Sōsuke Aizen is a male shinigami who has been locked up in the large central underground prison due to his acts of treason against the Soul Society.

Sosuke Aizen

He held the position of captain of the fifth division within Gotei 13, with Momo Hinamori as lieutenant at the time. Abandoning his post, he betrayed the Soul Society alongside his disciples, Gin Ichimaru and Kaname Tōsen. Aizen declared war on the shinigami with his Arrancar army with the aim of creating the Ōken, getting to the Soul King’s Palace, killing the Soul King and taking his place as ruler of the entire Soul Society. In this quest, Aizen sought to surpass his own limits by merging with the Hōgyoku, thus reaching the heights of divinity. However, his plans were thwarted by Ichigo Kurosaki and Kisuke Urahara, resulting in his defeat and sentencing to twenty thousand years imprisonment by Central 46, in the deepest levels of the underground prison. Two years later, Aizen was temporarily released by Shunsui Kyōraku during the war against the Wandenreich, in order to face Quincy leader Yhwach in the final moments of the conflict.

In Hueco Mundo, Aizen first appeared wearing Arrancar clothes over his Shihakusho. Prior to his transformation, Aizen wore full clothes, in a style similar to Arrancar.

Before his departure from Soul Society, he had the appearance of a mild, brown-haired man with square glasses. He wore the standard shinigami uniform with a captain’s haori. However, when he rode up to Hueco Mundo, he took off his glasses, ran a hand through his hair, revealing menacing eyes and a very different hairstyle (hair slicked back, with a lock clinging to his face). As he had already revealed to Renji Abarai, the Aizen they all knew had never existed, and this seems to be a visual representation of that claim. Aizen’s appearance changes again after his initial defeat by Ichigo Kurosaki. He loses all the physical changes brought about by his transformation and resumes the physical form he had before transforming. The only visible signs of his transformation are in his left eye, which has a purple sclera, white iris and pupil.

In his Hōgyoku form, Aizen wears a white cape that is divided into four parts near his waist. In the middle of the cloak, a cross indicates where the Hōgyoku was embedded within him. Although removed by Sōkudo, the Hōgyoku still seems to be in his chest. In this form, his Zanpakutō is fused to his arm, but he can make it disappear with a simple gesture. What’s more, when attacked, his body seems to crack and fold under the damage, only really bleeding when the attack is powerful enough. Aizen also retains his appearance, with the addition of long hair and gray eyes with purple sclera.

Once he finally achieved his Tsumikami status, Aizen returned to wearing the same white haori uniform he wore as Hueco Mundo’s leader.

Despite his current status as a villain and his former position of authority, Aizen stands out for his polite demeanor and soft voice, surprising for an intellectual. He often addresses his subordinates by their first names. He rarely shows signs of alarm or distress, and often plans entire situations well in advance. When faced with a situation, Aizen is casual and carefree, often seeking to strike up a conversation to provoke and annoy his interlocutor.

At first, Aizen was perceived as a very amiable and respected captain, admired by many, especially his lieutenant Momo Hinamori. However, this was only a mask concealing his manipulative and extremely dangerous nature. In reality, he attaches very little importance to his subordinates, past and present, and is prepared to use almost everyone around him as pawns in his Machiavellian game. In his own words, Aizen claims to be unaffected by morality or ethics, seeing them as mere hindrances to his potential. As such, he’ll do anything to further his selfish ambitions, including manipulating or killing anyone he deems necessary. He enjoys long, complex and sometimes twisted plots, many of which have no apparent reason until he unveils them, and often seems to toy with his subordinates for his own amusement. Unlike most other shinigamis who seem to have some form of honor and kindness, including some Espada, Aizen lacks true compassion and honor. As a captain, he was known to enjoy tofu, but hated hard-boiled eggs. In his spare time, he was often immersed in reading and also hosted special lectures on calligraphy at Shinō Academy, being particularly talented in this artistic field. This optional course was extremely popular among Shinigami students, and many of them felt great sadness at Aizen’s sudden departure.

