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- Christmas Cake: Something that she's particularly sensitive about.Kaoru: "Don't lecture me about getting married, Tae!! You're already twenty-XXXXX' year's old!!"
- Cool Big Sis: To Kaoru.
- Eyes Always Shut: Later in the anime.
- Kansai Regional Accent
- Ms. Exposition: Since her restaurant is a well-known meetup place, she more than once drops useful info to Kenshin and Kaoru; i.e., Tae tells them Yahiko's backstory as a Street Urchin under a gang's orders, which motivates them to go rescue him.
- Parental Substitute: Pretty much adopts Tsubame after she's free from her abusive caretaker.
- Shipper on Deck: Biggest Kenshin/Kaoru fangirl ever, aside from Kenshin's group.
- Supreme Chef: Good enough to have her own restaurant, the Akebeko.
- Theme Twin Naming: Has a twin younger sister named Sae in Kyoto, who plays her role in that setting. Watsuki's notes admit that playing the "previously-unmentioned twin" card was something of a cop out so he didn't have to design yet another new character for the arc.
- Yamato Nadeshiko: Played by one of the well-known seiyuu of the character type aside of Kikuko Inoue, Mrs. Sumi Shimamoto.
- Expy: Of Hotaru Tomoe from Sailor Moon.
- Love Triangle: In the manga one-shot Yahiko no Sakabato set not long after the Distant Epilogue of the original series, she's apparently the focus of a mild one between Yahiko and Tsukayama Yutaro. By Word of God Yahiko eventually married her and they had a son who competed with Kaoru and Kenshin's son Kenji to inherit the sakabato.
- Meet Cute: In the anime. Finds Yahiko training, watches him and then repairs his broken sandal. They meet up again as Kenshin's group goes to the Akabeko, where Tsubame is working part-time.
- Meido: In the epilogue chapter, she wears one as the new uniform of the Akabeko. She got a few perverted leers from street thugs and even Yahiko (who beat up the former) thought it invited ridicule.
- Promoted to Love Interest: Although as mentioned in the above tropes Yahiko ultimately marries her, in the manga they were never shown as a couple and at best being just in the "friend" zone. The anime shows Yahiko nursing a big crush on her, something never shown in the manga, and on several occasions he gives her presents as well as goes on social activities with her.
- Rescue Romance: Yahiko has to defeat the Jerk Ass who took Tsubame in after her parents died and abused her both physically and emotionally.
- Shrinking Violet: She even wears a purple kimono in her first episode.
- Yamato Nadeshiko: One in training, thanks to her boss/adoptive mother Tae.
- Action Girl
- A-Cup Angst: She's not all that happy about her lack of curves.
- Adaptational Badass: While her action scenes are few and far between in the manga and anime, she manages to take down dozens of Shishio's men during the second live-action film.
- Alliterative Name
- Animal Motifs: The weasel.
- Badass Adorable
- Beta Couple: While Aoshi isn't completely comfortable with the idea, in general their relationship provides a nice contrast to Kenshin and Kaoru's relationship in the sense that Misao is far more capable of expressing her feelings.
- Blood-Splattered Innocents: The moment when she witnesses Aoshi almost murdering Okina in the Shin Kyoto Hen OVA leaves her splattered with the latter's blood. Much creepiness and sadness ensues.
- Boisterous Bruiser
- Genki Girl
- Knife Nut: Her preferred weapons are her throwing knives.
- Large Ham: She can be very loud and theatrical.
- Older Than She Looks: "LITTLE GIRL!! I'm a beautiful sixteen year old maiden, thank you very much!!" Doesn't help that, in the Epilogue, which is a 5-year later Time Skip, she looks exactly the same at 21, to the point that a 15-year old Yahiko even looks older than her.
- Plucky Girl
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Wears a Western dress once in the anime. Sano doesn't recognize her.
- Short Hair with Tail
- Shorttank: A tomboyish Genki Girl who argues with Kenshin (and most other male characters, actually) and whose preferred fighting clothes are shorts and a sleeveless shirt. Even her "civilian" clothes involve shorts.
