The Shinsengumi is a special anti-terrorist police unit in Edo deployed by the Bakufu. They consist of lower status samurai and ronin from out in the country.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: The Shinsengumi uniforms are lined with silver in the manga, but gold in the anime.
- Amazon Brigade: For the Gender Bender Arc, where they all turn into girls.
- Badass Crew: They might be a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, but they're a badass Ragtag Bunch of Misfits.
- Badass Longcoat: When they return to Edo in the final arc after having left in the Farewell Shinsengumi arc, the leadership all wear awesome-looking long coats.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Their bond as comrades is so unbreakable because of all the times they have fought crime and risked their lives together.
- Foil: To the Yorozuya.
- To be specific: Hijikata to Gintoki, Sougo to Kagura, Kondo to Shinpachi.
- When Katsura is with the Yorozuya: Yamazaki to Shinpachi, Kondo to Katsura.
- The counterparts tend to be fairly fluid at times; Shinpachi and Hijikata both share the role of the most level-headed character, while Okita and Gin have a similar streak of trickery (especially when it comes to tormenting Hijikata).
- Good Cop/Bad Cop: Yamazaki and Kondo are the good cops. Hijikata and Sougo the bad ones.
- Iconic Outfit: As a clear contrast to Real Life, The Shinsengumi in Gintama do not wear their iconic blue-and-white samurai robes. Their clearly Western-inspired outfits, however, are near-accurate to the Western uniform of the officers of the Ezo Republic, The Remnant of the Tokugawa forces after their defeat during the Meiji Restoration—particularly the one worn by Hijikata Toshizo◊, Toshi's Real Life inspiration.
- Inspector Javert: All of them, towards Katsura.
- No Historical Figures Were Harmed: They're all based off the historical members of The Shinsengumi, though their names have been altered slightly, while their personalities and behavior are very different from their historical counterparts.
- Police Are Useless: Zig-zagged a lot depending on the situation. If it's comedic they tend to miserably incompetent, but they're a lot more effective when the situation is serious.
- Power Trio: Most of the time with Kondo, Hijikata and Sougo.
- Put on a Bus: After rescuing Kondo and Matsudaira from prison, the Shinsengumi are considered rebels and need to leave Edo behind for their own safety. They later return in the final arc of the series.
- Rabid Cop: All of them but mostly Sougo.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Literally. The Shinsengumi are composed of ronin who would've just gone and caused trouble on their own anyway. Under Kondo, they've become the tight-knit and slightly dysfunctional police group we know and love today.
- SWAT Team: In serious arcs.
- True Companions: The Shinsengumi is forged through bonds of friendship and loyalty, so much so that even grim-faced and sadistic warriors like Hijikata and Okita would toss away their lives to protect their commander.
- Undying Loyalty: Almost all the members of the Shinsengumi has this towards Kondo.
- Waistcoat of Style: All of the officers wear one under their jacket.
Voiced by: Susumu Chiba (JP), Chiaki Takahashi (JP, female), Jason Simpson (EN, series), David Wald (EN, movie), Salvador Serrano (Spain), Kankuro Nakamura (live action movie)
Commander of the Shinsengumi. A goofy, but good-natured and honorable leader who has won the respect and admiration of his subordinates. Despite appearing completely incompetent, he takes his job seriously and will not hesitate to make tough decisions in order to protect his comrades and the people of the country.
The members of the Shinsengumi are fiercely loyal to him and he shares a particularly close bond of friendship with Sougo Okita and Toushiro Hijikata. Okita often remarks that Kondo's nice attitude is also his weak point as he never takes notice of a person's negative traits.
He has a crush on Shinpachi's sister Tae and stalks her, to which she responds by repeatedly beating him senseless.
- Animal Motifs: The gorilla, by way of what people usually call him.
- Altar Diplomacy: His marriage to Princess Bubbles is arranged as part of a political deal between Planet Shojo and Japan. Later in the timeskip, he is arranged to marry Bubbles again as Japan owes the planet a lot of money for helping to rebuild after the war.
- Arranged Marriage: In the Yagyu Arc, he is arranged to marry Princess Bubbles of Planet Shojo, who turns out to be a giant gorilla Amanto who genuinely falls for him. He is surprisingly saved from the marriage at the last second by Tae. He is later arranged to marry Bubbles again after the timeskip, but Bubbles calls it off on her own this time.
- Attractive Bent-Gender: In the Gender Bender Arc, he receives probably the most drastic change, turning into a tall busty blonde and looks no way like he did before.
- Bait-and-Switch: The timeskip gives the impression that, after the final battle, he was actually able to marry Otae and start a family with her. Then it turns out he didn't marry her but got engaged to an actual gorilla.
- Butt-Monkey: Kondo faces stiff competition from other characters for this title, but the show refuses to give him a break. He's gone so far as to earn the nickname "Gorilla-san," a title which even he sometimes uses to refer to himself. A Butt-Monkey with more emphasis on the "monkey".
- During the Dekoboko arc, Kondo actually tones down this trope. There were some hilarious parts (s)he took part and suffered in (as with the case of Otae), but for the most part, (s)he's not the butt of the joke in this case, it goes to Hijikata instead. The former even takes turn in doing things at the latter's expense.
- The Captain: The leader of the Shinsengumi.
- Chivalrous Pervert: His libido is higher than average and the size of his heart is bigger than anyone. He might be open about how Otae gets him turned on, but does care a lot about her as a person.
