The Uncertain Sternritter Power Structure in Bleach
Throughout Bleach, power scaling has been meticulously structured, allowing fans to easily comprehend the hierarchy within various organizations. The Gotei 13, for example, consists of Unseated, Seated, Vice-Captain, and Captain ranks, while the Arrancar have the Espada, numbered from nine to zero, with lower ranks indicating weaker characters. This well-defined hierarchy has been the expectation within these organizations.
However, with the introduction of the Thousand-Year Blood War and the Quincy enemy, the Sternritter initially appear to have a well-organized power structure. The Wandenreich comprises lower-ranked Soldat, commanded by the Sternritter, each possessing a Schrift representing their unique abilities. Yet, unlike the Espada, the Sternritter's alphabetical hierarchy does not align with strength, with 'Z' being the weakest and 'A' denoting the strongest. The letters merely signify the Sternritter's abilities, lacking any correlation to their power levels.
Initially, this may not seem significant. The Sternritter obediently follow Yhwach's commands and successfully decimate the Soul Society in a swift invasion. Their blitzkrieg tactics overwhelm the Soul Reapers, making a structured hierarchy and battle commands unnecessary. The Sternritter's hit-and-run strategy allows them to cause maximum damage before returning to the Lichtreich. However, as Bleach progresses, this unconventional power structure creates confusion within the Wandenreich's ranks.
The Effects of the Sternritter Ranking System on the Hierarchy
The Sternritter's ranking system, orchestrated by Yhwach, establishes him as the pinnacle and strongest Quincy, holding the letter 'A'. Below him, Jugram Haschwalth assumes the role of Grandmaster with the letter 'B'. However, beyond these positions, the Sternritter's power structure falls into disarray. Bambietta Basterbine's 'E' for 'The Explode' does not necessarily make her more powerful than Äs Nödt's 'F' for 'The Fear'. The remaining letters in the alphabet hold no significance regarding the Sternritter's strength or power comparison.
While the Sternritter initially thrived with their obedience to Yhwach's commands during the invasion of the Soul Society, their lack of a clear chain of command and constant infighting becomes their Achilles Heel. When dominating their opponents, the Sternritter do not require tactical strategies or organized support. However, once faced with counterattacks from formidable enemies, their disorganized structure crumbles. Their overconfidence in sheer power, overlooking the importance of careful planning and structure, becomes their downfall. In contrast, the Gotei 13 meticulously organizes themselves in preparation for future battles.
Although the Sternritter appeared effective during their initial invasion, their lack of structured leadership and internal conflicts become their ultimate weakness. Shock tactics can only succeed once, and with the Gotei 13 ready to confront them in the next battle, the leaderless and erratic Sternritter prioritize their self-interests. Some even resort to sabotaging their allies in their quest for Yhwach's favor, leading to a disorganized invasion. As history has shown, an army without structured leadership is destined to crumble, and the Sternritter of Bleach are no exception.