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Characters / Katanagatari

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The characters of Katanagatari.

Warning: Due to the nature of the series, there are many unmarked spoilers here.

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Main Characters

    Shichika Yasuri
Voiced by: Yoshimasa Hosoya

A young martial artist and head of the Kyotouryuu style, living with his sister on a desolate island. At the start of the series he is approached by Togame, an underling of the shogunate, to help her find the Twelve Perfected Deviant Blades. He falls in love with her and agrees.

  • Anti-Hero: Starts out as a Nominal Hero, having no qualms killing women and children if ordered, but thanks to Character Development he mellows down to a Pragmatic Hero.
  • Ax-Crazy: In the last episode, after Togame dies.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: A man whose own body is a sword. In fact, he's utterly incompetent with a real sword.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Inverted, he's the younger brother (believe it or not), but he's pretty protective over his older sister and worries about her constantly thanks to her frail health. He even goes as far as kill their father for reasons heavily implying that he attempted to kill Nanami in the past. It should be noted however, that in spite of all this, Shichika is very aware that Nanami is much, much stronger than him and his father.
  • Big Little Brother: Nanami is his older sister, but she looks like a child.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Invoked on Togame. And proved true by the end.
  • Catchphrase: At Togame's suggestion, "However, by that point you will have been torn to pieces".
    • Previously, he usually responded to anything she said with "Such a hassle" or "I really don't get X", leading her to explain further.
  • Death Seeker: After Togame's death, though surprisingly he lives through the wounds received from The Dragon during his Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Even while he is covering his chest, his feet are still bare. As he carries Togame through a blizzard, while she whines about how cold it is. And then life-threatening Hilarity Ensues.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: After Togame dies, his normally black eyes turn grey and listless.
  • Have You Told Anyone Else?: Asks Koumori if he has shared the secret of Togame's lineage with anyone else. When he says no, Shichika calmly announces that he can kill him then.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: He gets better.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: With Togame.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: When invading the Shogun's castle and fighting the Shogun's retainers wielding the Deviant Blades, Shichika reveals that he was holding back against every one of the blades' original wielders - even Sabi Hakuhei - because he was under orders not to damage or destroy them. No longer bound by that order, he uses his Kyotouryuu techniques to effortlessly destroy the first eleven blades. And in the fight with Emonzaemon, he reveals that the order to protect himself was also holding him back; he's far more dangerous when he can ignore defense and go all-out.
  • No Social Skills: He was raised on an island, spent his entire life training, and never saw anyone but his father and sister before Togame arrived. His social skills are lacking to say the least.
  • Oblivious to Love: Most of the subtext between him and Togame goes right over his head, much to her annoyance. Despite this he still insists he loves her.
  • Older Than He Looks: It may come as a surprise that he's 24 (pretty old for a shounen hero), mainly due to the simple art style and his naive personality.
  • Post-Kiss Catatonia
  • Rapunzel Hair
  • Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: He spent his entire life training under his father to master Kyotouryuu on a deserted island. At the start of the series he has absolutely no knowledge of the outside world and can't even pick up the differences between other people. Another side effect of Shichika's training is that he is completely unable to wield swords.
  • Scars Are Forever: He retains some of the scars received in his final battle with Emonzaemon, particularly the one over his left eye.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Killed his own father for unexplained reasons. Episode 7 implies it was to protect Nanami... not that she would need it. Or wanted it.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Togame was planning to kill him in order to avenge her father's death at the hands of Shichika's father.
  • Skilled, but Naïve: He's spent his entire life on a remote island cut off from civilization with only his sister and his father. While he did receive 20 years of training in Kyotouryuu, a powerful fighting style that is essentially "swordsmanship without a sword", he lacks actual battle experience.
  • The Stoic: Sees himself as a sword that is meant for cutting. He does become visibly more emotional over time though.
  • Super Strength: Although it ain't as extreme as some other examples, and is at least partially justified by his rigorous training.
  • Tragic Keepsake: After Togame's death, Shichika starts wearing her kimono (now dyed red from blood) with a lock of her hair tied to his belt.
  • Tranquil Fury: During his Roaring Rampage of Revenge in episode 12.
  • Undying Loyalty: He fights solely for Togame's sake, and is completely devoted to her.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Though he does put on a shirt for extreme cold weather, sword training, and a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Willfully Weak: He's given orders by Togame to protect the swords, Togame, himself, and himselfnote , which proves to make some of the fights more difficult. In the last episode, he is under no such restrictions, and shows exactly how powerful he is by destroying all twelve swords. How much the restriction to protect himself mattered is evident during his duel with Emonzaemon.
  • Walking the Earth: Starts his journey with Princess Hitei at the last episode.

