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- Advertised Extra: Lampshaded. Despite appearing in every opening after their appearance (and then adding Kamui when he joins Takasugi), the Kiheitai rarely ever appear and, even when they do, they usually (but not always) act in the background. In the New Years card episode Gin receives a card from the officers begging for more screentime, while other characters complain about their popularity despite rarely ever appearing.
- Five-Bad Band: The main officers of the Kiheitai form one with Takasugi as the Big Bad.
- La Résistance: During the Joi War, the Kiheitai was part of the resistance force. It still serves as one in the present, but much darker.
- The Remnant: The Anti-Foreigner Faction may have lost the war, but the Kiheitai keeps on fighting.
Voiced by: Takehito Koyasu (JP), Alex Zahara (EN, series) , Kyle Jones (EN, movie)A former comrade of Gintoki and Katsura during the Joi War and the series' primary antagonist. He leads a radical branch of the Anti-Foreigner Faction called the Kiheitai (Demon Soldiers Army) and is known amongst the Shinsengumi as one of the most dangerous criminals around. After the war ended, he vanished and has since gained a deadly reputation due to his assassination of many of the Bakufu's main officers.Unlike Katsura, he believes that the only way to save the country is to destroy the "rotten" post-Joi war world. His resentment and overwhelming spite drove him to strike a partnership with the Harusame Space Pirates in order to eliminate the Bakufu.
- Arch-Enemy: As Gintoki's and Katsura's former friend, he's also their most personal enemy.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: As the leader of the Kiheitai, he's also the most powerful member.
- Big Bad: As Gintoki's Arch-Enemy and the mastermind behind most of the serious arcs, Takasugi serves as the main antagonist for most of the series. After he's put in a coma in the Shogun Assassination arc, Utsuro appears in the following arc to take over the role of Big Bad.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: Later on enters in an alliance with fellow major villain Kamui.
- Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: His kimono is covered in golden butterflies and the symbolism is perfectly in-line with his radical intentions.
- The Chessmaster: He's managed to turn his small but dangerous organisation into a major player in the great scheme of things through the acquisition and manipulation of new allies, to the point where he's managed to ally himself with the Shogun-to-be Nobunobu, and at the same time be seen as an equal.
- The Comically Serious: Plays the role in flashbacks and made fun of for it in the present.
- During the New Years Cards episode, Gin receives a card from the Kiheitai and at first believes it's an almost death threat from Takasugi written in blood. Although it turns out it's from his men.
- The Reunion arc had Henpeita giving Gin three false notes from Takasugi about buying them yakult or being paid back for some yakult from the past. Gin, Katsura, and Sakamoto all bought it and reacted until Henpeita said they were fake.
- He joined in with Gintoki and Katsura spitting on Sakamoto's face after he said on his behalf that they are friends again.
- Convenient Coma: The Shogun Assassination arc ends with him in a coma and the Kiheitai on the run. He finally wakes up in the Rakuyou arc and immediately starts fighting again.
- The Corrupter: Often corrupts others, including his employers, into evildoing.
- Despair Event Horizon: Hit it in the past when Shoyo died.
- Disc One Final Boss: He's eventually upstaged by the Tendoshu, who get Nobunobu to betray him and the Harusame to betray his ally Kamui. The Naraku also strike while they're fighting the Yorozuya, causing great damage to both sides and putting Takasugi in a coma until he wakes up in the Rakuyou arc.
- Determinator: Gintoki's match in sheer determination to not give up a fight.
- The Dreaded: The Bakufu rightly fears him and everybody begins panicking when he gets involved.
- Enemy Mine: After he and Gintoki spent several chapters beating the shit out of each other in the Shogun Assassination arc, the two briefly team up to take on Oboro when the Naraku and Tendoshu move in to mop up both the Kiheitai and the Shogun's supporters.
- In the Rakuyou Arc, he's back out of his coma to fight off the Naraku... this time with Gintoki, Katsura, and Sakamoto once again as allies!
- Eyepatch of Power: His bandages serve as one, covering the left eye he lost during the war. Kamui lampshaded it when they first met.
- Eye Scream: How did he lose said eye? Oboro threw a knife at it. Ouch.
- Evil Counterpart: His character is a fairly good representation of what Gintoki and Katsura could become if they ever decide to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- His relationship with Kamui is also respective to Gin's relationship with Kagura, with both reacting flatly to the Yato's actions and often dealing with them jumping ahead of everyone. But where Gin treats Kagura like his daughter and is much more childish, Kamui and Takasugi have a working relationship that appears to be turning friendly, since Kamui assisted Takasugi out of the last fight they had and shows the most belief that he'll be okay.
