Oh, boy. What have I gotten myself into here.
I have consciously decided to discuss the main villain of Bleach (for 48 volumes!), and in turn, discuss his master plan:
But if I don't do it, who will?!
Let me get on thing out on the open, first. Overall.....I did not like Aizen as a villain. Any enjoyment I ever got out of him doing evil things was because of his unintentional trolling. Or...at least I hope it was unintentional.
I'll have to start from the beginning, I suppose. I'll go over things in depth.
Aizen's first appearance was at the Captains' meeting in the Soul Society, where everyone is alarmed at the ryoka making an appearance, and that Gin couldn't stop ol' Ichigo.
After that, he and Gin share a word commenting on things to come, and he goes off. In the middle of night, his vice-captain Hinamori Momo shows up to talk with him, and Aizen invites her to come inside his abode.
Aizen to all of Soul Society at this point is a gentle, kind captain that wears thick glasses and has a mist-based zanpakutou. Good times, lalalala-
Until! Aizen is found the next day as a bloodied corpse. He's pinned to a wall, and a bunch of vice-captains find him in this state. Overcome with grief, Momo accuses Gin and goes to attack him, only to be blocked by Kira and stopped by Hitsugaya.
You know the scoop, guys. While the investigation is taking place, everyone in on edge and Ichigo and his friends continue in their quest to save Rukia.
And.....Aizen's "death" is something I have to give Kubo credit for. The aspect of the murder mystery amiss an invasion made the Soul Society arc as a whole a lot less linear. How could we see something like that coming?
Momo, in her hysteria, is locked up, and still in grief. Then she discovers the letter implying Hitsugaya was responsible for her captain's death.........
Aizen is "dead" while the other stuff goes on; Ishida fights Mayuri, Ichigo tangles with Ikkaku, Renji, Kenpachi, and Byakuya......until!
Aizen then shows up at the Central 46 chamber, much to Hitsugaya's utter and complete shock. He was supposed to be dead! And what's more, the members themselves have been dead for days! The icing on the cake is that Hitsu even spots the wounded Hinamori on the floor.
To Aizen, the only person being his vice-captain was Gin and Gin alone.
Beyond pissed, Hitsugaya screams and activates his Bankai, intending to make Aizen pay for what he's done. He managed to stab through......until it's revealed to be an illusion. Hitsu is then cut down and defeated.
.....Let's stop here for ONE second, people. Aizen just managed to one shot a Bankai. Yes, it's widely accepted Hitsugaya is the weakest Captain, but even still:
He one-shotted a Bankai. He fodderized someone that can release a zanpakutou to its highest form.
Without trying, no else. He chilled out, let Hitsugaya fall for his trap, and beat him. This means that Aizen.....is seriously powerful.
Making a snide remark, the man with the plan is then interrupted by Unohana and Isane. The former suspected foul play, that his "corpse" was off, but Aizen reveals the cold hard truth and releases his Shikai.
Not only does this completely control the five senses of the target, once they see the release, they're stuck under the the complete hypnosis indefinitely, and only Aizen can will it to end.
Now.....this is a problem for me.
There's many different powers in the many medias of fiction, and a lot of them overlap. But...there's nothing more daunting than any powers revolving around illusions. Know Naruto? Genjutsus and Sharingans? Infamous for their endless limits and persistency? I'm just saying, Kubo needs to tread carefully. Who likes a broken power?
As Aizen speaks, Tousen intercepts Renji and Rukia, and takes them back to Sokyoku Hill. Great going, Renji, you ass. You failed Ichigo's long-term goal in a span of a second!
Aizen and Gin eventually get away and the former demands Rukia's Hogyoku-filled soul.
Renji refuses, prompting Aizen to not only taunt him, he smashes his Shikai with ease, and when Bankai Ichigo jumps in to assist, he cuts down the both of them again, with little effort. From there, he drags Rukia away and explains the story to Ichigo:
a) Aizen knew Ichigo and his friends would try to rescue Rukia, and that they would arrive via West Rukongai. He sent Gin to deal with their first intrusion with Jidanbo. The Sekai Sekai gate would fall, meaning the only way to get was through Kukaku's cannon, again something Aizen knew.
b) Everything has a limit to their power, but the Hogyoku can break that limit and blur the line between Shinigami and Hollow, turning one into the other and vice versa. Aizen had tried to Shinigami-fy Hollows in secret, but failed.
Wait.....how would he know they would arrive via West Rukongai? Oh, because Aizen says that's where Urahara's power base is.
Aizen: "You guys work for Urahara Kisuke, right"?
Let's not forget point C:
c) Urahara made the Hogyoku but could not destroy it. So he decided to hide it within the protective layer of a person's soul (Rukia being the unwilling victim), where it would slowly turn the target into a human, prevent them from getting their powers back, and concealing the location of the Hogyoku.
Now that's kinda dickish. What did Rukia do to Urahara to earn such a punishment?
Apparently Urahara was exilled from Soul Society for making an untraceable gigai. ....I'll get to THAT later on.
In the middle of his speech, Komamura jumps in with Shikai and tries to stop Aizen. Naturally, if he learned anything this arc, is that Aizen will beat you with zero effort.
Koma is shut down with a single Kido spell.
Hang on. Aizen managed to beat, at this point:
All four of these people charged in recklessly, so maybe that's the running theme here. Aizen did use Shikai on Hitsu, but didn't for the other three. So....even in base form, he's super-strong.
We then learn Aizen did, in fact, murder the Central 46. He, Gin, and Tousen all took shifts and gave out orders in their name, to not only sentence Rukia to death but to push up the date of her execution.
Using more Urahara technology, the mastermind extracts the Hogyoku, and with no more use for Rukia, orders Gin to kill her. Byakuya takes the hit.
