Characters: Rurouni Kenshin The Ten Swords
The Mummy Returns.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Arc Villain: Of the Kyoto Arc.
- 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 you may 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 and burned alive and survived.
- Barehanded Blade Block: Does this to both Kenshin and Saito. With his fingers.
- Big Brother Mentor: Sadly enough, he is the closest thing Soujirou has to a father and a best friend.
- Blood Knight: Second only to ruling Japan as his hobby.
- 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: or Chewing The Costar, during his fight with Kenshin.
- 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 pleasant.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: He beats a 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 50%. Having them fight exhausted more so.
- Darker and Edgier: As if you thought it wasn't possible, but in Shin Kyoto Hen he was visibly more of a Blood Knight, giving Usui his chance to defeat him yet wiping the floor with him. Messily. And 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 destroyed him... It was his own inhuman strength and endurance, his own passion for violence, that killed him.
- Diabolical Mastermind
- 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 were 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's ignited from human fat.
- 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: How he dies.
- Hot-Blooded: Literally. Figuratively, less so.
- 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.
- Last Name Basis
- 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.
- Mad Love: Played for tragedy, with Yumi. They're both very aware of it, too.
- Man on Fire: The reason for his current state. And his ultimate fate.
- Meaningful Name: Inverted. His name literally means "Idealistic-Hero of The-Truth."
- 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). Oh, and having his head cleaved in half by Kenshin.
- Playing with Fire: His sword has had so much human fat soak into it that it can be ignited as wanted; he can also use gunpowder in his gloves to set off explosions against enemies in his grasp.
- Plot Tailored to the Party: Anticipates the various fights this way, setting up Anji against Sano as well Usui and Saitou.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: And he wishes Japan to be a nation comprised entirely of this, too.
- Purple Is Powerful
- 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.
- Sanity Slippage: Unless he was always this way.
- Shout-Out: Word of God states that he was based on Kibagami Genjuro.
- 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.
- The 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.
- Unholy Matrimony: With Yumi.
- 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, least he didn't live long to see it or 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 would probably defeat their respective opponents, but would be injured enough not to pose a threat. He himself is noted to have the weakness of having no sweat glands, which eventually kills him.
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.
Tropes Associated With The Ten Swords
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".
- Abusive Parents: More exactly, abusive stepmother/step-siblings/step-uncles who hated on him for being an illegitimate child.
- Alliterative Name
- Always Someone Better: Notable for being the first (and perhaps only character) to be even faster than Kenshin, and capable of even dodging the Kuzu Ryusen.
- The ability to dodge Kuzu Ryusen is somewhat justified in that Kenshin's slim physique prevents him from using the move to its fullest potential.
- Badass Adorable
- Bastard Bastard
- Been There, Shaped History: Okubo Toschimichi really was assassinated. However, in the series, Soujirou is the one responsible and the samurai historically credited for Okubo's death showed up after the fact and decided to take credit for it.
- Creepy Child: Sorta, he's already 17 but is Older than They Look. When he crossed the Despair Event Horizon and killed his abusive family, however...
- Cry Cute
- Dark and Troubled Past
- The Dragon: To Shishio.
- Dissonant Serenity: Practically the poster child for this trope.
- Evil Counterpart: He mirrors Kenshin in his seemingly cheerful disposition and sword style (although he's even faster). The contrasts between their philosophies are further emphasized with the influence their mentors and experiences had on them.
- Fragile Speedster: Is capable of dodging nearly all of Kenshin's attacks, but the one attack that does connect utterly defeats him. Granted, it was Kenshin's ultimate technique...
- Freudian Excuse: Has a pretty screwed up backstory.
- Flash Step: An Ur Example before Bleach, fast enough to catch Kenshin off guard.
- Journey to Find Oneself: At the end of the Kyoto arc, he's wandering the world.
- Karma Houdini: Despite killing one of Kenshin's close associates from the revolution (who also happens to be the Prime Minister), he is just allowed to search for his meaning in life, not answering for his actions.
- What Happened To The Mouse
- Older Than He Looks: He's 17, really.
- Psychopathic Manchild: A more robotic version.
- Red Baron: Heaven's Sword
- Self-Made Orphan: Killed his abusive stepmother/step-siblings/step-uncles in self-defense.
- Social Darwinist: Due to his master's teachings
- Stepford Smiler: Is very polite and all smiles, even when he kills people.
- Super Speed: Gets pretty damn close. Not only is he faster then Kenshin's, he can't even be seen when he's attacking.
- Tragic Villain
- Undying Loyalty: To Shishio.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid
- Villainous Breakdown: An huge one. And heartbreaking as well.
