One of the biggest reasons for the massive success of Bleach is the structure of its different groups. And the main group that we encounter early on in the story is the Gotei 13 or the 13 guard squads. Each squad is led by a captain and a vice-captain with several seated officers ranked by their power. Some of the squads have their own niche, like a healing squad or a ninja squad or a violent squad. In today’s post I want to quickly go over each squad during and at the end of the first big arc. When we reach the end of the anime I’ll go over the structure of the squads as well as some of the other organizations going into the Thousand Year Blood War Arc, so everyone is up to speed. I hope that’s useful to people because I don’t really remember the state of the Soul Society at the end of the anime, nor do I remember the state of the Soul Society at the end of the manga either. But that’s for later, for now let’s jump into the thirteen squads.
First Division Captain: Yamamoto Genryuusai
First Division Lieutenant: Chojiro Sasakibe
The first division’s leader is the captain-commander, the leader of the Gotei 13. Yamamoto is an old man with one of the most powerful fire zanpakuto available. His power was shown in fighting both Kyoraku and Ukitake during the Soul Society arc, intimidating both captains. His lieutenant was shown getting beaten by Ichigo with ease.
Second Division Captain: Soi Fon
Second Division Lieutenant: Marechiyo Omaeda
The second division is basically the ninja & kunoichi division. They do stealth operations. Yoruichi Shihoin used to be the captain, with Soi Fon working for her, before Yoruichi and Urahara went to the regular world.
Third Division Captain: Ichimaru Gin (former)
Third Division Lieutenant: Izuru Kira
The captain of the third division was the always smiling Ichimaru, who was one of three captains to betray the Gotei 13 and leave to Hueco Mundo. His Lieutenant, Kira, is friends with Renji, Momo and Hisagi. He is used as a pawn in Aizen’s schemes but turns out to be a good guy in the end. The third division is without a captain at the end of the Soul Society arc.
Fourth Division Captain: Unohana Retsu
Fourth Division Lieutenant: Isane Kotetsu
Another squad that is very specialized. The fourth squad is the healer squad and are looked down upon by the other squads because they’re not as strong. Their captain does command a lot of respect and is seen as quite strong. She’s been around for a long time as well. Her zanpakuto is focused on healing people and it’s the same for some of the squad members.
Fifth Division Captain: Aizen Sosuke (Former)
Fifth Division Lieutenant: Momo Hinamori (Unavailable)
So yeah, the fifth squad contained Aizen, who is the big villain so far. He orchestrated everything around Rukia’s execution, getting the Hogyoku and killing all of Central 46. He almost killed his lieutenant Momo, but she seems to have survived. The last we’ve seen of her is that she’s unconscious and Unohana has been taking care of her. As of now, the squad is without leadership.
Sixth Division Captain: Kuchiki Byakuya
Sixth Division Lieutenant: Shirogane Ginjiro
Byakuya is a major antagonist during this first arc and is the moment where Ichigo first uses his bankai. He’s from one of the four major noble families and because his deceased wife was Rukia’s sister he has since adopted her into his family. He is a big proponent of law and order.
Seventh Division Captain: Komamura Sajin
Seventh Division Lieutenant: Tetsuzaemon Iba
Iba is one of the cooler lieutenants in the Gotei 13. Komamura is a wolfman, who was close friends with Tosen Kaname. He hides his face for most of the story so far and he ends up fighting Kenpachi while things are going down in Soul Society.
Eight Division Captain: Kyoraku Shunsui
Eight Division Lieutenant: Yadomaru Lisa
When I was watching Bleach for the first time, Kyoraku was my favorite captain. He was both cool and laid back. He wears a pink outfit compared to most who wear the basic white and black ones, and he has a straw hat he often wears. His favorite things are lazing around and (borderline) sexual harassment. He’s not too bad for an anime character but if he was a real person in an office he’d probably be in trouble for his behavior.
Ninth Division Captain: Kaname Tosen (Former)
Ninth Division Lieutenant: Hisagi Shuhei
Tosen is one of the three captains that ended up betraying the Soul Society, alongside Gin and Aizen. He is blind and his zanpakuto makes other people blind too with its bankai. He claims he wants to find the most peaceful path and he seems to think Aizen will lead him there. According to the wiki; the ninth division oversees art and culture, like the news magazine. I did not know this, so here’s a fun fact that I learned while writing this.
Tenth Division Captain: Hitsugaya Toshiro
Tenth Division Lieutenant: Matsumoto Rangiku
Hitsugaya and Matsumoto are both fan favorites and they play a pretty big role early on. Hitsugaya is the one who ends up figuring out that something is wrong at Central 46 and faces Gin and Aizen there. Hitsugaya uses an ice zanpakuto and is the youngest captain. He’s voiced by the same voice actress that voices Al from FMA: Brotherhood and they both have a height complex, which is pretty funny.
Eleventh Division Captain: Zaraki Kenpachi
Eleventh Division Lieutenant: Kusajishi Yachiru
Kenpachi is the fighting crazy captain that Ichigo first fights in Soul Society. He loves fighting and nothing else. His lieutenant, Yachiru, is often riding on his shoulder. Notable members of the squad are Ikkaku, Yumichika and Renji. Iba, the seventh division lieutenant, is also a former member of the eleventh division.
Twelfth Division Captain: Kurotsuchi Mayuri
Twelfth Division Lieutenant: Kurotsuchi Nemu
Kurotsuchi is a creepy guy with a strange mask on his face. We do get one shot of him in the shower looking somewhat normal, with blue hair. Reminds me of Hisoka from HxH. He treats his Lieutenant extremely poorly because he created her body so it belongs to him. He killed Ishida’s grandfather and is defeated by Ishida, but has an emergency escape plan. He wasn’t really present towards the end of the arc because he was still recovering. His division is in charge of research and development.
Thirteenth Division Captain: Ukitake Jushiro
Thirteenth Division Lieutenant: Shiba Kaien (Former)
Ukitake is a friendly man with long white hair. He’s been ill for a very long time and is often staying on the sidelines. Kiyone and Miyako both take care of him and share the third seat. Rukia is a member of Ukitake’s squad and was there when the lieutenant died. Ukitake and Kyoraku both face Yamamoto when they realize that the orders coming from Central 46 are weird as well as the urge to protect Rukia. They’re probably the two nicest captains in the squad.
And there you have it, a round-up of the Gotei 13 early on. There’s a lot to remember but I’m sure this will serve as a nice list. Next week I’ll be talking about the Arrancar arc, which comes after the Soul Society arc in the manga and after the Bount arc in the anime. Thanks for reading!