Yhwach (ユーハバッハ, Yūhabahha) was the Emperor of the Vandenreich as well as the father of all Quincys. He was also the son of the Spiritual King. After failing once to conquer the Soul Society, 1,000 years before the beginning of the story, he returned to declare war on the Shinigami during the Millennium Bloody War Arc, 17 months after the defeat of Aizen. Although appearing late in the story, he is a major antagonist of the work, impacting notably the birth and the growth of Ichigo.
Final antagonist of the main plot of Bleach, he will invade the Hueco Mundo and the Soul Society, even founding his country with the power of the Spiritual King. It is at the end of a final fight, opposing him to Ichigo and Aizen, that the King will be finally defeated before being finally sealed.
Yhwach proclaims that he hates conflict, believing that battles should be over quickly. His war strategy supports this mentality, aiming to break the enemy's forces in the heart of the Seireitei as quickly as possible, reminiscent of the Blitzkrieg method. Expeditious, yet intelligent, this strategy allowed him to crush the Gotei 13 forces in just a few hours. He doesn't like to fight his opponents too hard and never drag out a fight. When Ichigo stood up to him for the first time, he would not hesitate to unleash his full power to kill him.
He respected the first generation of Gotei 13, who he thought were fear-inspiring shinigami. He particularly admired Yamamoto, who was a ruthless demon to him, who treated his subordinates as "ashes". Yhwach hates values such as justice and honor, which is why he hates why the Gotei 13 became "weak" during its 1,000 year absence. He also dislikes lies and never lies to his men or to his enemies. He therefore addresses them sincerely. The perfect example is when he tells the Stern Ritters that they exist "by and for him".
He treats his subordinates and the rest of the Quincys differently. He is very attached to some of them, calling them "his sons". He puts a lot of effort into recruiting them into his empire. Yhwach can show mercy and compassion, thanking Royd Lloyd for sacrificing himself in a suicide mission and granting him a short death in return. Yhwach does not like blind loyalty and enjoyed seeing the Stern Ritters unhappy with his decision in choosing his successor.
In front of his subordinates, Yhwach is an uncompromising man that they should not fight among themselves, not hesitating to interrupt internal conflicts in the most brutal of methods. He places little value on the Arrancars, mercilessly slaughtering even those who have sworn allegiance to him and who have fulfilled their mission correctly. After his awakening, Yhwach stole the power of several Quincys he considered "unclean", causing the death of many of them. Yamamoto established that this cruelty did not stop at the simple Quincys but also went to his subordinates. This was proven when Yhwach did not hesitate to steal the power of Gerard Valkyrie, the last member of his elite still fighting, and Jugram Haschwalth, his right-hand man, after absorbing the power of Ichigo Kurosaki. Yhwach believes that he no longer needs the Stern Ritters to accomplish his goals.
Yhwach is a tall man, exceeding Kenpachi Zaraki's height (the latter being 2.02m) with a long face, a wide chin and pronounced cheekbones. He has long black hair, which goes down to the middle of his back as well as brown eyes with a red tint and thin eyebrows. One of the notable features of his appearance is of course his sideburns and mustache, which are perfectly maintained at the beginning of the story and will continue to grow throughout the war. On the other hand, he has no beard below his mouth and on his chin. His outfit consists of a white double-breasted trench coat, which has the Vandenreich symbol in the middle, along with large cufflinks, white pants and black boots. Over that, he wears a brown-black cape, tattered to the ankle, which has a red ribbon near his neck and is fastened by a large button toward his left shoulder. This large button is none other than his Quincy cross.
Son of the Spiritual King, Yhwach was born without any of his five senses or the ability to move. However, the child had no fear because he had an incredible will to survive. Despite this, the child was treated as a miracle among his people.
Indeed, when touched, the child can distribute fragments of his soul to others, providing them with an element that they lack and that they are unable to obtain from themselves. Sick people are automatically healed. The weak awaken a new strength. Cowards become brave. The child had the power to distribute his power. In exchange, when those who benefited from the child's power died, the child would get back the previously distributed soul fragments. In addition, these fragments merged with the souls of the subjects, so that when the soul fragment returned to the child, the subject's soul was also absorbed into the process. Thus, the child gained the knowledge and experience gained from the souls it absorbed. The subjects did not live very long after receiving the child's power and the child gradually evolved. He then became able to think, see, and walk. Once he had acquired hearing, he heard that he had been named "YHWACH," a name given to a god. He knew that this was not his name, but decided to make it his own. Later, he discovered that there was a better way to share his power with his subjects. By making his subjects drink a cup of his blood, he can engrave in them a greater part of his soul and a greater power, able to awaken in them a hidden talent. A letter is then formed in the subject's soul, representing his ability.
Yhwach has earned the reputation of being the progenitor of the Quincy with his blood flowing through each of them. Becoming a warlord at the head of the armies of the Lichtreich (光の帝国 (リヒトライヒ), Rihitoraihi; German for "Luminous Empire", Japanese for "Empire of Light"), he led multiple expeditions within Quincy territories, destroying castles, burning villages and crushing all opposition. More than 200 years later, he began the campaign in the northern territories.