- Christmas Cake: A surprising male version! His higher ups keep trying to force Kondo into an Arranged Marriage because he's pushing thirty and still single.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: He fires a bazooka at Hajime after hearing he was Otae's First Love.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: No seriously, he does have his moments.
- Everyone Has Standards: Even he got creeped out by Yamazaki's Stalker with a Crush behavior towards Tama.
- A Father to His Men: A trait that is much more apparent in serious arcs. And his men love him for it.
- Gag Penis: As his transformation into an actual gorilla and a much later manga chapter shows, Kondo is very... uhm... well-endowed.
- Gentle Giant: One of the nicest characters of the show, if it weren't for his somewhat stalkerish ways.
- Heir to the Dojo: Despite his Butt-Monkey status.
- Hidden Depths: The stalker gorilla with a permanent hard-on for Tae-chan has enough charisma to keep the Shinsengumi unit together and can be pretty insightful on politics, seeing as how he knew his time was up after Shigeshige is replaced by Nobunobu.
- Heck, his imprisonment incites the Shinsengumi to rebel against the Shogunate.
- Historical Domain Character: Based on Kondo Isami, the historical commander of the Shinsengumi.
- Hopeless Suitor: No matter how stubborn he is, Otae's answer to Kondo asking her out will always be "no". Over time, Otae at least comes to respect his good traits as a commander, but she never agrees to date him.
- Idiot Hero: Considering the tone of the series and the fact he's the leader of the Shinsengumi, Kondo's a standout at this: He constantly has to ask Hijikata what other people are saying, for instance.
- The Kirk: He's the Ego of Okita / Hijikata, keeping peace and being the guiding personality for all three of the main Shinsengumi.
- Language Barrier: During his wedding ceremony to Princess Bubbles, he tries to convince the wedding crasher who is the real father of the princess's baby to stop the wedding and let him go, only to unknowingly say the complete opposite in gorilla talk which will not end well next chapter.
- Large and in Charge: He's the tallest and the biggest of the Shinsengumi. And yes, he's the boss.
- The Leader: Type IV. Kondo is the one who binds the Shinsengumi together and they all hold great respect for him as such.
- Let's Get Dangerous!: Yes, he's the light-hearted Butt-Monkey of the Shinsengumi, but he's also the heir to the dojo where Hijikata and Okita studied, if his credentials as the Shinsengumi's leader weren't already enough. Proof? KO-ing Tojo with one move after wiping his ass with extra coarse sandpaper!
- Mad Love: He's always getting beaten up or threatened by Otae, as she highly disapproves of his stalking. This doesn't discourage him at all.
- Male Frontal Nudity: Pixelised for the Moral Guardians and the insecure though.
- Manly Tears: Especially during the Shinsengumi Rebellion Arc. For very understandable reasons.
- Ms. Fanservice: During the Dekoboko arc, everyone was stunned by how Kondo was turned from plain-looking into an utterly sexy blonde bombshell. In the anime female Kondo is even voiced by Chiaking, the seiyuu of Ms. Fanservice.
- Nice Guy: Stalker tendencies aside, Kondo is a pretty nice guy.
- Nosebleed: While he's more prone to a Luminescent Blush around Otae, the one time she displays her panties to help catch a Panty Thief, his arousal was too much to contain.
- Perma-Stubble: That stubbled chin of his is a permanent fixture.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: In the more serious arcs.
- Rejection Affection: Otae turns him down whenever they meet, often violently. Kondo never stops trying to ask her out, though.
- Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Parodied in the genderswap arc, where the now-female Kondo makes Otae blush, but still ends up getting punched (mainly because she is embarrassed).
- Scars Are Forever: He gets a long scar across the face as the Farewell Shinsengumi arc, courtesy of Isaburo.
- Stalker with a Crush: He randomly pops up anywhere Otae goes to try and ask her out. Otae doesn't approve, violently.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: Subverted, he unknowingly speaks Gorilla but doesn't understand it or them as his encounter with Princess Bubbles shows that he is understood the opposite. This comes back to bite him hard in the final arc when he can't convince the gorillas at the wedding he wants out but they thought he's happy and then convince the wedding crashing gorilla to save him but is misunderstood into fighting him for the bride's hand!
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome: When not in Butt-Monkey mode. Yes.
Voiced by: Kazuya Nakai (JP), Michael Adamthwaite (EN, series), Blake Shepard (EN, movie), Luis Vicente Ivars (Spain), Yuya Yagira (live action movie)
The chain-smoking "Demonic" Vice-Commander of the Shinsengumi who has garnered an infamous reputation for his ruthless, no-nonsense attitude both on and off the battlefield. Since he's the one usually left in charge of the operation, he takes his work seriously and is fiercely loyal to his commander, Isao Kondo, and the Shinsengumi as a whole.
Cucumber cool for the most part, Hijikata is respected and feared by his subordinates, as he's responsible for implementing the 45 Regulations (on pain of seppuku). His swordsmanship is second only to Okita, although he ran into difficulties on discovering his sword was possessed.
Hijikata is also obsessed with mayonnaise and has a tendency to smother anything he eats under a mountain of it, in addition to carrying a mayonnaise jar-shaped cigarette lighter. Under his callous, brazen exterior, Hijikata is genuinely compassionate and cares as much about the people he protects as Gintoki. He regards both Gintoki and Okita as not only rivals, but close friends.
- Affectionate Nickname: Kondo usually calls him Toshi which he doesn't mind if he is the one saying it, but will get angry if other people calls him that. Only exception: Matsudaira who sometimes also uses his nickname but since he's Da Chief, Hijikata can't really say aything back.