Voiced by: Yukari Tamura

An agent of the shogunate who is trying to collect the Twelve Perfected Deviant Blades.

  • Becoming the Mask: She genuinely does fall for Shichika during the series. But it's also an aversion, depending on whether you believe her final speech or not, since she genuinely falls in love with him, but that doesn't change her desire for revenge or her intention to kill him at the end.
  • Catchphrase: "Cheerio!", which she confused for "Chesto!". Even after everybody points it out to her, she still insists on using it.
  • The Chessmaster: Everything — people, swords, even her own feelings — were pawns in her quest for revenge.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: For most of episode 9.
  • Dangerously Short Skirt: Hers is so ripped-up that it is amazing how few panty shots she has over the course of the series.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Her father was murdered right in front of her by Shichika's father.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: She dies in the arms of Shichika.
  • Disease Bleach: Her hair turned white after witnessing her father's death.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: During her final moments, she admits to Shichika that even though all this time she had been manipulating him in order to kill him, she did genuinely fall in love with him.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: To Shichika in the thermal baths.
  • Fatal Flaw: Her all-consuming desire for revenge. Shichika points out that she was ultimately the person that was hurt the most by this, something she agrees with.
  • Godiva Hair: An obvious use for so much hair.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Is about half of Shichika's height. But then, compared to Shichika, everyone is tiny.
  • Important Haircut: Gets one during the fight against Nanami, turning her long hair into a bob cut.
  • Last Request: The last order that she gives to Shichika is to forget about her.
  • Magic Skirt
  • Manipulative Bitch: Koumori sites her willingness to use anybody to further her ambition as her most terrifying feature.
  • Meaningful Name: Her name derived from Japanese word 'togameru', means 'to blame'. And guess who she blamed for the death of her father?
  • Ojou Ringlets: She has straight hair with two sidelocks that curl into ringlets. She's eventually revealed to be a princess.
  • Peaceful in Death: Felt relieved that she could die free of her burden of revenge in the arms of the man she had come to truly love.
  • Prematurely Grey-Haired: She was born with black hair, but it turned white in the moment that she witnessed the murder of her father.
  • Rapunzel Hair: She probably has more hair than body, and it's often wrapped around Shichika.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Was going to kill Shichika after their journey was over, because Kyotouryuu killed her father. It makes sense when you consider that she came to the island looking to recruit his father for the quest, to use him to collect the other swords and then kill him, and presumably saw no reason to adjust her plans just because she had recruited his son instead.
  • The Strategist
  • Tsundere: Parodied. Also subverted at first, when they leave Shichika's home island. She orders him to protect himself, not because she cares or anything, but because it's conducive to their quest. And immediately follows it up with a second order to protect himself, this time because she does care.
  • Unwitting Pawn: All that work and she gets killed just so Kyotouryuu can be perfected.
  • White Hair, Black Heart
  • You Killed My Father: Avenging her father's murder and carrying out his will are her primary motivations.

    Nanami Yasuri
Voiced by: Mai Nakahara

Shichika's older sister who is frail in health but much stronger than she looks.