- Evil Former Friend: He used to be friends with Gintoki and Katsura, but the end of the war and Shoyo's death turned him against them.
- Faux Affably Evil: Acts politely with a clear hint of hostility and condescension in his tone.
- Freudian Excuse: Shoyo Yoshida's unfair treatment and death at the hands of the Bakufu sent him flying over the Despair Event Horizon and led to his view of the world being rotten and unsalvageable. Likewise, his hatred of Gin yet neutrality towards Katsura is because it was specifically Gin who killed Shoyo, having been forced into it.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Went from a rebellious rich kid to a war hero out to save his mentor, before becoming a vengeful terrorist out to destroy everything and the Bakufu's biggest headache.
- Giggling Villain: Prone to amused giggling.
- Handicapped Badass: Takasugi may be missing an eye, but he's a highly skilled fighter who is Gintoki's equal in all forms of combat.
- Historical-Domain Character: His historical counterpart is Takasugi Shinsaku.
- It's Personal: Towards the Bakufu as whole for ordering Shoyo's arrest and execution, but especially towards the former Shogun Sadasada and the Tendoshu. He personally takes the head of the former in prison.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: He kills the Shogun's corrupt uncle in the Courtesan of a Nation Arc. Said person was responsible for Shouyou's arrest along with several other atrocities.
- Knight of Cerebus: Whenever Takasugi shows up, things start getting very serious.
- Knight Templar: Believes that the eradication of everything is the only way to save the country.
- The Last Dance: His friendship with Kamui starts off with this as a promise.
- Manipulative Bastard: So far, he's actually shown a fair amount of restraint when it comes to his Kiheitai, but he's not above igniting mutiny among the Shinsengumi by manipulating one of their advisors.
- Nietzsche Wannabe: The world as he sees it is a rotten place which can only be saved by destroying it.
- Out-Gambitted: In the Shogun Assassination Arc, he is outsmarted by the Tendoshuu who struck when he was fighting the Yorozuya, while Nobunobu betrayed him to become the new Shogun.
- Perpetual Smiler: Always seen with a smile or smirk on his face.
- Pet the Dog: After defeating Oboro and listening to his dying words about Utsuro, he decides to bring him back to Earth for a proper burial to pay his respects.
- Psychotic Smirk: His default expression.
- Pocket Protector: An old school book saves him when Katsura pulls a surprise attack on him from within an Elizabeth costume.
- Purple Is the New Black: His hair color is either black, purple, or a mix of the two.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Still on one. He is especially bitter at the world for taking away his teacher Shoyo.
- Slasher Smile: He's more prone to Psychotic Smirks, but he occasionally shows off a maniacal grin.
- Smoking Is Cool: Smokes a kiseru, which is a Japanese type of pipe.
- Straight Man: To Kamui. At one point, all Takasugi can do is sigh and explain his plan after Kamui punches Nobunobu across a street.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Throws his sword straight through two Naraku to save Bansai from being killed, right after he woke up from his coma.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Yakult is treated as his, due to the Reunion Arc where for two chapters his running gag was about the drink. Fans quickly grabbed onto this trait, too, because it was the first goofy characterization he's ever had in, again, 422 chapters.
- Visionary Villain: Takasugi has a vision for the world, which will most likely result in it's destruction.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Used to be this with Gintoki and the other Joui comrades. Him spitting on Sakamoto like Gintoki and Katsura is actually a good sign they are progressing.
- Warrior Poet: The real man was one and wrote many poems in prision which he sent to his teacher, and this one is too a poet, although it's Played for Laughs and his poems are weird, very weird.
Voiced by: Takumi Yamazaki (JP), Andrew Love (EN, movie)Regarded as one of the strongest swordsmen in the country, Bansai serves as second-in-command of the Kiheitai. He carries a shamisen which doubles as a tool for garroting or tying up his opponents.On top of being famous as a skilled swordsman, Bansai is also a talented songwriter. He works as a music producer under the name Tsunpo and the pop idol Otsu's newer songs are written by him. Overall, Bansai is shown to have an extremely calm demeanor, although he is capable of violence when necessary and appears to take an interest in potential challenges to his skill.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: While the anime gave him green hair, manga covers and color pages depict him with black hair.
