Hueco Mundo population logistics

So let's start with the basics of canon before I launch into the actual analysis.

Chapter 48 establishes that a Gillian (Not that we know the term at the time) is made of "hundreds" of Hollow souls. The 'Forest of Menos', though it's technically anime-exclusive, was originally intended for the manga, so we can take its existence as canon to the manga, and it's filled with 'countless' Gillian.

Chapter 284 establishes that a Gillian becomes an Adjucha by eating an unspecified number of other Gillian. It further establishes that an Adjucha must continue to eat other Adjucha if it doesn't want to suffer a form of identity death by permanently reverting to a 'mindless' Gillian.

We never do find out how an Adjucha becomes a Vasto Lorde, but that's okay. We've already got enough information to facepalm at the implications.

For the moment, I'm going to lowball how many Hollow souls it takes to make a Gillian. For the following calculations, I'll treat them as 500 human souls.

Let's further say the Forest of Meno has one thousand Gillian. This is probably a severe lowball of the intended number, but let's go with it anyway. That's already 500,000 Hollow souls hanging out in Hueco Mundo, and I'm ignoring the question of whether Gillian have to keep eating regular Hollows or not. I'm also ignoring that said question doesn't matter because we know they eat regular Hollows, as we see it happen when the first one of the story shows up.

Adjucha have to eat an unspecified number of Gillian to become an Adjuca. It's indicated that it doesn't take too many such kills, so I'll just call it 5 Gillian per Adjuca that is born. That puts a newborn Adjucha as being 2500 Hollow souls.

But each Adjucha has to eat other Adjucha at some unclear but seemingly aggressive rate. I'll model them after some major predators and imagine they only need to eat another Adjuca once a week, more or less, to retain their Adjucha status.

That means for an Adjucha population to remain stable at, say, 50 Adjucha -almost certainly hilariously lowballing things, going by how the manga presents Adjucha- that's 125,000 Hollow souls per week going into Hueco Mundo to be eaten.

Plus whatever it is the Gillians are eating to maintain themselves, plus random Hollow violence killing people without actually feeding anyone.

Now, these lowball figures aren't so bad. According to this page, the average rate of people dying per day in 2011 was 151,600 people. That's more deaths per day than I'm saying needs to Hollow per week, so we can use vague language and say basically only something like a seventh of all human deaths need to both go Hollow and then escape Soul Reaper attention to sustain the Hueco Mundo situation.

... but these are lowball figures, and actually that's already a depressingly large portion of souls that Soul Reapers fail to prevent from going Hollow. The manga indicates that only a small minority of human souls both fail to move peacefully to the afterlife on their own and then fail to be found by a Soul Reaper before becoming a Hollow, and 1/7th of all human souls, while not a majority in the strictest sense is still a much larger portion of the population than I would have expected. Further, since Soul Reapers do actually stop some fraction of Hollows before they have a chance to feed the Hueco Mundo 'ecosystem', it actually demands that the number be higher, potentially much higher depending on what the fraction is.

Either way, the implications for the effectiveness of Soul Reapers at their supposed job is pretty dire. If I assume that Soul Reapers only purge a very small fraction of Hollows, such that we can simply sit on my 1/7th approximation as basically accurate, then Soul Reapers are basically useless. If I instead assume Soul Reapers purge most Hollows, preventing Hueco Mundo from utilizing those souls in its 'ecosystem', then instead we have to assume a larger portion of people go Hollow to make up the difference -I personally feel that if you want to be generous to the Soul Reapers (In the sense of assuming they're actually both competent at their job and not slacking), you have to assume they catch at least half of all Hollows, which promptly doubles the fraction of people who have to be going Hollow to roughly 2/7ths of all humans.

If, as sequences like Uryu's use of Hollow Bait somewhat implies, Soul Reapers actually catch the majority of Hollows... well, a 90% success rate would demand that we multiply the number of people going Hollow by 10.

When we started from roughly 1/7 of the human population.

So we need roughly 140% of all human souls going Hollow to maintain our lowball Hueco Mundo and have Soul Reapers highly competent and committed to their job.

I hope it's obvious the problem here.

In actuality, I'm probably badly lowballing a Gillian's soulcount, and thus in turn badly lowballing all further soul requirements. The Forest of Menos plot sequence shows us Gillians are formed by having a bunch of old Hollows who have probably eaten some number of non-Hollow souls and have definitely eaten several Hollow souls already come together all at once. If I assume a Gillian being made of "hundreds" of Hollows only means an average of 200 Hollows, but say each Hollow that's involved has already eaten 5 souls (Which, since they're old, successfully Hollows, is probably a serious lowball figure) then we abruptly jump up to 1000 souls, doubling pretty much every Hollow-related number I've got above. (eg we need 2/7ths of all human deaths going Hollow and being missed to sustain lowball Hueco Mundo, if Soul Reapers catch half of all Hollows we need more than half of the human population going Hollow in general, etc)

We also have specific scenes like how Grimmjow's minions have all, each, individually eaten more than a thousand Menos class Hollows, which demands 5000 Gillians, at least, and therefore for my original lowball number for Gillian soulcount is 2,500,000 human souls having gone to just Grimmjow's goons at some point before canon started! Again: two and a half million souls. Minimum! Not counting whatever they ate afterward, either!

This gets worse when you consider that Hueco Mundo's dynamics are treated as an ages-old thing. The worldwide human population didn't reach 1 billion until 1804. It took until 1927 to reach 2 billion. That means that until very recently, even accounting for how child mortality has drastically decreased in the past 200 years, there just plain weren't enough humans dying to support even one Adjucha without a ridiculous rate of Hollow-fication and utterly terrible rate of Hollow purging on the part of Soul Reapers.

(This isn't even getting into the depressing/horrifying implication that realistically historical Adjucha would almost certainly be made primarily of the souls of small children. Admittedly, it would explain a lot about their social maturity... specifically, their lack of such)

Writers have no sense of scale, even when the aren't writing sci-fi.

I suspect a lot of people just gloss over this in reading/watching Bleach, taking it as just "wow what a violent ugly culture these Hollows have" or some such, but I personally found it both a substantial blow in my ability to accept that the setting made any kind of sense and also a major blow in my ability to believe that Soul Reapers are actually competent at their job.

This was basically the start of me losing interest in Bleach's story, really.


  1. Well now. I won't be able to get this out of my head...


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