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Characters / Rurouni Kenshin Oniwabanshu

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    Shinomori Aoshi 

    Tokyo's Oniwabanshu 

The four members of Aoshi's squad serving Kanryu Takeda. They all follow Aoshi with loyal devotion. The members are Hannya the spy, Beshimi, Hyottoko and Shikijo. After being defeated by our heroes, they all die performing a heroic sacrifice to save Aoshi from Kanryuu's gatling gun. Their heads are buried near a dark wood by Aoshi himself.

  • Alas, Poor Yorick: When the others die, Aoshi beheads them in order to give them an honorable burial. Though in the anime he buries their bodies as well and hadn't decapitated them.
  • Badass Crew
  • Body Horror: Shikijo's completely covered in scars.
  • Bullet Proof Human Shield:
    • Shikijo ends up throwing himself in front of Aoshi to protect him from gatling gun fire. Shikijo is proud that his physique could stop the bullets from passing through him entirely and killing Aoshi.
    • Hyottoko seems to have used his girth to this effect as well, providing a human shield for Beshimi
    • Averted for Beshimi whose body is perforated by the bullets, likely because he wasn't as large as the previous two.
  • The Cameo: In Restoration, when Saito reveals that Gein/Kuroko is a rogue Oniwabanshu, we see a picture of all the Tokyo Oniwabanshu plus Misao, hinting at a case of Spared by the Adaptation.
  • Composite Character: In the live action films, their roles are filled by Enishi's six comrades. Han'nya in particular is fused with Aoshi and Gein.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Of a sort. Their abilities are generally only useful for battle or covert actions such as spying and assassinations. When the bakumatsu ended and the rest of the Oniwabanshu moved on to other careers, they were unable to find other types of work. It is primarily for their sakes that Aoshi remains their leader and seeks out battlefields rather than take a high-level government job.
  • Death by Adaptation: They are reduced to Posthumous Characters in the live action films.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Ugly at best, monstrous at worst, you will nevertheless be hard-pressed to find warriors braver and friends more loyal then these five men.
  • Gonk: Hyottoko and Shikijo, while Beshimi, who's not a looker, is still described as "cute" by some fans. Hannya's true face is a more serious example of this.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: All of them end up performing a rather tragic and tearjerking one against Kanryuu's gatling gun in order to save Aoshi.
  • Hidden Depths: Despite being introduced as mere mooks, they all have different characteristics that show themselves as the series goes on. Most notably they all helped to raise Misao.
  • Meaningful Name: Hannya and Hyottoko are both named after a Noh mask. The former is a demon showing wrath and envy, the latter is a humorous mask of a man blowing on the fire.
  • The Napoleon: Beshimi is very small and self-conscious about his weakness. He still puts his small size to his advantage.
  • Ninjas: Though only Hannya and maybe Beshimi properly qualify for being such.
  • Parental Substitute: Misao viewed them as parental figures for the first half of her childhood.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: A mousy midget with poisoned darts, a fat man with a fire-breathing apparatus in his stomach, a huge muscleman with long hair covered in scars and a disfigured masked ninja with hidden Wolverine Claws. No wonder the poor bastards couldn't find a job when the war was over.
  • Villainous Valor: Yes, even if they are bad guys they're shown to be really decent people after all.
  • Undying Loyalty: Played tragically (and triumphantly) straight to its logical conclusion.

Voiced by: Akio Nojima (JP); Tom Wyner (EN)

A masked warrior and Aoshi's most trusted henchman. A noble and honorable man in spite of his monstrous appearance.