Sosuke Aizen

As commander of his Arrancar army, Aizen exercises control over his subordinates through earned respect or fear. Ulquiorra Cifer, one of his loyal lieutenants, revealed to Orihime Inoue that all are there to serve Aizen’s ambitions. For those who are more boisterous, like Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez, he maintains order using intimidation and psychological games. Iceringer, an Arrancar, also claims that they follow Aizen because he knows no fear, which inspires beings born of fear and despair. Other Arrancar sometimes follow Aizen for their own reasons, such as Szayel Aporro Granz, who follows him in the hope that he will eradicate the world of non-Hollows. So far, only the equally manipulative Gin Ichimaru seems to clearly understand Aizen’s machinations. Ichimaru has also demonstrated some perception of Aizen’s emotions and feelings, correctly acknowledging that Aizen appreciated the invasion of Ichigo and his friends and their successes at Las Noches, and noting that Aizen had noted Hinamori’s arrival at the fictitious battle of Karakura, which had surprised him. In contrast, Kaname Tōsen showed no such understanding and was the victim of subtle manipulation by Aizen, who casually manipulated him into punishing Grimmjow instead, while maintaining a benevolent appearance.

Aizen’s real goal is to overthrow the Soul Society king. When he was leaving the Soul Society with the other traitorous captains, he told Jūshirō Ukitake that “no one has ever reached the top of the world”, not even the gods, but that he aspires to “reign in the heavens and end the unbearable vacancy of the world’s throne”. To do this, he needs the Ōken (Royal Key), a three-pronged golden key that opens a portal to the dimension where the King of Spirits resides. Although only Captain-Commander Yamamoto knows the location of the key, Aizen knows how the original was created and how to make another. To do so, he must gather 100,000 souls (which will result in the death of all the entities used) and vaporize a significant part of the area used for the forge. That’s why he’s targeting the city of Karakura, which has an abnormally high concentration of spiritual particles.

According to Kisuke Urahara, since mastering Hōgyoku, Aizen has become less cautious when fighting. Urahara notes that before mastering the device, Aizen would never have allowed him to use the level 90 Kidō. Aizen himself admits that his new powers allow him to lower his guard. These new powers have also given him a seemingly arrogant and overconfident attitude. He often doesn’t think through his attacks or defense as much as he used to, and he doesn’t even bother to discover the effects of his opponents’ attacks or his own. In his most recent form, he has developed a severe superiority complex, now believing himself to be above Shinigami and Hollows. Because of his haughty attitude and high intelligence, Aizen easily loses his temper when confronted with something or someone he doesn’t understand. For example, when he sees Ichigo in his “final” form, Aizen becomes furious as he is unable to understand how a human could surpass him.

After his time in the Muken, his subsequent death during the Vandenreich crisis and his time in hell, Aizen’s personality has begun to return to its former manipulative, calm side. Aizen feels he has been “enlightened” by his experiences in hell, although we don’t know exactly what he means by this.

Powers and abilities

Gin Ichimaru claims that Aizen’s power is such that he didn’t need to rely on the illusion of his former Zanpakutō, Kyōka Suigetsu, to single-handedly defeat the captains of Gotei 13 and the Visoreds. According to Ichigo Kurosaki’s theory, Aizen felt a deep loneliness in his immense power from birth, suggesting that Aizen was already a unique individual from the start.

Massive spiritual power

Even as captain, Aizen demonstrated immense spiritual energy. Marechiyo Ōmaeda commented that his mere presence was overwhelming in a monstrous way. A clue to his true level of spiritual power is given when he transforms Wonderweiss Margela into Arrancar. Before activating the Hōgyoku, he declares that, despite his half-awake state, it can be fully activated when he temporarily merges with someone possessing twice as much spiritual power as a middle-class Shinigami captain (referring to himself). The strength of his spiritual power is also great enough to bring the Sixth Espada to its knees without any visible effort. He has remarked that it takes a lot of effort not to “crush an ant” in his path, referring to Renji Abarai. He also claims to be more powerful than all the Espadas. Aizen has demonstrated that his reiatsu is powerful enough to nullify abilities, as when he nullified Suì-Fēng’s Nigeki Kessatsu technique. In his own words, his spiritual power is at such a level that Shinigami and Humans are unable to sense it, unless he voluntarily decides to lower his level and allow them to perceive it. He compares this to the way a two-dimensional being is unable to interact with a three-dimensional being. Isshin Kurosaki assumes that only those on the same level as him can perceive his spiritual power.

