Belligerent Sexual Tension: Oodles with Rin. The most common scenario is he protects her or does something nice with her then quickly goes back to acting like a jackass to her.
Berserk Button: Do. Not. Touch. Rin. When Manji asks if the men holding Rin captive are evil, she confesses all she knows is that they'll kill her if Manji doesn't kill them. He doesn't need to know anything else.
Failure Knight: He accidentally drove his sister, Machi, into madness by unknowingly killing her husband. Later he failed to stop her death at the hands of an enemy ronin. One of the main reasons he protects Rin and aids her in her quest is because of her resemblance to his sister, and because he wants to protect her unlike he was able to protect Machi.
Good Scars, Evil Scars: Has the classic grizzled anti-hero scars: two running horizontally across his face, one across his nose and cheeks, the other across his forehead, and a final scar running vertically over his right eye.
Healing Factor: Thanks to the bloodworm, they bind his wounds as soon as his flesh is cut.
Jerkass Façade: After he killed Araya and the man's son, Renzo, saw the whole thing, Manji acted like he was an evil thug who killed Araya for revenge. He did this to protect Renzo from the knowledge that his father used to be a psychotic criminal.
Big Sister Instinct: Even though she didn't know Renzo very well, and despite the fact that their first encounter devolved into childish bickering, she's more than willing to degrade herself in front of a Jerkass samurai to stop him from hurting Renzo.
Action Girl: she may not be the best fighter, but she can make a good showing on a good day.
Bodyguard Crush: Inverted, she's the protectee and it's pretty clear that she has feelings for Manji.
Broken Bird: Can sometimes verge into this on bad days.
Calling Your Attacks: "Curtain of Death! Flight of the Golden Wasps!" ....people routinely point out how stupid and suicidal this is.
Fire-Forged Friends: With Doa. when they first meet, Doa is ready to slaughter her casually. After their adventures together, Doa would walk through the gates of hell for her.
The Heart: Rin's kindness and goodness is utterly infectious, and can move even Manji And Anotsu.
Heroic BSOD: Absolutely shatters after Anotsu taunts her about how close she is to becoming like the Itto-Ryu in her quest for revenge.
Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Subverted. Anotsu believes Rin is the purest person he's ever met with her desire for revenge. Manji, however, points out that Rin is tormented by doubt all the time. Still, Rin doesn't have a cruel bone in her body and finds the idea of revenge is far more appealing than the reality of it. You can count on Rin to be the moral voice whenever it's needed.
Last Of Her Kind: She's the last member of the Mutenichi-Ryu School, and if she dies the school's teachings die with her.
The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: To Anotsu. This is kind of problematic as she has like less than a zero percent chance against him in a fight. She also admits it'd piss her off if Anotsu died in an event that has nothing to do with her.
Affably Evil: He's pretty genteel and cares about his subordinates. He even spares a defenseless Rin's life after she tried to kill him, and says if she gives up her grudge he wouldn’t have his subordinates kill her.
Badass Boast: Tons. Notably "I am Anotsu Kagehisa. Head of Itto-Ryu. Those who face me knowing that name take up arms against the thousand followers bound to me. You interfere with my grandfather's dream and block my path to the future. And so...feel the weight of my blade! Scatter like leaves in the wind!"
Freudian Excuse: His grandfather was cast out of the Mutenichi-Ryu Dojo, he became hateful and abusive. Under his harsh training, Anotsu grew disillusioned with putting concepts like "honor" and "good form" above victory at any cost.
Honor Before Reason: Despite his motto of "whatever works", Anotsu is unable, at times, to put aside his innate sense of honor.
Kick the Dog: Gives his men permission to rape Rin's mother. On one hand, though, given what disgusting thugs all but Magatsu and Sabato were, he might have faced an uprising had he not.
My God, What Have I Done?: Sometimes, his mistakes come back to haunt him. Realizing the sheer hell he's put Rin through makes him genuinely remorseful.