  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Her main ability, which is how she learns techniques.
  • Badass Adorable: Not when her "smile" is on.
  • Blessed with Suck: Her view on her overwhelming power, as the strain it puts on her already weak body forces her to live in constant agony.
  • Catchphrase: "Is it good, or is it bad?" and other variations of it.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Poor Maniwani.
  • Death Seeker: Her body's weak and painful constitution as a result of her overwhelming power has her wish that she was dead instead.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: She's a murderous sociopath who cares little for other people's lives, but it's shown that she really does love Shichika in her own way.
  • Irony: Strong enough that she can copy all techniques just by watching them... then we learn that she actually uses this in order to be weaker, as her natural power is just that strong that it could kill her.
  • Ill Girl: Due to her unnatural strength, although she can never die from it.
  • Lack of Empathy: She is not a particularly caring person when it comes to mooks.
  • Little Big Sister: You likely wouldn't believe she's Shichika's older sister with just looking at her childlike body.
  • Made of Iron: Despite her weak body, she is surprisingly resilient. The prime example would be her death. After taking a full-on Shichika Hachiretsu Kai, Akutou Bita (the Deviant Blade sustaining her life) was pulled out of her chest, leaving a gaping hole in it. She then gets up and starts using her full strength, damaging her body even further. She manages to fight with her little brother evenly for a short while after that, but dies when she is hit by Shichika's self-titled ultimate move a second time.
  • Multicolored Hair: Pink blotches for highlights. The artist(s) chose to use pink rather than a lighter green.
  • Older Than She Looks: She's pushing 30, but looks like a child.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Wipes out several entire towns of people, including one populated entirely with practitioners of a martial arts school that grants them Super Strength.
  • Power Copying: Learns any move after seeing it once and masters it after seeing it twice. It actually weakens her, as her innate skills are superior.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: She has the looks of a little girl, is polite, well-dressed and almost never talks louder than a whisper. And she's one of the strongest and most skilled fighters in the entire series.
  • Slasher Smile: Episode 7, it's one hell of an Un-Smile.
  • Story-Breaker Power: Her ability to copy abilities and completely master them if she sees them being performed twice before her makes her Power Copying skills this. She's also considered a monster in-story thanks to this ability coupled with her sheer, frightening ruthlessness in battle.
  • Stronger Sibling: To Shichika.
  • Willfully Weak: Despite being physically weak and ill, Nanami starts the series able to easily defeat her brother, who defeated the official Greatest Swordsman in Japan. Turns out, she can also copy any skill she sees, including super-strength, spontaneous claw growth, and walking on water. Then it turns out that she has inhuman resilience and can't die no matter how sick or poisoned she becomes. Then it turns out she's acquired one of the Deviant Blades, which cures her weakness and low energy. And then it turns out she uses others' skills so she can be weaker, as her instinctive combat skills are utterly perfect!
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds
  • World's Strongest Woman: She is officially the single, most powerful entity in the story, a fact acknowledged by numerous characters, including Shichika, Emonzaemon, and Houou themselves.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: With long black hair and a yukata she definitely looks the part, and with her sweet tone of voice she sounds the part. Even her method of fighting is more feminine than her brother's as she watches instead of trains. Subverted as she's actually a brutal Death Seeker that tortures without a thought.

    Princess Hitei
Voiced by: Haruka Tomatsu

A princess from Owari who is Togame's rival and also after the Deviant Blades. A descendant of Kiki Shikizaki.

  • Arch-Enemy: To Togame. Even though they had the exact same goal.
  • Catchphrase: "I deny it."
  • The Chessmaster
  • Jerkass
  • Last Minute Hookup: Believe it or not, but this might have happened between her and Shichika; the ending is ambiguous, but at the very least it shows them walking the earth together.
  • Karma Houdini: One of few characters to survive the series.
  • Rapunzel Hair
  • Smug Snake: Has the personality, but the last episode makes her seem like a Magnificent Bastard. However, she doesn't lead Emonzaemon on and clearly establishes that she wouldn't want him to sacrifice his life for her, admits that she liked Togame even when she ordered her death, and is ready to be killed by Shichika. Her actions were irreproachable, but her personality doesn't help her. The last episode reveals that she's actually neither; she seems like she has a plan, but she's actually just enacting her ancestors' plans and doesn't really care whether or not they succeed, which is part of the reason they ultimately fail.
  • Spanner in the Works: Subverted. Somewhat. By her own admission, she wants to see Shikizaki's succeed and fail in equal measure. Ultimately, her. Or so she thinks.
  • Theme Naming: Her name means "denial". In contrast with Togame's real name, Yousha ("approval").
  • Walking the Earth: Accompanies Shichika in his journey at last episode.

    Emonzaemon Souda
Voiced by: Rikiya Koyama

Princess Hitei's right hand man. A very calm and mysterious character, and former ninja. Apparently has a history with Houou Maniwa.


