Characters: Rurouni Kenshin The Ten Swords

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    Shishio Makoto 
The Mummy Returns.
Voiced by: Masanori Ikeda (JP), Steve Blum (EN)
Portrayed by: Tatsuya Fujiwara (Live Action)

The primary antagonist of the "Kyoto arc" in the Manga and the second season of the anime. Like Kenshin, Shishio was an assassin during the Revolution. He aspires to conquer all Japan by re-creating the chaos of the Revolution. He was known as the successor of the legendary Battousai, replacing Kenshin after he retired. He possessed skills equal or even greater to Himura, but none of the conscience.
  • The Ace: He's just that good.
  • Adaptational Badass: His manga iteration had some tricks like the iron plate and gunpowder glove to give him an edge. In the film, he's just that good.
  • Always Someone Better: To Usui. Saitou points out that despite his constant attacks on Shishio, Usui had already realized he had no chance of winning since Shishio had received even greater injuries and came back stronger.
  • And Starring: His actor in the live action films, Tatsuya Fujiwara, is credited this way.
  • Arch-Enemy: Portrayed as Kenshin's complete opposite in terms of belief, fighting style, and even stature.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: More than Kenshin/Saito.
  • Badass: He takes so much punishment, and gives back so much in return, that characters occasionally doubt that he's human.
  • Bandage Mummy: He is covered head-to-toe in bandages. His un-bandaged visage is surprisingly attractive... for someone who was shot in the face, burned alive, and barely survived.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: Does this to both Kenshin and Saito. With his fingers.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: According to To Rule Flame this is how his and Yumi's relationship began.
  • Big Bad: Of the Kyoto Arc.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Sadly enough, he is the closest thing Soujirou has to a father and a best friend.
  • Blood Knight: Second only to conquering and remaking Japan as his Goal in Life.
  • Body Horror: Under those bandages, his skin is horribly burned, and he has no sweat glands.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Occasionally will call himself a demon from Hell, and fully expects to go there when he dies...and plans on taking it over as well. And once his story arc is finished, he starts following through.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Rather more literally than usual, once he starts Chewing The Costar during his fight with Kenshin. It's an intimidation tactic, and it works too: Kenshin is so freaked out by the memory of "those burning hot teeth" sinking into him that he almost dies seconds later.
  • Covered with Scars: Shishio's full-body scarring is from one incident, but having almost all of your skin be second- or third-degree burns can't be good for the complexion.
  • Crazy-Prepared: This is a man who booby traps his own hands, just in case.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: He beats an already-battered Kenshin, Saito, and Sanosuke early on in his final battle with Kenshin, but Aoshi manages to buy time for Kenshin to recover and get back in the fight.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: And HOW. He's savvy enough to have every major character weakened before battling him since his time limits means he has no chance of fighting them all at once or one after the other otherwise. He also learns their key techniques before hand which lets him figure out how to counteract them. The anime states knowing the technique before hand decreases its effectiveness by half. Having them fight exhausted took even more of the edge off.
  • Darker and Edgier: Amazingly, he manages it in Shin Kyoto Hen. He is even more of a Blood Knight than usual, giving Usui his chance to defeat him before wiping the floor with him. Messily. He even ends up killing Usui.
  • Death by Irony: The entire arc kept coming back to how Kenshin, with his equivalent skill and opposite views, was the only one who could have stopped Shishio. But in the end, it wasn't Kenshin or Saito or Sanosuke that managed to end his life... It was Shishio's own inhuman strength and endurance, his own passion for violence, that destroyed him.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Behind most of the events of the Kyoto Arc, in one way or another, and has his fingers in other pies later on.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He genuinely loves Yumi.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He's a monster and he knows it, but he can't stand the dishonesty and hypocrisy of the government whenever it commits comparably heinous acts while claiming to represent democracy and peace.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Kenshin, serving as his replacement as Battousai. Yahiko even points it out, stating that if things had been a little different Saito might have been asking Shishio to help him kill a rogue Kenshin.
    • He's also one to Hiko Sejurou, as a highly ambitious Social Darwinist who genuinely wants to make Japan strong, which contrasts with Hiko's relatively indifferent but still-caring nature.
    • He notes the similarities between himself and Saitou as well. Both are ruthlessly devoted to their respective causes and aren't afraid to dirty their hands to achieve it or eliminate obstacles. Their motivations just happen to be different.
  • Evil Laugh: A few times.
  • Eviler Than Thou: His first assignment was to eliminate the treacherous Choshu agent Iizuka, who was instrumental in Battousai's fatal match with the Yaminobu and Tomoe's death. He later remarks that such scum as Iizuka are far beneath his skills, but will bide his time serving the Ishin Shishi in order to make his name known.
  • Evil Mentor: To Soujirou. And even then, he was nicer to him than his evil family would ever be.
  • Fair Play Villain: Threatens to kill Houji when he suggests shooting Kenshin in their climactic final battle.
  • Flaming Sword: A particularly disgusting one, considering that it works by soaking the blade in human fat.
    • Serrated Blade of Pain: His Mugenjin, though it's not blatant at a first glance. According to Shishio, such edge will always keep the blade sharp and makes his above-mentioned fueling system possible.
  • Go Out with a Smile: In the live-action films.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: While Kenshin's scar is heroic, Shishio is just disfigured.
  • Handicapped Badass: After surviving an assassination attempt that rendered him unable to produce sweat, Shishio must avoid being in any fight for more than fifteen minutes in a row.
  • The Hard Hat: He wears a steel-lined headband to protect his head, as his "fall" was caused by a bullet to the forehead.
