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Voiced by: Tomokazu Seki (Japanese, 2008), Kenjiro Tsuda (Japanese, 2019), Keith Silverstein (English)

  • #1 Dime: The dagger Doa gives to Rin is given to Manji ninety years later by a descendant of Rin's named Fuyu. Doa had told Rin that in her village girls would carve the hilt with something to represent someone they love, then give it to that person as a gift. Rin had carved the hilt with the manji symbol surrounded by flames, symbolizing herself and Manji.
  • Amusing Injuries: A lot of comedy in the series is based around Manji engaging in Major Injury Underreaction
  • An Arm and a Leg: Sometimes he loses both arms and both legs.
  • Anchored Ship: With Rin.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Toward Rin, a number of times.
  • Appendage Assimilation: His bloodworms don't discriminate when they're healing him - they'll bind together any flesh available, whether it originally belonged to him or not. From the Prison Arc onwards, he loses his limbs and uses others' countless time.
  • The Atoner: For killing 100 innocent people, and accidentally leading to his little sister's death, Manji has vowed to kill 1000 evil people to square away the debt.
  • Badass in Distress: Spends volumes 16-21 locked up in a dungeon.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Oodles with Rin. The most common scenario is he protects her or does something nice with her then quickly goes back to acting like a jackass to her.
  • Berserk Button: Do. Not. Touch. Rin. When Manji asks if the men holding Rin captive are evil, she confesses all she knows is that they'll kill her if Manji doesn't kill them. He doesn't need to know anything else.
  • Big Brother Instinct
  • Blood Knight: The reason Manji wants his immortality removed? His inability to die brings with it a gradual loss of skill along with his fear of death.
  • Bodyguard Crush: He very clearly carries a torch for Rin.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Right in the first chapter.
  • But Now I Must Go: Due to the Shogunate exiling him from Edo he can't stay with Rin and they unfortunately go their separate ways. Joke's on the Shogunate though as due to his immortality Manji just ends up outliving the official order.
  • Deadpan Snarker: All over the place. Manji has a pretty dark sense of humor.
  • Determinator: Impaled from half a dozen cuts, doesn't matter. He'll drag his bloody body after you if you try to hurt Rin.
  • Did Not Get the Girl
  • Ear Cleaning: Rin starts doing this to him while he's sleeping because she wants to talk; after unhappily waking up, he lays his head in her lap and they talk. They're both embarrassed when Shira walks in.
  • Eye Scream: His right eye is gone. He loses his good eye on one occasion and has to fight in the blind.
  • Failure Knight: He accidentally drove his sister, Machi, into madness by unknowingly killing her husband. Later he failed to stop her death at the hands of an enemy ronin. One of the main reasons he protects Rin and aids her in her quest is because of her resemblance to his sister, and because he wants to protect her unlike he was able to protect Machi.
  • Fingore: It's kinda meh compared to the other injuries.
  • Forced to Watch: Shira puts Rin in a deadly position to get Manji as angry as possible so they can have a real showdown. Manji doesn't hesitate, but runs immediately from the fight to try and save Rin. Tanpopo has to save them both in the end, but Manji returns to the fight soon after, and he is pissed.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Has the classic grizzled anti-hero scars: two running horizontally across his face, one across his nose and cheeks, the other across his forehead, and a final scar running vertically over his right eye.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: That's how he's at the receiving end of various brutal acts of violence throughout the manga and comes out okay.
  • Got Volunteered: In the epilogue, Yaobikuni insists he protect Fuyu, a descendant of Rin. Before he realizes the connection he is quite vocal about his disinterest, but afterward he accepts and even smiles when the girl holds onto his hand.
  • Healing Factor: Thanks to the bloodworms. They bind his wounds as soon as his flesh is cut.
  • Hidden Depths: Despite his Knight in Sour Armor attitude and gruff demeanor Manji is surprisingly perceptive of others and has a complex philosophical side to him.
  • Holding Hands: With Rin sometimes.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: He gets impaled in the head once. According to him, it actually hurts less than a stab to the chest or gut.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He doesn't always show it, but he has quite an emotional depth to him and can be very empathetic and soft-hearted, particularly toward Rin.
  • Mega Manning: In the first few volumes, where most of the stories are just "Manji versus the Itto-Ryu of the week," he usually adds their weapons to his arsenal afterwards. In the final volume he even does this with Arashino's arm.
  • Moral Dissonance: For someone who has promised to protect Rin, he actively leaves her alone with Shira twice. This is after Shira has already violently thrown her to the ground and called her a bitch, and neither Manji nor Rin trust him at all. The first time, he grabs her, uses sexual innuendo, and feeds her a dog she has befriended. The second time, she ends up witnessing a gruesome crime, is punched in the face, and then nearly killed.
  • Multi-Melee Master: In a world where every other character engages in Exotic Weapon Supremacy, Manji uses just about anything he can get his hands one from simple katanas, to knives, to kusarigama, to some really weird weapons with specialty uses. And he's fully capable of using them with ease even if he just got them.
  • My Greatest Failure: First he killed his sister's husband in front of her... then he failed to protect her as she was cut down before him.
  • Nominal Hero: Though he clearly cares for Rin, he's still very much an amoral Blood Knight indifferent towards atrocities and not above teasing his teammates losing in a fight.
  • Piggyback Cute: He carries Rin this way a few times.
  • Rage Breaking Point: He really loses his temper when Shira hires a pack of dumbass mooks to slow him down. His fury is so terrifying it drives them to drop to their knees and beg pathetically for their lives.
    Manji: What kinda bullshit kharma is dumping on me like this, over and over? I mean, come on! [...] SHADDUP!! That's it. I've had enough. I'm not taking it any more. You jerks are the last straw!! I'll kill you all!!
  • Really Fond of Sleeping: He can fall asleep anywhere.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Masterful with them.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Against major foes, even if they're already mortally wounded, Manji will still finish them by turning them into a whirlwind of body parts. He even does this to Arashino despite having just split him down the middle.
  • Scars Are Forever: When you get them before you become immortal, anyway.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: This guy turns swearing into fine art.
  • Sleep Cute: With Rin.
  • Tragic Keepsake: It's easy to miss, but two of the swords he carries (the ones on the works page's image) are the ones that killed his sister. Gets another one in the ending in the form of Anotsu's arm.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Manji completely loses it when Shira tells him he raped and cut up Rin for fun.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Well, more like Enemy Mine than "best buds", but he (eventually) gets along with Magatsu better than any other member of the Itto-Ryu, largely over their shared grudge against Shira. They really can't stand each other (largely because they're a bit too much alike to be comfortable), but they can work together surprisingly well.
  • Walking Armory: Twelve blades, all in his kimono.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: He's not too pleased that the bloodworms' presence in his body means he can't die and he means to rid himself of them by killing 1000 evil people.
  • "X" Marks the Hero: Although it's on his chest, not his face.
  • World's Strongest Man: Or at least the most resilient. By the end of the series Manji has proven so impossible to kill or defeat the Shogunate just gave up and exiled him from Edo instead of bothering to hunt him down. And even the exile is meaningless as Manji ends up outlasting nearly anyone who could possibly remember him.
  • Younger Than They Look: He seems like a considerably older man, but is only 26.
  • You Remind Me of X: He first sees Rin as his sister Machi.

