Bleach is reaching its end point, in the anime at least and between True Bankai Ichigo VS Aizen, it’s hard to tell who would win. I mean, they haven’t had a chance to face off in this current arc yet, at least not since Ichigo fully actualised the power of his Bankai, but we can take a guess. Honestly, fans are probably just glad they’re finally getting closure to an anime that had such beloved characters, heroes and villains alike.
But if the final battle does boil down between True Bankai Ichigo VS Aizen, Ichigo Kurosaki would win even if Aizen is technically immortal. Ichigo, the protagonist, might not be able to kill Sōsuke Aizen, but he does defeat him and those two things are different. One is permanent, but impossible considering where Aizen stands in his powers right now. The other is achievable, and Aizen would simply be imprisoned for the rest of eternity. Which is where the series feels like it is headed.
I mean, if you’ve finished the Bleach manga, you already know that that is what will happen. Then again, I know there were some many Bleach enthusiasts who actually stopped right when the anime went on hiatus, the only one of the Big 3 to do so. But now Bleach is coming back with a vengeance, with Bleach: The Thousand Year Blood War being one of the most highly anticipated releases of the year. So, of course, seeing Ichigo reach the heights we were waiting on all those years ago is an event everyone is going to be tuning in for.
And with Aizen being possibly one of the best overarching villains in Shounen, the showdown between him and Ichigo is one that you just can’t help but be interested in. Especially now, when Ichigo has reached his final form. Or well, one of them. You can never be sure of that in a Shounen series! So today, let’s see if True Bankai Ichigo holds up against Aizen in another segment of Character Versus!
Sōsuke Aizen: An Intelligent And Immortal Predator?
So, I hope this is a safe space because I’m going to come out and say it: Aizen was the worst person for a younger me to have a crush on. Initially lulled into this false sense of security, we learn that the former captain of the 5th Division wasn’t the altruistic and compassionate man we had grown accustomed to.
Instead, Sōsuke Aizen is a cruel but calculating man who is uncaring about how Soul Society functions. Instead he wanted to be the one who overthrew the Soul King and became the new ruler. And to do that, he manipulated everyone, to whatever means he could. So, it’s not surprising to see that he probably limited how much power he showed while still pretending to be on the good side. Now, however, we know very well that Aizen is the commander of the Arrancar because everyone around him fears him.
Aizen is far too collected when it comes to fighting, and is very secure in the strength that he holds, especially after he acquired his newest powers. However, the thing that truly sets him apart from the other Shinigami is his intellect. Out of anyone in the series, it is Aizen who is the most intelligent, cunning to the point of it being unfair. He plans for things in a way that they always, always fall into place, and his manipulation tactics are what allow him to slink his way through and get what he needs.
That isn’t to say that Sōsuke Aizen isn’t a capable Soul Reaper. It’s because he is so well-versed in the history of Soul Society, and the techniques passed down, that he has grown as an opponent. He is a tactical genius, utilizing his skills in Kidō and Shunpo to their fullest extent. And that is without mentioning his finesse as a master swordsman, wielding his Zanpakutō in a manner that is near unrivaled. Named Kyōka Suigetsu, it appears as a simple katana, but has the ability to cause complete hypnosis.
And even if you could somehow get a hit on Aizen, it doesn’t matter. Because no blow would be able to kill him, thanks to his newfound immortality when he fused his body with that of the Hōgyoku. And now he is neither human, nor Shinigami and not even a Hollow. Instead, he’s transcended into a being with no equal.
Ichigo Kurosaki: Powered By The True Bankai!
So, obviously Ichigo isn’t exactly a pushover either. As the protagonist of Bleach, Ichigo Kurosaki rightfully holds a lot of power. And it is ultimately his journey of reclaiming his heritage, a perfect merger of Hollow and Shinigami, not unlike Aizen. But his evolution is also completely different, more of a unity of the best qualities of both Soul Reaper and Quincy versus elevation.
But that also means that Ichigo was always meant to be better than the rest of the Shinigami around him. Even if he got into the game late, Ichigo was already full of potential that was just waiting to be realized. So, when he did get a chance to further his skills, he did so with all his might. That is, after all, his role as the main character, to grow stronger and stronger with each win and even each defeat. And he refuses to use underhanded tricks, relying on a strict sense of honor to gain victory.
Ichigo is also an anomaly. As a Gemischt Quincy, he can use Quincy powers such as a Heilig Bogen and also earn a Zanpakutō later on, because he chose to be a Shinigami like his father, even if he isn’t fully dead. But then, he also has powers of a Hollow, because his mother was infected by the ‘White’, which enables him to bring forth both a Hollow Mask and also manifest a Fullbring. The amount of adaptability and potential that Ichigo has shown so far is beyond anyone else in the series, with him encapsulating some quality of every supernatural race that he has encountered so far.
So, is it any surprise that his True Bankai form holds more power than any we’ve seen so far? His Bankai is known as the Tense Zengetsu, and it’s already a pretty formidable weapon in its base form. Appearing as a giant sword, it is wielded by Ichigo like he was born with it. However, it’s when his Shikai evolved into using an enhanced version of the Getsuga Tenshō, which essentially breaks the time-space continuum? Okay, not really but it is freaky.
When True Bankai Ichigo faced off against Yhwach, he used the Getsuga Tenshō in a way where it felt like it was bringing the impossible into reality, quite literally warping things into the unknown. And this effect was so strong, that it actually did manage to kill Yhwach. Of course, he did end up reversing his demise, but to have the power to change the very surroundings is so surreal.
However, Ichigo is still a novice compared to Aizen. Whereas Aizen has been honing his craft for decades now, Ichigo only learned the truth of his heritage a few years ago, if that. But what Ichigo lacks in experience, he makes up for in dedication.
Winner: True Bankai Ichigo (Because He’s Already Won In The Manga)
So, this isn’t surprising. After all, True Bankai Ichigo VS Aizen meant that Aizen would lose. And in the manga, Aizen does not die but he is defeated because he chose to underestimate just how much Ichigo has grown. And that blindspot is what sealed the deal, with Ichigo swooping in to turn the tables and capturing him. When Aizen is tried, he is sentenced to nearly 19000 years in Central 48.
However, Ichigo makes sure that he is kept in the 8th Prison, known as Muken, which is also the most underground level. This means Aizen will never escape to torment the residents of Soul Society or otherwise. However, as we all know, that doesn’t remain the case. Tite Kubo has been working on post-ending content for Bleach for a while now, featuring Ichigo’s son with Orihime Inoue. And Aizen just might play a part yet.
That is all to say that, yes. True Bankai Ichigo is the winner against Aizen, and that is simply facts. Sorry, Aizen stans, the big bad villain doesn’t get the win of the day!