The Gotei, Orihime, Uryu, Chad, Kukaku, Jidanbo, and Yoruichi all appear to stop Aizen, Gin, and Tousen.....but to no avail. The Negacion takes the three of them away just as a horde of Menos peek out of a Garganta.
Ukitake presses Aizen to get answers for his crimes, but Aizen simply smiles and announces he will stand above everyone else. Smashing his glasses and changing his hair, Aizen officially goes from:
"Nice" Aizen ->>>>> "Evil Genius" Aizen
Now, let's take a step back. Kubo has changed things up here. I'm sure we all thought Byakuya/the Gotei were going to be the final villains, but now Aizen has defected and is now the focus.
Between wondering what he will do and Ichigo's new Hollow powers, Bleach has a reason to continue. And hey! Aizen may seem bland and mysterious now, but maybe we'll learn his backstory, and maybe he'll be an interesting villain!
Yeah, like that will happen.
Before I continue, exactly why did Gin and Tousen join up with him? Gin....well, he's sneaky and a serious wildcard. Who knows what's he's thinking.
But Tousen is supposed be the voice of "justice". Aizen has betrayed a military force and now opposes the spirtual defenders of the universe. He's either a major hypocrite or a fucking idiot.
Bah, what does it matter? Tousen sucks either way.
Also....here's something very important to note. Kubo revealed in an interview that he thought of the Aizen being evil plan right on the spot. He didn't plan it out. Just came up with it on a whim. Much like the structure of the Gotei 13 (remember Byakuya didn't have his haori when he retrieved Rukia from Karakura?) when the Soul Society arc began. Now, there's nothing wrong with doing that, but "Kubo" and "planning" aren't words you see in a sentence, unless the phrase "lack of" is between them. I just want to make all of you alert to his thought process at this point. Trust me, it'll go somewhere.....
Let's move on, to the Arrancar arc!
So what exactly is Aizen going to do, now that he's defected? We see him with Hueco Mundo-based clothes, but Hitsugaya reveals later on (in Ichigo's house) that Aizen plans to use the Hogyoku to turn Hollows into Arrancar.
Arrancar are Hollows that remove most of their mask to obtain a zanpakutou and a Shinigami style of combat. Their regular Hollow forms are stored in said zanpakutou.
But....why? Surely there's a bigger motive. Hmm....
(watch from 1:14 to 7:50)
Did you get all of that? Let's break it down.
1) Aizen wants to get to the Spirit King of Soul Society, kill him, and take his spot.
2) To get to the Spirit King, he needs the Oken.
3) To get the Oken, he needs to sacrifice 100,000 souls and a half spirit-mile of spiritually enriched land, or where spirits gather the most in the Living World.
Karakura Town is the only place that fills the criteria. Therefore....to accomplish his goal, Aizen will need to destroy Karakura Town and committ genocide to its residents.
Holy crap. So that's why he's making Arrancar....to build an army to crush his opposition into becoming God. And in four months, when the Hogyoku is ready, he can act.....in the winter.
Okay, I'll give Aizen for having such an ambition-filled goal.....it's not the most original (to become God, seriously?), but I'm a staunt believer in putting execution before the idea itself.
Question is.....why? Why does Aizen want to be God? Hm. Will we learn such an important fact, Kubo-sensei?
Moving on, Aizen, in his throne, orders Yammy and Ulquiorra to go to Karakura Town and study Ichigo. They overwhelm the Strawberry, yadda yadda....
But as you recall in the Orihime post, Aizen is definitely interested when Ulquiorra shows him footage of Orihime's powers.
Other things happen: Grimmjow and his fraccion make an unauthorized visit to Karakura, Ichigo coninues to train, but after the final invasion, with Luppi, Wonderweiss, Grimmjow, Yammy, and Ulquiorra.....yeah, we know. Orihime is captured!
It can be assumed (at this point) Aizen did it because he wanted to study Orihime's powers, but he seems amused at the prospect of Team Ichigo rushing to save her:
Now, pay attention to this scene. It's the first gathering of all the Espada. 10 mega powerful Arrancar. And Aizen has managed to exert so much control over them that they're gathered civilly at a white table while tea is being served.
We already know our favorite mastermind is very powerful.....but he rules the Hollow kingdom like nobody's business. He even uses his reiatsu alone to force Grimmjow to his knees.
And like I said, Aizen isn't worried. He explains the "ryoka" situation to his followers and simply tells them to await the enemy, not seek out to destroy them.
Hm......why? Wouldn't it be easy to depose of Ichigo, Chad, and Uryu? To crush Orihime's resolve and turn her into a complacent slave? After all, Aizen wants her powers.....right?!
I'm really glad I'm not doing this arc in full. Because I don't have to worry about going over all the fights! This is when Bleach started to officially slip from its former glory, but one thing at a time, no?
So, after Ichigo and his friends nearly get themselves killed by Arrancar after Arrancar, things seem lost when Nnoitra, Szayel, Zommari, and Rudobon are closing in on everyone.
But! Ta-da! Captains Zaraki, Kurotsuchi, Kuchiki, and Unohana all show up to save the rescue team!
Four Captains have just shown up. In Aizen's fortress, ready to kill/heal. My first question is....how and why did they get in so easily? Surely Aizen wouldn't-
Huh. This WHOLE invasion was just a decoy?!
Aizen kidnaps Orihime, knowing full well that Ichigo would break the rules and attempt to rescue her.....and according to him, Soul Society's heads were aware of what Orihime's powers could so.....stealing her away would make them feel threatened.
Why? They focused on their own security, and not that of the town's residents.
.....Okay, here's a couple of problems with that.
