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The Espada (十刃, (エスパーダ), Esupāda are a major antagonistic faction in the manga Bleach. Serving under Sōsuke Aizen, they are the main foes of the Gotei 13.
Created before Aizen's defection from the Soul Society, the Espada are highly important to Aizen's plans. At each time, the Espada has ten Arrancar's, all of impressive strength and with a tattoo of their number in the group. Each of the members have control over one the other forces in the Las Noches. They also are often privy to hearing Aizen's biggest secrets. The numbers ranks of the 10 espada are not from 1-10, but from 0-9.
Nelliel Tu Odelschwanck was once an Espada 3 before Tier Harribel until she reverted into a child after ambushed by Nnoitra Gilga with the assistance from Szayel Aporro Granz.
They were actually pawns by Aizen's manipulations as he revealed it after he defeated Tier Harribel.