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The Broken Masks

Table of Contents
Basic Information
Powers and Prestige
Miscellaneous Information

Basic Information
What are Hollows?
Souls left within the World of the Living for too long will eventually devour their Soul Chain, Saketsu, and become Hollows. Upon this transformation, they take on a large, monstrous body. These forms are unique to the Hollow, but often have beast-like traits and follow the themes of certain animals, while others appear to be something new entirely, as if from a nightmare. However, all Hollows have certain, unifying physical traits.

These include, first, the Hollow Hole, typically found in the "chest" of the Hollow's new body. The next is a Hollow Mask, seemingly made of a white, stone-like substance that has a functioning jaw and holes for their their now red or yellow eyes.

At first, Hollows begin on Earth, where they seek to devour as many Humans as possible. Although capable of speech, they are more often driven by a mindless hunger as they try to "fill" the gaping wound in their soul with the souls of others. Hollows will naturally seek out more powerful souls, as those "taste" better to them. Hollows will move freely between Hueco Mundo and Earth, hiding in the desert to avoid other Hollows before coming to Earth to feed.

Eventually, this base form of Hollow will devour enough that it becomes a Huge Hollow. Its behavior becomes increasingly mindless and its body remains largely the same, though they can become multiple stories in height as their power grows.

The evolution of Hollows takes a dramatic turn after this stage, where they enter the upper echelons referred to as Menos, the few. The first such stage is referred to as a Gillian, where a Hollow has lost all traces of its identity, its original soul being lost within the sea of souls they have devoured. They become a towering monstrosity of black, with white feet, and Hollow Masks that are identical to each one. As a soul within the Gillian, perhaps not the original that once dominated the Hollow, begins to take over, the Mask is the first to change.

Eventually, this leads to their evolution into an Adjuchas. These Hollows are often quite similar to their original, base Hollow form in both size and shape. However, the personality of the dominant soul is now much more prominently on display, and the Adjuchas is always under threat from the other souls that comprise their collective. They can both be taken over by another identity, and can also revert back to being Gillian.

Finally, a Vasto Lorde is the pinnacle of Hollow evolution. They take on a humanoid form, with a human size, altered by lingering traits from their more beast-like former stages. These Hollows have full personalities and are the peak of the Menos class. Although it is possible for a Vasto Lorde to be overcome by another soul within them, total reversion to an Adjuchas or Gillian is not.

It is important to note, however, that a Hollow that has been even partially devoured by another is no longer capable of evolution.

What are Arrancar?
Considered the top of the foodchain within Hueco Mundo, Arrancar are the most powerful form of Hollow and a natural hybridization between them and Shinigami.

They are created when a Hollow, typically of the Menos class, breaks most or at least a portion of their Hollow Mask off. This ignites a process known as "Shinigamification," giving the Arrancar a human body and even a Zanpakutō. It eliminates any risk the Hollow once had of being overtaken by the other souls within them, though they are still present. Arrancar are also still capable of devouring others, though they are far less driven by the mindless hunger of Hollows.

Arrancar retain their Hollow Hole. A fragment of their original Hollow Mask also remains.

Additionally, Hollows of all types, Arrancar included, are often referred to collectively as Hollow-Breeds.

Aspect of Death
The Aspect of Death is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within every Hollow-Breed, not just Arrancar. Put simply, an Aspect of Death is the root cause of the human’s death in life, and it becomes a recurring, irrational, and self-destructive psychological force that drives their actions as a Hollow-Breed. Although Hollow-Breeds are almost never consciously aware of their Aspect of Death, and could not name it, it is a constant force in their life, and one they will need to learn to control before it kills them again. Here are two examples to highlight how Aspects of Death might work:

A man who was a compulsive addict and binged on food, drink, and drugs until he died of an overdose would have the aspect [em]Gluttony[/em], and as a Hollow-Breed they would be particularly driven by this need to consume. While this has the obvious connotation of ravenous hunger, their gluttony can express itself in other ways. It could extend to the other vices, such as narcotics, or towards the finer things in life such as wealth and power, and all the excess that they bring.

