Characters: Rurouni Kenshin Rivals And Villains
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Hiruma Gohei and Hiruma Kihei
Hiruma Gohei and Hiruma KiheiThe first villains in the series. In the manga, Hiruma Kihei wanted to sell the land that the Kamiya dojo sits on and tried to worm his way into becoming Kaoru's caretaker and used his brother Gohei to aid him in his goals. In the anime, Gohei is a Composite Character of the two and is instead a bitter ex-student of Kaoru's father who wanted revenge. Regardless of the motivation, Gohei impersonates the legendary Hitokiri Battousai while claiming to use the swordsmanship of Kamiya Kasshin Ryu to stain Kaoru's family name. He might have actually slain Kaoru and taken her home as Hitokiri Battousai if the real deal himself didn't blunder into Tokyo on that misty afternoon...
- Beard of Evil: Gohei sports a massive one.
- Blood Knight: This is what got him kicked out by Kaoru's father in the anime.
- Brains and Brawn: Kihei is the brains and Gohei is the muscle, though Kihei seems to be losing brain cells with each appearance.
- Butt Monkey: Any real threat either iteration may have held in their first appearance plummets with each appearance, especially in the manga, where the brothers' only purpose in the Jinchuu arc is for Sanosuke to hand them their asses.
- Composite Character: The Gohei in the anime is essentially Gohei with a bit of Kihei's brain. In turn, the anime version is fused with Jin-e Udo in the live action films.
- Deceptive Disciple: In the anime, Gohei only wanted Kaoru's father's dojo in order to get the authority that comes along with it.
- Dirty Coward: Once a real warrior shows up, these are the true colors the brothers will show.
- Dumb Muscle: Gohei, especially in the manga.
- Faux Affably Evil: Kihei.
- Game-Breaking Injury: Kaoru's dad broke his right thumb in the anime. He trained in the following years to perfect left-handed swordsmanship to get revenge. Kenshin broke his left fingers in response. When he took Kaoru and Yahiko hostage during Kenshin's fight with Sanosuke, Sanosuke broke his right leg. And to top it all off, his final appearance in a filler episode ends with him crawling on the ground after Yahiko broke his nuts.
- Murderers Are Rapists: Gohei picks up Kaoru and asks his men, "Whose sword would like to be the first to get a taste of her flesh?" (All the men are leering at Kaoru and beg to be first.) It never actually happens, though it is heavily implied. This also is an anime-only scene; it doesn't show up in the manga.
- Obviously Evil: Makes you wonder why Kaoru's father even let Gohei set foot on the dojo grounds much less take him in as a student in the anime.
- Smug Snake: Especially Kihei. Gohei inherits some of these traits in the anime.
- Starter Villain: The hilarious incompetence of Gohei swordsmanship demonstrates just how powerful the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu style is in comparison to "normal" Kenjutsu.
- Token Motivational Nemesis: To Kaoru. It was the Hiruma's brothers' plot that disgraced the Kamiya Dojo and drove it into financial ruin for the entire series, but once ran out of town by Kenshin, they are never mentioned again, outside of one pathetic reappearance in the Jinchuu arc. The anime version of Hiruma Gohei fares no better with his last appearance being on the receiving end of a Groin Attack.
- The Worf Effect: They're frequently used to show how much stronger Kenshin and Sanosuke are when they appear.
Kurogasa / Udo Jin-e
Voiced by: Akio Ohtsuka (JP), Dave Mallow (EN)
Portrayed by: Koji Kikkawa (Live Action)A hitokiri during the Revolution, and there is evidence he continued killing people well after the end of the Revolution. A master of the Nikaidō Heihō technique, attacked high-ranking Imperialist officials of the Meiji government (leading some to believe he fought for the Tokugawa shogunate during the war, since he did state that he was a member of the Shinsengumi, though his thirst for blood led him to killing members of his own squad), killing anyone who stood in his way.
- Anachronism Stew: The full-body black suit he's wearing.
- Arc Villain: The first enemy to last longer than a Monster of the Week and the first true threat to Kenshin.
- Ax-Crazy: Even as a Shinsengumi, he was psychotic.
- Badass Longcoat: Forced Kenshin into Battousai mode.
- Black Eyes of Evil/Black Eyes of Crazy: Inverted when he activates the Magical Eye on himself, he gains normal looking eyes. For some reason, he normally has Black Eyes of Crazy.
- Blood Knight: All he cares about is a fight.
