Genzo TsujimuraThe main hero of the manga, is a puppetmaster of great skill, capable of creating and assembling puppets so perfect that they're almost alive. After the death of his beloved wife Saki he has lost any will to live, and now is trying to build a puppet of her, so that he'll be able to commit suicide along with it and join Saki. However, the time passed with Kiku and Otsuru mellows him a bit.
- Anime Hair
- Antihero: He slowly gets better.
- Artificial Human: His puppets. When they're not turning into giant, tentacled masses of flesh.
- Big Damn Heroes: In the last story he gathers all his tricks and goes to rescue Kiku from the evil Yasuke.
- Combat Pragmatist: Deception is his strong suit.
- Combat Tentacles: Some of his puppets can grow flesh tentacles to bind and suffocate his victims.
- Crazy-Prepared: He seems to keep around puppets for many uses frequently. Partly justified, as he's always seen with a huge wardrobe-like box on his back where he keeps his instruments.
- Frogs and Toads: Often uses little frog puppets dressed as samurai, usually for fun. He can also make them speak.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Get himself stabbed in the gut by Kiku in order to free her from the Yamiganemaru sword, and then trew it in a huge fire behind him. Subverted in that he managed to survive somehow.
- I See Dead People: Can see ghosts and wisp fires.
- Ignore the Fanservice: He usually cares only about the "inner beauty" of a woman, and doesn't hesitate to call a pretty lady ugly.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold
- Marionette Master
- Mr. Fanservice
- Out of the Inferno: He apparently vanishes in a crumbling tower of fire, but he managed to survive that.
- Pet the Dog: His treatment of Otsuru.
- Single-Target Sexuality: He loved only Saki. By the end he managed to open his heart to Kiku.
- Slasher Smile: When he gets interested in a job.
- Wife Husbandry: Genderflippedy: he was raised by Koshiro to be Saki's husband.
Kiku NagashimaThe young and tomboyish princess of Kamigawa, Kiku meets Genzo when she employ his service in order to avoid a forced marriage with her Evil Uncle Genba. Later she becomes infatuated with Genzo and follows him around. She's a skilled swordswoman, trained by her own father from a young age.
- Action Girl: Oh yes!
- Anguished Declaration of Love: Not exactly love but she does eventually ask Genzo to marry her.
- Badass Normal
- Badass in Distress: Rarely. Expecially glaring in the last act when she's held hostage by Yasuke.
- Berserk Button: Don't call her ugly of flat-chested.
- Demonic Possession: She's briefly possessed by the Yamiganemaru.
- Dual Wielding: The traditional Daisho combo of swords.
- Gag Boobs: A rare case when the boobs in question are actually rather flat. But it doesn't save them from being made fun of...
- Genius Bruiser: She's quite clever and often figures out several mysteries by herself.
- Iaijutsu Practitioner
- Incest Is Relative: In the very beginning she was about to marry her cousin Tatsumaru.
- Raised as the Opposite Gender: Sort of. As she was the only child of the Daimyo, he decided to grow her as a strong, powerful leader.
- Rebellious Princess
- Stalker with a Crush: She often daydreams about her and Genzo, and hope she could spend "some time" alone with him.
- Tomboy: Only in behaviour.
- Tyke Bomb: Revealed in the last story that her father trained her hard in order to make sure that she'll destroy the Yamiganemaru.
- Watch Out for That Tree!: She run face-first into a wall after asking Genzo to marry her.
OtsuruA young girl from a village ruled by a former bandit, she had her hand cut and degraded to a feral state in order to protect the treasure of her foster father. She was fred and adopted by Genzo and eventually followed him around everywhere. She has a curved blade instead of her right hand.
- Action Girl
- Animal Motifs: Birds, in her case a crane.
- Badass Adorable
- Blade Below the Shoulder/Hook Hand: She has a curved, sickle-like blade instead of her right arm.
- Covert Pervert: She used to openly stare at Kiku when she was about to kiss Genzo.
- Dual Wielding: Her hook-hand and a small knife.
- Full-Frontal Assault: During her first appearence as "The Monster".
- Hulk Speak: Used most of the time. She revert to a normal speech pattern during the last story.
- Lovable Rogue: She adores to steal food from farmers and fishermen.
- Made of Iron: That girl has a great stamina, and gets involved in nasty battles often.
- Murderous Thighs: Used once to knock out a spy.
KagariA character introduced in volume 2, she's the daughter of Ukyo Kunikanehide, a master swordsmith serving the Nagashima house who was killed by the monk Kyokai. After her introduction she's always seen around Kiku serving as her humble handmaiden. During the 3rd and fourth volumes she's able to read the Journal of Father Floris, revealing some secrets about the Urakami family.
- Nice Hat: While travelling.
- Only Sane Woman: Compared to Kiku.
- Skintone Sclerae: Oddly she's the only character who sports them.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Girly Girl to Kiku's tomboy.
- Yamato Nadeshiko: The humble handmaiden who is seen wielding a spear during Yasuke's raid.
Fuyu MomoseDaughter of Tatsugoro Momose, owner of a great saltern and former architect of castles. She's involved in the struggle between Genzo and Koshiro after witnessing the apparent death of her father.
