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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. She's normally the first person she turns into regarding domestic concerns.
- Eyes Always Shut: In a rather odd design shift, the normally wide-eyed Tae gains this look at the end of season 2 and keeps them for season 3. There are rare emotional times where she opens her eyes per the trope, but for the most part she keeps her eyes shut. It could have been done to emphasize her Kansai Regional Accent (Southern Accent in the dub) to give off the laid back simple minded personality the trope implies.
- Kansai Regional Accent: Which kind of makes sense, considering her family was originally from the Kyoto area—as we eventually find out during the Kyoto Arc.
- 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, Sumi Shimamoto.
- Ascended Extra: She plays a minor role in several of the story arcs. Until the Jinchuu arc, she takes a more active role.
- Babies Ever After: She and Yahiko will eventually have a son as confirmed by Word of God.
- Childhood Friend Romance: Tsubame and Yahiko meet when they're 11 (both anime and manga), are more or less dating at age 15 (as seen in the new Hokkaido arc), and will eventually marry and have a kid.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Her family were forced to steal, something she continued even after the deaths of her parents. And her "caretakers" were physically and emotionally abusive to her.
- Dude Magnet: Yahiko is her main love interest. Yutaro apparently hits on her in Yahiko no Sakabato and still does by the time of the Hokkaido Arc. The epilogue shows a couple of perverts leering at her, and in Hokkaido arc Alan tried to hit on her much to Yahiko's ire.
- 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, and in Hokkaido arc they're pretty much an item. It doesn't stop Yutaro from wanting to flirt with her, though.Yutaro: Don't fret over money. You have use for backup. Just go and leave Tsubame to me.Yahiko: Now I definitely can't go!
- 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.
- Nice Girl: She's a kind-hearted girl.
- Official Couple: The Hokkaido arc pretty much confirms that she's going out with Yahiko.
- 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. By the time Hokkaido arc hits, they're more or less dating.
- 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's usually a timid girl and even wears a purple kimono in her first episode.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Tsubame would fall in love with and eventually marry the brave and caring Yahiko, who defeated her abusive "caretakers" when they first met.
- Tuckerization: Tsubame's name originates from places where Watsuki lived in Niigata.
- Yamato Nadeshiko: One in training, thanks to her boss/adoptive mother Tae.
Voiced by: Mayumi Tanaka (JP), Michael Lindsay (EN - Raijuta arc), Dave Wittenberg (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.
- It also takes place in Ashitarō zenka ari, where he's the one who tells Kenshin about Ashitaro and Alan, leading to them being pretty much adopted by Kenshin and Kaoru.
- 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.
- Establishing Character Moment: Introduced shouting at his head servant about needing a teacher, establishing his rudeness, his driving ambition and the reverence he has for his Swordsman father whom he wants to emulate. Then upon seeing Kenshin and the others being brought in by his beloved Nanny, he greets them warmly happy to meet his care-taker's friends and family.
- Foil: To Yahiko. Both are quite bratty, but show a lot of potential in swordsmanship which Kaoru is able to bring out. They differ in how they were raised, Yahiko being a Street Urchin while Yutaro being born into wealth. The manga adds an extra parallel in that Yahiko is partially motivated in honoring his late mother and father, while Yutaro wants to avoid becoming a spineless merchant like his father.
- Game-Breaking Injury: At the end of the Raijuta arc Raijuta injures his right hand. The injury isn't fatal, but the tendons and muscles were all severed meaning Yutaro has to drop swordsmanship all together. Part of his reason for leaving to Germany to study medicine is to find a way to heal from this injury.
- Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: At the end of the Raijuta arc, Yahiko attacks Yutaro, despite him being crippled, telling him to pick himself up and become better than ideal swordsman he thought Raijuta was. Yutaro is able to block the attack with his cane, and that plus Yahiko's words convinces him that swordsmanship is not over for him, claiming that he will defeat Yahiko with just his left hand if he has to.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: Following Raijuta's Kick the Dog moment, the poor guy is left nearly speechless, knowing that his master used him all along and essentially took away his ability to hold a sword forever. Yahiko is able to snap him out of it.