Soujirou: "You speak of not killing, of protecting the weak...that's a lie. Back then, when I needed help, why were you nowhere to be found? If a sword can protect the weak, where were you to protect me?"
- Walking the Earth: After the Kyoto arc.
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.
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.
- All of the Other Reindeer: His enormous height terrified everyone, and once he was shot to almost death by scared guards.
- Armor Is Useless: According to Hiko, the armor actually decreases his real strength, as it makes him feel too confident.
- The Big Guy: In the end, literally and figuratively.
- Break the Cutie: His backstory is completely heartwrenching. Notice that in the manga, we're only given hints about his past by Saizuchi; in the anime, we see it all.
- The Brute: When controlled by Saizuchi.
- Call to Agriculture: Becomes a Tondenhei (a sort of soldier who works as a farmer during peace periods) after the Kyoto arc.
- Cool Helmet
- Empty Shell: When controlled by Saizuchi, again.
- Expy: His armored form is noted in the manga's notes to be based off Evangelion Unit 01.
- 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
- 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.
- Mighty Glacier: Averted, though he is huge, 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, but hey, Hiko makes everyone seem slow compared to him.
- Obliviously Evil
- Punch Clock Villain
- Screaming Warrior
- Token Good Teammate: Subverted at first.
- Tragic Villain
- 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 occassions.
- Bald of Evil: Paired with a very large head to boot.
- Heel-Face Turn: Is employed as strategist and advisor for the Meiji government. Though questionable how much of a turn.
- Humiliation Conga
- Manipulative Bastard: Poor Fuji.
- Non-Action Guy: One of the two Jupponganta that doesn't have an awesome fighting style, and he's only there to order Fuji around.
- Old Man With The Leash: Of his disciple, Fuji.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Claims that his comrades are envious of his "great and remarkable skills". He's wrong.
- Smug Snake: Talks like a superior and tries a logical analysis on why Kenshin's team will lose, but we all know he's only there to give orders to his giant.
- The Strategist: Thinks he's this, although Hoji's a lot better at then he is.
- What Could Have Been: Originally, he was going to actually take on Okina in battle. However, the author thought that a battle of old codgers wouldn't have been interesting.
Only the hands of men can save the world of men. But to do so they must surpass the gods.
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...
- 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.
- Bad Ass
- Bald of Awesome
- Bare-Fisted Monk
- 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.
- 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
- Hey, It's That Voice!: In the history of Michael McConnohie's career, it appears that Anji is not the only one who desires to purify and restart the world anew by destruction...
- Lightning Bruiser
- 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.
- Papa Wolf: Deconstructed. See Break the Cutie.
- 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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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 I kill you here, Shishio-sama remains undefeated! SHISHIO-SAMA ALONE TAKES THE DAY!!"
- Wicked Cultured
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.
- 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.
- 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. It's a bit of a letdown.
- His opponent was Saito. What else WOULD you expect?
- Also, at least in the anime, much of that fight was Saito lulling Usui into a false sense of superiority before killing him with a sneak attack. As opposed to all the other battles where both participants "fought".
- Not to mention he blocked several of Saito's attacks, wounded him multiple times, and actually seemed to be winning the fight before Saito whipped out his Finishing Move. He may have gone down like a punk compared to other top-tier fighters, but a weakling he is not.
- 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.
- Professional Killer: Was a government assassin before his Face-Heel Turn.
- Red Baron: The Blind Sword.
- Non-Indicative Name: After becoming blind, he changed his weapon from a sword to a Tanbei Rocin.
- 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 in fact, completely given up on taking over; he just keeps up his Starscream facade to save face. His Shin Kyoto Hen incarnation, however, is still itching for a fight with Shishio, which eventually gets him killed at the latter's hands when he was suffering a severe case of boredom.
- 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).
- 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.
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."
- Blond Guys Are Evil
- Butt Monkey (nowhere half as bad as Gohei, but still)
- 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).
- 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.
- Eye Always Shut: And when he opens it, it means he's about to get serious.
- Heel-Face Turn: Sort of.
- 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.
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.
- Flight / Not Quite Flight
- 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.
- Heel-Face Turn: The government later uses his flying skills to spy for them.
- 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.
Voiced by: Norito Yashima (JP), Lex Lang
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 mange self.
- Artificial Human: It is revealed in the Jinchuu arc that Iwanbo is actually a combat suit made out of corpses.
- The Ditz
- 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.
- The Mole: See Gein's entry below.
- Obfuscating Stupidity
- 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.