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|“||No one stands on the top of the world. Not you, not me, not even gods. But the unbearable vacancy of the throne in the sky is over. From now on... I will be sitting on it.||„|
|~ Aizen to Ukitake|
|“||I suppose it is only to be expected. You have my pity. There is no such thing as 'truth' or 'lies' in this world; there never has been. There is only plain, hard facts. And yet, all beings who exist in this world take only those 'facts' that are convenient to them, and take them to be the 'truth'. They do so because they know no other way to live. However, for those powerless beings that make up the majority of this world it is those 'facts' that are inconvenient for their own self-affirmation that make up the real 'truth'.||„|
|~ Aizen to Ichigo Kurosaki.|
Sōsuke Aizen is the overall secondary antagonist of the anime/mange series, Bleach, serving as the original main antagonist of the majority of the series.
Aizen served the Gotei 13 as the captain of the 5th Division, until he revealed himself to be a traitor and abandoned the Soul Society. Following his betrayal, Aizen managed to obtain the Hogyoku and planned to use it to create the Ōken from the souls of Karakura Town, using it to kill the Soul King and recreate life under his image.
He is voiced by Shō Hayami in the Japanese dubbed version of the anime, and Kyle Hebert in the English dubbed version, the former of whom also voices Enrico Maxwell.
Aizen is completely calm and cold, having a very polite and knowledgeable manner about him and rarely showing an signs of alarm. He often tries to make small talk with his enemies so as to anger them. Aizen has an extremely cruel and dangerously manipulative nature, caring nothing for any of his subordinates and to him, they are all just pawns for him to use. He states that he doesn't have any morals, saying they just restrict his capabilities.
Aizen will stop at nothing to complete his plans and thinks of long and complex (as well as somewhat convoluted) plans. He often toys with his subordinates and controls his forces through respect, intimidation, fear, and mind games with only Gin being able to figure out Aizen's emotions. Aizen’s objective is to overthrow the Spirit King and states that he seeks to “stand in the heavens and end the unbearable vacancy on the world’s throne”. After mastering the Hogyoku, Aizen seems to have become less cautious in battle and has more of a severe superiority complex. He does not think through his moves as much and believes that he is above Shinigami and Hollows. His intelligence and attitude make Aizen easily angered when heis fighting something he does not understand.
Powers and AbilitiesGenius Intellect: Arguably, the most fearsome trait of Aizen is his tremendous intellect. He is well-versed in the history, strategy, and tactics of Soul Society, and is privy to knowledge unknown to many, such as the existence of the Ōken and its method of creation. He has created several Hollows and Arrancar while avoiding any suspicion from the majority of Soul Society. For over 110 years, he had been engaging in experiments involving unique and highly dangerous manipulations of Reiryoku and Reishi, including experiments involving the Hollowfication of Shinigami, something which had never been done before. He has an innate knowledge of the Hōgyoku, rivaling that of its creator, Kisuke Urahara, even knowing how to destroy it. He figured out the true nature of Shinji Hirako's Shikai, allowing him to counter its effect. He effectively deduces the true nature of the Hōgyoku via trial and error of the situations which revolve around it.
- Master Manipulator: Aizen has proven himself very crafty and a cunning man since his public betrayal of Soul Society. He can deceive and manipulate others around him in different ways for a variety of purposes. For years, he convinced everyone around him he was a kind-hearted man with the best intentions for Soul Society while performing horrific actions. He has a great talent for analyzing and observing everything in his presence, allowing him to understand a person's pattern of thinking and better manipulate them. He can formulate well thought out plans several steps ahead of others, some of which have a long term in mind. His most well-known plan spans over 110 years, a great accomplishment which involved moving people around like pieces on a chessboard and making sure they played the role he had planned out for them. He is masterful at plans within plans, such as kidnapping Orihime, allowing him to use her abilities to extend the shelf life of the Hōgyoku and lure many of his enemies into Hueco Mundo to trap them, making it easier for him to accomplish the goal invading the Royal Palace. He can shatter the will of others. He has unnaturally high charisma, enabling him to gain the trust and loyalty of others and gaining significant influence over others.
