Szayel Aporro Granz is an average-sized Arrancar with shoulder-length pink hair and golden eyes. He is Yylfordt Granz's younger brother, although Szayel is much stronger. The remains of his hollow mask take the form of rectangular-framed glasses that give him a scholarly appearance. His arrancar outfit is slightly different from others in that he wears a shorter hakama that exposes a type of sock covering his shins. His shirt is somewhat different from other arrancar as well, as most arrancar have some form of jacket instead. The sleeves are unnecessarily long, covering the majority of his hands, and it has extra seams on the chest area. In his later appearance he also dons a cape.
Szayel first appears when Aizen gathers the Espada to inform them that Hueco Mundo has been invaded by Ichigo Kurosaki, Uryū Ishida, and Yasutora Sado, and, despite the order to stand by idly, Szayel orders out the Exequias, though Aizen doesn't punish him. He later faces Renji, Uryū, Pesche Guatiche and Dondochakka Bilstin, during which his resourcefulness and analyses of his opponents allow him to come out on top. Szayel finally meets his match with the equally cunning Mayuri Kurotsuchi. Kurotsuchi, having observed Szayel's abilities through organism implanted in Uryū's body, counters by replacing his organs with artificial ones, then gains the upper hand by releasing his bankai and having it consume the Espada. Szayel, however, is reborn through Nemu Kurotsuchi via another of his abilities, which allows him to implant himself into his enemies and reform even after death. But unknown to Szayel, Kurotcuchi had earlier created failsafes in the event his daughter's body was ever consumed or invaded. Among these was a drug that vastly augmented Szayel's reaction time and perceptions, to the point where one second seems like a century to him. With his physical body unable to compensate for his over-enhanced mental state, Szayel is effectively paralysed. Kurotsuchi then proceeds to stab him, informing him that, as a result of the drug, the agony of every injury will seem to drag on for a hundred years.
Descent into HellEdit
After dying, Szayel fell into Hell, landing alongside Aaroniero andd said he’d noticed someone falling with him. He noted how strong the 9th Espada’s head tank was and he asked if the 8th Espada hoped it would break. Szayel said that he’d only meant if it had cracked, he could’ve studied the liquid inside. Angered, Aaroniero said it was convenient Aizen wasn’t there and prepared to attack the 8th Espada with Glotonería. Szayel told him to wait, saying that they figure out where they were together, instead of killing each other. Aaroniero said he didn’t really care and that he’d investigate on his own, but Szayel reminded the 9th Espada that he had the higher Espada number. However a man interrupted them, telling them that they were in Hell and Aaroniero demanded that he come down and explain things to them. The man told them they were already dead and though the 9th Espada didn’t understand, Szayel remembered dying. He went to attack the man, demanding to know if there was a way back to Hueco Mundo and the man said there was none.
Szayel said he’d better not be hiding anything when three other beings appeared him and the man introduced himself as Shuren, saying they had to serve him to survive Hell. He introduced the others as Taikon, Gonjo, and Garogai and ordered them to attack the two Espada. Aaroniero and Szayel entered their Resurrección forms with Szayel firing his Gran Ray Cero at Shuren, only for him to dodge. He asked if that was the power of an Espada’s Cero, noting that it was disappointing, and said that he had no use for the two. Szayel and Aaroniero were quickly defeated with Shuren saying they didn’t have the power to open it (The gate of Hell).
Szayel is the scientist of the Espada, developing various spiritual equipment for use by the arrancar. Using various methods, one of which involves implanting a subject with rokureichū (a data-gathering device), he is able to analyze the spiritual power of an opponent through those that person has defeated. He is also adept at creating devices that can manipulate and suppress spiritual power, as evidenced in his battle with Renji Abarai. Much like Mayuri Kurotsuchi, he is quite sadistic and seems to view others as little more than research material.
Szayel is portrayed as a stereotypical intellectual. He is quite fastidious, often having a plan that he follows down to every detail and throws tantrums when they are disrupted. Szayel is also arrogant and condescending, openly or otherwise, to both allies and enemies, especially to entities who aren't hollows. This behavior also extends to his motive for his allegiance to Aizen, as he hopes Aizen will do away with the non-hollows once he becomes the king of Soul Society. Despite his attitude, Szayel is mockingly considerate enough to quiet his followers and remain quiet himself so his opponent can say something.
Szayel sometimes acts without Aizen's approval, and while he is very polite to Aizen in person, gestures he makes when his back is turned suggest that he resents him. Like the rest of the Espada, he possesses numerous Fracción, though his are hollows he personally modified and had made into arrancar by Aizen. Two of his notable subordinates are Lumina and Verona, both of whom are round arrancar with bare feet and sparse hair, though Lumina was eaten to heal her master. Szayel seems to show the same lack of care for his creations as Mayuri, using them as fodder in battle. When Verona speaks up against this after Lumina is devoured, Szayel quiets her by saying he'd just "make a new one" later.