Not So Stoic: The few times Anotsu lets his emotions show...it's genuinely heartbreaking. Or exceptionally badass.
Pet the Dog: A ton of these moments. Anotsu genuinely cares for a good portion of his men and seems to consider Abayama and Magatsu his real friends. He has curious moments with Rin and genuinely, deeply loves Makie.
Sins of Our Fathers: When bandits attacked Rin's great-grandfather, the master of the Mutenichi-Ryu Dojo, Anotsu's grandfather saved him. However, since he used a foreign sword and poor style, he was cast out of the Dojo. In retribution for the injustice done to his grandfather and the disgrace brought upon his family, Anotsu killed Rin's father along with every one of the Mutenichi-Ryu students.
Tranquil Fury: When he's genuinely furious, he covers it with a gentle smile and soft voice.
Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Volume 3 shows him as a nice boy willing to stand up to his abusive grandfather to protect a young Makie.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: He destroys dojos to eliminate the distinctions and factions that divide samurai. His planned end result is to form a school of the sword where only the strongest techniques survive.
Would Not Hurt A Child: When he first appears he orders his men not to harm Rin because he considers harming a child savage.
You Killed My Father: On the receiving end since he's the one responsible for the death of Rin's father and mother.
Action Girl: She's also probably the biggest Badass in the series given that she's a better fighter than both The Hero and the Big Bad. If you fight Makie and you make it out alive, the only reason is because she's shown mercy on you. Putting this in perspective, the second or third best fighter in the series backed up by a large amount of mooks and five elite warriors believes that all of them facing Makie at once is near certain death.
Always Someone Better: To Anotsu. He says the first time they met, he knew she would always walk ahead of him for the rest of their lives.
Broken Bird: For a period of time. One quote sums it up: "When a woman lets herself fall...she can't have dreams ever again."
Curbstomp Battle: If Makie is serious and doesn't plan to spare you, this is the only battle she's ever in.
Cursed with Awesome: Ever since she was a child her talent as a warrior was near superhuman. However, it has brought her nothing but pain as it led to her brother's suicide, her father casting her and her mother out, and the man she loves loving her talent more than he does her.
Dissonant Serenity: In battle, Makie wears a detached, aloof expression. It's both beautiful and terrifying.
Freudian Excuse: She was a natural born samurai, at just ten-years-old she managed to defeat her fifteen-year-old brother who had been named heir to the Asano dojo. As a result of his disgrace, her brother was Driven to Suicide, and his father cast both Makie and her mother out into the whorehouses.
Happily Married: While there's never anything made official, Makie says it best to Anotsu: "Your karma. Your Wife...is right here."
Heroic BSOD: After her meeting with her father. How often is it you can fail at everything that can be failed at in the same day?
Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Not currently but she used to work in a whorehouse. Makie came to respect her mother for also being one, since her mother spent her life providing comfort to others despite her harsh circumstances.
Lady of War: Makie's sheer grace and aloof demeanor in battle is both beautiful and eerie. Anotsu himself describes her skill as "what I can never be, dancing before me." Makie is so talented that she can even evade the blood her blades spill, without a drop landing upon her.
Lonely at the Top: Her talent, that makes her the finest warrior in all Japan by far, has brought her nothing but misery and isolation. As a child, she even asked Anotsu to get better than her one day. When he confesses he never could, Makie is finally happy and at peace: him being weaker than her means she has a reason to remain at his side.
The Masochism Tango: It is utterly impressive how much pain she and Anotsu can inflict on one another. Anotsu's devotion to the sword pains Makie because she wants to be more than his warrior, and Makie's self-hatred, selling her body and refusal to truly embrace her talents tears Anotsu apart whenever he sees her. Even after that, there's still a lot between them.
My Greatest Failure: Her father. Makie fully intended to kill him, but his sheer dementia, sadness and regret left her initially incapable of it. When she remembered her mother, her rage made her rush back for his life...only to see he'd died of natural causes. She had literally managed to fail at every conceivable outcome of that encounter.
