The Bleach anime and manga feature an extensive cast of beings known as , the central antagonist of the series. These are malevolent, deceased souls of formerly ordinary humans in the Bleach universe. Much of the series focuses on the , more powerful variants of Hollows. The Arrancars make up the army of Sōsuke Aizen, the primary antagonist, and have a system of ranking based on strength. The most prominent Arrancars in the series are the ten most powerful and their direct subordinates.
The creator of the series, Tite Kubo, uses many Spanish motifs for Hollows. This is most prominent in the names for the various Hollow and Arrancar attack techniques. Many of the Arrancars also have Spanish-derived names.
A Hollow is a spirit that becomes an evil incarnation of itself. When the soul loses its , the link to its physical body, and is overcome with negative emotions, it transforms into a skeletal monster. Though it is possible for a soul to avoid Hollowfication and instead become a Visored by awakening its dormant Soul Reapers abilities, as happens to the protagonist, Ichigo Kurosaki.
One plane of existence in the Bleach universe is the desert-like Hollow world called where the Hollows thrive on a life force "spirit energy." The Hollows that appear in the human world have a strong desire to feed on human souls in an attempt to fill the void left in their hearts from losing their Chains of Fate, which is why they are said to first attack the people that they had loved the most in their past lives. Hollows generally do not have recollections of their lives as humans. Hollows also have varied character designs, though most are designed with monster-like appearances, skull-like masks, and a large hole somewhere through each of their bodies, usually where their hearts used to be.
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