  • Heroic RROD: He dies in a very villainous example.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: One of his signature techniques is using friction to set his sword on fire by igniting the human body fat that has absorbed into the blade. He dies when repeated use of this technique, combined with being in prolonged combat with Kenshin and company, cause his body temperature to go so high that his own body fat spontaneously combusts.
  • Hot-Blooded: Literally. Figuratively, less so, unless he's in personal combat.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: If the fact that he bites a chunk of meat out of Kenshin's shoulder and savors the taste is any indication.
  • Implacable Man: He blows through the entire cast without stopping, taking hits from Sanosuke's punch to Saito's stab at his forehead to Kenshin's ultimate attack. It takes his own body overheating to kill him.
  • Ironic Name: His name literally means "Idealistic-Hero of The-Truth."
  • I Was Quite a Looker: He was quite good-looking before his assassins torched him.
  • Last Name Basis
  • Lightning Bruiser: The movie version of Shishio can not only keep up with Kenshin, but Aoshi, Sanosuke, and Saito as well and all at the same time.
  • Like a Badass out of Hell: After he finally dies, we get a scene of him in a rather bright Hell, deciding to see if he can take over.
  • Made of Iron: Survived getting shot in the head at point blank range and set on fire. The man is tough. His fight at the end of the Kyoto Arc after said injuries epitomizes this.
    • Not to mention the second of his techniques, the Guren Kaina, involves setting of a gauntlet filled with gunpowder, the kind of move that would probably shatter the bones of an ordinary person's hand and he uses this technique repeatedly.
    • In the movies, most of Kenshin's enemies go down after several hits from his sword. Shishio tanks dozens of his blows to brutalize him. However, he starts to block and dodge when Aoshi and Saito enter the fight.
  • Mad Love: Played for tragedy, with Yumi. They're both very aware of it, too.
  • Man Bites Man: During his final showdown with Kenshin, Shishio bites a chunk of flesh out of his shoulder.
  • Man on Fire: The reason for his current state. And his ultimate fate.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Or "A Japanese Fascist By Any Other Name". Not helped by the fact that while he foreshadows the excesses and ambitions of Imperial Japan, he also harkens back imageries of the notorious Oda Nobunaga (even setting up headquarters in Mt. Hiei, the very site of Nobunaga's most infamous massacres). And while Nobunaga was reputed as the dairokuten maou (lit. "Demon King of the Sixth Heaven"), Shishio has set out to conquer hell after dying, and seems to be succeeding.
  • No One Could Survive That: Has survived being shot in the head, being doused in oil and set on fire (and losing the ability to control his own body temperature as a result).
  • Playing with Fire: His sword has had so much human fat soaked into it that it can be ignited with mere sparks; he also uses gunpowder in his gloves to set off explosions against enemies in his grasp. His greatest move is basically a giant fire ball wrapped around his sword.
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: Anticipates the various fights this way, setting up Anji against Sano as well Usui and Saitou, explicitly trying to wear each of them down for the final battle.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: And he wishes Japan to be a nation comprised entirely of this, too.
  • Purple Is Powerful: What clothing he still wears is dyed in this color, and he's generally regarded as the most imposing antagonist in the series.
  • Reality Ensues: In real life, people with anhidrosis are at extreme risk for overheating. Though most don't actually catch fire the condition can be very deadly. Doing something very physical in a very hot place is not a great idea, no matter how badass the flaming sword attacks make the dramatic final duel look.
  • Run the Gauntlet: A rare villainous example, where Shishio single-handedly takes down Kenshin, Saito, Sanosuke, AND Aoshi in succession, with very little difficulty. Granted they were all injured in varying degrees coming into the fight, but that hardly diminishes the magnitude of the feat, especially considering Shishio had some considerable handicaps of his own.
  • Sanity Slippage: Unless he was always the way he is now, taking a bullet to the brain and getting roasted alive wasn't great for his mental health.
  • Shout-Out: Word of God states that his character design before getting his burn injuries was based on Kibagami Genjuro from Samurai Shodown.
  • Spontaneous Human Combustion: His ultimate fate. Though a little better explained than most instances, he still burns pretty merrily following the initial ignition.
  • Staying Alive: Dude. Was shot point blank in the head. Doused with oil. Lit on fire. Left to die. STILL HE SURVIVED.
  • Social Darwinist: His philosophy is that "the flesh of the weak is the food of the strong"—and he drives his point home by taking a bite out of the hero. He is inevitably defeated, but afterwards, Kenshin observes that his victory has not truly proven anything—and that, if the one in the right is merely the strongest warrior, then Shishio was correct all along.
  • 'Tis Only a Bullet in the Brain: And he survives it.
  • Übermensch: Believes in his idealized vision of Japan, wherein one must be a great warrior to survive, and hence will one day become a universally proud and strong nation in the global arena, and that, freed from all moral constraints, he is the one to make it a reality.
  • Unholy Matrimony: With Yumi. He freely admits that no one else really understands their relationship, but they're rather happy together even in Hell
  • Victorious Loser: As the narration in the manga reminds us, his nightmarish dream of Japan reborn as a brutal, fascist and Darwinist military dictatorship would go on to bear cruel fruit in the future, while Kenshin's ideal of peace would not become reality until after World War II. But hey, at least it took longer than it would have otherwise, and he didn't live long enough to be the one running the show.
  • Villainous Breakdown: At the end of his battle.
  • Visionary Villain: His goal is to eliminate the Meiji government, which he views as weak and inferior to The Western Powers, and start a new era in Japan in which everyone must live under his brutal and warlike rule, where only the strongest can survive.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Invoked. Shishio anticipates that Kenshin's allies will probably defeat their respective opponents, but be injured enough not to pose a threat. He himself is noted to have the weakness of having damaged sweat glands and no way to manage his body heat, which eventually kills him.