- Body Horror: In the Restoration manga he was stabbed in the arms during the war leaving two long holes in them. He uses them to hold his blades in the present era.
- Combat Sadomasochist: He thought the feeling of him stabbing himself was "sweet." Pleasant.
- Composite Character: Not in characterization, mind you, but for the live-action film's plot purpose he takes the role of the "fake Battousai" from Hiruma Gohei.
- Deadly Gaze: His secret technique allows him to channel his battle aura through his eyes, allowing him to paralyze anyone who gets caught. It doesn't work on people with a strong will though.
- Dragon-in-Chief: Of the first live action movie. Kanryuu may be orchestrating the Opium trade but it's clear that Kenshin's biggest threat in the film is him.
- Dragon Their Feet: It is only after Kanryu is defeated that Kenshin realizes he forgot one of his opponents.
- Driven to Suicide: In both the mangas and the film, he kills himself after being defeated by Kenshin. Preferring death to being shown mercy by his enemy. As he states "Live by the sword, die by the sword."
- Evil Albino: Has white hair and is very psychotic
- Evil Counterpart: A fellow Hitokiri, he's stated to be Kenshin's evil opposite as someone who has continued killing for fun and refuses to let go of the Bakumatsu
- Evil Laugh:
- Expy: Physically, he's very similar to Remy Le Beau aka Gambit.
- Final Boss: Of the Restoration manga.
- Giggling Villain: He snickers constantly, showing how unstable he is
- Kick the Dog: First, he kidnaps Kaoru just to piss Kenshin off. Then, to make sure he's turned back to the "Battosai" he uses his eye power to completely paralyze Kaoru, breath included.
- In the film, he takes the trope to it's literal extreme by doing all of that plus kicking a bound Kaoru down the stone steps.
- Knight of Cerebus: The moment he appears is when the series takes its turn, as the first person to make Kenshin revert to Battousai.
- Large Ham
- Nice Hat: Doesn't match, though.
- One-Winged Angel: Use the secret technique on himself, growing tons of muscles and augmenting his strength. Useless as Kenshin broke his elbow and sinew with his sword's scabbard.
- Psycho for Hire: In his backstory.
- Literally in the Restoration manga as one of Tanaka's assassins. Though it's obvious he's not in it for the money.
- Serial Killer: Specifically, of high-ranking government officials who fought on the side of the Meiji movement during the war, though really anybody was game for him. It's later revealed he was hired to commit those political killings by the same corrupt politician who hired Saito.
- Start of Darkness: In the manga and anime canon, he has always been characterized as a bloodthirsty asshole formerly working for the Shinsengumi. In the film, however, he seems like a warrior driven to madness by the general violence of the Meiji Revolution, with him picking up Kenshin-as-Battousai's abandoned katana supposedly giving him a "new" purpose in life: to truly accomplish what the symbol of "Battousai" means for him.
- Starter Villain: A proper example, as the first character to force out the Battousai, which proves to be his undoing.
Voiced by: Yoshito Yasuhara (JP), Terrence Stone (EN)The genius young leader of the Oniwabanshū onmitsu. Known to his followers as the "Okashira", Aoshi's skills in combat, stealth and information gathering are without parallel, but having missed his chance to gain glory for the Oniwabanshū during the Bakumatsu, he led a group of his men in serving as enforcers for the wealthy industrialist and opium dealer Takeda Kanryū in the hopes of finding a new battlefield in the Meiji era.When Kanryū made himself the enemy of the legendary Hitokiri Battōsai, Aoshi believed that his long-missed chance to prove the superiority of the Oniwabanshū had finally come. Unfortunately, Kanryū's wicked deception and greed cost Aoshi's men their lives and the shame of being defeated and then rescued by Battōsai drove the Okashira to a new vow: he would defeat Battōsai at any cost in order to gain the title of "the strongest" and offer that title at his comrades' graves.
- Adaptational Angst Upgrade: In the live action films, he is grieving his fallen comrades for a decade instead of half or roughly a year.
- Adaptational Villainy: He is much more menacing, cutthroat and unstable in the live action films, desperately wanting to fight Kenshin. Even after his Heel-Face Turn, he is portrayed as a standard rival with a strong The Only One Allowed to Defeat You mentality contrasting his Friendly Rivalry/Worthy Opponent one in the manga/anime.
- Aloof Big Brother: To Misao.
- The Atoner
- BFS: Averted when he returns in the Kyoto Arc. His sheathe actually has two openings and his second kodachi has no guard with the hilt resembling the end of a sheath. When it and his first kodachi (which has a normal guard and hilt) are sheathed, it gives the illusion that he's carrying a long tachi blade.