- Aloof Ally: Often grudgingly sides with the Yorozuya under the pretense of fulfilling his duty as an officer of the Shinsengumi.
- Badass Longcoat: Artwork for the 2nd movie features his future self wearing a black longcoat along with clothes strangely reminiscent of clothes worn by the real life Hijikata.
- Bastard Angst: His father was a rich farmer and his mother was said farmer's apparent lover, although not even history is clear on what relationship the two really had. Hijikata was hidden from everyone in a cabinet until he became 10 and his father died, causing his mother to show him to the farmer's family and accept him as a potential heir. But none expect for his older brother and Parental Substitute Tamegorou accepted him.
- Big Brother Mentor: He sort of becomes one for Tetsunosuke.
- Blood Knight: Before he met Kondo he would often get into fights for no reason, leaving a bloody trail wherever he went. There are still traces of it left.
- Break Her Heart to Save Her: Even though he did love Mitsuba back, Hijikata didn't want her to marry a man who lead a dangerous lifestyle like his. This is why he coldly rejected her when she told him she wanted to be with him and kept his distance from her to the moment she died.
- Butt-Monkey: Not so much compared to Kondo, but during the Dekoboko arc, Hijikata pretty much becomes Shinsengumi's definitive Butt-Monkey.
- Chick Magnet: Apart from being a Mr. Fanservice, Tae's fellow hostesses at the cabaret club all become very excited when he visits the place and Tae entertains the idea of a Love Triangle between him, herself and Kondo.
- The Comically Serious: Due to the nature of the show, he's seen in this role far more often than not. See Evil Weapon below.
- Cuteness Proximity: Initially wanted to throw out the little puppy that Sadaharu dragged in to the Shinsengumi, but when he held it up he became overwhelmed by its sheer cuteness. He then tells Kondo that he just remembered they don't have any police dogs.
- Dark and Troubled Past: He had a rather troubled youth. When Hijikata violently saved his half-brother from the bandits who'd blinded him, he was distrusted by the rest of the family. As such, he left home and caused all sorts of trouble smashing up dojos, until he ended up with Kondo, who set him on a straight path.
- Determinator: His determination to keep going in a fight is unbelievable. Just watch him take on Mitsuba's treacherous fiance's goons and keep on going, regardless of any injuries sustained.
- Et Tu, Brute?: Towards Okita, who framed him with Ito's help in order to have him demoted.
- Evil Weapon: Carries a cursed sword that houses the spirit of an otaku which manifests by taking over his body and reducing him to a helpless, childish, anime-obsessed coward.
- Fair Cop: Pretty good looking cop.
- Heroic Bastard: His mother was a mistress to his father and not his wife.
- Historical Domain Character: Loosely based off the real Hijikata Toshizo. Sorachi kept his "demonic" personality.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: While Kondo definitely remains the head of the Shinsengumi, it's not entirely wrong to say that Hijikata probably has more say in the daily nitty-gritty and administration of the unit. This is definitely more visible in the sillier arcs—especially when Kondo is fooling around.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: With Mitsuba, whom he rejected before joining the Shinsengumi since he believed it was no sort of life for her.
- I Was Just Passing Through: He's not friends with Gin and pals. He wouldn't dream of helping them. He is certainly not risking his life to save Shinpachi's sister or anything, nope. According to Okita, he just thinks he's Vegeta.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Straight-laced and not too friendly, but he's nicer than he lets on.
- The Lancer: To Kondo.
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy: As shown in the flashbacks.
- Mercy Kill: At the end of the Shinsengumi Rebellion Arc, he grants one to the dying and redeemed Ito in form of the duel he wanted with Hijikata, allowing him to die as a samurai and comrade instead of dying alone as a traitor via bullet wounds.
- The Mourning After: Mitsuba is the only person Hijikata would ever admit to loving. With her passing on, it's doubtful there ever will be anyone else.
- Mr. Fanservice: Has a kinda large and devoted female fandom, always places highly in the character polls, and generally acts cool and attractive (such as when he was chosen as the perfect host).
- Not So Above It All: Occasionally happens. It usually has something to do with mayonnaise, but it's not limited to just that, as seen by his Cuteness Proximity entry.
- Number Two: The official second-in-command of the Shinsengumi.
- Off with His Head!: He's a firm believer of Seppuku which he offers to all traitors. This is Truth in Television. Due to Character Development is he not so obessed anymore.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: He and Ito swear they will kill each other and won't be satisfied if one of them gets defeated by someone else. At the end of the Shinsengumi Crisis arc, Hijikata cuts down a dying Ito as a proof of their bond as rivals and companions.
- Parrying Bullets: As Isaburo learned firsthand, Hijikata can cut bullets in half in midair.
- Playing Cyrano: Meet the master of epic, manly FOLLOW-UP WRITING!!!
- Red Baron: Just like with Gintoki, you probably don't want to mess with the "Demonic Vice-Commander."
- The Rival: Closest thing to a recurring rival Gintoki has.
- Samurai Ponytail: Wore his hair like this before the Shinsengumi was formed.
- Sand In My Eyes: Usually averted, as he doesn't attempt to make excuses for crying over non-emotional movies (such as My Neighbour Pedro and Alien VS Yakuza), but this trope is played straight at the end of Mitsuba arc. Gin, sitting nearby, hears him muttering to himself."These crackers are so spicy... Damn. They're so spicy it's making my eyes water... (sob) So spicy..."
