A good story is always about its characters, both the heroes and the villains. Bleach is no different, and it has plenty of both! Viewers will cheer on the mighty Ichigo and his friends, and watch in fascination as the bad guys threaten to destroy everything.
A good villain is one with a stylish appearance, believable and deep motivation, scary and impressive powers, an intriguing personality, and more. It takes a lot to make a well-rounded character. Some of the Arrancars (modified Hollows) in Bleach are some of the show's finest villains of all, and a few of them remain iconic throughout the entire series. Others fall quite short. Who are the best and worst of them? Let's meet them!
10 Coolest: Grimmjow Jaegerjaques
While Grimmjow is not quite an icon of the Arrancars, he's one of the first to appear, and one of the most fun to watch. Grimmjow is a rogue who just wants a good fight, and viewers never know what he'll do next. He even turns on the other Arrancars a few times, and makes friends with Orihime (in a manner of speaking).
Plus, he's got a memorable appearance, a menacing but cool attitude, a terrific released form (Hollow panther), and even a six-pack like he's been hitting the gym. We're almost sorry to see him lose his final fight and exit the series.
9 Lamest: Loly Avirrne
This little lady doesn't do a whole lot. In fact, her primary role in the story is to torment and bully Orihime! It seems that she's bitterly jealous of the attention that Aizen gives her, so Loly shows her petty and cruel side when she retaliates against the captured Orihime.
She has no redeeming qualities at all! Loly isn't much of a fighter, either, since Yammy easily crushes her released form. Later, when the Wandenreich muscled in, Sternritter "J" Quilge Opie easily defeated her and Menoly. So much for that.
8 Coolest: Tier Halibel
At some point (it's not entirely clear when), Halibel replaced Nelliel as the sole woman among the Espadas, and she's quite the character. Unlike some of the more thuggish Espada, Halibel is quiet and polite, not given to sadism or taunting or slaughtering innocents.
Her released form is shark-like, and her water powers give even the child prodigy Toshiro Hitsugaya a real challenge. Best of all, she cares deeply for her three Fracciones, like they're her own sisters. After Aizen's capture, Halibel has a brief stint as Hueco Mundo's queen.
7 Lamest: Demora
This massive Arrancar isn't nearly as tough or impressive as he looks. In fact, he serves one purpose in the plot: to show how much more powerful Chad has become since we last saw him. As Ichigo, Uryu, and Chad arrive in Hueco Mundo, two Arrancars appear: Iceringer and Demora.
Demora does little more than perform slow, brute force attacks, and his idea of an ace in the hole? A long tongue that fails put a scratch on Chad. "Warm-up" is almost too flattering a term for his role in the story.
6 Coolest: Coyote Stark
The ten Espadas are among the coolest and toughest Arrancars around, and another one joins the list. Now we get the Primera Espada himself, Stark! Like Halibel, he's not given to bloodthirst, and he is in fact rather lazy. It's funny to see him slouch around as his Fraccione Lilynette fusses at him.
When the fighting starts, Stark has incredible instincts. He can easily read an opponent's attack to discern its true nature, and he can comfortably fight two Captains at once. Through flashbacks, we learn that he was terribly lonely in Hueco Mundo's deserts, and he doesn't have a mean bone in his body. It's tragic when he's cut down for good.
5 Lamest: Gantenbainne Mosqueda
Poor Chad. All he ever does is fight the filler characters! Once Chad defeats the huge but oafish Demora, he gets to fight... this guy. Gantenbainne is a Privron Espada, or an older-generation Espada who lost his rank in the face of newer, stronger Arrancars.
His combat power is based on two wrist-based brass knuckles, and he gives Chad a real fight until Chad's full combat power is realized. Gantenbainne is soon beaten, but the duel itself isn't terribly interesting, even at the climax. Then we never see this afro-wearing Arrancar again.
4 Coolest: Dordoni
This is another Privaron Espada, but he's quite a bit more engaging than Gantenbainne is. Dordoni is the stock charming character in Bleach, and his stylish beard and slick hair make him look like a real ladies' man. He's tough in combat, too, having good instincts and an impressive wind-based released form.
Dordoni also has a sense of honor and fairness, like Grimmjow, and urges Ichigo to give him a real fight. It's so sad that Dordoni is longing to return to the Espadas, and he gives his life to buy Ichigo time to escape when the Exequias squad arrives.
3 Lamest: D.Roy
This is another minor villain, and once again, Chad is involved. When Grimmjow took it upon himself to invade Karakura Town and hunt Ichigo, his five Fracciones came along, including this little guy. What can D.Roy do? Well, he almost killed Chad in a surprise attack, and he fought on par with Rukia's sealed Zanpakuto.
In this battle, Rukia unveiled her Shikai, Sode no Shirayuki, and easily slaughtered D.Roy with a pillar of ice. Even the other Arrancars on the scene admitted that D.Roy was the runt of the litter.
2 Coolest: Ulquiorra
While Grimmjow gets a lot of screen time, it could be said that Ulquiorra is truly emblematic of the Arrancars, and the Espadas in particular. He and Yammy were the first two Espadas the heroes ever met, and his ice-cold demeanor and incredible combat skills are terrifying. His heavy green eyes see everything, and he has no qualms about punching a hole in Ichigo's chest to kill him (temporarily).
He also uses cruel psychological tricks on Orihime, and he showcases some of the mightiest Arrancar abilities of all against Ichigo in their final duel. Ulquiorra even has a nightmarish second release, and it takes Ichigo's hidden ultra-Hollow to taste defeat. In his last moments, Ulquiorra finally begins to appreciate that in Orihime which she calls her "heart." Ulquiorra reaches out to touch it... then dissolves.
1 Lamest: Nirgge Parduoc
Finally, a minor villain who has nothing to do with Chad. This man is one of Barragan's six Fracciones, and one of the dullest Arrancars out there. He's a large guy with a helmet-like mask fragment, and a released form that morphs him into a mammoth.
Nirrge can move fast for his size, but it wasn't enough to even put a scratch on Omaeda, aside from a comic relief slap on the face. With one strike, Omaeda took him down to size. Nirrge is a sore loser, too.