- Horrible Judge of Character: At least regarding Raijuta. Though considering his notion of samurai are so romanticized, it was bound to happen.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's spoiled, stubborn, and bratty, but his interactions with the Kenshin-gumi soften him up while bringing out his potential as a swordsman. In the manga, his intent to become a genuine samurai was based on his honor-bound notion that his father failed to live up to their family heritage (choosing to become a merchant to amass wealth and provide stably for their family)note .
- Lovable Sex Maniac: Apparently comes back as a dangerous play boy in Yahiko's Sakabatou.
- Not So Different: Despite his constant optimism, Yutaro's father hates being a cowardly merchant just as much as Yutaro does. Unfortunately, it was either he embraced that or end up with a far less stable life like many other samurai.
- 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. Ashitaro Zenka Ari reveals that he also inherited his father's trading enterprise.
- The Rival: To Yahiko. It was apparently extended further in the manga when he returned to become an instructor at the Kamiya dojo again. In the anime, however, they finally evolved into Vitriolic Best Buds, and even into Friendly Rivalry, sort of when Yutaro decided to focus on becoming an excellent Western-style doctor, challenging Yahiko to become the top kendoka so they're the best on their fields.
- Took a Level in Kindness: His return in the Hokkaido Arc shows that he has completely cast aside his bratty personality, growing into a patient, though flirtatious, young man.
Voiced by: Hiroshi Yanaka (JP) and Kim Strauss (EN)An old war buddy of Sanosuke's Tsukioka "Katsu" Katsuhiro was a boy who joined the Sekiho Army and served under Captain Sagara Souzou. Like Sanosuke their betrayal left him embittered and resentful towards the Meiji Government. In the present he lives his life as Tsukioka Tsunan a painter but Katsu secretly amassed an armory for a coup.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: The anime takes away the beady eyes from the manga, making him look more approachable and attractive.
- Adaptation Expansion: He played additional roles in most of the filler episodes, particularly in the Shimabara arc and the ill-received Feng Shui arc.
- Adapted Out: He's taken out of Shin Kyoto Hen and the live-action movies. The destruction of the Purgatory is ironically enacted by the police force of the government he despised so much.
- Alliterative Name: His alias Tsukioka Tsunan.
- Bash Brothers: He and Sanosuke are this being old comrades from a long since destroyed battalion. They fought side-by side in the past and later in one of Katsu's schemes.
- Bomb Throwing Anarchist: Katsu is an explosives master who primarily fights with hand-bombs. In addition to this he sought the destruction of the Meiji Government by blowing up their Internal Affairs department.
- Foil: His introduction shows him as one to Sanosuke; both of them are bitter at the destruction of the Sekiho army and the death of Captain Sagara. However, Katsu is the one who actually sets out to attack the government while Sanosuke was reformed after fighting Kenshin.
- Intrepid Reporter: After the rebellion fails Katsu becomes a reporter determined to spread the truth and hold the government accountable in non-violent ways.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Katsu's a minor character in the story but indirectly he's responsible for some very notable things. He gives some experimental bombs to Sanosuke to use against Shishio which ultimately leads to Sanosuke becoming a Spanner in the Works by using them to destroy his Battleship's, the Purgatory's, engine, crippling Shishio's master-plan. In Season 3 of the anime those bombs also kill the opening arc's Big Bad Kaiou when Lorenzo drops them on him.
- The Smart Guy: Katsu is resourceful and inventive having created some truly destructive bombs with the resources he was able to amass. Had the Sekiho survived to the modern times he'd have become this to the group.
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.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: And how. The rudest and most condescending character in the series, and so assured of his own power that he even belittles Kenshin's abilities and is completely unphased by a literal giant. But make no mistake, the man can back it up.
- Badass Boast: Everything he says to his opponents. With skill like his, it's less a boast and more like stating the obvious.
- Badass Cape: His cape is actually the symbol of his mastery of the Hiten Mitsurugi style, and he inherited it from his own master. Watsuki says in an author's note the cloak was inspired by Spawn.