"...Is it raining?"
- Played straight again in chapter 526 (appropriately titled "The Day the Demon Cried").
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Gintoki and Hijikata will nearly always end up arguing or picking a fight with each other whenever they meet. Hijikata's strict personality clashes with Gintoki's lazy one, one is a fan of Shōnen Magazine while the other prefers Shonen Jump and they like to criticize the other's Trademark Favorite Food. They're occasionally shown to have a form of respect for each other, and are in many ways, more similar than it seem at first glance, and in one episode they proved to be absurdly good at fighting side by side, but none of them would ever admit any of this.
- Smoking Is Cool: Lighting a cigarette with a mayonnaise jar is even cooler.
- Smoky Voice: Hijikata, who is rarely seen without a cigarette in his mouth, has quite a rough and husky voice, provided by Kazuya Nakai whose voice is pretty recognizable due to this quality.
- The Spock: He's the Superego to Kondo / Okita; strict and disciplinarian, going as far as creating Shinsengumi laws that, if broken, the punishment is suicide.
- Straight Man: Often plays this to Kondo, Okita, or Gintoki.
- Strange Minds Think Alike: Him and Gintoki are way more similar than either one cares to admit, which may be why they always try to compete and outdo each other whenever they meet.
- Trademark Favorite Food: There's a reason why people refer to him as Mayora. He'll put a heap of mayonaisse (to the point it resembles s**t) on everything, even dessert and coffee. Quoting Okita: "He basically elevated normal food into dog food."
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Tries to hold back against women; at one point holds back against Kyuubei due to assuming that they are (despite Kyuubei originally struggling with their gender and later thinking of themself as neither a man or a woman).
Voiced by: Kenichi Suzumura (JP), Shizuka Ito (JP, female), Vincent Tong (EN, series), Sunni Westbrook (EN, series, female), Clint Bickham (EN, movie), Juan Navarro (Spain), Ryo Yoshizawa (live action movie)
The 18-year-old captain of the first squad and widely-regarded as the best swordsman in the entire Shinsengumi. He tends to be light-hearted and somewhat childish, though his speech is heavily deadpan. Unlike Hijikata or Kondo, he seems to take his position for granted and is often seen slacking off or napping.
Okita displays a strong dislike of his comrade Toushiro Hijikata, and continuously tries to embarrass, wound, or even kill him whenever he has the chance in order to take his rank of Vice-Commander. He also holds a deep grudge towards Toushiro for having left Mitsuba, Sougo's beloved sister, and holds him accountable for her never being able to find happiness before her death. His violent tendencies and habit to torture others mentally in glee have caused his comrades to label him a "sadist," a title which he actively embraces. Nonetheless, he still thinks of Hijikata as his friend and also holds Gintoki, whom he addresses as "boss," in high regard.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Has gray/gray-blue eyes when occasionally in color in the manga, though the reddish brown of the anime has pretty much displaced it in fandom, merchandise, et cetera.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: He's a hit with the ladies despite openly being a jerk to them. Hijikata notes how frighteningly talented he is at being a host.
- Attractive Bent-Gender: In the Gender Bender arc, although he doesn't look all that different, save for having a bust and longer hair.
- Berserk Button: Do not hurt Kondo or Mitsuba in front of Okita. Exception is given to the former when the situation is comedic, but in a serious situation no quarter is given.
- BFG: His weapon of choice is a freakin' Bazooka. In an era where most people are wielding swords, it would seem to make for some fairly one-sided battles. However, he does use swords for serious battles.
- Big Brother Instinct: Inverted. Sougo was utterly devoted to his older sister Mitsuba and worried about her health. Once he found out her fiancé was only using her to try and blackmail the police, he killed the bastard.
- Bishōnen: Invoked, as every series has to have one.
- Calling Your Attacks: "Sadomaru" really is a beetle? Seriously? Even with the purple eyebeams?"Eat this! SADO BEEEEAAAMMMM—-!!"
- Crazy Jealous Guy: At least some of his behavior towards Hijikata stems from his belief that Hijikata "stole" Kondo's attention from him. In the Shinsengumi Rebellion Arc, he calmly states that he's more than willing to backstab and kill anyone who gets too close to Kondo, because "the place at Kondo's side is mine."
- Cute and Psycho: He's normally on the "psycho" side, but he acted like the sweetest boy around his older sister. When Mitsuba was around, Sougo could switch from smiling adorably to blasting people with a bazooka and right back at the drop of a hat.
- Deadpan Snarker: Prone to sarcastic comments and observations at the expense of others.
- Devil in Plain Sight: He's always ready to mess with Hijikata, yet no one else, save for Kagura and Gintoki, seems to notice or even care.
- Dual Wielding: Briefly wields two swords during the Rokkaku Arc, using them to deflect bullets before he throws them at those firing upon him.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Prime Sadist Sougo's personality did a 180 when he was around his older sister Mitsuba, who raised him since he was little. Sougo acted like an adoring son to Mitsuba and cared very deeply about her poor health. The moment of her untimely death was the only time Sougo ever showed himself truly fragile and distraught in the entire series.
- Even the Guys Want Him: Kamiyama, anyone?
- Everyone Has Standards: Sadistic as he is, he shows utter contempt towards the bosses of the death match arena and enlists help from Gintoki & Co. to bring about their downfall. Can also be counted as a Pet the Dog moment for him.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Sougo's future self in the second movie sports a long ponytail and a red kimono. He basically wears Kenshin's rurouni outfit with his Battousai hairstyle.