- Master Strategist & Tactician: Aizen has proven himself to be a flawless and flexible tactician, adjusting seamlessly to any given situation, if not planning out events well in advance. He understands the strengths, weaknesses and mannerisms of his enemies, and creates strategies to achieve victory; this includes modifying an Arrancar for the sole purpose of defeating Captain-Commander Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto, a Shinigami whose abilities surpass his own. Aizen is highly cautious, and leaves no blind spots. He is capable of consciously focusing, and being fully aware of multiple people, dangers, locations, tasks, etc., and processing all of it at once without any trouble or confusion. He can notice, process and understand any/all details of any situation or environment no matter how small, allowing him to intuitively understand and solve any problem or situation no matter how difficult or impossible it may be.
- Shunpo Master: Aizen is so fast, opponents commonly cannot discern even being attacked by him until after it has taken place. Aizen can dodge simultaneous attacks at close-range and even when being attacked from behind.
- Immense Strength: Aizen is strong enough to stop the blade of Ichigo's Bankai with just one index finger and almost cut him in half with a single sword strike. He stopped Renji Abarai's Shikai with his bare hand and broke it with one swing, injuring Renji in the process. He stopped Komamura's Shikai with his bare hand, proving his strength is more than enough to combat someone of the same level.
- Immortality: Aizen attained immortality and nigh-indestructibility, he kept regenerating himself no matter the damage, resulting in the necessity to seal him away deep in the underground prison. After being hit by Ichigo's Mugetsu, Aizen restores from the damage. He is later confirmed by Central 46 to having been left immortal by his interaction with the Hōgyoku.
Aizen possesses immense spiritual power, even for a captain-level Soul Reapers. He possesses incredible intellect, having knowledge on many things and high craftiness and cunning. Aizen is extremely skilled at manipulating others and always thinks a few steps ahead of his opponent and thinking out incredibly detailed plans with many steps. Aizen is able to adjust to any kind of situation in battle and has a great understanding of his foes, thus he can prepare to deal with them. Like all Soul Reapers, his primary weapon is his Zanpakutō, Kyōka Suigetsu, and he can activate and deactivate its Shikai ability with the release command, “Shatter”. Its ability is the power to completely hypnotize the opponent, controlling their senses so Aizen can create a variety of illusions to trick them.
To hypnotize the person, they have to see the release of Kyoka Suigetsu and from then on, the person will be completely under the hypnosis’ power. The influence of Kyoka Suigetsu can last for years as seen with the Visoreds, who were first hypnotized 110 years ago. The hypnosis can even affect the person if they are aware that they are being manipulated by it. However those with great power and ability can notice slight differences in the illusions, even if they can’t determine what they are. The only way to avoid being controlled by Kyoka Suigetsu is to touch the blade before its hypnosis power is activated. It is presumed that since Aizen is a captain, he can release the Bankai form of Kyoka Suigetsu, but he has never been seen using it. However, after his evolution prior to his capture, Kyoka Suigetsu corrodes away as his Zanpakuto's power has become a part of him. With the Hogyoku planted in his chest, it regenerates all of Aizen’s wounds and increases his strength and durability.
After his first transformation by the Hōgyoku, Aizen is in his “chrysalis” stage, possessing higher spiritual power, and increased strength, durability, and speed. After finishing his “chrysalis” stage, Aizen was even harder to harm, destroying the Kōtotsu by just having it collide with him, and even higher spiritual power, able to destroy souls just by being around them. In his third form, Aizen had greater strength and could teleport by breaking into shards, then reforming elsewhere. After transforming for the last time, he has a much more Hollow-like appearance and can fire powerful energy spheres from the skulls on his wings, as well as surround his opponent with an energy ring to destroy them.
- Aizen can be compared to Christianity's Lucifer in various decrees: The first is that both originally served a greater power before acting on their own whims to take control of reality. The second connection is that they manipulate others, gathering armies to aid in their endeavorsand, being sealed away after the coup failed. Lastly, Aizen's final form resembles the humanoid version of Lucifer's Red Dragon form from the Book of Revelation as painted by William Blake.
- The background music used in Aizen's final battle with Ichigo, Lucifer's Dance Parte B when he assumes his final form and Cometh the Hour Part A when sealed by Kisuke, are borrowed from the Hellverse movie.