- Single-Target Sexuality: Heavily implied toward Aoshi. She's loved him (one way or another) since her early childhood and is still very focused on him even in the manga's final arc. Of the series's four female protagonists, Misao alone never expresses interest in Kenshin (though she admits that Enishi is "finer of face than she expected" in the Jinchuu arc).
- Tsundere: Type A.
Kashiwazaki Nenji (aka Okina)
Voiced by: Koichi Kitamura (JP), Michael McConnohie (EN)An elder member of the Oniwabanshu, and during the Bakumatsu, he operated at the Kyoto Investigator in order to analyze the movements in the city's political world. After the Restoration, he raised Misao, who was handed over by Aoshi.
- Adaptational Badass: The live action films made him capable of using a katana and lasts longer in his fight with Aoshi. Unfortunately, he became a little too badass for his own good.
- Almighty Janitor: Was once considered capable of taking the spot of Okashira himself and even holds his own against Aoshi though the Kodachi Nitou Ryuu eventually does him in.
- Badass Beard
- Badass Boast: "Once they called me the most horrific of the Oniwabanshu. Only a fool resists me."
- Badass Grandpa
- Cool Old Guy
- Death by Adaptation: It is heavily implied in the third film that he ultimately succumbed to his wounds from his fight with Aoshi.
- Dirty Old Man: Mildly, and lampshaded by one of the maids at the inn (also a former Oniwabanshuu) when some young women come by to deliver a message from Aoshi.
- Dual Tonfas: His Weapon of Choice is a pair of metal tonfa.
- Good Is Not Soft: Generally a friendly old man, but his wrath is terrifying to invoke. A mook who attacked him in his sleep got nails driven into his hands with candlewax dripped upon it, before being sent back to Shishio with a message. Keep in mind that this was the rumored favorite interrogation tactic of The Shinsengumi, more specifically the real-life Saito Hajime.
- Let's Get Dangerous
- Obfuscating Stupidity
- Old Master
- Retired Badass
- The Spymaster
- The Strategist
- The Worf Effect: Is almost killed by Aoshi to show that he has mastered the Kodachi Nitoryu.
Voiced by: Mayumi Tanaka (JP), Michael Lindsay (EN - Raijuta arc), Brian Donovan (EN - Black Knights arc)A young boy who wishes to become a better swordsman.
- Adapted Out: He doesn't exist in the live action films.
- The Bus Came Back: A more visible, proactive one in the anime's Black Knights Arc. Although at the end of the arc, he eventually chooses to drop being a kendo student altogether to become a Western medicine doctor in Germany.
- Disappeared Dad: Only in the anime. His father's still very much alive and present in the manga, but he feels that Yutaro despises him for giving up swordsmanship and his former samurai status to become a merchant.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: Following Raijuta's Kick the Dog moment.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Regarding Raijuta.
- Jerkass: He's spoiled, stubborn and bratty.
- Lovable Sex Maniac: Apparently comes back as a dangerous play boy in Yahiko's Sakabatou.
- Put on a Bus: At the end of his story arc, Yutaro leaves Japan to go to Germany, where their advanced medicine may help him regain the use of his right arm, which was injured by Raijuta. The manga's epilogue reveals that he eventually returns to be an assistant instructor at the Kamiya dojo.
- Rich Bitch: A male example, though he gets better.
- The Rival: To Yahiko.
- Spoiled Brat
Hiko Seijuurou XIII
Voiced by: Shuichi Ikeda (JP), Richard Epcar (EN - Anime), Joe York (EN - First OVA series), James Brownlee (EN - Second OVA series)Master of the Hiten Mitsurugi-ryū, he served as Kenshin's swordsmanship instructor and eventually passed his signature style to him.
- The Ace: Kind of expected considering who's voicing him: HE'S ALSO A CHAR.
