With Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War set to showcase the fight between the highly powerful group of Quincy-Sternritter and the Shinigami in the upcoming episodes, one question that every Bleach anime-only fan has is, are the Quincy stronger than the Shinigami in Bleach?
The Quincy's extent of power seems to be way more than what Uryu Ishida had previously shown. They had come up with new, updated techniques that were more than capable of putting up a good fight against the Shinigami, as seen in the battle between Ichigo Kurosaki and Sternritter J Quilge Opie.
Given how absurdly powerful the Quincy are in the anime, one may believe that they are the strongest race in Bleach. However, that's not the case, as the Quincy are not stronger than the Shinigami.
Bleach: Why are the Quincy not stronger than the Shinigami?
Quincy is a group of human beings who have spiritual powers. They can absorb and manipulate Reishi into spiritual weapons, which they use to kill Hollows. While they are strong on their own, they fall short when compared to the Shinigami.
In a way, the Quincy's ability is similar to the Sage Mode used by Naruto in Naruto Shippuden or the Spirit Bomb used by Goku in the Dragon Ball franchise. They absorb the energy around them and make it their own to manipulate it and thus fight against their foes, which in most cases, are the Hollows.
Meanwhile, Shinigami are unearthly beings living in the Soul Society and are invisible to those without spiritual powers. They possess high Reiryoku within them and have a body of Reishi.
Thus, compared to the Quincy, who have to rely on the Reishi around them, the Shinigami are far stronger due to the Reiryoku they possess within themselves.
Why are the Sternritter stronger than the Gotei 13 captains?
The reason why the Sternritter are stronger than the Gotei 13 captains is because each one of them received a part of the Father of the Quincy, Yhwach's abilities. All of them are bestowed with a Schrift, an alphabet allocated to the type of ability Yhwach has given the particular Quincy. The Quincy themselves don't generate these abilities, thus, after their death, the ability returns to its origin, i.e., Yhwach.
Without Yhwach's Schrift, the Sternritter members aren't strong enough to surpass the Gotei 13 captains and thus fall short.
The only Quincy who may have been stronger than most Shinigami are The Father of the Quincy Yhwach, Sternritter Grandmaster Jugram Haschwalth, and Yhwach's Schutzstaffel (Elite Guard) - the heart of the Soul King Sternritter M Gerard Valkyrie, Sternritter X Lille Barro, the left hand of the Soul King Sternritter C Pernida Parnkgjas, and Sternritter D Askin Nakk Le Vaar.
So, while as a whole army, the Sternritter may look stronger than the Gotei 13, it does not mean that the Quincy themselves are stronger than the Shinigami.