Asano Rin

Voiced by: Rina Sato (Japanese, 2008), Ayane Sakura (Japanese, 2019) Mela Lee (English)

  • Action Girl: She may not be the best fighter, but she can make a good showing on a good day.
  • Anchored Ship: With Manji.
  • Beautiful All Along: Tries this on Manji. He, uhh...bursts out laughing at her.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Manji.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Even though she didn't know Renzo very well, and despite the fact that their first encounter devolved into childish bickering, she's more than willing to degrade herself in front of a Jerkass samurai to stop him from hurting Renzo.
  • Braids of Action: Her hair is almost always in two braids.
  • Broken Bird: Can sometimes verge into this on bad days.
  • Calling Your Attacks: "Curtain of Death! Flight of the Golden Wasps!". People routinely point out how stupid and suicidal this is, though she does make it work a couple of times.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: When it comes to Manji...hooo boy, yep.
  • Cool Big Sis: To Renzo.
  • Cry into Chest: She does this with Manji when finding him alive after fearing he’d been killed by kessen-satsu poison.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Hoo yeah.
  • Determinator: She will never quit. No matter what.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Gives this a few times. Especially to Anotsu.
  • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: She kisses Manji while he's asleep.
  • Ear Cleaning: She starts doing this to Manji while he's sleeping because she wants to talk; after unhappily waking up, he lays his head in her lap and they talk. They're both embarrassed when Shira walks in.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Despite the absolute hell she suffers over the course of the series she avenges her family and lives the rest of her life in peace, even having a family of her own that's still around in the Meiji Period.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: With Doa. When they first meet, Doa is ready to casually slaughter her. After their adventures together, Doa would walk through the gates of hell for her.
  • Fire Is Red: Her usual kimono is red with flames.
  • Go Through Me: During times when Manji is incapacitated and facing certain death, she always covers him with her own body, shielding him from his foes.
  • Growling Gut: She wonders if she has bigger stomach than other girls.
  • Healing Herb: An antidote she keeps in her hair rings is just the cure for Manji's poison, likely saving his life.
  • The Heart: Rin's kindness and goodness is utterly infectious, and can move even Manji and Anotsu.
  • Heroic BSoD: Absolutely shatters after Anotsu taunts her about how close she is to becoming like the Itto-Ryu in her quest for revenge.
  • Holding Hands: With Manji sometimes.
  • Identical Granddaughter: According to official art included with the final volume, Rin's descendant, Fuyu, is the spitting image of Rin when she's grown up.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Subverted. Anotsu believes Rin is the purest person he's ever met with her desire for revenge. Manji, however, points out that Rin is tormented by doubt all the time. Still, Rin doesn't have a cruel bone in her body and finds the idea of revenge is far more appealing than the reality of it. You can count on Rin to be the moral voice whenever it's needed.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: A few times, but most notably at the end of the series, after she has said goodbye to Manji.
  • Kid Samurai: Sort of; while she's not a proper samurai by virtue of being female, she otherwise starts off the series hitting most of the items on the list (young, naive, well-versed in formal martial arts but inexperienced in actual life-or-death combat).
  • Kissing Discretion Shot: She plants one on Manji after she rescues him from prison. He’s surprised, but doesn’t seem to really mind.
  • Last of Her Kind: She's the last member of the Mutenichi-Ryu School, and if she dies, the school's teachings die with her. She survives and her family's teachings manage to be passed on.
  • Leaving You to Find Myself: The ultimate fate of her and Manji's relationship, in the final chapter. A descendant of hers finds Manji again in the Distant Finale.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Don't be Anotsu, especially if you're patronizing. And don't ever, ever lock Manji away from her.
  • Morality Pet: For Manji.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: She beats the absolute shit out of Anotsu Kagehisa and Ayame Burando.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Anotsu definitely sees her this way.
  • Now, Let Me Carry You: She stops at nothing to rescue Manji from imprisonment.
  • Plucky Girl
  • Protectorate: Again, for Manji.
  • Punched Across the Room: Shira gets very tired of Rin trying to talk him out of raping and slicing up a prostitute, so he punches her in the face and sends her flying.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Initially to Manji's dead sister, Machi.
  • Sleep Cute: With Manji, after she smacks him in the face for teasing her. They switch to each other's futons and hold hands as they fall asleep.
  • Sweet Tooth: She loves sweets.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: To Anotsu. This is kind of problematic as she has like less than a zero percent chance against him in a fight. She also admits it'd piss her off if Anotsu died in an event that has nothing to do with her. She ends up being the one to give him the final blow in a surprise attack.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Oh god yes. Think separating her from Manji makes her helpless? Think again.
  • Troubled Backstory Flashback: We get this not long after being introduced to her.
  • Tsundere: Type B, as her violent side will usually only come out after Manji provokes her.
  • Unknown Rival: Initially to Anotsu.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Whenever someone needs it, Rin will deliver a harsh critique of their actions. She even does this to the entire concept of the Bushi in general.
  • You Killed My Father: Her goal is to exact vengeance on the man who killed her parents.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: She doesn't react well to Anotsu praising her.

"The sword excuses all."

Anotsu Kagehisa

Voiced by: Hirofumi Nojima (Japanese, 2008), Nozomu Sasaki (Japanese, 2019), Ezra Weiz (English)