Wielders of the Deviant Blades

    Ginkaku Uneri 
Voiced by: Mitsuru Miyamoto

A swordsman who lives in a vast desert in the country of Inaba. Second Deviant Blade user Shichika and Togame run into. The second Deviant Blade, Zantou Namakura (Blunt, the Decapitator); is incredibly sharp and can cut through anything.

  • Anti-Villain: He doesn't even really do anything villainous beyond killing anyone who tries to take Zantou Namakura.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: He wields the second Deviant Blade, Zantou Namakura, which can cut through anything.
  • Deadly Upgrade: Covering Zantou Namakura in blood increases the speed of the Zerosen technique. After Ginkaku covered his sword with his own blood, his ultimate attack changed from five simultaneous slashes to ten.
  • Famous Last Words: "At last, deep sleep is allowed me."
  • The Fettered: He exaggerates this trope: The desert has invaded all his land. His castle is ruined; he is the only one left, when Shichika ask him why he fights, he sincerely answers he doesn’t know. Even so, he’s willing to die defending his sword only because he must defend something.
  • Fragile Speedster: Just a combo from Shichika gets him done... the problem is getting close enough to land a hit on him.
  • "Instant Death" Radius: His technique. He just meditates in his room, but anyone who steps within Zantou Namakura's range dies instantly.
  • Shmuck Bait: All you have to do to avoid getting killed by him is not enter the room, and he gives you plenty of warning.
  • Split Second Blade Spam: He can use his sword, Zantou Namakura, to strike five times a second.

    Meisai Tsuruga 
Voiced by: Atsuko Yuya

The head of the Sanzu shrine and wielder of the third Deviant Blade, Sentou Tsurugi (Sword, the Thousand); a sword which possesses 999 copies.

  • Action Girl
  • Anti-Villain: Takes in abused women and tries to rehabilitate them. Her last request is that the shrine be taken care of.
  • The Atoner: Used to be a bandit.
  • Crazy-Prepared: After Shichika chases her into the woods, he realizes there are Tsurugi swords planted everywhere - bound to the trees, hidden in the branches, and even buried under the ground in the case of the original Tsurugi blade. It turns out that her 'test' of having Togame identify which Tsurugi sword was the original was just a distraction while her maidens hid the blades around the shrine and the forest.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Her father, who taught her the Sentouryuu style at a young age, died in the rebellion 20 years before the story began. Left with nothing but her sword training, she turned to a bloody life of banditry and murder, eventually succeeding the chief of her bandit gang and inheriting Sentou Tsurugi. She eventually learned of the Sanzu shrine and became a maiden living under the care of the first Meisai Tsurugi, but when this failed to quell her inner turmoil she murdered him in a desperate rage.
  • Field of Blades: Her ideal setting for a fight, as her Sentouryuu style revolves around picking up and discarding blades as needed.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Carries around a massive bottle of sake.
  • Miko
  • The Nicknamer: Calls Shichika "Kyotouryuu Boy".
  • Promotion to Parent: Abandons her bandit lifestyle to care for the maidens of the Sanzu shrine. Although this was only after she killed the previous Meisai Tsuruga and was shocked by his final words.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure

    Hakuhei Sabi 

Known as the strongest swordsman in Japan, Hakuhei Sabi went rogue after recovering the fourth of the Deviant Blades, the glass blade Hakutou Hari (Needle, the Light). He eventually catches wind of Shichika and Togame's sword hunt, and sends them a letter of challenge to duel for Hari.

  • Bishounen: Played for laughs. Even the people he kills admire how cool he is with their dying breath.
  • Catchphrase: "I'll have you fall for me".
  • Cool Sword: Hakutou Hari is a sword whose blade is made of glass. While its apparent frailty is a point of concern, Sabi's skill with it is such that its said he could cut the moon in half.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Not very expressive.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Togame mentions that people sometimes mistake him for a woman.
  • Duel Boss
  • Fallen Hero/The Paragon Always Rebels: Once loyal to Togame and the Shogunate, to the point where Shichika wonders why he would defect over a single sword. Togame reasons that the purer the swordsman, the more intensely the poison of the Deviant Blades affects them - and Sabi was the best of the best.

    Kanara Azekura 
Voiced by: Tsuyoshi Koyama

A pirate lord who rules a small port town in Satsuma. He wields - or rather, wears - the fifth Deviant Blade, Zokutou Yoroi (Armor, the Bandit), a huge bladed suit of Western-style plate mail.