- Big Damn Heroes: His only fight in the series starts this way.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: Although he isn't lazy so much as jaded.Seijuro: It would be easiest if I went after Shishio myself, but I'd rather not deal with the hassle.
- 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.
- Chick Magnet: In many of his scenes where the women involved do not have an existing potential Love Interest (like the kunoichi of the Oniwabanshu), he's expected to attract them.
- The Comically Serious: Much like Saitou, his harsh demeanor and arrogance can be funny when played off of Kenshin's more humorous moments.
- Cool Old Guy: He is 43 after all.
- Cynical Mentor: Very visibly so in contrast to his student Kenshin. Has at least two monologues, one in the 43rd episode of the anime, and one in the Tsuiokuhen OVA, that sets the tone of how he sees the world:"That boy must had found the grief too much to bear, and committed suicide... But such things like that happen everyday.""The moon peers down on a diseased world… There is no cure for the disease. An entire race walks mindlessly into destruction. Not even a man of colossal power would be able to prevent the inevitable."
- Hermit Guru: He saw in 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: Hiten Mitsurugi-ryu is a style of this, and he is one of the best in the style.
- 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.
- Invincible Hero: A top-class Master Swordsman. The Mangaka even admits because of this, he finds it hard how to properly use him.
- 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.
- Libation for the Dead: Upon finding the graves of the people a young Kenshin had buried, Hiko notes that three are marked with stones rather than crosses. Kenshin had made those graves specially for the three slaves who'd tried to save him. When Kenshin states that he doesn't have any flowers for them, Hiko pours out some Sake from his personal flask onto them in tribute."No one should have to leave this world without knowing the taste of good Sake. This is my tribute to these three."
- 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.
- Muscles Are Meaningless: Completely averted. He's far and away the greatest living swordsman in the series, and one of the buffest characters. He actually gets on Kenshin's case for his scrawny physique because one needs a lot of physical power and conditioning to use the Hiten Mitsurugi style to its full potential.
- 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.
- Retired Badass: Easily one of the most powerful warriors in Japan, now a renowned pottery maker.
- Sexy Mentor: He's very much easy on the eyes—being a muscle-bound biseinen himself.
- 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: Even as the 13th master of the Hiten Mitsurugi style, he naturally is capable of exceeding the style's unbelievably famous shinsoku without the need for battojutsu. As such, attacks like the Ryu So Sen, a technique that involves merely slashing the enemy at their every opening with said speed, and the Kuzu Ryuu Sen that he taught Kenshin just before he went off to face down Shishio and his Juppongatana at their HQ are practically second nature for him to perform and even outclasses his apprentice in this aspect.
- 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.
- Tall, Dark, and Snarky: He's handsome, towering and with a withering sense of humor that's hard to rebut.
- Unlucky Thirteen: Is the 13th successor of the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu. Unlucky to anyone who picks a fight with him. Also unlucky for Kenshin in having him for a master since his training methods are... unorthodox.
- Warrior Poet: When he's not throwing putdowns or snark, he's a source of the most profound observations on human nature across the series.
- Warrior Therapist: If Kenshin would be the equivalent of a renowned doctor in this line of work, Hiko would be the Surgeon General. It doesn't just run merely in the guy either; along with reading the opponent and hunting down their ki, Hiten Mitsurugi also teaches its successors the importance of the human condition and the moral philosophy of being a warrior, including how not all foes are that despicable nor simple minded, and that the blade must be held for those beyond saving. Though it is unfortunate that Hiko the XIII's career is foreshadowed to be filled with failures to save and come to more happier conclusions in the past, he at least undoes the roots of Kenshin's Hitokiri Battousai alter ego and lets Fuji of the Juppongatana know that he deserves the dignity and respect of not just a warrior, but a human being.
- 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.
- Bishounen: In all iterations of him (manga and OVA), his youthful good looks are very visible.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: In keeping with the long-standing pop cultural tropes regarding Okita.
- 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: As one of the leading personnel of The Shinsengumi.