1) Orihime was used as bait. The plotpoint of Aizen wanting to use her powers amounted to nothing, again something I pointed out last post. And the sad part is, he seriously could've used them. Reject the intruders. Find a way to clone Orihime's powers to his army. Something.
2) If Soul Society knew what Orihime could do, why didn't they try to make her a trusted ally from the get-go? Sit down with her and say "look honey, your powers are formidable, and we need them to win this War. Will you help us?" I think Yama declaring her a traitor and initially refusing to help her is the total opposite of what Aizen was talking about.
3) Now that I think about it.....this could work for anyone Ichigo has a connection to! Aizen could've kidnapped Yuzu or Karin, and the result would be the same, wouldn't it? An enraged Ichigo rushes off with his friends to take action, the Gotei sits behind but then realizes they have an obligation to protect and save any humans in danger and invades Hueco Mundo......okay, Ichigo might've died sooner (or not, his SSJ3 form), but we're discussing things from Aizen's perspective.
And all he wanted to do was trap the Substitute Shinigami and the Gotei. Since only 10 Captains are left on the "good" side at this point, trapping 4 is almost half. Half of Aizen's enemies crippled in a second.
Because remember......Aizen didn't use Orihime's powers for anything, really. Way to cop-out, Kubo.
Unforunately, while it seems Aizen has the advantage, Yamamoto, Hitsugaya, Soi Fon, Komamura, Kyoraku, Ukitake, and others all rush in to stop him. And what's more, the battlefield is a fake Karakura Town.
Meaning all the souls Aizen needs are in the real town, currently sealed up in Soul Society.
But once again, Aizen does not seem too worried. Even when this happens:
Yama wastes no time and traps the three traitors in a ring of fire. Removing them from play.
.....Or not. There's a huge layer of air above and below Aizen's position. Couldn't he shunpo downward or upward? And if Yama can really trap them and prevent movement, why doesn't he try to fry them immediately?
....anyway, Aizen boldly says to Gin the battle will end without them having to do anything. Sounds like he's got tons of faith in his three strongest Espada.....even though he left when #5, #7, #8, and #9 were all killed.
So we buzz through all the fraccion and Espada battles, most of which are either really fun or horribly dragged out and boring.....and it seems the Gotei has won.
All the fraccion have been killed, Harribel got frozen, and Barragan just got assaulted by a giant fucking nuke. .....But that would be too easy.
No, Wonderweiss appears via Garganta, and this big Hollow creature named Fura. Or....Superchunky. Some name that proves Kubo smokes the ganja.
Wonderweiss makes a scream to free Harribel, defeats Ukitake, Shunsui is blasted to the ground by Stark, and Barragan survives Soi Fon's missile Bankai. To top it off, Aizen, Gin, and Tousen.....are freed. Now the Gotei is in trouble. Until:
The Vizards show up to do battle against Aizen!
......We're going to have to take a giant step back. Because before the Vizards actually appeared, Kubo treated us to the Turn Back the Penudulum arc, a flashback that showed us the origin of the Vizards, what the Gotei was like 100+ years ago.....and what's more, what Aizen did. Which is what I'm focusing on right now.
Now to start the TBTP mini-arc! What did Aizen do?
One of the things we can hopefully see is how and why Aizen aspired to essentially, conquer the universe. Normally I wouldn't mind either way, but this one man has been the main villain for a good chunk of Bleach's existence at this point. And everyone either hates him or serves him.
....Moving on, Aizen was the vice-captain of the 5th Division, and he served under one Hirako Shinji. While he was in his past "super nice and polite" facade, Shinji could barely stomach the guy.
The core problem for the old Gotei was that people seem to be disappearing. And that's not good. The 9th Division under Kensei and Mashiro are the first ones to investigate, but they didn't report back. One dark night, Yama orders Shinji, Hiyori, Hachi, Lisa, Rose, and Love to figure things out.
You know what happens, right guys? They discover the hollowfied Kensei and Mashiro, they try to stop them, but soon they're all hollowified. And when Tousen shows up to cut down his own captain (betrayal?!), Shinji is horrified to see Aizen and Gin arising from the shadows.
Surprise, more smirking Aizen panels.
So while Shinji had suspected Aizen was up to foul play, his vice-captain was able to trick him into viewing someone else as him. Shinji and Aizen were not close, and that fact was captalized on.
To Shinji, Aizen was a dangerous person he needed to keep an eye on. Hence the promotion.
To Aizen, Shinji was a distant person he could exploit for his own misdeeds. Hence the hollowifcation.
And the rest plays out like we know....Urahara shows up and saves the Vizards, and he, Tessai, and Yoruichi all escape to the Living World.
Here's a minor point to start off on......Urahara's crime was that he was accused of hollowifying the Vizards in the first place, but back in Soul Society, Aizen said the crime was making an untraceable gigai. Two. Different. Crimes. Aizen might've have lied to Ichigo and Rukia, but why would he do that? What would the point be? So it's just Kubo making a retcon. Big shocker.
The major point is.....while it's great we learned how the Vizards got their powers, and out of all of them, Shinji has the biggest connection to Aizen......it's just....
Why did Aizen hollowify those people?
No, I get that he wanted to achieve new heights, break the boundary between Shinigami and Hollow, and what have you.....it's just......why?
Shinji was one thing, but you could've used any other 7 Shinigami, and the result would be the same. That is, Urahara would save the day.
What possessed Aizen to not only employ Gin and Tousen under his wing, but to say: "okay, I want to be God. First step, transforming people into hideous monsters!". Even 100+ years ago, he was the same lying, double-faced smirking bastard that we learned about.
No person starts off life with a desire to murder, commit illegal experiments, or carry out genocide. No person starts off wanting to trick people and crush anyone that stands in their way.
