Shinji Hirako vs. Sōsuke Aizen is among the first battles after Aizen disposes of the last remaining member of the top three Espada and enters the battlefield himself. The battle involves the Visored and former 5th Division captain, Shinji Hirako, going against his former lieutenant and traitor to Soul Society, Sōsuke Aizen. It is a preceding battle before the Gotei 13 and Visored all work together to fight against Aizen to allow Ichigo Kurosaki the chance to strike Aizen down.
As Aizen enters the battlefield himself, a tense situation arises. Shinji advises everyone to approach Aizen with caution and Hiyori Sarugaki tells Shinji that they all know. However, Shinji orders Hiyori to relax her grip on her Zanpakutō, as he was specifically addressing her. Aizen goes about provoking the Visored, amused at Shinji's statement. He first angers Hiyori with his remark on how he expected such "kind words" from Shinji. Then Love Aikawa and Rōjūrō Ōtoribashi are angered by Aizen's taunts on how the battle's outcome was already set, and the Visored's fate sealed due to what happened to the them in the past, but these initial provocations are ineffective as Shinji tells them to keep calm, since Aizen is simply baiting them. As the tense situation goes on, Aizen makes a successful incitement, asking the Visored on what exactly they are afraid of since they had already "died" from undergoing Hollowfication 100 years ago. Hiyori foolishly moves to attack Aizen, only to be bifurcated by Gin Ichimaru. Shinji catches Hiyori and calls for Hachigen Ushōda to heal her, but realizes that he is unable to due to his lack of an arm. He remembers that Orihime Inoue could save Hiyori and yells for Ichigo Kurosaki to come back already.
As Shinji holds onto Hiyori, he glares up at Aizen. Aizen remarks on this, saying that Shinji's eyes have a nice look, as he feels as though he is looking at eyes that have returned to life for the first time in 100 years. He then asks if Shinji despises him and if so, he should come fight him as he will actually unsheathe his sword just for him. Shinji then asks for Hachi to keep Hiyori alive as long as possible until Ichigo returns. With that, Shinji goes up to face Aizen and Aizen comments on Shinji's statement, questioning why he seems to put such a large amount of faith in the young Visored. Shinji replies back that Aizen would not understand since he does not even trust his allies. Aizen corrects him by revealing that he never asked his followers to trust him. In actuality, he asked them to not trust anyone including himself, remarking that "all living creatures place their faith in someone more powerful than them and they cannot survive unless they blindly follow that person. The recipient of that faith then seeks out someone in an even higher position in order to escape from the pressure. That person than seeks out someone even more powerful that he must put his faith in. In this way all kings are born and in this way all Gods are born" (referring to himself). He tells Shinji to not believe in him yet because he will show him the power of a "god" first, as believing in his power will come after that.
While the battle between Captain Sajin Komamura, Lieutenant Shūhei Hisagi, and Kaname Tōsen goes on, Aizen proceeds to draw his Zanpakutō. Shinji comments on this action, being somewhat surprised that he would do so at all. He asks Aizen if he is scared, but Aizen remains silent. Shinji then goes on, stating that there is no point in ignoring him as he surely has some misgivings about his opponent despite how strong he is. Shinji then quotes Aizen's own words from 100 years ago, about how Shinji had never opened up to him, never told him anything or even tried to get to know him. He tells Aizen that as a result, Aizen has no idea about his Zanpakutō's abilities. Shinji declares to Aizen that if he thought that his Kyōka Suigetsu was the only Zanpakutō with the ability to completely control other people's senses, he was dead wrong. Shinji then proceeds to release his Zanpakutō's Shikai, Sakanade.
As Sakanade's Shikai takes form, Aizen remarks on how Shinji's Zanpakutō has an interesting shape. Shinji sarcastically tells Aizen to stop being so "flattering", telling him that he is not going to let him borrow it. Aizen then states that he does not feel as if anything had changed and asks Shinji if he had perhaps heard wrong about Sakanade being able to control a person's "senses". Shinji, however, implores Aizen to re-examine things, stating that things around him were already changing. He then points out Sakanade's effect, casually asking Aizen's opinion on Sakanade's pleasant scent. Aizen realizes that something has transpired, but Shinji tells him that it is already too late and welcomes him to the "Inverted World". Much to Aizen's surprise, Shinji now appears as though he is standing upside-down in mid-air. Thinking carefully, Aizen notices the change in directions, seeing that up, down, left and right are reversed. Shinji proceeds to explain that his Zanpakutō has the power to reverse an opponent's senses of direction and it is similar to falling block puzzle traps. He asks Aizen if he thinks his power is neat. Shinji then retracts his earlier statement, stating that Aizen probably does not play games of the sort and leaps forward to attack.
Aizen comments on how Shinji's Zanpakutō is indeed interesting by how everything from up, down, left, right to front and back are reversed and quickly turns around to block Shinji's attack. Shinji appears to be surprised by Aizen's swift deduction of his Zanpakutō's powers, who smugly asks Shinji if he actually thought that he would be fooled. However, Aizen is stunned to find that Shinji has inflicted an injury on his right arm. Shinji explains that it is not just one's sense of direction that is reversed, but also one's vision and the location of an injury is inverted as well. Shinji then asks Aizen if it is possible to fight when one's sense of direction and the direction that an attack is coming from are all in disarray. He then tells Aizen that it is not and that the stronger one is, the more used to combat they are and hence, one's body will always fight by reflex and fall to Sakanade's ability. Shinji moves to go attack again, only for Aizen to appear right behind him. Now understanding Shinji's Zanpakutō, he finds himself disappointed that it is nothing more than an optical illusion. Shinji is startled to find that Aizen had cut his back after passing by him. Aizen then plainly states that Shinji's powers are vastly different compared to his own abilities to control all five senses, and that Shinji's power is nothing once one gets accustomed to it. He taunts Shinji about it being nothing more than mere child's play.
Before their battle goes any further, Aizen's attention is attracted by Sajin Komamura who screams at him, believing him to be the reason for Kaname Tōsen's bloody death. It is then that Ichigo Kurosaki finally returns from Hueco Mundo, barging out from a Garganta to ambush Aizen from behind. Subsequently, members of the Gotei 13 and the Visored would gather together to not only protect Ichigo and fight Aizen, but also to give Ichigo the opportunity to strike Aizen down.
- Bleach manga; Chapter 377, pages 6-17
- Bleach manga; Chapter 383, pages 10-18
- Bleach manga; Chapter 385, pages 4-7
- Bleach manga; Chapter 387, pages 4-8
- Bleach manga; Chapter 387, pages 8-13
- Bleach manga; Chapter 387, pages 4-22