    Konayuki Itezora 
Voiced by: Rina Hidaka

A small eleven-year-old girl who lives on Mount Odori. Her clan holds - or rather, held - the sixth Deviant Blade, Soutou Kanazuchi (Hammer, the Twin), a massively heavy club of a sword that even Shichika can't lift.

  • The Aloner
  • Badass Adorable: A cute child who's also the first opponent to defeat Shichika.
  • Confusion Fu: She has no training at all, but that means Shichika is totally unable to read her—making her deadly, considering her Super Strength. Kyouken, who has thousands of years' worth of training, controlling her body easily removes this problem, however.
  • Demonic Possession: On the receiving end of this from Kyouken Maniwa. Fortunately for her, Shichika does one heck of a kinetic exorcism.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends
  • Infant Immortality: One of the few to survive. Not just what happened to her village and her clan - she's one of a handful of characters that survives to the end of the show. An impressive feat, considering the body count by the finale.
  • Last of Her Kind: She tells an astonished Shichika and Togame that her clan was wiped out by an avalanche. When Kyouken possesses her and reads her memories, this proves to be a lie: the Itezora village was actually wiped out by Nanami..
  • Little Miss Badass: She can effortlessly pick up Kanazuchi and wave it around like a fly swatter, where (as noted above) Shichika couldn't even budge it. The disparity is somewhat evocative of Mjolnir.
  • Meaningful Name: Her given name is "powder snow", while her family name is "frozen sky".
  • Stepford Smiler: Tries to act like a Cheerful Child, but when your family was just killed, it's a little hard.
  • Super Strength: Though as a child, she's still considered weak by her clan's standards. Which still makes her stronger than anyone else alive.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Her incredible raw strength, combined with her lack of training amounting to Confusion Fu, results in her being the first opponent to land a hit on Shichika - breaking his arm and ending the battle, no less.

Voiced by: Aya Endo

A four-armed automaton protector of a dried lake, rumored to be guarding the workshop of the late Kiki Shikizaki.

  • Clock Punk: A robot? In 18th century Japan? Justified Trope: Kiki Shikizaki was a soothsayer who could see the future of technology. As Togame lampshades, it’s the only way he could have created swords that, in that era, appear to break physical laws, but could be quite possible to construct with future techniques.
  • Creepy Doll: The head and torso look like a ceremonial Japanese doll, made scarier by having it wield four swords and walk on robotic legs.
  • Deceptively Human Robots: She seems fairly humanized at first glance, but she's never portrayed as anything but a particularly well-designed object, and is easily defeated once you figure out her limited range of programmed actions.
  • Hidden Weapons: In addition to the four swords it outwardly carries, Biyorigou can produce a fifth sword out of it's mouth in a sort of stabbing action. It also has a hidden 'helicopter mode', where it rotates upside-down and orients its legs into four propellers. This almost destroys it when it runs out of power...while still some hundred feet up in midair. Shichika manages to catch it, though.
  • The Lost Lenore: Based on Shikizaki's lost love.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous
  • The Power of the Sun: How it runs. Togame exploits this to wear it down after a lengthy standoff with Shichika.

    Zanki Kiguchi 
Voiced by: Shizuka Ito

A calm and serious young woman who gave up a pursuit of shogi to act as the 12th head of the Shinou Issou sword school. She wields the ninth Deviant Blade, Outou Nokogiri (King, the Saw), a wooden sword notably lacking the usual poison of a Shikizaki sword.

  • Action Girl
  • Anime Hair
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Her attempts to teach Shichika how to use a sword.
  • Heir to the Dojo
  • The Mentor: Tries to be this to Shichika.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Togame's inner Clingy Jealous Girl manifests itself when she thinks Shichika and Kiguchi are going at it. The Art Shift that happens whenever she misjudges the situation and lets her imagination run is nothing short of hilarious.
  • Not So Above It All: Her last line of dialogue, which can be somewhat jarring considering her intense mannerisms throughout the episode. The implication is that this is when the focus of Nokogiri - the intense, cruel calmness that possessing it evokes - stops affecting her, after having surrendered it over to Togame.
  • The Stoic: The intensity of which drove out her students. It turns out this was Nokogiri's focus at work - she lightens up considerably after she surrenders it.
  • Wooden Katanas Are Even Better: Outou Nokogiri is one. Despite its appearance as a mere practice sword, Kiguchi explains that it's quite capable of breaking bone, smashing internal organs, and the like.