No, it's the environment or the people around them that influence what somebody does. For Aizen to do all of this and be all of this......someone, something had to have influenced him!
Look, typically, I wouldn't really mind either way if we got backstory on a villain that's evil for the sake of being evil. For example, in One Piece, I loved Caesar Clown as a villain because he's corrupt, amoral, willing to hurt anyone just to experiment, and what's more, has a jolly old time being bad.
But here's the difference, the HUGE difference with Aizen:
He is a main villain.
Plain and simple. This man has been in the spotlight for many chapters/episodes at this point. He's been behind so many significant events....Rukia's execution, the Vizards getting their powers, the Arrancar invading Karakura Town....the exile of Urahara and Yoruichi......his actions have essentially impacted the entirety of the Bleach universe, and yet we know next to nothing on the guy.
Okay, yeah.....his Shikai hypnotizes people, he betrayed the Soul Society, he's mostly calm, smirks a lot......but no backstory, no motives....no nothing. At least....well, we'll have to see.
Heading back to the Arrancar arc....
The Vizards are ready (extremely ready) to take down Aizen and his goons. Love and Rose go after Stark, Mashiro and Kensei take on Wonderweiss, Hiyori and Lisa battle Harribel, Hachi heads up against Barragan....and Shinji? He has the biggest score to settle.
.....But all we see is a little scuffle between him and Aizen. Shinji's Shikai can reverse direction, and while he manages to slash Aizen a little, it mostly ends in a draw and/or Aizen winning.
Very underwhelming, I might add.
Meanwhile, things have taken a nasty turn for Team Arrancar. Hachi turns Barragan's power against him, and in his dying moments, he curses Aizen and recalls their meeting:
As the Hollow king, Barragan enjoyed a rule of careless rule until Aizen showed up one day. Aizen tries to bait him to serve him with the promise of increasing his power to new heights.
Barragan mocks him, and goes to attack. Too bad he strikes an illusion and when all is revealed, Aizen, Gin, and Tousen wipe out his Hollow servants in front of him. The rest, as they say....is history.
(Again Kubo dodges the proverbial question of "why did Aizen do this?)
From there, Shunsui rejoins the battle and defeats Stark. In his dying moments, Stark recalls that he joined Aizen out of a need to not be alone.
Things look nasty for Harribel, the remaining Espada in play. Her two allies have been killed, and to top it off, they were stronger than her. Wait.....Aizen, is that....?!
...You slashing Harribel. It is. It mothafucking is.
Yeah, Aizen takes the incentive to finish off Harribel before Hitsugaya/Hiyori/Lisa can beat her, because not only he is getting tired of the battle, he says he doesn't need the Espada!
How fucking arrogant are you, Aizen? You're telling me you can take on all of your opponents with Gin and Tousen alone? The latter of which, might I add, has just been indirectly killed by Aizen.
See, this is bothers the crap out of me. All of Aizen's expressions amount to "I'm better than you" smirks of cockiness. Not even Byakuya has himself this high on the pedistal. How can I like him as a villain when he has the same infuriating expression? Coupled with the blandest villain design ever?
I warn you, I'm going to lose my mind in a few.
So the only thing that stands on Team Arrancar are Gin....and Aizen. And Gin takes the incentive to cut Hiyori in half, but later chills out and watches the upcoming slaughter.
Ichigo arrives and attempts to attack Aizen.....but.....it's fucking Aizen. He calls Ichigo out on targeting his blind spot, says its worthless, and even boasts Ichigo has no reason to hate him. After all, Orihime is safe and none of his friends are dead.
So Ichigo stands with Shinji, Love, Rose, Kyoraku, Hitsugaya, Lisa, Omaeda, Soi Fon, and Komamura to finally take on the devious overlord. I wonder how it will-
-oh, fuck it! I don't have to spell it out for you people! Aizen, with the same unchanging expression of smirky smirkness, cuts down Love, Rose, Komamura, and Lisa without even batting an eye.
And when Soi, Shunsui, Hitsugaya, and Shinji THINK they've trapped Aizen, this happens:
"Since when you under the impression I didn't use Kyoka Suigetsu?"
.....Okay, I've had it. I have fucking had it. Kubo, do me a favor. Go fall down a well and drown. Because enough is fucking enough.
I mentioned THIS was the scene where I officially began to hate Bleach. It was slipping fast, but this moment.....this is where I wanted to strangle myself.
First we get a glacial pacing session where everyone moves as slow as slugs, and in return, 3-5 chapters straight of Aizen beating everyone with next to zero effort. All with that same smug expression.
Then we get hope that not only Aizen will be seriously wounded, he won't be so overpowered after all! Who likes villains that can't be beaten and use illusions to handle everything?
Then surprise! Kubo/Aizen trolls the Captains, Hinamori, and the readers in one fell swoop. Did poor Hinamori even deserve that? She was redeeming herself this arc!
Speaking of, that's the BIGGEST problem with this scene. It's a physical absurdity. Aizen's Shikai has the power to generate illusions by controlling a target's five senses, but it is NOT MIND CONTROL. How did Hinamori get all the way up there, anyway?! She saw an illusion that compelled to go into the sky? Couldn't be, because she and Aizen literally swap places, since the latter cuts down Iba and Kira!
And what's even worse is that we didn't even need this display. We get it, Kubo, Aizen is super megapowerful. Gary Stu levels of power. You just had to make him look so great, but you made everyone else look completely pathetic and idiotic.
Why? First off, the Captains should've been a little more cautious, since all of them know of his power.
Second, Hitsugaya should've been the most cautious, since he got trolled an arc ago with the same move!
Yet he thinks withdrawing his sword from Hinamori and going to attack Aizen again is a worthy move?