- Badass Biker: Going well with his outfit, he rides a cool motorcycle.
- Badass Longcoat: Wears a long dark coat.
- Cool Shades: Never takes them off.
- The Dragon: Takasugi's right-hand man.
- Headphones Equal Isolation: Subverted. He wears them to show his innate connection to music, which he uses as a means of judging a character's personality and fighting style.
- Hidden Weapons: His shamisen has a sword hidden within.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Gintoki uses his strings against him by pulling his helicopter to the ground with them, though he manages to survive.
- Instrument of Murder: Bansai can use the strings from his shamisen to restrain and cut people up.
- Keigo: He ends his sentences with de gozaru and uses the humble first person pronoun sessha. Remind you of anyone, de gozaru? Turns out he was named after Gensai Kawakami, one of the four notable assassins of the Bakumatsu period, whom Kenshin himself was inspired by.
- Made of Iron: He's particularly resistant as shown in his fight against Gintoki.
- Noble Demon: He's devoted to the Kiheitai's cause, seeing himself essentially as a villain, but despite this he confesses to Takasugi that he'd "fallen in love with the heroes' song" and also spares Yamazaki's life.
- Pet the Dog: He spares Yamazaki's life.
- Razor Floss: From his shamisen strings, no less.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives one to Gintoki in their encounter in the Shinsengumi Rebellion Arc."Gintoki Sakata... You are a ghost. You once tried to protect this country with Shinsuke and the others. You are obsessed and unable to let go. You are a living ghost! There is no longer anything for you to protect! Ghosts should go back to where they belong!"
- Red Baron: He is known as Hitokiri Bansai, or Bansai the Manslayer, a title used by his historical counterpart and shared in the series with Nizo, Pirako and Senbee.
- Senseless Violins: His shamisen has a sword hidden inside of it.
- The Stoic: Calm and collected, with little variation beyond an occasional smirk.
- Sunglasses at Night: Even when at work at nighttime, he still wears his sunglasses.
- Verbal Tic: As noted above, he uses "-de gozaru", an ancient suffix mostly used by Ronins and other types of rogue swordsmen to mark hostility and masculinity without being rude.
- Villains Out Shopping: Although he works with Takasugi in the Kiheitai, he's also a songwriter who's written songs for Otsu Terakado while off-duty.
- Warrior Poet: Speaks in musical terms and enjoys music in general.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: The anime gives him green hair, though it is black in the manga.
Voiced by: Risa Hayamizu (JP), Carli Mosier (EN, movie)A member of the Kiheitai who is skilled at using firearms rather than swords. She wields a pair of pistols and is known as the "Red Bullet" for her honed sharpshooting skills. She is extremely loyal to Takasugi to the point where it appears she has a crush on him. She is quick-tempered, easily agitated, and prone to screeching when upset.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: While still blonde in both versions, her clothes are changed from dark red in the manga to pink in the anime.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Though she's hardly any better than Takasugi herself.
- Bare Your Midriff: Keeps it exposed for some reason.
- Dark Action Girl: She is very capable in combat with those pistols of hers.
- Gender Flip: She's apparently based on Kijima Matabei, a male gunslinger.
- Guns Akimbo: Handles her twin revolvers pretty well in combat.
- The Gunslinger: Prefers old-fashioned pistols to heavier firearms or swords.
- The Lad-ette: She's considerably undignified, once engaging in a crude spitting match with Kagura.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: She often throws a fit when she gets upset.
- Red Baron: "Red Bullet."
- Revolvers Are Just Better: Two of them.
- Smitten Teenage Girl: She's maybe a bit too devoted to Takasugi.
- Subordinate Excuse: She seems to be part of the Kiheitai mainly due to Takasugi, but she seems to hold their goal, the eradication of the Bakufu, in high regard with or without Takasugi.
- Trigger Happy: She's a bit too eager to pull her pistols on somebody.
- Unfortunate Names: As Kagura is quick to point out, Mata is slang for crotch.
- Takes it Up to Eleven when Gintoki and Nobume mistakenly called her name Manko and Chinko much to her dismay.
Voiced by: Chafurin (JP), George Manley (EN, movie)The strategist of the Kiheitai is notable for his strange fetishes and his usually brilliant assessment of situations. While capable of fighting, his abilities are less notable in comparison to other big players of the Kiheitai.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: In the matters of organisation and strategy, he's actually quite competent, but it's offset by his fetishes and weird habits.