- Adaptational Heroism: While his Shin Kyoto Hen incarnation is still giving off that Insufferable Genius vibe, he seems more relaxed and welcoming of the fact that Kenshin has learned a few lessons for the past ten years after meeting Yahiko and Kaoru.
- His live action incarnation loses most of his characteristic arrogance, and while it is still made clear that he is a harsh teacher, he looks like a better Parental Substitute than his manga counterpart.
- All-Powerful Bystander: Is strong enough that he could defeat any of the series' villains if he cared to. Unfortunately, he doesn't.
- Badass Cape: His cape is actually the symbol of his mastery of the Hiten Mitsurugi style, and he inherited it from his own master.
- Big Damn Heroes: His only fight in the series starts this way.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Although he isn't lazy so much as jaded.
- Bystander Syndrome: How he feels about most conflicts in the outside world.
- Catch Phrase: "My stupid/idiot apprentice" (baka deshi in Japanese) when speaking of Kenshin.
- Cool Old Guy: He is 43 after all.
- Hermit Guru: He saw in Himura Shinta's kindness the potential of a worthy successor to his tradition, and adopted him as Kenshin to create one... though the results were not exactly what he intended or liked... until much later.
- Heroic Neutral: Content to live a quiet life as a potter, but will come out of retirement to help his pupil.
- Iaijutsu Practitioner
- I Am Not Left-Handed: In The Legend Ends, he uses a wooden stick found randomly to retrain Kenshin, and only resorts to his sword when he needs to teach him a lesson about the will to live.
- Insufferable Genius: He loves bragging and calls himself a genius, but it doesn't change the fact that he really is the best swordsman in the series.
- Jerkass Has a Point: His prediction that Kenshin would be used by the Isshin-Shishi as a cold blooded assassin and tool rather than a liberator of the people turned out to be pretty spot on, as angry as Kenshin was about him saying it.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He may treat him like dirt mostly, but shows a surprising amount of warmth towards Kenshin when he thinks Kenshin's mortally wounded him and later talks and fights Fuji out of being a member of the villainous Juppongatana.
- Knight in Sour Armour: With the emphasis on sour; He berates Kenshin that yes, the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu successor is meant to protect the innocent and uphold justice, but as a warrior unbound by political prejudices, not a political tool. He knows the age of the the swordsmen is over, and is quite bitter about it.
- Last Name Basis: "Seijuurou" is his given name.
- Legacy Character: As suggested by the name and number, he's part of a long line of men who mastered the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu (By tradition, all masters of the Hiten Mitsurugi take the name Hiko Seijuurou up achieving mastery so that they cannot use the style to attain fame for themselves). The first one (featured in the one-shot Sengoku no Mikazuki) was a vassal samurai who is no slouch in the style either and who would later on become the daimyo of the domain he rescued/married into. Kenshin himself was in line to become Hiko Seijuro The Fourteenth had he not refused the position.
- Lightning Bruiser: Faster, stronger, and more skilled than any other character in the series.
- Master Swordsman: Probably the best example in a series full of them.
- Narcissist: Though one of the more benevolent examples.
- Never Gets Drunk: Word of God has it that this is why Watsuki drew him drinking sake so much.
- Older Than He Looks: He's 43, but doesn't look a day over 30. Reinforces the running gag of practitioners of the the Hiten Mitsurugi-Ryuu being much older than they look. Yahiko and Misao have a minor freak out after hearing his age, wondering if the Hiten Mitsurugi-Ryuu is some kind of fountain of youth.
- Parental Substitute: Played with; he deliberately made the training of Kenshin harsh and emotionally distant, to make sure his student will not feel pain or sadness for having to slay him in battle to succeed the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu tradition, as he did with his teacher;Do not grieve; this is a well-deserved fate for one who teaches with cruelty rather than kindness...
- Power Limiter: That cape does more than just look badass. In addition to being quite heavy, it's also outfitted with several springs that provide resistance in opposition to muscle movement to limit the wearer's strength. It's a testament to how strong Hiko is that he only takes the darn thing off once in the entire series. And that was just for his pupil's final exam.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Makes his living... as a potter. Pottery in Japan is very Serious Business.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives a rather scathing one to Kenshin, but eventually helps him anyway.