First Name Basis: With Anotsu. He is one of the only ones to address him as Kagehisa. Given their history, Abayama has the right.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: As hard as he can be on his students, and ruthless as he can be when provoked, Abayama is a genuinely kind-hearted man who cares deeply for his students and views them as the future. His loyalty to Itto-Ryu is second to none and he is guilt-stricken over a prostitute Shira mutilates after a failed Itto-Ryu plan.
Not So Harmlss: Think that one armed old coot was nothing special? Guess again.
Number Two: Whenever Anotsu's gone, Abayama's the "acting head" of the Itto-Ryu. One member puts it best: He and Anotsu are the Itto-Ryu.
Old Master: He's the second in command of the Itto-Ryu, you think he's anything but?
The Starscream. Unusual example. He was this to Anotsu's grandfather, Anotsu Saburo, on behalf of Kagehisa himself. Saburo loathed Anotsu for his ambition when Anotsu was a child and told Abayama to kill him. Abayama killed Saburo instead and pledged himself to Kagehisa forever.
The Strategist: His knack for strategic thinking helps the Itto-Ryu a ton.
Combat Pragmatist: Not above using hidden weapons and perils of the environment to his advantage.
Enemy Mine: Has a few interesting teamups with Manji here and there. Usually when Shira is involved.
Even Evil Has Standards: Didn't participate in the rape of Rin's mother, and tried to stop his cohorts from participating in it as well. He outright tried to stop the rape, but was forced to storm off in disgust when Araya made it clear pressing the issue might well mean his life.
Freudian Excuse: Hates samurai because, as a peasant, the daimyo's samurai cut his sister in two for scaring the daimyo's horse while playing with a ball.
My Greatest Failure: O-en's death. Leaving her unguarded meant she fell prey to Shira who was after information on Magatsu. Magatsu is torn up by guilt for failing to be there when she needed him.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Pretty damn good with these. The earliest one he gave was to Araya when Araya was attempting to rape Rin's mother
What the Hell, Hero?: On the receiving end of this from a grieving prostitute after O-Ren's death. "She just wanted to be with you! Was that such a big dream, was that too much to ask?! What good are you Kenshi anyways...give a man a sword and all he can do is ruin someone's life!"
Worthy Opponent: Manji and Magatsu consider each other this. Despite his hatred of samurai he praises Manji's skills to his teammates.
Affably Evil: He comes off as quite cordial and romantic despite his psychopathy, and he does honor his word.
A Love to Dismember: He keeps the heads of his first wife and Rin's mother, stuffed and sewn to his shoulders because he wanted to capture the perfection of their beauty. He plans on adding Rin to the collection.
Token Motivational Nemesis: The effect is somewhat softened by having him acting under Anotsu's orders, but you'd still think the man who killed Rin's father and mother would last longer than a single chapter.
Warrior Poet: He composes and recites poetry not only in his spare time but also after killing people.
Yandere: When he thinks Rin has finally reciprocated her love for him, he plans on killing her then dying himself, then having his body stuffed and Rin's stuffed head sewn onto his shoulder opposite her mother's. It's meant to be a tribute to his love and her perfection.
You Killed My Father: On the receiving end of this from Rin, since he was the one who dealt the deathblow even though Anotsu is the one who ordered the kill. He also murdered Rin’s mother and sewed her stuffed head onto his shoulder.
Alas, Poor Villain: Realizing how he'll never achieve his goals and how tired he's grown with living, he lets Manji cut him apart and kill him permanently rather than continue to fight.
Healing Factor: He has the bloodworm too so, just like Manji, he can heal from practically anything just shy of decapitation.
The Starscream: He respects Anotsu's vision but he thinks that Anotsu's mortality will mean he dies before he can make his dream a reality. For this reason, Eiku decides to supplant Anotsu and hijack the plan.