A man who died trying to kill someone they believed got away with a crime before they killed again would have the aspect of [em]Justice[/em], and as a Hollow-Breed they would be driven by this strict desire to exact their vision of "justice." This could be a litigious form of custom; the Hollow-Breed could believe strictly in the ideas behind common, traditional laws and insist that anyone who has broken them be tried and sentenced. It could also be a personal form of justice, with the Hollow-Breed exacting their own personal punishments on people who have violated their private moral code.

An Aspect of Death does not have to be inherently "bad" or negative in concept. In fact, in most cases the Hollow-Breed will view their actions as just, or otherwise the right thing to do, as part of the compulsion. For this reason, Aspects of Death like [em]Love[/em], [em]Martyrdom[/em], and [em]Honor[/em] can all be used to great success.

As a Hollow-Breeds grows more powerful, they typically begin to challenge their Aspect of Death, consciously or otherwise. For one reason or another, they begin to resist these self-destructive urges and veer away from their former patterns.

It is, however, worth noting that Hollows themselves are more driven by their hunger, while the Aspect of Death is more prevalent within the Menos and Arrancar.

Empty Zanpakutō
Like Shinigami, Arrancar wield a Zanpakutō. However, an Arrancar's Zanpakutō has no spirit within it. Simply put, it's a "dead" weapon. These empty Zanpakutō are created the moment an Arrancar is formed and typically share a similar design to a trait they had as a Hollow. As such, most Arrancar Zanpakutō take the form of less conventional weapons than just swords. It's not uncommon for whips, spears, or even things like shields to be the form an Arrancar's sealed Zanpakutō takes.

It is worth noting that an Arrancar's Zanpakutō can never be "filled". The emptiness is a direct representation of just how empty inside they still are, despite their humanoid form and newfound dominance of the souls within. Despite this, most Arrancar still show a possessiveness over their Zanpakutō, in the same way a Shinigami would after bonding with their Spirit.

Powers and Prestige
Hollow Power & Resurrección
All Hollow-Breeds, even Arrancar, possess a power innate to their Hollow body. This can be almost anything, from simply releasing a poisonous gas to expelling small, animal-like creatures that seek to latch onto a target and detonate. The unifying trait is that the power itself comes from their body. It is also innate to all Hollows, available immediately upon their transformation.

Arrancar, however, can later acquire an additional ability akin to the Bankai of a Shinigami. When releasing their Zanpakutō, instead of transforming their weapon, their entire body transforms, usually regaining traits they once had as a Hollow. With it comes an additional ability, as well as a significant increase to their Reiatsu. In this form, the Arrancar still retains their Hollow Hole as normal, as well as the fragment of their Hollow Mask.

An Arrancar's efficacy with these abilities, their strength, and even how long they can maintain their Resurrección, all relate back to the Arrancar's relationship with their Hollow nature.

In rare cases, and much like the Shinigami they have become more like, an Arrancar's soul can transform and allow them to far exceed their peers. However, unlike Shinigami, this results in no evolution to their Zanpakutō. Instead, it allows the Hollow to, perhaps ironically, go backwards, and dive further into their Hollow nature.

This is referred to as Resurrección: Segunda Etapa.

Unlike Resurrección, this form does not make them more Hollow-like. Instead, it often eliminates some of the natural Hollow traits, for a body that is both more human and more naturally animalistic, such as a orangic wings made of flesh instead of the stone or bone-like substance of a Hollow Mask. Additionally, changes to the Hollow Hole are possible, as well as the elimination, or repurposing, of the fragment of their Hollow Mask.

Only Arrancar that have reached a cathartic conclusion as it relates to their Hollow nature, and their relationship with it, are capable of reaching such a level and utilizing such a power. Although this does not mean that an Arrancar has eliminated all inner conflict related to what they are, it does mean that they have undergone a transformative moment in regards to it.

Miscellaneous Information
who knows
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