just as cunning and calculating as their Shinigami counterparts, which explains why the Gotei 13 fail to defeat them during the First Invasion of the Wandenreich. That being said, some Sternritters are obviously smarter than others.
10/10 Shaz Domino successfully outplays characters as smart as Akon
Shaz Domino plays a very small role during the Thousand Year Blood War arc, appearing only in the first few chapters/episodes. He exposes his barbaric nature as he attacks and murders various employees belonging to the Shinigami Research and Development Institute.
Shaz successfully outplays such competent characters as Akon, a fairly intelligent member of the SRDI. At the same time, he openly brags about calling him Schrift, prompting an enraged Ichigo Kurosaki to attack him. The remaining Sternritters are instantly notified when Shaz’s spirit signature disappears, suggesting that Shaz was killed or neutralized by the protagonist.
9/10 Gremmy Thoumeaux shows the breadth of her mental acuity and strategic knowledge
Gremmy Thoumeaux claims to be “the strongest Sternritter of all”, a statement that is indirectly confirmed by Askin’s and Haschwalth’s stunned reactions. He gleefully challenges Zaraki to battle, pompously mocking Kenpachi’s supposed weakness.
Although this arrogant behavior makes Gremmy seem childish and reckless, The Visionary is capable of defeating most threats. In fact, Gremmy’s control over his Schrift based on imagination demonstrates the great breadth of his mental acuity and strategic knowledge. On the other hand, Gremmy accidentally commits suicide while trying to look more like Kenpachi, a rather foolish decision.
8/10 Robert Accutrone refuses to fall prey to his own doubts and suspicions.
Robert Accutrone wears the Schrift N, the specific nuances of which have not been revealed in the story. Arguably his best trait is his solemn demeanor, which prevents him from revealing too much about his admittedly menacing Schrift. Robert wields a pair of Reishi-infused shotguns, both of which can be fired with deadly accuracy.
Later, Robert activates his Vollständig: Grimaniel, greatly increasing his overall combat prowess and effectively surpassing Shunsui Kyoraku. Although Robert strongly believes in Yhwach’s vision, he at the same time acknowledges the Emperor’s lack of concern for the Sternritter. That being said, he also refuses to fall prey to his own suspicions.
7/10 Lille Barro is occasionally smart enough to identify her own limitations
Lille Barro may not be as dispassionately cunning as Haschwalth, but only because he doesn’t need to hide his true feelings. He openly and unabashedly declares himself a godlike entity, particularly after metamorphosing into Jilliel. Lille’s Reiatsu is so intensely concentrated that his Trumpet could have easily eradicated the Soul Society from existence.
However, Lille is not completely reliant on her immeasurable strength, as she knows that there are still dangerous enemies, though she rarely admits it. Absolute power can drive anyone to the brink of mindless vanity, but Lille is occasionally smart enough to spot its limitations.
6/10 Giselle Gewelle’s cunning schemes and perfectly timed deployment impress even Mayuri.
Giselle Gewelle is one of the strangest characters to appear in the Thousand Year Blood War, an impressive feat given the sheer number of eccentric individuals in Bleach. She has The Zombie, a Schrift that allows her to create meat puppets out of a dead Quincy or an incapacitated Shinigami.
Giselle nonchalantly murders Bambietta Basterbine and resurrects the corpse with her Schrift, before subsequently revealing the zombified captains Hitsugaya, Otoribashi, and Muguruma. Even someone as smart as Mayuri Kurotsuchi can’t manage to counter Giselle’s cunning scheming without pulling a few dirty tricks up her own sleeve.
5/10 Askin Nakk Le Vaar deviously minimizes his fearsome Schrift
Askin Nakk Le Vaar camouflages his true nature behind a thin layer of modesty and deviously underplays his fearsome Schrift. As such, his opponents frequently dismiss his strength as inconsequential, only to be surprised when The Deathdealing overwhelms them.
Yoruichi’s younger brother, Yushiro, falls for Askin’s ploys and is nearly killed in the process. Yoruichi and Urahara, on the other hand, give this Sternritter a chance for his intellectual money. They constantly counter the effects of The Deathdealing with a variety of unpredictable tactics but, in the end, Grimmjow saves the day using nothing more than sheer strength.
4/10 Quilge Opie formulates an airtight plan for the annexation of Hueco Mundo
The Sternritters have several thematic similarities to the Third Reich, and Quilge Opie is probably the most Nazi villain ever. Bleach. He enforces his iron will on the unfortunate inhabitants of Hueco Mundo, maiming and killing anyone who dares question his authority.
Quilge’s actions can only be described as morally bankrupt, but there is no mistaking his prodigious intelligence. Under Yhwach’s guidance, he formulates a hermetic plan for the invasion and annexation of Hueco Mundo, further highlighting his organizational skills. Fortunately, the heroes manage to turn Quilge’s monumental ego to his advantage.
3/10 As Cyborg, BG9 is somewhat immune to emotional interference.
Emotions are often the downfall of characters in shonen anime, especially when they allow their feelings to guide them. As the only Quincy cyborg in the Wandenreich, BG9 is somewhat immune to concepts like uncertainty and anger. However, this also means that he treats his targets as victims, subjecting even young children to gruesome interrogation procedures.
BG9 takes a direct hit from Suì-Fēng’s Jakuho Raikoben and survives, albeit barely. Unfortunately for this Sternritter, Yhwach doesn’t take kindly to his embarrassing defeat. Despite his logical mind, BG9 expresses terror when Haschwalth sentences him to death, indicating that his icy processors can shake with enough stimulation.
2/10 Jugram Haschwalth relies almost exclusively on rationality and common sense
Jugram Haschwalth was once an inept town boy who never showed any signs of being a Quincy—that is, until Yhwach’s presence activated his latent powers, transforming Haschwalth into a formidable powerhouse. As the “other half” of Yhwach, he carries the Almighty while the Emperor sleeps, implying that he can wield almost unlimited reserves of power.
Haschwalth also deciphers Nanao Ise’s intricate Bakudo spell and cunningly begins to unweave the barrier from the outside, demonstrating his tactical expertise. Furthermore, this Sternritter relies almost exclusively on rationality and common sense, renouncing any emotional ties to his past.
1/10 Liltotto Lampard doesn’t need to fight hard when he can fight smart
Liltotto Lampard looks and talks like a girl, but her ominous Schrift paints a completely different picture of her character. She wields The Glutton, a Schrift that turns her mouth into a gigantic weapon specifically designed to bite her enemies.
Giselle, Candice, and Meninas fail to identify Ichigo Kurosaki when he breaks into the Soul Society from the Royal Realm, but Liltotto quickly deduces his identity. He is much stronger than he seems, as shown when he brutally kills PePe Waccabrada as punishment for her betrayal. Liltotto doesn’t need to fight hard when he can fight smart, a wise combat strategy that the other Sternritters rarely implement.
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