- Ambiguously Brown: Like Yoruichi. However, considering that she does work in a saltern she could just be tanned.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Her own father Tatsugoro, for faking his death and hiding his past.
- Face Fault: Once when Genzo bluntly states that she was his reward for faking Tatsugoro's death.=
- Ms. Fanservice
- Plucky Girl
Chiyomaru Tsukuda / Kiyone UrakamiThe young heir of the Tsukuda family, a clan serving the former Urakami clan, is a pretty-looking boy who fights to protect the coast from pirates. Revealed to be actually Kiyone Urakami, the last Urakami and key to the treasure left behind by her family.
- Angst: Considering that She had to live for about 15 years as a boy, this could be justified.
- Blade on a Stick: Wields a hoko (japanese four-pronged pike) in his first appearence.
- Cool Pet: Kohayamaru, a Okigondo. That would mean a large Wholphin.
- Damsel in Distress: In Volume 4 she's tied and has a bag on her back containing a flask of oil and one of gunpowder.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: Even Genzo admitted that he was beautiful and shapeful. Justified when we find out that he's actually a real woman.
- MacGuffin Girl: She's one of the few traces leading to the Urakami treasure.
- Raised as the Opposite Gender
- Scars Are Forever: As a baby, her father tried to save her from a burning ship, but she was scarred all over her body by the flames.
- Taking You with Me: She tackles Kurojishi off a boat in order to save an unconscious Genzo. Too bad he survives and capture her.
Genba HorinouchiKiku's villainous uncle who poisoned her cousin and future husband Tatsumaru so that she'll be forced to marry him instead.
- Attempted Rape: On her own niece Kiku!
- Blood Knight: He's said to be incredibly skilled in battle and Genzo sees a horde of howling spirits surrounding him.
- Evil Uncle
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Has a large scar on his left eyebrow.
- Oh, Crap: When he sees Tatsumaru's puppet. And a even bigger one when Kiku's puppet turns into a gigantic blob of tentacled flesh and wrap him up.
KyokaiA large and strong warrior Monk who likes to collect swords and loathes the modern warfare. After discovering that Ukyo Kanekunihide, the Nagashima swordsmith, forged a fake Samoji sword for the Taiko Hideyoshi and kept the real one, he steals the sword and blackmail both him and the Nagashima clan.
- Bald of Evil
- Badass Normal: Can easly beat Kiku without breaking a sweat.
- Carry a Big Stick/Epic Flail: His weapon is a ludicrously big Kanabo, with a retractable Chigiriki (flail) hidden in the handle.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: His love for swords prevents him from parrying Kiku's attack with the Samoji Swords, as his strength would have ruined it.
- Motive Rant: Gives one to Kiku while curp-stomping her.
- Warrior Monk
Koshiro HonebamiSaki's elder brother, he's the man who adopted Genzo in order to serve as heir of the Tsujimura puppetmasters, while he'll get fame by working with the samurais. He appears in Volume 2 where he tries to murder Genzo for letting Saki die.
- Aloof Big Brother
- Berserk Button: Goes from surprised to apeshit when Genzo tries to calm him using Saki's puppet.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He genuinely loves Saki, though according to Genzo he's not realizing that if he kills Genzo, he'll make Saki unhappy.
- Evil Counterpart: To Genzo.
- Heel-Face Turn: When Saki's puppet briefly comes to life and begs him to simply be happy.
- Marionette Master: Maybe even better than Genzo.
- People Puppets: He uses his strings to capture Kiku and use her as a marionette.
- Pet the Dog: When he adopted Genzo. We also gets to see that he was kind and friendly to both Saki and Genzo.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Tried to kill Kiku's guards with an armored marionette filled with explosive.
- Uncanny Valley Make Up
- Unusual Ears: His are pointy, like those of an elf.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: He literally disappears after being calmed down by Saki's ghost.
- You Let My Little Sister Die
KurojishiA large man wearing a huge Koma-Inu mask and probably a pirate leader. He's serving Maria Kurusu. Appears to be a very resilient and powerful man, though he often falls for Genzo's trickery.
- An Axe to Grind: He even resorts to Dual Wielding in order to chop people to pieces, when he's not shooting them.
- Berserk Button: He really gets mad at Genzo after he made a fool of him in front of Maria.
- Butt Monkey: The sheer number of times when he's caught in an explosion is utterly hilarious.
- The Dragon: To Maria.
- Implacable Man: Seriously, it takes a lot to slow this guy down.
- Made of Iron: He did managed to survive a lot of explosions.
- Malevolent Masked Man
- No Body Left Behind: He's finally done for good when he gets tied to a puppet of Chiyomaru ready to explode in the middle of a burning ship. He can't be deader than that!
- Oh, Crap: When the apparently wounded Genzo rise up... with a puppet mask identical to the explosive one which got him earlier.
- Undying Loyalty: To Maria.
- The Unreveal: Whe never get to see how he looks like under his mask.
Maria KurusuLeader of the Kurusu clan, she's a strong willed half-portuguese woman who's plotting to overthrone Hideyoshi using a giant warship, and intends to recover the Urakami treasure in order to achieve her goal.