- Badass Longcoat: One of the iconic badass longcoats of anime; has inspired countless imitators.
- Bare-Fisted Monk: While primarily a swordsman, he's also a Kenpo master and relied on it for his offense before getting two kodachi. Word of God says he creates his own martial arts style.
- Berserk Button: It is never wise to desecrate the graves of his men. Four of Shishio's Elite Mooks learned this the hard way.
- Blood Knight: Becomes this after Kanryuu kills the Oniwabanshu, who die protecting him. Kenshin is able to talk him out of it.
- Broken Ace: His abilities could have easily gained him a job as a government official, but he sought not to abandon his comrades. However, this ended up making them underlings for Kanryuu. Becomes even worse after Kanryuu kills the Oniwabanshuu.
- The Comically Serious: During the Jinchuu arc, his scenes (at least when Misao is present) usually put him in this role.
- Composite Character/Decomposite Character: In the live action films, he has traits fused with Han'nya and Gein (who wears his manga outfit) while also appearing as a separate character (wearing his anime outfit).
- Death Seeker: He becomes much more obsessed with defeating Kenshin after Kanryuu kills his men and is willing to throw his life away for it
- Deceptive Disciple: To Okina.
- Doppelgänger Spin: His Ryusui no Ugoki, which involves alternating his speed to make illusions of himself appear to psych-out his opponent.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Though it takes a second fight to do the trick.
- Dragon-in-Chief: To Kanryu. This leads to some friction between them.
- Dual Wielding: When he starts wielding two kodachi.
- Expy: Based on Hijikata Toshizo in design.
- A Father to His Men: Cares quite a bit about his Quirky Miniboss Squad, and desires to give them the chance to become great that they never got in the Revolution. He would die for any of them. When they die for him instead, he... doesn't take it well.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: With Misao. She comes up to his waist.
- The Leader: Of the Oniwabanshu.
- Magnetic Hero: Well respected by the members of the Oniwabanshuu, he's attracted a number of strong individuals.
- Master Swordsman: Of two kodachi. Subverted in his first appearance, where his kodachi was mostly a tool to parry sword blows while he worked his opponent over with his martial arts.
- Mr. Fanservice
- My God, What Have I Done?
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: Runs one before they die.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: To Kenshin.
- The Rival: One of Kenshin's two.
- Rival Turned Evil: After the Kanryu estate. He gets better.
- Sixth Ranger: To two different Five Man/Five Bad Bands.
- Sixth Ranger Traitor: Aoshi eventually betrays his Five-Bad Band.
- Shadow Archetype: A young, talented individual (around Kenshin's age) who mirrors Kenshin in prodigious ability and respect from his peers. However, they end up in opposite positions. While Kenshin received unwanted renown for being the Battousai, Aoshi desired glory from the Revolution he was unable to participate in. Both had Death Seeker tendencies, but while Kenshin was trying to atone, Aoshi merely sought more fights, especially after his underlings sacrifice themselves.
- Shout-Out: His coat is based on the one worn by Remy Le Beau/Gambit.
- The Stoic
- Sword and Fist: A master of both martial arts and swordsmanship, and he will use both in a fight to destroy an opponent.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: His Onmyo Hasshi which involves him throwing both kodachi in a straight line towards the opponent. The trick is that one of the kodachi is thrown directly behind the other so that his opponent is vulnerable should he parry the attack.
- Tranquil Fury: When he gets angry enough, his blades express what his face doesn't.
- Worthy Opponent: To Kenshin.
Tokyo's OniwabanshuThe four members of Aoshi's squad serving Kanryu Takeda. They all follow Aoshi with loyal devotion. The members are Hannya the spy, Beshimi, Hyottoko and Shikijo. After being defeated by our heroes, they all die performing a heroic sacrifice to save Aoshi from Kanryuu's gatling gun. Their heads are buried near a dark wood by Aoshi himself.
- Affably Evil: Shikijo to a limited extent in the manga.
- Alas, Poor Yorick: When the others die, Aoshi beheads them in order to give them an honorable burial.
- Badass Crew
- Bare-Fisted Monk: Hannya.
- Berserk Button: Hyottoko lose his cool when Kenshin likens his fire-spitting technique to a circus trick.
- Body Horror: Shikijo's completely covered in scars. And let's not talk about Hannya, who burned his lips, chopped off his ears, saw his nose and crushed his cheekbones in order to become the perfect spy.