    Rinne Higaki 
Voiced by: Miyako Ito

A three hundred year old holyman and a close friend of the deceased Shikizaki Kiki. Keeps the tenth Deviant Blade, Seitou Hakari (Scales, the True), a bladeless hilt with an oddly-suspended bladeguard.

    Kiki Shikizaki 
Voiced by: Katsuji Mori

A master blacksmith who created the Deviant Blades. Wields the eleventh and most poisonous of the Deviant Blades, Dokutou Mekki (Gilded, the Poison).

  • The Chessmaster: Though long dead by the time the story even starts, the plans he set in motion deeply impact the course of events through the entire run. It helps that he stored his spirit in one of his swords somehow so he could check on how things were going a few hundred years later.
  • Gambit Roulette: The entire plan to use the twelve Deviant Blade to 'forge' a thirteenth Blade eras later. Justified by his seer abilities, but damned if there wasn't a lot of convenience in The Plan.
  • Grand Theft Me: Whoever wields the Deviant Blade Dokkutou Mekki will get possessed by him.
    • Interestingly, the degree of possession that happens to the victim seems to depend on how receptive the host is to the memory effect imbedded in the sword. Houou grabbed the blade with Kawauso's arm when he accidentally drew it - the same arm he grafted on to gain the latter's ninpou of reading the memory of inanimate objects - and the result was akin to full-blown Demonic Possession. Its next host, the brutish Rogiri of the shogun's retainers, exhibits symptoms more aptly described as 'berserker madness', though whether this is because Shikizaki Came Back Wrong or the sword simply fried Rogiri's brain is never explained.
    • Another possibility is that Shichika dispelled Shikizaki's spirit from the sword when he killed Shikizaki!Houou, and the poison was all that remained to affect Rogiri.
  • Jerkass: Despite his swords often determining the victors during the tumltuous Sengoku era, he doesn't really give half a damn about anything outside his own plans. He's also not too particular about shanking Pengin Maniwa in the side and leaving him out on a dirt road for Shichika and Togame to stumble across.
  • Screw Destiny: Stopped the Tokugawa Shogunate from coming to power in an effort to alter history and avert Japan's eventual destruction by outside forces. Subverted when the Yanari Shogunate comes to power instead in pretty much the same way, and (aside from building the capital at Owari instead of Edo) ultimately nothing changes for those efforts. The Deviant Blades he leaves behind are marginally more impactful in changing the course of events, but they too ultimately fail to shift history either.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Dies at Shichika's hands, confirming that Kyotouryuu (aka Kyotou Yasuri, the 13th Deviant Blade) is ready for the final step.
  • Ultimate Blacksmith: His lasting legacy. Most people don't know about the soothsayer part, though.
  • Walking Spoiler: In case all the spoilered entries here didn't give it away.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Despite the chaos his designs inflict, he wanted to save the whole of Japan from the impending destruction he foresaw. Quite a few people die before his plans (sort of) come to fruition, though.

Maniwa Ninja Corps

  • Animal Motifs: The clan is split into four squads: Bird, Beast, Insect, and Fish. Each member is named and wears clothes based on an animal.
  • Highly Visible Ninja: All of them!
  • In-Series Nickname: Shichika calls them Maniwani. Nobody takes issue with it.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The three members of the Fish Squad are a shark... and a turtle and a penguin.
  • Only in It for the Money: The reason they want the swords? Because they're valuable. In a somewhat altruistic spin on this, they want to sell the swords to support the Maniwa village and the entirety of their Corps.

    Houou Maniwa 
Voiced by: Ryotaro Okiayu

De facto head of the Maniwa Ninja Corps and leader of its Bird Squad.