- Expository Pronoun: He almost always refers to himself with the aggressive masculine "ore". He only used the more modest "boku" when talking to his sister, which got a laugh out of some of his fellow Shinsengumi.
- Fair Cop: Pretty good-looking officer.
- Friend to All Children: He is quite tolerant of children and even went out of his way to help a group of kids escape from their captors with the help of Gintoki. And he tries to hide the truth from a kid who wanted to kill him so that only the good memories will be the only thing he remembers from her father.
- The Gadfly: Oh so very much. Most of his pranks turn out to be quite harmless, however.
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Technically a good guy, at least later on, but that doesn't stop him from torturing suspects, blowing up buildings at the slightest provocation, or trying to backstab his teammates.
- Hidden Heart of Gold: It's implied that he tries to shut down a fighting ring to help a group of orphans, and he hides the fact that Kirie's father was a rebel to protect her good memories of him.
- Historical Domain Character: He is loosely based off of the real-life Okita Soji.
- Historical In-Joke: Like his namesake, Okita's a prodigy with the sword. However, Sorachi inverted his relationship with the Vice Commander from Heterosexual Life-Partners to (extreme) Vitriolic Best Buds. Also the real Okita Soji died from tuberculosis; in Gintama it's his sister instead.
- Jerkass: Proud owner of the nickname "Prince of Sadists."
- Knight Templar Big Brother: Inverted. Despite being the little brother, he dearly loves his big sister, Mitsuba, and will do anything to make her happy. Screw things up for her, especially by using her wedding as a way to do illegal business, and you're DEAD, as Kuraba would have told you from his bisected exploding car.
- Long-Haired Pretty Boy: In the second movie.
- Master Swordsman: Noted to be the best swordsman in the Shinsengumi (On a technical level at the very least) and as such he gets probably the most implausible feats of swordsmanship among them.
- The McCoy: He's the Id to Hijikata / Kondou, indulging in whatever desires he has and acting the most childish of the three.
- My Sister Is Off-Limits!: Very protective of Mitsuba and basically forbids anyone he doesn't trust near her. This includes Hijikata.
- One-Man Army: The Shinsengumi Arc features him easily taking down an entire train car full of enemies with nary a scratch. In the Rokkaku Incident, he's credited for killing most of the enemy rebels (possibly 33 out of... 33).
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Maaaaaaany times with Kagura. In the Yagyuu arc he saved her from an enemy while stating that That brat is mine to beat up." In the Fake disease arc, while everybody thought that she was going to die, he couldn't believe it because he thought that: This girl here wont be dying till she and I settle a score." Also in The Farewell Shinsengumi arc they battled before he parting and his last words to her were : "But remember this by the time we next meet I swear Im gonna be stronger than you and that crow! So, youd better not lose to anyone else."
- Parrying Bullets: He's so fast that he can deflect bullets with his sword.
- Pet the Dog: Has his own arc dedicated to it. Where he still manages to be a Jerkass.
- Poisonous Friend: To Kondo and for the Shinsengumi in general, although it's Played for Laughs. They acknowledge and use his sadistic tendencies. Okita even lampshades this in an early episode by commenting that he and Hijikata need to be cutthroat, as Kondou is too kind for his own good.
- Precision F-Strike: In the Shinsengumi Rebellion arc.Okita: (To Ito) "What do you think you're doing, you piece of shit?"
- Psychotic Smirk: Often when indulging in his sadistic tendencies or trying to dispatch Hijikata.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: He has red eyes in the anime and is a guy to watch out for, even if he's technically on the protagonists' side.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The cool and sadistic Blue Oni to Kagura's hotheaded and energetic Red Oni.
- Rivals Team Up: He and Kagura compete at everything, but are more than willing to team up against rampaging robots that ruin a festival for them.
- Sadist: The sadist of the series.
- Ship Tease: His rivalry with Kagura is often shown in a shippy light, while he and Nobume throw sexual remarks at each other.
- Silent Scapegoat: In the Rokkaku Incident, Sougo thought it was best for Kirie to let her think he murdered her father as an innocent bystander instead of letting her know her father was forced to cooperate with terrorists to protect her and her mother.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis:
- Often with Kagura whom he deliberately provokes and teases whenever given a chance.
- Sougo is also very obviously trying to take over Hijikata's vice-commander position, and regularly attacks him with a Bazooka, tried to poison his food in one or two occasion, and generally does anything to unnerve him.
- Sleep Mask: He was first seen using one to sleep while on-duty, and it's become iconic of his character ever since.
- Sobriquet Sex Switch: Sougo gets turned into "Souko" in the Dekobokko Arc.
- Soft-Spoken Sadist: Never raises his voice not matter how sadistic he is.
- The Starscream: He always seems to be plotting against Hijikata in order to become Vice-Commander. However, he is extremely loyal to Kondo and has no intention of deposing him.
- Teen Genius: He's the captain of the 1st squad.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Throws the two swords he picked up in the Rokkaku Arc at the gunmen he was faced with. He does it again later to save Princess Soyo from a ninja, and attacks Kamui one last time by throwing his sword at him after their fight.
- Token Evil Teammate: Among the Shinsengumi, being sadistic and quite willing to bend the law to his own ends.
- Treacherous Quest Giver: During the time Hijikata is possessed by the otaku spirit in his sword, Okita makes him buy Jump and yakisoba, making him late for a meeting and setting him up for a demotion.