- Butt Monkey: The Kiheitai's resident Butt Monkey, who suffers all of the humorous abuse among its members.
- The Evil Genius: Henpeita handles both strategies and logistical matters within the Kiheitai, putting him in this role.
- Genre Savvy: He's well aware that Gintoki, Katsura and Sakamoto will be a future threat to Takasugi's plans and takes steps towards eliminating them.
- Hidden Depths: He might seem like a lolicon who happens to be a good enough strategist, but that he's a feminist isn't a petty lie, he believes that women are just as capable as men at fighting. And when he decided to see young Matoko as a grown woman, he also decided to help her with her revenge and not abuse that trust.
- Insistent Terminology: "I'm not a lolicon, I'm a feminist!"
- Lolicon: However much he denies it or tries to twist it positively.
- The Nondescript: He looks like a generic ronin mook.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Often tries to pass off as Takasugi, which almost always ends with him getting beaten up by Matako and Bansai. Gintoki, Sakamoto and Katsura also get to beat him up when he shows up at their reunion party dressed as Takasugi.
- The Strategist: Most of his actual planning is done off-screen, but he does exposit on the Kiheitai's plans.
Voiced by: Yutaka Aoyama (JP), Jay Hickman (EN, movie)The main antagonist of the Benizakura Arc. A blind sword-for-hire who works for the Kiheitai and who normally answers to Shinsuke. He's first encountered by Gintoki and the Yorozuya while he's working for Kahei Hashida. He fights Gintoki, who breaks his sword and defeats him.At the onset of the Benizakura Arc, he tries to assassinate Katsura with the cursed sword Benizakura, but fails to actually kill him. He then becomes more crazed and out of control due to Benizakura gradually turning his body into a cybernetic extension of itself. After Gintoki sets off to find the vanished Katsura, the two cross paths again, with Nizo defeating him with the help of Benizakura. He is later on presumed killed in his third and final encounter with Gintoki aboard the Kiheitai's main ship.
- An Arm and a Leg: Shinpachi cuts off his right arm while he's busy trying to kill Gintoki, but he replaces it with Benizakura.
- Ax-Crazy: He's downright unhinged.
- Blade Below the Shoulder: Benizakura turns into one as it grafts itself onto his right arm, later replacing it entirely when Shinpachi cuts it off.
- Blind Weaponmaster: He's blind, but still a quite accomplished swordsman.
- Blood Knight: He just wants to cut people up and really enjoys a good fight.
- Body Horror: Benizakura turns him into a monstrous combination of machine and flesh as it takes over his body.
- The Brute: Serves as the Kiheitai's strongarm, being quite good at killing, but not very good at handling more delicate matters.
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: The longer he wields Benizakura, the more of himself he loses to the sword, before being completely consumed by it at the end.
- Death Seeker: He wants to go out in a blaze of glory in service to Takasugi, hopefully killing as many people as possible while at it.
- Faux Affably Evil: Nizo oozes murderous intent, all while trying to talk in a polite manner. It's rather creepy to put it mildly.
- Handicapped Badass: Lacking eyesight doesn't make him any less of killer.
- Hero Killer: Tries to be this by going after and supposedly killing Katsura but doesn't succeed.
- Iaijutsu Practitioner: A master at drawing his sword and slashing in the same motion, but he ends up abandoning his former fighting techniques as Benizakura fuses itself to him.
- Leeroy Jenkins: A villainous example. He is so eager to test out Benizakura that he ends up ruining Takasugi's plans regarding the sword by luring the Kiheitai's enemies to their hideout.
- Major Injury Underreaction: He barely reacts to Shinpachi cutting off his arm, instead he nonchalantly says it was mean of him to do that.
- My Horse Is a Motorbike: Rides a flying bike shaped like a horse into battle against Katsura's flying warships, complete with reins!
- Red Baron: He is known as Hitokiri Nizo (Nizo the Manslayer) due to his proficiency in killing people. He shares this title with Bansai, Pirako and Senbee.
- Professional Killer: Serves as both an assassin and a sword-for-hire when he's not working with the Kiheitai.
- Psycho for Hire: He doesn't really care for the money he's paid, but gets a huge kick out of murdering people.
- Psycho Supporter: For Takasugi.
- Scarf of Asskicking: Wears a red scarf while running around hunting ronin and testing out Benizakura.
- Sword Cane: Initially wields one until Gintoki breaks it and he gets hold of Benizakura.