  • Adaptation Distillation: What Hannya looks like under his mask and the backstory of why he looks that way were cut from the Anime, there didn't seem to be a place they could have been included with the time allotted.
  • Berserk Button: At first confident and respectful of Kenshin, upon seeing him adopt a purely defensive stance and not answering to his questions, he takes it as if Kenshin is underestimating him, causing him to declare him unworthy of fighting Aoshi.
  • Composite Character: His role in the Live-Action films is merged with Gein of the Six-Comrades. The noble mask-wearing assassin under Kanryu's employ is now Gein who fights Kenshin and confronts Megumi when she thinks she's safe as Hannya did in the source.
  • Defiant to the End: When he's knocked out cold by Kenshin and his claws are snapped, he still says to him that he stands no chance against Aoshi before fainting.
  • The Dragon: He's Aoshi's most powerful underling. When Kenshin and the gang finally storm Kanryuu's house, it's Hannya who is sent out to kill them. Aoshi will only fight Kenshin and co. once they've proven themselves against Hannya.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Averted. Kanryuu struggles to understand why Kenshin has come all the way to save Megumi as the concept of selflessness is beyond him. Hannya was the one to criticize Kanryuu for his reaction saying:
    "If Himura the Battosai acted only on what was beneficial to him, he would be a high ranking official of the army at this time. Of course, people like you would never understand."
  • Extendable Arms: His Jutsu seemingly allows him to suddenly extend his arms as he punches people in the face, catching even Kenshin offguard. It is actually an optical illusion caused by the stripes on his arms, which make them appear thicker and shorter than they actually are.
  • Expy: The author notes that he modeled Hannya on the Elephant Man.
  • Facial Horror: His face under that mask. He burned his lips, chopped off his ears, sawed off his nose and crushed his cheekbones in order to become the perfect spy.
  • Glass Cannon: Strong and fast enough to deal some good damage to Kenshin, but still falls rather quickly once Kenshin sees through his trick.
  • Gonk: Played for Tragedy over his appearance when we finally do learn what he looks like behind the mask.
  • Latex Perfection: Capable of this level of disguise, thanks to the facial horror mentioned above.
  • Light Is Not Good: Downplayed. Hannya's outfit is primarily dark and threatening, but his mask is ghostly white, a malevolent sign of death.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Played With. He wears a chalk white oni mask at all times, and is easily the most physically scary of the Oniwaba Group; however he's also the most human and shows the greatest amount of sympathetic qualities amongst them.
  • Mask Power: Literally as Kenshin points out, he can't anticipate Hannya's attacks by looking at his face.
  • Meaningful Name: Named after a Noh mask of a demon showing wrath and envy.
  • The Mentor: Misao credits her bare-fisted fighting technique to Hannya's tutelage.
  • Ninja: While the Oniwabanshu are all supposed to be ninjas, Hannya's the one who best fits the look and role.
  • Ninja Log: Hannya who uses this technique on Beshimi when the latter was defeated by Kenshin.
  • Not So Stoic: He becomes furious when he believes that Kenshin is still underestimating him.
  • Number Two: While Shikijo seems to be the last physical challenge before Aoshi, Hannya is generally agreed to be Aoshi's right hand man (and quite-possibly Best Friend).
  • Parental Abandonment: In his backstory, he was born in a poor famine-struck village where it was custom to kill any child beyond the first to conserve enough food for everyone.
  • Parental Substitute: Her dialogue implies that he was this to Misao when she was being trained by them. Hannya even appears to her one last time to encourage her during the Kyoto arc.
  • The Unreveal: His face under the mask in the anime. Since his backstory from the manga was Adapted Out, we don't know what his face is supposed to look like, and only part of the mask breaks off, exposing a pupil-less eye.
  • Wolverine Claws: His trump weapon, should his iron gloves not be enough.

Voiced by: Kazuhiro Nakata (JP); Dean Elliot (EN)

The most physically strong member of the Oniwaba Group. He isn't present for any of the attacks on the Dojo, but serves as a guard at Kanryu's mansion. Powerful, boisterous, and covered in scars, Shikijō is a formidable foe.