- 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: It was established that he was already starting to develop tuberculosis—and it even handicapped him in a duel with Kenshin during the final minutes of the OVA.
- 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 of it. Among the Shinsengumi characters given screen time, he's probably the most gleeful and non-chalant during their assassination missions.
- The Shinsengumi: One of the most iconic ones.
Eiichirou and Eiji Mishima
Eichirou is voiced by: Katsuya Shiga (JP)
Eiji is voiced by: Naomi Matanami (JP), Joshua Seth (EN)Two brothers from the Shingetsu village, whch is "ruled" by Shishio's follower Senkaku. Eiichirou is a policeman and works as one of Saitou's informants.
- Big Brother Instinct: Eiichirou desperately tried to get his parents and little brother out of the soon-to-be Doomed Hometown, and when Senkaku found out and attacked them, the fatally injured pretty much kept himself alive out of willpower until he could entrust the surviving Eiji to Kenshin and Misao.
- Big Brother Worship: Eiji deeply cherishes Eiichirou's memories and has to be talked down from avenging him and their parents.
- Break the Cutie: Eiji came pre-broken, and the plot broke him further.
- Doomed Hometown: Shingetsu is a village that has been completely left to its own devices by the Meiji government, to the point of deleting it from its newest maps. Eiichirou tried to get his family out of there, but only Eiji survived; when Kenshin, Eiji and Misao arrive, they find the hung corpses of the Mishima parents in the middle of the completely abandoned place.
- Happily Adopted: After Senkaku's defeat, Saito says that he and his wife Tokio will take Eiji in.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: Poor Eiji has a meltdown when he sees his parents' corpses.
- The Mole: Eiichirou was supposed to play this role in his village, regarding Shishio's acitivities in the area. Tragically, he was caught and then things went From Bad to Worse.
- Sole Survivor: Eiji's parents are murdered (and their corpses are hung outside the village) and Eiichirou dies of his own wounds, so Eiji ends up as this.
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: Implied to be her tragedy: In trying to charm the man who killed her fiancee, she fell in love for him for real. It's actually discussed further in the OVA, where her Yaminobu accomplices give her stick for it, and she herself questions her sanity and morals for feeling so.
- Blood-Splattered Innocents: When she first met Kenshin, since he "made it rain blood."
- Broken Bird: Being caught up in a tragic engagement, espionage and conflicting feelings leading to death make her very much one.
- 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, when she finally comes clean to Kenshin regarding her background and frustrations although leaving out the very fact that it was her fiancee killed by Kenshin.
- 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: It's almost as if she was designed to be a perfect yurei/"avenging ghost", which she probably sees herself as one—considering she was part of a plot to put down Battousai. Ironically, when she actually dies, her sole appearance as a ghost is very tender and loving to Kenshin.
- 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—setting him down into the path of atonement and new living he chose in the anime proper.
- 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.
- Onee-sama: Her role in Enishi's life. The fact that she became his Parental Substitute kind of piles on this even more, feeding the guy's Oedipus Complex.
- 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: For most of her appearances, she's been a very stoic and detached woman. When she opens up, she can be a very comforting presence.
- 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. Finally, as in traditional Japanese burial fittings, she wears a clean, plain white kimono as a corpse—before Kenshin burns their home as her funeral pyre.
- Woman in White: She wears a white, delicately-patterned kimono—which actually tips off Katsura and the Choshu men on the fact that she can't be a stray woman: she's a well-educated daughter of a samurai family. A family connected to the Shogunate, in fact.
- 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.
- 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 in their encounter, whatever the version. In the manga, he was slashed with a massive frontal diagonal cut before being stabbed in the heart. In the OVA, the first part stands, but he was stabbed by Kenshin through the neck. The live-action movie ramps this up with him persisting after multiple individual slashes, before being finished off in the heart.
- 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.
- Small Role, Big Impact: His death would serve as a catalyst for the majority of what happens to Kenshin.
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: Katsura Kogoro.note
- Big Brother Mentor: He and Takasugi are this to young Kenshin.