- Shout-Out: His cloak is based on Spawn's.
- Smug Super: He loves bragging about how skilled he is, but since he's the World's Strongest Man, he has every right to do so.
- Split Second Blade Spam: As the 13th master of the Hiten Mitsurugi style, he naturally is capable of using the same Kuzu Ryuu Sen that he taught Kenshin just before he went off to face down Shishio and his Juppongatana at their HQ.
- Story-Breaker Power: In Watsuki's own words, he's the "Joker in the Card Deck" and Watsuki wrote himself into a corner with him, which is why he's used sparingly.
- Warrior Therapist: Just watch his fight with Fuji.
- Who Are You?: In the opening of the ''Trust and Betrayal" OVA, Seijūrō saves Kenshin from being killed by bandits. Just before being killed, the last bandit asks the Seijūrō who he is. He replies "You won't live long enough to remember my name."
- World's Best Warrior: The most powerful character in the entire series.
- Adapted Out: He is nowhere to be seen in Saito's flashbacks in the live action films.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady
- Handicapped Badass: He battled Himura Kenshin to an equal-draw even as he was literally coughing bloody chunks of his lungs out; Had Okita been in perfect health, neither he nor Saitou would have been his match.
- Historical-Domain Character
- Identical Stranger: Cut off his topknot and he may well be a time-shifted Soujiro. In fact, Watsuki explicitly mentioned he based Soujiro on darker literary interpretations of him (such as in Shiba Ryotaro's novels).
- Ill Boy: As per his historically-accurate tuberculosis case.
- Incurable Cough of Death
- Master Swordsman: Historically documented to be Saitou's superior as a warrior even when he was dying from tuberculosis. Let that sink in for a moment.
- Psycho for Hire: Has some vibes.
- The Shinsengumi
Voiced by: Junko Iwao (JP), Rebecca Davis (EN)Kenshin's first love and Enishi's sister. She was the elder daughter of a samurai, a low-level bureaucrat who served the Tokugawa Shogunate in Edo.Tomoe left home and joined the Yaminobu with the intention of killing Kenshin in order to avenge her fiancé's death, but ultimately fell in love with him... and sacrificed her life to save him.
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: She's beautiful, tall, has black hair and appears emotionless at first sight.
- Becoming the Mask
- Blood-Splattered Innocents: When she first met Kenshin, since he "made it rain blood."
- Broken Bird
- Character Exaggeration: The OVA takes several aspects of her personality, such as her vengefulness, and plays it up compared to the more Deadpan Snarker personality she had in the original manga. Understandable since the OVA is told from her point of view and lets us in on her motivation and thought process way earlier than the manga, where it was only fully revealed after her death.
- Childhood Friend Romance: Her deceased fiancé was her childhood friend.
- Cry Cute: In the Manga.
- Damsel in Distress: Kenshin's enemies use her as a hostage in order to lure Kenshin into a trap.
- Deadpan Snarker: The original manga gave her a few moments of this, but the OVA, which was told from her point of view, removed much of it.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Although it was short-lived, she did eventually warm up to Kenshin and even sacrificed herself to save Kenshin.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: She dies in Kenshin's arms.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette
- Emotionless Girl: Subverted. She does have emotions, but isn't good at expressing them. It brings her lots of heartbreak since she couldn't express her genuine love for Kiyosato as much as she wants to... which leads him to go to Kyoto and then die at Kenshin's hands.
- First Love: For Kenshin.
- Flower Motifs: Plum blossoms.
- Go Out with a Smile: She gave Kenshin one last smile before dying.
- The Gwen Stacy: Her death caused Kenshin great guilt.
- Heroic Sacrifice: When Kenshin was about to make a suicidal final blow, Tomoe threw herself between Kenshin and his opponent, intending to protect him. Blinded with pain, Kenshin was unable to see her until it was too late, and delivered a fatal blow to his opponent and to her with the same slash of his sword.