- Breath Weapon: Hyottoko has a large oil bag inside his belly, with the nozzle in his mouth. Add a pair of flintstone teeth and you have a fire-breathing apparatus.
- Composite Character: In the live action films, their roles are filled by Enishi's six comrades. Han'nya in particular is fused with Aoshi and Gein.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Of a sort. Their abilities are generally only useful for battle or covert actions such as spying and assassinations. When the bakumatsu ended and the rest of the Oniwabanshu moved on to other careers, they were unable to find other types of work. It is primarily for their sakes that Aoshi remains their leader and seeks out battlefields rather than take a high-level government job.
- Death by Adaptation: They are reduced to Posthumous Characters in the live action films.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Ugly at best, monstrous at worst, you will nevertheless be hard-pressed to find warriors braver and friends more loyal then these five men.
- Epic Flail: Shikijo's main weapon, soon discarded in exchange for a one on one unarmed battle against Sanosuke.
- Expy: Hannya is based on The Elephant Man.
- Shikijo was modeled (in role, not appearance) after Sanosuke as a boisterous power fighter
- Facial Horror: Hannya's face.
- Five-Bad Band
- Fragile Speedster: Beshimi.
- Glass Cannon: Hannya. Strong and fast enough to deal some good damage to Kenshin, but still falls rather quickly once Kenshin sees through his trick.
- Gonk: Hyottoko and Shikijo, while Beshimi, who's not a looker, is still described as "cute" by some fans. Played for tragedy with Hannya's self inflicted scars.
- Hard Head: Shikijo tries to smash Sano's skulls with headbutts. He also claims that after his first one, Sano will be unable to react immediatly, as his brain is still shaken.
- Heroic Sacrifice: All of them end up performing a rather tragic and tearjerking one against Kanryuu's gatling gun in order to save Aoshi.
- Hidden Depths: Despite being introduced as mere mooks, we get to see that they are fully developed characters... right before they're horribly killed by the gatling gun.
- Improbable Weapon User: Beshimi's only gimmick involves small poisoned darts which he can throw with his thumb.
- Kevlard: Hyottoko's fat. Subverted in that he still feels Sanosuke's fists.
- Lightning Bruiser: Shikijo. Aoshi in a slight degree, being fast enough to catch Kenshin off guard and powerful enough to bat him around quite easily.
- The Load: Beshimi is easily the weakest of the group and his only skill is his usage of poisoned bullets. He tearfully apologizes for his ineptitude to Aoshi with his dying breath.
- Mask Power: In Hannya's case, literally: as Kenshin points out, he can't anticipate Hannya's attacks by looking at his face.
- Meaningful Name: Hannya and Hyottoko are both named after a Noh mask. The former is a demon showing wrath and envy, the latter is a humorous mask of a man blowing on the fire.
- Mighty Glacier: Hyottokko.
- The Napoleon: Beshimi is very small.
- Number Two: While Shikijo seems to be the last physical challenge before Aoshi, Hannya is generally agreed to be Aoshi's right hand man (and quite-possibly Best Friend).
- Ninjas: Though only Hannya and maybe Beshimi properly qualify for being such.
- Ninja Log: Interestingly enough is Hannya who uses this technique on Beshimi when the latter was defeated by Kenshin.
- Quirky Miniboss Squad
- Taking the Bullet: Shikijo ends up using his massive, well-muscled body to shield Aoshi from the Gatling Gun.
- True Companions/Villainous Valor: Yes, even if they are bad guys they're shown to be really decent people after all.
- Undying Loyalty: Played tragically (and triumphantly) straight to its logical conclusion.
- Wolverine Claws: Hannya's trump weapon, should his iron gloves not be enough.
Voiced by: Nobuo Tobita (JP), John Snyder (EN)
Portrayed by: Teruyuki Kagawa (Live Action)A cunning money-minded industrialist and opium dealer. He hired Shinomori Aoshi and his Oniwanbanshu, as well as numerous lesser warriors, as personal bodyguards and hitmen.
- Action Survivor
- Arc Villain
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Inverted—he's the Oniwabanshu's boss during the Kanryuu Arc, but he's a major weakling physically.
- Big Bad: Of the first live-action movie.
- As well as the Restoration manga.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive
- Dirty Coward
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He fails to understand why Kenshin would come to rescue Megumi when there's no financial reward in it for him. This leads to him trying to bribe Kenshin with money and a job offer as his personal bodyguard, which only serves to aggravate Kenshin further.
