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The Zero Squad: Reality vs Speculation?

So ive been thinking abit recently about this group that has been alluded to during Bleach, The Zero Squad. Before we start let's put down the few facts we know about them:
1. They are an elite group of previous captains of the Gotei 13.
2. Their apparent purpose is to protect the soul king from attack.
3. As ex-captains they will have high spiritual levels/ achieved Bankai.
4. One of the Zero Squad members is the previous Squad 12 captain Hikifune

Basically this is the sum of the knowledge we know about this group. It is fair to say that everyone is rather excited about seeing this group, not just because they will have tonnes of new powers/abilities to display, but also because it is widely believed they are more powerful than the Gotei 13. This belief seems to stem from the idea that they have all been "promoted" to the zero squad and so must be stronger than the rest to be chosen. Now while this is possible, it could also be true that they either had a special abilty suited to the squad or that they simply did not wish to be on the front lines of battle anymore. It is here where my point is to be made, as excited as i am about seeing another group of powerful shinigami come into the story..... can they really offer us all that we expect?

This is a difficult question to answer, partly because we know so little, partly because it kind of makes sense for them to be powerful since theyve been hidden for so long and partly because the speculations on what the Zero squad can do have ranged from having strong bankai's to being able to kill Aizen with their ear-wax. However if we take away all the fan-boy speculation and try to think this one out, perhaps the zero squad arent going to be as all-powerful as many would like. Firstly the selection process, as ive said before we have no idea how captains are chosen for the zero squad, it could be that they are very powerful, it could be just as likely that they have chosen to retreat from the front lines of battle. It is clear that Yamamoto is a first line of defence and i doubt any zero squad member will be as powerful as him. Aside from the selection process we must look at the way the zero squad live..... they dont appear to be fighting constantly, instead they are apparently a last line-of-defence against attacks on the Soul King. In this scenario the zero squad are not constantly fighting and developing as warriors like the captains of the gotei 13 are. If we remember yorouichi said that after she hadnt fought for so long she wasn't initially as powerful as she had been, if this is true for her then perhaps the zero squad who have not been on the frontlines have also lost much of the power they once had. I know this is mere speculation, but unless they have been fighting another unknown fight all this time, then its logical to assume that they are not on top form. That being said Bleach is rarely logical, as seen in the varitaions in strength of Ichigo's bankai on first showing compared with now, and as such its possible that the zero squad are just as strong as they were in the Gotei 13. However i just wanted to make this point as i thought it was quite interesting.

Anyway thanks for reading and i look forward to reading any comments!

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