Apologetic Attacker: He does seem genuinely sorry he has to kill Rin, though he says after he's killed her and Manji he'll lie to Renzo that they up and left without even changing his expression.
Bait the Dog: When he's first seen he's making a sad little boy a unique mask to make up for giving away the one the boy really wanted to the kid's sister. Even when he reveals himself as a member of the Itto-Ryu to Manji immediately afterwards it seems like he'll be one of the Anti-Villain ones... then we find out about his past deeds and suddenly this notion flies out the window.
Beneath the Mask: He knows how horrible of a person he is on the inside but he keeps up a pleasant facade of an affable, somewhat clueless man in a bid not to lose his son. For added symbolism, he is a mask maker.
Combat Pragmatist: Has Manji turn his work studio into a fighting ring. One that favors Araya's fighting style. Manji is rather impressed by it.
Friendly Enemy: Always refers to Manji as his friend even when trying to kill him.
Interplay of Sex and Violence: He actually got turned on by being in a room that stank of the blood and guts of a dead man before raping the man's wife.
Murder Is the Best Solution: A young girl says she'll leave you alone and keep your secret safe so long as you apologize for raping her mother? She knows too much, kill her.
Retired Monster: He's a member of the Itto-Ryu and was the man who led the rape of Rin's mother, and while he's not a good person, he's not too pleased with his past and determined to put it behind him to be a good father to his son. Of course he also plans on silencing anyone who knows the truth.
Dark and Troubled Past: Has a major one. she was the wife of a samurai whose baby daughter was killed before she even named her just for being a girl. Her sickly son was judged too weak to be a samurai, so her husband chopped him in half. She snapped and killed her husband before being put on death row.
Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Against Maki. Realizing he's utterly outclassed and crippled and afraid Hyakurin will get caught up in the fight, Giichi resorts to begging her on his knees to leave them alive.
Bald of Awesome: Don't fight him in the daylight. That shaved head could blind you by reflecting the sun.
Blood Knight: Shira loves battle as much as the most hardcore members of the Itto-Ryu.
But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Subverted. He admits that killing O-Ren would have been completely forgettable for him...except since he lost his hand, she was the last person he got to have fun with.
Card-Carrying Villain: "As I was cutting her up, I came to a realization...Shira, my man, you are one cruel dude!"
The Cat Came Back: on multiple occasions...more warped and depraved from the last time you see him.
Cold-Blooded Torture: During fights he tends to “play” with his opponents, chopping off limbs rather than killing them straight off. Once they’re incapacitated, and if he has the time, he’ll slowly saw any remaining limbs off too for no reason other than pleasure. He loves torture so much, his reaction when he discovers Manji is immortal is absolute glee: he can torture him as long as he wants.
Devil in Plain Sight: It's a miracle that anyone on his team actually trusts him. For a brief period Rin apparently thought his cruel actions were done to teach her some kind of lesson, before realizing he's just a monster who loves hurting people. later on, this kind of gets him into trouble when every single faction is out for his head.
Faux Affably Evil: Can put up a rather effective front at being an actual human being.
He-Man Woman Hater: He's a misogynist who gets off on torturing, raping and killing women. He sums it up best himself: "I frigging hate women."
Kick the Dog: Pretty much everything he does. One of his earliest displays of bastardry is killing a dog that Rin had befriended, then he cooks it, pretends it's boar, and feeds it to Rin before showing her the dog's head. All for a laugh.
Token Evil Teammate: While the Mugai-Ryu is comprised of morally dubious characters, Shira's by far the most depraved one of all.
Worthy Opponent: He wants Manji to be this to him, embracing what he can be and cast off the shackles of morality and restraint. Everyone really hates Shira way too much to view him this way.
Would Hit a Girl: His establishing character moment is murdering a Hooker with a Heart of Gold because she wouldn't give him information on Magatsu's whereabouts. Knowing Shira, he'd probably have done it even if she'd given him the info.