- Evil Is Hammy: Taken Up to Eleven in his more recent depictions. His depiction in the Restoration manga deserves special mention, where he describes his love of money while he practically dances with his Gatling Gun.
- Evil Gloating: He loves doing this, but only when he has someone more powerful backing him.
- Gatling Good: When cornered, he wields a Gatling gun.
- Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: He's of the evil variety, casually smoking a cigar while shooting his Gatling gun at the protagonists.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Him being this only serves to piss Kenshin off after he tries to bribe the former manslayer.
- Jerk Ass: The single most unpleasant character in the entire series.
- Taken Up to Eleven in the first live action movie.
- Manipulative Bastard: Towards Megumi.
- Money Is Not Power: As stated below, he boasts that having so much money makes him stronger than warriors like Kenshin and Aoshi, but he finds out this trope is in play the hard way when Kenshin beats the stuffing out of him.
- In the Restoration manga, it goes a lot more literally as he uses a money purse in the final battles. It's Yahiko who ultimately kicks his ass. Counts as Laser-Guided Karma as well considering how his mistreated and mocked him.
- Rich Bitch: Male version.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: He plays it utterly straight with his declaration that money is the greatest power in the world, and his having so much of it makes him stronger than Kenshin or Aoshi. Too bad his money can't save him from Kenshin's wrath.
- Sharp-Dressed Man
- Smug Snake: Acts cool and collected when in control of a situation, such as when he's using his gatling gun, but the minute he's at Kenshin's mercy, he's left pathetically begging for his life.
- The Tooth Hurts: Kenshin breaks his jaw and knocks out one of his teeth.
- Would Hit a Girl: He doesn't just hit Megumi, he batters her bloody after she returns to his mansion and makes an attempt on his life with a dagger that is nabbed away by Aoshi.
Voiced by: Ryunosuke Obayashi (JP), Richard Epcar (EN)The leader and founder of the Shinko-ryū "school" of kenjutsu - an organization whose purpose is to revitalize Japanese kenjutsu through force.
- Adapted Out: Doesn't appear in the live action films.
- Arc Villain
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Though to be honest he is a powerful kendoka, he gloats too much about his skills as a killer despite being not one.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows
- Calling Your Attacks: In the manga he shouts "Nun!" before each and every strike.
- Evil Gloating: He does this during his fight against Kenshin.
- Informed Ability: Claims his Izuna technique is the "ultimate killing technique." Kenshin proves him very, very wrong.
- Averted with his kenjutsu skills. He is quite strong with his technique (though not as powerful as Kenshin).
- Large and In Charge: He's a giant of a man and is in charge of the Shinko Dojo.
- Manipulative Bastard: He utilizes Yutaro's hero-worship of him to his own advantage, pretending to be the boy's sword instructor while accessing Yutaro's family fortune for his own ends.
- Nice Hat: Wears a large japanese hat. All his disciples wear one.
- Razor Wind: How is technique Izuna and Tobi Izuna works. Kenshin even refers to the Kamaitachi while describing this attack.
- Straw Hypocrite: In the manga, Kenshin (correctly) guesses that despite Raijuta's ambition to restore the "killing sword" philosophy and his claims of Izuna being the "ultimate killing technique," Raijuta himself has never actually killed anybody. The fact that Raijuta celebrates at being able to nick Kenshin on the wrist with said technique, instead of expressing disappointment that the blow wasn't a fatal one, cements the point. In the anime, however, he's vicious enough to kill his own henchmen. Although going from Sissy Villain to Smug Snake isn't much change.
- Villainous Breakdown: In the manga, following a "The Reason You Suck" Speech from Kenshin.
- The Worf Effect: He fights Kenshin in one-on-one combat following the Kick the Dog scenario above. It goes about as well for him as you'd expect (totally one-sided against him in the manga).
- Would Hurt a Child: Uses the Izuna to wound Yutaro, severing his muscles. In the manga, the wound is so deep you can actually see the bones in his arm!.
Arundo AkamatsuAn arrogant and overly-confident warrior sent to kill Kenshin along with Saitou, but fails. Wields a kusarigama and hidden chains.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy
- Bullying a Dragon: All without realizing that Saito is actually manipulating him for his plans.
- Dirty Coward: Beg for forgiveness when Kenshin disarms him.
- Epic Flail: His kusarigama, along with some flails hidden in his armlets.
- Expy: Of Omega Red. His surname (Aka means Red and Matsu End) and weapons makes this clear.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Has badly sewn scars on his forehead and cheeks.