- Honey Trap: She thought she was just The Mole, but actually the Shogunate spymasters sent her to make Kenshin fall in love with her and lure him into a trap.
- In Love with the Mark: Tomoe was a spy for Kenshin's enemies, with the intention to discover his weaknesses and kill him in revenge for her fiance. Then Tomoe abandoned her mission once she fell in love with him.
- The Lost Lenore: To Kenshin.
- Morality Chain: Prior to the Kenshin-gumi, Tomoe's presence made the Battousai less of a cold, ruthless killer. As his employer, Choshu clan head Katsura Kogoro, asked of Tomoe, she serves as "the sheath to temper his mad justice."
- Never Got to Say Goodbye: She deeply regrets never have been able to openly express her love for Kiyosato, especially since it was her lack of expressiveness which led to him going to Kyoto in the first place.
- The Ophelia: Has a fit of this because of her fiancé's death. The first time she meets Kenshin, she's drunk and her only reaction to getting splattered by the blood of someone Kenshin just eviscerated is to say that he made it rain blood. She then promptly faints.
- Posthumous Character: She is already dead by the start of the series.
- Promotion to Parent: Helps raise Enishi since their mom died when giving birth to him, so Enishi sees her more as a mother than a sister.
- Rei Ayanami Expy: Word of God has stated that Tomoe's appearance and personality were modeled after Rei Ayanami.
- Revenge: She took the role of The Mole in order to avenge her fiancé Akira Kiyosato, whom Kenshin killed.
- Snow Means Death: She dies in the snow.
- Sugar and Ice Personality
- Unwitting Pawn: The Shogunate spymasters knew Kenshin would fall in love with her and when she tried to save him, they used her as a hostage to lure Kenshin into a trap.
- Walking Spoiler: Being an incredibly important part of Kenshin and Enishi's past, and motivations, she is inevitably this.
- When She Smiles: Kenshin and Enishi have visions of her, but she isn't smiling at them, which causes them great grief (and madness in Enishi's case). When she smiles at them, they have finally found peace.
- White Shirt of Death: When she and Kenshin met, she was wearing a white kimono. He had just killed a man in front of her. She said "you made it rain blood". Do the math.
- Tomoe was wearing the white kimono too in her own death scene.
- Woman in White: She wears a white kimono.
- Yamato Nadeshiko: Subversion: she looks and acts the part but her train of thoughts is very different. Tomoe wanted revenge for her fiancé's murder, and she also felt horribly guilty because he went to Kyoto to make a name for himself and got killed off. Double subverted after she falls for her mark, i.e. Kenshin.
Voiced by: Tetsuya Iwanaga (JP), Ray Clayton (EN)The second son of a shōgun retainer, he was the childhood friend and fiancé of Yukishiro Tomoe. Fearing that his own meager position would not be enough to impress his betrothed, Akira postponed the wedding and left Edo for Kyoto to join the Mimawarigumi, where he became a bodyguard for the high-ranking samurai Shigekura Jūbei. But in the first year of Genji (1864), after a night of drinking with Shigekura and fellow bodyguard Ishiji, Akira came face-to-face with the infamous Ishin Shishi hitokiri Himura Battōsai and met his demise.
- Chekhov's Gunman: It's thanks to him that Tomoe becomes The Mole and the Honey Trap. We won't know it for a while, though.
- Childhood Friend Romance: Had this with Tomoe. And then he got killed by Kenshin.
- Determinator: To the point that despite being hopelessly outclassed, he gave Kenshin the first half of his X-shaped scar before dying. Which Kenshin acknowledges.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: Akira is brutally killed by Kenshin.
- Honor Before Reason: He engages Kenshin, despite the fact that Kenshin is far more skilled than he is, the fact that Kenshin already killed Shigekura, and the fact that Akira is scared out of his mind during their fight. The OVA really sticks the point home that Akira hadn't needed to fight Kenshin, as Shigekura actually saves him from Kenshin before he is killed.