  • Animal Motifs: Phoenix.
  • The Charmer: He's polite and smooth-talking, and the waitress at Togame and Shichika's hotel dreamily calls him "handsome".
  • Driven to Suicide: Implied to be what he would do after the story of the 12 swords finished, to atone for letting most of the Maniwa heads get killed. He doesn't get to do that.
  • Eyes Always Shut: His eyes are constantly shut. Interestingly, an incident that would merit Glowing Eyes of Doom in any other character results in the red markings on his eyelids glowing instead.
  • Grand Theft Me: When he accidentally draws Mekki, he gets possessed by Kiki Shikizaki.
  • Handicapped Badass: He wasn't all that hindered by losing his arm. And then subverted when he grafts on Kawauso's arm after the latter is killed and gains his ninpou ability to read the history of inanimate objects.
  • Highly Visible Ninja: Possibly the most visible of them all.
  • Immortality: He possesses the ability to graft body parts to himself to replace lost (or presumably, aging) parts of his own. Done enough times, this would logically render him undying - rather appropriate, considering his Phoenix theme.
  • Noble Demon: Takes promises very seriously and cares deeply for his fellow ninjas.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure
  • The Rival: To Emonzaemon.

    Koumori Maniwa 
Voiced by: Chihiro Suzuki

A member of the Maniwa Ninja Corps and wielder of the first Deviant Blade, Zettou Kanna (Plane, the Absolute).

  • Animal Motifs: Bat.
  • Annoying Laugh: GYA-HA-GYA-HA!!! Koumori randomly punctuates his dialogue with these.
  • Black Eyes of Crazy
  • Body Horror: We first see Zettou Kanna after he pulls it out of his throat, which Shichika finds incredibly gross. Later, he produces a sack containing a full costume the same way. And that's not even getting into how he effects his 'doppelganger' ability...
  • Jerkass: Is abrasive and rude with his opponents. Subverted with his fellow clan members, with whom he seems to get along well.
  • Spit Take: Apparently his initial flurry of kunai was actually this—Togame's order to Shichika to "Fall for me!" was just too cringe-inducing for him to stand.
  • Starter Villain: He is both the first opponent, Deviant Blade wielder and Maniwa ninja Togame and Shichika confronts in the series.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: His main weapon. Togame takes a comical amount of time to realize he was the ferryman who gave her the ride out to the Yasuri's island, which is how he managed to track her despite her extra secrecy.

    Shirasagi Maniwa 
Voiced by: Wataru Hatano

A member of the Bird Squad who goes after Ginkaku Uneri. Speaks backwards.

  • Animal Motifs: Crane.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: How he learns not to disturb Ginkaku's nap time.
  • Strange-Syntax Speaker: He speaks not only reversing his words but also the characters of each phrase. According to Togame, this is because "he tries his utmost not to be boring". He stops only after he realizes he's been sliced in half, and has just enough time to express his incredulity normally before he...falls apart.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Dies in his first scene, after a laughably small amount of dialogue. We get a little exposition on him from Togame when they're headed to the castle, and again when she trips over his top half after they arrive, but that's pretty much it.

    Kuizame Maniwa 
Voiced by: Tomohiro Tsuboi

A member of the Fish Squad, he fights for money and his own bloodlust, however respects his fellow members. He targets Meisai Tsuruga.

  • Animal Motifs: Shark.
  • Ax-Crazy: He shreds everyone else on the boat he arrived on (plus the boat itself), just because he was so "excited" about the upcoming battle.
  • Black Eyes of Crazy: Or turquoise in his case.
  • Dual Wielding
  • Epic Flail: Fights with two swords attached to a chain.
  • Expy: Very similar in appearance and personality to Akechi Mitsuhide from Sengoku Basara.
  • Insult Backfire: When Shichika refers to him as a 'Maniwani', he...reacts like it's the ultimate praise, calling it 'sublime'. He's a special kind of crazy.
  • Large Ham
  • No Fourth Wall: Roughly half of his lines seem to be exposition directed at the audience, or at least at nobody in partiucular. Again, he's a special kind of crazy.
  • Slasher Smile: Constantly. Has an impressive set of razor teeth, befitting his shark theme.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Gets killed in his second scene, and isn't even remotely important in the plot arc he appears in. At least he lasted longer than Shirasagi.

    Kamakiri Maniwa 
Voiced by: Makoto Yasumura

The leader of the Insect Squad, a serious highly experienced and feared warrior. One of the three ninjas sent to capture Nanami.

    Chouchou Maniwa 

A member of the Insect Squad and in a relationship with a fellow ninja Oshidori. One of the three ninjas sent to capture Nanami.

