Sosuke Aizen’s importance for Bleach cannot be overstated. Despite being a villain, Aizen has done so much for the series’ popularity that he is, rightfully, one of its most important and enduring characters. He fought against his fellow Shinigami, only to ultimately help them defeat Yhwach in the end, before being returned to the Muken to serve out the rest of his sentence. Aizen was an exceptionally powerful character, and in this article, we are going to tell you what he actually was.
Aizen is undoubtedly a Soul, i.e., a Shinigami, and that is his true nature; he is significantly more powerful than even the above-average Shinigami, but he is still just a Shinigami. His Reiatsu is so powerful that even Yhwach considered him to be a Special Threat because of that. He was, at one point, powered up by the Hogyoku and became a special being that combined Hollow Reiatsu with that of a Shinigami, but that did not change his true nature in that aspect, and once the Hogyoku was removed, Aizen reverted back to his normal self, unlike the truly Hollowfied Visored, who were unable to get rid of the Hollowfication.
The rest of this article will, of course, tell the story of Sosuke Aizen to you. You will find out what happened to him, how he changed throughout the story, and why people are actually wondering about him and his true nature. This article will provide you with all the necessary details about Aizen and the changes that happened to him throughout the series, so this article will serve as a comprehensive and detailed guide to the issue at hand. Of course, some spoilers will be present, so we’re warning you beforehand so that you can adapt your approach on time.
Aizen’s evolution as a character could be described in three phases, but he has and will always remain a Shinigami
For fans of Bleach, Sosuke Aizen is a well-known name. He has established himself as the best villain in the franchise thanks to his cunning and precise planning. Now that we are all aware of what happened to Aien, we can say that he betrayed Soul Society, traveled to Hueco Mundo, and assembled an army of Arrancars to overthrow the Gotei 13 and enter the Palace of the Soul King. However, Ichigo eventually stopped him with the aid of his allies, particularly Kisuke Urahara, the only person Aizen considered to be intellectually superior to himself.
He was captured in the Muken after his defeat, where his abilities were bound by strong constraints, preventing him from moving at all. He refused to join Yhwach and later even helped the Gotei 13 fight him, and was actually essential in defeating him later in the series. After that, he was returned to the Muken, where he is imprisoned up to this day.
So, Aizen’s story is truly amazing, but his evolution as a character – which will explain who and what he actually was – can be divided into three distinct phases. The first was the Aizen from the first arcs and the Turn Back the Pendulum Arc, up to the point when he fused with the Hogyoku. The second was the Hogyoku-fused Aizen with several different forms, and the final form is the current Aizen imprisoned in the Hogyoku. We are now going to go over these phases so that you can understand Aizen as a character much better.
The initial phase is the so-called “normal” Aizen. We don’t really have much to say here about him. He was a regular Shinigami, initially the Lieutenant of the 5th Division under Shinji Hirako, and then Hirako’s successor as the Captain of the 5th Division. He was already a villain at the time, experimenting with Hollowfication and trying to create his own Hogyoku, but he was also a completely normal Shinigami without any special traits, save for the fact that his Reiatsu was among the strongest in Soul Society.
In that aspect, he also looked completely normal, and while he did yearn to become someone who would surpass the level of a Shinigami by combining his powers with those of Hollows, he was still a normal guy. This is also Aizen’s true nature, as you’ll come to understand later, as he was – in his core – a Soul, i.e., a Shinigami.
Now, Aizen’s second form is the one we saw when he was in Hueco Mundo and, later, Fake Karakura. This is the Aizen that fused his Reiatsu with that of a Hollow and also the Hogyoku. Merging with the Hogyoku gave Aizen four stages of evolution, resulting in four transformations. This phenomenon shows parallels to Hollowification, although it wasn’t an exact copy of that process.
In the first stage, Aizen is surrounded by a kind of full body armor that resembles the Visored’s Hollowfication. In the second stage, this armor shatters, revealing Aizen’s new form underneath, very similar to his original form. Aizen has long hair and the typical black Hollow eyes of the Visoreds.
A huge explosion erupted when his Hogyoku was removed, and Aizen transformed for the third time. He’s grown three pairs of butterfly-like wings, has a “third eye” on his forehead, and appears to be wearing a new outfit. In his final stage, Aizen appears to be using the ability of Hollowfication, as his wings have increased in mass and Hollow masks have grown from them. His right hand is fused to his Zanpakuto, and Aizen’s overall appearance resembles a Hollow’s. However, he himself does not wear a Hollow mask but has a black face with monstrous features.
Now, at this point, Aizen truly was a combination of a Shinigami and a Hollow, but he never Hollowfied like the Visored – he simply fused all of these powers using the Hogyoku, but his core remained intact, although he could use Hollow powers. How do we know that? Well, when Urahara sealed him away, and the Hogyoku was permanently removed from him, Aizen reverted to being a regular Shinigami, which means that the core remained unchanged, while everything else was just an addition.
Finally, the imprisoned Aizen we’ve seen in the final saga… this is Aizen’s last “form,” and while he does look visually different due to all the restraints, he is essentially the same Aizen from phase one, but a lot more powerful, as he was able to increase his powers while being imprisoned. This is, once again, a Shinigami Aizen, and this is actually the final piece of evidence we needed for our conclusion.
And the conclusion is that Aizen is a Shinigami. He has been one from the start and will remain one until the franchise is completely over. He had a period when he fused his powers with Hollow Reiatsu, but he was never truly Hollowfied, which is why we can conclude and confirm that he is, indeed, a Shinigami, as we have said above.