Sosuke Aizen

The intelligence of genius

Aizen’s most formidable trait undeniably lies in his prodigious intellect. He possesses an in-depth knowledge of Soul Society history, strategy and tactics, as well as knowledge inaccessible to many, such as the existence of Ōken and the arcane method of creating one. He also created several Hollows and Arrancar, while avoiding arousing the suspicions of most of his fellow Shinigami, probably thanks to the illusionary abilities of his Zanpakutō. For over 110 years, he has devoted himself to unique and extremely dangerous experiments involving spiritual energy and particles. His most remarkable experiment concerns the Hollowfication of Shinigami, an unprecedented phenomenon that is not known to have been repeated since. He possesses an innate understanding of the Hōgyoku, rivaling that of its creator, Kisuke Urahara, to the point of being able to destroy it. He is able to grasp the true nature of Shinji Hirako’s shikai ability and deduce that it produces an optical illusion, enabling him to counter its effect. He manages to deduce the true power of Hōgyoku based on the situations around him.

Master Manipulator

Since his public betrayal of the Soul Society, Aizen has revealed himself to be an extremely shrewd and cunning man. His most outstanding trait is his ability to deceive and manipulate others in a multitude of ways. For many years, he has managed to pass himself off as a good and well-meaning man towards the Soul Society, while committing horrific acts. He has a great talent for analyzing and observing everything that happens in his presence, enabling him to quickly understand a person’s way of thinking and better manipulate them. He is also a powerful strategist, able to formulate elaborate plans several moves ahead of others. These plans are complex and detailed, conceived with a long-term perspective, which lends them a certain subtlety. His most famous plan spans more than 110 years, a remarkable feat that involved moving the pieces of a chess set around and making sure they played the roles he had planned for them. He excelled at “plans within plans”, such as the kidnapping of Orihime, which enabled him to use his abilities to prolong the life of the Hōgyoku and trap the Ryoka and four captains after they had left for the Hueco Mundo, thus facilitating the realization of the objectives of his first plan, the creation of the Ōken and access to the Royal Dimension.

As a master tactician, he has also proved powerful and flexible, able to adapt without difficulty to any combat situation, even planning events well in advance. He understands the strengths, weaknesses and strategies of his enemies, creating strategies aimed at victory. This even includes modifying an Arrancar for the sole purpose of defeating Yamamoto, a Shinigami whose abilities surpass his own. While it’s fair to say that most of his tactics rely on the special abilities of his Zanpakutō, there are few better tactics than manipulating all his opponents’ senses, making it easier to attack. Despite his perception of his power as otherworldly, he also takes great care in battle, protecting himself in such a way as to leave no blind spots.

An immense strength

He possesses enough power to stop Ichigo’s Bankai in a single move, despite Ichigo’s fatigue after his fight with Byakuya Kuchiki. He almost sliced him in half with a single sword attack, and stopped Renji’s Shikai with his bare hands, breaking it with a single blow and injuring Renji in the process. He also managed to stop Komamura’s Shikai with his bare hands, proving that his strength was far superior to that of his opponents. Aizen also demonstrated his power by effortlessly slicing through the sword and wrist of Sajin Komamura’s Bankai. Thanks to the powers of his former fusion with the Hōgyoku as well as his evolution into Tsumikami, Aizen’s physical strength has increased considerably. He is capable of wounding his target’s flesh with a simple, nonchalant gesture of his bare hands. Aizen is strong enough to create a shockwave when knocked down by Yoruichi Shihōin. This shockwave was so fast and powerful that it surprised Yoruichi and then destroyed the anti-hiro armor on his left leg.