  • Affably Evil: To a limited extent in the manga. He compliments Sanosuke for his strength and asks him to join the Oniwabanshu
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: He tries to defeat Sano by blocking his hands in his grip and headbutting him into unconsciousness: eventually, Sano's grip break his hands and is put to sleep with a punch to the forehead.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Proud of his power and hungry for combat.
  • Composite Character: He's combined with Inui Banjin of the Six Comrades for the live action movie. Banjin of the movie has several of Shikijo's affable traits and is the guard posted at Kanryu's mansion to fight Sanosuke.
  • Covered in Scars: Has sword scars all over his body. Most of them are implied to be from Aoshi's Kaiten Kenbu attack, especially the three parallel scars on his abs.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In the manga, when Hannya wakes him up, he politely remarks that Hannya's face is the last thing he 'd like to see upon waking up. Hannya takes the banter with stride.
  • The Dragon/The Brute: While less prominent than Hannya, he's still the last physical challenge faced before Aoshi and likely the physically strongest of the Tokyo Oniwabanshu. For further contrast, he faces off against Kenshin's own Lancer, Sanosuke.
  • Drugs Are Bad: In the manga, he confirms that the Oniwabanshu used a secret muscle-enforcing medicine to give him the muscled body he currently shows. He proposes to give the same medicine to Sanosuke if he joins them.
  • Epic Flail: His main weapon, soon discarded in exchange for a one on one unarmed battle against Sanosuke.
  • Evil Counterpart: Explicitly designed as such for Sanosuke according to Watsuki's notes, which helped the contrast between the Oniwabanshu and the Kenshin-gumi. Both Sanosuke and Shikijo are boisterous fighters who physically powerful. Both were defeated by someone that they come to admire (Kenshin and Aoshi respectively). The major difference is that Shikijo follows Aoshi due to Aoshi's strength and becomes obsessed with proving his strength. Whereas Sanosuke comes to follow Kenshin because of his ideals and the things he wants to protect.
  • Hard Head: Shikijo tries to smash Sano's skulls with headbutts. He also claims that after his first one, Sano will be unable to react immediatly, as his brain is still shaken. Possibly backfires when, after enduring a flurry of headbutts, Sano knocks him out cold with a single punch to the forehead.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Agrees to renounce to his weapon to fight Sanosuke fist against fist fair and square.
  • Lightning Bruiser: A massive giant of the man who can be surprisingly quick on his feet and capable of absorbing blows and dishing out as much.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Sano manages to break his hands with his grip alone.
  • Taking the Bullet: Shikijo ends up using his massive, well-muscled body to shield Aoshi from the Gatling Gun.

Voiced by: Shōzō Iizuka (JP); Bob Papenbrook (EN)

A massive man capable of breathing fire. After Beshimi's failure Hyottoko takes the fight straight to the dojo.

  • Berserk Button: Hyottoko lose his cool when Kenshin likens his fire-spitting technique to a circus trick.
  • Boom, Headshot!: In the manga, Kanryu's gatling gun hits him in the head, blowing up part of it.
  • Breath Weapon: He has a large oil bag inside his belly, with the nozzle in his mouth. Add a pair of flintstone teeth and you have a fire-breathing apparatus. In his brief cameo in Restoration he's seemingly wearing a muzzle over his mouth.
  • Extremity Extremist: Due to his fat body and stubby legs, Hyottoko fights exclusively with his arms, which leads to his defeat when he tries to carelessly attack Sanosuke after seeing that his arms were badly scalded, reasoning that he cannot fight if his arms are singed, only to get kicked in the face for his trouble.
  • Gentle Giant: Implied to be this out of work, as he feared he would only be a hindrance as a worker in Aoiya.
  • Gonk: A huge overweight man with hair only on the top of his head and a toothless mouth save for some oversized buckteeth he uses for his fire.
  • Kevlard: Downplayed. He's got good endurance but he still feels Sanosuke's fists. Though his girth absorbs the bullets from Kanryu's gun and shields Beshimi for a bit.
  • Meaningful Name: Named after a Noh mask of a humorous mask of a man blowing on the fire.
  • Mighty Glacier: A downplayed example. He's slower due to his lumbering size, but he can pack a hit. Though it's clear his main strength is his fire-breath and Shikijō is a stronger combatant.
  • Stomach of Holding: As part of his ninja technique, he holds a whole leather bag full of oil inside his stomach, with a nozzle poking out of the throat into the mouth. Sanosuke beats his fire breath by grabbing the nozzle and pulling the whole sack out of his mouth.
  • Taking You with Me: In the manga, he threaten one as he rushes towards Kanryuu, pointing out that if he shoots his belly and punctures his oil sack, everyone will burn up. Unfortunately, Kanryuu manages to nail him in the head.
  • This Cannot Be!: Express utter disbelief when Kenshin stops his fire-breathing technique by spinning his sword to deflect the fire.
  • Vitriolic Best Buddies: He seemingly has this dinamc going on with Beshimi. Even though he threaten him at one point, the two seemingly work together in missions.