- Off with His Head!: Beheaded by Saito.
- Oh, Crap: Several, as when he realize that Kenshin disarmed him and later when he's about to land the finishing hit.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Once he finds out about Ookubo, he decides to quit. But is killed by Saito before he can do anything.
Saito Hajime (aka Fujita Goro)
Saito Hajime (aka Fujita Goro)
Portrayed by: Eguchi Yosuke (Live Action)The former captain of the third unit of the Shinsengumi and currently a special agent for the Meiji Government's Department of Internal Affairs. Having a long-standing rivalry with Himura Kenshin since their days on opposite sides of the Bakumatsu, Saitō nevertheless holds a begrudging respect for the rurouni and has come to his aid on assignment more than once, acting as a ruthless ally and the voice of cynical reason in the Kenshin-gumi's major battles.
- Adaptational Heroism: His Jerkassness is downplayed considerably in the live action films.
- Addiction Displacement: Kind of implied. Unlike his historical counterpart who remained The Alcoholic, this Saito claims that he gave up drinking and is now a chain smoker.
- Aloof Ally
- Always Someone Better: Serves as this for Sanosuke, who had considered himself Kenshin's strongest ally before Saitou appeared; not only as skilled as Kenshin in swordsmanship, but more skilled in Hand-to-Hand combat than Sanosuke which ultimately drives Sanosuke to improve himself.
- Animal Motifs: The wolf.
- Anti-Hero: As police officer (sort of) he works to bring down crimminals like Shisho, but he has a very cold and ruthless manner of doing so.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: One of the most observant characters, he tends to serve as the most insightful battle commentator, seeing through his opponents techniques and reading into their psyche.
- Badass: Kenshin's equal in combat, and nigh undefeatable except for Shishio, who honestly took advantage of his wounds and was prepared beforehand. Word of God states that in a straight up fight, Saitou would win, while Kenshin would win if he was protecting someone. Kenshin himself says that if defeating Saitou was as simple as beating his one signature technique, he'd have beaten him down with no contest, thing is, Saitou is far more than just the Gatotsu.
- Boring but Practical: The Shinsengumi (according to the manga) each mastered one killing blow, then polished it to perfection. Bruce Lee's quote on the page explains it in more detail. One could say that the artwork of his badass pose elevates this to Simple Yet Awesome.
- Boxing Battler: When unarmed, he fights with boxing-style moves. This proves to outmatch Sanosuke's Good Old Fisticuffs fighting style.
- Broken Ace: A skilled fighter who can take down nearly any opponent whose not Kenshin, as well as an excellent policeman who seems to have adjusted remarkably well in the Meiji Era. But regardless, he's working for the people and government who were his sworn enemies during the Bakumatsu (and likely killed many of his comrades) and nevertheless holds some bitterness about the changing times.
- Clothing Combat: After losing his sword, he uses his own belt to fight Kenshin and almost wins by strangling him.
- Combat Pragmatist: Uses almost any dirty tactics to win. Justified since he knows his fights are unmerciful affairs.
- The Comically Serious: At times.
- Crippling Overspecialization: As powerful as the Gatotsu and its variations are, there have been several fights where his over reliance on the Gatotsu has gotten him into trouble against those who are able to properly evade or defend against it. Many of his opponents even comment/mock him for it. Luckily, as mentioned on this page, he is badass enough to get away with it and defeat his opponents, Shishio being the only true exception.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Death by Irony: After Shishio defeats his signature move in the third of the live-action films, he tries to force Saito to cut himself to death with his own sword in a matter not dissimilar from what Saito did to Kenshin in the first movie. He's only saved from this trope by the timely (and comical) intervention of Sanosuke.
- Deus Exit Machina: As a rival/ally who is Kenshin's equal, the story often has him take more of an investigator role rather than directly helping Kenshin (as well as the fact that he's an Aloof Ally).
- Even Jerks Have Standards: Though he's far from the nicest character in the series, even he was surprised by Shishio killing Yumi.
- Foil: His devotion to slaying evil is just as strong as Kenshin's non-killing vow. In that way, the two are remarkably similar men of their time.
- Genius Bruiser
- Good Is Not Nice
- Guile Hero/Magnificent Bastard: Dependent on how you look at him. More obvious in Shin Kyoto Hen where he intimidates Chō by his mere reputation as a no-holds barred Shinsengumi torturer/interrogator to spill the beans on the whole of Shishio's plans.