Sosuke Aizen

Master Hakuda

Aizen is an extremely skilled fighter, able to quickly end fights by using his superior sword techniques with his Zanpakutō, or by crushing his opponents with the powerful Kidō. Even unarmed, Aizen has repeatedly demonstrated his ability to effortlessly seize his opponents’ weapons with his bare hands. His fighting style is offensive, and he displays extraordinary agility and dexterity. He is able to deftly combine his sword and bare-hand skills, simultaneously striking with his sword and delivering powerful kicks to his opponents, making him a master in this area of combat.

To demonstrate his superior power, Aizen uses a variety of unarmed techniques that even Hakuda experts wouldn’t dare try against an armed opponent. He relies primarily on “torite” (捕手, “grab the hand”), a Jujutsu discipline that encompasses techniques and movements for deflecting, blocking and grabbing sharp weapons. He has demonstrated such prowess in fights against several opponents.

During his first confrontation with Ichigo, despite Ichigo’s fatigue after his fight against Byakuya Kuchiki, Aizen managed to use torite by holding onto Ichigo’s Tensa Zangetsu with a single finger. Later, he achieved a similar feat by grabbing Ichigo’s Bankai blade with one hand. Jujutsu, in general, encompasses every conceivable technique that can cause damage to an opponent. Because of Aizen’s total lack of morals, Jujutsu is probably the most dangerous style of Hakuda he uses. All techniques are permitted on any part of the opponent’s body, enabling him to attack pressure points with ease. He can break joints to make it impossible for his opponent to use a sword, or damage nerves with grappling techniques at close range. Aizen makes full use of “kyūsho-jitsu” (急所, pressure-point style) in these close-quarter situations, making him extremely dangerous when he comes into contact with his opponent’s hands. Although Aizen may also use other principles from martial arts such as Aikido or Bartitsu, particularly Bartitsu, they all seem to complement his main style of Hakuda, which is based on his unique style of Jujutsu.

Aizen’s stamina is further enhanced by the evolution of his body through Hōgyoku. Thanks to this, he can withstand a level 91 destruction spell without suffering damage. His resistance is high enough to block Isshin’s Zanpakutō with his foot alone and withstand a powerful punch from an armored Yoruichi. Even though he takes a lot of damage, he continues to fight as if unharmed. He faces Isshin’s close attack, the Getsuga Tenshō, and seems unaffected by the attack, despite a bloody wound on his forehead. He willingly lets the Kōtotsu collide with him, destroying him, while remaining unscathed.

Immense speed

Aizen’s new power increases his speed tenfold, to the point where even captain-level opponents can’t keep up with his movements. His speed is so prodigious that he can take fighters like Yoruichi Shihōin by surprise. He seems capable of instantly neutralizing three captain-level opponents.

Protective regeneration

After his interaction with the Hōgyoku, Aizen’s internal reiryoku actively protects him by healing his wounds almost instantly. Aizen was able to take a level 96 destruction spell at close range and escape with only slight burns. Immediately afterwards, he took a full-blown black Getsuga, accompanied by a hollow Tenshō mask, and survived the attack. He can emerge unscathed after being thrown against several buildings. After being hit by Ichigo’s Mugetsu, he showed some regeneration in relation to the damage sustained.

Sosuke Aizen

Zanjutsu master

While the full extent of his feats is not yet known, he has demonstrated his ability to effortlessly repel an opponent’s Shikai and Bankai with his own still-sealed blade. He has also demonstrated his ability to perform extremely powerful and precise strikes, capable of hitting highly resistant targets, such as Renji’s Shikai, Harribel’s Hiero and Komamura’s Bankai. His talent in Zanjutsu has enabled him to master distinctive fencing styles that can be used overwhelmingly.