Third, despite Ichigo being the only one to see all of this, he doesn't act! He just sits there like an ape with a brain capacity of an amphoric sponge. And don't try to defend him, people. He had no worries because like Aizen said, his friends were all safe.
It was just a horrible, annoying, unbearable scene that officially lifted Aizen to a level of power that's no longer respected but loathed because of how overpowered he is.
.....Yamamoto arises from the shadows to attack Aizen, but Wonderweiss appears and absorbs Ryujin Jakka's fire. Apparently that was Wonderweiss was designed to do.....seal Yama's Shikai.
So Aizen basically admits he can't beat Yamamoto by himself, yet has the nerve to claim he didn't need the Espada to beat everyone else?
Wonderweiss is defeated, but Aizen turns the flames against Yamamoto and manages to defeat him. Leaving....Ichigo as the only opponent left.
*facepalms* After his earlier display, I don't feel comfortable putting this amount of faith in Ichigo.
Or do I? Ichigo takes advantage of Yama's opening and manages to wound Aizen. Too bad the Hogyoku heals him, and we're soon treated to THIS unholy chapter:
Aizen: "All your battles have been in the palm of my hand. I have known of you since you were born, Kurosaki Ichigo."
WHAT?! Are you seriously telling me Aizen has planned EVERYTHING?! Since the beginning of Bleach?! No......SINCE ICHIGO HAS BEEN BORN?!
Look, it's one thing to have a broken, unfair power, but to be this devout mastermind that has overseen everything.......it's bullshit!
Why you ask? Well, it's simple to anyone that can comprehend phrases like "foreshadowing", "balance", and "good storytelling".
There are too many variables for Aizen's statement to be true.
Shocking, isn't it? Let's run down the line.
-Fishbone D comes and attacks Ichigo's house. Okay, Aizen could've sent that Hollow because he probably took over Hueco Mundo by that point, but what if that Hollow ate Ichigo?
-The Menos Grande Ishida summoned.....that thing could've killed Ichigo or Rukia if they weren't careful.
-Aizen controlled Central 46 and Byakuya and Renji set off to claim Rukia, but what if Byakuya killed Ichigo that night? What if Ichigo bled out because Urahara didn't go to him?
-Ichigo runs into Kenpachi and fights him. It was pure fucking chance the two of them encountered each other. With Kenpachi's bad directions, he could've ended up on a totally different street.
-The Vizards could've said "screw it" and not helped Ichigo control his Hollow.
-Grimmjow and Ulquiorra could've went to different rooms. What if Ichigo encountered Szayel and Zommari unstead?!
And here's another important point: Aizen knew of Ulquiorra's Segunda Etapa form, it seems. Even though, Ulquiorra said Aizen didn't know.
So let's stop wondering how Aizen could've known about Segunda Etapa, and focus on the obvious.
There is no possible way Aizen would know Ichigo's Hollow would bail him out with a super form at the very last second. What if Ulquiorra killed Orihime and Ichigo in the same span of time? No SSJ3!
The reason why Aizen couldn't know is because he himself did not give Ichigo his Hollow powers. That was Urahara's doing!
You get my point? There are countless variables! The way that the story turned out was because of pure luck; moreso, it's how KUBO WROTE IT.
The concept of Aizen planning out all of these events wasn't foreshadowed enough (or not at all) for me to accept it as pure fact. It's too ridiculous, and is a half-baked attempt by the author to tie everything to one focal point, to make his Gary Stu of a villain that much more threatening.
Imagine if Blackbeard was behind Luffy's actions as a pirate! Imagine if Obito was behind Naruto's ninja growth! Imagine if Majin Buu was behind Goku's life, death, and increasing strength!
We did not need more proof of how grandstand Aizen is, so this "revelation" just served to make the plot even more laughable than it already was. Of course we get some pretentious spew of how there is no truth and lies; only facts, but what do I care? I really don't.
And furthermore, if Aizen had his eye on Ichigo the whole series and knew he would grow.....why didn't he stop him at any point in time? Or kill him right now? He's the only thing standing in the way of his plan to take over the world!
Isshin shows up and assists his son. Oh, was this planned out, too?!
In the midst of all this, Aizen reveals the Hogyoku is loyal to him.....and get this, grants the inner desires of its targets! That's how Orihime and Chad got their powers, apparently! They wished to be stronger!
This isn't a gag manga? Are you sure?
This is a blatant retcon at its finest. The explaination prior was that Ichigo's leaking reiatsu awakened the spiritual sense of his friends, not the Hogyoku. And I thought that was to turn Shinigami into Hollows and vice-versa. So what, all Hollows wish to be like Shinigami? Explain your army then, Aizen.
And wait! I'm sure Rukia wished she could've gotten her powers back, or Urahara wished he could destroy said Hogyoku, yet their wishes weren't granted! Didn't Ichigo wish to avenge his mother's death? I mean, if the non-active Hogyoku can grant desires to two random humans that didn't even know it existed, then surely it can grant desires of anyone wishing out loud, and especially the guy who made the fucking thing!
If it works for Orihime and Chad......then hey! Why couldn't Aizen wish his opposition was destroyed, or that he was Spirit King already?
I'll tell you why. It's because Kubo is a terrible writer, and CLEARLY thought of this plotpoint on the spot. And that's his problem. He always seeks out to over-complicate things we already know and raise more questions than answers.
I know the manga business is tough to last in, but this is turning into a goddamn train wreck. In the span of two chapters!
Arrgh.......Urahara and Yoruichi show up to help (what the hell took them so long? They wanted to wait until Aizen and the Espada nearly killed everyone?), but......no, I can't even. This, honest and for true, happens:
The next stage of evolution!