- Verbal Tic: Often ends his sentences with -desu zee or -desaa, which are polite ways for young men to assert their masculinity.
- With Friends Like These...: Everyone is under the impression that Hijikata and Okita are bitter rivals always looking for an opportunity to take the other's head, but in truth, they share a strong bond of friendship. That said, Sougo seriously tries to get rid of and/or torture Hijikata on regular basis, sometimes not being above backstabbing or setting up his friend.
Voiced by: Tetsuharu Oota (JP), Clint Bickham (EN, movie), Adrian Petriw (EN, series)
A member of the Shinsengumi, he handles intelligence work, often serving as a spy. He's often seen with a badminton racquet (sometimes during sword training, when Hijikata's more likely to beat him up for it). Shinpachi and Yamazaki have a bit of a rivalry, being the more plain and generic guys on their respective teams, but they're good friends nonetheless.
- Action Survivor: Because his job is mostly data gathering and intelligence, he's one of the weakest of the Shinsengumi. He still can fight, mind you, but he's often quickly outclassed when things get nasty.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: It's easy to overlook Yamazaki, but you have to remember that this guy tends to do all the reconnaissance missions for the Shinsengumi, usually alone. Then there's him being the one behind all the paranoia in the Popularity Poll Arc. Oh, and ANPAN SPARKIIING.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: Played With. He falls head-over-heels for Tama after she gives a Rousing Speech about how everyone has a valuable job in society no matter how little and exhausting it might be. Although Tama was encouraging a checkout scanner that got broken from Yamazaki buying too much anpan, Tama's words help him feel better about his stakeouts.
- Butt-Monkey: He gets hurt a lot, especially by Hijikata. Also, despite his popularity, the author stated that Yamazaki will never be on the cover of any Gintama manga volume, and kept his word on that. Notably, after being spared by Bansai during the Shinsengumi Rebellion Arc, he spies on the Shinsengumi, thinking that they're holding a funeral for him. It turns out that the funeral is being held for Matsudaira's pet, with Yamazaki being treated as an afternote.
- Put it this way: During the Freaky Friday Arc, his soul was switched with Madao's sunglasses, who was placed on top of Madao's new body (a literal piece of shit).
- The Epilogue arc even has him as the only one anyone forgot about during the aftermath of what happened in Silver Soul.
- Character Development: In an interesting way, he used to be a violent punk in the past nicknamed Mountainzaki (zaki with the kanji for 'oni killer'), after being beat by Okita and Hijikata he joined them. Interestingly was this foreshadowed in the Time Skip arc where he's aparently back into being a violent punk.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: After surviving an entire month only eating anpan...
- Cyborg: Post Silver Soul arc, he's been turned into a multi-functional police robot called "Mobcop" and lost his memories. It wasn't really on purpose, though; originally, after he got sliced in the neck he was left for dead and forgotten until they fished his body out from the aftermath to experiment on. Once he learns the truth, he's rightfully pissed.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Yamazaki joined the Shinsengumi hoping to use his physical prowess to assert leadership, either intimidating others into submission or beating them to a pulp if they refused. Then he met Kondo.
- Edible Ammunition: ANPAN SPARKING!!!!
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Goes more through it than any other character.
- Gag Penis: According to Sorachi in ranking, he has the largest penis of the main male cast.
- Historical Domain Character: Named and based off the real-life Shinsengumi officer and spy Yamazaki Susumu.
- Homage: Aside from always carrying around his Badminton racquet, he once cosplays as Ryoma while playing Badminton against Musashi. Mada mada da ne, indeed.
- Madness Mantra: ANPANANPANANPANANPANANPANANPANANPAN
- After falling for Tama: TAMASANTAMASANTAMASANTAMASANTAMASANTAMASANTAMASAN
- The Nondescript: Aside from his Badminton, he's acknowledged in-universe as a very plain and generic guy. He uses this to his advantage against Shinpachi (himself another nondescript) during the OwEe arc, playing pixellized vomit Tetris in such a boring and non-flashy manner that he made fewer mistakes. And he states that one of the reasons he's the best undercover agent of the Shinsengumi is because he is so easily overlooked.
- Older Than He Looks: Would you believe he's 32? In other words, one of the oldest in the Shinsengumi?
- Reformed Criminal: Unlike most of the Shinsengumi who were mostly Ronins, he used to be a mere hoodlum.
- Robosexual: He develops an obsessive crush on the adorable Robot Girl Tama.
- Sanity Slippage: He completely loses his sanity eating Anpan for a month. He has not really been the same ever since...
- Slasher Smile: Gets some absolutely deranged expressions during the OwEe battle against Shinpachi, including this.
- Stalker with a Crush: After falling for Tama, he turns what was supposed to be a stakeout for Gintoki into one for Tama. He watches her from the shadows all day and his 'reports' are love letters for Tama or a Madness Mantra of Tama's name.
- Straight Man: At times.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Subverted, Yamazaki eats anpan with milk during stakeouts as an offering to the "stakeout god" even though he doesn't like anpan. However, after a whole month of anpan it takes its toll on his mind
- Weapon of Choice: Though he's also a swordsman like the rest of the Shinsengumi, he sure likes holding onto that racquet.
Voiced by: Kenta Miyake
Captain of the 10th unit. Little is known about him, but he's quite passionate about "manly" things and is prone to shouting in excitement or anger. He also used to smoke, but quit at one point.
- Bald of Awesome: A capable officer with a shaven head.