General proficiency in epee skills

Aizen’s mastery of Zanjutsu enabled him to dominate his opponents in combat without the need for destructive Kidō spells or even direct Hakuda techniques. He was so confident in his abilities that he claimed he could defeat Ichigo Kurosaki in his Bankai state without causing damage to the surrounding buildings in the city of Karakura. Gin Ichimaru claimed that Aizen’s power is overwhelming to the point that he can defeat even Captain-class opponents without needing the special abilities of his Zanpakutō. This claim proved true, as Aizen’s skill level was high enough to easily take down four captains (two of whom used their Bankai) and four Visored (three of whom were former Gotei 13 captains and two of whom used their hollow mask). Aizen’s style of Zanjutsu seems to focus mainly on Kenjutsu, using Kendō-esque techniques and strikes to gauge an opponent’s power and effectively defeat them with overwhelming force. Although Aizen may seem very “spectacular”, his movements are actually highly efficient. His body moves almost regally when he enters combat, so well adjusted that he can stop his attacks on the fly and then execute deadly attacks with absolute precision, all the while remaining calm and in control of himself. His ability to slice is also evident, as he can easily cut through an Espada hiero, which is harder than steel, as he demonstrated when defeating Harribel, as well as slicing through a skyscraper in the fake city of Karakura with a flick of his wrist. His mastery skills and strength with the sword allow him to constantly fight with one hand free, using the Kidō to complement his fighting style. Although it’s not as common, Aizen also uses the Iaidō, as seen when he draws his blade and cuts opponents who try to charge him directly. He demonstrated his Iaidō expertise in his first clash against Ichigo, where after blocking Ichigo’s Tensa Zangetsu blade, Aizen quickly drew his blade with his other hand and sliced him down the middle, all in a second. His speed was so fast that Ichigo didn’t realize he’d been hit until he’d fallen to the ground in a pool of his own blood. Aizen later claimed that he had tried to “hold back” this attack, but sarcastically replied that he hadn’t put enough force into the blow, implying that he was most likely holding back the full power of his attack.

Zanjutsu techniques

Aizen routinely uses various Zanjutsu techniques to achieve favorable results, but he never names them, considering it unnecessary to name them before executing them. These techniques are often employed when the opponent offers Aizen a large opening, allowing him to slice through them with a single blow.

Agitowari (顎割, “Chin/Jaw Splitting”)

Agitowari is a formidable technique in the hands of a powerful swordsman like Aizen. It’s an Iaidō technique that aims to slice directly through the opponent’s upper part or torso, cutting him in two. The blade is held either in the scabbard or on the opposite side of the hand holding the sword, then, without warning, it is quickly drawn in a single, straight, powerful, linear attack, aiming to cut cleanly through any opponent who dares stand in its way. Aizen used this technique in two remarkable moments, when he defeated and almost killed the Tres Espada, Tier Harribel, and easily defeated Sajin Komamura. Such is the power of this attack that it is said to require no second strike after a successful execution, a claim that has proved true every time Aizen has used Agitowari.

Ryōdan (両断, “Bisection”)

Contrary to the conventional use of the Kendō technique, the Ryōdan, Aizen doesn’t hold his sword in both hands when he performs it, as he feels it isn’t necessary. The power of Ryōdan, like that of all Zanjutsu techniques, is closely linked to the strength and determination of the user’s will. With an unshakeable sense of superiority and undeniable power, Aizen’s Ryōdan is potentially the most dangerous and formidable technique in his Zanjutsu repertoire. He brandishes his blade upwards, as if announcing his imminent victory to the heavens themselves, and mercilessly slices through anything that dares stand in the way of his blade. In a single use of the Ryōdan, Aizen managed to completely sever Sajin’s Bankai structure and inflict a mortal wound to half of the captain’s body, before finishing him off with a blow from his Iaidō sword. Presumably he held back, for had he used the full power of the Ryōdan, Sajin’s Bankai would have been irreparably destroyed, with no hope of repair. Similarly, without Kyōraku’s timely intervention, Suì-Fēng would have suffered the same fate due to its proximity to Aizen.

Senmaioroshi (千枚卸, “Thousand-page wholesale”): Aizen only resorts to Senmaioroshi when faced with battles involving multiple opponents. Using expert timing, light verbal provocation and/or feinting, fluid and precise hip and upper body movements, and solid, determined blows from his blade, Aizen is able to take down even Captain-class warriors in a single blow with this technique. In particular, he has used Senmaioroshi to defeat opponents such as Tōshirō Hitsugaya, Shunsui Kyōraku, Suì-Fēng and Shinji Hirako, all renowned for their extreme power, in a single blow. Moreover, considering that among them were a veteran captain and the head of the Onmitsukidō, it clearly demonstrates that Aizen remains superior in the art of swordplay, even against those who are also masters in this field.