  • Affably Evil: He's pretty genteel and cares about his subordinates. He even spares a defenseless Rin's life after she tried to kill him, and says if she gives up her grudge he wouldn’t have his subordinates kill her.
  • All for Nothing: As shown in the Distant Finale all that blood shed by Anotsu and his insistence of revitalizing kenjutsu for battle turned out to be useless as the Meiji Government passed the Sword Banning Act.
  • Always Someone Better: Makie is this to him. He actually confesses to a dying Makie that he never could become stronger than her. She whispers it's fine, because it means she has a reason to stay with him.
  • Arch-Enemy: Rin's.
  • Authority Equals Ass Kicking: With the obvious exception of Makie, Anotsu is the finest warrior in Itto-Ryu.
  • Badass Boast: Tons. Notably "I am Anotsu Kagehisa. Head of Itto-Ryu. Those who face me knowing that name take up arms against the thousand followers bound to me. You interfere with my grandfather's dream and block my path to the future. And so...feel the weight of my blade! Scatter like leaves in the wind!"
  • Big Bad Ensemble: With Habaki, both being the ultimate antagonists of not only Rin and Manji, but each other as well.
  • Bishōnen: The only example in the manga.
  • Blood Knight: He typically holds this in check, but he has his moments.
  • Broken Pedestal: The grandfather he admired and did everything for was a colossal bastard who was so jealous of Kagehisa's talent he tried to have him killed.
  • Cartwright Curse: He...kind of has bad luck with the women he loves having healthy lives.
  • Characterization Marches On: It's difficult to picture the Anti-Villain Anotsu of later chapters giving his men permission to commit rape like he did in his first appearance.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Anotsu and Makie. The very second he saw her, his heart would never belong to anyone else.
  • Combat Pragmatist: So long as victory is gained he really doesn't care about adhering to the rules others allow themselves to be limited by.
  • Deadpan Snarker: has his moments of delightful sarcasm.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Makie, his second cousin and a friend of his from childhood whom he's in love with.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: See Would Not Hurt A Child.
  • Exotic Weapon Supremacy: Most of his weaponry are not native to Japan. It's a point of pride for him to wield them as proof his grandfather was right.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Only pleading at the end to be remembered by Manji, the immortal man.
  • Fingore: His pinky finger gets cut off by Habaki Kagimura in their final duel. It's still missing from his hand when Manji is using it ninety years later.
  • Freudian Excuse: His grandfather was cast out of the Mutenichi-Ryu Dojo, he became hateful and abusive. Under his harsh training, Anotsu grew disillusioned with putting concepts like "honor" and "good form" above victory at any cost.
  • Go Out with a Smile: When Rin rushes at him to finish everything, Anotsu peacefully smiles and closes his eyes to accept her judgment.
  • Honor Before Reason: Despite his motto of "whatever works", Anotsu is unable, at times, to put aside his innate sense of honor.
  • Hypocrite: Espouses leaving behind old-fashioned ideas of samurai behavior and adherence to one's clan as well as tearing down the system, but the plot was kicked off by him enacting the vengeance his grandfather craved and he keeps being driven by the man's ideal of forgoing traditional kendo for foreign weapons. And the first chance he gets to become a legitimate sword school by the shogunate he takes it despite many members of the Itto-Ryu hating samurai.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Pushes for this as a way
  • Kick the Dog: Gives his men permission to rape Rin's mother. On one hand, though, given what disgusting thugs all but Magatsu and Sabato were, he might have faced an uprising had he not.
  • Kissing Cousins: He and Makie are cousins.
  • Made of Iron: Even after losing his right arm at the shoulder, being run through by Rin's dagger and plunging into icy water which would have induced even more shock, he was still confirmed to be alive in the end, and was taken across the sea by the Chinese sailors, although whether he actually suvives is ambiguous.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Sometimes, his mistakes come back to haunt him. Realizing the sheer hell he's put Rin through makes him genuinely remorseful.
  • Not So Stoic: The few times Anotsu lets his emotions's genuinely heartbreaking. Or exceptionally badass.
  • Pet the Dog: A ton of these moments. Anotsu genuinely cares for a good portion of his men and seems to consider Abayama and Magatsu his real friends. He has curious moments with Rin and genuinely, deeply loves Makie.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: When bandits attacked Rin's great-grandfather, the master of the Mutenichi-Ryu Dojo, Anotsu's grandfather saved him. However, since he used a foreign sword and poor style, he was cast out of the Dojo. In retribution for the injustice done to his grandfather and the disgrace brought upon his family, Anotsu killed Rin's father along with every one of the Mutenichi-Ryu students. To this day, Anotsu despises this way of thinking, coldly declaring that to leave your own unfinished business for your children is a form of weakness and cowardice. When he finally vows his children will one day return to fulfill his ideals, it's the final sign of how he has lost everything.
  • Tranquil Fury: When he's genuinely furious, he covers it with a gentle smile and soft voice.
  • Uncertain Doom: He's actually alive at the end of the last volume, but he's badly wounded and the ship's going all the way to China so who knows if he made it.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Volume 3 shows him as a nice boy willing to stand up to his abusive grandfather to protect a young Makie.
  • Visionary Villain: He destroys dojos to eliminate the distinctions and factions that divide samurai. His planned end result is to form a school of the sword where only the strongest techniques survive.
  • Would Not Hurt A Child: When he first appears he orders his men not to harm Rin because he considers harming a child savage (although it's a deliberate Take That! to the style-obsessed Mutenichi-Ryu school, as he states that "assaulting children shows no class").
  • You Killed My Father: On the receiving end since he's the one responsible for the death of Rin's father and mother.

Otono-Tachibana Makie

Voiced by: Mamiko Noto (Japanese, 2008), Houko Kuwashima (Japanese, 2019), Laura Bailey (English)

  • Action Girl: She's also probably the biggest badass in the series given that she's a better fighter than both The Hero and the Big Bad. If you fight Makie and you make it out alive, the only reason is because she's shown mercy on you. Putting this in perspective, the second or third best fighter in the series backed up by a large amount of mooks and five elite warriors believes that all of them facing Makie at once is near certain death.
  • Always Someone Better: To Anotsu. He says the first time they met, he knew she would always walk ahead of him for the rest of their lives.
  • Blessed with Suck: Ever since she was a child her talent as a warrior was near superhuman. However, it has brought her nothing but pain as it led to her brother's suicide, her father casting her and her mother out, and the man she loves loving her talent more than he does her.
  • Broken Ace: Culturally refined, very beautiful, considered the best warrior there is by everyone else, is such an emotionally messed up wreck it's a testament to either her resilience or her self-loathing that she keeps on going.
  • Broken Bird: For a period of time. One quote sums it up: "When a woman lets herself fall...she can't have dreams ever again."
  • Bullying a Dragon: The men who planned on raping her and returning her to her former whorehouse found out quite quickly how bad of an idea that was.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: With Anotsu.
  • Curbstomp Battle: If Makie is serious and doesn't plan to spare you, this is the only battle she's ever in. By the end of the series, she is utterly undefeated in straight up battles.
  • Despair Event Horizon: She hit it hard more than once.
  • Dissonant Serenity: In battle, Makie wears a detached, aloof expression. It's both beautiful and terrifying.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Cures her tuberculosis, walks way from the battle... and get gunned down by bullets meant for Anotsu and Kagimura. However, it also becomes a Dying Moment of Awesome when after being riddled with bullets, she still manages to kill all the gunners before she dies.
  • Freudian Excuse: She was a natural born samurai, at just ten-years-old she managed to defeat her fifteen-year-old brother who had been named heir to the Asano dojo. As a result of his disgrace, her brother was Driven to Suicide, and his father cast both Makie and her mother out into the whorehouses.
  • Happily Married: While there's never anything made official, Makie says it best to Anotsu: "Your karma. Your right here."
  • Heroic BSoD: After her meeting with her father. How often is it you can fail at everything that can be failed at in the same day?
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Not currently but she used to work in a whorehouse. Makie came to respect her mother for also being one, since her mother spent her life providing comfort to others despite her harsh circumstances. Probably one of the finest defenses of this, Makie tells her friend who's going to work at a brothel that she will be giving others comfort and happiness while all warriors do is kill. "So live with pride, O-Hatsu. With pride."
  • Ill Girl: Once her TB sets in.
  • Important Haircut: Shears her hair short to sever ties to her past.
  • Kissing Cousins: With Anotsu.
  • Lady of War: Makie's sheer grace and aloof demeanor in battle is both beautiful and eerie. Anotsu himself describes her skill as "what I can never be, dancing before me." Makie is so talented that she can even evade the blood her blades spill, without a drop landing upon her.
  • Lonely at the Top: Her talent, that makes her the finest warrior in all Japan by far, has brought her nothing but misery and isolation. As a child, she even asked Anotsu to get better than her one day. When he confesses he never could, Makie is finally happy and at peace: him being weaker than her means she has a reason to remain at his side.
  • The Masochism Tango: It is utterly impressive how much pain she and Anotsu can inflict on one another. Anotsu's devotion to the sword pains Makie because she wants to be more than his warrior, and Makie's self-hatred, selling her body and refusal to truly embrace her talents tears Anotsu apart whenever he sees her. Even after that, there's still a lot between them.
  • My Greatest Failure: Her father. Makie fully intended to kill him, but his sheer dementia, sadness and regret left her initially incapable of it. When she remembered her mother, her rage made her rush back for his life...only to see he'd died of natural causes. She had literally managed to fail at every conceivable outcome of that encounter.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: She's gentle and demure usually, but under that is the steel and fire.
  • Tranquil Fury: When she gets mad, you won't know it until she's sliced you into bloody chunks.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Not her but her weapon. Manji clearly snaps one of it's blades during their first fight, but the next day it's in one piece again.
  • When She Smiles: the times Makie gives a genuine can see why Anotsu loves her as much as he does.
  • World's Best Warrior: Makie is an unequaled prodigy with the blade on top of being a keen analyst who is good at thinking one step ahead of her opponents. The only reason why she isn't a Hero Killer is because she doesn't want to be one and the only time she struggled in a fight was when she was outnumbered by elite warriors and already practically dying from tuberculosis. Even then she was still recognized by the strongest opponent present to be at an advantage against them.

