Seems timely, doncha think? *takes off hat*
Shall we mumble remembrances and pay tribute to those departed?
10. Yammy Rilago
Okay, he’s not gone yet, but we all know his number is up. In fact, it literally went up from 10 to zero. Yammy went up in everything over the sweep of the Hueco Mundo arc--comic zest, sex appeal, fan adoration. Hell, he even got himself a cute puppy. What’s not to love about Yammy? He’s a marvelous creation. I had no idea from the moment he showed up all Nappa-like alongside Ulquiorra’s Vegeta that he’d be so glorious. I thought he was just the thug who tore of Chad’s arm. Little did I know he’d evolve into the giant in the loincloth who became the talk of the fandom.
9. Aaroniero Arrurerie
I admit it—I still have to look up how to spell his name. Nothing I liked about this guy. He was ewww on every level except maybe when he was in whacked-out schizo Kaien mode. He’s the one who ate Kaien and gutted Rukia. Bad Espada. And he was so ugly. His end was really creepy. Okay, I liked how he died. That was fun in a broken fishtank sort of way.
8. Szayel Aporro Grantz
Ew two? The guy deep-throated his own sword, ate his own fraccion, spattered black gunk everywhere, molested Ishida and raped Nemu and yet somehow he did this all in a way that entertained me. What can I say. I’m a fool for over-the-top Jesus jokes and even though his play went on too long (and I say this as an Ishida fan—the fight was TOO LONG!) there was something unforgettably adorable about the Espada who left in the middle of a fight to change clothes. He’s not dead yet, by the way—he's just stuck in perpetual everlasting torture and I’m hoping he finds his way out of that hell and back into the next arc to torment his haters.
7. Zommari LeRoux
I’m from Louisiana so bring on the voodoo. I was cheering for this guy. The whole business with his deadly attack named "love" was hella fun, because I sometimes get the feeling that Kubo isn't exactly a heart-eyed romantic (no matrimonial canon couple in Bleach has two surviving partners). Also, I happen to like villains who make themselves out to be all put-upon and woe-is-me in their final hours and I thought the bitch-fit Zommari threw against Byakuya was a great case for the injustice of the universe and the fate of Hollows. Alas, his opponent was Byakuya, though, and he was diced pumpkinmeat from the start. No one outclasses Byakuya.
6. Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez
I must be one of the few fangirls in existence who didn’t fall for this guy but then it took me until way after the SS arc to warm up to Renji. The fighty-fight rebellious studmuffins aren’t really my type. The let’s blow shit up final battle with Ichigo was a yawner for me until the flashback and that’s when I started to care. His release still reminds me of a giant prawn. I did shed a tear, though, when Ichigo caught his arm and broke his fall and made a little yaoi-ish eye-contact with his like Hollow adversary.
5. Nnoitra Jiruga
Oh I hated the misogynist creepy looking bastard with the weird Aladdin footwear. I hated him for being so mean to his pretty boy fraccion and for stopping Chad cold right when I thought we were going to get some Chad development and for running around going “I’m the greatest!” but then along came Neliel and some sexual tension and then came the Kenpachi fight and I was enjoying myself. Kubo made me care. Damn you Kubo. You may have pissed off a lot of fanbois with the Kendo business but you hooked me into actually caring about Nnoitra. Awesome death scene. I took off my hat and said so. Little did I know that the death scenes were only going to get BETTER as we went up the Espada ladder.
4. Ulquiorra Cifer
He’s not gone. He’s not gone. He’s not gone. I refuse to believe it. He was and is the greatest Espada. The first introduced, the one whose redemption I foresaw on Valentine’s Day in 2007. I can make a case for his return. He has yet to use his Lanza del Relampago successfully; we don’t know why he kept his second release from Aizen; he was killed by the hero who was in an “evil” form and Shounen heroes can’t have that sort of blood on their hands; his fans want to know more about him, and unless we get a little bit of flashback in Yammy’s fight and even if we do, there’s still so much untold about Ulquiorra that could be worked into the future story. Ichigo’s guilt over “this isn’t the way I wanted to win.” Orihime’s earnest hand-reach across the Great Divide between Hollow and Human that grasped only air. Ulquiorra, I love you, come back.
3. Tia Harribel
She looked awesome. She was cool and collected and faithful to her fraccion. She may still be alive—she was still talking after Aizen slashed her, and he’s got a terrible track record of actually killing people. The biggest damn tits in the manga. I don’t think Kubo-sensei can kill them.
2. Barragan Luisenbarn
Remember when he first showed up and we all thought he was a merman with a trident who was being set up to fight his water element against Yamamoto’s fire element? Wow, we were so off. Barry was one scary, awesome mofo. The unrepentant King of Hueco Mundo. Everything a bad guy should be. Gloriously bad, so scary, Death Himself. Still can’t believe that one Visored magic man outsmarted him.
1. Coyote Starrk Lilynette Gingerback
All of you who wanted to call Ulquiorra a villain until the end, who insisted on bad guys being dimensionless fodder because it’s easier that way and what the hell, this is a comic book not Shakespeare, who wondered why bother for three years with a bunch of Espada who were going to die anyway--look at Starrk. Look at the very essence of humanity. A lonesome cowboy entertaining himself with a song and a story he names Lilynette on a night lit by a crescent moon. Starrk echoes the theme in Kubo’s work of how we don’t die alone if we have friends but the truth is that Hollow have no friends. Starrk created his with his imagination. Starrk and Lily--a yearning for companionship. The very essence of what makes us all alive. He never wanted to fight. It was too much of a bother. He gave his opponents every chance to retreat or give up.
And yet he was cut down.
Goodbye, Lonesome Cowboy.