Master of Kidō As a true master, Aizen possesses great skill in Kidō. He is skilled enough to use most Kidō spells without reciting their incantations, while retaining their strength and power. Aizen’s skills go beyond mere use, as his understanding of both aspects of Kidō enables him to guard against most of the attacks or pitfalls of this discipline.

Hadō Prouesse

As a man who firmly believes in his superiority over others, Aizen reflects this nature in the use of his Kidō. In most cases, he seeks to make grand demonstrations of his overwhelming power by using very high-level spells that most Shinigami, even of the captain class, would not dare attempt, let alone succeed at. This is how he used the spell Kurohitsugi (ranked 90), and even if he didn’t master it entirely (using only a third of its initial power), it was enough to neutralize fellow captain Sajin Komamura. When he used the spell at full power, he was able to distort time and space due to the gravitational field it created. Without the power gained from his mastery of Jinzen, Ichigo would probably not have been able to break the finalized spell. In another demonstration of his power on a grand scale, Aizen used the spell Raikōhō (ranked 63rd) against Isshin Kurosaki, inflicting a fatal lightning attack to the latter’s stomach, then generating a huge thundering shockwave that emitted sounds as powerful as the light it produced, illuminating the entire area. Aizen understands the mechanics of the Kidō perfectly, enabling him to effortlessly block spells cast by other masters, such as Kisuke Urahara. He has trained himself to be able to detect normally invisible cracks in a Kidō spell that might be mixed with a Bakudō spell, enabling him not only to avoid the consequences should he come into contact with the seal, but also to easily dispel the initial impact of the Kidō. However, the most useful application of this understanding lies in his ability to alter the spiritual composition and structure of his Kidō spells. Turning a Haien into a formless gas that releases intense heat and incinerates everything it touches, or transforming the Kurohitsugi into an invincible spear that nothing can divert from its trajectory once thrown, or being able to block it with his power, are all feats within the scope of Aizen’s power.

Bakudō Prouesse

Like his calm, composed nature, this is reflected in the unwavering solidity of his Bakudō spells. They are powerful and resolute, almost unbreakable except for the most powerful attacks. This is demonstrated routinely by the use of the Dankū spell (ranked 81). A significant example is when this spell was used to block another Kidō attack launched by Tessai Tsukabishi, who was the captain of the Kidō Corps and probably the most skilled Kidō master in Soul Society at the time, while Aizen was still only a lieutenant. Aizen’s barriers not only demonstrate their defensive power against other Kidō spells. Aizen used the defensive El Escudo spell to counter the sneak attack of Shunsui Kyōraku’s Shikai blade, an attack that would have been enough to neutralize any other target, but proved totally useless against Aizen’s Bakudō. Like Kamui, who uses shields of similar caliber and also incorporates them into his Hadō, Aizen can rearrange the spiritual structure of his spells to produce far more powerful defensive or trapping effects. For example, he can transform Dankū’s flat form into a three-dimensional sphere that protects his body against all kinds of attacks. He can also add a delay effect to his spells, as well as a repeat effect, allowing a spell to activate a second time after its first use to take an opponent by surprise.

Master of the guards

Despite his overwhelming power, Aizen is a tactical fighter who doesn’t enter combat without taking the necessary precautions, even if they might seem superfluous. He is capable of producing continuous, powerful spells to protect himself during combat, such as the Millon Escudo spell. He has proved both effective and opportunistic, able to completely block the power of a Bankai Tenshō-style Getsuga without giving up the slightest inch of ground. Since his fight with Ichigo and Urahara’s stalking, Aizen has taken further steps to ensure that he can no longer be taken by surprise due to his own carelessness. He claims to have placed a large number of pupils on his body, although the exact nature and precise quantity of these pupils remain unknown. It is assumed that he does not keep this number constant, but adds pupils to his body before a confrontation according to the number he deems necessary in the event of a catastrophic scenario.

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