- Historical-Domain Character: Among the historically-established Ishin Shishi—together with Okubo Toshimichi and Saigo Takamori. He's better known in formal history as Kido Takayoshi.
- I Did What I Had to Do: His extremist politics (which included turning Kenshin into the Hitokiri Battousai) is not something he's proud of. He even chose to never wield his sword again as his self-imposed punishment on his pride.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Being a ruthless revolutionary leader of your domain does that.
- Not So Stoic: Katsura is usually portrayed as the somber leader of the Choshu shishi (particularly in the OVA). That said, in the manga, he's seen spending a lot of time hanging out and hosting drinking nights with his comrades. He's even the first to point out to his men to stop teasing Kenshin for bringing home Tomoe—noting that he has a mistress herself.note
- Posthumous Character: At least during the anime proper. He is a major character in the Tsuiokuhen flashback chapters/OVA.
- 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: As Kenshin's handler/Mission Control, he serves this role.
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.
- Always Save the Girl: Implied to be one of his beliefs—suggesting that a man can't be trusted to fight for his ideals if he can't protect the woman he loves.
- Big Brother Mentor: He and Katsura are this to young Kenshin.
- Blood from the Mouth and Incurable Cough of Death: Again, following the real Takasugi.
- Everyone Has Standards: He found Katsura's choice to turn Kenshin into the Hitokiri Battousai distasteful, suggesting that Katsura should've been doing the assassinations himself. The latter concedes the point.
- Historical-Domain Character: The leader of the Kiheitai, the crack unit troops of the Choshu shishi that eventually became the prototype for the Imperial Japanese Army.
- 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. The Tsuiokuhen OVA even gives him a metaphorically-poetic death of succumbing to his illness while commanding his mennote .
- Knight in Sour Armor: He has no illusions about Kenshin's future role in the war, or of what will happen to him if he's officially recruited.
- So Proud of You: In a scene that could be seen as Black Comedy, he laughs and expresses pride at Kenshin's choice to "live with" Tomoe (in keeping with his Always Save the Girl belief) while coughing up blood and in prison.
- Tall, Dark, and Snarky: He was pretty tall, with dark hair/eyes, and had quite the wit.
- 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)Iizuka 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 Shishio'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 and sent out Shishio after him...
- 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.
Voiced by: Yuki Kaida (Japanese); Joey Hood (English)The son of Himura Kenshin and Kamiya Kaoru, who gets quite the spotlight in the Reflection OAV (whether it's canon or not)note and in the first chapter of the Hokkaido arc manga.
- Ascended Extra: Kenji get more screen-time in Reflection in his goal to surpass his father.
- Early Installment Character-Design Difference: Kenji's artwork on the spine of the final volume showed him with red hair just like his father. Not too long afterward, Watsuki changed his hair color to brown and has been that way ever since.
- Food as Bribe: In Hokkaido arc, Alan gets the Kamiya Kasshin-ryu manual by simply tricking little Kenji into giving it to him in exchange for candy. Kaoru isn't amused, logically.
- Like Parent, Like Spouse: In the end of Reflection, the cute girl who's all but stated to be his girlfriend looks a lot like his mother Kaorunote
- Momma's Boy:
- He prefers his mother over his father, feeling rather relaxed and happy around Kaoru while being more irritable around Kenshin, often prone to pulling his hair. This becomes even more intense as he grows up.
- Subverted in the Hokkaido Arc manga, where he's a Cheerful Child who loves both of his parents equally.
- Oedipus Complex: Has this in Reflection - while he still loves his mother and makes sure to visit her before she dies of illness, he greatly despises his father for, as he believes, neglecting his family.
- The Rival: He would grow up to be a rival to Yahiko and Tsubame's son.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Kenji bears an uncanny resemblance to his father, his brown hair being the only thing that separates him from his father. This resemblance becomes even more pronounced in Reflection, becoming the splitting image of the young Hitokiri Battousai.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: The anime ending showed him loving his dad as much as his mother. Reflection shows that beside his grumpier demeanor, he also developed a strong hatred of his father. Noticeably, Hokkaido arc shows him as a little kid and keeps up with his sweeter side.