Abayama Sosuke

Voiced By: Shinya Fukumatsu (Japanese, 2019)

  • Apologetic Attacker: Openly mourns having to kill a younger opponent who won't back down.
  • Cool Old Guy: He's a fairly laid back old man who treats even his errand boy with a lot of respect.
  • Disappeared Dad: Left his wife and son when his son was fourteen.
  • Dirty Old Man: Utterly averted. He's respectful and kind to women and absolutely panics in embarrassment when he accidentally sees a prostitute changing her clothes.
  • First-Name Basis: With Anotsu. He is one of the only ones to address him as Kagehisa. Given their history, Abayama has the right.
  • Handicapped Badass: He's missing one arm, but he's fully capable of laying out a beatdown.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: He has a pair of weighted chains where his arm used to be. They're his secret weapon, allowing him to crush skulls with ease and giving him superior range in a melee fight.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: As hard as he can be on his students, and ruthless as he can be when provoked, Abayama is a genuinely kind-hearted man who cares deeply for his students and views them as the future. His loyalty to Itto-Ryu is second to none and he is guilt-stricken over a prostitute Shira mutilates after a failed Itto-Ryu plan.
  • Knife Nut: Like most Itto-Ryu members Abayama has a pretty unique choice in weapons, his being a strange short sword that he can use one-handed.
  • Not Quite Dead: Incredibly, although he is cut down in his final duel with Giichi and is given a long dying sequence where he flashes back to his first meeting with Anotsu, he shows up again in the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue. Giichi stumbles across him in a small hut, with his mind completely gone and looking twenty years older than he already did, being tended to by his granddaughter, but pretends he mistook him for someone else.
  • Not So Harmless: Think that one armed old coot was nothing special? Guess again.
  • Number Two: Whenever Anotsu's gone, Abayama's the "acting head" of the Itto-Ryu. One member puts it best: He and Anotsu are the Itto-Ryu.
  • Old Master: He's the second in command of the Itto-Ryu, you think he's anything but?
  • Old Soldier: Second eldest member of the Itto-Ryu and one of its finest warriors.
  • Parental Substitute: The closest thing Anotsu has ever had to a father, really.
  • The Starscream. Unusual example. He was this to Anotsu's grandfather, Anotsu Saburo, on behalf of Kagehisa himself. Saburo loathed Anotsu for his ambition when Anotsu was a child and told Abayama to kill him. Abayama killed Saburo instead and pledged himself to Kagehisa forever.
  • The Strategist: His knack for strategic thinking helps the Itto-Ryu a ton.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Anotsu.
  • Would Hurt a Child: If that child leaves him no alternatives? In his own words "Must you make this old fool kill a child?"
  • Would Not Hurt A Child: Not if he can help it...of course...see above.

Magatsu Taito

Voiced by: Kazuya Nakai (Japanese, 2008), Tatsuhisa Suzuki (Japanese, 2019), Derek Stephen Prince (English)

  • Anime Hair: Black, long, and so spiky it's in defiance of gravity. Lampshaded by Sori.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Seeing a woman in danger makes him fiercely protective.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Not above using hidden weapons and perils of the environment to his advantage.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: His sister was cut in half by samurai after her errantly-thrown ball scared a Daimyo's horse, sparking Magatsu's hatred of the entire Samurai caste and his thirst for revenge. He hates the kogi and their "dogs", seeing them as all representative of the callous samurai class that butchered his sister.
    Magatsu: Kill the guy who did my crew? I'm not into that. We banded together to kill, or be killed. "Huh. So he lost?" That's all I feel. [...] What I can't forgive is when the killer's a government dog! Like, for instance, you! [...] I'm killing you for petty, private reasons. Hope that's OK.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: One of only 6 of the main Itto-Ryu to survive the series, along with Isaku, Doa, Ozuhan , possibly Anotsu, and Abayama Sosuke, although he's lost his mind. Gives up the sword and returns to farming like his family did, where he's surprised to find himself much happier.
  • Enemy Mine: Has a few interesting teamups with Manji here and there. Usually when Shira is involved.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Didn't participate in the rape of Rin's mother, and tried to stop his cohorts from participating in it as well. He outright tried to stop the rape, but was forced to storm off in disgust when Araya made it clear pressing the issue might well mean his life.
  • Freudian Excuse: Hates samurai because, as a peasant, the daimyo's samurai cut his sister in two for scaring the daimyo's horse while playing with a ball.
  • Insistent Terminology: He's not a samurai, he's just a kenshi (swordsman). Admittedly very few of the Itto-ryu are from the samurai class, but Magatsu specifically became a kenshi to kill samurai in revenge for his sister's death.
  • My Greatest Failure: O-Ren's death. Leaving her unguarded meant she fell prey to Shira who was after information on Magatsu. Magatsu is torn up by guilt for failing to be there when she needed him.
  • Not So Different: From Manji; both of them lost their little sisters, Magatsu to a brutal samurai who executed her for a trivial slight, Manji to a gang of thugs who came looking for him after he killed one of them. Magatsu fights for revenge, Manji fights for atonement, but Manji sees shades of his younger self in Magatsu when he looks at him, and he doesn't like it.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: He gets run through a lot, but it never seems to be anywhere vital.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Pretty damn good with these. The earliest one he gave was to Araya when Araya was attempting to rape Rin's mother. He also gives a great one to Mitake out of disgust for the samurai class.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: He and Manji find themselves as this eventually. Well OK, so they're pretty far from "best buds" (Magatsu leads a group of Itto-Ryu in an attempt to kill Manji even after their Enemy Mine against Shira, although he doesn't fight him himself), but they get along pretty well at times, even though they genuinely can't stand each other.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: On the receiving end of this from a grieving prostitute after O-Ren's death. "She just wanted to be with you! Was that such a big dream, was that too much to ask?! What good are you Kenshi anyways... give a man a sword and all he can do is ruin someone's life!"
  • Worthy Opponent: Manji and Magatsu consider each other this even before their first Enemy Mine. Despite his hatred of samurai he praises Manji's skills to his teammates.
  • Would Not Hit a Girl: Downplayed; he'll hit one, but he won't kill one due to his backstory. When Ryo slips out of the Itto-Ryu's attempt to trap the Rokki-dan in their ruined compound, Magatsu faces her himself but, despite easilly being able to kill her, settles for blocking her attacks and punching her in the stomach hard enough to make her throw up, then leaving her with a message for Habaki Kagimura.
  • You Are in Command Now: Becomes the leader of the final remnants of Itto-Ryu, but has no interest in reviving it, preferring to live out his days in peace.