- Bad Boss: Seen whipping and insulting her men when they fail.
- Big Bad: The most notable one, as her arc is extended to two whole volumes.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows
- Boobs of Steel: Her breasts are really big, and she's a strong fighter.
- But Not Too Foreign: Half Portuguese.
- Evil Red Head
- Genre Savvy: After Genzo's first raid to their hideout, she orders to all her soldiers to remove their helmets, so that they can be easily identified on sight.
- Jerk Ass
- Made of Iron: She has her right arm ripped by a wholphin but when she recovers she's still strong enough to skewer an adult man on a pike.
- Of Corsets Sexy
- Take Over Japan: Her goal is to kill Hideyoshi during his campaign against Korea and turn the Japan into a Portuguese colony with her as ruler.
- Taking You with Me: Tries to blow up everyone during her Villainous Breakdown.
- Ungrateful Bitch: Even After being saved by Kiyone and Genzo she still tries to kill them.
- Villainous Breakdown: When she finds out that the Urakami treasure is actually a way to produce gunpowder.
- Whip It Good
YasukeAn old and wicked bandit leader who owns a legendary cursed sword called Yamiganemaru ("Metal Ring of Darkness") who was limped in battle by Kiku's father and since then plotted revenge on the Nagashima clan. He asks for an artificial leg to Genzo and after he's able to walk he tries to kill the puppet master and goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Kiku. He's eventually disarmed by Otsuru and impaled by his own sword wielded by Kiku.
- Black Eyes of Evil: Making him creepy.
- Cool Sword: The Yamiganemaru.
- Evil Old Folks: And scary!
- Game Face: At first appears as a perfectly normal, kind old man with Eyes Always Shut. His default face however is completely different.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Possessed!Kiku impales him with his own cursed katana after telling him that he failed to the sword.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Against the Nagashima clan for invading his mountains.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Genzo made a new leg for him, and in returns he tries to shank him.
Seibei TsujimuraGenzo's old teacher and Saki's father.
- Brother Chuck: Never seen again after the second volume.
- Cool Old Guy
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Seen in the flashback.
- Marionette Master: A retired Puppet master.
- Old Master: To Genzo.
SakiGenzo's deceased wife. She appears through the series as a ghost. She also animate Saki's incomplete marionette to save him from Koshiro.
- Cute Ghost Girl
- Family-Unfriendly Death
- Heroic Sacrifice: To save Genzo from Koshiro and stop their fight.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy
Suguroku TsukudaChiyomaru's adoptive father, he was a vassal of the local warlord Mataemon Urakami before his death in a fire. He asks Genzo to build a puppet of Chiyomaru in order to fake "his" death and so reveal back Kiyone. He's eventually captured by Maria Kurusu's men, as he know the secret of the Urakami treasure. In the end he's revealed to have been behind the events leading to Mataemon's death and betrays the group, only to get killed by Maria.
- Blade on a Stick: His weapon is a hooked pike.
- Face-Heel Turn: Near the end.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: By Maria, when she finds out that he manipulated her too.
- Papa Wolf: Towards Chiyomaru.
- Secret Keeper: Knows Chiyomaru's true identity and knows that the Treasure of the Urakami is actually a written method about how to produce gunpowder.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: He was afraid of Matazaemon's idea about producing gupowder and in general his nefarious plots, so he ended up burning the ship he was on.
OshizuA young and plucky girl who writes horror and supernatural stories for a kawaraban note . She get's involved in Kenjiro's investigations.
- Break the Cutie: She's almost raped and quartered by Denzaemon.
- Genki Girl
- Hot Scoop: She's trying to find a great story to write.
- Plucky Girl
Kenjiro OotsukiA grim, wandering samurai looking for a cursed blade. He's the son of Terumitsu Ootsuki, a great swordsmith. Wields a powerful and famed katana named Gotsumaru (Way of Karma).
- Bad Ass
- Big Damn Heroes: Arrives just in time to save Oshizu.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Large, grim-looking warrior with two swords and prone to Death Glares ? He's the hero.
- Deadpan Snarker: To Denzaemon.Kenjiro:"Congratulations for the carefuly chosen words..."
- It's Personal: His father asked him to set on a quest to find and destroy his cursed weapon, the Jintsumaru Tenganken.
- Master Swordsman
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives one to Denzaemon, pointing out that he's just using the sword's dark reputation as an excuse for his own murderous istinct.
Denzaemon KogureBig Bad of the Gotsuden short story. He's a vassal of the Daimyo. He's murdering women in a satanic ritual in hope of using black magic to grant a heir to his master.
- Big Bad
- Evil Weapon: Jintsumaru Tenganken, a blade which is said to have powers over illusions.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: Is cleaved in half by Kenjiro.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Actually subverted: he throw a large, generic katana to his enemies, forcing them to parry, and then attack them with the Jintsumaru hidden under his cloak to kill them. The thrown sword itself isn't very dangerous: when Kenjiro's hit in the chest the blade's tip barely penetrate his sternum.
- Jack The Rip Off