Sōsuke Aizen was the main villain in Bleach before the appearance of Yhwach and since a lot of people never read the manga beyond the events of the anime, Aizen remains in the collective memory of a lot of Bleach fans as the ultimate villain of the series. He was defeated by the combined efforts of the Gotei 13, the Vizoreds, Urahara and his allies, and, of course, Ichigo Kurosaki; all of them contributed to Aizen’s downfall in one way or the other. In this article, though, we are going to focus on Ichigo’s final duel with Aizen in Soul Society, after everyone – save for Urahara – was down. You’re going to find out who won, how and why he managed to win, and in which episode it happened.
Ichigo Kurosaki managed to defeat Aizen after unlocking the Saigo no Getsuga Tenshō, with the help of his father and Zangetsu. This move cost him his powers but it was enough to rob Aizen of his powers at that point, which was enough for Urahara’s Kidō to kick in and seal Aizen. After that, he was sentenced and imprisoned by the Central 46.
The rest of this article is going to answer four crucial questions. You’re going to find out all the details related to the fight between Aizen and Ichigo, which you will see presented in four separate sections. Everything you ever wanted to know about this fight will be available in our article and that is why this article is going to contain a lot of spoilers so be careful how you approach it.
Ichigo vs. Aizen: Who won?
The answer to our first question is quick and simple. As every Bleach fan knows by now, Ichigo was able to defeat Aizen and thus save Soul Society from destruction. Aizen’s megalomania came to an end there and although Ichigo sacrificed a lot, he ultimately managed to defeat Aizen, which enabled Urahara to seal him with his Kidō.
How and why did Ichigo defeat Aizen?
After an exhausting fight with Isshin, Aizen begins to transform through the Hōgyoku, whereupon Kisuke suddenly arrives and attacks Aizen. Aizen and Kisuke then talk about the Hōgyoku and after some back and forth, and after Kisuke has tried to defeat Aizen with various Kidō spells or to seal his powers and his Reiatsu, Aizen releases the true powers he gained by merging with the Hōgyoku.
His appearance changes completely and there is no trace of Aizen anymore, save for his cold and arrogant manner. This transformation gives him new strength and he takes up the fight with the two again. Later, Yoruichi suddenly appears and attacks Aizen from above. However, this attack was also ineffective and Aizen managed to destroy part of Yoruichi’s armor instead.
Isshin, Kisuke and Yoruichi then attack Aizen together. But Aizen was able to survive even Isshin’s Getsuga Tenshō almost without a scratch and then quickly defeated him, Kisuke, and Yoruichi. He then asks Gin to open a Senkaimon as his body shell begins to crumble and the union with the Hōgyoku is complete. Together with Gin he then enters Dangai, the intermediate world between Soul Society and the human world.
There he easily destroys the Kōtotsu. Arriving in Soul Society, Aizen meets Tatsuki Arisawa and Keigo Asano a little later, both of whom he identifies as friends of Ichigo Kurosaki. In order to increase Ichigo’s power, Aizen now wants to kill his friends. Keigo escapes, but Tatsuki is helpless. Shortly thereafter, Don Kanonji tries to attack Aizen, but is stopped at the last moment by Rangiku Matsumoto.
Gin then disappears with his old acquaintance to talk to her, or rather to calm her down, which is what happens then. When Gin then rejoins Aizen, who is about to kill Tatsuki and Ichigo’s other friends, Gin stops him. Gin stands in front of Aizen and touches Kyōka Suigetsu’s blade with his hand. Then Gin tells that this is exactly the only way to escape Kanzen Saimin, the total hypnosis.
Gin then activates his Shinsō, promptly attacks him with it, and stabs him in the chest. Aizen seems surprised at first and says that something like that couldn’t kill him and that Gin knows that as well as he does. Gin then explains the special ability of his Zanpakutō. When he explained it to Ichigo back then, Gin lied, it’s not as fast or as long as he said it was, but injects a toxin that dissolves the cells that make up the body.