Kuroi Sabato

Voiced by: Masashi Ebara (Japanese, 2008), Eiji Hanawa (Japanese, 2019), Artt Butler (English)

  • Abnormal Limb Rotation Range: Is able to raise his arms in a perfect 90° angle behind him, which allows him to strike Manji before he can hit him from behind. Somehow, neither the stuffed heads on his shoulders nor the armor he wears concealing them hinder him at all.
  • Affably Evil: He comes off as quite cordial and romantic despite his psychopathy, and he does honor his word.
  • Bald of Evil
  • Dirty Old Man: Called one by Manji since Rin is young enough to be Sabato's daughter.
  • Love at First Sight: With Rin, who he met while killing her father.
  • A Love to Dismember: He keeps the heads of his first wife and Rin's mother, stuffed and sewn to his shoulders because he wanted to capture the perfection of their beauty. He plans on adding Rin to the collection.
  • Malevolent Masked Men
  • Pet the Dog: In flashback it's shown he shielded Rin from seeing her mother's rape.
  • Shoulders of Doom: He's got massive ones and for good reason as it turns out his "pads" are really the heads of two stuffed women sewn onto his shoulders.
  • Stalker with a Crush: He's been sending Rin love poems every day for two years. The kicker is he didn't even know Rin's name.
  • Starter Villain: He is the first of the Itto-ryu to die, and dies in the same chapter he's introduced.
  • Token Motivational Nemesis: The effect is somewhat softened by having him acting under Anotsu's orders, but you'd still think the man who killed Rin's father and mother would last longer than a single chapter.
  • Warrior Poet: A rare villainous example, he composes and recites poetry not only in his spare time but also after killing people.
  • Yandere: When he thinks Rin has finally reciprocated her love for him, he plans on killing her then dying himself, then having his body stuffed and Rin's stuffed head sewn onto his shoulder opposite her mother's. It's meant to be a tribute to his love and her perfection.
  • You Killed My Father: On the receiving end of this from Rin, since he was the one who dealt the deathblow even though Anotsu is the one who ordered the kill - therefore, while Anotsu was her final objective, she specifically wanted Sabato to be the first to go. He also murdered Rin’s mother and sewed her stuffed head onto his shoulder.

Shizuma Eiku

Voiced By: Shunsuke Sakuya (Japanese)

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Realizing how he'll never achieve his goals and how tired he's grown with living, he lets Manji cut him apart and kill him permanently rather than continue to fight.
  • Healing Factor: He has the bloodworms too so, just like Manji, he can heal from practically anything just shy of decapitation.
  • Not So Different: Manji says that they're the same kind of animal. Since they're both immortal Blood Knights, this isn't too far off.
  • The Older Immortal: Downplayed since Manji hasn't even outlived his own natural lifespan yet at the point where they meet, and he's much younger than Yaobikuni, but he still represents what Manji could become given enough time, having been around since the Sengoku period.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Two hundred to be precise.
  • The Starscream: He respects Anotsu's vision but he thinks that Anotsu's mortality will mean he dies before he can make his dream a reality. For this reason, Eiku decides to supplant Anotsu and hijack the plan.
  • We Can Rule Together: Makes the offer to Manji.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: He's outlived his five wives and countless friends and has ultimately just grown very tired of living.

Kawakami Araya

Voiced by: Daisuke Namikawa (Japanese, 2008), Masato Obara (Japanese, 2019), Liam O'Brien (English)

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Gets this quite well.
  • Apologetic Attacker: He does seem genuinely sorry he has to kill Rin, though he says after he's killed her and Manji he'll lie to Renzo that they up and left without even changing his expression.
  • Bait the Dog: When he's first seen he's making a sad little boy a unique mask to make up for giving away the one the boy really wanted to the kid's sister. Even when he reveals himself as a member of the Itto-Ryu to Manji immediately afterwards it seems like he'll be one of the Anti-Villain ones... then we find out about his past deeds and suddenly this notion flies out the window.
  • Beneath the Mask: He knows how horrible of a person he is on the inside but he keeps up a pleasant facade of an affable, somewhat clueless man in a bid not to lose his son. For added symbolism, he is a mask maker.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Has Manji turn his work studio into a fighting ring. One that favors Araya's fighting style. Manji is rather impressed by it.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: His son Renzo and his deceased wife.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He simply couldn't fathom how Rin could just want an apology from him for all he's done and believes he has to kill her for it.
  • Evil Parents Want Good Kids: The reason he gave up his life of crime is so that his son wouldn’t follow the same path.
  • Friendly Enemy: Always refers to Manji as his friend even when trying to kill him.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: He actually got turned on by being in a room that stank of the blood and guts of a dead man before raping the man's wife.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: A young girl says she'll leave you alone and keep your secret safe so long as you apologize for raping her mother? She knows too much, kill her.
  • Retired Monster: He's a member of the Itto-Ryu and was the man who led the rape of Rin's mother, and while he's not a good person, he's not too pleased with his past and determined to put it behind him to be a good father to his son. Of course he also plans on silencing anyone who knows the truth.

Doa Yoshino

  • Action Girl: She's a girl and she's with the Itto-Ryu. It says itself, really.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: This appears to be Doa's life philosophy, considering that her tendency to jump into battle with little to no provocation has often landed her and Isaku in trouble.
  • Fangirl: She practically worships the ground Anotsu walks on.
  • Fragile Speedster: Doa can cover short distances in the blink of an eye and turn people into swiss cheese in moments with her dagger, but her slight frame and weight makes her unable to generate much force with her attacks. Slightly downplayed in that she wears some light, concealed armor to make up for her frailty.
  • Hot-Blooded: Brash, emotional and in a nigh constant state of belligerence.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: With Isaku. Her and Isaku's preferred fighting-style even revolves around this, with Isaku only moving to block attacks while Doa uses him as a human shield, obscuring her own attacks and running circles around him to take out their enemies.
  • Knife Nut: Doa's Weapon of Choice is a dagger fashioned from a spearhead and a jitte with sharpened prongs, and she's really eager to jump at any excuse to put them to use.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: She completely falls apart without Isaku.
  • Mood-Swinger: Can go from calm and chill to homicidal at the drop of a hat.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: She will leap to deadly violence at the drop of a hat...which makes her a little problematic to take on a stealth mission.
  • The Napoleon: In contrast to Isaku's Gentle Giant.
  • Nice Hat: A checkered cap... with an iron plated inside that allows her to literally block attacks with her head.
  • No Social Skills: Doa sees no problems with spending her mornings carving out gigantic window-holes in the walls of buildings that she's merely visiting so that she can sit in said hole and relax for a bit.
  • Tomboy: Making her and Rin a Tomboy and Girly Girl duo when they team up.