    Komagata Yumi 
Voiced by: Kanako Irie (JP), Wendee Lee (EN)
Portrayed by: Maryjun Takahashi (Live Action)

An oiran, a courtesan in Yoshiwara, formerly an akasen. Because of that, she is beautiful, intelligent, dignified, well-cultured, and was brought up in a comfortable life. She was always interested in social issues and occurrences in Japan, and became reviled at the Japanese government's stance regarding prostitutes. She came to love Shishio Makoto with an utmost passion, which he returned. Thus, she joined Shishio's conspiracy to bring down the Meiji government. She is constantly concerned about Shishio's medical state with good reason.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Her Impossibly-Low Neckline was dropped in the film in favor of an off-the-shoulder one, probably because, as the author would later note, her manga look is pretty much all but impossible in real life.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Not as bad as the other Juppongatana, but she's still portrayed less sympathetically in the live action films.
  • Beast and Beauty: Her relationship with Shishio in a nutshell, and a very dark example of the trope.
  • Beauty Mark: On her lower lip.
  • Brainy Brunette: Has reddish-brown hair, and is also very well-read and book smart.
  • Broken Bird: Extremely cynical and emotionally broken, due to her past experiences. Yumi was once a very well-known, beautiful, and intelligent oiran (courtesan), she fell in despair during the Meiji Restoration as she saw the uglier side of the Japanese high society and experienced many hardships, as shown in the To rule Flame prequel which she is the star of. Fed up with this new world, built on lies and injustice in her eyes, she turned towards a man who offered her dignity and solace: Magnificent Bastard Makoto Shishio.
  • Cool Big Sis: To Soujirou. And to Hanabi, Kogari and Akari in To Rule Flame; the three girls even refer to her as "Big Sister".
  • Dark Mistress: To Shishio.
  • Go Out with a Smile: She goes out with a smile on her face and crying Tears of Joy, happy that she was finally useful to Shishio in battle.
  • Hero of Another Story: Of the To Rule Flame prequel, which shows how she and Shishio met.
  • Hidden Depths: She was literally invented by the author to be a sort of "accessory" to Shishio, but ended up with a remarkably developed personality and backstory.
    • She is also shown to care more about a person's character than their appearance, given her love for Shishio despite his burned and mutilated physical appearance, as well as her care for Sojiro.
  • High-Class Call Girl: What she used to be.
  • Hotter and Sexier: For some, her "killingly hot" "session" with Shishio (although others are beginning to find that awkward) in the Shin Kyoto Hen OVA counts.
  • Impossibly-Low Neckline/Kimono Fanservice: In side materials, the author apologized to all the fans who tried to make her look work in cosplay and found it completely impossible.
  • In the Back: As she's begging for Kenshin to stop, Shishio stabs through her chest and wounds Kenshin.
  • Like a Badass out of Hell: Accompanies Shishio and Houji in their endeavor to overthrow King Enma and take the throne of Japan's literal Hell.
  • Mad Love: With Shishio. They both know it.
  • Moral Myopia: Was victim of this in her backstory, and led to her bitter disenfranchisement with the Meiji government. Namely, according to To Rule Flame, Yumi's best friend Hanabi was horribly murdered by a paramilitary group that later kidnapped her other two companions, Akari and Kogari, and intended to sell them as slaves to an American crew. The owner of the high-class brothel that Yumi and the girls worked for coldly dismissed Yumi's deep distress, and that's what got her fed up enough to seek out Shishio.
  • Morality Pet: In spite of his sinister nature, Shishio is genuinely in love with Yumi whom he professed understood him as thoroughly as he understood her.
  • Neutral Female: Since she's not a fighter like Kaoru, she's pretty much there to be arm candy for Shishio, and an Audience Surrogate for Shishio and Houji to drop some info on, though she actually hates being a Neutral Female, and that prompts her death. To give an idea, she's crying tears of joy as she dies, happy to learn that she has finally managed to be useful to Shishio and during his most important battle too.
  • Please, I Will Do Anything!: In To Rule Flame, she offered herself to Shishio (whom she had Belligerent Sexual Tension with until then) as his mistress, in exchange for him avenging Hanabi and rescuing Akari and Kogari. He accepted, and from then on Yumi was a member of the Juppongatana.
  • The Resenter: She's revealed to have been this to the fighters of the Juppongatana, as they made her feel useless to Shishio, who always respected strength.
  • Slipknot Ponytail: Her hair only gets shown undone a few times, but it's quite... voluminous. Guess her former life really trained her to keep it up.
  • Together in Death: After they both die, she and Shishio reunite in Hell, and seem very happy together as they plot to take it over.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Shishio. This was the price of being rescued by Shishio- she pledged her life and death to him, to serve him in any way and die at his leisure.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: An inadvertent example, playing on Kenshin's soft heart to explain Shishio's weakness. He runs her through In the Back to injure Kenshin, but both of them are rather at peace with it.

    Ten Swords 

Tropes Associated With The Ten Swords

    Seta Soujirou 
Voiced by: Noriko Hidaka (JP), Tara Jayne (EN - Episodes 31-47), Melissa Fahn (EN - Episodes 54-56, 61)

A teenage boy who is Shishio's right-hand man. He is noted in the series for always smiling, and apparently displaying no emotions in battle. He met Shishio when he was a small boy. After his parents died in the war, he stayed with his abusive relatives that treated him as a slave. He witnessed Shishio killing police men, after carrying large amounts rice packages back and forth, Shishio was about to kill him but didn't because of his habit to smile when he is in danger. Shishio orders him to keep him in a safe house and to provide for him. Days pass and Soujirou tended to him and explained his situation with his relatives. Shishio then explained his creed of survival of the fittest and gives him his sword. When Soujirou is blamed for wasting rice his older relatives try to kill him thinking that they can pin it on Shishio. In the end, Soujirou killed his relatives and went of with Shishio to become his protégé.