- During the battle at Mount Hiei, Saitou reveals to Aoshi that he already had rough knowledge of the base's interior and was using the battles as distractions to mask his imminent sneak attack on Shishio.
- Happily Married: His wife, Tokio, is never shown on screen, though the others speculate that she must be like a goddess. Watsuki felt the need to put a note in the panel explaining that Saitou being married is historical fact.
- Historical-Domain Character
- Historical Hero Upgrade: Though more of an Anti-Hero.
- Jack-of-All-Trades: He's extremely versatile in many areas; as a fighter he's a capable swordsman and hand-to-hand combat specialist, and also serves as the Smart Guy of Kenshin's group.
- The Lancer: Being one of Kenshin's main rivals, he serves as this role along with Sanosuke. He often warns Kenshin on the dangers of his non-killing vow and often goes for the most pragmatic route.
- Last Name Basis: "Hajime" is his given name.
- Master Swordsman
- Obfuscating Stupidity: His Fujita Goro persona, complete with winning smile and polite, friendly speech. Unlike Kenshin, this is just to disguise his true nature.
- Pet the Dog: He casually adopts a little boy who was the only survivor of a massacred family in a village terrorized by Shishio's men.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Frequently. Combines it with the Breaking Speech during his battle with Usui.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: He's the Blue Oni to Kenshin's Red Oni.
- Red Baron: "The Wolf of Mibu".
- The Rival: Was the only character to fight on even terms with Kenshin's Battousai personality, and was one of Kenshin's main rivals during the Bakumatsu, along with Okita. However he eventually buries the hatchet.
- Rule of Cool: The Gatotsu may sound like a boring technique, but Saito's pose as he sets the move up, his right arm stretched out and cradling the tip of his sword between his thumb and finger, and 'targeting' his opponent between his fingers is for sure sicker. He also attacks with a speed that is equal to Kenshin's fastest technique, so you underestimate him at your own risk.
- Spell My Name with an "S": You have your choice of "Saito", "Saitou", or "Saitoh".
- The Smart Guy: When he teams up with the Kenshin-gumi, he takes this role, tending to be more observant than most other characters
- Sixth Ranger: While not an official member of the Kenshingumi, he fights alongside them throughout the Kyoto arc.
- Smoking Is Cool: He even walks into the final battle of the second Live Action movie while smoking a cigarette, but he eventually tosses it away after it's all used up.
- Tall, Dark and Snarky: Tall? Check. Dark? Check. Snarky? Major check.
- The Shinsengumi
- When All You Have Is a Hammer: The only sword techniques he uses is Gatotsu, a powerful left-handed thrust, and variations of it to suit the occasion. Unlike most other examples, he's talented enough to learn other techniques. He simply doesn't bother because he doesn't need them.
- Xanatos Gambit: Can be seen using these in a few instances:
- In Shishio's headquarters, he's shown operating independently and covertly, and it's implied that whether Kenshin or Shishio wins, he will strike the weakened Shishio in their fight. Shishio effortlessly defeats him, leaving Kenshin to take up the reins.
- His harsh criticism and defeats of Sanosuke could either break Sano's spirit enough to stay out of the fight, or force him to become stronger and more helpful. Luckily, the latter resulted.
Abukuma's Four Priests
Abukuma's Four PriestsFour warrior priests serving under Shishio Makoto, who're sent to hire Aoshi Shinomori when he visits the tombs of his fallen comrades, but are eventually provoked by Aoshi and killed.
- An Axe to Grind: Their weapon of choice.
- Bald of Evil: All four of them.
- Berserk Button: As soon as Aoshi disrespects Shishio they suddenly decide that he's worth Hell and prepare to chop him in half.
- Elite Mook: What they are, essentially.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: Aoshi literally cut them all up to pieces with his kodachi.
- Faux Affably Evil: They appear to be friendly at first, but they're really just scumbags.
- Gonk: All of them, each in a different way.
- Nun Too Holy: These men embody the concept of the japanese "fallen priest"; despite referring to themselves as "nyuudo", in their first appearence they're shown eating meat and drinking liquor on a burial ground while talking about a woman they had sex with. They're also quick to resort to violence.
- Undying Loyalty: For Shishio.
- Warrior Monk: All of them, though not as powerful as Anji.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: They don't last past the chapter they appear in.
- Wolfpack Boss: Non-videogame example, they all fight together in a technique known as "Four Bodies as One".