Isaku Yasonokami

  • Appropriated Appellation: His Japanese name comes from "Isaac", the name his father gave him, but Doa could not pronounce it properly so he let her call him Isaku since they met.
  • The Big Guy: As a half-gaijin, Isaku is massive, probably the second biggest character in the series after Arashino (a full-gaijin), and titanically strong.
  • But Not Too Foreign: His father is Portuguese, his mother is either Japanese or Ainu.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first time we see Isaku (at the Itto-ryu meeting after the shogunate turns on them) he's almost unrecognisable from his later appearances. He's much smaller and ganglier, wears his armoured apron even outside of combat but with only one gauntlet on his left arm, and rather than merely coming across as awkward he seems incredibly dim, possibly even mentally handicapped. By his next appearance he's a giant of a man and while he talks awkwardly he doesn't seem especially unintelligent, being the sensible one who keeps Doa out of trouble. Doa was slightly different during that first appearance as well (acting more mature and dressed more provocatively), but nothing like as much as Isaku.
  • Gentle Giant: In contrast to Doa's Napoleon Complex.
  • Healing Factor: Gets one due to a transplant from Manji, but due to the difference in size it's far weaker and soon wears out. It still allows him to survive getting torn in half and receiving some fatal injuries during a brawl in the prison.
  • Mighty Glacier: In battle, he plates himself with metal gauntlets and an armoured apron and Doa fights around him like a walking shield.
  • Riddle for the Ages: The Isaku we see in flashbacks is a lot more intelligent and well-spoken than the rather slow-witted Isaku of the present. Clearly something happened on he and Doa's travels to make him that way, but we never find out what.
  • Japanese Christian: Born in Japan to a Portuguese father, and is explicitly Christian.



Voiced by: Megumi Toyoguchi (Japanese, 2008), Marika Hayashi (Japanese, 2019), Karen Strassman (English)

  • Action Girl: One of Mugai-Ryu's three elites. Downplayed, however, in that she's more of an assassin than a warrior; she's good at ambushes and stealth attacks, but is explicitly stated to be a lousy swordswoman.
  • The Archer: A rather talented one at that.
  • Blood on These Hands: The reason she bleaches her hair blonde is because when it's dark, she keeps seeing her son's blood in it.
  • Broken Bird: Big time.
  • Brutal Honesty: She won't hold back her opinion or the truth.
  • Coldblooded Torture: Tipped off by Shira, the Itto-ryu capture her, break her arm, rape her, and even push nails into her legs until Giichi discovers where they are and saves her life
  • The Combat Pragmatist: She is not above using dishonorable means to win and has more than a few tricks up her sleeve.
  • Cool Big Sis: Gives off this vibe to Rin.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Has a major one. She was the wife of a samurai whose baby daughter was killed before she even named her just for being a girl. Her sickly son was judged too weak to be a samurai, so her husband chopped him in half (ironically, the sons from a previous marriage had the same ill lungs, implying that her husband had a hereditary condition). She snapped and killed her husband before being put on death row.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Her usual reaction to people trying to keep her out of harm's way.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: It is heavily implied that she and Giichi attempt to start a normal life together after the bloodshed is over
  • Good Is Not Nice: Very not nice.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Delivers this to Giichi multiple times.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Shinriji innocently sets it off quite a bit.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Woman loves her drinks.
  • Important Haircut: Cuts it short every now and then and leaves the tresses on Shinriji's grave in remembrance
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite her bullying of Shinriji, haranguing of Giichi, and teasing of Rin and Manji, she cares a great deal about all of them.
  • The Lad-ette: Enjoys smoking and drinking, makes inappropriate sexual comments, and is prone to violence.
  • Shipper on Deck: Ships Rin and Manji.
  • Sympathetic Murder Backstory: Kind of difficult not to applaud it.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: She's pretty darn good at these. Usually directed at Giichi.
  • The Tease: She makes a lot of flirtatious comments towards Manji, and some towards Shinriji, but it's clear she's only doing it to mess with them.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Her first appearance has her killing a deputy of the Itto-ryu by pretending to be a Hooker with a Heart of Gold being abused by her husband.


Voiced by: Yuya Uchida (Japanese, 2008), Chikahiro Kobayashi (Japanese, 2019) Kirk Thornton (English)

  • Aborted Declaration of Love: He tries in his customary bumbling manner.
  • Butt-Monkey: He's Hyakurin's go to punching bag when she needs to vent her frustrations.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He might not look like one, spending most of his time getting bullied by Hyakurin, but when in a nasty pinch he charges right into a whole group of Itto-Ryu kenshi and kills 4 of them in an instant.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Has an incredibly obvious and almost childish crush on Hyakurin.
  • Let the Bully Win: Every time he plays a game with her he ends up winning, even when he tries not to, resulting in Hyakurin having a fit.
  • Missing Mom: His mother died about a year before he joined Mugai-ryu. Hyakurin's blonde hair reminds him of her.


Voiced by: Toshiyuki Morikawa (Japanese, 2008), Hiroshi Shirokuma (Japanese, 2019), David Vincent (English)

  • Agony of the Feet: In the last volume, Makie splits his left foot down the middle.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Against Makie, after she tricks him into attacking her and promptly cripples him. A furious Hyakurin tries to enter the fray and, knowing she doesn't have a chance, he resorts to begging Makie on his knees to leave them alive.
  • Badass Back: Kills a Itto-Ryu kenshi charging him from behind without even turning around. In mid-air. No big deal.
  • Bald of Awesome: Don't fight him in the daylight. That shaved head could blind you by reflecting the sun.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: One of the deadliest fighters in the entire series, and with a body count to prove it.
  • Blood Knight: Not that you would know it by his normal demeanor, but he can't resist a challenge.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: So, you like a girl? Awesome. Guard her while she sleeps and be frustratingly overprotective, that always works. Save her life in a Roaring Rampage of Rescue and nurse her back to health? Eh, brush it off as nothing and act awkward. Make a deal with the devil for her freedom? No problem, keep it anonymous - heck, disappear completely so she'll never find out! She found you? Damn, better mope and insist you're not worth her time. She finally says she loves you? Don’t say a thing.…because let’s face it, you haven't the foggiest how to verbally respond to that.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Like most of the Mugai-Ryu. Pretty sneaky to boot.
  • Dented Iron: Facing some of the harshest fights in the series, Giichi slowly racks up an ever-increasing number of debilitating injuries. By the end of the series he's lost his left ear and his right hand, as well as a broken left leg and mangled left foot that both leave him with a permanent limp.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Despite the harsh life he led, up to being crippled, he's shown to be earning a decent living as a sandal maker and finally settling down to a normal life with Hyakurin.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: A shipwright struggling to make ends meet turns deadly government assassin.
  • Heroic BSoD: Becomes a disheveled drunk with no will to live after the death of his young son, whom he had raised for ten years after his wife died, and his release from the Mugai-Ryu
  • Honor Before Reason: Can let a sense of duty and debt override common sense.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Tries to get Hyakurin on board with the idea, and eventually succeeds.
  • I Lied: Giichi usually has no use for honour, despite the occasional spot of Honor Before Reason. On more than one occassion he traps Itto-ryu fighters in his guillotine and questions them by threatening to kill them unless they talk... then once they invariably talk, he kills them because killing Itto-ryu is his job. He did keep his word when he held a young prostitute hostage to interrogate her Itto-ryu lover, though, letting them both walk free.
  • Improbable Weapon User: A circular hinged guillotine-like weapon on a long chain, with which he has flawless aim.
  • Justified Criminal: Has a pretty good reason to work for Habaki that doesn't include saving his own skin.
  • Men Don't Cry: The first time his eyes are ever shown in the series is briefly after Habaki tells him his son, to whom he had been intensely devoted, has died. In that single panel it is obvious he is emotionally shattered, despite showing no outward reaction other than a calm "I see."
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever he did to get into the Mugai-ryu. It's implied he turned to crime to support his ill son but we never hear a single solid word about it, although he does clarify that he's never killed anyone before he started hunting the Itto-ryu.
  • The Nose Knows: He's able to identify one of the Itto-ryu who was part of the group that killed Shinriji and captured, tortured and raped Hyakurin by smelling faint traces of Hyakurin's hair bleach on him.
  • Not So Stoic: Convinced at one point that he has nothing to live for anymore, he breaks down into a drunk, emotional exposition to Hyakurin when she tracks him down after his sudden disappearance.
  • Off with His Head!: His whole fighting style revolves around this.
  • Perpetual Frowner: A pretty impressive and likely incurable case of RBF syndrome.
  • Pet the Dog: Is quite attached to Hyakurin and stubbornly attempts to protect her from injury or death (much to her chagrin). She mostly interprets his actions as Condescending Compassion until he promises to be a father to the unborn child that resulted from her rape at the hands of the Itto-Ryu thugs. Then she finally seems to get it.
  • Sinister Shades: All the time. Has a constant habit of semi-unconsciously pushing them up by the bridge.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: Not a side he's particularly proud of, but Giichi is utterly joyful underneath the stoicism when he's hunting and killing.
  • Worth Living For: Admits the only reason he keeps himself alive is for other people, and in the end decides Hyakurin and the unborn child are.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Manji manages to break Giichi's signature weapon during their duel, despite being on the losing end for most of the encounter. Giichi proceeds to Rage Quit under a veil of indifference, grudgingly giving the win to Manji on the technicality that he broke his only weapon. He does accept Manji's paired sickles as a replacement for the rest of the series.


