Is Bleach’s Yhwach Really Evil?

    In my opinion, the best villains are morally gray ones. The tyranny that stems from a twisted sense of morality is such a unique dynamic for a villain, and it makes the story that much more intriguing to me. Honestly, purely evil villains can come across as comical to me and work better as horror elements rather than a compelling driving force for a manga.  It’s why I liked when Bleach introduced its villains because they weren’t just bad for the sake of it. But does that hold for evil antagonists like Yhwach?

    Yhwach was evil, no ifs or buts about it. And he wasn’t conflicting about it either, like another overarching antagonist from the popular Shonen. I mean, the man’s plan for dominance meant a complete genocide of not just one, but three worlds. He was fully aware of those consequences. But what’s frightening is how he believed he was in the right for doing so, truly evil with a capital yikes.

    But that kind of megalomania is pretty on-brand for someone who forces people to refer to him as ‘Your Majesty’. Like, at that point, you might as well wear a sign that says, ‘Hi I am the bad guy’ and twirl a comical mustache. Which, oddly enough, Yhwach also owns. But despite all the ‘evil to the bone’ tropes he inhabits, he’s still different enough to steer away from being a parody and come across as more sinister than any other antagonist we see in Bleach. But how did Tite Kubo, the mangaka, achieve that?

    Welcome to Character Analysis! This is a segment where we shine a spotlight on popular characters from various manga, anime, and even light novels. We break down their personality and lore to analyze just what it takes to make such an iconic character. What are their motivations and why are they the way they are? We take a look at it all! And today, we’ll be focusing on the Big Bad of one of the ‘Big 3’ anime of the last decade: Yhwachfrom Bleach. Is he evil beyond salvation? Let’s discuss!

    Who Is Yhwach?

    Yhwach Evil

    Yhwach has many titles, one superseding the other. He’s the patriarch of the illustrious Quincy, humans who can turn their Reishi into spirit-charged weapons and hunt Hollows. The Quincy has always clashed with the Shinigami of Soul Society, with the Shinigami being responsible for exterminating most of the Quincy. But the Quincy wasn’t innocent either, considering they were overhunting Hollows and the Shinigami had to restore the balance or risk the collapse of all three realms.

    He’s the son of the Soul King, the elusive ruler of Soul Society who is revered by everyone. But he’s actually a sealed God that influences all three realms of Soul Society, the Human World, and even the Hueco Mundo. Which is the dimension inhabited by Hollows and Arrancar alike, lost in a limbo of their own making.

    Yhwach is also the emperor of a hidden Quincy-inhabited country that is in direct conflict with Soul Society, known as the Wardenreich. After losing the war to the Shinigami, the Quincy established a hidden hold in the Seireitei, using their Reishi to make Wardenreich hidden in the shadows.

    Why Yhwach Is Truly Evil:

    Yhwach Evil

    But perhaps the most unsettling fact about him is how he claims to be a lover of peace while waging nothing but war. The Quincy are the direct opposites of the Shinigami of Soul Society, and he exploits that difference to further his own agenda. He believes he is doing the realms a favor in the crimes he commits, taking the lives of countless as mere collateral.

    And he’s aware of what he’s doing. He knows that his end goal means the collapse of everything and everyone. But his true aim is to create a world that doesn’t fear death. And who would fear death if no one is left alive?

    He hates conflict, believing in the idea of a painless death. And, at the same time, he is merciless and cruel. I think it’s that dichotomy that makes him so frightening. Because his influence is undeniable, especially when it comes to his army of devotees. His hatred for his father, the Soul King, is so palpable that it bleeds into his followers, who are just as ready to slay the linchpin on sight.

    Yhwach VS Aizen: Evil Begets Evil!

    Aizen vs Yhwach

    When it comes to Bleach, the two villains that will always stand out to me are Yhwach, and then Sōsuke Aizen.

    When you compare the two, there is an obvious difference. Aizen plays around, he’s manipulative and vastly more complex in his ambitions. Yet we never get to properly discern what Aizen wanted, since he ends up helping Ichigo in the end.

    With Yhwach, he is a much more straightforward evil, almost sincere in his actions. Which makes him so much more insidious, caring for nothing beyond the total decimation of life as we know it.

    Anza Qureshi
    Anza Qureshi
    Anza Qureshi is a writer, licensed dentist and certified Uchiha fangirl. When she isn't doing root canals or listing down anime waifus, you can find her screeching about her favorite JRPGs across social media.

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