SenkakuOne of Shishio's henchmen, but not a member of the Ten Swords. Is a huge man with an oddly shaped head who boasts about his speed and the 99 men he murdered. He rules over the Shingetsu village with an iron fist. Is defeated by Kenshin who uses his own speed against him and arrested.
- Adapted Out: Doesn't appear in the live action films.
- An Axe to Grind/Power Fist: His weapons looks like a hybrid of axe and knuckleduster.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Boasts a lot about his skills and the number of people he massacred in the past.
- Bald of Evil
- The Brute
- Flash Step: Despite his immense bulk, he's very fast. Eventually, lots of flash steps in a row leads to his defeat.
- Gonk: Has a cone-shaped head, is overly muscled and wears a tiny, veeery tight body suit...
- Heel Face Door Slam: Thanks to Kenshin willingly using one of his techniques so that Senkaku would be spared, Senkaku is grateful for Kenshin's mercy and is very much at peace. Then he gets killed by Soujirou...
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Despite being as fast as Kenshin, he's a lot heavier, and so after a while his legs break after performing one last Flash Step.
- Lightning Bruiser: Deconstructed.
- Muscles Are Meaningless: Averted. They make him heavier, which cause his downfall.
- Oh, Crap: The first one when his legs breaks. Then, when Shishio threaten to dispose of him should he lose without forcing Kenshin to show at least one attack.
Yaminobu (Warriors of Darkness)A group of five ninja-like warriors from the Bakumatsu period, they tried to kill Battosai Himura hiring Tomoe so that she coul become a bait for Kenshin, and were also in cahoots with Iizuka. They were all killed by Kenshin, except for Yatsume Mumyoi. Most of their members have something to do with the Six Comrades in the present, as Tatsumi was Inui's master and Nakajo was Otowa's buddy. For Yatsume Mumyoi, see The Six Comrades.
- Adaptation Personality Change: The Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy demeanor is dropped entirely in the first OVA for all of them. None of Yaminobu members except for Tatsumi talk, letting their stealth and skill do the talking. As for Tatsumi, he's portrayed as a crafty and disciplined Old Master.
- An Arm and a Leg: Nakajo has both his arms chopped by Kenshin. Sumita loses his legs instead.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: All of them, most noticeably Tatsumi, member of the Invincible Jusshiki style and Inui's master.
- An Axe to Grind: Sumita's weapon. His axe is very large and with a long pole, and he uses it to chop up trees and throw the logs at his opponent.
- Beard of Evil: Tatsumi.
- Blood Knight/Axe Crazy: Nakajo. He and Otowa used to make bets to see how many men they could kill in a single night.
- The Combat Pragmatist: Nakajo is a user of hidden weapons, Sumita uses his axe to lob massive logs from afar and Yatsume is proud of sneak attacks. Tatsumi is also an avid practictioner of this style. To cup it all they challenge Kenshin in their native training ground, the Kekkai Forest, where the sixth sense doesn't work because of the eerie location.
- Tatsumi to a masterful degree. In most other cases he probably wouldn't stand a chance against Kenshin, but by the point they fought he already had to go through the rest of Tatsumi's men to reach him. Kenshin was so exhausted (and heartbroken, not to mention practically blind, deaf, and unfeeling) that Tatsumi was able to nearly kill Kenshin with just his bare hands.
- Dual Wielding: Murakami's Chained Swords, aka two katana connected by their pommels with a very long chain, working as an Epic Flail. He mostly uses the chain and a sinle pinned sword to block the opponent as he attacks with the other blade.
- Evil Old Folks: Tatsumi is the oldest of the group.
- Five-Bad Band
- Manipulative Bastard: Tatsumi manipulated both Tomoe and Enishi into doing his bidding to kill Battousai.
- Malevolent Masked Man: Murakami, Nakajo e Sumita wear masks that hid the underside of their faces.
- Oh, Crap: Nakajo as Kenshin manages to overcome his attack with ease.
- Posthumous Character: Since they all appear in Kenshin's flashback.
- Taking You with Me: Nakajo and Sumita, after being mortally wounded by Kenshin, "become Kekkai" by blowing up some explosive barrels that hinders Kenshin's sense of hearing and sight. By the time he's reached Tatsumi, Kenshin's senses of perception, hearing, sight and even touch are severely reduced.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Murakami is the first Yaminobu to appear, and the one who gets less screentime.
- The Worf Effect: Members of the Yaminobu appear in the Restoration as part of the group Kanryuu hires to try and kill Kenshin. They are all killed by Jin-E and the scene goes to show just how crazy and dangerous Jin-E is.