  • The Mole: He's been placed inside the Itto-Ryu for the express purpose of feeding information to the Mugai-Ryu.


Voiced by: Shin-ichiro Miki (Japanese, 2008), Tooru Nara (Japanese, 2019), David Wishnov (English)

  • Anything That Moves: Shira is not choosy in regards to his sexual partners... who are actually more "victims" than "partners".
  • Anatomy Arsenal: After losing his right hand, he flays off some of the flesh and sharpens his bones into an improvised stabbing weapon.
  • Animal Motifs: Shira is likened to a rabid dog many times.
  • Arch-Enemy: Shira has been this to almost everyone, but Manji and Magatsu stand out.
  • Axe-Crazy: The biggest in the series as the only reason he's involved is just to indulge in his many impulses.
  • Bait the Dog: His heartfelt speech to Rin aims to drive in how he killed and ate her dog; helping Renzo seek revenge is aiming to force Renzo to be a sex toy for Shira's abusive benefit and his truly emotional pleading of Renzo to call off his revenge ends with a spiteful "never listen to men like me!", which thus ends up putting the poor boy in even worse a state than before.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: A really twisted example as after Shira lost his right hand to Manji, he decided to carve the flesh off his forearm and sharpen the bones into a stabbing weapon. He even says it hurts like hell whenever he uses it.
  • Blood Knight: Shira loves battle as much as the most hardcore members of the Itto-Ryu.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Subverted. He admits that killing O-Ren would have been completely forgettable for him...except since he lost his hand, she was the last person he got to have fun with.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: "As I was cutting her up, I came to a realization... Shira, my man, you are one cruel dude!"
  • The Cat Came Back: On multiple occasions... more warped and depraved from the last time you see him.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: During fights he tends to “play” with his opponents, chopping off limbs rather than killing them straight off. Once they’re incapacitated, and if he has the time, he’ll slowly saw any remaining limbs off too for no reason other than pleasure. He loves torture so much, his reaction when he discovers Manji is immortal is absolute glee: he can torture him as long as he wants.
  • The Combat Pragmatist: Shira will use any trick to get an advantage in a fight. Anything.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Shira is a sadistic monster who rapes (or at least tries to rape) almost every female opponents he comes across. He also sexually abuses Renzo once he got the boy as his helper.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: It's a miracle that anyone on his team actually trusts him. For a brief period Rin apparently thought his cruel actions were done to teach her some kind of lesson, before realizing he's just a monster who loves hurting people. Later on, this kind of gets him into trouble when every single faction is out for his head.
  • Devoured by the Horde: After being defeated by Manji, he is finally finished off when he is devoured by a horde of hungry dogs. In his final moments, he tells Renzo not to become a monster like him, but crushes his spirit further by telling him not to listen to men like him.
  • Disease Bleach: The sheer pain from turning the bones of his severed arm into a stabbing weapon turned his hair white.
  • Double Entendre: While Rin is practicing her sword technique, he comes up behind her and grabs hold of her upper arm, saying, “Come on. Squeeze it.” Rightfully unnerved, she asks if he means the hilt and his reply is thus: “Yeah. Right. I mean the hilt."
  • Evil Counterpart: Becomes one to Manji. Both are Blood Knights and after he becomes immortal their wounds and scars even match one others.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Can put up a rather effective front at being an actual human being.
  • Handicapped Badass: Losing a hand doesn’t slow this guy down. Shira even sharpens the bone and stabs his enemy with it.
  • Hands-On Approach: With Rin, after asking to see her sword arm. It's not cute, however, and it's a good thing he wasn't interested in doing anything worse to her, as he does with most women.
  • Hate Sink: There's nothing redeeming about the man, being a cruel, misogynistic, rapist serial killer.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: He's a misogynist who gets off on torturing women. He sums it up best himself: "I frigging hate women."
  • Karmic Death: His character introduction has him kill and eat a dog Rin befriended. He meets his end being eaten alive by dogs.
  • Kick the Dog: Pretty much everything he does. One of his earliest displays of bastardry is killing a dog that Rin had befriended, then he cooks it, pretends it's boar, and feeds it to Rin before showing her the dog's head. All for a laugh.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The series is already dark and violent; it just gets worse when he's around.
  • Lean and Mean
  • Locked into Strangeness: His hair turns white after Manji takes off one of his hands.
  • Loves the Sound of Screaming
  • Manipulative Bastard: When he wants to be. Shira is very good at getting into somebody's head and making them dance on his strings. Usually, he's too much of a sadist to bother with subtlety.
  • Murderers Are Rapists: He gets off on this.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: He begins to see himself as this for Manji.
  • Post-Rape Taunt: He asks Manji and Magatsu why they think they should be able to keep living after they "let" him rape and murder their women.
  • Psycho for Hire: He's been killing people for money since he was sixteen years old, but it's obvious the money is just an excuse and his real passion is killing.
  • Sadistic Choice: Very good at forcing this on people. What he does to a one armed Manji is a stroke of evil brilliance. Try to save Rin and die with her underwater, or abandon her and come after Shira for revenge. Even if Shira loses that duel, he wins the satisfaction of having made Manji leave the person he loves most to death.
  • Sir Swears Alot: Can almost match Manji.
  • Sanity Slippage: He was already pretty unhinged, but losing his hand and further defeats have really worn him down until he lives only to get back at Manji.
  • Token Evil Teammate: While the Mugai-Ryu is comprised of morally dubious characters, Shira's by far the most depraved one of all.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: After the aforementioned Disease Bleach.
  • Worthy Opponent: He wants Manji to be this to him, embracing what he can be and cast off the shackles of morality and restraint. Everyone really hates Shira way too much to view him this way, although Manji just can't help but admire Shira's persistance to a small degree.
    • Shira may be a horrifically sadistic monster, but he does admire guts. During the massacre on the Koshu Highway, he's genuinely impressed when the first Itto-ryu doesn't even whimper when Shira slices both of his legs off, and while he has a horrible ball of a time torturing the other one to make him scream, after slicing off his head he gives the man posthumous props for never begging for his life.
  • Would Hit a Girl: His establishing character moment is murdering a Hooker with a Heart of Gold because she wouldn't give him information on Magatsu's whereabouts. Knowing Shira, he'd probably have done it even if she'd given him the info. He also manhandles Rin, throws her down, and punches her.
  • Would Hurt a Child: What, you think Shira'd have standards?
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The Shogunate trying to pull this on him backfires fucking horribly for the people trying to carry it out.