"Evil Genius" Aizen ->>>>> Condom Aizen
Okay, this is just turning into a laughathon for me. Now Aizen is in the blandest design possible, which reflects not only his personality and design, but the manga itself! A tongue-in-cheek joke, I love it!
Except I have to hate it too. How can I take Aizen seriously as a villain now? Oh, the knowing everything is ridiculous enough, but Kubo actually thought to increase Aizen's power by turning him into a KKK member.
Answer me that, diehard Bleach fans. All of you say Bleach is a serious manga that's more mature than "silly" titles like One Piece and Toriko, but how you honestly say that when the villain of said manga looks like a giant condom!
Can you believe some dolt on Bleach Asylum said it has seinen qualities and is better than Berserk?
So the fighting continues, blah blah.....Gin stalls with Ichigo and unleashes his Bankai while Aizen manages to take on Isshin, Yoruichi, and Urahara all at once, three of the biggest characters in this manga! And guess what? No guess, seriously!
Aizen beats them off screen.
Before it happened, he wouldn't shut up on how powerful he was....guess he showed me! Congrats, Aizen, you beat three of the most hyped characters off screen!
....Have I mentioned much I don't like off screen curbstomps? Well, it depends on the character and situation, but on an already hax and overpowered villain like Aizen, I want to tear my eyeballs out and snap my laptop in half.
Then Aizen transforms again. Like a Pokemon! How seinen-like!
Condom Aizen ->>>>> Mullet Aizen
Again I question what drugs Kubo takes and again I say that I cannot take Aizen seriously anymore.
He's like....become a visual parody of himself at this point. A calculating villain with serious power to a megabland villain with ridiculous transformations, over-the-top knowledge and explanations, and can't stop trolling the audience.
And then, and then! This is the best part. Aizen makes a Senkaimon and departs to the real Karakura Town with Gin!
So.....why didn't he do that while he was trapped?
I'm serious here! When he was trapped in Yama's fire prison, standing with Gin and Tousen, why didn't he make a Senkaimon while everyone was busy fighting?
Well, I get my answer when Ichigo's *gag* training session begins. The Dangai cleaner was destroyed, so I can only......assume Aizen needed to be at X level of power to dispose of it without having to worry about it.
Now finally, Aizen's masterplan can resume. He and Gin arrive in Karakura Town, and....let's remember his goal: sacrifice 100,000 human souls and a half-mile of spirit land to make the Oken.
Thankfully, the Aizen saga is almost over. But.....I warn you, the worst has yet to come.
Aizen and Gin step out and begin to explore the quiet town. Urahara had put everyone to sleep, and in the midst of all this, Tatsuki and Keigo wake up....taking Chizuru, they decide to investigate the town.
Look at how tough Aizen has become....he walks past an old man and kills him instantly. Ooh, what a badass! It's almost as if Kubo didn't need to blow his power up to such gigantic proportions!
Tatsuki, Keigo, Chizuru, and the found Mizuiro get bad luck when they run into Aizen and Gin, and are instantly paralyzed with fear. Kurmadani and Kanonji show up to help, but all they do is distract Aizen for a little. He then decides to-
-Go after Ichigo's friends? I'm not kidding with you guys. I blame the glacial pacing, but it's obvious Kubo wants his fans to squee in delight and give them Ichigo vs Aizen. That's well and fine, but:
Isn't Aizen's goal to kill 100,000 souls? Why is he focusing on a meager 5?
This is the WRONG time to start a Scooby-Doo chase scene. Aizen is literally (and purposely) wasting his spare time by chasing after Karakura High students, all of which can barely see him in the first place, let alone hurt him.
He does say something about proping up the dead copies of Ichigo's friends in order to piss him off, but who cares about that! Aizen finally has the time to complete his goal, which is to become God, not ruin Ichigo's life completely. Why chase his friends, anyway? He can't shunpo and kill them immediately?
For god's sake, he killed a man by walking past him! Why can't he slaughter everyone and get on with this long-term goal already?! I hope we don't-
Oh wow. After betraying everyone, Aizen gets betrayed back!
Apparently Aizen had suspicions Gin would do this, and allowed it to see how he would react. But Gin's Bankai was more effective than it seemed to be, and Aizen expected to die.
But here's another reason to stop taking him so seriously. According to Gin, Aizen's Shikai has a weakness; you need to grab the blade to resist the illusions. And only Gin knows this fact.
So the man is willing to wait 100+ years to carry out this mega plan of evil, yet discloses his ONLY weakness to the most suspicious person serving him?
But if you think Aizen would die there, you must've skipped when Hitsugaya tried the same trick twice. And now we get to reason #5:
Mullet Aizen ->>>> Butterfly Aizen
It is possible for me to be even more amused and disgusted than I was before? How do you make something more ridiculous than a condomman? A butterflyman!
Has Kubo lost his freaking mind?! He HONESTLY expects me to even THINK about taking Aizen seriously at this point? If you do, then you're the biggest Bleach fanatic on the planet, or you're Zommari irl.
I just......I can't even react! Aizen, in his new form, kills Gin and we learn why this betrayal happened.......or I think we do. It cuts to a scene where a young Gin looks over a wounded Rangiku from the bushes; Aizen and some goons are standing over her, and we see his version of the Hogyoku.
So.....they stole her spirtual energy? Raped her for teh lulz? I'd talk about how dumb it is to try to make Gin a hero so late and so half-assed, but I don't see "Ichimaru Gin" on the post title.
Aizen thanks Gin for allowing him to evolve, but he did not expect to transform into this and live. He actually tries to play it off like he planned this part out.
Aizen prepares to finish off Ichigo's friends, committing that he expected Ichigo to get strong-no wait, please remind me why Aizen let Ichigo train. Tell me, Kubo, why Aizen continues to admit how strong and special Ichigo is, yet is fully comfortable with letting him live and get stronger.