Gin then activates his Bankai, Kamishini no Yari, and everything around the Hōgyoku in Aizen’s chest begins to dissolve, revealing the Hōgyoku and Gin grabs it. Aizen then falls to the ground and with a loud scream, he seems to explode. A bright pillar of light rises in the midst of the city of Karakura and Aizen appears in his third form. He has three pairs of wings and his body is again completely closed.
He promptly teleports to Gin and points out to him that it’s no use as he is still connected to the Hōgyoku even though it’s no longer in his body, and then attacks him. Gin fights off Aizen’s attack, who grabs his arm and rips it off. Finally, Aizen stabs him again and then throws Gin through a nearby wall. Tatsuki and Don Kanonji, who now have to watch the spectacle, fall to the ground due to the spiritual pressure and only Keigo is able to stay upright.
As Gin lies motionless in the rubble, Rangiku Matsumoto reappears to mourn her dying childhood friend. However, she doesn’t notice that Aizen is meanwhile standing behind her. Unexpectedly, Ichigo appears behind Aizen with the unconscious Isshin on his shoulder. Since Aizen can’t feel Ichigo’s Reiatsu, he thinks his development failed. However, Ichigo surprises him by grabbing his face and throwing him to a secluded spot.
Aizen’s confidence in victory remains intact even when he realizes that Ichigo “threw his Reiatsu off” and it enhanced his physical abilities. As their blades cross, a mountain is swept away, and Aizen thinks it’s his doing. However, after Ichigo presented his superiority, the latter explained that it wasn’t Aizen’s doing but rather his own. Aizen then becomes very angry, which has never happened before, and he transforms for the fourth time.
His entire face has now changed, his right hand has merged with his Zanpakutō, and Aizen’s wings are additionally given cero-shooting hollow masks. With renewed power, he hits Ichigo hard, but Ichigo is unimpressed and uses the Final Getsuga Tenshō. Ichigo takes on a new form called Mugetsu, in which he himself becomes Getsuga.
Aizen is frustrated that Ichigo was able to become one with his Zanpakutō despite exceeding the limits of a Shinigami himself. Aizen is attacked immediately and the final attack has devastating consequences. Aizen survives thanks to his high-speed regeneration but gradually transforms back into his second form.
Ichigo lost his powers from the Final Getsuga Tenshō and is now unable to continue fighting. Sōsuke Aizen takes the opportunity in front of him and wants to end the fight. His Kyōka Suigetsu gradually disappears, leading Aizen to believe that Hōgyoku feels he doesn’t need it anymore. Before Aizen can kill him, however, Ichigo is saved by Kisuke Urahara, because a sealing Kidō from him begins to take effect.
This is one of the spells that had already been recited by Urahara in the fight against Aizen, in Fake Karakura Town. Believing a Kidō spell cannot seal him, Aizen transforms back into a shinigami. Urahara explains to him that the Hōgyoku no longer accepts him as its master. Sōsuke is now angry that someone with Kisuke’s intellect is working for the King.
Aizen doesn’t believe in the logic of a loser, but that a winner must always think about how the world should be, not how it is. The seal is complete and Ichigo looks away. After the fight, Kisuke explains that his fate will be decided by the Central 46. Likewise, Ichigo tells Urahara that when Zangetsu and Kyōka Suigetsu crossed blades, he felt that Aizen had been very powerful since birth and that Aizen wished for a person of equal strength next to him; however, he gave up this hope.
This is why Ichigo suspects that Aizen wished from the bottom of his heart to lose his powers and that Hōgyoku granted that wish. Aizen sits tied to a chair and with one eye covered in front of the Central 46, where it has been decided that he should be banished to the eighth level (Muken) of the underground prison for 18,800 years. However, Aizen reacts calmly and cheekily to this verdict, which is why they also cover his mouth and the other eye and increase the sentence to 20,000 years.
In which episode does Ichigo defeat Aizen?
The final moments of the battle we have described above happened in Episode 309 of the Bleach anime, which was titled “Fierce Fighting Conclusion! Release, the Final Getsuga Tenshō!”. This episode showed Aizen’s demise and the effects of Urahara’s Kidō. The episode was adapted from the pages of Chapter 421, which was titled “DEICIDE23”.