  • Animal Motifs: Butterfly.
  • Flight: His ninpou ability makes him incredibly light, allowing for this and the ability to walk on water. The latter talent was how he and his team got out to the island where Nanami lived, and her copying this ability is how Nanami left the island afterwards to wreak havoc on the mainland.
  • Mook Horror Show
  • Ret Irony: He talks at length about his plans to settle down and marry after this mission.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: With Oshidori.
  • Villainous Valour

    Mitsubachi Maniwa 
Voiced by: Hiroaki Miura

A member of the Insect Squad, the most gentle, fair, and calm of its three members, preferring to avoid conflicts with his friends. One of the three ninjas sent to capture Nanami.

    Pengin Maniwa 
Voiced by: Ryo Hirohashi

A member of the Fish Squad and a stuttering little child. Accompanies Houou personally throughout the series.

    Kyouken Maniwa 
Voiced by: Michiko Neya

A member of the Beast Squad who despises Togame for the deaths of her fellow ninja.

  • Animal Motifs: Wolf.
  • Action Girl
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: She ends up being the true enemy Shichika must defeat to get the sixth sword, by way of possessing an unwitting Konayuki.
  • Body Surf: Her ninja ability, only applies to women.
  • Hot-Blooded
  • Really 700 Years Old: Thanks to her ability.
  • Revenge Before Reason: She went after Shichika and Togame to avenge the Maniwa members they'd killed, in blatant disregard of the fact that Houou had just formed an alliance with them. Not to mention, Shichika and Togame were only responsible for Koumori's death. The other five dead Maniwa heads at the time were killed by either Nanami or Deviant Blade Wielders.
  • Stripperiffic
  • Super Speed: In her first form, to the point that she cannot be seen if she doesn't want to be.
  • Tattooed Crook: The tattoo is her living essence, and striking just the tattoo is how Shichika manages to kill her while sparing Konayuki (who she'd just possessed).
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Purple hair, and purple full-body tattoos.

    Kawauso Maniwa 
Voiced by: Shinji Kawada

The leader of the Beast Squad, he is invaluable to the Maniwa Corps as he can ascertain the locations of the Deviant Blades.

    Umigame Maniwa 
Voiced by: Toshihiko Seki

The leader of the Fish Squad. As his name suggests, he wears a turtle-like uniform, and wields a rapier.

    Oshidori Maniwa 
Voiced by: Kaori Yamagata

A member of the Bird Squad, she is the object of Chouchou's affection.


    Mutsue Yasuri 

The Sixth head of the Kyotō school of Japanese sword martial arts, the late father of Shichika Yasuri and Nanami Yasuri, and the person Togame is initially seeking for the mission to find the Deviant Blades.

  • The Exile: After assassinating Takahito Hida, Mutsue and his family are exiled to an uninhabited island of the country of Tamba.
  • Posthumous Character: He died a year before the series begins at the hands of Shichika.
  • The Stoic: He thought of himself as a sword, and thus didn't require emotions.
  • Theme Naming: His name literally translates to "Six Branch Rasp".  His childrens' names represent flowers and fruit, products of a tree's branches.

    Kazune Yasuri 
Voiced by: Atsushi Abe

The First head of the Kyotōryū style as well as its creator. Kazune is long dead by the time the series starts but his actions cast a long shadow over his decendants as well as the events of the story.

  • A Day in the Limelight: Is a prominent character in the prequel anthology Maniwagatari.
  • Deal with the Devil: His creation of the Kyotōryū thanks to the help of Kiki Shikazaki has shades of this since it helped seal the fates of his descendants.
  • Determinator: He was a man with zero talent as a swordsman but his dedication to the Way of the Sword was so great it impressed the extremely anti-social Kiki Shikazaki and together they created the Kyotōryū style that would allow one to fight without needing a sword.
  • Odd Friendship: With Kiki Shikazaki.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Appears only in a single flashback scene late in the story but it goes a long way to explain how the events of the story unfolded as they did.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Looks like Shichika with Mutsue's hairstyle.
  • Theme Naming: As with the rest of his family, his name literally translates to "One Root Rasp". Being the founder of Kyotōryū, he symbolically represents the roots of the tree that is Kyotōryū to which his descendent, Mutsue (branch) develops from.


Example of: