So, despite being extremely content with Naruto Shippuden as my favorite of the Big 3, I started Bleach because I ‘liked the soundtrack’. However, that is a lie because the real reason I did was because of my massive crush on Sōsuke Aizen. Look, I was a teenager. The villains were starting to appeal to my ‘inner darkness’ or whatever edgy thing I thought I had and Aizen was a very cool character. And he got OP (Overpowered) fast.
What was the secret to Aizen getting so strong in the first place? I’d like to think multiple factors aided in his power levels rising, but mainly it was because he was just a very clever individual. He was a very charismatic person who was constantly experimenting with souls and learning from those around him. Couple that with his impressive Reiatsu, or spiritual prowess, and you have a formidable opponent that doesn’t stop getting better.
But Bleach is filled with characters like that. Hell, the main protagonist of the series, Ichigo Kurasaki, is one of them. Character growth is directly linked to how you mature going through the series because simple power alone won’t get you through the somewhat politically charged battles in it. Bleach, for all the flack it gets, did have a huge focus on how smart you can be in a fight, and sometimes everything came down to the wire solely because your opponent was much more cunning than you.
But even amongst characters like that, Aizen just stands out based on his sheer skill and intellect alone. It’s frankly amazing to see how he was a cut above the rest. Also, I think he was Ichigo’s greatest foe. Like, I’m sorry but his character arc is so much better than anyone else’s, and that’s exactly what we’ll discuss in today’s segment of Character Analysis – where we take your favorite characters and break them down to see what made them so iconic. Today, it’s the former captain of the Gotei 13!
Dangerously Smart: Sōsuke Aizen’s Greatest Strength?
Let’s get this one out of the way because it is arguably what makes Aizen so memorable. Aizen, for all his evil scheming and power, would’ve been a pretty standard villain if it wasn’t for how ‘un-villain like’ he was.
Like, despite his coding as the antagonist of the series, Aizen is an incredibly mature and charismatic person. He was often touted to be very soft-spoken despite being a senior official in Soul Society and well-loved by the juniors around him. He was also known for keeping a level head during the most strenuous of situations, further currying favor with those around him.
In reality, he was deeply manipulative and a master tactician, planning nearly 10 steps ahead of anyone that came his way. This is how he was smart enough to not rouse any suspicion towards his extracurricular activities of raising hell while pretending to be a well-respected captain, looked up to by the likes of Momo Hinamori.
Aizen’s intellect when it came to strategizing and fear-mongering was his biggest asset, for sure.
Near Infinite Spiritual Reserves:
I mean, being intelligent means a lot but it doesn’t hurt to be an incredibly skilled spell caster on the side. If you’re planning to overthrow the King of Soul Society, you need more than just brains.
Even amongst captains, Aizen’s Reiryoku, or spiritual reserves and heightened sensitivity, were legendary. It was not unheard of for individuals to have immense spiritual power, but Aizen was on another level. He had nearly twice that of many high-ranking members of Soul Society, being able to go up against multiple opponents at once and coming out the victor.
Marechiyo Ōmaeda, who was the lieutenant of the 2nd Division, had even remarked that just Aizen’s presence alone was so overwhelming at times, because of how much energy he radiated. Add to that his insane super strength and the fact that he was virtually immortal after fusing with the Hōgyoku, and you have someone that is honestly frightening to face in battle.
Kyōka Suigetsu: A Beast Amongst Spiritual Weapons!
But of course, what is a Shinigami without his blade? Weapon mastery is important to those in the business because the Zanpakutō is your main weapon against errant souls. And, of course, Aizen is no different in that regard.
His sword, the Kyōka Suigetsu, may look like your average Katana but that is until you get to its secret ability. Kanzen Saimin is a straight-up brainwashing technique, which can hypnotize opponents into thinking that their ally is their enemy. So, throwing off anyone going up against it. This is an extremely useful skill to have when fighting a crowd and Aizen knows it.
Of course, that doesn’t mean he can only use the sword for its tricks. Let’s not forget that the man also happens to be a highly skilled swordsman. Truly, is there nothing that Aizen can’t do?