- Middle Child Syndrome: Implied more than anything. He's the second son of a samurai family, and to make his girlfriend Tomoe happier with their engagement, he sent off to Kyoto. It doesn't do any good for both of them.
- Posthumous Character: He is dead by the start of the series.
- Sacrificial Lamb: His death doesn't become important until later.
Voiced by: Tomokazu Seki (JP), Corey M. Gagne (EN)Katsura Kogorō was the legendary young leader of the Chōshū Ishin-Shishi who, along with Ōkubo Toshimichi and Saigō Takamori, became one of the three key figures of the Meiji Restoration after they forged an alliance between former enemies Chōshū and Satsuma. After witnessing young Himura Kenshin's impressive performance in the Kiheitai, Katsura recruited the fourteen year-old swordsman into his service as a hitokiri in Kyoto and acts as the Battōsai's immediate superior during the Bakumatsu.
- Alliterative Name: Katsuya Kogoro.
- Big Brother Mentor: He and Takasugi are this to young Kenshin.
- Historical-Domain Character
- Knight in Sour Armor: Being a ruthless revolutionary leader of your domain does that.
- Posthumous Character
- Revenge: Basically believes in this as a life philosophy, which is consistent with most shishi of his time. His belief that the Tokugawa Shogunate has been abusive (exemplified in executing his mentor Yoshida Shoin) drives his extremist methods. (Which is probably why he sent Shishio to murder the traitorous Iizuka after the latter played a part in turning Kenshin's life into hell).
- Shipper on Deck: Mild case, as he notices how Tomoe is a calming influence on Kenshin and refers to her as "the sheath of his sword".
- Supporting Leader
Voiced by: Wataru Takagi (JP), Jason B. Phelps (EN)Takasugi Shinsaku is the best friend of Katsura Kogorō who opposed his friend's recruit of a young boy named Himura Kenshin as Hitokiri Battōsai. Takasugi belived that Kenshin suffered deeply as assassin, due to him having to take away the lives of others in order to create the new Meiji era.
- Big Brother Mentor: He and Katsura are this to young Kenshin.
- Blood from the Mouth: For a very good reason. See below...
- Historical-Domain Character
- Hot-Blooded: Iizuka noted that he was this so much that, when he got bored of his imprisonment by the conservative Chōshu government, he just broke out of jail and waged a coup d'etat with the Kiheitai, winning control of the domain for the Ishin Shishi.
- Ill Boy: The real Takasugi died of tuberculosis when in his late 20's. His RK portrayal keeps up with this, and he's already fatally ill when he recruits Kenshin.
- Knight in Sour Armor
- Posthumous Character
- Tall, Dark and Snarky
- What the Hell, Hero?: Wasn't too happy with Katsura's plans for Kenshin. Not like he could do a lot about it at that point.
Voiced by: Ryusei Nakao (JP), Lowell B Bartholomee (EN)I'izuka is the examiner of executions for the Choshu Clan. After a member of the Choshu Clan kills, for example Kenshin, he goes and takes care of the body. He usually puts a note warning the Shogunate. He appears to be somewhat skilled at kenjutsu.
- Asshole Victim: Really, his death at Makoto's hands was well-deserved.
- Big Brother Mentor: In the field, he's the one who works with Battousai more closely (being his "mission inspector"/lookout), and has more bantering time with him. As you can see with the other spoiler-tagged tropes, this is pretty much a sham.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Pretended to be a kind, loyal person while plotting behind his comrade's backs.
- Deadpan Snarker: So much that he gives the younger, whinier Kai Shiden a run for his money.
- It's All About Me: Turns out to have this personal philosophy, which is why he sold out his Ishin Shishi comrades to get a more comfortable life after the revolution. Of course, Katsura didn't let him get away with it.
- The Mole: A spy for the Yaminobu.
- Sixth Ranger Traitor: Betrayed the Choshu Clan and became The Mole for the Yaminobu.
- Smug Snake: Turns out to be a smug, slimy jerk.