*sighs* No answer, huh?
So.....by Satan's unwilling will, we finally get to Ichigo vs. Aizen.....in its uber glory:
I will tell you that this is hands down, the worst battle in Bleach existence. Three reasons why.
1) The power scaling
Look over this battle. Look me in the eyes and tell me this isn't something Akira Toriyama could've wrote for the Majin Buu saga. And I loved Dragon Ball! But at this point, Ichigo's and Aizen's respective strength leves have become so overblown it wrecks half of the damn town. It's over-the-top fighting, and worst, it doesn't try to be whimsical or purposely funny. It's just dull.
2) The combatants are bad characters
On one hand, we got Aizen, someone that has managed to be extremely boring and yet, extremely ridiculous in his overdramatic monologues, dialogue, and powers. Any chance of Aizen being taken seriously has been stripped away by the fact that he transforms into something out of Berserk (seinen enough, Bleach fans?), and goes onto a yelling rampage, unable to comprehend Ichigo's power. Yet he willingly allowed Ichigo to get so mindbendingly strong! I thought he was supposed to be a genius.
On the other hand, we got Ichigo, someone that started off as a strong if not slightly generic protagonist but turned into a angsting dunderhead that manages to spam the same moves over and over again. Now he's the epitome of "being cool" and is tied with Aizen to be the dullest character in the manga. And even having being upgraded for the 1000th time, his powers are still uninteresting, lame, and underwhelming.
3) It's not even a fair fight
Aizen loses not because Ichigo busts out power of shear will and cuts him in half. No, Urahara seals him up. And he didn't he seal him up in real time; Kido ~10 chapters ago manages to activate and do the job. What an anticlimatic ending! Way to rob Ichigo of a genuine victory, Urahara! He needed that after SSJ3 helped him beat Ulquiorra! Only wait....
....It's not Ichigo's battle. No, this ENTIRE manga so far can be summed up as Aizen vs. Urahara:
Aizen hollowifies Urahara's friends and frames him! Urahara hides the Hogyoku away in Rukia! Aizen retrieves the Hogyoku! Urahara beats up Aizen's goons! Aizen kidnaps Urahara's ally! Urahara's friends train Ichigo to control his dark powers! Aizen offscreens Urahara! Urahara seals Aizen up!
That's what sucks about all this. Aizen and Urahara have been the real rivals all this time, everyone else were the spectators, and Ichigo was their unwilling puppet.
And isn't it just amazing that after so many chapters, episodes, panels, screenshots, and bouts of dialogue, Aizen goes from being so cool and collected to a yelling, dramatic mess, unable to cope with his own demise.
But how amazing is it? Aizen. Did. Himself. In.
I cannot stress this enough. Much like there were endless variables with one person controlling the story's direction, there were many chances for Aizen to ensure he would not lose.
Aizen needed Ichigo's power to evolve himself! That's why he didn't kill Ichigo when the chance presented itself!
Oh really? Aizen surely didn't need to "evolve" to beat the Captains and Vizards. He used Wonderweiss to beat Yama, and has a record of soloing tons of characters. He was already so ridiculously strong without that damn glass orb. And let's remember his Shikai can make an enemy completely and utterly helpless.....see the Hinamori stab scene. Logically, if he used his Shikai on everyone in Fake Karakura, he'd solo forever.
Urahara is smarter than Aizen, and used that wit to beat him. He sealed him!
I call foul. If Urahara is so smart, then why didn't he realize he had created an object that grants desires? Yet Aizen knew that?
He didn't have the chance to kill the Karakura Town residents for his 100,000 souls!
Are you joking? Aizen used his merry ol' time to patrol the town and chase down a bunch of students, as if he didn't have anything better to do. If he killed that old man in a second, getting 99,999 other souls would logically take 99,999 seconds. But that's assuming all he would do is walk slowly past each person. He was so strong at the point, he could've used a super blast or something to take out hundreds at a time!
As for Gin? If he was so willing to "kill" Harribel out of pure arrogance, he should've did the same thing to Gin, especially since he told him his only weakness.
Isn't it obvious? We can't have Aizen actually slaughter all those people, so he needed to be stopped. But there was an easier way to do that, Kubo, something that didn't involve first making your heroes look like incompetent morons then make Aizen look an incompetent moron too.
Have some of your heroes die (or horribly lose) against the Espada, perishing to protect the innocents but ending their enemies' threat at the same time.
Have Ichigo unexpectedly win through the alliance of his friends, not predictably get stronger alone and play right into Aizen's hands.
Have Aizen almost succeed in gathering the souls, but lose through an unexpected curveball; such a demise is fitting because it's a lot better than sitting back and willingly not trying to accomplish your goal.
But you know what's so awful about Aizen losing without a shred of dignity?
WE STILL DON'T KNOW WHY HE DID THIS.
As I keep repeating myself, no one becomes a sociopath and plots to conquer the universe overnight.
Something influences them, and if Kubo had the decency to make a proper flashback for Aizen, we'd know the answer. Not necessarily an event to make them secretly good or absolve them of their crimes, but some realistic event that turned a regular soul into a heartless monster.
Something to ground the character in emotion and reality, not maintain them as a terrible one-dimensional over-the-top uber mastermind with no depth whatsoever.
But as Kubo once said in an interview, he purposedly kept Aizen's past a secret to make him more "mysterious" and "interesting".
.......For crying out loud, a character can have some backstory and still be mysterious! A character can have some backstory and still be interesting! In fact, they'd be more so! Am I really surprised Kubo likes to make things "cool" for the sake of being "cool"?
Or in Aizen's sake, being "evil" for the sake of being "evil"?
Oh wait. We're not finished yet.
As everyone rushes to get everyone home, Rukia and the others meet up with Ichigo, who talks about the final battle. Apparently he "felt" Aizen through his sword in the middle of combat. It's like this series will never run out of homoerotic undertones via the zanpakutou.
And to him, Aizen's problem was this: he was so strong, it isolated him from everyone else. He sought out not a equal, but to be weak. Hence.....the Hogyoku stuff?
..........What the hell?!
Completely omitting a backstory is one thing, but I will NOT accept some half-baked explanation at the last second to try to give Aizen sympathy. That was more or less what happened to Gin.
Why you ask? Well, if we completely excuse the fact of how late and half-assed it is, let's just take a look. Most megalomaniacs arise from a desire to become strong, originating from a fragile youth of being completely weak or average.
With Aizen, it's somehow the opposite. He was already strong, but he needed to be weak! You know, to not be so lonely! I don't know, isn't striving to become GOD the opposite of the opposite?
And it's supposed to be some sympathic explanation, but how can I view it as such?! It's just arrogance disguised in the form of suffering and angst! I can understand someone wanting to be normal, to fit in better, but Aizen literally had no qualms with being an awful person that murdered, plotted genocide, plotted deicide, and conducted amoral experiments on his fellow man until, evidently, the very end and through the eyes of his greatest foe! Who, I will continue to remind you,
WAS ALLOWED TO BECOME SO MINDCRUSHINGLY POWERFUL
You know would've been a great motivation for Aizen? Him wanting to becomg God to erase the corruption and horrors of the Soul Society, because he grew up in the worst district in Rukongai. We all know what a shithole the afterlife is in Bleach, so it wouldn't be so far-fetched! And it wouldn't serve to make Aizen good because the methods would still be extreme and not what everyone wants! Easier a better motivation than "for teh lulz" or "waah I want to be weak".
......can we just end this saga already?
So Aizen is captured and brought to Central 46. Now, it'd be really satisfying for them to give the order to have him executed, since he executed them prior and what's more, almost everyone has a bone to pick with him.
But no. The Hogyoku apparently evolved him to a point of being immortal, so he can't die! Gee, you're sure to fit in with the crowd if you can't die, Aizen!
Blech! It's just Kubo keeping Aizen alive to either enjoy the abomination he created or use him for a future arc-wait what?! A future arc? Yeah, I can't believe it either. More room for smirking over the top villains (Ginjou) and super overcomplicated plans (see his plan), amirite?
Aizen gets 20,000 years in Hell (see my Soul Society post why this sentence sucks), and goes out with the same arrogance he came out of his mother's womb in.
But even being cool, calm, and collected here doesn't give him his dignity back. He still:
-Wasted his valuable time in Fake Karakura
-Was surprised that Gin betrayed him
-Disclosed his one and only weakness to Gin
-Allowed Ichigo to get so damn strong
-Transformed into a condomman
-Transformed into a mulletman
-Transformed into a butterflyman
-Spewed some bull about how the world should be to Urahara
-And of course, also transformed into a tentacle monster!
The three Hollow holes are ripe with symbolism, aren't they? Or is that Ichigo's sword?
The Arrancar arc took itself too seriously, and some fans still treat the manga like it's more "mature" than everything else in Shonen Jump. Going by this standard, I declare Aizen to have basicially contradicted this underlying theme, or what have you.
Keep in mind that an eccentric, goofy looking character that be threatening when the time calls for it.
But since our Aizen's entire performance consists of him being serious 24/7 and planning everything on everyone, to see oddball transformations or blatant weaknesses in his plan is that much more jarring to the reader.
And guess what! Because I was so used to or rather, stuck with, the endless ridicule of our Sosuke-kun, I couldn't even take the Fullbringer villains seriously. Ginjou and Tsukishima? Yeah, both of them amounted to being a poor man's Aizen, and that is seriously saying something.
I repeat, I didn't like Aizen at all, but at least I could find some twisted way to enjoy his over-the-top style of planning and endless trolling. Although, the problem was that it wasn't intentional! It wasn't because Kubo made him generally eccentric and interesting, it's because Kubo made him so boring and so uninteresting, he somehow made him into a self-parody.
All this occured primarily in the Deicide chapters, and there's no way you can read those without being bored out of your mind coupled with an endless resentment and entertained at the same.
But wait? Is this really the end for Aizen?
You know Kubo and his apparent love for the guy. Aizen has recently appeared in the Quinzi arc, referenced in a flashback where not only did he refuse to work with Juha Bach, it's implied or whatever that he messed with the latter's perception of time.
Even locked up he's still trolling everyone. God bless ya!
But let me be serious for a second. Much like Ginjou, Bach manages to be extremely dull (like Aizen) but isn't special purely because the trolling isn't there.
I mean, I can at least have sympathy for Bach because his kind was wiped out by the Shinigami, but it's lost on the prospect that he's stooping to their level and mindlessly killing them back. And not only will his plan screw the universe over in the long run, he doesn't even do it in an interesting way. He's just boring. Will all future villains be.....an inferior version of Aizen?
Since this is the last arc for Kubo and since Aizen has already appeared, I wholeheartedly expect him to break out of prison, do his own thing, and take this manga to new levels of ridiculousness. It'll be terrible and awesome all at the same time!
But to sum up, Aizen was a poorly written villain to the very end, no matter how much you can laugh at Kubo's work because of his trolling. Honestly not worth being the focus for 48 volumes, but what can you do?
If only Mayuri was the main villain.......
I thank everyone who continues to read my posts and those who comment on them. You guys are awesome, seriously. Let's wonder what "amazing surprises" Kubo-sensei will think up for 2013! See ya!