- The Cavalry: He leads the Shinsengumi reinforcements that come to Kondo's rescue in the Shinsengumi Crisis arc.
- Historical Domain Character: His historical counterpart is Harada Sanosuke, who was also in charge of the 10th unit.
- Hot-Blooded: From what we do know of him, he's a quite passionate man.
- Manly Tears: Pushed to tears by the Alien VS Yakuza movie.
- Mauve Shirt: He only barely stands out from the other Shinsengumi officers by having a name and slightly bigger role as a result.
Voiced by: Mitsuaki Madono
An advisor to the Shinsengumi who serves as the main antagonist of the Shinsengumi Rebellion Arc. Initially introduced as a ruthless, power-hungry tactician, he is revealed to be a traitor, secretly allied with Shinsuke Takasugi.
He considers himself a rival to Toushiro Hijikata and manages to get him suspended from the Shinsengumi, later attempting to assassinate Kondo.
- Ambition Is Evil: In his thirst for power and position, he starts a rebellion among the Shinsengumi so he can kill Kondo and usurp his position as Commander.
- Arc Villain: Of the Shinsengumi Rebellion Arc.
- Arch-Enemy: He views Hijikata as his ultimate enemy and the member of the Shinsengumi he wants to get rid of the most. Itou admits he finds this somewhat unfortunate because Hijikata is possibly the person who understands him the best.
- An Arm and a Leg: Loses his arm in the train explosion.
- Big Bad Wannabe: He wanted to take over the country and thought the Kiheitai would be a willing ally for his plans. He never realized that he was the one being manipulated by the Kiheitai so as to weaken and destroy the Shinsengumi.
- Broken Ace: He is extremely accomplished in several fields, such as swordsmanship, strategy and politics, but to say it has not helped his mental state any is putting it mildly.
- Bully Magnet: Ito was bullied by his classmates merely because they were jealous of his outstanding talent and accomplishments.
- The Chessmaster: He's a talented manipulator of both events and people. Too bad for him Takasugi's way better at the game...
- Evil Chancellor: His role is that of an advisor to the Shinsengumi, but he's actively plotting to become the leader himself.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Played straight at first, then subverted after his Character Development.
- Freudian Excuse: His mother never loved him and outright said she wished he was never born. The kids of his class also bullied him simply because he got praised by the teachers as a prodigy. This all caused Ito to develop an Inferiority Superiority Complex that drove him to stand out in every way he could out of desperation for his existence to be acknowledged. He ultimately tries to assassinate Kondo to take control over the Shinsengumi in his blind pursuit to elevate his social status and reputation.
- Friendless Background: No kids at his school ever wanted to be his friends because they were jealous of the teachers treating him like a prodigy. The Shinsengumi offered him a place where he could finally make friends, but he realized it too late.
- Go Out with a Smile He dies happy that he's acknowledged by the Shinsengumi as a friend, despite his betrayal.
- A Good Way to Die: He has the final showdown with Hijikata he wanted and dies surrounded by the Shinsengumi, the friends he finally felt connected with. Ito thanks them for not leaving him alone at the end and granting him the honorable death of a samurai.
- Hates Being Alone: He thought he was frustrated about no one being as smart as him, but what he really couldn't stand was being alone.
- Historical Domain Character: Based after the real-life Ito Kashitaro, who did engineer an Enemy Civil War within the Shinsengumi after he drifted ideologically away from them.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: After years of resentment and jealousy, he's desperate for acknowledgement and admiration. However, he fails to realise what he really wanted was to be treated as a friend and equal, which the Shinsengumi already provided for him.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: Pointed out by Takasugi. Ito treats everyone around him like talentless idiots who could never understand him. The truth is that he needs to feel superior because no one has ever accepted him for who he is, which has left him desperate for recognition to gain some sense of self-worth.
- Intelligence = Isolation: A stellar example. Ito was so smart and got such good results at everything he did that his teachers praised him as a prodigy, but this only made his classmates bully him out of jealousy. Ito came to believe no one could ever be his friend because his intelligence and talents were far superior to everyone else's. He realizes a bit too late that the Shinsengumi were willing to accept him as a comrade regardless of his genius.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Between him and Hijikata.
- Redemption Equals Death: Realises where he went wrong and shields Kondo with his own body, which proves fatal.
- Regretful Traitor: He comes to regret his traitorous actions after the Kiheitai dispose of him and he realizes that he betrayed the group of True Companions he yearned for his entire life.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Bansai openly states that the Kiheitai have no use for someone who will betray his own organisation for personal gain and arranges for the train he is on to be blown up. Itou is saved by the other Shinsengumi though and is given a Mercy Kill instead in a form of his wanted duel with Hijikata.
- Smug Snake: All too confident in the success of his plans, despite failing to account for Okita's loyalty and the possibility of the Kiheitai merely using him to weaken the Shinsengumi.
- Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Having been rejected by his mother and other kids his entire childhood, Itou embraced the role of a solitary and arrogant genius who pushed people away under the believe they would never understand or accept him. Deep down, he's simply a sad and lonely child desperate for friends.
- Taking the Bullet: He jumps in the way of the Kiheitai's gunner to take machine gun shots meant for Kondo and Hijikata.
- Treacherous Advisor: He worked with the Kiheitai so he could become leader of the Shinsengumi.
