Bleach Recap #11: The End of Aizen Part 1

How did we get here so fast? We’ve already reached the conclusion of what I consider to be the main arc of Bleach. We’ve been working towards Aizen’s defeat since early Soul Society, after all. That’s roughly 300 episodes, or about a bit more than half that if we don’t count fillers. We leave the Espada behind us and focus on the four remaining villains: Wonderweiss Margera, Kaname Tosen, Ichimaru Gin and Aizen Sosuke. Each of them have their battles to fight while Ichigo is on his way back from Hueco Mundo with captain Unohana behind him noticing he has more spiritual pressure than captain-level soul reapers do. 

An Illusion? What are you hiding!

Captain Komamura and Lieutenant Hisagi fight against Tosen. They first fight him as a human before he reveals to them that he has undergone hollowfication. Komamura berates him for this but Tosen doesn’t see his wrong doings. It is interesting how much the gotei 13 is against hollowfication in general. The way they mistreated Shinji and the Visoreds always seemed unnecessary to me. Either way, the fight continues until Tosen eventually reveals his resurreccion. He turns into an awful looking bug like hollow that’s lost all sense of humanity. He gains sight through this transformation though, and he uses it to call Komamura ugly. Real low blow.
The main reason Tosen betrayed Soul Society is because his friend died when they were young. His friend was killed by a soul reaper and he never forgave them for the way it was handled. This rage and want for vengeance stuck with Tosen all this time and Aizen probably saw this in him and decided he could use him. The fight continues for a while longer and Komamura loses. He laments that he is unable to cut down his friend, but fortunately Hisagi is less soft. He stabs Tosen in the back of the head and then calls his Shikai, slashing Tosen’s throat. He says that the real Captain Tosen would have seen this attack coming. As Tosen lays there, wounded, he eventually turns into a bloody mist, causing Komamura to rage at Aizen.

Reap, Kazeshini.

In the meantime, Aizen has been fighting against Shinji who reveals to also command hypnotism powers. He causes his victims’ senses to get all warped, making them confuse up and down, left and right, and in front and behind. He gets a little bit of damage in, but Aizen soon figures out the trick behind his ability and it no longer works on him. His Kyoka Suigetsu’s hypnosis is even more powerful than Shinji’s ability and the Visored is no match for Aizen. It is at this point, right before Komamura is about to lose his composure and right before Aizen is about to beat Shinji, that Ichigo shows up behind Aizen to attack him.
Unfortunately, Aizen was prepared for a surprise attack and has a shield of sorts up behind him. Is this man prepared for everything? The answer is yes. He’s stupendously strong and can defeat anyone who wishes to challenge him. It’s at this point where Aizen stopped being an interesting villain and started to become a meme. This becomes more clear later on, but for now he’s the personification of everything going “According to Keikaku”

He said the thing!!!

All of the remaining fighters show their support for Ichigo, who is the only one unaffected by the hypnosis. Aizen decides to go all out at this point and almost immediately defeats Komamura, Rose, Love and Lisa. The remaining fighters give him a run for his money and after some very impressive on the spot teamwork they deal a serious blow to Aizen.
Only for Ichigo to yell at them, as they’ve been fighting Momo all this time, with Toshiro impaling her on his sword while Aizen walks out of the barrier that Iba and Kira had set up, slashing them both. Toshiro loses his composure at this point, which is understandable. What follows is a bloodbath in which Toshiro, Kyoraku, Soi Fon and Shinji are all cut down. All that’s left now is the Captain Commander: Yamamoto Shigekuni Genryuusai. The strongest Soul Reaper of the past 1000 years and his brutally powerful Zanpakuto; Ryujinjakka.

I’ve always hated how underwhelming Yamamoto was in this arc.

Remember how Aizen planned for everything? It turns out that Wonderweiss was modified to have no personality, no memories, no intelligence, no speech but the sole ability to seal the powers of Ryujinjakka. In doing so, he forces Yamamoto to fight the arrancar without his Zanpakuto, but the man hasn’t been in charge for a thousand years for no reason. He easily defeats the poor arrancar. Aizen reveals that all the stolen power from Ryujinjakka will now explode and Yamamoto has to sacrifice his body to make sure the barrier and the people living outside of the replaced Karakura don’t get barbecued. Now all that is left are Aizen, Ichimaru and Ichigo. Things aren’t looking good right now for the Soul Society gang. Even with all these issues, Yamamoto retaliates against Aizen once more as he’s about to be taken out by the traitorous captain, giving Ichigo an opening to fire his Getsuga Tenshou at Aizen. What a cliffhanger.

As cool as it looks, this is nearing double digits of “moments it seemed like Aizen was doomed while he really wasn’t.”

And that is where I’m going to end this recap. With teaching classes and attending uni and on top of all of that a new anime season starting up and me having to navigate what’s good and what isn’t and which shows I end up watching, I simply haven’t had the time to watch everything I wanted to. Next week I hope to finish up this arc, it’s only a couple episodes left, and then I’ll leave the fullbringers arc for later. Fullbringers aren’t super interesting and I’ll put a quick reminder about them in my next post, but it’s fine to keep that information waiting until a handful of episodes of the new season are out. It’s so close now, even though I know it’s probably not going to reinvent the genre, I’m still excited for more Bleach! See you here next time!

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