Voiced by: Taiki Matsuno (JP); Derek Stephen Prince (EN)

The first of the Oniwaba group to debut. Beshimi is a small but fast man who fights by flicking darts. Some darts are coated in poison and can lead to a prolonged hospital stay.

  • Boisterous Weakling: He's the weakest Oniwabanshu, but he's also the first to chase after Megumi, actually tries to attack Megumi and Kenshin as soon as he spots them in public (stopped by Aoshi) and still tries to kill the heroes after seeing how bad it went for Hyottoko.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: In spite of the fact that he's the weakest member, he does nearly kill Yahiko with a poisoned dart that was meant for Megumi.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome. All of the group perform a Heroic Sacrifice, but Beshimi is the one who lands an attack and contributes to Kanryu's defeat. In the final fight, he shot a dart into the bullet belt, jamming the weapon at a crucial point. Sadly, this is only in the anime, the manga is a mere Senseless Sacrifice.
  • Establishing Character Moment: When he hunts down Megumi after she flees to the house Sannosuke and Kenshin are in. He's quiet, sneaky, and get's easily beaten by Kenshin and Sano. Unlike the other Oniwaba members who can give the heroes a hard time before being beaten, Beshimi's thrown out with almost no effort.
  • Gonk: He's really odd looking and mousy. However he's probably the most normally looking of the group bar Aoshi, and the author was surprised to find that he had fangirls.
  • Hidden Depths: His weakness troubles him greatly and he makes more attempts at acquiring Megumi than any of the others. He tearfully apologizes for his lack of ability when he dies.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Beshimi's only gimmick involves small poisoned darts which he can throw with his thumb.
  • The Load: Physically the weakest of the group. He's got a Crippling Overspecialization like the rest of the group, but unlike the others who can use their specialized area to put up a fight, Beshimi cannot. He's actually painfully aware of this.
  • My Friends… and Zoidberg!: When Misao reminisces about the group she mentions Beshimi in this way, but it's out of endearment rather than mockery.
  • Not Good with People: In the flashback showing the group leaving Aoiya, he admits that he wouldn't know how to deal with the customers.
  • Ninja: Beshimi's the only other member of this group of Ninjas besides Hannya who acts like a ninja, what with his agility and assassination methods.
  • Vitriolic Best Buddies: Implied to have this relationship with Hyottoko in particular.

    Kyoto's Oniwabanshu 

The other branch of Oniwabanshu. Unlike the Tokyo branch that broke off with Aoshi, the Kyoto group settled down to all run an inn together. In spite of this they're still a formidable ninja group ready to come back into action should the need arise.

  • Adaptational Badass: They're a much larger organization in the films and many get a chance to show off their fighting skill against Shishio's mooks here rather than in the Manga and Anime where they mostly fought off panel.
  • Ninja: They act the role much better than the Tokyo counterpart.
  • Redeeming Replacement: The Oniwabanshu members introduced here are unambiguously heroic characters striving for the good of the people in contrast to the Tokyo group who were antagonists.
  • Satellite Character: Their presence revolves entirely around Okina and Misao, and the others aren't as well characterized as the Tokyo Group was.
  • The Worf Barrage: They throw all their attacks at Iwanbou (Changed to Fuji in the Shin Kyoto Hen OVA), and it's a No-Sell.

    Makimachi Misao 

    Kashiwazaki Nenji (aka Okina) 



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