Soujirou's apparent lack of emotion, his simple, insensitive mentality that the strong will live and the weak shall die, and his skills make him a formidable foe for Kenshin. As a master swordsman of his own style, Soujirou's abilities have earned him the nickname of "Heaven's Sword".

    Honjou Kamatari 
Voiced by: Junko Takeuchi (JP), Sonja S. Fox (EN)

A crossdresser young man from the Juppongatana. He loves Shishio Makoto deeply, but knows that he will never be loved like Komagata Yumi nor will he ever become as talented as Seta Soujirou, who serves as Shishio's right hand man. He still devotedly fights for the person he loves.

Kamatari uses a very heavy scythe-like weapon, a reaper, with a chain ball on the end of the weapon; this is called Ogama. He practices Honjou-ryu, his own style of martial arts with his scythe.
  • Badass Gay
  • Boxed Crook: After Shishio's death he's hired by the Japanese government as a crossdressing spy.
  • Demoted to Extra: In the live action films, she doesn't have any lines and her integral fight scene with Kaoru (and Misao) is Adapted Out.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Subverted, as the two heroines take on a crossdressing man rather than a woman.
  • Driven to Suicide: Twice. Misao knocks him out from commiting jigai ritual suicide after losing to her and Kaoru, and later Cho has to dissuade him from joining Shishio and Yumi in death.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: To the point that the good guys thinks he's a woman at first.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Both his named attacks (Midare Benten and Benten Mawashi) involves a lot of spinning. The former also borders with Spin to Deflect Stuff.
  • Expy: Noted by Watsuki in the design notes to be modeled after Ikari Yui, Ikari Shinji's mom.
  • Gag Penis: As noted above, his "manly parts" are used as a gag, shocking poor Misao. Apparently, he's well endowed.
    Misao: "He's got an elephant down there!!"
  • Gender Flip: The live action films made him a true female.
  • Gender Reveal: When called "scythe girl", he proceeds to flash his jibblies to Misao, Yahiko, Kaoru, and the whole Aoiya crew.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Kaoru defeats him by knee capping him with her bokuto. It was so serious in fact that a month after the battle he still had to recover... and his depression didn't helped either.
  • Hidden Depths
  • Kawaiiko: Maybe in the end, He was also prone to make cutesy faces in battle, expecially when his beloved Shishio was involved.
  • Love Martyr: To Shishio. He's painfully aware that he simply can't be loved back, so he fights to at least be useful to him and after losing he has to be dissuaded twice from trying to kill himself.
  • Meaningful Name: Kama in Kamatari stand for Scythe. His attacks are named after Benten, the only female goddess of the Seven Lucky Gods.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Has the body frame of a young maiden, and yet can swing around his large scythe (30 kg) effortlessly.
  • Sinister Scythe: His Weapon of Choice. During the duel against Misao and Kaoru he uses more the large Epic Flail at the tip of the weapon to fight.
    • In one of the volumes, the author mentions that the character came about as a result of a Japanese pun suggested by one of his assistants. Kama is a word referring to a sickle or scythe, while okama is a slang term for transvestites. Reading between the lines, fans have come to the very reasonable conclusion that the assistant in question was none other than Eiichiro Oda.
  • Trans Equals Gay: Played with. He is a (very convincing) crossdressing Anti-Villain who is in love with his male boss, Shishio. But while he is both gay and a Villainous Crossdresser and a Wholesome one after his Heel-Face Turn, he is not transgender, as he identifies as a guy and flashes Misao when she accidentally misidentified him as a woman; he seems to find her mistake and her reaction both hilarious, despite having the crossdressing skills of a kabuki onnagata (which it has been theorized he once was) and presumably convincing people on a regular basis.
  • Undying Loyalty: to Shishio. He's actually in love with him.
  • Villainous Breakdown: At the start of his fight against Misao and Kaoru, he's jolly, smiling and joking. By the end he's frowning and a lot more serious. When he actually loses, he sadly accepts his loss and tries to kill himself, but Misao stops him.
  • Villainous Crossdresser:
    • Wholesome Crossdresser: After the end of the Kyoto arc, when he's hired as a spy for the Japanese government.
  • Wrecked Weapon: The combined efforts of Misao and Kaoru shatter his scythe. However, he can still use a secret technique using the other end of his pole arm to pick up the flail and throw it.
  • Volleying Insults: With Yumi.
  • Yandere: To Shishio.

Voiced by: Unshou Ishizuka (JP), Beau Billingslea (EN)

A giant, considered a freak by everyone around him; his real name is not stated in the series. One day he was attacked and almost killed but the old man Saizuchi found him and took him in. The gentle, depressed Fuji was in an ideal state for Saizuchi to manipulate his emotions and turn him into an unbelievable fighter. Saizuchi keeps telling Fuji that he owes him for saving his life and uses that to control him.
  • Death by Adaptation: Saito kills him off in the live action film.
  • Demoted to Extra: In the live action films, his integral fight scene with Hiko Seijuro is Adapted Out.
  • Empty Shell: When controlled by Saizuchi, again.
  • Expy: His armored form is stated in the manga's notes to be based off the God Soldier from Nausicaa.
  • Gentle Giant: One who towered over buildings, and despite his terrifying armor, he becomes one of the most normal characters in the series.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Thanks to his fight with Warrior Therapist Hiko Seijuurou he switches sides and turns on Saizuchi, and ultimately becomes a farmer.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Despite his size, he's so fast that the gang at the Oniwabanshu place didn't notice his presence until after he had cut half the inn down.
  • Manly Tears: When Hiko adresses and treats him as a human and not a tool or a monster, Fuji takes off his mask and helmet and cries in joy. Then, they duel properly, and Hiko wins.
  • Meaningful Name: Fuji can refer to Mt. Fuji.
  • Obliviously Evil: Subverted, he's not a bad guy deep down.
  • Punch Clock Villain: He's not really evil, just being manipulated by Saizuchi.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Or at least, a freakishly huge one. Misao lampshades the trope by wondering if he was a human man or not.
  • Wild Card: When he was first mentioned, it is implied that he is ever a an overconfident brute or a simple-minded behemoth that uses strong, but slow punches. No could have expected he'd be a huge swordsman who's not only subtle, but not look menacing in his armor. In fact, it's implied only Hiko could face him on equal terms.
    • Shishio remarks that Soujirou is his strongest warrior under him, but it seems that Fuji has more raw power than all of his top men, even him. And is heavily implied that even Kenshin would lose to him, so Hiko the strongest character in the series had to face him.
  • Your Size May Vary: The first time he appears, we only see his feet, which are as big as a normal person. When he appears later, he's huge, but not that big.

Voiced by: Ikuo Nishikawa (JP), Paul St. Peter (EN)

A cunning small old man who manipulates Fuji and lays out the battle plans for him; his real name is not stated in the series. He believes that his old age makes him the one who is right since he has lived so long. Saizuchi's talents lie not in battle-abilities, but his proficient use of words.
  • Adaptational Badass: His Live Action incarnation is of normal height, seems to be younger, uses a katana, and tried to personally attack Kenshin on several occasions.
  • Bald of Evil: Paired with a very large head to boot.
  • Heel-Face Turn: After Shishio's defeat, he puts his persuasion skills to use as a foreign diplomat for the Meiji government.

    Yukyuzan Anji 
Voiced by: Yasuyoshi Hara (JP), Michael McConnohie (EN)

I don't blame you for being blind to my mission. Just is the blind who must die.

A warrior fallen-monk who fights alongside Shishio to destroy the Meiji government. He was among the many victims of the Meiji-era sponsored Haibutsu kishaku/anti-Buddhism purge, resulting in the destruction of his home and the deaths of the five orphaned children he cared for in his temple, who came from families who opposed the Meiji restoration and were wiped away during the war. Said horrifying experience made him pull a Faith Heel Turn, go from an Actual Pacifist from a Warrior Monk, and brutally murder the culprits with his own hands, before Shishio recruits him to his cause.

Anji is the third strongest and most merciful of the Ten Swords and has made an agreement with Shishio that Anji shall decide whether someone lives or dies. Despite being ranked as third most powerful, Uonuma Usui seems to fear him to some extent, having declined from Anji's challenge after the fallen monk protected Makimachi Misao from the Blind Murderer. He does not use a blade directly in combat, instead utilizing Futae no Kiwami (Double Layer Limit or "Mastery of Two Layers") to strike the blade into the ground to attack from a distance, or more usually directly with his fists.

At some point, he and Sanosuke met in the forest; Sanosuke saw Anji perform the Futae no Kiwami, was amazed at the sight and asked him to teach it. Anji accepted on the condition that, if Sanosuke didn't learn it perfectly in a week, he would kill him; Sanosuke barely managed to fulfill the deal, and few later they were pit against each other...
  • Adaptational Villainy: The live action films Adapted Out his tragic backstory. He is also just a straight rival to Sano instead of being his mentor-turned-antagonist.
  • Adapted Out: The live action films dropped his tragic backsory and his mentor/student relationship with Sano, as well as his Futae no Kiwami technique.
  • Affably Evil: While he may be the most merciful of the Juppongatana, his desire for wrath to purify the world and the downfall of the Meiji Government supersedes that. Plus, he only joined the Juppongatana on the condition that he could choose who lives and who dies. Pray that you are not on his bad side.
  • Always with You: The spirits of Tsubaki and the children Anji watched over remind him this after Anji realizes his life of killing was wrong.
  • Bad Ass
  • Bald of Awesome
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: He carries a sword, but it's not his Weapon of Choice.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Pulls one despite being a villain, saving Misao from Usui trying to stab her in the back.
  • Break the Cutie: Once was a sweet, caring monk. Then, his adoptive children were murdered and his shrine was burned down. He... snapped.
  • The Brute: To Shishio's Big Bad. Genius Bruiser variant.
  • Cool Sword: Despite not being a swordsman, he carries around a short, buddhist-like sword, which he only uses to turn his Futae no Kiwami in a deadly Ground Pound.
  • Death by Adaptation: He is presumably killed after the fall of the Rengoku in the live action films.
  • Demoted to Extra: He does fight Sanosuke in the films, but their relationship and the majority of his screentime is relegated to that fight alone.
  • Despair Event Horizon: The Break the Cutie incident.
  • Evil Mentor: To Sanosuke, whom he taught the Futae no Kiwami to. Sanosuke subverts the trope by snapping Anji back to his senses.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Sanosuke again. They both became bitter after losing their loved ones and turned to violence. While Sanosuke lost the one he looked up to and honored as a youth, Anji lost the children who he took care of and looked up to him. Sanosuke even mentions it during their fight, how Anji's just like him in the past. Sanosuke's relieving of stress in his fights is given a darker reflection with Anji dealing retribution to his foes, though both were really lashing out in hatred. Their meetings are even marked by their hatred of the Meiji Government.
  • Facial Markings: Painted with ashes to make himself look more imposing. The first time he did it, he used the ashes he took from the lifeless body of the orphan girl who loved him, which marked the definitive point in his Faith Heel Turn.
  • Faith Heel Turn: Highly enraged when the children died, after praying for their safety when helplessly injured, and emphasized by him punching the face of Buddha out of pure sorrow. According to him, if Buddha won't listen to the world's prayers, he reasons, then he'll damn well save the world by his own hands.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Used to be one.
  • Freudian Excuse: The adoptive children he loved were murdered by greedy bureaucrats.
  • Gentle Giant: Subverted on the giant part. Anji is very tall but he used to be rather scrawny, and bulked up after his Faith Heel Turn.
  • Genius Bruiser: Big, strong, and very, very bright.
  • Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: Has huge wide eyes before being broken. Afterwards, they're much more narrow. Double the effect since he paints his eyelids black with ashes to invoke the trope.
  • Heel-Face Turn:Anji realizes that all the killing he did was wrong and is reminded by the spirits of Tsubaki and the children he watched over that they will always be with him.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Despite his size, he's noted to be quite fast, though not as fast as he could be.
  • Manly Tears: When he's brought back by Sanosuke and remembers the good times with his adoptive children, he collapses in tears. And we all cry with him.
  • Precocious Crush: In the anime, the oldest of the orphans he used to care for was a teenage girl named Tsubaki, who had a huge crush on Anji and was Tsundere towards him. The children said they'd pray so Anji and Tsubaki could get married later. The anime amped up the Ship Tease via adding a scene where Anji carried Tsubaki on his back after she sprained her ankle and she swears to always be by his side as they go through the falling snow, and another where they talk about what they'll do when they have to leave their temple. But then, she died with the other kids. And their heart-to-heart last scene happened right before Tsubaki and the other kids are murdered.
  • Religious Bruiser: Rare villainous version. His title in the Juppongatana also alliterates this, being Anji the Myou-ou, meaning either Bright King or the Destroyer, the buddhas of wrath and fear who convert by frightening non-believers into faith and slay evil in Buddhist mythology.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: 5 years after the orphans died, he brutally murdered both the men who set the fire and the local leader who gave tacit approval, despite the guy groveling for mercy.
  • Token Good Teammate
  • Took a Level in Badass: For his revenge. In five years, he went from a scrawny and sweet monk to a huge Lightning Bruiser.
  • Tragic Keepsake: A small prayer tablet with the names of his adoptive kids. It's the only thing that remains from his destroyed temple.
  • You Have 48 Hours: He told Sano "If you don't learn the Futae no Kiwami in a week, I'll kill you".
  • Warrior Monk
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds

    Sadojima Houji 
Voiced by: Hiroshi Takahashi (JP), David Mallow (EN)

Shishio's second in command. He used to be an official in the Meiji Government but lost faith in it when he saw no one in the government was worthy of controlling the country. He abandoned his position in the government and eventually met Shishio. Houji, too, envisions Japan as a mighty power led by Shishio, ruling with the principles of basic animal survival. Houji is indeed unique; although he is not proficient in any fighting style, he is a cunning organizer and possesses formidable leadership qualities. His skills as a staff officer figure are quite amazing; he even manages to purchase Rengoku on the black market. Houji's plan with the Rengoku fails when Sanosuke blows up the Purgatory with bombs provided by his friend Katsu. Houji was "baptized" by Shishio's intense body heat to kindle in him a belief in hell.
  • Adaptational Badass: His live action film counterpart is an Action Survivor.
  • Death by Adaptation: He presumably died at the fall of the Rengoku in the live action films, instead of committing suicide at the prison.
  • Driven to Suicide: And he did that in quite a showy way.
  • Evil Genius: Shishio's logistician, organiser, and administrator. And capable enough to smuggle a battleship into the country.
  • Expy: Sort of, but not really. According to the author, Hoji's overall concept originates from Forge from the X-Men, but you'd be hard pressed to find two characters who are more different.
  • Famous Last Words: Writes them in blood on his cell wall before committing suicide.
    "This world is dead to me. I go to serve my lord in Hell."
  • Fingore: In the manga, Usui rips off one of his fingernails to determine if he's telling the truth about not being a traitor. Houji then bites off six more as punishment for "betraying" seven members of the Juppongatana.
    • In the anime, Usui breaks a finger, then Houji stabs it. Still quite nasty.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Shown in the To Rule Flame prequel, where he proves to be quite a crack-shot with a rifle. How good is he? He can aim his rifle at the spot on an enemy's vest where a button is missing and shoot at that exact spot. From several meters away. While wielding the rifle in one hand like a revolver.
  • Large Ham
  • Like a Badass out of Hell: Joins Shishio in his plan in Hell.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: His suit.
  • Non-Action Guy: Compared to the others.
    • Averted in the To Rule Flame prequel, where he actively fights alongside the other Juppongatana members, wielding a rifle.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: When Shishio inquires about his religious beliefs, Houji initially states that he is a materialist who doesn't believe in heaven or hell. After Shishio's "baptism," however, he eventually ends up agreeing, and dies assured that he will follow his master to hell.
  • Psycho Supporter:
  • The Strategist: He's in charge of gathering all of the equipment and recruits for Shishio's army. His nickname translates as "Hoji the All-Knowing", a role he takes so seriously that he openly defies Shishio over the latter's plan to forgo an attack on Kenshin's allies in favor of a straightforward duel.
  • Smug Snake
  • Undying Loyalty: To Shishio. He kills himself rather than be used by the government his master despised
    • And follows him straight to hell.
  • Villainous Breakdown: When Shishio is defeated, Houji destroys the lair in a sort of improvised Self-Destruct Mechanism to kill everyone. The reason?
    Houji: "If you all die, there is no victor! If you all die, Shishio-sama remains undefeated! SHISHIO-SAMA ALONE TAKES THE DAY!!"
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Played for drama. During Shishio's final duel with Kenshin, he initially hides a rifle under his coat, ready to take out the heroes if his master starts to lose. He does this without Shishio's knowledge, and fully aware that Shishio will never forgive him for doing so and will almost certainly kill him if he does. Halfway through the battle, however, Houji reveals the weapon to both Yumi and Shishio, and throws it away, to express his faith in his master's abilities. Whoops.
  • Wicked Cultured

    Uonuma Usui 
Voiced by: Shou Ryuzanji (JP), Jamieson Price (EN)

The "Blind Sword", used to be a swordsman working for the shogunate government. However, in a fight against Shishio Makoto, he was blinded and eventually left to die.

He possesses the Shingan, which actually is superhuman hearing that lets him hear another's heartbeat thus enabling him to sense people around him and detect the emotions of others. This ability is so advanced that it appears to be similar to the sonar of a dolphin or bat.
  • Adaptational Wimp: He manages to easily kill several police officers in the third live-action film, but once Saito sees that he's trying to sneak up on him, their fight is settled by a Single-Stroke Battle.
  • Alliterative Name
  • Badass Mustache
  • Becoming the Mask: Has more or less given up on killing Shishio, despite his protestations otherwise. A major source of his self-loathing.
  • Blade on a Stick: His weapon of choice is a Rocin, a short spear with a blade on one end and a large iron sphere on the other. Said weapon is used with the Tanbei as part of the typical Okinawan fighting style.
  • Demoted to Extra: His history with Shishio in the live action films is Adapted Out.
  • Disability Superpower: His hearing more or less functions as a sonar, allowing him to read people's emotions and movements. He is convinced that recieved this power due to his near-death experience at Shishio's hands.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Saitou; both fighters cling to their past rivals to some extent; Saitou doubting Kenshin's Atoner status, and Usui constantly challenging Shishio. Yet Saitou stays true to his beliefs of justice, while Usui continues to simply maintain the facade for looks..
  • Face-Heel Turn: Before the story. He was a government assassin sent to kill Shishio. Now he works for him. (Though he was never good to begin with.)
  • Famous Last Words: Which more or less sum up the wreckage of his life:
    "To hold onto one's beliefs, without even the smallest fraction of doubt. It seems easy, but what a difficult thing it is. Just how long will you last, in this new world of the Meiji? Can you live by the sword, holding true to your precious, Aku, Zoku, Zan...?"
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Yes, to recap, Saito's thrust was so otherwordly powerful that broke his shield, tore him in half, and sent his impaled torso flying against a wall and pinned him there. A point-blank thrust.
  • Handicapped Badass: A previous battle with Shishio left him completely blind.
  • Informed Ability: We're told he is the strongest of Shishio's men after Soujirou, yet his battle with Saito is one of the shortest in the series, especially when compared to any of Kenshin or Sano's fights.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: By Saito. He ends up looking like a pinned butterfly.
  • Kick the Dog: Frequently. He breaks Houji's finger, attempts to stab Misao from behind, and constantly belittles the other members of his team. Saito implies that this is the result of Usui needing an outlet for his own self-hatred.
  • Like a Badass out of Hell: Possibly. Yumi suggests finding and recruting him as she, Shishio, and Houji plot to take over Hell (not that it would need much taking over).
  • Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: Uses a tortoise shell that is tough enough to withstand katanas until Saito uses Gatotsu Zeroshiki. Unlike many other shield-users, Usui takes advantage of the shield's curved shape to deflect attacks and to block his opponent's field of vision - which doesn't correspondingly inconvenience Usui himself, since he's blind.
  • Non-Indicative Name: After becoming blind, he changed his weapon from a sword to a Tanbei Rocin.
  • Professional Killer: Was a government assassin before his Face-Heel Turn.
  • Red Baron: The Blind Sword.
  • Revenge: His reason for joining Shishio.
  • The Starscream: Joined Shishio's group under the condition that he be allowed to try and assasinate Shishio, whenever and as often as he wished. Subverted in that he has completely given up on taking revenge; he just keeps up his Starscream facade to save face.
  • Super Senses: His ears are sharp enough to compensate for his eyes, and allow him to easily read people's emotions.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: In ''Shin Kyoto Hen'', he goes down like a punk in fighting Shishio when the latter was bored (though he seemingly lasted longer than his original battle with Saito).
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: While in Hell, Yumi suggest to Shishio to find Usui as well and treat him like a true companion this time, and Shishio agrees.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Totally loses his cool when Saito reveals that he has given up on killing Shishio.
  • Villainous Fashion Sense: A yellow kimono completely covered in eyes. Unlike most examples, this is pointed out In-Universe by both Yahiko and later Saito.

    Sawagejo Cho 
Voiced by: Shinichi Fukumoto (JP), Derek Stephen Prince (EN)
Portrayed by: Ryosuke Miura (Live Action)

Also known as "Sword Hunter", Chō possesses quite a collection of rare and unusual swords, including, his favorite, a long flexible sword he keeps hidden around his waist named urumi, and double bladed sword known as a renbatō. He is only a mediocre opponent when not using the former (despite using a master sheathing technique), but he will still begin battles with regular swords, preferring to toy with his opponents. Only if they prove a true challenge will he reveal his full ability. A native of Osaka, Cho; has a very calm and cool exterior, and normally keeps one eye closed when talking, and only opens both eyes when excited in the heat of battle.

His fighting style is determined by the sword he uses, but he mainly uses the style Garyuorochi.
  • Adapted Out: His urumi in the Live Action films.
  • Anime Hair: He says its "The hair of sacred fire". Everyone else says that it looks like "The hair of insane broom."
  • Bifurcated Weapon: His Renbat&#33 is a two bladed katana composed by Ch&#33's two katana merged together. According to him, the wounds it leaves are difficult to patch up and dangerous.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: He's blond and evil.
  • Boxed Crook: After Shishio's defeat he goes to work for the government.
  • Confusion Fu: His Live Action movie counterpart has a very rough and brutal fighting style that is complimented by just how odd and reckless it is compared to the more slick and precise styles other characters use.
  • Evil Counterpart: As showcased in an amusing meeting between the two, he looks/dresses very similarly to Sanosuke and gives an idea of what he would be like absent morals (while Sano loves a good fight, Chō is a Blood Knight).
  • Eyes Always Shut: He usually keeps one eye shut, and when he opens it, it means he's about to get serious.
  • Eye Scream: His Shin Kyoto Hen incarnation wasn't as lucky in his battle with Kenshin. Yes, he survives, but he also loses an eye to a more-ruthless Kenshin.
  • The Idiot from Osaka: Has a strong Kansai Regional Accent and he's not all that bright.
  • Platonic Life Partners: With Yumi. They used to go out and drink together, according to him.
  • Whip Sword: His urumi.
  • Would Hurt a Child: During his introduction, he tries to pressure someone into supplying a sword by threatening the guy's infant son.

    Kariwa Henya 
Voiced by: Eiji Takemoto (JP), Jake Martin (EN)

Known as Henya the Flighted, aids the attack on Aoi-Ya, the Kyoto secret headquarters of the Oniwabanshu, with four other Juppongatana members. His battle technique is called Hiku Happa, in which he uses dynamite to lift himself into flight and attack with from above. He can descend to attack the opponent with a blade on his arm and then blow himself back into the air. The power of flight is harnessed because Henya starves himself and is very emaciated; he is so light that the constant uplift from the explosions can easily keep him in the air, and a cape allows him to control his movement.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: to the point that this is his main personality.
  • Anime Hair: His resembles a blade and is grown to a pointed tip.
  • Black Cloak: It opens out into a glider designed to look like bat-wings.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: For close-up work.
  • Blow You Away: He blows up his enemies with dynamite, and uses the force of the explosions to propel himself higher.
  • Boxed Crook: The government later uses his flying skills to spy for them.
  • Demoted to Extra: In the live action films, he doesn't have any lines and his integral fight scene with Yahiko is Adapted Out.
  • Flight / Not Quite Flight: More gliding than true flight, but still.
  • Fragile Speedster: He may be able to fly, but once Yahiko manages to get close enough to whack his emaciated body, he's done for.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Yahiko takes advantage of Henya's blast to use a door like a kite and use the same technique as Henya to catch him offguard.
  • Lean and Mean: Up to Eleven. It's hard to find someone else that thin. He remarks that he's only able to maintain his light weight by keeping himself on the edge of starvation.
  • Meaningful Name: The "Hen" from Henya means Bat. Kariwa means "Reaping Plume".
  • Shout-Out: To Spawn character Freak. He's also named after the famous swordsman Henyasai Matsubayashi, known for his acrobatic skills.
  • We Have Reserves: His attitude towards his subordinates during the great fire. His fighting style can also damage his own allies in battle.

Voiced by: Norito Yashima (JP), Lex Lang (EN)

A fat oaf who uses his immense size, his strength, and his ability to entrap weapons in his flab. He is armed with small blades worn on his fingertips. He is very stupid, and, apart from taking part in the battle of Aoi-Ya as well as grinning like an utter idiot, he does not say anything, and he does not do anything.

He is in reality a mechanical puppet, a primitive mech, controlled by Gein, the puppetmaster.
  • Acro Fatic
  • Adaptational Wimp: Not so much in terms of fighting ability, but his Live Action movie version is of pretty standard height compared to his massive manga self.
  • Artificial Human: It is revealed in the Jinchuu arc that Iwanbo is actually a combat suit made out of corpses.
  • Demoted to Extra: In the live action films, he doesn't have any lines and his integral fight scene with Kaoru and the Oniwabanshuu is Adapted Out.
  • The Ditz: To the point that when he escapes Ch&#333 suggest to let him be, as he's not a threat to others.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: The 3.0 model can spin his fingers and arms to smash and tear people apart.
  • Expy: Of Blob and Mojo, according to Word of God. His model 0.3 is based on a deformed version of Hulk.
  • Foreshadowing: After Kamatari's defeat, he looks at the Aoiya crew, and then turns his head like an owl, freaking out Kaoru and Misao, hinting at the fact that he's not human.
  • Kevlard: He's so disgustingly obese that shurikens and weapons bounces off him. Almost bordering with Rubber Man.
  • Meaningful Name/Genius Bonus: His nickname, the "Round Demon" in Japanese is "Mari Oni". As in Marionette.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After Kamatari and Henya are defeated, but before Saizuchi and Fuji show up.
  • Slasher Smile: He's always seen grinning like a moron, except when Houji rips off his own nails (he had a "share the pain" face).
  • Too Dumb to Live: To the point that the Mooks decide to run away even when he's left, because "he's too stupid".
  • Wolverine Claws: A variation: he wears small, hatchet-like blades on his fingernails.