    Kogi Officials 

Habaki Kagimura

Voiced by: Takayuki Sugo (Japanese, 2008), Joji Nakata (Japanese, 2019) Kirk Thornton (English)

  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Easily one of the most talented and powerful fighters in the entire series, and also a high-ranking member of the shogunate as the Shinbangashira.
  • Badass Boast: Scatter on the snow field! ANOTSU KAGEHISA!!!!!
  • Benevolent Boss: Generally he's this to his top soldiers, especially his second in command Mitake, who worships him. Even when Mitake takes full blame for Ryo's death, Habaki simply tells him to leave and save himself from the field with no further repercussion.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: With Anotsu Kagehisa when he orders the destruction of the Itto-Ryu and the two sides go into open conflict.
  • Black and White Insanity: Habaki is a monster of duty. In his mind, whatever serves the shogunate is good, whatever defies or threatens it is evil and must be destroyed at any cost. At one point Anotsu attempts to meet him half way by pointing out how they're Not So Different, only for Habaki to dismiss him out of hand.
    Habaki: Only the judgement of the Shogun can determine who's good and evil. You people need only bow your heads in obedience.
  • Blind Weaponmaster: Not for very long, but after being blinded, Anotsu feels him growing stronger than ever with all his regrets put into his sword.
  • The Chessmaster: Until Anotsu caught on, Habaki had the annihilation of Itto-Ryu practically assured without them ever even suspecting his involvement.
  • Determinator: The man is unbelievably determined. During his final duel with Anotsu, he allows Anotsu to slice through his remaining eye on order to get the chance to disarm him, grab him by the throat, and attempt to choke him to death with his bare hands.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Not towards the Shogun, but Ugen Hanabusa, whose stupid blundering leads to the death of Habaki's wife and child when he tries to hold them for leverage against Habaki. And who later gets Ryo killed by having his soldiers open fire with their rifles on the two. When Anotsu prepares to kill Hanabusa, he desperately begs Habaki to help who responds "with my blindness, there is nothing I can do."
  • Disability Superpower: After losing his eye to Anotsu, Habaki ends up growing even more powerful without his sight.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Habaki genuinely loves his wife and son, as well as his illegitimate daughter Ryo. He also truly respects and values his men. When he's dying, he doesn't dwell on his failure, but rather whispers the names of the two women he loved and his children.
  • Eyepatch of Power: After the Demon's Lair arc.
  • Eye Scream: Manji chucks a hairpin into his eye. He loses the remaining one during the Winter War when Anotsu cuts through it during their duel.
  • Good Parents: He absolutely dotes on his young son Sakutaro, who is deeply ashamed he has no talent for the sword like his father. he also deeply loves his illegitimate daughter, a woodcutter and swordswoman named Ryo.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: He steadily descends further and further until he's far more violent and ruthless than the Itto-Ryu he so hates. How much more? Check the YMMV page...
  • Honor Before Reason: A duel is absolutely sacred to him. Even when blinded in battle and facing certain death, when Ryo jumps in to defend him from Anotsu, Habaki removes her from his way and apologizes to Anotsu for the interruption.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Finally slain by Anotsu's sword impaling him.
  • Knight Templar: As the series goes on, Habaki's obsession with the Itto-Ryu consumes him and he will do anything to annihilate them, and the deaths of innocent people are just a small price for him to pay.
  • Master Swordsman: Despite Exotic Weapon Supremacy all over the place, Habaki needs nothing but a normal sword. Even after losing an eye he still dominates most fights he's in.
  • Men Don't Cry: After screaming his wife's name in grief when she kills herself, he forces himself to hold back tears. When Ryo dies, he stands brokenly over her corpse, but isn't crying either. It is clear, though that both times, the man is absolutely shattered.
  • My Greatest Failure: The breaching of the Shogun's palace and the utter chaos that followed. That it leads to him being stripped of his rank and ordered to commit seppuku with only a month to get his affairs in order twists the knife.
  • Pet the Dog: Anytime he interacts with his family and Ryo. He actually wanted Ryo to remain out of the war with Itto-Ryu and be adopted by Mitake's family but she threatened to kill herself should he not involve her.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: Unlike most, Habaki throws a wrench into the Exotic Weapon Supremacy of the series by relying on just a basic katana with no gimmicks or tricks and classic kenjutsu techniques. He's a monster regardless and the only reason Anotsu wins is because Manji interfered.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: He begins seeing Anotsu as this when he starts projecting all his problems onto the man.
  • Undying Loyalty: Every action he takes, no matter how cruel and awful, is for the 'greater good' of his country or the Shogun.
  • Villainous BSoD: After Ryo's death, he has lost everything and marches to his final fight with Anotsu. Slaughtering his hated enemy is now his only reason to live.
  • Worthy Opponent: Despite their utter hatred of one another, he and Anotsu end up battling with politeness, good humor and even mutual admiration for one another's skills.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Generally he's pretty good at avoiding this. When he has no more need for Giichi and Hyakurin, he simply releases them from his services to do as they please. On the other hand, he intends to pull this on Shira, but this is a case where this is 100 percent justified with Shira being a psycho Serial Killer and rapist.

Hanabusa Ugen

  • Bodyguard Babes: Retains a cadre of gorgeous kunoichi to protect him. One of them has a crush on him.
  • Boring, but Practical: Ugen is no swordsman, but he's able to use the sheer power of money (fifty ryo no less) to contract twenty riflemen and rush to catch up with Habaki and the Itto-Ryu. Eventually he of all people is the one to finally kill the series' most-lethal warrior, the unbeatable Makie Otonotachibana, by catching her in a hail of hot lead, although she survives long enough to wipe out every man he brought with him and his entire cadre of kunoichi. Even Anotsu has to grudgingly tip his hat to Ugen for that.
  • Dirty Coward: Ugen is a dutiful public servant, but he's no warrior like Habaki Kagimura, and he knows it.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Before he replaces Habaki as shinbangashira he's the kogi officer who comes to talk to Shira in prison to make him an offer to hunt down Itto-Ryu again.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: When Anotsu finds him tied to a tree (by Magatsu) after his men kill Makie, he cuts Ugen in half with one blow- tree and all.
  • Humiliation Conga: Much of the series is this for him, most notably when the Itto-Ryu raid Edo Castle under his watch, massacre hundreds of his men, take him hostage to get out alive (while taunting him about being too cowardly to make a Heroic Sacrifice by ordering his men to Shoot the Hostage) and then throw him into the moat, just to make a point.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: What he strives to be when he becomes shinbangashira, attempting to settle matters with the Itto-Ryu without violence. Unfortunately, he's living in an unreasonable world.
  • Smug Snake: He gets rather too full of himself after Habaki is disgraced, ordered to commit seppuku, and he is promoted to replace him.


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