- The Un-Favourite: It's revealed that he had a sick older twin brother who was heir to his family and his mother ONLY cared for him. To the point that despite Itou's hard work in getting perfect grades just to get noticed by her, he overheard her saying that she doesn't care about Itou's progress at all as she believes that he is to blame for his brother's condition and blatantly said that she wished that he was never born. Ouch.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: He was a simple "Well Done, Son!" Guy who tried hard to be a good student in hopes that would make his mother pay attention to him. Instead, she scorned him just because he was healthier than his brother and the kids of his class bullied him for being the teacher's favorite. All that rejection turned Ito into a power-hungry traitor who allied himself with the Kiheitai to take over the Shinsengumi.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: When he was a child, he tried very hard to excel at everything because he wanted his unloving mother to look at him just once. Once it became obvious that would never happen, Ito grew desperate for getting everyone around him to acknowledge how special and important he is.
Voiced by: Kentaro Ito
Tetsunosuke is the bastard son of the head of the elite Sasaki clan, making him half-brother to the Mimawarigumi's leader Isaburo Sasaki. Considered the clan's Black Sheep, he is sent to the Shinsengumi in the hopes of being straightened out and is assigned as Hijikata's assistant. Although he was initially something a rebel, under Hijikata's mentorship he quickly straightens himself out. Unfortunately for him, he runs into trouble with the gang he was once a part of, and the Mimawarigumi gets involved as well.
- Bastard Angst: He was looked down upon and mocked by his own family for his bastard-born status and incompetence, which caused him to join criminal gangs.
- Big Beautiful Man: He looks unusually pretty after taking off his sunglasses, yet retain his fat.
- Bishōnen: Parodied after he takes off his sunglasses (and inexplicably losing his beard) in that he has a baby face along with sparkling eyes, but is still fat.
- Black Sheep: Considered the shame of the Sasaki Clan and his half-brother Isaburo actively tries to ensure his death.
- Character Development: From wannabe gangster to a loyal and caring Shinsengumi recruit, he certainly came a long way to grow up and find a place for himself.
- Distressed Dude: He's captured by the Check-It-Out Gang and has to be rescued by Gintoki and the Shinsengumi members.
- Heroic Bastard: He's bastard-born, and while he didn't initially fit the term heroic, he eventually grows into a good person.
- Historical Domain Character: Name-wise, he seems to be the counterpart of Ichimura Tetsunosuke, the Real Life Hijikata's page and Sole Survivor of The Shinsengumi remnant forces in Hokkaido.note
- Pretty Fly for a White Guy: He initially dressed like a rapper, and tried to act in the same way, but without much success. He leaves it behind during his tutelage under Hijikata.
- Reformed Criminal: He used to be a member of the Check-It-Out Gang, but left when it turned to violence and more serious crimes.
Voiced by: Takahiro Sakurai (JP), Brad Swaile (EN, series)
Saito is the captain of the 3rd unit, in charge of rooting out spies and traitors within the Shinsengumi.
- Accent Slip Up: Inverted, he gains an accent when Kagura takes over the mic used to make him talk, forcing Gin to make up the excuse that he came from a foreign country to cover up the mistake.
- Afro Asskicker: Despite his absolutely silly hair, he's still a very capable fighter.
- Badass Longcoat: His uniform is modified to include a black longcoat.
- The Comically Serious: Stone-faced, serious, yet not only does he look ridiculous, he's involved in very weird and funny situations without ever dropping his facade.
- Custom Uniform: His uniform is completely unique among the members of the Shinsengumi.
- Dual Wielding: He carries around two swords on his back and fights Katsura to a stand-still with two training swords.
- Funny Afro: His hair is positively ridiculous, but he's quite protective of it.
- Historical Domain Character: Based off of the historical Shinsengumi captain Saito Hajime.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: Always wanted friends, but was too shy to talk to them. What's worse, his silence would drive the people he was trying to befriend into paranoia, and they would they betray the Shinsengumi, meaning he would have to kill them. However, he finally manages to make friends... with Katsura (who was infiltrating the Shinsengumi and trying to frame him).
- No Social Skills: He wants to become more sociable, but has no idea of how to interact with others and goes to the Yorozuya to ask for advice at making friends. Hilariously, Saito finds the most ridiculous ways to screw up any attempt at befriending Katsura.
- Peek-a-Bangs: His left eye is usually covered by his hair, which showcases his mysterious image and real shy personality.
- Punny Name: While the historical Saito's name Hajime means 'beginning', the Gintama version of Saito's name, Shimaru, means 'end', and he ends lives. To take the point even further, he ends his sentences with the letter 'Z', which is the last letter of the English Alphabet.
- Remember the New Guy?: While he has previously been confirmed to be part of the Shinsengumi by Word of God, he's never appeared and makes his entrance as if he'd always been around, despite his unusual and unique appearance.
- The Rival: He and Elizabeth strike up a rivalry since they both use signs to communicate.
- Shrinking Violet: The reason for his silence? He's too nervous to actually talk.
- The Stoic: Along with being ridiculously quiet, he's completely stone-faced most of the time, though the mask he wears probably helps.
- Talking with Signs: He later communicates solely through signboards, which clashes with Elizabeth's gimmick.
- The Un-Smile: His attempt at smiling proves to be quite nightmarish... especially for an undercover Katsura, whom Saito was trying to smile at.
- Verbal Tic: He end his sentences with the letter 'Z'.
- Also when he is on trial, he end his sentences with 'kusare fukuchou', much to Hijikata's ire. Yet this is Played for Laughs.
- The Voiceless: He never actually speaks because he's too ridiculously shy. He only communicates through letters or signs like Elizabeth does.